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Alexa rank questionEdit

Wikipedia has very widespread use of Alexa ranks in website results, but there seem to be some issues with the idea:

  • As described here, there are also Nielsen NetRatings and perhaps other ratings groups. Why do we always seem to just have Alexa?
  • The arrow for "decreasing" or "increasing" seems recentist to my eyes - it doesn't provide an encyclopedic sense of the site's overall course beyond whatever month an editor sampled, plus it doesn't say how much it is increasing or decreasing (there's no neutral that I know of).
  • I just saw a deletion at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of countries by future population (United Nations, medium fertility variant) based on the idea that a UN table of projected populations could be copyrighted information. I wasn't convinced that is true, but I should check: how many Alexa ranks can Wikipedia reproduce in various articles in a standardized format before we run into trouble? Note that an Alexa rank is not even as factual or objective as an estimated future population, since the rank explicitly is taken only from among whatever websites they survey by some means.
  • Why does the infobox generally give one or more numerical ranks that mean little to us, rather than some kind of number of visitors information?
  • On the other hand, if the information is not copyrighted, then could we have a tiny little inline graph, like one of those trendlines out of the new Microsoft Office products, that gets automatically made up for the site from the reported data so that we can read back at least a few years to see the total trend?

Maybe this should be at the template talk page, but I feel like only technical editors would read it there and this seems like a broad policy question affecting a vast number of pages. Really, it's a question inherent to each of the articles that use the statistics. Wnt (talk) 14:33, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

  • @Wnt: please also see Template_talk:Infobox_website#Bot_Job_and_arrows - we have a BRFA on hold (Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/LkolblyBot) that will update these ranking, pending on what to do about the arrows. — xaosflux Talk 14:56, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
    Which could also be canceled if someone decides we shouldn't maintain this information at all of course! — xaosflux Talk 14:58, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
    Which is the comment I made at {{infobox website}} of course. See talk page. :^) --Izno (talk) 16:51, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you, Wnt, for bringing this up here. I don't know what the situation is like now, but I remember that some years ago bots used to get approved on the basis of their technical correctness, with little regard to whether the edits that they make are a good idea. I don't see why we should aim to reproduce one ratings company's results, and especially not the "up" and "down" arrows that are a blatant example of recentism. This is an encyclopedia, not a running commentary on one organisation's measure of a web site's popularity. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:09, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree that those up and down arrows and whatever information they convey have no encyclopedic value and ditching them is actually a good idea. – Ammarpad (talk) 07:47, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Alexa The amount of resources required to keep this data updated is fairly intense, a ton load of web scraping of the Alexa site is going on. This is not good. I don't see why we can't just link to the Alexa page and be done. Users can click through and discover information from Alexa like they would any other external link. -- GreenC 13:38, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
    From a technology POV, if we were to do this, would suggest the following: Rename the infobox field from |alexa= to |web_rank= (something generic). Populate that infobox field in every article with a new Lua template called {{web rank}} (or whatever). Create Module:Web rank/database which is the top 1,000 websites ranked. This file is updated once every 6 or 12 months by a bot. The template will display ranking data if the website exists in that file, otherwise it will display a generic link to Alex and/or other ranking services, but otherwise no actual ranking information. -- GreenC 21:17, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I also Oppose Alexa and think it should be deprecated. It seems to me to be the definition of non-encyclopedic content, the non-reliable/subjective equivalent to updating the infobox of each public company's article with its daily closing stock price, which a bot could certainly scrape from a finance website. UnitedStatesian (talk) 13:44, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
    I think of it as being closer to a company's number of employees than its stock price. A stock price is of little importance to understanding a company, unless you're an active investor. However, the number of employees gives you a rough size of the company (100,000 employees? 100 employees? You imagine very different companies for these two values, whereas a $20 stock price vs. $1000 stock price tells you absolutely nothing beyond the market cap/number of shares ratio). We maintain the number of employees at a given company, even though that value is subject to recentism. e.g. Myspace, which at its heyday had 1,600 employees but now has 150. We report the 150, and we don't just provide a link to the citation so the user can click through find out on their own. (however, I agree that the up/down arrow is of little value, especially given the short time over which it cares) Lkolbly (talk) 13:42, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    I would think that a measure of the number of visitors would be much more important than the rank, by this analogy. I mean, if you read a company was the 4000th largest employer in the U.S. and the 15000th largest employer worldwide... Wnt (talk) 13:52, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    For sure I could agree with that. I would absolutely support replacing Alexa with some other datasource that gave absolute number, I'm not presently aware of a reasonable alternative datasource (SimilarWeb appears to have similar data, after a quick Google search. But licensing may be an issue, I dunno). Lkolbly (talk) 14:22, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    IMO absolute page view counts are arbitrary data, it lacks context unless you can intuit what the numbers signify. It would be like maintaining a database which isn't what Infoxbox's should be for. We can provide external links to third party sites that do web rankings and view counts as their core mission, and not get into the business of maintaining that data internally, except for the top 1000 or so (much more and it puts a load on resources). -- GreenC 15:56, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    I dunno. Page view counts specifically maybe aren't too great, in my mind I think unique visitors would be the ideal metric. That's something you can intuit pretty reasonably, just as well as you can intuit number of employees or revenue (both of which are database-like items we maintain internally. Can you intuit what it means that Baidu has CNY 175.036 billion worth of equity in 2018?). If I see a website has a billion unique visitors, I'll think it's 1000x more popular than some other website with only a million unique visitors. But page view counts gives a roughshod approximation of that. Lkolbly (talk) 16:24, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with GreenC that the best approach would be to have a Lua module for website statistics. The data is meaningful in that it provides an indication of how popular a website is, so I think removing all of the data summarily would not be helpful. As noted above, there may be other metrics, but they may not be as consistently useful or readily available (most websites don't publish unique visitor statistics, whereas just about every marginally important website in the 21st century has or had an Alexa rank). Furthermore, the stock price comparison isn't necessarily accurate, since Alexa ranks represent a rolling average.

    The up and down arrows presumably match the ones shown on the website, which indicate change after 3 months (based on subtracting 3 from the month number and comparing data from that date). If the convention is consistently followed, then I think that data could be useful as well. (Tangentially, many of the arrows are reversed to indicate that lower is better; this could be a point of contention.) Jc86035 (talk) 07:37, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

  • Support Alexa. As Lkolbly mentioned earlier, Alexa ranks give readers a measurement of how significant a website is. In my opinion, the best comparison from {{Infobox company}} is the company's revenue, which is a metric that provides an instant impression of the subject's scale. Both revenue numbers and Alexa ranks can be accompanied with up/down arrows and also need to need to be updated on an ongoing basis. I personally find Alexa ranks (and the arrows) to be useful information.

    Based on how the proposed LkolblyBot would operate, I think the amount of server resources consumed would be negligible. According to alexa.py, the bot would query Alexa's API and parse XML responses like this one for wikipedia.org, which is only 1.1 kB in size. Multiply that by the 4,560 domains in the candidate list, and the total amount of bandwidth required to download the data for all of the domains in the list is just 5.0 MB. "A subset of these pages will be updated each month." This script would barely consume any resources on a low-end personal computer.

    Responding to Wnt's suggestions, I would prefer to see both the unique visitor and Alexa rank metrics for each website. To be vendor-neutral, it would also be appropriate to use similar statistics from Nielsen, SimilarWeb, and other data providers when available (although I have not looked into whether this data is actually publicly available from these other providers). With multiple providers, I'm not sure how much of this information would belong in the infobox, but the metrics would be worth displaying in a table in the article body.

    GreenC's suggestion to use a module appears to be the best and most versatile method for data storage, although I would prefer to see the metrics updated monthly instead of (bi)annually. — Newslinger talk 08:44, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

    @Newslinger: One of the issues I had with archiving data was that it was impossible to save the API pages in the Wayback Machine, even though it would have been much better to use the API than to save the HTML pages. This now seems to work (even without logging in and using the beta version of Save Page Now). There was a very large amount of overhead associated with archiving the full HTML, although the graph images are useful due to containing data for the past year.
    @Lkolbly: Are the API keys necessary? In my experience, while collecting data from the API (without archiving it), I was able to download data for more than a million websites by making hundreds of concurrent connections and resetting my network's IP address every few minutes. I'm not saying that this would be a good way to do it, but it's certainly... possible. Jc86035 (talk) 09:26, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    I don't think they're strictly necessary. You don't get as much data (basically just rank and delta, but that's all we show anyway), being who I am I love collecting as much data as I can from everywhere and storing it in text files until I run out of disk space. Resetting my network IP every few minutes would be... inconvenient, for sure. As far as server load goes, Wikipedia currently receives 1.8 edits per second, this would be increasing that by 1.7 milliedits per second (0.1%). Linking to the API page from the citation would be not user friendly for people who did want to click through to the Alexa page, though. Lkolbly (talk) 12:54, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Lkolbly: Perhaps a custom citation could be used to link to both the current HTML and XML pages, as well as the archived XML page?
    With the Lua module approach this could be accomplished with very few edits, as few as one per month (i.e. by updating all of the data at once).
    Incidentally, you might be interested in looking at Module:Alexa, Wikipedia talk:Lua/Archive 6#Alexa template and User talk:Jc86035#Alexa ranks. Jc86035 (talk) 15:53, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    Since this discussion is in the policy section of the village pump, it might be better to focus on whether Alexa ranks should be included at all, rather than the technical implementation (which would be moot if there is consensus against including Alexa ranks). — Newslinger talk 01:30, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Kill Alexa ranks. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. In case you've never seen an encyclopedia besides Wikipedia, I assure you that they don't have things like current stock value, Alexa ranks, or other information that is constantly in flux. They give you the big picture and point you to other resources for more detailed information. Kaldari (talk) 22:35, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Kaldari: We have plenty of other time-dependent statistics (population, for instance). Alexa ranks aren't inherently unsuitable just because they're updated every day and aren't publicly archived by the company. As noted above, some sort of statistic to indicate the popularity of a website can be of value (though not necessarily just the Alexa rank). Jc86035 (talk) 08:12, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
    Also probably worth noting is that Wikipedia isn't really that similar to a traditional encyclopedia, because it tends to have much more depth and breadth (and, of course, can be updated more easily). Outside of articles about people and buildings, there are definitely a lot of regularly-updated statistics (music charts, passenger numbers, political polls...). Jc86035 (talk) 08:51, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
    I think one question to ask is whether Alexa is a primary or a secondary source. I mean, I know that the ratings come from a Computer, which sits between the seraphim to judge the deeds of men, but it does after all post on little pages that few people read that aren't even archived. If some blasphemer were to come along and say, "the Computer is wrong!", the answer would surely be that Alexa faithfully publishes the result of its Algorithm and therefore cannot be held to blame for following its outcome wherever it leads without question, even if it is "a complicated calculation that involves correcting for biases as well as identifying and discarding fake or spam traffic", as the official guide below puts it. But Wikipedians are a crusty group with a formidable dogma of their own, and I think any delivery of magical stone tablets from a burning table at Wikimania would be attended by protests concerning use of a self-published source. And some of us might read the heresies of those excessive in the faith, noting that there is guide after guide after official guide online about how to improve a site's web rankings by means such as the company installing the Alexa Toolbar on all their browsers in all their computers to start, registering/verifying the site with Alexa, using the Alexa Rank Widget on company pages because "every click will be counted", and all the usual SEO techniques to improve Alexa ratings by subscribing to Alexa's Marketing Stack and Advanced Plan. I should note the importance of search-directed traffic in that, so it is worth noting that readership of the Alexa article increased long term after Template:Alexa was introduced in November 2016. If I were the Computer I would send that Wikipedian a Christmas present, but that's just me. Anyway, I think it is instructive to consider the difference in reaction Wikipedians would have if someone gave each company site a rank based on some human reviewer they found on the internet, even if he wasn't biased and didn't sell services on the side. That's how much more important and dignified by nature the Computer is than any of us... remember it. Wnt (talk) 10:33, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Wnt: Assuming good faith on Alexa's part, presumably those methods would allow them to get more accurate data (although obviously they wouldn't mention that a website's ranking might actually go down if they got more accurate data from that website, since they're trying to sell something). Obviously it's impossible for anyone outside the company to genuinely verify whether their statistics are made-up, but the ranks themselves are usually close to or in agreement with those calculated by other companies.
    On whether Alexa is a primary or secondary source, I would say that Alexa is mostly a primary source since they collected and analyzed their own data in order to publish the ranks (rather than, say, analyzing a public dataset). However, the data has been used in various reliable secondary sources, including the New York Times (2014) and the Guardian (2006). Jc86035 (talk) 18:41, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
    @Wnt: On the page views issue, the increase could also be partly attributed to another bit of Amazon with a similar name becoming increasingly popular around that time. In any case, {{Infobox website}} has had |alexa= for an uninterrupted period beginning on 15 March 2008, and the parameter previously existed as early as 18 September 2006. Furthermore, the creation of the template doesn't mean much on its own; editors would still need to manually add that data (OKBot used to update some of this data from 2011 to 2014). Jc86035 (talk) 19:05, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

If anyone with a credit card can inflate a statistic, the statistic is useless as a Wikipedia source. I'm just saying. --Guy Macon (talk) 12:11, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

@Guy Macon: All sorts of other minor statistics could be faked and we wouldn't be able to tell; for example, music sales have been faked in the past, but Wikipedia doesn't just write off all of the music charts from the decades where this was an issue.
I think this Guardian article might be somewhat helpful, although it's almost nine years old.
On the pages you've linked: I note that almost all of them are anecdotes and most of the analyses don't seem to be conducted by professionals in the field. While the anecdotes may be somewhat useful, most of them are just from people who run websites, and I don't think any of them mention any filtering of bot/crawler traffic.
  • The first is someone's blog, so we can't really use it. The points are, I think, valid; but given the difficulty in collecting the data in the first place, discrepancies are completely expected. The data collection issue is somewhat concerning, although it's worth noting that because none of these companies publish a complete methodology (e.g. how is the data from the Alexa add-ons normalized relative to the data collected directly from the websites?) it's more difficult to tell if Alexa's doing it right. They do, at least, have multiple data sources. Presumably, since their data is (hopefully...) their main product, they do have an interest in keeping the numbers somewhat accurate.
  • The second is also someone's blog. I think it's possible that the author is... counting the wrong things (raw traffic instead of unique visitors), but I do think that their perspective is useful here. If anything, this indicates that multiple data sources should be used, sort of like {{Infobox US university ranking}}.
  • The third, a forum post from a website owner, is more than ten years old, which is from before some (to my knowledge) significant changes in Alexa's data collection. Some of the points that the author makes are somewhat flawed (e.g. should Alexa actually have excluded iframes if the embedded content was transferred normally as if it were loaded in a separate window? if they were directly measuring the use of the embedded content they might not have been able to tell).
  • The fourth is another blog post, from a staffer at an SEO company. They don't mention Alexa at all, but discuss other companies' traffic statistics and compare them to private Google Analytics numbers. I'm somewhat irritated that they measured "most accurate" by calculating the average error without adjusting for the traffic volume for each website and without using the absolute value value of each error (i.e. instead of letting numerically negative errors cancel out positive errors), since it's not like SimilarWeb's estimates were anywhere close to perfect.
  • The fifth, another blog post, has a semi-retraction at the end.
  • The sixth is a Marketing Week article (or opinion piece?) which doesn't mention Alexa. I agree with the author's points on why these statistics are unreliable. However, the author notes that he and his co-debater actually lost (and "lost badly") the debate which is the subject of the article; and the inability to measure exact data does not necessarily mean that all of the data has to be written off. Wikipedia has hundreds of pages dedicated solely to cataloguing opinion polls for elections, although arguably those are on slightly firmer ground because polling firms usually release detailed methodology and their reports can be more easily re-evaluated by third parties.
  • The seventh, another blog post, doesn't mention Alexa, or any other company that publishes traffic estimates. The author's main point is that interaction matters more than page views. I'd say the page is somewhat irrelevant to this particular discussion because the only way Wikipedia would be able to catalogue interaction in a meaningful and scaleable way is by keeping a database of Facebook likes and such, which is another can of worms and would also be flawed in different ways (e.g. because of those Wi-Fi networks that require users to like the venue's Facebook page before proceeding).
  • The eighth and last is a review site for websites which sell traffic. Those services' existence doesn't necessarily indicate that we should summarily ignore all web traffic data. The article The New York Times Best Seller list mentions similar issues. If even "the preeminent list of best-selling books in the United States" has these issues, perhaps it's just something that has to be taken into account if anything useful is to be gleaned from this sort of data.
The problem with writing off this sort of data entirely is that it isn't really definitively more or less reliable than other pre-internet datasets that have been published outside scientific journals (e.g. how the Times compiles the [Best Seller] list is a trade secret), and it doesn't make sense to ignore this data when the pre-internet data has been used anyway just because there's nothing better. Jc86035 (talk) 18:41, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
Music sales cannot be easily faked by anyone with a credit card. There is a huge difference between "we try to provide reliable statistics but some people figure out how to cheat" and "there are multiple web pages that will reliably and undetectable make the numbers as big as you want, with prices starting at less than a hundred dollars". --Guy Macon (talk) 19:03, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: I agree that the stakes and costs are obviously a little higher in those cases, but it's not necessarily "as big as you want". A rank in the top 10,000, for example, would be much more difficult to fake than a rank in the top 1,000,000. We also don't really know how good those services are. (And it's plausible that several hundred US dollars would be enough to make a difference near the bottom of some music charts, given a cooperative record store manager...)
When I was trying to archive [way too much] Alexa data, I used lists of URLs from a competing service which publishes a list of 1 million domains in order to be able to archive Alexa data. Many of the sites on the other list had almost identical ranks on the Alexa chart, whereas some of the others had Alexa ranks far below 1 million, which indicates that Alexa might have been more capable of filtering out spammy websites. Nevertheless, a rank above 10,000, or even above 50,000, is presumably something to write home about (sorry, Wikinews). Jc86035 (talk) 19:19, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
If the Alexa rank is notable, put it in the article body. We don't need them in every website infobox, IMO. Kaldari (talk) 19:40, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

In the comments above, Jc86035 confuses the criteria for using a source in an article with the criteria for using a source in a talk page discussion. Yes, a blog is not a reliable source for use in an article. But then again, the comments Jc86035 makes and the comments I make on article talk pages are not a reliable source for use in an article. Whether considering a link to a blog someone posts or the words we write on this page, the reader is expected to evaluate the opinion and decide whether it is a compelling argument.

Jc86035 goes on to question my assertion that anyone make the numbers as big as they want, limited only by their budget. I believe that I am correct. I could, for the princely sum of $25, buy compete control of 1,000 computers with 1,000 IP addresses on a botnet, and use them to inflate the Alexa ranking of a website. If Alexa figured out that the 1,000 computers were inflating the ranking (more likely if I used one computer a lot, far less likely if I only used each computer a handful of times) another $25 would by me a fresh set of a thousand computers. $110 would get me 5,000 computers/IPs and $200 would get me 10,000 computers/IPs. It really is that easy, which is why so many people sell pageviews and visitors.

DO NOT VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINKS!! ONE LINK IS CLICKBAIT AND THE OTHER MAKES FUN OF CLICKBAIT!! Don't Click Me #1 Don't Click Me #2 Don't say that I didn't warn you. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:11, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

@Guy Macon: Thanks for your response. I don't think I was confusing the criteria – to my knowledge, there are no established criteria for collecting anecdotal evidence on talk pages(...?), so I wouldn't have been able to confuse them – though I thought it was worth noting whether they would pass as reliable sources.
Returning to the actual purpose of the discussion, I agree that the statistics are far from perfect due to being proprietary and being apparently easy to manipulate. However, I think this would be grounds for establishing minimum criteria for those statistics' use in articles (e.g. something like "at least two data sources ranked the website at 175,000 or above in the past year, or at the website's peak if the website is currently defunct"), rather than disallowing those statistics altogether. We can presume that it's harder to fake higher ranks, and I think it's somewhat more unlikely that already-notable entities would be deliberately inflating their own website usage in this way. Jc86035 (talk) 15:53, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I would oppose all use of Alexa ranks -- but, it would be pointless. O3000 (talk) 21:19, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Kill Alexa ranks in infoboxes. It may be useful in very very specific cases, but in general this is pretty much a factoid. That a site is ranked 3543rd or 2561st or 8234th on a given day is useless, as it its increase/decreased from some some point in the past. I've been debating to make this proposal myself for a while, but I'm glad someone took the initiative to remove this unencyclopedic stuff on a larger scale. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 14:44, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Can someone who cares about this issue turn this into an actual WP:RfC so proper notice is given, with an actionable outcome? (Also, list at CENT) Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:53, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • While that is pending, this is as relevant as votes in an election, or runs made in baseball games, or rankings of teams in a league, or revenue of films, or NYT bestseller rank of books, or any other figure in the world that is determined in a particular way according to particular conventions, and considered important by those in the field. For many of these, it may be too complicated to give in an infobox, especially if we have data over a periods of time. But i still should be given, and I'd suggest much less of this go in infoboxes and more in tables in the articles. But it belongs in he WP, because we report the real world.
There are objections that some of this data may be inflated, or otherwise inaccurate--and this is true for all statistical data whatsoever. That doesn't mean we do no give it. (If the next US census ends up undercounting because of a political decision about what questions to ask, we still give the values. So people can interpret them we discuss them in our atricles on the data sources in question--the rules of baseball, the article on the nyt bestseller list, or on the census, -- or on alexa. We do not decide what ought to be important in the world, and write our aricles as if that were the case. DGG ( talk ) 00:41, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
Re: "There are objections that some of this data may be inflated, or otherwise inaccurate--and this is true for all statistical data whatsoever" there is a basic difference in play here. Anyone with a credit card can get their Alexa rank as high as they want, limited only by how much they are willing to spend. The same is not true of votes in an election, runs made in baseball games, rankings of teams in a league, or revenue of films. I could, for the princely sum of $25, buy complete control of 1,000 computers with 1,000 different IP addresses on a botnet, and use them to inflate the Alexa ranking of a website. If Alexa figured out that the 1,000 computers were inflating the ranking (more likely if I use one computer a lot, far less likely if I only use each computer a handful of times) another $25 would by me a fresh set of a thousand computers/IPs. $110 would get me 5,000 computers/IPs and $200 would get me 10,000 computers/IPs. It really is that easy, which is why so many people sell pageviews, visitors, likes, upvotes, etc. online. And the more popular services actually do deliver the Alexa ranks they promise. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:28, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: We do still include the results of rigged elections, and we do catalogue the subscriber numbers of several hundred YouTubers, as well as several lists of Internet statistics.
We don't know how effective the ranking manipulation services are, whether any Wikipedia-notable websites would even use them, or whether Alexa and other companies do anything about this manipulation. On the other hand, if a website manages to get a really high ranking because of a botnet, researchers might find out about that because of the botnet itself, and the manipulation still doesn't result in the ranks for other websites being substantially more inaccurate (a website that would otherwise be ranked e.g. 1,268 would just be at 1,269 or 1,270). It's telling that it takes hundreds of millions of hijacked systems (i.e. an entire botnet) to get a rank that high.
We do anecdotally know that the ranks are only estimates and are only a little more accurate than the order of magnitude, but maybe that's enough (especially if there isn't any similar data that's much better). Given that what we include in articles is dependent on reliable sources, and multiple reliable sources have used this sort of data, maybe we shouldn't be putting too much emphasis on the anecdotes. Jc86035 (talk) 16:30, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Kill Alexa ranking is a constantly-in-flux value with no quantifiable meaning, and can easily be influenced with a bit of money or a sockpuppet farm. MoonyTheDwarf (Braden N.) (talk) 16:54, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

RFC: spelling of "organisation"/"organization" in descriptive category namesEdit

  Administrator note:: This RfC was closed on 17 April 2019, and reopened after editors suggested the same at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Further discussion of recent RfC on organisation vs organization. Lourdes 07:31, 18 April 2019 (UTC) Should all Wikipedia categories which use the word "organisation"/"organization" as part of a descriptive name per WP:NDESC be standardized to use the "Z" spelling, i.e. "organization" rather than "organisation"?

Note that this proposal does not apply to proper names, such as Category:International Labour Organization, which should use the name selected per WP:Article titles for the title of the head article. It applies only to the descriptive category titles invented by Wikipedia editors per WP:NDESC, such as Category:Agricultural organizations based in the Caribbean, Category:Organizations established in the 19th century, Category:Religious organizations by faith or belief, Category:Sports organisations of Ireland, and Category:Paramilitary organisations based in the United Kingdom. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:57, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

Extended explanationEdit

This question may sound like trivial pedantry, but Category:Organizations has about ten thousand descriptively-named sub-categories. Those are inconsistently named, and therefore generate a steady stream of renaming proposals at WP:CFD.

Per WP:NCCAT, category names should "follow certain conventions", but there is no clear convention here; no single principle (or even agreed set of principles) defining which spelling to use. This makes the category system hard to use and hard to maintain, because it is difficult to predict which spelling is in use in each case

Over the years, these categories have been the subject of numerous renaming discussions, and several are open now. Several well-established principles are applied, but they are often fuzzy or conflicting, and they produce varying outcomes depending on the good faith interpretations of the experienced editors involved. Many categories have been renamed multiple times.

  1. MOS:TIES recommends that for English-speaking nations, we should use the (formal, not colloquial) English of that nation.
    However,
    • It is often hard to determine which (if any) usage is preferred in any given country
    • There is disagreement about whether the "S" spelling is actually the clearly-preferred option in any national variant of English
  2. MOS:RETAIN advocates that the initial version should be retained in the absence of consensus to the contrary.
  3. Geography. No policy appears to cover usage in non-English-speaking nations, so editors apply in good faith a variety of well-reasoned principles which produce different outcomes, e.g.
    A/ Countries which are geographically closer to the UK than the US should use the British spelling, and vice-versa
    B/ Commonwealth countries (i.e. the former British Empire) should follow British spelling.
    However
    • Those two principles clash for the many former British colonies in the Americas
    • There is legitimate dispute about the extent to which British usage persists 50 years after independence

These inconsistencies create clashes of principle. If MOS:RETAIN is applied, then each container category ends up with a random assortment of spellings, depending on the choice of the creator.

However, most categories for organisations are intersections of two or more category trees, e.g.* Category:Sports organisations of Iran is an intersection of Category:Organizations by type and Category:Organizations by country.

Taking that example: if we apply MOS:TIES, we get inconsistent titles in Category:Sports organizations by country, e.g. Category:Sports organisations of Mozambique/Category:Sports organizations of the Comoros.

On the other hand, if we apply consistency across Category:Sports organizations by country, that creates inconsistencies with MOS:TIES-derived names for the country categories. e.g. if Category:Sports organisations of Mozambique was renamed to use "Z", then that would clash with the grandparent Category:Organisations based in Mozambique.

In CFD discussions, the main argument for standardisation is that per American and British English spelling differences#-ise,_-ize_(-isation,_-ization), some British usage prefers the "S" spelling, bit there is no overall preference ... and that while the "S" spelling" is unacceptable in American usage, the "Z" spelling is acceptable variant in all countries.

On the other side, arguments against standardisation prioritise MOS:TIES, and assert that "S" is the standard British usage. They note how ENGVAR variations are accepted in other types of category. One example of this is Category:Association football players, whose subcategories variously use "association football players", "footballers" or "soccer players", depending on local usage. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:58, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

Organizations: Discussion/surveyEdit

add your comments and/or !votes here
  • Use "z". I'm British, and use both spellings interchangeably. In some parts of the English-speaking world only "z" is correct, but in others both "s" and "z" are correct. I don't know of anywhere where "z" is incorrect. I must add that it's very tiresome that we have to even discuss this, but there are certain editors who seem to like arguing for arguing's sake. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:27, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Couldn't category redirects solve tis without renaming anything? If the answer apears to be "no they can't" then I agree with every word of the above comment by Phil Bridger. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:28, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Categories use WP:soft redirects (see Example), unlike e.g. lists which use hard redirects; while these can reduce the problem, they require an extra click. – Fayenatic London 22:15, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Beeblebrox, two years ago I thought that redirects might be a partial solution (with the limitation which @Fayenatic notes), provided that there was a bot to apply them in all instances, on an ongoing basis. So I proposed the bot, at Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/BHGbot 3, and there were so many niggles that I gave up. (The bot was approved for a trial run, but there were strong objections to making it an open-ended task, which is exactly what would be needed for the bot to solve the problem).
That's why I have come around to the view that we should fix the problem at source by abandoning the pretence that British English has such a strong preference for the "s" spelling that we shouldn't use Z in any topic relating to the former British Empire other than in the United States. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:18, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardize. Personally, I use British English with a "z", but I don't think it is good idea to bow to the consistency zealots on this. They'd only find something more serious to worry about. Johnbod (talk) 21:37, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    • If there is continuing conflict without standardization, "don't standardize" is the wrong solution. There might be some reasonable middle ground toward standardization and away from conflict, but a basic non-vote definitely isn't it. --Izno (talk) 22:11, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z. I'm British and use "s" in my personal and professional writing, but it is often inconvenient in Wikipedia that the spelling of categories for orgs is unpredictable. Using the Oxford spelling with the "z" is not un-British anyway. We already use the non-French "z" spelling for France (see CFD in 2017 closed by me) and various other countries in Europe/Commonwealth. Let's take it all the way. – Fayenatic London 22:15, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I am prepared to make exceptions for Australia and New Zealand. NZ apparently uses -ise; these sources are not best quality but IMHO suffice to demonstrate that point.[1][2][3] However, other former colonies are not so evidently wedded to the "s" spellings. Let's switch to "z" in UK, British Overseas Territories, Europe, Asia, S America, the Caribbean, and the remainder of Oceania. – Fayenatic London 08:52, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - organize was good enough for Samuel Johnson and so it is good enough for me (in the UK). The Americans have in this case adhered to correct classical English. Oculi (talk) 22:17, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z. I agree with the observations of both Phil Bridger and Oculi. And if something is correct everywhere, it ought to take precedence over one national preference. Now the consistency folks can worry about why Category:Television shows by country rolls up to Category:Television programs where "shows" is correct wherever English is used but the spelling of program/programme may differ. Cheers, Carlossuarez46 (talk) 23:33, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • On the point of commonality, do see MOS:COMMONALITY. --Izno (talk) 23:42, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z", since it is considered acceptable in British English (unless I've been doing it wrong all this time). Jc86035 (talk) 09:38, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardise. Continue to use "s" in countries that predominantly use "s" (like the UK, Australia and New Zealand). It's very rare to see "z" in the UK outside Oxford these days. We don't change other category names for consistency, so I have no idea why we'd want to here. It is clear from the media, from previous WP discussions and from usage in WP articles by British editors that "s" is now greatly preferred in the UK. -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:21, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @Necrothesp, your statement that we don't change other category names for consistency is plain false. On the contrary, large numbers of category names are changed for consistency every single day. Most weeks, several hundred categories are renamed for consistency at WP:CFDS per WP:C2B, WP:C2C, or WP:C2D ... while new consistent conventions are repeatedly established at full CFD discussions.
It's also clear that you well know that statement to be false, because you yourself have made plenty of CFDS nominations on the basis of consistency. including [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]. That's only a small sample, and it is very sad to see an admin asserting as fact something which they have demonstrably known for many years to be untrue.
The reason we seek consistency, as you clearly well know, is that inconsistent titling is confusing for both readers and editors. You also do huge numbers of article moves on that very basis per the policy WP:CONSISTENCY (part of WP:Article titles), and as noted above the same principle applies to categories: see WP:NCCAT.
In this case, we have policy on what to do: MOS:COMMONALITY says "For an international encyclopaedia, using vocabulary common to all varieties of English is preferable: Use universally accepted terms rather than those less widely distributed, especially in titles". In this case, the Z spelling is a universally accepted variant, even if it is not universally preferred ... whereas the "S" spelling is not acceptable in American English. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:11, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
You misunderstand me. As usual, it appears. We do not change category titles for consistency in WP:ENGVAR circumstances. We may change them for consistency in non-ENGVAR circumstances if it is uncontroversial, yes. This is a different issue. And despite claims to the contrary, this is an ENGVAR issue, as "z" is indeed very rarely used these days in British English. -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:54, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
No, Necrothesp, I did not misunderstand you. I correctly understood the clear meaning of what you actually wrote, which now turns out to be radically different from what you now claim you intended to say. Please do not misrepresent your change of assertion as someone else's failure to understand.
As to ENGVAR, for over a century the leading dictionary of British English has been the Oxford English Dictionary, which continues to recommend the "Z" spelling as the preferred form. Are you really, seriously, trying to claim that OED's recommendation is not an acceptable usage in British English? Really? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:09, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl, FWIW the OED is now the last part of Oxford clinging on to Oxford spelling; even Oxford University itself has deprecated its use ‑ Iridescent 22:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Our present policy wastes a great deal of editors' time and effort. It doesn't produce consistent results. Consistency in country subcategories is achieved at the expense of inconsistency in all the other hierarchies. Consistency would increase our efficiency and enable us to quibble about things that are more important. There is nowhere where spelling organization with a z is wrong. The problem really is that in the UK it is seen, quite mistakenly, as American linguistic imperialism.Rathfelder (talk) 12:40, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • No, it's merely seen as uncommon in the present day. An archaic usage preserved by Oxford but not much elsewhere. -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:57, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support "z" - Barring specific cases where a proper name using "Organisation" is involved, the more inclusive "organization" should be used in all other cases. It is clear that this has been an ongoing issue that repeatedly comes up and it will save everyone's time in the long run to make this a standard convention. The fact that one spelling ("z") is acceptable (if not preferred) globally and the other is unacceptable in large parts of the world makes this change an obviously better convention over the current hodge-podge of MOS:RETAIN-based random spellings or multiple CFDs to attempt to meet MOS:TIES. I think BrownHairedGirl has made a very compelling argument and I haven't (yet?) seen any substantive argument against it. - PaulT+/C 14:11, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standarise per Necrothesp. There's no reason to change the status quo here, and Oxford is not an authority for the whole of British English (and definitely isn't for Australian or New Zealand English, where -ise is strongly preferred). IffyChat -- 14:30, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Also, this is NOT a commonality issue, many parts of the world primarily use 's', just as much as many areas use 'z'. This isn't the American english Wikipedia, it's the English language wikipedia for all users of the English language. IffyChat -- 08:23, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Slightly alternate proposal: Use "z" but create a preference setting where editors who want to see the word spelled with an "s" in category names can see it that way. bd2412 T 14:54, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @BD2412 I appreciate the quest for a solution which gives as many people as possible most of what they want. That's a good approach throughout life.
So I have no objection in principle to that idea, but is it technically feasible? I know that much wizardry can be achieved by AJAX, but even if some cunning code could change the displayed spelling of category titles as they appear at the bottom of an article or at the top of a category page, how would it distinguish between descriptive titles and proper names, so that it converted Category:Sports organizations of Estonia but not Category:International Labour Organization or Category:Organization of American States?
Readers might like this, but it would cause problems for editors, who would never see the actual title of the category, and be mystified why tyoing in the "S" spelling produced a redlink. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:23, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
My initial thoughts on this would be that 1) some kind of tag would need to be put on formal names to prevent them from showing up with the "s" spelling, if we care to do that, and 2) irrespective of the outcome of this discussion, there should be a category redirect pointing from the "s" spelling to the "z" spelling. When using hotcat, at least, this will change the input to the correct category. bd2412 T 15:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
So who gets the job of tagging all the relevant categories, and maintaining those tags? As the Pages per ActiveEditor ratio continues to grow, we need fewer of those maintenance tasks, not more.
As to redirects, yes I agree. As I noted above in reply to Beeblebrox, I tried two years ago to create a bot to do just that, but the BRFA got drowned in nitpicking so I gave up.
I do think that Phil Bridger's reminder of the fate of the time/date preference thing is worth remembering. It was all just seen as too much complexity for too little benefit. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:52, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
Before going too far with that proposal I would remind editors that we used to do something similar with dates in articles, where they were presented in dmy or mdy format in accordance with a preference. That system was done away with - here is one discussion but I'm sure there were more - for reasons that could also be applicable to this proposal. Phil Bridger (talk) 15:59, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use 'z' except in countries where 'z' is plain wrong (perhaps Australia and New Zealand?). Marcocapelle (talk) 16:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support "z" I do a lot of work on organizational categories. Our present policy wastes a lot of my time and energy. It prioritises consistency by country over consistency by subject, for no obvious reason, even where English is not a native language in the country concerned. Personally I have been using s for about 55 years, even though I was brought up to revere the Oxford English Dictionary, but I think the importance of consistency should outweigh personal preference I . Rathfelder (talk) 17:26, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose standardisation z these days is a variant, not the standard modern spelling in British English with the OED and related publishing house very much fighting a losing battle on this. In other countries z is used even less. Whatever is done there will be inconsistency as there are numerous main articles and lists using s, to say nothing of other cases where different spellings and terms are in use (programmes/programs/shows has already come up) so trying to impose a global consistency just isn't going settle things. Timrollpickering (Talk) 18:14, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use “z” per MOS:COMMONALITY, Z would be preferred because it is accepted intenationally and S is not. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 19:30, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" Standardization helps, it's categorization. It is WP:COMMONSENSE to use what's more common. --QEDK () 20:06, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardise. I don't see this as a problem, and "z" is not acceptable in Australian (or I presume NZ) English. Frickeg (talk) 21:29, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @Frickeg, do you have any actual evidence that the "Z" spelling is not an acceptable variation in Australian English? Sorry to be a where's-the-WP:RS pedant, but in countless CFD discussions I have seen many confident assertions of national preferences in spelling, but there is almost never any evidence offered. Please can you fill the gap, and be the one who actually provides the sources which support your claim that "Z" spelling is never an acceptable variation in Australia? Thanks. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:02, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
      • The Macquarie Dictionary, the closest thing to an authority here, says (paywalled) "Current Australian usage clearly favours consistent use of -ise". Although Macquarie does list "-ize" as a variant (perhaps "not acceptable" was an overstatement, but "very rarely used" is certainly true; Macquarie also lists practically all US spellings as variants, which doesn't mean they're generally acceptable in AusEng), I have been unable to find a single Australian style guide that allows "-ize", and you will practically never see it in Australian publications. It is clearly recognised as an Americanism, and even if there is some doubt about the common British usage, there really isn't for us. I see no reason why WP:TIES would not apply, and WP:RETAIN when we are talking multi-national categories. Frickeg (talk) 23:38, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks @Frickeg. Would you be ale to quote the rest of the entry? The actual wording is important to the application of MOS:COMMONALITY, and your paraphrasing raises a few questions for me.
As to WP:RETAIN, it is a disastrous principle to apply to any category set and esp large sets, because it produces random outcomes across category trees. That makes it hard for editors to add categories, hard for readers to type them, and massively complicates all sorts of maintenance and templating functions. That's why so many categories of all types are renamed very day per WP:C2C. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:43, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The entirety of the entry "-ise": "a suffix of verbs having the following senses: 1. intransitively, of following some line of action, practice, policy, etc., as in Atticise, apologise, economise, theorise, tyrannise, or of becoming (as indicated), as crystallise and oxidise (intr.), and 2. transitively, of acting towards or upon, treating, or affecting in a particular way, as in baptise, colonise, or of making or rendering (as indicated), as in civilise, legalise. Compare -ism, -ist. Also, -ize. [from (often directly) Greek -izein. Compare French -iser, German -isieren, etc.] Usage: -ize is the usual spelling in US English. In Britain there is some variety: some publishers standardise on -ize, but others use -ise. Attempts to distinguish -ize in words based on Greek (idolize, monopolize) from -ise in words that have come to English from or through French (realise, moralise) founder on the difficulties of knowing the precise history of many words. Current Australian usage clearly favours consistent use of -ise, a practice which has the advantage of being easy to remember." Frickeg (talk) 03:20, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Many thanks, @Frickeg. That's a clear recommendation of "ise", but not an outright deprecation of "ize". That would certainly support using "organisation" in articles ... but in category titles, which are navigational devices rather than enyclopedic content, it seems to me that MOS:COMMONALITY justifies using the non-preferred spelling. This isn't a petrol/gasoline issue, where one usage is clearly deprecated. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:10, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" - Just for fun, I did a survey of usage on Belizean news sites. Belize is a Commonwealth country, but geographically close to the U.S. I expected usage to be about even, but usage of "organization" was 34 times higher than "organisation"! I would be OK with leaving a specific exception for UK-related categories, but overall it seems like "organization" is the more internationally-prominent spelling. Kaldari (talk) 22:27, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Alternate Proposal - use z for all categories except in the country where s is the clear choice - and I'd suggest a discrete list be created of these (UK, NZ, Australia are primary). This will at least shrink the issue - where it's an either/or, or any of these geographical proximity cases, they default to z. It won't quite resolve the issue, but I think it's an improvement that will avoid most of the likely blowback from fellow s-speakers. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:46, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Nosebagbear, I'd very much prefer simple standardisation, but I think that your proposal could provide some limited improvement if this RFC agreed an actual list of which countries fall into that category. Without that definitive list, we would effectively have no change; we would still face the same CFD debates over and over again about which if any is the preferred usage in Ruritania (see e.g. the CFR debate on Organizations based in Oman). I appreciate what you are trying to achieve by changing the default, but it still risks an ongoing saga of many dozens of case-by-case debates. So I think that proposal would have more chance of meaningful assessment if there was some actual evidence for the claimed clear preference for "S" usage in NZ+Australia, and in any other country which editors want to list. As I note above, these discussions are overwhelmingly dominated by assertions rather than evidence, but the sincere indignation which often accompanies the objections is nearly always unevidenced. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:42, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z unless the content categorized is predominantly using s. That is, default to z which is acceptable in every ENGVAR, but retain s for local WP:CONSISTENCY if all or most articles in the category are non-North American and (not "or") are also using the s spellings in their content and (where applicable) titles. E.g., a "Category:Animal rights organisations in England" category should likely not move to the z spelling, but "Category:Animal rights organisations" certainly should be (and is) at Category:Animal rights organizations, for MOS:COMMONALITY reasons. The z spelling is preferred even in British academic writing (and an encyclopedia is basically academic writing), so z is a sensible default for multiple reasons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:50, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
I see several problems with that:
  1. It would lead to inconsistencies within the category tree for each country, which would be even worse than the current mess
  2. It would make category titles unstable, because as articles are created or deleted or recategorised the balance would change
  3. Assessing it would require a lot of editor time, but editor time is increasingly scarce: the ratio of articles per active editor is almost 4 time what it in 2007, and participation in CFD discussions is at ~5—15% of the levels in 2006. There is a persistent, multi-month backlog of CFD closures. However nice it might theoretically be to have such fine-grained decisions, we simply don't have the resources to sustain them.
We need a simple solution which creates stable outcomes, and where mistitled pages can be identified with the help of tools such as AWB and Petscan. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:54, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't see 1 as a real problem. There will always be inconsistencies, unless Oxford/Harvard spelling is made mandatory on Wikipedia for everything, which isn't going to happen (though it's a proposal I would support for the same reason I supported MOS:JR getting rid of the comma that some older Americans still prefer). Not concerned about 2, either. It's already a criterion (a speedy one, in fact) that category names are to align with article names, so it's already just a fact that they'll shift over time as the mainspace content changes; this is a dynamic site. But the rate of change of s/z stuff is barely detectable, anyway, so there's not really much potential for churn. I'm not sure how much editor time would be consumed, per point 3, but it's something we already do at CfD anyway, about lots of things. It only consumes the time of editors who choose to spend a lot of it at CfD, like you and I do, and we're pretty good at recognizing patterns and getting on with our !votes. If we had a rule like this, it should produce one outburst of category renaming activity, then remarkable stability after that: defaulting to z, unless there's a compelling and demonstrable reason to use s for a particular case. I'm "optimizing for the probable rather than the possible" here; there is no limit in the imagination to what could be possible, but we know from experience that most British topics, for example, are going to use the s spelling, so we can already predict how British-specific categories are going to be spelled. If we default to z for stuff with no national tie, then we can also predict how the majority of categories will be spelled, absent some overwhelming cluster of s-titled articles within one.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:41, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" - Our categorization system should not be a endless battleground for nationalistic emotions or editorial ownership, but to serve as an internal system by which we order pages. As such, having a consistent style which makes life easier (and faster) for readers and editors, and will save time wasted in category discussions, is much better goal than any variation of the current system. Also editor supporter statements above me. --Gonnym (talk) 19:51, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "zed" (or "zee" if you like) As a bit of a traditional Brit, I support Oxford spelling which prescribes -ize endings and hence avoids transatlantic conflict. Not sure on Australian / New Zealand / Indian usage though. Greenshed (talk) 20:02, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" – Though "s" may be more common in the UK, that's like 60 million people compared to 1.5 billion English speakers. Z is more global, used either primarily or as an acceptable variant in almost all if not all English-speaking countries. Standardization is a good idea for consistency, readability, searchability, and reducing the needless category renaming. Levivich 22:07, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
    • India, Australia and New Zealand all use 's' primarily, and so do most English speakers in Europe and Africa, It's not just Britain. IffyChat -- 08:23, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
      • @Iffy, do you have any actual evidence from reliable sources to support your assertion that most English speakers in Europe and Africa use 's' primarily? I don't mean some cherrypicked example, but some evidence of the claimed pattern of usage. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 09:21, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z". When I use HotCat to put articles in categories it is a nuisance to have two seperate alphabetical lists. And my copy of the Collins Paperback German Dictionary, 1988 edition, only lists Organization in the English side. It tells me that Organisation is the German spelling. Bigwig7 (talk) 12:21, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use only one, this is a direct presentation to readers, so having 2 content categories for a spelling variant isn't useful. I prefer the "z" option slightly, as there seem to be more sources with that variant. — xaosflux Talk 18:59, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Mostly use "z" - except for English-speaking countries where "s" is more common, use "z" everywhere. It's more intuitive, although this doesn't override the ENGVAR principle to use the local spelling. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 15:22, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Standardise on "z", with the exception for names involving "s". I'm normally one for letting people use whatever spelling they feel is appropriate, but this seems like a reasonable case for standardisation, and as noted, there are very few contexts in which "z" is actively wrong rather than merely not-preferred. Andrew Gray (talk) 19:07, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z", except in official names of organisations (sic). My initial idea was to use "z" for all non-specific categories and "s" for categories specific to regions that use that spelling, but it might be too hard to determine for non-English-speaking countries. We'd waste a lot of time arguing over individual countries, like Russia where usage can be quite split. -- King of ♠ 04:40, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Z per many good !votes above, starting with Phil Bridger. Jonathunder (talk) 20:33, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" When it comes to global categories like this standardization is far more important than ENGVAR. And I say that as one who has always spelled organisations with an S. Harry Boardman (talk) 13:06, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z", except when referring to a proper name. A convincing cost benefit case has be made for more uniform and predictable categories. A Google comparison of hits for the two spellings shows a 76% dominance for the Z spelling, and I came across a graph showing that Z is dominant in the UK by a 2-to-1 ratio and apparently increasing. Australians and some others may not be happy, but they surely are familiar with the predominate US/UK spelling. At least they will find that Wikipedia consistently has the "wrong" spelling, rather than having to deal with it being chaotically wrong. Alsee (talk) 14:32, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not enforce spelling. "ize" endings are not acceptable in New Zealand English, and Wikipedia is never going to be 100% consistent (unless we throw out WP:TIES and WP:ENGVAR, which is way beyond the scope of this proposal).-gadfium 03:42, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    Can you produce evidence that "ize" endings are not acceptable in New Zealand English? Rathfelder (talk) 12:48, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    I'll bet money the answer is "no". NZ doesn't have any NZ-specific style guides from a reputable publisher. NZ writers follow British style guides, like almost everyone in the rest of the Commonwealth, aside from Canada. Even Australia does (the government-published style guide is obsolete and generally ignored, and the Cambridge style guide for .au is simply the British one with some Australian vocabulary added, and Oxford doesn't make one for .au in particular, nor does any other publisher we'd care about).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:46, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style doesnt really help in this discussion. It's directed at articles, not categories. Rathfelder (talk) 12:48, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support a common-sense standardization that will free up editor time for more important things. MB 15:54, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z". I agree with OP arguments, and find opposing comments ineffective. Years back, the article Theater (Amer Eng) was moved to Theatre (Brit Eng) based on the fact that Americans sometimes spell it the British way, so MOS:COMMONALITY overrides RETAIN. The same argument is works here: Americans use only one spelling, but British use both, undermining any TIES argument. RETAIN is a fall-back position used when nothing else can reach consensus. Now, in all the many thousands of categories, I suspect there may be a very few specific exceptions that can be made, but I believe that for "Organization", COMMONALITY trumps RETAIN, and these should all use "z" to avoid the great majority of pointless future category spelling discussions, and let a new separate special discussion/RFC can started for the very few that somehow "must" use "s". --A D Monroe III(talk) 17:16, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • It's possible that in New Zealand, or some other part of the English-speaking world, "z" is regarded as incorrect, but is anyone really offended by its use? I, as a Brit, do not get offended when I read an Indian or American book in English that doesn't always use the same grammar or spelling that I use myself, but simply, if I notice it at all, treat it as part of life's rich tapestry. Surely we have more important things to concern ourselves about? Phil Bridger (talk) 17:50, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES. The category system is broken and needs replacing with a more sensible system of attributes which can be combined freely rather than being constrained into an arbitrary tree. A better system would provide for synonyms and that's a better way of handling such variation. I'd expect this to emerge as WikiData becomes more established and we can then discard the categories. Andrew D. (talk) 22:15, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" - "z" is accepted almost everywhere. When categorizing articles, it's tiresome to guess which spelling a specific category uses. Standardization to the most common spelling is the best solution. -Zanhe (talk) 23:18, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES are pretty clear in this regard. Unless we're going to go down the same route Wikidata have taken - treating US English and UK English as different languages, and therefore setting up a whole new Wikipedia project for one or other of them, then let's continue to be inclusive and stick to the existing guidelines. WaggersTALK 11:43, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use Z because category names need to be predictable and standardized to serve some of their controlled-vocabulary purposes, and thus should be considered all part of a single document for the purposes of ENGVAR. EllenCT (talk) 07:48, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm a non-native speaker and use both. I personally don't care either way, nor see the need to standardize/standardise. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 07:50, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z, in deference to the wishes of England's future monarch.[9] Thincat (talk) 08:07, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES, as cited by others, are convincing and clear. We shouldn't be forcing editors to use what are considered clear misspellings in some countries. If we were to standardise then it should be to international English but I wouldn't support that as that would be considered incorrect in the US. --AussieLegend () 10:05, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I though we had WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES precisely to prevent this kind of direspect to linguistic norms in other countries. It is "organisation" in Australian English. Kerry (talk) 10:21, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per WP:ENGVAR. Or if you really must pick one, use 's'. ;-) Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 11:20, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • "The Manual of Style (MoS or MOS) is the style manual for all English Wikipedia articles." Categories are not articles. Oculi (talk) 11:26, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Oculi: "The English Wikipedia prefers no national variety of the language over any other." I don't see a need to distinguish between categories and articles here. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 15:53, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - use "s" or "z" according to the relevant variety of English. Aoziwe (talk) 13:48, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use Z - As we are talking about categories - a Wikipedia-based navigation structure - we should simply use the spelling most often used in English as a whole. MOS:ENGVAR is an article prose guideline - it does not strictly apply to categories of Wikipedia origin. As has been pointed out, some countries use "s" predominantly, but its often inconsistent and seems to be on a decline. In fact, Google Ngrams limited to "British English" only shows a "z" dominance. The key, though, is that "z" is recognizable by almost everyone. This is a default, and exceptions may be allowed for categories with strong WP:TIES, but editors would need to demonstrate with strong evidence "S" is dominant for that category's topic area. To accomplish that, I would say we hold at least 3 sub-RFCs after this one to determine specifically the S/Z question for UK-, Australia-, and NZ-related categories - perhaps held on their respective WikiProjects. Evidence, not anecdotes must be presented. -- Netoholic @ 14:35, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES. Number 57 19:08, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use S - This is English Wikipedia and we should be using the standard spelling in England/Britain. Z is American, and since the British have colonised almost every country in the world, we should be using the Queen's English, not American English, unless the organisation in question spells its name with a Z. To use the American spelling here would be pushing for the American spelling rather than traditional British spelling. Despite their super power status, America did not colonised the world, and most English speaking countries especially in Africa use British spelling, not American spelling. E.g. colonised (and not colonized), organised (not organized), organisation (not organization), capitalised (not capitalized), etc. The English language came from England, not America. So let's use the traditional spelling in England. Failing that, let's not standardised but leave it up to individual editors.Tamsier (talk) 20:29, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose – use "s" or "z" as per relevant ties in the subject area. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 20:42, 18 April 2019 (UTC).
  • Oppose -- No change Roger 8 Roger (talk) 21:10, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- I'm not persuaded that we need a one-off micro-exception to ENGVAR just for categories. Though ENGVAR has its rough edges, it has kept relative peace for more than a decade. Keeping category names tidy doesn't seem like enough benefit. --Trovatore (talk) 21:21, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Weak support for stanardizing but don't care if it's s or z. Can we start making deals? Maybe America agrees to concede ou/o (colour) and ll/l (travelled) in exchange for s/z? Or we could hold an ENGVAR draft! :) — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:40, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written: Lets not be confrontational about something that has been pretty well settled for at least a decade, if not longer. There is little to be gained by this proposal. Can't ReDirects from one spelling to another be set up rather than, as one person above alluded to, setting up two separate language wikis? I'm American, by the way, and I cannot support, per WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES. Think about it. GenQuest "Talk to Me" 21:43, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • comment unlike a spelling like 'color', the use of '~ize' is a regional affectation. A support vote suggested it would be "fun" to do this, the enjoyment being the reaction I assume; unnecessary, overtly divisive and disruptive 'fun'. cygnis insignis 01:13, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Standerdise It was the comment above that made me think to go look. We have Category:Colour and Category:Organisations both are soft redirects to Category:Color and Category:Organizations. Pick one. What does it matter which one? CambridgeBayWeather, Uqaqtuq (talk), Sunasuttuq 02:00, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per MOS:ENGVAR. Daveosaurus (talk) 02:40, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per MOS:ENGVAR, except within regional contexts. Bermicourt (talk) 07:47, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose standardis/zation, it's incorrect to say category names are inconsistent, simply on the basis they differ from the American spelling. As per most things on Wikipedia, WP:COMMONNAME should apply. If the categories are related to countries where 's' is normally preferred to 'z', then why is "organisations" not perfectly acceptable? The important thing is the category 'tree' and being able to find the correct category as easy as possible. Sionk (talk) 10:07, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardize. It's the thin end of the wedge. Deb (talk) 15:22, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No need to standardize - ENGVAR can guide us when there is a strong national tie to the categorization... and where there is not, I see no need for over-consistency ... No one will be confused if a category using “ise” contain a sub-category using “ize” and vice-versa. Readers will still be able to navigate between related categories and articles. Blueboar (talk) 16:30, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose – We should not be giving preference to any particular variety of English. ENGVAR is a long-standing agreement, and the precedent established by overruling that here would be a bad one. – bradv🍁 16:42, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose last tim ei check this was the English language Wikipedia, not the US Spelling English language Wikipedia, or for that the English spelling English Wikipedia. As so many before have link ENGVAR says acceptable to either spelling, this action stikes me that it ahs a a lot similarities to things like Infoboxes & Templates which have already altered a person understanding of a topic. Why would we as the English language Encyclopaedia want to destroy what is a beautiful language that accept variations in all its glory, whether its an s or z it doesnt matter each have their origins in difference that make English such a wonderful language where we can use the same spelling to describe so many different things in different ways, where every place adopts words from where it is.... To stay ture to being an English language Wikipedia then our priority should be to ensure the regardless of the variants in spelling or meaning we should embrace its usage to reflect its diversity. Until there is a body like that in France which defines every french word, its usage and spelling then value our differences as they are, there enough other work around here to be done that has real benefit. Gnangarra 07:36, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Z is not American usage. Its the original British usage. MOS:ENGVAR is very unhelpful when it comes to categories, because if people use Twinkle, as many do, it creates two seperate lists of categories. Nobody is suggesting changing the spelling of the names of articles. What we have at present is a system which standardises categories withing a country, but messes it up when it comes to the other heirarchies of categories. Rathfelder (talk) 09:59, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
  • prefer Z OED recorded -ize way earlier than -ise. I don't like etymology interfere with orthography, it just wreaks havoc. -- K (T | C) 13:52, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No. Category police should not be making ise/ize decisions. Instead, categories should always reflect and defer to decisions made at the parent articles. Top level categories should always have a parent article. Categories exist to serve article navigation, little more. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:37, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Solution in search of a problem. Stifle (talk) 09:01, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
I don’t see any problem ... the Czech articles are categorized with “z” and the Slovak articles are categorized with “s”. Simple enough. different categories, different spellings. Blueboar (talk) 20:40, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose /Do not standardise - I asked for the debate to re-opened. A lot of groups use the -s spelling. There is no need to standardise, just use common sense. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 09:09, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise: while the primary usage in Britain may be up for debate, that's not the case in Australia (admittedly I don't have access to an authoritative Australian style guide, but other Australian Wikipedians seem to agree, and I've found several sources that imply "-ise" is common in Australia (e.g. It’s time to recognize and internalize the US suffix ‘ize’) and a couple of style guides (e.g. National Museum of Australia)). The nomination mentions several unresolved disputes, regarding ise v. ize in various forms of English, that affect the application of MOS:TIES; the solution is to resolve those disputes, not this attempt to impose a standard contrary to ENGVAR. EDIT: I've just noticed Frickeg has been kind enough to quote the Macquarie Dictionary, which says "Current Australian usage clearly favours consistent use of -ise". – Teratix 13:51, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Just a note, I would support a version where all categories are standardised as "z" unless they are related to a country that primarily uses "s" (MOS:COMMONALITY trumping MOS:RETAIN). – Teratix 12:56, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise Write some software so that it doesn't matter. Charlesjsharp (talk) 19:56, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Although the goal of standardisation (nudge nudge wink wink) is a noble one, as others have said, ENGVAR exists for a reason. Here are some RS to illustrate the dominance of "-ise" in Australian English:
The Conversation article quoted above by Teratix [10]: Craving the firm foundations of the establishment, Australians have standardised ise as the correct national form. Proselytising for ize is to no avail. Text editing changes ize to ise by default.
In the Australian Journal of Linguistics in 2014 [11]: The Australian English references (columns 3–6) show complete unanimity on -ise across three decades... the consistency of the Australian references contrasts with the ultimately uncommitted treatment in the British set. Further, Looking first at the Australian frequency data in columns 2 and 3 of Table 2, we see the -ise spellings well in the majority from the 1980s on, based on the uninflected forms of the three verbs; and close to or over 90% when the -ed forms are added...
In the AJL in 2010 [12]: English in Australia starts with a clear majority of <ize> and moves to an even more pronounced majority of <ise>.
I hope that goes some way to providing the evidence being requested in this discussion.
Triptothecottage (talk) 04:15, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I dont see a big problem in leaving S in the categorisations for Australia and New Zealand if it will let us standardize the rest of the world. But nobody is suggesting that any actual articles should be changed. The different spelling wastes a great deal of editors time. Rathfelder (talk) 13:26, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Once this change is made, the next suggestion will be changing the articles as well. My view is that "-ise" is used in more countries so perhaps go with that. This does seem like debating trivialities. Someone did mention developing a system that would translate between "-ise" and "-ize"? - Master Of Ninja (talk) 18:42, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardise Per WP:ENGVAR. I have to go back and forth between -ise and -ize in the work I do based on the client, and it doesn't make sense to mandate the usage of a different form of English in areas that clearly use one form or another. I would say that in the event of a conflict, -ize should win out, though. Also, thank you to the person who reopened this discussion. SportingFlyer T·C 05:33, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Our present policy builds in a conflict between consistency by country and consistency by topic. Rathfelder (talk) 11:44, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I like the idea of a Preference setting--show everything not in quotation marks in US spelling or UK spelling. How does he Chinese WP decide which form of characer to display? Isn't that a user option? DGG ( talk ) 00:46, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Is this a possibility? If the Chinese WP has this, could the feature be ported over and solve this issue? - Master Of Ninja (talk) 16:53, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
      • zhwiki uses ugly wikitext to specify alternate names that a reader might see, depending on their preferences (that link goes to zhwiki where the "Content language variant" preference can be seen). For example, "-{zh:米;zh-cn:米;zh-tw:公尺;zh-hk:米;}-" is the wikitext for the name of the m (meter/metre) unit. The feature is interesting but far too intrusive for use here. Johnuniq (talk) 23:02, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a tempest in a teapot - This discussion is using a blatantly disproportionate amount of resources compared to the scope of the dispute. It should be ended in whatever way, in the closers best judgement, kills and buries this issue in the most permanent manner possible. In particular, oppose any no consensus or wishy-washy resolution, make a decision that ends this, and stick to it. Tazerdadog (talk) 00:20, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardize per ENGVAR. My second choice would be something similar to what SMcCandlish proposes above: default to "z" unless there are significant MOS:TIES to a country where "s" is preferred. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 02:34, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I would agree on that as well, if standardization is beyond reach. Many editors in this discussion seem not to realize that this is not primarily about what to use for Australia or the United Kingdom, but most and for all what to use for China, Thailand, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Senegal, Angola etc etc Marcocapelle (talk) 07:01, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • When a blanket change is created it impacts other uses. It would be better to just change those categories rather than change a policy where it has impact it to usages that are otherwise correct. One size doesnt fit all. Gnangarra 07:29, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a pointless discussion if I ever see one. feminist (talk) 11:09, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I dont think some of these contributors do much categorization. They dont know how much editots time and effort is wasted because of the lack of standardisation. Rathfelder (talk) 07:44, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Note Votestacking. This RFC has been subjected to blatant WP:VOTESTACKING (or more precisely Votebanking) by @Number 57. In these 12 edits[13] on 17/18 April, Number 57 notified 12 WikiProjects which have clearly been selected as likely to attract editors who prefer the "S" spelling.
The votestacking has worked; it clearly did produce the desired influx of editors who support Number 57's view.
It is surprising and very disappointing to see a long-standing and experienced admin engaging in such a clear attempt to rig the discussion. Note that for example Number 57's list of counry projects notified [14] didn't even notify the two major English-speaking countries in North America, i.e. Canada and the USA — clearly because they prefer the Z spelling
I hope that Number 57 will apologise for this, and make some amends by promptly notifying every country WikiProject ... and that this RFC's clock will be reset from the date when #57 confirms that the notifications have all been made. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:49, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
Notifying the WikiProjects of countries that use the "s" spelling is a perfectly reasonable thing to do when there's a proposal to stop using their preferred spelling across the whole of Wikipedia, and it's not something I'll be apologising for. Cheers, Number 57 14:56, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
@Number 57, you know perfectly well that this is not a proposal to stop using their preferred spelling across the whole of Wikipedia, because it applies only to a limited set of categories, and not to any other pages.
As an admin for 12 years, you also know perfectly well that this sort of votebanking is a very basic form of disrupting consensus formation.
So I repeat: please promptly remedy your votestacking by posting the same message to all country pages. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:04, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I disagree with both of your assertions, and I won't be posting the message to WikiProjects of countries to which the spelling doesn't really matter. Number 57 15:08, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
@Number 57: The RFC very clearly applies only to categories, so your decision to "disagree" with that fact is a simple misrepresentation of a simple reality.
The policy on votestacking is also very clear, and it seems that you "disagree" with that too.
Since you seem unwilling to engage with these realities, I will sadly have to raise this highly disruptive misconduct elsewhere. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:14, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
It is clear canvassing. You cherry-picked the WikiProjects which would increase your POV vote tally. --qedk (t c) 06:11, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I can appreciate 57's point of view here (disclosure: I participated in this discussion after viewing one of his notices). He was notifying projects which he thought would be most affected by this proposal. Example: the United States WikiProject won't be affected by this discussion, because the US usage is "z" and all US-related categories probably already use it. In contrast, the Australia WikiProject will definitely be affected because the Australian usage is "s" and so Australia-related categories would be changed as a result of this discussion.
It is important to understand the intent here. The term votestacking implies a bad-faith intent, which was not the case.
An easy solution is to notify any projects deemed relevant that weren't alerted initially. There is no need to escalate the matter. – Teratix 08:26, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
The current usage is mixed, which is what we are seeking to standardize, if you think this is not canvassing, you should read over WP:CANVASSING again. The policies are clear and the malintent/intent is secondary to the canvassing that took place. If Number 57 will inform WikiProjects which are inclined towards 'z' usage as BHG said, that would be construed as informing, this is just blatant. --qedk (t c) 08:52, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
From Wikipedia:Canvassing: "Canvassing is notification done with the intention of influencing the outcome of a discussion in a particular way". Intent is essential for an action to constitute canvassing. 57 has outlined his reasons for not informing other countries' noticeboards. This was not done with malicious intent.
Again, a simple remedy is to notify any other projects deemed relevant. It doesn't have to be 57, anyone can do it. – Teratix 09:02, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Please read the entire page, i.e. WP:VOTESTACKING as well. Intent only matters upto the point it can be construed to be a mistake. If I wanted to change all references on Wikipedia from PRC to China and I informed only PRC-related WikiProjects, that is canvassing, my intent is irrelevant. The onus is on Number 57 to make this a non-partisan notification, not me, or anyone. --qedk (t c) 14:20, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I too appreciate 57's position, they notified those they deemed to be directly affected by this proposal. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 00:25, 9 May 2019 (UTC).
From WP:VOTESTACKING: "Votestacking is an attempt to sway consensus ...". Again, intent is central. Qedk's example of PRC and China misses the mark here; for a start there is no separate PRC WikiProject (it redirects to WikiProject China). Secondly, it makes sense when changing all references to a country to inform all WikiProjects related to a country; both WP China and the hypothetical WP PRC are involved, as articles related to them would be affected. This is not the case here. US-related (and others that use "z") categories won't be affected by this discussion, as the primary usage in the US is already "z" and thus categories will already use "z". This proposal is only looking at extending the "z" usage to other countries's related categories.
@QEDK: I never said the onus was on you to notify other projects, merely that if you felt concerned, the option was available. – Teratix 01:09, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
@Teratix, the majority of countries are not English-speaking. Some of them have a consistent usage, and some do not. Those which have been standardised on one spelling have been chosen on a range of ad-hoc bases as set out in the nomination.
Those countries will be affected by the outcome. Their WikiProjects have as much right to be notified as any other. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:50, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • If these notifications had been done in good faith, they would have been done transparently, i.e. with a disclosure here of which projects were notified and why. @Number 57 is a very experienced admin, and knows well how to ensure that the neutrality of notifications can be scrutinised. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:17, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
It is possible to assume bad faith on both sides of this proposal. For instance it could be argued that if standardisation truely is the goal, then this RFC would have been to adopt common spelling, not “only Z”, with the spelling to be determined by a separate (or a preferential) poll.
Because of the way this RFC has been worded, 57’s actions are warranted. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 06:03, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
The solution is to identify and notify any relevant WikiProjects that haven't been already. 57 notified the WikiProjects that would most obviously be affected – countries that use the "s" spelling. – Teratix 06:09, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm amazed this discussion is still active, seeing that I asked for it to be re-opened. I had no idea WP:VOTESTACKING and WP:CREEP were concepts. I actually felt that the original discussion was a potential "vote stacked" effort to push through presumed consensus, and it's nice to have had a wider discussion about this policy. I re-iterate one of the problems was that once you made the change to categories, which some claim is trivial, it would eventually migrate as a policy to most wikipedia pages. What's the ideal solution? No, idea. However as my previous vote above would suggest that there is no policy on -ise or -ize. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 08:10, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
    • @Master Of Ninja, it is utterly bizarre to suggest that the original discussion was a potential "vote stacked" effort. The proposal was made a central venue, and listed[15] at WP:CENT.
Please either identify in what way WP:VOTESTACKING was "potentially" breached, or withdraw that allegation. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:09, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
      • @BrownHairedGirl - I think what I had written was perceived in a way that I did not intend, and I am not making any allegations at all. As I mentioned I am not familiar with WP:VOTESTACKING apart from having went through the link, and the accusations made against another editor on the above thread. My feeling that such a change did not go to a wide enough forum, seeing that after re-opening the discussion there has been much more activity on this thread. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 10:50, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment- I was going to close this mess, but after a few hours of sifting through the discussion, and poring over the policy, I just decided that I didn't want to close this. I think it's fair to say I am fairly well-versed in category, naming convention, and cavassing policies on Wikipedia. But after I started to write up what was turning into a lengthy close, and with my sincere apologies, I just was having a hard time bringing myself to care enough to continue on, so I decided that I'd rather let someone else step in and close this if they want. Here are a few things I found, in case it should help whoever closes this: a.) To start with, clearly there was inappropriate canvassing done. The Wikiprojects notified were all regional ones. And were clearly a small subset of all regions potentially affected by this discussion (the whole English-speaking world). And what about Wikipedia:WikiProject Linguistics? Please see WP:CANVASS for more information on how to appropriately canvass. b.) Much of the discussion is subjective "I prefer z" or "I prefer s", rather than policy references or reliable sources. After sifting through policy (like ENGVAR and COMMONALITY), it seems that this is what is apparently being relied on, for referenced usage, in policy. As forWP:RETAIN,it would seem to not apply to this discussion because, as it states: "When an English variety's consistent usage has been established in an article, maintain it in the absence of consensus to the contrary." - This discussion is about a page's name, not the contents of the "body" of it. And finally, International Organization for Standardization - this page's title struck me funny in light of this discussion. Happy editing : ) - jc37 09:05, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
  • It is not true that all English-speaking nations will be affected by this discussion. For example: United States-related categories will use the "z" spelling no matter the outcome of this discussion. This is true of all countries using "z". – Teratix 07:00, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    One of the options was "S". Levivich 03:03, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
I suppose that's technically true, but I count one serious !vote in support which boils down to "English Wikipedia should be in British English only." No basis in policy (indeed, outright contradicting ENGVAR), not addressed in the nomination and no chance of passing this discussion. A non-issue. – Teratix 06:45, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
  • @jc37 - this is why the whole rushed proposal was an utterly bad idea. You can see how much debate can be had on this, and I don't believe it's Wikipedia's role to standardise [;-)] English. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:53, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise this is not the American Wikipedia, it is a project for all English speakers. This is why not every article is written in US English. ENGVAR is very clear on this, and many countries use the s, and they should be allowed to continue to do so. Joseph2302 (talk) 10:58, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
  • The idea that spelling with a z is American usage is a very widespread delusion. Please read American and British English spelling differences. Rathfelder (talk) 09:55, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

RfC: community general sanctions and deletionsEdit

I propose adding the following text to Wikipedia:General sanctions#Community sanctions:

Administrators can bypass deletion discussion and immediately delete Wikipedia pages or media that are within scope of a community general sanction only when the pages or media meet the requirements for speedy deletion. Administrators cannot delete pages or media within the scope of a community general sanction without a deletion discussion unless the pages or media fall under the criteria for speedy deletion. Such deletions are ordinary speedy deletions so have no special restrictions on reversibility and can be appealed at deletion review. Page-level sanctions refer to limitations on the ability to edit pages, or to edit pages in a particular manner, not to deleting pages.

The first sentence was stricken by Cunard (talk) at 00:00, 29 April 2019 (UTC) and replaced after a suggestion by Wugapodes:

This borrows from the lead sentence of Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion.

Background: Universa Blockchain Protocol was deleted with the rationale "Covert advertising. Page-level sanction under WP:GS/Crypto". At Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2018 July 9#Universa Blockchain Protocol, the community was divided over whether community general sanctions permitted the deletion of pages within the scope of the sanction. The DRV closer wrote, "The community discussion needed to resolve the apparent policy conflict instead needs to happen in a wider venue, such as in a policy RfC, and any who are interested in this issue are invited to initiate such a discussion."

The current community general sanctions are:

  1. Wikipedia:General sanctions/South Asian social groups
  2. Wikipedia:General sanctions/Syrian Civil War and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
  3. Wikipedia:General sanctions/Units in the United Kingdom
  4. Wikipedia:General sanctions/Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
  5. Wikipedia:General sanctions/Professional wrestling
  6. Wikipedia:General sanctions/India–Pakistan conflict

The outcome of the RfC will apply to all community general sanctions. This RfC will not apply to Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions, which can be directly modified by only arbitrators who discussed whether deletions should be permitted under discretionary sanctions and did not reach a conclusion or indirectly narrowed in scope by the community through an amendment of Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy.

Related previous discussions:

  1. Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2018 July 9#Universa Blockchain Protocol
  2. Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion/Archive 71#Discussion of speedy deletion under WP:GS/Crypto at Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2018 July 9#Universa Blockchain Protocol
  3. Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive300#Cryptocurrency general sanctions and Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2018 July 9#Universa Blockchain Protocol
  4. Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Proposed RfC on community general sanctions and deletions

Cunard (talk) 09:00, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

  • Please also see Abecedare's proposed rewording of the first two sentences below Administrators cannot delete pages or media within the scope of a community general sanction without following the regular deletion process. Such deletions have no special restrictions on reversibility and can be appealed at deletion review. I strongly support this wording over the current wording but have not changed it at this late stage of the RfC, especially since it's already been changed once. Cunard (talk) 06:25, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  • There is a parallel discussion at #Petition to amend the arbitration policy: discretionary sanctions and deletions that should not be confused with this one about community general sanctions. Cunard (talk) 09:23, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Regarding "Pages cannot be deleted by administrators under community general sanctions", I received feedback about an earlier proposal to disallow deletions under community general sanctions here: "There is a longstanding consensus that pages created in violation of topic bans are eligible for speedy deletion under WP:CSD#G5. If the topic ban was imposed under a community sanction then that could be interpreted as the sanction authorising page deletions."

    I think your proposed wording is fine as long as it allows those WP:CSD#G5 deletions. Feel free to propose this wording as an alternative proposal in this RfC. I would support the proposal.

    Cunard (talk) 09:50, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

  • Support as appeal should be available via deletion review. Invoking the special clause of "community sanction" should not protect actions from review and possible reversal if the community desires that. G11 and G5 can certainly still be used under the proposed wording. WP:IAR deletes are still possible, but they should be explainable and contestable. Community general sanctions should not in itself be a reason for a IAR delete. The sample delete should just have used the G11 reason to delete and not invoked the sanctions though. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 09:58, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Also supporting amended text as it is more compact, clearer and still conveys the same meaning. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:15, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support sanctions are supposed to apply to editors, not content. You couldn't use community sanctions to order that a paragraph must be removed from an article, so you can't use community sanctions to order that the article as a whole must be removed. And yes they should not be used as a way to shut down community review either. Hut 8.5 10:02, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support There is no reason to speedy delete a page outside of the provisions of the speedy deletion criteria under any circumstances. Thryduulf (talk) 10:44, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • What Godric and Iffy said, only more so. The intent is good; the wording awful. It bloats into 76 words - and even Iffy's version is 19 - something that should be stated in roughly 1, with "deletion" added to the other exceptions to the ways generic sanctions are identical to discretionary. —Cryptic 10:47, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I'm on board with the general sentiment, but this the wording is excessively complicated. Why not just change WP:G5? Replace

    This applies to pages created by banned or blocked users in violation of their ban or block

    with

    This applies to pages created in violation of bans, blocks, or community sanctions

and leave it at that? If you still feel the need, maybe add a pointer to G5 to the Community Sanctions text. -- RoySmith (talk) 11:42, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

  • That doesn't make it clear that general sanctions don't authorise admins to delete pages outside the speedy deletion criteria, which is the main point of the proposal. Hut 8.5 12:28, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • RoySmith, what kind of "Community Sanction" that is not some kind of "ban", do you think should authorize a speedy deletion? I can't see any. I can't imagine any good reason to loosely connect a sanction to CSD and thus enable non-objection speedy deletions by loophole. G5 appears already perfectly well written to enable speedy deletion of pages created by a user who was banned from creating such pages, if anything G5 errs in over-explaining. What is it about G5 that you think is not good enough? Do you want G5 to be retrospective? Do you want G5 to be non-objective? Do you want G5 to be sometimes unreviewable at DRV? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:34, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support, exactly per Thryduulf.—S Marshall T/C 13:43, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • (Subsequently) I also support Wugapodes' slightly reworded version. Either wording works for me.—S Marshall T/C 16:32, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - also I am on board with the general sentiment, but the remark .."the community was divided over whether community general sanctions permitted the deletion of pages within the scope of the sanction" reflects my sentiment. I am not sure whether the community at large actually feels that sanctions do not allow deletions. To me '.. or any other reasonable measure that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project' can mean that an administrator can believe that a 'reasonable measure' is a deletion of the page in question (as it may be to revert the addition or removal of material - this is the ultimate 'removal of material' which we do allow). Encoding this in this way as described in this RfC would mean that we generate a conflict out of an unclear situation where an administrator cannot apply the measure that they believe proportionate on pages which are (often) created in violation of our m:Terms of use/WP:NOT. I agree that there may be other reasons to delete it (G5/G11), but if an administrator thinks it needs to be deleted with rationale of a sanction, then any possible undelete discussion belongs with the sanction. (and I see no problem with having deletion review possible under the general sanctions). --Dirk Beetstra T C 13:52, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support – Thryduulf nails it. "Reasonable measures" should not include deleting a page. If it doesn't fall under a CSD, it should go through XfD. All deletions should be reviewable at DRV. (I also agree with Iffy's proposed language above.) Levivich 15:11, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I also support the new wording. Levivich 18:28, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I also support Abecedare's wording. And they said crowdsourced editing would never work... Levivich 03:02, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support mostly by Thryduulf although in the spirit of WP:IAR, I would caution that it's impossible to predict whether there might be future situations where immediate deletion is required without it being codified at WP:CSD. So there might also be cases where GS require immediate removal of a page, ideally followed by discussion. But in almost all other cases, deletion should follow the established policies, so it makes sense, to amend the policy as proposed. Regards SoWhy 15:58, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
The question is not whether deletion would never be necessary in an emergency--there are times it will, and they will fall within oversight. The question is whether it will ever be necessary as a enforcement of a community sanction. The purpose of doing something as a sanction is to prevent another admin from restoring it, and any time such prevention is necessary the oversighters will do it under their established procedures. There is no reason for any other admin to. DGG ( talk ) 16:58, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - per SoWhy, who has the cleanest summary of how these cases should be handled. Tazerdadog (talk) 18:59, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
    Abecedare's wording is the best, but support all wordings. Tazerdadog (talk) 01:42, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • SupportOppose [tentative] -- I have read the original statement four or five times and I still can'tcould not tell what it means. It appears that the current guidelines are either unclear, ambiguous or contradictory. Rather than add more language that might add even more confusion, I suggest we clarify the existing guidelines, and re-write them in clearer English that does not require years of experience on Wikipedia to comprehend. (See my question below.) --David Tornheim (talk) 19:34, 28 April 2019 (UTC) [revised 13:53, 29 April 2019 (UTC)]
Thanks for the revised statement that is much clearer, and thanks for the extensive explanation added below at my request. The first sentence is clear. I agree with those who support this RfC that we should not allow community sanctions to make it easy to delete articles.
I am still somewhat uncomfortable with adding so much text to the guidelines--the last two sentences may not be necessary (if sufficiently covered by speedy deletion). However, I do understand the purpose of this RfC is to avoid any uncertainty about the more recent issue. Perhaps, rather than add those two sentences into the guideline (making it more difficult for inexperienced editors to read), we simply make it more like a court case judgment of the RfC and refer to this RfC for more information (like providing an Annotation#Law). After this RfC is over--settling the recent issue--I may support some tweaking of the language to make it as simple as possible. Either way, this is a vast improvement. Thanks for all the recent work. Therefore, changing my iVote to support. --David Tornheim (talk) 13:53, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Though like David I was very confused by the current wording. @Cunard: what do you think of rewording the first sentence to:

    Administrators may not delete pages or media within the scope of a community general sanction without a deletion discussion unless the page or media falls under the criteria for speedy deletion.

    I think what confused me is that I thought I was reading about what Administrators may do under community sanctions when I was instead reading about what they cannot do. I think this wording makes that clear earlier on in the paragraph. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 23:34, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The new wording is much better writing, same intent, easier to read and understand. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:07, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm happy to support either the new wording or the old. Thryduulf (talk) 07:16, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the new wording and thanks to Cunard for adopting it. I changed my iVote to support based on it. --David Tornheim (talk) 13:57, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm on board with the general sentiment as well, but I don't have any problems with deletions under AE. They should be very rare. I'd personally like to see some sort of policy where in the case of a contentious deletion a reviewing admin can submit the deletion to deletion review. SportingFlyer T·C 07:08, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I'm trying to come up with an example where this would be useful and drawing a blank. Help? Hobit (talk) 22:58, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
      • @Hobit: I don't think that is the point. The cases are probably/likely rare where an editor is in strong conflict with one of these sanctions, and where deletion (in case of the crypto-sanction) cannot be deleted as being in violation of an already placed ban, or that the article is plain advertising (i.e., a regular speedy). We may indeed hardly ever / never use it, but shutting it down may result in material that needs a lengthy process to delete (if the speedy don't apply).  We would revert content, and I see here a deletion as a 'revert to nothing'. So it would be appropriate to blank the article under a sanction if an editor created the article? --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:27, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support, as a participant of the original discussion at Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2018 July 9#Universa Blockchain Protocol. To me, the whole wording of WP:GS/Crypto (before the “additionally” item covering the pages explicitly, and as an exception from the other sanctions) is to give the administrators a better tool against *editors* harmful for Wikipedia, not against the *pages*; thus an attempt to expand the “or any other measures” from “virtually everything applied to the harmful editor” to “virtually everything” seems far-fetched. Honeyman (talk) 18:20, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support, G5 already authorizes deletion of pages created in violation of specific sanctions, but simply falling under general sanctions isn't a license to delete whatever one may want. Seraphimblade Talk to me 22:41, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong support new wording is a lot clearer and gets to where I think we should be. Hobit (talk) 22:58, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I will note that Abecedare's comment below is important and we still need a bit of tweaking. But the idea is there and clear now. Hobit (talk) 23:02, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support (the revised version). Sometimes it takes a new-ish kind of dispute, like abuse of WP by blockchain spammers, for us to notice a hole in our policies. Such holes need to be patched despite not resulting in a problem in 2005 or 2010 or whenever. Now that this one's been identified, publicly, it's just a matter of time before it's exploited (with the best of intentions of course).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:24, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Most of the support for this idea seems to be based on the ideas that (1) deletions can be handled at XfD and (2) they can be reviewed at DRV and that there is nothing wrong with these processes. But community sanctions are authorised where community processes for resolving disputes have already broken down and are already ineffective. If noticeboard discussions about editor behaviour cannot be resolved because of deep divisions in the community, why should discussions about article deletion be any different? Even the deletion that kicked this whole thing off demonstrates this; if you filter out the procedural arguments, the remainder boils down to one side in favour of gun control who think the material should remain and another side in favour of the right to bear arms who think it should be deleted (though both sides will, of course, think that only one half of that characterisation is accurate). How will DRV effectively resolve this dispute? GoldenRing (talk) 09:48, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I think you very much misread the source of the objection. It is that deletion policy is clear cut, as it should be, because it marks the boundary between ordinary editors controlling content and administrators being in control, and your out-of-process deletion was an insult to the respect afforded to deletion policy. Questions of deletion policy and practice have been reviewed and resolved at DRV, with all the community welcome to participate, since the early days of the project. Without claiming DRV is “perfect”, I do declare that it has worked perfectly well for most of the age of Wikipedia. Deletion of an old page directed to improving content pages was most certainly not an action suitable for solving a behavioural issue. How will DRV solve this? Solve what? The scope of DRV is to review deletions and deletion processes. In your case, DRV rapidly found consensus that you misread the the meaning and intent of WP:POLEMIC, on top of the most obvious observation that WP:POLEMIC is not one of the many WP:CSD criteria. The dispute was about your use of the delete button. The dispute about WP:DUE aspects of current coverage of gun control is not a dispute to be solved by a single admin deleting userspace material directed at addressing content.
      The rest of the objection lies with a rejection of the notion that ArbCom gets to vote in a massive power expansion of ArbCom delegated powers, powers for AE admins to ignore deletion policy, and to be unreviewable except by ArbCom procedures. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:21, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
    • How did the DS deletion of the firearms article resolve any dispute? Also, what harm would have come if it had been taken to MfD? What harm resulted from the DRV of that deletion? The DRV actually resolved faster and with less drama than the AE thread (still open). Which kind of directly disproves the notion that a GS deletion is needed to resolve disputes when community processes break down. AFAIK, there are zero examples of a DS/GS deletion working better than a DELPOL deletion, and at least one good example (the firearms page) of the exact opposite happening. Levivich 03:36, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose This change is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Has there been an issue with admins deleting pages under sanctions? Is this being abused in some way? I don't think so. Red Rock Canyon (talk) 10:12, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
  • This is an actual problem. Admins have deleted pages citing these sanctions as justification, and there have been disputes about the validity of these deletions, in part because consensus on the subject isn't clear. See here for an example. Hut 8.5 21:06, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per Thryduulf. feminist (talk) 10:17, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
    • Support Abecedare's proposed wording. feminist (talk) 08:48, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support the intention. Oppose the currently proposed wording, as being too awkward (even with the mid-RfC revision). Support the better wording provided by Abecedare in the Discussion section below. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:43, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Abecedare's wording (first choice) or Cunard's 29 April modified language (second choice). Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 21:29, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Seems like a solution in search of a problem. I have been following these several discussions, and I don't know that anyone has raised the case that there are enough of these that happen to warrant a policy statement on it. Also, the singular case that raised the issue has, not yet, been recreated by anyone, even those untainted by the original case. Surely, if the deletion was made in error, that would mean that someone would be able to create a decent, clean, and well-referenced article. Or at least a draft. we shouldn't create policy to deal with exceedingly rare situations, especially ones where it does not appear that the wrong thing was done. --Jayron32 23:03, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support with the suggested adjustment below, Administrators cannot delete pages or media within the scope of a community general sanction without following the regular deletion process. Such deletions have no special restrictions on reversibility and can be appealed at deletion review. The original/revised language does not mention PROD, which is part of the deletion policy. --K.e.coffman (talk) 01:58, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Unless it qualifies for speedy, circumvention of deletion process should not be allowed. Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:09, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've never used or enforced community sanctions, but this strikes me as WP:CREEP. Changing policy because of one ill-advised AE deletion is excessive. If these things happen regularly, something like this could be considered. Sandstein 17:05, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
  • This proposed policy change is not because of an "ill-advised AE deletion" but because of a series of community general sanctions here. It is because of your DRV close at Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2018 July 9#Universa Blockchain Protocol recommending the creation of an RfC that we are here now. The AE policy change to bar deletions under the Arbitration Committee's discretionary sanctions will be in a separate petition/RfC from this RfC.

    Cunard (talk) 05:27, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Support: Best wording proposed is that from Abecedare, the revised Cunard language is also a significant improvement on the original proposal, though the issue of PROD makes Abecedare's version best. Neither community GS nor AE should be used for deletions except in line with the deletion policy. EdChem (talk) 08:49, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. A reasonable proposal that fixes important issues with existing policy. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 15:38, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as currently proposed. This wording immunizes all articles in the topic area from PROD as well as any future deletion processes the community might see fit to establish. T. Canens (talk) 00:26, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose in part per T. Canens, and this does seem to be a creeping of policy. The current wording is certainly problematic, but I don't see the widespread problem it would serve even if worded more concisely. Dennis Brown - 01:38, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support I generally support this, with two reservations. First, per the discussion below, this shouldn't be interpreted as effecting WP:PROD, and even as worded, I think reasonable editors/admins wouldn't see a problem with an unopposed prod deleting an article subject to community sanctions. Second, the community is of course free to provide deletion as a sanction for a specific case/area following discussion, and this change would only clarify that it is not available by default when the community authorizes general sanctions. Monty845 04:18, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per Thryduulf and Levivich, under any of the proposed wordings. —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw)  09:16, 07 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per Thryduulf. Our deletion policy is very carefully considered and well developed; there is no reason for any other policy to override it or introduce conflicting provisions. It appears that any of the deletions done under the auspices of general sanctions were likely valid deletions under existing speedy criteria anyway, so there was no reason to cite general sanctions as a rationale and cause confusion about what to do next. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 15:07, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Jayron32 and TCanens. Lets not cut off our nose to spite our face. --Cameron11598 (Talk) 13:18, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. Community sanctions should not be used as an end-run around deletion process. Stifle (talk) 11:05, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per Thryduulf and Ivanvector. the wub "?!" 19:49, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support (via FRS) - This language is significantly clear and can avoid future problems. StudiesWorld (talk) 09:34, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

DiscussionEdit

  • @Cunard: - could I clarify that this is only relevant towards "can it be deleted by admins right here" - it doesn't state anything as to AfD justifications etc. I'm primarily concerned because there's an ongoing discussion about whether a PAIDCOI violation could be an AfD justification to delete - and I wouldn't want this to interfere with that. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:55, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Correct. This RfC applies to only speedy deletions done under the authority of community general sanctions. It makes no statement about AfD justifications. Cunard (talk) 21:32, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Question What effect will this have if it is passed other than to add the language proposed above? Will it make it easier or harder to delete pages? What is the existing guideline with regard to deletion that this new language is meant to change, clarify, comment upon, expand upon, etc.? I am not familiar with the dispute that caused this WP:RfC or what it is about the original guidelines are that are allegedly ambiguous and/or contradictory. --David Tornheim (talk) 19:13, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • It's arisen because an admin speedily deleted a page that wasn't within criteria for speedy deletion. He cited arbitration enforcement ("AE") as his grounds. There was an interesting discussion, and that particular deletion was reversed on several grounds. But there was doubt about whether, in other circumstances, it could have been permissible; and if so, where such a deletion could be appealed. Arbcom discussed this at length. On some of the points, Arbcom basically decided not to decide. On others it reached decisions that I would see as subobtimal. My friend Cunard's RFC is intended to clarify.—S Marshall T/C 21:03, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • David Tornheim (talk · contribs), the effect this will have is that pages like Universa Blockchain Protocol (and the other pages SmokeyJoe listed here as having been deleted under general sanctions) can no longer be deleted for reasons like "Page-level sanction under WP:GS/Crypto". They can continue to be deleted under existing speedy deletion criteria like "G11. Unambiguous advertising or promotion".

    This matters because the speedy deletion criteria specify a narrow set of circumstances under which admins may delete pages without community discussion. On the other hand, deletions under general sanctions are too broad: Admins have the power to delete without discussion any page that falls within the scope of a general sanction like WP:GS/Crypto. A second reason this matters is that as DGG noted, "The purpose of doing something as a sanction is to prevent another admin from restoring it, and any time such prevention is necessary the oversighters will do it under their established procedures. There is no reason for any other admin to."

    Another reason this matters is that the closing admin of Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2018 July 9#Universa Blockchain Protocol wrote here:

    Normally a no consensus outcome of a speedy deletion's review would indeed have resulted in overturning the deletion. But this procedural direction (strangely, DRV itself doesn't seem to be policy?) assumes that all agree that normal deletion policy applies. Here, however, the very applicability of deletion policy (including DRV) is contested. As a result, I believe that we'd have needed at a minimum positive consensus to overturn an admin action under these circumstances, to take into account the concerns that we might be overturning a specially protected kind of sanction. As it is, I think a broader discussion will be needed to resolve this matter.

    This RfC states that normal deletion policy applies to pages within the scope of general sanctions and deletions can be appealed at deletion review.

    What is the existing guideline with regard to deletion that this new language is meant to change, clarify, comment upon, expand upon, etc.? – this RfC is meant to resolve the policy conflict between the policy Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion and whether pages can be deleted without discussion under general sanctions. Currently, Wikipedia:General sanctions/Blockchain and cryptocurrencies#Remedies says:

    Additionally, any uninvolved administrator may impose on any page or set of pages relating to the area of conflict page protection, revert restrictions, prohibitions on the addition or removal of certain content (except when consensus for the edit exists), or any other reasonable measure that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project.

    Does "any other reasonable measure that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project" include deletion without discussion of pages that do not meet the criteria for speedy deletion? This RfC says no.

    The RfC's language borrows from the lead of Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion, which says:

    The criteria for speedy deletion (CSD) specify the only cases in which administrators have broad consensus to bypass deletion discussion, at their discretion, and immediately delete Wikipedia pages or media. They cover only the cases specified in the rules here.

    The RfC's wording does not say "Community general sanctions do not authorise speedy deletions" because that could be interpreted as barring this G5. Creations by banned or blocked users deletion from happening: (1) An admin under the authority of WP:GS/Crypto issues a topic ban against an editor from creating or editing cryptocurrency pages, (2) An editor creates a cryptocurrency page in violation of the topic ban, and (3) The admin can block the editor violating the topic ban but it is unclear whether the admin can delete the page under G5. The current wording of the RfC clearly allows that G5 deletion to happen.

    Cunard (talk) 21:32, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

Thanks to you and the others for the clarification. I don't have time to read it and digest it immediately, but as soon as I am back on Wikipedia, I'll take a thorough look and possibly change my iVote above. I hope these explanations are helpful to other editors as well. Thanks again to all for taking the time to explain. --David Tornheim (talk) 22:01, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for asking for clarification to give me the opportunity to provide more context about why I am proposing this change. Cunard (talk) 22:16, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment on draft language: The current language is inadvertently prohibiting Prod-deletion of any article in the community-sanctioned subject area. This can be remedied by, for example, simplifying the first two sentences to Administrators cannot delete pages or media within the scope of a community general sanction without following the regular deletion process. Such deletions have no special restrictions on reversibility and can be appealed at deletion review. Abecedare (talk) 19:05, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Abecedare (talk · contribs) and Metropolitan90 (talk · contribs), I strongly support Abecedare's proposed language over the current language since I do not intend to bar those articles from being deleted through proposed deletions. I do not think I can change the proposed wording at this late stage of the RfC though, especially since it's already been changed once. Cunard (talk) 05:27, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    • I understand the conundrum. I am pretty confident that none of the participants intend the proposal to prohibit PRODing of articles in DS area but, unfortunately, once a statement is added to wikipedia's P&Gs it tends to be interpreted quite literally. So I am not sure whether re-starting the RFC; changing the proposed-language and pinging the editors who have already !voted; or something else would be the best way forward. Perhaps the RFC close can explicitly note the intended interpretation? Am open to suggestions. Abecedare (talk) 05:42, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
      • If there is a consensus that pages cannot be deleted with a rationale like "Page-level sanction under community general sanctions", I think the RfC close can explicitly note the intention not to bar proposed deletions of articles within community general sanctions. This would allow the wording to be modified to what you have proposed. If necessary, we can run a second RfC to amend Wikipedia:General sanctions#Community sanctions to use the better language that you have proposed.

        Cunard (talk) 06:25, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Agree with Abecedare above. The current language does not correspond with what I expect the proposer intended, and instead protects all articles in the relevant subject areas from proposed deletion. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 01:19, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
  • The PROD concern is an irrelevant distraction. The language should be fixed to remove the perceived problem, but no sanction would even require the PROD of an article that I can imagine. PROD is only for mainspace, and the PROD is removable by anyone for any reason. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:47, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree that Abecedare's proposed wording is much simpler and much clearer. It can still be substituted, since it's just a clearer way of achieving the same result. DGG ( talk ) 16:59, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Deletion is not a sanctions enforcement toolEdit

Same as Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#KISS. Deletion is not a sanctions enforcement tool, see below.

--SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:11, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

Deletion as a result of an enforcementEdit

(this is now in so many places, but here we go):

  • an editor is clearly being informed that certain content is not to be added. They have been reverted on articles where they inserted that information.
  • as a result of that, the editor is creating an article with said content.
  • Albeit rare, there may be cases where that material cannot be deleted as promotional material or any other criterion fit for any of our speedy deletion criteria. 'Reverting' this material would basically mean: 'blank the article', as all these constructions that we are here trying to generate are plainly saying: you cannot use deletion as an enforcement tool, only revert their material. Your only option is hence to bring the material to AfD and leave it there for 7 days.

This is a rare scenario, but not completely unthinkable. In any case this is an IAR, whether you codify it down as 'never use deletion under a sanction' or not. Yes, there should be some form of 'deletion review' possible, and I encourage to have such a possibility mentioned (I would suggest a regular deletion review which gets properly advertised at AE and similar. --Dirk Beetstra T C 07:01, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

Petition to amend the arbitration policy: discretionary sanctions and deletionsEdit

The arbitration policy's section on "Ratification and amendment" says, "Proposed amendments may be submitted for ratification only after being approved by a majority vote of the Committee, or having been requested by a petition signed by at least one hundred editors in good standing."

This is the petition part of the amendment process. The ratification process may be started if and when the petition is signed by at least one hundred editors in good standing.

The first paragraph of the "Policy and precedent" section of the arbitration policy is amended to add the following underlined text:
The arbitration process is not a vehicle for creating new policy by fiat. The Committee's decisions may interpret existing policy and guidelines, recognise and call attention to standards of user conduct, or create procedures through which policy and guidelines may be enforced. The Committee does not rule on content, but may propose means by which community resolution of a content dispute can be facilitated. The Committee's discretionary sanctions must not authorise the deletion, undeletion, moving, blanking, or redirection of pages in any namespace.

See the "Rationale by Cunard" subsection for further background and this AN discussion for discussion about the drafting of this petition.

There is a parallel discussion at #RfC: community general sanctions and deletions that should not be confused with this one about the Arbitration Committee's discretionary sanctions.

Cunard (talk) 07:28, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

PetitionersEdit

  1. Cunard (talk) 07:28, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  2. Support, although it’s only the deletion part that really matters. Anticipating objections of CREEP, this is required to limit the creep of discretionary sanctions subverting deletion policy, and crossing from behavioural remedies to over-blunt remedies. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:37, 5 May 2019 (UTC). Actually, I think I oppose limits on blanking user pages for reasons relating to discretionary sanctions. The blanking of an inappropriate userpage is often the best simplest quietest and least confrontational way to dealing with some perceived problems, especially if done in the userspace of a blocked user for example. Deletion is censorship, blanking is tidying. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:42, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  3. Phil Bridger (talk) 07:45, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  4. I agree with the sentiment, but would suggest a different implementation. The approach described can easily be avoided by ArbCom developing an alternative procedure at a different page. ARBPOL (bizarrely) allows ArbCom complete discretion over its procedures and the community no mechanism to challenge them even if the procedures create policy or are otherwise inconsistent with ARBPOL. The issue here is (a) whether ArbCom does (or should) have deletion authority, and, if so, (b) whether they should be able to delegate it. My view is that (a) they currently don't, so the recent deletion is invalid and should be reverted based on the DRV, and (b) they should have such authority (Rob has offered a couple of reasonable reasons why) but should only be able to exercise it themselves but not delegate it to AE or any other process. Any deletion undertaken during DS / AE procedures should be an ordinary deletion subject to ordinary procedures. If ArbCom deletes a page for private reasons with majority support, I see little reason to question whether the page needs to go. I am willing to accept that if there is a reason to question the action, one of the Arbitrators will raise it, as such deletions can be expected to be very rare. EdChem (talk) 08:23, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  5. It is a well established principle that ArbCom is supposed to deal with conduct and not content. Deleting a page is a content decision, just as removing a paragraph from a page would be. ArbCom can sanction people who add content but they aren't supposed to be ruling on what the encyclopedia does and does not say. The same goes for ArbCom-authorised discretionary sanctions. Hut 8.5 09:25, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  6. Support, without objection to tweaking the wording, e.g. to permit ArbCom to delete its own pages, since they already have all authority over those anyway (this codicil is to address Nosebagbear's semi-oppose below). It could also be tweaked to permit undeletion as a response to "badmin" deletion actions addressed as patterns of tool abuse, without regard to the specific content (i.e., a behavior-addressing not content-determinative decision); but I can't easily think of a way to say that concisely. I have to disagree vehemently with EdChem that ArbCom should otherwise have (thus be able to delegate) any kind of content deletion authority, because ArbCom is completely barred both from content decisions, and from invention of policy, which includes new deletion criteria or procedures. Agree that the deletion that sparked this was invalid and must be reverted (even if re-imposed by proper community process later, which is hardly certain). I also don't buy the idea that blanking or redirection are any different from deletion for these purposes. Page moving is also a content matter (either a titling dispute, or a dispute about whether particular content suits a particular namspace), so nix on that, too.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:05, 5 May 2019 (UTC); rev'd 11:24, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  7. Tazerdadog (talk) 11:33, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  8. pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 15:45, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  9. S and echo SMcCandlish but adding a few of my own thoughts: (a) that simplicity without ambiguity is desirable; therefore, I support Galobtter's wording: "The Committee has the power to delete pages, but may not delegate that power to individual admins" and (b) I am of the mind that ArbCom may be over-delegating its authority in areas where it's needed most - decisions the community entrusted to them as a body corporate to avoid individual admins making discretionary decisions involving actions that are riddled with ambiguities and/or potential biases, perceived or otherwise. Atsme Talk 📧 15:49, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  10. Support. In response to some of the objections below, note that this would not prevent an admin from deleting under existing CSD, nor would it prevent ArbCom from directly deleting a page or pages itself via motion. It only places its restriction on discretionary sanctions, keeping them from becoming something admins can invoke when deleting pages in order to make them difficult or impossible to contest via existing deletion mechanisms. --Aquillion (talk) 16:07, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Aquillion: that is the intent but the wording is ambiguous. See also Nosebagbear's comments. Thryduulf (talk) 16:45, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  11. Arbcom needs to respect its boundaries.—S Marshall T/C 16:09, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  12. Support. The "oppose" perspective reminds me of the people who argued in 1791 that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary in the U.S. because a democracy would respect the people's rights and the judiciary would uphold them based on traditional procedures. Which was, at best, naive. The 'Arbitration Committee' is rapidly consolidating institutional power with unreasonable grasping like the arbitrary declaration that all of the politics in the U.S. since 1933 is one topic area subject to one of its decisions to resolve a 'dispute'. You can't chain it down fast enough but you should try. Wnt (talk) 18:55, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Wnt: I agree with the intent of this proposal and agree that something is needed but I disagree that this proposal will achieve that aim. I believe Nosebagbear, SmokeyJoe and possibly others also think this way. Thryduulf (talk) 20:06, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    Most definitely - much of the unhappiness arose when ARBCOM couldn't agree to limit DS' authority on the area. The ambiguities in this (particularly ARBCOM's authority) either have to be settled by us or by ARBCOM, and I'd rather avoid the unhappiness that might come from them having to rule on the limits of their own authority. Nosebagbear (talk)
    @Thryduulf and Nosebagbear: The alternate proposal I saw at [16] seems like this with major loopholes added, and I don't see why they would be needed. Regular admins seem to be capable enough of deleting material in sensitive cases as it is, and we have regular processes for anything else. Arbcom's remit is supposed to be arbitration -- settling irreconciliable disputes between limited groups of editors, probably by banning somebody/everybody involved. The fact that someone was topic-banned or banned by Arbcom ought to provide enough guidance to suggest what to do with dubious articles linked to the controversy. And the fact is, even the brightest of bright lines -- like that paid editors aren't supposed to directly edit articles -- seem to get blurred near the point of uselessness around here. I think that collection of ifs and buts I see in your draft will fly apart like a house trailer in an EF5 once it comes to a significant political disagreement. Wnt (talk) 20:45, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    I believe an amendment will have to state whether ARBCOM has the authority itself, or not. Individuals seem split as to that. I believe it is a necessary covering aspect but can certainly understand the opposite view. I also feel that the amendment i've put in VPI is clearer than either the current status quo or this one. That is not to say it is flawless or there isn't a better way. I argue in this sense that seeking perfection risks being the enemy of good (and critically, better). Nosebagbear (talk) 21:04, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  13. Support – All deletions should be done within deletion policy (XfD, CSD, or PROD). All deletions should be reviewed at DRV. The community, through consensus, must always have The Last Word™ about what pages are removed from the encyclopedia. There should be no exceptions to these principles. I do not trust any individual to have the unilateral power to delete a page, and I do not trust any small group of individuals (whether it's Arbcom, or "uninvolved administrators at AE", or whatever) to have the sole responsibility of reviewing deletions. The thing about DRV is that anyone can show up and make an argument and be counted. This is not true at AE or Arbcom, which are venues that have shown, in this firearms article instance and in other instances, to not be sufficiently sensitive to community consensus. Deletion is just too important to leave in the hands of the few. Levivich 21:48, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  14. Support. Calidum 04:22, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  15. Support - The scope of the proposed amendment is limited to DS, so it would not limit ArbCom's ability to exercise their authority to delete (if that authority actually exists). –dlthewave 11:35, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  16. (Summoned by bot) Makes sense, sunds about right. SemiHypercube 12:20, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  17. Support. Since the Gun Control arbitration clarification request didn't result in any clarification over whether deletion is an allowable discretionary sanction (DS), this is a reasonable proposal to provide that clarity. Cunard did a good job at limiting the applicability of the proposed regulation to DS and at explaining why this needs to be an amendment to the arbitration policy, not the DS page. Deryck C. 14:07, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  18. Support per Levivich and SMcCandlish. —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw)  09:17, 07 May 2019 (UTC)
  19. Support, noting that the incident inspiring this petition is one of the incidents in response to which I am protesting the Committee. Also note that, while the AE deletion being appealed was not valid in the opinion of many respondents to the clarification request, and the community's deletion review unquestionably overturned the deletion, the restored page was deleted again under auspices of Arbcom authority anyway. This clarification needs to be made, one way or the other, and I prefer this way. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:55, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  20. Support, I have general concerns about ArbCom growing their powers more than necessary for their functions. Stifle (talk) 11:03, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
  21. Support - the Committee was made for dispute resolution and dealing with other community-based problems, not article-based. Currently it seems that ArbCom may be pushing an agenda by enforcing article deletion while railing against community consensus (see Ivanvector's !vote and his essay). Defying community consensus on the grounds of authority is blatantly bureaucratic and is definitely bad faith, and goes against what Wikipedia stands for. Community consensus should be the the final say on content, not an elected body that we have to hope are doing the right thing. Kirbanzo (userpage - talk - contribs) 14:23, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

OpposeEdit

  1. Oppose in implementation - I too agree with the sentiment, but banning ARBCOM from all page deletion is unwise. Instead, I back @EdChem:'s thoughts - we should limit it to ARBCOM itself only. I'd back an alternate amendment for that, as we could run into a few cases (especially with offwiki info) that warranted page deletion that we couldn't handle with a total ban. In effect, we risk "bad cases make bad law". Those with similar mindsets, please oppose and form a new one, not support Nosebagbear (talk) 09:32, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    Agree. A formal motion by ArbCom to delete certain pages is not offensive. What is offensive is delegation of authority to others to delete unilaterally, etc. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:50, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    Typically Arbitrators are administrators. If they are informed of some kind of outing/defamation on a page as a byproduct of arbitration work, they are not prohibited from deleting it in their personal capacity as administrators. They do not need the authority of Arbcom to prohibit reversion of the deletion -- the main disincentive is simply that the admin undoing it would be seen as using his tools to make such material visible again, which would probably cause as much complaint whether or not that content had been the subject of an arbitration case. Am I missing something here? Wnt (talk) 20:52, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  2. I don't know if I agree with the intent but I initially thought this was a reasonable, albeit inelegant, solution, and as such intended to support: this is the petition to start a ratification vote, not the ratification vote itself. After rereading the below, however, I no longer think it would be productive to have a ratification vote on this, so I must oppose this petition as written. ~ Amory (utc) 10:39, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  3. Slight oppose I believe AE should be able to delete pages as long as the page deletion is relevant to conduct and not content (the only exception being the content must fall within an area of sanctions.) Rare? Yes. I also believe most deletions in this space should be subject to review at DRV (most implying there will be some deletions that aren't reviewable such as office actions), and enforcing the result of the DRV will not lead that user closing/enforcing the DRV to administrative sanctions. I agree there's a problem here that needs fixing, though - AE should not unilaterally delete pages based on content - and I commend Cunard for leading the charge - I just don't think that a blanket ban on AE deletions is the most effective response. SportingFlyer T·C 11:33, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    @SportingFlyer: Cunard's proposal doesn't say ArbCom can't enact remedies that involve deletion, but rather that DS doesn't include deletion. It's proposed as an amendment to the Arbitration Policy rather than the DS policy, purely because DS is an ArbCom resolution and therefore could not be directly amended by community resolution. Deryck C. 19:51, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  4. Oppose the specifics. I fully agree with the intent - all deletions not involving private information must be permitted by either CSD, Prod or XfD, and must be reviewable at DRV, but per EdChem, Nosebagbear and others this wording is poor and introduces new ambiguities. I do not believe it is within policy (certainly it is contrary to the spirit) to change the wording of an amendment between petition and ratification. Thryduulf (talk) 11:47, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  5. Oppose - I would back this alternate amendment. --MrClog (talk) 14:10, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  6. If a page's existence presents a content issue, DS can't be used to delete it anyway, because arbcom can't delegate authority it does not have. If a page's existence presents a conduct issue, and the topic area is toxic enough that normal community processes have failed and DS had to be authorized, then there's no reason to expect the deletion processes to be immune from that toxicity - especially the less well-attended ones. T. Canens (talk) 17:25, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    It actually is somewhat less affected since a massive amount of AfD participation is from general AfD participants rather than individuals linked to a page (active pages are only rarely in AfD), and this is even more so in DRV. Nosebagbear (talk)
    AfD, perhaps (though it's not as if AN(I) don't have their own share of regulars), yet virtually all AfD discussions involve indisputably content issues and are outside arbcom's remit anyway, so it's not particularly relevant. Many other XfDs do not have as many. As to DRV, it can correct an admin's misreading of an XfD, but it can't do much if the underlying XfD is itself broken due to the influx of partisans on both sides. T. Canens (talk) 17:49, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  7. Oppose ARBCOM already has a hard enough time enforcing its decisions. Restricting it even more is step in the wrong direction. Yilloslime (talk) 17:32, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  8. Oppose. As an admin active at AE, I cannot remember an enforcement action or request other than the recent one concerning one userspace page that involved deletion. This is by far not happening frequently enough to warrant a discussion at this level, or changing policy. If we ever get to a point where rogue AE admins are deleting pages by the dozens to circumvent deletion policy, then action might be warranted - but probably more at a disciplinary rather than at a policy level. Sandstein 06:56, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  9. Oppose As has been noted several times, this is not a problem that needs a solution. No one has yet, once, demonstrated a Wikipedia article which does not yet exist but should, only because ArbCom forced it to be deleted. --Jayron32 15:03, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  10. Oppose see WP:ARBPIA3, where G5 would apply and having it be under AE would make a lot of sense. Agree generally, however. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:09, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  11. Oppose As for the related discussion, I doubt that this is regurarly happening/needed, and there is simply no reason why the road needs to be closed. And even if there is policy against it, there is anyway IAR / occasional exception possible, so whether it is codified in policy or not, it will/may still happen. We are NOT a bureaucracy. --Dirk Beetstra T C 17:39, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  12. Hard cases make bad law, they say. I think this really applies here. – Ammarpad (talk) 20:02, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  13. Oppose. Solution in search of a problem. This simply doesn't happen enough to be worthwhile adding to the policy. Besides, this writing wouldn't do much, since it would still allow ArbCom theoretically to separately authorize deletions. It just disallows them as part of standard discretionary sanctions. What you want is probably something to the effect of "The Arbitration Committee may not authorize any non-arbitrator to delete any page outside of the deletion policy." ~ Rob13Talk 05:20, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  14. Oppose – while I agree that ArbCom should not be involving itself in content decisions such as deletion, this is not the best way to make that clarification. – bradv🍁 05:42, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  15. Oppose - agree with several others, this seems to be a solution based on an outlier. Not a great way to set policy. Springee (talk) 13:25, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  16. Oppose - per T. Cannens, though I think we need to make sure admins do not use AE as a content bludgeon. It didn't happen in this case, but I have seen it happen in the past. --Kyohyi (talk) 13:42, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  17. Oppose WP:G5 is policy, and therefore deletion is explicitly part of AE. The workload on ArbCom is great enough, and delegation of authority is both practical and in accord with the concept of a self-regulating community. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 00:40, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  18. Oppose This is specifically included in G5, also per Beetstra while this is rarely used it doesn't make sense to close this avenue if there are future issues arising that the community can't seem to deal with. --Cameron11598 (Talk) 13:16, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  19. Oppose per G5 --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 20:56, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

DiscussionEdit

  • Notifications posted at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard, Wikipedia talk:Deletion review, Wikipedia talk:Deletion policy, Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion, and Template:Centralized discussion. Cunard (talk) 08:11, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Cunard: Why not any arbitration pages? There should be a notification at WT:ARBCOM at a bare minimum, because that is the policy you intend to change. WT:AE would also be courteous as this is in direct response to an AE action. – Joe (talk) 08:41, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    Good point. Notifications posted at Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee and Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement. Cunard (talk) 09:14, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Pinging Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Gun control#Clarification request: Gun control (April 2019) participants: GoldenRing (talk · contribs), Dlthewave (talk · contribs), Bishonen (talk · contribs), Simonm223 (talk · contribs), Ivanvector (talk · contribs), Doug Weller (talk · contribs), Black Kite (talk · contribs), Levivich (talk · contribs), RexxS (talk · contribs), S Marshall (talk · contribs), SmokeyJoe (talk · contribs), Hobit (talk · contribs), RoySmith (talk · contribs), Sandstein (talk · contribs), Cryptic (talk · contribs), GreenMeansGo (talk · contribs), DGG (talk · contribs), Drmies (talk · contribs), Xymmax (talk · contribs), Wnt (talk · contribs), Spartaz (talk · contribs), Fish and karate (talk · contribs), Alanscottwalker (talk · contribs), Deryck Chan (talk · contribs), Atsme (talk · contribs), SMcCandlish (talk · contribs), EdChem (talk · contribs), Aquillion (talk · contribs), Ymblanter (talk · contribs), Nosebagbear (talk · contribs), and Mojoworker (talk · contribs).

    Pinging Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2019 February 24#User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles participants: Rhododendrites (talk · contribs), Pudeo (talk · contribs), Godsy (talk · contribs), Serial Number 54129 (talk · contribs), Simonm223 (talk · contribs), SportingFlyer (talk · contribs), A Quest For Knowledge (talk · contribs), and Hut 8.5 (talk · contribs).

    Pinging Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Proposed amendment to Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy regarding the Arbitration Committee's power to authorise deletions participants: Timotheus Canens (talk · contribs), King of Hearts (talk · contribs), BU Rob13 (talk · contribs), Nosebagbear (talk · contribs), TonyBallioni (talk · contribs), Newyorkbrad (talk · contribs), SilkTork (talk · contribs), DannyS712 (talk · contribs), Nick (talk · contribs), and Praxidicae (talk · contribs).

    Cunard (talk) 08:11, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

  • SmokeyJoe (talk · contribs), blanking under discretionary sanctions would not be the "best simplest quietest and least confrontational way to dealing with some perceived problems". Blanking as a normal editorial or administrative blanking coupled with a discretionary sanctions topic ban if the creator is being disruptive would be the "best simplest quietest and least confrontational way to dealing with some perceived problems". A discretionary sanctions blanking requires an editor or uninvolved admin who disagrees with the blanking to appeal at WP:AN, WP:AE, or WP:ARCA. I think it is preferable for any editor or uninvolved admin to have the option to undo the blanking so that the page can then be discussed at WP:MFD.

    Cunard (talk) 08:19, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

    • I disagree. A new sanction-based instruction to a user may instruct them to cease a particular line of work in their userspace. The enforcing admin would appropriately blank the usersubpages. It is appropriate that a dispute of this be treated as sanctions appeal. While it could be community-discussed at MfD, the blanking of a subpage is not in any way offensive to deletion policy, and the question of blanking usersubpages muddies the central problem of sanction enforcement crossing deletion policy. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:08, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I understand the intention here, but this would not subvert the current situation in which if an admin deleted a page to support an ArbCom ruling that the action is first discussed within ArbCom specified venues (including ANI) before going to another venue such as DRV. The current situation does not support or encourage the deletion of pages, but lays out where discussions of such deletions should first take place, and that such deletions should not be reversed until it is decided and agreed that the deletion was inappropriate. SilkTork (talk) 08:25, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    • This petition disallows admins from using discretionary sanctions to delete pages. If this ratification is successful, any admin who deleted pages under discretionary sanctions would be violating the arbitration policy. Although under the motion the Committee passed recently, the deletion still would need to be discussed at WP:AN, WP:AE, or WP:ARCA, the admin response now should be "the deletion is not within administrator discretion because it violates the arbitration policy" instead of "I cannot say that [the] interpretation and application of that guideline is outside reasonable admin discretion" or "it is within administrator discretion" (quotes from the recently closed AE discussion about the page deletion under discretionary sanctions). This petition has no effect on an admins deleting a page to support an ArbCom ruling if the deletion is unrelated to discretionary sanctions.

      Cunard (talk) 09:14, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

  • I agree that DS should not be used for deletion, but this text doesn't seem to fit in that section, which is about how ArbCom's rulings relate to policy in general terms. In fact, WP:ARBPOL doesn't mention discretionary sanctions at all – presumably because DS are an extended system of sanctions authorised by ArbCom rather than a core part of the the arbitration policy. Wouldn't this make more sense added to Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions? – Joe (talk) 08:48, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    The community cannot amend DS directly. Galobtter (pingó mió) 08:52, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    I originally intended to modify Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions but as noted here, that page can only be modified by the Arbitration Committee. Cunard (talk) 09:14, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Galobtter and Cunard: If there's sufficient support here I'd be willing to propose a motion to change the discretionary sanctions directly. I think that would be neater than an ARBPOL amendment, and if there's obviously strong community support, it would be more likely to pass. (The reason our similar motion in the gun control ARCA didn't pass isn't because the majority of arbs disagreed, it's because they thought it wasn't necessary). – Joe (talk) 17:00, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    Joe Roe (talk · contribs), thank you for the offer. I agree that an arbitration motion to change the discretionary sanctions directly would be cleaner than an arbitration policy amendment and would support that. Cunard (talk) 03:17, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with EdChem above that the amendment proposed here would not solve the issue (or at least it wouldn't the best way) - as ArbCom could in theory then create a "Biscretionary Sanctions" that allows deletions (I don't think ArbCom would try to brazenly circumvent the amendment as such, but we should try to go and solve the issue at its root rather than amending a single page). Something more along the lines of "The Committee has the power to delete pages, but may not delegate that power to individual admins." would be better. Galobtter (pingó mió) 08:52, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    • I would make a change that was somewhat more constrained, like: "The Arbitration Committee is authorised to delete pages that form a part of disruption considered during standard procedures, or by motion where off-wiki discussion is necessary. This authority does not extend to making decisions about encyclopaedic content and cannot be delegated beyond the Committee. All deletions undertaken outside this provision are governed by the deletion policy and subject to standard appeals provisions." That, or add it to the lest of areas authorised for ArbCom action under ARBPOL. EdChem (talk) 09:11, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    • I hope the Committee would not create something like "Biscretionary Sanctions" to allow deletions. If they did (which I do not think they will if this amendment passes), the community can pass a broader amendment to the arbitration policy. I am proposing this change because it is narrowly tailored and has a better chance of achieving consensus than a broader amendment. The arbitration policy currently does not explicitly grant the Committee the power to delete pages. It is unknown whether the community would support an amendment to the policy that explicitly allows the Committee to delete pages. An amendment that allows the Committee to delete pages would need to explain in what circumstances the Committee could delete pages and the community would be divided over what those circumstances should be.

      I support any parallel efforts to amend the arbitration policy as suggested by you and EdChem.

      Cunard (talk) 09:14, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

      • @EdChem: - I agree entirely with EdChem - I think we could actually regret making a restriction this broad (bad cases make bad law etc) - please note, that if we end up with two simultaneous ones that pass, we end up in the circumstance of either the latter replaces the former or the one with the most !votes passes. And it isn't clear which. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:28, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
      • Cunard, your proposed wording addresses ArbCom's ability to authorise deletions via DS. Implicitly, that means that ArbCom can itself authorise deletions, or why else add what you are suggesting. Whether you tailor it to be a narrow change, its effect is broad. EdChem (talk) 09:36, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
        • My proposed wording only says that discretionary sanctions cannot authorise deletions. I do not think the wording implicitly authorises or disallows the Arbitration Committee from authorising non-discretionary sanctions deletions. Some editors and arbitrators believe that the arbitration policy already authorises the Committee to authorise deletions (and some believe the opposite) so this amendment will not affect that.

          Cunard (talk) 09:51, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

    • I feel that despite the wording, the real target of this amendment is not ArbCom but admins who might take an overly-broad reading of what a particular WP:DS allows. ArbCom is small and fairly tightly-run; but we have over a thousand admins, as well as many very broadly-worded WP:DSes. We don't need to micromanage or set detailed rules for ArbCom. So the purpose here is not really 'ArbCom cannot do X', but 'admins cannot choose to interpret something ArbCom does as X.' If we're in a situation where ArbCom is knowingly, deliberately, and intentionally specifying an entire class of page for deletion (rather than an overly-enthusiastic admin justifying a page deletion under a broad DS), I feel it would be better to resolve that separately. And, more generally, it isn't really feasible for us to make rules for every possible thing that ArbCom might do wrong. --Aquillion (talk) 16:13, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I've suggested a possible alternate at VPI - section for clarity on ARBCOM's power and a very slightly broader restriction. Not that I think they'll create a new GS, but worth covering other aspects. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:16, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  • With any of the suggested wordings, can an editor banned under DS have his contributions removed (via deletion or editing)? --Izno (talk) 16:25, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Izno: - i don't think any of the active/proposed wordings would affect the CSDs (which are community generated) so I suppose G5s which apply to whole pages created by already banned editors could still be removed (however the editor came to be blocked). I wouldn't say that was a particularly evident loophole. As to contributions of banned editors, that seems to be an always-going discussion, but I don't believe any of the wordings would affect that either. Nosebagbear (talk) 17:47, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    I was less looking at CSD and more the direction of WP:BANREVERT (BANREVERT is really whence G5 derives its authority). It also did not read to me like BANREVERT is affected by the suggested change. --Izno (talk) 18:22, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
    Much the same as the previous point as far as I can tell - I don't think it would be affected by the change. Nosebagbear (talk) 21:27, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I think there is a major series of Arbcom decision that are being overlooked here: The BLP cases. While I generally oppose DS deletions, as it screws up our normal deletion review process without good reason, the BLP cases illustrate how deletion may be a necessary tool for effective enforcement of Arbcom remedies. I'm not sure if this would really work out, but my though would be that it would be better to leave Arbcom the tool, but exclude it from the default DS toolset. Thus, for something like BLP, Arbcom could explicitly authorize deletion as a DS action, but without a specific deletion authorization, deletions would not be covered under the DS appeal regime. Monty845 04:09, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
    • CSD documentation of BLPDELETE is in my opinion unclear, but discussions at WT:CSD reached a consensus that BLP deletions are covered by WP:CSD#G10. For anything needing deletion for BLP reasons, delete under G10 "for BLP reasons". Do not include any reference to any sanction. If the page is a BLP violation, it is a BLP violation regardless of who authored it. Feel free to block the user posting BLP-violating material. No need to mention any sanction. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:29, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Amendment ProcedureEdit

Unless I really don't understand the procedure - something I won't rule out - we're in stage 1 of an amendment to the policy: the gathering of 100 signatures on a petition. The other way that this stage can be completed is by a majority vote of ArbCom. After stage 1 is successfully completed an amendment will be formally opened for ratification at which point it'll need 100 supporters while having a majority.Therefore, people who are opposing at this point are sending a signal about their lack of support but not actually stopping this process from moving forward. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:39, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

That's correct (or at least how I read it). Standard procedure for a petition but colliding with our great love for sectioned !voting. It's a fine way of organizing those encouraging folks not to sign the petition, but, yes, it's not stopping anything. ~ Amory (utc) 18:53, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but by explaining why we don't support it provides an opportunity to tweak and/or amend the proposal, or (my preference in this case) replace it with an alternative, before it gets to ratification. AIUI Small changes might be ok at this stage, but anything significant may (imho should) invalidate the support of those who signed before the most recent change; I believe that no changes can be made during the ratification stage. Thryduulf (talk) 20:00, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
And that all seems great. I just wanted to alert those who might not be as aware of the significance of what they were doing or who might be confused why, if this gets 100 signatures, they could see this reposted "like new". Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 20:16, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Rationale by CunardEdit

Background

An administrator deleted User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles with the rationale "Arbitration enforcement action under gun control DS". The term "gun control DS" refers to Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Gun control#Discretionary sanctions.

Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions#Page restrictions says:

Any uninvolved administrator may impose on any page or set of pages relating to the area of conflict page protection, revert restrictions, prohibitions on the addition or removal of certain content (except when consensus for the edit exists), or any other reasonable measure that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project.

The dispute is whether "any other reasonable measure that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary" includes the deletion of a page as part of the discretionary enforcement process. The Arbitration Committee at a recently closed clarification request did not decide whether pages can be deleted under "other reasonable measures" as part of the enforcement process. The Committee instead passed the motion:

All actions designated as arbitration enforcement actions, including those alleged to be out of process or against existing policy, must first be appealed following arbitration enforcement procedures to establish if such enforcement is inappropriate before the action may be reversed or formally discussed at another venue.

There is further discussion about the motion on the Arbitration Committee noticeboard here.

Conflict between deletion review and arbitration enforcement

Both Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2019 February 24#User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles and Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement reviewed User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles.

Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2019 February 24#User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles was closed as "The clear consensus is that this deletion should be overturned per the deletion policy. It now requires arbcom to sanction this."

A parallel review of the deletion at an WP:AE request titled "Arbitration enforcement action appeal by Dlthewave" was instead closed as:

Appeal declined. The requisite "clear and substantial consensus of [...] uninvolved administrators at AE" to overturn this discretionary sanction is not present.

The page was re-deleted despite the strong community consensus at deletion review to overturn the deletion.

EdChem (talk · contribs) put it well here here:

[T]he difference between DRV and AE is not merely the standard applied, it is also the question considered. DRV looks at whether the page should have been deleted, whether there is a policy-based justification, etc. AE looks at whether the action is within administrator discretion under DS. An AE deletion is endorsed even if every admin who comments says "I wouldn't have done that but I can see how it is a possible conclusion to reach and so is an allowable exercise of discretion." It is true that AE can also say "looking at the page, the deletion decision is unreasonable / goes beyond allowable discretion" but the process as now enforced does not mandate that there be a consensus in favour of the deletion for it to be upheld, it merely requires there to be no consensus that the decision was outside of discretion.

Why is a change needed to the Arbitration policy to prohibit deletions under discretionary sanctions

Without a change to Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy:

In the proposed amendment, I am also including "undeletion, moving, blanking, or redirection". Undeletion, the reversal of deletion, is included because an undeletion under discretionary sanctions would require a deletion discussion to happen at WP:AE, WP:AN, or WP:ARCA instead of at WP:XFD. Moving, blanking, and redirection are also included because they are or can be pseudo-deletions.

Petition

As noted here, the community cannot directly amend Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions because it is an Arbitration Committee decision. Limiting the scope of the Arbitration Committee's discretionary sanctions requires modifying Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy.

The petition is listed as an RfC for advertisement purposes but will follow the petition and ratification process of Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy#Ratification and amendment instead of the 30-day schedule of RfCs.

Cunard (talk) 07:28, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

KISS. Deletion is not a sanctions enforcement toolEdit

All of this is too complicated. I propose instead:

Explanatory comments:

  1. For virtually everything needing immediate deletion, existing CSD suffice. G11 for unsourced promotion. G5 for pages created in violation of a ban.
  2. Deletions for privacy or child protection reasons already occur, and will continue to occur, without the need for deletion needing to reference any "sanction".
  3. WP:Deletion review is a respected community forum that operates by consensus. Decisions to temp-undelete, or speedy close, operate by consensus, with no complaints to date except for where "sanctions" have crossed the deletion line.

--SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:53, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

  • This says everything it needs to say. Thryduulf (talk) 10:59, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Love it. Levivich 13:29, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Seems reasonable. I would support this · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 06:17, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I support these principles, SmokeyJoe (talk · contribs).

    There are two ways they can be proposed: as a regular RfC and as an arbitration policy amendment.

    Wikipedia:Consensus#Decisions not subject to consensus of editors says, "The English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee may issue binding decisions, within its scope and responsibilities, that override consensus." Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions is one of the Committee's "binding decisions". Some Arbitration Committee members believe that the Committee's scope includes the authority to authorise admins to delete pages under discretionary sanctions (link to clarification request).

    They base this on the discretionary sanctions procedure's allowing admins to take "other reasonable measures that the enforcing administrator believes are necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project", which some interpret as including deletions. A current arbitrator said that the discretionary sanctions procedure is subject to WP:CONEXCEPT and the community can narrow its scope only through an arbitration policy amendment.

    The only way for these principles to be binding is if they were proposed as an arbitration policy amendment. Where in Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy would these principles be added? I support proposing this as an alternative amendment since it's gained the support of Thryduulf (talk · contribs), who opposed the original amendment, so could sway other opposers.

    Cunard (talk) 07:08, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Support Levivich's version as first choice and original wording as second choice. This is another case where it's just not ArbCom's job. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 16:16, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment - I support this, and would adopt it. I fully support the impulse leading to the main proposal, but I think the language introduces too much confusion. As I have mentioned elsewhere, my belief is that ARBCOM lacks the authority to delete pages outside of its narrow role of acting on private information not appropriate to share on-wiki, and I disagree that deletion is a remedy for a conduct dispute outside of what is provided in the deletion policy. I would in no way limit an individual arbiter's authority to act in their own administrative or oversight capacity. I disagree with those who say that this outlier case is not worthy of amending the policy because it has revealed that the committee cannot agree as to the limits of its authority. It therefore is appropriate for the community to set such limits, if it can in fact agree as to what they are. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 23:24, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

Even more KISS: leave it as is. It is not an enforcement tool, it has never been used as an enforcement tool. Plain, non-AE enforcement also has never included deletion. There is just now one (or a couple of cases) where pages were deleted because of a AE. There is simply no reason to write down a rule for that, it is utterly rare, there may not be many cases where it is needed but IF it is needed (for some obscure or IAR reason) it should simply be possible (and anyway, people will IAR on the cases where your now newly written enforcement rule is to be ignored). We are not a bureaucracy. Rather, just a sentence that those (rare) deletion reviews for the sanction-related areas should be properly cross-linked between the two is sufficient. --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:48, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

Dirk Beetstra, explain to me then the deletion of User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:47, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe: that is not up to me, that is to the person who deleted it. And I am not saying that these were those examples that needed deletion, but I am against codifying that into policy - I can think of scenarios that could use deletion (this content is an example of something that does not fall under CSD criteria ..). --Dirk Beetstra T C 10:37, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
As per 'even more KISS: leave it as is' .. oppose. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:25, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. I could almost get on board with the full ArbCom being allowed to delete something, but the idea that a single admin, acting on his/her own, but in the name of ArbCom (i.e. AE) could delete something beyond review, is just absurd. The above concise statement fixes the problem. My one nit is that WP:G9 should still not be reviewable. I'm not sure I've ever seen a G9. Has it ever been used? Looking through the back links, it doesn't look like it ever has. Which seems like about the right frequency. -- RoySmith (talk) 23:45, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
    • WP:CSD#G9 would be reviewable to the extent that the WMF authority is verified. A random admin claiming G9 authority based on thier interpretation of what WMF said, that should be overturned. I would expect that known "(WMF)" account to be used to do the deletion, a verified functionary. As G9 doesn't restrict to the reason for deletion, there would be no validity to request review of the underlying reason, just that the policy (G9) was complied with. I completely trust the admins regulars at DRV to do the right thing. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:31, 9 May 2019 (UTC) For bona fide G9s, it’s all pretty professionally laid out at Wikipedia:Office actions, including who may do them. I see WMF take child protection seriously. I see that some Arbs are inching towards assuming Office responsibility and authority. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:30, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
    • I recall someone saying that WMF were quick and easy with G9 deletions of images of WMF buildings. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:42, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose this as well Per the same reasons as above. There has not been demonstrated that there exists enough of a problem to justify enacting this policy. The one or two times that AE has been used to justify deletions are rare enough to not merit a policy dealing with it. --Jayron32 14:03, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
    • It’s more about stopping Arbs from expanding their own scope. They never had power over content, now they authorise others to delete subject only to their own procedures for review. It’s a straight line to the end of consensus and WikiGovernment by ArbCom. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 14:12, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
      • The sky is not falling. "If we don't fix this now, all of Wikipedia will end as we know it" is hardly a useful rationale for enacting a policy. Irrational alarmism is not a useful attitude to take. --Jayron32 13:39, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
            • It’s not that the sky can be seen to be falling, more that ArbCom is undermining the foundations. What can’t they do do, if they can render their own policy subversion unreviewable? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 17:28, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
        • I agree that SmokeyJoe is being overly alarmist. But, I really can't see any legitimate reason for ArbCom to be deleting things. We've never had a rule against it, because nobody ever thought it was needed. It was common sense that it would never happen. Now that it's happened, and ArbCom has insisted they have the right to do it, this is the logical time to tell them that they can't.

          Tools already exist to delete things. If a page meets a WP:CSD, that can be used. If not, then regular XfD should be fine. And, if something really is so bad that it has to go quickly, ArbCom can always ask WMF to delete it as an office action. You could even do something like blank and protect the page, or revdel the offending material pending review.

          The toxic combination here is not just the deleting, and not even just the deleting beyond the reach of community review. It's the delegation of that power to any admin who happens to wander by WP:AE and deputises themselves to act ex cathedra, enforced by pain of desysopping to any other admin who intervenes. That cannot stand. -- RoySmith (talk) 14:07, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

          • No Roy. I am being appropriately alarmist. Compare Enabling Act of 1933. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 16:06, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
            The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
            The behavioural police, ArbCom and their self-selecting AE deputies, need to be kept out of policy making and rewriting and subversion. WP:DEL and WP:CSD do not give ArbCom and their AE deputies the right to Speedy delete. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 17:24, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
            • Did you seriously just invoke Godwin's Law? Wow. Just... I mean... Wow. --Jayron32 17:28, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
              • What do you think are their limits? SmokeyJoe (talk) 17:31, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
                • What, you're going to equate ArbCom with Nazis and then have the gall to think we can continue a nice little discussion over the matter. Seriously dude, just go away. I have no intention of continuing a discussion with someone who would do that. If that's the direction you're going, you have nothing useful at all to say. I consider this discussion over. --Jayron32 17:49, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. This is simpler and cleaner than the original proposal, and is correct, so just do it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:24, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support this clearer wording. the wub "?!" 22:06, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm afraid this wording would limit the use of G5, which is sometimes needed in edge cases. I really do get the concerns here, but the overwhelming majority of admins do not want to use deletion as a sanction (myself included.) What is happening is that anything with DS is one of the most difficult areas of the project, where the normal part of policy that work well elsewhere don't work as well. That is the whole point behind DS. There are limited cases (ARBPIA3 enforcement is the biggest example that comes to mind, but I'm sure you could find others) where deletion may be the preferred tool to enforce sanctions. In the overwhelming majority of cases it is not and will not be used, but writing hard rules for difficult areas is almost always a bad idea. See also WP:CREEP. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:19, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support with caveat. Per TonyBallioni, we need to do still allow G5 enforcement of bans. I would tweak it to something even simpler: "All deletions made in the course of arbitration enforcement must be in accordance with deletion policy and are reviewable at Wikipedia:Deletion review." -- King of ♠ 14:35, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Any admin can still delete under G5, but they do it as an administrator, not a functionary, or using the stick procedures of arb enforcement. Even an arb can do that, but they can't claim immunity from reversion. I do not see why they would need to do that. If some admin is reverting deletions to help a banned editor, arb com can and should take action on that. DGG ( talk ) 05:14, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
  • There's no way in hell I'll support allowing a 7-day public discussion at DRV about a privacy deletion, which is what the third sentence will do. Also per TonyBallioni. T. Canens (talk) 13:08, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Are you concerned that DRV would result in the privacy violation being restored, either as the result of consensus or to allow public review? A deletion review doesn't guarantee temporary undeletion; that would be at the (terrible) discretion of an individual admin. –dlthewave 01:26, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose seem like a poor idea. There are privacy issues beyond what we can do in public --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 20:59, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

RfC about independent sources for academic notabilityEdit

An RfC has been opened at Wikipedia talk:Notability (academics)#RfC about independent sources for academic notability to decide the following question:

Current wording: Academics/professors meeting any one of the following conditions, as substantiated through reliable sources, are notable.
Proposed wording: Academics/professors meeting one or more of the following conditions, as substantiated using multiple published, reliable, secondary sources which are independent of the subject and each other, are notable.

Shall the wording in the section Wikipedia:Notability (academics)#Criteria be changed to the proposed wording above?

Editors are welcome to join the discussion. -- Netoholic @ 20:14, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

The RfC has been closed with clear consensus against it. Xxanthippe (talk) 23:11, 16 May 2019 (UTC).

Permanent desysop of compromised admin accountsEdit

The Arbcom has, in a recent post to all admins, made it clear that they may permanently desysop administrators after their account has been compromised. "The Arbitration Committee may require a new RfA if your account is compromised."[17]

In discussions afterwards, there were multiple comments in the line of "we shouldn't permanently desysop people for good-faith compromises" ("good faith" to exclude e.g. admins simply giving away their password to others or posting it publicly). Even a temporary desysop is usually not necessary for compromised accounts, these get locked instead, but that's a different discussion. Permanent desysops (requiring a new RfA) are normally only done for admins who have either repeatedly or egregiously violated policies (certainly when done using admin-only tools) and where previous attempts at dispute resolution didn't work (in some extreme cases, no such prior dispute resolution is needed).

Does having your account compromised by carelessness, bad luck, or some other involuntary security breach constitute a sufficient reason to warrant a permanent desysop even after you have regained access to your account and have been confirmed to be the rightful owner? Or should this be the kind of thing were a warning is sufficient? This thing has been discussed for more than a decade[18], but probably needs some formalization or reaffirmation. (This is not a formal RfC, let's first discuss this to get some general idea of what people think is best before trying to shoehorn it into a policy text) Fram (talk) 08:31, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

The wording above "The Arbitration Committee may require a new RfA if your account is compromised." suggest this isn't even particularly for admins being careless. This would also include any admin that had been maliciously compromised. Why we would ever consider a user to need a new RfA, would only be on behaviour in my eyes. Having your account tapped into might be a sign that it isn't secure enough, but we can't say that wholesale. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 08:36, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Permanent desysop should imho be the last recourse for behavioral problems. Such problems can include carelessness though. If an admin uses "password" as their password on Wikipedia or their associated email account, I would certainly assume that this person is not someone who can be trusted to have access to the admin toolkit and that if they want the tools back, the community should explicitly decide to regrant these tools. Regards SoWhy 09:14, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree that removal of adminship should never be permanent for any reason outside of behavior. —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw)  09:20, 07 May 2019 (UTC)
Speaking as someone who has been permanently deopped (and who will remain so as long as CRASH exists) a permanent deop for account compromise is not justifiable unless there's evidence the admin doesn't take action to ensure that it isn't compromised again (at which point there's no justifiable reason to let them keep the mop). —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 10:14, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • When it comes to permanent de-sysopping, we should compare this suggestion to other acts (presumably behavioural) that do and critically don't result in de-sysopping. These have included some pretty serious acts, and thus I feel this would be an egregiously OTT reaction. The interpretations given about are reasonable - either repeated incidents due to inaction (3+ incidents even with action would probably demonstrate something direly wrong, however) or egregious carelessness (ala "Password" as password) Nosebagbear (talk) 10:19, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    3+ times would tell me either their computer is bugged, they're reusing passwords that were used on sites that had been compromised, or they're gullible enough to get phished. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 10:38, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    Has any admin account ever been compromised more than once? * Pppery * survives 22:23, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    Not thus far, though this is because the admins involved took steps to avoid getting compromised again (mainly password changes, since they were primarily compromised due to password reuse). —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 20:15, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I believe the key word is "may". They are saying that they will look into each case, reserving themselves the right to require the user to go through a new RFA depending on the circumstances. The better steps you take to prevent the account from being compromised, the less likely they are to require this. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 10:28, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    • To quote the admin newsletter: In response to the continuing compromise of administrator accounts, the Arbitration Committee passed a motion amending the procedures for return of permissions (diff). In such cases, the committee will review all available information to determine whether the administrator followed "appropriate personal security practices" before restoring permissions; administrators found failing to have adequately done so will not be resysopped automatically (emphasis in the original, marked differently). In other words, if the admin followed what ArbCom believe to be appropriate personal security practices, then (s)he will be resysoped without any need for a new RFA; if not, (s)he won't. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 10:48, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
      • I'm quite fine with that. Advanced permissions require advanced security, and if an admin cannot be responsible for basic password security, then I have no problem with them re-applying for RFA. --Jayron32 10:51, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
        • I'm basically okay with that too, although I've suggested a change in process somewhere else (here? there are a lot of side discussions scattered about). What I'm not okay with is that Arbcom seems to be making up definitions of "appropriate personal security practices" on a case-by-case basis, so I have no real idea if my "personal security practices" are up to the standard where I would not have to go through RFA if my account were hacked. I have an 80+ character unique randomized password, 2FA on my recovery email which has a similarly strong password, login notifications turned on, I rotate my passwords periodically, I use an alternate account when I'm not sure of my network's security, and I periodically log out to clear open sessions. Is that good enough? No idea. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:08, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • "the revocation of privileges may be permanent." Comes from WP:SECUREADMIN policy, which policy contrasts "permanent" with "temporary", Arbcom as an investigating body has always decided on when permission is removed in context at least until a new RfA, when the Community decides. Moreover, in matters of such security, it seems inevitable that evidence should often be taken privately. Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:58, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Just thoughts here. I think it would be a good idea to de-pair "compromised account" from "admin violating policy" to inform what to do here, and get out of this loop of "who has the rights to do what". A compromised account, admin or functionary or otherwise, is a global issue - the account is compromised on every wiki and other website which shares our unified login. Compromise should not be an arbcom issue in the first place - it should be a contact the stewards, lock the account, contact WMF Trust & Safety issue. Forget about contacting some number of arbitrators, convening a panel via email, finding a bureaucrat who's awake, ... just lock the account. Find a steward on IRC or email WP:EMERGENCY or whatever. Account locked. Compromise stopped. Done.
Once Trust & Safety confirms the account is secured, then we have a discussion here about how the admin whose account was hacked secured their account, if they're obeying WP:SECUREADMIN (which is a community-endorsed requirement of all administrators, regardless of how long they've had the bit), and if it's found that they breached the policy then they may face desysopping for cause. Much of that will be private, obviously, so that's where Arbcom gets involved, and it's Arbcom that gives orders about desysopping for cause anyway.
Changing our processes this way has the added benefit locally of not caring about rights removal and restoration (a locked admin can't do anything anyway), and of passing the buck back to the WMF, who have promised to improve the ongoing account security issues for at least four years. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:20, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I may be chiming in on this with a lack of perspective, but if an admin that is permanently de-sysopped from a compromised account is required to undergo another RFA, and that admin has been in good standing at the time of their account being compromised, what is the issue with requiring another RFA? The main difference that comes to mind is that the standards for being an administrator may have changed significantly since they were last given the bit, but I don't see that as being a situation where requiring an RFA would be an overall burden on the community.--WaltCip (talk) 12:25, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    I don't think anyone wants to deal with 27 questions and 5-10 serial opposers finding a silly reason to oppose (which will happen because the account was compromised, no matter what the reason was) spread out over one week. Even the recent new admins with near-perfect RFAs were still answering pointlessly-complex questions long after it was clear they would be promoted. ZettaComposer (talk) 12:44, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    @WaltCip: - 2 main problems: depending on your admin field, a person may have created significant opposition in the acceptable course of their duties. Second, ARBCOM has demonstrated multiple members do not have a great idea about security aspects, despite being an intelligent group of people. I imagine the general knowledge about security is significantly lower in an RfA. Nosebagbear (talk)
    All fair points, though I think that speaks more to the RfA process being flawed as a whole rather than the proposed process by ARBCOM which is to require a re-confirmation RfA for compromised accounts, because anyone who edits in a controversial field of Wikipedia (like American politics or any of the WP:DSTOPICS) would be subject to the first point you made, regardless of their status. I don't think it's too much of an ask to have some sort of re-confirmation step (like a CratChat, as proposed below), even if it's not an RfA.--WaltCip (talk) 13:22, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    I would note that that suggestion would not (from my POV) be a "all compromised admin accounts go through it", it'd be a "if ARBCOM thinks a competence/conduct failure was sufficiently bad that a de-sysopping would be reasonable, then the 'Crats would have at it". Nosebagbear (talk) 14:00, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • If you must have an idea like this, then why not require a 'CratChat - much higher % who are technically adept, a much higher community trust level - seems a good compromise. Nosebagbear (talk) 13:12, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • If an account is compromised it should be locked until the owner can secure it. If those who manage the lock and unlock (stewards? bureaucrats?) get a feeling that the user was negligent and that user has advanced ops, then they could report it to ArbCom and if necessary a case could be started to determine if the user has violated policy to the extent that they should have their ops removed. That's how the process should work in fairness to all. ArbCom should not take it on themselves to start cases when nobody in the community has complained. Jehochman Talk 14:08, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    • @Jehochman: Theoretically, I'd support this, but in practice, there are grave difficulties. Discussing account security with a compromised admin should happen off-wiki for BEANS reasons, but the bureaucrats no longer have a mailing list. It was shut down by the community, so they have no way to perform this role. It's worth noting that mailing list existed when the existing policy was written. Further, only ArbCom has the information relevant to determine if a user was negligent in many cases. We seek information directly from the WMF, and they are generally very forthcoming to us about details of an attack on the understanding that we will keep that information private due to our confidentiality agreements. At the very least, they will privately tell us the suspected vector of attack if requested by us, which is not always the case when asked publicly. It's unclear how the bureaucrats could ever make a determination on whether the admin left their account vulnerable without being able to discuss or speak with the WMF off-wiki. (Also, please do keep in mind that arbitrators are community members, too. I think that basic concept is lost a bit in your last statement. If no arbitrator - who is a community member - expressed concern based on the private information we received, no case would be started, presumably. We're just community members that may be in a better position to have information relevant to whether or not we should be concerned in this case.) ~ Rob13Talk 14:18, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
      • Maybe the flow of information needs to be changed. We should probably think about the best way to address community issues rising from account security, rather than trying to fit square pegs in round holes. Maybe the mailing list needs to be reinstated, with secure archiving and proper oversight. Jehochman Talk 14:30, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
      • I don't think bureaucrats have an appetite to get involved in the investigative process. The committee's advisement as to whether a previously compromised user is now fulfilling their security requirements and accordingly the committee endorses a resysop is still desired. I think this is all just a matter of some unfortunate wording in the recent communique and perhaps previous motions which implied the committee had the authority to actually sysop users. –xenotalk 14:47, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • RFA is something of a trial by fire, where a user's whole conduct and merits are measured by the hoi polloi—it is an arduous process, and though I think most admins would pass RFA again if tested, is it really appropriate to require this of them when they would have been desysopped on purely technical grounds? (And would most of them pass? It's quite easy to make enemies) If they are desysopped on technical grounds, they should be judged on technical grounds by some sort of crat chat as Nosebagbear mentioned above. Also, any sort of delay or chance they might not be resysopped after being compromised makes compromising an even more effective tool for abuse, and could make such abuse targeted. Pinguinn 🐧 14:54, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    We deal with "technical" breaches of policy all the time, indeed all breaches of policy are technically breaches, but in each case the issue sometimes becomes what more does it mean, matter, or portend, and in each case we then investigate it somewhere, whether at AN/I or at Arbcom. And it seems Arbcom is what makes sense here, unless you want a bunch of ADMINACT questions at AN/I. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:05, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    I mean "technical" in the computing sense, in that compromises of accounts (unless the password was given away intentionally) are in some manner or another a security breach, not a policy breach. I certainly do not profess advanced knowledge of how such accounts are compromised or if, in any certain scenario where an admin has been compromised, that admin had been negligent in securing their account. I doubt many people do. Yet I and people like me would be voting at an RfA or commenting at ANI. So I agree with you that Arbcom or crats should be the ones to handle this as sufficiently experienced users who deal with nonpublic information all the time. But they shouldn't be throwing such judgements back to the community in the form of reconfirmation RfAs. If Arbcom believes a user has been so negligent in securing their account to not resysop them immediately after they have been compromised, what can the community add to that judgement? It certainly doesn't seem like best practice to potentially let them overturn it. Pinguinn 🐧 08:05, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I honestly believe that every computer is compromised at this point. It is only a question of by whom and what they plan to do with the data. Maybe you have a virus, maybe you have a virus checker that is busy uploading 'samples' of your 'suspicious data' (especially key logs of your password entries). Maybe you have a compromised browser (which one isn't -- Tor was screwing around without a rubber thanks to a Firefox de-certification of all plug-ins including NoScript the day that Wall Street Market was taken down last week). Maybe you have a compromised operating system (Microsoft has all the same shit in its terms and conditions as any free or pay virus checker). I truly believe that there is not one admin here that the NSA couldn't have their account posting dick pics in half an hour. The only thing up to you is how much you want to reward the spies for using their god-like power should they choose to. Wnt (talk) 15:37, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • If your password was "123456", you need a new RfA. Otherwise, ArbCom should not be creating new policy out of thin air by requiring RfAs for hacked accounts. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 21:42, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    Amazing! That's the same password I have on my luggage! ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 13:14, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
    Admins' passwords are required by the software to be at least 10 characters long. * Pppery * survives 22:23, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
    1234567890, then?--WaltCip (talk) 11:59, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Does that apply to admins that haven't changed their password since 2006? Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:10, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Yeah. If their password is something like 'Password' or 1234 they'll be asked to change it, probably everytime they log in using Special:Userlogin. But a "skip" button also exists, so it's not being forced, at least for now. – Ammarpad (talk) 13:04, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

Draft PRODEdit

I know this is a borderline perennial proposal, but why is it that this doesn't exist? Stuff like Draft:Fisayor Montana are perfect candidates for non-speedy but non-discussion based deletion: apparent self-promotion based draft created by a user that goes on to sock to promote himself, would be A7 eligible in mainspace, but doesn't fit any of the G-criteria, MfD seems like a waste of effort, and keeping it around doesn't really do anyone any good.

I hate to say this, but it isn't exactly like draft space is filled with hidden gems. Most of it is crap that will never be mainspace eligible but gets a pass at CSD because we don't apply it that strictly to drafts, and no one wants to bother going through MfD for it. PROD makes sense here. I'm not proposing a formal RfC (yet), but getting views on PRODs for drafts outside the normal circles who discuss draft deletion would be useful to forming a potential proposal in my view. TonyBallioni (talk) 05:08, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Support. It would be helpful to extirpate the dross at source. Xxanthippe (talk) 05:54, 15 May 2019 (UTC).
  • Support expanding the scope of PROD to cover drafts is a good idea.Reyk YO! 06:02, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Virtually all draftspace pages are virtually unwatched, and so this is a backdoor WP:NEWCSD. WP:PROD only works acceptably in mainsapce because it is assumed that all worthy pages are watched, and for the few exceptions, there are Category:Proposed deletion patrollers. The requested new CSD doesn't exist because for every draftpage that is not CSD eligible, CSG#G13 suffices. Draft:Fisayor Montana looks pretty WP:CSD#G11-eligible, so what is the point of that example? I do support WP:CSD#A11 being broadened to draftspace, with caveats, such as the author being advised of a WP:REFUND route.
It is true that most of it is crap. This is mostly because mostly only newcomers with no Wikipedia skills try to write new pages there. For all others, they learn about WP:DUD. Everyone is welcome to edit Wikipedia articles, but this should be be taken to the extension that everyone is welcome to start new topics before even becoming autoconfirmed. The probability of a newcomer arriving with a new topic that is so far un-covered anywhere in mainspace, and needs a new page *now*, and some Wikipedian is not already writing, is vanishingly small. To the extent that it is true that all draftspace pages may as well be deleted without care, it is true that all of draftspace should be shut down. The costs of running draftspace for AfC for newcomers who can't be bothered to spend four days and ten edits improving existing content far exceeds the value of the pages that come out of AfC and couldn't have been started in mainspace or userspace. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:50, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
    • Well, I disagree that the page in question met G11 which is about tone, not intent, but someone else disagreed and went ahead and deleted it. That’s unfortunate in my view because stretching G11 for cases like this just renforces the idea that it is the main/only way to deal with promo crap, which isn’t true. I also disagree with what you say about it being a new CSD; it takes 7 days and allows removal by the author. If I’m reading the rest of your comment correctly you’re arguing draft space is a failure, which I agree with, but I’m also not sure why that’s a reason to oppose this. TonyBallioni (talk) 11:28, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
      • I didn’t see the deleted page, only the deletion log. I have supported a number of CSD expansions, but the usual opposition defeating them is that G11 serves. Can we temp-undelete the delete page? If it needs deletion, and G11 doesn’t apply, then there’s a problem needing a solution. I think a draftprod allowing the author, and effectively only the author as no one else is watching, to remove it, is not a useful way to go, because either the author will simply remove it, or the author has left to not return and there is no harm in letting it sit the six months. I also don’t like it because it is a perversion of the PROD system, which was predicated on it being used on pages that editors are watching.
        On the whole of draftspace being a failure, my problem is that this is a part solution that is far short of a solution. This is really just a comment, not the reason to oppose. I think we might be agreeing that there is a problem needing some solution.
        I think there is widespread variation in understanding of the scope of G11. I don’t agree that it is limited to tone. I think G11 is well applied to anything remotely interpreted as promotion if it is unsourced, or sourced or linking only to unsuitable sources, most typically YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the subject’s personal website. A recent discussion on differences of interpretated scope of G11 is at User talk:SmokeyJoe#Re: Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Draft:Laura with me. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:26, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
The worst thing about AfC and draftspace is that invites wide-eyed newcomers to start a new page, in isolation from the real community, isolated from mainspace editors with similar topic interests, and leaves them to wallow. Draftspace PROD would only make this worse. Better to not invite them to start new pages in the first place, better to tell them to improve existing content. No new worthy topic is an orphan topic. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:24, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Neutral I support in principle, but most of the crap gets cleaned up automatically. I'm worried that becoming too deletionist in draft space could be on the WP:BITEy side. There's plenty of stuff in draft space which is fine, or which helps the writer become acquainted with our processes. I also agree there probably needs to be some way to more easily clean up pages like the one TonyBallioni identified. I don't know where I'd vote on an RfC, I'd want it to be narrowly tailored, hence my neutral stance. SportingFlyer T·C 12:42, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose until there is evidence that there is a need to delete drafts that are not speedy deletion candidates sooner than G13 allows and that there are so many of these that MfD would be overwhelmed. Despite multiple draft prod suggestions over several years, nobody has been able to demonstrate there is a problem that draft prod would be capable of solving. Thryduulf (talk) 16:10, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CREEP, CSD G13 is completely adequate to its task. I don't think we are running out of space in the Draft: namespace. UnitedStatesian (talk) 16:14, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as WP:CREEP. The existing tools work well enough. -- RoySmith (talk) 16:39, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment first this is not a proposal it was trying to open a discussion about what would be an acceptable form of proposed deletion for drafts. There is literally nothing to support or propose. Second, to the CREEP point, this is the exact opposite of CREEP. It’s removing the completely unnecessary step of MfD for deleting hopeless drafts.
    Finally, RoySmith, to your point: the current CSD criteria do not work. We have a massive AFC backlog, well over 80% of which will never be mainspace ready and probably 50%+ would be A7 eligible if in mainspace. Draft space is broken and is nothing more than a dumping ground for stuff that’s going to be deleted 6 months after the author gives up on trying to write their autobiography in most cases. Having an actual discussion about making processing of drafts work in 2019 rather than in the 2005 era mindset of every byte of text being sacred is needed. Not because keeping them around is that harmful, but because it isn’t beneficial, and it takes time away from reviewers focusing on the minority of drafts that will actually become articles. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:55, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
    • What is the benefit in deleting "hopeless" [citation needed] drafts sooner than 6 months? Specifically, how will this improve the encyclopaedia and increase editor retention? If it doesn't do both of those things then I don't really see it as something worthwhile spending any time or effort on. Thryduulf (talk) 17:44, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
      • Thryduulf, the benefit is that it would create a painless deletion process for drafts that no one would oppose at MfD. Would provide those who work in draft space with more options, while also providing new users with more flexibility to contest deletions than creating a draft specific CSD criteria. There is zero benefit to the encyclopedia in keeping the mass of A7-quality drafts around until G13 comes along. I'd also support getting rid of draft space all together and just have people wait 4 days to create a new page as has been suggested a few times here, but I doubt that would gain consensus (and I think the PROD method would be better for saving new content, fwiw.) TonyBallioni (talk) 19:20, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
    • I think there's a great difference between drafts that were created in draft space and then neglected, and articles that editors have chosen to move to draft space with little quality control over whether they should have been moved there in the first place, but in neither case do we need any new procedure and neither contributes to the AfC backlog unless they are submitted to AfC. My preferred solution would be to do away with draft space altogether and get back to the normal wiki process by which articles on notable subjects are developed in main space, and ones on non-notable subjects are deleted. The whole process of moving articles to draft and then speedy deleting on sight after six months is simply disruptive. I don't normally look out for such articles but I noticed Franz von Gernerth yesterday, and have seen other articles on clearly notable topics before that should never have been draftified. If the same standards are to be applied to articles in draft space as to those in main space then what is the point of draft space? Phil Bridger (talk) 18:34, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I see no evidence of any problem which must be dealt with more urgently than G13 allows and isn't covered by G10, G11 or G12. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 13:31, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose As there are so few watchers that a prod would go unnoticed. There is no hurry to delete the harmless material, and te harmful content gets deleted via other speedy deletion criteria anyway. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 08:46, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment: I agree with this PROD in principle because it's always been something I thought we should probably have; while G13 is generally reserved for drafts that might have some promise but neither the creator or other editors are interested in improving. However, I'm not aware of how many drafts arrive through the Article Wizard (it would be interesting to know) and hence how many of the drafters blatantly disregard the instructions at the Article Wizard. One possible solution would be to increase ACPERM to 90/500 and deprecate AfC entirely. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:50, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I generally see the Draft namespace as not fit for purpose, and a draft PROD as an improvement. The main problem is that the existence of G13 virtually guarantees the deletion of a draft after six months regardless of any other considerations, it discourages evaluation of a draft before deletion. We need the deletion process to be more discerning overall: and it's a step in this direction if editors can prod the bad drafts leaving a smaller pile of stuff with higher potential for others to sort through before everything gets bulldozed after the set period of inactivity. – Uanfala (talk) 11:33, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as unnecessary and overly aggressive to newbies, hundreds of drafts are deleted every day through csd G13, 11 and 12 and G6 can be used for BLP violations such as bios about private people, while deletion for test edits can be used for single sentence efforts. There are many good articles in draft space that would be vulnerable to prod and give more workload to prod patrollers, thanks Atlantic306 (talk) 19:37, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

Woe to them which are but bunches of numbers!Edit

How authoritative is WP:Basic copyediting when it states: "The month, day, year style of writing dates requires a comma after the year, e.g. On September 15, 1947, she began her first year at Harvard"? I ask because recently I discovered an IP (Special:Contributions/137.187.235.102) that was doing just the opposite in dozens of articles. Their arguably good faith contributions look to have been confused as vandalism and rolled back.

[19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24]

Regards, Guywan (talk) 11:50, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

I think it's very authoritative, especially since the final comma would be there to mark the end of an introductory phrase, even if the year weren't somewhat oddly treated similarly to how an unrestrictive appositive would be (compare how "On 15 September 1947" would be treated). Dhtwiki (talk) 20:49, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

RfC regarding italicization of the names of websites in citations and referencesEdit

There is a request for comment about the italicization of the names of websites in citations and references at Help talk:Citation Style 1#Italics of websites in citations and references – request for comment. Please contribute. SchreiberBike | ⌨  04:57, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Talk pages consultation 2019 – phase 2Edit

The Wikimedia Foundation has invited the various Wikimedia communities, including the English Wikipedia, to participate in a consultation on improving communication methods within the Wikimedia projects.

Phase 2 of the consultation has now begun; as such, a request for comment has been created at Wikipedia:Talk pages consultation 2019/Phase 2. All users are invited to express their views. Individual WikiProjects, user groups and other communities may also consider creating their own requests for comment; instructions are at mw:Talk pages consultation 2019/Participant group sign-up. (To keep discussion in one place, please don't reply to this comment.) Jc86035 (talk) 14:48, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

COI editing - further limitations to handle lawyeringEdit

Currently, the rule for COI is as follows:

Editors with a COI, including paid editors, are expected to disclose it whenever they seek to change an affected article's content. Anyone editing for pay must disclose who is paying them, who the client is, and any other relevant affiliation; this is a requirement of the Wikimedia Foundation. Also, COI editors should not edit affected articles directly, but propose changes on article talk pages instead.

I was looking recently at requested edits, and found on Axios (website) a requested edit by a COI editor that had resulted in a sprawling discussion on rules lawyering, whitewashing, and whether or not a specific website should be cited. Looking further into the issue, the user at question has a history of being a WP:LAWYER to get changes made for their clients. The Huffington Post article being debated on the talk page discussed the user's misuse of petitioning users on their talk pages to chime in in that editor's favor. Looking personally into that user's history (leaving the debatable Huffington Post article aside), I found that the user's talk page history is full of deletions, and the user's contributions is full of messages added to other user's talk pages to obtain support for their rules mongering.

This is not to point fingers at one specific user, though I believe that user is a problem, but rather to point at the general hole in WP policy that allows this to occur. COI is bad, but lawyering 'in the rules' COI is insidious. The success of this one particular user at doing what they do indicates to me a system that needs repairing.

I propose that there needs to be editing to the COI policy to prevent this kind of rules lawyering. Thoughts?

(This is my first time posting here, so I apologize if I did anything wrong. Advice and feedback is of course welcome.) --Nerd1a4i (talk) 20:08, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

Well, if memory serves this incident was discussed at WP:AN a while ago and it was conclusively found to not be an instance of rules lawyering. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:47, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@Jo-Jo Eumerus I'd be interested to see a link to that, but regardless, that proves my point precisely: what this person is doing is within the rules, but I'd argue it's detrimental, and that the rules need to be changed to prevent it. --Nerd1a4i (talk) 21:15, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Link to summary "closure", but the full discussion is at the parent section. - PaulT+/C 22:50, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Psantora Thank you for linking that. Reading through that discussion only further indicated to me how the rules here need to be rejiggered...the talk page for Axios (website) includes the user claiming that the 'close' there supports him, while really it's just saying that that space is not the right one for discussing banning paid editing. There need to be at minimum further limitations upon paid editors, if they are not banned outright. --Nerd1a4i (talk) 01:47, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
If that is what you think, then follow the summary's directions: the suggestion that those who wish to see a change in policy initiate a RFC as described on WP:PAID and not have such conversations at AN where many editors will not see it. I don't think it needs to be brought up again here. As an aside, can you please point to what you mean by the talk page for Axios (website) includes the user claiming that the 'close' there supports him, while really it's just saying that that space is not the right one for discussing banning paid editing? - PaulT+/C 18:36, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Psantora The direct quote is "Namely, an independent admin, User:SoWhy, summed up the consensus of the Admin Noticeboard as 'a) the article was written by someone who has no idea how Wikipedia works and b) the editor mentioned in said article has not violated any policies or ToU.'" Just doing ctrl-F for "SoWhy" finds the comment. And also, sure, I'll start the discussion at the right spot. Apologies. --Nerd1a4i (talk) 22:54, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
That is (accurately) directly quoted from Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Requests for closure/Archive 28#Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#HuffPost article on WP COI editing. Also, it looks like there already is an RFC at Talk:Axios (website)#RfC: Paid Wikipedia editing, though I don't think it follows the instructions at WP:PAID for changing that particular policy "with legal considerations" and looks to only apply to the article in question. Anyway, just something to think about. Thanks for the quote. - PaulT+/C 01:25, 21 May 2019 (UTC) Actually, now that I just checked, the quote is also directly from the summary "closure". Not sure how I missed that. - PaulT+/C 01:28, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

Is the Library of Congress a reliable and admissible source for a person's birth date?Edit