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Dispute Resolution and Limited English

I have a question about a situation that sometimes arises either at the Dispute Resolution Noticeboard or in other forums where dispute resolution is being attempted. The question is what can be done when an editor clearly wants to resolve a dispute in a collaborative manner and is trying to discuss the issues, but it is clear to a third party that the editor does not have enough of a command of English either to understand the details of the issues or to explain what they see as the issues. Robert McClenon (talk) 17:34, 9 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The immediate case in point is an article that was moved to draft space, and then its author requested discussion at DRN, which I declined because discussion could take place via the Articles for Creation draft process. I am not identifying the dispute because I am not asking for advice about the specific case. (I expect I will get advice about the specific case anyway.) The question is what should be done when the author or proponent clearly wants to discuss, but at the same time is clearly having difficulty understanding the English. This issue more generally extends to other cases where an editor is trying to discuss an article, but does not know enough English to understand explanations from volunteers. One guideline is Do Not Bite the Newbies, but how do we tell an editor that they do not know enough English, without biting them?

Standard advice includes trying to tell the editor to edit the Wikipedia in their first language, but some editors really really want to edit the English Wikipedia, even though they don't know as much English as they think that they know. Robert McClenon (talk) 17:34, 9 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have an update that doesn't affect the underlying question. In the specific case in point, the author is an American. They seemed, over the Internet, to have a problem communicating in English. That problem is not due to lack of command of English. However, I have also previously encountered editors at DRN who have wanted to engage in moderated dispute resolution, and have not been able to communicate effectively in English. So I still have a question how to deal with editors who are having difficulty with English, in working on an electronic product that is in the English language. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:39, 9 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've seen some disputes that sound similar. An editor with certain forms of severe dyslexia, for example, might find it difficult to communicate in writing. In my experience, discussions with people who cannot communicate with at least moderate fluency in writing are frustrating to all concerned, and eventually the editor leaves (voluntarily or otherwise). WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:14, 13 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It can be difficult. We all want Wikipedia to be a welcoming, inclusive place and I think we try hard to do that. But ultimately this whole project is about writing a comprehensive and comprehendible, detailed, balanced, accurate encyclopaedia in the English language. In addition, the project is 21 years old and in that time we've covered most of the easy stuff and are mostly left with the trickier, more intricate details or difficult subjects to cover. Now more than ever, competence is required. WaggersTALK 13:23, 22 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Came here to say the same thing. Putting that into words that aren't bitey can be challenging, though. I don't think I've had a situation quite like what the OP is talking about, but if I got into that position, I suppose I would try to lay it out for them, as gently but directly as possible, on their talk page. If it's not a non-native speaker, as seems to be the case here, it becomes even more delicate of a process. Matt Deres (talk) 16:55, 23 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I understand that a lack of decent command of English or many severe forms of dyslexia may make it nearly impossible to work collaboratively on English Wikipedia. However, at the level Robert McClenon is asking about it seems to be getting at issues of a bit more complexity. There's obviously quite a bit of research into the interaction, and conflict, between individuals at different language competencies, and it might help to have someone more familiar with this work weigh in. I do want to note (as noted in the abstract of Cohen 2001) that plenty of editors may be coming in with perfectly workable communication skills in a technical field (such that they would be a valuable WP editor on such articles, even collaboratively), but as soon as the environment switches to something like dispute resolution which inevitably gets wordy and lawyery (even if we pretend we don't), the effectiveness of communication can quickly break down. So are such editors simply to be discarded, as several commenters above are suggesting? Is the heated lawyery dispute resolution really the only possible way in which such situations can be resolved, and those not capable of participating in the most nonproductive of transfer of bytes on WP servers are disqualified from the project?
Some effort would have to be made by a small group of editors, two or three maybe with the help of an admin, to work out some general procedure for notifying an admin if such a situation is suspected, positively identifying such a situation, then eventually a summary judgement with pre-arranged simple means of communicating, in a much more visual and concise manner than the walls of text that are our policy pages, the limitations set, should there be some. As I'd imagine it off the top of my head, a temporary partial topic ban would be the most likely outcome in practice if the judgement is positive, but I'm sure people figuring it out and testing it would create something more robust.
I laughed out loud at Waggers's final line. Maybe their watchlist needs more variety. Try hitting the "random article" button from time to time. SamuelRiv (talk) 05:12, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yup. If anyone ever wants some easy wiki work to do, hit me up. Absolutely no shortage of work, including time-consuming and mind-numbingly repetitive but extremely easy, 'round the Lepidopteran corner of the wiki... AddWittyNameHere 06:13, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Doesn't matter if they really really want to edit English Wikipedia: competence in written English communication is an absolute requirement, and frankly in my view it's insulting when people try to edit articles in a language in which they do not have sufficient proficiency. I would feel I was being culturally offensive if I tried to edit another language project without having command of that language. If I don't understand the words on the page, it would be extremely egotistical of me to think I could possibly improve them. If I tried, I'd just be wasting the time of that project's volunteers, and risking misinforming the project's readers. It's real harm. And so if someone told me to stop editing in that other language wiki, I wouldn't think that was rude or uncalled for. At this point I think we have all the world's major languages covered, there's no need for anyone to edit in a language they don't speak fluently. Levivich 21:18, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thought experiment: in a CIR article, would you be more offended by an editor leaving behind any of these common ESL mistakes (that can be cleaned by any passing IP editor), or by making basic mistakes in the subject material itself?
In real cases, lots of our articles benefit (or potentially benefit) from native speakers of non-Romance languages, or who have access to non-Western offline libraries, and many editors in this pool could potentially fail your "absolute requirement". Since I've heard general agreement in other threads that more effort should be put into developing conflict management strategies on wiki, I can't see why language discrepancy can't be a part of what's developed, at the very least as part of a wider scope of alternative needs. Obviously there are plenty of cases where a particular user's edits to an article are generally counterproductive, and as those go beyond just language issues we're still really talking about conflict resolution in practice and the improvements needed, and not just some flat new policy (that would still in practice come down to a Talk page impasse and an admin intervention). SamuelRiv (talk) 17:06, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Has Wikipedia policy ever shifted toward inclusion?

I am curious if there are any points when PAGs that previously excluded content have changed to include it. For example, has a notability guideline ever been successfully amended to extend notability more broadly than it previously did? (My hypothesis is "no, never", but I'd be very interested in falsifying that.) Just curious if any examples come to mind. Many thanks in advance! -- Visviva (talk) 17:10, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The general notability guideline has been stable over the years (and a quick note that guidelines and policy have different specific meanings on Wikipedia). I'd have to do some research to see how it's changed but since it's been stable I don't think it's shifted in any meaningful way either towards or against inclusion. But if I really understand your question, the recent changes to NSPORT were a shift away from inclusion, but likewise SNGs have been added (though admittedly none since 2011). Existing SNG criteria are also sometimes expanded, such as when more women athletes were presumed notable under NSPORT as the number of women's leagues increased (though obviously this is a bit complicated now with the overall change to it). Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 17:23, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks! I will need to add some nuance to my thoughts on what SNG creation signifies. -- Visviva (talk) 17:30, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You really have to examine when a specific SNG was created. Some predate the GNG, but others were written as a reaction to GNG (laying out alternatives to GNG)… while a few were written to reinforce GNG. Some are more inclusionist in their criteria, others are more exclusionist. The most stable ones tend to aim for a practical middle road: too inclusionist for some editors, while at the same time being too exclusionist for others. Blueboar (talk) 20:10, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, fair point. But still. Herostratus (talk) 22:08, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I still think Herostratus makes a good point because the notable subjects are indeed strictly limited even if they are not all done yet, and so the shift must inevitably lead toward more inclusive since the stated goals of Wikipedia also include "...free access to the sum of all human knowledge." "...that contains information on all branches of knowledge." it seems inclusion is a foregone conclusion, and arguments that I always hear mainly from deletionists with needless worry about "endless this" or "endless that" make no sense at all to me because even when we run out of the notable stuff we will follow through to the logical conclusion that even less notable stuff is limited, and finite. There is no "endless this" or "endless that". It's just an imaginary "problem" to "solve". Some people wrongly identify me as an inclusionist by the way I talk, but I'm not. I'm just against hard core deletionism. I find it to be most harmful. Hardcore inclusionism is also harmful, but I only see it manifest on articles, where it is easy to dispense with, whereas I see deletionism manifest in policy, where it takes diligence, and an act of congress to sniff it out, and set it right so I think deletionism is far more harmful. Huggums537 (talk) 22:59, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Our standards have raised considerably since I've been here. Especially through 2015ish, the running theme of FA after a few years is that they either improve with the times or they get delisted (which is why I find FA OWNers' typical interpretations of FAOWN hilarious, but that's for other threads). Bot-created stubs have been largely cleaned up, and although if I weren't dormant at the time I would have vehemently opposed AfC, the research and implementation have held up. There's a lot to worry about with the future of Wikipedia (for my part I think the editor retention issue and ingroup mentalities are hand-in-hand at the top of the list, though probably only the former matters, since more editors would make the ingroup people matter less), but a decline in standards is not one of them. A decline in quality by other metrics and definitions, however -- politicization/moralization, single-track options to editing and conflict, editorX over UX (not exactly new behaviors, but not acceptable with how ubiquitous a resource WP is) -- that I will definitely hear out. SamuelRiv (talk) 22:38, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It has been necessary to restrict what topics are included due to either on popular culture topics that can be endlessly sourced to primary material but not secondary works, excessively detailed news coverage, or due to those b trying to ask WP as a promotional source. Most other changes in notability have been a result or the mass article creation leave unexpandable stubs, we have a long way to go in covering more academic material since we are a volunteer project and academic subjects are lacking. We also know that they are minority groups underrepresented on AP that we are limited by sourcing that we are seeking the means to expand. So there are areas we want more inclusion, while we are still more deletions in others.Masem (t) 02:25, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While the sheer number of articles is something to boast about and may attract donations, the obverse is that the increasing complaints and jokes in the media about the reliability of Wikipedia may well be putting other donors off. Atsme, a lead NPP tutor, sums it up well with her “It's better for us to have 5,500,000 quality articles than 6,500,000 that include a million garbage articles. Funders donate because they are expecting some level of quality in what we publish.” I think NPPers and anyone else who is familiar with the content of the daily submissions of new articles will quickly concur that all advantages brought by the 2018 ACPERM policy have since been lost through the increase in the availability of broadband connectivity and the drop in prices of mobile devices.
Not all the traditional encyclopedic topics have been exhausted yet; as WhatamIdoing suggests, 'many such holes exist' but as basically a technology company for hosting the corpora, the Foundation is ostensibly developing what has become its main goal rather than developing the genuinely required software needs of its encyclopedia editors and attending to the community's appeals for tools for its quality supervisors. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:54, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm of the mind that the WMF needs to make more quality sources readily available to editors, especially AfC and NPP reviewers, and content creators. We are expected to determine whether or not a topic is notable based on the cited sources and coverage via what means? A Google search? And what happens if we don't use the right combo of keywords, or the needed material is in a book, or it is in an archived news article, or paywalled journal? Using geographic feature as an example, what are our expectations of widespread coverage for named, obviously notable, geographic features? Should we automatically assume named geographic features are not notable if they fail SIGCOV, and swoosh them away at AfD? I think not, but at the same time, I don't think we should automatically include articles about every named sandbar around the globe. On the other hand, if a particular group of named sandbars on major rivers in different states are known to provide critical habitat for migratory endangered species, then should we only include an article about the endangered species and a little section about the sandbars, or would those named sandbars be notable as standalone articles? I think the latter, as long as those named sandbars are verifiable and can be cited to at least 1 or 2 sources upon article creation. NEXIST would then apply because there's a high likelihood that a group of biologists and researchers have documented important information about those named sandbars in their respective state resource publications, or perhaps USF&WS has published something about them, and what the public needs to know; it could even be something as simple as a USF&WS sign at the location that makes it noteworthy. There may also be a bit of coverage by local news, so where do we draw the line for "adequate coverage" and notability? Is it a general belief that all editors who focus on "cleaning up the pedia of non-expandable stubs" actually know what resources to access in order to expand a stub if they are not familiar with that particular topic? There are many notable topics that have not received widespread coverage as say a celebrity, or sports personality, a disaster, or a scientific break-thru, but that doesn't make them any less notable. We have a finite number of writers/reporters/journalists/researchers and publications in our global talent pool, and they cannot possibly cover everything on a global scale. We should also not overlook potential historic significance of a topic which means we need access to old newspapers, and the like.
  • WP:TWL has been moving in the right direction relative to securing more free access to important sources for us, and deserve accolades for their efforts, but free access is still limited which means you may end up on a waiting list. It is time for WMF to shake loose of some funding or at least bargain for more access to paywalled resources so we can properly do our jobs. I have mentioned the paywall issue more than once on Jimmy's TP several years ago before it became the issue it is today. Not all NPP reviewers and serious content creators can access Nature, or PNAS, or JSTOR along with a host of other resources behind paywalls, so how can we properly determine WP:N if we cannot access the necessary sources? What exactly is needed to establish "adequate coverage" when common sense tells us a topic is indeed notable? Some of our guidelines actually work in that regard at AfD, including WP:CONTN, WP:NEXIST and SNG, but they need more clarity and clout, not the opposite as some have suggested. SIGCOV should not be the sole determining factor for notability because there are far too many topics that are worthy of being noted or attracting notice. We also need to craft a specific policy to ward off questionable mass deletions (ArbCom is inching closer toward an RfC on this topic) and pay closer attention to the benefits of SNG because of the nuances that require critical thinking skills and common sense in lieu of a simple binary approach per SIGCOV and GNG. After all, WP is supposed to be the sum of all knowledge. Atsme 💬 📧 10:40, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe not on topic, but I think the English Wikipedia needs to prioritize bringing unsourced or under-sourced stubs up to a minimum level of quality before worrying about expanding coverage. At the very least, let us try to raise existing articles to a minimum standard of quality faster than we add new poor-quality articles. I have an example of the problem with letting poorly sourced sub-stubs sit around for years, described at User:Donald Albury/The rescue of a sub-stub biography. This is not the first poor-quality article that I have expanded, but it was particularly egregious in how much it had wrong about the subject. That it sat around for more than ten years with so much misinformation in it is an embarassment to Wikipedia. - Donald Albury 16:52, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are 1,773 Category:All unreferenced BLPs, and why we're not batch-moving them to draftspace, I don't know. There are another >100,000 Category:All articles lacking sources and >430,000 Category:All articles needing additional references. I remember a recent discussion about this and there was no consensus to batch move these out of mainspace, as I recall. Levivich 19:27, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Who is "the English Wikipedia" that should do this, if not us? And what if I decide that my own WP:VOLUNTEER efforts are best spent doing the opposite?
I fairly often see editors who have made "only" dozens, rather than tens of thousands, of edits who are adding sources to existing content or adding new material plus a source. I wonder what we would find, if we compared the contributions of the editors in this discussion against the ideal of expanding and sourcing existing articles. My own contributions today have likely removed more sourced text than I added. Several people in this discussion haven't expanded or added a source to an article in a long while. In fact, several haven't touched the mainspace for days – or months, in at least one case. I have heard that one of the Wikipedia's has a WP:NOTHERE concept that expects 30% of all edits to be in the mainspace. It's not a hard-and-fast rule (e.g., you don't want to ban someone who solves problems with templates), but their idea is that Wikipedia needs more getting the work done and fewer people who do little except tell others what they ought to do. I suspect that many of us here would be in trouble. I suspect that, if you look at the last several years, you'd find that three-quarters of my edits were outside the main namespace. If you didn't count non-content-oriented edits (e.g., formatting edits, WP:AWB runs, etc.), then perhaps a large fraction of the Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by number of edits editors would be consider "not here" to write an encyclopedia. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:45, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Letter-like unicode characters in quotes and cites

Sometimes websites (and particularly people posting things on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc.) use unicode characters that resemble plain Latin characters, substituting these for their "plain" equivalents purely for typographic effect. Examples include:

There are websites which offer cut-and-paste translation into all of these, so it's easy for someone to do (without any arcane unicode knowledge, and with no ill-intention).

It strikes me that these are readability and accessibility problems when that text is copied into Wikipedia articles (either as quotations, or as the titles of references). I'd love to know what a screen reader makes of all of the above. I chanced upon Mateusz Malina today, which references a Facebook page than uses Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols purely for bolding. I'd be inclined to simply rewrite the text in the plain Latin characters, but I'd like to cite the specific part of the MOS that covers that. Which is a problem, as it seems WP:ACCESSIBILITY and MOS:CONFORM are silent on the topic.

Is there anywhere else in MOS that covers this?

If there isn't, I'd suggest there should be. Something to the effect of "if the original text uses <the above wacky stuff> to substitute for Latin characters solely for typographical effect, and the intended Latin text is unambiguous, convert the text into the equivalent Latin characters".

Thoughts? -- Finlay McWalter··–·Talk 13:48, 12 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oh, I forgot Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms - e.g. Translate - in addition to deliberate typographical effect, you sometimes see this in text from Japanese or Korean sources, likely where the person creating the text wasn't a confident English speaker, and wasn't aware that the text they were creating would be so odd. -- Finlay McWalter··–·Talk 13:57, 12 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Finlay McWalter well, for page titles: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English). Also, as this is the English Wikipedia, articles should be written in English, spelling words with those symbols instead of letters isn't English. — xaosflux Talk 14:04, 12 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I'd certainly that's the case for titles and the text of the article. But we do have quotes in foreign languages many places. I'd think the matter of translating these from pseudo-english to actual-english would be uncontentious. -- Finlay McWalter··–·Talk 14:10, 12 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you are looking for a Manual of Style entry that says "Articles in the English Wikipedia must be written in English", I don't think I can help you there (See also: Wikipedia:You don't need to cite that the sky is blue.). The "cover" of our encyclopedia (Main Page) does say: This Wikipedia is written in English. I also can't point you to a MOS that says "Words used in articles must be spelled correctly", see again WP:BLUE. Spelling words using such symbols is not considered correct spelling, so in general they should not be included in articles. If the symbols themselves are especially noteworthy of the subject, they could quoted in article prose (which should explain why they are noteworthy, and be reliably referenced).
Regarding actual foreign language quotes, see Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Foreign-language_quotationsxaosflux Talk 14:38, 12 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal to change how list criteria are documented

There is a proposal for changing the way list criteria are documented in stand-alone lists. Please feel free to join in the discussion here. Thanks! — hike395 (talk) 11:59, 13 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

North Korea: reliability of sources

A long while back, I made an RfC on the source Daily NK. In the discussion, we discussed how sources are generally unreliable when it comes to the topic of North Korea due to the country being so closed off, so much so that even reliable sources like New York Times often reports false information on the topic. Here is an excert of the closing admin's remarks:

The Daily NK has been shown to be wrong multiple times; however, it has noticeable WP:USEBYOTHERS by some of our most reliable sources, not to mention the South Korean government, which you'd think would be the most interested ... For the area of North Korea we should treat all sources with a great deal of skepticism ... Certainly we don't use Daily NK alone for information in Wikipedia's voice, but does that mean "don't use" or "use with attribution"? It has to depend on the specific instance. That's not going to be an easy rule to follow, but a) we don't really have the option to write nothing about a nation of 25 million people that regularly makes front page international news, yet b) to be absolutely safe we'd basically have to do that, because there are no good sources. DailyNK seems as good as any, which isn't very. (There are plenty of worse ones!) We are here to present the world's knowledge, and the world talks a lot about North Korea, but what it says is often wrong.

In the discussion, it was brought up that perhaps there should be an addition to policies or guidelines, such that it addresses these specific issues. In particular, if it is the case that there are no reliable sources on something that needs to be covered (in this instance, modern internal affairs of North Korea, but would generally apply to things that are closed off or treated in a secretive manner), generally unreliable sources may be used without attribution, albeit with great caution.

Should there be an addition to policies or guidelines in regards to this, whether using the logic I have conveyed or using a different path of logic? Or perhaps a different set of actions should be taken, or this concern is already adequately addressed by policies and guidelines? TheGEICOgecko (talk) 18:09, 15 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can't remember where I saw this, but I recall editors asserting not too long ago in a source discussion about NK (unfortunately, I think it was located on a talk page about an NK-related article and thus can't find it) that despite the popular perception of NK as a hermetically-sealed state totally inaccessible to outside reporting or research, that hasn't really been true since the 90s, and high quality research is available in scholarly publications. I'm not a subject matter expert on NK, but a quick glance at Google Scholar results for articles about NK published in the last decade appears to confirm this. There may still be cause to doubt normally-reliable English-language journalistic RS on NK, or to use Daily NK for uncontroversial subject matter, but my sense is that NK is not significantly less accessible to RS than other countries with minimal press freedoms such as Uzbekistan or Russia, and may actually be more accessible than other countries such as Eritrea or the self-proclaimed DPR/LPR. signed, Rosguill talk 18:33, 15 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this whole idea of "generally unreliable" needs to be re-worked from the ground up. Being from a "closed off" society does not make a source "generally unreliable". If that were the case, then all historical sources would be generally unreliable, because there's no society on Earth so "closed off" as one that requires time travel to visit it.
Think about that source. There are many things that we would not want to use it for ("The Glorious Leader announces that poverty has been eradicated"). There are also many things that it's useful for ("On Monday, Lee Kim was appointed the new Minister of Foo").
Consider the equivalent in any struggling or repressive country. Maybe you will think of Cuba or Venezuela. Maybe you will think of Iran or Syria. Maybe you will think of the difficulties of reporting associated with Ukraine–Russia crisis. It doesn't matter what the specific situation is. As a Wikipedia editor, you take the publication (newspaper, government press release – it doesn't really matter for this purpose), you look at its context and reputation (hmm, you get jail time for "insulting the monarch" in Thailand; might want to take that into account, if the subject is criticism of the Thai government), and you figure out whether this source is strong enough to support the thing you want to write about. If it is, it's "reliable". If it's not, find another.
Something isn't reliable if it could be used for anything or everything. It's reliable if a good editor would accept that for the specific claim. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:43, 15 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I get what you're saying, but "generally unreliable" is only a general description of the reliability of a source. Of course a source should be used as if it were reliable, regardless of how reliable the source generally is, if it can be determined to be reliable in that specific instance. And no, being closed-off isn't a particular requirement to make a source generally unreliable, me mentioning the closed-offness only describes the problem rather than implies that it inherently causes a problem, closed-offness does not inherently make something unreliable. Historical sources are only considered reliable if experts come to a consensus that it is reliable (or something of the like that externally gives the source credibility). The fact that it is historical means it probably should be treated with a great deal of skepticism, without any external/secondary credibility. With the topic of North Korea, the case is the same, any source talking about the topic should be treated with automatic skepticism, rather than assumed general reliability, as one might be able to do with New York Times. TheGEICOgecko (talk) 06:24, 16 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just used the Daily NK thing as context, but what I'm proposing isn't specifically about North Korea. If it is the case that North Korea is not nearly as inaccessible as people generally believe, I assume there are other topics, less broad than that of a whole country, that would also fall under this category of there being no reliable sources, despite it being a topic that needs to be mentioned? I'm not particularly familiar with topics that have sparse public knowledge, but perhaps things that are classified? Or what a user mentioned in the Daily NK RfC, "What are conditions inside of China's Uighur camps, for example? Or how many Russians died in WW2? Or in the Gulags?" TheGEICOgecko (talk) 06:30, 16 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In theory, that problem doesn't exist. If a point is not mentioned in any reliable source, then that point is automatically undue and mentioning it would be a violation of NPOV. And now that I've told you that you're completely wrong and that the problem doesn't exist, let me give you about a thousand examples of this problem on wiki:
  • MEDRS declares all primary scholarly sources and all mass media to be basically unreliable; and yet we still have articles on Category:Experimental drugs, some substantial fraction of which cannot be sourced to MEDRS's ideal.
  • See also all COVID-19 articles, especially when considered from the start of the lockdowns in March 2020: no proper peer-reviewed secondary sources in academic journals for 99% of the content, barely any truly independent secondary sources (especially about vaccines and the efficacy of each government's actions), and yet we decided that we needed a huge number of articles on those subjects.
In other cases, there are things we feel "needs to be mentioned" but which cannot be sourced to a "generally reliable" source. Consider, e.g., birthdates (or at least years) for most BLPs. Self-published posts to social media are not generally reliable sources. If you are writing about a typical notable-but-not-exactly-famous person, like a business owner or a typical professor, the only source for the birthdate is: whatever the subject posts on the internet. NPOV would tell you not to bother putting that in the article (because it wasn't important enough to independent sources to mention it, so we shouldn't), but some editors still feel like a biography needs to include that information. Is a statement that "Today's my birthday" on Twitter a reliable source for objective facts? Not "generally", but it is "actually" reliable for this purpose, because editors actually do accept that as a strong enough source for that statement. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:01, 16 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I guess what I was trying to say is for the instances when there is no reliable source, even when generally reliable sources cover it. But I think you sort of implicitly answered that too: policies and guidelines on the matter uses the term "reliable sources", not "generally reliable sources" (since Perennial sources is only an essay). So if I'm interpreting NPOV, RS, etc. correctly, if there were to ever be a time a topic is extensively covered by all the news organizations, and if it can be determined that all of the sources are reporting in an unreliable manner, then the topic should not be covered, or it needs to be covered but only with attribution or something of the sort. TheGEICOgecko (talk) 14:57, 17 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have been thinking this year that we need an actual definition, of the sort that would be approved by a professional dictionary editor, for the term reliable sources. So far, I'm thinking that the definitions are:
Reliable source
A source that experienced Wikipedia editors accept as being appropriate and adequate support for the specific statement in question. For example:
checkY A specific tweet from Donald Trump's Twitter account, to support a statement that he tweeted something.
☒N A chemistry textbook, to support a statement about Donald Trump's use of Twitter.
Generally reliable source
A source that experienced Wikipedia editors would probably find useful for writing an article, or at least a substantial paragraph, about the main subject of the source. For example:
checkY An organic chemistry textbook.
☒N Anything on Twitter.
So far, we've avoided having definitions. We tell people how to identify a reliable source, but not what it is. I think we need this partly because of the rise of RSP, which re-uses the "reliable" language to it means something different. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:00, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your definition is by community norms, elucidated through example. That is ('by definition') a definition defined solely by praxis, as in how to identify a reliable source.
And I'll accept that there are a sizable number of people in the world who find dictionary-style definitions illustrative in themselves. But only if they'll accept that there are a sizable number who find exactly the opposite. There's a reason it's a comedy meme (TvTropes). SamuelRiv (talk) 20:16, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And this might stray a bit off topic, but if I accurately described Wikipedia policy, should WP:DAILYNK be changed? Or is there a reason it is still sound reasoning that is in line with NPOV? TheGEICOgecko (talk) 15:10, 17 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah it should probably be changed. I'm not seeing it as a good source if it's the only source for a fact. If there are other sources, and we are reasonably confident that they have independently checked the fact rather than credulously taking NK Daily at its word, that's different. But then you can use them instead. So, some other observations:
Yes, it us correct that most all sources are less reliable than you probably think. But we have to use something.
Persons are generally poor sources for information about themselves, as they are not a neutral observers and are subject to wishful-thinking memories (or sometimes flat spin or cherry-pick facts). Regarding birthdays specifically, Stan Kenton, Gene Tierney, Jackie DeShannon, and Mariah Carey are four people I know of who either thought their birthday was different than it really is, or else played cute with their birthday for professional or personal reasons. In all four cases forensic digging was required to get the right date. I'm sure there are many more. Birth certificates reliable for our standards, but can (rarely) be wrong also.
WP:RS correctly notes that there are only two sources that are assumed (not proven) to be probably reliable for a given fact: sources with robust independent fact-checking operations (such as Der Spiegel for instance) or that are known to have been independently fact-checked, and peer-reviewed academic journals. Everything else is up for discussion.
The "attributed, but not given in our voice" can be a bullshit workaround. "According to [source], John Smith is a mountebank" has, basically the same impact on many readers as "John Smith is a mountebank". Kind of like "I'm not saying it, I'm just saying that a lot of people are saying it". Sometimes attribution is OK, but a lot of times not.
Some of the things I would like or need to know about Daily NK before considering it reliable are
  • How many fact-checkers do they have? How good are they? How much time are they given to fact-check articles, and how do they do it? Are they genuinely independent -- that is, can or cannot an editor overrule them? (Granted, this is hard to find out for most any publication. Sometimes you can make an educated guess.)
  • What's their business model? What does their target audience want from them (for instance, the target audience of the The Economist expects them to get their facts right or else they'll stop subscribing; is NK Daily using that sort of business model)?
  • Do they have any agenda? Do they have a motive to spin or cherry-pick facts?
And more, but those are some key questions. Are the answers to these questions satisfactory, and do we know these answers with a sufficient level of confidence?
If there is any fact that the is reported inn NK Daily and not elsewhere, we should leave it out. Yes I know sometimes we really want to report some fact that we consider important, that is important, and we consider NK Daily to very likely be correct on this fact, but "very likely" is below our bar for reporting facts. Herostratus (talk) 01:18, 19 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And for problems with self-sourceing for birthplaces, see Talk:Burt Reynolds from 2007. Donald Albury 14:36, 19 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Herostratus wrote Birth certificates reliable for our standards, and I would finish that sentence "...but their use is banned by WP:BLPPRIMARY.
We don't actually require fact-checking. We especially don't require "independent" fact-checking (which almost doesn't exist, for any reasonable definition of "independent"). I think editors would do better to focus on the line in WP:RS about whether the source is "an appropriate source for that content". State-controlled media is a very appropriate source for some content (e.g., names and titles of various state officials). It is a very inappropriate source for other content (e.g., the motives of states they're in conflict with). WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:03, 26 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
[Re: "...but their use is banned by WP:BLPPRIMARY"]: It's a wiki, nothing is "banned" that improves the project, see the core and founding rule WP:IAR. Not using birth certificates is obviously silly, and I ignore anything that tries to make me do silly things, and I recommend it.
[Re: everything else]: Alright. Yes, the requirement for fact checking is not absolute. (There is independent fact-checking, in publications where, by policy and culture, the fact-checkers don't report directly to the editors and have the final say on what goes in, or a least the power to make their case fairly; and the peers in "peer-reviewed" are also independent and able to make their rulings stick, or are supposed to be.)
Yeah state-controlled media is pretty good. If the main paper in Dictatorland says that Pinckey Pruddle has been made Minister of Defense, you can be pretty sure that that has been stone cold verified (cos if not, and it's wrong, somebody is going to get shot). As is often true, we don't know what their internal fact-checking operation is actually like, but we can deduce that it must be sufficiently rigorous for our purposes.
But the Daily NK isn't state media. It's a private organization. Its article says "Its sources inside North Korea communicate with the main office using Chinese cell phones"... well I mean if they get a call saying that Kim Jong-un was spotted on a train heading to China, Daily NK can use that if they want. Can we? No, not even close. Maybe the caller didn't see what she thought she saw, maybe she misunderstood where the train was headed, maybe she didn't see it but was told it by a person whom she considers reliable but got it wrong, or whatever. If it was the New York Times reporting on Justin Trudeau flying to Mexico, we can be confident that they have checked this with the Canadian government and/or otherwise fact-checked it. The New York Times is not going to publish "Trudeau Making Mexico Visit" based on what one person thinks they saw at the airport.
Not only that, but come on: agenda, much? Daily NK looks to be a fine publication. But I mean they're anti-North Korea. If they're not publishing or withholding or polishing or spinning or accepting items to fit their agenda, that violates what they're about. They might not do it anyway, but I'm not sufficiently confident of that, knowing people.
Again, we are talking about if NK Daily is the only source for our fact. Sorry, but I can't as a general rule have sufficient confidence that the fact is almost surely true. Heck, even the New York Times and everybody else gets things wrong often enough. Of course there are exceptions, but really the only exception I can think of is that the fact has also been verified somewhere else. Herostratus (talk) 02:49, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I disagree; IMO not using birth certificates is very sensible. There is no way to know be certain that the "Robert Smith" in the birth certificate is the same Robert Smith the article is about.
I feel, overall, like you might not be very familiar with the practical side of fact-checking processes. I think you might be interested in reading articles like these: [1] [2] WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:39, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, we can't always trust our feelings. I've read those articles and many others, and I rationally believe that I know what I'm talking about. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Herostratus (talkcontribs)
First, RSN is not the determinant of WP policy, not even when they "deprecate" a source. It is Essay-equivalent. Second, the MOS and guides to citations don't yet detail how to do secondary citations, which is a pity. In cases where something like the NYT cites NKD, then you do a secondary citation: "NKD, cited in NYT" or if you prefer, "NYT, citing NKD". RSN recently affirmed this for another deprecated source. Whatever you think of NKD or any other source with similar dubiousness, if a mainstream high-quality news outlet is using them as their sole primary source in their reprinting (as in, "according to NKD reporting" is on every single line), then you do a secondary citation.
As for other cases, such as for example an article about some random off-street in Pyongyang, can you use NKD as a source to note that there is a pothole? Other editors vehemently disagree, but I think this is the exactly thing where WP:ContextMatters should apply. A more important example is for quotations from government officials and agencies -- surely state and propaganda media are fine sources for what some general said to them was their public position, even if he had a position of significant power over them. Is an official statement printed in a popular newspaper somehow not the public position of a government official or agency? It is performative. SamuelRiv (talk) 04:01, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think you're conflating RSP and RSN, which is understandable. But I do want to quibble that, when a consensus of editors in an RFC determine that sources are reliable or unreliable, that does have the binding power of editors' consensus, and is not equivalent to an essay. The board itself simply summarizes a binding consensus, and is not itself a policy. Andre🚐 23:18, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The RfC said that NK News was not reliable. That does not mean that when their reporting is cited in reliable sources it cannot be mentioned. If for example, a NYT article says, "according to NK News, Kim Jong Il cuts his own hair," we can say, "according to NK News, Kim Jong Il cuts his own hair." We just cannot report it as fact. There is no reason why Wikipedia articles should assign greater certainty to claims in NK News than American news media does. TFD (talk) 04:11, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. Generally reliable sources can be used for truth. Generally unreliable sources can't necessarily be trusted, but that doesn't mean they can never be mentioned and attributed in the appropriate context. They just can't be used to cite the truth of a statement. Andre🚐 04:19, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I suppose. However, caution here. As a practical matter, the difference between "Smith has declared bankruptcy over 20 times" and "According to the Daily Unreliable, Smith has declared bankruptcy over 20 times" [and with the ref being "Daily Unreliable, cited in National Reliable") is probably lost on most readers: the reader comes away thinking "Wow, Smith has had a lot of bankruptcies". Sometimes this is used to put something before the reader for sketchy reasons, with the deniability of "well, we're not saying it in our voice".
If the New York Timesreports a fact from NK Daily, have they made phone calls to Korea, or had a local reporter or stringer go and double-check that it's true. I dunno, and "who knows?" is not a very good standard for considering reliability. The New York Times has a different business model than we do, and for all I know their policy is "enh, probably true, print it, if it's wrong we can issue a correction". I don't know. But they do have to usually publish facts pretty quickly, I guess, and their overall top goal is to sell papers. It'd different for their own reporting, they do have some sort of fact-checking operation for that I am pretty sure. Herostratus (talk) 21:59, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree to a point, but I think for a source like the NYT that we consider generally reliable, if they will report "According to NK Daily, blah blah," I think we can report that according to the genrel NYT, NK Daily blah blah. That seems unlikely to burn us. Andre🚐 22:01, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's an audience who views CNN as reliable and Fox as not, an audience who views the reverse, and a comparably large audience who only has an opinion on Dainik Jagran versus Dainik Bhaskar. The point of inline in-prose attribution to a notable outlet or author is not because we presume the reader to have familiarity with their reputation (if that reputation is relevant they are wikilinked or their work is described further in text) -- it is primarily to detach a potentially opinionated, nebulous, controversial, unconfirmed, etc. claim to the reputation of a notable person or institution. Whether the reader wants to explore that reputation further is up to them, but that attachment to something notable both strengthens the justification for including the controversial claim, in that someone's reputation and/or career prospects are on the line, and also provides the claim with implicit caveats in wikivoice per the tone of prose the encyclopedia has already established. All this, again, is independent of whatever prior knowledge the reader may or may not have about the source, or whether or not the reader chooses to look into the source further. SamuelRiv (talk) 23:13, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If the NYT publishes attributed statements, then the assumption is they have some credibility unless the NYT article says they don't. While Wikipedia editors cannot distinguish between true, credible or false claims in unreliable sources and cannot engage in fact-checking, professional journalists can.
Incidentally, a lot of information in news reporting comes from unpublished unreliable (per Wikipedia) sources. For example, an article might say "according to a State Department official," or "sources have told the NYT." Notice the wording an Al Jazeera article published yesterday, "Risk of leak at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant: Operator":
Ukraine’s state energy operator said
Energoatom said
The agency said
Russia’s defence ministry said
The ministry said
It said
Reuters could not verify the battlefield report.
Recent satellite images from Planet Labs showed
Regional authorities also said
said Valentyn Reznichenko
Energoatom said
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said
Zelenskyy warned
Officials said
Ukraine has claimed
Moscow, for its part, accuses
Even if we wait until historians attempt to determine the facts, there will still be gaps. But we couldn't write a balanced article without mentioning unconfirmed information.
TFD (talk) 13:25, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Authors' works lists

I came across some edits that used citation templates for scholarly footnotes in author bibliographies, gave ISBN numbers and other information where they were not important or could be disruptive as pointed out in the Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists of works, resulted in clearly substandard layouts (to my eyes at least) like

from my third link below, and generally didn't conform to standard in most articles about authors (see for example Paul Auster, Honoré de Balzac, Günter Grass (albeit with ISBNs steering towards certain editions), Henrik Ibsen, Toni Morrison (same as Grass), Joyce Carol Oates).

I tried to give some first aid to these lists and explain why, but got them all reverted (almost) without comment. So i wonder what others think about this. Does the MOS/Lists of works need to be revised, for example, including the difference between a works list item and a scholarly citation made clearer?

Pertinent articles: [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Thank you. (talk) 23:41, 16 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

MOS:WORKS does say ((Cite book)) may be used to format bibliography entries Schazjmd (talk) 23:58, 16 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Template:Cite book#Display options discusses using author-mask, etc. MOS:WORKS#ISBNs suggests using them. Adakiko (talk) 00:05, 17 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In Victor LaValle, the editor has chosen to use author-mask=2 which results in the long line. If author-mask=0 is used, there is no line. Perhaps suggest that option on the article's talk page? (Personally I think it looks much better without the line.) Schazjmd (talk) 00:07, 17 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Both as Schazjmd says and year shouldn't be first. A literary work isn't a piece of research that may be inaccurate in a year. Plus all the things pertaining to an exact edition of which there may be or be going to be several and which aren't important to finding the work anyway (unless, exceptionally, the work is revised, and then a "revised edition [year]" or similar will usually suffice). That too is quite another thing with research. (talk) 00:14, 17 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When author-mask=0, the year will no longer be listed before the title. Schazjmd (talk) 00:19, 17 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, thanks. The technical side isn't my thing. (talk) 00:20, 17 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The year of first publication is important, because someone might want to know which book came first, or to know something about the general time period. It really does matter whether a literary work was published in 1938 or 1998, and there are authors whose careers span more than 50 years.
In general, both the year of publication and the ISBN would ideally be for the first edition. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:13, 17 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
=== 1 ===
I usually try to use the 1st ed, particularly hardcover version if it is released first; otherwise, I use the first paperback. If it is released only in ebook format on the day of publication, I use that ISBN. I also often write out that it's 1st editi like this:
Some people might think it looks "weird", though it is as systemetized as possible. It leads to less anomalistic structures or punctuation mistakes and standardizes the order and what comes first. it's always author, year, edit, imprint, isbn of the ed listed. It gives the optimal amount of info about the novel, etc. in the shortest compact amount of space.
Please let me know if any of this does not make sense or is incorrect usage of the parameters in cite book. I would like to avoid misusing parameters.
=== 2 ===
When it comes to using mask=2, I prefer it since it makes the year and names of the work align with each other in the listing. Having the author name in every single line is redundant, in honest opinion, and I only have authors visible if a co-author is involved, like this:
In this case, the article author is Sarah Monette, with co-author Bear.
I see that some find the line looking bad or unattractive. Is that a consensus among most people? Does anyone know? I think it looks fine and result in less space wasted by author name listed again.
=== 3 ===
Another question is ISBNs. obviously, there's multiple ways to display ISBN, and I've always liked 13-digit over the shorter one, and I type / display only 1 dash. Which is preferable?
The 10 digit version became essentially obsolete after 2007 as far as I've heard. So for works before 2007, should we be using 10 or 13 digit?
Adding all the dashes to a 13 makes it cluttered, except I know that it's useful to some people since it indicates registrant and location of publication. Infobox standards suggest use the dashes like here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Infobox_book. So practically and aesthetically, overall, how important are dashes?
=== 4 ===
Additionally, I'm interested in page numbers. Normally, citations discussing a particular part of say a scholarly journal would say the page numbers that are relevant. I find it might be a useful way of saying how long the work is like this:
  1. —— (1990). The Moonbane Mage (paperback ed.). DAW. pp. 1–254. ISBN 978-0886774158.
however, I realize that this might not be accepted, since a) that is use beyond the original intent of pages; and b) print size and number of words per page can vary. Any recommend on the use of this parameter would be helpful. Create a template (talk) 09:11, 18 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
and sorry it should be 978-0-7653-2470-2 Create a template (talk) 09:23, 18 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@WhatamIdoing: please note I did not say the year of (first) publication could be omitted. I said it shouldn't come first. (talk) 14:53, 18 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Create a template: in the articles I linked to (or for Oates a link from that), and many others, as per a moment ago, you can see how it's usually done.
That includes being done without ugly and unnecessary extra lines after the item dots (let alone semicolons, which don't even belong in a listing. Perhaps colon is what you, like many others nowadays, are after, but that too is unnecessary here). What you mean by "author name listed again" I don't understand. In the works list of an article about a certain author, of course you needn't list neither the name of that author nor a placeholder for it again before every work. Therefore, in many of your own edits and examples, the author isn't what comes first, but the year. As you can see from most articles here (and similar mentions in other places), for literary and artistic works the expected "first" is the title. When they are not actually used and (foot)noted as references, that is.
As for edition, it's the first that counts. Not ever the first paperback unless there's no bound one before. Same goes for revisions if there are any.
Reasons against ISBN numbers are given both in the MOS page and by me. Have you read them?
I, at least, think it's bad netiquette undoing serious and explained edits without explaining. (talk) 15:23, 18 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Contrast the above entries with the current state of co-author Elizabeth Bear#Published works eg (with header codes replaced by boldface)
The Jenny Casey trilogy
  • Hammered (January 2005, Bantam Spectra)
  • Scardown (July 2005, Bantam Spectra)
  • Worldwired (November 2005, Bantam Spectra)
The Iskryne series
  • A Companion to Wolves, co-written with Sarah Monette (October 2007, Tor)
  • The Tempering of Men, co-written with Sarah Monette (August 2011, Tor)
  • An Apprentice to Elves, co-written with Sarah Monette (June 25, 2015, Tor)
I find this far less noisy and much easier to read, and I suspect it's easier for editors too. NebY (talk) 15:57, 18 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think the point is that MOS:WORKS permits multiple ways of formatting an author's list of works. Generally, when multiple ways of doing something are acceptable, an editor who wants to change one acceptable method for a different method should discuss it on that article's talk page first to make sure there are no objections. Schazjmd (talk) 16:08, 18 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Schazjmd: agree. And, perhaps, the editor might look how it's done in other articles and outside Wikipedia and give a thought as to why. But let's discuss this here then? (talk) 16:53, 18 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We also have the problem of stating the obvious, because what's obvious to one person isn't for another and if it's considered obvious in circles that engage in whatever the subject is (literature in this case), it can be hard to argue for just because it's obvious.
Case in point (which I mentioned above): repeating the author's name or providing a placeholder for it for each item on a works list for the article's subject. I wonder if the MOS page editor who stated that citation templates are permissible for a works list meant that such a repetition also should be – and if, then neither I nor common usage agree. Same for year-before-title. (talk) 18:48, 18 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The CS1 templates have a number of capabilities/advantages over simple unformatted text, but it should be used "properly" to employ them all without detracting from others. First is metadata, which would require the explicit filling out of the author name, and then author-mask if desired, for every field, to be useful. Metadata may not be all that important for a simple list of an author's works on an author's page (since a researcher wouldn't likely want to cite/mine an author page in that way), but doing it correctly may still be helpful for those parsing it. This also precludes a simple wrapper template that omits author info, or uses a dummy -- however it would (might? currently checking on that) make viable a wrapper for a list of a single author's works which simply duplicates the author's (or any other) fields on each entry, with appropriate masking. CS1 also offers nice language features and data checking. But if none of that's really necessary, a non-CS1 template of this simplicity would have less overhead and be significantly easier for novices to maintain. SamuelRiv (talk) 17:12, 23 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are quite right: researchers go elsewhere for their info and an encyclopedic article shouldn't be encumbered with technical overhead that precludes both easy reading and editing. Like other places, everything else (including an agreeable layout) can't be sacrificed for a few very technical aspects for a few users or instances. – If author's name (and similar) is that important in some technical ways, is it possible to make a special template for this kind of lists, reasonably easy to use for the non-nerd, meriting recommendation on the MoS page, containing some device that adds the name automatically only when it's needed? Takes it from the head of the page, for example? (talk) 21:52, 23 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm sorry, that's not what I said at all. Wikipedia is used extensively by researchers, both meta and directly, as well as in LIS, AI training, and live data mining. Getting CS1 to implement low-overhead metadata was a critical development. I'm simply saying that biography pages specifically, in a section that simply lists the author's works specifically, does not necessarily have much to offer from metadata alone if they're templated. That does not mean they shouldn't be templated. CS1 still has fairly low overhead. SamuelRiv (talk) 23:22, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Someone has proposed a change to Wikipedia:Image use policy

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.

I'm not sure whether this should have been proposed here or if the talk page is adequate but given the broad attempt at changing said policy, I believe that just the talk page discussion is inadequate. You can find the discussion here and based on the wording in this edit and should not include any major obstructions unless the subject is notable for them. As long as the subject is still identifiable, minor obstructions may be included (e.g. Jacksepticeye holding a microphone to his mouth). I apologize if this is not the correct place to notify interested editors. PRAXIDICAE🌈 20:45, 19 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for flagging it here. To save anyone the need to click through, I'm just letting you know here that I've closed it per WP:SNOW - the community is clearly opposed to the change. WaggersTALK 13:15, 22 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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 on naming conventions and Articles regarding districts and Councils

An RFC has been raised regarding Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Geography.

Davidstewartharvey (talk) 07:16, 23 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


According to https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&limit=500&offset=0&ns0=1&search=%22later+George+IV%22 the phrase "later George IV" appears in over 100 articles. Sometimes it appears bracketed, sometimes preceded and followed by commas, at others without punctuation marks. Should it appear in the same way in all articles? Is there any policy generally on consistency? Mcljlm (talk) 12:19, 24 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, there's no general policy on consistency and we don't seek to impose it at that level. Indeed, there's a family of articles I'm working on now that are far more inconsistent, and there's nothing wrong with that. I can't imagine the variation you describe is causing the readers any problem and I would hope that Manual of Style guidance isn't required to resolve any current disputes over it between the editors of any of those 100+ articles (so long as no-one makes changes solely for the sake of consistency across articles, of course). NebY (talk) 13:03, 24 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The WP:OTHERCONTENT essay-bit is a little related. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 19:42, 24 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you are looking to get some sort of informal guideline regarding (UK, or especially European) nobility formatting, or even just a handful of specific royal conventions (I've been inkling to get some guidance on the various countries' stylings of Charles V for a while), I would take your link and some specific suggestions to one of the relevant WikiProjects: Britan or Europe (that's an exclusive or, and don't you forget it! -- unless you're in NI), and/or Royalty and Nobility (I recommend posting in one, and cross-posting a link to the discussion in the other). SamuelRiv (talk) 04:27, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Notability (sports) Basketball guideline proposal

Hello. I am seeking wider community input for a discussion taking place at the Notability (Sports) talkpage. There is a proposal to add a new SNG to the Basketball guideline of Notability (Sports). The discussion is an RFC. Here is the link to that discussion [8].---Steve Quinn (talk) 19:52, 26 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Articles for deletion

Why does a "no consensus" vote at an article for deletion (AfD) discussion result in keeping the article. It would seem that if editors cannot agree an article should exist, then it shouldn't.

Since most AfDs attract little attention, the outcome is already weighted in favor of keep, since the creator and other contributors are likely to vote to keep.

I have seen cases where it took several tries before an AfD was successful.

TFD (talk) 13:02, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree, it runs counter to the principles of our policies like WP:ONUS and WP:BURDEN, all of which require affirmative consensus for inclusion. I would support a "no consensus" outcome being a default "draftify". Levivich 15:42, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would disagree, draftify should be presented as an option, or the closer can make a judgment call to take a poorly attended AFD no consensus as a draft. What we do not want is a high traffic AFD that is no consensus to be suddenly drafted. Masem (t) 15:49, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There may well have been legitimate grounds for a 'no consensus results in keep' policy in Wikipedia's early days, when expanding the encyclopaedia took priority over adequate sourcing. That seems no longer to be the general consensus amongst most regular contributors, who quite rightly expect new articles to demonstrate notability (through proper sourcing etc) from the start. So yes, per WP:BURDEN, draftification for no-consensus content would seem a very good idea. As it stands, we are including content of debatable merit to our readers (and to search engines), with no indication whatsoever that it may be problematic. That cannot inspire confidence... AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:00, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Plenty of AfD discussions net only a couple unsubstantial comments. Outside commentators might just "vote" and leave. A closer has nothing to work with. Does that justify deletion? SamuelRiv (talk) 16:09, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The idea behind “no consensus = keep” is to give editors time to WP:FIXTHEPROBLEM. Remember that there is no rush… should it turn out that the problem can’t be fixed (because we assumed wrong, and reliable sources don’t actually exist), we can always hold a second (follow up) AFD, noting that we tried and failed to find sources. Blueboar (talk) 16:20, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No-consensus draftification still gives time to fix problems - without displaying questionable material to readers in the meantime. If there is no rush, why the urge to display it? AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:25, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The idea behind no consensus keep is to give editors time to FIXTHEPROBLEM. What is that based on? This happens on articles that have been around for years and years with poor (often primary) sourcing and questionable notability. The keep !votes are often from fans of a particular niche type article. MB 16:34, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So what if there are fans of a niche article? The world is like that, a long tail distribution of interest in topics. I often see people deleting because they consider something far down the tail curve as inherently non-notable. Like, how could this community fire station in podunk town be notable?! It conflates popularity with notability. -- GreenC 18:17, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Notability is based on the existence of significant coverage in independent sources. Fans show up and say keep because they want to see articles on all community fire stations regardless of the coverage. MB 19:01, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Articles without coverage don't usually pass Keep at AfD. The problem is some see community fire stations and presume Delete first, then figure out how to discount sources second. -- GreenC 00:56, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This was about No Consensus. Articles without significant coverage can end as Keep or No Consensus if there is little participation except for a few editors who have a much lower standard for what constitutes SIGCOV and a very idiosyncratic take on what is "independent" and "primary". Those are not my words, but a quote from a related discussion. MB 01:25, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It might be true that "draftification still gives time to fix problems", but research indicates that articles get fixed faster if they're left in the mainspace. If you want an individual article to get edited, then you need to leave it out there where someone will feel like it's worthwhile to fix it. If you want an individual article to stay broken, then put it out of sight, and out of mind in the draftspace. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:03, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It seems like this is something that depends on the nature of the article and AFD in question--for recently created articles, TFD's criticism applies. For longstanding articles being brought to AFD due to forking, OR or WP:PAGEDECIDE concerns, keep makes more sense as a status quo outcome in the event of no consensus. signed, Rosguill talk 16:25, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Other way around. New articles have a higher chance to be actually improved than old articles - the problem(usually that there is no consensus upon notability) has evidently not been fixed in a long time if an article has no consensus, and if it is between "keep" and "Redirect" the option "redirect" should always win(because it preserves the content and allows people to work with the old content if necessary and still applies WP:ONUS and WP:BURDEN).Lurking shadow (talk) 16:56, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Lurking shadow, I think that perspective presupposes that "the problem" with the hypothetical article in question is real in the case of a no consensus outcome and that we should move towards the most likely long-term solution (that a new article can be fixed and that an old article cannot), whereas my view would be that a no consensus outcome means that there is no consensus and that we default to whatever the prior status quo was. signed, Rosguill talk 17:10, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except that there isn't always good reason for giving the status quo extra weight. Article age isn't one of them! Not all articles have been extensively edited(other than automated copyedits).Lurking shadow (talk) 18:56, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure, I can respect that as a perspective, but note that it would retrench rather than resolve the disagreement between AfD processes and our general "status quo wins when in doubt" rule that appears to motivate TFD opening this discussion. signed, Rosguill talk 18:59, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Expanding on "presuppos[ing] that "the problem" with the hypothetical article in question is real", here are the most four recent AFDs I could find with an outcome of no consensus:
None of these sound like seriously problematic articles. The owners of Schön might prefer that their dirty laundry wasn't aired out for all to see, but there's no obvious harm to having the articles vs not having them. Also, I had to check three days' worth of AFDs last week to find just four AFDs that closed this way, so it's not a common outcome. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:29, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Only four NCs in three days? Something like 10% of all AfDs I participate close in NC, I would expect that number to be a lot higher... JoelleJay (talk) 01:37, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
At the "mass creation/AfDs ArbCom RfC" workshop-workshop, specifically in the context of NSPORT, I suggested a watchlistable pseudo-draftspace with a longer or indefinite incubation time before auto-deletion eligibility, as well as restrictions on how many drafts could be nominated at AfD or moved into mainspace per week. I wonder if something like that, if feasible at all, could work for NC closes. Users could watchlist the categories they're interested in to see what's added and moved out of purgatory, and the lists could be transcluded in relevant wikiprojects. JoelleJay (talk) 02:11, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think there has been good input here. Now the TFD has brought this up I think it is worth looking at. If "no consensus" allows poorly sourced long term articles to remain then I think this should be changed to "dratify" or "redirect." This allows for the option of improving the article without having it listed on search engines (outside Wikipedia). This improves the quality of Wikipedia overall and, as has been mentioned, readers don't run away due to poor quality.

I realize this retrenches the status quo and doesn't resolve the disagreement mentioned by Rosguill, but it is better than the current status quo. Also, as Masem says, for high traffic AfDs "no consensus" should be optional draftify. Optional dratftify allows for a decision that would cause the least disruption, i.e., editors angrily going to DRV. And such high traffic AfDs can always be re-nominated. Concerning a "no consensus" new article, I'm not sure the best way to deal with that - let consensus about that rule the day. ---Steve Quinn (talk) 19:54, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Our general stance on everything is that if something is going to be controversial, we want to see an affirmative action to do it, and no consensus defaults to no action being taken. I don't think it has anything to do with AfD in particular. Just how the project works from a governance perspective. TonyBallioni (talk) 21:17, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@The Four Deuces: The main issue here is that you're interpreting this as no consensus to keep, but the alternative no consensus to delete is equally valid.
So we err on the side of inclusion because you can easily renominate the same article for deletion later, and WP:NODEADLINE/WP:NOTPAPER also apply. This also gives the option to find an alternatives to deletion, like a bold merge to some other topic. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:17, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"No consensus" means no consensus either way. Perhaps the confusion appears because we sometimes say "no consensus" because we don't always want to say "really bad idea, dude". WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:32, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A deleted article can always be userfied so that the Keep side can keep working on it. But I disagree that articles have no consensus to keep because they are poorly sourced. Usually, it is because the delete editors have found there are too few if any reliable sources available to write an informative and balanced article. Since the article therefore lacks weight, it could actually misinform readers.
In my experience, articles that have no consensus to delete never get developed into reasonable articles. Can you provide any examples where they have?
TFD (talk) 22:57, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it depends on your idea of what constitutes a reasonable article. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Islamic fascism (the article has since be renamed to Islamofascism) closed as "no consensus", and it's currently a B-class article. H.V. Dalling looks reasonable to me. Kinetite is short, but still looks reasonable to me. Aziz Shavershian looks reasonable to me. List of largest shopping centres in Australia isn't a subject that interests me, but it looks like there is an inline citation for every entry. All of these ended with "no consensus" at AFD. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:04, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Setting the very high bar of "reasonable article" being the same as a Featured or Good article, there are 26 that had previous NC results:
-- GreenC 01:39, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except article rating doesn't assess actual notability and is not a particularly consensus-driven process in the first place. That Neil Harvey article is a prime example of the overly-detailed, UNDUE trivia that accumulates when no one is actually discussing the subject directly, but which when well-crafted appears to satisfy article reviewers. JoelleJay (talk) 01:34, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have some sympathy for the idea given that the bar for deletion is quite high. There are so many ways to get to nocon, I think one cannot easily legislate for them all. Selfstudier (talk) 22:40, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Deletion has balances of power because 1 person can nominate 10 articles in 10 minutes (or less) while to save those articles can take days of effort researching sources, improving the articles, arguing at AfD. It usually never gets done in practice for that reason. The valuable commodity is time. That's why we let it sit until someone has the time to work on it. -- GreenC 01:02, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And one person can create 10 articles in 10 minutes, while to delete them it takes at least 7 days and multiple other editors each. If we actually valued community time we'd enforce greater restrictions on creation such that most of the time spent on any one article is spent by one editor who wants to document that subject, rather than that plus the effort of 8 other editors with no interest in the subject doing x% of the same work redundantly and in parallel over the course of a week. JoelleJay (talk) 01:48, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

...it took several tries before an AfD was successful

No, no, you're not understanding what we're about, here. An AfD is not necessarily "successful" if an article is destroyed; most times yeah, but often enough, it's a cockup. The attitude shown by that statement is just silly, in my view. It's not 2010 anymore. There's a whole culture of editors backslapping each other for destroying articles, and we are destroying more OK articles than we should be. Making it easier to destroy more is the opposite of what we need. Suggestion rejected. Herostratus (talk) 03:02, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A lot of your examples are articles created about non-notable people who subsequently achieved notability. For example, the article about the baseball player Jason Heyward was created before he had ever played as a professional. When it was nominated for deletion, the full article read:
"Jason Heyward is an outfielder and first-baseman drafted by the Atlanta Braves. He played baseball in high school for Henry County High School in McDonough, Georgia. He was selected 14th overall in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft. He is a 6 foot 1 inch, 220 pound player."[9]
At that time [18 June 2007], the subject lacked notability per Sports personalities as there were no sources providing significant coverage.
Your argument would therefore be a form of WP:CRYSTALBALL, which is creating an article now in anticipation of the topic becoming notable in the future.
There's an upcoming movie starring Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, Luiz Guzman and other notable actors, but little has been released about it at this time. An editor submitted it to Articles for Creation, but it was rejected and they were told not to re-submit until the film had attracted sufficient media coverage to meet notability. But if they had created the article, it probably would have survived an AfD because of no consensus. I am sure however that it will attract attention, good or bad, based on the high profile of the actors.
AfDs BTW provide an opportunity for editors to find and add sources to articles. They don't need another four weeks, four months or whatever and then put the community through another AfD.
TFD (talk) 04:32, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are cases too where a notable topic exists, but the article is so poorly written that WP:BLOWITUP is the best approach. For example, Left-wing terrorism is a defined concept in terrorism studies with relative agreement on their objectives, methods and which groups it applies to. However, the original article was terrorists who happened to be left-wing, which is not the definition. There was overwhelming consensus for deletion. (See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Left-wing terrorism.) Four years later, I re-created the article based on reliable sources. I notice that AndyTheGrump is also a contributor. It was far easier to create a new article than to fix a bad article. And there was no public benefit to have kept a bad article for four years, waiting for someone to fix it. ([[I also recreated Right-wing terrorism which had been deleted at the same time.) TFD (talk) 14:33, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh yes, absolutely, most articles sent to AfD should be deleted. They're memorials, or ephemera, or unsourceable, or COI advertisements, or not-easily-fixable BLP or NPOV violations, or resumes, and so on and so forth. For all the rest, simplify your life. Throw away all the noise, throw away all the THIS CAPITALIZED LINK and THAT CAPITALIZED LINK and the general war of capitalized links. Instead, ask a simple question:

This article has X daily readers. Overall, it would improve the experience of people searching on this term to get a 404 rather than article, because _______.

If you can't fill in the blank with something useful, go do something else. There are cogent reasons that can go in the blank. It's just that "Rule X or Rule Y or Rule Z says to delete, beep beep" isn't one of them,
So, as you say, if the article needs to get blown up, its worse than nothing. If the article says things that are false or might be false (since there's no reliable source) and we probably can't source those with reasonable effort and deleting them all would ruin the article, the article's not much use. If the article cherry-picks to spin the subject, and we can't easily fix that, the reader would be better off getting nothing. If X is at or near zero, there's not much point in having the article. If the subject is so emphemeral that we can guess that X will be at or near zero in ten years or twenty, same. And there's lot of other reasons.
Even if you can, there are some other reasons. Sometimes the article is too far beyond our remit. A how-to. A bare recipe. An essay. Many other things. We've decided not to publish stuff like that, and that's fine. Or, the article might be a net drag on the project, for some reason.
Other than that, what's the harm of having an article about some bohunk footballer from Franistan or whatever. People like to write about that, people like to read about that. You might not like it, but you can't stop them. And our remit is to be a very large and detailed encyclopedia of football ("Wikipedia ... incorporates elements of general and specialized encyclopedias"). Tell me what the harm is. If you can't, move on.
As to "AfDs BTW provide an opportunity for editors to find and add sources to articles", good grief no. I hope editors aren't of the mind "well, this article could use more sources, but I don't wanna do it, I'll send it to AfD so it'll be improved". That would be... not what AfD is for. I mean it is hard to add new sources to an article if we've deleted it. Right? Sure some few articles sent to AfD get improved and saved per WP:HEY. But a lot just slip into the grave. I mean this is an extremely risky way to build an encyclopedia, I really don't want editors to ever be thinking this. Herostratus (talk) 23:13, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed. Unless there has previously been an affirmative consensus to keep an article, no consensus should default to the article not being kept - either through it being redirected, or through it being moved to draft space. This is in line with policies such as WP:ONUS and WP:BURDEN, and would also partially address some WP:FAITACCOMPLI issues related to article creation. BilledMammal (talk) 02:32, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also think we should avoid bolded !votes until there is a formal proposal. BilledMammal (talk) 12:09, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]