Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia is not a dictionary

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The word cisgender at the Caitlyn Jenner article[edit]

Opinions are needed on the following matter: Talk:Caitlyn Jenner#Should all of the uses of cisgender be included in this article?. A WP:Permalink for it is here. Flyer22 (talk) 11:24, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Common sense edit needed[edit]

This guideline needs to include some common sense that just because a word redirects to another word/article, that doesn't mean the word is a dictionary. It needs a common sense example. One that came up a few years ago was Hurricane because Hurricane directs to another word/article Tropical storm. Is this kind of example already clear in the article?

Second example would be a derived form. For example something in -ing or -s (plural). Travelling is that a dictionary entry because it redirects to Travel? In ictu oculi (talk) 17:25, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

We routinely make such redirects without any issue arising, so what would such a proposed clarification solve? Is there some problem you are encountering, and if so, what is it? WP:NOTDICT is about creating articles that are really just dictionary-style definitions that really belong at Wikitionary. It doesn't have much of anything to do with redirects, and the only two times redirects are mentioned, at Wikipedia:Wikipedia_is_not_a_dictionary#Minor differences, it is instructing us to use them for precisely what you seem to suggest that the policy says not to use them for. So, I don't see an action item here.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:58, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Should Wikipedia use made-up or neologistic pronoun replacements in Wikipedia's own voice?[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

This has come up before, but here it is again: Talk:Genesis P-Orridge#RFC: is the idiosyncratic use of s/he and h/er acceptable in this article?  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:27, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

Hi. Speaking from my experience of having upgraded an article to Featured status, my answer is "No. Avoid with extreme prejudice."
Why this madness, when there are so many excellent choices? Some of them:
  • "One"
  • Indefinite pronouns
  • Pluralizing the statement and using "they"
  • The gender-neutral "he"
  • "he or she"
Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 02:23, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

Just sad[edit]

I know its not going anywhere, but this is just a bad and destructive page. It has some value, but it needs to be tightened up and shortened quite a bit, so that people will read it beyond the title. As it stands its a net negative IMO.

I wrote Boy Howdy (idiom) and it just got deleted today, partly on grounds of WP:DICDEF and oh well, sometimes that happens.

But then this same day I read a Kevin Drum post which he ends "But boy howdy, we sure don't, do we?". So I'm thinking, I know what boy howdy means. But what about a Drum reader who doesn't? He's plain out of luck, isn't he?

If he does look it up, he's probably more likely to go to Wikipedia than any other source; Wikipedia is kind of the default go-to place for looking up stuff for a lot of people, like it or not.

Not finding it here, he can look it up somewhere else. He's not going to find it in a regular dictionary, probably (It's not in Merriam-Webster,, or Wiktionary). He could Google it, or look it up in Urban Dictionary. The latter is pretty unreliable and the former is difficult, time-consuming, and prone to error or expounding on tangential matters (compared to reading a Wikipedia article). After all, "just Google it instead" could apply to any article, and why even have a Wikipedia.

Sad. Herostratus (talk) 18:46, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

If you have any constructive suggestions for improvements to NAD then please explain what they are. If you think people may look in Wikipedia for what "boy howdy" means then put some cited info into the Wiktionary entry and create a soft redirect from Wikipedia to it. DexDor (talk) 22:18, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Enh, I don't particularly like writing Wiktionary entries (I've written a few), and a dictionary is not a particularly good place for idioms IMO. And I don't particularly like throwing away information, which is what converting an article to an Wiktionary article entails.
I don't know exactly how I'd improve it. I mean, it already says "Examples of Wikipedia articles on words and phrases include... no worries", by inference holding that up as exemplary, which "no worries" is barely even an idiom (it's really more just the literal meaning of the two words, like "let's eat" or "step this way" or whatever), but I don't think too many people read that far... besides which, holding up "no worries" as a good example of an article directly contradicts other parts of this page, e.g. "[A] dictionary entry [as opposed to a Wikipedia article] is primarily about a word, an idiom, or a term and its meanings, usage and history". But then "in some cases" "a word or phrase itself may be an encyclopedic subject"....
Which cases? Well then WP:WORDISSUBJECT: "[S]uch articles must go beyond what would be found in a dictionary entry (definition, pronunciation, etymology, use information, etc.), and include information on the social or historical significance of the term". This sure didn't help my article, which did include info about where and when the phrase is believed entered common use, how it was spread (WWI soldiers), and where it is used commonly... not a lot, but few articles are complete when they're posted... Herostratus (talk)
An important part of "no worries", which makes it encyclopedic, is its cultural impact. Staszek Lem (talk) 23:30, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

When obscure anime, non-charting albums, etc. have stubs with common words[edit]

Is the purpose of this policy page really to have words like toil, misfortunes and dissonants direct to trivial media products? Is that what those who made the page intended? In ictu oculi (talk) 07:46, 12 March 2016 (UTC)

IMO, anyone entering "toil" into the search field should be taken to either the dab page or to the article about the concept - not to the article about the album which (although a GA) appears to be fairly obscure (e.g. it only has inlinks from 4 other articles). But that's a WP:PRIMARYTOPIC issue, not WP:NAD. What part of NAD do you think should be changed? DexDor (talk) 08:41, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
@DexDor: I think what's needed is a caveat/common sense clause under the Handling Problems section which reads something like "WHEN A DICTIONARY TERM IS OCCUPIED BY A TRIVIAL SUBJECT" - something like "Just because Hurricane does not have an article (but redirects to a bigger subject does not mean that Hurricane (manga) should be moved over the Hurricane redirect. If a trivial subject which cannot claim to be the majority subject in reliable sources is occupying a dictionary term which does not justify an article then a disambiguation page pointing to relevant articles is a better option than placing Hurricane (manga) where a disambiguation page would more helpful." ... OWTTE. In ictu oculi (talk) 21:25, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
Not really following your example, but whatever. The point is correct, but as DexDor points out, we already know that. This isn't the place for it, I would argue, if we really need to write this down. I'd put it at WP:Disambiguation, or if we think it really rises to policy level, then put it in WP:AT, since it's a WP:PRECISE failure, and nothing more. It's an article titles and disambiguation matter; WP:NOTDICT is a content policy.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:32, 13 March 2016 (UTC)

So, was this discussion continued elsewhere? I am asking because dissonants still feel dissonating to me. Staszek Lem (talk) 22:31, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

Anti-stub policy[edit]

Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a dictionary is a policy that can be used in order to prevent starting stubs? Let's imagine that one user starts two or three stubs (on topics that can be easily expanded into full encyclopedic articles) every week and it leaves them in that state. Can this policy be used in order to ask that user to stop creating stubs? —  Ark25  (talk) 19:31, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

Nobody can prevent a user from starting stubs, unless these stubs are some kind of disruption. That said, each article, stub or not, should be judged on its own merits; and each user must be judged basing on their actions; also most guidelines are not cast in stone. Finally, wikipedia has various venues to resolve disagreements. So, what actual case do you have in mind? Staszek Lem (talk) 22:16, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
P.S. I've just checked, you are wikipedian since 2008, therefore it is hard to believe you don't know what I've just wrote. So, again, what's the actual problem? Devil is in the details. I can imagine several scenarios of disruptive article creation, but in any case only community may ban a user from doing something which is not listed among blockable offenses. Staszek Lem (talk) 22:26, 31 May 2016 (UTC) Staszek Lem (talk) 22:26, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
I was recently accused on Romanian Wikipedia of breaking this Wikipedia policy because I've created some stubs, where I've added interwiki links, in some of them I've added photos and in some I've added external links. Sometimes you can't find the translation of a certain word in dictionaries (but you can find it at WP reference desk) and it's really helpful to learn more about a topic by using interwiki links - that also encourages the translation of the article. I've answered to the person who accused me that, as far as stubs are concerned, this policy exists in order to prevent the creation of stubs that can't be developed into articles and have to remain as simple dictionary definitions, not to prevent the creation of stubs that can be developed into articles - and I just wanted to make sure if I got it right. These are the stubs I've created, along many years (on average, I've created less than one stub per week): ro:Dop, ro:Capac, ro:Ruj, ro:Rid, ro:Bal,ro:Perucă, ro:Celacant, ro:Corn (anatomie), ro:Epitaf (obiect de cult), ro:Buruiană, ro:Crinolină, ro:Toc, ro:Blugi, ro:Troiță, ro:Rochie, ro:Răzătoare, ro:Credință, ro:Centură de ocolire, ro:Miră de reglaj, ro:Diblu, ro:Sudură în puncte, ro:Camă, ro:Splint, ro:TPO, ro:EPDM, EVA, ro:Tendon, ro:Placă ceramică, ro:Gresie (ceramică). When there is a consensus against you, you can be repeatedly, falsely, absurdly, and even comically accused of all kind of things, and then if you try to defend yourself, you are found guilty for abusing the patience of the community (and get blocked accordingly) - even more so if you open discussions like this one, on the talk pages of Wikipedia policies and guidelines you are accused of breaking. So I am taking my chances on English Wikipedia instead :) —  Ark25  (talk) 20:27, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
  • No. This policy explains at length that it is not a matter of size

    One perennial source of confusion is that a stub encyclopedia article looks very much like a stub dictionary entry, and stubs are often poorly written. Another perennial source of confusion is that some paper dictionaries, such as "pocket" dictionaries, lead editors to the mistaken belief that dictionary entries are short, and that short article and dictionary entry are therefore equivalent.

In other words, people who think stub=short=dictionary=bad are wrong. Andrew D. (talk) 21:05, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
So what if they're "wrong"? They still think that. With any rule X% of people are not really going to read much beyond the title or nickel summary, where X varies with the rule (it is very high with WP:CENSORED and WP:SNOWBALL for instance, maybe a little lower for some short rules) but is always significant. This is understandable as we are all busy, but still...
It seems to me that there are three kinds of entries possible for a word, phrase, or idiom:
  1. Simple one-sentence definition of the meaning(s), along with a listing of what forms the various declensions take, a couple-three one-sentence examples of the word/phrase/idiom being used, and maybe a one-sentence etymology, and links to words meaning the same thing in other languages. These entries clearly belong in the Wiktionary and I think most everyone agrees with that.
  2. Several paragraphs about the word/phrase/idiom, describing its origin, how its use has changed throughout history, subtle differences in meaning in different places and times, extended examples of its use in literature and popular culture, maybe an illustration or two, and so forth, These entries clearly belong in the Wikipedia and I think most everyone agrees with that.
  3. Entries that fall between #1 and #2 -- there's too much material to properly fit in a Wikitionary entry without truncating to the point of discarding significant useful material, yet there isn't really enough (or enough yet) for several lengthy paragraphs about the word/phrase/idiom.
#3 is the sticking point. My belief is that entries like that belong in the Wikipedia. Many others disagree and (since #3's don't really fit in the Wiktionary properly) I guess feel we'd be better off if this material is lost to human knowledge. This is an effect of having a rule called "Wiktionary is not a dictionary" since as I said the title of a rule is as far as a lot of people get.
All in all, WP:NOTDICT is a bad rule IMO since it leaves plenty of room for mischief of the type outlined above, and since in addition words/phrases/idioms exist on a continuum "Definitely Belong in Encyclopedia <--> Definitely Belong in Dictionary" and just combining the two projects would be better than making arbitrary cutoffs. Unlike (say) Wikiquotes or Wikisource or Commons, for instance, the Wiktionary and the Wikipedia are doing very very similar things and should be merged. The main difference is that the two projects use different formats, but we have many pages (disambig pages and lists, for instance) that use non-standard formats, and it'd be certainly possible to port the Wikitionary into the Wikipedia and adopt a rule governing the format of articles about words/phrases/idioms.
This cannot actually happen due to inertia, regardless of the merits, so I'm just blowing off steam. But anyway, User:Ark25, this non-optimal situation is why you're being treated like that. Since the rule isn't going to change and isn't going to be interpreted any better, my suggestion is to simply stop doing what you're doing (useful or even necessary as it is) and do something else. Or else fight back, using the body of the rule cited above by user:Andrew Davidson, if you're a fighting man and a good debater. Herostratus (talk) 09:13, 2 June 2016 (UTC)