Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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The policy section of the village pump is used to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines.

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Regarding reversion of banned editsEdit

I just reverted an edit that removed legitimate content. Why was that legitimate content removed? Because it was added by a sockpuppet. You can find it in my most recent contributions. Had I not reverted that edit, users may never know the UAE's stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is not the first time this has happened. I can understand if a sockpuppet made a vandal edit, but an edit should not be reverted just on the basis that the user was banned. The same goes for WP:G5, which indicates that any page that is created by a blocked/banned user in violation of a block or ban should be deleted, which leads to the potential deletion of legitimate content. User quarrels should not be carried over into the main namespace. Any legitimate edit or page should not be reverted or deleted on the basis of who made the page. I am not encouraging ban evasion. I am simply saying that more specifically, users should focus on the content of the edit or page rather than the user who made it. Removing legitimate content is detrimental to Wikipedia's mission to provide the sum of all human knowledge, regardless of whose knowledge it is. The policy should be changed so to remove things saying that banned users should have their edits reverted or pages deleted. Only if the edit would be reverted or the page would be deleted anyway due to other criteria. So we get rid of WP:G5 and WP:BANREVERT. Blubabluba9990 (talk) (contribs−) 16:25, 26 March 2022 (UTC)

I tend to think that sock edits can and probably ought to be reverted to prevent their gaining by their actions. If the revert is on a hot topic, then someone like yourself will notice and can restore it if thought desirable (as well as taking responsibility for it at the same time). Selfstudier (talk) 16:29, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
It depends on the edit. If the edit is clearly helpful then it should remain. In a nutshell, it boils down to focusing on the content of the edit or page rather than the user who created it. Blubabluba9990 (talk) (contribs) 16:32, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
Different banned editors behave in different ways. Some of them lie, and make a large number of edits. Editors who revert edits by banned editors should feel free to regard the edits as lies, and revert them, unless it is stunningly obvious that the edits are helpful, correct, that any sources cited actually exist, are reliable, and support the added information. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:07, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
"prevent their gaining by their actions"
And this sort of shallow and pointless vindictiveness by all the people who think like you is just as harmful to Wikipedia as any number of vandals we have on the site. At least the latter are almost always reverted by bots. SilverserenC 17:48, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
  • I have long called out WP:G5 as one of the worst additions to the CSD criteria ever added. It exists only to support editors who care about Wikipedia as a "we win, they lose" place and who aren't here to actually write an encyclopedia. It's usage almost entirely is to damage Wikipedia, since any actual reasons to remove content from banned editors (such as if there's copyvios or BLP violations) would fall under a different CSD or content removal policy in the first place. There is literally no purpose to G5 that isn't covered by something else and it only exists to allow the removal of actual good content from the encyclopedia under the excuse of it being made by a banned person. SilverserenC 17:52, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    Ordinarily, when reverting an edit, editors should assume good faith and make the checks outlined in WP:BURDEN. Perhaps G5 goes a little too far, but when reverting edits by a banned editor, the reverting editor should not be required to assume good faith, nor should the reverting editor be expected to invest any more effort than a cursory scanning of the edit. Jc3s5h (talk) 19:47, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    The reverting editor shouldn't be reverting at all if there's no reason to. That's the point. A banned editor's edits are no different than any other editors'. If they have a known history of certain bad editing, such as copyvios, then that should be checked for in particular. But the edits regardless should only be reverted if there's something wrong with the addition. If it is good content, then I consider anyone reverting it to be vandalizing the article. Anyone enacting G5 on good content is a vandal and a harm to Wikipedia, full stop. SilverserenC 19:50, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    Allowing banned editors harms Wikipedia more than blindly reverting and deleting all their contributions. Scrutinizing every edit of a banned editor takes a lot of volunteer time, especially as we can't mark them as reviewed so the work might be done over and over. Far more practical to just revert the lot and allow people to individually reinstate those edits they wish to to take responsibility for. —Kusma (talk) 23:20, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    Why do you need to scrutinize any of their edits? If they were banned for making edits that violated things, such as copyvios, then that's a reason to. But simply the act of having been banned is not a reason to revert their edits at all. If they were banned for non-article reasons and socked because they're really addicted to making proper content additions to Wikipedia, reverting their edits is not helping anyone. It is just vindictive punishment BS. SilverserenC 23:27, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    We do not ban editors lightly, so being banned is a reason to revert all their edits. This "vindictive punishment BS", as you call it, is not particularly fun to administer but is preferable to encouraging banned editors to create sock after sock after sock. —Kusma (talk) 23:53, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    Except they do that anyways. All of the time. Reverting their edits doesn't stop them, but it does damage Wikipedia and make everything worse than it was before. Hence why I consider G5 reversions to be vandalism and call out the editors doing it as often as I can. Since the ones doing that are a detriment to Wikipedia as a whole. SilverserenC 23:58, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    I disagree, in contentious areas where socks (I am referring specifically to socks) most often show up, reverting all their edits, even if it were sight unseen, is likely to result in a net improvement to the encyclopedia. Of course they do make some good edits in order to stay hidden for as long as possible. But it is just enough for that purpose, the rest are not good edits. Selfstudier (talk) 10:12, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    If you are reverting "sight unseen" you cannot possibly know whether the edits are good or bad. Just as someone reinstating a reverted edit takes responsibility for that edit being an improvement to the encyclopaedia, the person reverting must take responsibility that the reversion is an improvement to the encyclopaedia. Thryduulf (talk) 14:44, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
  • What do you guys think "ban" means? – Joe (talk) 18:32, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    It should mean "the user's account is banned and any detection of them having made a new account is also banned". But, as noted with G5, it is instead used as "user's new account is banned and any edit they ever made is reverted", even if they sockpuppetted only to make normal articles that have no issues. It's especially annoying when certain editors do such reversions of all edits for people who were banned for behavioral problems and conflicts with others. Since that has nothing to do with their editing and so there's no reason to even think there's any other violation issues with their edits. SilverserenC 19:40, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    Are you aware of the difference between a ban and a block? —Kusma (talk) 23:22, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
  • In the original comment Blubabluba9990 states: “Had I not reverted…users may never know the UAE's stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.” This is a flawed assumption. Our articles are never in a “final state”… information is constantly being added, changed, removed, and returned. There is a good chance that, had he not reverted, some other editor would have come along and mentioned the USE’s stance. When good information is removed for procedural reasons, we can assume it is only temporary. It may be annoying to have to re-add good information, but it isn’t the end of the world. Blueboar (talk) 19:56, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of removing it in the first place though. Blubabluba9990 (talk) (contribs) 19:00, 4 April 2022 (UTC)
  • Come spend some time in the SPI trenches and you'll get a better appreciation for why we need G5. Throw-away accounts are free and painless to create in bulk. If all an LTA needs do to make an edit is create yet another throw-away account, then banning has no meaning. -- RoySmith (talk) 19:59, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
  • I have also seen editors who believe all edits by banned users should be automatically reverted, and had to revert some reverts because they caused errors that the banned user fixed. I realize that WP:BANREVERT says good edits "CAN" be allowed to stand, which I think is too weak, good edits "SHOULD" be allowed to stand - and the whole section should be revised so this point will be clear to people who don't read beyond the first sentence. MB 20:02, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    • The problem there of course, is that (outside the realm of typo fixing or copyediting) editors may have a different view on what defines a "good" edit. In the end, if you see an edit that has been removed and you believe that it is genuinely positive, there is no problem with you taking responsibility for it yourself and restoring it. Though I would suggest not doing this with anything remotely contentious, and it's always good to leave an edit summary explaining what you are doing. Black Kite (talk) 20:28, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
      Re-fixing typos and obvious errors (like things that get flagged as errors in the error cats) is a waste of time. The banned-edit reverter should look at the nature of the edit to determine if it is genuinely negative or otherwise contentious. MB 20:53, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
      • We could have further language along the lines that, while considerations of expediency might make individual attention to every edit at times difficult, editors have a general responsibility for ensuring that their own reverts are not often of good edits. In any case, this is a situation where IAR may be applicable. — Charles Stewart (talk) 15:27, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
  • I have literally seen mere typo fixes undone on the grounds of the fixer being a banned editor. BD2412 T 20:11, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
Yup… annoying… but that’s all it is - an annoyance. Blueboar (talk) 20:30, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
  • If no one catches it, then it is more than an annoyance. Typos and grammatical errors and the like make the encyclopedia look bad to readers. We should not be self-sabotaging our professionalism. BD2412 T 21:05, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
  • As with so many other things on Wikipedia a bit of thought should go into any edits made, so the answer to the question of whether banned edits should be reverted is "it depends". This encyclopedia seems to be getting more and more dominated by people who can quote a policy or guideline for anything but act as if they are automata incapable of any human thought. Just stop going for quantity of edits and go for quality. Phil Bridger (talk) 21:22, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
  • Good edits should not be reverted, regardless of the editor or the editor's status. There are probably millions of below-par articles in English Wikipedia. Anything that can be done to rectify this should be welcome. The idea that someone else may come along to reinsert the banned editor's good edit is a bit facile. Someone may show up, or they may not: the certainty of the existing good edit is replaced with an unknown probability. In the meantime, a damaging edit (the one that removed the banned editor's positive contribution) is allowed to stand. A much better punishment would be to require banned editors to do a minimum number of supervised, constructive edits. Being in debtor's prison doesn't help one repay their debt. And there will perhaps always be extreme recidivists, this way they may be more readily identifiable. (talk) 22:28, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    If an editor is not banned, their good edits stand and their bad edits are (hopefully) reverted; this requires some degree of triage whether edits are good or not. For banned editors, we can skip the triage bit. For editors that are particularly destructive (like most banned editors), we should skip the triage bit and blindly revert, as protecting the community from the banned editor is more important than whatever typo they fixed. —Kusma (talk) 23:11, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    Well, how about protecting the community of readers from bad content? Twenty-plus years into the project, any proper statistical sample of articles may indicate the sorry state of affairs (and I am not referring to proofing errors and related edits). Shouldn't administration be subservient to good content, not the other way around? What has a greater impact on Wikipedia's reputation? The untold number of below-par articles, or the actions of relatively few bad actors? I think these questions should be considered. (talk) 00:21, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    Sure, but allowing a "small number of bad actors" to edit won't magically fix our millions of terrible articles. If the ban decision was correct, allowing their edits to stand is not likely to be an overall improvement. —Kusma (talk) 00:30, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
  • Both G5 and BANREVERT are overused, but we definitely need some degree of expediency in handling edits by banned users. At the very least, the provision that the three revert rule does not apply to reverts of edits by banned users is necessary. Likewise we need better oversight of G5, but I'm inclined to agree with RoySmith that there are cases we need it. At the very least, I support the change proposed by MB, 'I realize that WP:BANREVERT says good edits "CAN" be allowed to stand, which I think is too weak, good edits "SHOULD" be allowed to stand'. — Charles Stewart (talk) 23:01, 26 March 2022 (UTC)
    I can't immediately spot where that proposal was made but I fully support it. I would also add something to make it clear that a user who is reverting is taking responsibility for that reversion being an improvement to the encyclopaedia. If the reversion leaves the page in a worse state (for any reason) then that is their responsibility. Thryduulf (talk) 14:47, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    That would completely change what a ban means. The key difference between a banned editor and a non-banned editor is that the banned editor is not allowed to make good or neutral edits. —Kusma (talk) 15:25, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    The idea that sock edits may not be reverted unless they have been scrutinized to see if they might just be good edits is not a great idea. That an editor in good standing might be sanctioned for reverting an edit made by a sock is ludicrous. An editor MAY/CAN leave a sock edit in place is the right balance.Selfstudier (talk) 15:41, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    I wonder if there is a metric somewhere showing how many sock edits were not reverted by responding editors. There may be a general tendency to do the easy thing, in this case to just revert indiscriminately. More emphatic language may lead some editors to examine the sock edits in context. I do not think that allowing a constructive sock edit to stand should be considered "unbanning". The banned editor is still banned, and has no control over any of her/his input. (talk) 17:25, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    If you make edits that harm the encyclopaedia why would you not be liable to be sanctioned for it? That the edit you reverted was made by someone (suspected of being) a sock of a banned editor is irrelevant - you are responsible for your own actions, good and bad, regardless of why you made those actions. Indeed there have been several arbitration principles related to this issue, including:
    • In the spirit of building the encyclopedia we aim to preserve facts or ideas that belong in an encyclopedia and are verifiable [...] When faced with potential multiple unhelpful edits, the onus is on the reverter to assume good faith and check if the edits are actually unhelpful before reverting. (Giant Snowman, links in original)
    • The core purpose of the Wikipedia project is to create a high-quality free encyclopedia. Contributors whose actions are detrimental to that goal may be asked to refrain from making them, even when these actions are undertaken in good faith. (Climate change and many others)
    So it would seem to be up to you to explain why you should not be required to take responsibility for your own actions. Thryduulf (talk) 17:44, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    If you're going to quote ArbCom, how about this one from Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Banning Policy#Banned editors?

    When an editor's conduct is exceptionally disruptive or inappropriate, that user may be banned from editing Wikipedia. Banned editors are prohibited from editing Wikipedia in any way, from any account or anonymously, and all contributions made in defiance of a ban are subject to immediate removal. While users in good standing are permitted to restore content from banned users by taking ownership of that content, such restoration should be undertaken rarely and with extreme caution, as banned editors have already had to be removed for disruptive and problematic behavior. A user who nonetheless chooses to do so accepts full responsibility for the consequences of the material so restored.

    Anomie 17:57, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    Exactly so, we are talking about socks here, not editing in the normal course. No-one is preventing an effort to alter policy, anyone can make the case for that and see what happens. Selfstudier (talk) 18:02, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    Everybody agrees that edits made by socks may be reverted. The question is whether they should always be reverted. If the content is actually disruptive, then obviously remove it. However if it improves the encyclopaedia then the action that is disruptive and inappropriate is the reversion - note that that very case also quotes the principle that the purpose of Wikipedia is to create a high quality encyclopaedia and that editors may be asked to refrain from actions that are detrimental to that goal. Reverting an edit that improves the encyclopaedia is detrimental to that goal. Thryduulf (talk) 18:19, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    Revert all of a sock's edits would be unrealistic since they would have a minimum 500 under their belts to be editing in any controversial area. But I don't want to be jammed up for reverting any of their edits if I think that's the right thing to do and anyone disagrees with a revert has the right to restore if they want to. Socks should not get to make work for ordinary editors, they cause enough time wasting already.Selfstudier (talk) 18:28, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    If you look at an edit without knowing or caring who the author is and think it makes the encyclopaedia worse in some way, then revert it. If you look at that same edit without knowing or caring who the author is and think it makes the encyclopaedia better in some way, then don't revert it. If your only reason for reverting is who made the edit then you are not improving the encyclopaedia - at best you are wasting your time and the time of everyone who evaluates your edit, at worst you are harming the project. Thryduulf (talk) 18:57, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    Socks harm the project not good editors.19:10, 27 March 2022 (UTC) Selfstudier (talk) 19:10, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    You have it backwards - good editors are those who do not harm the project. Bad editors are those who do harm the project - whether either is a sock is irrelevant. If an editor inserts a BLP vio into an article that is a bad edit, regardless of who made it. If an editor inserts a sourced mention of something DUE that is a good edit regardless of who made it.
    Would you revert the removal of profanity from an FA just because the editor who reverted it was a sock? If no then you are agreeing with my point that it is the content of the edit that matters. If yes, then you are actively harming the project. Thryduulf (talk) 20:42, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    My position is quite simple. I am not a sock and I am subject to WP rules and regs same as anyone else. Your position, it seems to me, is to support, even if indirectly, sock activity. So we will have to agree to disagree and should there be a legitimate complaint against me for any revert I make, then I will deal with that eventuality then.Selfstudier (talk) 21:16, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    Your position is that it matters who makes an edit more than it matters what the content of that edit is. My position is that the content of an edit is all that matters - edits that improve the encyclopaedia should stand, edits that don't should not. Sock or not sock is irrelevant. Thryduulf (talk) 22:08, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    I appreciate that it is irrelevant to you and you are entitled to that view. I simply don't agree for the reasons I have given.Selfstudier (talk) 22:15, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    Regarding the blockquote by Anomie above: 1. "subject to" is a condition, not a set course of action. 2. Constructive edits are not in "defiance of the ban", as it is assumed the ban resulted from non-constructive actions. Either ArbCom should use more exacting language, or that wording does not support blanket removal of sock edits. I have no legal experience whatsoever. My comment is based on logical, not legal analysis. (talk) 19:12, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    Your logic is faulty, as you're starting from a false premise regarding the definition and intent of a ban. Anomie 21:33, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    The blockquote is self-contradictory. It states that banned editors are not to edit period, but then proceeds to muddy the waters stating that such edits are "subject to" removal and talks about edits done "in defiance of a ban". Is one to presume that some edits may be excluded? Why not just state "all edits by banned editors will be removed". The definition and intent of a ban, stated in that quote, doesn't help the contradiction. (talk) 21:59, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    • MB made the proposal in this edit. Kusma, two wrongs aren't generally seen as a dependable way of making a right. You can look for ways to deter banned editors even if you take responsibility for your reverts being generally constructive. — Charles Stewart (talk) 15:36, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
  • The banned editor that the OP refers to is Radovicdarko538, who was blocked in October 2020 for copyright violations. A choice quote from their user talk page (diff): Basically every single edit you've made has violated WP:COPYRIGHT. They (and their socks) are the subject of an ongoing contributor copyright investigation. I would be very careful about reinstating any of their edits – policy is very clear about who is responsible for any copyright violations that are restored. DanCherek (talk) 00:06, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
  • Comment: I would also note that editors implementing these reverts are often insufficiently selective. For example, this major revert was intended to remove this minor edit by a sock puppet. BilledMammal (talk) 23:24, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
    • Yeah, that sort of reversion is just a blatant piece of blanking vandalism. If I didn't AGF, I would think that the sockpuppet investigation edit summary claim was just a cover for an edit attempting to make that sort of major change. SilverserenC 23:48, 27 March 2022 (UTC)
  • All edits by a banned user after they are banned should be reverted, regardless of account. That means all edits by socks after the sockmaster has been banned/blocked. Socking is, IMO, one of Wikipedia's chief weaknesses as it concerns both damaging content and harmful behavior. If you don't like that something was reverted, just reinstate it, saying that you take responsibility for it. The latter is important, because it means if there's a copyright violation, BLP violation, or other form of violation, it's on you. Just reverting and saying "it looks productive" isn't sufficient. If the banned user is actually a positive contributor such that we should permit them to make as many edits as they want as long as they create a new account each time they're banned, they shouldn't be banned. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:56, 29 March 2022 (UTC)
    All edits by a banned user after they are banned should be reverted, regardless of account. Does this imply that all edits before the ban should be considered legitimate? Did the editor suddenly break bad after a certain number of good edits? Or should pre-ban edits be scrutinized to weed out the bad ones? And if that is the case shouldn't such scrutiny be also applied after the ban? I think we should be smart about this and accept constructive edits that further Wikipedia wherever they come from. This is not all about banned editors, though some of them may bask at the attention or may aim to have discussions like this going on forever. (talk) 12:14, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    all edits before the ban should be considered legitimate? - Legitimate insofar as we don't automatically revert them all, but obviously not immune from scrutiny. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:32, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
  • Every time this comes up, I always wonder about the situation where an editor is banned not because of their edits, but because of their behavior when making their edits. A lot of the discussion above seems to be focusing on editors who are indeffed or banned for making disruptive edits or otherwise damaging the encyclopedia. However, I know there are cases where a user's edits were not blatant vandalism or disruption, but the user was banned because they couldn't contribute collaboratively (the specific case I have in mind is WP:BKFIP but I'm sure there are others). My belief is that instead of blindly reverting, people should take note of who the sock in question actually is (or is alleged to be). If the master has a history of making edits that violate content policies, sure, revert the lot. However, if the master was only banned for communication issues, and their edits wouldn't get anyone who could communicate effectively sanctioned, then they shouldn't be reverted simply because they were made by a banned editor. All cases of edits made by socks of users banned simply for behavioral issues and not for content issues should be evaluated individually. 2601:18C:8B82:9E0:0:0:0:3BDB (talk) 00:53, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    As an aside, this is also the reason why IMO all blocked socks should always be tagged (as along as the alleged master is known and there aren't any privacy issues with making the connection public). This way patrollers know who the master is alleged to be and can determine the appropriate level of scrutiny for any given sock edits. 2601:18C:8B82:9E0:0:0:0:3BDB (talk) 00:53, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    Even with editors banned for content problems we will very often lose nothing by evaluating the edit. Even someone banned for copyright violations - if they add a paragraph of text then yes we need to check whether it is a copyvio but we harm the encyclopaedia by reverting their correction of a typo. There seems to be a default assumption that every banned editor only ever makes one type of contribution and that all of them are wholly and unquestionably negative. While this is the case for a handful of editors it simply is not true for the majority. Thryduulf (talk) 11:16, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    When material is added by a banned editor, it must be evaluated. The question is: who is best qualified to conduct that evaluation? The answer to that is: the other editors who watch the page (and know the topic and its sources). This means that the automatic removal is not the end of the evaluation process… but the beginning of it. Other editors who watch the page need to follow up after a ban removal… and evaluate whether the removed material is acceptable or not… and if acceptable return it to the article under their username. Blueboar (talk) 12:37, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    In other words automatic removal makes works for other people (which may or may not get done) without necessarily bringing any benefit to the encyclopaedia at all. The alternative would be to do the evaluation before removal. If it's clearly good, leave it in benefiting the encyclopaedia. If it's clearly bad, remove it also benefiting the encyclopaedia. If it's not clear then explicitly flag it as needing review. That way those who know the subject do not have their time wasted undoing work that just needs to be reinstated, readers benefit from an improved encyclopaedia and nobody loses. Thryduulf (talk) 14:03, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    That makes no sense. It requires just as much work to review it after it has been removed, than before it has been removed. However, with a banned editor, we know upfront there is a better-than-average chance of the edit being disruptive, and we at least try to discourage them from continuing to sock. In your scenario, the edits may remain unreviewed for a very long time (just look at e.g. the time CCI's take), making it a lot more interesting for the sock to continue socking again and again. Fram (talk) 14:31, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    there is a better-than-average chance of the edit being disruptive Is there any actual evidence for this? I see it (and variations of it) time and time again in discussions like this but I've never seen anybody present any actual evidence for it. Sure some individual editors' contributions are more likely to be disruptive (note: not always) but this is not true of all banned editors (because some are banned for reasons other than making disruptive content) and I'm not convinced it's true of even a majority of banned editors. As for the socking arguments, so what? Nobody has explained why a sock improving the encyclopaedia is actually a bad thing? If the edit is disruptive, remove it - nobody is suggesting otherwise. We're just suggesting that instead of expending effort reverting a good edit and then expecting someone else to expend more effort reviewing it and reinstating it that the review happens first and so no energy is wasted. Thryduulf (talk) 15:33, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    The counter-suggestion is to save time by just assuming bad faith of all sock edits, using simple blunt tools like User:Writ Keeper/Scripts/massRollback.js. Sock puppetry is highly destructive to all of our editing and decision mechanisms, and the main way to discourage it is to simply not let any sock edits stand, whatever their quality. Yes, this loses good edits of Icewhiz and Greg Kohs and a couple dozen other smart people. However, if we let their good edits stand, it means we allow them to edit, as the vast majority of their edits are good. What do you think "Icewhiz is banned" should mean in practice when a checkuser discovers an Icewhiz sock? —Kusma (talk) 16:24, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    Indeed. The effort to reverse sock edits is in many cases minimal. The review effort stays the same, so the main question is do we let edits by known problematic editors stand until review, or do we only accept them after review. Seems like a no-brainer to me, certainly when taking into account that one approach encourages socks, and the other discourages it. Fram (talk) 17:10, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    Somewhat confusing. Editor X is banned. X edits again via Xsock1. Xsock1 is discovered and also banned, while at the same time Xsock1edit1 is allowed because it is deemed constructive, while Xsock1edits2 to 10 are reverted as negative. And so on. Why is this considered as X being allowed to edit? All of X's edits are owned and managed by responding admins/editors. (talk) 19:25, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    Related proposition: sock edits allowed to stand could be (re)signed as revisions of the responding admin/editor. (talk) 19:33, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    There's a copyright/plagiarism problem, but the general principle of this is already true: anyone can reinstate the edits if they want to take responsibility for them. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:32, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
    That's not true for articles deleted under G5. BilledMammal (talk) 03:27, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
    Why not? I mean, obviously you need to ask an admin to restore it so you can take responsibility for it, but there's no rule that an article deleted under G5 cannot be restored for any reason AFAIK. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 03:48, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
    Because you can't determine the quality of the content prior to restoring; it becomes a fishing expedition. I don't know about reverting in general, but I think removing G5 might be a good idea, and instead require the articles to be taken through the normal deletion process if they are not appropriate for Wikipedia. BilledMammal (talk) 04:11, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
    Deleting articles created by the socks of banned users is part of the core concept of a ban (it is the enforcement of "not allowed to edit"). If you suggest we stop enforcing bans, I suggest to start a discussion to repeal the banning policy instead. —Kusma (talk) 10:41, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
    instead of blindly reverting, people should take note of who the sock in question actually is if we blocked the person from editing, for whatever reason, we've decided we no longer want that person's contributions. There are many possible interventions for behavioral (as opposed to content) issues before arriving at the last, most severe tool of blocking the person. If the behavioral issues are so severe that we get to that point, we're saying we don't want that person to be here anymore, not that we don't want a specific account to stop editing. You can look at a sock's edits and say they're good just like you can look at that blocked person's main account's edits as say their good... it just so happens that the bad outweighed the good. I would strongly object to any sort of exception to "well, this person was just a toxic jerk or a chronic edit warrior or POV pusher -- so much so that we had to stop them from being able to edit -- but if they break further behavioral rules by creating a sock puppet their edits should be allowed to stand if they're good." If it's true that their content is worth allowing them to continue to run afoul of behavioral rules, just unblock their main account because we got it wrong. Until that point, in order for our blocks to actually mean anything they have to actually block the person without letting others jump in to complain about treating a blocked editor like a blocked editor. If you want to reinstate the edits, reinstate them and take responsibility for them. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:32, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
  • I guess the long and short of it is that I strongly agree with the "readers first" philosophy. Every action that editors or admins take (well, minus WP:OFFICE stuff) should be prioritizing readers over editors, content over authors. Remember, we are more or less instructed that "If a rule prevents you from improving the encyclopedia, ignore it". Reverting or deleting the edits of a blocked sock is following the rules, granted. However, if the encyclopedia's content and/or the overall experience of the casual reader would be diminished or damaged by reverting sock edits where the only problem is who made them, the rule should be ignored in the interest of the readers. As I alluded to above, if the edits in question wouldn't get an editor in good standing reported or sanctioned, it's best to leave them alone. (Same user as above, for the record. Damn these dynamic IPs.) 2601:18C:8B82:9E0:A5CE:109A:272:9B9F (talk) 01:45, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
    • Remember, we are more or less instructed that - but you've changed the text of IAR. It's "if a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it." If "readers first" were a suicide pact, we'd never be able to ban people who harass, dox, stalk, attack, etc. other editors. Wikipedia isn't just an encyclopedia -- it's an encyclopedia project continuously edited by a community of volunteers. It also doesn't take much of a leap to conclude that it is not in the readers' best interest to allow toxic, abusive, or just plain disruptive editors to keep editing. Or rather, it's a short-sighted sort of reader-first priority. What happens to the readers of all the articles that other people would've worked on if they hadn't been busy fixing problems created by the banned user, chilled from participating by intimidating behavior, endlessly fighting the same battles against POV pushing, etc.? On a volunteer, community-written and maintained encyclopedia, what's good for the long-term health of the community is good for the readers. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 03:48, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
      • It also doesn't take much of a leap to conclude that it is not in the readers' best interest to allow toxic, abusive, or just plain disruptive editors to keep editing. Correction, it's not in reader's best interests to let them edit disruptively. It is very definitely not in readers' best interests to disrupt Wikipedia by reverting edits that improve the encyclopaedia.
      • Once again nobody is asking for copyvios, POV pushing, etc. to be retained, we're saying that only the copyvios, POV pushing and other edits that are actually harmful are reverted. Thryduulf (talk) 10:05, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
        • It often takes a massive amount of time and effort to discover copyvio's, POV pushing, subtle vandalism, ... often enough to get someone fnally blocked. It often takes considerable effort to find the socks and get them blocked as well. And then you ask us to spend the same effort again to make sure that every edit that those socks made is also a copyvio, subtle vandalism, ... And somehow, it is in the readers interest to let those edits from known problematic editors remain in the mainspace because some may be beneficial, and whoever removes them wholesale, with the possibility to reinstate beneficial ones afterwards, is disruptive? Staggering. What you are actually arguing is that we should never block or ban anyone, as it will have no consequences at all, they can just start editing again with a new account and their edits will not be treated any different from those of non-blocked editors. You are giving free reign to the abusers, putting a considerable extra burden on people trying to keep such editors out, and in general you are ancouraging the sockers and discouraging the people trying to fight such issues. I don't think you fully appreciate the time it may take to e.g. find copyvio translations, which no automated tool reports, and which you don't see by just popping some sentences in Google search. You are advocating that when such an editor returns and is found, we should again prove, page by page, edit by edit, that their contributions all have the same issues. Who will ever do this, and why were they then blocked in the fuirst place if in reality that block doesn't help us one bit. A completely unrealistic and destructive approach under the guise of "thnk about the readers" who are actually done a huge disservice by this approach. Fram (talk) 10:21, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
          However, it seems that most of what you describe is related to the ease of sock creation/operation and of other forms of editing under assumed identities. I wouldn't pin the inherent weaknesses of an open platform on those who advocate a bit more discretion in the reverting of edits. (talk) 20:35, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
        • Correction, it's not in reader's best interests to let them edit disruptively. Completely disagree that we should allow banned editors -- people who we've decided either cannot contribute constructively or cause too many problems to continue whatever constructive edits they do make -- to continue receiving the benefit of the doubt as far as their contributions as long as they just keep making new sockpuppets. Toss out the exceptions to WP:CLEANSTART, too, while we're at it, because we're willing to take your edits under every new account you make. Again, if someone contributes constructively, that may be cause to revisit whether we got it wrong when they were banned, but it's not reason to just ignore the fact that they were banned (the user, all the user's edits, under any account). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:56, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
  • Interesting read thus far. I pretty much always revert whatever a banned user posts or edits. They are banned and their edits should not stand. That said, I do read the edits (unless they made hundreds against the ban), and if I find an edit fully worthwhile I will re-add it under my handle while perhaps tweaking the language. If they are banned from talk pages I may revert it all or I may strike it through with a note that the post was from a banned editor. Fyunck(click) (talk) 06:27, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
  • The recent application of WP:G5 to an article I contributed to resulted in a sequence of events (some of which was certainly my fault) which made me very sad, and reduced my desire to edit Wikipedia by ~95%.☹️  Tewdar  16:04, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
    • Are you talking about this, where G5 was accidentally applied, and the deleting admin apologized and restored it the day after you filed a request for undeletion? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 16:27, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
      Yeah, that's the one. Like I say, a lot of what makes me sad about that and the aftermath was my own fault.  Tewdar  16:34, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) It should also be pointed out that the "anyone can reinstate edits made by banned users and take responsibility for them" concept is flawed. It's simply not true that anyone can reinstate edits - only experienced, registered users can reinstate edits. Any registered account that doesn't have X amount of experience (the variable here seems to constantly change), as well as any anonymous user regardless of experience, that makes a request for a refund of a G5'd page, recreates such a page themselves, and/or directly reinstates edits, will more likely than not be accused of being a sock of the same user and wind up blocked. If this is the approach that we as the community want to take towards edits where the only problem is who originally made them (revert procedurally and let others reinstate), we need to stop considering anyone who does reinstate or request refunds to be a sock simply for doing so, even if they don't have a long tenure/high edit count/certain user rights/whatever. 2601:18C:8B82:9E0:8423:8282:6E8F:5572 (talk) 16:31, 31 March 2022 (UTC)
    • The cynicism/skepticism you're describing is a bigger issue than what we're talking about here. It's true insofar as unregistered or newly registered users are more likely to be accused of being a sock whenever they reinstate an edit (or, really, do much of anything that requires nontrivial knowledge of how Wikipedia works). That people throw around sock accusations without sufficient evidence or have a bad attitude towards new/IP editors is a problem, but it's not specific to the topic at hand. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 17:04, 31 March 2022 (UTC)

Also, blocks/bans are not meant as a form of punishment but rather to prevent disruption. If a user starts making good edits they may be allowed to appeal to their talk page if they feel remorseful about past actions. If the edit would be reverted normally (i.e. as spam or vandalism) then it should be reverted. But good edits or pages should NEVER be reverted or deleted, regardless of who made the edit. This has long been a pet peeve of mine. 2600:6C65:627F:FA3D:F588:8D5F:537C:2F52 (talk) 20:01, 5 April 2022 (UTC)

That was me I forgot to log in. Blubabluba9990 (talk) (contribs) 20:03, 5 April 2022 (UTC)
  • The problem is that many such edits require extensive research to determine if they are even good. Users may violate copyright, may misrepresent source material, may create hoaxes, may be a continuous edit-warrior where neither version is objectively better, etc. Asking editors to carefully comb through every edit, spend hours digging through source material, etc. for banned editors is not a reasonable requirement. If someone is banned, it means we can't trust them to edit Wikipedia anymore. If someone else wants to come along and add the same content, or create the same article, by all means do so. But that doesn't mean that we should waste any more time on a banned editor's work than we have to. --Jayron32 16:18, 6 April 2022 (UTC)
Additional comment: I do understand where people are coming from. However, if the edit is clearly good (such as reverting vandalism, correcting typos, or adding reliably sourced information) it should be kept regardless. I just realized there was apparently an ArbCom policy mentioned above (I was too lazy to read this whole discussion initially). Basically what I am saying is we should treat edits by banned users as we would treat any other edit. Because the edit that I reinstated as mentioned above in the beginning is sourced. In addition, as I mentioned above, there is the possibility of allowing banned users to appeal for bans and apologize after reasonable time has passed, or of topic bans from namespaces other than the main namespace. Blubabluba9990 (talk) (contribs) 00:26, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
Okay, so here's what i'm seeing:
For: If it's good quality content, it should be included, no matter who did it.
Against: These people are blocked for a reason, and it would be impractical to look through every edit done by a sockpuppet to see if there is anything of value in their edits.
My thoughts: If someone puts in quality content as a sock, they might just want a clean start. They should probably be pointed towards WP:BLOCKFAQ if it looks like they are trying to be constructive, and just don't know about unblocking. If they are clearly not here to build an encyclopedia, and are just socking every time they get blocked, go ahead, revert away.
IHaveAVest talk 00:04, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
  • This discussion is relevant. I don't see the benefit in deleting dozens of articles, most of which are easy to see are not related to the area of disruption, and most of which benefit our readers. BilledMammal (talk) 06:05, 30 April 2022 (UTC)
    I think that kind of case is a bit of an outlier. It happens from time to time, but prolific and mostly helpful editors who happen to get banned are not the ones causing the bulk of REVERTBAN and G5. In my opinion, in cases like the one you cite, G5 might be exercised with more caution, and also any editor in good standing should be able to request undeletion. MarioGom (talk) 20:36, 30 April 2022 (UTC)
    Currently trying to undelete one of those articles. Request was rejected at WP:REFUND, now Liz as the deleting admin is considering the request. BilledMammal (talk) 00:21, 2 May 2022 (UTC)
  • It seems the original post was about this revert [1], undoing my own revert of a banned undisclosed paid editing sockpuppet. Whenever I do a WP:REVERTBAN, I'm ok with any editor in good standing undoing my action if they think the substance of the original edit is ok. In this particular case, we're talking about a particularly nasty undisclosed paid editing sockfarm, who seems to edit on behalf of a pro-Qatar actor, and which is focused primarily on whitewashing Qatar government and disparaging UAE and their allies (often coupled with copyright violations). You can learn some background about it at Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard/Archive 177 § Radovicdarko538 sockfarm and Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard/Archive 178 § Operation Red Card. The organizations behind these IPs and accounts have used hundreds of accounts, and WP:REVERTBAN and, occasionally WP:G5 are essential tools to clean up after them. MarioGom (talk) 20:34, 30 April 2022 (UTC)
    • A blatantly good edit should not be reverted simply because it was a ban violation. However, very few edits - and none which add content - are blatantly good. Such an edit may be a copyright violation (even one Google can't find), highly NPOV, based on non-reliable sources, misrepresenting the sources, etc. A blatantly good edit is one which reverts blatant vandalism; removes a blatant copyvio, spam, or BLP violation; or fixes an obvious spelling, grammar or punctuation mistake. Anything beyond these requires some time to double check. (talk) 18:17, 2 May 2022 (UTC)
  • If an edit by a banned editor is genuinely "good", then ideally, we would let it stand (or allow you to reinstate it). However, it is not always obvious whether an edit is good; fundamentally, G5 and BANREVERT are about saving time dealing with those ambiguous cases. For example, suppose that an editor is blocked or banned for creating promotional articles about non-notable topics for which the editor has a conflict of interest (COI). Suppose this same editor creates a sockpuppet account to evade the block and creates yet another article about a non-notable COI topic. Ordinarily, we would need to respond by starting a seven-day WP:AFD discussion for all of the articles, but G5 lets us deal with the ambiguous additions in a more expedient manner, which makes sense because the blocked editor should not really be editing anyway. They were blocked precisely because we have determined that the costs associated with their continued editing outweigh the benefits. A similar situation occurs for general additions to article content—if we detect any inkling of an issue with an edit made in violation of a block, there is no reason for us to get bogged down in dispute resolution processes with the banned/blocked editor. BANREVERT lets us revert them freely, even past WP:3RR if necessary. Essentially, if we did not have G5 or BANREVERT, the effectiveness of blocks and bans would be severely weakened—it would allow disruptive editors to continue to waste the valuable time of the community. Mz7 (talk) 09:22, 6 May 2022 (UTC)

Role accountsEdit

At Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Role_account I reported a role account because I knew they weren't allowed and didn't know what the protocol was. Much to my surprise, it seems that there is not a strong consensus there for the outright prohibition on this sort of account. A few concerns were raised:

  • It might cause problems for licensing. However, it is pretty clear to me that this is not the case. The CC license does not have issues when the author is an individual or a group. The only requirement for CC-BY is that attribution is done.
  • It might cause problems if an account claims to be acting on behalf of an organization (the last time a proposal to revisit WP:ROLE was brought up, this was the primary objection) since there may not be a consistent verification scheme possible to ensure that this is the case. While I sympathize with the desire not to get into vetting identities for role accounts, this state of affairs is also the case for individual accounts when they use a person's name. This practice is discouraged but not forbidden and it is clear that Wikipedia is not in the business of giving out "check marks" for accounts. Basically, if an account were to be set-up to allow for more than one person to use it, that is an entirely separate issue from whether it is claiming to be a verified spokesperson.

Some additional problems have been noted with the status quo:

  • It does not seem to be a high-priority enforcement item. And rightly so. The justification for the rule seems somewhat thin, and if there is a rule that is not enforced, the question is whether the rule should exist at all.
  • It has resulted in some SUL accounts from the German wikipedia (which does have a verification scheme) autoblocked here for no other reason than a violation of WP:ROLE. That seems shortsighted.

Now, this rule also affects WP:SHAREDACCOUNT and WP:ISU, so any change to our understanding of WP:ROLE would need to be reflected there as well.

Is it time to have this conversation?

jps (talk) 19:15, 20 April 2022 (UTC)

  • I think it's time to have the conversation. As with JPS, I have always assumed that this policy had strong community consensus; if it does not, as the ANI thread seems to suggest, and nobody can remember why it was put in place, then it shouldn't be policy. I can see the advantages of allowing role accounts: I can see that it would encourage paid editors to declare their positions openly, and hopefully to work within our policies and guidelines instead of trying to circumvent them; at the very least, I can't see how it would make it easier for them to circumvent them, if they are editing from a username that openly declares their affiliations. Absent any good arguments for why this policy actually exists, I can see myself supporting a change. Girth Summit (blether) 19:31, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
  • There are some problems with shared accounts, but none that are difficult to overcome really. For example, if a shared account makes some poor edits you will sometimes get the "little brother" defence. All you have to do is ignore this excuse and treat a shared account like you treat a single user. Overall, I'd be happy to see the policy changed, which will make it easier for declared paid accounts as well as for people who share a computer or people with dissociative identity disorder or similar psychological issues that make them appear like more than one editor on the same account. —Kusma (talk) 19:43, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    I don't have an opinion on the overall question here at this time, but want to comment on the matter of plurality (umbrella term for DID etc.). I've seen a couple new users who happened to be plural run into trouble when saying "we", and indeed one was even initially counseled to create separate accounts for each alter, advice they thankfully didn't take. Getting rid of the association of "we" with "blockable" could be beneficial in those cases. At the same time, I want to stress—not that I think you were necessarily saying this—I don't think the current policy could reasonably be construed to apply to multiple members of a plural system sharing an account. Of all the rationales I've ever heard for the policy, none apply to that use case. After the aforementioned incident where the new user was advised to create multiple accounts, I wrote User:Tamzin/Plurality and multiplicity FAQ, which among other things discusses why SHAREDACCOUNT can't be reasonably said to apply in such cases. (And if it does, I guess I'm overdue for a block!)
    While we're on the topic of SHAREDACCOUNT, I'd be remiss if I didn't put in a plug for something ProcrastinatingReader said to me a while ago about the latter clause of bot accounts that are maintained by more than one contributor, provided the existence of such an arrangement is made clear and has consensus—specifically that it's not clear where the username policy gets the authority to dictate how bots should be operated, and that if you consider that all bots hosted on servers where someone else has admin access, including all Toolforge bots, are on a technical level "maintained by more than one contributor", this provision is routinely violated and essentially a dead letter. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she/they) 20:13, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    Excellent points about using plural self-referential pronouns/adjectives and bots (add them to my above bulleted list)! Eliminating the rule against shared/role accounts would help clarify both of those matters immensely. jps (talk) 20:32, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
  • I've always thought it was odd that, when someone turns up with a user name like "Kellogg's PR", we block them until they change their name, and then tell them to "declare" their status as a paid editor when they thought they were doing that already with a user name like "Kellogg's PR". That said, allowing people to have usernames like "Kellogg's PR" may further the misconception that an article can/should be "owned" by its subject, which is a misconception such people often seem to have. I do think it's a conversation the community ought to have, because our current policy doesn't make a ton of sense. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 20:12, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    • I guess this username hairsplitting comes down to a question of "verification". It is impossible for en-wp to verify that Kellogg's PR is really who they say they are. For better or worse, I guess, the community treats usernames as though they are identity cards in a somewhat uneven fashion. As I understand it, our username policy permits IRL associations with an individual's name while discouraging the practice. Hard to understand why we can't do the same thing with organizations. jps (talk) 20:31, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
      Why do we think this is impossible? VRT does it all the time, and for legally sensitive questions, too (like whether you actually hold the copyright, or if you're just a liar who created an account named [email protected] last night). WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:53, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
      Apparently the German Wikipedia does this, so we have at least one example of it being possible. It seems, howver, that the last time this was suggested the consensus was that it wasn't a good idea (but, you're right, the consensus was not that it would be impossible). jps (talk) 11:59, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
  • Yes. I think the nom and above comments cover it: we already verify individual accounts, there's not a licensing issue, and User:Kellogg's PR is a pretty efficient way to disclose paid editing. I'm not so concerned with ownership misconceptions arising from role accounts; I think the English-speaking, internet-connected world knows by now that Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Levivich 20:28, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
  • I've always understood that there is a licensing issue, because role accounts can be passed on to a different person, such as, in ONUnicorn's hypothetical example, another member of the PR team at Kellogg's; I'm sure I've seen cases where someone says in effect "I'm the new social media rep for X and so I now operate this account" and gets blocked, and I know I've seen cases where life partners were operating an account jointly (in some cases with "and" or "&" in the username) and were told to pick one holder for that account and have the other person get a new account. We routinely block as compromised accounts where the user admits that one other person has gained access to their password. We not only blocked but banned a long-term gadfly but productive user after they revealed their password. Tamzin above mentions people who use plural 1st-person pronouns falling afoul of this. I thought we had always had a policy against shared accounts, and was shocked to see at AN/I an account that states on its user page precisely that it's been handed on: Previously, the account was under Bowen Yu, a Ph.D. Researcher of Computer Science and Human-Computer Interaction in GroupLens Research at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and at the top This is a shared account by a group of undergraduate students working under the supervision of Dr.Haiyi Zhu in the HCI Department at Carnegie Mellon University dismissed as just fine by Floquenbeam. Usually I trust their judgement, but I don't understand this. Is it because this account, after being transferred from one person to a completely different group of people, declares a purpose of experimenting on/testing Wikipedia? In that case, what's to stop any of the people who know its password editing outside those tests, whatever they imply? (I see that ORES is a machine learning service the WMF provides to outside clients.) The AN/I discussion as it has later developed while I was offline, including Floquenbeam's later post, seems to be focusing on "role" accounts in the sense of commercial/corporate entities, like the PR example; but how does the argument not apply to other kinds of shared accounts? It's not as if paid editing is the only potentially problematic type of editing; the problems presented by accounts with names like "FOOCOMPANY-OFFICIAL" and "XCELEBRITY-PR" is distinct from the problem presented by an account where the user name and password may be tacked on a bulletin board in a hallway for all we know. Admittedly, the reverse, one person controlling more than one account, is inherently more problematic, but allowing shared accounts facilitates sock puppetry through the same person using both the individual and the shared account to edit (and isn't that the rationale for blocking compromised accounts, including the one that shared the password?) It seems to me inherently unfair to allow shared accounts, especially if only "role" accounts by some corporation/charity/course/research program and not private individuals who just do everything together (not to mention people who use "we"). If Yu has passed on their password to a research group and that group needs to edit en:wp en bloc, then the account should be treated as compromised and they should get a shared bot account subject to our bot review policy. If they can edit individually for the purposes of their experimentation, they should get individual accounts. Yngvadottir (talk) 21:54, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    @Yngvadottir: It's maybe more a case of sloppy terminology and sloppy thinking on my part. I don't actually really care too much about company role accounts, I'm more concerned with what we have here, a few people productively sharing an account and generally doing good work. I don't want to soft block people like that without a good reason, and I don't think the fact that we have an unnecessarily strict policy (based on no articulable significant concern) is a good reason.
    One of the things that really soured me on WP's administrative structure - an attitude I haven't quite recovered from - was many years ago, when a husband and wife were contributing with a shared account (think similar to User:The Joneses, I can't recall as many details as I'd wish), quietly tweaking an article here and there, when a new page patroller ran across their new user page, which said something like "we are Sally and Tom Jones, helping out where we can". The patroller broke out the zOMG POLICY VIOLATION warning templates and came down on them like a ton of bricks. I tried to intervene, explaining that it was nothing to get upset about, when a bunch of experienced admins joined in and agreed with the patroller that this was unacceptable, and blocked the shared account. Not like one rogue admin, as I recall it was three-ish. One of the couple wrote back that they didn't want to contribute separately, they liked sharing the account, and they were told that's their decision, and in that case they couldn't contribute. What a crazy way to run a railroad.
    It probably has less to do with VPP, and more to do with the ANI thread that started this, but I'm still old school enough to believe that even if the policy isn't changed, in cases like the Joneses, and in cases like the one at ANi that started this, you can ignore the policy if doing so improves the encyclopedia. I don't actually think many people believe in IAR anymore. --Floquenbeam (talk) 22:20, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    Exactly. But we can and do block people who use "we", and compromised accounts, and this instance is not merely an organized group, it's explicitly stated that the former user handed it off to others. I haven't examined the edits because ORES sounds to me like an abuse of our volunteer efforts, so I don't know whether they're productive or not judged by the standards applied to normal editors. But it seems to me as if what is being discussed here is giving organized groups an exemption we don't give to couples or other normal people, through focusing far too narrowly on paid editing, and thus breaching our principle of holding individuals responsible for their edits. If compromised accounts are a bad thing, then so are jointly held accounts for researchers as much as inherited accounts for corporate position-holders. If not, then we shouldn't be blocking for "my roommate/cousin/sister mucked about on my laptop", and in general, as The Blade of the Northern Lights implies below, we don't excuse such ordinary compromises of accounts. We have a bot policy (and a hinky mechanism for accommodating courses run by a WMF spinoff). If we relax our policies against shared accounts—and they are effectively policies—it should be for the ordinary editors, including the hypothetical User:TheJoneses and User:Mo&Jeff, not for organized groups: they should be required to make new accounts, User:FIRSTNAMEatCORP or User:NYMatCORP as opposed to USER:WHATEVERITWASatCORP, and User:EXPERIMENTbot or User:FIRSTNAMEatHCICMU or User:NYMatHCICUMU as opposed to User:Bobo.03. So far as I can see, this group have taken flagrant advantage of our good will, not to mention our anonymity policy, which I have defended and will defend. I appreciate your point about IAR, but this is ass-backwards; it's not the ordinary, innocent users who just want to contribute to the encyclopedia being considered for leniency here, it's a carve-out for groups of unknown size and people who want to pass accounts around for their convenience, and I do not think whatever experiments or PR or corporate tracking they have in mind make this desirable or even justified from the point of view of facilitating the writing of an encyclopedia. Yngvadottir (talk) 23:33, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    I think we can make a distinction between authorized shared accounts and unauthorized (compromised) accounts, can't we? The problem with WP:BROTHER is not that more than one person accessed the account. The problem is that there was unauthorized access. And if you gave your brother access and he did a bad thing, well, then, you should hold some responsibility as well. Why should people acting in good faith with role/shared accounts between a couple or a group be considered automatically to be doing a bad thing? jps (talk) 23:38, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    You seem to have an underlying assumption that the bobo.03 group ANI that started this discussion are operating in bad faith or are some kind of corporation. That doesn't seem to me to be the case. I have run across similar threads at ANI about ordinary editors several times, and made the same plaintive plea each time, so I don't think I'm supporting corporations at the expense of ordinary editors. I have no idea why it finally took root this time. I know we "can and do block people who use 'we'", I'm saying we shouldn't. And I'm puzzled by bringing compromised accounts into this, I think we all roughly agree on how they should be handled? I don't know, I'm confused, I feel like we're talking past one another or something. --Floquenbeam (talk) 23:48, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    @Floquenbeam: Yes, I may be being dense. I see a user page saying (my paraphrase): This account was previously one person but now it's being used by a completely different group of people to test something AI-related that the WMF makes available to 3rd parties, and I don't see any benefit to the encyclopedia in that, or any justification for passing the account log-in around, at all. Yet you defend it by making the analogy of ordinary users who just want to contribute to the encyclopedia. And most of the discussion both at AN/I and here is about corporate accounts, and whether they should be allowed to pass log-ins around, and I don't see how their reusing the same account benefits the encyclopedia in any way. I bring up compromised accounts, pace ජපස (jps) because it's not whether the account user wanted to share their account details or not that matters; it would be an obvious way to game WP:MEAT if one could simply have an army of people posting 24-7 under the same account, and if intentionally making one's password available for others' use is ok, then Kumioko should be unbanned. Despite being a poster boy for "disruptive", he was very much here to improve the encyclopedia. Why go out of our way to not just AGF, but bend the rules for explicitly group users whose primary or even sole purpose is not to improve the encyclopedia—whether it's commercial or not? We have existing ways of accommodating their editing and having them identify themselves. Yngvadottir (talk) 02:09, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    it would be an obvious way to game WP:MEAT if one could simply have an army of people posting 24-7 under the same account I don't see how this is true. WP:MEAT really only functions with separate accounts who, for example, all arrive at the same discussion to pile on. Unless you are proposing that people are going to start a bunch of role accounts and then use their own personal account besides and complain when both accounts are blocked -- but such behavior would be an obvious violation of WP:SOCK and if the checkuser shows that two accounts are confirmed as connected in a discussion, it doesn't matter whether the two were declared or not. We already allow alternate accounts but we don't allow illegitimate uses of alternate accounts. I don't think the argument for individuals controlling accounts should be some sort of time limit on account activity. jps (talk) 02:26, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    I've always understood that there is a licensing issue, because role accounts can be passed on to a different person I don't think this is an issue at all according to Creative Commons licenses. The entirety of what rights and privileges authorship entails under CC-BY is that a third-party will give credit to the author of the creative work as it was provided at the time of production. If an author changes their name, that doesn't invalidate the license, for example. As long as the backlink and provenance are clear, there should be no licensing issue at all. jps (talk) 23:30, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    Yeah, if it were a licensing issue it wouldn't be permitted on any wikis, and WP:ROLE would be a WMF rule. But it isn't. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 23:55, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    Perhaps more obviously, if the PR staff of any non-trivial corporation have not all signed their copyrights over to their employer – thus making the copyright something to be disposed of at Kellogg's pleasure, not by its employee's choice, in this example – then something Very Strange is going on at that company. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:57, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
  • Who owns the copyright on a role account? Who is banned when a role account misbehaves? Are we banning CompanyX writ large when there PR department misbehaves? Who can appeal said block? Do we need the CEO to promise his company will behave?Slywriter (talk) 22:08, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    • The question of who owns the copyright on a role account is irrelevant because we release our contributions under a copyleft license. That's part of what we sign up for when you contribute to Wikipedia. I admit that this makes things a little more interesting when an account is banned since there are parts of the WP:BAN and WP:BLOCK policies that are directed towards individuals rather than accounts. But it's not too hard to imagine that if you have access to a role/shared account that gets blocked or banned, you and everyone who has access to that account is blocked/banned under the same sanction. Tough breaks. jps (talk) 23:23, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
      I wouldn't say it's irrelevant for that reason; authors in theory can still pursue licensing violations. It's not that relevant because copyright can be registered to a pseudonymous author, and so no one knows who or how many authors are behind the pseudonym of any Wikipedia account. However the issue of sanctions is a tricky one. If I work for Contoso, create a "ContosoEmployee" role account on my own initiative without any company approval, and vandalize Wikipedia on my own time, I don't think it's reasonable to block "MarkAtContoso" as collateral damage. isaacl (talk) 23:46, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
      Yes, licensing would be more accurate terminology than copyright, but got there just the same, accounts can pursue licensing violations and WMF can't(won't?). Just trying to figure out who bears ownership of a role account and ultimately responsible for its actions. I agree on not banning MarkatConteso for actions of a rogue but PRConteso misbehaves, are all accounts banned from Conteso because we ultimately can not identify the individual who is no longer welcome by the community. Slywriter (talk) 01:40, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
      Okay, so in terms of licensing, as I expressed above, I don't think this is an issue either. The license only requires attribution. It doesn't say anything about it needing to be attributed to a specific individual. The account name suffices and if it is a role account or a shared account, that's not something the license cares about. jps (talk) 02:08, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
      Reiterating my neutrality here—I'm particularly hesitant about expanding the already too broad set of {people who are technically evading blocks without having done much wrong} that we already get when we indef a vandal who years later creates a good-hand account—I do likewise not see the copyright issue. (It is copyright, though. Copyleft is a kind of copyright, and people can sue and have sued for copyright violations of CC-licensed works.) IANAL, but my understanding is: MediaWiki happens to enforce a rule of 1 username:1 account, but there's nothing in CC BY-SA or GFDL requiring that. And attribution only refers to the username associated with an account, not the account itself. If someone creates a copyleft work that incorporates a Wikipedia article I contributed to and also incorporates some other copyleft work by some other person who requested attribution under the name "Tamzin", the resulting ambiguity as to which Tamzin wrote what is not a violation of either of our copyrights: We both requested to be referred to as "Tamzin", and both requests are being honored. So if multiple people contribute under the same username, then they're all requesting to be referred to by the same pseudonym. More broadly, as others have said, I think that if this were a serious copyright concern, this would be in the TOU rather than being a local policy enforced differently on different wikis.
      But that brings us to the Terms of Use. They do not say there's a copyright issue with sharing an account. They do, however, use a singular "you" throughout (singularity evidenced by its equation to "the 'user'") and contain the line You are responsible for safeguarding your own password and should never disclose it to any third party. That doesn't explicitly say "We will ban your account if you don't do this". And if two people are using an account, there's no way for us to know whether they both know the password, or whether only one does and is sharing an already-logged-in session with the other. But, something to keep in mind. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she/they) 13:43, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
      In the situation where shared accounts were allowed, I think TOU could be interpreted to mean that "safeguarding" and "third-party" refers to someone who is unauthorized to use the account. In any case, there are instances of WP users who for various reasons need to give authorized access to their account to a third party (for example, someone editing with a disability who needs a third-party to aid in installing software access). These "exceptions" seem to indicate to me that the TOU may have been written with a particular set of assumptions in mind that are not necessarily fully appreciative of the practicalities of the situation and the wide range of human experience with them. jps (talk) 12:06, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
  • Enshrining my little brother did it as a valid excuse in policy is an unambiguously bad idea. It's hard enough to keep a lid on things as it is. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 22:46, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
    • But no one is suggesting that, are they? If you choose to edit as part of a shared account and it gets blocked, you suffer the consequences. You have to know and trust the people you share your account with. --Floquenbeam (talk) 22:50, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
      Are there really that many simultaneously "shared" accounts, compared to serial users? I would expect a certain amount of "Hi, Alice quit, and I'm Bob, the new Alice" in a role account, but I wouldn't expect a lot of "Oh, you were talking to Alice yesterday, and I haven't talked to her yet, so I don't know what you told her". I believe this is what's been recommended to GLAM institutions. You pick one human to be the "point" person for the "corporate" account, and transition as necessary to a different single human when/if necessary. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:00, 21 April 2022 (UTC)

The other issue is that in Wikipedia everything behavior related presumes and requires individual responsibility for what an account does. There is a saying the for within a group "if everybody is responsible. nobody is responsible." North8000 (talk) 23:32, 20 April 2022 (UTC)

  • I think my only 'concern' would be that it could increase accidental sockpuppetry. Say someone performs actions as a role account (for their company?) and also has a personal account, for example. Sure, you can say these have to be disclosed, but what if their personal account comes afterwards? Most regular editors aren't familiar with the intricacies of the arcane sockpuppetry policy (heck, some long-time ones aren't). I'd be on the side of 'judge by the behaviour of the account' and enforce with common sense, but the sock policy is enforced in different ways by different admins, and is one of the most hardline policies we have; it'd be unfortunate to see people who are trying to comply with policy end up with damaging sock blocks. (Not saying this is an insurmountable hurdle, but mitigations/awareness should be a consideration if WP:ROLE is to be scrapped.) ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 23:50, 20 April 2022 (UTC)
  • I've never known of a grand reason in principle for WP:ROLE. It doesn't seem comparable to WP:NOR, say, some form of which might well be inevitable once one decides to try building a respectable generalist encyclopedia upon a mostly-open wiki. If anyone had asked, I probably would have guessed that there had been some kerfuffle in the past, and something had to be put in writing as part of fixing it. XOR'easter (talk) 00:34, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    We did have the occasional WP:LITTLEBROTHER problem back in the day, but I think we could make this work. (And, you know, if this or that company can't manage it, then we block the account.) WhatamIdoing

As a narrow example, the entire term "sockpuppet" and all policies and procedures associated with it have no meaning if there is no presumed association between an individual and an account. So if an account does bad stuff and gets blocked, and somebody behind it starts a new role account, they are 100% legal because no person has been blocked. North8000 (talk) 01:03, 21 April 2022 (UTC) (talk) 01:02, 21 April 2022 (UTC)

I don't think that's true. If an account gets blocked, then anyone and everyone behind it is blocked. It is not true that "no person has been blocked"; they have all been blocked. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:07, 21 April 2022 (UTC)

Currently, English Wikipedia's guidance on role accounts permits approved exceptions to provide a point of contact through email. I can see how it may be potentially useful to allow approved exceptions for organizations that allow a slightly broader set of communication methods. For example, an account could be an official point of contact that edits specific non-article pages. I'm not clear that there is an advantage to Wikipedia in allowing general editing and discussion through a role account versus individual accounts. Individual identity is a big part of how members of an online community build up mental profiles of each member. Having one account change personalities constantly would make this harder. (For the moment, I'm leaving aside the question of an account shared by life partners/best friends/some other closed group of close persons.) isaacl (talk) 02:40, 21 April 2022 (UTC)

I think that it is possible that if you knew the account was shared, you would just adjust your theory of mind for the account. I know people are worried that shared accounts would somehow end up wielding undue influence or be given undue deference, but that just isn't really the culture here. Right now, the rule is that we play wack-a-mole with role accounts with pretty strong hammers. I can understand the idea that we might want to encourage people to start individual accounts just as we encourage people to have only one account. But we do permit people to have more than one account and admit there are legitimate reasons to do so and don't require inordinate hoops to jump through to set such a thing up. I presume the same sort of thing could be done for shared and role accounts. jps (talk) 02:53, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
I don't think there's a worry about undue influence. I think there's a loss of continuity by having an open-ended set of editors sharing an account, each of which may or may not return or know any past history for the account. This places a burden on the community in managing its interactions with the role account, constantly establishing what context the current user has, and erodes its ability to expect any commitments to be upheld. Serial users, as WhatamIdoing mentioned, would be easier to manage, but I don't see what counterbalancing advantage the community would gain that would warrant trading off having a new individual account, with properly reset privileges and stats. isaacl (talk) 03:17, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
My experience in other online communities that have shared accounts makes me think that this likely wouldn't be an issue. I just don't assume that a shared account has the same continuity as one that is not shared. It's fine. Since Wikipedia discussions tend to be biased towards having a lot of repetition anyway, it may actually be easier here than on Facebook, Twitter, or in one of the many Slack channels where I've experienced this. jps (talk) 03:48, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
I find that being able to recall my experiences with a given Wikipedia editor, their discussions, knowledge, interests, and conversational approach help me communicate more effectively and efficiently. I think this benefits both parties, and thus the community as a whole. Given the complex editing ecosystem, I'm loathe to surrender such an important factor, without any significant compensating benefit. isaacl (talk) 04:25, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
No respectable online community with moderation allows account sharing. None. TheNewMinistry (talk) 17:51, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
Twitter does. Perhaps you think they are not respectable. jps (talk) 18:25, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
A correct assumption casualdejekyll 18:35, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
Twitter is for-profit. Wikipedia is a nonprofit. Your proposal is nakedly acquiescing that profiteering should be allowed on Wikipedia, and now your cited example as the model for restructuring is a for-profit entity. Yikes. TheNewMinistry (talk) 19:02, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
Could you please tell us what online communities with moderation you are talking about, TheNewMinistry, because I can't off the top of my head think of any major ones (respectable or not) that don't allow role accounts? Phil Bridger (talk) 19:00, 22 April 2022 (UTC)

Question: is it proposed that 'role accounts' be permitted for all organisations, and if so how is 'organisation' going to be defined? AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:34, 21 April 2022 (UTC)

Right now "role account" is defined in Wikipedia policy just to disallow such accounts. If we remove the restriction, there would be no more automatic assumption/exhortation that such accounts are to be blocked on sight and no real need to define "organization". jps (talk) 11:38, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
  • Role accounts seem like they would be a headache from an accountability perspective. It seems like it would open the door to a lot of tricky questions. Suppose the role account is editing problematically. If we block that account, does this block then apply to everyone that had access to that account? Suppose that some established editor had a personal account in addition to the role account. Would we need to block that editor's personal account as well? What if they claim that they were not in fact the ones that made the problematic edits under the role account? Alternatively, what should happen to the role account if the personal account is blocked or banned? What if a role account is blocked, and one of the editors with access to it creates a new account that is for personal use only. Are they evading the role account's block in this case? Again, what if the user claims that they weren't the ones that made the problematic edits under the role account? As a principle, the owner of an account should always be accountable for all of the edits they make with that account, and the simplest way to achieve that is the principle of "one editor, one account". Mz7 (talk) 07:18, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    I think the combination of SUL with incompatible rules on different projects (role accounts encouraged on some and prohibited on others) is a worse headache. —Kusma (talk) 08:50, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    In this context, perhaps we should ask people with deeper knowledge of dewiki if they can tell us about their experience with authenticated role accounts. Pinging @DerHexer and @Doc Taxon who both have relevant VRT experience: can you help us by giving your perspective? —Kusma (talk) 09:02, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    Also to ask them about the licensing aspects - if many projects allow them that raises the question of why they aren't seeing any licence issues. Also: I think that with many role accounts, work for hire considerations might apply i.e if the account is operated by the employees or contractors of an organization the copyright to the contributions might belong to the organizations and not to the individual. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 11:14, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    If it was a work for hire (probable for role accounts), that would be fine. The organization would still hold the copyright, would still be licensing it under our license by publishing the content here, with attribution to the username of the role account. Creative Commons already handles this: the CC Wiki says: Sometimes, the licensor may want you to give credit to some other entity, like a company or pseudonym. In rare cases, the licensor may not want to be attributed at all. In all of these cases, just do what they request. Attribution to the username works no matter who is in control of the username, because whomever is in control of the username is who pressed the "publish" button. We don't need to know who that person is in order to attribute under the license. For example, "Levivich" is not the name of a real person or organization, but I can still own the copyright, license it under our license, and publish on this website, without anyone knowing the identity of the Licensor. Levivich 17:15, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    If we block that account, does this block then apply to everyone that had access to that account? I would say so. Otherwise it is block evasion. Suppose that some established editor had a personal account in addition to the role account. Would we need to block that editor's personal account as well? If they engaged in block evasion, yes. To be clear, this sort of thorniness is something we already deal with in the unusual circumstances where an editor has an alternate (legitimate use) sock account and is blocked. What if they claim that they were not in fact the ones that made the problematic edits under the role account? Tough. You use a role account, you take on the responsibilities associated with such which can include being caught up in enforcement against others using the account. There may be situations where people claim that they are not part of the role account though they share an IP, for example. But, as before, this is the same situation as when two individual accounts share an IP. We already have the protocol in place. Alternatively, what should happen to the role account if the personal account is blocked or banned? Same answer as before. If the role account is being used to circumvent the block/ban, it gets blocked/banned. What if a role account is blocked, and one of the editors with access to it creates a new account that is for personal use only. Are they evading the role account's block in this case? Yep. If a new account is created to circumvent a block/ban on an account that you have access to, then this is a violation of the sockpuppetry policy. Again, what if the user claims that they weren't the ones that made the problematic edits under the role account? Tough breaks! If you decide to involve yourself with such an account, you assume such risks. jps (talk) 11:50, 21 April 2022 (UTC)

Evidently, the proposal is to permit 'role accounts' without actually defining what constitutes one. Can't see that going well... AndyTheGrump (talk) 12:57, 21 April 2022 (UTC)

WP:ROLE, m:Role account. Levivich 15:45, 21 April 2022 (UTC)

We should continue to disallow shared accounts by default. By default: one person needs to agree to the terms of service, one person would be the subject of blocks/bans/other sanctions, one person has authorship of the text they upload. It is a matter of accountability, but also of communication. One of the reasons those in the education program make sure people they work with don't allow students to use group accounts (other than them being against the rules) is because it makes for a communication nightmare -- which student did Wikipedian X speak with? What happens when four separate people ask the same question from the same account? There's only one email attached to the account, so unless that email owner is particularly diligent, how do the others know when there's a notification? There are times when a shared account would be useful, but any mainspace edits they make should be the exception, and we should have a clear process in place for them to go through (including agreements that anyone who uses the account now or in the future goes through some part of the process). If we don't have the capacity for establishing and maintaining such a process, we should continue to err on the side of blocking them all. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:47, 21 April 2022 (UTC)

  • Since people are saying "shared enforcement action", that means we should therefore consider "shared unblock issues". Let's say that an account is blocked, but we know there were both positive and negative edits and users on it. 3 months later, someone comes along and goes "X person has left/was fired because of mucking up here", do we unblock? Figuring out what to ask for them to demonstrate competence would be really tough - asking "what would you do differently" and "nothing" being a correct answer for that individual would be a thorny issue. And they could also have the most competent person do the unblock negotiations while then acting as a cover for the others. I'm not seeing a smooth resolution method here that wouldn't violate wp:PUNITIVE Nosebagbear (talk) 15:14, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
  • Just want to remind everyone that a role account is not the same thing as a shared account, that some Wikipedias already allow role accounts, and that the answer to every "but then how do we...?" question is "exactly the same way we do with individual accounts". How do we verify? Same as we do with individual accounts (email to OTRS from authorized email address). How do we block/unblock? Same as individual accounts (everyone with access to the account is equally responsible). How do we attribute? Same as individual accounts (to the chosen username). Levivich 15:24, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    So if hypothetically the Boy Scouts of America were to ask for a role account, and verify that it was them via email, they'd be permitted to give members of their organisation (over a million, from the age of five years upwards) access to the account to edit Wikipedia on behalf of their organisation? AndyTheGrump (talk) 15:43, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    I don't think that being a member of an organization automatically makes that member a spokesperson. A role account works on behalf of a group, it is not merely a group ("shared account"). Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 16:26, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    Exactly. The Boy Scouts wouldn't give all their million members access to the Boy Scouts' role account, because that role account would speak on behalf of the organization and would be creating works that are attributed to the organization, and the Boy Scouts would be responsible for anything the role account did. Maybe it's worth linking again: WP:ROLE, m:Role account. Levivich 16:36, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    So a role account is only for people contributing 'on behalf of an organisation', as 'spokespersons'? I'd have thought it was going to involve a lot of work verifying that people requesting 'role accounts' only intended to use them for such purposes. Or is the proposal to approve accounts on request, and sort out the inevitable mess afterwards if accounts aren't being used as we'd like? As it stands, the few 'role accounts' permitted anywhere on Wikimedia projects seem to have been set up for very specific purposes, mostly under strict conditions. If the proposal is to broaden this out, we really need to think through the consequences... AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:51, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    Welcome to this discussion, where we are thinking through the consequences. :-) But it's consequences for role accounts, not shared accounts. Having clarified that, let me clarify something else: you keep repeatedly mentioning "the proposal". No one has made a proposal. There is no proposal. This is a discussion about whether to make a change to the status quo or not. The purpose here is to think through the consequences of making a change to role accounts, whether to permit them, under what circumstances, what problems might arise and how do we deal with them, etc.
    As to "verifying that people requesting 'role accounts' only intended to use them for such purposes", the answer is "same as we do for individual accounts". How do we verify that someone is using an account for intended purposes and not for other purposes, like promotion, spam, harassment, etc.? We read contribs. We have reporting mechanisms. We have blocking, banning, and locking sanctions.
    As to "approve accounts on request, and sort out the inevitable mess afterwards if accounts aren't being used as we'd like", that is actually how we operate currently. Anyone who wants an account can just make one, and we sort out the inevitable mess afterwards.
    Verification of role accounts can also be done the same way as we verify accounts now (OTRS email).
    I think if we allowed role accounts, the "inevitable mess" would be lower than what we have now. As someone pointed out in this discussion (or the one at AN, I forget), right now, if a person who works for Acme, Inc.'s PR department creates "User:Acme Inc. PR", they'll be blocked until they change their username to an individual one, and then they'll be told to disclose in their individual account that they're a paid editor working for Acme Inc.'s PR department (which we do not verify!). That, to me, does not seem to have any benefit, and several drawbacks. I'd rather have one User:Acme Inc. PR than multiple individual accounts for each PR staff member. It's way easier to trace contribs history with one account. Much more accountability, much less overhead. This is part and parcel of the general rule that disclosed paid editors are better than undisclosed paid editors, to which I would add that a role account by the paying customer is better than a disclosed paid editing account, because it provides more transparency, accountability, and oversight.
    I appreciate your input and am interested in hearing your thoughts on this, and I don't mean to be giving you a hard time. But please appreciate that those of us who think this is a good idea are not stupid, we're not ignorant, we're not foolishly rushing ahead with any proposals without thinking them through first, etc. There are good reasons for this. There may be good reasons against it, but there are good reasons for it. This isn't some ill-thought-out proposal; it's not a proposal at all. And, again, it's already being done in dewiki. Levivich 17:04, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    Ok then, if this isn't a proposal, I'll leave commenting until someone makes one - a properly-defined one. I really don't see the merit of having an abstract conversation about how we deal with 'Acme Inc. PR' through an undefined change in policy that could have repercussions well beyond that particular case that we aren't going to discuss because this isn't a proposal. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:16, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    I think that there may need to be some thought put into how these different kinds of accounts happen. There are both shared accounts and there are role accounts. I think it might be possible to allow for shared accounts and not role accounts. I guess, in principle, you could also allow for role accounts and not shared accounts, but that seems like it would be a real mess. The arguments against shared accounts seem to be one largely of a culture that has valued the "one person=one account" rule which, if we are going to be honest, isn't always followed even now. The arguments against role accounts seem to be ones largely of a culture which has been concerned about paid editing and corporations trying to control content. Again, if we are being honest, such things are happening now. Just because such things are happening now does not mean that we need to suddenly allow either kind of account, but it seems to me that there is a level of flexibility that is associated with the current enforcement practices with regards to both role and shared accounts. Normally policies and guidelines are supposed to reflect the actual way things get done on Wikipedia. Right now, I perceive some tension there. The account that I identified (whether you think it is a role account or just a shared account we can put aside for now), is still allowed to edit. I think that indicates that there may be an understanding for what is permissible at Wikipedia beyond what our WP:ROLE and WP:SHAREDACCOUNT documentation says right now. That's at the level I'm interested in having the conversation, in any case. jps (talk) 11:56, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
    The mixed list formatting makes it unclear who's responding to whom here, but @Levivich: I used "shared account" because while the heading says "role accounts," the case that led to this section isn't actually a role account. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 16:40, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
  • Role accounts, like paid editing, won't go away if we ban them, however undesirable they may be. Surely it's better if an editor is upfront about working on behalf of an organisation (in law I think it's known as a "legal person") than them hiding behind a random meaningless user name, which is the way our current policy works. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:14, 21 April 2022 (UTC)
    Wikipedia had an opportunity to ban paid editors and photographers-for-hire. They failed. Now both of those are multi-million dollar industries that stand to disappear overnight if action were taken against them. So anyone with a default position of "we did nothing before, we should do nothing again" when it comes to allowing shared accounts that would make PR firms' lives easier should not be involved with this conversation. TheNewMinistry (talk) 03:01, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
    Premise 1: We didn't ban disclosed paid editors and photographers for hire before
    Premise 2: Nothing bad happened and in fact the encyclopedia grew by leaps and bounds and is now a top-10 website and a globally-respected source of information, and Commons is filled with millions of images taken by paid photographers that have now been licensed for free re-use
    Therefore: Anyone who thinks we still shouldn't ban disclosed paid editors and photographers for hire should not be involved with this conversation? Levivich 16:16, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
    "Nothing bad happened". For-profit entities bragging about brute-forcing edits and not getting reprimanded was when the respectability went out the window. And please give an example of how $3000 head shots are useful to anyone outside of the subject that commissioned them. TheNewMinistry (talk) 17:14, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
    Easy: The readers of the Wikipedia biography if they are uploaded here. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 13:33, 23 April 2022 (UTC)

Advanced permissionsEdit

Personally I don't have a problem with role accounts or shared accounts. I do rather have a problem with any form of shared account that has advanced permissions given on a basis of trust, because I think the trust is vested in the person behind the keyboard. So no advanced permissions should be given to shared accounts, and if it becomes clear that an account with advanced permissions is being used by others, that should be grounds for a sysop to revoke those permissions summarily (i.e. on the sysop's own authority, bypassing discussion or consensus).—S Marshall T/C 05:18, 22 April 2022 (UTC)

By this, I presume you meant he permissions associated with administration. I imagine you are referring to Administrator, CheckUser, Oversight, and Bureaucrat. Or are there also other permissions you think would be problematic for shared/role accounts too? jps (talk) 11:49, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
Not just those. I think that the autopatrolled permission (the one that effectively hides you from New Page Patrol) would have value to PR agencies, and they might well be willing to purchase the password to an account that has them. And the Page Mover permission could be problematic in the hands of a vandal.—S Marshall T/C 13:18, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
Both of those permissions need to be applied for, of course. In general, I think I agree that granting those permissions should not usually be done. Of course, there are already role accounts which have advanced permissions (e.g. WP:OFFICE). A general rule of thumb seems to make sense to say that shared accounts or role accounts shouldn't be given those permissions without a very good justification and, perhaps, community consensus. jps (talk) 13:27, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
Sure, but what I also want to ens ure is that sysops are authorized to revoke those permissions if it becomes clear that the account's not exclusively in the hands of the person who requested them.—S Marshall T/C 14:16, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
I feel like that authorization should already exist. If someone sees an account behaving as though it was compromised, emergency removal of permissions would happen whether role or shared or not, right? jps (talk) 14:31, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
They would now, because we currently define an account as "compromised" if it's shared. As I understand it we're dealing with a proposal that would change that definition of "compromised".—S Marshall T/C 14:34, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
As I think someone clarified to AndyTheGrump above, at this point we are not "dealing with a proposal" The OP and firs few people commenting were treating this as a discussion about whether we should have a discussion about changing the current policy. Such a discussion could lead to a proposal, but I don't think we're at the proposal stage yet. I do think at this point we've moved on from having a discussion about having a discussion to actually having a discussion, but I still don't think anyone has proposed anything concrete. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 14:49, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
Maybe when someone does, they can include something about advanced permissions.  :)—S Marshall T/C 15:19, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
As I understand it we're dealing with a proposal that would change that definition of "compromised". Agreed. I think we should focus more on unauthorized access rather than multiple individual access. Of course, evidence of misbehavior could also be considered prima facie evidence that permissions should be removed regardless of whether the account is actually "compromised". jps (talk) 17:38, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
FWIW I can't imagine a situation where a role account would need or use any permission beyond EC. A role account isn't supposed to be doing "general" editing, but only a specific task/function/role/purpose/what-have-you. So User:Acme, Inc. should only be editing articles about Acme, Inc., not patrolling for vandalism, creating new articles about athletes, or moving pages. Not even voting in RFCs. It's a role account, it's supposed to stick to its role. As for shared, non-role accounts, I'd have similar hesitations about advanced perms, but then I also don't really see a reason why shared, non-role accounts would be a good idea to allow. Levivich 16:12, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
I can imagine a situation where a role or shared account might want to be a WP:RESEARCHER. jps (talk) 17:38, 22 April 2022 (UTC)
An account for an affiliate that runs edit-a-thons might want Wikipedia:Event coordinator. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:59, 25 April 2022 (UTC)

I am going to echo what others have said regarding accountability and shared accounts. S Marshall made the point I was going to make regarding how this would potentially affects our understanding of compromised accounts, so I will add some thoughts on that. By the very nature of how MediaWiki handles accounts, there isn't a method for sharing an account without multiple people sharing the account's password. That makes the account weaker from a security perspective for a variety of reasons. This is not the case for bots because bot operators can utilize bot passwords (among other things) to access the account without granting every operator full access.
Additionally, since multiple people are going to be accessing the same account anyways, it's going to be more difficult on our end to respond to the bad actor in the event of a compromise. –MJLTalk 06:51, 23 April 2022 (UTC)

Of course, if a role account is limited to one person at a time, then most of my above points are moot (since once a new person gains access to the account to replace the old, they should just immediately change the password to prevent unauthorized access from the previous account holder). –MJLTalk 06:56, 23 April 2022 (UTC)

So what to do?Edit

I am glad that we have had others chime in about their support for current policy against shared and role accounts. "No consensus" seems to be a reasonable summary of the above. The problem is, however, that the policies as currently stated are not consistently enforced and there really seems to be no adequate documentation of what is happening. Thus, I find the status quo somewhat unstable. Wikipedia policy states that even the appearance of having a shared account is grounds for blocking, but the ANI thread that started this discussion is now archived with no action. Maybe no one will ever use that account again, and I understand the preference to let sleeping dogs lie. But uneven enforcement as such ultimately causes a lot of confusion.

The policies as written seem to me to be firmly in the camp of "NO, NEVER ALLOW SHARED OR ROLE ACCOUNTS EXCEPT UNDER CERTAIN SPECIFIC EXCEPTIONS SUCH AS WHEN WMF DEMANDS IT." But the policy as practiced is really more like, "We would prefer if you did not do this and administrators are within their rights to block your account if they have evidence that this is what is going on, but many will just look the other way." or "We don't allow shared accounts and we don't allow role accounts, but whether such an account gets blocked or not is up to administrator discretion." Right now, this disconnect between actual practice and documentation seems rather capricious. Should we try to rewrite some of these things to reflect actual practice? Or maybe we should encourage the admin class to all adopt the more draconian view.

jps (talk) 15:26, 25 April 2022 (UTC)

I think the existing pages, as currently written, do not fully reflect community practice, and therefore should be updated.
I think we do still want to ban certain kinds of shared accounts (e.g., User:OurWholeFamily or User:SmallvilleEnglishClass). I think we probably want to allow a few others (e.g., User:BigMuseum, confirmed to be an official account with the legal right to assign a suitable license for material when the museum holds the copyright). WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:08, 25 April 2022 (UTC)
Regarding account names, appearance creates reality. If I create a "Fans of German Shepherds" account, that is a pretty clear statement that there is no individual that can be held accountable for what this account does. As a corollary to that, it can't be dealt with as an individual. For example, if a group account gets blocked for edit warring, the individual who did it can just open up another account and they are not socking. Or an individual who get blocked can just edit under the group account and they are not socking. North8000 (talk) 20:19, 25 April 2022 (UTC)
Why can't we hold all of the individuals accountable for what this account does? Joint and several liability is a thing in the real world. It surprises me that editors think that we can't take action against anyone unless we know exactly which human was the one pushing the buttons. We normally don't know (or even care) which human was the one pushing the buttons. If anyone using the account misbehaves, then everyone using the account gets held accountable for what was done. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:11, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
Agreed. I don't understand this particular argument at all, but it is reminiscent of the frustration I used to feel over the way enforcement was leveled against individuals in spite of there being essentially no mechanism to determine individual identity. Wikipedia culture seems to want to have it both ways: one-to-one identities with individuals but no way to decide whether someone is an individual. Anyway, long and the short of this is that I agree with you that if an account is sanctioned then everyone who uses the account is sanctioned. Easy as that. jps (talk) 23:15, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
I think yes, we should try to rewrite some of these things to reflect actual practice. But one lingering question I have is are we changing role accounts or shared accounts (or both)? Levivich 16:45, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
The wording of WP:ROLE is unclear about whether a shared account is automatically a role account. Theoretically, a role account is an account for a particular purpose (which could have just one human behind it), and a shared account means there is more than one person.
In practice, I think we want to tweak both. sections That is, we change ROLE to say that, under specified circumstances, "User:Big Museum" is an acceptable type of m:role account ("an account that is not associated with a particular person, but with an office, position, or task" – bot accounts are also role accounts; so is User:Emergency). Separately, we tweak WP:NOSHARE to say that some role accounts can be shared (also true of some bot accounts), and that shared accounts should follow certain best practices (e.g., bot operators list everyone; GLAM institutions should designate a point person instead of having a dozen people making the same newbie mistakes; all active account users are expected to know everything posted on the talk page, or whatever else we think would be helpful in practice). It shouldn't be too difficult, as long as we can figure out what we want to achieve.
It'd probably be good to talk to some GLAM folks about which best practices to recommend. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:06, 4 May 2022 (UTC)

Lenient Policies for Native American PagesEdit


I am an indigenous person and researcher working under a university. Wikipedia, obviously, maintains strict guidelines on notability, citations, and article length. I've noticed these policies hinder and prevent articles relating to Native American topics and academia. Unfortunately, millions of tribes have been wiped from our textbooks are rarely written about. While I am working to improve that, there is nothing we can do to remedy the situation completely in the next few years. I am asking that Wikipedia reduce guidelines or accept limited notability on native american research and tribes so that education on these imperative topics may reach a wider audience. It is almost impossible to provide several notable mentions of a tribe outside of their reservation website. Reducing these restrictions would allow native voices to be heard and create a more educated environment on the site. These individuals are clearly important despite recent major news coverage. Allowing for shorter articles, less notability, and reduced secondary citations would greatly boost the availability of indigenous material. CherriGasoline (talk) 04:36, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

Why should we make Native Americans a special case? I'm sure there are more sources available for Native American topics than, for example, for many African ones. This proposal reeks of American exceptionalism. Phil Bridger (talk) 07:19, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
Well that seems a bit harsh. Harold the Sheep (talk) 07:36, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
There was a deliberate campaign to erase Native American documents, culture and sources. Topics relating to indigenous have been suppressed until the 1990s. By that point, there were roughly a million natives left- less that 1% of the previous population- meaning they could not be recreated or replicated. I'm sure if you took the 10 seconds it would take to Google an academic report about it, you would know that no, there is not more indigenous sources than African, because the United States government literally burned them. Africans still have the opportunity to grow and retell their culture. 99.7% of the Native American population is dead. I am very glad you found it appropriate to address the issues of people of color this way. CherriGasoline (talk) 07:44, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
The same issue happens to Latin American indigenous communities, Jewish communities in Europe, religious minorities throughout Eurasia, etc. I don't see any reason why one would make a particular exception here, especially when that exception could be gamed by bad-faith actors looking to misinform on indigenous American topics. — Ixtal ⁂ (talk) 09:44, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
I'm struggling with the "millions of tribes" bit. @CherriGasoline: what's your source for that? In any case, I agree with Ixtal. Doug Weller talk 11:10, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
Coverage of many subjects remains spotty in Wikipedia. I, along with a number of other editors, have worked on articles about the indigenous peoples of Florida. Indigenous peoples of Florida#Early modern period includes a list of some 50 peoples, chiefdoms and towns in Florida in the 16th and 17th centuries, with over half of them having a standalone Wikipedia article. All of those peoples, with the exception of the Apalachee, had disappeared by the end of the 18th century, leaving no identifiable descendants. Indigenous peoples of Florida#Post-Archaic cultures in Florida lists 18 archaeological cultures, some of which are tied to known indigenous groups, that have been defined in Florida for the two millennia prior to the arrival of Europeans in Florida, all but one of which have their own articles. If you are aware of any indigenous peoples in Florida before the arrival of the precursors of the Seminole and Miccosukkee, that are not on those lists, please let me know so I can search for reliable sources to use in articles about them. Donald Albury 16:01, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
  • Often, editors find that a given topic may not be notable enough for a stand-alone article, but there may be enough material for an article covering a group of related topics. To address your initial point, while we do enforce standards on notability and citations, there really is no minimum required length. Category:All stub articles lists over 2 million stub articles; some of these are just a few sentences long. Massawomeck tribe would be a good example.
    I would start by looking at Category:Indigenous peoples of North America to get an idea of what coverage we have now. That should give you some idea of what kinds of articles are generally considered acceptable, and perhaps you can find some existing articles where it would make sense to add new material. I would also ask at Wikipedia:WikiProject Indigenous peoples of North America, where you'll probably get more useful advice.
    I think many of the answers you got above were a bit harsh, but I get where people are coming from. The right question is not so much, "Can you lower your standards?", but, "How can I present this information in a way that meets your standards?" I think if you phrase it that way, you'll find people more receptive to helping. -- RoySmith (talk) 12:01, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
    PS, also take a look at meta:List of Wikipedias by language group. There are wikipedias written in several native american languages. If there are topics you want to write about which just don't fit into the English language wikipedia (enwiki), one of those might be a more appropriate place. -- RoySmith (talk) 12:11, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
  • Cherri: How are we to trust information in Wikipedia as being verifiable if you have no sources to back up what you are writing? Where are you getting the information you plan to add to Wikipedia on these topics? --Jayron32 12:03, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
    That's a great question, I absolutely didn't word this the way I meant to come across. I would look at my reply to PerfectSoundWhatever for a better wording. CherriGasoline (talk) 09:51, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

CherriGasoline, I think that the would go better than you think regarding wp:notability. But what's in an article (tiny as it may be) must still be sourced or sourcable. Why don't you just try creating one of those articles that you presumably have in mind and see what happens? If you care to ping me for help I'd be happy to. North8000 (talk) 12:24, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

I would prefer to get new articles from a "researcher" who gets their basic facts correct, and doesn't claim that a Google search will back up their ludicrous claims. "millions of tribes have been wiped from our textbooks" has already been adressed, but other things are equally bizarre: "Topics relating to indigenous have been suppressed until the 1990s. By that point, there were roughly a million natives left- less that 1% of the previous population", and even "99.7% of the Native American population is dead. ". In the US alone, nearly 10 million Native Americans live nowadays, which is about the same as the Native American population at the time of the arrival of Columbus, Cortez, ... I have no idea where CherriGasoline gets their numbers from, but they are quite worryingly very, very wrong. I'ld much prefer if they created their articles in draft space to avoid complications and extra work. Fram (talk) 12:35, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

I noted those things as well but was thinking that under my suggestion things would get clarified pretty quickly. WP:Ver applies to any material. North8000 (talk) 15:03, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
There have been various estimates of the number of humans ever; many of them conclude that ~93% of people are dead.[2][3] WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:23, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
  • While this idea has good intentions behind it, it falls flat. User:CherriGasoline, the problem with lowering notability standards is that there is a lack of material to write an article from. Since Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought, where do you expect to get the information from? The articles you want to be written will essentially be one-line stubs, or filled with original research, which both are not ideal. — PerfectSoundWhatever (t; c) 00:20, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
    stubs is what i'm referring to! this post was made late at night. i'm not talking about original research or using completely uncreditable sources. What I was more hoping to get across was only have one major mention article with smaller briefly mentioning articles, or having pages with less content than a normal page. for example, there are tons of historical treaties and archives cataloging tribes, but not many major news articles ever discussing them. Generally, 1 research article with no major news coverage would be deleted- especially if there was little information on the page. I was hoping to make a stub category or allow for those to be accepted under special circumstances, as they are clearly significant despite having few written pieces. By no means am I advocating for people to pull things out of their asses and create pages with no creditable sources, just more flexible notability. CherriGasoline (talk) 09:49, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
    Apologies for the late reply. While I understand the reasoning, there's really little to no point to the reader to have a stub that only reads, "so-and-so is an Indigenous American artist.[1]," because that's information they probably already know if they're googling someone, or information they can find elsewhere. — PerfectSoundWhatever (t; c) 03:59, 9 May 2022 (UTC)
You make great point. i think i've made a lot of mistakes in the wording of both my post and reply. These were written pretty late at night and I hyperbolized my numbers a bit out of frustration in the response. However, I would suggest you do look into the suppression of native topics and the results of their genocide. Yes, the population now is flourishing and returning close to some estimated numbers for the US alone. However, this is after many years of tooth and nail fighting. Census reports show the numbers jumping significantly in the last 30 years. If you would like to learn more about modern issues, I would love to share some sources on tribal recognition, the flaws in the system, and how many actual natives are barred from sharing their culture to this day as a result of the BIA (this is what I mostly work on lol.) Additionally, I don't just mean United States natives when i speak about these topics! Native Americans encompass Canada, Mexico, and the entirety of South America. The numbers you are quoting likely comes from a US census and wouldn't be accurate to the first nations people as a whole, just one country. Though I do agree with you. Looking at these replies now, I see I completely missed my own point and worded things very poorly. It wasn't my intention to imply that we should pull things out of thin air and use uncreditable/unsourced information for Wikipedia. That would be dangerous and harmful. I think I was more looking for exceptions on notability guidelines in terms of what is considered widely discussed in some cases.. For example, if I was to create a page basing information off of 1 historical record, that did not contain any news coverage or discussion and contained little information, it would most often not meet the guidelines set here. Though it is clearly notable, it might fall short of even being a stub. I was looking for exceptions in cases like that, rather than the entire policy being re-arranged. CherriGasoline (talk) 10:01, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
Thanks very much for this response. That relieves my concerns and I wish you all the best with your editing. Doug Weller talk 10:25, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

It is almost impossible to provide several notable mentions of a tribe outside of their reservation website. Reducing these restrictions would allow native voices to be heard and create a more educated environment on the site. These individuals are clearly important despite recent major news coverage. Allowing for shorter articles, less notability, and reduced secondary citations would greatly boost the availability of indigenous material. One option here is to start a list page. Given the right criteria, you could include a lot of groups on a list especially as there are lots of sources out there that speak to the very problem you identify. So, simply stating what the WP:LISTCRIT are (for example, self-identifying in a particular fashion) would allow you to include such groups in a list that could, potentially, serve as a way to WP:CFORK as more research warrants. Also, realize that internet sources are not the only possible sources. Compendiums of acknowledged groups in more "old fashioned" media can be important. Interviews of experts can also work as sources. Let me know if you would like help in figuring out how to archive such things if you find them at, for example, wikisource. jps (talk) 11:58, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

I support the idea of a list page. Classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas is already long; I'd guess that it lists well over a thousand. Who's missing? Please add them. A complete list is very much wanted.
As a practical matter, if a group is mentioned in multiple articles, that fact alone encourages many editors to assume that a separate, stand-alone article is warranted. This isn't officially part of the Wikipedia:General notability guideline, but it forms part of the "discretion" or "editorial judgment" that goes into decisions about whether to have a separate article vs merging related groups into the a single, broader article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:59, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
I have a problem with such lists. It's not that I mind the red links at Classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas, it's just that as it is, anyone can add the name of a tribe and there's no way at all to ascertain whether such a tribe ever existed or if it is a current group that it's a genuine tribe - there are quite a few "fake" tribes around, sadly. Doug Weller talk 10:20, 9 May 2022 (UTC)
If it hasn't been done already, I would address such concerns as the OP raises with the various wikiprojects that exist regarding indigenous peoples, such as Wikipedia:WikiProject Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Dhtwiki (talk) 06:14, 29 April 2022 (UTC)
  • The general principle here is that Wikipedia is not the place to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. And the others have pointed out the many problems with simply giving one group a pass and not all the others, and the problems of writing something without reliable source material. What we need is for researchers like yourself to write more books upon which more articles can be based. -Indy beetle (talk) 08:32, 2 May 2022 (UTC)

Dispute Resolution of Long-Running Content DisputesEdit

I don't know if this is the right forum to bring this issue up in again, or if there is a right forum. I have asked this question from time to time in the past three years and will ask it again. What if any procedure is there for dealing with very long-running content disputes? We don't have any mechanism that is intended to deal with long-running content disputes. Third Opinion is the most lightweight procedure, and only resolves the dispute if the parties agree that it resolves the dispute. The Dispute Resolution Noticeboard is often a next step with content disputes. The introductory material on its project page states that it is for small content disputes. It previously stated that DRN was intended for small content disputes that could be resolved in two or three weeks, which is in general a reasonable definition of when a dispute is small. That language has been removed because it was overly restrictive, but DRN still says that it is for small content disputes. The Dispute Resolution policy lists Third Opinion, DRN, specialized noticeboards, WikiProjects, and RFCs as the ways to resolve content disputes. However, occasionally there is a content dispute that takes months to resolve. How should we try to handle such disputes? Robert McClenon (talk) 18:09, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

We previously had the Mediation Committee and the Mediation Cabal. MEDCAB appears to have faded away in about 2012. I understand that one concern was that its mediators did not have the authority to deal with conduct, but no other content dispute resolution procedure dealt with conduct. MEDCOM was ended in 2018 for various reasons, including being overly bureaucratic without doing much, not having mediators, and not accepting cases. (I disagreed with doing away with MEDCOM.) There were statements made in 2018 that something should take the place of MEDCOM. Nothing has taken the place of MEDCOM or MEDCAB.

We do have long-running content disputes that go on for months. I don't think that it is necessary for me to list some of these disputes. I would like to hear either what the community has to say, or where I should ask the community for input. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:09, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

  • I think it's inevitable that a crowdsourced encyclopedia will have long running content disputes that last for months. The world is complicated, so summarizing it is difficult. Of the various procedures for dealing with them, RFC seems to work best for the most complicated ones. I can't say I have ideas for improving the RFC process, but I will say I think it works surprisingly well once you consider what it's trying to do (resolve disputes among a bunch of volunteer strangers on the internet about some of the world's most complicated issues). Levivich 18:20, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
    I agree. RfCs are a pretty solid way to resolve disputes. Sometimes it takes a long time or more than one to confirm a consensus, but it's hard to overturn them without new information. I always try to direct editors there instead of engaging in endless debate on noticeboards or Talk Pages. Pyrrho the Skipper (talk) 18:25, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

I'm interpreting your "long running" as "tough to resolve, and after a lengthy effort has still not been resolved." I think that there are two main types/causes for these:

  1. One is where it is opponents from some real world clash / contest (for example, political) where they seek to make the article help their real world side/cause.
  2. The other is where there are many complexities in the issue. Usually these include include terminology issues.

And in both cases there is usually some people chemistry mixed in, although on long running ones I'd call that factor secondary.

I think that the "bones" of the best method is a very well crafted RFC (or series of RFC's) on the article talk page. "Well crafted" includes having the bugs ironed out, being neutral, being agreeable with the parties involved, being informative enough to obtain outside voices, being clear / decisive enough to answer the main questions, and dealing with the math problems induced by having 3 or more choices. So "well crafted" is a very high standard which RFC's seldom achieve. We probably need a new cadre of "navigators"/"facilitators" (rather than mediators) to accomplish this and perhaps a good page with guidance or a roadmap on how to draft RFC's for very difficult and complex situations. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 19:02, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

That does sound like a good idea - a place one could find a neutral party to draft an RFC. We could call it 'Request for Request for Comment' WP:RRFC. MrOllie (talk) 19:07, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
I think some kind of "Request an RfC" feature could be useful. Much like closing discussions, I can see the value in experienced volunteers responding to these requests by summarizing the question in neutral terms. Pyrrho the Skipper (talk) 19:11, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
Excellent idea, Mr Ollie and Pyrrho the Skipper! RfCs can directly change policy, so we really need ways to help them along. --Hipal (talk) 19:28, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
+1 to the description of what makes a good RFC question in N8k's comment, and also to this idea of RRFC. It wouldn't even need a formal panel of RfC writers, just a noticeboard where people can discuss/get help with formulating questions would be helpful. Although I wonder if we should just have one "Content Dispute Noticeboard" that would do this plus what NPOVN (and maybe FTN and ORN) currently do. Levivich 19:41, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
I think the individual noticeboards serve important purposes. Maybe just a much better way of handling third opinion/more eyes requests, rather than having that tucked away where no one will ever find it. A noticeboard where you can request input on drafting an RFC or say "Hey, deadlocked on a content issue at Shit flow diagram, more eyes and opinions would be appreciated," might go a long way to easing the long-running disputes, and may do a lot to keep them from arising in the first place.
The problem with the current system is we have BLPN, FTN, ORN, but no NOTANICHEPROBLEMJUSTAREGULARCONTENTDISAGREEMENT...N. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 19:49, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
ScottishFinnishRadish are you maybe thinking of ANI?[Joke]Ixtal ⁂ (talk) 22:34, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
The proposed RfC-drafting advisory page/service is a good idea. But if a dispute between good-faith editors is long-running and intractable, I doubt that starting an/another RfC at the article talk page will make much difference. Even if widely advertised and properly structured, it may mostly attract parties involved/interested in the particular article, with majorities of participants who hold to the positions that created the long-running dispute in the first place. A more disinterested forum would be better for further RfCs on the issue. (talk) 20:00, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
The idea is that an RFC with the attributes that I described it (including "being clear / decisive enough to answer the main questions") will inherently bring it to a conclusion. North8000 (talk) 20:04, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
I would argue that many, if not most editors who regularly participate in RfCs do find them in a neutral location such as Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/All or some other noticeboard. Many of the involved parties who would find it in the Talk Page will probably find it elsewhere, too. Pyrrho the Skipper (talk) 20:08, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
Indeed. And the observation was that North8000's (commendable) rational approach may not correspond to the reality of disputes that carry months-long baggage. It is worth a try anyway, I suppose. (talk) 20:14, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
A key challenge with English Wikipedia's unmoderated requests for comment is that they depend on the co-operation of nearly all interested parties. They can be fairly easily derailed by editors who dissipate focus by making discussion diverge into many different areas. This can be intentional, but can also happen in complete good faith: earnest editors can keep broadening the scope of discussion, making it hard to get enough people to collaborate on any one issue in order to reach consensus. We can do our best to lay out carrots that encourage focusing on one thing long enough to establish consensus. Sometimes, for better or worse, it's not enough. isaacl (talk) 20:49, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

Do y'all want to or want me to try writing a supplemental essay Developing RFC's to resolve complex and difficult debates It would be supplemental to WP:RFC while being careful to not duplicate it. This is seperate question from a place to go to ask for help. North8000 (talk) 20:18, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

Maybe a section of WP:RFCQ about complex/difficult debates? Levivich 20:30, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Requests for comment#Creating an RfC
already offers help with drafting RFCs. People rarely take us up on the offer.
WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:03, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
Then maybe better advertising would be helpful. --Hipal (talk) 22:39, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

I think it would be helpful if what I call a revisit respite is incorporated more frequently into requests for comment. Having a respite period before an issue can be revisited (absent any significant new considerations) provides motivation for the interested parties to work towards a compromise that most people can live with. With the current "consensus can change" environment, the disputing parties are motivated to try to outlast the others. isaacl (talk) 20:31, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

To avoid er... procedural/technical disputes related to the resolution of long-running disputes, maybe there should be a previously agreed indication of what constitutes a "complex" or/and "difficult" debate, and so likely to fall under the purview of any essay/guideline. I suspect that any such indication may influence the way the essay/guideline is structured. (talk) 20:36, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

In practice, experienced editors already have a widely agreed standard for this, namely, that it is "complex" and/or "difficult" if the result is not the outcome I wanted. Also, RFC questions are not "neutral" if they do not present my view as the obviously correct one. But perhaps you wanted a system that couldn't be gamed by people who are very, very, very good at gaming Wikipedia's systems? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:06, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
  • I think there are still two large problems with RfCs as a dispute resolution mechanism.
    The first is that we as a community have failed to produce a filing system for them. Finding an old RfC can be a long trip through the talk page archives and you wouldn't search if you didn't know it was there. (I'm worried that this might mean RfCs are sometimes needlessly repeated, but I can't test whether that's true, because I can't find the old RfCs that would show it, because, you know, old RfCs are hard to search through and we don't have any kind of filing system.) We need clever process-savvy people to make archive and index systems for them, like AfDs have.
    The second is that the only mechanism for reviewing RfCs is the Administrator's Noticeboard and the AN doesn't make content decisions. So you can challenge an RfC outcome if the consensus was wrongly assessed or it was affected by sockpuppetry, but if you want to challenge it by evidence-based reasoning or scholarly debate, then we don't have a place where you can do that. And that's not conducive to wise decision making.
    For this reason, if you want to win a content dispute, the quickest, easiest and most lasting way to do it is to annoy the other person until they're rude enough that you can open an ANI about them. I put it to you that this is not conducive to good decision making either.—S Marshall T/C 21:00, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
    I agree that English Wikipedia's current decision-making traditions provide incentive for poor behaviour. (I've written about this previously). I tried to collect ideas on fostering collaborative behaviour by changing our processes so desired behaviour is rewarded and poor behaviour discouraged, but wasn't able to garner much interest. Within the constraints of the typical RfC discussion used today, I came up with a toolbox of techniques that can be tried as desired to improve effectiveness of discussion. I don't think they're magic fixes, but I think they provide motivation for greater co-operation. isaacl (talk) 21:17, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
    • Along the lines of S Marshall's I was going to whimsically add a few of the other common methods of resolution: 1. Get really clever at weaponizing policies and guidelines and noticeboards, which includes looking like you aren't doing that, get 1 or 2 more equally skilled posse members, and find a way to make the content dispute appear to be a a behavior problem. Then get people opposed to you deprecated and then your view point will prevail. 2. Discuss it until everyone collapses from exhaustion / burnout and gives up on settling the dispute or editing in the disputed area. :-)  :-) North8000 (talk) 21:35, 27 April 2022 (UTC)
      It is best to keep this in focus of the OP (resolving long-running content disputes) and not turn it into a discussion about the RfC mechanism. Is it inevitable that an RfC must be at the end of the long road to resolution? If RfCs are inadequate and can be gamed as easily as some of the comments suggest, maybe another approach will be more effective and more efficient at proper resolution. One example would be a lottery among equally well argued and equally well supported positions that are strictly on topic. (talk) 00:57, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
      The RFC process is meant to be an advertising mechanism for discussions. They operate under the same talk-page rules and the same policies as the non-RFC-advertised discussions. The idea is that by bringing more people into the discussion, the result will more fully reflect the views of the community.
      Of course, if the community is actually split on some point, then an accurate result will be WP:No consensus, which does not resolve the dispute. At that point, one side will rise up and demand that their view be included because they assert that including it is the WP:STATUSQUO (a popular essay), and the other side will pound on the table and insist that it be excluded because the WP:ONUS (a policy) to prove consensus for inclusion is on the people who want to include it, and the no-consensus outcome means it can't be included. The only thing we can guarantee the participants is that whatever happens, it will be m:The Wrong Version. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:12, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

Thank you. Okay. I see that my description wasn't as precise as it could have been, but I have seen one very useful suggestion. Maybe if I give examples of a few long-running cases, I might better clarify what I am asking about. We all agree that RFCs are often the answer, and that improvements to the RFC process will be desirable.

Assistance with RFCsEdit

I think that a noticeboard for editors to request assistance with RFCs is an excellent idea, and I will shortly start a discussion at the Village pump for proposals. I will comment, however, as the next section indicates, that sometimes the development of an RFC is contentious, because the editors are contentious. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:58, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

It might be helpful to extend that board beyond writing RFC's, and to assisting with other formal discussions - in particular, RM's. New editors often arrive proposing to move an article because they disagree with the current title, but regardless of the merits of their move it is often rejected because their arguments are not aligned with policy. I've seen this most often in discussions about Indian locations, such as at Adam's Bridge, but it also occurs elsewhere, such as at Port Elizabeth. Sometimes, as can be seen at the former, the frequency of requests results in moratoriums being imposed, which adds to the problem.
I don't agree with moving either of those articles, as I think the arguments for moving them are weak, but the arguments are not non-existent and should be given proper consideration. Sometimes the problem resolves itself with time as it has at the latter, but by allowing this proposed noticeboard to also assist with RM's it could help resolve the problems that don't resolve themselves, or help resolve the problem faster.
I don't think it would be helpful at AFD though, as editors who don't understand policy well enough to argue for deletion won't have a good idea of what articles should and shouldn't be deleted. BilledMammal (talk) 03:16, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
@Robert McClenon, please review the recent archives of WT:RFC before you do this. TL;DR is we tried that already, and there was little interest. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:13, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

Further Explanation: What When RFCs Aren't Enough?Edit

I see that, after mentioning RFCs, I forgot to say that the disputes in question are ones that resume after the RFC, or where the participants expect more than can be done with one RFC, or where development of the RFC is difficult because the editors are contentious. Maybe I need to go into more detail to illustrate how messy the questions can be.

Another wiki-problem that fuels long term debatesEdit

There's another issue with Wikipedia which fuels many long term debates. It's abstract bu I'll give it a try. The problem starts with article subjects/ titles but then spreads elsewhere, so I'll start with subjects / titles. This starts pretending that there is an innate subject to an article when it is defined by a mere term, and a variable meaning term at that. And then it spreads to using a variable meaning word to state a supposed fact. I'll give two hypothetical examples which I made overly simple/simplistic to illustrate:

  • A Big dog article exists. A dispute arises on whether or not to include Collies in the article. So they spend months debating by finding and utilizing / nitpicking sources that say or imply that Collies are or aren't big dogs. The falsehood is that there is some reality of what a "big dog" is, and that sources will uncover that reality. So the root of their debate is the definition of the word "big" but they don't realize it so they find sources on and debate forever on collies. In reality The reality is that "big dog" is a mere term, not a topic. It should be covered as a term, eliminating the debate about Collies.
  • Someone puts in a statement "John Smith was a good president" Wikipedia sort of pretends that this is somehow a true or false statement about reality which can be answered by finding and evaluating sources. In reality the discussion is about the (applicable) definition of the word "good", but they don't notice that and so they debate it forever using sources.

Three Very Long DisputesEdit

One case in particular is on my mind right now, and it is at:

Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard/List of political parties in Italy
It originated, of course, at DRN, and is still listed there, but I moved it to a subpage, because it was taking up too much space when there were also other disputes. This began as a dispute over what the rules should be for listing an Italian political party as an Italian political party. (There are about three hundred of them.) Discussion began on 16 January 2022, and it became clear that an RFC was in order. We then worked for about three weeks to get the wording of the RFC to satisfy all of the participants, and had a false start, and then got the real RFC running on 13 February 2022. The RFC was closed on 19 March 2022, with a rough consensus to dispense with the existing inclusion rules. Discussion then resumed on how to organize the lists of parties, and has been continuing for another month. I have worked with the principals to develop a second RFC. There were issues about exactly what it would cover, and one of the principals wanted to resolve the remaining issues one issue at a time. I have said that I would like to close the DRN case as soon as the second RFC is running, and the principals have said that they think that continued mediation will be needed. Is there or should there be a procedure for handling disputes where the principals want continued moderator assistance for months? Robert McClenon (talk) 02:58, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

A slightly earlier, but still relatively recent, matter was:

Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Mass killings under communist regimes.
You may all be familiar with one part of this controversy, because it resulted in the largest Article for Deletion discussion that Wikipedia has had. It began on 5 November 2021. The original complaint was that two editors had made substantial revisions to the article, and the two filing editors disagreed, and wanted the revisions rolled back. This shifted into a disagreement over what the focus of the article should be, and whether the article should exist. The participants were in the process of discussing the RFC, and then the article was nominated for deletion on 22 November 2021. See:
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Mass killings under communist regimes (4th nomination).
As you know, the article was kept. The RFC on how to rework the article was then started on 19 December 2021. Two of the editors then spent a few weeks trying to get another round of moderated discussion. The RFC was closed on 23 January 2022. Controversy over that article seems to have fizzled out, which is just as well, because otherwise it would have ended up at Arbitration Enforcement, one of two places in Wikipedia where there are no winners, only losers. (The other is of course WP:ANI.)

An earlier dispute, almost three years ago, was:

Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Kamrupi discussion.
This dispute went on for two months and involved multiple RFCs. The main problem was that one of the editors was tendentious. The underlying problem was finally solved about six weeks ago at Arbitration Enforcement by banning the difficult editor. This case illustrates one of the problems with moderating a dispute with a difficult editor, which is that a moderator must try both to remain neutral between the editors and to try to achieve neutral point of view with non-neutral editors.

Robert McClenon (talk) 02:58, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

I'm familiar with the first two. IMO in the first two the dispute was resolved. In both cases, the decision was just on a general direction. On the "parties" article, I don't see what remains now as a "dispute" but something where the path forward is too complex to chart via just a crowdsource discussion. IMO it now just needs a firm navigator (with a bit a special status given to them) to help them forward but that one looks only medium-tough to take to the finish line. IMO the "regimes" dispute question is now also resolved. IMO the decision was the best one, but will require an immensely big and complex effort to implement. Doubly so because although the main participants have collapsed from exhaustion / burnout, it does affect a real world contest and has a lot of worried eyes on it. So IMO it's no longer a "dispute", just an article which is near-impossible to move forward on. It probably would need an an empowered navigator plus a 1-2 rock star editors to move that one forward. It might have to just sit for a while. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 12:47, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

The Problem of Difficult EditorsEdit

I will draw one conclusion from the above three difficult cases, and that is that many content disputes involve either at least one editor who is problematic or two editors who do not like each other and cannot agree. The problematic editor is not obviously the problem, except after trying to work with them, or on review of their editing history. A moderator is supposed to be neutral between the editors, while getting them both to work toward neutral point of view, which is the Second Pillar of Wikipedia. The editors about whom I am writing are sometimes known as civil POV pushers, and are often why disputes drag on and on. Because they are civil, respecting the Fourth Pillar of Wikipedia, they do not get blocked for the usual offenses. They also make it difficult to develop an RFC that will resolve an issue. Also, as noted, sometimes two editors simply do not agree with each other on anything, either because they are really from two countries that have fought wars, or because they simply remember and resent a past conflict. A content mediator or moderator tells the principals to comment on content, not contributors, and tries to do the same themselves. Does anyone have any ideas for how the community can identify and deal with the problem of problem editors? If the topic is under discretionary sanctions, they end up at Arbitration Enforcement, which often breaks the deadlock in favor of the survivors. WP:ANI doesn't work as well with civil POV pushers or sea lions. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:58, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

I'm interested in solving this as well, as I recently moderated an AA2 DRN thread where one of the editors was more experienced and patient and so (as has been the case in past AE threads) was not doing any behaviour that would have lead to a block, but is likely preventing new editors from fully participating in the topic due to their civil but biased POV behaviour. The other editor is a loose cannon that will likely end up at AE, with the result being what you describe of "break[ing] the deadlock in favor of the survivors". Another issue is that while DRN often leads to RfCs for these complex or contentious disputes, there is no guarantee the parties will actually take part in or accept the result of the RfC (as happened in this particular dispute). — Ixtal ⁂ (talk) 12:59, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The reason that the problem exists is that it is generally not recognized. If the editor is clever, it is easily disguised as "just implementing the rules". Building awareness of it means identifying it and probably giving it a name, a "scarlet letter" to put on the behavior. Simply, using the rules to obtain an objective that is different than the objective of the rule. The two "names" for this are wp:gaming and wp:wikilawyering, The problem is that those two terms have come to mean something that is so severe (and so considered to be a severe accusation) that nobody is allowed to use them. I've been working on broadening the definitions of wp:wikilawyering to include softer / more common forms so that the term becomes more usable for that purpose. North8000 (talk) 13:02, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
User:Ixtal - Armenia-Azerbaijan is one of the most difficult areas, mostly because, like Israel and Palestine, the real-world fighting heats up and cools off but doesn't end. But which AA2 case are you referring to? Robert McClenon (talk) 04:53, 30 April 2022 (UTC)
Robert McClenon, I was referring to Anti-Armenian sentiment in AzerbaijanIxtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 00:14, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
There's the general "behaviour not conducive to the collaborative environment needed to build an encyclopedia" in a way, but that's generally equaled with WP:NOTHERE, which again is considered an immensely serious accusation (which it is). — Ixtal ⁂ (talk) 15:05, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
User:North8000, User:Ixtal - The term that I use for this behavior is civil POV pushing. (I do use the term gaming, but I use it for a different class of editors. I think that I am allowed to use it because I do intend it to indicate that they are net negatives.) Is "Civil POV pushing" also considered too strong? Robert McClenon (talk) 16:25, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
@Robert McClenon:I don't consider it to be too strong. Maybe too vague and too narrow though.North8000 (talk) 18:30, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
But BTW, I didn't consider problem editors the be the primary issue on those. North8000 (talk) 13:02, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
The ultimate solution is to change the process so that undesirable behaviour (whether it is through deliberate action or a good-faith but uncollaborative action) isn't successful at settling disputes. The most straightforward approach is to do what other long-running publications do: have a person or group responsible for making content decisions. This would focus discussion on the pros and cons of each option, and make it unnecessary and counterproductive for editors to repeat themselves, talk about personal motivations of others, attempt to dominate conversation, and so forth. (Focusing on pros and cons is suitable for all types of disputes and is used all the time by organizations and groups.) For better or worse, as far as I can tell, the English Wikipedia community remains wary of the drawbacks of this approach. The resulting price is that the community continues to struggle with managing uncooperative editors. isaacl (talk) 14:58, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
The drawbacks of such an option seem to massively outweigh the benefits, and assumes that the people making content decisions would not engage in the civil POV behavior, which judging by historic admin cases is unlikely to be the case. — Ixtal ⁂ (talk) 15:10, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
Centralizing editorial control indeed has drawbacks. Having, say, an editorial board that is elected can help mitigate them. The key point is there's a cost to pay for trying to use consensus to decide everything (including moderating discussions). No dispute ever ends, because consensus can change, so the incentive is to outlast everyone. A small number of vocal editors can prevent progress on decisions, and can stop anything from being done about uncollaborative behaviour (because a small group of dissenters is all that's necessary to prevent consensus), and it can all be done in complete good faith. Only a change in process that rewards collaborative behaviour will resolve this. isaacl (talk) 16:05, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
So do long-running content disputes fall under two categories?
  • Those sustained by problematic editors
  • Ones where good-faith editors simply cannot agree on the content (for any number of reasons)
The resolution may need a separate roadmap depending on which of the two is the case. Keeping in mind that the second case may morph into the first, the longer the dispute runs. (talk) 15:22, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
  • Editors do not divide easily into good faith/problematic editor buckets. All too often the "problematic" editors are passionate and overcommitted but correct, and all too often the "good faith" editors are process- and culture-savvy sealions with well-obfuscated ulterior motives. And RfCs tend to produce watery compromises where what's needed is a big thick decision. We need to understand that Wikipedia's rules are easily gamed and there are people who make a living gaming them.—S Marshall T/C 08:14, 29 April 2022 (UTC)
As S Marshall says, one main category, which is an overlap between the two. See User:North8000s list of causes for more detail. Robert McClenon (talk) 04:53, 30 April 2022 (UTC)
I concur with what @S Marshall: said. Further to that, that it says it very well, has identified the main problem, and gives a starting point for formulating an important item for improving the situation.North8000 (talk) 13:55, 30 April 2022 (UTC)


"Cause" is a subjective term but I'd say that long term disputes usually have 2-4 of these as their primary causes:

  1. There's a conflict / contest out in the real world and they want to advantage their real-world "side" by how the Wikipedia article is written
  2. Using Wikipedia guidelines and policies for other than their intended purpose. Whether you call that weaponizing policies, wikilawyering, gaming, civil POV pushing
  3. Some psychological thing that tends to deepen during long battles. Like personal clashes, "gotta win" mentality, stubbornness
  4. Failure to recognize and handle mere definitional/terminology issues as such, and Wikipedia does more harm than good there
  5. High complexity of the question/ task at hand
I concur with the identification of these five causes, and that any long-term dispute almost always involves 2 or 3 of them. I would add 1H, which is that there was a conflict out in the real world historically, and they want to advantage their real-world "side" by how the history of the conflict is presented. Robert McClenon (talk) 05:02, 30 April 2022 (UTC)
I intended #1 to include that. (as a current conflict/contest albeit regarding non-current events.)North8000 (talk) 13:49, 30 April 2022 (UTC)

Plus weaknesses in policies and guidelines contribute to all of them, and most have some inadvertent #2

Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 18:56, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

Of recent big ones I've seen ,

  • "Mass killings under Communist regimes": #1,#4,#5
  • "Italian parties": #3,#5
  • Goths #4, #5
  • Founding Fathers #3, #4
  • Our endless friendly debate at Right Libertarianism that died from exhaustion: #4, #5
  • Nearly every American politics related example: #1, #2

North8000 (talk) 19:09, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

The Kamrupi dialect dispute, 2, 3
The Periodic Table disputes at ANI, 2, 3, 5
War of the Pacific, 1(H), 3

Robert McClenon (talk) 05:02, 30 April 2022 (UTC)

Again, it seems that some of the causes listed are behavioral, not content-related. It is interesting that content disputes that one would expect to be resolved (even tentatively/temporarily) by available factual evidence may drag on for so long. Unless such disputes are mischaracterized as content disputes when they are in reality caused by conduct issues, or by procedural issues such as the admissability of supporting referenced information. (talk) 22:01, 28 April 2022 (UTC)
But #4 and #5 and to some extent #1 are content related. Worse, #2 and #4 are systemic problems with Wikipedia's way of doing things, as is #1 to some extent, and the resultant drawn out (and frequently fruitless) debates exacerbate #3. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 10:47, 29 April 2022 (UTC)

Content and ConductEdit

It is a mistake to try to characterize disputes as content-related or conduct-related. Any difficult dispute has aspects of both. A pure content dispute, even if it is highly complex, will eventually be resolved without the need for much intervention. Any pure conduct dispute, such as trolling or crude vandalism, is easy to deal with by an admin blocking the offender. Paradoxically, a long-running dispute can become easier to resolve if the conduct of one party becomes worse, and the offender is blocked or topic-banned, and the other editors can compromise. What a moderator often has to do to resolve a dispute is to frame the way that content is discussed so that the conduct issues, which may be subtle, are neutralized. Robert McClenon (talk) 05:11, 30 April 2022 (UTC)


Disputes that last for months are small beer as the serious disputes go on for years. You'll find lots of examples at WP:LAME and the canonical case that I usually cite is the spelling of yoghourt, which lasted longer than WW1 or WW2. There are dispute mechanisms for the most serious cases such as WP:ARBCOM but the most recent one which demonstrates the intractable nature of this stuff is WP:Discussions for discussion! Andrew🐉(talk) 19:34, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

And if anyone is wondering, the moratorium on move requests at Adam's Bridge will be up in a week or so, so get ready for that. Literally the first archived talk page discussion from 2009 is about the article name. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 19:39, 28 April 2022 (UTC)

Restatement of the ProblemEdit

Thank you, User:North8000, User:Isaacl, User:S Marshall, User:Levivich, User:Whatamidoing, User:MrOllie, User:Pyrrho the Skipper, User:ScottishFinnishRadish, for your comments. On the one hand, they have been very useful in providing insight into the nature and dynamics of long-running content disputes. On the other hand, they haven't really answered my original question of what mechanism either can be used or can be developed to try to resolve these disputes. So I will try to restate a few questions:

  • 1. What process or processes, if any, does ENWP have for mitigating long-running content disputes? Should any new processes be developing for dealing with such disputes? (The last one that we had was MEDCOM. It had two shortcomings. Some of those who favored disbanding MEDCOM said that we could establish another procedure, or even said that scrapping MEDCOM would make it more necessary to replace it. This has not happened.)
  • 2. What advice can and should be given to principals who have a long-running content dispute that is not being resolved? What advice can and should be given to principals who have run through all existing procedures for solving problems? (For instance, suppose that in the Italian political parties case, the mediator concludes that he is not effectively bringing the case closer to a close, and closes the case. What advice should be given to the principals?)
  • 3. What action can be taken by the community, or the admin corps, with regard to long-running content disputes? One possible action is to ban one or more of the principals, which should only be done if the principal is a net negative to the community, such a flamer who engages in personal attacks. Another possible action is to topic-ban one or more of the principals. This is sometimes an appropriate response when causes 1, 2, and 3 are major parts of the problem. In my opinion, the problem with this approach is that it is usually not feasible for the community to identify the editor or editors who should be topic-banned. This is what is done if discretionary sanctions are in effect. Discretionary sanctions are usually the result of cause 1, a conflict in the real world that causes battleground editing because there are or have been real battles. What action can be taken if discretionary sanctions are not in effect?

Robert McClenon (talk) 18:22, 1 May 2022 (UTC)

As I mentioned earlier, I do believe new processes should be developed to resolve content disputes, with a revisit respite. An editorial board is one approach, but others can be devised. Disputes are long-running because there is no process to evaluate the pros and cons, and make a final decision, after which everyone can move on and adapt to the decision. We need some form of hierarchy to make these decisions if they are to be made effectively. Otherwise we get what we have now: disputes that never end, as the interested editors have no incentive to accept a decision they disagree with. isaacl (talk) 20:29, 1 May 2022 (UTC)

Trying to distill some ideas out of my responses: My one preface is that, the causes/ natures of the such disputes are variable and accordingly so are the ways to resolve them. My thoughts:

  1. Strategically, evolve policies and guidelines where they currently either contribute to the problem or fail to do their job of helping resolve it. easier said than done, but needs saying.
  2. The main "bones" of a solution are RFC's on the article talk page, albeit done much more effectively than they currently are. Ways to do that would be new help pages that show how to do that, and experts (given extra influence / a role) who can help orchestrate it.
  3. Experts who are given extra influence / a role to guide/ navigate the discussion. This is a different focus than mediation or dispute resolution.
  4. Find a way to paint a scarlet letter on those who use policies for other than their intended purposed. From mild versions through severe versions such as weaponizing Wikipedia policies/guidelines/systems to get rid of or wiki-deprecating "opponents". Things related to wikilawyering, gaming, "civil POV pushing" but we need a better and usable scarlet letter term than those. The is needed because such behavior is easily disguised as "just enforcing policies" or "just identifying problematic editors"
  5. Start recognizing disputes that are founded on "mere definitions of words" issues as being merely such, and deal with them accordingly.

Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 21:02, 1 May 2022 (UTC)

Once there is a process in place that weighs pros and cons based on expertise, there's less of a need to flag poor behaviour. As it becomes detrimental to success, it becomes less prevalent. isaacl (talk) 21:35, 1 May 2022 (UTC)
It seems that this content-related discussion, much like a previous recent one (#Regarding reversion of banned edits) more or less ignores Wikipedia's largest constituency, its readers. It is safe to say that readers, such as you, access Wikipedia articles because they want 1. pertinent facts 2. presented in a concise, understandable manner. Granted that discerning readers soon learn to expect neither from Wikipedia, and an apposite encounter is a delightful surprize. Still, content disputes among contributors, and their resolution, is correctly irrelevant to readers; long-running ones a more egregious disservice to them. It is also obvious, as has been pointed out, that conduct issues may be part of content disputes, another point that is irrelevant to e.g. a person who just wants to find out which political parties have operated in Italy. Give that person (yourself) a little more credit in being able to figure out that any such information depends on the criteria decided by "Wikipedia" as an encyclopedic entity (criteria regarding inclusion requirements, time-periods covered etc).
What happens when the focus is shifted to readers' expectations? Notwithstanding the mix of conduct+content issues, the imperative is an improved article. The conduct issues must be sandboxed in some way, and deait with separately. The immediate concern should be the discovery and applicability of pertinent facts so that the content dispute is resolved by proven information. Is the content dispute a reflection of real-world, intractable problems? That may be the most important fact one can expose about the subject. Consequently, it should have the most weight, and the ancillary fact of the exitence of opposing POVs can illustrate it. Is the content dispute based on details or esoteric minutiae? This is an encyclopedia, not an in-depth analysis platform. Does the dispute require technical/professional expertise to resolve? Why? This is a general-purpose encyclopedia, not an expert reference: rewrite.
If the above sound familiar, it is because they should be. They are all stated in Wikipedia policies and guidelines in some way or other. As an aside, it may be better if a much more prominent message is diplayed to readers while an article's content is disputed. Or even a redirect to a second-stage decision page (much like a browser's certificate/security-warning redirect page), where the reader can be given the option to proceed to the waste-of-time disputed article if they want to do so. (talk) 15:26, 2 May 2022 (UTC)

Editorial BoardEdit

User:Isaacl writes:

The most straightforward approach is to do what other long-running publications do: have a person or group responsible for making content decisions.

That is the editorial board concept, and is proposed from time to time. What surprises me somewhat is that I don't see it listed as a perennial proposal. ENWP is a very large experiment in crowd editorial control. My question is whether any of the other language Wikipedias have an editorial board.

Robert McClenon (talk) 18:22, 1 May 2022 (UTC)

I don't know about other language WP, but for an encyclopedia that "anyone" can edit, doesn't a group of editors that decide "editorial direction" of content defeat the purpose? There's a reason admins (and Jimbo) often stay out of content disputes. What I'd like to see tried is this: For long-running dispute that has failed several RfC's (and only those disputes), promote a Wiki-wide Vote Request (like we do with requests for adminship), with one major dispute spelled out plainly and voted on by as many people as possible, once per quarter. A simple majority vote. The result would be entered into record and cited. A close call would be difficult, but a >65% vote one way would be hard to argue with. Pyrrho the Skipper (talk) 20:03, 1 May 2022 (UTC)
I concur with Pyrrho that any sort of editorial board defeats the entire purpose of the experiment -WP:5P3 spells it out clearly enough - "Wikipedia is free content that anyone can use, edit, and distribute" (emphasis mine), and while 5P isn't the end all be all of everything, I can't think of a single example of someone wanting to change Wikipedia being free and being taken remotely seriously. casualdejekyll 16:16, 2 May 2022 (UTC)
A well run RFC effectively is a temporary editorial board composed of whoever shows up. I don't see any need to have a standing group to do the same thing. MrOllie (talk) 16:21, 2 May 2022 (UTC)
RfCs have problems with handling complex questions. Either you need a series of RfCs that are binary questions that takes forever to resolve, or you get a very large discussion in a multi-part RfC that can be somewhat hard to parse. And oftentimes you get no consensus in either case. But that is much better than allowing a wiki-wide editorial board to centralize control of article content. Doing so is antithetical to the Wikipedian experiment. While it might help in stopping bad-faith actors from sealioning in discussions (no guarantee of that, though), doing so would not actually help solve disputes where the complexity of the underlying subject material is a significant contributing factor. — Mhawk10 (talk) 16:44, 2 May 2022 (UTC)
The key aspects are to focus on the pros and cons of each option, and to have a decision stick until there is new information (or possibly after a revisit respite period expires). This will create incentive to build compelling arguments to evaluate the pros and cons, and determine their relative weights, rather than trying to argue with each editor over their preferred choice. It also creates incentive to find a best solution that everyone can live with, rather than trying to outlast everyone else. These are commonly used techniques to resolve disputes, so they aren't novel ideas. The actual process implementing this approach could be an editorial board, multiple editorial panels with expertise in different areas, content dispute-resolution votes (which would be a lot like ongoing ad hoc editorial boards), moderated discussions with some agreed-upon content arbitrator(s) evaluating strength of argument, or something else other than trying to use a purely consensus-based method. Anyone can edit doesn't mean anyone should be able to hold up decisions from being made; trying to use consensus for everything (including evaluating what arguments are valid) means small numbers of vocal editors can stalemate decisions. isaacl (talk) 03:00, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
Wikipedia, by and large, is written by laypeople; people who have earned a Ph.D. in a particular field and people who haven't graduated high school are on the same playing field and are equally invited to present arguments in order to convince the community. People clutching to credentialism has been a problem for Wikipedia in the past—at least one arbitrator was made to resign after falsely claiming to have academic experience that he did not possess—and I really see no way for us to get around this unless we are to require members of any such committee to identify themselves to the WMF and to prove their academic credentials are legitimate. I fully agree that Anyone can edit doesn't mean anyone should be able to hold up decisions from being made, but the way to deal with WP:SEALIONs is to treat them as disruptive editors and issue narrowly tailored (partial) blocks and topic bans accordingly.
Moderated discussions are an interesting idea, though I'm not sure how that would be all that different from an RfC unless we were to either (a) exclude certain editors from participating or (b) provide limits on the amount of text that an editor can contribute to a discussion. The idea of pre-selecting a closer seems a bit odd to me, and excluding certain editors from participating in discussions is a form of a topic ban. Perhaps a moderated discussion where an editor can write X words would be interesting, but I'm not sure a hard cap in these sorts of things is the most productive. I'd worry a good bit about spreading, since it can take quite a bit more space and energy to refute an erroneous claim than it takes to make one. — Mhawk10 (talk) 18:35, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
To clarify, I wasn't attempting to suggest specific, instant perfect solutions, but illustrating that we need to think about different processes that provide incentive for desired behaviour. Without some kind of hierarchy, we don't have an effective way to agree upon what editors are disruptive, or how to keep discussion from spreading. If we want to do those things, we need to change the process so that it's possible to manage discussion,(*) or so that editors have no incentive to be disruptive because it won't help them.
(*) For example, current English Wikipedia RfCs are traditionally unmoderated discussions. You can compare it with any meeting you've had where you sat down with different stakeholders, broke down a problem into different aspects, evaluated pros and cons, weighed their relative priority, and decided on the best approach. Again, I'm not suggesting this is exactly the way to proceed. It's just demonstrating there are ways to guide discussions to be more effective. isaacl (talk) 20:59, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
On a side note, when I said "expertise", I wasn't referring to credentialed expertise. There are editors who have established a reputation based on their English Wikipedia edits of having certain skills, or being knowledgeable in different areas. In some cases editors not knowledgeable in a certain area are willing to defer to those who are to make a decision. Often to handle scale in a project, ways have to be found to decentralize decisions. This could be an approach to consider for English Wikipedia. isaacl (talk) 21:09, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Why do we think RfCs don't handle complex questions well? I think that of all our mechanisms for that, RfCs are literally the very best option.—S Marshall T/C 08:30, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
    In general, they are the best thing we have. The “problem” I was referring to is that complex questions at RfC tend to be closed as “no consensus” since there’s often credible policy-based arguments on both sides. There’s not necessarily a problem with this—there are plenty of real world issues where consensus doesn’t exist (or whether consensus does not exist as to whether or not a consensus exists). The problem is twofold: (1) that the mechanism doesn't solve deficiencies in policies; and (2) that, particularly for contentious topics that are technically challenging, engaging with the arguments at RfCs require a level of familiarity with the topic that would both serve as a barrier to participation and to adequate closure. — Ⓜ️hawk10 (talk) 13:13, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
  • The problem with setting up any hierarchy, is that it is a path to grant the most ambitious and ruthless a means to power to enforce their own personal views. Once you have established a review board that you grant supreme power over content decisions, you open up the possibility that the kinds of people who serve on said board end up being those with the axes to grind. Yes, at times the benevolent and altruistic will get themselves onto such boards, but history has taught us that those situations, while they happen, are the exception and not the norm. Power structures attract people who are attracted to power. I'd rather not do that if possible. For all of its faults, the form of distributed governance we have over content decisions at Wikipedia is still better than the alternative. Which is not to say there doesn't exist some better way to work in such a distributed system, but granting any kind of "content review board" is not it. --Jayron32 13:55, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
    Agreed, centralized decision making will encourage the formation of political parties who can muster the votes needed for a candidate who will be sympathetic to certain issues. It's an interesting thought exercise to consider what Wikipedia would be like with that model of decision making, which is more like how the real world works in governments. -- GreenC 14:41, 6 May 2022 (UTC)

Editorial Board as Perennial Proposal?Edit

I was also asking, in passing, whether there is a reason why an editorial board is not listed in the list of Perennial Proposals. Maybe it should be listed. If it hasn't already been discussed to death, maybe it should be discussed to death; insert your own emoji there. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:10, 7 May 2022 (UTC)


This is "No Copyright" book. (pp. 4) Can i copy-paste anything from this? - Owais Talk 01:56, 1 May 2022 (UTC)

It seems that you can copy-paste from it without violating copyright, but there may be other reasons not to. Is this source reliable for the content you want to use? Is its use due weight in context? Is it written in the right style? After thinking about such things you still need to ensure that you identify this book as the source of the content, to avoid plagiarism. Phil Bridger (talk) 07:41, 1 May 2022 (UTC)
The copyright page specifically says that permission is granted to reproduce the book "without any alterations"; I'm not sure that is copyright-free for our purposes. A strict reading of that license would be that you are only granted permission to reproduced the entire text, which would probably be never usable for us; even a looser interpretation wouldn't permit any editing of the text, so while it might be usable if it's clearly marked off as a quote, it's certainly not usable other than as a quotation. Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 13:54, 1 May 2022 (UTC)
Yes, I see that you are correct, Caeciliusinhorto. The first two questions I listed above still need to be asked if this source is just used as a source of information, rather than a source for the actual words used. Phil Bridger (talk) 14:02, 1 May 2022 (UTC)
I can't really think of a time that we would ever want to copy word for word from a book, unless we were quoting something. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 18:41, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

What is the general consensus regarding non-administrators closing AFD's as "no consensus"?Edit

The other day, I performed two "no consensus" closures at AFD, and one of them was overturned per WP:BADNAC (on reflection, I realize my closure was bad and I shouldn't have closed the AFD).

I've closed AFD's several times, in 2009, 2016 and 2018, but would almost always stick to ones that were an obvious keep, merge or redirect and had not (from what I can recall) performed a "no consensus" closure before, but closed two AFD's on May 1 as "no consensus" (the one that got overturned and one because the keep arguments were weak keeps based on the rationales provided).

While it doesn't say anywhere in WP:NACD or WP:BADNAC that "no consensus" closures by non-administrators are prohibited, they do mention that close calls/non-obvious closes are inappropriate for non-administrators, which tend to be closed as either "non consensus" or with many of the arguments being discounted (for example, an AFD with more keeps than deletes still getting closed as delete), when closed by an administrator.

The time that I've spent looking through old DRV's, I'm seeing that many "no consensus" closures performed by non-administrators, tend to get overturned and labelled as BADNACs. The ones that get overturned it seems, tend to be ones that are a close call, with a wide array of different arguments presented. Even when BADNAC gets cited, it almost always seems to be because the closure itself was improper, rather than just someone complaining the closure was done by a non-admin.

It seems, based on the general practice I've seen (and from my own experience in closing AFD's), "Close calls and controversial decisions are better left to admins.", is to the effect of No-consensus closures should not be performed by non-administrators.

As a means of trying to avoid pitfalls (that is, by keeping the backlog down and not putting more workload on administrators), what is the general consensus regarding non-administrators closing AFD's as "no consensus"?Mythdon (talkcontribs) 22:00, 4 May 2022 (UTC)

  • Are you asking for individual editors to here opine, and from that you may suss the consensus, or are you asking for what the already-established consensus (if any) we have, with maybe points to threads or whatever demonstrating this? --Herostratus (talk) 05:53, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
    Already established consensus. —Mythdon (talkcontribs) 05:55, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I would have thought that discussions that should be closed as "no consensus" are by definition close calls, so, by established consensus expressed at WP:NACD (which I don't necessarily agree with), they are better left to admins. Phil Bridger (talk) 06:12, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
  • If a close is gearing towards no consensus, it's more often than not that the AfD is deadlocked with good arguments coming from both sides, not necessarily that it is close; in general with no consensus, I think an admin close is preferred, since it is essential that the reason for a no consensus close and options going forward be explained in the closing statement, but this can of course be done by an experienced non-admin. However, that's beyond the point, because in the case that OP linked that was reverted, it obviously should've either been relisted or left to someone else; it'd be very circumstantial to have an instance of a no consensus close without at least 1 relist. Curbon7 (talk) 07:15, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Also, you may have AfDs, especially ones with a number of comments, that look like No Consensus when in reality a plurality of !votes on one side or the other are sub-standard. It is of course quite OK for a closer to assign those no (or less) weight but as soon as you start doing that it is probably best left to an administrator. Black Kite (talk) 07:21, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
  • My reading of [c]lose calls and controversial decisions are better left to admins is that this pertains to the extent to which the outcome of the discussion is a close call or likely to be controversial. There are some times where a "no consensus" close is plainly obvious (for example, when a discussion has already been relisted a bunch with minimal participation and weak arguments either way) and many times where a "no consensus" close is simultaneously unlikely to be controversial. — Ⓜ️hawk10 (talk) 17:30, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I'm afraid the reality is that only some non-admins can make no consensus closes.—S Marshall T/C 08:24, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
    • But I wish there were more no consensus closes and fewer relists. I'd love it if there were a rule that says only sysops can relist the debates that nobody cares about.—S Marshall T/C 08:28, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Non-admins can close AfDs that have minimal participation as "no consensus without prejudice against speedy renomination" per WP:NPASR, assuming the nomination does not qualify for WP:SOFTDELETE (e.g. because the article has been previously declined for PROD), but I would avoid pure "no consensus" closes where there has been a substantial amount of discussion. Mz7 (talk) 08:50, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I've said it before, and I'll say it again, there should be no prejudice against non-admins closing any discussion with any result with the only exception being where the use of admin tools would be necessary to enact the results of a discussion upon closure. If, after closing the discussion, someone would need to enact a block of a user, or deletion or protection of an article, then non-admins should leave those alone. Literally every other scenario, any sufficiently experienced editor in good standing should be able to assess the result and close the discussion. If an AFD legitimately calls for a "no-consensus" close, then nothing is getting deleted is it? If so, anyone can close it. They don't need to be an admin. --Jayron32 15:13, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
    • There's a concern that a PR agency could use some of their accounts to engineer a "no consensus" at AfD for one of their not-terribly-notable clients, and then use another of their accounts to close the debate. We mostly take it on faith that bad faith users don't have access to admin accounts.—S Marshall T/C 17:46, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
    Well, another angle to this is that when a discussion is a close call, the closer often has to weigh between “no consensus” or “delete”. For a non-administrator, this means they have to weigh between an option they have the ability to carry out and an option they don’t—there is a level of bias introduced because of this imbalance that may unconsciously skew the consideration towards “no consensus” when perhaps an administrator would have been within discretion to close as “delete”. This then has the potential to cause time to be wasted in a DRV or a follow-up AfD. See also WP:RELISTBIAS for a similar situation. Mz7 (talk) 19:33, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
    Was going to say this, yeah non-admins should be careful with such calls. Galobtter (pingó mió) 19:49, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
  • There's two basic types of AFDs most likely to be closed as no consensus. One is the low-traffic AFD where only one or two users have responded to the nomination and they don't agree with it or don't agree with each other. There's simply not enough input to determine a consensus, so we default to keeping the article. I would think anyone who has been around for a while can close those with no problems. The other type is the high-traffic AFD with a variety of opinions. I feel like in those cases, the possibility of deletion is at least still on the table, and we elect admins in part to make tough calls, so those are probably better left to admins. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:27, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
  • "Borderline" situations are the toughest to close, and clear-cut/slam-dunk ones are the easiest. Either can rightfully be a "no consensus" close, so dealing with those separately is needed. The same for "non-admin" which can range from a newbie through someone more experienced than most admins.. So parsing out the various meanings within the question, IMO:
    • There should certainly be no blanket prohibition or discouragement of non-admin closes as "no consensus"
    • Borderline closes are best left to more experienced editors. Going with an admin close is one way to likely do that.
    • Borderline closes which look likely to be challenged might be better left to admins. Besides the reason given one line up from this, the admin impramatur can help in these situations.
North8000 (talk) 19:00, 6 May 2022 (UTC)

WP:NSONG and coversEdit

So, this idea stems from something discussed at Wikipedia talk:Notability (music) back in 2021, at Really, a cover can never have an independent article?. I think it's ready for a centralized discussion now.


The current guideline on the inclusion of cover songs as standalone articles is this line in WP:NSONG:

  • Songs with notable cover versions are normally covered in one common article about the song and the cover versions.

This sentence stems from a 2013 discussion, held at Wikipedia talk:Notability (music)/Archive 16#WP:SONGCOVER. The discussion was informal, relatively small, and localized to a single notability talk page. And, to be frank, I don't think the policy they came up with is very well thought-out, and it should be replaced with something more permissive.

Take "The House of the Rising Sun", a folk song of unknown origin. At 15kb of prose, it's a pretty large article; and it's a bit cluttered with infoboxes, tables, and paragraphs from all the artists who have covered it. The section on the cover by the Animals is simply an entire article pretending to be a section. This rule jams notable and non-notable versions alike into a solitary article, and it makes articles with many notable and even culturally significant covers feel bloated. In this case, the Animals' version is arguably more culturally significant than the composition itself, taking on a life of its own. To be squashed with every other cover and the song's origin seems counterproductive. Instead, the Animals' cover should be mentioned and discussed in a concise manner, that doesn't require every notable statistic and detail. There can be a {{Main article}} hatnote above the section, linking to a full article about the song with room for expansion. Did you know that the Beach Boys didn't write Barbara Ann? Neither did I, and our article on the song reflects that imbalance in notability poorly; in fact, the Regents don't even get their own section for composition or release. It's all Beach Boys.

It seems to me that, like any creative work, we should expect our best articles on songs to cover a broad range of topics: writing process, composition, themes, production, release, reception, impact (including brief summaries of notable recordings), and so on. A cover song with notoriety of its own will have a separate composition, production, release, reception, and impact. The only thing that remains essentially unchanged is the lyrics; so, if we were here to simply be and reprint lyrics, I would then understand merging various versions of a song into a single article. But that's not what we're doing, and the strategy we've come up with seems to be detrimental. There is precedent for this idea, a few distinct recordings that have swollen too large and have split off; see The Star Spangled Banner (Whitney Houston recording), We Are the World 25 for Haiti (YouTube edition), Somos El Mundo 25 Por Haiti, We Are the World 25 for Haiti, and presumably others because I couldn't really find any on my own. Thanks to Helloimahumanbeing and Tbhotch for these.

So, what's the solution? Well, I don't think every notable cover should have its own article; some GNG-passing topics remain basically stubs throughout their life on Wikipedia. Here, WP:NSONG comes in handy:

  • Notability aside, a standalone article is appropriate only when there is enough material to warrant a reasonably detailed article; articles unlikely ever to grow beyond stubs should be merged to articles about an artist or album.

I think that this is an excellent rule of thumb, and I propose that it be implemented for articles about cover songs. If there is enough material to warrant a detailed article, cover songs should absolutely be developed in a space of their own, free from the constraint of its parent article. This will not only allow for more detailed analysis of covers, but also for more concise articles on original compositions. Thanks for your time, everyone, and I hope we have a productive discussion here! theleekycauldron (talkcontribs) (she/they) 23:11, 4 May 2022 (UTC)

Discussion NSONGEdit

What should Wikipedia's guidelines be concerning cover songs and individual recordings? theleekycauldron (talkcontribs) (she/they) 20:02, 8 May 2022 (UTC)

  • A: All notable covers can have a standalone article, subject to normal policies of splitting and merging
  • B: Notable covers can have a standalone article provided it can be reasonably detailed article based on facts independent of the original
  • C: Only "exceptionally notable" (i.e. demonstrably culturally significant) covers
  • D: No change
  • For now, just adding a link to a related discussion, also from 2013. Interesting reading. At the time, more editors were adamant about combining versions than the editors who saw a value in splitting, curious to see if that changes through this discussion. I see the points on both sides, although I lean toward "exceptionally notable" covers having their own articles, such as "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals, and Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You". (Also, I changed this to a bullet; why would discussion comments be numbered?) Schazjmd (talk) 23:30, 4 May 2022 (UTC)
    if this proposal isn't dead on arrival, we might have a future RfC in this section with a few options moved options to top for RfC
    Or something like that. theleekycauldron (talkcontribs) (she/they) 23:45, 4 May 2022 (UTC)
  • This proposal seems sensible to me. In my view, the best approach would probably be something along the lines of WP:SPLITTING – if a cover version is sufficiently notable, we build out its detailed information (the chart performance and reception and so on) into a separate article, and mention the cover in summary style in the broader article about the song. ModernDayTrilobite (talkcontribs) 17:42, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
  • That the Whitney Houston cover of I Will Always Love You does not have its own article has felt bizarre to me for a long while. I understand the benefit of keeping covers together with the articles on the song (as any sections on lyrical analysis, background, etc. are going to have overlapping content), but I think opening this up to something somewhat more permissive than the current rule would be worthwhile. If WP:IAR frequently applies to a particular rule, then that might be an indicator that the rule has to change. — Ⓜ️hawk10 (talk) 17:53, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
  • This should proceed to an RfC. What is mentioned above about covers and articles is sensible.--Whiteguru (talk) 21:19, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I think it's definitely possible to have an independent article for a cover, but the issue is that, most of the time, when a cover is really well-known it will eclipse the original to the point where it makes sense for us to just largely devote the main article to it (see eg. Hound Dog (song), which devotes a ton of its text to Elvis.) The only situation where we'd really want separate articles is when the main article gets so big that it has to be split... which several of them, like the one I mentioned, might have reached. But I don't see any value to splitting if it's just going to result in one of them being a stub. --Aquillion (talk) 21:30, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I think proposal B is sensible. I've often found song articles to be unwieldy. NemesisAT (talk) 21:44, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I think B-ish seems reasonable, but I would add the caveat that cover version should only normally be split out into their own article if and when issues like WP:ARTICLESIZE and WP:DUE are a problem. WP:SUMMARYSTYLE applies here; if we can include sufficient information on all of the various versions of a song and not overwhelm the same article, then there's no need to create more articles. If and when the article becomes excessively long or out of balance, then we could split into multiple articles. I don't want to encourage the proliferation of multiple articles where one article is sufficient, but I recognize that in some cases, one article isn't. --Jayron32 14:49, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Another example is Tainted Love. First recorded by Gloria Jones in 1964. I happen to think her version is pretty fantastic, but it was released as a b-side of a single that nobody liked (different world back then, do you kids even know what a b-side is?) She gave it another shot with a re-recording in 1976 but that also didn't really go anywhere. Fast forward to 1981, new wave band Soft Cell recorded their own version of the song and it became a massive hit, top ten in the charts on multiple continents. It's certainly the most known and popular recording of the song, and what could clearly be a stand-alone article about it is crammed between Jones' original version and the 2001 Marilyn Manson version. That seems a bit off to me. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:37, 6 May 2022 (UTC)
  • No change, or only change to make the prohibition stronger. The articles are about the songs, not the recordings.--User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 18:58, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I would also support “No Change”. The song is what is NOTABLE … not the individual versions/covers. Yes, it is quite possible for a cover to be more famous than the original recording (or for one cover to be more famous than other covers), but notability and fame are not identical concepts. That said… when a specific cover is famous, it is appropriate to highlight it within the article on the song (and also in the article on the performer). To not highlight The Animals in the article on “House of the Rising Sun” would be redivilous. To not highlight both Dolly Parton and Whitney Huston in the article on “I Will Always Love You” would be silly. Blueboar (talk) 19:42, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Note: I've retroactively made this an RfC. theleekycauldron (talkcontribs) (she/they) 20:02, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
  • No change: I've just read the articles mentioned above, and I think the present 'rule' (which says keep it together "normally") makes good encyclopedic sense, when one is trying to understand the song, and WP:SPLITTING already covers the times you should split out, so no need to change. "A Famous cover" is likely to have more space in the article, but that is fine, too, in line with DUE. Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:05, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Option A I don't see why specifically being a song cover should make it have a higher standard than GNG. — PerfectSoundWhatever (t; c) 03:54, 9 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Option B as per previous comments and in accordance with WP:SPLITTING policy. P1221 (talk) 07:39, 9 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Option D. As an editor who has focused on music articles since first joining in 2012, I like having all the information about one particular song in one place. In other words, I don't have to go on a wild goose chase to find a particular page for a cover version simply because someone else happened to make a more successful version of it. Creating pages for particular covers seems biased. Similarly, if we make pages for covers, we'll be confusing our readers who'll ask questions such as, "Wait a minute, didn't [insert pop singer here] make a notable version too?" Where will they put this new cover? The page for the original version or the page for the version that their recording is based on? Meanwhile, what would we do for songs like "Unchained Melody" where eight—count them, eight—different musicians released versions that charted? This is where simple section linking and redirects triumph. I think things are fine the way they are, and I agree with what Khajidha and Blueboar said above: we're talking about songs here, not recordings. ResPM (T🔈🎵C) 19:00, 12 May 2022 (UTC)
    Having 8+ articles about different iterations of the same creative work doesn't seem like it would be the end of the world. Colin M (talk) 20:08, 12 May 2022 (UTC)
    and if it is the end of the world (as we know it, anyway), then i feel fine :) theleekycauldron (talkcontribs) (she/they) 05:38, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Option B. I won't belabor the points made above, but it seems to make the most sense. We shouldn't have an article for every cover of every song, but surely some are notable enough to be worthy of their own articles. (While this may read as an endorsement of Option C, it's not. I find phrases such as "exceptionally notable" and "demonstrably culturally significant" to be too stringent.) -- Vaulter 19:08, 12 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Option B (or maybe A). I've written previously about my reasons for supporting separate articles for notable covers in the 2021 discussion linked above and this little mini-essay. In principle option A seems reasonable to me, but it might be safer to start with a somewhat more incremental change, work out any kinks, and then consider pushing it all the way. Colin M (talk) 20:02, 12 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Option D, as we want to encourage more merging, not more splitting (without guidelines like this, we have what has happened for obscure plants and villages - individual micro-stubs, when a longer combined article would benefit the reader more) and per ResPM. BilledMammal (talk) 05:45, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Option A or B: You know, I never liked the fact that notable covers had to be in the same article as the original song. Some covers far surpass the popularity of the original, to the point where many people are unaware they are even covers in the first place. Wouldn't it make more sense to have articles on them over the original, with most of the article being dedicated to that particular cover? MoonJet (talk) 21:48, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Options A or B As I wrote above, song articles with notable covers can quickly become unwieldy, especially on mobile. The current policy is also at odds with WP:GNG. NemesisAT (talk) 23:04, 16 May 2022 (UTC)

Non-free images of living peopleEdit

I would like to seek a consensus on whether we should always, sometimes, or never allow non-free images of people when there is no free equivalent per WP:NFC#UUI. The reason why I am asking this is because of a conversation with Marchjuly on Explicit's talk page regarding the use of a non-free image of Lucile Randon because she is still alive. I would like to know in general to what extent should non-free images of living people go. Interstellarity (talk) 01:01, 7 May 2022 (UTC)

It's per the WMF that we nearly never can use non-free of living persons per their Resolution. The only exceptions we make are for those living persons that we know are recluse and do not appear in public (including those in prison), and in very exceptional cases where the past image of the person is of significant coverage, such as a photograph of a movie actress at her prime but all free images is her in her elderly years, for example. --Masem (t) 01:43, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
  • A Google search is a reasonable effort; if we can't find a free image, we should use a fair use image. The most important thing is to show the reader an image of the biography subject; whether it's free or fair use is a secondary consideration. Levivich 04:45, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
    • WRONG because the WMF has specifically said for living persons of the potential to create a free image, which is possible save for those that are recluse/in prison. We cannot go against that. --Masem (t) 04:46, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
      To confirm your point, @Masem, can you please provide a link where the WMF has said not to do this? Interstellarity (talk) 13:29, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
      wmf:Resolution:Licensing_policy: An EDP may not allow material where we can reasonably expect someone to upload a freely licensed file for the same purpose, such as is the case for almost all portraits of living notable individuals. --Masem (t) 13:33, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
      That was passed in 2007. Times have changed. And "almost all" does not mean "all". And anyway, changing the licensing resolution begins with developing consensus on enwiki to change it. So "we can't do it cuz the WMF said!" doesn't help determine consensus for what we want. If community consensus develops to change the licensing policy, the WMF will change it. Because we run the WMF, not the other way around. We elect the trustees that vote on these resolutions. Levivich 13:53, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
      Consensus on cannot change the WMF. They have to change first, then we can follow, period, since they pay for the servers, and they want a project that promotes free content and minimizing non-free content. --Masem (t) 13:56, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
      Oh really? They just stopped accepting crypto coin. Did they start that or did the community start it? Change begins with community consensus. The WMF follows us, we don't follow them. Levivich 14:04, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
      Yes, but remember that asking to change the non-free policy is akin to changing the core mission of the WMF, which itself is soemthing that the community can't really do. "The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally". emphasis mine. --Masem (t) 14:24, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
      Also "The decision to shun crypto won’t have a major impact on the donation-led organization, as only 0.08% of its revenue last year—or $130,100—came in that form. In recent years, only 347 donors used that option, mostly giving Bitcoin. The Wikimedia Foundation doesn’t hold crypto reserves; when it received crypto donations, it converted them straight into dollars." Changing the stance on non-free could lead to significant extra legal bother, but that's my guess and I'm not a lawyer. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 14:32, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
      @Masem you're no doubt correct on the reasoning by the WMF, but what's their statistical evidence - how have they proved that a somewhat more generous not-free use policy would appreciably discourage these aims. More specifically: of all BLPs needing a photo where a non-free exists, but is blocked by a more generous (but legal) use policy, what % ultimately do get a free photo? What % ultimately die prior to getting such a photo? What is the average lag-time of those that do ultimately receive a free-use photo? What's the evidentiary basis that those photos would not have been added had a non-free photo been present? What percentage where non-free photos were permitted as exceptions ultimately also received a free photo?
      Their argument could be logically valid, but I'm not aware of them having the evidence to actually demonstrate that it is sound for it to hold up Nosebagbear (talk) 19:52, 9 May 2022 (UTC)
      Its not an argument about numbers. The WMF's mission is to have education content editable by anyone that is freely distributable and reusable everywhere. To that it necessarily requires that we promote the use of free content when the possibility of free content exist,like. For works already in copyright like songs, we know that free alternatives rarely exist so then it becomes a balance of the judicious use of nonfree and the educational need of the song sample. But for nearly every living human we can be assured a free image is possible, even if it might be difficult. That's why there's no balance aspect is an absolute to meet the mission goals. --Masem (t) 21:46, 9 May 2022 (UTC)
      The Foundation's goal is listed, but Wikipedia's purpose is more direct "Wikipedia is first and foremost an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopaedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language". Were we to have unlimited resources, capable of managing any legal task, then of course that methodology could be an absolute. But we don't. We have 40,000 active editors , limited by time, resources, skillsets and will. Every year many tens of thousands of BLPs will not have a photo. Can we get a higher quality encyclopaedia by a broader use of non-free photos? Almost certainly. More relevantly, can we do so without impairing the longer-term improvement of the encyclopaedia and its actual use? If the Foundation is exerting restrictions in excess of legal obligations, which certainly could be justifiable, but they need to demonstrate it is justifiable. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:20, 9 May 2022 (UTC)
      Except that purpose still says what the Foundation wants. "free" is free as in speech, not beer so as much of our content needs to be license free, and we want to distribute to as many people as possible, which the presence of non-free interferes with in some regions. Hence we are seeking to minimize nonfree and use free works when there is a possibility they can be created. Too many editors think this is a burden but this is what the project has always been about. --Masem (t) 23:38, 9 May 2022 (UTC)
      Not free as in free speech, but free as in free enterprise: the right of corporate America to profit from our work. WP:FREE: Wikipedia is a private website, hosted by the privately incorporated Wikimedia Foundation and governed solely by the Board of Trustees of that Foundation. Wikipedia, and the Wikimedia Foundation, is free to establish its own policies and practices regarding who may edit here, and is not subject to regulation by the governments of the United States or the States of Florida and California in this respect. As a private website, Wikipedia has the legal right to block, ban, or otherwise restrict any individual from editing its pages, or accessing its content, with or even without reason. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 00:34, 10 May 2022 (UTC)
      Its still free speech. The goal is to allow unlimited distribution, and with that, unconditional modification short of what CC-BY-SA requires in attribution. So the same ability for a schoolteacher in third world countries to freely adopt our materials also.allows profit seeking people to resell our work; you can't have A without B here. --Masem (t) 14:16, 10 May 2022 (UTC)
      Free enterprise, not free speech. The same argument Americans use to justify fighting for racial slavery as fighting for freedom. We tried to ensure that people everywhere in the world could access the Wikipedia without charge (free beer) but American Wikipedians (and perhaps more importantly corporate America) were against it and Wikimedia backed down. As you say, you can't have that and profits too. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 18:43, 10 May 2022 (UTC)

I don't buy the "because WMF said" basis. If they have a bad policy we should tell them to change it or else fire WMF and replace them. The ship that their ivory tower floats on is Wikipedia. But I think this WMF policy is a good one. Non-free/fair use stuff really messes up many things, uses and purposes of/for Wikipedia content. North8000 (talk) 15:02, 7 May 2022 (UTC)

I don't think we have any ability to "fire" the Foundation. We aren't here to show images of everyone and everything. I don't agree that "The most important thing is to show the reader an image of the biography subject" is true. Google knowledge Graph does that. Whilst images are great when they are free - our job is to give biographies of a person in text. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 16:16, 7 May 2022 (UTC)
The WMF policy is really a derivative of WP:5P3, if you want to change the policy on non-free images of living people, that's really what you're aiming to change. Personally, I'm fine with the current policy, and have done my fair share of identifying people who will be at events that I'm going to and pre-scouting if they need a better Wikipedia photo. Legoktm (talk) 05:24, 9 May 2022 (UTC)
I'm not looking to change it. As I said, I like it as is. North8000 (talk) 21:51, 9 May 2022 (UTC)
  • For what it's worth, my recollection of 2007 is that the WMF policy was very much simply formalising the general view across the communities at the time, rather than an ex-cathedra declaration. It went a little further than some on enwiki wanted, and there was quite a bit of argument while the details of the new system was worked out (cf the Signpost), but broadly speaking, it was generally in line with community consensus as it already existed. (Indeed, reading through the old mailing list discussions, the language about "may not allow material where we can reasonably expect..." was not in the original Board draft - it was apparently added in response to some of the feedback.) Andrew Gray (talk) 20:47, 9 May 2022 (UTC)

"In Universe Information"Edit

This term is included in Template:Infobox character and I don't like it. It's a recent term, originating from fan fiction, and it doesn't seem appropriate when discussing classic works of literature. Oliver Twist, for example, does not live in a separate universe, he lives in a realistic depiction of 19th century England. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 05:27, 8 May 2022 (UTC)

I likewise think that the term "in-universe" is a bit odd and is anachronistic. Is "fictional biographical information" any better? Also, it might be more appropriate to have this discussion on Template talk:Infobox character, since I don't really see a change to policies or guidelines being proposed. — Ⓜ️hawk10 (talk) 05:32, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
I tried it there, didn't get many eyes, or much support. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 05:41, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
Have you tried opening a request for comment on that talk page? I see the discussion from February 2021 in the talk page archives, but I can't find an RfC. — Ⓜ️hawk10 (talk) 05:46, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
I don't understand your objection. Fiction, by definition, depicts people and events that do not exist in reality. There was no such individual as Oliver Twist in reality. He did not exist in our universe, so his existence as a person must be in a different universe. --User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 11:09, 8 May 2022 (UTC)

Maybe the term itself is a bit poor, but the meaning is relevant. Even if it is set in real-world, that doesn't mean the information that happened within the article reflects our world. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 11:14, 8 May 2022 (UTC)

Can you think of a better way of putting it? I think it's a new(ish) term because it's a new thing. You wouldn't catch Britannica writing about Oliver Twist as if he was a real person. – Joe (talk) 16:54, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
Sure you would. And they do. At their article for the novel (, the plot summary section consists of 1) a header saying "plot summary", 2) a single sentence saying that the novel follows the life of the character, and 3) a description of the people, places, and events portrayed in the novel, phrased as if they were real. The very next sentence says that Oliver was an orphan since birth. That is not true. Oliver didn't exist. Oliver was never born. The character of Oliver was depicted as being an orphan. So what exactly is the difference between that and the situation being complained about here? --User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 17:59, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
I do agree that the term "In-universe" is just not common enough to be used openly in templates like Infoboxes.Blue Pumpkin Pie (talk) 18:19, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
The original post asked about an infobox. Unlike prose, you can't preface the information in infoboxes with a statement like the novel follows the journey of the titular character, Oliver Twist which makes it clear that it's about a character not a real person (as we also do in articles). Hence the need for a subheading like "in-universe details". Hence why we're now talking about whether that could be phrased better. I don't really understand what your point is here? – Joe (talk) 20:21, 8 May 2022 (UTC)

Help Uyghur WikipediaEdit

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.

Hello, in Uyghur Wikipedia is no one online also not the administrator. And I need help, this page needs to be deleted ug:باش بەت (is actually a redirect page), because the Main Page needs to have this name. TayfunEt. (talk) 16:43, 8 May 2022 (UTC)

Sorry, but nobody here on the English Wikipedia can help you, as we have no jurisdiction over the other languages. You could try asking at meta:Steward requests/Miscellaneous if there are no administrators at the Uyghur Wikipedia. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:45, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for the information! TayfunEt. (talk) 13:07, 9 May 2022 (UTC)
ugwiki doesn't have administrators, the Global Sysops can deal with it at the page linked above. — xaosflux Talk 14:56, 10 May 2022 (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.

Moving Article to Draft Space During AFDEdit

Is an editor permitted to move an article from article space into draft space while an Article for Deletion nomination is pending? I am asking because I thought that I knew the answer, but it appears that there is disagreement. I had thought, once an AFD was properly started, moving the article to draft space was not permitted. In the past, if an article has been moved to draft space, it has been moved back to article space, and the AFD allowed to run for seven days, with Draftify being one of the possible closes. However, in the most recent case, the article was moved to draft space, and then a non-admin did a Speedy Close of the AFD, stating that the AFD rationale is no longer valid, because the article was moved to draft space.

So what is the policy? Can an article be moved to draft space, closing the AFD? Or should the article be left in article space to allow the deletion discussion to run for the usual seven days? Robert McClenon (talk) 03:26, 10 May 2022 (UTC)

The AFD template on the article says not to remove the template and not to blank the page. It doesn't say not to move the page. (The template on a page that is pending MFD has a longer list of things not to do, including moving the page.) Robert McClenon (talk) 03:31, 10 May 2022 (UTC)

I think it's generally unwise to boldly draftify an article if an AfD is pending, especially if at least one editor has expressed opposition to draftification. WP:AFDTODRAFT, which might be the guidance that you're looking for, states that [w]hile there is no prohibition against moving an article while an AfD or deletion review discussion is in progress, editors considering doing so should realize such a move can confuse the discussion greatly, can preempt a closing decision, can make the discussion difficult to track, and can lead to inconsistencies when using semi-automated closing scripts. So, there's currently no policy prohibition, though there are ways in which it can be disruptive. — Ⓜ️hawk10 (talk) 03:40, 10 May 2022 (UTC)
Like Mhawk says, there's a long-standing consensus that moving articles during an AfD is disruptive. I also can't imagine that an article at AfD would be eligible for draftication, unless there hadn't been any !votes for any other outcome. Even then, incubation in draftspace is a possible outcome of an AfD, so the early close is ending the discussion prematurely and pre-empting consensus. It might be justified in some WP:IAR edge cases, but otherwise this sounds like a bad close and should be reversed. – Joe (talk) 07:46, 10 May 2022 (UTC)
Thank you, User:Joe Roe, User:Mhawk10. I have observed this at least several times, usually where the person moving the article to draft space had previously moved it to article space. That is, the editor moving the article into draft space was previously the proponent or author of the article. It was in draft space, either because it was in review or because it had been moved to draft space once already. Then the proponent decides that it is ready for article space. Someone nominates it for AFD at this point. Then the proponent moves it back to draft space. If this sounds like gaming the system, that is because I think it is gaming the system. My own opinion is that the current policy is wishy-washy, but that is only my opinion. My own opinion is that, because it doesn't prohibit this behavior, it enables a proponent to try to sneak a page into article space and then run back. But maybe the community wants the policy to be ambiguous. Robert McClenon (talk) 14:32, 10 May 2022 (UTC)
I will add that I have in particular observed this behavior in an area where the notability guidelines have been ambiguous for more than ten years, films that are pending release. Part of the problem is that the notability guideline has been ambiguous, and an effort to clarify the guidelines resulted in No Consensus. A typical sequence is:
  • A. There is a draft.
  • B. A proponent moves it to article space.
  • C. A New Page reviewer moves it back to draft space, saying Not Ready for Article Space, Incubate in Draft Space.
  • D. The proponent moves it to article space a second time.
  • E. Another editor nominates it for deletion.
  • F. Now the proponent moves it back to draft space.
  • G1. An admin moves it back to article space and the AFD continues, or
  • G2. A non-admin speedy-closes the AFD.
So, I think that the policy is ambiguous, but maybe the community wants it to be ambiguous. Robert McClenon (talk) 14:32, 10 May 2022 (UTC)
If I saw in the wild what you are describing above and the editor making these moves were either experienced or did this across multiple articles, I would start to look for signs of UPE in the editor’s history. It’s a bit odd.
I think the most natural thing to do would be to treat this akin to BLARing a page that is already up for AFD. Which is to say, please don't do it if you are not the uninvolved closer. — Ⓜ️hawk10 (talk) 14:46, 10 May 2022 (UTC)
I'd be a bit more charitable and say that it's not gaming the system, but a common misunderstanding of the system that we wilfully perpetuate by treating draftspace and AfC as if they exist outside our usual collaborative norms. That is, we tell new editors wanting to write a new article that they must make a "draft" and that this will be reviewed for "publication". They probably go through a cycle at least once (either creating in mainspace and having it moved to draft, or having an AfC submission declined) that teaches them that if their draft is not suitable for publication, it is returned to them to work on further. Finally they get to a point where the reviewers are satisfied and... whoops, now it's at AfD and a bunch of other people are saying that it isn't suitable for publication after all! In that context, trying to move it back to draftspace to work on further is an entirely reasonable response based on how they've been led to believe Wikipedia works. Of course, in reality, the "draft" was never theirs and whether it was suitable for "publication" never had anything to do with their work or the decisions of reviewers, but was entirely dependent on community consensus on the merits of the topic it's about. But how the hell were they supposed to know that? We need to communicate better to these editors how mainspace ownership and collaboration actually works – or rather, we need to stop deliberately misleading them with the fantasy peer review and "publication" process offered by AfC. I'd say that starts with ending the review–decline–resubmit cycle: articles that start in mainspace should stay there, and drafts should only be moved once. In other words, if we get rid of steps C and D in your sequence, I think there's a good chance it will naturally eliminate F and G. – Joe (talk) 15:14, 10 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Two general things we can that should deter these cases without the need for specially tailored rules directed at regular participants in AfDs is (i) say that if an AfD is irregular in that the content radically changes other than unambiguous improvement, including a move, then it is then not suitable for NAC, and (ii) the closer of the AfD is to interpret the question as to whether the content belongs in mainspace under the given name. Then, we will only don't delete the article if the closer interprets the AfD as asking for draftify.
Apart from my general aversion to rule creep, I'm happy with codifying that this behaviour is unacceptable. — Charles Stewart (talk) 15:31, 10 May 2022 (UTC)

I think that a rule saying not to move an article to draft space while an AFD is open is a good idea and has a low wp:creep risk. To me it looks like it should be too obvious to need saying. The AFD period is brief, and I see no non-disruptive reason for such a move. BTW, we should understand that AFC is a tough venue. Edge case articles that would survive in mainspace are usually rejected in AFC because the folks there are playing it safe, the alternative being "go out on a limb" with an edge case article. We should both thank the AFC folks for what they do and also be nice to the folks trying to get their article through AFC. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 15:58, 10 May 2022 (UTC)

First, I agree with User:North8000 that codifying a rule against moving an article while it is being discussed for deletion is a minimal change in scope, and would add that I have seen it done often enough that I think it should be either forbidden or permitted, and I think forbidden is a better approach.
Second, to User:Joe Roe, in the cases that I have observed, I am willing to assume good faith and say that sometimes it isn't UPE. (Sometimes it is.) In particular, it happens with future films, and the editors who do it are simply ultras, fanatics, willing to game the system to get an upcoming film listed.
Third, to User:Joe Roe, this is related to the problem of move-warring between article space and draft space. The repeated moving of an article from article space to draft space is move-warring, and should be avoided. If a proponent moves the page back into article space, the proper response is not to draftify it again, but to nominate it for deletion. But after it is nominated for deletion, sometimes the proponent then tries to pull it back into draft space.
Fourth, I was about to ask what BLARing a page is. It is cutting down to a redirect. Redirect wars are common in music disputes.

Robert McClenon (talk) 17:20, 10 May 2022 (UTC)

Fifth, the speedy close in the case in point was done in good faith because the closer didn't know that the move to draft space was out of process. The move to draft space was not in good faith, but the speedy close was in good faith; the closer just thought that they were wrapping up a loose end. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:07, 10 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I think moving to draft space should not be allowed during an AFD. Instead someone who wants to do that should propose it in the AFD discussion, then others can support or oppose that idea. Also any move during the discussion is a bit disruptive, though I can see why it may happen, eg error in title; title is an attack on someone eg "Joe Blow (loser)". If someone wants to change the scope of the article by renaming, then that should be discussed in the AFD anyway. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 00:47, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
    • As I have outlined, the problem has to do with an editor who is determined to have an article in article space, and has moved it into article space after it was moved back into draft space. But then, when it is nominated for deletion, the editor says, "Oh. Now I am willing to compromise and have it in draft space rather than have an AFD." And they hadn't been willing to compromise earlier. Robert McClenon (talk) 01:20, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
I have had this arise as an issue recently. In my view, if the gist of the AfD nomination is that the subject is notable but the article needs to be completely rewritten, and a review of the article confirms this, then a move to draft space is immediately justifiable. It immediately removes poor content from article space, thereby improving the encyclopedia, and does not disrupt the discussion of the AfD question of whether such an article should exist in Wikipedia. The article is still visible, and quite frankly, because improvements to the article can be made in any space, it is less disruptive to the discussion than substantial efforts to improve the article while it remains in mainspace. BD2412 T 01:20, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
User:BD2412 - I can see that this case will occasionally happen. But, if so, is it unreasonable to wait until the AFD is concluded in 7 days with a conclusion to Draftify? Alternatively, if everyone agrees, can the AFD be SNOW-closed? Also, are you, BD2412, saying that the AFD should then continue while the article is in draft space? That isn't consistent with current policy. Do we need an exception to current policy, or can we simply wait until the AFD concludes? Robert McClenon (talk) 03:32, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
I am saying, let's not let the bureaucratic be the enemy of the good. If the article is a hoax or an unfixably non-notable subject, then the move should not matter and the discussion should conclude as it concludes. If the issue is that the article is in poor shape (WP:TNT) is raised often, that's another matter. BD2412 T 03:42, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
I think that User:BD2412 is saying that an AFD can continue (conclude as it concludes) while the article is no longer in article space. Is that correct? If that is correct, then does the close of the AFD resolve the matter of what space the page should be in, if any? If so, that would mean that moving the article to draft space does not stop the AFD. In the cases I have been describing, the purpose of moving the article to draft space was to stop the AFD. So are you saying that an AFD should run to conclusion, then that means that moving the article should not stop the AFD, which should continue. That is interesting. Do other editors agree? Robert McClenon (talk) 19:35, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
Yes, the AfD can continue running. I think this is no different than an AfD continuing to run after an article remaining in mainspace has undergone a complete overhaul that removes the problems that prompted the AfD nomination and adds a dozen high quality reliable sources. I would give as an example John T. Newton, which was nominated looking like this (three lines, no sources). BD2412 T 19:54, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
Do other editors agree with User:BD2412 that an AFD can continue running after the article is moved into another namespace? I think that is a very good idea, and would prevent the devious use of the move back into draft space. If so, that would mean that the author of a questionable article is taking the risk of an AFD, and, once properly started, the AFD can continue. Do other editors agree that moving an article out of article space does not stop an AFD that was validly started? Robert McClenon (talk) 23:57, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
In other words, a page can only be nominated for AFD if it is in article space when nominated, but the AFD continues in any space. Is this correct? If so, administrators should be aware of this provision, so that they will know that draftifying cannot be used to stop an AFD.
As I said at the beginning, moving an article into draft space to stop an AFD is a relatively common abuse. It should be clarified that it doesn't work. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:57, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
I doesn't "sit" right with me to be having an AFD without a corresponding "article". I agree with the others who said Draftify during an AFD should be prohibited. AFD is a formal process that usually provides a clear answer and once started, should conclude. As with everything, there are exceptions. Hoaxes can be CSDed, which immediately ends the AFD. This same thing happens when one editor AFDs an article and subsequently someone else says CSD G11. But for the more routine case of a notability issue, there is no great rush. MB 00:49, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
  • If the AfD is running, DO NOT move the article to draftspace without closing the AfD. If you are not competent to close the AfD (eg too inexperienced, or involved with the article) then do not Draftify, but instead !vote in the AfD your opinion for why it should be draftified. If consensus is to draftify, then the AfD can be closed per that consensus. Seven days is not strictly required, especially if consensus is for a non-deletion result. I can easily imagine that an AfD nominator may very easily agree with the first comment or two that advise to draftify, and the nominator withdraws the AfD and draftifys. This would be an AfD speedy close and subject to the WP:Draftify conditions. Alternatively, the AfD consensus may be SNOW Draftify, meaning the page can be draftified per consensus at AfD overcoming objections such as from the author.
    Leaving the AfD running on a draftified page would be disruptive to the AfD process. The templates would go red, and scripts wouldn’t work, and later editors browsing AfD would be frustrated. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:43, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
  • User:SmokeyJoe raises good points about why moving a page out of the article namespace during an AFD is a bad idea, and will mess up the scripts and templates. However, SmokeyJoe appears to be assuming that I am asking about a good faith effort, when he refers to whether the editor is competent to close the AFD. The instances that I am asking about are not good faith editing. The cases that I am asking about have to do with editors who have pushed a draft into article space, typically after it has already been draftified at least once. So then a reviewer nominates it for deletion. SmokeyJoe has been involved recently in other discussions about draftification, and we agree that an editor has the right to object to draftification, and to insist on keeping an article in article space. But SmokeyJoe has, I think, also agreed that in that case, the author is taking the risk that an AFD discussion will be started. The question is about a namespace two-step, in which the author first pushes the page into article space, and then tries to pull it back into draft space to defeat the AFD that is an appropriate response to pushing the article into article space.
  • So it isn't a matter of whether the author is competent to close the AFD; they are not only involved but are playing a game. The question is how should the community deal with an editor who tries to stop an AFD by hiding the article in non-article space. Robert McClenon (talk) 03:57, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I have seen two different ideas. First, some editors think that moving the article out of article space should be forbidden. Second, some editors think that the move should be ignored and the AFD should go on anyway. Robert McClenon (talk) 03:57, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
    I think my answer silently covered the “bad faith” page proponent.
    My answer implies that draftification is forbidden by an INVOLVED editor, as they aren’t able to closed the AfD. This means that the editor who ignored AfC negative responses and mainspaced the draft anyway can interfere if the AfD heading towards deletion. SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:23, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
    • User:SmokeyJoe - I think that your last sentence is missing a negative, or something. Robert McClenon (talk) 05:55, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
      This means that the editor who ignored AfC negative responses and mainspaced the draft anyway can’t interfere if the AfD is heading towards deletion. SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:28, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
    An editor who breaks the rules and tries to shut down the AfD by draftifying should be reverted, warned, and blocked if they do it again.
    G7 does not prevent an AfD from finding a consensus to delete.
    Note that if an AfD determines a topic to be non-notable, this makes its non-notability a fact in any future MfD on future drafts. MfD does not examine notability, but it does pay attention to past AfD results. SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:28, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
In the cases that I am discussing, the proponent isn't trying to shut down the AFD because it is "heading towards deletion", but tries to shut it down before it is heading anywhere, because they don't want an AFD. They just want what they want, and are playing a game. Robert McClenon (talk) 05:55, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
It appears that User:SmokeyJoe is either saying or implying that the article may not be draftified or otherwise moved during the AFD, because the AFD must be closed first. This comes back to the question of whether the template on the article should include a statement that it should not be moved during the deletion discussion. A page that is at MFD already says that it should not be blanked or moved. A page that is at AFD says that it should not be blanked.
It now seems that this is about the template. Sure, the AfD template should say “Do not move the page while the AfD is in progress”. In a separate process, an active AfD trumps the RM process.
I don’t think there is any need to ascribe motive to the draft mainspacer, whether they did it for this reason or that, once the mainspace page is AfD-ed, short of speedy deletion, the AfD has to play out. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:51, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I certainly think AfDs should continue regardless of what enterprising participants do with the content. The point of my previous comment was that I think we should forbid NACs if the AfD is irregular because the content is moved. I'm open to us forbidding draftification once an AfD is started in addition. — Charles Stewart (talk) 06:15, 17 May 2022 (UTC)

Slight tweak to VRT application policyEdit

A recent incident has highlighted what I think is a bit of a flaw in the way VRT permissions for certain queues are vatted. The process is entirely over at Meta [4]. This means that if users on this project want to keep track of who is applying to have access to queues that are only relevant to this project, they have to check in regularly on a different project. This is easily rectified, I propose that in the future applicants for info-en and permissions-en are required to post a notice at Wikipedia:VRT noticeboard linking to their request at Meta. That way it will appear on local watchlists for those interested. It's simple and does not place an undue burden on the applicant.

Discussion VRTEdit

  • Support as proposer. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:07, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
    Do we have authority to make this change? My understanding was that info-en and permissions-en apply to any contactor speaking English, which means the queries also relate to other English-language projects (or concerns from English speakers about non-English-language projects), and that permissions-en is mainly for Commons stuff? In which case local project notification requirements are probably a metawiki issue and outside of enwiki scope, no? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 00:40, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
    This. Aren't these VRTs queue about the language of the request, not en-* as in "exclusive to the English Wikipedia". — xaosflux Talk 00:46, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
    Having just popped over in to info-en and seeing a ticket about wikidata, written in English. And certainly wouldn't want to be in the way of commonswiki permission agents. — xaosflux Talk 00:48, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Comment. Could we have a bot that tracks the place that requests are made at Meta that would alert the noticeboard when a new request is made? — Ⓜ️hawk10 (talk) 00:43, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
    If we wanted to do something like that then maybe it's worth thinking globally here (equally useful if local communities of contributors on other English-language projects knew of the request). The VRT admins could setup a system like the one for global bot requests (see meta:Bot policy/New global bot discussion -- a MassMessage is sent to various noticeboards to notify local projects of the global request).
    In any case, I think it's worth getting input from VRT admins (pinging @Krd and Matthewrb) in advance, as courtesy and to avoid us forcefully pushing changes onto how they want to deal with access requests. (even if it's just wider advertisement: eg I believe our community was against routinely notifying AN of EFH requests made on the edit filter noticeboard). Reasonable cases can probably be made against routine advertisement of meta perms requests to large projects, and requests for global access are currently not advertised locally (from sysadmin on phab, to GIE/GAFE, to things like VRT). This could be a case of hard cases make bad law. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 01:04, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
    Thank you for the ping. There's a lot here, and I will answer the best I can.
    Technically, VRT access requests are not done on community consensus. Instead, they are done at VRT admin consensus with community input. While we certainly love other users making comments on candidates, the ultimate decision does rest on admin consensus. Now, I understand there is an issue with transparency, but we need the ability to discuss things that may not necessarily be public knowledge (useful to note, there have been a few times - though I can't remember specific instances - where a user is eligible for VRTS but we have not accepted due to non-public information). This is why we accept or decline in private - emails often have information about why a user was declined. If you note, anytime an admin removes a request from the volunteering page, we don't say the status of the request. A community notification might cause problems in this regard.
    In addition, a user might not be accepted for all the queues they request - say User:Example, a sysop with 50,000 edits asks for "info-en and permissions-en" but only has 100 edits on Commons and no edits in the File: namespace, they would be accepted for "info-en" but declined for "permissions-en" They would show as accepted, though they were accepted for only one queue.
    There's a bigger concern I have - any additional manual step might cause application issues. Right now, VRTS applications are actually a two step process: 1) post on Meta and 2) send us an email. Some users miss step 2, which is technically a malformed application (which is summarily declined). Would missing a local noticeboard post count as a malformed application? Would the VRTS admins be responsible for policing that? A bot might be helpful, but users sometimes post nonpublic information on our volunteering page which must be suppressed. How will the bot handle that?
    Personally, I am not opposed to some sort of notification, as long as these issues are addressed. I am of course available to answer questions as well, I understand that VRT isn't quite the standard "wiki" way.   ~ Matthewrb Talk to me · Changes I've made 04:41, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
    I would also point out that once you are a VRT agent, requesting additional queues is done just by a direct request to a VRT admin, and this would be an even bigger (proportinately) increase in that regard. Now if someone wants to figure out an automatic method to cross-post any request to an info-en queue on the main meta board to this, then sure, but more generally I feel it's out of our authority and unhelpful. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:02, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
    My concern is less with how the VRT team makes decisions and more with the lack of awareness and input from fellow users of the applicant's "home" wiki. More input from those who have worked with the applicant seems like it would be beneficial. Beeblebrox (talk) 16:56, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Support for increased transparency. BilledMammal (talk) 09:54, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Comment. Regarding metawiki applications not being visible in local watchlists, this can be solved if the existing global watchlist for all WMF wikis is made more accessible. Currently it can be accessed only from meta Special:GlobalWatchlist, so most people are not aware of it. In the last community wishlist survey, it was proposed to make it accessible from all wikis, but sadly didn't get much support. ಮಲ್ನಾಡಾಚ್ ಕೊಂಕ್ಣೊ (talk) 08:02, 12 May 2022 (UTC)

Are primary sources allowed or not?Edit

Some users mention primary sources for song announcements or any album details published in Facebook or Twitter post or official artist page as problematic due to being a primary sources but it looks like there is no problem with primary sources if digital single is sourced with Apple Music or music video director is taken from YouTube video or description under video. There is also Template:Cite AV media notes used for credits directly from CD studio albums. I talk only about official profiles by artists, labels etc. You could also go further and say that chart websites are primary sources etc. In this way it maybe almost impossible to add album tracklists, track durations or release dates because there is no secondary source for it in most cases (quite rare case to happen - maybe just for top 10 world's best selling singles). Eurohunter (talk) 13:13, 11 May 2022 (UTC)

@Eurohunter This would probably be better suited to the WP:help desk rather than the village pump. The answer to your question is "it depends". The relevant policy here is WP:PRIMARY, along with a few extensions for specific situations like WP:BLPPRIMARY. For the kind of information you mention in your question (track listings, track durations and release dates) a primary source would be fine, but for other information in the same article a secondary source would be preferred (or in some cases, required). (talk) 13:50, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
Primary sources are fine for some uses, but not for others. 1) Primary sources are often useful alongside secondary sources that discuss them. For example, citing officially published lyrics (a primary source of the lyrics for a song) may be useful alongside the secondary source that explains the writing process or provides commentary on those lyrics 2) Primary sources are fine for some kinds of banal, simple statements of fact, i.e. citing the date when the song was published to the officially published lyrics which may contain a publication date on them, or citing the performance credits for a song to the album liner notes itself. What one cannot do with primary sources is provide any additional analysis or commentary beyond what the actual primary source text states. For example, let's say you were citing the album credits for a particular musician which notes that they played electric guitar on a song; that citation is NOT to be used for things like analyzing their performance in any way, such as explaining how they played a particular passage, what sorts of exact equipment they used, how they composed the part, etc. All of that information must be cited to a secondary source, not the recording or the liner notes directly. --Jayron32 14:46, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
Eurohunter mentions using Facebook and Twitter for song announcements. In this case, wouldn't the question boil down to suitability of WP:USERGENERATED content, rather than primary vs secondary sourcing? DB1729 (talk) 15:02, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
@DB1729 It depends who wrote the comment on Facebook or twitter. If the comment was made by some random person on the internet then it is user generated and generally unusable. If the comment comes from a band member or their record label or an official page for the band then it's selfpublished rather than user generated and is probably acceptable for uncontroversial statements of fact. (talk) 15:11, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
Excactly but a lot of people will tell that Facebook post by official account of artist or label is a primary source - not notable etc. They axpect that after this Facebook post of artist there will be article published in Billboard etc. which describes this Facebook post and has additional comments from artist etc. Eurohunter (talk) 15:18, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
Notability is a separate issue from verifiability. Primary sources are often useful for verifying facts, but rarely contribute to notability. Phil Bridger (talk) 15:58, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
Template:Primary source inline exist.[non-primary source needed]. Eurohunter (talk) 16:14, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
@Eurohunter Yes, because whether it is appropriate to use a primary source or not depends upon what the source is and what claim it is being used to support. It isn't the case that primary sources are always OK or always not OK - as I said in my original comment "it depends". There are some things where primary sources are fine, release dates for example, and there are some things that cannot be referenced to primary sources; you cannot, for example, use social media posts for claims about living people other than the person that posted it. (talk) 16:34, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) Yes, it does. It links to WP:PRIMARY which explains more fully when primary sources can or cannot be used, so answers your question. That was already linked in the very first reply above. Phil Bridger (talk) 16:40, 11 May 2022 (UTC)
You've stumbled upon one of the great seldom-accurately-discussed debates of Wikipedia. The only time is really makes a difference is when you're trying to establish WP:NOTABILITY, which explicitly requires secondary sources. And maybe when working on BLPs, although WP:BLPPRIMARY strikes me as more a hammer against people trying to write doxxing and hit pieces into Wikipedia than anything actually to do with the reliability, validity, or general usefulness of the sources themselves.
But over the years people (confused or with various axes to grind) have written a lot of confusing text into WP:OR#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources (i.e. the WP:PRIMARY several people have already dropped links to above) that makes it sound like primary sources are something super special and difficult to use. Yes, primary sources may only be used for what they say, without new analysis or synthesis. But that's true of every source, not just "primary" ones. Yes, primary sources must be reliably published, but that's true of every source too. And further, an article in a reliable publication is at the same time a potential secondary source for what it says and a primary source for the fact that the publication published that, it depends on the use. Anomie 11:14, 12 May 2022 (UTC)
  • It also matters in biomed, where our WP:MEDRS guideline deprecates primary sources with a severity that we don't apply to other scientific claims. There is good reason for some difference of treatment: biomed suffers from hidden CoI to an extent that other sciences don't quite match. However, I do not think that MEDRS represents well-crafted policy, and there are cases where MEDRS has forced us to use poorer quality sources, hurting neutrality and verifiability. — Charles Stewart (talk) 12:29, 12 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I would also say that this issue has been a bit of a bugbear of mine, in that many people seem to think that the concepts of primary and secondary sources are peculiar to Wikipedia, so should be defined by Wikipedia. Various fields, such as history and science, have such concepts that existed well before Wikipedia was even a gleam in Wales's and Sanger's eyes. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:11, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
    • It's common to knock Sanger, but I imagine Sanger was acutely aware of the preexisting distinction back at WP's dawn. — Charles Stewart (talk) 07:28, 16 May 2022 (UTC)

Applying Notability Tag to Article after No Consensus AFDEdit

There is a tagging dispute currently at DRN in which a {{notability}} tag was applied to an article after an AFD was closed as No Consensus. (I will not mediate any tagging dispute, because I think that the purpose of dispute resolution should be to improve the article, but that is not the point.) The editors appear to be "dug in" on both sides, with some saying that the No Consensus close meant that there are questions about the notability of the subject, and some saying that the No Consensus close meant that there was not a consensus to delete the article. I think that the issue is really a policy question, which is whether No Consensus at AFD is a reason for tagging the article. Comments? Robert McClenon (talk) 20:59, 12 May 2022 (UTC)

No Consensus means that there was not a consensus to delete the article. Since the only real point of a notability tag is to stimulate an Afd, & there shouldn't be another right now, it should be removed. Johnbod (talk) 04:01, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
I have to disagree, the fact that that it was no-consensus clearly means there are doubts that it is notable (assuming that's why an article was at risk of deletion). So its ongoing inclusion makes sense until more sources are added. Nosebagbear (talk) 11:54, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
Precisely. The purpose of tagging articles is to encourage people to fix potential issues. An AfD closing as 'no consensus' is clear evidence that a significant proportion of people think there are issues. The fix is to improve the article, not pretend there isn't a problem. AndyTheGrump (talk) 12:18, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
How do you fix notability, which is supposed to be unrelated to the current state of the article, by editing the article? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:19, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
Assuming there was a discussion prior to the AfD, querying notability, then that would have been the time to tag, not after gng was discussed in an AfD. The discussion can continue with a view to resolution without the tag. Selfstudier (talk) 12:32, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
I always find a post-AfD notability tag pointy. AfD is where we debate notability. If you still think it's not notable, you can initiate a DRV or renominate it at some point. Otherwise, what, are we supposed to have articles tagged forever? (I supported deletion btw). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:19, 13 May 2022 (UTC)

Continued presence of notability tag can be 3 things:

  1. An impetus to get the article improved
  2. A visible indicator that there is an unresolved question/dispute over wp:notability
  3. A precursor to AFD.

After a no-consensus AFD, with #3 temporarily off the table, you still have #1 & #2. IMO a recent no-consensus AFD should not preclude notability tagging. On #1, while in the ethereal sense notability relates to the topic/title, in reality it can be improved by including more (suitable) sources. Adding such sources (or failure to be able to do so after an effort) is also a way to resolve #2. North8000 (talk) 13:49, 13 May 2022 (UTC)

Additional note: The language right at Template:Notability make clear that the tag can be removed if you are certain that enough in-depth, independent sources have been published about the subject to overcome any notability issues and that The template must not be re-added. In other words, once someone feels notability has been addressed, the notability tag is done. The next step, if you don't think they've been addressed, is to AfD, request merge, etc. This is in line with my understanding of what this tag is for. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:15, 13 May 2022 (UTC)

Those template notes sound like good guidance for most situations but probably not for when there is a dispute. Because basically says that if one person says it's not needed and takes it off, it can't be put back. North8000 (talk) 14:33, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
Yes, that's what it says, and that's the way it should be. We shouldn't be having disputes over notability tags, and it's built into the documentation of the tag. The dispute is over notability, and one side of that dispute has a way to escalate: merge, afd, etc. Insisting on tagging because you didn't get your way isn't ok. Like it or not "no consensus" defaults to keep; if you still don't think it's notable, you can renominate, go to DRV, or find something else to do (like improving the article, removing low quality sources, removing unsourced/promotional content, stubifying if necessary, etc.). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:58, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
Many good & valid points there but I still stick with my view on categorical exclusion of the tag as outlined above. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 15:19, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I advocate for even more use of {{Notability}} for articles that are still sitting in the WP:NPP queue. But I think that as soon as an article is nominated for deletion, the tag becomes pointless. I usually remove this tag as soon as an article gets nominated for deletion. I don't wait for the AfD result. Post-AfD, if the close was no consensus, {{More citations needed}} may be more appropriate, notability discussion can continue in the talk page, or a second AfD nomination can be done. MarioGom (talk) 18:54, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
    "More citations needed" would not be more appropriate. The purpose of this tag is described as the following: This template indicates that the article needs additional inline citations. This is not the issue with the article - the article does not make statements that require additional inline citations. The disputed article discusses a subject which may not be notable enough to be included on Wikipedia. Those are two different issues. BeŻet (talk) 09:52, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
  • The template should not be restored once it is removed. As Rhododendrites points out, improvement of the article is never an option, as notability is not affected by referencing or the state of the article. The template must not be re-added. Doing so is disruptive and a block should be considered. Our means of resolving notability issues is AfD, and that should be considered final. The use of this tag to obstruct an article is deplored. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:17, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
    I have a proposal for change here: replacing the link to Help:Maintenance template removal with Template:Notability#Removing this tag Hawkeye7 (discuss) 18:27, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
    That doesn't seem necessary, as the help page already has a section about notability tags. The issue is, the help page straight up mischaracterizes the template. The template doesn't say, and doesn't require, adding citations to reliable sources (because notability doesn't require adding citations). All you have to do is read Wikipedia:Notability and Template:Notability to see that perspective doesn't follow from anything else. The template is an expression of doubt that such sources exist. To overcome it, you have to feel sufficiently confident they exist. Ideally, yes, you add them to the article, but we have other templates for insufficient citations ({{Refimprove}}, etc.). If you think the current citations are sufficient, you can just remove the tag. In a typical situation, though, you need to be careful when you do that, because the person who doesn't think it's notable can't restore the tags and has no other option but to escalate. We have a formal process for that. (Of course that's a typical case rather than someone making a point by adding it after an AfD was closed instead of following standard procedure for contesting a close or renominating). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:56, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I closed the DRN case about the tagging dispute that prompted this inquiry. I was probably too polite in closing the dispute, and not sufficiently sarcastic, because I am in general disgusted by tagging disputes. Thank you for your comments. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:53, 17 May 2022 (UTC)

Proposal for new article title naming convention - RfC or local consensusEdit

This is related to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Indian constituencies). Also see § Proposal state on that talk page.

The Wikipedia:Article titles § Proposed naming conventions and guidelines states that Proposals for new naming conventions and guidelines should be advertised on this page's talk page, at requests for comment, the Village Pump, and any related pages. If a strong consensus has formed, the proposal is adopted and is added to the naming conventions category. The Indian constituencies proposal was discussed at WT:INPOL#Proposal : Wikipedia:Naming conventions Indian constituencies a couple of months ago in March. However an RfC for that and notifications at WT:AT and Village Pump were not given. (I believe the editors were simply not aware of that at that time.) But, several noticeboards within WT:INDIA (country, states, MOS-India related articles) were notified of that discussion at WT:INPOL. 3 weeks later, following that discussion, the proposal was marked as accepted and converted to a naming convention guideline.

What should be the next course of action here? Should the proposal be accepted as it is and be implemented in full since it was already discussed at WT:INPOL or should it be restarted in the form of an RfC as stated in WT:AT ? — DaxServer (t · m · c) 17:54, 13 May 2022 (UTC)

Also, note that 80% of the articles are already moved: Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Indian constituencies)#ImplementationDaxServer (t · m · c) 18:06, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
hah! Maybe thats how Venkat TL made more than 8,000 edits in less than 14 days while they are still retired. —usernamekiran (talk) 23:41, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
Makes the time i spent retired look like a Caribbean cruise 🚢 Zindor (talk) 00:28, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
  • There is no clear consensus yet (there is upper/lower case issue). The discussion was never even formally closed. It is inappropriate to adapt into a policy. Then there is my concern where "A" and "B" given the references of each other I have mentioned it here (it is similar to that joke of jobless chap getting married to daughter of Bill Gates, and becoming president of world bank at the same time. It is kind of a paradox). I believe there should be a fresh RfC, and properly this time. —usernamekiran (talk) 18:36, 13 May 2022 (UTC)
    I'm with usernamekiran on this, the lack of debate over certain points makes me think the discussion was intended as a quiet rubber stamp for conversations that had already happened elsewhere. This needs to be redone as a properly advertised RfC. I'd expect someone to debate whether 'Assembly' was part of the proper name or not. Such as stating that if a source says 'Secunderabad Assembly constituency' the capitalization would indicate that 'Secunderabad Assembly' was the proper name and constituency was an appendage; therefore the titling would be 'Secunderabad Assembly (constituency)'. This is obviously incorrect, the assembly is at state level, so this brings us back to the concept that the constituencies have the same name as the places they represent, and assembly constituency is a means of disambiguating and should be bracketed. I just came up with that on the fly, and it may have little merit, but something like that would be raised in a thorough discussion. Zindor (talk) 21:28, 14 May 2022 (UTC)
    There is no concept that constituencies have the same name as the places they represent. In India constituencies almost always represent more than 1 place. The boundaries of constituency and the place are never the same. Constituencies are distinct entities and their full name is used always while referring to the constituency. Note the capitalization and brackets in the headline : "Demand for retaining Pendurthi Assembly constituency in Visakhapatnam district gets louder". The Hindu. 22 February 2022. Venkat TL (talk) 06:55, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
    Yes and [probably] no. Re the naming of the constituencies, Pendurthi Assembly constituency and every other constituency refers to the political entity, which are almost always named after the important city that lies within its borders. And there are exceptions to everything, but the majority of them are derived in such a fashion. I think this may have already popped up in one of the discussions that Venkat listed below, but I lost track of it — DaxServer (t · m · c) 08:18, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
    There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Follow WP:COMMONNAME and take clue from how the constituencies are named in the reliable media. --Venkat TL (talk) 09:57, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
    What do you mean by reinventing the wheel in this context? — DaxServer (t · m · c) 10:03, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
    Or are you referring to this discussion whether calling for an RfC, or the RfC itself if called for, as reinventing the wheel? — DaxServer (t · m · c) 10:32, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
    e/c Venkat TL, you're missing the point. No one is disagreeing with our policy on common names, we're suggesting how to separate the proper name from surrounding text. You can't figure out the common name without first determining which exact text sources are using as the name! Regardless, this is a debate for the new RfC. Also, are you going to come out of retirement yet? You're rather active Zindor (talk) 10:14, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
So it is misleading and inaccurate to say that there was a lack of debate. Now if anyone believes that some more pages should be informed, for more participants into the proposal discussion, feel free to add a link there. Venkat TL (talk) 06:34, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for illustrating my point. While we are at it maybe we should delete the portal system, plenty of prior discussions have happened there. I'll just set up a straw poll here and then you can start deleting them. Zindor (talk) 09:30, 15 May 2022 (UTC)

Reworded RfC on the addition of a stand-alone page creation criteria to the geography notability guidelineEdit

RFC to clarify that notable geographical topics do not need to have stand-alone articles. See Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)#Drafting of stand-alone page criteria for WP:NGEO, based on feedback at recent RfC. Previous proposal, withdrawn to reword it: Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#RfC_on_the_addition_of_a_stand-alone_page_creation_criteria_to_the_geography_notability_guideline


Wikipedia has many very short geographical article stubs. This proposal is to add a section to WP:NGEO that will clarify, in line with the existing WP:NOPAGE guideline, that information on notable geographical topics may sometimes be best included in parent articles. The draft wording of the addition to WP:NGEO is given below:


Should the following section be added to WP:Notability (geographic features)? — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 10:34, 15 May 2022 (UTC)

== Whether to create standalone pages ==

As stated in WP:NOPAGE, "Sometimes, understanding [of a notable topic] is best achieved by presenting the material on a dedicated standalone page, but it is not required that we do so. There are other times when it is better to cover notable topics, that clearly should be included in Wikipedia, as part of a larger page about a broader topic, with more context." For example, a majority of a river's tributaries may meet the notability criteria defined in this guideline, but there is little to be said about most of them. In this case, we may include a list of tributaries in the river's article, with standalone articles for some tributaries and redirect articles pointing to the list entries for other tributaries. A similar approach may be followed for hamlets or neighborhoods in a municipality, stations on a railway line, and other geographical features.

Merging a short stub about a notable topic into a parent article may improve the reader experience if it presents the topic in a broader context, as long as a redirect from the stub title is maintained, with suitable categories to assist navigation. The redirect target may be an entry in a stand-alone list or an entry in a list or sub-section within the parent article. The information may be formatted as a sortable table, a bulleted list, paragraphs, or sub-sections depending on the type of content. The redirect should point to the position in the parent article that holds the merged content, which may be identified by an {{anchor}} template. Maximum care should be taken to preserve the information that was part of the stub. Examples: MacDonald River (Côte-Nord)#Lakes and Alachua County, Florida#Historic communities in Alachua County.

It is important to follow the process described at Wikipedia:Merging when merging articles, with particular care to publicising controversial proposals at relevant WikiProjects. A merge does not preclude expanding the redirect back into a standalone page if more information comes to light.

Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 10:34, 15 May 2022 (UTC)

Survey NGEOEdit

  • Yes, as proposer Before outlining my vote, I will first mention some important aspects of Wikipedia policies and guidelines for context. Firstly, notability is not the same as stand-alone page creation criteria. From Wikipedia:Notability: [Presumption of notability] is not a guarantee that a topic will necessarily be handled as a separate, stand-alone page. Editors may use their discretion to merge or group two or more related topics into a single article. From Wikipedia:Notability#Whether_to_create_standalone_pages: Sometimes, understanding is best achieved by presenting the material on a dedicated standalone page, but it is not required that we do so. There are other times when it is better to cover notable topics, that clearly should be included in Wikipedia, as part of a larger page about a broader topic, with more context. A decision to cover a notable topic only as part of a broader page does not in any way disparage the importance of the topic. Secondly, there is no strong community consensus or policy argument against the existence of stubs, although guidelines support their existence if and when they are capable of expansion (WP:AVOIDSPLIT: If only a few sentences could be written and supported by sources about the subject, that subject does not qualify for a separate article, but should instead be merged into an article about a larger topic or relevant list., WP:STUB: A stub is an article that, although providing some useful information, lacks the breadth of coverage expected from an encyclopedia, and that is capable of expansion. bolding my own). Finally, WP:NGEO currently presumes all legally recognized places to be notable. This means that there are hundreds of thousands of articles (mostly stubs) that can be created off of a single source.
    I will now provide some arguments for why I think having specific criteria for stand-alone geo pages would be useful. To begin with, the ratio of active geo editors to geo pages is almost negligibly small. This means that not only do geo editors need to patrol many articles for them to be kept up to date or prevent misinformation, but also that large-scale misinformation campaigns or long-standing mistakes are unlikely to be caught in a timely manner (the Abadi mistranslation issue being a particularly notable mistake requiring over 13,000 page deletions). Thus, there are practical issues for the community when it comes to managing the geo pages effectively based on the current NGEO guideline. Secondly, geography stubs are unlikely to be of much use to our readers in an encyclopedic manner. Confirming that a town exists or finding out there is a town in Turkey called Afşar gives our readers very little information. Having some criteria for when to merge geostubs into their parent article or some list article could greatly improve the context and breadth of information that readers receive, without removing the information that is currently accessible as a geostub article. Finally, having more guidance on when and how to create separate articles for geographical features would be useful to new editors who don't have the experience to understand the unspoken nuances in the notability guidelines or community expectations.
    In conclusion, I think having a separate section of NGEO outlining criteria for when and how to create stand-alone pages for geographic features would be of significant benefit to the community in the future. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 10:34, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Support the principal - but the proposed language is TLDR… can we summarize? Blueboar (talk) 12:44, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
    Blueboar open to suggestions :) — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 20:06, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Support nothing new here. The proposal only collects existing information from other pages and adds it for user convenience. I have merged several geo stubs myself, following existing rules listed above. Venkat TL (talk) 12:54, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose because it does not add anything to the global policies. This proposal seems to be motivated by the existence of many articles about geographical features that could be merged. It's not that I am against the objective of merging in this case—I trust that the editors know what they are doing, but the policy is independent of this particular situation and it should remain neutral, even within the particular domain of geographical features. The policy says that stand alone articles, even stand alone stubs, that are forked content are fine. It depends on the situation. How to organize a topic into many articles is not fixed by the policy. It should remain like that. (See comments and discussions). Dominic Mayers (talk) 13:30, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Support This is good guidance that represents current best practices, though I agree with the commenter below that it could be a bit more concise. Reywas92Talk 19:45, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Comment. The sentence The information may be formatted as a sortable table, a bulleted list, paragraphs or sub-sections depending on the type of content is missing a comma after the word "or"; WP:NGEO is written with oxford commas.— Ⓜ️hawk10 (talk) 21:51, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
    Fixed, thanks Mhawk10 :) — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 22:38, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Support. Consistent with other guidelines and just reiterates what is already encouraged. JoelleJay (talk) 02:05, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose. After thinking about this more, I can't support the text because it's rather imprecise. A quick search through all of the Hamlets of Canada's territories (See: 1, 2, 3), appear to be either substantial articles or stubs where I get something out of it that is more than "X exists". I fear that the example using Hamlets will encourage inappropriate mergers of articles both where standalone stubs do a fine job covering the topic and where more-than-stubs may be pressured to be merged into county-level articles. On top of that, ordinary railroad stations need to pass WP:GEOFEAT#2 (require significant in-depth coverage by reliable, third-party sources to establish notability) or WP:GEOFEAT#3 (notable under Wikipedia's WP:GNG), each of which should make it more than reasonable that the article be expanded rather than lazily upmerged. The only real area where geostubs can actually have very little more published information than X exists and still be worthy of including in the encyclopedia (per WP:NGEO) is the clade of Populated, legally recognized places. If the proposal were going to simply give merging advice for those sorts of items, I might feel differently, but the proposal goes far beyond that limited scope in its merge recommendations. For the reason that I believe that the implementation of this language would be more likely to encourage editors to upmerge stubs to a parent rather than to expand existing stubs, I must oppose. — Ⓜ️hawk10 (talk) 02:25, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Support, with no objection to concision or other wording tweaks suggested. Wikipedia articles should help readers first and foremost, and placing topics of which there is very little to say within a wider contextual framework does this. (Reducing editor burden for maintaining multiple pages is a plus.) While the proposed text does not create new policy, it usefully points out an application of existing policy. I am specifically inclined to support here as this practice reflects the current consensus of WP:PHILIPPINES, which after numerous AfDs and some discussion has agreed that barangays are not always best covered on standalone pages (ie. the "hamlets or neighborhoods in a municipality" example mentioned). CMD (talk) 02:28, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose The proposed verbiage does not say anything useful as it's a vague case-by-case evaluation rather than some specific guidance. And its bias against specific articles about particular places is foolish. It is generally best to have tight articles about particular places because:
  1. The scope of the topic is more likely to be clear when it's a particular place rather than an arbitrary assortment
  2. The name of a particular place is more likely to be clear and unambiguous
  3. The coordinates of a particular place are more likely to be clear and exact
  4. A picture of a particular place will be easier to agree upon
See also WP:CREEP and the KISS principle.
Andrew🐉(talk) 09:56, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
Andrew, I'd appreciate some clarification on your arguments.
  1. What do you mean by "arbitrary assortment".
  2. I'm not entirely sure what names have to do with coverage of a notable location. Perhaps an example would be useful in this point.
  3. Wikipedia is not a database so being against merging (for example) for the purpose of coordinate collection seems counterintuitive to me. Additionally, with the hundreds of thousands of geostubs that have never been checked by other editors (NPP will tend to check that it's sourced correctly and passes NGEO rather than fix coordinates), I actually believe the opposite is an issue. Having hundreds of thousands of articles with negligible oversight means coordinates, if wrong, will stay on the mainpage for years on end.
  4. Why are pictures a key determinant when choosing to merge/create or not to merge/create articles? If they aren't, I fail to see the relevance of this point.
  5. In regards to creep, I strongly disagree my proposal would result in creep. Which of the criteria in the CREEP page do you think the proposal fails? Because in my mind there (I) is a very real problem of an unsustainable and overwhelming amount of geostubs with little to no context that no one can or bothers to patrol for accuracy of information, (II) the proposal would clarify how NOPAGE applies to NGEO in a way that will result in more constructive discussions on geo content curation, (III) this RfC would satisfy the consensus requirement if passed (taking into account that NOPAGE is already strongly-supported policy and the proposal doesn't create new rules but rather clarifies the relation of NGEO to NOPAGE). — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 13:40, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • A good example of an "arbitrary assortment" is Alachua County, Florida#Historic communities in Alachua County. This details information about a random assortment of places in an arbitrary way while not doing the same for other places in the county such as Hogtown or Lochloosa. Such chaotic clutter does not seem helpful to the reader. It is much simpler and straightforward if there's a separate page for each place. These pages will have a natural title and the coordinates, pictures and other content will likewise cohere in a commonsense way. The proposed text provides no clear guidance about this and so has no value; it's just superfluous verbiage which will make writers less likely to read any of the existing guidance per WP:TLDR. This is the key point of WP:CREEP, "...bloated pages that new editors find intimidating and experienced editors ignore". Andrew🐉(talk) 07:46, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    I agree that Alachua County might not be the best example. I think a good example would be something like New York City#Boroughs (assuming they didn't have their own pages). The mix of images, maps, and brief descriptions follows what I'd say would be close to ideal for describing subdivisions of a populated place (I don't see coordinate information as strictly necessary encyclopedic content). What type of guidance would you hope the guideline have if the proposal is updated, Andrew? — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 08:29, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per Andrew Davidson. Unfortunately vague text that lacks specificity, and which isn't likely to be of much help in real, contentious, situations. MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:16, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose. (1) As others have already said, this adds nothing useful to policy and is TLDS where a simple link to WP:NOPAGE would do. (2) It is a solution in search of a problem. I pay particular attention to GEOLAND articles nominated for deletion and I have rarely, if ever, seen opposition to merging a stubby village article when a suitable target exists. Much more often the problem is stubby village articles get nominated for deletion instead of doing the work of merging. The proposer has not given a single example of where a one line "it exists" page has been kept standalone rather than merged because of a misunderstanding of guidlelines. (3) The text as well as being overlong is factually wrong in a number of places. For instance, it is not true that "a majority of a river's tributaries may meet the notability criteria". Just the opposite in fact, the majority of named streams are entirely non-notable. Besides which, the guideline already gives the similar example of river islands as possible candidates for merging. The guideline also already has guidance on merging populated places. SpinningSpark 14:55, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Support: hamlets or neighborhoods in a municipality, stations on a railway line cause significant problems, particularly in New Page Patrol. How do these one-line articles get notability? Just because they exist? Not on your nelly. Merging into a parent article is a proper solution. --Whiteguru (talk) 21:06, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
    @Whiteguru: The guideline already recommends merging for one-line articles that "cannot be developed using known sources". Nobody (mostly) is arguing against that. The question here is whether this monstrous verbiage of an inaccurate addition is going to help. Also, can you please open a thread in the discussion section explaining why this is such a huge problem in NPP. To me it looks like tag with "notability" or "suggested merge" and job done. SpinningSpark 07:35, 18 May 2022 (UTC)


  • I don't like survey in a RfC that are not complementary to a discussion. The most important in a RfC is the arguments, the discussion. The consensus is best obtained through a discussion. A survey is only there to help. It does not replace the discussion. Besides, in some RfCs, the outcome is more nuanced than a support or a reject. Dominic Mayers (talk) 13:57, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
    Dominic Mayers calling the section "Survey" is commonplace on wiki, in my experience, and does not impede discussion. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 14:20, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
    Perhaps it's only a question of terminology, but a separate section where people summarize their position is useful and is best kept separated from the discussion section. Dominic Mayers (talk) 14:25, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Perhaps a simpler paragraph that simply says that the global policies Wikipedia:Summary style, Wikipedia:Content forking, Wikipedia:Article size, and Wikipedia:Merging, as summarized in WP:PAGEDECIDE, apply to geographic features as well would be more appropriate. My understanding is that a group of editors consider that a lot of small articles should be merged into larger articles. There is nothing wrong with that, especially if it is does not create a polemic. However, I don't see that we should duplicate what is already written in the policies to support that. It is paradoxical that the goal is to keep Wikipedia simple, but it accomplishes that by making its policy more complex with duplication. Dominic Mayers (talk) 13:57, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
  • If the intention is to discourage systematically content forking in the context of articles on geographical features, then this is not the same as the global policy. It should not be presented as an application of this global policy. It becomes then a specific policy for articles on geographical features. Some rational that is specific to articles on geographical features would have to be given to justify this more specific policy. I have not seen this rational. Dominic Mayers (talk) 20:23, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
    What? I'm so confused as to what you interpret the proposed addition's impact/relation with content forking is, Dominic Mayers. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 21:25, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
    I don't know what confuses you. I don't see this in a complicated manner. When a topic is divided into many articles, this is content forking. It's natural and some times necessary, especially in large topics. There is nothing pejorative in the concept of content forking. It should not be confused with POV forking. Dominic Mayers (talk) 21:42, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
    I understand what forking is, Dominic Mayers, I'm just confused as to what exactly in the proposed wording discourages systematically content forking as well as what "systemic content forking" is. You say "the global policy", but that may refer to any sections of the policies and guidelines. Perhaps rewording your initial comment to be less vague would be helpful in that regard. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 22:42, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
    I agree that the proposed wording does not discourage forking. In fact, it seems to repeat what the global policy says regarding forking and the global policy does not discourage forking. It's just that you described separately, in your comment, a problematic situation which requires merging as a solution. I agree that the situation is confusing, but this is because there is no connection between the objective that you describe and the policy: the policy does not encourage merging (nor discourage it) and merging seems to be your goal. Dominic Mayers (talk) 23:04, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
    Dominic Mayers I personally do believe that the addition to NGEO encourages more frequent and widespread merging of geographic articles in cases where it makes sense. At the very least it clarifies it as a valid editorial decision so voting to keep a geostub in an AFD "per NGEO" demands a conversation on whether merging or keeping the stand-alone article is the best way to preserve the content, which would be a massive improvement over the current state of affairs where the de facto assumption is all articles that pass NGEO deserve their own pages. In the sense of PAGs not encouraging merging, the PAGs encourage editorial decisions that benefit our mission, our readers, and our ability as editors to continue our work on the wiki sustainably. When taking decisions regarding how to present content to our readers, I think guidelines that acknowledge the existence of merging as an option are helpful to the community, which is why I proposed the addition of the section to NGEO. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 23:30, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
    If you give the impression that a different policy is needed, when it's not the case, then you weaken your position: only a few people are here to discuss what you propose, the wording, etc. whereas the global policy has the support of the community at large. Unless you need to have a specific policy adapted to articles on geographical features, I don't see what is the purpose here. As a minimum, make it clear that you refer to the global policy. I still do not see the point of repeating it, but there will be no harm. What is clear is that, if you need a support from the community for merging many articles and the existing policy is sufficient, then the best way is to discuss the specific of the situation in the light of this policy, not confuse this with a discussion of the policy for the sake of improving it. Dominic Mayers (talk) 23:56, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
    Dominic Mayers I'm not proposing entirely new policy but rather an addition to NGEO that brings it closer in alignment to NOPAGE, which is part of WP:N. The issue is that sometimes when you propose merging articles based on NOPAGE, editors will reply they believe the article should be kept separate based on NGEO (see one of the AFDs I started in line with WP:BLAR), completely ignoring NOPAGE. That is why specific guidance on the NGEO guideline would be beneficial. I'm happy to discuss this in more detail on my talk page if you wish to have a conversation about it, as we are taking up quite a bit of space here. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 13:52, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
    We are not taking too much space here at all. We are discussing exactly what needs to be discussed. Yes, I would support a clarification that passing the notability requirement is not at all a sufficient criterion for a stand alone page. That seems to be your main point. In fact, if it is not already clarified at the global policy level, it should be. You could then refer to that clarification, which is or would be provided at the global level. I suggest that you limit the proposal to that. Just have this single main point. Dominic Mayers (talk) 14:33, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • The proposal states For example, a majority of a river's tributaries may meet the notability criteria defined in this guideline, but there is little to be said about most of them. If this is an accurate description of the situation, the guideline is problematic: it's weird that it classifies as notable geographical features about which there is little to be said. Perhaps this is the real issue at stake here. Stubs are a different thing. We create a stub when we are pretty sure there is enough to be said about the subject. If we have many stubs with little to be said on the subject and the guideline supports that, it's a problem with the guideline. I admit that I do not know much about the history of the guideline. I was summoned at random by a bot to give my comment. If this has been discussed before and the guideline remained like that, then perhaps not enough people were involved in that previous discussion or the sentence above is not an accurate description of the situation. Dominic Mayers (talk) 12:54, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
    As I pointed out in my !vote, this is completely inaccurate. The guideline supports no such thing, it says "named natural features are often notable". It does not say they are always notable, and then goes on to give named river islands as candidates for merging into the river article. It is obvious to anyone reading the guideline that river tributaries will fall under the same principle. There is no need for this lengthy addition to the guideline to explicitly state that. SpinningSpark 07:44, 18 May 2022 (UTC)

If you move article update it's name in lead and infobox. Don't do messEdit

"If you move article update it's name in lead and infobox" (don't forget about Wikidata) - can we have it signed and even bolded somewhere? Looks like 95% moves are without updating name in lead and infobox - they don't care. What about readers? Why doing mess and confusing readers? There is also Wikidata which should be updated too. Eurohunter (talk) 09:08, 16 May 2022 (UTC)

Latest example from my watchlist page moves? @A7V2: Don't move articles if you are not going to update name in lead. Don't do mess. Eurohunter (talk) 09:08, 16 May 2022 (UTC)

Yes, that's good advice, but not all good advice needs to be codified in policies and guidelines - we have too many of them already. Phil Bridger (talk) 10:08, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
@Eurohunter: You didn't think to raise this on my talk page or just fix it yourself? As you should have been able to tell, the existing titles of those two articles (FIA Gold Categorisation and FIA Platinum Categorisation) were unsuitable since they are not about different FIA Drivers' Categorisation systems, but about two different categorisations within it. Both ledes are also completely unsuitable. I have done half of the work which needed to be done (since the titles violated guidelines), you can either do the other half and rewrite the unsuitable ledes, or stop complaining. "Don't do mess"? Seriously, get over yourself. A7V2 (talk) 11:20, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
@A7V2: There is hundrests of moves like yours. I would need to be a bot to tell everyone about simple obvious behavior such as update lead and infobox otherwise don't move anything - create thread on talk page, notify WikiProject or whatever. Eurohunter (talk) 11:58, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
It's worth noting that not all moves mean that names should be updated in the lede and infobox... And I'd say it was actually in the minority. The above example is one where it's either best to have a different title to meet the lede, or to have no bold in the lede. Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 12:57, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
Both articles' ledes need to be rewritten since they do not summarise what the article is about. The fact that they were separate articles is why I moved them. I have changed the ledes a little bit but if these are to stay as two articles the ledes need to be changed completely. I had considered that the Gold article could be merged into the platinum one (deleting the list of drivers which is probably a WP:DATABASE violation) and then move it to just FIA Drivers' Categorisation, but that would require a discussion on the talkpage or the wikiproject, and I really don't care enough to bother with that. A7V2 (talk) 01:17, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site was recently renamed Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park, so I moved the page and updated its contents. Thanks to this reminder, I also edited its wikidata, which required manually changing its name in four languages (same in all), its statement, its native label, and its commons category (which I also just now moved, since that wasn't linked in the article before). Gotta say it's kind of a pain and I don't really intend to become a wikidata editor in addition to enwiki and occasionally Commons. I speak German so I guess I'll move the German article too, but I'm not going to waste time on the shitty Cebuano wp and its worthless bot-generated articles. Reywas92Talk 19:59, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
This is mentioned in WP:POSTMOVE. It's also mentioned in the Summary Style summary of that page linked from WP:MOVE#Post-move cleanup. Though the fact that it's not mentioned in the post-move message at MediaWiki:Movepage-moved is probably an oversight. Colin M (talk) 20:27, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
Some editors have been arguing that we should continue to use the old name in the lede and infobox, which makes things harder. I've only seen this in relation to New Zealand Dual Names, but I expect it exists elsewhere as well, with editors trying to maintain the prominence of their preferred name. BilledMammal (talk) 00:06, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
I think the official names of geographic places are something of an exception to the rule here. Geographic articles conventionally highlight the place's official name in the infobox, even when it isn't the article title; this pattern is most immediately apparent in the articles for countries (United Kingdom, Argentina, Eswatini, etc). This precedent is also backed by WP:NCGEO, which states that The formal version of a name can be substituted for [the article title] in infoboxes. ModernDayTrilobite (talkcontribs) 21:30, 17 May 2022 (UTC)

Notability guideline for association football on Wikipedia:Notablity (sports)Edit

I was aware about this recent discussion that changed the notability guidlines for sports people which included the association football guidline to be removed. There has been no consensus about that regard yet, and even RFC is deemed to fail. So, with this in mind, do you agree or disagree with the proposal shown here for the notability criteria for association football (soccer)?


Significant coverage is likely to exist for an association football (soccer) figure if they meet the following:

  • Have participated in a major senior level international competition (such as the FIFA World Cup with qualifiers, the continental championships with some qualifiers depending on which confederation, and the continental Nations Leagues), excluding friendlies
  • Have participated in the playoff stages of major international club competitions (such as the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League, the Copa Libertadores or the Copa Sudamericana)
  • Have participated in at least one of of the following leagues: Bundesliga (Germany), Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy), Ligue 1 (France), Major League Soccer (United States and Canada), Argentine Primera División (Argentina), Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (Brazil), and other proposed leagues that are deemed notable

Players and/or managers who do not meet the above may still be notable, although sources should not be assumed to exist without further proof. A listing of other competitions wherein participation may lead to significant coverage is maintained by the WP:FOOTY wikiproject, at [link].

I have combined and adapted with GiantSowman's, RadomCanadian's and Fred Zepelin's proposals, but even they could not find a clear consensus on these conflicting proposals based what to include on N:SPORTS and N:FOOTY. If there are and questions, suggestions, concerns, or whether you agree or disagree with this discussion, please do not hesitate to discuss here, or leave a reply on my talk page for further questions. Thank you all, and have a peaceful day. Cheers. Ivan Milenin (talk) 00:25, 17 May 2022 (UTC)

  • I do think significant coverage is likely to exist in these situations… however, a likelihood of existence is not necessarily actual existence.
These criteria are an indication that a Player is PROBABLY notable, NOT an indication that the subject IS notable. It is the actual existence of coverage that demonstrates notability, not the likelihood of coverage. Blueboar (talk) 01:18, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
I have amended that proposal. Do you think it's more appropriate for that? Ivan Milenin (talk) 01:58, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I agree with Blueboar; whatever text is proposed needs to make it clear that WP:GNG must still be met. BilledMammal (talk) 01:30, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
    I have amended that proposal. Do you think it's more appropriate for that? Ivan Milenin (talk) 01:58, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • "Presumed to be notable" needs to be changed to "significant coverage is likely to exist". Also, is it possible to have NFOOTY criteria that doesn't begin with "have participated in"? I'm not sure why those words are still being used after the RFC. How about bullet points that start with "has won..."? Finally, and most importantly, I'd like to see some evidence that any proposed criteria is in fact a good predictor of significant coverage. Levivich 06:01, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
    Reverted, however, I do not understand what you mean by that statement, "Also, is it possible to have NFOOTY criteria that doesn't begin with "have participated in"? I'm not sure why those words are still being used after the RFC. How about bullet points that start with "has won..."? Finally, and most importantly, I'd like to see some evidence that any proposed criteria is in fact a good predictor of significant coverage." Ivan Milenin (talk) 07:54, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
    All three of the criteria in this proposal (the three bullet points) begin with the words, "Have participated in...". But the RfC eliminated participation-based criteria. If you look at NSPORTS right now, almost none of the criteria for any sport are based on "have participated in". WP:NTRACK for example uses criteria that starts with "finished top 3" or "have won", not just "have participated in". I'd like to see criteria for association football that is based on something other than "have participated in" because the RfC decided not to use participation-based criteria.
    And whatever the proposed criteria is, I'd like to see some evidence that significant coverage is likely to exist for people meeting that criteria. Levivich 13:23, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I'm not keen. These criteria are too lax for me, and I would prefer a guideline that says a person is notable if and only if citations to significant coverage in two reliable sources are actually present in the article.—S Marshall T/C 08:26, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • What does it mean by Have participated? Just a database entry that the player has appeared in X number of games? Sounds too lax if it can be interpreted that way. – robertsky (talk) 10:39, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
    • The proposal talks about the likelihood of “significant coverage”. That would mean more than “just a database entry”, wouldn’t it? Do we need to make this clearer? Blueboar (talk) 11:22, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I don't see the point in the proposal, to be honest. It only covers a small group of footballers, 99.9% of whom will pass GNG anyway, but doesn't cover the vast majority, many of whom will also pass, but some of whom won't. Why do we even need it? Just use GNG. Black Kite (talk) 13:36, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • This is a SIGCOV over and above NSPORTS for Association Football. Association Football does cause problems in New Page Patrol, particularly in the South East Asian competitions. I note that Indonesia and Malaysia are not included in the proposed list of professional leagues. --Whiteguru (talk) 21:20, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
    Speak to GiantSnowman about that regard, as he proposed those leagues as you mentioned. Ivan Milenin (talk) 22:16, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • As Black Kite put it, there is no point in this. Whether you agreed or disagreed, the RfC ultimately found that footballers must meet WP:GNG and that an WP:SNG cannot offer an assumption of GNG with regard to footballers. If you want to create a reference/layout guide at WP:WikiProject Football for what articles are likely to be notable, then go ahead or whatever, but going through the process of creating an SNG is redundant and a waste of time in this case, as it won't end up doing anything. Curbon7 (talk) 21:28, 17 May 2022 (UTC)

What MEDRS is NOTEdit

An editor has repeatedly claimed that attributed allegations - from Chinese CDC whistleblowers - about the Chinese government supressing COVID-19 infections and deaths, is a violation of WP:MEDRS [5] [6] [7]. There are literally tens of other Chinese and English language sources making these allegations, from as early as March 2020 [8] [9] [10], to recent weeks [11] [12] [13]. I have therefore created Wikipedia:What MEDRS is not, and attempted to update WP:MEDRS [14], and I am now posting here to build consensus on the proper application of this guideline, so as to prevent it being used as a carte blanche to delete content. This discussion is irrespective of WP:NPOV and WP:DUE concerns with the content in question. CutePeach (talk) 16:05, 17 May 2022 (UTC)

The editor involved insists on erroneous narrow reading of the guideline, but perhaps adding one more guideline is not the answer. There is nothing wrong with your essay. I just think that the current guideline is sufficient to deal with this issue, without having to legislate what imo should be, for most people, an obvious interpretation. (talk) 18:21, 17 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Yet another asinine essay from a problematic editor trying to undermine Wikipedia's WP:PAGs . Best to ignore for now, and if such WP:POINTy stunts become too disruptive CutePeach can be removed from the Project. Alexbrn (talk) 08:23, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    Unhelpful. (talk) 12:00, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    MEDRS should not be used to strike down news or facts or opinion where the primary "noun-verb" facet (for lack of a better way to describe it) is not one drawing from science or medicine, even if the facts supporting that "noun-verb" facet are elements that would clearly be covered by MEDRS. A mainstream discussion of the history of the "lab leak theory" itself can draw on MEDRS sources for that history, but it is far better covered by mainstream news reports, as long as they do not try to attempt to validate the lab leak theory, for example. --Masem (t) 12:25, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    MEDRS is guidance on identifying reliable sourced for WP:Biomedical information. That's it. It doesn't "strike down" anything. We're really not going to do the lab leak thing again are we? The socks, trolls and political POV-pushers have already wasted enough time trying to compromise Wikipedia's well-established guidelines in furtherance of their agenda. If anybody has been mis-using WP:MEDRS (as is continually alleged) let the accusers take it up with the supposed miscreant or report it at an appropriate noticeboard. These WP:RANDYs and their enablers are otherwise just wasting the time of editors with better things to do. It wasn't even a year ago that a mega-RfC on this was closed[15] Alexbrn (talk) 14:00, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    WP:MEDPOP does not disqualify news items out of hand. There is wide latitude to use non-expert sources, especially in the reporting of non-medical aspects of medical issues. Biomedical professionals and their forums should not be considered better than anyone else when discussing these non-medical aspects. The lab leak theory is an example. There may be biomedical evidence for and against; but there are obviously other considerations too. These other considerations can, and should be, within the purview of wider forums. As long as all aspects of the lab leak theory are presented neutrally, according to reliable, verifiable references any related Wikipedia article can benefit. (talk) 15:04, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    I have seen editors argue that if the page topic is clearly a biomedical one, the all sources on it must be MEDRS compliant, which is my concern. A page on a biomedical topic should obviously heavily rely on MEDRS but there may be parts of that topic that do not directly about the biomedical aspects (such as the generic trademark of aspirin) that would be better covered by non MEDRS sources. Thers's only a handful of editors that the the extreme approach, and is good to have advice of where NEDRS doesn't apply to help. --Masem (t) 15:10, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    I think it goes further. Neutrality may be compromised when only the views of experts in any subject are allowed. It is not as if medicine, or science in general, happens in a vacuum. Although the number of experts who consciously or unconsciously believe so may be considerable. In any case, this is going off-topic. As commented above, there is no real need for yet another clarification of WP:MEDRS. The current guideline is fairly clear in allowing non-expert sources, subject to constraints. (talk) 15:17, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    Neutrality may be compromised when only the views of experts in any subject are allowed. Right, a neutral viewpoint should include ignorance as well as expertise. Levivich 15:21, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    Correct. For instance, peer-reviewed articles in The Lancet circa say, the 1990s (barely a generation ago) about coronaviruses could be shining examples of unreliability and ignorance in the light of today's widely accepted knowledge. It is fair to ask if today's knowledge won't be considered an example of ignorance 30 years hence. But it goes further: nothing happens in a vacuum and the narrow confines of expertise do not describe reality in full. (talk) 15:31, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    "A cherry-picked example of some thing that experts thought true years ago were later found to be false" is not a valid reason to cast any special doubt on what experts think now. There's probably some latin term for this logic-mistake, some sort of inverse of Sagan's quote about laughing at Bozo the clown. By policy, WP is a mainstream encyclopedia and not in the business of crystal-balling or second-guessing reliable sources. DMacks (talk) 15:52, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    Ofcourse it is not a valid reason to cast any special doubt on what experts think now. There is also not a valid reason to cast any special acceptance on what experts think now. It is supposed to be science, not religion. (talk) 16:24, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    It's the fallacy of composition (the fact that experts were wrong about something else does not mean they are wrong about the relevant item) spiced with a large dollop of the historian's fallacy (assuming that experts would have reached the same wrong conclusion then even if they had the information we have now). SpinningSpark 16:08, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    I think you are discussing something else. This is not the argument made here. The current pandemic is an example. There are various theories on the origin, and studies proposing explanations for the way it spreads and the way it mutates. Not all of those are in sync, but a rough or not so rough consensus among experts is reached. This is then used by public health authorities in their policy decisions. These policy decisions are then applied in some form or other, and have real consequences on every day life. Any comprehensive treatment (pun intended) of the pandemic in an encyclopedia should give proper weight to all these aspects. We can't just promote the current expert opinion and disregard its effects as if it exists in a vacuum. Especially since it is a historical, logical and evolutionary fact that "expert opinion" is subject to change, and the scope and effect of such change is uncear. (talk) 16:40, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Generally support these efforts as per Masem, I have run into the same type of consistently erroroneous allegations--that somehow news sources are inappropriate in the COVID-19 arena. We cannot risk undermining the efforts of the encyclopedia by excluding reliable sources for the wrong reasons. SmolBrane (talk) 15:49, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    • It's almost like there should be a section, "What is not biomedical information?", at WP:BMI. If editors actually read the WP:PAGs a lot of time could be saved. Discretionary sanctions apply to the whole COVID-19 area so anybody twisting policy can be taken to WP:AE. That doesn't ever happen because it's a fiction. In the past some editors, including Masem, have !voted to extend MEDRS to all aspects of COVID-19; that effort did not succeed (neither did the effort to rescind MEDRS from most aspects of COVID-19). These arguments do not need to be re-run. Alexbrn (talk) 16:29, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
      I don't recall !voting to expand MEDRS to all aspects of COVID (or why you are singling me out). I am just saying that even with BMI in place, some editors are overly aggressive on drawing a line to block nonMEDRS sources where BMI wouldn't apply. BMI and/or MEDRS and/or an essay could be used to explain that MEDRD is not a blood pact when any biomedical info touches an article. Just that any factual statement that falls within BMI must use MEDRS sourcing, and other appropriate RS (which can include DUE RSOPINION) can be otherwise used. --Masem (t) 16:39, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
MEDRS only applies to content which, if a reasonable sane person were to read, may plausibly affect the medical tests, treatment or lifestyle changes they get for themselves, their minor children, their pets/livestock, or anyone else they may decide on medical treatment for. The question of whether or not China was supressing information about COVID 19 is clearly outside that scope. (talk) 16:45, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
"I don't recall !voting to expand MEDRS to all aspects of COVID" ← Apologies, you are correct and I am wrong. Your support was for stating that MEDRS should apply to disease and pandemic "origin", at this RfC.[16] Alexbrn (talk) 16:48, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Although the draft-essay is rather pointy, there is a serious problem with MEDRS regarding its use to disallow useful information. For example in relation to biological agriculture. MEDRS should be rebalanced or narrowed in scope. The Banner talk 16:49, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    Doubt it. Certainly MEDRS helps prevent fringe POV-pushing in this area (GMOs spring to mind). Or do you have an example to back up your claim? Alexbrn (talk) 17:43, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • A cursory look through OP's edits to COVID-related articles (an awful lot of which have been reverted) shows plenty of adding inappropriate sources and other problematic edits, all seemingly in the name of a particular POV or in pursuit of "balance". This includes an article on covid-19 naming which reads like an attempt to justify Trump's "Chinese virus" (going as far as saying he abandoned it in 2020, well before his continued use of it drew most of the criticism), and COVID-19 vaccine side effects, possibly a WP:POVFORK, with entire sections making biomedical claims with sources that fail WP:MEDRS. I've seen people revert "per MEDRS" when MEDRS doesn't apply, just like I've seen people revert "per NPOV" when NPOV doesn't apply. The context, however, makes me a little skeptical of the essay. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 16:55, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    I would be skeptical of assigning any particular context. The question posed can be resolved without theorizing about the motives of the OP or anyone else, or examining the editing history. The OP states that another editor disallows in kind of a blanket fashion, all non-medical sources in an article concerned with a medical issue, in contravention of the applicable guideline. The OP proposes an essay to clarify the associated guideline, for any such action, not just the present debated one. The question is whether such essay is necessary and/or appropriate. (talk) 19:34, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    I have blanked and redirected COVID-19 vaccine side effects to an appropriate target. When we (eventually) come to a post-mortem on Wikipedia's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the inability of the system to handle some damaging net-negative editors will doubtless be one of the chief considerations. Alexbrn (talk) 19:42, 18 May 2022 (UTC)

Someone should probably write an essay entitled WIkipedia:What essays are not. It only needs to be brief. Simply explain that essays aren't policy. And if people misrepresent an essay as policy often enough, it should probably be nominated for deletion. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:16, 18 May 2022 (UTC)

AfD alertsEdit

Greetings, all. I suggest that, after an AfD proposal has been tabled, it should be forbidden to alert editors en masse by posting up in groups to which they may belong (e.g. the group dedicated to articles on royalty about a king's biography AfD) or groups that are in general dedicated to "rescuing articles" (e.g. the Squadron). On the other hand, such appeals should be considered entirely acceptable when the article is simply tagged with warnings about its lack of sources or about other weaknesses that might lead to its deletion. Constructive assistance should be not just accepted but encouraged, but, as soon as the AfD appears, we cannot allow even the possibility of indirect canvassing. The percentage of active Wikipedia editors who contribute to the AfD process in any capacity seems to be small enough that the potential for canvassing presents a disproportionate threat to the integrity of the process. Of course, nothing can stop individual group-members from watching over AfD proposals and acting, per policy, to improve articles. But we should remain vigilant against organized action in article management. Thoughts? -The Gnome (talk) 18:10, 18 May 2022 (UTC)

  • I disagree. Notifying related projects about AfD nominations is a useful way to engage editors who are interested in that topic area so they can weigh in on the nomination, and encourages a wider range of viewpoints than just the editors who regularly participate in AfDs. Schazjmd (talk) 18:16, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
Thanks, Schazjmd. If we were to leave related-project alerts as they are, what would you suggest about alerting specifically the Squadron against imminent deletions? -The Gnome (talk) 19:39, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • The Gnome, the ARS project has been a point of contention for a long time, and there has never been consensus to do away with it, so I don't think about it. Schazjmd (talk) 19:52, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • The purpose of ARS is not to save non-notable articles meant for deletion, but to save articles that can be edited from misplaced AFD tagging: The project is not about making policy to ensure that nothing is deleted or casting keep votes in AfD discussions. The project ensures that articles that can be written to follow Wikipedia policies do not get deleted when they can be rescued through normal editing. Pyrrho the Skipper (talk) 19:57, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • What you're doing there is mistaking what the "Squadron" (good grief) likes to say about itself, with what it historically does. There's a reason why it's been a locus of disruption. Alexbrn (talk) 20:03, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Thanks, Alexbrn. It has all the makes for a back-door invitation to inclusionism. As a former enabler, though not for long, of corporate camouflage I ammost admire; yet I abhor. Take care. -The Gnome (talk) 20:16, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    I think issues with the "Squadron" were dealt with (eventually) by sanctioning the worst-offending squadron personnel. On the face of it, there's no reason why "article rescue" shouldn't be a laudable goal. Alexbrn (talk) 20:25, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
    Judging by these two sentences you just wrote, I fail to see the problem with "the squadron" (why are we using scare quotes?) Pyrrho the Skipper (talk) 20:59, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Also disagree. Flagging a deletion nomination about a subject to the people who are best suited to find/assess sources for that subject is a good thing. That does mean that some people who are passionate about the subject, and have lower standards for the subject than a general reader, will also show up, but it's a trade-off that, I think, we have to accept. If anything was going to get shut down, it's ARS, which prioritizes a particular outcome, but many proposals to do that have failed over the years. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:29, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
I agree on your latter point, hence the proposal. As to group-think, to also respond to Pyrrho the Skipper's query, yes, I've seen this happening, specifically in royalty-related articles. A lot of editors seem keen to have Wikipedia as a directory of royal subjects. No pun intended. -The Gnome (talk) 19:39, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I also disagree, but would ask, are there particular instances you've seen of this happening? Pyrrho the Skipper (talk) 18:38, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
A precautionary suggestion, formulated a little after I was made aware of the Squadron's existence. -The Gnome (talk) 19:39, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • I oppose this, because this would pretty much effectively ban one of the primary uses of WP:AALERTS. The best people to address the AfD of Optical field are people familiar with optics, in this case WP:PHYS. Forbidding these notices would mean both less participation at AfD and less informed opinions at AfD. This is not a win. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 20:11, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
Thanks, Headbomb. If we were to leave related-project alerts as they are, what would you suggest about alerting specifically the Squadron against imminent deletions? -The Gnome (talk) 20:17, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
I suggest nothing, because I don't considered the squadron to be a meaningful issue. It's effectively a 2-person show these days (Dream Focus and 7&6=thirteen), and I don't see any obvious problematic behaviour from either. Tag articles with relevant WikiProjects, make sure people with relevant expertise/knowledge get involved, and that's usually the best outcome for everyone. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 20:19, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Is there actually any issue here - any example of a problem ever having occurred? Could the OP provide anything? Alexbrn (talk) 20:15, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • non problem. The ARSpeople have been effectively hamstrung recently by the community in that topic bans were issued to some of the worst offenders. Those who got away with it are fully aware of the Hubble Telescope of concern gazing down at them, and the notification non-issue has been a good and transparent way of informing the community of potential clean up of the project. No action required imho. -Roxy the grumpy dog. wooF 20:43, 18 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Comment. I don't have a problem with the standard, automatic listing of AfDs on a relevant project's page. But I do think it's an issue when someone involved in an AfD posts an alert on a project's discussion page if the project is specifically dedicated to increasing coverage of its topic. I think there's a difference between a project where members are interested in a particular field (like optics) and seek to improve the quality of articles, and a project where a major goal is to create new articles in/enhance representation of its field. This is especially true if members have historically overwhelmingly !voted keep in AfDs. JoelleJay (talk) 23:09, 18 May 2022 (UTC)