Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Opera/Archive 58

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Archive 57 | Archive 58 | Archive 59

Archives Table of Contents

Biographical infoboxes: blanking of section on project page

This section was blanked by Robert K S. I have restored it. --Kleinzach 00:41, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Robert K S has again blanked the section in a POINT attack. --Kleinzach 05:03, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I did not blank the section; I removed text that asserts consensus where the matter is actually controversial, as evidenced by the discussion linked in the section. Discussion related to my removal of the unsupported consensus-assertion is on this talk page above. Good faith operation on your part would involve discussing the text and refining it so that it does not do the disservice of asserting something that is not truthful. Robert K S (talk) 05:21, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
See blanking here [1] --Kleinzach 06:26, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I removed text that (1) asserts consensus where none can be found and (2) instructs editors to add little tags to articles that proscribe infoboxes and link back to the text that falsely asserts consensus. This removal was justified with a descriptive edit summary. You re-added the text without addressing the issue. I removed it again. The author of the text re-added it. I did not remove it again. Now that the issue of my addressing the issue has been addressed, perhaps we can address the issue? Robert K S (talk) 06:33, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Robert K S you are behaving in an incredibly rude way. Our project is a collaborative organization and we don't just make and change the project's guidelines watonly. We talk about things first. You are coming in (as a non-member I might add) and taking liberties that we as project members won't even take. I am seriously considering reporting you to administrators if this sort of behaviour continues. We are happy to discuss this issue with you but you can't just go and change project policy just because you don't like it. Stop monkeying with the project's page and let it be until a conclusion is reached. Thanks.Nrswanson (talk) 01:16, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Happy to. This may be something of a radical notion, but I don't believe WikiProjects are institutions by which WP:OWN can be subverted. Perhaps it's difficult for some project members to appreciate this, but making up a policy and then enforcing it by placing inline tags on lots of articles is the Internet version of peeing on the fire hydrant. I encourage the involvement of administrators and others in this issue. Let's open the windowshades and let in a bit of light. I'll have a lot more to say about this fairly soon. Robert K S (talk) 04:14, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Discussion about biographical infobox guideline

Okeydokey: Whereas the current text in the "infobox" section offers a guideline that proscribes biographical infoboxes in opera articles, and whereas this guideline asserts consensus on the issue, and whereas the discussions this section links to demonstrate, to the contrary, a lack of consensus over the issue, be it proposed that this section be reworded so as not to make an untrue assertion of consensus. Further be it proposed that this guideline section not recommend the placement of text on articles that links back to the aforesaid section as a method of enforcing an "anti-infobox" guideline. (The present version of the section was instituted in an edit by User:Voceditenore on 2008-03-22T12:08:27. [2] The section was amended with text proposed by Voceditenore and consented to by User:Kleinzach and User:Smerus between March 17 and March 22, 2008. [3]) Robert K S (talk) 05:43, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

(edit conflict) I'm glad to see that you are finally discussing specific changes here. I have restored the infobox section. This has nothing to do with infoboxes per se. Members of this project do not make unilateral changes to the project page and its guidelines without proposing them here first. The last edit you refer to, was proposed here 5 days before it was made. Two members explicitly agreed and no one else objected. If I've read the page histories correctly, first you blanked the infobox section (22:47, 27 May 2008), then you mentioned here that you didn't agree with the way it was worded (22:54, 27 May 2008). You did not even mention that you had already blanked the section and you offered no suggestions for re-wording. You then proceeded to blank it again without waiting for any further input from other members or any further discussion on rewording. That section has been discussed here and refined several times. It may need improvement, and you are welcome to continue discussing it here, but please do not edit the project page again without consensus on this page first. Voceditenore (talk) 06:15, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for discussing my edits to the section. Now, please justify the language of the section itself. Where is the consensus it mentions? Robert K S (talk) 06:18, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
You did not make any edits - you blanked the section on the project page. --Kleinzach 06:32, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Now that the issue of my addressing the issue has been addressed, perhaps we can address the issue? Why does this section instruct people to add enforcement tags to articles which in turn point to a section which falsely asserts consensus on a controversial issue? Robert K S (talk) 06:35, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
To answer your question, the issue of info boxes has had a great deal of discussion not only at this project but with the other projects related to classical music. The statement on the opera projects page was formulated through consensus in that discussion. You can go back and read through the projects archives to read that discussion if you wish. Kleinzach is our unofficial project historian and he can best point you to where to look for relevant discussions. Regardless, there is consensus across editors in the classical music related projects to not use infoboxes.Nrswanson (talk) 08:08, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
  • The current guideline does not state that this is a Wikipedia-wide consensus. It states that it is an Opera Project consensus. I see a clear consensus from members of the project in the most recent discussions, i.e. [4] and [5]. In those discussions, one member (who had joined the project the previous day) and was pro-infobox started a straw poll, which they said was initially to assess whether there was still consensus on the project and 'anyone else who wandered in via the village pump'. There was a clear consensus in the straw poll amongst the members here (apart from the person who started the straw poll). No one wandered in via the village pump, so the new member proceeded to put notices about the poll on groups/projects largely unrelated to opera or classical music with a combined total of over 300 members who were on the whole known to favour infoboxes. Following that, which some members here interpreted as forum shopping, and after the person's own admission that the Opera Project's consensus had not changed and that they would prefer to have the straw poll archived, it was archived, although discussion continued until we all got heartily sick of it. Whereupon there was a consensus to put something to that effect on the Project page. Re further lack of consensus in those debates, are you are referring to the various comments by Andy Mabbett and his claims of no consensus? Andy Mabbett, who to my knowledge has never edited an opera related article in his life, apart from putting infoboxes in them, carried out a Wikipedia-wide disruption about infoboxes because they interefered with his scheme to insert microformats into most articles (in itself controversial). It was however, not the only type of disruption he caused. Observe his block log. Voceditenore (talk) 09:06, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
    • Thanks for this reply. I question whether the above-claimed consensus actually exists (only about 20% of listed active Wikiproject members chimed in on the issue throughout the various discussions, the record of discussions shows a good deal of disagreement, and the current language of the guideline was agreed upon by only three editors), and I further question whether consensus on an issue entitles a project to place enforcement tags at the tops of all articles claimed to be under its purview. I can see that this might not be the right forum for discussing the issue, so I'll be taking the matter to a Wikipedia policy page or wherever else this might be appropriate. Your suggestions appreciated. Robert K S (talk) 14:58, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Comment Only about 20% of the people who've signed on to the project actively participate in the talk page. Many because they are no longer particularly active in the project, some are not even active on Wikipedia. Others because these kind of discussions are very boring, especially the 10th time around, and they'd rather write articles instead. A view with which I have enormous sympathy,;-). In addition to that, 17 of the people currently on the active participants list signed up after the last debate, including a random 14 year old who signed up for just about every project in Wikipedia and has since been banned. In the last discussion no one from the opera project supported the infobox addition, apart from the member who brought it up one day after joining and a non-project member (Andy Mabbett) who had his own agenda, as I explained above.
Re what has been referred to as an "enforcement tag"... It was not added in my March 2008 edit [6] that you refer to above (scroll down the diffs). That tag had been in the infobox guidelines for over a year. [7]. See also this [8] on the OP talk page at the time. I'll wait for others to express their views, before I make some suggestions about possible re-wording. Best, Voceditenore (talk) 15:36, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks again for the reply. I understand that the enforcement tag predates the current language of the guideline by quite a bit. That said, I believe a survey of opera articles will indicate that the majority of the enforcement tags have been added following the amendation to the current language of the Wikiproject Opera guideline on infoboxes. The real issue here is whether a consensus amongst 8 or 9 editors gives a Wikiproject the authority to place enforcement tags at the top of potentially thousands of articles edited by potentially thousands of other editors, and then work to police the maintenance of those tags--particularly when, by definitions of consensus agreed upon by ARBCOM, no actual consensus was reached in this case to begin with: "Effective decision making using consensus requires appropriate framing of questions, adequate discussion of alternative solutions, and closure when a decision is reached, see Consensus decision-making for an extended discussion. ... Rather than simply list known alternatives, debate for a short time, vote, and then accept or reject by some measure, a consensus decision-making process involves identifying and addressing concerns, generating new alternatives, combining elements of multiple alternatives and checking that people understand a proposal or an argument" (& see additional remarks regarding the importance of closing). To my mind, it is counter to the spirit of WP:OWN for a project to place these enforcement tags on all articles it believes falls under its purview, whether or not its members are actually involved in the editing of the article's content. It's an interesting interpretation of the functioning of Wikipedia whereby a small group of editors can tag a large number of articles, and then repress the removal of those tags by claiming consensus. Robert K S (talk) 16:04, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
There is no enforcement tag. 'Tag' is a word commonly used on WP to refer to a link to a template (for example {{unreferenced}}). In this case we have a text - an inline (i.e. invisible on the article page) text linking to an explanation of a project guideline. It says "please do not add an infobox" which reads to me like a normal, simple, polite request. --Kleinzach 22:57, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Clarifications by Opera Project editors

1. Robert K S, no one is "enforcing" anything. The invisible "tag" is a polite request directing editors to our guidelines. And note that the guidelines say it "can be added", not "must be added", or even "should be added". Editors can ignore the Opera Project request and sometimes do (although we've never before had anyone come straight here and blank the guidelines instead). If an editor feels strongly that a particular article would benefit from an infobox, the issue can then be thrashed out on the article talk page and some sort of compromise reached. Do you have a problem with that?

2. You completely mischaracterize the guidelines. Apart from your rejection that we have a consensus for them amongst project members, what is so objectionable about:

the use of currently-available biographical infoboxes and especially those which have been designed for non-classical musicians is often counterproductive on opera singer and opera composer biographies. The information that can be given below the image in infoboxes is not sufficiently flexible, can lead to oversimplification and ambiguity, and, when placed at the head of the article, simply repeats information that should be in the first sentences in any case. No infoboxes should be added to opera singer or composer articles without first obtaining consensus on the article's talk page.

3. We do not "place enforcement tags at the tops of all articles claimed to be under our purview". Nor has there been "any mass tagging". I personally don't use them except in the rare cases where there has been a real infobox issue with a particular article. There are probably around 3000 opera-related biographical articles between singers, composers and librettists. Our project is very oriented to creating content. All of us have better things to do than run around mass tagging articles. We also have better things to do than watch 3000 pages. You are of course welcome to check all of the biographical articles with an Opera Project banner and their histories to determine this for yourself. Voceditenore (talk) 06:05, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Voceditenore, thanks for your reply. What is objectionable about the language of the guideline as written (enforcement tag included) is that it asserts WikiProject Opera jurisdiction, as it were, over any biographical article for an opera-related figure. That the guideline is objectionable should have been evident by the number of editors who have objected to it, in the WikiProject Opera space and on the various article spaces affected by the guideline. I took your advice and looked into the edit histories for some of the articles at issue. I'd be happy to make a point-by-point reply to what you've written above; the plea that WikiProject Opera members haven't conducted organized mass tagging of biographical opera articles is, in particular, demonstrably confutable. But rather than go through a sort of courtroom exercise, I'd like to ask a question instead, in hopes that it will be more constructive. Is there a reason why WikiProject Opera has not taken the inititive in designing an infobox better-adapted for its purposes than the {{Infobox musical artist}} infobox? That is to say, why has the elimination of infoboxes been the pursued path, rather than the attempt to perfect an imperfect solution? Cheers, Robert K S (talk) 06:36, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Comment. I wasn't implying that some people haven't objected to our guideline. I was asking what you personally find objectionable in:

the use of currently-available biographical infoboxes and especially those which have been designed for non-classical musicians is often counterproductive on opera singer and opera composer biographies. The information that can be given below the image in infoboxes is not sufficiently flexible, can lead to oversimplification and ambiguity, and, when placed at the head of the article, simply repeats information that should be in the first sentences in any case.


No infoboxes should be added to opera singer or composer articles without first obtaining consensus on the article's talk page. (See also [9].)

I disagree with you that the inline request "asserts jursidiction" or "enforces" or "prohibits" anything. However, that is your interpretation of it. and as you have said elsewhere you "won't tolerate little nag tags being placed across the encyclopedia on all sorts of articles because a small group of people decide they want to pre-empt the creation of infoboxes with a bogus guideline."[10]. So I'm assuming from this that you are not interested in working out a new wording for the inline text, and your goal is simply to have it prohibited. The short answer to your question about why the preference has been not to have infoboxes rather than designing a special one is that people felt they can't be perfected to overcome their inherent problems unless they become glorified captions which merely repeat what's already in the first two sentences of the article. Likewise, there is no Wikipedia-wide requirement to have them. Nor was consensus ever obtained to start introducing them in the first place, as far as I know.

But really, the opposition to infoboxes long pre-dates me joining the opera project, and I'm not committed to any particular wording of that guideline. Perhaps some of the other project members in the last discussion can answer your questions far better than I. I'm currently working on two new articles and the week-end approaches. I'm stepping out of this discussion for the time being. Unfortunately, you came in here firing with both barrels, so to speak, blanking pages and using words like "disingenuous", "bogus", "cabal", etc. It would not be surprising if many people here are reluctant to substantively engage with you at this point. But I hope they do. Voceditenore (talk) 09:10, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

What Voceditenore said. I'm simply amazed that this has come up yet again. Hours and hours of project members' time which might have been spent creating or improving content has been wasted on these fruitless debates. If you want some quick information about Maria Callas, read the first paragraph of the article. There is simply no way to create an infobox flexible enough to convey that information. There is simply no point either. --Folantin (talk) 09:37, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
There are areas of Wikipedia where infoboxes appear to serve a useful summing-up function and draw together in concise form information from the whole article. People with no interest in opera appear here from time to time and say that articles about singers ought to have infoboxes, but what they propose always contains a redundant repetition of the information that appears alongside in the lead and often calls for the sort of information that's suited to popular music but not opera. Why must we use infoboxes? What is the hidden agenda that nobody tells us about? --GuillaumeTell 10:55, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
"Why must we use infoboxes? What is the hidden agenda that nobody tells us about?" I'd love to have answers to those questions too. I think we deserve them after all the hassle we've had over this issue. "There are areas of Wikipedia where infoboxes appear to serve a useful summing-up function". Yes, this has been pointed out several times before too. Sports star bios is one area where they've been recommended because it's an easy way to present career statistics, though even here there are drawbacks. For instance if you simply read the O.J. Simpson infobox you might miss one or two - ahem - important details about his life. --Folantin (talk) 11:48, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Your assertions are flawed Robert K S. 1. Inline texts to my knowledge have only been placed on a limmited number of articles. I doubt that there are even 50 articles out of the 4,500 plus opera related articles with an inline text. I myself have only come across three or four in my entire editing history and I work on opera related articles almost every day. I personally have never placed an inline text on any article and frankly don't feel the need to for most articles. The only times such texts are necessary are on articles where info boxes present problems which seems to be their current usage. I think you will find that articles with such inline texts are on articles where info boxes have created problems in that particular articles history. 2. This is not a case of WP:OWN as the inline text is not prohibitive but cautionary. There is no attempt at enforcement or asserting jurrisdiction. Merely a request to talk about the addition of an info box prior to implementing one. 3. I find your attempt to prohibit in-line texts altogether (rather than tweaking the wording) as being a violation of WP: OWN in itself. You can't prohibit editors from putting in-line texts into an article. You should assume good faith on the part of this project. The policy was set in order to avoid factual inaccuracies and distortions of truth.Nrswanson (talk) 10:51, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

I do have one adendum to above. By reverting Robert K S.'s change to the Callas article I guess that could be viewed as placing an in-line text. In the case of Callas I do believe that an info-box would be counterproductive to that article. I would be happy to explain why on that articles talk page. I personally do not object to info-boxes on all opera articles but they would create problems on many articles. Each article presents its own challanges so its hard to necessarily sum up a definitive list of reasons.Nrswanson (talk) 11:11, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Why do we need infoboxes? I agree they're not mandatory. Neither is having an online encyclopedia. That a thing isn't mandatory doesn't mean it must not be useful or is always misleading or redundant. On some pages where WikiProject Opera has removed infoboxes, talk messages have been left asking why an infobox is missing. Why? Readers often find infoboxes useful--and, since readers outnumber editors on Wikipedia, pages should accomodate the convenience of readers before they accomodate the convenience of editors. For those articles for which an editor wants an infobox, why not give the editor something to work with, rather than telling him, "Sorry, no. No infoboxes allowed. See our guideline. We've already decided on that." That infoboxes can be edited to present inaccuracies or distortions is a red herring. Any part of any article can be edited to present inaccuracies or distortions--that doesn't mean we disallow Wikipedia articles on principle. The very basis of an online collaborative encyclopedia is that when editors see things that are wrong, they can fix them, or discuss them. Simply imposing a ban or limitation on editing is a measure both lazy and draconian. Finally, to clarify one position of mine, I am neither a "pro-boxer" or "anti-boxer": possibly, my edit history will show that I once or twice tried my hand at making an infobox for an article as an experiment, but in general I do not add or delete infoboxes from articles. I am here primarily because I believe the actions of the members of this WikiProject are in clear violation of WP:OWN, and I would like to present solutions for the group to consider that would give the group ways of ceasing the territorial behavior of tagging articles. In the following days I will propose a set of infobox parameters to this group for an Infobox opera singer. (For now, I'll leave opera composers alone because of the large overlap on that front with the classical music WikiProject.) And we'll see if there is any receptivity to developing or discussing such a thing, or if the real issue here is that the members of this WikiProject dislike infoboxes for reasons unstated. The development of an opera singer infobox would not necessitate the use of that infobox on every opera singer article--it would simply give a project-supported alternative to infoboxes deemed unsuitable by the project for those articles on which an infobox is desirable. Robert K S (talk) 15:30, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Once again we do not ban info boxes. Info boxes are allowed if you read the guideline. Although I think a better hidden text would read "please do not add an info box without discussing it first on this article's talk page". This would be more in keeping with the actual policy at the project. I personally think a viable info box is a good idea, although I still think that on many articles it would be difficult to apply by virtue of several factors. First, voice type is not always a constant throughout a singers career nor would it be accurate to list several voice types as readers would assume that a singer possesed all voice types simultaneously which would also be inaccurate. It is much better to discuss the voice outside of an info box and talk about growth, development, changes, etc. throughout a singers career. Also, in singers like Callas there is often many different views on what particular voice type a singer has. Second, opera singers don't usually get offered record contracts and often record on a plethera of labels. Therefore, a labels section would not apply to most singers. Third, most opera singers don't have web sites. Fourth, a years active is often hard to define with classical musicians as you can count from several different places. Do you count notable student appearances at things like the Aspen Music Festival and Wolf Trap Opera which often result in commercial recordings but are technically not professional or do you only count professional productions? Do you count professional work in opera choruses preceding actual portrayal of roles? Do you stop when the singer no longer appears in stage roles but may still appear in recital/concert performances? (For example Kathleen Battle hasn't appeared in an opera since 1994 but still gives the rare recital and Jessye Norman is more or less retired but still ocassionally will sing a recital of lieder.) Without giving a lengthy definition of years active (which would not work for an info box) it would be misleading information. In short the only information that could be accurately represented in most cases is name, dates and places of birth and death and occupation, all of which is presented in the first sentence of opera singer articles. Nrswanson (talk) 15:40, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, Nrswanson. Are there any other issues you can think of with infoboxes for opera singers? Robert K S (talk) 06:16, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Not off hand Robert. But as you can see info boxes are hard to adapt to opera singer articles which is one reason why the project created its policy with the hidden text. It's not that we here at the project are anti info-box per say but that info boxes have proven to be counterproductive rather than a useful tool. I personally think info boxes that contain only information in an articles lead are redundant and therefore contrary to Wikipedia:Style, and as demonstrated by my points above, only a few opera singer articles will be able to use an info box in a way that actually improves the article.Nrswanson (talk) 07:12, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Well, Robert, I can't believe you can't find more productive use for your time, because the rest of us certainly can. Why don't you try improving the encyclopaedia by adding some content or something? That's what I plan to do. "And we'll see if there is any receptivity to developing or discussing such a thing". I doubt there will be. Members of this project are already sick to the back teeth of this issue. "Or if the real issue here is that the members of this WikiProject dislike infoboxes for reasons unstated". Because that's the only possible alternative, isn't it? --Folantin (talk) 16:26, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Members of this project are already sick to the back teeth of this issue. (I just thought that sentence was worth repeating.)--Peter cohen (talk) 08:44, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree that infoboxes contain only redundant information and get in the way of other formatting choices in opera articles. The Gilbert and Sullivan project supports the opera project's consensus on this issue. Robert, there are many people who agree with the opera project's policy on this issue, and no one who works on opera and operetta articles *regularly* on Wikipedia disagrees, to my knowledge. It was not just the judgement of a small number of editors, it is a policy that has been helpful to many editors in this corner of Wikipedia. Best regards, -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:39, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Fourth consecutive reversion of Maria Callas

Robert K S has just made his fourth reversion of the Maria Callas page, see [11]. His edit summary explains: "This will be discussed at Wikiproject Opera and at higher levels. No editor or group of editors gets to tag an article that links to a bogus guideline for which consensus cannot be demonstrated." Robert K S should read the Three-revert rule: "An editor must not perform more than three reverts, in whole or in part, on a single page within a 24-hour period. --Kleinzach 14:18, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

He's obviously trying to make a point, but in his defense, perhaps he thinks the first time he removed it doesn't count as a reversion. (It had been on there for a long time prior to his first removal). Hopefully, he'll return here and continue the discussion instead. In the meantime, there's no use edit-warring over it, either pro or con. It just raises the temperature unnecessarily. Best, Voceditenore (talk) 14:54, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I didn't report him to 3RR (where he would have got an automatic 24 hour block) but it's hard to assume good faith after the blanking of part of the project page and the reversions on Maria Callas. Let's hope this is the last of his disruptions. --Kleinzach 23:16, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Well, possibly the last of his disruptive editing per se, but he's now brought it to the Policies and guidelines talk page, although he's only discussing a 'hypothetical project'. Nevertheless, he completely mis-characterizes the current wording of the guideline and its application and claims it only has the support of three members of the project. Personally, I'd stay out of the discussion there unless he starts naming names, so to speak. I'm still trying to write my article on Johann Georg Conradi. {{{{Sigh}}}} Voceditenore (talk) 05:08, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Fellas, you're acting like this is some cabal that needs preserving through strategic maneuvering. I thought it would be good to seek a general answer to the question at hand--is the extensive and broad enforcement of a stylistic choice agreed to by a small number of individuals across a large number of articles by using inline tagging allowed given Wikipedia article ownership policies?--without complicating things by, as you put it, "naming names", that is, couching the issue in accusatory language that would be counterproductively distracting from the core disagreement. If you think I've mischaracterized the guideline and its application, tell me how--I'll be happy to rephrase what I've written. If you believe the guideline wording has support from more than three members of the project, feel free to point me to other discussions that might enlighten. Cheers, Robert K S (talk) 05:29, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
First of all, what makes you think we're all fellas? ;-) Second of all, no one is "acting like this is some cabal that needs preserving through strategic maneuvering." And I don't think that comment is particularly helpful. I simply do not want to spend my time discussing this in two different places unless it's absolutely necessary. See also my comments above about the way I feel you have mis-characterized both the guidelines and they way they are applied. What you choose to say at the Policies and guidelines talk page is entirely your own decision. Voceditenore (talk) 06:22, 29 May 2008 (UTC)