Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not/Archive 26

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Archive 25 Archive 26 Archive 27

WP:Update

The April update of all content policy, deletion policy and enforcement policy pages and all the general style guidelines is done, and I'll try to get the updates done on the first of each month from now on. - Dank (formerly Dank55) (push to talk) 03:48, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Notability of short stories (for those interested in PLOT)

I've asked a question at Wikipedia talk:Notability (books)#Short story?, about whether a guideline for short story articles should be created. There are many short story articles that have only a synopsis. Any opinions and suggestions are appreciated. NJGW (talk) 03:08, 22 April 2009 (UTC) (edit: I should have specified the discussion can be found at the link above)

"There are many short story articles that have only a synopsis." And there's nothing wrong with that. --Pixelface (talk) 03:43, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Other than they violate WP:NOT, WP:SYNTHESIS and the all-important WP:ENC, of course... you can go tilting at windmills all you like, but your idea of what's wrong or right in these situations doesn't match Wikipedia's longstanding principles. DreamGuy (talk) 13:23, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Believe me, your ruleslawyring does not impress me. The Wikipedia: namespace is a wiki too you know. Have you happened to read the RFC thread above? Can you care to explain how summarizing a source qualifies as "synthesis"? And can you find me a definition of "encyclopedia" anywhere that says plot summaries are forbidden? I know plenty about Wikipedia's longstanding principles, and I also know plenty about longstanding practice. And speaking of Cervantes, go look at the article The Siege of Numantia. Maybe you could also tell me how long that article's been on Wikipedia (that is, if you can find the history tab). --Pixelface (talk) 08:47, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Ultimately, these probably need to meet the general notability guideline, though I can see merging of stories of notable authors into a "list of short stories by X" if they are otherwise not part of a notable anthology (say A Medicine for Melancholy). --MASEM (t) 03:57, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Ultimately, the GNG is but one indicator of notability. --Pixelface (talk) 11:07, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Ultimately best practise may be to merge them though. Or it may not. That's about the size of it, it pretty much comes down to consensus as to the best method of organising and presenting. Hiding T 12:09, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Probably the best thing to do with poor quality short stories is to fold them into collections or anthologies, if that's what they were/are published together as. Shunting them to the author doesn't seem like it's feasible, given we don't throw plot details into biographies. For example The Myst Reader is the anthology, but it also covers the plot and production of all three books. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 13:08, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
If there is no anthology to merge to, delete the plot details and merge anything salvageable to the biography page. If someone really insists on saving the plot details, they are free to start up a new wikia project for plot summaries and move such unencyclopedic content there. DreamGuy (talk) 13:23, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Any time someone says other Wikipedia editors are "free" to put content on Wikia or insist on calling something "unencyclopedic", I always think that the person suggesting as much is free to go to Britannica 2.0 and see if their idea of what's "encyclopedic" matches an actual encyclopedia. That means you. --Pixelface (talk) 08:34, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Do you just link to that every time everyone disagrees with you and hope that people will blindly accept that the page in somehow backs up what you say? You're not even a good bluffer. There's nothing there that supports your claims. Now, do you want to talk about encyclopedia content, or do you want to continue to fail at pulling mind games on people who aren't as gullible as you hope they'd be? DreamGuy (talk) 13:27, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Please don't make this personal; this should not be a battleground. Comment on content, not the editor. --MASEM (t) 13:32, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Why tell someone they're "free to start up a new wikia project for plot summaries" and then get all offended when someone tells you that you're free to go to another encylopedia project? I linked to a newspaper article about Britannica 2.0. I don't know the actual URL and I don't care. You're free to go there and see if your idea of an encyclopedia matches a real encyclopedia that's been around for more than a decade. Then put your money where your mouth is. The article doesn't "back up" what I say and I made no bluff and I didn't say it "supported my claims." Where do you get off saying that plot summaries are "unencyclopedic content"? You can talk about "encyclopedia content" to your heart's content at Britannica 2.0. How many encyclopedias have you ever worked for? You seriously think that encyclopedias don't contain plot summaries? Have you even read any part of any encyclopedia? Frankly, you have me wondering if that account's been compromised. --Pixelface (talk) 04:26, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

List of a show's...

Some Some articles on TV shows have the list of a show's broadcasters worldwide and that of a show's title in multiple languages. Some users consider those are unnecessary fancruft, and delete them all, while some other users think those are useful information, and keep them.

Should those kinds of list be considered indiscriminate collections of information? -- JSH-alive talkcontmail 09:12, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

(Wait! It could work with such kind of books and all kinds of media, also. -- JSH-alive talkcontmail 13:33, 30 April 2009 (UTC))

I'm inclined to say it is an indiscriminate collection of information, particularly the list of titles. It also does not mesh with WP:MOS-TV, and 99% of the time, is completely unsourceable/unverifiable. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 16:07, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
In general, if it is just a rebroadcast of that show in another language. In cases where it is a completely different production, nationalized for that country/area, then I'd keep that list. --MASEM (t) 12:42, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Alas, WP:ILIKEIT is no reason to keep such lists of indiscriminate stuff. If the lists are unverifiable, then they should be nominated for deletion. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:01, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
In response to JSH's second addition above, yes, the list of the alternate names of a published (and translated) work, show, movie, whatever in foreign countries is not appropriate. --MASEM (t) 14:05, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
And also, name of a fictional character in various languages. Now, it seems a solid guideline is needed. -- JSH-alive talkcontmail 07:01, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Guideline or Policy?

I was just wondering - why is WP:NOT tagged as policy? There are a lot of different concepts here and some of them seem to rise to the level of policy but others do not. For example, "Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought" is largely an expansion on our WP:OR policy, so it makes sense that we consider that policy as well. But other sections, like the one indicating that Wikipedia is not a personal web page host, is an expansion on WP:USER, which is a guideline. So why should it be policy here when it's only a guideline on the page referred to? Maybe it's overly lawyerly to worry about what's a guideline and what's a policy, but as long as we're making the distinction, I'm just not sure it makes sense to apply the term to such a broad swath of ideas. -Chunky Rice (talk) 20:34, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Actually many of the items in this list are noted in the Five pillars, so in some sense this policy actually has greater force than most other policies, in my view. Especially given that fact it seems like it unquestionably should be a policy to me. Locke9k (talk) 21:14, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I do think it's a mess - it just doesn't have the logical backbone that other policies do; it's basically a shopping list of "stuff the community has agreed WP shouldn't do". A lot of it is duplicative of things elsewhere, just collected in one place. I think a major revision to structure it as Wikipedia:Inclusion policy would improve it; but I'm not sure the reams of virtual paper that would require would be worth it. Rd232 talk 21:56, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps we could have a more explicit definition of which are considered policies or guidelines? I don't know, that might be too messy and hard to gain consensus on. Haipa Doragon (talkcontributions) 23:46, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Another early step in rationalizing this will be to split the behavioural and the content parts-- though I do not know what to call them. DGG (talk) 17:16, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
This is a content policy, pure and simple. Admittedly, a lot of the content, like WP:SOAPBOX is really a retred of other content policies, such as WP:NPOV. In some ways it makes sense to keep all of the prohibitions on article content in one place, rather than spreading them around. I guess it boils down to the fact that content that fails one or more content polices is an indiscriminate collection of information that is not suitable for inclusion in an encyclopedia. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:30, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Why is Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not a policy? The simple answer is that the {{policy}} template was created March 7, 2004[1] and that template was added to Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not on May 12, 2005 by Radiant! (no surprise there really since Radiant! appears in the top 20 editors of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines more than anyone else on Wikipedia[2]). Before that, this page was in Category:Wikipedia official policy as early as October 7, 2004[3]. Before that, this page was in Category:Policy thinktank as early as September 30, 2004[4]. Whether it should be policy is another question. The page seems to have begun[5] as a list of things encyclopedia articles are not, but it's gradually changed over 7 1/2 years. Also, just because a section links to another page (WP:USER for example), that doesn't mean that the section here is an expansion of the other page. For example, WP:V links to WP:RS, but WP:RS is not a policy. --Pixelface (talk) 04:04, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
the part that needs to be separated is the "Community " part. this should be policy. The rest should be a guideline. DGG (talk) 18:14, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Lyrics

I don't remember a consensus being gained for the addition of the statement "Excerpts of lyrics may be used within an article for the purpose of direct commentary upon them, or to illustrate some aspect of the style" in WP:NOT#LYRICS. I've removed it as a result. The current position is that lyrics should not be included in articles. If free, they should be in Wikisource. If non-free, they should not be on any Wikipedia article at all. Stifle (talk) 10:04, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Actually, no. The current consensus is presumably that of the main content guideline, Wikipedia:Do not include the full text of lengthy primary sources. I hope this isn't controversial, but I've reworked it to better reflect that guideline, and linked to it. I don't think it actually conflicted before, but it was a lot more ambiguous.Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 10:24, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I think your version may be a bit wordy, but it seems to reflect consensus in the sense of reflecting general good practice. I don't think there's ever been a consensus against lyric snippets for the purpose of commentary.—Kww(talk) 12:27, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Aye, I kind of threw it all in: I figured that it was better, for the moment, to try and summarise the whole guideline than to try and simplify it too much and get yelled at for leaving out material that others thought was crucial to the point. A simpler phrasing might be

Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 12:35, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Shoemaker's Holiday, are you still opponsed to lyric only articles, and if so why? --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 20:46, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I think I'm OK with how it appears now. The words "relative to the length of the article" are crucial. Stifle (talk) 13:25, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, if there's no objections except for mild ones related to length, we may as well leave it at that for now. Certainly, I agree with those words - the only reason I left them out of the attempt at shortening above is because that concept is made very clear in the linked guideline. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 14:45, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

WP#PLOT again.

Given that it is now plain that WP#PLOT lacks consensus to be here (which is exactly what the RfC was about) I'd like to explore the options

  1. Leave it as is. Inertia rules and we only change things that have consensus to change.
  2. Update it so that it is plain that we only don't have articles that are 100% plot.
  3. Remove it and put it in Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction) (WAF) or some other location.
    3a: Remove it from here, and open an RfC at WP:WAF to make sure we get the wording right, and consensus - there's been so many versions that I don't think we can point to a consensus wording for it. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 18:30, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
  4. Remove it entirely from here and everywhere else.

Please feel free to add other outcomes above but please keep the old numbers the same in order to keep discussion sane. So adding #5 or #3a is fine.

  • As I read the RfC and the comments, I think #3 is the correct outcome, but I suspect #2 is the best of the rest. My personal preference would be #4, but I don't think the RfC supports that. Hobit (talk) 18:17, 4 May 2009 (UTC)


  • There's two issues that I think we may need to strawpoll again for because the current poll only suggests moving off NOT but not if it should be weakened or not:
    • First Issue Where should advice that "Ultimately, the coverage of a fictional work should not be only a plot summary" should be located:
      1. Remain as policy at WP:NOT
      2. Remain as policy in new policy page (or possibly an existing policy page)
      3. Change to guideline in WP:WAF
      4. Change to guideline in new guideline page (or possibility an existing guideline page)
      5. No advice of this sort is needed and/or appropriate and should be removed outright from WP
  • Second Issue Given any but the last choice above, what wording should be used at the target policy/guideline page? --MASEM (t) 18:37, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
  • We should probably just remove the first and last option. They'll attract and undue amount of attention, and will ultimately polarize the debate, making it impossible to build a consensus. Rather, we should say "given that there is no consensus to remove WP:PLOT, but there appears to be large support for moving it and/or rephrasing it..." and then offer several middle options. Randomran (talk) 19:17, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I would like to see some analysis of the RFC before accepting the argument that consensus has changed. The straw poll seems quite close to me, so I see no consensus for removal, but mainly I would like to know what would be the benefits of allowing non-encyclopedic coverage, when clearly plot summary is not encyclopdedic. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 20:28, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Policy requires a decent amount of agreement. If over 50% are opposed to something being in a policy in any form, I don't see how we can continue to put it on a page that says that it has widespread consensus. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 20:33, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, to be fair, we're not about numbers here, we're looking at strength of argument - which is about equal on both sides. Plus there are a number of no !votes that suggest that they are misreading it (the ones that seem to be believe inclusion bans any plot summary, which is not the question being asked). But there are several no !votes that point to the fact that while the statement "coverage should not be only plot summary" is appropriate, WP:NOT is the wrong place for it, which is a very good point and I'm willing to consider if it should be moved - but there's more than enough support reading through all !votes that it should not be outright removed completely. Which is why I suggest a more specific straw poll now that the lay of the land that takes into account those no !votes that express the biteyness of PLOT being in NOT to figure out if a new location is better. That's why the above 5 options cover all possible cases and thus would be a quick numbers estimate to see where it should fall. --MASEM (t) 20:41, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I am not so sure. If it turns out the argument in favour of WP:NOT#PLOT being removed boils down to WP:IDONTLIKEIT, then that arguement does not hold up. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 20:44, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I find myself agreeing with Gavin here. At the risk of recapitulating the whole debate above, NOT isn't a popular policy. There are thousands of users who come here each week hoping to add content which we have determined violates NOT. If we assembled them and asked whether or not we should remove our restrictions on advertising, directory or blog content, there would be a resounding "yes". I'm not trying to draw an equivalence directly here. there are dozens of long term users of the encyclopedia who are unhappy with plot for reasons which extend beyond ILIKEIT. But we might want to consider that the boundaries of the encyclopedia are constantly contested. The fact that they are contested should not indicate in of itself that we need to expand them. Outcomes matter too. Articles which are predominantly plot summaries and cannot be sourced to independent, third party sources are routinely deleted. As articles move up our internal assessment schemes, the bulk and relative importance of original summary decreases. We have existing style guides and wikiproject suggestions noting that we regularly seek to limit plot summary in articles. Just like WP:N, these policies, guidelines and practices come into conflict with many editors. I think that the conflict is partially unavoidable. There is no system of inclusion that can be made to satisfy an open editing pool while still retaining some boundary of what our content is and is not. We should take care (as has been noted here) to fix or clarify positions where this conflict flares up. One of the reasons I supported FICT was to ameliorate the conflict between policy and editors. PLOT here should probably be revised to do the same.
But I'm not sure that we have consensus to move plot to WAF (where it may provide needed oomph but would likely be regularly dismissed as "just a style guide"). I'm convinced that we don't have consensus to eliminate it entirely. Protonk (talk) 21:00, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Ahh. (edit conflict) with Random. He speaks the truth. Finding the middle path is the way out. Protonk (talk) 21:00, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
And once again, we find ourselves dragged off topic with the old "keep it the same" versus "remove it entirely" polemics that can only end in "no consensus". I'll be waiting around for the moment when people get sick of this pattern, and decide to discuss the numerous options in the middle. Randomran (talk) 20:52, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I think #2 and #3 on the list at the top of this section are the middle ground. Secondly, I think you should propose something specific if you have any ideas about that middle ground. Hobit (talk) 21:26, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, was only talking about this little diatribe in the middle here. You're right that #2 and #3 are both compromise solutions that get us away from the old debates, so hopefully we can get people to focus on those. Randomran (talk) 22:12, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

(undent):If WP:NOTPLOT does not have consensus support, it should cease to be a policy, per WP:CCC. --Philcha (talk) 21:05, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

I suggest incorporating it into MOS and into the list of MOS elements required for GA status. I specifically would not want to see it incorporated only into WP:WAF, as the same principles apply to articles about non-fiction works in many fields - whether it's literature or science or political theory or whatever, third-party comments on the content, the influences on it and its influence on later works should be required for any kind of "higher grade". --Philcha (talk) 21:05, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
*sigh* Why is it that my statement that we should remove iot from here, and open a discussion to work out a wording to add to WP:WAF constantly re-interpreted as "let's throw the whole thing out"? It's like noone's even reading what I say.
Let me state my position - again. 1. This is not an appropriate place for it. 2. The core idea is reasonable, but the wording isn't stable, so we ought to discuss changes. 3. This discussion on wording is best done at the page where we propose to insert it, to make sure that there's no edit wars by editors of that page.
If you will look, I proposed a week ago that we begin to discuss what wording we should take to the new page. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 21:07, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
The place to discuss its incorporation into the GA criteria is at list of MOS elements required for GA status, not here. In practice, I believe that GA articles are not passed that are only plot summary. I have not seen it. Also, at WP:DYK, articles are not accepted for DYK that are only plot summaries, primarily because plot summaries are not referenced. —Mattisse (Talk) 21:20, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Hi, Mattisse, thanks for showing up. WP:NOTPLOT is currently a part of policy WP:NOT, not a part of MOS. I suggested it should be part of MOS (but not in as specific a section as WP:WAF). I mentioned this at WT:GAN because, if my proposal were accepted, the effects on WP:WIAGA need to be considered - and other regular frequenters of WT:GAN might spot snags that I haven't. -Philcha (talk) 13:00, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

positive wording

One of the things I've most disliked about this entire page is that it is worded negatively. I can see how it developed, but to actually say things in such a manner is characteristic of legalism and bureaucracy. It's like copyright law: the creator has all rights to copy and distribute--except -- and the exceptions and the exceptions to the exceptions is where all the complexity comes itn, until you need an expert to untangle it and find the actual meaning. Wikipedia should not be a place where you need to be an expert to know what you can do. The Wikipedia coverage of fictional works should be an appropriately balanced combination of description of the internal elements (such as plot, characters, and setting) and the external ones (such as creation and distribution and reception) and then we go on to discuss the extent of coverage and how to divide it into articles. I'm not sure it would fit in rhetorically here in the list of negatives, but we should still word it in a positive direction. Ideally, we can make the others into positive statements also, and call the page: WP:What wikipedia is. Too much to work out in one afternoon, so let's start right here with this. DGG (talk) 21:58, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Like the idea. Would want a better word than "appropriate" as it provides no guidance about ratio. Hobit (talk) 22:00, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
there is no one rule about ratio. Finding one is impossible, as the preceding year's worth of discussion makes evident. It will depend on both the specific subject being discussed, and the available material. Some topics have more worth saying about one thing than another. DGG (talk) 22:06, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Certainly, but as articles show up at AfD for being in violation of NOTPLOT, I'd like to see some more guidance about what we expect. Hobit (talk) 22:08, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I like Wagner's wording in Die Meistersinger: "Not too short, and not too long" . If I was not clear, this wording is intended to replace NOT PLOT. DGG (talk) 22:13, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I think this is great, but it ought to be in WP:WAF as per discussion above. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 10:59, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Why WP:NOT#PLOT must remain policy

It is general consensus on Wikipedia that articles about works of fiction should not be split and split again into ever more minutiae of detail treatment, with each split normally lowering the level of significant real-world coverage contained in an article. The reason is that as the focus on a work of fiction becomes narrower, the quality and quantity of real-world coverage becomes more limited, and makes it more difficult to write an encyclopedic article.

This means that while a book or television series may be the subject of significant real-world coverage, it is not normally advisable to have a separate article on every fictional character, episode, scene or chapter that appears in a work of fiction, if the only coverage available is limited to information about the plot that is over reliant on a perpsective that is in universe.

In alternative venues such as Wookieepedia, where the inclusion criteria are more relaxed, this is not a problem: plot summary can be used on its own, or to provide filler where real-world coverage is lacking in order to provided extended coverage of a topic.

But in Wikipedia, a lack of significant real-world coverage will result in successive conflicts with various content policies. Generally speaking, if a topic fails WP:GNG, then it is likely that it will fail one or more content polcies. To some editors, these content polcies seem like a continuous drag on the ability to write about fictional topics in the way that they are accustomed to, usually in an immersive, in universe style. However, content policy exists not only as an editorial standard, it also exists to support Wikipedia's mission to create an increasingly better written and more comprehensive encyclopedia, and that means fictional topics can't be exempt from them, explicitly or implicitly.

At the moment, there is a concerted effort to have WP:NOT#PLOT removed on the grounds that editors should be allowed to write plot only articles, as is the fashion in Wookieepedia. The problem with this is a failure to recognise that as the level of real-world coverage becomess less and less, a plot only article will come into increasing conflict with other content policies. It is not difficult to find fault with plot only articles, as they tend to fail WP:V due to lack of independent sourcing, WP:NPOV due to a lack of independent perspective and in the case of fictographies, WP:OR due to them being a literary genre.

For this reason, I don't think that WP:NOT#PLOT can be dispensed with: without real-world coverage that is needed to write balanced coverage for incluison in an encylopedic article, an article that is wholly comprised of plot summary will fail all of the core content policies.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:23, 28 April 2009 (UTC)


I disagree that there is general consensus on anything of the sort. The general consensus of Wikipedia is that they can indeed be split if the material is important enough, as shown by decisions at afd, where split articles on fiction are frequently but not always upheld. What you say is contradictory to all common sense: the more important a work, the less we can say? Incidentally, WP:NOT doesnt discuss in the least whether there can be separate articles on character or background elements. You may be using it to mean anything connected with the fictional world itself. But all it says is that it can't be only "plot".

It doesnt even say it cant be primarily plot. Looking at wookipedia, and other such, their detail is in fact inappropriate here, and I think there should be a distinction. I am perfectly willing to say an article can't be only plot. I am even prepared to say that in general a full discussion of plot should go with the main article. I am not prepared to say that an article can't be primarily plot.

Incidentally none of the notability guidelines are policy. They're guidelines, and subject to control here, for all types of articles. I agree with the goal of making "an increasingly better written and more comprehensive encyclopedia" and that applies to fictional topics also. More comprehensive is the key. means fictional topics can't be exempt from them, explicitly or implicitly. Otherwise you get us in a circular bind. We cant change WP:FICT because it contradicts here, and we cant change here because it contradicts FICT. There has to be a route to change. DGG (talk) 19:54, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree with DGG. There is widescale acceptance that plot-only articles are inappropriate, and that a "Wookiepedia" level of detail is inappropriate. However, the current policy is probably too harsh, or at least has been used in ways that are too harsh. We'd make a lot of progress if we rephrased the current WP:NOT.
  • Scene-by-scene plot descriptions: An article must do more than describe the plot of a narrative work, with substantial coverage of the work's real-world development, reception, and significance. However, a concise summary of the plot is an appropriate part of an article, and should consist of more than a mere teaser.
I think there's something in there for everyone. It never states that we don't want plot, but that we want more than just plot. And it also states that this policy is not an excuse to trim down a plot summary to the point that it beomes a mere teaser. I think most people would agree that this is an improvement on what we have now, or at worst a lateral move, because we explicitly try to stop this policy from being abused. Randomran (talk) 21:11, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Still broken. Try applying it to the Bible (where pretty much any character who did anything but begat another probably has an article) or, to use a practical example, the following FAs: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The General in His Labyrinth, Trial by Jury, Agrippina (opera). All of these clearly have a "scene-by-scene" plot description, for some definition of scene-by-scene, anyway. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 07:54, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Gavin, please read User:Pixelface/On NOTPLOT (and it's citations). It cannot be policy. And it's spelled "remain" by the way. --Pixelface (talk) 06:50, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
The general consenus in reality is that the thousands of article creators and writers who work on plot based articles that a scant minority of at times only a half dozen accounts comment on in AfDs and the millions of readers who come here for this information is that these articles are what Wikipedia is. Thus, "not plot" is something supported by a vocal minority only whereas compared to the few who comment in threads such as this versus those who actually work on and come here to read the articles suggests that overwhelmingly the community thinks spinoff articles are acceptable. And I cannot help but wonder how much we would actually improve these articles if we devoted more time to adding references and out of universe information than on Guideline pages and in AfDs. It increasingly seems that so much time and energy is misplaced. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 06:58, 29 April 2009 (UTC)


Gavin, histrionic comments about why we should ignore any people who dislike it being here neither further discussion, nor are they likely to to help, nor will strawman versions of the arguments against NOTPLOT.

I think everyone agrees we should have some policy or guidelines on fiction, but here, we can only use a blunt stick to deal with a nuanced issue. Better to open an RfC at, say, WP:WAF and sort out some appropriately-nuanced version of the ideas that has consensus. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 07:25, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

God, this is so boring - haven't we just had a discussion about plots in artciles about fiction somewhere? I agree (!) with Gavin Collins's first sentence, "It is general consensus on Wikipedia that articles about works of fiction should not be split and split again into ever more minutiae of detail treatment." After that it all goes wrong. I commented in the previous debate that articles on fiction have to start with plot, otherwise reporting of sources' commnets is meaningless, since there's nothing for them to refer to. And the fact that an article starts as plot-only does not mean it's going to go cancerous and metastasise into a swarm of in-universe trivia.
I confess when I see the word "encyclopedic" I suspect the motives of whoever uses it. I've seen no definition of the word, and suspect it's more of a tribal badge. It reminds me of the saying that the 2nd best way to sink a politician's career in the UK Conservative party is to ask "But is (s)he sound?", which really means "Can we trust this person to do as we want?" (BTW the most damning words in the UK Conservative party are "too clever", which means "thinks for himself / herself"). I suggest "encyclopedic" should be treated as WP:WEASEL. --Philcha (talk) 07:26, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I think the key point for you to note is that a lack of significant real-world coverage will result in successive conflicts with various content policies which define what content is or is not encyclopedic. In the case of plot-only articles that place undue wieght on the primary source, they lack credibility. Public and scholarly critique of an artist or work, when well-researched and verifiable, helps to put the work into context and enhances the credibility of the article. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:25, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Re "In the case of plot-only articles that place undue wieght on the primary source, they lack credibility", I suspect a plot summary that's defective in some way will be the most serious threat to credibility. If readers think, "That's not the movie I saw / book I read / etc.," they won't read down as far as the digest of third-party comments. "Public and scholarly critique ... enhances the credibility of the article" but is not essential to its credibility. --Philcha (talk) 12:10, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
That's right. The plot summary of Shane was incorrect for the longest time by giving the wrong ending, and that is the kind of thing that would give Wikipedia a bad rap with readers. I don't know how that originated, but it may have come from an incorrect secondary source. If you see the film itself (and the ending, probably a copyvio, is on Youtube), you can see how it actually ends. So I totally disagree that reliance on the primary source is a WEIGHT issue; if anything it is a verifiability issues. On this "NOT" question: While Gavin is certainly correct that plot-only articles are undesirable, there may be exceptions to that. Perhaps there should be an article on the plot of Ulysses, for instance. I just don't think it belongs in this particular policy, as it elevates plot issues to the far more weighty things that Wikipedia indisputably should not be. Stetsonharry (talk) 12:20, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Gavin, I know you want WP:NOT#PLOT to remain in this policy because you have a thing against articles about D&D characters. It's okay that you have a thing against articles about D&D characters. But it's not okay that you want to enforce that viewpoint through this policy page. If "lack of significant real-world coverage" results in an article not meeting various content policies (and that claim is dubious — even after Equazcion's attempt to sneak that into WP:V), what does that have to do with this policy? If an article in that state already does not meet other policies (and which policies exactly?), having a section in this policy would be redundant. You wouldn't even have to mention this policy, just the other policies.

If "significant coverage" does not exist about a particular story, it's not "undue weight" for the article to summarize the story. Once that coverage has been written, that's when "undue weight" comes into play — when deciding which opinions and viewpoints to put in the article. You could say that the King Claudius article is giving undue weight to the view of Charles Boyce, since the views of Charles Boyce are the only ones the article cites. But if the article didn't cite Charles Boyce, there would be no opinion given undue weight. All articles on Wikipedia lack credibility. That's because you never know what who wrote what and when. Regarding "critique", opinions are opinions. They are not facts we're dealing with. It's not "undue weight" to cite Shakespeare and his play Hamlet in the King Claudius article. I want to know who he is and what does he do. That can easily be summarized from WikiSource. What Charles Boyce thinks about the character is not the priority. If the views of Charles Boyce conflict with another source, then you can start talking about undue weight, and neutral point of view, and how best to summarize their views. --Pixelface (talk) 12:46, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
  • The straw poll above clearly indicates that there is no consensus for WP:PLOT here. There never has been any consensus for it. We're done. This section just seems to be WP:IDHT - tsk. Colonel Warden (talk) 12:42, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
    • Correct, there is no consensus to have it here. There is also (unfortunately) no consensus to remove it, and since it is already here, that means it stays here, does it not? Nutiketaiel (talk) 13:44, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
      • That is the rule (on rules), right? Anyway, the average article usually is okay; it is the children's TV shows/movies and/or articles on new TV shows that have too much plot. Some of the speculative fiction TV shows/movies/books have too much plot also. Resurr Section (talk) 13:58, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
        • Nope, per policy. Policies and guidelines describe standards that have community consensus is surely emphatic enough here. Hiding T
          • It does have community consensus. The straw poll is a list of all the players in this endless war who happened to notice the straw poll. But if you look at the response of the average editor who encounters an article on a minor character for the first time, their inclination is to think it has too much plot and tag it for deletion or merging. Resurr Section (talk) 14:04, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
            • Irrelevant unless you take account of those editors who create the articles in the first place. And a failure to comment means you can't count their opinion, per Wikipedia:Consensus: "silence can imply consent". But as I said up above, there never was an exit strategy so we're free to move the debate on from whether it should be in this page to a debate about what consensus means. Good luck with that. I'm quite clear on what our polcies direct us to do. Hiding T 15:00, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
              • In other words, because of the history of this battle to save some WoW/D&D/SF text, in which the text was added in the heady early days on Wikipedia , a small group of editors will repeatedly attack until the rules on using secondary sources to write articles are not enforced for that text. Resurr Section (talk) 15:11, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
                • Good luck to them. WP:NOR and WP:V deal with that. Hiding T 15:34, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
                • You started editing 20 days ago (under that username anyway). What history do you know about? Over one-third of Wikipedia's articles fall under Category:Fiction [6]. Fiction is much bigger than WoW/D&D/SF (by the way, do you happen to be a Naruto fan?) You don't need secondary sources to write a plot summary. Besides, it's possible to write an article that's just a plot summary from only secondary sources. And if a rule prevents you from improving Wikipedia, ignore it. --Pixelface (talk) 15:59, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
                  • I'll dispute your numbers in asserting Over one-third of Wikipedia's articles fall under Category:Fiction, as per [7]. Hiding T 08:25, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
                    • Look for yourself. --Pixelface (talk) 01:32, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
                      • I'm disputing that over one third of articles fall under the rubric of WP:PLOT per [8]. Hiding T 15:20, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
                        • Yes, I know that already. And I'm familiar with that story in the Signpost. I also know that the study was based on a database dump from January 2008. It's currently May 2009. Could show me where in the study it says how many articles fall under Category:Fiction? I just pointed you a tool (that I used) that will give you that information. Have you used it? --Pixelface (talk) 03:21, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
                          • The tool you pointed me to won't prove that over one third of articles fall under the rubric of WP:PLOT. I doubt you really contend that, so I'm not sure what the issue is. According to the study in the signpost, 30% fall within "Culture and the arts", so the top end of articles to which WP:PLOT can relate is going to be less than one third. Not every article within Category:Fiction is relevant here, is it? Hiding T 11:07, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
                  • Reply Obviously I had a previous incarnation. I stopped editing Wikipedia quite a while ago because of this sort of fighting, and am not posting using any other username at present. I care about quality and improving Wikipedia as much as the next person, and it is my view that secondary sources are needed, at about one per paragraph, to justify anything on Wikipedia. I am a huge fan of fiction, which is why I can say that the error rate in these plot summaries is high. I view policy as set by precedent and usage, which is why the current state of affairs is fine the way it is; PLOT is discouraged, but practiced, and over time excessive text by fans is pruned by more mature fans--sometimes even the same editors as they grow up. PLOT is needed because people refuse to abide by NOR, N or V. Resurr Section (talk) 19:51, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
      • Nutiketaiel, if that were true, I could add "Wikipedia is not a place for Nutiketaiel to edit" to this policy. Then I could contact editors who don't like you (or wait for them to show up), and then there would be no consensus to remove it. But since it's already here, does that mean it stays here? No. A person might edit a policy page after consensus to add, no consenssu to add, or no discussion whatsoever. Editors make bold edits to policy all the time. But text within policy must have consensus to be policy. You do not have to get consensus to remove a portion of policy (that has no consensus to be policy) before it can be removed. It needs consensus to be here. A policy must have wide acceptance among editors. --Pixelface (talk) 15:43, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

(undent)I did read in a policy/guideline awhile ago that if there is a lack of consensus on something, the status quo should be used. "No consensus" in AFD means "keep". "No consensus" in a merge discussion means "keep separate". But that's at the content level; I'm not sure if it also applied to policies. When there is "no consensus" on a policy, shouldn't that mean that it shouldn't be policy? It might be more acceptable on guidelines, but looking at WP:POL: "Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered a standard that, with rare exceptions, all users should follow." If there is no consensus on a policy, then it doesn't have "wide acceptance", and I'm not sure if the fact that it has been policy for a long time should really affect that. If NOTPLOT was just now being proposed and the above poll was done, it obviously would not be added to the policy due to a lack of consensus. Just because it has been in the policy for a few years doesn't mean that it has any more consensus just because of that reason... after all consensus can change.

Also, I think that there may be a misunderstanding in some of this discussion. I think that many opposers of NOTPLOTs inclusion in the policy is because it is in a policy. Having more detailed information about what amounts of plot is acceptable would, in my opinion, make perfect sense in a guideline like WP:WAF, but not in a policy that also includes things such as NOTMYSPACE, NOTCRYSTAL, and NOTFORUM. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 16:06, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Drilnoth. I'd really like to have a more productive discussion on relocating WP:NOTPLOT, or rewording it. But it's frustrating when someone comes along and says "it must stay exactly the same", and others are more than happy to take the bait and respond with "it must be destroyed!" Can we take a step back and see how futile these arguments are? Wikipedia works on consensus building. Randomran (talk) 16:19, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
One interpretation (and that's all that is) of the straw poll is that:
  • The concept of PLOT is still strong enough to be policy, and certainly at least a guideline (all the Yes voters, and a good chunk of "No" voters) (And that is, to be clear, that plot summaries are appropriate, but that they shouldn't be the only aspect that constitutes a work's coverage)
  • PLOT as written into NOT is possibly misplaced because it implies plot summaries are not appropriate at any time. (most of the No votes)
Thus, I think the prudent action is to move it, which begs the question, is it strong enough to be policy (thus likely requiring a new page) or is it a good guideline (allowing it to be moved to WAF without question). The way I read the !votes, I'd believe it edges on policy, which is why I think we need to think about a new policy page that can go into depth to encompass all the thoughts and issues relating to this. --MASEM (t) 16:25, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
In answer to Randomran, I am not making bald assertions that WP:NOT#PLOT should not removed from this guideline. The rationale for keeping is overwhealming in the sense that plot only articles conflict with Wikipedia's existing policies and guidelines.
  1. Plot only articles fail WP:V because reliable, third-party sources are necessary both to substantiate material within articles and to give credit to authors and publishers in order to avoid plagiarism and copyright violations;
  2. Plot only articles do not contain any measure of encyclopedic coverage as described by WP:INUNIVERSE;
  3. Plot only articles conflict with WP:UNDUE on grounds that they disregard all or most aspects of a work of fiction as a creative endeavour; instead undue weight is given to trivial aspects of a work of fiction (again, WP:INUNIVERSE refers);
  4. Plot only articles conflict with guidelines, such as WP:N because evidence of notability cannont be confered from coverage of a topic which does not impart real-world information about its subject matter by repeating or summarising the primary source.
Overall, the achilles heal of any argument that plot only articles should be allowable is a failure to recognise that as the level of real-world coverage becomess less and less, a plot only article will come into increasing conflict with other content policies. Simply removing WP:NOT#PLOT on the grounds that some editors disagree with it. The fact remains that as long as this policy is supported by WP:WAF in verifiable evidence that it enjoys consensus support at guideline level.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:45, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Let's have a competition to see who can pick the most holes in Gavin Collins's last post, with a special prize for the most holes in a single item.
Or let's do something productive, as A Nobody suggested in ""not plot" is something supported by a vocal minority only whereas compared to the few who comment in threads such as this versus those who actually work on and come here to read the articles suggests that overwhelmingly the community thinks spinoff articles are acceptable. And I cannot help but wonder how much we would actually improve these articles if we devoted more time to adding references and out of universe information than on Guideline pages and in AfDs."
I'm not an all-out inclusionist, but this discussion is almost a satire on the follies of deletionism. --Philcha (talk) 08:12, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
This discussion is not about inclusionists vs deletionists. I can see the point you are making, namely the main argument against about having a policy about plot only articles that fits within the framework of Wikipedia's existing policies and guidelines is that it would facilitate the deletion of articles which do not meet WP:NOT#PLOT. However, this is an entirely spurious argument when you think about it. I have never participated in an AFD discussion in which a policy or guideline has been invoked, and the participants automatically agreed that this was the correct approach. AFD is conducted through a process of peer review in which all the arguments and opinions are weighed up, and everyone's opinion counts. Since policies and guidelines can proscribe what editor's opinions must be, perhaps you now realise that WP:NOT#PLOT is not a magic bullet that can guarantee an article will deleted. In my experience, most plot only articles get merged in topics that provide real-world evidence of notability. As the level of real-world coverage becomess less and less, a plot only article will come into increasing conflict with other content policies. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:37, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
How do you refute his point 4, "Plot only articles conflict with guidelines, such as WP:N because evidence of notability cannont be confered from coverage of a topic which does not impart real-world information about its subject matter by repeating or summarising the primary source"? Resurr Section (talk) 09:03, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
And for that matter, how do you reconcile having lengthy plot descriptions with the WP:PSTS policy? Resurr Section (talk) 09:24, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
OMG, there's another one! If point 4 simply said, ""Plot only articles conflict with guidelines, such asWP:N" I'd agree with it as a bald fact. The addition of "such as" conflicts with [[WP:WEASEL}}.
WP:PSTS is irrelevant so long as the plot summary is only that, and does not incluide and comments on motifs, construction, characterisation, or any other aspect of literary criticism. Merely summarising something that has been published cannot conflict with any policy or guideline dicussed here (WP:BLP and WP:ATTACK are a different matter) because that's what encylopedias do - otherwise they'd have to quote every single word of very source literally, which would be WP:PLAGIARISM. --Philcha (talk) 13:46, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I find incredible Gavin Collins "I have never participated in an AFD discussion in which a policy or guideline has been invoked, and the participants automatically agreed that this was the correct approach". As far as I can see "delete, not notable" is the 3rd most common phrase in AfDs, behind "keep per ..." and "delete, per ..." --Philcha (talk) 13:46, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

I need to repeat for the aggressive group of people hoping to wikilawyer their way into getting what they want without the consensus to do so: if you don't have consensus to remove something, as you clearly do not, you cannot remove it by claiming there is no consensus to keep. That's exactly opposite of how everything works here. PLOT has always been in this policy, has always been supported, and a coordinated campaign by a small but vocal group of people who don't want to play by the rules don't get to change the rules with an argument of "we don't have the support to change it but we win anyway". I've not seen such a calculated attempt to turn Wikipedia policy on its head in a long time. DreamGuy (talk) 14:05, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Always? Really now! In any case, this is, as far as I can tell, the first widespread debate as to whether the addition has consensus. If it shows there isn't consensus for the inclusion, then it cannot be considered a "a widely accepted standard", as all policy pages say they are right at the top. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 14:27, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
In answer to Shoemaker's holiday, its not that simple. Wikipeida's existing framework of policies and guidelines do have consensus, and as the level of real-world coverage in a plot only article becomes becomes less and less, it will come into increasing conflict with them. Philcha can dismiss these concerns with a bald assertion that they are mere weasel words, but as I have made clear at the start of this section, Wikipedia policy don't exist as a restaint on editorial autonomy as Philcha might have you believe; rather it is there to support the creation of articles which anyone can edit without the need for editorial oversight by any other authority (such as a panel of experts). --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:54, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Are you claiming that WP:NOT#PLOT has consensus to be policy? Because it doesn't. And if you're saying that a section of policy page that has no consensus to be policy should remain on that policy page, you're dead wrong. You absolutely do not need consensus to remove something from a policy page before it can be removed. Otherwise, whenever someone makes a bold addition to a policy page and someone wants to remove it, it would have to be debated for days until there was a consensus to remove it. No, sections of policy must have consensus in order to be policy. They must have wide acceptance among editors. The straw poll above is proof that WP:NOT#PLOT does not have wide acceptance among editors.

As for "PLOT has always been in this policy, has always been supported...", WP:NOT#PLOT has not "always been in this policy." WP:NOT#PLOT was proposed on June 29, 2006 and there was no consensus to add it when it was proposed. It was supported by a total of six people, including the proposer — and it was not supported by six people. WP:NOT#PLOT was then added to this policy on July 9, 2006 when there was no consensus to do so. And WP:NOT#PLOT was removed for the first time less than 3 months later on October 2, 2006[9] — probably due to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Plot of Naruto I [10], where Pentasyllabic cited WP:NOT#PLOT in the reason for deletion. The article was kept at the time, more evidence that WP:NOT#PLOT did not actually have community consensus.

As far as can be determined, this page was created September 24, 2001[11] (it's possible any older history was lost in the transition from UseModWiki to PhpWiki). Based on that date, this page existed for nearly five years without WP:NOT#PLOT.[12] WP:NOT#PLOT didn't even exist[13] when you began editing[14] in November 2004, DreamGuy. Wikipedia:Check your fiction existed though[15]. The {{policy}} template was created March 7, 2004[16]. That template was added to Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not on May 12, 2005 by Radiant!. Before that, this page was in Category:Wikipedia official policy as early as October 7, 2004[17]. Before that, this page was in Category:Policy thinktank as early as September 30, 2004[18]. WP:NOT#PLOT clearly had support from some editors when it was proposed, and clearly has support from some editors now, but policies describe standards that have community consensus. WP:NOT#PLOT does not. --Pixelface (talk) 02:47, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
Consensus can change. This historical excursion fails to recognize that true Policy is not written down; it exists in the minds of users. A lot of articles on fiction are written by children and children cannot be expected to understand the need for reliance on secondary sources to guide the article. Instead, they are convinced that the reader will be entertained, as they were, by a retelling of the plot twists, revelations in the backstory and the other plot devices. Resurr Section (talk) 03:13, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
This gets covered by WP:Competence is required. Anyone, regardless of age, can edit, but if they can't comprehend policies and guidelines, they aren't mature enough to edit.—Kww(talk) 03:25, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that WP:NOT#PLOT existed in the "minds of users" before it was added to this policy? And if "true" policy does not need to be written down, there's no reason to have WP:NOT#PLOT here anyway — that is, if it were true policy. People would just always argue to delete plot-only articles, but that doesn't happen.[19] Look at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Plot of Les Misérables. You've got people saying befehl ist befehl, people (including the closing admin) saying "this rule is a rule is a rule", looking at WP:NOT#PLOT as some kind of authority — completely ignoring that the "rule" was written by just another anonymous person on the Internet. If policies describe standards that have community consensus, and if this policy actually describes standards that have community consensus, you could remove everything from this policy page right now, build it up from scratch and it would look the same (or very similar). I don't think WP:NOT#PLOT has ever reflected the thinking of the community. It's reflected the thinking of small group of editors.

You're right, many articles about fiction can be written by children. If you have a problem with that, you may want to propose an age-limit policy. Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. It's easy for a child to retell any of Aesop's fables. And nobody needs secondary sources to do so. What happens in the fable? Consult the fable itself. What happens in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? Go to the book. Who is Cosette and what does she do? Consult the novel, or the musical. If an editor is capable of providing a summary of a secondary source about a fictional work, they're certainly capable of providing a summary of the fictional work itself. And you don't need secondary sources to tell you what happens in a story. Look at some of our featured articles: The Empire Strikes Back, Quatermass and the Pit, Casablanca, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pattern Recognition, etc. Any secondary sources would be consulting the primary source anyway. Now, what does The Crow and the Pitcher mean? If you want to include analysis in the article, fine, cite a secondary source. Have conflicting interpretations been published? Fine, cite them. But you don't need analysis to answer the question "What is fictional work X?" or "Who is fictional character Y?" If you want to insist on analysis, okay, Wikipedia editors can and do provide their own analysis all the time, like it or not. If a child, say a fan of Naruto, makes a plot-only article and it's nominated for deletion for "violating WP:NOT#PLOT", do you think that would make them more likely to add secondary sources to plot-only articles in the future or more likely they'd just start vandalizing after seeing all the other plot-only articles (many of which have survived multiple AFDs)? I suppose they might even start redirecting every plot-only article they see because "them's the rules." --Pixelface (talk) 16:35, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
What I am suggesting is that editors need guidance. Written rules are needed for some people. The continuing war on the absolute requirement of citing secondary sources to write a tertiary source is misguided. Resurr Section (talk) 03:53, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Anything that has secondary sources can be the topic of a Wikipedia article. The examples you provide are of classics of civilization that have secondary sources. Joseph Campbell commented on Star Wars. If secondary sources are found for Elaeniaro Anime, great. Resurr Section (talk) 03:53, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
  • The complete lack of willingness of most people to build a consensus here is embarrassing. I won't be surprised if we're arguing about "keep exactly the same" versus "remove it entirely" one year from now, unless people wise up and recognize we have to find a middle option to build a consensus. Randomran (talk) 15:28, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
  • That's what I was trying to do in my post above, but as always the discussion descended into a completely unproductive battle between two equally uncompromising sides. Here's an idea: Why don't we try to compromise by discussing the following section... –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 15:40, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
The only issue where I feel we can compromise on is the issue raised by Philcha is that WP:NOT#PLOT is being used as a "one-stop" deletion arguement at WP:AFD, and maybe he has a fair point. I am open to expanding the wording, so that it is not a bald prohibition without rationale, but is clearly explained.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:12, 30 April 2009 (UTC)


NOTPLOT: Guideline discussion

Rather than arguing over whether NOTPLOT should be kept as-is or removed altogether, with no middle ground, let's try to discuss the pros and cons of having NOTPLOT in a guideline like WP:WAF. For the users who fully support NOTPLOT, this would be a little less firm and more likely to be ignored but it would also need to be generally followed in the long term in the same way that another important guideline, WP:N, is. For the users who feel that NOTPLOT should be removed entirely, demotion to guideline status will provide them a little more leeway to work with plot in articles without feeling quite the same level of impending deletion as there is now (kind of like with non-notable articles; they are typically given some more time to grow before being AFD'd). Neither side would truly get what they wanted, but neither side should be completely dissatisfied, either. This dispute won't be resolved—ever—unless a compromise can be reached. Let's try to have some productive discussion, rather than having each side arguing the other around and around in circles that never get anywhere. What do you think of having NOTPLOT as a guideline, rather than a policy, keeping in mind that it could be a compromise and, therefore, not necessarily what anybody, both yourself and the users with the opposite view, really wants to see. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 15:40, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, this just won't work. Since plot only article fail WP:V on account that they don't contain any reliable sources that are independent of the primary work, demoting WP:NOT#PLOT from a content guideline to a style guideline is not acceptable. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:48, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
So how about a content guideline, rather than a content policy? It doesn't have to be WP:WAF that it is moved to. As I said, this won't perfectly suit everyone... I'd rather see it made an essay or something, but that isn't going to happen because it is unreasonable. I'm trying to help find a middle ground that will suit everyone to some extent, even if it isn't quite what any one person wants.
Anyway, I feel that plot-only articles can pass WP:V; reliable sources often have some information on the plot which can be used for verifiable sourcing. If an article fails WP:V because it is entirely plot and it doesn't have such reliable sources, it can be merged or deleted per WP:V, so NOTPLOT wouldn't be needed for removing such pages. NOTPLOT would, however, seem to make some perfectly verifiable pages unacceptable even if they do use reliable sources. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 15:54, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Plot summaries have nothing to do with sources - or at least, it's not just a sourcing. It is possible in many cases (classical works) to source from secondary materials without touching real world aspects (though if you can do this, you likely have more than enough secondary sources to fill out the real world side). This is a balance of content issue, almost an extension of NPOV's part about undue weight. --MASEM (t) 15:57, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm a little worried that demoting it to guideline is weaker than what consensus suggests. Several "no" !votes on the straw poll suggest that it's still a valid argument but express the concern that editors may take its presence in NOT to immediately AFD articles that are plot-only, and another group of "No" !votes suggest that the presence of PLOT here in NOT implies that plot summaries are never appropriate. Both of these are very valid concerns, but they still emphases that a plot summary should be part of , but not the only aspect, of the coverage of a work of fiction. Only a handful of "no" !votes can be read to outright disagree with this factor. This suggests that there's still the strength of a policy behind it but just in NOT. Unfortunately, save for my suggestion of NPOV (as this really comes down to an issue about balanced coverage), there's really no other long-standing existing policy this could be moved into, and even the NPOV is not the best home for it as is. If the consensus agrees that if we're trying to avoid creating a new policy page but we need to move PLOT off here to avoid the implications of what NOT implies, then maybe WAF is the best place, but there's something that bothers me about demoting the concept to a guideline given that it has the reasonable strength to be policy. --MASEM (t) 15:57, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
"Reasonable strength to be policy"? No. It. Doesn't. Get over it. It should not take take this long to remove a section of policy that does not have consensus to be policy. Masem, your stubborness, and your recent re-addition of WP:NOT#PLOT to this policy, is absolutely ridiculous. --Pixelface (talk) 01:28, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
This discussion is the new consensus - what has happened in the past is not longer relevant per WP:CCC. The above RFC shows that there needs to be some change (particularly avoiding the misconception this invalidates any use of plot summary) and suggests a move off NOT into a separate page. But there's enough people in all three !vote categories that support the idea that coverage of a topic should not be only plot summary. (which, btw, is not the same as "plot-only articles are not allowed", since a article may be part of several per WP:SS that make up coverage). --MASEM (t) 03:55, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
There is no new consensus here Masem. Just still no consensus for WP:NOT#PLOT to be policy. Like I've been telling you for more than a goddamn year. And what happened in the past[20] [21] is not irrelevant. If that were true, you would have never started those ANI threads on me and user RFC on me for my removals of WP:NOT#PLOT — removals, btw, which are totally justified by the RFC above. The RFC above shows that there is no consensus for WP:NOT#PLOT to be policy (if you were ever having trouble believing that). Accordingly, Shoemaker's Holiday removed WP:NOT#PLOT from this policy on April 23, 2009 and you re-added it — again. Care to explain that? You're an admin. And you've re-added WP:NOT#PLOT to this policy more than anyone else on Wikipedia. [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] I am sick and tired of your obstructionism. Enough is enough already. You just can't let it go, can you? --Pixelface (talk) 15:14, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
You're not even reading the conversation or attempting to work on collaboration on a solution, you're just reiterating which is not helping. Again Consensus can change, and Shoemaker's RFC above is the current reassessment regarding PLOT which overrides any other previous discussion or consensus on PLOT. That includes any past assertion that PLOT has consensus or no consensus to be in NOT. Now, even I agree that reading the !votes that there's likely good reason to move PLOT out of NOT, but the concept behind it is reiterated through a majority of all !votes and thus appears to still be a general policy, that coverage of topics should not be solely plot summary. Taking it out of NOT can allow for more discussion on the point and strongly assert that PLOT is not a reason for deletion.
The only reason I've reverted Shoemaker's change was that the RFC was still on going and until it is completed we should not be making changes to what the RFC is discussing, even his straw poll said that it would be evaluated after 2 weeks and that change was not two weeks after the RFC. --MASEM (t) 15:36, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps we should start a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Fiction (getting rid of the redirect first, of course) about how to go about creating a new policy regarding fiction... –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 15:47, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
I could live with this. But maybe we should brainstorm some other locations besides WAF. Maybe there are better locations. Let's try to ignore the few people who insist on a hardline either way, unless they truly are a majority. Randomran (talk) 15:58, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Your misssing the point; most of the policies and guidelines have some prohibition against plot only articles. For instance, a plot summary might come from a reliable source, but guidelines such as WP:BK#Criteria specifically prohibit the use of flap copy as evidence of notablility. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:05, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
If plot only article are already prohibited by multiple other policies, as you state, then why are you so fixed on having it redundantly listed here? If your assertion is truly correct then removing it from this policy shouldn't affect anything. Locke9k (talk) 20:08, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
The kind of users who create excessive decriptions of plots (children, in other words) will not understand what a primary vs a secondary source is. They need a simple explanation of what is an is not appropriate. Resurr Section (talk) 20:44, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
anyone who uses flap copy is clearly not doing it right, for several reasons, including the prohibition on teasers: sections on plot here have to give the ending. One can usually tell flap copy because the plot description is too short. But this is a separate problem: how to write them competently. (the worst of it is the episode section, written in TVguide style, which is possibly even worse)

While I dislike deletionism, I'm not in favour of fancruft. Attempting to strengthen the policing of fancruft is pointless, because fan-boys hugely outnumber good editors, and policy changes designed to exclude fancruft have tarnished WP's image and very probably alienated newbies who might have become good editors with a bit of gentle guidance. I've done a bit of lateral thinking and proposed at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Make_each_article.27s_class_visible_to_unregistered_users what I think might be a win-win solution to issues like this. --Philcha (talk) 16:18, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Just as a point: for every article that says that WP's current "cruft removal" is tarnishing its image, there's likely another article that criticizes WP for documenting fiction in too much details over the weight of other topics, also tarnishing its image. The pendulum of what degree to fiction that we cover has swung back from being too deletionist and is approaching a midpoint. It is important to get this pretty close to right. (and yes, the class idea is good to help encourage editors to get involved) --MASEM (t) 16:25, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
citation for that, please. I think the ratio is probable 5:1. pro fiction, though it of course depends on where you look. What I think really tarnishes our image here is inconsistency, and, even more, bad writing. There are lots of ways to do an encyclopedia, but people expect serious reference works to have some degree of uniformity and quality. DGG (talk) 17:23, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
  • you are all aware of current guidance: Articles about fictional topics should not read like book reports; instead, they should explain the topic's significance to the work. After reading the article, the reader should be able to understand why a character, place, or event was included in the fictional work. That's been around since before we had the guideline/policy split, when it was one of Wikipedia's rules to consider. It's currently guidance over at WP:CYF. It helped form the initial proposal for WP:PLOT. Personally, I'm thinking we p[erhaps do need a separate policy on fiction the way we have a separate policy on biographies. Eventually I would imagine every subject area is going to need its own policies. Hiding T 10:09, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
But I still think it's one aspect that's being thrust into the limelight far too much by this. Far better to handle it as part of a coherent set of guidelines. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 16:12, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

For what it is worth, I've got a proposal at User:Phil Sandifer/Fiction that attempts to situate the core of NOT#PLOT as a guideline that is better tied to other policies on fiction, and thus fills the much-needed hole of a guideline on what it means to cover fiction in an encyclopedia of fact. It still needs some work, but I'm open to comments on it. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:51, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Should this be on the watchlist? I know that it is on CENT, but as we may recall, FICT was placed on the watchlist and received a good proportion of the RfC traffic from there. Arguably changing NOT is a bigger deal than creating FICT. Thoughts? Protonk (talk) 20:46, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Arbcom case opened

I have opened an Arbcom case at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration#WP:NOT#PLOT. All are welcome to participate. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 15:46, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, that's a request; open is another matter. Seems to be short on parties. Cheers, Jack Merridew 15:57, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I've commented, and knowing ArbCom, this is way too premature of a step to be taken. --MASEM (t) 15:58, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Either this is very good timing or well organised concert party [28][29][30]. I would like to think this is all in good faith, but action represents an unnecessary escalation. Shoemaker has already started an RFC, an Arbcom case. What next for heaven's sake? --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:25, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I notice that one of the diffs above is my protection of the article. That's rather unfortunate, since it seems to imply that I am part of this "well organised concert party" - I'm not sure what that means, but it doesn't really sound good. I would hope that discussion here can establish whether or not there is a consensus to change policy, without animosity, personal attacks, grudging admittance of good faith, or anything in between. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 16:56, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
You might start by restoring the longstanding consensus version of the article. By letting someone who clearly does not have consensus make a change and protect that version -- whether intentional or not -- you are taking a side. The status quo must be preserved until an actual consensus is established, otherwise someone has successfully gamed the system. DreamGuy (talk) 17:06, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
You protected it in a state where it contradicts long-standing policy. Normally I'm not big on "wrong version" arguments, but in this case I am. It's been brought up at ANI. Please note that I don't accuse you of wrongdoing, just that I think that preserving stable policy is one of the rare cases where the correct action would have been to revert SH's change while the article was protected, and am trying to get consensus to do so at ANI.—Kww(talk) 17:08, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I started a discussion at WP:AN. Needless to say, I didn't think the situation required urgent administrator intervention. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 17:11, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I have already commented on SheffieldSteel's talk page. I suggest that next time a administrator blocks this policy from being edited, he do his detective work before hand, not after, rather than use WP:WRONG as an excuse to make a sudden intervention, which in this instance seems to bizzarely reward the edit warrior. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:22, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Following protection policy shouldn't be cause for trouting and insinuations that I'm colluding or acting in bad faith to protect a version of the article that I disagree with. Apologies if this makes no sense; I'm sure Gavin sees his actions as perfectly rational but I cannot personally see how. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 17:50, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
You might be right, but I think a word on two (like a warning) on this talk page would have worked wonders - at least then we would know where you coming from. It seems to me that WP:WRONG seems to be the only policy which administrators refer to nowerdays, and then only in retrospect.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:54, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

I think you guys are unfairly jumping on Sheff. There is no reason to insinuate that he acted to aggravate an edit war. His actions were within a reasonable interpretation of policy (arguably crystal clear if you read only PROTECT). And he reversed his actions when questions were raised about them. Protonk (talk) 17:58, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, it's an innocent mistake. Sometimes the long-standing version is obscured when you look at the most recent edits. It helps to check back at what was the policy a month or so ago, but even then, you might stumble across a fleeting version. Randomran (talk) 18:03, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Per WP:POLICY (shown above) it really doesn't matter if the text has been around for a while.... Hobit (talk) 18:07, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
We're really talking about WP:PREFER, here. Randomran (talk) 18:18, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Really? Which part? I'm seeing nothing that applies to this discussion there. Hobit (talk) 18:23, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Actually the decision to protect the article as-is was taken deliberately. The reason I did not revert to a pre-edit-war version was because I did not want my personal views to be reflected in my admin actions. I believe policy shouldn't be changed without a consensus to do so, and I believe WP:PLOT should be part of WP:NOT. My reading of protection policy (specifically the section linked to by WP:PREFER) gives me the option to revert; I decided not to revert in an attempt to avoid giving the appearance of acting improperly. That didn't work out so well, and here we are  :-/ SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 18:43, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for trying. It's tough to handle these kinds of contentious issues. Randomran (talk) 19:21, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

← (ec) I'll agree with Protonk here (once again) and suggest that we are always supposed to AGF. While I'm sure it's not intensional, I think that maybe we're looking for a scapegoat to blame, and Sheff got caught in the crossfire. Perhaps a lot of it stems from the difficulties in achieving a community consensus for items like NOTPLOT. From my vantage point, it looks like a lot of great writers are starting to show some signs of fatigue and frustration. We're trying to take something that is not real and document it in a very real world fashion. I don't know what the "big picture" answer is to dealing with fictional elements is; but, I think it's important that we stay focused on the task at hand. We need to find wording that everyone will accept, and we need not look for any individuals to blame when we fail. We should try to learn from what has not worked in the past, and look for better (and as DGG has mentioned), more positive ways to adjust the items that need adjusted. I don't know that ArbCom is going to be willing to "decide our issues" for us, so perhaps it's better to simply search for our own compromises that we all can live with. The page is WP:NOT. The general topic folks is "Fiction" >> and we've now segregated the individual element of "Plot" into its own discussion. Could we please close out the WP:PREFER, WP:WRONG, and other items better dealt with at WP:PROTECT? Just a thought. — Ched :  ?  19:40, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

    • I take pleasure in finally being able to agree with Gavin's initial statement--though, alas, not his subsequent ones. . Arbcom has twice opened cases on this, and, each time, refused to decide the content issue, instead deciding the question before it on the narrowest possible behavioral grounds. The only actual content issue i can recall their ever dealing with is fringe science, and they decided it in such a way that there have been multiple cases about it there and elsewhere ever since. If they were to actually decide content guidelines, it would indeed mark a revolution, and I am not sure a desirable one. My own view is that they're a den of wild beasts, unsafe to anyone in the vicinity. Best avoided, because the results will be perhaps unexpected but certainly disagreeable.. I do not think anyone on any side of any issue has ever has ever gone away from a decision (or non-decision) there satisfied. I don't disagree with subsequent comments about an apparent conspiracy. If the fiction-positive people were to be able to mount a conspiracy, it would be the first sign of unity they've ever shown. I see no reason why an admin in his right mind would permit editing this part of the policy in any direction until there is some evidence of consensus. DGG (talk) 23:59, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Come on, get serious

You now, despite never having any consensus to make any changes, the PLOT section when it was restored reads: "The coverage of a fictional work should not be entirely plot summary." ENTIRELY? So if it's 99.99% plot summary it's fine? That's NEVER been what the plot section was for. In fact, by saying entirely it's basically encouraging huge plot summaries, which is the exact opposite of what this section of NOT has always been about.

You might try reading this "plot" template, which gives a better idea of how plot has historically been covered here:

I don't think ANYONE who has made any comments here was seriously arguing for an article to be entirely a plot summary, and if anyone has they've clearly mistaken Wikipedia for a blog or personal page or something. This is absurd.

What we need to do is go back to the version of this section before the months of edit warring happened and wait until there is a clear, demonstrated consensus to change it. The plot section encouraged "concise" plot summaries when appropriate, not plot summaries that can be so long that they are in danger of being the entire article if an external link or something gets deleted. DreamGuy (talk) 21:08, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

  • No, what we need to find is a middle ground. Per WP:POLICY we shouldn't be stating things in policy that don't have consensus. The RfC shows that there isn't consensus for WP:NOT to host a comment on plot. That said, there is a strong, admin-heavy, group that thinks it should be here and are unlikely to be flexible on the topic even in the face of the clear fact that NOT#PLOT lacks consensus. If changing "merely" to "entirely" is too much of a step, then I'm not sure how we are going to see any compromise. I see it as a small first step away from a policy that lacks consensus to be here. Hobit (talk) 21:36, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
    • Oh, and I agree with the tag. Good editing style does dictate that per WP:WAF. But it's not a reason to delete or a reason to not include (which is largely what WP:NOT is about), it's a reason to improve (which is what WP:WAF is about). Hobit (talk) 21:56, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
      • I don't really agree with your assessment of the RFC. An RFC is supposed to be a discussion-a search for consensus- not a vote. All the RFC showed was what the initial impression of a bunch of people was when they were forced to characterize their position as falling in one of two categories. It did not show that no consensus wording can be reached for inclusion within this policy. We need a new RFC without a premature strawpoll and without a few highly vocal individuals polarizing the debate at every turn.Locke9k (talk) 13:37, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
The question asked was whether plot summaries should, in principle, be discussed in WP:NOT. If over 50% of people are opposed, irregardless of the wording, I don't see how any specific wording is going to get consensus. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 14:34, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
Exactly. I'm more than willing to try to find some middle ground as frankly that's the only way we are going to get anywhere. But complaining about a poll as a way of judging consensus is silly. There is no other viable way to get input from a large number of people. We use polls for AfDs, the Admin bit and all sorts of things that require community-wide input. Now we need to figure out what to do about it. Hobit (talk) 15:39, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

WP:NOTMEMORIAL does not apply in userspace for wikipedians

WP:NOTMEMORIAL was intended for mainspace. Our tradition and current practice is that it does not apply to userspace of now deceased contributors. This policy note is sometimes misquoted, unsuccessfully, with respect to wikipedian memorial pages The text needs to be modified to clarify that it is not policy that past wikipedians may not have memorial pages.

Proposed text (new text in bold):

Memorials. Wikipedia is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, and so forth. Subjects of encyclopedia articles must satisfy Wikipedia's notability requirements. This does not apply to the userspace of formerly productive wikipedians.

--SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:16, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Aye Anything like this or suitably similar. People can do nearly whatever the hell they want in user space, we can at least make a clear note for memorials. --Tznkai (talk) 01:08, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Agree Keep it simple here in the NOT policy. Then, we work on getting the proper guidelines established for the user space. — Ched :  ?  05:52, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Disagree Specifying here that the policy does not apply to userspace effectively endorses the use of user pages as memorials and arguably conflicts with other NOT policies, such as WP:NOTMYSPACE, as well as other WP policies such as WP:UP, which clearly states that people cannot "do what they want" in user space. Some overlap between policies that generally make the same point is good for consistency and reduces unnecessary debates. This is not a neutral proposal to clarify an existing situation and a more detailed debate is warranted than this 'simple' suggestion implies. As the OP effectively notes, WP:NOTMEMORIAL has been quoted by several users as an argument against the use of user space as a memorial which suggests that there is some disagreement about whether or not the policy should apply... regardless of whether 'convention' suggests it currently does or doesn't. AngoraFish 09:33, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
  • comment community consensus seems to be favoring the ability to establish memorial pages in this case. I don't see a reason why we couldn't move forward on several fronts at the same time. Just a thought. — Ched :  ?  11:26, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Policy never said that userspace memorials weren’t allowed, and never was it intended. This change is not changing policy, but clarifying it. This clarification is needed because occasionally editors read WP:NOTMEMORIAL, find a userpage memorial, then feel a need to MfD the userpage. In each of several cases, MfD has been decisive – experienced wikipedians know that memorial information on a deceased valued contributor is normal. It is also a good thing for wikipedia. For more information, start with Wikipedia:Editors matter. The confused editors were quickly educated, but it would be better to have policy written non-confusingly. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:54, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
  • reply to AngoraFish: If you'll scroll up a bit, you'll notice that I've posted to this page long before the RIP matters came up. If you're trying to imply some sort of impropriety, please feel free to say it outright. If you feel there is some sort of nefarious plan afoot, you are more than welcome to visit my talk page and discuss it. — Ched :  ?  13:00, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree, I've always interpreted WP:NOTMEMORIAL as applying to articles, not userspace (and more specifically, to articles about every single victim of multiple-death-causing events). If there's typically no consensus to delete memorial pages for deceased Wikipedians at MFD, then I think the proposed text is fine. I see that Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Deceased Wikipedians ended in keep (and again as keep in February[31]). At Wikipedia:Deceased Wikipedians I see two memorial pages on the French Wikipedia and one on the Hungarian Wikipedia. As of now I see 35 results for MFDs with the word "memorial"[32] and 4 results for MFDs with the word "memoriam"[33] But another thing to consider is that every single Wikipedian will die someday. I would wait until Wikipedia:Deceased Wikipedians/Proposal to establish practices to be followed for deceased Wikipedians becomes more finalized before editing WP:NOTMEMORIAL. --Pixelface (talk) 17:05, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree, this would be just a clarification that NOTMEMORIAL applies only to mainspace. Resurr Section (talk) 19:54, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree, though I don't think the existing text applies to anything other than article space, if an exclusion need be added I say add it. Productive editors who die should be allowed recognition. —Locke Coletc 20:57, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Close RfC?

Does anyone object to asking at the admin noticeboard for a neutral admin to close the RfC? We could run the full 30 days, but I think the lack of consensus is clear and is unlikely to change given the rate of change there. (I asked earlier today as part of another thread but was thinking 14 days was the normal RfC length, my mistake.) I'm happy either way. but I think moving forward is probably best at this point. Hobit (talk) 23:18, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

It's probably a healthy idea. But truthfully, they're going to get shit from either side if they call it anything but "no consensus as to what to do with WP:NOT#PLOT". Randomran (talk) 23:39, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. But we probably should formally do it. Hobit (talk) 02:26, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Any one object? If no one does, could someone ask for a close in say 24 hours or so? I'll likely be off-line as of 4 hours from now for a while so I probably won't be able to go to WP:AN with this request. Thanks. Hobit (talk) 12:31, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment: As I suggested in my comment on the request for ArcComm, I believe that the immediate strawpoll in this RFC 'poisoned the well' against an honest search for consensus. I believe that we should ask for a close of this RFC, archive it to avoid confusion, and create a new RFC explicitly for the purpose of finding a consensus position rather than to simply serve as a voting battleground between two frozen poles. Locke9k (talk) 13:32, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
    • I wouldn't call the poll "poisoned", but just that it asked a misguided question. The feedback has been valuable and suggests a good reason to keep PLOT as policy, but not as part of NOT if anything simply to remove the bite it seems to get from being part of this policy. A second poll can be done to assertain options as to what to do with it, but clearly removing it completely from WP policy and guideline is not one of those. --MASEM (t) 13:41, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
    • And as I argued in the same place, it was exactly the right question to ask. What we (or at least *I*) want to know is if there is consensus for PLOT to be here. One could have asked all kinds of other questions (should we have plot-only articles, etc.) but the fundamental question is if it belongs here (or better, if it should be a reason for deletion if WP:N and other guidelines and policies are met). It may not be the question you'd have asked, but as Masem indicates, it does give us feedback on the fundamental issue. And as I read it it was "pro deletionism" if anything as it asked if it should be here at all, not if it should just be changed (those who believed that would assumedly answer "yes") Hobit (talk) 15:34, 6 May 2009 (UTC)


I requested the close at WP:AN. Hobit (talk) 18:59, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Consideration for addition: "Wikipedia is not perfect"

Given the above (but not meant to detract from further discussion on the above) I propose the following to either lead to be the tail to the content section of "Content", or possibly even just before "Finally..."

Wikipedia is not perfect: Wikipedia is a work in progress and articles are in a constant state of flux. Except for selected cases of copyright violations, unsourced material in biographies of living persons, and articles that meet our criteria for speedy deletion, articles should be given reasonable time to improve before considering any issues with other policies and guidelines.

Yes, WP:EP already says this, but I think this is a fair reiteration on this page to remind editors that we don't apply these at fresh young articles. --MASEM (t) 22:45, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

  • I support this in principle. But the wording will need a lot of work. Compliance isn't about time and deadlines, but potential X effort. The question is if there was (1) an effort to improve the article to meet our policies and guidelines, and (2) a failure that suggests no potential. Randomran (talk) 22:48, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

It seems to me that the main issues is not 'giving them time' to improve, but the simple question of whether they can improve. Basically an article should not be deleted if the two following conditions are met:

  1. Sufficient verifiable and notable information from reliable sources exists that isn't something that Wikipedia is not, regardless of whether that content is presently in the article
  2. The present article contains any material that should eventually be in an article on the subject, even if the majority of it will have to be removed or has major issues

In other words, an article should only be deleted based on this policy when no article on that subject could be written that isn't prohibited by this policy, or when the present article contains no content that would be used in that hypothetical future article. Time is not a factor; we don't have a time limit here. This should make clear exactly when this policy is justification for deletion, and when it is not. However, I am still not sure that this statement should be in this article. There are lots of policies and guidelines that seem to provide grounds for deletion; do we need this sort of disclaimer in every one?Locke9k (talk) 22:57, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

  • SUPPORT I like it Masem. Nice, really nice. Reinerates current rules. Ikip (talk) 07:17, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Yea, what Ikip said. I think sometimes folks tend to forget what we're here for, and how we got to this point. — Ched :  ?  07:34, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • support. WP's deletionist tendencies have attracted unfavourable press, with suggestions that deletionism may be driving away newbie editors. --Philcha (talk) 08:18, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Comment Good. If newbies are incapable of adding content that won't be deleted, then they should go away. We're not a daycare, we're an encyclopedia. DreamGuy (talk) 15:18, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose I can see where this proposal is leading - basically it is becoming an exemption for fictional topics being subject to peer review at WP:AFD. As such, I think it conflicts with existing policy: Claims of notability must adhere to Wikipedia's policy on verifiability; it is not enough to simply assert that a topic meets a criterion without substantiating that claim with reliable sources. Editors should provide a reliable source for quotations and for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, or the material may be removed. Whether sufficient verifiable and notable information from reliable sources exists should not be based on speculation. It is a matter of objective evidence. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:22, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose as it stands - I don't have a problem with giving articles a chance, but what is "reasonable" time to improve? A week? A month? A year? I can see this being used as yet another non-vote at AfD. "Keep - hasn't had enough time to improve" even if the article is effectively unimproveable. Admins have a hard enough time wading through reams of WP:IDONTLIKEIT and WP:ITSNOTABLE comments without adding WP:HASNTEXISTEDLONGENOUGH as well. Black Kite 09:55, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose As Black Kite said, what's "a reasonable time to improve"? Indefinitely, am I right? That's fine if an article's issues are fixable, but if it's not possible to write an article based on verifiable, reliable sources then they are not fixable. This just looks like something to point to in order to keep irredeemable crap indefinitely. Besides, there's loads of reasons why WP:SUCKS besides awful articles, so this seems to place undue weight on that aspect. IMO the sentiments of this proposal are amply covered in "Wikipedia is a work in progress". bridies (talk) 10:27, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose as it stands As I see it, Masem's wording misses that article get improved because they violated one policy/guideline or another, and after the improvement they do no more. Saying that editors shouldn't apply policies/guidelines until young articles have improved by themselves gives all the power to people who don't want the articles to be improved (e.g. concerning the removal of trivia or excessive plot summaries). – sgeureka tc 10:41, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Support I think it really shows what Wikipedia is, striving for perfection. And it's not a bad idea to have people think about improvement instead of deletion. Someone may start something and not know how to finish. And the comments on "reasonable time" being too subjective...well, Wikipedia is full of subjective rules, including notability. I think editors are smart enough to know when an article is dead in the water or a work in progress. Angryapathy (talk) 12:38, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Gavin and Black Kite. Another attempt to make an "out" for fictional topics and unnotable topics by claiming "just not enough time"; far too open ended and, as Bridies notes, leaves the door open for bad articles to hang around indefinitely. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 13:34, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per the above. I'm especially irked by the last bit; linking a policy to an essay that's been hijacked with that "view two" again. Maaf, Jack Merridew 15:07, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Although this is a relatively succinct summary of what seems to be a widely held opinion, I do not agree that this should be in any way a guideline for wikipedia. The reason is that many articles are in a condition which is worse than failure. While we can be optimistic about the potential of an article, this doesn't involve ignoring the current state, when it contains not a single sentence which would make it into a featured article. Just browsing around a lot of new or single-author articles you'll find plenty which are populated entirely with misinformation, without a single sentence in grammatical English. Despite the consensus that these can be "improved", any improvement involves deleting all current material and doing a rewrite. While waiting for the rewrite, there are a bunch of articles which are pustules on the face of an otherwise above average encyclopaedia. Articles for creation is the correct method to get a new article started, not a single sentence substub. The humane killer is the only correct option for this type of article. AKAF (talk) 15:09, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Black Kite. –Juliancolton | Talk 15:10, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- what next, a section called "Wikipedia is not here to state the obvious"? Or "Wikipedia can never be perfect so therefore we'll accept things that couldn't be farther from perfect even if other policies clearly say it shouldn't be here"? Yet more wastes of our time contemplating excuses to make Wikipedia worse because some people refuse to accept that we're an encyclopedia and not a blog or other free for all. DreamGuy (talk) 15:16, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Support, with Randomran's caveat. BOZ (talk) 19:26, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose articles should be evaluated at the moment in time they're being evaluated. While editors are allowed to exercise judgement in keeping something that, by consensus, looks highly likely to be improved in the near future (and is clearly improvable) there is no strong argument to keep unsourced material (or material that otherwise fails the rather lax inclusion requirements). A good, well-sourced article that passes these inclusion requirements can always be written in userspace and made live when it's ready to stand on its own two feet. The whole concept of creating unsourced stubs in the hopes that some random will stop by and make a silk purse out of a sows ear waste lots of time and harms the project.Bali ultimate (talk) 14:54, 16 April 2009 (UTC)q
  • Support... kind of. I think that having "Wikipedia is not perfect" is a good thing to include, but I don't think that it should be worded at all like this proposal. It should be more of a way to tell Wikipedia's readers that it isn't perfect, not try to describe our inclusion criteria. –Drilnoth (TCL) 16:09, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose, sounds like another reason that can be thrown around to support keeping bad articles. Stifle (talk) 08:57, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Too many articles are being attacked and deleted in their infancy, not given time to develop. Dream Focus 09:50, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Common sense support per User:Fresheneesz/Don't Destroy, Wikipedia:Don't demolish the house while it's still being built, Wikipedia:Give an article a chance, Wikipedia:Potential, not just current state, WP:PRESERVE, WP:BEFORE, etc. Too much is deleted per WP:IDONTLIKEIT and WP:JNN as it is. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 22:07, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Seems fine to me It's distilled from the editing policy (is that still a policy?) and regardless of the particulars, it is an important reflection of our project. I'm probably the last person to justify an argument based on "JIMBOSEZ", but look at rule number 2 of the first set of "rules" on wikipedia (Also see rule 9). This has always been a tenet of the project. We can dispute what "eventually" means and even after this rule is put in place we can still have reasonable disagreements over effort, potential effort and lost causes. Protonk (talk) 22:21, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Factopedia articles are quite often born from cruftopedia. Most editors first articles suck but if they get deleted quickly they never become regulars. jbolden1517Talk 03:12, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I appreciate the thought and effort Masem has put into it, but the proposed text is a non-sequitur, as it seems. Yes, Wikipedia is imperfect. No, that does not make it okeh to facilitate damage to the project by protecting unencyclopædic-or-worse pseudo-articles and their creators from appropriate management and handling. Of course I agree with the principle that we need to train new editors and not drive them off, but it does us all — including newbies — a grave disservice to foment unacceptable contributions. Everyone starts out as a clueless new editor. Most of us learn the rules by trial and error, mentorship and guidance. It's been this way for the recorded past and there's no indication it's changing; fears of the new-editor talent pool drying up seem baseless. However, there is a small minority of editors who actively seek to damage the project. For various reasons of their own, they willfully refuse to contribute coöperatively. By definition they're all relative newbies, for persistently abusive or uncoöperative editing results in a block. But there are plenty of tactics successfully employed to prolong the duration and scope of their problematic editing. Simple refusal to register a username is highly effective, especially when combined with variable IP addresses. All the proposed text will do is strengthen the platform from which this small number of time-wasting, disruptive editors disingenuously complain of being bitten as newbies. I really don't think the small potential benefit of adding this duplicative text outweighs its large drawbacks. —Scheinwerfermann T·C04:00, 9 May 2009 (UTC)


Discussion

I wasn't trying to start a !vote here as I knew the language wasn't right. To clarify several points, the point is that there are only a few things that we judge on the present and immediate revision of any article: CSD, Copyvios, and BLP (and possibly a few more things). Any other attempts to deal with a article that fails something in NOT or elsewhere is generally based on it's potential which may take some time to fill out by editors. That potential may be judged early and appropriately ("List of phone numbers in Boise, Idaho" is never going to be appropriate) but usually this is something that needs time to be improved on. How much time? I don't think we can state anything, though if I were to offer a number it seems to be somewhere between a month and three months, but again, the point here is not to say "okay, articles need to be fixed up in X month from a point", but instead to consider article potential and not the current revision as the means if there's a problem. If there's any question of an article's potential, tagging with cleanup tags are better than sending it to deletion and waiting "a while" to allow for improvements.

This was to address the RFC issue that was brought up that suggests that the current wording of PLOT means it can be applied to an article at any time, even if it is in the midst of being developed and lacks anything but a plot in the few minutes between revisions. --MASEM (t) 14:32, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Of course it can be applied at any time. That's the whole point. If someone wants to work on something that's not ready for an article -- and most of this never will, but that's beside the point -- we have sandboxes and temp pages ready and waiting. DreamGuy (talk) 15:16, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Dreamguy, as this proposal seems be attempting to subvert policy by delaying or frustrating the process of peer review at WP:AFD. An editor can invoke WP:NOT#PLOT in deletion debates, but it has never been a sure-fire way of getting an article deleted - this can only be achieved by a consensus of contributors to a deletion debate. Yet this proposal effectively is suggesting that you articles should not be be deleted or merged, even where there is consensus to do so.
If an editor feels very strongly that an article shoud not be deleted or merged, then they can always userfy it. However, trying to delay a deletion that has been agreed upon goes against the spirit of WP:CONSENSUS.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:29, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
The problem with the current proposal is that it undermines the WP:BURDEN clause. If someone believes in good faith that an article has no potential right from the start, he shouldn't have to fear being slapped on the wrist for ignoring NOT#PERFECT. – sgeureka tc 15:30, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

I think this somehow turned into a deletionist/inclusionist argument. Angryapathy (talk) 16:13, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

The entire topic was framed that way from the start. DreamGuy (talk) 12:57, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

(ec):What a surprise - not!

Gavin Collins's emphasis on deletion, besides being bitey, ignores WP:DELETE's statment that improvement is preferable to deletion, and that deletion should be a last resort.
DreamGuy's comment (previous section) that WP is an encyclopedia, not a nursery, overlooks an important point - most editors are around for only a few years. If experienced editors drive away newbies now, when the most experienced editors retire there will not be enough experienced people around to prevent WP from becoming a glorified blog. We need to build in some succession planning - firms that fail to do that go out of business. IMO that means we make it easy for newbies to find out what is expected and how to meet those standards - and I mean simple guidance and links to helpful tools, not vast screeds of "thou shalt nots". We also need to guide newbies in a friendly way, not remove their contributions either in ways that are invisible to them (what WP:AfD? what's a watchlist?) or in hostile language peppered with WP:acronyms. --Philcha (talk) 13:05, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, considering that the kinds of newbies that'd be driven off in these situations are the ones who are trying to turn Wikipedia into a glorified blog, I think you've got your argument exactly backward. Good editors will respect edits that make Wikipedia more encyclopedic and stick around because the project does what it's supposed to. The more nonsense added and protected from being deleted because we don't want to dare offend people who can't be bothered to do what the site is here to do, the more we'll have exactly the WRONG sort of people encouraged to be here. DreamGuy (talk) 13:31, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
And how do your "good editors" start? --Philcha (talk) 14:20, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Many start by creating articles that don't pass our notability guidelines. I know some of the articles that I worked on as a newbie have been deleted. It doesn't bother me - I can see that they weren't really tenable now. Unfortunately Wikipedia in recent years has gained a reputation not as an encyclopedia, but a place where you can create articles about anything. Since we have also gained a gorwing number of editors that are determined to keep practically all of that non-content, unfortunately some new editors are going to find themselves bitten when their articles are deleted. We can only hope that most of them will learn from the experience and go on to create useful content, but it isn't always going to be the case. Black Kite 14:26, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I suggest that is there a limited supply of potentially good editors, whom we need to keep and train up, not alienate. --Philcha (talk) 14:35, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Unfortunately, the fixed ways in which Wikipedia removes non-valuable content (you only need to look at the contents of Special:Newpages at any given time) means that some editors are going to be confused as to why their articles are deleted (and thus alienated) for reasons they don't understand. Black Kite 14:42, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I am sure we are just rehashing deletionist arguments by now, but I see that some people are afraid that a rule of "Wikipedia is not perfect" will allow really bad articles to stay on longer than they should, while others want the statement to help save badly written articles about good topics. But I guess this whole argument is covered by "Improvement is preferable to deletion" and on the flip side WP:NOTABILITY. I just see that some people want to delete badly written articles as a blight on the community without researching whether or not they meet the (highly subjective) notability guidelines. But I think this is going to be a battle that will rage on for years in WP. Angryapathy (talk) 15:05, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Taking this another way: The three cited exceptions - CSD, BLP, and Copyvios - are the only types of "violations" that should be removed on the spot and/or fast action taken against regardless of the rest of the article's history. Anything else should be considered in light of what the article history as been. A TV episode article that lacks notability but has been up for a day and with edits from one person is very different from similar article that has been up for 3 years with several editors but has not had any changes done in the last year or none to address the notability concerns. Beyond the listed exceptions, no policy or guideline should be ardently applied to the current specific revision of the article but instead should be considered with the article's history.

Personally, if I had my way, I'd implement the "wait and lurk" approach that we used to have on the Internet before the Endless September before editors could create new articles, but clearly that's not the present goal of WP. Thus we have to be intentionally aware that there will be articles created by new editors that will fail policy and guideline to a great degree, and we have to be aware that being too aggressive on articles that are new but do not otherwise fail the CSD will turn away editors. That's not to say that can't ever challenge a new article that's not under CSD - that's what PROD is for, but we should at least notify the editor via cleanup templates what needs to be improved. Of course, a month later, if nothing's changed, then bold cleanup, merging or deletion is appropriate. --MASEM (t) 15:18, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

MASEM's nailed it - if it's not obscene, a hate page, an unsourced or potentially libellous BLP or a clear copyvio, there's no need to delete in a hurry. And, as MASEM says, the article history makes a huge difference in other cases - but is seldom considered at WP:AfD. --Philcha (talk) 15:44, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
You know I support this. But if you want to know why other people don't, it's because they see it as a loophole wide enough to drive a truck through. More than that, they're worried that it's supporters *knowingly* see it as a massive loophole, and that's why they're supporting it. If garbage articles with zero potential are going to be kept around indefinitely because they're WP:NOT#PERFECT, then there will never be a consensus to add something like that to WP:NOT. But we might get consensus if it were a tight allowance, with a safety valve to prevent abuse. Randomran (talk) 16:18, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I think the problem is that there's going to be abuse either way. The fan-boys, POV-pushers and hate-mongers won't go away. Nor will the intellectual snobs who don't like any popular culture subjects, nor those who use AfD as a form of harassment. We already have sanctions that can be used against fan-boys, POV-pushers and hate-mongers and perhaps should be more willing to use them. At present there are no effective controls on militant deletionists, despite the fact that many AfDs violate WP:DELETE's "deletion should be a last resort" and there has been at least 1 been publicised cases of an article on a genuinely notable subject being deleted within a few hours. --Philcha (talk) 18:42, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I will say that I think the fait accompli finding from Ep&Char2 ArbCom case actually is a good deterrent for large scale deletion, though as best as I'm aware no one (including TTN) has been found to have engaged in it. It's still a good guiding principle, and I think one that was employed to some degree on the recent kerfuffle to avoid a large scale merge of South Park episodes when it was shown a sufficient enough sample were to be notable. It is unfortunately a balance and one that is pretty much unenforceable unless we assign a timeframe before BOLD could be introduced or that WP:DEADLINE can be claimed. That's at least why I think having some clear statement that we're not perfect is useful to remind both sides. (and this applies to both content and policy as well). --MASEM (t) 19:02, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Of course Wikipedia isn't perfect; no one supposes it is. Imagine the proposal's capacity for misuse at an article like this: a paragraph of information followed by a long tail of BLP violations. Read the talk page; for two years various editors tried to remove the BLP violations but they kept getting added back in and converted into WP:SYNTH violations because they were most of the content. The only way to stabilize the page on policy-compliant terms was to undertake a major revision.[34] But it took six years and eleven months before anybody bothered. There's good talent at this discussion. After each of the supporters post evidence of a similar improvement drive, I will join you. DurovaCharge! 16:30, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

If we're driving teh debate down to this level, then I'll stand on my edit record to support it. Every edit I've made has been in the hope of improving the encyclopedia. That's my similar improvement drive. Hiding T 16:34, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I've also saved a lot of imperfect articles that looked deletion worthy. I even got one of them to FA, much to the chagrin of the original critic. But I also don't want my efforts to be given a bad name by people who look at an article with zero potential to meet our guidelines and say "it's not perfect, but so what?" Randomran (talk) 16:58, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Other people will do what they will regardless. I won't second guess anyone in stating my opinion, for me that's the only way to keep things moving forwards. As soon as we start second guessing... Hiding T 18:17, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't that indicate we don't need to add policies that remind people to "do what they will", because they'll do it "regardless" of whether or not we have such a reminder? Me personally, I think it helps to cement common sense and broad agreements among Wikipedians, so that they can be used as reminders in smaller discussions. Randomran (talk) 18:53, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not clear what we are discussing now. You seemed to be stating that you didn't want your edit history used by someone to justify a position you didn't support. I was stating that there was no way I could prevent that, and I'd rather tell people what I think and believe rather than second guess what other people will do with what I think and do. Now the discussion seems to be about whether WP:IAR should be a policy. I think. I'm not sure we are talking to each other, at least in the sense that we are participating in the same conversation. Where am I going wrong? I am trying to suggest that it is wrong to think of this debate in terms of the worst outcome or having to stand on our record. The policy on BLP is supposed to prevent other policies being misused to defend BLP violations. If that isn't working, that needs looking at, not other policies. Part of the problem is that we try to make all our policies apply with equal weight to all articles, when it is non-sensical to think that is the case. So if that means I'm advocating for people to do what they will, or WP:IAR, then sobeit. How we get there from here, I don't know, but I'm happy to support WP:IAR. Hiding T 19:30, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I guess I wasn't sure what you were talking about either. I think we agree on a few things. The idea of reminding people that articles aren't perfect is a good one in principle. And sometimes we should ignore all rules, especially when there's legitimate potential that an article can be improved to the point that it meets our basic rules (if not our highest standards). Right now WP:NOT doesn't remind people of that. Should we? We might gain some support for it, but then we'd have to phrase it in such a way that it's not an excuse to keep around static with no potential. Otherwise, we'll just have to resort to other reminders like WP:IMPERFECT or WP:IAR, which I guess are helpful enough. Randomran (talk) 19:43, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
What time is "reasonable" depends on the circumstances of the article, the editor, and the problem. I don't see how it can be specified exactly. Having even an imprecise rule helps channel discuss and influence what people do. It doesn't prevent people from doing things in an unhelpful. None of our policies actually manage to do that. Burt they do assist people who want to point out what's helpful and what's not. DGG (talk) 20:27, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
I think that's the nub of it. We need to kind of back away from specificity and work together. What needs to happen realistically, is that we turn our deletion debates away from confrontations and actually discuss the article and how it could be improved. Too many times deletion debates simply turn into a binary poll, wit no-one actually looking at the article or even editing it. It would be interesting to look at a sample of deletion debates and see how the articles changed while they were nominated for deletion. We've got to find a way of moving people on from seeing their own view as the end-point and more towards seeing a compromise as the end point. People have at some point got to move away from "don't do that" to "if you really are going to do that, do it this way". Hiding T 10:15, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Whether you agree or disagree with the outcome of deletion debates, we cannot seek to limit the process (or "improve" the process, as Hiding suggests) otherwise there would be no point in process of peer review. We have to accept WP:AFD as it is, as it is the only defence against bad articles that have potential from being deleted. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:55, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm always astounded at your ability to make the same points as me while arguing against me Gavin. Hiding T 09:23, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Book Reports

It's long been in guidance that WIkipedia articles should not read like book reports, so maybe we just rewrite to that effect? Articles about fictional topics should not read like book reports; instead, they should explain the topic's significance to the work. After reading the article, the reader should be able to understand why a character, place, or event was included in the fictional work. That's been guidance since somewhere like 2003, so I guess you could say we're all supposed to have been editing under that guidance anyway. Hiding T 11:14, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Why a character, place or event was included in a fictional work? Because the author made it up. Just like always. --Pixelface (talk) 14:30, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
  • I think this is a decent improvement. A book report is simply highlights the plot with nothing else. But a good encyclopedic article on a fictional topic would make a plot summary totally acceptable, in combination with other coverage. I know this isn't ideal for some fans of WP:NOT#PLOT, but it would certainly soften the language and make it more palatable for some of the opposition. Randomran (talk) 15:52, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
It makes sense if books were the only medium by which fiction is distributed, but its not. I think some editors would say "films are exempt from WP:NOT#PLOT because they are not books", so its a sort of lame proposal. The current wording is pretty clear that balanced coverage of all fictional topics the way to go. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:24, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
A character isn't always included in a fictional work because the author made it up, I can cite many where editorial whim decided such issues, so let's put that one to bed. Unless we have a source, we just don't know. And it's important to cojntextualise what is being asked: as the statement makes clear, what is being asked is that the topic's significance to the work be made clear. If you pick apart the statement, the sentence After reading the article, the reader should be able to understand why a character, place, or event was included in the fictional work. is explaining the preceding one. However, given that that we may have issues with reading comprehension here, perhaps it is better to simply drop the second sentence. As to this not covering films et al, it doesn't take that great a stretch of the imagination to chance upon something like Articles about fictional topics should not read like reports or reviews; instead, they should explain the topic's significance to the work by summarising views held by reliable sources. The point isn't that this is about books, but that articles don't read like "book reports" or "film reports" or "game reports" or "television reports". We could then drop it into Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, or textbook instead of indiscriminate, and shift the focus from plot summaries to articles prviding encyclopedic reference, which is the domain of WP:NOT. Hiding T 09:29, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I still think this is a fundamentally sound approach, even if it will take us some time to massage the wording. "Not a book report" would be fine, if in the text we said "this applies to films, games, television, and other narratives too." But if there's a better way to phrase it, I'm open to it. I think that just as a matter of compromise, we're already better than "not a plot summary", because that's a misleading statement. Randomran (talk) 14:30, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
My point is still valid. Since Hiding points out that a "book report" is just one form of plot summary, then plot summary is the correct term to use, otherwise it is possible to infere that some sort of exemption is available to topics that are not book related. There is also a problem with the term itself; wheras "book reports" is not a term defined anywhere then its meaning may be clear to Hiding but unclear to everyone else. Compare and contrast with the term plot summary, which is defined and described in detail elsewhere, and used in other guidelines. The way around this issue is not to use generalised terms like "book reports", but to provide a more specific definition of "enirely plot summary", such as coverage that is wholly comprised of a summary the primary source, or describes the primary source purely from an in universe perspective. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:04, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Here's where I again think we need to make sure that the concept ("not a book report") extends to non-fiction works in addition to fiction, and thus makes "plot summary" the wrong wording. "Book report" deemphasizes the bias that "plot summaries" have on fiction when the advice needs to apply to any published work in any medium (we don't have scene-by-scene details of a religious text, a reality television show, or a documentary). --MASEM (t) 15:11, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
What is needed is a clear definition of a plot summary only article. The only way you can ensure that the term "book report" is clearly defined is saying it is an coverage that is entirely comprised of plot summary. So why use a term that is once removed from type of coverage that it is prohibiting? I don't agree with your approach Masem. This sounds like another scheme to water down a simple prohibition in all but name, this time by obstification. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:28, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
We do not need to talk about "plot only articles" here. That job is done by WP:V and WP:N. What we need is to talk about the overall coverage of a published work - whether it may be a single article or spanning across several. We cannot let this turn into a statement of WP:N in policy. --MASEM (t) 15:43, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
I continue not to understand why we are trying to cram a policy on fiction into a bullet point in NOT instead of just writing a policy page on fiction. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:52, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
I think we need a new policy too - we're trying to fit a small, but sufficiently sizable guidance into something meant for one or two sentence. Now, that's not to say that we can potentially have one statement that links to the policy page where it is expanded further, but I really think the best starting point is a separate policy page and work backwards if possible. --MASEM (t) 17:06, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
I think we need new editors, frankly. But half-jokes aside, we have a similar problem in that WP:UNDUE is buried in WP:NPOV and is generally good policy, but isn't strictly a neutrality problem. We could stand to break WP:UNDUE out into a new policy, making sure that all coverage (in general) is given appropriate context. The three broad rules are (1) making sure that we don't give something undue weight by taking it out of context, (2) making sure that we don't give something undue weight by covering it when such context is unavailable, (3) making sure we don't give something undue weight by covering it in a way that is out of proportion with reliable, independent secondary sources. This would incidentally relate to fiction, but more than that. Randomran (talk) 21:19, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
I certainly support a new policy on fiction, and maybe the way forwards then is to put the nutshell of that new policy into this page? Hiding T 10:47, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
  • I see Hiding, Masem, Phil Sandifer and Randomran all trying to change policy in subtley different ways, but he the objective is the same - get rid of WP:NOT#PLOT in one of several ways:
  1. Remove it from WP:NOT altogether on the grounds that you like plot only articles;
  2. Transfer it to some obscure essay on the grounds that it be better dealt with elsewhere;
  3. Water it down by making the wording unclear through a process of obstification
  4. Undermine it by changing other polices and guidelines to give the appearance that fictional topics are exempt from them.
To be honest, I think all four of you should be ashamed with your approach. Its clear that all three of you are desperate to make plot only articles legitimate by hook or by crook, and no sensible argument, policy or guideline will be allowed to get in your way. When you say that "I think we need new editors", in all honesty I think you should excuse yourselves from this debate and make a public apology for trying to undermine the existing framework of policies and guidelines.
I don't know why you are doing this, but maybe you have spent too much time immersing yourselves in plot only articles to understand they are not encyclopedic; and even though you plot summary is not a bad thing in itself, but by itself it falls outside the scope of Wikipedia. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:51, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Oh, have some shame yourself, Mr. "Encyclopedia Britannica is not encyclopedic because it contains articles of a type I'm campaining against". And please stop misrepresenting the people who disagree with you. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 10:43, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Gavin, this is called "building consensus" and is the way we do things on Wikipedia. Sometimes you have to step back from personal ideals to be able to move forward to get everyone on board. And if you read what we are saying, none of what you stated is part of the pool of suggestions that we have. --MASEM (t) 12:36, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
On the subject of this proposal, it seems like a way of re-adding WP:PLOT under a slightly different form, except that it's now far more confusing. If it's decided that WP:PLOT should be moved out of here - and I cannot see any other option at this time - then I don't think we should immediately add the same problematic statements in under a different title. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 10:43, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
If you cannot see any other option then there's clearly an impasse, because a number of other editors are exploring other options. Hiding T 10:49, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm willing to discuss inclusion of advice about plot summaries in any other policy or guideline, but I do not think this is an appropriate location, and have 60 people who agree with me. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 12:51, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
In answer to Shoemaker, plot summary articles exist on Wookieepedia as well, but just because WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS is a bad arguement for permiting them on Wikipedia. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:01, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, but defining things major encyclopedias do as unencyclopedic is 1984-speak. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 12:21, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I think you are just trying to change the definition of what is encyclopedic in this context to suit yourself - a situation akin to Doublethink. For a better understanding of what is required to write an encyclopedic article about a fictional topic, read WP:WAF - its not my idea alone. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 12:52, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm afraid I agree that Gavin Collins is simply continuing his WP:NOTPLOT crusade by other means.
In the proposed " Articles about fictional topics should not read like book reports ..." ( Hiding, 11:14, 6 May 2009) why the restriction to fictional topics? E.g. would a summary-only article on Aristotle's Metaphysics be any more acceptable? If so, why? --Philcha (talk) 13:04, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
This is what I've been pushing for lately, not only as it's true (we don't have or want scene-by-scene breakdowns of non-fiction works) but also would make this seem much less like a devious plan against fiction. --MASEM (t) 13:23, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

[Unindent] Any discussion of summaries of fiction or non-fiction is going to need to cover a wide variety of types of material. Can WP:NOT cover the level of subtlety and detail required to do that? I honestly do not think so. Can other guidelines and policies? WP:WAF can certainly cover the bulk of it, and if there's widespread agreement that specific points are generally crucial, then they can be reduplicated elsewhere. But these attempts to force subtle issues into the least subtle of all Wikipedia policy seems fundamentally misguided to me, and likely to only result in no progress forwards.

In the spirit of the compromise everyone keeps talking about, can we consider other locations where it would be appropriate to include such discussion? Because at the moment, compromise seems to be defined as "IT MUST STAY IN WP:NOT! SHUT UP YOU DISSENTERS!" Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 14:02, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

It has to stay on a policy page somewhere. There are far too many editors that feel that guidelines can be ignored, and that's a problem that is prevalent at fiction AFDs. Witness the cavalier attitude towards WP:N, for example.—Kww(talk) 14:33, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, are there policy pages where it can be handled in an appropriately subtle and detailed manner? Perhaps the very basic, pretty much universal parts at WP:V (I presume that we can agree that some parts of this should be much more strongly enforced than others, for which sensible exceptions may exist), with the firmer guidelines at WP:WAF? However, I do think that it shouldn't be added to policy without another RFC to get agreement on wording. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 14:36, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I would be amenable to adding it to WP:V, as an extension of the need for articles to rely on third-party sourcing. Something along the lines of
  • "Reliance on third-party sourcing means that the bulk of an article cannot be based on primary sources. Plot summaries, in particular, being inherently based on primary sources, can not be the predominant focus of an article.
Kww(talk) 14:52, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree. What I would like to see, however, is a more thorough policy page that details rules for fiction. Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:47, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Gavin, with all due respect, you are behaving disgracefully. I should be ashamed of myself? No. You should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting that my proposal to create an overall policy page on fiction amounts to "some obscure essay." I have said nothing like that, and you know it. What's gotten into you? Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:47, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

In answer to Shoemaker, if only my arguments were so bald, you could dismiss me out of hand. I agree with you that fiction is going to be covered by a wide variety of sources, including plot summary. However, I disagree with your view that WP:NOT#PLOT is a sledgehammer being used to crack a nut. The reality is that plot only articles stand on the extreme boundry where coverage about a fictional topic fails to meet Wikipedia content policies. It represents where the point where the coverage of fiction can no longer be governed by consensus alone and requires the intervention of "experts" to govern what topics can and can't have their own standalone article (which is more or less what Phil is trying to project himself as in his new "policy" fork). If you can ackowledge this argument, even if you disagree with it, you will understand why why removing the prohibition against plot summary only articles is not feasible, at least not for Wikipedia.
On a personal note, I am not asking you to shut up, and I acknowledge your annoyance at the strictures which content policies place on editors in terms of which topics can or cannot have their own articles. However, these same content polices are here to serve you by giving you the freedom to contribute. Afterall, I think we all want the same thing at the end of the day - balanced coveage - do we not? --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:56, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
PLOT is not and never should not be about "plot-only articles". It should be about the coverage of the work (and the wording of this has always implied this regardless of the changes). "Coverage" may be a single (thus implying "plot-only articles" but this is only one case), but may also cover several articles that are written in an appropriate summary style of a critically notable piece of literature (such as the Bible). The point of this policy is to imply that for any work, just writing the plot and being with it is not enough. That does not expressive forbid plot-only articles as they may be part of the larger summary style. --MASEM (t) 15:23, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I have to disagree there. If the only reason that the coverage of an item is being expanded is to provide a plot summary, the expansion probably shouldn't occur at all. Can you point at a plot-only article that you believe is still acceptable under WP:NOT#PLOT?
Most episode and character lists, for one, which are part of summary style coverage of a topic. But I can also envision a case of a extremely notable classic work where there are multiple interpretations or significant discussion of the plot alone with legacy and other details in a parent article (there does exist the example of Inferno (Dante) as part of the coverage of Divine Comedy.) --MASEM (t) 15:34, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
  • You know, when one editor flatly ignores a straw poll, and four or five editors on both sides of the straw poll admit there's a consensus for some kind of change, usually that signifies a consensus (in principle). I'm not sure why that's something to be ashamed of. Are we ready to move to the next step, which is to open discussion on either a new location, a new wording, or both? Randomran (talk) 15:46, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
    • I don't know if we're ready to, but I just made a proposal to, so I guess we are moving to the next step, ready or not. :) Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:10, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

New proposal

I have created a proposal at Wikipedia:Fiction for a new policy page discussing fiction issues in general - pulling heavily from WAF, but also from NOT#PLOT and some of the more agreed upon proposals to come up in notability debates. The goal is to create a single policy page that clearly establishes core principles of what it means to write about fiction in an encyclopedia about fact. I welcome comments and criticism at the talk page there. The goal is to create a policy-level home for NOT#PLOT that deals with the idea more thoroughly and completely than a bullet point in WP:NOT can. Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:05, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

a good endeavor, but I see that your view and mine about the underlying principles have little in common. See my comment there. DGG (talk) 00:15, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Swearing

Hello. I see that swearing isn't censored. My question is, what about the children? If they see it on here they'll think they can get away with it.--Launchballer (talk) 18:41, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Then maybe parents should act responsibly and go on the internet with their children if they are concerned about content. Or maybe people should stop being so puritanical and not worry about a few four letter words being used in circumstances where they are appropriate, like the article Fuck. I prefer not to censor my speach around children- if they hear the swear words all the time, then the words lose their impact and, eventually, stop being taboo. Finally, there is the fact that words that are taboo in one culture are perfectly acceptable in others, and Wikipedia is intended for use by all cultures. Nutiketaiel (talk) 19:04, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand. If you are talking about discussions among editors, this page is irrelevant and we have WP:CIVIL. In article space, not censoring swearing doesn't mean that our articles use offensive words, it merely means that when our articles discuss offensive language, or when they quote passages containing offensive language, we don't follow the silly practice of many newspapers to replace it in more or less creative ways. Can you imagine what our article Latin profanity would look like if it was censored? Do you think anyone other than a Latin scholar would be able to understand it without using a dictionary? Or for another example, how can we discuss that a politician got into trouble for using a certain word, and perhaps also how newspapers reporting the situation tried to avoid saying it, when we are not allowed to say what the word was? We are writing for an international audience. Most of our readers (not all) will know what f*** or a...hole is supposed to mean, but anything slightly more creative and many of them will be lost. And they can't look up things like "c***" in a dictionary. --Hans Adler (talk) 19:13, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I can imagine exactly what the article Latin profanity would look like (albeit people with Asperger's syndrome aren't supposed to have any imagination).--Launchballer (talk) 12:06, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Proposed exception to WP:NOT

I've been running into porblems with the part about wikipedia not being a guidbook our a how-to guide. While this is great, and works for almost every article out there, it presents problems when dealing with articles about animals that can be pets. We have been discussing this over at WP:AQF, where our articles pertain only to aquarium fish. The problem comes when a species has such detailed care instructions that it can't properly be conveyed in any format but a how-to format. The example given is that some fish do great in small aquariums while they are young, but need to be moved to a larger aquarium before they reach maturity. I don't want to leave that out just because it sounds lie a how-to guide, because if I do leave it out, someone is going to buy said fish, toss it in a goldfish bowl, and it will die a painful, stunted death. I'm hoping that articles dealing with animals that can be kept as pets should be given an exception to this policy. I've been using WP:IAR, but other editors are calling it a cop-out. A recognized exception to the policy is needed.Drew Smith 07:56, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

If you want to write about how to keep fish, perhaps Wikibooks is a better venue. Stifle (talk) 09:36, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
I think the part about wikipedia not being a guidebook or a how-to guide should not be taken too far. In addition to Drew R. Smith's aquarium example, articles on games need to explain enough about the rules to distinguish the games from others in the genre, articles about places often need to give some geographical and historical context, articles about mathematical techniques may need something close to an algorithm, etc. Like many of WP's guidelines, WP:NOT tries to legislate rather than guide, and thus tries to make issues black and white when there are actually shades of grey. Then people get legalistic about their interpretation and application, this leads to conflicts, and a lot of time and energy is wasted that would be better spent on improving articles.
Re Drew R. Smith's example, I see no harm in trying to save readers from elementary errors. If you look at medical articles, Wikiproject Medicine has a wide range of extensions to the standard polices and guidelines, because ambiguities, omissions or inaccuracies in medical articles may endanger readers' health or even lives - and in the litigious climate of some countries, that would probably get WP sued, especially if an ambulance-chasing lawyer wanted publicity. Likewise if WP omits some elementary info and aquarists suffer losses as a result, WP's reputation will suffer and WP may get sued. --Philcha (talk) 10:05, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
Another great point. I was kind of hoping we could get an official amendment to the policy though, in case anyone does take it literaly. Like I said, WP:IAR isn't exactly a great comeback. Everyone seems to follow it, but will not allow anyone else to.Drew Smith What I've done 10:26, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
Quite a few of the instructions I've read regarding the care of fish are apocryphal, contradictory, or examples of magical thinking that are published in quicky guides nonetheless. They fail WP:RS, and they certainly should not be given a blanket pass for inclusion. Any instruction that is notably weird, such as a fish that needs to be crowded or whatever, should be included on the grounds that it is notable. Resurr Section (talk) 10:43, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
On the contrary, all of the care instructions I'm putting in are from very detailed aquarium fish care books, and though I can't source it, I have confirmed myself.Drew Smith What I've done 10:55, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
Resurr Section also makes a good point about some instructions being unreliable - re fish in this case, but I'm sure it applies to many other topics. I think WP:RS generally is too black-and-white (see User:Philcha#About_reliable_sources if you actually want reasons), but I'd be happy to see it tightened in cases where readers may suffer loss though faulty information. --Philcha (talk) 11:09, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
No need to tighten, no need to loosen. I'm sure User:Drew R. Smith is capable of casting care instructions as general information rather than explicit how-to. ("Among fish commonly kept by hobbyists, Lucios arma is known to be especially sensitive to changes in pH.") Also, if the material is online, great use can be made of the External links section. Resurr Section (talk) 12:06, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed on all counts. Hobit (talk) 12:29, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
I think the solution is to interpret policy with a grain of salt and a healthy dash of common sense. If an editor complains, for example, that
Owners should taken care to move Puffdaddyfish into larger, more brackish tanks after the first two years.<ref>Fishkeeping for anoraks, Mumbly, J. 1954</ref>
reads too much like a how-to, just rewrite it:
Aquarist J. Mumbly writes that Puffdaddyfish require more brackish water and larger tanks as they grow, recommending a 10-gallon tank at two years of age.<ref>Fishkeeping for anoraks, Mumbly, J. 1954</ref>.
I'm sure it can be done. If there are specific cases where you're having difficulty, drop me a line. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 21:37, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
Thankfully, no specific cases, but someone brought it up on the project page and got me thinking. Anyways, thanks for the advice.Drew Smith What I've done 21:59, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
If you guys are so opposed to how things are done here, why don't you go to a website that allows you to do those things instead of trying to convert what's supposed to be an encyclopedia into whatever you happen to want to do? Pet advice? Elsewhere. Plot summaries? Elsewhere. Lists of random trivia? Elsewhere. There's wikibooks and wikia.com and a zillion other places where your every whim can be realized. Please respect what Wikipedia was created to do. DreamGuy (talk) 15:44, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) Agreed. We don't need an exception for fish care how-to articles. Or plot summaries. Or episode guides. --John Nagle (talk) 15:59, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Looks like we're all in agreement then. If it's possible for "how-to" information to be rewritten in an encyclopaedic form, then we should do so, and if not (or if it can't be sourced) then it shouldn't be included. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 15:57, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

An exception to the policy just to save animals' lives? Sorry, but an encyclopedia is an encyclopedia. Wikipedia is not responsible for anyone who misinterprets it as a "pet guide" and uses it to care for their pets. Frankly, if pets are dying because of such irresponsibility, the owners should be banned from owning them, not Wikipedia being forced to change what it fundamentally is. Haipa Doragon (talkcontributions) 18:39, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Try substituting "humans" for "pets" and suggesting that at Wikiproject Medicine.
While I sympathise with "... the owners should be banned from owning them ...", that's not how things actually are. OTOH a certain nation with many WP users is notoriously litigious.
What harm does a modest amount of sound advice do WP? --Philcha (talk) 19:05, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Oh, well, whatever, let's not digress into discussions about animal welfare. Anyway, if such advice is "sound" as you say, then there would be reliable sources to back up that soundness. As Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, articles should be written in encyclopedic prose (per policies and guidelines); as stated above, there are alternative places for guides and we should not undermine Wikipedia's purpose by blurring the boundaries between encyclopedia and guide. Haipa Doragon (talkcontributions) 19:37, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
As noted above, it should be possible to make comments about animal welfare without being a how-to guide. As long as the information can be reliably sourced. It isn't that high of a bar.Hobit (talk) 00:48, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Wow, do I sense (gasp) biting? I wasn't asking for an enitre article about how to care for a fish, just being allowed a small section of the article so the animal doesnt die. BTW, an encyclopedia is an encyclopedia. I dont now what encyclopedia you're reading, but every real encyclopedia article I've read about an animal that can be kept as a pet includes a small how-to section. So by your "an encyclopedia is an encyclopedia" rule, it should be allowed.Drew Smith What I've done 11:46, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
I think you are misunderstanding. An article on "how to" would be inappropriate. A small section on the topic, as long as it is well source, is perfectly acceptable. In general, for things like this, the best bet is to provide a brief overview and point people in the right direction. That's what the human medicine articles to (for example). Or at least the one's I edit. Hobit (talk) 19:08, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Moved PLOT to WP:WAF

In order to try and move things forwards, I've went ahead and merged it in at Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(writing_about_fiction)#Plot_summaries. I propose that a week is spent letting things stabilise a bit, and then we open an RFC there to check the wording we've come up with. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 15:12, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

If you think there was a clear consensus to downgrade NOT#PLOT to a guideline, you'll have to point me at it. I don't see it. In the meantime, I've reverted the removal from NOT.—Kww(talk) 15:14, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
The well-participated-in Straw poll came down against it appearing here. I've reverted you back. If policy is going to be meaningful,. it must actually fit the description of policy given att the top of each page: "a widely accepted standard" - having it clearly shown that a majority is against its inclusion here makes a mockery of that statement. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 15:18, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Policy has inertia, and is only changed with a clear consensus to change. That consensus has not been demonstrated.—Kww(talk) 15:23, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I disagree completely. Policy must reflect the general consensus - that's kind of the whole point. If there's not consensus for a policy, it should be removed. It shouldn't hang around based on inertia - that is a terrible idea. Now, I think you could possible argue that a local consensus here and one RFC do not accurately represent the general consensus and therefore, we shouldn't change anything. But to say that it's okay for policy not to reflect consensus is just wrong. -Chunky Rice (talk) 16:52, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
We do not work on majorities. Yes, there is strong consensus for some type of change, but moving it to WAF is not the only option and we are presently discussing what changes can be made to meet the consensus the straw poll generated. We should not move it until that has been determined. --MASEM (t) 15:25, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
There is no such consensus, and a mere straw poll does not rewrite policy. DreamGuy (talk) 16:06, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Please go look up the word "consensus" in a dictionary (or even the consensus article, which currently has no citations). There's no consensus for WP:NOT#PLOT to be here. Period. We work on majorities all the time Masem. Why are you an admin right now? Why is Kww not? The question was "do you think that WP:NOT should include a section on plot summaries?" And the majority of people said NO. So why the stalling? The poll wasn't about where to move WP:NOT#PLOT. When you saw the Obama edits to this policy page, did you have to sit and wonder for days, trying to decide where to move it? No, you just removed it. You didn't need thread after thread after thread on this talk page before you could remove it. It didn't have consensus to be here, and neither does WP:NOT#PLOT. Not in the past[35], not in the present[36], and probably not in the future either. I asked about moving WP:NOT#PLOT to WAF over a year ago[37], and frankly I don't think it belongs there now. It belongs in the garbage. --Pixelface (talk) 05:36, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

You need consensus to make changes to policy. There is no consensus to remove PLOT from NOT. Thus it will not be removed. Period. You can't just take some action that you know you don't have support to do and insist you get to do it. DreamGuy (talk) 16:06, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Shouldn't there be some sort of notice on the page stating the current dispute over this policy? There's clearly no consensus yet as to either way, so we shouldn't confuse editors by omitting WP:NOT#PLOT and therefore making it seem as though there is consensus against the policy. Something like {{pp-dispute}} would do good. Haipa Doragon (talkcontributions) 16:44, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I did that. Sorry about the delay. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 16:47, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Exactly. No consensus always reverts to the status quo, much to the chagrin of BLP defenders. And SH should not have removed it as he has a COI by virtue of voting in the straw poll. Sceptre (talk) 16:58, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
To quote WP:POLICY "Policies and guidelines describe standards that have community consensus..." By their very nature, you cannot have a policy that does not have consensus. There is no "inertia" or "default to keep" for policy. Policy MUST reflect the consensus of the community. -Chunky Rice (talk) 17:02, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
<EC with Mr. Rice> Two things. #1 Could you point to policy/guideline or whatever that shows that no consensus always reverts to the status quo? I've looked around and not seen it. My sense is that policy should reflect consensus, and I'm not seeing any here. #2 Are you seriously claiming that someone who is involved on the talk page of a policy issue shouldn't update that policy? I've also never seen that. It is exactly those people who generally do update policy, guidelines and essays. I've done so a few times in the last week. In some cases I've gotten reverted (once by Gavin and once by Ikip I think) but not because I was an involved party. Hobit (talk) 17:05, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
From WP:POLICY:
However, changes that would alter the substance of policy or guidelines should normally be announced on the appropriate talk page first. The change may be implemented if no objection is made to it or if discussion shows that there is consensus for the change. If there is no consensus for a given text, old or new, it should not be asserted as though it were consensus; possibilities include silence on the issue and acknowledgement that editors disagree on the point.
Mind you, this is in addition to "policies should reflect consensus", we've got two issues here. While we discuss if it should be moved, it is completely appropriate to mark it disputed/under discussion per the above. --MASEM (t) 17:11, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
So if "there is no consensus for a given text, old or new", one option is silence on the issue. Isn't that exactly where we are? Marking it disputed is one option, but removing it is another according to WP:POLICY (as I read it). Hobit (talk) 18:06, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
You know to well it is not that straight forward: quite a lot of polices and guidelines already prohibit plot only articles by definition, and some (like WP:BK and WP:WAF) go out of the their way to explain why plot only articles are not encyclopedic. Its not like you are trying to remove one minor policy, that does not function at any level, rather you are proposing to delete a policy which is widely supported elsewhere. I have explained before, as the level of real-world coverage becomess less and less, a plot only article will come into increasing conflict with other policies and guidelines. WP:NOT#PLOT is the Wikipedia equivalent of Becher's Brook; it is only one hurdle which a topic will fall at if it is not encyclopedic. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:20, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
While interesting, your response doesn't answer my question. Aren't we at the point there is no consensus for a given text, old or new? Hobit (talk) 18:21, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
We certainly aren't at the point where PLOT ceases to have force as a content rule (policy or guideline). WAF, BK, VGSCOPE, RS all have some guidance about plot only articles or relative size of plot summaries. We need to determine what form plot will eventually take, rather than edit warring over its inclusion or exclusion from NOT. Protonk (talk) 18:32, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the relevance of other policy and guideline pages. But do you agree there is no consensus to keep it here? I felt the RfC was pretty clear about that. Hobit (talk) 18:37, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
It is difficult to agree that at guideline level, WP:NOT#PLOT is well supported and on the other hand, ignore similar prohibitions in WP:BK and WP:INUNIVERSE. Since WP:NOT is all about setting the boundry of what Wikipedia is not, here seems the best place for it to be. I can understand why you might dislike WP:NOT#PLOT, but like death and taxes, we have to recognise it too is necessary to set boundries in order to enable everyone to edit Wikipedia without having to answer to an editorial board or a proprietor. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:43, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Round and round we go. Could you please answer (or just say you won't answer) the question I've asked? Do you agree the RfC resulted in no consensus either way on keeping WP:NOTPLOT here? Hobit (talk) 18:45, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
No, because it is not a feasible option for the reasons I have explained. You could run an RFC along the lines "Are plot only articles encyclopedic?" and get the same outcome, but we both know they are not.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:53, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm confused. I'm asking what the result of the RfC is. Hobit (talk) 20:12, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
  • WP:POLICY says "The process for changing the status of a guideline or policy should normally be similar to the process for promoting a page: Start a discussion on the talk page outlining the reasons for the proposed change in status ... and solicit community input. After allowing a reasonable amount of time for comments, an independent editor should close the discussion and evaluate the consensus." The onus is therefore on those wishing to change a policy wording to gain consensus. Not to mention that the discussion wasn't closed by an independent editor. Black Kite 18:56, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
  • That's not what it says. It says that consensus needs to be evaluated, not that the change itself requires consensus. As it states elsewhere in the policy, and quoted in the above discussion, if there is not consensus for a policy or a specific portion of a policy, that portion should be either removed or tagged as in dispute. -Chunky Rice (talk) 19:12, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
  • And it is and has been tagged since near the start of the RFC. And should remain tagged until we're sure about what to do with it. --MASEM (t) 19:21, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Is it? I can't find any such tag. I must be missing something. -Chunky Rice (talk) 21:08, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
  • I think they are referring to the dubious-discuss tag, which Hobit left when he unilaterally remade the policy and is now more appropriate than ever. Resurr Section (talk) 22:10, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

WP:PLOT again

It's clear that this lacks the consensus necessary for policy. Hence, it should go. These proposals and counter-proposals for what to do with the ideas behind it in other policies and guidelines have nothing to do with whether it should remain here. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 02:20, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

It has been explained to you that policies have inertia, and there is no consensus to change this policy yet. Your edit-warring this change is becoming disruptive. Please stop.—Kww(talk) 02:38, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
And it's been explained to you that policies require consensus, which this part lacks. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 10:09, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
You can't make something true just by wishful thinking and wikilawyering. That's all you're doing at this point. It does have consensus to be there. The wording is in question, but there's clear consensus to keep it in some form or another, and the wording doesn't change until there's consensus. DreamGuy (talk) 21:29, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Speaking of wishful thinking... You can't make plot-only articles unacceptable just by wishful thinking and wikilawyering[38] (although brainless wikilawyering did work in this case and this case[39][40]). WP:NOT#PLOT does not have consensus to be here. Period. Do you know what the word consensus means? --Pixelface (talk) 06:16, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
There was no consensus to add WP:NOT#PLOT to this policy when it was first proposed.[41] Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered a standard for all users to follow. The RFC above shows that WP:NOT#PLOT does not have wide acceptance among editors. Do you disagree with any of those claims? WP:NOT#PLOT does not have consensus to be policy. And if you want to talk about "inertia", currently it's below 49% for people who think this policy should have a section about plot summaries. --Pixelface (talk) 05:09, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Also, please use an edit summary when you are removing planks of a policy. I assume that you forgot to do so. Protonk (talk) 02:47, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Kww is right; we might reach consensus on something if we continue to discuss, but will only continue to quarrel if we start this sort of thing again. DGG (talk) 04:30, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Yep. Even interpreting the consensus has no consensus. One side is gonna say "this proves the policy has only the support of a minority and should be removed as no consensus" and the other side is going to say "this shows that only a minority want to remove a long-standing policy, so it should stay." How about we talk about something where we might gain consensus: a change in wording or location?— Preceding unsigned comment added by Randomran (talkcontribs)

The edit where Shoemaker's Holiday removed the section was reverted with the edit comment: "Reverted good faith edits by Shoemaker's Holiday" -- Frankly, that's giving him far more credit than he deserves at this point. He KNOWS he doesn't have consensus to make that change, and he KNOWS that he'll get reverted every last time he pulls that stunt, so continuing to do so cannot be called a "good faith" edit by any stretch of the imagination. DreamGuy (talk) 21:29, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

What the RfC indicated

Before we start yet another RfC, we should agree on what the last one got us. I'd say the following is true: The RfC showed that having NOT#PLOT in WP:NOT doesn't have consensus, but nor is there consensus to keep it here. The RfC asked "In principle, do you think that WP:NOT should include a section on plot summaries?" That's a pretty clear-cut issue, but I get the sense that others don't agree. Could everyone indicate what they think we did learn from the last RfC? Hobit (talk) 21:23, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

I think it's clear that this is widely agreed not to be the place for it, but that something discussing plot summaries should go somewhere. WP:NOT#PLOT has not been stable, so I think that we'll save a lot of time and editwarring if we can reach a rough agreement on where it should go, and open an RFC there to work out the new wording.
I don't think it should remain here in the meantime: that would just proide a distraction from the work to try and create a stable policy or guideline that relates to it. In addition, the current wording is awful. I think it's the worst of any of the recent revisions. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 22:01, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Sorry guys, you just can't ignore everyone else. Between the two of you, you have not provided a single scrap of evidence that plot summary only articles contain any encyclopedic coverage. It seems to be that arguments for removing based on WP:NOT#PLOT, whilst popular, just don't have any intellectual basis and are based on arguements such as WP:ILIKEIT. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:27, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
And it seem your arguments are based on WP:IDIDN'THEARTHAT. First off: A. Major encyclopedias do contain largely plot-only articles. [42] [43]. Those were found in one minute of searching, I'm sure articles with even less introduction exist. B. The statement is over-broad as it stands, and, due to its appearance in WP:NOT, it is very hard to treat it with proper subtlety. C. It is a standard that only works well on developed articles, not new ones. Please listen to what other people say. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 09:38, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Britannica and Wookieepedia have inclusion criteria are determined bytheir owners, or their delegated representatives. Wikipedia does not have an owner, nor an editorial board, nor a single editor in chief whose personal opinion determines what sort of coverage is suitable for inclusion as a standalone article. Instead, Wikipedia operates through a framework of policies and guidelines that enables anyone to contribute, provided they adhere to the standards set in this framework. What you are basically proposing is to ignore that framework in order to impose your own personal views about the inclusion of plot only articles. Shame on you. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:55, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
So, you're saying that Britannica isn't encyclopedic: That you are the only arbiter of what "encyclopedic" means. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 10:02, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Have a read of WP:NOT and you will notice that it says that Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia, but that is not a free pass to inclusion. There are standards to be adhered to if we want Wikipedia to be open to contributions from any editor, and we can't ignore them unless you want to change adopt the management model employed by other publications. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:06, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Gavin, you've just been faced with evidence that your main point was wrong, and have claimed it doesn't matter, and launched a personal attack on me. I don't think there's any point whatsoever continuing trying to discuss this with you. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 11:01, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I think you will find that these arguments hold true, but if you want to stick your head in the sand and ignore me, be my guest. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:23, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I can define what encyclopedic means. It means supported by secondary sources. For example, if I were to write an article on The Prisoner episode Hammer Into Anvil, I would do a Google Books and Google Scholar search, and use those sources to provide the reader of the article with more than just a description of the events in the episode. Why was The Prisoner so pioneering? What does it mean? Resurr Section (talk) 11:45, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. but if the only thing RSes have is plot stuff, does that mean that the article shouldn't exist even if it otherwise meets WP:N? I think it would be acceptable, though never a good article. I strongly suspect such a case is rare. Hobit (talk) 00:22, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I agree with Shoemaker's Holiday opinion that the "wording is awful" and also with Hobit's last comment that a plot-only article with RSes would be acceptable. And also that it could not reach a good status. However such cases are not really rare as I can create plot summaries sourced from established encyclopedia, which are admittedly tertiary sources.

For example, I created Armance (novel) from a tertiary RS with a 76 page section of "famous works", all of them almost pure plot-summaries (plus the title, genre, author and date). Most of these works already have articles in wikipedia. Amphitryon (Molière) is one that the RS exceptionally omits plot and instead compares and contrasts it to Amphitryon (play). If I made the Moliere play plot-summary what should happen to it? Merge to Amphitryon I suppose, but not delete.

Finally I looked again at the RFC question and I still think PLOT should both not be in NOT and also be rewritten in its new place to be a lot clearer. That does not mean I think there should be no standards for plot summaries, in fact I would likely favour an adherence to WP:V too strict for most. 84user (talk) 06:08, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

It is a falacy that any source provides evidence of notability if it is all plot summary. By definition, a source which only summarises the primary work is not independent of it. Plot only articles fail WP:V for this reason.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:04, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Interesting definition of "independent" you have there. Evidently, like most of your definitions, it means whatever's convenient to you at the time. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 10:36, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
One source that summarises another without any commentary or criticism is hardly independent is it? --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:03, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Independence of a source has nothing to do with the type of coverage it is providing; it strictly only has to do with the relationship of the author of that source to the author of the work that is being summarized. The concept your aspect about (showing commentary and criticism) is the different between primary and secondary sources, not dependent and independent sources. --MASEM (t) 12:18, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
I am not sure many editors would agree with you Masem. For instance, the essay Wikipedia:Independent sources says that "An independent source is a source which describes a topic from a disinterested perspective". Personally, I don't see how a secondary source can be classed as reliable or independent if it simply repeats or summarises what has been written in the primary source. You cannot establish notability from a source which only repeats rather than comments on a work of fiction; WP:BK specifically excludes such media re-prints of press releases, flap copy, or other publications, so I think you view is mistaken. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 12:47, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
For a source for a given topic, there are two axis that we consider to evaluate the appropriateness of that source (WP:V and WP:PSTS) (this is why the phrase "independent, secondary sources" gets bantered around a lot:
  • First/Third-party (same as Dependent/Independent) - is the source tied very closely with the topic at hand (as one of the writers, actors, directors, etc.?)
  • Primary/Secondary/Tertiary - is the source simply regurgitating the topic, interjecting analysis and critique on the topic, or providing a much larger but neutral summary of the overall topic?
A source - dependent or independent - that only regurgitates plot cannot be secondary; it is defined as primary. So there's nothing wrong with what you are saying, just that we're using "dependency" of a source to point to the relationship of the referenced work to the topic, not to the referenced work's content, as the PST axis is used to evaluate that. --MASEM (t) 12:59, 12 May 2009 (UTC)