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RfC on secondary school notability

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.

Summary of the close, added 13:28, 23 February 2017 (UTC):

The question asked in this RFC was whether extant secondary schools should be presumed to be notable. Numerically, the respondents to this RFC were about evenly divided between supporting and opposing that statement. However, this is a discussion, and not a vote, and what truly matters is the strength of each side's argument. The opposers have a strong policy-based argument. Requiring the GNG to be satisfied in all cases is a perfectly sensible position, and one that is consistent with all applicable policies. The arguments of the supporters were more mixed. Some arguments, such as "Schools are important to their communities", "Automatic notability of schools are how Wikipedia has always done it, and this has historically served us well", and "School articles are valuable as a recruitment tool for new editors" do not make much sense and were discounted. Another common argument was that removing the protections secondary schools have historically enjoyed at AfD would lead to a flood of mass AfDing. This is a concern to be addressed in a hypothetical implementation, but is not germane to the question of whether those protections should exist. These opinions were partially or fully discounted in our evaluation. The supporters did have some very good arguments mixed in with the poor ones. The argument that sources for secondary schools are more difficult to find than they are for typical topics because they are likely to be concentrated in local and/or print media is very valid. Additionally, the argument that removing the presumption of notability from schools would increase systematic bias is very strong.

Based on the discussion, we find that the community is leaning towards rejecting the statement posed in the RFC, but this stops short of a rough consensus. Whether or not the community has actually formed a consensus to reject the statement posed in the RFC is a distinction without a difference - Either way the proposed change will not be adopted.

Over the course of the discussion, the conversation expanded to include the proper role of SCHOOLOUTCOMES. Citing SCHOOLOUTCOMES in an AfD makes the circular argument "We should keep this school because we always keep schools". This argument has been rejected by the community. Therefore, while SO remains perfectly valid as a statement of what usually happens to extant secondary schools at AFD, SO should be added to arguments to avoid in AFD discussions. Rationales that cite SCHOOLOUTCOMES are discouraged, and may be discounted when the AFD is closed.

Because extant secondary schools often have reliable sources that are concentrated in print and/or local media, a deeper search than normal is needed to attempt to find these sources. At minimum, this search should include some local print media. If a deep search is conducted, and still comes up empty, then the school article should be deleted for not meeting the GNG - Editors are not expected to prove the negative that sources do not exist, but they should make a good-faith effort to find them. If a normal-depth search fails to find any evidence that the school exists, the article on the school should be deleted without the need for a deeper search.

It's worth noting that this discussion does imply that schools are special. We would expect an RFC asking "Should artists whose existence is verified by reliable, independent sources be presumed to be notable?" would be closed quickly and with snowballs. The fact that this was not the case for schools is telling.

It's further worth noting that a flood of AfDs following the addition of SO to the "arguments to avoid in AfDs" list is undesirable. Editors are asked to refrain from making indiscriminate or excessive nominations.


According to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes#Schools, commonly referred to by its abbreviated link WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES, "Most independently accredited degree-awarding institutions and high schools are usually kept except when zero independent sources can be found to prove that the institution actually exists". However, a number of recent AfDs on secondary schools have closed either with no consensus or with consensus to delete. The closing summaries of two of these AfDs, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Eden English School Btl and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Bal Vikash Secondary School, have included recommendations that an RfC be held on the notability of secondary schools. Following discussion of this at Wikipedia talk:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes#Need for an RfC on schools' notability, there is agreement to hold this RfC, with the following question:

Should secondary schools whose existence is verified by reliable, independent sources be presumed to be notable? Cordless Larry (talk) 19:17, 8 January 2017 (UTC)


  • Support. I am in favor of keeping and improving articles about accredited, degree awarding secondary schools as long as that information is verifiable through reliable sources. This has been standard practice during my 7-1/2 years of editing. These schools are important institutions within their communities and biographies of notable people often discuss their educational backgrounds including their attendance at secondary schools. An encyclopedia with well over five million articles certainly has room for such articles. If the existence of any given school cannot be verified, then I support deletion of such an article. One of the fundamental principles of Wikipedia is that it "combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers." Providing articles about degrees awarding educational institutions is entirely in line with that goal, in my opinion. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 19:45, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support keeping status quo. Generally, high schools are important enough that there is almost always significant coverage in reliable sources, which may not necessarily be easily found on the Internet. A high school in the developing world could be widely covered in papers that have no online presence, and most AfD participants are Western and native speakers of English who would have difficulty locating those sources, causing systematic bias as US high schools are much easier to defend against deletion even though they are no more notable than their counterparts elsewhere. -- King of ♠ 19:46, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Everything should be subject to GNG. GNG exceptions should be narrowly focused if made at all. If there are no reliable sources then there is nothing we can responsibly write about the subject. This is a particular problem with the thousands upon thousands of schools, academies etc in India but can be as bad with US schools as well. These articles are magnets for vandalism, promotionalism and BLP violations. JbhTalk 19:51, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    Government websites and publications can be a source of reliable information on government-created entities despite not being independent, something which is not true for private organizations. That's why a town with a population of 3 in Wyoming is notable despite perhaps having only trivial mentions in reliable sources (e.g. a list of cities in Wyoming). -- King of ♠ 19:58, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    The problem which arises is with private and for profit educational institutions. At a minimum these should be subject to WP:NORG. For what are considered 'public' schools in the US they can be mentioned in the article about the locality. One of the defining points of Wikipedia is that we are a tertiary source. Making exceptions to this may increase the number of articles we have but it does nothing to help the quality. I do not generally like GEOLAND since I think there is a qualitative difference between an encyclopedia and a gazetteer but geographic places generally do not pose the same problems with NPOV etc that schools do. JbhTalk 20:15, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    I would not be opposed to excluding private schools from this criterion. -- King of ♠ 20:25, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    This s not quite quite accurate JB. We have G11 and G12 which are rigorously applied to promotional school articles. Other CSD criteria too whenever appropriate. It would be incorrect to say, for example, that all high schools are notable irrespective of any deletion criteria that can be applied. They are not immune from PROD either. I also live in Asia and I can safely say that only a tiny a minority of schools here are for profit, although the situation might possibly be slightly different in the very rich micro-states of Singapore and Hong Kong. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:02, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
    While Verifiability is a core content policy, the GNG is a guideline which does not apply in all cases. The exception that comes immediately to mind is WP:ACADEMIC. We often decide that an an academic is notable based on how often their work is cited by other scholars as opposed to the sort of coverage required for a singer or a fashion designer. Similarly, we keep articles about 19th century state or provincial legislators per WP:POLITICIAN even if the only readily available source is a mention in the legislature's own records. The GNG is important, but not all-important. If it were, it would be a policy rather than a guideline. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 20:27, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    I can see a GNG exception to public i.e. government run secondary schools but not for private/for profit schools. This RfC would allow a GNG exception for what are essentially diploma mills and businesses. I could support something which is more narrowly focused but GNG exceptions need to serve some articulable purpose which is a net benefit to the project. I do not see the net benefit here. JbhTalk 20:34, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment Can someone please define "secondary school". Some of the explanation in the RfC opening comments and in the linked AfDs seem to be very US-centric. Eg: UK secondary schools never award degrees. - Sitush (talk) 19:58, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I am sympathetic to the "GNG or bust" argument here, but I do think that keeping the presumption of notability for high schools is the best way to go here. Simply put: even if this RfC agrees on a consensus that schools must be shown to meet GNG, I have zero hope that this principle will be applied to secondary schools in the Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. There will be arguments over whether or not the extensive local coverage counts, but it will likely be resolved in favour of the high school. The consensus of WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES will likely still be the de facto consensus for schools in these countries. This RfC was largely started because of outcomes of no consensus or delete for schools in South Asia. As has already been pointed out, it is likely that there is already coverage at the level that would be acceptable for secondary schools in any of the countries mentioned, it just isn't easy to find via a Google search. What you often find instead is proof of its existence on a government website, and that website might not even be the education ministry, it could be the agency in charge of elections because the school is a polling site. You also find sources about NGOs using these schools for events to immunize, teach reading, etc. These souces while scare confirm that the schools in question play the same role in their communities as secondary schools in nations where sources are more Googleable play in theirs, but they are hard to find. Making the standard be proof of existence and accreditation makes sense to me in order to prevent systemic bias, which undermine Wikipedia's credibility. I would happily !vote delete for a home school academy high school that has five students or something similar, but if the school is accredited, we should presume that it is notable and that the sources exist to expand it, even if they are not available online. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:06, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    Schools in South Asia are generally all for profit institutions and we have to deal with promotionalism, NPOV etc. Making them de jure notable would take away even the limited ability we have now to fight the promotionalism. As for commercial institutions these schools should pass NORG. JbhTalk 20:21, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    I would be fine with a higher standard for for-profit schools in general, though I do think the locality matters (if the only school for 100 miles is for-profit, I would presume it notable.) That being said, I think there needs to be a distinction between private secondary schools and for-profit secondary schools. They are really two separate beasts. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:51, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    Yes. And once we start getting into locality, we start making too many edge cases, until it no longer serves as a useful guideline. So I think it would be best to require evaluating private schools individually based on GNG. -- King of ♠ 20:54, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    Agreed that for-profit should be evaluated individually based on GNG, where I think the edge cases would likely go no consensus. Private schools I am fine with a broad exception. I don't really consider a boarding school set up by nuns to be in the same boat as a diploma mill designed to make a proprietor a profit. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:57, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    Yes, however the 'boarding school set up by nuns' is not necessarily the typical private institution and making the distinction between what is a private school and what is a diploma mill or business can be difficult - Sister Mary's School for Deserving Wayward Orphans and Puppies may be run by Scammers 'R Us. It is just too hard to tell without independent reliable sources. Aslo, without reliable sources Wikipedia can be and has been used to legitimize such schools. See the whole mess related to WifiOne. JbhTalk 21:42, 8 January 2017 (UTC) Last edited: 21:48, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    And if Sister Mary's school can be verified to be a legitimate institution that is what it claims to be, then it should be kept. If it cannot be verified to be this through reliable sources, then it should not be. The question being commented on here is about schools with reliable sources, not schools that lack them. TonyBallioni (talk) 21:59, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    The issue in your statement is "...verified to be a legitimate institution that is what it claims to be." There is a a huge difference between an independent reliable sources that verifies that and the massively low bar of proof of existance which is what this RfC wants to make the standard. You typically need independent RS for the former while we often accept self published sources like school websites for the later. JbhTalk 22:05, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    The RfC is specifically addressing if Should secondary schools whose existence is verified by reliable, independent sources be presumed to be notable?. On the discussion about holding this RfC verifiability standards were brought up by at least a few editors, and I'm assuming part of the reason that Cordless Larry suggested this wording was because of that. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:13, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    Hopefully I have worded the question neutrally, Jbhunley, and the RfC doesn't want to make anything the standard. Cordless Larry (talk) 22:15, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    @Cordless Larry: I should have said - 'should this RfC be closed in the affirmative' - I have no issue with the neutrality of the wording. JbhTalk 22:47, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    If there's a "massively low bar", then that is set by the current WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES essay. Cordless Larry (talk) 22:18, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    Having a 'massively low bar' supported by an essay one thing. Promoting that to a formally community endorsed guideline, which this will effectivly do, is something else entirely. It removes flexibility and will codify a huge hole for commercial promotion. JbhTalk 22:47, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    I think the essay is treated like a guideline by many editors as it is, and debate about that is part of what led up to this RfC. Anyway, thanks for the clarification above. Cordless Larry (talk) 22:54, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
    Except that it's being used to justify creation of articles on secondary schools, rather than only used to prevent deletion of existing ones. While mechanically the process is the same, it is the case in point that it encourages editors to develop poorly sourced (read: primary, SPS, or locally-sourced only) articles on schools just because we tolerate them. --MASEM (t) 23:02, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Unlike some other items that we presume to be notable, such as senior politicians, there is little reason to believe that secondary schools are normally covered in depth in reliable sources that go beyond routine reporting in local media. The vast majority of such schools are WP:MILL organizations; there are thousands of them, they are distinguished only by such trivia as age or number of pupils, and are generally not of interest to people other than those educated there. Such articles are also often a magnet for WP:BLP problems and vandalism ("Johnny sucks!!!") because many pupils will want to "creatively" edit them; and we do not need another area of additional maintenance overhead with little benefit. Such schools should therefore not be presumed notable. The solution to the systemic bias problem identified by TonyBallioni should be addressed by deleting the many non-notable Western school articles instead of adding more non-notable non-Western school articles.  Sandstein  20:19, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - Although schools are not covered often, they are important. The information just needs to be verified through reliable sources. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 20:28, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Notability is a valuable guideline "to ensure that editors create articles that comply with major content policies" (WP:WHYN). On what do we base the content of an article if all we have is verification of existence? On what do we base an article if we have only primary sources? We inevitably become a directory of school facts and figures. A whole lot of schools are notable, and we should have articles about them, but there should be no inherent notability based on verifiable existence for any subject. I've seen a distinction made between "inherent notability" and "presumed notability", but they're functionally the same. If everybody goes into a deletion discussion presuming [that there's significant coverage in reliable sources independent of the subject], the burden is shifted from arguing for notability to arguing a negative position -- that such coverage does not exist (an impossible task, when the presumption is that the sources do exist, even if they cannot be identified). Guidelines that provide shortcuts via indications of notability are helpful, but in the end an article needs to go by core content policies (again, effectively outlined in WP:WHYN). To say something is notable is to say it's received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject. Otherwise, we don't have anything to base an article on that complies with NPOV, V, RS, NOT, etc. An editor simply saying "it's important; significant coverage in reliable sources doesn't matter" wouldn't fly if we were talking about an internet meme, delicatessen, or philosophical concept, so why is it ok to simply say "they're important; significant coverage in reliable soruces doesn't matter" for this subject? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 20:36, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose The claim that there are always sources for secondary sources omits the fact that the bulk of those will be local, showing little relevance to the broader world. And as a symptom of systematic bias, the only type of coverage that I've seen routinely that's non-local about these sources are in relationship to sports (specifically only American football and basketball), which really is more about the athlete than the school. There are undoubtably notable secondary schools, but we should not be working that these are notable by default for just existing. That said, in most cases, coverage of these schools can at least be mentioned in the readily-accepted city/town article that the school is a part of, and redirects can be used to avoid disruption. --MASEM (t) 20:45, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Status quo. Going in a different direction now will be just too disruptive (besides which, multiple (every?) high profile biography has link to the subject's upper schools as do some (probably not high profile) locations, so look at it as adjunct (or multiple split) encyclopedic information if nothing else). My rank speculation is this was, back in the mists of time, partly done precisely to get upper students interested in editing, which may are may not be bad, but it is long since done. Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:48, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose this is one of these walled garden notability things that has gotten out of hand and are turning some parts of Wikipedia into mere directories. But WP:NOTDIRECTORY. The other thing to keep in mind here is with the privatization of education there are more and more private or public/private charter schools and Wikipedia is (as always) something people abuse for promotional purposes. If a school fails GNG it fails GNG. Jytdog (talk) 22:11, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support current status quo (NOTE this is not actually fully supporting the proposal, since it requires that the schools also be verifiably independently accredited). Now, we need to emphasize that this does not mean that high schools are automatically in as some people seem to think, but instead that it's a case by case basis which actually requires research to determine. ansh666 22:34, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose: That Wikipedia:Existence does not prove notability is the very reason we have notability guidelines in the first place. The most important one of these is WP:GNG, and for the vast majority of topics it is indicative of notability. Some good, carefully crafted, exceptions to GNG apply. But as Jbh points out, they should "serve some articulable purpose which is a net benefit to the project". No accepted exception to GNG sets the bar as low as this proposal would, in a manner which defeates the purpose of notability criteria: if it exists, there can be an article on it. That is the antithesis of notability, the purpose of which is to keep information on Wikipedia from being indiscriminate and in violation of various WP:NOT. We are not an encyclopedia when it comes to most topics but the WP:YELLOWPAGES when it comes to high-schools; we are an encyclopedia all around. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 23:28, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support notability for verified accredited high schools, whether public or private, to avoid bias in favor of US high schools, as opposed to private high schools in developing countries. There is no assumption of notability for unaccredited high schools.secondary schools, such as someone's home schooling operation for their own children. No presumed notability for schools which stop short of the US 12th grade or foreign equivalents, but in some cases one might find sources to satisfy GNG or WP:ORG for schools which stop short of grade 12. I have seen many hours wasted in fights about some county high school, but in the end sourcing could be found. But coverage of major newspapers in some states is limited in online free databases, and it is unreasonable to demand that within a 7 day AFD period editors have to drive to the state a school is in and search the state's major newspapers on microfilm in some college library to find the significant coverage which is inevitably there. And this is in an encyclopedia where projects argue successfully that every dinky railroad station, every tiny section of numbered highway, every person who played professionally in one game of a sport, and every hamlet with 2 families deserves an article. A public high school today typically is a major cultural institution serving a significant population area, at huge expense, and for a long span of years, and has a big formative influence on perhaps generations of students. Edison (talk) 23:39, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I really see no case for changing the current status quo. This has all been gone into many times before, and the situation on the ground has not changed. -- Alarics (talk) 23:41, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
  • It strikes me as rather desperate when the opponents of the status quo point to a single, solitary deletion as "evidence" that the consensus no longer exists. "It's in tatters" as one well-known school deletionist hopefully described it. Er, no! -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:44, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I've not described it as "in tatters" myself, and admittedly there haven't been many deletions, but there does seem to have been an uptick in the number of no-consensus closes. Cordless Larry (talk) 14:34, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Existence does not prove notability, Wikipedia is not a directory, and Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of secondary schools many of which have nothing notable about them. I'm sympathetic to the arguments about how this reduces bias against non-Western schools, but I believe that can be better achieved without claiming every school is notable. Further, these pages of schools that are not notable or barely notable are not really of interest to anyone except students and faculty. There will be few page watchers and since they're prone to vandalism, it will likely stay there longer. High schools that are notable for alumni activities, outreach efforts, or superior skill in academic or athletic achievement are far more useful and more likely to be seen and maintained because of the attention they receive because of it (thus satisfying the GNG). We don't need thousands of permanent stubs. Wugapodes [thɔk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɻɪbz] 01:52, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I don't agree with WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES. Every article should be judged on a case-by-case basis, as per the most fundamental notability guideline, WP:GNG. ThePlatypusofDoom (talk) 02:06, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Sandstein. The support crowd seems to think we dare not challenge the status quo lest the braying masses attack us for deleting the article about their high school. That's not an argument for notability but a sad plea for a political carve-out. Let the notable schools pass GNG or NCORP. All the others can go. Chris Troutman (talk) 02:07, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. SCHOOLOUTCOMES has been a thorn in the English Wikipedia's side for too long. It, or at least the common interpretation of it, is wholly out of line with our notability guidelines, namely WP:GNG and WP:ORGSIG, the latter of which says:

    "No company or organization is considered inherently notable. No organization is exempt from this requirement, no matter what kind of organization it is, including schools. If the individual organization has received no or very little notice from independent sources, then it is not notable simply because other individual organizations of its type are commonly notable or merely because it exists."

    Per that guideline, verifiable information about non-notable schools should be included in articles about the municipality or district within which they exist. – Jonesey95 (talk) 06:23, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, there's a longstanding precedent (of sorts) against nominating schools at AFD, but this should not be made hard policy. Apparently we're starting to see articles on schools of such profound obscurity that little to nothing beyond mere existence can be verified (and in some cases not even that). If we can't verify anything, then an encyclopedia article on the subject cannot exist. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 08:07, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I think the current status quo works very well. It sets a very good threshold for assumed notability and it negates any systemic bias inherent in only including schools with strong references. The latter will tend to be biased towards fee-paying institutions which can't afford not to market themselves through the press. State schools generally won't have the luxury of paying someone or some entity to do PR for them, whereas fee-paying institutions will be strongly focussed on it. And it's not just schools where we do that. WP:FOOTY has strong inherent notability rules about football club articles. And they make sense. We also need to remember that school articles are often a first vehicle from young wikipedians. Deleting huge tranches of them as non-notable will only encourage vandalism and conflict in dealing with this future editors. No great reason to change. It's doing fine as is. CalzGuy (talk) 13:13, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I've been considering opening an RfC on this for some time. I find the use of this essay infuriating when presented by itself to argue for keeping articles on which no one can find any reliable sources. It's bizarre to me that we use the circular logic of 'schools are often kept therefore schools should always be kept' in these cases. Either "Secondary schools are always notable" should be enshrined in guideline/policy, or we need to stop using this essay argument at AfD. Sam Walton (talk) 13:14, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per Jbh, Masem, and Sandstein. (I have to admit that typing that list of names together is a bit surreal...) Ealdgyth - Talk 14:43, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, with emphasis on the whose existence is verified by reliable, independent sources. Secondary Schools are a special kind of institution, found in every major settlement around the planet, and play a key role in lives of communities and individuals. They can give beginning editors or readers of Wikipedia a familiar topic to read or edit to get the feel of the place. They are special enough to merit their own "notability" rule, so we should codify what has has been de facto pretty much the case until now (editors citing WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES, even though that's only an essay). PamD 16:37, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are no exceptions for a lack of sourcing. Whether or not you call it the GNG, what we need is better phrased as "whether there is an overabundance of coverage in reliable, secondary sources to cover the topic in depth without resorting to unreliable, affiliated, or primary sources". I've seen very few cases in which high schools are independently notable from their parent grouping (the school district or town article) by way of sourcing. And even if they have coverage, those sources tend to be local papers—not wider interest. The standard for similar subtopics is to merge into the parent (the school district or town): a place where the article can be covered in whatever depth warranted by secondary sources. (And it can always split out summary style if an overabundance of sources on the school upsets the balance of the article.)
As for what this discussion is really about—as I understand it—the precedent of keeping all secondary school articles comes from earlier in WP history where some basic categories of articles were presumed notable just to save some time and nonsense at AfD (a decade ago... when it was a free-for-all of new editors, especially high school boys writing about their high schools). But AfD works differently now, and all AfD discussions are essentially about whether the sourcing exists to support an independent article—apart from some specific topic areas, mostly sports biographies and, e.g., "school outcomes".
This discussion is also about our article quality. When a topic is a valid search term—as all established secondary schools are—we merge its sourced contents to a parent article so that readers can find sourced information on it. But we do little good for our readers by serving secondary school articles absent of the Wikipedia sourcing standards that we apply to the rest of the encyclopedia. Unsourced articles invite cruft (an empirically true broken references theory), and set lower expectations for the standard of acceptable writing on Wikipedia. It's time to extend our universal sourcing standards to secondary schools, and accordingly, to cover more unsourced topics in their parent articles (merging as appropriate). I am no longer watching this page—ping if you'd like a response czar 18:28, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I never understood why schools got a free pass at AFD. GNG and to a lesser extent SNG's work well for other articles and they will be fine in this situation as well. Many school articles I come across are nothing short of promotion as the only source of information comes from their own websites. AIRcorn (talk) 20:35, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Information that meets policy requirements should be kept. If there's not much, consider merging, but if the amount is too much for the merge target then split. They should only be deleted if nothing is verifiable to our standards. I'm not sure if this is a support or oppose - as articles may be merged whether notable or not. For many of these articles this probably means keeping the article but removing anything that lacks references. Peter James (talk) 00:04, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support until a viable alternative becomes available. The trouble with SCHOOLOUTCOMES as stated is that we're talking about different sorts of secondary schools as if they're all on the same level; some classes of schools, such as American public high schools, will pretty much always be notable as important community institutions, while other classes, such as some of the for-profit schools mentioned above, need to be evaluated on their own merits. Unfortunately, public vs. private isn't quite enough to separate these; in certain parts of America, private schools (and Catholic schools in particular) are held in a similar regard as public schools, while in other parts they aren't, and that's just the situation in one country.
The reason I can't support just getting rid of SCHOOLOUTCOMES without an alternative, though, is it would make a lot of vulnerable articles subject to deletion due to the current situation at AfD. The point of presuming notability for certain topics is to correct an imbalance between what GNG is supposed to mean (multiple, reliable secondary sources) and what it usually turns into at AfD (multiple, reliable secondary sources that will probably only be looked for online, by a handful of people who are probably from North America and Europe, possibly only within Google results unless someone with access to a paywalled database stumbles across the AfD, with a seven-day time limit at best, and subject to people arguing that "multiple" means a higher number than what you found or that local or even regional sources don't count despite that not being part of the GNG). Given how many high schools are in rural areas, making it more likely that archived print sources won't be easily accessible, or in countries that don't have the same internet presence as English-speaking countries in the West, these are particularly relevant concerns, and I'm uncomfortable throwing existing articles on schools into that mess with no precautions to avoid deletion on account of sloppy research. I've pulled too many articles from the brink of deletion on account of nominators, and subsequent !voters, who did a poor job of WP:BEFORE to trust the process to work for these articles, and if AfD gets flooded with school stubs after a change to SCHOOLOUTCOMES there may not be enough editors able to do the research to prove all the notable ones really are notable within a week. TheCatalyst31 ReactionCreation 03:09, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding of your point is that, because AfD has problems, we should ignore the GNG for schools. I'm sympathetic to your point about how this will impact the bias of our coverage, but I don't think we should be going around the GNG just to have thousands of permanent stubs. If anything, that's what the GNG is meant to prevent. It may well be the case that there are thousands of reliable sources on Example High School in Ruraltown, Statesota locked away in my grandmother's attic, but if no one knows that, we can't use the possibility that sources may possibly maybe exist somewhere but we just haven't looked hard enough to justify subverting the GNG. If sources can't be found to satisfy the GNG, it doesn't satisfy the GNG. Full stop. If sources are eventually found, it can be recreated. We shouldn't doom ourselves to eternal searching for sources because maybe we just didn't look hard enough. Wugapodes [thɔk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɻɪbz] 03:54, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
In secondary school AfDs, a common argument is that while sources are hard to find online, they must exist offline and at some point, someone with the necessary language skills could find them and use them to expand and improve the article. I'm sympathetic to that argument, but do we actually have any examples of school articles where that has happened? Cordless Larry (talk) 07:26, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
@Cordless Larry: On the Spanish Wikipedia (which lacks Schooloutcomes) I started es:Liceo Mexicano Japonés and got an AFD: es:Wikipedia:Consultas de borrado/Liceo Mexicano Japonés - it took a lot of effort to keep the article. While it was a Spanish-language article, many of the editors could understand English, but several were doubting possible notability until I got someone at University of Southern California to scan parts of a master's degree thesis which talked about the school. One of the other articles was in Japanese but had an English title/abstract. I have been a longtime editor since 2003 and knew the "process" on how to keep articles; a novice I think would have had much more difficulty, even if he/she spoke Spanish. Also, there was one editor who was trying to force a delete even after I presented source after source after source, and I really, really grew to resent that (and I wasn't the only one who felt that way). I think having SCHOOLOUTCOMES prevents these kinds of scenarios from happening. WhisperToMe (talk) 06:32, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Sandstein and SamWalton. Merely existing should not make a school presumably notable. Blackmane (talk) 03:43, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Conditional support - I would be in favour if the wording included "government accredited secondary schools". It doesn't matter if they are public or private. A stub with the school's name, location, private/public status, and grades accredited sourced to a government website, and an external link to the school's website if any, should be fine. Any promotional stuff or unsourced information can always be removed. About the academic example above: peer-reviewed journal articles have editorial oversight and also are reviewed by several independent experts, so if many of them cite a professor or researcher, that's a very large number of independent writers who agree that his or her ideas are important. —Anne Delong (talk) 03:50, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
That's a good-faith and plausible suggestion, except that in some countries it is not the government that accredits schools. In the United States there are six regional accrediting commissions which evaluate and accredit schools and colleges. Example: the Western Association of Schools and Colleges[1] is the accrediting agency for schools in California, Hawaii, and Guam, as well as foreign schools. I favor saying "accredited" but not "government accredited". --MelanieN (talk) 01:34, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
In general I do agree that secondary schools should be considered notable - but there has to be a limit; if I, as a certified teacher, tutor three secondary students from the local high school in my home in the evenings, is my home a school which should have an article? I'd say it was more of a small business. Many people home-school their own children. Are they notable? "Accredited" doesn't mean anything if it doesn't say by whom; "with government-recognized accreditation" or some similar phrase would be more specific. —Anne Delong (talk) 05:08, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, Considering only those schools taking pupils aged 11+ then the current situation seems to be accepted by most editors if one considers the total number of positive edits to such articles over time. As long as suitable references are available and listed correctly in an article then I prefer to maintain the status quo. I would be particularly concerned if the vote goes to the 'oppose' side that we suddenly find a huge number of deletions occurring. I appreciate that others have discussed this but it is still of concern as most editors will not be aware of this discussion. Paste Let’s have a chat. 15:27, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - While I'm normally in favor of WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES, there's something that's bothered me for years, and as of now I'm not going to give an opinion on this discussion, I have to let this out of my chest. While it's fairly easy for schools in the United States and other Anglophone countries to receive coverage, the same isn't the case in developing countries. For example, in my country (the Philippines), only schools in the major cities tend to get any form of coverage, reliable or otherwise. In the provinces, maybe outside of Facebook, there may be little-to-no online presence for private or even public schools. I think this tends to be the case for schools in other countries as well. This made me think something like "is WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES too Western-centric as its standards are based on Western educational systems?" Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 16:08, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • The supporters of SCHOOLOUTCOMES often argue that it helps counter that bias, Narutolovehinata5, because it means that schools in developing countries are kept even if few online sources exist. Cordless Larry (talk) 16:31, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose And forbid SCHOOLOUTCOMES from being used in AFD discussions while we are about it. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:46, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
Support. The current standard is reasonably efficient, and removing it would result in an inordinate amount of time, energy, and resulting rancor as we debate (likely) hundreds if not thousands of resulting AFDs. This is not to say that carefully tailored exceptions could be carved out of the existing standard. The Big Bad Wolfowitz (aka Hullaballoo). Treated like dirt by many administrators since 2006. (talk) 18:10, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
Please note that the concerns of massive timesinks of AFD noms is a point I tried to address in the section below, namely that we actually should avoid encouraging mass rushes of AFDs of secondary schools and use other processes. It is a very valid concern but we do have policy via WP:FAITACCOMPLI that would prevent that, and we should have a plan going forward if its removed. --MASEM (t) 18:15, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support as this counters the systematic bias that results in non-English speaking areas or developing countries that don't have online sources that can be read by people here. The sources are still likely to exist, even if they are not easily available. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 20:09, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • That's ridiculous. If we do that then we may as well abandon GNG entirely for vast parts of the world, and not merely in the schools topic area. That systemic bias exists may be true but we have to accept that some things (most things!) can't be fixed by WP alone. - Sitush (talk) 22:09, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support although to be liguistically correct, my answer to this excellently neutrally made RfC question Should secondary schools whose existence is verified by reliable, independent sources be presumed to be notable? should be Yes. Not only through the already tacit consensus as evidenced by thousands of AfD closures resulting in keep but also based on the arguments above in favour of maintaining the status quo, while pointing out for those providing inaccurate reasons to oppose, that OUTCOMES is neither a policy, nor a guideline, nor technically even an essay or opinion piece - it simply accurately documents a set of clearly evident long-time Wikipedia behaviours, and as such is indeed an acceptable a short cut to the rationale it represents without voters at AfD having to post a list of several hundred or a thousand examples. Not without reason either did the community reach a well established consensus that school articles may not be tagged for deletion per A7, and it was a Wikipedia founder's express opinion that high schools should be considered notable. Naturally G11 and G12 and other criteria remain valid in appropriate cases and should generally be rigorously applied if editing cannot resolve the issues. School articles are not exempt from PROD and where most school articles are made by SPA, deletion by PROD makes AfD unnecessary.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 21:10, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I wasn't aware that Jimbo set policy or guidelines, and his opinion is of no more weight than mine or yours. Times change, and that OUTCOMES has become a self-fulfilling essay is all the more reason why we need to revisit it and address the underlying shortcomings that are now apparent and which make it problematic. - Sitush (talk) 22:13, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Thanks for your comment about the "support" versus "yes" wording, Kudpung. I see this as more about yes/no than support/oppose too. Cordless Larry (talk) 22:21, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • It shoudl be noted that Jimmy Wales' comment about schools was in the very early days of the project, after which we have actually developed the notability guidelines that hold us to higher standards, so resting too much on Wales' comment doesn't reflect the changing consensus. Comparing schools to Pokemon characters is definitely apples-to-oranges, but at one point we did have articles for each Pokemon but since have developed a WP:POKEMON test to follow notability practices. There is no reason we could now do the same with schools. (And I would expect that if SCHOOLOUTCOMES is nixed, that we would have to re-examine CSD criteria for schools) --MASEM (t) 23:42, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Just like every other institution, a school-article should prove their notability, not their existence. And it should prove it with sources IN the article, not by assuming/gambling that sources exist. Schooloutcomes is one of the many locally (i.e. WikiProjects) invented excuses to circumvent the common rules for notability. The Banner talk 23:54, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Following Graeme Bartlett line of thinking. I am though uncomfortable with making a definite statement on whether all schools in the 11 to 18 bracket should be considered notable but the alternative is far worse. Firstly, the current obsession with just testing against online sources, skews the debate in favour of a small number of geographic areas, and secondly while my personal POVs against non-state funded 'dame schools', crammers and grooming parlours does not mean that we should exclude coverage. But thirdly, the thought of nights of detailed arguments about whether a vanity funded academy is merely commercial placement or does have some notability.. doesn't bare thinking. --ClemRutter (talk) 01:18, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I have always supported this tradition for multiple reasons, most of which have been articulated already. It recognizes that high schools and colleges virtually always receive coverage (and if it's purely local, what's wrong with that?). It saves enormous amounts of quibbling over what sources are acceptable and what aren't (if most of the coverage is about the football team, does that count?). It avoids systemic bias, as noted already by many (sure, American schools can always cite online references in English, but how many other countries can say the same?). To me it is like the SPORTS notability guidelines: if a person has played in a fully professional league, they get an article, no quibbling, no agonizing - because such players have virtually always received coverage, and with the guideline it isn't a matter of debate in each and every instance. BTW my understanding is that this guideline applies to "diploma-granting and degree-granting institutions", not just schools for ages 11 and up - thus ruling out middle schools, trade schools, etc. I would support adding "accredited" to the guideline, although it may not always be possible to provide a link to the accrediting agency and I would not require that. --MelanieN (talk) 01:44, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support status quo Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:58, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support If people would really like to double the amount of work at AfD, then a good way of doing it is to remove the practice of treating secondary schools as if they were notable. The practice that we do so is not an attack on the fundamental principle of WP:N or the GNG, but a question of convenience. In that connection, I have to mention the other half of the compromise : not usually treating elementary schools as notable. Before we had the compromise, I and others were quite willing to argue for their inclusion. Some of the arguments were successful, and I have a few hundred US primary schools in mind for which I could realistically try to write articles. The results will, as usual at AfD, depend on who shows up to discuss, as much as on the merits of the article. DGG ( talk ) 05:12, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. I'm a long-term supporter of this rule for the reasons elucidated here. -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:40, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support this seems to be the way the community generally regards the notability of schools so it it is appropriate to confirm the situation. Thincat (talk) 16:11, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose schools shouldn't get an automatic free pass at AFD, and merely being mentioned in secondary sources isn't good enough to warrant an article. Actual depth to coverage in such sources is also a must. We shouldn't ignore any instance were WP:GNG isn't met. In all honesty, this is why the mentioned bit above from WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES is fucking bullshit. I also concur with Sandstein, Masem, The Banner, Jonesey95, and Czar. Snuggums (talk / edits) 20:32, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support with hesitation, because I've sounded off in the past about the lamentable quality of many school articles, which are often the last ones we would pick as models or training grounds for budding new editors. So I'm more bothered about what's in these articles than whether they exist at all. I hear those who are unwilling to make further exceptions to the GNG, but the fact is that with schools that bird has flown, long ago, and I can swallow a special status for schools similar to that for villages or pro footballers. The hope would be that once this special status is recognised and regularised, editors would be more willing to bring the articles up to standard. This means: trim promotion and non-neutral prose, trim excessive, trivial and evanescent detail, look for whatever useful information can be found in independent reliable sources, and watch out for those vandals: Noyster (talk), 01:04, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose any form of "inherent notability" for anything. Notability comes from being noted, no more, no less. Schools are long overdue for a cleanup, and in practice, many of them are not notable. There are certain cases where we really can presume every single example of something to be notable (US presidents, chemical elements), but it doesn't hold true with schools. Some are notable, some not. Seraphimblade Talk to me 01:42, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - not wanting to repeat what's already been said: briefly, I think the trade-off here between WP:SYSTEMICBIAS and GNG is acceptable. Eustachiusz (talk) 03:49, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The GNG would be a much better tool for determining secondary school notability. I really never understood why secondary schools were given a free notability pass to begin with. If they can't meet the GNG, I don't understand how we could hope to write a balanced, encyclopedic article about the school. Wikipedia isn't a simple directory, after all. Kaldari (talk) 07:10, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support maintaining the status quo. We have had a compromise here for years: verified public and sizeable private and parochial high schools are routinely kept, while primary schools are routinely redirected to their school district or city unless solid evidence is provided to warrant keeping a standalone article. This has worked well for years, while saving us from many endless re-debates about the arcane subtleties of Wikipedian terms of art. "Notability" is not a goal in itself but a linguistic device for discussing whether something will improve the encyclopedia. I acknowledge that the boundaries have been tested and stressed by promotional, COI-driven articles about for-profit schools and a more focused discussion about best practices for handling those promotional articles may be in order. The rest are something we should keep and cultivate. The encyclopedia would certainly not be improved by delegitimizing the high school articles we have. This large category of existing articles is a positive not only for the readily-organized information the articles provide to readers and contributors, but also for its developmental benefits to the project: they are a strong component of the deep, worldwide, gazeteer-like coverage that is one of Wikipedia's best features and aspirations, and as PamD noted above they also provide a means of entry and connection to the project for many new editors. --Arxiloxos (talk) 01:06, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support the status quo. In its absence we will be flooded with malicious AfDs, and waste far, far more of editors time. We need more "automatic" notability decisions not less. Every silly fight that can be avoided makes the community look less .... silly. Jacona (talk) 01:12, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support keeping all secondary school articles for now. We might need to figure out a more nuanced solution for certain parts of the world where very limited verifiable information about schools is available. But I would certainly oppose a change to this rule, at least for developed Anglophone countries, where there is usually plenty of verifiable information about schools. I think further discussion about how to handle the different scenarios in different countries, culminating in an agreed subject-specific notability guideline, would be more productive than an all-or-nothing !vote. — This, that and the other (talk) 01:28, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support the status quo - While in theory WP:GNG should be applied to most subjects, User:TheCatalyst31 brings up a great point in how AFDs get difficult. Many people are not so educated, and they may not have time/money to comb through sources all the time. People get grudges if their content is deleted; nobody likes to work hard on something and see their work vanish. Even if the content is not well sourced or not notable, people feel that Wikipedia's not living up to the "Encyclopedia anyone can edit". Of course we shouldn't allow blatant promotionalism (especially from for-profit companies) and some subjects are just not encyclopedic. However as stated on the AFD of the British International School Lagos it often is possible to get info on schools, especially state-run ones. Maybe a better idea is to publish a guide on how to source info for schools in X country, how to find libraries, etc. Make a guide for high school students (the people who we need to recruit as editors, and in fact much of my editing is done for this purpose!) on how to write about their school: How to get sources, what style they should use, etc. I'm happy to start it myself, and for North American students, add how to use boundary maps to determine which communities serve their public schools. WhisperToMe (talk) 09:14, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Undecided – Of note is that per WP:FIVEPILLARS, Wikipedia functions in part as a gazetteer, and some gazetteers have historically included content about schools in them, such as in Chinese, Indian and Korean ones, among others (see the Wikipedia gazetteer article for more information and sources). For example, the Gazetteer of the Nellore District published by the Government of Madras in 1942 includes content about secondary schools and middle schools (see Google Books preview example, scroll down on page). The World-wide Encyclopedia and Gazetteer published by the Christian Herald in 1899 contains content about secondary schools (see example, pp. 1042–1043). Another example is the Alexandria Digital Library Gazetteer Content Standard (link), which includes schools in its formulation. More examples in addition to these are available in online searches.
Per the five pillars and Wikipedia's partial functionality as a gazetteer, it would be aligned with Wikipedia's core purposes to consider developing a guideline for secondary schools that are verifiable but otherwise not correspondent with notability guidelines to be merged into articles about the school district authorities that manage the schools, or to the city/town/village articles where they are located. Another idea is to merge such articles into lists of schools per geographical region, such as by county. Such recommendation could be added to WP:NSCHOOL if a consensus to do so were to occur. This would serve to improve the encyclopedia, and is also functionally correspondent with WP:ATD-M. North America1000 09:29, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
I am aware that primary and middle schools that don't meet WP:GNG already are supposed to redirect to their school district and/or a daughter article listing schools in that school district (for U.S. and Canada public schools), or to the locality (for schools outside of the U.S. and Canada and private schools) WhisperToMe (talk) 13:05, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
The problem with using the Gazetteer aspect is that this is only being applied to schools, and secondary schools at that. The argument if you want to got the gazeteer route is then we should be doing not only secondary schools, but also primary schools, government buildings (town halls, police + fire departments), parks and other similar areas, and potentially other features like churches. That line of logic gets very hairy very fast, for an encyclopedia. (If we were just indexing places and coordinates, as it what a gazetteer primarily does, this wouldn't be a problem, but we want more content than just name and coordinates). Practically, our implementation of being a gazetteer gets to the resolution of towns and villages and geographical landmarks recognized by an appropriate governing agency; anything more detailed than that falls outside of what we consider to be our gazetteer function. --MASEM (t) 17:28, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
My proposal above is only based upon secondary schools, not all those other topics. North America1000 18:02, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
And my counterpoint is that while the logic works for secondary schools, there are buildings/facilities that are as equally important if not moreso than schools that would also fall under the gazetteer logic that we should track, but we don't. --MASEM (t) 18:30, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose SCHOOLOUTCOMES must die! It may have been usefull way back in the infancy of WP, but the way it is commonly applied these days has several negative consequences:
    • It privileges first-world, and more specifically American, high schools. This is a consequence of the (practically) unique obsession with school sport in American society. The smallest "Anytown High" is practically guaranteed regular coverage in the "Anytown Gazette" reporting on the appointment of the new basketball coach or the progress of the school baseball team in the state championship (even if they are ranked 236 out of 242). Contrast that with the situation in many other countries where even the barest hint of proof of existence can be hard to find - and then often only in the local language in a list on an obscure government website or a mention in a report or policy document. Thus it actually exacerbates the systemic bias of en.WP.
    • It is used as a weapon to summarily shut down anyone daring to question the existence of any high school article, regardless of the quality of the article or the merits of the argument. This is often counter to WP:BITE and WP:RETENTION of editors, particularly the scarce ones from underrepresented countries and demographics.
    • An SNG creates a presumption of notability, not the fact of notability. Any presumption that is not suceptible to testing and consequent possibility of rebuttal is not really a presumption at all. SCHOOLOUTCOMES is often used to basically forbid any testing of the presumption. Countless speedy deletions are rejected and AFDs are summarily closed citing it - a rather bizarre argument from authority. SCHOOLOUTCOMES thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - "high schools are notable because high schools are notable". Educational institutions currently protected by SCHOOLOUTCOMES should actually be subject to the much fairer (and testable) WP:ORG standard. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 13:38, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
SCHOOLOUTCOMES isn't a policy or guideline. It's a representation of fact. It won't die until the facts change and more editors !vote to delete or merge. CalzGuy (talk) 13:56, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
You're missing the point that it is used to actually prevent such !votes from happening, it has effectively shut down the debate. Like a dictator who was properly elected 20 years ago, who abuses his incumbency to prevent any subsequent elections that may unseat him. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 14:22, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
An essay has no power to prevent an AfD taking place. In fact, if you want an AfD to take place no one can stop you. What SCHOOLOUTCOMES does is to suggest beforehand that actually it's a pointless exercise. But if you want to plough that pointless furrow, no one here can stop you. But a lot of us may just step in and !vote to keep, and in doing so will sort of prove the point. So how would SCHOOLOUTCOMES "die" in any case? CalzGuy (talk) 15:40, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
You are proving the point about the problem of SCHOOLOUTCOMES with regards to secondary schools. It cannot be used to say "an AFD on a secondary school will be useless" and thus prevent anyone from filing an AFD. It cannot be used in an AFD to say "well, SCHOOLOUTCOMES says we don't delete schools, so this can't be deleted" (which happens all too much). The problem of SCHOOLOUTCOMES is that it is a leftover of pre-notability periods on WP. If it was being used properly, then at AFD on a secondary school, people would !vote keep by showing there are some secondary sources about the school (even if not perfectly at GNG-type levels, enough to give presumption of notability), or otherwise delete/merge/etc. Then, if it was the case that the near majority of such AFDs that "keep" was the most common result, then SCHOOLOUTCOMES would make sense. But that's not how it is developed or used anymore - its the catch-22 self-fulfilling cycle that is getting worse. --MASEM (t) 16:09, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
Continuing the above thread: It is trivial to find concrete examples of SCHOOLOUTCOMES being used to shut down discussion. See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Benicia High School, for example. SCHOOLOUTCOMES is specifically cited as the reason to keep the nominated article, completely shutting down discussion and effectively preventing secondary schools from being nominated for deletion. That is why this RFC is happening. More examples: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Carman-Ainsworth High School, where there are many links to guidelines and policies, and all discussion is preempted by SCHOOLOUTCOMES; another good discussion is at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Tenby International School, Penang (2nd nomination). I suggest that regardless of the outcome of this discussion, we should create or change a guideline around notability of secondary schools. The current situation is not tenable. – Jonesey95 (talk) 16:18, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
CalzGuy, your first point has it exactly backwards. If we repeal SCHOOLOUTCOMES and return to a pure GNG standard, the systemic bias here will become much worse. As you point out, schools in America and other English-speaking countries do tend to have easily-findable coverage and are thus much more likely to have articles. Schools in less-developed or non-English speaking countries are much less likely to have such coverage and will get deleted or never accepted in the first place. One of the main benefits of SCHOOLOUTCOMES is that it helps to mitigate our bias against material from less developed and non-English speaking countries. (It does not eliminate it entirely because we still need confirmation that the school exists and is a secondary school.) --MelanieN (talk) 19:01, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
Except part of that systematic bias is that these secondary school articles often weigh heavily on the use of local sources to support notability, which isn't really in the spirit of notability on a global encyclopedia. Local papers covering local schools lack true independence we want for notability sourcing (these can be used to augment that, however!) If AFDs were done in absence of SCHOOLOUTCOMES and considered the type of coverage these Western schools were getting, most of these would still be deleted because of that local coverage, which is a different way to approach fixing that systematic bias while meeting the notability guidelines we expect for any other topic. We need to bite the bullet and accept this is the case though. --MASEM (t) 19:08, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
I intentionally add "local" content to Wikipedia because people care about their hometowns and want to introduce them to the world. It's a motive for editing Wikipedia that can be used to recruit people. WhisperToMe (talk) 20:09, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
While is one very very fragile step away from COI editing. There's a level of resolution we want to keep to avoid extremely localized topic for this reason. Articles on towns are good collectors for such information because that also fits our gazetteer function well. --MASEM (t) 20:17, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
@Masem: I think the public understands the natural desire for one to write about their hometown/what they like. Where COI is worrisome IMO is if it's a for-profit company (especially if they're paying you), or a BLP case, or a case where someone's sole goal is to make a topic look good. We need to give into inclinations of "I like this, so I'll write about it" without allowing it to go too far, or allowing for profit/professional PR motives/BLP issues from becoming a problem. If it's a teenager writing on Wikipedia for the first time just adding info about a hometown he cares about deeply, just give him a heads up on how to write objectively about where he's from, but if it's somebody working for a company doing PR ask them to do edit requests and not touch the article directly. @Masem: WhisperToMe (talk) 20:50, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
@Dodger67: I think that SCHOOLOUTCOMES actually makes it easier to write articles about schools in the developing world. In the U.S. it's easier to find secondary sources about U.S., Canadian, European, etc. high schools, and it's easier to find sources on them in English. If you're writing about a Japanese high school you may encounter a language barrier. If you're writing about an Ivorian high school, you may find evidence that it exists on a government website, or on the AEFE (if a French international school) or ZaF (if a German international school), but it may be harder finding secondary source info directly on the web. SCHOOLOUTCOMES treats all senior high schools equally.
I held a Wikimedia workshop at a Chinese university where I asked students to write about their high schools. I told them "why not check the newspapers for info on them" and they said they didn't think the newspapers had any info on their high schools. In my hometown the Houston Chronicle covers high school info regularly (and I'm not including routine coverage).
WhisperToMe (talk) 20:09, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
Dodger67 - You have managed to get this 100% backwards. Schools in the English-speaking industrial world are virtually 100% guaranteed to pass GNG and articles on them will not be challenged. The effect on the stubby articles dealing with schools in the developing world will be immediate and massive — and guess what: nobody is gonna come to their aid. You have just made the opposite case, you need to either flip your opinion from oppose to support or to get real about what the impact is gonna be. Carrite (talk) 14:42, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Carrite I'm not at all convinced that most English-speaking industrial world high schools could genuinely pass WP:ORG or WP:GNG. The articles about the vast majority of such schools depend on a combination of firstly routine coverage of the "it exists" variety, such as government reports and database-like records such as proof of accreditation, and secondly mere local coverage in the form of local news media reporting on the school's basketball team, new principal, etc. If school articles did not have this "special protection" they have enjoyed over so many years we would have far fewer articles, even about American high schools. Now take the counter-example of Indian villages. Clusters of nearby villages tend to have a shared local authority for various purposes such as a clinic, post office, police station and other government services which may also include a small high school. The cluster of villages would also contain one or more temples. An article about the temple has very little chance of getting created, but if it does get written, it invariably gets deleted fairly quickly as not notable. However the article about the school, which arguably is just as significant to the community as the temple (or clinic), and based on essentially the same sources as the temple article, is permanently exempted from deletion by SCHOOLOUTCOMES. In my country, South Africa (which has a very well developed media sector, as large and active as many "first world" countries) I guesstimate that perhaps only about one hundred schools could genuinely pass WP:CORP or WP:GNG, and IMHO that's perfectly ok, because Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. -- Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 16:30, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Pretty sure that WP:INDISCRIMINATE is about what kind of information - and more pointedly, the format thereof - we collect and not about which topics are or are not covered. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 17:08, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Jo-Jo Eumerus If all one can properly source about a school is that it exists then the article about it is effectively a "listing", WP:NOTDIRECTORY is a better fit, you are correct. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 18:43, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support This is a tried-and-true rule of thumb that has worked effectively for the past decade, and works as well as the presumed notability for professional athletes and politicians. Rather than fight these battles one at a time, with the vultures trying to find a weak link to justify deletion of any all such articles, the presumption of notability allows these articles time to grow organically and have the available sources added. Alansohn (talk) 17:50, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
    • This is not true. Athletes and politicians have subject-specific notability guidelines that say if certain aspects are met, there is a strong likelihood that secondary sources can be found and thus we can presume notability via the GNG can eventually be met. That's not what we have with schools. Secondary schools have yet to be proven that if the school is accredited that secondary sources will exist to discuss the school within the scope of the GNG. Some do, some don't, but not with the high frequency that happens with athletes and politicians meeting NSPORTS or BIO. Even those that have been shown to have some type of secondary sources is generally based only on local sources, which begs issues of true independent sourcing (another GNG requirements). --MASEM (t) 17:58, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
      • @Masem: according to Wikipedia:Notability_(sports)#Basic_criteria there is presumed notability if the athlete "participated in a major international amateur or professional competition at the highest level (such as the Olympics)." which is what User:Alansohn is referring to WhisperToMe (talk) 20:11, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
        • Right: the logic behind that is that if someone has played at something like the Olympics, that there will very highly likely be sourcing about that athlete - most likely in the country's regional media - highlighting their career just prior for them leaving to the event. In other words, there's a good chance of getting this secondary sources (required by the GNG) because of this bar. All other subject-specific notability guidelines work on the same principle - they offer means of presuming notability in lieu of having immediate access to the sources that would certainly follow the conditions noted in the subject-specific guideline. This is not the case for secondary schools. --MASEM (t) 20:17, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
          • I think part of the reason why SCHOOLOUTCOMES was decided was that, in editing North American, Australasian, and European senior high schools, it was quite common to find non-routine independent secondary sources about them while less so for primary and junior high schools. As an editor of Houston articles I'd say it's not difficult to find secondary sources about most Houston high schools. The holy trinity of the Houston Chronicle, Houston Business Journal, and the Houston Press have given me info on Houston schools and neighborhoods. It's to the point where I could start articles on Houston schools on the Spanish Wikipedia, which does not have SCHOOLOUTCOMES (and for awhile was quite resistant to school articles). Also note most high schools in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, etc.) are government schools too, so it's not so much of a change. Now that South Asian schools are coming in, Wikipedia's confronted with a different set of rules.
          • One other reason why I like WP:COMMOUTCOMES for schools is that I know newspapers are generally only digitized until the 80s or 90s, and that means lots of articles that could help notability just aren't online.
          • @Masem: WhisperToMe (talk) 21:00, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
            • This is where two key issues exist in this debate:
            • First, we in the west do have these plethra of sources like local papers to cover schools. That level of coverage doesn't exist in many places in Asia, Africa, and South America, which is the systematic bias that we talk about.
            • Second, where there is this type of coverage, a (otherwise reliable for anything else) Houston paper reporting on a Houston school is begging the question if that is truly an independent source required by the GNG. If it were a Dallas paper, or a New York paper, far outside the school's region, that's different and would be sufficiently independent. But at the city level, that's different. Add in that the bulk of such coverage is usually either sports-related (inter-school sports), or related to "news" items like school levies, teacher strikes, or other things that would fail NEVENT, and this type of coverage is not sufficient for an encyclopedia beyond proving the school exists. If we drew that line in the sand as to distinguish notable schools, then we also address the systematic bias issue at the same time (though we'd still likely have more Western secondary schools as notable ones than others, but we'd not be including every secondary school). --MASEM (t) 22:09, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
              • 1. Yes, that's right. The systemic bias issue does affect schools coming from those regions. I think the current COMMONOUTCOMES then is a sort of protection for those schools since it allows those which verifiably exist to be kept despite not having immediate access to reliable secondary sources about the said school in English. A newspaper in Lagos may not be counted on to digitize their stuff like the Houston Chronicle.
              • 2. Usually the newspapers can be counted on being "independent" as the district staff don't own the paper and can't control it. There was a case where Seguin ISD tried to buy a radio station and newspaper which criticized it (and this is in a town way smaller than Houston), and obviously it led to an outcry. Anyway I count "routine" sports events (such as typical games) as routine news, while anything about a "first" (like first head coach, first ever playoff) would not be. Some events such as scheduled elections, "so-and-so was caught with weapons" (with no lasting effect on the school's operations), etc. would be typical news, while a strike that causes people to question whether the district is performing well would not be. For example I would not treat the information on a shooting at North Forest High School as "routine" since when it happened, the school extended the hours of its metal detectors.
                • An example of a "typical" school article with "local" sources I used: Cypress Park High School or Bridgeland High School which talk about the schools' openings and establishments, while Lamar High School (Houston) has a variety of sources and source types and in-depth commentary on demographic changes. Lamar already has a Spanish version, while I hope to establish both Cypress Park and Bridgeland in Spanish soon.
              • 3. I know there are countries with smaller populations than, say, U.S. metro areas like Greater Houston (at 6 million), and one thing I dislike about the French Wikipedia's "only national sources can confer notability" is that it causes a loss of information about communities in larger countries (like the U.S. or China) while smaller countries (like Djibouti, Malta) would get a pass.
              • WhisperToMe (talk) 01:57, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
                • Independence is not always measured by financial motives, although that's the easiest way to identify a dependency problem. To apply this to another type of article, in large cities, restaurants get frequently reviewed by local publications, but we do not consider those as signs of notability for the restaurant, because this is the function of the local paper to cover a local restaurant, thus creating a dependency problem. Same thing with secondary schools. And also why the problem is less an issue with universities and colleges that rarely serve just a single city or town. The Cypress Park is a poor encyclopedic article because it does not establish any notability within the scope of a global encyclopedia that cannot be readily covered in the town's article (details about population or current athletics are absolutely unnecessary , for example), as all the sourcing is local. And unfortunately this is the typical state of most America secondary school articles. That's why this is all a problem. --MASEM (t) 02:25, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
                  • While I am aware independence is not always measured by financial motives, being local doesn't necessarily mean that the article cannot be "independent" of the subject. Even though a newspaper is asked to review a restaurant, it doesn't mean it's going to be a good review. Seguin ISD demonstrates that local media can be adversarial and ruckmacking just like their "national"/"global" counterparts. Also, in this AFD: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/In the Sea of Sterile Mountains: The Chinese in British Columbia an editor made it clear that "independent of the subject" means that the people writing a review of an academic book need to be independent of the work/author(s) itself/themselves. I think a better reason why Wikipedia should not cover a "local restaurant" in most metro areas (exception may be a restaurant that gets a variety of reviews/coverage from a large number of sources, which only happens in major metro areas like New York, Tokyo, Paris, etc. - and because of, for example, the Houston area's size, there's momentum to write about "local" that wouldn't have momentum in smaller places) is "lack of non-trivial coverage" as usually the restaurants only get occasional reviews. Remember it's also the job of local newspapers to write what's going on in small incorporated places that automatically get kept as per gazeteer notability processes.
                  • See Cypress Park as an example of an article that is just born... something that has the potential to grow as time passes and as things change. Lamar High has been open since the 1930s and the mass number of changes have been well documented. AFAIK it's the rule, not the exception, that inner city schools that have existed for a long time can have detailed, developed information written about them. Massive demographic changes happen to suburban schools as they age: I know Spring ISD (in particular Westfield High School and Spring High School in particular) has had massive changes, and as time passes it will become easier and easier to write well-sourced information on how those changes have affected the schools.
                  • One thing I'd like to say is that being able to cover my hometown was one of the reasons why I became heavily involved on Wikipedia. Being able to write about the local cuisine, the culture (ethnic groups, religion, etc.), the neighborhoods (many sourced from the Houston Chronicle), and yes, the schools was something important to me. Once Houston topics became largely exhausted I turned to other metro areas: Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit, Paris, etc. and built up their local too: schools, ethnic groups, religion, culture, etc. I also created large numbers of international school articles to encourage participation from developing countries. The idea of writing about local is something that can still pull in editors; when I talk to Chinese college students about Wikipedia, I tell them that it's a place where they can write about their hometowns: the local food, the culture, the schools, etc. A new generation of teenagers from China, India, etc. can do what North American, European, and Australasian teens, like myself, did a decade ago.
                  • While Wikipedia's goal is to be global, most people really care about their local. To remain vibrant and active, Wikipedia needs to encourage people, within reason, to write about the local, but teach them how to do it right. The local is like a puzzle piece, and all the locals add up to a unified global, the sum of the whole.
                  • WhisperToMe (talk) 05:26, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
                  • One other thing. Re: "details about population or current athletics are absolutely unnecessary , for example" - I strongly disagree on the first count, and disagree on the second to a degree.
                  • 1. As we see from Lamar High School (Houston) and Woodrow Wilson High School (Dallas) demographic changes and information can be of great interest to statewide and national publications. In a day or so I'll add info about Muslim and Arab students to Fordson High School as that topic is covered heavily by RSes.
                  • 2. In the United States athletics is a considered to be an important aspect of school, especially in the rural South. There are voices who believe it's too strongly emphasized, but it's a fact of life. However what needs to happen is this: kids should avoid routine coverage and focus on what's not-so-routine. Perhaps milestones in the schools' performances in statewide competitions? Maybe see if newspapers from outside the metro area talk about the sports team.
                  • WhisperToMe (talk) 00:26, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
                    • What you are showing above is the issue of the systematic bias of the West, and perhaps more to the US. The US has multi-tier administration over schooling, and everything is being tracked at national and state levels (in part of trends like No Child Left Behind). Schools are important to local communities, and covered heavily in local papers. That situation does not exist anywhere else in the world - you'll get close in places like Europe, Japan, and other highly urbanized areas. Other countries lack any formal system, and where literacy is already poor, there's little coverage of the school. It's great we can document some of these US schools to this level of detail but a lot of it still comes down to local sources and databases (primary sources). If there was clear evidence we could that nearly equally for any secondary school around the world, that would be great, but that simply can't be done, in a manner that would meet WP:V. BIAS suggests not presuming all other schools are notable, but instead not given excessive coverage to those schools where lots of information could be found. Remember: we still have articles on every town and village in the world, and the argument that editors from their towns will be drawn to WP to edit about where they live still holds true with these articles, but its much easier to verify named places rather than specific schools at those places. --MASEM (t) 15:27, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
                      • @Masem: While it may be difficult/impossible for some regions/countries, I think the best way to get around "systemic bias" in this scenario is to ask editors of each language background/region how to find sources on a particular school in their language(s). I got assistance from FRwiki editors in writing Lycee Alfred Nobel (a school in the Paris area serving North African immigrant students), and Chinese sources in particular may have written info on particular high schools (though I don't know to what degree). I got help from editors of various countries to write Liceo Mexicano Japones (a private school in Mexico City serving Mexican students of Japanese heritage and Japanese nationals).
                      • Schools in urban areas of third world countries are more likely to get coverage than say in rural areas: getting info on a school in Nairobi is easier than doing so for one in the sticks. This is especially so if they are "international schools" affiliated with a foreign educational system. Some countries have formal networks/systems: AEFE of France, ZfA (I think) of Germany, and the Japanese Ministry of Education (for Japanese overseas schools). Last summer I wrote a series of "international school" templates and articles as a way of getting around systemic bias. That way every country has schools represented on Wikipedia.
                      • WhisperToMe (talk) 12:38, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
                        • France is not a problem country here; it is sufficiently urbanized to have well documented info on its schools. I'd except the same for North American or Western Europe nation where the degree of urbanization is high. It's places like China, Brazil, and India. And we've had editors from those areas try to find sources and they can't for secondary schools. That's always going to be the rub on schools in that you'll very much unlikely find significant details on schools from these regions, and thus would not be covered on WP. Since we can't make up sources to cover these, WP:BIAS suggests we should be much more discriminate on including other secondary schools. --MASEM (t) 14:51, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
                          • I would be interested in reading the discussions from those cases in China, Brazil, and India. Speaking of that, I found I was able to get sources for Lekki British School from Nigerian newspapers online, but I can imagine it's because the school's in Lagos. WhisperToMe (talk) 15:49, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Partial Support There are a small number of secondary schools that quite clearly meet notability requirements due to some unusual aspect of the school, whether that be historical/architectural significance, or just simple prestige. However, most of the secondary schools with articles on Wikipedia are more ordinary. I strongly believe that many of these "ordinary" schools nonetheless deserve an article due to their strong impact on their local communities and surrounding area, and the fact that many of them have enough coverage to write a quality article. This is demonstrated by the article on Amador Valley High School (which is a featured article about a rather run of the mill American high school) as well as by many of the 18 or so good articles on high schools listed at Wikipedia:Good articles/Social sciences and society. While I support the presumption of notability for many secondary schools, I believe that the requirements for assuming notability should be higher than simply proving that a secondary school exists. Preferably, I'd like to see a set of criteria that needs to be met before notability is assumed, sort of like what we do with athletes, songs, actors, films, ect. Spirit of Eagle (talk) 06:45, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support of course. All (okay, maybe 99.95%) of secondary schools in the US have plenty of coverage. I imagine the same is true in most developed nations. The main issue is when we can't find sources in less developed nations. And that provides bias issues and all sorts of other problems. Also, frankly, this is a reasonable thing for Wikipedia to cover. Finally, I really don't want to start hearing arguments that "this is just the kind of coverage any school would get" which I'm sure we'd start to see. Hobit (talk) 04:01, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose any category of articles being automatically notable. Beeblebrox (talk) 04:27, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Could you explain why? Hobit (talk) 15:31, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
      • I'd oppose inherent notability too, which we don't have on Wikipedia. We do have the presumption of notability, which means that for certain classes of articles, we presume them notable once certain standards are met. This can be argued against. As I have said in the past, I would very much argue against what in the US is called a homeschool group or homeschool academy that prepares kids for a high school diploma being considered notable. I'd also argue against many for-profit schools or possibly against some US charter schools depending on the nature of the organization and its role in the community. The presumption of notability just means that those !voting delete would have a heavier burden, and since notability is not a policy, its a guideline, consensus would be able to determine the cases where exceptions to the general norm do exist and where an article should be deleted. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:03, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
        • @TonyBallioni: Some categories of articles do have "presumed notability" - for example if they are legally recognized, "Populated, legally recognized places are typically presumed to be notable, even if their population is very low." Wikipedia:Notability_(geographic_features) - Under current SCHOOLOUTCOMES you can still argue against, say, homeschooling groups (say "typical public high schools are protected by SCHOOLOUTCOMES but...) WhisperToMe (talk) 12:47, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
          • There is a critical difference between "inherited notability" and "presumed notability". The latter means that we are going to work on the presumption that the topic is notable enough for a standalone article but that can be challenged in the future if there is a reasonable case put forward that our presumption was wrong (in that no sourcing actually exists); this means someone would have to demonstrate their case along the lines of doing the legwork discussed in WP:BEFORE to show the presumption wrong. Inherited notability simply means that we would accept the notability of a topic due to its connection to a different topic, and that inherited notability thus can't be challenged. We don't do that at all, every topic has to stand up in its own. --MASEM (t) 14:48, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
            • I'm not sure I understand. We don't use inherited notability for secondary schools do we? I think Masem misread "inherent" as "inherited". EyeTripleE (talk) 21:23, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. One of the problems with "presumed notability" is that people here on Wikipedia attach different meanings to the term. To some, it means "automatic" or "inherent" notability, for which the general notability guidelines do not come into play. To others, it is simply shorthand for "it is reasonable to presume that the subject has received substantial coverage in multiple reliable sources, even if no one here on Wikipedia has uncovered them yet". As I look through the many opinions that precede mine in this discussion, I see that most of them reflect one or the other of these two very different notions. As for me, I'm inclined to view this question from a more practical perspective. Consider this listing from a reliable government source here. Does this single web page really provide the basis for 260 separate stand-alone articles, each of them consisting of the single sentence "{NAME OF SCHOOL] is a higher secondary school in the Malappuram district of Kerala, India" ? And that page is merely a subpage on the site shown here. Looking through the lists for each of the districts in Kerala (scroll down the page for the lists), you'll find that there are more than 2,000 such schools in Kerala, all of them source-able to this one site. Do all 2,000 get stand-alone articles? And considering that Kerala has about one-fortieth of India's population, are we prepared for 80,000 such articles? And considering that India has about one-sixth of the world's population, are we willing to have something on the order of half a million such articles? To me, that's just too large a number, hence my "Oppose" recommendation. NewYorkActuary (talk) 00:49, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Eh, that's probably less than the number of towns in the world ([2]) and those are all notable... Hobit (talk) 04:57, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. I have just arrived here, and this is a lengthy discussion. Before I peruse it, I want to jot down a few initial thoughts. On the one hand, WP:ORG is exceedingly clear that No company or organization is considered inherently notable. No organization is exempt from this requirement, no matter what kind of organization it is, including schools. On the other hand, I have encountered AfDs where the participants almost blindly write "keep" comments about secondary schools, seemingly as if they were inherently notable. At some point, I remember making such !votes myself. I understand the argument that secondary schools are significant in their local communities and produce coverage that way, and I understand that this coverage can be especially difficult to find when the school is located in non-English-speaking countries (Wikipedia:Systemic bias). Nevertheless, I have tended to wish that there was more focus on evidence of coverage at these kinds of deletion discussions, rather than a blanket presumption that secondary schools are generally notable. Mz7 (talk) 05:37, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- Per Masem and just about every other opposition above. Additionally, we are not here to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS--notably, that of systemic bias of coverage of topics not in English. (That is not to say that we should not work to decrease it, but that it is not our purpose, which is to write an encyclopedia in English of topics which are notable.) --Izno (talk) 13:13, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose- There is not any such thing as inherent notability. It's not enough to merely verify that something exists, there has to be enough coverage to actually fill an article. Otherwise, we end up with an endless profusion of contentless microstubs. Reyk YO! 14:08, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Schools in English-speaking countries such as the UK are subject to independent inspection and testing. This provides a good body of source material and so we may safely presume that there's an adequate basis for coverage here. Andrew D. (talk) 13:28, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Partly per Sandstein and partly per those who say some version of no inherent (or presumption of) notability.--Bbb23 (talk) 15:05, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose along with some history: In many countries, such as the United States, almost all schools that have the "highest grade" of secondary education would easily meet WP:Notability if only someone would bother to do the research. It's ridiculous to delete such articles simply because those who would have the time or interest to update the article happen to miss the AFD. However, that is not true for all schools. Some special-purpose schools, such as "special discipline" high schools or "alternative education/self-paced" high schools in the United States typically lack sports teams, bands, and other things that generate the coverage needed to meet WP:Notability. If I see an article about such a school and I can't find enough in a Google search to show that it meets WP:N, I may send it to AfD and recommend it be merged into the parent-school-district article. I would expect such an AfD to succeed. Likewise, in countries where typical "high schools" do NOT receive enough press coverage to meet WP:N, they should not have stand-alone articles. The bottom line: If a school is likely to meet WP:N due to the type of school it is (e.g. academy, comprehensive, etc.) and treatment of that type of school by the press (e.g. extensive coverage of sports teams, etc.), then it should be presumed notable until proven otherwise. If there is no special reason to think it is likely to meet WP:N (e.g. it is a type of school where schools get scant attention from the local press), then the absence of proof along with a small amount of research by an editor seeking its deletion should be grounds to not presume it is notable. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 17:56, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - This is the consensus that has emerged and been observed for years. Overturning it will lead to an absolute onslaught of challenges by bored deletionists that will sink the AfD process beneath hundreds of lost hours fighting over sourcing to no good end. In a lot of ways I'm past giving a fuck about AfD already; it's a massive time sink. But, one more time, here is the rationale behind our wise WP:OUTCOMES on schools. High schools are centers of their local communities and should be viewed as inherently notable just like occupied places, rivers, highways, and professional athletes. The reason for this is because all of these have published histories of their construction, sports teams that are covered in the press are the site of extracurricular activities covered in the press, etc. The flip side of this is that elementary schools are presumed NON notable unless truly exceptional specimens, since there are many more of them, they are less central to their communities, and do not have the same impact in terms of published coverage of teams and events. The OUTCOMES consensus is a workable compromise between inclusionists and deletionists that has expedited AfD for YEARS. Carrite (talk) 14:37, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
    • I want to stress on the "sink the AFD process" that the section below, we would absolutely need some type of grandfathering process and moratorium on AFDs of schools should SCHOOLOUTCOMES be nixed. In other words, the fears that AFD would be flooded by school AFDs is something that can be readily managed and thus should not be reason to keep SCHOOLOUTCOMES. --MASEM (t) 14:45, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
It seems obvious to me that such an assurance would need to be in the original RFC proposition for contributors to take account of it. They don't seem willing to accept post-haste assurances that it won't happen. With all due respect to the original proposer, I wonder if the proposition itself is somewhat flawed, in that it doesn't provide alternative actions in case of opposition. CalzGuy (talk) 15:33, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
The lack of that consideration of process is why I started the section below. It really should go hand-in-hand. And even if it was the case that we didn't have process, the AFD issue would be something covered under WP:FAITACCOMPLI, that flooding AFD with school articles would absolutely not be appropriate. It would just be better to have an explicit process statement to know how we'd go forward if SCHOOLOUTCOMES is removed. --MASEM (t) 15:42, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Apologies for not including that in the question, CalzGuy, but that question was a result of discussion at Wikipedia talk:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes#Need for an RfC on schools' notability and nobody suggested it there. I also think there's merit in keeping the question simple, and dealing with the consequences separately once consensus has emerged. Cordless Larry (talk) 07:59, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Don't apologise. I don't think it would have been an obvious thing to do. However, I do think that once this discussion is closed as "No consensus", as it undoubtedly will, we will then need to have another discussion on where to go next, as I think there is a consensus for some change. It's just a matter of figuring out what. CalzGuy (talk) 09:22, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Echoing Cordless Larry here that from the discussion about having the RfC, the question of process was not an obvious one at the time. As I have expressed below, I am of the view that anything short of a close in the affirmative here will require more work on drafting a process and then probably another discussion on where to go. I think the advantage in separating the discussions and keeping it simple is that it allows people to comment on the question of notability itself, which has never really been answered by a guideline, just SCHOOLOUTCOMES. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:32, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Sandstein says it well, and plenty of others have added other relevant points. Consensus is not carved in stone and this project as a whole needs to improve upon the practices of its early days. - Sitush (talk) 01:11, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - We keep high schools for very good reasons; not only do they influence the lives of thousands of people but they also play a significant part in their communities. To consider deleting articles on such significant institutions is, frankly, bizarre. Just Chilling (talk) 04:25, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Just Chilling We routinely delete churches, temples, town halls, post offices, hospitals, and many other institutions that also play a significant role in communities - high schools are the only "category" of such institutions that are specially protected. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 07:01, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Im just reminding you Dodger67 (and anyone else reading this, including the eventual closer) , that the RfC question is: Should secondary schools whose existence is verified by reliable, independent sources be presumed to be notable? OUTCOMES is not metioned and is therefore not the subject of this RfC. You can't ban its use. To do so would be to invite a list of several thousand AfD closures being posted on each new AfD as the documentary evidence that has produced the precedent. That said, 'churches, temples, town halls, post offices, hospitals, and many other institutions' are not, unlike schools' exempt from CSD-A7. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:55, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, I can't see a pressing need to allow articles about schools in Wikipedia that do not pass WP:GNG. Private schools, for example, are businesses, and why should a business that happens to be a school be exempt from the usual requirements? Also, school articles are often a liability, attracting BLP issues like "teh sports teacher mr smith is a pedofile he likes little girls lol" in more or less eloquent forms. —Kusma (t·c) 09:53, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've been following discussion for several days now. I agree with the arguments put forth by many others. If there are insufficient sources to satisfy the already extremely low bar of GNG, what basis is there for an encyclopedic article. olderwiser 12:02, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose We should leave this to the GNG. Some high school will be notable, some won't, but there is no justification for presuming that they will. The corollary is that we shouldn't presume that primary schools are non-notable. Ultimately what matter are the sources and whether they enable us to write a good quality article. Neljack (talk) 10:44, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
And how do we do that? One at a time at AfD. Hope to see you there, wasting 5 minutes per debate or more checking sources as we wade through the flood of new articles on elementary schools... Carrite (talk) 15:09, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. For me, WP:NPOV is the crucial policy. There are plenty of schools and degree awarding institutions - some of which are even accredited - that are of dubious quality. Without robust sourcing, we cannot maintain neutral articles. A school whose article is supported only by namechecks or reports in local media, may be completely out of line with the tone of the reports - and that could work in either direction. Multiple reliable independent sources is the only way to ensure we meet our core policies. Guy (Help!) 12:56, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - the GNG argument is that secondary schools are presumed to be notable if there is evidence of their existence, because that condition has held up time and time again in many deletion discussions. Pick a school that exists, and there are very nearly always reliable sources about it somewhere. In a disproportionately large number of cases with secondary schools (versus other topics) these reliable sources are local or regional newspapers which do not maintain an online archive or have an online presence at all, but they can nearly always be located if someone is around to look. So it is reasonable to assume that all accredited secondary-level schools will pass GNG. Furthermore there's little harm in allowing these articles to exist: there's little cause for concern about undue promotion as the vast majority of these schools will be public, which is typically why articles on commercial organizations are subject to additional scrutiny, and other concerns can be dealt with through routine patrols just like every other topic. Requiring that sources be located for these articles will cause the school articles that are left to be biased toward WP:RECENTISM. (Of course we should prefer that sources demonstrating notability be included, but it is reasonable to assume that they exist; that's what all the supplementary notability guidelines are about.) Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:33, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Ivanvector, can you please provide links to AFD discussions that demonstrate your assertion above? (Pick a school that exists, and there are very nearly always reliable sources about it somewhere.) I have provided links above that show the opposite, that SCHOOLOUTCOMES is used as a self-fulfilling prophecy to shut down discussion despite strong arguments that point to real guidelines. Thanks. – Jonesey95 (talk) 15:55, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - the understanding that secondary schools should be considered notable came about because experience shows that, with enough research, sources can be found for most such schools that meet WP:ORG. The alternative is to have a large series of AFDs to try to weed out the very few that don't; hardly a good use of anyone's time. One issue seems to be schools on the Indian sub-continent that tend to be poorly sourced. Google is a poor tool for finding sources on schools in non-English speaking countries. Very few schools on the Indian sub-continent, for example, have much of an Internet presence. We need to avoid systemic bias and allow time for local hard-copy and local language sources to be investigated in such cases. The Whispering Wind (talk) 17:18, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Rubbish. We're not primarily a social experiment and all this carping about systemic bias, using it as a way to avoid our encyclopaedic requirements, is just bleeding heart stuff. How much time should we allow? Do you have any idea how many false statements are made on articles concerning the Indian sub-continent? - Sitush (talk) 21:54, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - as a veteran of the old days, let me tell you, we don't want to go back. As someone who participated in school AfD's back in 2004-05, pre WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES, I can say unequivocally the status quo serves the project well. 1) I believe that it is an appropriate gazetteer use of wikipedia. Wikipedia is more useful for it. 2) It is a very useful training ground for young editors. 3) It is also a useful show-of-force deterrence for young vandals, who find their predictable nonsense knocked down surprisingly quickly, despite what their teachers tell them about wikipedia's unreliability. 4) It protects wikipedia from bias, both actual and apparent. It would be great if all WP:GNG decisions could be so objective. Going back to the old days will result in lots of American schools with lots of local WP:RS coverage staying in, with lots of Indian or other schools getting removed. This would be an accident of timing, plus a reflection of the different roles of these schools in different cultures. It would put well-meaning editors in the line of fire of accusations of prejudice. No one wants to spend their time here that way. 5) School deletion discussions never die. Again, this was the prior experience: when a school is deleted, its alums and students re-appear consistently to re-add it. Even if legitimately re-added, another AfD frequently re-starts. Again, we have better places to burn our calories. 6) The hope of deleting Western schools to limit bias is unrealistic. Secondary schools receive different coverage in different cultures. And our view/visibility of what is a WP:RS is skewed by internet access as well. This is just a bug in the practicality of WP:GNG. If we subjected counties and towns to WP:GNG, we would see the same bias between, say, U.S. and Indian towns; this is an ideal use of an objective, non-GNG inclusion criterion. Chris vLS (talk) 02:44, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I do not find SCHOOLOUTCOMES useful, in that it documents what has happened in the past, but seems to be picked up and used as an argument for the future or used in an AfD as an argument for keeping a school with no notability; because we generally keep schools is not an argument for keeping schools ~ that's circularity of argument, surely. In general, several people above ~ Sandstein, Reyk, Finnusertop, Wugapodes, Beeblebrox and others ~ have said it more clearly than i, but schools should have to prove notability to have an article, or we'll be making nothing more than a directory (OK, not "nothing more", but we'll be making WP more directory-like). Happy days, LindsayHello 11:02, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as it seems to me to be addressing a secondary issue while not addressing a more important one, as the RfC here seems to be considering only the aspect of notability, which is not necessarily the only criterion involved. There is also the matter of whether there really is sufficient encyclopedic content for an article, which is being ignored in this question, and is probably the more important factor involved here. I have no doubt virtually every junior high school, middle school, and high school can have a good deal of somewhat crufty material added, and I myself know from current experience of looking through an old 1970's Who's Who of Religion that in that work there are a frightening number of bios listing (generally priests or nuns) as administrators or teachers at such schools. There is also the question not addressed here regarding how to structure articles on school districts. I've also seen a lot of bios indicating someone is the head of, for instance, a Catholic diocesan school committee. Coming up with a clear MOS regarding all organizations involved in secondary schools would probably be preferable. Such an MOS would also be able to deal with matters like school districts, diocesan school offices, etc., and I suppose regarding primary schools and their managing organizations (I've seen a lot of bios listing people as teaching in primary schools in the Who's Who too). John Carter (talk) 19:54, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support if for no other the reason than that the planning, building, and opening of a high school is such a significant undertaking and use of public or private funds, that there is bound to be coverage. Whether or not we can find that coverage is irrelevant. I also believe that WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES saves us all a lot of time and effort at AFD that would be far better spent elsewhere. The existence of these articles also furthers our purpose as topic valid for inclusion in an almanac. Jim Miller See me | Touch me 20:59, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Your rationale does not necessarily apply outside the developed countries, nor does it satisfy even WP:V, which needs multiple independent sources and not, for example, town council minutes. - Sitush (talk) 15:53, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong Support in keeping secondary schools notable - SCHOOLOUTCOMES eliminates having 30 high schools in the US with 1 in India. Schools cited by independent sources should be considered notable and my point of view is that even primary schools verified by 5+ sources should be kept and protected by SCHOOLOUTCOMES. SCHOOLOUTCOMES is a longstanding policy and as stated above around a decade old. The reasons outlined in the above 'Oppose' comments do not convince me. Voting 'support' on this Rfc is not about stating that all secondary schools should be considered notable but stating that all secondary schools that are verified by sources independent of the subject should be considered notable. Overall as per my statements above I support status quo with possible slight changes in favour of more schools to be considered as notable. J947 01:52, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Support as long-term editor, I agree with others: let us keep the status quo, which has served us well. --David Tornheim (talk) 05:55, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose per the arguments given above by other users. The simple fact that a school exists does not make it notable. The notability of some subject must be proved by multiple reliable sources, and most of schools will certainly fail this. The current situation when schools are considered by default notable is illogical, and some users are 'abusing' WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES by creating some kind of articles (e.g. about schools with some 100 students) which are inadmissible in an encyclopedia, IMO. Wikipedia is not a directory. XXN, 18:34, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Informal Support for African Secondary schools, Oppose for other territories: Secondary schools are essentially not news-worthy in many climes. They also lack competitive drive due to thier non-profit nature, as least from my side of the world. Most of what makes other institutions get reguslar coverage in relaible sources doesn't really apply to secondary schools. I'm not saying all educational topics must have this special treatment on wiki but I am of the opinion that an exception should be created for universities and secondary schools, which are part of the standardized mechanism in formulating the educational being of any individual. We don't expect to find multiple significant coverage for Nigerian secondary schools before accomodating them here.
One of my projects in my second coming on Wikipedia was to increase the number of notable and popular secondary schools on Wiki. I noticed that out of about 10,000 sec schools in Lagos/Ogun axis, where I'm based, there were only about ten with wiki articles. This isn't too surprising when you note that less than 100 of this 10k can boast of an existing website. The way these schools operate and are structured, there will always be limited coverage. Nonetheless, I started creating articles on the most popular and notable, especially the public ones. I have created Lagos State Model College Badore,Federal Government Girls College, Ipetumodu, Lagos State Model College Kankon, Lagos State Junior Model College Kankon, Lagos State Model College Igbonla, Lagos State Model College Badore, Landmark University Secondary School, Lagos State Junior Model College Badore, Covenant University Secondary School, etc. One of my secondary school schools even got speedied twice and a COI tag wrongly placed on it. It was funny to me because the school in question is one that all Nigerians are familiar with, because it was used to act a national series of immense popularity some decades ago. You can verify my statement yourself, if you know any Nigerian who's less than 40 years, just ask him/her if he has heard of Binta International School, I'm 98% sure that his response will be yes. Or better-still, ask any Nigerian editor on Wikipedia, the response will be the same. I really got angry by the COI tag that was placed on the article. I think we need to be soft on African secondary schools as long as the information is verifiable.
I went through many of the oppose votes and I think the fear is that they don't want Wikipedia to get clumped up with thousands of poorly written articles, which is an understandable position. This is why I will only support for African articles, because I know that will never be the case for them. The Nigerian secondary schools with minimal online coverage are essentially notable enough for inclusion on Wikipedia. I'm voting for this to be an informal policy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Darreg (talkcontribs) 14:01, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • OpposeNothing has inherent notability, as it says in the WP:N guideline, and there is no good reason why secondary schools should be excepted from the usual practice. RGloucester 19:01, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support in the sense that the default should be to keep if the sourcing is thin but otherwise valid and that the proper response to a stub-like article on a high school should be to search for ways to improve the article before assuming that the subject is non-notable. My reasoning is that rival online encyclopedias, such as the Norwegian SNL has articles on the various high schools in Norway. Hence at least one competing encyclopedia considers this class of subject worthy of comprehensive coverage, and we should strive to be at least as comprehensive as that. Of course, if the sourcing is nonexistent and directory type-information is all that's verifiable, then an independent article would be too short to be useful. The school's existence would be better covered in the article on the town that the school is in. Sjakkalle (Check!) 20:59, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Conditional support I am generally a supporter of SCHOOLOUTCOMES. The problem with SCHOOLOUTCOMES in my opinion is that editors at an AFD simply quote it with a rational such as Keep per SCHOOLOUTCOMES. or Keep due to longstanding consensus that secondary schools are notable. This is actually incorrect because schooloutcomes says that an article about a school is generally kept if 1. It is an independently accredited degree-awarding institution and 2. at least one independent source has been found to show that the school actually exists. Both these are important and the burden of proof (that the school exists and is accredited) lies on the editors arguing keep. Yet somehow this is often ignored at AFDs, which ultimately creates resentment. I personally am fine with SCHOOLOUTCOMES as I think that unlike companies, schools do not send out press releases and get them published in some churnalistic media. It is also one of the first articles often edited by students (and often serves as the defacto sandbox) and I would rather have them editing these school articles, than going around messing with other articles. Many secondary schools also have alumni associations and it is helpful to keep a list of notable people who have graduated from the school. As schools can also be considered a building with cultural significance, they may be notable if we apply WP:GEOFEAT. As such, I am in favour of the criteria in SCHOOLOUTCOMES, provided it is strictly followed. (The burden of proof needs to be on the editors arguing keep). --Lemongirl942 (talk) 06:54, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, and tighten the restriction to exclude reporting on school athletics as indicators of notability. Why? Because it fails WP:INDY. Due to the popularity of schools sports (especially in the US but also some other places), local newspapers have a very strong fiduciary interest in a thick stream of coverage of school sports for local entertianment purposes, and this coverage tell us precisely nothing about why the school, as an institution, might be notable in some way. Also exclude local reportage on faculty changes as indicators of notability of the institution or the faculty member. Maybe even just exclude local coverage, period. Very, very few high schools are actually notable; when they are it is usually for something incidental (a particular tragedy or scandal that happened there), not because of anything intrinsic about the institution. The vast majority of the articles on these things should be pruned to the essentials and merged into the parent articles about their school districts, just like we do with junior high and middle schools, and elementary schools.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:59, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong Support First, the collective wisdom of many years of WP editors, along with long-standing common practice, supports turning this into a policy or established practice. Second, in the real world, secondary schools in the U.S. are no more notable than those in Nigeria, Syria, India, or Egypt. Some flexibility is needed here in order to deal with the reality on the ground. First Light (talk) 08:10, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong Support We don't need gray areas. There is a certain crowd here who gets a thrill our of exploiting any weakness (usually an inexperienced editor) and in the darkness of AfD, fecklessly remove content that affects a lot of ordinary readers. If there is a source reporting the existence of a secondary school; then the discussion should end. I will also put in a reminder of WP:BEFORE. If there are no sources and it doesn't google, then have at it. Trackinfo (talk) 08:38, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I Support that schools which are at least secondary and senior secondary should have at least one mention in some third party reliable website. If such school has no mention anywhere then, it must be recognised by the government of that country and must be 25 years old. Nowadays school articles which have no third party independent sources and established in less than 4 years ago are kept as WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES. However dance schools, play schools, day schools, kindergarten schools, cooking schools, handicrafts schools, martial arts schools, should pass WP:GNG, if they are not established by the government. Marvellous Spider-Man 11:17, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose per WP:EXISTENCE, WP:INDISCRIMINATE, WP:NOTDIRECTORY and WP:GNG. This has been a sore subject with me for a while. There are far too many schools that would never pass notability that have stub articles we can't get rid of because of this idiocy. My experience has failed to provide any evidence that secondary schools all have enough RS coverage to justify an automatic presumption of WP:N. The one and only support I have read above that does carry some weight is DGG's which is essentially an IAR argument based on convenience. I concede that if we scrap the presumptive notability there will be an uptick at AfD which already suffers from chronic lack of participation. However, a lot of the articles I am thinking of could be dispatched via CSD A7, though we would have to remove the prohibition on educational institutions from the template. Further I strongly support prohibiting WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES from being cited in school related AfD's. -Ad Orientem (talk) 14:49, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Per Ad Orientem, who pretty much said everything I was thinking. JudgeRM (talk to me) 19:48, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. I've already registered my opposition above; I'm now simply looking to share two observations. First, I was curious as to how our opinions on this issue have evolved over the years. The earliest extant survey of community opinion appears to be the old "What's in; what's out" page. Prior to early 2006, this page collected comments on secondary schools and, immediately before being removed in May 2006, it had collected comments from 36 editors (as seen here). 16 of those editors called for the inclusion of all secondary schools, most by simply stating "In", but with a few who gave rationales that we today would recognize as assertions of "inherent notability". As for the other 20 editors, a few simply said "Out", but the majority were more nuanced. Their responses took the form of either "In, but only if ... " or "Out, unless ... ". The conditions specified by these nuanced comments sometimes were objective, but more often were not. The general notability guidelines did not yet exist back then, so nobody was citing them. But most of the nuanced votes were setting conditions that were consistent with WP:GNG, with some making arguments that today would be recognized as falling under WP:ROUTINE or WP:STANDALONE. To me, the most striking aspect of this old survey is that, after more than ten years of debate, we remain divided -- roughly 50/50 -- on the question.
I also looked at the evolution of the Outcomes page itself. After some minor adjustments in wording, the initial statement regarding schools was the one found here. This was expanded a bit in late 2007, to give detail regarding different types of schools (i.e., primary vs. secondary), as shown here. The big change took place in May 2009, with its changing of "in most cases being kept" to "being kept". The edit that made this change is here. Its edit summary cited this sparsely-attended discussion as the basis for making the change. That discussion was not the subject of an RfC and I could find no evidence that it was publicized anywhere other than on that Talk page. In early 2011, there was a brief attempt to declare "per se notability" for high schools, but there was an immediate objection and, in that day's flurry of edits (see here), something looking quite like the current version came into being.
These two observations show that there has never been a consensus on the treatment of secondary schools. At the very least, the Outcomes essay should be amended to reflect this fact. NewYorkActuary (talk) 20:17, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The standard should be the demonstrated existence of sources showing the subject meets WP:GNG. No sources = no notability = no article. Lankiveil (speak to me) 05:03, 6 February 2017 (UTC).
  • Enough – this survey makes it very clear that support and oppose are not very different in number, and that there is no consensus. Close the survey and change modes to collecting ideas for how to move forward, if at all. Dicklyon (talk) 05:39, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
See WP:NOTAVOTE. Looking over this discussion it is abundantly clear that the Oppose arguments are heavily based on policy and guidelines while the Supports are largely silent on that subject. The reviewing Admin is going to have to weigh the respective arguments and determine if the various retentionist arguments outweigh our guidelines and policy. -Ad Orientem (talk) 15:25, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, because the alternatives are far worse. Secondary schools are the backbone of many smaller cities, and thus primarily generate interest in their local community. They are unique among local organizations in that they receive far more coverage locally than any neighborhood shop or municipal governmental department, yet they rarely receive regional or national coverage. If we repeal the existing guidelines for school notability, I predict that editors favoring deletion will use WP:AUD to bar all the local sources from consideration and use WP:ORGDEPTH to discredit any of the national coverage, since any national coverage is likely only in response to a transient event. Proving the notability of a secondary school will become absurdly difficult. Given that our readers have a clear interest in secondary school articles, I do not support the massive timesink that will be needed to defend these articles from deletion. Altamel (talk) 18:39, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose for many reasons all listed above in previous Opposes. I see no reason to override normal notability standards for schools. MB 19:16, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, pretty much entirely because of WP:EXIST. Enterprisey (talk!) 22:09, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose There's no reason why WP:ORG shouldn't apply to schools. The argument that secondary schools are automatically notable seems to be advanced largely by people from countries such as the US where those schools are typically very large. In other countries, such as Australia, the size varies a lot and many high schools (such as the one I attended) aren't even well known in their own city much less the subject of significant coverage in reliable sources. Nick-D (talk) 10:39, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support our policies and guidelines, oppose changes to our policies and guidelines based on this RfC  This is not a clear RfC.  Is this supposed to be a massive rebellion of GNG-centrism, or is this an intent to require two sources rather than one for OUTCOMES?  GNG is in such disrepute that an admin looking at a list of ninety references recently said that those were not enough to pass GNG.  DRV routinely protects "not notable", meaning "I don't like it", as a valid policy argument.  Unscintillating (talk) 00:02, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
  • oppose and confusing wording Secondary schools should be deemed non-notable unless notability is proven by GNG and other ways. Merely proving that the school exists is not enough. Otherwise, we could be having a school that was closed a century ago and never very notable when it was around claim a WP article. Don't laugh, some 400 year old British members of Parliament who never did anything documented have WP articles. Automatic notability should not be around. If something is very important, it will be notable. Lakeshook (talk) 20:23, 14 February 2017 (UTC) Striking blocked sock !vote. Gluons12 | 20:11, 15 February 2017 (UTC).
  • Oppose. Sources should be reviewed and evaluated for notability. Systemic bias concerns can be alleviated either through an amended process specific to regions of concern (if that's actually necessary), or simply within a proper reasoned discussion of the article at hand. As per many above, I see no compelling arguments for exemptions for schools that are not process related. Scribolt (talk) 10:16, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support status quo per Cullen. High schools are regular magnets of media coverage no matter where you go. And from the sense of providing an almanac, high schools are obvious community centers of interest. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 15:41, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, as better than the alternative. High schools are a great magnet for attracting new editors, and that's a good (Wikipedia-public) policy reason to support retaining the status quo. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 16:57, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Process to consider

Working on the presumption that this may close in opposition, there is clearly a concern about the status quo of school articles. As part of the consideration here, I would suggest that if this does close this way, that all existing secondary school articles should at least be kept and there should not be a rush of mass deletions per WP:FAITACCOMPLI to remove them. However, fair AFD challenges can be held, recognizing that OUTCOMES no longer is supported here. Where possible, editors should be encouraged to merge info about secondary schools into articles on the notable city/town/school system and redirects left behind, avoiding the AFD process and keeping past contributions. This avoids any aggressive, disruptive approach if this should as suggested and alleviate fears that thousands of articles will suddenly be sent to the void. It will take a case-by-case review of each to determine what should be done, in such cases, and that will take many man-months of evaluation. --MASEM (t) 17:51, 9 January 2017 (UTC)

Given that the current 'vote' is 13:11 in favour of oppose, I would have to say I would hope that would be closed as "No consensus" rather than oppose, if it was closed just now. Having said that, I do agree that any change to consensus here, should not result in mass deletions. Rather, it should result in the development of a guideline, which may or may not result in deletions. CalzGuy (talk) 18:21, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not saying it will close "oppose", but I think we do need to broadly address the concerns of those !voting "support" that worry what would become of the articles that already exist. I think it is necessary to address what should or should not happen should "oppose" be the result as to alleviate some of those "support" concerns. By no means am I saying this RFC is done and over with. --MASEM (t) 18:38, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
@Masem: I'm wiling to start a guide on how to improve high school students to ensure that those that already exist can be developed as well as they can be. I've written many high school articles, mostly in North America but some also for international private and state-operated schools around the world. I actually encouraged Chinese university students in a workshop to start writing about their high schools, and this is a way to get Wikipedia to grow. WhisperToMe (talk) 09:16, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Echoing CalzGuy on it currently trending "no consensus". Regardless of how this RfC closes, even if it closes as support, I think SCHOOLOUTCOMES is no longer workable, and there will need to be further discussion on how exactly to implement the consensus here, or in the case of a no consensus close, to try to arrive at a guideline for schools that can achieve broad community support. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:27, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree that there will probably have to be further discussion about where to go next, whichever way the RfC closes, but it's still early days - I can see this one running for a while. Cordless Larry (talk) 18:32, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
  • ? If this is voted down, it will just be another proposal not included in the guidelines. One does not make a consensus by people not voting for something, they make a consensus getting people to vote in favor of something. It will be as it always has been, the edge cases will sometimes get fought about, and the schooloutcomes out so that fights don't have to happen over and over again will be generally followed for the rest. The schooloutcomes thoughts and what gave rise to it are not going to magically disappear. The reasonable improvement from present would be to have a school sng: eg. 25 years, 500 students, acreditation, reference in such and such sources, etc., etc. but obviously that depends on someone really working on it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:45, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
    • The way this is being presented, if it passes with Support, then what is at SCHOOLOUTCOMES should be codified better at WP:NORG ("All verified-existing secondary schools are presumed notable"), removing the language at SCHOOLOUTCOMES as duplicative at least with respect to secondary schools. If this passes with Oppose, then the language at SCHOOLOUTCOMES should be changed to reflect that secondary schools are not presumed notable just by sheer existence. --MASEM (t) 19:00, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
    I would go farther and say if this is no consensus SCHOOLOUTCOMES as something that can be referenced in AfD is in shambles, and there would probably need to be more work done on crafting a guideline that could get community consensus on schools. SCHOOLOUTCOMES has the somewhat weird place in AfD because the idea is that it represents a longstanding community consensus on schools. Anything short of a support close here would be a rejection of that idea. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:09, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
    This RfC has already attracted far more comments than the average school AfD, so if consensus either way is reached here, then I would argue that it is more representative of the community's views than any assessment of AfD closes would be. Cordless Larry (talk) 19:12, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
    No. Schooloutcomes is, as the name says, about outcomes, the only way to change that is actually have mass deletions at afd. (and really, no matter how many comment, you don't get a backdoor consensus by finding no consensus or opposition on specific wording of a new guideline, no one has ever proposed before, and never bothered to refine.) -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:17, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
    Key is that SCHOOLOUTCOMES is an essay, and it has been used (or misused, depending on one's POV) at AFD to keep articles on schools as the sole argument. It's working on a catch-22 approach: "keep this article on a school because school articles are routinely kept", and allowing those AFDs to close without any attempt to show actual notability or additional sourcing. This RFC seems to be stating do we actually bite the bullet and say that secondary schools should be presumed notable and eliminate the catch-22 , or do we say they are not and eliminate the catch-22 the other way. And as Tony points out above, even a "no consensus" should lead to discussion about what to do about the catch-22 problem. --MASEM (t) 20:32, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
    That's not a Catch-22, even if that word was not overly dramatic, it is another beloved bugbear of Wikipedia, 'consistency', and sure we generally really want to be consistent - to treat like, like - because that is a basis for being neutral and fair (until we are not). You do get a chance to discuss it every-time at Afd, but Afd like every process looks for both a consistent application, and the reduction of transaction costs (eg., don't have lengthy fights about the same thing, again and again). Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:47, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
    But that creates the problem emphasized by the two linked AFDs: resting the argument against the deletion on an essay that describes a practice as to maintain that practice is a self-fulfilling cycle. The closures of the AFDs and the subsequent discussion show it is time to either cement that practice in notability guidelines or get rid of it as to break the cycle. --MASEM (t) 21:17, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
    SCHOOLOUTCOMES has a bunch of other uses, including suppressing the addition/supporting the deletion-or-merge of numerous primary/elementary school articles. We need to ensure that this continues to be the case, whatever the outcome here. CalzGuy (talk) 20:16, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
Good luck with that. The grand compromise between deletionism and inclusioniam would be flushed, the SCHOOLOUTCOMES essay reduced to nothing. Deletionists might think they're "upholding standards" and eliminating a bunch of really terrible articles about high schools from India, but what they are actually doing is opening up the floodgates for about 100,000 American and English elementary schools to have vapid fluff pieces with news about Mrs. Finley the principal and what is served for lunch on Fridays. You think I joke. Carrite (talk) 15:15, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
If SCHOOLOUTCOMES were to be eliminated, notability of schools would default to WP:NORG, and key in there is WP:AUD "On the other hand, attention solely from local media, or media of limited interest and circulation, is not an indication of notability; at least one regional, statewide, provincial, national, or international source is necessary." Now, we'd have to be careful ("This school is acredited by the state's board, so there's your one statewide source!"), the implication is that this should be a secondary source, not primary. But we have the language in place to prevent a flood of primary schools from being created because of that. --MASEM (t) 15:18, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: We can't get hung up on degree/diploma awarding as it is uncommon in many countries for secondary schools (attended by pupils aged 12-18 or some subset) to award documents like those. Stifle (talk) 14:38, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: Supporting SCHOOLOUTCOMES only because we're scared of the amount of work that would suddenly pop up if it is abolished doesn't make sense. Setting up a separate stream for such deletion discussions, so as not to block up the "normal" AFD stream is trivially easy. It will do no harm if we take months, or even a year or longer, to clear out school pages that might no longer qualify for inclusion. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 10:21, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Spoken like somebody that doesn't spend a lot of time at AfD. Carrite (talk) 15:18, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment About two years ago, the notability requirements for planets was readjusted, which resulted in hundreds if not thousands of planet articles being nominated for deletion. I was working at AfD at the time, and can attest that going through all of these deletions was a bloody nightmare. However, the majority of the planet articles were non-controversial redirects since they lacked any coverage in reliable sources (or at least beyond a few trivial mentions that confirmed the existence of the planets). This meant that non-admins such as myself were able to substantially help with the workload. With secondary schools, I highly doubt this will occur. At least in the United States, high schools get tons of coverage at the city, township and county level. However, most also receive at least some coverage (of debatable worth) from sources at the state and federal level. There are going to be very few non-controversial AfDs, and the burden of closing them will fall on the admins. WP: AfD will likely be completely and utterly clogged for the foreseeable future if this discussion does not reaffirm the current consensus regarding secondary schools. (I’m not exaggerating here- we have articles on over one-hundred public high schools in the state of Iowa alone, which is roughly the twentieth least populated state in the US). Given this, I believe that some concrete steps need to be taken to keep wp:AfD functional. Spirit of Eagle (talk) 00:18, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
I agree that the AfD process would probably be flooded with AfDs should this not close as support initially, but I also think Masem has a point that WP:FAITACCOMPLI does exist. The issue is how to deal with editors who would likely make WP:POINTy nominations afterwards (I have no one in particular in mind here, just a gut feeling.) I'm not sure what the best practical way to prevent that is if the RfC closes NC or oppose, but I also feel that the sheer volume of work that it would take for people to nominate a ton of schools would keep people at bay for a while, especially since I doubt this will close as outright oppose at this time (but who knows, I could be wrong and we have plenty of time left in the RfC.) TonyBallioni (talk) 00:43, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
As I said above, to my eyes, the primary issue regarding a lot of primary and secondary schools is probably not so much their notability as such, but whether there is really enough encyclopedic content to merit a separate article. In cases like this one, I think that there actually are probably quite a few relevant reference works relating to the topic, and they would, I think, probably be the best indicators of how we should proceed here. The primary question there being what content to have in articles on specific institutions, and what content to have in school districts, or similar bodies, and how much really encyclopedic content that leaves over for separate articles on specific schools in those bodies. Now, I myself wouldn't necessarily have any real objections to, for instance, articles on schools of any level, primary or higher, which seem to be one of the few or only schools (either at that level or higher) operated by a specific entity, like a church. But how to deal with content on specific schools as opposed to their governing bodies, where such include several similar schools, is another matter entirely. John Carter (talk) 21:11, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
Personally, I would like to see some alternative policy to schooloutcomes created. I know for a fact that there are many secondary schools that there is a lot of encyclopedic things to say about, but that would probably end up at AfD is no replacement policy existed. Spirit of Eagle (talk) 07:03, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment about closing - We're still a ways from the 30-day mark, but when the time comes what do people think about requesting a team of three uninvolved editors/admins to work together on the close, as is done from time to time on highly contentious matters. This is something that's come up so many times, and so often, and with so much history that it may be useful. Numerically, at time of writing, it's just about even between support and oppose, which may mean no consensus, but there are nuances, qualifications, interpretations, etc. that suggest something may come out of it. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:43, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
Seconding. The notability of secondary schools has been a highly debated topic on Wikipedia, and there is a lot of nuance within the discussion that needs to be accounted for. Spirit of Eagle (talk) 21:05, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
I'd also support that. SCHOOLOUTCOMES is aprox. a decade old, and anything that would change it in one way or the other would have a huge impact. Having a team of uninvolved closers seems ideal. TonyBallioni (talk) 05:13, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
I'd support that approach too. Cordless Larry (talk) 17:34, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Done. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 20:42, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment As I suggested earlier, I don't think there should be any outcome from this RFC other than a Nc close, as I think that, with all due respect to the OP, it asked the wrong question. We need an RFC that asks the right question, actually a positive change from observational essay to an agreed policy or guideline. The oppose camp see SCHOOLOUTCOMES as a pseudo-guideline being used to prop up non-notable additions to the project, while supporters see it as a description of the actualité of AFD. It would be much better to define what SHOULD happen at AFD rather than describe what HAS happened previously CalzGuy (talk) 07:14, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
That's what this RFC was intended to do, by posing the question if secondary schools were notable, which was what the various no consensus AfDs seemed to be disagreeing on. The argument from the keeps traditionally being that SCHOOLOUTCOMES has long established that schools were notable and the deletes being that proof of meeting GNG or WP:ORG was required in the moment. This RfC was intended to resolve that by asking the most basic neutral question possible. If it closes NC or oppose, I agree that more work will need to be done on a new guideline, but I think the reasoning behind this RfC was sound and that it was the right question to ask. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:24, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
The RFC is a single question to do with notability of secondary schools. There is much more required to be covered, and agreed, if a guideline (policy is probably OTT) is to come into play. For instance, there be nuances of geography, or of age of pupils, or of age of schools. Is a school notable if the building in which it is housed is notable? What about elementary/primary schools? What about all-through schools. This RFC is only about a single aspect of the whole. The discussion needs to be widened. CalzGuy (talk) 16:20, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
If the RfC does close anyway other than the affirmative, then yes, you are right. The point is that it wasn't entirely clear before this started that something more than a "yes or no" was needed here. All the advice provided was for a narrowly construed RfC which is why it was framed this way. If this is closed in a way other than "support" the closing statement and this RfC will be able to serve as a starting point for a future discussion and will allow those of us who want to take part in drafting it to consider points that I don't think would have been considered if this RfC did exist. Personally, I think a wider RfC would have been even more likely to lead to a NC close than this one if there was not a more narrowly construed comment period first. tl;dr: You're right moving forward if this doesn't close support, but I still think this was the right starting point. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:31, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
A 'No consensus' close will leave the status quo as is. It will be no different from a Support close because that's where we are just now. CalzGuy (talk) 06:33, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
We normally determine no consensus based on whether or not there is consensus,regardless of where it may happen to lead. Ay way, I think there is very clear consensus, far outreaching the result here--essentially no high school afd where the school clearly had real existence and was clearly a high school has closed as delete for lack of notability in the last 5 or 6 years. The argument that we must have sourcing for verifiability is of course valid as far as the verification of the facts in the article is concerned, but that's irrelevant, for meeting WP:V is a good deal less than the specific types of sourcing that shows notability. DGG ( talk ) 00:28, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Except that a point that is absent or underemphasized but core to this is how does WP:NORG's Audience guidance fit into secondary school notability. Many examples of "kept" secondary schools presented during this violate WP:AUD by using strictly local sources (that otherwise meet V/RS), but this point is never really brought up during AFD because you have a lot of people shouts "SCHOOLOUTCOMES". We need to get rid of SCHOOLOUTCOMES regardless of which way consensus falls, either by explicitly writing the allowance for secondary schools into NORG, or otherwise not given secondary schools that free pass at notability. I agree that this RFC doesn't answer that question but we now know better how to word it, including stipulation that if the "no free pass" is the agreed option, we are going to grandfather all existing school articles to avoid flooding AFD. --MASEM (t) 15:14, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Assuming the closer has read this far, this RfC is as long as it is short, is as broad as it is narrow, and as skewed as it is straight - on two major points:
  1. Schools don't 'not exist'. School articles are generally written about schools that exist. As coord of the WP:WPSCH for years (and genuinely active at it to boot), I've rarely come acrosrs a school being invented for the purpose of hoax. School articles may often sound somewhat promotional, but they ae mainly written by the children that attend them - or alumni and let's face it, most people are proud of their schools and without them they wouldn't be able to read or write or know that the world is not flat - let alone edit Wikipedia. Practically everyone on the planet goes to a secondary school with the exception of some remote developing regions. It's therefore fair to say that schools have an impact on society. On the other hand Not everyone has eaten in a small Mitchelin starred restaurant in the Netherlands that gets an article without so much as a nod, and doing so would not make them nutritional scientists, heart surgeons or astrophysicists. What's missing in this debate is rather a large portion of common sense - an expression we're not supposed to use on Wikipedia.
  2. None of the opposers have any respect for the sensitivities of the dedicated editors and admins who have the burden the workload presented a) by new page patrollers who without a clue are allowed to tag articles and send them down various sewers of deletion or conversely let the clearly non notable or spammy for-profit high street cram school through. To oppose this motion would open the flood gates to the likes of those who with alarming regularity over the years now and again decide to send a bunch of school articles to AfD because between meals in their 'notable' restaurants, they have noting else better to do. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:22, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

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.

SCHOOLOUTCOMES post-script & implementation

...200+ comments, 24,000+ words, and yet nobody even mentioned the existence of WP:Notability (high schools) (a failed proposal, now tagged as an essay). WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:13, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

I believe that all of the points in that essay were raised above and discussed thoroughly. – Jonesey95 (talk) 23:01, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • There should be a TL;DR summary of this close. My read is; secondary schools are not presumed notable by existance. SCHOOLOUTCOMES can be cited at AfD but may be discounted by the closer. Editors should make a good faith attempt to find sources in local media before nominating a school for deletion. A flood of school nominations in the wake of this close is discouraged. I am sure others took away something different so the closers should write a clear, citable/quotable summary so this does not spawn endless drama about what was meant. None of this is ment to detract from the hard work the closers put into this but this is a topic which needs more clarity than can be found by interpreting such a long closing statement. Jbh Talk 00:58, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Unless I am misreading this (it is a bit long and an executive summary would be helpful) Secondary Schools are not presumptively notable and SCHOOLOUTCOMES is discouraged from being cited at AfD. Further SO should be added to the list of arguments to be avoided at AfD. All of which said the closers seemed to also be saying that schools are different in an undefined way and editors should take a deep breath before sending school articles to AfD with an emphasis on due diligence and searches for sources. -Ad Orientem (talk) 03:47, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Not helpful when the local print media is in Bodo. I don't know where this leaves us. Jack N. Stock (talk) 05:00, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ad Orientem, you've pretty much hit the nail on the head. I'll update the close with a summary to avoid further confusion. Jacknstock, references/sources do not have to be in English, so it kind of leaves you in the same position you were in before. Primefac (talk) 13:28, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

  • Note I believe WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES should be edited to reflect this consensus change. Exemplo347 (talk) 14:43, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
    I have updated the link to this RfC and added the text from the 'nutshell' to SCHOOLOUTCOMES [3]. I am not sure of how to phrase or what section to place the ' Arguements to Avoid' change so I will leave that for someone else. Jbh Talk 15:01, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
    This could be a little confusing because citing the essay that was previously linked as SCHOOLOUTCOMES is precluded, but it looks like SCHOOLOUTCOMES now links to new guidelines. We won't be able to refer to the summary in AfDs because deletionists will cite the admin decision here to claim we can't use SCHOOLOUTCOMES, regardless of the fact it has been updated. This is all very muddy... Jack N. Stock (talk) 18:06, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
    See WP:OUTCOMESBASED which Masem and I added per this RfC. SCHOOLOUTCOMES can still be cited if explained, but now OUTCOMESBASED and this RfC also exist to further explain the nuance to schools. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:11, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Would there be a reason to (or not to) have a 6-month or 1-year moratorium on the AFD of any secondary school barring otherwise fake or outright promotional articles, as to prevent the potential WP:FAITACCOMPLI of flooding AFD with school articles? (eg what I had suggested as part of the Process to consider above?) --MASEM (t) 18:14, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
The close urges preventing a rush to AfD because of this, and I think if there are any disruptive editors who flood AfD they can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. I don't want to get into instruction creep here. I do think it would be better to possibly copy the close and the summary to a WP-namespace page other than outcomes because I think the actual wording of the long form close is useful and the current permalinks to "this February 2017 RfC" could be intimidating to some newer users who very well could be writing school articles. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:22, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
What do you all think about preventing "a rush to AfD" (or even a good-faith effort) by adding prominent recommendations that non-notable schools use the WP:Requested merge process instead, since that is normally the best alternative? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:07, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Does anyone agree that this is not a good venue for ongoing discussions? The RFC has been closed. We should all leave quietly and find a new place to discuss better ways forward, shouldn't we? CalzGuy (talk) 18:36, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

I don't see any problem discussing how we are implementing the suggestions made by the closers which affects multiple P&G pages. The changes being made refer back to this discussion so that it thus helps a person coming in fresh to see what else is being done as to not make this closing action disruptive. (Key is is that no one is complaining about the close result, which would be inappropriate to go on about). --MASEM (t) 18:56, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I don't see this as having much practical effect because all the related pages such as WP:ATA and WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES are weaker than policy and so are open to argument regardless. Even WP:GNG is just a guideline and so we have numerous exceptions such as Chitty (cricketer). The most relevant policy here is WP:NOTLAW. Andrew D. (talk) 19:16, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
    • SCHOOLOUTCOMES has not been treated as something that is weaker that policy. Also, you may be interested in reading WP:PGE. We have some guidelines that are strictly enforced and some policies that aren't. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:05, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
All notability rules are guidelines only. Suggestions to change WP:N to policy have been consistently defeated. DGG ( talk ) 19:14, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • The reason the closure is so hard to summarize is that it is not self-consistent. It seems to say there is first of all no consensus to change the statement that secondary schools are always kept if there's real evidence, but there is insufficient consensus to have a rule that they are presumed notable, and insufficient consensus to call anything Schooloutcomes. This ignores the basic principle of consensus, that if there is insufficient consensus to do or change anything, the situation remains as before, not the situation changes in some respects to the extent the closers think desirable. This leaves the matter in more confusion than before--especially so because it fails to take account of the strongest argument: that the rule is just a working compromise essentially balancing keeping secondary schools and redirecting primary schools, and need have no justification except that it works for Wikipedia. (And it does--imagine the entire discussion above needing to be repeated at every secondary and primary school afd--that's the alternative.)
I intend to argue just as before at afds: in practice we always keep secondary school articles if there is actual evidence for verification. DGG ( talk ) 19:14, 11 March 2017 (UTC) DGG ( talk ) 19:14, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

Multi-part RFC on Wikipedia:Recent years

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
21:45, 13 January 2017 (UTC)

Scope of recent years guidelines

This has been discussed several times on the talk page of the guideline, but due to low participation a consensus is not clear and there is no set definition of what qualifies as a recent year. Should the scope be limited to:

  • 2002 (the year after Wikipedia was founded) and onward (status quo at the moment)
  • The most recent ten years
  • The most recent 20 years, beginning with 2002 for now but moving each year after 2022
  • Some other standard

Discussion of scope of recent year guidelines

  • I personally think that the ten most recent years is a reasonable and manageable scope for these guidelines. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:08, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
  • twenty years max ten years min I tend to consider anything older than 20 years history rather than recent events. I think having it apply to anything older than that is too broad. Likewise, anything in the last 10 years is pretty solidly "recent". Reasonable people will disagree about exactly where the cutoff should be, but I'd be in favor of any proposal within that range. Wugapodes [thɔk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɻɪbz] 01:04, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • 2002, but guideline should no longer be called "recent" years. It was "recent" when first proposed in 2009. Some guideline is appropriate for all years, and I believe the start year should be constant. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:22, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • 2002 for practical purposes, but I'd really like any year for which sourcing is available for this standards defined in the guideline to be met. Scribolt (talk) 10:00, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Scope:future years

Wikipedia already has articles for every year in this century, all the way up to 2099. Given that these will all one day come under the recent years guidelines as time marches on, should articles on future years be subject to the recent years guidelines? If so, how far into the future should the guidelines be applicable?

Discussion of scope:future years

  • I'm not sure I really have a strong opinion on this, but I do believe it may be wise to have a seperate discussion on the issue of the usefullnes of articles about events that may or may not be relevant 73 years from now. Seems like a case of WP:TOOSOON to have articles at all on years more than 5-10 years into the future. That being the case I suppose that whatever we decide the scope is for the past could project forward into the futre as well. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:05, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I tend to agree that we shouldn't have articles for years more than 10 years into the future; until a few weeks ago, there weren't articles for years more than 50 years in the future; until a few days ago, 70 years. But I think the guideline should extend as far as we have year articles.... — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:28, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
When this is concluded I plan to open another discussion specifically on these articles, it seems a little nuts to have "predicted events" of little to no consequence that may or may not occur 75 years from now. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:51, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
Maybe this needs its own discussion/RfC - many of these future year articles have no references whatsoever, and per WP:TOOSOON and WP:V they might need to be deleted at this point in time. And anyway, I agree it seems absolutely bizarre to have them. Triptothecottage (talk) 03:45, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
I agree: a discussion needs to happen. There simply isn't enough reliable information about events beyond 10 years into the future to justify creating an article, & creating one beyond then is just too tempting for someone looking for an easy way to up their editcount. -- llywrch (talk) 20:38, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Short term Applies to all year articles in the future. Medium term Update the guideline to remove future events Long term discussion need as per above as to whether we should have future year articles and what they should contain.
My reasoning as being so harsh regarding future predictions in the year articles is mostly due to manageability of dynamic information such as this. Imagine NASA announce that plan to place a human on Mars in May 2025 attracting considerable news coverage. So, we have a future year with a significant anticipated event. Various Mars & Mars landing articles are created, updated by a large number of interested Wikipedians. The 2025 article is updated, presumably by the much smaller subset of Wikipedians who like to update year articles. Later on, the launch is postponed to July, generating less media coverage and the Mars Wikipedians are all over it, but we're relying a Year Wikipedian being aware of the new date and remembering that this exists in a future year article and doing it themselves.
And also, Wikipedia is not a calendar. Scribolt (talk) 10:00, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Recent years category/edit notice

Currently, the only tool in use for identifying articles within the scope of the recent years guidelines and advising users of the existence of said guideline is {{Recent years}}, a talk page template advising users of the existence of these guidelines and advising them to read them before adding anything. There does not appear to be a category or a standard edit notice to better organize these articles and better inform users of these specialized guidelines.

Shoud a category for identifying and organizing these articles be created? Should there be a standard edit notice attached to all articles bound by the recent years guidelines so that users who do not check the talk page first will still receive notification of these specialized guidelines? If technically possible, should all three be linked so that adding the notice to the talk page automatically adds the article to the category and generates the edit notice?

Discussion of Recent years category/edit notice

  • A category seems rather obvious. It would only need to be updated once a year so it would be exceptionally easy to maintain. If the mechanism that would automatically link all three things is technically possible that would be helpful as well. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:12, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think it should be a maintenance category, since readers wouldn't find our organization by applicable policies too useful. I think an edit notice would be useful, but I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. If there is consensus, I'd support automation. Wugapodes [thɔk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɻɪbz] 01:25, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Yes, there should be an obviously visible link into the guideline. Scribolt (talk) 10:00, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

The "three continent rule" for events

Current wording:

New events added must receive independent news reporting from three continents on the event. This is a minimum requirement for inclusion. Events which are not cited at all, or are not Wikilinked to an article devoted to the event, may be removed.

Should this rule be continued to be used as the minimum threshold for inclusion of an event in a recent year article? Is there a better metric that might be used?

Discussion of the "three continent rule" for events

  • I think continents are a poor indicator for evaluating global relevance: something covered in the US, UK, and Australia alone would qualify. Number of countries might be a better indicator, though I'm not sure if it's the best. -- King of ♠ 05:28, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think it can be improved, but I'm in favor of keeping it until a solid improvement is proposed. I don't see the US, UK, and Aus example as a problem: coverage in all three shows that it's internationally notable for the anglophone world (which is what enwiki primarily serves). Going off number of countries would really privilege regional coverage over truly global coverage sinceis also being discussed countries close to each other will probably report on each other, and those should go in regional articles like 2004 in Europe. Wugapodes [thɔk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɻɪbz] 01:33, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Needs to be some proxy for international significance; possibly, an item which belongs in a regional article shouldn't be here. I'm afraid that would be subjective, and probably subject to as the current regime as argument. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:51, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • As per Wugapodes. Could be better, will do until its improved by those closer to it. Scribolt (talk) 10:00, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
    • @King of Hearts:, do you mean all three of US, UK and Australia ("alone" to mean not including other countries in coverage)? Because that would be 3 continents... :-)Jack N. Stock (talk) 19:32, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
      • I'm sympathetic to Wugapodes's viewpoint that it may in fact be enough. But if something has only been covered in the American and Chinese press and nowhere else, I'd argue that it is at least as significant, if not more so, than something covered in the American, British, and Australian press and nothing else. So my primary concern is about the choice of metric rather than the cutoff used on that metric. -- King of ♠ 01:00, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Pretty much everything of national significance in French politics would count, since France includes pieces in South America (French Guiana), Africa (Réunion and Mayotte), and North America (Guadeloupe and Martinique), as well as Europe. For a lesser issue, anything in Russian or Turkish politics being reported in North America or Africa would also qualify. If you want this kind of rule, you should specify something like "three different countries, each on a different continent". Nyttend (talk) 00:09, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
    • That also runs into difficulties, e.g. a minor international incident between Egypt and Israel reported on in those countries and Greece but nowhere else would qualify, but a much bigger incident between Zambia and Zimbabwe reported on in every country in sub-Saharan Afica but not further afield would not. Number of countries would be significantly biased towards European events as Europe has significantly more countries per km² than any other continent. Thryduulf (talk) 19:32, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

"Ten languages rule" for births and deaths

The current rule for inclusion for births and deaths of notable persons are as follows:


Births are only to be included if there are Wikipedia articles in English and at least nine non-English languages about the individual in question.


The same criteria apply to deaths as to births, with the addition that the number of non-English Wikipedia articles is taken at the time of the person's death. Persons whose notability is due to circumstance rather than actual achievement (e.g. oldest person in the world or last surviving person of [x]) do not meet the basic requirement for inclusion.

Should these continue to be the minimum standards for the inclusion of births and deaths in recent years articles? Is there a better metric that might be used?

Discussion of the "ten languages rule" for births and deaths

  • I think the inclusion criteria for Births and Deaths might be a little too high; I understand that it is intended to counter systemic bias (in past years, Births and Deaths sections were overwhelmingly filled with people from the Anglosphere or Europe; some of whom had no interwiki links at all), but I fear that in the process it might actually enhance systemic bias, since I presume in many cases people from the Anglosphere or Europe would have more articles about them in other Wikipedias than those from non-Anglophone or non-European countries. How about lowering the requirement: instead of at least nine interwiki links, how about lowering the required number to five or six? I would agree with the current guideline provided that it should apply to people from the Anglosphere, but more leniency should probably be given (maybe on a case-by-case basis) to people from non-Anglosphere countries (i.e. China, Japan, Brazil, Kenya, etc.) Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 16:43, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
  • What if we used similar standards as events? Rather than interwiki links, it's based on how international the coverage is. Or combine the two? The death is reported on in at least three countries/continents and has at least X interwiki links. Perhaps 3 so that significant figures in developing countries whose wiki may not be very robust can still be included if they're notable enough for inclusion in, for example, English, German, and French wikipedias. Wugapodes [thɔk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɻɪbz] 01:38, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think the criteria may be too lenient.... The "three continent rule" has been subject to debate before. The existing rule is objective. Still, a feel for what difference there would be for different options would be helpful in weighing alternatives. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 08:08, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Lacking a better (more objective and/or easier-to-use) rule, I believe it is good enough, eventhough it's self-referencing in a way. Looking at the number of people included in the past few years, it could even be moved up a notch or two (i. e. 10 or 11 interwikis). — Yerpo Eh? 08:23, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Silly criteria - many well known people only have articles written after they die in a language other than that native to the person. And does the mere existence of some stub in some other language elevate the otherwise locally known to worldwide known. Most other language WP's have similar notability criteria to the English language one. So putting "Joe Blow was an Olympic participant" or "Joe Blow was a professional <sport> player" or "Joe Blow was a member of the legislative assembly of state/province" translated into French, Spanish, German, Scots, Simple, and whatever Google translate would spit out, with a citation to something to show notability, on 9 other sites achieves instant qualification. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 02:54, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Should focus on notability, not Wikipedia coverage (which sadly isn't always the same thing). No immediate suggestions though. Scribolt (talk) 10:00, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  • The bit about "due to circumstance" ought to be relaxed; for example, the death of Florence Green, the final surviving veteran of World War I, belongs in the 2012 article: her death was much more significant than that of most figures on the list, e.g. an actor, a swimmer, or a football referee. Not sure how to relax it, however, aside from a general encouragement to treat certain high-profile deaths as events. Nyttend (talk) 03:09, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Recent years as an editing guideline

The Recent years page was created on January 5, 2009. After some discussion between about five users on the talk page, it was moved into project space and marked as an editing guideline one week later. This does not appear to conform to the usual process for elevating advice or essays to the status of editing guidelines. However, it has been used and basically accepted as the standard for articles on recent years since that time.

Should Recent years continue to be marked as an official guideline, relegated to essay status, or promoted to a policy?

Discusion of Wikipedia:Recent years as an editing guideline

  • While I think more initial input would have been desirable, this has been used as an editing guideline for nearly eight years, so it should probably remain one regardless of how it got there int he first place, with tweaks as needed. Hopefully this discussion will attract more users to this area and consensus will be easier to determine in the future. vBeeblebrox (talk) 00:48, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
  • There seems to be debate as to whether it should be considered more than a WikiProject essay. I think it should be a guideline, but I believe there would be pushback if it were made a guideline unless considered now to be an essay and promoted to guideline. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:56, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
It appears the tail wagged the dog on this one. Guidelines are supposed to be written to reflect best practices already in use, but in this case the guideline seems to have come first and dictated the practice. However, at this point it has been in place for long enough that it does seem to be the accepted guideline, and this discussion is drawing so little input that it looks like it will stay that way. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:13, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
  • As per Beeblebrox. The guideline seems mostly sensible though and the improvements discussed in this RfC will help develop it further. Scribolt (talk) 10:00, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Yes, treat it as a guideline, and don't make significant changes to it without discussion, since it's had long enough use. It's not like most of the MOS pages, which are reflected on pages only when disruptive style warriors edit-war to enforce compliance with the decisions of a small group of people. Nyttend (talk) 03:12, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

General discussion of recent years guideline

Please leave any comments that do not fit in any of the above sections here.

  • I have a general question about this because I'm not at all familiar with the area - why do we have guidelines for recent years, but not year articles generally? It seems that these guidelines should cover all years, but perhaps there's a good reason for limiting them to "recent" years. Sam Walton (talk) 22:04, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
    This is because events, deaths etc are often added as soon as they have happened. As such the guidelines for Recent Years need to be more strict than Years in general. In fact, the guidelines for WP:YEARS are often either vague or non-existent making them virtually useless for Recent Years. DerbyCountyinNZ (Talk Contribs) 23:18, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
    Given that WP:YEARS is a WikiProject, not a guideline, it strikes me that it might be useful to turn WP:RECENTYEARS into a guideline on year articles generally, with a stricter section on recent years if appropriate. Looking through the existing guideline it seems sensible enough to to apply at least most of it to all year articles. Sam Walton (talk) 23:22, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
    I'm not sure that extending WP:RY to cover WP:YEARS is within the scope of this discussion but the main difference which would make this problematic is that the older the event or death the less likely the probability that it will be covered in readily available online resources. Coverage of Deaths in particular is skewed by recentism which would mean that a sliding scale would be needed to make the criteria work for earlier years. DerbyCountyinNZ (Talk Contribs) 04:31, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
    @DerbyCountyinNZ: Well I'd support more relaxed restrictions for less recent years, or years before a certain date (2000? 1900?), but I'm still not convinced that most of the points, or at least the structure of most of the points (with more relaxed criteria), couldn't apply to all year articles. Sam Walton (talk) 01:28, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
    Agreed, they could. But this possibility needs to be advised to as many associated projects as possible because the cynic in me expects considerable pushback. DerbyCountyinNZ (Talk Contribs) 01:53, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
    I expect pushback on even recent years. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 08:18, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
    Following up on Sam's point, I think it would be more helpful to have a general years guideline, and make the recent years guideline apply to the current year only (with perhaps some buffer room a la WP:BDP, so 2017 is covered by the policy starting December 2016 and 2016 is covered until the end of January 2017). -- King of ♠ 05:33, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
    I think a general years guideline would be a good thing to develop, but I think the recent years guideline fills a niche. Most things included at 1180 would not satisfy any of the criteria we're discussing here, while if we used the same inclusion criteria for 1180 at 2006 we'd have a terabyte long page. Wugapodes [thɔk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɻɪbz] 01:44, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Also, I discussed this in a WikiProject talk page years ago but the discussion went nowhere, so I'm raising this up again: what about persons with no publicly-known years of birth? A person keeping their age a secret from the public is fairly common in Japan, as well as among lesser-known celebrities in the United States. If the person is notable and meets the inclusion criteria for Births and/or Deaths, should they still be listed in date articles? For reference, this is currently being done in the Chinese, Italian, and Japanese Wikipedias. Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 16:43, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
    My initial reaction is no, this would fail WP:V. Or perhaps you could show me an example of it being done, as I could be convinced if I saw it in practice? -- King of ♠ 19:15, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
    @King of Hearts: For example, take a look at ja:2月13日#誕生日. Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 00:26, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
    I'm guessing you're talking about the 生年不明 - 川田まみ、I've歌手 entry at the bottom of that section? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 01:13, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
    @Nihonjoe: Sorry about the late reply, but yes. Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 07:01, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
    Oh, that's fine - but I thought we were discussing year articles only, not dates? -- King of ♠ 00:29, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
As I mentioned above, I raised it here to see if the topic will get more discussion, as I had previously raised it in the WikiProject talk page but the discussion went nowhere. Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 00:43, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I don't know quite what to do here, the idea was to get more users to comment on these things so we can say we have a consnesus one way or the other, but hardly anyone is participating. I put here instead of at RY itself and listed it at WP:CENT. That's about all I can think of, it's possible people don't want to bother getting up to speed on on what RY even is and are therefore just not bothering. Hopefully if this is here for a while it will get some more interest. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:19, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Either I wasn't aware that this guideline existed, or I might have but forgotten it for a long time. Either a navigational template or a sidebox template is needed to help people surf to the guideline. What about Template:Guideline list and/or Template:Wikipedia policies and guidelines? At least I can use category pages to browse guidelines. --George Ho (talk) 08:04, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

RfC: Hyphen in titles of articles on railways of a narrow gauge

The RfC is somewhat flawed in not clarifying whether "should" is merely preferred, or mandatory, across all cases; it does not allow the "don't care" option, and basically presumes that consistency, one way or the other, is required. This was raised by Beeblebrox in the "Side Survey". However, I find that, per the policy of WP:CONSISTENCY, "[a]rticle titles should be ... consistent", and therefore the result here applies to all cases.

There is support for, and no objection, to not hyphenating proper or common names that are normally unhyphenated.

The arguments (in brief) favoring of hyphenation are 1) consistency, 2) grammatical clarity, 3) standard usage, and 4) per MOS:HYPHEN. The arguments opposing are that hyphenation 1) is pointless, doesn't matter, and unnecessary, 2) pedantic, 3) a "one-size-fits-all" policy does not work, and 4) reduces editor freedom.

Section 3 of MOS:HYPHEN, regarding the use of hyphens to link "related terms in compound modifiers", seems applicable here.

Whether hyphenation is necessary for clarity and understanding is debatable, particularly as a lack of hyphens is not shown to present an insurmountable problem of understanding. Nonetheless, it appears they are useful, and having them is not shown to cause any problems.

It is claimed that not using hyphens is a national variant permitted under WP:ENGVAR. However, the basis of this claim is rather subjective, and is soundly rebutted by the n-gram graph.

Opponents also decry necessity, pedantry, one-size-fits-all policy, and any constraints on "editorial freedom". However (and without getting into any tit-for-tat history), it appears there has been an issue with excessive editorial freedom in changing hyphenation, as well as a lack of toleration of inconsistency. Therefore there is a need for standard policy.

The polling is 22 in favor of hyphenation, 10 opposed. While consensus is not necessarily the view of the majority, in this case I find (per the criteria at WP:Closing_discussions#Consensus) the arguments in favor of hyphenation to be more compelling than those against. Therefore: article titles should use "narrow-gauge", except for proper or common names where a contrary use has been established. By extension this consensus applies to similar terms, such as "broad-gauge" and "standard-gauge".

Whether existing use of non-hyphenated forms should be retained in articles where there has been no prior issue was not addressed in this discussion. While CONSISTENCY suggests that all article titles should be made consistent, there does not appear to be any urgency to do so.

~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 05:53, 9 March 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 articles with "Narrow gauge railways" and such in their titles include a hyphen as "Narrow-gauge railways"? And is there any tweak needed to the guidelines at WP:HYPHEN to be more helpful in deciding such things? Dicklyon (talk) 05:58, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Neutral background

Many articles were moved in late December and early January to include a hyphen, and then after about four weeks were disputed and moved back. Discussions at various places left the matter unresolved, and an RFC was recommended.

Affected articles include but are not limited to the ones in this template, which works the same with and without the hyphen due to the redirects:

Other pages moved in early January to include a hyphen, but not explicitly disputed or moved back, include Narrow-gauge railroads in the United States, Narrow-gauge railways in India, Narrow-gauge railways in China, Narrow-gauge railways in Canada, Narrow-gauge railways in former Spanish Morocco, Narrow-gauge railways in former French Morocco, Narrow-gauge railways in Oceania, Narrow-gauge railways in South America, Narrow-gauge railways in North America, Narrow-gauge railways in Asia, Narrow-gauge railways in Africa, and possibly others. Presumably if this RFC has a robust outcome it will apply to these as well.

@Bahnfrend, No such user, Bermicourt, SMcCandlish, Cinderella157, Tony1, Necrothesp, Mjroots, Corinne, Checkingfax, Scribolt, Mandruss, and Andy Dingley: Pinging participants of prior big discussion at Talk:Narrow_gauge_railways_in_Saxony in case any of them didn't see the notices. Dicklyon (talk) 17:48, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

The case for hyphenation in these titles

It is standard practice in English to help readers parse phrases involving compound modifiers before nouns by using hyphens to hold the compounds together. As WP:HYPHEN states, hyphens are used:
3. To link related terms in compound modifiers: [Specifically, compound attributives, which are modifiers of a noun that occur within the noun phrase. (See hyphenated compound modifiers.)] – Hyphens can help with ease of reading (face-to-face discussion, hard-boiled egg); where non-experts are part of the readership, a hyphen is particularly useful in long noun phrases, such as those in Wikipedia's scientific articles: gas-phase reaction dynamics. However, hyphens are never inserted into proper names in compounds (Middle Eastern cuisine, not Middle-Eastern cuisine).

The application to the compound "narrow gauge" when used before a noun is clear: the hyphen helps the reader, especially the general or naive reader unfamiliar with the phrase, to quickly parse "narrow-gauge railway", and not have to consider whether the intended meaning of "narrow gauge railway" might have been a "gauge railway" that is narrow. This is common courtesy to help the reader, and has no downside or negative impact on any reader. There is nothing special about titles that would suggest a different style from what is appropriate in the text.

Sources are mixed on hyphen usage, since it is common practice for writers to drop such hyphens when writing for an audience that they feel is so familiar with the term-of-art phrases that they don't need help to easily read them. But in the case of "narrow gauge", which is well known to rail fans but less so to the general public, usage in books is actually a strong majority in favor of hyphen usage. See n-gram stats from books: [4]. Even if it were only 50% used in sources, it would be wise to follow the advice of our style guidelines and most external style guides and dictionaries to make it easier for the general readership rather than the specialists.

There is no ENGVAR issue here. Using the n-grams link above, but modifying the language domain from English to British English and American English, it can be seen that while the relative frequency of railway versus railroad changes enormously, as expected, the relative frequency of hyphen stays in a strong majority in both variants.

Dictionaries specifically list the adjective form of "narrow gauge" as hyphenated: dictionaries, [5], [6], [7], [8], [9].

Within specialist literature, the hyphen is still sometimes used, and in literature for the general public it is sometimes omitted, but it is better to follow standard practice and guidance than to be that random, and it is much better to help the general reader than to try to mimic the specialist.

Note also that in company names, signs, headings, titles, and such that are Title Case or all caps, it is more common to omit hyphens. So the appearance of these terms unhyphenated but capitalized should not be taken as evidence of any preference one way or the other.

Note that WP:MOS, including WP:HYPHEN exists to set a style and prevent style disputes so we can all get back to work on non-trivia. It did not prevent a battle in this case, but I think it is clear enough and probably does not need any particular amendment in this area.

Examples of titles with hyphenated compounds used as adjectives

Most Wikipedia titles involving compounds such as narrow body, broad spectrum, standard definition, short range, high speed, low pressure, small cell, large scale, wide angle, and such do use the hyphen in a way exactly analogous to what is proposed for narrow gauge. Examples:

Please respond to this opening case in the discussion section below, not here. Dicklyon (talk) 06:44, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

The case for no hyphenation in these titles

The phrase “gauge railway” by itself is meaningless. In fact, the only other modifiers that I can think of other than narrow are broad/wide, standard, miniature, and “out-of-” (however, no argument about using hyphens for the last one). Therefore, the argument requiring hyphenation is pointless, and this attempt to enforce one particular POV should be dropped in favour of common usage, which seems to vary slightly from one side of the Atlantic to the other. (This point was made in an earlier discussion, but Dicklyon now seems to be walking it back.) The suggestion made by the nominator that the average reader needs the hyphen in “narrow-gauge” for comprehension is pure and simple condescension. So in a word:
Oppose. Useddenim (talk) 17:33, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

@Bermicourt, Bahnfrend, and Mjroots: This RFC is ready for an opening statement by someone opposing the hyphens. Dicklyon (talk) 06:46, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Side Survey: The case for not really caring one way or the other / The case for editorial freedom

because I don't. Beeblebrox (talk) 06:58, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

  • Support Optimist on the run (talk) 09:28, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Andy Dingley (talk) 11:49, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Bermicourt. Both variants are widely used in the sources; however, there is a much stronger regional tendency in US sources to hyphenate. So we should allow editorial freedom to choose, using the same approach that is used for ENGVAR, and not force editors to adopt one or the other. --Bermicourt (talk) 17:56, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - this is pedantry at the extreme. People need to focus on more important things - it isn't as if we have a shortage of those. - Sitush (talk) 00:29, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Note that these should not be counted as opposing the proposition of this RFC, as these editors (or most of them) have put the oppose !votes already in the survey below. Dicklyon (talk) 23:41, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

Note: that is disingenuous and highly misleading; we do oppose the proposal because it would force us to adopt one of the two common variants used by the sources. But thanks for alerting me to vote below as I hadn't, despite your comment --Bermicourt (talk) 20:14, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying your position, and you're welcome for my alert. I don't know why Optimist thought it a good idea to add this side survey, and I was certainly not being disingenuous in trying to call attention to the confusion. Please AGF. Dicklyon (talk) 21:08, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is the one wrong result. The reader is helped by consistency. These will alll be used in lists and categories, wherre consistency is particularly important. DGG ( talk ) 00:33, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Although someone really needs to table an amendment to *policy* that states where MOS guidelines are disputed by local consensus, uninvested editors should back away. I would also support any MOS-update that states Railway article terminology has to comply with Thomas the Tank Engine. While I agree in theory with DGG above consistency in lists and categories can be important - lists and categories are not the primary function of an encyclopedia. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:26, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
"Uninvested"? If you think anyone who has no especial fondness for a particular topic is uninvested, you're mistaken. Everyone working on the encyclopedia is invested, even those who participate in discussions by announcing that they don't care about the outcome. Primergrey (talk) 14:34, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
I think someone whose presence at a railway article is only there to enforce a general usage MOS rule which may not be appropriate given the specific circumstances is uninvested in railway articles yes. They might be invested in the MOS... But ultimately no one outside of railway article editors and their readers care about the hyphen usage on railway articles. The world is not going to end if narrow-gauge is hyphenated. It really does not matter. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:14, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
"and their readers" is the important part. Dicklyon (talk) 15:16, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Being invested in the encyclopedia means being invested in all articles therein. To dismiss an editor trying to uphold site-wide style guidelines as "uninvested" runs counter to WP's stated purpose as a generalist encyclopedia. Also, "the world is not going to end if narrow-gauge is hyphenated", if true, is an excellent reason to support hyphenation. Primergrey (talk) 17:13, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support allowing both variants. Disputes can be settled by local consensus, after an examination of sources related to the specific railway or station in question. Yes, we will have a few difficult cases where the sources are not clear. Despite this, I think we should avoid adopting a "one size fits all" rule on this... because, whichever "rule" we adopt, we will simply end up with endless arguments about how our "rule" is wrong. In other words, we will end up with more disputes if we adopt a "one size fits all" rule than we will by allowing both variants. Blueboar (talk) 15:18, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Both variants should be allowed. There is no extra "clarity" here - both clearly and unambiguously refer to something to do with a railway where the gauge is narrow(er) than some standard - that is undoubtedly why usage without hyphen exists in substantial numbers across the English speaking world, and it is well within standard written English grammar to drop unneeded hyphens. The claim of "consistency" is without merit as shown by the fact that we do not demand everyone write like everyone else (especially on something so wide-spread, and on an issue where insisting is so obviously narrow-minded and bizarrely inflexible.) We allow such minor leeway (and, indeed much larger leeway) for very good reasons too numerous and too embedded in our system of writing (although an article should be internally consistent). Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:00, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose inconsistency and ambiguity – no editor is being compelled or even asked to help, just to not interfere when things are moved toward compliance with the MOS, in favor of the interests of readers. Bermicourt started this mess by interfering after all articles had been made consistent, pretty much without objection except for his on Narrow-gauge railways in Saxony which he reverted back to hyphenless form (as he has a right to revert bold moves); so we went to discuss on the talk page there, and while that was not going in his favor he went and moved the rest of the articles about European countries, none of which had been objected to for a month. This is pure disruption, bad for the reader, bad for consistency. So now we're here, on advice of the closer there, to decide. So let's decide. Dicklyon (talk) 21:08, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Bulldozing opponents might be fun in real life but it is extremely destructive at Wikipedia which relies on volunteers who maintain and build article content. Dashes are not as important as collaboration. Johnuniq (talk) 23:32, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
      Are you in the wrong section? Nothing about dashes is being discussed here. Dicklyon (talk) 00:11, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As this proposition is inherantly contrary to WP:Consistency, which is stated to be a policy document and thereby does not permit such latitude. Cinderella157 (talk) 08:05, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
No, it is not. There is actually little support to make it apply everywhere. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:30, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support allowing both per Blueboar. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:19, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose – all "editor freedom" does is cause trivial content disputes and long AN/I threads. Laurdecl talk 08:00, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Main RFC Survey

Please Support or Oppose including the hyphen in the titles.

  • Support. The list above clearly shows how it's easier for non-experts to pick up the word group if there's a hyphen ... not to mention our own style guidance and that of the style authorities on both sides of the Atlantic. Tony (talk) 09:10, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose There is a view espoused by a handful of hyper-active editors here that styleguides mandate all uses of a particular phrase and that any single deviation from this is some sort of thoughtcrime. That is nonsense: language is simply not that consistent. Nor does WP policy follow such a line, instead we have WP:COMMONNAME and WP:NEOLOGISM which state that WP should follow the practice in use, not mandate its own claims and force them on top of reality.
There is a case for consistency with names that are created on WP. So I have no problem with "Narrow-gauge railroads in the US", nor even "Narrow gauge railroads in the US" (I really don't care what our "default styleguide in the absence of any external influence" says. But when the name is based on an external source, those sources should be followed, not the styleguide.
Why do external names matter for the hyphenation of narrow-/ gauge? After all, there are very few of them (although the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways didn't hyphenate). Because this isn't just a question of hyphenating narrow-gauge, it's also the question of capitalising "Line" in "Heart of Wales Line". The two naming issues should have been raised in the same RfC. But whilst the narrow-gauge one is broadly linguistic and hardly appears in sourced proper names, the capitalisation issue certainly does. Yet if the easier narrow-gauge issue can be won, that then establishes a "precedent" for WP naming, including the case issue - when in fact, WP does not follow WP:PRECEDENT in such cases. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:04, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Every single time there is a hyphen/en-dash/em-dash argument is comes down to a small group trying to impose a Victorian image of linguistic correctness on everyone else. There is literally no difference in reading comprehension between the characters. It annoys the picayune and the obsessive but is ignored by the rest, if such differences are even perceived at all. The MOS and external style guides are not weapons to hammer other editors with, especially when worrying about near-imperceptible differences such as this. Even if the three versions of a dash or no dash at all are randomly mixed between articles, it absolutely won't matter except to a handful of Emersonian hobgoblins and certainly won't damage the encyclopedia. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 15:06, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support narrow hyphen. Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 15:15, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support with obvious cavaets If the name is not proper, eg "Narrow-gauge railroads in the US", the hyphenated form seems correct and easier to read particularly if more modifiers are added "the longest narrow guage railroad..." is awkward but "the longest narrow-guage railroad" is clear). But if it is a proper name like "North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways" above, we should not force that style onto the name, and leave it as is, and editors need to take care in page moves to not force this onto the proper name. --MASEM (t) 15:25, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support – The hyphen is necessary according to the existing MOS:HYPHEN, and is the standard usage. Dicklyon's survey of reliable sources makes this very clear. RGloucester 15:52, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as completely unnecessary. (See above for more.) Useddenim (talk) 17:36, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - Grammatical clarity is a Good Thing in an encyclopedia, full stop. Most of the rest is generalized anti-MoS ideology and personal vendettas, which we could do with a lot less of. ―Mandruss  19:03, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Miniapolis 19:21, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - Hyphen is more grammatically and phonetically correct, it is necessary to convey the meaning of the title correctly. Χρυσάνθη Λυκούση 2001 (talk) 21:25, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support as normal English usage across national varieties, and an obvious boon to clarity. Nothing is gained for anyone by dropping the hyphenation. This is not TrainspotterPedia, and WP is not written in a quirky shorthand style for specialists and fans to use with other specialists and fans (who have no trouble understanding the conventional style with the hyphen, just a subjective preference against it in their own materials). This same basic issue comes up across many topics, and it all comes down to the same answer: we have our own style guide for a reason, just like every other professionally published, multi-writer publication. People will unproductively fight about style trivia indefinitely if not given a house style to follow. WP follows the WP style, which is derived from the most influential off-WP style guides. We depart from our own manual when reliable sources (including general-audience ones, not just specialized ones) are with remarkable consistency doing something different from what our style guide does, for a particular case or type of case. (You'll find this exceptions rule in various wording at WP:MOS, MOS:CAPS, MOS:TM, WP:COMMONNAME, etc.) The sources show no consistency in writing about railways, so that's the end of it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:06, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose See my arguments at Talk:Narrow_gauge_railways_in_Saxony. Bahnfrend (talk) 11:35, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose being forced to adopt a variant with a strong regional US following, when the rest of the world is neutral. Give editors the freedom to decide and let's not force an "either/or" that is not reflected in the sources. --Bermicourt (talk) 17:58, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. The proposal seems very reasonable, is already consistent with established conventions, and I am unimpressed by the case against using the hyphen. Obviously in cases where "Narrow Gauge" is part of a proper name, we should use the WP:COMMONNAME. But the affected articles seem limited in scope to those where the title of the article is a descriptive title. Sławomir Biały (talk) 19:46, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - I agree with Sławomir Biały. I also find Dicklyon's statement above, which is not only written clearly and in a neutral tone but also is backed up with specific information, to be persuasive. To me, the most persuasive piece of information is that many Wikipedia articles use the hyphen in compound adjective modifiers. While I personally don't see the need for a hyphen in "narrow gauge", I do see some value to the encyclopedia in consistency of style, especially in article titles.  – Corinne (talk) 20:25, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support hyphenation for the benefit of readers. Standard English practice "on both sides of the Atlantic" as Tony notes and sources confirm, in spite of claims by Bermicourt that this is "a variant with a strong regional US following". (as nom) By the way, I just finished writing a book published by Cambridge University Press; their style guide differs from WP's in places related to things like heading case, quotation style, and other things, but on hyphens it's pretty typical of those we follow, including "Compound adjectives will generally be hyphenated if they precede the noun: short-term effects ...". Dicklyon (talk) 00:36, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support hyphenation. There is clearly no evidence that the un-hyphenated form is more prevalent. The hyphenated form is slightly less ambiguous and for a non-English speaking reader, it may possibly prevent a small degree of confusion in the future. Where possible, article names should be consistent in construction. The oppose arguments don't really identify any real benefits to the un-hyphenated form. Therefore, we should choose a standard construction and that construction should be with hyphenation (with the caveat that exceptions relating to proper names can exist as per Masem but the default position should be hyphenation). Scribolt (talk) 07:29, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support hyphenation. It is standard English to hyphenate in this way when the term is used as an adjective, which it clearly is. This is not an ENGVAR issue (I'm British, incidentally). -- Necrothesp (talk) 11:14, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support hyphenation per consistency and standard English practice. On the meta-issue: I don't really understand the substance of opposing arguments if there is one, apart from "we don't like it". If there are editors that exhibit "pedantry at the extreme" (call them "gnomes" or "MoS warriors" at will), why don't just let them if you really don't care one way or another? I will readily grant that enforcing MOS-conformance and consistency is not a high-priority task, but everyone freely chooses what to edit on a wiki. No such user (talk) 11:49, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support as concerned as I may be about being labelled a "hobgoblin", an "obsessive", or a Quixotic opponent of "thoughtcrime", I must cast my lot with hyphenation and its added clarity, particularly for some non-native readers of English. Primergrey (talk) 15:06, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose the proposal to remove editorial freedom and force editors to adopt only one two common variants; the one which is only predominant in US sources. It's not a grammatical issue, it's a sources issue. Please note, I'm happy for editors to use the hyphenated version if they choose, please give other editors the same freedom to use the very common unhyphenated version. Note also that the glossary published by the International Union of Railways to which most of the world subscribes, uses the unhyphenated version. --Bermicourt (talk) 20:11, 6 February 2017 (UTC) (Bermicourt already opposed above on 5 Feb)
  • Oppose One-size-fits-all does not work for socks or collaborative projects. Wikipedia needs volunteers who do good work more than it needs MOS enthusiasts who care about dashes but not the articles concerned. Johnuniq (talk) 23:26, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong support – The general English pattern of using a hyphen to make a compound work as a single adjective is appropriate here, especially seeing that this is the way it is most commonly done in books (per the n-grams), and in light of the linked dictionaries that list the adjective form as narrow-gauge and give examples of it hyphenated. Also, per our house style described in detail at MOS:DASH. {{u|Checkingfax}} {Talk} 07:28, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. While there may not be a clear case for improving clarity in every case, there are certainly cases where clarity is improved (eg British narrow gauge slate railways, where a consensus was recently reached for hyphenation and clarity was a significant issues with respect to this particular title). There is some value in consistent usage across the main space for titles (WP:CONSISTENCY) referring to rail gauges and within content: that is, that narrow-gauge is adopted throughout, and not just where it is appropriate for clarity. References to narrow gauge within an article that uses narrow-gauge as part of the title (for reasons of clarity) will inherently lead to inconsistency within an article that can most effectively be dealt with by standardising on the hyphenated form across articles. I note that WP:Consistency is identified as a policy document. This is the basis for my support. I see no strength to assertions of WP:ENGVAR and WP:RETAIN. This is ultimately a matter of clarity and then of WP:CONSISTENCY - if it is needed in some cases for clarity it should then be done consistently. The converse of consistently not using the hyphenated form would lead to a degradation of clarity in some cases. This is a proposition that is less acceptable than the alternative. I also note the article title Narrow-gauge railway was moved to the hyphenated form on 8 Feb 2015 by User:Anthony Appleyard. It is difficult to argue against hyphenation when the title of the lead article is hyphenated. Cinderella157 (talk) 08:00, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose It is enough to say, clarity is not improved - the contra claim, that maybe sometimes it might be improved (which is actually entirely doubtful) is a 'tail-wag-the-dog argument'. Cinderella links to a discussion that actually admitted no-one is actually confused. In standard English language grammar, dropping the hyphen happens all the time. Here, for these words, we know for a fact, that dropping the hyphen happens all the time. The "consistency" argument is just as absurd. It is stated above that there will be articles where we can't put the hyphen in the title. So, the consistency argument winds-up being 'I insist you use it everywhere (accept when I do not) because there is no real reason for me to force other editors to do this.' No, editor autonomy is a billion times more important then the silly, useless, hyphen, here .Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:25, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support: There's a good case that there's a (tiny!) improvement in readability, that our existing Manual of Style rules promote hyphenation for readability, and that on balance, sources hyphenate more often than not. Many of the opposing arguments can be summarized as "it doesn't matter", and advocate flexibility over strict adherence to the pattern. That seems an odd argument to me: flexibility and tolerance are compatible with supporting hyphenation: all that needs to happen is for those who prefer hyphenation to avoid browbeating users who happen to add unhyphenated versions of the phrase. {{Nihiltres |talk |edits}} 22:39, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Opppose as restricting editorial freedom into a straightjacket. If we were actually getting paid to edit or if we had professional proofreaders who "finished" a page and then it never needed revision afterwards, we could induldge in this sort of MOS-minutiae. We aren't, so expecting it beyond the page is just pedantry. Go work on content. Ealdgyth - Talk 11:50, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The benefit to our readers, if any, is too minor for this level of control to be worth it. Local consensus on these article titles is fine; inconsistency between article titles is also not that big a deal. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:22, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
The AT policy page has consistency as one of the five characteristics of good article titles. Primergrey (talk) 20:15, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
It also says "These should be seen as goals, not as rules", and makes it clear that the rules on article titles are for the benefit of readers. If I thought that readers would suffer in any way (by being unable to find the right article, or by being confused as to the topic of an article, for example) I'd agree we need to enforce a rule here. WP:COMMONNAME, which is the next paragraph in AT, says editors should reach a consensus, and includes "usage in the sources used as references for the article" as one of the inputs to that consensus. To me, this all means we don't have to have hyphens in these article names. If they already had hyphens we should leave them in; if they don't, leave them out until there's a consensus among editors working on the article that they should be changed. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:06, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The correct name should be used in all cases, and on the right hand side of the Atlantic that is without a hyphen in the majority of cases, and on the other side neither seems to be primary. WP:COMMONNAME is a policy, the manual of style is a guideline (and it should be a minor one at that). Thryduulf (talk) 15:18, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
    • This nationalistic assertion has been thoroughly debunked, with reliable (British) sources, repeatedly and in detail. Start here, at item #5. (Well, start first with the material at the top of the RfC that you apparently skipped.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:11, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. This is already clearly in the MOS. I respect local consensus at an article or wikiproject to allow for variance from MOS, but I haven't heard a convincing argument on the oppose side. Sources seem to favour the hyphen. It's clearer and easier to read with the hyphen. Reidgreg (talk) 22:59, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support hyphenation, which makes an otherwise ambiguous term unambiguous. There is no such thing as "narrow railway" nor "gauge railway", so "narrow-gauge railway" is the proper way to go. -- Ohc ¡digame! 15:11, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong support hyphenation – there is absolutely no policy based reason to defy the MOS because of personal preference and it is absolutely not a good application of IAR. I also note that some of the opposers have cast their !votes twice to create an impression that this is somehow contentious. Laurdecl talk 03:13, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
The MOS is not policy and the policy-based reason to "defy" MOS is in the MOS itself: ... it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. The MOS itself is contentious, as the 190-page archive of its talk page alone shows, so no false impression need be created. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 04:42, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support—with the common sense recommendation that proper names be exempt. Imzadi 1979  19:45, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Threaded discussion

  • I don't really understand Andy Dingley's long opposing rant after he stated that he doesn't really care. In particular, I tried to be clear that hyphens are usually not used in proper names, so there should be no worry on North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways if it's the proper name of the subject of the article, and if it's not then it would be correct to fix the case, too. Dicklyon (talk) 17:38, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
    And that's the problem. You don't understand anything more than a simplistic one-rule-fits-all styleguide. Andy Dingley (talk) 18:09, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
    User:Andy Dingley, your posts are moving from low- to high-level irritability. It would be more productive if you were less personal. Tony (talk) 04:42, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
    Yes Tony, threatening people with Arbcom for disagreeing with them does tend to have that effect. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:26, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
    Andy, ignore it. You do good work on WP. You deserve to react calmly if the waters are ruffled. Tony (talk) 11:52, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
    I have no trouble at all parsing what Dicklyon is saying, which clearly indicates understanding of proper names and that a style-guide rule about hyphenation would not apply to one. It appears to me that the failure to understand or to be flexible is coming from the opposite direction, from individuals so used to and so personally invested in insider writing about the topic than they are unable to understand (or, much more likely, unwilling to concede) that they cannot force everyone else to write about trains the way a trainspotter would when writing for other trainspotters.  — SMcCandlish ¢ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:50, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
    Well, it would make life a lot easier if you, Dicklyon and similar were simply banished from any discussions regarding MOS. Perhaps there are already restrictions - I don't know because every time I see such names at the Pump, ANI etc, I've tended to switch off after a few minutes of reading. - Sitush (talk) 00:35, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
    Thank you for lending credence to my comment about generalized anti-MoS ideology and personal vendettas. Your comment is not constructive. ―Mandruss  00:59, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I'd just like to chime in here, as I do every time I see an argument about small horizontal lines, to point out that this is a ridiculous, pointless dispute that matters only to the people involved. I would suggest you host any further discussion in the walled garden where the illusion that any of this matters is maintained and don't let the rest of us know what you decide. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:53, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
    matters only to the people involved - I would suggest that people generally don't get involved in things that don't matter to them, so you could say that about any issue, making it unremarkable.
    I'll also note that this is not about hyphen-vs-endash, nor about spaced-endash-vs-unspaced-endash, which could be somewhat more easily dismissed as trivial pedantry. It's about clearly identifying an adjectival phrase as such for readers who are not familiar with the term "narrow gauge". Thus, argument about small horizontal lines appears to miss the point in a knee-jerk negative reaction to a legitimate MoS issue. ―Mandruss  20:29, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
    Agreed. However, Beeblebrox raises a valid point, in that these disputes are about trivia yet become disruptive when pursued, and seem to come up again and again. The typical pattern is that an editor doing "gnome" cleanup work applying our naming conventions, style guidelines, and title policy will occasionally run into a faction who have a WP:GREATWRONGS / WP:TRUTH / WP:SOAPBOX position on one of these points of trivia, grounded in nothing but subjective preferences based on what deeply steeped insiders in the topic do when writing to other insiders in insider publications, and without regard for the needs or expectations of people unfamiliar with the topic. This camp will then tendentiously fight against guideline and policy compliance at WP:RM, one article at a time, for weeks, months, even years in hope of "winning" through attrition.

    That behavior pattern is obviously forum shopping, but RM has historically being easily system-gamed this way because of its lack of searchable archives and the difficulty of digging up previous related discussions as precedent. Last month, I raised this issue at WT:RM, and there is now a new search feature at the top of that page that should help to curtail this pattern of process abuse. However, until the administrative wiki-culture at RM shifts more firmly to shut down re-shopping the same trivial anti-guideline, anti-policy position over and over, the effective way to deal with it remains the WP:RFC process.

    The more RfCs that close in favor of following the guidelines and policies, and against special pleading and anti-consensus campaigning on a topical basis, the fewer such incidents will arise. These disputes consistently go in the direction of "just follow WP's own instructions on the matter unless the sources in the aggregate overwhelmingly prefer a variance" (since this is an actual rule found throughout MoS and at WP:COMMONNAME), and they go that way whether dragged out over 30 RMs or settled in an RfC. It costs a lot less editorial time to RfC it, and sets consensus-determination precedent that is easier to find and more persuasive.

    It's also proven more effective to RfC these matters at VPPOL rather than at WT:MOS, because on multiple occasions the result of RfCs at MoS have been ignored by those who didn't get their way and the issue has been re-shopped in an "anti-RfC" to try to overturn it here at VPPOL (ironically, the "walled garden" reasoning Beeblebox suggests should keep MoS disputes at MoS tends to have the opposite effect). So, just cut out all the middle-man processes and do the one that matters most, for any titles/style dispute that gets entrenched and affects more than a trivial number of articles, if a multi-page RM fails to resolve the issue (or it is not limited to title disputes).
     — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:50, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

  • The opposition on this is grounded in two obvious fallacies: 1) that there is no comprehensibility difference, and 2) that the sources don't agree with the hyphenation. Both of these have been shown to be faulty. First, only someone already deeply familiar with the topic knows that a railway term of art is "narrow-gauge" (or "narrow gauge" as a noun phrase rather than a compound adjective: "this is a narrow-gauge railway" versus "this railway has a narrow gauge", a distinction most people learn in elementary schools or in their early ESL classes), but that "gauge railway" is not a railway term of art. The topic has many "foo railway", "foo railroad", and "foo rail" terms of art ("slate railway", "commuter railroad", "double-headed rail" etc., etc., etc.), so there is nothing obvious or intuitive about how "narrow", "gauge" and "railway" relate to each other in such a construction, except to experts. The very purpose of hyphenation of compound adjectives is to clearly link two words that form a single modifier, as distinct from independent modifiers (an "ugly brown dog" and an "ugly-brown dog" are not the same thing; I might have a magnificent, title-winning dog that someone feels is of an ugly-brown color, while if the dog itself were ugly, it wouldn't win conformance championships). Second, it's already been amply demonstrated that a) the sources in the aggregate do not prefer to drop the hyphenation, only specialist materials do so, and b) even those do not do it consistently.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:06, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
    The fact that the ambiguity and confusion are real is easy to see with a web search for "a gauge railway". Even our article on Rapla exhibits this problem (I just now tagged it for clarification). You see it at Getty Images, this illiterate blog, this funny page, and some that just fail to copy the gauge template contents when they mine wikipedia. Even some conference publications and articles. Same for "the gauge railway", like in "The width of the gauge railway is 760 mm" and "Additionally, the gauge railway line will feature". These are probably all mistakes, but they indicate that this kind of unfamiliar construct is not the easiest thing for editors and writers to understand and get right. The hyphen can only help. Dicklyon (talk) 00:56, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
There is no ambiguity and no confusion here. All of the links you have posted are very obviously nothing more than careless proofreading or editing errors, pure and simple. To say, as you do, that such obvious careless errors demonstrate confusion is like saying that the spelling of the word "Michael" is unclear and ambiguous because a lot of people misspell it as "Micheal". In other words, it is a grasping at straws, nonsense argument, which wrongly and disrespectfully treats Wikipedia readers as a mob of fools. Bahnfrend (talk) 11:33, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
If any editor took my remarks as treating them as fools, or otherwise disrespectfully, I sincerely apologize. My remarks were about the ambiguity in parsing unfamiliar terms, and pointing out errors that might have been caused by that ambiguity as seen by unfamiliar writers or editors, and conjecturing that that evidence supports the interpretation that there is real ambiguity there for those unfamiliar with the concept, while acknowledging that many of those are simple errors of transcription or something. It's OK with me if you disagree; it won't make me think less of you. But the ad hominem might. Dicklyon (talk) 17:31, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
  • @SMcCandlish The only fallacy is that "arguments against enforced hyphenation are 'obvious fallacies'". First, the idea that you have to be "deeply familiar" railways to understand the term is an insult to the commonsense of the majority who don't need a grammar lesson to work it out. Second, the sources favour neither variant (we agree to that extent) except in North America, thus there is an element of WP:ENGVAR to this which simply reinforces the Wiki principle of leaving editors to decide for themselves as they had been doing happily for years, until this over-zealous, pro-hyphen crusade came along. Bermicourt (talk) 18:12, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
Can't say I care that much either way, but as regards having to be deeply familiar and a specialist etc, I think it would have been sensible to ease off on the rhetoric and not post such thoughts until checked against a well-known not-that-specialist series of publications aimed at those who have not yet had the benefit of much schooling. If you Google "Thomas the Tank Engine narrow(-)gauge" it will be found that Thomas has "Narrow Gauge" Friends, except in WP where his friends are "narrow-gauge". Just saying....Rjccumbria (talk) 18:44, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
Many of the Thomas books and other books by Awdry [10] [11] [12] [13] use "narrow-gauge engine", "narrow-gauge friends", "narrow-gauge railways" and "narrow-gauge rails" with the hyphen, but omit it when capitalizing as "Narrow Gauge". Pretty standard, and reported with links in the previous big RM discussion. Except this one gets mixed up and even uses the hyphen in capped "Narrow-Gauge Engine". Dicklyon (talk) 18:49, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
The Thomas books were first published between 1945 and 1972, and therefore cannot be described as a useful guide to present usage of hyphenation. Bahnfrend (talk) 04:09, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. It's hard to tell which are the ones written since 1983 by his son Christopher, which modern editions might have been re-edited, etc. Dicklyon (talk) 04:39, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
In any case (apologies for having taken a break from this, and for obviously failing to be adequately clear first time round what the point I thought I was making was), the point I thought I was making was not that "TtTE avoids hyphenation, so should we" (give me some credit, chaps!) , but that some of the rhetoric was OTT counter-productive shooting from the hip. Far from the un-hyphenated form being some arcane perversion known only to specialists, it is one potentially known to any child whose reading age stretches to Thomas the Tank Engine (mind you, they could probably also tell the difference between a diplodocus and an apatosaurus better than most grown-ups). I suppose we should be grateful that (as far as I am aware) we have yet to be told that hyphens are a mandatory requirement under health and safety legislation.
Do I see from the above that people who learned punctuation in the third quarter of the twentieth century will not have valid opinions on best practice? That could be just the excuse I need to slip away from this...Rjccumbria (talk) 10:12, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Whether sources from that era reflect current usage is orthogonal to what anyone's personal opinion is. Regardless, a) it's clear that the materials you pointed to mostly do hyphenate except in proper names (which is a common but not universal alteration), and b) waht writers of children's books do wouldn't tell us much about how to write encyclopedic prose; we learn that from academic versus casual style guides, and from what high-quality but general-audience sources do, and the answer is "hyphenate compound adjectives, either uniformly or possibly with the exception to not do so when there is no possibility of confusion" (an exception which does not apply here; Dicklyon already pointed to numerous cases of things like "the gauge railway" and "a gauge railway" in professionally edited material, where writers had mistakenly parsed "narrow gauge railway" as "a gauge railway that is narrow".  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:36, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Bermicourt, your ENGVAR theory is completely refuted by stats from British English books. If there's a small difference in the proportions, it's likely attributable to the higher proportion of rail-specialized publications in the UK compared to the US. But it's still a good super-majority hyphenated there. Dicklyon (talk) 18:49, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
But you are uninterested in external sources and consider only the hyphenation styleguide to have any effect. You've just moved (undiscussed, naturally) dual mass flywheel to the hyphenated form, despite the unhyphenated form being universal in the drivetrain industry.[14][15]
You come here, presenting yourself as supporting the use of sources for one case (narrow gauge railways) when there is very little difference of opinion over that particular naming question, yet when there are other issues (such as capitalising "Line") that are contested, your behaviour is to ignore all sources, provided that you can find even one,[16] no matter how non-RS or poorly copyedited that coincides with your prejudical view to enforce the styleguide regardless. Andy Dingley (talk) 09:07, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
How many times do we have to go over this, Andy? I think I've covered this with you at least half a dozen times already, on three or four different pages now. "[I]n the drivetrain industry" = in specialized sources written by specialists to other specialists. WP is written for a general audience, not a specialized one. What do general-audience, mainstream publications prefer, and what to the style guides they follow (and on which MoS is based) advise, for such constructions? Hyphenation of the compound adjective. Only someone steeped in drivetrain lore has any idea whether the unhyphenated "dual mass flywheel" means a "mass flywheel" of a dual-construction nature (a "dual, mass flywheel"), or flywheel of a "dual-mass" sort (a "dual-mass flywheel"). Specialized publications sometimes drop hyphenation, commas, and other clarifiers because they are certain that their narrow, focused readership all already know the answer and have internalized this terminology in great detail. Do you really think we haven't already been through this same argument many times with regard to medical terms, legal terms, computer science terms, etc., etc., with the same result? Do you really think railroads are somehow raising a new issue here? They most definitely are not. This is time-sucking rehash of perennial "my topic is somehow a special snowflake" tedium.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:25, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Unless you three are now so close that you're claiming to speak for each other, I have little interest in what you've said there and am still waiting for Dicklyon's explanation of his moves.
Yes, there is an awful lot of ICANTHEARYOU: Dicklyon is dragged to discussions where he puts forward a reasonable case that relevant eternal sources should be taken into consideration; but then the way he acts, by continuing to make undiscussed page moves against such sources, is at odds with this. I make no excuse for seeing that the naming of an obscure drivetrain component should be taken from the drivetrain industry, the one place it's discussed authoritatively. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:27, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
I do support the use of sources (that's where all info in WP comes from, and informs us about style, too), but I'm not an advocate of "follow the sources", a discreditted anti-MOS campaign from Pmanderson of years past. Where sources are mixed, as S has pointed out, we follow the MOS. In the case of the dual-mass flywheel, I'm seeing 6 of the first 10 book hits with hyphens, but that's not the reason I moved it. I moved it because it was unclear without the hyphen (except to the those in drivetrain business, granted). Dicklyon (talk) 15:51, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
By the way, I held off on tuned mass damper, because I could not clearly determine which of the two meanings was intended, or whether both work fine. Books sometimes use hyphen, but not often enough to convince me that the small minority with hyphens are correct. So I left it, even though sources are a little bit mixed and I think the hyphen would probably signal the intended meaning better in this case. Dicklyon (talk) 16:05, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Bermicourt, please do not engage in circular reassertion of points that have already been refuted; it's just a frustrating waste of everyone's time. Dicklyon provided ample evidence already of real-world confusion that "a gauge railway" is a real term. This is incontrovertible proof from multiple publishers that people are confused on the matter (even professional editors and writers). Second, "the sources favour neither variant" is precisely the situation in which "just do what MoS says and move on" always applies automatically. This kind of scenario (and the habit of people to argue incessantly that their option is the One True Way) is why MoS exists at all. Only in the opposite situation, when the RS are consistently in favor of one particular option and it differs from MoS's default, do we not do the MoS default. This is also the WP:COMMONNAME policy, BTW, so you can stow any "just a guideline" handwaving: "prevalence in a significant majority of independent, reliable English-language sources". Third, a slight alleged regional preference for one variant over another has nothing to do with WP:ENGVAR. Please actually go read ENGVAR. It's about norms of standardized English usage that have "strong national ties"; a slight leaning in one direction or another in dialects that each demonstrate both approaches, in practice and in style guides, is neither a dialectal norm nor a strong national tie, but exactly the opposite of both. But as Dicklyon notes, your nationalist assumption is false anyway, and the hyphenation is found aplenty in British materials, too. It's just not preferred in the trainspotter publications you are cherry picking to try to "win". I also have to point out that you can't denigrate the MoS and those who seek compliance with its MOS:HYPHEN provisions, out of one side of your mouth, while crying for the overextension of the MOS:ENGVAR part of it to suit you whims, out of the other. That's like being an atheism activist most of the time, but insisting on your devout Catholicism on Sunday when you hope a desperate prayer will be answered.

This is very simple: If everyone understands the form with the hyphen (even if some, due to familiarity with the term find the hyphen unnecessary for their own, personal, individual comprehension), but some people may not understand without the hyphen (even if you believe that number is small or you think they're ignorant), then the obvious answer is to use the hyphen, since it costs nothing and helps some readers, and helping ignorant readers become better-educated readers is WP's primary raison d'etre. That's all there is to it, and it's how encyclopedic writers approach every such question, from whether to break up a long sentence, to which word order to use, to whether an illustration of something may be needed.
PS: I'm going to laugh very hard if you make some kind of "inefficiency and bother" pseudo-argument about hyphens, after the amount of editorial time you have wasted fighting in vain over this trivia, and since a hyphen and a space take up the same room and require the same number of keystrokes.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:25, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

  • Often, a 2-part compound word is written without a hyphen when alone, but as part of a longer compound it has a hyphen to show clearer what component of the total compound belongs closest to what. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 08:27, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
    • That's generally the distinction between the noun and adjective forms, respectively. This RfC is only about adjectival use (i.e., use as modifier of a noun). No one is proposing anything like hyphenating "narrow gauge" in a construction like "The railway has a narrow gauge".  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:17, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

  • This looks interesting; I'm tempted to try closing it. Any objections? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 01:02, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
    None here. Best of luck. ―Mandruss  01:07, 8 March 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.

IP Block Exemptions should be expanded to include accounts (5+ years) in good standing

For the past three years I have been using Private Internet Access VPN to make myself harder to track on the Internet. I don't see myself stopping this practice anytime soon. The only problem is that I can't edit wikipedia while logged into PIA. Most of the IP addresses are hard-blocked. So, most of the time, I simply don't edit wikipedia at all. I was hoping that this problem would resolve itself, but it has not. So here I am, proposing a solution.

Although I understand the need to block anonymous edits and new-account edits on proxy-IPs, I do not understand why this block must be so comprehensive that it prohibits veteran wikipedians like myself from being able to edit while logged in.

There is a technical solution already available to users in my position. It is called the Wikipedia:IP block exemption. IP block exemptions are automatically granted to bots and admins. Ordinary editors who are impacted through no fault of their own can also be granted IP Block Exemptions -- but only in extraordinary circumstances. My proposal is that this policy be relaxed. I also request that exemptions be granted to accounts that:

  • have been around for five years and
  • have at least a thousand not-minor edits to their name.
  • Have not been blocked by an admin the last five years.

Very, very few spammers and sock-puppeteers are willing to create an account, contribute over a thousand (non-minor) edits, and wait five years for IP Block Exemption status just so that they can abuse the exemption status. But, if there are any, they will lose their exemption.. Keep in mind that this exemption would only apply to accounts that meet the above criteria.--*Kat* (talk) 13:14, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

While I wouldn't be opposed to this, it would be almost a complete 180 of how IPBEs are currently used. See for example Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive279#IPBE - IP block exemption removals where last year an 'audit' was done on every account that has IPBE and if they were not actively using it, the right was removed. Jenks24 (talk) 13:29, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
Annoyingly so, for those of us that had this exemption, were not "actively" using it, but then had it revoked only to discover later when they got caught in an IP block trap. Whatever methodology was used for the supposed "audit" was seriously misguided. It apparently never occurred to those parties responsible that editors who are IP block exempt often edit from dynamic IP addresses, which are only blocked some of the time. It may be months without getting caught in a block. Also, it is not very easy to get administrators to grant IP block exemption. They make it seem like it is some kind of once-only special favor. If it is to be understood as a temporary status, then getting it should be far more automatic than it was when I had to spend hours arguing over irrelevant things like my username (you read that right!) in order to get exempted. In fact, this interaction gave me a disgust with administrators here that I still bear. Sławomir Biały (talk) 13:50, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
At least you didn't get accused of abusing it for edit warring, especially on a page where there isn't enough diff to support the claim that you had a disputed, let alone edit-warred. —Codename Lisa (talk) 15:21, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
This seems like a reasonable change in policy, perhaps with the addition of a 1-year inactivity removal to reduce the risk of compromised accounts. If someone has been around long enough and proved that they're not causing disruption to the encyclopedia, they should be allowed to edit from wherever they want. — Train2104 (t • c) 16:22, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
Strong opposition to any sort inactivity removal. I normally edit from home, but sometimes I edit from a job site in China. My employer requires that I only connect to the Internet through TOR when onsite in China, so I requested and was granted IPBE. The thing is, I may spend years between the times when I need IPBE. Right now, every so often I use TOR from home, just because someone might decide that I am not using it enough, but that is actually sub-optimal. Not only is it slower, it makes it harder to run a checkuser on me. Removal should start with asking me on my talk page, then seeing that I have edited Wikipedia to make sure I wasn't on vacation or something. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:56, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
I was referring to inactivity as in "no edits at all", not inactivity as in "no edits requiring IPBE". Just like admins are desysopped after a year. — Train2104 (t • c) 03:25, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting info.svg Administrator note: As this would represent a major change to an established administrative policy, I think this should be reframed as a formal RFC, with notifications at WP:AN and WP:CENT. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:16, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
I went ahead and did all that, as well as notifying at WT:IPBE. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:36, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Thanks. If I have missed any other little steps, please let me know or go ahead and correct. (Sidenote: I'm off to work now and won't be back to discuss further for several hours) --*Kat* (talk) 21:56, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose any blind automatic granting of any userright as this proposal entails as written. I really don't care if you have been around for 5, 10, or 15 years. And you can do 1,000 edits in a month if you try. Edit count is never a good standard by which to grant userrights by in my opinion. If you need it, request it. If you aren't actively using it it should be removed. That is my stance on all userrights. --Majora (talk) 20:39, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    • I was trying to come up with objective guidelines. If you have better guidelines, please feel free to suggest them. I also don't understand why you "don't care" how long a person has been around. Do you truly see every editor as a potential vandal? --*Kat* (talk) 21:36, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
      • It has nothing to do with seeing every editor as a potential vandal. Userrights should never be automatically granted. Ever. Period. That is my view and the view of a great number of other people as well. --Majora (talk) 21:40, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
        • So you would agree to my suggestion of essentially rubber-stamping any valid requests for this, as long as it is not done automatically? (Addendum: If you disagree, please explain why - what specific costs or dangers you feel there would be to such a policy. Obviously, it would have major benefits in terms of making users more satisfied and more able to edit the way they prefer, so you need to present specific costs or dangers to answer that.) --Aquillion (talk) 01:06, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
          • What is the difference between "rubber-stamping" something -- that it, approving it without evaluating it -- and automatically granting that same thing? They are synonymous, are they not? And how would one know that a request is "valid" unless one evaluates it, in which case there's no "rubber-stamping" involved. In short, what are you saying? Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:38, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
        • Majora presumably does not object to WP:AUTOCONFIRMED and WP:EXTENDEDCONFIRMED, which are both automatically granted user rights. (If Majora does object because of the principle, then someone could look into revoking both of those on Majora's account, but I recommend against it.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:24, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
          • @WhatamIdoing: Hilarious. I was against ECP to begin with and autoconfirmed is a necessary evil to get around the thousands upon thousands of protected pages (many of which I have on my watchlist and help maintain). Again, as I have said numerous times in this discussion. Need versus want. Autoconfirmed and extended confirmed is a necessary "right" that allows continual editing of the project. I don't have a problem with necessary rights. I have a problem with hat collecting. Which is essentially what "I want it!!!!" boils down to. --Majora (talk) 23:09, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
            • What? No, they aren't. You can edit just fine without either one, as plenty of new editors can confirm. I think you are much too confident in your own ability to detect through the Internet what other people's personal security circumstances might be. Opabinia regalis (talk) 00:19, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Majora. Also, believe me, some sockmasters do go to great lengths to create and raise sockfarms to gain any automatically-granted access such as being autoconfirmed.--Jasper Deng (talk) 20:43, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Autoconfirmed's 4 day, 10 edit requirement is a much lower bar than the proposed 5 year, 1000 edit threshold. The only advantage an abusive editor would gain from IPBE is the ability to behave badly with his home ISP while editing blamelessly via a VPN. It would take less effort to acquire access through an alternate network—a trivial task for many. Rebbing 21:22, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Additionally sockmasters are the exception rather than the rule.--*Kat* (talk) 21:36, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Question: First let me say I am no expert on IP users and enforcement actions against IP spammers. The objections above are to any *automatic* "right" maintained by software. I agree with such objections. I think this objection could be addressed if a request was required first, and then this would be a guideline for approval, not automatic right granted, giving an opportunity to look at IP edits to see if there is a problem before being granted the *privilege*. So I am inclined to support under those revisions. --David Tornheim (talk) 21:04, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    @David Tornheim: The current guidelines for IPBE are already less strict than this. There are not silly numbers or bars that someone has to meet first. The current guidelines are if you need it and are in good standing you get it. That is in line with every other userright on the project. This RfC would actually increase that bar, not lower it, if it was anything other than an automatic granting. --Majora (talk) 21:15, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    Would it? I read the guideline before posting. My impression was that it was only granted in extenuiating circumstances. Such as if your natural (ISP granted) IP address was blocked due to someone else's actions? --*Kat* (talk) 21:36, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    Hence the "if you need it" part of the current policy on granting IPBE (and all other userrights for that matter). --Majora (talk) 21:40, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    I don't **need** it. I just want it. I *can* log out of PIA and edit but I don't like doing so. --*Kat* (talk) 21:52, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    And I want a million dollars and a fully paid private jet to take me wherever I want. "Wanting" something is not how we do things here. Even the lowest barred userrights (rollback and PC) require some sort of proof that you need the right to continue editing normally. You Can't Always Get What You Want. --Majora (talk) 21:57, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    @*Kat*: Do you want this to be *automatic* without request, or granted with a request having to be made first? --David Tornheim (talk) 22:03, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    @David Tornheim: I would prefer automatic. Most of the affected users wouldn't know to ask for it. That hurts wikipedia. If someone abuses it can be revoked easily enough.--*Kat* (talk) 04:24, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    @David Tornheim: That said... I can compromise. If the community is very much against an automatic granting of a user right. I can compromise. --*Kat* (talk) 04:36, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    Wait, hold on, Majora: Why are you opposed to Kat (and others in the same situation) getting this right? It is obvious that Kat is not part of some sort of sinister troll-network, which is really the only thing that matters here; and even if they were, this is not a right that (when given to just a few accounts) can cause much disruption. A million dollars and a private jet are expensive; granting Kat the ability to post using a VPN is free. I can understand, sort of, the opposition to granting it automatically, but I don't understand why you feel the right should be reserved only for the most extreme of circumstances - I feel that anyone who can make a good argument of "I would benefit from it" ought to have it. (Trolls are unlikely to request it because doing so only increases the attention focused on them and because, again, the benefits in exchange for the risks are so minor.) If you want to oppose granting this right to anyone who would benefit from it, you need make an argument for the harm or cost that would come from doing so. --Aquillion (talk) 23:05, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    You have put words in my mouth Aquillion that I never said. I'm opposed to anyone getting any right they do not need. If you need IPBE to edit normally, by all means, ask for it. I will stand behind you in your request. I will not, however, stand behind you just because "you want it". That isn't how any userright works, nor should it. --Majora (talk) 23:40, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    But there's a middle ground you're deliberately ignoring. What about users who would benefit from being able to edit via VPN (because they prefer to use a VPN constantly for whatever reason), but who do not strictly need it? What is your basis for refusing to allow them to do so? My feeling is that if someone requests the ability to edit via VPN, some other user should have to present an argument why they shouldn't get it. If you can't come up with that argument (and you've presented absolutely no reason to deny it here), then they should get it. Anything else would be pointless and unproductive legalese. Giving the ability to edit via VPN to someone like Kat makes it easier for them to edit the way they prefer and makes it more likely that they will edit prolifically, which benefits the encyclopedia as a whole; if you can't come up with a specific counterargument (some cost or danger that would arise from granting it to them), then your objections are groundless and ought to be disregarded. --Aquillion (talk) 01:02, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    (sigh) Wanting to edit through a VPN and needing to edit through a VPN are two completely different things. Again, want and need is the crux of what I am getting at. Very few people need a VPN to edit. Those whose government are monitoring them being the big one that comes to mind. Simply because you want to edit using a VPN does not mean you should have this userright. And there are dangers to this right as there are dangers with any right. Seeing as we have gotten into the "your objections should be disregarded" territory I don't see how continuing this conversation is a positive course of action. --Majora (talk) 01:16, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    I want to know more about the practical end of this distinction you're drawing. Who exactly is supposed to determine me whether my use of a VPN is truly "needed" or merely "wanted"? How is some person who is not me supposed to know what I actually "need" to edit Wikipedia? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:24, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    @WhatamIdoing: It is rather simple in my mind. Do you require it to edit. The vague "privacy" reason is meaningless without a further reason. As stated above, government surveillance is a major aspect that would warrant the use of anonymizing proxies. A paranoia that you are being watched is also meaningless. Take the China example. There is no paranoia there. The Great Firewall is a known surveillance apparatus that affects editors based in, or travelling to, mainland China. Besides the blanket blocking of zhwiki and the occasional blocking of enwiki, this would require the use of an anonymizing proxy. As a side note, most of these IPs are probably blocked globally and would require a global IPBE which are given out far more easily on meta anyways. There are very few reasons why someone would need to edit through a proxy beyond simple paranoia which Wikipedia should not be party to. Occasionally wanting to edit through a proxy is also meaningless as there is really nothing that is that important that goes on here that cannot wait for you to get somewhere where you don't feel the need for one. --Majora (talk) 23:09, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    So if I say that I won't edit without it, then you would say that I need to tell you my reason, and then you would pass judgement on whether my reason is good enough – according to your values and your circumstances and your understanding, rather than mine. And if you decide that my reason isn't good enough for you, then your reaction is basically "Good riddance, and don't let the door hit you on your way out!" I cannot support that. Individual editors are best suited to make their own decisions. We have in this discussion an editor who has largely stopped editing because of IPBE problems. Not editing because we're imposing an artificial hassle = not good for Wikipedia. This should be the encyclopedia that anyone can edit – not the encyclopedia that anyone who feels comfortable editing without a VPN can edit, or the encyclopedia that anyone who's willing to constantly log in and out of a VPN can edit. (Imagine doing that while trying to search for sources: Login to use a search engine, logout to get back to Wikipedia, login to click a link that explains more in the source, logout to finish editing... Requiring that of editors would be stupid, and it only hurts us.)
    I think that your hat-collecting idea is irrelevant. IPBE isn't a "hat". It's a way of enabling editors to do normal, everyday things. It confers no extra abilities to the editor; it merely puts them back on a level playing field. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:30, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, or, failing that, support a general rule that anyone who meets those rough criteria can get it rubber-stamped without the need for extenuiating circumstances. I don't see any reason why this right shouldn't be granted to any established user who would benefit from it, since it costs us nothing and has almost zero risk. --Aquillion (talk) 23:05, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
  • If such a user asked for the bit, you can expect it would be granted. So no change to policy is needed. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 23:44, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Is this true? Some people above seem to feel that the bit should only be granted to people who absolutely need it (ie. some people are arguing that simply preferring to edit from a VPN for privacy reasons is insufficient, and that it should be denied.) I feel that this is the real question we ought to be addressing; the mechanism by which it is granted is less important than the standard for doing so ("only grant when absolutely necessary" vs. "grant on request unless there's a compelling reason otherwise.") --Aquillion (talk) 01:08, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
      • Speaking from experience, the granters of this bit are not autocratic jerks. If they feel you're a trusted editor (this, of course, is key), and you state why IPBE would make your editing easier, you'll likely be granted the right. --NeilN talk to me 02:07, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
        • "the granters of this bit are not autocratic jerks": Given that you're one of the autocratic jerks that I previously had to deal with, who hassled me about my username, you'll hopefully understand why I don't take your word on this. Sławomir Biały (talk) 14:28, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
          • Thank you for proving my point. The only admin present in this topic used his judgement and made quite reasonable posts. --NeilN talk to me 14:46, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Majora: I usually edit at home and school which autoblocks affected the school IP address mostly from vandals in the school, and strongly oppose the 5 year requirement that don't make sense either. I'll alternatively support a 6 month requirement instead. KGirlTrucker81 huh? what I've been doing 00:36, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    I'm not against a 6 month requirement. I just figured that people would scream that that wouldn't be long enough.--*Kat* (talk) 04:19, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written. I do not agree with this userright being handed out automatically. The vast majority of users do not need it. Also, once you've met this threshold without using IPBE, why would you all of the sudden need it? Doesn't make a lot of sense. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:55, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    I figured that setting this to "automatic" would make it easier to implement -- from a technical standpoint. I was hoping that the five year limit bar would reassure people that the IPBE couldn't be easily abused.--*Kat* (talk) 04:19, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    On another note, you know what doesn't make sense to me? A blanket ban of edits from a proxy IP address, regardless of whether the editor is in question is an anonymous newbie or a logged in user who has been part of wikipedia for more than ten years.--*Kat* (talk) 04:19, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
You'll note I said opposed as written. I am open to the idea of a reasonable proposal to change the conditions under which we grant IPBE, I just don't think automatically granting it after five years is the right approach. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:49, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per Beeblebrox. Any editor who needs it should simply ask for it. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:42, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    Then can I propose that that be made more clear on the IPBE page? I came away (and per user Majora, still get the feeling) that only those with the greatest need be granted an IPBE. --*Kat* (talk) 04:19, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
@*Kat*: I read over the granting at WP:EXEMPT and it seems to me that any editor who was blocked "through no fault of their own" could reasonably be expected to get the privilege:
IP address block exemption allows editors to edit without interruption, when their usual IP address would otherwise be blocked through no fault of their own.
Although it does say in other places that it is only granted under "exceptional circumstances," I believe that was meant to apply to editors requesting it for Tor. I got the impression that being blocked through "no fault of your own" immediately qualifies as an "exceptional circumstance." If that's what confused you, perhaps a suggestion about a slight revision to the page is in order? (To be honest, I think it is one of the better more concisely written pages on rules.)
Or is there another issue? Perhaps that long-term editors might not realize they can request the permission? There is a section that says:
In addition, IP address exemption may also be given by an administrator without a request, to prevent good-faith editors being affected by a hard IP address range block.
It seems you want this to be more automatic. Instead, I would support giving automatic notice to any user meeting the above requirements of the ability to request the exemption. I would support automatic notice for even a much lower threshold. Would that solve the problem?
--David Tornheim (talk) 11:30, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
The part you quoted is intended for someone whose *normal IP* is impacted by a vandal's IP block. My normal is not being blocked. My "chosen" (for lack of a better word) IP is being blocked because it is an open proxy IP. I don't have a problem with open-proxy IP blocks. I've reverted too much vandalism not to understand why they are necessary. What I do have a problem with is open proxy IP blocks impacting long time editors who have done nothing wrong. --*Kat* (talk) 14:19, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
@David Tornheim:, WP:EXEMPT makes it very clear that, "Editing via an anonymous proxy can be easily abused, so it is only granted under exceptional circumstances." THAT is what I would like to change. While I would prefer for the exemption to be granted automatically, if that isn't feasible at this time then it isn't feasible. But I definitely want to see this bar against VPNs lifted.--*Kat* (talk) 14:26, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
@*Kat*: Okay, I don't know this well enough to know whether the word "exceptional" for Tor is too high a standard. I could see the potential for abuse, but I am not sufficiently familiar with that. I think the requirements you listed above are in a sense "exceptional". So perhaps there could be a change that those editors meeting the threshold you identified would meet the "exceptional" standard, but rather than be automatically granted by a bot, that an admin would have to review the request before it is "automatically" granted. I definitely understand the concerns about having a bot do it. A slight revision to the language on the WP:EXEMPT page would make that possible if there is sufficient support for such a change. --David Tornheim (talk) 14:54, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment *Kat*, it doesn't appear that you even attempted requesting IPBE before opening this RFC. I'm not familiar with typical practices at IPBE, but there's at least a chance that a lot of people's time could have been saved, avoiding this entire RFC. And if you were declined, then at least you'd have some concrete example to consider whether IPBE practices need changing. Alsee (talk) 11:50, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Guilty as charged. I looked at the WP:EXEMPT and determined that under those guidelines I did not quality. At all. WP:EXEMPT makes it very clear that only an editor with "genuine and exceptional need" should be granted an IPBE. As I stated above, this is not something I need; it is something I want. There is nothing preventing me from editing Wikipedia with my normal IP *except* my own desire to stay logged into my VPN. I can't be the only one in this position so I decided to make Wikipedia a better place by proposing a solution.--*Kat* (talk) 14:19, 27 February 2017 (UTC).
    I think it was better that
  • Kat* made this RfC to address the concern, rectifying any actual problem for all editors similarly situated, rather than focusing primarily on his/her approval. If
  • Kat* had been denied, and then made this WP:RfC, it would appear more self-serving than to make this request on behalf of all similarly situated editors. --David Tornheim (talk) 15:01, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

*Comment I don't see this RfC as asking the right question. I think IPBEs should be easily granted, without the need for editors in good standing to jump through hoops. (Perhaps granted by request from any user with a certain number of mainspace edits, been around for several years, no block log, or some other reasonable proxy for assessing "in good standing".) I also feel that some test should be incorporated into policy, to make this easier for administrators to check. At the moment, the policy seems quite vague and discretionary, and I think this leads to needless issues both for editors wishing to obtain IPBE and administrators determining whether granting this status is appropriate. However, I don't think they should be automatically granted, as that creates a needless avenue for abuse. Sławomir Biały (talk) 13:20, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

This having been said, the right to privacy is something that is explicitly recognized by the foundation, in the privacy policy, which states "we believe that you shouldn’t have to provide personal information to participate in the free knowledge movement", and a commitment to "[use] reasonable measures to keep your information secure." This ought to include the freedom to use a VPN to avoid snooping ISPs, and the right should be granted upon request to any editor in good standing who asks for it. Sławomir Biały (talk) 19:47, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose: IPBE should not be automatically granted or automatically removed. IPBE should be the result of an administrator looking at your edit history and deciding that you are unlikely to be a sleeper sockpuppet. Administrators should be instructed that a desire for privacy through a VPN or TOR is considered to be enough reason to grant IPBE, and to focus on the question "Do I think this will be abused" rather than on "can they prove that they really need this"? After this closes, we should have an RfC concerning what I just wrote concerning administrator instructions. --Guy Macon (talk) 13:26, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - This isn't a discussion about IPBE, this is about allowing editing from webhosts/proxies for established editors (5+years or some other metrics), and should be clearly framed that way.  · Salvidrim! ·  14:09, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Do you have a method that allows editing from webhosts/proxies without IPBE? --Guy Macon (talk) 15:32, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Guy Macon — we know there are methods, because this is exactly how got black-listed. Basically someone used non-public (or just public, but not yet detected) proxies to add links to thousands of pages. The issue was not so much with the site itself, but rather with the modus operandi of one(?) user who just changed IP as soon as he/she/they got blocked. Carl Fredrik 💌 📧 19:41, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Absolutely my friend -- stop hardrangeblocking to allow registered accounts. The old argument about attribution issues only applies to unregistered editing, and problemtic behaviour can lead to account blocks no matter whether the account is used on a dynamic or static IP or a VPN/webhost.  · Salvidrim! ·  19:45, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, but claims that "this isn't a discussion about [the title and opening paragraph of the discussion]" will get you nowhere. If you want the blocking of open proxies to stop, you will have to post an RfC asking that question. See [17], [18], and [19]. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:47, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment Only expansion I see here would perhaps be temporary IPBE, if you are going into an area where you will be forced to use a VPN, but still want to edit. Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 14:13, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment This is something that is going to have to be addressed in some way sooner rather than later. Private VPN usage due to security concerns is on the rise. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:32, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment I agree with User:Only in death. Every security expert says to use VPNs on public networks. This issue should be resolved somehow. Maybe Wikimedia can have it's own VPN just for editing Wiki projects. Or whatever. Felsic2 (talk) 16:46, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
That would be a useful allocation of funds from the McDuck moneypit they are building. And of course, since it would be useful, its unlikely to ever happen. Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:19, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - this is a solution in search of a problem. Which editor in good standing who needs an IPBE has been denied one? If the OP needs an IPBE then if they ask on my talk page they can have one! If there are privacy issues then go to WP:UTRS where I spend much of my time! Numeric criteria are no good - so an editor has no blocks, it does not mean that they are not problematic - admin judgement has to be used because the protection of the Project is the overarching requirement. Just Chilling (talk) 19:16, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • That's not a solution. I usually am logged into a VPN. Which means that my IP address is autoblocked. *And* it changes all the time. You are saying that I should request an unblock everytime I want to change a paragraph. This is not a feasible solution since it would take longer to get unblocked than it would take to change the paragraph. And then I would probably have to do it all over again the next time I see something that needed to be fixed. --*Kat* (talk) 21:09, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I didn't say anything like that! Please reread my offer again! Just Chilling (talk) 01:59, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support in principle, oppose these conditions — I had the right prior to 2016 because I travel extensively, it was removed last year because I hadn't struck upon any issues then (which per definition I would have not have noticed) — and was currently not abroad. Within a few months I struck upon the issue while traveling (within Sweden as well, mind you) — which forced me to waste hours applying for a new exception, and wasted time from an administrator that had to look into the issue and verify that the IP I was editing from really was blocked, and was blocked for something unrelated to me. The issue has arisen at hotels, libraries and some campuses I've visited.
However I disagree with some of the points that are suggested here as to how the right would be given. While it is true that it is very unlikely that a vandal or disingenuous person would wait 5 years to later start sockpuppeting – this may open the floodgates for a stream of paid editors creating hundreds of accounts today, which could be used in 2022. This is not a good solution, even though we really ought to be far less rigid when handing out IP-block-exempt rights. Unfortunately I don't have any solution that would avoid this issue, but I think it's important to note that the issue is worth looking into.
The biggest hurdle to implementing this is the cut-off of only being able to go back 6 months through checkuser. We could potentially allow anyone with more than 1000—10,000 edits to edit through an IP-block, as long as we could checkuser them back further. Carl Fredrik 💌 📧 19:34, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment Our approach to this problem is increasingly out of date and out of step with both "mission-aligned" external groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and with other common security advice. Current procedure for obtaining IPBE expects disclosure of the circumstances that necessitate it, which is obviously counterproductive for those who really do have compelling serious security concerns, and unnecessarily restrictive for those who are just privacy-minded. It's time we modernized our management of this issue.
    This was discussed a bit after last year's IPBE audit, but a few proposals were made that weren't workable, and nothing really congealed into a better proposal. Unfortunately, this one isn't really workable either, as amply covered above - edit-count thresholds are both gameable and counterproductive, account-tenure thresholds are not all that meaningful, and in any case, five years is hugely excessive.
    Realistically, although socking by established users is more disruptive than socking by garden-variety trolls, it is also less common and often noticed behaviorally. It would be interesting to have more data, but I don't think we have strong evidence now that relaxing requirements for IPBE for established users would lead to such a significant increase in disruptive activity that it wouldn't be worth doing. Opabinia regalis (talk) 22:03, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose/Comment. I am opposed to automatic granting of rights to people who may not need them. I am opposed to arbitrary limits for edit counts or tenure in order to qualify. I am opposed to people hanging on to rights when they are no longer needed. However I do support some relaxing of the current wording of the policy. The policy was written a long time ago, before Edward Snowden, proper Wikimedia HTTPS, and all that. -- zzuuzz (talk) 22:23, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support dropping "need" as a criterion. I don't think the proposed five-year threshold makes a lot of sense. But I think Majora's "need versus want" is not a useful demarcation for this sort of thing. No one "needs" to edit Wikipedia in the first place. If a trustworthy editor judges that editing through a VPN will facilitate editing, there's no good reason for us to get sticky about whether it is "necessary". --Trovatore (talk) 00:23, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
    • I agree with you. It shouldn't be about whether I think your circumstances are sufficiently dire to absolutely require it; it should be about whether you'd (at least occasionally) use it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:30, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose One user having difficulties of their own making isn't an issue. This is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist in the first place. Lugnuts Precious bodily fluids 08:44, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written. I wouldn't like to see the right automatically granted, and I also think the five year requirement is far too long. Even if we made it a few months and a thousand edits, that will dissuade all but the most determined sockmasters (and those highly determined ones will find a way whether we grant people IPBE or not.) What I would support, as always, is granting IPBE on request to any established user in good standing (without trying to too tightly define that) with the clear proviso that "I want to use this service for privacy reasons" is a good enough reason. Wikipedia should be a supporter of open use of the Internet, and that includes, if one desires, the ability to use it without being tracked. Seraphimblade Talk to me 03:16, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Let me put it simply, if this were to be implemented do you understand what'd happen if experienced users turned, there'd be almost no way to determine the entire situation. The Ricky81682 affair already affirms that it's a credible possibility. As anyone else who works at SPI would say, I'm vehemently in opposition. --QEDK () 06:01, 16 March 2017 (UTC)


I think we need to completely start over here. Many users have expressed support for some sort of change/relaxation of the conditions under which we grant IPBE, but very few are supportive of this specific proposal. So, let's try this again.

Currently, "because I want to use a VPN" is not a valid reason for granting IPBE, even to experienced users, even though it is granted to admins by default and they are therefore free to use VPNs if they wish. Should we therefore grant IPBE to users in good standing and with significant editing histories if they desire to use VPNs? Beeblebrox (talk) 22:55, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

I think it's important to keep in mind that currently there are only 145 non-admin users who have this right. The majority of them are either operating from behind firewalls in places like China or are regularly affected by blocks that are not targeted at them. The risk involved in opening this up is that, as we have al seen, sometimes even highly experienced users turn out to also be highly experienced sockpupeteers. If they are using VPNs Checkuser is pretty much useless at detecting sock farms. So, this is the risk we would be taking if we decide to do this. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:02, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Beeblebrox, where do you get the idea that there are 145 non-admin users who have this right? If I go to Special:Listusers and request IPBE users, I see only 113 names, and at least one of them is an admin's public-computer sock (it's mine, Nyttend backup), which has the right because I travel a lot and not too uncommonly find blocks on public computers or other networks. Nyttend (talk) 19:22, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
That's what it says at the IPBE page, must be outdated. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:35, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
The IPBE page pulls directly from ListUsers. Special:ListUsers/ipblock-exempt does show ~140+ usernames.  · Salvidrim! ·  19:51, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
Silly me — I just discovered my mistake. I reached the final page and ran a search for (IP block exempt), which returned thirteen results, but of course it doesn't count users who have other rights as well. Nyttend (talk) 20:00, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
I think we need to start by accepting that with a certain level of dedication and sophistication, a sockmaster will be able to avoid all of our technical means of detection. I'm not going to spill the WP:BEANS, but its out there. Actually they can already do this with IPBE, if they are willing to put the time and effort in necessary to pass an RFA. Luckily, the number of sockmasters that are willing to make that effort to do either is small enough that we really don't really worry about it. So if we were talking enough edits to be in RFA territory, we are setting the bar high enough that few sockmasters would be willing to make the commitment. At that point the risk is really previously good editors who turn to socking after already meeting whatever criteria we set of IPBE. But there really isn't much we can do between just accepting that risk, or just saying no... The only thing I can come up with would be to restrict IPBE editors from editing in sensitive areas (noticeboards/areas with sanctions/related to arbitration) when using a VPN, such that either socking or violating this rule could be detected by Checkuser. Personally, I'd accept the risk even without such a restriction, and support something in the neighborhood of 20k edits & 2 years as a guideline for waiving the "need" criteria in an IPBE request. Monty845 04:39, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
20K might be a bit much. I've been here for 12 years and was active for at least 7 of them (not consecutively) and I've only got 5K. Maybe 20K is easier to get now than it was a few years ago though. Either way, seems a bit steep to me.--*Kat* (talk) 09:24, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support As per the above, it's obviously a balancing act. That being said, it's hard to see why experienced editors should be limited in this regard. Sockpupeteers are of course a problem, but anyone who is openly disruptive will be hopefully be caught before they get this far, or at least before they do substantial damage. We shouldn't live our lives running around in fear of sockpuppets. Additionally, the additional scrutiny brought by an IPBE request may actually help detect some sockpuppets. Certainly that's enough to make me think it's worth it. Tamwin (talk) 05:36, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Obviously. Sure, sometimes good editors go bad but they are the exceptions rather than the rule.--*Kat* (talk) 09:24, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Alternate support - The question is "should established users be allowed to edit via VPN" and my answer is "yes" but I don't think IPBE is the solution. Instead of allowing IPBE for established users, we should stop hardrangeblocing VPNs/webhosts. The old argument about attribution issues only applies to unregistered editing, and problemtic behaviour can lead to account blocks no matter whether the account is used on a dynamic or static IP or a VPN/webhost. Softrangeblocks can continue disallowing unregistered editing via VPNs/webhosts.  · Salvidrim! ·  13:36, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
    Would there be any downside to using soft blocks instead of hard blocks for VPNs? --Guy Macon (talk) 14:38, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
    The old attribution argument hasn't had any credibility for at least a decade (if it had any at all). The real problem with softblocking proxies is the prolific abuse from vandals and sockpuppeteers who tend to use them to operate large numbers of accounts. Accounts are easy to create. -- zzuuzz (talk) 14:42, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
    You can block account creation on a rangeblock without disallowing editing for logged-in editors.  · Salvidrim! ·  14:50, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
    And it's easy for any vandal who is rangeblocked to find another IP address in order to create accounts. -- zzuuzz (talk) 15:01, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
    Which is besides the point of this discussion, it is neither easier nor harder for someone to find a different range whether the original range is softblocked+ACD or hardblocked.  · Salvidrim! ·  16:06, 28 February 2017 (UTC)


I think you've got something here. This would be easier to implement and would not require a lot of admin time. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:37, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
It's more of a mindset change. (And coding tweaks to ProcseeBot probably).  · Salvidrim! ·  19:51, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
It would make socking marginally easier, as one could create an account from some clean/public location, and then sock from home via VPN. I don't really know how big an issue that would end up being... We could probably do a softblock trial and just make sure we can easily roll it back if we see a flood of socking... Monty845 23:35, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
Dedicated sockers are already finding plenty of ways around the roadblocks we try to impede them with, so I don't foresee this option changing much. Miscreants with too much time on their hand have always and will always continue finding ways to haunt the project no matter what we do.  · Salvidrim! ·  01:30, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) So at this point, I've stopped going after most webhost blocks for a year or two now at least, UNLESS I see abuse of the range. So all my blocks over these past 2 years are because of abuse. Futhermore, People ask me to go block the potential proxy that users rotate through like they get new IPs at the push of a button, I refuse as it's a waste of my time. So that's a lot already thats left open.
The reason I set them to be webhost blocks is so that any admin who is informed on proxies can make a legitimate change to them, otherwise, you'll just see me going right back to checkuser blocks on the ranges, which then increases the additional load on checkusers with block appeals that aren't worth the money they were written on, as it's harder to tell a legitimate user from a sockpuppet. Don't belive me? Read back to 2013 where I had a week and a half of hell and was berated for my well-intentioned actions. Post that, it then proceed through a month long audit of my actions. That said, reading through, I got a lot more support than I had realized, but I still only remember the bad end of it 4 years later, and it's molded into me hard. I've also had several more recent cases where the user gets upset when I ask them about their editing on a proxy, as they think they are exempt from such investigations having IPBE.
If the community wants to allow clear use of IPBE for any established editor on the fact that they want a VPN, then i'm going to be walking away from any investigations that involve webhost/proxy usage as a CU. This will only result in more "established user" sockpuppets from getting through. It's extremely hard for me to tell if Joe 1 is a different person from Joe 2 on a webhost/proxy, if they use the same software. Without the limit from people using a VPN...there is no point to CU investigations on VPNs. So you'll have more evasion, more major sockmasters getting away (including extremely abusive ones), and more community members frustrated over the lack of good that checkusers can do or have the ability to investigate. If your going to force the softblocking of proxies and webhosts...the same thing applies.
To be clear, if someone has a pressing issue that requires the privacy of a VPN, I do not hesitate in granting IPBE either. So I ask to trust your checkusers to handle the private request reasons and assign IPBE when appropriate. -- Amanda (aka DQ) 01:46, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Trust the government...they're here to help.  :-P --*Kat* (talk) 01:36, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
On a more serious note: It isn't that I don't trust you. I just don't understand why I should have to justify my decision to use a VPN.--*Kat* (talk) 01:36, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
  • For the benefit of the closer: I would also Support the suggestion as proposed, to allow IPBE to be granted more freely to established users. It's not my preferred solution as explained above but it's a solution I can still support.  · Salvidrim! ·  16:50, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose: I honestly don't see a pressing need to allow people to use VPN, TOR, or other proxy services simply because they want to. Yes, any sufficiently intelligent and committed sockpuppeteer can still manage to make himself checkuser-proof, but from my experience at SPI, that does not appear to be most sockers. Most of them are demonstrably lazy, stupid, and/or ignorant of how the internet functions. If you make it easier to sock, there will be more socking. The WMF privacy policy never promises that all of your information will be invisible to everyone, only that it will be invisible to the public, and almost every user of the site. Someguy1221 (talk) 02:46, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
@Someguy1221: So you are against it just because you don't see a pressing need for it?--*Kat* (talk) 04:33, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
  • It occurs to me that if an email from OP had shown up in my inbox, I'd have spent a few minutes poking around to see if everything was on the up-and-up, flipped the switch, and then tried to remember to come back in a month and ensure it was being used properly. Truthfully, I likely would forget that last step. Long term good faith users are not going to ask for this flag to start socking, and while we need to be vigilant about handing this right out, we treat it entirely too carefully. People who want to make trouble aren't likely to start contacting checkusers with an open invitation to pull their data and investigate. Courcelles (talk) 03:36, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
You're right, they just go and find an admin who is willing to do it. I also frequently forget the last step, most CUs do. And I think one big issue around this is define long term/established/whatever. Long term users won't ask for this to sock, my experience is when they are already socking or they won't ever sock. -- Amanda (aka DQ) 04:17, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose What legitimate reason would there be for wanting to use a VPN versus needing to? If you need to bypass censorship then that's a need, not a want. Still not convinced.--Jasper Deng (talk) 23:31, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure I do either. Others have said it is because they wish to maintain their privacy, but if you are just a username on a screen, only a CU can find out anything you don't tell them yourself, and a CU will only look if there is reason to suspect abuse. If instead you are frequently caught in blocks intended for others, that is already a valid reason to grant IPBE. On the other hand, all admins get this by default and don't have to justify using a VPN, ever. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:56, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong support. I think far too much is being made over the difference between "wanting" versus "needing" to use a VPN. Privacy is a basic right, that is explicitly acknowledged by the WMF. It is also a necessity in today's world. Furthermore, one needs a VPN in order to secure this right of privacy. (Ever edit from a coffee shop? from work? from an unsecured WAN? over cable lines owned by an ISP? yeah, I thought so.) It may or may not be that there are immediate consequences to a lack of privacy, but that is usually only clear in hindsight (after arrest and torture, having assets frozen, identity stolen, personal details posted, or other unpleasantness). Unless administrators are granted prescient abilities to determine whether some such unpleasant circumstances are going to come about as a result of lack of privacy, they have no business determining whether an editor wishing to use a VPN to secure privacy comes from a "need" for this basic right, or a mere passing fancy. Sławomir Biały (talk) 00:52, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
    @Sławomir Biały: took the words out of my mouth and made them better. I'm not hiding from Wikpedia, I'm concealing my presence on the net by masking my IP. I'm making it harder for individuals and groups with the means and motivation to know what websites I am visiting and when. Using the VPN gives me peace of mind and for the most part the Internet is exactly the same when I am logged in as it is when I am logged out. There are only two things I can't do while logged into VPN: order a pizza and edit wikipedia.--*Kat* (talk) 01:09, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
    You want privacy of a kind unknown to the vast majority of internet users. If it is that important, why not buy a VPN service that is not used by trolls to attack Wikipedia and so which is not blocked? The comments by Amanda above may seem incidental to you (just another person's opinion) but to those of who see WP:LTA cases, Amanda's comments seal the deal—privacy of the kind wanted is not available for free, and a very experienced checkuser has noted that open slather on IPBE would make checking too hard. Johnuniq (talk) 01:50, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
    You could demand committed identities from exempt editors. That would obviate the need for checkusers. Sławomir Biały (talk) 02:01, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
    I don't think {{committed identity}} is relevant to Amanda's point. It is not desirable to publicly discuss checkuser procedures but we have a clear statement that Amanda will not be able to pursue socks who operate through webhosts/proxies, presumably because there would be too much noise due to assumed valid users who are using them for assumed valid edits. Johnuniq (talk) 02:42, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
    @Sławomir Biały: and what would stop them from lying about it? -- Amanda (aka DQ) 00:15, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    You could confirm an institutional email address, telephone number, or other publicly accessible piece of information. Doesn't OTRS regularly have to do this sort of thing? Sławomir Biały (talk) 00:42, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    @Sławomir Biały: True, but not everyone has one of those, and some have multiple. Plus I don't really want to have someones phone number or text/call them to verify that it's their number, and pay the associated costs. -- Amanda (aka DQ) 06:41, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    @DeltaQuad: Is WP:AGF no longer a guiding principle of Wikipedia?--*Kat* (talk) 06:25, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    @Kat: When it comes to socks, no. If I assumed everyone who told me they are not a sock was telling the truth, we'd have many socks all over Wikipedia, including administrative ones like ArbCom dealt with this past year. Either way, my argument is that this data wouldn't be helpful to begin with. -- Amanda (aka DQ) 06:41, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    There is nothing in this proposal that says you should ignore WP:Duck and grant this access right indiscriminately.--*Kat* (talk) 17:49, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    Not that it should matter, but I do use a paid VPN. Private Internet Access isn't free. It is, however, quite popular with VPN users because it doesn't log anything. But we are getting off topic here. This isn't about me. This is about Wikipedia's policies. And privacy.--*Kat* (talk) 04:16, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
    As far as I know, Wikipedia does not maintain a list of VPN providers that are not blocked. And in any case, there is no guarantee that a VPN provider which is not blocked now will remain so. I have used paid VPNs in the past which were eventually blocked. Sławomir Biały (talk) 12:52, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
    Some of the time the IP blocks I come across are specific to my paid VPN service. Perhaps I should be paying more? --*Kat* (talk) 17:49, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. A desire for privacy is sufficient reason. I don't use a VPN to hide from checkusers or to sock. I use one because, first, I use public access points with some frequency and it is insane to connect unprotected to those, and second, because I want to put one more stumbling block in front of entities (public or private) that want to track my Internet activity. Sure, Wikipedia doesn't track anyway and I wouldn't really care about my information being available here, but Wikipedia is not the only site I visit and a VPN is either on or off. I can use it since admins can bypass those blocks, but it's hardly fair I can do that and many other good-faith users cannot. Someone who is so determined to sock that they will work up an account to the "good standing" level is going to find a way to sock, period. It's hardly like use of a VPN is the only way to do it. The "good standing" requirement will dissuade those casually considering socking, and they're the only ones it's possible to dissuade at all. Seraphimblade Talk to me 03:25, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. I think "do you need it or do you just want it?" is an arrogant and obnoxious question. That's my main concern here. I'm OK with a reasonably high bar for evidence that an editor is trustworthy, but a trustworthy editor should not be asked why they "need" to do something. --Trovatore (talk) 04:25, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I suppose that current protection mechanisms exist for a reason, and are built on prior experience. My own experience as a regular editor is that some ten years ago one would far more easily get entangled in an IP sock fight with uncountable ramifications than more recently. I'd listen to the people managing SPI, because obviously they're doing a good job. VPN-related strictures can be bypassed via a standard operational mechanism without endangering the general protection level. So what does one want: not having to jump through any hoops if one wants to bypass VPN strictures without obvious rationale? Don't see what would be the advantage of that. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:52, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
    Comment. I don't say that editors requesting IPBE shouldn't be asked for a reason. I object to framing it as a requirement for a need. Kat, I think, has presented a reason. She judges it prudent to use VPN for everything, not just Wikipedia. That's a perfectly plausible reason, if not necessarily a need. If IPBE asks for a reason of that level of significance, together with an established pattern of behavior that inspires trust, it seems to me that it would be quite time-consuming and difficult for a sockmaster to establish a farm of identities that can all meet that burden, and almost impossible to avoid giving them away with common tropes/word choices/speech patterns/etc. --Trovatore (talk) 10:23, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per Trovatore. If someone has a valid reason and is well-established and trustworthy (long edit history and no evidence of problems) there's no reason we shouldn't give it out. --Jayron32 14:45, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per Sławomir Biały and others. According to The Intercept,

As described in a document saved by GCHQ, Palantir fielded a team in 2008 and tackled one such scenario using its own software. It was a powerful marketing opportunity at a conference filled with potential buyers.
In the demo, Palantir engineers showed how their software could be used to identify Wikipedia users who belonged to a fictional radical religious sect and graph their social relationships. In Palantir’s pitch, its approach to the VAST Challenge involved using software to enable “many analysts working together [to] truly leverage their collective mind.” The fake scenario’s target, a cartoonishly sinister religious sect called “the Paraiso Movement,” was suspected of a terrorist bombing, but the unmentioned and obvious subtext of the experiment was the fact that such techniques could be applied to de-anonymize and track members of any political or ideological group. Among a litany of other conclusions, Palantir determined the group was prone to violence because its “Manifesto’s intellectual influences include ‘Pancho Villa, Che Guevara, Leon Trotsky, [and] Cuban revolutionary Jose Martí,’ a list of military commanders and revolutionaries with a history of violent actions.”

That said, I should mention I have substantial reservations about VPNs. The ideological leader of the world, China, has already begun substantial and effective crackdowns on VPNs. The powerful elite behind omnipresent copyright surveillance in the U.S. certainly likes them no better. The VPNs may promise to limit record-keeping, yet all of them know that their days are numbered and in the end their best hope to make money and avoid prosecution involves some kind of deal involving those records. And using one provides extra documentation of identity and communications. I therefore don't mean to recommend them like they were a silver bullet, but ideologically I would like to see Wikipedia step out of lockstep with the computer surveillance state. Wnt (talk) 18:03, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
@Wnt: The level of non objective content in your comment above is concerning. Wikipedia and its servers are guests of a State for which you speak against. The way you have phrased this post seems to suggest that Wikipedia should be at odds with the State that hosts it, not only is this extremely dangerous but also seems to violate the principle that Wikipedia is not an experiment in anarchy. I agree that VPN use should be unrestricted but only on the principle merit that it cannot be avoided and thus methods that work either need to be implemented to completely stop VPN use for everyone or it should be available to anyone. A failed system is a worse example than no system at all and if the system is required by practical need then it should be implemented to at the very least, work. Now anarchy is not the aim of the game here nor is it to try and counter Government surveillance of the country which implements this according to its Laws which are the same Laws the Wikimedia foundation is governed by. ὦiki-Coffee(talk to me!) (contributions) 01:08, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
Let's try to avoid arguing general political ideology unless it really can't be avoided. This is a discussion about Wikipedia practices, not about how we feel about the State. --Trovatore (talk) 03:50, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
@Wiki-Coffee: Wikipedia is not a "guest" of a State - it was founded and run by citizens of a State, who have rights. If that State were to make a law that forums cannot allow people to post if they come from a VPN, or unless they sign up with their official ID cards and identity verification fob device, well, then that would be a law, and WMF might follow it or take it to the courts. (I'd predict B, wouldn't you?) But until such time, if the State is going to set up a "voluntary" surveillance program, or if other States run surveillance abroad, we have the choice whether we want to help that or not. I'd say B again. Wnt (talk) 16:14, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
@Wnt: I think that I can understand your point. Basically, we should accommodate the needs of people who are so vain that they genuinely believe a countries government would be interested in them for no reason and that supporting the needs of paranoid and irrational individuals is of greater importance than protecting the integrity of Wikipedia by preventing sock-puppetry and POV-Pushing from socks. ὦiki-Coffee(talk to me!) (contributions) 18:28, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
@Wiki-Coffee: This sort of "paranoid and irrational" namecalling never deserved respect, but today... have you ever heard the name Erdogan? Have you encountered articles like [20][21][22][23]? Modern mass surveillance goes a hell of a lot further than the occasional Marcus Garvey - the example I give is of a whole country where people thought they had a "democratic" society and now anyone accused of reading the wrong book or talking to the wrong person is living in fear. And ... even now, Turkey is still reckoned one of the freer countries in the Middle East, God help the poor bastards. Now - people hope that thinking that way would be paranoid for Americans, but who knows? It takes all types to make a balanced social ecosystem. If some people encrypt their communications and cache guns in the desert, maybe the rest of us won't need to have done so. Wnt (talk) 20:23, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
I am confused how concerns about privacy over public networks, unsecured WANs, and ISPs became a discussion about state surveillance. While there certainly are justifiable concerns about surveillance from government parties &endash; local law enforcement Stingrays, federal spying programs, international espionage, or editing behind a national firewall &endash; often the primary goal in using a VPN is to prevent private, non-governmental parties, from obtaining unsolicited access to information. Sławomir Biały (talk) 14:34, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
@Sławomir Biały: There is a smooth gradient between public and private spying. For example, see the conflict HBGary and "Anonymous" hackers - was that a public or a private action? Business is crime is law. Wnt (talk) 12:06, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm not disagreeing, but dismissing concerns over privacy as anti-government paranoia seems to miss the point. Data is stored and shared by many parties, most of which are actually private entities. It's the weakest links in that chain that we should be concerned with. That might be a local law enforcement Stingray, or a poorly secured WLAN in a coffee shop. By saying that we don't want "government" to have access, most folks take that to mean the NSA. That just invites spurious arguments like "If you aren't doing anything that would place the national security of [...] at risk, then you have nothing to hide." The point is, everyday citizens should be concerned with their privacy, and not because of the NSA. However one feels about the Men In Black, there are plenty of (other?) bad guys out there to be worried about. Sławomir Biały (talk) 14:51, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support granting IPBE in both proposals I agree with others that proposal statement could be formed better. The position that I support is granting easier IPBE to trusted users. It is too difficult to get this user right to the correct people who need it. I understand and recognize the need for a strong vetting process when this right is issued, but right now, the process is too indistinct to describe and too onerous to recommend. I have done editing to Wikipedia:Open proxies, Wikipedia:Blocking_IP_addresses#Open_proxies, Wikipedia:Blocking_policy#Open_or_anonymous_proxies, Wikipedia:Advice to users using Tor, meta:No open proxies, and also posted lots of notes at meta:Grants:IdeaLab/Partnership between Wikimedia community and Tor community. I am convinced that there are no clear answers to be found on how IPBE is issued or managed, other than the approval process requires meeting unpublished criteria that are not cross-checked to meet the demand of what most Wikimedia people want. I feel that most Wikimedia community members would want for logged-in accounts that have passed a high standard challenge to prove their trustworthiness would support giving exemption to people who profess a need. My objection is that there is no standard, not even a high one, that a person can pass to get this right. I want a standard defined and the right awarded, and then over time I want the standard discussed so that it can align with community need. Among the people who might want to edit through a VPN include anyone who values their privacy as a personal choice and people who value their privacy as they edit political or illegal Wikipedia articles like LGBT+ related topics or articles about opposition parties in governments which discourage that. Right now, there is no way for a person with privacy concerns to publicly state their problem because many people who want privacy do not want to draw attention to the fact that they want privacy. The conversation needs to start somewhere, and it can start by vetting this person to have the userright. If things check out as they saw they do, then a user with a huge number of edits and 5 years of editing is a fair candidate for an increased level of trust. Blue Rasberry (talk) 22:21, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support second proposal. I don't think it makes sense to automatically grant it to anyone, but "I want to use a VPN" seems like a legit reason to me, assuming that the account is a) somewhat experienced and b) in good standing. If they abuse it, it can be removed with a few clicks of a button. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 22:42, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm willing to accept that if the community wants this change, that we hand out IPBE on request. That said, this RfC has not specified so far what "established users" means nor has it established what we would do if a user is not in good standing (like a previous sockpuppetry block, about to be sanctioned, etc.). I would appreciate something surrounding that be put into this before we have admins granting IPBEs to editors who easily racked 500 edits in two months. -- Amanda (aka DQ) 00:42, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    "Established users in good standing" has been an accepted (if unwritten) standard at Wikipedia for some time. Its definition may vary some depending on context, but general it means that someone has enough edit history to judge that they know what they are doing, and "in good standing" means that there has never been any questions of the users integrity. Per WP:CREEP, WP:NOT#BURO, etc. it isn't always useful to define hard limits. Admins are promoted as admins solely because the community trusts their judgement and believes they can make the correct decisions in cases like this. --Jayron32 02:53, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    (ec) Comment. I don't know how formalized this needs to be. I would be happy with just a little change of mind-set, where the first question is not "do you need it?" but rather "do we trust you?" and maybe the second question is "do you have, not necessarily a 'need', but a non-frivolous reason that rings true?". If that turns out to be too much discretion (that is, if people are getting denied that the community can't figure out why they should be, or if there seems to be favoritism based on POV or something), then it can be revisited. --Trovatore (talk) 02:55, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support: "Because I want to use a VPN" and "Because I want to use TOR" are indeed valid reasons for granting IPBE, to users in good standing and with significant editing histories, subject to the discretion of the deciding administrator. In other words, not automatically accepted and not automatically rejected. If anyone thinks that what I just wrote is not what this particular section of this RfC is asking, let me know and I will post Yet Another RfC. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:46, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    My reasoning: privacy concerns are a perfectly good reason for requesting IPBE, and the user should not be asked to "supply a good reason". That being said, a vague "this one smells wrong" feeling is a perfectly good reason for an administrator to reject an IPBE without prejudice (meaning that another admin is free to grant it). "Does this user really need IPBE?" is the wrong question for an admin to ask. "Do I trust this user to not engage in socking?" is the right question for an admin to ask. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:54, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    This seems reasonable.--*Kat* (talk) 06:39, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support What Guy Macon said. 'I would like my privacy protected' is a perfectly valid reason. The problem I forsee is 12 months down the line another checkuser deciding on a whim that everyone who has IPBE doesnt have need of it in their opinion and removing it. So there needs to be a policy change to explicitly prevent this, either in the Checkuser policy or IPBE to prevent 'sweeps'. Only in death does duty end (talk) 09:41, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - before people get carried away with @Guy Macon:'s comment, note that the question before us, what I and the others supported, was "Should we therefore grant IPBE to users in good standing and with significant editing histories if they desire to use VPNs?" That is a call for admins to grant the right, not to think about it on a case by case basis and use any or no justification ("smells wrong") to deny it. The proposal doesn't take away their discretion when evaluating "good standing" or "significant editing histories", until such time as those things are better defined, but it does require them to evaluate those things fairly and act on them as appropriate. Too much "discretion" here only encourages the situation Guy suggested - asking another administrator. The admins don't seem to like it when you ask Daddy because Mommy said no, so the excessive discretion would likely be followed up with an interpretation we absolutely didn't vote for, namely prohibiting any admin from reexamining the first admin's verdict, at which point the whole procedure becomes extremely arbitrary and subject to personal politics and perhaps ethnic affiliations or stereotypes. Wnt (talk) 16:39, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure I understand. None of Guy's remarks indicated that he wants admins to ignore WP:DUCK and act as a rubber stamp. Nor does he suggest that editors should or will go admin shopping in a quest for approval.--*Kat* (talk) 17:49, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • He isn't disagreeing or agreeing with me. He is answering my question ("If anyone thinks that what I just wrote is not what this particular section of this RfC is asking, let me know and I will post Yet Another RfC.") by saying that there is at least one person who thinks that what I wrote is not what this particular section of this RfC is asking. Make that two, because I agree with him on that point. Clearly, a more carefully worded RfC is needed, which will appear shortl as soon as my nimble fingers start typing it in a new section. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:38, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • No admin can ever be positively required to take an admin action. We can always decline to push a button. So I can always answer a request to give IPBE (or any other user right) with "Sorry, but I'm not comfortable doing that." Seraphimblade Talk to me 23:20, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per my rationale in the previous section. --QEDK () 06:03, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Proposed draft of new policy

Draft withdrawn

With respect -- and great appreciation for his support -- to Guy Macon I'd really rather us not get bogged down in a discussion on what we should discuss next in this discussion on changing the IPBE policy. so, if I may, I'd like to proposal a revised policy here.

Current wording

Editing via an anonymous proxy can be easily abused, so it is only granted under exceptional circumstances. Examples of editors who may reasonably request an exemption include users who show they can contribute to the encyclopedia, and (for existing users) with a history of valid non-disruptive contribution, but are either being hindered by restrictive firewalls, or for exceptional reasons must edit via anonymous proxies.

However, many users are known to access through open proxy unknowingly due to the default setting of their browser. Before you apply for IP block exemption (which may take time and is not guaranteed to be granted), you should check the internet connection preference of your browser and change it to no proxy access.

Note that avoidance of checkuser, or specific checkusers, is not usually considered a sufficient reason – concerns over checkusers should be discussed with the Arbitration Committee or ombudsman.

Who may request
An editor who has genuine and exceptional need, and can be trusted not to abuse the right.
How to request
Email the functionaries team or contact a CheckUser directly, explaining why you need to edit via anonymous proxies. Administrators who are contacted through other means may need to consult a checkuser to confirm the problem.

New Wording (proposed)

Editing via an anonymous proxy can be easily abused, and therefore will not be granted without deliberation. Examples of editors who may reasonably request an exemption include users who show they can contribute to the encyclopedia, and (for existing users) with a history of valid non-disruptive contribution, but are either being hindered by restrictive firewalls, or for reasons of their own, would prefer to edit while logged into a VPN.

Note that avoidance of checkuser, or specific checkusers, is not usually considered a sufficient reason – concerns over checkusers should be discussed with the Arbitration Committee or ombudsman.

Who may request
Any editor with an account that is in good standing and who has a significant history of positive (non-disruptive) contributions to Wikipedia.
How to request
Email the functionaries team or contact a CheckUser directly, explaining why you need to edit via anonymous proxies. Administrators who are contacted through other means may need to consult a checkuser to confirm the problem.

Okay...discuss. --*Kat* (talk) 22:05, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

edited to add part about significant editing histories--*Kat* (talk) 12:13, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

I think we need to treat those who cannot edit without a VPN (or equivalent) differently from those who could edit without one, but for any reason prefer to edit using one. We should only consider a request for IPBE from a new editor if they have a "genuine and exceptional need". The burden would be on the requester to provide justification. We should consider the request of an experienced and trusted editor without requiring them to provide any justification, though with an opportunity for discussion if anyone has a particularized objection to the editor receiving the right. There would be a reputable presumption that IPBE would be granted when requested by such an experienced editor. Monty845 05:20, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose Ladies and Gentleman, this proposal could be seen to be a violation of the principle that Wikipedia is not an experiment in democracy or anarchy.
Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia, a wonderful one at that. It’s a place for objective content which helps people access knowledge. Unless there is evidence to suggest that allowing wider access to IP Block exemptions, particularly to subjectively “trustworthy editors” is going to help Wikipedia by allowing for more useful contributions this policy suggestion is utterly redundant. ὦiki-Coffee(talk to me!) (contributions) 10:25, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
Coffee I would like for the VPN blocks to be done away with as well. But that proposal didn't achieve any kind of consensus. I was hoping that I'd missed something when Beetlebrox came out in support of the measure but judging from Amanda's response I didn't. Expanding on the IPBE is the next best thing -- and it is what has achieved has achieved consensus. Amanda can live with it and so can I. Since we are on opposite ends of this spectrum I think that means it has the best chance of actually effecting change. --*Kat* (talk) 11:43, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose (& proposing a rationale for closing this discussion without further ado) – I just had a look at Wikipedia talk:IP block exemption: seems the issue has been discussed for over a year, with multiple RfCs, the last one of these ending in a WP:SNOW close. When the topic was launched here at WP:VPP, no noticeable reference was made to that prior discussion (and its outcome), so to me this seems like a sort of ask the other parent, because if participants here would have been more aware of prior discussion I suppose this would have seen a WP:SNOW close long ago. Instead, we're just taking editors' time for something that sooner or later will receive its (half molten & watery, but predictable) SNOW close anyhow.
Now the reason why I went to look at Wikipedia talk:IP block exemption is that I was going to propose to close the discussions here at VPP and suggest not to come here again before at least at the IP block exemption talk page something would become apparent as not necessarily ending in a SNOW close. I still think that a good mode of operation: close this VPP discussion (and all other threads on the same topic). Keep discussions at the IP block exemption talk page until something with a sort of rough consensus there is worth taking the wider editor community's time for. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:55, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
I did 'not' forum shop. I wasn't aware of the discussion on the IPBE talk page. I ran a search for "VPN" on the Village pump and skimmed WP:Perennial. Didn't see anything that fit. Which is when I posted here.--*Kat* (talk) 11:43, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
No problem. Just inviting to do so now (i.e. look at the previous discussions – I gave the links to the major ones below), and then see whether we still need to go through with this new extremely similar exercise. Well, anyhow, for the next time: if you want a guideline or policy to change it is *always* a good idea to look at the talk page of that guideline/policy to see whether someone else had the same idea before (and if so, how that idea was received by other editors). And not start a new discussion about the same at VPP without linking to the last one on the same topic. I.e.: the last *closed* one; if you'd come here when there's still an open discussion there it would definitely be forum shopping (*unintentional* forum shopping if you didn't take the trouble to look at the policy's talk page, but still something we'd try to avoid, have the same discussion about the same topic in two different places at the same time). --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:02, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose "significant editing histories" has been excluded, which was directly included above. If you want to reduce it to that and that gets passed, i'll turn in my checkuser bit. No way in hell is a new user going to get IPBE without providing a damn good reason for it. And i've only picked that single part out of more issues. -- Amanda (aka DQ) 11:30, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
My apologies. That was 'not' omitted on purpose. I was in a hurry when I typed up this section and clearly I should have waited until such time when i was not.
  • Comment Clearly I have made a mis-step. My intention was to come up with some verbiage that we could put on the IPBE page. I didn't expect everyone here to like it but I figured we could make more revisions and come up with something better, much like we did with the original proposal. I'm sorry. It wasn't my intention to sink my own proposal. --*Kat* (talk) 11:53, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
For clarity, continue to oppose the proposal after it was updated. --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:26, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose In addition to my comments above, m:No open proxies is a global policy. Therefore I do not support expanded usage of VPN's.--Jasper Deng (talk) 16:40, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
    • The Meta policy doesn't prohibit editors from receiving IPBE in order to edit via proxy, and it explicitly states that "legitimate users . . . are not the intended targets" of proxy blocks. Rebbing 17:05, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
      • @Rebbing: But it does give reasons for why open proxies are generally not allowed and why IP block exemption should be granted on a need, not a want, basis.--Jasper Deng (talk) 20:23, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Several of the reasons given for opposition don't hold water. @Rebbing: it is up to people at Meta to try to interpret their policy in a way to make some claim against this one based on it, and only after discussions there that, even if they find that, might choose to modify that policy not to conflict this one. We are making up our minds now and if they want to try to override us that is their crusade to fight. @DeltaQuad: "significant edit history" may not occur, but "a significant history of positive contributions" is actually more demanding. And as for whether there have been previous discussions -- we have seen that "consensus can change", too often for worse but in this case it could be for better. Wnt (talk) 19:40, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I didn't propose that new wording. I'm fine with the basic significant editing history, so i'm not sure why I was pinged. -- Amanda (aka DQ) 22:11, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as this would undoubtedly increase the burden on CUs per DeltaQuad. I'd prefer not to exacerbate the already difficult task of sockpuppet investigations by muddying the waters. (If a number of CUs voice the opposite to my assumption I would be happy to switch my !vote). --Majora (talk) 22:18, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

More discussion

Clearly I was wrong to try and draft a new policy. Or perhaps the big mistake was in trying to pound out a draft in the six minutes that were available to me before I left for work. Regardless it was a mistake. One made in good faith, but a mistake none the less. I apologize for contributing to the derailment of this discussion.--*Kat* (talk) 09:55, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

I still didn't see any reactions of yours to that closed talk page content (unless if I missed something). I'd be happy to know what you think. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:10, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Okay, I've read the entire talk page. It seems that there is pretty broad support (if not a true concensus) for the IPBE guidelines to be relaxed. However, the actual proposals to do so have all been rejected as too broad or too complex (although technically that one was SNOWed). Having read through the opposition's remarks for all of the proposals, I get the feeling that no proposal to relax IPBE would achieve consensus -- on that page, at least. --*Kat* (talk) 10:16, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Hence my proposal not to come to WP:VPP with this issue again prior to reaching a rough consensus with the Wikipedia talk:IP block exemption regulars (there's a technical & general WikiMedia protection strategy angle to this that prevents any change without having the CU and related type of editors on board). --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:07, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm hoping there won't be a "next time". If you look at the Restart section you will see where quite a few people (approx 66%) agree that merely wanting to use VPN shouldn't be a barrier to being granted a IPBE. What we lack is agreement on how the new policy should be worded. --*Kat* (talk) 09:10, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
Nah, in my appreciation the current WP:VPP discussion(s) on this topic is/are going nowhere, for lack of solid basis. So, whatever is debated and/or preferred here, the looks of it are that it won't lead to anything in terms of policy change while nor the current CU editors (on a local level) nor those responsible for WikiMedia's broader protection strategies are on board. Elegant way of saying: time sink, don't get your hopes up for change where it seems extremely unlikely. I'd have closed the whole thread on this basis if I hadn't been involved in these discussions. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:26, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
I've asked Amanda to draft the new policy. I don't know if she will but I hope we can wait a few days to find out. --*Kat* (talk) 05:04, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
This is known as forum shopping. Don't do it. Above, I explained what forumshopping is, so I think the qualifier "unintentional" no longer applies. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:43, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
Oh please. How the Hell is that forum shopping? I asked @DeltaQuad:to to come up with the new proposal because although she doesn't entirely agree with relaxing IPBE she seemed to recognize that this is what the majority of people here wanted. I figured that anything she came up with would be acceptable to all sides, provided that a desire to use VPN was no longer a hard barrier to being granted an IPBE. Furthermore, as a CU she understands the technical constraints that made other proposals unworkable.--*Kat* (talk) 21:02, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

RfC: First sentence of bilateral relations articles

As has previously been raised at WT:WPFR, and others have agreed to at WT:LEAD, the current widespread practice of beginning bilateral relations articles with "X–Y relations refers to bilateral relations between X and Y..." is not in compliance with the Manual of Style, specifically WP:BOLDAVOID. It was suggested that an RfC be filed in order to determine how best to address the issue; I'm placing it here as the project talk page doesn't appear to see much activity.

The questions here are:

  1. Is there consensus that the above interpretation of the MOS is correct, i.e. such wording should be avoided and a natural sentence without bold text preferred instead?
  2. If there is consensus, how should the current bilateral relations articles be dealt with?

Personally I don't think all instances of the construct need to be corrected at once. If there is consensus, editors should be advised of the fact, and corrections can then be made gradually as interested editors go through the articles. Editors should also be advised to refrain from reverting such changes. --Paul_012 (talk) 04:00, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Comment [Pinged by bot] - Certainly, WP:BOLDAVOID asks us to avoid bolding for such phrases. But BOLDAVOID is probably the most violated edict on Wikipedia, and it would be a humongous task to clean up the leads that violate it. Bilateral relations articles are probably the most obvious violations. -- Kautilya3 (talk) 08:23, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I think that you've missed some alternatives. You don't have to use "refers" in such sentences. You could equally begin the article with something like these:
    • "X–Y relations formally began in 1724, when the King of X sent an ambassador to the Queen of Y to form an alliance against pirates from Z" (a statement about their history)
    • "X–Y relations have been tense since 2010 as a result of what scholars call the Tomayto–Tomahto Incident" (the current relationship).
    • "X and Y are each others' most important trading partners, so X–Y relations has long been dominated by pressure to maintain free trading arrangements between the two countries, as both countries' local economies could be plunged into depression by any significant disruption" (a quick summary of long-term issues). WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:32, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
      • WhatamIdoing, thanks for the suggestions. However, I think the third example isn't really okay because the WP:LEADSENTENCE suggests, "If possible, the page title should be the subject of the first sentence." If it doesn't then it there's no need to try and accommodate it in boldface elsewhere. --Paul_012 (talk) 20:03, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
        • That's trivially fixed by copyediting. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:53, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Would prefer the X–Y relations formally began... lede the best. Less awkward than using "refers to" and allows bolding per style guidelines.---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 04:26, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

Is there any official wp policy that prevents the incorporation of primary source material in wp articles?

Hi! I'm a relative newbie, but have made significant contributions to pages, both small and large. Many experienced editors have appreciated and/or accepted my contributions of discussions of very recent primary sources from respected, peer reviewed, scientific journals, including one that is a GA article which had especially careful review by experienced editors.

Knowing that one well-known editor has objections to inclusion of primary sources, I began a discussion of possible inclusion of 4 recent primary sources into a wp page about an evolutionarily conserved gene DCC that is involved in axon guidance. I would use the references to discuss axon guidance (agenesis of the corpus callosum) and evolution (birds have had this gene deleted twice in 2 different lineages). I want to emphasize that this discussion would make no recommendations for medical treatment. It is simply interesting genetics, that tie in with popular culture (Kim Peek the megasavant inspiration for the movie Rain Man, had agenesis of the corpus callosum).

The well-known editor objected (on the DCC talk page) to inclusion of the references. One other experienced editor (who is a medical student) encouraged me to make the addition to see what I write before judging, a stance with which I am perfectly happy. The well-known editor cited WP:SCIRS as evidence that I shouldn't include the discussion. Yet, WP:SCIRS specifically states "Respect primary sources A primary source... may be a valuable component of an article. A good article may appropriately cite primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. Use of primary sources should always conform to the No original research policy."

I have come into conflict with the well-known editor repeatedly over the issue of inclusion of respected, peer reviewed, publications in wp articles. I am not going to be intimidated by his snarling and barking like a junk yard trained dog, but I will cease and desist if somebody can show me a specific, wp policy that prohibits use of primary sources. I understand that discretion should be used in citing primary sources. I don't look at articles from the Frisbeeland Journal of Science. The 4 articles were published by the Nature publishing group, which is widely regarded to be in the top 3 of most respected scientific publishers. I also understand that primary sources cannot be used to establish notability of a topic, regardless of how prestigious the publication.

In summary, before the well-known editor and I end up in an ani, it would be beneficial if someone could cite a wp policy that contradicts the official policies I read that respect the inclusion of primary sources, and support the well-known editor's insistence that I don't know how this place works. (note: none of the editors I ping below are the well known editor.) Thanks very much, DennisPietras (talk) 20:36, 10 March 2017 (UTC)@Aspro, Jordanben, and PriceDL:

I use a lot of primary sources myself. "Primary sources" can have a couple of different meanings here. The first one is when people write about themselves or their organisations. This is very likely to to be a COI situation, but still these sources can be used for uncontroversial facts. But the sources you talk about are not these. However the sources may be presenting ideas of one person or unconfirmable "facts". The findings may later be discredited or totally ignored by others. So please consider if there is also a review article (secondary source) that includes the facts mentioned in the primary source. I often use a different "primary" source that talks about research from another source in its introduction. This adds similar confirmation that the ideas are supported by someone else, as they would in a review. Primary sources of the original research are also often useful as they usually add far more detail than a review article would. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:28, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
@Graeme Bartlett:Thanks for your comments. Yes, I do realize that primay sources are not optimal, but recent primary sources have not had the time to be reviewed. Also, the 2 pairs of references actually "reinforce" each other, so I don't believe that there is any significant chance that they will be proven wrong. Thanks again, DennisPietras (talk) 01:39, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
It's important in this context to remember that WP:Secondary does not mean independent; the sources that Graeme describes are usually primary, non-independent, and self-published (e.g., stuff in a press release or on an organization's website). WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:59, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
  • There is no rule against using primary sources... but there is a policy that limits how and when to use them appropriately. See WP:No original research. Blueboar (talk) 01:43, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
Right. Primary sources are vulnerable to interpretation -- you almost have to interpret -- and that's tricky. Also, I always figured that another reason to be leery of primary sources is... if there's no secondary source, is the material really notable? Like if I want to put in an article "Smith tweeted such-and-such" and link to the tweet, a reasonable objection is "But wait, not a single newspaper saw fit to report on that? Then how is it notable enough for us to report"? You're working in science stuff, but I guess a parallel objection would be "Wait, not one single journal reported that? Then is it really important enough for us to describe here?" If it's a matter if timeliness though -- a journal hasn't reported it yet because journals lag -- that's a reasonable counter to that, maybe. Herostratus (talk) 07:18, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
This has long been a bone of contention here on WP. My view: If no good secondary exists then primaries are acceptable when the editor has in-depth knowledge and can place them in 'proper' context. I.E. If a study was done on a small cohort (due to lack of adequate funding perhaps) which means that cohort may not be representative of the whole. That should be mentioned and a good editor will point that out when using primaries. Some editors think that a newspaper is a reliable source. Read many an article and watched many a TV news slot where the Science Corespondent (whom may have a science degree in one discipline or another) but in order to reach the publication deadline, fluffed it up badly due too little time to understand the science in a different field from his own. So his interpretation was hopeless – yet should some editors think this should be deemed 'reliable'? Next. If the national press hasn't published it, is it notable? New breakthroughs travel very fast these days in the age of the internet. An encyclopedia is not actually and foremost a compendium of facts and figures – it is a means to disseminate the current views and thoughts for further discussion and debate. New findings often help to join up many of the dots. WP is work in progress. Not being a paper encyclopedia we can update fast and correct when necessary. We don't need editors that throw spanners in the works, who do not understand the field and progress being made...however well meaning they may be. Because it keeps WP rooted in the bygone days of William Caxton the printer. So I say, we can and are free to use primaries if we need. For those editors that object to this, perhaps they should create an centralized Objection Help page or something, rather than hog the talk pages. This may save worthwhile contributing editors (whom are actively adding content) the trouble of explaining and re-explaining every objection to the small but vocal cohort of objectors spreading their POV across many articles. --Aspro (talk) 16:17, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, whomever, you are, named @Aspro:, to be very blunt, Wikipedia should not trust your "expertise", nor should it trust your claim that we really have to know the latest thing now, though Wikipedia. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:03, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I would be the subject "well-known editor". See User_talk:DennisPietras#Secondary_sources and the discussions linked from there, for the background. The focus on kind of sources is kind of wrong headed - the real issue is mission.
The OP is an academic who wants to:
    • 1) write literature reviews in Wikipedia on biology topics built off primary sources, even when good secondary sources are available. (example here: GRIN2B). They can't see how this is WP:OR and not what we do here. The correct WMF project for this activity is Wikiversity -- a different WMF project than Wiikpedia.
    • 2) take "hot science papers" (primary sources) and write news about them in WP, like this and this (same edit in two articles) or this, complete with "recently, X happened", inserting "hot news" about academic research that may never be commercialized into an article about plastic recycling - something that goes on all around us in the RW, and our article does a pretty poor job of describing the actual processes that are used to recycle plastic today -- the last thing it needs is confusing content added about academic research. Here we have a policy against this - WP:NOTNEWS. And in any case the correct WMF project for writing about news is WikiNews -- a different WMF project than Wikipedia.
Neither thing, is what we do here in en-WP. We write encyclopedia articles that summarize the accepted knowledge that we find in secondary sources and other tertiary sources, using primary sources rarely and with care.
To say that another way:
    • the mission of en-WP is to crowdsource articles that provide accepted knowledge to readers; the strategy through which the community does that, is described in the policies and guidelines; and the tactics are to find high quality secondary/tertiary sources (and yes primary sources, rarely and with care) and summarize them in WP
    • DennisP's mission here in en-WP is to write literature reviews and science news; their strategy is unclear to me, but their tactics are to generate that content, often with their own interpretations, based on primary sources.
Rather than wasting your own time and everyone else's in pursuit of the wrong mission in all these different fora, Dennis why don't you just get aligned with the mission of en-WP already? I keep replying to you because you could be producing so much useful content if you would just get with the program. What is going on with you, happens with academics when they come here sometimes - they will not let go of the kind of writing they do in the real world under their own name and insist on doing this kind of thing here in WP, where it is more or less WP:OR. WP is a radically different environment. This is discussed some in WP:EXPERT. Jytdog (talk) 00:51, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
WP:EXPERT is not policy but an essay. It appears too, that is is slowly being transmogrified away from its original purpose of guidance for the newbies. May have read the history of the article wrong but one of the edits by Jytdog was to swap 'scientific' for 'academic'. Own judge and jury one might say, based on an essay (not policy) he contributes to. There is also an attempt to confabulate by suggesting these changes to the essay will ensure a NPOV. We already have a policy on that and it don't need it to be 'bent' with the addition of little hidden away clauses on essays. So, think Dennis's time is being waisted by others that have too much time on their hands and only have superficial knowledge of a few subjects and feel sidelined when some new kid comes to live on their block. The WP credos is that we all work together.--Aspro (talk) 17:06, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
What I wrote is not based on EXPERT; do not misrepresent what I wrote. (am capturing the diff) My arguments are based primarily on the policies WP:NOT and WP:OR, as I very clearly stated. Of course EXPERT is an essay. It is a very helpful one to assist people from academia and other fields adapt to the strange environment that is WP. We do all work together, toward the mission of WP. Disputes occur on many levels here but very often they are on the level of mission. People who come here to promote some idea or product (advocates of all kinds) are one example of people who are NOTHERE to build an encyclopedia. Academics who want to write literature reviews here are another. What Dennis wants to do belongs in Wikiversity or Wikinews, not here. Jytdog (talk) 21:41, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
It continues to perplex me that jytdog claims that I do things that I don't while citing references opposed to his point of view. He points to the literature review link as something that is my "mission". From that link, I quote "A careful literature review is usually 15 to 30 pages and could be longer." I have written one article from scratch in response to an article request. It is Polysome Profiling. If anybody is still reading this thread, including jytdog, please point out to me how that qualifies as a literature review. Jytdog wrote that I write "science news". No, I don't. I read new science. My mission is to update (and all-too-often correct crud in) wp articles by citing primary sources. Jytdog has written things to me that seem to me to indicate that he does not respect primary sources. en-wp does instruct editors to respect primary sources, even in a link he provided to me! ODD! Jytdog appears to not accept that, and I'm not some candy-assed coward that is going to let him anonymously bully me into his unfounded (as yet, nobody has shown me a policy that prevents use of primary sources) view of what wp is. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of editors have looked at what I've contributed. I've been thanked. I've received barnstars. I've collaborated with other experienced editors. The one thorn in my side is jytdog. I respect what jytdog does for COI, and understand that anonymity is important for that work, but to anonymously claim that my mission is something that it isn't and to enforce a vision of wp that is not supported by wp policy, is absurd, and maybe psychotic, IMHO. Unless somebody can show me that primary sources are not allowed, I am going to continue to use them to update and/or correct and/or add information to wp articles, and I'll meet jytdog in arbitration or an ani if he continues his personal crusade against me and primary sources. I'm as tired of his bullshit as he and I both are of non-GMO zealots, and I hope he can somehow learn how wp actually works, rather than the construct he seems to me to have built in his mind. DennisPietras (talk) 01:45, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
While you reasonably may find it irksome to be, as you see it, misrepresented by Jytdog (making him a big irk ;-)), calling his statements "maybe psychotic, IMHO" is a bad idea and you should probably strike that. IMHO, "My mission is to update (and all-too-often correct crud in) wp articles by citing primary sources." is a focus that can be problematic, partly because of what WhatamIdoing writes below. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 07:30, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
I think that this situation is more complicated than is easily explained in any single comment. Also, with a quick glance at some of the diffs, it looks like User:Jytdog's problem with these edits isn't the mere use of a primary source (which, contrary to the narrow view that we're getting here, is not something that Jytdog rejects in every single case), but the problem of figuring out whether it's relevant and encyclopedic. For example, the edit to Expanded genetic code basically says "Some researcher made yet another genetically modified mouse", which is trivially verifiable in the cited source and not WP:Biomedical information as the English Wikipedia conceives it – and, it's also completely unclear whether anybody should care. Another diff, at Plastic recycling, is similar: yup, someone's researching ways to improve plastic recycling (and the article actually should mention, in a general way, that this is an area of research), but, nope, there's no way to tell whether these particular researchers are the best or most representative ones.
I think that it'd be better to take these individual edits to article talk pages or to WP:NPOVN. The general rules are broad enough that they're not especially useful to resolving this kind of dispute. You need to get a handful of editors considering the exact wording and presentation, rather than just waving at some 'rules'. That's not going to happen here, and it's not likely to happen at all if you're considering dozens of edits at once. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:59, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
dennisP is just bristling more fiercely. Not sure how to get through. Bummer Jytdog (talk) 07:28, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
Think you can't get through because you have come up against Newton's third law. Semantics perhaps? Personal uniformed interpretation of primaries vis informed ability to explain the primaries. I've noticed it in my own discipline that some other editors are quick to delete, only to have another editor reinstate because they understand the difference between science grounded on solid foundations and those of poor quality. Whilst you do some sterling work at patrolling our articles you do never -the-less appear hammer constantly until you get your own way. Think you should take a step back and patrol other pages for a while. The modus operandi of your Malleus Maleficarum is becoming obvious now and is creating an opposite reaction amongst other editors thus proving Newtons third law.--Aspro (talk) 14:00, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
Tournesol.png Thank you aspro! jytdog as the recent discussion at mediator proves, I am more than willing to learn from and correct my mistakes. We actually have multiple common views, and can work cooperatively, as with abscription. I will not use any sources to offer medical advice on wp. I ask you to not reject the updating of wp articles with new primary sources unless you carefully look at the references and decide if they are reputable. Updating and correcting (meticulously, to the point of hugely overeating peanuts for comfort) wp is my "mission". I hope you understand. If I knew how to do it, I would close this discussion, but I'll leave it to you in case you want to reply further or give anybody else the opportunity to comment. DennisPietras (talk) 02:41, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
DennisP you should be aware that Aspro has a long history in WP of advocating for FRINGE medical and science positions based on crappy sources and skewing WEIGHT of content based on OK sources, and the two of us have tangled a lot in the past. Be careful whose advice you take. Aspro plays the "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" game in WP, which is probably why they are being all chummy with you. (I can back all that with diffs, except the guess about why they are supporting your particular misalignment with the mission of WP) Again, you will do as you like. And I will continue to remove NOTNEWS content and reviews created in WP based on primary sources, regardless of who generates them. Neither thing belongs here in Wikipedia. I continue to encourage you to explore Wikiversity and Wikinews if that is the kind of content you want to generate. Jytdog (talk) 19:12, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
FRINGE ? This is news to me! Sure, I worked for some six years in R&D. Cutting edge research and development. Some editors appear to be getting 'cutting edge' confused with lunatic fringe. Think Jytdog owes an apology to all those that labour away and even take their work home with them, because they care so much about making our World a better place and advancing humane knowalage. For example John Zarnecki's marriage broke down because of the very long hours he was putting in on the Huygens probe. So there are editors on WP that look more like wikilawyers and school marms than a useful contributor. --Aspro (talk) 23:33, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Just one example: Aspro giving a barnstar to an editor on a one-month block diff. The editor was not only blocked but topic banned from GMO, alternative medicine, human health and medicine, and WP:MEDRS discussions. A barnstar (check the wording) which suggests the editor is right and all the sanctions are wrong is very unhelpful and plainly absurd. Worse, the barnstar's wording can only encourage further inappropriate behavior on the part of the editor, and that will get them indeffed. Johnuniq (talk) 02:41, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Check your temporal time line. Couldn't use the barnstar earlier as was still being processed. You should surly see that was for work done previously.--Aspro (talk) 13:47, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

I'm reluctant to come in here, but I see some dubious claims that I'm silly enough to comment on. We need to realise that the basic rules of Wikipedia were not originally formulated with scientific articles in mind, and later attempts to stretch them to cover science were only partially successful. A particular example is the assumption that anyone who has access to a source will be able to check whether it supports the text cited to it; that is not generally true for scientific sources. Another example, relevant to this discussion, is the assumption that the "primary sources" of science have similar nature to the "primary sources" of the humanities and so should be viewed the same by the rules. This assumption is profoundly broken: the idea that a medieval manuscript and an article in the current edition of Nature are even remotely similar is simply ridiculous. I'll address one issue arising: there are those who claim that something which has so far only appeared in a scientific journal should not be in Wikipedia. Not only is this a misapplication of the rules, but I'll argue that it is inimical to the needs of the encyclopedia. Wikipedia exists for its readers, not for its editors. What do readers of scientific articles want when they come to Wikipedia? Easy, they want articles that are comprehensible, correct, and up-to-date. A scientific article that is not up-to-date is deficient at best and misleading at worst. This doesn't mean that every minor paper has to be reported—rules like WP:DUE still apply—but important advances should be reported when they are published. And the editors who should report them are the editors who understand them. Zerotalk 09:52, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

Sorry, but what you are saying is that Wikipedia is "broken" for science the same way it is "broken" for everything else, the pedia does not have a way to check that editors understand their sources or their topic before it allows them to write. That is why it stresses reliance on the proven, and re-proven on topics. Giving undue weight to something is also "deficient at best and misleading at worst," and, yes, such undue emphasis shades into original research. Textbooks and encyclopedias are tertiary, they lag, so one does have to have some comfort with that. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:43, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Don't see how you conclude that Zero is suggesting WP is broken. Since its very start, WP has been evolving and improving via incremental steps in policy. What is being pointed out is that one size doesn't fit all articles and the current growing gamut of subjects. Agree with you that OR is an unhelpful path to walk down and that the majority of newly published scientific papers must be treat with great caution -rather than being accepted as gospel. We should be striving (as said above) to provide the reader with articles that are comprehensible, correct, and up-to-date. For this to happen there needs more clarity and subdivision. Hence the discussion here, to decide how we go forward. WP is not a paper encyclopedia.--Aspro (talk) 12:55, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Why such an obtuse comment? No. As Wikipedia science readers, we most certainly do not want Wikipedia editor's opinion on what is "correct", we want what the science community says is correct, and for that to happen, Wikipedia editors do have to show it with sources from the relevant science community - even if you are (bizarrely) convinced you are able to "update" the world via Wikipedia. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:06, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Zero that scientific articles are not exactly like other primary sources. Such an article is usually peer-reviewed, which means other experts in the relevant field have checked it and the conclusion it brings. As such, it can be agreed that such an article is indeed a reliable and acceptable source to be used. The only caveat is that, as per other policies, you should not interpret the article in any way yourself (except for resuming what's directly written it), but rather let secondary sources do it. However, it remains that scientific papers can almost always be used as sources for facts, and that they usually should be acceptable for the interpretations made of those facts (we can safely assume that scientists know what they're doing and that they're (except the rare exception) not making stuff up...). (talk) 16:37, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
  • On the primary scientific literature in biology and medicine, see Replication crisis. If you are reading a primary source in the humanities (say a verified letter from George Washington) that is what is Washington said. A primary source in the sciences that claims a mutation in gene Y is a key player for schizophrenia is not the same thing, nor is even say a more basic science claim like a mutation in gene Y causes changes in the frontal lobe . We could attribute of course, but there are generally boatloads of primary sources about gene Y, schizophrenia, and the frontal lobe, and WP would turn into a laundry list of attributed claims from primary sources. That is not what we do here. We use reviews for several reasons - they tell us what research has been picked up and validated by the field and really importantly, they leave things out that the field has not picked up on for any number of reasons. We rely on the experts in the field who publish review articles or textbooks to tell us what is accepted knowledge. Jytdog (talk) 17:53, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
(1) Your analogue doesn't work; you are confusing the text of a source with the assertions made by the source. A more correct analogue would be using GW's letter as a source for a claim he made in the letter, which is quite different from citing the letter merely for what it says. (2) Articles that look like laundry lists can be written perfectly well without recourse to primary sources. It is not about the nature of the sources, but about the ability of editors to judge WEIGHT and choose the correct balance between completeness and conciseness. (3) Review articles and (very recent) textbooks are an excellent resource that we should utilise. However, I don't think we should be protecting readers from the real nature of science by waiting for everything to get into those sources. It often takes years. I think we should also report important new announcements and important disputes. Zerotalk 08:38, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it does often take years for new developments and understandings to filter down. So agree most whole heartedly with Zero on those points he has made (and they concur with many of my own). The dissenters views, I find interesting too and useful also. Think we have come to yet another Rubicon in WP policy development. For instance, Alanscottwalker says: ”we want what the science community says is correct”. Well, the 'science community' is now embracing WP – we are here! But I think the dissenters have something else on their minds that they can not yet put into words to express their unease. Think we need to acknowledge that, before we can move forward. Think we all here, uphold our credo that 'anybody' can edit WP. Although, I agree with many of DennisPietras views, he (as a new editor) appears to be suggesting that "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others". It is this view that I think irks some other editors. However, isn't is this win-win situation? The scientific community is now here and active. They can plough through the mountains of published papers and filter out those of importance. Then contextually add them to the articles in a way that makes sense to 'all' editors regardless of their walk-in-life. You can bet, that other editors in the same scientific discipline will scrutinise those edits and come down heavy if an other expert errs into factual inexactitudes. Scientists become scientists (instead of mere technicians)because they are naturally sceptical and require a convincing argument before they can accept. Whilst many technicians (not including every one here) become psudo-skeptics. With a policy review (such as this) we can ensure that WP remains an encyclopedia that anyone can edit,is up-to-date and as accurate (and better) that any popular science magazine can achieve.--Aspro (talk) 15:53, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
No. The scientists that matter are not, here. The ones that matter publish off-Wikipedia - it has nothing to do with equality, it has to do with editorial honesty -- anyone of us may be the foremost expert on whatever, but that is undetermined - "on the internet, no one know your, etc." If any actually are expert, what we need from them is 1) a facility to identify excellent sources, and 2) write for a general audience what those sources say - that's all (whether they are expert in this task, we shall see). Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:34, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
That is exactly what primary sources are -published off Wiki. A simply definition of an excellent source is a paper which reports a study that has been well designed and helps to join up more of the dots. They (the authors(s)) always cite other studies (often behind pay-walls – which many editor may not be able to access) . By reading between the lines, ones own experience (if one is in that field) tells you if it it a quality paper or should be ignored. Whether it be Nature, New Scientist, BMJ, Scientific America, etc. They reject most because they are paper journals and only have so much room (ink space) and only so many staff, for which to produce the next edition. The world has changed... Information can and is being disseminated faster than ever before. WP is not a paper encyclopedia and we are not no longer in William Caxton age. It was Jimmy Wales's wish that we should embrace all – now we have the scientific community also willing to contribute. Why change our minds (or you try to change our minds) and revert back to the William Caxton era? --Aspro (talk) 18:57, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
Aspro, New Scientist and Scientific American are popular science magazines, not scientific journals. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 04:37, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
That is my very point and I think the point that DennisPietras, Zero is making. We should not be wholly dependent on popular science magazines to provide us with sources. They cater to the lowest common denominator – i.e., their main readership. Yet, some editors are pontificating that we should never-ever cite original scientific papers because they are primaries which is against WP guidance. As Solon the Lawmaker of Athens (638-558 BC) quoted (and has oft been subsequently misquoted): “Laws are for the guidance of wise men and the blind obedience of fools”. Where are the WP laws banning editors from using primaries when they are the best references for the article? Where are they? --Aspro (talk) 13:57, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
What? Of course primary sources are off-wiki - what a useless observation. Much crap is off-wiki, too. It's odd that you keep saying the same bromide over and over, it's precisely that we are not a traditional encyclopedia that we reject editor's creative reinterpretation of primary sources. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:13, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
How did "creative reinterpretation of primary sources" get into it? Nobody here has argued for the overthrow of WP:NOR that I can see. Zerotalk 02:06, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks to all for your contributions. To try to settle this, I have started an ani at DennisPietras (talk) 03:27, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Thoughts in 2 different areas. Wikipedia policies and guidelines often require and get interpretation for the particular situation at hand. If there is a particular situation involved, the poster should note it. Otherwise IMHO one is (even inadvertently) being somewhat manipulative. Trying to get general comments non-policy comments (given without knowledge of the details of the dispute) on policy talk pages and then using them in a particular dispute. Second, the discussion has a bit of a structural flaw. Wikipedia'a sourcing related policies relate to what constitutes suitable sourcing for challenged or likely-to-be-challenged material, not to allowing or disallowing source types per se. North8000 (talk) 14:38, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

  • I agree with what Blueboar and Herostratus said earlier, that it's more a matter of how to use primary sources, than whether. And I also agree with Jytdog about "hot" new sources. I'll give some examples of my personal take on the ways that this applies to science content. Not too long ago, I had a very productive interaction with Dennis over a primary source at Cichlid: [24], [25], [26]. That was a very helpful use of a primary source, and a very recent one at that, but that is because (a) it was in a particularly prominent and strictly-refereed journal, and (b) more importantly, the subject (evolution of a family of fishes in a lake in Africa) is something where there simply aren't a lot of experts disputing with one another over not-yet-settled issues. In my own expertise area, neuroscience, I view it this way: If a page about medium spiny neurons in the caudate nucleus contains a statement that the typical diameter of the cells is "x" number of microns, there may well be a secondary review article that could be cited for the number, but I would have no objection to citing a primary study. That's because it's a simple statement of uncontroversial fact, and there is essentially no risk that a new study will come out next year saying "no, they are much larger or smaller". But – if instead the content is about genes that have been implicated as playing possible roles in giving rise to schizophrenia, that's a very different situation. That's a subject where there are constantly new primary sources coming out, saying that the previous primary source was probably wrong, and it is not yet anywhere near to being settled. So I would likely insist on a secondary source, rather than depending on the most recent primary source because it is "hot". And if instead the content were about the kinds of medicines used for people with schizophrenia, then we would be solidly into WP:MEDRS territory. So that's an important way in which Wikipedia is and should be different than scholarly science journals: editors here cannot or should not make the subjective judgment that a recent primary source in an active area of research is "hot" – because doing so would be WP:OR. We need to leave that evaluation to secondary sources. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:24, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I have experience with this too. I was approached by an athlete who was upset that her birth date was incorrect on Wikipedia. Birth dates affect eligibility for certain events, which is why they are published, and why we have them in the articles and the infobox. It was reasonable for her to feel that our incorrect date was tantamount to an allegation of cheating. She of course had evidence in the form of ID to back up her claim. Note that WP:BLP states that "We must get the article right" - a clear reference to WP:NOTFALSE, which in this era of fake news and disinformation really needs to be upgraded to a policy. On checking, I found the (usually) reliable source contained a typographical error. Working to avoid WP:NOR, I corrected the date, and replaced it with another WP:RS that had it correct, along with a footnote explaining that the first one had a typographic error. Hawkeye7 (talk) 22:06, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I have experience in writing scientific primary research articles, review articles, book chapters, and being interviewed by newspapers (secondary sources). For those not experienced with scientific publishing, if a paper (primary source) is submitted to a reputable journal, it will be peer-reviewed by 1 - 3 (maybe more) experts in the subject and may take a year to be finally published. In my experience of TV news and newspaper interviews, I believe there has been little, if any fact checking by the non-expert reporter and it is published within 24 - 48 hrs. So, which is the most reliable source? DrChrissy (talk) 22:16, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps this discussion is worth continuing anyway, but I'll note the OP has, sadly, retired, following frustration about the outcome of the ANI thread he mentions above. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 23:03, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Not a happy outcome. At all. Jytdog (talk) 04:26, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
No. Well, maybe he´ll be back at some point. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 13:34, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Media sources and WP:UNDUE

We have been having a lot of discussions recently about various media outlets and whether they pass WP:RS... but I think we could use some discussion about media outlets (in general) and how they relate to another policy provision: WP:UNDUE. Now, I know that UNDUE is really focused on putting viewpoints in proportion (and not blowing minor viewpoints out of proportion) ... but I am beginning to think that it is possible to give a media report UNDUE weight as well - especially when the event it is reporting on has just recently occurred, and we don't yet know the long term significance of the event. Thoughts? Blueboar (talk) 14:24, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

I am approaching the issue of recent/current political and ideological controversies and other topics in a draft of guideline I would like to propose at some point about how WP should be dealing with this topic area, where the application of UNDUE for the press as Blueboar alludes too happens too frequency. Mind you, I'm also focused more on us having awareness that the media is not as objective as they were went most of these policies were written, and when coupled with UNDUE, can swing the tone of political/ideological topics towards one side easily. It is far from complete, but the points of merit that would need to be addressed towards this I've got summarized as User:Masem/RSPoly. --MASEM (t) 14:32, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
Apart from rejecting Masem's claim about "more" bias, this is a severe problem in that we do write about "current events", and it is a terrible fit for this encyclopedia for multiple reasons, but beyond RECENTISM, NOT, and yes, UNDUE/the whole OR/NPOV/V triumvirate, I am not sure what magic words of policy could be added (Policy to not write things unless they have had widespread, coverage for say three months to six months? Specific policy more targeted on BLP and shifting burden and onus, more against additions in "breaking" areas?)Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:42, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
It's not about there being "more" bias, the bias of the press is the same as it 10 or so years ago; it is the lack of objectivity the press has gained since, which causes more bias to become visible and by nature of our policies, drive content creation towards that bias without considering the long-term picture. Look how many issues there have been and continue to be over the US election and people and topics related to it, mostly driven by a highly critical press. All the issues at play are magnified with this current situation. --MASEM (t) 15:20, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
Again this argument I have seen from you is without basis - it is your opinion. Now, it's not that 'they have more bias', its that 'they have less objectivity' - no, they do not - it is the same as it was, when these policies were written. Your somehow coming to this new realization of yours "recently", is just "the problem". Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:27, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Masem. The traditional media have changed immensely in the last 10 years, as has their playing field. Much of the firewall between informative content and opinion content has disappeared. And a much more spontaneous form (the internet) has taken over much of what they were doing. North8000 (talk) 16:02, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
Another opinion? Really? How unhelpful. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:11, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
If you doubt that things have changed in the last decade or so, then perhaps you'd like to type something like "how has news reporting changed" in your favorite web search engine and see whether the reliable sources tend to agree with you. Here's what one says: "Fewer journalists are reporting less news in fewer pages....Reporting is becoming more participatory and collaborative....advocacy journalism is not endangered—it is growing. The expression of publicly disseminated opinion is perhaps Americans’ most exercised First Amendment right, as anyone can see and hear every day on the Internet, cable television, or talk radio. What is under threat is independent reporting that provides information, investigation, analysis, and community knowledge, particularly in the coverage of local affairs. Reporting the news means telling citizens what they would not otherwise know."[27] It's not hard to find sources like this one that trace the financial effects and its consequences.
Also, I'd like to point out that "when these policies were written", they were based on editors' experiences and long-term beliefs about what the news media was like, rather than an absolutely up-to-date understanding of the exact state of journalism in 2003. So I believe that journalism has changed a lot in the 14 years that have elapsed since those policies were begun (and the reliable sources agree with me on that point), and I think that when those policies were begun, they were based partially on a 1990s-era understanding of journalism. Also, Wikipedia itself has changed dramatically since then. Back then, the basic hope was to get people to please, please, please cite something; now, many editors are pushing for citing only high-quality sources. Rejecting a peer-reviewed article from a reputable scholarly journal because it's "not good enough" is an everyday occurrence now. Given that reality, it is hardly surprising that some editors are interested in reviewing the use of media sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:30, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing: That you cite an article from almost ten years ago that things have changed from ten years ago is just nonsense. Moreover, you respond with strawman. Your source does not say high quality or mainstream journalism, which is what NPOV, NOR V and RS value, is "more biased", nor does say it is "it has less objectivity." If you have literature reviews that compares say the front page articles of the New York Times 10 years ago with today and actually makes the currently unsupported conclusion than bring it forth, don't hand wave to 'things change'. Prove the unsupported assertion. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:18, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
That particular article is 7.25 years old, not ten; furthermore, there are many more like it.
The discussion here is not specifically about "high-quality" or "mainstream" journalism. The OP's comment refers to "media outlets (in general)", and the comments you particularly replied to talk about "the press" and "the traditional media".
But... if you really want to convince people that the media haven't changed in the ~15 years since this advice was first talked about, maybe you could produce a suitable source for people to read and contemplate? So far, I see you asserting your personal opinion that the media hasn't changed during the last 10 years (an opinion that I, at least, can't find any reliable sources to support), while denigrating other people's views that it has changed for failing to provide sources ....just like you failed to provide sources to support your opinion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:26, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
You cited an irrelevant article and ended up making a nonsense point, that is all (as I said, the source is almost 10 years ago). I take it you have other irrelevant articles, which just goes to show you have no proof that mainstream and high quality media is less objective or more biased than 10 or 15 years ago. This discussion is about "mainstream" and "high quality" because that is what all the central policies V/NPOV/NOR/BLP require (otherwise again your comments are irrelevant). We have to adhere to mainstream, high quality media because that is policy. If you say the mainstream, and high quality media has changed that it is now more biased and less objective (thus, no longer high quality, and mainstream) the burden is on you to prove it (not wave at "things change"). The person who asserts always has the burden not the one who denies. That's basic logic. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:10, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
Policy is not a blood oath or a law, it can change, and consensus can override it. But really, it's not a change of policy that is needed but avoiding selective reading of it. UNDUE is used as a sledgehammer to eliminate viewpoints that aren't in RSes, or to demand we include subject statements from RSes as fact because many RSes report the same. That's not what the whole of policy and guideline sets out, but its how its used to shut down any consensus discussion. Further, it is not that today's media aren't mainstream or high-quality, just that relative to what they were 10-15 years ago, that measure has certainly gone down, but it has gone down across the board, so that high-quality sources from 10-15 years are still the same high-quality sources today because no sources have improved in quality otherwise. And policy/guidelines do give measures of how to handle that if we don't use selective reading of them. --MASEM (t) 19:52, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
I've been thinking that one of the fundamental issues underlying many wiki-problems arises from giving a common English term "reliable" a completely different/independent definition in Wikipedia. This inevitably leads to the falsehood of automatically giving a WP:RS the imprimatur of being actually reliable vs. taking it in the context of it's own limitations. In reality, even sources meeting wp:RS often aren't.....they contain factual errors, apply terms in erroneous or fringe ways, apply highly-POV terms as fact, and provide spun and distorted coverage. I think that Masem is onto something and doing excellent work in one area on this. That is to at least deal with this in the area where it is most often a problem. North8000 (talk) 14:53, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
I think that there may be something to what you're saying about language. A little while ago, I was part of a long RSN-type discussion over a source, which some editors declared to be "unreliable". Problem: Professionals around the world, including some of the Wikipedia editors participating in that discussion, actually do "rely upon" that source in the exact way that the source was being used in the article. (I doubt that we will ever stop referring to acceptable sources as "reliable".) WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:30, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
IMO the solution is to strengthen two other criteria (expertise and objectivity with respect to the text that cited it), combine these and traditional wp:RS criteria together into a "strength of sourcing" metric, (thus taking the "magic bullet" from wp:rs criteria by itself) and then say that the strength of sourcing has to be suitable for the particular situation. North8000 (talk) 12:56, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Folks... we are wandering off topic... could we discuss media sources in terms of UNDUE and not reliability. Blueboar (talk) 10:40, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

I would certainly agree with your paragraph that opened this thread. Except that newness of events is only secondary to the discussion. But under current wp:undue, you are going to have a hard time because what wp:undue sets up as the ultimate arbiter "a viewpoint's prevalence in reliable sources" is an un-usuable facade. I mean, has anybody ever seen that criteria actually truly implemented? I don't even know how it could possibly be objectively implemented. North8000 (talk) 13:06, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
I think if you want a more focused discussion you might want to quote the parts of NPOV and RS that you want discussed (we do have to read undue in context of other policy/guideline). Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:22, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
UNDUE is one of those things that needs a time consideration. UNDUE readily applies if we're talking a debate or controversy a decade ago: the dust has settled, and we can readily use reliable secondary sources to get a view of how that situation was viewed. But when we're in the midst of a controversy, where their might be a popular opinion but no clear "winner" of the situation, UNDUE has to take a back seat to staying neutral and document the controversy fairly, if we are going to allow editors to keep articles as up to the minute as we do now. Editors need to use UNDUE and think about how the article will be written many years down the road, not just what is prevailing in the media at the current time, and that's hard particularly for anything political now adays. UNDUE has to also reflect that the media more than ever is far from being "independent" sources in these controversies (eg the media cannot be independent in the situation around "fake news"), and UNDUE should be used to evaluate principally independent sources. --MASEM (t) 14:16, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
Blueboar, I think that UNDUE is difficult. The usual approximation (as in "to a first approximation, the entire universe is made of Hydrogen") is "whatever the sources talk about the most, that's what's DUE".
However, this isn't adequate, because there is material that is DUE even if sources mostly ignore it (e.g., birth and death years for biographies, what a notable company sells, prognosis for a disease, etc.). We don't really want an article about, say, a 19th-century university president to omit birth and death dates on the grounds that most sources don't include his birthday and those that do barely mention it in passing.
On the other end, news media over-emphasizes certain events. If you took raw news media as the standard, then 50% of Michael Jackson should be spent talking about child abuse, and 25% of Paris Hilton should be spent talking about drunk driving, because that percentage of news sources (across the entire spectrum of quality) seem to mention those subjects (at least in passing). But that percentage is really about what generates money, and not what you'd get from, say, a scholarly biography of the subjects.
I'm not sure how you'd write this into a policy statement, though. "Some stuff is inherently DUE, so include it if you can verify it at all, but other stuff is overemphasized in the media, so play that down" is not very useful. And IMO the real rule – which I might summarize this way: Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a mindless regurgitation of whatever generates clicks on headlines – is not sufficiently instructive for the people who don't already know what to do. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:54, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Related issue: assigning weight to primary source opinions

  • This seems like a recent issue that is possibly related to the subject of this thread. I second the need for more clarity on UNDUE, vis-a-vis new media kinds of sources. I am particularly concerned about what I think is an overly legalistic reading of policies and guidelines surrounding UNDUE in the context of this RfC. I think that the UNDUE policy should explicitly mention the need for secondary sources if it is unclear how to assign weight to an opinion. There is WP:BALANCE that does mention the need for secondary sources (and, surprisingly, that is the only place in NPOV where secondary sources are mentioned at all), but that's more in the context of discussing two opposed and widely-held opinions. The guideline as currently written does not appear to offer enough guidance on how to assign weight to published opinions that are not widely held. (I would have thought that a standard application of WEIGHT would be to exclude them, but I am being berated by a tag-team pair of relatively long-time editors that I and others "don't have a clue about policy".) Sławomir Biały (talk) 14:10, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Removing edit protections from files

I've made a proposal here, posting this here to solicit more opinions. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 14:51, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

RFC on Fabergé egg naming convention

A recent page move discussion has raised an interesting question regarding the disambiguation of Fabergé egg titles. I have started an RFC in an attempt to codify the naming conventions of these eggs. Please join in the discussion here. Primefac (talk) 17:08, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

valuable picture of trump's childhood

I just found a valuable picture of trump's childhood (here: [28]) that is cool to upload for the article. Can anybody do this? Alborzagros (talk) 11:15, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

I don't see any indication that the photo is under a free license. Do you know where it's indicated that it was released under one? It wouldn't be old enough to be public domain, so we'd need an explicit free license release. Seraphimblade Talk to me 12:09, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Is it ok?

Alborzagros (talk) 12:42, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

2016 is not between 1923 and 1977. Jack N. Stock (talk) 12:58, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Time of taking picture is important. isn't it? Alborzagros (talk) 13:00, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Yes, but so is time of publication. Note that the template says that the photo was published during that time frame, not taken during it. Do you have any indication that the picture was published then, and that there was no copyright notice? (The photo itself doesn't have to have a copyright notice; if for example something it appeared in had a notice, that could cover it as well.) It is very unlikely that this photo is public domain. Seraphimblade Talk to me 13:16, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
  • The default status of any image on Wikipedia is "not allowed to use it", the burden is on the uploader to prove its status is compatible with our license. See WP:IUP. --Jayron32 14:34, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Weather events and notability

I noticed there are already articles on serious winter weather events (ex. January 2009 North American ice storm, January 1998 North American ice storm). However, there does not seem to be any specific guideline on about those kind of events - what makes them notable enough? WP:EVENT states general things, such as that the event has lasting impact, a large enough geographical scope, and significant coverage. Now, my question is, how large must that be? Is coverage in multiple new sources - including some outside the countries affected ([29] [30]) enough to demonstrate significant coverage? Does an event that causes major disruption to road and air traffic (including cancellation of thousands of flights - throughout North America in this case) ([31]) have enough of an impact? I'm asking this (yes, you've guessed, mostly because of the actual weather here) mostly because of the lasting impact criteria. The question is: If an event meets and exceeds the criteria for having a large enough geographical scope and significant coverage, but the impact (however major) is only short-term, should it be included? - In other words, is it notable enough? Thanks (from snowy Quebec)! (talk) 13:02, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

I'm not sure it is possible to be any more explicit that EVENT already is, but the folks at Wikipedia:WikiProject Meteorology may be able to provide some more insight. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:33, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

Developing guidelines for adding open license text into Wikipedia

Hi all

I have been developing guidance on adding open license text into Wikipedia, with the idea of setting up a process to adapt and add existing open license text into Wikipedia. The potential for adding open license text is huge e.g there are over 9000 open license journals. This guidance could be used by both Wikipedians and as an expert outreach tool for experts who have already written suitable text which is available under an open license.

Something lightweight, perhaps one or two paragraphs at most would be ideal to help someone understand quickly how to adapt text, the text would have links to further reading if needed.

My main stumbling block is I can find very little information on adapting the tone of open license text to the tone of Wikipedia. I also know there would need to be information on neutral point of view etc.

All suggestions greatly appreciated.


John Cummings (talk) 11:22, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

It has been a while since I last checked, but I was under the impression that the term "inverted pyramid" was more prominent in the MOS than it is now. This is one place where it is mentioned, and perhaps this is helpful? - Wikipedia:Summary_style and Wikipedia:Summary_style#Levels_of_detail - "Summary style is based on the premise that information about a topic need not all be contained in a single article since different readers have different needs... This can be thought of as layering inverted pyramids where the reader is first shown the lead section for a topic..." -- Fuzheado | Talk 11:37, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Use of Template:Interlanguage link in template space

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.
Procedural close. The previous RFC ended a week ago (plus one day). There are other questions that could be valid RFCs (such as officially determining if an interwiki link is truly an "external link"), but simply reopening the original discussion in a different venue does no good. Primefac (talk) 18:21, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • As the closer of the previous RFC, I want to explicitly endorse the above close. I explicitly cautioned TonyTheTiger: Don't jump directly to Village Pump, the community likes to have some time for things to process and settle after an RFC.[32] Alsee (talk) 03:15, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Should the use of {{Interlanguage link}} in templates be allowed? An RFC at Wikipedia talk:Categories, lists, and navigation templates on the use of Template:Interlanguage link in template space closed as no consensus. The participants in that discussion were as follows

Supporters: 1. TonyTheTiger (as RFC nominator), 2. Randy Kryn, 3. Gerda Arendt, 4. Jc86035, 5. Andrew Dalby, 6. Hawkeye7, 7. K.e.coffman, 8. Thincat, 9. Finnusertop, 10. Iazyges, 11. Sadads
Opponents: 1. Frietjes, 2. The Banner, 3. PBS, 4. MilborneOne, 5. Walter Görlitz, 6. Izno, 7. Plastikspork, 8. Robsinden, 9. Boghog, 10. Bkonrad +1 IP

At issue is the propriety of employing {{ILL}}, which creates a small foreign language wikipedia link to accompany redlinks, in the following ways Old revision of Template:The Sea-Wolf , Old revision of Template:White Fang , Old revision of Template:The Twelve Chairs , Old revision of Template:2010-2019VSFashion Show , Old revision of Template:2000-2009VSFashion Show , Old revision of Template:1995-1999VSFashion Show , Old revision of Template:2010–19 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit , Old revision of Template:1990–99 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit , Old revision of Template:1970–79 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit .

In closing the prior RFC, the closer (Alsee, noted that the broadly defined external links have been opposed in templates for a long time as was made clear in this 2012 edit to the guideline. The closer noted that an RFC on the subset of external links known as interwikis had been discussed in a prior 2015 RFC that closed with 3/4 opposed to an exception for using interwikis in templates. Above we considered an exception for a small subset of interwikis known as the foreign language wikipedias and the above RFC closed as no consensus. The prior RFC contested whether there was ever support for the 2015 change to the guideline opposing non-English wikipedia links. The prior RFC suggested coming to Village pump if that RFC close remained contentious.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 15:22, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

  • As nominator, I support the use of {{ILL}} in templates to supplement redlinks.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 15:22, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support allowing {{ill}} to be used in the Template namespace. Jc86035 (talk) Use {{re|Jc86035}}
    to reply to me
    15:28, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. With the comment that links to multiple other Wikipedias are distracting and unnecessary, since any other Wikipedias can be accessed from the first one reached. Andrew Dalby 15:31, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment A the previous RFC Wikipedia talk:Categories, lists, and navigation templates#Request for comment: Use of interlanguage links in Wikipedia templates was proposed by User:TonyTheTiger and that RFC only closed on 7 March 2017 , this is forum shopping and is a time sink for everyone involved. I suggest that User:TonyTheTiger closed is RFC and waits at least six months to see if a conensus emerges. -- PBS (talk) 15:32, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Comment For clarity, in what way is this RFC different to the one which was begun last month? Jc86035 (talk) Use {{re|Jc86035}}
    to reply to me
    15:33, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Speedy close. This is just going over identical ground to the recent RFC. But for the record, I oppose the proposition, as it does not assist navigation between articles on this Wikipedia, which is the sole purpose of a navbox. --Rob Sinden (talk) 15:44, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Speedy close and oppose. Redundant to previous RfC. Boghog (talk) 16:15, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support international connection per the ill template. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 16:33, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Restore long standing wording " within English " that simply clarifies the last 2 RfC.--Moxy (talk) 16:46, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose and speedy close I oppose the proposal and I oppose the forumshopping. The Banner talk 18:11, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

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.

Is it much too easy to create Start and Stub articles of low importance on Wikipedia

Recently some graphs were updated on the Wikipedia page from 2015 to their current 2017 updated form. The graph seems to show that the fastest growing category is in the Start class articles of Low Importance, with all the other category breakdown growing at much slower rates representing much lower aggregate number of articles. Is this a concern; that the largest amount of editor time is being devoted to Start class articles of Low Importance, by a least an order of magnitude over other classes of Wikipedia articles? Is it much too easy to create Start and Stub articles of low importance on Wikipedia?

Circle frame.svg

Quality-wise distribution of over 5.5 million articles and lists on the English Wikipedia, as of 29 January 2017

  Featured articles (0.11%)
  Featured lists (0.04%)
  A class (0.03%)
  Good articles (0.50%)
  B class (2.00%)
  C class (4.32%)
  Start class (26.41%)
  Stub class (53.01%)
  Lists (3.65%)
  Unassessed (9.94%)
Circle frame.svg

Importance-wise distribution of over 5.5 million articles and lists on the English Wikipedia, as of 29 January 2017

  Top (0.91%)
  High (3.20%)
  Medium (12.21%)
  Low (51.68%)
  ??? (32.00%)

There were interesting update edits which were done on Wikiproject tabulations for 2017 here [33]. ManKnowsInfinity (talk) 17:54, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Some examples of what you consider "start class articles of low importance" might help—bear in mind that most articles start off short and get longer, and that what's unimportant to you isn't necessarily unimportant to someone with an interest in the topic. Also bear in mind that "start class" is an utterly arbitrary grading given by driveby editors, and has no real meaning—I've seen articles with a "start-class" or "unclassified" grading passed unchanged (or minimally changed) at FAC. ‑ Iridescent 18:12, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
OK, having looked more closely you're using "Wikiprojects, and assessments of articles' importance and quality" as your metric for "importance". You can't take that as a metric for anything—all it would take to make any given page "top importance" is to set up a Wikiproject dedicated to that subject. Besides, the vast majority of Wikiprojects are totally moribund, so what you're actually measuring is "how important is the article to the few remaining active projects like WP:MILHIST and WP:MED?". ‑ Iridescent 18:17, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
Also... remember that the articles on topics that are likely to be considered important by a wiki project were probably started in the early days of WP... well before 2015... so what is being written now (in your sample time frame) are articles on topics that are less important. Blueboar (talk) 18:28, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
@Iridescent and @Blueboar; Thank to both editors for their comments. I guess these are the two graphs being discussed and I'll put the 2017 version here. The 2015 version was just updated by another editor as is available on the Wikipedia history of previous edits. When I look at the Start and Stub articles then it seems fairly clear that the vast majority of Wikipedia contributor time is being spent there on the Low Importance, Start and Stub class articles. Similarly, the active Wikiprojects which are still around do continue to have their say about importance, and a number of the current Wikiprojects are relevant as to their endurance for their useful help even in 2017. The Low Importance articles then in the second graph, again indicate that Low Importance articles are receiving the lion's share of contributor time from Wikipedia contributors. In the presence of these two updated graphs, it seems usefull to inquire as to why a vast majority of total editing time is being devoted by all Wikipedia editors to Low Importance, Start and Stub articles. Do Wikipedia editors know that this is where the majority of contributor time is being spent by editors? Is it much to easy to create Start and Stub articles of low importance on Wikipedia? ManKnowsInfinity (talk) 20:16, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
Most articles get rated as "low" importance upon creation, these graphs don't make it clear which importance rating they took. Was it the highest rating? Because something like Xbox One is high importance to WPVG, low importance to WP Blu-ray. –xenotalk 20:33, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
@Xeno; It is my understanding that the highest rating is taken if more than one Wikiproject has assessed it. Its fairly clear that the Low Importance, Start-Stub class article are receiving the lion's share of editor time from all of Wikipedia's collected contributor time. Is this generally known as to the question that total edit time on Wikipedia is devoted to Low Importance, Start-Stub articles? Is it a good allocation of the total contributor time at Wikipedia? ManKnowsInfinity (talk) 21:00, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

@ManKnowsInfinity: In addition to the issues raised by Iridescent and User:Blueboar, there is another problem with the methodology you are using. It seems to you are making an invalid jump from "number of articles started between 2015 and 2017" to "amount of editing time spent between 2015 and 2017." Many "high importance" articles were started many years ago, so they would not show up as recent creations in your chart of newly created articles—but people are still spending lots of time editing those articles to (hopefully) improve their quality and keep them current. For example, suppose that last month I made 99 edits to existing "high-importance" articles. Then, last night I created one new article, which someone will come along soon and tag "start class and low importance." In your statistics, that would be recorded in your statistics as "one new start-class, low-importance article" with no recognition that I made 99% "high-importance" edits. So while I think you've indirectly put your finger on one reason we are drawing fewer new editors (i.e. that much of the "low-hanging fruit" article creations are long since done), I'm not convinced by your broader conclusion. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:12, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

@Newyorkbrad; The comments you make need to be heeded as making an accurate point. The issue of quality control in Wikipedia article development over time has been looked at in two studies I have found and it would be interesting to hear if they are supporting your point. The short version of the links from the article for English Wikipedia states that "researcher Giacomo Poderi found that articles tend to reach featured status via the intensive work of a few editors, and a 2010 study found unevenness in quality among featured articles and concluded that the community process is ineffective in assessing the quality of articles."[34] Cheers. ManKnowsInfinity (talk) 19:17, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
@ManKnowsInfinity: Regardless of "importance" (which is really arbitrary, and based solely on the opinion of the person assessing the article in almost all cases), creating Start- and Stub-Class articles should be easy. They are the lowest level of article, so there should be no reason to make it harder to create them. So basically, the answer to your question is, "Yes, it's easy, but it's supposed to be that way." ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 21:20, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
@Nihonjoe; Yes, it's easy, but it's supposed to be that way. Your comment is fully accurate and editors should have access to readily create articles for new books and new films, for example, which are continuously coming out into the public through publishers. My interest here is to reflect that the graphs and pie-charts posted here indicate that nearly 75% of Wikipedia's articles appear to be in this category of Low Importance, Start-Stub class article, which seems disproportionately high. The often repeated quality control comment on Wikipedia is usually quoted as: "In 2005, Nature published a peer review comparing 42 science articles from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia, and found that Wikipedia's level of accuracy approached Encyclopædia Britannica's." That is the quote, though the lion's share of editor and contributor time at Wikipedia is not spent on articles at that level. The lion's share of total editor time appears to be spent on Low Importance, Start-Stub articles, which the pie-charts posted here from the English Wikipedia article seem to verify and confirm. Is it a concern that the majority of editor and contributor time is being devoted to Low Importance, Start-Stub articles? ManKnowsInfinity (talk) 19:37, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
No. It's not a concern. This is a volunteer project and editors will work on what they want to work on. –xenotalk 19:44, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Like Newyorkbrad suggests, the original post seems to suggest more edits are devoted to lower-importance and/or lower-quality articles, but the graphs just show the distribution of articles, not the distribution of edits. Is there any tool/report which can show where edits are devoted? I would be interested in seeing that applied to, say, the 1 percent plus of Wikipedia covered by WikiProject NRHP, focused on the United States' National Register of Historic Places, which has a pretty good importance rating system in place. It is one where all the higher importance articles (the objectively more important "National Historic Landmark" sites and the most prolific architects/builders/engineers) are in fact already created. There also are lots and lots of "low-hanging fruit" available, i.e. the opportunity to create articles on topics that will always be rated "low-importance" but which are each locally very interesting/important. The suggested concern probably does apply; it is my sense that the vast majority of edits are in creating/expanding the lowest-importance articles, and also that extremely few edits are done in improving articles towards featured status, i.e. from when articles reach start rating and beyond. It would be helpful to be able to document/measure any of that. --doncram 21:23, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

The great majority of individual species, barring a few WikiProjects and excepting those with major economic, agricultural, scientific, etc. impact are rated 'low importance' in their respective WikiProjects and rarely fall under any other WikiProjects which may give a higher importance rating. For the extremely speciose orders, this means a lot of articles, many of which are still redlinked/have only recently been created. Many new species are also described each year. I would not be surprised to find a significant amount of those low-importance stubs to be species articles. I know that low-importance stubs under the banner of WikiProject Lepidoptera amount to almost 4.7% of all stubs (and to about 1.8% of all articles) regardless of importance. The quality of many of these articles *is* a problem (though many of the old lowstubs are in worse shape than the newer ones, which generally at least include references, functioning taxoboxes and most of the necessary categories, and are significantly less likely to prose-wise consist solely of the sentence "Binomial name is a moth in the family Family-name."); the existence of them in my opinion is not. AddWittyNameHere (talk) 22:38, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

  • What's too easy is destructive criticism of the work of others, contrary to WP:BITE. Per WP:CHOICE, it is up to individual volunteers what they work upon. If the OP and others wish to work upon vital topics then they should please just get on with it. Myself, my three most recent creations are Koshe, Agnata Butler and Papa's. They are not of the highest importance but they add to our broad coverage of such topics. "Many a mickle makes a muckle" Andrew D. (talk) 00:27, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
  • An additional problem with the analysis is the assessment system itself. Many articles are assessed not long after they are created, when they are in their infancy, and then never assessed again. My favourite example is Jian Ghomeshi, a 2,700-word article with 79 references, 4 images and no cleanup tags, rated start-class. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:25, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
  • @Ivanvector; That is true though Wikipedia does keep track of the progress which articles make in having their quality improved as represented in this graph (linked below) maintained by Wikipedia dynamically. I am assuming that in principle that featured articles are promoted from good articles, which in turn are promoted from "B"-class articles, etc, as reflected in the statistics in this table. I do not know if its possible to measure how long it takes for an average article to get promoted by one incremental level at a time though it would be interesting to see something on this. The stats are maintained here: Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Statistics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Cheers. ManKnowsInfinity (talk) 19:04, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
  • You might well be assuming that in principle that featured articles are promoted from good articles, which in turn are promoted from "B"-class articles, etc, but you'd be talking complete nonsense. This is not how Wikipedia works, nor is it how Wikipedia has ever worked. Per every single person posting here other than you, your comments are based on a complete misunderstanding of how Wikipedia operates. ‑ Iridescent 19:14, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
  • @Iridescent; A word of clarification then. You are stating that during article development that most articles do not become GA articles before they become FA articles? It seems that this is a process of incremental improvement which occurs over and over again for articles at Wikipedia going through the improvement process toward higher quality. ManKnowsInfinity (talk) 19:23, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Looking at the last batch of FA promotions, we have an article promoted from start-class[35], three articles promoted direct from "unrated" to FA[36][37][38], and two direct from B-class to FAC[39][40]. To reiterate, every assessment other than FA and GA is completely arbitrary and you shouldn't place any store by them. I'm not going to keep repeating this as you appear to be in full-on WP:IDONTHEARTHAT mode, but the quality assessment scale (other than FA and to a lesser extent GA) is the legacy of the long-abandoned WP:1.0 project, and you shouldn't take the assessments on talkpages remotely seriously, while the "importance" scale is meaningless since it only measures the importance of the article to those projects which still operate importance scales—as a glaring example, every visual arts article is automatically "low importance", no matter how significant the artwork, artist or movement, because Wikipedia:WikiProject Visual arts deprecated article assessment as pointless many years ago (so by your measure Painting and Visual arts are of the lowest importance possible). ‑ Iridescent 19:29, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
  • @Iridescent; I'm completely in sympathy with your comment though its equally true that Talk page after Talk page for nearly all Wikipedia articles continue to repeat and maintain this information about article importance apparently because editors and readers find this information to be useful. I have read that other editors also share your opinion about the relative usefulness of this data, and possibly you believe that the current standards might need to be phased-out over time and replaced by something better to reflect quality control of articles being developed at Wikipedia. If you have seen an article on this topic of alternatives to the current quality assessments procedures being used by Wikiprojects at Wikipedia then I would be interested in reading them. Sounds like others might also be interested if you have read something about alternative approaches to quality assessment at Wikipedia which you could show us. ManKnowsInfinity (talk) 19:48, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Two important things to remember here, in my opinion:

  1. The more important a topic is, the more likely we are to have had an fa article about it a long time go; over time, the articles left to create would tend to have lower importance level.
  2. It;'s easier for one person to write a stub, and then for many users, perhaps over several years, to improve it eventually up to GA - than it is to create a GA-level article in a short time span. Please see Wikipedia:There is no deadline. signing for Od Mishehu from 3-19-2017 (thanks for comment).
Something to consider: when I spent some serious time a few years back re-evaluating articles, I found a quarter of articles still graded as Stub-class were properly Start-class or better, & about 10% of articles graded Start-class were properly C- or B-class. The lack of interest in doing systematic re-evaluation (versus improving articles) is making us look worse than we are.

On the other hand, a lot of articles I started as stubs 8-10 years ago are still stubs, & except for some cosmetic changes untouched, which is why I am reluctant to create stub articles. But YMMV. -- llywrch (talk) 23:08, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Statistics and Quality control

@Od Mishehu and Llywrch: Thanks to both editors for their comments in the section directly above. Although I opened that discussion there to try to get comments on the very lop-sided data provided by another editor in the pie-charts given above, the responses from several editors were instead very strongly oriented to Quality Control concerns at Wikipedia. The discussions and comments made in the above section go well beyond what is covered on Quality control and cover the topics of editorial improvement and editorial drift in quality of content in articles over time, sometimes over months or even years. Od Mishehu makes the strong point that there is a large discussion at the nomination pages at both of the very active FA-project and the GA-project pages about articles which become listed or de-listed over time (months or even years). Similarly, Llywrch makes the point of spending much time updating article evaluations which seem to have not always positive editorial drift in quality over the years. Neither of these important issues is dealt with effectively in the WP:Quality control article and possibly there is more to be said on this by way of comments or observations from other editors. We have not heard from many of the editors involved directly with the FA-nom and GA-nom pages, and possibly they might have some experience points to make. Does the topic of Quality control deserve more attention than it has been receiving in recent years, especially as reflected by the differences in emphasis seen in the new section directly above and the older concerns covered in WP:Quality control policy page? ManKnowsInfinity (talk) 16:43, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Quality Control and Wikipedia:Quality assessment are two very different topics. I think it is Wikipedia:Quality assessment you are interested in rather than WP:Quality control.
The alternative to a flawed quality assessment system is not necessarily an alternative quality assessment system. Many of us edit here quite happily with little to no involvement in the quality assessment system at all. I take the view that if I correct a particular typo across the whole of Wikipedia I have improved that aspect of Wikipedia quality. How much of an improvement in quality I leave it to others to measure. ϢereSpielChequers 22:26, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
@WereSpielChequers; There is a significant difference, I agree, between WP:Quality control and WP:Quality assessment. The editors responding in the section directly above this one were discussing many concerns which seem to overlap these two areas but are not covered in either one of these standard Wikipedia policy pages. There is likely a notable difference between Quality control when looked at from the standpoint editing content as opposed to observing and controlling editor conduct on Wikipedia articles. For example, the Quality control page seems to spend much time talking about protection from vandalism (an important topic on its own) though not directly related to maintaining and improving genuine article content over time. The issue of editorial drift is also not covered on either of those policy pages where, for example, the original editors of a page may have left Wikipedia and other editors get involved in partial and perhaps mistaken directions for further over-edits leading to the type of article deterioration in content quality over time which Od Mishehu seems to refer to above. None of this is covered on either the Quality control page or the Quality assessment page, though its a significant issue for articles as they are edited over months and often over years after the original top editors for a particular page are long gone. Then there are the other Editing content issues notably raised by the other editors here responding in the section directly above. Should the pages for Quality control and Quality assessment somehow be rewritten to cover all of these issues discussed in this thread, or, should they be covered under some other policy page not yet mentioned in this thread? ManKnowsInfinity (talk) 16:02, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

How article assessments actually work

ManKnowsInfinity, I think you need the whole backstory before you're going to understand any of this.

Once upon a time, when Wikipedia itself was only about two or three years old, a small group of editors looked around Wikipedia and said, "This is really cool, but what if you don't have access to the internet?" This affected schools, libraries, and people in developing countries. So they looked into the feasibility of burning Wikipedia onto CDs (yes, those big silver-colored discs that were created in the early 1980s). Even though Wikipedia was much smaller then, it was still too many articles to fit on a comfortable number of discs.

So they said, "How about we only burn the best and most important articles to the CDs?" Well, that obviously meant that someone would have to determine what the best and most important articles were. The first batch was done by a small corps of dedicated editors. After a while, though, they enlisted the WikiProjects (that's "groups of editors who want to work together"; there were a lot more small ones back then). Assessing articles (I've done tens of thousands of assessments over the last ten years, so I know a bit about this) became a way for interested groups to identify the best articles ("quality") and the articles that they cared about the most ("importance" or "priority"), and to increase the likelihood that those articles would be included in the offline/CD-based releases. The original corps devoted themselves to the infrastructure aspects, such as setting up the bot that updates the statistics. The WikiProjects used this as a source of motivation (you wanted your best stuff on the CDs, of course) and to prioritize the improvement of articles that mattered to them.

However: nobody really needs CD-based copies of Wikipedia any longer. It's an outdated media format. If you want an offline copy, then you're going to use a thumb drive or sideload articles onto a smartphone. The last use of these assessments for the original and main purpose was seven years ago.

So why do we maintain this? Well – mostly, we don't. People, including me, have generally stopped updating article assessments as often. I am still happy when the assessments are correct, but it's not urgent or even important. Readers almost never see this, and editors mostly don't change their behavior based on this. There are still a few uses, so we don't need to remove it: WPMED tracks some statistics (mostly for us to talk about, but also for use in presentations to non-Wikipedia groups). A list of top- or high-priority articles is a good way for a new editor to find articles to watch. A list of high-quality articles is handy when you need examples (e.g., to show people unfamiliar with Wikipedia's best work, or to use as models for articles that you're improving).

But does it truly matter? No.

Also, when you try to interpret stats related to article creation, then it's worth remembering this: We already have articles on nearly every recognized disease. We have articles on only a small fraction of notable medicine-related organizations (e.g., pharmaceutical companies, local hospitals, notable surgeons, health-related charities, etc.). So if you had a perfect list of all missing articles, and you randomly picked a missing article to create it, WPMED would very likely tag your article as |importance=low and |society=yes. That doesn't mean that your contribution is useless to the world; it means that the particular editors who focus on medicine-related articles don't really care about articles on that subject. Leonardo da Vinci had a hugely significant effect on anatomy – but it's a low-importance subject for us. And if we're the only group that provides an importance rating (which is very common for newer articles), then you're going to see our disinterest in those stats, even if the article would be normal or higher interest for a group that doesn't bother with ratings very often (such as WikiProject Organizations) or one that refuses to list importance on principle (like MILHIST).

The bottom line is this: You have found a flawed and outdated dataset that existed for a different purpose, and you should be exceedingly cautious about even attempting to (mis)use it for the purpose of trying to decide whether new articles were worth creating. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:47, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

@WhatamIdoing; That is a very good summary of the Chapter in the book titled The Wikipedia Revolution from 2009 written by sysops User:Fuzheado, which I have read and I recognize your points in your good summary of his Chapter on this issue. The point remains, that editors and administrators who are spending truly large amounts of time upgrading and delisting articles for FA-review and GA-review feel that their efforts are highly important to Wikipedia and they devote very large amounts of time to the creation and maintenance of FA-articles and GA-articles. Many editors consider it a sort of badge to place their FA stars and GA stars on their user pages to indicate how important they feel their contributions to the FA-level and GA-levels of articles has been over their long editing time at Wikipedia. Yes, your summary is accurate above, but its also accurate to acknowledge the very large amount of time which even very experienced Wikipedia editors expend to produce FA- or a GA-articles throughout Wikipedia. Your comments on the med articles I also have to agree with almost in the entirety of all you say here; still the editors of those peer-reviewed articles also attach a good deal of importance to improving the quality of those med articles that eventually reach FA- and GA-status. It is a big deal to them.
My comment about the statistics comments you make is really very rudimentary since I only have an interest in the data itself represented in the graphs. Anyone, you or me or anyone, who takes an introductory statistics course or probability course is very quickly introduced to the fact that data sets of statistics are sometimes deeply skewed from medians and averages; that's just the way the real world works. However, the same professors who teach that also state that when statistical data sets are skewed or lop-sided, then its probably important to try to understand why the data sets are lop-sided. That was all I was referring to when I posted those two pie-charts in the section at the top of this thread as provided by User:Hanif as an update of the Wikipedia statistics for 2017. The statistical data represented there is very lop-sided and elementary statistics teaches that such things should be explained for the benefit of future study and analysis. The current article at Wikipedia for WP:Quality control and WP:Quality assessment do not cover most of the strong comments which you and the other editors have made already in this thread. Since so much time and effort is devoted at Wikipedia to creating and maintaining FA-articles and GA-articles (especially in the med articles) then should there be some improvements made to the apparently outdated policy pages for Quality control and Quality assessment at Wikipedia if only to make them better? ManKnowsInfinity (talk) 20:37, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I find that the stubs or starts can be helpful, and should be made (if notable), as they will be improved when someone who wants to improve it comes along. Sometimes they improve it a whole lot. My only real example of such is with "my" Iazyges page. Compare diff 722458881 with how it is now, or compare its beginning as a one sentence stub in 2001 to now. Sometimes articles lay dormant and low quality for a while, but if it's notable the potential for use is still there. Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 14:58, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
@ManKnowsInfinity: I find the stats fairly helpful - see Wikipedia:WikiProject_Birds/Assessment#Statistics - as it gives me some idea of the state of play of the wikiproject. Many articles are inaccurately categorized but as a global ineact overview it is helpful. As far as buffing content and the proportion of stubs, I entirely agree, which is why I have run the Stub Contest and Core Contest. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:19, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

Are top lists copyright infringement ?

I've found many articles as Tozai Mystery Best 100, 20th Century's Greatest Hits: 100 English-Language Books of Fiction, The Guardian's 100 Best Novels Written in English, The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time that seem to be copyright infringement. Is it ? Elfast (talk) 23:34, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

If it's just a simple list, they can not be copyrighted due to lack of original content. This essay addresses the issue and has links to relevant policies and guidelines. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 23:38, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
And to specifically answer your question, the three lists mentioned are not copyright infringements. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 23:39, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
This is absolutely incorrect, as noted below. They all are subjectively selected lists, so this are all copyvios. --MASEM (t) 04:58, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
What Masem said. The Guardian list is certainly a copyright issue, being a completely subjective 'Best of' list based on unknown criteria by a single author. Which I will nominate for speedy as soon as I work out how. The other two are less obvious but going by the essay you yourself linked would likely be considered copyvios. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:47, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Thank you for your answer. Nevertheless, in the article you link, you can read "A complete or partial recreation of "Top 100" or similar lists where the list has been selected in a creative manner" is "unacceptable use."". It contradicts your view. Elfast (talk) 23:58, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

What is often referred to as a 'laundry list' are not copyrightable. But when it comes to an organization issuing a list derived from its own its own effort. Then I agree that this seems like a copyright infringement. Of course, if the organizations are very 'notable' their lists become generic but not quite. For instance, the current Dewey Decimal Classification is still proprietary. So think you have a good point. Maybe these articles need to go for AfD.--Aspro (talk) 23:56, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
Today I learned that the Dewey Decimal is proprietary. Thanks for that tidbit! :D ^demon[omg plz] 00:48, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
I used to work shelving books in a large library and I didn't know that either. Crazy. Beeblebrox (talk) 04:50, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
'Effort' is actually the wrong word in this context, as the US does not recognise 'effort' but does recognise 'creativity'. You could put a lot of 'effort' into creating a list from publically known facts but as 'effort' isnt recognised, it wouldnt be copyrightable (unlike in other parts of the world where even databases compiled from public data can technically be copyrighted due to the amount of 'effort' used to create them). A subjective list contains substantially more 'creativity' but could contain much less 'effort' and would be copyrightable in the US. I could create my 'Top ten list of films involving sharks' in about 5 minutes, it would take me substantially longer to create 'Top ten most profitable shark films' Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:09, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Lists that are compiled from subjective criteria are considered copyrightable, and thus full replication of the lists are inappropriate without prior permission (as we have for the various AFI lists). Contrast that to lists developed from data (such as the top selling books or films), or lists from a rigorious voting process, such as a list of Best Picture for the Academy Awards - this is data and not copyrightable. --MASEM (t) 04:57, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Yes. Generally, cvio. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:25, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Yes. In order for a list to not be copyrighted, it must:
  1. Have completely objective criteria.
  2. The idea behind the list must be onw which a person may be reasonably likely to come up with withou having seen the sorce. So if Only in death were to create a "Top ten most profitable shark films", the idea behind the list may be copyrighyted.
עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 19:10, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Yes per Wikipedia:Copyright in lists, "ordered rankings based on judgement, such as the top 50 most influential Muslims" are copyrighted. The concept of the list may be notable but the ordered list itself is copyrighted and incompatible for sharing on Wikipedia without a wiki compatible license from the copyright holder. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:12, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Combining AfC reviewers and new page reviewers

There is an ongoing discussion about combining AfC reviewers into the new page reviewer user right. Your comments and opinions would be welcome. ~ Rob13Talk 03:26, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Discretionary 1RR in place of edit-warring blocks

I've noticed in cases of WP:EW / WP:3RR that what's been particularly helpful is when I can simply restrict someone to a reasonable 1RR due to WP:ACDS instead of blocking them. It's proven to be surprisingly effective at preventing further edit-warring (in my anecdotal experience) and seems to be received much better than an eternal block-log-of-shame entry. Obviously a block does accomplish the same prevention of continued edit warring, but things become slightly tricky if an experienced editor, who might otherwise make good contributions, missteps (even accidentally). Or if they edit war but not enough to be 3RRing, but still obviously enough to be unacceptably edit warring. The only recourse so far is blocking for non-ACDS topics, but does it always make sense to block someone from all edits? Why should the page they're edit warring on need to be in an ACDS topic for an admin to take—at least what seems to me to be—a less-harsh action than blocking? You'd think it'd be the other way around, right? :P

Anyway, that got me thinking: why not just allow admins to impose a reasonable 1RR on an editor in place of an edit-warring block, regardless of ACDS status, if they feel it would be appropriate? It seems like it's win-win: in place of a block an uninvolved admin could, at their discretion, decide to restrict an editor to 1RR for either the same, normal period as the block or a reasonably padded one (e.g., if a block would have likely been less than a week, as is usually the case, a 1RR of up to a month in its place would probably be reasonable). It could be appealed in basically the exact same way as a normal block: an uninvolved admin reviews it and decides if the 1RR was inappropriate, of excessive length, etc... *shrug*. Seems like just one more tool in the toolbelt—one that's a little more finely tuned to the situation at hand and a little less walloping than a full block.

The real goal of preventing edit warring down the line is to create an extended period during which someone has to consciously keep themselves from edit warring—they have to develop a self-regulating habit of not edit warring—and a day or two (or whatever) of forced non-editing doesn't seem like enough to help form that habit (or at least, it probably doesn't help that much and seems more punitive for someone who might otherwise edit constructively). A week/month of 1RR, on the other hand, seems like it has a much better chance of succeeding as both an administrative action and a super-strong final warning before a block (at least, in some situations).

Thoughts? --slakrtalk / 10:27, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

I am guessing, if editors didn't follow a policy (WP:3RR) why would we expect them to follow another one (WP:1RR) when told to do so? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 11:00, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Hmm, it sounds interesting, and I actually think that this is a pretty good idea. But, what happens when an editor violates the 1RR? It seems that this is a good idea anyways, but it should be recommended that if an editor violates it, they should be placed under a short block (say one day or so) at the start, and then have that increase to normal block times. RileyBugzYell at me | Edits 16:36, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
@Jo-Jo Eumerus: Sometimes they don't understand it completely or have difficulty with the subjective portions. Some that come to mind are when people think they're "in the clear" because they think something is an exception to 3RR, for example, weren't clear on partial reverts, or are simply editing a high-traffic page and didn't notice they were technically edit warring. 1RR is much clearer, imo. You revert once and if that fails, you go to the talk page. No counting involved. There's obviously always the block option, but this is something less harsh for those situations where there's a reasonable assumption that the person will try not to edit war for the 1RR-restriction period.
@RileyBugz: Violations would then subject to a block as usual. This is more for situations where, like I was saying to Jo-Jo Eumerus, there's a reasonable assumption that someone will try to behave. There are obviously plenty of situations where, despite being warned, someone just needs to be blocked straightaway. :P
--slakrtalk / 23:44, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Gonna try canvassing some of the usual AN3 patrollers in case they'd think it useful too: @El C, EdJohnston, Coffee, and NeilN: --slakrtalk / 23:53, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
It's useful but it can be already done without changing policy (well, I do it anyways sometimes). I offer the editor the choice of being blocked for x days or going on 0RR or 1RR for y days where y > x. They invariably choose the revert restriction. This implements WP:CONDUNBLOCK without having the stain of a block. --NeilN talk to me 00:02, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
I actually did sort of offer this as an option to an experienced editor I blocked for 3RR: unblock and a week or so of 1RR versus retain the 24-hour block—they ended up turning my offer down. Perhaps the duration of 1RR was just too lengthy. I suppose they didn't want to have that disadvantage for that long versus just a 24-hour block. But the problem with that, for me, is you have to wait for the editor to respond to the offer—I usually close an AN3 report as soon as I see it, whether the editor being reported responds or not. But I'm open to offer to established editors who violated 3RR a few days (say, 3 days) of 1RR to go along with an unblock from now on as a pilot project. Or maybe offer it instead of a block if they respond quickly. I'm willing to try it out, within reasonable time constraints. El_C 00:12, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
Of course, violating the 1RR option would have to come with serious deterrence: like a week-long block or something. El_C 00:13, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
My only concern is that 3RR would lose its deterrent factor without a block as a given countermeasure. El_C 00:15, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
There are still plenty of grumpy admins out there who would just block ;-) I only make the offer if I feel the editor is trying to make a good effort towards finding consensus. Not just, "I'm right and I explained why I was right!" --NeilN talk to me 00:28, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm generally meow! But self-improvement, I've heard of it.El_C 00:34, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
I would say that if they are genuinely trying to find consensus, and stop when warned, in most cases a block isn't required at all. While someone who violates 3rr should know they are inviting a block, it still falls to admin discretion whether a block is necessary to stop further disruption, even after policy gives the green light. Sometimes a good, non-template, cut it out message will stop it too, even if the template one didn't, particularly when it comes from an admin. (Obviously, if two people are edit warring, you want to make sure to treat them similarly, regardless of how lenient or strict that is) Monty845 00:48, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

I've long thought that the best sanction for an isolated instance of edit-warring, where a good-faith editor has gotten caught up in a dispute and needs a break, is just to direct him or her to stop editing that article or that page for a specified period of time. That way the edit-warring cycle is broken, but the editor is still able to contribute productively on other topics. I have never understood why this idea has not enjoyed substantially more support. Newyorkbrad (talk) 00:17, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Yup, 0RR. Very handy as the editor can still participate on the talk page and keep discussion going. --NeilN talk to me 00:19, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
(Of course, for the first 24 hours, that article that the 3RR applied to, there will have to be 0RR—we can't give them an extra fifth revert there.) But overall, 0RR for say, 3 days, instead of a 24-hour block, is an even more strict approach. El_C 00:29, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
I wasn't even thinking of a variation on xRR necessarily. More like "go edit something else entirely for a day while things cool down." Newyorkbrad (talk) 00:48, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
Exactly. That should be done more often, particularly with someone who normally builds good content but who let themselves get sucked into a fight. A block can follow if they are unable to take friendly advice from an uninvolved admin. Johnuniq (talk) 01:38, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
In particular, a non-template/personalized warning/advice can be extremely effective, even if the person has ignored a template warning from another editor. Editors, and particularly experienced editors can get in a mentality where they ignore perfectly accurate template messages, thinking the template placer is just trying to win. Some people don't respond well to templates at all, even from uninvolved admins. Its not policy, and sometimes a template is still the right call, but we should all consider WP:DTR when it comes to any type of warning template being directed at an experience editor. Monty845 02:49, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

I've tried the pilot project for the first time today. User chose four days of 1RR on all pages over a 24-hour block. I did block for 10 seconds, though, to note in the block log that this was the user's 2nd 3RR offense. As I mention to the user, the penalty for violating the 1RR is a week-long block, but the user is allowed to self-revert in case they forget. The major drawback is how to make sure they really keep to the 1RR—I just don't have time to watch over every edit they make. El_C 08:11, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia talk:Administrators#Proposed: Minor change to inactivity policy notifications

Interested parties, please see Wikipedia talk:Administrators#Proposed: Minor change to inactivity policy notifications, an RFC which seeks to modify how and when administrators are given notification regarding pending removal of administrative permissions. –xenotalk 19:57, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Should redirects be automatically created when moving to draftspace?

I was just looking at WP:CHECKWIKI error 95, and I was pondering why MediaWiki creates redirects to draftspace when articles are moved there (my understanding is that such redirects are instantly eligible for deletion under WP:R3). I would be far more inclined to move articles to draftspace if it did not leave even more mess behind and draftification would seem a far less WP:BITEy way of dealing with poor quality (but not WP:CSD worthy) articles than immediately PRODing. I've run across quite a few editors who seem to have good intentions but haven't got the required WP:COMPETENCE (yet) and have been thoroughly trodden upon by the CSD/PROD/AfD stampede. Thoughts? TheDragonFire (talk) 12:21, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Should notability be inherited with composition?

In the deletion debate page for Slate Star Codex (a blog), User:Exemplo347 maintains that Wikipedia:Notability (web)'s No Inherited Notability rule implies that a blog cannot be notable merely because articles on the blog have notability. This does not seem to match my reading of NIN, which seems entirely concerned with relations of association, not composition. Particularly since merging is considered an accepted alternative to deleting an article that is not independently notable, and the merge target of a bunch of articles on a blog would be an article about the blog (since a blog is the set of articles on it), and merging must preserve notability or be useless, it seems that logically notability must be inheritable along relations of composition.

My reading of Wikipedia:Notability (web) seems to back this up, as it says: "Similarly, a website may be notable, but the owners or authors do not "inherit" notability due to the web content they wrote."

Which seems to imply that the website itself does gain notability due to the article on it.

I see two alternatives: either, the NIN rule should be extended to say "In fact, even the website itself does not inherit notability due to the content that is on it.", or it should be extended to say "However, a website, being merely an aggregation of content, does gain notability from the articles on it, such that a website may sustain an article merely as an aggregation of individually notable content." FeepingCreature (talk) 21:10, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

I took the opposite position to User:Exemplo347 on this question in that deletion debate. I completely agree with you. In the implausible event that we were to have three articles that were each about three different blog posts from the same blog, and the community judged that all three articles should be merged into one article about the blog, it would not serve any encyclopedic interests for editors to object to this on the grounds that "blogs aren't notable just because they have notable blog posts on them". The content of blog websites typically consists of about 99% standard blog posts, and maybe 1% "special" posts like About pages and maybe these days a "Please donate to me!" page. In other words, a blog is, to all intents and purposes, a collection of blog posts, and I would argue, notability should transfer from a blog post to a blog, and similarly should transfer to other things which are compositions of other things - like, for example, events that a person was notably involved in, and their life as a whole. (With the caveat in that case that when it comes to people notable for only one event, an article about them may not be appropriate.)--greenrd (talk) 22:09, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

The "Should notability be inherited?" issue is not something that can be settled by a post here. The process would require a Request for Comment discussion at Wikipedia talk:Notability and ongoing discussions should not be put on hold while it is decided, as this process can take months. Exemplo347 (talk) 09:25, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

I was told to bring it up here on IRC. I agree that the deletion debate should not be held up by this; I just bring it up because it seems the rules are unclear on the topic. FeepingCreature (talk) 17:33, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
The crux here is depth of coverage. If a RS merely links a blog post with minimal or no commentary about the blog itself that doesn't merit mention in the Wiki article about the blog, much less convey notability. The OP's statement, "In the deletion debate page for Slate Star Codex (a blog), User:Exemplo347 maintains that Wikipedia:Notability (web)'s No Inherited Notability rule implies that a blog cannot be notable merely because articles on the blog have notability" is not an accurate summary of this. VQuakr (talk) 20:05, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Yep, the Single Purpose Account that started this post has suddenly appeared because I said a few passing mentions about a blog entry do not add up to significant coverage in reliable, independent sources. Never mind though, notability isn't inherited, according to WP:GNG and nor should it be. Exemplo347 (talk) 20:17, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
If you check my edit history, you will find that this "single purpose account" which btw carries the same name that I use literally everywhere else online was created back in 2008. I just don't edit much.
That said, you are outright ignoring my point. WP:GNG (web) says specifically that notability is not inherited between associated topics; a blog and a blogpost is a bit more than an association. At the very least, WP:GNG (web) is unclear and should be amended. FeepingCreature (talk) 13:34, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
WP:INHERIT specifically says that "parent notability should be established independently; notability is not inherited "up", from notable subordinate to parent", which seems to cover exactly this question. Of course, WP:INHERIT is an essay, not a guideline, but the principle seems to me to make sense. If we say that something which is composed of notable constituent parts is itself notable, we start running into all sorts of problems: if I create a blog today which has the text of Pride and Prejudice as its only content, I would argue that it shouldn't be notable, but the interpretation put forward by user:FeepingCreature above would suggest that it is. Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 18:09, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
I would argue that a blog that contains the text of Pride and Prejudice is a poor example. A more relevant example would be if a blog that posts, say, serial fiction, should gain notability if a specific update chapter is discussed in the media.
You're right in the case of parent notability. However, I believe the case is different here from all the examples listed because a blog is the natural unit of organization of its blog articles, but (for instance) the AFT is not the natural unit of organization of an Einstein. Would Einstein's works ever be merged into his AFT page? That, I believe, is the one case in which inheritance upwards is not just possible but necessary.FeepingCreature (talk) 13:39, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I see how this case differs from the Einstein/AFT chapter case. What I don't see is how the case you are proposing differs from the Pride & Prejudice case. Why is it that you think that a blog which posts already-notable fiction should not inherit notability from that fiction, while a blog that posts fiction which is not yet notable should inherit notability if the fiction does become notable? Do you likewise think that an album should become notable if songs from it gain notability but there continues to be no coverage of the album? Should an album containing already-notable songs be automatically considered notable? I don't see that the exception to WP:INHERIT that you are arguing for is at all clearly defined at the moment, and its fuzziness potentially contains many things which I think are not notable and should not become notable... Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 14:45, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
That's a very good example! I do think that an album whose songs are notable but that does not receive individual coverage should become notable, because if there was an album whose songs were notable but not significantly notable, then the album page would be the natural page to merge those songs into, and this would lead to the odd sequence of "pages are made for song, pages are insufficiently notable, pages are merged into single page for album, content on page has enough notability to sustain an article but is deleted because the topic of the article does not have independent notability at all."
[edit] Ah, I think I see the issue you mean. I think if there's a topic that has notability for an independent page, then this notability should not also get to be double-counted for the containing subject; that would indeed violate the spirit of WP:GNG and the examples. In a sense, the notability is "expended" to sustain the page. :) My concern is only about topics that are sub-notable and hence merged into a container article. FeepingCreature (talk) 21:04, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
I would like to suggest something slightly different. I agree that for an album with only one notable song, the album should not become notable, similarly to how living people not in the public eye should not become notable for one event. However, if there are two (or more) songs covered on Wikipedia from an album, regardless of whether one of them is individually sub-notable or they are both notable but are simply both stub articles with little possibility for expansion, then notability concerns should not prevent the most logical merge of the two articles, i.e. into an album page, if that is desired by the community. And the same should go for blogs and blog posts, I think. Indeed, I now think a personal blog by a living person, at least, should not be deemed notable by us merely for having one notable post, for similar reasons as the reasons why we have the BLP1E policy.--greenrd (talk) 22:57, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
That makes sense. My concern is mainly with merges invalidating notability, which invalidates merges as a tool for combining sub-notable pages. FeepingCreature (talk) 10:20, 26 March 2017 (UTC)

China/Taiwan issue at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Chinese)

I invite you to discuss drafting the guideline update on Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Chinese) regarding the China/Taiwan issue. The location is Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Chinese)#China and Taiwan naming issue. --George Ho (talk) 22:42, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Repeating defamation in WP

I read User:Mwalcoff's legal comments about Jerome Kerviel from 9 years ago, and was wondering if any policy has been made about the topic. He provided a long list of legal cases to support his premise that repeating a libel is still libel, even when the source of the original libel is given. Another legal expert in a recent article made the same argument, and added cases where just linking to the original libel can be considered repeating it, and thereby become a libel. So can WP editors repeat a libelous statement in someone's bio?

There are actually at least 3 hypothetical questions that can be created from that:

1. Presume a RS website makes an allegation about a person (the subject of a WP bio) and they get sued by that person for libel. The suit makes the MSM news. Can, or should, WP give cited details about the lawsuit and repeat the original allegation?
2. Same facts as above, but what happens if the RS website also subsequently admits the allegation was false and publicly apologizes, which also makes the news. Can or should the original allegation be repeated?
3. Same facts as #2, but now make the website an unreliable source per WP guidelines. Maybe even a blacklisted source for WP to cite. Can the original allegation be repeated? --Light show (talk) 02:38, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I think this sort of thing involves a delicate mix of legal considerations, policy considerations, and good editorial judgement. Case by case judgments may be unavoidable. I started to write a more detailed response, with a bunch of hypotheticals, but I don't think we can really cover enough possibilities to really be useful. I think the handling of things at Donald Trump–Russia dossier provides a good example of how we can balance those concerns. While we could probably include more details of the allegations from a legal standpoint, even if the statements are clearly libelous (assuming they are false), editorial discretion dictates that we describe things in more general terms, without getting into the salacious details of the allegations. Monty845 03:14, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
If we're worried about legal implications of such actions, we have to force the Foundation to make a clear statement on such. We should not speculate one way or the other on the legality of such serious issues. I agree that, if legality were not a concern, we still have an obligation to use sound editorial judgement, but we're all just a bunch of randos on the interwebz here. If its a legal concern, there is one entity who needs to make a clear statement, and that's The Foundation. --Jayron32 03:18, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
But if legal implications are not a factor, and only editorial policy is considered, could anyone then comment on the 3 questions? --Light show (talk) 04:15, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Then you would discuss it on the article talk page of the specific subject, and come to a consensus with other editors on how to proceed. --Jayron32 04:17, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Any notable allegation about a public figure may be stated, as an allegation, provided that we give the best evidnce as to its level of accuracy (disproven, under investigation, admitted lie, etc). It doesn't matter how unreliable the source is. The allegation itself may be a lie, but the statement that the allegation was made isn't. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 04:19, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
No, it absolutely matters that the source for the allegation is reliable!!! If the New York Times reported that "Jayron32 accused Od Mishehu of molesting chickens" and we cited the New York Times that would be fine. If I, as some rando on the internet, posted on my website "Od Mishehu molests chickens", we would NOT republish that. The reliability of the sources ALWAYS matters. --Jayron32 04:34, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Could that imply some relevance to question 3? --Light show (talk) 04:42, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
No idea. My statements here in the general should never be construed as evidence one way or the other in solving any content dispute in the specific. I was only saying that, insofar as we did report such a thing (if we did) that sourcing should be reliable and probably also expressly attributed. However, please do not take these statements as an endorsement of anything in any specific dispute. --Jayron32 04:45, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Of course not. My main question is only about general policy guidelines, if any. --Light show (talk) 04:48, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────If the allegation is notable, then you can repeat it, along with any necessary statements of unreliability/flasehood, and link to third-party sources which discuss it; if the allegation itelf isn'tt notable, it doesn't belong on Wikipedia. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 12:14, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

DATING Guideline Proposal

Wikipedia is now read and used by people in most of the countries of our small world. I myself is using Internet more or less ten hours per day; of those hours I use WIKIPEDIA around 90%! Unfortunately there is an important item that is overlooked in your (our, of course) encyclopedia: How do different people write the dates? Here are some examples: October 9th 1970: 10.9.70, 10.09.1970, 9th October 1970, 9-10-70, 09.10.1970, 9. Okt. 1970 (Scandinavian). I believe there are many other styles that I do not recall at the moment.

Why not make the WIKIPEDIA dates «standardized» in a way that all (maybe almost all) countries that use the latin alphabet will recognize? This standard will also be completely unambiguous (I hope). The style I here propose is what I personally have made a standard in all my articles, pictures ++ in my computers:

9.Oct.1970. In shorthand: d.mmm.yyyy

If this is possible to implement I believe there will be a lot less confusion about the factual date.

Another question is the timestamp. Should it be or mm.hh; or, mm.hh. Should we use 24 hours or 12 hours +AM/PM day? I should like to know other readers opinions. (Not only English-US readers are enjoying our efforts!) Andy-Phil. 07:23, 23 March 2017 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Andy1111no-phi (talkcontribs)

Wikipedia timestamps display as whatever you've set them to display as here; there's no global format. Regarding dates in articles, we use the appropriate format for the variant of English in which the article is written (9 October, 1970 or October 9 1970) as appropriate, with the month always written out to avoid ambiguity, and in very exceptional circumstances UTC format (1970–10–09). The full range of acceptable date formats is here. Scandinavian etc date formats are irrelevant; this is English Wikipedia, so we only use formats which are in use in the English language except when they form a part of a direct quotation or an article about date formats. ‑ Iridescent 07:46, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

Clarifications about WP:BIO1E/WP:BLP1E and terror attacks

This is somewhat related to the recent discussion at Talk:2017 Westminster attack over whether to merge the suspect's article into the attack's article.

There are several questions here:

  1. Do WP:BDP and/or WP:BLP1E apply to recently deceased criminals (or suspected criminals)? This one should be fairly straightforward. I've been convinced that the answer is no, but plenty of people do seem to think otherwise.
  2. What constitutes a "significant event" as described in WP:BIO1E and WP:BLP1E? Does "significant" == notable, or is it more strict? If the latter, what would be a good bar of significance in relation to terror attacks?
  3. Even if a subject passes the barrier of WP:BIO1E/WP:BLP1E, would they possibly still be better off covered in the article on the event (or vice versa, the event being merged to the subject's article) if there does not end up being coverage outside of the event and size permits? This is especially pertinent for deceased subjects, where there will not be a trial.

These questions have arisen because there is no real consistency with which these policies/guidelines have been applied in this topic area. For example, the January 2015 Île-de-France attacks: the two in the Charlie Hebdo shooting (Chérif and Saïd Kouachi) do not have an article or individual articles, but the suspect in the Porte de Vincennes siege does (Amedy Coulibaly, and so does his wife Hayat Boumeddiene, who may have helped plan the attacks but did not participate). Similarly, the suspect in the 2016 Nice attack (Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel) has an article, but the one in the very similar 2016 Berlin attack (Anis Amri) does not. Of course, some of this may be chalked up to differences in coverage making some meet WP:GNG and some not, but in many cases, those who do have articles have little more than what is already present in the articles on the events, and would be better covered there in context instead of in a standalone article. ansh666 22:38, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Comment – Actually, per WP:PERPETRATOR: "A person who is known only in connection with a criminal event or trial should not normally be the subject of a separate Wikipedia article if there is an existing article that could incorporate the available encyclopedic material relating to that person."  {MordeKyle  23:33, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Fair point, but I am uneasy about WP:PERP. The phrasing is weird - what does "The motivation for the crime or the execution of the crime is unusual—or has otherwise been considered noteworthy—" mean, exactly - and I'm not sure it copes with the passage of time: if we had it in 1963/4, would we still have the Lee Harvey Oswald article? Regards, Anameofmyveryown (talk) 13:06, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure Lee Harvey Oswald is a good example, he assassinated the president of the United States. I would think that is a prime example of someone who would have their own article. He had enduring coverage in the media at the time. The coverage of this subject will not last beyond maybe a week at most, which we have seen over and over with these attack. Unfortunately, much like school shootings, these run of the mill terror attacks have become routine, and no longer cause continued coverage or extended notability. 2016 Ohio State University attack and 2016 Berlin attack are very similar. Their names have had no real lasting notability. The one recent one of this nature where the suspect has his own article was the 2016 Nice attack which was perpetrated by Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel. It is quite arguable that he does not need his own article, as he has had no lasting notability, however, he kill nearly 90 of people and injured nearly 500. That's pretty extraordinary. I do however think he does not need his own article as the stand alone article does not really add much more than is covered in the article for the attack. You are right about the wording though, which is the same reason we are here talking about WP:BIO1E/WP:BLP1E. I've also had some rather large problems enforcing other parts of BLP, including WP:BLPCRIME. The wording in some of these policies are rather clumsy sometimes. A lot is left open to interpretation, which could be the intention.  {MordeKyle  19:36, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment – I think this is asking the wrong questions (since the underlying question is "when should there be a seperate article for a perp.?"). As implied by MordeKyle, the question should be, "what useful purpose is served by a seperate article?", "is the reader likely to ever search for the perp., independent from the event", and "is the volume of info sufficient to justify a seperate article". There are notable exceptions to the general answer of "no" to this question. No one would ever have heard of L. H. Oswald were it not for one event, but the level of coverage subsequent to the event has made him "of interest" in his own right. It is nearly impossible for editors to assess the historical importance of an event as it is unfolding, but excuse me for being cynical, as any event unfolds, it inevitably appears to be the most important thing to have happened "since sliced bread". I'm UK, and affected by the "Westminster" attack, it is easy for anyone to come up with "most important event since ...." analogies, but I'm also old enough to remember all the IRA "events", which equally seemed unprecedented at the time (and which neither I nor most others can any longer remember very well). Having been involved with some of the examples of inconsistency above, I have to say that the inconsistencies lie far more with level of "emotional response" to the event than rational application of WP principles. My response to this question therefore is that there needs to be demonstrable NEED for a seperate article, based on volume of info available, rather than any evaluation of the seeming importance of the event as perceived as the event is unfolding. We also aren't meant to ask such mundane, practical questions, but it is worth asking, "which is more practical for editors?", my experience of being involved with some of the more notorious events of the last 12-ish months is that 'perp' articles often become the home of careless, PoV, speculative editing, while more experienced editors focus on the 'event' article. If perp. articles simply become the 'reject shop' for unqualified speculation that would never find its way onto the main article, what useful purpose are they serving? IMO there is no need to change policy, simply to apply it more consistently. Pincrete (talk) 02:04, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
    • Responding to these, I'm just addressing concerns that came up during the discussion. If you think those are more important, feel free to introduce them there. ansh666 02:34, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Responding directly to the policy questions 1) I have always presumed that ALL BLP guidelines exist not only for the cynical reason that WP might get sued, but also because we understand that getting things wrong with BLPs can do real harm. We extend those to 'recently deceased' for similar reasons. Therefore IMO, it matters not a hoot whether the recently deceased is a Nobel prize winner, or a mass-murderer, if we get something wrong about Genghis Khan, we simply get something wrong, but living (or recently deceased), are entitled to more care (even if they appear to be unworthy of it at the time). 2) It really is impossible to gauge a 'significant event' as the event is occurring. That policy was devised to cover people like L.H.Oswald, and Princeps, but I doubt that anyone at the time could possibly gauge the significance of the event, neither should we with 'unfolding events'. 3) No, unless there is a demonstable need to do so. Pincrete (talk) 03:38, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
  • CommentFor perpetrators: It states that the perpetrator should have their own page if the crime is unusual—or has otherwise been considered noteworthy—such that it is a well-documented historic event. Masood was the main perpetrator and was especially unique in that he did not fit the typical profile of a terrorist due to his age, and the act was the largest terror attack in London in over a decade. Not every incident would warrant a perpetrator having their own entry, Masood does.MeropeRiddle (talk) 02:45, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Cynic's respone perhaps, but ...... There is always something unique about each event, each perp . 'Orlando' was the "biggest attack on gays since the Holocaust". But that still doesn't answer the basic question, "Why is the perp. noteworthy, independent of the event?" If there is not sufficient, reliable, non-trivial info about the perp., what useful purpose is served?. We may yet find an enormous amount about Masood, or (just as likely), there is nothing much more to know. The significance of the event is ultimately academic in relation to this if he himself is not the subject of study/research. Pincrete (talk) 03:07, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
I think WP:RECENTISM needs to be kept in mind. After an attack like Westminster, emotions are high and people are looking for answers, so the dead culprit of the attack is going to be reported on heavily. But editors should be asking, in a few months after emotions have cooled down, is that person's detailed identity really separate from the incident itself? A lot of time, the answer is no. Hence, I would really suggest editors take caution with BLP1E, particularly related to terrorist attacks, and simply wait on creating the article on the perp until better rational analysis can be made if the person is really notable on their own. --MASEM (t) 16:53, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment
  1. I interpret both WP:BDP and WP:BLP1E as applying to recently deceased perpetrators. There is nothing to suggest that it does not apply so exemptions should not be implied unless explicitly mentioned.
  2. I would interpret a significant event to be one that is more notable than the general notability guidelines. I'd consider a terror attack to be a significant event.
  3. I'd agree with this. Most of the information relating to the perpetrator in the Westminster attack is going to be related to the investigation and aftermath of the attack, so would in my opinion be more appropriate in the article in question. If it becomes too big then a new article as usual would in my opinion be the step. Calvin (talk) 12:49, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - BLP stands for Biography of living persons, and should not generally apply to the recently deceased. If you want to make it apply to the recently deceased then we need more guidelines on what falls into that category versus what doesn't. This is far too broad...
  • "Generally, this policy does not apply to material concerning people who are confirmed dead by reliable sources. The only exception would be for people who have recently died, in which case the policy can extend for an indeterminate period beyond the date of death—six months, one year, two years at the outside." (from: WP:BDP)
  • Extensions are then included in the next paragraph but just use the wording "particularly" when it comes to the example of "contentious or questionable material about the dead". This I can agree with if it is the only exception used. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 15:58, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - User:Ansh666's third point is illustrative: "Even if a subject passes the barrier of WP:BIO1E/WP:BLP1E, would they possibly still be better off covered in the article on the event". Combined with that and the tone of the original points (Does it apply? If it does, can we redefine "significant" somehow? If we can't do that, can we just ignore it?) makes we think that we are actually talking about WP:PERPETRATOR, not WP:BIO1E/WP:BLP1E.
Given that, would it be more productive to put a reference to WP:PERPETRATOR into WP:BIO1E/WP:BLP1E as an exception and then talk about WP:PERPETRATOR here instead? It would be better than working out how to twist WP:BIO1E/WP:BLP1E.
Regards, Anameofmyveryown (talk) 13:39, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
Not redefining "significant" - we aren't even clear on what it means in the first place, which leads to the strange inconsistencies I mentioned. And yes, part of it is how WP:PERPETRATOR seems to contradict WP:BIO1E/WP:BLP1E, and what we should do about it. ansh666 18:44, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
WP:PERPETRATOR cites an example of John Hinckley which would mean that the perpetrator of a notable incodent warranted having their own page. It also mentions that their own page is warranted if there are reliable secondary sources that devote significant attention to the individual's role. There are hundreds of news articles dedicated specifically to Khalid Masood which would further demonstrate that he warrants his own biography. The perpetrators of the London attack from 2005 all have their own biography page as well, and his was the largest attack since then. Masood also was unique in that his age was atypical and news reports are now saying that because of his, they need to adjust their profiling techniques, another reason why his biography should be seperate. I dont think every perpetrator warrants their own biography, but this attack was glibal news, and he was the main perpetrator, he clearly does. An example of people who currently don't would be any of the 8 people arrested following this incident, such as his girlfriend. 2602:30A:C0D3:4FA0:E4CD:DC03:3C8E:3F4F (talk) 20:06, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

Fix guidelines

I've posted this to Jimbo's talkpage here: User_talk:Jimbo_Wales#Suggested_fix.

Long-time users habitually cite "Subject fails wp:PROF" even in the face of the fact that the wp:PROF guideline itself is designed merely as an alternate means of establishing notability in cases where a potential academic bio subject doesn't prove notable otherwise, viz., through there being sufficient reliable secondary sources per wp:BIO. These users' awareness of this language at these guidelines indicates their lack of candor in promoting their favored work around WP's actual guidelines. This needs to be fixed by rewording the guidelines at wp:BIO and wp:PROF, etc., to indicate that academics and the like are to be held to a higher standard in certain cases than other potential subjects.

--Hodgdon's secret garden (talk) 22:09, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

WP:COSMETICBOT update RFC under way

Please see Wikipedia talk:Bot policy#WP:COSMETICBOT update for the discussion. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 12:01, 26 March 2017 (UTC)

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