Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not/Archive 22

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Archive 21 Archive 22 Archive 23

Wikipedia is not a reliable source

Although Wikipedia articles are required to cite reliable sources, we still do not make any guarantees that all Wikipedia content is reliable or accurate. In addition, Wikipedia should not be considered a reliable source when citing in another article.

This good? ViperSnake151 20:15, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

That's not actually what Wikipedia:Reliable sources says. Your second sentence, though, that citations should not self-refer is correct. I don't think it necessarily belongs here though. It might fit better in Wikipedia:Avoid self-references. Rossami (talk) 02:42, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I adjusted the wording a bit. ViperSnake151 02:04, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Please improve the Wikipedia policy multiple choice test

See Wikiversity:Wikipedia/Quizzes. Please contribute! Mange01 (talk) 12:25, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Not a directory taken to excess

I would like to revive this discussion from mid-October. It only recently came to my attention that lists of locations for defunct department stores S. Klein Franklin Simon & Co. and AM&A's were deleted from those entries around Oct 18. The justification was that "Wikipedia is not a directory." Similar deletions were made to Proffitt's and Sibley's. I have reviewed the discussion from mid-Oct and believe the policy on this issue remains unresolved in the case of defunct department stores. The justification for deletion seemed to be that these lists were unreferenced and that for national department stores are not a useful resource. I concur with that assessement; a list of current WalMart locations is unweildy at best and not very useful for local research. The lists I participated in creating substitute in many cases for narrative paragraphs decribing each location. Sources tend be associated with the narratives for significant branch locations in narrative descriptions of department store expansions. As a historian of defunct businesses, having a list of those former locations with references to current occupants is very useful in tracing the history of companies and their expansion / decline. Therefore, given all of the other lists I have created or assisted in compiling remain at risk and I would like to know what further research or sourcing I need to do to assure they remain included. Would having this information in tabular form help to assure its inclusion?--Pubdog (talk) 15:06, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Here buddy, let me give you a rundown of how things are done around here. Users who have very little practicle ability to actually write an encyclopedia instead increase their 'edit-count' by going around making several small and invasive edits all around the place. Usually when an editor has made enough edits, and he has shown than he is submissive and not prepared to challenge the status quo, he will be promoted to admin. As admin he now has several powers. One of these is to unilaterally decide how policy is implemented, even when it is plain that he is wrong. Attempting to breach the subject with him in messages to his talk page will result in your blocking for 'insubordination'.
Now, you have two options as I see it - 1) Do what you are doing right now and bring it up with the administrative staff. They will, of course side with the bully unilaterally deleting your edits so as to improve his edit count but there is a possibility one or two respected editors will come and fight your case (This is a completely different specimen alltogether - the individual who is in the top 100 wikipedia admins but who wishes to rise up to the top 50 by making or defending a controversial policy) Then there is a slim chance. 2) Join the grass roots editors like me, forced to take rotating ips because they are banned for bringing truth to a monolith that has no place for it. Together we can prevail over the over-reaching arm of the buraucracy. 86.40.211.52 (talk) 19:37, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
As I see it, the articles about defunct U.S. department store chains have been damaged by some overly eager active Wikipedians who are fascinated by retail stores and shopping malls, but are too young to comprehend that the retail industry has a past involving local department stores that thrived for many decades before briefly being subsumed into regional and national chains and then disappearing from the scene. Considering that the arguments made in past discussions seem to have fallen on deaf ears, I fear that the only cure for these people's behavior will be maturity. The embedded lists in these articles are not store directories, but rather are skeleton outlines for the historical articles on extinct businesses. I successfully rescued the deleted information in Miller's of Tennessee by rewriting that part of the article, but it would take herculean effort to do the same for all of the other defunct department stores. (As has been noted earlier in this discussion, it's so much easier to delete content than it is to write it.) --Orlady (talk) 20:38, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that there's no good line that can be drawn when a list of locations for a store should be or shouldn't be included per WP:NOT#DIR. I understand, to a point, the idea of locations for a defunct chain, but what if Wal-Mart went out of business? Would we include every chain it has? What if McDonalds went out of business, should we include every location ever? I realize these situations will likely never happen anytime soon, but we have to be practical here because when you consider smaller and smaller examples, there's no point that I can stop and say where the inclusion of locations goes from unacceptable to acceptable, even when the number starts to get less than ten or so. What is important in terms of locations for these articles are the flagship stores where the business was founded, any other significantly notable locations, and then the general region or areas served - and that can be applied to any business of any size, defunct or still operating. That information still can help people understand, for example, the plight of smaller stores subsumed by larger chains - knowing exact locations doesn't specifically help, but knowing that Store X that severed certain states Y, and Z and that the chain's closure was at the same time as big Chain A expanded operations into states Y and Z is easy to comprehend. The exact location only helps a few people and is not well suited to the average reader, either. That's not to say these lists can't be placed in a separate wiki and linked in from WP for most detailed information, just that on WP, these lists are not appropriate. --MASEM 11:56, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
We've been around this issue before for several related classes of articles, and in practice WP:NOTDIR seems to lose. In practice, for instance, all train stations are being held to be notable, even if they no longer exist or are nothing more than a platform with a sign. Airport articles list which airlines fly out of which terminal/concourse. Mangoe (talk) 14:24, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

HOWTO pictures

HOW TO build a joint

It seems to be quite easy to skirt around WP:NOTHOWTO by putting instructions into a picture. Because the Wikimedia rules don't forbid those purposes as Wikipedia does. --Plenz (talk) 08:19, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Heh. Well, NOTHOWTO just applies to Wikipedia. It won't stop you from uploading your pic to Commons, and possibly you could create a How To article on the http://en.wikibooks.org project that does allow people to add guidebooks. On WP you just need to make sure your article/picture is general enough for an encyclopedia. The idea is that WP is a starting point to find out what something is, not a DIY manual. I think your picture is actually okay as it does not specify exactly how much, er, ingredients to use, where to put your fingers when you roll it, etc. But you don't want to caption it "HOW TO"! Something like "overview of joint construction" would be more "proper" for WP. Fletcher (talk) 15:25, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

However, I would caution that a Commons image showing your own steps for doing something (say, folding a paper airplane) with text annotations would likely be removed from an article on WP since it does go into the step by steps. There are times, to aid the reader, to show how something it does visually, but enumerating every step visually is too much. --MASEM 15:30, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Plot

Leaving this message here for all those care. Please stop removing the information on Wikipedia not being just a plot summary. If you challenge this statement, then please start a discussion. This section has been part of the policy since July 9, 2006, when it was added following this discussion. You mean believe the discussion to be short, lasting about a week, but at the time they had clear consensus, with the people that initially opposed settling on a description that all could agree (minus Williamborg, who appears to be promoting that was create original research articles....odd). The last oppose didn't even appear until almost two months after the section was added, and is confusing because they are opposing and yet agreeing with people that went on to agree with the section's inclusion (Initial opposition was over the fact that it was believe that the section would remove plot summaries in general, which many did not want, but agreed that a page solely on a plot summary is not appropriate). The fact that this has been apart of the policy for over 2 years says that it was an accepted addition by the majority of the community. If someone disagrees, then start a new discussion, but please stop removing it without proper consensus to do so.  BIGNOLE y (Contact me) 05:26, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

No, there was no consensus to add it to this policy at that time. I've read the discussion. PLOT has been removed multiple times by multiple editors over 2 years. PLOT has been challenged multiple times by multiple editors over 2 years. I'm tired of repeating myself so I suggest you read this thread from June.[1] That PLOT remains in here only indicates that 5 or so editors are keeping it here by force. In addition to never having consensus to be policy, WP:NOT#PLOT creates a huge conflict of interest with Wikia, because PLOT is used to ship articles related to fiction off Wikipedia to Wikia in order to generate a profit. Policies do not exist to enrich Jimbo Wales. --Pixelface (talk) 07:27, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
First, your link showed that YOU disputed its existence. I did not see consensus to remove it. Guess what, the fact that it's been challenged a few times doesn't mean it doesn't have consensus, it means that some people along the way didn't agree with it. Given that you have been reverted by 3 different editors here, it seems that there is at least consensus among this page's editors that it belongs. Being challenged doesn't mean it does not have consensus. Please know the difference. Um, where did this twisted logic come from that articles are shipped to Wikia to create a profit for Jimbo Whales? No where in this section does it say, "put plot summary articles in Wikia". What happens to those articles is not the concern of this section. An editor like myself suggesting that they go to Wikia is not a conflict of interest of this page, it's my personal suggestion so that the information stays in tact, but in a place that accepts it. So, stop assuming it's some conspiracy by Jimbo to get more money. It isn't. Like I said, start a formal discussion about its inclusion, or leave it alone. You cannot just remove things on a whim because YOU believe it shouldn't be there. Your boldness has lapsed, and now you're just being disruptive. I have to assume you don't want a formal discussion going because you know you won't get consensus to remove the section. If that isn't the case, then I guess you'd have no trouble starting that discussion so consensus can arise as to the fate of the section, which has been in existence consistently for 2 years (the fact that someone has challenged it every so often does not mean it doesn't have consensus, not unless there was consensus to remove it. WP:NOTE is challenged regularly, but it has consensus for existence still). Start the discussion, or leave it alone. Plain and simple. I don't plan on discussing the potential consensus of anything any further with you. Good day.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 12:39, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Personally, I'd rather see it go, but I agree there is not consensus for that yet. But there is a real concern about how it's used. Perhaps some wording changes would help "appropriate" for concise (or even "appropriately concise", and "overall" for "larger". DGG (talk) 03:58, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
See it go? I take it you're an advocate of plot only articles? The purpose of it should be to inform editors that articles should be more than just a plot, and that plot summaries in any capacity should not be bloated with minute details about the subject matter (Currently, it really doesn't articulate either of those things very well, I wouldn't mind seeing some more concise definitions listed), because Wikipedia was never meant to be, nor should it ever be a substitution for watching, reading, listening, etc. to the subject matter. We're a free encyclopedia, but not a free alternative to things that require payment to be viewed.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 04:03, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Not plot-only, exactly. We should cover all aspects of a subject. For most fiction, plot is the most important aspect of t e subject, has most of the secondary literature, and should get by far the most coverage. I'd say characters come next, followed by publication history, and influence--it will however depend on the fiction. Personally, I'm primarily interested in questions of influence, especially on other fiction--which is the mainstay of academic study of literature, but interpretation of the plot is considered equally worthy of serious attention. Some who disagree may never have given it real attention academically, or examined the literature on it that exists. When a course, as many do, devotes primary attention to one or two works of fiction, what do you think it talks about? I would apply this to individual books, to series, and to episodes. The main thing wrong with the present primarily-plot articles is their low quality--and the lack of interest in finding the secondary sources that exist. Of course, for such articles, one doesn't need secondary sources for the plot portion,though one should have them for the interpretation. they are almost always there. WP is meant to be a source of information. And the directions for how to write articles should be flexible guidelines, and do not belong here at all. That's why I would remove the section entirely. DGG (talk) 04:21, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Discussing the plot is important, but reciting the plot on the page is not. When you don't have all of that other information you talk about, a recounting of the plot is virtually worthless. It provides nothing, as putting it in the article, when you have that other information, is for context with that information. We put the plot in so that our real world information makes better sense, not the other way around. The most important piece is not the plot of the film/book/etc; that's like saying that when I use a metaphor to provide context to my statement that the metaphor is the most important thing. It isn't. The most important thing is the primary message you are trying to get across. If it's Halloween, then that message is that independent horror films can become box office gold - or whatever (not saying that is the message, jut providing an example). That being said, I'm not saying it is the least important aspect of a page when there is other information present. It's a very valuable piece of contextual information necessary for any articles with real world information, we just should not be having pages solely on that (which tends to be more relevant to TV episodes than Films, because the latter often gets some form of commentary or documentary on making the film, while the former rarely does).  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 12:27, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
PLOT is about plot-only articles. Articles about fictional characters are mainly plot. When readers go to the Lenny Leonard page, they want to know who Lenny Leonard is. In order to learn that, you have to give a plot summary. This policy currently says "Articles are not simply...plot summaries." So we have editors running around, mindlessly nominating fictional character articles for deletion, citing PLOT has a reason for deletion, because "things Wikipedia are not" is listed as a reason for deletion in the deletion policy. When readers to the Halloween article, they want to know "What is Halloween?" That involves recounting the plot. When readers go to the Michael Myers article, they want to know "Who is Michael Myers?" That involves recounting the plot. If some information is available on the conception or development of a character, great, add it to the article. But the lack of that information is not a reason to delete the article. If editors are going to treat a policy like it came down from the mountain in the hands of Moses, if editors are not going to read a policy intelligently, then the policy needs to be changed. --Pixelface (talk) 05:32, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
This policy is a list of things Wikipedia is not. Not a place to "inform editors that articles should be more than just a plot." Even if that's the intended purpose of PLOT, that is not how PLOT is used. PLOT is used to delete fiction content from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia. So why should readers have to go to Wikia to read about fictional characters like Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky? --Pixelface (talk) 05:32, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
We can still cover fictional elements and concepts that fail PLOT or NOTE on WP, they just don't get their own article (and why I'm fighting to make sure that there is allowances for lists as a reasonable repository for non-notable elements). Expanded coverage may have to be on a different wiki, but at least people will be able to search and find redirects for fictional elements covered as part of a larger topic. Also, WP is a free content encyclopedia; any coverage of works still in copyright is partially derivative and is non-free content. That doesn't mean we can't have it, nor should we worry about copyright concerns until Mike Godwin says otherwise, but we cannot burder the encyclopedia with in-depth coverage of in-universe details of such works without hurting the free content goals of the work. --MASEM 05:58, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
So Wikipedia should not have articles for major characters of War and Peace such as Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky? Wikipedia should not have an article on Cosette? Wikipedia should not have an article on Luke Skywalker? Wikipedia is the free encyclopedia anyone can edit, not the free encyclopedia anyone can edit until they're told to write their articles on Wikia instead. And Masem, you're still not a lawyer, you still know nothing about derivative works, and some articles about fictional characters have zero to do with non-free content. For example, some translations of War and Peace are in the public domain. So there is no issue whatsoever with "non-free content" regarding the Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky article. How is an article like Lenny Leonard unacceptable on Wikipedia, yet it magically becomes acceptable on Wikia when a profit is generated off that content? Telling readers who Lenny Leonard is for free is hurting the goals of Wikipedia, but Jimbo Wales profitting off that information on Wikia moves Wikipedia closer to Wikipedia's goals? --Pixelface (talk) 06:32, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
WP should only have articles on these characters if there can be more details than just reiterating the plot from there view. For works like War and Peace and Star Wars, I'm pretty sure this can be done. For the average saturday morning 80s cartoon or a soap opera, very likely not. But we cannot equate "no article" to "no coverage"; these can always be talked about in a larger context of the work itself or a list of characters. From the derivative work standpoint, I'm not speaking legally, I'm speaking on the mantra of the free (as in thought) culture. A reiteration of a copyrighted work's plot is non-free, burdened by copyright issues; the longer and more detailed the reiteration, the more non-free it becomes. en.wiki does not bar nonfree content, but the Foundation asks us to keep it in check. Thus, concise plot information is a necessary requirement for any copyrighted work. Now that says nothing about older works like War and Peace which are long since out of copyright, but for consistency across WP, it makes sense to apply the same approach: just reiterating the plot from the aspect of one character does not serve an encyclopedic process and thus we discourage the expansion of character articles unless there is more out-of-universe details you can present about them. --MASEM 12:44, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
They are notable characters, that is why we should have articles on them. Your viewpoint is not shared by the community, as seen in these AFDs. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] What you, Masem, think about "free culture" is irrelevant. Articles about fictional characters on Wikipedia are provided under fair use as an educational tool. In February 2008, Father Goose contacted Mike Godwin and Godwin said "You're missing the fact that we are not receiving DMCA takedown letters regarding plot summaries, and that plot summaries, in general, are not taken to be copyright infringement so long as they do not include any great degree of the original creative expression." So stop using the Foundation as an argument to keep WP:PLOT in NOT. The Yoda article does not serve an "encylopedic" purpose? The Cosette article does not serve an "encyclopedic" purpose? Articles for fictional characters do not require "out-of-universe details", so saying that articles that don't have "out-of-universe details" qualify as content not suitable for Wikipedia is untrue. Do you see that banner at the top of the page? "Support Wikipedia: a non-profit project"? How can a non-profit project have a policy that drives content about fictional characters to a for-profit website, both of which just happen to have been founded by Jimbo Wales? WP:PLOT is a conflict of interest. --Pixelface (talk) 21:02, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
There is a difference between copyright issues and fair use, and the free content philosophy. Derivatives of copyrighted works are not free, period. They dilute the free content mission WP. But, just as we allow minimal non-free images and other media, we allow minimal non-free content to substantiate coverage of a topic, and further improve that by adding free content outside of the copyright context. It has absolutely nothing to do with copyright protection and everything with meeting the mission of the work.
You keep ignoring the solution here in that we can still cover characters in the context of the work itself on the work's article page, still serving the encyclopedic purpose of making sure they are identified as to their role in the work, and making sure they are searchable because we can freely use redirects. This approach meets WP's mission goals, WP:PLOT and WP:N while still covering the characters, albeit in less detail that they currently have. I don't want to remove these characters off WP at all - but most of the time, the presentation of the characters is better as part of the work itself or a list extension of the work instead of each on their separate page if the characters themselves have no notability.
Please point to where our policies say "fiction content not appropriate for WP should be moved to Wikia." They do say that we should move such content to any wiki that meets the GFDL; Wikia happens to be just one of these and has the benefit of being "next door", but it could be your own or the like - however, policy clearly does not attempt to make any statement that says to go to one specific version or the other. If you truly believe there is a legal COI with Wales and Wikia, please contact Mike Godwin immediately to address that point. --MASEM 21:17, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
Well I contacted Mike Godwin. I even asked him about derivative works since it doesn't look like you will. He gave his answer to my question about conflict of interest. He didn't say anything about derivate works. I asked him if I could republish his comments but he didn't answer that question.
Yes, we *could* provide information about fictional characters in the article on the fictional work. But we could also provide information about fictional characters in separate articles, like, you know, articles in Template:Simpsons characters. Like, you know, Baldrick which has been around for over seven years (five more years than PLOT itself).
You're right, WP:PLOT does not say "fiction content not appropriate for Wikipedia should be moved to Wikia." But that is where it ends up anyway.
The Wikia article says "In November 2006, Wikia claimed to have spent only $5.74 on marketing, while generating 40 to 50 million page views." With WP:PLOT as a Wikipedia policy, Wikia never has to spend any money on marketing. Wikia can just sit and watch as article after article after article about fictional characters on Wikipedia is deleted, and watch their page views go up. They could even nominate articles for deletion themselves.
Do you seriously think that people need to go to Wookieepedia to learn about Star Wars characters? The Marvel Database Project to learn about Marvel characters? Memory Alpha to learn about Star Trek characters? The DC Database Project to learn about DC charaters?
Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Why should an encyclopedia not have any articles on fictional characters? Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia. Hard drives are cheap and only getting cheaper. --Pixelface (talk) 03:32, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia can cover characters, and in fact should cover characters and other high level aspects of fictional works. However, we should cover them in a manner that we cover all topcis - based on what third-party and secondary sources say about them and only giving concise information from first-party and primary sources to support this. Wikipedia should cover all topics, but should be the first pass for these topics if someone is going research them deeply - an encyclopedia summarized, but does not exhaust, available information. When you put this all together, we should have mention of nearly every major and minor character and every episode or other serial format for every work of fiction created. However, "mention" is not the same as having an article, as to have an article, a topic must meet a higher standard - specifically significant coverage outside the work of fiction itself. Things that fail WP's requirements should try to be salvaged and put in another wiki. Wikia happens to be close but no policy states that Wikia has to the location where these end up, and nor should we have a policy or guideline that says specifically Wikia for exactly the possible supporting of a commercial venture. However, once someone has established a wiki at Wikia, and consensus agrees that it is better than the usual barrier for self-published works, we should not be afraid to link to it to provide additional information that does not fit the encyclopedic summary on WP. On WP, we don't delve deep into scientific terms, into biographies of people, or deep technical specifications of commercial products, so by the same measure, we don't delve deep into fictional works beyond giving a necessary high-level overview on WP.
And again, let me restate the concern on derivative works. It has absolutely nothing to do with legal issues; I know Mike was asked earlier this year about plot summaries and legal threats, but he said WP had yet to receive and presuming he will tell us when we cross the line from a pure legal standpoint, there is no copyright policement that we have do handle. Derivative works of works still under copyright are non-free works, and by WP's mission, that weakens WP's goal of being a free content encyclopedia. Nothing legal about that - it is all pragmatism on what "free content" means. The effort to maintain concise plots is not because we may be sued legally, but only because it hurts the mission to include too much detail. That's it. It is not a legal issue, it is philosophical. It's the same reason behind the non-free content policy for images and the like - WP's not in any trouble via US fair use laws for images, only that we hurt the mission by having too many. --MASEM 04:41, 16 November 2008 (UTC)


Bignole, you can read the thread I linked to or I can repeat myself. There was a rough consensus to remove PLOT a few months ago. Read my reply to Sgeureka in that thread (with all the citations) or I can provide those citations again. There is not consensus among this page's editors that PLOT belongs. There is stonewalling by Rossami (who was one of the very few editors who supported adding PLOT to this policy in the first place) and by editors who were involved parties of the E&C2 arbitration case. That is not consensus. I never claimed any kind of "conspiracy." But you're blind if you can't see the conflict of interest between WP:NOT#PLOT and Wikia. Stop being a useful idiot. Like I said, policies do not exist to enrich Jimbo Wales. If fiction content is just going to be shipped to Wikia, you might as well be honest and just put banner ads on the Wikipedia articles. I've already started a discussion about PLOT's inclusion. If you had looked at this page at all since January, you would know that. I'm not being disruptive. Explain to me why you think PLOT does not create a conflict of interest with Wikia. Feel free to refer to WP:COI if you'd like. There was a rough consensus to remove PLOT from this policy a few months ago. Even if someone disagrees, they have to agree that there was no consensus for PLOT to remain in this policy. You don't need consensus to remove from a policy page a section that does not have consensus It has to have consensus to be policy in the first place. And I also doubt your claim that NOTE "has consensus for existence still." How could it when guidelines can't be MFD'd? The editor who rewrote NOTE and tagged it as a guideline (after no discussion) after 16 days, Radiant!, isn't even here anymore. The editor who renamed various guidelines into "notability" guidelines, Jiy, isn't even here anymore. This is a discusion right now. If you don't want to talk here, don't. --Pixelface (talk) 05:32, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Pixel, please pay attention to what I said. Do not confuse "wanting to know what Halloween is" with "only wanting to read a plot description" - which is how you are trying to argue against WP:PLOT. You cannot tell me, or anyone else, what a reader is looking for when they visit a page, because you do not know. Stop trying to argue that you do. Wikipedia is an E-N-C-Y-C-L-O-P-E-D-I-A, not a substitution for watching a movie, how many times do I, and everyone else have to repeat that? Encyclopedias are not simply plot recounters. If the only thing you have to say about a film is "this is its plot" then you don't need a page to say that. That can be said in a couple hundred words on some other article that is more encompassing of small topics that really cannot hold their own weight in article space.
Pixel, I suggest you read WP:CONSENSUS a little closer, as you have a very skewed idea of what "consensus" actually is. There is no "rough consensus", there is only plain ol' "consensus". Either you have it or you don't. That discussion you linked to before DID NOT have any consensus for removal of the section. Just because you tried to interpret the consensus in your favor doesn't make it true. What I have noticed Pixel is that whenever YOU don't like something you deem that it has no consensus and then proceed to remove it till you get your way, or are forced to start a consensus discussion that again never ends in your favor - which results in you interpreting, incorrectly, a new consensus that IS in your favor because you cannot handle the fact that something you don't like is still in effect.
Also, end all this stupid "enrich Jimbo Whales" nonsense. You don't know what you're talking about. This policy page doesn't even mention Wikia, so stop bringing it up like it does. That is something that some editors have suggested to others who don't want to lose their blow-by-blow plot descriptions, which are completely unencyclopedic. No one cares if Wikia has ads. IMDb has ads, and we send people over there. I don't see you claiming that as a COI, especially given that we have editors who are registered both here and there.
If an article cannot come up with real world information, then it clearly doesn't need a page all to itself describing some plot in useless detail when it can be summarized more succinctly on a larger page. That is what WP:PLOT is for. P.S. NO policy governs how editors use or abuse it. They are merely the rules we set in place, and if they are being abused then that isn't not a fault of the policy but of the editors. Please note that difference when you start talking about how WP:PLOT is used in comparison to what it is meant for.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 05:46, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
I never said that Wikipedia is a substitution for watching a movie. So keep repeating yourself all you want. But if the only thing you have to say about a fictional character is this is what the fictional character did in the fictional work, like the article Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky does, why should the article be deleted? If you're wondering what "rough consensus" is, go read the section on rough consensus at WP:DGFA#Rough consensus or the Rough consensus article. I never said the consensus to remove PLOT was in that section in June. In that section I provided citations for the rough consensus that PLOT did not belong in NOT. I cannot see how anyone could claim there was consensus to add PLOT to NOT in this thread and yet also claim there was not consensus to remove PLOT after reading the following comments: [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] Are you a troll or do you just not know how to spell Jimbo Wales? I didn't say this policy page mentions Wikia. But Wikia's interests and PLOT align perfectly. Wikia is a profit generating company. Wikipedia is run by a non-profit organization. How are editors even supposed to come up with "real world information" for fictional characters that are completely made up? The character Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky only exists within War and Peace. I've talked to Hiding, the editor who proposed PLOT, so don't try and claim what PLOT is meant for. And policies are not rules. If many people don't understand a policy, that is the fault of the policy. This policy is things Wikipedia is not. PLOT is used to delete fiction content off of Wikipedia. Fiction content used to build Wikia. PLOT is a blatant conflict of interest. --Pixelface (talk) 06:21, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Wow, I could link all of the editors comments that didn't want to remove PLOT too, but you know what, that was be stupid and unnecessary. You think if you count a number that means there is consensus? That isn't how it works, and you further prove my point that you have no idea what consensus actually is. Your argument that we're enriching Whales is ridiculous. Again, the policy does not say that and just because it's being used that way does not change that the fact that (and I'll say this loud for those that are having a hard time reading it), THE POLICY DOES NOT SAY THAT. Yes, you never said "the policy says it", but your argument is that the policy aligns with Wikia. It doesn't, because the policy doesn't tell you where to put the extra garbage in those articles. What you choose to do with it is UP TO YOU. WP:PLOT says, no articles with just plot summaries. How can you find real world infomration on characters made up? Well, let's see: Batman, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Lionel Luthor, Clar Kent, Superman, Chloe Sullivan, Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Jack Harkness, Faith - they're all fictional characters with real world information on them....gasp! It seems, with a little research, one can find real world content for those characters that actually warrant an article to themselves. Then again, that would require you to do some actual work on articles Pixel, you know, instead of spending all your time challenging different guidelines and policies that don't allow you to create Wikipedia into that perfect fansite that you've been dreaming of. P.S. If Andrey Bolkonsky is only plot information, then maybe he doesn't need an article. Given that he's only appeared in the one book, he must not be that special for people not to write about him. Oh, well what do you know, it seems with minimal effort there is stuff written about him, I would never have guess that with such time consuming activity that I would ever have found something on a character as low profile as Andrey Bolkonsky.
Again, your idea of consensus...still skewed. Clearly, someone like you, who has a clear head and neutral opinion, is the right person to indicate when there is "rough consensus" for something they've been debating on and off for months. You spout out words like "rough consensus", and link to pages, then proceed to list about bunch of editors that don't agree with the policy. Is it just me, or are you trying to create a voting system? That couldn't be after you told me I don't know what rough consensus is and that I should read the page... you know, the page that clearly says, "Consensus is not determined by counting heads, but by looking at strength of argument, and underlying policy." Before you waste your time linking more pointless diffs of editors that don't agree with the policy, make sure you read that line I just pasted a few times. It's been in practice for awhile now too, so you might want to try and form your "rough consensus" over at WP:CONSENSUS and get it so voting is how we determine things (especially since right now, using your method of "counting heads", you have 6 people saying leave it alone and 3 people saying remove it).  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 12:03, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Save your personal attacks for someone else Bignole. You said "That discussion you linked to before DID NOT have any consensus for removal of the section." So I provided citations to back my claim up. Please, Bignole, since you seem to know so much about consensus, please define it for me. And policies do not exist to enrich Jimbo Wales. Are you saying that just because PLOT is being used to enrich Jimbo Wales, that does not mean that PLOT poses a conflict of interest? PLOT says articles are not simply plot summaries, but Wikipedia has plenty of articles that are simply plot summaries, many of which have survived AFD debates. I know you can often find "real world information" on obviously notable fictional characters. But it is not a requirement in order to have an article. You're free to look through my contribution history if you're wondering what "actual work" I do on articles. And your claim that I want to turn Wikipedia into a "fansite" is asinine. But the simple fact is that fans of a topic are often the only people willing to work for free. You created the Traitor (comics) article. And it just so happens that that article fails PLOT. Does that mean that you turned Wikipedia into a fansite? Why is it that the biggest policy sticklers are also the biggest hypocrites when it comes to what they actually do in article space? Should we go through Category:DC Comics supervillains and purge every article? Because that is how PLOT is used. Here's the thing Bignole. Editors who cite PLOT in their AFD nominations do not do research beforehand. AFD is not mandatory 5-day cleanup. This is not a sweatshop. This is a volunteer site. Nobody here gets paid to improves articles. WP:DGFA mentions underlying policy, but if a section of policy does not have consensus to be policy, the policy is invalid. Please define consensus for me Bignole. I'm not trying to create a voting system. Wikipedia already has plenty of those. It's how admins are selected. It's how arbitrators are selected. It's how articles were deleted before VFD was renamed AFD. I didn't link to 6 people who said leave PLOT alone and 3 people who said remove it. Please Bignole, tell me, in your mind, what would consensus to remove PLOT from NOT look like? I may not know consensus when I see it, but I definitely know no consensus when I see it, and PLOT has no consensus to be policy. --Pixelface (talk) 17:39, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Again with the hypocricy. You attack me and are just as uncivil, and then feel the nerve to throw that WP:NPA page at ME? Wow. Consensus is based on the weight of the argument, not on the number of people for or against something. When you have people saying, "I think it should go because Wikipedia should be as detailed as possible," the weight of that argument really doesn't hold that much water. Since PLOT has been here, you need consensus to REMOVE it. Starting an argument to remove that ends in no consensus does not mean that it should be removed because there was no consensus to keep it or remove it. There are a lot of things that are COI with Jimbo and his other companies. The COI comes in how you apply it and not what it stands for. If Jimbo didn't co-found Wikia, you wouldn't be claiming any COI. Given that Jimbo himself has never actually proposed that fiction related stuff go to Wikia, it isn't a conflict of interest (especially since non of us, as far as I know, actually work for Wikia or are getting paid to push information over to Wikia). Given that just about everything (not 100% all) fictional related on Wikipedia is already on Wikia, there really isn't a problem as no one is telling you to move somewhere because it's already there. Again, IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, many many websites we link to religiously in the EL sections of articles contain advertisements. I don't see you claiming a COI with those sites - which brings me back to the point that you're only bringing this up because of who owns Wikipedia. Since Jimbo doesn't promote Wikia OVER Wikipedia, nor does he, or anyone else, try and force things from Wikipedia to Wikia there is no COI. No one forces a blow-by-blow plot description over to Wikia, we merely inform others that Wikia is not an encyclopedia, nor is it grounded by the same fair-use laws as Wikipedia is.
Traitor? Traitor? LMAO. You are really digging deep now. First, I created Traitor my second month editing Wikipedia...I had no idea what policies were, let alone what Wikipedia's were. This is all I gave the article, and that was where I left it. Since you want to point out what I have created maybe you'll want to actually point to things I created when I had finally gained experience in Wikipedia (like: Clark Kent (Smallville), Characters of Smallville, Lex Luthor (Smallville), Lana Lang (Smallville), Lois Lane (Smallville), and Subspecies (film series)). That doesn't even include the countless articles on fiction that I have completely rewritten from scratch and turned into excellent examples of what Wikipedia articles should be. Gee, of all those fictional characters, I seem to have real world information on all of them. It was so hard, and I didn't even have to have elongated plots.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 17:55, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
You said "Consensus is based on the weight of the argument, not on the number of people for or against something." Oh I see. So the people who decide which arguments have the most weight is based on the number of people for or against something (that person becoming an administrator). Is that right? Sections of policy have to have consensus in order to be in policy. If I add a nonsense section to NOT, you don't need consensus to remove it. It needs consensus to be here. When Hiding proposed adding PLOT to NOT, there was no consensus, so it should not have been added. And Jimbo Wales doesn't have to be the one to propose PLOT in order for it to pose a conflict of interest. You said "If Jimbo didn't co-found Wikia, you wouldn't be claiming any COI." You're probably right, because that is the essence of the conflict of interest. You say we link religiously to IMDb and Rotten Tomoatoes in External links — that's true — but we don't disallow articles about films. Wikia is built on fiction content. PLOT is the tool used to drive fiction content off Wikipedia, to Wikia. You created Traitor (comics) your second month editing Wikipedia? So why don't you put your money where you mouth is and AFD it for violating PLOT? Should you be given 5 days to make that article compliant with PLOT? Suppose there's a reader on the Internet wanting to find out who Traitor is. Where do they go? The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit co-founded founded by Jimbo Wales? No! Why, that content is against Wikipedia policy! Okay then. How about the for-profit wiki co-founded by Jimbo Wales? Oh sure! Readers can go there! They can even write article about fictional characters there! View all the banner ads they want. PLOT is not about elongated plots. It's about plot-only articles being unacceptable on Wikipedia, yet magically acceptable on Wikia when presented alongside banner ads. Conflict of interest. --Pixelface (talk) 18:30, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
And it had consensus to be there. First thing you have to realize is, silence equals agreement. There is no minimum amount of editors necessary for consensus. If two people are talking and no one else chimes in, then whatever they decide is consensus (so long as enough time goes by to allow for others to actually voice their opinion). I linked the first time it was added and the original discussion at the top. If you read the discussion what you will note is that people's initial opposition to the section was because they thought it would remove ALL plot information from articles. What you can also gather is that just about everyone seemed in agreement that an article solely containing plot information, or too heavily detailed plot information in an article, was not appropriate. The first time it was ever even challenged was 2 months later by Metalbladex4, who never actually indicated he thought it should go but was vandalizing the WP:NOT page after it was first cited in an AfD for an article on the plot of Naruto I. Given that, there wasn't really a challenge of consensus on it. It wasn't until February 2007, six months later, that someone brought up removing WP:PLOT on the basis of it not having "real consensus". See that discussion, plus the Village Pump discussion. Guess what, at the end of those discussion, do you know what section of WP:NOT was never once removed (I mean, no one went on the page and removed the section at any point before or immediately after that discussion)...WP:PLOT, that's what section. Given that no one involved in the original discussion, when all the wording was figured out, challenged its inclusion after Hiding put it in the article, and given that no one involved in the February discussion (months later) removed it once that discussion was finished, indicates that either there was no consensus to remove the section, OR, that they agreed that there finally was consensus to include it. It wasn't physically challenged until you in March, when you originally cited it as a contradiction to WP:NOR, specifically WP:PSTS. I'm sure you're aware of all the discussions that took place after that, and the many times you attempted to remove WP:PLOT (for varying reasons since March, with each new reason being that perfect reason that would prove WP:PLOT shouldn't be there). So, as I states, the consensus was there for it to exist (we've had the discussions on it, and it wasn't until March 2008, almost 2 years later, that someone decided to actually remove it from the page).
Here is why Wikipedia does not accept plot only articles and Wikia does. It is because Wikipedia has a non-profit license, which makes them succeptable to issues of fair-use content (kind of like the plot of a film being written blow-by-blow on a page). Wikia doesn't have that problem, because they don't have a non-profit license that they must uphold. It wouldn't matter if there were banners on the page or not, that is merely how Jimbo pays for the website. If he wanted to, he could privately fund the site and still have all those plot heavy articles. The banners are irrelevant. As for Traitor, I don't care if you prod it or AfD or it redirect it. I was never watching it. I edited it for like a day and left it. I've actually had to go back to many of my early articles and clean them up (you should have seen the Subspecies articles before I merged it into a single page). Traitor is a Green Lantern character, and should probably be merged on a Green Lantern page that discusses him (I don't follow comic pages so I wouldn't know where that would be). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bignole (talkcontribs) 20:19, 27 October 2008
No, it did not. And it doesn't now. And silence does not equal agreement. There have been articles where vandalism has existed for 20 months. That doesn't mean that vandalism has consensus to be there. You said "there is no minimum amount of editors necessary for consensus" but that completely contradicts how administrators and arbitrators are selected. There have been multiple people who have challenged PLOT since it was added to this policy. I can show you the threads on these talk page archives going back to Archive 6. PLOT is currently being used to delete every article about every fictional character. That was not PLOT's intent when Hiding added it to this policy. You claim Metalbladex4 "vandalized" this page, but you don't seem to understand what "vandalism" is. I've been wrongly accused of vandalism myself after I've removed PLOT from NOT. If PLOT had consensus, this AFD would not have ended as keep. And I can name plenty of other AFDs for plot-only articles that ended as keep. Your claim that there was consensus to include PLOT is false. And it wasn't until a little before March 2008 when some editor started going on a crusade against every fictional character, citing PLOT as his reason for deletiohn, after WP:PLOT was used to get rid of all the Pokemon articles. PLOT should have never been used to get rid of the Pokemon articles anyway, because it never had the consensus required to be policy. Wikipedia's articles about those characters fall under fair use. There is no legal problem with plot-only articles on Wikipedia. And that is not why PLOT was added to this policy. Articles like Baldrick. Articles like Luke Skywalker. Articles like Cosette. Articles like Lenny Leonard. The information is provided for educational purposes. But there is a conflict of interest when Wikipedia has a policy that directly benefits Wikia, a profit-generating website, founded by the same individual who founded Wikipedia. And how exactly is Wikia allowed to generate a profit off an author's intellectual property? Go ahead and AFD Traitor (comics) yourself. You're the one defending this policy, saying PLOT has consensus. If articles are not simply plot summaries as you claim, and plot-only articles make Wikipedia an indiscriminate collection of information as you claim, and plot-only articles are what Wikipedia is not as you claim, and what Wikipedia is not is a reason for deletion, then nominate Traitor (comics) for deletion. Put your money where your mouth is. That you haven't nominated Traitor (comics) for deletion indicates that you're full of it. --Pixelface (talk) 17:14, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

WP:PLOT is a conspiracy to help make Jimbo rich? Wat? Wikia can copy content at any time, even without deletion. There is no conspiracy regarding Jimbo and Wikia making big bucks. Jimbo made his fortune with websites that had pictures of pretty girls, and paid a heck of a lot of money out of his own pocket to help Wikipedia get off the ground. I'm sure Wikia is a reasonable business venture, but when I see co-founders going around and doing grunt work (I know this because I've often asked them for help), I think it's safe to say they're not filling pools full of cash and swimming in them. There comes a point where this argument doesn't even make sense. It's not a likely business strategy. -- Ned Scott 06:41, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

  • I never claimed a "conspiracy" Ned. Read what I said. And don't distort what I wrote. I said policies do not exist to enrich Jimbo Wales. Now explain to me how a Wikipedia policy, WP:NOT#PLOT, that encourages the movement of fiction content to Wikia, the for-profit wiki of Jimbo Wales centered on fiction content, does not create a conflict of interest with Wikipedia, run by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization. --Pixelface (talk) 05:53, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Not only is there no consensus for this, it doesn't make any sense here. The purpose of this page is to list things that should not be in Wikipedia. The disputed section does not do this in that it says that plot summaries are proper and valid content here, as one would expect. It seems to want there to be other additional content too but that's a different issue - a positive desire for particular content in a particular style. This page is for negative prohibitions only. It seems clear that Wikipedia covers fictional topics and these describe all aspects of that fiction - its production, episodes, plot, characters, reception, sales and so forth. We want it all so that our coverage of the topic is comprehensive and encyclopedic. Colonel Warden (talk) 08:25, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
    • PLOT is treated the same way that "not a travel guide" is or pretty much any of the "not a guide" ones. Some content of a travel guide is includable, but writing articles in the form of a travel guide without the history, significance, and influence of locations and landmarks is not appropriate. In the same fashion, elements of plot guides are appropriate, but writing on the topic of a fictional work in the form of "plot summary guides" without the creation, impact, and influence of the work is not appropriate. Arguably, this puts it in the wrong section (it should go in the previous one), but that doesn't invalid PLOT as to be included on WP:NOT somewhere. --MASEM 08:39, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • The travel guide section doesn't make a lot of sense either. Travel guides normally have quite an encyclopedic feel and routinely describe the geography, history and significance of the places that they describe. It's the how-to material that we don't want: phrase-books, exchange-rates, prices, phone numbers, etc. The equivalent for books and films would be show times, stockists and other material intended to facilitate purchase or consumption of the material. This is not a problem and seems adequately covered by WP:NOTADVERTISING. Colonel Warden (talk) 09:30, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it may be implicitly covered by other policies. But, the eagerness of many editors in removing it shows, how much liberty is expected when the policy ceases to spell it out explicitly. It needs to be there, very much, more for practical reasons (the real reason behind most policies and guidelines) than theoretical nuances. Aditya(talkcontribs) 12:26, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • No. My experience is that this admonition has little practical effect. When considering articles such as One Ring, the touchstone most often used is notability, i.e. the extent to which the plot point is covered by sources. The consensus is therefore that we may have as much plot as the sources will support. A blanket NOT PLOT is wrong, is not supported by consensus and so has no practical value. Colonel Warden (talk) 13:00, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
The section makes perfect sense if you understand it correctly. The point is that we should not be having pages with just bloated plots and nothing else. Wikipedia is not a substitution for watching or reading these paid programs. You want to know what happens in a film, go buy a ticket. Plots are for context with real world information.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 12:27, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • You are again confirming that Wikipedia may contain plot. Saying that it should not contain too much plot is a stylist point on a matter of degree. It may be corrected by adding other related material as much as by removing plot and establishing the balance is too complex and situational to cover here. Since we are concerned to correct bloat, we should remove this uncertain prescription from this page per WP:CREEP. Colonel Warden (talk) 12:47, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • What? Bignole are you really arguing that because the plot of a movie requires $$$$ to go see, we shouldn't cover it here? Could you explain what you are basing that on (policy, law, general sense of how things should work, something else?). That's a novel argument as far as I know. Hobit (talk) 21:45, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • All of the recommendations under "Not a guide" (where I think PLOT should be moved to), are not describing content that is inappropriate, but a style that is inappropriate. WP is a general encyclopedia, a specialized encyclopedia, and an almanac, but it is not a textbook or guidebook, so all of these, as a group, define the bounds of how material should be written about. There's absolutely no problem with any clause in NOT pointing to other policy or guidelines for expansion (in PLOT's case, to WP:WAF), but given this is one of the key policy pages, it is necessary to at least point out that there is an style approach that all articles need to take, including those on published works, that make the coverage appropriate for an encyclopedia. --MASEM 13:03, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Just to chime in with my opinion - Leave WP:PLOT alone. Nothing in this latest round of discussions has led me to change my opinions from any of the prior times this question has come up. Encyclopedia articles should focus on the social impact and real-world relevance of covered topics. Minor plot elements and discussions may illustrate those real-world points but full plot regurgitations are not what encyclopedia articles are about. Rossami (talk) 16:32, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Articles are not required to demonstrate social impact or real-world relevance and you will struggle to find much of these in our many articles about mathematics, for example. Please explain where you are getting this prejudice from as it does not resemble my experience with encyclopedias nor our general principles. Colonel Warden (talk) 19:01, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
I believe by "social impact" and "real-world relevance" Rossami means something along the lines of people reporting on the subject in more than just a superficial manner (i.e. someone telling us what the plot of a film is), and by "real-world relevance" I think Rossami means any information that has to do with the real world (e.g. the production of a TV episode, or what went into writing a book). At least, that was how I interpreted Rossami's statement, but I will leave it up to them to clarify.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 19:13, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Which is crazy talk IMO. If there are secondary sources that cover "plot" then "plot" should be here. This notion of "real world" being important to an encyclopedia is hard to understand. We have articles on fictional topics, and plot is clearly the central part of fictional topics. Nearly by definition. To remove plot from fictional topics is like removing context from historical topics: no one will have a clue why it's important. We don't cripple our coverage of any other topic in quite this way. Look at a movie review. It is mostly about plot. It may be "just" a rehashing of plot or it may include criticisms of plot. It may also cover acting, but generally how the actor doesn't manage to convey the character. And the character is an element of the plot... Things like production information and costs and the like are largely second order to the vast majority of our readers. Hobit (talk) 21:39, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Secondary sources that cover plot do not justify having a plot only article. Jason Voorhees is a fictional topic, but the "plot" information is relatively small compared to the real world information. The plot information should not be the "central" part, because that insinuates that it is the most important. It isn't. It has importance, but it is not the most important thing. You cannot give some broad opinion like "this is secondary to the vast majority of our readers", when you have no actual evidence to back that up. You don't know what are readers are looking for. This is still an encyclopedia. Secondly, and I don't know why this is so hard to people to understand, WP:PLOT does not say "no plots". It refers to plot only articles, or articles with blow-by-blow details of a plot. It does not have anything to do with removing all plot elements from an article. Would people please stop trying to apply this extreme to their arguments because it makes no sense since that isn't what the section refers to.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 21:49, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
You can get a good idea of our readership by looking through the stats on article hits. Articles about fictional characters like Batman and Naruto are way up there, doing better than John McCain, say. The idea that Wikipedia shouldn't cover fiction comprehensively is shown to be a nonsense and the idea that Wikipedia is not the news is an even bigger joke. The number of hits for these topics is up in the millions and so the tiny handful of fiction-hating fanatics here is utterly unrepresentative of our readership. Colonel Warden (talk) 22:48, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Again, missing the point. You cannot make a statement like "production information is secondary to our readers [in comparison to plot information]" without actual evidence. Showing me statistics that indicate that people are "viewing" a page more than others and then try and extrapulate that into defining what they are actually looking at on the page. If you actually look at that stat page, first 8 actual articles are all on real life things (people and events). The first fiction page is The Dark Knight film (which has a 700 word plot and about 7000 words of real world information). Then you have to go 15 more real life articles to get to Batman, the first fictional article after The Dark Knight. It's like that all the way down. So, even your argument doesn't make any sense because out of the first 25 pages, only 2 are on fictional topics. So, no, most readers aren't even reading fiction related topics (which wasn't the point of my argument with Hobit's state that production information is secondary to plot information in readers' minds) - and thus your argument that showing that they were (when they weren't) is moot, because even if they were it still wouldn't prove that they are reading those articles for the fiction content.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 23:11, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

  • I have to agree with Bignole, it does not matter how many hits an article gets, because this is not an indicator whether the readers are getting what they need. If an article does not provide analysis, context or criticisim drawn from reliable secondary sources, then clearly they are not getting the type of encyclopedic information that they should be getting from Wikipedia.--Gavin Collins (talk) 08:53, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Just to chime in, I agree we should leave WP:PLOT alone. As fictional coverage is a thorny topic, and this is at the policy level, I interpret WP:PLOT as best employed for articles that are just regurgitations of the story that make no effort to be encyclopedia articles. Fletcher (talk) 15:59, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
    • So the articles Cosette and Yoda and Baldrick are content not suitable for Wikipedia? The people that have edited those articles have made no effort to write encyclopedia articles? PLOT *is* at the policy level. But WP:CONSENSUS says "In the case of policies and guidelines, Wikipedia expects a higher standard of participation and consensus than on other pages." I don't see how a policy proposal where 6 editors agreed and 6 editors disagreed means that it has "wide acceptance" and that it's a "standard that all users should follow." There are over three-quarter-of-a-million articles on Wikipedia under the umbrella of Category:Fiction — over 28% of the articles on Wikipedia. If it only takes 6 editors to make something policy, and then 8 more editors to force that policy down over 8 million editors' throats — that's wrong. Wikipedia, a non-profit project, has no business having a policy that encourages editors to ship fiction content off Wikipedia to Wikia, a for-profit website founded by the same person who founded Wikipedia. WP:PLOT being in WP:NOT is a blatant conflict of interest for Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation, and Jimbo Wales. --Pixelface (talk) 21:15, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
      • Yoda is a glorious example of the kind of page for which we need WP:PLOT. It really is a shame that for a character with this degree of cultural importance we provide essentially nothing but plot synopsis. Taemyr (talk) 07:27, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
        • The Yoda article has been around since July 21, 2002. WP:PLOT has been around since July 9, 2006. If over two years, people have not read PLOT and then improved the Yoda article, PLOT is actually doing nothing. --Pixelface (talk) 23:27, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
          • I am perfectly aware that WP:PLOT have done little for Yoda. If you are of the impression that I am happy about the articles current state you are wrong. Taemyr (talk) 01:10, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

PLOT disputed?

I think at this point that it's pretty obvious that PLOT is a disputed guideline. I'd like two things:

  • A suggestion about how to label that one small part of one section as disputed without making a mess of it.
  • A general consensus that we've hit disputed land.

Thanks, Hobit (talk) 19:41, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

You cannot claim "it's obvious that it's disputed" and then ask for a consensus that it is disputed. It's obvious that some editors don't like it, but what is not obvious is that there is no consensus to keep it. All of that doesn't matter anyway, because, if you look above, you will see that a new discussion on how to reword WP:PLOT to be more representative of practice and remove the option of using it as a means for deletion is underway. Thus, a discussion about removing WP:PLOT is irrelevant and unnecessary to the discussion about rewording it completely.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 19:51, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I said I think it's obvious. Thus I'm asking others. I agree I could have been more clear, sorry. And I have serious doubts that the above is either a good way to go or one that will get consensus. And I didn't claim there isn't consensus to keep it (though I believe that) rather that I think we've hit a point that it's clear that it is disputed in a non-trivial way. Hobit (talk) 20:00, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
The thing is that it's almost never used as a sole reason for deletion - in >99% of cases, such articles fail WP:V, WP:N or other parts of WP:NOT. That's why I don't understand the bizarre determination to get rid of it. Most articles coming under NOT#PLOT can just be slashed down to size or redirected anyway. Black Kite 20:09, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Policy, not guideline, Hobit. WP:PLOT prevents stand-alone plot summaries on the basis that we are an encyclopedia and discriminate the sort of information we collect. To say that PLOT is disputed is tantamount to claiming that the first pillar is disputed. Pagrashtak 20:13, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I'll agree with the fact it's policy. My bad. But I will point out that the Five Pillars are quite different. We've lived without PLOT before, and we can do it again. Policy does get disputed and changed over time. Otherwise it wouldn't change. Is anyone here claiming that it isn't disputed? Hobit (talk) 03:44, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
There probably isn't a single policy or guideline with 100% support. WP:NOT#PLOT has broad support and noisy opponents. I think it still has consensus behind it.—Kww(talk) 03:53, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
PLOT has as much "broad support" as currently exists for your adminship. --Pixelface (talk) 21:43, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
I'd say that the trend across the project appears to be in favour of taking a stricter stance against fancruft and in-universe plot material in general recently. There will always be people who "dispute" PLOT much as there will always be people who dispute WP:N. They're still a minority. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:42, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Part of the issue with PLOT is how it is interpreteed. There's certainly no consensus to keep PLOT in a very strict form. There might be consensus to keep it in some form. JoshuaZ (talk) 04:02, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I would disagree with the view that WP:NOT#PLOT is disputed. If there is any dispute about it, lay your cards on the table here, and make your complaints known. Simply to say it is disuputed without saying why is not helpful. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:32, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • It is obviously disputed because here we are disputing it. I have made other edits to the page recently and these seem to have passed without comment. Those issues were de facto not controversial or disputed. NOT#PLOT is clearly different. As to the specific issues, please see above for extensive discussion. Colonel Warden (talk) 11:26, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • On the basis of a few vocal opponents you could claim that nearly every policy is "disputed". Some are disputed because they're not clearly applicable to every situation they're used in, and are thus vulnerable to interpretation. Some are disputed purely because some people don't like them. Some are disputed for both reasons, or others. I'll leave it to others to work out which category WP:NOT#PLOT falls into. Black Kite 11:45, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • In answer to Colonel Warden, I think you have to set out the nature of your dispute with this policy, and make a proposal as to what you want changed. Simply stating that it is disuputed still leaves the question, why is the specific nature of the dispute? I am still in the dark, but I presume that the nature of this dispute is because some new arguements are being put forward. --Gavin Collins (talk) 11:56, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • The number of editors who actively tinker with these policies is tiny and unrepresentative, whatever their point of view. The key point to understand is that these policies are not law. They stand or fall by the extent to which they reflect the reality of what is happening out there with our millions of articles and readers/editors. I observe that we have numerous articles which contain a considerable amount of plot. NOT#PLOT does not accurately describe reality and so should go for this reason. Editors who wish to retain it because they feel that Wikipedia should be made different from this reality do not understand our governance, as described on this very page. As it says, Wikipedia's policies and guidelines are descriptive, not prescriptive. Colonel Warden (talk) 12:02, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • So in answer to Colonel Warden, your complaints are threefold, namely that WP:NOT was created by tiny number of editors; that there are many articles that fail WP:NOT#PLOT, and therefore it does not describe reality; and that WP:NOT is perscriptive rather than descriptive. Can I assume that you wish to remove WP:NOT#PLOT, or do you wish to replace it with something that will address these concerns? --Gavin Collins (talk) 12:28, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • My recent thought, as noted above, is that we might replace WP:NOT#PLOT with WP:NOT#COPY. The latter already points here and, as I see it, would emphasise that Wikipedia does NOT breach copyright. There is not a statement of this form on the page currently but perhaps there was in the past. Such a policy statement seems to reflect reality better in that copyright violations are vigorously weeded out here and there can be no serious opposition to this policy as it is grounded in civil and criminal law. It touches upon the matter of plot in that our recapitulation of fictional matters must not be so detailed and verbatim that they constitute infringing derivative works. This seems to be what's wanted in indicating that we want some plot but not too much. And it would state the policy in a way that would be less disputed so that we might move on. Colonel Warden (talk) 12:40, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Please see the section above for what my take on that is - basically, we should avoid instilling copyright concerns (let Mike Godwin take care of that), but the same statement can be used to shed the same light when you talk about non-free content and derivative works. The end result is the same as PLOT, unfortunately - whatever that is called will still be (to those that want to see it removed) used as a deletion reason because the case of a topic that is covered only by plot reitations will be deleted due to being WP:N, the failure of PLOT/COPY/whatever being read as the deletion cause. As I note, PLOT/COPY/whatever are signs for trimming and improving, not deletion, but unfortunately the plot-only case makes it overlap with WP:N and that's where the primary concerns are. There's nothing we can do about that beyond educating editors that PLOT/COPY/whatever is a reason to cleanup but not delete. --MASEM 12:56, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Dispute template added. Given the last discussion, the ANI brought by Masem and the general "heat" generated by the discussion I think it is more than fair to call this disputed. My intent is to bring an RfC on the issue when real-life allows (in the next 4-5 days unless someone beats me to it) Hobit (talk) 13:58, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

While I agree the appropriate scope of fictional coverage is disputed, I still don't see what the specific dispute is over PLOT. Do you mean to say Wikipedia does not "treat fiction in an encyclopedic manner" and that Wikipedia articles are "simply...plot summaries"? Colonel Warden's comments seem to indicate it is more a question of wording than a conceptual dispute; if that is the case, I don't think we need to call it disputed. If it's only disputed by the fringe of each side (it's apparently too lenient for Gavin Collins, as well as too strict for Pixelface) then I also don't think we need to call it disputed. Fletcher (talk) 15:32, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Many articles are simply plot summaries (Baldrick, Cosette, Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky) and many articles that are simply plot summaries are not deleted at AFD. [35] [36] [37] [38] [39]. WP:NOT lists content not suitable for Wikipedia. But articles like Yoda and Valen (which do not meet WP:PLOT) are content suitable for Wikipedia. PLOT is currently disputed. And it was disputed in June.[40] PLOT has been disputed multiple times by multiple editors ever since Hiding added it to this policy. PLOT has been removed from this policy by four editors since January. PLOT's designation as a policy and as a reason to delete an article is disputed. --Pixelface (talk) 21:57, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
This "dispute" suffers from the usual problem: Those who (seem to) dispute it, offer no alternative but removal, which of course will keep getting shot down. Unless their intention is to indefinately suspend PLOT through deadlocking opinions (we already have that with FICT, so no, thanks), I wonder why this issue is getting brought up every few weeks. – sgeureka tc
Sgeureka, if I add "Surnames" under WP:IINFO, you don't have to give an alternative if you just want it removed. "In the case of policies and guidelines, Wikipedia expects a higher standard of participation and consensus than on other pages" according to WP:CONSENSUS — not 6 people for and 6 people against. Material on policy pages has to have a strong consensus to be policy. Notice how FICT is "deadlocked"? Notice that that was Masem's proposal? Notice how Masem's FICT proposal was based on PLOT? Notice that Masem has the most edits to WT:FICT? Notice Masem here now? It looks like it's Masem who's creating a deadlock. And he needs to step away. This is getting brought up again and again because PLOT does not belong in this policy, it doesn't have the consensus required to be policy, and WP:PLOT also poses a conflict of interest because it's a policy on Wikipedia, a non-profit project, used to ship fiction content to Wikia, a for-profit website — and both were founded by Jimbo Wales. --Pixelface (talk) 22:08, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree with Fletcher that there are differences of opinion on the subject of plot summaries, but I don't think these differences amount to a policy dispute, as sgeureka makes clear. I think those seeking change need to put forward a proposal and make their reasons clear. I myself think WP:NOT#PLOT needs to be made more explicit (see my proposal above), but I don't think my views consitute a dispute per se. Please also note that this is well trodden path, and a visit to the archives will indicate that many of the issues raised so far have been covered before. I hope our discussion will not be a rehash of old complaints. --Gavin Collins (talk) 15:53, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
The dispute is, as others have stated, a matter of pragmatism. There is a valid point in that PLOT should not be a reason to delete material - NOT is a content policy to describe the "shape" of the work, but not a deletion policy. The issue arises that conditions that fail PLOT also meet the same conditions that fail WP:N, and thus, it may seem that PLOT is being used for deletion when really it's WP:N that's the appropriate reason. Rewording PLOT seems like the solution here, not removing it. --MASEM 16:14, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
No. The article Baldrick "fails" PLOT. Yet Baldrick is a notable fictional character. The article Cosette "fails" PLOT. Yet Cosette is a notable fictional character. The article Yoda "fails" PLOT. Yet Yoda is a notable fictional character. Just because an article on a fictional work or fictional character does not contain reception information, that does not mean it's not notable. You cannot say an article about Yoda is what Wikipedia is not. (Unless of course, your goal is to direct readers wanting to know what Yoda is to Wikia, where the content and traffic seeking that content generate a profit for Jimbo Wales — which is a huge conflict of interest for a non-profit project). WP:PLOT was based on WP:WAF, which was first written March 27, 2006 by Amcaja [41]. WP:PLOT and the WP:GNG were heavily influenced by one editor, Hiding. WP:PLOT was proposed by Hiding, and the WP:GNG evolved out of Hiding's summary of various subject-specific notability guidelines (which Hiding now laments "The staggering thing to me, is that words I wrote have become, I really don't know how to put this, but they appear to have become almost religiously followed, raised to some sort of biblical meaning that I just never intended.") There are over three-quarter-of-a-million articles on Wikipedia under the umbrella of Category:Fiction — over 28% of the articles on Wikipedia. And WP:PLOT *is* being used as a reason for deletion [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] — because content not suitable for Wikipedia, WP:NOT, is a reason for deletion in the deletion policy. The solution is to remove PLOT until it has consensus to be policy — not reword a section of policy that never had consensus to be policy in the first place. The solution is to remove a section of policy that poses a huge conflict of interest for Jimbo Wales, the Wikimedia Foundation, and Wikipedia. --Pixelface (talk) 22:38, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I disagree that this is a basis for dispute. If a topic fails WP:N, then it is highly likely that it will fail one ore more of Wikipedia content policies, not just WP:NOT#PLOT. We can't amend every single line of every policy to in this way - that would be an absurd waste of time, as most every policy and guideline are connected in someway as you describe, and describing the links between them falls outside their scope. Your proposal makes no sense. --Gavin Collins (talk) 16:26, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • There are two classes of articles that may fail PLOT: Those that outright lack secondary information that (pending any new FICT) fail the GNG and thus should be deleted. There are also articles that fail PLOT because they have a few pieces of notable information, but that is buried among length plot information. The second type of article should not be nominated for deletion strictly on the basis of PLOT (though suggested cleanup or merging is an option). The point of contention as I read it is that people take an article that fails WP:N and PLOT to AFD, but only claim it fails PLOT asserting that as the sole reason for deletion - that's not the case; it fails WP:N which is the reason for deletion while also failing PLOT at the same time meaning its content is not appropriate. I think most admins that close AFDs brought in this matter can recognize that when someone says "fails PLOT", they likely mean "fails WP:N and PLOT", make the assessment there. All we can do is adjust the wording to make it clear that PLOT is not, by itself, a reason for deletion (it goes hand in hand with WP:N), and that articles that fail PLOT but not WP:N can be improved on and need not be deleted. --MASEM 16:33, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I think this is an issue to do with notability, more specifically what constitutes evidence (i.e. reliable secondary sources) to demonstrate a topic is notable. I don't see how we can amend WP:NOT#PLOT so that it accomodate issues regarding notability. I think the concerns you raise have nothing to with articles that are pure plot summary. --Gavin Collins (talk) 16:43, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • You're missing the point. NOT is a content policy. PLOT is part of that. Unfortunately, one case of failing PLOT equates to failing WP:N, but PLOT is not the same as WP:N. As WP:N is a guideline, we can't make WP:N a part of PLOT, but we can caution that failing to add in secondary information may be grounds for deletion due to WP:N, but emphasis that failing PLOT while meeting WP:N is not a reason for deletion. It's a matter of making clear the difference between cleanup and deletion here in the context of PLOT. --MASEM 17:06, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • But doesn't this apply to all of WP:NOT? For example an article comprising someone's political rant might be deleted under NOTSOAPBOX, but only because there is nothing left in the article besides the rant. If the topic was notable and there were salvageable parts to the article, it would not have to be deleted. So I'm not seeing a problem with PLOT; maybe there should just be additional qualifying language to clarify NOT does not require deletion of articles. Fletcher (talk) 17:38, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Yea, it's the distinction between the two: NOT is content, and says "articles should not contain or be these things" - if those things are unable to be converted via editing and trimming to an appropriate article, and thus removed, you may end up with an null article, which by default should be removed. NOT still doesn't say articles should be deleted, just content deemed not appropriate for WP should be removed. WP:N, on the other hand, says if the content of an article cannot meet certain requirements (sig. coverage in secondary sources), then the article should be deleted (presuming all other means to retain that information are tried). So, NOT is more about the content within the article (with the understanding the final article may come out null) while WP:N is about the article itself. That's the fine distinction between the two. --MASEM 19:36, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Marking the section with "disputed" does not require consensus (to do so) per Wikipedia:Policies_and_guidelines#Disputing_guideline_or_policy_status, and my question at WP:VPP. This discussion is in need of some refactoring since procedural and policy issues are mixed. I'll reply in the above section to the policy issue. VG 16:49, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

  • That is true, but overuse of of the disputed tag is also considered disruptive. What seems to be lacking from the detractors of WP:NOT#PLOT is any recognition that there is considerable support for this policy. If the opponents could address these concerns, then perhaps we could have a dialog. As things stand, it seems to me that if tagging this article as disputed represents the only agrument to be considered in these discussions. I think that any dispute should address both those in favour of the existing policy, as well as those who are against it. Tagging alone is just a empty exercise in labeling. --Gavin Collins (talk) 12:17, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Move to close the discussion

In the past 24 hours, we've generated pages of text but not one new argument or suggestion. Can we please stop this endless waste of time until someone actually has something new to say? WP:PLOT is an established and widely accepted standard. No policy in Wikipedia will ever achieve unanimity but that does not mean that every policy we have is "disputed". I am not seeing any new arguments or reasons to reverse all the prior decisions. (And please do not paste in yet another copy of the cherry-picked comments which allege to dispute the prior consensus. I read them last time and the time before that and still disagree with the interpretation that there was a failure to meet consensus.) Rossami (talk) 17:23, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

I'll second that. Wikipedia:Policies_and_guidelines#Disputing_guideline_or_policy_status suggests creating a new proposal in a situation similar to this one. Let Pixelface or someone else write up a separate proposal and see what level of consensus it can achieve before messing with existing policy. Fletcher (talk) 17:38, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. You can trace back most of these discussions to the same people each time (with a few exceptions). In the recent weeks we've all been saying the same thing over and over again to each other.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 17:49, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Fourthed. No alternative has been proposed, which would appear to suggest that the proposal is just repealing PLOT entirely, which isn't a good idea because it will encourage editors to unbalance fiction articles in favour of excessive narrative. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 19:04, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Please see the discussions above in which an alternative of WP:NOT#COPY is proposed and discussed. Colonel Warden (talk) 07:33, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
PLOT currently encourages morons to nominate every article about every fictional character for deletion. PLOT encourages editors to ship fiction content off Wikipedia to Wikia, where it can then generate a profit — and so PLOT poses a conflict of interest to a non-profit project like Wikipedia. If you want to encourage editors on how to write about fiction, you can do that at WP:WAF. PLOT was originally based on the guidance at WAF. And I've previously proposed moving PLOT to WAF. --Pixelface (talk) 00:55, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
I think it would only be a conflict of interests if the editors urging moving the movement of content to Wikia in AFDs or in these policies would actually be gaining from it. As far as I know, Jimbo Wales and/or Wikia shareholders haven't been involved in the creation of PLOT and the GNG. (though I know Jimbo has commented on it in the past). Bill (talk|contribs) 01:34, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not Microsoft shareholder. But if I create a Wikipedia policy that benefits Microsoft, a Wikipedia policy that increases their reveneue, don't you think that would create a conflict of interest between Wikipedia, a non-profit project, and Microsoft? I don't know the Wikipedia usernames of any Wikia employees or shareholders or even if any of them have Wikipedia usernames — but that information needs to be disclosed. --Pixelface (talk) 08:50, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't think there'd be a conflict of interest if you created a policy which has the side effect of benefiting Microsoft because you have nothing to gain from Microsoft's profits going up. A conflict of interest is when you have something to gain from a decision or policy going a certain way. i.e. you could be seen as not being impartial because of potential profit to you. As there's no evidence that any of the pro-PLOT users have any stake in Wikia then I don't see a conflict of interest. Besides, there's plenty of policy decisions that could be seen to be benefiting other websites or companies. The fact that every editor licenses their work with GFDL or compatible means that for-profit companies make can make money from Wikipedia and its users. Bill (talk|contribs) 09:24, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree PLOT is not disappearing anytime soon, but I do encourage to see if it needs to be rewritten as per earlier sections on this talk page. It's not so much disputed, more that, can we make it more precise in language? --MASEM 19:14, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Rossami, please search for "conflict of interest" on this page and you'll find that "new argument" you're looking for. You say PLOT is "an established and widely accepted standard" but you're wrong. The initial proposal thread (where you supported PLOT) shows that you are wrong. Multiple threads in the WT:NOT archives where people ask if PLOT ever had consensus to begin with, show that you are wrong. These AFDs show that you are wrong. [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] You can't keep ramming it down everybody's throats. --Pixelface (talk) 22:55, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

I of course disagree. I don't believe there is consensus to have WP:PLOT in any form. Of a certainty there have been numerous editors (above and in the ANI) who think Plot's time has come and gone. I believe this includes the admin who originally added it to here (Hiding). Even among those who think PLOT belongs here, there doesn't seem to be a consistent understanding of what it means. Does it only affect how we write article (WP:WEIGHT) or does it affect what articles we have? If the first, why doesn't this belong in WP:WAF? If the second, isn't WP:N enough to address the issue? And in any case, what is the justification for it existing at all? Is it a concern about copyright (which is fairly overblown in my mind and I've seen that Mike Godwin agrees), or is it due to limiting "CRUFT" or both, or something else? I don't think there is any chance that this could be added today if it weren't already here. There is no real reason given above why this should exist other than thumperward who has a cruft concern. To summarize:

  • We have a policy in a place it doesn't belong, serving an unclear purpose.
  • We seem to have a significant number of editors who think this policy is poor. This includes those involved in the discussion here, in the ANI started about pixelface, and all those who add this plot related material people are so worried about.

As such, I think a wider (RfC) discussion is called for before a small group of editors close the discussion. Hobit (talk) 21:47, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

  • WP:NOT#PLOT is simple to understand: plot summaries on their own are not encyclopedic. They lack the analysis, context, and criticism which an encyclopedic article requires. Unless there is some compelling argument that plot summaries on their own are some how superior to articles that provide encyclopedic coverage, I don't think removing WP:NOT#PLOT is the right thing to do, and I have not seen any arguments or propsoals that suggest to me that this aspect of Wikipedia policy is in dispute, because there does not seem to a superior alternative. --Gavin Collins (talk) 22:24, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  • No, your assertion that plot articles are not encyclopedic seems to be just your personal opinion, unsupported by any evidence. A quick search soons finds a counter-example. This example is a catalog of reference works for the field of drama. In the page selected, we see that the Encyclopedia of Kabuki gives the plot of over 200 plays, while Modern World Drama: An Encyclopedia contains entries for plays which present the plot in "great detail". These examples show that plot-heavy articles are quite acceptable in encylopedias covering the field of fiction and, as we have lots of those ourselves, WP:PLOT neither represents Wikipedia policy nor the policies of encyclopedias in general. It should therefore be removed as it is not an accurate or useful guide to editors. Colonel Warden (talk) 07:29, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • In answer to Colonel Warden, claims that plot summaries on their own are encyclopedic are not supported by the example of a theatre guide. Although the title of the book includes the term encyclopedia, I think you will find that this Encyclopedia of Kabuki is actually mix of theatre guide and a dictionary of related terms. Wikipedia was never intend to be a dictionary or guidebook; this is made clear by WP:NOT. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:41, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't think we can make any strong assessment of what those two examples (garnered from a catalog entry) imply towards PLOT, beyond the fact that they simply don't just talk about plot - both entries' description include the fact that author bios are present as well as other historical details - that is, it simply is more than just a plot summary of plays. --MASEM 12:51, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • With a google search you can easily find various travel encyclopedias and gaming encyclopedias, but that does not mean WP:NOTTRAVEL and WP:GAMEGUIDE should be disputed: that other works call themselves encyclopedias does not mean their content is appropriate for WP. Fletcher (talk) 14:58, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oh I see. The article Yoda is content not appropriate for Wikipedia, but it *is* content appropriate for Wikia. How convenient for Jimbo Wales. Policies on Wikipedia, a non-profit project, do not exist to enrich Jimbo Wales. Is the article Baldrick, which has existed for over seven years (five more years than PLOT itself), is that content not appropriate for Wikpedia? Are these articles [52] [53] [54] [55] [56], where there was no consensus to delete, content not appropriate for Wikipedia? --Pixelface (talk) 23:06, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
  • This is paranoid rambling unconnected to my point: that other works call themselves encyclopedias does not mean their content is appropriate for WP. Fletcher (talk) 01:37, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • You can keep saying "that other works call themselves encyclopedias does not mean their content is appropriate for WP" all you want. But someone could just as easily say "That Wikipedia calls itself an encyclopedia does not mean that it's content is appropriate for an encyclopedia." Indeed, who had ever heard of an encyclopedia that lets anyone on the planet write its articles? Since you did not specify which "other works" you're talking about, I asked about specific articles on Wikipedia and whether you thought that content was appropriate for Wikipedia. --Pixelface (talk) 13:52, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
  • We are not responding to outside criticism but defining what is appropriate for ourselves -- as reflected in in the five pillars and subsequent policies and guidelines. So it's irrelevant what someone else thinks of Wikipedia, just as it's irrelevant if other works calling themselves encyclopedias have material that violates our policy. I don't really care to discuss your example questions because it doesn't really seem you can read others' words -- or policy itself -- in a fair-minded way, but just to elaborate in one instance: Yoda already does not violate PLOT as it has a section on Animating Yoda, which is not simply reiteration of plot detail. More important, although it is too unbalanced in favor of plot, there's likely great potential to improve the article. Like other policies, PLOT does not require deletion of the content, as there are alternatives to deletion that should be considered first. Thus, tying PLOT to the outcome of various cherry picked AfDs does not actually prove anything. Jimbo Wales' relation to Wikia is similarly irrelevant, and to insinuate I'm working for him is a personal attack, as well as a lie. Fletcher (talk) 15:02, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
  • If you'd notice the sources in the Animating Yoda section, one is Wikia (that Yoda was never constructed as a Muppet), the other is DVDactive.com (that a clip of the new CG Yoda can be seen in The Chosen One). Those two citations could be removed by anyone as non-reliable sources. Then the entire Animating Yoda section could be removed as unsourced. The Yoda article does still not meet WP:PLOT — "Wikipedia treats fiction in an encyclopedic manner, discussing the reception, impact, and significance of notable works." While it's true that WP:NOT does not require deletion of articles, WP:NOT lists content unsuitable for Wikipedia — a reason for deletion in the deletion policy. If there was consensus to delete plot-only articles, WP:PLOT would belong in WP:NOT. But there isn't, so it doesn't belong here. I know there are alternatives to deletion. But I'm not the one going around making at least 10 AFDs a day that cite PLOT. I never insinuated that you worked for Jimbo Wales. I never personally attacked you. I never lied about you. I asked about the Yoda article, which, if WP:PLOT is to be believed, is content inappropriate for Wikipedia, but is content appropriate for Wikia. --Pixelface (talk) 00:45, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Stating that "policies...do not exist to enrich Jimbo Wales" implies there is a contrary belief to be corrected, but why would I care about enriching Wales unless I'm working for him, or Wikia? So I took that statement as conspiracy-mongering, otherwise it does not make sense. It wasn't hard to add a better source to Yoda, and I think interested editors could develop the section further. It doesn't appear that Yoda has gone to AfD, and I doubt it will be put up for AfD in the future. In fact, Jabba the Hutt is a Featured Article, and Yoda seems like a more significant character than Jabba, so there should be great potential for the article. It's clear your strategy is to interpret PLOT in the most stringently unreasonable way possible, as a way of undermining it. But we don't have to interpret it that way, and although PLOT is a reason for deletion, I think most successful deletions have compounding reasons such as OR and notability concerns. Fletcher (talk) 03:24, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
  • When I say policies do not exist to enrich Jimbo Wales, I mean that policies do not exist to enrich Jimbo Wales, and WP:PLOT *is* enriching Jimbo Wales, by driving fiction content off Wikipedia to Wikia. I am not interpreting PLOT in the "most stringently unreasonable way possible." I am telling you how PLOT is actually used. PLOT is cited as a reason for deletion in AFDs. [57] [58] [59] [60] [61] [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] That last AFD I linked to is from March, where you were (unsuccessfully) arguing with other editors that PLOT says nothing about deletion. PLOT is cited in AFDs because WP:PLOT is in WP:NOT, and "content not suitable for Wikipedia" is a reason for deletion in the deletion policy.
  • I see that you have not started any AFDs that cite PLOT[67], but you are not the problem here. The problem is editors who cite PLOT multiple times a day, every day, in their AFD nominations.[68] You don't have to interpret PLOT as a reason for deletion — but that does not mean that other editors won't. PLOT being in NOT makes it a reason for deletion. When speaking of fictional characters, it is not "original research" to summarize the parts of the fictional work that pertain to that character. Notice how WP:PLOT currently says "Wikipedia treats fiction in an encyclopedic manner, discussing the reception, impact, and significance of notable works."? That turns "notability" from an guideline into a policy. The Yoda article still does not discuss the "reception, impact, and signifance" of Yoda, so that article still not meet PLOT. Should the Yoda article be nominated for deletion for violating PLOT? Should editors be forced to improve the article within five days or the article be deleted? No and no. So PLOT does not belong in NOT.
  • I am not interpreting PLOT in the "most stringently unreasonable way possible." When the editor who proposed PLOT and added PLOT to NOT says "Plot +infobox violates WP:PLOT. That's precisely what it was suggested to proscribe against." — that applies to most TV episode articles on Wikipedia, articles that existed LONG before Hiding came up with WP:PLOT. That applies to most comic book character articles on Wikipedia, articles that existed LONG before Hiding came up with PLOT. That applies to most articles in Category:Fictional characters, articles that existed LONG before Hiding came up with PLOT. That applies to countless film articles, articles that existed LONG before Hiding came up with PLOT. 7 minutes before Hiding proposed PLOT, Hiding made this edit to WT:COMICS, mentioning Wikia. Do I think Hiding was trying to promote Wikia by making PLOT policy? I don't know, I don't think so. But that is how PLOT is being used now, knowingly or unknowingly, and it needs to stop. --Pixelface (talk) 08:37, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
  • If TTN was only using PLOT as a deletion reason, I agree there's a problem because I agree that PLOT speaks to cleanup what can be done, and only if failing all other aspects of trying to achieve a concise plot summary as part of a topic's coverage, it should be deleted via the last bullet point in Deletion Policy's "reasons to delete". But, that's not what TTN is saying. Taking from a recent TTN AFD, which I'm sure is a text snippet he cuts and pastes but generally accurate 99% of the time, is: This list of minor terminology does not establish notability independent of the Bartimaeus Trilogy through the inclusion of real world information from reliable, third party sources. Most of the information is made up of original research and unnecessary plot details. It is just an unnecessary collection of terms that only need to be covered when necessary. - that is, he's linking to WP:N, WP:WAF, WP:RS, and WP:OR in addition to PLOT. Of those, 2 of those are reasons to delete (WP:N, and WP:OR). He is certainly not weighting his argument to delete on PLOT. So saying that PLOT is being used to delete articles is incorrect - it is several policies and guidelines that are being used. --MASEM 13:57, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Also, there is a failure of communication here in that PLOT is being "disputed" for forbidding "plot heavy" articles, when in fact it does not. WP:WEIGHT, WP:PRIMARY and WP:WAF have more to do with the balance of plot vs. non-plot material. WP:PLOT merely excludes the extreme case of articles that are "simply...plot summaries." It is not a style guide and certainly does not forbid comprehensive coverage of fictional works. Either you are setting up a straw policy (c.f. strawman) in order to make it easier to knock down, or, alternatively, the language is not clear enough, although it seems clear to me. Fletcher (talk) 14:58, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
If WP:PLOT's sole purpose is to exclude articles that are "simply...plot summaries." then WP:PLOT should be deleted as there are number of WP:policies/guidlines that will ensure such an article is remoulded. Lucian Sunday (talk) 15:29, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
This is why I think it needs rewriting - not to change what results from it, but to explain better why it is in the best interest of Wikipedia to encourage concise plot summaries augmented with out-of-universe information and that PLOT is meant to encourage cleanup, not deletion, but acknowledging deletion can come by other means. --MASEM 16:05, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
And that cannot be explained in WP:WAF because...? --Pixelface (talk) 23:09, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
Pretty much all of WP:NOT is redundant with or implied by other policies. NOT serves as a quick reference, representing our institutional memory of past arguments. NOTCRYSTAL is redundant with WP:V, for example. NOTSOAPBOX is implied by WP:NPOV. So the fact that NOT is implied by other policies and guidelines isn't a reason for striking it. Indeed it is a reason for keeping it here, as a way of excluding the worst offending articles without having to recreate more complex arguments each time. Fletcher (talk) 16:32, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
But PLOT does not actually represent our institutional memory of past arguments. [69] [70] [71] [72] [73] --Pixelface (talk) 23:11, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
You may want to note the first one is supported by PLOT. The other 4 -- I have no problem with - character lists and , as a substitute for episode lists for a soap opera, overall story arcs, are completely reasonable as they are part of the larger work's coverage (as per PLOT). The RFC on WP:N suggests that these would be limited cases where supporting articles do not have to show notability. --MASEM 23:54, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
You may want to actually read the discussion on the first one, where multiple people were saying WP:PLOT should be ignored. It does not matter that you have no problem with those other 4 Masem. It matters what know-nothing editors actually do because PLOT is in this policy — cite PLOT again and again and again and again and again[74] in their AFD nominations. If there is no consensus that plot-only articles make Wikipedia an "indiscriminate collection of information"[75], if there is no consensus that articles are not simply plot summaries[76], then PLOT does not belong in this policy. --Pixelface (talk) 00:44, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
If you're singling out TTN, most of his AFDs do not solely cite PLOT, but instead cite WP:N which would be appropriate cause for deletion of these articles. Failing OR and PLOT are secondary reasons to deal with the article somehow. I completely agree that a user that says an article should be deleted simply because it fails PLOT and no other policy/guideline is failing to understand what PLOT should be used for, but when PLOT is failed in conjunction with WP:N, that's a valid reason for deletion, mostly from the WP:N side. --MASEM 00:53, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
No, TTN throws out various policies and guidelines in order to sound like he has any idea what the fuck he is doing. These are not fucking laws. You seem to be ignoring that PLOT and the basis of the GNG came from one editor — Hiding. Wikipedia has 8 million editors. One editor does not speak for 8 million. Hiding has not edited in a month. But you need to read what he told me a few months ago[77]. WP:N is just a guideline. Radiant! wrote N. Radiant! has not edited since May. The editor who renamed various Wikipedia-pages to "notability" guidelines, Jiy, has not edited for over two years. WP:PLOT is a policy. If people don't understand a policy, then it's a bad policy, and it should no longer be a policy. You don't seem to understand what WP:NOT is used for. It's used to delete content, which NOT says is unsuitable for Wikipedia (WHAT WIKIPEDIA IS NOT) — original inventions, personal essays, propaganda, advertising, personal web pages, memorials, how-to guides, etc — and since PLOT's inclusion, plot-only articles. Why do I even bother talking to you? --Pixelface (talk) 01:15, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Pixel, please enhance your calm. You're becoming increasingly volatile in this discussion. We can understand your passion for your argument, but your tone is getting out of hand. Calling editors morons; I think you may need to take a couple of days off from this discussion. Hopefully, a RfC will be in place by then and more outside views will voice their opinions (which will allow you further reprieve to blow off some steam).  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 01:22, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

  • WP:NOT#PLOT could not be more simple, more straight forward or more intuative than it is. If you wish to propose an alternative wording that meets your defintion, state your proposal now. --Gavin Collins (talk) 11:27, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Alright, I'll happily propose a clear version. "Wikipedia is for things that are real. If you want to write about fiction, the article you write needs to be substantially sourced from sources that are real, that is, not part of the fictional work you're writing about. If you can only provide pretend sources, then please only pretend to write the article." How's that for clarity? Seraphimblade Talk to me 11:54, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Gradgrind thinking won't do at all because abstract concepts such as number or evil are not real. Encyclopedias must deal with philosophy, mathematics, poetry and numerous other matters that are not real. Art, literature and other forms of fiction are exceptionally important and so merit extensive coverage. Colonel Warden (talk) 12:04, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Important, but not necessarily exceptionally so - WP needs to treat all topics equally rather than asserting some are more important than others. That means we should strive to have equivalent levels of coverage for every area, but of course being a volunteer project, there's no way to easily assert this. This is why PLOT or some form is needed: it's the equivalent of other NOT policies to prevent the coverage of fiction to outweigh (in the long run) how other topics are covered in limited fashion by NOT. For example, there's an issue that much of the coverage of math articles contain cruft in the form of excessive equations and the like. We are not a textbook - it is necessary to explain the term and key concepts, but full proofs aren't needed unless these proofs themselves are known to have their own importance. In the same fashion, we should be explaining key characters and describing episodes briefly, but we don't need to have many more details beyond their concept and relationship to the main work, unless we have more sources to go into depth with. We also are further burdened with copyrighted works and that detailed coverage burdens the free content mission. PLOT may need rewording but its current intent -- asking for concise summaries and tying with secondary info -- is what is needed to meet these points and thus needed as a policy. --MASEM 13:12, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Also, I would venture a guess that one can find real-world reliable sources that do extensively discuss the concepts of evil, number, alphabet, differential equation, what have you. Those concepts are quite real in that, and they're appropriate for Wikipedia in that we have real-world sourcing for them. On the other hand, if I come up with some brand new conceptual term, it is not. Why? Because it is conceptual rather than tangible? Of course not. Because little or no real-world sourcing addresses it. That's the exact same bar PLOT proposes for fiction. If it's addressed substantially by real-world sources, by all means it's appropriate. If all you can do is describe the conceptual part (the work itself) without addressing real-world impact using real-world sources, it is not. For another article on something conceptual, see the straw man fallacy. Seraphimblade Talk to me 19:50, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • What you're describing now is notability, which we cover elsewhere - at WP:N for example. This is not the point which WP:PLOT asserts which is that plot is a type of content which we do not want, regardless of how well sourced or notable it is. This is quite wrong because if a plot point is notable - the Rosebud ending of Citizen Kane, for example, then we certainly want to cover it and most everyone accepts this. Colonel Warden (talk) 20:44, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • As Masem explains just above, PLOT demands some level of balance in articles. It does not rule out providing plot detail. The wording is "Wikipedia articles are not simply...plot summaries." If your interpretation were true, it would be something more like, "Wikipedia articles do not contain...plot summaries." But that's not what it says, and I don't understand your interpretation. Fletcher (talk) 21:10, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Colonel, PLOT does not say we don't want plot information regardless of notability. A truly notable plot point will have text explaining such notability and will thus contain more than mere plot material. That's perfectly fine under the current standard. Pagrashtak 22:04, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
  • A concrete example may help so consider Fictional history of Spider-Man which was at AFD recently and still here as there was no consensus to delete it, despite references to WP:PLOT. The essence of this article is to describe Spider-Man's fictional history, just like it says. The article might be improved to demonstrate the notability of the details of his history such as the Clone Saga, for which I expect there are numerous sources. Adding these sources as citations would not change the plot-heavy nature of the article. WP:PLOT was unavailing in this case and so is a dead letter. Colonel Warden (talk) 00:48, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Here's my take (as part of my Grand Unification of Fiction on Wikipedia theory). There is a misconception that "topic" and "article" are synonymous - they aren't: an article, for all practical sake, is an artificial bound; a typical article should contain one topic, but a topic does not need to be constrained by one article. PLOT, being a content guideline, applies (or should apply) to the overall content of a topic, not just what is bounded by HTML BODY elements. This means that if an article on Spider-man goes into all the details of creation, reception, and influences in great depth, other aspects of the fictional side of Spider-man can be covered, maybe in the same article, maybe in others, to a degree that is equivalent for similar topics. We still need practical limits to this - such coverage of the fictional side cannot get out of hand and violate copyright, non-free issues, OR, or POV, and thus the push to make sure that certain types of plot-only articles that are part of a notable topic's coverage are appropriate for WP (per the WP:N RFC), and that PLOT still asks to keep things concise.
  • To take this to the fictional history case, I see this article not as a fictional history, but what would be the equivalent of a "list of serial episodes" that are common for TV shows and the like. Of course, with so many volumes to Spidey's history, a table or list is impractical, but instead a list of story arcs (which I'm sure some comic guide outlines to avoid OR in this aspect) can be created - the history article is currently near that point. Mind you, as it is written and approached now, this is not a good article, but, citing PLOT as a reason to cleanup and not outright delete, it can be saved, starting by figuring how to make the article read less like a character bio (which should be on the character's page in the first page) and instead a list of arcs in the comics, including any messes with crossovers. In this specific case, it is a matter of how the material is treated (more in- than out-of-universe) that puts it under PLOT's pervue but should not be deleted. And this is why it is important not to consider article boundaries but instead topic boundaries. A list of story arcs for Spidey would be completely find if WP:SIZE was not a problem and contained in the character article, but there's this big to-do when a reasonable split is made. It all comes back around to the fact that people consider "topic" and "article" to be one and the same, but that is just not true. --MASEM 01:10, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Fictional history of Spider-Man is a synthesis of primary sources that were never intended to be brought together as what Masem calls a "story-arc". There is an underlying assumption that these sources form one story, but no reliable secondary sources are presented to confirm this. I disagree with Masem that this list of stories would be better presented as a list, as from a real-world persepective, the content of this article has nothing to the development of a fictional character, its just a classic example of a personal essay written from an in universe perspective that fails WP:OR. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:33, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Masem, why can't you acknowledge that there were no consensus to delete that plot-only article, Fictional history of Spider-Man — not once, but twice? Doesn't that show you that "Current consensus is that Wikipedia articles are not simply...plot summaries" is untrue? Doesn't that show you that PLOT does not belong in this policy? --Pixelface (talk) 02:23, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
  • "No consensus" means exactly that. We cannot make any inference of whether PLOT is valid based on AFDs that close in no consensus. --MASEM 02:25, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
  • PLOT says current consensus is that Wikipedia articles are not simply plot summaries. If there is no consensus to delete articles that are simply plot summaries, then there is clearly no consensus that articles are not simply plot summaries. If you think nothing can be concluced from AFDs for plot-only articles that result in no consensus, surely you can make a conclusion from AFDs for plot-only articles that result in keep? [78] [79] --Pixelface (talk) 13:41, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Now, if you have read carefully what I've been saying for several months or even just on this page recently, I strongly believe that the middle ground on all this is that PLOT is about the content of the overall coverage of a topic which may need one or more supporting list of articles that will be all plot and non-notable, but contains concise and verifiable via primary sources that are part of the information that generally is agreed upon through AFD and the like that should be kept, in lieu of the cases of having these non-notable elements having their own articles. This primary is lists of characters (so the minor characters of Eastenders is fine), and lists of episodes. Just as with the fictional history of Spider-man, the Storyarcs in Eastenders is an alternate form of an episode list, instead focusing on the larger picture for a show that has many many more episodes than an episode list could do. I personally believe these articles should stay. Cleanup is a different matter and that is what PLOT is meant to address. The Fict. history of Spider-man, IMO, needs cleanup to present it more closely as "story arcs in the Spider-man comics" instead of as a fictional history of the character, as that subtly shifts the content from being all in-universe to out-of-universe. It also needs trimming to be more concise, but certainly not deleted. PLOT, as I believe the consensus sits from AFDs, the RFC on WP:N, and many other areas, is meant to encourage that the coverage of fictional works should not be dominated by plot elements, but for a limited number of exceptions, plot-only list articles to group elements that cannot have an article of their own due to WP:N are completely appropriate if not necessary to be inclusive. Mind, this is not free reign for all sorts of list articles of that nature, the RFC was clear on that. But LOE and LOC are the two that seem to clearly be needed to compromise, and PLOT's directive to be concise is necessary for these. --MASEM 13:58, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

I'd also like the close the discussion. WP:PLOT is good policy because it limits a complete exposition of all details that would become unencyclopedic or indiscriminate, it avoids copyright issues, and it avoids articles written entirely from original research from primary sources. It forces people to summarize, and it forces people to find reliable third-party sources about "the reception, impact and significance of notable works". In other words, it's embedded in dozens of other policies that generally have consensus. You're going to have a hard time building a consensus to remove it. Okay, a few editors are disputing it. But that's not the same thing as a consensus to remove it, after it being used here for two years. Unless they have a new proposal that will have consensus, we should leave it as is. Randomran (talk) 02:10, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

There's no chance that I'm going to find the right point in threading to answer there, so I'll comment here.

Above someone noted that no encyclopedia included plots. I'm wondering what they would make of Masterplots: Masterpieces of World Literature by Salem Press. this link lists some great scholarly references, and this link is for Masterplots and it's subtypes. Happy reading. - jc37 10:07, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Plea from absconded 'creator' of PLOT

Please remove WP:PLOT from policy. Find a better way to achieve what you want than WP:PLOT. It doesn't work, it is divisive and Pixelface is right regarding Wikia, it is something that has been bothering me a while now too and I wish I had considered those ramifications back when I proposed it. We shouldn't be directing people to Wikia. Wikia is a competitor for us. Our goal here is to be a bloody good online reference resource. The reason I decided to propose and pushed for PLOT was because at the time we had articles which were basically 50k long and simply restated the plot of a particular comic. Things aren't that bad anymore. We don't need PLOT. We can live without it. Anyone who wants to keep PLOT really needs to take a long hard look at themselves and how they measure up to all the ideals of this project, because I personally think they fall far short of recognising the most important principles Wikipedia was founded upon. PLOT isn't the holy grail, it isn't scripture, law or actuality. It shouldn't be harder to remove something from policy than it is to add it. Inertia and the status quo are not reasons to retain something, and the simple fact is that anything people want to achieve through PLOT is already achievable through other means. PLOT has had its time and done its job. The battles in 2008 are not the ones of 2005 or 2006. Let it go, take it out back and shoot it. Let it be. Learn to work together in collaboration by giving and taking to build something better than you can envisage on your own. Be a Wikipedian. Hiding T 14:33, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Cause and effect. Fletcher (talk) 15:25, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
First there was a set of fiction policies and guidelines, intended to improve wikipedia's fiction coverage. When people noticed that these policies and guidelines were in fact successfully used to remove poor content of their favorite fiction, they started long AN/I threads and a few arbcom cases, but I didn't pay it any mind because I was sure that quality will win in the end. Then FICT got caught in the crossfire, and it's still lying in the ditch, but I didn't pay it much attention because there was still N and PLOT to assure quality. Then someone suggested to get rid of PLOT because other guidelines would cover the same territory, and I wondered whether he had a point. A while later, N and WAF were repeatedly ignored because "they are just guidelines", and OR and RS couldn't be applied because "everything can be sourced to the primary sources". It was only then that I noticed that wikipedia had just managed to shoot itself in the foot and doomed its own fiction coverage to eternal low/no-quality status. No thanks.sgeureka tc 15:48, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that we have editors who honestly have no clue what a scholarly source is, and/or the purposes behind WP:NPOV/WP:V/WP:NOR (among others). It's rampant, and problematic, and really needs to be dealt with.
So what is being focused on instead? WP:N and WP:NOT#PLOT. Pardon me if I think that just perhaps people have their priorities askew. WP:N is a complete waste of time if people don't understand sourcing.
We can and should delete all other policies and guidelines if editors can't handle the simplicities of the core policies. If we have to start from scratch and re-educate Wikipedians, then maybe that's what we need to do. - jc37 15:56, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
People have been chipping and chipping away at anything that places any restraints on fictional coverage, and it would be irresponsible to allow any further degradation.—Kww(talk) 15:51, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I seem to think you and I have discussed this before, but that's the odd part of your arguement. You treat fiction as if it's a topic not worth covering. And if you think for a moment that non-fiction isn't filled with the esoteric, you obviously haven't been reading our articles on mathematics and physics. (Or science in general, for that matter.)
An encyclopedia is a compilation of trivia. It shouldn't be a list of phone numbers, but it should be a compendium of facts of all kinds.
And I've yet to see a reason for this witch-hunt (perhaps moral panic is more appropriate) for all things fiction-related. - jc37 16:03, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I think the middle ground on fiction is that when fiction is left unchecked, you end up with kudzu-like growth that ventures away from core policies and guidelines that also leaves a ton of articles that have to be maintained or cleaned up when editors that create them leave. Many editors in fiction-related areas are passionate about their fandom, which is perfectly fine, but being an encyclopedia, we're not setting out to be the ultimate fan guide, but a way to present the aspects of that fiction to the general WP reader. We want to encouraged a balanced approached to how fiction is handled, which means we should focus more on the real-world impact of fictional works, but at the same time still cover within reason what occurs within the fictional work. The primary problem with fiction compared to other fields is that most sourcing from fiction comes from the primary or first-party source; if I were to insist that primary or first-party works should be able to provide sufficient validation for any other topic besides fiction, I'd be laughed out of town. We shouldn't be trying to try fiction any special way compared to any other field (which is why the RFC on WP:N was about WP:N and not FICT, to try to determine normalization).
I know that there are some that would love to see no coverage of anything fiction-related, but that's certainly not the case where consensus seems to sit. We need a middle ground between this and unchecked fictional coverage of works that makes the coverage of the work of fiction complete but still meets our mission goals to be a reliable source of information. PLOT is one aspect to help achieve that by asking for fiction plots to be kept concise and give broad overviews instead of every detail that happens. --MASEM 16:19, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I've never argued to eliminate fictional coverage. I have a pretty clear vision of what encyclopedic coverage of fiction looks like, and it doesn't resemble a large plot summary, nor does it resemble a "tonight's featured program" box from TV Guide. Those kinds of articles are what I fight against.—Kww(talk) 16:25, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm backing sgeureka and Masem here. We should cover fiction, of course, but as Kww just said, not with large plot summaries (crib notes for book reviews?) etc. dougweller (talk) 16:29, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
If you have a pretty clear vision of what encyclopedic coverage of fiction looks like, could you give an example of an article you've written or improved that meets that vision, or an article that is closer to that vision because you worked on it? --Pixelface (talk) 23:57, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
(ec) - While I don't greatly disagree with you (Masem) in this, the problem is, just as you note, there are those who simply see anything fiction-related as cruft. And so other editors are spending most of their time trying to defend extant articles, rather than building. I shouldn't have to watch eagle-eyed on AfD to make sure that someone else isn't nominating valid articles due to IDONTLIKEIT reasons. I shouldn't have to have thousands of articles on my watchlist "just in case" someone decides to quietly redirect the page to another page, effectively "deleting" the content. Or watch as they "prune" an article to stub form, and then proceed to nominate it for deletion, because it's now a stub. The games are ridiculous. At some point someone decided to make this their own personal MMORPG, fighting over fiction-related articles. (I'm not even going near the ongoing debates concerning religion, politics, and pseudoscience.)
At what point do we just decide to have a bit of peace and stability? Or if that's not possible, are we all just wasting our time? - jc37 16:32, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
{{ww}}. The great thing about the Deletionist Boogieman is that he can't just be blocked or banned, but can only be combatted by overthrowing a key part of our content guidelines on fiction. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:53, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
"Key part" is subjective. And one could just as easily suggest that the "fait accompli" being currently enacted by those "boogeymen" isn't fantasy, but reality. And a tool that was designed for a certain situation shouldn't be presumed to be the tool for all situations, for all time. - jc37 03:31, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
You'd need evidence for that reality. I don't see us being satirised or ridiculed because we no longer have 700 articles on individual Pokemon species. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:10, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Um, maybe that's because there never were 700 articles on individual Pokemon. I don't see Wikipedia being praised for having 25 lists of Pokemon instead of 493 articles for every Pokemon either. Why would someone criticize Wikipedia for not having 493 articles for every Pokemon when there are so many bigger things to criticize Wikipedia for? Like, hey, I'm a living person, and my article said I was in on the plot to kill JFK. If someone says Slowpoke was in on the plot to kill JFK, Slowpoke can't sue the Wikimedia Foundation.
It's popular to deride Pokemon. I get it. It's a kids show. It's an easy target. Everybody knows it's not Shakespeare. Every adult knows that the TV show and movies are just ads to sell merchandise. That doesn't mean that Wikipedia should not provide information on the subject. Pokemon is hugely popular. It's the second bestselling videogame franchise on the planet Earth, only behind the Mario franchise. It's a global phenomenon. The TV show has been on the air for over ten years. There have been 11 films released so far. Those kids with their Pokemon cards and videogames are crazy.
So what if Wikipedia has 493 articles for every Pokemon? Big deal. Wikipedia is a big place. Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia. Hard drives only get cheaper. The average Pokemon is more well-known than you or me, like it or not — more well-known that tons of different topics on Wikipedia, more well-known than topics of articles you've created yourself. Getting rid of all the Pokemon articles doesn't make all the unsourced articles in Category:Medicine better, you know, where bad information can be fatal. Deleting article A does nothing to improve article B. The only way to improve article B is to improve article B. People should write about what they know. If someone knows about Pokemon, and is willing to work for free, let them write about it as long as the information is neutral, verifiable, and doesn't contain any unsourced analysis.
Now, individual articles for every Pokemon are huge vandalism magnets. But if Wikipedia can't provide a decent article on Slowpoke (say, due to the article being vandalized relentlessly by 4chan retards), how can readers expect Wikipedia to provide information on things that actually matter? If Wikipedia can't provide information on things that actually matter, it might as well stick to what it does best and provide information on things that are trivial. --Pixelface (talk) 01:52, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Stability won't come from overthrowing guidelines that have been here for 2 years. But we *can* reign them in so they aren't abused. If there's going to be a compromise, it will be because both sides agree that there are reasonable limits to fiction, but that it's rarely a good reason to delete an article. But it takes more than a few people to change something that has had consensus for years. Randomran (talk) 19:21, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Actually, every guideline could be removed, and we'd still have an encyclopedia. Who knows, perhaps if everyone was forced to focus more upon WP:NPOV, WP:V, and WP:NOR (and maybe even WP:CIVIL), perhaps we'd actually have a better encyclopedia than we have now, yet without all this continual infighting. - jc37 03:31, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
It takes two sides to fight. And it takes both sides to compromise. A lot of people appreciate having guidelines for quality control. Randomran (talk) 04:47, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
And perhaps if everyone was forced to focus more on WP:N, we wouldn't invite satire like this, which embarrasses the whole community. No community is immune to in-fighting, and frankly the inclusionist/deletionist cold war is a drop in the ocean comparing to our daily WP:DRAMA. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:10, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I wholly disagree. Vandalism, and less-than-helpful edits are part of being an "encyclopedia that anyone can edit".
But the subjective removal of whole articles because a single individual boldly redirects, or worse speedily deletes, based only on personal opinion, that is what's going to eventually kill Wikipedia. And by the way, while we all may be quick to scoff at the "900 species of pokemon", on the other hand, fictional content is likely the largest draw of editors. In the past, I had a proposal to create a new wikimedia wiki (wikiworks), a sort of "sub-wiki" of Wikipedia just for fictional works. I still think that that's a good idea. But if it's implemented, I wonder how many editors would still be editing the main wiki. And further how many new editors would be joining the main community. We may wish to be wary of biting the hands that feed us... - jc37 10:10, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
You're right: WP:PLOT is very rarely a reason to delete or redirect a whole article (and if it is, the article probably fails a bunch of other guidelines anyway). But there's no consensus to get rid of WP:PLOT either, and trying to scrub it every two months verges on being WP:POINTy. So if you're genuinely looking for a compromise, maybe you can suggest a way to reign in the abuse of WP:PLOT while still keeping it as a tool to turn overly detailed expositions into encyclopedic summaries. Randomran (talk) 22:04, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
It's a joke. In a webcomic drawn by a 24-year-old. Who's a tshirt salesman. It's funny. The comic is even mentioned in the Wikipedia in popular culture article. That's funny. If that webcomic embarasses you (nevermind the "whole community"), you've got a problem. Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. That is all the invitation for satire Wikipedia will ever need. Ever. (And focusing on WP:N would not stop "in popular culture" sections anyway, since information does not have to be "notable" to be in an article. If information did have to be "notable" to be in an article, the xkcd article and Randall Munroe article would be drastically smaller.) --Pixelface (talk) 22:57, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

-removed indent-This is kind of a rant here, and it kind of goes into the Notability guidelines in addition to Plot. I think that WP:PLOT should probably be done away with, but then I also think that the notability GUIDELINES should get a massive reworking. Wikipedia has virtually unlimited space; why should anything be deleted or redirected because there's too much plot? Or the only sources are primary? In fact, if all Wikipedians spent as much time working on articles as they do discussing policy and getting into arguments over it, I think that Wikipedia would be an immensely more useful resource. It is also important to remember that WP:N is a "GUIDELINE". Not a "POLICY". And WP:PLOT should be the same way. Even though it is, currently, a policy, it's worth mentioning that WP:IGNORE takes precedence over other guidelines and policies. The only things that should be deleted or redirect due to content, sources, etc., should be obvious vandalism, hoaxes, and entirely Original Research/opinions. Even a single primary source should provide sufficient notability to be included; to make Wikipedia the most useful encyclopedia ever, nothing, other than those few exceptions, should be removed. -Drilnoth (talk) 02:26, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

WP's mission is to be an encyclopedia, not the total sum of human knowledge. We want topics to be verifiable and provide good sources for further research. Topics of articles written only from the primary source fail this point. We can summarize such topics in the coverage of more notable ones. --MASEM 03:30, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Masem, where is Wikipedia's "mission" stated? Wikipedia is an encyclopedia project. The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is "to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally." The vision of the Wikimedia Foundation is "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment." Articles written only from primary sources, articles that are only plot summaries, like Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky, like Fictional history of Spider-Man are verifiable. The book War and Peace is a source. Spider-Man comic books are a source. Let me try to explain it to you in a way you might understand. If List of songs in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock did not cite any sources, that's okay, because the videogame is the primary source. Anybody who has played Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock would be able to verify that yes, that song is, in fact, in the game — so the information is verifiable, by going to the source. --Pixelface (talk) 23:21, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
NOTPAPER helps ensure we have quantity of coverage beyond what paper encyclopedias are limited to. PLOT and N help ensure we have quality by requiring articles to give a balanced presentation and be sourced independently of the publisher. IAR is intended for cases where a rule prevents one from improving the encyclopedia; it is hard to see how that would apply when you intend to remove quality control. Fletcher (talk) 14:52, 18 November 2008 (UTC)


    • Perhaps we can settle this with more ecumenical language, even if it adds to the ambiguity. I suggest replacing concise with something more general: The actual problem with plot summaries that resemble program guides is over-conciseness. I am thinking of the many in combination articles where they are too short, and serve as the kind of hook that is meant to tease the potential viewer (so much so that I suspect many are copyvio from such sources, though they're hard to track down). The long ones dont resemble program guides--they resemble fan blogs, with over detailed incoherent bloated disorganized description. The word i would like to use is "suitable" but I'm open to other suggestions, including intermediary wordings. "concise" is the wording from way back, and I think it is really clear that it simply does not have consensus. I think they in general should be fairly concise, but we all mean different things by that. and this is a matter of style, not of policy. Perhaps we can save the clause, which I think is needed. DGG (talk) 01:17, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
      • I'm with DGG here. The longer ones are dodgy, but in the culling of episode articles, we have ended up with many an episode list with one-line summaries that smell like a TV guide, and give no useful information. I would suggest that concise has consensus, the issue is rather how concise. It is for that reason that I would suggest "suitably concise yet thorough" - something that suggests "short, sweet, but still complete". LinaMishima (talk) 01:40, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
        • I'm not sure we can get a consensus on "how concise". Extremists at one end want the "program guide" style, while others will want to create an exhaustive fan guide on every aspect of a fictional work. But I do think that DGG's heart and mind are in the right place: there may be consensus to re-word WP:PLOT rather than scrub it. I'm open to the possibility of re-wording it. I think the best standard for "concise" (or whatever word we decide to use) will indicate some kind of proportion. The proposal at WP:FICT tries to do that, by suggesting that a suitable level of detail for coverage will vary between works. Maybe the only thing we can all agree upon: plot summaries are not meant to be exhaustive. Randomran (talk) 03:31, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
          Nah, I see this as a false dichotomy. It is usually not difficult to transform a "teaser-style" summary into a proper one simply by stating what happens rather than alluding to it. I would much rather this were performed in cases where there's an issue than an edict against "program guide style summaries" used as a mandate to significantly expand them. I'd even be willing to knock up a cleanup template for this purpose ({{tvguide}}?) if someone can point me to an area of the 'pedia where this is endemic. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:44, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
        • Let's remember WP:NOT is an exclusionary policy; we don't need to tell people how to write a good article here, just explain that we don't want plot dump articles. The link to WAF provides additional guidance. I don't see any reason to remove the word concise; I think DGG and Lina are misinterpreting it as "short" or "terse", but "concise" means being comprehensive as well as brief, so a concise summary will naturally vary depending on the complexity of the work in question. I don't think the "concise" is strictly necessary, but there's no advantage in removing it, either; "teaser" summaries are excluded under NOTDIR (and are often likely copyvios anyway, in my experience), so I don't think we are in danger of too concise plot summaries overrunning our fiction coverage (hopefully someone gets the understatement here). Fletcher (talk) 12:47, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
          • I agree with Fletcher and Chris Cunningham that "concise" is not the same as "short". I also agree that this discussion is more appropriate for WP:WAF, and that the choice between a program guide and exhaustive coverage is really a debate between the most extreme voices on Wikipedia. Most people know that concise is somewhere in between that. However, there is the occasional article where someone pushes very hard and we end up with a TV-guide style two-sentence teaser rather than a concise summary. There has to be a phrasing that would weed out that kind of TV guide summary, without opening the floodgates to exhaustive plot details... no? Randomran (talk) 18:14, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

List of fictional animals

And sub-articles such as List of fictional foxes. Now I would think this list is entirely served by the appropriate categories that already exist. Is there a reason why we have the categories and the list articles? They seem to duplicate each other, while the category is automatic but the list needs to be constantly updated. Any thoughts? Verbal chat 16:20, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Please see WP:CLS which explains that lists and categories are complementary, each with their own merits. Colonel Warden (talk) 17:28, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, some things are best done as a list, some things are best done as a categroy, and some things are best done as both. Blueboar (talk) 18:03, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
In this case I think it's best done as a category only, but I was wondering if there was any policy that made this clear. I'll look into the CLS link. Verbal chat 18:15, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Newer readers and editors are more likely to use lists, while categories are more likely to be used by those who have been around longer. Categories and lists complement each other. There is no policy saying one or the other is better. --Pixelface (talk) 22:17, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Something to keep in mind: There is a huge cleanup attempt going on to merge nonnotable fiction-related articles. When all is said and done (could be a year, could be five, could be never), I doubt that many (any?) fictional foxes/moles/whatever will still have separate articles to categorize. So if you intend to replace the lists with categories, it may very well happen that the categories will keep getting depopulated until they no longer have a reason to exist, and then there will be neither lists nor categories. – sgeureka tc 21:08, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
    • You're assuming there are no notable fictional animals? --Pixelface (talk) 22:17, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Such lists should be avoided, if only because they can be arbitrary and indiscriminate: that is, is every single fictional fox being listed in this list, or are we forced to be selective? (Hint, it is not the first one). This is the case where a category makes more sense as it implies inclusion to the category but not exhausting the possible elements. --MASEM 12:02, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Such lists should be avoided? Why is that? A character clearly has to be a fictional fox to be on List of fictional foxes, so there's nothing "indiscriminate" about it. Not every fictional fox needs a separate article, but listing them is just fine. There are not people or lists of people we are talking about here. --Pixelface (talk) 22:43, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
      • Well, I will take back some of my concerns, after reading Stand Along Lists a bit closer. There is the concern about being an indiscriminate collection of information per the five pillars and thus implying that such lists should be complete, and I doubt one could compile a complete known lists of fictional foxes in every creative work ever. However, the above page suggests partial lists are fine as long as they are written to clearly establish that the list is partial, what the inclusion criteria is, and so forth. So yeah, this lists seem to be ok, however, I still feel a category is better but presently without support for categorizing sections instead of articles, it does make it unwieldy. --MASEM 23:22, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
  • My advice is to not waste time and effort making such lists. As noted above the tide of consensus (all together now: "But no one asked me") is moving away from such lists, and there have been so many outright trivial lists attempted that I think the clean-up effort is going to morph into a movement for an outright ban on most lists. One problem is two are two schools of thought playing tug-of-war on Wikipedia (actually 3): the two are those who feel lists are necessary because they can include items for which articles do not yet exist, and those who feel categories are the way to go (with some perhaps feeling that if an article doesn't exist on a topic, it isn't notable for Wikipedia anyway); the third category are those who want both lists and certain "trivial" categories gone altogether. I could see "fictional foxes" being an example of something that has the potential to attract both AFD (as a list) and CFD (as a category) attention for example. 23skidoo (talk) 17:45, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
    Actually, there was a rather recent set of straw polls in regards to this. And a majority suggested that lists were acceptable.
    Also, categories are tools for navigation, they shouldn't be used to replace mainspace content. Indeed, according to WP:CAT, everything in categories should have sources in mainspace. - jc37 17:50, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
    The source would be the articles about fictional animals, rather than the list, surely. I understand articles such as "list of characters in animal farm" etc, but lists of all fictional animals? What encyclopaedic function does that serve that isn't served by a category? Verbal chat 08:35, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Since the list is an amalgam of primary sources, this list must be seen a synthesis. Unless you have a reliable secondary sources to demonstrate that the list has notability, it is probably best to delete it, as lists like this tend to attract listcruft. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:49, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
It is not a synthesis. To have a synthesis you need to have a conclusion that is improperly drawn from the various sources (A+B=C). Simply listing things is not a conclusion. Blueboar (talk) 17:16, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Of course its a synthesis. It is bringing together different types characters (some fictional, some real-world) and calling them fictional. For instance Basil Brush is a real-world puppet, he is not a fiction at all. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:37, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Kermit the Frog is a fictional character. So is Howdy Doody. So is Bozo the Clown. That a character is fictional isn't reliant on the type of presentation of the character. They can be a "character regardless of whether it's voiced, acted, animated, drawn, manipulated as a puppet, or whatever. - jc37 10:59, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I think you have fallen into the trap of viewing this List of fictional foxes from an in universe perspective by asserting that what is depicted is the character, rather than a (real-world) puppet depicting the character, such as Basil Brush. Similarly, Kermit the Frog is not a fictional character, whereas The Frogs Who Desired a King are fictional characters. I would agree that both are Anthropomorphisms, but they are not both fictional characters. --Gavin Collins (talk) 12:38, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
It's not a "trap", they're fictional characters. The ink Edgar Rice Burroughs used to describe Tarzan is merely a "medium" of art, just as a puppet is. But the "art" presented (in this case) is a "character". (See also Character (arts) and Character (persona) (which redirects to Persona).) Perhaps you shouldn't be involved in fictive literary analysis, if a concept this basic eludes you. - jc37 12:57, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Seriously, if it is not a real person or the like and instead an idea conceived by some creative person, it is a fictional character, no matter if the character existed solely as written text, drawn art, or portrayed characters (eg. Lassie is a fictional character, played by several different dogs in the movies; Kermit the Frog is a character represented by several different puppets as well as animated several ways, etc.) --MASEM 13:27, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I would disagree. Whilst an Anthropomorphism is a type of trope which can inlcude fictional anthropomorphisms, a trope does not have to take a fictional form, such as a literary trope. For instance, Basil Brush is a puppet, and is best described as a theatrical rather than fictional character, as like Kermit the frog or Punch and Judy, he is not the subject of any fictional work, so it would be misleading to describe him as a fictional character per se.--Gavin Collins (talk) 13:59, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Of course Kermit the Frog is a fictional character... the works of fiction in which he appears happen to be in video/film form, rather than in written/literary form, but they are fiction never the less. The same can be said for all the other puppets and characters Gavin mentions. Blueboar (talk) 22:30, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Where in the article does is say that? --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:05, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
  • "Kermit the Frog is a Muppet". Follow the link to Muppet and you see "The Muppets are a group of puppet characters created by Jim Henson." Are you seriously saying you don't know that the Muppets are fictional, or that you cannot tell the difference between fiction and non-fiction? Or that every article should state whether something is fictional or non-fictional, and that even biographical entries should state that it is a non-fictional character? shadzar-talk 03:52, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
  • It does not say they are fictional characters, but I admit that Basil Brush and Kermit the frog are puppets that portray fictional characters, but their primary focus of these articles is the puppets. Clearly there is a difference between a real-world puppet, and the fictional character that they portray. However, this list does not distinguish between the two as you suggest. --Gavin Collins (talk) 12:21, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
  • So you do not understand what a fictional character is? You do not understand that a puppet constitutes as a fictional character because it is not a real world living entity? You do not understand that ALL non-real world living entities are fictional characters and require even a puppet to actually include the word "fictional" in the article so you are not confused about it? Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and therefoe assumes the basic understanding of the language it is written in. For definitions of terms, there is Wiktionary if you are confused on what a term means. fictional

Invented, as opposed to real

When you combine that with the Kermit article that clearly states

The Muppets are a group of puppet characters created by Jim Henson.

It is obvious that Jim Henson invented the Muppets, including Kermit the Frog, ergo, they are all fictional. It is not the job of an encyclopedia to teach you the basic understandings of the language it is written in, and if someone is having trouble with ANY encyclopedia, and a dictionary does not help then, then they may need to seek other help from someone qualified to teach them the language. Sadly Wikipedia, as far as I know, does not have the resources to teach everyone every language. The English language may be of use to those who do not understand the language and are visiting the English version of the site, and hopes that the other language versions of wikipedia have something for non-English speakers to aid them in the basics of the language. shadzar-talk 15:10, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Like the composer of the list, I think you may be syntheising your conclusion. Henderson did invent the Muppets, but he did so as a "mixture of marionette and puppet" [80].
    However, the point I am trying to make is that if you can't find a source that says all the charcters in the List of fictional foxes are all fictional, then it is a synthesis. I agree with the opening suggestion, that this topic is not a suitable topic for a list, it is better served as a category. --Gavin Collins (talk) 16:01, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Jim Hensen does not state that it is about a male, however, the word James and the image of a bearded figure in the article must have lead the editors of it to use synthesis in determining to use the pronoun "he" throughout the article rather than indicate even the word "male", "man", or the like in the article. Is that what you are suggesting? WP:SYNTH

Synthesis occurs when an editor puts together multiple sources to reach a novel conclusion that is not in any of the sources.

It seems you are correct that synthesis is used in both articles, so since you are clearly more knowledgeable about it than me, I ask you to correct Jim Hensen to remove all synthesis and provide sources and text in the article that proves using the pronoun "he" in it is correct. shadzar-talk 16:23, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

WP:BATTLE

I have added[81] yesterday the following language to WP:BATTLE: "Wikipedia is not a place to hold grudges, import personal conflicts, or nurture hatred or fear. Editing with the intent of turning Wikipedia into the zone of battling out personal, political, ideological, religious and cultural conflicts goes directly against our policies and goals" instead of the previous text "Wikipedia is not a place to hold grudges, import personal conflicts, or nurture hatred or fear. Making personal battles out of Wikipedia discussions goes directly against our policies and goals." I thought I was making an obvious common sense clarification, but today User:Fletcher reverted that change with the explanation rv awkward phrasing, instruction creep. Perhaps the phrasing is awkward but I disagree about the instruction creep and I do feel strongly that the modification I wanted to make needs to be made. The current text only mentions "personal conflicts", which makes it sound like one simply should not bring their fight with their girlfriend here. That's not what WP:BATTLE is supposed to mean. One of the main and most intractable problems on Wikipedia (something like half if not more of Arbcom cases are about that) concerns people who come here with the expressed motivation of fighting out here, on Wikipedia, various ethnic, ideological and cultural wars. WP:BATTLE needs to make it clear that intentionally turning Wikipedia into a battleground for fighting such wars is inappropriate and goes against the goals of Wikipedia as a compendium of important knowledge and information. This is not instruction creep but a necessary clarification of our important basic principles. Better to have awkward phrasing about that than a wimpy and ineffectual one. Nsk92 (talk) 14:05, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, I think that WP:BATTLE is very much a personal thing. In context it doesn't mean one's personal, private life offwiki (such as girlfriend troubles), but rather how Wikipedians deal with each other outside of article space. Observe that it is under the community section of NOT. Other policies such as NOTSOAPBOX, NOR, and NPOV cover the insertion of political/ideological viewpoints into article content (which I agree is a problem). BATTLE means the talk pages are for neutral discussions of articles/policies etc. and not for waging personal crusades against other Wikipedians. In my experience BATTLE is needed because people get angry and frustrated over disagreements, and make it personal by flaming each other, wikistalking, etc. I don't see that we have a problem with impersonal, ideological conflicts being added to talk space; the people on religious crusades will make themselves a problem in article space -- which is already addressed by existing policy -- and if they do make it personal, that's what we have BATTLE for.
In general I think the policies are best if they can be kept short and sweet and deal with the major issues, not every conceivable problem. But I do agree my edit summary was probably not very helpful. Fletcher (talk) 16:55, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but I disagree strongly. A part of what WP:BATTLE means is certainly exactly what you say: basically a behavioural standard for talk pages and projectspace discussions. But it is, or at least IMO it should be, much more than that. Yes, we have other editorial policies like WP:NPOV and WP:SOAPBOX, but something the kind of addition I wanted to make needs to be spelled out more explicitly in a top-level policy like WP:NOT, where Wikipedia's basic mission is discussed. The the addition to WP:BATTLE that I wanted to make was exactly of the type that belongs in the community section and that is exactly where I meant it to be. I am not talking here about specifics of editorial practices (such as what WP:NPOV deals with) but the basic mission of Wikipedia and the basic modus operandi principles of being a community member here, both in mainspace and in projectspace. The main bane (much worse than vandalism and worse than proliferation of poorly referenced articles) is when people come to Wikipedia with the intention of turning it into the battleground (both in mainspace and in article space) of fighting various ideological battles here, particularly nationalistic and ethnic ones. There is really nothing worse here on Wikipedia than this, and I am in full agreement with essays like User:Moreschi/The Plague. Of course, people do and will have their own ideological differences and pretty strong opinions. But WP:BATTLE needs to make it clear that coming here with the agenda of fighting some sort of ideological crusade is unacceptable, and that people need to strive instead toawrds building a comprehensive, neutral and informative encyclopedia, a temple of knowledge and information. I think that is as much a community norm as an editorial standard. While it is, in the abstract, good to keep things "short and sweet", one cannot and should not do that at the expense of skipping over stating the fundamental principles. The current formulation of WP:BATTLE is way too wimpy and needs to be strengthened. Just look at the recent ArbCom cases (e.g. a couple that are in the voting stage right now). Interpreting WP:BATTLE to mean that it only means to prevent "waging personal crusades against other Wikipedians" is far too narrow an interpretation of what I think WP:BATTLE means to most people, or at least, in my strong opinion, of what it actually should mean. Nsk92 (talk) 18:31, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
In my view WP:Battle is an effort to re-engineer human nature. It is nice and well intentioned, but frequently causes plenty of its own problems. Sometimes people are in a bad mood. Some good editors are irascible. Some articles deal with subjects that are real world conflicts, and feelings are high. So what? If editing is making progress, why interrupt a process that is working with a niceness offensive? Of course, things can really get out of hand, and a resort to WP:Battle certainly is justified in such cases. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 19:35, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I think WP:BATTLE is like WP:IAR, it is more about ethos and a statement of principles and of something to aspire to when we edit Wikipedia, rather than actually about being regularly invoked as a technical rule. But statements of principle are still important and need to be made. Nsk92 (talk) 20:18, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Uncensorship

I've seem a few examples lately when editors have changed, for example "fuck" to "f***", or just removed similar words from cited quotations; my view is that we should render quotations verbatim and if the source censors, that is not a matter for us. I think this section could be strengthened to state such. Probably been addressed before, but if anyone can give me a link, I'd be grateful. --Rodhullandemu 21:53, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Regarding how quotes are rendered, we only have what the sources report. Hence, if all the coverage (including any official transcript or documents) features censorship, it is unfortunate, but we should not speculate upon the blanked word. However, yes, if a source is available with the uncensored version, that should be used in preference for quotes. LinaMishima (talk) 03:47, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree with LinaMishima. If the newspaper or whatever did the censorship, and it's the only source we have, then quote it exactly as it was censored, otherwise we are doing original research. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 20:36, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

I was concerned about the recent addition, so I removed part until we can agree on a way to say it. I see two cases. If, for example, the New York Times writes an editorial about the danger of accepting the word "f***" in everyday life, I wholly concur that we shouldn't uncensor it. It started life as a written expression, and we have no reason to change it.

If, on the other hand, they write about A. Person saying "Fuck the police" but write "F*** the police", we shouldn't quote A. Person as saying "F*** the police", even if we use the Times as a source. A. Person didn't say "F***", he said "fuck." Within the bounds of the Times policies, that is what they reported.—Kww(talk) 04:34, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

If one is quoting a NYT article that censors a word purposely, and we are using the direct quote, I don't think it is appropriate to uncensor it. "F***" is an obvious case, but some cases will have you second guessing ("C***") and so to avoid OR, just publish what is appropriate. Now, if there's another source that uncensors it, that's fine there. --MASEM 05:22, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
That's my take on it. Anyone who has seen Father Ted knows that "F***" normally means "Feck", so that is a confusion easily avoided; rendering not only verbatim but also literatim overcomes the OR problem. --Rodhullandemu 09:04, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that in the case of the spoken utterance, we aren't quoting the Times: we are quoting the original speaker, and using the Times as a citation. I agree that there will be cases that it is unclear exactly what was said, and that OR should be avoided, but that isn't a case of reverse censorship as such: its a case of unclear information.—Kww(talk) 11:19, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
We can hardly give clearer information than our sources do. --B. Wolterding (talk) 17:40, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Real article example: All the world's a stage#In Limerick. The entire relevant section from the WallStreetJournal source reads:

... All part of the Conquest service. Like the limericks, some of which cannot be reproduced in a family-oriented newspaper but many of which are literary and intellectual mnemonic masterpieces. An instance? His deft compression of the entirety of Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man" speech:


"First you get puking and mewling/ Then very p---ed off with your schooling/ Then f---s and then fights/ Then judging chaps' rights/ Then sitting in slippers -- then drooling."

Just as one can never imagine Mr. Conquest raising his voice or losing his temper, so one can never picture him using an obscenity for its own sake. A few years ago he said to me that the old distinctions between left and right had become irrelevant to him, adding very mildly that fools and knaves of all kinds needed to be opposed and that what was really needed was "a United Front against bulls--t."

I would suggest that this information was obviously censored for publication (it almost explicitly says as much), and should be uncensored for the quotation here. I do also agree that it would be ideal to find an uncensored source for the same quote, but I have been unable to find such.

So, once again, the final answer is "it depends upon the circumstances". Hoorah for ambiguity and context! :) -- Quiddity (talk) 20:51, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

WP:NOTHOWTO

Editors should cautioned to use judgement in the interpretation of these guidelines. The reading them as commandments ("Thou Shalt Not...") might be construed by some as justifying the deletion of math formulas because the describe "how to" do a calculation. --Jbergquist (talk) 22:43, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Carried to extreme these guidelines would not allow Editing help since it is "how to". --Jbergquist (talk) 22:53, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

1. Editing help is in Wikipedia space but WP:NOTHOWTO, along with the rest of WP:NOT, just applies to article space, so there is no contradiction of policy. Similarly you are free to state your opinion here in talk space, and no one can ask you for a source, because WP:OR just applies to article space.

2. If anyone is treating NOTHOWTO as an a commandment, you might remind them of WP:IAR. However, you are non-specific. Maybe they are not treating it as a commandment, but simply interpreting the policy in a different way than you. Remember that we are a general purpose encyclopedia (see also WP:NOTTEXTBOOK) and perhaps not every equation needs to be given. You should work with the folks editing math articles to try to arrive at consensus for the appropriate scope of coverage. Fletcher (talk) 16:23, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Test example: are the instructions provided in Smoke_bomb acceptable or not? NVO (talk) 17:45, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
It definitely borders on it. Noting that its a mix of chemicals of a certain mix is appropriate, but saying "leave it overnight for more potenancy" is the wrong direction. --MASEM 17:59, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
I took out the problematic section form the article. UnitedStatesian (talk) 20:50, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Good work; looks better. Fletcher (talk) 19:33, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Glossaries

Resolved: No consensus against glossaries; and wrong talk page, anyway.

I am sure this has been discussed before, but I can not find the discussion... I note that Wikipedia has many glossary pages (see: Portal:Contents/List of glossaries)... how in the world do we justify having these glossaries when the first item on our list of what Wikipedia is not is: "Wikipedia is not a dictionary"? Is there some sort of subtle difference between a glossary and a dictionary? Blueboar (talk) 14:48, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

  • No, they seem quite inconsistent with our policy. Either the glossaries should go or the policy be amended/deprecated. Colonel Warden (talk) 15:12, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Wow, there are a lot of them. I wonder if they might be incorporated into the wiktionary project. Fletcher (talk) 16:08, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
      • I do agree that Wiktionary is a better place for such information... but looking deeper, this may not be a simple thing to resolve... Not only do we have a portal on this... but we also have someone who has tried to form a Wikiproject to coordinate them (see: Wikipedia:WikiProject Glossaries)... although it does seem to have only one member so it may have been a failed attempt. I would agree that all of this seems to be inconsistent with the guideline... but it is obviously a larger problem than I thought at first. Blueboar (talk) 16:59, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
        • There's so many variations on spotchecks in there that it is impossible to make a decisive measure. I see some that really should be categories (a page that is just a list of terms with wikilinks), I see some that can be morphed to useful lists, and then there's just definitions that should be merged to Wikitonary. I think "WP is not a glossary" is an appropriate statement, in the sense that we don't want pages that are just lists of terms and their meanings; there's almost always a way to integrate these into other topics or their presentation to be more encyclopedic. --MASEM 17:13, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
          • Does "more encyclopedic" mean 'more useful', or 'more in conformance with the policy-as-currently-worded'? - which was changed during the last discussion despite quite a few of us strongly objecting. (Again, see the old thread, where it was pointed out that this line had been added back in March 2004, and already survived two debates. I'm still not sure why our request to revert back to the 2.5-year standing version was ignored.). -- Quiddity (talk) 04:04, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
  • This has been discussed several times before but in my opinion the prior discussions about the difference between dictionary list pages and glossary pages were attempts to make a distinction without a difference.
    Wiktionary is a closely linked sister project and the vast majority of glossary pages fit much better as Wiktionary appendices.
    I've moved a few but it's a massive and tedious cleanup effort since you have to move the page, reformat and repoint all the links in the new target then repoint all the inbound links to the old page. The Wikipedia page can then often be rewritten to talk in an encyclopedic fashion about the topic itself rather than holding the list of definitions. See, for example Military slang and wikt:Appendix:Military slang.
    Once the glossary is moved over, they tend to get quite a bit better attention and maintenance - and they don't accumulate all the silly vandalism that the Wikipedia glossary pages seemed to. Both projects are improved when content is moved to the proper location. Rossami (talk) 18:18, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I come to the opposite conclusion; I find that wikt glossaries are pretty much ignored most of the time, and development on them stalls, while the WP versions continue to be developed and improved constantly (barring an obscure topic). — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 21:22, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I would think bot writers could come up with something for the tedious labor, although admittedly I don't know how involved that would be. Fletcher (talk) 18:31, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes, it has been discussed before, many times in many forums, and there is no consensus at all on WP that encyclopedic glossaries (as opposed to simple dicdefs) are non-encyclopedic. Glossaries with sources are regularly kept, not deleted, at WP:AFD. I've responded in more detail at a new subtopic below. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 21:19, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Not that simple

Glossaries moved to Wiktionary are far-less useful for a number of reasons: See Portal talk:Contents/List of glossaries#Mass deletion/move of glossaries to Wiktionary? and Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not/Archive 7#Glossaries for the older discussions. A couple of the key points:

There is more. Please read the history, it's all in 1 long thread. -- Quiddity (talk) 19:17, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

    • Redirects and short pages are cheap. If the term is defined at a glossary on Wikitonary, but doesn't have a dedicated page on WP, the WP can be used to provide a link to the Wikt entry (see Category:Redirects to Wiktionary) (unfortunately hard redirect links seem to be disabled). Or the redirect can point to the most appropriate page on WP where the link on the page goes to the Wikt entry. --MASEM 20:01, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
      And vice versa. Equal choices, except for the fact that articles simply get more driveby additions and WikiProject attention here. See how the architectural glossary here has changed, and how the one at Wiktionary has stagnated. And, that's the glossary that Rossami specifically stated (at Archive 7#delay for a test) that he would convert as a demonstration. -- Quiddity (talk) 03:48, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
    • I will grant the first bullet point above that the search engine has some limitations. I disagree with the second point. As long as our links are set up correctly, the reader's experience is seamless. The difference in experience in the textile example is only because the transition of that particular page is not yet complete. Rossami (talk) 23:33, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
      That's what you said 2 years ago: "By the way, wikt:Transwiki:Textile manufacturing terminology is an unfair example because it's still in the middle of the transwiki process. No one has yet made the conscious decisions necessary to fix all the links on that page. Rossami (talk) 21:09, 23 October 2006 (UTC)" at the 2nd thread I linked above. See various comments throughout that thread about glossaries (and many other obscure pages) not getting enough attention at Wiktionary. And no, to preemptively answer your reply from last time, I still don't have the extra time to contribute to yet another Sister project, sorry. I wish I did. (Although, I'd probably spend it at the Omegawiki dictionary project instead. Again, sorry, but I'm trying to be helpful and honest.) I also wish there was a better method for integrating the various materials, perhaps with the Wiktionary information dynamically embedded in a WP infobox or similar; but as it stands, moving glossaries to Wiktionary is not a net-positive idea. I thoroughly recommend rereading that thread. -- Quiddity (talk) 03:35, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
      I'd also like to note that just 2 days ago I was replying to this thread, Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Add Wiktionary link to left sidebar, trying to support the promotion of direct-inline links to Wiktionary from any/all articles, and I voted for bugzilla:708 years ago! I happily support Wiktionary at what it does well! Glossaries isn't one of those things, currently. -- Quiddity (talk) 03:48, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I concur completely with Quiddity. Wiktionary (like any other site) is perfectly free to make copies of Wikipedia articles for its own purposes, but WP glossaries copied to Wikt simply sit there, with anywhere from zero to very, very few additions and improvements, and do not stay in synch with their constantly-developed WP counterparts. This is all old news, however. The issue has been beaten to death at AfD and elsewhere many times. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 21:19, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

An attempt to clarify the difference

I have been thinking more on this, and I think part of the problem is that there is confusion as to the subttle distinction between a dictionary and a glossary. If we are going to resolve this issue, I think we need at least a working understanding of what that distinction is. Here is how I would make the distinction:

  • A dictionary defines what words and terms mean, while a glossary explains how words and terms are used within a particular context.

If my understanding of the distinction is on target, then I think our debates are simplified. Essentially we must deal with three questions:

  1. Do we want to include glossary articles in Wikipedia or not?
  2. If not, then is there a sister project that either does or should include them?
  3. If so, how should we make the distinction clear to our editors, so that they understand what is acceptable and what is not?

Blueboar (talk) 15:09, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Well said, complaint below notwithstanding. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 21:19, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
1. Yes, many of us do, as explained above and previously, for a number of very practical reasons. People suggesting otherwise seem to be being impractical-idealist (a very noble intent, but has bad actual results).
3. Replace this line that was deleted without consensus, and add further clarifying details (such as an example article that could be followed in style. Maybe even build one up to Featured List class...). -- Quiddity (talk) 20:48, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I have to disagree with your starting premise. A dictionary defines the word or phrase and discusses etymology, usage within specific contexts, etc. A glossary is merely a subset of the dictionary - a selection of technical terms which are related to the glossary's topic.
With that starting point, 1) no, I do not think that glossaries fit well within Wikipedia, 2) yes, Wiktionary does include and encourage them and 3) I don't have a clue - we've been arguing this point since the project was first started. In my opinion, the core problem is that far too many people sell Wiktionary short. This leads the good editors to fragment our efforts and both projects suffer. Rossami (talk) 02:47, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
OK, perhaps my distinction will not work... let's look at the definitions of these two terms and see if we can note a difference...
Starting with "Glossary":
  • Wiktionary: "A list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge with the definitions for those terms."
  • Cambridge: "an alphabetical list, with meanings, of the words or phrases in a text that are difficult to understand"
  • Oxford: "an alphabetical list of words relating to a specific subject, text, or dialect, with explanations"
Now "Dictionary":
  • Wiktionary: "A publication, usually a book, with a list of words from one or more languages, normally ordered alphabetically and explaining each word's meaning and sometimes containing information on its etymology, usage, translations, and other data."
  • Cambridge: "a book that contains a list of words in alphabetical order with their meanings explained or written in another language, or a similar product for use on a computer. 2) a book which gives information about a particular subject, in which the entries are given in alphabetical order."
  • Oxford: "a book that lists the words of a language and gives their meaning, or their equivalent in a different language."
I have to admit that I do not see any real difference between these definitions of Glossary and Dictionary. Furthermore, the two terms seem to be synonyms (see: "Glossary" in Roget's Thesaurus)
In which case, we are back to my original question... how can we justify having all these Glossary articles in wikipedia when the very first item listed in this guideline is: "Wikipedia is not a dictionary"? As I see it, we either have to delete all these articles or we need to change the guideline. Blueboar (talk) 14:30, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Change the policy back to the way it was for 2.5 years. Yes, please. This should be the clear solution based on my arguments above (currently undisputed?), and the old thread which some of you have hopefully read through by now...
Just like all the Portal:Contents/Lists of basic topics, glossaries may not fit cleanly into a strict/ideal set of WP articles, but both the WikiProjects and the readers find them very useful here. If you were to solicit feedback from the WikiProjects, or the editors who contributed to the last discussion, that would be made clear by volume of voices, but I hope we can keep things purely rationale-based. -- Quiddity (talk) 19:34, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
We keep going in circles... If we do want to allow Glossaries, then we need to clearly state what a Glossary is, and how it is different from a dictionary. Blueboar (talk) 20:32, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
dictionary, glossary, lexicon.
However. "Every guideline is created to deal with a particular type of problem. If you can determine what the original problems were, you will understand the guideline." Partly, they didn't want thousands of stub-length word-definitions. Partly, it helped Wiktionary grow. Partly, etc etc.
I'm not feeling fluent in policese tonight, perhaps you can come up with appropriate wording. See also Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia is not a dictionary#Glossaries! from last year. -- Quiddity (talk) 09:35, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
See also: Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a dictionary#Wikipedia is not a usage guide "Some articles are encyclopedic glossaries...". Also see Wikipedia:Lists#Types of lists. (as noted by User:Bubba73). -- Quiddity (talk) 21:05, 13 November 2008 (UTC)


Blueboar, Wikipedia does allow glossaries. The policy section Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a dictionary#Wikipedia is not a usage guide specifically makes an exception for "encyclopedic glossaries", and in turn refers to Wikipedia:Lists#Types of lists - giving that guidline section the weight of policy. The distinction is further explained in MOS at WP:GLOSSARIES#Terminology. Please stop beating a dead horse. Note that WP:NOT is in large part a summary of other policies, such as Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a dictionary. The Transhumanist 22:38, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

I think the argument could be made that the wikilinking of terms in the text largely eliminates the need for glossaries in Wikipedia. Mangoe (talk) 20:32, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

No !@#$%&* way! See below. The Transhumanist 21:48, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Less succinctly, the problem with Mangoe's idea is, of course, that in order for such links to do anything, there has to be an article or section for them to link to, giving the user the contextual information necessary to understand the term as being used at the linked-from source article. This is precisely and obviously what encyclopedic glossary list articles do. It's simply nonsensical to say that we can replace glossaries with links, since it is the glossaries that make the links possible in the first place! There will never be an AfD-survivable article on most items appearing in a glossary list; it is the listification itself that makes them valid articles, by providing structure, navigability, cross-referencing and context. See for example the very extensive linking to Glossary of cue sports terms from virtually all cue sports articles (e.g. eight-ball and Rudolf Wanderone, Jr.). If that glossary were broken out into hundreds of micro-stubs, they'd simply be merged again as a result of a mass AfD. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 20:17, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

The nature and function of glossaries on Wikipedia - they are descriptive menus!

Glossaries are a form of list, and becoming a glossary is a natural mature stage in the development cycle of certain types of lists (those for which the terms are the names of articles). I started and wrote Glossary of philosophical isms (with a lot of help, of course). It started out as List of philosophical isms, a list that was built primarily as a navigation aid. Annotations were added that included a brief explanation of each term in order to make the selection process easier. Users can browse the page and read the annotations to help them decide what "ism" term they want to learn more about. Even though it has grown into a "glossary", it's still an annotated list and provides all the benefits thereof (and more - the content itself is highly educational, that is, you can learn a lot just by reading the page).

The page is integrated into Wikipedia. It's links lead to Wikipedia articles, which makes it an immensely useful menu. If you strip the annotations out of it and revert it to a list, it won't be nearly as useful, because most readers will have no idea what each word means and will have to click on each one to find out - that is annoying as hell and very time-consuming. Annotations speed up the learning process by allowing you to browse by scrolling. Links force you to wait for the page to change, your eyes have to find the beginning of the text all over again, etc. - these delays add up! If you transwiki this "glossary" to wiktionary and delete it on Wikipedia, its links will lead to wiktionary definitions and not to Wikipedia articles - crippling it as a Wikipedia browsing aid.

Many lists naturally grow up to become glossaries. It makes no sense to kill them once they are in their most useful form. (See Logan's Run). They still serve their intended purpose - as lists, but even better.

I think that "Wikipedia is not a dictionary" is intended to prevent the encyclopedia from being cluttered by dictionary definition stubs that would never grow into articles, not lists that grow into annotated lists that happen to also be glossaries. Think of these as restaurant menus that include a description of the entrees being offered for you to eat for dinner. (A very useful feature of Wikipedia).

For this reason (that they are still lists of articles that serve the purpose of navigation), they are an integral part of Wikipedia's contents system, and are even included on its main menu bar:


I strongly suggest we keep glossaries on Wikipedia, because they are really more than mere glossaries and serve a very important function.

The Transhumanist (formerly User:Go for it!) 21:48, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Transhumanist... I don't have a problem with saying glossaries are allowed... nor do I have a problem with saying glossaries are not allowed. I started this line of questioning because... assuming we do allow them... then we need to give editors guidance as to what the difference between a dictionary and a glossary is, and explain what makes up a good glossary article. At the moment we have nothing along those lines. Blueboar (talk) 22:21, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Then shouldn't you have focused on Wikipedia:Manual of Style (glossaries)? The Transhumanist 22:27, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Ah... so there actually is some guidance on glossaries after all... You know, I do wish someone had botherd to point that out a week ago, when I first started this thread. Now that I know of it, I have a sugestion. Given that the average lay editor is going to not understand the differences between a glossary and a dicionary, this issue is going to periodically pop up here again, it might be helpful to work in a more explicit link to the glossary MOS in this guideline.Blueboar (talk) 22:43, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Interesting. The MOS confirms glossaries "should not contain everyday words, nor terms not specific to the field in question." So we can distinguish glossaries from dictionaries. But WP:DICDEF also explicitly says we are not a jargon guide; can we also distinguish glossaries from jargon guides? That sounds trickier; arguably the two are synonymous. The only difference I can think of, is to stress Transhumanist's point that glossaries are part of Wikipedia's contents system -- a way of letting the reader view an array of terms at once instead of perusing numerous individual articles. However, this distinction might require the terms are wikilinked -- if you can't click to explore a term in more detail, then the list does seem to be more of a jargon guide or dictionary, rather than part of a contents system. Fletcher (talk) 00:12, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Distinguishing WP glossary list articles from dictionaries from jargon guides

Using dictionaries to arrive at meaning is a poor and faulty debate tactic. :-) Someone did that above in attempting to define what "glossary" means. Meaning requires context and application of one or more definitions within that context, while dictionaries provide nothing but definitions. Within the context of WP, a encyclopedic glossary standalone list article is emphatically not simply a subset of a dictionary, and is in fact nothing like a dictionary at all. Such articles are only superficially similar. Dictionaries generally provide: alternative spellings, etymology, pronunciation, concise definitions of general word usage, sometimes alt. definitions in specific fields, a usage example or quotation, and little else in most cases. A WP glossary article provides very little of that in most cases, instead giving an explanation of the term, which is of greater depth than a dicdef, as well as extensive usage information and other background material, specific to the context of the glossary article's topic, and in contextual relation to other terms in the same field. Of course, not every single entry in a glossary will necessarily be in-depth, as some terms are simple, or are just cross-references to alternative terms in the glossary that are more commonly used and have more depth at their entries, and so on.

But the principle is the issue; encyclopedic glossaries serve a different purpose. A dicdef provides a general reader with a baseline understanding of a word and its meanings, and some basic background information on the word's history. A glossary, in the WP context, provides information about terminology that the reader will encounter in articles on a particular topic, with the intent of assisting the reader in understanding the topic fully. For example, the cue sports articles either would be confusing and unhelpful to a great many readers without linking to terms at Glossary of cue sports terms, would have to be stripped bare of all field-specific terminology to such a dumbed-down extent that many would be outright offended by the result, or would have to have an incredible bulk of redundant explanation, article after article after article, of the same terms over and over again. The clear, obvious solution is a glossary, which is why so many of them exist, and why so many other articles include small ones as subsections. If anything, we need quite a few more, especially in arts and in sciences, the subfields of which all have a dense array of terminology that is both important to proper understanding of the topic but also impenetrable (without help) to those whose background is not in the field in question.

As for WP:NOT, it's wording is confused. Whoever(s) worked on that segment seem(s) to be unaware of the distinction between "jargon" and "slang". But it isn't important, because the passage in question is pretty clear: "Usage guides or slang and idiom guides. Descriptive articles about languages, dialects or types of slang (such as Klingon language, Cockney or Leet) are desirable. Prescriptive guides for prospective speakers of such languages are not. See "Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, or textbook" below for more information." At the cross-referenced section, none of the verboten types of informational presentation (instruction manual, text book, research paper, etc.) are in any way related to glossaries in Wikipedia (other than perhaps a very bad one, written as a usage guide, which should either be rewritten or deleted; not relevant to this issue).

Furthermore, WP:NOT#DICDEF also states: "Dictionary definitions. Although articles should begin with a good 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." This principle can easily be applied in spirit, here. I.e., glossary entries should begin with a good definition/description, but should provide other types of information, expanded with additional encyclopedic content. This is precisely what WP glossaries do.

Even further, WP standard operating procedure (see WP:SUMMARY, WP:MERGE, etc.) is to merge very short articles into larger, more general ones, and to split over-long articles into subarticles. This necessarily, inescapably leads to the development of encyclopedic glossaries here. The general course of such article evolution is a1) the introduction of stub articles on some terms in a field; b1) merger of those stubs into the main article on the subject (cf. the history of the Carrom article for a real-world example); bloating of the main article as the terminological material develops; ab2) alternatively, an early version of a main article may have a short glossary in it, without term stubs being merged in (see history of Cue sports for a real-world example); c) splitting of the article, resulting in a new glossary list article and a leaner main article (cf. the histories of Cue sports and Glossary of cue sports terms for a real-world example).

Deletion of glossary articles would do near-irreparable violence to WP. For example, over 1000 in-context links would break in cue sports articles with the deletion of a single glossary, and every cue sports article would have to be completely rewritten in one of two really crappy ways.

In closing, yes, there should be clear guidance on how to do glossaries properly. As already noted, this exists and has its own talk page. I move that this entire topic and its subtopics be tagged with {{Resolved|Moot; wrong venue.}}, and archived lest it continue to generate pointless, mis-placed discussion. To the extent that valid points have been raised about guidance, they belong there not here, and to the extent that other portions of this debate are a further attempt by those opposed to glossaries in Wikipedia to beat the dead horse again, this constitutes "asking the other parent" canvassing, after having lost this debate many times over, during the last several years. (See sidebar at Talk:Glossary of cue sports terms for links to numerious failed AfD attempts to delete glossaries on the basis of misreadings of WP:NOT.)

SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 21:19, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

I still don't see the difference between glossaries and jargon guides. It's easy to see how people reading DICDEF could get confused. One can argue glossaries are more expansive and are descriptive rather than prescriptive, but the fact is many of our glossaries are just lists of brief definitions, sometimes without any sources (Glossary of darts, Glossary of basketball terms). --Fletcher (talk) 05:26, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. If the glossaries are going to be there, then they need to include sources. List of cricket terms (in which I declare an interest as a member of the associated WikiProject), which is really a glossary more than it is a list despite its name, has quite a lot, although many terms still remain without a citation. Certainly that needs working on. However, the darts and basketball glossaries you mention have no sources cited. That seems deeply unsatisfactory. Loganberry (Talk) 03:00, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Fletcher and Loganberry: That's a problem with those particular articles; they are simply stubs in need of further development. If any particular glossary stub article is so bad that it is unsalvageable, then take it to AfD. Loganberry: It is unsatisfactory to have unsourced glossaries (and entries in them), just as it is unsatisfactory to have unsourced articles or statements in them, of any kind. Fletcher again, mostly: This is not a glossary problem, it's a general article editing problem, across the entire system. I.e., you are making a distinction that does not exist. By way of analogy, we might say that dogs that attack people for no reason should be put down (dicdefs to be deleted per WP:NOT). We also know that virtually all pet animals will occasionally bite people a little bit in play, or if injured, or whatever, and this should be discouraged and minimized, but isn't something we would execute them for (general WP consensus that articles that can reasonably be sourced should be kept, not deleted en-masse per an over-strict interpretation of WP:V just because they are not yet sourced). Your position (that glossaries should be deleted en masse for the same reason other articles are worked on rather than trashed) is essentially that all dogs should be put down, because they occasionally bite, while all other pets should be given some leeway. PS: Fletcher, I'm not sure what to make of "I still don't see the difference between glossaries and jargon guides", since you give (some of) the differences yourself two sentences later.
Regardless of all this chatter (or, in a sense, demonstrated by it), there is clearly no WP community consensus against glossaries that provide more than simple dicdefs, as has been amply demonstrated by glossaries' repeated survival at AfD (see sidebar at Talk:Glossary of cue sports terms for links to several examples). — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 20:31, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure your analogy to dogs reflects what I was saying -- you can't transwiki a dog but you can a glossary. I wasn't arguing for total deletion, however, just maintaining quality standards, which might require transwiki, or might not. IIRC my argument was really just that our policy is unclear on the subject. I take your point that verifiability is a concern with regular articles as well as glossaries; and it's statistically unclear if glossaries are in fact worse than regular articles in that respect. I stand by my comment on jargon guides: what I was saying is that, even if in theory one can make a distinction with glossaries, in actual practice on Wikipedia it is hard to see the difference.
It doesn't seem any immediate action is needed on glossaries. The best course is probably to solicit broader feedback on your draft MoS guideline, once you are satisfied with it. If that achieves consensus then likely a brief mention could be added to WP:NOT to try to reconcile the concepts. As it stands, I don't see consensus to remove glossaries en masse, but I also don't see consensus to have them, or at least in the current state many of them are in. Frankly I don't think people are thinking a lot about glossaries one way or the other! But I like glossaries, at least the ones that are wikilinked (not so much the unsourced dicdefs), and I'm sure we can work out something. Fletcher (talk) 03:01, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Old, old news

Just one example of how long this debate has been stone cold dead: Talk:List of Latin phrases#Move to Wiktionary – July 2005. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 00:16, 4 December 2008 (UTC)