Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not/Archive 28

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You people really astound me. Most wikipedians are all really nice, and very helpful, and open to new ideas. It appears though, that I have stumbled upon a tiny enclave of ankle-biters. How many newbies did you guys scare off of wikipedia?Drew Smith What I've done 11:50, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Oh, it's not only here. The milk in my fridge always turns sour whenever I read a new post at WT:FICT. Goodraise 12:18, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
That is nothing. My voodoo dolls of Hiding, Masem, Phil and Random ran out of space to put pins in them long ago. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:31, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Ha! Well, at least you have a sense of humor about it. Randomran (talk) 18:45, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Not nearly enough newbies have been scared off, it seems. Useful newbies wanting to edit an encyclopedia wouldn't be scared off by having to follow encyclopedia-style content rules. The ones who get upset and leave probably never should have edited here in the first place and will be much happier on a blog or Urban Dictionary or someplace more their speed. This is an encyclopedia, not some preschool art class where everyone gets a gold star just for showing up and eating paste. DreamGuy (talk) 21:35, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
They don't show up wanting to edit an encyclopedia. They show up wanting to make a change to an article, or maybe write an article on some topic they care about. And pretty soon they are good at editing and start making changes casually. Then they start working on things "for the good of the encyclopedia", but they don't show up that way. Virtually every other project similar to wikipedia in 2005 had strict rules while wikipedia had loose ones. Where are we are where are they? Since this place has gotten strict 2 years ago what's the growth rate been? jbolden1517Talk 22:28, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree w/ the first half of the argument but not the second. While I am convinced that low barriers to entry and loose editing rules have been critical to WP's success, I can't justify the decline in the rate of growth of the encyclopedia with some change in metrics, given that there are more convincing explanations. Protonk (talk) 22:57, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
What are the more convincing explanations? jbolden1517Talk 03:30, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, let's start with that question. The slant of it presumes that somehow, without any footwork on your part, the most convincing explanation is that barriers to content editing are the primary cause of reduced growth and that I have to assail that before we are on equal ground. Let's explore possible causes for the reduced growth rate. Wikipedia's growth, and the growth of social networks could be logistic, not exponential, as people originally assumed when WP was getting started. Wikipedia's growth could be a function of growth in internet access in US, Canada and Western Europe (just picking the places where the bulk of the english wp editors come from). We have some indication that the growth of internet users in the developed world is slowing. It could be that from 2001 to ~2007, the only widely known user editable information resource was wikipedia. We were first to market. Sure, there were open db's and plenty of wiki-like information repositories, but most of those were devoted to specific groups or were not widely known. You could characterize the growth of WP as aberrational during that time. There is little reason to assume that once we create Wikia,, and dozens of other web2.0 information repositories that we would continue to grow as we have. Even existing popular repositories like imdb added a lot of content contributor facing functionality between 2001 and now. We also have to grapple with the fact that dozens of different things impact growth rates. And if we think we know what the cause of the change is, what do we modify to fix it? Protonk (talk) 04:17, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
DreamGuy, I'm sure you'll be much happier at Britannica 2.0. Perhaps that website will be more your "speed." Then again, you may just find that you're not actually the encyclopedia writer you like to think of yourself as. This is Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. That includes preschoolers who eat paste, if the definition of "anyone" is lost on you, and it clearly is. --Pixelface (talk) 07:13, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

(outdenting reply to Protonk) Thank you for the thoughtful reply. We know some social networking sites continued to grow rapidly, for example Facebook and Linkdin both experienced huge growth during the last 2 years. As for being one of the only known editable sources at the time, Amazon certainly beat us by many years. It was well known with an active review community by that point, with a discussion community that exploded during the later phases of wikipedia's growth. DMOZ would be another well known resource that existed during all or wikipedia's life. As for strong competition that's precisely my point. Given the high viability of wikipedia most people would naturally want to add content here, that is there have to be strong incentives not to use wikipedia as the place to add content. If they are going offsite to add similar content they are doing it for a reason. If you talk to the people on those sites the reason they frequently give is "wikipedia's meanness" which I think is coming from thousands upon thousands of rules being blindly enforced. jbolden1517Talk 11:27, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

The growth rate has been mercifully low, since the main consequence of the somewhat stricter environment has been more merged articles. The information is still being added, just in omnibus articles. More people and up reading those then in a bunch of scattered pages. The other possible explanation is that most of the information that could be easily added to Wikipedia has been added: the endless stubs on towns, anything that was on TV, every corpus of knowledge that has fans such as trains and military history. Resurr Section (talk) 23:02, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
(e/c x2)"Since this place has gotten strict 2 years ago what's the growth rate been?" This may be what you're looking for. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 23:04, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Thank you! Great link, yes exactly what I was looking for! jbolden1517Talk 03:30, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Look man, I don't know what to tell you. You came to a bedrock policy page and suggested a change. People told you, in varying degrees of pleasantness, that the change wasn't going to happen. I'm sorry. Protonk (talk) 22:57, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Its not just me. I read everything after my proposal, and everytime, without fail someone ends up getting bitten.Drew Smith What I've done 00:33, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
It just seems to me that you are confusing rejection of your proposal for "biting" you. Protonk (talk) 04:18, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Changing policy ain't easy, especially for controversial areas. Randomran (talk) 05:12, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Plot heavy articles encourage other problems as well

Articles which are plot dominated are rarely properly sourced, and could generally include little more than original research. A plot summary, even one that stretches several paragraphs is reasonable if sufficiently sourced (if its notable, then book/movie/etc reviews should be easily locatable) even those that support this proposal would probably agree that if its properly sourced and encyclopedic, then it's okay. Its the plot-only or plot-heavy articles that are essentially using Wikipedia as a web host and ignoring citation requirements that are the problem. This also encourages the "write it now, leave it for someone else to source later" mindset that anyone who has done New Page Patrolling knows all to well. Policies should be in harmony with each other and discouraging plot-only or plot-heavy articles is in harmony with other policies. Allowing them is not.--RadioFan (talk) 12:49, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

While I do have some sympathy to your view, I think that's more appropriate to discuss on WP:WAF. Also, plot summaries are allowed to be written from the original work, and many FAs have such, even if the plot summary is extensive. Saying they shouldn't do that would be a major change to policy. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 12:53, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think people really dispute the idea of writing plot summaries from primary sources. People have an issue when an article is entirely plot, with no verifiable information about why the element of fiction is important, or how it was conceived. And even then, most people agree that's an issue, but a lot of people don't think it should be dealt with here, or that it shouldn't be dealt with so harshly. Randomran (talk) 14:18, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
The major problem comes in that plot-heavy can be fine at certain stages of development - one doesn't want to cut down an otherwise-acceptable plot summary (of course, not all lengthy plot summaries are acceptable, but in some genres and for classic works of literature they're generally considered desirable) only to have to rewrite a longer version later, when the article develops a little more. If we're not careful, unintended consequences arise. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 15:04, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree that "right now", you cannot just look at a plot-only article and say if it should be deleted or not because you're right - there's many possibilities as to where in the article development process that it is. However, the current attitude of how we should be developing fiction article - specifically avoiding articles on characters and episodes and other facets until those individual elements are known to be separately notable on their own - means that if an editor creates a plot-only article today and takes no further steps to expand it, and it is clearly not in a class of other articles which are already notable (eg, we let slide the cases of the newest episodes of The Simpsons since nearly every other Simpsons episode is notable), then we should encourage quick cleanup to help establish it more than just plot, or else merge to the parent article or list article. Again, the key word is today, as WP:WAF and WP:SS suggest to not split out until notability is established; this is not meant to apply to long-standing articles on fiction that no one has gotten around to cleanup yet. --MASEM (t) 15:32, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
I happen to think that adding some kind of caveat to the current WP:PLOT would alleviate a lot of concerns, and increase its support. Enough to calm the dispute about where it should go or what it should say? I don't know. But a plot-only article should be judged on its potential for real-world content, not its current stubby state. Randomran (talk) 15:55, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Surely that is true of any article that fails Wikipedia's policies and guidelines? I think that the view that an article should judged on its potential is already covered at WP:IMPERFECT. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:26, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
In good faith, I think a lot of critics of WP:PLOT think that WP:IMPERFECT is sometimes forgotten when judging a WP:NOT#PLOT article. Redundancy can be annoying, but repeating a common concept improves clarity and reassures people, then it's worth repeating, isn't it? Some kind of reference to "Ideally, articles without real-world coverage should be improved with such coverage when possible," may seem obvious to you, but it would probably reassure people like Shoemaker's Holiday. (Don't let me speak for him though.) Randomran (talk) 16:47, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
That seems good, but I still think that things with major exceptions should not appear on WP:NOT, which seems better reserved for things never appropriate. Not things that are inappropriate in a tiny minority of cases where the article both lacks real-world coverage, and can't be developed to fix it. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 16:53, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
But we're not really talking about exception. Every clause on NOT presumes that the article that fails it should be removed if it is impossible to improve further. Take the example a few sections about: say someone writes a how-to article of how to care for a cat. Fails GUIDE, obviously, but that's not to say that the general type of information can be morphed into an article about domestic housecats (which I note is redirected to cat but the representive section there is part guide, part encyclopedic information and thus a good result.) That's why I suggested above that maybe the idea behind WP:IMPERFECT be restarted here in that "WP is not perfect", implying that everything should be taken as a work in progress and only consider its potential end goal when dealing with deletion through NOT. --MASEM (t) 17:03, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
We also aren't talking about a "tiny minority of cases". Most plot-only articles are essentially irreparable, as the trivial amounts of "real-world" information that can be found are much better placed in the parent article. The bulk of "plot-only" articles are episode and character articles that were split off from a parent article that was already plot heavy. Take a look at all the various spin-off articles from Percy Jackson & The Olympians, for example: a plot-heavy series article that has plot-heavy articles about individual novels in the series that then have plot-heavy articles about individual characters in those novels. If you took all the real-world information that was independently sourced in the whole group of a dozen articles, it would be around a paragraph long. That's pretty typical, and far from a "tiny minority".—Kww(talk) 17:06, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Isn't failure to declare notability already a criteria for speedy deletion? We don't need to come down like a ton of bricks on a small subset of an already recognised problem. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 17:12, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Emphatically no, and for good reason. You can speedy delete specific classes of articles (mostly people, bands, organizations and web sites) for lack of demonstration of importance due to the fact people love to post vanity articles, but for any other topic, lack of notable is not and should never be criteria for speedy deletion. --MASEM (t) 17:30, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
WP:IMPERFECT should not be used to justify bad articles, especially those that are poorly sourced.--RadioFan (talk) 17:41, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
RadioFan, if you read the rest of this Talk page, you'll notice how few people think articles emerge out of nowhere in good condition - most start at ... start-class. In the case of fiction, that's usually a very sketchy plot summary, sans critical commentary, sans refs, sans everything. --Philcha (talk) 19:20, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
RadioFan, first of all, your heading has nothing to do with what you wrote. You may want to learn about topic sentences (an article with no citations by the way). What are the other problems that plot-heavy articles supposedly encourage? And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the plot information in the Fantine article likely comes from the novel the character appears in. Any article on Wikipedia could contain "original research." But it's not original research to summarize a fictional work. And WP:NOTWEBHOST has nothing to do with "plot heavy" articles. And WP:CITE is a guideline.

Write it now, source it later seems to me to have been the way that most articles on Wikipedia were created. For example, someone wrote what they knew about the human skeleton in January 2003 and then someone else added the first citation nearly five years later. In November 2001 (or possibly earlier), someone wrote what they knew about Radio and then someone else added the first citation, again, nearly five years later. Wikipedia is a work in progress. Wikipedia has plot-heavy articles nearly as old as this page itself, before it was even called a policy. Plot-only articles can be verifiable, contain no original research, and be written as neutrally as possible. There is no conflict or disharmony between plot-only articles and other policies. Only with WP:NOT#PLOT, which does not now[1], and never has[2], had consensus to be policy. --Pixelface (talk) 07:59, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Fully protected

STOP edit warring over this policy. STOP using edit summaries to lob jibes and personal attacks at each other. The page is protected for two weeks and I have absolutely no problem with extending the length of protection until there is a compromise proposal at this page which folks have agreed upon. Protonk (talk) 18:29, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

This is being discussed at WP:AN. Hobit (talk) 15:55, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
For crying out loud, policy pages should not be protected at versions made by edit warriors without any consensus. This is a POLICY page, it doesn't just get to be changed to something new for two week because an edit warrior slipped in a revert (along with an edit comment with a personal attack in it) right before it got locked. Maybe we can be cavalier with protected mere articles at the wrong version, but policies are policies and shouldn't be subject to tactics like this. DreamGuy (talk) 18:17, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
"mere articles"? "policies are policies"? Which is the means and which is the end? --Philcha (talk) 18:24, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Surely you aren't that confused. DreamGuy (talk) 21:39, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Stifle (talk) 08:32, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
If lots of people over an extended period of time were "taking the teeth" out of the policy then that is pretty good evidence the policy doesn't have consensus. Policies need consensus, I think the RFC above shows without question this policy lacks consensus. You are also begging the question by assuming that plot summaries are not encyclopedic. jbolden1517Talk 18:23, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Lots of people make stealth edits to policy that get missed, and people can miss the big picture when minor changes add up over time. And your interpretation of the RFC is just your interpretation: there very clearly is not any evidence that the policy lacks consensus, just that some wording does. I know that people who can't get consensus like to pretend they have it, but that's not how things work here. DreamGuy (talk) 21:39, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Oh, it has consensus. First off, I can hardly tell the difference between the last two versions just prior to the locking. Secondly, plot summaries are encyclopedic if and only if secondary sources exist that talk about the plot. Resurr Section (talk) 18:31, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
I think the difference is fairly obvious. That said, I agree completely with you on "plot summaries are encyclopedic if and only if secondary sources exist that talk about the plot". That's exactly right. Hobit (talk) 18:37, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm too dense to see how the differences in the alternate versions of the policy would be made manifest. That's why I keep asking for examples. Resurr Section (talk) 19:03, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

(outdenting) We are writing a summary for Hamlet. There is debate about whether the Ophillia subplot falls under WP:PLOT (not concise enough) and is too much information. Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia is an RS establishing that the Ophilia subplot can go in. jbolden1517Talk 19:24, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

See, and that's exactly the kinds of things we need. The overwhelming majority of plot summaries on Wikipedia -- something like 95% of them -- do not have any RS at all and are just some fans going point by point describing what happens in their own words, which is about as far away from encyclopedic as we can get.DreamGuy (talk) 21:39, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Great! We found a point of agreement. Lets see if we can build on that. One objection to your version was the concise requirement. If you agree that subplots can be included that seems to me to contradict concise. Because Hamlet has about a dozen subplots if we assume 2 paragraphs each at a minimum (in reality we have dedicated articles on many of them) + 5 for the main plot that's 30 paragraphs.
I have no problem with an RS requirement, but RSes for most fiction don't meet our traditional RS criteria as often interpreted. For example I'd consider the sophisticated fan sites for science fiction shows to be sites maintained by the world's leading experts on those shows (as quite often the producers will attest to). Wikipedia tends to take a narrower view. So a requirement that there must be a reliable source for the summary, but this reliable source can appear where this genre normally receives detailed coverage would seem to me to get rid of the problems with WP:OR that we should be worried about while still allowing us to cover shows in detail. jbolden1517Talk 12:35, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
jbolden1517, can you produce citations for "the sophisticated fan sites for science fiction shows to be sites maintained by the world's leading experts on those shows (as quite often the producers will attest to)"? If you can, I'd be happy to help you raise this at WT:RS - see User:Philcha#About_reliable_sources for my reasons. --Philcha (talk) 12:43, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
We might want to move this discussion over to your page. I 100% agree with you on this topic. I was thinking of comments from the producer's podcast of Battlestar Galactica where every other episode they had to to respond to inconsistencies on the blogs. They frequently made comments like, "building sets for sci-fi is so hard, the fans notice everything" the other producer cut in "Edward James Olmos [ William Adama ] once dropped a bunch of files picked them up in the wrong order and the fans noticed the order changed". Brian Herbert's comment that the Dune Encylopedia was a perfect reference guide until his books (while defending himself that Frank never "embraced it", the point of perfection shouldn't be lost). But if you want a very RS on levels of fan knowledge Star Trek entry on the Encyclopedia of Television (from Museum of Broadcast Communications), " Such fans came to be known as 'trekkies,' and were noted (and often ridiculed) for their extreme devotion to the show and their encyclopedic knowledge of every episode."
Another great example is George Lucas actually responding to fan criticism, " In the arena confrontation between Mace Windu and Jango Fett in Episode II the DVD added sparks and exhaust plumes to Fett's jetpack to indicate that it was damaged when he was nearly trampled by the Reek beast, thus providing an explanation for why the bounty hunter failed to simply fly away before the Jedi could behead him."
I understand there was an academic presentation on the fans of Lost 2 years ago and the feedback loop between the fansites and the producers by Scott Rogers, "The Lost Fan's Burden: Class Consciousness and the Price of Lost Fandom. Southwest Popular Culture Association. Albuquerque, NM. February, 2007." (not published yet :-( ) [3]
If there is real interest I think I could find a reference about every 20 minutes for this fact. jbolden1517Talk 14:05, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
This would lead to an undue emphasis of continuity errors, while failing to address why the shows are popular in the first place. Such citations could be used to build articles on fandom, but not the shows themselves. Furthermore, using examples that are either very well studied (Shakespeare) and/or extremely popular (Star Trek) will obscure the issues that arise when editing articles on shows such as Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide or List of George Lopez episodes. Resurr Section (talk) 20:24, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
DreamGuy, editors should be summarizing sources in their own words. You think they shouldn't be? 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. You think you know better? --Pixelface (talk) 08:09, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

(outdenting) Resurr Section I think you lost the thread. The point in question was whether fansites were RSes not whether focusing on them leads to bias. They certainly are biased sources, no question there. And the issue here is we are making policy. What we do on this page applies to Hamlet and George Lopez equally (I incidentally don't have a clue what George Lopez is). That's why I'm arguing that if we want a policy on George Lopez lets write it in such a way that it targets the problem with George Lopez and doesn't cause collateral damage to Hamlet. The policy that you all are arguing to reinstate would attack Hamlet. If you don't think Hamlet should be attacked then it would follow you should support changes to the policy. jbolden1517Talk 20:39, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

addendum in looking both those articles don't have plot information. Lets pick a working example: List of Doctor Who serials with the connecting articles. Now I think that is terrific coverage. Can you explain what would be gained by deleting those 100 articles? jbolden1517Talk 20:42, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't want to delete 100 articles. The way to prevent collateral damage to Hamlet is to require RS. Probably thousands of Reliable Sources exist for Shakespeare. Doctor Who has quite a few Reliable Sources too. My interpretation of WP:NOTPLOT is that a childish retelling of the plot is inappropriate. How do we know what is a mature interpretation of the plot, which aspects of the plot are important and so forth? By what reliable sources are saying. Let's take the first plot summary from List of George Lopez episodes:

When well-liked George becomes the first guy to be promoted from the assembly line to plant manager at a Los Angeles airplane parts factory, his life becomes a little more complicated. His pal Ernie and former comrades on the plant floor tease him about joining management; George's first test in the new position is to terminate one employee, and he must choose either his acerbic line-inspector mother, Benny, or Ernie. George's hardworking and patient wife, Angie, copes with Benny's constant wisecracks and cares for the couple's kids, precocious 9-year-old Max and 13-year-old Carmen, who is dealing with the traumas of being a teenager. Carmen has what George calls "Jungle Pits" and hairy legs.

Guess which part I consider childish? Resurr Section (talk) 22:14, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah it sounds bad. So let the page editors remove it. We don't need a "don't include junk" policy. Besides this is a show in Nickelodeon, I have no idea what 9 year olds are looking for in an encyclopedia article. Maybe it is a good fit for their customer base? jbolden1517Talk 04:18, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Hi. I helped write Hamlet, which you all seem to be talking about, and we wrote the plot section well enough without this reliable sources nonsense. I could easily find hundreds of sources each saying that a different line of the play is vital to the plot. Adding them all up, you would end up with the argument that absolutely no line, including stage directions, can be omitted. Asking for reliable sources for this sort of thing isn't going to solve a thing. Wrad (talk) 22:51, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Exactly you had the freedom to include as little or as much as you wanted and everything was fine. The page editors made reasonable choices. jbolden1517Talk 04:18, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Sure it is; for one thing, it solves the problem of knowning what you think of WP:RS, an indication that you consider consensus something to be scoffed at and worthless. Resurr Section (talk) 23:46, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't see a consensus here. All I see is full protection, which indicates an extreme lack of consensus. Please keep your cool so we can find one. If you want to know what I think of reliable sources, I'd recommend you look at any of the articles I've written. Wrad (talk) 01:50, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Proposed encyclopedic rewording of PLOT

Wikipedia articles should not be:
1. Plot summaries. The coverage of a fictional work should focus on discussing the work rather than merely reiterating the plot. If an article has a plot summary it must be concise and referenced using independent, non-trivial reliable sources.

This is largely adapted from the PLOT template and other applicable policies, as well as returning more to the version as it was originally created instead of the watered down version that came from people slowly but surely taking the teeth out of the original intent of the policy. If people really want plot summaries of any length, then they should feel free to start up a wikia or other project to do so, not change the goals of an encyclopedia to reflect whatever they feel like doing. DreamGuy (talk) 18:05, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Could you explain how you feel this addresses the concerns of the RfC? Hobit (talk) 18:36, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
This proposed rewording is not intended to instantly please everyone, this is intended to be a place to start discussion based upon the longstanding historical purpose of that section of this policy and to be more similar to how it used to be worded before it was continuously watered down over time without any substantive discussion. If we are going to discuss changing the wording, then a version more in line with the original intent must be on the table as a discussion point.DreamGuy (talk) 21:31, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Of course it won't please everyone, but I think at a minimum any change in policy here should attempt to try to repair the lack of consensus over even having the policy here. Do you agree? Hobit (talk) 22:41, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
I think both of you have made good points. On the one hand, we want a clear policy that dovetails with the rest of Wikipedia policies and guidelines, but on the other hand, we don't want a policy whose justification is questionable because makes a circular reference to itself. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:09, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Mostly very nicely balanced. I like the "should" rather than "must" because, as you may have noticed, I have strong reservations about anything that looks like licence to delete.
But I think "and referenced using independent, non-trivial reliable sources" goes too far. All the text content of all WP articles consists of summaries of various publications, including selective summaries of the reliable sources we cite. Summarising a plot will often be easier and less contentious than summarising a peer-reviewed journal article, especially if it uses a lot of technical terms. If we had to provide refs to support our summarisations of sources, we'd go round in ever decreasing circles.
Are there analogous guidelines for other types of "publication", e.g. movies, plays, non-fiction books. E.g. if I were GA-reviewing a (much-improved) Wonderful Life (book), I'd expect independent commentary as well as a summary of the contents. If there are no analogous guidelines, perhaps this should be generalised and linked into all guidelines that apply to specific types of "publication"? Apart from making the principle consistent every where, it would have the advantage of decoupling it from WP:NOT, which is widely seen as licence to delete. --Philcha (talk) 09:48, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
As you know, WP:NOT is a content policy, not a deletion policy. I think objections to WP:NOT can be made on the grounds that it is deletion friendly, but that is only one possible outcome. For content that is prohibited by Wikipedia, there are so many other options (such as imporvement) other than deletion. I would have to reject your approach, simply because it makes sense to have WP:NOT#PLOT here, rather than repeat the same principle in other guidelines and polices. One problem, one prohibition in one policy is a mcuh more sensible approach. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:52, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Most fiction-related FAs have plot-summaries based on the work itself, and WP:WAF specifically encourages this. This would be an incredibly major change to policy, if added. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 11:36, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Just as a point, of late, it is strongly urged that FA plot summaries be sourced even to the primary (providing quotes as needed). It's a good practice to get into for contentious points. --MASEM (t) 21:19, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
True, but this proposal says they must be cited to secondary sources. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 21:24, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
That is a bad idea. I don't want my watered-down summary to summarize another watered down (and biased) summary. How exactly is this better policy than what we already have? Wrad (talk) 22:53, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Reliable, secondary sources aren't watered down; they have identified the most important aspects of the plot. They are "biased" towards a mature discussion of the work, rather than an inappropriate regurgitation of the entire plot. Resurr Section (talk) 23:43, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
They can also be highly inaccurate. When working on the Creatures of Impulse FA, I went through quite a lot of reviews. I don't think any of them were entirely accurate when they tried to summarise the plot, in some cases grossly so. Reviews are written by people on a tight schedule to get things out, and, particularly with older reviews (Creatures of Impulse is Victorian), very limited fact-checking was possible. The books dealing with Gilbert's work tend to cover all of Gilbert's work, along with biography, and Gilbert wrote around a hundred plays, so they weren't particularly useful either. As well, Gilbert does not, at this time, have an academic edition of his complete works, and Creatures of Impulse is rarely performed now (though notable in Gilbert's dramatic development, performed widely and by notable acting troupes for at least a good fifty years after its first production, and praised by some notable critics of Gilbert's work highly. Don't get me wrong on that point.) Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 01:37, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Resurr Section. I'm pretty sure you haven't read the secondary summaries I'm thinking of. All summaries I've ever seen from scholarly sources are biased toward that scholar's reading of the text. Demanding secondary sources of plot sections is just ludicrous. It violates the fundamental difference between summary and analysis. A summary explains what the work actually says. Analysis explains what people think about what it says. The first inherently requires primary sources, the second is in the arena of secondary sources. Wrad (talk) 01:48, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

I think this line of discussion is fruitless. It doesn't make any sense to force plot summaries to come from reliable sources. It certainly doesn't make any sense to do so as a compromise (arguably this is stronger than the original language). It does make sense to do so for articles, but it is a worrisome restatement of WP:N. More to the point, where the community tried to come to some agreement on what fictional sub-articles should look like, we found none. You guys are better off focusing on the three kinds of articles PLOT could impact:

  1. Plot only articles, or primarily plot articles. These are articles that consist of a plot summary and nothing more, either because they are early in the editing arc or because there is not sufficient sourcing to write non-plot content beyond a cast/crew listing.
  2. Plot heavy articles or in-universe articles. these are articles with some non-plot content but are mostly a summary of the work in question. In universe articles recap plot details regarding a particular portion of the fictional universe, often to the exclusion of non-plot material. See Cardassian for a good example.
  3. Plot summaries in articles. This is the focus of some complaints. SH is right to point out that WAF gives good guidance for the length of plot summaries and suggests writing plot summaries for works as part of complete coverage. How PLOT relates to these articles is critical as well.

These are three different situations that should hopefully be dealt with in one solution. This is part of the problem I noted above about just banishing PLOT to N or FICT or WAF. We need to approach each case and deal with the problems there. Protonk (talk) 00:35, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

I do think that WP:WAF deals with most of these points already, and that it wouldn't be hard to gain consensus for reasonable additions. We need to be careful that it doesn't get perceived as an attack on plots and describing fiction, but otherwise think that, at the least, many of the lesser concerns of the supporters of WP:PLOT could be better dealt with there. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 01:46, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you that we could find consensus for some changes to WAF. I think what is said there could be stronger. Arguably a good outcome might be to remove PLOT from NOT, add in some stronger language in WAF and add in an addendum in N that says plot only articles aren't likely to be notable (or something to that effect). Protonk (talk) 02:29, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that WP:WAF is a style guideline, and plot only articles are a content problem. In some ways, plot only content and in universe perspective are two sides of the same coin (undue weight being placed on the primary source), but they contravene more than one content policy it makes sense to keep WP:NOT#PLOT here, rather than repeating the prohibtion in multiple polices. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:22, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps, if the prohibition is very carefully phrased so as not to give the appearance that plot summaries are, in themselves, bad. I'm not sure, however, whether that's entirely possible: That we include discussion of Plot summaries on What Wikipedia is not may well cause problems in itself. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 14:42, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
That depends whether or not you include fictography as a type of plot summary, which is a literary genre created out of a synthesis based on primary sources. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:08, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I honestly don't understand you. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 15:40, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
An example might be helpful - Sasuke Uchiha is fictography or biography of a fictional character. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:00, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Which is a completely appropriate amount of necessary synthesis from the primary source to create an overall summary of the character, just as we do with summary and limited allowable synthesis from sources to create biographies of living persons. As long as the synthesis is not used to support a non-neutral point of view, it's appropriate for summarizing sources. --MASEM (t) 16:04, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

[Unindent] I'd imagine those are occasionally appropriate for highly-notable works, particularly series of works. FA examples: Rhinemaidens, Batman, Superman, Nancy Drew (there may be others, but that's what I found on a quick skim). We may want to set some standards for when this is inappropriate, but that's more appropriate to WP:WAF, surely. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 16:16, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Agreed. I'd like to go with Protonk's suggestion: Strengthen WAF and update NOT#PLOT to indicate that plot-only articles are unlikely to meet notability guidelines. Thoughts? Wording suggestions? Hobit (talk) 19:46, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
There are too many editors that openly declare that they are only concerned with policies and feel free to ignore guidelines for me to be happy with that. A policy that only suggests that something might fail a guideline that they were planning to ignore anyway isn't particularly useful.—Kww(talk) 19:58, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
I think that trying to base our decision around what editors who misunderstand policy and guidelines argue is, well, the wrong decision. Hobit (talk) 21:25, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Realistically, that existence of that group of editors is the primary reason we have reached the impasse that we have. Rewording policies without taking into account the probable actual effect also seems to be the wrong decision.—Kww(talk) 21:31, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Can you provide evidence that people ignore guidelines but actually follow policies? Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 00:46, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Proving that they care about policy is hard. Proving that "just a guideline" is a prevalent attitude is easy enough: "just a policy" search results. It's not just the rabid fringe, either: this isn't the only comment I've seen from DGG along those lines. The disdain for WP:N is extremely prevalent among those that argue for keeping fiction articles, and I suspect there's a pretty sizeable overlap between those people and those that are arguing to reduce NOT#PLOT.—Kww(talk) 01:17, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Actually, that search is for "just a guideline", and comes up with not very many hits, even when google sarched, which I believe includes all namespaces. Even if I'm wrong and it's limited to Wikipedia: and Wikipedia_talk: namespaces, 259 uses over the entire history of Wikipedia is hardly widespread. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 01:48, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Three notes. #1 as SH says, 259 isn't that big of a number given the issue. #2 It would still be in policy by the proposal from Protonk. #3 what exactly do you propose as a middle-ground? Hobit (talk) 02:58, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Some comments. I think that if you spend some time around AfD, especially fiction AfDs, you will find the phrase "just a guideline" or words to that effect used quite frequently in a manner that doesn't comport with our idea of "guidelines". The basis for opposition to the FICT proposal was (curiously) that N was just a guideline and that further codification of this project's inclusion priorities would be bad. One problem with splitting PLOT into N, WAF and other places is that as it stands, PLOT affords some protection from this line of argument. If we attempt to edit an article from this revision (which I hope we can agree would be in excess of our expectations about plot content in fiction articles, regardless of our stance on WHERE plot should be) to the current revision, we would face (and have in the past) objections that style guides are merely suggestions. While guidelines describe consensus rather than proscribe forbidden options, I can't imagine that it is the intent of the community to continue debate this way. What Kww is talking about is the assertion from a certain faction in the community that whatever article they happen to be involved with is exempt from community expectations, without any consideration for what the word "exception" means. Because people are willing to grant the benefit of the doubt or because people feel that rules shouldn't be hidebound, we tend to cede these exceptions piecemeal--a fiction AfD here or a fiction AfD there doesn't seem to actually be a wholesale end-run of WP:N. Where we get some traction from uninvolved admins and editors is to say "hey, here is this core policy that says our fiction articles shouldn't be a mess of editor interpreted plot summary unsourceable to anything except the primary work" Opposing NOT in an AfD tends to put the lie to the assertion that oppositions to WP:N/WAF/VGSCOPE are limited and judicious. I still stand by my suggestion that we can't continue with the wording in NOT unmodified. There is no way to read that poll and the following discussion as a resounding enough endorsement for current policy. But Kww's point is valid and something which should worry us. Protonk (talk) 19:27, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, in any case, it does strike me that saying a passing mention in WP:NOT that we're going to force in as a one-stop deletion shop really isn't the best solution to the problem: Why not just campaign to have WP:N raised to policy? Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 23:16, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
A number of reasons come to mind. One is that N is a good guideline. It's a rough approximation that the community basically supports and it is amended by a number of project or topical guidelines. Another is that we shouldn't have to. The opposition I just described has nothing to do with reasonable objections or exeptions to a guidelines which should have reasonable exceptions. It has everything to do with demanding that guidelines (or policies) not apply to articles when that application regards deletion and conflicts with their desired scope for the project. Lastly, it isn't related to the discussion at hand. I'm not going to go start the contentious and unpleasant process of turning N into policy because we can't find a suitable compromise over plot. And I can't for the life of me understand where you get the impression that this was forced in as a "one stop deletion shop". Why PLOT is in NOT is a tangled story (as pixelface is happy to tell you) but why it ended up being used as a backstop against deletion arguments has little to do with its insertion. I agree with the general notion that it doesn't belong in plot. But I hope that a compromise wording (wherever it ends up) will reflect this situation the community is in. Protonk (talk) 23:26, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Because there is a vocal faction that opposes WP:N heart and soul. WP:N, if applied strictly, would eliminate most of the problematic fiction articles. WP:NOT#PLOT, if applied strictly, would eliminate most of the problematic fiction articles. For that matter, so would WP:V and WP:RS. For some reason, WP:N and WP:NOT#PLOT have become the focal points of the battle. I think it's foolish to lose sight of the fact that the goal for many is to ensure that plot-filled articles about their favorite characters can be included, and once the battle for WP:NOT#PLOT is lost, the war will shift to WP:V and WP:RS. It's all well and good for people to argue that Wikipedia shouldn't be a battleground, but the this area has become one. It's a little bit pollyannish not recognize that.—Kww(talk) 00:54, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Vocal faction? Are you talking about the media[4]? Those third-party sources some people insist on? WP:N, if applied strictly, would not eliminate most of the fictional articles you find a "problem." It's really sad that several people who frequent this website apparently don't understand the word "if" (or the word notable for that matter). And most attempts to apply WP:NOT#PLOT strictly are strongly resisted. That's because it does not now, and never has had consensus to be policy. Not in practice, and not in theory either. Is the novel Les Miserables a reliable source? Can it be used to verify content in the Fantine article? Is Victor Hugo a reliable source for what occurs in the novel? Then there is no conflict with WP:V or WP:RS. Policies must have wide acceptance among editors. Any editor can make any edit to any policy page, but policy is not created with a single edit. If the edit does not have wide acceptance among editors, it cannot be called policy. --Pixelface (talk) 08:31, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

[Unindent] It's also probably worth mentioning that "just a guideline" can be used appropriately. E.g. "The Wikiproject recommends this order for sections in articles." "Yes, but that's just a guideline, and for this article, section X being put later would mean readers didn't have important information they need to understand the other sections." It doesn't have to even be talking about an actual Wikipedia guideline. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 03:38, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

One thing that is key is eliminating vague, subjective wording like "non-trivial." Verified through reliable sources is sufficient. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 22:11, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

how can you do a decent plot summary from "independent sources"!? i appreciate the effort to work this out, but that wording needs to be fixed.

what about this as a set of defining criteria for coverage of fiction, basic principles:

1. the work of fiction has to meet wikipedia's notability guidelines for inclusion.

2. if the work of fiction meets those guidelines, then legitimate reference materials should include the original work. (that's only logical; if covering a topic, you can use the original source as reference material. we can use UN materials as a reference when writing about the UN, we can use NASA materials as a reference when writing about NASA. the reliability, accuracy, truthfulness, etc. of the information & its source can be considered & noted in the article as needed)

3. if a work of fiction merits coverage in wikipedia, subsidiary pages covering the subject, and/or aspects of it should be allowed, on a logical & reasonable basis, as long as the subject merits inclusion in wikipedia. those subsidiary pages should also be well organized.

4. in determining the notability of subsidiary articles relating to a work of fiction, when that work of fiction itself merits coverage, the notability of the article's subject in relation to that work of fiction should also be considered, as well as other criteria for inclusion.

for example:

x-a fictional universe merits inclusion in wikipedia

y-A real world subject related to that fictional universe merits inclusion, because it passes the real-world measures of notability

z-an element of that fictional universe, which is important in the context of this particular work of fiction, but has little coverage beyond it. this subject's notability should also be judged on the basis of how important it is within the work of fiction in question, as well as by the other defining criteria.

if a work of fiction itself is notable enough to merit coverage, then that coverage should be done properly; rather than have endlessly long single page articles it makes sense to break the material down into sub-articles.

if (fictional) sub-topics of a work of fiction (which is notable enough to be included in wikipedia) are important to the work, then that should be considered when deciding the notability of articles on those subjects.

if you cover "ender's game", it makes sense to cover ender, if you cover star wars, anakin/skywalker/darthvader should have an article, star trek, james t kirk, etc.

how far into the details wikipedia's coverage of a fictional universe should go is a legitimate question. but, if the topic merits inclusion in wikipedia at all, then the coverage should be done properly. in articles about subjects relating to a work of fiction, the notability of internal elements of that work (plot, characters, locations, events, etc.) should be judged, at least in part, on how important they are to the work, not simply on how much coverage they receive outside of it (in the real world) & the requirements for "independent coverage" or "independent sources" should be adjusted accordingly, providing that the work of fiction, as a whole, is notable enough to merit inclusion in wikipedia.

Lx 121 (talk) 12:41, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

I have to disagree. If a character is highly important to the book (etc.), then he or she should be clearly described and discussed on the main page, but spinning off an article should be dependant on coverage in independent sources. There are plenty of books describing and going into the minutiae of Star Wars, giving ample coverage of Luke Skywalker, etc. There's plenty of literary analysis of Treasure Island, and a great deal of it concentrates on Stevenson's innovative Long John Silver character. We don't need special pleading. At the same time, that doesn't mean that we should forbid usage of the primary source in adding detail to said character articles or plot summaries. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 17:24, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
To put this in perspective: If a book is barely notable, and someone creates 67 articles on everything within it, then how, exactly, are we meant to maintain it? The book is barely notable: how many people are interested in it enough to want to improve and continue work on it? Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 17:31, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Where are we with Wikipedia:Fiction?

I will note that Wikipedia:Fiction (not a notability proposal anymore) is coming along nicely and with a decent measure of consensus on the talk page, and, if approved as policy, would serve well as a more fleshed out statement of NOT#PLOT. This would, I think, lead to a consensus position - those who support NOT#PLOT + those who wanted it expanded or moved out of NOT do, in fact, make a rough consensus such that NOT#PLOT could be deprecated in favor of the more robust policy. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:33, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

WP:NOT#PLOT has never had consensus to be policy. If Wikipedia:Fiction "would serve well as a more fleshed out statement of NOT#PLOT" how could you possibly assume that Wikipedia:Fiction could ever have consensus to be policy? --Pixelface (talk) 07:06, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Enough. I think you guys need to get into serious mediation. When ever Phil and Pixelface meet, the discussion breaks down uproar akin to a Punch and Judy show[5] --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:14, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm not the first editor (and certainly won't be the last) to ever disagree with something Phil Sandifer has written. And you link to that comment of mine and then conveniently leave out the six comments[6] [7] [8] [9] [10] by Phil that preceded it. If you want to address anything I or Phil said in this thread, by all means, go ahead Gavin. How did Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/Kender work out by the way? Problem solved? --Pixelface (talk) 10:11, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
You have every right to dispute any statement made by anyone - that is what makes Wikipeida work - but if you have any personal issues about Phil or myself, take it to our talk pages. As regards the Kender mediation, it went very well. The article failed WP:NOT#PLOT when I first encountered it[11], and now the article Kender is much improved. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:41, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
While we are de-railing this thread, I feel obliged to point out that I had intended my comment above as an answer to the question "where are we" and not as a separate section. Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:27, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

memorializing deceased regular contributors?

Here...So Wikipedia is the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, and so forth, as long as it happens outside mainspace? as long as they were regular contributors, and more than one tenured Wikipedian will have used the deceased user's page (or an appropriate sub-page) to add comments in the event, and after the fact of, their death??? (bad idea. page is protected, otherwise I'd revert). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:52, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

I think the wording is pretty accurate. But, anyway, Wikipedia talk:Deceased Wikipedians/Guidelines might be the page you're looking for, it came about after this discussion. — Ched :  ?  16:59, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
The IP got it wrong in emphasis - by saying certain restrictions do not apply we do not say something is therefore encouraged or acceptable. As per Ched and clear consensus in the thread up the page this was allways intended to refer to the main space only - my wording makes it clear that it is not a "free-for-all" in other name spaces. Pedro :  Chat  20:56, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
A RFC has been opened regarding this issue at:

(not by me, but it appears that a member of the community would like to discuss this a bit further) — Ched :  ?  17:16, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

List of digital library projects

List of digital library projects is undergoing discussion over a rewrite at Talk:List_of_digital_library_projects. The rewrite is at [12]. The page has been in breach of Wikipedia:LINKFARM#LINK and Wikipedia:List for many years. We could do with help reaching a consensus. Stuartyeates (talk) 07:21, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Where are we with NOTPLOT?

My sense is that we've not made much, if any, progress in the last week. The one bright spot, in my opinion, is that we got someone from the "yes" column of the RfC to propose a middle-ground solution. I think that's been fairly rare thus far. In any case, Protonk's proposal was "Arguably a good outcome might be to remove PLOT from NOT, add in some stronger language in WAF and add in an addendum in N that says plot only articles aren't likely to be notable (or something to that effect)". Kww had concerns about PLOT issues not being anywhere in policy. I've got concerns about the details of that "stronger language" but as a concept I think I could live with this. Other comments and thoughts? Is this a good basic framework to start with? Hobit (talk) 23:48, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

A more sensible approach is to agree on the wording first, so that we understand the nature of the beast. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:24, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Well... I suppose we could always have another RFC. as I see it, there's two major points of contention. 1.) Should the ideas behind WP:PLOT be moved to WP:WAF? 2.) If the answer to 1. is no, what should the wording be? (Likewise, if 1) is yes, we'd need to discuss the wording there.) Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 17:35, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
What are those ideas? Lets work that out first with the wording. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 19:10, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
It may be easier to deal with a slightly more abstract presentation, like bullet points, then create a wording from what is decided. Otherwise, we end up with endless discussion of whether the wording might be taken as meaning something more. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 19:22, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Agree on the wording first and then add it to the policy page. Now there's a radical idea.</sarcasm> --Pixelface (talk) 08:50, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

The PLOT template is here on Wikipedia for a reason:

Any changes to NOTPLOT must conform to these standards as a bare minimum. By the wording, it's clear that Plot should not be the majority of an article ("too long compared") and that the reason we would even have any plot details at all is to discuss the real world impact, not just for some fanlisting. The only progress we can have here is to remain true to our roots and not gut a major part of this policy to appease people whose goals are contrary to the goals of Wikipedia. When someone pushes POV onto an article they should just be able to rewrite WP:NPOV to let them do what was prohibited no matter how tenacious they are are how many people they try to recruit. WP:NOT should not be changed just because people really desperately want to do something Wikipedia was never intended to be used for. DreamGuy (talk) 20:17, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

The length compare to the rest of the content is an invalid comparion: We don't want to throw away good work just because it's better-developed than the rest. The template should be changed to simply say the plot summary is overly-detailed - a genuine problem that applies at all levels. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 20:49, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. And I have issues with claiming that a template should be how we determine policy. In response to Gavin, I think we need to come to an agreement about a direction before we try to nail down the language. It may be that people bail from the agreement as the language gets nailed down. But that's the risk... Hobit (talk) 21:35, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't know if either of you have read any other guidelines or policies, so I am not sure where you have got the idea that over-long or over detailed plot summaries is not a problem when it comes to writing an encyclopedic article. The plot template is actually quite sensible, as the more plot summary an article contains, the more it comes into conflict with other policies and guidelines. Once an article is all plot summary, then it runs contrary to the following:
  1. WP:V - If no reliable, third-party sources can be found for an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it;
  2. WP:OR - Wikipedia articles should rely mainly on published reliable secondary sources and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources;
  3. WP:MOVIE - excludes the following: plot summaries without critical commentary;
  4. WP:BK - Some of these works should contain sufficient critical commentary to allow the article to grow past a simple plot summary;
  5. WP:WAF - Articles about fiction, like all Wikipedia articles, should adhere to the real world as their primary frame of reference
In addition, there are also all the problems associated with excessive plot summary detailed in the section WP:INUNIVERSE. Overall, there is a large body of evidence at both policy and guideline level, that plot summary only articles fall outside the scope of Wikipedia. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:22, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
While I agree with all your points, that's not the point I made: I said that I feel that, all other things being alright, we shouldn't cut a plot summary simply because it's a little more developed than other sections. Saying that there are situations where an article with a plot summary should be deleted doesn't really change my point. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 00:26, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Back to SH's original comment, comparing the lengths isn't conclusive, but it's certainly a valid comparison to make. If the amount of real-world material is dwarfed by plot summary, you have to consider whether there's any likelihood of correcting the situation. If there's no likelihood of correcting it, you have a problem.—Kww(talk) 01:49, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
And what if that plot summary is sourced to third-party reliable sources? Do we delete (say) 4 paragraphs of sourced (plot) material because we can only find 2 paragraphs of "real-world" material? Hobit (talk) 02:02, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
To Kww: I don't see any particular reason to require us to provide an inferior description of the plot, simply because the work is only marginally notable, limiting other description, provided A. The plot summary is well-written, and B. not excessively detailed, compared to the original work's complexity. If a work deserves to be on Wikipedia, then it deserves to be done right. Certainly, let's insist on the trimming of fancruft, excessive detail, and so on. However, let's not say that a description of appropriate length and tone should be cut down, limiting the usefulness of its article, because of simple length comparison. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 02:07, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
There are problematic plot descriptions, of excessive length and detail. I don't think anyone here wants to deny that. But we should be very careful not to insist on the destruction of good, encyclopedic material for arbitrary reasons. Length comparisons of sections are precisely that sort of arbitrary reason. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 07:30, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Problematic plot descriptions, of excessive length and detail, can always be cut back to a level where they are in accordance with best practise as described in Wikipedia:Plot summaries. We don't need to discuss this issue here, because it is assumed that the articles that fall within the scope of that essay meet other guidelines and policies too.
However, this is not the case of plot only articles. We just need to stay focused on those articles which do not contain any substantial coverage other than plot summary. As far as I can see from both the RFC and this discussion here, no editor has put forward a viable argument to say that plot summaries on their own should be allowed to have their own standalone articles in Wikipedia. Basically, such a proposal is the same as saying that articles on fiction would be totally exempt from Wikipedia style and content policies; this is where arguements in favour of eliminating WP:NOT#PLOT fall down.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:48, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
DreamGuy, Template:Plot is on Wikipedia for a reason: because Hiding created it in his userspace on July 9, 2006 and then renamed it Template:Plot on July 10. It's for tagging plot sections that editors feel are "too long", like this one. Hiding is the same editor who proposed WP:NOT#PLOT and then added WP:NOT#PLOT to this policy page when there was no consensus to do so.[13] If you'll notice, the {{plot}} template was created by Hiding one hour after Hiding added WP:NOT#PLOT to this policy page. If you would have checked the history tab you could have learned that yourself. Using the existence of a template to justify the existence of a policy has to be one of the worst arguments I've ever seen (besides the "here for a reason" one). But using the existence of a template created after an edit to a policy page to justify the existence of the policy has to be the worst argument I've ever seen. You're out of your depth DreamGuy. Go ask Hiding about WP:NOT#PLOT and {{plot}}.

Oh, and by the way, {{allplot}} is also on Wikipedia for a reason: because Black Kite, who was an involved party of the arbitration case E&C2, created it a week after that case closed, right after commenting[14] in an ANI thread about the article History of For Better or For Worse started by Benjiboi, about a plot-only article with no consensus to delete at AFD, but that the nominator, Angr, a self-styled WP:NOT#PLOT "enforcer", then redirected after the AFD closed. Black Kite then put the AFD up for deletion review in order to set a "precedent" and the article was then wrongly deleted by Nakon. I discuss the article a bit here [15] in User:Pixelface/On NOTPLOT. Black Kite created {{allplot}} seven minutes before putting Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/History of For Better or For Worse up for deletion review. Black Kite also protected WP:NOT in May 2008 regarding WP:NOT#PLOT, when he wasn't uninvolved, which I talked about in this thread over a year ago.

DreamGuy, you say "people really desperately want to do something Wikipedia was never intended to be used for" but then ignore the fact that Wikipedia existed for nearly 5 1/2 years without WP:NOT#PLOT as policy. When you began editing in November 2004, WP:NOT#PLOT wasn't policy. You either know that or your account was hijacked at some point. You ignore the fact that over seven years ago Jimbo Wales said at Wiki is not paper on meta, "I agree with this one completely" when someone said "Why shouldn't there be a page for every Simpsons character, and even a table listing every episode, all neatly crosslinked and introduced by a shorter central page like the above? Why shouldn't every episode name in the list link to a separate page for each of those episodes, with links to reviews and trivia?" And you ignore the fact that Jimbo Wales currently profits off of plot summaries by juxtaposing them with banner ads on Wikia, a for-profit website which this policy page and WP:WAF wrongly plug. Was Wikipedia intended to be a used as a front for Jimbo Wales's business ventures? --Pixelface (talk) 09:49, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Is it at all possible you can just leave me out of it? If it is actually important that I did this and I did that as opposed to an editor did this and the same editor did that, fair enough, but blimey, Template:Plot? Is that now part of the whole situation? I think it's quite possible Phil knocked one of those up too, and I think from memory I created that template because someone asked. Do I need to dig out diffs for that too, or is it at all possible we could one day have one of these conversations which does not have to begin from a "he started it" position. It's startimg to become wearying. Personally, I'd like to take a back seat but every time I see my name mentioned and my character called into question I feel obliged to set the record straight. I'm seriously thinking you and I need mediation on this. Hiding T 13:09, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
  • DreamGuy brought up {{plot}} and I told him who created that template and when. And I didn't know who created that template until DreamGuy brought it up and I looked. I don't think I called your character into question above (although I did say that you added WP:NOT#PLOT to this policy when there was no consensus for it to be policy, and I've already explained my view of that to you on this talkpage, and at User:Pixelface/On NOTPLOT [16]).

    If you want to dig out some diffs, you may find this edit range of yours (and this edit range to your talkpage) useful. Personally, I'd like to know more about the events leading up to your WP:NOT#PLOT proposal, like this thread at WT:COMICS, this thread at WT:COMICS, this thread at WT:WAF you created, and maybe even some of the events surrounding Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Dyslexic Agnostic. I'd be happy if you set the record straight.

    It seems to me that your WP:NOT#PLOT proposal was about issues editors were having at WikiProject Comics. If someone wants to propose WP:NOT#PLOT as WikiProject Comics guidance over at WT:COMICS, fine with me — but then you'd have to explain how WP:NOT#PLOT relates to this article, which survived this AFD (which you signed off on). Category:Storylines in comics has 329 articles under it.[17]. Looking through AFDs for articles in Category:Marvel Comics supervillains, I have not found any where there was consensus to delete [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28]. Besides, Category:Fiction is much bigger than just comics. Why should every article under Category:Fiction (which had over 1.07 million articles under it as of April 16, 2009) have to suffer because of some petty arguments in a thread at WikiProject Comics where ChrisGriswold and Markeer mentioned making a policy? --Pixelface (talk) 17:36, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
  • My talk page is here. Hiding T 10:48, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

OK, let's try again. Where are we? I've not seen any proposals that try to address the issues of the RfC from anyone other than myself, Shoemaker's Holiday and Protonk. Nor have I seen any serious discussion about those proposals. If that's right, how do we seriously expect to move forward? Hobit (talk) 19:18, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

I've offered two above that I believe meet the issues raises in the RFC (outside of the irreconcilable issues):
The first is more all-enmcompassing:
(Wikipedia is not) Plot-only summation of fictional works: Coverage of a work of fiction and elements of such works should not strictly be a plot summary but instead should include both a concise summary of the work's fictional content and the real-world context of the work including aspects of development, critical reception, and legacy. Articles on such works may start as containing only a plot summary, but these ultimately should either be expanded to include the real-world context, or merged into the context of a larger topic instead of outright being deleted. For more information on writing about fiction, see Manual of Style (Writing about Fiction).
The other one is to take in account that really that other policy/guidelines like WP:V and WP:N already encompass the need for sources, and thus we only talk about the length / level of detail of a plot summary:
(Wikiepedia is not) Detailed plot summaries: Plot summaries should not seek to describe every nuance of a work, but instead should be used to highlight the key elements as part of being concise. The degree of conciseness required is left to the editors of the page, subject guidelines and wikiprojects.
These need not be final wordings but they are two revisions that reflect the issues of the RFC. --MASEM (t) 20:41, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Sorry, I'd missed that. I'm okay with both but like the first better (for content and readability) other than being too wordy (IMO) for WP:NOT. Are there any other propsoals out there that try to address the issues of the RfC? Hobit (talk) 20:51, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
  • I support Masems first suggestion. However, the second idea falters on why you would want to prohibit detailed plot summary. If detailed plot summary provides context to real-world commentary that provides evidence of notability, then this argument falls down. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 21:58, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Woot! Gavin, Masem and I all on the same page. The world may end. Anyone object? Frankly it's too wordy, but at this point I'm not going to quibble and I _like_ the words. Hobit (talk) 00:54, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
The first seems pretty good, but may I suggest "Articles on such works may start as containing only a plot summary" be changed to "Articles on such works may start as containing little more than a plot summary" - we do want at the very least the author's name, etc. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 00:57, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
While I agree #1 I don't know that such a thing has ever happened (book without author mentioned?) and #2 I worry someone might try to drive a truck through that loophole. I can live with that wording, but strongly prefer it as Masem wrote it. Frankly, we aren't intending to delete the article because it has only plot (right?) so why add the ambiguity where (I think) none exists? Hobit (talk) 01:02, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
The AfD we were discussing above, Magic and Other Misdemeanours did. Also, what loophole? if anything, it's much more strict than Masem's wording which says it may be only Plot summary. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 01:04, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Really? I missed that. I figured out who the author was right away. Weird. In any case, I'm looking at it as a loophole to delete, not a loophole to keep. The greater strictness is what concerns me. So I'd prefer to stick with Masem's language if possible. Hobit (talk) 01:22, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

List of link resources for Graves' disease

I've gotten the linkfarm template on List of links for information relating to Graves' disease. I was directed to this article. Since these are a well-orgnized set of links which all individually meet the criteria of what links should be usefully included in an article, but simply too long, there really isn't much here that applies. Wikipedia is not paper, and the only complaint here that really can be defended is that this list is too long.

Coming here to see what the policy is, the complaint that too-long lists of links can take over an article, has been neatly addressed by spinning this off as a stand-alone list, which is what we do whenever that happens with lists, as per WP:SS. See List of firearms. The only other thing that relates here is the assertion that WP is NOT a "mere collection" of links. Well, why not? It's a mere collection of a lot of things (like firearms), if you want to be snide about describing it-- that sort of what an encyclopedia is, if anything. This is deliberately inflammatory and ambiguous language.

However, I will argue that there is nothing "mere" about a carefully collected set of any data (List of Pacific hurricanes), including links (which are merely one category of very many things which are intrinsically encyclopedic, from birds to plants to books to plays). This is not a random collection of links, but a set which specifically and topically offers further information on Grave's disease (and by the way, I didn't make it, and I personally have no particular interest in it, except as an annoyance in my attempt to build a better article and find a place for the information already digested and presented by other editors).

Here's the real problem. WP has recognized the encyclopedic imporantance of many stand-alone lists, from List of people who have been beheaded to List of bowtie wearers. The latter of which threated to take over the articles on bow ties and beaheading until they were spun off. If you don't like indiscriminate collections, what about List of Chinese people? A triffle incomplete, don't you think? Intrinsically, a good link to find more information is just as encyclopedic as a bird or a cartoon show (List of weekday cartoons), or the names of folks who got beheaded (also woefully imcomplete). However, as a completely random and somewhat mad act, somebody seems to have made a policy here that internet links are not encyclopedic when presented as long lists, whereas they ARE encyclopedic, as short lists. You can't defend that, since no space limitations exist here. This does not make sense. If I'm reading your policy correctly, you have a bad and contradictory policy, and need to rethink it. SBHarris 02:49, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Link lists have special issues such as being very prone to spamming by webmasters, so there are good reasons not to overdo them. The Open Directory Project is an existing project which does this kind of thing. And last time I checked (which was long before Wikipedia existed) even they didn't accept multiple links to sections of sites, i.e. the thing that blows your list up to the proportions that make it unsuitable for inclusion in another article. I agree that a list of Chinese people makes no sense. Its AfD in December 2006 ended with no consensus. But that's no reason to keep another list without virtue where presumably there is a consensus to delete. See WP:OTHERSTUFF.
By the way, the list is currently proposed for deletion. If you strongly oppose this you have the right to simply remove the tag and force a full AfD discussion, although I think the result would be predictable. --Hans Adler (talk) 07:52, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

A user thinks wikipedia is a school directory

User:Ljmb87 thinks Wikipedia is a place to put notableness schools. See the user's talk page for more info.--Jupiter.solarsyst.comm.arm.milk.universe 00:32, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

What does that have to do with this policy? --Pixelface (talk) 21:52, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

WP:NOTCENSORED and the main page

Discussions of what to feature on the main page through DYK and TFA (and probably also ITN, On This Day, and Featured Picture, but I have never been involved in those projects) often crop up over whether or not a given article, photo, etc. is "appropriate" for the main page; in these discussions, some people cite WP:NOTCENSORED. The latest incarnation of this sort of discussion at DYK is going on now at WT:DYK#Appropriate for the main page?, and User:Backslash Forwardslash has posted some links to other similar discussions within the past several months.

To be perfectly honest, I think playing the "But Wikipedia isn't censored" card in these disputes is wrong. Wikipedia is not censored, no, but the Main Page is particularly sensitive and is treated differently than article space (for example, we all know that Raul654 will not put Jenna Jameson or a picture of a seagull defecating on the main page). Besides, keeping an article off the main page is not "censorship" because we are not suppressing the article itself; it is still allowed to exist in mainspace and be linked as much as it wants to be.

Therefore, I'm wondering if a clause can be added to WP:NOTCENSORED clarifying the special status of the main page? I don't know what the exact wording of this addition should be (certainly we don't want to say "WP is not censored but the main page is!"), I'm just trying to get the ball rolling. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 13:35, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

I very much oppose this. The Main Page should be representative of Wikipedia's content, of which, per wide consensus, is not censored. This "shock" or "sensitivity" factor can apply to any page which may unexpectedly have some "explicit" form of content, and to remove sensitive content from anywhere compromises Wikipedia's goals. There are numerous other ways already to filter content from the Internet which one may find objectionable, and we shouldn't be playing the part of the net nanny. Haipa Doragon (talkcontributions) 13:50, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting any changes to what we put on the main page—there already is not consensus to put "objectionable" content there, as evidenced by the pages I mentioned above and the current discussion at WT;DYK where the majority of editors seem to oppose the Cunt (video game) hook over there. I'm just suggesting that WP:NOTCENSORED clarify that keeping something off the main page is not the same as "censoring" it. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 13:55, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
While I'd argue that it is censorship, I don't think there's any real consensus as to either way at the moment; it'd therefore be premature for WP:NOTCENSORED to state either way. Per what I've said at WT:Did you know, though, I agree that, even if a consensus to remove such content were established, we need proper guidelines as to what is and is accepted instead of just deciding whether or not something is objectionable at the time of its use on the main page. Haipa Doragon (talkcontributions) 13:47, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Keeping something off the main page is not necessarily censorship, the article is still allowed to exist in mainspace. Compare it to magazine stands and video stores in the United States: there's plenty of porn there, they just put it on the top shelf so it's not right in your face. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 14:03, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm still not entirely enthused; unlike shops, there are many ways on the Internet to filter objectionable content; your same principle very much applies to anywhere where such content may unexpectedly turn up. It seems inappropriate to me for a supposedly neutral encyclopedia to be enforcing what has proven to be a vague and subjective interpretation of inappropriateness. Really, I think the best way to overcome this issue is to make the reader more aware of the fact that Wikipedia is not censored and of the ways in which they can filter such content; how this will work in relation to the main page I am unsure of as of yet, but merely filtering "objectionable" content is just too subjective and biased as far as I see it. Haipa Doragon (talkcontributions) 14:32, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, like I said at WT:DYK, people who have opposed "inappropriate" content on the MP usually aren't just doing it to "protect the little ones". It's also about Wikipedia's reputation and what part of Wikipedia we choose to show the world. For example, someone at the discussion there pointed out that he might be more willing to feature this article if it was also some of Wikipedia's best work—i.e., if it was well-written, included a section on reactions to the game, etc. But since it's not even a very good article, why bend over backwards to show people something that's going to give them a poor impression of Wikipedia anyway? rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 14:52, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Definitely, the quality of content is still an independent factor from its appropriateness (although I'm not entirely sure what the criteria are for being featured on DYK). My main point is that censorship shows bias against such content, which I think could affect (and has affected?) Wikipedia's reputation as well. If we give the reader the option, somehow, of whether they want to view such content but not explicitly remove such content from anywhere, we could essentially put this issue to rest. It's this "somehow" which I think is the real question, and that seems to be more of a technical question of a wider scope than that of a policy page. Haipa Doragon (talkcontributions) 15:52, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

←I'm gonnna have to go with Rjanag on this one. I remember there was a lot of talk about the technical side of limiting content when desired back during the Virgin Killer episode, and all that really came of it was: "You can turn your pictures off in your browser if you want". I think the main page needs to stick to main stream, prime-time, acceptable to all, content. The masturbation photos, the penis shooting sperm at a a vagina flash game, and pearl necklace articles are here for those that want to look for them. BUT - that doesn't mean we have to throw it in every visitors face on the main page. If we want to have a reputation of integrity and professionalism, then we have to "walk the walk", as well as "talk the talk". </end of rant> — Ched :  ?  17:12, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

WP:NOTCENSORED tries hard to distinguish censorship from all the other countless reasons for removing content, but it doesn't come close. Look at any page's edit history, and most of the removals aren't justified by any of the exceptions to WP:NOTCENSORED other than "obviously inappropriate", which could mean anything. In practice, if you don't like something being removed, call it censorship, and pretend a policy is making the decision and not just you. Conversely, if you do like something being removed, say it isn't censorship, any more than removing "gerls luve kattse" from the cat article would be censorship; that way you aren't arguing against a policy. If you really want this issue to be decided by a policy, you probably have to limit its scope to a list of specified topics, like say sexual expression, and opinions about politics and religion, and maybe not even try to dictate with policy what's OK on the Main Page. Art LaPella (talk) 06:30, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
That's a good point. I'm not so concerned with defining what censorship is, but just saying "keeping something off the main page is not necessarily the same as 'censoring' it from mainspace". rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 13:58, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

There's a slippery slope issue here. If we start saying "ok, front page content should not contain X,Y, or Z", it will only be a matter of time before some other group asks for more exceptions to the list. I believe the best answer here is that those responsible for providing the front page content should make sure to use best practices to consider what to include, but if there's no way around it and it is useful or important to include, then so be it. We have the general content disclaimer, and really, if we're worried about such issues at schools or the like, schools today should be well aware of the possible content of WP and can take steps to block as needed, if they feel this is the case. --MASEM (t) 14:03, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Sure, there's a slippery slope in both directions; if we took this policy seriously then not only would we need pornography and vomit as Main Page featured pictures, but every removal of content would have to be justified by a specific policy – and the Manual of Style, for instance, doesn't count because it's a guideline. Art LaPella (talk) 14:14, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
I never said let's decide what the main page should and should not contain. I said maybe we should clarify that keeping something from article space (censorship) is not the same as keeping it off the main page. I'm having a hard time keeping this discussion on the topic I actually asked about... rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 14:20, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Actually, my problem with this policy isn't limited to the Main Page; see its section in User:Art LaPella/Devil's Dictionary of Wikipedia Policy. But sure, we could say censorship means keeping something off Wikipedia altogether, not just keeping it off the Main Page (or perhaps any specific page). Art LaPella (talk) 14:44, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
I wonder if there is a consensus among the few that are watching, for this sentence: "Censorship means removing something from Wikipedia altogether, not relegating it to a more appropriate page." (such as not on the Main Page) Art LaPella (talk) 16:50, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Aren't the principles behind "relegating to more appropriate page" the same as those behind full-on censorship, though? It's all based around removing something on a whim because people raise objections to it, with no real lines being drawn as to what is and isn't really appropriate. Haipa Doragon (talkcontributions) 17:08, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
To some extent, yes; no such real lines are drawn by the policy. It means almost anything people want it to mean. It looks like a policy, but it depends on the whim of the moment, not the policy itself. When I see the n- word go unreverted on the Martin Luther King page, then you can tell me Wikipedia is not censored. I think even you will agree that some things should be relegated to a more appropriate page than the Main Page; that's why we protect it, and it isn't just from vandalism or from other policy issues noted at WP:NOTCENSORED. For instance, we often disallow hooks at Did You Know; should all of them cry "censorship"? (I'll be gone for a few hours.) Art LaPella (talk) 17:58, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Nobody has brought up WP:BURO yet. It says: "Wikipedia's policies and guidelines are descriptive, not prescriptive. They represent an evolving community consensus for how to improve the encyclopedia and are not a code of law." So WP:NOTCENSORED should describe the Main Page consensus, not prescribe it. Although there have been some raunchy things on the Main Page, a few things have always been disallowed in a way that might be considered censorship. And the policy should reflect that consensus, not vice versa. Art LaPella (talk) 04:45, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, when I originally started this I wasn't trying to suggest that the guideline be changed to prescribe what can and can't go on the main page. I was basically suggesting that we add something along the lines of "don't cite this guideline when talking about the Main Page because it's annoying" (for lack of a better way to sum it one seems to have gotten the message no matter how many times I point this out). I agree with everyone that NOTCENSORED shouldn't lay out what can and can't go on the main page; I was just trying to say that, since keeping something off the main page is not really censorship, we should make it more explicit that this guideline doesn't have anything to do with the main page and it's quite tiring to hear it cited over and over again. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:50, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

School street addresses

In this diff, User:Kingturtle explicitly disallowed the use of school addresses in their articles. However, {{Infobox school}} has a street address field, and has for years. I would like to find out if there's consensus for this change or not. I disagree with it, but don't want to revert until I find out if people agree with me or not. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 20:05, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

I think that the standard practice across Wikipedia is to not include contact information or addresses for institutions. The change seems to reflect that practice.   Will Beback  talk  20:17, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
Though we do encourage geolocation, which any competent reader can regurgitate in Google or something to get back an address. But I agree that contact information is not appropriate to include. the Infobox school template is probably out of date and has that simply doesn't encourage it or use it actively. --MASEM (t) 20:20, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
  • As I said on the talk page of the school infobox, an article about a school discusses a specific topic in a specific building (or set of buildings) at a specific location. The address is relevant and pertinent information. I would support removing Kingturtle's addition. I do agree, however, that information such as phone numbers, fax numbers, and emails addresses should not be included. --auburnpilot talk 20:21, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm with AuburnPilot on this. The article is about the location of a school as much as it is about the school itself (ie it is the building and the use of the building). Removing the location would be akin to removing the birthdate of an actor because it's just a random fact. In any case, it seems like poor form to make the change and immediately begin mass edits to remove this data without having a discussion on the topic. tedder (talk) 20:25, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
To those that want to keep the address - what is it being used for? If it is for locating the school, this is best served by using something that is global - that is, latitude and longitude. If it's being used for contact information (as if to send info), this probably should be left to the website of the school to provide the correct contact information. --MASEM (t) 20:29, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
It's simply part of what the article is about. I can't see how listing the address of a school within an infobox is any different than listing the address of a building within {{Infobox Skyscraper}}. It's pertinent information. --auburnpilot talk 20:32, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
Problem is, most people don't walk around with GPS units yet, so global location is only useful in some situations. Also, emails, phones, and website addresses can change -- the street address is a bit less mutable.--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 20:33, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
As far as GPS, I would not consider coordinates to be even remotely acceptable as a replacement. I use a GPS unit every time I fly, and can tell you from experience, most people don't have a clue how to make sense of lat/long. --auburnpilot talk 20:36, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, and addresses are more likely to be verifiable and reliably sourced. I can (and do) double-check addresses on several sources, but coords are usually synthed or original research. Yes, this is a poor argument for keeping an address, but it also reflects reality. As AuburnPilot says, it is as inherent to a school as it is to a skyscraper. tedder (talk) 20:42, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
(ec)Another objection to using the website for location is that the mailing address might be the school department, and the website might leave the street address off because everyone knows where it is anyhow. (Don't know that any of these exist, but...)--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 20:47, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

As I see it, street addresses are problematic, but I will concede to the consensus here that they may be included; however, I stand firm that email addresses, phone number and fax numbers are not encyclopedic, except is exceptional circumstances. Kingturtle (talk) 20:45, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

No particular quarrel there -- what do you say to the person who reverted you on whether websites were encyclopedic?--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 20:48, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
(ec)KingTurtle, I completely agree with you that email, phone, and fax numbers should not be included. tedder (talk) 20:49, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
  • FWIW I think addresses should be acceptable, and agree that email, phone, fax, etc. should be removable. — Ched :  ?  20:56, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
Do you see any reason to say "(almost)" never acceptable on email addresses and such? I don't. If there is a case, WP:IAR still applies. tedder (talk) 21:00, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
I've removed the line about street addresses but left the information about email addresses and phone/fax numbers. The White/Yellow pages section could probably be worked back into the directory label, as it is rather short in its current wording. --auburnpilot talk 22:20, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
  • A little late to the party here (just saw the ANI thread) but I support inclusion of physical (street) address because schools are related to their local community. Real-world non-technical people would use this info, so GPS data is not useful. I don't see a need for any other contact info. DMacks (talk) 22:38, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Well, I had almost in there because I am sure there are instances I am not imagining; maybe there's a lawsuit in which a particular email address is pertinent, or a famous virus sent out from a particular email address; certainly never for contact information. Kingturtle (talk) 01:38, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Indeed, we could create circumstances where an email or contact *is* important (Rejection Hotline, 1-800-COLLECT, E-mail_address#Overview, ), but the "almost" seems like a weasel word. I boldly eliminated it, as WP:NOT can be ignored if necessary. tedder (talk) 01:45, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I support the contention that phone numbers, fax numbers, and e-mails should not be included (the web page is fine). I also support including an address, as that helps to establish a location, similar to the geodata (though I don't feel so strongly about this that I would be upset if consensus was different). However, there is a difference between the standard street address, and the inclusion of an overly long street address that includes the county and decorative flags. At some point it just makes infoboxes look bad by cluttering things up. I had a discussion with one editor who agreed with this, but still was goingto include it because "it wasn't expressly forbidden" I would certainly support some limits stronger than what exist now. LonelyBeacon (talk) 02:09, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

My original concern about street addresses was that it seemed inappropriate to provide street addresses of places where kids are. I was concerned about pedophiles. But that concern originated about six years ago, when most schools and districts did not have websites yet. Now I suppose these addresses are easy to find. Kingturtle (talk) 02:16, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Let's remember that this is a policy that applies to the whole project, not just schools. One way to parse this would be to allow the addresses of buildings that are notable, while exclusing the addresses of institutions and organizations. Thus, we'd include address in article on skyscrapers and other notable buildings, but we wouldn't include the addresses in articles on businesses that occupy those buildings. The logic there is that physical address is rarely a notable feature of a corporation. To give an extreme example, would we list the addresses of campuses of the University of Phoenix? Certaily not, because there are so many and the are not stable. At the opposite extreme, would we list the address of Harvard University, beyond saying that it's in Cambridge, Massachusetts? Why would we do so? If there is a particularly notable building on campus that has its own article then it might be worth listing the address. In other words, buildings have address, but not organizations.   Will Beback  talk  17:33, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Support. My feelings in every respect - except I used Brown as my mental image instead of Harvard. :-)--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 17:44, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
And re: "but think of the children" - any pedophile close enough to go to a school is close enough to use a phone book at a pay phone to find out where it is. :-( --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 17:46, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Phone books at pay phones? Where are those still to be found, outside of a few rare artifacts in airports and the like? --Orange Mike | Talk 20:57, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Addresses would seem reasonable; phone numbers, email addresses, etc. probably would not. Stifle (talk) 11:58, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm with stifle. And frankly, we geolocate plenty of article locations, just not in an obvious way. Protonk (talk) 18:20, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

textbook / academic reference

A recent edit changed "not a ... textbook" to "not a ... academic reference". I have reverted, as I don't buy the changed wording. The meaning of it seems ambiguous to me. In principle, if an academic wants to reference WP, who are we to stop them? If they did so, then in one meaning of the term "academic reference", WP would qualify. Also even putting aside that ambiguity, I don't see that the change would be consensus by any means. There is a lot of material rightfully on WP that an academic would conceivably use as a reference source, whether for an equation or for the atomic weight of lead.Locke9k (talk) 23:47, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm about to run, but quick comment...I kind of liked Kingturtle's edit, and in general I feel that the point is we should avoid using lots of jargon and try to keep articles accessible and comprehensible to lay readers. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 23:54, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I disagree with the change. If taken seriously, it would mean that thousands of encyclopedic articles would become deletable because it's simply impossible to write about the topic in a way that is accessible to a general audience, and thousands would have to be stripped of most content that is meaningful to the people most interested.

The change properly reflects the existence item 5, "Scientific journals and research papers". The problem is that item 5 does not reflect actual practice, at least not in the field in which I am editing.

"Not a textbook" is a statement about the style of our articles and causes no unreasonable restrictions on the content. For example in mathematical articles it means that we don't write like this:

"Theorem 2.1 [Smith & Jones 2017].
Every foo is a bar.
Proof: Let us assume that..."

but like this:

In 2017, Smith & Jones proved that every foo is a bar.[45][46]

For articles of primarily technical interest we have two problems related to accessibility:

  1. Most such articles are less accessible than possible. This is mostly due to the effort involved in getting them accessible and the lack of motivation for those able to do it. But some editors are actively opposed to white lies or vague descriptions in the lede, or to moving the material that is of most interest to experts and incomprehensible to everybody else towards the end of the article.
  2. For many such articles (especially in mathematics), making them accessible throughout could not be achieved without removing information of vital importance to the experts who actually read the article in practice. In some cases it does not even make sense to make the first paragraph of the lede accessible to the general audience. It is not unusual that an editor arrives at such an article via the "Random article" function and templates it with Template:Technical.

An example for the first problem is average. Most readers would be unable to figure out from this article that for most practical purposes, the average of 3, 8 and 4 is (3+8+4)/3, and that they should really look under arithmetic mean.

For the second problem, see group (mathematics) for a (featured) article that is about as accessible as it can be. Most readers without a background in university level maths find it very tough reading. For mathematicians the article could be made much easier to read by making it less accessible. See Morley's categoricity theorem for an article that is completely incomprehensible to most Wikipedia readers. Very rarely a non-mathematician really insists on being told what my work is about. Then I try to give a vague impression of what this very notable theorem says. This takes about an hour.

It's a question of balance. Experts must understand that Wikipedia is a general encyclopedia and is not primarily for them. Even the most technical articles such as Morley's categoricity theorem need to set some context such as: "In model theory, a branch of mathematical logic [...]". Readers in general must understand that there are topics of which they will never have even so much as a vague idea (other than, say, "some advanced mathematical theorem"), even though they are highly notable in their respective fields.

Some editors cause disruption because they are not prepared to accept the last point: "If you can't explain it so that I can understand it, then it can't be notable." Saying Wikipedia is "not an academic reference" encourages them in a way that saying Wikipedia is not "an academic journal" does not (or, rather, should not). "Academic reference" is dangerously close to "academic encyclopedia". As a compromise, I am changing "academic reference" to "scientific journal". Even so I am not very happy with this, because it gives more weight to a point that is often misunderstood. --Hans Adler (talk) 01:31, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Good points, all. I would just like to point out that maybe "academic journal" would be better to use in the section header than "scientific journal", because there are non-science fields that have just as much technical jargon. For example, philosophy and anthropology both have their own registers and, while I'm sure we can argue about whether or not they are "sciences", I'm sure they wouldn't refer to their journals as "science journals". rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:48, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
This works for me. I actual used that first, but then I thought it's cleaner to use an expression from item 5. It's all the same to me. --Hans Adler (talk) 02:29, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
I will comment that I don't disagree with the advice, only the placement. This is strictly a style issue and probably should be placed up in the style section. --MASEM (t) 01:58, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible seems to cover the same ground and, because it provides positive guidance, does not get into the difficuties of selecting the right term to describe what WP is not ("textbook", "academic reference", "academic journal", etc.). --Philcha (talk) 23:25, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Proposing removing WP:NOTMIRROR#2

I'd like to propose removing the second facet of WP:NOTMIRROR, which states "Mere collections of internal links, except for disambiguation pages when an article title is ambiguous, and for lists to assist with article organisation and navigation; for these, please follow the guidelines outlined at Wikipedia:Lists (stand-alone lists)#Lead and selection criteria." Per results in many AfDs and discussions, it seems apparent that many lists are allowed which are exactly this, mere collections of internal links that are mirrors of official lists from other sites reformatted to use wikicode. This includes the many lists of award winners for various awards, from the big Academy award lists down through List of winners of the Walt Whitman Award‎, which is about to be kept in AfD. From consensus there and in other similar AfDs, it seems clear that such lists are perfectly acceptable for inclusion here. Therefore, it seems this particularly part of WP:NOT is no longer valid. Thoughts? -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 08:37, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

I'd argue that the Walt Whitman list is beyond "mere", as there's more than just the internal links, but tabular data that is appropriate to include. I'd take the above reading more to point to an extended list in the form of strict "list-style" lists (using "*" before items without additional information for each item). --MASEM (t) 13:29, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
So as long a list has more than a bunch of bullets (like perhaps Lists of thinking-related topics), it is beyond mere, even if the other columns are also primarily links and do nothing but mirror the same list on an official site? List of Academy Award-winning films, for example, adds number of noms/awards and statistics (which may or may not be OR, but for example purposes it works). What about something like List of American gentlemen's clubs, which is basically a big list of links, with pictures added to the side and grouping by state? Does the grouping and picture make it more than what not #2 is speaking of? -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 19:02, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't look like WP:NOTMIRROR #2 Mere collections of internal links applies to list articles. Disambiguation pages and list articles are both listed as exceptions. I really don't know what that section would apply to. Perhaps a hypothetical article in the mainspace with multiple wikilinks like [[Some person|Some insult]] intended for Googlebombing. The "mere" was re-added December 7, 2007 by Leranedo. The section appears in the oldest available version of this page from September 24, 2001. Category:Indexes of articles contains 785 articles as of now[29], so it doesn't seem that "Mere collections of internal links" is valid anymore. --Pixelface (talk) 01:46, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
That "lists of thinking topics" article looks like a possible candidate for deletion to me, as redundant to Portal:Thinking. Powers T 18:30, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

WP:NOTBLOG replacement

There may have been talks about this before, but I think people should be able to put their own stuff on their user page. I made an article testing it out on a team I made up called the UWIL Flame Dogs but it got deleted. It was just practicing wiki code! It was here: User:Wilsonbiggs/UWIL Flame Dogs. If you see the deleted notice you know it was deleted. The policy says:
Personal web pages. Wikipedians have their own user pages, but they may be used only to present information relevant to working on the encyclopedia. If you are looking to make a personal webpage or blog or to post your resume, please make use of one of the many free providers on the Internet or any hosting included with your Internet account. The focus of user pages should not be social networking, but rather providing a foundation for effective collaboration. Humorous pages that refer to Wikipedia in some way may be created in an appropriate namespace, however.
I propose a deletion of this policy, or at least a change. Wilsonbiggs (talk) 14:15, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

I hope not! The other discussions here centre on what is in the interests of WP. Wilsonbiggs's proposal is just a request for free webspace. --Philcha (talk) 14:32, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
No need for a change. Wikipedia isn't here for people to get free webhosting, socialize, etc. Its an encyclopedia. If you want to practice wikicode, there is the sandbox. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 15:22, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Proposal: Elevate WP:HAMMER from essay to guideline.

I believe WP:HAMMER is sufficiently useful and normative that it should be elevated from essay to guideline. Please provide your thoughts on the matter at Wikipedia talk:TenPoundHammer's Law#Time to promote this essay to a guideline? Jclemens (talk) 03:12, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Thanks to all of you have commented here. Based on Wikipedia:GUIDELINE#Proposing_guidelines_and_policies I have taken the liberty of cutting your contributions from here and pasting them to Wikipedia talk:TenPoundHammer's Law#Time to promote this essay to a guideline? to keep the discussion in one place. My apologies for not noticing this sooner. Jclemens (talk) 15:47, 21 June 2009 (UTC)


Some discussion has arisen at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Wii games that use the Nintendo GameCube controller over the application of WP:IINFO. Some in that discussion are contending that the four examples shown in this guideline (news articles, mere lists of statistics, plot-only descriptions, and lyrics databases) are the only types of information excluded by the "indiscriminate information" metric. Would those of you active in editing this guideline agree with that assessment? If not, should the guideline be made clearer to more explicitly state that the four listed items are just examples? Powers T 13:19, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

It should be clear that what is listed under IINFO are the typical examples we find, but not the absolute extent of what we aim to avoid. --MASEM (t) 15:37, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
I thought it was, but there are couple of users in the discussion I linked who are incredibly adamant that IINFO only applies to those four examples, period; they are demanding proof to the contrary. Powers T 19:27, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps the guideline should be changed to include language like "including, but not limited to:" ? --Cybercobra (talk) 22:59, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
It's already there under WP:NOT#Content; it says "The examples under each section are not intended to be exhaustive; see WP:BEANS." Stifle (talk) 10:27, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! That's exactly for what I was looking. Powers T 12:30, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

a question of policy concerning WP:SOAP and google indexing of user pages

Discussion moved to Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/User_page_indexing.

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Recently, an incident was posted on the ANI board that had to do with WP:SOAP, and the big Singh banners on some users pages. I found this decision especially interesting: [30]. Imo, this decision could set a precedent which invites WP:Soap. Anyone that wants to use Wikipedia to WP:SOAP just needs to copy some text from their blog to a "sandbox article" that they are writing in their userspace. Once they do that, they can put a link to their personal blog to verify that their text is not a copyright violation. If the text is only part of their article, then they don't violate WP:NOTMIRROR. So now, here is a User sandbox article that can just be something stating the author's opinion about whatever, with a link to his blog and links to other sources that might not be reliable sources.. but who cares? After all, this is the User's private space, and Wikipedia allows more freedom of expression in a User's personal space than in a Main article. So.. what's the problem?

The problem is that google indexes these user pages and ranks them along with the related main wikipedia articles - and a majority of Wikipedia articles in Main space get top billing/prime space. This user whose blog would not have been read unless someone went through 100 pages of google results (and who does that?) can now WP:Soap with links to their personal blog and other links that would not be acceptable in a Wikipedia article in Main Space, but are in the User's personal space - only now the user has much more WORLDWIDE coverage for whatever their personal opinions, much more than they would with just a personal blog.

The following is an example of how this can happen. After the topic of google was brought up as a factor in the WP:SOAP Ani, I googled one of the topics that BullRangifer talks about in his User Space: google on "spinal manipulation research I was surprised to see BullRangifer's "sandbox" article on Spinal Manipulation Research with links to his blog is near the top on the first page of google results. This is a PRIME place to be. Notice the titles in BullRangifers User article: Chiropractic's_Dirty_Secret:_Neck_Manipulation_and_Strokes An article with section titles like this wouldn't make it in a Main Space article on "Spinal Manipulation Research". So, I will assume that this is just a personal opinion page or notes. Wikipedia does have a Main Space article called "Spinal Manipulation". I looked back at my google search, and found to my surprise that BullRangifer's article comes BEFORE the main wikipedia article in Google.

I did not notice before that Wikipedia allowed the User pages to be indexed. I didn't think this was allowed a few years ago (but I might be mistaken on that)

This begs the question - why should anyone bother putting an article out on the Main part of Wikipedia, to be edited by the world, when you can put it on your user pages, say what you want, and have it indexed by google and get a prime place on search results? Stating opinions about issues/articles on Wikipedia is allowed on the user pages, and I personally don't really see anything wrong with it except for the fact that these pages are getting a free ride to prime time in google because they happen to be on the wikipedia space. Not only that, but I bet a lot of people see a User space article on some subject that has the same name, and think it is the Main Space Wikipedia article. Odds are that this has happened with BullRangifer's User Page article on Spinal Manipulation Research, because it comes before the Main Wikipedia article in Google. Plus, it has the same structure as an article, with an introduction, table of contents, sections, etc. The average joe wouldn't know the difference.

Imo, this is the part that is really entirely against the Wikipedia policy and invites WP:SOAP - the indexing of personal User pages along with the main articles. Imo, if Wikipedia really does not want to be used as WP:Soap or WP:Blog, it should put in statements in robots.txt to prevent the searching of User pages, and ask to have existing User pages removed as soon as possible. This is not a hard thing to do. Updating the robots.txt file would take five minutes, and I'm sure if wikipedia made a request to google to remove user pages, Google would probably do this very quickly.

I would like to know why the User pages are indexed? What is the reason? Is there any reason? I think this policy should be looked at.

Comments? --stmrlbs|talk 02:40, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

  1. Why should Wikipedia interfere in what Google wants to index? They're perfectly capable of deciding for themselves what they think is important.
  2. There's so much rubbish & propaganda in mainspace anyway it probably doesn't make much difference.
Peter jackson (talk) 10:16, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I think a lot of people don't realize that it is the site owner- in this case, Wikipedia- who decides what Google can index within a site. Google just indexes everything on a site within the bounds defined by the owner. Every site sets up a robots.txt statement to say what parts of their site can be indexed. Wikipedia's robot's file does not allow indexing (and therefore searching) of areas like deleted discussions, spam boards, and other areas of wikipedia that it does not want ending up in the results pages of Google and other popular search engines. This is why I am asking why Wikipedia does allow the indexing of User pages? What is the reasoning, when WP:Wikipedia has a very definite policy of WP:SOAP / WP:What_Wikipedia_is_not? --stmrlbs|talk 16:00, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't Google rank off-mainspace pages lower than articles? I almost never see Wikipedia user pages in Google searches unless I am searching for it, so I think they do. --Apoc2400 (talk) 16:12, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
try this google, then scroll down to where the wikipedia site results are: google on "spinal manipulation research. Who's first for the wikipedia site? surprising? --stmrlbs|talk 16:25, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
A bit of context is in order here. That's my collection of resources for everyone's use. Unfortunately for Stmrlbs, it's about spinal manipulation research and reflects negatively on the chiropractic profession, which happens to be why this matter came to the attention of chiropractic supporters here in the first place. Just to make it clear, I support making userspace _noindex_, but this hounding and censorship by chiropractic supporters is really getting irritating. Stmrlbs, Levine2112, and Unomi are the main chiropractic support tag team currently involved in these efforts to prevent negative mention of chiropractic here. They'd like all chiropractic articles to be sales brochures. While certain aspects of their actions regarding policy are correct (SOAP), their motives stink. If the subject wasn't about chiropractic's dirty laundry getting documented with many V & RS, they wouldn't be involved. Right now they're also irritated about an article I'm working on here: Backlash to chiropractic lawsuit against Simon Singh. Their track record would make any AGF toward them quite naive and foolish. "Turn the other cheek, but not the blind eye." Note that while all of this has been going on, Stmrlbs has not informed me. I just happened to notice their activities and found this and other places where their backhanded attacks and insinuations are going on.
One of the false accusations they're repeating is that I have copied material from my blog to Wikipedia. That's not true at all. I was collecting references for the above article and was informally adding my own (humorous and sarcastic) comments to it, all in my userspace. I decided to get it ready for an NPOV article, but realized that before I started too much revision, it might be handy for my blog, which often uses sarcasm. I've never done this before, but I copied it to my blog and then began to revise what was here. So Stmrlbs has it backwards. Unomi made the same mistake, with assumptions of bad faith and accusations. They later realized and admitted their error, yet Stmrlbs is still making the same false accusation. (BTW, Wikipedia is a bad place to prepare blog material, at least for my blog. It was difficult to re-format it, and I won't likely do that again.)
Whatever the case, we can solve all this by making userspace _noindex_. Hmmm, come to think of it, what will be the consequences? Unfortunately it'll be hard to find many things, since Wikipedia's search sucks. If we could get Google to create an internal search engine for us that works just as good as Google now works, then we could start with the _noindex_ thing, but not before then. -- Brangifer (talk) 06:17, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
some more context. I am not a chiropractor. Bullrangifer seems to think that everyone that doesn't agree with his veiwpoint on chiropractic must be a chiropractor. This is just another instance of BullRangifer jumping to conclusions based on no evidence and imagining conspiracies where there are none. This is his problem, not mine.
However, as I've said before in this post, I don't have a problem with people doing their own thing in their user space. My problem is with Google referencing it. The google indexing of Google should reflect the main articles, not the user pages. Wikipedia is an Encyclopedia, not a host for user blogs. --stmrlbs|talk 07:10, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Okay, so I've changed it to "chiropractic supporters". -- Brangifer (talk) 14:01, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
And more context. I am not a chiropractor either, I don't even edit articles related to chiropracty, well apart from some small edits to Chiropractic_controversy_and_criticism in its nascent form because it was, and is, so hilariously POV that I couldn't help it, the main author of the article is beyond my ability to reach however, witness this discussion. Nor have I had any hand in your 'backlash' article. While on the subject of professions however, I do not think it is a great secret that BullRangifer is a Physical Therapist, and as such has some stake in how chiropracty is perceived. My actions here were simply directed at ensuring that Wikipedia does not slide towards indulging soapboxing and righting great wrongs. Whatever the tone of your blog or the manner of discourse you are accustomed to outside wikipedia, please do not introduce it here. Unomi (talk) 10:08, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Okay, so I've changed it to "chiropractic supporters". -- Brangifer (talk) 14:01, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Hasn't this been beaten to death enough times already? See WP:NOINDEX for just *some* of the past discussions. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 22:00, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps it has, but if consensus has been against it in the past, it can change. In my opinion, noindexing userspace pages is a good idea — we're here to build an encyclopedia, so it's great to have high-ranking searches for that, but userspace is clearly not part of the encyclopedia itself, so why do we want it to be indexed? It's not like talk pages for articles and categories, which are intended to help build the encyclopedia collectively; instead, these are individuals doing what they believe best, with little or no input from the rest of the community. Nothing wrong with that (at least in some cases), but when someone is using Wikipedia as a web host, we should do everything possible to stop that, including removing the possibility that it will improve their visibility. I can't imagine what downsides this would have for the average user (how many people feel like reading my talk page or my sandbox bit on a medical device?), but it would retard abuse of the encyclopedia. Nyttend (talk) 06:11, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree Nyttend. I don't think there is anything wrong with people doing their own thing on their user pages, but why index this along with the main articles? As for saying that people that don't want their pages indexed should use _noindex_, people that intend to game wikipedia by using their user pages for the google coverage that being on wikipedia gives them will not be using _index_.--stmrlbs|talk 03:58, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
DragonHawk, thanks for the links. I didn't realize this project existed. But, I see in reading the discussions, that it seems the decision was made NOT to index user spaces, but never implemented. I also see that people are assuming that because "/wiki/User" is not in the robots.txt file, that this means those pages are not indexed. This is not the case. The robots.txt for wikipedia seems to be main "disallow" statements (which is understandable because of the size of wikipedia), and because "/wiki/User" is not disallowed (there is no "disallow" specified in robots.txt for "/wiki/User), Google goes ahead and indexes user pages.

There seem to be 2 discussions of this going on simultaneously. Perhaps they could be brought together somehow. Peter jackson (talk) 09:44, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Peter, where is the other discussion that is going on now? --stmrlbs|talk 15:52, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
I believe he is referring to Wikipedia talk:Search engine indexing#Strongly support noindexing of "user" and "user talk". Rossami (talk) 23:40, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
thanks, Rossami. --stmrlbs|talk 03:58, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
No, actually, I was referring to Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Mandatory / Automatic NOINDEX of user space pages. (Stmrlbs seems to have a short memory, having contributed to that discussion.) So that makes 3, which is even worse. Peter jackson (talk) 08:48, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
actually, I found that article after reading your comment, Peter. I went ahead and added some links to the ongoing conversations into the Search engine indexing project at the end of this section However, it appears this was discussed, but no consensus? --stmrlbs|talk 18:25, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
And there's another discussion here [31] that's relevant to user pages showing up in Google. In my experience it is frequently discussed but nothing ever happens. Dougweller (talk) 11:04, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

This is not the appropriate forum to discuss something of this nature. If this is a serious proposal, please start a new project-space page that can centralize and preserve discussion of this (somewhat) important issue. Thanks. --MZMcBride (talk) 17:51, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Discussion moved to Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/User_page_indexing.

Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, textbook or scientific journal

This particular section of this guide is used by editors on Talk pages to argue that articles should appeal to a non-technical audience and be accessible to all. In particular, cut the math, and never include a derivation, however germane to the development. In contrast to this view, there are clearly articles that do not fit that description at all, and are intelligible only to those with a PhD in (for example) differential geometry.

I'd like to suggest that the guidelines be made more clear on this topic. It seems to me that at least in some subject areas, the accepted approach has been to write an introductory article with links to more technical articles, the concept being a hierarchy of articles of greater and greater depth. An example would seem to be Introduction to special relativity and Special relativity or Introduction to quantum mechanics and Quantum mechanics with the (very) many accompanying specialized topics in this subject that have their own articles such as Schrodinger equation, Atomic orbital and so on.

Perhaps some mention should be made in these guidelines agreeing that such an hierarchy of difficulty is accepted, suggesting how it might proceed, and suggesting that editors lay off the notion that only the lay reader with no formal background has a claim as audience to Wikipedia? Brews ohare (talk) 00:49, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

If you're referring to me, above, what you have written misrepresents my position. WP:NOTTEXTBOOK is primarily about style, not level of technicality. They are separate issues. Mathematical derivations easily fall into the textbook style, however, unless the writer is careful to avoid it. It's a natural error, in that those of us with technical backgrounds have all sat through many lectures and read many textbooks. One gets used to the style of mathematical presentation used in those media. An encyclopedia may contain math, but the way it needs to be presented is different.
I absolutely agree that some articles should be more technical than others, depending on the subject matter. Articles on important, basic concepts in science need to be written so as to be accessible to a general audience. Articles on more specialized topics will typically be more technical. Any article that requires a Ph.D. in differential geometry is probably too technical, however, even if it is an article on a specialized area in differential geometry. Yes, many articles on Wikipedia are currently too technical. Hopefully that will be fixed eventually. Hierarchies of articles work for some topics, particularly articles on very large and important fields like special relativity and quantum mechanics.--Srleffler (talk) 02:13, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

See also Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible--Srleffler (talk) 02:31, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I intended this discussion to be less about style and more about content, and more specifically about setting up some sensible approach to organizing and linking topics by complexity. Although size of a subject will clearly lead to many sub-articles on specific topics, the question I'd like to see discussed is not that, but rather the approach to complexity. Although not an paragon, for example the article on Electronic band structure begins with a beginning level, gets more advanced and links to more specialized topics. Not all of it is accessible to all readers. I think that is OK. The guidelines would be better if they emphasized this approach. Brews ohare (talk) 03:05, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for that link:Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible which goes a long way in this direction. Brews ohare (talk) 03:08, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Conflicting/confusing guidelines

Please note the first pillar at Wikipedia:Five pillars: "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia incorporating elements of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers." I just noticed that in complete contradiction to that first pillar, someone had added that we are "not" an almanac to this page. After I removed it asking for discussion on this apparent contradiction, another account reverted my edit claiming "someone is trying to misconstrue long-established consensus in order to promote his interpretations on some AfDs; also, the cirted page clearly says 'incorporating *elements* of almanacs'", which aside from being an obvious assumption of bad faith, is simply inaccurate as I explained in this edit summary, i.e. "by that same logic we would have Not#Encyclolpedia because the First pillar only says 'elements of general and specialized encyclopedias'". We cannot have this contradictory instructions. So, either we are not an almanac or we are. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 00:42, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm not going to get dragged into a lengthy discussion about this too. WP:5P, which A Nobody has been citing his way over and over on various pages outlines the generic traits of wikipedia, and these state that it incorporates elements of various types of works. Saying that it is an encyclopedia, and stating that it does not function as anything other, while incorporating elements from those other things, is clearly not in contradiction of the paragraph he keeps deleting. But enough elementary logic: his view is currently invoked in several debates which are far from finished, and his edits came immediately after a user cited this rule to contradict his reading of the five pillars. Meaning that, aside from being contradicted by logic, his edits are attempting to push an agenda into the core of wikipedia. Dahn (talk) 00:54, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
The Five pillars has said we are an almanac since it was created on 4 May 2005. Now looking at WP:NOT from the same time, I am not seeing anything about not being an almanac. Also, the disputed addition only appeared on 5 May 2009, i.e. a mere month ago. Earlier discussions, such as Wikipedia_talk:What_Wikipedia_is_not/Archive_9#Not_an_Almanac.3F and Wikipedia_talk:What_Wikipedia_is_not/Archive_1#Is_Wikipedia_an_almanac.3F and Wikipedia_talk:What_Wikipedia_is_not/Archive_25#Wikipedia:_Almanac_or_not.3F hardly reveal any consensus supporting a notion that we are not an almanac. If there was no consensus to add this contradictory shortcut to the page, it needs to be removed. Moreover, per WP:BRD, it was boldly added and probably in good faith, but now has been challenged and now is being discussed, it you should not have tried edit warring in back in while the discussion takes place. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 00:59, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
It isn't really a rule, it is just a POV redirect to the rule about having raw statistics as an article. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 01:52, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Ahhh, now I see the difference in the edits. It is about using the word "almanac" as a synonym for "raw statistics". Raw statistics are excluded from Wikipedia. No almanac I have, and I have 5, has "raw statistics", all have organized charts with moderately detailed explanations of the data contained. Most of the entries are country descriptions, lists of popes and presidents and countries ranked by various factors such as GNP. I would say this does not define an almanac at all, and should be removed and changed to "raw statistics". I see STATS is already covered, there is no point having a non synonym like ALMANAC used a s redirect, an Almanac is not raw statistics. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 01:41, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for that description of how information is presented in an almanac. It pretty much means all of those wonderful stub-type bilateral relations articles are presented incorrectly and should be merged to a list, with the originals deleted. --BlueSquadronRaven 22:04, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree it is stupid to say its not an almanac, when in fact the pillars say we encompass the elements of almanacs, among other things. Dream Focus 03:16, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm going with A Nobody and Dream on this one. WP:5 states CORE PRINCIPLES of Wikipedia. (bold and caps mine) To say anywhere in other (struck per KingTurtles observation)policy or guidelines that we won't have elements of an almanac is simply ludicrous. It is a poorly phrased redirect, and should be removed - plain and simple. I'm not saying there's a real problem with item 3. of "Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information" stated as: "Excessive listing of statistics. Long and sprawling lists of statistics may be confusing to readers and reduce the readability and neatness of our articles. " The key words here being indiscriminate and excessive. I'm not sure who put it (NOT#ALMANAC) in there, but it wasn't there last December, or even last March from my view of history. To be honest, it's not really important who, but it should definitely be removed. Talk about confusing to new users .. geesh. Delete with extreme prejudice. Full Stop. — Ched :  ?  05:13, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Agreed. The usage here of the misleading redirect "NOT#ALMANAC" must go. Editors who do not wish the use of that term "Almanac" should rally a consensus to change the WP:5 Pillars to the WP:5 Generic Traits and before they take it upon themselves to interpret "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia incorporating elements of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers" in any way other than what the words wisely, sweetly, and quite clearly say. To use "NOT#ALMANAC" in that specific section in that specific manner implies that almanacs are "an indiscriminate collection of information", which they most certainly are not. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 05:47, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Desagree WP has never been an almanac, and should not become one. WP:Almanac linked to this page by July 2008, so the claim that this is a "new" sort of connection is tenuous by a year. Collect (talk) 12:35, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • As WP:5 states in its introduction, the Five Pillars are based on the policies that existed at the time, but WP:5 itself is not policy. It is a summary, an essay, a quick reference page. It is by no means the final word. In fact, it shouldn't be used at all in this debate. WP:5 is not a sacred text. The way I see it, Wikipedia itself is not an almanac (Wikipedia is not an annual publication), but Wikipedia does contain almanacs within it. Portal:Contents/Portals, Portal:Contents/Lists of topics, Wikipedia:Days of the year, Wikipedia:Today's featured article, Portal:Current events and Portal:Baseball/Anniversaries are all good examples of almanacs and almanac styles. Kingturtle (talk) 13:15, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Disagree Wikipedia is an encyclopedia incorporating elements of almanacs only to the extent that those elements are notable topics. Almanacs traditionally contain elements that are considered "useful" (high tides, library opening times, rules of etiquette, bus timetables etc), but their inclusion criteria are less stringent than Wikipedia's. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:25, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
What almanac has bus schedules? A National almanac with bus schedules is just a silly concept. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 16:21, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree In my experience, astronomical data is usually kept whenever such issues arise. For example, see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/16 August 2008 lunar eclipse in which the consensus was to keep this article. Eclipse details are archetypal almanac material and so an absolute prohibition is not appropriate here. Colonel Warden (talk) 15:56, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Disagree wikipedia is not an almanac and should not include almanac data, unless it is relevant to an article. But it is clear that wikipedia is not an almanac - there is no contradiction. Verbal chat 16:00, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Retain status quo: We aren't an almanac, and are not building an almanac. Nothing about not being an almanac says that there is zero overlap of material. And, as always, I point out that the BRD cycle does not apply to policy pages: people need to get consensus before a change, not hack and slash policy pages to satisfy their own goals and seek approval later.—Kww(talk) 16:07, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
If you think there should be a W:NOTALMANAC guideline write one, but as a redirect for Excessive listing of statistics it is a deception. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 16:23, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
    • Indeed, they do and in this case the change was to unilaterally add this shortcut about not an almanac nonsense without receiving a consensus first; in fact any discussions that did find suggest no consensus supports such an addition. Thus, that must be removed and only re-added if a consensus supports its inclusion and it is pretty clear that no such consensus exists as Wikipedia is obviously and has been since 2005 an almanac as well as an encyclopedia. Guidelines and policy pages must have consensus for such additions FIRST, not afterwards. If someone proposed this shortcut and after thorough discussion it was added that would be one thing, but it is clearly not the case. Rather it was added and only now are we having a discussion on it. As such, the change of adding the shortcut never had any consensus to begin with. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 16:46, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep as is - KWW is quite right - such a change is really cruftmongering in disguise. Eusebeus (talk) 16:51, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
    • If anything adding such an addition without first seeking consensus is indeed bureaucracycruft and therefore unacceptable, which is why the consensus lacking section will be removed. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 17:04, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
      • We have a long history of rejecting articles that list such information at AfD, which is precisely the kind of consensus that this page reflects. Cruftmongering disgruntleds whining about it here cannot undo the accumulated consensus practice of the project as a whole. If you are really convinced that this idiosyncratic interpretation of the Five Pillars can be sustained, then go start up a centralised RfC on the question, linked from the main deletion page. As it stands now, the policy page is an accurate reflection of our current practices, every day reinforced by the praxis at AfD. Eusebeus (talk) 17:35, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
        • We have a much longer history or creating, working on, and coming here for such articles, regardless of the incredibly small minority of accounts who comment in AfDs, including the many who support such articles in AfDs as well. Adding "NOTALMANAC" back in May 2009 when the Five pillars have said otherwise since 2005 reflects an extreme minority opinion that the community at large in practice and as commented above clearly does not back in any sufficient way to justify inclusion here. And as such, the community at large is not okay with a minority viewpoint being forced or imposed upon us, especially with with no discussion supporting such an addition. Indeed the discussions I found that took place in three different years were brief and if anything indicated no consensus or in fact consensus against such an addition. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 17:40, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Disagree We are first and foremost an encyclopedia. We are not a dictionary yet we include definitions of terms if they help build an encyclopedic article. In this same sense we are not an almanac yet we may include some material found in almanacs if and only if it contributes to an encyclopedic understanding of the subject. ThemFromSpace 17:41, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • remove "not almanac". I've just searched back as far as Wikipedia_talk:What_Wikipedia_is_not/Archive_24 and there's exactly 1 public discussion of the subject, in archive 25 - it was brief and did not suggest a new WP:NOT item. "not almanac" is an attempt at a fait accompli, like many other restrictive policies and guidelines. --Philcha (talk) 17:53, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Looking back through WP:UPDATE and diffs to late November 2008, the earliest I can see #NOTALMANAC is "at 04:16, May 5, 2009. ". version, diff. The edit summary doesn't say specifically what the addition is, nor does it mention what prompted the addition. I'd suggest that with Philcas research, there was no consensus to add this, and that the status quo should be a version without that shortcut. diff to archived discussion We report - you decide. ;) — Ched :  ?  20:27, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the diffs. As this is a recent addition which neither has consensus support nor reflects our other policies and practises, it should be removed immediately and only reinstated as and when it achieves some consensus and clarification as to what it means. The section to which it points does not use the word almanac and so currently the shortcut is pointless. Colonel Warden (talk) 07:27, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove "not almanac" per Philcha and because we have lots of articles that could go just as well in an almanac or an encyclopedia. Maybe WP:RAW or something could be used instead. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 00:12, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Remmove per Ched Davis. Hobit (talk) 23:43, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove "not almanac" It says so in Wikipedia:Five pillars and the information can be extremely useful.   Daniel.Cardenas (talk) 19:33, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
  • WP should include the information in an almanac There is great overlap between that and an encyclopedia anyway, with relatively little additional in an almanac besides some tables of statistics and details on the current year's astronomical data. We might ass well formalize this, The pillars have it right, and had it right from the start, and the change in WP:NOT to say not almanac is simply against basic policy. and rationality. There is no project better placed to do this right than we are. Even paper encyclopedias would have had this information, if they could have kept it up to date. We can do so. The change was a recent change against policy. WP:BOLD specifically advises that such things are not a good idea. Trying to change basic policy by tinkering here is abusive. DGG (talk) 21:54, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
  • There should not be a link/redirect to "not almanac" because it's a contradiction, but long lists of statistics are very often inappropriate. We certainly shouldn't be including lists of all the results of a minor-league baseball team for the last fifty years (to take an extreme example, and not to say that this has happened). However, some users may do well to remember that this is a policy; WP:5P is not. Stifle (talk) 11:55, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
  • That's right, WP:5P is beyond policy, it is an enunciation of the principles of Wikipedia. As DGG and our principles aver, we overlap with an almanac, and it is up to consensus where the overlap begins and ends, likely, as Stifle suggests, with an extreme example. Personally, I have no issue with people tinkering with policies, because doing so is how we learn what consensus will support, and also what our policies mean. But that freedom should be open to everyone. Hiding T 12:24, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Coming back to this, I am very please to find that Stifle and I are in agreement here. That doesn't happen all that often, and I hope it will happen more. In this case, I think it shows that there really is no justification for this part of the policy. How to handle detailed data remains a problem--one possibility is another WMF project.DGG (talk) 04:15, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Neutral I don't like the specific prohibition, but frankly "not an almanac" is an easy way of delimiting ourselves that happens to be accurate. We aren't a listing of statistics. Where those statistics are important to a subject (Box scores or climate) we should include them or exclude them as a matter of editorial judgment. But where they are standalone or unimportant, we should (and do) remove or delete them. Just stop all of this edit warring over policy. Protonk (talk) 18:18, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove As statistics are sometimes relevant to articles. Having not an almanac would be a license to remove all statistics. -Djsasso (talk) 18:00, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove per all of the above. Clearly implies something that WP:5P directly contradicts. Powers T 12:13, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

I've upgraded the tag on this section of the policy from "under discussion" to "disputed" since this discussion has so many "remove it" comments. --Philcha (talk) 23:04, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

About 6 editors have expressed a wish to remove something that has apparently been in policy by longstanding consensus, and this qualifies as "disputed"? I am pretty doubtful of that claim. Locke9k (talk) 23:08, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we should do a big RfC, like the one for PLOT? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 23:20, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
I disagree w Locke9k's counting, but think that's because this discussion uses no standard way of identifying "remove" / "keep" / "modify" / neutral / "comment".
Whether we use my count or Locke9k's, I agree w Peregrine Fisher that an RfC seems the way to clear this up. But we should first format it so we can see what the result is: pretitled sections "remove" / "keep" / "modify" / neutral / "comment"; "votes" to be in numbered listed, whihc naturalyl doe snot apply to "commnets" --Philcha (talk) 23:32, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
There was never a consensus. This year ONE editor unilaterally added it without discussion. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 03:34, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Would Locke care to explain how the disputed wording "has apparently been in policy by longstanding consensus", because that doesn;t appear to reflect teh facts at hand, which seem to indicate it is a recent addition with no clear consensus. Hiding T 15:32, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove We are already an almanac in providing Top-10-like lists and statistical tables that are entirely appropriate and useful. I think the concern is about raw, unformatted, unencyclopedic/unuseful data; but that's already excluded under the NOT_STATS clause, so NOT_Almanac is entirely unnecessary and wrong. --Cybercobra (talk) 00:56, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove it. I think almanac content is and should be acceptable and have always seen the five pillers wording accepted as the common accepted practice. Davewild (talk) 07:47, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove per WP:5P/recent addition w/o discussion.--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 18:14, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Clarify: we're talking about removing the span tag, not the paragraph, correct?--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 18:26, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Shortcut removed

I received a request from SarekOfVulcan to remove the NOT#ALMANAC span tag, based on the above discussion. There was fairly clear consensus to remove this – the shortcut was introduced without any prior agreement, and its conflict with WP:5P's partial acceptance of being an "almanac" causes it to be misleading. Per WP:BRD, I believe A Nobody's initial action was quite proper in this situation.

At any rate, the shortcut has been removed, as well as the "disputed" tag, since the dispute was only relating to the shortcut, not the literal verbage of STATS. JamieS93 21:00, 30 June 2009 (UTC)


We need more than just a redirect. We need a section explaining why wikipedia is not to be used as a game guide. I am having trouble reverting new editors who think that it can be used as one, as citing this policy does not work.— dαlus Contribs 04:13, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Remove even the redirect as it is anti-Wikipedic, i.e. goes against what a large segment of our community come here in good faith for. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 15:40, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Why's it anti-Wikipedic? People come here in good faith for it, and then they learn that that's not what Wikipedia is for. WP is not for game codes, walkthroughs, etc. That's what the whole point of WP:NOT is for: teaching people what Wikipedia is, if they came here for something else. Most of us come here looking for something that Wikipedia isn't, and pages like these are what turned us into good contributors. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 16:20, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
It is unencyclopedic. For the most part, such information would be characterized as "trivial" by any encyclopedia, and we are an encyclopedia. We would also be inundated by such material for not only video games, but any number of other entertainment items as well, were we to change that policy. This is not saying that a videogame wiki wouldn't be a bad idea, and I don't think it would be. We could certainly offer some sort of link to its pages were it to exist, I think. But such depth of information on such subjects is not encyclopedic. John Carter (talk) 16:46, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Please see this diff, in which a new editor who does not know policy re-instates material which violates WP:NOTGAMEGUIDE.— dαlus Contribs 20:26, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
I would hope that even A Nobody would recognize that as not appropriate for our encyclopedia, regardless of who looks for it here in good faith. Powers T 20:53, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Just for clarification, I wasn't asking why gameguide material is "anti-Wikipedic"...I was asking A Nobody why the NOTGAMEGUIDE guideline/redirect is "anti-Wikipedic". I agree with the other statements above. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 21:32, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
What is and is not encyclopedic for a paperless encyclopedia of our nature is truthfully subjective. So long as this information is verifiable and written in a neutral manner and is relevant to some segments of our community, I would rather err on the side of helping that segment of our community than not having it and not helping anyone just because some don't like it. I am far more concerned with what Wikipedia is than trying to limit it by coming up with as many things of what it is is not instead. I am here to build human knowledge, not restrict it in a manner that only some of our community think it should be restricted. Yes, we should not have unverifiable information. Yes, we should not have libelous information. Yes, we should not have just made up information. But really beyond that, we then just get into what some like and what some do not like. Perhaps we should not be a game guide in the sense of a "how to", but when it comes to say lists of characters, locations, etc., those appear in magazines and other publications beyond published strategy guides and are not necessarily presented in a how to beat the game manner. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 20:35, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
You're ideas of what constitutes an encyclopedia contraict with the ideas of those who created this site and the rules they created. We aren't supposed to err on the side of including anything willy nilly, we're supposed to err on the side of following what our policies actually say. The kinds of things you seem to want to do are explicitly WP:NOT what this project was created for. As you are free to go to wikia or elsewhere and make the kinds of thing you want, there's no reason for you to try to take this site over with what you want to do. DreamGuy (talk) 21:11, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
A Nobody, the way that we settle the subjective question of what should and shouldn't be here is through consensus. And consensus is that Wikipedia is not for "how to" or "instructional" information, in general. Simply being neutral, verifiable, and helpful is not always enough, and is why we have other policies and guidelines to limit the scope of the encyclopedia. Gigs (talk) 03:15, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
What should be included is subjective, and it's decided by us. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 04:42, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
I would like to note the existence of Wikipedia:WikiProject Video games/Article guidelines#Inappropriate content. Perhaps we should change the redirect to go there instead? Nifboy (talk) 02:56, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
The problem with game guides is that that they do not serve the reader looking for coverage about a game that is not already contained in the instruction manual. Whether reproduced in full, or summarised in part, there is no encyclopedic rationale for creating game guide type articles in Wikipedia, any more that there is to reproduce, or summarise in part, the operating manual of, say, a photocopier, a toaster, or an electric toothbrush. The proposal to remove WP:NOTGAMEGUIDE makes no sense at all, except to those editors who have invested heavily in them, who will always argue that their views on the subjective importance of game guides transends those of Wikipedia's content policies. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:01, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
I should point out to A Nobody, and anyone not that interested in games, that NOTGAMEGUIDE is pretty much one of the most agreed-upon elements by the VG community, far more than, say, dealing with fictional subjects or the like. We are, by and large, not a specialized encyclopedia (though we retain aspects of them). And we aren't a collection of random facts (or aren't supposed to be). That translates to excising details like how much damage the Sword of 1000 Truth deals, especially since including such details often results in lessened accessibility to the great majority of readers. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 22:13, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Not in practice and not by our readers. Only the handful or extreme small minority of accounts that focus on these pages, but not the bulk of article creators and readers. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 04:13, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
The same could be said of all policy. Nifboy (talk) 14:30, 2 July 2009 (UTC)


I can't help feeling that both WP:NOTPLOT and WP:NOTCENSORED would benefit from being spun off as separate pages. Compressing an entire policy into a paragraph puts an enormous weight on specific wording, reduces clarity in practice, and overloads this talk page. Can we just spin the current versions of these off, and then go from there? (This might require an RFC.) At minimum it will ease discussion both of those topics and of the rest of the page. Disembrangler (talk) 23:04, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

All of the prohibitions in this policy are same - there will alway be editors who want them removed. The fact is that plot only articles fall outside the scope of Wikipedia, and with out verifiable evidence of notability, they fail all the other core content policies as well - as do most of the other articles that fail WP:NOT. Either you support WP:NOT or you don't at the end of the day. Make your stand against cruft here. United we stand, together we fall. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 23:33, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Can you name another part of this policy that's ignored as much as WP:NOT#PLOT? As shown again and again at AFD, your claim that "plot only articles fall outside the scope of Wikipedia" is false. As seen in On NOTPLOT, your claim is false. Gavin, Wikipedia:Notability is not a policy. And "cruft" is a nonsense word. You've drunken the cruft Kool-Aid and have become a cruft true believer, and now see "cruft" behind every rock. Unfortunately, you can't see beyond your invented labels. Oh, and WP:NOT#PLOT doesn't keep "cruft" out of Wikipedia anyway, since nobody is required to read this policy before they save a page. --Pixelface (talk) 18:53, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, but how does that address my suggestion? Neither paragraph will be any less policy spun off into separate policy pages, but discussion and clarification thereof will be easier, and this page would be less overloaded. Disembrangler (talk) 13:06, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
It addresses your suggestion in that all the prohibiitons on content are contained in this policy page, not scattered over many. Together set the out boundry as to what Wikipedia is not. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:12, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Alright, thanks, that's clearer. But I think you're wrong: several WP:NOT headings lead to articles elsewhere in summary style, and that's what I'd envisaged for plot and censored. I certainly take your point that we should try and keep policy as simple as possible; but simplicity is not merely a function of length. It's also about giving the policy enough space to be clear, appropriate links and context, and allowing clarifying discussion to work well. Yes? Disembrangler (talk) 14:19, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
I will note that PLOT points to wP:WAF, and the statement here is meant to be a summary of at least the key aspect that we want fiction topics to expand beyond plot summaries. --MASEM (t) 14:26, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
NOT CENSORED belongs here--it's a basic policy about what goes in the encyclopedia, applying to all sorts of articles. Nor is it complicated--the application is usually very simple and unequivocal: there are simply a small minority of people who disagree with it as a basic concept, but it has almost complete consensus. NOT PLOT is another matter, because in practice it's a matter of degree, and whatever one says about where the consensus lies, it's not that unequivocal as the other things on the page. It is further confused by being interwoven with WP:FICT and a number of other guidelines, and it would be better to unify this--assuming we could agree on a compromise, which is another matter. In practice the fact that it is here has long been used as a obstructing tactic to prevent change elsewhere, and the presence of the other rules to prevent change here. I no longer argue this matter, because I see no possible way it can be settled, because I think there are too many people who will reject any compromise. (an example of this is the tinkering with the difference between "entirely" plot and "almost exclusively plot" and "primarily plot"--which have very different implications, and should not be attempted to be settled by tinkering with the wording.) Gavin, you were unable to write a single paragraph defending it without confusing it with the concept of notability, and I too am not able to do to write a paragraph about it without dealing with both.. The purpose of NOT is to say that some things are not allowed, even if they are notable. DGG (talk) 22:16, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
I disagree that NOTCENSORED being uncomplicated (itself debatable, particularly in terms of scope and manner of application, see eg Main Page, Autofellatio, and Rorschach) is sufficient reason to keep it here. There is plenty of explanation, contextualisation, and recording of relevant consensus either in policy or on one unified talk page or both that would be an improvement. Disembrangler (talk) 17:55, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Good point. How about writing an article on censorship in user space, moving it to project space when it seems to be ready, and waiting for it to get cited more and more. I think that's a relatively uncontroversial way of approaching the problem. --Hans Adler (talk) 18:04, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Mabe, but that sounds like hard work... Disembrangler (talk) 18:09, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree that NOT CENSORED should probably stay here, but I don't think its application is as straightforward as you make it. I have observed a tendency of people to argue for taboo-breaking content by citing NOT CENSORED instead of encyclopedic reasons. I.e. they are basically saying, the content must be included because you don't want it and you have the wrong reasons for not wanting it. A good example is at Talk:Rorschach test#Encyclopedia. --Hans Adler (talk) 14:17, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
PLOT should be spun out as DGG says. It's existence is a barrier to forming a consensus, since it divides the community. I agree with DGG that it might be hard to find another way, which is why I believe we need a moderated RFC on the issue, to ensure that everyone's voice counts as equal. On this issue we have bowed for far too long to those people, self included, who like the sound of their own voices. Hiding T 12:27, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
WP:NOT#PLOT should be spun out into the garbage. You never should have added it to this policy page and you know it. Wikipedia editors for too long have blindly bowed to your whims. If only those blind followers knew why [32] [33] you proposed it. We just had an RFC. What's the point of another RFC if people are just going to ignore that one too? --Pixelface (talk) 18:42, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Well I've spun off a Place To Draft here: Wikipedia:Plot-only description of fictional works. If nothing else, moving this discussion to that page's talk page would make the discussion more manageable, and avoid overcrowding this talk page. However it could also permit some expansion of the paragraph into a larger quantity of prose, which by placing less weight on individual words might make the conflict more resolvable. Possibly. Worth a try, no? PS In case it isn't obvious, I envisage the lead of the new page (if it gets adopted) to be reflected here at WP:NOT, summary-style. Disembrangler (talk) 18:08, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
So If I add some crazy new rule to this policy and stonewall for years, are you going to spin that off onto its own page too? When people add things to this policy page that do not represent consensus, that are not a widely accepted standard in the community, we remove them. We don't spin them off onto their own pages. --Pixelface (talk) 18:45, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I think I'd be fairly happy with the current version of Disembrangler's Wikipedia:Plot-only description of fictional works | draft]]. It provides no grounds for deletion and instead says, "Articles on fictional works containing little more than a plot summary should be improved to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context." As a GA reviewer I would not pass an article that is (almost) entirely plot summary (e.g. see Wikipedia:Good article reassessment/Ali's Smile: Naked Scientology/1), but I would not vote for deletion. And I agree with previous comments that it must be possible to establish notability - note that WP:DELETE says "improve rather than delete", so a mere complaint that an article currently does not establish notability is no ground for deletion. --Philcha (talk) 19:11, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

NOTPLOT and NOTCENSORED both belong here. There's nothing wrong with writing a separate page elaborating on, clarifying or even debating a particular clause of WP:NOT. Over time, the clarification page may move from de facto essay status to guideline or even official policy level. That's sort of what happened with WP:WINAD. It's a structure that works quite well, allowing a single consolidated page for new readers and drill-down pages where more experienced editors can learn about the finer points. But the process starts here and the clause here and the elaboration page should clearly point back to each other. Rossami (talk) 00:14, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

A seperate page elaborating on, clarifying or even debating a particular clause of WP:NOT sounds a great idea - two forums in which Pixelface could put his views forward. I think he would just love it. He could try to convert us all to plot only aricles on both talk pages simultaneously. A bit like have someone shout at you through megaphones in stereo. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:18, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

"Not a bureaucracy"?

Anyone who claims that wikipedia is "not a bureaucracy" has not read Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents, Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard, Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests, Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement, Wikipedia:General sanctions Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Edit warring, Wikipedia:Requests for mediation, or Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal.

The claim that wikipedia is "not a bureaucracy" should be removed from the article.

Grundle2600 (talk) 10:18, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Good point, but the idea behind "not a bureaucracy" is rather that if someone reports edit warring at the village pump, people should actually just deal with the report rather than refuse to until it is reported at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Edit warring. I think your point has substance because the situation has become such that a report of vandalism will be refused now if all the i's and t's are not dotted or some template or icon hasn't been attached. The best way to navigate that is to avoid the process pages which attract process junkies and just go find a suitable admin. To a newbie, that's almost impossible, so maybe baby we need to rethink our process to take account of new users, casual users and people who don't actually see the need to jump a million hurdles to point out a bad situation. I've found the easiest path is to actually not care. Someone somewhere will sort it out, even if it takes the mainstream media to point it out. Eventualism is beautiful once you understand it. See you on the other side, Hiding T 13:05, 8 July 2009 (UTC)