Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 64

DynamicPageList and revamping Portal:Current events

Hello. Following the lead of the other Portals, it may be a good idea to give each news headline on Portal:Current events its own page. Then, with appropriate categorization, these headlines could be included into the Current Events portal, as well as other relevant Portals using the DynamicPageList feature that Wikinews uses.

This seems like a fairly big task, since DynamicPageList doesn't appear to be a feature of English Wikipedia, though if I understand correctly it could be added. Nevertheless, it should be noted that

  • About 200 portals (see User:Wikinews Importer Bot/List) currently import Wikinews headlines for their news section.
  • Portal:Current events has a more comprehensive list of headlines than Wikinews.
  • Most Portals (I think?) manually update their "News" sections (if they have them), causing many to go stale.
  • There is a desire to have an RSS feed of the Current events headlines.

These observations lead one to the idea of having individual subpages for the news headlines in Portal:Current events. This has also been suggested here. thoughts? Mlm42 (talk) 03:23, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Could you clarify exactly what you are proposing? --Yair rand (talk) 09:08, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
s far as I understand it, this would change a page like Portal:Current events/2010 August 3 in some 100 subpages? Seems like serious overkill, certainly considering that all this is very tangential to Wikipedia's core business. Fram (talk) 09:48, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Fram, Portal:Current events is one of the most viewed pages on Wikipedia, so it seems relevant.. but I admit it may be more trouble then it's worth. In any case, what I'm proposing is to have lots of small subpages such as: Portal:Current events/2010 August 3/1 (of course a more specific subpage name is more appropriate). These could then be transcluded into Portal:Current events/2010 August 3. The advantage being for each subpage, we could add appropriate categories, or even a little more information on the sources, without cluttering up the Current events page. Then
* {{Portal:Current events/2010 August 3/1}}
would produce:
I don't know exactly how RSS feeds work, but if the current events page is going to have one, this seems like the only way.
Also, topic-specific portals (say Portal:Iceland) which desire a News section, would be able to transclude the most recent news headlines which are in some category (all headlines tagged with something like Category:Iceland news). A bot could be made to do this so that the portal itself doesn't have to do anything. Mlm42 (talk) 17:14, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

The subpage could also be of a collapsible form; for example:
{{Portal:Current events/2010 August 3/2}}
would produce:
   • Three Lebanese soldiers, one Israeli soldier, and a journalist are killed, and others are wounded, in clashes along the Israel-Lebanon border.

(sorry if my wiki-syntax isn't amazing). Mlm42 (talk) 19:12, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

What is DynamicPageList? --candlewicke 04:45, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
See mw:Extension:DynamicPageList (Wikimedia). Reach Out to the Truth 05:03, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
DynamicPageList is the Mediawiki feature that Wikinews uses to generate its (automatically updated) lists of headlines. For example:
This would generate a list of the 12 most recently published news articles in the category "Space", ordered with the most recent at the top. (see n:Portal:Space for the list) I'm suggesting that if our Current Event items were on individual subpages, then we may be able to generate similar lists. Mlm42 (talk) 16:25, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
You do know that DynamicPageList can only show the full page titles, right? --Yair rand (talk) 19:34, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Oh, true; so that wouldn't be appropriate. Nevertheless, one would be able to make a bot achieve a similar thing, by transcluding the subpages which are in some category or categories. Mlm42 (talk) 19:50, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Grading Scheme

I was wondering, why does the Quality scale (grading scheme) only have two options for lists, and seven options for articles? There should at least be three or four options for lists...

Article List
Stub List

As you know, all lists are not Featured lists, but all non Featured lists are considered "Lists", when a lot of them go a lot further than the "List" criteria

FL In between Lists
List of Nine Inch Nails concert tours List of Slipknot concert tours List of Ramones concerts
List of International Mathematical Olympiads List of Hot 100 number-one singles of 2005 (U.S.) List of film serials
Timeline of the 1987 Atlantic hurricane season List of universities in Canada List of aikidoka

I personally think that there should be a Good List criteria, as well as nominations for them. I'm not sure if I should bring this up with Village Pump or the Editorial Team, but I was wondering if anyone else supports this (or opposes) the idea for Good Lists or B Lists or whatever, please list it below the line.
CrowzRSA 19:14, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

  • I have wondered this for some time as well. While it need not necessarily be Good list, I support the addition of some sort of separation for lists. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 16:36, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Support the idea of an intermediary ranking for lists. As Floydian points out, it need not be "Good List", but that would seem the most viable option for a "concrete" ranking - the FA - FL system would also work as GA - GL, and GL would provide a more consistent set of criteria. We might also consider a sub-List ranking, similar to "stub", although for lists that might be less of an issue. Nikkimaria (talk) 01:13, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. Excellent idea. We should definitely have a system that allows us to identify not only our best lists, but also those which are in good shape and those which, while not "stubs" in terms of length, are in bad shape as lists go. bd2412 T 15:57, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
    • But what separates a list in "good shape" from one that is deserving of the featured star? Dabomb87 (talk) 16:02, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't think this is a good idea; it's merely process for process' sake. What separates a "good list" (not necessarily a "Good" list) from a Featured list? GAs and FAs are demonstrably different in that GAs need only address the "main aspects" of a topic while FAs must be comprehensive, and GAs must be merely well-written while FAs should be "engaging, even brilliant, and of a professional standard". The situation is quite different with lists: you have complete lists, and then you have incomplete lists (and then you have lists that in practice can never be complete, but they're a different beast and we have plenty of them at WP:FL); as for writing, in many lists, prose is simply a two- or three-paragraph introduction to the list's topic, and it's hardly worth differentiating between decent and brilliant with such little text. Regarding a new "Good Lists" process, I'm quite opposed to that; we have trouble gathering reviewers for our existing FL process as it is. Dabomb87 (talk) 01:43, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Disclosure: I'm one of the Featured list directors. Dabomb87 (talk) 01:50, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I think there is a much higher demand for some sort of engaging prose in lists. I certainly wasn't able to get away with a simple list. Featured lists must also be scrutinizingly well sourced. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 16:03, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I echoed what Dabomb87 said. Lists are different from articles, so their quality scales have to be different as well. As for creating a "good lists process", I strongly oppose since there aren't much difference between a "good" list and a featured list currently recognized.—Chris!c/t 02:18, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes, all that I'd like to say has been said by Dabomb87. Kayau Voting IS evil 02:55, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
  • How would you separate what constitutes a B-Class list? A C-Class list? A Start-Class list? While some WikiProjects assess lists, they usually have content-area-specific criteria that cannot be translated Wikipedia-wide. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 03:00, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I would oppose any formal process (such as "good list" or whatever). While it is certainly possible to have an intermediate grade (okay list!?) and it would not be too much hastle – have the same process as articles where any contributor can assess – I see no advantages to it. Does it give people something more to aim for, not really. It seems like process' for process sake. I think it is also worthy to note that all the in-between lists got to their supposed superior state through the existing featured list process (either as candidates or FFLs). In my opinion, the only thing that could be assessed more incrementally is the prose (often just a short introduction) but I do not think it is a worthwhile addition. Rambo's Revenge (talk) 23:05, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

There are discernable levels of quality among those lists which are not counted as "featured". I've seen many a list which needs a lot of work because it merely lays out a collection of titles falling under the header, but lacks organization and searchability, or is obviously missing large swaths of information. There are also lists which appear to be comprehensive in their information coverage, and well organized, but insubstantial enough to become featured lists. bd2412 T 16:05, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

  • I would say in practice there are three classes of lists: Stub, "B class" and featured. The difference is entirely in the prose quality: The stub has an introductory statement only while the B class has has a more complete lead and body (if necessary). If there is a desire to add a grading system - and I don't see a huge need for it - I would suggest creating a stub list grade, leaving "list" for the B class and not touching the FL process. Resolute 23:44, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Although I agree to avoid making a "good list" process, as those process are already bottlenecked, it may be a good idea to include some in-between levels before featured. Of course, it would be needed to design a system to set the differences between levels. Some elements to work with may be

  • If it's clean of maintenance tags
  • If the list is complete (if it's a list that may be complete) or if it has enough elements (if it isn't).
  • If there is a good introductory text, or just the list
  • If it has table format, or just bullets
  • If the table has the appropiate columns
  • If it's ilustrated (if possible)
  • If it links the articles about the specific elements (if notable)

MBelgrano (talk) 13:25, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

What about something like this. CrowzRSA 15:16, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Proposed template (for abusive unblock requests)

Hello. Another user and I have worked on a new template, to use specifically for abusive unblock requests (see here). Eventually (similarly to standard user warnings), the user will have his/her talk page locked, and will not be allowed to even make unblock requests. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks. -- IRP 17:23, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Dead link archive

After chasing one more dead link to nowhere, I'm proposing that there be an archive of linked pages made, so that if at some point in time, a link goes dead, a 'report dead link' button can be clicked and the link will be changed to an archive of the original link, subject to editor approval. This proposal will keep original source material for building Wikipedia intact so that we aren't building a structure with vanishing bricks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 09:18, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Good idea, and already done by WayBack machine etc.--see Wikipedia:Cite#Preventing_and_repairing_dead_links. PL290 (talk) 09:25, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
wayback machine doesn't catch all links, and might get zapped some day. having an in-house archive for news articles and such would probably be wiser, but I know better than to tell you folks what's smart. most of you are pigheaded sobs once you decide how you want to do stuff. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
And a fine day to your too Sir. User:WebCiteBOT already does what you're talking about. --Cybercobra (talk) 08:34, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Good. Maybe a global use of it combined with a 'report dead link' button will limit the number of times users encounter dead links.
That perhaps involves registering an account and importing a script into your monobook/vector.js. :) Kayau Voting IS evil 09:04, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Nope. I won't register an account. I've had too many self-styled editorial geniuses try and ban my account because their egos are fragile. The fact that I've done over 40,000 hours of human rights work I'm sure doesn't cut down on said geniuses. Meanwhile you have dead links. That was my suggestion, and its been demonstrated time and again to me that this isn't my hunk of crap project, its yours. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:10, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
Wayback Machine is run by the Internet Archive, a legally recognized library, allowing it to twist a fair use exemption (17 U.S.C. SECTION 108(a)(3)) to commit massive copyright infringement. The Wikimedia Foundation is not recognized as such so it can't setup an in-house archive. A few of our users (myself included) have created interfaces to the WebCite. WebCite, however, do not have enough resources to do all the archiving.
Now I have created a tool years ago Checklinks which has that report, retrieve closest archive version, and save. It does not require an account to use as it works with bookmarklets. Currently, I have left it in a half developed state as I realized that the problem is webmasters who can't configure their servers correctly and don't realizing that randomly moving pages (without redirects) kill the Google Page Rank.
Finally, please mature you aren't acting a way that suits someone who's done 20 years of work. Realize that nearly everyone here are unpaid volunteers and the most of the WMF budget goes towards hardware and bandwidth costs. — Dispenser 18:58, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Oh Noez! A scolding from a petty tyrant on the Intarweb. Shame on me. Listen, pal. If I hadn't had nightmare go-rounds with some of the pinheaded jerks that you classify as noble unpaid volunteers, I wouldn't have a frickin' chip on my shoulder. As is, I rank Wikipedia editors as somewhere between tax collectors and Southern Democrats. It takes a LOT to tick me off. Although I realize that a suggestion to work to alter how common dead links are in Wikipedia is probably viewed as an attack on your competence, you folks are kind of pinheaded that way. Personalities usually outweigh judgement among you, and anyone who decries the egotistical established editors gets sidelined or clusterfucked. Fine, whatever, be a joke encyclopedia filled with dead links (links that are often the only sources available to students utilizing your encyclopedia due to your years of shoddy editing and reputation in academic circles). Its no skin off my nose. Also note how this discussion has escalated from a simple suggestion to a name-calling session. That doesn't obviate the need for less dead linkage, it just proves that Wikipedia is personality driven rather than academic notability driven. A Hearty Hi-Ho! - one peeved person who came in here with a simple ego-less suggestion who now wants to kill some asshole editors. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Here, just for the folks that aren't useless twats. a) There should be less dead links on Wikipedia. b) a 'report dead link' button might help limit these dead links. c) while Internet Archive is a good source for deleted linkage, I'd hate to see all our eggs in that particular basket. d) any solution to this problem should be utilizable by the general users and not require some dev parm alteration that most people won't bother with. e) have a nice day. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Template and user preference for language variations

I know it shouldn't be a big deal, but I find it very distracting when I see British English spelling in an article. It seems like this could be avoided without too much trouble. I propose two changes that could improve this issue. First, we could make a template for language variations that would be used something like this: {{English variation|American=recognize|British=recognise}}. Changing existing articles could be automated with a bot or AutoWikiBrowser. Then, a user preference could be added where the user specifies what type of English they want to see. It would add a bit of complexity to the system and of course not everybody would know this guideline and/or follow it, but at worst it would be better than the current system, where language variations are intermixed and can lead to edit wars. -Cwenger (talk) 18:48, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

I've considered making the exact same suggestion before, although I would suggest a more abbreviated template name and parameters. The two biggest problems are that there would need to be a way built into the wiki code to utilize the preference, as well as handle variations in article titles. The former sounds simple enough, but the latter sounds like a beast to me. Either way, I'm eager to see what other people have to say. – VisionHolder « talk » 18:55, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
I hadn't thought about article titles. Perhaps there could be another template for language variations of the title that the MediaWiki software could parse and display the appropriate version according to your user preference? We would still rely on redirects to get the user to the main version of the article, but once they get there the user's preferred title would be displayed. -Cwenger (talk) 19:05, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Most of our readers (which is our intended audience) don't have an account and therefore no preference settings. It would hard to justify the effort needed to address a tiny minority of readers.--SPhilbrickT 21:53, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
This is a very good point. I don't suppose it would be practical to either (1) allow non-registered users to set this preference or (2) automatically select the language variation depending on location as determined by IP address. The latter wouldn't be foolproof but I would think it would guess correctly in the vast majority of cases. -Cwenger (talk) 23:33, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
I move that we table this proposal.
More seriously, the differences between British and American English go beyond simply substituting one spelling for another. There are words and phrases that have different meanings in each dialect ("He knocked her flat" describes a criminal activity in AE, but is a simple statement of disagreement of opinion in BE, and "fanny" describes rather different parts of the anatomy). Any translation system will need to take these sorts of things into account. --Carnildo (talk) 22:09, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't see any reason why the proposed template/preference couldn't be applied to phrases as well as words. Regional phrases are probably not that common on Wikipedia though, as they tend to be informal, like the two examples you used. -Cwenger (talk) 23:33, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
How are you going to deal with the issue of "table", though? --Carnildo (talk) 01:12, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
I would think we would already have some way of dealing with this, primarily by avoiding a confusing phrase such as "table" except in articles with strong regional ties. My proposal wouldn't fix this but I don't think it would make things any worse. -Cwenger (talk) 15:29, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
This has been proposed before. Is there any existing system that will properly translate between British and American English? Translating single words seems trivial on the basis of spelling (colour → color) but breaks down for words with more than one meaning. Let's take truck as an example. As a vehicle, it would properly be translated to the British lorry, but cannot be translated as such for cases like Truck Festival or Truck (rigging). ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:38, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
Maybe you should just get used to it, or do you just put down British-English books in disgust? As a Brit, I can read and write fairly fluently in Yank. Fences&Windows 00:19, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm from Australia, where we use mostly British English but have a few unique variations of our own. I find the most annoying part of this spelling thing to be when we have editors, usually American, and often in total ignorance, "correcting" British spelling to American in articles begun or explicitly about a British or Australian topic, even in article on topics like Cricket, something most Americans know even less about than they know about British English. An ongoing proportion of my edits are corrections to such unfortunate ones. Most Australians can deal with both versions of English. My suggestion to Americans? Learn, tolerate and adapt. HiLo48 (talk) 00:35, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
As a non-native English speaker, I can read in both variations, although I prefer BrE. I agree that Americans should get used to BrE, and vice versa. Usually when people change things like 'travelling', to "traveling," I'd just change it back to be consistent. It is also quite hard to switch sometimes. A Brit might say, 'England were winning' while an American might say, 'England was winning'. It may be difficult for the software to recognise these situations an switch them where necessary. Kayau Voting IS evil 05:36, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
WP:ENGVAR is the current state of our guidelines on this sort of issue. I think there are too many things that have spelling variations, so having a template-wrapper for each one would get unwieldy. Unless they are consistently used in an article for all places each is used, the article itself looks worse with a mix than with just a standard you're not used to reading. That would mean a large number of templates to maintain and a large load on the servers (simple load isn't the issue--there's a template-expansion limit). The whole idea of "write about British stuff in British English" (paraphrasing the guideline a bit:) is actually pretty nice, makes it seem like you are not just getting the American perspective on it. I !vote to table the idea on aesthetic and slightly also on technical grounds. Might want to ask on the ENGVAR talkpage if you're interesting in pursuing, since it overturns their guideline. DMacks (talk) 06:09, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I was just thinking about this very same thing yesterday and ran across this entry. I have nowhere near the background in the operation of Wikipedia on the templates as many of you, so I see there are other considerations that are new to me. It probably makes sense to discuss further on the WP:ENGVAR talk page as DMacks suggested. Personally I agree that any article written about a person or topic that is specific to a particular country should use the English of that country. The difficulty is when the topic is universal. This global encyclopedia is written in English which is somewhat universal, but there are some unique aspects as we have noted above. I agree that many Americans (yes I am one) think articles are written with typographical errors when it appears in a different form of English than they are used to. I personally use the variation of English presented in the references cited. § Music Sorter § (talk) 06:23, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Analogous ideas have been advanced in two other areas which are far less tricky: dates and measurements.

(1) For several years, a registered editor was able to specify how he or she would like to see dates (9 August 2010 ; August 9, 2010 ; or 2010-08-09) and dates were formatted with wikilinks to allow automatic display in the reader's preferred format. But there were a number of problems, and a very long, incredibly bitter controversy at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) over deleting "date auto-formatting" that resulted, among other things, in the months-long blocking of several quite senior editors on both sides of the issue. After this ghastly wrangle, Wikipedia decided by a sharply-contested consensus to discontinue date auto-formatting (and to authorize 'bot programs to do the deletion in automated sweeps), although some editors were investigating the possibility of using some automatic method (without wikilinking dates) of providing this option to those who wanted it.

(2) Every now and then a less inflammatory proposal has come up at Wikipedia talk:MOSNUM to allow readers to see weights and measures in either metric, Imperial or U.S. Customary units. The proposals vary slightly: some want to keep the parenthetical conversions visible ["the animal is 5 centimetres (2 in) long") but allow the reader to choose in which order they appear ["2 inches (5 cm)" vs "5 cm (2 in)"]; some want to use geolocation of a user's computer to make the choice automatically for unregistered users. But various considerations of both policy and technology have so far hindered the advance of such an idea.

¶ When dealing with spelling, an issue which was present but less important in the date-format and measurement-unit debates becomes rather more serious. How can a 'bot or a template tell when something is a direct quotation or the exact title of a work? The biggest exception to the general rule in WP:ENGVAR, but one that is nearly absolute, is that quotations and title-citations must follow exactly the spelling, capitalization and punctuation of the original, regardless of either general practice in Wikipedia or the national variation used by the article. With footnotes, references and citations, this is very important because otherwise (as can be seen sometimes with articles translated from other Wikipedias, e.g, Wikipédie française) the citations can become unusable, and thus the facts or quotations supported by those otherwise Reliable Sources suddenly become Unverifiable. —— Shakescene (talk) 10:24, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

{{British-English-editnotice}} can be added as an editnotice; an American version does not currently exist, but could be readily created. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 17:56, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Warn me when I leave an edit page with unsaved changes (must press Preview at least once)

Change the text on the Special:Preferences page for the Editing tab from:

"Warn me when I leave an edit page with unsaved changes"


"Warn me when I leave an edit page with unsaved changes (must press Preview at least once)"

Reason for Proposal:
On the Special:Preferences page under the Editing tab we have the great option to remind us if we leave a page with edits without saving. I personally have this turned on because I use multiple windows and tabs under Firefox and am constantly switching to view and collect data for a page in which I am editing. For more than a few months I have been very happy when I randomly hit the wrong button and the message pops up warning me I did not save the changes. Whew! I did not mean to do that.

Tonight I was working on a page and doing what I always do, switching between pages, when I noticed my main edit page was a different article. Panic set in. How is this possible? I quickly went to check preferences and the check box was on. I tried turning it off and back on and there was not difference. I tried disabling a few options I had recently enabled on other preference screens, but no luck. Then I decided to try to do a change and then hit "preview" before I moved away from the screen. Viola! The feature ONLY works after you preview at least once while editing the page. I had no idea. I realized that I typically use the preview button a lot during an edit before submitting a "save page" to reduce edit entries for highly related entries with lots of mistakes in between. With Preview it works great to let me get everything perfect before I commit the change for everyone to see. I never realized that button was connected to the safety feature. I suppose tonight I had entered data for nearly an hour without stopping to see how my preview looked.

I certainly know what to do now, but for new users I recommend we increase the probability they will not get struck by this same result when they least expect it. § Music Sorter § (talk) 06:02, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

When I tried it, it worked without pressing Preview. However, it seems to work in Vector skin only, so that should be added.--Patrick (talk) 18:04, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
The issue with the description (Vector-editwarning-preference) was filed as mediazilla:23702 but never fixed. — AlexSm 18:15, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
True, feature is supposed to work without Preview button. Try to disable all the gadgets, tell us what browser you're using and try it in different browser (for example, it works in my Firefox 3.6.8 but not in Opera 10.60). — AlexSm 18:15, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I fixed MediaWiki:Vector-editwarning-preference.--Patrick (talk) 00:48, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Testing Results:
  • Confirmed only warns in Vector mode (which was my default and favorite)
  • Confirmed still requires the Preview before it warns me of edits will be lost
  • Using:
  • Firefox 3.6.6 on Windows XP fails
  • A separate system with IE and I was not logged in worked properly (no Preview)
  • I narrowed it down to the Gadget wikEd seems to be the source of the problem. Disable wikEd gadget and my warning comes up without a Preview. With wikEd enabled I loose my changes unless I preview first.
I really like the wikEd display unless there is a more popular tool; that is the only one I know with a partial WISIWIG interface. Maybe I am the only one using that gadget? § Music Sorter § (talk) 04:37, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

New version of Template:Main

I've created a new version of Template:Main at Template:Main5. I'm hoping that someone can check it for errors. See the accompanying documentation for an explanation of how it differs from Template:Main Lemmiwinks2 (talk) 01:41, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Technically it seems quite obvious, but I really can't think of a situation where I would want to use something like that. What am I missing? --Latebird (talk) 07:31, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
Did you follow the links on the documentation to the previous discussions here and at the talk page? They fully explain what its intended use is. Lemmiwinks2 (talk) 19:47, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes I have, and I still see no encyclopedic value of having that information listed in an article or an extra cagetory. You seem to have repeatedly asked for that feature for quite some time, with hardly any positive echo. That should give you a hint of its popularity. --Latebird (talk) 13:26, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Isn't there a bot or something, that adds notes to article section headings, when another article (or redirect) links directly to that heading? (So that people don't rename headings, and thereby break links). That seems related, and might provide clues for further efforts. [Update: I've asked at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive_78#Article section heading - incoming link notes, where they might provide further ideas. I will watch and see, and update here if anything arises.]
  • With your main5, I like the idea, but not your implementation. I agree that we could use some way of tracking where an article has incoming {{main}} links from. However, autogenerating categories does not seem like a good way to do that (each category would still need to be manually created, and have {{Hidden category}} added). I can't see the idea being useful, unless it is installed within {{Main}} itself. Also, I've moved your example to the documentation page for easier viewing. -- Quiddity (talk) 05:57, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I think this could be done with a hidden redlink in {{Main}}. For example, the template code could have something like this added:
{{#ifeq:[[Template:Main/Links to/{{FULLPAGENAME|{{{1|}}}}}]]|||}}
If that works, you could then go to Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Main/Links to/History of the alphabet to see which pages use {{Main}} to link to History of the alphabet.
Whether the benefit would justify the additional database load is open to question.
Richardguk (talk) 22:21, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I think this "problem" would be more appropriately solved by a bot cataloging all uses of {{Main}}. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if there already were bots around doing general template cataloging, which you could just ask for the desired information. Creating conditional hidden links via templates is even more evil than populating categories by template. Both will lead to nasty unwanted side effects and other surprises. --Latebird (talk) 07:57, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Summary: We want a way of extracting main-vs-summary article-relationships.

e.g. Alphabet#History includes the template {{Main|History of the alphabet}}, but we wish to know how many other articles also include it.

Anyone have suggestions? -- Quiddity (talk) 21:47, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Cite Button

I noticed a few cites hove cite buttons which when pressed generate text for a citation. Would it be worth Wikipedia doing the same? sciencedaily and The Learning Channel Description of good citation Harvard guide to citing references particularly section 12.--Kitchen Knife (talk) 16:15, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

The "Cite this page" link in the sidebar does exactly this, although it's not very prominent. Gavia immer (talk) 16:29, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
It is well hidden a "Cite this page" at the after "Move this page" at the bottom would be more appropriate. IMHO.--Kitchen Knife (talk) 16:35, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

Fall Writing Competition

I am boldly announcing a fall writing competition and asking people for help. Many other wiki projects have writing competitions which are successful in first, bringing healthy competition amongst writers and editors, adding new articles, communication and community building amongst wikiidians and a chance to feature good writing and good writers.

I am looking for people to help me with ideas and advice on forming the competition, announcing it and spreading the word, organizing it, judging and making banners for the competition. All help, ideas and support is very welcome. To avoid chaos I have set up a talk page,


I hope it is not deleted. I will also edit the page closely to see some kind of order. Please try to stay within the topic. I also suggest using the page for discussion and limit talk here to bureaucratic details as to whether a talk page, portal, project or other forum should be used to discuss the competition, beaurocratic problems and other comments allong those lines. The rest of the details are on the talk page. Again, please keep replies to this post limited to where the forum should take place (i.e. a talk page as I have started, a project, portal). And please keep discussion under the relevant topics on the talk page.

Hopefully this bold project will be fun and bring something innovative and community building to wikipedia.

Shabidoo | Talk 11:23, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps the page could be moved to User:Shabidoo/Fall_writing_competition_2010 so there can be a real talk page to discuss at? Kayau Voting IS evil 12:19, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
How about changing the name to something not so US-centric? I'm assuming you mean the season called Fall. Fall is not a season in most parts of the world. HiLo48 (talk) 18:03, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Well of course it's not about the season. It's all about the Fall of Man. An excellent opportunity to explore the under-represented topics of pomology and herpetology and finally silence the darned apostates. East of Borschov 19:37, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
I suppose calling it the Autumn isn´t a bad idea as you are right, other places don´t use fall. Although the term is certainly used outside the US, I agree with you, including more people is better. I don´t think though that this kind of competition is the place to start using words like -centric. It´s a fun and informal competition after all. Thanks for your input. And thanks for the topic suggestion...though as tongue and cheek as it is, an uncommon category is not a bad idea!
The next season in the southern hemisphere, where I live, is Spring. HiLo48 (talk) 21:27, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. To accommodate the Southern Hemisphere, we could name it after a holiday that is celebrated around the world during northern-hemisphere-autumn ... such as the "Halloween-season writing competition". Or just, dang it, the "September-November writing competition." (talk) 05:55, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
We could also call it the non-centric non-exactly named under-defined interaction of reviewed writers around the last full quadri-seasonal quarter of 2010 in the gregorian callendar (though thats a little gregorian-centric).
Im delighted there is so much interest in the competition :) Shabidoo | Talk 11:08, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like a perfectly good idea to me. But just thought I'd mention that there is a competition in progress over the autumn already; the final stages of The Wiki Cup. But that only has eight contestants by that point, so I don't see any harm in having another competition. --bodnotbod (talk) 09:57, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to standardize the names of the branches of the navigation system

See Portal talk:Contents#Proposal: Use the same naming convention for all of this portal's subpages.

The Transhumanist 22:29, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Helping adopters find well-matched adoptees

Wikipedia's Adopt-a-User program is currently a successful approach for matching up new Wikipedia editors ("adoptees") with more experienced editors ("adopters") who can serve as mentors. Some of you might be familiar with SuggestBot; it allows Wikipedia editors (who sign up) to get automated recommendations as to what articles they may be interested in editing. The same technology could be used for matching experienced editors with new editors that share similar interests. In other words, instead of matching editors to articles, it could match editors to editors. I'm considering the idea of developing a variant of SuggestBot for Adopt-a-User. (I'm a researcher on sabbatical at the University of Minnesota, working with the SuggestBot folks.) The idea is that editors who are willing to adopt others could opt-in, and receive a list of editors requesting adoption that they share common interests with (as determined by articles they have both edited). This might increase the number of adoptions, as adopters could make a personal offer to potential adoptees based on their shared interests. It might also increase the effectiveness of adoptions, as the adopters and adoptees might be better paired in some circumstances. I could also envision this working the other way around; when a new editor is welcomed via the Welcoming committee, the welcomer could choose to mention the Adopt-a-User program and point the new editor towards a bot which would generate a short list of potential adopters from those who have already put themselves on the list of available adopters. I've already asked for opinions for this on the Adopt-A-User talk page, and I also intend to check in with the Welcoming committee. Of course, I'd have to go through the bot approval process before implementing this, but I wanted to see first if there was support in this community. Would you support this concept? SeparateWays (talk) 19:10, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

The idea is interesting. I dont know much about bots so some of this may sound silly.... Im curious how the bot could define the match between editors though. The Suggestbot mentioned above would be based on edit contributions, and this concept seems to be the same. But would it also make matches based simmilar wikiproject involvements (edits of articles that fall within the same wiki project) between the adoptee and adopter aswell (I may be wrong but im thinking it would look at simmialr articles as in X,adoptee and Y,adopter both edit the same article and are matched based on that, So forgive me if ive misinterpretted)? Your concept is an intriguing idea though, and deserves some discussion i thinkOttawa4ever (talk) 16:01, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
If you can develop a very well discriminating bot, that sounds like a really good idea. I don't know how easily you will be able to profile new users though. Some type of form maybe? Sadads (talk) 16:00, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
Ottawa4ever: You're correct that the basic idea would be to quantify editors as similar if they contribute to the same articles. We hadn't discussed the idea of looking at users with similar WikiProject involvements: that's actually a good idea, and we should look at that (thanks!). I suspect that new editors likely haven't contributed much if anything to the project pages themselves, but they may have contributed to content pages that the project includes. We could also look within Wikipedia categories to see if they've made similar edits. We've discussed a handful of other variations also based on other techniques that SuggestBot uses. It's hard to say without testing which of these techniques would yield the best matches; what we'd like to do is to try a few different algorithms, then present lists of potential adoptees to experienced adopters and have them tell us which adoptees seem to be the best matches. We can then match those adoptees up to which algorithm produced them. SeparateWays (talk) 16:41, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
Sadads: Thanks for the support. You're completely right that profiling new users is tricky. Still, new users have typically made a few edits by the time adopters look at them, and that tells us something. As I see it, a bot such as this doesn't have to be brilliantly correct in order to be effective. If it helps produce matches between adopter and adoptee that are better than what goes on now, or if it merely helps facilitate more adopting in total, those are wins for Wikipedia even if the bot doesn't match people as well as one might hope. But your idea about a form is interesting; we hadn't really talked about that either. It's a variation we could consider. I worry about making the process for potential adoptees too complex, but even just asking them to list a bunch of keywords or something might help. SeparateWays (talk) 16:41, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, the bot could invite new users to apply for a mentor after say 5 or 10 edits. Then they click on a link which asks them to give a handful of subject areas which they are interested in. The new bot could look at the edit history of users who are on it's adopter list and present individuals that edit in categories similar to the adoptees interest with an invitation to adopt the person, Sadads (talk) 16:48, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
That framework is a good idea, and we'll definitely mull that over. Thanks for the suggestion! SeparateWays (talk) 20:52, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
I think it's an excellent idea but I would take it much further. Why limit the matching technique only to adopter/adoptee? Even long term editors get lonely :O) So I feel the system could be broadened to everyone; then you might get two editors who both have 10,000 edits use the system and go "wow! That guy likes all the things I do! I think I'll go leave him a message..." So if it were a general system that flagged up editors who are compatible with one another it could show the number of edits made by each, so that newbies were identifiable and could be approached for adoption. --bodnotbod (talk) 09:42, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, botnotbod: your idea is really interesting. You're right: it suggests that we might be able to use this as a general "SuggestBot for users" that goes beyond newbies being adopted. And while helping out adoptees was our primary initial goal, the quality of the matching is likely to be dramatically better for experienced users. We should certainly consider rolling it out on a more general way if there is community support for it. Thanks for the idea. SeparateWays (talk) 10:53, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Actually, come to think of it, that would be a great way to find active users to revive old WikiProjects and get participation in new ones. Create a list of users that edit frequently in the category hierararchy A, for A WikiProject and then send them project invitations. Sadads (talk) 11:16, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
That's another cool idea. It would be interesting to just "put this thing out there" and see how people choose to use it. Thanks! SeparateWays (talk) 01:45, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

External data

MediaWiki has an extension that allows one to load data from an external site and publish them on Wikipedia.

One immediate application is Scholarometer, a cool new app to assess the performance of scholars. It would be great to upload their data to the pages of scholars on Wikipedia.

Similar apps exist for the performance of sportspeople, companies, etc. Automatic updates beat manual ones. Richard Tol (talk) 12:27, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Web Link Checking Bot

Hi, I'm currently running a bot on my server against Wikipedia to check the external links, using pywikipediabot and the included script. What this bot does is scan the contents of articles for external links, and then proceeds to check the links for 404s or timeouts, and creates a datafile of the non-working links. After about one week, the bot will then recheck the links, and report on the talk pages of the articles which links are dead, according to the data that the bot collected. In the report submitted, the bot will automagically suggest a link to, which if it was caught, should be a valid archived version of the link. The reason for my post here is to request input from the community, per the suggestion of Tim1357 in this thread. I am watching both this page, and the BRFA thread, so commenting at either location is ok, and your input is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Phuzion (talk) 14:35, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

You might want to check out User talk:ThaddeusB and maybe drop him a note; he's done something similar to check and revive links to dying sites like GeoCities and Encarta. Also check the discussions about GeoCities at Wikipedia:External links/Noticeboard#External links and references to former GeoCities sites.. —— Shakescene (talk) 22:34, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Poll on new user right

Based on a discussion at RFA for a new vandalism patroller user right, we are now polling on whether we should persue the idea further. The basic proposal (to create a new user right with limited blocking abilities) is here and the poll is here. Aiken 19:40, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

This poll has now been closed, but discussion continues at Wikipedia_talk:Vandal_fighters. - Pointillist (talk) 14:56, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Move/merge WP:Featured pictures/Portal:Featured sounds to WP:Featured files and related content to Files

This is to ensure accuracy and consistency; we have a few free files on Wikipedia already that are not pictures, but can be videos, etc. and vice versa and we already had moved the Image: namespace to the File: namespace. So why not make it easier for people to recognize the new terminology? :| TelCoNaSpVe :| 05:19, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

You're are not the first person who has brought up this proposal before. Unfortunately, there has been opposition in the past. The discussion that I vividly remember off the top of my head was Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/A Chantar, three years ago. Someone wanted to nominate a sound file at WP:FPC when WP:FSC was still in its infancy. The major argument against a formal merge is that pictures and video are primarily visual media while sound files are auditory, and thus require vastly different requirements. Notice that Wikipedia:Featured sound criteria is different than Wikipedia:Featured picture criteria. The videos listed on WP:FS like File:Russian national anthem at Medvedev inauguration 2008.ogg were promoted based more on their audio, while those videos on WP:FP like File:Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability.ogv were promoted based more on their visuals. IMO, WP:FA and WP:FL would have a better chance of merging than WP:FP and WP:FS. Cheers. Zzyzx11 (talk) 06:08, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Revived Perennial - More control over watchlist

Hello, I've revived a perennial proposal on the appropriate page - the previous discussion had been archived even though virtually everyone who had taken part felt the proposal was a valid/useful one but there has been, as far as I'm aware, no move towards implementation. Please join the discussion; it proposes an (I hope) improvement to Watchlists, explaining limitations of the current set-up and outlining use cases for the proposed improved version. --bodnotbod (talk) 09:26, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

hey Bod - sure I'd like to support your proposal, as you have done mine above, but it will take me a few days to acquaint myself with the proposal. Maybe we could form a union lol.. Will Join discussion shortly - Markdask (talk) 12:56, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Hello again. I've checked out my own watchlist page and your/perennial proposal to create subfolders on the watchlist makes perfect sense - surprising they don't already exist. Can you please tell me how to get to the "appropriate" page as I'm kinda new to Wiki. Thanks MarkDask04:21, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean. The link I gave is the appropriate page and it sounds like you've already visited that. You may edit the discussion there. If I misunderstand, please re-phrase your question. --bodnotbod (talk) 19:42, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
oops sry - weak eyesight - hard for me to see when a group of words in a sentence are a link :) MarkDask

Selected categories in redirects can appear on main page

Sometimes (often) Wikipedia:Categorizing redirects is useful, however there is no easy way for the reader to see the cats.. I'd like to suggest an expandable category section that allows to show selected categories of redirects. Probably a marker would be need to be added to the redirects that are used, initiaally I'd suggest those containing Template:R printworthy since those redirects should be relevant as indexing terms. Alternatively all redirects with categories should be used since common re-spelling etc wouldn'y have categories.

I'd suggest something like a [[more]] box in the right corner (as used in navboxes), which when pressed expands to show 'subpages'. Then something like sub topic categories followed by a list of the redirect categories each within a line marked by the redirect title.Sf5xeplus (talk) 02:19, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

(an example is Cliburn which has Cliburn Hall, St. Cuthberts church, Cliburn , Cliburn Moss redirecting to it, each with their own relevant categories.)Sf5xeplus (talk) 02:23, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Allow some "original research"?

  • The current rigid rule against "original research" Wikipedia:No original research can cause inconvenience. One of the things that it prohibits is logical deduction, however simple and clear and unambiguous. (On some other wiki sites such as the Harry Potter wiki in Wikia, simple unqueried logical deduction is allowed (or at least condoned) and causes little or no trouble.) For example, I ran into this in Have Space Suit—Will Travel when I wanted to add a list of elementary errors in scuba diving physiology that the described book's author had made. I feel that simple logical deduction (rather than complicated mathematical-type proofs and the like) should be allowed, if each instance is discussed first in a formal discussion such as commonly seen in AfD'ing and Wikipedia:Requested moves.
    • The name "original research" seems ambiguous to me. To me after working around 40 years in UMIST, "research" strongly suggests laboratories. There seem to be 3 meanings possible:
      1. He works on apparatus in a laboratory or workshop, and afterwards publishes his findings un-reviewed on Wikipedia.
      2. He travels, sees something, and describes it in Wikipedia.
      3. He makes logical deduction.
  • Well, de facto OR is permitted anyway and few admins will do anything to stop it, particularly so if they want to move up the political ladder. same goes for NPOV. YellowMonkey (vote in the Southern Stars and White Ferns supermodel photo poll) 06:39, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
    • In my exdperience, most admins are not really interested in getting any higher up the (political?) ladder anyway, and don't really support POV edits or OR. It's just not the highest priority in many cases, vandal blocking and article deletions are often more frequented. Admins e.g. also don't support copyright violations, but we generally don't do enough about them. Fram (talk) 09:40, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • The prohibition against original research just means that everything written at Wikipedia needs to first be written somewhere else first. It isn't really the purpose of Wikipedia to publish a critique of the use of scuba equipment in a work of fiction. --Jayron32 06:51, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Indeed, such errors (and also continuity errors and the like) should only be published here if they come from a reliable source (a literary critique or some such), not from reading the book / watching the movie / ... Apart from the fact that it is original research, it often also is a case of undue weight: these errors are of no importance to the notability of the subject in most cases, so why should we include them? Of course, for movies that are known for their many errors, and where these have been extensively described, such sections are needed (think some Raspberry award winners). Fram (talk) 09:40, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Often OK. The original issue said, "One of the things that it prohibits is logical deduction, however simple and clear and unambiguous". I suggest that logical and evidence that a 14-year old can understand is OK. So e.g. "a triangle on a plane alway has 180&deg" is OK while calculus would be too advanced and would need citation(s). --Philcha (talk) 11:23, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
    • Philcha, I think both of your examples would require references (indeed, the article Triangle references Euclid's elements for your triangle fact - a reference which is about 2300 years old!). Mlm42 (talk) 18:56, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
      • We do have the common knowledge exception which takes care of those cases, IIRC. -- Avi (talk) 00:33, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • It is my opinion that the OR prohibition should remain. However a separate project could be set with the task of producing papers which can be referenced by WikiPedia. The new project would have to develop protocols for confirming research was up to the required level. The Wikipedia users would have to vote to say they believed the protocols where adequate, as was the enforcement. I suggest WikiOR as a name.--Kitchen Knife (talk) 11:54, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Agree, we could acquire undergraduate and graduate papers and get them reviewed for scholarly accuracy from assigning professors and volunteers with a "suitable for publication" standard applied that makes them referencible for Wikipedia when standardly published sources do not adequately fulfill our notability standards , maybe? Sadads (talk) 11:59, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
That is, we create a sister project that does that. We already have waaaaaaaay to much work. Sadads (talk) 19:00, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Undergrad papers? Is that a joke? We aren't in the job of creating sources. Terrible idea. --Cameron Scott (talk) 19:02, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
No we aren't but if we create a sister project and people decide to join that project then they do the work, what is the problem. If it doesn't fly then nothing lost, if it works then it becomes more of an academic journal and we get some references and the world get another useful Wiki for Pan Sapiens. --Kitchen Knife (talk) 19:06, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Constructed from undergrad papers? Most are more worthless than toilet paper. Let's stick to real academic journals rather than trying to create some noddy knockoff. --Cameron Scott (talk) 19:11, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
That is why you review them before giving them a stamp of approval, and if anything we get annotated bibliographies from which user's can follow their research. I have read and listened to some damned good undergraduate papers (I also attend a damned good undergraduate research program see movie from the American Historical Association just an idea. Sadads (talk) 19:21, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
BTW Have a look here Building the Smart Home Wirelessly note the cite option.--Kitchen Knife (talk) 21:32, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • No. Logical deduction, as much as I love it, requires assumptions, most of the time hidden ones, and it is a nightmare to sift between contrasting assumptions, subtle logical errors, etc. The old Calculemus! dream of Leibniz is far from being settled. Moreover, that's not our job, we collect already published information. I would accept exceptions for elementary mathematical derivations, small code snippets to demostrate an algorithm, or other formally unambiguous things. --Cyclopiatalk 18:48, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • In the case of Have Space Suit—Will Travel, what I wanted to point out that the book's author, describing matters to consider when making a spacesuit, raised points that any well-trained scuba diver would know are wrong, as listed at Talk:Have Space Suit—Will Travel#This is the disputed text. This was objected to as WP:OR on the grounds that it is "synthesis", i.e. me "putting together" [statements by Heinlein (or by his fictional character)] with [well-known matter from scuba diving training manuals]. This is not some disputable political opinion, but basic matter of the physiology of being under raised or lowered barometric pressures. Some logical deductions are easily proved and should be allowed in Wikipedia. OK, some arguments about such logical deductions have led in the past to long arguments; but others can be proved or disproved easily. Someone inserting an original research, or noticing someone else's original research, could start an "'accept this original research?' discussion" to be decided within a time limit like with AfD discussions and page-move discussions etc. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 22:15, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
christ, no - the fiction articles are clogged with enough shit as it is, this would be like setting up sewerpipes that opened onto the streets. --Cameron Scott (talk) 22:31, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I think Cameron Scott is right - the floodgates would open if we allow original research. We are not interested in the opinions and observations of Wikipedians on the topics they write about. The reason is that we cannot check that what they say is correct (WP:V), and it gives undue weight to the views of the contributor (WP:NPOV). Let's stick to doing what we do best, which is plagiarising summarising published works, not making analyses, commentary, or thoughts. Taking apart plots due to perceived holes and inaccuracies is not our job. Fences&Windows 00:16, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Hmm. Seems this original research is also hanging out at Spacesuits in fiction#Have Space Suit—Will Travel. Fences&Windows 00:22, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Absolutely not. The moment we allow even the most logical of deductions, we open the floodgates and the next thing you know we are publishing wild theories. This is a core policy, and for the sake and future of the project CANNOT be weakened even in the slightest. -- Avi (talk) 00:32, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • The problem is that if we allow logical deductions, then we open the door to pseudologic and fallacies MBelgrano (talk) 02:42, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • While the policy on OR surely contributes to a level of quality in articles, it cripples Wikipedia in an area it easily has the advantage over other information sources and could use some wiggle room in certain areas. For example certain extremely OBVIOUS matters that are so blatant to someone knowledgeable about the subject that someone writing on the subject might pass by the point without comment. The policy on blogs makes this worse. I've edited the article on Philippine cuisine for example, a subject that does not take a university degree to have some expertise in. The inclusion of the best one-stop information source on the internet about the subject I've seen has been disputed because it is a personal blog. Who cares if the information is far more detailed and far more accurate than what some foreigner who dropped in for a month published, the external published account riddled with errors is acceptable on Wikipedia while the blog isn't. It contributes to the systematic bias of the project weighted towards Western sources. Coverage of some basic non-North American or European topics is much poorer than it should be especially considering the worldwide contributors the project has access to. Lambanog (talk) 02:46, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • The problem with allowing OR in both the original case as well as in the case above (Philippine cuisine) is that you (where you refers to the generic editor adding OR of this type) require me (the reader and/or other editor of WP) to just trust you that your analysis is correct. In these cases, how can I, a person with neither high level training in scuba or personal knowledge of Philippine cuisine, know that your OR is right, while someone else's is wrong? How do I know that, for instance, you aren't another SF author with a grudge against Heinlein? How do I know you're not a Phillipinophobe (or however one writes that word) who wants to paint Philippine people in a bad light by ascribing ingredients or methods to them that others will find distasteful? The problem is, you're relying me to take the word of someone about whom I know only a nickname. You both claim to be experts, but I have know proof you are. On the other hand, while I am well aware that all academic and news sources are biased, at least I know that they have certain rules that they are supposed to follow regarding the collection of information. At least then I have some basis for analyzing the information. And these are mundane examples...what happens when people with absolute proof want to fill the 9/11 page with conspiracy theories and replace all of the well-referenced information with psuedo-scholarship and lies, with the explanation that "anyone who really looks at this data without blinders on their eyes will obviously see that this was all a conspiracy perpetrated by the Jim Henson estate working with crop-circle making aliens." This fundamental requirement to do no OR is actually what makes WP special, not what's keeping it from being great. Qwyrxian (talk) 04:39, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Because there are other knowledgeable people who can read the article and corroborate and dispute if necessary. If you wish to you can go to the WikiProject page and ask people there to check and verify. Not suitable for all subjects but there are subjects where a more lenient OR application is beneficial. When you have someone who knows nothing about a subject, claims to know nothing about a subject yet disputes someone who does claim and can demonstrate knowledge based solely on this OR policy then it is legalistic posturing getting in the way of knowledge sharing. If both parties claim knowledge and have a dispute then the OR policy football can be thrown into the mix.
Let me give you a concrete example. I say the following site is a good source for information regarding Philippine cuisine and should be included in the External links section: Market Manila. Do you dispute its inclusion? Lambanog (talk) 05:33, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • No. Definitely not in Anthony's case. I've checked the disputed edits: musing about technologies "never considered by Heinlein" don't belong to an encyclopedia. First. How do you know what he did consider? what he did not? This is not, strictly speaking, "research". This is an opinion. You've crossed the line from simply restating unreferenced facts (contents of the book) to expressing opinions about them and inventing other "facts" (how Heinlein thought and wrote). Second. Every discussion of "errata" made by a writer or a filmmaker ends up in an uncertainty: we don't know if it's a genuine error, a literary device, or (not this case though) a deliberate deception. You say "error", I say "plot device". These discussions make no sense unless backed by reliable sources. East of Borschov 06:12, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Re various above:
    • "the fiction articles are clogged with enough shit as it is" (Cameron Scott, 22:31, 5 August 2010 (UTC)): If here the loaded word "shit" is another word for "cruft", then, often one man's cruft is another man's important relevant matter.
    • "the floodgates would open if we allow original research": likely, if we allowed all original research, including long rhubarbeous literary critical essays on vague matters such as literary influences and historic influences and suchlike.
    • "9/11 ... anyone who really looks at this data without blinders on their eyes ... the Jim Henson estate working with crop-circle making aliens." in Qwyrxian 04:39, 6 August 2010 (UTC): An "allow this OR" discussion on that topic would result in the discussion hitting time limit and being closed "No concensus, do not allow", or in "concensus for do not allow"; and while the discussion is running, mark that OR by a templated tag pointing to the "allow this OR?" discussion.
    • "how can I, a person with neither high level training in scuba ... know that your OR is right, while someone else's is wrong?" in Qwyrxian at 04:39, 6 August 2010 (UTC): But scuba diving is very popular and thus many Wikipedia editors and readers are trained scuba divers and could verify the effects-of-barometric-pressure points mentioned; and they are well referenced in the articles about scuba diving.
    • "The problem is that if we allow logical deductions, then we open the door to pseudologic and fallacies.." in MBelgrano at 02:42, 6 August 2010 (UTC): For the "pseudologic and fallacies" OR cases, the "allow this OR" discussion for each of them would be quickly ended "Reject: this is fallacious".
    • The Philippine cuisine case seems to be a case of "go there, see, describe", which is a different sort of OR from logical discussion.
    • "No. Definitely not in Anthony's case. I've checked the disputed edits: musing about technologies "never considered by Heinlein" don't belong to an encyclopedia. First. How do you know what he did consider? what he did not? .... in East of Borschov at 06:12, 6 August 2010 (UTC): What Heinlein wrote is known: it is in the book. I was not intending to speculate on what he was thinking when he wrote it, and if I did, I could change my text a bit there.

Allow some "original research"?: break 1

  • Just because there are many people who scuba dive doesn't mean there are many people who scuba dive at a high level and who are WP editors. And even if that particular case is true, it's not generally true about all topics. And, in this particular case, we're not even talking about a scuba-related page--it's an article about an SF story. This proposal would suddenly shift the burden of other editors of this article to go seek out experts in another field to get them to come comment on something. And I would bet dimes to dollars that there would inevitably be disagreement about what is a "sound" deduction and what isn't. On contentious articles, we can't even decide what to do when we do have reliable sources; how much more insane would it be to have to decide whether something is "good" OR? There would be no way to draw that line, no way to draw the line of what is "simple," or what is "clear," or any of the highly value-laden terms in the original proposal. There are countless other sites on the internet where people can "discuss" theories, works of art, politicians, etc.; they can make deductions, analysis, speculations, etc.; here, the whole point is that, just like any other encyclopedia, we take the end result of all of that work, the end results that have filtered through some sort of established, reliable editorial process, and report/sum up those results. What the proposer sees as a flaw in WP I actually see as it's greatest asset--the thing that makes me able to rely on what's published here (assuming I check the sources and page history), rather than any other site that allows speculative thinking. Qwyrxian (talk) 06:32, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Including these things would shift the focus from "what is this and why is it notable" to "what do we think about it, what is wrong with it, why do we feel it is great" and so on. It is not the job of Wikipedia to present literary criticism, not even factually correct criticism. I have pointed out an error in one of Bernard Cornwell's books to him (on his website), which he acknowledged: I am not going to add it to the article, even though it is a factually correct and very easy to verify thing. It is not important to the subject and its notability. Fram (talk) 06:43, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • As I wrote above, at the queried OR text insert a template "{This is an original research: go to (link) for discussion about whether to allow it.)" or similar, where the link points to an "allow this OR?" discussion, similar to AfD's and page-move discussions; if the OR's topic is complicated and not able to be decided in a week or so, the discussion will run out of time without a concensus, so close it as "no concensus, so do not allow". As regards the Have Space Suit—Will Travel case, it is easily provable that Heinlein made errors in his effects-of-pressure physiology in the availabe text of the book; some would say that that is an important feature of the book, either from a scuba diving point of view or from a science-fiction point of view, some not; whether this matter is noteworthy is a WP:NN matter rather than a WP:OR matter. Somewhere between whether to accept long literary discussions and whether to accept that 1 + 1 = 2, or to accept that if a source says that an event happened in London, it can be assumed that the event happened in England, a line should be drawn, but where? 10:20, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
All your suggestion would do is create vast amounts of additional work, more processes and more gaps for POV-pushers and cranks to try and get their pet theories into wikipedia. --Cameron Scott (talk) 10:22, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Agreed the conspiracy nut jobs, and POV pushers already have enough room to force agendas. Also how about we focus on at least getting sourcing right, before we try to modify things to allow other types of sourcing. We can't even figure out how to get people to properly source the articles we already have; now we want to add another crazy layer to the mess. Ridernyc (talk) 10:35, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
"some would say that that is an important feature of the book": if it was an important feature, it would have been discussed in reliable sources. Otherwise, it isn't. Fram (talk) 11:08, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Then the moon rock expert turns up to add his OR, then the Metal specialist turns up to add his OR, then the physics specialist turns up to add his OR, then the... and on.. --Cameron Scott (talk) 11:13, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I am not referring to complicated theories: whether the theory is crank or not, an "allow this OR?" discussion on it would run out of time and be terminated "no concensus: do not allow". In the Talk:Have Space Suit—Will Travel#This is the disputed text case, anyone with a basic-level scuba diving qualification could see that those points are scuba diving physiology situations which are not valid for a spacesuit filled with oxygen at 200 millibars in space. The logical steps here are e.g.: (1) Heinlein wrote "pure oxygen can ... or make you drunk" (that he wrote it, is provable by reading the book); (2) scuba diving can cause drunkenness-type symptoms (by diving too deep on air) (provable via article Nitrogen narcosis from its references); and the WP:OR "synthesis" is (3) "This does not happen at 200 millibars on oxygen, and spacesuit use is somewhat like scuba diving, so the book contains a physiology error". Anthony Appleyard (talk) 12:07, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Claiming that a published book contains an error requires a reliable source making the direct point in relation to the article subject. Otherwise it violates WP:NOR. Per WP:V and WP:NOR, we are here to report what reliable sources have published about a topic, not to present our own criticism of their work, or to find our own errors in it. Crum375 (talk) 12:15, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I think it's time for everyone to just move on and let this die. It's not going to go anywhere. To allow this would require us to change nearly every policy on Wikipedia. Ridernyc (talk) 12:17, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • If it was WP:V (verifiable without making logical deduction), it would not be WP:OR; and the WP:NOR policy is what is being queried here. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 12:39, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
    • Even if it we would make the WP:NOR policy more lax (which won't happen), this would still violate WP:UNDUE: "Undue weight applies to more than just viewpoints. An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject. For example, discussion of isolated events, criticisms, or news reports about a subject may be verifiable and neutral, but still be disproportionate to their overall significance to the article topic." Fram (talk) 12:48, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
    • But WP:UNDUE is not being queried here. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 12:57, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Another border between OR and non-OR seems to be: In the Dan Dare fictional scenario there is a large spaceport on reclaimed land west of Formby in Lancashire (UK). Saying that this spaceport (and the reclaimed land) does not exist in the real world, can be proved (1) from maps (written sources, so allowed), or (2) more definitely, by going to Formby and looking about (is this OR?). Anthony Appleyard (talk) 12:52, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
    • I agree, we should include in "1984" that the actual society of 1984 was not as described by George Orwell. We must prevent at all costs that our readers get confused by science fiction and the fact that not all fiction is exactly real or realistic. What if someone really believes that we found a large monolith in 1999 in crater Tycjo, on the Moon? Isn't it our civic duty to add this to all relevant articles? Why have we let policy trump such basic human dignity?
    • Seriously, is there any point to your questions? You've gone from a somewhat realistic example where it is obvious that everyone disagrees with you, to a completely ludicrous one. Fram (talk) 13:04, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Well as Formby is in Merseyside you just stumbled onto one of the classic cases of OR pushing. By creating a Sister Project I think we create an arena for OR which may take some of the pressure of WikiPedia and potential produce some usefull work.--Kitchen Knife (talk) 13:07, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Such a place exists, it's called "the internet". --Cameron Scott (talk) 13:31, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
No it isn't what you have just wrote makes no sense and leads me to believe that you don't really understand what constitutes a reliable source, how things become reputable sources or how Academic Journals work. I think you should perhaps stay with your head in your comic books.--Kitchen Knife (talk) 17:02, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Again, our mission here is to summarize what others have written, not to add our own personal criticism or analysis to it. If you think that some criticism is warranted, you need to find a published reliable source which makes those points in relation to the article topic. Otherwise, if it's just your own personal criticism or analysis, regardless of how "trivial" or "obvious" you think it is, you need to publish it on a reliable source first, and then link to it here. Crum375 (talk) 13:10, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

  • According to current rules. But we are discussing here: "how much logical deduction to allow without it being treated as an offence under the WP:OR rule?". Anthony Appleyard (talk) 13:22, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
    • The "current rules" reflect Wikipedia's mission, which is to summarize reliably sourced published information, and not to add our own new material, analysis or interpretation. You'd have to change our core mission first, if you want to allow anonymous Wikipedians to contribute their own material. Crum375 (talk) 13:33, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Allow some "original research"?: break 2

  • "What if someone really believes that we found a large monolith in 1999 in crater Tycho, on the Moon?" in Fram at 13:04, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
This is another topic: "How much is it Wikipedia's duty to correct misleading statements made in other information sources?". For example, in APS amphibious rifle#In fiction I inserted the text about the Frogman Stinger being fictional because I came across, and was at first confused by, a very realistic-looking list of mostly real weapons but also including the Frogman Stinger, and absolute zero warning that that web page was fiction, and likely many others have also been thus confused. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 13:34, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
It isn't our mission as anonymous contributors with unknown credentials to "correct" what reliable sources have published. Our mission is to provide a neutral summary of what has been published, without adding our own spin to it. Crum375 (talk) 13:36, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
    • Oh boy, sarcasm really is lost on you. To be clear, it is 100% not our duty to correct such things. You should not have included that text to the APS article. You should even less have created the redirect from a fictional weapon to an article about real weapons, just to add the line that that fictional weapon is in fact, well, fictional. There are a total of 9 Google hits (only a few those really unrelated to Wikipedia) even mentioning this "Frogman Stinger".[1] You can't get much more fancrufty than this. All you achieve is convinvin me more that we shouldn't allow any original research into Wikipedia. Fram (talk) 13:44, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
      • That seems to lead into the dispute "How much should be written about fictional references to real items?". I am not a fan of Twilight 2000 and I do not play videogames. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 13:55, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I know that George Orwell's books are fiction, and I was not confused by them. But I was web searching for information about the APS rifle, and among it a realistic-looking page about weapons, and as I described above. That sort of risk of confusion is why many people do not like the sort of literature called Faction (literature). Anthony Appleyard (talk) 13:48, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
    • Then why did you mention "Dan Dare"? Didn't you know that Dan Dare is fiction? Fram (talk) 13:51, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
      • I did not say, here or anywhere, that the Dan Dare scenario is reality. I know that it is fiction. Mistaking faction for reality led the historian Holinshed into error. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 13:57, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
        • You came up with the Dan Dare scenario in a discussion about your idea of including some OR in articles anyway. This reply indicates that you not only wasted our time, but did so deliberately. Seems to me that you were making ridiculous redirects for this OR reason six years ago, and are still playing nonsense games about it now. I notice from your second RfA that this exact same subject was the cause of some concern already three years ago: [2]. Aren't we supposed to learn from our mistakes? Fram (talk) 14:24, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
          • That was over 3 years ago. I did not again re-restore that text after that. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 14:31, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Again I ask why anyone is continuing to take part in the increasingly silly conversation. Ridernyc (talk) 14:08, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Agree, there is no practical way to implement anything like what Anthony is suggesting, it would simply require too much man power in consensus building discussions and arguing with particularly opinionated authors. Sadads (talk) 14:13, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I was suggesting that OR to the extent of simple logical deduction (rather than complicated theories or matter not easily quickly decidable) be allowed in Wikipedia. The discussion seems to have strayed off-topic. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 14:16, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • OK, OK, forget it, sorry. I see that suggesting this has led to too many complications and controversy. OK, it would cause too much trouble. I am withdrawing the suggestion. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 14:33, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

I think that sometimes fear of being pulled up on WP:OR can lead to overly defensive practice. An example has happened recently at Richard Wagner. I had inserted into the lede that the two extracts from Wagner's operas best known to the general public are the "Ride of the Valkyries" and the Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin aka "Here Comes the Bride". Another editor has removed the reference to them being the best known because he is wary of someone coming along and challenging this. He doesn't disagree with me he is just worried that as the article is at GAN and we plan to push on to FA, someone will ask how we know. I can't immediately think of a source that will demonstrate this but I am absolutely certain that there are many people who haven't heard of the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan, the {relude and Good Friday Music from Parsifal, or Siegfried's funeral march or the Mastersingers overture or any of the other Wagner extracts frequently programmed in classical concerts who know exactly what someone is talking about if they mention the "Ride of the Valkyries" or "Here Comes the Bride" and I cannot imagine anyone being able to make a case for the converse. In the past there was a row regarding Beethoven's fifth symphony regarding it being in C minor. This is something that can be gleaned from looking at the score and which any number of CD boxes or orchestral season prospectuses will confirm. The common knowledge section in WP:OR says we do not have to cite this sort of thing but an editor has tried demanding that we do. Inserting a citation tag unnecessarilly results in articles looking fussy and less accessible. So a more liberal interpretation of what is common knowledge would be advantageous.--Peter cohen (talk) 16:55, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

  • The fact that Beethoven's fifth is in C minor can very easily be sourced if needed (e.g. [3]), and can be taken from the primary source as well. The "fact" that two of Wagner's pieces are his most well-known should never be included without decent sourcing. Are you quite certain that these are also hiw best known pieces in e.g. China or Japan? It may be so, but it may be totally different in different cultures around the world. Even if you are quite certain, that doesn't mean that everyone is. Such statements need sourcing. Fram (talk) 16:46, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Search, and ye shall find: "I would hazard a guess that the two pieces of operatic music best known in the world today are both by Wagner. They are the Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin, played each week in countless marriage ceremonies from Alaska to Zanzibar, and the Ride of the Valkeries, which opens Act Three of Die Walkure." Peter Bassett. The Nibelungs Ring: a guide to Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Wakefield Press, 2004; "Yet after the "Bridal Chorus" from Lohengrin and the "Ride of the Valkyries," the music from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde is the next most often quoted."[4]; "A small souvenir of that epic partnership is "The Wagner Collection" (London 440 107-2), which samples some of the most popular Wagner selections ("The Ride of the Valkyries," the "Tannhaeuser" Overture, "Lohengrin" Prelude and Bridal Chorus, Siegfried's Funeral March etc.) as recorded by them in sessions that range in date from 1962 to 1987."[5] Fences&Windows 22:18, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I haven't bothered to look through everything that people have said here, but if we were to allow even some original research, then our information would be less reliable, and we would fall into the popular belief that Wikipedia articles can't be trusted. Ajraddatz 22:37, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose wiggle room as per those who say "it opens the floodgates". I can't think of examples right now, but I know there's certain things that seemed "totally obvious" to me when I was younger which I either realise now I was wrong about or that at least things are far more nuanced than I had thought. If someone publishes a book that has factual errors in it, we must not assert this off our own backs, much as we may "know" the author to be wrong; it is vital we only report what reliable sources say. It's not merely the fact that it opens the floodgates to reader opinion being asserted; it would also make it much harder to evaluate an article. With articles that provide citations you have a kind of visual cue - as an editor/proofreader - of where there might be problems. Original research, by definition, will not provide a citation, so the number of unsourced statements will proliferate exponentially, making it so much harder to visually assess the stage in its life an article is at. OK, plentiful sourcing isn't a panacea; we all know that sometimes that comforting citation number sometimes takes you to a source that doesn't back up the article content at all, but you can at least draw some tentative conclusions about the state of an article by taking in how well sourced it appears to be on first inspection. So NO! NO! NO! --bodnotbod (talk) 10:27, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
  • User:Uncle G/On sources and content#There are no exceptions to everything. Same old fallacy. Same old quick demonstration that (a) it's easy to source widely-known stuff if it truly is widely-known and (b) often what one "knows" to be an obvious truth that "should not require verifiability" is in fact wrong.

    Time and again this argument happens. Time and again it is rapidly demonstrated by multiple respondents that ensuring that the "obvious" is verifiable is easy (the world not being short of educational primers, introductory textbooks, and the like); and that applying the rule to everything with no exceptions filters out the things that one thinks from personal knowledge alone to be true, but that are in actuality erroneous.

    We're pseudonyms on a wiki. The world doesn't trust inferences that we pull off the tops of our heads, nor should it. Readers only trust what has been properly researched, by identifiable people with good reputations for fact checking and accuracy to uphold, reviewed, fact checked, published, and received and acknowledged by the world at large. Our job, as encyclopaedists, is systematizing, collating, and presenting that knowledge. It's not our job to critique, correct, modify, or press for change.

    A case in point: I wrote this in an AFD discussion in part because it was becoming self-evident from the article state, one of those "obvious" truths. I did not, however, write this in article space until I had Luis E. Navia, Professor of Philosophy at New York Institute of Technology, saying it. The world doesn't trust someone on a wiki with the pseudonym "Uncle G", but does trust Luis E. Navia to know his apples when it comes to this subject. Uncle G (talk) 13:59, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Original synthesis

I think that the original poster's complaint, which is fairly well justified, is that the current policy on "original synthesis" is too strictly interpreted. It's not that he wants to introduce his own views about scuba diving, but only that someone may grief him on the apposition of true and relevant information with issues from the plot. I understand that putting such a connection under the umbrella of a source can be misleading or prone to express a point of view. Still, normal article editing involves concentrating related data.

The first WP:OR example is "The UN's stated objective is to maintain international peace and security, but since its creation there have been 160 wars throughout the world." versus "The UN's stated objective is to maintain international peace and security, and since its creation there have been just 160 wars throughout the world." What the policy does not say, and should, is that an article about the UN should certainly say that there have been 160 wars throughout the world, even if no one presently had a source saying whether the UN had increased or decreased that figure. We need such background in order to explain what the goal of world peace is about.

Now I don't think the editor should say that "the author made an error" without some source that the author made an error. I think he should even avoid using too many buts and howevers. But I do think that it is fair to introduce any relevant scuba diving concepts with a more neutral tone, so that readers can see for themselves. Wnt (talk) 13:24, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

  • You're missing the point that the original issue is not about original synthesis, but about original analysis. Remember that the article given as an example was a work of science fiction, for which an editor wanted to provide xyr own original analysis of the deviance of the fiction therein from factual reality. Readers know that fiction differs from reality. It doesn't have to be pointed out to them in laborious detail, when no external analysis has, that what one character tells another character in a work of science fiction is not necessarily factual.

    By the way, proving that Heinlein Was Wrong About Something is a favourite game, played by many. It's unsurprising that people want to play it at Wikipedia, too. But really we don't trust the expertise of people named "Wnt", or "Uncle G", or "Anthony Appleyard" on a wiki in this area any more than we trust it for anything else. Analysis of What Heinlein Was Wrong About must be done by identifiable people with good reputations for fact checking and accuracy, published outwith Wikipedia, just as with everything else. Readers trust James Carafano to say where Heinlein Was Wrong when it comes to national defence; they don't trust us. Uncle G (talk) 06:17, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

If the editor is trying to push a POV (e.g. "Heinlein was clueless") that's one thing. But if they want to provide the reader with an understanding of the relevant science behind a work of fiction, that's another thing altogether. So often we encounter a reference to something in fiction, which might or might not be an allusion to a real phenomenon, and it is worthwhile to lead people toward further information on the subject. A complicating factor here is that explaining references in popular entertainment often seems to be too obvious to be worth publishing; yet it is most helpful to the reader.

Examples of the sort of original analysis that would seem acceptable to me:

  • Wikilink any term used in the movie (as written) — deducing that the artistic usage is the same as the mundane
  • Explain key concepts in the plot (e.g. "The Last Winter portrays arctic methane release from runaway global warming) — when they seem relatively clear.
  • Briefly describe the name and background of key devices (e.g. the mother and child in The Shining make their escape via a Sno-Cat, a tracked vehicle for crossing heavy snow)
  • Draw parallels with other works by the same author (King also uses a Sno-Cat in The Stand and Dreamcatcher...) [this example isn't the best, since it actually is sourceable, and also a little irrelevant)
  • Establish a technology timeline (Caustic potash, used to remove carbon dioxide from the air on the Nautilus, was used practically in the Henry Fleuss rebreathing apparatus a few years later)

This list is by no means exhaustive, and every item is subject to ordinary dispute regarding relevance and accuracy, but I think it illustrates that a deep encyclopedic background should indeed involve quite a bit of analysis. Wnt (talk) 15:28, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Rename Wikipedia:WikiProject namespace

Discussion moved to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject namespace to expand and preserve its content. -Stevertigo (t | log | |c) 22:05, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Dynamical update of templates

On Swedish Wikipedia, we have in sv:Template:Kommunfakta (corresponds to Template:Infobox Kommun2) introduced a possibility to use a "magic word" instead of writing the figures for population and area. That magic word makes the template collect the figures from a subpage to sv:Template:Stat. The population figures are updated at Statistics Sweden 4 times/year and the area figures once a year. Instead of updating 290 articles, we update four templates. (1 for population and 3 for area.)

Is this something for English Wikipedia?

If not, I have prepared to use AWB to update all these figures at least once, directly into the articles. -- Lavallen (talk) 13:52, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I think it is useful to make data items independently retrievable. Then, as you mentioned, they can be arranged such that updating becomes easier. Also, the same data item can be used on multiple pages. For example, the population figure of a community can also be automatically transcluded in a table of communities (as far as the page limits allow, and the page does not get too slow). See also Category:Data templates and m:Help:Array.--Patrick (talk) 08:49, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
I've now created Template:Area Swedish municipality for three different kinds of Area. -- Lavallen (talk) 14:02, 24 August 2010 (UTC)


I myself think that wikipedia needs many more images or if images better updated ones. I think Wikipedia needs to hire and pay people to take images or get them from google or some search engine beacsues if you are doing reports you need examples such asimages to show you what you are reading about. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bilbo234 (talkcontribs)

It is not a good idea to pay people, because we are a volunteer community. If you want an image, you can take one yourself and add it to Wikipedia. Kayau Voting IS evil C U NEXT YEAR
In its early phase, Wikipedia can focus on free contributions, due to the desperate need of our society to pull away at the consumerist level from a nearly infinitely inefficient copyright restriction model, where people could access all the world's information but were allowed only a tiny fraction. But in the longer term, free culture must also address the production of content, which is to say, the fees once directed to copyright royalties need to be replaced with a form of subsidy for content creators that does not depend on limitation of copying.
One form this may take in early days is a philanthropy to Wikipedia which provides for user rewards to productive editors. Someone might donate two million dollars to Wikipedia, which would be awarded by a multidisciplinary board to applicants who claim a productive record of contributions for the past year, perhaps in several tiers and subcategories. At first the awards may be largely symbolic, more an honor than a salary, but in the longer term they should demonstrate a means of replacement for the royalties of former times. Wnt (talk) 00:03, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
There is absolutely NO reason why we need to start paying anyone for pictures. If you really think we need good new pictures, I would recommend starting a project drive to get photographers to take good pictures and hand them over to wikipedia. Or a project to place banners on pages asking for nice photos. If you are interested in doing something like that I will help you. BE BOLD Shabidoo | Talk 09:13, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is already the most illustrated non children's general encyclopedia in history. It also has a database of 7.2 million images. If you feel an area lacks images please let us know what it is.©Geni 17:37, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
There are a lot of images out there with licensing compatable with use on wikipedia - more specifically look at , a lot of image there can be used to illustrate, and the number is growing. For example in the UK images on are being uploaded constantly as they are useful illustrations for articles. There's also if you have a specific need. (talk) 21:11, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

I think there's been 100s of these type of proposals in the years, so as every one has been replied to: No, I don't think we will pay people, this is a FREE institute, thus every part of it should be free, besides, who will pay. Also like before though: we could get a group of admins to scour google and get some pictures. I kind of disagree with Shabidoo because it would probably take too much effort for ACTUAL photographers, going through Wikipedia and putting pictures everywhere is hard enough

--When Chuck Norris takes a step, all humanity dies and gets reborn again Mr. High School Student 23:39, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Visibility of tags

Having seen bot going round tagging articles to indicate the date format used in the article and if it written in British or American English. I wondered if there could be some way of making this information more easily available, possibly via a gadget, so that you could see what was the prevailing style for an article. This would save time hunting for the templates or looking at the talk page to see if there is a tag on it indicating the style to use, especially when trying to determine if a change is valid or not. Another possibility would be to generate an automatic page note when you go into edit to indicate the date format and language preference to editors. Any thoughts? Keith D (talk) 16:11, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

It can be done via edit notices. i.e.: If you go to edit National Hockey League, there is a notice stating the article is written in Canadian English. We've added them on an as-needed basis in cases like the NHL article. Resolute 16:25, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
I know you can create an individual edit notice on a per page basis. I was wondering if it was feasible or desirable to automatically generate one from the templates the bots are currently adding to articles. Keith D (talk) 16:46, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
I think you can show hidden categories by setting it in your preferences when signed in - assuming that these templates have "noinclude" categories, then this should show the info in the cat box ? maybe ? Sf5xeplus (talk) 21:44, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
This probably falls under the "encyclopedia/Wikipedia-specific features MediaWiki ought to have" category of suggestions; we should really fund the devs to move a bunch of currently jury-rigged template-based stuff into MediaWiki extensions. --Cybercobra (talk) 11:18, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Seems like I do quite a bit of article cleanup just trying for consistency within an article. I started a list of options at User:Gadget850/Article style options (incomplete). ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 17:25, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Change /r/ in English IPA transcriptions to /ɹ/

I bet this has been proposed before, but I think that Wikipedia should stop using /r/ (the symbol for the alveolar trill) in IPA transcriptions of English, and replace it with /ɹ/ (the symbol for the alveolar approximant). For example, I think that "Barack Obama" should be transcribed /bəˈɹɑːk oʊˈbɑːmə/, not /bəˈrɑːk oʊˈbɑːmə/. Here's my thinking:

  • It's accurate. The vast majority of (native) English speakers use /ɹ/, not /r/. Few dialects use the trill. Even if you're going for a broad transcription of English, it makes more sense to use /ɹ/.
  • It keeps things specific. I don't think that /r/ should be able to stand for multiple sounds, depending on context. It goes against the point of the IPA, and it can be confusing. Using /ɹ/ isn't confusing.
  • I don't see any reason not to use /ɹ/.

On a related note, I think that /ər/ and /ɜr/ should be changed to /ɚ/ and /ɝ/ when appropriate, or at least to /əɹ/ and /ɜɹ/.So yeah. Skrodl

Aaaah - I have loved the English language as a quintessential instrument of human expression from the year dot, ala (Milton), but I definitely don't know as much about it as you appear to. I'm sure we can both agree that language is organic, so here's my take on your proposal - an upside down r is an upside down r. I hope this helps :) MarkDask
Looking at the articles on /ɹ/ and /r/ (disambiguate not to select the important option for the 4chan board name) and listening to their sounds, it seems like you are right. And yet when I look up your proposed ɚ, I am led to an article that synonymizes it with "vocalic /r/", and uses "/r/" extensively in the text. This throws a sour note into the arrangement - but if you can explain that issue, then maybe it's time to implement your idea. Wnt (talk) 23:53, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
I honestly think that the article on ɚ that synonymizes it with "vocalic /r/" is just another example of the way Wikipedia uses "/r/" to refer to the /ɹ/ sound. The r-colored vowels used in some dialects of English (mainly /ɚ/ and /ɝ/) are vocalic versions of /ɹ/, definitely not /r/. They have nothing to do with the trilled /r/, so whatever we end up doing, we shouldn't write them using "/r/." Writing these r-colored vowels as /ɚ/ and /ɝ/, /əɹ/ and /ɜɹ/, or even /ə/ and /ɜ/ (their typical pronunciation by non-rhotic speakers) is simply more accurate. And yes, Markdask, an upside down r is an upside down r. Skrodl 17:14, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
So does anyone take issue with the idea? Why don't we implement it? (Sorry if I'm being obnoxious; I'm just a bit impatient.) Skrodl (talk) 23:39, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I think this is extremely annoying. You appear to be right, which is the most annoying thing of all. The reason that it's annoying is that 95% of readers will have no idea what the upside-down r signifies. Too bad IPA didn't make the approximant the one with the normal-looking letter. --Trovatore (talk) 00:00, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
And this is why we have respelling pronunciations. --Cybercobra (talk) 11:11, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

The proper place to discuss this is WT:IPA for English. AFAIK /r/ is used instead of /ɹ/ because the whole thing is a broad phonemic (or rather, diaphonemic) transcription where such details do not matter (in which case it is preferable to use a simple ASCII symbol familiar to less IPA-savvy readers), it's common in English phonetics literature to do so, and after all there are English dialects where this phoneme is pronounced [r].—Emil J. 12:36, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Practically all books teaching English as a foreign language use the /r/, not /ɹ/ symbol. It's a long standing tradition in rendering English in IPA. True, [ɹ] is more frequently heard than [r], but it is never a phonemic distinction, so using /r/ is not incorrect. Technically /ɹ/ might have been a better choice, but it does not serve a purpose for WP to deviate from common practice. −Woodstone (talk) 15:15, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
  1. This should be at WT:IPA for English, not here.
  2. In a broad transcription, it is common for Roman letters to be used where possible. See the IPA Handbook, p. 28.
  3. On Wikipedia, it is easier to enter Roman characters (which can be done directly from the keyboard) rather than IPA characters, which must be entered by a more convoluted method.
  4. Not everyone uses [ɹ] for /r/. Many rhotic accents use [ɻ]. In Southern England, it has become quite common to hear [ʋ]. Some accents have [ɾ] as an allophone.
  5. I don't think that /r/ should be able to stand for multiple sounds, depending on context. It goes against the point of the IPA, and it can be confusing. Not correct. Please review the notion of the phoneme. A phoneme, by definition, can "stand for multiple sounds, depending on context". And the IPA explicitly allows use of the IPA for phonemic transcriptions, within slashes (//). See the IPA handbook reference I pointed to earlier. Grover cleveland (talk) 18:38, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
People who are unsure and only think something it's true have no right to voice their opinions. Facts should be considered. Strong counterarguments:
  1. Don't be so picky! The discussion has already started. No need to divert people with formalities.
  2. Broad transcriptions are used to explain phonologic system. They are useless to denote phonetic pronunciations.
  3. Laziness to find the correct symbol is no excuse. No one complains about ð and θ in English.
  4. But most standard accents use it and the choice is obviously rather due to laziness as well than due to underlying phonemes. [ʋ] is technically a disorder in children's speech.
  5. You are the one who is incorrect! The nature of a phoneme is not a symbol that "stands for multiple sounds, depending on context". You just picked it up without context and don't really the concept of phonology. There is a big difference between slashes and brackets as well. "Sounds belong to one phonemes" means that it doesn't make a difference in meaning when pronounced differently, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a standard. I can replace my speech with sounds that you've never heard and still be comprehensible, but that would be a foreign accent. -- (talk) 20:15, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
  • What you're saying is true. I guess I had the false impression that the current system that the IPA uses for English could lead to ambiguity, but now that I read what you're saying, I can see that's not true. I guess there's nothing wrong with using /r/ for English. (And sorry that I submitted this at the wrong place; I'm not an experienced Wikipedia editor.) Skrodl (talk) 23:01, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
It's just because it's English, english in general can be contradictory and confusing almost all the tim--When Chuck Norris takes a step, all humanity dies and gets reborn again Mr. High School Student 11:16, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

diffs/line number should be a link

In a diff like this it would be nice if 'line 149' was a link to an anchor at line 149. Just granpa (talk) 12:32, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Good idea, AWB does that, maybe there would be a way to integrate that into the main software?Sadads (talk) 16:15, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
There's a feature request for something mostly like this - #2313 - but it looks like it's not been touched since 2005. Shimgray | talk | 17:27, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

The phrase "an obvious reference"

I propose that you Wikipedia types run a search-and-replace on the entire wiki and change "an obvious reference" to "a reference." You should do this for two reasons:

  1. "An obvious reference" means that the reference was obvious to the author, making it a clear case of OR.
  2. The phrase is incredibly obnoxious, as it essentially boils down to the author telling the rest of the world that he's proud of himself for getting the reference. This makes me want to punch him.

Thank you. --An attractive and successful IP (talk) 15:51, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

That's one of dozens of poor wordings listed in WP:EDITORIAL. Editors are welcome to fix 'em when they find 'em, and I think there are some semi-automated tools (WP:AWB, etc.) that could help but that I have not used. I think around 200–500 pages are affected by this specific wording. I doubt this wording rises to the level of a "we'd better do a search-and-replace across the whole wiki right away!" urgency though. DMacks (talk) 16:01, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Doing with AWB, will find and replace ones that don't help the meaning of the sentence, Sadads (talk) 16:10, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Though, would it staying help make a better identifier for OR? Pausing AWB activity, to wait for input Sadads (talk) 16:26, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the phrase is not encyclopedic and I'm fine with you removing "obvious". While removing, may want to tag with {{OR}} or try to find a reference, though I suspect the latter is unlikely since individual allusions aren't often reported upon. I venture to claim many of these are trivial homages, though some describe the reference to explain parts of plots. However, I don't actually think editors are always trying to boast that they understood the allusion, but rather genuinely believe that the reference is apparent for people familiar with the other work. —Ost (talk) 18:37, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
If there is no more input, I will commence in removing statement and adding {{OR}} to the pages in which the statement is made without a reference, Sadads (talk) 13:31, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
My only caution would be to take care that you don't change (or tag) any instances of the phrase that are part of quotations from a source. Otherwise I don't see why there would be a problem with updating this phrasing to something more appropriate wherever it appears. --RL0919 (talk) 13:36, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

  Done I have taken care of this in mainspace, didn't touch anything archived or files or talk pages, Sadads (talk) 04:18, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

An obvious reference
I agree in principal that the term "a reference to...." is adequate and perhaps preferable to "an obvious reference to..."
On the other hand, I want to comment on this comment:
....propose that you Wikipedia types run a search-and-replace on the entire wiki and change "an obvious reference" to "a reference." You should do this for two reasons:
1."An obvious reference" means that the reference was obvious to the author, making it a clear case of OR.
2.The phrase is incredibly obnoxious, as it essentially boils down to the author telling the rest of the world that he's proud of himself for getting the reference. This makes me want to punch him.
I find this "incredibly obnoxious" and presumptuous. The term "an obvious reference to..." does not necessarily mean:
  1. That the statement is a clear case of OR.
  2. Neither does it necessarily mean author [is] telling the rest of the world that he's proud of himself for getting the reference.
It can mean that the reference is, in fact, a very obvious reference that anyone who looks will see immediately for themselves. Amandajm (talk) 07:46, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
That image is not an "obvious" reference if you don't have a schooling in Western scientific and Artistic culture. We write for as many audiences as possible, not just our prime one (which happens to have at least a vague familiarity with the image which yours references to). "Obvious" is a not a NPOV word, and "Obvious reference" implies that the author thought it was obvious that that is a reference, therefore stating something without any verifiable source to back it up. In all 300+ articles I changed it in, only 4 or 5 of these statements had references anywhere near by! Sadads (talk) 20:01, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Bot to remove {{Coord missing}} from pages that already have a {{Coord}} template.

Hey wikipedia, Just wondering if people would be OK with me running a bot to remove {{Coord missing}} from pages that have a {{Coord}} template. There are roughly 2,000 articles that would be affected. Thanks, Tim1357 talk 22:59, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

You'd probably need to contact one directly for something like this --When Chuck Norris takes a step, all humanity dies and gets reborn again Mr. High School Student 23:23, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
@Mr. Student: ...what? Did you read the few sentences that Tim wrote?
@Tim: It sounds good, but I'm not sure what the botreq are. I'm perfectly fine with it, for whatever that counts for. :-) Killiondude (talk) 23:30, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Should be a no-brainer. Unless there are some bureaucratic hoops... Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 23:35, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good, with a good edit-summary pointing to a page explaining it, a good log, and some testing (maybe run on 50 articles or something, and check things over). Sounds like you need WP:BRFA.  Chzz  ►  07:11, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

A rating system

I was at the branch of the English Wikipedia Wikibooks, and I noticed they now have a rating system used as a feedback system, and looking into the page a little more I was thinking, would the main Wikipedia be helped by this too? I mean, it's nowhere near necessary but it would be something to be looked at by the people and editors. It should only be voted on by the Wikipedia users for better reliability. In the end, it's a feedback and voting system. So, what do you guys think?

--When Chuck Norris takes a step, all humanity dies and gets reborn again Mr. High School Student 13:53, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

We already have rating systems for articles, but the concern about the wikibooks type approach is the fear that it might encourage people to criticise things instead of fixing them. I suggest we watch how the implementation goes on Wikibooks and ideally on a smaller language wikipedia, then if the statisticians can come up with convincing evidence that this could be implemented here without diverting editors away from improving articles it would be worth looking at it for here. ϢereSpielChequers 14:11, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I do agree I suppose. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mr. High school student (talkcontribs) 17:08, 28 August 2010
They use the same system (with a slightly different look) at Wikinews:. (and please shorten your signature) -- Quiddity (talk) 19:43, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Species bot

I would like get the community opinion on this bot approval request to create approx. 10,000 Gastropods species and genera articles based on data downloaded from the WoRMS database. The articles will be created after each family is approved by the Gastropods project. Alvania and Alvania angularis are two sample articles that the bot created. Thanks in advance for your feedback. Ganeshk (talk) 02:36, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Awesome. bd2412 T 14:08, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Very, very cool, might want to get help from similar species projects and figure out a way to get that stuff on WikiSpecies, Sadads (talk) 14:26, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Not sure about the Description and Distribution sections in Alvania angularis, each flagged {{Empty section}}. The WoRMs record does actually contain distribution details: "European waters (ERMS scope)", with a popup reference and a link to the VLIZ Marine Gazetteer definition (here). Isn't there a way to bring across this rich distribution info automatically? - Pointillist (talk) 14:49, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
I use web services to download the data. WoRMS do not publish the distribution information in the web services funcitionality. They do not have plans to add new data elements at this time. [6][7]. Ganeshk (talk) 23:44, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Sweet! I say, go for it. --mav (reviews needed) 13:05, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
To me this sounds like a great idea, I was impressed with the sample article I looked at, and I don't think this question/concern should be taken as not supporting the idea. But one thought/concern: does the source data ever change (creation / updates / deletions)? If so, given that it appears there is a lot of it, how can those changes be detected and populated in the Wikipedia articles? It would seem at first glance that a large set of auto-generated articles like this might be very hard to maintain. I.e., once there are a few manual edits, automatic bot updates (if desired) could become much harder. David Hollman (Talk) 11:27, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
The bot may not be able to update the actual articles, but it can alert editors about the changes. For example this week, I did a compare of all the bot-created with WoRMS and created the Wikipedia:WikiProject Gastropods/Unaccepted page. The page lists all the species that have an unaccepted status at WoRMS (where the status has changed from accepted to unaccepted). Similar checks can be done on taxonomy and other fields. Humans can then update the articles to keep them in sync with WoRMS. Ganeshk (talk) 11:44, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
If the bot updated the talk page periodically with any required diffs that could be a good method to keep track of things. Anyway sounds like if the differences are possible to identify you won't have any major problems knowing about changes. Sounds good to me (whatever that is worth). David Hollman (Talk) 19:40, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Very impressive, we need more people like you on Wikipedia. There may be some flaws in the beginning with this I easily suspect, but hopefully those will get fixed.--When Chuck Norris takes a step, all humanity dies and gets reborn again Mr. High School Student 11:10, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
I like the genus entry but I'm concerned about the individual species articles - when all's said and done, Alvania angularis merely states "this is a species of X, it is called Y, here is a link to database Z", all of which information is already present in the index at Alvania. I'd be opposed to creating a large number of individual species articles until we can add some definite content to them, more than simply restating the metadata. Perhaps run the bot only for genuses, and create redirects for species names for the time being? Shimgray | talk | 12:39, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Shimgray, The gastropods project team has been adding additional information to these individual species articles. They would add images and distribution information to start with. For example, there are more images of snails on Commons than there are articles for them on Wikipedia. Expanding all the stubs into full length articles will take years. Human editors on the gastropods project have been creating similar one-liner stubs for years. It is tedious and repetitive; they would like to spend time on expanding articles than starting them. Ganeshk (talk) 14:16, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree entirely that having a "preformed" article to expand from is better than starting from scratch - the problem here is that in order to help the editor who eventually writes the article, we're creating an awful lot of pseudo-articles that really don't have significant independent content until that person gets around to it, and so aren't of much use to the readers. There are a few possibilities to get around this - would it be possible, for example, to create the blank entry as a hidden comment to a redirect? This would mean that the content is all there for the editor, but we don't leave ten thousand essentially unwritten articles lying around in the mainspace. Shimgray | talk | 18:57, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Shimgray, I like your idea. This could be our plan B. Ganeshk (talk) 16:11, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't buy that stubiform entries aren't useful. They verify existence, give editors a non-redlink to link to, and include at least a modicum of information. --Cybercobra (talk) 23:56, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Email client built into the MediaWiki software

I am suggesting that an inbuilt email client should be developed for MediaWiki. Every user will have an inbox, and the Special:EmailUser/<username> will be used to send messages to that inbox. I persoally think that is much better than the current system. (Of course, it will need PDF support) Access Denied talk contribs editor review 17:14, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

That would be the same as a "private messaging" feature like many forums and social networking sites have. I myself think that would be useful but it's likely to be rejected because there are some that think that would make WP too forumy or myspacey. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 17:20, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
It's a nice idea but will never be implemented on Wikipedia due to the social networking aspect of it, as Ron Ritzman says. Wikipedia is meant to be collaborative on the wiki. Emails are a privilege. Of course, it could work on other wikis where that's not such a strong ethos. Aiken 17:28, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Never say "never" :) We do have the "email this user" feature for those occasions where it is necessary to contact an editor privately. A private messaging system would be more convenient for some. I myself check my talk page a lot more often then I check my email. However, I can see the other side if it too. It might encourage people to use WP as a social networking site or even as an alternative to email. On the plus side it might make it easier for those who usually don't use email to contact arbcom, request oversight, etc. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 17:45, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Is there really a dramatic benefit to this over and above integrating with people's own mailboxes? I can't quite see how it's better to send messages to a site-stored inbox (and then presumably have to send out notifications etc) than it is just to send them directly to the person. Shimgray | talk | 17:39, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, you could get a notification similar to the (new talk paage message) one we already have, so that we wouldn't have to ping each other's talk pages all day. Access Denied talk contribs editor review 17:43, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
You don't have to "ping" anything all day. You should be improving articles, not chatting all day by email. Aiken 17:45, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't ping all day; I have seen it happen with longtime contributors though. Access Denied talk contribs editor review 17:49, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
You should be improving articles, not chatting all day by email Or, you could remember that everyone is a volunteer, and do what you wish. 18:04, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Or, you could remember that everyone is a volunteer, and do what you wish. No, you can't just "do what you wish". Wikipedia is an encyclopedia not a social networking site. Aiken 13:02, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
You're missing the point. You said "you should be improving articles", but no one 'should' be doing that if they don't want to. But it seems too many people think WP is some sort of job where people have obligations...but they don't, outside a select few. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 13:57, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
When they are on Wikipedia, that's exactly what they should be doing. Nobody forces you to log on, but when you do use Wikipedia, it ought to be for improving the project, not nattering with mates over email. Aiken 14:23, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
So I'm some horrible person for being always logged on but rarely doing all that much "improving" of articles. Gee, thanks. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 16:09, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Nope, never said that. Re-read what I've said, particularly about only using the site to socialize. Aiken 00:20, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, but... again, those two users could just use email, which doesn't require you to be logged in to read and reply to it, and allows people the flexibility to handle how they deal with it as part of their normal workflow - including however they manage their message notifications. I really don't see the payoff from implementing this (probably quite logistically complex) system when we can use the existing, far more powerful, and well-adopted email infrastructure. Shimgray | talk | 18:49, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't see a benefit; I've been discussing similar, re. 'instant message' integration, and suchlike. My first reaction is indeed to recoil at the possible MySpace-type effect, and the huge overhead in policing such a system (taking time away from building an Encyc. by dealing with problems, e.g. what if people abuse the mail, post libel, copyright, etc. etc) and my more considered reaction ('never say never') is that Wikipedia should stick to what it does, and leave other things to other websites; why re-invent the wheel. We're not a telecoms company, so we don't provide voice-chat; others do that better. We're not an instant-messaging thingy, there are plenty of those, so why not just use them. Same for email; other web services do it well, so what is the point in us trying. In addition, for email, people do things their own way; having yet-another-inbox to check would be a pain.  Chzz  ►  07:05, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Since this is turning into an argument rather than a discussion, I recommend we do it this way. If you're FOR the PM system, put in bold Approve, if you oppose, well, put Oppose, then put your signature. If we get enough people into this thread, and get them to Approve, then we may get an Admin involved to sort it out one way or the other. If we get too many people opposing to approving, it's already over. Pretty self explanitory, and hopefully more people join so that we can get some REAL opinion into this. Now let's start

Approve -- Mr. Upper School 02:04, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

You think its turning into an argument instead of a discussion, so you're turning it into a vote? Mr.Z-man 02:26, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Polling is not a substitute for discussion --Cybercobra (talk) 02:39, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Oops, didn't know that was a rule-- Mr. Upper School 18:23, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

We already have a facility to email other users when they have it enabled in their profile at [[Special:Emailuser/<USERNAME>]] (and can be found in the toolbox section of their user (and user_talk) page), which gets sent to their email address, what benefit(/s) would introducing a full system into MW bring? Peachey88 (T · C) 02:50, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

I think it would even be counterproductive, and would encourage discussing article content in private, rather than publicly where others will see it and help. Of course this is possibly now, but I think most of us treat using it as an exception. DGG ( talk ) 20:21, 31 August 2010 (UTC)


I have a problem. Can I whrote a artical, about one person, but, the subject of articls be a ,,Famous people in the shadows¨, or something like that ? --WinstonSims (talk) 17:28, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

If you want to write about a person, you should write the article using their name as the title. The person should be notable, as shown by significant coverage of them in multiple secondary reliable sources. We do not write essays or opinion pieces, which is what "Famous people in the shadows" sounds like. Also, this is not really the place to discuss this; this noticeboard is for discussing new proposals of Wikipedia guidelines or policies, not new content. Fences&Windows 18:20, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Links: open in new tab

Okay, so I've always had this problem with Wikipedia for a long time and I wish to address it and possibly fix it. It's no big problem, but whenever one clicks a link, external OR internal, it goes to that page in the same tab. So, whenever I need to keep a large amount of Wikipedia articles open in the same time or don't want to close the one I'm on currently while going to an external site, we should make it so that the links open in a new tab. It would probably be in exponent form like this being the same link as the original phrase right next to it. It would be a www like that. I hope this at least goes into good consideration. -- Mr. Upper School 14:39, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps you should just hold down your browser's "open in new tab" modifier key when clicking on links? I see no reason to code a feature into Wikipedia that is already—and probably better–handled client-side in the reader's browser. (Myself, my browsing behaviour is 50/50. When I want to open the link on the same tab, the default behaviour is perfect; when I want to open a link on a new tab, I just hold down a modifier key while clicking on it, and I get a new tab.) —C.Fred (talk) 15:13, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree—a link is a link. It's preferable to let the user choose how it opens. Click the mouse wheel, or use CTRL+click, or whatever can be made to work in your preferred browser. PL290 (talk) 15:18, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Firefox has extensions like Tab Mix Plus that can force links to open in a new tab if you wish. Rd232 talk 15:24, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
You can change your preferences so that external links open in another tab/window. Go to your preferences, then selesct the gadgets tab. The 3rd from the bottom of the User Interface gadgets is "Open external links in a new tab/window". Then you would need to adjust your browser so they open in a new tab vs window. ~~ GB fan ~~ 15:33, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

New Wikiproject for hospitals

Something I've noticed is that there are oodles of hospitals with notability comparable to (and sometimes exceeding) that of high schools that are not covered by Wikipedia. We find them notable enough to compile lists like List of hospitals in Florida, yet many included in such lists have indefinately remained redlinks. For schools, we have WP:Wikiproject Schools, but hospital articles are only covered by WP:Wikiproject Medicine (which I would compare to having all school articles under WP:Wikiproject Education. I'm thinking of building up some of our existing hospital articles and creating ones for notable facilities not covered, and perhaps creating a new WP:Wikiproject Hospitals to support the project. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 19:36, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Council is thataway. --Jayron32 04:24, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes feel free to create that.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:41, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

"Biographies of living companies" guidelines and relationship to pending changes

I probably should know already whether this is the right place to post this, so, if it isn't, I sowwy, I scwewed up. But there has already been serious discussion regarding adjusting the pending changes function to include all BLPs. Personally, I get the impression that if anything main articles or history articles of active companies might be just as susceptible to the same sort of editing, particularly if they have recently been involved in some significant controversy. So, I guess I'm raising two points, and, like I already said, I know this may not be the place for one or both:

  • 1) Should we have clear guidelines or policies regarding articles or content relating to active companies or business? and
  • 2) If pending changes are approved for continuation, would it make sense to include articles about active companies, corporations, or whatever in the group of articles automatically or semi-automatically include in the pending changes list? John Carter (talk) 16:27, 2 September 2010 (UTC)


Atheism is one of the condition for rationality and moral science. Can you make Wikipedia rationalist (inclusively atheist) ?—Preceding unsigned comment added by Iohana4 (talkcontribs)

I don't understand what you're trying to say. Wikipedia is an online community that collaborates to create the world's largest encyclopedia. The users may believe whatever they like. Airplaneman 22:35, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Proselytic atheism: it's all the rage in certain circles. --Ludwigs2 23:04, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm A Christian, and I believe Christianity is one of the conditions for rationality and moral science. Can we make Wikipedia Christian? That's a silly question. WikiCopterRadioChecklistFormerly AirplanePro 23:29, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
No. See WP:NPOV. You may be interested in RationalWiki. Fences&Windows 01:00, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Alternative versions of articles

Wikipedia articles need a tab named "Alternate Versions." When a user clicks on it, she accesses alternate articles on that topic.

A cool feature would be the ability to look at alternate versions according to how its consensus self-identifies. For example, in reading the article on Jerusalem I might want to see the consensus Muslim version (i.e. what Muslim editors agreed upon as neutral, reliable, etc.). And, I might be very interested in comparing that to the consensus version among Jewish or Christian editors. Or I might want to compare versions of Jerusalem written by residents of the Middle East to that written by residents of North America. And, it would be interesting to compare those versions to the main consensus version. In order to this, self-identification would have to involve more than a User box. Accounts would need some sort of logged profile for Users (totally optional, of course), to correspond to how the alternate versions of articles are flagged.

It would reduce edit warring. Wikipedia is a battleground because everybody believes their version of reality is the right one. Nobody goes around thinking "I'm deluded." Yet, we all disagree about many things, sometimes in a way that suggests one of us must lack the grasp on reality that our happiness requires. Wikipedia allows limited outlet for everyone to be right. There is one version of a topic that is presented at any one time, and only one version. Allowing multiple versions would better reflect the uncertain and diverse nature of knowledge. It would relieve pressure that leads to edit-warring. Perhaps most importantly, it would interesting. It would be educational. It would provide readers with more information about what lies beneath the surface of any topic. It would be inclusive.

It would also help address systemic bias. Noloop (talk) 17:05, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Bad idea. That's a can of worms that we don't have enough manpower to monitor, who determines what goes in the alternate "scholarly" view then? Sadads (talk) 17:08, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Oh, and then we are no longer a encyclopedia or neutral, see WP:Five Pillars, Sadads (talk) 17:10, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
God no, goes against everything we stand for. We aren't here to pamper to every special interest group, we are here to provide a summary of subjects based on reliable sources. --Cameron Scott (talk) 17:09, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not Knol. We should thus not be adding technical features designed to encourage content forking. --Allen3 talk 17:15, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Not a good idea at all. Completely against the spirit of WP:POV, and it would encourage WP:POVFORK-ing. A better suggestion might be to propose a new wiki where particularly POV issues can be written about in multiple ways, but I doubt it'll catch on. Alzarian16 (talk) 17:24, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
It's been brought up before, and unsurprisingly rejected. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 18:06, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
IMO NPOV is based on Scientific Method. Paleontology describes experimental and historical science. --Philcha (talk) 18:13, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
I like the motivation behind the proposal, but it would be a real can of worms. In the end, it would reduce to everyone having his pet version of the article, disgregating work completely. An alternative wiki could be an idea: good luck with that (sincerely). --Cyclopiatalk 18:21, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
No WP:POVFORKs; full stop. Perhaps you would prefer Wikinfo. --Cybercobra (talk) 00:00, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Agree w/ the above. Coming to some sort of agreement and arguing your points is one of the challenges of wikipedia, but also what keeps it alive. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 00:19, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
White supremacists (Metapedia) and the Christian right (Conservapedia) already have their own playgrounds masquerading as encyclopedias. I see no reason for Wikipedia to host more such monstrosities. Fences&Windows 00:28, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
It would be educational to go to Jerusalem and see how Muslims write such an article and how Jews write it. That's not a desire for a POV-fork, that's a desire for a kind of knowledge. Noloop (talk) 00:29, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
These "kinds" of knowledge are called POVs. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 00:38, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
POVs can possibly be documented in neutral articles, eg X's view of Y. That would be the Wikipedia way (assuming the topic is sourceable - WP:SYNTH would be a hazard). Rd232 talk 00:49, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Nope - violates a central pillar of the project, Neutral Point of View. All sides should work together to form a consensus v ersion of one article; the fact that is is hard is not a valid reason to compromise one of our core founding principals. Extra articles simply cover different aspects of a topic in varying levels of detail, they should NOT cover alternative interpretations. --mav (reviews needed) 13:12, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Oppose per all above especially Cybercobra. Kayau Voting IS evil C U NEXT YEAR 13:14, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Wikinfo has already been doing this, more or less, since 2003. Angus McLellan (Talk) 19:09, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Where are the alternate versions on wikiinfo? I looked at their article on God [8], a logical candidate for an alternate views article.
I don't agree that it would violate any neutral point of view guideline. There are already non-English wikipedias; by nature they will be somewhat culture specific and differ substantially from this one. Either they all may have a neutral POV, or none do. The consensus process tends to equate "average" with "neutral", which is a fallacy. Noloop (talk) 01:28, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Wikinfo is open to alternative views, but it needs actual people to put them in. So far there's been a shortage. Peter jackson (talk) 15:48, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
It would violate NPOV becasue the pages would be writen from a POV. Cultural bias is a problom, but having multiple pages oin one subject (bhow many by the way lets take Gaza Flotila. Jewish, Muslim, Chrisitan, British, Turkish, American, Passangers, IDF, NGO's amd uncle tom cobbly and all. It would be a mess. Also it would not really adress your real concearn. We would still need to have an offical page, which wouod still represent the POV coonsensus you are concearned about. The proper place for alternative POV is on the page in question.Slatersteven (talk) 15:11, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
"There are already non-English wikipedias; by nature they will be somewhat culture specific and differ substantially from this one." That might be true, but that doesn't mean we want that to be the case. We should fight against cultural and systemic bias, not accept it. The purpose of Wikipedia being in multiple languages is simply for comprehension, not to allow each country/culture to present their preferred version of reality. Wikinfo has "sympathetic POV", with opposing views put on another page. The end result is not appealing, and the site has been ignored by most people. Noloop, this idea is sunk: don't waste any more time arguing for it. Fences&Windows 01:48, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Arguing? Waste? What happened to "interesting discussion"? I don't really think the idea has been understood. It's not that there should be pages that push a POV. It's that different communities will have different versions of reality--and many can be right. An article on Jerusalem written by North Americans will differ from one written by Middle Easterners, and the knowledge of the difference is worth having. Such knowledge is currently lost. That doesn't mean such articles would push a POV. Think of it in terms of color. Having one consensus version of a topic is like presenting the world in black and white. Having multiple articles is presenting a spectrum. Noloop (talk) 03:18, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
No, one article should say that there N points of view. Otherwise we may end up with N forks. And if some of the POVs can't take the heat, they could stay out of the kitchen. --Philcha (talk) 03:45, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
I cant stand this idea that "everyone has the right to their opinion" and it is "neutral" if we present them all and not neutral if we exclude someone's beliefs. What's even worse is when people say this is a "liberal" belief. It isnt being liberal, its being ignorant. There are facts, the world is flat, gravity exists, and yes evolution is real (and no Obama is not a Muslim). We dont need to allow each and every fringe idea their own article to put forth their claim that the US did not go to the moon and that Iraq was indeed involved in 9/11 (and had weapons of mass destruction too!). "In science, any compromise between a correct statement and a wrong statement is a wrong statement."- by user:Stephan Schulz, pulled from User talk:JzG. Instead of trying to end POV edit wars by giving everyone a compromise and a say we need to stand up and say "we are an encyclopedia based on reality and scientific understand of the world" just like every respectable encyclopedia out there.Camelbinky (talk) 03:14, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes. Good articles might indicate the "uncertain and diverse nature of knowledge" (if it is significant to the topic), and might even cover any significant alternative viewpoints, but only with regard to due weight. And some "alternative viewpoints" might be covered as topics in their own right (e.g., Moon landing conspiracy theories), but that does not justify adopting them. If different communities have different viewpoints, and they are significant enough (see WP:WEIGHT), then possibly the article should cover that ("color"). That does not warrant giving fringe theories the equal standing. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:42, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I didn't propose anything about fringe theories. Noloop (talk) 01:42, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
The Japanese bow. Most of the world shakes hands. Do the Japanese therefore believe in the "fringe theory" that bowing is the proper greeting? Noloop (talk) 01:43, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
No becasue they are not theroies they are actual physical acts. The mayans bleived that tearing peoples hearts out would appease the Sun, is that a fringe theory?Should we have that as an alterantive page in the mechanics of the solor system?Slatersteven (talk) 11:55, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Editor Advocate Admins

I don't trust the admin community to be careful or fair. A few thoughts and a suggestion:

  • Consensus is process of communication. Generally judging consensus merely by looking at edit histories is a mistake. It will consistently disadvantage minority views.
  • The rule is not "Mass addition of material doesn't require consensus, but mass deletion does." Yet, admins act that way.
  • Admins clearly default to a position of supporting each other, and making the accused bear a high burden of proof.
  • The admin community values quantity over quality. Maybe that's necessary, because of the size and complexity of Wikipedia. But, it leads to a lot of hurtful mistakes, and to errors like judging consensus just by looking edit histories.

That leads to my suggestion for change: Maybe Wikipedia needs an "Editor Advocacy" team of admins. It would have the narrowly defined mission of looking at conflicts with admins from the editor's point of view, and taking more time than usual.

The idea comes from a dispute with my broker. They botched a stock trade. I complained to customer service. It was denied very automatically, like the person handles dozens of such issues a day. Quantity over quality. I complained again, and was told it was being referred to a Customer Advocate. The role seemed to involve examining the issue from the customer's point of view, with a quality-over-quantity approach. The problem was fixed. They've probably found it helps with customer retention.

An Editor Advocacy team of admins could fill a similar niche. It could be by referral, to avoid trolling. It could help retain editors, especially those interested in minority views. It would reassure editors who feel admins are just supporting each other that their concerns are taken seriously. Noloop (talk) 23:11, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Claiming a problem exists is not the same as showing a problem exists. Can you provide examples of what has led you to this conclusion, and examples of how your advocates would rectify the problems you claim? Resolute 23:23, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
My personal experience is just the background, not part of the proposal. Noloop (talk) 00:45, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I didn't see a call for your personal experience but concrete examples of where this is seen. You propose a solution to a problem but you haven't provided evidence of the existence of the problem. At best, those examples would demonstrate that this problem is pervasive in admin conduct.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 05:25, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Very well, since you will not provide examples, I am left to respond with my first impression of your proposal: First, it seems very odd that you open by claiming a distrust of administrators as a whole, then propose the value of having a small panel of admins effectively stand above the rest. Your repeated use of "minority views" also caught my eye. As such, my first impression is that you are not happy that Wikipedia does not give greater prominence to fringe viewpoints and are seeking a mechanism to force the community to accept them with much greater ease. As in your example with your broker, the advocate "fixed the problem", and I suspect the board you envision would "fix" your problems with Wikipedia by forcing it to accept your viewpoint. That cannot happen as Wikipedia is governed by community consensus. Resolute 13:46, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Very well said. I have all the same concerns and more. Most of the points sound like they stem from specific examples, but until one's provided it's just conjecture about some things that admins might do wrong. Even if they had happened, the processes already in place would be far more capable of dealing with them that this idea would. Alzarian16 (talk) 13:58, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm guessing it's about Jesus. No joke. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 14:11, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't recognise this description, and it seems predicated on the view that content issues are normally resolved by admins, which is untrue outside well-defined contexts like judging WP:Consensus in deletion and move debates. In terms of the comparison with your brokerage (assistance with complaint handling), I wonder if you're aware of the Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal? But really, the comparison is invalid. Unlike with the brokerage service, you are empowered here in a number of ways (dispute resolution) to address problems you face with anyone, including admins. Rd232 talk 07:51, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

This has been tried before (I cannot remember the link) and failed spectacularly. →ROUX 07:59, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Ombudsman comes to mind. I'm pretty sure there are a few others lying around. --Izno (talk) 13:45, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
It looks like the Ombudsman was never tried. It's not really analogous to what I proposed, anyway. I didn't propose any system of sanctioning admins. The essence of the point is that admins tend to follow a quantity over quality strategy of handling problems. They aren't very careful. A team of admins dedicated to editor retention might be effective. Noloop (talk) 14:43, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Again, you are speaking about a solution to a problem you assert is present in vague generalities without providing a single example of existence, despite now repeated calls for any concrete example at all. How could anyone decide your proposal has merit when it addresses a cipher?--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 15:31, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
If it's not your experience (or otherwise credible) that admins emphasize quantity over quality, then ignore this thread. Noloop (talk) 18:09, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
WP process is based on consensus of all interested and anyone who might be affected, not just an echo-chamber of supporters seeking to impose their new or altered system or idea on others. DMacks (talk) 10:39, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I think Roux is referring to Wikipedia:Association of Members' Advocates. –xenotalk 18:13, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
So, we have a group of a thousand or so active admins with a (supposed) problem of using a "quantity over quality" approach. The solution is to handle this problem with an even smaller group? If people are using a quantity over quality approach, that is because the quantity of problems is too large to deal with with sufficient quality. A smaller group would either be overwhelmed or underused. In the case of your brokerage service, that sounds like a rather standard customer service approach. In order to save money, the low-level people aren't authorized to do anything except apologize and make you feel better without actually giving you anything. Once they realize that you aren't going to go away, then the upper level people start giving in. Its more a case of "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" than actually caring about customer service. The loudest people getting their way is already how a lot of things work on Wikipedia, we need less of that, not more. We need to make the existing processes better, not just add more processes for people to complain to. Mr.Z-man 04:14, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure where you're getting this "smaller group" stuff. I didn't say we should have fewer admins. I suggested a team, specifically dedicated to reducing the unfairness that comes with a quantity over quality approach. It would probably help retain editors, which in turn would help increase the number of admins. Noloop (talk) 05:57, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
The smaller group would be the very team you're speaking of. →ROUX 06:47, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Once again, can you show examples of the existence of the problem you are claiming, and can you explain how you expect your advocate board would solve said problems? Resolute 15:53, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
There are already mechanisms in place for getting review of administrative actions. They are open to input by all editors: the active admin can explain more detail about why something was done, other admins can criticize, the affected editors can voice their concerns, and other editors can comment as well. Why do we need a new system, involving only some of these communities, to handle it? That seems less open/consensus-based than present (just those chosen few having special review powers), not an improvement for a problem based on claims that consensus is not being read properly. Again (as others have said) without a clearly demonstrated problem (i.e., your whole premise is WP:WEASEL), there's no reason to make new systems/procedures/etc. DMacks (talk) 10:47, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I didn't propose sanctioning admins. I didn't propose special review powers. Noloop (talk) 01:39, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Then how would this team accomplish anything? If they can override another admin's decision then, by nature, they have more power than a standard admin. Going by your Customer Advocate example, these Editor Advocates would have more authority than standard admins. Not to mention you'd have fewer EAs than standard Admins, so you're concentrating more power into fewer hands.
Oh, and I know a guy who worked Customer Advocacy for a cell phone company. They sat in some cubes and took billing complaints from a queue. They had more access to the customer's records than your normal phone rep, and could investigate all the exchanges in multiple systems to figure out where the error was. This could take a long time in some cases. A Wikipedia equivalent would have some bits that most Admins don't. Right now, those bits tend to be spread out (aka CheckUser rights go to a few people). Without said bits, these EAs wouldn't be able to investigate all the potential issues brought to them, nor would they have the access to fix the problem in some cases (such as WP:REVDEL).
Overall, I don't think this is a good idea. We already have several different venues for resolving problems, and the step above Admins is generally WP:ARBCOM. If it's not something that needs to go to ArbCom, I doubt an intermediate step would help either. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 16:55, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
While I believe that this is a bad idea, I also think that you are over-rating adminship. Administrators are just normal users with some extra tools, and generally you find the same problems with them as you do with any other human being. To put it simply, we trust anyone with sysop tools to use those tools for good. If they assume any sort of "position" within the community as a result of their technical rights, then that is wrong. If they go way overboard, then we take away their toys and give them a time out. I think that the current system works fine. Ajraddatz (Talk) 23:29, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I also have one prolbom, who would about this Special Admin Service? No doubt it would be made up of the very poeple who are currently abusing adminship to preotect each otehr. If there is a problom wiht adminship (and there may be some valid conceartns here) an extra level is not the answer.Slatersteven (talk) 15:24, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Miscellaneous PROD

As I look at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion, more and more I'm see utterly uncontested deletes. Now, while MfD doesn't usually have an overly large backlog, many of these uncontroversial deletions are still a waste of everyone's time; the outcome is never really in doubt. What I'm proposing is development of a PROD process for misc pages. This would work essentially the same as the regular PROD process for articles (WP:PROD), just for misc pages. If such a thing were developed, it might also be a good idea to merge Wikipedia:Proposed deletion (books) into it, although if there was any great desire to keep that separate it wouldn't be a problem. I'm holding off on creating a formal proposed policy page for now, mainly because I'd rather not go to that trouble if the idea is wholesale rejected by the community. Any input would be welcome.--Fyre2387 (talkcontribs) 20:51, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Good idea, but with these restrictions:
  1. User pages and subpages only.
  2. No user talk pages unless the corresponding userpage is also tagged.
  3. No userboxes, regardless of namespace.
  4. Must use one of these reasons:
    1. WP:FAKEARTICLE not edited for > 1 year.
    2. Secret page and/or sister components (barnstars, etc).
    3. Blatant violation of WP:NOTMYSPACE or WP:NOTWEBHOST.
Train2104 (talkcontribscount) 23:08, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose everything that removes an opportunity of discussion from the community. PROD is already a disgraceful idea in itself, let's avoid extending its tentacles further more. Deletion of stuff should follow consensus. --Cyclopiatalk 12:10, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose I agree.Slatersteven (talk) 15:57, 4 September 2010 (UTC)


Note: Please keep the discussion about the general concept of postponing rather than arguing the merits of any specific mass deletion.

I have written an essay for a new policy WP:AFDPP. Please read it at the link. Thank you for your patience in reading the whole essay before responding here. —CodeHydro 19:10, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

I changed the wording of the template a little, to avoid confusion with the existing Deletion Review process. DGG ( talk ) 20:03, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Opps, thanks. I have updated the wording of the essay a bit to avoid similar confusion. —CodeHydro 12:18, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I like the idea in general. How it would be enacted is another matter. I think a postponement of a month should be the standard, that seems like adequate time to find obscure sources or deal with a large number of articles, though a fortnight could also be a reasonable option. It might also be a useful option for "not news" nominations, which often require some time before the correct decision becomes clear. I think admins should have the discretion to do an early "postpone" close, rather than waiting a full seven days, though they would need to justify this. Fences&Windows 01:10, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Btw, are you aware of the existing option to WP:INCUBATE, which is complementary to this? Fences&Windows 01:17, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes I am aware of the article incubator, however the article incubator often ends up being a de facto delete as the majority of editors are not aware that it exists so hardly any work gets done. The problem with the incubator is that there is no deadline at all, so articles may go without updates for months or years. Postponement on the other hand keeps the pressure on editors to improve the article, like how the most amazing improvements on articles often happen during that brief one week window of an AfD; except, with postponement, the window is open longer for cases when so many articles are up at the same time that would normally overwhelm the rescue response. —CodeHydro 13:11, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Asia Institute

The Asia Institute is currently redirected to SolBridge International School of Business. The Asia Institute is now independent of the SolBridge International School of Business and should have its own entry. There is no longer an Asia Institute at the SolbRidge website.

Let me know how to make this proposal formally to delete the "redirect" order

Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Well, I think I redirected it. It's not notable as far as I know, so it shouldn't have an entry. I just fulfilled a speedy deletion request for Institute of Asian Business too. Fences&Windows 15:08, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Take me back New features

It's been a few months now since the Vector skin became the default, so why do even logged-in users still have the 'Take me back' and 'New features' links at the top of the page? They're starting to get annoying, and there's no way in my preferences to disable the now-meaningless links. Reywas92Talk 01:37, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

#pt-prefswitch-link-on, #pt-prefswitch-link-anon {
display: none !important;

> User:Reywas92/vector.css
-- Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 02:09, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Watchlists of banned users

Promoted from Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)

The thought has occurred to me that blocked/banned users remain able to log in, and remain able to access their watchlists. For short-term blocks/bans, that's fine. But for indefinite-banned users or long-term banned users, it seems likely that this would encourage socking. Of course they can duplicate watchlist behaviour in a number of ways, but a big part of the socks-of-banned-users problem has to be habit: so blocking their watchlist would seem helpful. What if, just as admins can revoke talk page access when blocking, if required, there was an option to block access to the watchlist? This ought to be very easy to implement in the software (he says), and potentially quite useful (in a way that's probably hard to quantify ...) Rd232 talk 09:08, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Just because someone is banned from contributing to WP doesn't mean they should be banned from reading it. I have many pages on my Watchlist that are there because I'm always interested in potential updates to info about the subject. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 13:55, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
There's something to that point, but it has to be noted that the idea wouldn't prevent anyone from reading Wikipedia; it merely makes it harder to identify recent changes to articles (which is primarily about editing). In addition, there are other ways to keep up with updates to existing articles (which is both a weakness and a strength of the idea) - for example, every article has RSS feeds for recent changes. And to clarify, I imagine that policy on removal of watchlist privileges would limit it to indefinite-banned or long-term banned users (eg >30 days block, or even >3 months). Or even restrict it to cases of proven socking by blocked editors - which would have the distinct merit of providing an additional sanction for people who engage in it! Rd232 talk 14:13, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
You're right, watchlists of banned users do help them with their socking. Fences&Windows 23:01, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
You need to distinguish between a ban and a block. Here you mean (I'm almost certain) to say "indefinite block", in place of ban, because a "ban" is a social concept and not a technical one. Which then runs into the issue of "a banned user may be indefinitely blocked, but an indefinitely blocked user may not be banned", which certainly then also implies Melodia's issue. --Izno (talk) 04:10, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
I think that's unnecessarily confusing, and anyway somehow (I'm not clear how) seems to prejudge how policy might be written for use of the proposed technical option. Rd232 talk 09:40, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Hardly "unnecessarily" confusing. I'm just asking you to be precise and to use the terms as the Wikipedia culture uses them. I know for one that you might get into hot water if you weren't able to distinguish the terms at, say, RFA. >.> --Izno (talk) 12:56, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm quite able to distinguish thank you. What's confusing me is you raising the definitional issue at all, since the reference to blocked users was in the context of just the opening sentence, talking about watchlist access (because the technical measure proposed could be applied to merely blocked users if the community so wished). After that it only talks about banned users, because it's those that the proposed technical measure is expected to be used for. Rd232 talk 15:22, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't think this will be effective; most socks don't attack that many articles, and even if the list exceeds their memory, Special:Contributions will have the list of everything they ever edited. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:45, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
This proposed technical option is not about socks; it is about sockmasters. And in particular, it's about banned users socking, whose socking is supported by allowing them continued access to their extensive watchlist built up over time at their original/main sockmaster account. (So already you can see we're talking about a small number of users - banned users with quite chunky watchlists.) Will removing that access make socking impossible? No, but it'll make it harder, and I think it would also make it more likely that sockmasters trying to be careful to avoid arousing suspicion might find that more difficult too. I mean, RSS or Special:Contribs is certainly an imperfect replacement for the watchlist. Besides that, as I said, some part of the socking problem is people being unable to break the wikihabit; there is an element of addictiveness which hangs substantially on the Watchlist (cf the way people get addicted to checking email). Finally, retaining it as a possible sanction for sockmasters caught socking is an extra sanction when sometimes (for an indef-banned user who can't be hard-blocked due to using too large an IP-range) there currently is none. Rd232 talk 09:40, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
For someone who can't be blocked by IP, this would be almost trivial to bypass. Mr.Z-man 15:44, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
What? Please explain? I'm talking about blocking access to the watchlist, which requires the user to log in, making IP issues irrelevant. (Of course RSS access to the watchlist would be blocked too.) Rd232 talk 17:06, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
All they would have to do is make a "watchlist" sock that logs in but doesn't edit. If their IP was hardblocked, that would make it a little more difficult. Mr.Z-man 20:42, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
"All they would have to do..." - I don't really care what they would have to do (though with the large watchlists I'm imagining, duplication is non-trivial and doing so perfectly from memory not possible). My main point is that for editing Wikipedia there is a habit element, and turning off the watchlist can help people break the Wikipedia habit, if they have any inclination to do so whatsoever. Normally when they login they see X, Y, Z edits that they can't respond to; with this, they simply won't. Curiosity will make them jump to a couple of pages of recent interest, but it's slightly breaking the pattern, taking away the addictive "rush" element of the watchlist, and they're more likely to look at recent edits/conversation, complain to themselves, but not do anything. Basically, my main angle is psychology: I'm not really making it much harder for determined sockers, I'm making people less likely to sock. Rd232 talk 21:31, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
This sounds like an inconvenience for some to solve a relatively low-priority issue; users can easily check which pages they edited by using Special:Contributions, so I'm not sure how removing a watchlist will prevent them from following pages that they edited. —Ost (talk) 21:39, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry, did you actually read the comment to which you are responding? It doesn't sound like it to me. This is not about technical prevention of Determined Socker, it is about psychological help for Banned User Who Might Consider Socking If They Keep Logging In, See Edits Happening, And Feel The Need To Respond. Rd232 talk 09:33, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
In that case, I still don't think it will help that much. If someone gets to the stage that they're considered community banned or banned by ArbCom, then they're almost certainly at the "Determined socker" stage already. If you want to reduce the liklihood of socking, you would have to do it before people start. But that would mean removing watchlist access for almost all indef-blocked users. Mr.Z-man 12:05, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure how true that is: how many bans (and it's not just ArbCom bans - why exclude community bans?) involve socking? Certainly not all. And even having socked before isn't actually proof that deactivating the watchlist (let's avoid the word "blocking" for clarity) would have no effect on the probability of future socking. Beyond that - sure, using it more widely, eg for all indef-blocked users (maybe with a delay to permit appeals) would make it have more impact. But I don't want to get into arguing that at this point because I feel that's a later policy issue which would obscure the basic advantages of implementing this technical option, and deciding actual use now is premature, given that its implementation ought to be quite low-cost. Rd232 talk 14:14, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think I did exclude community bans (I did say "or" ...). Even if someone hasn't yet resorted to socking, a ban means that they've almost certainly been blocked several times, meaning they're already dedicated to disrupting. I would point out that there also isn't any proof that it would have an effect on future socking. Mr.Z-man 22:17, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Uh huh, so your answer to my psychological argument that checking the watchlist is an addictive element parallel to the well-established phenomenon of email addiction [9] is... what? These people are all, without exception, so addicted that they cannot avoid socking no matter what help we give them? (Even if they haven't even socked yet.) And you know this how? ... Look, just for fun, what if you tried arguing for the proposal, instead of taking against it and then trying to prove you're right? Rd232 talk 22:59, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, let me support something that I don't support. That sounds like fun. Though a lot less fun then presenting a proposal with no evidence to support your assertion, then waiting until someone calls you out on it to provide the evidence just so you can act superior. Because obviously I was just supposed to make the connection between "my main angle is psychology" and a "parallel to the well-established phenomenon of email addiction." Mr.Z-man 23:10, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Well (a) I already mentioned email addiction as a parallel above, in a comment you replied to dismissively, missing the point entirely (b) you've still not engaged with my psychology argument seriously (c) you are by far the most consistently negative person around here when it comes to proposals, always ready to criticise. That needs doing, sure, but it would a lot more helpful if you channelled the critiques into some constructive alternative (eg "it's made of straw... but if it were made of brick, it might be worth doing..."). And every time I remark on this (once in a blue moon, but this is hardly a novel state of affairs) you react like I've insulted your mother. I don't mind telling you, given how vocal you often are, it feels quite demoralising. Rd232 talk 23:20, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
A) You haven't made a substantial reply to any of my points either. My first comment was "irrelevant", then you "don't really care" about my second, then every comment after that has been met with comments about how I'm being dismissive. B) The fact that socking exists is evidence that this may not help much at all. We block a user from editing, they create another account, we hardblock their IP range, they use an open proxy, we have a bot block 150,000+ proxies, they edit from Starbucks, we create edit filters to prevent their edits from saving, they make subtle changes to their patterns, etc. Its an arms race and this is just another weapon. I'm not saying it certainly won't deter any. I'm saying that its not likely to deter very many, especially given the ease of bypassing. Taking away watchlist access seems like a slap on the wrist when combined with being banned from the site; like sending someone a notice of a 25 cent library fine while they're in prison for robbing the library. C) If everyone supported every proposal on this page, we would probably rewrite every policy every month and have 10 times as many processes. I've made substantial comments on 4 of the 21 threads currently on this page. I've supported one of the suggestions ("Refs - alternate suggestion") and of the 3 that I opposed, at least 1 ("Editor Advocate Admins") has nearly unanimous opposition. I may not be as "progressive" as you when it comes to proposals, but I'm hardly the extremist you paint me as. Not every proposal needs an alternative. Sometimes things just aren't necessary. In my opinion, this is one of those things. We have a ton of anti-socking measures at our disposal, each provides some marginal benefit. Though I wonder how many people are more encouraged by their ability to bypass our numerous countermeasures than they are deterred by them (I seem to remember we had a template warning for people who intentionally tripped edit filters, but I can't find it). Some vandals create socks with obvious sock-puppet usernames just because they can. They know they'll be blocked immediately; they do it anyway to create more work for us, and because they can. I don't feel like you've insulted my mother, I feel like you've insulted me. It seems like every time I oppose a proposal of yours you reply with a holier-than-thou attitude like you're a better person (or I'm a worse one) because you provide "new ideas." Mr.Z-man 00:57, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
(a) I don't need to make substantive replies to irrelevant points. Your criticisms have largely missed the point here. It's the equivalent of saying of Alcoholics Anonymous "but it doesn't prevent people buying alcohol". (b) Your points about socking go off and miss the point again, as if this was a technical measure to defeat someone 100% certain to sock. Those people are not the target audience (although I have argued the measure may usefully inconvenience them in a minor way). (c) I'm not at all claiming holier than thou! I'm asking merely why you always seem to oppose my proposals, without having anything good to say about them at all. Is it just something you have against me then? Given the number of my proposals which have ultimately been implemented it can't be that my ideas are 100% shit (though obvious there's hit and miss). And by the by, asking for something positive to say is not the same as asking for support, which not only implies endorsement of the proposal but also suggests endorsement of the proposal as it stands. But fine, if you're happy you're being as fair and constructive as you possibly can be, then I guess it's my problem. (d) I guess my frustration here is partly founded on your serially missing the point of this proposal - which isn't usually the case. Your criticisms are usually perceptive, even when I disagree about the weight to be assigned to them. Rd232 talk 02:03, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps you could clarify what group this is targeted at then. Banned users, who haven't turned to socking before the ban, who are determined enough that they might sock, but who aren't so determined that basic countermeasures will be ineffective? That sounds like a rather small group. Most people in Alcoholics Anonymous are people who want to change their behavior. That doesn't really sound like most banned users. If someone doesn't actually want to stop drinking, then yes, some sort of measure to prevent them from buying alcohol would likely be necessary. Mr.Z-man 02:26, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

See my reply to MBelgrano below. My view is that propensity of banned users to sock is a statistical phenomenon. On the left of the distribution, some users will accept a ban, and sod off and leave Wikipedia alone. On the right, some users will sock come what may (maybe were socking already). In between, there is a group of users who are undecided about socking. How large is that middle group? Who can say; I don't know what shape the distribution is and neither do you. But if we can take simple measures that make it more likely that members of this group decide not to sock, why wouldn't we? Rd232 talk 14:21, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, it can't be that large, given that the group of banned users is not very large. If Category:Banned Wikipedia users is complete, then we have less than 700 banned users (WP:LOBU has less than 500 and includes temporary bans). Even if the group is 90% of banned users, its still only 1 or 2 users per month. I would also disagree that this is a "simple" measure. Changing the software is about as complicated as measures get, short of taking off-wiki action somehow. And, just as a bit of information, I tested how long it takes to copy a watchlist to another account. I copied my watchlist (450 pages) to my sock account; it took less than 2 minutes using Special:Watchlist/raw. Mr.Z-man 14:47, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Well I appreciate the attempt to inject some numbers, but even if they are small, we're talking about the more disruptive users, so even small numbers may be worthwhile. Whilst in general software changes range from the hasslesome to the mindboggling, I do feel this is a very simple thing (for someone who knows what they're doing with the MediaWiki software) which would easily slot into the software at a couple of points without complex knock-on effects. Beyond that, I don't know why you copied stuff using the watchlist, since (a) the whole point is you wouldn't have access to it and (b) once again, the issue is not (primarily) how hard it is to reproduce the watchlist elsewhere (and it's not quite as easy as you make out). Rd232 talk 16:14, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
The comment that I replied to is what prompted me to write, as I check contributions often enough to realize that patterns can develop from techniques that are nearly as effective as watchlists. You acknowledged that it may "slightly" break a pattern; I understand the intent behind the proposal and I respectfully disagree that the option is needed. —Ost (talk) 13:49, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Well OK. (I guess when you say "needed" you mean "any use".) Rd232 talk 14:14, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Is this technically possible to begin with? MBelgrano (talk) 14:25, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't see why not - should be analogous to the software option to block user talk editing. All the software needs to do is check whether the "deactivate watchlist" option is on (maybe double-checking the user is blocked too) when serving the watchlist. If it is, it serves an alternate message. Rd232 talk 14:55, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Watchlists of indef-blocked users should be wiped clean, but not necessarily for the reasons set forth above. They should show up as unwatched pages (unless, of course, someone else is watching them), so we are not lead to believe that they are being watched by someone who might, for example, revert a vandal. bd2412 T 15:28, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Watchlist and talk pages are of a different nature. The user own's talk page is, in the technical sense, a page like any other, that may be (technically speaking) protected or unprotected from editing like any other. The watchlist is a special page, with an unique way of working and uniques ways of being edited, and it's surely beyond the hability of being protected or unprotected. MBelgrano (talk) 17:59, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Nobody's suggesting the watchlist be protected from editing. All it takes is a line or two in the MediaWiki code before the watchlist is loaded which says "wait, is the account's watchlist deactivated? No, OK proceed. Yes - stop, and show a No Watchlist For You message". This is analogous to users not being able to edit their own talk pages because that protection is nothing like ordinary page protection either, applying only to the account in question. Rd232 talk 19:44, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
As I said, it should be confirmed if the mediawiki can be altered that way before making such proposal. In any case, I find it a "punishment" so easy to get around that I doubt developers would even take the efford of adding it. Let's say you close the watchlist of a master of puppets, so that he can't get access to it. What's the benefit? Do you think it would be so hard to simply remake the watchlist in one of the puppet accounts? All that would be needed to be done (and any experimented user as to get banned would find out by himself) would be to open the category page of the favourite topic, open all pages in new tabs, and press "watch" in each one. Repeat with other categories, dismiss unwanted pages in the category, and that's all: punishment circumvented. Even more, it doesn't involve a single edit, so nobody would ever find out. --MBelgrano (talk) 23:15, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
As noted above, the "punishment" element of this is minor, and perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned it at all if it's going to distract people that much (though given that it's an additional sanction where currently there is none, I see some use in it even if the sanction is tiny). The primary motivation is to tackle the addiction element of the watchlist (analogous to email addiction - a "hit" from clicking and finding something has happened you need to respond to). There's a case to be made that whilst this addiction element plays some part for all prolific Wikipedians, it especially plays a role for those who continue to want to contribute despite not being willing or able to fit in - and hence get banned. Such social malcontents are more likely to have addictive personalities. Unless we assume that 100% of the target audience immediately go off and recreate their watchlist, then the measure would have some impact. Since the measure is low cost, it doesn't matter if the benefit is low (especially as it's impossible to say how low, and probabalistically it might turn out to be better than "low"). Rd232 talk 02:12, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

I give up. Psychology 101: epic fail, the lot of yez. Rd232 talk 23:22, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

It matters little if the intention is to punish, to be harsh "for your own good", or whatever. For someone in that position, it would be an obstacle, and a very easy to evade without leaving traces. Only newbies wouldn't realize it, but we don't talk about newbies here.
In any case, your logic has a fatal flaw: you consider that such a banned user would check changes through his banned account, then jump to the puppet account to answer, then go back to the blocked one. Unlikely. If he creates a new account to keep editing and evade the ban, he would use the new watchlist, adding to it the articles he may be interested to follow. MBelgrano (talk) 03:14, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I know for certain that at least some banned users continue to log in to their primary account in order to check their extensive watchlist, even with a well-established several months' old sock. Of course once they create a sock they will develop, gradually or in an intensive effort, a watchlist in the new account. But as I keep saying, what I'm imagining is that at least some people would give up, and not sock. Psychology says that there must be some (maybe many) who are in a sort of "oh fuck 'em, let 'em be" kind of mode when banned, but can't resist keeping up with ongoing developments, and only later eventually succumb to the temptation to sock. Some evidence for that: socks are often created some time after the ban, rather than before (the user can usually see it coming, and could take pre-emptive measures) or immediately after (though of course escaping detection is a factor there). I could add that I speak partly from experience on the addictive aspect of the watchlist, both in my everyday use of Wikipedia, and on occasions when I've blocked myself (by a variety of means including actual self-blocking and measures on my computer) to try and get some work done. I can safely say that if I was ever banned, it would be a battle between my conscience and my desire to continue editing; and I know that having access to my watchlist would make it more likely my conscience would lose that battle, because I could so easily see recent stuff, nonsense, vandalism going on. Can I be unique in this? I argue not, because it's similar to email addiction (clicking refresh on the inbox), which is a well-established phenomenon. Rd232 talk 14:09, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
There's an additional argument I haven't made: often a banned user's disruptiveness is focussed on a particular topic. Deactivating the watchlist makes it slightly more likely that even if they do sock, they will focus more energies elsewhere (maybe not avoiding the topic entirely, but engaging with it somewhat less, for instance focussing on some key pages or pages of recent interest, rather than a wide spectrum of pages across the topic). Again, won't apply to everyone to the same degree, but statistically, it should have some effect. Rd232 talk 14:09, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Additional argument: another way having the watchlist of the banned account accessible helps the sockmaster is in managing separate sock accounts to help conceal their identity and avoid getting caught. Having to recreate the watchlist elsewhere makes it more likely they'd end up editing with that account, and maybe slip up. But being forced to choose which sock account to log into after seeing something on the sockmaster watchlist (because the sockmaster account is blocked from editing), makes it easier not to make a mistake. Rd232 talk 14:25, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Support blocking banned users' watchlists in the absence of a good reason against. Lambanog (talk) 14:33, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Support - not just 'blocking' but deleting, so the articles do not show up as being "watched" merely by being on those lists, and so the banned user can't just copy and paste his old watchlist to a new account. bd2412 T 14:43, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
    • They wouldn't be able to copy-paste the watchlist anyway (from raw mode), as that would obviously be blocked as well (it's part of Special:Watchlist). Deleting permanently would be technically simple but raise issues about people returning later, and deleting temporarily would be substantially more technical hassle to implement than just deactivating access to it (you'd have to back it up somewhere). I appreciate the point about pages wrongly showing up as "watched", but this function isn't used that much anyway (the public watch numbers aren't shown below 30 watchers). Rd232 talk 16:22, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
      • I'm not particularly concerned about indef-banned users returning, so the deletion would not be temporary. bd2412 T 17:09, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Useless. I don't see the point. Anyone can register a sock and repopulate the watchlist without even a single edit. East of Borschov 09:54, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
    • Question: how much of the above discussion did you read? You seem to think your point is novel and has had no responses. Rd232 talk 10:22, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
      • Occam's razor. You may invent elaborate psychological constructs, but no one is obliged to follow them. Especially banned users. East of Borschov 15:12, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
        • There is nothing whatsoever "elaborate" about the concept that the watchlist functions as an addictive "hit" provider, just as a variety of sources (eg email inboxes) do in internet addiction disorder. It is a direct, very simple parallel. Furthermore, nothing is being created here, especially not a psychological construct. Instead, existing psychological mechanisms, hitherto ignored, are being taken into account and leading to a suggestion for a very minor software modification. Rd232 talk 09:26, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
  • I would support adding an option on the blocking interface to prevent access to watchlists. This could be a useful addition to our arsenal. Perhaps it would be safer if this option defaulted to "no" though. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 10:31, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
    • absolutely, default to "no" - just like the "block user talk editing" option. A technical option only to be used when appropriate, as agreed by consensus/policy. Rd232 talk 10:37, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
      • In that case I fully support this proposal, if it can be done. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 10:41, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Why do an indefinity blocked user need to login in Wikipedia? I think that disabling log in for this class of users maybe better. emijrp (talk) 11:24, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Primarily they're allowed to log in to discuss (and possibly appeal) their block/ban on their talk page. They're allowed to do little else, but one of those things is accessing their watchlist - even though they're not allowed to edit elsewhere. You can argue that in this appeal context it allows them to monitor developments at other pages (eg ANI, SPI or Arbcom), but it's not essential for that (they can regularly revisit the relevant pages directly), and in most cases the other pages are quite busy and watchlisting isn't that great a way to keep up with a specific issue. Besides which, they should be notified one way or another of any substantive developments. Rd232 talk 11:39, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Support adding this as an option on the blocking interface per MSGJ above, if it is feasible. - Pointillist (talk) 15:28, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Making this an option is a finer idea. It will not stiop badness but does make it a little bit harderSlatersteven (talk) 16:00, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose because;
  • There is no evidence that it will help
  • It could actually encourage socking;
  • If a blocked and 'undecided whether to sock' user cannot use a watchlist, they might create a new account just so that they can. And then they might start editing with it.
  • The more determined types might pre-empt their block and make backup copies of their watchlists in other user accounts created for that exact purpose
  • Admins can't see the watchlist content (private data), so they'd be disabling something they can't look at. It might contain a list-of-articles that the socks kid wants to study, or something
  • It seems a bit like removing the 'search' button from the banned users, which would similarly make things more difficult for them, but has similar potential for preventing improvements/reform too
  • I don't think this is 'low cost';
  • Any code change, even a small one, creates a fair amount of work (documenting, logging, testing, implementing in an update, etc)
  • It adds an additional complication (WP:CREEP) for no defined benefit
  • It is one more thing that can go wrong, and that might require additional maintenance in the future.
  • A possible benefit of a blocked user having a watchlist; they might see some changes which encourage them to mend their ways, appeal their block, and come back to constructively edit.
Thanks for coming up with the suggestion, and I am sorry that, on this occasion, I do not support it.  Chzz  ►  13:49, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose based on my belief that the costs of implementing may well exceed the benefits of implementing. No clear indication has been given, or, I think, is likely to be given, regarding what percentage of editors who might be effected should this be enacted would benefit or have their behaviors changed should it be done. If there were some evidence indicating the effectiveness of such steps in this context, maybe. Without that evidence, however, it would be yet more tasks for an underpopulated admin corps to enact, and even more possibly pointless "busywork" with might take up time better spent elsewhere. John Carter (talk) 00:10, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

this is not a propose

ummm too many stuff im getting this to Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 65 well byee --Sistemx (talk) 17:17, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Why exactly did you copy this whole page to Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 65? Anomie 17:44, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
well it was archive 65 so this should be dead right now --Sistemx (talk) 18:00, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
There is a bot that archives this page automatically as threads become inactive. It should not be manually archived, especially when that would mean removing active conversations. —C.Fred (talk) 18:03, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

"Report an error" feature

Hi. During Wikimania 2010, I learnt about a feature installed in Polish an Russian Wikipedias: a link on the left sidebar to report errors. I liked it, so we installed it in Spanish. You can see how it works in this article for example (look at the left sidebar "Notificar un error"). It opens a window where the user can explains the error. Then, the error is sent to a common page es:Wikipedia:Informes de error where wikipedians read and work on them. It would be nice add it in English. The code is here: es:MediaWiki:Wikibugs.js. We are receiving tons of reports per day. This is an amazing tool to involve casual readers (which don't know how to edit a talk page, more, they don't know the about talk pages) in Wikipedia community efforts to improve the encyclopedia. Regards. emijrp (talk) 09:53, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Yes, good idea! It could direct to the WP:Content noticeboard, perhaps? Many readers don't know that Wikipedia can be edited or know about talk pages, so this adds another opportunity for some of those many eyes to make our bugs shallow. How would we turn it on at en.wikipedia? Fences&Windows 17:53, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Seems like you just Create MediaWiki:Wikibugs.js, copy the whole thing into it (translated into English), put this into MediaWiki:Wikibugs.css, and put the line importScript('MediaWiki:Wikibugs.js'); into common.js. You could try that by copying it into your personal .js to see if it works, and see what wording you'd want in English. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 18:02, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, also, you can create the messages MediaWiki:Bug in article (with the text "Report an error" or something like that) and MediaWiki:Bug in article-url (with the title "Wikipedia:Content noticeboard" as you suggested). Then, add it to MediaWiki:Sidebar. But first, we need more community opinions. emijrp (talk) 18:51, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Mmm, I see that they were created in 2005 (and Wikipedia:Report an error was deleted later). Why? emijrp (talk) 18:53, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
OK, it was deleted when this system was in an very early stage (see talk). Today, it is much better. emijrp (talk) 19:00, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Open an RfC? This probably needs good support to succeed, as it may flood the content noticeboard. Fences&Windows 22:03, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
What sort of junk/false-positive rate does it get on the other Wikipedias? --Cybercobra (talk) 23:00, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
I can say 50%/50%, but the script has filters to avoid empty reports, reports with texts with no spaces, ect. Also, we exclude the "Report an error" link in articles like "MSN", "Hotmail", ect, where many people click to say "MY HOTMAIL DOESN'T WORK, FIX IT PLIZ". I think that it can be tested here, and "invent" ways to reduce the noisy reports. emijrp (talk) 08:08, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

This seems potentially fruitful and helpful, but I can't help wondering if the link shouldn't just go to the relevant talk page (to keep relevant discussion in one place, plus educate people about talk pages), with the talk page added into a maintenance category so on low-traffic pages people will be able to find it and respond. The "edit request" system of MediaWiki:Protectedpagetext could probably be used as a model. Rd232 talk 09:40, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

We have all the messages in the same page. If a report is hard to reply and solve, it is moved to the article talk page. A lot of reports are about undetected vandalisms, so, flooding talk pages with vandalism reports is not very useful. emijrp (talk) 10:55, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Mm, OK, if it's true that many of the errors turn out to be simple vandalism reports, and if issues better suited to the relevant talk pages are moved there, then this system would be better. Rd232 talk 16:47, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
And many talk pages have no watchers. Seeing how this is working on two other Wikipedias, I can't see that a trial would hurt. Fences&Windows 16:33, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Support This sounds like a great idea, Sadads (talk) 16:43, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

So, do we open a RfC? emijrp (talk) 09:34, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Support - it sounds great. Kayau Voting IS evil 09:36, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

  • Support Seems worth a try. Calliopejen1 (talk) 14:34, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Support trial for maybe a month or two. If it gets flooded by abuse, get rid of it. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 22:02, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Support opening an RfC on a trial run. --Cybercobra (talk) 01:34, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose The intentions are very good but I'm really not sure about this idea. One of the stated aims of the Foundation over the coming years is to improve participation in the projects. This means people learning how to edit Wikipedia in the main. This proposal presents the user with a kind of shortcut to get content changed. Shouldn't we be pushing for our visitors to change the content themselves? I think I would much prefer to see such a "report an error" link take the user to a "You can edit!" page and give some very basic details as to how the user can make the change themselves. This proposal would set up a barrier between readers and editors; it encourages the notion that there are "some people, like staff" who edit Wikipedia when we should be encouraging the notion that readers are editors too. So I'm against this. --bodnotbod (talk) 10:09, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
    • That's a valid point, and it's good to be aware of it. But being aware of it, we can address it with eg a good editintro, pointing people (before posting) to the possibility of fixing things themselves, especially if it's simple. And of course make it clear if they do post that it's volunteers answering (WP:HELPDESK already does this I think). Good point, but not a blocking bug. Rd232 talk 10:23, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
    • We have zillions introduction tutorials and help pages. If a person doesn't want to learn or can't learn to edit, he won't do it. Also, the "Report an error" feature first screen shows some links to Wikipedia:Be bold and it encourages fix them. People can report errors or send pics via e-mail too, are you going to remove e-mail from the Internet? : ) emijrp (talk) 10:52, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
    • Have you poked around in the spanish wikipedia, where it is in place? When you click the button, there is a pop-up explaining how to be bold, etc: "Si has encontrado un error, por favor, intenta arreglarlo tú mismo, la tecnología wiki permite que cualquiera pueda editar artículos. No dudes en hacerlo, una de las reglas de Wikipedia dice «¡sé valiente editando páginas!». Si no puedes o no sabes arreglar el error, entonces infórmanos de él usando este formulario." -> "If you have found an error, please try and fix it yourself: wiki technology makes it so anyone can edit articles. Don't hesitate - one of Wikipedia's rules is "be bold!". If you can't or don't know how to fix the error, then let us know using this form." And then there are three buttons: edit the article yourself, report an error, or cancel. This actually might make people more rather than less likely to fix mistakes themselves. Calliopejen1 (talk) 17:32, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
      • That sounds good. I would rather have a text like the above explaining to be bold, and fix it themselves, then a button to take them to the edit page, and even further down a pair of buttons to fill out an error form (which posts it on both a noticeboard and the talkpage? Or posts it on the talkpage, and puts a link on a noticeboard?), and a cancel button. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 17:41, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
    • Bodnotbod -- Personally, I think that the more high quality article we have, the more likely people are to get interested in Wikipedia, and decide to contribute. So in my opinion, anything that provides a "shortcut" to improving the articles is a good thing, and will draw in more editors than forcing people to learn how to edit before they can contribute. Perhaps, to address your concern, we could include a link that says something equivalent to "Want to learn how to fix this sort of problem yourself?" which would take them to the edit page ... Anyhow, I don't see your issue as a very convincing reason to prevent this from being developed. -- Jrtayloriv (talk) 05:05, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong support directly or via a trial. This is one of those "I can't BELIEVE we haven't thought of this before!" forehead-slapping features that should already have been in WP by now. Zunaid 18:16, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong support With an appropriate intro, this can only increase readership participation. Randomblue (talk) 15:18, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Support -- Excellent idea, which will enable an enormous number of currently uninvolved readers to contribute. -- Jrtayloriv (talk) 05:05, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
This proposal has got a wide support. Can anyone be bold and run a one-week test? You can follow the instructions available in the third and fourth messages in this thread. I can help if needed. Thanks. emijrp (talk) 15:22, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Update: I've gone ahead and done most of the work, and left a message at MediaWiki_talk:Common.js#WikiBugs asking for someone to do the final step of putting it live. Rd232 talk 08:52, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Thanks a lot Rd232. Some details:
Regards. emijrp (talk) 11:05, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
OK, fixed now - thanks for the proofreading (always better to have someone doublecheck!). Rd232 talk 11:13, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I note that "contact Wikipedia" is already there, and goes to Wikipedia:Contact us/Article problem. It might be worth thinking about how these two tie together, and at what point in "report an error" we need to gently push people into using email for sensitive material. Shimgray | talk | 12:47, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
I like it, it's just that...doesn't it take away the point of tutorials, FAQs, etc? --When Chuck Norris takes a step, all humanity dies and gets reborn again Mr. High School Student 13:47, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

If the report is put on the problem article's talk page, the system can automatically add a template Template:Error reported which'll put the talk page in the category Category:Error reported. That way fixers can check the category, it won't flood any boards, it's in the right place from the start, and makes it easier to see an article's history of errors reported by people scared of reading the HowTos. Since fixers would've had to edit the thread on the board anyway to say it's been fixed so that someone else doesn't think they still need to fix it, they'll now just edit the talk page and remove the template or change it to Template:Error fixed. -- Jeandré, 2010-08-28t15:13z

A "noone cares who you are" essay in WP space

Over the years, I've encountered editors that because they held some offline degree, profession, or worldview, believed they were to be given special treatment with regards to WP:OWN, WP:NPOV, WP:CITE, WP:CIVIL, and WP:NPA. I've worked up a rough draft, and I'm considering posting it in Wikipedia:Noone cares who you are or something, if I'm not going to be the only person that works on it. While it should avoid TL;DR, it'd be nice if it covered a variety of editors that want special treatment, without going into too specific examples. My intention is to have something quasi-official looking to wave about the next time I (or anyone) encounter(s) someone who says "I don't need to (cite sources, be civil, allow other editors to change my contributions), I'm (an adult, a professor, a subscriber of X worldview, a dinosaur, not a stupid hick like you), and (insert personal attack here) for telling me what to do." And if we already have something to this effect, I'm sorry for posting, but I'd like to be directed to it. Ian.thomson (talk) 21:12, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Possibilities include Wikipedia:Credentials are irrelevant, Wikipedia:Ignore all credentials, Wikipedia:Expert editors#Warnings to expert editors, User:Misza13/Nobody cares about your credentials, and for a balancing view, Wikipedia:Credentials matter. Anomie 22:01, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
Ah, well, those say what I was going to more succinctly than I was going to. Thank you. Ian.thomson (talk) 22:07, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
Just my two cents- the essay Wikipedia:Credentials matter has a VERY good point and EVERYONE should read it and understand that those with degrees and expertise in a subject should indeed be given some deference in a "dispute" regarding what a source means or its accurate portrayal in an article. I'm not saying they should have leeway to do anything, but come on- some respect please; this crap of "I'm just as equal as an expert" and the other expert-bashing that goes on around here completely ruins Wikipedia. Last thing we need is to promote more "ignore the experts". It's symptomatic of the anti-science leaning in America as of late.Camelbinky (talk) 23:26, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but for every well behaved expert that correctly use their expertise to guide us and set an example, I encounter three professors, grad students, book store owners, clergy of any given religion, whatever, who think that because of their off-line credentials, they do not need to follow WP:CITE, WP:NOR, WP:CIVIL, or WP:NPA. I was not looking for something to bash legitimate experts, but something quasi-official looking to explain to disruptive editors that their off-site authority does not give them any leeway. Ian.thomson (talk) 23:43, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
(ec) On the other hand (of what Camelbinky said), how can we determine who is an expert and who is a 13 year old kid posing as an expert? For that matter, what happens when an expert is claiming on a talk page that "all those reliable sources got it wrong, I know because I'm the world's leading expert on this subject"? I think that it's correct that we shouldn't hold a reliable scientific source on the absolutely equal to a reliable news source on a strictly scientific topic, but I don't think that self-proclaimed expert editors deserve deference in editing an encyclopedia. In many cases, experts have to be listened to with a bit more skepticism, since they often have direct or indirect COI with subjects they edit on. I'm not saying that they shouldn't be listened to; rather, I guess I'm saying that being a subject matter expert does not necessarily make one an expert in the processes involved in creating an encyclopedic article about that subject matter. Qwyrxian (talk) 23:47, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Duplicate pages

Taken care of. In the future, I recommend creating new sections by placing a couple of equals signs on either side of a title, == Like this ==. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:05, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

A-Class Review

There should be a place to review A-class articles. Some people have raised concerns that only WP:MILHIST has proper facilities to review A-class articles, and I wish to create a place like WP:GAN to review A-class articles. WikiCopterRadioChecklistFormerly AirplanePro 18:30, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Some projects do not use A class at all and are not currently set up to do. The difference between GA and A is too small to be meaningful IMO.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:38, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. I'd scrap A class. Fences&Windows 00:57, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
A class was never incredibly destinct from GA or FA, which is why few people use it. You can look at MILHIST as fanatics if you want. It really only seems like an un-necessary sustitute for a Peer review. ResMar 03:03, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Um, we'd appreciate not being called fanatics... :-) Kirill [talk] [prof] 04:32, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
And rightly so, considered you all have made this is the best military history source on the web! But it may well be true that the editors dealing with other content might not be as organized or, maybe, disciplined as the milhist people. John Carter (talk) 18:13, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Going back to the question...I've often thought that the existing rating system is convoluted, and very poorly organized in general, and that it is about time we changed it entirely. I suppose this has been discussed a lot, and frankly, I can't be bothered to write a huge long proposal, but I'll add a quick thought, from vague notions in my mind; that we should have a simple, comprehensible, linear quality scale. OK, so we could still have GA and FA, as the specials on top, but for the rest, I think we should abandon Start, C, B, A and come up with a new system. Numeric? Possibly? One to five, one to ten, I don't know. It might help people in developing articles, if a quantifiable improvement scale was possible. Of course, the problem is, who assesses them. How about if editors could be permitted to rank articles up-to a certain point on the scale...and oh, yes, there are myriad problems, for sure. That's why this is a brief thought, not a well-constructed or serious proposal. Might spark off ideas though. I know one thing; that Stub-Start-C-B-GA-A-FA confuses many people, as does the system of assignment of class via project groups, each with their own ideas.

FA works great. GA mostly works OK, but has some problems with different reviewers applying different standards. Start, C, B, A are almost rendered meaningless, except in the very biggest / well-organized project areas. IMHO, YMMV, etc.  Chzz  ►  13:28, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

The inconsistency of ratings makes it a lottery, mostly the ratings are a joke other than FA and GA. I've written articles that were cited to the hilt, MOS compliant, in proper prose, and with online sources basically exhausted, and someone rolls up and slaps "Start class" on it. Well, gee, thanks. I think many raters don't actually have a clue what "Start class" means (mostly unverified, scrappy writing, poor format, mostly incomplete), or any of the other ratings for that matter. I think that George Leeman, which I wrote, meets all the B class criteria, but someone decided it was C class. There are thousands of stubs that are really much longer than a "stub", and I've come across supposed B class articles that were barely verified and read very poorly. </rant> Fences&Windows 01:11, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely agree, F&W, but I think we should "blame" our rating system, not the reviewers - by which I mean, perhaps we can improve the rating, and thus make it more meaningful. I liked your comment re. trying to quantitize the rating in terms of factors such as quality of referencing, broadness of coverage - and I'd actually consider expanding that notion. If such factors could be scored on a scale of e.g. one to ten, then the resulting total could give an assessment rating on a scale. Yes, we are trying to enumerate something ephemeral, but sometimes that can be useful; if we could 'score' an article and rank it accordingly as e.g. "Class 1,2,3,4,5" that would certainly be an improvement, I think.  Chzz  ►  10:29, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
The current system undoubtedly has its problems, such as projects disagreeing over article quality (eg. London Country North West), or failure to update as things change, or people completely failing to understand what the requirements for each class are (British Rail Class 142 should never have been rated B-class, but it was for several years). But I'm not at all sure a numerical system would be any better. Most of the requirements for each class would have to be similar to the current ones, which would leave all the same issues open. Short of abandoning classes altogether I can't think of a way to solve it. Hopefully someone else can... Alzarian16 (talk) 12:18, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, my thought is that by assigning some kind of numerical score based on criteria we can elaborate upon, we could get something with at least a degree of meaning. Of course, it is not possibly to subjectively quantify these vague qualities in entirity (Obscure ref. In Japanese, I'd mention "colour has no order") but by trying to pin things down, we can endeavour to put some form of quantifiable judgement on articles.
For illustration of concept only, consider something like the following.  Chzz  ►  13:35, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Article assessment for Some article
Factor Assessment
Referencing? 1
Coverage? 2
Structure? 3
Writing? 4
Balance? 5
Total 15
Article class based on assessment
Assessment Class
0 or unassessed Stub
1—5 Class E
6—10 Class D
11—15 Class C
16—20 Class B
21+ Class A
For Good Article and Featured article status,
refer to WP:GAR / WP:FAR

 Chzz  ►  13:35, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Try the WikiProject US Public Policy system

This seems like a good time to mention the system we're testing out at WikiProject United States Public Policy: Wikipedia:WikiProject United States Public Policy/Assessment. It's similar to what is being discussed above, with numerical ratings for different aspects of article quality, and it's designed to basically match up with the standard requirements for the different article ratings. It's also backwards compatible with the standard system, so it can be tried out on small scales or expanded gradually without having to throw out all the years of assessment work we've already done. Thanks to MSGJ, it's all coded into the WikiProject banner using the meta template hooks, so it should be pretty easy for other WikiProjects to try it out.--Sage Ross - Online Faciliator, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 15:42, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Isn't it a bit complicated? A simple numerical scale was what I had in mind. Fences&Windows 01:14, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
I like it. It gives me a comprehensive list of things to improve, and makes ratings less "arbitrary" which I gather is the current criticism. Now if there were a twinkle-style dialogue to check boxes in and have it post the rating, that would basically be the icing on the cake. sonia 01:38, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Patrolling for unexplained deletions

Every year or so I come here and bemoan the fact that so much Wikipedia content is lost to undetected vandalism, when people randomly delete large chunks of articles and no one ever notices. I know this because from time to time I look at articles I contributed to a long time ago, only to find that much or most of the original content is missing. Almost always it turns out that an unregistered user randomly deleted it in March 2009, or whenever, and no one ever noticed.

Every time I come here bemoaning this fact there is virtually no interest, and virtually no recogntion from anyone else that it might be a problem. Does no one else care that potentially months and years of people's work is being wiped away with the click of a vandal's mouse, completely unnoticed? What can be done about it? What is being planned? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

It just means we need more eyes on vandalism patrol. When I'm using Huggle, I routinely revert people who delete chunks of sourced text without reason. However, not all deletion is vandalism. If content is unsourced, or the sources don't meet WP:RS, the content can rightly be deleted, per WP:V. I'm not sure there's much more we can do other than do more Recent Changes/Huggle patrol; it's probably impossible for us to catch everything, of course. Do you have any suggestions about how we can "fix" the "problem"? Do you have any specific examples that we could look at? Qwyrxian (talk) 03:26, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
The abuse filter catches a lot of bad edits. It disallows some, and tags others so that people can review them. Killiondude (talk) 03:31, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
I see an irony in the fact that a complaint about the behaviour of unregistered users comes from an unregistered user. You do seem to care. Why not register? HiLo48 (talk) 02:16, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
Also, it is not "lost". It's still there in the history, and pretty easy to reinstate as long as it is appropriately referenced. Wikipedia will be around for a very long time, so if a few articles are 'wrong' for a while, so what? There is no deadline.
We've got much better at picking up on vandalism, and continue to improve. It is always a pay-off between keeping it open for 'anyone can edit', verses the vandalism troubles, but the sheer success of Wikipedia must mean we're getting that balance about right.
I do recommend, as above, that you get an account, then you can keep an eye on the articles, every so often.
If you don't want to bother with that, let us know which articles are a concern, and perhaps some of us can add them to our own watchlists. Cheers,  Chzz  ►  13:09, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
Pretty much any article I've ever contributed to is in my watchlist. So as long as I care to pay attention, I feel confident I can catch this sort of thing. Seems sufficient to me, really. Perhaps if you are unregistered you are unaware of watchlists? Another point is that your watchlist can be made into an RSS feed, if that sort of thing is useful to you. David Hollman (Talk) 15:28, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Having said all that, if someone had some stats on how often this sort of thing happens, and how long it goes undetected, that would be interesting. If its really bad, that might be more convincing that some technological (?) solution would be useful. Not that I have any idea if gathering that information is even possible. David Hollman (Talk) 15:28, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

There are some edit filters which tag edits which remove references or large chunks of text. I'm not sure how long those filters been around, but they do help identify potential issues. Rd232 talk 15:58, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Modifying the way that the Village Pump is run

Hello all, I've never proposed anything on the VP before, but there is a first time for everything. The Village Dump is rather hard to navigate through, even with the table of contents, so I think that it might be beneficial to move to some sort of system like the one that they use on Wikia. This allows each topic to be on it's own page, so instead of having a page with a large number of topics separated with header 2s, there would be an auto-updating list of the open topics with links to them, the last time that they were edited, and (if we wish), the username of the last editor. Anyways, please comment, or ask questions if you have any. Ajraddatz (Talk) 03:06, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

The drawback there is that one then cannot follow all the discussions by loading up the history page and clicking the "cur" diff link on the last revision read. It may also raise the bar for new contributors, as they would have to figure out how to correctly create a new subpage. You'll probably be a fan of LiquidThreads, when that is finally completed and forced upon us. Anomie 03:52, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
As an (I would think) vastly simpler, more general (in the sense that it would be useful for a wider range of purposes), and less structurally intrusive measure than LiquidThreads, if we just each had the ability to tell our watchlist
"add this page and all its subpages (i.e., any page whose name starts with the name of this one plus a slash), and in the future add any new subpages when they are created" —this is the ideal version, which allows later removing particular subpages, although it would be moderately useful even without that—
that would seem to eliminate the drawback to separate pages per topic, and be useful on this and all sister projects for tracking all subpages of a forum, or all requests of a particular ilk, and probably for other things that would be thought of. Wikibooks, certainly, has been wishing for such a thing for years, since there one routinely wants to watch all the pages of a given book, and have any new pages of that book watched automatically. --Pi zero (talk) 14:09, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
This discussion belongs at WT:VP. –xenotalk 14:11, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, I've moved it there (and replied a bit) Ajraddatz (Talk) 22:35, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

This VP's title box: proposed changed view

In the Template:Village pump pages/sandbox is a proposed new view for this page's header box. There are demos before/after in Template:Village pump pages/testcases, and notes. Any support? -DePiep (talk) 17:15, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia Ambassador Principles

There is a draft set of Wikipedia Ambassador Principles on the Ambassadors landing page. It will mainly be of interest to people involved with the Wikipedia Ambassador program (and it's not to late to join the program), but it's relevant to the whole community as well, since the ambassadors' role is to represent the community in working with students and teachers who are Wikipedia newcomers.--Sage Ross - Online Faciliator, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 20:18, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Dictionary of National Biography auto-generated content

Hi. i'm in two minds as to whether I should post here given that I know a lot of people are opposed to auto generated content but I was wondering what the views would be on a bot which transfers the 3800 or so missing public domain Dictionary of National Biography encyclopedia book articles on notable UK figures already written and stored in Wikisource. The texts are already written but may require some minor wikifying. If I can sort a bot to transfer these texts with some wikification and would only require manual edits after creation to Categorize and some very minor organization work what would the general view? The text is already written. Its just otherwise its going to take years tp transfer this content when it could be done within days by a bot and more time spent on improving them. I need some form of general consensus here as to whether or not we really want these articles. The vast majority of them are notable biographies from Tudor times to the late nineteenth century like Christian ministers and theologians, naval officers, judges, politicians, antiquaries, physicians etc. In my view they are all articles which an encyclopedia like wikipedia should engulf. If I have some indication here that the community wants these biographical articles I can form a bot proposal which will create these articles with as minimal manual work needed as possible. A trial run of a small number of course would be performed first to see if they have the seal of approval. Any thoughts? Dr. Blofeld 13:06, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

They're certainly all notable figures (indeed, were they not quite notable, we could argue a DNB entry tips the balance there anyway), but the problem is that the articles are pretty elderly. I've written several articles on figures with DNB entries, and almost without fail there's some significant changes made in the newer ODNB entry (the ODNB, a successor project, includes everyone in the DNB); I would go so far as to say that we can probably predict that, overall, every DNB entry contains at least one major error compared to recent scholarship. I'm not sure if we should think of this as a showstopper or not.
If we do run such an import, though, it might be worth producing a second list - all figures with DNB entries whose articles are currently stubs - for possible manual merging. Shimgray | talk | 13:20, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't like the idea of copy and pasting it, and as Shimgray says there may well be numerous errors. And I don't believe every entry is notable either. Inclusionists often cite WP:DEADLINE, so I will too. It doesn't matter if they aren't here yet, Wikipedia will be here tomorrow. Of course, I don't object to manual creation, but umpteen articles which are no doubt badly formatted, strewn with errors and maybe not even notable have no place on Wikipedia. Creating articles should never be a bot process, creation should take as much care as deletion. Aiken 13:40, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Can I just say that these articles would be created anyway and are in the process of being copied. The point is that the manual time would then be better spent improving the texts rather than being spent copying and pasting them. Dr. Blofeld 13:41, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Then that's ok. As long as you're taking care when creating them and not copying in the errors, there is no problem. It would be better, imo, to improve texts as you import them, rather than importing them all then doing it after. Aiken 13:46, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
Well ideally they would all be like my article Sir Robert Ainslie, 1st Baronet. The idea eventually is that all of these DNB articles I want transferred are written like this. No there is no time limit but I am just looking for something to simulate the manual copying and pasting and to encourage people to build on what we have. Dr. Blofeld 14:04, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Yes DNB does have the occasional error like other encyclopedias but the vast majority of it is correct. What is important here is that we have the raw text founded. Once we have the article there additional sources can be added, Oxford Dictionary Biography updated sources, peerage sources etc to build upon the articles and make it our own. But we need the raw power to get them onto here in the first place. Otherwise a year of my editing will be spent just copying the texts when it could instead by spent improving the texts and doubly verifying them. UPon creation by the bot I propose that they go in a category in which they can all gradually be checked manually over time. The most important thing I thinkis to have the texts when the vast majority of it is accurate. I do believe that they will improve wikipedia as a resource, and gradually when other sources are compiled to build upon them we'll have better articles than the original and any Oxofrd articles on them. We need something to work with though, th occassional error can't be avoided. Dr. Blofeld 13:36, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Mmm an idea would be to write into the Template:DNB that the text will require additional sources for verification. That would alert the reader that there may be an occasional error or claim which needs further support/updating, The DNB though is a highly respected resource and was owned by many aristocrats over the years so as a resource it does have a lot of repute. Dr. Blofeld 13:44, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

The Catholic Encyclopedia and 1911 Brittanica templates contain no such disclaimer; adding one would be against precedent. --Cybercobra (talk) 02:45, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Well, yeah, it's well regarded. I like it; I still keep a printed copy on the shelves at work! It's also unavoidable that once people sat down and rewrote every article, glaring discrepancies occurred - the fact that it was treated as good for so long, and bought as a standard component of a lot of libraries, doesn't mean we should assume it was as reliable as it seemed. It's the fact that there is a better version in existence that makes me a little wary of adding the old material, I think.
  • Perhaps a useful approach would be to have the bot explicitly link the "old" articles to the ODNB articles, which are available online, by noting it under further reading as a "revised version" or the like? Everyone with an article should be in the new one, and it means we can steer readers towards the hopefully more comprehensive one until such time as we develop a better article ourselves. Shimgray | talk | 14:47, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
    • That sounds like an excellent idea. Pretty much the only downside with ODNB entries is that they aren't free (beer or speech), linking to them would be a positive. Oh, and I support the whole project. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 12:11, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
      • I think this is a fantastic idea, if implemented properly. I'd love to see it happen, especially because if it works for the DNB, there are other encyclopedias for which it would be useful. I know dated information is a concern, but we've been using public domain material as the basis for articles for quite some time now, so there is precedent. And I like Shimgray's bot idea as a way to bring the new edition of the Dictionary into the picture. Some things, such as categorization, would need to be done manually, but that's not a tricky task, especially if the bot-generated content is placed in its own hidden category, or marked in some other way to make it more accessible in a block to editors. --Ser Amantio di NicolaoChe dicono a Signa?Lo dicono a Signa. 21:38, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

+::The CE and the EB templates certainly should have carried a disclaimer that they are out of date, that the contents may no longer be accurate, and may not represent a NPOV. It is not just a question of errors, but of further work and reinterpretations--not to mention updated references. It was an uuderstandable but very poor idea to import this material as is originally, with any other intent than that of using it as one of the sources for articles. In this particular case, all of the people in the old DNB are also included in the current one, which is not free content but is widely available as a source for writing or updating articles-- in the UK, at every public library & online to those with a library card. As a minimum, I would agree with the suggestion that each article imported carry prominently a link to the corresponding article in the new DNB with an appropriate comment requesting updating. DGG ( talk ) 20:18, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

  • Well, at least form me, there wouldn't me any objections to adjusting the CE and EB templates to add such a disclaimer. I think that the inclusion in the DNB is probably sufficient cause for there to be an article, however. I don't myself know how complicated the bots which autogenerate articles are, but one possibly acceptable option, if it's possible, might be for the bot to simply add certain pre-designated information in the original draft. Things like birth, death, profession, and the like might be included. That would likely resulting in autogeneration of stubs, granted, but even stubs are better than nothing. John Carter (talk) 17:12, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Adding my two cents and support to the concept of bot generation transfer of the 3800 or so missing public domain Dictionary of National Biography encyclopedia book articles on notable UK figures already written and stored in Wikisource, starting maybe with John Carter's idea of : "... add certain pre-designated information in the original draft. Things like birth, death, profession, and the like might be included. That would likely resulting in autogeneration of stubs, granted, but even stubs are better than nothing." The result of this makes sense: establishing a link between a wikipedia article and a Wikisource, with the understanding that notability has already been established. --Rosiestep (talk) 18:59, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

I am against bot generated content. Over the last year I have created a lot of DNB based content here (eg see here), but this is not a simple process. The first point is that most of the DNB pages on Wikisoure have yet to be proof read eg see volume 33 (Here is one I created earlier would someone like to finish off as the two Liblurne brothers are as about 4% of that volume?). The second is that before the text is put into WP it needs massaging. For example, the opinions expressed by the editors of the DNB need to be altered to be WP:ASF compliant as do the in-line citations (citing the DNB for the secondary citations) The old WP:CITE "say where you got it". I think it is far better that the articles are created as stubs the list Wikipedia:WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles/DNB Epitome using {{DNBIE}}. It does not take days to transfer a page as a cut and past (which is what the Bot would do) it takes minutes. What takes the time is cleaning it and bringing it up to standard, and the bot does not save any time in doing that.
So what I would suggest is
  • That a new parameter is added to {{DNBIE}} "wstitle=" for a link to article on Wikisorce and that it flags a hidden category stating that an article exists on Wikisource (similar to what is done for {{1911}} and {{catholic}}). -- I have just finished editing the last two and intend to do {{DNBIE}} and {{DNB}} next.
  • That a bot is run creating a stub articles, for any DNB articles that exist on Wikisource, based on the topic entry in Wikipedia:WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles/DNB Epitome list.
  • Editors can go through the entries in the category stating that an article exists on Wikisource (created by the {{DNBIE}} stub entry) cut and past them across (easy to do with the link provided by the bot in the template) and modify them by hand.
Of course "first catch your hare" the entries in Wikipedia:WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles/DNB Epitome need to be cleaned (sigh)! -- PBS (talk) 01:01, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
I also have some reservations about using a bot to place DNB content directly into the main namespace. Traditionally (for EB1911 and CE) the "text dump" route is deprecated. Much copy editing is required to produce an article of acceptable quality from older encyclopedia text, and I say this after having worked closely with this material. There are other issues, too: I wouldn't say that what is in the DNB always established notability, though most of the persons are "notable" in our sense (in other words, some expansion is at least highly desirable). I personally don't like adding further orphan articles here: such material is much more valuable when it is linked in.
All that said, I did have it in mind to launch a WikiProject here very shortly to allow fuller discussion and organisation around the importation of DNB text: much of it should be added, for sure, in some or other form. I'm just in the process of getting a complete list by author on Wikisource of the articles, which is one element. But perhaps, given that there is considerable interest in the resource, Wikipedia:WikiProject Dictionary of National Biography should be set up right now, and the various views set out in a dedicated forum. Charles Matthews (talk) 06:52, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes Charles has a point about some of the articles needing manual cleanup and will need wikifying/verifying. What I want is something to facilitate the having to go back and forth to wiki source to find the articles. That time could be better spent working on the texts and improving them. But maybe 4000 articles to sort out would be too demanding... Dr. Blofeld 07:42, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

So Much for the H.264 Bait 'n' Switch Licensing Theory

See this article: So can we now use h.264 and mp4 for video and mp3/aac for audio? These formats are more widely supported, and would greatly increase the usability of Wikpedia, and now there's no reason not to use them. --WikiDonn (talk) 16:15, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't think so. It looks to me like that lack of royalty only applies to the end product video distributed on the Internet for no charge to end users. There are still fees for everything else, and all sorts of restrictive patent issues. Anomie 16:32, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
At a glance, this looks comparable to a "noncommercial only" license - commercially charged-for use is still prohibited, as (presumably) would be things like reuse of material behind a paywall. Whilst we don't do that, our reusers should be free to. Shimgray | talk | 18:15, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
Yeah it is just free to trap the normal web user into usage, for everyone else, it is still non-Free. See also and (talkcontribs) 22:32, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Article Assessment rating on Articles

  Resolved: proposer is gonna write up a draft proposal in user space Weaponbb7 (talk) 16:36, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

So I have been thinking lately about our "credibility problem" in learning environments (Universities, Schools) I opted in a while ago and find it highly useful for how much credence i give to an article on a Given subject. I personally think we should extend the "Display an assessment of an article's quality as part of the page header for each article. (documentation)" across Wikipedia. (I have an exmple to the right) I personally think that it would enhance wikipedia credibility as a learning resource. Currently we have a small star for featured articles but it is very easy to miss and few outside our site would even recognize it for what it means. I am not a Techie but seeing as we have the opt-in feature I can't imagine it would be terribly difficult to implement sitewide. Any body have any thoughts? Concerns? or Whether this is even feasible? Weaponbb7 (talk) 15:30, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Have you seen this similar discussion? –xenotalk 15:43, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
No I didnt, I had searched the archives since I expected I wasnt the first one to have this thought. Thats why i am just throwing the idea out on the table instead o making into anything formal support-oppose type thing. I still think despite the objections raised that overall its still a good idea. Weaponbb7 (talk) 16:15, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
For this proposal to have any chance of success, you should try to address the concerns raised in that discussion. –xenotalk 16:19, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
I was throwing out there to see what people thought on it were, especially since i couldn't find anything in the archives. I think I'll write up a draft and(Thanx for finding that btw.) Weaponbb7 (talk) 16:36, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, I guess it would be nice if such proposal would answer several questions:
  1. What exactly is the "credibility problem"?
  2. Why should it be solved?
  3. How exactly is the proposed solution supposed to help?
Actually, the previous discussion doesn't seem to give the clear answers either... Thus, for now, it looks like the "credibility problem" means more or less "Readers do not trust what they read in Wikipedia.". But why would that be a problem? Isn't that what they should do? After all, the article might have been vandalized just before the reader opened it (leaving too little time for reverting) - and it is not just the juvenile vandalism that should be considered. Thus, if the matter is important (yes, it often isn't), the reader must check the claims of our article in some way: read the references, article history, talk page, remember something about the subject... And we should avoid doing anything that would create an impression that there is an easier way. After all, our "prestige" doesn't matter. Our readers do. --Martynas Patasius (talk) 18:01, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia's racism

  Resolved: Nothing to see here, move along. Fences&Windows 23:49, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

WP:RFCAUTO {{rfctag|category1|category2} Dr._Leigh-Davis RE: Dr. Leigh-Davis-White Professor O.K.; Black Professor: No Way! I just read the press release and I easily found numerous instances where people were blocked from presenting third-party links as references, on Dr. Leigh-Davis. How do I complain to Wikipedia's legal department about this racist attack? Where do I challenge the deletion decision? (talk) 21:52, 9 September 2010 (UTC)Kim

This would be a Wikipedia:Help desk question, I believe. Your answer: Wikipedia:Contact us. Please review Wikipedia:No legal threats. If you intend to take legal action, you will need to stay away from Wikipedia in the meantime. As for challenging deletion decisions, should you choose not to pursue legal action, see Wikipedia:Deletion. The policy contains an overview of our approach to deletions and your options for challening deletion of content. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 21:59, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
As there is no evidence of "Dr. Leigh-Davis" outside YouTube, Examiner, Blogtalkradio, PRLog and other self-published sources (other than one mention of her name on the website of a diploma mill), I don't think there's any chance of Wikipedia having an article on her. Sorry. When there is significant coverage of her in reliable sources, please take it to WP:DRV. Fences&Windows 23:49, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Please, putting that tag up there with "Nothing to see here; move along" only makes people want to see it all the more. ResMar 23:46, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

This is a duplication of two threads at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy). I'll collapse this one, per their actions there. (possibly, deleting this thread would be preferable, as forumshopping or pointpushing, but I'll leave that decision to someone else). -- Quiddity (talk) 00:49, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Proposal for a bot to fix accidental interlanguage links

It is a known problem on some discussion pages where someone will try to wikilink to a category or to a page in another language, and accidentally put the page into the category or create an incorrect interlanguage link instead. I have proposed a bot that would watch pages (on an opt-in basis) and add the needed colon. Please comment at Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/AnomieBOT 43. Thanks. Anomie 23:35, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

AfD 100 days revival

Five years ago, an automated script conducted a sort of survey of AfDs at Wikipedia: AFD 100 days.

It's been so long that so many policies, etc. have changed on Wikipedia. I'm wondering if it would be beneficial to conduct a new AfD 100 Days project? Raymie (tc) 04:13, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Random Article - filter out the ugliest ducklings

I've used Wikipedia for several years, as an encyclopedia, and only recently got into editing. Seems to me the Random Article button is, or ought to be, primarily for non-editors, ppl who simply want to browse wiki as an encyclopedia, and not an editor's playground. The Random Article button throws up everything, from the best to the atrociously worst, which probably inclines most casual visitors to view Wikipedia as a "work in progress" - i.e. not yet up to snuff and therefore unreliable. Unworked articles negate the promotional quality of the Featured Article to some extent.

How easy would it be to rename it as Random Edit - and then create a new Random Article button - for ppl who just want to read reasonable content, that filters out unworked articles/orphans/stubs. Seems simple enuf - one button for encyclopedia users - another for editors

Hope this is of interest. Markdask (talk) 03:57, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I agree that the random article link isn't my favourite feature. I hadn't thought about this before, but your comment makes me wonder whether it would be better - from the point of view of the more casual visitor, rather than devoted editors - to use some combination of random good article and random featured article, both of which links that I only discovered through a mailing list and are currently services provided by the tools server. I think it is well worth discussing whether we should provide these links as part of the main interface. Random article really has two main audiences; devoted editors and casual readers. I don't think the current set-up really caters for both. --bodnotbod (talk) 09:35, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Bod - and those two links are inaccessible to the general public for whom, presumably, Wikipedia exists. I have also posted to village pump (technical) on the subject, cos they are the people who can implement such changes. I have also registered it as a bug on Bugzilla so hopefully someone will come up with a more enduser friendly form of randomisation on the main page.
Thanks again - Markdask (talk) 18:43, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
FYI I've merged both threads. –xenotalk 18:54, 16 August 2010 (UTC) As a complete aside, a single comment should all go under the same indent level, if you indent your final commentary and signature further than the comment above it, the one above looks unsigned.
Thanks Xeno - takes a while to gt the hang of it - Markdask (talk) 09:36, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
But Wikipedia really is a work in progress, and it really is to a large extent unreliable; if we allow our readers to forget that, they may use the information in our articles uncritically and without paying attention for possible misinformation, wilful or accidental. In any case, it often happens that a reader turns into an editor by finding a low-quality article on a subject they know about—indeed, that's how we've got most of our editors. The "random article" button, as much as links, facilitates this process and thus aids the improvement of Wikipedia. Waltham, The Duke of 11:00, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
A very good argument Waltham - that was precisely how I myself became interested in editing, but I wasn't suggesting an all or nothing - I only mean to suggest that filtering the least worked, tatty, "in need of rewriting" might lessen the likely negative impact to the impression formed by the casual visitor. I think there should be more emphasis on the end product - the finished meal - and less on the sometimes chaotic preparation thereof. I would hope others will give my suggestion some further thought.
Thanks for your comment - Markdask (talk) 18:24, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
You are welcome, Markdask. I do appreciate proposals such as this, as they will have us discuss things we take for granted, and perhaps help us learn a few things along the way. However, I remain unconvinced in this case. The practical objection is that any filtering would be fairly arbitrary and ineffective. I can only think of two ways to do it: a plain character count or a system based on quality assessments. The former would exclude pages based on size rather than quality, on one hand excluding many brief but essentially sound articles waiting for someone to expand them, and on the other hand leaving in many long but rambling articles. Working with quality assessments might be more effective, but not all articles are assessed, and there is the added danger that, rather than giving editors an incentive to expand stubs, it will encourage them to fraudulently upgrade the assessment so that the stubs will not be excluded from the "random article" button. Granted, this may be a stretch, but the purpose of quality classes is to aid editors, and not to affect the readers' experience; I'd hate to see this change.
All that said, I still believe that we ought to maintain the status quo even if we could somehow overcome these technical obstacles. I believe a visitor is most likely to arrive at Wikipedia through either the Main Page or an article found as a search result on Google. The Main Page showcases one of the best articles and images we have to offer every day, as well as new little gems ("Did you know"), articles which have received much attention due to their subjects' being in the news, and articles that may not be special but do not have any major problems, either ("On this day"). I fancy that any visitor who doesn't already know about Wikipedia (given that the management of first impressions seem to be the primary motive behind your proposal) would either arrive directly at the Main Page or choose to go there from any article they might have seen first (rather than click on "random article"). Apart from the fact that we don't hide what Wikipedia is like, I hope and believe that visitors are more likely to see the better side of the project before any samples of the abysmal depths to which we sometimes sink. Waltham, The Duke of 22:13, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
To extend my argument, there is a link to the Featured content portal just two lines above the "random article" link. I consider it a good counter-weight, and I imagine that readers looking for something interesting and informative to read might think of checking what is there. As an added bonus, the examples given in the portal are generated randomly. Waltham, The Duke of 22:29, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Wow Waltham, a lot to digest in the above, and thank you for so considered a response. I need to refine my argument/proposal extensively and, if you can bear further comment from me on the matter I will get back. MarkDask 03:28, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Hit me with what you have, Markdask; I cannot exclude the small possibility that I'll be pleasantly surprised by a revised proposal which I can support (I'm afraid I have no ideas of my own on the matter). But I can say with some certainty that it will count in your favour not to refer to me as a disambiguation page. :-) Waltham, The Duke of 16:25, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Oops sry Waltham, I did not intentionally refer to you as a I am rather green with the markup, didn't even realise double sq brackets did that. I was highlighting your name as a courtesy, just as, in my response to his comments, below, I reproduced Intelligentsium's name as he writes it. I assumed such highlighting redirected to your user page.
As for the revision, I hope to pleasantly surprise you shortly :)
As an aside - the three words anyone can edit on the main page are perhaps the first portal the aspiring editor should go to - and yet they are lost in a sentence beneath the large Welcome print above. Could not those words be accentuated more? MarkDask03:08, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I've merged in a reply from the same thread at WP:VPT. It's probably technically possible to redesign the Random article button, what is needed is consensus as to whether it should be done (so I believe it's best suited here, at proposals). –xenotalk 18:52, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. I had posted on (technical) because EncMstr (talk) had said my proposal involved technical changes that needed addressing by the developers. Thanks for merging - Markdask (talk) 09:36, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Whilst we editors are normally not supposed to worry about server performance, I think it is a valid issue here. Special:Random is visited about 10 million times per day. Even a slight increase in the server resources needed to generate the Random Page could be magnified many times. Although I don't know how large an effect this would have on overall performance (it might only increase random page load times), it has already been proposed before here and rejected. Another issue that has come up is that some users do use it to find overlooked articles in need of improvement, including a Random page patrol. (As an aside, your bug is probably a duplicate of the one I linked.) Intelligentsium 19:00, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
You raise three points here Intelligentsium. I'll treat each point as a seperate comment for ease of reading. Firstly, of course server performance is important - I aint unaware of the fact - which is why I addressed the proposal to the (technical) section, but there might be a great deal gained. What I propose involves virtually no change to the existing Random Artical button beyond replacing the word Article with Edit - so no server performance issue there. Then duplicate the top end of the script as a standalone search option, labeled Random Article as before, but with a tiny amount of script added in the search criteria that excludes articles with certain key admin words at the top, e.g "multiple issues", "stub" or "rewriting". The filter script would be written in, just before the search generates the random article number. The filter would create an excluded article numbers database that then governs the random article number eventually generated. I imagine the filter would add milliseconds to each search and any "slowing down" due to the filter would be impossible for the casual visitor to detect. Also, creating two seperate Random buttons aint gonna double actual user volume, simply seperate out casual visitors from "wee editors". In fact the volume of traffic would decrease as casual users would score more worthwhile hits and therefore need to search less. I hope that lot makes sense to the (technical) intelligentsia. Second point follows - Markdask (talk) 09:36, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Secondly Intelligentsium, Just because someone else has proposed a similar change before dont necessarily mean the issue ought never be reconsidered, therefore please recline from the urge to throw my baby out with someone else's bathwater lol. More specifically, the here link is not the same proposal, merely refers to the same issue. That proposal is to censor content in Random search, which was bound to fail, whereas my proposal is simply to seperate out that content already deemed to have met Wiki standards from that content which patently has not, both categories still directly accessible but under two different headings - Random Article and Random Editing, therefore my bug is not a duplicate of the one you linked. My purpose here is not to censor but to enhance. - (breathe) - Markdask (talk) 12:51, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Thirdly, "some users - overlooked articles" - you mean editors looking for overlooked articles - I think that more or less makes my point - filter out the "overlooked articles" so casual visitors to wikipedia don't have to keep tripping over them, and then the existing Random Article button, renamed Random Edit, remains for "some users" to go hunting for overlooked articles. I like the term "overlooked articles" - they are precisely what need to be overlooked by a more enduser-friendly Random Article button. Thanks for your comments Intelligentsium - Markdask (talk) 09:36, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps Bodnotbod (above) has the right idea - just move the random good article button from the editorial tools section to the mainpage, for non editors to access, although "good article" implies there are bad articles; perhaps just rename it Random Article, then rename the existing as Random editing,either way 2 Random buttons on main page - one for casual users and the other for editors. Further comments much appreciated. Markdask (talk) 12:51, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I am of the opinion that something needs to get done with the random article button, how many times does a one sentence French commune come up when you press it? :-). I think it should show the casual reader what we have to offer, maybe not just featured articles as maybe they would frighten a new user who might not be competent with our many rules and regulations. Mo ainm~Talk 16:32, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
This aint exactly an argument in favour Mo ainm - the chances of getting the same article twice - ever - are infinitismally low - and the French commune is of at least novelty interest. It would be a mistake to conflate the argument for a filter with the terrifying idea of limiting the scope of wikimagic. I am suggesting filtering the more editorially challenging articles from the "shop window" of Random Article to minimise two potentially adverse influences, those being (a) giving the casual wikiuser the impression that wikipedia is amateurish and (b) that editing on wikipedia is simply a waste of time, like tossing a coin into a bottomless pit of dross. But your sentiment is bang on the money. Please keep talking :) MarkDask
As an aside, your name, Mo ainm, Gaelic for "my name" - that's priceless :)MarkDask
  • (edit conflict) The way I'm seeing this, the basic principle (removing the worst articles from the Random button) is an attractive one. But the specifics are difficult. Excluding stubs or basing what to avoid on the quality assessment both have pitfalls which The Duke of Waltham has explained excellently, and using the Random Good Article button would reduce the number of targets to a tiny proportion of the total. So how about this: filter out any article with an {{unsourced}} or {{BLP unsourced}} template on it (including other variations of each, of course)? This would limit the selection to articles with sources, which immediately solves one problem, without removing the thousands of reasonable-but-not-yet-Good articles. I don't how technically possible this is (one for WP:VPT perhaps) but it could be worth looking in to. Alzarian16 (talk) 16:37, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Your filtering criteria are better than anything I have been able to come up with, and you are also right about it being a matter of specifics, pretty much as Waltham suggested, and I would hope we can leave the technicalities to Intelligentsium in the technical department,and couldn't the admin department who, presumably, decide matters of BLP and Copyright integrity come up with like a tag that they write in - like a codeword applied to each article to be temporarily filtered? Thank you for contributing Alzarian16. MarkDask
To clarify, I am not a programmer or developer and do not have the technical expertise to actually code any of the suggestions outlined; I was only pointing to and summarizing past concerns over this proposal. If server lag is not an issue and we could have a separate link for editors patrolling random pages, then I might be in support of such a proposal (though I suggest we change the name of the link for common readers from "Random article" to something that conveys the article should be of good quality and/or that would attract the interest of readers, such as "Read an article" or "Suggested reading"). (As an aside, it's not necessary to copy my signature; my plain text username "Intelligentsium" or a link to my userpage is sufficient to refer to me) Intelligentsium 23:16, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Using the toolserver to deliver all random pages is not a technically acceptable solution. (The toolserver would be totally swamped.) Some sort of filtering might be introduced to Mediawiki itself if there is clear backing for some specific proposal. Dragons flight (talk) 17:44, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Okay yes toolserver is a dedicated portal so not an option - so why involve Mediawiki - which is itself subject/forum specific. Can you elabourate please? MarkDask
Mediawiki is the name of the software that runs Wikipedia. Dragons flight (talk) 08:31, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Well now then, Mediawiki don't sound like a software, but at least now nobody can say I'm an experienced Wikiperson so my concerns re the aspiring editor are hot off the keyboard. Thanks for the info. MarkDask
I don't see a great use for "random article", but removing any feature from a user interface because you don't see the use for it is always a recipe for trouble. Add a button or even a pull-down mini-menu if you feel you must, but don't remove features. Wnt (talk) 12:55, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Nobody that I'm aware of was suggesting removing the Random Article button - the word removal is no part of this discussion MarkDask
Lots of editors use it to do "Random article patrolling", e.g. Wikipedia:Random page patrol. I've found quite a few articles to improve, fix, or delete by hitting "Random article", and it can while away some time finding what we've got hidden out there (even if stubs of places are overrepresented). Fences&Windows 00:11, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
So maybe you would agree to rename the Random Article button as Random Edit, and a new button for ppl who don't want to keep bumping into articles in need of life-saving levels of editing :) MarkDask
I sympathise with these points and remain unconvinced that the "random article" button should be replaced. However, I like Alzarian's proposal about excluding articles with major problems, based on their amboxes, which would have the additional benefit that any articles with the same problems but undeclared (i.e., no amboxes) could be tagged as soon as identified. If we do proceed with this at some point, I support this exclusion criterion (at least in principle). Waltham, The Duke of 09:17, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
The dual button to "replace" the Random Article button was a suggestion, but the concept of a filter to the Random Article was the initial proposal. Do I understand you correctly, that you now support the idea, at least in principle, of a filter to the Random Article button? I must say I am pleasantly surprised. I agree it should be the admin bods who define the criteria for the filter since they apply the amboxes. I suggested earlier that the admin ppl might create a code word they could write into their contribs to simplify the job for the technical ppl. Would that make sense? Mark Dask
I'd favor one minor tweak, which is to require that an article be at least two weeks old to come up as a random article. This will eliminate most articles that have drawn a quick prod or deletion discussion. Alternately, we could prevent articles that are actually nominated for deletion from coming up. Other than that, I see no problem with short articles or stubs coming up, as they are representative of our content. bd2412 T 13:15, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Agreed - although the two weeks should be as long as the admin ppl reckon it takes for a new article to be assessed. Nominated for deletion is another good criterion, and yeah stubs should not be filtered as they aint necessarily flawed as articles in themselves. Thanks for contributing MarkDask
I suppose I could have been clearer about this, but here it goes: I do not currently support changing anything, because I have not seen any full proposals that I consider acceptable, but if we were to change something, I might support adding a second "random article" button—so that one of the two would still fulfil the function of the present button—and I'd prefer the filtering criteria of the other button to be as outlined above. The "in principle" was intended to be interpreted as "broadly", because the details would still have to be hammered out regarding the precise filters. As you can see, I still need much persuading; I am a bit conservative with regards to interface changes.
On bd2412's proposals, I don't see excluding articles nominated for deletion as a priority (there's a big red box at the top showing that the article may not be there after a few days), although if we were to be consistent we'd probably have to include this in the quality criteria. The two-week delay sounds like a good idea, though it adds an extra layer of complexity which makes me a bit uncomfortable.
To be perfectly clear this time: I am trying to make constructive suggestions, but all this is still conjecture for me. Waltham, The Duke of 16:17, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Okay Waltham I'm going to invest 5 hours, (over 5 days, described below) objectively scanning Random pages and see what percentages of the various categories show up. Then I'll try and bring together the various suggestions on this page into a more structured proposal. I did some data analysis for a psychology degree so it will hopefully be of some worth. MarkDask
  • Just out of curiosity I continued to press the random article button till I got what could be described as an article and after another 14 presses I got this Gary Stevens, so 19 times I had to press to get something that resembled an article. Mo ainm~Talk 18:34, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Aah some first hand research. I think it might be worth my time spending one hour per day for 5 days random clicking. I'll name and list every page I find under certain headings like (a)Place, (b)town, (c)person,(d)science, (e)art, and the other categories listed on the Welcome banner. Then I'll grade them 1 - 10 based on their fitness as articles, based on admin comments or their absence. Then I'll upload the overall to my talkpage. I have some experience with data collection and analysis. On that basis it might be easier to suggest what is or is not worth filtering. Of course this would be a much more worthwhile exercise if someone were to replicate it. Would you be interested Mo ainm? I can draft the actual sheet with tickboxes etc and I can just email it to whoever wants to give it a go :) MarkDask
I'm afraid I have no time to assist with this collection of data, but it certainly looks like an interesting experiment. The rating sounds a bit subjective, but it might be better than a list of maintenance templates found in the articles.
PS: Your last few signatures seem to lack time-stamps, Markdask. This could be the result of your using three rather than four tildes; if not, then I have no idea what it is. Waltham, The Duke of 21:37, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I will work on the subjectivity and yes its the 4th tilde - ty for pointing that out - MarkDask 22:57, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm, so I've been reading this discussion and I've come to realize, what about the Random Edit button, if we do make it, having two functions-----1) Random Stub-----2) Random Edit-----This way we can choose whether we WANT or DON'T WANT to see a stub, after all, half the point of editing is taking OUT those stubs, right?--When Chuck Norris takes a step, all humanity dies and gets reborn again Mr. High School Student 23:50, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I understand what you mean Mr. but that is a secondary proposal to mine about the existing Random article button. Lets get the Random Edit button first yes? Mark Dask 02:51, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
As an aside - I read your page Mr. - it seems you were permanently banned on your last account, but you sound like an intelligent and well-intended guy so thanks for contributing. MarkDask 02:55, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
If the articles that the Random Article tool returns are somehow embarassing, the solution is to do something about the articles (improve them or remove them), not to simply hide them from the public by making the random article link not actually random. This is why {{NOINDEX}} doesn't work on articles. If we don't want people to see something in mainspace, it simply shouldn't be in mainspace. Mr.Z-man 04:16, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Embarrassing??? You misread me - or I failed dismally to make my point. Casual users aint necessarily interested in editing. My proposal has one focus only - to make the casual users' experience more fruitful. If I want to read a random article I want to read about that specific random subject - not be thrown headlong into the chop shop that is editing - nothing to hide - just seperate the chop shop of editing from actual content - informational content. AND THAT IS POSSIBLE. This does not mean that Random Article should be uneditable, just needing a little makeup as opposed to open heart surgery. I will elabourate when I have fully swallowed your misapprehension but for now, we should want for mainspace to show a body of work - not body parts okay? Two buttons - one for casual user and the 2nd for editors. MarkDask 00:24, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, to be fair, the whole concept of Wikipedia basically revolves around the casual reader seeing an edit he/she could make, and making it. Wikipedia is a work in progress, after all. But I agree that adding two random article features, one to find an article where one can read about an interesting and well-written topic, and one to find an actual random article that may or may not need substantial improvement, would be a good idea (assuming this does not slow the entire wiki down appreciably/there are no other technical concerns), as I noted in my response above. Intelligentsium 01:24, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Intelligentsium for putting my proposal in clearer terms than I have been able to do thus far. I would want to add one refinement to your comments nonetheless. Where you say well-written topic- it should still be editable, in keeping with core Wiki principle. I am currently running a test sampling of Random Article, graciously being replicated by Mo ainm~Talk, on the basis of which I hope to establish criteria with which to address the tech ppl. But I thought you were a techy. Can you reccommend someone who might advise me on how my proposed 2nd button might stress the system? Much obliged MarkDask 11:32, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Every article should be ready for the general public from the very first edit. This is why we have CSD, to quickly remove articles that don't meet basic standards. If short or low-quality articles aren't actual content then they shouldn't be in mainspace at all. Mr.Z-man 03:54, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Every loaf of bread should look like bread - and not dough - when you go to buy bread. - the average wiki user wants to read stuff - not repair stuff - thanks MarkDask 11:49, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Again, if an article is totally devoid of any useful content, it shouldn't be in mainspace. If it isn't, then a reader may actually want to see it. You may not be especially interested in French villages or Israeli football players, but that doesn't mean no one is. Mr.Z-man 15:42, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
French villages and Israeli footballers are all valuable articles, I have in mind the syntactically terminal and the grammatically grave. MarkDask 19:24, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
So what articles would actually be excluded then? A program cannot determine article quality on its own, it would need to work from some metric or category. Mr.Z-man 19:35, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, at least I know I have someone on my side (Intelligensuim thank you), but yes, we should probably get the random button to crop out what we want first, like you said Mark, then see if the two options are possible without slowing down the wikipedia server, but I imagine it can't since, if we program the system correctly, the server can pre-determine which of the articles are stubs and which are not, hopefully causing no extra lag rather than trying to get it to determine it in real time.The only problem with that is that since stubs and non-stubs are made everyday, an admin would have to run a scan of Wikipedia every few days, but that's manageable I think. And if all the admins are (although I really don't think every one will do so at all) just too lazy to do it, then give the programming to me or another editor if you don't trust me, and I'll try to run the program through C++ (If that's possible, what DO you guys use anyway). And yes, before you SAY IT, I know how long it would probably take to scan Wikipedia. --When Chuck Norris takes a step, all humanity dies and gets reborn again Mr. High School Student 10:38, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
I dont see why two buttons should slow the system significantly but I'm hoping to speak with a technician shortly to get an answer. As for admin ppl having to scan the system - that already happens automatically when new articles are labeled initially as being, e.g., needs expansion. I am saying that some of those comments should include a marker of some type that excludes the article number from the Random Article counter that runs automatically when u click the button. - It doesn't help to suggest that any admin is lazy. To get an idea of what these guys use as software - check out EncMstr's page MarkDask 19:24, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
...Well, crap, there goes my chance at semi-admin abilities. I thought the admins did it themselves (they have the manpower to do it without an auto system anyway), but I guess that failed. Wikipedia has a bunch of stuff on it already, an extra button shouldn't slow down the server, so I have to take that back too >,>. However, as a side note, we should also consider unreferenced articles as stubs too, just putting that out there. Well, I'm gonna go and experiment with this programming system, see if I can get anywhere.--Mr. High School Student 01:41, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm that Middle Eastern Junior at my school that is known as the greatest nerd in my grade (3rd overall), but is gladly pround of it, knows his science, math, programming, and is one of the last ones in the upper school that still games. And because I'm Pakistani I'm picked on DOUBLE than anybody like me. However, my real tragic flaw is English: I have all A's (plus they're all honors with 1 AP) except in English (77...I know, I'm trying to improve but I can't. It's kind of sad really, I'm getting this grade in CP English. So I think you wouldn't help, I'll get better eventually. Anyway, back to the TOPIC, what's your take on what I ACTUALLY SAID?--When Chuck Norris takes a step, all humanity dies and gets reborn again Mr. High School Student 13:11, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
I've withdrawn that comment Mr High - your English is perfectly fine - its the Chuck Norris thing that fails you, distracting as a punchline :) MarkDask 19:24, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Sorry if I overreacted ,_,', I'm just more...sensitive at times. Back to topic now FOR SURE.

  • Oppose changing the random article functionality. Support adding a "Random Good Article" button that chooses only from GA/FA. I like to use the random functionality to find articles to improve, so I definitely would not like it to be filtered. We want more people to see our ugly ducklings, not less. However a feature to give a sample of the best would be nice too. --Cyclopiatalk 11:38, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Describe it as you will - the destinction is all - MarkDask 12:15, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
  • If we are going to call it random article then that's what it should be. I quite like the idea of enabling readers to choose to hit a different button that picks random articles of at least a certain level of quality. But if we skew the random article button to tend to show our better articles we will eventually be castigated for trying to give a false impression of our article quality. Incidentally this is something that would really benefit from statistics, what proportion of those ten million random article hits are followed up by an edit to that article and how does that compare with our sucess at turning other casual readers into editors?ϢereSpielChequers 14:27, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
As Pontillist describes below - there are a percentage of articles that should be recognised as having died a natural death. When an article is plastered with multiple issues tags, by all means leave the corpse lying around to stink the place out but at least there should now be a tag that admins can apply that automatically excludes dead articles from the casual user experience. That aint likely to be interpreted as skewing the Random Article concept - thats just cleaning house. Random Article should be about articles with at least the ghost of a chance of surviving. The analysis you propose might be possible to work into what I proposed earlier by entering last edit date as one of the criteria. - I can do that but that level of number crunching would need better skills than I possess - and how would one quantify casual readers who opt to edit? MarkDask 00:00, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Quite the opposite. The "Random Article" feature can help give these articles visibility, and therefore a chance for improvement. Multiple issues tags mean exactly that the article has to be improved. If we really must skew the RA feature, I'd give priority to visualize more of the problematic articles. We are a work in progress, and we shouldn't be ashamed of that: we should encourage people to work on our problematic articles. --Cyclopiatalk 00:33, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick response. So you think the casual user should be thrown in at the deep end. RA should remain editable of course, thus encouraging new editors, but would they not have more choice with a second - RE button for those who want to get straight into the tough stuff. We should not be ashamed of any article - but neither would it hurt to have two levels of editing available to the prospective editor. It takes time to learn the markup - daunting if you jump in with both feet. I note you are a member of AIW and I appreciate the principles.MarkDask 00:46, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Statistics like that are incredibly difficult to interpret, bearing in mind that edits from IP addresses include contributions from registered editors who aren't logged in. For logged-in editors, of course random article should be random because it's a good way to find areas for improvement or deletion. I just clicked it and found an unreferenced article where the last actual edit was May 2007 and everything since then has been a tag (Wikify @ Feb 2008, Prose and Unreferenced @ Nov 2008, Orphan @ April 2010). I can't see how that sort of stub is helpful to inexperienced readers, even if it is plastered with multiple issues tags, so I think that if you aren't logged in either (a) random article should point to known good stuff or (b) the button should be replaced with a "best of Wikipedia" link to a randomly selected FA or GA. - Pointillist (talk) 20:52, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
This sounds like we're getting off the point a bit - would it not be simpler to think in terms of any article with three tags is flagged for exclusion from the Random Article button, while Random Edit button is ALL inclusive, even the dead ducks. Perhaps this is too simplistic but it can hardly be that difficult for the techies to come up with a patch in the search process that simply skates over any article showing three tags. 2 buttons, Random Article and Random Edit, or one could choose Cyclopia's options of Random Article and Random Good Article. It should be for the admin ppl to elect the criteria for exclusion, and most of the above contributors seem to favour the concept in one form or another. MarkDask 00:00, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, that's my argument in a nutshell, except one thing. As you said we should have the Random Article button to take out stubs (and non-referenced) articles out of the picture, but the flaw I see, as I've ALSO said this earlier, making the Random Article button have a part of Wikipedia, while the Random Edit button have ALL of it. This would make it possible that you can get the same article result from both buttons, and that would take away some of the point of two separate buttons, no?--Mr. High School Student 01:41, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Some stubs and unreffed can be well-written so I dont support filtering them. What I think need filtering are the badly written articles with admin tags like multiple issues, but only the really bad, - as in the title of this proposal, the ugliest ducklings. As for same articles possible in both buttons, - the whole point here is to afford the casual user two levels of editing options - the first, RA, invites the casual user to edit on a relatively easy level, while the RE button is anything possible. I consider that the worst articles are off-putting to the prospective editor. MarkDask 02:59, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

It completely escapes me why should we want to filter out "bad" (i.e. tagged) articles. We're an open project, we do not hide what's bad under the carpet. If we want to put a button under the FA of the day with "Go to a random FA", that's fine with me, but it has nothing to do with the random article thing. --Cyclopiatalk 13:37, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

I have never meant to suggest that (ALL) tagged articles should be filtered out – that would be plain daft. Most tags are constructive suggestions for further editing – most ducklings are kinda cute. Random Article should refer to articles which more or less meet wiki standards, whether or not they have one or two tags that offer guidance for improvement.
Where an article has, say, three tags however, suggests that it does not much meet with Wikipedia standards and ought therefore be placed in a separate category – Random Edit – where all articles are randomly accessible, thereby offering the user two different levels for editing, and simultaneously tidying up casual user use. The term Filter out has censorial connotations and I regret using it. Better if I had initially used something like Split edit level by number of tags, but the argument still stands.
As for your Random FA button, there is already a link to more FA beneath, which is duplicated by, identical to, the Featured Content button at top, and now you wanna randomize FA as well? I don’t think so. MarkDask 05:10, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Below are 10 of what I regard as items that should be redirected from the RA button, to a second button immediately below, labelled whatever, dedicated specifically to the tuffest articles for editing, those most in need. This would also assist the more able editor in locating challenging material. This way nothing is hidden, removed, censored or otherwise swept under the carpet. A second button will also spare the aspiring editor from getting in too deep initially, as was my misfortune with the first full article I edited.

  • Mr. Brainwash - multiple issues - requires almost complete rewriting. Not for the novice.
  • jadgal - multiple issues - copy editing - rewrite. Not for the novice.
  • Andrea Frigerio - multiple issues - needs a strong understanding of legality re biography.
  • Stichic - this is merely a dictionary definition, not an encyclopiadic article and needs deletion.

Such articles as these do not attract new editors, quite the opposite. It should be possible for those with permissions to tag articles, to also redirect articles in a way that precludes them from the Random Article button and redirect them to a second button, labelled deep edit or somesuch. MarkDask 16:03, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

  • I don't understand what you are trying to prove. These are exactly the kind of articles with multiple issues that the RA feature fortunately makes in light of (potential) editors. And they seem even pretty good with respect to stuff I've seen appear out of RA. An editor is not attracted by showing the best articles -if anything, they can intimidate. An editor is attracted by showing something where someone can say "uh look, I can for sure make this mess much better!". If RA loses the ability to show such articles, we do a great damage to the encyclopedia. --Cyclopiatalk 17:27, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
I am not trying to prove anything. I seek consensus. I am merely attempting to communicate the perspective of a novice editor, such as I am, whereas you are speaking from the perspective of a highly experienced editor and therefore less likely to appreciate mine. Multiple issue articles are a bit much for the average new editor who is just getting used to the markup - and I'm saying this as an articulate person with some small grasp of program-speak. Nor am I saying the RA button should show only the best articles - I am clearly saying that RA should show ALL but the WORST articles, indeed only those that do not qualify as articles by wiki standards. The encyclopedia would not lose by my proposal to split levels of editing - it would simply be signposting both the shallow and deep ends of the editing pool. Nothing is lost; the new editor gains a useful signpost, and those with little interest in editing get to use Wikipedia as an enclopedia, as opposed to an editors' preserve. MarkDask 13:20, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

  • Aside from the dealbreaker that if we call an option "random article" but filter it we are being dishonest. I see in those articles several things that are easily improved. Finding a way to improve an FA or a GA article would be more challenging. ϢereSpielChequers 21:52, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
The deal is only broken when RA delivers articles that have yet to meet wiki standards. I say users should be able to see All articles, but only as long as the article qualifies more or less within the wiki definition of article. The 10 I listed above do not meet minimum Wiki standards - they are road kill. MarkDask 13:52, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Mr. Brainwash - two tags on this one were redundant. Compared to the majority of articles, the sourcing isn't actually that bad, it actually has sources, including multiple links to some fairly reliable publications (BBC, Boston Globe). Cleanup on this probably wouldn't be that difficult.
  • Jadgal - a rewrite would not be for a novice, but that's just because its a fairly obscure topic. Even if its rewritten, it would probably still be rather confusing for someone with no interest in arabic tribal history.
  • Andrea Frigerio - "legality re biography" - Surely that would apply to any BLP, should we exclude all of them? Based on the one sentence in the article, this seems like it would rather non-controversial. The real difficulty is that all the sources would probably be in Spanish.
  • Long Duration Exposure Facility - This article is actually pretty good. It doesn't need a rewrite. The "review" tag made no sense at all, I removed it.
  • Gregorian mode - To someone who isn't familiar with Gregorian chant its confusing, but its well-referenced and contains links to explain complex topics.
  • Mick O'Connor (musician) - This should be deleted if sources can't be found.
  • Stichic - No, it needs expansion. Its not an inherently unencyclopedic topic.
  • National Indian Music Competition - 2 of the issues are trivial to fix, wikifying and de-orphaning are good tasks for new users.
  • Universal College Application - 1 of the tags was wrong (it has plenty of sources). Additionally, this doesn't really require any specialist knowledge to work on.
  • London (2005 Tamil film) - Yeah, this article sucks.
Most of these articles aren't actually that bad. Most are only difficult to improve because they require specialist knowledge. But the person who clicks the Random article button might be an expert on Argentinian pop culture or Gregorian chant. Mr.Z-man 22:50, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Thank you Mr.Z-man for such a detailed response. Using your own words - most are difficult to improve, and require specialist knowledge.. Should the average new editor be thrown in at this deep end on the off-chance they might be experts? What are the odds? MarkDask 14:56, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

We have over 3 million articles and less than 0.1% are of FA quality. The majority probably need some level of specialist knowledge to improve. And I'm using "specialist knowledge" very broadly - speaking a non-English language would be specialist knowledge in this context. The odds of an expert landing on an article with a topic that he's an expert in are low, but if we exclude such articles, then the odds are zero. If we limit Random Article to articles that don't need improvement or can be improved by anyone, then its going to be nothing but FAs, articles about pop culture in English-speaking countries, and articles about places in English-speaking countries. Mr.Z-man 17:41, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
And Mick O'Connor proved sourceable, so no need to delete that one any time soon. Alzarian16 (talk) 23:25, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
Okay O'Connor aint the best example - but I never suggested him for deletion. MarkDask 16:01, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Getting back to the general discussion, there seem to be these propositions:

  • markdask is saying that readers-from-IP-addresses should only see quality material when they click a "random" button.
  • Cyclopia disagrees, saying that it would do great damage to the encyclopedia if mess was hidden from readers-from-IP-addresses, because when some of these readers see a mess they'll decide to improve it. In fact Random Article should be skewed to give priority to visualize more of the problematic articles.
  • The Duke of Waltham made the same point as Cyclopia, but from an epistemological perspective, saying it is important for readers to see poor material because they need to know that Wikipedia really is to a large extent unreliable—so they should always pay attention for possible wilful or accidental misinformation [in every article].
  • There are different ideas about what makes a poor article, e.g. in terms of the number of amboxes. Mr.Z-man said that every article should be ready for the general public from the very first edit, for which the basic standard should be whether it passes WP:CSD.
  • However no-one knows how frequently readers-from-IP-addresses click the random article button, or how many of those readers then make anonymous edits to an article, or how many of those anonymous editors are already registered editors but haven't logged on.

Have I got that broadly right? If so, I'd like to support WereSpielChequers's position that we need more statistics. In particular it seems that all the claims about anonymous edits—claims that seem to drive a lot of policy discussions—are based on untested assertions - Pointillist (talk) 00:24, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

I would have thought the criteria already exist - with no need of stats, as to what does or does not meet with Wiki standards. I appreciate the scope of your suggestion re stats Pointillist, but why confuse the matter? If an article is tagged to the point of death then it should be redirected to a Deep Edit button - with respect your proposed stats define an unnecessarily refined set of parameters. MarkDask 16:41, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

I am all for collecting statistics on which to discuss, in general. In this specific case, stats are of course welcome, but it seems to me we are talking of a solution in search of a problem (where "problem" to me seems only to be Markdask's odd out opinion that new editors shouldn't see problematic articles). Is there any evidence of a problem coming out from the RA feature? Even anecdotal ones? --Cyclopiatalk 13:28, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Ouch. I had not thought of myself as a problem. I thought my proposal was more of an enhancement; that is as was intended.
Also - I am not the odd man out here - if you care to revisit the above you will note that there is a general liking for the idea of a secondary button, however determined. New editors should see challanging and meaningful prospects for editing on the RA button, but articles that are totally below Wiki standards should have their own button, said distinction to be made by those with the authority to tag stuff. MarkDask 17:44, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
In my experience complaints have generally been about "random article present too many articles on villages/popular culture etc" (so the inherent content skew that is present in Wikipedia, the distribution of topics) and about "too many stubs" which I personally interpret as people wanting something to read, too often end up in places that don't have "enough to read". I've seen few complaints about the quality of the content from the top of my head. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:12, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
I believe it wonderful to read about towns or odd cultures, even if they are only oneliners - as long as they are legitimate. Your experience of complaints re quality is contrary to what I would have expected - some articles are dogs - make no sense and not encyclopediac. What I'm arguing for is that an article, however long or short, follows some simple guidelines - wiki guidlines. MarkDask 19:18, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Is there no way to simply weigh the feature to pick out more higher quality articles? The problem is, there are vastly more "bad" articles (loose definition) than there are "good articles (loose definition). Higher quality articles are a minority in Wikipedia; hence why the Random Article button will pick out stubs and poor articles etc. most of the time.

It seems the real solution to this problem is to simply readdress the balance. Higher quality articles should come up just as, or nearly as often as every other article. Personally, that's my problem with the feature. I'd love to just sit back and learn something new, but the feature is just not efficient enough to pick out something with more than two sentences often enough. --.:Alex:. 15:46, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

  • For anyone interested in seeing some tests run on the Random Article button, œ was kind enough to provide me with the following links.

If opabinia regalis' table were to include columns labeled with tag names like needs rewriting it might be possible to categorise those articles that dont meet wiki standards sufficiently to be in the RA search. MarkDask 13:18, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

  • Guys, the problem exists only in your minds. There is no problem. We are not here to make WP falsely shine. We must not give a skewed, edulcorated view of Wikipedia to our readers. Wikipedia is, and must be presented, as it is: an open work in progress, with all the caveats and troubles it has. There is no reason to bias the RA feature apart from it giving a false view of WP. If an article doesn't meet "wiki standards" (I presume you refer to policies/guidelines), then your options are 1)edit it yourself to make it compliant -that's how wiki works 2)send it to deletion if completely hopeless 3)jump to next article and hope for the best. Hiding it under the carpet will only make the problem grow. --Cyclopiatalk 13:24, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
  • I note you acknowledge the plurality, (guys), of opinions expressed above for some sort of split levelling of the editability of articles. I further appreciate your view that censorship of the RA search facility would be to harm the freelance nature that is Wikipedia. Perhaps I should give you a case in point to demonstrate what motivates me on this issue. The article Digital Divide is a high school project that faithfully, if crudely, attempts to address the IT disparity between first and third world societies. The syntax was atrocious so I set about a complete rewrite, while maintaing content. After many tough hours work on it I discovered that the subject was more properly addressed in the references, that Digital Divide literally obscured the subject. I felt, as a newuser, that I had wasted my hours on an article that ought rightly have been proposed for deletion.
such articles have served their purpose as academic exercises but, I respectfully suggest, have neither place nor future in RA. Now it might be argued that the article served to promote the links provided, but I would suggest not many would brave reading the article for long enough to arrive at any appreciation of the links. Better to come upon the links randomly than lose them in three pages of wacky syntax. There is a problem when well-intended novices like me, (and clearly there have been many), run into stuff like Digital Divide. MarkDask 03:36, 13 September 2010 (UTC)