I have begun a project to add a one-line summary of every guideline
and policy to some central place (probably [[WP:RULES]]), as well as
appearing on each policy/guideline page itself. As I've now run into
some (inevitable?) opposition, I'm asking for opinions, ideas etc here.
I've created a template [[template:Guideline one liner]] which displays
a fairly ugly purple band - improvements welcomed. I then put it on the
following pages with the following summaries.
* wikipedia:Editing policy: Improve any page without hesitation,
regardless of the state you leave it in. Avoid removing information
* wikipedia:Build the web: Link articles sideways to neighbours, and
upwards to categories and contexts to create a useful web of
* wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages: Sign all your posts on
Wikipedia talk pages by typing ~~~~ to be accountable and to help others
understand the conversation.
* wikipedia:Don't include copies of primary sources: Don't copy
lengthy poems, speeches or other source text into Wikipedia. Put them in
Wikisource if you need to.
* wikipedia:Subpages: Don't use slashes (/) in the names of articles
to create subpages.
* wikipedia:Edit summary: Always type at least a brief summary of
the change that you made in the Edit Summary box. Avoid misleading
* wikipedia:Disambiguation: If an article's name is very similar to
another, make a note at the top. If many articles share a name, create a
* wikipedia:Deletion policy: If no page appropriate for Wikipedia
could ever be written on an article's topic, nominate it for deletion.
Otherwise, try and fix it.
* wikipedia:Semi-protection policy: Pages undergoing frequent
vandalism can be semi-protected to block edits by very new or
* wikipedia:No binding decisions: All decisions, including poll
results, can be reversed later as Wikipedia develops.
* wikipedia:Ownership of articles: You agreed to allow others to
modify your work. So let them.
* wikipedia:Harassment: Don't make life miserable for other users,
such as by wiki-stalking them, or you may be blocked.
* wikipedia:Sock puppet: Do not use duplicate accounts to rig votes,
mislead others or circumvent policy. Good-faith uses are fine.
* wikipedia:Banning policy: Users may be banned for varying times.
They may appeal, but must not circumvent the ban, so don't bait them or
help them to try.
[copied from [[template talk:Guideline one liner]] - some of the terms
Criticisms have included that the suggested summaries simplify or
distort the relevant policies, that the template is ugly (I agree :)),
that the template is redundant considering the first sentence is often
(but surprisingly rarely!) a summary of the policy, and that users may
feel they have grasped a whole policy when they've only read a
"powerpoint" bullet point version of it.
I feel that many people never read the guidelines, as there are too
many, and they're not well structured or organised together. By creating
a single page with an accurate, concise summary of each guideline, a
user can get a very good feel for not only how Wikipedia works, but also
how the relevant policies and guidelines are structured, so they know
where to go for more detail.
Certainly putting the summary on certain pages *is* currently redundant,
but that can obviously be fixed by changing the first sentence etc.
Also, one user suggested modifying [[template:policy]] (and related
templates) to make room for this one-line summary, which would certainly
alleviate aesthetic concerns.
So, I would love to hear some ideas and opinions on whether this is a
worthwhile project, how best to implement it, and so on and so forth.
There is a bit of discussion at [[template talk:Guideline one liner]]
Steve ([[user talk:stevage]])
The intent of Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons is noble. But it
ignores the real problem. Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:No
original research, and Wikipedia:Verifiability have morphed into a
dreadful guiding principle that sanctions inaccurate facts and avoids
accountability. The Contacting the subjects of biographies section of
Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons is bad policy because it
sanctions erroneous data, stunts intellectual curiosity, and rewards
Contacting the subjects of biographies
There is no obligation to contact the subject of a biography to ask
permission to write it, or to inform the subject that one is being written.
If contact with a subject is made, care must be taken not to reproduce
details offered by the subject if these details have not been published
(100% agreement if primary sources are included.)
For example, if the New York Times says that John Doe was born in 1955,
but John Doe himself tells you this was a mistake and that his year of
birth is in fact 1965, the Wikipedia article must reflect the published
record, and not what John Doe has told you privately.
To add unpublished details to a biography is an example of original
(100% disagreement. A person’s date of birth is not original research.
DOB is a basic fact of society. It is verified daily by a wide spectrum
If the subject wants to correct the public record, he should do so by
writing to the newspaper that made the mistake or to another credible
publication. The Wikipedia article should then be changed to reflect any
published correction or published letter to the editor.
(100% disagreement. Filtering out accurate information is totally
unacceptable. Wikipedia policy [NPOV, Original research, Verifiability]
should never be interpreted in a way that makes Wikipedia 100% depend on
another media outlet being ethical or perfect.)
There are also legal concerns about adding details that have come
directly from the subject. How can you be completely sure who you are
talking to? What if he maliciously tells you something false and
defamatory in order to cause trouble for Wikipedia? Could you afterwards
prove that you had spoken to him, and that he had been the source of the
claims you added to his article?
(100% disagreement. This is intellectually dishonest. Wikipedia is
shifting accountability to other media outlets. This is a POV that
Wikipedia has created from thin air. It ignores the fact that most other
organizations collect information over the Internet. Banking,
college/university applications, bookstores, retail shopping/swapping…
are done on line everyday.)
Newspapers know how to deal with this kind of situation, but Wikipedia
is not a newspaper. We do not have the resources to conduct this kind of
original research, and if mishandled, it could lead to serious
consequences for Wikipedia and for the subject of the biography.
(100% disagree. Maybe this was true in the beginning, but is not true
now. Wikipedia has many editors that know how to deal with these
situations. They are told NOT to address the problem.)
Honest discussion. Fact-checking. Mandatory quality improvement
practices. These are the solutions.
Is there any reason why we dont introduce immediately a rule that says all new information added to an article must be sourced or referenced or the edit will automatically be reverted? And any new articles must be sourced or referenced within two hours, say, of their creation, or will be speedily deleted?
Unsourced information has no place on the encyclopaedia, and the person introducing the information is best placed to know where he got it from. OK, this idea is not a panacea - it doesnt help reference up information already in the encyclopaedia, but itd stop making the problem worse. Nor would it address the issue of editors making up false sources - but any regular editor doing that will soon be rumbled, and this issue is already around anyway.
Editors would soon get used to the new requirement - and itd have the benefit of making all those RC and New Pages patrollers who currently do not improve the encyclopaedia one jot (they merely prevent it from degrading) actually help improve the project by enforcing proper standards.
Ideally [[Wikipedia:Verifiability]] and [[Wikipedia:Cite sources]] would undergo a quick re-write to explain better how sources can be given, but that can easily be done.
This idea would start to improve our quality immediately, and make a Siegenthaler repeat far less likely. Why not go for it?
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Ray Saintonge wrote,
>David Gerard wrote:
> >Steve Bennett wrote:
> >>There really should be different sourcing guidelines for different
> >>fields in Wikipedia - popular culture is just "different" to history,
> >>science or geography.
> >Some sort of referencing should be possible. For TV or movie synopses,
> >the text itself as an implicit reference is obvious and sufficient, for
>To some extent we can make use of "standard" references. The Internet
>Movie Data Base is a good example for movies, but that won't work for
>everything. Many subjects, however, are more controversial and the
>standards there need to be more stringent .
I agree that in certain areas we can make good use of "standard"
references. However, this leads me to an issue that has concerned me for
some time: the use of dictionaries and encyclopedias as sources.
I believe that dictionaries are authorities on the spelling and
pronunciation of words. I also think they can be drawn on to account for
how a word is "commonly" or "popularly" understood. But I am very strongly
opposed to relying on them actually to define a term in Wikipedia -- at
least, in areas of scholarly and professional concern. For example, OED
may or may not have a good definition of "evolution." Regardless, I think
the definition of "Evolution" in the "evolution" article should reflect
the mainstream understanding of evolutionary scientists (I do NOT want to
go into SPOV vs. NPOV; if it makes things easier, I have no problem with
(1) specifying that this is how evolutionary scientists define it, and (2)
mention that non-evolutionary scientists have other definitions). OED may
or may not have a good definition of "imperialism." Regardless, I think
the definition of "imperialism" in the "imperialism" article should reflect
the mainstream understanding of political scientists and historians (and
perhaps even politicians (again, I have no problem with (1) specifying that
this is how scholars and professionals define it, and (2) mention that
non-scholars scientists have other definitions). According to our
"Wikipedia is not a dictionary" policy, we state that it is good to start
articles with a definition. I think relying on dictionary definitions is
(a) lazy (we are letting whoever wrote researched the dictionary do our
research for us. This is not a problem when it comes to relying on books
by scholars in writing an article, but dictionary definitions are the
ultimate product of abstracting from various sources. This is precisely
what our job should be), (b) redundant (anyone who has access to Wikipedia
has access to OED online or Answers.com and can get a definition that way,
and (c) may very well conflict with the body of the article, if we are
drawing on sources written by scholars and professionals. I believe that
the "Wikipedia is not a dictionary" and the "Cite Sources" pages should be
revised to address this.
Other encyclopedias are great ways to begin research, since they give us an
idea of what an article on a topic could cover, and sometimes provides
references we can turn to. I also think it is a useful exercise to compare
our articles to those in other encyclopedias, just to get a sense as to
whether we have missed something important. But I object to using articles
from other encyclopedias as sources for our articles. It seems so patently
absurd to me, it is hard to explain why -- except I know others do this
regularly, so I have to. So okay, it comes down to similar reasons for my
rejecting dictionaries as sources (at least, in areas of scholarly and
professional concern). First, encyclopedia articles are the ultimate
product of abstracting from various sources. This is precisely what our
job should be. To rely on the research of others to me seems to devalue
our own role as researchers. Second, since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia,
it seems terribly derivative to base our articles on the articles of other
encyclopedias. Moreover, Wikipedia is an experiment in a new way of
producing an encyclopedia; to rely on conventional encyclopedias seems to
undermine our own integrity, what defines us as unique and special. I
grant that there may be occasions in which other encyclopedias can (like
the IMDB Ec mentions) be useful resources, but I think these cases should
be the exceptions, not the rule. And I think we need to revise our
policies to make this clear.
Steven L. Rubenstein
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Athens, Ohio 45701
David Gerard write:
> Ray Saintonge wrote:
> > Chris Jenkinson wrote:
> >> Ray Saintonge wrote:
> >>> Your request is illogical. It asks for something right when it is
> >>> wrong by definition. If I see something as "right" I would not call
> >>> it pseudoscience.
> >> Exactly - so how is it POV to demonstrate in an article why a
> >> pseudoscience is wrong?
> > Because you had to characterize it as pseudoscience in the first place.
> This resembles a circular argument.
> Is there any word or phrase in *common usage* (i.e., we can't coin a
> Wikipedia-only neologism) that covers what is meant by "pseudoscience"?
> - d.
Yes. Problem is that it's "pseudoscience"
karmafist has now re-blocked me, this time indefinitely. He and David Gerard
both base their actions on totally baseless assumptions about my psychology,
motives, and intentions.
As I see it, there are two questions that need to be settled here:
1) Is it acceptable to refer to people who actually are vandals as such?
2) If so, then are deletionists vandals?
I think (1) is obviously "yes" if for no other reason than that the
consequences of it being "no" would be totally unacceptable to anyone
seriously interested in creating a worthwhile encyclopedia; it is (2) that is
the contentious part. I am honestly convinced that deletionists are vandals;
there are many who think otherwise.
All I ask is that it either
(a) it be demonstrated that deletionists are not vandals (see my argument at
to find out why I think they are), in which case it would be safe to unblock
me immediately (although I would understand a block of up to a week--I'd
prefer a week after the particular incident in question, of course, but I can
also understand the week beginning on the day it is put in place) because I
am not intellectually dishonest and I do not engage in behavior I know is
(b) that it be accepted that deletionists are vandals (or that at least it be
accepted that this particular argument for why deletionists are vandals has
not been refuted, in which case it is not known one way or the other--because
after all, lack of refutation does not constitute, in and of itself,
constitute proof), in which case I should of course be unblocked outright.
The thing is, karmafist and David Gerard have justified their actions that "it
is not acceptable to call someone a 'vandal' simply because he disagrees with
you"--and they are correct. What is incorrect is their assumption that I am
calling deletionists "vandals" simply because I disagree with them--this is
not the case; I am calling them "vandals" because I am honestly convinced
that they are (and if I'm wrong, I'm wrong and will change both my thinking
and behavior) They may insist otherwise, but they are wrong.
>OTOH, if it's the section further down commenced by [[en:user:Stevage]],
>then I take your point: ".placating potentially injured parties, even if
>that involves a minor violation of NPOV" is a slippery slope we should not
>be allowing anywhere near us.
That was it. Initiatives like this seem to think NPOV is optional
rather than, say, the Number One Policy On The Site. And clearly, the
creators can say "no no we mean keep within NPOV", but it's obvious
that people were going to take it as an opt-out on it.
Sorry in advance if this is posted to the wrong place.
It appears to me that the page in which to sign up to Wikipedia is
(As I have never used this page before its hard to say) It appears that
the fields to enter a username and password are missing.
Could someone redirect me or this message to someone who may know about
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