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See also: Guidelines • List of Portals

Are major nation portals about "broad subject areas"Edit

Rhetorical question that's unlikely to generate any meaningful discussion. I'd say it depends on what kind of quality content the portal can offer, as with practically every other portal to ever exist. ToThAc (talk) 00:06, 10 November 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Given the about 20 on-going MfDs about country portals. Can we get a consensus on whether a nation is a broad subject area? --Hecato (talk) 09:44, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

PollEdit

  • Yes. Major nations tend to have a large article scope. Potential for useful navigation to a broad category tree, a lot of interested editors and a large number of potential readers. Exceptions might be very small countries. --Hecato (talk) 09:44, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Of course countries are broad subject areas. —Kusma (t·c) 10:17, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • From a personal standpoint, I view nations as a broad topic if they have a sufficient amount of coverage on English Wikipedia, which many do. However, some country portals are being deleted at MfD relative to WP:POG for 1) having outdated content that presents outdated information, 2) having an insufficient amount of content, 3) having a lack of active maintainers, and 4) having relatively poor page views. As such, these matters are being hammered out at MfD on a case-by-case basis.
A question is whether or not the deletion of nation portals is final, like they've been WP:SALTED, although I've never seen the first deletion of a portal resulting in creation protection. One would think that it could at least theoretically be permissible at some time for a later re-creation of a portal that was deleted. In my view, this would hinge on a re-created portal that contains adequate content, has an active maintainer or maintainers, and for topics which have a sufficient amount of coverage on Wikipedia. Of course, for a re-created portal, page views could also come into play later on, in terms of whether or not a re-created portal receives a decent amount of views after its been live for some time. North America1000 11:52, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes. Look at any category page for any given country and you will find that they all have many, many articles. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 11:58, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes its actually one of the main reasons we made portals and outlines so that "See also" sections of country articles are not spammed with links and that we have an overview for our readers in two different formats just as we do with "Help" style pages..see Canada#See also - Australia#See also - India#See also - Germany#See also etc..--Moxy 🍁 15:53, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
  • It depends. To take one example: there are 36 countries listed at Wikipedia:Vital articles#Countries (37 articles) (Country being the 37th), and my view is, because of their combination of population, length of history, importance in world politics and economics, etc., that subset of current countries are what aligns pretty well with WP:POG's "broad subject area" requirement, and that none of the other current countries are likely to meet the guideline. To take another example, there are 517,167 pages in the scope of Wikipedia:WikiProject United States, and only 1,840 in the scope of Wikipedia:WikiProject Gabon. See the difference? In addition, similarly major historical "countries" such as Ancient Rome and Ottoman Empire (both of which also happen to be on the vital article list) would also meet the requirement, in my opinion. UnitedStatesian (talk) 18:08, 19 August 2019 (UTC)

Discussion on broad subject areasEdit

  • Recent MfDs tend do go "delete" because the portals are abandoned, unused, and unmaintained (having News sections last updated ten years ago is embarrassing), not because there is anything intrinsically wrong with the topics. The similarly abandoned and unused "Outline of ..." or "Index of ..." articles also demonstrate the wealth of content. In portal space, we seem to have somewhat higher expectation of readership and maintenance status than in article space. For maintenance status, that makes sense: mini-Main pages should not look like an abandoned neighbourhood of your city. Page views just demonstrate that work on portals is probably not going to reach as many people as work on popular articles (still, Portal:Germany is more popular than many of the articles I have written), but as this is a project of volunteers, we tend to work on what we enjoy, not on what is most urgently needed. —Kusma (t·c) 10:17, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
    • I guess I am most interested in whether it is acceptable to recreate portals for these subjects without having to deal with a barrage of speedily deletion notices followed by another MfD. Editors have offered to fix these country portals when they get nominated, but the deletion votes did not change. --Hecato (talk) 10:36, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
      • It seems to me that recent MFD voters are looking for long-term maintenance, not WP:HEY fixes. I don't really agree (I'd say the page should be provisionally kept, but then revisited a year or two later if maintenance has failed again), but I do think we should have some realistic expectations and clear criteria for maintenance and at the same time a process that allows portal maintainers who have forgotten to update their portal to come back to it without an uphill battle at MFD and DRV. See my section below and recent guideline change. —Kusma (t·c) 14:27, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
        • I have reverted your change to the guieline.[1] Please propose changes and discuss them, rather than unilaterally making changes controversial changes. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:31, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Silly, tendentious, leading question. Countries can sometimes be broad subject areas, usually if they attract large numbers of readers and maintainers. Smaller and less developed countries repeatedly fail to meet those criteria. We can make estimates in advance, but in practice we find that data throws up many surprises.
This is not complicated:
  1. A portal without a large number of maintainers rots
  2. A portal without large numbers of readers is a pointless exercise, like publishing a magazine with no readers.
  3. A portal without large numbers of readers won't have many people spotting problems with it, so is unlikely to be maintained.
Some editors who like portals per se seem determined to ignore those basic issues of utility.
A portal is not content; it is a tool for navigating and/or showcasing content. An unused tool is pointless, and an unmaintained tool is useless. The only purpose of this question is to try to nmaufacture some sort of exemption for a particular class of topic from the necessity that a portal is used and maintained. That may be a very attractive prospect to those enjoy creating and/or editing portals, but it does a great disservice to our readers. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:27, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I am merely interested in finding out what topics are broad enough to create portals about. Looking at recent mass MfDs I feel there is a trend towards "none". Maybe I am wrong. What topics can portals be created about? --Hecato (talk) 08:45, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
  • The low number of editors interested in maintaining portals (and these are often the same editors who create, and thus might also be expected to maintain, indices etc) means that the number of high-quality portals that can be reliably maintained is probably less than 100. Given that many of these portals (e.g. Portal:Animals) are not about countries the number of country portals would be low (e.g. under 10). It would save discussion/bickering over which countries are important enough to "deserve" a portal to not have any country portals; there would still be continent portals. DexDor (talk) 11:02, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I was thinking more of the continents containing countries. DexDor (talk) 19:17, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
  • How about Asia, or the entire Solar System, both are up for deletion currently. --Hecato (talk) 13:05, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Forum-shopping. Since this discussion is clearly a WP:POINTy attempt to generate some sort of meta-consensus to override MFD discussions, @Hecato should make it a formal RFC and notify the relevant MFDs. Otherwise it will just be blatant forum-shopping. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:26, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Note: A user offered to create a widescale RfC for this question, but the complainant above changed their mind and voiced strong opposition to the idea. --Hecato (talk) 13:06, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Sadly, I am not in the slightest bit surprised that Hecato has chosen yet again to dishonestly misrepresent my comments. That has been Hecato's repeated practice since shortly after I first encountered Hecato about two months ago, and it is as predictable as it is uncivil.
The discussion is at User_talk:Hecato#RfC?, where editors can see for themselves how I a) pointed out that the proposal would not achieve the desired effect, and b) asked why anyone would want to establish a mechanism to allow the retention or re-creation of unread and unmaintained portals.
I stand my by statement above that if Hecato or anyone else wants this change, they should open an RFC. And I have not changed my view that it would be a very bad idea. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:02, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
You literally said you oppose the RfC and its objective and you would "shred it" if it was created. You did not say you would vote "no" in the RfC, you said you oppose the RfC itself. If you oppose the creation of an RfC then do not demand one. I was willing to go along with your demands, but it turned out be just another tactic. I am tired of you wasting everyone's time with your political maneuvering. --Hecato (talk) 18:14, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Hecato, this is all very simple.
  1. I did not "demand" an RFC. I demanded that no change be made without an RFC
  2. I do not want this change. If do not want an RFC
  3. However, this change should me made only of approved at an RFC
  4. So if you want a change like this, it needs an to go an RFC.
  5. If you do not want to open an RFC, that is absolutely fine by me. Just don't think you can make such a change without an RFC
  6. No pre-approval needed to open an RFC. Anyone can do it, unilaterally.
  7. I think that the proposal is very bad, and if it goes to RFC, I will oppose the change.
  8. So my statement that h I intend to oppose the TC means that I will !vote to oppose the proposal. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:00, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
I have not been engaged in wasting everyone's time with your political maneuvering, or anything like it. I have been clear and consistent in my view throughout. The only timewasting is your repeated determination to get in a strop because you persistently fail or refuse to understand plain English. Given the frequency with which you do this, you could save yourself and everyone else a lot of drama by simply asking for calcification before you fly off the handle again and make another round of bogus accusations or misrepresentations. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:00, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
If you feel like this venue is too small to generate a consensus about whether nations are broad topics then feel free to create an RfC. As you said anyone can do it. I think this venue is fine since it is about the exact guideline page that demands a "broad" topic area in the first place. I see no forum shopping in my choice of venue. If you disagree then the option of creating an RfC is open to you. I am not willing to cooperate with you any further in that regard though. --Hecato (talk) 19:15, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Hecato, many dozens of MFDs have now made a case-by-case analysis of whether a country constitutes a broad topic, and have weighed that against other POG criteria such as pageviews, number of maintainers, existence of a wikiproject, and have also considered the current condition of the portal.
If you want to make a change designed to achieve different outcomes and explicitly to alter the consensus of so many recent discussions, then it needs the broader consensus which can only be achieved at WP:RFC, not the WP:LOCALCONSENSUS of the editors who frequent this page.
I am bemused to see an editor who has been here for two months repeatedly asserting that they know en.wp procedure better than an admin of 13 years' experience. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs)
This request for consensus is not about overruling the outcomes of MfDs, but about whether nations are broad topic areas in the sense of POG. If they are then people could create portals about them. That would only (partially) invalidate MfDs if these MfDs came to the conclusion that you could not recreate those deleted country portals. The point is to prevent harassment of portal creators and maintainers from speedy deletions and repeated MfDs after they recreate portals for these topics. The constant threat of MfDs disincentivizes portal creation and adoption of old portals by maintainers. Nobody wants to improve portals while the brigade is out for blood. There need to be boundaries for what topics are safe. Otherwise nothing will improve. But maybe that is your intention. --Hecato (talk) 19:53, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
@Hecato, first, please drop the battleground language. Nobody is out for blood, and no blood has been or will be spilt. WP:harassment is a serious matter. If you have actual evidence that it is happening, then take that evidence to ANI ... but given the rest of your battlefield language, I assume that is just more of the same hyperbole.
Next, this discussion is not a WP:RFC. It is a local discussion, whose outcome (if there is one) can not be assumed to reflect a broad community consensus.
If you want hard boundaries for what topics are safe, then they will need to be drawn very tightly, because it's clear that there is a large grey zone of topics which might in the abstract be argued to be "broad", but which in practice have come nowhere near attracting viable numbers of either readers or maintainers. It has been very notable in the last few months of MFDs that there has been almost no support for the portals from the associated WikiProjects (as required by POG), and that objections continue to come overwhelmingly from the small core of portal specialists ... and that core has utterly inadequate to maintain the vast numbers of portals which have been rotting for a decade. So a desire to create new portals in those conditions looks completely misplaced.
The claim that portals are rotting because of MFD is absurd: we have had only 6 months of MFDs, but the rot goes back years.
I have no general desire to disincentivizes portal creation and adoption of old portals by maintainers. But I do strongly hope that potential creators and maintainiers are massively disincentivised to continue their decade-long practice of ignoring POG. Even at this late stage, potential maintainers and creators still seem astonishingly slow to wake up to the fact that a) POG actually specifies at least 4 key criteria for the existence of a portal, and b) there a remarkably consistent MFD consensus that a portal needs to meet all those criteria. It's long past time for portal enthusiasts to start a systematic and proactive assessment and prioritisation of portals, instead of still moaning about the demise of some of the sea of neglected or abandoned junk. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:29, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
I have no interest to continue this conversation, but I have to at least correct your claim about Wikiprojects. The guideline specifically says To aid in this, the portal should be associated with a WikiProject (or have editors with sufficient interest) and notes the quote: "You don't have to join our project to work on military history articles. We welcome everyone who wants to help improve these topics, and encourage you—project member or not—to participate in all of our activities and take complete advantage of the support we offer." --Hecato (talk) 17:10, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
This gives an indication of how interested MILHIST editors are in portals. DexDor (talk) 18:53, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for that link, @DexDor. The zero response to your request at Wikipedia Talk:WikiProject Military history/Archive 152#Call_for_portal_maintainers also speaks volumes.
MILHIST is an exceptionally well-organised an active project. When even they are so uninterested in portals, there's little hope for any of the others.
Hecato's attempt at squeezing nuances out of POG by textual analysis misses the point that POG requires multiple maintainers, but very few portals have even one. The result is that MFD continues to be fed a stream of abandoned junk. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:06, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Link fixed. Note: That call for portal maintainers was by UnitedStatesian. DexDor (talk) 05:28, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

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

RFC: What rough number of selected articles demonstrates a portal with excellent long-term prospectsEdit

What size would be befitting of a portal with good long-term prospects? (More detailed query below.) ToThAc (talk) 14:52, 14 September 2019 (UTC)

As many users are aware, there's been an ongoing mass-deletion of portals that have failed in multiple aspects. Every day, more and more portals are being nominated at MfD, and it's showing no signs of stopping in the near future. I think it's been established that even as portal advocates are scrambling to make whatever improvements possible to certain portals (such as converting selected articles/pictures into slideshows), portal topics remain narrow and thus the subtle improvements fail to draw in new readers.

As a previous discussion showed, there has already been some dispute about how selected article counts should be construed when creating a portal. However, one user said something the other day in the deletion discussion for Portal:Chad that piques my interest:

Someone wrote: "There are now 30 rather than 24 articles. This is in my opinion broad enough coverage."
Absurd.
A portal, like a metaphysical doorway through which you have access to much. 30 articles is a one page list. It is woefully inadequate. I think the top portals should provide navigation to all six million articles. I think there should be 10-100 portals. Probably 10, maybe 100. If 100, these 100 Portals should cover the 6 million articles. 60 000 each? Well no, some areas are bigger than others. Half the articles are biographies, for example. But the answer should be in the thousands, not 30. 30 can be accessed by a list, and it doesn't even have to be sorted to be useful. A portal should be something clever and advanced, and capable of navigating to orders more than 30.

Speaking for myself, I wholly agree. The whole point of a portal is to provide extensive navigation over a wide range of articles, and nearly every portal I've come across (except obviously broad portals, such as Portal:Biography) fails in that regard. They rely too heavily on pseudorandom navigation, reader-unfriendly layouts, and continued user maintenance at unrealistic levels. That said, I think it's absolutely necessary to consider two questions on this matter: (A) how many portals are actually necessary for readers, and (B) what number of selected articles is actually helpful to readers in the long-term?

  • Something like Portal:Biography, which has 2281 average daily pageviews in January-June 2019, is a great example of what constitutes an ideal portal.
  • Something like Portal:Brazil, which on the other hand has 37 average daily pageviews in January-June 2019 (while the parent article had 9667 in the same time period), is not.

Pinging as many involved users as I can think of: Bermicourt, BrownHairedGirl, Guilherme Burn, Levivich, Mark Schierbecker, Newshunter12, Northamerica1000, Robert McClenon, SmokeyJoe, and UnitedStatesian. ToThAc (talk) 00:55, 14 September 2019 (UTC)

The problem of pages views is only related to accessibility and not an indicator of quality. Portals on the main page are visible to all readers - while other portals are barely seen by readers due to limitations in mobile view (just like how popus don't work for most readers). This could be fixed by changing the template type .... using portal inline over the normal box portal..... could have been done recently with all the edits changing portal types but for some reason this point was overlooked during the mass clean up of deleted portals.--Moxy 🍁 01:07, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
Personally, I see a portal as an entry point to a topic area, and not a way to navigate through all of the related articles. The linked articles have their own cross-navigational tools such as navigation boxes that allows readers to delve deeper into related articles. This is in accordance with the doorway metaphor: a door lets you into a room that you can then explore. isaacl (talk) 01:18, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure that every article needs to be covered by a portal, so the portal/article ratio isn't terribly meaningful to me. I think the minimum number of articles for a portal should be more links than fit in an article and more links than fit in a nav template, whatever that number is. Something like 100 if I had to put a number on it. Levivich 01:49, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
Have always though given links to important articles in list ... but limit the amount of articles excerpts to related FA and GA articles. Portals should have a big enough scope to have a big enough selection of well written articles....be that 10 or 40. Setting limits is always difficult but setting standards should be easier.--Moxy 🍁 03:17, 14 September 2019 (UTC)

Comment - Perhaps portals need to be simpler. At this time, I am testing a friendly layout on Portal:Computer programming.Guilherme Burn (talk) 01:21, 14 September 2019 (UTC)

Looks great.....side note any progress on fixing image display on mobile devices....still rendering every image instead of just one...see File:Screenshot photo image error.png.--Moxy 🍁 01:40, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
@ToThAc: what is your brief and neutral statement? At over 3,000 bytes, the statement above (from the {{rfc}} tag to the next timestamp) is far too long for Legobot to handle, and so it is not being shown correctly at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Wikipedia policies and guidelines. The RfC will also not be publicised through WP:FRS until a shorter statement is provided. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 09:48, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
  Thank you that worked. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 22:10, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment: I wouldn't call Portal:Biography an ideal portal. It has been improved a lot over time, but it is certainly not perfect. That giant list of Recognized articles is all sorts of things, but not navigationally valuable. The user might as well go to a category page (which we know users don't do. They want guided navigaton). It just has many pageviews because it is prominently linked. That demonstrates that pageviews should not be the measure of a portal's quality or utility. And I think it is kind of sad that so many people seem be so fixated on pageviews. Just link a low-pageview portal on the frontpage and it will have tens of thousands of pageviews tomorrow. But does that actually improve it in any way?
The number of selected articles does not really mean anything by itself. The question raised by this RfC is misguided in my opinion. It matters what is selected, why it is selected and how it is presented. There was an RfC recently about the purpose of portals, maybe take a look at the answers there. Portals are not supposed to be just giant navboxes. As other users pointed out above: among other things they are supposed to be a guided exploration into a topic area. That requires some specialization of the portal to the topic it is about. Just copy-pasting the same portal for every topic is not a good solution. Showcasing high quality content and interesting trivia are just some of the possible utilities a portal can offer. And I do not really see why broad topic areas should not offer such a guided navigation into their topic area, even if it has low pageviews. --Hecato (talk) 10:45, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment: There are also technical problems with very broad topics. How does one present 10,000 articles in a way that is actually useful to the reader? Also, as the encyclopedia grows, the number of articles associated with a portal will generally increase, so whatever formats are used must be able to scale unless portals can be split into subportals, and we all know how that went. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 05:13, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I concur with Hecato. Further, I think this discussion is kind of premature and "postmature" at the same time. For our current portals, both hand-maintained ones and the auto-created and rather skeletal ones, we have the problem that intensely focused advocacy against them by a handful of individuals has poisoned the well by blurring all distinctions between portals by depth, breadth, interest level, creation rationale, maintenance level and method, etc. On the other hand, it's also been proposed that portals need not even exist as pages but be autogenerated on the fly. Under such a model, questions about number of articles in the topic, number of page views and over how much time, etc., become meaningless. If I want WP to present me a portal of material pertaining to salamanders of genus Bolitoglossa, or 19th century cricket in India, that's my business. It's more important to decide what purposes portals should serve and how they get created, before hashing out finely detailed criteria, since many criteria would be irrelevant under different answers to the core what/how questions.  — AReaderOutThatawayt/c 23:07, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
  • That portal autogeneration discussion (it was never a "proposal") never got any community consensus. I don't think I am going out on a limb to say that functionality will never exist in Wikipedia. UnitedStatesian (talk) 02:46, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
    • Pshah. Anyone [competent] could implement it right now in JS, and it wouldn't take much to make it available as a Gadget under Preferences, like various other community-made tools. Don't confuse "what is officially part of Wikipedia as a matter of policy or WMF development cycles" with "what exists in/on Wikipedia"; the latter includes a boatload of unofficial technology, and that category expands all the time with new stuff that some people find useful and which sticks around as an option as long as it doesn't break stuff (or sometimes even when it does, like Visual Editor, if there's some force keeping it there, like WMF board decisions).  — AReaderOutThatawayt/c 08:28, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
  • To the RfC section title, "What rough number of selected articles"?, the answer is Mu (negative). Selected articles are not serves a portal in fulfilling a function as a navigation tool. The question is "How many articles does the Portal serve to assist navigation to?" I submit that the number should be something like 100 000. Portal:Biography, which would ostensibly serve to navigate to biographies, if its purpose were to be stated, means that it corresponds to Category:People, which I believe (should) navigate downwards to ~2.5 million articles. (There is an issue/problem/weakness of the category system leakage into other category trees to articles that do not match the ultimate parent). Other broad subject areas are smaller than Biographies, but to be a tiny fraction of the biggest is to be too small.
NB. I completely agree with the "one user" that the OP quoted. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:39, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment - I've not really been involved with the portal disputes (or with portals, really), but the bot summoned me so here goes. 30 articles does seem like an awfully small scope, but I don't think it's a good idea to set a specific minimum number. The general guidance seems sufficient. There does seem to be a value in the narrow scope, though, in that some narrow topics might not need as much regular maintenance. A historical topic, for example, or a popular television show that's off the air now, might not see much development in articlespace, and a portal probably wouldn't require much maintenance once it's set up. That's not to say that every narrow topic makes sense for a portal, of course -- I'm just getting at why setting a minimum number isn't ideal. I would also say, to respond to the quote in the opening statement, that the extremely broad categories don't make any sense to me. Why anyone would click on the the portal for a vast subject like "biography" or "arts" is beyond me, except if (a) they wanted a broad overview of what that concept means, in which case they should just read the article rather than the portal, or (b) if they see it as a way to find something more specific, in which case there are better ways to do that. The most important thing to determining the viability of a portal to me is the extent to which it's maintained relative to how dynamic the subject is (so, again, a politics portal would need maintaining more than an article about, say, the American Revolutionary War). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:15, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

RFC: Selection process of recognized content in portalsEdit

Withdrawn for now. ToThAc (talk) 05:49, 9 November 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Attempts to codify a specific policy on portals. (Questions below.) ToThAc (talk) 05:40, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

This is sort of a continuation of the discussion above.

Since we have no real policy basis anymore for what the "ideal" portal should be, let's ask some fundamental questions going forward:

  1. What rough number of selected articles would a portal absolutely and/or preferably need to prosper?
  2. What selections of articles would be befitting? EX: Selections littered with systemic bias or whose subjects are only superficially related to a portal's scope are not worthy of this.
  3. What maintenance strategies could be implemented to keep portals in check? How could a portal's content avoid content forking? Moreover, what kind of maintainer would be ideal?
  4. What portal layout would actually attract readers and be easily accessible at the same time? Would lead-section transclusions of selected articles work (as done by NA1k)? Or is it too risky to implement?
  5. Is there really even a need for portals other than Portal:Current events and those listed on the Main Page top banner? Wouldn't navboxes suffice instead? And mind you, navboxes aren't the only things making most portals obsolete.

Really, I just want to use this (actually highly important) discussion in an attempt to come to terms with portal advocates. I cannot stress enough how tired I am of arguing this out any longer, so I hope this discussion can at least invoke some form of common sense and avoid the Randy in Boise problem.

Pinging some users on both sides of the debate who participated in past discussions: Bermicourt, Britishfinance, BrownHairedGirl, Certes, Guilherme Burn, Levivich, Mark Schierbecker, Moxy, , Newshunter12, Northamerica1000, Randy Kryn, Robert McClenon, SmokeyJoe, and UnitedStatesian. I think that should be everyone. ToThAc (talk) 05:40, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

Survey (Q1)Edit

  • 100 Levivich 05:43, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

Survey (Q2)Edit

Survey (Q3)Edit

Survey (Q4)Edit

Survey (Q5)Edit

  • No. It's a variation of WP:WTAF: we don't have enough quality content to fill up a lot of portals. Portals like Portal:Contents, Portal:Featured content, Portal:Current events, and the main page portals, have enough content to support them. Levivich 05:46, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

General discussionEdit

I know that ToThAc has v good intentions in launching this RFC, but this is premature. Another rushed, broad RFC doesn't help. We have had too many of those, and they all end up as inconclusive time sinks.

What we need now are separate, focused, RFCs on several narrow questions, where the questions have been discussed in advance to try to put all options on the table. I urge ToThAc to withdraw this proposal, and help build more tightly-focused RFCs. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 05:47, 9 November 2019 (UTC)


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

RFC: Community opinion concerning a proposed method of displaying selected content in portalsEdit

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Procedural close per SmokeyJoe's comment. I wonder if BHG was even made aware of this discussion at all. Never mind, she was. Seems to be some sort of misunderstanding on her behalf. ToThAc (talk) 19:10, 11 November 2019 (UTC)

Northamerica1000's attempts at transcluding lead sections of selected content for portals was previously implemented without consensus. However, I'd like to know if there is consensus at all for this. ToThAc (talk) 23:50, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

On BrownHairedGirl's request, I'm going to try and resolve the "portal wars" in separate RfCs, starting with this question.

About a month ago, Northamerica1000 attempted to "update" some underviewed portals by ditching the currently used subpage transclusion for the selected content in favor of a transclusion of the lead section of the selected article(s) in question. Said changes were repeatedly reverted by BrownHairedGirl as "sneaky" and "undiscussed", as NA1k never sought consensus for his proposed changes, and the content itself had additional problems, such as a clear-cut systemic bias towards the United States and some selections only being superficially related to the portal subjects as a whole.

And then when Moxy filed an ANI request, it resulted in a rather ugly stalemate.

So now, I think it's time we start afresh. Should we go with NA1k's proposed changes of using lead section transclusions in displaying selected articles in portals, or should we stick to using subpages?

As for me, I have no opinion on this measure as long as there's no obvious systemic bias or superficial content involved. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ToThAc (talkcontribs) 23:50, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

Northamerica1000's attempts at transcluding lead sections of selected content for portals was previously implemented without consensus is unfair. The problem of content forked into portal pages, and the solution of instead transcluding lede section was discussed, without opposition, at Wikipedia_talk:Portal/Guidelines/Archive_6#Portals_are_moribund. Implementing that discussion is not even BOLD. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:34, 11 November 2019 (UTC)

Preliminary discussionEdit

I think it's best that we first try to understand the scope of the discussion first before doing anything major. Pinging some users on both sides of the debate who participated in past discussions: Bermicourt, Britishfinance, BrownHairedGirl, Certes, Guilherme Burn, Levivich, Mark Schierbecker, Moxy, , Newshunter12, Northamerica1000, Randy Kryn, Robert McClenon, SmokeyJoe, and UnitedStatesian. I think that should be everyone. ToThAc (talk) 23:50, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

  • ToThAc, thanks for pinging me here. I am certainly open to helping in a structured discussion on the topic if helpful. However, I want to drop term "wars" from this. Any time this term has become in use in a subject area in WP it has turned out badly for all sides (the Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/EvergreenFir is a case in point). It is not worth it - this is a hobby/intellectual engagement activity (at least for me), and it should not be a source of "war" for anybody. Editing on WP can involve stress and conflict, but it should not be "war".
Also, as I have posted several times at MfD (latterly at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Alaska), the high majority of portals have become so functionally obsolete in Wikipedia, that they are not worth getting stressed over, and their long-term collapse is simply unavoidable. My increased interest in portals is only really because we have such highly productive admins like BrownHairdGirl (and also BD2412), who are willing to do the extensive clean-up needed after a portal is deleted (otherwise it would be even more of a mess).
I am therefore not the best person for engaging on the "technical" aspects of portals, per your valid questions above. I have posted on BHGs (and NA1Ks) talk pages that I think the long-term solution to portals, and the ultimate balance of Main Articles (plus their Navboxes) vs. Portals vs. WikiProjects, is to merge portals into WikiProjects and get WikiProjcts linked onto article pages (discussed here and here), but it has not taken root. I will observe these RfCs, but am unlikely take much part in the "technical" debates that you are proposing. thanks. Britishfinance (talk) 01:15, 10 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Though successfully brought some of NA1000's overhauls to deletion to MfD, I find BHG's mass reversion of NA1000's edits in early October to be highly perplexing. In the case of my ongoing MfD nomination of Portal:Transport I was persuaded that BHG's reversion was counterproductive. I reverted her edits in light of the strong consensus emerging in favor of NA1000's revision, only to be reverted by BHG again hours later. Mark Schierbecker (talk) 05:41, 10 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Why does this need an RfC? Both methods can result in good portals, and both methods can result in bad portals. I would oppose any move to outlaw any of these portal types, and would also oppose any move to outlaw conversion of portals from one type to the other (of course the regular maintainers should be involved in this decision, if there are any). Behavioural issues between editors should not be settled by changing content guidelines that do not need changing. —Kusma (t·c) 07:33, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

What Is the Question, anywayEdit

It is unfortunate that I don't really understand the question in sufficient detail to give a straightforward answer. User:BrownHairedGirl criticized an RFC that was posted less than 24 hours ago as being rushed and too broad. This RFC, less than 24 hours after the previous one, seems rushed. Maybe it would have been better to request the preliminary discussion before putting an RFC tag on, and simply asking the previous participants for their comments, "first before doing anything major", but something at least medium-sized has already been done. I think that the question is a false dichotomy. The author, User:ToThAc, writes: "Should we go with NA1k's proposed changes of using lead section transclusions in displaying selected articles in portals, or should we stick to using subpages?" Are those the only options? I don't think so. Also, I am not sure exactly what style of lead section transclusion is being discussed.

There are at least two distinct ways of using subpages. The more common old-fashioned way is to content-fork the lede paragraph of the article, followed by a link to the article. This approach is unsound, because the lede paragraph of the article is updated, but not the content fork, which results in content rot. A typical error is failure to report the death of the subject of a biography. A better alternative that is sometimes used is to replace the content-fork with a transclusion of the lede paragraph, which will then link back to the remainder of the article. However, there are also other approaches, some of which are single-page, some of which BHG refers to either as mega-navbox or black box, which use either externally visible lists or internally embedded lists. (I am not entirely sure what in particular she means by black box, other than that there is no obvious way to determine what the articles are without looking inside the black box, which violates the concept of black box). My recollection is that BHG listed five styles of portal architecture. This appears to be a comparison of two of them, but I only think I understand the first one, the use of content-forked subpages. I don't know whether you are asking for a choice between content-forked subpages and transcluding subpages, or between content-forked subpages and some sort of embedded lists.

So I think that this RFC has also been rushed. I don't know whether clarifying the RFC at this time is feasible, or whether it needs to be withdrawn a second time, or what. Robert McClenon (talk) 01:31, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

I agree that this too has been rushed. It would have been much better to take time to discuss the questions before going live.
I particular, I think that the framing of this question around one editor is a very bad approach. It avoidably personalises a question of principles. It would be much better to address the actual issues, rather than to invite support or opposition for any one editor.
There is secondary problem in that ToThAc comments stray outside the scope set by the heading, and introduce issues unrelated to the structure, such as NA1K's population of the list.
It seems to me that the first issue at stake here is: How should the list of selected articles be presented? I see at least 5 options: a) as bare list ("mega-navbox") style; b) as a bare list with random preview (e.g. Portal:Wind power); c) as a random preview with a link to a list to list on another page (as with many of the content-forked portals); d) as a random preview with no list (i.e the "black box" model which NA1K sneakily imposed on many dozens of portals); e) as an annotated list with a short description to accompany each entry. There may be more possibilities.
The question of how to select articles is a separate question. Whatever decisions are made about selection apply regardless of what presentation method is chosen, asnnd vice versa.
I urge ToThAc to withdraw this RFC, and instead to discuss the framing of questions before going live. It is v clear that ToThAc brings lots of goodwill and evident desire to resolve problems ... but they are proceeding far too fast, with too little preparation. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:23, 10 November 2019 (UTC)
Also, whenever a set of questions has been agreed, the discussion should be hosted at the village pump, where they will be drawn to the attention of a much wider audience than on this talk page of a failed proposal.
And I think that ToThAc has somewhat misunderstood the discussion on my talk page. I merely observed that we needed RFCs to resolve a set of narrow points of contention. Somehow, ToThAc has interpreted that as a request from me that they should single-handedly, without further discussion, open those RFCs themself. That was not at all what I intended.
As I noted in the promptly-closed RFC above this, what we need is RFCs on several narrow questions, where the questions have been discussed in advance to try to put all options on the table.
This is still what we need. Less haste, more preparation, please. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:35, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

Example portalEdit

As per the understood concept of what a portal should be Wikipedia:Portal#Purposes of portals and based on many of the concerns raised by those opposed to portals who are concerned with things like portals going stale, selection of articles and listing articles selected....I have rebuild Portal:Canada to what I think a portal can be.....that is many things for different readers. The articles selected are transcluded assuring they are kept up-to-date with the news and DYK supported by two very very active projects related to our main page.....so what is this....1) A showcase of our best related content as assessed by the community alongside vital articles as seleted by the related wikiproject. 2) A navigational aid listing realted featured and vital content while listening what is presnted in the portal itself. 3) An introduction to the related wikiproject and it's subproject with an overview of discussions taking place related to the project and the pages it covers. --Moxy 🍁 03:54, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

  • Keep Portal:Canada – nice job Moxy, very well done. Can you give us some stats, e.g., how many FAs, how many WikiProjects, etc., filling this portal? Levivich 07:34, 10 November 2019 (UTC)
Around 200 featured articles and bios...23 symbolic articles (a few GA.s in there)....22 top level overview vital articles as per project Canada....almost 50 images (most featured images)....90 DYK in rotation with more every week provided by the DYK project....new news and years of archive news content provided those at Portal:Current and wikinews..Sub pages populated by automated bots intended for Wikiproject. tracking and maintenance.....all but the images transcluded. --Moxy 🍁 07:57, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

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

Request for commentEdit

North America1000 03:44, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

How many portals?Edit

How many portals on Wikipedia are there, as of November 2019? Note: I've only edited them 5 times, in my entire 14 years on Wikipedia. GoodDay (talk) 03:42, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

I bet that ranks you among the top 100 most active portal editors. Levivich 05:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
About 550. See Category:All portals. --RL0919 (talk) 04:52, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
That's small enough to analyze. Is there a way to get a list of all of them ranked by edits, page views, links, etc.? I wonder if we can deduce something by looking at which portals are most successful. Levivich 05:08, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Is there a graph somewhere of the number of portals over time? Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs talk 15:00, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I don't know of one but the rough picture is that they reached 1500 by summer 2018, had a brief spike up to 5000 at the turn of the year and fell rapidly back to 1500 in April 2019 when almost all recent additions were deleted. The number has now dropped to 550 and is still falling steadily. Attempts to plot the history more accurately are difficult. Additions since early 2019 are in single figures. We continue to lose about 200 top level pages per month but these are not all portals; the counts include many redirects and and a handful of dabs. An MfD search, which will miss some cases and thus be an underestimate, finds 303, 94, 55, 109, 134, 67 deletions in May to October respectively. Certes (talk) 16:12, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

Here's the Massviews Analysis for all portals. --Phospheros (talk) 17:22, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

Very interesting analysis. Is there any way to see the correlation between Portals and WikiProjects – E.g. does every WikiProj have a Portal? Are there more portals than projects, or visa versa. Do WikiProjects have the same pattern of decline? thanks for that. Britishfinance (talk) 20:03, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
Someone could create a script figure that out that last question. But for now you could take a look at the Massviews Analysis for Active WikiProjects, Semi-active WikiProjects, & Inactive WikiProjects for the other questions. --Phospheros (talk) 21:00, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
That is also very helpful Phospheros. I have been posting at the User talk:Scottywong/Portal guideline workspace, that I think portals are not really "portals" as a reader would expect, but more like galleria or emporia of FA/GA content (e.g. it is the Main Article that is real "content portal" to navigating a topic as it is heavily edited, structured, and far more scruitizined than the portal). However, I am not sure that readers are that interested in FA/GA per se (e.g. it is bigger thing for Wikipedians than for ordinary readers); although other interesting split could be listed (e.g "most read", "most edited", "most vandalised" articles). Therefore, and alternative future for portals is to be a true portal into the world of the WikiProject. There are quite a few portals and WikiProjects whose front pages are quite alike. The portals could be the "front page" of the WikiProject? It is interesting that there are now less portals than WikiProjects? Britishfinance (talk) 21:26, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
@Britishfinance: Per WP:BEANS, do we really want the list of "most vandalized" articles to be easy to find.
One of the problems with Portals is that there is no consensus as to what a portal should be, so we have no legitimate criteria as to why a portal should be kept.
One possible approach would be to agree that portals should neither be created nor deleted until such time as a consensus as to the purpose of portals is reached. Alternatively, perhaps a portal could be deleted if it meets none of the proposed criteria for being kept, but we would still need an agreement not to create portals as part of any pause in deleting portals. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 00:52, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
I think the beans were lodged long time ago Wikipedia:Most vandalized pages; any google search lists many articles on "most vandalised" WP articles. It holds a fascination with readers, which at the moment, portals do not? Trying to think of things that would improve things for readership. Britishfinance (talk) 21:38, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
Excessive portal creation does not seem to be a major problem at the moment. Nine of our portals were created this year. Certes (talk) 02:50, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
Return to the project page "Portal/Guidelines".