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Concerning about mission creep arising from this discussion: example of William I, Count of HainautEdit

  • Comment. I come to this discussion after finding a few deletion cases involving Surtsicna and have left messages on their talk page also. I have never made one of these boxes, and I would be more likely to delete them, but the idea of mass deletion seems inappropriate. Some relevant issues:
1. It is clear from S's own edsums that "I do not like it" is one of the main real arguments being used for deletion. I have in fact seen no discussion yet being attempted in any cases I have seen about specific sourcing concerns. (OK, I've done no close study of the history of this debate.) Instead I see arguments about the format and so on.
2. For the period I am most concerned about, let's say pre-1300, genealogical links are both important and discussed in scholarly literature, whereas much of what WP typically has is from old speculative works, not the best scholarship. Furthermore, these links are hard to explain easily and difficult to hold in the mind of a reader and so graphical representations are normally used, and good.
3. We do demand verifiability but we not demand footnotes in the same way as we do for running text for things like dynasty infoboxes or maps of medieval territories.
4. It is easy to delete individuals out of these boxes. Why start a program of mass deletions? I don't see how that would be justified. A lot of these articles have bigger problems, but arguably for the period I am looking at these boxes are some of the most solid bits.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:13, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
True. It's sad, not the least in cases where the ahnentafel is pretty much what's substantially offered as context around a person in available direct or thusly indirect sources. PPEMES (talk) 09:45, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Not 100% sure I understand but my impression for the period I am concerned with is that most of these ancestry boxes can be sourced, and if anyone finds a nice way to create footnoting or section-specific references, without defeating the aim of clear illustration that's fine. It is also not only WP which has to pencil together a "life story" based on a few facts in many of these cases, but also serious historians. I am wondering if behind this whole discussion there is not a debate about styles of history writing. I see many of our articles are sourced, but use older or weaker sources which have the old colorful narrative style that turns a couple of family connections and land documents into a romantic story (eg Leon Vanderkindere). Give me the facts any day, but it is hard to disallow such sources based on WP policy, because for many of these individuals with biographies, more recent historians may not even bother to fabricate a "biography", and of course their works are generally not on line. So it takes time to get due weight. When I find more time I hope to carefully strip back more articles, but I am really not seeing these infoboxes as the problematic bit in most cases. It might be different in later periods of course.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:22, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
No, none of my edit summaries make any reference to whether I like the content or not. I delete content that has been tagged as unsourced for years and I make it clear that WP:V concerns are the reason for deletion. I do not understand how you could miss that. No, genealogical tables of this kind (ahnentafel) are not used in scholarly literature. That has been soundly disproved by Ealdgyth. Continually repeating this without refuting the evidence presented by Ealdgyth is not helpful. And again, the fact that we do not demand footnotes for these tables does not mean that we should not; all suggestions that ahnentafeln be treated any differently in relation to the WP:V policy have been thrown out of the window. Surtsicna (talk) 12:15, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Surtsicna, in the discussion above, and in every discussion I have seen you in on this subject you have focused mainly on whether published authors use the same format. "Ahnentafel" just refers to a presentation format with numbers on it. What is being presented are family connections. Format has nothing at all to do with WP:RS or any other content policy. It is purely a matter of presentation and taste. So do you have any other point apart from this presentation point? Are you seriously saying that publications about medieval people do not discuss who their ancestors were? I don't think that will fly?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:31, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
BTW the article where I objected to your deletion is not Louis V of France, which may well have some kind of problem, it is the article for William I of Hainaut. Here is our discussion. As can be confirmed, your last word on the issue there is that one person in the pedigree is non notable and therefore the whole thing needs to be deleted? Of course we do mention her on the article for Henry III of Limburg. Not everyone mentioned in an article needs to be notable enough to have their own article.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:42, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
That could be the best summary of arguments for caution I have seen presented so far. PPEMES (talk) 16:44, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Rarely (i.e. almost never outside of specialist genealogical articles) do publications addressing a medieval individual discuss their complete ancestry for X generations, as found in the ahnentafel template. They often discuss a broad range of relationships that they deem relevant: not exclusively ancestors, but siblings, uncles step-relationships, etc. By using the Ahnentafel we are not just using a different format/taste to display the same information, we are choosing to display different information than the sources, substituting our own sensibilities in terms of which relatives are noteworthy (only direct ancestors for X generations) and which are not (anyone but a direct ancestor). Agricolae (talk) 19:40, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Agricolae, what you are describing is a format/aesthetic preference though? If we make a map to show where Belgium is, and that map contains the Isle of White, what you are saying is equivalent to saying that you've looked at scholarly works and their maps don't show the Isle of White, or they use a different colour for coastlines. This would be a strange remark to make about a WP map? For one thing, Wikipedia aims to make better media than old books. It would not be a complaint based on WP:RS or notability etc. An WP:RS or WP:V problem would be if the ancestors can not be verified and I am not seeing that here. Of course when that is a concern, that should be discussed. But if that is the concern then these info boxes should be looked at case by case, surely? I am all for deleting unverifiable information, and re-weighting our articles away from old speculations, but not only in these info boxes. Nothing in this infobox discussion seems aimed at addressing that.
As a second remark, now focusing on the aesthetic/presentation opinion about 5 generations, I do not agree with your description of what is typical in published works at least for the periods and regions I am looking at right now. Or to put it more specifically, there is nothing unusual about showing 5 generations. In order to explain how people reached their positions in the period of early county formation from say 950-1200 this is often very critical information. Once again therefore I can only understand your remark about what we find in books as format-specific. For example, history books don't have ahnennumbers, or most commonly will have custom-made pedigrees to show different connections in different tables. But none of this has any relevance to WP core content policy though.
I think in any case it is quite misleading of Surtsicna to have deleted a table with an edsum accusing me of ignoring WP:V, when the explanation later turned out to switch to a complaint about how one person in the table probably (according to Surtsicna's expert opinion?) had no significant effect on the article's subject. What I am seeing are arguments which shift around and do not parse, trying to justify a large scale deletion program. That is surely a red flag.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:39, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
If you do not agree with Agricolae's description of what is typical in published works, if you claim that it is common to show all ancestors in 5 generations in published biographies, and if you dispute Ealdgyth's finding to the contrary, then please provide some evidence. Cite a biography. Otherwise those are unsubstantiated claims contradicted by a serious analysis presented by other users. And no, as you have been told by multiple users by this point, this is not about format but about content and the lack of such content in high-quality published works specializing in the subject. And that is a WP:V concern, as well as a WP:PROPORTION issue. Surtsicna (talk) 10:17, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
"Typical" is a pretty vague word, but I am going to give a link to 2 charts from a work I literally had open in a tab before starting this discussion. https://books.openedition.org/pulg/1472 and https://books.openedition.org/pulg/1473. Of course a lot of modern academic works are not online, so this is a handy one because published in open format, but I do not plan to post hundreds, because you are either open to reality or not. Of course 5 generation ancestry was very important to medieval clerics (meaning most history writers in the middle ages itself) and nobles, and it gets discussed a lot today, because this defined 5 degrees of consanguinity. Connections this "distant" could cause wars, excommunications and bloody feuds. If you don't know what I am talking about I suggest you give up telling me to study what Wikipedia editors believe.
Of course there are an enormous number of formats used by scholars of various types. There is no reason to use their exact thousands of formats for each family on WP, which is not a printed book. So what though? WP:V and WP:RS are about information, and family connections are important in this period, whether they are represented graphically or not. WP is one tertiary source which cites millions of different secondary and primary sources. We often develop our own formats.
All of this is in any case a red herring, because you are essentially demanding sources for a format, or look at it another way, you are asking for sourcing not for individual facts, but for editorial decisions about how we stick them together in a WP article. The only policy that comes close to being relevant is WP:NOTE, but this is also clearly not relevant as per my remarks about the Isle of Wight being on a map, above. WP's rule about not being a genealogy website also obviously does not mean that anything genealogical is forbidden. Any other arguments you can come up with?
If you can not state any fact (not format) which you believe is unverifiable in the William of Hainaut pedigree, then please stop deleting it, and definitely please stop citing WP:V as if that is relevant to your concerns. The tag of course also had to be removed because it misunderstands WP:V.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:06, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
What's more, Template:Ahnentafel doesn't disqualify implementing a Template:Chart for horizontal family connections, as has sometimes been suggested as more important. I'm not sure, but aren't there biographical articles that include Template:Ahnentafel, Template:Chart, and patrilinial descent as well (some, such as Family tree of Muhammad, take it even further)? Obviously a bit too XL a solution generally, I guess, but just to illustrate the usefulness of maintaining ahnentafel as at least one of alternatives of graphical presentation of available sources when suitable and helpful, even in presenting the standard 5 generations extent. PPEMES (talk) 12:35, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I think everyone here agrees that Template:Ahnentafel should be used when suitable and helpful. What is being debated are the criteria for suitability and helpfulness and whether verifiability should also be expected. Surtsicna (talk) 13:12, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
That is not what I am reading here. But if this were the discussion, then the first question is whether there really needs to be a Wikipedia-wide standard set of rules about this template, connected to a campaign to go out and do mass deletions. It implies big problems, and I am just not seeing those problems. I am also not seeing any good consensus on any such clear action plans.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:03, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
The lack of citations is a big problem. If it is not for you, then I do not know how to continue this discussion. Many here have voiced verifiability concerns, and in the past, all attempts to define this template as exempt from WP:V have failed miserably. Tagging unsourced content as unsourced and removing it if no sources are provided (for years!) has never been controversial. Surtsicna (talk) 15:39, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
When it is done massively as part of a "principled" campaign by someone who is not looking at the specific articles, and did not get strong community consensus, it can be seen as controversial.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:59, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I am looking at specific articles; when removing unsourced content, I always make sure to specify for just how many years that specific piece of information had been tagged as unsourced. Surtsicna (talk) 17:37, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
You have absolutely insisted on not explaining anything about any verifiability concern on the article we are discussing where you deleted a whole table. You've treated it as a generalizable point of principle. That is my concern. If you did have a point, like in the Charlemagne case, why on earth won't you say so? Deletions are find but I object to the bad procedure here of deletions without posting a clear rationale. My post about your deletion was the first post on that talk page.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:14, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
No, I have always been very clear in saying that the verifiability concern in the article is the complete lack of citations. The 5-year-old tag was also clear: "This section does not cite any sources." That is a WP:V issue. Surtsicna (talk) 18:35, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Look at the talk page discussions where you posted nothing. But I asked you to explain more, and look at your responses.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:37, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I do not follow. I would have thought "This section does not cite any sources." to be clear enough. Surtsicna (talk) 21:01, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
The article cites sources. It is not a well cited article. So the constructive and normal thing to do when asked this good faith question is to explain what your concerns are so that editing work can be prioritized. In many cases that look like that it is just a matter of making an in-line reference to one of the sources already cited. Why would you not want to work along that normal constructive type of path? Why would you use extreme definitions which block proper discussion? Honestly we know that you have no specific concerns. The reality is that you know something about this subject and you know the sources are out there and it is just a case of grunt work needing to be done, which you do not want to be done, because you want to delete something. The deletion was part of a Wiki-wide campaign. Your lack of concern with the article's sourcing shows that WP:V is not your concern. Do you see how this does not look "good faith"?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:33, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
No, I do not see that, and your reality does not seem real to me at all. I resent your pretending to know what I know and will not address such absurd claims. I will also not repeat myself anymore. If it's just a matter of making an in-line reference to an already cited source, do it. Surtsicna (talk) 00:35, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
I do not have copies of any of the sources cited, so it is a matter of double checking with someone who does. Of course to put sources in the section deletion should be reversed, but you have reverted me twice. Keep in mind I did not make this article, and only got involved with it recently. Therefore the 5 year tag argument is meaningless to me. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:01, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
The deletion reversion and the addition of an inline citation can easily be accomplished in a single edit, per WP:V. I am sorry, but I do not see how your non-involvement makes a section being tagged as completely unsourced for five years any more acceptable. Surtsicna (talk) 13:40, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
That is a nonsensical excuse. Why is it is so important to you to make it difficult for me to see what I have to source? After years, suddenly you need to rush around and delete templates, and the revert me when I try to help them concerning WP:V concerns. I can't see any good faith explanation for such behavior.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:00, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
What was or was not important to medieval clerics and nobles is of no relevance to Wikipedia because Wikipedia is not a medieval publication, as explained months ago by Agricolae. Wikipedia relies on modern scholarship and its content should be based on the content of "reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy". Some family connections are important. Indeed, some are of vital importance. But it is never the case that all of a person's great-great-grandparents are relevant. It is never the case that they are all discussed in peer-reviewed publications specializing in the subject. The works you cited only prove this: they show cousins and in-laws, but not every single great-great-grandparent. I am demanding sources for your claim that there is nothing unusual in showing all 30 5-generation ancestors in general biographies. I am also demanding a source that shows all 30 5-generation ancestors of William, preferably in a work specializing in William. And please see Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth. It does not matter that you believe all of the information in William's ahnentafel to be true. That ahnentafel "must have been published previously by a reliable source", as has been argued here extensively by Celia Homeford. Surtsicna (talk) 13:08, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
You seem to be deliberately trying to ignore and distort what I wrote. But taking you seriously, what was and was not important to nobles and clerics was absolutely critical to the lives of those people and the people around them, and that is why this type of thing is important to modern scholars. Keep in mind that the example here is not a King of France but someone about whom much of what we can say is concerning his family and its inheritances and connections. Coming back to the real point: we do not need sources for our formatting and presentation editorial decisions. See my Isle of White example. You clearly know that family connections are useful, important, interesting etc. When we make editing decisions, or when we make graphic representations, our aim is to build a highly linked, clear, tertiary source, that uses the strong points of the internet such as hyperlinks. We are not limiting ourselves to only make maps that look like they were printed in academic books for example.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:10, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
If naming all 30 ancestors in the first five generations were "important to modern scholars", you would have no trouble producing one scholarly biography that includes such information. No, we do not need sources for the formatting. We need sources for the content. We need sources for the names and connections. I do know that family connections are useful and important; I also know that verifiability is crucial. Our graphics do not need to look like they were printed in academic books, but the information they contain must be found in academic books. Surtsicna (talk) 15:39, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Is this post about WP:V or about the editorial decisions we need to make about whether five generations are trivial etc? For ancestors who can not be verified, they should of course be deleted, but you are not taking that approach. You are deleting whole sections. For the editorial decision, there is no such policy as the one you keep citing, and there should be discussion before you delete anything on each article. NOTE the logical conclusion: if WP:V is not your only concern, but rather an editorial judgement call, you should be using the talk page. Concerning such issues, my point is that for nobles in catholic Europe, direct ancestors were always important, and that should be a default approach. This means the onus should be anyone who thinks they weren't in some special case, to explain why. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:00, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
So let's remember that here we are discussing the article for William I of Hainaut. When I asked you to define the problem you picked on one of his ancestors and said she wasn't important to the article. Where is the WP:V problem on the William of Hainaut article please? If it is Waleran III of Limburg's wife, why did you not tag his article also? I know you understand this question, because concerning Charlemagne you actually could name a sourcing concern.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:59, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
The problem is not one person. The problem is that there are no citations. That is what WP:V is about. Surtsicna (talk) 17:37, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
You are not answering my questions. If you see a complex of problems in several WP articles you should take some time to find the roots and tag and edit in the places where it will do most good. Do you agree? If you agree, then please explain your actions on the William of Hainaut article. Why not work more on the article and the article of his relatives? Why not post notes first on the talk page? How does deleting these boxes, and giving no rationale, help? You say you are happy to work case by case but I am not seeing it here.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:29, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Working on the articles about William's relatives will not fix the problem of the ahnentafel in the article about William being unsourced and of dubious relevance. That section was tagged for five years. Anyone wishing to retain that information had five years to provide citations. I gave a perfectly clear rationale: "tagged as unsourced for five years; also excessive and of no apparent relevance". How does deleting these charts help? Well, it appears to be most effective in stimulating users to find sources. Surtsicna (talk) 21:25, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
"Tagged as unsourced for x years" is, in the context of this discussion between you and me now, wikilawyering and irrelevant to why you deleted now. Most likely the article was on no one's watch list and so the question was not addressed. You added no details about your concern and no remarks on the talk page. You are playing a very hard to get game here also. Relevance is WP:OR. Bullying other volunteer editors is not the right way to work either. Whoever sourced the article used genealogical sources and I see no reason to doubt that such sources will be suitable for this information. This means your complaint effectively comes down to a demand that an in-line footnote is required, though sourcing is apparently already there.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:33, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
The content being tagged as unsourced for so many years is one of the reasons I gave in my edit summary when I deleted it. That refutes, again, two of your claims. But I suspect that you will again claim to know that I know something and that I have hidden motives. This is becoming pointless. As for relevance being WP:OR, I can only raise my eyebrows. Surtsicna (talk) 00:35, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
The tag being there for 5 years can not be the reason that you recently reverted me twice, rapidly, when I tried to restart investigation into this subject. Yes, all your remarks about relevance in this table for William of Hainaut I have been OR. Apparently you also know very little about the branches you feel to be less relevant.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:01, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it can be, and indeed it is. If I know very little, please enlighten me; prove their relevance. Cite sources that put William in the context of those branches. Surtsicna (talk) 13:42, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
You are the one who named specific ancestors of his as being so unimportant to him that they should not be mentioned. The onus is on you to convince other editors that you are saying this for some good reason. For nobles like William in his period and region the default assumption is that all his lines of direct ancestry were important to who he was and how he and others saw him.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:00, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
I had a look at the posts of Celia Homeford on this page. I see in practice she likes a 4 generation ahnentafel, at least for royalty, instead of 5 generations. So this is (as it should be) a discussion about what works best editorially. Much of the earlier discussion above was like that. Fine. So I am saying for earlier and less well-known nobility more generations is often important. I've given examples. In practice, my retort to her position is that I am not sure Wikipedia needs a single simple rule. I think we should indeed use different formats as appropriate. Can we really for example equate all royalty? However Surtsicna, what you are demanding is quite different, and not a good WP-style consensus-building approach.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:23, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I am not sure what you think I am demanding. I have said that I am not arguing for a complete ban on this template. I am arguing for presenting information found in academic sources in whichever format is best suited for that purpose. This necessarily involves case-by-case decisions. Surtsicna (talk) 15:39, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
There is another issue in one of her posts which you seem to want to lean on, but I think honestly it is wrong. If A is the father of B and B is the father of C, then we can conclude that C is the grandfather of A. This is not WP:SYNTH because the basic logical necessity of this is too low level. You only need to do the though experiments to realize this use of the synth rule would block pretty much all editing except direct quotes.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:23, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
In the case of William I of Hainaut, if we were to abide by policy, we would need a source that says he was the son of John II of Hainaut, and that he in turn was the son of Adelaide of Holland, and that she was the daughter of Matilda of Brabant, and that she in turn was the daughter of Henry I of Brabant, and so on for each of the relationships mentioned in the chart. What I would settle with is a mere snippet of what is actually required by WP:V (and thus may be understood as being against WP:SYNTH): just that these people are mentioned somewhere as (great-)great-grandparents of William, regardless of the actual line of descent. That is really not too much to ask. Surtsicna (talk) 15:39, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
What does this mean in practice though? How do you add footnotes into these tables without ruining them? I see no discussion of this idea above. The article mentioned is badly sourced right now, but you've posted no tags in the other parts of the article. Why not work on the main article texts first? You are demanding that the table becomes an article about the family before we even have articles about any members? It would be nice if someone with lots of time wrote an article about the family I guess, but this is a wiki. We can't work that way. We are all volunteers. Any approach which breaks things and then demands other people fix it is a bad approach. We need to make edits which marginally improve the wiki each time, and never take it backwards.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:19, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I do not know what you are talking about. The article about William I of Hainaut has been exceptionally well sourced for some time now. Everything but one sentence is supported by an inline citation. Besides, I have not posted any tags in that article. I merely reacted to the one that had been there for five years. And no, neither the person who tagged the section nor me who removed it broke anything; citations are not optional, nor are ahnentafeln indispensable. Surtsicna (talk) 21:14, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
You've already written above that deleting the section might force other editors to add an in-line reference, so you are changing your story. I am not seeing any concern with WP:V here. The sources used are WP:RS but not strong. They are good enough for now. They are works known for genealogy, not history, but they are of a quality which gets cited by historians, who do need to look constantly at the genealogy of people in this period as we both know. The genealogies of people in this period is a kind of reference information that is important for reading and studying the history of the period. The kind of thing that might go in a tertiary source, like WP. What we can strongly expect though, which is relevant to your supposed WP:V concern, is that these sources already being cited in the article will name many ancestors in a systematic way.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:33, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
In case it is not clear, in practice I propose that at least in pre 1300 bios we should work primarily on the rest of these articles which are almost all badly sourced. Maybe one day they will all be so good that an argument about the pedigree format is meaningful. Of course as in the Charlemagne case I have no problem rooting out truly unsourced individuals. But for best effect we should note our rationales so that this work also impacts editing on the rest of the article, and connected ones.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:35, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
If your proposal is that unsourced content of dubious relevance in pre-1300 biographies should be just ignored, I must disagree with it. There is also no such thing as "truly unsourced". Content is either sourced or it is not. Surtsicna (talk) 21:14, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I think the discussion would go better if you stopped playing the WP:IDHT game? No, I obviously did not propose this. And there is no logical conflict between "Content is either sourced or it is not" and the term "truly unsourced" because there is a possibility of something being claimed to be unsourced when it is sourced. For example if someone would say that because there is no inline citation in this map, then there is no citation at all, even if the map is explained in the text. I fear we are getting to the point where you are making up your own rules about what a "real" citation is. The funny thing is that you gave one example and it did not look very different to the article where you reverted me twice to insist on a section deletion. Although perhaps you are not familiar with the sources involved? The fact that none of us know everything is a good reason to engage in discussions where you explain your concern before acting, and respond to people who ask for clarification.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:59, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Agricolae, what you are describing is a format/aesthetic preference though? No, absolutely not. I have never seen a biographical account of Alfonso VII of Leon that thought it was worthwhile to give the parentage of Stephanie, wife of William I of Burgundy as part of a recitation of his familial context, yet just yesterday I had to remove a wild guess from the ahnentafel on his page, because an ahnentafel has all ancestors including the ones no historian cares about when talking about the subject. This is not aesthetics or format, it is a content choice, making the editorial decision that this woman's obscure parents are inherently more worth showing than his highly-influential sister, or the relatives who were his main rivals, his step-father Alfonso I and his cousin Afonso I. In using an ahnentafel, we are substituting our judgment of what content is noteworthy over the judgment of scholars. I keep pointing this out - one could put on the page of Henry II of England what he ate on certain days. The information has been published, so it would not violate WP:RS or WP:NOR (or even WP:SYNTH) but it nonetheless is trivia, no matter how fascinating these dietary details might be to certain culinarily-inclined editors. Of course, one editor's trivia is another's curious detail so how do we, as a community, decide what level of detail to include? We couple WP:GENEALOGY with WP:PROPORTION - we include genealogical detail in proportion to the level that reliable secondary sources find specific relationships useful to contextualize the individual, not just because we can, or because a 5-generation ahnentafel template exists. If we are to ignore this critical razor that tells us where to shave the genealogical strands, there is no other policy that prevents an editor exercising their personal interests and adding a 12-generation ahnentafel, or putting on every relevant page what that person's degree of relationship is to Diana, Princess of Wales (whether it be 1st cousin or 35th - some would say that WP:SYNTH prevents this, but you have dismissed the applicability of WP:SYNTH to such genealogical connect-the-dots). Agricolae (talk) 16:13, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, what I replied to was clearly a formatting question. But I think a big problem with this whole discussion is the way the subject keeps changing.
  • 1. Removing unsourced individuals from these tables is something I can completely understand, but it seems entirely irrelevant because no one is arguing against that? (Indeed, I suppose one reason I miss these tables when they are being deleted is that if they can be a scorecard of what our articles say, they give a handy way to run up and down dynasties and work on the texts of those articles, which is more important. If we do that, and then keep reducing the templates after we reduce what is in these articles, we can systematically improve them.)
  • 2. Concerning notability and trivia, see once again my point about the Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight might not be important, but a map is a map. When we use this template we are NOT judging what is important and I am confident the format makes this clear. It is a map. It shows links to linked articles. When we delete individuals for not being notable then we are using our judgement. Demanding that we use good sources to tell us who is not a notable relative is just not practical because that is not how these sources are normally written.
  • 3. Concerning the number of generations, we have no source or policy to tell how many is the correct number to describe, but that does not mean the correct number is zero. I think this should be a case by case decision. In pre-1300 bios I would propose we are never going to hurt anyone by naming ancestor we actual know confidently.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:09, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
You view an ahnentafel as a scorecard. I view them as an invitation full of blank spaces that provide an inherent pressure to complete with whatever someone finds on the internet. Not everyone in an ahnentafel deserves a Wikipedia page, not every space in an ahnentafel is occupied by someone whose identity tells use something useful in understanding the subject.
When you use this template, you are making a direct judgement. There is nothing wrong with a map that leaves out the Isle of Wight, all of Hampshire and the rest of southern Scotland with it in an article about Scotland. Choosing a chart that shows siblings, step-relationships, aunts and cousins at the expense of an obscure mother's father's mother's mother, is prioritizing based on information value, rather than simply 'depriving readers of the Isle of Wight' as if any genealogical table that does not show a person's complete ancestry back 5 generations is somehow inherently, jarringly incomplete, while leaving out important non-ancestral relationships is just fine.
You would set a limit on a case-by-case basis, but based on what, whim? personal preference? gut feeling? And if someone else has a different personal preference or gut feeling, what then? We end up right back here. Or we could have set criteria, show what relationships the scholarly sources think are the relevant ones. Basically, I think we should decide what genealogical information best helps us understand the subject, based on what the sources choose to name, and only then pick the right template to show these people, rather than picking a template and having that choice drive the genealogical content decisions. Agricolae (talk) 17:53, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes. Yes to all of that. Surtsicna (talk) 17:57, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
"You would set a limit on a case-by-case basis, but based on what, whim? personal preference? gut feeling?" Allow me to shock you. Maybe we should edit based on consensus about what explains things in the clearest ways? We sometimes forget on WP with all these discussions about our inside rules, that for editing judgement even things like whether a choice is more enjoyable to readers can be quite a valid issue. That would be why a map maker might prefer a map with a particular colour of coastline or a bit of the Isle of Wight showing. But once again, this map maker can explain why he is not distorting the sources. He is just taking a neutral approach to presenting the information. That is important. If we make a pedigree, then encouraging editors to remove people who can be sourced is a can of worms. Encouraging people to remove individuals who can not be sourced is something I'd happily get behind. Surtsicna deleted a whole table, and can explain no doubts about any of the relationships. Are you saying that was a good thing to do or not? Please be clear.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:10, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
BTW again there is the practical issue. Making a custom-made pedigree is nice, but demanding that other Wikipedians make them for every medieval bio is not going to work. Templates are easy options. Also this template is handy and helps readers get context quickly. It is also collapsible and compact. What harm does it do? We should get rid of unsourced people yes, but why not, as with all good editing, post a rationale whenever we do that. Maybe even suggest some sources on the talk page. It is amazing what a few good posts can do to encourage other editors. We need more mentoring I reckon, not more play acting that we are doing something academic? :) --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:42, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Surtsicna also replaced an ahnentafel with a chart (on Alfonso VI of Leon) - that was definitely a good thing. As to whatever you are referring to, it depends on the page - I have removed an entire ahnentafel and thought it a 'good thing', and I have also left an ahnentafel in articles when I thought it justifiable. The idea that we should encourage their addition and then try to police them after the fact is unworkable - there aren't enough experts to police them all and the nonsense will grow quicker than it can be policed. I don't think it is a bad thing that using the chart template is harder - it is also harder to insert footnotes when adding text, but it results in a better product, and we don't want to encourage doing something unnecessary in an incorrect manner under the assumption that someone can always clean it up later, when it is still unnecessary. If it is harder to do, then they are less likely to be done on a personal whim, but only, as intended, when they provide insight into the subject of the article. The very nature of an ahnentafel is that it has gaps to be filled in, and encourages the addition of trivia and inaccuracy just to complete the grid. Agricolae (talk) 01:14, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Obviously I am not denying these should sometimes be deleted, and sometimes have people and branches deleted. Also I am not saying we should encourage their addition. I came to this discussion to raise concerns about a deletion crusade which is being done with no consensus or good practice caution. I think you know I sympathize with your concerns about human nature but in effect you are saying the Wikipedia way of working is not good here. People can add things but should expect them to be removed if they don't meet certain norms and community agreement. That might be true, but until someone invents another approach, this is what we are working on. One problem is indeed perhaps that we have no rules. But discussions on this talk page or some similar forum might eventually create guidelines that help push things better, but the discussion has so far been completely confused with all types of different concerns and opinions mixed up in every post. Eventually the discussion needs splitting up into logical sub-topics. Until there is a better discussion, frustrated individuals should no go around edit warring and refusing discussion.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:01, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree that you should not. And once the frustration subsides, you might see that there are no crusade banners flying around. Surtsicna (talk) 13:32, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
I am sure you did not want to advertise it, but that does not make it better. I do think you need to adjust your approach to working with others.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:00, 26 July 2019 (UTC)

Let's summarize some of the arguments given on this talk page, and see if they are about the sourcing of facts, and not about whether mentioning genealogy is allowed, but perhaps about trying to push specific editorial/format choices which actually have to be made by individuals within WP:

  • Agricolae: "If something like a standard is to be deduced from practice, it would be for using the chart template instead of an ahnentafel."
  • Surtsicna: "I would have no trouble with the format itself if it were used in peer-reviewed biographies."

Hmmm. I can't see any policy problem at all with this template. I can imagine there might be debates on specific articles. I can imagine that for example if someone makes one of those customized family trees they might suggest using that instead, but most medieval articles are short (or will be if they ever get stripped back to what is really known) and about people who we know very little about. In any case these are case by case editing decisions.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:30, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

What we are debating here is not whether this template is inherently flawed. It is also not whether genealogy is allowed. The latter is a particularly dishonest interpretation of arguments presented here. What is debated here is whether Template:Ahnentafel should be the standard genealogy chart, a format used by default in Wikipedia articles. It is clearly a policy problem if, by default, Wikipedia articles present content (in this case, the names of all 30 ancestors within 5 generations) that is not generally found in published, secondary sources. And if all 30 great-great-grandparents are never named in such sources, as demonstrated by Ealdgyth, then it is a huge policy problem for Wikipedia to habitually present such information. Of course, the same information (names of all 30 ancestors within 5 generations) can be presented in other ways, such as simple prose or Template:Chart, and would then be equally troublesome; so no, it is not about the format but about the content and the lack of such content in published biographies.
And yes, I agree that these are case by case editing decisions, but decisions that should be based on historiographical practice, not our own whims and preferences. Thus, in the case of William, it is up to you to prove that historians name all of his great-great-grandparents. Merely restoring content that had been tagged as unsourced for five years, and arguing that sources are not needed, is not a reasonable editing decision. If we know very little about medieval people, as you say, how can you claim that there is no need to cite sources for their descent from people who lived a century or more before them? Surtsicna (talk) 13:08, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Let's be clear about what you are saying with this: "it is up to you to prove that historians name all of his great-great-grandparents". What I think you are saying is that I have to find a published book which uses the EXACT same format of genealogical table? Can this possibly be your real position? This demand has nothing to do with Wikipedia policy? Again I point to my Isle of Wight example. If I make a map of Belgium which includes the Isle of Wight, but can not prove that an academic did that somewhere first, would you have an issue with that also? These table are not at all the same as including text in the main body which lists thirty ancestors, because like a map this is a compact design that is meant to be easy to absorb. If we randomly start deleting bits of a diagram like a map we make it harder to understand what it represents - and we achieve nothing important or good.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:34, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
No, you do not need to find a published book which uses the exact same format of genealogical table. I expect you to find a book that names all of his great-great-grandparents in whichever format, even simple prose. That demand is entirely in line with WP:V policy. The tables are obviously not the same as text, but present the same information that can be presented in the form of text, and (again) are no exception to WP:V. Surtsicna (talk) 15:39, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
So to be clear, is it important to you (or indeed according to your reading of WP policy) for all the great great grandparents to be listed in one sentence, or perhaps on one page, or perhaps in all in the same book? Or can they be mentioned on different pages, or in different books? By the way, being in line with WP:V does not mean demanded by WP:V. The question here should be whether these tables can be in line with WP:V. It is confusing and seems meaningless, to say that your concerns are in line with WP:V. And also, what you say about information needing to be presented consistently with WP:V also applies to maps. That does not mean people should tag them and delete them in the way unsourced sections often are.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:53, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
It is important to me that all the genealogical information presented in the Wikipedia biography of a person can be found in an academic biography of that same person. Now, I would argue that being in line with WP:V is exactly the same as being demanded by WP:V because WP:V is not a guideline but a core policy; citations are not optional but a requirement. I do not wish to argue maps here and I will not comment on that any further. They are entirely unrelated to this template, unless maps can also have great-great-grandparents. If you wish to learn more about map sourcing, take a look at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Maps#Recommended_conventions or ask about it at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability. Surtsicna (talk) 17:37, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Can you please answer my direct question? Do all the great great grandparents to be listed in one sentence, or perhaps on one page, or perhaps in all in the same book? Or can they be mentioned on different pages, or in different books?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:02, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
All I find necessary is that the descent of the subject from each person included in the ahnentafel is mentioned somewhere in the scholarly biographies of the subject. Surtsicna (talk) 18:35, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
OK then, putting aside the SYNTH issue mentioned above which I think must surely be resolvable, that means we agree on the ideal aim. How do we get there in practice? Mass deletions without using talk pages? :) Concerning William I of Hainaut I would not mind working on it just for fun if you can advise me though what would make you happy. So I have to ask you again: are you asking for footnotes about each relationship on every person's cell in these tables? I see no argument for this above so is this not a completely new moving of the goals? I would not even mind making a reference list for the section but I think this is not going to look nice or create any consensus either? So I still need to understand why we can't just treat this as an infobox where we are given some latitude to look in the articles in the infobox for the sources. Is that not completely normal on WP for infoboxes which link several articles?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:49, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Ideally there would be a single citation that confirms all the relationship in a comprehensive study of William I of Hainaut. I would settle for multiple citations from such a study (though I understand the concerns of Celia Homeford and others that this might fail WP:SYNTH). This would not only satisfy WP:V but also prove that all the people named there are relevant to a general biography of William. Now, we seem to have some terminology issues. Template:Ahnentafel is not an infobox. Do you mean navbox? If so, this has been discussed as well; look it up above. Surtsicna (talk) 21:01, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
We don't live in an ideal world and these remarks show how you are not addressing the reality of making a better encyclopedia with the sources that exist and the human editors we have as volunteers. Solo deletion campaigns are not what works here. Most medieval people have no comprehensive study and those who do are not really the ones I am concerned about. I'm afraid that even professional historians now regularly cite sources from 1900 or earlier for the latest ideas on some of these people. As far as I can see the demands you are now coming up with now (comprehensive study... multiple) are purely yours and you have no right to make them. The synth discussion can be had if you want to spin the discussion out but you know this logic won't hold up against any inspection, so I suggest stop referring to it. Concerning navboxes, infoboxes, etc, not only do I compare to them but also to maps, graphs, illustrations. It is not important to this discussion whether they are actually in one of those categories. The point is that these are examples of how WP handles similar situations. I did look at the references on this page though, and I keep seeing two people who have strong personal preferences, and lots of people disagreeing with them. Your attempt to tell me that your two reverts of me are simply missing footnote concerns is new and silly, and not consistent with a good faith reading of WP:V. On a point about presentation and editorial judgement like this one, the fact that many editors are concerned with your proposal is relevant, because us editors are also readers. Making something interesting and easy to use and read in different contexts is ALSO a WP aim. Please don't work against it. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:50, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
No, these remarks reflect Wikipedia policy. I am not coming up with any new demands nor are the ones you are referring to purely mine. Please take some time to read this three-month-long discussion. As for me not having the right to make such arguments... well, watch me. WP:Synthesis have been voiced by others, so I suggest that you take your suggestion elsewhere. If you only see two people, you are not looking hard enough; if you only see personal preferences, you are ignoring references to scholarly practice and an extensive analysis of the presentation of genealogy in royal biographies. What is interesting to you may not be interesting to me, and we are not here to debate tastes and preferences but to refer to the experts on the subject. Surtsicna (talk) 01:32, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
True, you can say what you want. But no one has to take it seriously. This talk page has so far not achieved any clear decisions as far as I can see. To pretend otherwise is not going to work well. If you want better discussion and better end decisions you should consider the way that you keep changing your positions and mixing personal preferences with exaggerations about policy claims. Drama is not going to get better results. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:01, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
I have never cited a personal preference. I have only ever referred to scholarly practice and Wikipedia policy. I leave references to personal preference to those who know that scholarly practice is not on their side. Surtsicna (talk) 13:48, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
But it is your personal preference. And that should not be a problem, when it comes to editorial judgements such as the question of when templates are trivial, or 5th generations are irrelevant, but you keep trying to call it policy or scholarly practice. It is neither. You should simply present your case for triviality in clear terms on the talk pages of articles where you have a concern. You should avoid mixing it with the WP:V concern which is clearly mainly a technical disagreement because you are demanding the in-line style of citation we do not always use in such summary boxes. (I am not seeing lots of unverifiable ancestors in the cases I've checked so far, and where I am seeing them, deletion of the whole table is still not required.)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:00, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Remember, in the end the question behind WP:V is whether something is verifiable. As far as I know, you don't have any doubts about any of the relationships on the deleted table at all? This is relevant. Why are you picking on this article?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:51, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
"Verifiable" in WP:V does not mean that we, the editors, should know that a source exists somewhere in the universe. It means that the readers are provided with a citation proving that what they are reading has not been invented by us, the editors. Surtsicna (talk) 21:01, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I think you are not parsing the logic correctly here. Even on WP, the word "verifiable" does not mean what you say it means. I presume you are saying that the WP policy (WP:V) says this? It doesn't and you should look into the fine points of this policy, but this is not our problem here. My concern is what WP norms are about how to address a WP:V concern, in a practical way. After your deletion I reverted you and tried to engage in discussion to work out what was needed. You simply re-reverted, and you've avoided constructive discussion. Now you've admitted above it comes down to one missing footnote which could probably just cite one of the existing sources. Normally when we see problems like this we should fix them ourselves, not delete whole sections. The aim of WP:V is not to wikilawyer about footnote positioning as an excuse to delete things we don't like, but to make sure readers can verify things with reasonable ease. In other words, it is very relevant in practice if we expect that information is correct, but badly cited, or perhaps not correct and therefore never verifiable. This is a long established WP consensus, and not a new topic. You can look at discussions like WP:IRE. Keep in mind I only noticed the deletion by accident. I was not actually editing WP much lately but I've been reading a lot about the counties of this region of Europe, and I wanted a quick reference about how the breaks worked in the Avesnes line and how they connected to some of their neighbors. So there is a reader (me) showing you how these tables are useful. WP:V says "When tagging or removing material for lacking an inline citation, please state your concern that it may not be possible to find a published reliable source for the content, and therefore it may not be verifiable.[5] If you think the material is verifiable, you are encouraged to provide an inline citation yourself before considering whether to remove or tag it."--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:33, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
If you dispute my interpretation of the word "verifiable", please bring it up at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability. It is a cornerstone of Wikipedia and I do not feel that I should debate it here any further. And why not quote the rest of the paragraph you quoted? "Any material lacking a reliable source directly supporting it may be removed and should not be restored without an inline citation to a reliable source." So I was right to remove it for being unsourced and you were wrong to restore it without an inline citation to a reliable source. "In some cases, editors may object if you remove material without giving them time to provide references; consider adding a citation needed tag as an interim step." The citation tag was there - for five years. Plenty of time to provide the references. As for you finding these tables useful, I will quote Agricolae because it's getting late over here and I am not fit to phrase it any better: "I don't think editor whim ('I think it is interesting', 'I think someone may find it useful') is sufficient basis for including information. One editor's curiosity is another's mindless trivia. That is why we have policies like WP:PROPORTION." Surtsicna (talk) 00:35, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
I am an experienced editor who arrived recently at the article AFTER the deletion and asked for discussion. You edited warred and your approach to discussion has been unconstructive. WP:V does not tell us we have to do that. But then again, when we've looked at WP:V more closely you changed your position and said WP:V is not necessarily your real concern. Not once have you tried to engage with the actual article material, and you've resisted my efforts to get such discussion, showing that your deletion was part of a blind crusade. And yes, you defined both the word and the policy wrongly.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:01, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
No, I never changed my position that WP:V is my primary concern. The matter is simple: there are no citations. There is nothing in the article to prove to the readers that the material is not made up. Therefore I do not have anything to engage with, really. And if you believe that I define the word and the policy wrong, you had better take it up at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability. Surtsicna (talk) 14:01, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Groan. Your own edsums when you delete these sections is always referring to the non-existent and impossible "rule" that all the people in the table need to have all been cited in a biography about the article subject. This has nothing to do with WP:V, and even the good example you showed me does not meet this demand. If WP:V was your real concern you would not be re-deleting tables after I have asked to be allowed to work on. The WP:V discussion has been about the way we make these tables verifiable. WP:V is in the end about making sure readers can verify information. How we do this for running text is not necessarily the way we do it for summary tables and illustrations, and that has been an on-going discussion here. Your misrepresentation of WP:V implies that WP:V is only about footnotes like we use in text blocks.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:10, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
No, my edit summaries always refer to the section being tagged as completely unsourced for a number of years. John, William, Floris. That is the WP:V demand. Expecting that the people named should be mentioned in a comprehensive study of the subject is not meant to satisfy WP:V but to establish relevance and the need to mention them in the Wikipedia biography. That is, if no source discusses Theobald I of Bar in the context of William I of Hainaut, then Theobald is presumably not relevant enough to be mentioned in the article about William. But relevance and verifiability are different things and the latter should be dealt with first. Surtsicna (talk) 12:16, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
In recent hours you seem to have changed your standard message because of this discussion? I notice you post your examples here, and not below where I posted mine which show the opposite. You sure like making discussions silly. Anyway, it still does not change the fact that your actions and words have already shown that WP:V is NOT your concern with this template. You don't tag any of these genealogical bits except this template, not even other pedigrees, and you never tag particular individuals in the template etc etc etc. Your main concern is, at best, a matter of editing judgement, where we have no simple rules. Your demand for biography sources should be seen as part of your attempt to convince others about a certain editing judgement you prefer, but I believe it has not convinced any single fellow editor at this stage? It should please cease being presented as WP policy and used for barging through edits without discussion about the actual cases. You should also please stop dishonestly pretending that you have been checking all biographies and found that a person has never been mentioned in one. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:33, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
No, I posted my examples below, right after yours, to disprove them, and I did that before posting here. And no, nothing has changed in recent hours. Yes, both my actions and my words make it obvious that WP:V is my primary concern. And no, it is not true that nobody else here thinks that the relevance of the people mentioned in genealogy charts should be proven by demonstrating that the said people are mentioned in comprehensive studies of the subject. You have even responded to other editors who argued this. It is likewise not true that I was the first to suggest this. All this is obvious from the 3-month-long discussion which you have apparently not yet read. And if you dispute my claim that an obscure great-great-grandparent has never been mentioned in a study of the subject, feel free to disprove me. Surtsicna (talk) 14:02, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
LOL, you posted those after I noted above that you did not. Why do you bother with this kind of side show? There are only probably a few of us capable of handling these issues, so it is tragic if one of them is constantly being a dick to other editors.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:47, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
No, I did not. Please check the timestamps in our signatures. And calling a fellow editor a dick is a dick move indeed. Surtsicna (talk) 22:19, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, if I made an error on that timing my apologies. Everything remains as I said. Concerning being a dick, I think it depends on the situation, but in any case you should consider the small but important difference between saying someone should stop "being a dick" and someone "is a dick". I am trying to be optimistic, and hope you can actually switch the BS off. If you want allies to help get rid of nonsense on WP, there are not many of us around. We need to be able to talk to each other.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:32, 26 July 2019 (UTC)

Hmmm, on that William of Hainaut article I just noticed which sources are being used. I don't have them at home but I am pretty confident that they will confirm all these relationships, and even though they are not ideal sources, while we have no other ones they at least seem to be WP:RS. For example academics sometimes cite Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln, for better or for worse. Normally in such a case I'd be saying this is good enough for now, and better sources welcome in the future - not starting to delete? So in the spirit of using this as an example, how do others see this case? Why would we start deleting? And if we start deleting why only the table?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:16, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

Does anyone have a copy handy?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:41, 25 July 2019 (UTC)

Case study: CharlemagneEdit

Charlemagne previously included an ahnentafel. Could sources really be said to be lacking in that case? Note that the ahnentafel was not complete: in this case it only included ancestry which could arguably be satisfyingly reflected in sources. Curiously, even as such, Charlemagne's ancestry was included in the very documentation of this ahnentafel template as an example of application until recently. Surtsicna repudiated the ahnentafel of Charlemagne with this edit in December 2018. Does this repudiation really make this article better, more helpful to readers, and a better reflection of available sources? PPEMES (talk) 13:51, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

To me it seems like a misleading edsum to begin with. It is clear surely that Surtsicna did the deletion as part of a WP-wide campaign, and not looking at anything specific to do with individual articles, which is the implication of his edsum. Such crusades are generally frowned upon for good reason on WP. I propose that the crusade as such should stop, because it simply does not have the level of community consensus which would justify such behavior. Obviously discussions about article-specific issues should never stop. The edsum also mentions no consensus to keep, but it seems there is also no consensus to delete?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:00, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Andrew Lancaster, I kindly ask you to assume some good faith. Yes, I am crusading against unsourced content. That has never been frowned upon on Wikipedia. The ancestry presented in the ahnentafel of Charlemagne was described as "speculative" by you in 2017. These speculated ancestors remained in the ahnentafel until I removed it. It is therefore not true that the ahnentafel only included verifiable ancestry; the parentage of Charlemagne's grandmother Rotrude is disputed and is not even discussed in any comprehensive biography of Charlemagne. And lastly, "the onus to achieve consensus for inclusion is on those seeking to include disputed content". Surtsicna (talk) 14:55, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Sorry if it seemed that way. I am sure you have good intentions and think you are doing the right thing. I just see that there are practical issues and confusions in your approach. This type of situation, when someone breaks off and starts deleting anyway, is a common one, and that is why I say there is a sort of community position on it. Concerning AGF, please also stop writing as if I said WP:V can be ignored. You have not been able to convince me this is a WP:V problem, at least in any of the other cases. A WP:V problem is when someone really doubts something is verifiable. WP:V does not apply to editorial and presentation decisions. We do not tag maps or graphs in the same way we tag text. If there was actually a dispute about the people in the table which was discussed before deletion then I clearly misunderstood, based on the context.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:12, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
BTW good catch finding my old comment on the table! I hope this also helps explain my own priorities. I don't think I am lax about WP:V.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:14, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I am afraid you are misinterpreting WP:Verifiability. It is not about whether you and I, the editors, feel that something can be verified. It is about whether the people reading an article are provided with a source that proves that what they are reading was not just made up by us, the editors. I may be a history buff who knows that Charlemagne was the son of Bertrada of Laon, and that she was the daughter of Charibert of Laon, and that he was the son of Bertrada of Prüm; but we owe a citation to our readers. Surtsicna (talk) 15:47, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Technically, you are not really reporting the policy accurately. We do not need to cite for everything. But in any case that is irrelevant, because I never removed any sourcing or said sourcing was not important. Diagrams and illustrations should represent information which our readers can verify somehow, but not necessarily through the footnotes we typically use for running text. Typically this means making sure that everything is cited within the article. In this case we have an infobox about a whole cognatio, similar to the situation of a dynasty infobox, or an infobox about people who held an office, and so in some cases a reader may have to click to one of the other articles if they want to check the sourcing for someone the infobox mentions.
Let's be realistic about the context too please. We both know this is not a concern about whether something is verifiable. You are not rushing around deleting anything else in all these poorly sourced articles. Furthermore, most of the editors you see as agreeing with you were apparently happy if we could reduce the number of generations which means none of these wikilawyering points are seen by them as very strong I presume. You are the one going around deleting. We surely all know that tagging is not always done correctly. It is something even done "strategically".--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:28, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not an academic publication. In terms of formats, we are quite new and innovative.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:04, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia is based on academic publications. The format is not the issue here. Article content is. If all 16 great-great-grandparents are never named in academic biographies, naming them all should not be common in Wikipedia biographies. If no published biography of Charlemagne names Lambert of Hesbaye, neither should Wikipedia's biography of Charlemagne. Surtsicna (talk) 18:14, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Is anyone arguing otherwise? Who would you see as the equivalent of Lambert of Hesbaye in the William of Hainaut table which you deleted?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:24, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
What we do not need to cite is that which is common knowledge. It is not common knowledge that Bertrada of Prüm was the mother of the father of the mother of Charlemagne; therefore that needs to be sourced. We should not leave our readers to "somehow" verify what we write. I agree that Charlemagne's descent from Bertrada of Prüm would not need to be cited within a chart if it were mentioned (with a citation) elsewhere in the article - but it is not. A reader must also not be required to go to other articles to verify information found in Charlemagne. If you have doubts about this, I strongly encourage you to refer to Wikipedia talk:Verifiability. And no, we do not "both know this is not a concern about whether something is verifiable". To me, the lack of citations is a concern. Surtsicna (talk) 17:52, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
So what is your verifiability concern in the William of Hainaut article where you deleted a whole table? Not the first time I asked.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:04, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
The lack of citations for the chart. Not the first time I said that either. Surtsicna (talk) 18:09, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
But is this not then a general call for deletion of all these tables in WP, on a point of principle which not everyone agrees with? How would your demand be satisfied?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:23, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
No, it is not. Some of these tables are sourced. My demand would be satisfied by providing citations. Surtsicna (talk) 18:38, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Maybe you can show me a good example?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:52, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
A good example of an ahnentafel that is at the very least perfectly verifiable is the one found in George V. Surtsicna (talk) 19:42, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Thank you! I think we are bringing this forward. Thank you both for your patience. Would you mind for that ahnentafel to be extended to 5 generations, provided satisfactory WP:V? PPEMES (talk) 19:46, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I would mind that. Surtsicna (talk) 20:24, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
PPEMES I would say this is as an editorial decision to be made by active editors of the article. But is there any need to raise a controversy? I think for a modern monarch where all relatives have heaps we can say about them, and also big long names, 4 looks pretty good?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:50, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Indeed thank you. It is a neat case where one footnote apparently suffices. This has been done by using a genealogical source, but I think WP:RS at first sight for this type of information. So what is wrong with the sources on William of Hainaut which are probably also suitable for such use? I am sorry that I do not have ES handy, but I guess it is going to contain the needed information.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:53, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Which sources on William of Hainaut do you consider probably suitable for such use? Allow me to note, again, that merely being verifiable does not make information worthy of inclusion. It has been argued here, extensively by several users, that Wikipedia biographies should only contain information that is found in comprehensive studies of the subject; that is, if no expert in the subject has found it necessary to include a piece of information, then that piece of information should not be included in Wikipedia's general biography of the subject. So while citing a specialist publication such as a genealogy magazine satisfies WP:V, it does not prove that the content is relevant enough to be included in a general biography. But that bridge should be crossed once more pressing matters have been addressed.
In the case of William I of Hainaut, I would certainly prefer a chart that includes people directly relevant to his life and thus mentioned in the article (e.g. his brothers, his uncle, his brother-in-law Philip VI of France, his sons-in-law Edward III of England and Louis of Bavaria, his cousins Guy of Namur and John II of Brabant) rather than some obscure great-grand-grandparents, whose relevance is not obvious from any scholarly work about William. Surtsicna (talk) 20:24, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I think you are moving goals very fast here and maybe you've confused yourself and not only me! Which genealogy magazine do you think we are talking about? You explained your concern (WP:V), and you gave an example. Let's stick to that concern first, especially given that you pretty much insisted that was your only concern. What difference are you seeing between that acceptable example of sourcing for someone's ancestry, and the sources already on the article we were discussing which we can put in a footnote if you insist? (Concerning a diagram showing other types of relationships I think that is a different subject. This is not a long article. There is nothing strange about using more than one diagram to show family positions for nobles in this period. So make one? Let me know if you have a good idea and want me to help.) It seems to me that you must be circling back to what I thought you were saying originally. Basically you are using WP:OR to argue that William's Limburg ancestry was not important. I am finding that bizarre from a historical point of view, but from a WP policy point of view it is simply not how we work. A pedigree is a neutral and compact presentation of a type of information we have agreed to be relevant for this period. Deleting the branches you do not like is (still) like deleting an island from a map. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:50, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
No, I am not moving goals. This has all been discussed. The discussion started in March, so I understand it is very difficult to get a hold of it in one day. I did not refer to any specific genealogy magazine. I mentioned "a specialist publication such as a genealogy magazine"; this can be any publication dealing with genealogy. While it verifies the content, it does not prove that is relevant to a general biography. I am all for addressing WP:V concern first, though I have never insisted that it is my only concern. In fact, we have been discussing relevance in addition to verifiability here for months. Which ancestors of William are important can be determined by checking scholarly biographies of William. If no comprehensive study of William mentions William's Limburg ancestry, neither should a general Wikipedia biography. In the case of Charlemagne, dozens of comprehensive biographies exist; if none of them mentions his descent from Bertrada of Prüm, neither should the Wikipedia biography of him. The people who should be mentioned in a genealogy table in that article are those who are habitually discussed in these works: his brother, sister-in-law, nephews, cousins, etc. Surtsicna (talk) 21:42, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Are there even any scholarly biographies of William? Quite likely not, but he is a notable person discussed in many books. Suddenly you are demanding a source which might not exist, when previously you were saying the sources in this article were good! How on earth have you suddenly come to feel that you may demand that WP may only use biographies for articles about individuals? Are we going to start an even bigger mass deletion campaign? Of course we can use many types of expert publication, and of course you already know that these do inform us of his family connections, including the one to Limburg. Waleran III was a Duke! His inheritance is a major topic for historians of this region, and we are talking about the male line of William I's own mother whose father was a Duke in that line. This discussion does not seem serious. You are clearly just inventing your own rules to try to make things impossible, but the table you said was acceptable did not cite a biography, and you already said you thought the sourcing for the William article was good except for the box!!!--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 23:08, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I could not find any stand-alone biographies but there are very detailed entries in the biographical reference works of Germany and Belgium. Yes, we can use many types of expert publications to verify content, but relevance to a general Wikipedia biography is proven by citing a comprehensive biography. That is not something that I have suddenly come to feel. It is one of the major points of this three-month-long discussion and has been argued by multiple users. If Waleran III of Limburg is relevant in the context of William I of Hainaut, it will be easy to find a source explaining this relevance. The table I said was "at the very least perfectly verifiable" did not cite a biography, true, which is why I feel that it excludes relevant people and includes irrelevant people. For example, much is made of George V's relationship to Wilhelm II and Nicholas II in every biography of George V, but you would be hard-pressed to find a single reference to Louise Caroline of Hesse-Kassel or the Duke of Kent and Strathearn. Surtsicna (talk) 01:13, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
It is clearly an arbitrary rule which as you say, has evolved, or is continuing to evolve, as part of a specific long and confused argument on this talkpage. What is clearest about this talk page is that not even the proposals of different sides are clear, let alone the definitions for future action. So we can expect a mess if anyone tries pretending that following this "rule" is somehow following a clearly agreed consensus or WP policy. The place to debate reliable sources when needed is WP:RS, and this rule is not compatible with the normal approaches there.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:40, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
And just to keep pointing to the hypocrisy and "digging deeper" nature of this demand, this "rule" would make the example you chose of good sourcing (George V) unacceptable, because the table is not citing a biography. This of course makes sense because the way you've designed your rule it would be almost impossible to use in practice in order to make a good article, using normal editorial judgement. Above in this discussion I see that some editors with doubts about these pedigree tables believe it is better to make custom made pedigrees showing important relationships. This rule could lead to debates about deleting one person from a verifiable family tree (of any format, including running text) because they can only be cited in a book which is not a biography. Or it could perhaps lead to the types of debates WP had in its early wikilawyering era whereby someone insists that a mistake in a biography needs to be included in the WP family tree, even though stronger sources make it clear it is wrong. (Biographies are not the strongest sources normally speaking.)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:26, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
I see that you have a habit of doing section deletions where this self-invented biography rule is your main/only explanation. Obviously those deletions can and should be reverted and discussed properly. Please avoid unclear or misleading edsums and tag bombing.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:26, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
"Verifiability does not guarantee inclusion." Several times I have provided a link to WP:ONUS, the policy saying just that and explaining it. WP:PROPORTION has also been brought by me and by others. Yes, custom-made pedigrees showing important relationship and not showing trivial ones are better. No, I only have a habit of deleting sections that have been tagged as unsourced for many years. I would appreciate if you followed WP:V, which says that such material "should not be restored without an inline citation to a reliable source". Surtsicna (talk) 13:25, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
What we are talking about here are deletions where by your own account WP:V is not the issue. Your own edsums and your explanations when pressed here on this talk page keep showing your mainly concerned with standards you've developed yourself.
To the extent that WP:V might be an issue in some cases I am asking you as an editor arriving fresh to this problem, to work on these cases, which I can not do if you keep deleting everything using this "tag was old" excuse. After 5 years what does it hurt to give an extension in the context of this good faith discussion? Whatever else you think, you have to admit that at least in my mind and the minds of some other good faith editors, it is not clear that there has been or is any consensus about how to meet WP:V in this particular template. Furthermore, similar types of templates and boxes show that WP has a long history of flexible approaches to such cases (which does not mean exemptions from WP:V). While this is the case, wikilawyering and edit warring is a very unconstructive approach which has nothing to do with the aims of this wiki. So you know there is a good faith discussion, and you know I am trying to look into and work on some of these examples afresh and was not involved with the articles while they were tagged.
Today I have added sourcing to one template, but had several re-deleted before I could work on them. Your edsums have pretended no knowledge of any other discussion or context. This does not look good faith to me. You seem a bit obsessed with these templates.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:38, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
No, whenever I delete a section tagged as unsourced, the primary reason is it being unsourced and that is made perfectly clear in the edit summary. Your continuing denial of this does not set the ground for a good faith discussion. Surtsicna (talk) 13:55, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Nonsense. Yes you sometimes also mention WP:V, but not always and when you do it is not generally marked as a more primary reason. Furthermore, when you do you often dishonestly pretend you went out and checked all the biographies which supposedly exist. Furthermore, your own actions such as redeleting when someone asks to work on something, show zero concern for actually improving the ease of verification. You also never mention that there is a discussion on-going while you rush around deleting. From edsums for deletions by Surtsicna: --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:24, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Floris V, Count of Holland "no relevance and no precedent for the use of charts such as this one in academic biographies", "replacing an unsourced chart containing people of dubious relevance with a chart sourced to a scholarly biography",
  • William I, Count of Hainaut "excessive and of no apparent relevance", "The relevance is also not obvious at all because none of William's biographers name these people. How exactly did Philippa of Dreux or Theobald I of Bar affect William's life?"
  • John I, Duke of Brabant "No indication that these people are named in any biography of the subject"
That is grossly dishonest. In every single case, the first time I deleted the ahnentafel, the first reason given was it being tagged as unsourced for many years. John, William, Floris. Surtsicna (talk) 12:00, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
What you say is what you are LOL. You have a history of mentioning this fraudulent pseudo rule. You don't have a history of saying it is a less important matter. But anyway I am happy if this discussion means you will stop posting this BS and tricking editors to believe in rules we do not have. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:10, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Holy crap. Surtsicna (talk) 22:28, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Crap indeed. But in short WP has no rule at all which says genealogical charts need to be based on "scholarly biographies". You have written over and over and over as if there is one.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:38, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Of course it does not. It does have a rule that says that articles should "treat each aspect with a weight proportional to its treatment in the body of reliable, published material on the subject." This was originally pointed out by Agricolae and Celia Homeford. Surtsicna (talk) 22:52, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Which is of course not a rule which says we should use biographies only! Why do you keep going on and on? In some cases, such an approach will certainly be in conflict with our policies, as I have explained below. We can and should of course use good sources if we have some, to guide our balancing/weighting editorial judgment. But basically it comes down to consensus seeking. The spirit of WP:DUE (and indeed our content policies) is of course exactly the opposite of telling people to only use one source, or one specific type of good source for such discussions. Any family connection of an individual which is published in a RS and notable might potentially be included in our articles on that person. There is for example no rule which stops us proposing to use a work written about Lambert I of Louvain for something we put in an article about his descendant. Celia Homeford was apparently grappling with a WP:SYNTH concern which maybe related to specific cases, but with all due respect I think that attempt to create a general definition of SYNTH for family connections in biographies was not completely thought through, and nor was it correct according to WP norms. Very simply WP:SYNTH does not apply to rewording of English, and the word grandparent, for example, can be rewritten as parent's parent. Banning that level of "research" would mean we can only cut and paste from sources. We do not have to source "synthesis" based on an understanding of the English language. We can also, certainly, put together ideas found in several sources. WP would not be possible otherwise, and there have been many discussions about these misunderstandings over the years.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 23:14, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, any family connection of an individual which is published in a RS and notable can and should be mentioned in the article about that individual. The notability of this connection should be demonstrated by references to historians who are experts in the individual, i.e. in the subject of the article. Merely claiming something to be notable does not cut it. Surtsicna (talk) 09:23, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
No, lack of evidence is not evidence of a lack. By the logic you are using, if I find an article about someone's castle building you can argue that this is not allowed in the article about the castle builder, only in the article about the castle. You are trying to invent general rules which do not exist and which we do not need. The relevance of a topic to an article is something you have to discuss with fellow editors, including people with other tastes and interests. Our source authors do not need to be specifically experts on the article subject, because they are often experts on topics which relate to only one aspect of the article subject, such as a castle they built. You can't say books about dynasties, for example, are not allowed to be used because they are too genealogical, and not only about one individual.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:59, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
The relevance of content is not something to be determined by the "tastes and interests" of editors. It is Wikipedia policy that the content of an article should reflect the content of expert literature on the subject. Surtsicna (talk) 10:34, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
No, the content itself should come from published sources. The editing decisions about such as things as the boundaries of the article topic, which determines relevance, are decided by us.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:44, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
You are contradicting policy, which makes discussion with you futile. Surtsicna (talk) 11:11, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
You are apparently trying to confuse the issue by making unclear accusations. Or do you say that WP policy strictly prohibits the use of books on castles or books about dynasties, in the making of WP articles about individuals who built castles, or were part of dynasties? That is what you were replying to. I am saying WP content and balance policies do not attempt to define to this level of detail. You have to convince other editors. We all have tastes and interests, sure, so this will influence our actions, including yours. The problem comes when one person tries to push their POV unduly, which is what you are doing with the deleting and the dishonest policy explanations.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:23, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
My references to WP:PROPORTION policy are exactly the same as those made by other editors on this page, and there is nothing dishonest about that. Anyone can read the policy and find out themselves. Surtsicna (talk) 11:53, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Do you say that WP policy strictly prohibits the use of books on castles or books about dynasties, in the making of WP articles about individuals who built castles, or were part of dynasties? That is what you were replying to. Whatever other people have said, it was not in reply to that.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:09, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
No, I do not say that. I say that the ancestors mentioned in a WP biography should be the ancestors mentioned in "reliable, published material on the subject". WP:PROPORTION. Surtsicna (talk) 12:30, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Strange thing to say in reply to my post on another subject then? Is there anyone actually proposing anything else? I was replying to a point you made about notability, not verifiability. You were saying notability can only be determined by looking at sources by experts in an individual. That was not correct, just as it was also not true that we can only cite biographies for family connections. OK?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:53, 27 July 2019 (UTC)

Charlemagne article includes both maps and other images, as do many biographical articles, containing bits of information as well as connections of bits of information of whose importance may not be discussed in biographical literature, or even be included there at all (if something is surely off the chart in the article design, it better be deleted, though, obiously) Whereas ahnentafels surely are around for Charlemagne in print, although not necessarely in most print biographies, with importance of relations to 2nd great grandparents being discussed. Still, precisely an ahnentafel including this has been included for years. Point is, if we want to rigidly enforce over-the-board deletion for 5 generational ahnentafels even on articles like Charlemagne, we risk cutting of a whole lot of branches of information by the same interpretation of policies in a way that I find it hard would benefit Wikipeda's progress. PPEMES (talk) 13:50, 27 July 2019 (UTC)

I'd have to look at the case again but I believe one of the problems we will see with many pre-1050 (approx) people is that the ahnentafels are going to be full of gaps (as long as we stick to well verified people). In those case it is not an efficient means of presentation. I am sure Agricolae would also want me to add that people have a bad habit of wanting to fill those gaps with whatever they can find on geni.com or whatever. If you think I'm wrong in this case please feel free to post the proposed Ahnentafel on my user page to show me. (I presume it was already discussed on the article talk page?)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:57, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, obviously not all entries in a 5 generational ahentafel needs to filled, even if sources exist. In Charlemagne's case, only certain branches of family origins where display, when offered satisfactory sources. Howevever, it's good we brought this up. In scarcely covered biograhpies of the Early Middle Ages, obviously information may be provided in plain text reflection varying degrees of certainty in sources, but how to deal with that level of certainty in ahnentafels? WP:V should be hard on this one, but arguments could also be made for minor leeways on a case by case basis. C.f. for intance the varying degrees of acceptance of certainty of sources in early medieval Norse sagas, etc. PPEMES (talk) 14:16, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
I personally don't have strong feelings about including speculative ancestors (ancestors which good sources have speculated about, not ones which we speculate about) with for example a question mark, but we have to realize that if we dare do this we make our work less likely to create a stable consensus. I think using this template for the most certain people only is safest. Of course there will be cases where a particular ancestor is uncertain, but also important to a person's life story. I think in those cases special explanation should be in or near the pedigree, or in a footnote attached to that person or section. Do you have examples in mind?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:47, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree. I don't have anything to add to your comment, really. I try to keep myself short here - already considerable text around. PPEMES (talk) 16:01, 27 July 2019 (UTC)

Case study: Boris JohnsonEdit

While we could exclusively contain available information in plain text as seen in Boris Johnson#Early life and education, would providing an ahnentafel somewhere suitably in the article really be commiting such a sin? Perhaps even Template:Boris Johnson family background section could be helped by the ahnentafel template? PPEMES (talk) 19:36, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

I'd need to look at the case. Typically for modern people I would avoid these tables, but I know his ancestry is considered newsworthy.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:50, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
He should not have an Ahnentafel. This is the problem - you start asking 'why not', and 'what harm' and that becomes an excuse for littering genealogical trivia all across Wikipedia, using it as decoration. A modern politician's complete ancestry for 5-generations may be a passing curiosity to some editor, but is not noteworthy, nor an actor's, nor a TV commentator's, nor a social media star's - we should have a better reason than simply 'because we can' to include any information in a Wikipedia article. Agricolae (talk) 18:32, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Case in point, starring my much younger self. Rather embarrassing now! :) Surtsicna (talk) 18:38, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
I took this case because the material of an ahnentafel is already discussied in plain text. I take it you think that material should be deleted then from that article? PPEMES (talk) 18:56, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
A 5-generation ahnentafel, as you advocate it, cannot be formed from the material already discussed in plain text because only 5 out of 30 needed people are named in plain text, and those 5 include the subject's parents. Surtsicna (talk) 19:01, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm not saying necessarly all 30 entries are needed. Possibly, an idea would be to just fill those entries that have their own articles, in the same fashion as the plain text deals with the material. Would you mind that? PPEMES (talk) 19:09, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes. I would mind that. Agricolae (talk) 19:37, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
It is probably worth mentioning - the Boris Johnson page had a tree, but it was removed years ago and nobody seems to miss it. Agricolae (talk) 19:48, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
So here it is purely a matter of preference of presentation, whether plain text could also be illustrated by this template? PPEMES (talk) 20:29, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Not accepting that the Prime Minister cannot be adequately understood without naming an obscure Pennsylvania pharmacist on his page is more than just preference of presentation. Agricolae (talk) 21:03, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Let's say you suggested that those preexisting details be deleted from plain text, but the suggestion would not be accepted - would an ahnentafel reflecting the included material not be helpful?
Not following your hypothetical - if information that isn't in the article but was in the ahnentafel before it was removed were to hypothetically be in the article and I wanted to remove it but it wasn't, would that justify an ahnentafel? Huh? I am just going to say no, because there shouldn't be an ahnentafel in that article, as its very structure encourages further addition of true-but-trivial genealogical information to fill out the format.
I get it that a (historical) royal is governing within a context of collaboration and competition among neighboring monarchs, and that close genealogical relationships might explain their claims and alliances, but the same is not true of the Prime Minister. Giving his parents and siblings is pretty standard in all biographical accounts. In his case, the unusual cosmopolitan nature of his background has been specifically highlighted in coverage, and is thus worth mentioning, but this does not justify making a full study of his complete ancestry a part of his article. We don't need an ahnentafel or tree to convey the fact that he had Jewish and Muslim great-grandfathers - stating it is enough. Agricolae (talk) 01:58, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
And just to add a counterpoint, not all historical kings are appropriately illuminated with an ahnentafel either. A recent edit drew my attention to Godfrey of Bouillon, King of Jerusalem, a page I have had watchlisted for a decade but haven't really looked at closely before. The most important genealogical relationships in placing his actions into context are those named in the text, as nephew of Godfrey IV of Lorraine, and as brother of Godfrey's successor Baldwin I and of Eustace III. Do we provide a chart to illustrate these important relationships? No, of course not. Instead it has been deemed more important to show that his great-great-grandfather was some obscure bolognese count whose entire Wikipedia article is nothing but a genealogical place-holder. This is a prime example where an ahnentafel is illustrating trivial distant ancestral connections at the expense of a chart showing more noteworthy relationships. This is not simply a question of format/style - it is a fundamental question as to whether genealogy is shown here to serve the articles, or if the articles are just to be used as excuses for showing genealogy. Agricolae (talk) 14:47, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
I have addressed this issue by replacing the ahnentafel with a chart sourced to a biography of Godfrey. Your last point is also echoed by WP:Not genealogy, which says: "Family histories should be presented only where appropriate to support the reader's understanding of a notable topic." Since naming Arnulf III of Boulogne does not support the reader's understanding of Godfrey of Bouillon, there is no reason to mention Arnulf in the article about Godfrey (or, indeed, vice versa). The family history that does support the understanding of Godfrey includes his uncle Godfrey the Hunchback, aunt Matilda of Tuscany, cousin Albert III of Namur, and other collateral relatives. Surtsicna (talk) 17:42, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
This is an interesting example of why the style of rationale which has been treated as a rule is actually in some cases going to be lead to infringement of core content policies. It is by no means better. I will just go through the logic. Proposal is that if we only use charts from biographies, this must be better than charts we constructed ourselves. We've already see how this is not true. As long as the family links, the facts, are sourceable, making a chart is an editing judgement, and not needing this kind of rule. But now let's ask ourselves could this "BS pseudo policy" even be problematic according to WP policies and priorities sometimes? Yes certainly. Because biographies of someone like Geoffrey focus on various aspects of his life and links. Longer works about people in this periods indeed rarely only have one table, but several. Maybe we should do the same. He is a person concerning whom I think it is very safe to say that every part of his family tree has been seen as possibly significant. So, although we can now say we have a chart which appears in a book, in practice that is not so important. The essence of what has been done is actually a deletion of branches judged to be less important. Who did that judgement? Was the writer of the book thinking of WP when they made the chart? No, the decision was made right here. Surtsicna has deleted all reference to Geoffrey's own male line (not just Arnulf III) which is in this period always important, and even the much discussed Louvain connection. Reading the post above you can see Surtsicna's rationale. It is Surtsicna, the WP editor, who is demanding that specific lines are important and others are not. I can't see any way to say that this decision is somehow policy-based, and of course it is also not consensus based because Surtsicna does not appear able to do working with others. On the other hand I am not saying the chart is bad for showing the things Surtsicna wanted to show, and as a fellow editor I can see those are relevant things to show. Therefore I believe in this case there should also be a plain ancestry template like the one which was removed. I see absolutely no problem having both. This is certainly not the type of individual where there is any doubt about the importance of his direct ancestors. These are always important in this period. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:04, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
The judgement of which relatives of Godfrey are important to mention was done by Dr Simon John, a senior lecturer in Medieval History at Swansea University, in a "new appraisal of the ancestry and career" of Godfrey, which explores him "in the light of the careers of his ancestors". So no, it is not Surtsicna, the editor, who is "demanding that specific lines are important and others are not". It is also not Surtsicna who first suggested that the ahnentafel was a wrong choice. Surtsicna, the editor, merely addressed the concern raised and reasonably argued by another editor and cited an expert in the subject.
The problem with having "a plain ancestry template" is that it shows people who are not mentioned by historians in the context of Godfrey of Bouillon. I trust that an academic historian who published four works specifically about Godfrey of Bouillon knows who is relevant to Godfrey's life better than a Wikipedia editor. If you can cite a historian that discusses "the importance of his direct ancestors" and "Geoffrey's own male line", you are welcome to. Surtsicna (talk) 08:49, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
You are either getting yourself confused or else trying very hard to confuse others. First, the example. Dr Simon John is the author of one book you can see snippets of on google books. His book contains no opinions about what should be in the WP article. Lack of evidence is not evidence. The book does also mention all or most of the people who've now been deleted from the article. Here is another book which complements his, but of course we know that in this case verification is easy. It is tendentious to suggest that you think the relationship of Godfrey and his paternal grandparents is mentioned by no RS!! Second concerning your actions, you are the one deleting and one posting the dishonest rationales for the deletions. No one else is responsible. Examples, of authors who explain the importance of direct blood ancestors in this period for nobles are David Crouch and Georges Duby, right? Fourth, the "problem" you keep mentioning is not a WP policy problem. It is your POV. You need to convince others in each case if you think it is important.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:10, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Please do not be ridiculous; we do not need authors to express opinions about what should be in a Wikipedia article. John has made it clear what he considers relevant to the subject by including it in his comprehensive study of the subject. No, the book does not mention Arnulf or other people who have been removed; cite it to prove otherwise. Where does Murray's book mention Godfrey's descent from the people who have been removed? I do not see it. If Godfrey's descent from his paternal grandparents is mentioned in a study of Godfrey, cite it. Do Crouch or Duby discuss Godfrey's descent from his paternal grandparents? No, this is not about my POV. Repeating this accusation will not make it true; neither will shouting it in boldface. This is about what experts in the subject consider relevant. Surtsicna (talk) 10:30, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
If we are deleting whole sections of articles when we know other editors don't want us to, the onus is on us to show we are doing this for good faith reasons. If we are using a date tag as a supposedly main excuse, when we know the tagging itself has been the subject of long good faith policy-based discussion, which was never in conflict with WP:V, the onus is on us to show that we are doing this for good faith reasons. All these things seem to be in fundamental conflict with WP norms, such as, for example WP:DEADLINE. I mentioned Crouch and Duby as sources for a talk page discussion, not an article. I was pointing out that published experts tells us about the general importance of blood lines in this period. Concerning the article, can you post opinions and questions there?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:48, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
No, "the onus to achieve consensus for inclusion is on those seeking to include disputed content." See WP:ONUS. The tagging of these sections as unsourced has never been found to be dubious, much like the sections themselves have never been made exempt from WP:V. Blood lines being generally important does not translate to Godfrey of Bouillon's descent from Arnulf of Holland being important; the latter has to be demonstrated directly. I am not sure which opinions and questions you would like me to post. Surtsicna (talk) 11:09, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
But you've admitted many times there is no disputed content. You say your reason for deleting is that you come across old tags. You know the tagging itself has been disputed and that there are ongoing discussions. But you rush ahead and delete as many as possible so others can not improve them in a way which would suit everyone's demands in a more widely agreeable way. That has to stop. You can keep trying to twist my words, but it won't get us anywhere.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:14, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
There is unsourced content and there is content whose relevance cannot be demonstrated by citing the literature on the subject. Neither belongs in a Wikipedia article. I do not know that tagging itself has been disputed; I do know that genealogy being subject to WP:V has been disputed, and that attempts to declare it exempt have failed. I do not know which words of yours you think I have twisted; it is evidently wise of me to have taken to quoting you directly and providing direct links to your comments. Surtsicna (talk) 11:39, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
You do know there is dispute about the appropriateness of the type of tag because the type of verification has been a technical question. You try to represent this as a demand that genealogy being exempt from WP:V, but this is a dishonest misrepresentation. Most important to me is that we've shown with real examples that the WP:V problem can be resolved in a way which suits all the different policy-based opinions. Your section deletions now are clearly only intended to block that from happening on a larger scale!--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:57, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
No. Surtsicna (talk) 12:16, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
If you keep deleting after our recent discussions and the examples I went through with you in good faith, then this clearly has nothing at all to do with anything other than disruptive POV pushing.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:39, 27 July 2019 (UTC)

Deletion campaign moratorium required; and summary of discussion pointsEdit

If necessary we can call a bigger community RFC, in case discussion here keeps getting bogged down by people trying to muddy the waters, but let's try to establish some basics here if we can. To me it is clear that the deletion campaign is against Wikipedia norms and should stop and be reversed as much as possible, at least for medieval nobles. The dates on the unreferenced tags should be ignored for now, and material should be fixed and preserved where appropriate, but not deleted as a whole. I will attempt to summarize the issues, and see if they justify a mass deletion campaign, as has been pursued by one editor:

  • Missing footnotes, tagged for years. In context, this is clearly being done as POV pushing, rushed deletion "on a technicality", avoiding discussion, and thus not an appropriate reason for massive deletions. Notes on this:
    • Since the old tags were placed there has been both debate and technical work about how to make the information verifiable. The tags were written by someone who wanted to insist on using the same rules as running text, and it is extremely clear that many editors found that inappropriate. Arguably the tags should be deleted or perhaps replaced with a more specific tag. Maybe even a custom made one to explain the situation?
    • My thanks to User:Surtsicna for showing us the George V article which demonstrates how a footnote can now be added to the template. That's all that is needed to avoid the issue which is being used to justify deletions. But time is clearly now needed. In the meantime it would be obviously inappropriate for those who don't like the template to run around deleting them all before this can be done.
    • Verifiability itself, the question of whether the information is verifiable, and can be shown to be so, is not itself the major concern of any editor I've seen in any of the examples I've looked at, only the format and approach to citations. Often the sourcing already appears on the articles but is just not in any in-line footnote. That is relevant to how we should work together in a common sense way.
    • It is clear that deletions are being done by people who don't like the template, using the old tags as a technical excuse. Using this as a reason for deletions allows editors to avoid consensus building concerning WP:DUE weight etc. This is against wiki norms and policy.
    • According to WP:PRESERVE and common sense our default approach when there is no good clear consensus is that we should not delete informative work, that will tend to get lost or difficult to recover. Anyone trying to deliberately make material get lost before it can be discussed is clearly working in opposition to some very old and core principles of this wiki.
    • There is no WP:DEADLINE on WP, so demands that the tags have to be acted on because old are not correct. New discussions and solutions have created a new solution and the dates on those tags should be seen as irrelevant now.
  • Other policies have been raised as possible justifications for massive deletion but none of those can justify mass deletions because they are all matters of editorial judgement. The approach to defining where to draw the line is supposed to be consensus building and discussion, except in clear cases. Any approach which seeks to circumvent discussion is clearly working against the spirit of all such guidelines.
    • WP:NOTGENEALOGY obviously does not tell us we can not mention anything genealogical.
    • WP:SYNTH obviously does not forbid all types of synthesis. For example we do not need to cite the dictionary in order to show what a grandfather is, and of course putting together information from several sources is basically our main mission.
    • There is certainly no rule anywhere that we have to use "biographies" for all genealogical or prosopographical citations. The widespread use of this claim to justify deletions has been fundamentally dishonest.
    • There are certain types of article where genealogical information is obviously important, such as with medieval nobles. In those cases the default assumption before any discussion is that it should not be quickly deleted. In the mass deletion campaign these are however the cases where deletions have been pushed through the most, clearly in order to try to rush through changes without discussion. That should stop.
  • There is a also the "slippery slope" concern of User:Agricolae. According to my understanding, the fear is that allowing people to add genealogical information will inevitably be like a gateway drug to silly levels of inappropriate material (trivial, unverifiable etc). I can surely sympathize with the concern but it is the concern with almost anything on any wiki. We can't stop wikis being wikis. This concern is too general to be anything but a background guide to specific decisions like this one. Unless we say WP is seriously going to forbid all mention of family relationships, I don't see how it justifies massive deletions. That conclusion is really only a non-consensus POV matter, and not coming from any real policy. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:21, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
We've just had an RfC. Posting a massive 5.5kB wall of text like the one above is guaranteed to lead to "getting bogged down". DrKay (talk) 08:24, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Sometimes you have to go through the points to get past a problem. The previous "RFC" was about whether to make 5 generations a standard? This one is more complex because it has to consider the various debating points which have evolved. If this discussion here gets nowhere though, then we can go to a bigger discussion forum for community input, and use this as a reference link.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:34, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Nobody has said that WP:NOTGENEALOGY forbids us to mention anything genealogical. Implying that someone has argued that is dishonest. What has been argued is that, per WP:NOTGENEALOGY, the genealogy shown should support the reader's understanding of the subject. The relevance of the genealogy should be demonstrated by those inserting it or restoring it by references to experts who discuss it in the context of the subject of the article.
  • No, you do not have to use biographies. You can cite any comprehensive study of the subject to demonstrate the relevance of the people you want to mention. In fact, if any historian ever mentioned the ancestor when discussing the subject of the article, I could accept that as proof of relevance. I cannot speak for others, who have argued for studies specializing in the subject.
  • If the genealogical information is "obviously important", you will have no trouble citing historians who discuss it. Merely repeating that something is "obviously important" does not demonstrate any importance. And no, it cannot be assumed, by default, that all great-great-grandparents of a medieval noble are relevant. That is preposterous. Ealdgyth has presented an analysis of scholarly works in which she could not find a single case of all 16 (or anything remotely close to that number) great-great-grandparents being discussed or even merely named. You have not attempted to disprove this, so your claims to the contrary are unsubstantiated and contradicted by the evidence presented by others.
  • And finally, once again, deleting content tagged as unsourced for years is not POV pushing, nor should such egregious violations of WP:V be ignored. Surtsicna (talk) 09:08, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for moving a few small steps, but the deletions have to stop. Your short last bullet is in conflict with the rest, looking at the way you have been working, because as you see, the WP answer to the problems here is consensus building, and the deleting is being done to make that impossible. I've explained above, and to be honest I think what I've it allows no room for movement. In context these deletions to avoid discussion are not consistent with WP policy, guidelines and norms. You are using tags made during a different situation to justify something else. That type of deleting should stop, and the tags dates should not be used for wikilawyering. These are not a standard routine deletion. The study by Ealdgyth is a study of formats and we don't need sources for formats. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:33, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
ADDED FOR THE SAKE OF COMPLETENESS. Apart from the ahnentafel format itself the other issue mentioned is the 5 generations. But actually this is a red herring. From the sputtering RFC above it was clear there is no consensus for any standard number of generations. And also from Surtsicna's own chart making it is clear that 5 generation genealogical links are extremely common (almost a standard!) in reliable sources, even if the Ahnentafel format is not.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:08, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
I do not see how it can be clear from one example that something is "extremely common (almost a standard!) in reliable sources". Besides, in that example, only one fifth-generation ancestor is named, while in ahnentafeln you want to keep, 16 fifth-generation ancestors are named. This is not a difference in format but in content. Surtsicna (talk) 12:09, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
We have not only looked at 1 example. And we know this is common. For that matter, more than 5 generations is common. See the map example below concerning the pseudo problem of "excess" content linking. Consider also WP:BTW which is one of our most basic and old directives.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:48, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
No, we do not know that this is common. Again, your claims are not substantiated. I also do not see anything in WP:BTW that relates to this. Surtsicna (talk) 13:01, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
We have hyperlinking, and we are not limited like printed books, so we can help people find all notable and verifiable relatives they might be interested in using one neutral template. This is a core aim of WP.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:35, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Even older and more basic, WP:PURPOSE: "Wikipedia is intended to be the largest, most comprehensive, and most widely-available encyclopedia ever written". None of our sources have that purpose, and this obviously impacts their format decisions.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:57, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
No, that's not true. It is the purpose and aim of every scholarly work to be the most comprehensive study of the subject it explores. The notion that Wikipedia editors might know what's relevant to say about Godfrey of Bouillon better than academic historians who invested their careers into researching Godfrey of Bouillon is absurd beyond belief. And again, it is not about the choice of format but about which content to include. Surtsicna (talk) 13:13, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Please don't keep missing the point on purpose? Our sources focus on special topics. Of course we don't say we know more than them. That is why we use them as sources. But we do not limit our coverage like they do, not only concerning topics which have articles but especially when it comes to showing the links between our articles. We should never base our decisions on things like wasting paper etc. WP content policy is not telling us we can not mention the relationships between people, and you should please stop making up fake policies! --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:35, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
The study by Ealdgyth is a study of content because ahnentafel as a format dictates which content should be included and which cannot be included. We do need sources to prove the veracity and the relevance of the content. The deletions are not done to avoid discussion. The deletions are done because the content is unsourced, tagged, and not obviously relevant. You are always welcome to cite sources verifying the content and proving its relevance to the subject. Surtsicna (talk) 09:43, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
ADDED FOR THE SAKE OF COMPLETENESS. The connection between format decisions and content has been discussed above by me using the example of map making, which has the same (pseudo)-"problem". When we pick a scale, we also incidentally mind end-up showing more or less neighbouring areas. The approach being proposed here has been like demanding a new general rule that map scales must always avoid showing any neighbouring regions in whole. We don't need people making rules like that up.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:12, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Map scale should serve to help the reader understand the subject of the article. The same is true for genealogy and any other content. That is Wikipedia policy. Surtsicna (talk) 12:09, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Exactly my point. Ahnentafel generation number is the same as scale in the map example. We've seen how books about medieval nobles often use 5, 6, 7 generations, but then need to use several tables to help explain connections. But Wikipedia policy does not tell us exactly which "scale" to pick, right? It DOES tell us to work with others and seek consensus.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:48, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
No, we have not seen that books about medieval nobles mention all ancestors within 5, 6, 7 generations. Wikipedia does tell us which scale to pick - the scale that is "appropriate to support the reader's understanding of a notable topic". Surtsicna (talk) 13:01, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes we have seen maybe half a dozen sources since I entered this discussion, and I think all had 5 or more generations. And yes, WP does not tell us an exact scale. It tells us to decide together. It means seeking consensus and not bulldozing people with stories of policies which do not exist.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:35, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes ahnentafels are thus a format and we can use them. Using a standard procedure to delete is not appropriate when you know there is an on-going discussion. (There is no room on that!) To be clear: Deletions continue to be appropriate where it is reasonable to presume no reasonable, policy-consistent objections from editors (or indeed readers) with other tastes and interests, and in cases where there has been reasonable discussion, and something close to a consensus can be proposed. In Godfrey of Bouillon where there has been discussion and good faith work on both sides, I've raised concerns about the changes made which deleted reference to some eminently verifiable relationships (his father's family). I have not reverted. But for medieval nobles where there has been no discussion there should be no deletions because the importance of lignage can be assumed to be important, always, and most of these are short articles where this information, if verifiable, does no harm and is clearly considered relevant to many editors and readers and published writers. It would be like saying we can't mention a person's castle-building because the article is not about castles and you found a biography which does not discuss castles.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:49, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Just to be clear, if we can't get an agreement on the moratorium of these tendentious deletions, the next step is bringing it to a different forum to get broader communal opinion, because it is to a large extent a policy and behavioral matter, not a template or WP:V issue. I am absolutely confident that the policy principles I've explained above have strong and wide acceptance throughout WP.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:52, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Ahnentafeln are content; this content, like any other, can be presented when it is verifiable and when it can be demonstrated to be relevant. Again, "clearly relevant" does not cut it; cite experts in the subject to prove the relevance. The content of Wikipedia articles should reflect the content of "reliable, published material on the subject", not the "tastes and interests" of editors. Surtsicna (talk) 10:12, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Correct, and irrelevant. No one is arguing otherwise. I am saying something very specific: using those tag dates as a reason to go out and delete massively without discussion is not an acceptable way of working, because you know there is on-going discussion and delay caused by disagreements about the technicalities. (And you are anything but a neutral observer in those.) Can you drop the stick please?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:41, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
You are indeed arguing otherwise, saying that "tastes and interests" of editors should be considered[1][2] and that the content of Wikipedia articles need not necessarily reflect the content of expert literature[3]. It is not irrelevant to point out that this is contrary to Wikipedia policy. You are always welcome to restore content deleted on the grounds of being tagged as unsourced for far too long if you provide sources; per WP:V, such content "should not be restored without an inline citation to a reliable source." After that we can debate the relevance. Surtsicna (talk) 10:56, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
No, I said that your edits should not only appear reasonable to people who share your tastes and interests. And no, it is not reasonable to propose continuing with deletions and allowing other people to dig them back up from their graves in the future. There would be only one reason for proposing something so impractical, and again it is your POV pushing. You are trying to impede other editors, and make their lives deliberately difficult, and also to misinform the less experienced ones. Those things have to stop. If our aim is good articles then we should follow WP:PRESERVE, add sources, try to help others understand how to use these templates better, work on improving them ourselves if and when we can, and collectively keep a watch on as many as we can to stop the normal problems of over-enthusiastic adding. Massive deletion campaigns require very strong and clear consensus decisions.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
No, the reason for proposing this is WP:V. "Any material lacking a reliable source directly supporting it may be removed and should not be restored without an inline citation to a reliable source." "Adding a citation needed tag" is "an interim step". There is no evidence that naming all 16 great-great-grandparents of an individual is common in historiography or biographies; in fact, there is evidence to the contrary. And when the practice that is alien to historiography and biographies is also completely lacking in sources, there is no reason to tolerate it. Surtsicna (talk) 11:25, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
WP:IDHT But you say you did not place the old tags, you know they are disputed, and also you know there is on-going discussion which is happening and already demonstrating that everyone's policy concerns can be achieved without these deletions. You know you are using a blind standard procedure when you know that it is not a standard situation. Can you agree to stop the deletions or do we need this to be brought to a bigger part of the community for discussion? There is no doubt about what the result will be, so it is just a question of how awkward you want to be.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:29, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
No, I cannot agree to tolerate content that has been tagged as completely unsourced for years. That would be against WP:V. This is already being discussed by a big part of the community. I do not know how much bigger you think it should be, but I have encouraged you multiple times to refer to Wikipedia talk:Verifiability. Surtsicna (talk) 11:58, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
It is clearly not against WP:V. WP has no deadline, and WP:V clearly does not say you have delete everything without a footnote, nor even everything some editor has ever tagged. WP:V's aim and spirit is all about making sure things are verifiable and you know that is not the issue in these cases, but rather there is a POV dispute about the technicalities of the template. What I am talking about with a bigger discussion should be seen in the light of the fact that this is purely a problem to do with an individual editor. You are pushing things too far and it is deliberately disruptive. Please take a step back and consider what we are all trying to work on together here.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:06, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, inclusion of unsourced content is against WP:V. Verifiable means that the article contains a reference that verifies the content, not that the reference exists somewhere in the universe. Do not presume to know what I know. And no, this does not concern just one editor. This one editor did not tag this content years ago, nor is this one editor the only one addressing the problem. Surtsicna (talk) 12:15, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes to all of that, and now we have shown with real examples how we can do it in future, and we should reset the clock and allow existing ahnentafels to be improved. We should also perhaps add a link to unsourced cases, to help editors find examples and/or instructions? Full section deletions are not appropriate in any of the cases I have seen for medieval people.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:48, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
What's inappropriate in every case, as made explicit in WP:V, is the restoration of material deleted for being unsourced without providing a source. Surtsicna (talk) 13:01, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Not in this case. Because we have a way of fixing the verification concern. There is a discussion about how to do this better than deletions. You know that. You've actually blocked me a few times but then let me do it on several articles. But I can not work on hundreds of articles while you are racing me to delete them first! Deleting is much faster than improving.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:35, 27 July 2019 (UTC)

I do not think that going back 5 generations is "excessive"; it mainly gives good information on the political landscape of the time. It shows who is connected to who, and whose prestige is worthy enough to marry with kings, etc. Moreover, it gives information on the grade of inbreeding within families. And since most sources can be found OR in the articles of the great-grandfather, OR in the article in the appropriate language, most of the sourcing is covered well enough, if you look a bit further. Thus, I agree with Andrew Lancaster here: deleting family trees from article does not improve those articles. Regards,Jeff5102 (talk) 14:52, 20 September 2019 (UTC)

I'm sorry but that's obvious nonsense. Knowing who Elizabeth II's great-great-grandmother was tells us nothing whatsoever about the relevant political landscape. All her great-great-grandparents were dead before she was even born, and have no relevance whatever to the political landscape of her reign. Celia Homeford (talk) 14:59, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
Really that is just one minority subjective preference though, and not obvious at all. It certainly isn't policy or logic. The fact that so many editors find information interesting proves it is at least interesting human beings, such as are the readers we are supposed to be writing for. In the end that is supposed to guide our editing. That means proposals for 5 generation tables should never be dismissed out of hand.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:18, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
There are really no wiki guidelines on this. Nothing suggests an ahnentafel, or any other genealogical chart. Nothing prohibits it. Nothing specifies how many generations should be included. Editors are going to continue providing genealogical information, however, because the sort of people who edit articles about obscure historical royals or aristocrats are interested in this stuff. So we're just going to have to reach a compromise, however arbitrary, if we want to put this to bed. But I'm not sure that's realistic; the few editors who care about this stuff have been discussing this for almost 2 years, and we seem to be stuck in the same place. Flyte35 (talk) 20:55, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
Why does it need to be "put to bed" in the first place? I think this is part of the problem. There have been occasional efforts to put it to bed and these are what lead to problems. For example, there is a clear consensus on Wikipedia that mass deletion campaigns are something to be very careful of if there are reasonable arguments on both sides. I think, genealogical subjects simply need to be handled case by case. We do not need rules for everything.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:12, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
This matter doesn't NEED anything, no. But every case where this comes up generates the same discussion, since it's mostly the same editors. Flyte35 (talk) 21:39, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but I think we are talking about the same thing. It is a common type of problem really: the problems are coming from these people saying there need to be fixed rules to put this problem to bed. A small number of people would like to write rules when they are not needed, in order to avoid the hassle of consensus building. This actually hurts the "law and order" of our community because editing by massive campaign ensues and concerning such campaigns while there might not be any strict rules against those for trivial things there is a clear community consensus that they should not be used for debateable purposes.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:15, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Woah there nellyEdit

  • "Woah there nelly' this is tl;dr in the extreme. Can someone summarize this melee for the uninitiated or do we have to comb through megabytes of text to determine consensus here? Has there been a formal WP:RFC or even any kind of WP:DR other than screaming into the void of an obscure template talk page??? Elizium23 (talk) 16:03, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
    There has been an RfC, preceded by a long discussion. One side cited, among others, WP:NOTGENEALOGY, WP:PROPORTION, and WP:V policies to support their position that Wikipedia biographies should not include material that is not found in reliable sources specializing in the subject. The other side posited that ahnentafeln are standardly used in biographies outside Wikipedia but did not cite any examples. To counter this, an analysis of 22 royal biographies was cited, none of which were found to contain ahnentafeln. Surtsicna (talk) 17:18, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
    Surtsicna, that RFC was decidedly malformed, never properly closed, and I don't see any "options" or "!votes" among the long-winded "Comment" entries. Who runs an RFC without choices? Elizium23 (talk) 17:32, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
    Indeed, Elizium23. The RfC was started against my advice and was criticized by people taking part in it. I warned before it was started that no RfC could enforce or forbid using any template across thousands of articles. In any case, no consensus was reached to enshrine Template:Ahnentafel as exempt from the said policies; no evidence was cited to support the claim that ahnentafeln are standard in biographies; and some evidence was cited to support the claim that modern academic biographies do not contain ahnentafeln. Surtsicna (talk) 17:41, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
    I don't think those are really the relevant points to be honest. And I am not sure where there was an RFC amongst all this? I think there was a program of mass deletions going on at the time (please do note the dates) and that created a confused discussion, which led to some better understandings about how to keep working. The good ideal behind it was that family trees, like any graphic representation of information in articles, such as maps, needs to be verifiable. There is a lot of nonsense on Wikipedia and family trees would be one of the common types of places where you can often find it. Most of us involved in the discussion would agree on that. But in practice the specific program of deletions of family trees which created controversy appeared to many editors not to be based on any careful consideration of specific cases. It was a programme of deletions based on an over-arching principle, whereas (and I would say THIS is an important principle to many) sourcing and the format of graphic representations should be discussed case by case. A secondary issue which was important to me personally was that during the discussion I learned how to make footnotes within this template work - which is not self-evident. It is not a perfect template, but it is a simple way to explain the ancestry of people whose ancestry is important (kings etc).--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:21, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
    Possibly not relevant to you but those are the points that were discussed for several months. The RfC is a bit further up. Surtsicna (talk) 19:36, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
    OK, I was wondering if there was a more formal one somewhere. Honestly, I think the way people understood what the discussion was about, or should be about, was confused by the attempt to create special new rules, such as debates about how many generations should be allowed, that were not connected to the more valid concerns about cases where notability or verifiability are concerns. Those concerns can only be judged case by case (IMHO).--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:38, 13 June 2021 (UTC)

Proposal: can this template have its own tag for unreferenced cases?Edit

ADDED: Attempt to summarize below discussion conclusions. If the summary is acceptable, others may wish to collapse the below discussion to save space.
  • There is clearly no consensus to create a new tag specially for Ahnentafeln templates with no footnotes.
  • The original policy-based reasons for the proposal could also be addressed if more care taken to use appropriate (case by case) tags, edsums etc.
  • Given the difficulty of discussion it seems likely that looking at examples of article talkpage discussions which spun-off from this template talkpage give a better practical understand of the real concerns, and how they can be handled.

Examples: Talk:William I, Count of Hainaut#Source removal by DrKay, Talk:Margaret II, Countess of Flanders#deleted ancestry table--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:22, 2 August 2019 (UTC)

I would like to propose a specific tag for this template, to replace generic tags, which includes text that...

  • Makes it clear (just by being a specific tag) that the tag really is meant to be used for this template.
  • Gives a quick link to somewhere where there is an example and instructions showing how to add references to the template.

I note from discussion on this talk page and in various places that the major reasons the template is often never given footnotes are that:

  • Most editors including myself have historically believed that normal "unreferenced section" tags were being used wrongly for the template.
  • No one realizes how to place a footnote into them. (I discovered when I pushed quite hard for an example in a discussion here recently.)

As a result we've seen examples of the template being entirely deleted, section and all, in short articles where the required source is already there and actually quite obvious, but just not in a footnote. In other words we have a situation which should be easy to fix, but which is not being fixed by the current approach of tagging in a standard way and then deleting. If no one sees a problem we can start looking into it.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:39, 28 July 2019 (UTC)

No. If a section containing an ahnentafel cites no sources, then Template:Unsourced section is perfectly appropriate. The community has rejected every attempt to have ahnentafeln treated differently than other content in regards to WP:Verifiability policy, and so I reject this one. Surtsicna (talk) 15:07, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
I am not saying WP:V would apply any differently, only that there would be extra clarification. How can that be bad? Can you explain any policy basis for you personally wanting to make the explanation poorly understood? --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:16, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
There is nothing unclear about the wording: "This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed." Surtsicna (talk) 15:23, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
WP:IDHT. See above. You know very well this is not clear to everyone, or read in the same way when it comes to this template. This talk page is full of direct and undeniable evidence, including people like myself who are examples. Please see if you can find any policy-based reason to want these situations to be unclear. And anyway, if it would be easy to attempt this, what bad could it do?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:31, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
Not agreeing with your point does not mean refusing to get it. I do get your point and I reject it. The wording of Template:Unreferenced section should be read in the same way whether it comes to this template or any other content. If it is unclear to you, go to Wikipedia talk:Verifiability. Surtsicna (talk) 15:57, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
We have seen that people can read the situation differently without having any problem with WP:V. As you know this, why would you want this to remain the case? And even if you claim to think there is no problem, what risks can you see?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:15, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. There's nothing wrong with the usual tag. A specific one is unnecessary duplication. It's also more likely that people will not know or understand about a specific tag than the generic one. The template documentation includes details of the ref and footnotes parameters. DrKay (talk) 16:05, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
What we are seeing in practice is that the generic one is not working and there are good reasons for that. Obviously many editors reasonably believe based on similar situations on WP that this generic tag is not appropriate here. Just saying the tag is clear is not enough in such a case because these tags are made by other WP editors, not some higher authority, and no WP editor can accepts every demand made by every other WP editor. It is also not practical to say that people should just know about all the parameters and how they work. In practice they don't.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:15, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
It works for me. I think it's appropriate. I didn't say that people should just know about all the parameters and how they work. DrKay (talk) 17:21, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
If something is not working for many editors it can lead to deletions by misunderstanding. I can not see anyway to deny this is opposed to some really basic aims of Wikipedia? Can you explain any mistake I am making in my thinking?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:02, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
I refer you to my previous comments. DrKay (talk) 18:45, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, but which comments contain the answer I am looking for? I want to understand. Please note I am a also quite frustrated with the low quality of content and sourcing in articles, not someone looking for an excuse to keep crap in Wikipedia. But how can we edit confidently if we know we jumping into a stupid game that is being played? The more we can create transparency the stricter we can edit without the risk of drama and reversions. I want to work with rationales on record, not by playing games in the shadows.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:36, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
To be clear in case you missed it BTW I looked at the template pages, but did not see how to add a neat reference until Surtsicna finally agreed to show me a real example of an article with a citation that was as desired (George V). Nothing here explains all the details. Apparently you still need to add <ref></ref> mark-up into the template. Also, that there is a practical problem can be seen in the example of William of Hainaut which brought me here. The deleted section had its obvious source neatly posted just below it in the article.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:01, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
I don't see it there and the one you've just added is from CreateSpace. Self-published sources don't count as Wikipedia:Reliable sources. DrKay (talk) 17:24, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln, will clearly have this information. This is a case where common sense and knowledge of the background basics, such as what kind of book this source is, gives clear guidance about where to put the onus/burden/risk. It looks very much like the table (which was deleted) is what all the sources were mainly backing up.
Concerning the new source Richardson I had his books to hand, and have acted quickly because forced to. (There is a race, apparently, to put in sources before big chunks of thousands of articles are deleted at a rate of dozens a week. So much for the old "no deadlines" rule.) But very well-known and widely cited self-published sources like Richardson are commonly acceptable, and have presumably been discussed on WP:RSN before. We can discuss at WP:RSN of course, but the fact is that we can be 100% sure William's ancestry is in Schwennicke too, and I have seen no claims of failed verification in any details. BTW Richardson cites Schwennicke too.
It is always relevant, at least from a best practice point of view, if we have evidence that actual verifiability is almost certainly not a real concern, but only things like citation formats.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:02, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm not aware of huge deletions -- they've not happened on the articles I watch -- though I have seen the reduction of sections to a reasonable length on many articles, in line with the views expressed in the RfC. DrKay (talk) 18:45, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Ah. But if you were aware, what then? I presume your remark might just mean you looked quickly only at recent edits. Suddenly Surtsicna is deleting 5th generations for a few hours. But those are articles which were not tagged before, and they are now being tagged. Surtsicna has surely made it clear above that once there is a tag that is all that needs to be said. Deletion is the next step. So why would we not at least communicate a bit more clearly? Looks like a big game. Not really a great environment for creating good articles.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:36, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
I see nothing wrong in deleting 5th (or 6th[4]) generations. They are excessive, irrelevant and undue. DrKay (talk) 19:57, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Are you changing the subject? We were talking about fast table deletions making it hard to have any possibility to footnote instead? Surtsicna deletes one generation sometimes but also then always tags for deletion in the future. The deletion rationale has been discussed above, and it is happening in practice. You said you only saw generations being removed. I said... (In most cases the deletion of the 5th generation is fine by me. I don't believe we need a general rule that 5 is always bad though?) I've also been reverted when I've asked to be allowed to reinsert for a short period while I try to put sourcing in. Now, please explain how this style of "cooperation" is consistent with what we are supposed to be doing here.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:36, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
No, I'm not changing the subject. And to prove the point, I will no longer respond to comments not related to the subject line of this section. DrKay (talk) 20:48, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
OK, so see above where you said your answer on the subject line topic has been posted somewhere else. Which comments contain the answers? Where can I find your explanation about why we would want people to misunderstand or not be informed about what they can do to improve verifiability? --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:00, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
Above. DrKay (talk) 16:40, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
You mean that people can look at the template page? But as I explained, this did not work for me. Surtsicna showed me the George V example, which uses <ref> mark-up that I think does not appear on the template page. That makes it work. Maybe the template page should be added to at least? BTW, (1) I wonder if the referencing option was available when many of the old disputed unreferenced tags were placed. It seems to me that when a situation was debatable and adapted we can expect misunderstandings, and we have a common sense responsibility to be concerned to avoid misunderstandings? (2) It is also clear from looking at examples that the unreferenced section tag is not really the appropriate one in many, and probably most cases where it is being used for this table. The tag's own instructions say it should be removed even if the citations are not in a good in-line format.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:44, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
The tag's own instructions don't say that. DrKay (talk) 16:43, 31 July 2019 (UTC)

Please explain why you say that. From Template:Unreferenced...--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:33, 1 August 2019 (UTC)

Do not add this template:
  • In articles that have some citations, but not enough, the {{More citations needed}} template should be used instead as a general template, or the {{Unreferenced section}} template for individual sections that have no citations.
  • In articles containing a list of sources at the end, but no inline citations, including parenthetical references or in-text attributions, consider {{no footnotes}} when the article would be significantly improved by detailed attribution of sources to specific claims.
  • Watch out for lists of general references that someone has incorrectly listed under ==External links==. If the link leads to a reliable source that supports some article content, then that website is a reference, not an external link.
  • Other templates, listed below, should be used when the citations are inadequate for other reasons.

The tag also has a link "(Learn how and when to remove this template message)" which goes to Help:Maintenance template removal, which says amongst other things...

Case in point is the {{Unreferenced}} template example used above. It is placed on pages with no references. Thus, adding just one suitable reference renders that maintenance template inapplicable. However, that change does not take care of the overarching issue of poor sourcing. In this example, a change to a different template may be appropriate, depending on the type, quality, depth and manner of sourcing added to fix the issue, such as {{refimprove}}, {{No footnotes}}, {{Primary sources}}, or one of the many others listed at Wikipedia:Template messages/Sources of articles.
You've been told at least twice already that it is Template:Unreferenced section that we're talking about. We're only talking here about unreferenced sections not unreferenced articles. DrKay (talk) 07:41, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
It is the same template and help page for sections and whole articles. Coming to how to handle sections, I thought it was clear that the spirit of the situation is clear enough in the cases of the middling medieval nobles I am most concerned about, because these are mainly short articles, and if they cite anything at all it is books with titles like "the ancestry of...". We would be more in our rights to therefore delete everything except the ancestry tables in some of these cases (which I am obviously not suggesting anyone should do). Or to put it in perspective with another thought experiment, if there was no tradition of putting these tables in sections, it would be completely different verification guidelines? I think that is a red herring, and of course keep in mind I am going through quite a few real examples as well. Some have been discussed above. I can say with some confidence that the demand being made by the tagger/deleter is explicit that these are not based on verification check, and not on whether there are obvious sources on the article.
Q. Do you agree that the spirit of everything written about WP:V tells us that good practice is to be looking actively to avoid deleting material which is likely to be verifiable or has sourcing which is just badly formatted?
Keep in mind that concerning due weight concerns I do not see myself as any less strict than anyone else in this discussion but I find it a very bad method to deliberately leave a smokescreen about what our real concerns are, in order to avoid discussion. This is a boomerang problem. Article stability will be best if due weight concerns are noted as due weight concerns.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:27, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
I've changed my oppose to strong oppose. Your inability to distinguish between two templates and between sections and pages is either incompetent or disruptive. I'm ignoring your comments on due weight because they are not relevant to the subject-line of this section. DrKay (talk) 12:03, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
Very WP:POINTy, and very unconstructive. I used the template and help pages which are being linked to on the articles under discussion. The central question we are discussing, from the subject line, is whether the best tags are being used or whether a new one can help. One thing I notice about you is that you do not ever want to answer clear direct questions, that would get to the heart of issues. For example to get beyond red herring questions about templates, I asked you: Q. Do you agree that the spirit of everything written about WP:V tells us that good practice is to be looking actively to avoid deleting material which is likely to be verifiable or has sourcing which is just badly formatted? Why won't you answer that?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:15, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
I've told you why twice. DrKay (talk) 13:00, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
Difficult to imagine how you could have answered that in any way which would have been more evasive. There are no clear explanations about anything in the above posts from you, and I take it you are not going to give any. The way I read it, you first said "no" in a way which implied there is no problem, but then you revised that a bit to say there might be a problem you have not noticed. Then you've made these recent comments which imply the "no" is a kind of punishment of me personally because I showed how the tags really being used with this template link to messages which are inappropriate. Which is kind of a strange approach, and sort of devalues everything you've said even more. Anyway, fine. I am happy to leave it there because you are clearly not in a mood to think about this topic anyway.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:22, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
No, that's not my view. DrKay (talk) 15:01, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
You complain when I talk about wider issues, and then you complain when I don't. You can't have it both ways. I've decided to accept the complaints when I don't, and you'll have to put up with me not talking about wider issues. DrKay (talk) 15:04, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
No, I simply complained that you never give straight answers on any issues at all. Let's not get excited and describe you actually talking about anything. I have no problem putting up with you not saying anything else. You had nothing to say. As far as I can see you've hardly even thought about the topic.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:24, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
I have thought about it. I just don't feel the need to respond with endless reams of text. I warned you above that if you posted huge walls of text, the discussion would become bogged down. You ignored me. You've been editing this page for barely a week, yet you're already the largest contributor to it; more than one third of all comment ever posted here has been posted by you; nearly a quarter of all edits to this page were made by you.[5] You've lost the opportunity to gather support by scaring supporters off with posts that are too long and instead gathered greater opposition by insulting, berating and belittling anyone who expresses an opposing view. DrKay (talk) 18:29, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
You do not have to be involved in this discussion, but you keep writing. Your way of expressing a "view" is things like "you've been warned", "you've been told", "I'm going to change to strong oppose because you don't agree with me", and look, now you've gone and made this stunningly pointy edit about one of the articles explained on this talkpage, with no reply from you then. (I will address it at the article.) Another little act of petty revenge! But still absolutely nothing constructive or relevant. I wonder what kinds of edits you are making in WP that have got you being so disruptive, personal, and deliberately obtuse, on this template talk? My question in italics above seems to have hit a nerve.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:48, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
I've edited that article before, as you can see from the history, and replied to you about that article on this page and the problem with it at 17:24, 29 July 2019 (UTC). No, I don't have to keep writing here, but you keep asking me questions and insulting, berating and belittling me, which usually calls for some sort of response. If you stopped, then so would I. DrKay (talk) 08:15, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
For the record for other users, I think the ensuing discussion on the article talkpage is illuminating both in terms of getting to the real core of the issue, and also in terms of how to handle it in a practical way.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:46, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • No/Oppose. This is a bad idea. Wikipedia has project-wide rules that have very broad consensus, acceptance and support. You can't stop editors from applying them or from using cleanup templates that point them out. Either improve the ahnentafel documentation or accept you were wrong and move on. Celia Homeford (talk) 08:19, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
There must be some misunderstanding. Which project-wide rule are you referring to, and what am I "wrong" about? (There are clearly many different approaches to WP:V, not only in-line footnotes, and also to tagging different WP:V related concerns in WP.) Please can someone name one good reason why we would NOT want to explain to editors how to add footnotes properly to these templates?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:37, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
If you're talking about changing the verifiability templates, then you need to discuss that at those templates. Celia Homeford (talk) 10:11, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
Ah! No, I am not proposing changing any verifiability templates. You mean "unreferenced"? OTOH (1) There are of course many different tag templates for various types of verification concern, including specific ones for tables, and ones which specify that the real concern is that the citations appear to be there, but not yet in a footnote. I've been going through examples, and seeing many cases where the wrong tag is clearly being used. (2) I also don't see why we would not be a bit worried to learn that editors are not understanding how the tag can be resolved reasonably easily. Before Surtsicna showed me an example, I thought the ref function did not really work well enough to add much. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:27, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. Can't see why Template:Unreferenced section shouldn't suffice, if needed. For the sake of clarity, while at it, again, I'd still insist that largescale mass changes to the templates in question would be unappropriate. In other words, I perceive a longstanding WP:CONSENSUS of inclusion of 5 generational ahnentafels in relevant articles, and that this is not in opposition to WP:NOTGENEALOGY in my and several other users' interpretation. PPEMES (talk) 14:42, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
And in my and several others' interpretation, this is not the case. Funny how that works. Agricolae (talk) 14:47, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

Why is the template name German?Edit

And not redirected to something in English? For example, we redirect {{Normdaten}} to {{Authority control}}, and should do so here, barring a good reason.   ~ Tom.Reding (talkdgaf)  14:49, 23 April 2021 (UTC)

@Tom.Reding: for whatever reason this is a case where the German word is typically used in English. Keep in mind it is a specialist genealogy word. I can't think of a translation people use. It is a table showing descent from one ancestor but I don't recall anyone writing about "descent tables". I believe most websites and software programmes which are used by genealogists also use this term, because genealogists all just learn the word. I could be wrong.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:01, 27 April 2021 (UTC)
@Andrew Lancaster: thanks. Ahnentafel's lead gives "ancestor table" & "ancestor series" as synonyms, though. Also, {{Ancestry}} redirects to {{Ahnentafel}}, so either {{Ancestry}} or {{Ancestry chart}} (analogous to {{Tree chart}}), etc. seem like much more appropriate alternative names that are transparent to all editors.
The only relevant discussion I found in the talk header above was this TfD from 2018 to merge with {{Ancestry}}, which apparently had some less-efficient code and/or produced superfluous text.   ~ Tom.Reding (talkdgaf)  17:31, 27 April 2021 (UTC)
Sorry, you are right, not descent but ancestry. It is not a chart though, but a table - not a graphic but a sort of standard text layout and numbering system. I've never heard it called an ancestry table or ancestry series. What is the problem actually? I think anyone wanting to use one of these would look under the name Ahnentafel? (It is not like Authority Control where there is a more common native term.) People who are not aware of this specialist genealogy term are unlikely to be looking for one?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:39, 27 April 2021 (UTC)
The problem is that the name is unclear unless the editor has background in genealogy. One could get used to any template name, if they see it enough, but to a lay reader, it's meaningless. {{Ahnentafel}} would still be a redirect, but {{Ancestor <something>}} would be much more intuitive & generally understandable.   ~ Tom.Reding (talkdgaf)  10:14, 28 April 2021 (UTC)
Nobody but people with a significant interest in genealogy will edit or read this template anyway. Everyone else will be interested in something more mundane, and thus plainly named, such as Template:Tree chart. The issue with this template is not its name but its scope and purpose. Surtsicna (talk) 16:03, 28 April 2021 (UTC)
I think Tom.Reding has a different point which is valid. The only thing about this template which is connected to the technical term Ahnentafel is the numbering system? In plain English, it is basically just a simple ancestry family tree, and it is a much easier one to use than the tree chart. The template is not literally making a typical Ahnentafel. So I can see that more Wikipedians might be able to use it and to understand it, and not just genealogists. "Ancestry chart" does make some sense to me.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:33, 28 April 2021 (UTC)

Neutrality ConcernsEdit

Like some others, I became aware of, and took exception to a large number of deletions and re-deletions of ancestry sections by a user that did not seem to be as respectful as they could be, nor neutral. Not having personally had to address any real grievances on this site before, I had apparently brought those concerns to the wrong place twice, as cited by that administrator, you learn something new everyday. I would hope that one person's views and edits do not keep getting in the way of these ancestry sections being up here in the broad and neutral way that they had been intended, from the time this website was started up until now, and that any issues with these sections from here on forward will be dealt with respectfully, neutrally, and on an individual basis, to keep this website as fair and neutral as possible. Thank you.--JLavigne508 (talk) 17:07, 18 June 2021 (UTC)

Have an RFC on the topic. How long has it been since the last one (if there was one). GoodDay (talk) 21:43, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
There was an RfC 2 years ago. JLavigne508 wants this template used in all articles at once or in no articles at all; that is not something an RfC can enforce. Surtsicna (talk) 21:51, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
All of them or None of them? Doubt anybody could get a consensus for either. GoodDay (talk) 21:55, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
Thank you for talking, I will say this one time, if I have failed to communicate this I am not surprised. The articles' whose sections have been removed here had been put up early on in the beginning of this website because they are considered to be for major historical dynastic figures. What I said rather frustratingly but to the point is, "either eliminate them all, or leave them up FAIRLY." This has indisputably thrown that fairness off in that regard. The other template is just fine, but that's not the broad one for these sections, so the way they coexisted for some, but not others, has VERY WIDELY been considered appropriate and proportional these last twenty years. The articles recently affected, are now disproportionately represented here. Likewise, the ones that did not have these sections all along anyway, were nearly universally considered AS more irrelevant, and as such DID NOT have the sections. That seems appropriate as almost everybody has agreed this entire websites history, the same as if it is fairly applied, they should likewise remain for the major figures' articles that are now missing them that are just the same as the others with them. As it is now, that is not neutral representation, as it had been from the year 2000 up until apparently 5-8 months ago.--JLavigne508 (talk) 22:21, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
Not "early on in the beginning of this website". Not "from the year 2000". And has not been "VERY WIDELY considered appropriate and proportional these last twenty years". Please start providing evidence for your assertions. Surtsicna (talk) 22:39, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
Very simple, the edit history on all of these thousands of pages lol.--JLavigne508 (talk) 23:26, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
There is surely no point demanding evidence for the popularity of this template, (or ancestry sections generally), or arguing about exactly how popular it is. But I agree with Surtsicna (if I understand correctly) that there is no obvious RFC to have. Is anyone still arguing that these templates are always deleteable, or always not? I continue to believe that it needs to be looked at case by case. Factors to be considered can IMHO include whether the information is a graphical representation of what is in an article, or a set of connected articles. (Tabular representations of the ways in which articles link, for example in biological articles, or articles about the institutions of a country, are very common and widely-accepted. Using hyperlinks to show how notable and verifiable topics can be seen as connected is part of what we do (WP:BUILD) and should not need endless debate about the general principle. There are however cases where editors go overboard with genealogy.)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:55, 19 June 2021 (UTC)

Look, I am not going to go on back and forth forever complaining with how things were done here, I don't agree with a lot of it, that is pointless now. However, I would seriously suggest that any people going through seeing these sections missing at the bottom on pages they have been going to for many years like myself, and are confused, and restore those sections and suddenly have that reverted, really need to be politely referred to this page immediately saying it is being looked at or something, and told to create a section here for that specific issue (it would seem in the spirit of this website that process should really have been done in reverse, and dealt with case by case). I actually don't disagree with most of the nature of what's being discussed here, despite not liking how it was undertaken. I also think that these pages can look better without these sections, but in the spirit of impartiality and uniformity, what looks worse is a large number of these pages for major figures having them, and others that don't. I would argue maybe some of them that were taken down, such as the intermediary Electors of Brandenburg of the 15th century, would be pertinent to have them removed (unless someone wants to specifically argue otherwise), and I like a lot of people never really agreed with having these sections in royal bios from the European Dark Ages.

− I would also quickly point out that the other major European Wiki's are very generous with these sections and will continue to be (I started in and am in one of these), as it is a Western tradition, and even though I am in America, this Wikipedia does encompass Britain, which actually still has a monarchy traditionally thought to be inheriting authority from these people, so not speaking to any specific page design or sections, maybe it is worth trying to tread a bit lighter here if for nothing else but perception. Also, it is worth pointing out that this here is reducing the number of these sections from where it had been widely considered proportional and appropriate up until now. As for a number of these other sections that were removed, the Kings of France and Holy Roman Emperors of the Medieval Period to start, I mean come on.--JLavigne508 (talk) 07:11, 19 June 2021 (UTC)

Have any of these been removed from bios of monarchies that still exist? GoodDay (talk) 14:23, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
Yes, nearly all. For example, see Talk:Prince_George_of_Cambridge/Archive_5#Why_shouldn't_this_article_contain_George's_ancestry?. Also discussed at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Royalty_and_Nobility/Archive_9#Royals_Ancestry. Surtsicna (talk) 17:09, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
If your sole problem is that some articles have [unsourced, poorly sourced, or not appearing in any published biographies] ahnentafeln while some others do not, then what you should do instead of adding more [unsourced, poorly sourced, or not appearing in any published biographies] ahnentafeln is to remove such unencyclopedic content from other articles. Surtsicna (talk) 17:09, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
Please do take this as a friendly gesture. It is clear that you have a very strong bias against the standard ancestry format of this site, and that is fine, everybody has personal preferences and opinions, but it is also clearly affecting the content and neutrality of this site. I would suggest that your time and effort on here be spent adding and contributing to the content, and move on to another area of this website.--JLavigne508 (talk) 22:47, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
@JLavigne508: on WP the term "neutral" has become semi-reserved for "POV" problems, to do with biased content, not formats etc. I presume what you mean in this case is that problems have come from editors having very strong feelings about this table as such. I tend to agree because in practice the way these tables were deleted, at least in the past, often couldn't be explained purely by verifiability and notability concerns. Sourcing and notability are common problems on all medieval articles, but we don't normally fix that by deleting the whole article (as tempting as it sometimes is). These tables are, the way I see it, normally just representing the information in our articles. If there are problems with them, there are problems with the articles. Even more obvious: deleting one whole generation, one of the most common ways of attacking this format, simply can't be presented as any kind of strategy to improve sourcing or even notability, because it is by definition not looking at the details. Note that I don't add these ahnentafels, and I don't think they are beautiful, but they are compact and for editing or reading articles about members of dynasties these tables are a handy tool (much handier than our very awkward family tree template) and I continue to be opposed to them being deleted or partly deleted without proper case-by-case consideration. To give an example just from my own use of Wikipedia as a reader, yesterday I was reading about René II, Duke of Lorraine and his family and I found it was a case where a 5 generation table would have been helpful. The basic idea of this template is in some ways similar to templates or infoboxes used in biology articles which also show how sets of articles are connected by a "tree" (phylogeny).
@Surtsicna: it is obvious that there is no rule on WP which says we need a source for every decision we make about how we present information. It is the information itself which we should be focused upon. IMHO you should stop trying to make that argument because it makes you hard to take seriously, and that can only hurt the push for better sourcing of the information in medieval articles.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:09, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
How we present information is not the problem, and I never claimed it was. The information we choose to present is. The tables never represent the information in our articles; you will never, not in any article, find prose saying that A was the son of B who was the daughter of C who was the daughter of D who was the son of E and so on for 30 subject-great-great-grandparent connections. Surtsicna (talk) 07:14, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
@Surtsicna: why keep flogging this dead horse? We do not need a source for 1+1=2, or "Socrates was mortal". If A is connected to B and B is connected to C then the question of whether to mention the less direct connection between A and C is purely one about presentation and notability, and must be handled case by case. There is no policy problem with mentioning that a cat is a vertebrate if we know a cat is a mammal, because we know all mammals are vertebrates. That would simply be an editing decision about how to present information. That's how Wikipedia works, and I can't believe you don't understand this. Phylogenies and hierarchical categorizations are extremely commonly used for things like infoboxes and templates, and are all based on systems of connections including indirect ones. Outside of this one never-ending discussion, I have NEVER seen anyone use this argumentation, that would mean, for example, that we can't mention that a village is in England, if we only have a source which says it is in Cambridgeshire. That would be nuts, right?
On a second somewhat more complicated point you are wrong to say this: "The tables never represent the information in our articles; you will never, not in any article". You've misunderstood, and switched from plural to singular. One major aim of this template is that it works like many templates do, to show the connections within a group of related articles. Non-genealogical examples of similar templates would be "Y-DNA", or "Noble gases" or "Governments of Belgium". Wouldn't it be silly to demand that every article in such a set of topics has to contain full explanations and sourcing for all the other related articles, or else all infoboxes or templates mentioning other members in the group should be deleted? If our Neon article does not discuss Argon can you imagine anyone, apart from yourself, arguing that this means that we may not use the "Noble gases" template on that article? Of course not. If you want to see the sourcing for Argon, you go to that article. This is simple and it works.
What we should be working on are cases where there is a real verifiability problem. This discussion is certainly not helping achieve anything in that direction, but rather working against other editors. It is a massive distraction, and purely artificial, because in most of these cases your own explanations show that there is no real verification concern. In other words, while this is such a high priority for you, you are pushing the "core content" priorities which the community shares to a lower position. It is way too eccentric and out of sync with other editors. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:15, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
There is no, and has never been any, consensus to enshrine this template as exempt from WP:V, WP:PROPORTION, and WP:NOTGENEALOGY policies. That the connection between A and C would require a citation was stated by multiple editors during the 2019 discussion, including Agricolae, Celia Homeford, and PBS. There is indeed a policy saying so, WP:SYNTHESIS, and I am likewise surprised that you do not understand that. Agricolae has also warned against what he/she called the Schrodinger's Template phenomenon, whereby this template is compared to navboxes (such as Template:Noble gases) when verifiability concerns are raised and yet not treated as a navbox when navbox rules are to be applied to it. So no, I would not say that I am out of sync with other editors. But this is something an RfC could settle. If you truly believe that the community would support exempting this template from the project's WP:V, WP:PROPORTION, and WP:NOTGENEALOGY policies, an RfC can be set up to settle that once and for all, so that the dead horse can finally rest in peace. Surtsicna (talk) 09:01, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
Now you are just changing the subject. No one is asking for any exemption to those policies, so why would we have an RFC about it? Another thing that is absolutely clear with or without a new RFC is that there is no support for widespread knee-jerk deletions, so they should not happen. That was the real debate. I have only ever said to you that there is no policy against this template the way it is normally used, and until there is, any problems with them should be handled case by case. I am totally in agreement that there are lots of problems with medieval articles. But attacking that by attacking ahnentafels is just a distraction from the real task. Burning all our energy on this artificial problem is in conflict with the aim of improving the verifiability of medieval articles.
Agricolae's post is worth considering, because the rules about navboxes which it mentions would only have an impact on where the Ahnentafel should be placed on the page. So yes, this whole discussion IS just about PRESENTATION and FORMAT! If you take that direction of discussion further you will quickly realize that there is also no rule on Wikipedia which says all such boxes are either navboxes or else the equivalent of a full article. We also have a wide range of other similar tools such as various infoboxes and many of these contain "navigation" information about how the topic is linked in a "family tree" with other articles. You have talked past me on this point before, but have a look at the article Cat or Federal judiciary of the United States for goodness sake. Do you see people demanding a source for the link on Cat to Chordata? And the Ahnentafel is already normally at the bottom of the page and collapsed, so the "spirit" of its typical use is similar to other templates. But sure, if there are proposals about using a smaller font or moving the ahnentafel to the right-hand side of the page, make those, and let's have a real discussion about PRESENTATION, instead of pretending it is about anything else. Personally I am more interested in working on the content, but I do not want these useful templates being removed without case by case consideration. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:50, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
My mistake then; would you like, instead, an RfC to settle whether the use of this template "the way it is normally used" contravenes WP:V, WP:PROPORTION, and WP:NOTGENEALOGY policies? You deny that it does, and yet the 2019 discussion has shown that many editors feel that it does. If the RfC finds that it does, then the removal of such content can only accelerate. Do we want this clarified? If so, I would strongly suggest having the RfC at either Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard or Wikipedia:No original research/Noticeboard.
No, the rules of navboxes would not affect only the placement. Please read the rules at WP:NAVBOX (points 1 to 5). No, the discussion is not solely about presentation and format. Surtsicna (talk) 10:08, 20 June 2021 (UTC)

There is no consensus for mass deletions. Don't do them. [ADDED: If you want an RFC to support mass deletions, word the RFC in an honest way and ask if the community accepts a programme of mass deletions. They don't, as you know.] You have, over a very long period, spent enormous energy to try to make the discussions as confusing as possible, and the RFC wording you've just suggested is clearly silly in a way which is consistent with that long and painful tradition. There is no clear definition of "the way it is normally used" that can be used for an RFC, and the words in my post are context dependant. That can't lead to anything but more controversy. The real situation is simple, and there simply shouldn't be any more time wasting on this:

  • No-one is denying that there are verifiability and notability problems in medieval articles. In such cases, the ahnentafel is just a side issue. Attacking them is a distraction which does NOT address the real problems. This has become such a silly and long debate that it is even in conflict with improving the articles.
  • We should know how to work on the above. We do NOT solve verifiability and notability problems by deleting articles or significant parts of articles without discussion or careful consideration. Best practice is to ADD sourcing and better information, and to remove large amounts of material only after careful consideration. (On less busy articles, I tend to post the removed material on to the talk page with an explanation. I encourage others to do the same.)
  • Ahnentafels normally represent information within a group of articles. Such things are common on Wikipedia and completely acceptable, as explained above. When they don't, then that should be looked at case by case. This is consistent with the navbox points 1-5 you mention, but I see no reason for us to need to decide whether this template is a navbox or infobox or just something similar:
  1. All articles within a template relate to a single, coherent subject.
  2. The subject of the template should be mentioned in every article.
  3. The articles should refer to each other, to a reasonable extent.
  4. There should be a Wikipedia article on the subject of the template.
  5. If not for the navigation template, an editor would be inclined to link many of these articles in the See also sections of the articles.


References are acceptable in some cases, but generally not needed in infoboxes if the content is repeated (and cited) elsewhere or if the information is obvious. If the material requires a reference (see WP:MINREF for guidelines) and the information does not also appear in the body of the article, the reference should be included in the infobox. However, editors should first consider including the fact in the body of the article.

If you are arguing that the ahnentafels are not currently being used in a way consistent with the infobox or navbox philosophies, please make it clear in which way you think that this is the case.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:03, 20 June 2021 (UTC)

I do not know, nor do I accept as true, that the community does not support removal of this policy-violating content. What I am removing are sections tagged as unsourced for a year or longer (often 7 or 9 years), and you have failed to convince me that doing so is wrong. I reject your attempts at trivializing the ahnentafel issues. You are free to define what you consider normal use of the template or the use you would support. Then we can work out an RfC statement that would inquire as to whether such (actual or proposed) use is in line with the said policies.
Whatever they may be, ahnentafeln are definitely not infoboxes. They do not meet WP:NAVBOX requirements 2 (fourth-generation descendants are not mentioned in ancestors' biographies), 3 (biographies of great-grandparents do not mention great-grandchildren at all and vice versa), and 5 (nobody would list 30 ancestors in the See also section of individual biographies). Surtsicna (talk) 11:29, 20 June 2021 (UTC)

Please everyone I am done here, there is no dispute. I just hope that peoples time on here will be spent more productively, and in keeping with the nature and policies of this website.--JLavigne508 (talk) 13:28, 20 June 2021 (UTC)

@Surtsicna: that is incredibly unconvincing and mixed up. If you honestly believe you have support on simple mass deletion of all ahnentafels, write a clear, simple and honest RFC asking for permission for a few wikipedians to do mass deletions without discussion, instead of wasting everyone's time like this. Stop pretending this is about verifiability. I for one will certainly vote against it, because this has no connection to improving the encyclopedia. Issues of verifiability and notability should be discussed as usual, case by case, looking at the article bodies, not these appendage "-boxes" which are a presentation issue. Tagging and deleting these boxes that show connections between articles, WITHOUT making any attempt to address problems in the bodies of the articles, or post anything on talk pages, is tendentious, and in conflict with our priorities as a community. FWIW I also see ...
  • No reason to say we are limited to infoboxes and navboxes,
  • No reason to say these are certainly not infoboxes, though that question is not really interesting
  • No reason to say ahnentafels are certainly not navboxes under WP:NAVBOX, though that question is not really interesting. (The list is introduced only with "Good navboxes generally follow most or all of these guidelines". That is clearly not meant to be "legislation", but anyway your dogmatic generalizations are quite obviously not true. Great grandparents are often very important in medieval articles, for example.)

But to repeat: none of this would be a discussion about how to improve medieval articles in terms of the quality of their content. None of it would be a discussion about problems for our core content policies. It is a big distraction, and it is all about "taste". De gustibus non est disputandum. If we may instead focus upon improving article content, then the ahnentafels simply need to represent what is in articles. The rest is just a discussion about the curtains.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:30, 20 June 2021 (UTC)

Not without discussion. The matter has been discussed extensively and at least since 2007, producing no consensus to enshrine this template as exempt from the said policies. But I am offering to you an opportunity to establish that kind of consensus - if we can agree on the wording of an RfC question. You refuse to acknowledge that the aforementioned editors and I have policy concerns. Since what we consider to be impermissible synthesis and gratuitous genealogy is completely fine by you, it is no use to rehash this any further between us. Neither that nor the presumptuous insistence that we are only offended by the looks of the template, as if we were lying when stating that the policy issues concern us, will ever yield an agreement between us.
On another note: A good reason to say that Template:Ahnentafel is not an infobox is the definition of infobox at MOS:INFOBOX. I have no interest in arguing whether Template:Ahnentafel is a navbox (and have never argued either way) but it is clearly not what WP:NAVBOX describes as a "good navbox". Surtsicna (talk) 14:59, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
Fair enough but maybe it is worth pointing out that in practice our concerns are or should be similar when we look at real article bodies as opposed to these appendages which are tools to help see linked topics (whatever you want to call them).
My objection to what I see as an obsession about these link-containing tables has always been based on my concern about strict general "legislation" which is not needed, and which has led to blind editing sweeps that were certainly controversial.
So yes, you'd have to make a much better RFC proposal. All the ideas I have seen are basically pushing the idea that anyone who does not agree is working against WP:V. That is never likely to lead to a real consensus - only more misunderstandings.
Actually I think WP:V, which pertains to article content, is much more important than avoiding genealogical information, which is not forbidden. If banning all genealogy is you primary goal, then WP:V is not.
Let's remember: you have no real WP:V concerns about most of the links which you delete mention of by deleting these tables, or parts of them. Your concern is generally a concern about the notability of real verifiable links which editors chose to show as existing between articles. But notability is not what WP:V is about, and it is very difficult to generalize about.
Remember also that my concern has been especially in the area of medieval families whose ancestors are by default important for more reasons than interest in genealogical trivia. I am very concerned about the writing of strict rules when they are not needed, but if ever this community writes one about this topic I think it will need to make a distinction about for example medieval versus modern biographical articles. It is obvious that there is a major difference, at least in the average/typical types of cases. To properly account for the diversity in the importance of ancestry/family in one simple "law" is however going to be impossible - whereas common sense should be a much better tool to judge it.
I also fear that one of the confusions here which is coming from attacking the tables instead of the articles themselves, is that we must not loose sight of the fact that many medieval biographies we have are stubs which probably should not be separate articles. This is an example of the types of problems I think we need to be working on as the higher priority - for example merging them into articles about families, or whatever. That would fix many/all of the Ahnentafel problems automatically, whereas putting effort into removing Ahnentafels is putting the horse before the cart, and will NOT help us improve articles. (Indeed, what does it achieve at all? With no discussion or record of the reasoning people can just put them back in.)
I hope these thoughts are helpful in some way for future discussion. I am happy to leave it there for now and see what other ideas develop.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:01, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
My goal is not banning all genealogy. My goal is getting rid of gratuitous genealogy (per WP:NOTGENEALOGY policy) so that the relevant genealogy (relevance being determined by inclusion into general biographies of the subject per WP:PROPORTION policy) can shine. I must reiterate that I know which concerns I have. If I am not stating them clearly enough, please ask for an explanation. I wholly agree with having genealogical tables in articles about families (e.g. Astur-Leonese dynasty) and agree, if I am understanding you correctly, that they would be a suitable alternative to ahnentafeln in individual biographies.
An RfC could, for example, ask the following question: "Under which circumstances should Template:Ahnentafel be included in biographical articles?" The options might be: A) If sourced to published biographies of the subject that meet WP:RS requirements; B) If sourced to genealogical publications that meet WP:RS requirements; C) If individual entries of the template are sourced to individual publications; D) If the information presented in it can be found in other Wikipedia articles.
Thoughts? Surtsicna (talk) 21:02, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
I fear that "gratuitous genealogy" is easier to handle case by case, than by writing a rule. Concerning your RFC idea at first sight it looks a bit like an over-specific version of Wikipedia's normal rules and practices.
not sure if these notes about the ABCD idea help

(What is the difference between B and C? What is C about? It seems to be about footnoting, which is a format issue, not WP:V per se because there are different ways to make things verifiable. Concerning D, you just mention "other" articles. You seem very reluctant to focus upon a smaller set of articles much more obvious to "common sense", which is the articles linked-to in the template. This template is literally a set of links to a small number of articles which are asserted to be linked in a specific way. It is obvious to any random visitor that to find out more about each of the linked-to topics, you click on those specific links. So clearly in any discussion about whether we've got a good enough "paper" trail for verification, those linked-to articles would be considered. This is how websites work, and this is also the kind of thinking behind many similar types of navigation tools we use on WP, and indeed which are used on all kinds of websites. Footnotes are based on old printed media and work ok for book-like blocks of text, but not within internet-style navigation tools which use links. Any primary school student would, these days, recognize these boxes quickly, precisely as something to click on to get more detailed information, hopefully including sourcing, on the related topics mentioned in the box. In the end though, all of this is kind of beside the point for me. I believe we should primarily be working as usual according to our normal rules and practices, in the article. IMHO if an article is badly sourced, which is common, we should fix the article first. We don't normally delete the article, so why would we delete any kind of representation of the information in the article? That is beside the point. If the boxes summarize the information in the articles they mention their quality is just a reflection of that group of articles. BTW, from what I have seen, most of these boxes are almost entirely made up of people with their own articles? In cases where someone feels the need to insert an ancestor with no article, maybe a footnote would be the least worst way of avoiding controversy.)

I personally prefer the way that WP tends to leave rules written in terms of broad principles. It seems to me this approach is trying to solve the problems we don't have, instead of the problems we do have, because as I mentioned before, much of the disagreement I've seen has been about situations where there was no real verification concern. Above you used the example of a great grandparent and made it clear as well that even if the relationship is verifiable you are opposed to mentioning this relationship because you judge it to always be too distant, unless there is also a source to prove that great grandparent relationship was important? (So what you really seem to want is not just normal verifiability of a "fact". It is a special demand for verifiability of notability of a fact appearing because of a linking box that shows how several articles are connected. So it is like demanding that there should be no mention of cats being Chordates in the Cats infobox until someone finds proof that this is important. Imagine someone arguing that.) It is easy to see how this approach is always going to lead to controversy because it is basically one person imposing a very strict arbitrary decision on others. Presumably, given your way of explaining it, no amount of verification about the mere existence of a great-grandparent relationship is ever going to stop you being opposed to such presentations of information in any kind of linking box. I feel that approach is a dead end. I also think such judgements about what is too distant are especially difficult to write a detailed rule about, but relatively easy to handle case by case. Things like when and where a person lived are for example relevant.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 23:01, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
That is correct: verifiability is the first requirement but is not enough. According to WP:VNOT, verifiability does not guarantee inclusion ... not all verifiable information needs to be included in an article. Another policy, WP:INDISCRIMINATE, says that merely being true, or even verifiable, does not automatically make something suitable for inclusion in the encyclopedia. My expectation that the content of Wikipedia biographies reflect content of published biographies is hardly special or unusual; it is policy. WP:PROPORTION states: An article should ... strive to treat each aspect with a weight proportional to its treatment in the body of reliable, published material on the subject. Wikipedia is not the place to dump the names of one's great-[great-]grandparents without any context, as stated in WP:INDISCRIMINATE: To provide encyclopedic value, data should be put in context with explanations referenced to independent sources.
Now back to the RfC question and options. The difference between B and C is not in the footnotes; and again, none of this is about formatting. Under B, the entire chart, with the connections as given in it, would be sourced to a single entry in one genealogical publication. Under C, information could be compiled from different sources and each of the names could be cited individually. Yes, D refers to articles linked to in the template's boxes. So for the sake of clarity, the options could be rephrased as follows: B) If sourced as a whole to a genealogical publication that meets WP:RS requirements; C) If multiple reliable sources are compiled as references for individual names but not necessarily for the chart as a whole. D) If information presented in it can be found in Wikipedia articles linked in it. Is this clear enough? Surtsicna (talk) 10:15, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Right, so what you really want, or at least the aspect of it which others disagree with, is nothing to do with WP:V, and your proposals should not be framed that way. You want very detailed legislation about how to handle specific cases of balancing due weight, and notability, so that verifiable information can be deleted without discussion. Such a legislative approach can take no account of the massively different importance that ancestry had, for example, for most (not all) medieval people versus most (not all) modern people. Personally, I think one reason Wikipedia did not turn into a giant committee meeting (yet) is that it has tried to avoid encouraging the natural human tendency of people to try to invent unnecessarily detailed rules that other people have to follow.
Concerning your ABCD these are all about verifiability of "facts" - concerning which I think there is no major debate? The articles themselves need to be improved, and the ways in which this should be done are pretty clear. As long as these structured link collections follow what is in the articles they are a secondary matter that can be handled as the article bodies are worked on. I am opposed to inventing detailed rules that are not needed, and frankly, for medieval nobility articles, which is where I think most controversy has been, there is nothing shocking about the public being exposed to the names of some great grand parents? It is by default likely that readers and editors need to navigate these families as a group because much of what we can say about people in this period can be associated with their ancestry. It seems pointless to argue about how important each ancestor was if we are making a basic naigation tool for that purpose - just as it would be pointless to argue about whether it is important that cats are chordates.
I think normally poor articles cause poor ahnentafels, but ahnentafels themselves are normally not the cause of any knock-on problems apart from the fact that they mention (according to you) a few too many grandparents. The perceived seriousness of "gratuitously" mentioning too many grandparents therefore seems to be what your disagreements with others all boil down to?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:10, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
No, not right. Three times in the past two days I asked you not to tell me what I want and what my concerns are. I know what I want and what my concerns are. And as I said countless times so far, WP:V is one of them. If you do not intend to accept what I am telling you about my wishes and concerns as true, then this discussion is entirely meaningless. No, the intention of the RfC would not be to come up with new rules but to ascertain whether the existing policies apply to ahnentafeln. And can we please keep the replies concise? Other editors will not be inclined to read through a dozen 4,000-character-long posts. Surtsicna (talk) 12:47, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
I think you are misunderstanding me a bit. I feel I'm the one objecting to you telling me (and others who disagree with you) that our position is one which is against WP:V, and your RFC would be about whether there should be an exemption to that rule. Those who disagree with you do not recognize themselves in this description of the controversy, and to me it seems you are even diverting away from WP:V (of facts in article bodies) as a priority, towards a concern with having specific rules against mentioning verifiable great grandparents (or whichever exact relationship the legislation would describe as too distant) in the navigational appendages of an article. I think it is self-evident that there is no general rule about this. It would be crazy to treat medieval and modern people the same, and it would be silly to have to constantly prove that ancestry was more important in the middle ages. Editors working on medieval articles are always going to tend to mention more about ancestry than editors working on modern people. Why do we need this formalized and fixed? I agree we've failed to keep it short, but hopefully our own explanations above now show how the similarities and differences between our explanations are possible. Thanks for the discussion. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:16, 21 June 2021 (UTC)

BTW maybe a different approach to defining real disagreements, if you continue to find that important, would be to create a workpage to explain proposals in terms of realistic examples. I would delete X in case Y because of rationale Z, for example. Initial debate could be on its talk page. That could reduce the load on this talk page.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:20, 21 June 2021 (UTC)

Arbitrary breakEdit

I don't understand this comment; "It is clear that you have a very strong bias against the standard ancestry format of this site". What standard ancestry format would that be? Hawaii has it's own MOS that get's its standards from the main MOS as well as cultural considerations. There is a proposal for a genealogy Wikipedia but not sure where that is a the moment. There is no standard format for ancestry other than all sections and all content should be cited to reliable sources. A template is nothing more than mark up or code. It is not part of Wikipedia's standard "format". Each article has its own consensus and no discussion or smaller consensus can override the larger consensus of the community guidelines. A template can be used or not used. There is no "rule" that says this template must be used in all dynastic biographies. It could even be nominated and discussed for deletion. Of course one can get around that if one knows the mark up so, what would be the point? By the way...is there some reason using this template, that the content added cannot be sourced and properly cited?--Mark Miller (talk) 11:07, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
@Mark Miller: I don't see anything controversial in what you say, but I think JLavigne508 was not using the term "standard" in any formal "jargon" way but just referring to the fact that this is a very commonly used template for any biographies where editors feel it appropriate to show recent direct ancestors (a simple "family tree"). I think the historical controversy has lain in systematic mass deletions, so case by case discussion is not controversial as far as I know. Concerning footnotes, see previous discussions: I at least feel happy to know they are an option, but I don't see them as strictly necessary when the template is being used to show connections between articles that are explained properly in those articles that are directly linked to within the template. Generally, as with a lead, or any type of box, I prefer sourcing to be in the main body. By the same reasoning, concerning the tagging of badly sourced, or non-notable articles, I would also not start by attacking such boxes, but by tagging the appropriate sections of the body. In practice, I feel that attacking the box created unresolvable controversies about non-existent "rules", which diverted attention away from the problems in the bodies of such articles. Maybe in the (far?) future we need a noticeboard for help and advice concerning such things.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:09, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
Historical controversy has lain in the creeping of this template into hundreds of biographies without discussion and despite opposition from editors who created and/or significantly contributed to those articles, as seen (for example) in this 2007 discussion. This creep is now considered a fait accompli and portrayed as a "standard". Surtsicna (talk) 12:57, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
Yes that is also a valid perspective, and I also sometimes find the template grating. (I just don't like mass deletions at all. Sometimes this template is helpful.) OTOH standards often develop like that on WP, so it also does not make the opposite-seeming description of JLavigne508 completely wrong. Notice BTW how some of those early discussions were not claiming to be about strong WP:V problems and the like, so they are IMHO better discussions, that did not over-dramatize or get all "legalistic". Concerning the presentation concerns, FWIW I suppose that discussion was before this template became collapsed by default, which was a very big improvement. There has also been the push to remove the 5th generation (which is clearly a presentation tweak also). --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:17, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
"I think JLavigne508 was not using the term "standard" in any formal "jargon" way but just referring to....." let's not try to speak for other editors but I appreciate your willingness to compromise. Let me just say this, I support the removal of content that is NOT cited to reliable sources.
"In practice, I feel that attacking the box created unresolvable controversies about non-existent "rules" I am now becoming a bit more concerned but possibly in a different direction than you might support. Again, I ask why this template cannot or should not be held to the same standard of every other part of this project when used ~ Consensus and verifiability? That is my concern. If I must source the family trees I post...why should not others be held to that standard? No Biography is above our pillars. I am a bit confused by all of this.--Mark Miller (talk) 13:40, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
My personal idea, at least for now, is that most such convenience boxes like this have been working ok as far as WP:V is concerned, something like leads: WP:V should be confirmable by looking at the relevant article body, and we try to avoid footnotes which would effectively double up the ones in the body. But when there is dispute, I have no problem with the idea of doubled footnotes when needed. Complication: these templates refer to a small group of articles, not one article. Concerning deletion of unsourced material, I'd just add the normal rejoinder that in general, deletions imply some caution and discussion. Only the very worst material is normally deleted without discussion, and we are supposed to check a bit before taking such an action. Except when there is a very special case, it is normally frowned upon when an editor deletes materials in many articles at once based on some general principle, rather than based upon case by case inspection.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:27, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
These templates were not added based upon case by case inspection. Nobody who added them stopped to wonder whether the topic needed the names of all of the subject's great-great-grandmothers. Rather they were literally copy-pasted from one sibling to another, from cousin to cousin, etc, and all despite being very much unwelcome. I do not see why they now need to be treated with any reverence. Surtsicna (talk) 09:09, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
(edit conflict) "My personal idea, at least for now, is that most such convenience boxes like this have been working ok as far as WP:V is concerned". Not from my viewpoint having been stopped several times by admin for creating dynastic tree charts without references. I even have King Tut's small tree cited to the DNA verifications, as it is now accepted consensus.
"something like leads: WP:V should be confirmable by looking at the relevant article body, and we try to avoid footnotes which would effectively double up the ones in the body." I know of no guideline that allows a template to purposely go unreferenced in all articles blanketly. Lede sections may need to have citations even with the body of the article containing the content and reference depending on what claims are being made.
"we try to avoid footnotes which would effectively double up the ones in the body" who is "we"? Because I was told point blank by admin that these charts and graphs must be referenced. Many times a single tree chart may be used on several different articles, so not not all the subjects in the tree will apear in a particular article. In fact, with Hawaiian genealogy several people will be so closely related, it is very difficult to weed people down to the barest minimum but then the tree can be used on more than one biography. Also you can hide the list if it is unusually long such as in the; "Kalaniʻōpuʻu, Kamehameha, Kānekapōlei and Peleuli family tree". This tree can be used on far more than the four listed subjects. But I wonder if both charts are needed. If there is cited family tree chart and an uncited Pedigree chart...do we even need the uncited Pedigree?--Mark Miller (talk) 09:25, 23 June 2021 (UTC)

We can put footnotes in leads, just like we can put footnotes in ahnentafels. It is not normally considered best practice for leads, assuming that the same information is properly sourced in the body (which it SHOULD be), unless there is some special reason to expect misunderstandings to continue or if other editors specifically say they think it is needed. ("We" means Wikipedia. See MOS:CITELEAD.) Navboxes and infoboxes normally don't have footnotes, and in the case of navboxes they would not work because they are supposed to be after the references section. Infoboxes are in practice a bit like leads: they tend to get footnotes when there has been a concern raised. I am suggesting, and it seems many people agree, that with the ahnentafels we should have a similar philosophy to infoboxes and leads. Concerning the Keʻelikōlani article, without suggesting any real concerns, just comparing to controversies here on this talk page:

  • Perhaps some editors people might say this is too much genealogy and also just too big. One of the concerns most often raised about the Ahnentafel is that it is too big and ugly. They will presumably accept that for this article ancestry seems important, meaning some amount of genealogical information is appropriate, and the fact that it is collapsed helps, but they might complain that not all the ancestors mentioned are equally important to the subject of the article. (Consider WP:NOTE.) I seem to remember seeing editors removing less important individuals in some cases. A common "compromise" which has been controversial has been to set a "red line" and remove everything further back than 4 generations.
  • Other editors such as myself don't feel that a few low notability ancestors are a big concern, as long as ancestry is important for the topic of the article and there is some type of verifiability that readers and editors can work out from the articles mentioned in the template, with some common sense, like in infoboxes and leads.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:13, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
... it seems many people agree, that with the ahnentafels we should have a similar philosophy to infoboxes and leads. If this were an article, I would put {{cn}} after that comma. Just how many people agree, and whether they have sound arguments, could be determined in an RfC. Another RfC question proposal would be:
"Is it appropriate to remove Template:Ahnentafel from articles when unsourced and when published biographies of the subject do not mention the people and connections shown in that template?"
A very simple yes-or-no question asked at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard or Wikipedia:No original research/Noticeboard would settle all of this, hopefully once and for all. Do you agree with such a question? Surtsicna (talk) 12:33, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
Honestly I find that a bad RFC question because it would confuse people concerning the types of edits it is meant to justify.
  • First, not everyone will notice that this is an extremely specific and unusual extra rule which goes beyond our normal WP:V and WP:NOTE rules, and those rules in their normal form are fine for me. I really don't like attempts to write extremely complex legislation. For me, if a relationship is verifiable, then it meets WP:V. Why does it specifically have to come from a biography? I can't see any good reason that we should be forbidden to cite a work about, for example, the history of a county.
  • Second, what you're looking for out of this is really a mandate for being able to delete en masse, without discussion or consideration of each case in a way which we do not normally do. That's also not clear.
  • Third, it is also not going to be clear that (as far as I can see) in most cases the information you want to delete is not itself unverifiable, but rather the article is a stub with poor sourcing - i.e. one that needs work (or perhaps needs deleting in some cases). I feel that in those cases we should work on the article first, and update the Ahnentafel as we go along, because our aim is to keep improving the encyclopedia. Deleting this appendage, if anything, just makes it harder to work out what to do with the body. In the same way, we would not normally tag and delete the lead of a stub article as a first step. We would look at the article body and update the lead to match the body as it gets improved. Just makes sense?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:06, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
The content of Wikipedia articles should reflect the content of reliable sources specializing in the subject per WP:PROPORTION; in the case of biographies, that means published biographies. (A work about the history of a county will certainly not name all 16 great-great-grandparents of any person anyway.)
That any of this goes beyond WP:V and other policies is your interpretation. Whether or not it does is what the RfC would establish. It is perfectly clear from the question that the topic is the removal of ahnentafeln that fail certain requirements. If you are against removing such content without discussing each of them individually, you are free to answer "no". The same applies to your third concern: just say "no". The question is not meant to reflect your point of view or mine. Surtsicna (talk) 15:38, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
Yes you could try an RFC and I would vote no to that proposal. If you truly think only "biographies" (only monographs about single individuals?) contain information about family relationships between people then there would be no reason to invent rules banning the use of other publications. OTOH you seemed to be asking my opinion on a RFC wording. That's worth doing too, because if an RFC leads to largescale unexpected consequences due to misunderstandings, the knock-on discussions could get time-consuming, and impact those of us working affected articles. And as mentioned I think the wording could indeed lead to misunderstandings. It is not explaining what the real intended edits would look like. (I've suggested before that maybe you should construct a set of examples on a workpage to explain what you would do in specific situations. That is what we really need to agree upon.)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:53, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
  • "We can put footnotes in leads, just like we can put footnotes in ahnentafels. It is not normally considered best practice for leads, assuming that the same information is properly sourced in the body (which it SHOULD be), unless there is some special reason to expect misunderstandings to continue or if other editors specifically say they think it is needed." Best practice is to follow both the letter of the guideline as well as the spirit. In this case, saying "not normally considered best practice for leads" is simply not accurate. MOS:LEADCITE is very specific; "verifiability policy advises that material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, and direct quotations, should be supported by an inline citation. Any statements about living persons that are challenged or likely to be challenged must have an inline citation every time they are mentioned, including within the lead." and; "there is not, however, an exception to citation requirements specific to leads. The necessity for citations in a lead should be determined on a case-by-case basis by editorial consensus. Complex, current, or controversial subjects may require many citations; others, few or none. The presence of citations in the introduction is neither required in every article nor prohibited in any article."
  • "Infoboxes are in practice a bit like leads: they tend to get footnotes when there has been a concern raised". WP:INFOBOXREF is also pretty clear; "References are acceptable in some cases, but generally not needed in infoboxes if the content is repeated (and cited) elsewhere or if the information is obvious." It is suggested to see if the information is/or could be added to the body of the article. So, in the case of using the Ahnentafel chart, the argument is that it can contain a large amount of information not in the article. So this guideline actually argues for the use of citations in templates, where the content is not in the body of the article.
  • Concerning any article I am currently or have previously edited, please add any discussion of concerns on the talk page of those articles. Thank you. Frankly I think the family tree with the images might be too much even for me.--Mark Miller (talk) 08:14, 24 June 2021 (UTC)
I basically agree with all that. Note: case by case consideration is what I call for. If information in ahnentafels is contentious then this might be various different reasons, and so it is difficult to generalize what the best solution is, but in many cases in practice the problem has been that an ahnentafel is just reflecting the poor sourcing in the article. In those cases I believe attacking these tables first, is sometimes a bit like deleting the lead of a stub because you don't like the quality of that article. It can literally make it harder for anyone to work out what to do with the stub.
FWIW there is also one technical point of disagreement which has reappeared many times in discussions about this template (though really this discussion should apply to all diagrams of any form) and that is that many of us feel that it is good enough for the sourcing of a set of relationships to be the group of articles linked to in the box. An extreme version of the counter argument is that every person in the box, and every relationship it shows, needs to be mentioned and sourced within every specific article where the table appears. I disagree with that position, at least as a strict general rule. Thought experiment: Such a demand could often be resolved by merging medieval families into single articles, but if the problem can be fixed that easily then surely it is artificial to begin with. Furthermore, in practice people on WP are never going to stop making individual articles for individual notable people.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:28, 24 June 2021 (UTC)
This template has crept into over eight thousand articles without any consideration. Case by case consideration is now neither practicable nor necessary. The issue with all of them is the same. Surtsicna (talk) 14:00, 24 June 2021 (UTC)
"[C]ase by case consideration is what I call for". And that seems to be the argument distilled down to the very basics. Surtsicna has done more than a few deletions however, he has not been found guilty of any infraction of guidelines, but may be guilty of becoming a bit of a warrior with so many deletions.
I suggest this may be an editorial dispute and may be best taken up at WP:DR/N, the dispute resolution noticeboard. I am a volunteer there but would recuse myself as a moderator if this should find its way there.....which I seriously suggest.--Mark Miller (talk) 14:10, 24 June 2021 (UTC)
I have already suggested having an RfC on the deletions with the question:
"Is it appropriate to remove Template:Ahnentafel from articles when unsourced and when published biographies of the subject do not mention the people and connections shown in that template?"
Does that seem like a fair question to you, Mark Miller? Surtsicna (talk) 14:14, 24 June 2021 (UTC)
But a key controversy in practice has been about how to define "sourced".--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:25, 24 June 2021 (UTC)
""Is it appropriate to remove Template:Ahnentafel from articles when unsourced and when published biographies of the subject do not mention the people and connections shown in that template?"" After reading through this dispute, I believe furthering yet another RFC may not be supported. As a Volunteer for other noticeboards mentioned, I feel they might only prolong this dispute, which I truly see as an editorial one, a content dispute best discussed at WP:DR/N. That noticeboard is entirely voluntary and would require all editors involved (or the editors with the main dispute) take time to discuss the situation. Aloha!--Mark Miller (talk) 16:23, 24 June 2021 (UTC).

Somehow I stumbled upon a related discussion from 2018: Wikipedia_talk:Featured_article_candidates/archive69#References_for_Ancestry_sections. Surtsicna (talk) 21:08, 4 July 2021 (UTC)

Problem with some of those old discussions is that they confuse WP:V with footnotes, and as we know they did not lead to any stable consensus. Footnotes are not the only way of referencing, and referencing is not the same as verifiability. (We don't always put footnotes in leads either, unless challenged.) If your concern is purely about having more footnotes, then the discussion is a presentation/formatting discussion. If your discussion is about WP:V, then we should be discussing whether the articles themselves are sourced. If that is not your concern, then you need to work out how to explain it in a more convincing way. (In fact, you use all different types of explanations. See your edsums. Many indicate that it is a notability and/or "taste" issue.) The people in that old discussion don't seem to have discussed it as far, but you've certainly discussed all this before with me. Insisting on presenting the people who disagree with you as people opposed to WP:V is unlikely to lead to a better discussion?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:24, 4 July 2021 (UTC)
It is fairly clear what that discussion was about and what the consensus there was. Surtsicna (talk) 08:24, 5 July 2021 (UTC)
Yes, in a way. But it is about tagging and not necessarily deleting. What is important to you is deleting, and the tagging has often only been a formality. I am not against tagging or even deleting, when it involves case by case consideration. Your policy of aggressive deletion is particularly impractical for the short poor quality 10th-12th articles I like to work on. It is like deleting bits of drafts, and it just makes it more difficult to start work on them, which is often very time-consuming, because they often need to be looked at in groups to work out what the articles were really intended to be about.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:29, 5 July 2021 (UTC)

Break 2Edit

Ping User:JLavigne508, User:Surtsicna, User:GoodDay, User:Andrew Lancaster, User:Mark Miller ( I think that is everyone who commented back in June, if not please ping them for me), User:JBW as (s)he was mentioned as an administrator tangentially involved, and User:Agricolae and User:Celia Homeford, who like me were pinged by User:Surtsicna back on 20 June 202

I have been AFK, hence this tardy replay. I have not looked through other discussion places to see if this conversation has carried on in other places. If it has then please inform me here and I will close this thread and repost in the more recent conversation.

I think "Neutrality Concerns" is a misleading header for the section. This template can be used for neutral and biased presentation, but is itself neutral. I see no point in an overarching RFC about the use of this template reaching any useful conclusions because the Wikipedia community has been split over the issue of family trees in articles for most of its existence.

Let me give you an example to considered. In the case of the English and British monarchy usually a family tree of grandparents is adequate (that is an Ahnentafel of 7) because if the grandparents are notable their ancestry can be followed via an Ahnentafel in the grandparent's articles. However occasionally a much larger ancestry tree may be informative. Two examples I can think of is explaining

  • The Palatinates and the Wars of the Roses, because the conflict is between family members and those dynastic struggles can be illuminated by family trees that span more generations.
  • George I of Great Britain, because it is helpful to see how he was related to Queen Anne.
  1. So perhaps we could come up with wording limiting the use of Ahnentafel to seven unless there is a good reason for a larger tree.
  2. I think we should go back to collapse by default as a compromise -- as then the tree still exists but is not so noticeable to those who don't care for the information, and because the dictionaries of national biographies of various countries do not usually provide them).
  3. I think that all Ahnentafel trees like quotes should have inline citations next to them for all members in the tree. I have explained in detail many times why that is necessary, and can do so again if required.
  4. If a "section needed" has been on section, or "citation needed" on a branch of a tree, more than one year and no inline citations have been added then the queried text ought to be deleted (per Wikipedia:Verifiability#cite ref-Wales 2006-05 Wikimedia wikien-l 6-0 "Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information"). AND the WP:BURDEN "to demonstrate verifiability lies with the editor who ... restores [the] material"

Are these reasonable compromises that could be written into the documentation of this template's documentation, or some other page as guidance? -- PBS (talk) 16:15, 12 September 2021 (UTC)

Note: Surtsicna has been away from Wikipedia, for nearly a month now. What style should we use for royal family trees? I'm content with either version, as long as the 'same' version is used throughout all the royal bio articles, where required. GoodDay (talk) 21:31, 12 September 2021 (UTC)
I was thinking all family trees in biography articles not specifically royality. I personally don't care which style of tree is used (Help:Family trees). I am more concerned with specifying a default number of leaves for a standard biography that contains such a tree, unless there is a specific "notable" reason to add another generation. Apart from clutter, there is the problem of verifiability and SYN that tends to become greater with every generation added to a tree. -- PBS (talk) 13:50, 13 September 2021 (UTC)
Ok, all family trees. I'm content with whatever form is chosen, as long as it's used across the entire project. Consistency makes a good appearance for our readers. GoodDay (talk) 15:59, 13 September 2021 (UTC)
History isn't consistent. The content necessary to contextualize a subject differs with each particular situation. Forcing consistency equates to most pages having either too much or too little information (often both with this template), rather than letting the circumstances dictate the need. Agricolae (talk) 16:24, 13 September 2021 (UTC)
When I point to consistency, I mean the type of Ahnentafel we use. Not the # of ancestors added to it. GoodDay (talk) 16:56, 13 September 2021 (UTC)
If Surtsicna is on break, and if this discussion is about family trees in general, then maybe someone should mention that Surtsicna is not against family tree representations in a general way, but that they prefer custom-made family trees which show connections that are important for understanding the topic of an article. I don't personally see any reason to believe we need a rule forbidding the graphic representation of more than 7 generations, and I don't think Surtsicna does either. The concern of Surtsicna is (if I understand it) that many articles automatically show 5 generations without any specific study being done to determine whether all those ancestors were important. My own answer to this is that I'm fine with custom-made family trees replacing "vanilla" ahnentafels, but I see no reason to delete the latter in the mean time because they are still normally harmless, and often even a bit useful.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:34, 13 September 2021 (UTC)