Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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The policy section of the village pump is used to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines.
If you want to propose something new that is not a policy or guideline, use Village pump (proposals).
If you have a question about how to apply an existing policy or guideline, try one of the many Wikipedia:Noticeboards.
This is not the place to resolve disputes over how a policy should be implemented. Please see Wikipedia:Dispute resolution for how to proceed in such cases.

Pease see this FAQ page for a list of frequently rejected or ignored proposals.

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Establish a policy to avoid using "conspiracy theory" terminology[edit]

Our NPOV policy, imo, conflicts with our use of the term "conspiracy theory" or "debunked conspiracy theory" in many of our articles which are not even about the alleged "conspiracy theory". In addition, with the new release of The Afghanistan Papers, we have one more of many examples of U.S. government lying to the public and then using the terms in question to discourage any critical thought about whatever is being labeled "conspiracy theory". Nocturnalnow (talk) 20:43, 11 December 2019 (UTC)

I would say , if there are reliable sources to support "Conspiracy theory" then use them, otherwise keep them out. I wouldn't want to see the words "Conspiracy theory " not allowed to be used here, especially if reliable sources confirm it as such, or if it's common knowledge (like the "Flat Earth Society " or the " 9-11 was an inside job" crackpots!) Necromonger...We keep what we kill 13:39, 18 December 2019 (UTC)
  • We should be hesitant to use ANY label without very solid sources to support it... but when there are solid sources, we can (and should) use them. We reflect what the sources say. When in doubt, phrase the label as opinion (ie attribute in text) and don’t phrase it in Wikipedia’s voice as being fact. Blueboar (talk) 13:51, 18 December 2019 (UTC)

The majority of the times the term "conspiracy theory" is used it is misused and not describing a conspiracy theory at all. Instead it is mislabeling a concern as such in order to denigrate the concern. So use of the term should get a high level of scrutiny. I don't think that truly reliable sources apply the term very often. Basically the same thing that Blueboar said. North8000 (talk) 14:35, 18 December 2019 (UTC)

Just wondering if this "misuse" has actually been counted up, or is it hyperbole? BeenAroundAWhile (talk) 22:48, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
  • Agree we should rarely if ever use "conspiracy theory" or "debunked conspiracy theory" in wiki-voice or as an ad hominem to describe and discredit other editors. Consider these two titles:
  • Rid, Thomas (2019-12-05). "Who's Really to Blame for the 'Ukraine Did It' Conspiracy Theory?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-12-27.
  • "There's no evidence for Trump's Biden-Ukraine accusations. What really happened?". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-12-27.
The second article's title sounds far more like real journalism than the first, which sounds more like name-calling and advocacy. (Note: the second articles does have section title "Biden's response to Trump's Ukraine conspiracy theory".)
The problem with the phrase is really an ad hominem in that it conjures images of smoke-filled backroom deals with devilish spies, hitmen, gangsters, mafia and men in disguises. In reality, secret meetings are constantly taking place, out of site of the public with unknown actions to result, such as company board meetings, military meetings, and even such things like attorney-client privileged meetings, etc., and these are not called "conspiracies". The CIA indeed is constantly operating covertly, often to overthrown elected governments. United_States_involvement_in_regime_change.
What "conspiracy theory" usually means is an oft repeated claim that is unsubstantiated, difficult or impossible to prove, or has substantial evidence that contradicts it. It's better to call it simply that. What is unfortunate is that widely publicized conspiracy theories started by the govenrment, such as that Iraq had WMD's prior to the Iraq War has hardly ever been called a conspiracy theory, even though it clearly fits that definition. WMD conjecture in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Or the conspiracy theory regarding the sinking of the Maine as justification for the Spanish-American War: Propaganda_of_the_Spanish–American_War. Journalists are very selective about what they call a "conspiracy theory" and often it fits with propaganda of the party, government, or other business entities they are most closely affiliated with. Fox News reiterates claims by Republicans that any facts the Democrats try to establish for impeachment are "conspiracy theories." [1] --David Tornheim (talk) 00:20, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
There are conspiracies and conspiracy theories. Conspiracies seldom see the light of day, especially if they are successful (kind of like "Why doth treason never prosper,for if it does, none dare call it treason". So we can only refer to them as conspiracy theories, until per chance, somehow they see the light of day, but most assuredly conspiracies exist, and most especially in politics. Billionaires funding think tanks,senartors, congress critters and POtUS to advance causes and policies that are in their interest are conspiracies, and discussion of them is a theory.Oldperson (talk) 02:39, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
It is obviously a label that requires care in its use, but conspiracy theories are a social phenomenon, and should be covered as such where the sources warrant. How do they originate, and how and why do they spread? An article like Moon landing conspiracy theories is interesting and notable as a description of a conspiracy theory; if the article were required to attempt to treat the subject as a credible theory, it would be a WP:FRINGE argument ready for deletion.--Trystan (talk) 16:36, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Agree The Hunter Biden article has "debunked right-wing conspiracy theories" in the lead. This causes regular requests for changes to the protected article, because readers assume different "conspiracy theories", that are normally completely different to the various sourced conspiracy theories that are referenced in the statement. Especially as it is clear that readers do not go on to look at the sources and just see the debunked right-wing conspiracy theories and immediately start ranting about obvious bias in the article. My view is that the policy should be that these are not mentioned in the header of the article even they are a significant factor e.g. Flat Earth or Moon Landings clearly they fail sky blue and putting them into the header is undue weight. A section in the article on related major conspiracy theories is fine provided it explains what they are and why they are false. It should not be a section to describe the current political invective. RonaldDuncan (talk) 17:01, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
While we should not over-apply the term in situations where it is not warranted, neither should we avoid it where it is needed, per WP:SPADE. Any use of the term (as with any controversial term) should be handled and discussed on a case-by-case basis, but any Wikipedia-wide policies would be painting with too-broad-a-stroke and would be far too heavy handed. I would oppose any policy one way or the other. Our existing policies and guidelines are sufficient.--Jayron32 17:08, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
  • A conspiracy theory, or lots of them, are still conspiracy theories be they debunked or not. If the reliable sources clearly use the term, and spend a lot of their time debunking such conspiracy theories, then we as NPOV need to ensure that we are also reflecting that. Otherwise we run the risk of only presenting the "controversies" aspect, despite the preponderance of evidence that the controversy is entirely concocted in the minds of those spinning some desired outcome. Koncorde (talk) 07:00, 18 January 2020 (UTC)

Are policies being used to the detriment of Wikipedia?[edit]

I would like to continue a discussion I started earlier, see Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 152#Are policies being used to the detriment of Wikipedia?. Recently I worked several hours to add some recent research on Parkinson's disease to the article on it. Immediately it was reverted by one of the guys whom I complained about earlier, a group of editors who put watch-points on huge numbers of articles and whenever anybody edits those articles they immediately check to see whether, in their opinion, it conforms to the rules of Wikipedia. So in this case, it was reverted on the grounds that the references were either primary or "predatory". "Primary" means they were research articles in peer-reviewed journals, and "predatory" means that they come from those scurilous popular science magazines like (in this case) New Scientist. I am told (on Talk:Parkinson's disease) that we have to wait until someone publishes a review article (not a research article) in a peer-reviewed journal! The policy cited is Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources (medicine). So if that policy really means that we cannot put the exciting research of the last year into the article, well then, I think the policy should be changed. Eric Kvaalen (talk) 17:21, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

I would recommend you pursue any further discussion about a discrete guideline at that guideline's talk page, in this case WT:MEDRS. I would further comment that you will need to have better rationale than you have provided here and previously for any change in this regard, and you will need specific changes that you would like to make to specific sections of that guideline. Good luck. --Izno (talk) 17:35, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I do believe that policy is meant to stop exciting research of the last year being added. It's on purpose and for what many consider good reasons. One is that exciting research of the last year is often at least partly wrong. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 09:35, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
As noted by Izno, this is not the right forum to pursue these questions. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:30, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
this is absolutely the correct forum to pursue these questions. That’s what the village pump is for. I’m amazed that you’d say it isn’t.
Please carry on with this topic. —Sm8900 (talk) 10:59, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
This is a generally correct place to discuss this topic, but guideline change, unless you are starting a request for comments, is almost always better discussed at the talk page of the guideline in question. It is a correct forum, but only minimally so. --Izno (talk) 15:58, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
if you need to cover information that is not covered in a journal, try looking to see if it is covered in major newspapers, rather than just online publications like Live Science. -Sm8900 (talk) 11:07, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
Major newspapers are often not considered good enough per WP:MEDRS either, but context matters. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 11:45, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

I prefer to have a discussion here rather than on the talk page of the policy about "reliable medical sources". I want the input of the general public, not some clique of guys who made that policy! Now, concerning what user Gråbergs Gråa Sång has written above, it may be that some things reported in the last year turn out to be partially wrong, but we can still report the research! If we were to exclude everything from Wikipedia about which there is any shadow of doubt, then there wouldn't be much left. Our readers deserve to know what's goin' on in a field, not just the established, conventional wisdom. And Sm8900, the popular science source I used is not "Live Science", it's New Scientist, which is a print magazine that has been going for more than sixty years. It is "the world's most popular weekly science and technology magazine" (see [2]). Eric Kvaalen (talk) 05:45, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
Didn't ping Gråbergs Gråa Sång and Sm8900. Eric Kvaalen (talk) 11:42, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
hi. Thanks for the reply! That’s good to know. Sm8900 (talk) 19:51, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
@Eric Kvaalen: Concerning the "predatory" bit, this is not because you have used New Scientist for a source (which would fail being a WP:MEDRS-compliant source), but rather because you used MDPI and Frontiers journals, which have various problems. Calling them predatory is a bit too extreme (Zefr has a propensity to do that), but they are not reputable venues, and again, do not satisfy WP:MEDRS. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 05:03, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

Impact of IP blocking[edit]


So, I’m just popping by to leave this as a thought to bear in mind when people discuss IP blocking. I used to edit Wikipedia a lot, and occasionally logged in when I wanted to discuss things more with people. I first started, back in the very early days, with the typical ‘vandalism’ edits (or at least, we used to consider it typical) that is someone seeing it works, and then settled in to creating content and tweaking and editing. As I wanted to discuss things more easily, I created an account which I sometimes logged in to: more often I edited anonymously, as I wanted my edits to stand on their own merits and be judged accordingly. As life got busier, and the encyclopedia got a bit less fun (you oldies know what I’m talking about), I drifted away.

Today, I got a little taste of what the current equivalent of early 2000s me would have experienced if I wanted to get started now.

I was looking up Conscription, and came across a nonsensical sentence in the section about the United Kingdom.

Britain and its colonies did not develop such pervasive administrative states, and therefore did not opt out for regulatory solutions, such as conscription, as a reliability.[1]


  1. ^ Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 42: attempt to index a nil value.

Among other things, in context it is clearly referring to some earlier “pervasive administrative states” that haven’t been mentioned: perhaps some sentences have been deleted, or perhaps sections added. So I went to tidy up: to remove the sentence, but also take it to the talk page to document it, raise it with the regular editors as something to look at, and go about my day. In earlier days, I’d of course have searched the history to work out what had happened and try to salvage it. But I can’t. I can’t do any of those things. Because I wasn’t logged in.

When I went to edit, because I am accessing the internet through a mobile phone network, I got this message:

Editing from your IP address range ( has been blocked (disabled) on all Wikimedia wikis until 20:32, 25 April 2020 by [// Ruslik0] ( for the following reason:
Long-term abuse
This block began on 20:32, 25 April 2019
You can contact [// Ruslik0] to discuss the block and you may make unblock requests or file appeals at meta:Steward requests/Global or by emailing stewards(at) Your current IP address is Please include all above details in any queries you make.

Imagine you are new to Wikipedia, and are faced with that. Undeterred, I checked the options:

  • This IP cannot edit the article, or the talk page, nor is there a ‘request an edit’ option. There is no way to engage or notify anyone of an error, which is surely how most people drift into editing.
  • You cannot edit the page or talk page at the Steward request page that the message sent me to, and there is no obvious way to request an unblock.
  • This IP address is blocked from editing even its own talk page, to alert anyone or attempt to engage.
  • This IP address is blocked from creating an account, so a new user cannot even use that as a way to start engaging.
  • The link to Ruslik0 displays as I showed it here: broken. Not only can the new user not click on their name to contact them, it adds to the feeling that by attempting to edit you are doing something you shouldn’t, seeing broken code.
  • When I go to see what the ‘long term abuse’ was that caused a year-long block 9 months ago, I can’t even see any contribs or log entries, so there is a lack of transparency, too. I can easily believe that a mobile phone IP shared by however many people will see some abuse, but why can’t I see any? Someone newer would be faced with the idea that they’ve just been randomly blocked from the entire Wikimedia project.

A modern-day version of me-when-I-got-started would be faced with absolutely no way to engage with Wikipedia at all, not even to ask why I couldn’t. How are new users, of the sort who just want to create and edit content without financial motives, supposed to get started? How are all the little drive-by copyedits going to happen, that suck people in?

I’m not saying the answer is to go back to un-logged-in users being able to edit everything from any IP at all times, but the current situation really does lock people out completely with no way to get in. I’m someone who’s motivated enough to email news websites when they have errors in their articles, to get them corrected, and I can’t see a way for me to have engaged with this error without logging in to my old account. Possibly by emailing the stewards, but that’s a huge step.

Where do new editors come from? You need the young and enthusiastic, with more free time.

Anyway, happy editing. Skittle (talk) 18:51, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

Good to see you, Skittle! ---Sluzzelin talk 19:37, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
It's an irritating but otherwise small price to pay to stop long-term vandalism. Anyone who wants to edit from a restricted IP address can easily get around this by creating an account.--WaltCip (talk) 15:17, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
@WaltCip: No they can't, if their only internet access is via a mobile device and the mobile IP is blocked from creating an account. --Ahecht (TALK
) 15:55, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
I recently got impacted by a hard block on an Amtrak train while trying to fix an edit to sociolinguistics, and the only reason I was able to get it resolved before the end of the train ride is because I already knew about ipblockexempt and the UTRS. It was a very frustrating time, and I could only imagine how demoralizing it would be for a new user. Perhaps we should make MediaWiki:Blockedtext a little more user-friendly by making the link to Help:I have been blocked a little more obvious. Wug·a·po·des 19:51, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
Skittle's global block would need to be addressed by a steward, either by unblocking the range or by granting global IPBE. Either way, m:SRG provides some options. The local Amtrak block, if we knew what that range was, it would be nice to allow us to whitelist it. It's in the middle of a larger webhosting range, which is why it is hardblocked. phab:T241652 (which was deemed a duplicate of phab:T5340) would allow us to do that. ST47 (talk) 01:41, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Fair to say the encyclopedia is a bit more complete and tightened up than it was in the early 2000s. We needed volume then. We can be more selective now, for the benefit of stability. For the small number of well-intentioned people affected by IP blocks and range blocks, if they want to edit but can't be bothered to take 30 seconds and set up an account, I don't have a ton of sympathy. -Jordgette [talk] 16:05, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Did you see "blocked from creating an account" above? Incidentally, I've had periods when even as a logged in user I'm blocked from editing over mobile network (with a message similar to that the OP got). DexDor (talk) 18:41, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
No, I did not. I’d have put that in bold for emphasis. That's terrible. But, there you have it. This is the kind of dysfunction, confusion, and clusterf**kness that will continue forever until the decision is made that edits can only be done by logged-in users — what I call the "Medicare for All, but Free" of Wikipedia. -Jordgette [talk] 18:53, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Okay, let’s put it this way: all you have to do to create an account is edit from your home computer one time to create the account in a majority of cases. The issue with the large ACBs that people complain about is that they’re usually mobile, which is why they’re needed. Mobile ranges tend to be highly dynamic and LTAs tend to use them, so they tend to be disproportionately range blocked. The nice thing is that in most English speaking countries (and no, that’s not being discriminatory, this is the English Wikipedia) people have access to non-mobile internet so they can easily make an account. Global blocks are a bit different, but they largely have no impact here for the reason I just explained, and stewards are extremely liberal (way too liberal, in my view) on handing out WP:GIPBE. They basically give it to you if you have a pulse and have made 1 edit or more on multiple projects. They’re also extremely responsive to account creation requests sent to them. This particular incident is being overblown. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:19, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Also, DexDor there is one network I can think of that admins might accidentally hard range block. Otherwise hard blocks generally shouldn’t be made on mobile ranges. If this occurs again, please send me an email or ping me so I can try to figure out what’s going on. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:25, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Regarding in mast English speaking countries ... people have access to non-mobile internet so they can easily make an account, I don't think that's true. Or, at least, it's a US/Euro-centric point of view. Consider, for example, India. It has the 2nd largest English-speaking population in the world, and the 2nd highest number of internet users in the world. 644 million wireless subscribers. 22 million wired. So, any argument that revolves around, Wireless is secondary is a non-starter. Even in the US, wireless is big and growing. I no longer have a landline phone, although I still get my internet service over a wire. I would not be surprised if in another few years, as 5G rolls out, I could cut that cord as well. -- RoySmith (talk) 00:43, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
I said in most English-speaking countries, which is true. India is a large English-speaking country, but it is also one country. Maybe I should have clarified that India is the obvious exception, but we also almost never block Indian mobile ranges without an exceptionally good reason because it would cause absolute chaos and many of them are too busy for CU to work. I promise you I and most CUs are aware of how India’s internet works. My statement above is an accurate description of how range blocks work on My argument was not “wireless is secondary” but “anyone with a home internet connection can solve this problem and it works for the overwhelming majority of mobile range blocks on the English Wikipedia.” That is true. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:10, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
We may not often block Indian mobile ranges, but I remember a number of years ago that I complained about an editor who was reverting every single edit, good and bad, from an IP range belonging to the largest wireless provider in India, and was basically told by two administrators that that was exactly how our policies were supposed to work. Most CUs may be aware of how India's internet works, but there seems to be a strong anti-mobile bias among many administrators, or at least a lack of understanding that a single mobile IP often represents thousands of users simultaniously. --Ahecht (TALK
) 16:51, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
It seems to me the complaint is not so much about the block, but about the signposting. If it was a local block there'd probably be a nice big helpful anonblock template, which generally work quite well. I read the complaint as being about the link to the stewards page not working, there is a link to m:SRG which is indefinitely semi-protected for "no reason to keep this open for anons", and there's an inability to see the range contribs. I'm not currently in a position to investigate what global blocks look like, but I do think global blocks are rarely informative or easily appealed. Presumably it's MediaWiki:Globalblocking-ipblocked-range instead of MediaWiki:Blockedtext. I think most people can accept we might need to block ranges, if it's explained properly and there are practical workarounds indicated. And as a reminder to admins, I'd recommend never leaving individual messages for widely used ranges. The end user is rarely interested in the block reasons, only the block message. -- zzuuzz (talk) 01:38, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
My internet access is all via my mobile - I can tether my desktop through it. I've been caught in IP blocks that left me struggling to find a way out - and once I did manage to make contact with Admins most of them didn't have a clew how to help me. The messages I got were downright unhelpful, telling me to do the impossible such as edit a talk page with talk page editing blocked, email an admin with no way of logging in to use the email function, etc. It did get raised at phabricator but I don't think anything was done. I was left feeling that because I can't afford a permanent internet connexion I'm not regarded as mattering. DuncanHill (talk) 01:43, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
And I'll add, some of the comments above make me feel that way again. "No home internet? Tough" DuncanHill (talk) 01:44, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
And even for people who do have access to an internet connection at home or work which isn't blocked, if you can't immediately resolve the block and you are not already committed to editing wikipedia, you are very unlikely to a) remember what the edit was that you wanted to make, b) remember to make it when you are next on your home internet, and c) bother to try, given your disenheartening first experience. Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 16:21, 11 January 2020 (UTC)

Moral of the story:

  1. Have an account so that you aren't affected by anon blocks.
  2. Ask for an IP block exemption for your account if hardblocks are affecting you.
  3. This thread has nothing to do with policies as far as I can see and it is a board that discusses policies.
     — Berean Hunter (talk) 16:39, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
Had an account and still got shafted by IP block, as I wasn't able to log in or reset password. DuncanHill (talk) 01:08, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Also got hard-blocked while logged in using a reputable, paid VPN. There was literally no solution except to ditch the VPN. Plenty of people use VPNs, presumably a ton are being excluded. Also difficult to understand why logged-in users with decently history do not get automatically exempted from all blocks. Perhaps a technical issue, but it has never been explained. Rollo (talk) 08:56, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
You'd think it could come with something like ExtendedConfirmed. --Ahecht (TALK
) 16:51, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Hmm. The Foundation tells us that supporting editing by cell phone is a priority, yet users encounter access problems like this, & with no way to alert someone who can fix it. I see the Foundation continues to deserve its well-earned reputation. -- llywrch (talk) 00:01, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
I'm no great fan of The Foundation, but in this case it can't really be held responsible. Blocks are placed by administrators or stewards elected by the community. Phil Bridger (talk) 06:44, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

Television episode official name superseding common name[edit]

Members of WP:TV have recently reasserted to me that articles about individual television episodes should always be titled by their official name, even if that isn't the name by which the episode is most commonly known. By my read, MOS:TV#Naming conventions and WP:NCTV do not appear to support this otherwise unwritten precedent, which also appears incompatible with the Article Titles policy (WP:COMMONNAME). What kind of discussion and venue would be the best route for resolving this impasse, ideally with input from outside WP:TV? czar 04:22, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

  • I would suggest that best having this discussion at WP:TV initially, and copying in the members that you have communicated with. It seems that you may have done so, and if so do you have a link to the discussion. I personally do not want to get involved deeply in such a topic as it's always (a) are these episodes notable (there's a section on WP:TV about this), (b) how do you measure how an episode is "commonly known". If there are disputes it's probably best to stick to the official name and have re-directs as needed. Good luck with sorting this out. Master Of Ninja (talk) 11:33, 11 January 2020 (UTC)

Improving precision of definition of WP:BLPSELFPUB and WP:ABOUTSELF[edit]

WP:BLPSELFPUB and WP:ABOUTSELF both list conditions for when a self published source is allowed to be used. One of these conditions is the cause for a dispute about the meaning of these policies, therefore I propose increasing the precision of the wording by replacing "authenticity" with "identity". Both policies state that such sources may be used "only if ... there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity ...." I understand that this means such a source is allowed "only if ... there is no reasonable doubt as to its identity." I explained my understanding in detail there. "Authenticity" of a source (as used in WP:ABOUTSELF and the equivalent WP:BLPSELFPUB) means that the identity of the source is verified. "Authenticity without reasonable doubt" means e.g. identity-verified (authenticated) social media accounts (and similar e.g. blogs): those with a blue check mark on Twitter/YouTube, as well as video/audio sources exhibiting well known people whose faces/voices are well recognized so that their identity is "verified without reasonable doubt" even in video/audio that has no authentication check mark on Twitter/Youtube. WP:BLPSELFPUB and WP:ABOUTSELF are equivalent. This gives insight into why these policies were created: WP:ABOUTSELF is a synonym for WP:SOCIALMEDIA and WP:TWITTER, which means the policy for usage of self-published sources is tightly connected to the widespread use of social media. Social media accounts have an authentication mechanism which users can use to verify their identity. If person X writes on Twitter about themselves, this can only be used in the BLP of person X if the Twitter account of person X has verified identity (blue check mark). Lacking this rule, anybody on Twitter could claim to be person X, and if we included the Tweets of an unverified Twitter account in the BLP of person X, we would expose Wikipedia to legal litigation by the real person X.

User Samp4ngeles disagrees with this understanding of these policies as he explained there. Therefore I propose changing the text of WP:BLPSELFPUB and WP:ABOUTSELF by replacing "there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity" with "there is no reasonable doubt about its identity." Pieces of my explanation above could be condensed into a short sentence and added to the policy. Xenagoras (talk) 23:55, 11 January 2020 (UTC)

Modification of proposal [3] per January 15 after discussion below: replace "there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity" with "there is no reasonable doubt about the identity of its author and its unaltered presentation of its author's views." Xenagoras (talk) 15:43, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

"Authenticity" and "identity" are synonymous here, so this change would make no difference.
If person X writes on Twitter about themselves, this can only be used in the BLP of person X if the Twitter account of person X has verified identity (blue check mark). While the blue check is one method for determining authenticity, it does not follow that accounts without the check cannot be verified as belonging to a subject by editors beyond reasonable doubt. – Teratix 00:07, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Teratix How would the identity be verified in your scenario? I meant a similar scenario when writing as well as video/audio sources exhibiting well known people whose faces/voices are well recognized so that their identity is "verified without reasonable doubt" even in video/audio that has no authentication check mark on Twitter/Youtube. E.g. a video message of a well known person is posted on a Twitter account without blue check mark. In this case the identity of the well know person is also verified without a reasonable doubt by her face and voice, and what she says in the video can be used for her own BLP. Xenagoras (talk) 00:38, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
"Authenticity" has several meanings, including: 1) worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact, and 2) not false or imitation. As written, WP:BLPSELFPUB and WP:ABOUTSELF are ambiguous. WP:BLPSELFPUB is also lacking an exceptional claim] or WP:EXCEPTIONAL, as WP:ABOUTSELF has. Samp4ngeles (talk) 00:24, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
I oppose this proposed change, because the new wording doesn't mean to me what it appears to be intended to mean. To me, the identity of a source is something that identifies the source itself: for instance, its url. Almost every source has an identity that is not in any reasonable doubt. If I point to a particular tweet on twitter, I have no reasonable doubt that what I am pointing to is that tweet on twitter. What the policy should be requiring, what it does require with the existing wording, and what it would not require with the new wording, is that I have no reasonable doubt that the tweet comes from the person it purports to come from. —David Eppstein (talk) 00:59, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Is there a third word we could use instead of either “authenticity” or “identity”? David’s take (that we need to be reasonably sure that a SPS comes from the person it purports to come from) is correct... but wordy. Blueboar (talk) 01:18, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
David Eppstein, I see the problem you explained and therefore update my proposal to: replace "there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity" with "there is no reasonable doubt about the identity of its author." Xenagoras (talk) 01:24, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
Better. But we also need to have no reasonable doubt that the source says what its author intended it to say (rather than, say, being edited by some third party in a way that changes the meaning). —David Eppstein (talk) 01:27, 12 January 2020 (UTC)
David Eppstein, your additional condition is actually a very concise description of a requirement, let's use that and replace "there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity" with "there is no reasonable doubt about the identity of its author and its unaltered presentation of its author's views." Instead of unaltered presentation we could also use genuine rendition. Xenagoras (talk) 17:25, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
@Xenagoras: while I'm not completely opposed to the change, it seems unnecessary to me. We don't change policies to be more wordy just because one editor makes some wikilawyering argument. We only do so when enough people feel the existing wording may be ambiguous or cause genuine confusion. So far, I haven't seen anyone other than that one editor feel there is any real ambiguity, even having read what they said. Nil Einne (talk) 09:00, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
BTW, I should clarify that I'm not saying that we are always required to publish what someone says about themselves. In fact ABOUTSELF and BLPSELFPUB set other limits on when we should do so, notably number 1. The question of when we should cover what someone has said about themselves is therefore generally a reasonable area of discussion. However there is no doubt that the only purpose of number 4 is to ensure we don't publish material when the person may not have really said it about themselves. The fact one editor is trying to argue otherwise is IMO not a good reason to make a policy change. Something we should look at is syncronising number 1, with the addition of 'exceptional claim' to BLPSELFPUB. (I'm not sure the history here but suspect it was added to ABOUTSELF and people forgot BLPSELFPUB says more or less the same thing.) Nil Einne (talk) 11:38, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
I started a discussion at WT:BLP about the lack of 'exceptional claim' in BLPSELFPUB. Nil Einne (talk) 12:34, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
Understood. Several months ago I had the same problem with a different editor over different policies. It resulted in a very long, tiresome discussion about the meaning of policy text. What is the best way to handle editors who are stubborn in sticking to their own "creative" interpretation of policy? Xenagoras (talk) 19:11, 19 January 2020 (UTC)
Please take note that I have tagged Xenagoras as a WP:SPA around crafting Tulsi Gabbard. So, please note that Xenagoras' efforts here are focused around that. Samp4ngeles (talk) 14:39, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
This is a false statement of fact because only 28% of my article edits have been about Tulsi Gabbard. Since I began editing on Wikipedia, 63% of Samp4ngeles' article edits have been about Tulsi Gabbard, her religion and her father. Xenagoras (talk) 17:32, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Xenagoras in regard to how to handle "stubborn" editors, ultimately an RFC can put an end to virtually anything... up to an including most stubborn Wikimedia Foundation management. (Although I needed to escalate across three wikis to stop the WP:Flow team.) However it's preferable if you can avoid resorting to an RFC. RFCs involve diverting a fair number of community members in formal process. Usually you can demonstrate a manifest consensus using editors who are already involved or "nearby". Bringing the issue to a relevant noticeboard is very a good approach. Opening an informal question/discussion on the relevant policy page is often an effective and lightweight solution. Sometimes there's a relevant and active Wikiproject where you can get people to weigh in. Sometimes just getting one person is enough... the most lightweight approach is to go to WP:3O, the Third Opinion page. 3O carries zero formal weight, but sometimes it is enough to break a small but firm logjam. If you have good cause to call in an admin to issue a caution or comment, that is extremely effective. And of course when there's serious disruption or behavior problems there's always WP:ANI to request formal action by an admin. But I virtually never have to escalate on that route. If you're right on the policy, it's about demonstrating a formal or informal consensus. Almost no one will continue to fight against an RFC result. Violating an RFC result, or even continuing to argue, is prima facie disruption. That results in rapid and firm admin action. Alsee (talk) 09:05, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Alsee, thank you for your good advice. Xenagoras (talk) 15:43, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Support the change. I think it's eminently sensible to make wording more precise ("there is no reasonable doubt about the identity of its author and its unaltered presentation of its author's views") when ambiguity is pointed out. Schazjmd (talk) 16:52, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
  • I found the proposal here extremely unclear. I had to dig to understand it. For the benefit of others and to clarify my position I will explain my understanding of the issue:
    Criteria 1 of WP:BLPSELFPUB is that a statement must not be unduly selfserving. Criteria 4 is that we must be sure who made the statement. It appears there is no dispute as to who made the statement. It appears one person challenges or questions the truthfulness of the statement. It appears they interpreted "authenticity" in criteria 4 as evaluating or requiring truthfulness. The truthfulness of the statement must be evaluated and addressed under criteria 1. (I haven't closely examined the issue, but it looks like such a challenge would be an overreach.)
    We don't want to mangle the text every time someone makes a unique misinterpretation, but modification is acceptable if it is a clean clear improvement. Simply replacing "authenticity" with "identity" is not a clean clear improvement. Perhaps text such as "there is no reasonable doubt of authentic identity" would work. I also considered language involving "the identity of the speaker or author". That would make the text a bit longer, which is disappointing but potentially usable. Alsee (talk) 10:33, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Alsee, I changed [4] the wording of my proposal to incorporate the input from this discussion. My updated proposal is now also placed at the end of my initial proposal: replace "there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity" with "there is no reasonable doubt about the identity of its author and its unaltered presentation of its author's views." Xenagoras (talk) 15:43, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
I'm still a bit confused: Which of these scenarios are you asking about 1) That a person may be lying about themselves (that is, saying inauthentic things about their own information) or 2) That a source may be lying about who the author is (that is, that a source that says it is written by the purported author about him/her self is actually not written by that person). Which is it? --Jayron32 15:56, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Jayron32 one person misinterpreted the authorship criteria as also being a truthfulness criteria. (Truthfulness is addressed under a different clause about "unduly self-serving" statements.) The proposal here is to re-write the authorship clause to be more explicitly about authorship-and-only-authorship. The wording change is intended only for clarification. It is not intended to alter the meaning or effect of the policy.
Xenagoras I like brevity in policy language and I would hope the "unaltered presentation" part is unnecessary, but you can count me as !voting the new text acceptable. Alsee (talk) 16:17, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Jayron32, I am referring to scenario 2. The policy should make clear that the source must not lie about who the author is: "there is no reasonable doubt about the identity of its author" (e.g. check mark accounts on Twitter and YouTube) and the source must not misrepresent the views of the author: "unaltered presentation of its author's views". This second part is inspired by David Eppstein [5] and serves to address that the source could be a video or audio or text that was edited to misrepresent the views of the author or it could be an misrepresentation via erroneous translation or subtitles.
Alsee thank you for the very good explanation of the situation. Xenagoras (talk) 21:27, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

Notify a user when you've started a discussion about them[edit]

Is there a policy around notifying users when they become the subject of a discussion on a talk page outside of a notice board? Like ANI-notice? I swear there was, maybe no one uses it. Thanks. --LaserLegs (talk) 23:10, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

The only places you should be discussing a user's behavior (and not contributions) is at AN, ANI, AE, or ArbCom, all which designate that you must notify the user in question about the action. I have seen editors talk informally about other editors on a third-party's talk page, in an informal "what do you think I should do?" manner , which I don't think would require notification of the editor in question at that stage. But if you are otherwise talking about editor's behavior and its not one of the four pages above, that's approaching no personal attacks and should be stopped and moved to the appropriate venue. --Masem (t) 23:34, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
I don't know. @Masem: do you mean that if someone comes to your user page for advice about another user you don't give it but refer them elsewhere? Or ping the other user and suggest they join the discussion? Doug Weller talk 08:38, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
There are other noticeboards, such as WP:AIV and WP:SPI, where behaviour is discussed but it is not customary to inform the editor involved. I think this is something that needs to be thought about on a case-by-case basis. Phil Bridger (talk) 09:16, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
SPI in particular states that notifying subjects might be a negative, which is probably the only place you see such a thing on Wikipedia (Not counting WP:EOTW), so I'm afraid case by case is definitely the way to go. Nosebagbear (talk) 12:11, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Technically, with AIV, you should have already been in discussion with the user about their behavior, and AIV generally is where you go if the user is unresponsive or simply ignoring the warning; a notification is not likely to fix that. (Counter: AN3, which is more about edit warring with participating users, requires notification). SPI is a bit of an odd case where notification isn't required but that's because there are times notifying a suspected sock may be determinental. --Masem (t) 14:46, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

Referencing lists of publications[edit]

If I give a bulleted list of publications in a biography of an author or academic do I need to put a reference after each one to show where I learned that they wrote that work? Or are the publication details in themselves the source for the publication of a work by that title? (Assume that I can't link the title to Worldcat or Jstor etc.) Philafrenzy (talk) 10:07, 15 January 2020 (UTC)

I had thought that MOS:WORKS covered this, but it doesn't seem to. My view is that for bibliographies which list works by a particular person, the the work itself is sufficient to verify the claim being made, for the same reason that a work of fiction is considered to verify claims about its own plot. Caeciliusinhorto-public (talk) 12:40, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
That seems reasonable, at least in terms of what is beneficial to Wikipedia. The only reason I might object is if it was identified that an article was having non-existent publications added Nosebagbear (talk) 14:07, 15 January 2020 (UTC)

A valid criticism ...[edit]

Per Wired... actor Chris Evans started his own blog/site on politics, in part due to our articles being far too detailed. But watching TV that day, Evans was totally lost. He Googled the acronym and tripped over all the warring headlines. Then he tried Wikipedia, but, well, the entry was thousands of words long. “It’s this never-ending thing, and you’re just like, who is going to read 12 pages on something?” Evans says. “I just wanted a basic understanding, a basic history, and a basic grasp on what the two parties think.” He decided to build the resource he wanted for himself.

I will fully agree with him that our articles on politics are far too details and writing to summarize too much in the short term as opposed to reflecting on RECENTISM and keeping to the more basic facts than all the detailed reactions.

Mostly food for thought, not so much we can do on this without a more broader change. --Masem (t) 14:23, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

  • Honestly, I just personally wouldn't recommend Wikipedia as a source for contemporary politics. You wanna read about the impeachment of Johnson? We got you. You want to read about the impeachment of Trump? Go somewhere else. Come back in 15 years. GMGtalk 14:27, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
    Well, what "else"? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 14:28, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
    I dunno. When I go to read news I usually just read news. I recommend NPR or the BBC. Wikipedia articles on contemporary politics are often unstable, egregiously detailed, comparatively arbitrary with the criteria for inclusion weighted more toward the opinions of editors than the totality and lasting significance of sources, and they're often comparatively poorly sourced, entirely based on news articles whose purpose is to report news and not write an encyclopedia. I don't personally have any solution other than to wait until others come along with the historical perspective to summarize the news in books, so we can summarize the books in an encyclopedia. GMGtalk 14:51, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
    And that's exactly the problem that's been pointed out countless times and yet, at least in the AP2 area, there's generally a large group of common editors in that space that tend to be the ones constantly bickering (completely unactionable in general) over these articles that lead to them being this way. It's how these editors seem to think and edit in a way that's not "wrong" but at the end of the day tend to not help with the type of info Mr. Evans here wants to find. We shouldn't be that much of a specalist work but it is really easy to be so with 24/7 news coverage giving an endless supply of short term sourcing. --Masem (t) 14:57, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
    Conversely, for editors that would rather work on lasting educational content rather than haunt AE and constantly bicker over the details of the pet goldfish Bernie Sanders had as a teenager...well, we tend to just go do something else instead, leaving little other than people whose purpose on Wikipedia tends to revolve around arguing over politics. Count me out. I'd rather go write an article on a park, categorize images, or make sure the Wikidata items on dead Polish mathematicians are sorted correctly. GMGtalk 15:05, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
    It is fair to recognize that arguing over politics is human nature, but I think when editors don't realize that that is effectively what they are engaged in when they create these massive articles on ongoing political events. We definitely need all editors doing any work in current events to respect the RECENTISM factor and should be writing as little as possible on short term factors and sticking to the facts. Definitely why other areas outside politics are much easier to edit and collaborate within. --Masem (t) 15:10, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
  • I think the primary problem is a lack of follow up. As much as I wish we could give WP:RECENTISM some teeth, too many of our fellow editors get a kick out of adding breaking news and opinion to articles on political topics. But what we CAN do is periodically review and REWRITE these articles in proper summary style. It is an ongoing process, but one that needs to be done. Blueboar (talk) 15:28, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
    Have you ever tried doing that? Take out just one quote from some news source and you'll instantly be reverted and accused of bias, POV-pushing, etc. Have you ever tried condensing a political article–i.e., shortening it? It's next to impossible. The articles are the way they are (overly long, overly detailed, overly focused on recentism and partisan minutiae) because the editors editing them want them to be that way. They genuinely believe it's really important to tell our readers what so-and-so said to the press today and that it isn't true. Levivich 22:34, 19 January 2020 (UTC)
    I have one solution I’d like to suggest. Come over to 2020 in politics and government, and add some current data there. Or else 2020 in the United States, etc etc. that way the facts are documented somewhere. Then you can always revise other articles to add that information. —Sm8900 (talk) 15:43, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
    Your proposed solution of adding more information is the opposite of the problem described, where there is opposition to removing extraneous information. isaacl (talk) 16:53, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
    I appreciate your reply. My reply is as follows. There is no basis for objecting to updates of entries on recent events as being too recent. That is one of Wikipedia’s biggest strengths and strongest qualities. It is one way the general public finds us helpful. The whole point of timeline articles, however, is to compile data on events that are not notable enough yet to have their own articles. Thanks. Sm8900 (talk) 20:28, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
    The issue is not with how recent the information has been published. Many of our breaking event articles (like the Norte Dame fire) were updated with relevant information in minutes of it being reported by an RS. That's fine, and actually great.
    What is the issue is when people are adding opinions and analysis on very recent events, not the "just the facts" information. This is where we are hurting. All that analysis and opinion clogs the article, and typically favoring a few taken by the mass media at the moment. That's the RECENTISM problem; such opinion and analysis should only be included long after the event to know if that reflects the long-term understanding of the event, or in the rare case when such opinions directly influence an event. --Masem (t) 20:34, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
    Again, the problem raised by Levivich is with overly detailed information. There is lots of information that is true about an event, but not all of it is at an appropriate level of detail for an encyclopedia article, as opposed to daily coverage in a periodical. isaacl (talk) 22:06, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
    This is also true: compare our Watergate coverage to the current Trump impeachment. --Masem (t) 22:17, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
  • So is there any change to policy we could make to resolve this problem? Blueboar (talk) 22:54, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
    • From a policy standpoint, a point of focus can be around NPOV and specificly UNDUE - in that application of WEIGHT and UNDUE factors should be done after some time has passed and not in the midst of an active event. This applies more to opinions and analysis from RSes, but the same can be applied to factual information. That is: a separate timeline article may be good for an event that generates a lot of news like Trump's impeachment, but this should all be distilled upwards to major points in a summary article which is the article that should stand the test of time with out getting into the weeds of all the details. And of course, WP:NOT#NEWS remains there as caution. The exact changes that would be needed, I can't say for sure, but I think we would want to say where we want to be and then decide what the policy changes that get us there should be made. --Masem (t) 23:01, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
      What about a content guideline for articles about recent/ongoing current events, that addresses how content policies apply to such articles? Levivich 04:02, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
      Wikipedia is the first draft of history. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 19:55, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
      That is absolutely not correct. We should not be an original source in any way. We document history based on what other sources report; it is the level of detail to which we should document that is at issue here. --Masem (t) 19:58, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
      I think an online encyclopedia should strive to be a regularly updated overview of history. As it by design lacks original reporting, Wikipedia shouldn't be the first one to document historical events. It should instead provide perspective and context for events. isaacl (talk) 20:20, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
      By definition, a tertiary source should at least be the third draft of history. Levivich 02:02, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
      We can't ignore major ongoing events, though. We are WP:NOTNEWS, but we are supposed to cover things that are currently happening - to get into Evans' problem, obviously neither he nor anyone else would be served by an article on DACA or NAFTA that completely omitted the entire Trump administration. The problem IMHO is more that we need to go back and revise such articles with better secondary sources once things settle down and that we should try to avoid "timeline" layouts, except in articles about events. Also, I personally would lean towards total exclusion of any opinion piece whose broad strand of opinion isn't also referenced in a secondary non-opinion piece - that is, I don't think we should allow people to cite an opinion piece with "talking head X said Y was dumb" unless we also have a secondary, WP:RS non-opinion piece saying "some people think Y is dumb." The aggressive willingness to cite opinion pieces turns articles into a terrible mess, because it encourages people to argue by proxy by posting opinion pieces from dueling sides. WP:RSOPINION made sense sixteen years ago when opinion was harder to come by; now it's incredibly easy to find an opinion for almost anything, even ones written by people you can squint and call an expert, which is causing problems... and, conversely, it's so easy to find non-opinion sources that IMHO we no longer have a compelling reason to rely on opinion pieces unless backed by a non-opinion source to establish their relevance. --Aquillion (talk) 02:42, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
      I agree with that and that's what I was thinking would go into a content guideline. E.g., avoid opinion (especially in leads), replace primary with secondary when available, avoid timeline layouts (except in timeline articles or events articles)... I would add: avoid quote farms, avoid "he said/she said" false balance dichotomies... I'm sure there is plenty we could think of to say. Levivich 05:00, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • I think we should just pay more attention to the ledes of articles. They must be reasonably concise and express what is in the articles. No policy change is needed for this.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:46, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
  • The issue for those sorts of articles in particular is that they tend to be written rapidly as news breaks, which leads to a timeline format that isn't generally very informative. Political bickering also contributes in that it tends to encourage blow-by-blow back and forth, especially with opinions and reactions - one editor adds something saying X, so someone else adds something saying Y, and they go back and forth without ever using a more distant secondary source to summarize broad opinions. This is clearly an issue with our DACA article. On the other hand, if the issue Evans had was with NAFTA... that really is an incredibly complex topic, made more complex by the fact that many of the political debates over it (which are crucial to understanding how it's discussed now and would have been the actual thing he went there to learn about) have gotten incredibly far afield from what it actually does, and more into symbolic issues. --Aquillion (talk) 02:42, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

Need an additional opinion[edit]

The article Anne Bogart had a tag about a section in reverse chronological order so I reversed it. Another editor reversed it on the grounds that the subject of the article liked it in reverse chrono order. (When the editor reversed it it also restored the tag.) I put a note on the Talk:Anne Bogart to discuss which order to put it in. No one has commented yet so we are at one opinion for chrono and one for reverse chrono order. Can someone please add an opinion. Thank you. RJFJR (talk) 23:16, 18 January 2020 (UTC)

I've commented; editors may be more interested in gutting the article's promotional and poorly sourced content. – Teratix 23:50, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
Thank you. Good point. RJFJR (talk) 13:11, 19 January 2020 (UTC)

Beauty pageants: Award with own WP article = "well-known and significant award or honor"[edit]

According to WP:ANYBIO, winning a "well-known and significant award or honor" means that the person is notable. Many beauty pageant titles are "well-known and significant" enough to merit their own Wikipedia articles per WP:GNG, multiple independent news sources that reflect public interest by covering them. Winning such a title is not excluded by WP:BLP1E unless this criterion of ANYBIO is meaningless.

I would like policy clarification whether there exists or should exist an exception to WP:ANYBIO for the special case of women who have won titles in US state or national beauty pageants that are well-known and significant enough to have their own articles. Based on the presumption that only international winners are notable, Johnpacklambert has been AfDing[6][7] and PROD-ing[8] [9][10] multiple women's articles based on a very local consensus among a small number of people at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Beauty_Pageants/Archive_7 that winners of notable beauty pageants are not notable for winning, and, with a double whammy, that news coverage talking about them in the context of their awards is excluded by BLP1E.

There are hundreds of sports awards that make young men notable (e.g. Conn Smythe Trophy for being the best player selected from 2 teams of hockey players in a finals game), and the fact that the public has traditionally more interested in praising women for beauty/talent than for sporting prowess should not be held against the young women who sought and won recognition in beauty pageants. HouseOfChange (talk) 20:31, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

  • Beauty pagent winners are not winning notable awards. This has been shown over and over again by the lack of extended coverage. We have a fairly focused number of sports awards that default make someone notable. I highly question the claim it is "hundreds." Sports coverage is out of control and our current guidleines make people with 10 minutes of play in one game notable. This is outrageous and ought not to be. However we should not use this out of control inclusion madness to create articles on beauty pageant winners who just fade into total obscurity after passing mention. I think the notion that winning Miss Vermont USA is a one event has a lot of validity. The notion that every state competition winner is default notable is just not supported by actual coverage.John Pack Lambert (talk) 20:56, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
  • If people really want to see what the old system gave us, try and dig up the article on Sloan Bailey. I created that article and will take full blame for it ever existing, but that is what the notion that winning an award that is "notable" making someone notable woud give us.John Pack Lambert (talk) 21:01, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Well known and significant is not the cut off for "notable". So having its own Wikipedia article does not make an award well known and significant. We have never agreed that every award that his its own Wikipedia article confers upon its winner notability. This is a horrible idea that would create a horrible precedent. This proposal is a mess waiting to happen, a mess so big that its scope of horror is not easily realized. This has implications for hundreds of awards that just barely scape by notability and in no way make each and every one of the people who get it notable. This is a headache waiting to happen. Our threshold for including articles on awards is not that they are significant and well known. Beyond this, the articles on Miss Florida etc. could be argued to not be about an award per se, but about a competition. This is a headache causing proposal that would open the flood gates to so many articles on people who are not by any reasonable measure public figures it just causes me to have total fear.John Pack Lambert (talk) 21:12, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
    We already have many articles about state pageant winners because people in general consider them notable. The headache waiting to happen is for someone to PROD multiple articles based on a private belief that some categories of awards won primarily by young women are less notable than similar categories of awards won primarily by young men. HouseOfChange (talk) 21:53, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
    1. I think it might help if you two took a break, and made space for uninvolved editors.
    2. The goal of every inclusion/exclusion rule is to have articles when we can write a decent one, and not have articles when we can't. WP:WHYN explains the goal. If you can write decent encyclopedia articles, with >50% of the content coming from Wikipedia:Independent sources, about someone who won a beauty pageant/played ball for three seconds/ate a bunch of hot dogs/whatever, then we should have those articles. If you can't, then we shouldn't. For borderline cases, it's a good idea to look for solutions like lists with substantial content – not merely "1965 winner: Alice Expert", but multiple sentences that provide solid encyclopedic information. Look at Wikipedia:Featured lists such as List of academicians educated at the United States Military Academy and List of presidents of the United States who died in office for two different ideas about what can be done when editors want information in Wikipedia, but not necessarily on separate pages. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:24, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

Is it acceptable to blank userspace sandboxes of long-term/established, but inactive editors?[edit]

Hi folks. Not to specifically call anyone out, but I have noticed that some editors are wholesale blanking userspace sandboxes of established, but inactive editors, citing guideline WP:STALEDRAFT, #2. This is a bad practice IMO. Not only is it a nuisance for inactive editors for when they return, but also it encourages unhelpful busy work amongst active editors.

So my question is as follows: Is it acceptable to blank userspace sandboxes of long-term/established, but inactive editors? -FASTILY 23:36, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

  • Yes. But, there should be a reason. The obvious reason from the words is that the content of the sandbox is "stale", as in no longer true. This is not just "old". Other reasons include dubious content that is turning up on internal Wikipedia searches. This really should be the exception, but far better to blank mildly problematic material than to seek its deletion where WP:ATD would favour blanking.
A hyperactive gnome who has taking to blanking inactive user's sandboxes indiscriminately should be asked to stop. I think that users over-policing others userspace are doing a net disservice to the project. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:44, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
The reason should be a good reason, and possibly a very good reason. "Old" is not a reason. Per User:Graeme Bartlett below, any possible use is adding content to mainspace is a very good reason to not blank. Userspace is No_Index-ed, so blanking serves only to hide the content from people searching userspace with the internal search engine. Mildly inappropriate things, like a list of a child's school friends, is good to be blanked. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:19, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
I think these blankings should be required to use {{Inactive userpage blanked}} or {{Userpage blanked}}. The first is very gentle with not even a hint that the page was inappropriate. I think it is well used for blanking possibly childrens' personal information, or a promotional draft topic. The second has a very subtle implication that something was inappropriate about the content. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:35, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe: postings of childrens' personal information should be referred to WP:OVERSIGHT. — xaosflux Talk 02:44, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
User:Xaosflux, what if it is just a list of names? "I like to play Fortnite with my friends, Joe, Jill and Jack". Personal, but not identifying. Their being children is presumed. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:24, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
We usually take "personal information" to be shorthand for non-public personal information and are usually extra accommodating for minors - that example alone wouldn't need suppression, but if anyone is in doubt feel free to refer to OS, we'd rather say "it's fine" then miss something. — xaosflux Talk 03:32, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) I'm not sure how this meets WP:RFCBEFORE, and qualifies for having bot pings for wide range of editors, which has a non-negligible fatigue factor on an volunteer project. Having said that, with no context at all, no, these people should go do something actually productive instead. This is probably top five of the silliest things you could do on Wikipedia that has no impact on our readers whatsoever. It has little to nothing to do with actually building an encyclopedia. GMGtalk 23:46, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
  • @Fayenatic london: Stop it. Save the Foundation the fraction of a fraction of a penny by blanking a user talk page when it literally makes no difference to anyone ever. You will die. You have a limited amount of time to contribute to this project. Use it to do something that actually matters even a tiny bit. GMGtalk 23:53, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
  • no blanking for being stale is not a reason. Perhaps there could be another reason to blank if the page was harmful in some way. However old abandoned userspace drafts may still be turned into articles, and I have actually done that in the last few days. If they are blanked then no one will bother with this small chance of benefit. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 01:01, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No (unless the sandbox page violates a policy). That is useless editing, especially when there are so many actual problems in actual articles that need fixing. Sandboxes are not necessarily, and often are not, "Unfinished userspace drafts" (quote from STALEDRAFT). Often they are experiments with code, samples of things that editors want to keep around, or examples that are being used as a demonstration to inform a talk page discussion. They may look like drafts, but unless an editor can read minds, there is no way to know. – Jonesey95 (talk) 01:43, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No - not without very good reason, but then shouldn't we be looking at a rationale for deletion, not blanking? Looking at my multitude of chaotic subpages, a few could certainly do with a darned good sort out and tidy up, but I don't think that's reason enough to blank them if I stopped editing. There are a few gems in there that someone might find of use, and the rest are, like me, 'mostly harmless'. The contents would still be there in the history of the blanked page (assuming you didn't mean 'deletion'), so what would be the purpose of blanking content? I can't see any reason to do it unless it was breaching one or other of our content policies. I'm quite OK with deleting individual elements that are causing disruption, say to how Category content is displayed (e.g. {{adopt me}} templates in sandboxes or remaining on user pages of long-inactive editors.) But only if we were to agree that it was OK to blank the entire user and talk pages of all inactive or deceased editors, would it then be fine. But would we ever agree to do that? Nick Moyes (talk) 01:45, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No. Why on earth would anyone be sifting through sandboxes? One shouldn't be blanking inactive user's pages, why would you do it to their sandboxes? I think some calling out is in order, actually. Especially if it is being done on a wide scale. Ifnord (talk) 02:05, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Yes. More under WP:STALEDRAFT point 4 (which requires that there be problems with it, like BLP, reliability, or promotional stuff) than totally arbitrarily... but almost any draft is going to have one of those problems, since if it didn't it wouldn't still be a draft. Wikipedia isn't a web host and we should discourage people from leaving things like those there, especially since there is a small risk that they could be mistaken for an article if linked to directly. Also, with regards to the "those people should find better things to do" argument - keep in mind that the implication of this RFC is that we would then devote administrative effort to policing them and stopping them from doing such blanking, which only makes the problem worse. If the blanking is at worst harmless (and serves some useful purpose for the reasons I mentioned), I don't see the value to adding red tape forbidding it, especially since we absolutely want to blank seriously problematic stuff and trying to get stricter about requiring that it be problematic would be wasting even more editor time and arguments over stuff that doesn't matter. Blanking is easy, lightweight, and harmless. (Also, this RFC is a waste of time and the idea of starting it to prevent people from wasting time blanking stuff probably deserves a trout. If people think the whole issue is a silly waste of time, then we're better off dropping it and not worrying about what anyone does to stale drafts as long as BLP issues and promotional material isn't left up.) --Aquillion (talk) 02:22, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • I have blanked some user pages including sandboxes because they contained blatantly promotional material but in general no, people should not blank such pages without a good reason. If someone is doing this and they persist after having this discussion drawn to their attention, they should be blocked. Johnuniq (talk) 02:24, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Meh I'm not seeing a strict policy discussion that needs to be had on this as some sort of standalone rule. I think it would be bad form for anyone to do this just because or in any sort of non-trivial volume. That being said, in most cases I think it is fine on a small-scale case-by-case nature; though outright blanking would be less desirable than at least placing a {{Inactive userpage blanked}} template. — xaosflux Talk 02:28, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
    One case where I think this is normally OK is for a user primary sandbox (e.g. User:User/Sandbox but not User:User/SomeTopic) that contains general non-encyclopedic things (like abandoned fake big brother graphs that I have no idea why people make, or an obvious resume dump) - as a preferred route over dragging the page to MFD. — xaosflux Talk 03:16, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
    In the context of this questions though, I wouldn't expect established/long-term users to have this sort of cruft there. — xaosflux Talk 12:56, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Generally, no. Some possible reasons for exceptions appear above. Johnbod (talk) 02:54, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No There are valid reasons to blank user pages, but inactivity should not be a factor in any circumstance. SportingFlyer T·C 03:43, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No – not just for inactivity; only if there is a reason (like copyvio, BLP vio, etc.) Levivich 04:45, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Yes for duplicate articles, and other pages causing additional maintenance work e.g. when checking red links: WP:FAKEARTICLE which says "Userspace… should not be used to indefinitely host… old revisions… or your preferred version of disputed content". Blanking or redirecting is the standard approach set out at WP:STALEDRAFT, and avoids taking up other editors' time for an MFD. The positive reason for blanking is to save checking backlinks after deletions. XFD processes require cleanup in their wake, and should not give rise to more work for Wikipedia:WikiProject Red Link Recovery. That is to say, if when checking backlinks I find a userpage, I blank it so that it no longer links to categories/ templates /anything else that might be deleted; then, if those do get deleted/renamed there will be one less incoming redlink from a userpage to be checked. If the editor is long gone, I just blank the page following WP:STALEDRAFT; if the last edit was more recent, I sometimes first update the red link, and then leave an explanatory edit summary such as [11]. What has given rise to this "unhelpful busy work" – has an editor complained in a case where I omitted to leave an explanation? – Fayenatic London 14:39, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
    • My actions are also consistent with WP:ABANDONED #Guidelines. The many editors asserting here that "there is no reason" have probably not spent much time doing cleanup of red links after XFDs. – Fayenatic London 23:05, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
    • As more editors are naming me as a problem, I'm trying to remember what else I have done in the past that might have annoyed anyone. If the user is active, I usually just update the linked categories after renaming, although I might then blank the page if it's duplicate content as required under WP:FAKEARTICLE. There have been cases when I found backlinks coming from a couple of drafts by the same user, and then I checked what else the editor left behind, in case (i) any of it is suitable to be submitted for assessment as a draft article, or (ii) any of it is problematic as BLP. Apologies if I have then taken action with other junk that should have been left alone. – Fayenatic London 10:01, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No... I have never understood the rational behind STALEDRAFT. If something in userspace is problematic, I agree that it should be removed (deleted or blanked). But the question of whether the user is active or inactive is IRRELEVANT to that determination. If there are valid reasons to delete or blank material in userspace then remove it... there is no reason to wait until the user becomes “inactive”. If, on the other hand, the material is acceptable for userspace while the user is active, it should still be acceptable when the user becomes inactive. There is no NEED to remove it. It’s not like we need to free up the space for someone else. There is no harm in letting it just sit there in userspace... forever. Blueboar (talk) 15:20, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
That said - I would be open to further discussions on what should (and should not) be allowed in userspace. Perhaps we do need further limitations on what userspace is used for (or, to put it another way, limitations on HOW we use userspace). The point being that any limitations agreed to would apply to ANY userspace page... active or inactive. We need to eliminate the idea that something can be “OK while the user is active but not OK if the user leaves.” Focus on the material (and why it is problematic), not the active/inactive status of the user. Blueboar (talk) 16:43, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
Blueboar, We already have Wikipedia:User pages which covers what userspace is for (and what it's not for). -- RoySmith (talk) 17:27, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I know... my point was to say that I would be open to amending that page if people think there is something not covered there already. However, the idea that the acceptability of MATERIAL in userspace should be based on the active/inactive status of the USER is ridiculous. Blueboar (talk) 19:16, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No. There is absolutely zero value to blanking a userspace sandbox. If it's objectionable for some legitimate reason (WP:BLP, WP:copyvio, WP:attack, WP:G11, WP:U5, or maybe a few others) then it should be deleted via WP:CSD if applicable, or WP:MfD otherwise. If it's just stale, who cares? It's causing no harm in userspace. I've got stubs in my userspace that I haven't worked on in over 10 years. I'd be really pissed if anybody blanked them. -- RoySmith (talk) 16:06, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No. At least not without some very good reason to do other than the fact that they're old and the user is inactive. — TransporterMan (TALK) 18:27, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No. I see some assumptions above that these are all drafts and the stale draft criteria should apply, however user sandboxes are not the preferred location for drafts, and may people use their sandboxes for other things besides drafts. There is no reason to blank someone's coding experiments, test page, page of lorem ipsum text, or whatever else people are using their sandbox for. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 18:40, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Of course it's not acceptable unless there is some other reason, such as spamming or WP:BLP violation, for removing the content. Don't people have anything better to do? Phil Bridger (talk) 18:54, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Yes with a reason. I sometimes do this after cleaning up after closing TfDs. Say an editor use their sandbox to test a template that is getting deleted/merged then blanking the now useless page is a good way to remove the page from Special:Wanted templates when it gets deleted. It's a useful tool when cleaning maintenance categories with basically zero costs. Systematically going through sandboxes is of course not appropriate. ‑‑Trialpears (talk) 23:24, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Who cares. I wouldn’t waste my time doing it, but I also think those who waste their time objecting to it should find better things to do. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:39, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No unless within policy. Many good points have been made above, particularly GMG—Fayenetic, you're wasting your time and ours. @TonyBallioni: to be fair, if someone wasn't already wast[ing] their time doing it, there world be no need for others to waste their time objecting to it! 🐤 ——SN54129 08:31, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Perhaps we might add a speific CSD criterion, so that unambiguously unwanted pages can be removed, but others must be referred to MfD, and useful content can be rescued? We might also consider the case of sandboxes of deceased editors, and separately those of banned users. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 12:00, 24 January 2020 (UTC)