Jytdog edits mostly about health and medicine. He also works on conflict of interest and advocacy issues more broadly.
Our mission is to provide the public with articles that summarize accepted knowledge, working in a community that is open to anybody. That mission remains as ludicrous as it ever was, yet the editing community has been surprisingly successful at realizing it. That success has led to Wikipedia being used by pretty much everybody as a first stop to learn about anything, but also to a perception that Wikipedia is a crucial platform for promoting organizations, people, or products.
So along with all the great and interesting new pages that are created every day, the reviewers at New Page Patrol and Articles for Creation face a torrent of sewage – promotional pages about people, video games, movies and companies that come pouring into Wikipedia. For a long time, the community has discussed how to deal with this flood and has done work to address it. One part of the discussion and work has been focused on contributors. The ongoing efforts to deal with conflicted and paid editors have been part of that. The Autoconfirmed article creation trial (ACTRIAL) was another. It was a resounding success, and the community said it wants to permanently adopt this filter in the follow-up RfC, as discussed elsewhere in this issue.
All good! But the thing that matters most on Wikipedia is content, and there has also been a call to raise the standards in the content policies and guidelines. The aim is to more easily filter out and remove pages that are not encyclopedic, while keeping and welcoming new articles that are. Parts of this discussion have centered around notability guidelines and essays, all of which implement our fundamental policy that Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information.
Finding a new consensus
The notability guideline for organizations (called ORG or NCORP) is used to judge the notability of nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
A series of discussions on raising NCORP standards started over the summer after yet another hand-wringing session on Jimbo's talk page about promotional editing. These discussions were remarkably free of bickering between deletionists and inclusionists – you can review them in archive 17 and archive 18 of the associated talk page.
The discussions initially focused on the qualities of the organization itself (for example, its annual budget, number of employees, or "impact"), but those efforts failed to gain consensus. The focus then shifted to the description of what kinds of sources are useful for demonstrating notability. In late January Renata, who had made only one prior comment in the series of discussions, provided the first draft of what came to be adopted – it is just remarkable how things like this emerge from the editing community.
Sources, sources, sources
The new content includes the self-explanatory lead:
|“||These criteria, generally, follow the general notability guideline with a stronger emphasis on quality of the sources to prevent gaming of the rules by marketing and public relations professionals. The guideline, among other things, is meant to address some of the common issues with abusing Wikipedia for advertising and promotion. As such, the guideline establishes generally higher requirements for sources that are used to establish notability than for sources that are allowed as acceptable references within an article.||”|
As it always has, this section emphasizes that the notability of an organization is judged based on there being:
- Substantial discussion of the organization
- in multiple
- reliable sources
- that are actually independent and
The revision explains what each of those elements means in greater detail, and provides examples of sources that are not useful for demonstrating notability – those that fail one of the above criteria.
Wikipedia's written policies and guidelines are only valid to the extent that they are the expression of the living consensus of the editing community and to the extent that they are practiced, day to day. With regard to NCORP, please take some time to read the revised WP:ORGCRIT section, and please keep the clarifications of this guideline in mind when creating or evaluating new articles, and especially in deletion discussions, where the shit hits the fan.