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

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
This is a close, complicated by allegations of votestacking, which might, in itself, be reason for finding "no consensus". The OP has premised this as a means to resolve conflict/disruption as a systemic/ongoing issue. They note that the guidelines (RETAIN and ENGVAR) that normally resolve these issues do not explicitly apply to categories. I have looked for a "weight" of arguement to support or oppose the proposition that the solution is to stanardiz[s]e on a particular spelling in categories (as opposed to !votes). The most compelling arguements are to embrace our differences. Perhaps this might be done in a more formal way and make this explicit to categories (CREEP to avoid CREEP - irony). Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 12:06, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

  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.
    • 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.
    • 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)
    Followup comment: Regarding WP:ENGVAR, there is a big difference between articles and categories. Individual articles can happily co-exist with different ENGVARs, however categories are encyclopedia-wide and a category naming must be done (as best we can) from an encyclopedia-wide perspective. WP:ENGVAR does not apply to categories, and I reject slippery slope arguments that this proposal is a threat to article content. The opposes are making a very poor argument that unpredictably and inexplicably confusing the majority is somehow preferable over predictability and minimizing the issue. I also urge the closer to take into account Closing discussions#How to determine the outcome that consensus is not determined by counting heads, and the fact that there was an abrupt surge of oppose-votes after this discussion was selectively canvassed. That surge in opposes is clearly not an accurate reflection of general community consensus, and canvassed responses should be weighted accordingly. For comparison, I closed a 20-vs-10 RFC[9] with a firm consensus for the 10, after almost entirely discounting the majority as blatantly canvassed. In this case the result is easier - I believe there is still a majority for Z even with the canvassed responses. Alsee (talk) 22:31, 8 June 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.[10] 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 [11]: 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 [12]: 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 [13]: 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[14] 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 [15] 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[16] 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)
    Creating a straw man argument and then being dismissive of it as an option, does not change that the notification was clearly done in contravention of WP:Canvassing. Make no mistake - if such disruption were to continue, any uninvolved admin, may choose to take preventative action, which could include blocking. I would rather to not see that happen. - jc37 23:13, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Jc37: Please explain what about my reasoning constitutes a straw man argument. You have claimed there was inappropriate canvassing; your justification was 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). In my reply, I have explained why this is not the case with a supporting example. Levivich has raised a valid objection (there was technically another option), so I have pored over the discussion and found virtually no-one taking it seriously. I summarised and examined the one serious !vote I observed, and found it to be completely lacking in policy-based reasoning. Then in your reply, you repeat your initial assertion and for some reason raise the possibility of a block. Why? – Teratix 00:50, 6 June 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)
  • @jc37 - Can you clarify why WP:RETAIN would not apply in the light of WP:AT, which advises that "…The rest of MoS […] applies also to the title."? Thanks. I'm just trying to better understand the blend of guidelines. ogenstein (talk) 01:30, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    • Well, first off this discussion concerns category titles not article titles. Secondly, I went to WP:AT for find your quote to see what context might be found there, and when I did a page search for the word "applies" (among others), I did not find anything like the sentence you quoted. But to answer generally: We follow the MoS when applicable, though, when necessary, we of course may WP:IAR, or create new exceptions to the MoS, as necessary, as well. Which I believe is the intent of this proposal, and what you all appear to be discussing the merits of. - jc37 23:13, 2 June 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)
  • It's easy to say use British for UK/Commonwealth and US otherwise but what about the rest of the world? TBH I do think things should be standardiz/sed but how, eh? Maybe British for Europe and American for the rest of the world. --Hanyangprofessor2 (talk) 08:50, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" per Phil Bridger. In my estimation, that encapsulates the argument. CThomas3 (talk) 00:36, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment So you want to force uniformity and tromp on one 'side' or the other, but "hard redirects are too hard"? Precluding a technical solution while preferring a politiciṡ̃ƶed solution seems to incline towards bias rather than away from it. "Or what's a wiki for?" Shenme (talk) 14:18, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment - British spelling isn't so much a mode of spelling as it is a set of stylizations which make it different from the American or Irish English. This small set of stylizations can be listed and evaluated, and each seems like they will come up short, when put to a vote (as is here). Why use s when its vocalized z? Why use ou instead of just o, per French influence (is everything French the ideal form?). -ApexUnderground (talk) 06:48, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
So you believe everything should be spelt phonetically? Cavalryman V31 (talk) 07:14, 16 June 2019 (UTC).
The problem always is on which accent should you base the phonetics? Template:@ApexUnderground is that not the wrong way around? The major differences between English and American English spelling came about by Webster's concious decision. As regards s/z and or/our there are subtle differences in pronunciation. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 12:47, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

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

Post closure discussionEdit

Compassionate727 made this post at WP:ANRFC:

re Cinderella157 Having read your summary, I find myself unsure what your finding is. What does "embrace our differences in a more formal way" even mean? And is your closing rationale an actual finding of consensus, or your opinion as to what editors seemed to lean toward supporting most, but will require another RfC to action? Please clarify both of these things.

As this has been archived there, I will respond here. Please note a copy edit to my close. As QEDK observed at WP:ANRFC, there is [alleged] VOTESTACKING and multiple proposals. The former is, itself, reason to find "no consensus" as opposed to "consensus against". There are many !VOTES each way and some alternative proposals that take a middle ground (but without sufficiently clear support). There are arguements of MOS:COMMONALITY etc on the one hand and ENGVAR and RETAIN on the other. COMMONALITY does not appear to say what the title might imply.

BHG has Identified a problem, provided an appreciation of the issues and proposed a solution - to standardise on a particular spelling. Part of their appreciation is that ENGVAR and RETAIN do not explicitly apply to categories. Where they do explicitly apply (to articles and titles), they are the solution - if not a perfect solution. The general leaning is to embrace the difference (ENGVAR) and/or adopt a middle ground. Assuming there is a general perception that a solution is required, this would need to be formalised, that ENGVAR and RETAIN be broadly construed and applicable to categories; or, a middle-ground proposal achieving consensus would also need to be formalised. So yes, if there is a will to proceed, this will probably require a further RfC. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 00:42, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

  • @Cinderella157: just to clarify, do you believe there was indeed canvassing (i.e. do the allegations have any substance?) – Teratix 01:03, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
    • I did not attempt to make a determination about the "substance" of the allegations - not my remit. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 08:15, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
      • @Cinderella157: why, then, did you cite them in your closing statement as a possible reason for finding no consensus? Did they affect your decision or not? If not, why mention them at all? – Teratix 08:50, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
        • I concluded the allegations would "taint" any close. Your persistance on this point only serves to affirm my conclusion. Cinderella157 (talk) 10:36, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I will support the summary that the best decision is having consensus that there is no consensus. I have no idea how this issue/non-issue can be sorted out - except saying that User:Cinderella157's thoughts that we should embrace ENGVAR are probably the right thing to do for now. Otherwise we will just get bogged down in this discussion for months. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:05, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Perhaps we could consider for each country whether there is clear evidence of local usage? I'm not convinced that membership of the Commonwealth has much influence on spelling, and it seems strange to impose ENGVAR in places where English is not a local language. Rathfelder (talk) 14:23, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

Please STOP - the discussion has been closed. Give it a rest. Blueboar (talk) 15:08, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

Cinderella157 when I started closing RFCs, I set a pair of goals for myself. In my opinion crucial criteria for the job are (1) being willing and able to close against one's own preference on an issue, and (2) knowing when to close against a majority and being willing and able to do so. My most memorable close was a 20 vs 10 discussion, where I issued a firm close for the minority. I mention this because 17 of the majority-20 were blatantly Canvassed to the discussion. I gave the canvassed votes all the weight they warranted - NONE. After discarding the 17 fabricated votes it was actually a 10 vs 3 discussion. Unsurprisingly the 10 had the right answer.

  • This RFC was running about 75% support before it was massively canvassed. As a closer your "remit" is to serve the community, by putting the close on this that the community as a whole would want you to put, to the best of your ability. If I create 100 accounts and cast 100 votes on an RFC, those votes are obviously not any reflection of community consensus. If I canvass 100 votes from others onto an RFC, those votes are equally not any sort of reflection of community consensus. You acknowledge above that you made no effort whatsoever to account for canvassing. You didn't attempt to assess the consensus of the community. I believe this is grounds to overturn the close. I request that you withdraw the close yourself.
  • Your given rationale for the close was that you set aside any numbers, and that you closed based on the weight of arguments. While that can be a valid basis for a close, it's hollow here. A primary argument of supporters is that chaotic category names disruptively hinders the work of editors. Your closing rationale is that disruption of work is is irrelevant against the all-overriding-weight-of-argument.... to embrace our differences. I literally had to do a confused double-take trying to figure out what your rationale even meant. All I see is "empty fluffy supervote". If your going to make the core of your close an overriding weight-of-argument then you need to cite something credibly respectable. The hollow rationale here is either grounds for overturning the close, or more support for the case.
  • I was disappointed but not surprised when I skimmed your usertalk. Not only did you conveniently close in favor of your personal spelling preference, it borders on statistical anomaly that this RFC would randomly be closed by someone who prefers 's' to the unusual degree that you do. You use 's' on everything, including "winterised". According to Google "winterised" is a borderline-fringe 6.8% usage. "Winterized" comes up at 93.2%. While it may well be a coincidence that you personally lean so far towards 's', it hardly gives confidence that your disregard of canvassing and the substance-free rationale are an unbiased assessment. To put a positive spin on it, maybe you just didn't notice how far out of sync your use of 's' is with the rest of the planet.

P.S. I've never been involved in this issue other than responding to the RFC. However I do care about respectable closes. Alsee (talk) 15:42, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Commentary that considers consensus in terms of votes and percentages and weight in binary terms is fundamentally at odds with the WP concept of consensus - WP:NOTDEMOCRACY.
  • If the allegations of VOTESTACKING are presumed, would it rally be possible to objectively disentangle the result and without an hue and cry ensuing? I could not see a sound objective basis.
  • Casting aspersions of bias is unbecoming. Statistics should be (IMO) used with caution to define or resolve a social issue. "Winteris[z]ed" is not the subject of this discussion. The comments made have the appearance to me of polemic ad hominem. "Vilifying groups of editors" for following different spelling conventions does not foster collaboration and respect.
  • Your closing rationale is that disruption of work is is irrelevant against ... This is a gross misrepresentation. As such, it is both uncivil and a strawman arguement. Please do not misconstrue my circumspection for other than what it is.
  • If the problem requires resolution, move forward to a result that will achieve broad support of the community. A strong consensus has bipartisan support that everybody can live with. Unilateral decisions are generally weak.
Cinderella157 (talk) 04:28, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

Close contested by Alsee at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Close review - Village Pump discussion on spelling of category names. Cinderella157 (talk) 00:11, 27 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Did we come to a consensus (or a consensus to not agree) on this topic? I note the above contested close? Master Of Ninja (talk) 11:41, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Actually I note that further discussion on this topic is now being done at this page posted above by Cinderella157. It sounds like everyone there is also agreeing to disagree, and no-one can come up with a good summary of the outcome of the discussion. Master Of Ninja (talk) 05:53, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Haha, I had noticed the the post-post closure discussion had moved there, with everyone just rehashing their discussion and post closure discussion POVs on the RfC.
The truth is no one wanted to make a determination for over a month, then when someone bravely did (and unsurprisingly determined no consensus) they were attacked for having the courage to make a close.
As for Alsee,s arguments for overturning the close, they boil down to:
  • Cinderella didn’t vote count after discounting a number of !votes
  • Cinderella is Australian and so could never make in impartial decision
Anyhoo, we will wait and see. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 09:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC).

Guideline: Avoid Plus-One-More-Thing listsEdit

Representative examples can be useful to aid understanding a topic but this can never include all possible examples. Nevertheless, it's easy to add the one more example that a user cares about. Each individual user is acting in good faith but the resulting article decreases in quality.

In the article on weight training is this Plus-One-More-Thing list.

Sports where strength training is central are bodybuilding, weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, highland games, hammer throw, shot put, discus throw, and javelin throw. Many other sports use strength training as part of their training regimen, notably: American football, baseball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, mixed martial arts, rowing, rugby league, rugby union, track and field, boxing and wrestling.

The examples are not wrong but they do not help the reader.

I suggest a content guideline to avoid these ad-hoc lists. --TomCerul (talk) 15:07, 7 June 2019 (UTC)

  • I believe there are already guidelines to this effect. There's WP:NOTDIRECTORY generally and MOS:SEEALSO and MOS:NAVLIST more specifically. However, I agree that it's a good idea in principle and would not oppose any attempt to make it a more specific section of the Manual of Style. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 06:15, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • In the specific example chosen, the phrase "notably" should necessitate that each of the list items be supported by a citation, either individually or collectively. I think that a guideline could include the need for individual or collective support by reliable sources. Further, a limit could be imposed (say, 5 items) with expansive lists beyond this value relegated to an article note (either in References or Notes section). --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 02:41, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @TomCerul: Just to clarify, are you suggesting a guideline to avoid creating lists that could grow out of control this way? Or a guideline that says If you see a list of a few representative examples like this, resist the temptation to tack on one more example just because? Colin M (talk) 19:21, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • @Colin M: I'd say that 2 - 3 examples can be helpful but I encourage people to limit the total number of examples in a list. If the only change being made is adding yet another item to a list, it's probably not a helpful edit. TomCerul (talk) 14:23, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I normally cite the essay Wikipedia:Example cruft when paring example farms.—Bagumba (talk) 14:59, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Ah, that looks right on the money, particularly the Writing about examples of the phenomenon section: "Before adding yet another example, pause to ask whether it will help readers unravel the many facets of the concept". Colin M (talk) 16:20, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

Suggestion: Ability to soft-block users.Edit

If an user has good faith, but makes low-quality edits due to being a Wikipedia beginner, they could be soft-blocked, meaning that they can still submit edits, but all of their edits will be stored as pending changes instead of being published immediately. This concept already exists on the German Wikipedia (as WP:Sighting). ––Chanc20190325 (talk) 01:15, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

I think on English Wikipedia WP:SOFTBLOCK might have a different meaning than perhaps it does on German Wikipedia. -- Marchjuly (talk) 10:10, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
This helps explain all of the weird colors I see when I try to edit DE-wiki or look at an article's edit history. Softlavender (talk) 10:36, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Hmm like a "moderated" reverse-right? I personally don't find pending changes helpful when patrolling because as much work is involved to audit, versus semi-protection that prevents them (of course, the difference is that it's only visible when logged-in). In this case, it would not introduce more work when patrolling (edits would have been done anyway if not moderated and show on watchlists/recent-changes), but may if it was commonly used in situations where editors would normally be under a block... The way pending changes currently work, they have special status like higher priority on watchlists; would these moderated edits be distinguishable from normal pending changes ones? Perhaps it'd help editor retention and be a good idea? Another thing worth wondering: if this was active and working, would the next proposal to prevent IP address editing alternatively propose to have all IP address editing moderated (however, similar proposals never gained much consensus)? —PaleoNeonate – 11:06, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Pending changes is buggy and useless at best, and harmful because it requires more patrolling at worst. If we should be having any discussion it would be about banning the use of this feature on, not expanding it. TonyBallioni (talk) 11:12, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
The editing level is probably very different to DE-Wikipedia, too —PaleoNeonate – 11:19, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
And this now reminds of the possibility of article revisions (where when an article reaches a certain quality status, a particular revision can be flagged as the last official one to publicly display). If I remember the functionality exists as a module but was never enabled/accepted on EN-Wiki. —PaleoNeonate – 11:25, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Tony here - PC, as currently used, is close to useless - edits still need to be reverted, the interface is opaque and confusing - and it seems to be a total lottery whether an edit gets approved or not, depending on the understanding of the reviewer as to what PC is even for. ...Having said that, there are more than a few occasions where I could see putting an editor's edits "on review" might be helpful, and it's a little tempting at first glance to imagine that PC could be 'repurposed' for that - but... you'd need an entirely different set of reviewers with a different mindset and a whole new set of procedures, plus PC would need to be able to be set per-user instead of per-article, which sounds like a nightmare interface-wise, and I'm not sure how you'd go about assembling that group of people and those interface changes/'rules'. -- Begoon 11:29, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • This would actually make the users more powerful - their PC-edits would block any page they edited on from edits taking place until it was processed. Nosebagbear (talk)
  • I attempted to get a better Pending-Change platform through on the Wishlist, but no joy there - it really doesn't work if 2 or more editors have participated, as processing them becomes extremely hard. Nosebagbear (talk) 15:22, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Some newbies actually need the time-out which allows the ones who are serious about helping to build an encyclopedia the time necessary to research and study our PAGs and learn a little more about the community. Pending changes only adds more work on top of piles of backlogs we're already dealing with - and like Tony said, it's buggy. Time out, and possible mentoring. Atsme Talk 📧 00:00, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Without commenting about my own views, I'd like to explain how this could be partially implemented using the current pending-changes software. This would be modeled after the current enwikibooks, were users who haven't met certain criteria yet have all of their edits to pc-protected pages flagged as "pending"
Extended content
  1. Create a new user group (referred to here as editor, but identical to the autoreview user group that comes with the FlaggedRevs extension - current, autopatrolled users are a part of the "autoreview" user group)
  2. Give the editor user group the autoreview user right, meaning that their edits are automatically patrolled when pending changes are enabled
  3. Automatically give the editor user group to users who meet the threshold for autoconfirmed using wmgAutopromoteOnceonEdit, but have it be an explicit user group like extendedconfirmed, rather than implicit like autoconfirmed
  4. Grant administrators the ability to grant and remove the editor user group using wgAddGroups and wgRemoveGroups
  5. Remove the autoreview right from the autoconfirmed user group
At this point, the rights changes are done. Normal users should have seen no change, since all users that currently have the autoreview right as part of the autoconfirmed group still have the right. However, since it is given using a different user group, it can, like extendedconfirmed, removed from (and given to) editors using Special:UserRights. To "soft-block" a user, a sysop can simply revoke their membership in the editor group, which would mean that all of the user's edits to pages in ns:0 (articles) and ns:4 (Wikipedia:) would be set as pending if the page already has pending changes enabled.
An alternative could be to revisit the use of Wikipedia:Deferred changes. --DannyS712 (talk) 02:50, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  • My understanding is that all new accounts are unconfirmed until they are at least four days old and have made ten edits. This means they are already limited in how they can edit any page which is protected, but can freely edit pretty much any non-protected page. It's the protection added to the page, which probably has nothing to do with these new editors, that restricts them from editing. What's not clear (at least to me) about this proposal is whether the OP wants to place some kind of restriction on all new editors or only those editors whose first few edits seem to be a problem.
    The first approach sort of sounds like a learner's permit for editing where the new accounts are allowed to edit, but only under supervision or review of some kind. I'd imagine that most people who edit for the first time expect their edits to go live when they press "Publish changes", but this would sort of be like requiring them to press "Propose changes" instead. Since Wikipedia encourages editors to be BOLD, it seems to understand and accepts that mistakes are going to be made, and hopes that these will eventually be caught and cleaned up by those more familiar with relevant policies and guidelines. This approach seems to limit BOLD to being applying to only after you've passed an entrance exam or completed an orientation of some kind.
    The second approach seems to be sort of like an "time out" or "teachable moment", where the edits are not enough of a problem to warrant perhaps a user warning or direct administrator involvement, but still require some kind of mild reprimand. The editor who made the good faith mistake gets limited access for some designated period of time or mumber of edits in the hope that they will learn from their mistake(s). This seems like it would be even harder to implement than a learner's permit approach because you're first going to have to determine how low is a "low-quality edit" (i.e. simple formatting or style errors, WP:RS error, BLP or copyright violation) and then determine who is going to explain why the edit was a problem. Are these editors going to all be required to participate in some Wikipedia re-education class where they will receive advice on how to edit properly? What if they don't want to? They might just stop editing altogether or decide to do so as an IP or different account.
    I think OP's proposal is well intended, but also seems like something which would have a hard time receiving the kind of support it would need from the community to be effectively implemented. -- Marchjuly (talk) 06:00, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

It's worth considering something like this, at least. We should avoid hard blocks as much as possible. Benjamin (talk) 01:41, 30 June 2019 (UTC)

Hyphens and DashesEdit

Question the firstEdit

Which method of dash insertion is preferred? A raw insertion ( — ), or an HTML character code ( &mdash; )?

MOS:DASH does not make this clear. GUYWAN ( t · c ) 16:10, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

I would have thought the raw insertion. There's even a blue link in the box at the bottom of the edit window, to enable this without finding the unicode shortcut. We don't want to be inserting HTML into pages unless necessary.  — Amakuru (talk) 17:16, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
There is no preference. The default monospace font for most Windows users doesn't make it obvious the difference between one straight line versus the other in wikitext, so some people prefer the explicit character reference rather than the Unicode version. In fact, I am pretty sure there is an {{mdash}} for a third way. --Izno (talk) 20:28, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

Question the secondEdit

Also, the MOS states:

An em dash is always unspaced (without a space on either side):
Another "planet" was detected—but it was later found to be a moon of Saturn.
An en dash is spaced (with a space on each side) when used as sentence punctuation:
Another "planet" was detected – but it was later found to be a moon of Saturn.

Greenlighting two methods is just asking for trouble. Is this an American vs. British thing? Damn, I wish we could agree on something. GUYWAN ( t · c ) 16:10, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

Greenlighting two methods is just asking for trouble. [...] Damn, I wish we could agree on something. I agree with that, but that's called compromise. Most Wikipedia guidelines are like that, and trouble we have. ―Mandruss  17:03, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
I believe that this is more a case of individual style rather than an American vs. British thing—at least in British English I'm not aware of any preference for one usage over the other—but others – those who are expert in such matters – may know better than I do (and, anyway, I prefer to use brackets, which you may call parentheses, where possible). Phil Bridger (talk) 17:19, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I spent half an hour or more confused over this exact policy here. I would support changing to em dash—it's simply more readable to me—and perhaps other users. Perhaps grandfathering in en dash for current articles.--E.3 (talk) 14:41, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
I see what you did there, Phil Bridger, and I am sufficiently impressed. (^^)v
Just to clarify, am I free to use whatever method I wish, as long as it's consistent within the article? I will assume this is so, until I am contradicted. GUYWAN ( t · c ) 16:58, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
On a minor point, "[]" are brackets, "()" are parentheses. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 18:47, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
When and where I was educated (a long time ago in England) "()" were certainly called brackets. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:12, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Well in 1960s England they weren't. For that matter neither were they in 1880s England, though that's not from memory but from song lyrics. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 19:16, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I beg to differ about 1960s England, but, anyway, such nostalgia, although it would be nice to have a fight discussion somewhere, is probably irrelevant to this discussion. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:22, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

Question the thirdEdit

There appear to be many articles in which a hyphen ( - ) is incorrectly used in place of an em dash (or en dash). Example: Enuma Elis. A bot may be needed to convert this incorrect usage to one of the accepted usages. But which one? Perhaps this is the problem. Flip a coin, I say. GUYWAN ( t · c ) 16:10, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

So, regardless of how this discussion "ends" - expect hyphens to persist, as they are on keyboards.... — xaosflux Talk 16:53, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Also, I would be wary of deploying a bot to deal with the "problem". It might make mistakes, and render things worse than they are, or incorrect. Better to let the Gnomes and AWB handle it, as they always have. It's not a major deal if there are places where the MOS isn't fully applied.  — Amakuru (talk) 17:19, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
This is a regular request and is usually shot down as a WP:CONTEXTBOT. --Izno (talk) 20:29, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
I occasionally see this pointed out in discussions - and it's probably the MOS guideline I ignore the most. This definitely feels like a solution in search of a problem. Nosebagbear (talk) 23:02, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Guywan you may be interested in Greg's dash script, which does this. Running it is barely any more work than clicking edit, so I often just run it as part of an ordinary edit. I've only seen a couple of problems in all the times – certainly hundreds, possibly thousands – that I've run it. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 05:54, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
@Xaosflux: That's a fine nugget of wisdom right there. Touché, touché.
@Amakuru: The possibility of false positives; I suppose this is something that must be amended on a case-by-case basis.
@Adrian J. Hunter: I see someone has beat me to it! That tool may come in handy. Thank you, kindly. GUYWAN ( t · c ) 16:34, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

Encyclopedic MissionEdit

I am worried about the strident tone of the 'banners' that are now presented insistently to users. For example 'Wiki Loves Monuments', 'Holiday Photos', prize offerings, 'Gay Pride' etc. Dammit, we are an encyclopedia, not a pressure group, not social media, not a focus group. My hope is that some big beasts in Wikipedia will realise this and stop the nonsense — Preceding unsigned comment added by JohnWheater (talkcontribs) 14:45, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

In an effort to improve the encyclopedia, the community often organizes drives/initiatives regarding particular topics. Right now it's LGBT topics. We have lots of encyclopedia articles on LGBT topics which need improvement and/or illustration. We also like to illustrate our encyclopedia articles on monuments, holidays, etc. There are events dedicated to creating articles of women, of Asian artists, of suffragists, etc. Today's article for improvement is Bookworm (insect). Sometimes we have contests on particular subjects, like military history, or general contests to improve article quality like the WikiCup. There's Wiki Loves Africa, Wiki Loves Science, Wiki Loves Love... On the sillier side, there was even an initiative (not one organized by the community) to upload pictures of pigeons. Over on Commons, this month's contests are on "geology" and "keys and keyholes." I'd like to think that the opposition to this particular drive I've seen in a few venues now is based on a misunderstanding of these initiatives (or broad objection to highlighting particular subjects) rather than thinking that encyclopedia articles on LGBT topics are a particular part of the encyclopedia unworthy of focus. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:21, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
The tone of the top comment is homophobic or anti-Gay. It's not often explained, but Gays have been the backbone of the Western world, and Wikipedia is honored to let Gay activists into its community and its offices to undo the hundreds of years of damage done by Christians and other homophobic groups. -ApexUnderground (talk) 21:04, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
Well that latest comment from ApexUnderground is getting offensive, unlike the OP. Those top banners do get annoying, taking up space and attention for nothing, but at least there is an x to stop that one message from popping up, until the next one comes along. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:36, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
"but Gays have been the backbone of the Western world" OK, I'm about pro-LGTB activism as it get, but let's not get carried away with historical revisionism here. Gays have been the backbone of the Western World? Historically, they've been marginalized and kept out of power. You can certainly argue that Alan Turing contribution to Britain's war effort in WWII was rather important, but Turing was not the reason why the Allies won the war. Likewise, let's not hinge the very existence of Western Civilization on a minority that was historically oppressed by Western Civilisation. That's problematic for several reasons, both because it's not true, and because it whitewashes Western history of its problems. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 03:48, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
The replacement banner has changed, making it more clear that photographs rather than support is requested. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:40, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
And ApexUnderground blocked as a sock. - Sitush (talk) 11:45, 2 July 2019 (UTC)

Feature American honors and not just the British honorsEdit

Going nowhere and proposer blocked as a sock - Sitush (talk) 11:47, 2 July 2019 (UTC)

Its not fair that the British styles are featured prominently on the articles of famous Brits like The Corrs (sic) and unimperial nations are not featured on their celebrities. I suggest that Wikipedia feature titles from the American empire, for example in the case of Tiger Woods, AMF (American Medal of Freedom). -ApexUnderground (talk) 19:15, 26 June 2019 (UTC)

The Corrs are Irish. DuncanHill (talk) 19:22, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
Quite. And I note that The Corrs have their British honour mentioned toward the end of the lead section and that Tiger Woods had his American honor listed in a similar position until the editor who asked this question added it to the first few words. This looks very much like trolling to me. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:51, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
It does look that way to me as well. --Izno (talk) 19:58, 26 June 2019 (UTC)

This is not trolling, and I ask you to withdraw the accusation. This is a formal proposal which asks that Wikipedia give formal honors bestowed by the United States the same representation as British honors are given. To not do so is favoritism to the British honors system. -ApexUnderground (talk) 20:01, 26 June 2019 (UTC)

A simple comparison of Google searches for "Sharon Helga Corr MBE" and "Tiger Woods AMF" should settle this question without further ado. In the vast expanses of the internet, Google couldn't find a single occurrence of latter aside from the Wikipedia article that you modified today.
Speedy close? ―Mandruss  20:03, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
This is the fallacy of argumentum ad Google.-ApexUnderground (talk) 20:06, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
Argumentum ad WP:V. The world does not treat all awards like British styles, and neither should Wikipedia. ―Mandruss  20:07, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
But that argument is favoritism toward the British styles, and against all others. Wikipedia shouldn't be beholden to British styles in a disproportionately favoring way. Plus, let's say you are a British subject, its unfair that British subjects like you should put down the honors of the United States, and at the same time promote your national styles on Wikipedia. -ApexUnderground (talk) 20:16, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia does not lead, it follows—with a handful of unfortunate exceptions where activism has been allowed to prevail. BTW, I'm an American "subject". ―Mandruss  20:23, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
Once again, before you made any edits, the article about Tiger Woods gave equal prominence to his American honor to the prominence of the British honour received by The Coors in their article. How is that in any way favoritism? Phil Bridger (talk) 20:27, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
I believe they are referring to the individual BLPs, e.g. Andrea Corr. ―Mandruss  20:31, 26 June 2019 (UTC)

Tiger Woods is an American, who has been given the highest honor in the American land. The Corrs aren't even British, they're Irish, and yet carry British honors, with what must be great stigma to them in their homeland. Wikipedia then places these foreign honors high, next to their names. -ApexUnderground (talk) 20:42, 26 June 2019 (UTC)

Tyrus Raymond Cobb BHF
James Maitland Stewart DFC CdG AA
Bob Dylan NPL
No thank you. ―Mandruss  20:57, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
Many Irish people are happy to accept British or American or French or whatever honours without there being any stigma attached. Only a minority of people harbor such ancient hatreds. Wikipedia simply reports things as they are - if post-nominals come along with honours then we use them, but if not we don't. It's pretty simple really when you look at things without nationalistic blinkers on. Phil Bridger (talk) 21:03, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
So you say "no thank you" to American honors, but British honors you say "fine" and that includes putting British honor tags on non-Brits. And you call my lack of praise for British honors "ancient hatreds" and say I'm the one who has "nationalistic blinkers on." You put forth some inherently contradictory statements. -ApexUnderground (talk) 21:18, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
The issue is that the British honours system confers post-nominal letters, while the American honours system does not. If you think that's unfair, take it up with the American government. We can't just invent post-nominals where they don't exist. Frickeg (talk) 21:19, 26 June 2019 (UTC)

This is not the British Wikipedia. It doesn't matter what the British 'honours' system "confers" or doesn't. Wikipedia has no owed allegiance to the British government or its "systems." The post-nominal titles convention is something of Wikipedia's option, which it may, and sometimes does, choose to confer on non-British titles as well. -ApexUnderground (talk) 22:02, 26 June 2019 (UTC)

  • No American goes around quoting their honours after their name. Seems WP:POINTy. Strongly opposed to any change. SportingFlyer T·C 23:18, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
    • Americans don't use honorific titles in their naming conventions because they are modest. Brit boastfulness in their naming conventions is not something we need to respect. -ApexUnderground (talk) 23:41, 26 June 2019 (UTC)

Maybe a simple solution would be to do like:

Adam Clayton (titles, born 17 January 1964)


with a "titles" label that links to a simple footnote at the bottom. -ApexUnderground (talk) 00:40, 27 June 2019 (UTC)

Recommended articlesEdit

How do articles get to be on the recommended articles list? The current content seems to be very POV/random/restricted. If this is something coming out of Wikidata added by any old drive-by editor without going through any kind of process, then I don't think we should be advertising those pages as "recommended" on Wikipedia. SpinningSpark 14:55, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

If an article with a Wikidata item is marked as "recommended article" on a Wikipedia and this status is added to the Wikidata item, it appears there. "Recommended article" is a quality rating similar to "good article" or "featured article" that is used on some projects. Compare a page from the corresponding list for "featured article". Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:00, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
So... are you saying that this is indeed yet another undiscussed integration of Wikidata into Wikipedia? (Not good)... Or was it fully discussed and approved by the Wikipedia community? (If so, please link the discussion). Blueboar (talk) 15:16, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
(after ec) Well that still hasn't answered my question of how the page gets so marked. The Wikidata page for "recommended article", Wikidata:Q17559452, shows Wikipedia having zero entries. The Wikidata page, Wikidata:Q22002916 for the first entry on the list at our Special pages, Bailey May, is not tagged with this property. In any case, the essential question here is what is the process for such tagging? It should be based on Wikipedia's own quality processes, such as the quality scale assessment, or Wikipedia:Vital articles. SpinningSpark 15:17, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
If the article isn't a "recommended article" in any language then it shouldn't be marked as such on Wikidata, similar to how one shouldn't tag an article here as "featured" if it hasn't passed FA(R)C. I don't know if there was any discussion. Wikidata:Q22002916 has a marker at the Portuguese Wikipedia entry, but you need to click on the badge icon to see it. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:26, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
@Jo-Jo Eumerus: please give me an idiot's guide of how to find the badge icon, I'm not seeing it. So are you saying that articles marked as recommended on Portuguese Wikipedia are showing up as recommended on English Wikipedia? I don't think that's how it works for FAs or other badges, and it shouldn't work that way here. SpinningSpark 15:48, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
On Wikidata:Q22002916, go to the bottom of the page where there is a box titled "Wikipedia". There you can see a badge icon next to the "pt" entry. Turns out, when Myara K. updated the item in March they also changed the badge for enwiki even though it is not a recommended article here; I've rectified this. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:53, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. It sounds to me then, that enwiki does not use this system and that all the entries on the list are spurious and should be terminated with extreme prejudice. SpinningSpark 18:10, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I've removed the others. Job queue will take care of the rest. --Izno (talk) 18:53, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
They are still visible to me two days later. SpinningSpark 10:55, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Null editing the pages will correct the issue. --Izno (talk) 14:25, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I am totally confused... not only do I not understand how a page gets added to this list of “recommended articles” (is there some sort of nomination process?)... I can’t figure out how to challenge or remove an article from the list. Blueboar (talk) 11:50, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Blueboar: I'm guessing this is a server purging issue, but Bailey May did disappear from the list as soon as it was unchecked from the badge dropdown. Strange that the others haven't gone. SpinningSpark 15:20, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    The more I look into this, the more I get confused... so let’s go back to basics. Could someone please explain what the hell a “recommended article” actually IS? Is there any process for adding/removing an article to the list? Blueboar (talk) 16:20, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    If an article with a Wikidata item is marked as "recommended article" on a Wikipedia and this status is added to the Wikidata item, it appears there. "Recommended article" is a quality rating similar to "good article" or "featured article" that is used on some projects. Compare a page from the corresponding list for "featured article". Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:00, 28 June 2019 (UTC) Right above. We don't use it so there should never be a page marked as "recommended article" on Wikidata for the English Wikipedia. --Izno (talk) 16:37, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    So this is a rating that is used on some of the other language Wikipedias? Blueboar (talk) 17:02, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    Other projects possibly. I do not know which projects. --Izno (talk) 17:06, 30 June 2019 (UTC)

“Recommended article” status - misuse for promotional purposes?Edit

And something else concerns me... currently, the "recommended articles" list has seven entries:
Hmmm... anyone else notice a pattern here? Seriously, this is a red flag to me... I strongly suspect that someone connected to these games is trying to use the "recommended article" tag to promote their game. Blueboar (talk) 12:35, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Bertaut is the editor who added the tags to Wikidata, for what it's worth. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 13:17, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Ok, thanks... Looking at the editor’s history, I think it’s a fan rather than an employee. Nevertheless, I hope you can see why I was concerned about the potential for promotional editing with this. Blueboar (talk) 13:55, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Oh, this struck me as typical of a fan as soon as I saw the names of the articles. --Izno (talk) 14:25, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I had notiiced. That's what pushed me into bringing this up in the first place, although I did not say so. A bigger question is why is Wikidata allowing their editors to manually assign badges that only the local Wiki can award? This data should be taken by bot from the badges or lists here on WP where the info is monitored. It makes me wonder if there is not a much more widespread problem. RA was easy to spot as we do not have that badge on enwiki, but the lists for FA and GA might be utterly corrupted for all anyone knows. Could someone skilled with AWB do a comparison for GA, FA, FL etc to highlight any problems? SpinningSpark 15:20, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
There are actually bots which do this. I don't know if such bots can also unflag items, though. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:32, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Ah... so it may be used in sister projects like Wictionary or Wikivoyage (or whatever). Got it. Thanks for explaining. Sounds like we need to ask the folks over at WD to remove WP as an option for this. Blueboar (talk) 17:41, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Hi there. Yeah, holding my hands up, I'm guilty of using the recommended badge. But just to assuage your initial suspicions Blueboar, I have no connection whatsoever to Blue Byte or the games, as my history on here should attest. I can't even remember how I came to use the badge in the first place; I think it may already have been used on one of the titles, and I just thought it was a kind of "if you want more info, the best place is...". Never actually occurred to me that it was an equivalent of the GA/FA rating system we use on here, and thus required proper vetting. Although I'm fairly new to Wikidata, that's still my bad, and I'm glad you caught it. If I can answer any further questions, I'd recommend you...sorry, couldn't resist. Seriously though, just ping me or leave me a note on my talk. Cheers. Bertaut (talk) 02:44, 1 July 2019 (UTC)

Shortcut prefixes and namespacesEdit

Can I please have more eyes on Wikipedia talk:Shortcut#Shortcut prefixes and namespaces? That is, are there any restrictions (not expressed on the WP:SHORTCUT page) on shortcut creation? Thx CapnZapp (talk) 18:15, 1 July 2019 (UTC)

Censoring talk page comments, pov editing of talk pagesEdit

This is a sock of Inowen (talk+ · tag · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · filter log · block user · block log · CA · checkuser (log)). TonyBallioni (talk) 03:38, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

My comments at Talk:Vaginoplasty#Clarification were censored, and the editor applies labels as to the reasons why. This is a kind of censorship from a pov, where he censors because he disagrees with my comments, which were on point and editorial about clarifying the language in the article. The article calls them "vaginas" when they are not actual vaginas.-ApexUnderground (talk) 20:37, 1 July 2019 (UTC)

  • This isn't the right place to discuss this. Furthermore, I agree with the user who hatted your comments. You haven't even made any edits to the article. SportingFlyer T·C 20:46, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
The comment is about the innacurate terminology in use in the article, and goes on to bring up a problem where the field is pseudoscientific but isn't described that way. That's two glaring problems with the article. Where is a central place to talk about this? -ApexUnderground (talk) 20:50, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Censorship involves omission or removal. Nothing has been omitted or removed.
  • If you wanted to make an issue of it, you could try filing a complaint at WP:ANI. Good luck with that. But this is not the venue for resolution of such disputes.
  • It's not like editors never read collapsed comments, and there is no strict prohibition against replying to them. If anything the Streisand effect comes into play, as it's human nature to wonder what's behind a closed door that says DO NOT ENTER. ―Mandruss  20:59, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  • The collapsing of a comment is a kind of removal of the comment short of deleting it from the current version, or wiping it from the history. If there is a reason for doing so, it needs to be well-formed. In this case it isn't, and so it may be a matter for ANI, but that doesn't deal with the problem that a comment was collapsed for pov reasons.
  • Where is the proper place for discussion. The collapsing of the comment has interfered with the discussion of the article issues raised in article talk space. -ApexUnderground (talk) 22:19, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  • There is no place for you to discuss this that will arrive at a conclusion that pleases you, since the collapsing of your comment was appropriate in the first place. And that's because it doesn't matter how ApexUnderground interprets words. That will have no effect on the article. All that matters is the terminology used by reliable sources. So unless you are presenting new sources that use different terminology, arguing that the existing sources are not being followed accurately, or at least arguing that existing sources are bad for some reason (NPOV, RS, etc), there is nothing to discuss. If you want to just ask for the purpose of learning, "why are these terms used?", well, you could try at the reference desk. Someguy1221 (talk) 23:03, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
Someguy said: "There is no place for you to discuss this that will arrive at a conclusion that pleases you, since the collapsing of your comment was appropriate in the first place."
  1. There should be a place to discuss the topics I raised
  2. The collapsing of my comment was not "appropriate" as it was a kind of pov censorship.
The removal of comments needs to be done only when appropriate, and so there needs to be a review in this case. The question of whether there is system creep where pov individuals use comment removal as a tool of censorship has to be discussed. -ApexUnderground (talk) 01:46, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
The topics you raised were being raised without mention to specific sources or in regards to improving the encyclopaedia and were clearly WP:FORUM. You don't have a right to just talk about the topics on the talk pages, particularly the line: In addition, bear in mind that article talk pages exist solely to discuss how to improve articles; they are not for general discussion about the subject of the article, nor are they a help desk for obtaining instructions or technical assistance. Your absolute best bet is to drop this and move forward with improving the encyclopaedia, your next best bet is probably WP:ANI, but as others here have noted, it's unlikely to go well for you. SportingFlyer T·C 03:15, 2 July 2019 (UTC)

─────────────────────────OK, some points. Two common and valid reasons for collapsing talk page comments are if the comment is very long, or if it's an off-topic digression from the main thrust of a thread. Neither apply here. Collapsing is not supposed to be done to indicate one's personal disagreement with the other editor's points. Hope we're clear on that.

Comments that are vandalism, trolling, unrelated to the article subject, unintelligable, etc. are not collapsed but removed; that also doesn't apply here in my opinion. If you want to remove the comments on the grounds that they are vdalism, trolling, unrelated to the article subject, unintelligable, etc., I suppose you could, or try anyway. I wouldn't recommend that, since they're not. They are objections to the lede sentences, with intelligible (if dubious) reasons given.

It's not usual to edit another person's talk page comments (which collapsing is a form of) except under particular circumstances, and since the editor objected, I undid the collapsing. I'd recommend either addessing the editors complaints on the merits -- shouldn't be hard, since they're pretty weak -- or just ignoring them, rather than more drama. Herostratus (talk) 03:33, 2 July 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Rename "Articles for Deletion" to "Articles for depublication"Edit

The outcome of this discussion is clear. There is no appetite for such a change at this time. bd2412 T 20:28, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This proposal is related to the perennial proposal to rename Articles for Deletion, however it is not a procedural change.
The usual reason for the perennial proposal is in order to seem less confrontational, especially to newcomers, and to align with forums such as redirects for discussion. The perennial proposal received widespread support in 2009 but not implemented due to inertia and procedural issues.
Wikipedia is a publisher, as reminded by the Foundation's legal department that every time we create an edit, we are publishing. I propose that the AfD process remains the same, and it is renamed "Articles for depublication". I suspect that this will bring down the tone of deletion debates, especially for newcomers. This will have the same effect as shown in the perennial proposal - namely "Users should be made aware of the very real possibility that the article will in fact be depublished at the end of the discussion (the result for perhaps three-quarters of nominated articles)".
Similarly articles for speedy deletion could be renamed Articles for speedy depublication. I have requested comment from the Article Rescue Squadron here.--E.3 (talk) 13:23, 2 July 2019 (UTC)

  • Is there any evidence of this causing an actual problem? Triptothecottage (talk) 13:41, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I have long thought that "articles for discussion" (in line with TFD and FFD) is vastly preferable to "articles for deletion". It is more accurate, more consistent, and less intimidating. However, this has repeatedly failed to gain consensus. I believe I was personally the last one to formally propose it, sometime in the past year or two, though I'd be hard pressed to find the actual thread. GMGtalk 13:54, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @GreenMeansGo: I agree that "articles for discussion" is an option, but previous consensus was "Users should be made aware of the very real possibility that the article will in fact be depublished or deleted at the end of the discussion (the result for perhaps three-quarters of nominated articles)".
  • I am happy to use myself as an example here in 2009, article kept but I didn't continue contributing. In 2018 when I restarted my article was first nominated for speedy deletion and then nominated for deletion here. The resulting article is now GA aiming for FA but needed improvement, but this discussion resulted in me requesting an enforced wiki break here.
  • There is an off wiki blog here about some reasons for women not contributing here which we are all aware of, noting deletion as a concern.
  • However, the consensus as far as I understand in 2009 was to consider rename I am simply proposing "depublication", as a less confrontational term. I have previously noted that deletion IMHO is a very strong word, and unnecessary when there is a more "grown-up" alternative as wikipedia becomes more respected a publication. --E.3 (talk) 14:04, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Just going to point out the "FFD" used to be "Files for deletion" because there was basically just two outcomes: "delete" or "keep" when it came to the files discussed there. However, after WP:NFCR and WP:PUF were incorporated into FFD a few years back, the "D" was changed to "discussion" because now there were more possibilities since NFCR and PUF didn't really deal with file deletions, but rather file removal or relicensing. Anything involving deletion was usually sent to the old FFD for review. -- Marchjuly (talk) 14:07, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes I am proposing that Articles for depublication comments be named Keep or Depublish with the same effect. --E.3 (talk) 14:12, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't think language is the problem with AFD being confrontational, it's structural. So long as we have a compulsory process that presumes a binary outcome, whatever you call that (keep/keep published, delete/depublish), it will function the same way. What we need more than euphemisms is more effective enforcement of WP:BEFORE or WP:ATD to hopefully discourage AFD from being a first stop for resolving issues. All too often I see that there has been a complete failure to even attempt talk page discussion prior to a nomination, which is really poor practice not only when it's a page by a brand new editor, but also in the many AFDs where the issue really is how best to organize content, or requires subject-matter familiarity to resolve. postdlf (talk) 14:48, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes I see your point @Postdlf:. I think since 2009 however, "technical difficulties and inertia prevented the change". This is why I am proposing an incremental, lingustic rather than structural change. As an expert editor in medicine, psychologically "depublication" for me at least would mean a far less charged discussion. If it is a small proposal, we can see how that goes, before attempting structural change. --E.3 (talk) 15:05, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I think "depublish" would just cause confusion because it doesn't have a clear meaning to most people. Even for those who are familiar with the term in an academic or legal context, it doesn't mean to "remove from view and make publicly inaccessible" in the way that deletion of an article functionally does. postdlf (talk) 15:27, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Is there anything inheritly wrong with simply: "articles for discussion" similar to other discussions? Depublication would mean draftify, soft delete, hard delete, userfy, but I've also seen AfD end with "stubify" and "redirect" which aren't really depublications. The only issue as far as I can see, is that technically something like a move discussion is also similar to this, so it would need to be noted that moves and discussion aren't at the same platform. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 14:54, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Lee Vilenski: I do not see anything inherently wrong with "articles for discussion" at all. However consensus previously was that new users need to be aware that a very real outcome could be deletion/depublication. However, this could be addressed in the template to the author. Something like "Possible outcomes for this discussion could be: 1. Depublication and/or moving to your user space 2. Stubify 3. Redirect or 4. Keeping the article etc. This would require a lot of back end structural changes, perhaps with the tone of enwiki at the present moment, it might be time! I support either option. --E.3 (talk) 15:16, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose and speedy close this is a non-issue. AfD is for deletion. We have processes that work better for other types of discussions. “Depublication” is a clunky word that sounds silly and I’m not even sure what it entails. In short, there is zero reason for a name change and no reasonable alternates have been proposed anyway. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:23, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • "Discussion" seems much more appropriate to me; "Depublication" is just a euphemism. "Discussion" is simply more accurate: articles on AfD are not "for deletion", because no decision has been taken that they should be deleted. At the point they are in AfD, they have simply been nominated for a discussion on whether they should remain on Wikipedia. Yes, messages relating to the process should be clear that deletion is a possible outcome, but "Articles for deletion" or "for depublication" unfairly implies that the article is currently designated to be deleted, which is not the case. Words aren't everything, but they do help set the tone of debate. TSP (talk) 15:27, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose; I don't think the change would help. I would agree that "articles for discussion" would be better, and I think the TfD approach of holding mergers at the same venue might also be useful here (as far as I'm aware, participation in article merger discussions is usually very low and they can be left open for years). Jc86035 (talk) 15:28, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • OK since several editors and myself having been swayed by this discussion prefer "articles for discussion" can we have that as a potential consensus option for this proposal? Or should myself or a more experienced editor open a new proposal? Thanks for everyones thoughts! --E.3 (talk) 15:37, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • No. It’s a perennial proposal that’s voted down at least once a year. The odds of it getting through this time are slim to none as well. If you want to rename it that, you should start a proposal a new proposal, likely at WT:AFD. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:25, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • OK I'll do research on all the previous discussions, and put it in a new proposal here, as it seems @Jc86035:, @Lee Vilenski:, @Marchjuly:, @GreenMeansGo: @TSP: and myself seem favourably disposed to articles for discussion in this short proposal, as consensus was in 2009. Hopefully we can push through the inertia and technical issues this time, consensus doesn't seem strongly against, just inertia for the status quo to me! --E.3 (talk) 16:42, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • This isn’t just a 2009 thing. It’s a constant proposal that never achieves consensus. The reason for that is because it’s completely pointless make work that confuses processes and would cause significantly more disruption to the project for no added benefit. It is usually snow opposed. The reason it hasn’t been yet is that you included a weird title, not the standard change title. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:49, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I mean, I am strongly in favor of a rename, but I don't have any illusions that such a proposal would gain consensus. Even if it did, it would require an immense amount of work to implement, and I doubt either you or I really understand how much would need to be done . There's nothing stopping you from opening a new discussion of course, but you shouldn't be disappointed if it is quickly closed. All in all, it'd probably be more productive if we just did something else with our day entirely. GMGtalk 17:21, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose pointless euphemism. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:23, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm not voting for anything that's not the old proposal "Articles to yell at each other over." In seriousness, this is pointless. SportingFlyer T·C 17:56, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose It ain't broke. MarnetteD|Talk 18:18, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Pointless semantics. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 18:26, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm all for making the process less confrontational, but I'm not convinced that moving to a euphemistic name whilst keeping the same deletion focussed process would take us in the right direction. ϢereSpielChequers 18:33, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as it needs to be made clear that an article could be deleted, also changing to discussion is wishy washy and would resultt in a time sink of nominations that want to discuss issues that belong on the article's talk page imv Atlantic306 (talk) 19:37, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Kudos for trying to remove some of the nastiness but oppose I think that title wording is a minor aspect. The standard conversation is rough at an AFD, plus there is a general attitude that the author is somehow a beneficiary of the article being allowed to exist and has to fight for it accordingly rather than it being treated as a contribution to Wikipedia. Of course some of this comes from the fact that many articles are promotional or due to paid editing. Plus "de-publication" sounds confusing. Maybe "Articles for status discussion" ? North8000 (talk) 20:24, 2 July 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Petition to allow Fram to defend themselfEdit

Portal GuidelinesEdit

Some of you may be aware that there is discussion in progress about the status of the Portal Guidelines. The current guidelines, or something similar, have at least appeared to be in effect since 2006. However, as User:SmokeyJoe has observed at the portal guideline talk page, they were never approved. They have been used as if they were approved portal guidelines for more than a decade, and so an argument can be made that they have been grandfathered into place. However, about two months ago, some of the advocates of portals proposed that the guidelines be suspended, or at least that some provisions of the guidelines be suspended, because they were ”weaponizing” portal deletion. The key sentence in the guideline (or proposed guideline, or failed guideline, or whatever) says that portals should be about broad subject areas that will attract readers and portal maintainers. Portal advocates have traditionally claimed that particular subjects, such as countries, or states of countries, or popular TV shows or performers, are broad subject areas, but more recently other editors have been using quantitative techniques to argue that some portals are not satisfying that criterion, because they are not attracting readers and maintainers. Okay. So we now don’t know whether we have any real portal guidelines.

I think that a Request for Comments with centralized discussion is needed to establish or re-establish accepted portal guidelines. I will be discussing here unless I am advised that there is a better venue for the discussion.

I propose that the community be asked to choose between perhaps three or four alternate portal guidelines. The first is simply to re-affirm the existing guidelines. At least one editor has proposed downgrading or archiving all portals except those linked from the Main Page. It appears that there is significant disagreement on regional portals. Some editors think that portals should be standard for countries and for first-level national subdivisions (states or provinces). I would like to identify two or three alternative sets of portal guidelines within the next week and start a Request for Comments that will run for 30 days and be binding on the community. This will not necessarily change the rate at which portals are being nominated for deletion, but a consensus establishing portal guidelines in 2019 should rationalize what is now a chaotic process.


Proposals for alternate portal guidelines?

Robert McClenon (talk) 03:58, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

In 2018 there were about 1500 portals. WP:ENDPORTALS, whilst it did not exempt every single portal from deletion, found a strong consensus against deleting or even deprecating portals at this time. Many more portals were created, many on narrow topics and containing errors, but almost all of those were soon deleted and need no longer figure in our deliberations. The deletion process then turned to existing portals. Although the rate has slowed, we are now down to 919 portals and losing about eight more each day. WikiProject Portals is dominated by editors who !voted to remove the entire namespace, a situation which one commentator likened to a Republican running a Democrats' conference. Their proposals include reducing the number of portals to eight, and unlinking all portals to make them orphan pages. I agree that it is time to seek the community's views on these developments. Certes (talk) 07:54, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
It is quite extraordinary that after all this time, Certes and a few other editors continue to wilfully misrepresent the WP:ENDPORTALS RFC.
The decision there was very simple. Editors were asked a single crude binary question: whether they supported the immediate deletion of all portals. The answer was was no: do not delete all portals now.
That in no way amounts to a consensus to keep all or even most portals. It was simply a rejection of compete and indiscriminate abolition. It does not preclude a case-by-examination of portals, even if the outcome of that case-by-case review was to reduce the total to zero. (Note: I would oppose zero. I just not that it is not precluded by ENDPORTALS).
This is such a basic matter of logic that I believe that editors like Certes who keep trotting it out are either
  1. being deeply and brazenly and repeatedly dishonest, or
  2. have spectacularly poor comprehension abilities.
Either way, it's long past time for them to stop wasting the community's time with this utter nonsense.
As the Certes's moan that WikiProject Portals is dominated by editors who !voted to remove the entire namespace, lord help us. If there is any policy anywhere that only editors with a particular point of view are allowed to participate in a WikiProject, then please identify it. It would be a new one to me, so I'd welcome the revelation. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:54, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
It is not my intention to moan, nor to wilfully misrepresent. I admit that WP:ENDPORTALS did not explicitly rule out deleting 99.4% of portals; nor did it rule out removing incoming links to hide them from readers. However, I hope most editors will agree that such actions would not be in the spirit of last year's consensus. As for wikiprojects, I cannot think of another whose participants are there mainly to delete the pages in their custody. For example, WP:WikiProject Donald Trump should welcome pro- and anti-Trump editors, but not those who seek to minimise Wikipedia's coverage of Trump. Certes (talk)
  • [ec] Portal guidelines must reflect the purpose of portals, which is currently poorly defined and open to conflicting interpretations, which are the cause of most of the drama. If we (the community) had a common understanding of what portals are for, we could work together to describe how to do it. That common understanding does not exist. Creating portal guidelines should follow deciding on a useful and clearly delineated function for portals. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 08:06, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment – Extensive ongoing discussion has been occurring at Wikipedia talk:Portal/Guidelines regarding the Portal guidelines. In my view, opinions and views there should also be fully considered. North America1000 13:16, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, Peter Southwood. I agree that a discussion of the purpose of portals is appropriate. I am trying to get that discussion in progress. As Northamerica1000 says, there is discussion going on at the portal guideline talk page, although it isn't productive. If there is agreement that the discussion should take place there, I am fine with that, but it should get to the purpose and objectives of portals rather than just restating the same complaints, and should focus on developing an RFC with a few options for portal guidelines to reflect some idea of the purpose and rationale for portals. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:17, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

I think that Robert McClenon raises some important issues, but misses the fundamental question posed by Peter Southwood: what is the purpose of portals?

So far as I can see, the main purpose of portals has for years been very simple: to entertain the small group of editors who like making portals.

Nearly all of the existing portals are shunned by readers: see the viewing figures for the month of June 2019, when only 51 out of 904 portals averaged 100 or more pageviews per day. A further 94 portals received between 50 and 99 daily views. The remaining 759 portals received less than 50 views per day. In nearly every case, the head article for the topic received between 100 times as many views to 2000 times as many views a the portal.

The lesson is clear: the vast majority of portals serve no significant purpose for readers. Discussion at WT:WPPORT has for years been focused on the supply-side: how to create portals, how maintain them, and how to oppose deletion. These discussions almost entirely omit the very simple fact that readers do not use them.

This has been reflected at MFD, where objections to deletion overwhelmingly come from the editors who create or edit portals, rather than from editors who have identified a use for them. I have almost never seen any such discussion joined by an IP who says something like "hey, I'm a reader and I use this portal".

The dominant model of portal in current used consists of sets of content-forked subpages, with one item from each set displayed at any one time. Alternatives are available only through the unbelievably crude mechanism of purging the page.

This model of portal is absurd, in multiple ways:

  1. These forked subpages are nearly always unreferenced, contrary to WP:V.
  2. The content forks are mostly unmaintained. I have encountered many sets of them which have not been touched for over ten years, so they will a'most always represent an outdated view of the topic.
  3. These content forks are largely unwatched, do they are a vector for vandalism. I have encountered several cases where these subpages have been edited to display wholly irrelevant topics; they could just as easily be used as attack vectors.
  4. It offers readers no overview of the list of topics available. Either take what you are given, or do a lucky dip. Rinse and repeat without even any indication of how many pages are included in the cycle.

Two newish features of the Wikimedia software means that the article and navboxes offers all the functionality which portals like this set out to offer. Both features are available only to ordinary readers who are not logged in, but you can test them without logging out by right-clicking on a link, and the select "open in private window" (in Firefox) or "open in incognito window" (Chrome).

  1. mouseover: on any link, mouseover shows you the picture and the start of the lead. So the preview-selected page-function of portals is redundant: something almost as good is available automatically on any navbox or other set of links. Try it by right-clicking on this link to Template:Mumbai topics, open in a private/incognito tab, and mouseover any link.
  2. automatic imagery galleries: clicking on an image brings up an image gallery of all the images on that page. It's full-screen, so it's actually much better than a click-for-next image gallery on a portal. Try it by right-clicking on this link to the article Mumbai, open in a private/incognito tab, and click on any image to start the slideshow

Similar features have been available since 2015 to users of Wikipedia's Android app.

Those new technologies set a high bar for any portal which actually tries to add value for the reader.

So far, the only one of the portal fans who has even tried to address the issues raised by these technical developments is @Bermicourt, who has been adapting from portals such as Portal:Mecklenburg-Vorpommern which use a "mega-navbox" style. But most of the other portal fans are still busy creating content-forks and/or subpage farms, most of which are unread.

So looking at this stage to create guidelines is putting the cart before the horse. Guidelines are mostly about the "how" question. Before we can answer that, we need to answer the the more fundamental questions of "why"? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:07, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

User:BrownHairedGirl writes:
"So far as I can see, the main purpose of portals has for years been very simple: to entertain the small group of editors who like making portals." Unfortunately, I think that is mostly correct. I said, back in April, that the portal platoon was apparently creating portals because creating portals is fun. That conclusion of mine was dismissed, with a comment that creating portals is hard work (but evidently has to be done), but BHG and others showed that the creation of automated portals takes between 3 and 10 minutes, which is consistent with it being done because creating portals is fun. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:43, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, BrownHairedGirl, your initial premise to me is nonsense so not sure where do we go from there. So what if only 50 people look at something in a week or 500 read something in a year - they might well have learned something, and they are readers served. It seems like it should be a cause for celebration, if just one person say every 500 days, is inspired by knowledge or their curiosity peeked. We don't delete articles based on page views, so it makes no sense to do it with portals. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:36, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
@Alanscottwalker, that reply makes me despair. You are making the fundamental logical error of confusing portals with articles, so no wonder you mistake the rest for nonsense. This is what is called a category error.
The content of Wikipedia is in its articles. We don't delete stub articles because that stub is all the content we have on that topic, and we hope that some day it will developed into a decent article. We don't also delete unviewed articles, because our test for including article sin notability, not how many readers view it.
Portals are not content. They are a way of showcasing and/or navigating content. If we deleted every single portal right now, we wouldn't lose a single item of Wikipedia content, because the portals are not content.
The utility of portals lies solely in how well they do that job of showcasing and/or navigating content. And we have a very clear answer from our readers: portals don't help.
Here's an example. Take the list of pageviews by partl from June 2016. It lists 954 portals, and splat in the middle of that, at #452, is Portal:Louisiana, which got a pathetic 15 pageviews per day. Now compare that with the head article Louisiana, which got 2,734 daily views. Or to put it more simple, for very view of the portal, there were 179.48 views of the head article.
That portal simply isn't fulfilling its intended purpose. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:31, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
That's not why I said your argument does not make sense. So, I am despairing that you should despair. It does not make sense because: 1) an article (you say, great, wonderful); 2) group of related articles, images, ideas (suddenly it's terrible). Your disdain for grouping just does not make sense. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:37, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
@Alanscottwalker, you appear to have a serous comprehension problem. Which part of "deleting the grouping does not remove any content" do you dispute or not understand?
The content is in the articles, which therefore have intrinsic value. For presentational purposes they can be grouped in many different ways by many different technologies, and the value of each grouping is simply in whether it helps readers. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:48, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
I comprehend perfectly. You don't like these groupings of articles, images and ideas in portals, for reasons that make little sense. (Your question can only suggest that it is you that is having a difficult time understanding, as it has nothing to do with what I said). Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:14, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
No, @Alanscottwalker, you demonstrate zero comprehension of the difference between the content (in articles), and groupings.
This is simple and it is fundamental.
Let me give you a physical analogy. In my larder, there are about food containers of various sizes, with various characteristics. I could group arrange them in many different ways: by size, by weight, by expiry date, by use type, by price, by how much I like them, by packaging type etc. And I can abolish any or all of those groups without binning a single food container.
However, what you are arguing is that I cease to organise some of them in a group called "tinned food", that is the same as throwing all my tinned food in the bin. Which is utter nonsense; I can just rearrange these items on the shelves, or I can jumble them around.
And for the millionth time, it's not that I don't like these groupings of articles, images and ideas in portals. This is not some sort of personal aversion. I regard most of of them as deficient because they offer a risibly small and arbitrary selection of topics, presented through outdated forks of text, and made available to the reader only one at a time. You may have reasons to disagree with that, but if it doesn't make sense to your, then your comprehension skills are even more abysmal than I had thought. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 20:38, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Your larder story is silly, as silly as your claim to saying anything "fundamental", which cannot be anything but risible given the paltry things under discussion. If you want a physical analogy, go with a shop window, but no need to smash the windows. And it is still completely a mystery why this this topic makes you so angry that you feel the need to lash out. At any rate, I now see I was right at the beginning, when I said, 'well, BrownHairedGirl, your initial premise to me is nonsense so not sure where do we go from there.' Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:47, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
@Alanscottwalker, I am here to build an encyclopedia. So I get fed up with editors who repeatedly spout falsehoods.
Wikipedia is a wonderful project, but its downside is that doesn't evict or mute people with such shockingly and persistently low comprehension skills that they not only can they not distinguish the fundamental difference between an an article and a device for navigating or showcasing articles, but that they repeatedly shout nonsnese when the distinction is pointed out to them.
An encyclopedia needs to be built by adults with above-average adult skills of literacy, comprehension, and reasoning. There is something about portals which has a sad tendency to attract the passionate support of editors like Alan who persistently display none of those qualities. There are some lovely and intelligent editors who work on portals, but when it comes to portals, the proportion of outraged reality-deniers like Alan and Moxy is depressinghy high. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:17, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
It is too bad you are so angry, that you feel you have to attack people who build this encyclopedia. Your BATTLEGROUND ways are not only unfortunate, they are detrimental. I don't recall ever reading what Moxy has said on this, nor know what Moxy has to do with anything, and I seriously can't recall ever discussing these with you, and if we did, it was so long ago as to be forgotten, which is the only sensible thing when it comes to someone who is doing BATTLE.- Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:30, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
No, Allan, I am not angry, and I am not taking a BATTLEGROUND approach. I am challenging persistent stupidity. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:22, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, it most certainly looks like you are angry in BATTLE, attacking people who disagree with your premises, bringing up names of people not in discussion, making bogus sides up in your mind to assign people to. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:32, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Allan, the issue is not that you disagree with my premises. The issue is that you are in verbose denial of simple matters of fact and logic, and that your verbose stupidity is impeding the reasoned discussions needed to build consensus. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:31, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Verbose? Look in the mirror. Let's compare word count, or rather you could just choose not to go on and on, as you have. Your battle-grounding has made it clear you have no interest in consensus, winning seems to be your thing. It's not I who is standing in the way of consensus, I am with the consensus of the last large RfC, but still under no obligation to buy your poor arguments. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 02:44, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Allan, consensus is not built on stupidity and on denial of facts. That's why in a consensus-forming discussion it is important to robustly challenge the falsehoods you spout.
I also accept the outcome of WP:ENDPORTALS. That was a proposal to delete all portals, and the clear consensus was not to do that. Sadly, you and some other portals continue to misrepresent that rejection as some sort of decision not delete any portals. That misrepresentation has continued for so long that it is no longer even excusable as stupidity; it is wilful dishonesty.
If you want to propose that no portals be deleted, or that even unviewed abandoned crap portals be retained, then feel to open an RFC proposing that. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:00, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Once again, your battle-grounding demonstrates the weakness of your arguments and the uselessness of your approach. You invent straw men and talk nonsense. My arguments do not preclude pruning portals, and thus are in full accord with consensus. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:41, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
More la-la fantasy. I have invented no straw men. And you have explicitly objected to deletion even of abandoned portals, even though t now suits you to change tack. Have you no shame, man? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:37, 7 July 2019 (UTC).
More Battle and strawmen -- it's just not working. As to your complete falsehood, I have not objected a single time in a portal deletion. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:50, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) I think the important question is whether portals are accomplishing their purpose and whether something else could do it better. One idea I've thought about is replacing the current portal system with Outlines. Both serve as an introduction to the major topics of an area as well as a tool for navigating the encyclopedia. Consider Portal:Contents/Mathematics and logic, it serves as an outline of the topic, presented in a visually appealing way, and effectively directs readers to content they might be interested in by providing short descriptions of a subtopic's scope. For many portals, however, this is done by just listing the contents of a category which is not particularly useful and does not provide readers with much information on how it relates to the topic beyond the title---it's only useful if you know what you're looking for. Take Portal:Television in the United Kingdom as an example. The BBC, one of the most important topics in British Television, is not linked until near the bottom of the page, and unless you know about the BBC, you won't know that it's important or what it does. Compare that portal with our articles like Television in the United Kingdom and Outline of television broadcasting and it's obvious that the portal does not do a good job of introducing readers to a topic or directing them to important and related information. Perhaps merging or replacing the current design standard of portals with the outline system, to produce something like Portal:Contents/Mathematics and logic, would make the portal system a better browsing tool for readers while also drastically simplifying the necessary maintenance. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 18:26, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I have been reading the above, and no one seems to actually answer BHG’s basic question... so let me ask it: what is the PURPOSE of portals? Blueboar (talk) 18:59, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
    • It seems as obvious, as perhaps, it is unambitious: 'Here is a subject, here are articles, images, ideas related to that subject -- explore, enjoy, learn, make connections, etc.' People have differences, they explore and connect with things in different ways, with different presentations. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:20, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
  • All very lovely as an abstract theory, @Alanscottwalker, but in practice that's not what happens.
The practical reality is that most portals are complete crap, and don't make those connections as well as articles do.
The result is that reality that readers do not use portals. Just look at the abysmal pageviews.
The problem is quite simple. Powerful search and massive cross linking have already supplanted the early-90s concept of portals across the web, and wikipedia is no exception. On Wiki, navboxes add another powerful navigational aid, again supplanting portals.
The only Wikipedia portal which thrives is the main page, partly because it's the default landing page, and partly because it is the product of a huge amount of ongoing work every day by several large teams of editors. No topic portal gets that anywhere with in several orders of magnitude of that sort of attention.
What will it take to persuade portal fans to stop waffling about dreams, and engage with those realities? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:43, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
It's not at all an abstract theory. If I go to most portals I bet 9 out of 10, I can make an interesting connection, I never thought of before. People can do all kinds of things with different presentations. (By the by, since I have told you already the page view thing does not impress, why would you repeat it to me.) Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:00, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Alan, you can go to any article other than a sub-stub and make an interesting connection, so that observation amounts to nothing more than "portals have links".
I repeat the pageviews thing not in any hope of educating you, because that is clearly an impossible task. I repeat it in order to remind other editors reading this of the depth and determination of the reality-denial in which you engage while constructing your parallel universe in which you believe that there is no distinction between deletion of content and deletion of pages which are just groupings.
In this parallel universe of Planet Portalfan, it matters not a jot that most portals are outdated, have limited scope, poor display and selection techniques, inadequate watching, and are almost unused. Planet Portalfan is sustained by faith, to the exclusion of reason and of evidence. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:27, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
So what. I can go somewhere else to make that connection, when that page does it. That is not a reason to get rid of that page, you don't know what connections people may make, and when. As for the rest, the only thing that people are educated upon is that you view this as a WP:BATTLE, where you have to attack people who don't see things the way you do. We have never discussed this before (as far as I recall, but then I am not in this for BATTLE), that's all, and you have not convinced, certainly not by attacking. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:30, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Allan, a page with a computer-generated random collection of links will let some editors make some connections. We don't maintain such pages, for the obvious reasons that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not an a collection of indiscriminate pages which somebody thinks might be helpful to somebody someday.
And you are wrong again on a key point of fact about how Wikipedia works. Navigational pages which doesn't serve that purposes well are repeatedly deleted. There is a whole discussion zone just for doing that with categories: WP:CFD. Similarly, navboxes which don't serve a useful purpose are repeatedly deleted at WP:TFD.
Note that the existence of TFD and CFD are verifiable facts. I don't know whether you were somehow unaware of their existence, or whether you just chose to try to pretend that they don't exist because they don't fit with your Portalfan fantasy worldview. But either way, it is disruptive that a discussion such as this about how to organise an encyclopedia get cluttered up with these witterings from a parallel universe.
It's interesting to note that this same demonstrably false argument that "we don't delete navigational pages" has been trotted out by a few other inhabitants of Planet Portalfan ... many of whom whine like you when their streams of falsehoods and illogicalities are challenged. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:37, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Most unconvincing, your talking about me and your made up universe is useless and demonstrates BATTLE, and your connections to TFD and CFD are not relevant to anything I have said. So to review, not many views -- not sensible reason to delete. Needs improvement -- not a sensible reason to delete. You have an ideological thing against a Wikipedia space -- not sensible reason to delete. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:53, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Portals exist for navigation and/or showcasing. In the last few months, editors have identified about 600 portals which fail that basic task: they are almost unused, have no maintainers, and in many cases are so long out of date that they are presenting falsehoods.
Yet Allan insists that there is not sensible reason to delete this forest of unused, abandoned, false signposts, which mislead readers and waste their time. It's a great relief that so far as I know Alan is not in charge of any signposts on the real world, or we would have carnage on the roads ... but in the meantime Allan is sadly free to post here insisting that it is not sensible to remove pages which treat our readers with contempt by luring them to abandoned portals which nobody wants to fix and which waste reader's time through inadequacy, and/or present the readers with outright falsehoods.
In any context other than a discussion about portals, that reply by Alan would be quite extraordinary. Sadly, that sort of argument is common in portalspace, where Allan actually goes to the extra mile down wormhole by claiming that it is some sort of ideological perversity to ask that readers not be lured to this crap. Why on earth is anyone with such deep contempt for readers even participating in a discussion about an encyclopedia?
Yes, that's what we are reduced to. On Planet Allan, deleting abandoned crap signposts is ideological. And this is supposed to be an encyclopedia. God help us.
Even when presented with the undeniable fact that CFD and TFD routinely delete unhelpful categories and navboxes, Allan's reply is a glib assertion of unconvincing. Once again, in the fantasy world of Planet paortalfan, facts are clearly unconvincing. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:30, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Planets? It's no wonder you are not making sense. And are you not paying attention -- you're the one who attacked for imagined long statements, so now within long statements -- you author --- you attack for short summing-up statements (further evidence of your battle grounding). Your straw-men are meaningless. My views are consistent with individual portals being deleted and others being kept. Which is consensus. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:53, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
    • [ec] That question has been asked many times in many places. It is fundamental to the problem, and no-one seems to be willing to attempt an answer. I will have a go, but it is only my personal opinion. To me, a portal is another navigation tool, formatted to be more entertaining and decorative than a navbox or an outline list, but serving a similar function, possibly with suggestions to the user of how to navigate a topic in entertaining or educational ways, and illustrating the full scope of the topic available on Wikipedia. Ideally it should be low maintenance, so as much automation of maintenance as technically possible should be used. The breadth of topic should not be critical for this application, but there should be enough articles to be worthwhile, and they should be a logically coherent group, like the scope of a WikiProject. Others opinions will no doubt vary, but this is a start. Portal:Mecklenburg-Vorpommern style is a possible way to go, but other formats may be as good or better. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 19:39, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
But on a practical level, the answer is very clear: nobody has yet devised a model of portal which readers actually want. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:51, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
On a practical level, a portal of the type I have described would be of value to editors of the associated project whether or not any users ever use it or want it, and who knows what the users want? Do we assume that if they do not ask for something they don't want it? Do we assume that if they cannot find something that exists they don't want it? It is a tricky question. sometimes we try something and it turns out to be a good idea. Like Wikipedia. If no-one had tried it who would have thought it could be successful? Other times things that look like a good idea at first turn out to be non-workable, or work in a way but are truly horrible in other unexpected ways. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 20:01, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
@Peter Southwood, that argument would have been very persuasive in 2005, when the portal namespace was being created.
However, after 14 years of trying this idea, your argument it looks more denial of the evidence that readers do not use portals. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 20:44, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
That may be a consequence of them being hidden where most readers are unlikely to look and the search engine will not look unless it is specifically instructed to do so. Portal space has doomed portals as much as their other deficiencies. Hiding a feature and demanding that it must be found and used are contradictory requirements. If the community wanted portals to be used by readers they should have put them where readers would find them. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 04:42, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
@Peter Southwood, if the portal namespace had never been created, portals would still be in the Wikipedia namespace, which also doesn't show up in search.
The default search finds content, not navigational devices like navboxes or categories or portals. Feel free to propose that default search should include the portal namespace, but watch the proposal get shot down in flames. Do I need to explain why a search for content should return only content?
As to other forms of promotion, there are three problems with that argument:
  1. 8 portals are promoted in the most valuable real estate on Wikipedia: the top right of the main page. That is the most valuable space for online advertising, and it is devoted to portals. Yet despite that prominence, those portals significantly under-perform other less prominent elements of the mainpage. Even DYKs, below the fold and displayed for only half the day, get higher views. The reasons are simple: readers don't need or want portals, because search, navboxes and massive cross-lining makes them redundant.
  2. promoting portals elsewhere, mostly through links on categories, navboxes and in "see also" sections has very low returns. The evidence is that even when portals are advertised, takeup is very low.
  3. It probably would be possible to boost portal views, at least in the short term, by intrusive advertising: e.g. on the top right of every page, link to the most relevant related portals. But unless the portals advertised in that were actually good, the effect would be short-lived, because if readers followed those links and when repeatedly confronted with abandoned crap like Portal:Colorado or Portal:Neuroscience, they would rapidly retreat from all of portalspace. Even lovingly-maintained portals such as Portal:Cheshire will deter readers because of their broken design, which requires a country-intuitive and time-consuming page refresh just to see a new selection. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:34, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • No need to explain. It is clear that from the start the framework was ill-conceived and constructed in a way that with hindsight could not possibly have worked. "You can't get there from here". Shit happens. We still lack good navigation aids for cases where the user does not know what to search for, but where the subject matter experts working here could give guidance. We also need good topic structure maps for editors to keep track of what has not yet been written, and the quality of what has been written. Navboxes are useful, but somewhat limited. Index and Outline lists are useful too, but I suspect that most users don't know they are there. Categories just don't work for that purpose. I am not attached to any specific method of navigation, but would like to see something that works better than what is currently available. Anyways, that is where I am coming from and where I am trying to go to. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 15:14, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with all of that, @ Peter.
There is indeed a gap to be filled, but I think that the fundamental error of portals is that they use a complex and very high maintenance structure which never had got anywhere near the required levels of maintenance. Categories have significant usability problems (one of the worst is the abysmal navigation between categories, see e.g. my notes at WP:IECATNAVP#Navigation), but they avoid complete failure because they are built using a distributed push model and are easily edited with minimal specialist knowledge. Navboxes are hard to create, but are are mostly well-maintained because they are easily editable in situ, tho some are in poor shape.
So whatever ideas are considered for filling the gap, the solution needs to be something which can be easily maintained. My hunch is that few of us have a clear idea of the real shape of that gap you rightly identify, and that what we really need is for WMF to invest in scientific usability studies to first identify where readers get stuck. Then some more studies to test the usability of ideas which the community has identified as maintainable. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:01, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Maybe not very relevant to this discussion, but the work on WP:IECATNAVP#Navigation looks potentially very useful. Good luck with expanding it for more general application.
Getting WMF to invest in something like that would be good if it can be done. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 06:10, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I quit trying to save portals at MfD, as those trying to delete portals were nominating faster than I could muster a response, and it became the single most frustrating bit of Wikipedia editing I've ever participated in, especially since some fantastic content was lost along the way. I'd very much like to have a discussion with the full community about the rules for creating a valid acceptable portal, especially since there wasn't consensus for their full removal. SportingFlyer T·C 00:14, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Content belongs in articles. Portals are navigational tools and/or showcases.
If the portal contained actual content, then that content was in the wrong place. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:32, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
On this point I completely agree. Unique encyclopedic content belongs in main space. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 04:49, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • If SportingFlyer thinks some fantastic content was deleted, he should request userfication and work it into mainspace articles. I don’t think Portals should contain showcases. The best content belongs in its best presentation in mainspace, unless the intent is overt promotion (promotion of Wikipedia, presumably for editors), in which case the showcases belong in the not-reader-facing WikiProjects. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:54, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I can userfy portals for anyone who wants to extract any good referenced content for transfer into mainspace, just ping me with a request detailing which portal files you want and the name of the user space files you want them to go into. When you are done you can ping me again to delete the user files if you no longer want them. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 15:14, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Portals are not for showcasing. Or at least they should not be. User:BrownHairedGirl has assert five times that Portals are for showcasing. If that was their purpose, it is a big part of their failure. The purpose of showcasing is promotion. Wikipedia should not be showcasing on reader facing pages. Portals are a failed experiment. A huge revamp is required, at least. If their ostensible purpose is navigation, rethink how to do that. Showcasing is not navigation. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:38, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @SmokeyJoe, I agree with some of that. However, showcasing is an important part of the main page, and per WP:PORTAL, "Portals serve as enhanced 'Main Pages' for specific broad subjects". The evidence I see is that the mainpage-style showcasing function cannot be successfully replicated in portals, because it is highly labour-intensive, and that labour is not available in portalspace. So I'd happily see the showcasing function removed along with abandoning the mini-mainpage metaphor.
I agree that current portals are rubbish for navigation. The portals who do that job most successfully are the mega-navbox style of portals such as Portal:Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, but it takes a lot of work to create them.
I disagree with the assertion that portals are a failed experiment. The reality is that elsewhere on the web, portals are a redundant technology. Their heyday was in the mid-1990s, and they were supplanted by two developments: deep interlinking and powerful search. Basically, Google's high-quality search killed Yahoo's portal model, and similarly the WMF's successful (and under-acknowledged) investment in Wikipedia's search tools made portals redundant on Wiki before even the first one was implemented.
So instead of Joe's comment that portals are a failed experiment, I would say that Wikipedia's 2005 deployment of portals was not an experiment; it was an exercise in denial of reality, by adopting of an already-redundant technology. And it remains a denial of reality, as evidenced by the continued abysmal state of most portals and their abysmal pageviews.
Readers don't want or need portals, because they have better navigational tools. Editors don't maintain portals, because the overwhelming majority of editors prefer to put their effort into developing actual content which will actually be read rather than into building an outmoded navigational device. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:07, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
How many editors will it take for you to see that your approach to portals is simply not what the community is looking for. You may have valid points but it's clear from a dozen conversations involving dozens of editors spread out over multiple noticeboards and talk pages that a better way forward is needed.--Moxy 🍁 15:22, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Moxy, how many discussions will it take before you develop the basic comprehension skills to stop assuming that there is some sort of consensus for your desire to retain swathes of almost unused portals which consist of malformed collections of outdated content forks that will remain outdated because v few editors are interested in devoting their time to building a redundant navigational tool?
The fact that there are perhaps half-a-dozen editors who pop up in various venues to echo in more literate form your usually incoherent ramblings does not alter the fact that in the last 4 months there has been consensus at several hundred MFDs to delete not just the crapflood of portalspam unleashed by TTH, but much of the dungheap of portals which have been abandoned for up to a decade? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:39, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • There are certain editors, with differing opinions about portals, who have said everything that they are going to say here many times over. How about stepping back and giving other, less vested, editors a chance to have their say? Phil Bridger (talk) 16:46, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I proposed, starting this restatement of views, that a Request for Comments be used to survey the views of the community. Maybe User:Phil Bridger agrees that the RFC is a reasonable next step at this point. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:43, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I would agree with anything that doesn't involve a small group of editors re-re-re-re-restating their views. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:46, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

Why Portals?Edit

Several editors, including User:BrownHairedGirl, with whom I usually agree, have said that we need to address what the purpose of portals is. I agree. BHG has said that it appears that the purpose of portals is to entertain the group of editors who like to create portals. I said in April that it appeared that the portal platoon was creating portals recklessly because creating portals is fun. That isn't a valid reason for retaining portals. BHG appears to be disagreeing with my call for an RFC to establish or re-establish portal guidelines, because the guidelines address the How and we should first address the Why. I am suggesting that a new RFC on the portal guidelines is the best way to address the Why question, as well as the How questions and the What questions (such as whether regional portals are semi-mandatory). If someone else knows of a better way to address the Why question of the purpose of portals than either an RFC on the portal guidelines, or the re-statement of fixed positions, please suggest it, but for now, I think that an RFC on portal guidelines is needed.

I will comment on BrownHairedGirl's repeated statements that certain portal advocates seem to have a comprehension problem. I have an alternate assessment. Perhaps the advocates of portals have an explanation problem. Perhaps they know what they think will be accomplished with portals, and why the deletion of portals is harmful, but they are failing to explain their views clearly. Perhaps they have some idea that they think should be obvious. It isn't obvious. Maybe they aren't explaining well, and maybe they need to provide a clearer explanation.

To follow up on that suggestion, there are laments that portals are being under-viewed, and that the placement of portals in portal space is contributing to that problematic underviewing, and that measures should be taken to increase portal pageviews, such as links to portals from article space. The mission of the encyclopedia is the presentation of knowledge to readers. Editors who want portals viewed more should explain how the encyclopedia and its mission of providing knowledge to readers would be better served by more viewing of portals. (Otherwise, I hear whining, but am not sure what is being lamented.)

So possible purposes for portals are:

1. Showcasing. To provide a way for readers to view our best articles, most recent updates, most interesting trivia, etc. This is the primary purpose of the Main Page, and the Main Page is a super-portal. The Main Page is also very labor-intensive. Showcasing is work.
2. Navigation. As a means to facilitate viewing of related information. This is the most commonly stated reason for portals.
3. Content. As an alternative means for displaying information to readers that is not in articles. Some editors have stated that portals contain content, so that content is harmfully deleted when portals are deleted. (This statement was in particular made above by User:SportingFlyer, and has been made by User:Buaidh.)
4. Exercise.

Are there any other reasons for portals? Perhaps the advocates of portals, or the editors who complain about the deletion of portals, have not adequately explained what the value of portals is. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:30, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

  • Reviewing those purposes:
  1. Showcasing. Agree that it's labor-intensive, and gets diluted when there are a vast number of portals.
  2. Navigation. This is likely the most commonly stated reason for portals because it is the best/most valid, IMO.
  3. Content. This is somewhat in conflict with the navigation reason above. Content belongs in articles; to the extent that there's any de novo content in a portal, it should either be able to be transferred in an article or template, or risks being SYNTH.
  4. Exercise. This is the least convincing IMO; the sandbox exists for a reason. (Probably a joke on Robert's part, to be fair.)
(I also remember in ENDPORTALS that some said that people had worked very hard on portals and thus it would be bad to get rid of them. I'd like to remind anyone with a similar argument of the sunk cost fallacy and WP:HARDWORK.)
Given these, I would support deprecating the portal namespace and not creating any more. Having said that, I realize that the main page portals still receive some decent traffic, so a complete deletion of the namespace might not be warranted. We might yet create some high-quality portals notwithstanding all that's happened, so perhaps we can somehow otherwise limit the number of portals, perhaps to somewhere in the tens. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 01:48, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
User:John M Wolfson wrote: "Probably a joke on Robert's part, to be fair." That depends on what you mean by a joke. Both I and User:BrownHairedGirl have suggested that portals are created largely because creating portals is fun. (I have a database on portals. I created it because creating a mini-database is fun. But it is on my desktop computer, not on a WMF server.) One could make a somewhat different but similar argument about reason 3, content. However, I was asking for reasons beyond 1 through 4. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:59, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
I thought you were being a bit facetious with the whole "exercise" thing, given that Wikiepdia's not a webhost. I'm not saying that the idea that portals are created solely for fun is ridiculous, just that that's not a good reason for their existence, again since we're not a webhost and games exist elsewhere on the internet. And fair enough on looking for more reasons. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 03:02, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • If this was intended as a brainstorming session it would have helped to keep the list open-ended, but anyway, add:
5. A tool for planning and maintenance of articles within the scope of a WikiProject, that can also be used by readers to see what project-relevant topics are currently available, possibly also their current assessed quality, and what articles are missing but planned. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 05:03, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, and at at least two people already answered this before this section was even started. Even set out in a list as this is, there is not logical reason each thing in the list is mutually exclusive and that one thing on the list is the only thing, rather than being overlapping and existing all at once and more. (As to the last thing, 'entertainment' only, strikes as close to 'assumption of bad faith' -- there is nothing wrong and everything right with having people like, enjoy, etc, what they are doing, and have done, volunteering, here, in a space created by Wikipedia for them to do that volunteering.) -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:43, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
I have yet to see any good implementation in a portal of that articles-in-scope-of-WikiProject thing. If it exists and I have missed it, it doesn't require a portal to host it. So that's something which may be added to a portal if it exists, but it is definitely not a reason to create a portal. (NOTE: this is a widespread problem in discussing portals. There are many things which could be added to portals, but too little focus on the question of what things add enough value to justify creating a portal in the first place. This was one of the key conceptual failings of the automated portalspam: they were pages which added precisely zero value).
As to the entertainment issue, it's actually a very important one. Content in articles justifies its own existence, and if enthusiasm leads editors to create or develop content, that's great. But portals, categories and navboxes have only utilitarian virtue, and editor enthusiasm which leads to creation of portals, categories and navboxes with insufficient utility is a very bad thing. Over the years, several editors have had CBANs for repeatedly creating unhelpful categories, and the same principle applies to portals. The creation of inappropriate portals/categories/navboxes may be done in good faith, but good faith is an insufficient test: we also need good judgement and respect for consensus. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:44, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
6. A statement about the breadth of the topic. The statement that "This is a broad subject area" is made so often, or variants of it, such as "This is a very popular TV show", that it may be a reason in itself for creating or keeping a portal, to make the statement that it is a broad subject area. (That is not to say that I agree with that reason.)
User:Alanscottwalker - It was not said that the reasons are mutually exclusive. It is possible that a portal may have multiple reasons. Robert McClenon (talk) 13:20, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
This list was not intended as brainstorming. It was intended to understand the reasons for portals. When User:UnitedStatesian, User:BrownHairedGirl, or others nominate a portal for deletion, there is whining that too many portals are being deleted, and that the deletion is contrary to the wishes of the community to have portals. The poorly stated unhappiness of editors with the deletion of portals implies that there are poorly stated reasons why they want the portals kept. Perhaps my request for an explanation is brainstorming, in which case maybe the portals were created without even brainstorming the reasons why they were desired. But I am simply asking what the reasons are for the keeping of portals, since those reasons are seldom clearly stated. Robert McClenon (talk) 13:20, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Per my comment above, it is essential to distinguish between:
  1. features of a portal which justify its existence, because they add sufficient value which cannot reasonably be provided in other ways
  2. features which may be added to a portal once we have decided that it should exist
Most of the discussions I have seen focus on the second point, rather than on the first. That is part of the editor enthusiasm problem with portals: I have seen far too many cases of enthusiastic editors doing lots of busywork adding lots of features to a portal, while adding no value for readers. A classic example of this is US state portals whose main features are an intro to the state, and a "key facts" box. Both are already available in the head article, so a portal which has those as its main offering adds nothing, but harms readers by wasting their time through luring them to a redundant page.
Similarly, the "selected article" sets frequently overlap massively with a navbox, and the navbox does the job much better. Most of those sets are destructive busywork which wastes the time of readers and editors. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:58, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

The text under discussionEdit

The part of the guideline that causes the conflicts is the following: "Please bear in mind that portals should be about broad subject areas, which are likely to attract large numbers of interested readers and portal maintainers. Portals which require manual updating are at a greater risk of nomination for deletion if they are not kept up to date. Do not expect other editors to maintain a portal you create." There are many issues there.

  • Readers and maintainers. As written, it says which is the requirement (a broad subject area) and the ideal reason for this specific requirement (it may be easier to get readers and maintainers). It does not say that a portal must actually have a regular flow of readers and maintainers to be kept, which is the argument often used in MFD discussions. As said in Wikipedia:Five pillars, "The principles and spirit matter more than literal wording". After all, the availability of readers and maintainers can be influenced by other things as well (for example, how visible they are, the net availability of maintainers, etc).
  • A good portal should not really require frequent manual updating. The hard work should be done the first days, when everything is first set up, but from then on the portal should work on its own. We add {{Random portal component}} in the main page, and {{Selected article}} entries in an internal list, and that's it: the portal randomly selects one of those articles each time it is loaded. It can be maintained (by further adding more articles, or removing improperly added ones), but it does not require so, and keeps working even if all maintainers have left. The problem may be with an abandoned section that relies on nominations or time frames (as in "one new entry per month"), but that doesn't mean the portal itself has to be deleted. It can be simply fixed.
  • "Kept up to date". Up to date in reference to what? The real world? Other than a stale "in the news" section, there's very little in a portal that may become "outdated". Featured or good articles that lost that condition, and are still listed as selected articles? Again, just fix it. In the meantime, there's very little harm done: former good and featured articles were selected as such at some point, and even if they are no longer "the best of the best", they will likely still be reasonably well written articles in their own right.
  • The alleged risk of nomination for deletion goes against Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions#Nobody's working on it (or impatience with improvement).

I propose that we simply remove it. The rationale for keeping or deleting a portal should be the breadth of topic (perhaps clarifying a bit more what does that mean), and no intersection with another portal. Cambalachero (talk) 14:09, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

RfC: An alternative version of the lead sentence to the lead in SNC-Lavalin affairEdit

Request for input at article page. I didn't post the RfC here. I posted information for interested parties. Sorry for the confusion.Littleolive oil (talk) 15:49, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

Gender identity addition at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/BiographyEdit

We could use more opinions at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biography#Gender identity section. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:02, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

Political bias in Wikipedia must stopEdit

From the top of the page: "The policy section of the village pump is used to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines." This isn't a proposal, please come back if you want to discuss changes to our policies or guidelines. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 16:30, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

When it comes to politically charged subjects, Wikipedia is ridiculously and clearly biased, and biased to one side of the political spectrum only. When it comes to people, groups or movements that the extreme left opposes and detests, the Wikipedia pages for those subjects consist of pretty much nothing else than endless lists of mostly irrelevant minutia, which purpose is quite clearly nothing more than to meticulously collect ammunition for political activism. These articles tend to be excessively long, and put completely undue weight and emphasis on irrelevant minutia which consists pretty much exclusively of negative traits and events related to the subject in question. For example, just check the articles for Donald Trump, Milo Yiannopoulos, Gamergate, or Incel, and see exactly what I'm talking about. (Consider that for example in the Gamergate article the word "threat" appears 82 times, and the word "harassment" a whopping 121 times. This is clearly excessive and unnecessary.) They are pretty much nothing but example after example after example of irrelevant minutia, to use as political ammunition against the person or group. They are essentially smearing campaigns. Donald Trump even has several distinct pages that are nothing more than such lists, meticulously collected, full of irrelevant minutia. Quite conspicuously, and tellingly, no such lists exist for people, groups or movements that the extreme left likes. For them, their articles are significantly more neutral, and full of positive traits and adulation. And even when there's something objectionable or controversial about the subject, it's usually mentioned only briefly, and sandwiched between positive traits. It couldn't be clearer that there's a heavy political bias in Wikipedia.

The sources used for all this are often notoriously and famously politically biased, but that doesn't matter. Using biased sources for all this is official Wikipedia policy. Editors don't care if the sources are notoriously biased, they are still used. Many editors will use the excuse of "the articles simply reflect what's being talked about in mainstream media" and "the neutrality rules only apply to editors, not sources". Except that their personal biases still shine through, for example in the decisions they make on what details to include and what not, and the wording and order in which these details are presented. In other words, there's heavy bias in editorializing the content. As an example, the "sandwiching" rhetoric technique is heavily used: If the subject is someone the extreme left likes, when presenting negative traits or criticism about the subject in question, it will be sandwiched between positive traits. If the subject is someone the extreme left hates, any positive characteristics or achievements will be sandwiched between negative traits and criticism. Such positive traits almost never appear on their own, without being immediately preceded and followed by negative traits (often in the very same paragraph). The amount of article space dedicated to negative traits and controversies will be significantly higher for subjects that the extreme left hates than it is for subjects that they like. This choice of content, structure and presentation, and the difference in this kind of writing depending on the person or group, cannot be attributed to any sources, and are purely a decision made by editors.

Do not even bother trying to deny the quite clear and evident political bias in Wikipedia, which is amply clear to anybody who compares these articles. The only question is what exactly will it take to stop this bias from happening. For a more in-depth examination of this political bias, see my user page. Wopr (talk) 15:41, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Reality has a well-known liberal bias. Also is this where I chortle at Milo, Trump, etc. being people that only the "extreme left" dislikes? Speaking of bias, mate. --Golbez (talk) 15:55, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
The phrase "extreme left" appears five times in the above screed. The term "left" does not appear without it; the term "right" does not appear at all. --Golbez (talk) 15:56, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
It's also not even true; we have lots of articles about Donald Trump because he's the President of the United States and there's a lot to say about him. If you look at high-profile people the extreme left does like you'll find exactly the same "List of allegations against…" articles; go rooting round through Category:Hugo Chávez or Category:Jeremy Corbyn for a few minutes. ‑ Iridescent 16:02, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
The plural of minutia (singular) is minutiae. Oculi (talk) 16:20, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
My objection was not to the number of articles, but to the content and purpose of those articles. For example, what is the purpose of an entire separate page with endless lists of individual popularity ratings for Trump, especially given that no other president has such a page? Does it exist just to show all those red rectangles? And how many other politicians have an entire separate page meticulously listing all the "false statements" that they have made? There are plenty of politicians out there that have made false statements, yet they don't get their own separate Wikipedia page meticulously listing them. Quite clearly the existence of these pages, which are quite unique and pretty much don't exist for any other person in the world, serve a political purpose, and have been created by Wikipedia editors for purposes of smearing. Wopr (talk) 16:35, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Feel better now? O3000 (talk) 16:05, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Much is made of statistics on the relative number of women and men editing Wikipedia. Are there any similar statistics available for left-wing and right-wing editors? I don't see anything on Ideological bias on Wikipedia. Haukur (talk) 16:28, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
And why am I not surprised that this was immediately locked? Wikipedia editors do not like their political biases being discussed. How typical. The fact is that there is no place in Wikipedia where this could be discussed because editors do not want to discuss their own biases, and any discussion will be immediately stifled. Wopr (talk) 16:38, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
It was locked because it is totally off topic to what this page is supposed to be used for. Rather than rant at Wikipedia as a whole, choose a specific policy or guideline to discuss or propose your own. This isn't a place for WP:SOAP. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 16:40, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

How well does WP:NPOV work in the possible absence of demographic balance?Edit

The last thread didn't get off to a great start but I'd be curious to see a bit of discussion on this topic and I think there is some policy relevance down the line. Is Ideological bias on Wikipedia a problem? Are we making any efforts to quantify whether it is a problem? We have some numbers on male and female editors and we try to make particular efforts to recruit and retain women. That seems reasonable to me. Do we have any numbers on, say, left-wing versus right-wing Wikipedians and do we think we have a reasonable balance? Haukur (talk) 17:14, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Given that US right-wingers are in general opposed to facts and reality, I'm more than fine having a reality-aligned Wikipedia. That's a left-wing bias, but only to the extent that the left is more closely aligned to reality. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:19, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
You'll find that leftist anti-GMO/anti-vaccine nutcases are equally frustrated with Wikipedia. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:20, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Just for the record, the OP above has been indef blocked. I am fine having a positive discussion regarding political bias and how it relates to our policies and guidelines though. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 17:21, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Define "left" and "right" in a global context. I'd consider myself fairly far to the right in a British context; to our friend above I'd probably still count as extreme left. Certainly even the most left wing mainstream figures in the US like Bernie Sanders would be considered fairly far right in Europe. ‑ Iridescent 17:22, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, fair enough. But let's say that for contributors from any particular country we might want some sort of balanced sample of that country's political spectrum. Haukur (talk) 17:26, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) Quite. What passes as the center of politics in the USA is far from it in much of the world. As one example, the idea that my right to carry around a semi-automatic assault rifle should outweigh the right of my grandson to come home from school alive and without having seen his schoolmates massacred is seen as a wooky fringe idea in most of the world. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:30, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
That, or claims that wanting to improve health care coverage amounts to supporting Nazism. This was said, with genuine belief, to Barney Frank, a gay Jewish house representative. Let that sink in. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:51, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

I'm a European too and I also find US right-wingers to be somewhat alien - but they could reasonably worry that Wikipedia is biased against them and this thread so far would not be reassuring to them. Nor would, say, the twitter feed of our executive director. Haukur (talk) 17:39, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Well, the twitter feed of our executive director is something that I have no intention of reading, and I would consider it unhelpful for our executive director to even have a twitter feed, unless it is made abundantly clear that anything posted there is only a personal opinion and not an official position of the Wikipedia community. Our only bias should be a bias towards facts and reality (© Headbomb). When I was growing up that used to be considered a conservative virtue, but the world seems to have changed now. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:59, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

I'd have to search but I recall a survey of WPians that identified that the more experienced ones (read: the ones more likely to be admins) were generally more liberal than comparing newer editors. This is, of course, not surprising, given that WP can be seen as a similar environment to academia which also has a similar perceived left-leaning bias. Along, that bias isn't a problem, but in the current political climate and with the current body of RS we hang our sourcing hats on, we have created a serious problem of left-wing favoritism, right-ring scorning across modern political articles. It's the issues of NOT#NEWS and RECENTISM that are being overrun when editors run to include the large swath of political commentary and analysis about factual events; the bulk of the sources presented these opinions and commentary will be from the left, and editors, along aligned with the left, see little issue with including them. Arguable, should not be a problem if there were also right-wing sources and editors made sure to add those, but we've all but cut off the bulk of the right-wing, leaving Fox as likely the most extreme right leaning source. I've argued many times before, but we should not be rushing to add all the commentary about a ongoing political topic at the time, unless that commentary itself is part of the factual events around it. It's hard enough to do this when there's opinions coming from all sides that we can use, its worse due to the media's own bias, our own bias in RSes, and editors' own bias turning a blind eye to some of these events. Instead, we should wait the years it takes for a reasonable hindsight analysis of the sources can be made to write about how academics and political analysis took the importance of the topic. --Masem (t) 17:51, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

If what you're saying there is that we should enforce WP:NOT#NEWS and hold off from having articles about political and other events until they are covered by proper secondary sources then I wholehartedly agree. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:04, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes... I completely agree that the primary problem lies with a lack of enforcement when it comes to NOT#NEWS. The hard part is figuring out what we can do about it. Blueboar (talk) 18:45, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I remember there being a discussion about this a few months ago resulting in no consensus being reached that we should enforce the basic requirement of topics being covered by secondary sources, because many editors claimed that news reports are secondary sources, even though no historian or social scientist would agree with that claim. I fear that the answer to the question of what we can do about it is "nothing". Phil Bridger (talk) 19:03, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
A problem with this is that there's still a strong contingent of editors that think newspaper articles are secondary sources. Op-eds may be, but that's the stuff we don't want in the immediate wake of an event. We want secondary sources talking about the broad summary of the analysis and opinion around the event to give coverage to that angle, otherwise we should stick to the basic facts. --Masem (t) 19:11, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
It is not that we can't have articles on breaking political events. For example, I am following the events going on about the 2020 United States Census citizenship question, and I will fully attest we can stay current and write about the event as these events break, as long as we are sticking to the facts (eg now as we're in judicial facets, explains when X happened in court or what rulings were issued). But if you look beyond the factual coverage for this, you can see a LOT of the media riding on Trump, analyzing and opining a gazillion reasons why he wants this, why the courts need to reject it, etc. That's stuff that is beyond the news at this point, and is the type of stuff seeped in political idealism that shows off the left-leaning bias of the media. But as it is all analysis and opinion and "talking heads" about recent events, we should not be covering that facet under NOT#NEWS/RECENTISM. That's where the bias of the media and our editors shows its head in other situations. --Masem (t) 19:08, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Comments like that, mentioning "the left-leaning bias of the media" as if it's an unarguable truth, an excellent demonstration of the problem we face. HiLo48 (talk) 00:00, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Let me clarify that this is the left-leaning bias of our reliable sources from the media. The media as a whole is probably all over the media map, but as well noted, the more "truthier" ones that we'd trust as an encyclopedia lean left (or that the more right-leaning ones tend to take themselves out of being reliable by forgoing factual reporting). So we're basically looking at left-leaning media as what we base our articles on. --Masem (t) 00:59, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

  • We can make some basic assumptions using the data that we do have. For example, almost 3/4 of Wikipedia contributors have a four-year degree or more, and it's fairly widely agreed upon that educational attainment is correlated with greater political liberalism. In comparison, only about 33% of people in the US have a four-year degree or higher. The plan for the newer Wikimedia survey (as of last I talked to the foundation folks) was also to include urban/rural data gathering, and you can make a similar comparison there as you can with education. On the one hand, there is reason to believe that we get higher quality articles when there is a more diverse group of editors working on it. On the other, despite the high profile nature of contemporary politics on Wikipedia, the majority of work is done in areas where political affiliation is almost certainly almost entirely irrelevant. GMGtalk 18:54, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Thank you! That does help a little bit. As you point out, education is correlated with liberalism and we have a lot of educated people. On the other hand, being male is correlated with conservatism and we have a lot of men. So we may need to be cautious in extrapolating political leanings from the education stats. It doesn't seem too hard to poll political leanings directly in some way and that would seem desirable. Still, I agree that political affiliation is often/usually irrelevant, just as it seems to me that one's gender is often/usually irrelevant. Haukur (talk) 19:06, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
      • Well, you would expect that oppositely slanted variable would work to cancel each other out, assuming there is no other interaction there (e.g., poorly educated men are abundantly the most conservative, but least likely to edit). Anyway, self-identified party affiliation doesn't necessarily directly pertain to article content. This study looked at a language analysis of mainspace contributions, and did a clever mini-validation using IP contributors and voting data. They found that most contributors exhibited no slant, but that these were also the least active, and the most active editors were the most likely to be slanted. Democrat-leaning editors were more slanted on average. All articles exhibited a Democrat slant, but the instances of extreme left/right slant were about equal. They also found that editors generally tend to moderate their slant over time, although I'm not sure that I see if they considered the effect of the most extreme editors simply being blocked. GMGtalk 19:58, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
      • I guess I would add that everything demographic-wise is going to be affected by the universal barrier-to-entry: if you don't have reliable internet access and you're not computer literate, you're not going to edit Wikipedia. This is a group we could pretty reliably expect to be less educated, more rural, and less individually and inter-generationally affluent, all of which would lead us to expect them to be, on average, more politically conservative. However, we would also expect them to be older, and the fact that the median age on Wikipedia fairly well tracks the median age (at least in the US) seems to be a curious outlier. I wonder if it's not being affected by places like Japan where the median age is creeping upward, but they are more likely to have reliable internet access. — Preceding unsigned comment added by GreenMeansGo (talkcontribs) 21:29, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
        • I find "almost 3/4 of Wikipedia contributors have a four-year degree or more" dubious in the extreme, given that (outside of a few specialist fields like medicine) the US and Scotland (and to a limited extent Canada) are the only significant English-speaking countries where such a thing exists, and the US accounts for less than 40% of editors. ‑ Iridescent 21:55, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
          I only did a three-year degree, but I managed to get a Masters out of it in the end, on payment of a suitable "fee".  — Amakuru (talk) 22:00, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
          Yeah, that is a highly dubious figure for any number of reasons, and can most likely be explained by self-selection bias. It simply doesn't pass the smell test: randomly go by WP:PERM on any given day and you'll see that obvious minors still make up a significant portion of the editor base, likely overrepresented compared to the number of minors in the general population. Factoring that in, and adding in the fact that we also overrepresent people of retirement age, where those with a university degree is going to be lower than people in their 30s, there'd have to be a lot of reasons to explain why our editor population is 2.25 time more educated than the US population. Remarkable claims require remarkable evidence, and a survey with self-selection bias that makes such claims is pretty suspect. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:12, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Age groups of community engagement survey
Okay, following up from the above, I'm even more skeptical since apparently the English Wikipedia has no minors. If minors aren't being factored into that analysis, then that figure is missing a major portion of the community. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:22, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Buried in a subpage of a subpage of a subpage is "The sample size for English Wikipedia was very small at 88 respondents". I'm sure you'll be as shocked as I am to discover that the WMF are spouting made-up nonsense as fact to try to push one of their pet agendas. (FWIW, they don't actually make the "four year degree" claim anywhere that I can see; that appears to be a misreading by the OP here.) ‑ Iridescent 22:32, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
If you're trying to convince me that a global WMF survey was a global WMF survey, then...yeah. If you're trying to convince me that the methodology of Greenstein is vastly superior, then...yeah. They sampled upwards of 10 million edits over 10 years. If you're trying to pick a fight over the WMF obviously excluding minors from their study, or the terminology I happened to use for a college degree, then I'm not terribly interested honestly. GMGtalk 23:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I think Iridescent's point is that a sample size of 88 editors isn't particularly meaningful in terms of the statistics that it presents, especially when other biases in survey methodology are accounted for. I'm sure the Greenstein study is more accurate than the WMF survey, but just based on a quick ctrl+f of all the terms I could try to think of to validate the claim about degrees, I couldn't find it (if it's there, I'd really like to see it because I find this sort of stuff interesting.)
My point about minors is that if you're making the quite frankly unbelievable claim that 75% of editors have a BA or equivalent degree, but excluding a significant portion of the editing population, it further casts into doubt that figure since minors generally don't have university degrees. There may be very valid reasons to exclude them from a survey, but when age is a very relevant factor in a claim that's being made to advance an argument, it is something the fact that a group that would make that statistic go down by a statistically significant margin has been excluded is something that needs to be raised. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:52, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
As far as I am aware, the exclusion of minors would not affect the comparison to the genpop with this data point, because measures in the genpop are also not counting children who are not old enough to have attained the measured degree. GMGtalk 00:00, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, yes, but the general population statistics explicitly state they are age 25+. That's not what you said, and there's the fact that our editor population is very likely over-representative of minors. The point of reference matters when you're trying to make an argument that the educational attainment of Wikipedians causes bias. It's a fun fact to state, but the presentation is at best dubious when you factor in that we rightly encourage children to edit and we have had minors write featured articles. That and the overrepresentation of retirees both make that limited statistic very doubtful. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:07, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I don't see the point you're making. If you compare a measure of the adult population vs a measure of the adult population (as in the US Census Bureau citation I provide above, 18+) then minors don't really play any part in proportionality. You should expect them to be equal, all other things being equal. The average for completion of an upper secondary degree for all OECD countries (25+) is actually at bit higher at 39% (p. 54), but still nothing compared to the global Wikimedia adult population. I'm not really seeing a methodological argument here other than "I don't believe the results". An 18+ vs a 25+ comparison between the WMF and the OECD actually skews the WMF results downward, given that many people aged 18-25 likely haven't had the time to complete their studies. I also don't understand where you are getting your demographic data regarding over-representation of retirees. GMGtalk 00:42, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm not arguing against the methodology used on the minors point: as I said above, there may be valid reasons to exclude them. I'm saying that because our editor population has a statistically significant number of children, the non-statistical conclusions you are drawing from the survey aren't justified by the data. Additionally, yes, a limited sample size of this project as pointed out by Iridescent, does cast doubt on the figures. A low response survey making exceptional claims isn't really that strong of evidence for the exceptional claim, and even if there is larger participation from other Wikimedia projects, that can't necessarily be extrapolated to the English Wikipedia. On the retiree point, I'm sure you can find the data somewhere, but it's a generally agreed statement that our population over-represents those who have the time to edit: children, university students, and retirees. People with jobs have less time and are thus underrepresented usually. I'm far from the first person to raise this... TonyBallioni (talk) 00:56, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
This sounds a bit like "the plural of anecdote is not evidence". If you have data on the representation of these groups, then I'm happy to read it. I've read quite a bit on the matter and would like to read more. GMGtalk 01:08, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Agree with that fact that USA related political articles are just filled with click-bait news. The main problem is coming from very few editors who belive blow by blow coverage is notable.--Moxy 🍁 22:21, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't think there's much we should, much less can, do. While I wouldn't be surprised of there being a liberal bias on this site (even beyond the whole "truth has a liberal bias" stuff), as a personal liberal I've seen quite a few conservative editors who have contributed quite productively to the site and we're not turning into Occupy Democrats anytime soon. Hot-button stuff can be appropriately protected to prevent any major shitstorms, and the one thing I think we'd need to do is to more carefully scrutinize breaking news. That said, I think NPOV is still holding up rather nicely, especially in medium- to high-quality articles. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 06:24, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Replacing a low-resolution JPEG screenshot image with a higher resolution PNGEdit

thumb I recently uploaded this screenshot to replace an earlier one at The_Hitchhiker's_Guide_to_the_Galaxy_(video_game) because the former was such low resolution that it couldn't be read. This one was created by me at the exact same place in the game being run on Unix Frotz, with better resolution, and smaller file size, but is otherwise identical to the older image. I tried to change the name of the file's extension from .jpg to .png, but it seems that when editing a FILE, one cannot do this. Therefore I uploaded a new file, set a speedy-delete on the old one, and notified the original uploader. Today I got a message from that uploader telling me that I did it wrong:

You don't speedily delete the entire page, losing the history. You just reduce the size of the image and replace it on the same page, like this. —Prhartcom 11:43, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

So then I looked back at the file I marked for deletion and it had been deleted. Did I really do this wrong? I'm not clear how what's being pointed to is "right". How can I do this sort of thing better? There are several other Infocom game screenshots that I'd like to improve. -- Frotz(talk) 19:44, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

I see nothing wrong with that. Yes, you could have used a higher res JPG and overwritten, but that's a lot of extra bits where PNG for the type of rendering gives a smaller file size. I do not think that with File space we are as considered with contribution history particularly with NFC in play. --Masem (t) 19:52, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Code ExamplesEdit

Is there a Wikipedia policy regarding the usage of example code in computer science-related articles? For example, Anonymous function#Examples seems to contain an excessive amount of code. I haven't been able to find one, so this is my proposal:

  1. The example code and discussion thereupon should not exceed the size of the rest of the article combined.
  2. Examples should be limited to a few 'well known' implementations. For example, when talking about anonymous functions, lambda calculus is 'well known', because it introduced the anonymous function, and Lisp because it was the first programming language to implement anonymous functions.
  3. Examples should introduce Encyclopedic Value™. This is somewhat subjective but let me define it as something new and interesting that has not been discussed within the article yet.

GUYWAN ( t · c ) 22:32, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

This is a good observation. I think the simplest solution here would be to split that section into a separate article Comparison of programming languages (anonymous functions), in the style of e.g. Comparison of programming languages (associative array) and other articles listed at Template:Programming language comparisons. I would tend to agree with you that these long directories of example code per language are questionably 'encyclopedic', but it seems like there may be some consensus to keep them, and as long as they're in a separate article, they're not getting in anyone's way. BTW, you might get more responses if you bring this up at WikiProject Computer science or WikiProject Computing. Colin M (talk) 16:32, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
No, that would not be a notable topic. Many articles (even hello world) have attracted exhaustive lists where each item is added by an enthusiast for that language. I have seen several cases where the lists where severely pruned. Johnuniq (talk) 23:12, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Well if you want to nominate Comparison of programming languages (associative array), Comparison of programming languages (list comprehension), Comparison of programming languages (object-oriented programming) etc. for deletion, you know where to find them. I wouldn't object - I'm just trying to read (local) consensus. The hello world examples are an interesting case - looks like there was a list article that got transwiki'd to Wikibooks. Maybe that option would make the deletion of these pages more palatable. Colin M (talk) 18:43, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

Notifications being deletedEdit

Per this discussion, which it seems was just a de-facto announcement, older notifications are being deleted from the database. This means we are losing historical records of thanks, for example.

Technical justification seems handwavy at best, I think this is something that should have had full community input.

Anyone from WMF who can comment, or assist? Anyone in the community who feels, as I do, that this is a bad idea? Or a good one?

@Quiddity (WMF), Ricordisamoa, Ottawahitech, and Trizek (WMF):

All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 07:59, 11 July 2019 (UTC).

Your comparison to page history is false equivalence; not all records need to be kept forever. In six years I've never had a need for as many as 20 most recent notifications, so I can probably make do with 2,000. ―Mandruss  08:27, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Well then, you could have a preference to allow them to be deleted. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 16:14, 11 July 2019 (UTC).
Why would deleting the notifications lose historical records of thanks? The thanks log doesn't need to be affected. —Kusma (t·c) 14:24, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
That's useful, and not something the developers seemed aware of. but even here, I can no longer see what the thanks were for. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 16:14, 11 July 2019 (UTC).
I don't see any need to retain them indefinitely anyway. With article contribution history, it's necessary, for CC-BY-SA purposes of attribution and also a record of article development, that contributions be retained permanently. I don't see any similar need for notifications to be retained forever; the underlying edit is still there. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:20, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
In fact, I think they should go further and just give us a button already to delete notifications ourselves (only notifications to one's own account, of course). Someguy1221 (talk) 21:50, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I have no problem with that, in fact I suggested it above, however it's not "further" it is "different".
Deleting thanks is a bit like deleting barnstars, IMHO. If the recipient can and there's a record, that's fine. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 21:40, 14 July 2019 (UTC).

Discussion of interestEdit

A discussion of interest to those who frequent this page can be found here. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:45, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

Discussion at Wikipedia talk:List of policies and guidelines#Status of WP:Office actions and WP:BureaucratsEdit

  You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia talk:List of policies and guidelines#Status of WP:Office actions and WP:Bureaucrats. —⁠andrybak (talk) 22:30, 13 July 2019 (UTC)

Announcement of forthcoming temporary/partial ban tool consultationEdit

As many of you already know, a recent (2 July) Board statement about the Fram case recommended that the Wikimedia Foundation "[add] community input to the two new office action policy tools (temporary and partial Foundation bans)", and Katherine Maher, in her 3 July follow-up statement, noted that "Foundation staff have begun preparing for a dedicated community consultation on [...] the two new office action policy tools introduced during the last change".

While ArbCom continues to review the original case that is relevant to the other points Katherine identified, the Trust & Safety team has begun drafting a consultation on the topic of partial and temporary Office Actions, including their purpose and scope, and re-examining the question of appeals for them. We expect to publish a draft of this consultation before Wikimania, so that contributors both online and at Wikimania are able to review it and give us feedback about the consultation format before we launch the consultation. Announcements of the draft consultation will go out to all affected communities in line with the commitment from 17 June.

Once that feedback has been incorporated into the draft consultation, we plan to launch the consultation itself on September 1, 2019 on Meta. We offer our thanks in advance for your contributions, and we hope to get as much input as possible from community members both before and during the consultation! Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 15:47, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

I would strongly advise that this be delayed until the Fram case is completed. This community is still trying to heal. Trying to start this when people aren't going to have the energy to participate, and really aren't clear on the true dimensions and depth of WMF's conduct in this case, is only going to deepen the schism that has already been inflicted upon us. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 16:09, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
What I am about to say should probably go somewhere more relevant, but one of the things that has disturbed me the most about the way T&S operates is that they keep dossiers and files on people without their knowledge. If they are doing that without informing the people that they are keeping dossiers on, that is not acceptable. For any system going forward (if T&S are to regain the trust of the community), there has to be an absolute guarantee that any user can ask if T&S have a file about them. And the WMF have to be truthful when replying to such requests. In some jurisdictions, it is not legal to keep such a file of personal data about someone without their permission, and the WMF would be required (with the appropriate redactions) to release that file on request by the subject whose personal data is being handled (there are both legal and ethical implications to handling such data). Carcharoth (talk) 16:39, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree with this. I think it would be reassuring, in fact, if WMF committed to honoring EU-style disclosure requests worldwide, and built the mechanism for this into its privacy policy and the TOU. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 17:37, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
WMF commitment is irrelevant. Under GDPR any corporation or entity regardless of location that collects data on EU citizens or those residing in the EU has to abide by GDPR. Which means any SAR requests etc cannot be ignored. Since a number of WMF officials are actually in the EU it makes it substantially easier. Only in death does duty end (talk) 18:12, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I think it's actually unclear whether noncitizens not residing in the EU have rights under the GDPR with respect to non-European firms that store data outside the EU. Many companies have committed to doing so anyway because of the inefficiency of having separate models for EU and non-EU persons (Microsoft has, for instance). Even if you are correct that the GDPR applies in that scenario, I think it would be reassuring and appropriate for WMF to publicly commit to honoring GDPR rights for non-Europeans, and moreover to incorporate those protections into the TOU so that there's teeth to drag WMF to court and get your data from them if they suddenly decide it's too inconvenient. This has to be more than a reassurance from a single board member or even the whole board: This has to be built into the TOU. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 18:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Suffice to say, no its not unclear at all to anyone who actually lodges GDPR requests on behalf of EU residents, but I wont go into too much detail here. I agree that having the WMF actually commit to doing that would be nice. Unlikely though. Only in death does duty end (talk) 20:35, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
If it’s on behalf of an EU resident, then it certainly applies. I’m talking about what might be classed as “non-EU cubed” cases: non-EU resident’s data, non-EU firm’s storage, non-EU server. I don’t think it’s too farfetched to demand a commitment anyway. This is a corporation that rakes in $100M/year, not something being run out of a dorm room closet. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 20:50, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Kbrown (WMF): This is going to come off snarkier than I mean it so apologies, but I want to check for understanding. Prior to Wikimania there will be a draft released which people can give feedback on - a consultation if you will. Then there will be a second draft that comes from that consultation and which will then be used to launch a formal consultation process in September. At the end of that consultation process Trust and Safety will resume issuing temporary and partial Foundation bans. Is that correct? Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 17:43, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Barkeep49: Kind of? Prior to Wikimania there will be a draft of the consultation released so that people can give input on topics like "does this format and set of prompts give space to address all the questions that need to be addressed regarding this topic?" and "is this consultation format likely to end in disaster when people start trying to talk about the topic?" We'll then take that input and adjust the consultation content/prompts/format as needed, and then proceed with actually holding the consultation. The goal is to be equipped to actually address (or at least talk about) all the important questions when we actually launch the consultation, rather than discovering partway through that, say, the community really wanted to talk about $insertTopicHere with relation to these actions and we didn't cover that in the consultation.
As far as "will the Foundation resume issuing temporary and partial Foundation bans at the end of this consultation", the answer is no, not necessarily. If there's no consensus to use those actions at the end of the consultation - either as-is or in some adapted format - then we will not resume using those actions. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 18:42, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Put differently, if WMF concludes there's consensus that they can continue, they'll continue, even if that's well before the Fram ArbCom case ends and and anyone really understands what's going on here. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 18:46, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Wikimania should have nothing to do with this - it is a highly skewed club of the (mostly) more "cult-y" people and with COIs galore. Do it openly in the biggest forum, not in some echo chamber. - Sitush (talk) 18:12, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Sitush: "Openly" is definitely how we're doing this. The draft consultation will be placed on Meta so anyone can comment on it, including those who aren't at Wikimania, and as my initial announcement said, we plan to publicly announce when that draft is up so people know to come give us feedback. Our goal is to get as much input as possible both in designing the consultation, and then in the actual consultation itself. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 18:42, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
No, Wikimania is a closed shop where you can prime a skewed sample of the community. - Sitush (talk) 19:20, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Anyone care to bet what the keynote address will be about?--Wehwalt (talk) 19:31, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Kbrown (WMF): What are "all affected communities"? --Rschen7754 18:17, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Rschen7754: Heh, you caught me in one of my rhetorical flourish moments. "All affected communities" is just a fancy way of saying "all communities that use our Terms of Use," which is of course in turn just a fancy way of saying "We're going to notify all Wikimedia communities." Our Community Relations department will send out the notifications via bot when the time comes. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 18:48, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Does this include banned users who are still subject to the TOU as a result of the language in Section 12? Or will they not be able to participate in these consultations? (edit: to clarify, I am 100% serious about this question and it is not intended as snark) —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 18:52, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Idle question - is the consultation is a single process involving multiple communities, or will a positive consensus be required on each specific project where the new bans could be applied? As a random example, if the en-WP community delivers a consensus in favour of T&S behavioural bans, will that also apply to (say) the Azerbaijan Wikipedia even though no editors from there might have offered a view? -- Euryalus (talk) 20:42, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
  • A very valid point has been raised by Sitush. Although we need to get this issue/these issues resolved as soon as possible, anyone who has attended several Wikimanias knows that it is a WMF event, and not as is commonly misunderstood, a community event. A very large part of the programme is presented and/or facilitated by WMF staff who account for a significant number of the attendees; the conference is a showcase for the WMF's work in front of a privileged audience. Although Wikimania 2019 falls at a convenient time, it should not be used as a proving ground for a WMF scheme. Due to cost and location of the conferences many of the people who matter are denied access. The effect would be skewed. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with Kudpung here. Although there is no doubt people will discuss things there, as indeed they do at other wiki meets, Wikimania should not form a formal part of the process. I say that not particularly because it's a WMF event, but simply because its attendees are not representative of the communities at large. They are a small subset who have both the time and the money to spend several days in Sweden at the height of summer. The process should be based on on-wiki discussions only.  — Amakuru (talk) 23:58, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I understand where Kudpung and others are coming from; however, Wikimania is sort of a key point in the WMF's calendar. About a third of the staff attend (and almost all of the T&S staff, many of whom have specific "on duty" responsibilities there), so it's sort of a point where most non-essential work - such as monitoring and responding to "consultations" - comes to a halt. It's also about a month from now, which is a common timeframe for consultations. I don't think it is a bad idea to elicit opinions while there, either; although a fair chunk of attendees are what might be called "the usual suspects", it's also the one place where it's easier to directly connect with individuals who work on smaller projects and in small-language projects. The WMF sponsors some of those folks, but so do several chapters; at one point, WMDE was actually sponsoring as many non-local (i.e., non-German) attendees as the WMF was sponsoring non-English attendees.

    I suspect that what we may see is that some of the smaller projects, which lack the well-developed structures that we have on English Wikipedia, may find some value in getting assistance from the WMF to deal with their rare "big problem" users; in fact, we have good reason to believe that some of those non-English, small communities have already reached out to WMF for that kind of assistance, although the nature of the "problem users" that they're dealing with don't usually have much to do with harassment per se, but instead tend to be more into content manipulation or garden-variety misogyny or racism. Risker (talk) 00:25, 16 July 2019 (UTC) Disclosure: I am being sent to Wikimania 2019 as part of the Strategy 2030 project as an official representative of the Roles & Responsibilities working group. I have been assigned to talk about strategy for pretty much the entire weekend, starting the morning after I arrive. This isn't a tourist opportunity for me. Risker (talk) 00:25, 16 July 2019 (UTC)