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Straw poll on the current view of WP:NOT#NEWS

Recently I proposed a change at WT:NOT which related to WP:NOT#NEWS (Wikipedia is not a newspaper) which was taken through an RFC that closed recently here (permalink to that) It closed as no consensus, but I would recommended reading the !votes and discussion of that, as it highlights a currently growing issue on, how are we supposed to handle current events/news.

A key factor is the current fate of Wikinews. It is, as mentioned several times in the discussion above, effectively a dead project, stuck in a catch-22 problem to get people to use it. There is clearly both editor desire and readership interest to see current news provided in a wiki-style, and has generally done well before in covering current events. But events over the last few years (particularly over the last 2 years) have created a lot of editor tension and behavioral problems related to current event coverage (given what passes by AN/ANI/ARBCOM and various policy noticeboards), and highlights the differences between what an encyclopedia is and what a newspaper is. Their goals aren't fully mutually exclusive but there are several conflicting goals. WP:RECENTISM highlights many of these issues.

So I figure that to try to resolve this is to at least start with a straw poll, not designed to establish any immediate change in policy or guideline, but only to see where the current perception is of how should be handling NOT#NEWS. Testing the wind, to speak. To that, there's principle three options to consider to get an idea where an editor/reader's interest in this may be as to determine the preferred method to go forward, if needed.

  1. The current situation for NOT#NEWS is fine or only needs some small adjustments. This might include defining a guideline to help with writing current events articles (akin to WP:Writing about fiction), but likely no change to policy.
  2. NOT#NEWS should be more strongly enforced, and limiting our current event coverage. This might include stronger enforcement of WP:NEVENTS, additional policies relating to NOT#NEWS, encouraging/putting more current news articles to draft space, pushing more content/editors to Wikinews, and the like.
  3. NOT#NEWS should be less strong enforced, and expanding our current event coverage. This might include outright removal of NOT#NEWS, adjusting how NOT#NEWS and NEVENTS are written and handled to allow more news, effectively merge Wikinews in, and the like.

As this is not an attempt to find a solution right now; I would fully expect that any proposed idea that comes out of that would be under a full Wiki RFC to consider before implementation. So a straw poll is best here. I would request you simply !vote in the appropriate section below, keeping threaded discussion to the provided discussion section. --MASEM (t) 16:23, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

Option 1: WP:NOT#NEWS is working as is

Or: The coverage of current events on is about right or only needs fine adjustment

  1. What should happen is the creation of a taskforce who routinely checks on news items that don't have longterm impacts. We should be posting items our readers are interested in, without our readers, this is all pointless, but I agree that some things which are instantly recorded as "news" may not have such a long-term impact as to be considered encyclopedic for a long-term view. This is a natural conflict between (say) an "in the news" section and a paper encyclopedia which records genuinely uber-notable events. We should not divest our readers of the things they want to see just because of some snobbish and contrived criterion. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:24, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  2. First choice. Each time I've tried to get articles deleted for violating NOTNEWS (such as Richard Matt) the AfD has gone nowhere - and on each occasion, in hindsight, the judgment of the community has proven correct. There are a good number of editors who like to write about current events and overall I think they do a good job and provide useful articles that bring readers to the project and enhance Wikipedia's reputation. In the discussion at the NOTNEWS talk page there was a great deal of "it's terrible" comments but little in the way of specific examples of a need for change. Coretheapple (talk) 21:25, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  3. I'm not seeing the need for stricter enforcement, and I doubt the practicality of trying to stamp out current events articles. Wikipedia will be what Wikipedians want it to be, and this is what they want it to be. If that doesn't jibe with NOTNEWS, then jettison NOTNEWS. Beyond My Ken (talk) 21:32, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  4. stricter enforcement will not be useful/effective. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 21:35, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  5. First choice. --Jayron32 14:04, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  6. The folks who are busy AfDing current events article are generally not busy AfDing old-current-events articles from 10+ years ago. Why is that? Because human nature enjoys working with current events, be it inclusionist or deletionist. It's just a manifestation of what people want to work on and how. For those AfDing the old articles, they will need more justification than citing the NOTNEWS alone, like if there has been longer term impacts, consequences of the event. -- GreenC 14:18, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  7. First choice. -- E.M.Gregory (talk) 21:03, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  8. First choice. NOTNEWS, properly applied, strikes a fair balance between keeping encyclopedic material and avoiding the truly mundane topics that also get news coverage. The problem is that there is not much guidance, and too many people think that NOTNEWS is carte-blanche to delete any articles about current events. Wikinews is dead and its writing style is anathema to Wikipedia's. Whether we like it or not, Wikipedia's article on a breaking news event is often the most complete, up-to-date, and unbiased coverage available, which is why so many readers come to us. We should be helping those readers, not hindering them. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 20:49, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  9. First choice. petrarchan47คุ 18:08, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
  10. It is working as it is. The "news articles" are relevant for Wikipedia. So the question here is: should we wait a year or two or longer with writing an article on the topic (since that would be the amount of time needed until the entire investigation and law system is done) or should we write an article on the event and update it. And as we clearly can see: there is a) an interest from Wikipedia users and editors at keeping it the way it is and b) there are enough editors editing it, so the information is from reliable sources and updated very quickly. The "current event" at the head of the article is pointing out, that information can quickly change. The product is actually quite good. Of course we could wait - but that would make Wikipedia less useful (who cares about the event in 5 years from now!?) and the articles would get worse, because less users would edit them.--Albin Schmitt (talk) 14:58, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  11. First choice, lets work on the fine things first before going into major changes. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 14:59, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  12. First choice. We're never going to get this perfect, when an event is fresh knowing whether it will get persistent coverage over time, etc., is a matter of judgment. On the whole, I think we do okay, I see as many things that appear errors of inclusion as errors of exclusion. --joe deckertalk 15:08, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  13. You're clearly forum shopping, looking for a result that will justify your predetermined solution. No evidence that the policy is a problem other than a few disgruntled editors who won't WP:DROPTHESTICK. Wikinews is dead, editors and readers come here for encyclopedic looks at current topics. They have already spoken loud and clear and have been doing so for years. Gamaliel (talk) 15:17, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  14. I've been working around current events on Wikipedia for 10+ years. During that entire time there have always been people who think we spend too much time covering the news, and there have also been people who think we should do more to cover the news. Personally, I think we get the balance about right most of the time. If I had to choose in the moment, I would probably err on the side of more news articles rather than less. We can always go back and clean-up / delete the less significant news stories later. However, in general, producing a lasting encyclopedic summary out of major breaking news is one of the things we are actually quite good at. This should be encouraged, and for the most part I think it has been. Dragons flight (talk) 15:19, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  15. Disagree with the way this poll has been presented and hope it will not be used as any form of consensus. I don't think a problem has been properly framed – to base it on Wikinews being a "key factor" seems completely out of step with what most Wikipedians do with current events. Wikinews is irrelevant, hasn't been a factor and shouldn't be a factor. As User:Gamaliel alluded to, I cannot avoid thinking that this being the third massive discussion about this (one, two, and this) in as many months is counterproductive and asking the same question over and over again in hopes of getting a different answer. Instead, I'll assume good faith. But I must say this is quite taxing while not really moving the conversation forward. -- Fuzheado | Talk 18:45, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  16. I agree that this appears to be forum-shopping, with essentially the same issues raised with slightly altered language. Even before this is over an effort is being made to generate "observations" i.e., consensus on specific points. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 18:54, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  17. Seems fine; what should happen is not the creation of new rules, but rather than enforcement of our current ones. And I agree with other editors who say that this "straw poll" was not properly presented. Neutralitytalk 12:28, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  18. I don't see any problem with the current balance; some people are quick to create articles, other people are quick to nominate them for deletion, and there is senseless and futile knee-jerk reaction on both sides, which tends to settle over time into more reasonable results. We'd also need a demonstrated consensus to change anything anyway; we can't just legislate from on high to target the articles we want deleted at AFD. postdlf (talk) 15:10, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  19. First choice Gandydancer (talk) 15:25, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  20. Seems to be working about right the way it is. Some people abuse the guideline to try to get rid of stuff they don't like, but regardless of what happens everything sorts itself out in the end through discussion and becomes obvious with (or without) WP:SUSTAINED coverage. Truly notable subjects will continue to get coverage, and those that are only covered for a short time will get deleted eventually. People on both sides need to realize that there is WP:NORUSH. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 13:14, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
  21. Sure, support aswell. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:27, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  22. Theb alance seems to be working well--as judged by the trend decisions at AfD, there is general agreement on the boundaries, tho sometimes sharp disagreement in specific cases. No change in rules will eliminate that sort of disagreement. DGG ( talk ) 16:49, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  23. Our status quo agreement per RS is the way to go. No need to restrict any further. --QEDK () 19:30, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  24. Second choice. --Shrike (talk) 10:29, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  25. First Choice The current consensus is adequate with borderline cases being decided at AFD, there is no need for instruction creep Atlantic306 (talk) 20:24, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  26. First Choice - Looks good to me, borderline cases are taken to AfD. The process works, imperfectly, but it works as it is today. XavierItzm (talk) 11:25, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
  27. Working fine as is, except in the case of those who interpret it strictly and act like we have no news on Wikipedia or should have no news on Wikipedia. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:51, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

Option 2: WP:NOT#NEWS should be more strongly enforced

Or: should have significantly less coverage of current events

  1. We definitely need to be stricter. Blueboar (talk) 20:11, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  2. Per the fact that WP:TRUMPSCANDALAFD is pretty much standard these days and it can go any way you want. A lot of the keep or no consensus AfDs eventually end up deleted the second go round or merged. Creating clearer standards than the GNG for current events is important, and NOTNEWS is the obvious first place to start with clarifying what is and isn't acceptable to include in Wikipedia immediately. Also, per my comments below, the biggest issue with not enforcing NOTNEWS is that we spend an inordinate amount of time having to deal with enforcing BLP policy amidst shouting and screaming that because something is so notable it must not be covered by BLP policy. This could be avoided both for the good of the encyclopedia and for the subjects of the articles if we encforced NOTNEWS more strongly. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:17, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  3. and this should include daily and weekly updates of sports tallies, film takings and so on. Here we are just acting as a mirror site riding on the websites that specialize in those types of information. Concurrently the main page "in the news" section should be scrapped, it's like a pile of last week's newspapers: Noyster (talk), 23:00, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  4. I think we could strengthen and clarify these guidelines a bit. Kaldari (talk) 00:09, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  5. NOTNEWS needs to be stricter. I don't like inclusionists claiming that a piece of Trumpcruft deserves to be included because it has a couple reliable sources. KMF (talk) 00:50, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  6. I would support allowing for an inter-wiki redirect for these topics, to aid in enforcement. Hurricane Harvey was obviously notable as it was happening, but even there it would be better to have people do live updates of that page on Wikinews. With SUL there's no editor burden to editing on a different Wiki domain. power~enwiki (π, ν) 01:07, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    Wikinews is largely a failed project that doesn't really report on any of the major news events that we are discussing here. Just pointing that out as an example of why the interwiki links wouldn't likely work. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:51, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    I'm not familiar with the details of why it failed, but I'm aware that it's mostly dead. Pointing editors from en.wikipedia to it (for certain topics) would need to be part of a plan to revive it. power~enwiki (π, ν) 02:46, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
From my experiences on WikiNews, there were not enough reviewers and a very short deadline (3 day) to have a review. With no review or updated/additional info, the potential article is deleted. This would even occur when the article would indicate a future event when additional information or action would be taken and was noted by said editor (me). This would frustrate writers as most of their work would be deleted. Spshu (talk) 16:55, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  1. Above points taken on Wikinews and the inanity of repeated "current event" AfDs. I don't know what good additional "rules" will do here, but I do think it would be smart to funnel/interwiki our less encyclopedic topics into Wikinews articles, or at least reach out to the English Wikinews editors to see how the content may be transferred fruitfully. (Has anyone reached out?) On the other end of the predicament, I think better enforcement of summary style for new topics makes for better encyclopedic coverage. Standalone topics tend to collect all kinds of overly specific detail and tone unfit for a general audience. czar 03:05, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  2. As per Tony. While I agree with the Option 1 comments that stronger enforcement of WP:NOTNEWS as a whole in the moment isn't realistic and at times can be counterproductive, there are certain aspects of it (for example WP:BLP as Tony says) which are IMO incredibly important. And although more bureaucracy is really not the best way to deal with anything, I think that it could be useful to have some sort of review of current events articles a certain amount of time after creation to determine if it meets the notability criteria that can't be determined while it's still in the normal news cycle (WP:SUSTAINED, for example). The ideal solution would be for people to wait before creating articles instead of having them nominated for deletion immediately and then having those discussions closed with a "wait and see" type result, but that really isn't going to happen. ansh666 08:57, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  3. For reasons of notability and BLP. Fram (talk) 12:06, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  4. And this can be enforced as soon as admins discount the "wait and see" tactics inclusionists employ at AfD. This has become the most popular rationale to keep an article when it fails the actual substance of WP:EVENTCRIT. Or discredit the "easily passes GNG" votes which is not the case on a news event. Another thing we need consensus for is converting WP:RAPID to an essay; it contradicts itself and has no basis on notability yet inclusionists use it as a safeguard for deletion.TheGracefulSlick (talk) 16:56, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  5. My idea for stronger enforcement would perhaps involve changes to policy for a, presumed, "immediate" forced merger to existing articles of breaking news, say to last for at least a week or two - perhaps with a breaking news merger noticeboard and project, and a simultaneous allowing of a "draft" article that is indexed. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:50, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  6. Wikipedia has stupidly encouraged the hoi polloi to reflexively come here to post their own truth, aided and abetted by the overenthusiastic among us who seek to write about every current event. Not only do many of these creations fail notability criteria, we give their subjects short shrift by parroting the contemporaneous screed from mere journalists. Chris Troutman (talk) 00:58, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  7. News coverage of current events is and should be treated as primary sources. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. While we err on the side of more coverage by allowing some articles to rely mostly on primary sources, events that are entirely and solely sourceable to news media should not be covered by Wikipedia. This is why we made Wikinews. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 02:00, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  8. Per Mendaliv and other above. Whether Wikinews is functioning or not, it doesn't change the fact that we're an encyclopedia, not a news outlet. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:12, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  9. Too many people think if it was in the papers it must be notable. Many things are in the papers becasue they are interesting and satify people's thirst for something to engage their interest - which sells papers - but they are not notable in the scheme of things. The internet has made all this information so much more readily available but run-of-the-mill events have been happening for millenia. One only needs compare the ratio of recent events recorded here to the similar events that happened 30, 50 or 100 years ago. This encyclopedia is fast becoming the Readers Digest version of online newspapers. ClubOranjeT 19:40, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
  10. I am not sure we can actually enforce NOTNEWS anymore, as people have become used to Wikipedia being pretty good (and a lot better than Wikinews) at covering current events. However, I think we should at least try. As a first step, maybe we can replace the "In the news" section of the Main Page by a link to Wikinews? —Kusma (t·c) 21:26, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
    @Kusma: For what it's worth, that has been proposed before and shot down because of inactivity at en.wn. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 22:22, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
    @Koavf: I think our ITN section is one of the things that cause inactivity at Wikinews. —Kusma (t·c) 08:56, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  11. We should be stricter with this, especially given the recent influx of political articles being created preemptively. Jdcomix (talk) 17:16, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  12. I think the basic problem here is that Wikipedia operates on an idiosyncratic definition of secondary sources that includes news reports. Everybody outside Wikipedia regards news reports as primary sources, so we should do the same, and follow our basic principle of basing articles on genuine secondary sources, which can include some content published in newspapers, such as profiles and background articles that look at events over a long term, but not contemporaneous news reports. (talk) 19:48, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
    1. I agree with 86.17 on the "secondary source problem": WP:Secondary does not mean independent. However, I think it's a bit more complicated than that. WP:PRIMARYNEWS covers some of the differences between a primary news source (e.g., eyewitness news reports) and a secondary source that is published in a newspaper (e.g., news analysis). WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:16, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  13. Per User:Noyster (great reasoning)....but trying to enforce that would be daunting....endless editwars and RfC's. --Moxy (talk) 19:58, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  14. I agree with several of the points in the comments above, ultimately boiling down to "I support the existence of WP:NOTNEWS for the reasons we have it in the first place." In the interest of thinking about enforcement strategies, I'll say again that this seems like a perfect use of the draftspace. See, although Wikinews hasn't done so well, Wikipedia does sometimes cover news well (that doesn't mean we should be doing so, of course -- I'll bet we could do lots of the things from WP:NOT well). Because many of the subjects do turn out to be notable, I see no reason why we shouldn't use the draft space to capitalize on short-term interest for the benefit of the long-term article. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 02:02, 30 September 2017 (UTC)
    That's an interesting observation about draft space. My experience of it has been that it is used as an excuse to delete articles about topics that don't qualify for deletion under policy and that should be developed in main space where they are visible to potential editors, as has always been a central part of the wiki process, but this seems like a valid use of that space. (talk) 09:52, 30 September 2017 (UTC)
  15. To abandon or weaken NOTNEWS is a counsel of despair IMO. I hope to have time to leave a longer post over the next few days, but believe we should clarify (to ourselves at least), that we are notnews for good reasons. These include that we undertake a longer-term responsibility to the subject, to give the more complete and rounded picture than that revealed in yesterday's headlines. I agree that it would be nearly impossible to put a 'full embarge' on news articles, and many of the 'big event' ones are well-written and accurate surprisingly quickly. However, IMO, it is a simple mathematical inevitability that the more we become simply a 'news archive', the less we will have any encyc. character or purpose. Pincrete (talk) 11:22, 1 October 2017 (UTC) … … ps I endorse the "is fast becoming the Readers Digest version of online newspapers" comment above, I wish I'd thought of the analogy! Pincrete (talk) 11:28, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  16. Stricter. I agree with Pincrete. BLP is a major issue, as are the seismic changes (hm, is that hyperbole) in not just American but other countries' resulting in a large number of new articles, as mentioned above, and new editors with no knowledge of our guidelines and often SPAs. Doug Weller talk 14:02, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  17. Same fix I've proposed before, which is a policy WP:Criteria for Speedy Incubation which is like WP:CSD.  A new criteria allows a breaking news article to be moved to draftspace, with the mainspace title being salted for 7 to 14 days.  An AfD in progress gets procedurally closed WP:NPASR.  The problem I'm seeing is that AfDs are spinning their wheels analyzing notability with a moving target.  As I posted yesterday at DRV, the problem pushes forward to other forums when decisions are made based on moving-target notability.  Unscintillating (talk) 20:24, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  18. Stricter. I'm glad to see this straw poll because I've often wondered about WP:NOTNEWS myself. While Wikpedia is fast becoming a gutter press, some of the more serious news items also belong on Wikinews. I don't know how we can achieve this. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:32, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  19. Stricter. There is far too much insertion of trivial news events, commentary about our subjects and lengthy quotations. It gets in the way of knowledge. I am developing a solution. Join me. - Shiftchange (talk) 00:55, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  20. Stricter. Too many articles are being created which have a splash in the news with no lasting notability. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 14:57, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  21. Agreed. Creating lasting enyclopedic articles with proven information backed by references in solid reliable sources is something the wiki system does (perhaps suprisingly) very well. Mimicking the National Inquirer and TMZ, not so much. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 17:13, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
    • And the WSJ, NYT, Washington Post, NPR aren't solid reliable sources? Using them to cover fairly recent events would be an issue because we'd be like TMZ? I'm not quite getting your point here. Hobit (talk) 11:24, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
  22. Definitely. And in particular the insistence on lasting interest in a subject is widely disregarded. Mangoe (talk) 22:04, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  23. There is definitely a problem of people with WP:RECENTISM forgetting that we want encyclopedic knowledge, not blow-by-blows of unfolding events simply because they are sourced. That can range in the short term of a few hours or events happening over a day or two. Sometimes, an event is going to take a longer time to determine whether it's truly a significant event or not. Lawsuits are a good example of the latter where they came take time, sometimes years, but you get people pushing to things like ambulance chasing suits to articles because a newspaper reported that someone got sued (as opposed to the court decision that establishes the encyclopedic value). I'm not sure how we can stress that Wikipedia takes the long view even more though. Kingofaces43 (talk) 22:25, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  24. I am mostly in sympathy with this view. Many articles about recent events are simply summarized news reports, often contemporaneous to the event, with little or no long-term view. It's basically a news feed. On the other hand, at the beginning stages, a summary of the various news reports is the only thing known about the topic, and many people come to Wikipedia to get a decent overview. It's something Wikipedia does passably well, though there are many distortions involved. My instinct is that Wikipedia should not be summarizing news; that's not its job, and BLP issues also frequently arise. Kingsindian   02:12, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  25. Example: Every time someone who works for Big Company A tweets a stupid thing and gets fired, people run screaming to Big Company A's article to tack it on or to create a "Controversies" section. Wp:NotNews needs to be beefed up to be a bulwark against the headline-of-the-moment news cycle. TheValeyard (talk) 04:08, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  26. Stricter. As I often try to parse bias, as opposed to going into edit wars, the "value" of perceived editors over recent events ends up in clear bias and conflated news items, with loooooong talk pages of arguing what is notable or noteworthy, when in reality, if they waited an hour, they'd get confirmation or an RS. I just supported an AfD for "reactions" for the Vegas shooting, because it was full of "my prayers and sympathies"... from Mariah Carey, for example. Just as I support removing conjecture on weapons used, etc., if Wiki is to read like an Encyclopedia, then something that has hard fact that will be released in the coming days or even hours, including wild speculation from people not on the scene is actually the currently supported way to do it on the 2017 Las Vegas Strip shooting. In fact, the name of the page itself is a bit wonky, because it wasn't on the strip and didn't target the strip. (And actually was performed within confines known as the South Strip, which makes a bit of a difference geographically.) As an encyclopedic entry, it would be named something like Jason Aldean Concert Shooting or Route 91 Harvest Music Festival Shooting. Alas, someone had to rush it to Wiki and rush to slam in a bunch of conjecture and unrelated facts. Trying to bring sanity to edit wars when that happens is nigh impossible. Avoiding the mess in the first place would be ideal. Seola (talk) 05:36, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
    I should also add, like others mention, when an event may or may not be notable waxes and wanes. There are a great many stub pages of events that no one can remember and no one looks for. I come across them and try to clean them or if I can't, I nom for AfD. And invariably, some random editor comes by and insists that nothing on Wiki should ever be removed because it was justified "at the time". There is just too many of these junk articles as it is. Putting up stricter guidelines would avoid errant words, phrases or sentences that also often happen when edit wars are going on, especially when vandalism is missed, because so many edits are happening at once.Seola (talk) 05:40, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  27. Wikipedia's structure makes it far too easy for any user to create an article about the latest minor controversy, meme, or viral incident without meeting criteria or consensus that the page should exist, while far too hard to remove an article that shouldn't be here. The proliferation of news sites that piggyback on each other's work without independently providing notability undermines the GNG and in turn the project as ephemeral topics all have their own low-quality articles. We should also encourage more summarizing into main or related articles, rather than permitting subarticles to be made for so many little things. (See also: also the awful "International reaction to..." quotefarm articles). Reywas92Talk 06:22, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  28. Realised I hadn't actually !voted. Per my comments elsewhere and below regarding current news coverage. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:12, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
  29. It should be more strongly enforced, but in an even-handed manner that treats similar situations similarly, rather than in an ad hoc or partisan manner. I’d suggest that we more strongly discourage material about recent news that relies on primary sources, including newspaper opinion pieces and blog posts that have not been deemed worthy of mention in reliable secondary sources. We could also discourage material about recent news that names people who are expected to remain non-public figures. If we carve out particular areas like this for special treatment, then we can make good progress toward enforcing NotNews in a way that isn’t apt to change e.g. when the political shoe is on the other foot. Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:35, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
  30. An encyclopedia does not need any of the transiently popular "stories". Rentier (talk) 23:58, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
  31. As as been said, we want to report the controversy, not to be art of it. One of the main issues are probably a nees to clarify notability (say a election result is immediatelly notable, some fact about the latest shooting may be or not - and we should play on the safe side). That WikiNews is not active (or not) is not a reason to have news(ish) articles here. If we have no "news" here, probably WikiNews would work better - better connection / linking to and from may benefit all: editors and readers of both tendencies. "Sell" it as "the wikipedia of recent events", link to it for day-to-day timelines, and so on. - Nabla (talk) 18:27, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  32. Only choice. This also works to counter systemic bias in favour of northern hemisphere, western news. Stifle (talk) 15:56, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  33. Absolutely. Recent news articles are too often irreparable messes created with the presumption that an AP/Reuters report parroted by half a dozen news portals constitutes eternal notability, and hijacked by editors with a chip on their shoulder who edit war until the subject (doomed to "no consensus" on AfD) falls into oblivion a few months later. I think Wikipedia would do better without the product of such labour. DaßWölf 18:25, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  34. Both as to inclusion of "passing stuff" and misuse of WP as a "live feed", e.g. of questionable and basically OR sports scores, casualty tolls, etc. which we don't know are confirmed until some time has passed. As just one example, a snooker ranking tournament article was recently updated over 300 times in the space of a day or two, to provide live coverage of game results. This is not what WP is for, and there are snooker news sites that are for this. We need not have any results tables at all until the event is over and RS confirm the results. "I was there" isn't a source, and "I saw the win on a televised match" isn't a reliable one. I'm not picking on snooker coverage in particular, I just saw it yesterday. The problem is likely much worse for things like football/soccer.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  01:13, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
    The problem isn't usually so bad with sports, because the running commentary is usually factual. but, more seriously, we get similar running news added to Wikipedia about news events that may or may not be terrorism based on primary news reports. We had an article created recently that was edited by loads of people about a road traffic accident in Exhibition Road, London, because the initial reports speculated that it might be terrorist-related, although it turned out pretty quickly that it was not. Why can't we just do our job as an encyclopedia and wait for secondary sources to appear before rushing to create an article based on editors' own interpretation of primary sources? (talk) 16:32, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
    Um, that's exactly what I'm suggesting.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  15:07, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  35. The problem with such intensive coverage of the news of the day is that you end up with lots of abandoned articles about stories that are forgotten fifteen minutes after they occur. What Wikinews is or is not doing isn't really relevant to a discussion about what is happening here on Wikipedia though. Lankiveil (speak to me) 00:27, 24 October 2017 (UTC).
  36. For several reasons. (1) Articles in news sources are typically primary sources, because they are part of the context in which an event occurs, and just as we follow medicine's definition of primary sourcing when writing about medical topics (WP:MEDRS), we need to follow history's definition of primary sourcing when writing about history, which includes events. Exceptions occur, as a news story may mix primary and secondary coverage of different events, e.g. it talks about an ongoing event and discusses the context in which the event started 100 years ago, or a news source may provide purely secondary coverage, e.g. it only discusses the context in which that event started. Let's ensure that only secondary sources are used, except in the less common situations in which WP:PRIMARY permits primary-source usage. (2) How often is a news editor or a reporter a topic specialist? He's a specialist in good writing or so we wish..., in selecting what subscribers and newsstand-purchasers will want to buy, and in condensing the story down to what will fit on the page, but in nearly all cases, your news editor and your reporter have average knowledge about the topics in which they're writing. See WP:RSBREAKING, which {{Recent news}} links — we're admitting that news coverage is often wrong, so why do we permit it? (3) Finally, an encyclopedia reports what's covered in secondary sources. In most cases, you can't predict that something showing up in a newspaper will be covered in secondary sources that won't be published until months or years in the future. Yes, there are exceptions, e.g. a news report saying that this candidate won 1,234,567 votes, while his competitor won 1,000,481 votes, but unless you can show that exactly this kind of thing has been covered in the past, you're making a statement that secondary sources will cover a topic, and no reliable, published sources exist to support this allegation, to paraphrase the intro to WP:OR. This is particularly a problem with political stuff — how can you be certain that future political historians will care about the latest mini-scandal? Nyttend backup (talk) 21:09, 25 October 2017 (UTC)
  37. Trying to keep current events and news is a waste of valuable time, there is always something to do on Kanarya08 (talk) 08:50, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  38. Absolutely - much of today's published news combines publisher/journalist POV, propaganda, and a splattering of facts buried under allegations in order to create the level of sensationalism needed in the highly competitive bait/click news environment. While printed news has pretty much become obsolete, publishers still need to "sell papers". Look at it from the POV of a hungry journalist and publishing execs who need to generate revenue in a highly competitive market. On the other hand, WP's growth has been the result of adherence to our 5 pillars not the bait/click sensationalism used by news sources to attract readers. The importance of maintaining NPOV and factual accuracy cannot be overemphasized. Atsme📞📧 12:26, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  39. Yes, I think there is way too much rushing to see who can be first to sloppily report something that could be covered better with the passage of time. On the other hand, I don't see a way that we could really enforce this, because so much will depend upon local consensus for each case. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:47, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  40. Trying to police news-like articles will be impossible should wikipedia embrace news-like articles. A trip to WP:AFC shows that POV-Pushing is a massive problem as-is. If Wikinews is dead, revive it. RfCs have previously operated on a principle of "Wikinews is dead", so why not change that? If there's truly interest of news in a Wiki-like environment, then go to wikinews, for god's sake, instead of opening the door for POV-pushers. ProgrammingGeek talktome 15:43, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
  41. Of the options here, I suppose this comes closest to my own view — but what I mean, in part, is that we should have clearer guidelines and not merely tighter ones. It's undeniably true that some breaking news events do turn into good articles about important events of enduring notability through the collaborative editing process — but it's also undeniably true that some people seem to think every individual bit of flotsam or covfefe that turns up in any media at all always merits its own standalone article. For instance, there is currently 2017 Ottawa Storm, a wholly unremarkable thunderstorm with entirely run of the mill effects whose coverage didn't even extend into the next day, let alone the next year — thankfully it's up for deletion, and I see no prospect of it surviving that, but I'd still prefer that nobody had ever thought it would warrant an article in the first place. There are obviously certain news stories that are almost always going to be valid and enduring article topics that pass the ten-year test (remember, 9/11 was once a "breaking news" story), and certain news stories that are virtually never going to be valid or enduring article topics that pass the ten-year test (we do not need an article about every house fire or every murder or every thunderstorm that happens anywhere at all). But perhaps we could stand to be a little clearer about how to apply some actual discernment to which side of that line any given news story falls on, because it's particularly easy to make the wrong call on a news story in the initial rush of "this just happened" coverage. Bearcat (talk) 19:38, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  42. I support stricter, especially in cases where scholarly sources and news sources conflict, and the scholarly sources are considerably more detailed in their analysis. There are also numerous criticisms of news sources relying on unnamed, anonymous sources. Further, there is a tendency to selectively cherry pick quotes from articles, and when used this way they are basically WP:PRIMARY in support of WP:OR. These issues are all already implicitly addressed by our policies, but stating it more explicitly may help. Seraphim System (talk) 20:00, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  43. Second choice, given that each is met:
    • Generally, WP:NOTNEWS-violating articles should always be taken to AFD instead of CSD; as a controversial issue this should be beyond debate.
    • GNG should be assumed until the fact that the article indeed consists of primary sources is proven.
    • Lastly, the quorum is expanded dramatically to allow further opinions.
    ToThAc (talk) 18:29, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  44. As, I once indicate on Meta as to deal with link rot/citation issues by using [1]. With WikiNews articles could be used as sources (as they have to be reviewed/verified) and enforcing NOTNEWS here with a way to move articles to WikiNews should cause an upsurge in writers (and hopefully reviewers) at WikiNews and as WP's rotlink solution. Spshu (talk) 16:55, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Option 3: WP:NOT#NEWS should be less strongly enforced

Or: should have more expanded coverage of current events

  1. Weak support here - I dislike the current push against current events, but I don't think that we should fully become like a newspaper (i.e. we should take into account the lower reliability of reporting on current events and require more sources than usual to pass notability for current events). RileyBugz会話投稿記録 18:24, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  2. It'll be what it's going to be, and if that doesn't align with NOTNEWS, get rid of it. Beyond My Ken (talk) 21:34, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  3. Support. The problem with "NOT#News" is that a) it is a badly written policy, like all of WP:NOT, because it is all written as part of a list of negative things rather than as a direct statement of policy, and b) none of its "enforcement" (i.e. taking out articles about things because you dislike them politically, which is what that means in practice) has anything to do with what it says. Conversely, when you see a blindingly obvious violation of the text as written -- like the list of current watches and warnings in Hurricane Maria, temporary content that is being taken out the moment it expires, complete with a special disclaimer at the top of the article -- nobody seems to give a damn. I say if you have a dog that can't hunt and can't point and can't fetch but it can sink its teeth into every car tire, neighbor and postman that goes past, it's time to think about getting rid of the dog. Wnt (talk) 11:54, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  4. Second choice. The problem with WP:NOTNEWS is that it is over-used by people who think it means "If it is reported by newspapers somewhere, it is AUTOMATICALLY not appropriate for Wikipedia." which is fantastic over-reach. News coverage does not disqualify or invalidate Wikipedia content, and yet I would (unscientifically estimate) that WP:NOTNEWS is envoked more than half of the time as a deletion rationale rather than as style guidance. --Jayron32 14:06, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  5. I guess this is my second choice too, thank you Jayron32 for reminding me of that option. I agree with Jayron32 that NOTNEWS is overused, and if any changes are necessary they should be in that direction. Coretheapple (talk) 14:35, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  6. Second choice per Jayron32 and Coretheapple. NOTNEWS should work as it is, but it often doesn't. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 20:58, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  7. Second choice. The problem with WP:NOTNEWS is that it is over-used by people who think it means "If it is reported by newspapers somewhere, it is AUTOMATICALLY not appropriate for Wikipedia." To this I want to add that our readers expect certain kinds of news stories to appear on Wikipedia, and that is no bad thing, not least because it has long seemed to me that the urge to add a bit of information to a breaking news story - or even to start an article on a news event, seems ot sometimes be an entry point for new editors. Of course, more editors would be the best solution to this and many problems and the nasty aggression on exhibit seems to drive editors away. I think one solution is for editors to hold off bringing articles to AfD on NOTNEWS rationals for about 3 months, a waiting period would reduce the Sturm und Drang factor.E.M.Gregory (talk) 21:02, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  8. Support—Current events are a way to capture editing energy and to rapidly compare developing information. It's one of Wikipedia's unique contributions to global knowledge, based on the fact that it's the only near-real-time encyclopedia. There should be strong enforcement of standards (BLP, V) on current events stories, but patient evaluation of notability for borderline cases. The quick but byzantine disputes over notability during a highly charged time pose emotionally charged questions that new editors are not ready for: are these atrocity victims significant? will that protest affect the course of the state? We're better served having editors focus on sourcing and information gathering than on debating these questions. And we're better off having started articles of borderline permanent notability (e.g., this article on Egyptian protests by midnight of 25 January 2011) Then, after a short-term time window (7 or 14 days, perhaps), evaluate notability and keep, delete (if of poor quality), or export to Wikinews (if not notable).--Carwil (talk) 18:52, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
  9. Weak support. The problem with WP:NOTNEWS enforcement right now is that it often causes highly-trafficked articles to be nominated at AfD, with editors spending their efforts arguing for or against deletion instead of trying to improve content viewed by many people. This reflects badly on Wikipedia, and visitors may also perceive Wikipedia to be heartless when they see a large rectangle on top of an article about a significant news event that may or may not be notable. It can be argued that this may be a good opportunity to introduce casual visitors to the world of Wikipedia, but emotionally charged discussions about whether a news topic is WP:N notable or not, often before there is enough time for long-term coverage to be developed, is not an image we want to present to prospective editors. Whether that means NOTNEWS needs to be changed is debatable, but it is best to benefit the most readers efficiently, and ugly AfD discussions right in the face of readers aren't going to accomplish that. feminist 14:51, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  10. Support, with Option 1 as a close second choice. (I notice that the introduction includes "This might include outright removal of NOT#NEWS" as part of option 3 – I would strongly oppose that; what I'm agreeing with is "expanding our current event coverage".) Anything which receives significant coverage should be included in Wikipedia. Readers are not everything, but I think the deletion of reliably sourced content receiving high traffic is a shame when it occurs. Obviously volunteers are allowed to direct their energy anywhere they want, but I think it is suboptimal when we waste time on long AfD discussions instead of improving the article, or large efforts deleting things rather than creating them (in the specific case of well-sourced articles on recent news stories). Per the eloquent arguments of RileyBugz, Carwil, Coretheapple and feminist. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 20:14, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  11. Support per Bilorv; similarly, Option 1 is fine as well, but there's no need to outright remove NOT#NEWS. I think a good metric for news stories - as hinted at by The Rambling Man - is "will this be interesting in 10 years time, or even 100 years time." But... actually quite a bit of seemingly transient news IS relevant, and will still matter 100 years later. There've been plenty of AfDs on content that, if it had happened in 1927, would still be a fascinating slice of life of the times - maybe even just that this was considered relevant, even if it blew over eventually. (Like... if 1927 KLM Fokker F.VIII crash was as well-built up and sourced as 2006 New York City plane crash (which was AfD'd on NOTNEWS grounds), that'd be great! SnowFire (talk) 09:26, 30 September 2017 (UTC)
  12. Support WP:NOTNEWS should be removed per WP:CREEP and WP:NOTLAW. It is obviously our policy and practice to cover items in the news, including breaking news. The way in which we do this is best covered by other, existing guidelines such as WP:UNDUE, WP:N, WP:OR, WP:SUMMARY which address the issues more clearly. Andrew D. (talk) 12:56, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  13. Support per Andrew Davidson. Current events is a significant aspect of Wikipedia's mission, as recognized by the "in the news" section of the main page. Those who wish to turn this into the Britannica are blind to the realities of the way the project works. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 15:19, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  14. Full Support.--Albin Schmitt (talk) 14:59, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  15. Support IMO Wikipedia provides an enormous public service by covering news, even (or especially) hot breaking news like Las Vegas Strip shooting. We have not historically had a problem with people putting unconfirmed or incorrect information in such articles; they are usually carefully monitored and vetted by experienced editors. My own experience is that a Wikipedia article about a current event is usually more accurate than any single news report. I'm not saying to abolish NOTNEWS - we don't and shouldn't cover everything as soon as it hits the press - but we should recognize that sometimes it is our duty to our readers to cover this kind of information in a timely fashion. --MelanieN (talk) 23:02, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  16. Support WP:NOTNEWS is generally employed to give teeth to WP:IDONTLIKEIT. The best time to find reliable sources is before link rot sets in. I have found that many articles nominated for deletion under WP:NOTNEWS still have appreciable traffic ten years later. Leaning towards supporting Andrew D.'s suggestion of abolishing WP:NOTNEWS entirely; but it certainly should be added to WP:AADP Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:17, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  17. Support Agree with MelanieN that breaking news articles are closely monitored and poor-quality content is quickly removed. Our community does a remarkable job of sorting out verifiable facts as they become available and quickly building a high-quality article. We're not running out of space, so I don't see a reason to delete articles simply because they are old news. –dlthewave 23:00, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  18. Support If it is reliably sourced, there is no reason why we should not have an article. Verifiability concerns I can respect, some news stories are covered in a way that are guaranteed to give a distorted picture of the subject and thus leave an article that can never be accurate (e.g. BLP1E type), but for many events this is not the case. As to 'will this be important in 10 years?', who cares? If you don't want to write articles on things of no lasting importance, you don't have to --but if I want to, let me. Antrocent (♫♬) 04:24, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
  19. Support as first choice – Verifiability is the reason we have notability standards. It is very easy to verify information on news items, as there is heaps of news articles about them. I do agree though, that articles made extremely quickly after a news break, articles every time Trump says something, and news reports should still be permitted as part of WP:NOTNEWS. J947( c ) (m) 21:59, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  20. Support NOTNEWS is redundant with WP:N. Smooth alligator (talk) 19:57, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  21. Support Used as an excuse not to cover current events. People expect us to cover current events and we do a generally okay job at that. Of course we do not break stories but that does not mean we should not summarize notable stories. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:26, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  22. Support NOTNEWS as currently implemented is detrimental to Wikipedia's mission. It is fine as written, but people act like it should overrule GNG when it comes to covering events. The best use of NOTNEWS is to balance against article notability for routine coverage of local events and against the recentism of giving undue coverage to minor events in news cycles as well as regulating Wikipedia's tone. I largely agree with Hawkeye7, and would like to add that its invocation is often about proving a point rather than supporting free knowledge. Winner 42 Talk to me! 15:29, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  23. Kind of I think we mostly hit the right place, but there are too many people making arguments that newspapers are primary sources or NOTNEWS means we shouldn't cover much of anything recent. I've seen more and more of that recently. So mostly "we are in a good place" but also "I'm worried we are pushing towards too strong of a NOTNEWS world". Hobit (talk) 04:26, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
    Can you identify any source outside Wikipedia that does not regard news reports as primary sources? Any introductory book about history aimed at high school or undergraduate students explains that they are pretty much the definition of primary sources. (talk) 16:38, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
    Secondary sources describe, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate, summarize, and process primary sources. Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that discuss or evaluate someone else's original research. An interview is a great example of a primary source. An article that summarizes a number of interviews and court documents is a clear secondary source. Hobit (talk) 22:26, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
  24. First choice In my opinion events that discussed widely in world media is worthy to include in Encyclopedia. --Shrike (talk) 08:12, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
  25. Second choice provided there is coverage in multiple secondary sources such as newspaper analysis rather tnan basic primary reporting Atlantic306 (talk) 20:27, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  26. First choice as there are already remedies in place for dealing with these kinds of articles, and bringing up issues about POV-pushing likely comes in violation of WP:SUSCEPTIBLE. Also, I never thought Wikinews was a good concept after briefly looking at it, and never will. ToThAc (talk) 19:50, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
  27. Should be less strictly enforced or rewritten to be even clearer since we have so many editors who misuse the policy. Makes no sense to try to act like Wikipedia shouldn't cover news. Wikipedia is not a traditional encyclopedia and never will be. I mean, good luck trying to keep articles like 2017 Las Vegas Strip shooting and Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations off Wikipedia. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:57, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  28. Weak support. I think we should allow for creation of more current events, but clean them up a few months after the event has lapsed and we can assess lasting notability better.Icewhiz (talk) 00:10, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  29. The current approach to "newsworthiness" is broken. We get into too many pointless arguments over at WP:ITN/C for example, over what should be included, and it ends up based on editor's personal preferences, with a cite to WP:NOT#NEWS, rather than a reasoned argument based on reliable sources. Whereas in fact readers should come first. If Donald Trump is being inaugurated on a particular day, and all the newspapers worldwide are covering that with full page splashes, then it should be in our ITN section. That shouldn't even be a debate. We're not a news ticker, but we're also not the judges of the world's values.  — Amakuru (talk) 17:26, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  30. If a current event is clearly notable, getting a "first draft" done while people are actually interested is important. OF COURSE, articles should pass WP:N. But in many cases, they clearly do and NOTNEWS is used to shut down articles that people don't like, not as a as an actual concern. We should WANT Wikipedia to be up to date and current.Casprings (talk) 21:15, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Threaded discussion on NOT#NEWS

On NOTNEWS, I think that the main issue that people have with it is the notability of recent events. I think that we all agree that Wikipedia should not be written in a news style. But, we don't agree whether recent events should ever have a chance of being notable (until a week or so after) or whether we should just increase the number of sources needed for notability. RileyBugz会話投稿記録 18:32, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

No, notability is not the main issue. The main issue is that current events are magnets for BLP violations: even if they are notable they are also normally UNDUE and all sorts of other BLP issues, plus a massive suck on the community's time in making sure that BLP is enforced on a highly visible page and figuring out what to do with the content. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:20, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't necessarily eliminate notability from this. Inappropriate assessment of notability based on volume of news sources can lead to a too-narrowly defined article on a news topic that does happen to be the subject of much recent news, but where the potential for BLP violations (among other issues) may and has arisen in the past. (eg Dismissal of James Comey to me is indicative of what's been happening here). --MASEM (t) 20:28, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I agree notability is one factor here. It is not the primary danger in my mind, though. The encyclopedia is not harmed by keeping a non-notable event around for a few months before it gets sent to AfD again and merged or deleted. The encyclopedia and real people are harmed when we can't make up our mind on BLP issues and problematic statements under BLP policy keep getting inserted or we have articles created like the first Pissgate article (which was deleted. I'm also not sure if we should even have that redirect, but thats another matter). I think we need to acknowledge that there are several factors in play here, notability being one of them, but it is not the factor that has the potential to do the most damage. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:33, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Agreed on all points. --MASEM (t) 20:40, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
I see two problems: first, we act as if we were in competition with other sources, so there is something of a "scoop" mentality about getting the story in quickly even if it is wrong. That isn't historically how encyclopedias functioned, and I would almost suggest that we should specifically forbid writing about things so soon after the event. But second, too many people simply do not understand why news stories are published. We have to spend way too much time prying out slow-news-day and click-bait fluff, even when the article in question is years old any there's abundant evidence that nobody ever cared after that. Mangoe (talk) 22:10, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • EEng, I know you had a list of people who had asked to be notified if there was going to be a discussion about enforcing NOTNEWS. I'm notifying you since you probably know where the conversation is. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:46, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
The ping-me list is at User_talk:EEng#Shaping_a_proposal. I'm not sure I can commit to this discussion at this time. I will say I liked someone's suggestion that if there's going to be an embargo of some kind on breaking news, the right form for it might be that a breaking-news topic shouldn't get its own standalone article for X days or weeks i.e. breaking-news content should, at first, be new content in some appropriate existing article, and only after X days/weeks should it be considered for its own article. The beauty of this is that there will typically be many eyes on the existing article, who will help keep UNDUE, BLP, and similar problems under control.Any after the X waiting period, notability for a standalone article will be much clearer. EEng 23:33, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  • No we didn't. It is a very different question, about exactly how should NOT#NEWS be taken, not a new principle for NOT#NEWS. As the closure of the discussion put it, there is a question of exactly what NOT#NEWS means nowadays. --MASEM (t) 22:00, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  • OK, let's see how different this one becomes. Coretheapple (talk) 22:06, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Sort of. This conversation about our encyclopaedic treatment of breaking events was simmering below and at the surface of the RfC and surrounding discussions. Masem identified the issue three weeks ago, during the proposal of this straw poll: Whether [the RfC] closes as failed or no consensus… the disconnect related to the core NOT#NEWS policy is still evident and should be addressed…. I would characterise Masem as passionate about NOTNEWS, and in implementing performing the RfC closure I felt certain this proposed poll would go forward; perhaps that expectation affected my framing of the close. Apologies to community members sick of this topic. It's... historically contentious. Snuge purveyor (talk) 08:30, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • One commonality with the recently concluded discussion is that the wording is problematic. Option 2 is that NOTNEWS "should be more strongly enforced" or that " should have significantly less coverage of current events." To do that would seem to require not enforcement of the existing rules but change in the policy. So that option would appear to incorporate two separate outcomes. One could argue that NOTNEWS is already strictly enforced. Coretheapple (talk) 12:55, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Which is the whole point of this straw poll. the RFC even before it was closed (though the close re-affirmed what I saw) gave no clear indicator how the majority of editors felt about NOT#NEWS, with both directions having been presented. This is meant to simply determine if and by how much of a change in policy is needed, but makes no attempt to say what that could be because its impossible to know what has a likely chance of gaining consensus. --MASEM (t) 13:29, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • But that's precisely my point. Sure some folks are going to be explicit. But when people stop by and says "yeah I'm for option 2" without saying what they want to happen, how is that to be interpreted? Option 2 provides two dramatically different outcomes - enforcement of the existing rules or changing them. If people are silent on these alternate outcomes, how do you read their minds? Coretheapple (talk) 14:13, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • You can't, but the whole point of a straw poll is to get a quick idea of an opinion, and determine how strong the various opinions to see what type of action might be appropriate to suggest. If one option "wins" by a landfall, then there's clearly a means to consider new policy or the like towards that. If instead it just "wins" by a few percentage, I would say a massive policy change is out of the question. I do point out in the intro that results could range from adjusting existing P&G to creating new policy to eliminating some policies. --MASEM (t) 14:18, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

@Power~enwiki: The problem with Wikinews is a catch-22. It requires editors to use to fill it with news stories, and then there needs to be awareness that it exists so that people coming to WMF projects for news coverage use that instead. If no one knows about it, it's hard to draw editors to use it. If editors don't use it, it gets no visibility and people don't know about it. It's not dead-dead, articles are still created for it, but its very clear that editors and readers presently believe is the place to find news articles, and Wikinews is basically a ghost town. --MASEM (t) 13:34, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

Oftentimes I see an AfD on a recently created article on a recent event (say, a terrorist attack) with people saying things to the effect "keep, meets GNG" and "delete, NOTNEWS". Typically these end up as "keep", I am not sure if there is a general feeling on how such cases should be treated. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 14:41, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
Jo-Jo Eumerus, Masem - is there a way to know how much time a reader spends at an article or do our stats provide only clicks? There's also no way to know why page views increase or what information our readers are hoping to find. I'm of the mind that a news story breaks, and readers come to WP for validation based on NPOV. If all we're doing is reporting allegations cited to the NYTimes, WaPo, etc. then we're turning our project into another bait/click news source. Atsme📞📧 12:43, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
@Atsme: One rough way to count how interesting people find an article is to compare the amount of hits other pages linked from said article get. That works only if the article is getting a lot of attention - if it's uninteresting people won't click on its links and then the other pages don't see many more clicks, if it is interesting the other pages will receive a lot more. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:06, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Excuse my lack of knowledge in this area but other than manually pulling up page stats for each article in What links here (via the tool in the sidebar menu), is there an auto-calculation somewhere? I looked at Page information, then Page view statistics - does Wikilink checker contribute anything? Atsme📞📧 19:21, 2 November 2017 (UTC)

2017 Las Vegas Strip shooting and List of terrorist incidents in October 2017(and its kindred) are examples of the problems we have with editors seeing something in the media and adding it immediately. Every rumour gets added as soon as it hits the web, no matter how dodgy the source. Doug Weller talk 15:45, 2 October 2017 (UTC)

Are RS and BLP insufficient to deal with this problem? If they are not being sufficiently enforced, the problem won't be solved by adding another policy that won't be enforced. Gamaliel (talk) 17:23, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
Technically between the existing NOT#NEWS, RS, and BLP, these should be kept in check (that's the whole point of WP:RECENTISM, but as sometimes breaking news articles get swayed on being "popularity contests" in the number of voices supporting something outweigh those arguing for established policy, to which part of that is something I'd attributed to a lax treatment of NOT#NEWS by long-time editors, and admins. There are a lot of other factors though that contribute to this too, it's not just a NOT#NEWS issue, but better adherence to NOT#NEWS would help alot. --MASEM (t) 17:44, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
It's also the speed at which these articles are edited. I haven't looked but I know that the right wing media had a different, innocent (but liberal) subject named as the shooter and his name was the main name on Google for a few hours. I hope it didn't get into any of our articles. These articles also attract a lot of new editors who don't have a clue and are quite happy to argue. Doug Weller talk 17:50, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
@MelanieN: for a while yesterday Facebook and Google were presenting a conspiracy theory naming someone uninvolved as the shooter. I haven't checked to see if this poor guy's name ever go into our article (but I will), but such instant responses to breaking stories, particularly when often done by new editors who don't know about reliable sources or care at times, can be damaging. Doug Weller talk 08:00, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
@Doug Weller: Please do check; I'd like to know. I will be very surprised if our systems failed that badly. In the time I have been involved with the article, we have been concerned with whether and how to report that false news incident as false news; it seems finally to have found a home under "Social media". My hunch is that if anyone had inserted that story at the time, it would have been removed almost instantly as poorly sourced. --MelanieN (talk) 14:29, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
@MelanieN: I used Wikiblame and went back through 1500 edits, but it looks as though it wasn't added. If it had been added, I wouldn't be surprised if a copy of that version showed up somewhere else. Doug Weller talk 14:34, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for checking. I have actually been very impressed with what a good job we do on breaking news stories like this. To me it proves again the saying, "the trouble with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work." --MelanieN (talk) 14:45, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
P.S. I looked all through the talk page archives and can't find that anyone ever even proposed adding that false report. There were a few other wild conspiracy theories proposed at the talk page, but they were quickly shut down and never got into the article. The only false thing that went into the article is that some people, before the article was protected, inserted "Muslim" or something similar to describe the shooter. Removed almost instantly. We have strong systems. --MelanieN (talk) 14:54, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
User:Doug Weller, the first item in the list you cite is the Marseille stabbing. In fact Fr police are at present very equivocal as to whether this incident is terrorist or not French interior minister Gérard Collomb said: “It might be a terrorist act, but at this point we can’t say so with certainty”. Of course no such uncertainty is mentioned in 'our' list, and the likelihood of it being even reported widely if the story has an anti-climatic end (if, for example it was simply a conventional murder), so any update probably won't be incorporated in our article or list unless it is 'dramatic'. I believe this identifies the real danger of 'news' articles, which are the 'peripheral stories' and list entries with too few watchers, rather than the big events like 'Las Vegas'. A particularly silly example is recorded here, where WP on two seperate lists recorded a terrorist plot that simply never existed. Failing to 'update' is the norm, rather than the exception in this topic area, with dozens of articles that I know of ending "police arrested X suspects", (but how many were ever convicted of anything?) . I don't know what we do about it however. Pincrete (talk) 13:06, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Hell, that was User:Gianluigi02 that I recently blocked for 72 hours for similar edits. Doug Weller talk 13:31, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Another editor put it into another list, where it stayed even longer (20-ish months) and many other editors cheerfully reinstated (and sometimes embellished) it on the first list, claiming it to be "well-sourced". The list article was so full of SYNTH and over-statement that even I did not notice it for a long time. It was a NOTNEWS argument that finally killed it. Pincrete (talk) 14:43, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Some points to reply to in regards to @Gamaliel and @Fuzheado in their !votes about forum shopping and Wikinews. First, as forum shopping, this is not the question that was asked at WT:NOT about NOT#NEWS. That was a very specific proposal about how much commentary should be in news articles, which during the course of it, it became clear the bigger "issue" is how NOT#NEWS is to be treated, period. That was a point made in the closure of that previous discussion , so it is not forum shopping because this is asking a very different, and much larger question about our relationship to breaking news, in the first place. Second, the Wikinews issue, I fully agree that Wikinews is dead, the problem is, there was nothing in place that designed as the defacto place that news would go with Wikinews being dead. There's nothing that says WMF needs a sister site that handles news. Maybe it might seem to be practice to have news on WP, but that's a change from NOT#NEWS that never appeared to have been processed through by consensus. The point here is thus to establish if that practice does have any type of consensus, and update policies and guidelines as needed. If the practice is fine, then that needs to be written into policies and guidelines; if not, then we need to fix how it is being practiced. --MASEM (t) 19:57, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
@Masem and Gamaliel: - Regarding this: "there was nothing in place that designed as the defacto place that news would go with Wikinews being dead." Er, you don't need a formal pact, agreement or interface on where one starts and one begins. In fact, Wikipedia existed for years before Wikinews ever came to the scene, and there was never anything formal about Wikinews does X to the exclusion of Y on Wikipedia, nor should there be. Regarding what you said, "that's a change from NOT#NEWS that never appeared to have been processed through by consensus." The practice is the consensus! It has been this way for years and years, and only now are you surfacing this as some sort of illegitimate mode of operation that needs an overhaul when there is no real desire to do so. Frankly, it's puzzling and borderline patronizing when we as a community have done very well with creating articles as news breaks and serve the public interest. Forget the old notions of "this bin is news" and "this bin in history" and never the two shall be comingled. The great thing about Wikipedia is that it blends these two seamlessly in a way we've never done before, so why make that harsh and artificial distinction? Nobody puts Wikipedia in a corner! -- Fuzheado | Talk 20:52, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
Just because it's practice doesn't make it a community consensus, particularly if the change is slow and not immediately obvious. I agree that we probably have been running current event articles for several years that would seem to go against the rub of NOT#NEWS, but this wasn't an issue until events of the last couple of years, principally driven by the US election, which has created a unique political and ideological battleground in the world as a whole that never had been present prior to this, and eventually filters down into The "practice" of rapidly pushing current news, while seemingly okay before, has created an endless stream of behavioral problems, much less issues with how news intersects with key content policies, because of what current news typically ends up being. That's not sustainable, unless we either establish the practice as having consensus, or adjusting our policies and guideline to reflect which way the community would want to see this. There is no question that some news today can eventually become an encyclopedic topic tomorrow, and thus it makes no sense to wholly chase off news coverage on WP. But to what level we cover breaking news and migrate that into an encyclopedic topic is a question that really needs to be answered in this current political and ideological environment. --MASEM (t) 21:59, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I think the most useful thing would be a straw poll or survey trying to identify what -- if any - kinds of content should be excluded under NOTNEWS. I think a lot of people will say "nothing -- if there is an RS it comes into WP". I am curious if we can get consensus around anything. If we can, then NOTNEWS should be narrowed to that. If we cannot find anything then NOTNEWS should be removed from NOT. But the first step is to try to get people to identify what they think NOTNEWS does exclude. Nobody replied at my query at NOT; how do you feel about trying that here Masem? Jytdog (talk) 05:28, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
    @Jytdog: We can get specific consensus for certain limitations; this particular change simply hasn't been made to WP:NOTNEWS. --Izno (talk) 12:39, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
You have more confidence than I do that we will find anything left of this policy in what editors actually do. There is a very strong strain of "it is in a source so we include it" out there. Jytdog (talk) 12:42, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
I totally agree with that statement, and now wondering if the changes need to occur in Notability first. POV or possibly even agendas/advocacy gets in the way of independent critical thinking that is compliant with NPOV. Encyclopedic value (EV) is easily measured by WP:FP but how do we determine an article's EV for inclusion? The simple answer is the number of times RS write about it. Therein a big part of the problem lies. Atsme📞📧 12:50, 2 November 2017 (UTC)

Neither Wikipedia nor Wikinews are set up to work well with current events and breaking news stories. Here's why:

  1. Immediacy. I used to contribute at WikiNews but found it immensely frustrating, because the whole thing is so very slow. You can write a couple of unreferenced sentences on Wikipedia, tag it as a stub, and publish it immediately. Straight away it's visible to readers, and you can continue working on it - making it longer, adding sources and images etc, as can other editors. This is the way other news outlets work - they publish a "breaking news" article that's usually just a sentence or two, then add content as more information becomes available. But not Wikinews. On Wikinews there's no concept of breaking news, of the importance of publishing first and editing later. Every single Wikinews article has to be reviewed by somebody else before it's published. With so few users on that project, it can be several days before your "breaking" news article is even looked at. News by definition has to be "new". It's crazy that we can publish something to Wikipedia with immediate effect but not to our newspaper sister project.
  2. Original research is allowed and very much encouraged on Wikinews, but obviously not on Wikipedia (and rightly so). To work as a news source, original research is important. The eyewitness report, the first-hand account, the reporter on the ground, the direct interview - these often make for the best news articles but they have no place in an encyclopaedia. This is something Wikinews gets right and that Wikipedia would fail at if the decision was made to replace Wikinews with Wikipedia's current events section.
  3. Editorials and opinion pieces don't stand a chance with the NPOV policies that exist on both sites. NPOV is vital for every encyclopaedia article and is rightly one of the central pillars of Wikipedia policy. We want Wikimedia sites to be neutral and welcoming to all, so we don't want our newspaper project to have a strong overall political leaning as many regular newspapers do. But opinion pieces and reporter blogs are now an important feature of just about every news source out there, and the key is to allow points of view to be represented in them provided they are balanced (i.e. one piece "for", another "against", resulting in overall balance) and clearly marked as an opinion piece and not a news article.
  4. Edit conflicts. The Wikimedia platform is great for collaboration over a long time, but bearing in mind the importance of immediacy mentioned above, big breaking news stories really need to allow multiple editors to work on the article in real time, in the same way as a shared Google Drive document/spreadsheet. That's a massive technical hurdle to overcome, and currently some way off. (See mw:Parser_2011/Real-time_collaboration and mw:Extension:TogetherJS)

For me, the biggest barrier by far is that first one. WikiNews needs to change the way it works dramatically and fundamentally if it is to succeed. But if Wikinews does the job it's meant to do, we can then look at strengthening the NOT:NEWS policy here on Wikipedia. Meanwhile we have a mess on our hands and I don't think any of the proposals in this RfC will remedy that. WaggersTALK 14:13, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

  • My 2¢ Based on my admittedly anecdotal experiences at AfD and elsewhere I'd say that NOTNEWS is so widely ignored that it is about a half step away from being WP:HISTORICAL. I don't like it. Point in fact I am appalled by it. But it is what it is. Maybe it's time to just admit that it's on life support and talk about pulling the plug. -Ad Orientem (talk) 21:59, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
    • That's part of why I opted for this straw poll to see if that was a viable option. The current stances suggest otherwise (edging to make NOT#NEWS enforcement stronger presently), meaning we should be looking to find ways to fix issues with how AFD handles new news articles without being bitey to newcomers, among other things. A lot of AFDs I see on news events comes down to editors thinking "lots of immediate coverage" == "notable topic", despite both NOT#NEWS and WP:N saying otherwise, and AFDs are unfortunately easy to swing by sheer numbers of !votes. --MASEM (t) 22:20, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
      • The !votes so far are as close to a lack of consensus as I have ever seen. The far more lopsided sentiments in the NOT discussion were termed "no consensus" long before the close, so I find your "edging" characterization interesting in light of that. Coretheapple (talk) 23:06, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
        • Might have missed some, but taking out duplicates and second choices it appears to be a dead heat, 38 in favor of strengthening, 38 keeping same or weakening, at the present time. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 17:41, 14 October 2017 (UTC)


  • Comment. Its pretty obvious that the issue is not with NOTNEWS, but with the total failure of the Wikinews project to attract a sustainable editor base. Rather than whatever you hope to achieve here in this RfC, you should consider the bigger picture. For example a simple change to the Wikimedia software to add a namespace called News: could deal with the problem and revitalise Wikinews at once, some news items worthy of long term inclusion in the enclyopedia would be simply moved to mainspace via a method similar to AfC, news items would exist on wikipedia as a kind of draft, but still be indexable and accessible. Simultaneously dealing with the NOTNEWS and Wikinews issues in one action. To avoid issues with removing Wikinews, all news articles would be editable via Wikinews (which would still exist as a portal) and on Wikipedia, where we would no longer have to fret over which news stories will be relevant later on. This whole system is more in line with Wikipedias 'lagging behind' verifiability policy, and avoids splitting editors into unsustainable over-localised communities. Α Guy into Books § (Message) -  21:30, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Aguyintobooks, the article creation has become a total mess as is. Right now, we have 1500+ articles pending review via AfC. A bunch of articles, including some articles about current events, get deleted from Wikipedia because they fail to meet encyclopedic standards. Currently, we have WP:ACTRIAL running for six months. Merging Wikinews into Wikipedia would make matters worse. We would expect more articles created and then deleted for failing to meet the standards. Also, what about 20+ other Wikinews language sites? This year, Dutch Wikinews is reopened. --George Ho (talk) 00:59, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
No. Replicating the AfC model is not the way forward. The future of how we handle new content in in limbo pending ACTRIAL/the followup RfC, and the current policy fights over the draft space are popping up all over my watchlist, and I never seek out doing anything with the draft space. Making current events AfC/Drafts 2.0 is a battleground waiting to happen. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:10, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
I also thought of this as a possible solution, but yeah there are too many problems with similar processes currently for it to be feasible. Maybe if we ever get AfC and drafts and all that stuff figured out, this could be a good idea. ansh666 09:00, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
@Aguyintobooks: The problem here and at Wikinews is the same problem: there seem to be a lot of people who want to wave around policies to try to interfere with free-licensed work about news. If you do work on Wikinews, it is very likely to be thrown away - that's why no one does. Even if successful, it will be a locked snapshot, not a comprehensive review of a phenomenon. Now I don't know the motivation of any specific person, but I think on average we should look at the myriad legal embattlements and legislative setbacks of news aggregators to see that the ever-shrinking media industry might be exerting some push-back against its competitors. I mean, if the encyclopedias had done the same back in 2001, Britannica would be making as much money as Microsoft! But on Wikipedia there is a never-ending stream of editors from other topics who just wade in and start editing without regard that we're not supposed to be able to put current events in context. This raw ignorance is our foremost strength. Wnt (talk) 18:47, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  • The statement "the total failure of the Wikinews project to attract a sustainable editor base..." is entirely true. The reason for that is that the entrenched editor base is mostly lazy and opposed to helping new users integrate their contributions in a useful manner; rather they see it as their duty to eradicate all new user contribitions that don't meet the extremely strict standards that have taken years of experience to develop. It's the expectation that all brand new Wikipedia users are born fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus, and that any new contribution which is not already FA-quality is to be deleted within seconds of its creation with little to no explanation of the problem, and absolutely no attempt to improve such substandard contributions. What kills new user retention is primarily a culture that treats them all as enemies until they have proven themselves not to be. --Jayron32 14:11, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    Mea culpa. Misunderstood the OP's original point. My response makes no sense. Carry on. --Jayron32 15:09, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Your point is perfectly valid though, having ~2250 pages of policy is one thing, expecting new users to understand it all is another.  --- Α Guy Into Books § (Message) -  21:27, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Truer words were never spoken. I have been here for 3 years, and I feel as though I have just begun to get a grip on the morass of policy in the handful of areas where I most commonly edit. To me, editing feels like a deadly video game were partisan gangs try to kill you as you wander through an uncharted swamp without a compass trying to avoid the arcane booby-traps that editors set to get you banned.E.M.Gregory (talk) 21:38, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    Large systems always grow in procedure as the numbers grow. At some point communication breaks down and a policy is made to hold the signal. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 21:58, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I think E.M.Gregory's point in his !vote about current events articles being an entry point for new editors is a good one. People have an interest in current events, readers like them, and they add value. A win-win all around. Coretheapple (talk) 22:30, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    • We definitely do not want to be too restrictive on new editors, and we want to encourage them to participate, but at the same time, current event articles can be touchy, and already a large subset of them fall under the post-1923 US politics Arbcom DS, where it's not the best for a novice to be making unsure edits compared to other pages. There's definitely a balance needed. --MASEM (t) 23:13, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
      • You mean, post-1932, right? George Ho (talk) 23:14, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Realistically all events were current at some point, and there are going to be more people interested in an event at the time it happens than some years afterwards, but a balance has to be struck somewhere, especially for events where the available information changes rapidly.  --- Α Guy Into Books § (Message) -  23:17, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Everything was current at one point or another but the online media quickly shares stories saying essentially the same thing; you never had that in 1932. Editors need to understand that journalists report one thing, and we, who are not journalists (some like to believe they are, however), have a different criteria for our content. If we were more patient, most current events would reveal their importance in a few weeks and speculation would be replaced by verified facts. Perhaps we can move current events to a draft space for a week or two and then access if it established a historic or societal importance after that time has passed.TheGracefulSlick (talk) 00:32, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
"most current events would reveal their importance in a few weeks" A few weeks? I think you mean a few years. Secondary source analysis (see WP:ANALYSIS) has to take place well-removed from the event. We shouldn't be writing about any presidential administration until they're a dozen years out of office. I could argue we shouldn't have any entries about living people, at all. It's still too early to write about the Gulf War, let alone the Invasion of Iraq in 2003. But of course, Wikipedia exists as a playground for wannabe writers to shout out their narrative. Wikipedia's crass inclusive approach to keep the donations coming in results in shoddy entries written by fanboys and cranks. Had we emphasized article quality over article quantity we might have built our gamification around writing responsible entries rather than the vomiting of words into multiple overlapping pages. Chris Troutman (talk) 01:09, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
Chris troutman I actually agree with you more than you probably realize. In fact, I really need your perspective for some of the articles I nominate for deletion! I was trying to bring about some sort of middle ground: no consensus will exist, instructing us to wait years for notability. Many editors like putting their "I'm a journalist" caps on and writing an often inaccurate load of drivel we are forced to call an "encyclopedic article". Unless more editors like you participate at AfD, I doubt we can initiate a serious movement to rid Wikipedia of news.TheGracefulSlick (talk) 02:15, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
@TheGracefulSlick: I'm your huckleberry, but I've hurt my AfD record by tilting at these windmills to prevent Wikipedia from being a free-for-all. I recognize Wikipedia isn't a serious endeavor, despite my desire for it to be that. Chris Troutman (talk) 02:26, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
Whether or not our articles are "inaccurate loads of drivel" (I think not), at least we still have copy editors and can spell, which is more than can be said for most of the professional media outlets that people have to resort to for far less comprehensive, partisan, and hard-to-find reviews of news events if they can't find them on Wikipedia. Wnt (talk) 10:44, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
Realistically whether our news articles are relevant depends greatly on the quality of our editor base, there is the inherent problem that news is closer to original research and harder to verify than an encyclopedic topic, and the issues presented by the accepted facts changing is always an issue. and the obvious issue that wikinews is always behind everyone else (as it is based on other news, which for news is really a disadvantage. Not a disadvantage faced by wikipedia. The strongest core concept of wikinews is that is a neutral aggregate of content, A wikinews article should always be more complete than any other single piece of coverage. A den jentyl ettien avel dysklyver 11:32, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I want to emphasize the points made above by User:Carwil and User:Feminist. Feminist is correct to flag the negative impact on the project viscous attacks on new editors get socked with at AfDs on big news stories. And Carwil is surely correct that energy is better put into improving articles at the moment when they are drawing attention, to which I want to add that I, personally, go to WP as an efficient way to get up to speed on a breaking political or culture wars firestorm. I expect the article to exist. And it often leads me to go take a moment to expand one of our many old, sad, neglected articles on a neighborhood, institution, think tank, publication, or individual involved in the breaking news event.E.M.Gregory (talk) 18:24, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
    • Excellent points. postdlf (talk) 22:39, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

Some observations

I'm going to note a few common themes that I'm seeing in the !votes here as they come - I'm not suggesting they are immediately actionable, that they have consensus, or the like, but they open up some reason and points of discussion why we're at this impasse on NOT#NEWS and how to proceed on that. --MASEM (t) 15:02, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

  1. Handling of current events articles at AFD is an issue - both from those there !voting "Keep per GNG" (asking larger questions about news reports, bursts of news, and notability per NEVENT/GNG) and those !voting "Delete per NOT#NEWS" (more reflecting of how strong NOT#NEWS should be enforced). There should be a middle ground recognizing that DEADLINE is also a factor in addition to NOT#NEWS. --MASEM (t) 15:02, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
I see no such common theme at present. Coretheapple (talk) 18:46, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
Concur with Coretheapple; no consensus has appeared. Moreover, the problem with WP:DEADLINE is the reality that creating articles when a significant event is breaking news is among the few proven techniques to overcome our endemic shortage of editors, because when an EVENT is notable enough to support an article, many editors show up and usually create pretty solid articles before the news cycle ends. There is all the time in the world to delete, but the existence of fingers willing to build the article evaporates rapidly.E.M.Gregory (talk) 19:40, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
I question whether 'breaking news' articles actually recruit new editors. Certainly they attract IP's and a few 'newbies' (some of both are quick learners and great to have around, and some are huge liabilities) to edit on that particular article, but is there any reason to believe that news articles actually recruit long term editors? This has not been my experience. Pincrete (talk) 11:01, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
Agreed, but just to elaborate a little, the comments here should speak for themselves and editors should not be providing an ongoing play-by-play that purports to summarize the positions of multiple editors at any given point in time. Even if so far there was an actual consensus or overwhelming view on a particular subject,, that would have to be viewed in conjunction with whatever else is said. Let's not fragment and tilt the discussion, please. Coretheapple (talk) 20:24, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
My only point here is that regardless of the straw poll, there is a valid concern of problems of how NOT#NEWS is handled (for or against) at AFD on recent news articles. I can't tell you how that has to be fixed, yet, but the AFD angle (whether we are talking retention of an article or deletion) is an issue of concern. --MASEM (t) 18:01, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
News articles on current events are primary sources, and primary sources have little weight in a notability (AFD) discussion. If the only reason to keep the article is 'its been in the news recently' then it lacks notability and so should be deleted. Only in death does duty end (talk) 12:06, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
I think that there is a certain consensus for a stricter application of NOTNEWS as it applies to BLP violations. RileyBugz会話投稿記録 19:07, 30 September 2017 (UTC)
Seems more logical to apply BLP to BLP violations. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 16:04, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
There are frequently times where good RSes do publish things that we would normally consider BLP violations, like the rush to name suspects. What happens far too often is editors will see that name in good RSes, and believe it is appropriate to add right away to the articles, as they don't see it as a BLP violation (because RSes back the naming). But for us, that generally is the case until some time has passed to know how much importance the suspect's name is to the situation, as per BLP. BLP is not 100% consistent which is where situations like this come up. --MASEM (t) 18:01, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it's terrible how the media refers to [name redacted] as the shooter in the Las Vegas massacre. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 23:39, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
That's not where the problem arises. I distinctly remember during Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that in the first few hours, the name of the brother of the actual shooter was named as the shooter in several RSes, only because his ID was on the shooter's body. Obviously it all got sorted out in the end, but if we had included his name at the time, that would have been a major BLP problem. That's an example of a situation with BLP is at odds with massive coverage by RS. Even with the LV shooting, I know several of the early articles this morning named a possible accomplice to the shootings, but that was quickly ruled out by police. Properly, our article does not mention this person at all despite that RSes still mentioning the name. Furthermore, and this is more a sign of the times, but there were tons of false stories that floated around on major RSes, some intentionally false. (I could also point out the situation with Tom Petty today as yet another example of this). BLP is supposed to prevent issues with that, and in the long-term it does, but in the short term there has to be more awareness of why we have NOT#NEWS towards this end to help protect BLP from misinformation. --MASEM (t) 23:57, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
I just don't see the need for yet another layer of rules, based upon the supposition that RSs may not "get it right" now but may "get it right" down the road. That would put articles in a straitjacket, and would be subject to all kinds of abuse and conflict. Our BLP rules are already strict and more than sufficient. What you describe as a "problem" is simply a fact of life, not just for current events articles but all articles, even articles on ancient subjects, as the RS sources shift and change in their perspective. All we do is reflect the RS sources. That does not create a BLP issue a all, but rather is a mirror to the reality of the sourcing. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 00:32, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
It's not a "fact of life" that we needed (or for that matter still need) 240 posts so far in the Tom Petty article. It's only a fact of WP, apparently, that people cannot be trusted to get caught up in the what will prove to be a passing and unimportant episode of misinformation. Mangoe (talk) 02:01, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
Another datapoint showing that BLP is not sufficient to deal with NOT#NEWS violations: Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations - an article based only on that allegations were made and some of those aftereffects on Weinstein, but going into far too much detail for what is yet to be even a legal charge against him. --MASEM (t) 13:43, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Yet another datapoint is how swiftly your AfD of the article was closed as a speedy keep, without a single supporting !vote. You seem to have a narrow view of NOTNEWS that is extreme and out of step with the community. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 16:22, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
I feel the need for written clarification of BLP as it applies to current events. Many unproductive discussions and edit wars could be avoided if we had something that explicitly stated "we do not refer to something as a murder/homicide/assault/attack until there is a conviction." This may already be covered by the existing policy, but it should be written in a way that can't easily be misinterpreted or misrepresented. –dlthewave 22:53, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately, none of this is new. for a non-recent example of an article where NOTNEWS was totally ignored... see University of Florida Taser incident (of "Don't tase me, bro" fame.) Worth reading the discussions that took place about why that article should be kept. 17:54, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • There is a lot of inappropriate assumption that media are necessarily reliable as a class, when the reality is that in the extreme short-term, they really aren't that reliable. It is typical of breaking news stories that initial reports aren't reliable: they're usually somewhat right, but they are often revised more or less drastically in light of later reports. I see no reason why something calling itself an encyclopedia should be chasing this. Reliability of accounts is something that is achieved over the long term, when the matter has been sifted through. Quick response media really cannot be taken to be that reliable until others judge them so, and that takes retrospection and therefore time. Mangoe (talk) 20:40, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I'd suggest that a more important need, one that no one has addressed, is to update "news" articles after the initial hubub has died down and the pageviews and editor interest has ebbed. That is an issue not just for articles on recent events but for all kinds of articles. "Orphaned" and neglected articles, sometimes bearing maintenance tags for years, are a serious problem in the project. Coretheapple (talk) 14:05, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
    • It is a serious issue, which is why a possible solution is to create a space that is on and comes up in search results so that current news is there, and excepted to follow all content policies, but serves as a means to incubate news content such that if it doesn't turn out notable once the initial coverage has died down, it can be deleted, merged, or otherwise placed in context of something else. (Obviously notable stories can be brought into mainspace without question). It's like a Draft: space, but it needs to be more integrated with mainspace, and should have more formal processes to remove content that hasn't yet been transitioned to mainspace so they don't linger. Whether this has to be an explicit "News:" space, or management of article tags, I don't know, but it would meet both sides of the matter. (And there's a lot of cavaets, this by no means a formal proposal for this). --MASEM (t) 14:24, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
      • No, that would be like trying to light a campfire with napalm. A simple problem requiring a simple solution: greater energy expended after an article has lost its high visibility status. Not just news articles but, for instance, articles on corporations that have undergone scandal. BP comes to mind. Coretheapple (talk) 16:38, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
        • No. Better to head off the crap to begin with - and it is crap always filled with the personal predilictions of the Wikipedia editors because there are no sources who have reflected and weighed - just the personal prejudices of Wikipedians - and it is absolutely no public service to be a news aggregator. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:36, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
        • Not really. Once an article has lost its high visibility status in the news, we should be reviewing it per NEVENT/GNG for notability and appropriateness. Some will clearly stay, some should be merged, and few should be deleted. That achieves the same thing of then being able to tag those that are key to gain more eyes to improve, resummarize, and work in later sources after the initial burst of news, rather than let them stagnate. New developments on existing articles are less a problem, save for far far too much proseline in many cases, since we're not questioning the basic notability of the original topic. --MASEM (t) 22:28, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
          • @Masem: Can you cite any examples of current event articles which were deleted after they were no longer current events? Coretheapple (talk) 13:30, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
            • Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/2009 Fox News – White House controversy Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/2014 Romania helicopter crash Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/2014 Norfolk helicopter crash Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/2011 India–Pakistan border incident Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Kosovo–Serbia January 2017 train incident (merged but effectively same for the question at hand) - This is just scanning the first few pages of hits in the AFD archives. Obviously there's also some keeps and some retained by no consensus, but there are definitely deletions. --MASEM (t) 13:43, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
              • @Masem: I'm referring to articles on current events that were deleted when they were no longer current. All except the India-Pakistan one were deleted shortly after they were created, and the India-Pakistan one appears to have reappeared as 2011 India–Pakistan border skirmish. Coretheapple (talk) 14:58, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
                • Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Power Shortage in Japan 2012, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/2017 collapse of Route 4 bridge in Israel, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/2014 SOCATA TBM crash (2nd nomination), Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Nicolas Estemar stabbing spree. And that's just a portion of a list I'm scanning through.
                • I will say that it is reasonable to allow articles on current events to be created and given some time to demonstrate notability per both NEVENT and GNG (with obvious hoaxes or BLP violations speedily removed), but we should still have some checkpoint a few weeks after creation of such that these articles are either approved with presumed notability (if not sooner if it is obvious) or sent to AFD to be deleted. --MASEM (t) 15:20, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
                  • I'd say overall we have a pretty good record at creating articles that last and deleting ones that don't seem very significant in retrospect. And when dubious articles are created that aren't deleted... so what? I wanted Richard Matt deleted. The community emphatically disagreed. The article remains, and I fail to see excessive harm from that, except to my ego. And no, I'm not going to nom it for deletion again, for the simple reason that in fact he has gotten so much notoriety since his demise he probably does warrant an article. Coretheapple (talk) 17:02, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
                    • The problem is that when you start reviewing some of the other AFDs on events, (and I don't have any in front of me, this is from recollection earlier today) is that there is a strong pattern of numerous !votes going "Keep, lots of international coverage" and the closer clearly following that majority despite opposing !votes that point out that bot NOT#NEWS, WP:N, and WP:NEVENT point out that a burst of coverage is not sufficient to keep a news event. In other words, its a compound problem of editors not understanding existing policy/guidelines and admins not properly evaluating !votes under NOT#NEWS concerns. And then further, when this articles are kept, and the AFD is a mere memory, no one spends the time to convert these from newspaper, on-the-spot reporting to something that is more appropriate for permanence. (The whole problem with reaction sections is one part of this). Compare Watergate scandal or Lewinsky scandal (pre-WP days) to United States diplomatic cables leak (written as the events went along). Even something like Boston Marathon bombing is still showing the training wheels it needed to build out when the event was happening, and that's an article with a lot of editing activity still. And these are the high profile news articles; it's the smaller ones that have less of an impact that are typically even worse and are frequently overlooked. There is definitely a place for allowing editors to start current events articles, but we need to have a better process to make sure that these are going to end up being quality articles at some point. There's no one solution to this, but based only on the poll, there probably needs to be something changed, though not drastically. --MASEM (t) 00:42, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
                      • "Based only on the poll." We're back to that again? It is indeed funny how the lopsided !vote in the NOTNEWS page you interpreted as "no consensus" whereas this even-steven one you claim to be a mandate for something . There is no consensus here to do anything, with half the !voters wanting less or the same enforcement of Notnews and half wanting stronger. As for all those articles that need improvement, sofixem. Coretheapple (talk) 12:55, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

Not News and Reliable Sources conflict. The strictest definition of "not news" will mean that even if there are reliable sources, inclusion should be banned because Wikipedia is not news.

I believe the solution that reliable sources is a higher priority than not news. This is because if there is something truly historic but it doesn't have reliable sources, it cannot be put into Wikipedia. However, something that has reliable sources, even if we think it is news, is more worthy.

The biggest problem is that there is no editorial board and professionally trained editor in chief to make decisions. That is the wikipedia way. AGrandeFan (talk) 20:42, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

Why is it important to have articles on breaking news?

This is, to me, the undiscussed question. From my perspective, I can see three reasons not to have such articles:

  1. They create notability issues because of the implication that anything that has been published about at all is notable, which our principles have said isn't true. Getting rid of them is laborious.
  2. They present accuracy issues because the real sources are unstable (and often enough unreliable) and because the tendency is for the article to freeze at the point where someone lost interest. One has to hope that someone comes back after things quiet down and potential sources have had a chance to take a longer view and sort out all the various reports (which, BTW, could on some level be taken as primary sources, when it comes to that), but often enough it doesn't happen. It's pretty common that, in the long run, The World decides the event was unimportant and doesn't get around to sorting it out beyond ignoring it.
  3. They present readers with a choice: who should your read for breaking news: the news, or us? Shouldn't the answer be, "well, not us, for now"?

I see some sentiment of "well, it gets sorted out in the end." I don't think that's true, but even to the degree that it does, aren't we performing a disservice until it does? Mangoe (talk) 16:46, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

A few reasons I'd offer:
  • We are instinctively drawn to "citizen journalism", which is enabled by the MediaWiki platform, the WMF, and the general polices we have. It also fits well within WP due to inter-linking and a cadre of templates and tools to help build these articles. The "citizen journalism" is more in effect in the last several years due to several factors (read: Trump) that has drawn more eyes and more potential breaking news topics.
  • We have had several successful breaking news articles developed on WP without much fuss and with high quality from the start, and WMF has praised that approach in the past, validating it. However, these examples all tend to be examples of major disasters (earthquakes, international terrorist attacks, etc.) where most of the reporting is objective so editors aren't fighting or pushing specific content. However, applying this same model to other stories (eg anything dealing with the Russia interference in the US elections) tends to cause more problems. There is a place for certain types of breaking news stories, but not every breaking news story needs to be in WP the moment. Most breaking should wait until we know we're into the long-tail of the story, and thus can have a more holistic view of the event to write for WP to know if it is appropriately notable, and how to structure the article and views and opinions associated with it, as to avoid OR and POV with trying to cover from the instant start.
  • Where citizen journalism was to be established by the WMF, Wikinews, has failed, but the drive to write and read breaking news articles persists. It has migrated to based on the previous models where breaking news has worked well, but when all breaking news is reported on, it seems to cause no end to problems. We could admit we are now WikiNews and adopt policies to reflect that, but from the current state of this straw poll, that's not a likely solution. --MASEM (t) 17:06, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Regarding #1: I think that the objection here is poorly framed, in that the implication that is not merely that anything published is notable, it is that anything which is published in sufficient depth in the proper sources is suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia in some manner. Requirements of sourcing are universal, and don't "go away" merely because sufficient time has not passed since the event. The fact that something happened yesterday or last year or 1,000 years ago does not change the existence or non-existence of sufficient source text. If the source text is sufficient, what more is needed?
  • Regarding #2: This is an issue which is true for all sources, and for all text across Wikipedia. It isn't unique to new news. Accuracy at Wikipedia is only as good as interest, and we have thousands of articles on old subjects which are based on outdated, inaccurate, or outright false information right now. That is not restricted to new stories. It's not a good thing, mind you, but it's also not a problem unique to recent events, which means setting some artificial time limit on when a topic becomes "eligible" for Wikipedia wouldn't fix the problem.
--Jayron32 17:00, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Then there's Stonehenge, old and forgotten, but continually in the news since the dawn of the Internet. Authorities now believe the perpetrators "ate food from Scotland". Wikipedia neither confirms nor denies these latest allegations. InedibleHulk (talk) 02:49, October 23, 2017 (UTC)
When we do it well, we do it really well. Sources of breaking news are not merely cited, they are in-line attributed "The town sheriff was reported on CNN as saying it was almost certainly the work of werewolves." Meanwhile we often find news outlets are quoting each other and rumour as fact.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:36, 16 October 2017 (UTC).

Food for thought

It seems to me the point of NOTNEWS is to weed out overly detailed summaries of events. Some events can only be described by such, and the litmus test appears to be that if that's what it takes to elevate an event to Wikipedia-style coverage, it's not worthy of inclusion here. To be frank, the policy seems fine to me, but then, what do I know? I won't add it above because I feel like there's something missing here, something I don't quite have the time to wade through the discussion to see. I think NOTNEWS also transcends merely creating new articles for things, as it also dictates what we add to articles we already have. Such articles' subjects have already been vetted to be describable on a more notable, more general level where it's more about impact than merely, "This happened." What we must think of when we add something to Wikipedia, especially concerning the tense sociopolitical climate of the last few years, is whether anyone outside of our sphere would care. Would someone in Uganda care about Trump's latest gaffe? After awhile, are a certain person's gaffes even worthy of tracking, or are they simply the noise that person makes as they walk by? Especially with the rise of social media and, sigh, Twitter, meme-ifying things has reached critical mass to the point that we must ask what even makes a meme anymore. Things that trend don't always deserve to trend, and wouldn't trend again once the event in question was over. If the world has largely moved on, if the world doesn't care about the specifics, then we should move on too, and we shouldn't care either. And if we choose to cover newsworthy-but-questionably-Wikipedia-worthy things, we have to tie it into a greater whole. Understandably, anytime a President goofs, it reflects on his character, so one could make the argument that whatever seemingly boneheaded thing Trump just did deserves to be covered, even mocked, by Wikipedia. But we must also ask whether such a mistake, if it were even one to start with, reflects on his Presidential qualities. Would he be any better at his job if he were never prone to such a thing? That's difficult to answer, but now I'm rambling, so my point there is that smaller, less-notable things have to truly, and of course verifiably, be tied into a greater whole that adds to the depth of our coverage of a subject. Article length or the cumulative data of coverage by a particular WikiProject are not enough to assert such depth. Therefore, my understanding is that this policy is intended to help us trim the fat off topics, or fight harder to prove why we should care and how the fat is actually a valuable part of the cut of meat, so to speak. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 03:51, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

The litmus test is "are there independent and actually secondary sources that indicate this is notable and accurate?" The sourcing is key. The assumption "newspapers/news site are secondary" is false when it comes to breaking-news reportage, which is just regurgitation of speculation, hearsay, and unverified witness claims – it is primary sourcing.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:10, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
That's disagreeable on some accords, as news sources are usually written in a second-person perspective, even if the news is breaking. One if the problems with WP:NOTNEWS is that users often forget that articles about events covered mainly by news sources are usually required to be written encyclopedically anyways; there are too many remedies in place at this moment to fix most, if not all, of the problems presented with articles about current events. ToThAc (talk) 19:40, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

Narrowing down the poll

It seems that there might be a consensus to increase how BLP applies to recent events. Therefore, I propose a poll to see whether people would be ok with having BLP modified so that the suspects in incidents in which people were killed would not be put in to article until 3 or 4 days after the incident. If you would support this, but with some other time limit, please say so and please say what time limit. RileyBugz会話投稿記録 20:19, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose. Moratoriums like this are arbitrary and impossible to enforce, and of little to no relation to the confidence we have in the validity of what reliable sources report. With some events, the facts are immediately clear and never in dispute, with others years may go by without official consensus on who did what. We should follow the sources in either case and discuss our concerns in relation to each topic. postdlf (talk) 20:31, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Huh? There is no consensus to do anything at this point except continue this pointless exercise. Coretheapple (talk) 21:29, 5 October 2017 (UTC)*
  • Oppose. I agree that BLP should be modified but it would be best to tie it to an event such as an arrest or criminal conviction. I've seen countless discussions over whether or not we can identify a suspect who has been charged but not yet convicted. We should answer that question and apply it consistently everywhere instead of discussing it repeatedly on Talk pages. –dlthewave 22:12, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Huh? I second User:Coretheapple in seeing no consensus here.E.M.Gregory (talk) 23:18, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Yeah, there is no consensus here. Hobit (talk) 23:53, 25 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Nope. Agreed with all of the above comments, including dlthewave's clarification.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:11, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:12, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

Summary of NOT#NEWS straw poll

With the current state of this poll at the time of this writing, there's clearly no mandate to alter policy or guidelines for the handling of recent event articles. NOT#NEWS does remain a valid policy, but it has to be metered appropriately - we shouldn't be using NOT#NEWS to bite newbies or those attempting to write on breaking news stories, but at the same time, it has strength that should be used to review such articles after time has past to frame the event and content better to be more encyclopedic, and in some cases, deleting those events that turned out to be non-events.

That said, combined with the previous RFC at WT:NOT that led to this, I think the next most immediate and appropriate step is to develop a guideline that is the equivalent of Writing about Fiction, but tailored towards writing news stories. Some of the facets of this guiieline would be:

  • How to interpret the nature of sources (primary, secondary; enduring coverage versus a burst of coverage, etc.) in relationship to the GNG and NEVENT, as to determine if an event article should be created or how to handle that in deletion discussions.
  • That articles on breaking events may be more proseline-ish and documenting details as the event starts, but are expected to transition to more holistic/overarching coverage of the event once the event has settled down. We do want to encourage editors to create articles on current events but also encourage those same editors to shape the article over time rather than just move on to the next current event.
  • That editors should keep in mind WP:RECENTISM when determining what facts and views to include in a breaking-event article to avoid the short-term bias that can arise in the current news cycle, and that sometimes it is better to wait for dust to settle to try to figure out the opinions of the event per UNDUE/WEIGHT.

There's likely other factors that can be included in this too. None of these points would introduce new ideas or conflict with the existing P&G as written, only to provide more clarity and a type of MOS for news articles, so that newer editors that are drawn to writing about current events have some type of guide to work from. It at least addresses many points raised by those !voting options #2 and #1 above without ignoring the concerns many of the option #3 !voters raised.

There could be other steps - again, revival of Wikinews still seems to be an option on the table, but that's going to take a lot more discussion and thought. It would be best to see if providing more comprehensive guidance on writing about current events would help address concerns raised before moving onto other steps. --MASEM (t) 17:18, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

"...we shouldn't be using NOT#NEWS to bite newbies or those attempting to write on breaking news stories, but at the same time, it has strength that should be used to review such articles after time has past to frame the event and content better to be more encyclopedic, and in some cases, deleting those events that turned out to be non-events." Well said. postdlf (talk) 18:09, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Rename the Notability guideline

  • The dictionary definition (according to Google Define - based on the Oxford Dictionary):
noun: notability

    the fact or quality of being notable.
    "the village enjoys a notability out of all relation to its size"
    synonyms:   noteworthiness, momentousness, memorability, impressiveness, extraordinariness;
    prominence, importance, significance, eminence;
    fame, publicity, renown, notoriety, stature, media attention/interest
    "the village has always enjoyed a notability out of all relation to its size"

        a famous or important person.
        plural noun: notabilities
        "a Fleet Street notability"
        synonyms:       celebrity, public figure, important person, VIP, personality, personage, notable, dignitary, leading light, star, superstar, name,
        big name, famous name, household name; lion, worthy, grandee, luminary, panjandrum;
        informal: celeb, somebody, bigwig, big shot, big noise, big cheese, big gun, big fish, biggie, heavy, megastar;
        informal: nob;
        informal: kahuna, macher, high muckamuck, high muckety-muck
        "the enterprise enjoyed the patronage of notabilities and aristocrats"
        antonyms:       nonentity
  • Our definition (simplest definition - WP:GNG):
"If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list."
  • Issue: Any word we could use would cause a similar issue, as all words have a established meaning already, notability is sort of close to our usage, so nothing seems better.
  • Possible Solution: Invent a new neologism specifically for this purpose. Or, change an existing word to show it is not being used with its normal use - example: Wikinotability, or Wikirelevance (adding Wiki to the word makes it clear we are using it for a specific purpose. Like how we are an encyclopedia called Wiki - pedia. showing how we are better than a normal encyclopedia. This could be taken further to: Wikiability, or Wikivance, these are clearly created to be diffrent, rather than just adding Wiki. We have alreaady done this with words such as 'Wikilinks'.
The only disadvantage is that people would need to read the policy to know what it means, so it would require editors to use more Wikilinks to allow easy reference, this could be solved by a template (like {{WPN}} which would subst: a wikilink in place without having to type it out in full.
Dysklyver 08:31, 1 October 2017 (UTC)


  • Oppose any change, obviously; as clear a solution to a non-existent problem as ever I've seen. The actual definition of "notability" used at WP:N (worthy of notice) tallies with the actual definition in the OED as opposed to "Google Define - based on the Oxford Dictionary" (Noteworthiness, distinction, prominence; an instance of this). There are justifiable discussions to be had over some of the terminology used by Wikipedia, such as "reliable", but "notability" is clearly the best word to use to describe "de we consider something notable?". ‑ Iridescent 08:58, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
I assume you are aware that the notability policy is stated as being the requirement for sources, rather than the subject being 'worthy of notice', for example: My granddad was a highly prominent judge, community leader of distinction etc, definitely 'worthy of notice', yet there are no surviving reliable sources that mention him at all. According to your definition, he would pass WP:N.
My argument is primarily based on WP:WHYN, which is relevant reading and explains how the WP:N policy is based on WP:V, the requirement for WP:N does not include the requirement for something to be notable (which is an exact synonym of 'eminence & fame'). This is a separate consensus often used at the same time.
Your assertion here is based primarily on a relented consensus based on WP:NOT (don't include everything that is verifiable as Wikipedia is not a indiscriminate collection of information), this is not part of the notability guideline itself, although it could become so given it's widespread use.
Your comment only reinforces the point that the notability guideline is often confused with the actual definition, and that it needs to be dealt with, I would not put this forward if it were a non-issue. Obviously you can easily understand the guidelines, as most people posting on this board do, but this is not clear to newcomers. Dysklyver 09:31, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
WHYN is not part of the guideline as such.  Historically, people had the idea to make WP:N a content guideline, but the idea doesn't work.  The idea is circular reasoning, that a topic is notable if there is an article for it on Wikipedia.  The idea also competes with our core content policies, including DEL7 within deletion policy.  Unscintillating (talk) 10:46, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
How is WHYN not part of the guideline? It certainly is part of the guideline, since it is included in the guideline page, and is there by consensus. There is nothing on that page that says - "this is not part of the guideline" or "this is only FYi". This is the kind of stuff that confuses new Wikipedians, not the word "notability". --Steve Quinn (talk) 02:59, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, I don't see how/why another word, or a neologism would be clearer than a particular reading of an existing term. I know there is sometimes confusion when something is borderline notable, but I don't believe this would help, since the 'confusion' is often caused by editors preferring their own definition to WP's. Pincrete (talk) 11:45, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • see [2]. Dysklyver 13:08, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Attempts to rename "notability" basically are perennial proposals that have never gone through because of how ingrained the term is here. --MASEM (t) 13:13, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Do I wish we had come up with a different title back when we created the guideline... yup. WP:Notedness (for example) would have more accurately described the concept that we were trying to express - that a topic needs to have been already noted by sources, as opposed to the topic being "worthy of notice"). However, that is water long under the bridge. It is too late to change the title now. A rename would cause more confusion than it would resolve. Blueboar (talk) 13:57, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
I suggest seppuku.[FBDB] EEng 22:06, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
Dying for change....ClubOranjeT 01:09, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - are you all blind? this is fooling new Wikipedians, I was fooled until recently. Suggestion, change to "Sourceability" - ZLEA (Talk,Contribs) 20:08, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm blatantly canvassing for contributions to my stub essay WP:Noted not notable. EEng 22:44, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Noted is still "crap", its literally meaning is well known; famous. noted define, I prefer basic Wiki-Notability. Dysklyver 22:48, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • "Wikinotability" might work.  I tried using lower case "wp:notability" for a while, but more recently I've been using "Wikipedia notability".  That would be another proposal to rename the guideline, too, WP:Wikipedia notabilityUnscintillating (talk) 10:59, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • We could spell it backwards, ytilibaton (ybaton for short), and maybe then every sportsperson who walks onto a professional field will have to do just a little more to earn their ytilibaton. Randy Kryn (talk) 12:03, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
    • On a side note, sports-specific guidelines for league-based sports do not presume that all professional players meet English Wikipedia's standards for having an article. Only players from specific leagues (either by name or by their level of competition) qualify for this presumption. Additionally, sports-specific guidelines explicitly defer to the general notability guideline, and so the existence of an article can be challenged on the basis that the general notability guideline is not met. Admittedly it is a difficult matter to prove, given English Wikipedia's lack of a deadline to complete articles. isaacl (talk) 03:30, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Notability is already part of the culture and seems adequate. —PaleoNeonate – 02:00, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I agree that "notability" serves our purpose. A change to a neologism is a good idea, but it is no better than "notability". Too bad this idea for a neologism didn't win the day when the content policies and WP:N were morphing and flexing many years ago. "Notability" is ingrained in our culture. If in practice we were drifting away from what we do now then this would be grounds for a change.
And has been pointed out, "notability" is no better or worse than any other word - because they all have common definitions. New Wikipedians should not have a problem with this if they take the time to read WP:N all the way through and even study it for more than five minutes, and click on some of the wikilinks there. And I like the fact that we are in agreement with the OED definition. Steve Quinn (talk) 02:38, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • As coincidence may have, I just received a query on my talk page asking if a topic was now "noticeable enough" and had "significant attention" to have the article restored I deleted a while ago. That plus comments I regularly see at AfD indicate that "notability" may indeed be ambiguous enough for people less familiar to mistake it for "famous" or the like (fame often implies to coverage by non-reliable sources, so it isn't exactly synonymous). I don't know is "sourceable" is necessarily better though. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:03, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - A lot is going on right now in terms of policy change discussions here, this shouldn't take priority. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 15:17, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment The OED definition of "notable" has been mentioned above "Worthy of attention or notice; remarkable." [3]. defines "notable" as:
  1. "worthy of note or notice; noteworthy"
  2. "prominent, important, or distinguished"
  3. "a prominent, distinguished, or important person" [4]
It seems to me this is what we strive for while editing on Wikipedia. It does not seem to be a mistake that "notability" was selected. ---Steve Quinn (talk) 04:06, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - "Inclusion criteria" would be a much better way of describing what we currently call notability. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 00:02, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
    @Ajraddatz: being notable isn't our only "inclusion criteria" (e.g. WP:V is also an inclusion criterion), perhaps something else? — xaosflux Talk 00:36, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
    It might make sense then to merge the two into a page entitled "inclusion criteria", i.e. to meet a certain standard of importance and to have reliable sources confirming that standard. Now, I have no expectation of the community wanting this to happen. But "notability" is one of those words we love to use here (along with "need" at RfXs, as if anyone needed any advanced permissions) that I don't think accurately reflects to the public what we want it to. When we say the subject of an article should be notable, we mean that the subject should meet a certain guideline of importance that we have established in order to be included. Notability as an idea is heavily subjective, and using a word or phrase that better reflects the fact that we have established a guideline by consensus would seem ideal to me. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 05:03, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
    How about "Importance" - sort of the same problem as notability, it is not easily "measured" though. — xaosflux Talk 02:35, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
    Xaosflux, this feels like the appropriate spot to insert my standard complaint that people misunderstand that the GNG is not about importance, it is about verifiability (WP:V). The SNGs are about importance (WP:NOTINDISCRIMINATE), and any real notability reform will be in a direction that leads us towards a more robust system of subject-specific criteria that help us determine notability/importance, with the GNG serving really as a test of WP:V. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:00, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I understand the intent behind this proposal. There are frequent conversations where editors have to explain the difference between wiki notions of notability and wider understanding of that term. That said, wiki-notability is merely a subset of general notability with a tighter and (slightly) more-objective definition. This is a common feature of the English language and creating a neologism to bridge the gap won't solve it. We'll still be explaining what "Wikiability" or whatever means to others. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 02:53, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose pointless as of now because we are still working out the tensions within WP:N between the GNG and the SNGs. Until we have a system like I described in my reply to Xaosflux above, the notability guideline will continue to be in tension with itself because it is a guideline trying to explain how we apply two independent policies. Notability is a trade term within Wikipedia, and there is no need to change it until we further refine our guidelines for inclusion. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:00, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If it ain't broke... -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:30, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It took a long time to arrive at "notability" and a WP contextual definition of it, and it's working well enough for our purposes. Its ingrained into WP lingo and process today, and changing it would start way more fires than doing so would put out. See Wikipedia:Notability/Historical (which I compiled; you're welcome. :-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  01:21, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Its amazing how many "notable" people for whom there are Wikipedia pages apparently don't care for having their picture taken given how many "BLP" articles exist without a single "image" of the "notable" subject. Then again, it's interesting how many articles are lousy with images to the point where they make infomercials look "encyclopedic" too. Equally amazing is how a "non-notable" subject is important enough to justify anywhere from paragraphs to pages of arguments against the "notability" of that subject. Kinda hard to understand how so many exalted encyclopedia-building editors consider themselves the authorities on "notability" but need to spend vast amounts of time telling "noobs" why the subject of their new article isn't "notable" to them. Of course those exalted "editors" rarely EDIT anything. They'd be more accurately referred to as "deleters" or maybe "censors". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:29, 23 October 2017‎ (UTC)
    See Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria policy. That lack of images is because they have to be available under a open, free-use license, which the vast majority of celebrity and politician and whatever images are not. Basically, someone who is a Wikipedian needs to take one, or someone who isn't has to release one they've taken, under a very permissive license (which often happens at Flickr, thus the large number of Flickr-sourced images here).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:26, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • moral support I really want to change away from the word "Notability", but until we get a better word, there is no point. Hobit (talk) 02:07, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

Change suicide references to remove criminal allusion

While there is no policy against using a different phrase in any given article, there is insufficient support to modify policy so it prohibits the phrase "commit/ted/ting suicide". Dennis Brown - 19:03, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
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.

The woman who wrote the article below makes a good case for not using 'committed/committing suicide'. I suggest changing all references to suicide to something that no longer relates it to a crime. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ServelanBlake (talkcontribs) 15:50, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

No objection. "Completed suicide" is an odd-sounding neologism, but "died by suicide" is neutral and understandable. I expect the change could be implemented in existing articles by AutoWikiBot: Noyster (talk), 18:59, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't see why the use of "committed" matters. Which transitive verb we use doesn't change what implications, legal or otherwise, are raised in a given context by the fact of suicide. postdlf (talk) 19:13, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. I've seen this language before several times and while it's nice if it helps her understand her brother's death, it's not like anyone else has some preconceived notion that "committing" suicide makes it a crime anymore than "committing" to a football team or a spouse is a crime. There are all kinds of scenarios where we say "committing" outside of crimes. Plus, someone may well think that suicide should be a crime and there are plenty of places where it is. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 19:37, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm opposed to using Wikipedia for language reform, however well-intentioned. As long as the sources keep saying "committed", there should be no general proscription against it in Wikipedia. --Trovatore (talk) 19:41, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
English sources tend to avoid the word committed. See for example BBC Editorial Guidelines, the National Union of Journalists guidance or the Samaritans reporting guidance. Because of these kinds of strong guidance (from organisations that are keen to protect freedom of speech) UK sources tends to avoid the committed word. DanBCDanBC (talk) 18:22, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Strong oppose as per Trovatore. power~enwiki (π, ν) 21:33, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Strong oppose. I don't object to editors using or encouraging this, but I do object to mandating specific usage project-wide. –dlthewave 22:03, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Oppose... I don't think the phrase "committed suicide" implies a crime. One can also "commit an act of heroism". Blueboar (talk) 22:15, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Not finding these arguments persuasive.
You may find the odd counter-example but to "commit" an act mostly has a negative connotation. My Concise Oxford says "Be doer of, perpetrate (crime, sin, blunder)..." so in saying "commit suicide" we are employing a non-neutral description. Whether or not we ourselves take this negative view of a deed, it's still non-neutral.
And as for (reliable) sources, we draw on these for our facts, not necessarily for our precise wording.
I didn't read the OP as asking to make any specific usage mandatory, but politely suggesting a change to one specific non-neutral usage: Noyster (talk), 07:49, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
@Noyster: "Commit" a sin/crime is no doubt one of several connotations of the word but when someone "commits" code to a repository, I don't think of it as criminal. Again, I don't think any of us in common speech think that since someone "committed" suicide, he "committed" a crime but conversely, there are places where suicide is a crime. Whether we are claiming some criminal intent or not, it's a quirk of the language that this is still by far the most common way in English to say that someone killed himself (other than possibly "he killed himself" but that is also ambiguous to accidental deaths) and I think simply does not have the connotations the author of the above piece claims, even if they actually did have that basis etymologically. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 08:07, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
In England the coroner returns a verdict of suicide only if they are satisfied he person killed themselves and had the intent to do so, and the coroner has to be satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt. So it's usually more correct (following the sources) to say that someone killed themselves rather than they died by suicide. DanBCDanBC (talk) 18:22, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Wholly agree with you, Justin. Also, just to clarify, if the death occurred at a time and in a place when suicide was a crime, would normal procedure not be to preserve that wording anyway, as being historically more accurate? Martinevans123 (talk) 08:56, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
I also agree. "Committed suicide" is a normal English formulation, and "commit" does not always have criminal connotations. One can commit to making a delivery by a deadline, for example, or be committed to a psychiatric institution, neither of which carries any connotation of anything criminal at all. Someone also brought up committing source code, another common use that implies no crime or wrongdoing. Seraphimblade Talk to me 21:01, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
I agree that we don't need to follow RSs for precise wording. That's not the point. The point is we shouldn't use WP for language reform. Let's assume for the sake of argument that it would be better for the language to change to avoid the word "commit" here. That's not Wikipedia's role. We follow general (high status) usage; we don't promote it, no matter how high-minded the reasons. --Trovatore (talk) 07:32, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia should follow common usage, and common use in the UK is to avoid the committed word. DanBCDanBC (talk) 18:22, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
How do you reconcile that with Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Words to watch? ―Mandruss  09:02, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
I don't see any attempts at language reform being promoted in that guideline. --Trovatore (talk) 10:11, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
Well I fail to see the distinction. That guideline says we should avoid the use of certain words regardless of what reliable sources say. How that is somehow not under your language reform umbrella is lost on me. Is the difference that "commit suicide" is such a common phrase? ―Mandruss  10:24, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
WP:WORDS clearly says that there are no forbidden words or terms on Wikipedia. Yes, the words and phrases outlined in that guideline should be used with caution, but they can still be used when appropriate. Blueboar (talk) 10:40, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
@Mandruss, yes. A simple web news search for commits suicide shows it to be common usage. While some words have specific connotations in some contexts, this only has those connotations when used in the context of sin or crime. In this context it's context only suggest that they completed the act of suicide. I'm going to commit this thread to memory before it gets committed to the archive where I'll never find it again. ClubOranjeT 10:55, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
It's not in common use in UK. DanBCDanBC (talk) 18:22, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

Mandruss, the difference here is that the motivation appears to be to change the English language at large. Some people don't want Wikipedia to say "commits suicide" because really they don't want anyone to say it. That's not style, that's political correctness. Wikipedia should not be used to promote that. --Trovatore (talk) 20:07, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
No, I want wikipedia to reflect language the sources use, and it currently doesn't in the UK. DanBCDanBC (talk) 18:22, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Several commenters here don't seem to perceive a difference between "committing an act" and "committing something to a place or object". And I don't see the proposal as trying to right some great linguistic wrong, like mandating "xe/xir" or something that isn't already an accepted usage. I see it as raising the question "are we using a neutral description in our articles?": Noyster (talk), 15:11, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
We are not here to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS, not that I think the phrase "commit suicide" constitutes a "wrong", and we are not expected to WP:ADVOCATE for anything, not even the Right to die. Bus stop (talk) 16:07, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • *Oppose. Not only is this rehash of in-depth WT:MOSWTW discussion from just a few weeks ago (with no consensus that "committed suicide" implies a crime), this same discussion has now forked to WT:MOS, and Talk:David Reimer, and who knows where else. The phrase "committed suicide" is the normal, everyday, idiomatic expression in English. Many alternatives are awkward, or dwell overmuch on the exact cause of death (which can also trigger WP:NOR problems). I'll just copy-paste what I said at the article talk page:

    "Committed suicide" is normal English and does not imply criminality ("commit" has multiple meanings in English - one should commit to committing them to memory). It is by far the most common construction, which is easily provable [5]. "Died by suicide" is actually quite rare (surely owning to its archaic awkwardness, shades of "died by [his/her] own hand", "died by misadventure", etc.). "Killed [him|her]self" (combined) have a bit less than 50% the usage rate in modern works as "committed suicide". There are other ways to write this sort of thing, like "death was ruled a suicide" (if we have official reports that say so), and rearranging the sentence: "His/her suicide ...". There are others (see Suicide terminology), but most of them are awkward. We've spent too many cycles on too many pages arguing about this. People who think that "commit suicide" auto-implies a crime are just flat-out wrong as a matter of English language usage, but in the end do we really care? It's easier and faster to re-word than to keep arguing about this on page after page for the next decade. But "died by suicide" is pretty much the last option; virtually no reliable sources use it other than a few newspapers who've jumped onto the oversensitivity pandering bandwagon. This "died by suicide" stuff is the advocacy position of a particular organization [6]; pushing it here is a WP:NPOV policy problem. While we should not revert rewordings of "committed suicide" that are actual improvements (and "died by suicide" is not, or way more than around 1% of sources would use it), programmatic editwarring against "committed suicide" has to stop. This is rapidly approaching disruptive editing levels, and is a major drain on editorial productivity. It's consumed probably several hundred editorial person-hours just in the last couple of months. [End copied post.]
     — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:02, 8 October 2017 (UTC); revised and expanded: 02:08, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose as "commit" is the most common way to say it. It may or may not be a crime, but commit does not imply either way, it means that the choice has been made and cannot be reversed. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 09:22, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - following the OP's logic, every edit to Wikipedia would be seen as a criminal act... COMMIT (SQL). Cabayi (talk) 09:46, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment A commitment can be seen as a deed which is not necessarily criminal. A marriage is an example of a commitment is it not, even if it is not mentioned, it's still a deed. A commitment to suicide doesn't imply criminal, simply a deed weather good or bad.--NadirAli نادر علی (talk) 20:37, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose commit is a perfectly normal word which in no way implies criminality. --Jayron32 20:41, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Clear widely used phrase which is normally accepted as neutral. Alsee (talk) 09:52, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. What bothers me at times is not the phrase but when it is written as if it were a certainty. Often the actual documents are more circumspect, and so at times I think it is better to say presumptive suicide, ruled a suicide, etc. The reason why this seems important to me is that I tend to believe that dumb people commit murders, smart people commit suicides... Wnt (talk) 17:09, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
    • @Wnt: To be sure, there will definitely be times where it is ambiguous and in such cases, it's fair to write that something was ruled or considered a suicide but discuss why/how others disagree--that's what NPOV is all about, really. In many cases, this is not a matter of dispute and in those cases,, easily the most common phrasing is "[x] committed suicide". ―Justin (koavf)TCM 06:06, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. On Wikipedia, we use the English language as it is used, not as we might want it to be used. There is nothing wrong with saying "committed suicide". -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:28, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia is not here for language reform, and the underlying motivation for this attempt is based on faulty reasoning anyway. oknazevad (talk) 22:39, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per common usage, and per Trovatore (corollary: using WP for language reform is a sub-branch of WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS), and per Graeme Bartlett ("commit" merely implies an irreversible choice in the past, not a crime). Mathglot (talk) 06:21, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

Note: This voting section was started following a discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style#Use_of_.22died_by_suicide.22_at_the_David_Reimer_article, where arguments for an against various aspects of terminology where being discussion. Please refer to that discussion for in-depth points from both sides of the argument, and less of a strawman. Also note that the preceding vote section is potentially WP:FORUMSHOPPING as voting had begun at WT:MOS. Carl Fredrik talk 20:45, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

No, it WASN'T. This discussion started on OCTOBER 5. The first formal vote was given on OCTOBER 8. It's right above us. I can read the date myself, as can you. Your discussion started OCTOBER 30. Under no reasonable definition can you say your discussion started before this vote. Just quit it. The discussion here is older, and covers substantively the same issue as the later discussion. Protocol says we don't split discussions up. It this discussion cannot have been FORUMSHOPPING if it predated the other one by 25/22 days! Just stop embarassing yourself. It's simply awful. --Jayron32 10:36, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
I read the timestamp in the comment, which explicitly reads Nov 1, so this is an issue arising through an idiosyncractic timestamp. However I still don't think this thread is going anywhere, and is simply a bunch of oppose votes piling up against what is essentially a strawman argument. See the WT:MOS discussion for a more thorough discussion of the issues, and which terminology professional organizations suggest using. Carl Fredrik talk 15:30, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm afraid you're using the word "strawman" incorrectly. It is not a synonym for "people who disagree with me". --Jayron32 12:28, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
I can't see that it matters. It's being discussed in multiple places, but in all of them it's clear that there is not going to be any consensus to impose the "died by suicide" formulation. --Trovatore (talk) 21:11, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:RGW. If the language usage changes, we can follow that, but we are not in the business of leading change: we simply report it. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:50, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above, esp. Graeme Bartlett and Tryptofish. Happy days, LindsayHello 13:19, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose because I'm not willing to "commit" to such a proposal. Huggums537 (talk) 19:48, 15 November 2017 (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.

WP:NOTMEMORIAL and victim lists in tragedy articles

Currently, WP:NOTMEMORIAL states that "Wikipedia is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, acquaintances, or others who do not meet [the requirements at WP:BLP]". Many, including myself, have interpreted this as prohibiting lists of victims in the articles of tragedies. However, many others disagreed, and in June 2016 there was a discussion as to whether to add such a list to 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. In the closing statement, it was suggested that while there is a precedent to include such lists, such precedent may conflict with NOTMEMORIAL, and a separate RfC should be held about the general interpretation of the NOTMEMORIAL and to determine whether or not a list of victims violates the policy. Indeed, local consensus for 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting was "to allow the list untill it is either removed to a separate article or a higher level consensus abolishes the use of such lists acrosss wikipedia" [sic]. The full closing statement by Maunus is below for reference:

I count 22 !votes to include vs. 16 to exclude. However, several arguments for excluding are temporary opening the possibility of having separate page listing the victims. The argument against is WP:NOTMEMORIAL, which suggests that wikipedia should not memorialize people who are not themselves notable biographic subjects. Arguments for allowing, suggest that WP:MEMORIAL does not apply to embedded lists in articles, and point out the precedentfor having such lists in other articles about mass shootings. I think that there is a conflict between WP:MEMORIAL and the existing precendent, but this should be addressed in a separate RfC about the general interpretation of the WP:MEMORIAL. In such an RfC i would vote to exclude lists of victims in articles on mass deaths (especially given the inequal possibilities afforded different kinds of victims in different pats of the world), but in this case the local consensus regarding this article in specific is to allow the list untill it is either removed to a separate article or a higher level consensus abolishes the use of such lists acrosss wikipedia.

That brings us here. I propose that we add a line to WP:NOTMEMORIAL that would prohibit listing individual victims of tragedies if they do not meet our notability guidelines and/or WP:BLP. This would apply to not just lists, but general naming of non-notable victims as well, either in the article or as a separate article. This proposal, if approved, would also override any local consensus and precedents. SkyWarrior 04:53, 7 October 2017 (UTC)


  • Support as nominator. SkyWarrior 04:53, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per WP:BIO1E and just generally out of respect. If all we can write about a person's entire life is that they died, we should not write about them. I've done a lot in my life, none of it notable, but if I die in a terrorism incident and that's the only thing you ever write about me, I will haunt your ass. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:24, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Naming non-notable victims is a horrible and blatant invasion of privacy (and WP:BLP), as well as a bizarre misuse of Wikipedia. Softlavender (talk) 03:07, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support More specifically, I agree there are times they are appropriate as to understanding whatever the tragedy was, but we should be considering those exception, with the rule to avoid inclusion of victim lists in general. Hence I support the general idea, just that we need the "with exception" cavaet. --MASEM (t) 14:12, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Conditional support, "I support the general idea, just that we need the "with exception" caveat" per Masem. Therefore wording should indicate ' ordinarily avoid', rather than 'ban' such lists. Per others, these lists fulfil no real purpose, except sentimental memorialising. Pincrete (talk) 15:01, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Not a fan of victim lists in general. SparklingPessimist Scream at me! 02:54, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm not a fan of Pessimists so does that mean we get rid of you ? .... No ofcourse it doesn't, You either need to provide a better rationale other than WP:IDONTLIKEIT or strike the entire thing. –Davey2010Talk 21:02, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Not only is this a pretty blatant violation of WP:NOTMEMORIAL, there are WP:BLP concerns here. Unless these people are independently WP:notable, it's a dubious call to be archiving their names in our articles in this fashion; I don't think the value a list of names adds to understanding the substance and context of a tragedy (as an encyclopedic topic) is significant enough to justify dragging the identities of these people (and by consequence, their families) into an article. Needless to say, the equation changes with enough WP:WEIGHT in the sources--with the important caveat that weight in this instance means more than just a handful of sources repeating the names: there would need to be a certain baseline depth of coverage as well. And even then, we would have prose detail for anyone who is genuinely WP:DUE for inclusion, not a mere listing. Snow let's rap 06:52, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, as general rule, allowing for exceptions, as others have already explained. - Nabla (talk) 20:57, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per Snow Rise. The case-by-case discussion should be limited to whether the victims are independently notable, and that is already a provision of this proposal. There is little need for case-by-case discussion about anything else. Those discussions invariably have more to do with interpretation of NOTMEMORIAL than about the specifics of the article, and article talk is not the place to have such discussions. Further, the notion that name-listing in RS is all we need to list these names is in direct conflict with WP:BLPNAME. ―Mandruss  19:18, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. If information isn't encyclopedic, it shouldn't be in the encyclopedia. There are opposes arguing for a "case by case" treatment, but no evidence of a "case" where such a list would be encyclopedic. —swpbT go beyond 17:48, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Lists of victims do not add to encyclopedic understanding of the topic at hand. We can link to sites that keep lists of the victims. This is the job of a newspaper, not an encyclopedia. Also, I know it may seem anomalous in today's world of social networking sites and reality TV, but some people may wish to keep their grieving private, without involving the entirety of the internet. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 05:19, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I've read the support and oppose views and I find the support views much more persuasive. It doesn't seem like the actual names of the victims provides much encyclopedic information to me. What do the names, by themselves, add? It seems like, at least with respect to non-notable people, that a summary of the number of victims and their ages and genders or religions or whatever else is relevant provides all of the encyclopedic information that anyone would need. We also have no idea whether the victims or their families want to be publicized in this way; I am guessing some of them don't; and Wikipedia isn't organized in a way that would allow those families to make an effective plea for privacy (I don't think there's a warning template "don't mention this particular victim" and even if there was its use would defeat the purpose of not publicizing the name). I think this privacy problem is the best reason to have the suggested rule. I am still quasi-traumatized about the ISIS victims whose families pleaded to Wikipedia for privacy and were mostly ignored. (I'm not actually traumatized, but it wasn't a good moment for us.) The objection "we don't need a blanket rule because we couldn't imagine every circumstance" is weak because the reason we have WP:IAR is to allow people to ignore rules when their justifications don't make sense. Also, to me, that particular objection seems more like "I don't like the WP:NOTMEMORIAL policy in the first place" (a bad reason to oppose this proposal without some stated actual objection to the policy) not "we might want to make exceptions to WP:NOTMEMORIAL." We can make exceptions to any blanket prohibition established here using WP:IAR as necessary where circumstances warrant it. There are other silly justifications made by opposers, like "you could use a list of victims to see that everyone killed in the École Polytechnique massacre was a woman." It would be much easier for a reader to find that out by reading a sentence that said just that than would be to try to discern from a list of French names that everyone killed was a woman. Another oddity is how just posting the list of victims ignores the people who were injured, sometimes severely, but not killed. Wouldn't any justification for listing the names of victims also apply equally to people that are injured? One example of the problems of only listing the dead and not the injured is that you would have no idea that men were also targeted in the École Polytechnique massacre unless you read the article, which mentions the gender of everyone that was hurt, not consult the list of names of victims – which ignores people only maimed. Overall, I see no encyclopedic benefit to the list of names. AgnosticAphid talk 23:10, 2 November 2017 (UTC)


  • Oppose. This should be handled case by case, not by a blanket global prohibition. Seraphimblade Talk to me 05:03, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Totally agree that this is something that is handled case by case. A full on ban would be ignoring situations that we simply can't anticipate today. Dennis Brown - 11:01, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Case-by-case consideration is the best way to go. The phrase "victims of tragedies" covers far too broad and far too diverse a population for the proposed rule. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 11:50, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose This should be handled case by case. At a minimum BLP1E (or similar) cases should be mentioned. If victims of a notable event are mentioned/listed as part of reliable coverage of said event, it makes sense that we mention them as well. A prohibition would go against the intention of WP:MEMORIAL. Agathoclea (talk) 12:11, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above. postdlf (talk) 13:47, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above. HastyBriar321 (talk) 02:27, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Seraphimblade. I'll also add that this is especially true if reliable sources have produced such lists. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 01:36, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per above - Should be done case-by-case, As noted by Agathoclea if they're mentioned in reliable sources = Include them, if not = don't. –Davey2010Talk 02:59, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per "case by case" arguments. Similarly oppose "name them if RS names them", and I certainly hope that doesn't make it into the close statement. RS almost always names them because their mission is very different from ours. As for the language at WP:MEMORIAL, name lists in a handful of news articles do not make the individuals notable; if they did, we would have bio articles on those individuals; there is only one notability threshold. ―Mandruss  06:46, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose weakly. (Summoned by bot) It has to be a case by case, anything else will just cause trouble, not guidance. L3X1 (distænt write) 16:13, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose . (Summoned by bot) Depends on the tragedy. Should not be a blanket rule, should be case-by-case. Coretheapple (talk) 15:34, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose If the names are verifiable / covered in reliable sources, then it could be part of the article. Each article should be considered on the merit of including such a list. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 09:19, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I see no reason not to list where the subjects are verifiable with reliable source. Consider 1940 Canberra air disaster. Four of those killed are very notable indeed; the four aircrew are not. But I think the article is best served by their inclusion. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:28, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Case by case basis is needed. If they are mentioned in a reliable source I fail to see any argument against their inclusion. Nihlus 18:45, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose This issue came into sharp relief after the 11 Sept 2001 attacks (we eventually created an entire wiki which is now mothballed). I am in general cautiously against including lists of victims, particularly long lists, it adds very little. There are cases, though, where even non-notable names are relevant, for example where the names themselves indicate something of value. Even then this is best sourced and stated explicitly. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:24, 16 October 2017 (UTC).
  • Oppose. No need for a hard and fast rule. Sometimes it's appropriate to name victims; sometimes (especially when there are many victims) it isn't. Depends entirely on the individual case. -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:24, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - It would cause chaos to implement such a hard and fast rule across the board. Each article must be looked at individually. No hard and fast rule should be implemented across the board. Each article must looked at individually. If the list of victim names is included in numerous top-tier reliable sources, particularly for major tragedies such as mass shootings, then exluding the names would be non-sensical and a great disservice to readers. The names would obviously be noteworthy content. Including only basic, identifying information - such as name, age, and residence city - would in no way be memorializing victims. Memorializing would include things such as personal background details, tributes, anecdotes, quotes, and photos. For articles about mass shootings, consider this: the 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history are, in order, the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, the Orlando nightclub shooting, the Virginia Tech shooting, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Luby's shooting, the San Ysidro McDonald's massacre, the University of Texas tower shooting, the Edmond post office shooting, the 2015 San Bernardino attack, and the Binghamton shootings. All of them, except Las Vegas (which is currently in the midst of a discussion about this), include a list of the victims' names and, at the very least, their ages. This evidence makes clear that Wikipedia editors have repeatedly debated this issue and clearly established a consensus that a list of victim names should and will be listed in major mass shooting articles, and that its inclusion overrides any objections based on WP:NOTMEMORIAL, WP:BLP, and WP:OTHERSTUFF. 2605:A000:FFC0:D8:E8B0:35F4:5401:1C0D (talk) 15:16, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose—Most individuals who are killed tragically are not "independently notable." If they were, they could have their own article. The proposed policy misses what lists do. Among other things, lists can illustrate the discriminatory intent of a massacre perpetrator (École Polytechnique massacre); provide an illustration of the indiscriminate nature of violence, for example that a shooter attacked children; help describe the chronology and place where violence was applied (Haditha massacre); illustrate familial relationships among those victimized (Haditha massacre, again); and indicate the affiliations of those killed. It's possible that a truly random, or non-purposeful attack needs none of these things, but let's leave it to page editors to work that out. Moreover, lists provide a mechanism for a user searching for a given victim to find the tragedy in which they were killed. These objective grounds are in addition to concerns that encyclopedic text should offer at least the same human dignity to victims of tragic violence as their perpetrators.--Carwil (talk) 19:34, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose – WP:NOTMEMORIAL says "Subjects of encyclopedia articles must satisfy Wikipedia's notability requirements. Wikipedia is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, acquaintances, or others who do not meet such requirements." This is about articles and notability, and says nothing about whether lists of victims are encyclopedic or not. I suggest we continue to look at this more case-by-case. When reliable sources publish lists of victims, it would seem OK for us to do the same. Dicklyon (talk) 04:52, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, list of victims is part of encyclopedic knowledge of an attack. If reliable sources publish such lists, do not see why they cannot be included on Wikipedia. A violation of not memorial would be if we started including obituaries ("they are survived by five kids, three dogs, and a hamster"). In some cases, the lists might not be appropriate, but they should be handled on case-by-case basis. Renata (talk) 23:16, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, If the incident itself in which they died is notable, then the people who died taken as a whole are notable. In some cases obviously the number would be too big (e.g., 9/11, or the sinking of the Titanic). Should be decided case-by-case. FOARP (talk) 12:37, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - As others have said this should be handled on a case by case basis. No need for WP:CREEP here. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 14:36, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Each article is different. If the victims are named in multiple reliable sources and if it is due weight they should be included Atlantic306 (talk) 20:09, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Information about and names of victims should be included provided they can be sourced to multiple WP:RSes.E.M.Gregory (talk) 13:30, 25 October 2017 (UTC)
  • oppose - Lists of victims should be included if they have sufficent sourcing. Large lists should be determined case by case. If the list is too long it could be moved to separate page.Patapsco913 (talk) 13:05, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I think there should be both no prohibition on including victim names and no encouragement to list all victims. Victims who have been the subject of substantial reporting, even if they do not meet WP:BLP (specifically WP:BLP1E), should be included. Victims don't have to be individually notable to be mentioned in such an article, but we also shouldn't list every victim at a page like 9/11. This is very much a case-by-case thing. ~ Rob13Talk 15:15, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose lists of victims are relevant to a crime hence can and should be included, provided there is sufficient sourcing. gidonb (talk) 11:46, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose under WP:CREEP. The premise of this proposal seems to be that the WP:LOCALCON of a single article should be overridden by making general changes to a policy. Sławomir Biały (talk) 00:34, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose due to the fact that the proposal is directly contradictory to the specific freedoms afforded by the notability guidelines, which state that, "The notability guideline does not determine the content of articles, but only whether the topic should have its own article", "The notability guidelines do not apply to contents of articles or lists", "Notability of lists (whether titled as "List of Xs" or "Xs") is based on the group.", "Because the group or set is notable, the individual items in the list do not need to be independently notable". I'm opposed to anything that might not let me be free on the project somewhere down the line just because others can't contain being offended. Wikipedia is also not censored. Huggums537 (talk) 15:51, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Should be handled on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes a list of names should be included. Too many of our editors strictly police things. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:04, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose primarily on the principle of wp:NOTCENSORED. And, as cogently stated in this section, the Notability guideline does not apply to contents of an article, only to the topic of an article. Wikipedia does, in fact, include articles naming hundreds of victims: Titanic passengers, and 9-11 emergency responder fatalities. DonFB (talk) 05:12, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. "Wikipedia is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, acquaintances, or others..." I think pretty much means "Wikipedia is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, acquaintances, or people like that. Otherwise it would not list three specific classes of people, all of whom are personally known to you, and then add "and others..." to mean a class of person (people who named in important news stories) very much different from the three examples given. That would make little sense. What is intended is "Wikipedia is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, acquaintances, business colleagues, roommates, ex-spouses, ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, neighbors, or persons known to any of these (i.e. "friend of a friend" or "child of a acquaintances", etc.) whom your intend to memorialize for that reason". This is overly long and even then you'd surely miss some group which you wanted to include. This is why we generally say "and so forth" in many of our rules.
So I mean what's intended is "Nobody wants an article about your neighbor's kid who tragically died of leukemia" This has little to do with victims of notable events named in major news stories. So this would be a new thing. Do we need this new thing? It says here we don't. Herostratus (talk) 06:19, 18 November 2017 (UTC)


  • Mixed guidance - Alternative guidance might be "avoid listing names in mass deaths unless the individual names are commonly listed in accounts, or are otherwise notable" This seems an area where the precedent seems to sometimes list victims of shootings but not always, with no clear guide that I can see. Guidance might mention that larger events should not list names because it's infeasible and large enough that the individual names were not covered so do not meet WP:V or WP:WEIGHT. Examples University of Texas tower shooting, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and Columbine High School massacre, UpStairs Lounge arson attack. Versus Cleveland Elementary School shooting (Stockton), Oklahoma City bombing, 1975 LaGuardia Airport bombing, or September 11 attacks. Markbassett (talk) 04:54, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixed guidance, per Markbassett. We do have an issue to resolve, but should not over-reach.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:57, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixed guidance - I agree that it is improper to list the victims in cases of random mass shootings... but I do think the names of the victims are important to mention in cases where the victims were the intentional targets (i.e. where the killer was intentionally trying to kill specific individuals). Blueboar (talk) 15:13, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixed guidance - I would probably have agreed to support this proposal, but then there are cases where a simple list is notable and should be included. Perhaps the guideline is set dependant on the overall number of people, most higher-body-count incidents would also have a proportionally higher number of unnotable individuals. It could be that low-individual lists are allowed, medium-individual lists are collapsed (possibly in a template at the end of the page called "List of people killed in *x*"), and high-individual lists are excluded altogether? IJReid {{T - C - D - R}} 05:32, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixed guidance: Where inclusion of victims is necessary to understand a crime (motivation, sequencing, interaction with perp, etc), then they should be included. Where inclusion is not required to understand a crime, they should not be included. This means that in some cases all victims would be included, while in other cases some might be referred to obliquely or grouped, and in other cases few or none would be included. For the Las Vegas shooting, Campos appears to be the only victim critical to understanding the event.~Hydronium~Hydroxide~(Talk)~ 11:48, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixed guidance: I would prefer External Links to lists of victims. Failing that, I would like the names to be treated the way secondary sources handle them. That is, if multiple reliable secondary sources mention a victim's name, then Wikipedia can do so. As an example, University of Texas tower shooting is drawing from a variety of documentaries. Abductive (reasoning) 06:50, 20 October 2017 (UTC)


General discussion

Please arrange for the RfC format to be fixed. There are at least two problems with the layout:

  1. There is neither a signature nor even an unattributed timestamp for the opening statement. When building the RfC listings, Legobot (talk · contribs) copies from the {{rfc}} template (exclusive) to the next timestamp (inclusive). The next timestamp is in the "Support" section, so Legobot will copy that heading and the first !vote. If this appears in the RfC listing, it would be against WP:RFC#Statement should be neutral and brief, and could skew the responses.
  2. The text copied by Legobot includes a table; this is forbidden by WP:RFC#Statement should be neutral and brief as it breaks the listing entry.

Have a look at how the RfC appears at WP:RFC/BIO (Permalink). --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 19:09, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

Sorry about that, I think I fixed it. SkyWarrior 23:35, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

Please also note that the opening statement should be "neutral and brief [...] A long statement will make the list harder to read [...] If you have lots to say on the issue, give and sign a brief statement in the initial description and save the page, then edit the page again and place additional comments below your first statement and signature", per Wikipedia:Requests for comment. —Sangdeboeuf (talk) 17:15, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Comment I sympathise with whoever has to close this! I note that almost no one supports a blanket ban, some supporting identifying 'target groups' others some other guidance. However it would be good if we could get some clarification of when such lists are appropriate. The problem with a completely open approach is that a lot of editor time is expended, typically at a time when the main article is itself occupying a lot of time and discussions are often very OTHERSTUFF, "those other victims got a list why don't these, what's wrong with them?". This is an old-fashioned sentiment I know, but are we entitled to think that victims and their families would necessarily WANT to be listed permanently on WP? Pincrete (talk) 23:09, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

Anti/Pro-Trump/other politician user categories and userboxes?

I'm doing this as a pre-emptive measure because there seem to have been quite a lot of user categories and userboxes that are being brought to the attention of both WP:CFD and WP:MFD. The earliest discussion I can find is Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2017 February 14#Category:Politically leftist Wikipedians, which saw both that category and an equivalent for right-wing Wikipedians get deleted. It seems that for awhile things were quiet, until we had this discussion, Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2017 September 4#Category:Wikipedians who are against Donald Trump, which also saw that category get deleted. I've nominated a category recently myself, but only one, and I didn't realize how widespread these materials are, or how much momentum this trend of nominating these things is gaining. There is also Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2017 October 6#Political support categories, which seems to be gaining a steady delete consensus (it's about user categories that specifically and unambiguously endorse candidates on both sides of the spectrum). Elsewhere, however, the solution is not so clear-cut, with many categories, in the view of users such as myself, expressing support for one sociopolitical viewpoint or another without using it to imply interest in collaboration with other Wikipedians in editing those same topic areas regardless of whether they personally agree with each other. Personally, my view is that these userboxes stand in clear violation of WP:UBCR, while the categories violate WP:User categories#Inappropriate types of user categories, namely "Categories which group users by advocacy of a position". This is not merely a fringe view either, as there's enough of us who think this way that it's clouding consensus on the issue, warranting broader discussion.

I believe the best way to go about this is to list examples of what might end up being discussed at either MFD or CFD. I encourage others to add to it, but within reason - this is not a substitute for discussion at either venue. Whether we decide to keep them or get rid of them, we'll likely still have to take it over there. It is not my goal to try to circumvent either venue; it is not merely about these specific examples or others like them, but the idea of them as a whole. I just want to nip this in the bud and give us some peace of mind. If you add something to this list, please leave a ping for the user who originally made it unless that user has already been pinged here.

Keep in mind that userboxes can also be categorized in a confrontational way, so on the face of it they may seem to express a message everyone can agree with, but in adding them to your own page you'll add a category you may not necessarily feel you belong in. Userboxes may be kept, but should be recategorized as the community sees fit. Feel free to point out problematic categorization wherever you see it.

{{Template:User alt-right foe}}

Paging Buaidh (talk · contribs). Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 14:02, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

I agree, political userboxes should not add a user to a "Left/Right wing" or "Anti-Trump/Clinton" category, but to a category such as "Users that support Trump/Clinton". - ZLEA (Talk,Contribs) 17:07, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
We shouldn't even have those, since they don't support encyclopedic collaboration (likely the opposite), and the Trump vs. Clinton matter is already over anyway.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:56, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Given that we are supposed to maintain a Neutral Point of View as editors, I don't think it appropriate to have any politically oriented user categories. Whether a user supports (or opposes) candidate X, Y or Z is irrelevant to writing and maintaining an encyclopedia.
And if we do decide to keep these categories, we should institute a topic ban to go with them... anyone who declares for or against a politician should be topic banned from editing articles that relate to that politician. Blueboar (talk)|
I hereby declare my strong opposition to Donald Trump and defy any editor to show that that has negatively affected my fairly active participation at Donald Trump since before the election. Just try a TBAN against me and see how far you get. Sorry but that's a non-starter. Besides, such a rule would do absolutely nothing for article quality, it would simply make POV editors keep quiet about their POVs. I agree that Wikipedia should be as apolitical as possible and editors should generally keep their political leanings to themselves (exception made in this comment for a good reason). ―Mandruss  18:02, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
You may have good intentions, but that's not a good idea. It presumes that any editor with any position strong enough that he/she mentions it on his/her userpage is automatically going to make NPOV-violating edits. This simply is not true, though. Master of Time (talk) 18:05, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
Interesting, I'd never heard that viewpoint before. That's certainly not what I'm concerned about, and it's not been the concern raised so far. What we're worried about is this causing schisms among editors, perhaps people refusing to collaborate with each other or getting to any degree antagonistic over issues as sensitive as political ones. Biased editing on related articles was definitely not something that crossed my mind. As far as the point you two are making, there's a difference between "Wikipedians interested in Donald Trump" and "Wikipedians against Donald Trump"; the earlier implies some sort of vested interest in actually bringing more information about him to the encyclopedia, aside from the more positive connotations "interested" tends to have, whereas the latter does not actually carry any implication of interest in editing in that topic area at all, making it a questionable use of userspace and category space. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 21:08, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
I don't disagree with that. My previous comment was only about the TBAN-if-you-declare idea. WP:UBCR (emphasis theirs): "Userboxes must not be inflammatory or divisive." Inflammatory? Probably. Divisive? Definitely. ―Mandruss  21:19, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
I see. I don't know how I missed that part of Blueboar's post. My apologies. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 21:34, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
A topic ban is definitely taking things too far. Concern over biased editing was not the spirit in which this RFC was started, and until now was not something I'd seen mentioned in discussion over this topic. As I said before, the concerns that folks like myself share is that it could foment discord among the userbase, making users reluctant to collaborate on certain topics or engage in certain discussions to avoid risking being antagonized for holding to one belief or another. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 21:32, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • One, I hope we break out the rational arguments instead. Two, we can keep the petty mudslinging off the page. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 20:55, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Well, don't try to control how people express their opinions and you wont be accused of thought police. If I have a userbox saying 'I think the US president is a racist homophobic imbecile' vs 'I support the Democrats'. You could make a credible argument the first would be disallowed under BLP but any restrictions on the latter would just lead to the knock on effect of people complaining about every political position. Users advocating for gender legislation reform? That's a political position, cant have it on the userpage. Users in favour of gun control? Political position. Users with anti-racism statements? Political position. Unless you are going to blanket ban per Blueboar above *all* userboxes, this will never fly - as there will always be someone who disagrees politically with something or other. On a basic level a userbox that professes support for the LGBT movement is both offensive and inflammatory to a huge number of people. I will enjoy watching you attempt to get rid of them. Just let me know so I can get the popcorn ready. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:28, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • You are making valid arguments but using needlessly uncivil language. No one here is trying to be the "thought police". This RFC was not to enforce some kind of deletionist solution to the problem. I'll accept the outcome whichever way it goes. I simply believe this needs to be discussed as while we have reached consensus in some of the discussions I've linked, there appear to be many more that could end up at MFD or CFD sooner or later, and rather than bombard people with notices of discussions in progress, it would just be easier to find examples and reach some kind of consensus here to prevent needless discussions. Whatever outcome we achieve here will be replicated on the individual discussions, thus invalidating the need for them and saving us a lot of time & work. I have only made my own thoughts on the matter clear, I have made no attempt to control the discussion or enforce any kind of outcome - you made a blatant personal attack with that accusation. Try helping us achieve a consensus rather than getting confrontational. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 19:48, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • You could have just made your arguments in your original post and not gotten confrontational at any point. It would have been a very welcome contribution to this discussion. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 20:03, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • It's somewhat pointless to call something a personal attack if it wouldn't stand a chance of a sanction following a traumatic 10-day train wreck at WP:ANI. "Thought police" would not. But it's unhelpful hyperbole; if this is a proposal to "control how people express their opinions", WP:UBCR is another one that already has community consensus. We do put reasonable limits on editor self-expression here, or try to do so with incomplete success. ―Mandruss  07:45, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • That it wouldn't stand a chance at ANI is not the point, and in fact is evidence that WP:CIVIL is increasingly irrelevant because people ignore it knowing that most transgressions against it won't be punished since it would take too long relative to the degree of slight that occurred. It is a personal attack, it's a false accusation. How people react to it does not at all define what it actually is.
You do have a point that Wikipedia already does try to control what users say on it, though, and to see that, look no further than WP:FORUM, which mandates that we relegate discussion on talk pages strictly to being about improving the articles to which they are attached. To pretend we have "free speech" here is laughable because Wikipedia is a private organization that can enforce whatever rules it damn well pleases on those who use it, not an attempt at any form of government that would have such obligations towards its citizens. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 02:31, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Zeke - I think other kinds for MFD would be (1) Coverage of something trivial and transient -- just momentarily viral on the internet and now no longer covered. In particular lately far too many articles about Trump (is it over 1,000 now?) where far far to many were some embarassingly trivial topic. (e.g. covfefe or high heels or hair or handshakes). Also MFD might be (2) Content present in more than 3 articles. I tend to think some of this was pasted into multiple spots and so winds up not a good fit to most places it was put. Markbassett (talk) 05:59, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Having thought about this some more, I realize that another important concern is the treatment of our userspaces as social media profiles, which are so often used merely as a platform for expressing and promoting points of view while refusing to be challenged. Ideally, I would think interests and tastes are not described unless they either 1) are used to imply where you're most likely to see a particular editor working or 2) could influence that editor's contributions in any way. Me personally, I've left a lot unsaid about me on my own userpage only because I did not see its potential to contribute to my profile as an editor. I have my own political opinions, but I don't see the need to express them here, largely because I don't intend to contribute to political topic areas if I can help it. But enabling these sorts of things might leave the door open for mere soapboxing of the kind that we see so often on Facebook - things people say only to be heard, not to actually make the encyclopedia any better for having said it or getting any kind of dialogue going. More often than not, they're intended for people to accept and start believing in without any response whatsoever. After all, our userspaces are not really part of the encyclopedia, and people have to take our actual article content with a grain of salt as it is. Why would a userspace rant be any more reliable? And would they necessarily be posted with an eye toward making the encyclopedia around which userspace orbits any better? Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 00:51, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree basically that we should not have categories that classify editors directly into any political or ideological mindset, particularly if they are just adding a userbox to their page (the userboxes are fine in this regards). Far too much potential for abuse internally and externally there. Fully agree that there is a problem if a user-box automatically includes an editor into a category, since that is ripe for problems if the user box is edited to include other categories by presumption. I don't see a problem on a user-page or user-boxes as long as all necessary content and behavior policies are followed (eg no BLP violations, political messages should remain civil, etc.),since the user is controlling that themselves. I would probably make a case that editors should not use user-page content to cast aspirations against an editor, under WP:NPA, so that people should be free to express their views to understand their editing patterns. --MASEM (t) 15:40, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
That last point is important.... adding political user tags can give the appearance of non-neutral editing, even when the actual editing may be neutral (or at least attempting to be neutral). I am concerned that these tags will lead other editors to dismiss a valid concern ("oh, we can dismiss this editor's concern... he/she is not neutral... see, he/she even proclaims their non-neutrality on their user page!"). In disputes, these tags will encourage others to focus on the editor, and not the actual edit. Blueboar (talk) 16:47, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
That type of concern should be handled by behavior around those making a deal of a user-tag, and should be called out as completely inappropriate, approaching an NPA warning, as otherwise we'd be questioning the differential between what is a political position versus other sentiments expressed by user-boxes. If an editor has a user box that says "I support the far right", we shouldn't care as long as their behavior in editing is not solely informed by that stance, and they follow all expected behavior patterns for editors. That's a whole problem of identity politics that is dominating the real world but shouldn't be a factor in editing on WP, and should actually be called out when people use that against editors when editor behavior otherwise does not warrant. Obviously, if we find a case of an editor that consistently edits uncollaborative with the POV represented by a user-box, that's a different situation that should be handled in a different manner. --MASEM (t) 17:04, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. POV-editing should be handled on a case-by-case basis, and I really don't think userboxes should ever come into play in that situation - in fact, my experience would tell me the editors with the greatest problems concerning their biases would be ones whose usernames are redlinks because they didn't come to build a userpage, let alone an encyclopedia, so they wouldn't know or care about userboxes. The editors who take the time to actually use them are, in my book, far less likely to cause that kind of problem. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 03:21, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────We really have no community consensus as to the role of p&g, a consensus that should form the bedrock for everything else. Some will say that p&g guide behavior, so we can speak of violations of it. Others say that p&g reflect behavior, and a p or g should be updated if there are enough editors ignoring it or unaware of it (in that case it follows that speaking of violations impedes the community's ability to form consensus). Ample support for both concepts can be found in policy and common practice. I have never understood how both can be true, but that's what we appear to have and it makes this kind of discussion problematic. This is "meta" and probably out-of-venue, so feel free to disregard or respond on my talk page (I would dearly love to understand this apparent paradox), but it also seems at the core of the frequent issues like this one. ―Mandruss  08:52, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

  • Categories are meant to allow easy access to topics that are connected. User categories are thus meant to allow to find users who share common characteristics which might be useful in improving the encyclopedia, broadly construed. So categories that group users by country, language, school etc. are good uses for categories, because you might need to find someone from country X, school Y, speaking language Z etc. Is there any need to find editors who support or oppose a certain politician? I can't think of one...
    Userboxes on the other hand serve a different purpose, they allow users to (positively) declare interests and (negatively) declare biases and thus are useful even when there is no reason to categorize such users. So a "Pro-Trump"/"Anti-Trump"/etc. userbox is definitely useful because it allows others to understand that some contributions might be tinged by a certain bias. Like Masem, I don't see a problem with that since contributions by people who take the time to declare their biases are usually made with more thought than by those who don't. Regards SoWhy 09:35, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
definitely useful because it allows others to understand that some contributions might be tinged by a certain bias. If I understand what you're saying, you have demonstrated the potential problem that Blueboar referred to above. I think we have more than enough false suspicions of POV editing held by people who fail to recognize/acknowledge their own bias, without feeding those people with ammunition for their ABF. Far from being "useful", it's both useless and destructive. ―Mandruss  11:30, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
I could certainly support userboxes ahead of user categories. Having too many on a certain subject might be something we look into solving, but that's probably another RFC. Userboxes are personal, and if this ends up changing the rules as to their content, that's fine too. If anything, we should look at it this way: Our policies on userboxes say one thing, but by and large, our userboxes, the things it supposedly governs, say a very different one, and the divide has only been allowed to grow over the years, especially these tense last few. It's obvious something needs to change there, whether any of us like the outcome or not. But categories definitely serve a different purpose on user pages compared to articles, which even serve a different purpose to those on talk pages, and so on. Being able to find someone based on potential political bias, if it is indeed helpful at all, has a far less obvious benefit than being able to find someone willing to make difficult blocks, provide copies of deleted pages, can provide some feedback on a much-needed topic area, or can potentially supply some good photography for a given subject. To put it simply, the categories define what a user can bring to the table of editing Wikipedia, and bias, one way or another, doesn't exactly have potential in that area. At best, it would merely show what might influence an editor for better or for worse. It wouldn't show some skillset this user has. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 02:31, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
Here is a convenient way to find the editors who currently transclude {{User anti-Trump}}, just one of the many pro- or anti-Trump userboxes currently extant. I don't see much difference between the categories and the userboxes for the purposes of this discussion. Both have the same very real potential to impede the project's mission (building an encyclopedia), and both have little upside besides self-expression. In the end, Wikipedia is not a social networking site. This applies also to other divisive political userboxes such as {{User Black Lives}}, but I'm willing to limit scope for now. ―Mandruss  13:54, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Remembering the Great Userbox Wars of 2006, I would suggest leaving them alone. They are not helpful, but the harm isn't as great as some people claim it is, and people really like to declare who they are and what they believe. Jimbo failed when he tried to make userbox policy by fiat. See WP:CSD#T1 and the links there. —Kusma (t·c) 14:06, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Hmmm, I'm honestly intrigued. Out of interest, @Kusma:, was this "userbox war" also about political content, whether completely or as just one type of content under review? A bit of history would be helpful to this discussion - I think you've opened an interesting thought line here. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 07:02, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @Zeke, the Mad Horrorist: The most contentious userboxes were the political and religious ones like "This user is opposed to abortion", "This user supports the Labour Party", "This user is a Catholic". People noticed that it was possible to find like-minded users by their userboxes or categories (but it did not happen very often). Some people decided to stop this and tried to make user space (or at least template space) neutral. Kelly Martin then deleted hundreds of userboxes out-of-process in January 2006. I think she believed that Jimbo was backing this. The result was hundreds of unhappy users whose pages had ugly red links and a RfC that went off the rails and was restarted. In February 2006, Jimbo Wales and some others added the speedy deletion criterion "templates that are divisive and inflammatory", which was supposed to be used against userboxes. Most of these deletions were controversial, and so we had an extra subsection of DRV to deal with them: Wikipedia:Deletion review/Userbox debates. For months, the topic of userboxes was hotly debated. For example, some people suggested they should be subst-only (see WP:MACK, which also has lots of links to other parts of the debate). Eventually it became more or less accepted practice (see WP:GUS) that userboxes about a user's opinion were not OK in template space, but were OK to have in userspace (and transclusion was legal). This kind of keeps template space NPOV, while allowing people to disclose whatever they like in annoying little boxes. In any case, if you want to start any proposals in this area, I strongly suggest you read all of the discussions I linked you to, and keep in mind that some people really are strongly attached to their user pages and to how they look. I do not expect that getting rid of userboxes is either feasible or worth the effort and disruption, but you are welcome to prove me wrong. —Kusma (t·c) 09:58, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
As someone who watched that fracas from the sidelines, I'll confirm that as a fair summary of what happened. IMHO, the Userbox Wars is one of the least analyzed events in Wikipedia history -- none of the books I have read about Wikipedia mention it -- while having the most far-reaching influence on the community culture. Which means we are all doomed to repeat its mistakes. -- llywrch (talk) 18:36, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia:User categories already specifically cites a political example ("Wikipedians who dislike George W Bush") as inappropriate under "Categories that are divisive, provocative, or otherwise disruptive", and this also includes "support for or opposition to a controversial person, group, project, idea, policy, or activity", and all this on top of "Categories which group users by advocacy of a position" being inappropriate under the guideline. Meanwhile Wikipedia:Userboxes#Potentially divisive words sanctions userboxes about being for a political position but not ones for being against a political position, so along those lines political userboxes about being for something can be allowed (as long as they remain CIVIL). Alcherin (talk) 18:18, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • We already have guidelines that call for statements of support rather than of opposition in userboxes. Beyond that, we do not need the User Page PoliceTM. If you don't like somebody's userpage, don't look at it. But making them remove something about what they believe won't change the fact that they believe it, so WP:NPOV in article space is what really matters. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:55, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Delete categories, keep userboxes - If a user makes an edit which appears to have a POV, I would much prefer that this be a bias declared openly on the userpage with a userbox than one which it's impossible for us to know. Userboxes are elements a user uses to show various facts about himself, and with the ability of any user to create his/her own, it's nearly impossible to find users by their bias. Categories, on the other hand, are primarily a tool to make such searching easier; users should only be categorized by those categories which a decent user who knows what (s)he's doing may be looking for in order to get help on Wikipedia or sister projects. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 07:37, 6 November 2017 (UTC)


Over the past decade the guidelines on what constitutes an orphan article have been shifting - at least in some places. It used to be that an orphaned article had less than three incoming links from other articles (note, an orphan is a person who has lost one, or both parents). Initially disambiguations (set index articles did not exist then?) and lists did not count.

The following changes at least have since taken place:

  • September 2009 This change recommends adding orphan tags, only if there are no incoming links. The removal of phrase "less than three" was again by User:OlEnglish here, at 06:20, 11 October 2011. This seems to have been a BOLD move, but based on the idea that by redefining the problem we could make it go away (dealing with backlogs by ignoring them is not a solution in my opinion).
  • Now also disambiguations, set index articles and lists are considered sufficient incoming links.
    • As far as I am aware as per this current criteria disambiguation pages do not count. Eno Lirpa (talk) 12:20, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Other places have gradually been edited to conform with these changes, but there are still places that do not - for example New Page Patrol.
  • WP:AWB has been changed to conform with the prevailing wisdom, which has changed over the years.
  • We also do not deal with (and never have, really) "walled gardens".
  • {{Orphan}} has become a "mostly invisible" tag.

Personally I think a more sophisticated method of monitoring incoming links might be appropriate these days, and as I said in 2010 " there is no intrinsic reason that some page should not be validly an orphan, and indeed many pages are only linked to from one or more lists." [Even so it was in 2017 trivial to create two new incoming links for Methuen Water Works, in that era claimed as non-de-orphanable.]

Given that the idea of de-orphaning was to "build the web", not to make sure that each page was reachable from every other, be it by means ever so circuitous, what do the panel think we should do in the future?

All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:13, 16 October 2017 (UTC).

  • If I had my way the {{orphan}} tag and everything associated with it would be deprecated completely. The people who take it upon themselves to tag articles as orphans appear unable to grasp the concept that because something is a niche topic and doesn't have many incoming links, doesn't mean either that it's not notable nor that the lack of incoming links is some kind of problem that needs to be fixed; "build the web" doesn't mean it has to be possible to navigate from every page to every other page, even if they're on completely unrelated topics, purely by clicking wikilinks. (Something with no incoming or outgoing links, on the other hand, is a problem.) Wikipedia does have many issues, but "it's difficult to get from 626 Notburga to Selina Rushbrook purely by following links" shouldn't be considered one of them. ‑ Iridescent 22:29, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree with Iridescent. The mindless tagging and untagging takes more effort than just going in and adding links where they are appropriate, and it takes away from the pages that might truly be orphaned yet fixable. And as Iridescent said, not everything is going to be linked to a ton of pages and not everything needs to be either. Nihlus 22:54, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • As one of the people working at the Feb 09 orphan category, I disagree that the orphan tag is useless or unhelpful. Building the web isn't just for the sake of being able to get to every page from every other page - the intent behind building the web is to increase the amount of information available to the reader. I have found plenty of instances where investigating why something is tagged as orphaned has helped me improve Wikipedia. I apologize for not having diffs at the ready, as these are observations made over several months of de-orphaning work and it would be quite an effort to go back through thousands of contribs looking for specific examples.
Off the top of my head: I have found plenty of orphans that have actually turned out to be duplicates of better-linked articles; merge and redirection improves the main article and reduces confusion for readers. Many orphans are drill-down topics that would be appropriate to mention in parent articles but have not been for whatever reason, adding that information to the parent article (and linking the child) enriches it. I have expanded plenty of list articles with orphans, increasing the accuracy and utility of those lists. Many species and/or genus articles are orphans, which has prompted me to research and create taxonomy articles to fill the gaps. And finally, many are just plain useful articles that someone tried to link to but some error (typo or formatting difference causing redlink, newbie failure to wikilink, etc etc) caused the link not to work. (There are also plenty of articles in the backlog that need deleting because of promotional issues, lack of notability, and even ancient copyvios, so if tagging something as an orphan gets extra eyes on articles when they're far out of the NPP queue, I'm in favor of that).
All that being said, I think that one incoming link suffices to make something not an orphan. There's no sense demanding that everything be linked from a bunch of places; some things are really only related to one parent topic and that's okay. An orphan should be any page which has no incoming links from mainspace. Any single link from mainspace, be it lists, indexes, navboxes, "see also" sections, etc (with the exception of disambiguation pages) should be enough for us to accept that a page is not an orphan. I would support the deprecation of the "low-linked" articles categories if we confirm the one-article de-orphan criteria, since that would be redundant. ♠PMC(talk) 00:07, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • My only thoughts here are that if it is at all humanly possible, I would love it if AWB did not put articles in the "tag as orphan" workflow until 8 days after creation. Quite literally the practice I hate most on all of Wikipedia is when people who just got AWB practice how to use it by tagbombing articles with speedy deletion tags on them as orphans that need more categories. Putting an 8 day hold on the AWB part of this would help prevent tagbombing of new articles and stop watchlists from being clutted by useless edits that are going to be deleted within a few hours to a week. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:17, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I feel the orphan tag serves an important purpose, yes there are some cases where there isn't going to be much to link too, but more often than not, I think that there is. Even more important than that. it gets people of thinking of ways that page could be incorporated into other articles, and investigating if there are options available. The tag should not be looked up as a badge of shame, but as a way by which many by many editors can help make the jigsaw puzzle of Wikipedia work. --Deathawk (talk) 05:51, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • support single link de-orphan criteria, (excluding redirects); not every topic has a lot that can link to it. Also support TonyBallioni's suggestion of a stand down period for new creations. What we need is other criteria to de-tag the >130k articles tagged orphan; perhaps after a certain period at least 1 (2, 3?) outgoing links is enough to auto de-tag it. ClubOranjeT 12:07, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
    • I take great pleasure in having never touched AWB, but I'm assuming this is something we can build into its default recommendations? I'd support a 8 day moratorium on AWB tagging any article because I don't think I've ever seen de facto NPP done well using AWB, but I'd settle for a delay on the orphan template as it is the one that is most frequently spammed by new AWB users. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:40, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
      • I think that a delay for both orphan and nocat would be appropriate. Whether or not the ideal delay is eight days is something that people would have to consider, but I am convinced that a delay would be helpful. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:21, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
        • I'm not sure about nocat, as our catters use that find pages to cat, which they usually do very quickly. For Orphan there is a significant backlog, so a default delay might be a good idea - but I am not wholly convinced, especially given that the tag becomes invisible very quickly. I doubt (despite my comments above) that there are a significant number of pages where at least one incoming link cannot be created. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 13:28, 19 October 2017 (UTC).
        • WhatamIdoing my reasoning for 8 days is because by that time most of the articles that are CSDable or the obvious AfD candidates are gone. Adding orphan tags to these articles serves absolutely no purpose other than to clutter watchlists IMO. The nocat I'd suggest a 24 hour delay: even some very experienced editors create articles without cats then add them after creation. Getting an AWB tag on it while you are going through hotcat yourself can be very annoying for many people. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:39, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
      • I don't think NPP is done with AWB? Calling tags "spam" and conflating speedy with orphan is - well I would just say "wrong". All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 13:28, 19 October 2017 (UTC).
        • You are correct that NPP should not be done with AWB, but unfortunately tagbombing of new pages is often done with it. I never claimed that all orphans were CSD candidates. I was saying that as one of the more active people at NPP it is very common to see pointless orphan tags being placed on pages tagged for speedy deletion cluttering watchlists and this is most frequently done by new users that are just getting used to AWB. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:39, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
          • I don't see how speedy deletion pages are going to be on many people's watchlists - if you are saying this is a difficulty for you as a NPP who has watchlisted the articles when CSDing them, perhaps we should be getting the orphan tag applied before the CSD tag - 8 days later is not going to cut it in these cases. I also think that finding incoming links for CSDs would tend to mitigate against speedy deletion in cases where it isn't justified.
          • All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 20:50, 19 October 2017 (UTC).

Comment You may read User:Magioladitis/AWB and orphans for a full report of which pages are excluded by AWB. -- Magioladitis (talk) 13:16, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

Thank you Magioladitis, that is very helpful. Would there be a way to get AWB to delay the tagging until a certain amount of time after article creation? TonyBallioni (talk) 13:20, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
TonyBallioni I have a similar open Phabricator task: T127173 which can be modified to much that demand. Till now we had no problems with that because we had a bot for both tagging and untagging and it was running also daily. -- Magioladitis (talk) 13:27, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Deprecate visible templates (or move to talk pages and use code to enforce their placement there – throw an error if used in mainspace); retain invisible maintenance categories, since these are useful for finding under-linked articles and working them into our "web".  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  01:29, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Retain one link discounts an orphan tag, there are already 140,000 orphans (many wrongly tagged ). Increasing orphans to 3 links would at least double the list and disillusion those who are deorphaning, considerably slowing down the clean up rate. Atlantic306 (talk) 19:58, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Retain one link discounts an orphan tag. I agree with User:PMC that these tags often prompt me to take useful action, not only linking, but proposing merges. And agree with User:ToniBalloni that new article should be given a breather, although I wonder if a kinder, gentler tag, suggesting that adding links can strengthen a new article, with a collegial explanation about how to create links, might be a really nice approach with new editors and new articles. It's easy to forget how arcane editing is and how easily we dishearten new editors.E.M.Gregory (talk) 13:42, 25 October 2017 (UTC)

Comment: Orphan articles have proven very difficult to monitor for violations of Wikipedia policy. IIRC, the article that triggered the notorious Wikipedia Seigenthaler biography incident was an orphan article, which escaped notice because it had no incoming links. Hence we need to somehow identify articles lacking any reasonable links to it. -- llywrch (talk) 19:01, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Comment: there's no harm in an article being an orphan ... except in the (far-too-common) case where the article title is "Foo (xyz)" or "Foo, Placename" and there isn't a link, hatnote or redirect from "Foo". And similarly for the article "Name A. Surname" which doesn't have any link from "Name Surname". Those are important and need to be flagged up and fixed. Other orphans... by all means have categories of orphan articles for those who want to de-orphan, in general it's not a problem. PamD 22:19, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

RfC: Should the Reference Desks be closed?

Moved to Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/RfC: Should the Reference Desks be closed: Hi everybody. Because this discussion has become so lengthy (300,000+ bytes), I have moved it to a subpage of the village pump so that the village pump is more accessible. I apologize if any confusion has been caused by this. Mz7 (talk) 00:39, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

Medical advice on user / user talk pages

We have both WP:MEDICAL/WP:RD/G/M which covers basically mainspace/Wikipedia space, but how do we go about users giving each other medical advice on user talk page, e.g. stuff like this? Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 21:46, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

The disclaimer warns users not to believe stuff like this; it doesn't prohibit posting it. And obviously the Refdesk guidelines, if they apply anywhere, don't apply to talk pages. And nobody is going to spot this stuff often anyway. Best thing to do is stay out of it, unless there is a pattern that supports an allegation of commercial spam. Of course, nothing prohibits you from saying "don't believe any of this" on a talk page yourself. Wnt (talk) 21:55, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
Maybe that disclaimer should be quoted in full, anytime an OP asks for medical advice. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:58, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
Those two linked disclaimers are about articles and refdesk. You'd need something a little different. Maybe a big red flag saying something like "Warning: only listen to doctors about health issues, because everyone else might have a conflict of interest", posted on every talk page where someone offers health or medicine advice, would draw attention away from these dangerous discussions. Dicklyon (talk) 22:03, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
Speaking of which, Conflict of interest in the healthcare industry is barely more than a stub, and there's nothing in there about, e.g., overuse of tests that involve newly purchased expensive equipment, referrals to facilities owned by the prescribing physician or that pay kickbacks, or the ethical problems of recruiting patients into clinical trials run by the physician. There are other under-developed articles as well. For example, Thought leader unaccountably doesn't mention physicians targeted by pharmaceutical companies to promote high-priced drugs (e.g., in local medical association meetings), even though "you're a local thought leader" is the excuse that the targeted physicians are fed to explain why the pharma company is giving them so much personal attention. We are missing quite a lot of information about medical ethics. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:34, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Oh, and we need Conflicts of interest in dentistry. I had, but can no longer lay my hands on, an in-depth news source on the difficulties of getting dental care to poor American children. One of the problems? In some US states, it is illegal for a non-profit organization(!) to provide dental services unless the CEO/Executive Director is a licensed dentist. Why? Well, the dental association says that people get better care when the treatment recommendation is being made by someone whose mortgage payment depends upon upselling you on cosmetic procedures, rather than by a dentist on a fixed salary who can work full time with patients instead of spending most of his time running a business and fretting about making ends meet.
This source: Jordan, Mary (2017-07-01). "The unexpected political power of dentists". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286.  might also be useful for building such an article. The widespread practice of making (mostly female) dental hygienists in the US work only in dentists' offices (and frequently making them cobble together several part-time jobs around town, because no dentist wants to pay benefits like sick leave and health insurance when he could have five part-time hygienists instead of two full-time ones) and prohibiting them from doing things like sealing teeth is another sign of how COI in that industry isn't being managed appropriately. Basically, if anything happens to your teeth, the local business owner with a dental license expects to get a share of the profits. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:16, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Just googling for the phrase medical advice gave me "WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment"[7]. Our own article says Medical advice is the provision of a formal professional opinion regarding what a specific individual should or should not do to restore or preserve health. It's not some random stranger on the Intertubes saying "Take lemon juice with hot water". I'd say the panic about possibly giving "medical advice" is mostly due to a cultural meme that does not reflect any real legal (or moral) problem. The disclaimer makes it clear that whatever you find on Wikipedia is not "medical advice" (in the legal sense) and should not be mistaken for it. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:09, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I checked to see if that link is being spammed and it isn't. I think that person was just being funny. Or maybe they thought they were being helpful. Or maybe it was a weird form of gravedancing... hard to say without understaning the interaction. But i don't think it is particularly something to be concerned about with respect to medical advice. Jytdog (talk) 22:23, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
  • My own POV (subject to change without warning, etc.): I think we should stay out of it. It's not hateful or vandalism or something obviously destructive like that, so if someone posted something like that on my talk page, then I would want you to let me handle it. I assume that if it were your talk page, then each of you would also want the right to respond, or not, in the way that you thought best. So I suggest leaving it alone. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:21, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
  • There is one bit of medical advice that is never wrong, and that we SHOULD give: “Consult a doctor”. Blueboar (talk) 02:09, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
    • At the ref desk, it has been generally agreed in past that the best phrasing is, "If you're concerned, consult a doctor." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:20, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
  • We can't regulate everything. If you get medical advice on a user talk page, don't follow it if it contradicts what your doctor says. If you do follow it anyway, maybe that's just Darwinian selection. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:06, 3 November 2017 (UTC)

Articles on bi-lateral relations

Context: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Qatar–San Marino relations and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Canada-Cambodia Relations

I don't believe there's a clear guideline as for when articles on bi-lateral relations between countries should exist. I do feel that one is necessary.

The exchanging of ambassadors is a good starting point, as its presence or absence should not be controversial. While it clearly isn't a requirement for relations to be notable (Iran–Israel relations, for example), it generally is correlated with significant relations between countries.

This leads to several possible outcomes, at a minimum:

  1. All country-pairs should have a bi-lateral relations page. Having an ambassador isn't at all relevant.
  2. All country-pairs that partially exchange ambassadors (for example, one country has a resident ambassador and the other does not) should have a bi-lateral relations page.
  3. All country-pairs that exchange ambassadors should have a bi-lateral relations page.
  4. Some country-pairs that exchange ambassadors should have a bi-lateral relations page.
  5. Some country-pairs should have a bi-lateral relations page, but the presence or absence of ambassadors isn't a useful test; other factors (such as a long-standing history or significant bi-lateral trade) are more relevant.

Thoughts? power~enwiki (π, ν) 17:58, 22 October 2017 (UTC)

FWIW, Several years ago I took a stab at a guideline here. Yilloslime TC 18:25, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Option 6: Any country-pair that can be reliably sourced as the subject of significant reliable source coverage about the relationship. Diplomatic relationships don't necessarily require an exchange of ambassadors to be notable (as you note, Israel-Iran is a clearly notable topic regardless of their lack of an ambassadorial relationship), but the exchange of ambassadors also can't be an automatic inclusion freebie that exempts the topic from actually having to be sourced to much more than just a primary source press release from the diplomatic corps itself.
Far too many of these pages get created as boilerplate placeholders which say little more than "Canada-Cambodia relations are a diplomatic relationship that exists, the end", which isn't a useful article at all. And even if something more substantial can be written and sourced about Canada-Cambodia relations, it's not necessary to keep the boilerplate page as the base from which to start it — there's so little substance to the existing version that starting over from scratch does not represent any significant increase in the workload involved in redoing it right.
There's no value in comprehensively boilerplating tens of thousands of placeholder articles about every possible combination of two countries, if all the editor can be arsed to actually do is write a stub which just says that the diplomatic relationship exists — if a person really cares about the topic enough to want to start the article, then by definition they should care enough about the topic to put enough work into the article to make it worth existing. Bearcat (talk) 18:30, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
    • There's something like 200 sovereign nations on Earth, so if we're going to have an article for every possible permutation, that would be almost 20,000 articles. Most of which will not be notable. I think we can all agree that this is excessive stamp collecting. The metric is as it's always been: showing enough independent, significant coverage to demonstrate notability. Reyk YO! 19:00, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I think the standard has to remain GNG. Either journalists and academics are writing about these relationships enough to pass GNG or the bilateral relationship isn't going to have enough material upon which for us to write. Chris Troutman (talk) 19:58, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Stick with the GNG, plus the tendency of editors to be slow to create boring articles (especially if they actually have to look up some sources for them). If we get 20,000 articles -- great! But we won't, at least not until we're at tens of millions overall. Wnt (talk) 21:17, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
The problem with "just use GNG" is that, in practice, it's not at all clear when coverage counts. Do WP:MILL coverage in newspapers of attending multi-national events count? power~enwiki (π, ν) 00:10, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
@Power~enwiki: I'll admit, when I look at the picture of the cookie-cutter homes in WP:MILL and read the legend, my gut reaction is "but wouldn't it be cool if we did?" However, in this case, I don't think that principle applies at all. I hope no one would argue that there is such a thing as a "run-of-the-mill war" -- every war deserves a separate article. They are all different. But the exact same thing is true of peace. Countries don't just stay at peace because nothing happens; they have to work at it, figure out ways to settle their differences over fugitives, border surveys, maritime collisions, radio spectrum, a hundred thousand different little things. And so you have to ask, what is the framework they do this in? To say that peaceful relations aren't notable is to impose an unhealthy and all too common bias for conflict over peace. Wnt (talk) 20:25, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
  •  #2 is the most practical, because if there is even one embassy, there is always something to say in an article.  Requiring GNG is setting us up for voluminous meaningless AfDs, and potentially a resulting crosspatch of country pairs that do and don't have articles.  This is also a special case because the normal concepts for redirecting non-notable topics to a larger topic don't work well.  There is another subtle issue here that complicates AfD, that in terms of our concepts of secondary and independent, a press release or article from a government is not the same as a press release from a private company.  Unscintillating (talk) 02:18, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

I definitely agree with Bearcat's comments above. There is no need to define relations solely by the exchange of ambassadors, although it is likely a representative factor. What is important is to include information that supports the fact that there is a relationship between these two countries/states/entities. Examples issues to include would be:

  • Treaties, pacts and international agreements (eg. information sharing agreements, tax treaties, resource extraction, defence sharing)
  • Unresolved issues and negotiations to resolve conflicts/disagreements
  • Significant economic relationships (major foreign investments, high degrees of financial dependence or remittance funds)
  • Significant movements of people for labor exchanges, tourism, medical treatments, markets, refugees, etc
  • Any shared infrastructure, resources, language, culture or activities that are discussed at an official level
  • Recent military conflicts, support for internal unrest, or sponsored terrorism
  • Exchanges of official representation
  • Coverage of significant popular opinion on the relationship

There may be many more factors, but what is important is to demonstrate that there is a relationship and that it is not just an insignificant one. Loopy30 (talk) 17:33, 24 October 2017 (UTC)

This is an excellent summary of the kinds of issues that would represent useful and relevant content for the purposes of establishing a bilateral diplomatic relationship as notable enough to warrant a standalone article. I have little more to add but to endorse Loopy's comment. Oh, except to point out that one example of unresolved issues and negotiations would be a direct boundary dispute. Bearcat (talk) 17:41, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
Bearcat, I agree with you. This is a good list not just of whether an article should exist, but also what you should consider including in one. Also, this isn't the first time we've had a conversation on this precise question. Would you and Loopy30 please consider writing this down somewhere, before bilateral relations articles end up on the list of WP:Perennial proposals? WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:57, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Endorse Option # 5.) "Some country-pairs should have a bi-lateral relations page, but the presence or absence of ambassadors isn't a useful test; other factors (such as a long-standing history or significant bi-lateral trade) are more relevant." Basically, a WP:SIGCOV standard. Although I haven't been active in this area lately, a year or two ago I waded into a number of these pages, attempted to source some unsourced ones, and can clearly see the absurdity of having articles on bilateral diplomatic relations between Ruritania and Spensonia.E.M.Gregory (talk) 21:07, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I never did figure out what is wrong with having the 20,000 articles mentioned above; I still believe in the value of the policy, NOT PAPER. These are articles all of which have the opportunity to grow, and to which beginners can make useful contributions. Most often the apparent difficulty in finding sources is just cultural bias, and to the extent that we succeed in our basic goal of increasing the range of editors at Wikipedia, more and more they will be more adequately sourceable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DGG (talkcontribs)
    • Based on this discussion, I think a proposal to create all these pages (via bot) would likely pass. power~enwiki (π, ν) 00:10, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
    • What's wrong with it is that you get a bunch of articles saying routine, boilerplate things that nobody is going to bother keeping track of, and therefore nobody should trust. And that level, WP is paper: it still has to be kept track of. We don't need 19,000 articles saying that countries A and B do or do not exchange ambassadors and have basic extradition and trade treaties. Mangoe (talk) 01:43, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
  • And such nonsense articles are also totally misleading because enthusiasts stuff them with Google hits so anyone viewing the article would think the two countries must be very close partners. If secondary sources have written about the significance (WP:N) of the bilateral relations, an article could be produced with some confidence that the so-called relations aren't merely routine. Johnuniq (talk) 02:11, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
What's wrong with that is that Wikipedia's primary goal is quality, not quantity. 20,000 good articles about bilateral diplomatic relations between countries, that are well-referenced and substantive and informative? Sure, absolutely, bring 'em on. But 20,000 boilerplate articles about bilateral diplomatic relations between countries, which just state that such relations exist, the end? What could possibly be the point of, or the value in, that? Bearcat (talk) 18:40, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
  • comment I don't think the problem here is that we need a new or different standard for notability for these articles--if you put it to a !vote I'm pretty confident that consensus would favor using WP:GNG. The problem is interpretting GNG. What is the topic of these articles, really? What is significant coverage of this topic? How many sources are required? Some folks seem to think that any newspaper article mentioning two countries in the same sentence constitutes significant coverage of their relations. Other would say no. This is where direction needed, and a guideline or policy could help. Yilloslime TC 04:02, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @Reyk: 39,800, but who's counting. I already got dibs on Kyrgyzstan–Paraguay, so don't anybody touch that one; there's 39,799 other ones for y'all. Mathglot (talk) 04:50, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
    • That's twice as many because presumably Kyrgyzstan-Paraguay would be the same article as Paraguay-Kyrgysztan. Reyk YO! 04:55, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
      • Reyk, You're right, doh... Who knew that bilateral relations were commutative? Back to 7th grade with me! (Then again, one wonders if the Paraguayan embassy in Bishkek and the Krygyz embassy in Asunción really see things the same way...) Face-smile.svg Mathglot (talk) 21:12, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment Does anyone have a list of, say, the 1,000 most important bilateral relationships? It might be possible to extract from UN data, or their might be a international scholarship study somewhere. Those could then be prioritized, even if they're not necessarily the only ones that are notable. Also, for some of the smaller states, we might consider more merges of articles, like "county-region" relations articles.--Pharos (talk) 18:29, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • The problem with relying on significant coverage is that few Western media provide adequate coverage of places such as Sub-Saharan Africa. Do this simple experiment: pick a country in that part of the world, & try to remember the last news report about its foreign policy. I can attest from experience writing articles on Ethiopia that many provably notable bilateral relationships would fail that test if applied too rigorously. An approach similar to what Loopy30 proposed above would accommodate the issue of significant coverage. -- llywrch (talk) 21:42, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
We're not limited to sourcing such stuff solely to news reports, or to Western media. There are also specialist journals on international diplomacy; there are actual media in Sub-Saharan Africa; there's Al-Jazeera; there are academic books on African politics and diplomacy; there are biographies of African diplomats and politicians; and on and so forth. It is in fact very likely possible to properly source a good article about every diplomatic relationship that exists on earth — the issue isn't really whether some countries might get left out, because there are always sources we can draw on to write a good one if somebody actually puts in the effort to look beyond just the big Western media behemoths. Whether there's any value in boilerplating a bad article just so that there's something in place, despite the lack of any discernible effort into making that something any good, is a different question. Bearcat (talk) 19:07, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Power, there was a lot of discussion (

and AfDs) about this in 2009. See Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Bilateral international relations and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject International relations/Bilateral relations task force, also see the suggested guidelines at Wikipedia:WikiProject International relations#Bilateral relations. Fences&Windows 10:57, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Indeed that is quite the history! I guess those of us that never learned this, are doomed to repeat it... Thanks for providing these links to the WP:BILATERAL project. Loopy30 (talk) 12:46, 14 November 2017 (UTC)


Based on the advice given above by Jayron32, I am refining my proposal for WP:NOTNEWS. My proposal again reflects on this sentence: For example, routine news reporting on things like announcements, sports, or celebrities is not a sufficient basis for inclusion in the encyclopedia. Too many editors seem to believe this brief listing is exhaustive when, in reality, it is not. Of course, if it was it would read like "This applies only to...". I recommend adding the sentence This list is not exhaustive so there is no confusion, at least over that issue with the policy. I do not see why this call for clarification would be opposed but I've seen more surprising things from parts of the community.TheGracefulSlick (talk) 00:30, 24 October 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose. Unnecessary. "For example" does the job. I respectfully disagree with the assertion that there are scads of editors out there trying to write about routine news events like christenings and Sewer Board meetings because they don't understand what "for example" means and it has to be explained to them. What I do see are significant news events minimized by editors who take an extreme view of NOTNEWS. Coretheapple (talk) 13:15, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • It would be helpful to point to examples where events were kept that would have fallen under this, where editors arguing to keep said 'This event is not the type listed in NOTNEWS therefore NOTNEWS does not apply" to know if this is a severe problem. --MASEM (t) 13:18, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I could suggest that we tweak the rule to address abuse of NOTNEWS, but I won't, That's because there is no consensus to change this rule. We had an RfC above and a straw vote at Village Pump, both of which reached that same conclusion. Time to let this rest a while rather than keep trying to nibble at it. Coretheapple (talk) 13:33, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Clearly more clarity is needed, since people believe the list to be both exhaustive and final. If it isn't, we need to explicitly tell them that. --Jayron32 15:57, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
i've seen that asserted. Where is the evidence that editors view that as an exhaustive list? If this is not a real problem then we have a WP:CREEP issue. Coretheapple (talk) 16:46, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
Coretheapple clarifying a policy isn't WP:CREEP. I can find many more instances but here is a recent example of an editor of 11 years asserting NOTNEWS doesn't apply to crimes because it isn't one of the examples provided.TheGracefulSlick (talk) 17:13, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
Sorry but I'm not seeing Shrike making that assertion. (Pinging, so they can correct me if I'm wrong.) They said " WP:NOTNEWS doesn't apply "its not routine news reporting on things like announcements, sports, or celebrities" . They're saying it's not routine, not that it's not one of the examples listed. And yes, CREEP does apply to so-called clarifications of policy. Coretheapple (talk) 17:20, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
Seriously Coretheapple? He quoted (incorrectly, I might add) that part of NOTNEWS to say crime wasn't one of the items listed. What possible harm can you reasonably find from adding this small sentence for "so-called" clarity? You are just fighting a small change for absolutely no rationale reason.TheGracefulSlick (talk) 17:34, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
A segment from CREEP: "WP:CREEP" is not a substitute for actual arguments. Instruction can be helpful, even if long – when clearly and accurately representing community consensus. Hmm, so how does it apply again?TheGracefulSlick (talk) 17:41, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
I think you're totally misinterpreting Shrike's comment in a very unfair way---but hey, if they think you're being fair and correct it's a different story. As for CREEP, it seems to me that assuming that people don't know what "for example" means, on the basis of such slim evidence, is the epitome of instruction creep. Coretheapple (talk) 18:02, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I have read User:Shrike's comment and I do think that GrecefulSlick is misrepresenting it.E.M.Gregory (talk) 20:45, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose To me, "its not routine news reporting on things like announcements, sports, or celebrities" seems like a perfectly clear statement; attempting to list all types of "routine" news would be futile and might, as editors have argued above, lead to more problems than it solves; and, I see no evidence that NOTNEWS is being misunderstood. What I do see is is a sort of WP:FORUMSHOP by TheGracefulSlick. Abut 6 months ago, GracefulSlick began a campaign to delete pages that she regards as non-notable terrorist attacks. Some were deleted, others were kept, still others closed as "no consensus." She rapidly brought some kept and "no consensus" pages to AfD for a second go, started discussions on the talk pages of pages that closed as no consensus to merge to lists, and filed ANI complaints on editors who opposed her deletions of terrorist attacks (including me). I suggest that we give it a rest, on the grounds that there is no community consensus on what is, in essence, a difference of opinion about the notability of low casualty terrorist attacks.E.M.Gregory (talk) 20:45, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Where to start with this comment? First off, "its not routine news reporting on things like announcements, sports, or celebrities" isn't even how the sentence is read in NOTNEWS. As I mentioned quite clearly in my opening statement, this proposal is not trying to list anything but rather take the advice that was given to me by a neutral admin from the previous thread; I revised my proposal thanks to a community discussion. Yes, I nominated articles for deletion but with thorough nom statements reflecting entirely on notability guidelines. Most of the 2nd nominations were months or even years after the originals so editors could reflect on any long-term impact. One, I admitted already was a bad nomination and I think it would be unfair to still hold it against me. Also true, I did start an ANI thread on you and you were warned about your behavior at AFDs. I sincerely apologize, but I do not think your !vote here was done in good-faith, considering you could not even be bothered with quoting the sentence correctly; then you felt compelled to bring a misrepresented take of my editing history into the conversation which could taint the discussion on a simple clarity statement for NOTNEWS.TheGracefulSlick (talk) 01:57, 25 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per Jayron and nominator. I can easily see how some might complain based on an improperly exclusive reading of the list. CREEP is not a concern for me here. The proposal entails just a few words, and not everyone has English as a mother tongue. And CREEP is not a substituted for a grounded argument for opposing, as per WP:CREEP. (P.S. if E.M. Gregory is even a tiny bit right about TheGracefulSlick's motives, I would TROUT them for that, but still support this minor addition of extra clarification. It's nice when guidelines are clear and admit less bickering. ). SemanticMantis (talk) 21:51, 24 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support My suggestion would be to add this new note as a note/reference rather than in the main text. Shouldn't be such an issue. Lourdes 02:51, 25 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the same general reasons as before. This is especially true if the proposal is somehow related to an attempt to delete "minor" terrorist attacks. A terrorist attack by nature is notable -- it can scarcely induce terror without being known to sufficient reliable sources to be worth having an article about. Wnt (talk) 23:08, 25 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, with strong caveats Notwithstanding the fact that GracefulSlick's comments end with non-neutral analysis and an unnecesary pre-emptory broadside at anybody who is about to disagree with them, neither of which is appropriate to an RfC opening, the actual substantive suggestion is a reasonable one, it seems to me. That said, I'd propose that if we are going to go out of our way to point out that the list is not-exhuastive, we should also take pains to note that the class is also not an open one. The backstory here about GracefulSlick's perspective on this (whether true or not) underscores the uncountable number of issues that can arise from people wanting to keep significant events off the project just because they are recent. Most all terrorist attacks (to take the present example, though there are countless other areas that apply) are going to qualify under our notability guidelines and WP:NOTNEWS should never work at cross purposes to WP:N, but rather inform upon it in a way that is not conclusive in itself. The list "announcements, sports, and celebrity" may not be the only areas we are concerned about, but they do have a common character which is the meaning we need to preserve here: they are all routine, and thus can be expected to be the focus of media designed to promulgate them, whether they are particularly noteworthy or not--and this needs to be taken into account when considering the weight we give to sources in judging notability. This will not be the case in the majority of instances where WP:NOTNEWS is invoked, I suspect. Snow let's rap 08:42, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
This may be the way to go, as a change to the wording that clarified what we consider "routine" without expanding it may be acceptable to all sides.
Adding "This list is not exhaustive" as suggested above won't help much; what we need are some more-or-less objective inclusion criteria for what is likely "routine" and what is "suitable for inclusion", encoded in the guideline as guidance. I'd point here to the relevant essays WP:MILL ("do not rely on news which are reported merely to fill a placeholder") and WP:SNOWFLAKE ("do report on what is unique to each routine news coverage, if the sources highlight something as remarkable about that item or event"). These opposing essays illustrate the tension inherent in the choice, and can provide some ideas on how to tweak WP:NOTNEWS to make it easier to follow, without changing its scope. Diego (talk) 09:44, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

Should Wikipedians be allowed to use community granted tools in exchange for money?

Recently we had an OTRS "volunteer" lose their access to the tool here. User:KDS4444 is a well known long term paid editor.

This raises the question:

  • Should OTRS volunteers be allowed to request money from people sending in question to OTRS?
  • Should editors at AfC be able to request money for passing / accepting an article at AfC?
  • Should admins be allowed to bill for undeleting an article / use of admin tools?
  • Etc

Or should we have policies clearly disallowing this. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:18, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Seems like WP:INVOLVED and WP:COI capture most of the spirit of this, and would be the places to amend if clarification is needed. — xaosflux Talk 16:40, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • That we have had OTRS agents using the system to make money proves that when it comes to paid editing "spirit" is often not enough. We need it to be black and white. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:46, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Obviously not, that's corruption. If our existing policies do not effectively forbid it then we should have news ones that do - perhaps amendments to WP:INVOLVED and WP:COI, as xaosflux says. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 16:58, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I think that an explicit prohibition of such would be a good idea. In government and business that is considered to be bribery or a kickback scheme. And since Wikipedia conflates tools with related powers/positions, we should note that it's not just mis-use of tools, it's mis-use of powers/position. North8000 (talk) 17:10, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • The admin aspect was already discussed and rejected as a standalone item. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 17:11, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • One difference is that the proposal there was "No administrator may accept payment to edit articles or to perform any administrative function on Wikipedia" (my emphasis). This suggestion is only about prohibiting paid use of tools. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:17, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • And after reading a bit through it, the discussion is essentially about whether admins should be prohibited from paid editing. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:32, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Making rules that are impossible to enforce is...problematic. Honest people lose, liars win. As someone who has never gotten a dime for editing Wikipedia, I can only suggest (mostly facetiously) that all editors be required to give WMF regular copies of all bank statements. Or quarantine all editors on a desert island with internet access. What a nightmare this all is. If I had to guess, I’d say that at least 10% of political edits at Wikipedia are financed by somebody. Anythingyouwant (talk) 17:51, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • Locking your door does not prevent 100% of break-in, that does not make it useless. Wikipedia improves when good faith editors overall have a greater ability to contribute that bad faith ones. Rules help achieve a positive balance. Google Knol failed as it filled full of advertising. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:06, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Obviously the answer is 'No!' It's odd that the questions even have to be raised, but the goal therein is to make it absolutely clear, because paid editors - some of whom are notorious for their Wikilawyering - will use any 'omission' in the policies to practice their art. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 18:01, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Okay so with respect to wording, what do people thing about adding at WP:COI:
"No one may use admin tools or accepting articles at WP:AfC in exchange for a financial reward. Additionally the WP:OTRS system may no be used for recruiting clients or payment."
Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:55, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • In order to shine a light on this, if we read current policies as prohibiting administrators, editors or OTRS volunteers, from taking actions while at risk of being thought to be paid for those actions, then no funded academic, employee, Wikimedian in residence, should ever take any action using their editing/sysop/access rights which could in any way benefit their employer or funder, even the scenario often used in the past by certain employees that though they are employed, they were editing in their volunteer time... It might actually be better to highlight case studies where administrators that were in a paid contract or had a grant, did legitimately use the tools as they were the best person at that time to do so, while correctly handling their declaration of interest in a transparent way. There may be cases where conflicts of loyalty have nothing to do with money, and those may also make for useful case studies. -- (talk) 17:55, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • If you were a WiR at say the NIH and you protected all NIH related article without explicit consensus to do so, that would still be a problem. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:08, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • (edit conflict) Some good points there, which were raised in that other discussion (I've just finished reading it). While we should certainly want to prohibit 'corrupt' use of tools, it's hard to word policy so it does not adversely affect honest use as in examples like those. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 18:11, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I fully support this. Nick (talk) 18:08, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Anything other than "regular" editing (as can be done by an auto-confirmed user; a name-space restriction has too many edge cases to be reasonable) in exchange for payment should be strictly prohibited. The corner cases (what if a professor who is an admin does admin work on university time) can be figured out by lawyers, the spirit should be clear. power~enwiki (π, ν) 18:10, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I also support making policy clear against potential corruption. I don't have a problem with Doc James formulation; it's of course always possible to improve it in the future for precision, i.e. WMF legal suggestions welcome... —PaleoNeonate – 19:36, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • My view: No editor should be allowed to use permissions given through community input or tools that allow editors to work in an "official" capacity (OTRS, etc.) to edit for pay. As long as a draft meets all normal AfC requirements, I'm ok with editors being paid for their work. Admins can be paid for their work as long as they don't use their admin toolbox in the process. Of course, all paid contributions should be declared. Gestrid (talk) 08:24, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • OTRS is outside of our domain, and it seems the question has already been answered. However, I'm not aware of any instance of an admin using tools for pay - I'd be hard pressed to think of a situation where that would occur. Do we need to prohibit a practice that doesn't happen? As to AfC, that is a common job request, so it does represent something that happens. My knowledge of AfC is limited, though - do you need special tools in order to approve an article from AfC? I didn't think that was the case, but maybe I'm mistaken. - Bilby (talk) 08:49, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Bilby, Of course you're not aware of any instance of an admin using tools for pay. I'm not. Nobody is. They are not exactly going to yell it from the rooftops if they are. It's a very plausible concern and I can think of several situations where it might occur. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:23, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Hard pressed to think of a situation where an admin using tools for pay would occur? How about undeleting an article that had been deleted, unblocking a blocked paid editor, protecting an article at a favoured revision? It took me about 30 seconds to think of those three. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:37, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
No, I'm hard pressed to think of a situation where an admin is accepting money to undelete an article. The advantages are clear, but I haven't seen an admin use the tools for pay, and I'm hard pressed to picture that situation arising. - Bilby (talk) 11:41, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Several years ago, a Russian Wikipedia admin was desysopped for using admin tools to promote paid editing.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:24, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
One instance, several years ago, on a different language Wikipedia. Ok. But has this ever happened here? I agree with the principal - no admin should use the tools in return for pay - and if the community wants that to be clearly stated I'm a bit concerned re WP:BUREAU, but it doesn't bother me overly much. I do worry about "the sky is falling" policy changes, though, and pushing through changes without evidence of there being a need for them. - Bilby (talk)
Did you ever hear, (until now), that somebody was actively using OTRS to recruit clients and solicit payments?Winged Blades of GodricOn leave 10:21, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
I can testify for my own part, that this case was particularly egregious and lost me a bit of sleep thinking about it. I realize it may not look that way from our end, but from the perspective of our readers, OTRS is in few ways a higher position of trust than being an admin on wiki. From the perspective of readers, they're getting an email from Wikipedia, and not a message from some anonymous user on Wikipedia. I think per discussion below, I'm personally leaning toward favoring something along the lines of No one may misuse a position of community trust... and perhaps specify that this can include user rights, various coordinator positions, and off wiki access like OTRS and ACC. GMGtalk 10:29, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
The problem with OTRS was a serious one, but that should be handled through OTRS. As I said, I'm not opposed to this on principal. My concern is that I'm seeing a lot of rhetoric and exaggerated claims about paid editing which are leading us to take more extreme steps, but not a lot of data to back up the specific claims. Given that I can't imagine any current admin accepting money to use the admin tools, the change in policy is moot, and I'll support a well worded proposal. It doesn't prevent anyone from doing anything that they were going to do. But I do want to be cautious of inventing problems that don't exist. - Bilby (talk) 11:10, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, at least to my mind, the admin bit isn't really special here. It's just one of many rights or positions, of which there are many requiring both more and less community trust, and more or less oversight. And this isn't an expectation of admins; it's an expectation of everyone, and admins are an everyone. The key common factor there is the trust, not the number of buttons. For example, autopatrolled users are trusted by the community to make acceptable quality articles that don't require community review.
Also pretty much just to my own mind, there are really two distinct types of policy formation. There's policy that attempts to create new process to deal with outstanding problems, and there's policy that simply documents widespread community practice that's already in place, but hasn't been explicitly written down anywhere. I believe this is the latter. It's already a de facto policy. When we have, and if we do find someone abusing positions of trust, we will remove them from that position. That's a fact. But we currently don't appear to have explicit, unequivocal wording that says You knew this was going to happen when you made the decision to abuse your position or access. GMGtalk 11:26, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
I understand where you are coming from - I am fully in agreement that admins should not use tools for pay, with the various normal exceptions for WiR and whatever. My caution comes from seeing what can only be described as a war between paid editors and anti-paid editors, and in that war we're giving up progressively more. Thus I need to ask, every time a new policy change is put forward, the basic three questions - is it needed, will it work, what will it cost? This one costs nothing, in that it is such a specific case that it won't have a wider impact. But it isn't needed, because we have no evidence of this ever happening on en.Wiki. Will it work? I can't see how anything can "stop" something that doesn't occur, but I think we'll find that this is going to be very hard to prove to the level where we can desysop someone if it ever does arise, and that from a practical sense we'll end up using a different justification.
In regard to other tools, though, the approach doesn't seem to be the best solution. With AFC, I think we need a clear statement that says "you cannot approve any draft in return for financial remuneration" - it isn't about the use of tools, but the act of approving a draft. Focusing on the tools is the wrong part of the equation - someone just needs to take the longer process of approving it without any special permissions to meet the policy. Similarly, if we remain worried about auto-patrolled users, we need to say that all paid articles must be created through AfC is we want a real fix. It isn't the auto-patrolled status that is the core problem, but paid articles being created in mainspace and not being independently verified - although there will be more of a cost if we make that change. - Bilby (talk) 11:49, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Not to beat the horse into a pulp, but to focus narrowly on existing community practice and reasonable expectation of future practice:
  • When we have found users abusing AfC for paid editing, we have removed their access;
  • When we have found users abusing OTRS for solicitation, we have removed their access;
  • If we did find someone abusing autopatrolled to avoid scrutiny of paid articles, we would remove it;
  • If we did find an FA coordinator, a member of the ArbCom electoral commission, etc. abusing their position, we would remove them from it;
  • If we did find a sysop doing this (as other projects have), they'd have their mop snatched so fast it would cause whiplash;
So that raises the question to me, of why we haven't taken the time to write this down, when we seem to all agree to some extent that it is the way things work, and the way they can be expected to work for the foreseeable future. GMGtalk 12:05, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't understand enough about OTRS - my assumption is that it was a meta issue, not a en.WP issue, but if I'm wrong it is something to address here.
In the case of ArbCom, FA coordinators and admins, you are correct - we'd act if we found them. In general I don't really care if we wish to formalize those issues, except to note that we're formalizing something that we've never done, never had to do, and which would happen irrespective of any decision here. I'm wary of the principal of creating unnecessary changes. (I'd also note that, if policy reflects practice, in these cases we're reflecting what we believe would be practice, not what actually is, simply because it has never arisen).
With autopatrolled, yes, we would (and have) removed it. Let's put that in Wikipedia:Autopatrolled as the relevant place to discuss this and make the change. This one is far more important to me, and reflects something that we do, should do, and should formally note.
AfC is the other big issue to me - I would like to see that hole filled, as there are a lot of jobs hiring people to pass articles at AfC. But it isn't the tools that are the issue, so much as the approval. I'd like to see a more important change stating that articles cannot be approved from AfC in return for pay, as that would address the actual problem. Focusing on the tools rather than the approval is an error.
Just to be clear, my disagreement isn't with the spirit of the proposal, but with the two basic issues - I don't like creating policy changes that are not needed, and I don't care for skirting around the real issues (permissions) when we should be addressing the actual problems (approving articles for pay; creating paid articles in mainspace). - Bilby (talk) 13:03, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Well... it seems the main difference in approaches is that you would like to wait until each individual right or position is abused, and then add a specific policy on that specific topic. (Also, BTW, OTRS is stand alone project and AFAIK the only one running media wiki that doesn't accept SULs.) To my mind, it just seems simpler to put a blanket statement on a central place, like PAID. GMGtalk 13:11, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Not quite. I have two main differences. a) I'd like to address the real problem at AfC of approving articles for pay, rather than tackling the secondary (and mostly irrelevant) issue of use of permissions. b) I don't think we would need to change in policy even in the unlikely chance that the problems with FAC coordinators, admins or ArbCom members arose, because we would solve it without a change in policy. In that situation, I don't like creating policy changes to address remote issues that have never arisen and wouldn't need a policy change if they ever did arise.
I'm sure we'll end up with a blanket statement at paid. And WP won't end as a result. But I wish this energy went into changes that would have an impact or would address the real problems. - Bilby (talk) 13:22, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
That's part of my concern though, that if we have a blanket statement, we have one arguably time wasting discussion. If we do it piece meal, we end up with separate recurring discussions for each individual piece. GMGtalk 13:49, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I think I've been explaining things badly. If we have this discussion and agree to make this change to WP:PAID - which it is likely we will if we can get the wording right - it won't make any difference to how we respond to the main cases you raise: admins, FaC coordinators and ArbCom members. It may not do any harm, but it won't change the response, make it more or less likely that the problem will arise, or make things any easier if the situation ever appears.
In regard to this change and AfC, based on what I was told below, all the paid editor needs to do is not use any advanced permissions to pass something through. They can either argue that use of the helper script is not an advanced user right, or they simply don't use the script and do it the long way. That's because the AfC problem is not about permissions, but about actions. So if we make this change, we will still need to have another discussion to address the real problem.
In the situation of auto-patrolled users, the change I'd most like to see isn't a ruling that paid editors can't create pages in mainspace if auto-patrolled, but a rule that says that paid editors cannot create pages in mainspace. That second one seems more valuable to me, and will also involve a separate discussion.
Anyway, this is not of much value, because we're having the discussion however I may feel about it. :) Which is fine. But I've been arguing against paid editors for many years now, and what I'd most like to see is discussion around actions which will address the core issues without harming the project. This discussion has the advantage of not harming WP, but it retains the disadvantage of not addressing the problems that matter. - Bilby (talk) 14:19, 4 November 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well, part of my concern is once the issue of the paid OTRS agent was raised, it took several days for access to be removed. Even after the evidence was damning, it didn't seem like anyone wanted to unilaterally pull the trigger. Yes, it's technically a separate jurisdiction, but for English agents, it's pretty much the same cops on the beat. (I don't know of specific instances where autopatrolled has been removed for paid editing, but I'd be interested to.) This is the kind of thing that is to be expected where sysops, ideally cautious by nature, are in fairly uncharted territory as far as the letter of the law.

As to AfC, that and the issue of non-user right positions (coordinators, etc), are the reasons for my focus on emphasizing "positions of trust" and not just user rights. From a lower level implementation standpoint, if there is a project wide policy in place to that effect, project or right specific policies can probably for the most part be boldly added, and simply point to the main. Something along the lines of:

No user may use positions of community trust in order to solicit or accept payment for activities which have a direct and foreseeable impact on Wikipedia. This includes advanced user rights for which individual vetting and permission granting is required, positions of authority elected or appointed by the community, and system access on or off wiki not normally available to all users.

I think something like that would fairly well cover everything, including OTRS and AfC. GMGtalk 15:57, 4 November 2017 (UTC)

GreenMeansGo: to your question, the same OTRS agent Doc James mentioned above voluntarily relinquished their autopatrolled flag after I suggested it to them when the issue was first raised. We have no policy as to when to revoke user permissions in cases like this, and as a recent ArbCom case pointed out, the removal of user permissions is one of the most controversial things an admin can do.
Re: your proposed wording, I think I like it. I might also add something such as ...impact on Wikipedia; or use such a position to take actions on behalf of a client. for clarity. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:05, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
My issue with raising OTRS here is not that it hasn't proven to be an issue, but that my understanding is that OTRS policy is managed at meta, so I assumed that a change in that policy in regard to paid editors has to be presented and discussed there. If this is not the case I have no problems with agreeing to the policy change here, but I had always assumed that OTRS policy is outside of our immediate control.
I still need to return to my issue with the AfC problem. I do not see permissions or "positions of trust" as the primary concern, based on what I've been told. What I think we need is not the change being discussed here, but a clear and unambiguous change to Wikipedia:WikiProject Articles for creation that states that you are not permitted to approve an article where you have a COI, and in particular you are not permitted to approve an article in return for remuneration. It isn't about positions of trust or advanced permissions, but simply who can and cannot approve an article. - Bilby (talk) 16:28, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, my thought was that AfC would be covered under system access on or off wiki not normally available to all users. It's true that can't actually enforce anything at OTRS. But I think we can probably still say that someone abusing OTRS to make changes to is exactly half in jurisdiction, and we can still say that we don't approve of it.
Also, I'm fine with Tony's suggested addition. And I think the absence of policy on when to remove these rights is part of the problem, and part of why sysops are rightfully hesitant to do so. GMGtalk 17:00, 4 November 2017 (UTC)

    • Yeah, AFC Reviewers need access to a helper-script, designed for the purpose, that heavily eases the process/workflow.It may be noted though, that all auto-confirmed editors have the right to move articles from draft space into mainspace or that any body could choose to follow a tedious manual reviewing process, that existed before the development of the script.Winged Blades of GodricOn leave 09:08, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
      • In that case, there are no special permissions needed for AfC? Just optional access to a helper script that is open to any autoconfirmed editor? - Bilby (talk) 10:08, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
        • Manually reviewing articles is sufficiently tedious so as to be prohibitive for most users. It is a de facto user right. GMGtalk 10:27, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
        • Echo Timothy.In a very strict sense, AFC is not a right.But, in my wiki-life, I have neither seen someone evading the script-access-barrier by manually reviewing the submissions nor someone who is moving other author's AfC draft(s) to mainspace without using the script.Winged Blades of GodricOn leave 10:45, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
          • I guess what I'm wondering is if you need special community-granted permission to use the tool. Is this the case? Or an anyone use the tool? - Bilby (talk) 11:41, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
            • AfC works similarly to rights granted at PERM, but at a different venue. All you need is to convince one sysop that you're competent. The major differences are 1) it doesn't automatically come with the admin kit, although theoretically any admin could grant it to themselves, similar maybe to the way some things work with stewards (unless I'm mistaken), 2) it's not technically required for reviewing, but it's a bit like saying you don't technically need access to the elevator to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower. GMGtalk 11:49, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • There was "consensus for some language on this issue" last time and it is still a good idea, so support. Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:57, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Regarding Doc J's wording, if it is to be used, it may be simpler and more effective to say No one may use advanced user rights.... I have a hard time imagining a scenario where any right couldn't potentially be abused, which is why they're restricted. In fact, with ACTRIAL in effect, it could be easily argued that creating a paid article outright, instead of going through AfC is itself a type of abuse of auto-confirmed.
For rights with a greater potential for damage (e.g., sysop, AfC, page mover, AWB), and especially for those which have a comparatively limited amount of public oversight (e.g., OTRS, CU, OS)... Well... until very recently I should have thought that this actually didn't need to be spelled out at all, and that anyone with enough sense to use them would have had enough sense to assume this as a matter of course. But since the laundry list of rights and the myriad ways they could be abused is so lengthy, probably best to spell out the principle, and let the community decide the specifics, For example, is it an abuse of auto-patrolled if an editor doesn't unreview their own paid article creation? I don't know that we've ever needed to answer that question, but we might at some point. GMGtalk 10:59, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Actually, after thinking my way through a hot shower:
  1. It may be better to say No one may use abuse advanced user rights...
  2. I realize most autopatrolled users probably can't unreview their own article in the first place, because they probably don't have NPP. Which adds another layer of hypothetical problems.
  3. It's not entirely clear that pieces of the admin kit that non-admins may also have should be on the one hand, specially covered for sysops, or on the other, specially exempted for non-sysops. GMGtalk 11:10, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No to allow use of "community granted tools in exchange for money" - for all the obvious reasons. Yes to policies that disallow it.Atsme📞📧 11:56, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • An even more perverse variant of this problem crops up periodically at AFC. An author/submitter of a declined (or deleted) draft is contacted off-wiki by someone who claims they will approve (or undelete) the page for payment. This practice of holding a page (draft or mainspace article) to ransom has been condemned as a form of extortion. There is a standing request that all such incidents be reported to WMF Legal. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 12:07, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • NO - No one should be paid this way. This smacks of bribery. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:15, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No- this is a horrible idea. Reyk YO! 12:21, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I'd like to be clear that the question here is quite different from "Can an editor simultaneously be a paid editor and have access to certain user rights, so long as they do not overlap those roles?" ~ Rob13Talk 14:12, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
    • I'd planned on commenting on this today and it was closed before I could. Rob makes a good point, and I think it is worth clarifying if there are circumstances when being paid is incompatible with a role: the only thing I feel somewhat strongly about in this regard as an absolute no is the autopatrolled flag since it's impossible to turn off for only paid articles. Other areas I do think need clearer guidelines as well, and I think this is a first step in the direction of setting up those guidelines. Obviously this is a nuanced topic where there are strong opinions on both sides by the community, and I think further discussion (if not on this question then on other questions) is needed. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:24, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
    • (+1) to Rob's queries.But, primarily this discussion has in itself stemmed from an overlap.I have requested CPower678 to vacate their close.Winged Blades of GodricOn leave 14:40, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
      • The close is fine, mostly because the question as posed was wrong. The question is "should volunteers in roles of trust be allowed to use their tools for money?" The answer is a snow no, which is obvious. There is quite a separate question of whether volunteers can both hold roles of trust and separately be paid. For instance, should Wikipedians-in-residence be able to be admins? That is a very nuanced issue that would need a very different discussion. We can't have that discussion when it starts with such a flawed question. ~ Rob13Talk 14:59, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
At least to my mind, one of the more intuitive ways to go with this is that if you have an account with basically any userrights other than extended confirmed or autopatrolled, and you want to do disclosed paid editing, then you need to register a separate account for the sake of propriety. GMGtalk 15:11, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
As to off wiki access like OTRS, that's a blanket no from me. It can't be separated technically, since access is granted to a person, and not to an account, and it has comparatively little oversight. Probably similarly with CU since they have access to private information, possibly also ACC, and being part of ArbCom is right out. (Jesus this list gets long fast.) GMGtalk 15:14, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The WiR issue in particular is complex because while generally a wonderful program it has caused issues in the past (I think I'm thinking of one WiR who copied compatibly licensed advocacy pieces into about 6 months back). That being said, having worked with Doc James on PAID issues several times, he typically is not referring to individuals employed by orgs that share the WMF's mission and values (the WiR program or similar), but to those who are paid to edit commercially.
This could be spelled out better, I agree, but I don't think the question is fundamentally flawed: establishing a principle that people agree on has value, even if it is only a very basic one. That gives a starting point for agreement for any future conversations on the issue, which as Rob rightly point out will be nuanced out of necessity. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:17, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
The UNESCO fellow? GMGtalk 15:20, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
That's the one I was thinking of. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:25, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Rob, the question, flawed or not, concluded with "or should we have policies clearly disallowing this.". The close failed to address that adequately, or explain why it was overlooking it. I agree with your other sentiments, and a close thus explained would have been fine. -- Begoon 15:28, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No since this is open again, the answer to the question asked is clearly no. I also disagree with Rob that this is a flawed question, and think we can set out some general best practices here for the less complex cases that will make the more complex cases easier to deal with when the time comes to have conversations on those issues (call it the baby-steps approach if you want). These are the policy things I think are fairly easy to deal with:
  1. No one should use a position of community trust to solicit payment for services rendered on Wikipedia.
  2. No one should use any user rights or positions of trust to advocate for their clients or to make technical changes that would not otherwise be possible if they did not have the rights (i.e. an admin undeleting a page or a page mover skipping the RM process for a controversial move over a redirect, etc.)
  3. Technical permissions, use of tools requiring a checklist, and positions of trust that involve new content cannot be used to evade our normal scrutiny system for new content and COI content.
I think these three principles are things most people can get behind, and can help be the policy basis for any guidelines on how to apply the principles that Doc James is asking about. There are obviously others that might be able to be agreed upon as well and questions that can be raised regarding these points, but I think they would provide a basis for future discussions on the more nuanced and complex cases. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:42, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment I've seen questions raised about whether buying access to admin capabilities is really a big deal. Yes, it is. Look at the number of admins whose talk pages are filled with begging from conflicted editors whose articles were deleted. Won't spell this out due to BEANS but the possibility for a rent-seeking admin with access to deleted revisions are obvious. Also, very few people know about this, but I've communicated privately my evidence-based concern about at least one other CU confirmed socking account that was trying to gain access in 2015 to OTRS. There are good reasons to believe the socking was undisclosed paid/advocacy editing-related as is often the case. This is a big deal since OTRS handles all kinds of private, confidential information that could lead to WP:OUTING at the very least.
If you can't tell I'm leaning very hard towards "no" on the question, but want to see some refinement of the terms before making a commitment. Behavior that even smells of rent-seeking and bureaucratic malfeasance, aka bribery, could be another piece in the puzzle that results in the end of this worthwhile project. ☆ Bri (talk) 17:35, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Yes? I think Anythingyouwant sort of addresses my viewpoint. There's an unmet need in the economy for moving drafts through AfC and getting images approved at OTRS. I would never want to turn either of those processes into pay-for-play and perhaps that's what the opposition is scared of. The fact is, volunteers do a poor job of meeting our various backlogs. Wikipedians edit where they find satisfaction and avoid the drudgery that's needed to keep our maintenance effort going. So long as editors divulge their payments per ToU, I don't see the problem. I don't think money is universally corrupting. I'd like to see our hard-working Wikipedians get paid for their work, and I'd love if some of our most-talented Wikipedians could make a living off of editing just as we're happy to see our favorite YouTubers be able to focus full time on their content work. Disclosure is the sunshine treatment that prevents corrupt activity. If the WMF would stop spending money on un-asked for coding projects and started on-going investigations for business promotion (among other problems) I think introducing a pay mechanism would help us refine product. I know I've enjoyed getting paid to edit; sadly there aren't many reasonable opportunities anymore. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:42, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Hell no and props to Doc James for raising this issue. Support a common-sense prohibition. Coretheapple (talk) 17:14, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • NO in the strongest possible terms - This does not conform to the spirit of the encyclopedia. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 16:19, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

We just need acceptable wording and a place to put it

I agreed with the now retracted close. This is a "snow no" to allowing people to use positions of trust and tools for personal enrichment. There are many cases covered here, mainly at AfC, OTRS, and admins, so we need to refine the wording and place it in the right policies. I say policies in the plural because paid editors routinely ignore guidelines and because OTRS is regulated on enWiki by Wikipedia:Global rights policy, admins are regulated at WP:Admins (specifically at WP:Involved}, whereas AfC reviewing is not regulated by any policy that I know of, only by Wikipedia:WikiProject Articles for creation.

I suggest similar wording for all the above, based on User:TonyBallioni's wording just above. Once we get the wording to almost everybody's liking, then place it for an RfC at WP:GRP and WP:Admin. I'll be bold and start the discussion at Wikipedia:WikiProject Articles for creation soon myself.

Basic wording:

No editor may use a position of trust or any user rights to:

  • solicit payment for services to be rendered on Wikipedia, or
  • accept payment for the use of such a position or rights
    • for the benefit a client
    • for advocating for a client, or
    • to evade our normal scrutiny system for new content and COI content.

Payments and grants made by the Wikimedia Foundation or its affiliates (e.g. chapters) are excepted.

Please see AfC and the related talk page. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:38, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support since it is based on my wording above, see my reasoning there. I would also extend this to NPP/the NPR flag as well as AfC because that is what gives a user the ability to mark a page for indexing by Google. This wording should cover that, but I did want to mention it explicitly in my support. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:40, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support as initial wording, without prejudice to editing or improving as with any policy. This seems concise, reasonable, and easy to understand. Everything a policy needs to be. --Jayron32 19:04, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment How would this apply to Wikipedians in residence (i.e. people who edit on behalf of universities, libraries, and museums). I personally know someone who was paid by a museum to help write articles on 100 notable New Zealand craft artists as part of a GLAM project. It seems like the wording used here could be made to apply to that project as well. "any user rights" seems ambiguous. I am extendedconfirmed, does that count as a 'user right' in this context? Does that mean that autoconfirmed users are not allowed to use the perks of that 'user right' (i.e. creating articles) to create articles for pay? Or is this meant to only apply to user rights that are community granted (i.e. page mover, rollback). — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 19:53, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
    • It'd be pretty simple to deal with WiR's would create distinct accounts, which they do anyway normally, and in most cases, I would expect the accounts wouldn't have additional flags. Autoconfirmed isn't a flag but an implicit group that is determined every time a user action is attempted. Extended confirmed is a flag, but it is automatically granted, so I'd assume we'd use common sense and treat it the same as autoconfirmed. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:23, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment I agree with ICPH any paid editor (disclosed or otherwise), any wikipedian in residence that uses an autoconfirmed user right to create a page or even just to edit is in breech of this text; Wikipedia:User right is redirected to WP:User access levels and ALL user groups have right attached to them. Domdeparis (talk) 20:08, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Those creating articles for pay are to go through AfC. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:18, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • As I mentioned above, autoconfirmed is not a user right. It is a test that the software does automatically when any action is attempted. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:23, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
You might be right about autoconfirmed. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 21:36, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Insertcleverphrasehere: yes, this is made clearer in Special:UserRights. See yours here. It lists autoconfirmed as an implicit membership rather than a membership. Its just a software check. From the admin side of it, we can't revoke autoconfirmed status once it has been achieved (there is no tick box for it, and removing the confirmed tick box on the rare occasions that flag is granted does nothing once someone meets the software requirements). TonyBallioni (talk) 21:44, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:18, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I definitely support a prohibition such as this. I would suggest that the way to distinguish someone like a Wikipedian in residence etc. from what we want to prohibit, is that the prohibited conduct occurs when there is a quid pro quo in exchange for something that would not be approved if it were out in the open. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:21, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
    • Tryptofish, WiRs who have distinct accounts for their work as a WiR would be in compliance with the user permissions part of this since that role account would not have additional permissions. We do want to prohibit a WiR who is also an OTRS agent (or hell, hypothetical future arbcom member) from using that position to somehow advance the cause of the org they are being paid by just as much as we'd want to prevent those paid for commercial purposes. The WiR program is good but we also need to recognize that some of them do have a COI on advocacy issues, and that the same principles apply to them as well. I think the overwhelming majority would not abuse it, but I don't want to exempt them completely. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:29, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
      • I agree with what you say. I didn't mean to make it sound like I was saying that there should be anything special about WiR, but I see now that it sounded that way. What I meant was distinguishing acceptable from unacceptable conduct. And I think that what defines unacceptable is (i) a quid pro quo and (ii) a result that would have been opposed by the community if it had happened out in the open. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:34, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - I don't know if this is exactly the right wording, someone can probably improve upon it, but I would suggest going with something more like No editor may use advanced user rights requiring community trust.... Auto confirmed and Extended confirmed are both user rights, but they're not really an expression of community trust, and they're not really a user right in any meaningful sense that we are talking about now. As for the rest of it, if we did have a user with advanced rights go out for WiR, I think it would be totally appropriate for them to either request their rights be temporarily removed, or register a disclosed second account, especially as it concerns auto-patrolled and sysop. I don't really see a reason why a WiR would need to be active at places like NPP or AfC anyway. GMGtalk 20:24, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
I'd support this proposed change in the wording (which I believe was the original and understood intent of the version proposed above). I propose that we amend the proposal to this new wording, and then continue the voting. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 22:11, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
If we are going to change it lets just come out and add normal editing by autoconfirmed or extended confirmed users is not considered use of permissions for these purposes or something like so we don't get into quibbling as to what an advanced permission is or which ones require community trust. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:19, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Umm... I think I actually disagree on one point. I think the purpose is kindof to be intentionally vague to some extent, and let the community decide the specifics in an actual situation. GMGtalk 22:30, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Not all forms of advanced editing privileges requiring community trust are backed by user rights. I wouldn't want FAC coordinators accepting money to get commissioned articles on the Main Page, for instance. MER-C 12:57, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
Ah ha! Now this is actually a very good point indeed! There are actually quite a bit of coordinator type positions that have nothing to do with a user right in the software but could be just a easily used improperly and in many cases with greater effect. This should probably be covered here somehow. GMGtalk 14:12, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose for now. I'm 100% in support of the sentiment here, but I still think the wording is a little vague. For instance, last year I spent some time in a paid WIR position. I registered a separate account, and made it clear that I would not be using any of my admin/functionary access for anything related to my work as a WIR. I kept the separation going to the point of CSD tagging old userspace drafts rather than deleting them myself. I did not make a secret of the fact that I was an administrator before taking the job, and I suppose that an overzealous individual could say that by making this clear I was trading my 'authority' as an admin and trusted user in exchange for a job? I am also not sure what problem this instruction creep is going to solve, as in the KDS4444 situation the user was quickly evicted from OTRS once their conduct was discovered without the need for a policy change. This does have the smell of security theatre about it. Lankiveil (speak to me) 02:17, 3 November 2017 (UTC).
    • Wikipedians are not the only audience for this policy. This creates a policy we can point to when reporting spammers to freelance job sites and/or in OTRS tickets regarding commissioned articles. MER-C 12:52, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No editor may use a position of trust... may be overly broad. If you were going to legitimately hire someone to make non-promotional edits, you'd want to engage someone who was trusted by the community. Conversely, if an editor is going to provide copy-writing services, the community should prefer someone who is trusted to follow policies, guidelines, and best practices, versus someone who has failed to be proven trustworthy. isaacl (talk) 03:05, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support in principle. Wording wise, I suggest something like "Editors with advanced editing privileges requiring community trust must not solicit or accept payments for using said privileges to advocate for or on behalf of a client or circumvent normal editorial processes regarding new and COI content". As for placement, why not put it in WP:PAID as well? MER-C 12:52, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment Personally I would go even further and require that any advanced user right cannot be *held or granted* if you are engaged in or offering any commercial or otherwise paid service related to Wikipedia. The inherent conflict of interest that receiving money for services engages means that its too much of a risk. Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:14, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, with wording to be refined, particularly regarding acceptable exceptions. And yes, per Only in death, no advanced right or permission should be granted or allowed to paid editors. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 20:24, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
    I don't see that working generically for practical reasons. The GLAMwikitoolset right has been given to GLAM and Wikimedia Chapter employees for their "official" user accounts in order to manage donations of image archives to Wikimedia Commons and in some cases to run bot-generated reports (with granted bot flag) to support reuse on Wikipedias. They were being paid to do the work, and there is no reason to waste valuable unpaid volunteer time when projects like these are run transparently. -- (talk) 22:56, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
    @: minor questions. a) Is this being run to make edits on enWiki? b) is this right covered at WP:GRP? c) does my proposed wording below make your objection mute? Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:30, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
, what I said in my first short sentence above ("wording to be refined, particularly regarding acceptable exceptions") should be taken as applying also to what I said in the second sentence. Also, what happens on Commons happens on Commons; my opinion expressed here on Wikipedia relates specifically to this project. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 18:43, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I'm ok with the principal, but what is meant by "any user rights"? That seems overly broad. The wording makes it sound as if anything you can do as a user - create new articles, edit, revert, etc - would fall under this. The wording needs to better reflect what rights are at issue. - Bilby (talk) 08:14, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The suggestion is that "payment for service" is automatically harming the encyclopedia, that is just suspicion, it's possible to be paid for doing good work, it's also possible for an admin to put their responsibilities to the community last or first, paid is not proof of a problem, it's only proof that we don't trust them. The heart of the issue isn't WHY the editor, or admin might be acting against the community, only that there is a problem with what they actually did. So lets be focused on behavior not mistrust. Dougmcdonell (talk) 19:17, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Prohibition statements etc. in policies/guidelines oalmost always reflect upon the behaviour of common folks, not that of the outliers.Though, if you had choosen to oppose, because you think, that there's no problem in any editor soliciting payment(s) from potential customers through OTRS channels (as long as the worth the article he/she later churns out is satisfactory) or somebody self-patrolling his own paid creations, despite the elements of obvious cognitive bias or some sysop restoring articles, declining CSDs, closing AfDs in lieu of payments, it's another case.Winged Blades of GodricOn leave 14:05, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I think Wikipedians should always be able to solicit "payment for services to be rendered on Wikipedia". Chris Troutman (talk) 21:46, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support long overdue. Coretheapple (talk) 17:16, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support in principle and most specifics; I prefer the slight modification in the next subsection. It's concise, non-bureaucratic, and consistent with the general community take on these matters. We know there'll be some paid/COI editing, and consensus implemented policy about it. This just closes a loophole.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  00:23, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── With very few exceptions there are no opposes here based on principle. We're just arguing about wording (and where to put that wording). Within the limits of my available time, I'll keep coming back to this. There are several places to put this, and I think several are needed since advanced rights are covered in several places. Progress so far:

Other discussions, with possible wording changes, will have to be held at WP:GRP (for ORTS) and WP:Admin. I don't expect any opposition at WP:GRP, and will start that discussion on Monday. My suggestion for wording follow. I'm just adding a line on Wikipedians in residence, but please note that the "who" in the 1st line will change based on where the policy is proposed. Once everything is done, we can then summarize the changes at WP:Paid.

  • I don't get it. As far as I can tell, using any bit in exchange for money is already disallowed so outlining rules for it just makes it easier to game. Anyone misusing any bit is subject to having that bit removed. Doing it for pay is clearly misusing it. There really is no question about it. Any admin unblocking for cash would be dragged to Arb and bit stripped, for instance. No one would oppose that. A new rule is superfluous. Dennis Brown - 20:14, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @Dennis Brown, the TOU—even in the brave new world of the WMF crackdown—aren't as clear-cut as you think, and there are still quite a few loopholes. Show me where in policy it's forbidden for an admin to profit from their access to deleted revisions, for instance—and that's something that does have commercial potential, there are ad-funded websites that literally do nothing but host deleted Wikipedia articles (Deletionpedia is the best-known). ‑ Iridescent 20:23, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
  • As long as policy is based on consensus and consensus is overwhelmingly against selling use of the bits, then it seems obvious to me. If I find any admin using any bit for gain, I won't hesitate to block them, for example. I don't need a specific policy statement, WP:COMMONSENSE covers it well, as bits are based on trust that they will be used only to benefit Wikipedia. Any use of the bit to gain advantage, be it financial, in an edit war, or otherwise, is grounds to lose the bit. Any bit. The community has already said this by providing a vetting system for all the bits, and policies on use of each of the bits. Anyone that doesn't understand that shouldn't have advanced bits, as the reason we have them is to benefit the encyclopedia, not ourselves. I'm afraid once you start setting specific rules, you start creating loopholes. As it is now, ANY misuse of any kind, even those we can't think of ahead of time, is grounds to lose the bit. I truly feel we codify too much that is already covered by common sense, and that is part of the problem with the contradictory maze of policies we have. Dennis Brown - 01:35, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Without a policy to back it up, the odds of a desysop from arbcom are negligible. Sure we could go the community ban route that we went with within the last few days for an OTRS agent, but that would also lead to the inevitable arbcom case. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:45, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I have a bit of a counter-proposal to this, which is that rather than setting out prohibitions for paid editing activities, we should merely set out a very tightly limited list of what paid editors can do, and specify that any action not on that list is prohibited. The list would be something like, following disclosure of having been paid, adding reliably sourced information to a draft, or proposing on an article talk page that content be added or changed. If that is the complete list, then obviously things like unearthing deleted edit histories would be outside the scope. bd2412 T 20:28, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
    • As the United States discovered when it tried to ban alcohol, it is very difficult to regulate that which you prohibit, and I think your proposal comes so close to prohibition that the same principle will apply. If you make the rules too onerous, then at some point paid editors will just not disclose their paid status. I'm sure this already happens, and probably quite a bit, but it will get worse. WP:OUTING is written so strongly (too strongly IMO, but that's a separate discussion) that enforcement will be very difficult. --Trovatore (talk) 21:14, 18 November 2017 (UTC)


New basic wording:

No editor may use a position of trust or advanced user rights to:

  • solicit payment for services to be rendered on Wikipedia, or
  • accept payment for the use of such a position or rights
    • for the benefit a client
    • for advocating for a client, or
    • to evade our normal scrutiny system for new content and COI content.

Payments and grants made by the Wikimedia Foundation or its affiliates (e.g. chapters) are excepted. Wikipedians-in-Residence should declare their paid status and their paid use of advanced rights, but are otherwise exempt.

Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:30, 4 November 2017 (UTC)

This is an improvement, but I'm still a little uncomfortable with the word "solicit", which I think could potentially cover a wider range of scenarios than what is intended. Am I correct in assuming the intended effect of that clause is to stop people using OTRS and other WMF-sponsored tools for finding work? Lankiveil (speak to me) 02:30, 5 November 2017 (UTC).
Examples where "solicit" may come into play: Orangemoody-type advertising via email, i.e. Pay me to write your article and I'll make sure it sticks because I'm an admin, b) ads on Fiverr "You can pay me to write your article, and I'm an admin". One place that it wouldn't come into play is with Wikipedians-in-Residence because they "are otherwise exempt." I have no problem with a potential WiR saying to a respectable GLAM "BTW I also volunteer at OTRS" because GLAMs are aligned with our aims, and because I think GLAM folks (on- and off-Wiki) would police the activity themselves. I trust librarians!. Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:20, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Can the scope of "position of trust" be narrowed? What roles that do not require advanced user rights are being targeted? For example, is a co-ordinator of WikiProject Military history, an elected position, considered a position of trust for the purpose of this proposed guidance? How about the Today's featured article co-ordinators? Teahouse hosts? isaacl (talk) 18:26, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Sorry for my absence here, real-world obligations catch up sometimes. The answer to @Isaacl:'s question is most that there are many places where the rules for different positions and user rights are set out. I believe that each place needs input from the folks that hang out there and that the exact wording for each position can be worked out, In short, it'll be narrowed by doing one position at a time, and by the people involved. That's not to say that folks here can't be involved at those pages as well. So far:
  • small change already made at WP:AFC, with no opposition
  • small change at WP:COI reflecting the AfC change
  • an interesting discussion at WT:Good articles
  • I'll start a discussion very soon at WT:GRP (which covers OTRS and other rights)
Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:47, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Can you list some examples of roles that would be covered which do not have associated advanced user rights? This would help me consider what type of wording may be appropriate. Personally, I do not think just being trusted by the community should be in itself a disqualifying factor, even though trusted editors inherently have a greater influence on discussions than those who aren't trusted. isaacl (talk) 17:00, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
My main concern is with holders of advanced rights who use their status, rather than the rights per se for paid editing, e.g. OTRS "volunteers" who might come on to enWiki (their rights, if we call them that are used elsewhere) and post something on a talk page, e.g. "From an OTRS ticket, I'm removing .... until a better source can be found." Or say an admin !voting at ANI. That's not exactly using their tools - it's a use of their position or status.
As far as "trusted positions" without tools - the only ones that concern me at all are AfC reviewer (this seems to have been taken care of) and Good Article reviewer (which is still being discussed). Others may be concerned about different positions - but let them make the proposals. As far as the elected director of WP:Military history - I just don't know enough about it - but I doubt that he'd win an election if he declared that he was willing to sell his services as the director. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:49, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
FA coordinator and the ArbCom election commission have been mentioned above. GMGtalk 17:56, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be better to cast the restriction (for editors without advanced user rights) in terms of the type of services offered: the commonality seems to be decisions that are entrusted to one or a small number of persons, or the evaluation of the community's consensus view. So maybe something like this:
  • No editor with advanced user rights may solicit or accept payment for any service related to Wikipedia. Examples of services include advocating for a client, or evading scrutiny for any edits benefiting a client.
  • No editor may solicit or accept payment for any service related to evaluating the Wikipedia community's consensus view, or to deciding on an outcome either as an individual or within a committee, as opposed to part of a community discussion. Examples of outcomes include decisions made by the feature article co-ordinators, and rulings made by the Arbitration Committee election commission.
Further examples of course can be listed. isaacl (talk) 18:35, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Prefer this version to the one in the above section, since it deals with the "coordinators" matter.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  00:24, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

(radical?) counterproposal

Instead of running away and pretending we can stop editing (hint - I've only seen reports and instances of paid editing increase since the change in the ToS from my OTRS work), why don't we almost create a "trusted editor" system - editors that are trusted by the community are added to a page, can be contacted by external editors, and if the subject is indeed notable, the page can be created by them for either a charge or a donation to the WMF? (something a bit like WP:JOB but better publicised) Paid editing is clearly not going to go away - as I see it, we can have a choice where both us (with better paid-for articles, so less NPP needed), and the subjects (article less likely to get deleted, less likely to be scammed). I'm aware this does present a potential COI flag over the foundation, but as it is independent editors carrying out the editing, I don't see this as an issue.

Note: I'm not involved in paid editing, I just regularly dealt with the fall out from it. The current approach clearly isn't working IMO - maybe a shift in our approach may well get better results. Mdann52 (talk) 22:50, 3 November 2017 (UTC)

Those hiring paid editors are often looking for promotional rather than neutral content. The problem is growing as we become more well known and respected and the businesses that do this work increase in number. The rise of sites like Elance and Fivver also contribute. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 07:18, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
@Doc James: True - however, I think if we are going to keep our head into the sands that this issue can be solved with our current approach, promotional content is going to become more widely available. I think that trialing different approaches to see what impact they make would be at least vaguely worthwhile. Mdann52 (talk) 17:01, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Our current approach appears to be 1) some pretending the problem does not exist or if it does it does not matter 2) a small group trying very hard to keep our rules against paid editing from being applied and try to do everything possible to prevent any new rules from being created to regulate the practice or enforce our TOU.
So it is not surprising we are here. We do need to try things, but I would like to suggest we try enforcing our current rules or ban paid promotional editing directly in article space completely. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:41, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @Godric on Leave: I can see the parallels there, but that seemed to be far more about money from the WMF rather than subjects. I'm under no illusion this proposal is not going to get any real levels of support - sometimes, I think it's best to throw radical proposals out there to get people thinking, as in my time on Wikipedia, towing the same line has only seen the problem get worse... Mdann52 (talk) 17:05, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Hi all! My opinion is simply disallowing those types of paied contributions because especially OTRs members as will as admins should be of the most confident users and represent the idea of volunteering for wikipedia and if we allow them to be paied for their contributions then wikipedia will become like any paid website and will lost its main principle of free knowledge. Those paied users are more prone to bias than those who are freely volunteering and sacrificing there efforts and time!. Regards--مصعب (talk) 11:18, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
This isn't going to happen.
  • @مصعب: There are a few editors involved with Wikipedia who are paid for their work and tend to produce high-quality articles - I'm of the opinion that paid editors != bad editors as a general rule - hence why I'd rather it was members of the community being paid for writing articles outside their comfort areas, rather than unknown people writing paid promotional content. Mdann52 (talk) 17:01, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Just no TonyBallioni (talk) 13:13, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Hell no! - it would be reputational suicide. --Orange Mike | Talk 20:58, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Heck no! - some people get carried away! Smallbones(smalltalk) 21:44, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Absolutely no . This is even worse than the error that was made in the first place by allowing paid editing under the condition of disclosure. No form of paid editing is compatible with the volunteer philosophy of Wikipedia.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:36, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Hahaha Worth imagining just so that in my mind I can see the look on the WMF's face if we tried to turn the platform into a donation machine through community consensus... In all seriousness though: not gonna happen. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 12:31, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @Insertcleverphraseher: Evidently, you've never been on Wikipedia around December while logged out for the annual fundraising drive... :P Mdann52 (talk) 22:12, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Presses nuke button - Seriously though, it is a good idea but per above wishful thinking. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 16:24, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

History - people with privileges who edited for pay

Several folks have asked if this has ever happened. I've been spending a bit of time looking at that...

apparent sock (listed at SPI): Homechap (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)
apparent sock (listed in Arbcom decision June 2009): Zithan (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)
crat, oversighter, admin, OTRS.
per edit count first edit in 2004.
status, Zithan blocked; other accounts not blocked, Nichalp retired; last edit on en-WP was Jan 2009 (left enigmatic note here 31 Jan 2009).
Made a 'crat here in September 2005 ; stripped by arbcom here June 2009.
joined OTRS here October 2007; removed from list here July 2009 with edit note No longer active(!)
June 2009 SPI filed and was put on hold for Arbcom, Arbcom finding is here
btw this from July 2008 looks a lot like trying to figure out how to cover their socking tracks after a goof, using the tools.
The arbcom decision spawned a long discussion at the related talk page here.
Led to a slew of AfDs eg linked from Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Brad Sugars
Led to a mammoth RfC that ran June-July 2009 Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Paid_editing
Status. not blocked. Still an admin. not too active per edit count, last edit was Feb 2017
per edit count, created in 2006
diff, June 2009 acknowledged editing for pay; explained here on 11 June that they work for a university and I only add content or modify content with information that is sourced directly from our publications and web-sites, or from accompanying articles.. That diff says that they gave up the bit and they did but they asked for it back in Nov 2009 log)
sock of account formerly called Mrinal Pandey, renamed to Empengent (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)
See SPI Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations/Mrinal_Pandey/Archive (I had never looked at that before. Wow)
arbcom case Feb 2015; desysopped and banned for socking and editing for pay on behalf of a university, Indian Institute of Planning and Management
Master account (edit count) created Dec 2006
Wifione account (per edit count) created April 2009.
user rights log, made admin Sept 2010.
OTRS, autopatrol
status, indeffed Nov 2017)
OTRS (removed Oct 2017)

--That is what I found so far. Jytdog (talk) 18:31, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Currently editing for pay through "Mister Wiki"

— JJMC89(T·C) 18:56, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

New Page Patroller
Systematically marked as patrolled new pages created by one of the big UPE sockfarms.

-- Rentier (talk) 19:27, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

AFC reviewer
Does work for "Mister Wiki".

- Jytdog (talk) 22:54, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Other history

Had never seen this list before. Back in 2009 already somebody was tracking ads for paid editing on Elance. See User:Brumski/paid_editing_adverts. Jytdog (talk) 18:31, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Rather than putting this list on the village pump page, how about including it somewhere under Wikipedia:WikiProject Integrity, such as a subpage of Wikipedia:WikiProject Integrity/Editor Registry, so it can more easily located again in future and kept up-to-date? isaacl (talk) 20:07, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

As I noted at the top, people in the RfC discussion asked about other people with advanced privileges (PWAPs ??) who edited for pay and I wanted to make it easy for folks participating to see. But yes it should be copied to the Integrity page. Jytdog (talk) 21:17, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Consensus and copyright law

This removal by Sandstein apparently need to be discussed. Admins that are closing FFD discussions need to have a grasp on the relevant copyright law(s) in order to make a sound decision. This is one of the few areas were community consensus can actually have a detrimental effect on the project as a whole as consensus, or lack thereof, could result in a violating image being kept on the project when it really shouldn't be.

The question is as follows: Should admins be able to use their knowledge of copyright law to ensure that images uploaded to the English Wikipedia follow said law. Regardless of the actual consensus of a FFD discussion? --Majora (talk) 20:42, 4 November 2017 (UTC)


  • Support allowing admins to use their discretion to ensure files follow the law. --Majora (talk) 20:42, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support but I assumed this was already covered by WP:F9. A copyright violation cannot be allowed on Wikipedia. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:25, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Adam9007, yes. I think it should be, though I agree that G12 covers this as well. Administrators already have a basis in policy to delete copyright violations regardless of the outcome of discussion. I firmly support the four-eyes principle on speedy deletion even for copyright, but once an editor has pointed out a copyright violation, the CSD allows for an admin to delete the page. Wikipedia almost always sides with taking the most conservative option when it comes to copyright, and that means deletion when there is a reasonable basis to assume that the content is copyrighted and without proof of the content in question being free. Majora, could you explain a bit more why you don't think this is already under the CSD policy? TonyBallioni (talk) 01:46, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Because having things written down in black and white make it far less likely for someone to find a way around it. I tried to explain the fact that the image that caused all of this was copyrighted but Sandstein claimed that deleting it would constitute a supervote. When I tried to explain to them that it would not be a supervote because of the admin instructions they removed those instructions. If it can happen once it can happen again. So having it in black and white can only avoid such instances in the future. --Majora (talk) 01:54, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Thanks. I'd also suggest opening up a conversation at WT:CSD about the point Adam raised above. Copyright is one area where the CSD policy always trumps XfDs, and getting it is writing there will also be helpful. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:00, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @TonyBallioni: I'd also suggest opening up a conversation at WT:CSD about the point Adam raised above I was going to suggest the same thing. Adam9007 (talk) 02:03, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support this has always been the case, copyright policing has always trumped consensus because of the legal implications to both us (the Wikimedia Foundation sites) and to our downstream content re-users. We cannot permit copyright violations to remain visible here just because consensus in one deletion discussion is in favour of keeping a file. I would also remind users that we're here to create a 'free encyclopedia' - that is to say, one that is as unencumbered by copyright limitations and restrictions as far as is possible'. We are not here to create an 'online illustrated encyclopedia', one which includes as many images as possible from anywhere and everywhere'. I'm shocked but far from surprised we're having this discussion, and disappointed my colleagues are closing copyright discussions when they do not understand about copyright, nor do they seem to care that they don't understand copyright. Nick (talk) 13:01, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support the RfC question, sort of, but considering it to be separate from the specific text added/removed that led to this RfC. It may help to reframe it, though. Yes, it's about making a determination about a legal matter using knowledge of copyright, but it's more likely to get support if we just say that the closing admin must base the close on the strength of arguments -- and that we afford admins more leeway in FfD closes to go against the majority or even "supervote" when the majority get it wrong. Notability is more open to interpretation and the consequence of getting it wrong by siding with the majority is far less than it is in matters of IP. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 17:34, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • When a closer has not concluded there is copyright infringement, as in this case, the paragraph-at-issue is irrelevant. You can't use it to badger an unconvinced-admin into deleting. If you're convinced a non-consensus should be delete, then either re-nominate or take it to DRV. (It was unnecessary for the admin to delete the paragraph to reject the unpersuasive demand.) On the other hand when a closer is convinced that sufficient evidence of infringement has been established then SUPPORT. There is abundant basis to go against a majority based on strength of argument and the various valid reasons for discounting poor arguments.[8] This is especially true in the case of copyright: Wikipedia policy, which requires that articles and information be verifiable, avoid being original research, not violate copyright, and be written from a neutral point of view is not negotiable, and cannot be superseded by any other guidelines or by editors' consensus.[9] Copyright violation is probably the strongest justification for discounting a faulty majority. If you object to the deletion then take it to DRV. Alsee (talk) 17:22, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Consensus cannot overwrite copyright law, so images clearly uploaded that violate copyright can be removed by a knowledgable admin even if consensus thinks it should be kept. That said, we need to differentiate these from problems with NFC rationales, which start with the assume that there's a fair-use claim and all core copyright issues are not a problem. Those need to be taken in consideration with strength of FFD arguments to keep or delete. --MASEM (t) 23:12, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support copyright is one of a very small number of areas where, because of the potential for serious harm to result, we need to err on the side of caution. As a result if an FFD discussion comes to a conclusion about copyright which the closing admin knows is incorrect then they should be able to place greater weight on the global policy and less on the local consensus. No, we don't select admins for detailed copyright knowledge, but we do expect that admins who don't have the knowledge required to work in some area stay away from it. Hut 8.5 18:11, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support: I agree with pretty much what everyone has posted above. I also think discussions involving copyrighted content (files or text) need to err on the side of caution. While I can understand how a "no consensus = keep" might be acceptable for AfD discussions, I don't believe such an approach works very well with discussions about files. I've seen some FFD discussions (involving both non-free content and free content) closed as such over the past few months and the logic for doing so seems questionable at best to me. It's seems to me that the licensing of a file should be clearly verifiable; otherwise Wikipedia should not accept it. In cases where a file's licensing is challenged, the burden should be for those arguing for the file to kept to clearly show that the licensing complies with WP:COPY; if they are unable to do so to the satisfaction of the community, Wikipedia should delete the file along the lines of c:COM:PCP. I don't think this proposal is asking for closing admins to offer legal opinions or cast supervotes; I just think it more clearly spells out that file copyright discussions can sometimes be complex and the automatic default in cases where there still exists some significant doubt should not be to keep. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:56, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Copyright law should trump consensus, and admin discretion to delete to follow copyright law in spite of consensus is perfectly fine. I would also support shifting the default outcome for a no-consensus FFD to be delete to err on the side of caution. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 04:10, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per above. I'm also concerned that so few editors understand/respect copyright that we actually have to discuss this. For example, if someone uploads a copy of File:TheAvengers2012Poster.jpg under {{PD-self}} and consensus says keep as is, then rest assured I'll be there to delete it. -FASTILY 20:26, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Copyright law closures should only adhere to what actual law says, and not care about consensus. The discussion should bring in examples why or why not it is a violation of the law, but the closure should have sufficient copyright law knowledge to close such a discussion. Being an admin is not an end-all reason to be able to close all kinds of discussions, sometimes knowledge in an area, such as copyright is required. / Commons admin (tJosve05a (c) 13:33, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Law (and indeed WMF fair use policy) supersedes a local consensus. Stifle (talk) 10:31, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Only partial support Of course consensus cannot overule copyright law, but the effective copyright law depends upon many layers of interpretation, both the interpretation done in the legal system(s), the interpretations(s)we do here, and there necessary adjustments we have made to accommodate in some manner incompatible legal systems. It's very easy in a discussion to say "copyright law " but the actual meaning is very often "my interpretation of copyright law " or actually "my interpretation of our practices on how we interpret what we think to be copyright law" DGG ( talk ) 02:30, 20 November 2017 (UTC)


  • As remover of the text, I obviously disagree with it. We do not select our admins for a knowledge of or training in copyright law, and therefore a random admin's understanding of the law (which varies substantially depending on jurisdiction) is only marginally likely to be better than that of other editors. Ultimately, consensus determines which files are kept or deleted and therefore what Wikipedia's collective understanding of copyright law is. Obviously, admins should take strength of argument into account in closing, and therefore give less weight to opinions based on a clearly mistaken view of the law (e.g., "information wants to be free, you can't copyright art!"). But that's not the same as saying that an admin's personal interpretation of the law should override everybody else's views.  Sandstein  20:52, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
    If your knowledge of copyright law is only marginally better than the general editor's perhaps you shouldn't be closing FFD discussions that are partly or entirely based on copyright law? Perhaps leave those to admins that know what they are doing? --Majora (talk) 20:54, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
    I'm talking about administrators generally, because what you propose is a rule that is supposed to apply to all closing administrators, including those who may know nothing at all about copyright law. If you disagree with a closure that did not end in deletion, just renominate the file or go to WP:DRV.  Sandstein  21:02, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
    It isn't about this one file. It is about the actions of an admin who admits to closing a discussion when they didn't know all the facts based on a lack of consensus that violates copyright law. I tried to get you to understand but you refused. I would certainly hope that most admins would have the knowledge of their own personal abilities to know what areas of the project they are best suited for. Those that know nothing about copyright law should not be setting foot into FFD to close discussions based on copyright law. Just as those that know nothing about username violations shouldn't be stepping foot in UAA without at the very least learning about it first. We hold our admins to such high standards for a reason. We trust they won't go bouncing around the project willy nilly without knowing what they are doing first. --Majora (talk) 21:09, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Suppose there was a discussion where everyone !voted delete based on copyright violation but the closer, based on his superior knowledge of the law that copyright was not being infringed, closed as keep. Would that do? Of course not. The role of the closer is to assess consensus, not to assert any supposed superior knowledge. Thincat (talk) 21:27, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
    I'm trying not to bludgeon the process by responding to every person but that seems much more unlikely to ever occur. First of all, obvious copyright violations are speedy deleted and never get to FFD to begin with. Second, I would assume this hypothetical admin would actually attempt to provide proof to the other respondents? I certainly hope so. If they are closing FFD discussions they are ultimately responsible for proving that the image follows copyright. We trust random people with OTRS access to access copyright based on their "superior knowledge". We should trust admins closing FFD discussions to do so as well. And to provide proof of their actions. --Majora (talk) 21:37, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
    Thincat, Wikipedia:Closing discussions#Policy says it ain't quite that simple. ―Mandruss  21:39, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
    But Majora has raised breach of the law which is narrower than breach of policy. Copyright infringement, generally being a tort, requires damage to be actually caused to the injured party for tort to be proved. And that seems very unlikely to be realistic in this case. (That shows how little I know about the law!) Of course consensus should be policy-based. Take the matter to WP:DRV. Thincat (talk) 21:59, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
    The preservation of the project's safe harbor status under the DMCA requires us to deal with copyright violations immediately, as soon as they are noticed. Actual damage to the party in question is beyond the scope of that carve out in the law. Commons puts this pretty succinctly in their precautionary principle. "We can get away with it" isn't a valid reason primarily because of safe harbor. So an admin using consensus, or lack thereof, to keep a violating image is a serious concern. Hence this RfC, to reestablish that point in the FFD admin instructions. --Majora (talk) 22:08, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
    Thincat, I definitely understand looking at the mirror-situation. However I see a strong asymmetry here. If a closer is convinced that sufficient evidence has been presented to establish copyright infringement, that supersedes a majority-consensus to the contrary. In the opposite case a closer believes it is not copyright infringement, they consider it a poor deletion. However that is not strong cause to disregard a (presumably) reasonable consensus of responsible editors. They should either accept that consensus, or better yet they should simply !vote KEEP and explain why. A good closer needs to be able to do two very important things: (1) Close against a majority when there is solid cause to do so. (2) Close against their own view. This mirror-case neatly packages up those two critical criteria for a closer. Alsee (talk) 17:52, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
    Thank you for your remarks, which are helpful. Because, in my view, the hosting of File:Bob Hasegawa Official Portrait.jpg does not infringe US copyright, I think the arguments that there is a legal tort (or even a crime!) are mistaken. Perhaps when some people are claiming there is a copyright violation what they really mean is that WMF or WP policy is being broken. That position is far more firmly based – WMF do not allow "no harm" as justification even though it is allowed in law and no fair use rationale has been provided (none is required by law). So, to me some of the claims here of impropriety and impending legal calamity seem extravagant. However, I agree that closers should not close against policy (except when you ignore it!) and maybe that happened here. Thincat (talk) 23:03, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
What... exactly leads you do believe that this is in the public domain? GMGtalk 23:13, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm not supposing that for one moment (and I don't know if there is a "free" licence). I am suggesting that no copyright violation (in law) has occurred. Thincat (talk) 23:20, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Per WP:NOLEGAL, "Nothing on or of any project of Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law." Andrew D. (talk) 12:16, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - A few points here... First, discussions on copyright are ultimately simply not purely consensus based. They may seem that way, but they're really not for one very important reason: if you have 100 inane !votes to keep, and one !vote to delete that is based on a solid sourced rationale for why the content violates copyright, the admin probably shouldn't close the discussion at all, and should instead take that one well reasoned delete !vote to legal, for actual lawyers to weigh in on the actual law. They should post whatever response they get on the deletion discussion for public review, and at the end of the day that actual legal opinion is much more important than all the inane !votes in the world.
Second, we do not empower any Wikipedia editors to make legal decisions. There are very good reasons why our donations help keep legal counsel at arm's reach.
Third, this probably didn't even need to escalate to that level, and the discussion was fairly evidently one weakly reasoned !vote with nothing to back it up, and one vote that was pretty clearly the exact opposite. Inane !votes don't count toward consensus because they're "inane !votes" and not "inane votes".
Finally, if I haven't made it abundantly clear, This was probably a bad close. But they're bound to happen occasionally, and we have a process in place to deal with that. I don't see a reason that this should be outside of the ability of that process to handle. GMGtalk 12:55, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Striking all but the final portion after some convincing arguments on IRC. I appear to be generalizing from a particular case in a way that isn't correct. I still oppose the overall proposal. I don't think every bad close requires a change in policy. I don't see any evidence to suggest that this is a persistent and pervasive problem that DRV or renominating isn't able to handle. GMGtalk 13:27, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Not only do I strongly second Sandstein's point about copyright-law knowledge not being a criterion for getting the mop, I would from personal experience not trust any close made on that basis by an admin, even if I agreed with it, because there is a lot of misunderstanding out there about how copyright law works, even where only U.S. copyright law is at issue, and our admin corps is certainly not immune. I saw one admin once argue for the removal of a book cover from an article, a book cover that was itself ineligible for copyright in the U.S. as it consisted only of the work's name and some geometric shapes, on the grounds the book cover was covered by the copyright on the book itself. But even in countries where the cover art might have been eligible for copyright, its copyright is still an entirely separate one from the book's text.

    We also have the issue of too many people thinking copyright law and our copyright policy are identical—in fact, the latter is more restrictive than the former, by design, due to values the community has decided it wishes to express through that policy.

    Only one actor within the Wikimedia community has the clear authority to rule on an FFD closure on copyright-law grounds: the Foundation counsel's office. They get paid to know these things, and make such decisions on that basis (which they rarely do; they prefer to leave most of those decisions to the community, and when they do have to get involved in deleting images it will be for reasons that supersede those the community can consider such as a DMCA takedown notice, in which case they will not bother to involve themselves in an FFD since it is moot under those circumstances).

    If an editor feels that a closing admin has applied our image and copyright policies in a manner inconsistent with the relevant copyright laws, there is, as has been noted, a process available to them: deletion review. Daniel Case (talk) 00:24, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose. I'd also like to add that Wikipedia's administrators should also refrain from giving mandatory medical advice, or anything else that would expose the community to liability. NFC is handled by community discussion, subject to the oversight of WP:OA (as I understand it), not by administrators' knowledge of copyright law, or lack thereof. Sławomir Biały (talk) 00:45, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
    • The exact opposite is actually true: an administrator closing an FfD and keeping a file they know could reasonably be under copyright would be the one assuming liability as would be the admin restoring a copyrighted file. An admin deleting a copyrighted file would have next to no liability legally: no one has a legal right to store any image on Wikipedia, even if they are the legitimate copyright holder, so deletion of a file exposes the deleting admin to no legal jeopardy. Being the admin who decides to keep a copyrighted file because of consensus, however, arguably does because individual contributors are legally responsible for their actions, and the liability comes to the contributor, not to the WMF. We would never dream of allowing anything like this for text copyright, I don't see why so many users think we should allow it for files. TonyBallioni (talk) 07:40, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
      • No. There has to be a take-down request by someone with standing. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:31, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
        • And depending on the circumstances the individual admin could still be liable for not acting. Additionally, it is undisputable that deleting a copyrighted file does not expose an admin to legal jeopardy if it was done incorrectly: no one has a right to host any file here. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:34, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
            • No, but requiring administrators to learn copyright law and police the site might open the foundation or individual administrators to liability. (Notice I said "community", not specifically "foundation" in my vote.) What if it were found that some administrators were negligent in their (apparently new) responsibility? Sławomir Biały (talk) 18:30, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
              • Individual adminsitrators are already liable for every action and edit they take on Wikipedia, whether it is in regards to copyright or not. The same is true of every editor: there is no community liability for anything, all users are legally responsible for their own actions. Deleting content poses zero legal jeopardy to administrators: no one has any right to use WMF servers as a webhost. Taking an administrative action that chooses to actively retain content where the copyright status is legally questionable has significantly more legal risk, though as anyone who is discussing copyright and Wikipedia should point out: its a very complex situation and it would need to be sorted out in the courts. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:32, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
          • No. Not doing something is not an act of infringement, not deleting is not an act of infringement, saying "consensus is to keep" is not an act of infringement -- it's just an opinion about consensus that is protected free speech. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:38, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
            • Knowing that something is a copyright infringement and deciding to use a position of community trust to keep it rather than delete it when one has the option arguably makes one a party to the infringement. This has nothing to do with free speech. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:06, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
              • No. It does not, and if one does not know what free speech is, how can one presume to claim to know copyright infringement. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:40, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
                • As a point of order, this has nothing to do with free speech. Carry on. GMGtalk 16:51, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
                  • That is not a point of order, that is just not paying attention. It remains, whether you like it or not, 'saying "consensus is to keep" is not an act of infringement -- it's just an opinion about consensus that is protected free speech.' Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:44, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
                    • People often think that the First Amendment prevents anyone or anything from punishing them for their speech. This is not the case. The First Amendment prohibits the government — not private actors — from punishing you for your speech. A private company can censor artistic expression or a private employer often can discipline its employees for speech without violating the First Amendment.[10] GMGtalk 18:49, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
                      • That's not of any meaning, here. It certainly does not change the case that, 'saying "consensus is to keep" is not an act of infringement -- it's just an opinion about consensus that is protected free speech.' (It's those who are trying to imbue it with legal meaning -- in copyright-law -- that are not only wrong, but dangerously so).Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:05, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
                        • The government is not trying to interfere with editors closing XfD discussions. It therefore has nothing to do with free speech, because... that's what freedom of speech means. Freedom of speech has to do with the government. It does not have to do with the not-government. I'm not... totally sure how much more clearly that can be put. GMGtalk 19:56, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
                          • You can pay attention to what is actually being described, an opinion, which falls in the realm of free speech is not copyright infringement. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:17, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
                            • I... umm... Sure thing. GMGtalk 21:19, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
      • No. The administrator would most definitely not be liable. Then again, hey, what do I know about copyright law? For that matter, what do administrators know? Take it up with the WMF legal team. Sławomir Biały (talk) 18:26, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. In a no consensus situation it may make sense to allow it, but not in a case of a clear consensus. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 07:30, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose On the internet nobody knows you're a dog. Only in death does duty end (talk) 12:19, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
    • Which is a great argument to ignore the consensus at FfDs when the possibility of copyvio exists. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:34, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose absolutely nothing we do or adopt should even begin to suggest an admin is rendering their own legal opinion in taking an admin action. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:59, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, with obvious usual provisos. This is either unneeded WP:CREEP or an invitation for supervotes. Admins should close based on the consensus of the discussion, which already can potentially include weighting certain !votes lightly if they display an obvious failure to engage with the relevant policies. If an admin feels that a discussion has a consensus which is profoundly against their own personal view of copyright, they are free to not close the discussion and instead cast a normal vote, and perhaps the eventual closing admin will be influenced if the original admin's argument really is persuasive. And finally, if the community truly bollocks up a discussion, there is as always WP:OFFICE action to correct it if the actual copyright holder complains and the Foundation's lawyers think the complaint has merit. SnowFire (talk) 06:36, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose on the grounds that if we follow it through to it's logical conclusion, it would likely have the opposite intended effect since users would quickly determine which admins are partial to their own copyright/fair-use/nonfree views, thereby actually giving users greater opportunity to exploit the protections already put in place. Also I oppose, to a lesser extent, (since this view has already been expressed), because copyright law, like any other law, is widely open to interpretation, and single individuals should rightfully be excluded. Even the U.S. justice system espouses a (kind of) consensus interpretation with the 12-member jury. No cop, lawyer, or judge gets to decide if you broke the law. The jury does. Most people think copyright/killing is against the law. Maybe. Maybe, not. What if you killed in self defense? What about justfiable homicide? Accidental manslaughter? Premeditated murder? Who get's to decide? A jury of your peers, that's who. Huggums537 (talk) 14:47, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose copyright law, like all law,needs to be interpreted. Obvious violations are removed by speedy, but anything that reached FFD is somethign where the interpretation is not obvious. The only way for deciding interpretation is consensus. DGG ( talk ) 17:48, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Alanscottwalker and Andrew Davidson. --Tom (LT) (talk) 22:40, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If it's not a blatant situation, you (and I) must obey consensus achieved at FFD. We can already disregard nonsensical arguments at any XFD nomination, after all; when Randy shows up and says that an image is PD-animal because it was created by sword-wielding skeletons, we can just ignore his opinion when determining consensus the first time around or when evaluating a DRV. Nyttend (talk) 05:00, 13 November 2017 (UTC)


  • If the laws of a country make any admin feel at personal risk of civil, criminal, or terrorist/paramilitary-mediated liability for upholding Wikipedia consensus, he should recuse himself and leave it to some member of the consensus (there must be many, after all) to decide what to do. Our policy should actually be to require he recuse himself in that position. (Note he would not be required to recuse himself if he honestly feels he is upholding consensus by following the law, which is far more common) Wnt (talk) 13:32, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • This RfC is moot - copyright is one of those policies with legal considerations which isn't subject to consensus. Copyright-violating material is required to be removed immediately; any community consensus which conflicts with that is irrelevant. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 11:50, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
  • The hard part is determining WHETHER the material violates copyright. Blueboar (talk) 16:17, 19 November 2017 (UTC)


  • There has been an incident that facilitated the need for this discussion beyond Sandstein's removal of that part of the admin instructions for FFD. The no consensus close of an image that is clearly in violation of copyright. --Majora (talk) 20:42, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
    In the context of this specific example, I think the framing is somewhat wrong. An uploader (and those who support keeping files) have an affirmative burden of proof when it comes to establishing that the file meets our copyright restrictions. In such a discussion, I would suggest that a lack of consensus about whether copyright obligations have been met should generally be treated as delete result by default. In the absence of consensus, the need for a precautionary principle when it comes to copyright ought to favor deletion. Dragons flight (talk) 12:40, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Generally, when I see a discussion which seems to go counter to what would be disallowed (or permissive) under copyright law, I comment or skip. This is essentially a collision between copyright and Wikipedia:Consensus; Commons as a file repository is a lot more exposed to copyright issues so they give more weight to the first point. I think it's also the reason why Commons has no equivalent to WP:INVOLVED. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 11:16, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Couple of points here. This is not about NFC. It never was and never will be. Non-free use is a completely different policy that has nothing to do with this. If you believe that this is about NFC please revisit your post.

    To those that are bringing up NOLEGAL. I don't see how that is relevant at all. Would you considering deleting things under F9 or G12 legal advice? I certainly hope not since that would cripple our ability to deal with copyright infringement. This is about the community being able to override legitimate copyright law via consensus or lack thereof (in the case of a no consensus close). Right now that is possible. This RfC is an attempt to rectify that. --Majora (talk) 01:15, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

    • Agree on the NOLEGAL point. Yes, we don't try to present legal advice to readers, but internally we have to be 100% of legal matters and implement policies like EL, BLP and NFC to comply with legal requirements, as best as we can interpret them. There are times we turn to WMF to help resolve matters, but they have charged us to keep content within legal allowances for US law. --MASEM (t) 23:15, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • User:Marchjuly has very helpfully raised the matter at com:vpc where there has been a useful discussion. The position of "clearly in violation of copyright" does not seem to be supported. However, there seems to be sufficient doubt about the licensing of the image that Commons would not host the image because of Commons' Precautionary principle which is a matter of policy rather than law (and one I agree with). PRP is clear that what is relevant is whether there is significant doubt about whether an image is freely licensed. That is a different matter from whether its display here or on Commons is unlawful. My own view is that it is disallowed by policy but allowed by law (but I'm an internet dog). Thincat (talk) 11:53, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I think the "no consensus = keep" closes when it comes to file discussions is something that needs to be addressed. Such closes may be less problematic in other XfD discusssions, but when I comes to files I think they need to be seriously reconsidered. File copyright issues can be quite tricky and I am certainly no expert on them, but it does seem that in almost every case a file's licensing either clearly complies with WP:COPY or it doesn't, and in the latter case the default should not be to keep the file. Wikipedia should adopt an approach similar to c:COM:PCP in such cases and delete a file whenever significant doubts have been raised about its licensing.
In this particular case, there were a number of things that probably should have been considered before closing the discussion.
  1. The actual link cited in support of the PD claim actually does no such thing:it states that most of the content found on the website is not copyrighted, but some might be copyrighted by others. This is quite common for government website, even US federal government websites, so assuming that something hosted by such a site has to be PD is often a mistake.
  2. The EXIF data of the file shows that the copyright is not held by the organization given as the source of the file, but is actually credited to a different party, which means that it needs to be verified how this party licenses it content. If not clear, then clarification should be sought (perhaps at WP:MCQ).
  3. Consideration also should have been given as to whether this file would be accepted by Commons. There's no reason for an official PD-licensed photo of a US state government official downloaded from one of the state's official websites to be hosted locally on Wikipedia and such files should (eventually) be moved to Commons. So, the administrator should've considered whether the file would be accepted by Commons. When there's doubt as to whether it would be appropriate to move the file per WP:MTC#Do not Transfer, then perhaps clarification should be sought at c:COM:VP/C. If a PD-licensed file of US origin is unlikely to be kept by Commons, there's no point in moving it, thus no point in keeping the file locally since the {{PD-ineligible-USonly}} cannot be used and {{Keep local}}/{{Do not move to Commons}} should not be used in a case like this.
So, unless the closing admin actually felt strong enough to cast a keep !vote, the FFD should have been (in my opinion) either relisted (with perhaps clarification sought at MCQ or COM:VP/C) to see if a stronger consensus could be established or should have been deleted without any prejudice against the file being restored at a later date via WP:DR if the PD claim is subsequently verified. I understand that this might be alot to ask for an adminstrator to do and appreciate all the admins who try to help and reduce the backlog at FFD, but I do think that perhaps that it would be better in most cases for an admin to pass on closing a discussion if they only feel confident enough in reaching a "no consensus = keep" close. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:53, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
  • TonyBallioni brought up the exact same thing to me a few days ago. It seems like a precautionary principle at FFD might be acceptable. But it would have to be specifically tailored to make sure it isn't gamed. The principle would not apply to any file being brought to FFD on fair use grounds, etc. That seems like a discussion that should be had in my opinion and would probably make this entire RfC moot. --Majora (talk) 02:09, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
@Majora and Marchjuly: the basic principle that I believe every admin who is working in any form of copyright deletions (text or file) should follow is this: if an administrator would be unwilling to take on the personal liability of restoring the content if it had already been deleted, and they are considering actively declining to delete it, they should let an admin who is more experienced with copyright issues handle the request, whether it be CSD, XfD, or revdel. This would address all the no consensus situations above when admins who are not familiar with copyright default to keep when a file would be eligible under one of the CSD criteria. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:47, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
@Majora: Nitpicky perhaps, but I think Wikipedia should try to maintain a distinction between non-free content and fair use because Wikipedia's policy is considerabally more restrictive than the US concept of fair use and different countries may treat "fair use" or refer to it differently (e.g., fair dealing than the US. It's easy for those not familiar with Wikipedia and the difference to treat them as one and the same, which is why it tends causes a fair amount of misunderstandings as expalined in WP:ITSFAIRUSE. Now having said that, I don't think non-free content use should be automatically excluded from any Wikipedia PCP because I've seen some "no consensus = keep" FFD closes for non-free files which also seem questionable. While it's true that not every FFD discussion regarding non-free content use involves immediate deletion, they do in a sense involve a discussion of Wikipedia's policies on using copyrighed content. I think it would be acceptable for deletion/removal via FFD per a Wikipedia PCP type of rationale because the burden for justifying non-free use seems to be strongly placed upon those wanting to keep/use a non-free file per WP:NFCCE. If there exists substantial disagreement as to whether a non-free use rationale which clearly shows how all ten non-free content criteria are met to the satisfaction of the community has been provided for a non-free file, the default fallback close should not automatically be "no consensus = keep/not remove". The discussion can be relisted as necessary, but if a consensus still cannot be achieved, then maybe the use should be disallowed per such PCP type of rationale. I understand that opinions on non-free use can be quite subjective, but if a consensus cannot be clearly established via a FFD that the a particular non-free use is justified per relevant policy, keeping the file as a default seems (in my opinion) to be a mistake. -- Marchjuly (talk) 03:23, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
There is definitely a line between what is an outright copyright failure that must be deleted immediately (eg someone posting something like the Flag Raising at Iwo Jima and claiming they are the owner of the copyright), and NFC problems which require a bit more care and human handling to make sure it is not small issues or consensus-based decisions to be made. Admins should be able to delete images on a precautionary measure if they are reasonable certain there is a copyright problem (eg clearly wrong license, clear lack of ownership to claim licenses, etc.). If they do have doubt (as would be commonly the case with works published overseas in the mid-20th century, which become embroiled in a mess of legalese), that should be discussed at MCQ or some other place to figure out the legal issue. Once that legal issue is dealt with, the rest of such images then become subject to NFC and image use policies, which means that's where consensus should be engaged. Admins can tag such images for removal, but this does require a 7-day period for editors to respond to and a second human review to delete. --MASEM (t) 16:59, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
@Masem, Majora, and TonyBallioni: I understand what you're all saying, but let me use Wikipedia:Files for discussion/2017 July 17#File:Robert Goldston01.jpg as an example of where I think some kind of c:COM:PCP-type of policy/guideline could also be helpful regarding an FFD discussions about non-free images. The file in question is of a individual who is presumed to be dead, but for whom no reliable sources can be found to establish that he is truly dead. So, per WP:BDP, such individuals are assumed to be living until the age of 115. The file was originally tagged for speedy deletion per WP:F7, but it was sent to FFD because being born in 1927 apparently means that an individual in unlikely to still be living. The file was nominated at FFD and the only response in favor of keeping the file was that BDP is unjustifiably long based upon a Wikipedia article about average life expectency,, which might be the case but which is not a justification for non-free use. FFD does not always attract lots of attention from the community at large and the FFD was relisted twice by two admins before by closed by a third admin as "no consensus = keep" with the comment "There aren't enough people interested in the issue to establish a consensus." After the FFD was closed, the application of BDP in this particular case was discussed at Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard/Archive257#Robert Conroy Goldston and the consensus of one other admin and two very experienced editors (one who is now also an admin) was that it did apply and the use of the image should not be allowed per WP:NFCC#1. When the closing admin was asked to clarify the close, they seemed to give as a reason that a non-free file of the author in his prime would be better than a freely equivalent photo of the author at his current age, which is something that has really nothing to do with NFCC#1 and which is essentially a !vote which the admin should've been made in the FFD itself. Having to re-nominate this at FFD might have been avoided if there had been some PCP-type of guidance for admins that "no consensus = keep" should not be the default FFD close even for a non-free file whenever there are significant doubts raised about the file's use/license, and that either relisting or seeking further clarification at WT:NFCC or WP:MCQ (or even in this case at WP:BLPN) is preferred. If clarification had been sought, then perhaps the one of the three FFD admins would have learned that there is actually a pretty strong consensus which has been stable for many years that non-free images are, in principle, simply not allowed for identification purposes in articles about still living individuals, even long retired not publically active individuals, except in certain cases such as when the individual's Wikipedia notability is primarily based upon their physical appearance. FWIW, I am not trying to re-FFD this file here (the file can be nominated at FFD again), but just using it as an example how a default "no consensus = keep" close, even for non-free files, does not seem to work as well as it might in other XfD discussions and giving administrators a little more leeway/guidance might actually be a good thing. -- Marchjuly (talk) 14:34, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
See, that's a reasonable fair NFCC discussion, and the type of thing that an admin shouldn't step over "consensus" (of which there was no feedback for all purposes on that FFD). If the guy was alive or not is a fair question that we can't prove either way, but we can at least make reasonable guesses that both what their apparent age would be (115, unlikely) and the forum post that says he's likely dead, and thus we keep under NFCC allowances. We have to make some judgements like that, but none of that is a outright copyright violation problem that an admin should overstep. --MASEM (t) 14:39, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Do we have any indication of whether a discussion closer who allows a copyright violation to stand would be legally liable if they were wrong? And I am asking legally. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 11:12, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, it wouldn't be the first time that someone tried to bring legal action against an individual editor (e.g., [11][, [12], [13], [14]). Would they have enough knowledge of our deletion process to pin it on a particular closer? Would they succeed if they tried? That's probably speculation all the way down. I think the more interesting question that comes to mind, is if WMF were hit with a subpoena to reveal the identity of an editor who was identified to the foundation, would they have to comply with it? GMGtalk 12:16, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

RFC for changing the production section guidelines. 2

Please comment on the RFC here Thanks. --Deathawk (talk) 06:08, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

WP:PUBLISH rewording proposal.

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
I think it's fairly obvious that an RfC is unnessecary.

At WP:PUBLISH we have:

  • "A film, video, CD, or DVD distributed to theatres or video stores; a radio program including its contents actually broadcast; a television broadcast; a streaming video or audio source on the Internet; a song recording distributed to a public;
  • A transcript or recording of a live event, including: plays, television programs, documentaries, court trials, speeches or lectures, demonstrations, panel discussions, or meetings, a song sheet;" [Emphasis added]

The first part is talking about media which has been preserved in some way, then distributed to theatres or stores, and it goes on to strangely refer to a "television broadcast" as one of those types of media.

The second part is talking about live events, and then it goes on to oddly refer to "television programs" as live events?

I think they have it backwards. If you swap the two terms you can see it does make sense when you realize a "television program" is media that has been preserved in some way, then distributed to stores, and "television broadcasts" are live events. So, I propose a simple switch that should read as follows:

  • A film, video, CD, or DVD distributed to theatres or video stores; a radio program including its contents actually broadcast; a television program; a streaming video or audio source on the Internet; a song recording distributed to a public;
  • A transcript or recording of a live event, including: plays, television broadcasts, documentaries, court trials, speeches or lectures, demonstrations, panel discussions, or meetings, a song sheet; [Changes in bold] Huggums537 (talk) 16:31, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

Rfc on term swapping at WP:PUBLISH

Seeking comments on the proposal listed above to swap the terms used at WP:PUBLISH. Thanks. Huggums537 (talk) 19:11, 8 November 2017 (UTC)



  1. Support, I suppose. To be honest, this is really all semantics and I'm not really sure an RfC is completely necessary. It's not like editors really follow policy to the letter — it's more about the spirit of them anyway. My advice is that if there was no major objections on the talk page, be bold and change it. ProgrammingGeek talktome 20:19, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. I would have normally been bold except that I was recently involved in a friendly(?) discussion not directly related to this proposal, but close enough that I felt it would be more appropriate to open the RfC. I feel confident it's an uncontroversial edit, but one can never be too sure... Huggums537 (talk) 01:15, 9 November 2017 (UTC)



Threaded Discussion

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

RFC on Chinese railway station title/style conventions

It's only six days into the RFC, but I see a broad consensus, with no major opposition, so closing early. The decision is that Chinese stations and others should conform to the convention used elsewhere - i.e. to lower-case "station", "railway station" etc. unless there is strong evidence that "XXX Station" is actually a proper name in any specific case. SMcCandlish's suggestion of a MOS:TRANSPORT guideline for this is a good one, and I suggest that go ahead.  — Amakuru (talk) 12:03, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
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.

Should railway stations in China by titled with capitalized "Railway Station", as suggested at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Chinese)#Railway stations, or with lowercase "railway station" as suggested in conventions for all other countries (WP:USSTATION, WP:UKSTATION, WP:CANSTATION, WP:Naming conventions (Australasian stations), WP:NC-PLSTATIONS)? That is, is there reason to treat made-up English names of Chinese stations as proper names, unlike what we do in the rest of the world, or should we work on bringing these into alignment with WP:NCCAPS and MOS:CAPS? 06:43, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Background – A user has suggested that a centralized discussion is needed instead of just working on these incrementally; see Talk:Harbin Railway Station.

Comments on Chinese railway conventions

  • Lowercase like everywhere else – Tons of discussions resolved this issue in the US, UK, Canada, Poland, etc., over the last 5 years, and other places have gone along (lots of recent fixes have been made in Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, etc.). Many articles already start with the "name" at the top of infobox omitting "railway station" altogether, since it's not really part of a name, just there to say what kind of thing we mean. Many just say "station" or "railway station" without caps in the article, including sometimes the lead and sometimes not. Sources are mixed, with lowercase being pretty common on all that I've looked at. If there are Chinese stations that actually include "Railway Station" in their name, the way Union Station (Pittsburgh) does, I haven't found it. We should fix the aberrant convention and fix the articles, even if it takes a while. Dicklyon (talk) 06:52, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • All station articles that use the term "railway station" should have the term in lower case. Mjroots (talk) 14:40, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Note: Thailand railway stations are subject to the same question. A few hundred Category:Thai railway station stubs use capped "Railway Station". Any reason not to fix those? Dicklyon (talk) 20:10, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Lower-case, per WP:CONSISTENCY, MOS:CAPS, WP:NCCAPS. Sources use a wild mixture of styles, and WP does not capitalize unless the souces do so with remarkable consistency.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:20, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Thank your for starting this discussion, Dicklyon. I am happy to support lower casing "railway station" in titles for all East Asian/SE Asian countries (I think I've also seen this come up with Vietnamese stations). Jenks24 (talk) 22:32, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
    Thanks for your support, though I'm not sure why you thought we needed to go through this again. I pretty much dealt with Vietnam stations already (see Category:Railway_stations_in_Vietnam), and got no pushback on that. In my experience, I see pretty much all stubs being created with Title Case, and someone needs to fix them; so when I find big clusters of over-capped stubs, I work on them; sometimes following the links leads into related areas, which is how I got from Vietnam to China, I think, perhaps via Category:Asian railway station stubs. A handful per day, in fits and spurts as time allows. Dicklyon (talk) 22:43, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
    Because as has been proven on numerous occasions, mass-moving hundreds of articles is rarely uncontroversial and has created a lot of headaches in the past when things get stuck halfway. Even in cases where it does end up being uncontroversial (and I don't think you can exactly say this one has gone smoothly), it hardly hurts to have a discussion prior to moving hundreds of articles. There have been plenty of times in the past where you something you, SMc, Tony and co. thought was a straightforward reading of the MoS turned out not to be the case when brought to a wider discussion. Jenks24 (talk) 10:02, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Lowercase for all articles for Chinese stations titled "Name Railway Station". If this RfC applies to them, also change "Station" to lowercase for all rapid transit station articles in Mainland China, except where "Railway Station" is part of the proper name (e.g. Hongqiao Railway Station (metro)Hongqiao Railway Station station). Also rename MTR station articles, Light Rail stop articles and probably West Kowloon Station to use lowercase, since sources generally don't care about the capitalization. (West Kowloon Station could be renamed "West Kowloon railway station" for consistency but there are very few sources which have called it that rather than West Kowloon [Ss]tation.) Jc86035 (talk) 04:17, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Lower case. (Responding to the RfC alert). This seems fairly clear cut, and is probably just some misunderstanding of the rules on capitalisation that just doesn't happen to have been noticed/challenged until now. Since their actual names aren't in a language that uses capitals, we should apply the usual rules for this site when determining what's capitalised and what isn't. If it applies in the UK (say), hard to see why it wouldn't for English translations of Chinese names. Anaxial (talk) 07:13, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
    • Not that it has direct relevance here, but for Chinese, the Wikipedia house style includes WP:PINYIN and pinyin capitalisation rules for proper names mirror those of English, i.e. title casing rather than Romance- or Slavic-style lowercase titles.* AjaxSmack  19:28, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment This photo shown the English name wasn't makeup at least for this station. [15] Matthew_hk tc 11:27, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
    That's a point. It's good that the name we use agrees with what's displayed at the station; we do list alternative names, too. But we don't set it in all caps like that station sign does, nor in title case as you're suggesting. Dicklyon (talk) 05:11, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
It just depends on the interpretation on "proper name". For some metro station, for example trans Perth, just "City West" was used in the broadcast, but for Chinese train station, full name was used as the same location may have bus and metro station. Form a MoS and then have an expectation like Central Station, NY, seem odd to me.Matthew_hk tc 05:21, 14 November 2017 (UTC) Matthew_hk tc 05:29, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Extended discussion of Chinese railway conventions

Further, we should consider a merge of all of these things into a single MOS:TRANSPORT page (with a WP:NCTRANSPORT section, or small separate page, to cover the handful of titles-specific issues) along with all the stuff about rail way and bus lines, highways, yadda yadda. All of these things are basically wikiproject WP:PROJPAGE essays that someone has slapped a {{Guideline}} tag on without a WP:PROPOSAL process. It's just a WP:POLICYFORKing farm, with every little topical fiefdom trying to make up its own rules instead of normalizing on a single set of conventions that are actually consistent with the overall guidelines like MOSCAPS and NCCAPS. A merge process would be a great opportunity to remove a lot of WP:CREEP.

And, basically, there isn't anything about train stations in China that especially has to do with Chinese culture, the subject of MOS:CHINA, so that page should never have entertained such a section. I checked, and there was never a consensus discussion to add it. Someone from the trains projects with a real jones for overcapitalizing has simply been adding "rules" that fit their preference to various pages, without regard to whether they represent consensus or conflict with existing site-wide norms.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:20, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

  • @SMcCandlish and Dicklyon: Thank you for starting this RfC, although I personally would have done it for all train/tram/metro stations instead of only ones in China. Does this apply to the articles of the 30 or so rapid transit systems in China; does this apply to Hong Kong or Macau, or Taiwan (which is not part of China but it would be better to clarify this); and how does this apply to rapid transit stations whose proper names are the name of the adjoining railway station, e.g. Beijing South Railway Station (subway), where "Railway Station" is part of the station's proper name (noting that Hongqiao Railway Station (metro) is already named differently to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, as with Tianjinzhan [Tianjin Railway Station] Station)? Jc86035 (talk) 03:26, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
    That's a great question! I do think this applies pretty generally, but I've also stated that where "Railway Station" or "Station" is part of a proper name, we'd cap it. I hadn't thought about a subway station names for a railway station, but yes, I do think it's a proper name in such cases. So Beijing South Railway Station (subway) is good, but Beijing South Railway Station Subway Station would not be. I don't think there's any new principle here, just following the usual style and naming guidelines, which sometimes requires a second look. I'm not asking for a new rule like always downcasing "Railway Station", just following old guidelines like not capping what's not part of a proper name. Dicklyon (talk) 03:36, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
    @Dicklyon: If I voted for "lowercase" and nothing else, would my vote be for "Hongqiao Railway Station station" or "Hongqiao Railway Station (metro)", given that the latter would then be inconsistent with the other stations in the system which would have a lowercase "station" at the end? Could you clarify in the description that the RfC only applies to the PRC, including Hong Kong and Macau and all rapid transit systems, but not including Taiwan? Jc86035 (talk) 04:17, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
    I don't have any firm ideas what all it applies to. If you have information about how Taiwan might differ, let's talk about it, rather than leaving it open. Dicklyon (talk) 04:24, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
    @Dicklyon: I don't think it would differ much (though I haven't checked), but since this RfC is currently for Chinese railway stations, if you add Taiwan you may as well also add Japan and the Koreas. Jc86035 (talk) 04:59, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
    Yes; my premise was that China was so far capped differently from the rest of the world. If we see similar elsewhere, I'd presume the result would be similar; that is, there's no know special exception for Japan or Korea or Taiwan or Isreal, so let's work on fixing those, too, if we find over-capitalization there; I'm fixing Israel at present. Dicklyon (talk) 05:17, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

    I wasn't part of starting this RfC, I just noticed it when I did the one below. For my "drive-by" part, I'll just reinforce what Dick_Lyon said: The entire point is WP:CONSISTENCY with the rest of the categories and with site-wide norms, not inventing a new pseudo-norm. We're getting rid of a pseudo-norm someone tried to impose without consensus on a particular category by naming the articles "their way". I'm sure they meant well, but it was misguided. There's not only no rationale for a "China exception" to MOS:CAPS (et al.), there's less of a possibility for one at all because these aren't even really the names, they're English approximations of them, and are basically descriptive. (I'll defer to others' judgement on whether some subway stations and the like might actually be proper names; it's a hair I don't feel like trying to split.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  03:40, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

@SMcCandlish: Off topic, but I just noticed that all Oslo Metro stations and most Oslo Tramway stations (stops) are named “Xxx (station)” rather than “Xxx station”. Useddenim (talk) 17:09, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
As long as we have a situation where random wikiprojects are making up their own "rules" on the fly without any concern for consistency, that sort of thing's going to happen. Thus, my suggestion to merge the material into one MOS:TRANSPORT (or whatever) page.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  20:44, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

Sitewide stats

I don't have a great count, but based on searches like this one, it looks like we have at least 10,000 articles with "railway station" in the title, and fewer than 5% of those capped as "Railway Station". The easiest way to find lots of examples of the capped ones is to search for China within the search results; that accounts for most of them.

Extending to "Station", including "Metro Station", we do find a lot more capped, esp. in Japan, the Koreas, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Iran. The percentage capped in searches like this one is closer to 10%.

Once we discuss these enough, it might make sense to get some help constructing a list carefully and them commission a bot to do the moves, like we did for the long tail of nearly 2000 WP:JR fixes. Dicklyon (talk) 04:22, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

User:Certes has made a list at User:Certes/Railway station of article titles that include capped Railway Station or Railway station. By his first-cut categorization, it looks like about 90% of these should be downcased. I believe he said there are about 1500; I've asked if he can also count how many have lowercase railway station, as my search topped out at 10,000 and the total is probably several times that. Dicklyon (talk) 05:16, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

It would be many months of work to fix all these by hand (I've moved maybe 2500 articles by hand so far this year); but if we approve a list and get a bot, it's a few days. This has worked well in the past, and it looks like there's support here, in principle, to fix these, if we come up with the list, yes? Dicklyon (talk) 05:20, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Article namespace (excluding redirects) has 19,094 pages with "railway station" in any case, of which 1,594 have a capital somewhere, so 17,500 are in lower case. I'm hoping we can ignore those titles as being already correct. Certes (talk) 10:19, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! So my "fewer than 5%" was a bit of an underestimate of how many we might need to fix; closer to 8%. For "Station" without "Railway", likely similar but probably more in total. Dicklyon (talk) 16:17, 14 November 2017 (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.

Remove "exception" to DEFAULTSORT guideline inserted on the basis of a 6-person, one-subject discussion

Someone's put the following into Wikipedia:Categorization of people:

Some people are known primarily by their first name only. When it is not possible to set the first name alone as the article title, as with many articles in Category:Brazilian footballers, you should sort with the first name first to make the article easier to find in the categories. For example, Leonardo Araújo is commonly known as Leonardo, and should be sorted as {{DEFAULTSORT:Leonardo Araujo}}.

It is proposed to replace this much clearer, narrower wording that does not have the WP:CONLEVEL policy problem of carving out a strange exemption for a single wikiproject:

Some people are known primarily by their first name (or a stage name) only. If an article's title is at that single name – alone, as in the case of Pelé, or disambiguated, as in the case of Pink (singer) – then do not use DEFAULTSORT at all; the article will automatically sort by the article title. If the article is at a full name (at least one given name and family name), sort normally in familyname, given name order. (Be aware that some cultures use family name first in natural language, so do not blindly assume that the last part of a subject's name is the family name); examples: {{DEFAULTSORT:Araujo, Leonardo}} Leonardo Araujo (often called simply Leonardo), and {{DEFAULTSORT:Utada, Hikaru}} for Utada Hikaru (often known as Utada).

The parenthetical about family name order could be put into a footnote.

[Clarified: 09:50, 12 November 2017 (UTC)]

Background and rationale

The current wording is obviously narrow-PoV instruction creep, and is completely pointless: If there's a genuine desire to have them appear in the categories under their first names for people familiar with them that way, this is done with categorized redirects, the same way we do this with any other subject, e.g. with a Leonardo (footballer b. 1969) redir to Leonardo Araujo. For any case where the full name is not actually the WP:COMMONNAME, then the page should be moved and disambiguated; we don't just "fake it" for category purposes by monkeying around with the DEFAULTSORT.

The justification for the current "rule" (in a footnote in the above-quoted material) is nothing but a single discussion at a sport wikiproject page, with a total of 6 participants, not all of them in agreement, dating to 2011.

This has led to disputes and "principle of least astonishment" bewilderment (here, most recently), plus the obvious category-sorting problem: People quite normally credited by a full name and at that name on WP, but also fairly often called by just their first name in a subset of (usually national/regional) news, are being sorted in firstname lastname order. Many of these subjects were not even alone in their sometimes-mononym, in the same context in the same place (e.g., multiple Brazilian footballers have popularly been called "Leonardo" in their heydays in the football/soccer press in Brazil).

Worse yet, Category:Brazilian footballers has become a complete trainwreck, with around 85% of the entries in it sorted by given name, due to people mistaking the original idea – an uncommon exception – for a standard to apply to any Brazilian footballer. I don't have the heart to check whether it's spreading to other footballer categories or other Brazilian sport categories (or even further) but I'd bet money on it.

Contrary to the current wording, this obviously does the exact opposite of make the articles easier to find in the category, since the entire world expects them in family-name-first order, and only people already very familiar with the subject, and probably from the same place where the subject is called by given name, would expect otherwise (if even then). Those few would also be less likely to be manually digging through a category for that subject, especially a massive one like Category:Brazilian footballers.

There's no evidence the current "rule" has consensus, just the support of less than half a dozen people with a shared micro-topical interest in popular football players in one country.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:57, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Comments on DEFAULTSORT revision

  • Support: if someone is most commonly known by their forename only, then that should be the article title, with disambiguation such as "(Brazilian footballer born 1960)" as necessary; a redirect (or dab page entry or hatnote) should be made from their full name if given in the article. The DEFAULTSORT will be that single name.
If the article title is "Forename Surname", then the DEFAULTSORT should follow the normal rules for names of that nationality, usually "Surname, Forename". If the article states that they are also known by the single name, then there should be a dab page entry, hatnote or conceivably a redirect (if unique name) from that single name. End of story.
Not everyone who Wikignomishly edits an article on a Brazilian footballer will be a specialist in Brazilian football, and there is no convincing reason why this narrow exception should exist. PamD 22:34, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: The text "then sort the article by the article title" should be "then do not use DEFAULTSORT at all". All articles, by default, sort according to the exact title, except where there's a DEFAULTSORT to make it something else. In other words, DEFAULTSORT is only ever required where it is desired the article be sorted by some key other than the exact title. This is why I've long thought the name "DEFAULTSORT" is an utter misnomer. It is only used when the default sorting (i.e. what you get when you do nothing) is exactly what is NOT required. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:47, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
    Oh! Right. Duh. I'll fix that.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  03:41, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: "sort normally by the conventions for the culture in question". Then the Brazilian ones are all incorrect. I'm Brazilian and we rarely talk to/compliment other people by using their surname, we only use forenames (one or two) - this is an American/European culture, not ours. Although I can't agree with @PamD's comments either, because if we use WP:COMMONNAME for all "Leonardo", all "Gabriel" that are or were Brazilian footballers and are or were known by their first names only, can you imagine the confusion of "(Brazilian footballer, born month year)"? MYS77 18:23, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Hmm, I wonder whether that's the case for scientists, lawyers, politicians, etc: would a list of Brazilian medical doctors be sorted into A-Z by forename, or by surname? That's what "Defaultsort" is about. .... Hmm, interesting: have found a couple of university pages where staff are listed in A-Z order of first names here and here. If this is really the norm for Brazilian lists of Brazilian people (rather than just lazy programming) then there needs to be an exception on the same basis as for Icelandic lists of Icelandic people. I suggest that WP:WikiProject Brazil needs to be consulted on this. PamD 19:18, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Comment - Icelandic names are not Western-style names. They are patronymic and do not use inherited surnames. It is my understanding that Brazilian names in general are Portuguese-style, which is a modified form of Western style with a matronymic. Brazilian athletes typically use mononyms, which are a different special case. Is the real issue the mononyms used by Brazilian athletes, or the Portuguese-style nomenclature, which is modified Western, or something else? Robert McClenon (talk) 02:21, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
@Robert McClenon: You are correct, but Brazilian athletes use their surnames because they are appearing in an European/American-based competition, which has English as its main language and the sorting of surname, forename as its standard. A good example is Isaquias Queiroz: sorted by Queiroz, Isaquias in the Olympics/other competitions, he is known as just Isaquias in Brazil, per here, here, here and here. MYS77 14:11, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @PamD: That's what I've been trying to explain to @SMcCandlish and @GrahamHardy, sorting is not equal when it comes to Brazilian people (especially footballers)... Sorting Brazilian names by surname, forename is a rare exception. Even doctors here are listed by their forename. MYS77 21:44, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • This list is a clear example of how sorting can be difficult when related to Brazilian people. The majority of these politicians are sorted by his forename, but there are some exceptions where they are sorted by surname. MYS77 21:46, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
@MYS77: The list of doctors you quote shows us nothing, as the people are listed there by job title not name. From the same website another list might have been useful but seems to be in random order within each of the two groups which I'd have expected to see sorted (A=Z by surname if British). The list of politicians is just mind-boggling. What would a printed telephone directory look like, I wonder? PamD 23:12, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • PamD. This has nothing whatsoever to do with how people use spoken English (much less spoken Brazilian Portugese), only about what the family name is. WP (like 99% of the rest of publishers) sorts alphabetically by family name. The issue here is, thus, that Mao Zedong should be sorted as "Mao, Zedong", not "Zedong, Mao". I.e., people have to be aware which is the family name and not assume blindly that the last one shown in the name is it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:44, 12 November 2017 (UTC)I've clarified the proposed wording to be much clearer.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:50, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

RfC on naming of Chinese railway line articles

How should the titles of railway line articles for Mainland China and the high-speed railway in Hong Kong be named? Jc86035 (talk) 09:29, 11 November 2017 (UTC)


Most article titles for Chinese railway lines follow the structure "Place 1Place 2 Railway" or similar, though they have been inconsistently named and the naming guideline is probably a reflection of the state of articles rather than a fully consensus-based system. However, Dicklyon has recently renamed or made RMs for a number of railway lines to decapitalize them. (According to this PetScan query, out of about 270 railway lines and former railway companies, 174 are named with "Railway" and 86 are named with "railway". Dicklyon renamed all 86 of the latter this week.) Their naming should be based on reliable sources per MOS. A mix of non-capitalized and capitalized is used by sources for the more well-known high-speed railways, but more than 90% of sources use the capitalized form for the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link (but a mix when the line is referred to as just the "Express Rail Link" or "express rail link"), and most news articles for the Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Railway use the capitalized form unless they refer to it without the phrase "intercity railway" e.g. "Beijing-Tianjin intercity route". There are very few English-language sources about the slow railways; 3 news sources use "Beijing–Kowloon Railway" and one source uses "Beijing–Kowloon railway", while others use "Beijing–Jiujiang–Kowloon [Rr]ailway". (Almost all passenger and freight lines in China are operated by China Railway and its subsidiaries, so it would probably be odd to capitalize them differently entirely based on the inconsistent capitalization of sources.) Further investigation is probably needed.

In addition, some articles are named in their abbreviated form, using only one Chinese character from each place name (e.g. Guangshen Railway instead of Guangzhou–Shenzhen Railway). Sources about high-speed lines usually use the long form. Most news articles about the Guangzhou–Shenzhen [Rr]ailway are actually about the subsidiary of China Railway which operates it, which is named with the abbreviated form. (The railway itself seems to never be in the news.) Most Google results for "Jingjiu railway" [Beijing–Kowloon] are Wikipedia articles; sources generally use the long forms. There is some old discussion in the archives of Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Chinese) which indicates that the long form should be used for clarity, although the highways also addressed by the naming convention have always been named using the short form (e.g. Guangshen Expressway).

Some articles are also named "Passenger Railway" instead of "High-Speed Railway". This is a result of the official Chinese names being literally translated; most English-language sources avoid "passenger railway" probably for clarity, although it's also possible that they used Wikipedia's article titles.

Note that my observation is probably incomplete and more web searches will be needed.

Should the railway line articles be named with a capitalized "Railway"? 1 capitalized not case-by-case (i.e. based entirely on sources)
Should the railway line articles be named with the short or long form? 2 short long case-by-case
Should the railway line articles be named high-speed railway or passenger railway? 3 high-speed passenger case-by-case
Should the railway line articles be named intercity railway or passenger railway? 4 intercity passenger case-by-case
Should closed/historical/heritage/narrow-gauge railway line articles (e.g. Gebishi Railway, Jiayang Coal Railway) be named the same way as open railway lines operated by China Railway? 5 yes no case-by-case
Should the current and former railway company articles be renamed to match the line articles? 6 yes no case-by-case
How should railway lines with termini in Tibet and Xinjiang etc. be named? 7 Mandarin-derived name local name case-by-case


  • 1B, 2B, 3A, 4A, 5C, 6B and 7C. (I am the RfC initiator.) Jc86035 (talk) 09:38, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
    See WP:JUSTAVOTE; why do you support those options?  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  13:31, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
    • I am the initiator so my reasoning for 1B and 2B is largely outlined in the section above.
    • This needs to be double-checked, but 3A and 4A are sorted this way because the Chinese government seems to officially name high-speed lines "客运专线" (literally, "passenger dedicated line"). Some Chinese Wikipedia articles are named that way; others use "高速铁路" ("high-speed railway"). I don't know why. I have corrected "passenger line" to "passenger railway" since it is probably an editor's translation of the same phrase.
    • I !voted 5C since heritage railways may or may not be state-owned and thus may be named using a different system. Similarly, the name may be translated differently.
    • I !voted 6B since the company name does not need to be the same as and has little to do with the railway name; it would be a little like renaming c2c because the railway it operates on isn't called the c2c railway. The only operator for which this applies is Guangshen Railway (company), and the company is publicly listed internationally so it has an official English name which we don't need to change. The other operator [with an article] is Daqin Railway (company), which operates over multiple lines which are mostly not named the Daqin Railway. To be honest, this doesn't actually have much to do with the rest of the RfC, so maybe it could be removed.
    • I !voted 7B since the Chinese government apparently has an tendency to pretend that ethnic groups in the autonomous regions don't exist and only installs English-language signage based on the Mandarin Chinese transliteration rather than signage based on the Tibetan or Uyghur names. I've changed my preference to 7C.
    Jc86035 (talk) 15:30, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Remove WP:NC-CHINA#Transport as a bunch of no-consensus WP:CREEP – do not expand it further with this stuff. Not only does it directly conflict with site-wide guidelines like MOS:CAPS and WP:NCCAPS, it is not actually addressing anything unique to China and is thus off-topic – just one wikiproject PoV-pushing a bunch of trivial nit-picks without consensus. I checked – there was no discussion at WT:NC-CHINA about adding any of that material, and it's just someone's opinion, i.e. a mis-placed WP:PROJPAGE essay. It's also unnecessary (as I demonstrate below), because we already have title and sourcing policies, basic naming conventions, and style guides that result in usable article names simply by following them. I'm a huge fan of consistency within reason, but this RfC is just ridiculous. In case this nonsense is kept, I've answered the RfC questions below, with actual rationales, based on site-wide rules and advice.
Details, by number:

1B, 2C (2B by default), 3C (3A by default), 4C (4A by default), 5C (5A by default), 6C (6A by default), 7C (7A by default).

  1. 1A is not actually an option (per MOS:CAPS, WP:NCCAPS, WP:NOR).
  2. 2C (2B by default) because these are usually descriptive names, in translation, so should be descriptive, but in the case that one is a proper name, use that.
  3. 3C per follow the sources; the choice doesn't even make sense, since "high-speed" and "passenger" are not synonyms and there are passenger lines that are not high-speed; if the railway is high-speed, use that by default as more descriptive.
  4. 4C (4A by default) per follow the souces; the choice the nom offers is another false equivalence, as there are passenger lines that are not intercity; for an intercity case, that word is more descriptive; but use whatever a proper name actually translates as.
  5. 5C (5A by default) per WP:CONSISTENCY policy, with allowance for a [translation or transliteration of a] proper name that doesn't fit the format.
  6. 6C (6A by default) per WP:CONSISTENCY and because not doing it (absent unusual proper name exceptions) invalidates the whole point of the RfC to settle on a consistent naming convention. It's utterly baffling that the nominator would pick 6B.
  7. 7C (7A by default) per COMMONNAME and follow the sources.

Important note: "I saw it on a sign" does not equate to "proper name"; signs are primary sources self-published by the agency in question, and are written in an intentionally compressed fashion; they are not natural English. And the agency's own publication cannot be used to "style-war" for overcapitalization or other quirks, since WP doesn't follow external house style of random other organizations, and these names aren't in English anyway.

This kind of instruction creep is problematic, because if even a few topical-interest wikiprojects did something like this, MoS page by MoS page as WP:TRAINS has been trying to do, then a page like MOS:CHINA would be so long no one would read or follow anything in it. We should have no MoS rules other than those that address points of style and usage that editors have repeatedly had raucous conflicts about (or which address internal, usually technical, requirements) and which are not adquately addressed by existing WP:P&G pages. MoS/AT material is not a style guide for the public but an internal problem-solving tool. Every new rule added that isn't actually needed is just a reduction in editorial leeway and pisses people off.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  13:31, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: The last discussion about railways at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Chinese) was more than six years ago. There probably aren't enough active editors to form a consensus, other than through the RM process (which probably isn't as widely trafficked as this page). I agree that some of these didn't really need to be in the RfC, but it made sense to ask them all at the same time to have a sort of more solid precedent than a RM from 2009 which ended in no consensus. It's a bit of a stretch to say that building consensus on these things is "instruction creep" and "ridiculous", since these are all (well, 1 to 5, anyway) points of inconsistency between article titles which no discussion has managed to sort out in the last decade.
I am also proposing this independent of the guideline and do not really care whether or not the guideline is changed to reflect it; I should have clarified this. I am fine with removing the guideline's section, since it only serves to reflect the status quo and has its own problems like introducing infobox title inconsistencies. Jc86035 (talk) 15:30, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
It's actually worse than that; it's a WP:POLICYFORK that contradicts the main guidelines on capitalization, among other problems.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  15:36, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: Would it be acceptable to notify the Chinese Wikipedia of this RfC, or would that be canvassing? Jc86035 (talk) 04:28, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't. This doesn't have anything to do with that's done in Chinese, and that WP doesn't share our style guide.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:10, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixing style guidelines with naming conventions1B usually, since we have site-wide consensus represented in WP:NCCAPS and MOS:CAPS to reserve caps for proper names, typically as determined by consistent capitalization in sources, and these are pretty mixed in sources as nom notes. No new guideline or instruction is neeeded; see my RFC a few sections up where nobody disagrees with following these central guidelines. For the rest, these are more like project naming conventions; I agree there are some consistency improvements that would be useful. In terms of the current state, I started with downcasing "XXX High-Speed Railway", and then "XXX Intercity Railway" after studying sources about those. I would plan to look next at "XXX Passenger Railway" and plain "XXX Railway". In many parts of the world, the latter form is typically referring to a company, and is capped, while the railway infrastructure is called a "line". So I need to look at what's going on here. Any help you care to offer will be appreciated. Dicklyon (talk) 17:02, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

Comment It is a proper name in Chinese and just lost in translation in English and by grammar it should be capitalised (the Chinese government had a system to name it, does not mean it is not a proper name, such as the First Bridge of "Long River", the Frist Road of People, or People East/West/North/South Road. Or Shenzhen Airport. Beijing International Airport. Matthew_hk tc 03:24, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

@Matthew hk: I don't think this is necessarily the case, as English grammar norms are a little different from those of Chinese. For example, the zhwiki article for Shenzhen is called 深圳市 (Shenzhen City), but our article is titled simply Shenzhen because we don't consider "City" to be part of the proper name and it's not necessary for disambiguation. Jc86035 (talk) 04:28, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Yep.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:10, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
What I saw is wikipedia screw with no sense that Australia use English language and capitalize Fremantle Line [16] in their webpage and the wiki lower cap them. Matthew_hk tc 06:06, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Yes, we "screw with" some of their styling, since they're not even consistent (see [17]) and since we go by secondary sources. Dicklyon (talk) 06:35, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
And more citation on Chinese railway: Hsü, Immanuel C.Y. The Rise of Modern China. Oxford University Press. , a history book written in English (by a guy with Chinese surname publish by a reputable university press) use Wade–Giles, uses Peking-Hankow Railway, Canton-Hankow Railway Matthew_hk tc 06:46, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Other railway-related RfCs

Since there has been no notification here yet, there are currently three open RfCs on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Trains. The first pertains to the disambiguation style of British railway stations, the second pertains to the usage of "station" in the names of halts and transit stop articles, and the third pertains to the disambiguation style of rail/rapid transit lines. Jc86035 (talk) 09:44, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

Criminal in biographies

Comments are requested at Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons § RfC about mentioning a persons criminal status (BLP CRIME). Thank you. —Sangdeboeuf (talk) 02:37, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

Suggested policy: No hard reverts

You're asking us to abolish the undo function, which is probably the single most-used function on Wikipedia after "save changes" itself, and one on which whole swathes of Wikipedia's maintenance rely. There is no possibility that this is ever going to happen, and keeping this discussion open serves no useful purpose. ‑ Iridescent 12:15, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
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.

Basically, a hard revert, or a hard undo, is when one user completely undoes another edit. This is a problem when one user puts both good and bad changes (for example, fixing the grammar in one section and adding non-sourced content in another section) in the same revision. By undoing the good changes along with the bad ones, the undoer undoes helpful changes, risks starting an edit war, and more. Therefore, editors should avoid doing this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:00, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Not going to happen. If you are worried about this, then make your edits separately. If anything, we should not be encouraging large edits where editors have to sift through a whole ton of changes at once.--Jasper Deng (talk) 06:01, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Never going to happen, smaller separate edits are the right way to avoid this problem. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 07:36, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Patrollers don't necessarily need to waste time rewriting improper edits, but may as a courtesy. I agree with carefully separating edits in suitable units. —PaleoNeonate – 07:42, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose this policy proposal. Editors need to make high quality, well referenced edits, and need to know that they will be reverted if they don't. I agree with Dodger67. Massive exits are a bad idea. A series of discrete edits is much better. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 08:06, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above. ―Mandruss  10:35, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the reasons given above and also because this appears to be an attempt to try and estabish a new policy simply to gain the upperhand in content dispute at 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. If as you posted here that making edits to improve Wikipedia is just a pastime for me, and I'm probably not going to make as many edits as soon as this hurricane season is up is truly the case, then it's hard not to view this proposal as being nothing more than an attempt to try and get your way in a local content dispute. You should discuss any disagreements you are having with other editors about content or wording on the article's talk page because collaborative editing also means being able to work together with others to try and resolve differences. It's OK to be bold, but sometimes when making large wholesale changes it's better to be cautious instead. -- Marchjuly (talk) 11:59, 13 November 2017 (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.

Notification of RFC

A Request for comment has been made at Wikipedia talk:Lyrics and poetry on whether or not the lyrics of national anthems can be posted on Wikipedia under a claim of Fair Use. Interested parties are invited to comment. Yunshui  15:26, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Application of policy at Talk:2017 Zimbabwean coup d'état

I've not been involved in Wikipedia that much for a few years, but have just got involved in a debate that has quite worried me about how policy is being applied, or possibly not being applied.

I noticed we had an article called 2017 Zimbabwean coup d'état, even though most news organisations aren't currently calling it a coup, and the article says in the lead that the armed forces have specifically said it isn't a coup. I posted a move request to suggest that a different title ('2017 Zimbabwe crisis') might be more appropriate given the sources, WP:V and WP:NPOV.

The prevailing argument in the debate at the moment seems to be, to quote one user, 'Oppose per WP:DUCK. If it looks like a Coup d'état, sounds like a Coup d'état, it's a Coup d'état.' (Four users have specifically cited the Duck Test.)

To quote WP:DUCK: "The duck test does not apply to article content, and does not trump, or even stand aside, policies such as no original research, verifiability and neutral point of view." (Emphasis in original.)

I know it looks like a coup. I even agree it probably is a coup. My issue is that the core Wikipedia policies are that we don't just write what we believe; we write what is in reliable sources, we write only what is in reliable sources, and we present the views expressed in those reliable sources neutrally. If we (including several administrators) now ignore all of that in favour of "It looks like one to me".... I am honestly worried for Wikipedia.

Can someone assure me that I am worrying unnecessarily?

(Apologies that this might look like a WP:CANVASS - I'm not asking people to go over there and vote, just to explain why this isn't evidence that Wikipedia's core content policies are now routinely ignored in favour of personal opinion.) TSP (talk) 23:06, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

You're correct. It is something to be worried about, but I haven't seen it and so it maybe doesn't happen a lot, in which case I wouldn't worry too much. Best would be to just point out to the person (and any watchers) that they're wrong, and cite the relevant passage. Herostratus (talk) 06:25, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

What percentage support should be needed for a policy proposal on Wikipedia to pass?

Wondering if we already have consensus on this? I have seen greater than approximate 66% support frequently used (thus those who oppose change get twice the vote as those who support change). We give the closing admin some leeway in judgement based on arguments, but generally not that much. Others thoughts? There are requests for clarification around the consensus process. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:48, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Like most things, we don't vote on these so there is not a percent. — xaosflux Talk 06:03, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
But we sort of due. The question is how do we determine consensus, and "it is complicated" is not a very useful answer. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:09, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Generally I've seen it as a 2/3 majority, especially in big discussions where it's a lot harder to simply discount one side of the argument. I can't recall it ever being written down anywhere though, probably because we hate voting so much that every major decision is effectively made via that process. Jenks24 (talk) 06:26, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
@Doc James:--Can you link the discussion or call for clarification? Because, I feel that it would be a pointless bureaucratic exercise and will most-likely oppose any attempt at clarification.From my own experiences and observations, numerically, anything greater than 66-70% shall be enough but arguments need to be almost always weighed and it's complicated is the optimum call.Winged Blades Godric 13:28, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
  • We intentionally don’t set a firm percentage. Broadly speaking, the more support a proposal gets, the more we can say it reflects consensus and should be adopted. However, we also pay a lot of attention to STRENGTH of arguments for and against. A few well argued opposing comments can sometimes out weigh a lot of supporting comments that essentially just say “I like it” - but contain no explanation as to WHY it is liked (and vise-versa). Determining consensus can be as much an art as it is a science. Never easy, unless the consensus is fairly overwhelming. Blueboar (talk) 16:12, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
    • Wikipedia is neither a bureaucracy nor a democracy; it would be better described as a "meritocracy", where "votes" with more merit are given more consideration than "votes" with less. Please read Wikipedia:Polling is not a substitute for discussion. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 07:45, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
      • "Given more consideration" by the closer? If that's the reality, we should see some closes going against the numbers (assessing a consensus against the majority !vote). Can you point to two in the past year? ―Mandruss  08:01, 20 November 2017 (UTC)


Database error when clearing watchlist

Starting about a week or so ago, with some frequency when I go to mark my watchlist as being taken care of, I get a database error. The most recent one said:

A database query error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software.[WfaDTQpAICoAAC8eu7IAAAAS] 2017-10-30 01:41:33: Fatal exception of type "Wikimedia\Rdbms\DBQueryError"

The watchlist is properly cleared anyway, and this doesn't happen every time, but I thought I'd report it just in case it was significant in some way.

Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:45, 30 October 2017 (UTC)

Yes, I've also been seeing similar errors much more frequently. Mine usually occur when refreshing my watchlist. Here's the latest: [WfclJwpAAEUAAEEpVwsAAADO] 2017-10-30 13:13:07: Fatal exception of type "Wikimedia\Rdbms\DBQueryTimeoutError" olderwiser 13:17, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
Still happening to me, yesterday, and just now. Beyond My Ken (talk) 23:04, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Beyond My Ken and Bkonrad, do you use the Beta feature "New filters for edit review"? Trizek (WMF) (talk) 08:41, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
I do not, no. Beyond My Ken (talk) 09:15, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
No, I don't either. although I'll note that this error has not occurred for the past couple of days. Before that it was happening with some frequency. olderwiser 09:54, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
I can discern no rhyme or reason for when it does and does not occur. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:11, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
Nex time you have that issue, please follow those instructions to see what is the issue. Trizek (WMF) (talk) 10:51, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
That's really not all that helpful, as once I clear the watchlist, which generates the database query error, the database is cleared, and there's no way to check anything as suggested by the page you've pointed us to. What I don't understand is that both Bkonrad and I have quoted an error code here - shouldn't that tell you where the problem is? Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:45, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Beyond My Ken, I'm most of time that kind of issues are related to gadgets or scripts that are broken. That may be the case for you too, so I advice you to use that link to explore your watchlist and then clear it. Do you still have that issue? How many items do you have in your watchlist (on average)? Trizek (WMF) (talk) 10:06, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Article stats table Problem

I’ve never used Village Pump before so hope I’m posting this note in right place. Here’s the issue…for the past several days the following message comes up when I try to access data links highlighted in Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Oregon articles by quality statistics table:

"There was an error connecting to the database. This is most likely a temporary condition. Please try again in a few minutes. If the problem persists, please contact User:CBM on enwiki. The error message is: Unknown database 'p50380g50494_data' WP 1.0 bot revision 541, updated Sat, 6 Dec 2014 by theopolisme"

I went to User:CBM talk page, but answer to previous query says CBM is no longer involved in maintaining that wiki-system. Is there any one out there who can fix this? Variations of this table are used by many Wiki-Projects.--Orygun (talk) 19:57, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

Try User:theopolisme. — xaosflux Talk 21:26, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
It is possibly related to this hardware failure. — JJMC89(T·C) 21:39, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
A query has also been raised at Wikipedia_talk:Version_1.0_Editorial_Team/Index#Error_Messages...Jokulhlaup (talk) 14:52, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
Reporting that this issue continues, for example at Wikipedia:WikiProject Catholicism/Assessment. Regards, JoeHebda • (talk) 14:04, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
In addition, the process to update Assessment tables is broken. Update project data - Wikipedia Release Version Tools at url JoeHebda • (talk) 20:28, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Wondering if anyone is working on fixing this issue? What changed to cause this error? It used to work perfectly. JoeHebda • (talk) 00:29, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

I think User:JJMC89 got it right. Someone is working on it, but it will probably take a week or so. See my reply at [[18]]. (BTW, that page is the best one to report any technical problems with the assessment bot.) Walkerma (talk) 01:28, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

"User-friendly" editing tools damaging references

From time to time I stumble on an article where references have been replaced by blue superscript markers of the form [[<article name>#cite note-NNN|<sup>[NNN]</sup>]]. This search currently lists 31 articles where footnote 1 has this form. According to the edit summaries, this edit was made with the Visual Editor, this one with the 2017 source editor. This damage is difficult to put right, as the articles don't immediately look broken, and get edited for months afterwards. Readers are left with an article where the blue footnote markers either don't go anywhere or link to the wrong footnote. Can we try to identify how these good-faith editors are using these editing tools, and fix the tools so that this kind of damage does not occur? -- John of Reading (talk) 08:58, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Here's one for the Pittsburgh Public Theater article. Here's one for National Film and Television School. Note that the automatic edit summary tags say "(Tags: references removed, Visual edit)". This has been reported as bug T166425. – Jonesey95 (talk) 14:15, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
This one happened to National Multiple Sclerosis Society with the tag "source edit". It may have been a copy-paste from this source edit of the editor's sandbox. It's strange that the software did not detect "References removed". – Jonesey95 (talk) 14:22, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
There are actually a surprising number of deliberate references of this sort, almost to the point of looking self-referential in a sense. [19] --Izno (talk) 15:08, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
Any from after June though ? I haven't encountered them yet. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:18, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
Those are different, though. They do look deliberate, and they don't have the "sup" tags. How are they supposed to work reliably, though? Is there a bot that maintains the links when "cite-note-23" in a separate article becomes note 24 because someone added a new reference? See the phrase "critically acclaimed" in Howard Hughes, for example, which points to ref 23 in The Aviator (2004 film). – Jonesey95 (talk) 16:33, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
This looks like an unfortunate user error. Ref tags, when you're reading a page, don't actually contain the citation; they're just HTML links to an anchor on the page, with a little superscript character formatting. If you copy the little blue clicky number in an article that you're reading it, then you are actually copying the link to the anchor with the superscript formatting (that is, copying the little blue clicky number itself, not the citation that the anchor links to). As a result, when you paste an HTML link into VisualEditor, then you get a link – the [1], rather than the ref>{{cite web|</ref>.
As a practical matter, those editors should be reminded that if they want to copy refs from their sandboxes or other articles, they either need to copy the wikitext (which they can paste into the visual editing mode, as it will convert it all for them) or open their sandbox in the visual editing mode and copy the footnote from there. (This information is already included in most of the materials for educational programs, but not everyone is a student, and not every student always remembers this step.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:05, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
Is there some warning we could pop up that could deter editors from damaging articles in this way, or maybe a bot that could track these edits, notify editors about them, or revert them? – Jonesey95 (talk) 18:34, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Searching for and retrieving references

I would like to tidy up references on various articles. I can readily generate a list of the articles I want to look at. Is there any way of retrieving the references for these articles in bulk, for example like a search result. Eno Lirpa (talk) 11:20, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Not yet, but i believe the reading team is working on an API for this for mobile. Probably still some time out though. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:23, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. Eno Lirpa (talk) 10:51, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Just dropping a note here. This is the task where the work is being tracked. The team was just talking about it this morning. What a serendipitous event. CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 21:21, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Article title search defaults to User page search

Don't know exactly when started happening, but recently any search argument I enter in the upper-right search box defaults to prefixes "User:" and "Wikipedia:" (e.g. if I enter "Hillary", instead of article titles beginning "Hillary", pages beginning "User:Hillary_" are displayed instead). I went to Preferences but could find no option to stop those prefixes from being added to my search argument. How do I get back to being able to see article titles beginning w/ my search argument? --IHTS (talk) 11:55, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

@Ihardlythinkso: Go to Special:Search, click "Advanced" to see the namespace checkboxes if they are not showing, adjust the ticks there, tick "Remember selection for future searches" and then search for something. -- John of Reading (talk) 12:09, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict)@Ihardlythinkso: Go to Special:Search. Below the search input box there may be a number of checkboxes, one for each namespace; if this is not present, click "Advanced". In that list of namespaces, click on the empty checkboxes for the namespaces that you do want, and also click on the filled checkmarks of those that you don't want. Then click the "Remember selection for future searches" checkbox, enter any search query, and click Search. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 12:12, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Thx! p.s. I'm sure now what happened. I checked "Remember" recently, thinking *that* search box was separate (& differently maintained) from the upper-right corner search box. (My assumption was wrong, thus my confusion.) Thx again. --IHTS (talk) 17:40, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Regex help wanted

I'm working on PHP code to find {{About}}, {{For}}, and {{Redirect}} hatnotes.

 if (preg_match("/\{{2}(About|For|Redirect)\s*\|+[^}]*\}{2}/iu", $pagecontents, $m)) {

is matching most hatnotes correctly, but runs into a problem with:

{{About|the church in [[Aleppo]], [[Syria]]|other churches with the same name|Church of the Holy Mother of God (disambiguation){{!}}Church of the Holy Mother of God}}

the matched string is truncated at the end of the embedded template:

{{About|the church in [[Aleppo]], [[Syria]]|other churches with the same name|Church of the Holy Mother of God (disambiguation){{!}}

How can I tweak the regex to include the embedded template when scanning to the end of the hatnote template? Thanks, wbm1058 (talk) 18:28, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

@Wbm1058: There's a magic regex for this at Wikipedia:AutoWikiBrowser/Regular expression#Token matching. Adapting this for your example, \{{2}(About|For|Redirect)\s*\|+([^{]|\{[^{]|\{\{[^{}]+\}\})*\}{2} seems to do the job in AWB's regex tester window. I've never played with PHP, though. -- John of Reading (talk) 22:02, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks!! That did the trick. – wbm1058 (talk) 23:38, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, I found a similar question at Stack Overflow: Can regular expressions be used to match nested patterns? which gets all theoretical with explaining that it's impossible to support infinite nested templates without blowing thru your memory limits. I'll assume that checking for just a single-level-nesting is adequate, until I run into a "gotcha" use case that shows that's insufficient. wbm1058 (talk) 23:51, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

That regex isn't very efficient. In my testing I found that maybe a third of my test cases weren't working, and it was a bear for me to find out why as the ones that failed seemed kind of random. After much frustration, I finally checked the error code (I know, good coders should always check for errors ;) and found it was returning PREG_JIT_STACKLIMIT_ERROR for the ones that failed. Error codes The new PREG_JIT_STACKLIMIT_ERROR constant introduced with PHP 7.0.0 – I guess I either write a more efficient regex or disable the PCRE JIT via php.ini (pcre.jit=0). Running that in the AWB regex tester I see that it's stacking them up one character at a time. Someone's twitter discussing a similar problem: "It was creating a capture group for every single character in the string and blowing out of memory" – Help writing a more efficient regex would be appreciated. wbm1058 (talk) 04:06, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Can you use non-capturing parentheses groups: (?: ...stuff... ) isaacl (talk) 04:17, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Another thing that can be done is limiting backtracking via a technique called "unrolling the loop". The end of the pattern that matches the contents before the closing "}}" is of the form (?:caseA|caseB)*, where caseA is [^}] – anything but an opening brace – and caseB is \{[^{]|\{\{[^{}]+\}\} – either an opening brace followed by non-opening brace, or a pattern matching a template inclusion without any nested templates. This can be transformed into caseA*(?:caseBcaseA*)*, which can be thought of matching caseA first, then multiple repetitions of (one caseB plus zero or more caseA's). By eliminating the alternation, the pattern can only match one way, and backtracking is eliminated. For this particular case, since case B is an alternation itself, it could in turn be unrolled into case C and D, with an end result of caseA*(?:caseC*(?:caseDcaseC*)*caseA*)*. But the problem is the pattern within the first set of parentheses consists of a sequence of zero-or-more matches, which introduces a new source of backtracking. So the regexp would have to be tweaked to avoid this (the pattern in the parentheses needs to be anchored with some patterns that don't have a zero-or-more quantifier). However I suggest starting with the single unrolled loop first. isaacl (talk) 04:54, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, what is the sanity of simply matching the templates simply to the end of the line? -- The Voidwalker Whispers 05:04, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm guessing you're not actually directing this question to me? I haven't looked specifically at uses of the About/For/Redirect templates, but for some other templates, it is common to have line breaks before the pipe character that separates template arguments. isaacl (talk) 05:12, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Right, while it would be very unusual to put line breaks in a hatnote template, it's not syntactically illegal. More common is placing multiple hatnote templates on a single line. wbm1058 (talk) 17:40, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
First I tried just making it non-capturing (grouping-only) parenthesis: (?:···) – that cleared the results in the AWB regex tester, but had no noticeable effect on my PHP test results.
Then I went with the suggested "unrolling the loop" solution: \{{2}(About|For|Redirect)\s*\|+[^{]*(?:\{[^{]|\{\{[^{}]+\}\}[^{]*)*\}{2} did the trick! Stacklimit errors gone! Thanks!
One of these days maybe I'll get around to reading that O'Reilly book "Mastering Regular Expressions" that I bought ~5 years ago. wbm1058 (talk) 17:40, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

The regex I use to find templates (in JavaScript) is /\{\{\s*(.+?)\s*(\|(?:.|\n)*?(?:(?:\{\{(?:.|\n)*?(?:(?:\{\{(?:.|\n)*?\}\})(?:.|\n)*?)*?\}\})(?:.|\n)*?)*|)\}\}\n?/g if that helps anyone - Evad37 [talk] 15:09, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Strange editing problem with new interface

Since the new source editing interface (not sure what it's called and honestly don't really care) was introduced recently, I have frequently run into a weird problem when trying to edit. Sometimes (it's not that uncommon, actually, and it just happened to me a few seconds ago), when I'm trying to add or delete content on a page, it will add or delete the content several spaces away from where my cursor is, and therefore where I intended to add/delete it to/from. This means I have to try to add/delete content a few spaces ahead/behind where I actually want it to be. Does anyone know why this frustrating bug might be happening, and has it happened to anyone else? Everymorning (talk) 21:47, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

The new editor interface is a beta feature and not default. You can get the normal source editor by disabling "Automatically enable all new beta features" and "New wikitext mode" at Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-betafeatures. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:01, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
@Everymorning: I think this has been pointed out before, and is browser-specific. Maybe Chrome. Which browser (and version) are you using? --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 23:57, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
@Redrose64: Chrome Version 62.0.3202.89 (Official Build) (64-bit). Everymorning (talk) 00:13, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I have exactly the same problem, on both chrome (latest version) and Firefox (really old version). It generally occurs near the bottom of a long page, the cursor is slightly further off the further down the page I go. it occurs for me, only on the vertical plane. horizontal position is accurate. Dysklyver 09:55, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

Mass delivery system opt-out category

The mass delivery opt-out category has been renamed, per this CFD. Could someone confirm that the system itself has been reconfigured accordingly, as User:MediaWiki message delivery still lists the old category for opt-out purpose. Also pinging Black Falcon (talk · contribs) as the CFD nominator. Optimist on the run (talk) 08:12, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

@Optimist on the run and Explicit: I rather think that somebody should have verified with the bot operators and those who maintain the mass message system that this was feasible before a bot was sent in to make all the category amendments on user talk pages. These users may suddenly find that they are receiving messages that they thought that they had blocked. I see nothing at the CFD to indicate that such checks had been made, nor is there any notice at WP:BON. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 10:05, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
I've updated MediaWiki:Massmessage-optout-category (per mw:Help:Extension:MassMessage#Opting out that is the system message to edit) so that it shows the right category and am currently tracking down all bots which may use the category. But yes as Redrose said such a rename should have been communicated beforehand. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 10:50, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Also put a note on WP:BON; I didn't find any bot directly. Got a number of other pages. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 11:09, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for doing that. I admit I wasn't expecting things to move quite so quickly once the discussion closed, but you're absolutely right that I should have added a link to the nomination at WP:BON from the outset. Lesson learned for next time. -- Black Falcon (talk) 04:49, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
The new category name doesn't make sense. It's not just Wikipedians who can opt-out, it's any talk page. It just happens to be that so far it's just users who have opted out. Legoktm (talk) 05:26, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
The only current exception is by Melly42 who opted out Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Extinction,[20] apparently to avoid Wikipedia:WikiProject X/Newsletter. If that was the only goal then the WikiProject could just have been removed from Wikipedia:WikiProject X/Newsletter. PrimeHunter (talk) 11:34, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Eh. --MZMcBride (talk) 02:07, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Categories on mobile

Is anyone working on making categories visible on mobile phones? And if so, when is it planned to be ready? Marcocapelle (talk) 08:20, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

phab:T24660 Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 10:51, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
I made a gadget at some point that shows them. Check your preferences. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 11:22, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
A gadget would only work for logged in editors, though. Unless it can be added to the site JS. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 11:25, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Nice, thanks! Marcocapelle (talk) 13:00, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
categories can be accessed by opting into the mobile web beta via the settings menu item. Hope that's helpful. Jdlrobson (talk) 00:26, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Problem with Template:Andean volcanoes

The first part of the template seems broken on Olca-Paruma but not on Template:Andean volcanoes; see File:Template "Andean volcanoes" problem on Olca-Paruma.PNG. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:50, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

@Jo-Jo Eumerus: Seems to be fixed after this edit. -- John of Reading (talk) 20:59, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

Question about oversized photos on my Wikipedia Sandbox page

If I expand the photos on my Wikipedia Sandbox page to a ridiculously large size, does that detract from anyone else's Wikipedia experience? I was just experimenting but I also don't want to be a bandwidth hog. Thank you! Beauty School Dropout (talk) 05:35, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

I'm not sure if this completely answers your question, but If you don't specify a size while using thumb, user preferences should determine the size they should have (and a decent default should be presented to unregistered users). I also suggest reading MOS:IMAGES, the style guide for images. I hope this helps, —PaleoNeonate – 07:32, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
I read the question to mean that if I markup a huge image size like [[File:Example.jpg|10000px]], will that make the servers create an image of that size (server load), and is that huge image then downloaded to my computer (network bandwidth)?
And the answer for jpg and png is no in both cases, but for SVG images a png of the specified size is generated and displayed (and thus downloaded).
But any way: Wikipedia:Don't worry about performance. --Pipetricker (talk) 09:57, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Thank you both for your helpful answers. Beauty School Dropout (talk) 10:19, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Tech News: 2017-46

19:19, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Using Wikimedia maps instead of geohack?

I've experimented a bit with the sandbox version of our coordinates, in order to make use of the wikimedia maps, instead of geohack. There are some examples in the testcases and in order to get a bit more realistic impression I temporarily added it to this article, which also allows it to pull the geoshape. From the map viewer, you can still select alternative map services (including geohack actually). For maps from the moon and mars, we fallback to geohack. Several other wiki's already use this, the biggest being the GermanRussian Wikipedia. I'm wondering if people think it is worth pursuing this further. Please leave your feedback. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 13:36, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

(He means for you to compare these two links:
WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:11, 14 November 2017 (UTC))
  • Please, no. Our task is to be useful to readers, not to be ideologically pure. I get that there are some people who are fanatically open-source-only and resent the fact that we give prominence to commercial entities, and I equally get that there's a legitimate desire to "keep it in the family", but for actual readers who click links because they want to know more about the topic—as opposed to spherical cow readers who are only interested in seeing where the subject is on the map—Google and Bing, and even to a lesser extent OpenStreetMap, are orders of magnitude more useful.

    To stick with your example, Wikimedia Maps shows me where Stadskanaal is. Google Maps shows me where Stadskanaal is, shows me how I get to Stadskanaal if I want to see it for myself, allows me to see that the Museumspoorlijn STAR is nearby so if it's pouring with rain when I arrive I know there's still something to do, allows me to see which shops are in the area so I know whether to bring my own food and drink or not, lets me check the train and bus times so I know when to set out and return, and allows me to see other people's photos of the area so I have an idea what I'm seeing. Given that even a company with the resources of Apple has struggled for years to compete with Google when it comes to mapping that people actually want to use, I have no realistic hopes that Wikimedia Maps will ever be a viable alternative. Wikipedia/media is an important part of the internet ecosystem, but we need to not follow de-wiki down the "ourselves alone" blind alley they've been pursuing for the last few years and recognize that sometimes, other organizations do things better than us and it's a service to our readers to point that out when it's the case. ‑ Iridescent 22:30, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

    • Iridescent, both of the options being considered offer direct links to Google Maps. It's in the list under "Global services" for the one, and under "External services" for the other. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:07, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
      • Sure, but the existing setup has links to potentially useful mapping services prominently displayed, with the worthless Wikimedia Maps relatively hidden in plain sight down the right (I've no idea if the WMF have ever researched this, but I'd be willing to bet that well over half the visitors to the Geohack link don't even notice that it's there), whereas the proposed alternative is a huge Wikimedia Maps splodge with some tiny links hidden in miniature type down the right. (And I know you're aware that links in this position don't get noticed, given that "information on the right of the screen tends not to be noticed by readers" has been the WMF's prime argument in their years-long crusade to impose a maximum display width.) ‑ Iridescent 23:16, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
        • I don't think WMF has anything to do with geohack (other than providing the hosting infrastructure as part of Toolforge). It's one of Magnus Manske's tools. — This, that and the other (talk) 11:14, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Did i say german ? That should have been russian. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 07:51, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • For places in Britain (and Irelend) I very frequently go via geohack to access the CC freely licensed photos on Geograph Britain and Ireland. Geohack seems to support a range of such facilities, depending on location. Thincat (talk) 13:57, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
    • As noted, geohack would remain available from this new UI though, we would just not enforce every person through it. One more click. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 19:41, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
      • One more click isn't a problem. However, taking the geohack option should allow the localisation aspects (region parameter of {{coords}}) to be preserved. This doesn't seem to be happening in the region:GB case in testcases (but I am always out of my depth at WP:VPT!). Thincat (talk) 08:30, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
@TheDJ: in the same testcase example, decimal degrees seem to be converted to dms. Thincat (talk) 08:39, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
@Thincat: thx, well spotted ! I'll put it on the list of things i'll need to fix there at some point. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 10:30, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I think this is a good step forward, particularly since it's moving from a short-term(!) hack on a temporary server to something that's properly integrated with Mediawiki. For those that aren't aware: this is a regularly-updated copy of the OpenStreetMap dataset, which we can use like this because it's freely licensed. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 23:57, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @TheDJ: I would like it to be enabled, but there are still quite a few issues with the map style. I filed a few Phabricator bugs more than a year ago but they haven't been addressed (e.g. the map still doesn't render light rail tracks, and still incorrectly renders stop positions when they aren't supposed to be rendered at all). Furthermore, the map doesn't render the eastern half of Sydney Harbour for some reason (it displays properly in the style so no idea what's up with it). Jc86035 (talk) 07:01, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
    • @Jc86035: they haven't been addressed because the community isn't showing it's support for the effort for the intermediate progress. As such the foundation has scaled back on it. It's a common theme where we demand perfection and as a result just simply end up getting nothing. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 07:49, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
      • @TheDJ: Would the WMF ever consider further improving or expanding the stylesheets at this point? (I suppose it wouldn't be that hard for me to figure out for myself how to copy the railway=tram styling to railway=light_rail, though.) Jc86035 (talk) 11:14, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
        • @Jc86035: They'll review and approve patches if you submit them, but that's about it. What surprises me, is that there isn't even a single proposal among the community wishlist dealing with maps, a sharp contrast with previous years... Honestly, compared to previous years I find the quality of the wishlist proposals to be significantly lower all around... Let's hope people will make the most of this opportunity in the last 3 days they have available.... —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 13:25, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
          • @TheDJ: I haven't submitted my three yet, and will probably make one or two on maps. Jc86035 (talk) 13:45, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @TheDJ: I have changed the section header; see phab:T180689. Jc86035 (talk) 14:33, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Watchlist limit

In August Whatamidoing (WMF) said that a workround to the 1000 limit would be available in about a month. Can we have an update on progress on this workround?

I understand that a partial workaround is in the works, to let you filter out changes you've already looked at. (So you read the most recent 1000, then hide the ones that you've already read, and see the next-most-recent 1000, and repeat – you'll never miss any, but you won't see 1,0001+ on the screen at the same time.) However, this probably won't be available for approximately one month. In the meantime, please reset your watchlist numbers to something greater than 0.

Keith D (talk) 02:06, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

It's live now. You need the new filter system enabled. Click by the "hamburger" icon where it says "Filter changes (use menu or search for filter name)". Tick the box for "Unseen changes" (only). Wait (and wait) for it to filter the list. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:13, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
I do not have any "hamburger" icon. Keith D (talk) 19:17, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Have you enabled "New filters for edit review" in Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-betafeatures? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:29, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
No I have not got that enabled. Tried and looks better but there is problem in that it only marks it visited if you actually open the page. Most of the time a page is only visited using pop-ups so that also needs to be marked as visited for this to be useful. Keith D (talk) 21:01, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

NoScript Firefox 57.0

I just updated to Firefox 57.0, and it does not have NoScript available on it. Is this a fluke or did Mozilla do away with NoScript? There appears to be no explanation. — Maile (talk) 14:07, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Nevermind. It's been deactivated by Mozilla, and there is no replacement product. — Maile (talk) 14:09, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Link to active topic on the NoScript community forums for those that want to follow this: [25] . — xaosflux Talk 14:12, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Looks like a new version that works with the latest Firefox browser is coming soon— see the noscript web site. isaacl (talk) 14:37, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the links, both of you. It feels strange operating without NoScript. — Maile (talk) 15:49, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Firefox 57 is a major revision, a lot of extensions cease working; such as Print Edit. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 21:06, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
More information can be found here. Regards SoWhy 08:21, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

User:FACBot bug

There seems to be a bug with the WP:FAC bot, see diff. In said diff, the newly-inserted |action3oldid= links to a diff of the WP:FLRC nomination, rather than to a permalink of the article itself. I'm not sure if this bug has since affected other articles, or whether this is a deliberate change.--Nevéselbert 17:45, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Pinging Hawkeye7. Nihlus 17:51, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it affected all the Featured List Candidate article histories. The error was a misunderstanding on my part. I have corrected this. Today's Talk:IRPA Try of the Year should link to the version of the Featured List. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 19:17, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Ordered list with multiple items in same order

Ordered list in wikipedia can be created by using the "#" symbol like this:

  1. Item 1 Score 997
  2. Item 2 Score 993
  3. Item 3 Score 990
  4. Item 4 Score 990
  5. Item 5 Score 984

However, as indicated in the above example, there are situations where some items should be ranked the same in an ordered list. Is there any syntax that would allow the use of two "3." in an ordered list? C933103 (talk) 19:09, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

According to Help:List#Specifying a starting value, you can use a hybrid of wiki-markup and HTML to set an arbitrary number for an entry in a list, and then the list continues consecutively thereafter:
  1. Item 1 Score 997
  2. Item 2 Score 993
  3. Item 3 Score 990
  4. Item 4 Score 990
  5. Item 5 Score 984
Item 4 is coded as:
#<li value="3">Item 4 Score 990</li>
If you wanted to have Item 5 become "5." (the fifth in order, rather than having the fourth rank), you could use that same technique to assign it as value="5". DMacks (talk) 19:17, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I see, thanks. So, if it is a 100-member list, then all the remaining 95 items will need to be manually assigned with the value too? C933103 (talk) 19:45, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
You only have to manually assign when you want a number to be non-consecutive with the previous. So if you wanted:
  1. Item 1 Score 997
  2. Item 2 Score 993
  3. Item 3 Score 990
  4. Item 4 Score 990
  5. Item 5 Score 984
  6. Item 6 Score 980
only the boldfaced ones need to be assigned manually because those are the entries whose values are non-continuous from the previous (Item 4 is #3 rather than #4 after the previous #3; Item 5 is #5 rather than #4 after the previous #3). Item 6 is automatic #6 after the previous #5. DMacks (talk) 20:06, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Possible to set timestamp of pages-visited on watchlist?

Special:Watchlist somehow tracks a datestamp of the last time "Mark all pages visited" was clicked. Is it possible to set it to some point other than the time at which that button is clicked? If I'm away for a few days, I have a long list of pages on my watchlist that have been changed. I browse the list from the oldest change I hadn't seen, but might not have time to get as far as "now". But with popups and such, I might not actually "read" every article. I'd like to update the mark to how far I got, as if I clicked mark-all-pages-visited at some arbitrary other point in the watchlist. Is this possible? Or is there some other way to keep a "pages changed since [time I choose] based on watchlist list" rather than just a certain period of time before now? DMacks (talk) 03:37, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

I created a proof of concept type script at User:The Voidwalker/setWatchlistTo.js. The one you click is marked as unread, as well as all above it. The implementation is a bit ugly, and creates the dreaded page-jumping (hence proof of concept). If you have suggestions for making it look better, they would be most welcome. -- The Voidwalker Whispers 00:58, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Special:Watchlist doesn't track the time at all. There is a field for the "notification timestamp" on every watchlist entry; whenever a page is edited, every watchlist entry for the page where this field is empty gets filled in with the time of the edit. If the field is non-empty, Special:Watchlist displays the page as having new revisions, and the history for the page displays all revisions with the field's timestamp or newer does similarly. All "Mark all pages visited" does is clear the field for all pages on your watchlist.
If you make use of the indications on the history page to see all revisions of the page since you last viewed it, you would not want to use a script like the one The Voidwalker made since it would reset the field to indicate some revisions had been seen when they actually hadn't. On the other hand, if you ignore the history page and re-read the whole page whenever your watchlist says it has been updated, The Voidwalker's script would probably be fine for you. Anomie 22:12, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Ah, that gives me an idea. I could easily modify the existing script to only set the timestamp for individual pages. The downside to that being you would have to mark everything individually, but I could set up check boxes.... Anyway, good to know Anomie, thanks. -- The Voidwalker Whispers 23:57, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

Search for new pages matching a pattern?

Is there a way to search for pages which 1) have a certain word (or pattern) in their title, and 2) we created within the past N days? -- RoySmith (talk) 13:42, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

For one yes. There is more here. If you search for intitle:"word or phrase" in the regular search you should get what you are looking for. Unfortunately there is no way to filter by time as far as I know. This tool can be used to search for regular expression patterns. (But again, nothing about time). -- The Voidwalker Whispers 21:23, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I often use google ffor plaintext searches, as in a google search for allintitle:boop Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:23, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Pages link to self

I'm weeding out links to dabs and have noticed something unusual. Why does 49 show up in Special:WhatLinksHere/49? (More readable result, limited to article namespace) 89 has the same issue, but similar pages such as 37 and 60 don't. Certes (talk) 14:15, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Special:WhatLinksHere/49 says "49 (transclusion)". This means the page "transcludes" itself. It's caused by {{PAGESIZE:{{FULLPAGENAME}}|R}} in {{Short pages monitor}}. {{PAGESIZE:X}} apparently counts as transcluding X. Special:WhatLinksHere/37 also says "37 (transclusion)" after a null edit. Maybe PAGESIZE hasn't always counted like this. I didn't null edit 60 if others are curious. There is a similar situation with {{#ifexist:X}} which causes a WhatLinksHere entry (as a link and not a transclusion) even though no link is produced. I guess it's about which database operations are performed. PrimeHunter (talk) 15:49, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
The reason these links are stored is to do with caching. When the page "49" is edited, its size may change, so any pages that include or use the size of that page will also need to be updated (this occurs as part of the job queue, which does not guarantee instantaneous updates). Same with page existence. — This, that and the other (talk) 09:39, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
But when the page "49" is edited, the software already knows that "49" will have to be updated. There's no need to remember whether a page tests its own size. -- John of Reading (talk) 07:24, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

But when the page "49" is edited

Only if one ignores the fact that the size of the page can change without being edited. The way chaotic way that wikitext was designed leads to a lot of inception-like madness. It is an unsolvable problem as long as page properties depend on another page, and as long as reading & editing are convoluted. The only thing developers can do is mask it or kill all functions that cause it.11:03, 18 November 2017 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Thank you for all the helpful replies. It seems that the Wikimedia software is confusing "Page X has a clickable wikilink leading to page Y" with "The appearance of X depends on the content of Y, so X may need purging if Y changes". Given an infinite budget we'd rewrite that bit, but it doesn't sound as if that will be happening this week. At least the problem is more manageable once you understand it. Certes (talk) 11:15, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

It sounds like you are confusing links and transclusions at WhatLinksHere. When WhatLinksHere says "49 (transclusion)", it is not in any way a claim that the page has a wikilink to 49. "(transclusion)" means it is a (false) claim that the page transcludes 49 in the same way as templates can be transcluded. Click "Hide transclusions" on WhatLinksHere to hide pages which are only listed due to transclusions and not wikilinks. For example, Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Citation needed has a huge number of article entries with "(transclusion)", so those articles say {{citation needed}} (or use a redirect like {{fact}}) but they don't say [[Template:citation needed]]. Most articles are not transcluded anywhere. You could say two things:
1) The Wikimedia software is (deliberately) confusing "Page X has a clickable wikilink leading to page Y" with "Page X uses {{#ifexist:Y}} to test whether page Y exists".
2) The Wikimedia software is (deliberately) confusing "Page X is transcluding page Y" with "Page X uses {{PAGESIZE:Y}} to get the size of the wikitext in page Y".
"49 (transclusion)" at Special:WhatLinksHere/49 is an example of 2). An example of 1) could be created if a page with no link to 49 says: {{#ifexist:49|There is a page called "49"|There is no page called "49"}}. 1) is documented at Help:What links here#Overview: The parser function #ifexist: causes a listing in "What links here" among the normal links even though no link is produced. 2) appears to be undocumented. PrimeHunter (talk) 19:58, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Can anyone help me make a complex geologic time scale-related template?

I'm trying to make a navbox template that can easily be filled in with a region's stratigraphic units that are manually inputted into variables by editors. The problem I'm facing is that there are a huge number of time units on the geologic timescale that spreads the content over a wide area of the template. Is there any way to make it so that only the units that have had content inputted for their respective variables show up in the template? Abyssal (talk) 14:18, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

I've written a few comments at Template talk:Stratigraphic column navbox. Certes (talk) 15:42, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, Certes. I've tried to implement your suggested code without success. Have I done something wrong? Abyssal (talk) 16:21, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Now resolved; details at Template talk:Stratigraphic column navbox. Certes (talk) 19:37, 17 November 2017 (UTC)


I believe The music barnstar should be added to the WikiLove feature under the stars section. How can we add it?--◂ ‎épine talk 14:37, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

It needs to be added here: MediaWiki:WikiLove.jsTheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:26, 16 November 2017 (UTC)


I really don't like not having the WP:OBOD, so shortly after they introduced Notifications, someone helped me to create User:Nyttend/monobook.js with code restoring the OBOD; it basically just calls User:Writ Keeper/Scripts/orangeBar.js. Normally it works, but it's intermittent; why would that be the case? For example, some minutes ago I got the OBOD because of a message from User:Sbmeirow, so I viewed it, went to another page, got another OBOD, viewed the message, went to another page, and suddenly here's the You have new messages notice without the OBOD. I would expect that the OBOD either would never work or would work all the time, especially in a matter of a few minutes; this intermittency just doesn't seem to make sense. I'm running IE 11. Nyttend (talk) 23:42, 16 November 2017 (UTC)


Anyone can help me create module(s) for Wikipedia, to take data from wikidata ? Xaris333 (talk) 06:26, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

@Xaris333: Please be more specific. We already have Module:Wikidata and Module:WikidataIB (and a few others); do you need something which is currently possible in the software to be added to the modules? Jc86035 (talk) 07:46, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
@Jc86035: I need a specific module to add to a template. I already knew about that pages. Xaris333 (talk) 07:51, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
@Xaris333: Try RexxS (talk · contribs) who has already produced a bunch of these. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 08:40, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Rename comment

In the message "Your account is currently being renamed or merged. View the status." the link is wrong, the same for all users, $1 not being substituted. Wikisaurus (talk) 17:57, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

The message is MediaWiki:Centralauth-rename-abortlogin. A fix should be on the way.[26] PrimeHunter (talk) 20:04, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia under Nigerian domain

Through a Google search, I stumbled upon this website, which looks like a carbon copy of Wikipedia under a different domain name. It looks exactly the same and up to date on any page, so it's apparently not a mirror site cached on some server but rather a proxy to Wikipedia. At first I suspected it was something benign, like for people living in parts of the world where they are denied access to Wikipedia or something, but upon making searches and failing to acquire absolutely any information on the site, I grew suspicious.

It is under .ng, the Nigerian ccTLD, but Whois reveals it was registered in April 2016 by someone with a Turkish address and a account. The source is essentially identical to Wikipedia's except Google Analytics code is embedded in the header. Accessing the site via a non-secure address redirects to HTTPS, but the certificate is one issued by a different organization than one that Wikimedia uses (I have no idea how relevant this is, but still).

Is this some kind of phishing site? And even if it was innocuous in nature, it concerns me that it was included matter-of-factly in Google results when it is completely indistinguishable from the actual Wikipedia in the eyes of someone who doesn't always pay attention to the address bar, AKA everyone.

What is this? And can we―or should we―do something about this? Nardog (talk) 22:32, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

WP:MIRROR attempts to deal with this. I thought I had seen a way to report to WMF legal when blatant problems such as using trademarked logos occurred, but I can't see it. Johnuniq (talk) 22:44, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
That's at wmf:Trademark policy, section "6.1 Reporting misuse" -- John of Reading (talk) 07:47, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. Of course if I had tried the obvious WP:TRADEMARK I would have found that. I reported the website (which includes other languages) to the legal email address advised as a trademark violation. Johnuniq (talk) 21:54, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. Do you also know how to get it off Google (and other search engines)? Google once accepted reports of scraper sites but not anymore it seems. Nardog (talk) 09:07, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Visual editor stripping whitespace from Infoboxes

Hi all, the Visual Editor keeps stripping whitespace from Infoboxes, like here with the {{Infobox settlement}} template. Some editors like to line up the equals signs so that all the data lines up nicely, other editors don't like extra whitespace. Whatever the case, this is basically a local consensus issue. I reported this Visual Editor activity here, which didn't get any useful attention, then opened a case at Phabricator, but didn't get much in the way of help.

I'm not a technical type, so I'm totally ignorant on any technical aspect of this issue, but my general perspective is that VisualEditor shouldn't be using inexperienced editors as shills to perform maintenance tasks that you'd expect of experienced AWB users. A volunteer at Phabricator suggested that the templates could be modified so that the status quo is preserved. They wrote:

If you wish to change this instruction, you can go to [the template], and where it says

 "format": "block"

you can replace it with


So, short story, if this is something that any of you find problematic, (and I might be a lone crusader here) it would require a fix. I guess that would mean identifying the problematic templates and then removing the format preference? This had been happening with {{Infobox film}} and {{Infobox television}} but AussieLegend was kind enough to fix those. Thanks, Cyphoidbomb (talk) 04:53, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Removing "format": "block" is the equivalent to changing it to "format": "inline" for newly added infoboxes. It would be better to use something like "format": "{{_\n| ______________ = _\n}}\n" for an infobox. See mw:Help:TemplateData#Custom formats. — JJMC89(T·C) 07:13, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Citation links

Can anyone tell me if there are any means of counting the links used globally in en.WP citations by domain (or rather sub-domain), excepting archiving sites? I hope to use such data to ensure that the top, say, two or three hundred top-cited domains are included to populate my script that ensures that parameters are correctly used within citations. -- Ohc ¡digame! 13:51, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Merging forked histories?

User:Leprof 7272/Everipedia and the currently deleted Everipedia are forks and should have their histories merged. I'm not sure what the right procedure is to do this. I looked at WP:HISTMERGE, but that describes a process for dealing with copy-paste forks, which isn't what we've got here. How should I proceed? This is related to WP:Deletion review/Log/2017 November 12 -- RoySmith (talk) 15:44, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

The logs [27] show User:Leprof 7272/Everipedia was moved from Everipedia 20 February 2017 including the page history at the time. Two pages have later been created and deleted at Everipedia but all deleted edits there are from March 2017 and seem unrelated to User:Leprof 7272/Everipedia apart from being about the same subject. In a brief comparison I found no sign of content being copied between the pages so I see no need for a history merge if deleted edits of Everipedia are restored. If content is later copied between the pages then it can just be noted at the time of the copying per Wikipedia:Copying within Wikipedia. PrimeHunter (talk) 16:17, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

WikiProject template help

Needing a little help here -- Wikiproject Anatomy uses a template Template:Wikiproject Anatomy to label articles. We can set a "field" that relates to the anatomical discipline (eg gross, micro, neuro, etc.). These automatically add the article's talk page to a category (Category:Anatomy articles by topic)

One field is "NA" - ie no field applies (usually because the article is a redirect). Unfortunately that means the template incorrectly states "This redirect has not yet been associated with a particular anatomical discipline." (eg here Talk:Peripheral nervous systems). Any ideas why? --Tom (LT) (talk) 00:07, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Because that page is a redirect? :D The relevant code is
 |TF_1_TEXT          = This {{pagetype|{{{class|}}}}} {{#switch: {{lc:{{{field|}}}}}
   |animal|embryo|gross|meta|micro|NA|neuro|organs|systems=has been classified as relating to {{#switch: {{lc:{{{field|}}}}}
   |NA       = [[:Category:Anatomy articles about NA|NA]]
In it, you will see that the page type (which relies on the class, and presumably has some detection for redirects) sets the text "redirect" while NA sets the "has been..." text. Is this behavior undesirable? --Izno (talk) 02:16, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
Heh, Izno, I understand that the page is a redirect. However on all pages with the banner you can set a discipline (Eg micro) and the talk page banner will say "has been classified as relating to microanatomy"... this works even on redirects
However, for all pages marked as discipline 'NA', the talk page banner will state "...has not yet been associated...". This is the bit which is confusing me. --Tom (LT) (talk) 03:45, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Visual Editor lacks a Cite field for naming references

Hi, y'alls. In Visual Editor there is no field in the Cite creator for Reference name. e.g. - to render: <ref name = "hamburger steak"> in the dressed citation template.

Would it be easy to add that field? It is very common. Right now it is kludgey to add it after the fact, or by toggling to the text editor. Ping me back. Having fun! Cheers! {{u|Checkingfax}} {Talk} 02:01, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

@Checkingfax: It is not easy I believe. The phabricator task is phab:T52568. --Izno (talk) 02:23, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
And actually, there's a 2017 survey item for this. meta:2017 Community Wishlist Survey/Editing/VisualEditor: Allow references to be named. --Izno (talk) 03:30, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Fixing broken wikilinks

I have a question about fixing broken Wikilinks. I wasn't sure where to ask it, so I'd figured I'd ask it here. There used to be a subsection in Japan Shogi Association titled "Apprentice school", and links to this section have been added to various other articles as Japan Shogi Association#Apprentice school. The relevant content in the section, however, was recently moved to another article Professional shogi player (more specifically Professional shogi player#Apprenticeship. So, I would like to know if there's a quick way to fix all of these links at once by sort of redirecting them to the new article/new section, or do all the individual links need to be manually corrected. There were other subsections in Japan Shogi Association#Players which were also moved to "Professional shogi player", so there other links which need correcting as well. However, the method for correcting them all should be the same, so once I find out the best way to fix one set, the others can be fixed in the same manner. -- Marchjuly (talk) 02:29, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

a quick way to fix all of these links at once by sort of redirecting them to the new article/new section, or do all the individual links need to be manually corrected The latter, unless you've actually targeted a redirect with those links (and that redirect's title could just as easily redirect to the new location of the content). For example, were the content of Agahnim to be moved elsewhere (say, The Legend of Zelda), then you could simply change the text of Agahnim from #REDIRECT [[Characters in The Legend of Zelda series#Agahnim]] to e.g. #REDIRECT [[The Legend of Zelda#Agahnim]]. Otherwise, you have to hunt down all the links and fix them manually. Someone at WP:Bot requests can probably take care of this if you have an exact list of links that you're looking to fix. --Izno (talk) 02:51, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
insource:"Japan Shogi Association#Apprentice school" can find the links. Wikipedia:AutoWikiBrowser (AWB) can help change them quickly with semi-automated edits once you know how to use it, but AWB may not be worth starting up for 10 edits. PrimeHunter (talk) 03:06, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Izno and PrimeHunter for the input and the extra info. I believe I am the one who added most of the links in question, so fixing them manually it not a huge deal. I just wasn't sure if there were others floating around in articles which I didn't add. I didn't know about {{search link}}, but that seems more than sufficient to track them all down. -- Marchjuly (talk) 04:06, 20 November 2017 (UTC)


Auto skip inactive editors from newsletters

Editors come and go, but if someone has not been around for a year or three their talkpage can get very cluttered with newsletters. Eventually as per an earlier proposal this prompts others to suggest that said inactive editor should start talkpage archiving, so why not autosuspend editors from subscriptions if they haven't edited in 4 months? It should be easy to change the newsletter bots to only post to talkpages of editors who have been active in the last 4 months. ϢereSpielChequers 19:15, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

Update. 4 months is arbitrary, I'm not actually bothered between 4 months and 12 months. Perhaps if others express a view on this then if the proposal has consensus the closer can set the time period. ϢereSpielChequers 10:48, 29 October 2017 (UTC)

Survey (Auto skip inactive editors from newsletters)

  • Support As proposer. ϢereSpielChequers 19:15, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support at one year. Users inactive for that long don't need active newsletter posts. Four months might be safe, but a year is safer. —swpbT go beyond 19:33, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support at whatever time threshold (4 months, year, ...). And this should be the default behavior for bots such as User:SuggestBot and Feedback Request Service. Of course, there should be an opt-out so people can ask continue to receive these posts despite their own inactivity. EEng 21:56, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
    The problem with in opt-in option is that some of us (and they don't know it) will either die suddenly, or become permanently incapable of editing Wikipedia suddenly. We don't want these users' talk pages to become cluttered with newsletters. While some of these users have friends who would be trusted to confirm that they will never be back, most probably don't. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 12:46, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
    I said opt out i.e. the mechanism for suspending delivery after X months of a user's inactivity is active by default, but a user can opt out of that stop-after-4-months'-activity behavior if he wants i.e. set it so that even if he's inactive for X months, delivery continues indefinitely. No matter what, as soon as the editor makes any single edit, he's no longer inactive and delivery resumes. EEng 13:13, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
    A user opts out of delivery stoppiong, and then if this user dies suddenly (perhaps several years later), delivery still continues indefinitely. If it's reasonably possible, I would certainly say that if a user goes on a declared WikiBreak, delivery could start at the last round before the declared return date; however, we do need to put an absolute, non-overridable, date beyond which delivery stops. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 07:55, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Long, cluttered talk pages make it hard to see substantive content, and it is sometimes necessary to investigate why some things were done a certain way. Also, while monitoring pages with broken templates I have often found user talk pages where templates no longer work due to superfluous bot messages. Johnuniq (talk) 22:01, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Newsletters piling up on inactive talk pages is a nuisance. Alsee (talk) 23:41, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, but give the user a notification to tell them their newsletters won't be sent if they don't perform an edit or logged action within the next N days (and/or a notification after the suspension of newsletters). Jc86035 (talk) 10:57, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
And so it begins. Let's not start adding more posts. They're just newsletters. Most such posts have a link that says, "To stop receiving this newsletter..."; change that to "To stop or resume receiving..." and leave it at that. EEng 14:23, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support as per previous comments, especially the desirability of avoiding long cluttered talk pages. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:47, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, provided that the suspention stops immediately once editing resumes - that is, for the user to start getting them again, all (s)he needs to do is a single edit with no need to resubscribe; additionally, a bot should probably warn the user at the last delivery of a subscription (in a separate section) about such suspention. I think the longer of 4 deliveries and 4 months is lone enough. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 11:22, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support with a time threshold and an optout. jcc (tea and biscuits) 11:33, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I suppose, but I would much prefer 12 months. Jenks24 (talk) 12:09, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - though, clearly, a good faith effort, this remedy has collateral consequences that suggest its achievable gains, both can and should be managed in some other, more efficient way. In general, I support centralized solutions over local solutions where the means are; invariably: more costly and far more inefficient. My recurring notifications arrive via an alternate account which this proposal, to my chagrin, would cease; for the editing inactivity of that account. Not withstanding these, I can not support the local mechanics of this proposal, nor the stifling effects their inadequacy too often spawn.--John Cline (talk) 06:41, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
Forsooth, my liege, thou canst opt-out, thus to continue the succor of thy monthly Signpost! EEng 07:16, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
One potential solution would be a bot which can parse templates from Category:Alternative Wikipedia account templates, and keep delivering to a publicly-declared alternate account if the main account is still active. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 07:57, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support 12 months. At a minimum 6, but 4 months sounds too short to me (call it unbelievable, but some people have jobs that require them to travel to far-away places without internet, and a 4-month lapse seems way too short to establish an account will probably not be used any more). Whether the proposal does not solve certain edge cases (e.g. opting out before having a stroke) is not all that relevant (see nirvana fallacy). TigraanClick here to contact me 08:44, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support 1 year. Longer may be necessary, but I think 1 year is a good start. JTP (talkcontribs) 01:57, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose In the case of some newsletters, it can spur people into activity. --Rschen7754 04:01, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
    But this is about cases where it hasn't (most people seem to favor a full year or more before this triggers).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  15:53, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Swarm 20:32, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Don't care much about the time span; anything over about 6 months seems fine. No prejudice against some other solution (per John Cline).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  15:53, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support a year. Excessively cluttered talk pages serve nobody any purpose. A year's worth of twice a month newsletters is 24 sections! – Train2104 (t • c) 19:00, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support a year. If they're not logging on, it's just piling up. White Arabian Filly Neigh 16:29, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. I think it is important that this be a minimum prescribed behavior - that it explicitly allows bots to drop subscribers who have been inactive for a shorter timeframe than what looks to be the 12 month consensus. If memory serves, the feedback request service stops after one month on inactivity, and this policy definitely should not supersede that timeframe, nor any other talk page subscription that expires in less than a year. VanIsaacWScont 17:35, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support a year - Long overdue!, If those inactive still want to read for instance the Signpost then they can bookmark that page .... –Davey2010Talk 00:07, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I didn't edit Wikipedia for two years, and my talk page was completely cluttered. I think that this is a great idea for inactive accounts. EMachine03 (talk) 14:25, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support this obvious proposal (i can't believe no one has suggested this already). The timespan is less important, though a year's inactivity should be the outside length. Happy days, LindsayHello 10:31, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Threaded discussion (Auto skip inactive editors from newsletters)

  • This looks very much like a solution in search of a problem. If someone hasn't edited for 4 months then why would anyone feel the need to read the user talk page anyway? And if nobody is reading the page then what does it matter how long it is? It's quite possible that a user doesn't edit but is still interested in reading newsletters, and, if not, it does no harm to carry on sending them. (talk) 20:19, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
Many of us will have multiple inactive Wikipedians on our watchlists. The absent Wikipedian can be assumed absent, but not others. As for the problem, eventually these newsletters turn such talkpages into ones that are slow to load, hence the earlier, more intrusive proposal to autoarchive them. ϢereSpielChequers 21:30, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
I've got a number of "missing Wikipedians" on my watchlist hoping to be able to welcome them back, and these notices every few days just gum up my watchlist. I find the argument that maybe someone is silently reading newsletters for a year, without making a single edit, unpersuasive to say the least. Anyway, we can have an opt-out by which people can explicitly ask to continue receiving. EEng 21:56, 27 October 2017 (UTC)
Does anyone force you to have these pages on your watchlist? Surely you can just remove them. This is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a social networking site, so welcoming people back should be very low on anyone's list of priorities. (talk) 18:40, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
I disagree; there's a serious shortage of editors, and welcoming editors back is very worthwhile. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:49, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
I realise that I'm in a minority here, so I'll make this my last comment, but I don't believe that there is any evidence that any of this touchy-feely stuff actually leads to a better encyclopedia, which is supposed to be what Wikipedia is about. (talk) 21:24, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Most of the larger newsletters are sent using MassMessage from opt-in lists. I think 4 months is too short, perhaps a year - and mailing lists may want overrides on this. — xaosflux Talk 17:03, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
    It's not difficult to remove other people from MassMessage mailing lists; here's one that I did recently. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 20:40, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
    When people die mailing list removal makes sense, but if people are on a long wikibreak then skipping inactives is much better - after they come back the latest issue will turn up after a while. ϢereSpielChequers 10:45, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
    And if someone is severely sick for a long time, there's a chance they may be back eventually; returning them to the active delivery list shouldn't require any action on their part. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 12:49, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
  • @WereSpielChequers: can you explain how easy to change the newsletter bots to only post to talkpages of editors who have been active in the last 4 months? Also note - not all newsletters are sent "by bots", regarding MassMessage above - are you proposing that the extension somehow be able to detect "activity"? Will cross-project activity account? What is your measure of this (e.g. will a logged action suffice?) — xaosflux Talk 00:40, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
    For example, lets look at a very popular newsletter, Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost - this is not sent "by bots", it is sent by editors. — xaosflux Talk 00:45, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
    Hi Xaosflux. I'm happy for cross project activity to count, and yes one logged action would be sufficient to show you are still around - afterall we do have cross project notifications now so if you are only active on commons you would know if you were still receiving a newsletter on EN. As to the mechanics of this there are several ways it could be done. It could be on the fly with a new massmessage bot that people could use putting in their subscription list and the latest newsletter, or a standalone bot that moved people from subscription lists to an inactive subpage and back again when they reappear. At present I'm just seeking consensus for it to happen, precise mechanics would be up to the bot writer. ϢereSpielChequers 07:10, 30 October 2017 (UTC)

Can inactive editor be determined by having logged in, rather than edited? Because if you are never logging in you probably won't be looking at the notices anyway. ClubOranjeT 19:39, 30 October 2017 (UTC)

  • I'd be somewhat in support of a software change to the MassMessage extension to "skip inactive" users, possibly as an option that the sender could use. This would require developer time. — xaosflux Talk 04:26, 31 October 2017 (UTC)

Should talk page newsletter notices be abolished completely?

  • Has there ever been a community discussion about whether "newsletter" notification should ever be used? I find it lazy and obviously its become resource intensive on inactive editor pages. Why can't we expect editors to just put newsletters in their watchlist and keep informed via that existing mechanism rather than use a bot-driven, spammy mechanism like talk page posts? Every time a "newsletter" is updated, it becomes my watchlist that is spammed as many people I've interacted with on their talk page gets these notifications. -- Netoholic @ 07:33, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
    Indeed; I have never subscribed to The Signpost, but sometimes read it - on the user talk pages that I am watching for other purposes. My own User talk page stays pretty clear of newsletters - all the ones that I'm interested in are subscribed to by other people. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 09:48, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
    Is that what happens to my New York Times some mornings? EEng 19:36, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
    Especially with the notification system (which is newer than these newsletters were originally created), these subscriptions are probably unneeded. With the signpost we have a transcludable template, a system which can be used for all newsletters; a bot could easily PURGE all pages transcluding a particular newsletter's template, and the notification system will inform any interested user about the new edition without spamming any page visible to anyone else. However, if we make such a change, we need to actively inform all users on any distribution list about this change. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 13:50, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Hmmmm... There's a good point here. Maybe people who want to subscribe should just add a template to their page which transcludes the current version of the newsletter, plus whenever there's a new "edition" they would get a ping. (The template would add the user to a category, and everyone in that category gets the ping.) That's a very clean approach. EEng 19:39, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Brilliant. That would solve all problems. And it could include a link to an archive in one location that lists every issue so the hypothetical contributor who has been offline for ten months can spend a couple of days reading the past issues to see what they've missed. Johnuniq (talk) 22:10, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
Johnuniq, you know the Ways of the Pump better than I. Can you find the best way to make sure other participants in this RfC know about this? Perhaps WereSpielChequers will suspend this RfC in favor of a new one on this template idea -- we can always revive this discussion if the template idea fails. When you think about it, the template idea is way easier to implement, and with fewer design decisions to make (e.g. what counts as activity?). EEng 23:07, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
I see no need to abolish these entirely, but they might become redundant to Extension:Newsletter if installed. Sam Walton (talk) 23:15, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
Um, OK, well it seems unnecessarily complicate, but anyway why isn't it being used already? EEng 23:17, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
That extension looks insanely bureaucratic for the purposes of most Wikipedia newsletters, and I'd vehemently oppose any suggestion to roll it out across Wikipedia except possibly for a couple of high-traffic high-visibility newsletters like Signpost. As I read it there will be a separate set of admin-granted userrights for every single newsletter, and anyone wanting to contribute to a newsletter will need to persuade an admin to grant them the "publisher" userright for that specific newsletter—no sane person is going to want to jump through those hoops. ‑ Iridescent 23:29, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
mw:Extension:Newsletter#User Rights says that by default only admins can do things, but the extension would be customized for whatever was wanted at enwiki. For example, certain groups (say admins) could create or delete a newsletter, but other groups (say extendedconfirmed = 30 days/500 edits or autoconfirmed = 4 days/10 edits) could manage any newsletter. Johnuniq (talk) 03:19, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
  • As a purely practical issue, assuming I'm understanding this proposal correctly as "if you want to subscribe to a newsletter, transclude it to your talkpage or a dedicated newsletter page in your userspace and you'll get a notification when it's updated", I can see a potential issue with Wikipedia's numerous phantom newsletters. Because of the tendency for people to get bored, a lot of newsletters get updated very infrequently—to take an extreme example, had this setup been in place previously all of these people would have had the December 2013 edition of the WikiProject London Transport newsletter sitting on their talk page for the last four years as nobody's bothered to put out a fresh issue since then. ‑ Iridescent 23:30, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
Well, then, after a while someone noticing that the LT newsletter is stale can just go move the "current" (way old) issue to the newsletter archives, making the current issue empty i.e. there's no current issue. EEng 00:28, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
Changing a transcluded template does not trigger echo notification. And why would you want to keep an old newletter on your page indefinitely - not knowing when it is going to be updated again? — xaosflux Talk 01:40, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
Re how the notification works, please read my proposal carefully, in the post starting "Hmmmmm." Re "indefintely", as also already explained, defunct newsletters can be blanked. EEng 02:37, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
@EEng: have you got a working demo of this? I just tried a quick and dirty and neither changing the transcluded page, or changing the category it include only'd had any echo notification to another account transcluding such page. (including after a force purge) — xaosflux Talk 04:01, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm not making myself clear. A bot would walk the category and ping every user in it. I don't know if it's possible for a custom message to accompany a ping e.g. A new issue of the X newsletter is now available on your Talk page. Honestly, though, now that I think about it, why not then just ping people to the page where the newsletter itself is, and just skip the transclusion part? EEng 04:08, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
Ping them where (some random page?, the actual newletter template?) This also requires every single project with a newletter to get a bot to manage their newletters and MassMessage - is that what you are proposing? — xaosflux Talk 04:25, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
A bot delivers the newsletters now. In no way does this require "every single project with a newletter to get a bot to manage their newletters and MassMessage" – what are you talking about? A project that wants to use this very simple technique can do so, and everyone else can keep doing what they're doing if that's what they want. EEng 04:37, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
Hi @EEng: we must have a big disconnect in this scope - which "newsletters" are you referring to? I'm seeing this on VPR and thinking this is a proposal to change enwiki newletter processes in general - if any single project wants to change how their newletter wants to be managed, it doesn't need to be here, they can just do it. For reference, several newsletters on my own talk page were not "delivered by bots", whereas other things that are not "newletters" (such as SuggestBot suggestions) are actually delivered by bots and maybe unneeded clutter for departed editors. — xaosflux Talk 05:02, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Maybe abolish in favour of an unsubstituted template? I'm just now wondering, I might prefer to receive newsletters, like the signpost, by email. Investigating, I might like the Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Subscribe Watchlist notification method. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:05, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
Um, an unsubst'ed template is exactly what I'm proposing. EEng 04:08, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
Where? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:57, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
A dozen posts up, starting with "Hmmmmm..." EEng 05:21, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
Unsubst'd templates/transclusions have the disadvantage of never notifying people that the template was changed. A new message on your talk page lights up your notifications; a change to a page that you're transcluding doesn't even put your talk page in your watchlist.
Iridescent, there's currently a live test of Extension:Newsletter at mw:Newsletter:Tech Showcase, and it really doesn't seem to be bureaucratic. User:Qgil-WMF could give you more information about the practical details, but as far as I can tell, he just tells it to send a page to everyone. It probably doesn't take him even 30 seconds to send the "newsletter".
@MZMcBride: People are talking about changes to MassMessage, so you might want to look this discussion over. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:02, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Whatamidoing (WMF) It's not the sending that's bureaucratic—unless I'm misreading the documentation completely, each newsletter will need to have its own bureaucratic structure with specific userrights for who can edit it and who can send it out. Thus, if I were to try to revive (for instance) the aforementioned moribund London Transport newsletter, I'd need to find out who was currently its admin (who may not even be active any more, given that the newsletter hasn't been published since 2013), persuade them to grant me the editor right for that newsletter, persuade them to grant the editor right for anyone else I wanted to approach to contribute to it, and then persuade them to send it out or grant me the right to send it out. The sort of people who have time and inclination to jump through that many hoops aren't the sort of people who are likely to have anything very interesting to say. ‑ Iridescent 18:41, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Having glanced at the documentation, I think that any admin (i.e., anyone on the list at Special:ListAdmins) can grant you the right to send out any newsletter. ("Editing" a newsletter is just a matter of editing a normal page.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 04:47, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
Iridescent, Whatamidoing (WMF), Johnuniq Hi, mw:Extension:Newsletter was designed with minimalism in mind. The permission to create newsletters is currently set to admins in because it is a new extension and we wanted to see it being used by real publishers without risking types of abuse that we hadn't think of. It can be configured to any user group. I personally think that newsletter account creation can be permissive, because the potential damage is directly proportional to the number of subscribers, and a publisher will only get subscribers if the newsletter is interesting, not some kind of spam. Once the newsletter has been created and a publisher has been assigned to it, the publishers of that newsletter can add/remove other publishers themselves. I don't think you can have it simpler than that. For what is worth, the Newsletter extension is not being deployed to other Wikimedia wikis as long as interwiki support is not resolved (phab:T110645). Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:54, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

Hi. Thanks for the ping. It's no real secret that EdwardsBot was a spam bot. And its replacement MassMessage created infrastructure and additional legitimacy to the concept of spamming user talk pages. The architecture never made much sense, obviously. I always found it akin to, as EEng suggests, delivering the paper to household driveways and businesses when you could instead have a Web site. But people really liked getting the talk page messages, just as some people still like getting the newspaper delivered to their home or office.

I think that's kind of a key point: hundreds of people subscribed to The Signpost and liked getting a new talk page message each week, so we supported that. User talk page messages also came with "free" e-mail notifications for users who have talk page messages send an e-mail. And, yes, of course, you could just e-mail people directly instead, but people liked getting the talk page messages for The Signpost, for wiki meetup invitations, for newsletters, etc.

The wiki talk page delivery system is also used with non-user talk pages. Some users watchlist centralized pages that receive notifications, such as technical news posted to Wikipedia:Village pump (technical).

I'm not clear to me what specifically is being proposed for the MassMessage extension or the Newsletter extension, but the better venue is probably Phabricator. :-) --MZMcBride (talk) 05:28, 9 November 2017 (UTC) (cc: Legoktm, wctaiwan)

Newspaper deliverers to remove old newspapers still on the driveway

  • This may be mildly complicated, but I think the bots used to deliver newletters should scan for the previous newsletter and remove it it is still there. The archive of all newsletters should be stored at the source, not on recipients' talk pages or even their talk page archives. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:58, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
    Again, please note most of these are not "delivered by bots" they are delivered by the MassMessage process, the sender never interrogates the recipient pages. — xaosflux Talk 04:01, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
    Maybe they should be delivered by bots, who could then clean up previous issues of the newsletter. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:24, 31 October 2017 (UTC)

Show the metadata gadget to all readers

The metadata gadget gives a reader a summary assessment of the quality of the article in question. In the case of featured and good articles, it is more prominent than the star or icon on the side. In the case of lower quality articles, it gives the reader an expectation of the quality of the content that they are going to see (they can then read the article and then judge it on its own merits).

Should the Wikipedia:Metadata gadget be shown to all readers, logged in or logged out, regardless of whether it is enabled as a gadget for registered users? My name isnotdave (talk/contribs) 12:22, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Survey (Show the metadata gadget to all readers)

  • oppose — Readers unfamiliar with wikipedia may find this confusing. And you say you don't want it to be enabled by default, but how else would readers that aren't logged in activate/deactivate it? Natureium (talk) 20:37, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose both from the resource concerns discussed below, but also because this system is not designed for readers. FA's and GA's already get an article identifier. If we want a full quality rating system, we need to pick one and install it (e.g. a flavor of mw:Extension:FlaggedRevs or the like. — xaosflux Talk 21:36, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose – There isn't a compelling encyclopedic reason to impose our internal quality rating system on our readers. All of the classes other than FA and GA (and the rare A-Class) are self-assigned, oftentimes even by the creator of the article themselves. As a result, there is a good deal of variation in the actual quality of specific ratings – some B-Classes could very well be GAs whereas others are probably closer to C-Class or even Start-Class. Given the amount of subjectivity, these quality ratings are probably less important/meaningful to readers as they might be to editors. Mz7 (talk) 23:31, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I see no value in this proposal. Beyond My Ken (talk) 18:05, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose the rating system, especially beyond GA/FA (which are already displayed), has too many problems to be promoted to logged-out users. power~enwiki (π, ν) 18:51, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose not a default suited tool, showing it for all readers is effectively that. The article rating system is just an internal tracker mostly for WikiProject work tables, all that matters for the readers is GA/FA and stub, all of which are shown already. Any editor who needs this ought to have enabled it already. Dysklyver 12:26, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Providing it would not put an unreasonable drain on the servers (and I accept it may well do!), I see absolutely no reason for hiding any quality/completeness assessment from any of our readers or editors, whether logged in or not. We invite both user-types to make improvements where they can, so should facilitate them seeing how the community has currently assessed each article and encourage their improvement where we can. It's a really useful guide to editors on page quality, whilst non non-editors (school students especially) should be aware of the quailty of what we're giving them to use in their homework. Someone said there's no compelling reason - I think the reverse. It should be available by default, and removable if wished by logged-in users. As the Hovercard page eloquently explains: Unfortunately, there is no good way to tell users about a new feature without showing it to them first. OK, it's not a new feature, but why on earth should we hide our own assessment of the quality of each page? If the assessment is wrong, having it more clearly displayed can only encourage others to make a re-evaluation or an improvemnt to the article. Stamp it on every page, I'd say. Regards from the UK, Nick Moyes (talk) 17:25, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I use it, and find it useful, but that's because I understand how the system works; a tiny minority of IP-only editors will benefit from this, but 99.9% of anglophone Internet users won't understand what it means, and we'll confuse a good proportion of them. `Nyttend (talk)
  • Oppose, will confuse majority of readers. Stifle (talk) 10:30, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I have no idea what this is and neither will 99% of readers TonyBallioni (talk) 23:23, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Other than FA, GA and stub, all of which are already flagged to readers, Wikipedia's article assessment scale is almost completely arbitrary and will mean absolutely nothing to readers. (Would you understand a grading scale where the grades are S-C-B-G-A-F if it weren't explained to you?) If anything, we should probably be deprecating it altogether, as its original purpose (to determine which articles were of an adequate enough quality to be included in proposed print and CD-ROM versions of Wikipedia) is long since obsolete. ‑ Iridescent 23:32, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The assessments are totally subjective. For those articles that don't go through WP:FAN, WP:GAN, or WP:Peer review, anyone can assess an article as whatever grade they want, which isn't very helpful for our readers. -- œ 04:58, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Showing this for everyone will just confuse the large majority of Wikipedia readers that don't understand Wikipedia quality standards. EMachine03 (talk) 14:29, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Ugh. feminist 15:02, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Most articles are utter junk and the reader should know that. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:01, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Threaded discussion (Show the metadata gadget to all readers)

  • Regardless of wether or not the information should be shown.. In its current form, we will not make this a default gadget, because it would be prohibitively resource intensive on all readers and on the servers. If you want to show this information for all readers, you need to do it with a PHP extension. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 13:07, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
    And could this happen? My name isnotdave (talk/contribs) 13:16, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
    Sure if someone puts the work into it. Many things are possible in Software engineering, the better question is how expensive and time-consuming will it be :) —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:06, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
    Good. I did not expect that this proposal would mean that the gadget would remain a gadget. It didn't seem like the standard way of doing things. My name isnotdave (talk/contribs) 15:45, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Question: does this affect only desktop or mobile as well? Renata (talk) 16:31, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
    @Renata3: Good point. I was not thinking about mobile. Calvin Coolidge, a featured article, does not have its star on the mobile layout. My name isnotdave (talk/contribs) 18:42, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
    FWIW, @My name is not dave:, I think implementing FA and GA icons on mobile is a better reader experience idea than this intrusive and unnecessary implementation. Triptothecottage (talk) 07:01, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Simple diff

Normal diff
Simple diff

Your thoughts on this are welcome here or at m:2017 Community Wishlist Survey/Reading. In the normal diff it is often difficult to see changes to the text of an article because of all the formatting, template and other code. (Flip between these two images a few times.) At the Wikimedia Wishlist, I’ve proposed WMF develops a simple diff so patrollers, editors and authors can see at a glance how the meaning of an article has been changed. This, obviously, isn’t meant to or going to replace the normal diff. It’s just an additional tool. —Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 07:49, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Um, how is "Simple diff" easier than "Normal diff"? It fails to show the replacement of text with templates, the modification of citations, and more. Also, how does it handle transcluded templates? Apparently it displays the result of the template (look at the 40/104 item in the second line of each item); does this mean that the diff will change later if someone edits the template? And will it display changes to infoboxes, bottom-of-article navboxes, etc? Nyttend (talk) 00:40, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
An ongoing WMF project they call “visual diff” is reaching maturity now and, with little tweaking, I think it will fulfil my wish here. You can access the visual diff feature while using the visual editor by clicking “view your changes” and “visual (beta)”. If I can link to a visual diff from a page’s history, and that seems eminently doable, that will meet my needs. It looks like the visual diff will include template changes - not sure about transclusions, images, Wikidata infoboxes, Nyttend. —Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 04:46, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Using Wikimedia maps instead of geohack ?

Looking for some feedback here. Please do leave your comments. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 07:54, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

TfD for Authority Control

I started a deletion discussion for Template:Authority control at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2017 November 15#Template:Authority control. As this is a template that is in use on more than 500,000 pages, and at the same time the TfD is currently only visible to people watching the actual template or TfD, I thought dropping a note here would be good. Feel free to spread the word at other neutral boards as well (or WP:CENT if you think it is warranted). Fram (talk) 16:13, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

RfC: Add a link to Wikinews on the Main Page

Proposal: A link to Wikinews should be on the main page, perhaps in the "In the news" section.

Rationale: A recent RfC on WP:NOTNEWS stated that the policy should be loosened because "Wikinews is dead". Regardless of the outcome of that RfC, I believe that Wikinews' problem is the lack of outside readership, and therefore editors. A more prominent location on Wikipedia's homepage would likely do wonders for the traffic to Wikinews, which is likely the only viable solution for its lack of readership and contributors.

As I put it in the Idea Lab, which I posted when I was more awake and by extension a lot more convincing:

The rationale is "Wikinews is dead". You know, sure. It's not the most popular WMF project - not by a long shot. However, the problem is mainly that:

  1. No one seems to know it exists (except the more active Wikipedians)
  2. Not many non-editors go there
  3. No one seems to know it exists (again, I know, but no one does)

I know Wikinews is technically on the main page by the other WMF pet projects, but a link in In the news will be more beneficial to WN.

Below is a copy of the discussion on the Idea Lab. Thanks. ProgrammingGeek talktome 15:19, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Discussion copy
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.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. Hear me out.

This RfC proposes to reduce the enforcement of WP:NOTNEWS to increase news coverage on Wikipedia.

The rationale is "Wikinews is dead". You know, sure. It's not the most popular WMF project - not by a long shot. However, the problem is mainly that:

  1. No one seems to know it exists (except the more active Wikipedians)
  2. Not many non-editors go there
  3. No one seems to know it exists (again, I know, but no one does)

Whether or not it's a good or bad idea to put news in Wikipedia is not a discussion for here. However, why does wikipedia not try to increase awareness of sister WMF projects? enwiki is in a good place to do this, it's one of the most popular websites in the world, and is renowned for its impartiality and stunning dedication to consensus. WN is much the same, but without participation. If we could increase participation and awareness (the two go hand in hand, just look at the growth of the number of editors on enwiki), then it could be a quality news source that people rely on.

Isn't it already on the front page? Yes, technically. By the links for Wikibooks and the other pet projects of the WMF. However, if we could link to it more prominently (eventually link to WN articles in the In the News section, perhaps), it would grow a lot more.

Haven't we given it up for dead? They're still publishing articles over there, although admittedly few. We could do a lot better!

I'd just like thoughts at this point. Thanks. ProgrammingGeek talktome 15:56, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

This does not address the fundamental problem of; consumer demand of recentism and Wikipedia quality vs. Wikipedia's rigid stylistic form and immediate publishing vs. copy cat news website that usually publishes after people stopped showing interest in the topic, if at all. We have created this situation to reflect our reality, but we need to recognize that it is not a situation that a consumer will ever consider logical. As such we cannot fix the problem unless we start bending either Wikinews or Wikipedia to closer match the desire of real consumers of the information. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 16:20, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
There's several concurrent discussions related to NOT#NEWS in general, but one of the issues that comes up is the "consumer" aspect - that we do know people are coming to Wikipedia for current news articles. The problem is that an encyclopedia should be the last place you come to breaking news, as we're supposed to be summarizing news with a long-term view. There are stories that we can write on with that perspective, but it is a very careful approach, but vastly different from how one would write a standard newspaper article (eg what would be more appropriate at Wikinews). Unfortunately, there's a fair number of editors that like to write recent news, and no end of consumers for that. That said, we have in the past taken steps to cut off content that may have been consumer-driven: for example, early on was the removal of endless lists of fiction-related elements that were only sourced to primary works (eg Pokemon lists). They may have been popular pages, but as they were written then, not encyclopedic content. We have to have a consensus decision to cut off current event articles and move them elsewhere, and these concurrent discussions suggest that's not going to happen easily. --MASEM (t) 19:02, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Masem, exactly. We have a ready-made location for this sort of content. I don't want it to seem like we're outsourcing the problem, but if people know about Wikinews, we won't be inundated with these articles. ProgrammingGeek talktome 19:11, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

To raise awareness of other Wikimedia foundation projects, could we not put information about them on Wikipedia: Main Page? The main page is one of the most viewed articles on Wikipedia, if not the most viewed, and putting information about Wikipedia's sister projects on the main page would seem a good way to raise awareness of them. Vorbee (talk) 18:23, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

The Main Page of Wikipedia has a section in its top right-hand corner called "In the news..." ... it should not prove too difficult to put in a note that there is such a website as Wikinews there.Vorbee (talk) 20:14, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

  • I support linking to Wikinews articles in the "In the news" section of the main page because Wikipedia is not for news, but Wikinews is, and if we're going to mention news on our main page, we should link to our sister project, not just Wikipedia articles. Conservapedia has a similar section on its main page, commonly known as "mainpageright," it has included links to external sites for a long time, and it is one of the most popular features of the wiki. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 22:10, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
  • This does seem like a useful idea, regardless of other developments (unless there is a vested interest in actually having WikiNews wither on the vine). --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 09:25, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps we could have a note at the bottom of the Main Page's "In the news" box saying "For more information on news stories, see Wikinews". Vorbee (talk) 16:31, 15 November 2017 (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.



  • Support We should make an effort to keep Wikinews afloat. Dysklyver 21:52, 16 November 2017 (UTC)


  1. Oppose WikiNews is dead. They have nothing serious to offer our readers and would decrease our credibility. I'd support a global RfC just to get rid of it as a project. While I am very much team NOTNEWS needs to be enforced, our ITN section offers our readers infinitely more than WikiNews ever would. Sending people who want to learn about relevant current events to a project that doesn't have that would be a joke. TonyBallioni (talk) 21:55, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
  2. Wikinews is completely defunct and the only reason it still exists is that nobody has the energy to start the Meta RFC to pull the plug. (FWIW, in the entire month of September a mighty 19 people made five or more edits there, and that was the highest rate of activity for over a year.) Even Jimmy, who was the main cheerleader for creating it, has lost all interest and has instead set up a direct rival. The conversation to be having is how it can be put out of its misery most painlessly, not what we can do to prop it up a little while longer. ‑ Iridescent 22:12, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
  3. I wanted to support this as an experiment, but then I remembered that we used to have the Wikinews link until 2013. Things were not much better then. Note that I would support a "link to Wikinews" proposal if there was at the same time an effort to re-start Wikinews (which currently has many problems, mostly linked to the fact that it isn't a very wiki Wiki). —Kusma (t·c) 18:02, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
    For the curious, if you look at the Wikinews page views (third chart down), removing the link had almost no measurable impact on average page views. (The later apparent crash in 2015 is an artefact of the WMF deciding not to count crawler bots as "page views", and doesn't reflect any actual change in the number of readers.) ‑ Iridescent 18:08, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
  4. I suspect wikinews is effectively dead as per evidence posted above. And linking will not benefit it Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:30, 19 November 2017 (UTC)


Threaded Discussion

  • "Wikinews is inactive"? If someone wanted to delete all the sister project link, transwiki request, etc. templates (except for the Wiktionary, Commons, and Meta ones) for that reason, then they'd be laughed out of TFD. KMF (talk) 23:22, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
    Not surprisingly, this has absolutely nothing to do with those templates. It has to do with putting a more prominent link to Wikinews on the main page. --Majora (talk) 23:54, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

As I tried to show at the Ideas Lab, I would be in favour of such an idea. Vorbee (talk) 16:48, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Appeal by Δ (BetaCommand)

The community is invited to comment on the appeal lodged by Δ at Arbitration Requests for Clarification and Amendment.

For the arbitration committee - GoldenRing (talk) 11:13, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Allow prominent linking to expert- or peer-reviewed articles

We have a few Wikipedia articles that have passed peer- or expert-review. I think it would be a service to the reader to put a prominent self-explanatory button at the top of such articles, linking readers to the reviewed version. Also, I’d like to see a similar button (prominent, self-explanatory) linking the reader to a simple diff that clearly shows the reader how the article/topic has evolved since the review.

Review quality is everything here. Most of us would link the reader to a version that had been reviewed by the leading academic journal in the field. We’d probably all decline a review managed by big pharma. I’m inclined to hold the bar very, very high: only link to versions where the review was managed by an entity with a reputation for independent and rigorous review in the relevant field.

Thoughts? —Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 12:12, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

I could accept putting it in the "article milestones" section at the top of the article talkpage (in the same way that we link the versions that have passed/failed Wikipedia's internal review processes—see Talk:May Revolution for what's probably the canonical example of an article that's been through multiple review processes). I'd be opposed to making the link to the reviewed version prominent on the article itself. "Consensus can change" applies to reality just as much as it applies to Wikipedia, and if there were new developments subsequent to the reviewed version, we'd effectively be intentionally directing readers to an outdated article. To take an extreme example, if we treated the version of Barack Obama that passed FAC as the flagged revision, we'd be telling our readers that this was the version of his biography they should trust. (Besides, who decides what constitutes an "expert" for these purposes? For topics like civil engineering there's not much controversy and there are recognized and undisputed experts, but when you get into something like economics or politics you'd be lucky to find two experts who agree on anything, and when you start heading into fringier or more controversial stuff the experts are pretty much the last people who should be judging due weight. Would you want the leading experts in homeopathy deciding what the appropriate tone of [[Homeopathy]] should be? Are the Vatican or Richard Dawkins really the best-qualified people to assess Religion?) ‑ Iridescent 18:20, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
Regarding your Barack Obama example, I don’t think that’s the kind of topic that would fit this model. But to your point that reliable sources go stale: of course. I hope that an expert-reviewed article would be reviewed periodically, to keep the expert-reviewed version up to date. Meanwhile, I’m proposing two prominent links at the top of the article: one to the reviewed version and one to a simple diff, so the reader can see the difference between the reviewed and current versions. It would be clear to the reader that the linked, reviewed version was superceded by the current version
Entities with decades (or centuries, in some instances) of experience and an established reputation for quality review should decide what constitutes an expert for these purposes. I suggested above that we only endorse reviews performed by independent bodies with an existing good reputation for this kind of work. I have in mind, particularly, the editorial boards of highly esteemed journals that cover the topic. We would no more accept a review of Homeopathy managed by Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine (see [28]) than we would use an article peer-reviewed by them as a source. I, personally, wouldn’t accept anything less prestigious than JAMA, NEJM, Lancet, BMJ or the like for general medical topics, Movement Disorders or similar for movement disorders, Pain, Journal of Pain or similar for that, etc. I, personally, don’t think we should settle for anything but the editorial boards of the most highly-regarded journals in each relevant topic. Yes, there will be many topics - entire fields actually - where the scholarship is too flakey or nonexistant for this to work. So, we don’t do this on those topics.
The point of this exercise is to make one version of the Wikipedia article a WP:RS, something that can be cited in journal articles, school projects and even other Wikipedia articles. The point is for the reviewed version of a Wikipedia article to be the most trustworthy encyclopedia-style treatment of a topic, period.
Take a look at Parkinsons disease. BMJ selected a panel of reviewers to pick it apart. The panel included the person most responsible for the current worldwide standard diagnostic criteria for PD and another who is not only the most-published author of peer-reviewed articles on PD but also one of the main drafters of the proposed new diagnostic criteria. I wouldn’t, personally, want us to endorse anything less than that calibre of review, but when we do have such a version, I think we owe it to the reader to point them to it and show them how the current version differs.
Look at Dengue fever. This version passed peer review by a now-defunct open access Canadian journal. This is a simple diff showing how the article/topic has evolved since the review. For the record, I wouldn’t endorse linking our readers to that reviewed version. The journal doing the review isn’t nearly reliable enough. —Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 23:03, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
I think you've answered your own question then. (I.e. no). Wikipedia's reviewing power is spread out too thin as it is. Best practice is to reinforce the GA or FA process. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:36, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
I’m talking about a process after an article has reached FA. Next time you bring a medical article to FA, I’ll arrange for the most highly-regarded relevant journal to review it for you, if you like/dare. 😏 —Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 23:50, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
There is nothing to stop anyone reviewing a Wikipedia article if they choose to do so, so go right ahead, It would be interesting to see how well it would be received. Particularly since FA is very much a group effort where any interested party can contribute. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:07, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
The WikiJournal of Science, in the process of being set up, and the already up-and-running WikiJournal of Medicine provide something like that - a peer-reviewed, journal-published version of a good article that is then available as a pdf permalink. No preferential linking is planned at this point though, as far as I know. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 09:04, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Idea lab

Perhaps we should stop issuing warnings to IP addresses for obvious vandalism

Since the early days of Wikipedia, it has been common practice to post warning templates to users and anonymous editors engaging in problematic activity, and to avoid blocking without proper warning. For many policy issues, like original research and copyright issues, it is important to point out what someone is doing wrong and give them the opportunity to correct their mistakes. However, are we really so naive to think that someone who writes "<3" or "Fuck you!" in the middle of an article is doing so to improve the project? Even if they're just experimenting rather than trying to inflict damage (which is realistically what most of the vandalism is anyway), anyone with the required common sense to be a functional contributor at Wikipedia should know such actions do not contribute to the encyclopedia. However, placing the warning templates on IP talk pages can cause more problems per WP:BEANS if, for example, Malice Boy decides to brag about the size of his penis on the article about quantum physics using a school computer or dynamic IP at home, ignores the "you have new messages" banner when he is warned, and the warning is instead read by Curious Middle School Girl, who would have never even thought to vandalize an article until reading the warning and suddenly wonders what happens if she decorates a bunch of pages with smile emojis and the word "poop."

I would propose that, instead of feeding trolls and potentially giving people new bad ideas, we just put the standard welcome template on IPs' talkpages when they engage in obvious test edits or vandalism, not referencing any particular edit or accusing them of vandalism. Perhaps we should edit {{Welcome}} to include information about the sandbox and the blocking policy, although all of this is already accomplished by {{Shared IP}} and the related templates. Instead of warning them four times before reporting to WP:AIV, I would propose reporting after four reversions.

The problem would be getting everyone on the same page with this when many people are used to the old way. We would definitely need to change the project pages pertaining to vandalism and recent changes patrolling, and update tools like Twinkle to reflect the new way of doing things, but what about people who have been RC patrolling for years and have the current way ingrained in their minds? Perhaps we could have a bot notify all rollbackers, Twinkle users, Huggle users, etc? Perhaps we should go more extreme and full-protect IP talk pages, or set up an edit filter with a friendly reminder?

What is the rest of the community's thoughts on this? PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 22:06, 2 October 2017 (UTC)

I don't like this idea very much. How do you distinguish between someone who is blatantly vandalising and a genuinely misguided editor? Obviously the extreme cases are easy to tell apart, but what about in betweeen? Of course we're not so naive to think that blatant vandals don't know what they are doing, but there's no harm in putting a warning (I remember reading somewhere that friendly warnings may actually discourage warnings, but I don't have a source and may be wrong. From a practicality standpoint, warnings also serve as a tool for vandal fighters to quickly tell how much vandalism a user has done, where it would be much more time consuming to check their contributions (not all contributions that aren't current are reverted, and not all reverted edits are vandalism. Semi-automated tools like Huggle and STiKi and ClueBot NG use warning templates to decide when to report a user, and this would not be possible with your proposal, especially as humans would have a much harder time doing so. It's true that warning templates may cause a WP:BEANS effect, but simply not using them would be unviable. Thanks, Darylgolden(talk) Ping when replying 11:21, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
I agree that after an IP address has been reallocated the warning ceases to be useful and may become counterproductive. The problem is that we don't know which IP addresses have been reallocated. We also have the problem that an IP address may have multiple users, sometimes a whole country, and that the proportion of vandalism edits may reflect that. We also have the issue that admins and vandalfighters need to know a bunch of information about an IP address that we currently make public but would probably do better by restricting to confirmed registered editors. ϢereSpielChequers 11:53, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
From a practicality standpoint, warnings also serve as a tool for vandal fighters to quickly tell how much vandalism a user has done That's another issue in itself. Even static IP addresses get reassigned when big institutions change internet providers, go out of business, etc., and as WereSpielChquers points out, a lot of warnings on an IP representing an entire country, fortune 500 corporation, university campus, school district, etc. can make several instances of people just messing around one time look like one person who needs a listing at the long-term abuse page. I agree that people who do things like add original research need to be warned, but telling people that writing "poop" or "this movie sucks" on articles is unacceptable and that they need to stop their malicious activities at once is kind of silly. If it's a registered user, it may be possible to convince him or her to be more constructive, but if an IP represents 100,000 people and someone else just reading Wikipedia sees the orange banner before the vandal, what is the point? Surely the bots could be reprogrammed to analyze how many of an IP's edits have been reverted in the last hour rather than how many vandal warnings have been placed. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 16:34, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
To be clear, I'm not saying we should just block people for one instance of "poop" or "hi!!!," but if a little girl or old lady just messing around doesn't get the message after the first two instances of her edits being reverted within seconds, she's not very useful to us as a contributor even if she tried to be constructive. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 16:50, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
We normally go through four levels of warnings before we block vandals. Though particularly blatant and egregious stuff can earn you an instant block. That system works pretty well, yes you get the occasional false positive at least on the warning messages, but it is pretty much unheard of for a non vandal to get a block for vandalism. More importantly, when a newbie warns someone for vandalism when they are just in an editing dispute there is a good chance that they will use the fairly anodyne level 1 warning. We could go through a scientific review of the existing system and see if it is still the most effective way to deal with vandals, but the potential gain of moving to three or five warnings is probably minimal. Remember when a vandal is on a spree we need to stop them, and we need to do it in a way that doesn't piss them off so much that they become one of those perennial problem users. I see bigger potential gains in moving to some sort of selective block where blocking an IP address only blocks people using the same sort of device as was used for a particular vandalism edit. That could dramatically reduce our false positive blocks. ϢereSpielChequers 13:14, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
As stated above, the warnings, even if ignored by IP vandals, serve a valuable purpose in fighting vandalism because they're a record of the number of times the IP has been warned. It would be too much work to go through each IP vandal's contribution history to decide whether the IP should be reported at WP:AIV. In the scenario of one student at a school getting a warning which inspires other students at the school to commit additional acts of vandalism, eventually there will be a school block and the students will have to create individual accounts if they want to edit on Wikipedia. Strawberry4Ever (talk) 20:59, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
...or there will be a "schoolblock" placed on the entire nation of Qatar because an admin based his block off of the number of warnings on Qatar's IP address. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 16:03, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
The more infamous Qatar IP address. No "schoolblocks," but occasionally people would try a long term "anonblock." Warning that IP address for "poop" vandalism must have been very productive when it was active. Speaking of static IPs getting reassigned and administrators basing their actions off of the number of warnings an IP has, what is our plan of action when a former school IP that has been blocked for six years gets reassigned by Verizon Business to the White House, Donald Trump makes improper but good-faith edits that half way resemble his Tweets, an admin doesn't bother to check the current WHOIS information, and schoolblocks the White House for exactly eight years? A lot of Wikipedians would probably think that was hilarious, but I doubt WP:COMCOM and the WP:RC Patrol would enjoy dealing with the wrath of President Trump, his supporters, and endless alt-right media outlets declaring war on Wikipedia over it, especially if ARIN clearly says it belongs to the White House rather than the middle school it's tagged as belonging to. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 16:10, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
I don't think we should base Wikipedia policy on these extreme examples. It's ridiculous for the entire nation of Qatar to have a single IP address. If vandalism from Qatar gets too bad then in my opinion the IP address should be blocked, but that's something for the admins to worry about. As for the problem of Donald Trump not being able to edit from an IP which has been blocked, I'm sure a call from the White House to the Wikipedia Foundation would lead to a quick solution. Strawberry4Ever (talk) 17:05, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
(EC) If an admin does a block that is out of policy then we can deal with that as and when it happens. Unless we think policy is not being followed I suggest we focus on ideas that would work within or change policy such as Wikipedia:Blocking_IP_addresses#Block_lengths ϢereSpielChequers 17:15, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Those are valid problems, but how exactly does not warning IPs do anything to solve that? Darylgolden(talk) Ping when replying 09:51, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
    . The existing system works fine as it is. KMF (talk) 14:05, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
I think there is merit in discussing this further. Now first, I'll note we are in the idea lab not proposals. If this was formulated as a formal proposal, there would be nothing wrong with simply saying no, but the point of the idea lab is to brainstorm how to address an issue not simply dismiss it.
I start by challenging the notion that the "existing system works fine as it is". I'm saying this from the point of view of an OTRS agent; we are struggling to keep up with the flood of questions sent to this venue, and there is one class of queries that seems to be growing. Someone writes in to complain that they have never done anything wrong, yet they received a message on a talk page that they have been vandalizing. While we know that this is because they have a dynamic IP and happen to be logged in that time with the same IP as someone else who has vandalized Wikipedia, they don't know that. Some of the people are merely questioning, while others are a bit more irate. We do explain to them the situation, but given the prevalence of dynamic IP's, I don't think it's acceptable that we are issuing messages that are troubling to some of our readers. I think our canned message mentioned something about dynamic IP's but I can tell you from experience, we still get a lot of emails on this issue.--S Philbrick(Talk) 14:35, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
That may be a problem, but the proposed cure is worse than the disease, in my opinion. Better is to encourage editors to include {{subst:sharedIPAdvice}} when posting warnings on IP talk pages. Strawberry4Ever (talk) 14:56, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Another solution would be to disallow IP edits and make everyone create an account if they want to edit on Wikipedia. However, that would be a major change in philosophy and I don't expect it to happen. Strawberry4Ever (talk) 15:03, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
That's a perennial proposal that would come with its own bag of problems. IP vandalism would come to an immediate end, but vandalism (and editing in general) would spike because the massive amount of {{Schoolblock}}s, {{Anonblock}}s, and {{Rangeblock}}s would begin to expire, and those IPs would stay unblocked short of checkuser intervention. In my opinion, that would be a good thing because it is said that most edits by anons and newbies are in good faith, and now people who used to have to jump through hoops if they wanted to edit can simply make an account and edit, while the truly repetitive producers of filth would be identified and appropriate IP blocks could be placed by checkusers (although the change would be a real pain in the ass for the checkusers). The down side is that I believe autoblock is, or at least was, a hard block, and I know that because there have been times I have tried to edit from shared IPs caught up in an autoblock and wasn't able to edit even with an account. However, that is a problem that can easily be solved by programming autoblock to only block anonymous users and disable account creation. I kind of think disabling anonymous editing is a good idea, but I doubt the community will go for it now anymore than they have in the past. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 18:45, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Just add to the point I made above (and I apologize these links are ones you cannot read unless you are an agent), the following are three OTRS tickets I've handled in the last hour, all complaining that they been accused of vandalism and they have not vandalized anything. I don't think it's a good situation that we are leaving messages that are misinterpreted. Perhaps the message needs to be rewritten to make it clearer but it almost certainly doesn't apply to the person reading it.

  • ticket:2017100710049082
  • ticket:2017100710196164
  • ticket:2017100810054985--S Philbrick(Talk) 15:32, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Did the warnings on the talk pages include {{subst:sharedIPAdvice}}? Strawberry4Ever (talk) 16:47, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
I didn't check, the complaints rarely identify the IP address. I usually offer to help them create an account, and that occasionally happens, but I typically don't look at the warning.--S Philbrick(Talk) 18:02, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Another one today. Someone writing in, spitting nails, because they've been falsely accused of vandalism. I'm calming them down, but it's not a great way to start. And I'm mentioning it here because most editors will be unaware of this problem.--S Philbrick(Talk) 20:28, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Yet another one a few minutes ago. An editor, quite incensed about a message placed in 2009. We need to rethink our policy.--S Philbrick(Talk) 01:59, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Ban IP editing - Said it before and I'll say it again - It's about time we done away with IP editing - If you wanna be a valued contributor then create an account, Sure not all IPs are vandals however most are so IMHO it's about time we done away with this whole "Anyone can edit" crap, Sign up or go elsewhere. –Davey2010Talk 21:12, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Do you have any statistics to show that most IP editors are vandals? (I'm not necessarily disputing it, but claims like that need evidence.) Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 21:20, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm afraid not - I'm only going by my years of editing here but as I can't physically prove it I've struck that part, Thanks, –Davey2010Talk 21:25, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Ah, OK - it would be nice if we did have some stats on the proportion of IP edits that are vandalism, though. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 21:34, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Even if it were 50% vandalism we shouldn't ban IPs, and with the edit filters preventing most vandalism the proportion of IP vandalism is likely to have fallen a lot since 2009. More to the point; If the theory is true that vandals do the minimum necessary to do their vandalism while goodfaith editors are lured in by making things easy and inviting for them, then banning IP editing would lose us some good edits and make some vandalism less easy to find. I suspect that's an over simplification, and banning IPs would lose us some vandalism, as well as making some vandalism harder to find. but it would lose us a proportion of our goodfaith newbies and that is a price we should be loathe to pay. ϢereSpielChequers 08:16, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
The makes vandalism harder to find argument also means makes biting newbies more likely. For example, the IP address I am editing from right now is a corporate proxy that seems to have produced more vandalism than good faith edits. If I didn't have an account and made a simple edit from this IP, an RC patrol may look at the edits from this IP and assume bad faith because other people from this corporate proxy have vandalized. Disabling IP editing would ensure that editors are evaluated by their own edits, not edits from other people using the same IP address. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone leave a nastygram for a school or corporate editor who made a good-faith edit because the RC patrol shot first and thought later didn't think about it. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 11:51, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Can I just remind folks that this discussion is not about banning IP editing, but about whether "we should stop issuing warnings to IP addresses for obvious vandalism" (to quote the heading)? Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 12:04, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

I've seen more IP edits that are good faith recently; I can't easily prove that, but it's more a gut feeling, and I did bring it up at a recent meetup. IP editing in mainspace is important because it keeps a low barrier to simple fixes such as typos, that we'd lose if people had to go through the rigmarole of registering; conversely vandals would have no issue in registering for a throwaway account. I'm not sure of the value of editing other namespaces, except in limited circumstances such as edit requests; I think if you want to discuss things, you should have an account. (The clue's in the name - you should make yourself accountable for what you say). Going back to the original point, I assume good faith wherever possible, even if an edit is disruptive and a block may still be deserved. If that's the case, often I'll give them the boilerplate block template that tells them how to appeal, plus some hand-written advice. Usually, I'll be late on the scene and the user will have had warnings from other editors anyway. If I am absolutely certain that I am dealing with an obvious vandal, they get an instant block with "vandalism" as the reason, and nothing else. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 21:35, 8 October 2017 (UTC)

I've been arguing that blocking shared IPs (or blocking entire /16 and /24 ranges) over petty nonsense hinders the mainspace for a long time now, and while proposing any restrictions on admins blocking these IPs or ranges would be WP:HORSEMEAT, the response I have received is that people using the said IPs and ranges can just register an account, people say minor fixes in articles aren't worth allowing an occasional instance of vandalism, whenever I've questioned a specific block on an admin's talk page I've been ignored or given some excuse (or, in one case, a rather heated and borderline WP:UNCIVIL reply), and any time I've questioned a specific block somewhere like WP:AN/I (including one rather ridiculous /16 range block labeled several companies and the Federal Aviation Administration as a "school"), I generally get scolded for daring to question it. Bear in mind, I'm not talking about IPs used by people like Willy on Wheels or Grawp, I'm talking about IPs that may have made silly edits weeks, months, or years ago, makes one dumb edit that involves emojis or random characters, and gets blocked for a period in excess of one year with {{schoolblock}} or {{anonblock}}-Likely a school based on behavioral evidence (I've seen major banks, insurance companies, and the U.S. military blocked with the latter). I agree with you that minor IP edits are beneficial to the project and that vandals are more likely to go to the hassle of creating an account than someone who sees a spelling mistake and wants to do the right thing, and since the softblocks prevent account creation, it's even less likely that such people are going to create an account since they'd have to do so elsewhere or request one via email, but considering the mentality of this community, I don't see anything changing in this regard anytime soon. On the other hand, reducing the chances of a WP:BEANS instance of a dumb emoji addition to an article about square roots causing to get General Electric or Harvard University blocked by addressing the way we warn IP editors MIGHT be plausible. Actually, what made me think of this is wondering if removing a false-flag ClueBot warning from an IP talk page could end up being a bad idea since it would generate the "new messages" banner. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 01:55, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

Another idea to Address my WP:BEANS theory would be to update Media Wiki so that the "new messages" banner goes away for IPs after one hour, if it isn't clicked before then. This would probably actually be a more practical solution, because it wouldn't require any major changes to the way we do things but would address the issue of a cellular-based editor seeing the banner because someone else in the same dynamic IP range engaged in vandalism four hours prior and never read the warning left for him/her. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 02:00, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

  • The issue of IP editors being warned for things that were done by other people on the same IP address seems legit to me, especially if they complain to OTRS about it. One solution would be to delete IP talk pages after a while. The other might be to hide the notification banners after a set time. The former might create issues with long term disruptive editors on stable IPs and the latter with IPs that are used for more than that set time. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 14:57, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Some of the ideas raised in the above discussion are already tackled at Wikipedia: Perennial proposals. There is the classic claim that we should ban edits from IPs, but as noted at Wikipedia: Perennial proposals, a good many edits by IPs are good faith edits which go to improve the encyclopedia. Vorbee (talk) 19:35, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Is there any way to distinguish static IPs from dynamic ones? It would be nice if Wikipedia could treat them differently. Strawberry4Ever (talk) 20:37, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

How this would help us to distinguish between IPs who have made useful contributions to the encyclopeadia versus IPs who have committed acts of vandalism? An act of vandalism would make one an active IP, but so too would a sensible, informative edit. Vorbee (talk) 10:56, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

I think the point is to distinguish between a Static IP (whose address remains constant over potentially long periods and is therefore more likely to be used by only one person) and a Dynamic IP (same link) (where the address potentially changes every time you restart your router and is more likely to be used by unrelated editors) and thus perhaps soften the approach to dynamic IP users to reduce the possibility of appearing to accuse the wrong person. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:13, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
It gets a bit more complex than that though. Due to NATting the IP recorded here is the IP of the router (whether static or dynamic), not even the machine on which the edit was done. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 11:32, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
That's true, so a single static IP (as we see it) can still be used by multiple editors at the same time - like school IP's, which can be big sources of vandalism. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 13:23, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
...big sources of the same people who go home and vandalize or use their cell phones to vandalize. There are no truly static IPs; even "static" school IPs and corporate IPs get reassigned when institutions go out of business or switch internet providers. I distinctly recall a particular hospital's guest wi-fi network getting an IP address that clearly used to belong to a small school when the hospital switched from Comcast to Level 3 Communications (the edits, which predated the hospital's change in IP address, were to a school article and were rather immature).
One the other hand, while this thread was not started as a proposal to disable IP editing, and I was the one who first said that disabling IP editing is a perennial proposal, it may be worth revisiting because the mindset of administrators today is not the mindset of administrators ten years ago. Ten years ago, a non-university /16 range would have to be spewing out serious vandalism like an erupting volcano spewing lava for administrators to block it for a short period of time, and only seven years ago there was nothing that could be done to stop a particular person from vandalizing from Cricket Communications' range due to collateral damage, and the mere suggestion that we block AOL dial-up's IPv4 range due to IP-hopping vandalism was controversial, but now we /16 ranges that aren't even specific to a particular ISP and America's fourth largest wireless carrier's IPv6 range is softblocked due to a "dog and rapper vandal." Schools and enterprise networks used to never be blocked for more than one year, and now I have seen ten year blocks on them. The excuse is that people can create accounts if they want to edit, well, vandals may indeed do that, but the person fixing a spelling error or updating an institution's top administrator's name probably won't. Then there's the issue of IPs that are NOT blocked but have had vandals use them; when an RC patrol sees nothing but vandalism, he or she may bite a newbie thinking it's the same person that vandalized. Disabling IP editing will ensure that vandals are warned and blocked based on their behavior, not good-faith newbies using the same IP as vandals. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 16:51, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes, and a dynamic IP can be unchanging over the long term, like mine is - Virgin Media in the UK always re-assigns the same dynamic IP to the same router. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:05, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
No Part of issuing the warnings to the IP Address talk page is to allow others who share the IP address to exert some peer pressure to encourage the vandal to behave. Also per the above, it shows a quickly visible history to decide if you need to issue a warning, go to AIV/AN/etc, or if you just need to silently revert and pretend like the vandalism never happened. Hasteur (talk) 19:24, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
And we know that these benefits outweigh the problem discussed herebecause ...? These benefits sound somewhat marginal and time dependent, respectively, to me. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:42, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
You want me to prove Peer-Pressure? You want an editor or administrator to always have to spend extra time to see the previous history of an IP address over time? Do you like being a detached piece of wood placed within a body of semi saturated dirt? Hasteur (talk) 19:59, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Redacted my post as it was way more tetchy than I like. I find it unlikely that this specific scenario of peer pressure happens frequently. I don't know how useful a non deleted list of previous warnings is, especially when they are fairly old. JoJo Eumerus mobile (talk) 20:30, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
{{Shared IP}} is good at helping organizations self police themselves. Warnings for things that are 4+ years old could (IMO) be deleted safely for IP editors, but I seem to recall a recent discussion establishing consensus to leave stale warnings in place. More recent ones I'm less wild about. Hasteur (talk) 00:39, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
Peer pressure? Sure, I'm going to peer pressure people working for the same company as I do in other states to stop vandalizing Wikipedia, sure I am. Even in an elementary school with only 500 students, what are the chances of someone other than the IT department or possibly a school administrator even knowing who is responsible for writing "poop" on the article about Sony Playstation? This problem is compounded when that elementary school isn't the only facility using the same IP; the 17 year old cheerleader who reads the warning might have some clout if it was someone at her school responsible for it, but she has no influence over the eight year old doing it in another town within the same county. Don't take the school house logo on {{Shared IP edu}} literally. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 01:15, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps you could stow your humor for a moment and read Network administrators or other parties wishing to monitor this IP address for vandalism can subscribe to a web feed of this page in either RSS or Atom format. on the the template. I know there's been cases where based on what I saw warnings for IP content from my company, I could make an educated guess as to who did the editing and have a private word with them to see if there might be a way for them to edit productively. I know crazy thought, registered users trying to impart the Wiki ethos in users who aren't yet registered. Hasteur (talk) 02:02, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
Hmm, I always thought off-wiki harassment was something we frowned on, but maybe that's just me. I'm not going to lie, I've talked to people off-wiki about things happening on-wiki, and it's not always easy to narrow down who it is unless you're an IT person with access to network logs; in the case of User:LBHS Cheerleader, she found me to tell me she was sorry. Sometimes they'll write a name, but often it's one of their friends' names (it could be a boyfriend, a boy a girl thinks is annoying, a team mate... most of the vandals seem to be cheerleader-type girls or former cheerleaders; I know based off of the names there was a cheerleader who very likely knew me who was vandalizing from my school in 2006, but I have no idea which of the about twenty suspects was responsible for it, and the girls I asked about it claimed to know nothing about it). If this is the direction we want to go, we should talk about reviving WP:ABUSE, because that's going to be more effective at getting something done off-wiki than just hoping some other person sees our warnings. I've had thoughts about starting a new WikiProject to support and encourage abuse reporting, but operating a little differently than WP:ABUSE. My idea is to create a project that creates templates and phone scripts to send to/call ISPs, schools, employers, etc., creates lists of verified contact information for ISPs, schools, employers, etc, and creates tools to make it easier for Wikipedians to contact them, rather than having a project with investigators and contactors like before. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 12:54, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
Regarding those edits from my school, before you say "see, I told you," finding those edits had nothing to do with warnings and everything to do with me becoming a Wikipedian and finding them through curiously looking through the edits from Charlotte County Public Schools, a year after those edits were made. The softblocks that are kind of common place now kind of reduce the chances of people becoming Wikipedians. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 13:05, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
  • {{HughesNet}} is worth looking at; it's a template dedicated to a particular satellite internet provider where there is a very low likelihood of vandals or other problem users seeing the warning templates left for them, though as one can see on just about any IP that the template is posted on, people leave warnings for the IPs anyway. There were similar problems with {{AOL}} when dial-up internet access was still popular. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 18:25, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

For those talking about how wonderfully these warnings help vandal fighters

Out of six edits, three were good faith. @Widr: (why wasn't I around to oppose his RfA) decides to put a six year block on it. For the next six years, anyone wanting to make minor edits like this one will have to go out of their way to make an account. Lets examine this more closely: the IP represents more than 16,000 people, some of whom are mature adults at Charlotte Technical College, some of whom are staff, and some of whom are mature K-12 students who may not even have internet access at home, or have oppressive parents at home. There are incorporated cities with less than 16,000 people! Not to mention, imagine the person who made the minor test edit that resulted in this six year block is a fifth grade girl, and by the time she is a more mature sophomore in high school, she is smart enough to realize the entire district is still blocked because of her. Do you think that person will ever be comfortable being a Wikipedian? Do you think there's a chance this person may be turned off to even reading Wikipedia after that? Now imagine some of these school IPs represent over 40,000 users. There are entire counties areas with less people than that! Corporate IPs can represent even more people; some of them could easily have over 100,000 users. There are plenty of cases of IP addresses representing more people than the population of American Samoa that are blocked from editing Wikipedia because of how important these warnings are to vandal fighters. And as for reaching the actual vandals (or people who will peer pressure them) with these warnings, imagine throwing a note saying "hey, stop doing stupid stuff on the internet" out of an airplane over American Somoa or the U.S. Virgin Islands and hoping the right person picks it up... PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 01:49, 22 October 2017 (UTC)

While it is sometimes possible for many people to be behind an IPv4 address, this is usually an exageration: areas are usually served with ranges, meaning that the person who caused an address to be blocked may later use an unblocked address, someone not responsible for the block may sometimes fall on a blocked address, etc... And of course most IP blocks are "spoon fed", very short (maybe too short, in the case of schools, especially that they're usually soft, allowing account creation). —PaleoNeonate – 01:58, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Six years (which is not uncommon, in my observations) is a short block? By the way, speaking of ranges, the IPv6 rangeblock on T-Mobile US affects more people than the population of California and Texas combined. Last time I forgot to log in from T-Mobile, it was still rangeblocked. I think the people suggesting a revisit of disabling IP editing are onto the right idea; disable IP editing, change the autoblock feature so that it is "anonymous users only, account creation disabled," and then the places that need to be blocked will be blocked for an appropriate period of time, and checkuser can assist with long-term IP blocks on obviously recurring vandals. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 02:21, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
By the way, I rarely see schoolblocks or anonblocks that allow account creation. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 02:22, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes range blocks are indeed more serious than single address blocks of course. I commonly see individual school IP addresses get a 1 year soft block (with a "please create an account" template added on their talk page), I'm not sure for school ranges. —PaleoNeonate – 16:27, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
The schoolblock template says please create an account at home and log in with it here. The reason it is worded that way is because the blocks generally prevent account creation. How many actually do that? A checkuser could theoretically answer that question with a check of a random sample of 10 shared IPs blocked with schoolblock or anonblock, and I'll bet we would find that these blocks indeed stop good faith editing. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 18:19, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
There is a problem here, but it isn't the warnings - that process still works fine. The problem is with an IP block length policy of "Most IP addresses should not be blocked more than a few hours, since the malicious user will probably move on by the time the block expires." being interpreted as a few years. Unless Widr had a reason to block that IP for such a long period? I haven't checked for sourced info on the those six edits, but I'd describe three as vandalism and three as unsourced. Only if you try and source those edits yourself can you know if they were actually goodfaith or badfaith. Perhaps we need an RFC to review our policy in this area, it may be that quality requirements have now risen to the point where school blocks of years make sense. Or perhaps PCHS-NJROTC and Widr can tell us if they checked the unsourced edits that PCHS-NJROTC describes as goodfaith. I would feel more comfortable with such a long block if those unsourced edits were actually known to be sneaky vandalism. Conversely if they were checked out as legit I'd be inclined to support an unblock. ϢereSpielChequers 12:04, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
I checked the three good faith edits, and sources show that the edits were proper. The change to Lemon Bay High School was correct according to the school's website (I probably should add a citation to that). I also checked the edit to cannabis cultivation and the sources I found in a search engine supports the new version (I probably should have added a citation to that as well). We need to remember that the three unsourced edits could very well be three new editors who probably don't know how to properly source an edit. You are absolutely correct about the block policy not being followed (for that matter, the shared IP templates are supposed to remind people "hey, this IP represents thousands of people, don't assume what happened yesterday has anything to do with what happened today," but that goes over so many people's head these days. The problem is convincing other's that there's anything wrong with these blocks. "Oh, these IPs do nothing but vandalize" is their argument. Well? 50% vandalism is not nothing but vandalism. Actually, most of it's more like test edits, which are different from vandalism according to WP:VANDAL, unless we're saying that these twelve year old girls are actively conspiring to harm the project, rather than just curiously editing to see what happens (which, if that's the case, why do so many revert their own nonsense?). Considering test edits, shared IPs produce a LOT less vandalism than people think. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 12:21, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
I have now lifted the block because of this discussion. However, I will note that typically blocks for schools and institutions are made with cascading lengths. This one has gone from one block to another since 2012, making this their eighth block. When there's an obvious history of abuse, the usual cycle of warnings and reports to AIV tends to be a waste of time and resources. Anyone who frequently patrols recent changes knows this. And, to the original complainer: next time you can come to my talk page to express your concerns. That always works better than a snarky ping. Widr (talk) 13:09, 22 October 2017 (UTC)
@Widr: as a recent changes patrol and a member of the WP:Counter Vandalism Unit, I am very familiar with how blocks are escalated. I am saying that in most cases it is silly and is an issue beyond school IPs or even shared IPs; what are the chances that the same person editing from an IP today is the same person that was editing four or five years ago, especially in a school where students are prone to graduating? Where is the pattern of abuse warranting such a long block? Is Willy On Wheels using it? Grawp? Mmbabies? The previous block expired in September, and there have only been six edits since then. Six edits spread out over the period of about one month, half of which are good faith, does not warrant even a short block on more than 16,000 users, much less a six year block, in my opinion. That would be like blocking cities from editing because three people acted stupidly, because any given /24 range representing any random city's DSL or cable modem customers probably generates the same amount of vandalism. If we, as a community, can't handle a few instances of stupidity, then the concept of an open, user generated encyclopedia is a failure. By the way, the reason I didn't go to your talk page is because I didn't expect anything to be done about the individual block; I wanted to use it as an example of a broader problem (but I do thank you for acting in the situation). PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 18:19, 22 October 2017 (UTC)

Alt suggestion - smart blocking

There is a problem with collateral damage when blocking IPs, but equally there are problems with not blocking IP vandals. One possible solution that I've been considering for a while is to move to smart blocking - User:WereSpielChequers/IP_and_OS_blocks. Use the IP info to block anyone at the same IP address with the same hardware and software as the vandalism edit. There would still be some collateral damage, especially at any schools where all students get issued the same tablet, and a risk that people would be freer with IP range blocking if they knew there would be less collateral damage. But I think it would be a big step in the right direction, and unlike a few years ago there is now budget to do some IT investments like this. ϢereSpielChequers 16:32, 25 October 2017 (UTC)

This reminds me that I have notes somewhere about a similar system suggestion that'd be like implicit live checkuser, possibly filling a log (restricted to checkusers and admins perhaps), about block-evading suspects matching data hashed/stored in the last 30 days or such (which would include information like IP address, username if any, permanent blocked cookie if any, user-agent and other HTTP query fields, and maybe some page-interaction/coincidence score info; each match could increase a score count, with a certain score considered plausible evasion). It'd make sense for any such experimental system to first fill a log for patrollers instead of automatically blocking, though... Another challenge, if eventually completely automatic, would be to properly configure aspects like the LRU-like database backlog, report log FIFO size, autoblock length, for the best possible performance while still generally allowing legitimate IP editing... —PaleoNeonate – 20:19, 25 October 2017 (UTC)
Good god, no—this (the auto-created deathlist proposal, not WSC's initial suggestion) would at the very best be grossly unethical, and at worst outright illegal. Contrary to what the conspiracy theorists would have you believe, CU data is some of the most closely guarded data to which any functionary has access, and with good reason, since IP data quite often reveals a user's workplace, place of education, etc; a semi-public log cross-correlating editors who have the same employer or who live in the same house would be a disaster waiting to happen. If anything remotely resembling this were ever to go live (a moot point, since Legal would immediately veto it) it would probably be enough to trigger a WikiTravel-style full-scale schism and mass exodus. ‑ Iridescent 22:35, 25 October 2017 (UTC)
If you carefully read my post, I'm also talking about a limited-time cache (no trace need to persist after 30 days for instance) and restricting log report access to those with existing checkuser rights... —PaleoNeonate – 22:38, 25 October 2017 (UTC)
And more details: the servers already have the necessary information, I can also assure you that many corporations have more sophisticated IDS software. Entries would also only need to contain information related to editing (not read page access) and the only relevant information is for users blocked in the last x days, etc. And of course, nothing of that is in the works that I know, I'm merely participating to the discussion and brainstorming possibilities. —PaleoNeonate – 23:01, 25 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm sure many organisations collect the necessary information and have such tools. But my proposal is based around our unusual commitment to privacy. Hence admins would not learn IP information, other that if there were two currently active editors at one IP address, if you blocked the vandal and the goodfaith editor continued you could assume the two editors at that IP address had different hardware or browsers. ϢereSpielChequers 11:14, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
I am a CheckUser on Conservapedia and I never understood the power and sensitivity of CheckUser data (and the hazard of heavy handed admins having access to it) until I had access to it myself. That said, since I've personally been able to identify patterns of trolling with it, I might support this automated flagging system... if the sysops here weren't so heavy handed. We have admins who seriously think activity from a four-year high school that was blocked five years ago is relevant to the actions of students today, some of these admins are CheckUsers, and especially since a good faith editor from an institution with hundreds of the same model of Compaq Evo running Windows 7 and the same version of Mozilla Firefox would be technically indistinguishable from a vandal at the same institution in absence of XFF headers showing the local IP, I don't trust them to make sound choices. In fact, using CheckUser for fishing can open the door to innocent people having their geographic location outed if they are accused of being a sockpuppet because they used an IP publicly known to be involved in sockpuppetry. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 18:02, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Another part solution to the problem of out of date IP blocks and messages would be to unblock and blank messages when the whois information changes. That would require an adminbot with access to whois info. but should be fairly simple to harvest who is info on all IP addresses that currently have more than a month of block to come, then every month harvest the whois for the IP blocks that have over a month to run, add new blocks to the database and unblock those where the whois has changed. You'd probably need an small exceptions list for IP vandals who learn to change their Whois info. ϢereSpielChequers 11:14, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
I think device-based blocking is a step in the right direction, but I think this version of it would be of questionable usefulness. This would be useful to stop someone from repeatedly using a particular model of Samsung tablet to vandalize from a wi-fi hotspot in Times Square without affecting users of countless alternative devices, but certain devices, like iPhones, are so popular that blocking them would still cause collateral damage, and this would do nothing to solve the problem, as described above, of collateral damage in a company or institution that uses hundreds or thousands of PCs running the same version of Mozilla Firefox on Windows 10. What would be cool would be to be able to block a specific device, perhaps using cookies, without blocking the whole NAT. This wouldn't be effective at stopping the determined teenager on her period from hopping from PC to PC in the school library (although that might attract adult attention, which would alternatively solve the problem), but it would probably stop the bored call center agent for United Healthcare or CenturyLink from engaging in vandalism without affecting his or her colleagues. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 18:02, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Re: WHOIS change, the problem here is that sometimes the WHOIS doesn't change. An IP can safely transfer from a school to a hospital or a prison to a clothing manufacturer while maintaining "Level 3 Communications" (as was the case I described of a hospital getting a former school IP) or "Embarq Corporation" as the responsible organization. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 18:17, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes, sometimes WHOIS doesn't change when it should, that's why I described it as a partial solution. But that isn't an extra problem - such IP addresses would be unaffected by this. ϢereSpielChequers 11:46, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

Troll lives matter!

Seriously, not all vandals will be so for life. Some get over it when they see we revert them in seconds. Some take a but more time. Fighting trolls doesn't mean we can be aggressive. As the Spanish saying, "being polite does not prevent being bold".

Contribution workflow suggestion

After making a contribution and getting to the "confirmation/here's what else you can do" page, it would be nice if there was an obvious option to return to the previous WIki page. OR the whole payment process should have opened up a new tab so when it's closed I still have my previous page available. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Misscking (talkcontribs) 16:52, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

Wikinews: revival and on the main page

Okay, I know what you're thinking. Hear me out.

This RfC proposes to reduce the enforcement of WP:NOTNEWS to increase news coverage on Wikipedia.

The rationale is "Wikinews is dead". You know, sure. It's not the most popular WMF project - not by a long shot. However, the problem is mainly that:

  1. No one seems to know it exists (except the more active Wikipedians)
  2. Not many non-editors go there
  3. No one seems to know it exists (again, I know, but no one does)

Whether or not it's a good or bad idea to put news in Wikipedia is not a discussion for here. However, why does wikipedia not try to increase awareness of sister WMF projects? enwiki is in a good place to do this, it's one of the most popular websites in the world, and is renowned for its impartiality and stunning dedication to consensus. WN is much the same, but without participation. If we could increase participation and awareness (the two go hand in hand, just look at the growth of the number of editors on enwiki), then it could be a quality news source that people rely on.

Isn't it already on the front page? Yes, technically. By the links for Wikibooks and the other pet projects of the WMF. However, if we could link to it more prominently (eventually link to WN articles in the In the News section, perhaps), it would grow a lot more.

Haven't we given it up for dead? They're still publishing articles over there, although admittedly few. We could do a lot better!

I'd just like thoughts at this point. Thanks. ProgrammingGeek talktome 15:56, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

This does not address the fundamental problem of; consumer demand of recentism and Wikipedia quality vs. Wikipedia's rigid stylistic form and immediate publishing vs. copy cat news website that usually publishes after people stopped showing interest in the topic, if at all. We have created this situation to reflect our reality, but we need to recognize that it is not a situation that a consumer will ever consider logical. As such we cannot fix the problem unless we start bending either Wikinews or Wikipedia to closer match the desire of real consumers of the information. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 16:20, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
There's several concurrent discussions related to NOT#NEWS in general, but one of the issues that comes up is the "consumer" aspect - that we do know people are coming to Wikipedia for current news articles. The problem is that an encyclopedia should be the last place you come to breaking news, as we're supposed to be summarizing news with a long-term view. There are stories that we can write on with that perspective, but it is a very careful approach, but vastly different from how one would write a standard newspaper article (eg what would be more appropriate at Wikinews). Unfortunately, there's a fair number of editors that like to write recent news, and no end of consumers for that. That said, we have in the past taken steps to cut off content that may have been consumer-driven: for example, early on was the removal of endless lists of fiction-related elements that were only sourced to primary works (eg Pokemon lists). They may have been popular pages, but as they were written then, not encyclopedic content. We have to have a consensus decision to cut off current event articles and move them elsewhere, and these concurrent discussions suggest that's not going to happen easily. --MASEM (t) 19:02, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Masem, exactly. We have a ready-made location for this sort of content. I don't want it to seem like we're outsourcing the problem, but if people know about Wikinews, we won't be inundated with these articles. ProgrammingGeek talktome 19:11, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

To raise awareness of other Wikimedia foundation projects, could we not put information about them on Wikipedia: Main Page? The main page is one of the most viewed articles on Wikipedia, if not the most viewed, and putting information about Wikipedia's sister projects on the main page would seem a good way to raise awareness of them. Vorbee (talk) 18:23, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

The Main Page of Wikipedia has a section in its top right-hand corner called "In the news..." ... it should not prove too difficult to put in a note that there is such a website as Wikinews there.Vorbee (talk) 20:14, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

  • I support linking to Wikinews articles in the "In the news" section of the main page because Wikipedia is not for news, but Wikinews is, and if we're going to mention news on our main page, we should link to our sister project, not just Wikipedia articles. Conservapedia has a similar section on its main page, commonly known as "mainpageright," it has included links to external sites for a long time, and it is one of the most popular features of the wiki. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages)Have a blessed day. 22:10, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
  • This does seem like a useful idea, regardless of other developments (unless there is a vested interest in actually having WikiNews wither on the vine). --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 09:25, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps we could have a note at the bottom of the Main Page's "In the news" box saying "For more information on news stories, see Wikinews". Vorbee (talk) 16:31, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Abandoned pages and articles

Is there already a list of pretty much abandoned and isolated articles in Wikipedia? If not, I highly recommend it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by OfficialNeon (talkcontribs) 20:41, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

Possibly useful may be Wikipedia:Dusty articles (not always up to date, not automatically updated), User:MusikBot/StaleDrafts/Report (for Draft space), Category:Stale userspace drafts (these may be blanked with {{Userpage blanked}} if WP:FAKEARTICLE, may be nominated at WP:MfD if inappropriate or used as the basis for a new article if the notability is good enough). Category:All orphaned articles can point to articles that were never completed or linked anywhere. Also useful to find articles which need work may be Category:All stub articles, Category:All articles to be expanded, Category:Pages missing lead section, Category:Wikipedia articles needing copy edit, Category:All pages needing cleanup, Category:All articles needing cleanup, Category:All articles needing rewrite, Category:All articles needing additional references, Category:All articles with unsourced statements. Others may also have further suggestions, —PaleoNeonate – 23:18, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

Christmas Theme?

Hello, would it be possible to have a festive thing on the Main Page for December 25th? I'm not proposing it to say 'Merry Christmas' (as it may be fine for Christians, but not in other religions), but what about like a snow effect on top of the page? A simple snow layer that covers the top of pages is what I mean. Example (rather crude and basic, but understandable): ---Snow---

                                                                  ('Read, edit source, history, section)

Thoughts on this? AllyGebies (talk) 04:05, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Please not snowmen and reindeers etc! It's mid-summer in the southern hemisphere. The systemic bias is already bad enough, let's not pile on even more. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 07:46, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
What the man said.--Elmidae (talk · contribs) 08:17, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Please not anything; why should one day be singled out for festive treatment? This is a global project not NorthAmericaPedia, and in most of the world Christmas is just another working day; there will likely be something related to the date in DYK and/or OTD and that's enough. Do you want us to deck the Main Page out in Eid Mubarak bunting, Diwali fireworks and Chinese New Year lanterns at the appropriate times of year as well, or give it a red-and-white colour scheme on St George's Day? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Iridescent (talkcontribs)
Actually this is an English speaking project, not global at all! The vast majority of English speakers are in the northern hemisphere, only alienating those in Australia and New Zealand. There are even Wikipedia pages at Christmas and holiday seasonand War on Christmas, doing special things is a great way to resist the same old same old, I like the Diwali fireworks and Chinese New Year lantern ideas. Happy Holidays! Dougmcdonell (talk) 03:35, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I think it should also be remembered that English is spoken in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya as well, so its not "only alienating those in Australia and New Zealand" to include winter thematic decorations. Besides, Christmas traditions (and other winter holidays) vary all over the world. This proposal would also involve technical changes and I don't know how difficult those would be to implement. I think Iridescent is right that "there will likely be something related to the date in DYK and/or OTD and that's enough". Heck, even the occasional FA of the day has relevance. Perhaps instead you could devote your time to filling those up with bits of information that can be shown on the main page on the relevant holiday. Maybe even create a small task force devoted to organizing such things. I'm not sure of the whereabouts of the old WikiProjects devoted to ensuring everyone on the Wiki was happy and cheerful, but I'd go there to look for a team. -Indy beetle (talk) 15:13, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

During Christmas, I would support adding notable articles, did you know, photos, etc related to Christmas in the main page. Same for other notable dates. --NaBUru38 (talk) 22:10, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Line numbers

I have done a diff on a talk page- there was a change at line 273- I clicked on the link and just like the autolinks for reference- was taken to that pont in the text, but double-clicking by mistake, the text editor opened and the cursor was on line 272. I don't know how I ever managed without it! Dreaming again- but what a pleasant dream.--ClemRutter (talk) 19:38, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Wait, how do you turn this on? Line numbers in the editor are my #1 most wanted improvement, next to WMF taking harassment and coordinated paid promotional editing at all seriously. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 20:21, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Line numbers are already displayed by default, but only when editing in the Module namespace (though of course this is still far from the situation in ClemRutter's dream). – Uanfala 12:03, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Notification system for files on Commons nominated for deletion

A typical concern with uploading files to Commons for use on enwp is that the files may be deleted without the uploader's and/or enwp community's knowledge. So, I'm thinking about building a service that aggregates Commons deletion nominations for files used on enwp. I'm currently considering two formats:

  1. A bot can post to a local noticeboard and ping interested parties (e.g. the original uploaders or editors who have elected to watch a certain file)
  2. A bot can leave talk page notifications on the uploader's talk page and/or affected articles (unsure of how to do this without being spammy for files with many uses)
  3. Other Suggestions?

Is this something that you would find useful? Any thoughts/suggestions are appreciated. Thanks, FASTILY 23:41, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

Ping for @Jo-Jo Eumerus -FASTILY 23:41, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Er...notifications have been global since the echo system was overhauled in July 2016. If someone posts on your talk page at Commons, which they should do whenever they tag an image for deletion or start a DR, then you should get a notification here . No bot required. Check your preferences if this isn't happening. Preferences -> Notifications -> Cross-wiki notifications. --Majora (talk) 00:45, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Sure, but how about the cases where: a) files have been transferred to Commons? b) the uploader is inactive but the file is used in an article? These are some of the specific cases that I'm interested in fixing. -FASTILY 06:38, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Besides, I am not certain that cross-wiki notifications are by default on. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:19, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Those two cases are quite different from each other, but (b) and some of the common cases of (a) would be solveable by a bot that monitored commons and posted to en.wp. A heuristic could be monitoring "page creations of [[Commons:Deletion requests/*]]" in realtime or scanning "pages transcluded on [[Commons:Deletion requests/yyyy/mm/dd]]" at the end of each day. And (b) is easy after that: look for what en.wp pages use the image and post a note to its article-talk page. For (a), if the image description is well-formatted, can look for an en.wp user in the |source= or |author= field. And for files transwikied by certain bots or tools, there is an standard format of upload history that could be checked for an en.wp uploader. DMacks (talk) 21:16, 17 November 2017 (UTC) User:CommonsNotificationBot. @ErrantX: any prognosis on your bot? DMacks (talk) 21:51, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Its been dead for a bit so I'd have to re-write it, probably, given that it's based on a v. old pywikibot codebase. But yes, that's effectively what that Bot did. It was reasonably successful, in that it alerted to stuff; I am not so sure I have any good examples of people then fixing issues from it. And there was a tendency for certain talk pages to fill up with notices as masses of images were (correctly) removed from Commons. And then there was the influx of people asking me why I was deleting their images ;) I've got the code somewhere if anyone wants it, and technically the bot is still approved.... --Errant (chat!) 08:16, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Newsletter: What's up with ArbCom

With the upcoming ArbCom election, my proposal is a newsletter delivered to talk pages of subscribers every week or month. This will help people interested in the cases of the ArbCom. The newsletter will describe cases currently at ArbCom, and other happenings. A sample is included below:

What's up with ArbCom? (This line will be titled)
Symbol support vote.svg New Requests: Example 1 (Link), Example 2 (Link)
Symbol redirect vote2.svg Opened Cases: Example 3 (Link), Example 4 (Link)
Symbol declined.svgClosed Cases: Example 5 (Link), Example 6 (Link)

If you are interested in helping with this, the WP:Signpost, though not recently, includes this. Maybe you should go help. --Izno (talk) 13:58, 17 November 2017 (UTC)


Wondered why this site is blacklisted

I noticed that is on a Wikipedia blacklist. I know not a great deal about this site, but it looks OK to me. How do I find out the reason for the blacklist? ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 18:03, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

@ThoughtIdRetired: It was added to the blacklist in this 2011 edit. The edit summary suggests it was being mis-used by certain editors. -- John of Reading (talk) 18:40, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks - given my dislike of spammers, I think I have revised my opinion of the site - even though it produces useful results of related books and the possibly unexpected reasons for picking them. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 19:17, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
On reconsideration, now with my brain in gear: the page I looked at was an interview of Prof James Hunter, an expert on Scottish History and particularly the Highland Clearances. Some of the views expressed in the interview are particularly relevant to the modern view of the subject (which needs to be inserted in the article - it's a part of Wikipedia that really needs some work!!). If this is the only source of Prof Hunter expressing these views, how would I get to use the interview as a reference? I have little doubt that the words of an expert in the field qualify the interview as a WP:RS.ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 19:23, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
You can post a request at MediaWiki talk:Spam-whitelist for the specific link to be whitelisted. That would keep the entire domain blacklisted except for that one. --Majora (talk) 19:28, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't grok why the site as a whole is blacklisted just because "some editors" misused it? Surely that is an editor behaviour problem? It seems like the site itself is actually useful, but is being "punished" for problems not related to the content of the site itself. How can the blacklisting then even be valid? Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 09:47, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
That happens. On the other hand, when they are blacklisted it's usually that blocking a single spamming user was not enough, this then becomes the next technical solution. —PaleoNeonate – 11:35, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Getting the page whitelisted was not a problem. I am guessing that the same procedure could be applied to the whole site - but if that's inappropriate, a page by page basis seems to work fine.ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 13:54, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps a solution is to blacklist specific links within the site that are being abused instead of the entire site? Does Wikipedia support a link by link, or subdomain, blacklist, or is it only based on entire sites? -- (talk) 04:16, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
Technically? Yes that is possible. Just like whitelisting individual URLs is possible. In practice? No. If a site needs to be blacklisted it needs to be done for a very good reason. We don't blacklist sites willy-nilly. Sites that are blacklisted needed to be blacklisted. If a site no longer needs to be blacklisted there are protocols to request its removal. --Majora (talk) 04:30, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Self Advertising

We are supposed to be a reference source, not a self-promoting Business.

So it is inappropriate to force information on people, particularly as self-advertising.

Last month it was 'Wiki loves monuments', now it is 'Wiki loves Asia'.

Who is doing it? Who wants it? Can it be stopped? — Preceding unsigned comment added by JohnWheater (talkcontribs) 08:43, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean by "forcing information on people", but you seem to have misunderstood something. One of the things Wikipedia is is a reference work. It is also an open collaborative project. Such contests and activities seem to be helpful in getting people to improve the content. Isn't that a good thing? Ntsimp (talk) 17:44, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Wikimedia's goal is to share knowledge around the world, and to encourage people to do it. Wiki Loves Asia fits that goal. --NaBUru38 (talk) 21:57, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

RFC: Overuse of "stop hand" images

I find File:Stop hand.svg, File:Stop hand nuvola.svg, and their derivatives overused and bitey. Can we try to replace them with more appropriate images? KMF (talk) 04:15, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

  • No. Most of the time it takes multiple attempts to get their attention with lower level warnings before a "stop hand" warning is applied. The situations that warrant a stop hand earlier definitely deserve it. Attack articles being a great example. It is supposed to get their attention as a last ditch effort to avoid having to block them. The whole point is to get them to STOP. --Majora (talk) 04:44, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No for context, this conversation where I gave KMF a level 4 warning for using homophobic slurs in edit summaries while reverting vandals is likely what caused this RfC. I'm very much a DTTR type, but I consider usage of slurs to be one of the few occasions where it *is* warranted and the exact opposite of bitey. Especially when a user had already been given an NPA warning in the last month mentioning that blocks could be in the future. The final warning is meant to make a point and draw attention to behavior in order to prevent a block and stop disruption. TonyBallioni (talk) 04:53, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No. The stop symbol is only used on the higher level warnings. It is used as a last resort and is perfectly appropriate. --Ebyabe talk - Union of Opposites ‖ 04:56, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No As it is not used until other warnings have been issued it is entirely appropriate. MarnetteD|Talk 05:04, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Stop icon[Humor] I agree that it is best not to send level3-4 warnings immediately, but when required I think that it is appropriate. —PaleoNeonate – 05:17, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No It's only used when the person is nearing a block, it's almost bitey not to have it. Btw, PaleoNeonate barely beat me to the joke :P Drewmutt (^ᴥ^) talk 05:19, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No I also agree with the previous comments, especially with Drewmutt. --Daniele Pugliesi (talk) 06:32, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, not any undesired action requires a red card. --NaBUru38 (talk) 22:01, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No. It's misleading and therefore harmful in trying to be polite when the action in question has very serious consequences. --A D Monroe III(talk) 02:33, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Interaction Timeline alpha demo is ready for testing

Hello all,

The Interaction Timeline alpha version is ready for testing. The Anti-Harassment Tools team appreciates you spending a few minutes to try out the tool and let us know if there is value in displaying the interactions in a vertical timeline instead of the approach used with the existing interaction analysis tools.

Also we interested in learning about which additional functionality or information we should prioritize developing.

Comments can be left on the discussion page here or on meta. Or you can share your ideas by email.

Thank you,

For the Anti-Harassment Tools Team, SPoore (WMF), Community Advocate, Community health initiative (talk) 20:34, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

North American season categories only for winters

Why is there Category:North American winters but not Category:North American springs, Category:North American summers, or Category:North American autumns? (talk) 00:22, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

No such articles exist specifically for springs. Same for summer and autumn. So if you are organizing articles called "(year) North American (season)" then there's a purpose for these winter categories. Further, it transitions over a year boundary.
-- (talk) 06:11, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

checking if ref is called

Is there a way to check if a particular page uses the REF tag system? Like #ifexistrefs then do something. -- (talk) 06:05, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

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