User talk:S Marshall

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Disapproving tone[edit]

I don't think that editors will agree, in principle, to using an intentionally disapproving tone for anything, even for suicide.

Separately, the concern I suggest is this: Even if you believe the phrase is normal and adequately neutral – even if you could somehow prove beyond any reasonable doubt that within your subculture, it objectively is a neutral phrase – the phrase still might make some people sad or angry, including people who are grieving. IMO the surviving friends and family members deserve compassion and gentleness, especially if it costs us so little as sometimes writing something like "The cause of death was suicide" or "He killed himself" instead of "He committed suicide".

That said, if the only thing "wrong" with an article is that it uses the word committed instead of an encyclopedic alternative, then I think we shouldn't worry too much, especially if nobody is complaining about it. I'm much more concerned about problems like this. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:20, 30 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I want to distinguish between trauma-informed practice when speaking to someone whose partner, child or parent has taken their own life---where you would totally avoid judgemental language---and writing an encyclopaedia for a general audience where using language that normalizes suicide could actually spark suicidal thoughts or create conditions for a suicide attempt.
On reflection I wonder whether the wording you've suggested belongs in WP:BIOGRAPHY, where trauma-informed practice matters more. To have it in MEDMOS is to use suicide-normalizing language in articles about medical conditions where a significant proportion of readers are sufferers. Do you not see an ethical concern there?—S Marshall T/C 09:25, 30 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was intrigued by the comments about disapproving vs normalising. I did a search, and most results were about normalising talking about mental health issues, though I found one paper noting that normalising suicide has historically been and continues to be a problem in Japan. I found Self-harm and suicide in adults Final report of the Patient Safety Group by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Preventing suicide: a resource for media professionals by the World Health Organization. The latter has a few paragraphs on "Do not use language which sensationalizes or normalizes suicide, or presents it as a constructive solution to problems". Both could be useful for guidance, though they are written by experts, so, you know, take their advice a pinch of salt ;-). Both comment negatively on "commit". I think there are other phrases than the neutral ones WAID gives that could be problematic for normalising or romanticising suicide.
I agree the location of the advice isn't obviously correct at MEDMOS. But there is perhaps an advantage that that style guide is watchlisted by editors who appreciate experts cited in reliable sources, rather than the playground for culture wars that seems to occur elsewhere at MOS. -- Colin°Talk 11:59, 30 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you, Colin: I think those are helpful links. Personally, I wouldn't characterize suicide-normalizing language as a manual of style issue. I feel that the MOS should be confined to article format and layout, accessibility standards, and spelling and grammar choices, so I can continue my longstanding practice of ignoring it completely and leaving it up to those with nothing else to do. Maybe we need to work up a new guideline somewhere that we can crosslink from WP:BLP and WP:MEDMOS?
There's a spectrum here with a lot of nuance. On the extreme ends, we don't want to be insensitive to survivors, and we wouldn't accept suicide-advocacy (which is against our shiny new UCOC, I'm pleased to observe). But somewhere between those two poles is suicide-tolerant and suicide-normalizing language in articles about serious medical conditions and I'd like to avoid that too.
I've worked intermittently with self-harmers in the criminal justice system, but I don't have any formal qualifications or real expertise here. Do we know anyone who does?—S Marshall T/C 12:50, 30 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think one of the problems with MOS is that it is all about telling editors what they should and shouldn't do, and it is the work of original research by and the opinion of editors. The Independent Press Standards Organisation: Guidance on reporting suicide has the following:

IPSO does not seek to limit the language that journalists can use to describe suicide.

However, journalists should be aware that the Suicide Act 1961 decriminalised the act of suicide. Many organisations working in the area of suicide prevention are concerned about the use of the phrase ‘commit suicide’ and argue that the phrasing stigmatises suicide and is insensitive to those affected by suicide. They prefer to refer to a person’s decision to take their own life, or that they died by suicide.

Here they are informing journalists of the advice of experts and leaving it for the journalists to take or leave that advice. They aren't going to get some Daily Mail ranter and some Guardian warrior to agree, so don't try. By trying to insert rules into MOS, we create a platform for culture was and ego battles and entirely uninformed people to be asked for their opinions, which they freely give without getting informed. Given that Wikipedia is all about providing information, information that is sourced externally and reliably, shouldn't we do the same about these matters for editors? "Here, this is what experts think..." -- Colin°Talk 15:13, 30 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you think that "He killed himself" is an example of "suicide-normalizing language"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:52, 30 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, not by itself. An example of suicide-normalizing language might be: "Condition X is painful and difficult to treat, and sufferers are much more likely than the general population to kill themselves."—S Marshall T/C 22:21, 30 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That sounds like a reasonable description of what was once called "the suicide disease" by doctors. I'm not sure whether that description normalizes suicide or merely reports the facts as they were experienced before the advent of modern medicine. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:27, 1 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well it does both. It reports the facts in a way that suggests suicide is a normal response.—S Marshall T/C 01:36, 1 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Because "common" is "normal"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:40, 1 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the language nuances are improved by avoiding statements of truth and implied prediction and normalcy by using the preferred encyclopedic style of past tense information citations. eg. "Longitudinal patient surveys in the 1970s indicated that Condition X is painful and difficult to treat, and that sufferers were much more likely often than the general population killed themselves.[Ref1,2]"
And I would guess that the referenced source was more likely to use "die by suicide" than "kill themselves". The point being, that writing in past tense tends to focus the writer and reader on the sourced information, and away from generalisations of current thought. SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:59, 1 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm saying that the neutral "killed themselves" language in an encyclopaedia could plant a seed of suicide in someone's mind. I think that risk could justify the more disapproving tone of "commit suicide", or similar wording, in some articles to give that seed less fertile ground to grow in. I know that for some people self-euthanasia is a rational choice but ... Well, I'm sure you don't need me to labour the point.—S Marshall T/C`
I believe that the idea that talking about suicide could "plant a seed" is generally discredited in the literature. There is evidence that identifying with a person is a factor in some copycat suicide attempts, but disapproving of the person or the actions doesn't seem to reduce the risk. A person who is obsessed with school shootings or other mass murder–suicide events has a risk factor for perpetrating copycat events, even though nearly everything ever written or said about them is overtly disapproving. The research suggests that the sense of identification matters far more than the moral tone. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:51, 1 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Very well! I withdraw the objection. :)—S Marshall T/C 09:36, 1 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with S Marshall in their example of suicide normalising language and this is something any guideline or essay should cover. I also agree with WAID that attempting a disapproving tone doesn't help. The guidelines above say some language can be stigmatising and this has an effect on two people groups. One is the "surviving friends and family members" that WAID above says deserve our "compassion and gentleness" but the other are people who are self harming or having suicidal thoughts. According to the experts, the stigma for them prevents them seeking or accepting help. SmokeyJoe's comment about "prediction" being a problem is relevant but not fixed IMO by putting the sentence in the past tense.
By combining "painful and difficult to treat" with "suicide more likely" into one sentence, the juxtaposition suggests one is or could be a reasonable solution to the other, and makes it concrete by using statistics (i.e., not only do some people think it could be a reasonable solution but a significant number have carried through with that idea). I note that Trigeminal neuralgia that WAID refers to barely mentions suicide (though the talk page indicates some debate on the matter). However, Cluster headache says more and does link pain with suicide in a way I don't think is necessary (the section is on signs and symptoms, not prognosis or management).
One of the guidelines above talks about dispelling myths, and fact checking with expert groups. There is a sensationalist aspect to adding factoids about a "suicide disease" or "suicide headache", which make great headlines. Language used by the press or by historical medical documents can be careless. An informal conversation may say "OMG it is so painful you'll want to kill yourself" but that's not very encyclopaedic. So I wonder if the solution is
  • to check the statistics do match the perception
  • to weigh up whether the literature thinks a statistical correlation with suicide (or thoughts) is notable for a summary of the condition or just a factoid found by an internet search
  • to avoid juxtaposing suffering with suicide in one sentence or section. Symptoms, management and prognosis are separate sections.
--Colin°Talk 10:20, 1 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Colin's thoughts seem helpful in medical articles but the concern also affects biographies. "Person X died by suicide after contracting condition Y" is at once non-judgmental and suicide-normalizing.—S Marshall T/C 11:02, 1 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that wording implies suffering->suicide. It is tricky because a biography naturally deals with facts in a chronological manner, and one's illness and death often occur sequentially. At Robin Williams the lead currently says "On August 11, 2014, at age 63, Williams died by suicide at his home in Paradise Cay, California. His autopsy revealed undiagnosed Lewy body disease." A while back, the second sentence had "His widow, Susan Schneider, attributed his suicide to his struggle with Lewy body disease." this got shortened to one sentence with " after having lived with undiagnosed Lewy body disease", with an edit summary suggesting RS disagreed on cause. I think the current text, with two unlinked sentences, is about as far from separating suffering->suicide as we can get, considering that LBD is a fatal disease reported by his autopsy. -- Colin°Talk 11:57, 1 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well there's got to be an element of editorial judgment. It's really hard to write about Debbie Purdy or Tony Nicklinson without drawing a link between suffering and suicide. We should probably check with someone Japanese on how to write about seppuku.—S Marshall T/C 00:28, 2 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have been reading about our (American, but also elsewhere) strange modern idea that death and dying can be "controlled". Perhaps the view from another time/culture would look at such deaths and think less about the disease-based suffering and more about the suffering our culture imposes on us. "How often do you hear someone say, 'I've never seen a dead person', as though they are a different species? And that's just the adults." When death has been hidden from you through your whole life, then it's no wonder that some people are terrified by the prospect of a lengthy and unpredictable period of progressive disability and dying.
(A scholar of pre-modern Japanese culture might be more relevant than a random Japanese person.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:29, 2 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's compassion that creates hospices and assisted suicide and euthanasia. Less compassionate societies didn't have them.
Are we any closer to a paragraph on suicide-normalizing language? Should I draft one to give us a starting point?—S Marshall T/C 10:19, 2 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure that editors will be able to reliably identify what that is. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:17, 3 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then we need to explain it well, wouldn't you say?—S Marshall T/C 13:01, 6 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We'd first need to have a shared understanding of what constitutes suicide-normalizing language. Second, we'd need to have some defensible explanation for why our understanding is the right one. That suggests that we need (and need to follow) a handful of sources that directly address the subject. Suicide-normalizing language is a redlink, so we're starting from scratch. Have you found any sources yet? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:53, 6 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is all too sensible and polite. You are clearly on the wrong project or are complete newbies. MOS starts from a position of complete misunderstanding. It helps if you both have entirely different value systems and suspect the other's politics are "wrong". One of you needs to propose something the other finds outrageous. The other should make clear the manifest idiocy of the first. Continue to argue past each other while flinging insults and culture-war idioms. Make it clear that whichever has cited sources to enforce their position has just made a kind of Godwin's Law mistake of MOS discussion. Cite an essay you wrote that explains clearly in 4,000 words why you are so so right all the time. Respond with an argument of such verbosity you feel the need to hat it when posting. Begin an RFC with a hastily constructed question you hope will settle the argument once and for all. After a dozen responses, realise with a sinking feeling that your question was suboptimal. Watch the uninformed masses offer their strong opinions. Despair at the closing admin's comments. Misrepresent the closing admin's comments. -- Colin°Talk 17:34, 6 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Such a narrow way of thinking. Sometimes we write RFC questions for the purpose of proving that there is no consensus. ;-p WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:21, 6 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Colin, you agreed that my example constitutes suicide-normalizing language. Do you accept WAID's view that we need a sourced definition of it before we can write about it?—S Marshall T/C 21:07, 6 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well you aren't asking an expert and WAID has been contemplating this topic longer than me [had to be careful how I worded that bit]. I'm certainly more of a fan of citing and reading what experts think than working it out for myself. But joking aside, I also agree that it helps if we are all on the same page. I wonder, if you guys are serious about an article, an essay or a guideline, that we should take the advice of the WHO guideline: "Media professionals should seek advice from local suicide prevention experts". Perhaps a list of examples would help (some you think are, some you think aren't and some not sure). In addition to medical conditions/drugs and biographies, I guess we need to be careful around articles on certain locations. Are there any other topic areas? -- Colin°Talk 22:56, 6 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The only other topic area I can think of off the top of my head is those historical events that caused suicide spikes. Stockmarket crashes for example. I'm not finding good sources for "suicide-normalizing language" but I don't think that's necessarily a deal-breaker -- what it means is that it's a concept that I haven't found the right word for yet. Suicide is transmissible -- to you medically-minded editors, I'd say it's infectious (do you need a source for that or are you willing to take my word for it?) I think Wikipedia can be a vector.—S Marshall T/C 23:34, 6 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Communicable is the usual word; infectious implies microorganisms inside your body. (Microorganisms outside your body is an infestation.) It's a focus of research for Copycat suicide.
The policy-writing problem is that if we say "no suicide-normalizing language", then editors will instead have unresolvable fights over whether this or that counts as "suicide-normalizing". The obvious cases, which editors are already handling fairly well, will still be obvious, but for the less-obvious cases, editors will struggle to differentiate between "suicide-normalizing" and IDONTLIKEIT.
Also, we'll get objections about "no suicide-normalizing language" from the assisted-suicide advocates, since their goal is to normalize suicide under certain conditions. I wonder if articles about Assisted suicide would benefit from a section similar to Alternative cancer treatments#People who choose alternative treatments, which discusses demographics and motivations. It would not be hard to find sources that say people seek assisted suicide because they are desperately afraid. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:08, 7 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


S Marshall T/C 11:07, 8 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • And, finally, I've unearthed a reasonably direct set of recommendations for writing about suicide in the manner that we've characterized as non-suicide-normalizing, in this source. The extract that seems most relevant to me reads:
Given the substantial evidence for suicide contagion, a recommended suicide prevention strategy involves educating reporters, editors, and film and television producers about contagion in order to yield media stories that minimize harm.
(1) Question if the suicide is newsworthy. Suicide is a common cause of death. Indeed, it accounts for more teen deaths than all natural causes combined.
(2) Do not misrepresent suicide as a mysterious act by an otherwise “healthy” or “high achieving” person.
(3) Indicate that suicide is most often a fatal complication of different types of mental illness, many of which are treatable.
(4) Do not present suicide as a reasonable way of problem solving.
(5) Do not portray suicide in a heroic or romantic fashion.
(6) Exercise care with pictures of the victim and/or grieving relatives and friends to avoid fostering overidentification with the victim and inadvertently glorifying the death.
(7) Avoid providing a detailed description of method and site.
(8) Limit the prominence, length, and number of stories about a particular suicide. Avoid front page coverage.
(9) Try to oversee headlines. Some responsibly written stories are spoiled by sensational and inappropriate headlines.

(10) Provide local treatment resource information.

Points (3), (4) and (10) seem rather difficult.—S Marshall T/C 01:01, 9 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That source is 20 years old, so it might not be the best thing to formally cite. That said, this section aligns pretty closely with the other things I've read, although (3) may not be widely supported any longer – or it's supported in the sense that "most often" means "at least 51%", but not "in nearly all cases", and if "different types of mental illness" includes ADHD and autism and actue stress and substance abuse, rather than the stereotypical years-long depression or psychotic illnesses.
(4) doesn't sound difficult to me, except perhaps when writing about legally provided physician-assisted suicide. What difficulties are you seeing?
(10) is done on several other Wikipedias (German example). The English Wikipedia could do the same if we wanted to, but so far, editors here have just been linking to articles like suicide prevention or List of suicide crisis lines instead. (Something like a geolocation tool that automatically displayed relevant phone numbers would require some software work.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:28, 9 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Have you looked at yet? WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:43, 9 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I did look at that because it comes up prominently in a search for "suicide normalising language". I'm frustrated by the fact that it talks about that term without defining it.
3 seems hard because we couldn't describe someone's suicide as mental health related without a good source and these are often not available, particularly with recent celebrity deaths which appear to be a main cause for concern.
4 seems hard because when we present someone's suicide in the context of their life, NPOV and non-judgmental language links suicide to circumstances -- such as financial, marital or health circumstances, or pain management -- in a way that suggests the celebrity used suicide as problem-solving for those circumstances.
10 seems hard because it borders on anti-suicide advocacy and editors tend to oppose advocacy on Wikipedia.—S Marshall T/C 09:28, 9 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
4 is perhaps harder for biography but per the discussion above wrt medical conditions or drugs, we could apply this by avoiding linking suffering with suicide as a consequence. Wrt 7 some newspapers won't mention the method at all. That would probably be difficult for WP to justify if sources mention it, though I think it is a strong argument for keeping that out of the lead or infobox and off the main page. Some of these news-media guidelines might be directly appropriate for the "in the news" main page. A helpline banner could be appropriate on a bio of someone who recently died, but perhaps less so for an older entry? Or it could be triggered by certain search terms like Google does? I guess the Wikipedia app could be location-aware and handle certain search terms like Google. -- Colin°Talk 14:19, 9 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that it's unfortunate that the WHO doesn't define their terms.
I don't think that the first part of 3 is difficult for a biography; we should accept a news article saying that someone has autism or depression or whatever just as easily as we accept a news article saying someone has cancer or saying someone is gay. The difficult part is probably the key focus for the advice-givers, and harder for us: to go from "He had depression" to "He had depression, which is usually treatable".
Perhaps we should avoid routinely presenting suicide "in context" that way. Single-cause explanations are basically always wrong. It's like saying "The car wrecked because it was speeding", instead of saying "The car wrecked because the driver was speeding, and the driver was speeding because he was running late, the road was too wide and straight for the posted speed, the speed limit sign was blocked by a tree branch, and his GPS nav system doesn't warn him when he's driving too fast". The Chain of events (accident analysis) is almost always multifactorial in both car wrecks and suicide.
@Colin, what do you think about suggesting that Template:Current be updated to include an optional sentence about suicide? Unlike why we prefer Wikipedia:No disclaimers in permanent messages, a strictly temporary "If you need help, see the list of crisis lines" might be acceptable. I believe the Trust and Safety team (=the WMF team that we route all of our on-wiki suicide threats to) maintains a list at Meta-Wiki. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:53, 9 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you mean a flag like suicide=yes? I'm not sure about that or a separate banner in a related template. If done on one template, I think the notice would have to be clearly a separate box, rather than a sentence tagged on the end of a "please help!" editing message. In other words, for readers, they would appear to be separate notices. -- Colin°Talk 10:09, 10 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it could be more generic (crisis=yes), but that's the general idea. I don't think that it would need to be a separate box. I think that a separate box would not have community support. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:43, 12 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How we write at the moment[edit]

I'm looking at recent (last-decade) deaths from List of suicides, and I checked the first five. Arrestingly, all of them are women.

Stephanie Adams: On the evening of May 17, 2018, Adams checked into a 25th-floor penthouse in the Gotham Hotel on 46th Street in Manhattan with her seven year old son Vincent. The next morning, both were found dead on a second-floor balcony in the hotel's rear courtyard. According to law enforcement officials, Adams and her husband were involved in a custody battle, and hours before checking into the hotel, Adams told the New York Post that her husband and his lawyer were preventing her from taking her son on vacation.[2][34] The New York City Medical Examiner ruled Adams' death as a suicide and that of her son as a murder.

Doesn't say Adams' murder-suicide was because of a custody battle, but the order of ideas suggests it.

Leelah Alcorn: Born and raised in Kings Mills, Ohio, Alcorn was assigned male at birth and grew up in a family affiliated with the Churches of Christ movement. At age 14, she came out as transgender to her parents, Carla and Doug Alcorn, who refused to accept her female gender identity. When she was 16, they denied her request to undergo transition treatment, instead sending her to Christian-based conversion therapy with the intention of convincing her to reject her gender identity and accept her gender as assigned at birth. After she revealed her attraction toward males to her classmates, her parents removed her from school and revoked her access to social media. In her suicide note, Alcorn cited loneliness and alienation as key reasons for her decision to end her life and blamed her parents for causing these feelings.

I've posted that one extract but the whole article bears close reading in the light of this discussion. It unambiguously presents Alcorn's suicide as her parents' fault, and taken as a whole, in my view this article is a clear example of what I'm calling "suicide-normalizing language". A transgender teenager who is having trouble transitioning might well find and read this article.

Gia Allemand: On August 12, 2013, Allemand was admitted to University Hospital in New Orleans after an attempted suicide by hanging.[20] She was declared brain dead and removed from life support two days later at the age of 29.[3] At the time of her death, she was living in New Orleans and dating NBA player Ryan Anderson,[6] who was playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. Allemand had a disorder known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Her longtime publicist, Penelope Jean Hayes,[21] was interviewed by Phil McGraw on Dr. Phil on the topic of Allemand's suicide and the pressures of celebrity, image, and finding love and happiness.[22]

Presents Allemand's suicide as multicausal, but the order of ideas emphasizes PMDD.

August Ames: Weeks prior to her death, Ames said that she had a history of bipolar depressive disorder and dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality) due to a traumatic childhood, stating: "Some days I'll be fine and if I'm not doing anything I'll get these awful flashbacks of my childhood and I get very depressed and I can't get out of bed and cancel my scenes for like a week or two."[8] ... In December 2017, Ames was due to perform in a pornographic scene, but withdrew when she learned that the co-star was a man who had appeared in gay pornography.

Presents Ames' suicide as multicausal, but the order of ideas emphasizes childhood trauma.

Sei Ashina: On September 14, 2020, Ashina, at age 36, was found dead at her home in Shinjuku by her family[7] after failing to answer calls and messages, in a suspected suicide.[2]

Does not attempt to give reasons for Ashina's suicide, and in my view is not suicide-normalizing at all.—S Marshall T/C 10:57, 10 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that one of the issues is that at the time, the death gets lots of press coverage, which provokes editors to dump all the facts into the article. This may end up out of all proportion to their life story but does anyone revisit to reduce the material? Unless someone is famous enough to get a biography book, the WP:WEIGHT of readily accessible source material may tend towards over-emphasising this part.

For Alcorn, their death is the only notable part of their life. Normalising suicide in that child's circumstances is exactly what advocates were trying to achieve: that this is the inevitable consequence of your conversion therapy and why it should be banned. We don't just write articles for transgender teenagers, but also for their parents, friends, teachers, health professionals, law makers, etc. That article is way too big and certainly flawed, but more generally how do we talk about people groups (e.g., transgender, or with terrible fatal conditions, say) and the correlation with higher levels of self harm and suicidal thoughts or actions. The world isn't perfect, and these groups don't get access to the mental health or other services that might reduce that link. So I don't think we can just pretend that provided those groups get such services, everything is fine. -- Colin°Talk 15:46, 11 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm concerned about the second in your list, because it doesn't feel like an encyclopedia article. It feels sensationalistic: "Let's all see which profanities this child addressed to her parents!"
I just had a go at the middle one, and I wonder if you think that's better. Also, one of the cited sources has a family member saying that she wasn't depressed, so the uncited PMDD thing might not be true/relevant.
I think Colin is correct about the mechanism. People dump every little detail in, and then skip the "clean up the mess later" step.
Also, in terms of talking about groups, the reason that trans suicide attempt rates are so high is because being trans is (historically) comorbid with some conditions whose rates are eye-wateringly high. I still haven't seen a good source that says the autistic+trans rate is X (autistics are about three times as likely to attempt suicide than neurotypical people), or the personality disorder+trans rate is Y (~75% of people with BPD make at least one attempt and ~10% die; people with narcissistic personality disorder choose disproportionately lethal methods), but the trans-alone rate is much lower at Z. I hope that we'll have those sources some day, because the numbers I've seen wildly overrepresent the risk to a person who is trans but doesn't have any of these unrelated suicide risks. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:08, 12 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I, too, agree with Colin about the mechanism. Thank you for your improvements to Gia Allemande! I think they're very helpful. On Alcorn, I feel the article should inform what we write in essays/guidelines/MOS about suicide.—S Marshall T/C 10:11, 12 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was disappointed in the Alcorn article. It is sensationalistic. It includes contents that lean towards promotionalism and RGW. For example, the lead and the body spend several sentences saying that an activist tweeted that the parents should be charged with a crime. Apparently the non-logic there was that since someone ended up in jail for actual sex crimes (i.e., using a video camera to remotely and nonconsensually watch someone engage in sex acts in a private space) that motivated a suicide, then people should also go to jail and have their children forced into foster care for strictly legal behavior (i.e., expressing a personal opinion that others find distressing and wildly misguided) that also motivated a suicide. Why is "guy was emoting on Twitter instead of thinking things through logically" a key point to include in that article? Nobody knows. Maybe the answer is that none of the sources thought it worthwhile to point out the illogic here, either.
The article also extensively quotes from the suicide note (media guidelines recommend against this, by the way; news media is advised to say that a suicide note exists but nothing about its contents). The selected quotations included emphasize that Alcorn despaired of ever being loved enough, wanted to present herself as a martyr, and that the most important thing was to provoke shame and cast blame. There is nothing in the article that wonders why Alcorn didn't take a different approach, like getting emancipated, arranging to live with a different family, or running away from home. (See also Narcissistic personality disorder, the one personality disorder clearly linked to using suicide as a [short-sighted] method of punishing others.) Again, maybe the failure is in the sources, but it doesn't feel like an encyclopedia article. It feels like a human-interest magazine article. As a result, I am not enthusiastic about taking it as an example of what editors should do. The bits I read feel more like a bad example than a good one. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:02, 12 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think S Marshall was suggesting the Alcorn article was an example of good practice, but rather a good example of bad practice. -- Colin°Talk 22:27, 12 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That was indeed my intent.—S Marshall T/C 23:14, 12 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Refactoring into document mode[edit]

I have begun an attempt to make these thoughts into an essay here.—S Marshall T/C 12:24, 16 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A couple of quick thoughts:
  1. The term isn't our invention; it already exists elsewhere.
  2. I don't know how much effort we need to go to in service of convincing people that they should write good articles. Editors are generally convinced of that part already.
  3. The image is US-centric. Also, it may inspire fatalism in the readers of the page. Let's give up now, since that graph only goes up.
  4. I think a little more emphasis on NPOV would be good. An article that normalizes suicide as a response to, e.g., failing an exam or a relationship problem, is an article that fails NPOV.
  5. It is possible to write about assisted suicide and euthanasia without normalizing these decisions. We don't even have to accept these as "rational and informed decisions". Deciding that you're so afraid of the dying process that you want to get it over with promptly may not actually be "rational" (fear-driven decisions are almost the definition of irrationality), and the decision is very likely not "informed" by understanding what the dying process looks like and what holistic comfort could (should) be available. Also, voluntary refusal of food and fluids is legal is basically every developed country. It doesn't require assistance from anyone, traveling to a euthanasia clinic, or (usually) any amount of bureaucratic pre-approval for the mentally and legally competent adults who are able to use the legal assisted suicide provisions. I wonder how "rational and informed" we could really consider someone who rejected the readily available, free (as in freedom) options in favor of a more intrusive process. You could write "Purdy considered some options and decided to kill herself at a euthanasia clinic", but you could also write, with at least equal truth, that "Purdy was not given the emotional tools and support she needed to adjust to her changing abilities, or the information she needed to feel a greater sense of comfort with and control over the process of dying. She was so afraid of her illness and the future she imagined it would produce that she thought it would be better to be dead than to live through the process".
  6. I like the advice about biographies.
The colon+dash punctuation is uncommon these days, and you've got two of them. If you're going to keep them, they should presumably have proper em dashes instead of the hyphens. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:45, 20 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wouldn't bold the word "contagious" in the lead paragraph. Especially in these pandemic times, it reads a bit sensational. I agree that this isn't an invention here. WHO say "Don’t use language which sensationalizes or normalizes suicide, or presents it as a constructive solution to problems". That's perhaps something you could lead with or nutshell even. My other source says "There is a potential risk that accessing self‑harm related content will normalise self‑harm and potentially discourage disclosure or seeking of professional help (Daine et al. 2015), but there is no empirical evidence for this." so the idea of "normalising" these behaviours is a well known concern. It would give the essay much more power if instead presented as a fact that experts agree on, rather than an invention of editors. I also agree the image isn't helping. I don't think you need the sentence about historical "suicide diseases". We know from the "committed" RFC that editors who wouldn't dream of using archaic language normally, suddenly find themselves extremely attached to "how we've always done it". So lets not plant ideas into people's head that are unhelpful. For the sentence "Avoid describing method and site in any detail" you could append " and if included at all, avoid the lead and infobox".
I think the "response to a single event, a single medical diagnosis, or a single mental health condition" part will be tricky. If our sources are doing this, there will be pressure to follow the sources. And chronology will tend to juxtapose these matters regardless. Can we give editors any more advice. Is it possible to give some before/after examples? -- Colin°Talk 10:12, 20 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Although this document is in my userspace, I view it as the product of three minds and I assert no personal ownership or control of it. Please do feel absolutely free to dive in and improve it!—S Marshall T/C 10:55, 20 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. I'll try to look later. I'm a bit concerned about the assisted dying controversy. I think WAID's argument above seems to be saying that the person asking for assisted suicide is irrational, basing their decision on ignorance and fear, and that their death wouldn't have been as bad as they feared if they got the required support. Whereas S Marshall's current text says that for some people in that position, their decision is rational and informed (i.e. not fearfully ignorant). Those views seem incompatible, though perhaps there's some common ground I don't see. If so, maybe we have to accept reasonable people take quite different positions on this matter. What then could be written in this guide? We could leave out assisted suicide altogether, or mention that the matter of whether it is always rational and informed is controversial and Wikipedia's NPOV may require us to cover both sides of that debate. My guess is that in the UK at least, S Marshall's text, for those with a terminal condition, probably reflects the majority viewpoint. Of course, the majority are not well informed or well read on this matter, which won't directly affect many people, and only appears in the news when the law is being challenged. But even if this view is an ignorant one, any guideline challenging it would struggle, and that could be a distraction from the message about other suicide. -- Colin°Talk 12:03, 20 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My general antipathy to suicide-normalizing language does have an end point. I think that when a person is suffering, and their suffering can't be alleviated, self-euthanasia can be a rational decision. I think that where a person demonstrates a clear wish to end their own life and engages in a sustained campaign to achieve this, there comes a point where we need to accept their decision (I'm thinking for example of the circumstances of Pretty v United Kingdom).—S Marshall T/C 13:44, 20 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The gap is between whether it "can" be a rational decision vs whether it "is" a rational decision. One would presumably not want any Wikipedia article to declare that "So-and-so said this was a rational decision", even if you were personally convinced of the truth. That's content for a magazine, not for an encyclopedia. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:37, 22 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Hi! I've sent you a mail. Sorry for templating you last time, I was in a rush between trains so I didn't read your talk page banner until after the fact — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 11:49, 6 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ANI notice[edit]

Information icon There is currently a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents regarding List of political parties in Italy. The thread is Disruption_of_consensus_building_process_on_List_of_political_parties_in_Italy. Thank you. — Ixtal ( T / C ) Join WP:FINANCE! 12:51, 6 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

End of life care in the United Kingdom[edit]

Were you serious? I saw the smilie. The last discussion we had was about suicide. I guess my problem is that you say the topic interests you but I've mostly got drawn into discussing these things because of you and WAID rather than because I sit around contemplating death. Perhaps I will learn something interesting.

The problem from the start is the title. There is no United Kingdom health service and NICE is for England and Wales. So would it just cover E&W or would it include all the UK. If the latter, there could be OR issues as it may be that nobody else does that. -- Colin°Talk 21:09, 23 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

June 2022 Good Article Nominations backlog drive[edit]

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(t · c) buidhe 04:26, 28 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nice work[edit]

I've seen your comments a few times in recent months in different places and they are always sensible, logical, and good at separating fact from emotion. Thanks for being a sensible head, I appreciate it. CT55555 (talk) 15:30, 2 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ANI mention[edit]

fyi, I mentioned you, not by name, but in your capacity as the closer of the Attack on HMS Invincible AfD, in a comment I made in a pending ANI discussion. Thank you, Beccaynr (talk) 03:29, 15 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Arbcom evidence[edit]

Do you want the content of Reginald V. Smith? Happy to mail it to you. —Cryptic 17:24, 18 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Extension granted[edit]

The drafting arbs have agreed to an extension of 1,000 words should you wish to present more evidence. This is obviously somewhat less than you had asked (500/party) but we hope will be sufficient to make your major points. Barkeep49 (talk) 23:21, 18 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Coat of arms of Harrow" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]

Information.svg An editor has identified a potential problem with the redirect Coat of arms of Harrow and has thus listed it for discussion. This discussion will occur at Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2022 June 23#Coat of arms of Harrow until a consensus is reached, and anyone, including you, is welcome to contribute to the discussion. I'm notifying you as a participant in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Coat of arms of Harrow. A7V2 (talk) 00:06, 24 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Hey, did you mean to link one my edits here (Canvassing #2)? –dlthewave 12:56, 25 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks! I was over here trying to figure out what secret backdoor notification technique I had stumbled upon. –dlthewave 20:05, 25 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hey, did you mean to link one of my edits here? Pretty sure you want Special:Permalink, not Special:Diff - the latter will sometimes only show the diff itself, not the entire page content, depending on what you have set in preferences. —Cryptic 17:26, 1 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Davide Locatelli Page[edit]

Hi, I am talking to you that you have been very kind in managing the Deletion review for the Davide Locatelli page. :) I would like to ask you if everything that has happened is normal. The page was published some time ago, after 2 months of draft. Then a discussion was reported and opened that led to the cancellation, in my opinion without unanimity. In the discussion of cancellation, there was not even a unanimity, yet now the page is back in draft, pending. You had expressed a positive opinion, I wanted to ask you if you can help me with the page. How can I get around? Sometimes it seems that some users intentionally come to question my publications, I am quite heartbroken about that. Give me your advice if you can, greetings. Diegoferralis (talk) 09:51, 5 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Just some notes for my own use while I investigate this question: AfD, DRV, Draft. Please bear with me, Diegoferralis, while I look.—S Marshall T/C 16:48, 5 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Oh, I see that you've been indefinitely blocked because an administrator suspects undisclosed paid editing. If you're unblocked please post here again and I'll take it up.—S Marshall T/C 22:08, 5 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've been puzzling since May over whether it would be a good idea to have an RfC on whether a particular claim of academic consensus should be allowed in wikivoice. Since you closed a related RfC and I would value your opinion, I invite your opinion on my most recent comment in this section. — Charles Stewart (talk) 18:33, 11 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Well, of course I have no special knowledge to impart about rent control in the US -- I'm not an economist and I've never set foot in that country. I see that the matter remains disputed and the disputes are reasonable, so those look like suitable conditions to hold an RfC if you're so minded.—S Marshall T/C 19:19, 11 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It's my concerns about what I regard as Wikipedia's bad guidelines regarding what constitutes sourcing for scholarly consensus claims that have held me back from putting together an RfC and that have led me to ask for suggestions earlier today. Economics is a special case among the sciences, partly because of the strength of the AEA as a gatekeeper within the discipline, but the issue exists in other disciplines. I encountered it first in physics. Intelligence, conscientiousness and a considered grasp of WP:V count for more than subject-matter expertise in this case. — Charles Stewart (talk) 19:54, 11 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Well, OK, let me try to help then.
    What do people mean by rent control? I see three kinds:- (a) Rent freezes (were used immediately after the second world war, but now virtually extinct in Europe); (b) Ceilings on starting rents (exist in France, the Netherlands and Sweden); and (c) Caps on rent increases (usually expressed as a percentage). These last are widespread, existing in Germany, Spain, Poland, Switzerland and Belgium.
    I believe from what I've read that there's a genuine consensus among both politicians and economists that kind (a) reduces supply and quality, and I think that's why those policies have been abandoned almost everywhere in the world. I think the position about kinds (b) and (c) is more opaque. I think if we were more precise about what we mean by "rent control" then there's more chance of a consensus emerging.—S Marshall T/C 20:19, 11 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Per your request, and as it does seem that WilliamJe will not be unblocked anytime soon, I have granted your request for the PBLOCK to be lifted. Mjroots (talk) 18:19, 28 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Update: Phase II of DS reform now open for comment[edit]

You were either a participant in WP:DS2021 (the Arbitration Committee's Discretionary Sanctions reform process) or requested to be notified about future developments regarding DS reform. The Committee now presents Wikipedia:Arbitration_Committee/Discretionary_sanctions/2021-22_review/Phase_II_consultation, and invites your feedback. Your patience has been appreciated. For the Arbitration Committee, MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 17:02, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

September 2022[edit]

Your comment regarding a specific editor using up the valuable contributor time of others by listing too many RFCs, made a day or two on the comments Talk page. Have you collected information on this, such as a list of his cummulative RFCs over the past 6 months or 12 months, or were you speaking symbolically? ErnestKrause (talk) 23:59, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Hi, ErnestKrause, and welcome to my talk page! In my remark on WT:RFC, I advised against starting RfCs except when it is clear they are needed. This remark was not aimed at any specific editor and I have not been gathering information on anyone. All the best—S Marshall T/C 17:40, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Just wanted to mention that I "brought back" an article you quite correctly nominated for deletion, now at Skeeter Reece. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 08:42, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the AfD advice[edit]

Since you reminded me to "leave that to others for a while" at DRV, I will refrain from closing or relisting AfDs for at least six months. I'll admit that otherwise I just become too much of a drama magnet at AfD and distracts me from processes I am more experienced with, namely moves and RfD, in addition to linguistics article creation and IRL work. — Ceso femmuin mbolgaig mbung, mellohi! (投稿) 02:09, 20 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I went ahead and filled out Julia Hamburg. In my view she is solidly notable, but I'm tempted to tag Gonca Türkeli-Dehnert; I think the editor may have mistaken her for a national office-holder. I really can't keep doing this.

I thought of you a day or two ago when I realised someone has rewritten Old Norse religion. I decided not to look at their work. I hope it's good. (And I privately hope it doesn't use sfn, for the sake of anybody trying to further improve it.) Yngvadottir (talk) 10:19, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Nice to hear from you again! Thanks for sorting that out, you're a lot quicker than I am. The Old Norse religion article totally uses harv and sfn (sorry). Not worrying about it for the moment.—S Marshall T/C 12:30, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Details regarding AfD you introduced that was defeated due to WP:SYNTH editing[edit]

Hello S Marshall. I noticed you made an AfD on July 6, 2009 regarding an article [1]. In less than 2 hours after nominating the article for AfD at 18:47 [2] and before you created the AfD article at 21:09[3], a significant edit at 20:22 [4], the first of several by an editor, was made to expand the article. Likely out of the rush to save it, ignorance on the topic, and seemingly laxer rules on OR back then, the edit added a lede, "Background", and "Later significance" sections with sources that do not speak on or relate to the bill. Nor was the bill based on the controversial March 1988 Halabja chemical attack as the Wiki article claims, but based on Peter Galbraith's, a member of the US Senate Foreign Relation Committee, dubious claim of widespread chemical attacks and possibly hundreds of thousands killed starting in late August 1988 to his visit in Turkey in early September that same year. He made the claim on the basis of alleged widespread chemical weapon injuries among refugees. In reality, there wasn't evidence to support the claim from the significant involvement of domestic (to Turkey and Iran) medical professionals, the UN, and other relief agencies tending to the refugees.[5][6][7] [8]

What we end up with is a bill drafted on the basis of a false claim by a politician and subsequently defeated in US government (what makes this important?), and it's likely your AfD would have concluded with deletion if not for the OR and SYNTH added in to the article in the < 3 hour period noted above. As time allows, I will be removing the SYNTH. Would you recommend making another AfD nomination? Saucysalsa30 (talk) 05:42, 27 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bad translations[edit]

Do you remember where we decided that the WMF translation tool (either they call it WikiBhasha or there are two of em) is disabled for use on English Wikipedia? The issue of machine translations has come up again; alerted by a couple of forum posts at WO, I posted a stern message on the user talk of someone who is doing it for pay as part of a private project, and there's a discussion going on at the Village Pump that includes that project. For all I know the WMF's horrid thing is no longer disallowed here, so I thought I'd check with you before putting my foot in it by pointing that out. (Before giving up on finding the current status or a mention of the original decision, I made what turned out to be a hefty edit to Wikipedia:Translating German Wikipedia; since you are also a German-to-English translator (well, I can no longer call myself that),you might want to take a look and see if you disagree.) Yngvadottir (talk) 09:38, 27 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Hi again Yngvadottir! The current consensus is to restrict the use of that tool to extended-confirmed users. On a technical level that's enforced by way of an edit filter, namely Special:AbuseFilter/782. If the edit filter isn't working then there's been an end-run around the current consensus.—S Marshall T/C 15:27, 27 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Thanks! Disturbing that it's now allowed at all. This is a project run off-wiki and asking for donations, the Open Knowledge Association; according to the first forum post, it uses DeepL, which I'm assuming is not a brother to the WMF tool. People are paid supposedly to fix the translations before uploading them. Yngvadottir (talk) 23:20, 27 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fowler et al. drama[edit]

Am I correct that you were planning, for a little while, to write a Request for Arbitration, but then came to the conclusion (along with the other editors who are bystanders to the quarrel) that Arbitration Enforcement can handle it, and that you are now waiting or expecting that either a party or an admin will write it up at AE? I had thought, for a while, that maybe the community would impose an interaction ban, but it now appears that the community is justifiably tired of it and wants it handled by the editors who have signed up for the ugly work of resolving ugly cases. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:22, 28 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Yes, exactly.—S Marshall T/C 19:27, 28 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I think that there won't be any followup drama for now. There hasn't been an AE filing. My prediction is that there will be another shouting match in one to three months. Maybe the next time something else will happen, and maybe not. Robert McClenon (talk) 06:46, 1 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nomination of Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988 for deletion[edit]

A discussion is taking place as to whether the article Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988 is suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia according to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines or whether it should be deleted.

The article will be discussed at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Prevention_of_Genocide_Act_of_1988_(2nd_nomination) until a consensus is reached, and anyone, including you, is welcome to contribute to the discussion. The nomination will explain the policies and guidelines which are of concern. The discussion focuses on high-quality evidence and our policies and guidelines.

Users may edit the article during the discussion, including to improve the article to address concerns raised in the discussion. However, do not remove the article-for-deletion notice from the top of the article until the discussion has finished.

Hi S Marshall, since you had previously put up this article up for deletion based on your good understanding of Wiki policies and notability criteria and familiarity with the topic, I'm giving this notice to let you know I've done the same now. Your contribution to the discussion would be appreciated. Thank you!

Saucysalsa30 (talk) 20:37, 29 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That MRV closure[edit]

(Taking a note from your "swearing is allowed here"...) Holy fucking shit! That has got to be the most honoring, respectful, and praiseful thing I've ever seen! You do me much honor, sir! I hope the community indeed takes a turn and changes to accept more bold actions like I took, but I feel sure it won't. - UtherSRG (talk) 00:00, 5 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Well deserved. Please don't stop helping in that topic area: we need you.
    I agree with what you say. The community won't accept bold actions like that because it prevents some editors' views from affecting the decisions we make. People need to feel their ideas are respected and taken into account, even when they're on the losing side of a discussion. MeatballWiki has a useful page about this, which I recommend to anyone closing anything on Wikipedia.—S Marshall T/C 00:55, 5 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Since I was involved in the MRV, I would not be expected to close the RM, especially since I seem to be one of the few who appreciated the interesting details of UtherSRG's bold closure. I wonder how you plan to expose the RM to uninvolved editors who would facilitate the closure? Perhaps the previous RM template should be used to formally reopen the request as previously relisted and presently backlogged? P.I. Ellsworth , ed. put'r there 14:42, 5 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      WP:CR is probably a good place to advertise its needing a new closer that is uninvolved. (And thanks for the support, Paine!) - UtherSRG (talk) 14:53, 5 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My pleasure! Just entered the RM into WP:CR. P.I. Ellsworth , ed. put'r there 15:18, 5 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


❯❯❯ Raydann(Talk) 08:36, 5 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discretionary sanctions review: proposed decision and community review[edit]

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ArbCom 2022 Elections voter message[edit]

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Contentious topics procedure adopted[edit]

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The Arbitration Committee has concluded the 2021-22 review of the contentious topics system (formerly known as discretionary sanctions), and its final decision is viewable at the revision process page. As part of the review process, the Arbitration Committee has resolved by motion that:

The above proposals that are supported by an absolute majority of unrecused active arbitrators are hereby enacted. The drafting arbitrators (CaptainEek, L235, and Wugapodes) are directed to take the actions necessary to bring the proposals enacted by this motion into effect, including by amending the procedures at WP:AC/P and WP:AC/DS. The authority granted to the drafting arbitrators by this motion expires one month after enactment.

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For the Arbitration Committee, MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 21:47, 14 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Contentious topics procedure now in effect[edit]

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Discuss this at: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard § Contentious topics procedure now in effect

Charles III accession date, in Oceania[edit]

Howdy. Since you did ask to be contacted if there were possible questions about the Charles III accession RFC, you closed. A discussion has developed. -- GoodDay (talk) 06:18, 28 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nomination of Highways in England and Wales for deletion[edit]

A discussion is taking place as to whether the article Highways in England and Wales is suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia according to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines or whether it should be deleted.

The article will be discussed at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Highways in England and Wales until a consensus is reached, and anyone, including you, is welcome to contribute to the discussion. The nomination will explain the policies and guidelines which are of concern. The discussion focuses on high-quality evidence and our policies and guidelines.

Users may edit the article during the discussion, including to improve the article to address concerns raised in the discussion. However, do not remove the article-for-deletion notice from the top of the article until the discussion has finished.

Rschen7754 06:16, 15 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Missing word?[edit]

Missing "look", perhaps, in this post at WP:VPP? Mathglot (talk) 02:59, 16 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Procedural notification[edit]

Hi, I and others have proposed additional options at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#RfC_on_a_procedural_community_desysop. You may wish to review your position in that RfC. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:15, 20 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Quick message of thanks[edit]

Hi! I know I'm a little late to be noticing this, but I just wanted to thank you for closing the MRV discussion on "Hindu terrorism". It was a complicated MRV about a complicated RM, and I think you did an admirable job at summarizing the prevailing mood of the discussion and suggesting a productive way forward. Being the RM closer at the center of an MRV was a good learning experience for me, but it was also a stressful one, and knowing that the MRV is finally closed takes a weight off of my shoulders. ModernDayTrilobite (talkcontribs) 17:12, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for editing Wikipedia:Use our own words. I think it was useful to point out the cases when we need to exactly use other's words, and I've also added a case where a fairly direct paraphrase would be desired. I've shifted that exceptions section up a bit.

The point of the essay really was I was sick of people citing WP:STICKTOSOURCES when fighting language wars. As though it was perfectly ok to use a thesaurus and your own words when writing articles, and to copyedit to your heart's content without even glancing at the sources .... unless you happened to step on a language war landmine. So the fact that Rlevse had a major issue with copyright and plagiarism is beside the point and I think that footnote isn't useful or relevant.

Btw, I was involved in the discovery that Rlevse was socking as PumpkinSky and HalfGig (mainly on Commons) so I'd rather an essay started by me didn't contain something that might be considered a personal attack on them. -- Colin°Talk 15:04, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • OK. I don't object to your edits in any way at all, but I'm mildly surprised that quoting the guy could be considered a personal attack on him?—S Marshall T/C 20:50, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Well the "prolific content-writer ... after learning that there are rules against plagiarism and copyright violations and he'd been breaking them for several years" reads like he's really stupid and abundantly reckless about, you know, basic stuff. Which, em, he was, and admits as such at the end of the quote. -- Colin°Talk 06:09, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    His words are positively oozing with shame, and I wanted to show the emotion in them. In the wake of Rlevse's behaviour I personally added copyright advice to WP:V. Honestly, I needed this essay a few years ago in my dealings with Mr QuackGuru, who had behaviours like challenging individual words because they weren't in the sources, and I was hoping in future to be able to use the essay as a stick for beating idiots with. Errr, for "idiots" read "well-intentioned people with whom I collegially disagree".—S Marshall T/C 09:19, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Well perhaps you are feeling more generous towards Rlevse than I am. I'm at more of a "don't believe a single word he said" kinda position. Anyway...
    So I came to this STICKTOSOURCES frustration dealing mostly with language conservatism. I'm not sure what the issue on the QuackGuru link you sent was. Levelledout seems to think QuackGuru is insisting we can only use a word from the source, but I'm not quite seeing QuackGuru saying that explicitly, just that it fails V and is in his opinion OR. There's a communication problem in that exchange. Maybe that's not the clearest example.
    So what's the motivation behind the problem editors you've faced. Is it people being too rigid about taking facts they've read and writing them in wikivoice? I've certainly seen how students doing these wiki assignments plainly don't understand their subject well enough to have confidence rephrasing it. For example, if the source text could be interpreted in a couple of ways, but if you were subject-knowledgeable, then you'd know which way the author meant, and could rephrase it. But without that knowledge, you daren't touch a word. -- Colin°Talk 10:32, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Thank you. That's an incisive question, and you're helping me to clarify my own thoughts here.
    I honestly don't know what motivates other editors. I do think that when an editor says "The word X failed verification", they're understanding WP:V wrong. This is the first point that I'd make in an essay called STICKTOSOURCES: I think that verifiability applies at the level of thoughts and ideas, not at the level of individual words.
    The best sources on most subjects tend to be scholarly--so they're written by scholars for other scholars, and they use scholarly language. But we're in the business of writing for the general public. So we have to translate the recondite disquisition in the sources into words of one syllable. We ought to be reducing the Flesch-Kincaid score. For example, I absolutely adore our article on Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It's hilarious to me. It's so scrupulously based on medical sources, in medical language, that it would be unintelligible to most people living with the condition! I'd advocate replacing it wholesale with simple:Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, if I didn't treasure the version for its sheer obliviousness. Almost all our medical articles have this problem. Anyway, this takes me to the second point I'd make in an essay called STICKTOSOURCES: I think that while our articles should mean what the best sources mean, they certainly don't have to say what the sources say. We should be using our editorial skills to summarize scholarly sources for a general audience.
    Is that helpful? I mean it to be, but I don't know if it is.—S Marshall T/C 16:33, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]