Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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The policy section of the village pump is used to discuss already proposed policies and guidelines and to discuss changes to existing policies and guidelines.

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School districts and GEOLAND[edit]

According to WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES, school districts are near-presumptive notable as "populated, legally recognized places". I started looking into this after looking through random articles and finding Rondout School District 72. WP:GEOLAND itself states that Census tracts, Abadi, and other areas not commonly recognized as a place (such as the area in an irrigation district) are not presumed to be notable. The Geographic Names Information System and the GEOnet Names Server do not satisfy the "legal recognition" requirement and are also unreliable for "populated place" designation. Maybe my interpretation differs from other Wikipedians, but school districts likely have more in common with census tracts? Therefore, would WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES be consistent with other current notability norms? My gut instinct is that school districts should not qualify as near-presumptively notable. I think being individually accessed under GNG would make more sense (e.g. like the 2017 RfC consensus about high schools not automatically being notable because they exist). However, I wanted some feedback on whether my line of thought here actually has any merit. Does anyone have a convincing counterargument they would like to make? Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 18:37, 20 October 2023 (UTC), edited 18:43, 20 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The explanatory essay is incorrect, we treat school districts like census tracts not municipalities. Its very basic, school districts have no population... Therefore they are not "populated, legally recognized places" Horse Eye's Back (talk) 18:57, 20 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(ec) Great that you brought this up. I think that the essay that you linked to incorrectly (or outdatededly ) mis-summarizes NGeo which specifically excludes such abstract entities (not commonly recognized as a place) from presumed notability. Second, that essay should be just observing/summarizing actual outcomes, not trying to provide it's own restatement of the guidelines. I'm tempted to change it right now but there's no rush while the discussion is in progress. North8000 (talk) 19:06, 20 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A couple of things I have to add are that WP:GEOLAND is about villages and towns, not school districts, and that school districts are a peculiarly American thing. In most of the world local authorities are responsible for state education. I would say that they are obviously notable, as a school district couldn't possibly exist without reliable sources having been written about it, but there seem to be many editors who disagree. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:41, 20 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In terms of schools, in most of the world ones that are not individually notable are merged to the article about the locality (or a list of schools in that locality if one exists), but in the US (and Canada?) they are merged to the articles about school districts. School districts do seem to be treated as notable though, the only example I've found of one being deleted at AfD is Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Rucker Elementary School District, the unsourced content of which was in its entirety "Rucker School District 66 was a school district in Cochise County, Arizona, currently closed." The deletion discussions include a mixture of views about inherent notability, but in pretty much every case sources were found that demonstrated GNG was met anyway, so the question in practical terms is moot. If they do have inherent or presumed notability though, that doesn't come from GEOLAND but from their own nature. As the long-gone Klonimus wrote in a 2005 VfD (as it was back then) A school district has the combined notability of each of its constituent schools. Thryduulf (talk) 20:18, 20 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that school districts (in the US at least) are presumptively notable (as long as they are verifiable). I think it would be hard to find a district that does not have any coverage of the organization or any of the component parts of the organization. - Enos733 (talk) 20:40, 20 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Rondout School District 72 (as referenced above)? Rainy River District School Board? Superior-Greenstone District School Board? I think it can actually be difficult to find sources about school districts that go beyond passing mentions and would be enough to furfill GNG. One of the common arguments in the 2017 high school RfC was that notability went beyond verifying that a school existed. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 21:14, 20 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Absent a scandal school districts rarely get significant coverage. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 03:44, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Scandals can definitely influence the amount of coverage but I don't think it's the only thing you see school districts in the news for. I will say that it's easier to find potential sources for larger school districts in more populated areas (e.g. Toronto Catholic District School Board or Detroit Public Schools Community District) but you're also more likely to have a scandal because you're dealing with larger amounts of money, resources, and the public.
I started writing this comment to say that the accessment of rarely didn't seem right. But I've spent the past hour or two looking at school district articles and the vast majority of them currently are lists of the schools and communities they serve and cited to primary sources. That doesn't mean that sources don't nessecarily exist and of course deletion isn't cleanup. I'm not suggesting any sort of like mass deletion spree for school district articles. I just see a lot of potential comparisons in regards that 2017 RfC about high schools and inherent notability. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 07:50, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If I can clarify they often get coverage, rarely is that coverage significant. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 16:13, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the question are two-fold. What level of coverage of a school district goes beyond trivial coverage. I found this article for Superior-Greenstone District School Board that addresses concerns within this district. This, by itself, should be enough to meet GNG. And, with governmental entities, there are a large number of reliable, verifiable sources about their organization (stats usually from the state or province) and there is self-published data of the internal organization. Second, there is (or there ought to be) a usefulness to readers about governmental entities, and the examples of districts mentioned above contain pretty good information for our project. - Enos733 (talk) 00:26, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In Canada is a school board the same thing as a school district? In the US it varies, some districts don't have boards and some boards don't have districts (only schools) but there's a clear split with the board being an organization and the district being a geographic feature. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 02:54, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A schoolboard here is basically the overseeing body for several schools in a town or geographical area. They hire teachers/principals and own the schools. The area served by a school is called a catchment basin, at least in my corner of the world, it's a map showing what school your kid can attend based on where they live in the city/zone served by the schoolboard. Helps the schoolboard plan for numbers (we have x number of kids in the area, so our school can hold x number of students). Oaktree b (talk) 15:29, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think there's a clue to the "level" of coverage and that is if the coverage extends beyond the area around the district itself. If the East Whosville County, South Virginia school district is getting coverage in the East Whosville County Gazette-Advertiser, that can be expected to be by-the-numbers in our sense, but if it's getting covered the the Washington Post-Advertiser, that's another matter entirely -- Nat Gertler (talk) 21:25, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We appear not to have articles for the vast majority of school districts, so the lack of AfD doesn't mean much. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 03:42, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Thryduulf: how do you square "A school district has the combined notability of each of its constituent schools." with "Geographical features must be notable on their own merits. They cannot inherit the notability of organizations, people, or events." Horse Eye's Back (talk) 16:13, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I explained that in my comment - the notability school districts have is not inherited from being a geographic feature, it comes from being a school district and/or from the schools within it. Thryduulf (talk) 16:26, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But a school district is a geographic feature, it has to follow those rules which include not counting organizations (school boards, schools etc) towards its notability (at least when considering GEOLAND). It can not inherit the notability of schools within it anymore than a census tract inherits the notability of what's in it. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 17:44, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But a school district is a geographic feature, that's irrelevant. it has to follow those rules which include not counting organizations no it doesn't. The community decides what notability means for every subject, and this is not bound by any sort of hierarchy unless consensus says it apples. Thryduulf (talk) 18:20, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, GNG is always a path to notability... But GNG also excludes inherited notability. There is no context in which "A school district has the combined notability of each of its constituent schools." Horse Eye's Back (talk) 18:43, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Anything can be excluded from GNG, due to inherent notability or any other reason, if the community consensus is that it should be. That is the de facto status quo in relation to school districts. The GNG is not some super-powerful policy that trumps all else, it is a guideline that applies when and how consensus says it applies. Thryduulf (talk) 19:55, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What is inherent notability in this context? Thats not a wikipedia concept I'm familiar with. Has it been endorsed by the community? Note that an article which meets the GNG or a SNG may be deleted, but an article which does not meet the GNG or a SNG may not be kept on anything other than IAR grounds. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 19:59, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In response to the first part of your comment (after edit conflict with you editing it and adding the second part): see also the reply I've just written to Espresso Addict below, but given that this is the current consensus, and consensus is by definition what the community endorses, yes. Thryduulf (talk) 20:04, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So point me to this "inherent notability" consensus Horse Eye's Back (talk) 20:10, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is the de facto consensus of school districts having articles and not being deleted at AfD when challenged on notability grounds whether sources GNG-passing sources are found or not. Thryduulf (talk) 20:11, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The vast majority of school districts appear to not have articles, so the de facto consensus would appear to be against universal notability. I will ask you again, where is the community endorsement of the concept of "inherent notability"? Horse Eye's Back (talk) 20:24, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The vast majority of school districts appear to not have articles that's irrelevant. Wikipedia is a work in progress, not everything that is notable has an article yet. Consensus is always what the status quo is until either the status quo changes or there is a discussion that explicitly determines that the consensus has changed. This is not a difficult concept, but this is not the first discussion related to notability in which it has been explained to you multiple times. Thryduulf (talk) 20:32, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The status quo appears to be that there is no such thing as "inherent notability" and nothing you've presented suggests otherwise. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 20:37, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've literally just explained to you what it means in this context. I do not intend to repeat myself further. Thryduulf (talk) 20:39, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The status quo is that school districts don't have inherent notability. I'm not asking you to repeat yourself because you have yet to provide a diff of this consensus and until you do the status quo will stand. As you said "Consensus is always what the status quo is until either the status quo changes or there is a discussion that explicitly determines that the consensus has changed." so either provide a diff of such a discussion or drop it. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 22:07, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Consensus in this case (as in the majority of other cases across the encyclopaedia) is (as repeatedly explained) derived from the collective outcome of smaller decisions and includes silent consensuses. I cannot give you a single diff to show that school districts are generally not nominated at AfD (silent consensus towards notability), and when they are they are almost always not deleted when nominated (collective local consensuses). As explained, this is the status quo I'm referring to. Thryduulf (talk) 00:19, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On wikipedia a silent consensus ends the moment its challenged. See WP:SILENTCONSENSUS. You don't appear to be describing the status quo, you appear to be stating your personal opinion and then calling it the status quo... Or is that just a coincidence? Horse Eye's Back (talk) 02:52, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) Regarding the second part, that's not quite true. The GNG is a guideline and as such is explicitly not applicable in every situation (just most) so keeping something that the GNG suggests is not notable is not "ignoring a rule" as such. Rather it is consensus saying that the given situation is one of the exceptions to the general case that the guideline allows for. In any case, even if it were a policy community consensus that would be perfectly compatible with the community deciding by consensus that it doesn't apply in a given situation. Thryduulf (talk) 20:11, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The guideline allows exceptions in terms of deletion but it doesn't offer any in terms of inclusion unless I'm missing something. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 20:28, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What you aren't understanding is that GNG is, by definition, a guideline. i.e. It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Thryduulf (talk) 20:38, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that is why I brought up IAR which is policy. Did you think I was being flippant? Horse Eye's Back (talk) 22:07, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the comment starting "Regarding the second part" I explained that exceptions to guidelines and ignoring all rules are not the same thing. Did you read it? Thryduulf (talk) 00:20, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Now that is flippant... Please keep it civil, you know I read it. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 02:56, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are we taking about inherited or inherent notability? They are different words and mean different things. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:06, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My understanding is that we were talking about inherited notability but then Thryduulf brought up inherent notability and they've done so repeatedly so it doesn't appear to be a typo. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 20:10, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I thought this was a compromise to prevent us from being flooded with articles on the individual schools? Espresso Addict (talk) 08:19, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Basically yes - the consensus regarding schools was that non-notable ones should be merged or redirected to the appropriate higher-level article, and that in the United States the article about the school district is that article in almost all cases. The inescapable implication of this is that school districts are notable enough for their own article. Thryduulf (talk) 20:01, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Question - for the US, what would be the next “higher” level after school District? Blueboar (talk) 20:48, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Blueboar: I'm not entirely certain as I'm not American and super familiar with their education system. At first glance, their district system seems to be similar to the one I'm used to but with greater student populations. I will say that at least in my Canadian province, school districts tends to line up with municipalities. For example, the District School Board of Niagara and the Niagara Catholic District School Board serve the Regional Municipality of Niagara. So I suppose one option would be fleshing out education sections in the most relevant article(s) if a district school board isn't considered notable enough in itself or writing something at a relevant province/state-related article like Education in Ontario. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 20:56, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In the US, usually the city or other municipality and much more occasionally the county. Never the state, though you could maybe argue for a List of school districts in state or list of schools in state which can be a merge target on occasion. Izno (talk) 22:07, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Never the state? What about state level boarding schools like Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts and Arkansas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired? Horse Eye's Back (talk) 22:19, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Both could go to their containing cities, the suggested lists, or at the worst to the article that could/already does exist on education in the specific state. Much school content for schools outside the US have homes in their containing municipality regardless of who runs the school. Izno (talk) 22:42, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Depending on whether we're talking private or public, for the public its going to be a municipality, county, or state... For the private it might be a church, diocese, or district but likely its nothing at all. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 22:12, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I just want to note that here in Ontario both the regular public school systems and Catholic school boards are publically funded and not private schools. I realize this is likely not the case elsewhere but it is relevant in these particular circumstances. Time to go back to washing dishes and figure out what I'm doing with a draft. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 22:17, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Much more complicated in the US... Especially by things like Charter schools in the United States which are primarily publicly funded but in most cases independent of the local school districts. You also have things like education councils (example Capitol Region Education Council) which are kind of school districts but also kind of not. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 22:22, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No more "inherent" notability, please. All that gets us is a bunch of permastubs, in many cases either bot-generated or might as well be. Either we have sufficient independent and reliable source material available to write an article (not just factoid stub) about a subject, or we don't. Seraphimblade Talk to me 15:18, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I concur completely. A patchwork system of notability guidelines only ensures inconsistency. GNG should be the only PAG in this area. — Frostly (talk) 00:01, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      On the contrary, a Procrustian one-size-fits-all system of notability guidelines based on media coverage, without subject-specific guidelines, ensures that we have an encyclopedia only of celebrities and pop culture. —David Eppstein (talk) 07:03, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Assuming good faith, any inclusionist sentiment is not widely-supported by the community. Lots of sources on a subject create GNG and provide the information for an article to be written. A dearth of sources with a subject-specific guideline or essay does, to paraphrase the Chinese, hurts the feelings of our editors. Inclusionism on behalf of silly fandoms is one thing. Inclusionism for schools is the most foolish I can think of. Chris Troutman (talk) 00:10, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your first sentence needs an explanation of what you mean by "inclusionist sentiment" and a citation for that not being widely supported by the community because recent discussions show that there is a lot of support for positions that could be termed "inclusionist sentiment". Your last sentence is irrelevant as this is not about either fandoms or schools (school districts are not schools) let alone fandoms about schools. I can't parse your other sentences. Thryduulf (talk) 00:25, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Surely it doesn't *need* that? You didn't provide diffs when asked, so why would Chris troutman need to? Horse Eye's Back (talk) 02:59, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think Thryduulf was right to question a sweeping generalization about the community as a whole not espousing "inclusionist sentiment". I don't really engage in deletionism/inclusionism debates that much but I have noticed that many people seem to make a big deal over how these concepts align or do not align with their editing philosophy. I'd prefer if people not go into a constant back and forth here. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 22:18, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment - Per the guideline at WP:NRV, No subject is automatically or inherently notable merely because it exists, so please drop any discussion of "inherent notability", the adjacent formulation we might be looking for is presumed notability, otherwise a determination that school districts are inherently notable might mean that school districts are the only "inherently" notable thing in the universe according to Wikipedia, which would make us look rather stupid. As for the question on district notability specifically, I think we'd be making a terrible mistake to think that GEOLAND was ever meant to apply to what is essentially a specialized service district for notability purposes. Most people in the world, I tend to think, don't answer the question of "Where are you from?" with "I'm from the Foo garbage collection district". GEOLAND fits way better with recognized general purpose government jurisdictions (like towns with a governing council) or, even, notable communities that don't have their own unique governments but have good SIGCOV of their unique history etc.. While "place" is a broad term, as far as importance, it still has its limits. I've yet to meet a single human being who has ever identified themselves by what school district or other special service district they live in. I'm all ears if this is a pronounced phenomenon in non-US areas but I'm doubtful. -Indy beetle (talk) 08:56, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RfC on school districts[edit]

Should school districts be required to meet WP:GNG? Support or oppose? Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 21:49, 22 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Oppose. In the United States (and other places where such districts are legally separate from and non-conterminous municipalities or other organs of local government), school districts should be presumptively notable. This is not because of their status as places or areas with a population but because they collections of (marginally) notable schools. Because of the large amounts of routine (and otherwise) coverage that schools receive it makes sense for Wikipedia to organize that coverage at the district level in most cases. Although most routine coverage of school sports and academics focuses on the individual school (because that is how students experience them) the actual practices and policies are usually set at the district level (or above) for U.S. public schools. U.S. school districts are not primarily abstract areas in which the state provides public education to its citizens but rather the local government entities that manage and provide that education. Eluchil404 (talk) 00:03, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Eluchil404: Are you perhaps confusing a school district and a school board? A district is in most cases an abstract area, in many cases (but not all) the school board is the local government entity that manage and provide that education. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 00:33, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In my U.S. based experience a school board functions as a board of directors for a school district and their is no real difference between them. Just as there is no real difference between the city council/city government and the city itself. We treat them as a same entity for notability purposes and cover them in the same article, even though they could be considered different things in the abstract. Eluchil404 (talk) 00:42, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I believe its different in every state... Education is handled on the state not the federal level in the US, no? I'm also curious as to whether you think no school districts need to meet GNG or just public ones don't? The religious ones can be extremely obscure. Also note that if there is no difference between them then they're an organization and would need to meet WP:ORG even if GNG isn't in play. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 01:03, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In the US, school districts are always government-run. Religious (and other private/non-government-run) schools don't have a school district. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:38, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That's not necessarily true. For example, Catholic schools where I live are part of the Diocese of Orlando, which is considered a private school district. -- RockstoneSend me a message! 02:58, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Rockstone35, I'm not sure what it means to have a private school district. They don't get to tax the properties in the area, they can't compel the students in the area to attend, they have no legal duty to substantially modify the program to be appropriate for disabled students. In short, basically nothing that the US would normally say is the right or responsibility of the local school district is actually true about them.
    Does a student who lives outside of the area have to get special permission to attend that school? If a parent shows up with their kid and a check for the year's tuition, is the school going to say "Oh, no, you're not allowed to go to school here. This is West School; your home address is in East School's area"? So far, it seems to me that this sort of "school district" is not very different from a single business that offers after-school tutoring at several locations within an area. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:52, 28 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "They don't get to tax the properties in the area" neither do school districts in the vast majority of states. In most places they are the beneficiaries of those taxes but don't have any control over them. The ability to compel appearance is also delegated to authorities other than the school district, normally the police. Thats not a power that the school district/board has in the vast majority of American states. What you have named as essential rights and responsibilities of American school districts actually aren't... Horse Eye's Back (talk) 23:08, 28 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Horse Eye's Back, I'm starting to wonder whether you and I need to collaborate on School district#United States. Working my way down the List of U.S. states and territories by population, California's school districts tax the properties within the district.[1] Texas school districts tax properties within the district.[2] Same in Florida.[3] New York's property taxes for school districts exceeds California's property tax for everything.[4] Pennsylvania school districts can lay taxes.[5] Illinois school districts collect around $20 billion a year.[6] Ohio and Georgia school districts lay taxes, too.[7] Those eight states make up half the population in the US.
    This report from Connecticut says that 40 out of the 50 US states allow school districts to lay taxes. [8] Perhaps you have only lived in one of those, so you didn't know how most of the country operates? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:43, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    So you're wrong you're just not as wrong as I thought you were? Horse Eye's Back (talk) 21:56, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "Religious (and other private/non-government-run) schools don't have a school district." Are you sure about that? Horse Eye's Back (talk) 15:44, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I've never seen groups of such schools called districts and I wouldn't call them that. Catholic schools are, in my experience, usually organized on the diocesan level so a diocese could be used as redirect target. For other private schools I would proceed on a case by case basis. Usually following the GNG, but with the understanding that an association or company that manages multiple notable secondary schools is likely notable though some might be adequately covered in an article on a 'home campus'. But to the extent I favor suspending the GNG, as opposed to reading it relatively broadly in line with my generally inclusionist-in-the-present-environment views, I am only talking about publicly run school districts on the U.S. model. I believe that it makes sense to cover government subdivisions and agencies completely even if the independence prong of the GNG has to be bent or broken. My oppinion isn't really supported by any guideline that I am aware of, but don't believe that it is inconsistent with them either. At least in spirit. Eluchil404 (talk) 23:25, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    So you would argue to disregard WP:N on WP:IAR grounds? Note thats not a " generally inclusionist-in-the-present-environment view" thats a radical inclusionist view which puts you on wikipedia's policy fringe. I'm generally inclusionist... You're way more radical and extreme than me. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 16:09, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't know if it's really that extreme. It's unusual for an article about any actual, separate government agency in the developed world to be deleted. If your government more or less holds to the usual level of transparency that we expect in democracies, then it would be very unusual to find a separate government agency that doesn't pass the GNG. Generally, when people think they have done so, they have learned that the fault is in their search skills. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:57, 28 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    IMO there's a big difference between presuming notability (a very mainstream position which I think is what you're describing) and inherent notability (suspending GNG). Horse Eye's Back (talk) 23:02, 28 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In my area, Catholic schools do form their own school district. The idea of associating them with a dicocese would not really make sense. The ratio between public school board districts and Catholic school districts here are relatively comparable (and both are publically funded [9]), see List of school districts in Ontario. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 22:09, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In the U.S. education is managed both on the state level & on the federal level as well as the county & school district levels. 😎😎PaulGamerBoy360😎😎 (talk) 18:05, 28 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Just so that everyone is on the same page: in Ontario, Canada there are *two* systems of publicly-funded school boards governed by publicly-elected trustees - the geographical extent governed by each board are also referred to as a school districts, One system is "public" and the other is "separate" (Roman Catholic). Each of the two systems consists of a set of geographically bounded entities that divide up the entirety (essentially) of the province's land mass. Both systems are governed by the same provincial curriculum and governing legislation and are under the same regime for collective bargaining (which the province has partly centralized). Each district board governs the schools in at least one municipality but often many more than one - only Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton have boards that correspond to a single city. These are large entities managing hundreds of schools, responsible for managing large budgets and thousands of employees under the scrutiny of parents, taxpayers and electors. I don't know other systems as well, but the quasi-religious status of Ontario's separate school boards - which teach, employ, and are responsible to an electorate of non-Catholics - is fairly idiosyncratic I think. Newimpartial (talk) 22:54, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think the problem is that every country is idiosyncratic and even more so countries like the US where there are actually 50+ ways to do things because education is handled on the state and not the federal level. The Australians for example are somewhere between the US and Canada when it comes to religious schools... The money is public but the control is split between the state and the church and is either organized on the school level, something like a school district, or a national organization depending on the school/faith. The United Kingdom also does it a little oddly with each constituent country being in charge of Faith schools. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 14:56, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Outside of Ontario, publicly-funded education in Canada is now essentially secular, after Quebec removed the denominational aspect of its school system in 1998 and Newfoundland and Labrador abolished its four state-funded systems - including a Roman Catholic and a Pentecostal system - in 1997. Newimpartial (talk) 19:47, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Apart from private schools, note that the city of Ottawa (and other parts of Ontario) is actually covered by "four" school boards, that do not necessarily share the same boundaries as each other. These are: English-Public, French-Public, English-Catholic, and French-Catholic. Loopy30 (talk) 11:24, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    While this is true, it might be relevant to add that thr whole province is covered by only 12 French school districts/boards (four public and eight separate), as opposed to the 63 English boards (34 public and 29 sepatate). Among these, there is only one vestigal micro-board (an English Protestant board north of Toronto). Newimpartial (talk) 23:12, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. This proposal is too US-centric, too simplistic, premature and unnecessary. How is this rule meant to apply outside the US? Education is heavily localised all over the world, many places would think a US style school district would be a terrible idea, others may have a similar concept with a different name. Regardless of the answer to that question, the proposal suggests that school districts and similar government departments are not covered by WP:NORG. Is that really the case? If NORG doesn't apply, what's the default rule and how would the proposal change that? And most importantly, does changing the default rule improve the encyclopedia? IffyChat -- 11:01, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Iffy: Reading the discussion above might help answer your confusion regarding the why? I'm not necessarily looking to change anything but to clarify what exactly the standard is/should be. So far it's been really unclear about whether or not people consider school districts to be inherently notable (if that's the case both GNG and NORG would require better sourcing than just verifying existence). I figured this proposal was actually useful because it might make the community's overall perspective on the matter more clear. I'd also like to note that I'm not American. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 11:56, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That discussion has way more heat than light at the moment as the two main participants (not faulting either of them for this) are talking past each other to try and answer your original question directly. If we all took a step back and instead tried figure out the answer to my predicate questions, it would then be a lot easier to resolve what the best way forward is. IffyChat -- 12:18, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In the United States (and other places where such districts are legally separate from and non-conterminous municipalities or other organs of local government), school districts should be presumptively notable. This is not because of their status as places or areas with a population but because they collections of (marginally) notable schools. I live in a state where most (but not all) public school districts are not "legally separate from and non-conterminous [with] municipalities or other organs of local government". There are some unique "municipal" districts (though their jurisdictions don't typically align exactly with the cities/towns they claim to cover) but every county has a public school district and county commissioners usually help determine funding for things like teacher pay. I'm also not familiar with any other formula on Wikipedia which allows us to combine disparate coverage for multiple non-notable things to create a notability for an inclusive parent article. And, along the lines of what you're suggesting, how useful is it for us to have a few articles on the "Foo Highschools" football games when building an article dedicated to covering what the whole district does? While I do think it is appropriate to redirect a non-notable local school to its parent district article if such exists, I don't see why we should be combining a bunch of non-notable material and adding it to an article on an institution which is also not notable. -Indy beetle (talk) 08:27, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If school district = county I have problem using a "Education in Foo County, State" section of the county article as the equivalent of a district article. I think most lists work the way I described. In particular "List of mayors of Bar" or "List of characters in Foo media" don't require that every entry be separately notable only that the topic as a whole have coverage, usually as a part of coverage of Bar or Foo. In particular my proposal is based on my observation that U.S. secondary schools are basically always notable based on sourcing and my belief that it makes sense to have lists of all government run schools in the appropriate place. This is partly so that there is an obvious place to put content on actually notable events or controversies that people might look for, but also because I dislike removing content because it is "trivial" or "unimportant". It does not improve the encyclopedia to prevent our readers from finding reliably sourced verifiable content that they are looking for. The purpose of curation is to prevent trivia from crowding out important details and making it easy to find basic facts. But Wikipedia is not paper, if readers want to go on deep-dives down rabbit holes, we should let them. Eluchil404 (talk) 23:47, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose -- school districts are inherently notable. GNG should not apply. --RockstoneSend me a message! 02:58, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support, obviously. They already are required to meet GNG.
    JoelleJay (talk) 04:04, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Important Note: School notability guidelines are explicitly mentioned in WP:NSCHOOL: All universities, colleges and schools, including high schools, middle schools, primary (elementary) schools, and schools that only provide a support to mainstream education must either satisfy the notability guidelines for organizations (i.e., this page), the general notability guideline, or both. For-profit educational organizations and institutions are considered commercial organizations and must satisfy those criteria.
The 🏎 Corvette 🏍 ZR1(The Garage) 19:54, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@The Corvette ZR1: I'm aware of NSCHOOL but (and the 2017 RfC that led to high schools needing to meet GNG) but so far I've been under the impression that school districts are not required to meet the same standard. WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES mentions this requirement for individual schools but explicitly excludes school districts in the section above. I also think that the way this conversation is going seems to indicate that current consensus is somewhat unclear on what is suppossed to apply and why. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 22:03, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am generally against any presumption of notability. Having sufficient sourcing to meet the GNG is also a decent threshold for being able to write a decent article of use to readers on the subject - and avoid two line permastubs. firefly ( t · c ) 10:03, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. School districts in the US vary widely in size. Miami-Dade County Public Schools (the third largest school district in the US), serves over 350,000 students in 415 schools, while the Bois Blanc Pines School District has four students in one school. There is nothing inherently notable about a school district. It is the amount and quality of reliable sources about a district that establish whether it is notable. (I will note that the Bois Blanc Pines School District article has only one source, an article in The New York Times, that is independent and not just statistics or a trivial mention.)
Donald Albury 02:51, 22 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IMO this should be reworded or dropped A "no" could be interpreted as either support of the status quo or as specifically rejecting the idea of a school district having to (ever) pass GNG. North8000 (talk) 12:25, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm open to suggestions on how to make it clearer. I was trying to keep it simple because I was under the impression that's what you're supposed to do. I thought my phrasing was okay (I support/oppose school districts being required to meet GNG) but people do seem to be having different interpretations of what I'm asking here. I'm not even sure what the status quo is so I thought an RfC could gauge that a bit more accurately. I thought seeking community consensus on this would be helpful because it gives people some direction going forward (e.g. WP:SCHOOLOUTCOMES interpretation regarding GEOLAND could be changed). I will say it's slightly disheartening that I've got the impression that whenever I try to start an RfC it's not that helpful when I genuinely do have good intentions. I'd like to know how exactly I'm messing up. If anyone wants to give me constructive feedback on my talk page or anything, please feel free to. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 19:19, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think some of the confusion arises because it's not clear whether the subject is the location (24.5 square miles, could be GEOLAND) or the government agency (180 employees and a budget of millions, could be WP:ORG). WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:40, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. Meeting GNG should be enough, I don't see anything here that gets them an automatic pass. If there are neutral sources, extensively written, about the "thing", it's fine. Oaktree b (talk) 15:33, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Unclear RfC I'm with North8000 here: what is a "yes" or "no", or even a "support" or "oppose", supposed to mean in this case? And what is the scope meant to be? Are we trying to gauge what the status quo is, or is this about articulating something new? I can appreciate the desire to seek greater clarity, but I doubt this particular RfC will help in that regard. XOR'easter (talk) 17:52, 23 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Right now we're on two opposes indicating GNG should be applied and two opposes indicating GNG should be disregarded. At the very least we can conclude the proposal has generated strong opposition. CMD (talk) 03:09, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support using GNG to judge notability for school districts Unlike the commenters above, I was not so confused as to what the RfC was getting at. GNG is a perfectly reasonable standard to use globally and, lest we forget, is a low bar of 2-3 secondary sources of SIGCOV. I'm not sure what a good argument for the alternative is: "I went here so it should be mentioned on Wikipedia" (how most Wikipedia primary and secondary school article content is typically generated)? If you can't find 2-3 secondary sources to rub together on a given school district (or its governing body), why should there be an article on it? -Indy beetle (talk) 08:38, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose but there should be some established standard (GNG is a little too high, but I strongly disagree with Rockstone35's assertion that they are WP:INHERENTly notable. Edward-Woodrowtalk 20:38, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Changing to tentative support. Edward-Woodrowtalk 19:49, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Confused Doesn't school districts come under WP:ORG? Davidstewartharvey (talk) 21:22, 24 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Davidstewartharvey: I think school boards would, but a school district is an administrative region used by the school board (at least in my understanding). Edward-Woodrowtalk 19:51, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Edward-Woodrow From my reading they are one in the same, with the district just being the area covered by the board. However I may be wrong as its the wrong side of the pond for me!Davidstewartharvey (talk) 07:01, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    (edit conflict) My personal experience has led me to believe that school districts are where a school board operates as an organization. To me, the two concepts are interconnected and cannot be easily separated from each other. It's possible that this isn't the case everywhere where school districts exist and this is what is causing the confusion. Alternatively, I'm just making a stupid mistake for using an RfC in this situation. I haven't had the best of luck with them and I don't want to be seen as misusing the process. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 07:05, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Don't be. As per my failed attempt to actually change GEOLAND because it is not accurate, this is a valid point and as we can see from the varied different responses, opinions differ. Davidstewartharvey (talk) 08:39, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The first thing I have learned in this discussion is that in some jurisdictions (like Ontario, where I live) a school district is essentially a synonym for a school board (technically the territory in which a board operates, but used as a synonym) while in others, a school district is a subset of a school board's territory (sometimes maybe equivalent to an electoral district for school trustees, or perhaps similar to what we might call a catchment area for a high school, or conceivably both).
    School district lacks a treatment of the Ontario system, but something I learned from that article is that on average, a US school district enrolls 5,000 students while I calculate the average for Ontario as more than five times that number (and the average for Ontario is depressed slightly by the inclusion in the denominator of eight special-purpose "school districts" outside of the two main school systems). Newimpartial (talk) 13:50, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support forcing them to meet GNG. I do not see how they could be considered anything like a city in terms of notability. They should not get a free pass just by existing. QuicoleJR (talk) 13:57, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose, they can meet GNG or a SNG. If they pass a SNG they don't need to pass the GNG. Horse Eye's Back (talk) 16:12, 25 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Unclear RfC This should be withdrawn and a new RFC put together. --Enos733 (talk) 00:21, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • School districts should have to meet WP:NORG to have a separate article, just like any other organization. (t · c) buidhe 03:28, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment One complexity is that "school district" can refer to two completely different things. One is a set of lines on a map. The other is an organization which is a bundle of a governmental body, a bunch of facilities, a bunch of staff etc. (whose area of operation is defined by those lines on a map) North8000 (talk) 14:21, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • True, but aren't those typically merged in practice in articles? -Indy beetle (talk) 07:05, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • School districts should have to meet WP:NORG just like any other organization. Schools, school districts, school boards, non-profit schools, for-profit schools... they're all types of organizations. Levivich (talk) 19:30, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose as written. Many of these articles are better viewed as set-index articles about the schools in the school district. Policy should be designed to prevent AFD arguments such as "the references aren't about the school district organization, but the schools in the school district (which don't have stand-alone articles)" leading to article deletion. But I also don't support "inherent notability"; for example Maynard School District could probably be merged. Walt Yoder (talk) 19:51, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support school dsitricts not having any kind of "automatic" or "presumed" notability - It's simply daft that people are proposing to have an article for every single US school district, simply because of a tendentious interpretation of WP:GEOLAND. The interpretation of GEOLAND's presumption of notability being an automatic pass on requiring any actual significant overage anywhere is just crazy - the only way to source the vast majority of these articles is from the documents of the organsations themselves - where's the NPOV?
Regarding the unclear objections above - it's a pretty simple question of whether or not school districts are under GEOLAND, and they definitely should not be. FOARP (talk) 09:10, 30 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose For some time now, there has been consensus in community discussions that school districts should be presumed to be notable. School districts should continue to be presumed to be notable. School districts are likely to satisfy GNG and LISTN. Articles on school districts are needed so that individual schools can be redirected to them. The following passage, or something similar, should be added to NGEO: " School districts are typically presumed to be notable." The alternative is to have futile time wasting arguments about whether schools district articles are lists of schools; or populated legally recognized places that are administrative regions; or organizations; or all of these things at the same time; or none of these things; or some of these things. None of which matters, because we need articles about "education within geographical area X", and we presently do not appear to have any practical alternative. (The most likely alternative at this time is "being flooded with articles on the individual schools" as Expresso Addict put it). James500 (talk) 03:20, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose The status quo is working fine here. In the US public school context (which is the relevant one for most of the articles being discussed), school district articles tend to be about the district itself, the schools it encompasses, and even the history of local education within the district. There are some smaller districts where this information could fit in the local town's article, but in most cases it's worthy of an article itself, and subjecting school districts to GNG would most likely lead to a lot of arguments that the sources have to be about the district itself rather than anything else. (By the way, it was pretty easy to find coverage of the Rondout school district that started all of this: [10] [11]) TheCatalyst31 ReactionCreation 21:15, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think this is best settled case by case. Some districts, such as the Palo Alto Unified School District aren't as notable solely on their own but provide better organization for certain districts which have a lot of notable institutions. Some districts, like Lagunitas School District, could do better by being merged into their home article. Then there are some which already fulfill GNG on their own; I think that Columbus' Dublin City School District (despite a Notability tag there already) would meet this based on the awards it has received. Oppose a blanket solution; the status quo doesn't seem as harmful as it seems to be put out to be. InvadingInvader (userpage, talk) 03:24, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Unclear RfC. I support the status quo, but it is unclear what !voting "support" or "oppose" means here in terms of effecting a change to the notability guidelines. -- King of ♥ 03:33, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. I think there are multiple adequate descriptions by editors above. I also foresee heated AfD debates about how many paragraphs of coverage a single decades old print article needs to have and how many quotes are allowed, before we count a school district (with decades of coverage) as notable. Given what other editors have explained above, let's avoid putting ourselves through that. —siroχo 03:54, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Speedy close. It's clear that this RfC is unclear and that there are multiple subquestions. (1) The basic question, based on the previous thread, is whether Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes#School districts is correct. I suspect it isn't, seeing as no discussion-based consensus has been linked and the disagreement on this very page. (2) Relatedly, whether school districts fit under WP:NORG (per this discussion) or WP:NGEO (per "Common Outcomes"); the evidence is that NORG at least mentions schools as organizations whereas NGEO does not. (3) The matter of whether "GNG applies": GNG always applies, with rare exception by consensus. If attempting to make a similar case here, it needs to be stronger than the circular logic about what should be "presumed notable" and why this would warrant an exception. (4) Given the differences here, it's unclear what other editors mean by "status quo". At the very least, it needs to be codified as was necessary in the [2017 discussion]. czar 17:05, 10 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose The WP:GNG is not a rigid policy. Instead it is a guideline and explicitly says that "occasional exceptions may apply", citing our actual policy to ignore all rules. So, nothing is required to meet GNG in an absolute way.
School district seem to be a recent US institution but our guidelines should be global and historical. For example, I created an article on the Cuckoo Schools which were first named the Central London District Poor Law School. This was founded by the City of London and the East London and St. Saviour Workhouse Unions in 1857 for the Central London District. Those bodies may be good topics or not but trying to shoehorn them into the concept of school district is not helpful. If people want to do something useful, they should start by improving the article school district which has had multiple issues since 2010. We might then better understand what we're talking about.
Andrew🐉(talk) 08:31, 19 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. Consider what constitutes a school district's administration: a few people fulfilling an often (particularly in rural areas) part-time job. They are nothing more than a minor regional office that happens to have a map. That'd be useful if there was widespread identification with one's school district, beyond simple school pride. I've never heard of such a thing, and the number of sources you can find about individual school districts reflects this. - Mebigrouxboy (talk) 02:09, 22 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "They are nothing more than a minor regional office that happens to have a map."
    That's not always the case. In some states, school districts are a level of government that imposes taxes and spends the resulting income. Jahaza (talk) 01:04, 27 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Czar: I haven't had wifi for a week so I'm somewhat behind on things but I was surprised to come back to notifications about this thread again because you closed it about two weeks ago? I haven't gone digging through the page history yet to try and figure out when the discussion was reopened, but I figured I should let you know in case you had an idea of what was going on. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 01:08, 24 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This is what the close looked like when it happened a month ago [12]. I'm still not entirely sure why it was reopened for an extra month for a few extra comments and is still open. Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 10:07, 10 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Creating a new Close review page (CLRV/RFCRV) to be split from AN[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
There is no consensus to begin a new noticeboard for RfC close reviews at this time. In support, editors argued that (1) AN is not the appropriate forum because (a) RfCs involve content decisions that are not within the exclusive jurisdiction of administrators, (b) close reviews overwhelm AN, and (c) AN is a busy and contentious noticeboard; and (2) close reviews have become more common and ought to be centralized, automated, and indexed. In opposition, editors contended that (1) the problem is with the format of close reviews (e.g., not splitting discussion by involved and uninvolved editors), rather than the forum; (2) close reviews are not particularly common, and creating a noticeboard would encourage editors to file frivolous close reviews; (3) beginning a new noticeboard would put fewer eyes on RfC close reviews; and (4) there are already too many noticeboards, and creating a new one should be a last resort.

Both sides received roughly the same number of !votes and neither side effectively refuted the others' arguments.[a] Moreover, the arguments on both sides are substantial. On the one hand, there was no dispute that RfCs involve content decisions and that administrative action is usually not needed for close reviews; that AN is not the best forum for close reviews; and that close reviews should be more formalized. On the other hand, there was no rejoinder to the argument that any perceived problems in close reviews stem from their format, rather than the forum, and that creating a new noticeboard should be a last resort. To weigh between those arguments would turn this close into a supervote, and thus I conclude that there is no consensus.

At least two proposals made during this discussion merit further investigation:

  • Creation of an archive for RfCs, such as by creating RfC subpages through a centralized process and templates, analogous to AfD's structure.
  • Creating new rules for close reviews, such as requiring discussions to have an uninvolved/involved format or making clear that a close review is not "RfC round 2".

voorts (talk/contributions) 00:31, 3 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ I discount the argument that close reviews have become more common, as the only evidence presented on the number of close reviews showed that requests for close reviews have been consistent at around 2 per month. I also discount the argument that there are already too many noticeboards per WHATABOUTX. Finally, it is impossible to resolve the argument that a new noticeboard would result in a large amount of frivolous close reviews as that argument is largely speculative. However, I note that even estimating a liberal 5-fold increase in close reviews as a result of the proposed noticeboard, there would only be about 10 reviews per month.

There were two discussions on the topic of an RfC review noticeboard separate from AN. A 2017 discussion briefly touched on the topic, and under a recent close review, there was another one, which was relatively extensive. It appears that there was enough brainstorming to have at least a discussion to create a new board.

It is proposed to:

  • Create a separate "Close review" page (CLRV/RFCRV) to handle challenges to closures.
  • Create an archive of all close reviews in one place (something like this but updated and not self-reported)
  • Generally model the CLRV on deletion review processes, but with a few quirks. To be exact:
    1. The duty of the user to discuss the closure with the closer will stay, except for closures made by IP editors, which may be reverted without discussion.
    2. When pushing a "Request a close review" button, there will be an automatically generated template (something like when opening an AE request) where the user will put the necessary data (link to the RfC, diff(s) of closure, user who closed an RfC, evidence of talking with the user, evidence of notifying them about the review, reason for making the request, possibly other fields should there be a need)
    3. Create "Involved", "Uninvolved" and "Discussion" sections for discussing the merits of the closure (see WP:INVOLVED for details). Admins may sanction users who routinely post their opinions in the "Uninvolved" part of the closure if they are involved.
      Editors will !vote "Endorse" or "Overturn". Overturned discussions will be automatically reopened until the next closer comes. Overturned closures should be collapsed and the CLRV thread provided in the hat above the RfC for reference.
      CLRV should not be RfC round 2. Only closer's judgment should be analysed. Statements that rehash the arguments in the RfC or do not discuss the soundness of the closure given the arguments presented in the RfC should be discarded from consideration. (Cf. Deletion review should not be used, in WP:DRV)
      Editors will determine the burden of demonstrating the (un)soundness of the closure if the page is created. This may potentially impact WP:NOCON.
  • Modify WP:CLOSECHALLENGE, Wikipedia:Processes#Formal_review and other relevant policies, guidelines and information/explanatory pages to direct closure review requests to the newly created page. Edit all relevant templates and post relevant info to AN/ANI so that editors engage in close reviews on the dedicated forum.

I would like to see if there is consensus for a concept of the page, before actually starting to create it.

Szmenderowiecki (talk) 16:10, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Oppose I do not see the need of creating a separate noticeboard, when the most needed regulations could simply be transcribed as a formal AN procedure. ~~ AirshipJungleman29 (talk) 16:18, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support as proposer. Close reviews should feature less drama, so it's best to move them from a drama board which AN is. Also, a couple of common-sense formal rules would not be a bad thing for these discussions. It's going to be active enough that people will be actually watching it, so I see no harm doing that, and all the benefits of housekeeping and civil, focused discussion. AN should best be left for, well, purely administrative stuff, or stuff where only admins can act on something, like unblock requests.
    Also, DRV and MRV are not noticeboards, and at least before MRV was created in 2012, appeals were processed on AN.
    EDIT: I'll add that if we need a separate formal procedure for some threads on AN that can be grouped in one category (here: close reviews), but not for others, chances are we need a separate page. Clogging up the top template of AN with instructions for each type of requests that may come to AN is suboptimal and will dissuade people from actually reading the template to see if they have any business being on AN because the template will be too big and folks will scroll through the wall of text.
    Szmenderowiecki (talk) 16:25, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support the general idea For the reasons described. But there are also about 12 other rules in the proposal.....IMO some are codifying current practices plus many more good and bad new rules. Suggest workshopping to develop the "rules" and keeping them to a minimum which mostly follow current practices. North8000 (talk) 17:46, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support the idea, although per North8000 the specific proposal needs more workshopping first. DRV and MRV work well and have little bureaucracy so something modelled after them should work for RFCs. Thryduulf (talk) 19:50, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose as stated. I'm not sure we need a entirely new board, RFC close reviews are not that numerous. But some set of guidelines for the process would help improve discussions. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 20:25, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose, as splitting it off to a page with fewer watchers and more self-selection isn't likely to be the ticket. Some enforced guidelines at AN would be sufficient. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 21:29, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. RfCs are mostly content decisions, and sysops don't/shouldn't have any special jurisdiction over content, so reviewing RfC closes on the administrators' noticeboard doesn't make sense.—S Marshall T/C 23:22, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    We also need a searchable index of RfCs, by the way. At the moment they're often on talk pages or talk page archives. It would be better if they were transcluded into log pages like XFDs are, and a useful abuse-fighting tool would be if we could search those logs for all the closes made by a particular editor.—S Marshall T/C 23:26, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The only problem here would be to comb through 20+ years of RfCs, but yeah, that's a good one. Szmenderowiecki (talk) 07:13, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Archive is something like an archive of RfCs of project-wide relevance, but I agree better searchability would be useful. I've spent far, far too much of my life digging through talk page articles to try and find out how a particular policy came to be. – Joe (talk) 07:41, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    A good step to take to address that would be change administrator's noticeboard to administration noticeboard, which better matches its use. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 23:32, 26 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. Close reviews have become more and more formalised over recent years and centralising them, as we do for deletion reviews, move reviews, admin action reviews, etc., seems like a straightforward organisational improvement to me. I don't see how low volume or an (initially) lower number of watchers are particularly problematic; ANI should be enough evidence for everyone that having lots of eyes and lots of opinions doesn't make for better decisions. We should also consider the fact that neither making closes nor participating in close reviews is restricted to admins. Anything that brings AN closer to being a noticeboard for admins again is a step in the right direction, in my book. – Joe (talk) 07:38, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support - especially the automated discussion template generation. I take the point that these aren't as common as deletion reviews but when they do occur they tend to be lengthy and seem to take take over WP:AN until they're closed and archived. Having a separate RfC noticeboard will also give us an easy way to refer back to RfC decisions without having to search through the entire AN archives. The positives of this proposal far outweigh the negatives in my view. WaggersTALK 12:20, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support - because of how well DRV works. DRV does well not to be "AFD round 2", and I believe this proposal will assist in stopping the discussions at AN being "RFC round 2", but rather focusing on endorse or overturn based on the prescribed format. I don't believe AN is capable of this sort of debate as there is little to no distinction between a normal AN discussion and a Close Review. Daniel (talk) 14:52, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support DRV for RFCs per nom and others above. The archive will be useful and getting it off AN will improve the participant pool. Levivich (talk) 17:57, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    A template, splitting involved/uninvolved votes, is also a good idea. Levivich (talk) 16:15, 28 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    XRV (suggested below) works, too. Levivich (talk) 14:51, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment If this more specialized (than AN) place were created, people who watch the page are more likely to catch / less likely to miss something close-review related than on a broader/ more active page like AN. For example, if AN had 30 posts a day and the person checked their watchlist twice per day, they would see only 2 of the 30 posts on their watchlist page. North8000 (talk) 18:28, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support: worth a try to clean up the cesspit of AN. Close reviews should be rare and too often they are just attempts to run "RFC round 2", as Daniel puts it. I'm unsure whether this board would encourage more vexatious close reviews or provide the necessary structure to mitigate this trend. I like the idea of separating involved comments from uninvolved comments to help independent editors and the final closer assess provenance more easily. — Bilorv (talk) 23:59, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • We have too many noticeboards already. I'd start with combining WP:NPOVN and WP:NORN into one before creating yet another noticeboard, dividing attention. WP:XRV is a mostly-failed dream with the same idea of splitting something away from AN; there is no reason to believe that a separate closure noticeboard would be more popular. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 21:03, 28 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. Most RfCs and similar do not need formal closure. Most formal closures don't need to be reviewed. A dedicated noticeboard would just encourage more unnecessary reviews in the same way that WP:CR has caused the number of requests for formal closure (mostly unnecessary) to balloon. And, as TBF points out immediately above, a similar concept never really got off the ground (which is a shame because I'd strongly support something like XRV but with teeth). HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 21:13, 28 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I disagree that RFCs don't need formal closure. If one is going to go to the time and effort of an RFC, then it should have a formal close, so that that time and effort achieves an actionable outcome. –Novem Linguae (talk) 01:29, 26 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. I was going to stay out of this, but HJ Mitchell's point is compelling: If you create a special, high-profile place request that a decision be overturned (and that's always the point of a review request; nobody opens a review because they think the closing statement was perfect), then the existence of that page will suggest to some editors that closing summaries should be challenged, and thus we'll see somewhat more of them, and that could turn into a time sink. BTW, if you don't know how to challenge a closing summary, then read the directions (middle of second point at top of WP:ANRFC, Wikipedia:Closing discussions#Challenging other closures, and probably elsewhere) or ask someone (e.g., at WT:RFC. Also, at least wrt RFCs, we don't get very many of these now, so creating a new noticeboard for an uncommon event is unnecessary. If the folks at WP:AN found that these discussions were so frequent as to disrupt their other work, I'd have another view, but they don't. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:33, 28 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yeah, so it's an equivalent of: "why let people know that there's a dedicated appeals court with clear rules in one place when there is 75-95% chance they won't succeed anyway? It just burdens the justice system too much and that's why we have delays".
    If the thinking goes that people will appeal just for the sake of it, this will always happen but that doesn't mean automatically they are wrong. If the rules are scattered all over the place it's just user-unfriendly.
    It is as simple as that: i
    If a request is frivolous, vexatious, comes from a sock or people didn't read the manual, it can be closed down quickly so it's not a timesink. Admins are not needed for that.
    Wrt to RfC review frequency, let's see the stats for move reviews and estimated RfC close reviews on AN to see the difference, starting from the beginning of 2022, by month:
    • Move reviews: 0, 6, 8, 2, 2, 3, 1, 4, 3, 8, 5, 4, 1, 7, 4, 3, 6, 9, 1, 1, 2, 5 (avg per month: 4.5 reviews, of these only 20% were overturned and a few, like 5, simply relisted, and a couple of procedural moves)
    • Requested close reviews (searched through AN archives from 340 till today), and I generally saw about 2 closure reviews per month, which was fairly consistent month-to-month. On your theory that dedicated forums will encourage appeals in their subject matter, it might be a bit lower than move reviews but not by much at the end of the day. Surely you won't vote to delete MRV because it is inactive?
    The discussion that triggered the RfC was an absolute mess of a review, so in fact if you are concerned about timesinks, we can do that by enforcing certain rules that already work elsewhere and prevent people from continuing the RFC on AN. But can we really apply that directly to AN when there are so many other discussions that we have to distinguish from? Szmenderowiecki (talk) 06:24, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Increasing the number of close reviews will be subject to the Law of diminishing marginal benefit. If you're seeing ~5 move reviews a month now, with 4 being sustained and 1 being overturned, then creating this is more likely to result in twice as many discussions but a lower chance of success (e.g., 8 discussions, 7 sustained and 1 overturned, or 20 discussions, 18 sustained and 2 overturned).
    • If an editor discovers this process through a navbox, they are unlikely to learn enough about the process to post relevant and appropriate discussions. We need people to discover this process by Reading The Friendly Manual, which says things like close reviews not being an opportunity for re-litigating the dispute because all the other editors are wrong.
    WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:58, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This mirrors the schools of management opposing theories, one side advocating for a flat management style with no hierarchy and the other with various levels of hierarchy, generally between 5 and 10 members per team in a vertical chain of command (command which also has various theories of leadership style). Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 20:07, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    From what I saw, some close reviews are already close reviews for the sake of them, so there is little marginal benefit in having them in the first place. Also, to show this law is applicable, you'd have to see if the current rate of overturning RfC closes at AN is higher than at MRV, or, which would be better, look through pre-2012 AN archives and compare MRVs from back then and after moving to MRV. Have you made the research? Well, I can't be bothered but my hypothesis is that it's not about economics here, and RfC closure reviews aren't delicatessen which you get used to once you start eating a lot of them.
    If a user discovers the new process through the navbox but is otherwise uninterested, I agree they won't learn about it. But if they think that an RfC was poorly closed, and they become interested in how this should be filed, they will click on the link and RTFM. And the friendly manual should and, as I proposed, will in fact include such instructions.
    Right now these instructions are not in one place so if someone new (who we should assume edits in good faith) is lurking at AN and sees an RfC review process, they have little clue about how this should go, because AN does not say it and it does not tell which policies apply. Szmenderowiecki (talk) 10:39, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose for now. There's definitely a problem here, but creating a new noticeboard should be a last resort. We should at least try separate uninvolved/involved sections (which everyone seems to support) first, and if that doesn't work, there are also other techniques (hatting unproductive tangents, preventing bolded !votes from involved editors, etc.) out there. If close reviews are still a mess after all that, we can revisit this conversation, but otherwise I think it'd cause more harm than good, per several others above. Extraordinary Writ (talk) 23:52, 28 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strongly support. I think noticeboards for specific situations if there are enough editors willing to participate in them are a good idea that promote more expertise, efficiency, quality, and fairness in processes.

    exclamation mark  I have to mention I went to AN once about this, adding an entry challenging a close, following instructions in WP:CLOSECHALLENGE; it was a monumental fiasco. The summary speaks for itself: Improper forum. I got excoriated for "making a mountain out of a molehill" and for a "time-wasting exercise", among other things. It was my impression that a few editors neither cared about the guidance I linked nor based their rationale in Wikipedia guidance but in general they resorted more to their arbitrary opinions. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 01:17, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    The other editors were correct; please don't assume their reaction is a problem to be corrected. DFlhb (talk) 08:03, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I disagree but in order not to divert the main topic of this thread, I won't start a discussion about it here. If you want to discuss it you are welcome to post in my talk page. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 19:34, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per HJ. However, I would be open to moving close challenges to XRV. HouseBlastertalk 06:51, 29 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per ToBeFree. AN benefits from having a lot of experienced eyes on it, and a new noticeboard will not have as many of those eyes. Mz7 (talk) 01:17, 30 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support - There are actually two main parts to this proposal.
    • Specify procedures for RFC close reviews, of which the most important is that close review is not RFC round 2. This principle is taken from the culture of Deletion Review, where it is often stated that DRV is not AFD round 2. The deletion reviewers ae not asked how they would have closed the AFD, but only whether the close was reasonable, or whether the closer made an error.
    • Set up a separate board for RFC close reviews to implement these reviews, with an origination template, and with automated archival of close reviews.
    • In my opinion, the first is very much needed, as has been concluded by recent discussions at WP:AN and elsewhere.
    • The second, a separate forum, is a nice-to-have rather than essential. However, if the close reviews continue to be carried out at WP:AN, they probably will not have their own automation processes.
    • A separate forum will provide the benefits of its own automation. If there is agreement that special procedures are needed, but not agreement for a separate forum, there will have to be discussion of how to integrate the new procedures into WP:AN.
Robert McClenon (talk) 08:08, 30 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Robert McClenon, we have already specified the procedure for RFC close reviews. You can find the procedure (and a list of strong and weak arguments for overturning the summary) at Wikipedia:Closing discussions#Challenging other closures. The first sentence in that paragraph specifies very clearly that it applies to RFCs, splits, and merges. Therefore, the first part is done; in fact, it was done years ago. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:05, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support largely per proposer. Simply put, close reviews are irrelevant to an administrator's work so AN is the wrong place. Having a dedicated venue to appeal things is due process, not encouraging frivolous claims; after all, an equally strong (and much more evidence based) argument could be made that AN/I encourages frivolous claims of incivility. I'm not experienced enough to judge imperfections in the details of the proposed rules, but I don't see obvious issues and I'm sure it will be ironed out. Fermiboson (talk) 19:58, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Notified: centralized discussion and the the administrators' noticeboard. Szmenderowiecki (talk) 10:18, 30 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per ToBeFree. —Ganesha811 (talk) 00:55, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose, very much per Mz7, ToBeFree, et al, above. The standard of "many eyes" applies to this. Plus, this is putting the cart before the horse - we don't have much in the way of a written guideline regarding reviewing RFC closures as far as I know. So we're now going to create a whole new process out of whole cloth? No. - jc37 12:13, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Here you can see that the Category for Discussions page has about a 2,700 monthly views average while Closure requests has about 2,400. I am pretty sure CfD started one day somehow, therefore the argument no guideline does not hold much weight because things start one day. Also, "WP:Closure requests".
    User:Mz7 talks about AN having experience. Show me a discussion about specifically a close challenge in that noticeboard. I went there once challenging a close (with a detailed rationale) and ironically my request was closed with the explanation "improper forum" (see my post above) and derided for spending time in researching and pointing guidance you imply doesn't exist.
    User:ToBeFree states, "there is no reason to believe that a separate closure noticeboard would be more popular". I point out the views of closure requests and the level of support the proposal for the noticeboard has in this thread. I think they are proper reasons. And I do support more specialized noticeboards, not less. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 18:16, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    WP:AN has about 40,000 views per month. Your counterexamples prove the point: There would probably be less attention on other pages. Here's the requested example of a well-attended AN closure challenge; this one led to overturning a panel close: [13]
    As pointed out above, what you portray as a general problem may have been very specific to your closure challenge request. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 18:52, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think the example you provided is less illustrative of general cases because it relates directly to an administrator's issue not just a close. Do you have an example of a close challenge in AN that is not directly related to an administrative issue? Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 07:12, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per HJ, ToBeFree and SFR. Splitting to a new noticeboard with fewer page watchers will result in fewer uninvolved participants. We're already seeing this at WP:ORN (almost no uninvolved input), hence the current discussion on getting rid of ORN; we already have too many noticeboards as is. Though we should separate involved responses into a separate section; Tamzin tried it a few months back and it helped. DFlhb (talk) 19:00, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. CR isn't an admin thing. Also, due to the negative connotation of AN and its length, I think it's better to have a centralized location. Clyde [trout needed] 22:18, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. Generally speaking, the more eyeballs on such "review" discussions, the better, else relatively small groups of motivated editors can tend to overwhelm an actual consensus process from more uninvolved parties. Deletion reviews, in particular, happen often enough that it makes sense to split them off (and they will generally get enough participation to prevent that phenomenon), but RfC close challenges are more rare, so I don't think a separate board for that would attract enough participation to represent a genuine cross-section of the community at large. If it starts happening a lot more often to the point it's overwhelming AN, we could revisit it then, but I don't see that as being a beneficial change at this time. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:39, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You bring a valid point but then the solution could be making the RfC review noticeboard a step in the dispute resolution process and the next step to address your concern could be AN. Why not AN directly? Because right now I don't see administrators interested in reviewing closures and a specific noticeboard would attract editors interested in reviewing closures. Check my post supporting the proposal. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 21:33, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I already did "check (your) post for this proposal", as I generally read through existing comments on an RfC prior to commenting. It did not convince me, and I stand by what I said. Seraphimblade Talk to me 22:02, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. Firstly, I don't believe this needs to be separated from admin concerns. Admins are implicitly expected to be/become experts at closing discussions and generally at assessing consensus (It's a sizeable piece of Wikipedia:Administrators' reading list), and this is an evaluation of an assessment of consensus, so admin eyes improve the process.
Secondly this is WP:CREEP. An RfC is already one step away from the general process for achieving consensus. A formal close is yet another step away. Close reviews are a third step from our standard consensus building process, and indeed we already have a way of accomplishing them when deemed necessary. I guess this is to say, I agree with both HJ Mitchell and ToBeFree and others – either this will not be popular and not have enough eyes, or it will be popular and lead to too many close reviews. —siroχo 05:35, 4 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose The last thing we need is another noticeboard. The ones we have aren't well enough attended as is. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 18:12, 4 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose I gather that this proposal arose after this close review. That review was done in a reasonably expeditious way and so "if it works, don't fix it". The original dispute (whether someone was a journalist or not) seems quite lame and so did not merit the amount of attention that it was given. Making mountains out of molehills should not be encouraged as it wastes everyone's time. By keeping such activity at WP:AN, frivolous and vexatious disputes will tend to be discouraged per WP:BOOMERANG. Andrew🐉(talk) 13:40, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There is a difference between making mountains out of molehills and satisfying proper due process. Trash for you may be the treasure of someone else. Also, I bemoan the lack of attention to detail that in my opinion permeates generally in society in favor of haste. Therefore, I support and favor attention to detail and quality. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 05:46, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose, solution in search of a problem. Stifle (talk) 14:47, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Neutral - I can see the arguments on both sides of this. The strongest argument in favour in my view is that AN is an admin's noticeboard and should be kept for discussion amongst admins, whilst close-review might profit from a less cosy environment. On the other side we don't have many close reviews, and shouldn't want more of them. FOARP (talk) 16:53, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  •  Question: don't we already have WP:CR for this? The 🏎 Corvette 🏍 ZR1(The Garage) 23:14, 10 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    No, it's not. CR is for asking someone to formally close a discussion (closure request), and that's not only about RfCs. This is about a separate page to process closure reviews. Szmenderowiecki (talk) 08:24, 11 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Oh well, after clarification (thanks Szmenderowiecki) I would say weak support. AN could benefit from the new page by diverting traffic and better organizing what goes in, but first, if to be created, the new noticeboard would have to be widely covered, like maybe a Signpost article would help also? Anyway, there should also be a rule set, just like all the other noticeboards. One rule could be if the blizzard sets in to a discussion, then there is no need for review. Let me know if I'm wrong about anything. The 🏎 Corvette 🏍 ZR1(The Garage) 16:43, 12 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support the idea but I'm not sure a noticeboard is necessary. One of the issues with close reviews is that it encourages the topic to be rehashed by editors who have already discussed the topic. Separating the comments by involved/uninvolved editors would help. If a close is reviewed it should be reviewed by editors who weren't involved. Nemov (talk) 15:13, 28 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussion of proposed close review page[edit]

  • Comment. I have made a quantitative analysis to translate into hard numbers the viability of this proposal.
item\proportion views[a] watchers recent watch v/w[b] w/rw[c] edits[d] v/e[e] w/e[f] daily edits rw/de[g]
AN[h] 41,000 5,265 489 8 11 1,174 35 4 39 12
DRN[i] 5,077 1,249 76 4 16 433 12 3 14 5
NORN[j] 2,968 916 82 3 11 93 32 10 3 27
AFD[k] 10,109 1,900 107 5 18 3,482[l] 3 1 116 1
DR[m] 3,849 1,291 140 3 9 513[n] 8 3 17 8
CR[o] 2,425 580 71 4 8 222 11 3 7 10
CRRN[p] 923[q] 323[r] 32[s] 3 10 33[t] 28 10 1 29

Interest in the pages can be measured as a function of views, watchers, number of edits. AN seem to have top interest in function of these parameters' numbers. Whereas the proposed noticeboard (CRRN) seems to be last. Although this may be true regarding raw views and number of participants, if we analyze deeper, we can see that AN turns out to be last if we sort by proportion of viewers/watchers. More views per watcher would indicate less interest and less views per watcher would indicate more interest, at least more than a passing interest.

CRRN in this measure has an estimated projection of top interest proportionally. It is estimated that CRRN would have around 300+watchers and at times 30+ watchers of recent changes. An estimated number of 30+ monthly average edits is projected or around 1 per day. Considering that "discussions should be kept open at least a week" per WP:TALK and RfCs may run a month or more, 1 edit per day indicates threads could stay regularly active or new threads started frequently. Having 30+ watchers of recent edits would indicate viability of the project.

On the other hand, if AFD has more than 40,000 edits average monthly per another counting mechanism, the proportion with its appeal noticeboard DRV (DR) would be 57 to 1, which if applied to the proportion of CR and CRRN would result in only this latter having around 4 monthly average monthly edits, which would mean not enough edits to sustain a discussion properly, rendering the noticeboard not viable. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 04:44, 4 November 2023 (UTC) 21:16, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your number for AFD edits is way short; there were about 420,000 in 2023. I expect you're also only counting views and watchers on the daily log subpages, too; that's not the way AFD is set up. —Cryptic 19:45, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For AFD I ran a query based on the code you shared with me for Deletion review. Why the discrepancy in the number of edits? Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 20:02, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Look at the source of WP:Deletion review/Log/2023 January 2 and of WP:Articles for deletion/Log/2023 January 2. Discussion happens directly on DRV daily log subpages; AFD daily logs transclude an individual subpage for each discussion. —Cryptic 20:18, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Geeze! Thinker78 (talk) 20:21, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I got the number of watchers in the page info. Number of views in the page views in page history. Where do you recommend checking these numbers? Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 20:12, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To get a meaningful number, you'd have to count the views of each individual afd subpage; same for watchers, except you'd want to eliminate duplicate watchers (say, if I'm watchlisting three afds, you'd only want to count me once), and you can't because who's watching a page isn't published. People viewing or watching WP:AFD directly, or even daily log subpages, isn't meaningful, since that's not where the discussions happen. —Cryptic 20:18, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see the number of views with this method do increase exponentially. It looks like AFD may be by far the most popular noticeboard in Wikipedia. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 20:27, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ Monthly average
  2. ^ views/watchers
  3. ^ watchers/recent watchers
  4. ^ Average of first ten months of 2023
  5. ^ edits/views
  6. ^ edits/watchers
  7. ^ daily edits / recent watchers
  8. ^ AN=Adminitrators noticeboard
  9. ^ DRN=Dispute resolution noticeboard
  10. ^ NORN=No original research noticeboard
  11. ^ AFD=Articles for deletion
  12. ^ The actual total with all subpages may be more than 40,000[1] but it's not featured because the manner to count watchers and views would also need to be modified in a manner outside my technical expertise.
  13. ^ DR=Deletion review
  14. ^ Could be around 740[2]
  15. ^ CR=Closure requests
  16. ^ CRRN=Closure requests review noticeboard
  17. ^ Estimated using proportion AFD to DR v and applying it to CR v
  18. ^ Estimated using proport DR v/w
  19. ^ Estimated using proportion DR w/rw
  20. ^ Estimate considering the proportion of e/v of the most related items of DR and CR


  1. ^ "#/edits to WP:AFD subpages in 2023".
  2. ^ "#/edits to WP:Deletion review".

Too many noticeboards?[edit]

I find it curious how many people above state "we have too many noticeboards" or "we don't need another noticeboard" as a grounds for opposing this proposal that doesn't need further elaboration. Is this an established fact? There's some mention of individual noticeboards with very low activity (e.g. ORN), but since there are other noticeboards with very high activity (e.g. ANI), that doesn't seem to work as a general explanation. I'd be interested if someone could explain to me why many focused, low-activity noticeboards is ipso facto less desirable than few broad, high-activity noticeboards (if they think that's the case). – Joe (talk) 06:55, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One factor is that only those with a particularly high fascination with wikidrama would be active in multiple noticeboards. Getting something reviewed at a noticeboard dedicated to that sole task would mean that only those with a particular ax to grind in that area would be likely to participate (along with relatively few exceptions that make the rule). Asking for a review at WP:AN would get attention from a much wider and more representative section of the community. Johnuniq (talk) 07:52, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't know what section of the community because for many years I thought AN was only for administrative complaints. In fact, I think we need a new noticeboard, Community noticeboard, which would be more about a wider and more representative section of the community, without the stigma of posting in a noticeboard that seems to be aimed to complaints and dissuades participation with boomerang. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 05:52, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Confusion of Tongues
These lists don't include some noticeboard-like places that I watch such as WP:ITN/C. That has a fairly clear agenda, process and output and there's a crew of regular posters and admins who attend it. And then there's all the projects. So, the exact definition may need work. WP:Dashboard seems to be one place that brings it all together but I've never looked at that before and so need to understand that now. As I already have at least two other different dashboards (1, 2), I'm now wondering how many dashboards there are...
And this is just the English Wikipedia. There's a variety of noticeboard activity elsewhere including Discord, Meta, Phabricator, OTRS/VRT and more.
And, of course, we have a policy which forbids all this: WP:NOTFORUM. This vainly says, "Please try to stay on the task of creating an encyclopedia." See also: Parkinson's Law.
Andrew🐉(talk) 09:01, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes but what's the actual problem with having a lot of noticeboards? They're not forums. – Joe (talk) 09:22, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Proliferation will tend to generate empire-building, forum-shopping, passing the buck, turf battles, chaos and confusion. For example, when discussing news items at WP:ITN, we've been repeatedly told recently to take discussion of their images to WP:ERRORS. But that noticeboard is supposed to be strictly for errors, not for such general content issues. And the result is then forking of the discussion, repetition and confusion because the archives and process are split or done differently. See the KISS principle. Andrew🐉(talk) 10:15, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's probably a problem of not defining well what goes to ITN and what goes to ERRORS. Your forums are already there, it's that you should probably try to say something like: "If images are not erroneous but are otherwise objectionable, post in XYZ, do not post in ERRORS". Szmenderowiecki (talk) 10:50, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Of course, I can and do say things; I'm here now in yet another forum telling you about it. And ITN has perennial discussions at WT:ITN which often propose reforms and reorganisations. But, like the Village Pump, they rarely result in consensus and collegial action. The more moving parts you have, the more friction you get and the more scope there is for things to go wrong. As Steve Jobs said, "Simplify, Simplify, Simplify"! Andrew🐉(talk) 11:25, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or as Ken Thompson said, "do one thing and do it well". I don't see how having one big board that handles everything is necessarily more simple than many small boards that handle specific types of discussion. – Joe (talk) 12:01, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ken Thompson's point is like KISS and Jobs in urging simplicity. But doing things well is easier said than done. ITN does one thing but doesn't do it well. The case in question here is the appeal process for RfCs, right? Does AN work well for this? How would a dedicated board work better? Wouldn't it have exactly the same process? The main way it might work better is by having fewer voices, right? But RfCs tend to attract vested interests and these tend to be noisy regardless of the forum. What's needed to shut them up is administrative power and that's most likely to be found at places like AN and Arbcom -- existing forums with established traditions and powers. Andrew🐉(talk) 12:41, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I deplore this practice of using AN as the village pump. I really wish that we could use admin boards to talk about conduct. I wish we could move everything about content elsewhere. AN and ANI would still be very busy places! I can't understand the constant obstructionism about it.—S Marshall T/C 09:07, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • What about my comments at 07:52, 6 November 2023 just above? Johnuniq (talk) 09:41, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      I think your point that discussions should have a broad and representative audience is something few would disagree with, but AN is hardly the only place we can achieve that. So the question remains, why is it acceptable to have dedicated noticeboards for some topics but not others? – Joe (talk) 12:04, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • I think Johnuniq's point is about drama-mongers, and I don't see it. Separating content-focused discussion from conduct-focused discussion would surely reduce drama rather than increasing it.—S Marshall T/C 16:18, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Standardised templates[edit]

So after seeing so much bickering here, I thought that it would be better to make at least part of the proposal implemented. I need some help with workshopping and technical guidance and help with three templates that I just created, namely Template:RfC closure review, Template:RfC closure review links and Template:RfC closure review banner. The idea is copied from Template:Move review list. When you subst RfC closure review, you will have then something like Template:Move review list, followed by the banner and ===Involved===, ===Uninvolved=== and ===Discussion=== subheadings. Ideally I'd also want to templatise the heading ("Request for RfC closure review at #Article name#", as defined from page param. Ąny help will be welcome. Szmenderowiecki (talk) 13:49, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think the template is ready to be deployed and can be used at AN. I made appropriate changes to WP:CLOSECHALLENGE so that folks can useit in the future. Szmenderowiecki (talk) 18:24, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the template will give a more official feel to challenges so editors are not so tempted to close such discussions with "improper forum" or the like and may encourage proper discussion. Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 23:26, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is Template:RfC closure review/doc meant to contain I fuck your bullshit!? -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 22:08, 11 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They are just colorful metaphors.[1] Regards, Thinker78 (talk) 22:18, 11 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ActivelyDisinterested Definitely not meant to be, it is just an illustrative example. That's from a relatively known viral video in Russian-speaking countries about a casino client who was suspecting that its employees were cheating him by improperly dealing cards. About half of the video is swear words.
Because that's the reaction I suspect a lot of users have when seeing a poor RfC closure before putting it in a more civil manner publicly, I thought this would be relevant. Obviously, this is not the words you should use when challenging a close. You are free to edit the template doc if you are offended. It's a minor detail. Szmenderowiecki (talk) 22:36, 11 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not offended, just checking it's wasn't somehow sneak in by a vandal. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 22:39, 11 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fresh example[edit]

There has been a long discussion at the Village Pump: Admins and being paid to advise on editing. This was closed recently: Closing (Admins and being paid to advise on editing). An admin didn't like the close and took it to WP:AN: Close challenge: Required disclosure for admin paid advising. The original discussion took over two months. The close was overturned in less than 24 hours. Andrew🐉(talk) 20:38, 18 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, at least now I have an example... The 🏎 Corvette 🏍 ZR1(The Garage) 20:49, 18 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
An admin didn't like the close Delightful. However: not an admin, not about "liking", and it was nearly unanimously understood to be a bad close. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:00, 18 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was trying to avoid personalising the matter and so referred to Rhododendrites less directly but didn't think to check his status. I stand corrected. Anyway, the main point is that this seems a timely high-profile example of a close review. Make of it what you will... Andrew🐉(talk) 22:02, 18 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well I make nothing out of that.
SNOW closures will happen.
They will be processed well on any WP page. Or should be.
The question is not about the speed of review but about what people are doing in it. And you see, at the beginning there is a closure review request which descended into a mess because concurrently people started searching ways to resolve a conflict about including infoboxes, thinking if
notifying people at VPP/VPR about a content RfC is following WP's rules, aconducting nd meta discussions about appropriateness to close the discussion formally.
I want none of this to happen with CLRV.
If you want to have an argument, ANI and sometimes AE is the way to go.
If this involves admin action, AN and XRV are appropriate.
But it has nothing to do with closure reviews. There's no need for digressions. Szmenderowiecki (talk) 16:00, 19 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


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

RfC: Standardizing ISBN formatting (and an end to editwarring about it)[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The outcome of the discussion was no consensus as to whether or how to standardize ISBNs or whether to subject them to a CITEVAR-like rule

While some editors specifically preferred to have some level of standardization, there was no consensus whether or not to standardize, with several editors explicitly objecting to standardization as well, especially those who preferred the status quo. (We cannot even treat all of the Option 1 or Option 2 recommendations as direct support for standardization, because some of them might not support standardization around a different option.) Relatedly, it's not clear whether a question that only addressed a CITEVAR-like rule would achieve consensus.

Discussion centered around preference—editors had many reasons for their preferences—the standards used or presented by other organizations of various types, and the overall lack of standardization beyond Wikipedia. In the discussion section (outside of the survey) there was some deeper discussion on standardization.

No single option outnumbered all others. Option 5 was slightly more popular than other options. Option 1 was the most popular of the "opinionated" options, though option 2 had a comparable amount of support. No editors had an outright preference for option 3 (a single hyphen after three digits) as the sole standard.

I'll also note that the unlisted "Status quo" option picked up steam toward the end, but it's not a consensus, even if it is the default outcome.

The closest thing we have to a consensus here is that spaces (option 4) should not be used. However, well under a quarter of the participants explicitly wanted to deprecate spaces, and there was still a small amount of opposition; this discussion doesn't appear to have reached a rough consensus on this topic either. A followup RfC specifically deprecating spaces might reach consensus, but its far from guaranteed.

(non-admin closure)siroχo 04:07, 3 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should the format of ISBNs be standardized (or be subject to a rule to not change format without consensus)?  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:04, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We have an ongoing problem that ISBNs are not subject to a formatting standard here, with the predictable result that different editors are going around normalizing them to one format and then again to another, at cross-purposes to each other, and without a clear consensus for any particular format. This is apt to continue unabated unless we settle on one format (or on a new rule to not change the format without consensus). Someone has created a {{Format ISBN}} template that forces hyphens into ISBNs, and AnomieBOT then goes around substituting this template, which makes undiscussed changes to the format difficult to undo (any intervening edits may necessitate tediously removing every hyphen from every ISBN manually since the edits to insert them can't be reverted without also reverting unrelated changes by other editors). A similar complaint could be made about manually going around and changing all ISBNs in random articles to use the hyphen-less format.


ISBNs are often divided up by hyphens (or spaces), e.g. 978-1-7238-1802-8 or 978-1723818028 or 978 1 7238 1802 8, but this is not standardized and is entirely optional; the more concise form 9781723818028 is perfectly valid. From our ISBN article: A 13-digit ISBN can be separated into its parts (prefix element, registration group, registrant, publication and check digit), and when this is done it is customary to separate the parts with hyphens or spaces. Separating the parts (registration group, registrant, publication and check digit) of a 10-digit ISBN is also done with either hyphens or spaces. Figuring out how to correctly separate a given ISBN is complicated, because most of the parts do not use a fixed number of digits. Real-world treatment varies widely, but the hyphens (or spaces) are dropped by most bibliographic databases (WorldCat, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Internet Archive Open Library, Google Books, Project Muse, Copyright Clearance Center, Anobii, OverDrive, etc.), and major publishing companies (the majority of publishers' own online catalogs I've checked, e.g. Oxford University Press, O'Reilly Media, etc.), and many major libraries. Some retailer sites (e.g.,, use only one hyphen, between the 978 prefix of an ISBN-13 and the rest of the number (no hyphens in an ISBN-10). And many publishers typically include the fully hyphenated form on a book's colophon page (I could find one bibliographic site also doing it, Internet Speculative Fiction Database). A handful of databases like ProQuest don't seem to make use of ISBNs at all. So, usage is not consistent. There is no standard; the International ISBN Agency issued a manual preferring separation of elements, but defined more than 1,000 of them, making for a complex system that in practice has not resulted in actual standardization. (The {{Format ISBN}} template is presently enforcing some of that organization's formatting as if it is a "rule" adopted by Wikipedia, which is clearly not the case.)

Options to choose from[edit]

  1. Option 1: Standardize on 9781723818028 format, and change {{Format ISBN}} to use it.
  2. Option 2: Standardize on 978-1-7238-1802-8 format, and do nothing to {{Format ISBN}}.
  3. Option 3: Standardize on 978-1723818028 format, and change {{Format ISBN}} to use it (this would have no effect on the short ISBN-10 format, only ISBN-13).
  4. Option 4: Standardize on 978 1 7238 1802 8 format, and change {{Format ISBN}} to use it.
  5. Option 5: Standardize on nothing; change {{Format ISBN}} to have parameter options for each of these formats; and add an instruction (probably at MOS:NUM and summarized at WP:CITE) to use a single format consistently in any given article, but not change from one consistent format to another without consensus (maybe shortcut this as MOS:ISBNVAR).

 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:04, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Summary of known arguments[edit]

Feel free to add more.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:04, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For concision:

  • Hyphen-less (and space-less) ISBNs offer much more utility to the reader: a Google search on ISBN 9781723818028 immediately produces a wealth of useful results [14], but very often a search on the hyphenated form, ISBN 978-1-7238-1802-8, does not [15]; same with spaced format [16] (in both cases, often just a circular link back to one or more Wikipedia articles using that string). Not quotation-marking the spaced format yields wildly wrong false-positives [17]. The one-hyphen format may produce some very minimal correct results [18], but they have more to do with shopping than with finding a source in bibliographic databases, libraries, free-text archives, etc. Doing such a search is faster and easier than trying to use WP's built-in Special:BookSources/9781723818028 functionality, so readers will do it.
    Counter-argument: search engine behavior changes over time for reasons we don't know and have no control over, so optimizing to that target is a fool's errand; the built-in functionality relies on the same click-to-learn-more interface that the rest of the encyclopedia does, so readers will do it.
    Furthermore, Google does not consistently prefer the unhyphenated form. A GBooks search for ISBN 978-1-137-43098-4 brings up the correct result [19], while ISBN 9781137430984 does not [20]. A Google web search for the same ISBN gives better results for the hyphenated than the unhyphenated form [21][22]. Our policies should not be based on our predictions of what Google will do.
    Rebuttal: A test of this did not prove true; both searches brought up Medieval Welsh Pilgrimage, c.1100–1500 by Kathryn Hurlock, and the version without hyphens brought up more [correct] results than the version with them.
    Google searches with and without hyphenation create different results -- some overlapping, some unique. A person pasting the hyphenated version can easily create the non-hyphenated version to search as well. The converse is not true - it is not a trivial effort to create the hyphenated version from the non-hyphenated one. The example chosen above is poor; when searching for a hyphenated ISBN, one should not include the term "ISBN" in the search as false positives for the hyphenated version are unlikely and ones that display the ISBN without the term "ISBN" are common. (For example, this search for a 10-digit hyphenated ISBN without the word ISBN produces 8 web results, all on point; the same search with ISBN included in the search produces only three.) The example hyphenless search posted above is claimed to generate "a wealth of useful results:" in contrast to one which generates results that "have more to do with shopping than with finding a source in bibliographic databases, libraries, free-text archives"... when the hyphenless one also generates zero "bibliographic databases, libraries, free-text archives" but almost solely results to do with shopping (the exceptions being one blog and a Wikipedia page where it is used as a source). This result is unsurprising, as the book used as an example is a thin volume published using Amazon's self-publishing tools.
  • The hyphens (or spaces) are extraneous and less concise. None of our tools (e.g. {{ISBN}}, and the |isbn= parameter of citation templates, and the Special:BookSources system they use, etc.) need them, and ISBN usage in independent sources demonstrates no widely accepted standard for how to do it.
    Counter-argument: Not every kind of concision is best for our end readers, and the fully hyphenated form is common enough on book colophons that we should adopt it, especially since International ISBN Agency advises it.

For hyphens:

  • A hyphenated form is easier to read.
    Counter-argument: ISBNs are not encyclopedic content in the usual sense but functional identifiers; only under unusual circumstances would a reader of our article have a need to type or read one aloud character-by-character like reciting one's phone number, while the hyphenless form provably produces better utility. And there is no single hyphenated form, but conflicting ones.
    Counter-counter-argument: Checking whether the book that one is reading is the same book cited in an article is not an "unusual circumstance".
  • We already have a template, {{Format ISBN}}, that is normalizing these to a hyphenated format.
    Counter-argument: The fact that someone created a template doesn't indicate community consensus that it is doing the right thing and should be "enforced". This doesn't seem to have end-user utility or other encyclopedic purpose.
  • Both the hyphenated and spaced formats convey a bit of extra information for those who are ISBN aware. For example, the early digits indicate the country. The length of the last segment before the checksum strongly suggests information about the size of the publisher. For example, if that segment is two digits long, it means the publisher is buying their ISBNs in blocks of 100, so probably not a simple self-publisher who will buy them in 1s or 10s, but a very small publisher.

For spaces:

  • It's another way to make an ISBN more readable.
    Counter-argument: See above about "readable", and using spaces makes it more difficult to recognize as a single identifier. Also poor searchability.

For no standard:

  • We don't need to standardize something like this, and should just leave everything to editorial consensus on a page-by-page basis.
    Counter-argument: We need to, and do, standardize many things (especially when it comes to numeric formatting), both for consistent presentation to the reader and for ending editorial conflict, which is happening on this matter.

Survey (ISBNs)[edit]

  • Option 1, both for utility to the end reader and for concision. Fall back to option 5 as a second choice. I'm strongly opposed to all of 2–4 because they are inimical to actual usability, and are an inappropriate attempt to force the preferences of a third-party organization (either Intl. ISBN Agency or Amazon), that the real world has not adopted, onto to Wikipedia. There is simply no question that [23] is a better result for readers than [24] or [25] or [26] or the wildly wrong [27] (brings up incorrect books). And none of our tools require any hypenation or spaces in ISBNs (even if one did, it could be fixed easily). If someone copy-pastes in an ISBN in one of the other formats, it's a trivial matter for a bot to clean it up later. Settling on the no-hyphens-no-spaces format in no way would impose a requirement on any particular editor to input it in that form. It's the same situation as someone pasting in <ref></ref> – we tolerate it and clean it up later. (Remember that no editor is actually expected to read any of our MOS:NUM, WP:CITE, or other guidelines before editing here, just comply with core content policies.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:04, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 clearly the best option, as pointed out a large amount of organisations don't use hyphens, especially Worldcat, Trove and most libraries. Davidstewartharvey (talk) 07:19, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Uncertain about hyphens, but object to spaces. "Hard to recognize as a single identifier" and "poorest searchability" are each critical problems. And if it line-wraps, the former of them becomes even worse. DMacks (talk) 07:29, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 as it makes it easier to use in other applications. Also as there is no accepted standard, it makes sense to avoid using hyphens (and especially spaces!!) and only use the actual numbers --Ita140188 (talk) 08:42, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 for useability – see reasons given above about being easier to search for and the number remaining as a single coherent element rather than breaking across multiple lines. Also, if we required the spaces or hyphens, I expect people would end up putting them in incorrectly, which would be even worse. Mgp28 (talk) 09:30, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 for blatantly obvious reasons. There seems to be a problem with ISBNs almost all the time. I routinely see book citations with the warning "isbn= value: invalid character," despite the fact that, upon checking out the book's details, we see the ISBN number correctly copied. -The Gnome (talk) 10:23, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    (Side note: whenever you see that, try checking if someone automatically replaced the hyphens with en-dashes (e.g. Special:Diff/1178112453).) 2603:8001:4542:28FB:69D3:61CF:7C25:A2F8 (talk) 01:50, 1 November 2023 (UTC) (Please send talk messages here instead)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 but without the need to change the format ISBN template. This is a tempest in a teacup and frankly a waste of time to set a formal policy on this. Just because a couple of editors have run into a disagreement doesn't mean we need to standardize anything. Ealdgyth (talk) 11:39, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 Add an explicit mention of ISBN to CITEVAR and block editors who edit war other it or perform mass changes. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 11:41, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There's no real need to change {{format ISBN}}. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 11:44, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1: KISS principle applies. I think Wikipedia looks more credible when it is consistent, both within and between articles. I appreciate how nice some people find it to work in a world where they have all options and no limits, but this is a small change that will make things easier for editors and readers. SchreiberBike | ⌨  12:15, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1, there are external tools which allow you to add hyphens automatically if you really want to. Any standard is better than none, however, to facilitate looking up book citations Mach61 (talk) 13:07, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 and endorse ActivelyDisinterested's recommendation to Add an explicit mention of ISBN to CITEVAR and block editors who edit war other it or perform mass changes. Indeed I would extend this to blocking everyone who edit wars or makes mass changes (without explicit prior community consensus) related to any manual of style matters - such behaviour actively hinders the improvement of the encyclopaedia. Any option here other than option 5 is implicitly endorsing the uncollegiate behaviour that brought us here and encourages more time wasting about trivialities. Thryduulf (talk) 13:57, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I understand your frustration with mass-change style-warriors (and just took one to ANI a few days ago), but you seem to not address the evidence that one of these formats is demonstrably more utile for the end reader (for a common use case of Googling for what we said the ISBN is).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:43, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 or 2 - basically either no hyphens (or spaces) or all hyphens. My preference is for 1. Lack of spaces and hyphens is more search friendly, and while hyphenated may be easier to read, when you are caring about the ISBN other than doing research/searching for it. Its an identifier, not a descriptive piece of prose. Only in death does duty end (talk) 13:59, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 2 The hyphens create information for those who know, and as we generate search links for ISBNs, we've addressed the search problem. -- Nat Gertler (talk) 14:57, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    A search problem is solved, but another is not, as I've clearly demonstrated. How does "creating [the] information" someone somewhere might know, aid anyone in finding the source, which is the sole function of our citations (or case of us providing an ISBN)? WP is not a database of bibliographic trivia.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:49, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I disagree with your evaluation that "finding the source" is the sole function of our citations. During my editing I have found myself all the time looking at citations and using the information there to know whether spending extra attention on it may be worth my while for improving an article. Some of these are pretty obvious - if I see a citation from the New York Times, I'm less likely to think that I'd better check that than if it comes from something called the Fight For Our Truths Newsletter. A citation to a science publication's 1920 edition is going to need checking and probable removal in a way that one to a 2020 edition is less likely to. I may know nothing about the University of Worcestershire Press, but if they purchased a one-digit block of ISBNs, that will more likely have me digging into the question of whether this is a legitimate scholarly press than if they had a three-digit block. -- Nat Gertler (talk) 17:03, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    So, because probably the only WP editor in the entire world who would recognize and use that information finds it personally convenient to have hyphens in there to make that determination a little easier, all the other users who are copy-pasting ISBNs to use them for actual source finding (which, yes, really is the purpose of our citations, per WP:CITE and WP:V) should have their utility impeded?  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:45, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    So far, you're "the only WP editor in the entire world" I've seen actually complain about the search ability, rather than discuss it in the abstract. You also seem to be quite hostile to people who have different knowledge or experiences making comments, so perhaps it was not wise for you to open up a "Request for Comment". Were you under the illusion that I had not read your earlier comments about searching even though I had reflected that in my comments, or are you just trying to bully me into agreeing with you? Or was the sole point of this to slide your claim of "sole function" before and pretend you'd said "purpose"? (For those who may wonder the difference: the purpose of a screwdriver is to turn screws, but if I also use it to open pistachios, then screwdriving is not its sole function; it is functional in other ways as well.) -- Nat Gertler (talk) 17:06, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • 5 and don't change the template, per AD and Ealdgyth above. Second choice, 2 per Nat above. Also, hats off for the most un-neutral presentation of an RfC I've seen in a long time, where in the "summary of arguments," counter arguments are presented for every option except OP's preferred Option 1. I have not seen anyone try to prime the pump like this before. At least the RfC question is brief and neutral! 😂 Levivich (talk) 15:05, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    One of the arguments for that option doesn't have a counter, and everyone's invited to add one, and I literally can't think of one that wouldn't sound like some kind of parody/mockery of someone trying to make such an argument.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:49, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You could just search by title, it doesn't have any of the issues searching by ISBN does, or you could search with the isbn special word.[28]. Both of these are more likely to return results on rare books. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 17:22, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Nah. Lots of works have the same title, and lots of works are published in very different editions, while we are citing a specific one, and it is the one that the reader needs to find. And nearly zero of our readers know anything about a Google "special word" (meanwhile that is Google-specific, and the searchability issues with ISBNs actually apply across other major search engines).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:48, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There may be more than one book that it is fine to find, as there are many books these days where a paperback and a hardcover have the guts printed at the same time, including listing both ISBNs on those pages; it is only on the cover where only the separate edition ISBN shows up, and any reference to interior material on the paperback edition also works for the hardcover edition, and vice versa. On the other hand, you can have two copies of a book that have the same ISBN but are different printings, and the newer one may have had errors corrected, so that creates verification problems; someone checking the first printing of that ISBN may not find the statement as claimed, someone checking a later edition with a different ISBN might be able to verify it just fine. -- Nat Gertler (talk) 17:27, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT. It doesn't matter that some other source than the one the claim-making editor used might also be usable to verify the claim. The purpose of our citations is saying where exactly the claim came from and providing sufficient information to verify it with the exact work that is said to be the source for that claim.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:15, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 2 – I'm biased because I wrote the current version of {{Format ISBN}} so of course I prefer option 2. I prefer hyphenated ISBNs because at a glance they look like ISBNs ; otherwise they are just big-damn-numbers that require inspection. —Trappist the monk (talk) 15:41, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Preference for Option 2 or Option 5, because otherwise they just look like lengthy numbers when in option 1 format. Looks less high-quality that way. Would also like to see evidence of the strength of the edit conflicts that prompted this RfC. ~~ AirshipJungleman29 (talk) 16:09, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 and enforce "Where more than one style or format is acceptable under the MoS, one should be used consistently within an article and should not be changed without good reason." (From the lead to the MoS.) Especially re the bot. We manage to do this with a host of issues, from US v British English to serial commas, I don't see why ISBNs should be an exception. (Nor why they should be jammed into one particular house style, seems pretty unWikipedian to me.) Gog the Mild (talk) 16:28, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Just for clarification, the bot isn't doing anything. Anomiebot is just substituting templates, which it does for any template setup to substitute. The change has to have been made by a normal editor. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 17:06, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 I don't think this needs to be standardized, although I personally prefer and use the hyphenated format. (t · c) buidhe 16:31, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 - most reliable format for searches. Glendoremus (talk) 18:01, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 as most flexible for both their reader and writer. Also with note to block the Citation Bot from FA pages, which it consistently edits despite WP:FAOWN and WP:CITEVAR explicitly advocating against this. Suggest proactive policing as to whether certain individuals fire up the bot even when NOBOTS is present, in gross violation of P&G. Serial 18:08, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 without single format instruction. I have always followed Template:Cite book "Use the ISBN actually printed on or in the book", which may or may not be hyphenated. We should be going by how the book publisher presents ISBNs, not databases. If it doesn't show up in as many search results that's not our problem. I am not convinced that readers are unable to change formatting themselves if they happen to need different search results. I don't see why it matters if some are hyphenated or not. Some DOIs are very extensive and others are short. Other identifiers differ, so too can ISBNs. Heartfox (talk) 18:21, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5. If necessary change the gadget(s) that format ISBNs to enable them to allow click through to the various tools mentioned; it is definitely not a good idea for these formats to be mass-changed. ISBNVAR seems worthwhile; it's a pity we need it but having it would be better than mass edits to fix this. This simply doesn't need to be made consistent everywhere. The arguments against 5 given above are consistent presentation to the reader -- few readers will care, and fewer of those will agree on what the right format is; and ending editorial conflict, which ISBNVAR would achieve. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:03, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Adding a note to say that I read option 5 as "no change" but if there's a substantive difference and "no change" gains consensus then my !vote can be read as a support for either. And either creating an ISBNVAR or clarifying that CITEVAR includes ISBNs would also be good. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:21, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 2 - Usually the way it appears in the sources, and easier to proof read. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:28, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 or 5. 1 is the most efficient. 5 is the most accommodating. Senorangel (talk) 03:28, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 2 – Those who omit the hyphens are doing so out of convenience or laziness — which I get, we all have busy lives, but that's what bots are for. InfiniteNexus (talk) 04:02, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It's not "lazy" to want opaque numeric identifiers to waste as little space as possible. –jacobolus (t) 18:27, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't believe that's a valid argument. There is no reason to "save space" on Wikipedia — this isn't AP style, where newspapers have to save space as much as possible because of their limited space. Hyphens are the proper formatting and make the long string of numbers easier to read. InfiniteNexus (talk) 20:14, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    ISBNs are, to the vast majority of readers, an opaque numerical identifier without personally meaningful structure. Readers are not memorizing these numbers, writing them in their journals, or reciting them over the phone. They are clicking links or copy/pasting them from one computer system to another.
    Most of the time I personally would rather leave the ISBNs out altogether. I find them usually to be less useful than the author + title for looking up books, and they add quite a lot of noisy clutter to citations. But I recognize that some editors seem to really love ISBNs. The least we can do is make them as compact as possible. –jacobolus (t) 20:18, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I suspect that a fair portion of the people who are actually using ISBNs from references are doing so in a way that the number is not going to be just copied and pasted. While certainly plenty of people get books from online sources, others go to their local bookstore or ask for it from their local library, perhaps as an interlibrary loan... and in those cases, it seems unlikely to me that they would be saying "go to Wikipedia and copy and paste from there", but bringing along a printout. -- Nat Gertler (talk) 21:12, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Have you personally done this? Do you know someone who does this? Speaking only for myself, I don't know of anyone who has ever done this. The last time I can imagine someone taking a printout to the library to look up a book there was about 1998, and it wouldn't have been by ISBN. –jacobolus (t) 04:43, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, I have personally printed out book information including ISBN and taken it to the library (not for finding the book on their shelves, but for requesting an interlibrary loan) and to the local bookstore requesting a book be special-ordered. I live a life beyond your imagination. -- Nat Gertler (talk) 07:16, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If we best want to help folks taking citations to their local public library though, it would probably be more useful to add Dewey Decimal numbers instead of hyphenating the ISBNs. –jacobolus (t) 04:49, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Eliminate Option 4 (spaces) as an acceptable format on Wikipedia, for the many disadvantages cited, including parsing and copy/paste searches. I prefer hyphens, as they are more readable especially when looking for errors, but can live without them. – Jonesey95 (talk) 04:29, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree. Whether hyphenated or not, option 4 should not be supported on Wikipedia except as a target for cleaning. Izno (talk) 18:54, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Follow the current guidance (not offered as an option above): hyphens are optional but preferred, and should not be removed if correctly placed. Bots use and help maintain WP, but our primary concern is human readers and editors, and chunking is useful for humans. Kanguole 09:31, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    +1 for this. Just noticed it now. Justifying what I also understand as the current guidelines is basically what I've tried to verbosely communicate in my other comments. Thx. Salpynx (talk) 01:44, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Eliminate the 'Format ISBN' template – Using this template, especially within other citation templates, is a huge eyesore. If ISBNs need any kind of formatting it should be done automatically by the {{ISBN}} template or CS1 / CS2 templates (similar to the way they automatically standardize date formats). Personally I'd prefer the version without hyphens but this really doesn't matter. user:Trappist the monk has started disruptively littering these templates all over the place, and they should be told to stop. –jacobolus (t) 18:22, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Update: I misunderstood. Apparently there's a cleanup bot that comes and converts use of the template to just the digits with hyphens. These still seem like distracting bikeshedding edits in violation of WP:CITEVAR (now twice as many), but thankfully at least the template name doesn't stick around. –jacobolus (t) 23:30, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 2 - If a book lists its ISBN with hyphens, it would be really annoying to have a bot come through and remove them. The hyphenated number is recognizable as an ISBN and adds a layer of meaning that would be lost. Cuñado ☼ - Talk 20:28, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1. The single long digit string is easier to select (via double click on a desktop UI or by tap-and-hold on a touch UI). Searching works better with this option. Select-copy-paste-search seems like by far the most common thing users will be doing with an ISBN. Barnards.tar.gz (talk) 20:47, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 2 Although I think the terminology of the survey is misleading. I don't think 9781723818028 is wrong at all, but 978-1-7238-1802-8 is better. I find the hyphenation meaningful and frequently helpful when editing, as do others. Both are ISBNs according to the ISBN standard. Wikipedia doesn't need to invent an ISBN standard -- there is one and many editors seem able to work with it. We don't need to oversimplify reality. It's not that complicated. I do have a personal opinion/preference that we shouldn't use spaces because of the practical concern already mentioned "more difficult to recognize as a single identifier", which just seems practical for Wikipedia, but is anyone really suggesting that? The consistency argument just seems wrong to me. It's like arguing we need capitalization standards for personal names, and seriously suggesting all-lowercase would solve potential confusion. To capture the variable information available a better analogy would be publication date specification and insisting either everything on Wikipedia needs full year-month-day, or everything should have month and day stripped for "consistency". I do not understand why anyone seriously thinks correctly hyphenated ISBNs are a problem. (and I thought ISBN edit warring had settled down) Salpynx (talk) 21:15, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Options 2 or 5 I like the hyphens visible as I know how the digits are encoded by the hyphens. I often get nothing when trying to get the autofill function in the cite book template to work and have to fill in the the fields manually because the ISBN isn't recognized for some reason and the hyphens help me to ensure that I've transcribed them properly. We're not paper and I'm entirely unmoved by the argument that the hyphens consume precious space and typing time in the templates.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 23:26, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5. Standardise nothing; permit editorial discretion.
    I can't remember which publishers are which way, but I have definitely both needed to hyphenate an unhyphenated ISBN and separately to dehyphenate a hyphenated ISBN for different publisher's search queries.
    Personally, I copypaste whatever format is on the publisher's landing page, or type in whatever is on the copyright page of a physical book.
    I'm probably biased because I don't think I've ever noticed whether an ISBN in a citation is hyphenated or not (I'm just glad to see them), and have never thought to standardize their formatting even in one article, even if I've personally added all the book citations. Folly Mox (talk) 02:55, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Options 4 and 2 in that order. Having grouping is the point; it intuitively identifies what is or isn't an ISBN. Spaces should always be preferred to hyphens, commas, and all other grouping characters. Ifly6 (talk) 02:41, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • ISBNs used to be fundamental to the markup, many years ago, and spaces didn't work then. For historical compatibility, and the fact that spaces break word selection, rule out any option that includes spaces. Other than that, on balance I'd lean towards what all of the other WWW sites mentioned are doing. It's the 21st century. We don't punctuate our ISBNs now, just as many of us don't punctuate our telephone numbers in our mobile 'phones now. Yes, there are house style guides for paper publishers that say "use hyphens". It seems like a step backwards to copy them when we started off Wikipedia by keeping up with modern non-paper WWW conventions. That said, we should be easygoing if an editor uses the old paper-style hyphens. The hyphen style should be acceptable, just recognized as not what the WWW has largely settled on. Uncle G (talk) 03:13, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5/status quo. This is a tea-cup storm. Let's not make it harder to use templates for those with editing issues and make countless pointless bot edits to clutter watchlists and edit histories. For clarity, I don't support the idea of standardising ISBNs even within a given article; it just seems like pointless make-work. Espresso Addict (talk) 05:27, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1; failing that: Option 5. We see that lots of sites with information about books use the compact form, with no loss in utility as an identifier. This actual use across the web is much more persuasive than what a standards body has said it wants. Introducing hyphens or spaces introduces more possibility for error (like the example where endashes created an error) and harder detection of error. Confirming that a string consists of 978 and then ten more digits is one of the simplest regular expressions you can make; (verifying the check digit is more complex but has to be done whatever format the ISBN is given in.) MartinPoulter (talk) 14:06, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 for consistency with the way we as a project handle other issues of this type. Me, I like hyphens. I think they make a bibliography look more cyberpunk. XOR'easter (talk) 14:34, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 or, failing that Option 5. Practice elsewhere and ease-of-use argument favour option 1. Ease-of-reading arguments against this have some merit, but don't make a particularly compelling argument in favour of any particular hyphenated/spaced option - so option 5 second-choice. But to me, ISBNs have limited utility as human-readable information, and are much more valuable as machine-readable tags, which favours option 1. Charlie A. (talk) 15:43, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 for usability and concision. Happy editing, SilverTiger12 (talk) 16:16, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 as first choice. Option 5 as a second choice (although I do not like to see spaces). I do think consistency is important here. --Enos733 (talk) 16:53, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 Consistently inconsistent. Leave it up to personal preference/local consensus so long as it is consistent within the article. Curbon7 (talk) 21:36, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 – Unequivocally the highest utility option. Will begrudgingly support Option 5 if consensus for Option 1 does not eventuate. 5225C (talk • contributions) 12:14, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 2 or 5 - per Sturmvogel 66. I'm not impressed by the arguments for either conciseness or consistency, and I find the spaceless version (as mandated by option 1) to be less usable. — Charles Stewart (talk) 21:52, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "Less usable" in what way? What's an example use case in which the hyphenated form demonstrably has better usability (which is not the same as or even closely related to subjective aesthetics)?  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:56, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 per WP:CREEP. Andrew🐉(talk) 22:33, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I disagree that that's applicable.; users still won't have to change their behavior or read any new rules if one of options 1-4 passes. Mach61 (talk) 05:29, 4 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If 1-4 won't have any effect then I'm not seeing the point of them. Andrew🐉(talk) 09:15, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Status quo per Kanguole: hyphens are optional but preferred. No evidence has been presented that there is a problem here, except that some editors idiosyncratically prefer to copypaste ISBNs into a Google web search rather than use Special:BookSources. The advantages of hyphenenated ISBNs (viz. that they are human-readable, and that they convey useful information to those who know how to read them) outweigh the slight inconveniences suffered by those who are using them in unexpected ways.
    I second the argument by Salpynx below that the RFC is malformed; the question implies that there is no existing standard, which will naturally cause !voters to assume that Option 5 is the status quo (see for example the !votes by Mike Christie and Espresso Addict). In my opinion, every one of the options presented will cause more problems than simple enforcement of the existing guidelines. Sojourner in the earth (talk) 08:31, 4 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    ETA: if I have to pick an option, Option 2, but this is still a distant second to the status quo. Sojourner in the earth (talk) 07:09, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • FWIW my !vote for option 5 is not support for "hyphens are optional but preferred", it is support for "no option is preferred over any other". Thryduulf (talk) 12:09, 4 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Preferably Option 2 which looks like an ISBN. I find Option 1 and Option 3 acceptable, but not 4, since it doesn't get the pros of 1 (searchability) or 2/3 (readability, usability). Option 5 is a reasonable improvement if no standard is adopted. MarioGom (talk) 17:23, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 2: It's the official standard and it's much better for readability than just an unstructured string of 13 digits. If that fails to reach consensus, my second choice would be option 5 with options 1 (9781723818028), 2 (978-1-7238-1802-8), and 3 (978-1723818028) as supported variants. The use of spaces (option 4) seems to be rare and non-standard and I can't see any good reason to support it even as a variant. Gawaon (talk) 18:36, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1: It's cleaner in the wikitext, which is complex and messy. Templates can reformat with dashes during rendering. Second choice is #2. Third choice is #5. -- GreenC 02:00, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 2 (looks like an ISBN, and is more common), or, less preferably, option 1 (consistency above all), enforced by all relevant templates, and oppose option 5 which will lead to bikeshedding. People who argue that option 5 will prevent arguments are ignoring the fact that ISBN formatting will become inconsistent in an article over time, thus leading to arguments. This should be 'set & forget'; we have more important things to do. DFlhb (talk) 09:51, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Citation styles and national language varieties do not generally lead to bikeshedding, I don't see why this would be any different? Thryduulf (talk) 10:44, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It's not that rare for ENGVAR, but its clear benefits make up for that. Even one debate about ISBN format is one too many, when around 1% of readers interact with citations, and much fewer will interact with ISBNs.
    edit: the debates in this discussion give you a preview. Some have opinions about how all ISBNs should look. Others will argue for changing some ISBNs to reflect various search engines or the style used in the book. Option 5 guarantees these arguments will occur, whereas tyranny of the majority will save us all boatloads of time on an irrelevant matter. DFlhb (talk) 11:22, 6 November 2023 (UTC) edited 12:48, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 2 looks like the better choice, Option 1 is also acceptable. Having dashes makes it look more organized and easier to understand. The 🏎 Corvette 🏍 ZR1(The Garage) 13:37, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 2 – Hyphens are used by the vast majority of sources, and they facilitate line breaks which is useful for multi-column footnote sections. Additionally, I would very much be opposed to mandating that the hyphens be removed (as in option 1). Graham (talk) 06:11, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Are they? As pointed out in the proposal Worldcat, which is probably the biggest record of ISBN on the web doest use hyphens or spaces. My wife's latest read Rod The Autobiography doesn't, neither does my read by Jack Dee. And if you look at the back of books where the bar code is, they are only spaced as per the bar code. Davidstewartharvey (talk) 07:21, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Quickly grabbing the four closest books, all of them from different publishers (DK, Andrews McMeel, Running Press, Center Street) and published in 2022 or later, all four of them have the ISBN with proper hyphens above the bar code. The Center Street one does not use hyphens on the copyright page, but the other three do. Pulling up an Amazon listing for the hardcover edition of Rod: the Autobiography. I see a picture of its back cover which does included the hyphenated version over the bar code (although there do seem to be multiple editions off hardback out there.) Finding a listing for the UK paperback edition on eBay, it does not use hyphens on the copyright page but does above the bar code. Searching "Jack Dee" on Amazon and pulling up the first result, then using the "read sample" version (which shows the ebook version), the copyright page there shows separated ISBNs, although using spaces (grrr) instead of hyphens. Pulling up a copy of that same Jack Dee book on eBay, I can see it uses hyphens above the bar code on the back cover. -- Nat Gertler (talk) 14:21, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I find them hyphenated on copyright pages the vast majority of the time. Of course, the style used in bibliographic databases (such as WorldCat) might differ from that, and I might feel differently if we were discussing the style best used in a database. Graham (talk) 02:20, 8 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 per the above arguments. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 08:08, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Status quo (not quite option 5). As with Espresso Addict above, I don't think this is something that's worth standardizing even within a given article. I'm not being given the indication that one way is preferable to the other or that this is such a common, reoccurring issue that a rule needs to be laid down (as opposed to this being a WP:LAME edit war or otherwise incidents that require individual sanctions). (Personally, I find that hyphens make a citation look more complete, and it's easier to remove them than to add them if you don't know where they go, but it's not such a big deal that I change from one to the other arbitrarily.) Oh, and this !vote applies to both ISBN-10 and ISBN-13. -BRAINULATOR9 (TALK) 18:43, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Status quo / Option 5. But I disagree with the idea that even within an article there needs to be consistency. It doesn't matter. If one editor wants to have the hyphenless version and another uses hyphens, who cares. The rare times ISBNs get used, they're going to an ISBN lookup website, which should be able to handle any format. Furthermore, to the extent any format should be preferred, it should be the format read out of the book itself - which usually seems to be the hyphens format in my experience, so I'm surprised Option 1 is getting as much traction as it is. But basically whatever is written in the book itself is what should be used for any one citation, and if for some reason different books within the same article had different styles, then oh well. But really. This is WP:CREEP - it doesn't matter, let people contribute ISBNs however they like. SnowFire (talk) 22:23, 8 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Slight addendum: I might be okay with deprecating the 'spaces' format (i.e. Option 4), although that seems to be rare anyway. SnowFire (talk) 16:33, 30 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Status quo /Option 5. For the reasons given by SnowFire and others. I don't see how forcing any change is going to improve Wikipedia. - Donald Albury 23:33, 8 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1, easier to copy and transfer. Stifle (talk) 10:49, 9 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Status quo. I was ready to go all in on Option 2 as what I recall bibliographies using most often, but that is tempered by how WorldCat uses Option 1. I'm inclined to think that this isn't an issue and that internal consistency is only important for FAs. I see no harm in adding the Option 5 functionality and letting editors opt into an ISBN-standardizing CS1 option similar to date and engvar formatting but I also don't think we need to police this across all articles now. czar 17:18, 10 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 1 Regards,--Goldsztajn (talk) 11:39, 18 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Status quo with caveats. Spaces as a format should be depreciated. Otherwise, both hyphenated and non-hyphenated have their place and there really is no issue with both being used in the same article. ~ F4U (talkthey/it) 03:38, 28 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Option 5 with Option 2 as the default parameter. Require talk page consensus before using another parameter. Sennalen (talk) 16:42, 30 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussion (ISBNs)[edit]

The searchability issue favors no spaces. But it's even more important that the ISBN be correctly entered, and in many cases this must be done by the editor looking at a paper book and typing the ISBN. The hyphens reduce the likelihood of an error in the manual copying process. Jc3s5h (talk) 10:48, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

But this won't be affected, because nothing about this RfC (no matter what its outcome) would have any requirement for particular input. There isn't any suggestion anywhere in here to do something to disallow anyone inputting |isbn=978-1-7238-1802-8 or {{ISBN|978-1-7238-1802-8}}. All the options presented above call for ensuring that {{format ISBN}} will auto-convert whatever format, as needed. And |isbn= and {{ISBN}} already handle all these formats anyway and convert them internally (to 9781723818028 style) for use with tools like Special:BookSources/9781723818028). AnomieBot would take care of {{format ISBN}} regardless of the input, automatically, since it's already substituting that template (the bot is completely agnostic as to what the template's output is). Even Option 5 wouldn't impose on someone an entry-format requirement, just permit other editors to re-normalize the format to whatever was already dominant on the page (the way we do with normalizing divergent citation formats, date formats, English variety, etc., to conform to the rest of the page). If we settled on a particular format (instead of option 5), a bot could actually more directly just replace divergent formats with the canonical one, without relying on {{format ISBN}} as an intermediary.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:10, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
|isbn= and {{ISBN}} already handle all these formats anyway and convert them internally (to 9781723818028 style) – wouldn't the obvious solution here be to have these templates which "already handle and convert" these variants also standardize the displayed output throughout an article? A global standard would in my opinion be best, but if there's no consensus on a global standard format, it could be subjected to a per-page preference similar to date formats, defaulting to the just-the-digits format since that one seems to be most popular to date. There does not need to be any kind of stardization of the hyphens/spaces used in the template parameters in the page markup, so readers who want to type an ISBN from a paper book copying the format exactly could continue to do so. –jacobolus (t) 18:51, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is basically what Option 5 is about.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:51, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No this is entirely different from your "Option 5". Changing the {{ISBN}}, {{citation}}, and {{cite book}} to standardize the output ISBN format would solve the problem once and for all in a single place in a way which would require no article edits and no significant editor effort. Changing {{format ISBN}} and insisting on a standard hyphenation (even per article) would require a bot to go touch some proportion of citations on most articles throughout the project, which would be hugely disruptive and annoying, and then would be just as much of a pain if anyone ever later decided to standardize on a particular hyphenation variant. –jacobolus (t) 13:00, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Note AnomieBOT doesn't do anything special to subst {{Format ISBN}}. It does so only because someone has placed {{Subst only|auto=yes}} on the template's documentation page, causing it to be in Category:Wikipedia templates to be automatically substituted. Anomie 11:41, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The issue of intervening edits making changes harder to undo is just a standard part of Wikipedia editting, I'm not sure it's mentioned, and {{format ISBN}} doesn't enforce anything, it's a tool you can use if you wish to format the ISBNs with hyphens.-- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 11:49, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If you're working on an article and want to make sure everything is presented in a standard manner that's great, as per the exception to CITEVAR that covers such work. However if your going from article to article to just impose your preference on such things you should find something actually useful to do. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 15:27, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It was "drive-by" changing of the format to the hyphen-laden form, by different editors at unrelated articles, twice in the same week that inspired me to pose this RfC question, though it had been on my mind for some time because of previous but more spaced-apart incidents.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:03, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If editors are ignoring CITEVAR (and I think it would already apply), ask them to stop. If that doesn't work report them for disruptive editting as with any problematic editting. Introducing CREEP to solve the issue isn't the way to go. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 17:09, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If we already all clearly agreed that CITEVAR applied to this, then this discussion and the events which led to it would have have happened. And not all ISBNs on Wikipedia are in citations; that's just the most common use case.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:52, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The events that led to this was one editor systematically mass editting their own personal preference into articles. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 12:28, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some history:

Above Editor SMcCandlish wrote: And |isbn= and {{ISBN}} already handle all these formats anyway and convert them internally (to 9781723818028 style) for use with tools like Special:BookSources/9781723818028). Not wholly true. Yes, |isbn= and {{ISBN}} handle separated and non-separated ISBNs and, yes, for ease of check-digit validation, hyphens and spaces are stripped, but when creating a link to Special:BookSources, both use the ISBN string as supplied in the template:


Editor SMcCandlish also wrote: Given that "most of the parts [of an ISBN] do not use a fixed number of digits", some of the output of this template may be arbitrary anyway, without corresponding to meaningful ISBN identifier fragments. None of the {{format ISBN}} template output is arbitrary. The data in Module:Format ISBN/data is created by Module:ISBN RangeMessage xlate which takes as input a local copy of (that's a direct download link; the local copy that created the current version of Module:Format ISBN/data can be seen by editing Module:ISBN RangeMessage xlate/doc (edit link). The range data are inside the <!--...--> tags.

Trappist the monk (talk) 15:34, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, if it's Special:BookSources that does the parsing instead, it's the same ultimate point in the end: it doesn't matter what input format some editor wants to use. I stand corrected on what {{format ISBN}} is doing (and adjusted the argument above to compensate); it's more clever code than it looked at first. But the same question remains: what utility does this provide? It seems to be clever geekery for clever geekery's own sake. We don't have any encyclopedic need for it, when a 9781723818028 works perfectly fine (as does Amazon's format 978-1723818028 for that matter). How is the end reader helped in any way? How are editors (doing anything actually productive) helped in any way?  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:03, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • question Would it be possible to do for ISBNs what we did for geographic coordinates, and display the value with hyphens while lilnking through to a page that allows passing the unhyphenated value to the various book search services? Mangoe (talk) 15:53, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Are you asking this question of me? Are you asking for the citation templates to take |isbn=978-1-7238-1802-8 as input and have it create as output? When creating links to Google books, Amazon, Worldcat, etc, Special:BookSources does strip hyphen and space separators (float you mouse over any or the source links at Special:BookSources/978-1-7238-1802-8 to see that).
    Trappist the monk (talk) 16:11, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    (edit conflict) We're already passing the value through to various book search services: when you click on the linked ISBN (in, e.g.: Title Here. ISBN 9781723818028.), you get to a page like Special:BookSources/9781723818028. One of the problems here, though, is that this is not a particularly convenient way to find a book at all, and it is much more expedient to (i.e., users will) just copy-paste the ISBN and Google it. I've outlined in detail above what the results are with different formats, and the only dependably good one is the no-hyphens-no-spaces format. So, I suppose a possible kinda-sorta solution would be to display the ISBN visually as hyphenated (or with spaces, whatever someone chose) but make it copy-paste without that formatting. That would require some CSS ::before stuff, probably. But someone might object that people shouldn't be surprised by what they copy-paste. And then others might counter that we're already doing things like this (without anyone evincing any confusion) with small-caps templates so that {{sc|abc}} ABC copy-pastes as "abc" (the caps are only visual cosmetics). And so on. Is that really a debate worth having? I'm not sure.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  16:21, 31 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I use Special:Booksources exclusively for the templates that produce it, because copying the digits, typing out, selecting the entry box, typing isbn: and then pasting is a stupid amount of work when I have two links so easily available (one from article to Booksources and the other from Booksources to Google).
    And to be frank, using Google Web Search is a bad idea for book searching. Use the tool they provide for the reason they provide it. Izno (talk) 02:23, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That's kind of a straw man, since I suggested no such tedious process, and going through it is entirely unnecessary. Just copy the "9781723818028" ISBN, open a new window or tab, type isbn , paste the number, press Enter. The entire process takes a couple of seconds, and instantly brings up the book you are looking for both in biblio databases (including your favored Google Books, which is not favored by everyone) and at vendors. Well, unless the ISBN has dashes or spaces in it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:33, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Even this process takes longer than two clicks. I presented the whole of what one might do to ensure it was clear that I wasn't strawmanning - it's really how I do it to ensure that I get the data I need immediately (a user story). If we take your workflow (I was fairly certain you were using this shorter flow, so that's the second reason I wanted to make clear how people were getting from point A to B), you still are using Google (or other search service -- I use DDG, so your flow is not sufficient to account for that - I'd need to type !g also) in a way they don't intend ultimately, and thus you get the imprecise answers that you claim are the fault of one particular style of entry. Using Booksources eliminates this issue and also provides the normal ways to get at the bibliographic data, including Google Books, OCLC, and (or .ae, .au, .br, .ca, .cn, .de, .es, .fr, .in, .it, .jp, .mx, .nl, .pl, .sa, .se, .sg, .tr, .uk). Those are all present on the "front page" matter of Booksources (with access to other options below that). The only thing Booksources doesn't do is give me a direct link to the publisher's website, and that is even more trivial than your search (select, right click, search for -- but I'm not usually searching for the ISBN at that point anyway, I just plug the title in).
    Then you're just left with hand-input ISBN numbers which are no longer hand-input since a while ago since they all (were supposed to) lost their link to Special:Booksources, for which we now have {{ISBN}}. Izno (talk) 18:51, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That you personally prefer a longer search process and/or using our Special:Booksources feature is rather irrelevant. It's faster to not. Booksources is something good to have in existence, but is actually quite tedious to use, and can be intimidating/confusing to a lot of users who have no idea what any of those databases and things are, so don't know what to click on when they get there. Even experienced users like me who do know what they are may find it much more convenient just to do copy-paste-click in Google. It's much more efficient. Unless the ISBN is broken up. Even then, I find it more efficient to copy-paste the ISBN and remove hyphens from it than to futz around in the Booksources list.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:57, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It's faster to not This is a statement in your reality, but not a fact. Don't present it as such. Izno (talk) 21:10, 4 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is there any data on how widespread of a problem this actually is? If this issue is truly causing editors to catapult fireballs at one another, that's one thing, but the opening statement says the issue is that different editors are going around normalizing them to one format and then again to another, at cross-purposes to each other, and without a clear consensus for any particular format. So one editor pastes an ISBN in without hyphens and another editor adds hyphens to it. If it isn't actually impacting one another's work, who cares? (I'll also say I must agree with Levivich: it is very evident reading the RFC background which option SMcCandlish is personally vying for, and even though that would be my personal preference too, that and the utter lack of a "leave everything as is" option strike me as a tad concerning.) 2603:8001:4542:28FB:69D3:61CF:7C25:A2F8 (talk) 01:44, 1 November 2023 (UTC) (Please send talk messages here instead)Reply[reply]

So, should I rewrite the backaround material to hide basic facts and maybe inject some blatant lies about utility of or a globally standardized requirement for dashes or spaces? What would please you? It's not my fault that the actual reality leans strongly in a particular direction on this. Yes, I strongly favor option 1, but I included option 5 anyway, knowing full well it would strongly appeal to regulars at WT:CITE and probably cause option 1 to fail. And I included all the other options even though they are terrible ideas, because I knew at least a few people would want them anyway. There is no rationale for a "leave everything as is" option when there is an issue to resolve. If people believe no issue exists they can say so and suggest to do nothing, on their own initiative. Or someone can go add that pointless option to the option list. But I left it off on purpose, because "do nothing" is not constructive in problem-solving. "No change" is only a sensible option when someone wants to make a subjective change that is not addressing any actual objectively definable issue (like a proposal to reword a guideline for alleged inclarity in how it phrases something). Option 5 is already the "permit everything" option, which is probably what most people actually have in mind when "do nothing/no change" is their gut reaction but a poor phrasing/conceptualization of the "permit everything" sense that inpired them to feel that way in the first place. And "fireball catapulting" is not a magical requirement for there to be an issue to address. Any unproductive editorial conflict that is recurrent and predictable and also unnecessary is something that should be addressed one way or another.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:33, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's one editor who generates much more than their share of fuss by repeatedly messing with valid ISBNs. Others can probably link to more. – Jonesey95 (talk) 04:32, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And not even one of the ones whose activity in this regard inspired me to open this thread.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:33, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

{{Format ISBN}} is a tool that editors can use to hypenate ISBNs as specified by the International ISBN Agency. It is always subst'ed – the bot is merely subst'ing cases where subst: does not work due to a MediaWiki bug. The template is not enforcing anything. As such, the suggestions to have {{Format ISBN}} simply remove hyphens, or just add one in a fixed position, or to have options to do these things, are pointless.

As noted by the IP above, the omission of a status quo option is a major flaw of this RFC. That status quo (reflected in WP:ISBN#Types and {{cite book}}) is that hyphens are optional but preferred, and should not be removed if correctly placed. Kanguole 09:19, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IMHO, we need Option 6: use the ISBN format in the source. That solves the problem of where to add spaces or hyphens. -- Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 13:25, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Option 5 is more or less the status quo option. Re option 6: which source? The printed copy of the book? The publisher's web site? Google Books? WorldCat? There is no reason to expect these all to use the same format as each other. —David Eppstein (talk) 18:26, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Obviously, from the document being cited, whether it is, e.g., a dead tree, a PDF, a web page. I suppose that there could still be ambiguity if it is a reprint with a different ISBN, but the rule of citing the copy you're looking at should resolve the potential ambiguity. -- Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 15:43, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So if I happen to be using a print book I have to go to the trouble of finding the ISBN printed on it and manually typing it in rather than looking up the same book on Google Books and copying the ISBN? And then, because the version I used was a print copy, I am forbidden from providing publisher links to electronic copies of the same book, typeset exactly the same, because that would be citing a different version? And I have to cite the reprint year of the copy I have rather than citing the year the same book was originally first published? This is taking "cite the version you used" to a ridiculous and obstructionary extreme. —David Eppstein (talk) 05:58, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please stop attributing to me things that I never wrote. Yes, you are allowed to use, e,g, |chapter-url=, |orig-date=, |url=. -- Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk)

I don't think the "ISBN agency" statements in the Background which appear to diminish the status of hyphens here are correct. "There is no standard" is false. From the ISO 2108:2017 standard under section 4.1, General Structure of an ISBN:

When an ISBN is displayed in human readable form (i.e. a form meant primarily to be read or written by a person, in contrast to a form primarily meant to be used by data processing equipment), it shall be preceded by the letters ISBN and each of the elements of the ISBN should be separated from the others by a hyphen as in the following example. EXAMPLE ISBN 978-90-70002-34-3

(since last I checked the bit about spaces appears to have been removed; this is good.) Comparing database forms to the Wikipedia form which is clearly meant to be human readable is not a fair comparison. Usage is not consistent because the usecases are not consistent. The standard has clear guidelines for both. If editors are entering ISBNs from the imprint page we shouldn't have such a problem with missing hyphens (un-hyphenated ISBNs in my experience are a sign of shortcut referencing by scraping databases, and a ISBN with m-dashes and other extraneous symbols is a better sign of good faith by-the-book referencing. Either way both can be tidied later). Adding hyphens is a little computationally expensive and having them pre-populated for display (the main purpose of a wiki-page) is preferable to doing it on the fly (could be done with bulky js). Stripping hyphens is less expensive, and that is done efficiently where and when needed. I'm willing to tolerate un-hyphenated ISBNs for practicality's sake, but I'm not going to like or prefer them. Also, unthinking Google searches as an argument for usability aren't really valid either. Google search doesn't tokenise ISBN or ISBN-like strings that way for general search... but they do for their book specific service Google books: isbn:978-1-7238-1802-8 will produce useful results. The usability argument on doesn't make sense since the used templates provide links to Google books in a way that handles hyphens correctly. If your usecase really is to use general Google indexing to maximise ISBN like results, you have to do more work get get all possible variants that may have been indexed on various kinds of online documents, but that's not what Wikipedia ISBN templates offer to do (nor should they; they currently do a reasonable job). I lack the terminology or links to argue that ISBN-hyphens are more than merely a style like UK or US English. It's more like page numbers in references. An article with 3 out 10 refs having page numbers would not be fixed by deleting all page numbers. Also share some of the frustration + storm in a tea-cup comments expressed above. Perhaps the problem could be solved with better ISBN documentation on one of the many pages: what is acceptable and why, and set expectations on how to reasonably use ISBNs for search and other valid and important purposes. Anti-hyphen editors seem to miss some of these. Salpynx (talk) 23:48, 1 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Something that an organization wishes would become a standard, but which has not been widely adopted and has not resulted in anything like standardization, is not a "standard" in any meaning of that word that Wikipedia (or much of anyone else for that matter) needs to care about. In point of fact, usage of the no-hyphens-no-spaces form has increased exponentinally over the last 20 years or so, through adoption and usage by all these databases and most vendors; any hope that either the hyphenated or spaced forms would ever become a standard was lost long ago. Next, the idea that they're all using the bare-numeric format as just some kind of internal identifier not intended for human reading is not correct at all. Every single one of the databases and such that I linked to as using 9781723818028 format does so in way that is reader-facing content. I clearly identified the outlier using the hypenated form, and the one I could find that did not seem to use ISBNs at all. If I had been able to find any major bibiographic site using bare-numeric for internal data-munging reasons (e.g. in its URL strings) but hyphenated or spaced form for human presentation I would have listed it. Feel free to find one and add it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:14, 2 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While this RFC has been going on, User:Trappist the monk has suddenly begun making huge numbers of edits replacing ISBNs with the format template, with the edit summary "cite repair;". I think Wikipedia:Fait accompli is relevant here. —David Eppstein (talk) 00:38, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This sounds like something that needs to be brought up at ANI sooner rather than later. Thryduulf (talk) 01:46, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not true. Not true. Not true. I have been adding {{format ISBN}} to articles for months. Here is a manual edit from 1 June 2023. I included {{format ISBN}} in an awb script I was using to clear Category:CS1 maint: uses authors parameter on 1 October 2023. Here is the first edit from that run to add {{format ISBN}} to an article. I am currently working on Category:CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list using another awb script that also adds {{format ISBN}}. I included {{format ISBN}} in the scripts because the nominally preferred form was (and still is) hyphenated; see WP:ISBN and Template:Cite book#csdoc_isbn. Until this discussion started there had been nary a peep from anyone about my use of {{format ISBN}} to hyphenate ISBNs. Since this discussion began, I have modified the current script that I am using so that it uses a crude counting scheme to determine if the article uses a mix of hyphenated or non hyphenated ISBNs. Only when the count of hyphenated ISBNs is greater than or equal to the count of non hyphenated ISBNs will the script apply {{format ISBN}}. The script does not undo hyphenated formatting because that is not a functionality available in {{format ISBN}}.
Trappist the monk (talk) 02:56, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All of Trappist's recent edits labeled "cite repair" that I have examined are ones I would consider to run against the spirit of WP:COSMETICBOT and WP:CITEVAR. These edits are in my opinion a pure distraction, pointlessly cluttering up watchlists for no reader benefit I can discern. –jacobolus (t) 07:33, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I strongly feel that WP:CITEVAR has no impact on ISBN hyphen preference. They are not two equally valid alternative styles, one is preferred over the other This happens to be my personal preference too, but I honestly believe it has been discussed and some version of that truth is settled upon consistently every time this issue comes up. I and other editors have been editing in hyphens like this for years, without any editwars. Hyphenated ISBNs are the preference.
Can we add ISBN hyphenation to "Generally considered helpful" WP:CITEVAR because that is my, and others', understanding of what the guidelines are in fact now? Stating it there might clear up some of the misconceptions around ISBN edit-wars. I'm somewhat surprised that WP:COSMETICBOT seemingly puts these hyphen edits clearly in the substantive category because they do make a visual difference, and assistive whitespace changes are also included. It seems ISBN hyphenation is clearly Help:Minor_edit, and seems reasonable to group with punctuation and italicization of non-English words. I'd totally entertain the idea that bot edits only doing punctuation, non-English word italicization, or ISBN hyphenation "are a bit annoying", but I can't even see a warning not to. According to that page marking the edit as minor is sufficient to avoid watchlist noise. Is there are real guideline against making repetitive minor edits? Salpynx (talk) 08:17, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, because if this poll is showing anything it is a clear lack of consensus that adding hyphens to ISBNs is "generally considered helpful" on Wikipedia. The leading option right now appears to be no. 5 (permit multiple styles), and running second is removing all hyphens and spaces.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:58, 4 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's the leading option of the options presented. I wasn't going to participate in this RfC myself because I don't agree with any of the options; but I'm concerned now that a "no consensus" close will be interpreted as "no consensus that hyphens are useful", simply because there is no option that says "hyphens are useful but we shouldn't mandate them", i.e. status quo. I suspect this is what many people !voting 5 actually mean. Sojourner in the earth (talk) 09:08, 4 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's certainly what I meant. Gog the Mild (talk) 20:58, 11 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have not been paying close recent attention, but was aware that User:Trappist the monk has been making this kind of edit arising from events and discussions months ago on various ISBN pages. I see no problem with these edits and strongly agree with his "Not true" x3. I'd characterize these pre-and-post RFC edits as entirely in line with all current guidelines including CITEVAR and the current guidance (as stated by User:Kanguole "hyphens are optional but preferred, and should not be removed if correctly placed.", and also consistent with "consensus" as there was quite a bit of discussion around it months ago, and some of the ideas and concerns have been around for years on various ISBN and bibliographic pages, and this work arose naturally out of a long history of discussion and other ISBN related work. The fact that he has made some concessions in his script seems a politeness not even warranted by this RFC. Various editors have tried to express the "what is this?" nature of the RFC, from its obvious favouring of option 1, "if it's not broke don't fix it", lack of status quo option, lack of concrete examples of the disruptive edits or edit war that prompted it. Four of the 5 options, and even the 6th suggested options are all things have have been taken into consideration with the current status-quo guidelines, which is a practical compromise that takes into account the main features of ISBNs, publication practicalities, and the goals of Wikipedia. Some or most of the details can easily be dismissed as ISBN or bibliographic "geekery". The problem is that all the editors who seem to care about this geekery have a shared understanding of what it is, or actively contributed to the existing guidelines, and can see how it can be apllied consistently in many situations. Editors who expressly _don't_ care about the details seem less willing to understand, and it's sometimes difficult to explain all the relevant factors. This problem sorts itself in practice by the editors who do care, do the thing, and editors who don't care don't have to worry about it. Option 1 barely makes sense with its "and change {{Format ISBN}} to use it." -- I don't know how or why this could be used in practice, and the very suggestion seems to betray a lack of understanding of what the template is for, and how it got here. The basic premise of the RFC is flawed: "Should the format of ISBNs be standardized (or be subject to a rule to not change format without consensus)?" -- The format of ISBNs is standard, it is reflected in "hyphens are optional but preferred". This may not be strict enough for you, but people who care, care, and there are reasons behind this, which lead to its quo status. There is a consensus rule that relates to whether ISBN formats should be changed: "hyphens are optional but preferred, and should not be removed if correctly placed." In my last comment I posted a quote from the ISBN standard, and User: SMcCandlish responded with some sort of No true Scotsman response. I don't want to argue whether an industry body responsible for the spec of the industry standard we are talking about is entitled to author that spec or should be taken seriously -- that seems like madness. You have been provided with:
  • Specific claims from Wikipedia editors who claim to find hyphenated ISBNs useful, and multiple use-cases to show how (some listed above)
  • General principles outside Wikipedia that suggest chunked-numeric ids are more suited to human use, and Wikipedia principles that articles are for human use over machine use, made concrete by the specific claims above. It's not just theoretical. We should at least pay lip service to the idea that Wikipedia isn't written by-bots-for-bots. Also, Wikipedia is not other websites.
  • The ISBN spec that succinctly supports the above specific use-case claims and principles, although maybe we can dismiss specs?
The one concrete use-case to apparently "counter" the pro-hyphen human readability is the "quicker to click and Google search it", which as others have hinted above runs into search-engine blackbox / monopoly territory, and you yourself appreciated Special:BookSources and Google books as a beneficial clearly "different" use-case, so agree that it's not a replacement for the Wikipedia specific solution to useful bibliographic searches that other editors are able to competently and successfully use. Your argument use-case seems to explicitly distance itself from the provided Wikipedia method to achieve a Wiki-goal via templates and special-links, so your single "As a user who doesn't want to look at ISBNs, I want to click on them in my browser and search a general-purpose search engine for results relevant to my interests" sounds more like a use-case for you favourite browser-and-search-engine corporation, and self-admittedly less relevant to Wikipedia.
The beauty of the pro-hyphen view is that you can still do this if it's important to you. The counter to this seems to be "but think of the machines! What reasonable person could think an automated tool could reliably strip hyphens from a string?" Turns out machines are very good at this, in a way that human eyes aren't at adding them when viewing multiple 13 digit numbers on a page. Consider a browser plugin that removes hyphens from text so you can send it directly to search engines if that's an important use-case.
The consistency "argument" does not conflict with the current status-quo. If we are to take both at face value we can conclude that consistently ISBN hyphenated articles are preferred to consistently un-hyphenated articles. It's not clear what we should do in an inconsistent state though. Hypothetically, since we don't have a good example from this RFC, suppose good-faith-ISBN-hyphenating-editor trying to follow status-quo guidelines correctly hyphenated 28 out of 30 ISBNs in an article. Should a bystander editor say:
A) "Thank you for improving that article! You missed two, could you please hyphenate those too, or is there a reason you didn't, or show me the tools so I can do this!"
B) "You have made my carefully crafted machine readable references inconsistent! I swear I have copy-pasted these ISBNs accurately, and have not incorrectly duplicated any, or swapped ISBNs to a different publisher's book, or accidentally auto-translated a German title copied from in ways that might be obvious at a glance to ISBN geekery editors with hyphenation! And you are just making up these examples because you hate machine readablity, they're not real!" Revert!
A. seems the more reasonable approach, but if B occurs, the page will be protected until the next editor with a internally consistent view of how to apply current ISBN related guidelines will make the same "mistake" perhaps during other reference related improvements, and the page will need to be "defended" again.
It's fun to disparage disruptive edits; above there's a mention of an editor who, ironically, had been making the same kind of ISBN hyphenation reversions -- deleting correctly placed hyphens -- as the author of this RFC. When these things are discussed on ISBN related talk pages, historically it goes round and round and the consensus of different editors who care about ISBNs and adjacent things is "don't remove correctly placed hyphens from ISBNs -- this kind of edit is always wrong, it removes something many editors find useful, and adds nothing". Either the lone hyphen remover gives up, or perhaps takes some of the advice on board and improves their editing, all in accordance with existing guidelines, consensus, and specs. I thought the last editor who brought this up did learn somewhat and their edits improved. How is this RFC different? Why does anything need to change? I'm waving my hands defending a status-quo that doesn't need defending. When the next editor complains about ISBN hyphenation, will the status-quo guidelines change then? Is there anything inconsistent now that needs changing? There wasn't in the past, I see no reason for it to change now.
A concrete example relevant to this RFC is -- where the author of this RFC removed correctly placed hyphens from an ISBN. For clarity I consider this according to current guidelines and past history and consensus, an unhelpful reversion that does not add anything, and reverts a minor constructive edit which is completely in line with all current guidelines. Why do we need an RFC to justify it after the fact?
Adjacent points which might have merit are:
  • Making the Special:BookSources more useful if it is lacking in some concrete respect?
  • What to do about minor but technically constructive according-to-current-guidelines edits at scale? There could be a valid but subtle point to make somewhere in here, but this RFC topic doesn't have much to do with it, and hopelessly confuses things.
On reflection this RFC misrepresents the reality of ISBN guidelines and formatting standards in a way that makes it difficult to succinctly engage with. It falsely equates the 'adding hyphens' and 'removing hyphens' rogue editors in way that makes it very unclear whether a particular side exists or is the main problem. There _is_ a standard and preference, there are guidelines and they seem consistent and un-problematic. It's not clear what problem the RFC is meant to solve, other than those caused by the originator's own edits, which don't align with the current guidelines as other editors seemingly agree.

Salpynx (talk) 06:10, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can you summarize this into a statement that won't take an hour to pore over? Homing in on a diff I can see in there, that was me reverting a change to the established style in the article, and with a clear rationale (though one person has long after the fact attempt to refute it, on the grounds that search engine behavior may change). If you want to fall back on WP:CITEVAR as the principle (and it seems you do: "in line with all current guidelines including CITEVAR", though it doesn't actually say anything about ISBNs, and ISBNs are not used on WP exclusively within citations), then that guideline is entirely on my side in that.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:03, 3 November 2023 (UTC); revised: 07:07, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:CITEVAR does not support your edit, and this should be clarified there as it appears to be a common misconception. Adding ISBN hyphenation under Generally considered helpful should suffice.
Hyphenation has been discussed on Wikipedia_talk:ISBN for over a decade, and hyphens always win. It is the house style of Wikipedia via consensus not because it's a arbitrary choice, but because it has real advantages in line with Wikipedia principles like WP:READABLE. The human readable display form is well defined. Many editors have expressed their appreciation of this human readable form for practical and aesthetic reasons. Current guidelines can be re-phrased as "human readable ISBNs are preferred". The optional part is really just a concession to practicality, one that some editors aren't happy with, but are willing to tolerate, primarily because tooling is not perfect. {{Format ISBN}} is an improvement here. "I'm a human who needs machine readable ISBNs" does not counter all the human readable cases, and can be trivially accommodated by stripping the hyphens. Arguments for Option 6 express why the un-hyphenated format is objectively inferior for a human readable wiki. Inferior ISBN formatting is not a "style" choice to be consistent about. Salpynx (talk) 22:52, 3 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But there is really clearly no consensus that adding hyphens to ISBNs is generally considered helpful. Your entire argument depends on that being true, and it demonstrably is not.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:58, 4 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You haven't demonstrated anything. Evidence to support claim of consensus that ISBN hyphenation is helpful:
  • Two main ISBN related templates I'm aware of have stated unchallenged for ages:
  • A decade of discussions on Wikipedia_talk:ISBN consistently favors and explains the merits of hyphenation.
  • Documented and linked history of editors regarding hyphen removal as 'disruptive,' with swift corrections.
  • No strong anti-hyphen argument has emerged or withstood scrutiny.
  • Editors have made thousands of uncontroversial hyphen additions, indicating a widespread acceptance of hyphenated ISBNs.
I may be in a bubble, but my own standing edits, along with thousands of others (from bots, IP editors, and others I'm aware of over the last year), supports my view that there is a consensus favoring hyphenated ISBNs, evident in current guidelines and real edit histories.
If you have a valid question or argument about ISBN formats you should make it clearly and appropriately.
User:SMcCandlish Could you please withdraw or close-as-invalid this misleading and malformed RFC? Salpynx (talk) 01:45, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some random user creating a template and offering their opinion it its documentation means jack-squat. That's not a guideline or policy, is not any other kind of site-wide consensus, and is noticed by virtually nobody. See also WP:CONTENTAGE: the fact that something has sat around unaddressed for a long time does not make it right. Discussions among the same tiny number of editors at a page like WT:ISBN that virtually no one knows or cares about? Exactly the same. VVPOL exists for a reason. I can also diff me and other people reverting injection of hyphens swiftly, also as disruptive. There is no agreement on this matter, as proved by the input at this RfC. The closest thing we have to a consensus about this, judging from how the RfC is proceeding, is that ISBN formatting should be treated as a WP:CITEVAR matter (which is about what I expected, though not what I hoped). The only argument that has presented any "scrutiny" of the anti-hyphen-anti-space argument is the idea that because search engine behavior might change we shouldn't take it into account; but search engines' different handling of strings like 9781723818028, 978-1723818028, 978-1-949996-57-9, and 978 1 949996 57 9 has not changed in any way that anyone has detected, for around 20 years, so there is no reason to expect that it will. That argument against no-hyphens-no-spaces is quite weak and in no way an actual refutation of the utility argument in favor of 9781723818028. The other arguments against it boil down to a combination of WP:IDONTLIKEIT and argument to authority (claim that Intl. ISBN Agency has produced a standard, when what they have produced is a would-be standard that is almost completely ignored in the real world and has no hope at this point of becoming an actual standard that gets broadly adopted; it's in a much, much worse implementation position now than it was a generation ago). Editors have also made thousands of uncontrovered hyphen removals; "my side is doing stuff" isn't proof that your side is right. Yes, you are in a bubble: you are ignoring or outright distorting all evidence that doesn't agree with your predetermined preference. Most obviously, if there were "a consensus favoring hyphenated ISBNs", then this RfC would not been leaning heavily toward treating it as CITEVAR matter. So, no I will not rescind an RfC that's making you unhappy because it contradicts you. I have no control over the fact that actual reality leans strongly toward favoring one particular format, falling back to treating them all as valid options, and leans strongly away from treating either of the hyphenated forms or especially the spaced form as preferable. The RfC looks "misleading" to you simply because it contradicts your desired outcome.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:51, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
almost completely ignored in the real world – Not sure this is fair. This is a pretty common way for ISBNs to be printed in physical books. –jacobolus (t) 14:17, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As a publisher who purchases ISBNs, I can tell you that they arrive (at least from the US broker) in hyphenated format. Doing a quick search for ISBN without any filters and looking at the first thirty results, I see about an even mix of hyphenated and non, with examples of each in both editorial and advertising. Checking publisher catalogs, I find examples that use hyphens and ones that don't, and that's three imprints from the same publisher! Now, whether the publishing world has anything to do with the real world is another question... --Nat Gertler (talk) 15:36, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure, okay. Then "almost completely ignored in the real world for any purposes that Wikipedia has any reason to care about". Hyphenated forms, found primarily on book colophons (and by no means all of them, just commonly) can be entered in that format, and would still continue to be able to be entered in that format, under every possible result of this RfC. But that format is not necessary for any purpose anyone can identify, is not a real-world standard, and provably impedes reader utility. This is why I favor option 1 but can live with option 5 (since at least I can provide that better utility in articles I create and someone else will not be empowered to willy-nilly undo it later; it's sad that people doing unhelpful things, to satisfy their own aesthetic urges or their own misunderstandings of what a standard is for practical purposes, will also be enabled to impose an unhelpful format on articles they create, but I can't lose sleep over the fact that the world contains problems I can't address, and I'm actually confident that given a longer span of time to mull this over, the community will actually standardize on the hyphenless format anyway).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:09, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wait, you're saying that being able to get better results from and from Google aren't things people who might be using an ISBN from Wikipedia would care about? Wow. That seems inconsistent, considering your first in the list of arguments focused on getting search results from Google. It seems to me that finding more information about the material being cited is something a fair portion of those copying the ISBNs would care about; I have trouble seeing why one would assume otherwise. -- Nat Gertler (talk) 14:44, 6 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is no possible reality where "Hyphens in the ISBN are optional, but preferred." and "Use hyphens if they are included..." can exist in those two templates and Wikipedia ISBNs not tend to become uniformly hyphenated through ongoing quality edits. Those words exist there now. We don't even need to talk about why. We could talk about why we would want to change them.
  • No reasonable editor should be edit-warring over ISBNs. Given the lack of evidence, I see no problem.
  • You are correct that to avoid circular edit wars we need a standard. We have one: it's the current status quo, it's hyphens.
If you give an example of a real world edit we could determine which version was correct and why. No correctly placed ISBN hyphen removal is ever justified, unless there is another factor at play. Under status quo I'd class any ISBN hyphen removal as either disruptive or unhelpful depending on the scale. I can't defend a hypothetical non-example. The only workable alternative to status quo is to change the ISBN template statements to say the un-hyphenated version is always preferred, and hyphenation is discouraged even if printed at the source. There is no reason other than WP:IDONTLIKEIT to change to this. The only argument put forward is your newly presented and poor one from search-laziness, being rebutted by others. The RFc framing is so bad it's hard to hone in on what we are actually talking about here. Salpynx (talk) 19:43, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Salpynx that is not the only workable alternative, which is that presented by option 5: "none of hyphens, spaces or neither are preferred. Do not change one for the other except to maintain consistency in the article, or with explicit consensus on the article talk page." i.e. treating it the same as US vs British spelling or citation styles. This appears to be the option supported by the majority of participants in this discussion. Thryduulf (talk) 20:34, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Personally I couldn't care less about whether the ISBNs have hyphens or not, and I would guess the same is true for the vast majority of editors and readers. I just find it pointlessly disruptive to have bots or bot-mimicking humans come through and reformat the ISBNs every time someone tries to add a citation anywhere in Wikipedia, and/or have bots mass change the hyphenation site wide. This is why I'd really like to see normalization handled automatically by the output of the {{ISBN}} and CS1/CS2 templates, instead of by modifying the template input. Can someone who is knowledgeable about these templates clarify whether this is feasible? –jacobolus (t) 22:46, 5 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is concrete, and I sympathize. If otherwise valid current guidelines are being applied in a problematic way, let's fix forward. It appears that ISBN hyphenation and the repetitive en-dash style bot edits (example, but incative: DyceBot) fall into a similar category with no apparent guidelines against. The suggestion to hyphenate ISBNs on save could satisfy both pro-hyphen and bot(like) users and eliminates the need for bots to do the work. I don't know of any template that modifies input on save. Are there downsides; technical, or editing confusion? ISBNs can be consistently and deterministically hyphenated. Invalid cases are already detected by the templates (invalid registration group would be a new case). Periodic updates for new ISBN groups would be necessary (bots and ISBN code libraries have to do this). Client side and on-request hyphenation are wasteful. Hyphenation on save seems like a really promising approach. Salpynx (talk) 04:17, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"suggestion to hyphenate ISBNs on save" – this is emphatically not the suggestion. I am suggesting that we should not care at all about the source markup (input) hyphenation, but should instead make templates which are smart enough to normalize their HTML output, so that readers can see a consistent style irrespective of the input formatting. This would entirely eliminate the need for bots to come modify the source hyphenation. The CS1/CS2 templates already do this for date formatting. It seems to me like it should be just as easy to similarly normalize ISBNs. "wasteful" this can't possibly be a significant resource problem. –jacobolus (t) 04:32, 7 November 2023 (UTC)Reply