Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)

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Selection criteria for lists involving subjective categorization[edit]

There is a broad issue with lists that involve subjective categorization being breeding grounds for WP:OR, WP:SYNTH, and WP:UNDUE violations. To address this, I have been work shopping a new section, based on WP:DUE, that would be included at WP:Stand-alone lists, and I am bringing it here for further work shopping:

Selection criteria for lists involving subjective categorization

To comply with core policies on neutrality and original research topics should only be included unqualified in a list involving subjective categorization, such as List of video games considered the best or List of massacres in France, if the view that the categorization applies is the view of the majority, substantiated with references to commonly accepted reference texts. If the view that the categorization applies is held by significant minority then the topic can be included alongside appropriate qualification that makes it clear that its inclusion is not the majority view.

This is particularly important when the category is covered by MOS:PUFFERY or MOS:LABEL.

The intent of if the view that the categorization applies is the view of the majority, substantiated with references to commonly accepted reference texts is to make it clear that WP:DUE applies, but the exact wording to do so likely needs further work and comments on that aspect in particular would be appreciated.

Previous discussions can be found at NPOVN and SAL. BilledMammal (talk) 13:14, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not sure I understand entirely what this proposal
  1. By "topics" do you mean articles? If not, then what do you mean?
  2. What do you mean by "unqualified"? Are you suggesting that it's okay to include items on a list without reliable sources that support their inclusion?
  3. What do you mean by majority, and do you mean to imply that a majority should take precedent over a consensus?
  4. In my experience, list articles don't typically include items that then have notes indicating that whether they belong on the list is contested.
DonIago (talk) 13:44, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. "Topics" refers to the individual subjects, entries, or items that might be included in a list.
  2. "Unqualified" refers to the inclusion of a topic in a list without any accompanying clarifications indicating that its inclusion might be controversial or not universally accepted
  3. "Majority" has the same meaning here that it does in WP:DUE; that there is a consensus among reliable sources that the subjective categorization applies.
  4. List articles typically don't, but to comply with the requirements of WP:DUE they should; we can't be presenting the view of a minority as if it was the view of the majority.
BilledMammal (talk) 14:03, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. Thanks for clarifying!
  2. I'll be curious to hear from other editors regarding whether list articles should include items considered contentious.
  3. How would we determine whether a majority of reliable sources consider a video game the best or consider an incident in France to be a massacre? There's at least probably video game review aggregators that could be used to say a game was well-reviewed, but "the best"? I have doubts that there's a similar aggregator to say whether most people consider an incident in France to be a massacre.
  4. This sounds like your opinion rather than an established consensus?
DonIago (talk) 17:01, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For #3, it's not a "majority of reliable sources", but "the view of the majority". As for how we determine that, the same way we determine it for every other article; this isn't a new requirement, it already applies to every article, including lists, through WP:NPOV.
For #4, this is established consensus in that it is part of NPOV and non-negotiable; even if there was a consensus against it (ie, a consensus that allows us to present minority viewpoints as if they were on the same level as majority viewpoints) NPOV would require us to reject it.
In general, all I am proposing to do here is make it very clear that NPOV does apply to lists, and provide some structure on how to apply it. BilledMammal (talk) 06:11, 13 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the text should be simplified a bit... someone with English not as their first language could struggle with "unqualified in a list involving subjective categorization" and "the categorization applies is the view of the majority"... heck, I'm struggling myself! Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 13:47, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's kind of what I was getting at with my earlier comment; I think this is a bit of a word salad, but without knowing what the intentions are it's challenging for me to suggest less complex wording. DonIago (talk) 13:57, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It definitely needs rewording, though I'm not currently sure how to simplify it but still get the point across. BilledMammal (talk) 14:12, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Majority" and "minority" of what? Sources or editors? Schazjmd (talk) 13:58, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See my reply to Doniago above. BilledMammal (talk) 14:12, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the biggest problem with this proposal is that editors do not have a shared understanding of what it means for something to be subjective. Some editors think that subjective means something like "word that makes me feel like someone disapproves" or "label". Based on recent discussions, I would expect this to be invoked for discussions about List of bank robbers and robberies, not just for List of massacres. (A massacre is no more subjective than the color green. Having a slightly vague definition (vague definition: "killing a lot of defenseless people"; precise definition: "killing 17 or more defenseless people") is not the same thing as being subjective (subjective definition: "If you are the killer, then a massacre means killing 17 or more defenseless people, but if you are one of the people being killed, then killing anyone including you is a massacre". Objective definition: "killing a lot of defenseless people").
See also User:WhatamIdoing/Subjectivity in Wikipedia articles (work in progress). WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:49, 14 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nice essay! Do you have any illustrative article examples in mind? – Reidgreg (talk) 12:22, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, @Reidgreg. I didn't write it with any article in mind, but nearly every medical article will have some aspect of this (e.g., kids recover quickly from Tonsillectomy, but the same procedure is harder on adults; don't give this drug to kids or pregnant women; preventive healthcare efforts, like checking your cholesterol levels, are kinda pointless if you're already dying of something else). It's probably more challenging to hit the right balance in political areas: China thinks A but the US thinks B; poor people think C but rich people think D; young adults think E and older adults think F, etc. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:52, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We can include a definition of subjective categorization; "Subjective categorization" would be any categorization that is not based on measurable and universally accepted criteria.
List of bank robbers and robberies has a measurable and universally accepted criteria, and so is not subjective. List of massacres does not have a universally accepted criteria, and so is subjective. Would that address your concerns? BilledMammal (talk) 16:30, 16 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that you need to move away from the "subjective" language, because it will be misinterpreted. Wikipedia:Policy writing is hard, and one of the ways to do better at it is to avoid words that are not well settled or that mean something different in the real world. We do not need another 20 years of "Yes, well, it might be notable, but it's not WP:Notable", only this time using subjective as the confusing wikijargon word. If you want "measurable and universally accepted criteria", then say that and do not say subjective.
I'm not sure that List of bank robbers and robberies has universally accepted criteria. How many of the events in Cryptocurrency#Loss, theft, and fraud belong in that list? They're banks (i.e., financial institutions accepting deposits from the general public) but not legally regulated banks, and the money (which is real money, but not government-issued money) was stolen. Were those bank robberies? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:47, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia:Policy writing is hard, and one of the ways to do better at it is to avoid words that are not well settled or that mean something different in the real world. That is the meaning in the real world - I didn't make it up, and when I ran it through ChatGPT as a method of verifying comprehensibility it correctly interpreted every aspect, including that one.
I don't mind considering alternative wording, but I think subjective, as the opposite of objective, is the best word here.
How many of the events in Cryptocurrency#Loss, theft, and fraud belong in that list? Skimming it, none. Bank robbery requires force, violence, or threat of violence, and it appears that none of those thefts involved that. BilledMammal (talk) 16:02, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You say that this is the meaning in the real world, and yet when I look at and or even wikt:subjective, I do not find either of the words measurable or universal.
According to your notion of bank "robbery", a bank "burglary" does not belong in the List of bank robbers and robberies. The law (int he US) might treat breaking into a bank in the middle of the night to steal money out of the vault yourself as being distinct from threatening to kill someone if they don't take the money out of the vault and give it to you, but I'm not sure that the Wikipedia list makes the same distinction. The incident described at the top of List of bank robbers and robberies#Slovenia would technically be considered a burglary, if it happened in the US. If you go back to this idea that the definition is "universal", then I don't think that the definition of bank robbery is universal. I think the US FBI says that there are robberies (e.g., threatening the teller) and burglaries (e.g., sneaking in at night) and thefts (e.g., computer hacking), and that most people use bank robbery to mean any crime in which depositors' money is stolen from a depository institution. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:52, 17 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For bank robbery, I just followed the definition at Bank robbery, but that article may reflect a US perspective rather than an international perspective - if there isn't a universal definition of what a bank robbery is then we would need to follow the sources rather than permitting editors to determine whether items belong in that list based on a universal and measurable criteria and description of the item.
The important thing is that our articles, including our lists, follow WP:NPOV. To hopefully address some of your concerns, I've reworded the proposal:

Selection criteria for lists involving subjective categorization

To comply with core policies on neutrality and original research topics should only be included unqualified in lists without a measurable and universally accepted definition, such as List of video games considered the best or List of massacres in France, if the view that the categorization applies is the view of the majority, substantiated with references to commonly accepted reference texts. If the view that the categorization applies is held by significant minority then the topic can be included alongside appropriate qualification that makes it clear that its inclusion is not the majority view.

This is particularly important when the category is covered by MOS:PUFFERY or MOS:LABEL.

BilledMammal (talk) 08:46, 2 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am currently leaning towards taking the reworded proposal to RfC:

Selection criteria for lists involving subjective categorization

To comply with core policies on neutrality and original research topics should only be included unqualified in lists without a measurable and universally accepted definition, such as List of video games considered the best or List of massacres in France, if the view that the categorization applies is the view of the majority, substantiated with references to commonly accepted reference texts. If the view that the categorization applies is held by significant minority then the topic can be included alongside appropriate qualification that makes it clear that its inclusion is not the majority view.

This is particularly important when the category is covered by MOS:PUFFERY or MOS:LABEL.

Any thoughts - in particular, do people think the general concept is a good idea; while there was some support at NPOVN, that aspect hasn't seen much discussion here? I would like to reword phrases like should only be included unqualified in lists to address the above concerns, but I haven't been able to work out how to do so without changing the meaning. BilledMammal (talk) 05:52, 13 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you feel like it's really important to use the (dispute-prone) word subjective in the title?
Also, try pasting that into and see whether you can figure out how to make it simpler. The first paragraph is 94 words long, and only two sentences. Having more but shorter sentences might help you re-word around that problem.
As for its prospects: I think timing will be key. If there's relevant drama going on, we might marry in haste and repent at leisure. Otherwise, there's a chance that editors will see it as unnecessary. For myself, I'd like to see how you would change half a dozen lists to comply with your proposal. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:58, 14 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For myself, I'd like to see how you would change half a dozen lists to comply with your proposal. Do you have a couple of examples that you would like to see this on? BilledMammal (talk) 13:14, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Changes to ITN[edit]

Please do not discuss the possibility of abolishing ITN outright here; I'm interested in generating a proposal to change it. It is clear that ITN is unsustainable as presently constituted. In some ways it is very toxic, and there are frequently long periods without any postings. I was once a frequent participant there, but have reduced my involvement due to the environment there. I think that many of these issues can be reduced if notability/merit were taken out of discussions at ITNC, and that only article quality and recentness be criteria. Other areas of the Main Page have criteria to meet and not much discussion. I might propose the following as a starting point, but I don't claim to have all the answers- actually, no, I don't have all the answers.

An article about an event receiving news coverage may be posted to ITN if it meets the following criteria:

  1. the event occurred in the previous 7 days(as it is now)
  2. the event receives original reporting in more than one news outlet
  3. a preexisting article related to the event receives a quality update of at least five sentences, or a new article is created of at least three paragraphs
  4. "Quality update" means no orange maintenance tags or deletion process underway

The purpose of discussion at ITNC would be to determine a blurb, the quality of the update, and if needed, what image to display. If implemented, this would obviate the need for WP:ITNR and that could be marked as historical.

Too many postings is not a problem ITN seems to have. There is often several days without a new post- too many valid postings is a problem that I would want to have. There is also fear that it would turn ITN into a celebrity news outlet- what's the issue there if there is a quality article update? I often see the criticism that ITN is just about death, disaster, destruction, and maybe elections. Variety is good and improving articles is good. This would also allow for more postings from underserved areas where one editor might have done good work improving a news article about an event from an underserved area.

Thanks for any ideas that you might have. 331dot (talk) 16:53, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not opposing this proposal myself, but isn't the counterargument against this the WP:NOTNEWS argument? I agree with you that ITN could or should have more postings, but it seems that others argue that ITN is not meant to be a "news ticker". Natg 19 (talk) 17:03, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Two frequent objections that get brought up when similar ideas are floated are "We're going to turn into a US ticker!" and (as you mention) "We're going to get flooded with news about the Kardashians!". The solution to both of these is the same as over at DYK: limit stories relating to any particular country to no more than one half the blurbs, and to any particular subject area to no more than a quarter. In practice, that's 2 and 1 (with a typical four blurbs) compared to DYK's 4 and 2 (of 8 hooks). —Cryptic 17:06, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unlike DYK where the whole of human knowledge is available and thus limiting topics from the same area is possible, no one can control how news happens. If ITN ends up with every topic about one country or from one topic area (like sports), that's just the way it happens. Masem (t) 17:15, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we have a half-dozen postable candidates every day and a seven-day backlog to pull from, then we can pick and choose. And if we happen to get separate earthquakes on the same day that dump both San Francisco and Tokyo into the sea, that's what WP:IAR is for. —Cryptic 17:26, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problem is that we often don't get blurbable candidates on some days. That can be a combination of a slow news day and a lack of volunteer effort to nominate and/or improve an article. If the ITNC throughput fwas much higher, it would be great to have a backlog of ITNs ready to go so we can try to do some balance managing. But outside the period of Nobel Prize award week, I have rarely seen anything that approached that backlog. Masem (t) 17:36, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then we can delay or decline an update, or we can replace another blurb; or maybe we make the limits advisory ("try really hard not to run three Dutch blurbs at once") instead of being stated as absolutes, or apply only if there's alternate blurbs to pick from. —Cryptic 17:52, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe the other front page sections have such restrictions- often someone will spend time improving a slew of articles in the same general topic area for DYK, but those are posted as they come. 331dot (talk) 14:45, 10 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Personally, I think we need to address the failure of the community as a whole to follow the principles of NOTNEWS and NEVENT, which bleeds into some of the problems at ITN. We are creating articles on every event that gets some type of immediate coverage, and where we have existing articles, we are overly detailed on events as the break (eg see our COVID timeline articles for how bad this is). We need to keep the mindset WP is not a newspaper, and we do include current events, it should be towards comprehensive summary of a topic. We also look towards enduring coverage of events, rather than the burst if coverage.
With this kept in mind and better application if NOTNEWS, we should hopefully get coverage of topics from a broader spectrum of fields (eg we typically are woefully shy on medical and scientific items) where the articles are of high quality when they become news. Its why the mantra "ITN us not a news ticker" is there so that we are looking for a diverse array of topics that have demonstrated long term relevance than simply resorting to reading news headlines. Masem (t) 17:32, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What does "long term relevance" mean? Natg 19 (talk) 17:54, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For this purpose, it would be WP:LASTING and WP:PERSISTENCE. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:39, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the case of current events,is often the case that neither WP:LASTING nor WP:PERSISTENCE is known with any certainty, so this will be a guess. What is known for certainty is that the people here are poor at estimating them, and usually underestimate. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:49, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1. It doesn't help that AfD is often visited by the same few regulars, many of whom believe that "it was in the news" means it received secondary coverage. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:38, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This seems very much a view of certain (very vocal) Wikipedians (esp the FA crowd), that is not shared by most people actually using Wikipedia. Most people just want the information they need. Delaying that information for some archaic view of what constitutes an 'encyclopedia', that is rooted in the limited space and the production method of these older encyclopaedias is the route to irrelevance (as was the fate of the encyclopaedias before us). —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 14:08, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've been basically calling for the implementation of this system for months now; we clearly cannot agree on what notability is, with the vagueness of ITN being literally inscripted on WP:ITN, so why not just reduce nota standards to a base amount of basic variables. I'm always amused how people would openly state, "this shouldn't be posted to our front page because it doesn't fit my notability standards" and how that would just be tolerated on ITN. In the past, I've stated that "if a subject has an article, and you don't think its of encyclopedic significance to be included on ITN, then you know where to go." People keep screaming about how we will become like TMZ or whatever, and I honestly think that this whole anti-celebrity news mantra you see on a somewhat ubiquitous scale on ITN is just a lazy placeholder of an argument used to tear down noms they don't like, pulling on the popularity of hating popularity to garner support. For example, there have been repeated calls by some to have a link to WP:25 or have some sort of "trending topics" page related to ITN, and it's been shut down since "We'Ll bEcOmE lIke MsM oR tMz." Hell, the Titan submersible incident had people dismissing as celebrity news and comparing it to Anne Heche's death. Additionally, as Snow Rise (talk · contribs) once brilliantly pointed out, on Wikipedia, we follow what WP:RSes say, so for ITN to go against that since some users have a vendetta against some story is hogwash. But alas, as Snow again stated, this push of mine hasn't been popular since some of the regulars there won't be able to dictate what's notable or not based on vibes. We all know ITN is fundamentally broken, but we're so fragmented and polarized that we can't even come to a consensus to compromise on the most minor of issues. — Knightoftheswords 17:50, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This essentially says what I was going to say. I've also advocated this approach, and I've criticized the editors at ITN for creating a closed off bubble from the rest of the project that sees fit to ignore WP:OR, WP:NOTNEWS, and WP:CONSENSUS. The time has long since passed for the community as a whole to implement changes to ITN, as the regular participants have essentially come up with their own rules and are unwilling to budge from them. I've lost count of how many times someone's argument in a discussion was challenged at ITN because "we don't do that at ITN". Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:45, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Besides the issue with TOP25 being more beholden to pop culture interests, there is no quality control for articles listed at Top25, which fails a necessary facet of being on featured on the main page. Also "we follow what RSes say" only applies to WP:V, it doesn't factor into other p&g, like notability.
What I don't think many complainers (who are generally those relatively new to UTN) get us that is that ITN was made to feature quality articles that happened to be in the news. This included articles created in a high quality form within hours of an event happening, like 9/11 or Jan 6. What we are seeing is more demand to follow the news, leading to article of okay quality but not what we'd consider anywhere close to the expectations of TFA or DYK ones. Which is why ITNC discussions can be diversity as I'd guess half of the regulars are looking for good encyclopedic articles while the other half are looking for newsworthiness and timeliness. Masem (t) 20:53, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just feel like you can't have defined ITN criteria that allows ITN to function for it's stated purpose with a simple streamlined set of rules defining "notability". That is why "the event receives original reporting in more than one news outlet" is a problem, because like past proposals designed to grant any news item automatic ITN inclusion for being covered by a certain number of sources, we are then beholden to what the media in a general sense thinks is important, and given most publications operate online now, they post countless articles a day, meaning if you have, say, 20 set publications you are looking across, you probably have dozens of stories that all of them have covered in some way. In a sense, there has to be a "do people care" aspect to any ITN posting. I know we bash his approach a lot, but Andrew is certainly not completely off point in citing readership as it pertains to certain news stories. Not that ITN should operate by readership (which will be biased towards stupid celebrity drama, movies, stuff like that most of the time), but it is valid to ask the question of "do our readers give a you-know-what about this news item?" That is why ITN/R has seen a decent scaling back in the past year, as many have questioned just how vital for posting certain stories are (ie, very few care about the Boat Race, the launch of a new type of rocket, or G7 summits where nothing of note is resolved). I think, as I have opined in the past, ITN needs more voices and less red-tape, so as to allow us to more properly judge what people believe is important and of the public interest. DarkSide830 (talk) 22:57, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the four proposed criteria constitute reasonable minimal criteria. I would like to see stricter/clearer criteria for overall article quality. Maybe something like "the article must have GA status". -- Random person no 362478479 (talk) 17:37, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, that is a non-starter GA review takes time - something that we do not have if we want to post relevant, current news. DarkSide830 (talk) 18:02, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is certainly true for cases where a new article is created. I still think we need some kind of quality criteria. Maybe another way to go at this is to make a list of issues an article may not have, e.g. lack of citations, ongoing disputes about WP:NPOV, WP:BLP, WP:OR, ... -- Random person no 362478479 (talk) 19:49, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I guess that is at least partially covered by criterion 4. -- Random person no 362478479 (talk) 19:50, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I believe this should be covered by #4. DarkSide830 (talk) 04:10, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The minimum quality standard for ITN is already, broadly, pretty much the same as DYK. Curbon7 (talk) 04:37, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As far as I can tell there are three main objections to the current state of ITN. a) it should not exist because of WP:NOTNEWS, b) it has become toxic, c) it no longer complies with the rules. Reforming ITN doesn't address a) and b) at all. As to c) why should we assume that the people will comply with new rules if they didn't comply with the old rules? Any reform of ITN has to come with a clear commitment to enforcing the rules or we'll just end up with the same problems. -- Random person no 362478479 (talk) 19:33, 26 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment on criteria I quite like this list of criteria, but obviously No. 4 (requirement of no quality-tags or deletion processes) must be applied with common sense. There have been accusations of toxicity in ITN in the past, and it would be a real pity if people decided to game the system by deliberately putting articles into AfD or sticking debateable maintenance tags on them to exclude something they don't like (though in practice, subjects that appear in the news will attract more attention, so they may acquire quite honest maintenance/deletion tags). It's not insurmountable: basically there just has to be an appreciation that if people game the system and mess around, they're liable to be topic-banned. Comment on regionality This debate has been prompted by an ANI debate, in turn prompted by concerns about whether it's okay to put UK-news on ITN given the global position of en-WP, and whether opposition to this was xenophobia. I suggested that a technical solution might be to have region-specific material. ANI wasn't the right place to raise it, and the one response suggested it might be impractical and imperfect. But I'm mentioning it here because it might help to deal with the lack of updates; if people felt able to add regionally-relevant ITN's, we might get more coverage. It might be appropriate to allow logged-on readers to specify their region (so, for example, a UK-interested person living in Mauritius could opt for UK-ITN). But I don't know if there is any mechanism to deduce the approximate locale of an IP user. Elemimele (talk) 18:50, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Comment I like the criteria. Maybe #2 could be a bit more stringent, to avoid super-trivial local news? Along the lines of "# the event receives original reporting in at least three news outlet from at least two different countries". Khuft (talk) 20:22, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think that we should see if that is actually a problem before doing something about it. The first priority right now should be a change period, we can always tinker as time progresses. 331dot (talk) 20:35, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I guess there could be a pilot phase where we would see how it works in practice. And sorry, forgot to mention that I support your idea overall! One more thing to consider: RD Blurbs. I think we should forbid them. Deaths would simply be covered by RD; only assassinations & the like would get blurbed. Khuft (talk) 21:09, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Per that definition Queen Elizabeth- the head of state of several nations- would not have merited a blurb; but I think that issue should be considered separately. The more changes we try to make, the harder it will be to gain consensus- and it's already going to be challenging. 331dot (talk) 21:33, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The death of Queen Elizabeth II would have been blurbed under your criteria (+ the RD Blurb restriction) because it resulted in a change of monarch in the UK. So it's shouldn't be a showstopper. Khuft (talk) 21:38, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Page view data indicates that the readers are nowhere near as discriminating as Wikipedians on the ITN/C talk page and will eagerly gobble up the latest doings of the Kardashians. When it comes to regionalism, xenophobia is the real problem. The biggest manifestation is the attempt to insulate American readers from the reality of a global internet. The reader in Mauritius is quite used to news feeds on overseas events and will not be put off by the Bundesliga results. Given our global scope and our educational mission, I advocate dropping the concept of regional relevance, and a lower bar for blurbs. Readers in the UK can and will accept news from Mauritius . Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:49, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I've been considering a notion of ITN as an easy-access box for readers rather than a place for editors to prove that Wikipedia is for siriuz bidness. I'd like ITN's contents to overlap substantially with articles that will appear in the Signpost's traffic report – things readers are looking for, that have been updated recently. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:22, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Most RD blurbs will be ruled out by criterion #3, "a quality update of at least five sentences". —Cryptic 22:34, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Criterion #2 is unbelievably loose. Every individual F1 race or tennis tournament would get posted on ITN. Every death of a famous person would get posted on ITN (need 5 sentences? just gather a bunch of social media reactions!). Every regional election would get posted on ITN. The season finale of every reality competition show would get posted on ITN. -- Kicking222 (talk) 23:42, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Almost all deaths are covered by RD. Only those where the death itself is an event would go to ITN(as it is now). The end of a TV show is not generally newsworthy. The rest I don't see what the problem is. People writing and reading more articles is a good thing, not bad. 331dot (talk) 00:16, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Agree. InedibleHulk (talk) 06:06, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I looked at the first example I thought of, the finale for the most recent season of "American Idol" (a show that is no longer hugely relevant and that many people forget still exists). There was SO MUCH news coverage from reliable sources. Someone could unquestionably, undoubtedly create enough of an update that, under your criteria, would breeze onto the main page. Stories would last maybe a few hours in most cases- hell, all of ITN would get wiped out every weekend thanks to golf, tennis, auto racing, MMA, pro wrestling, etc. I'm starting to think you haven't even considered the ramifications of your proposal- which would, in essence, turn into ITN into a 24-hour news ticker and nothing more. Kicking222 (talk) 21:43, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Which values would that contradict? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:18, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Kicking222 I have about ten years of experience off and on with ITN so I am well aware of what I think ramifications might be. I don't think it would be as bad as you claim, and I also don't see the problem if it were. We shouldn't have super-notability for ITN; if a topic isn't notable enough for ITN it should not be notable enough for Wikipedia. Too many postings is a problem I would love for ITN to have because it would mean that people are working on and improving articles. 331dot (talk) 19:26, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Cool, have fun posting every single WWE pay-per-view (they're all updated and have reliable sources) on the Main Page. Too bad we couldn't implement your idea in time for "Succession", since every episode would have its own article posted.
    By the way, this would essentially lead to massive amounts of advertising for new products. Every video game and film that comes out will be on the Main Page upon release, since they all get updated with a "Reception" section. Kicking222 (talk) 22:04, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Kicking222, why do you think that posting recently updated articles that readers want to read would be an inherent problem? Look at pages like User:Jimbo Wales/Statement of principles and Wikipedia:Five pillars. Do you see anything in there that says anything remotely like "It would be bad if readers saw links to new video games" or "An encyclopedia might be stuck having articles about some television show, but it shouldn't ever put them in the Main Page"?
    It feels like you have a gut feeling about something harmful, and I'm hoping that you can articulate exactly what the harm is. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:54, 28 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I've been very clear about the harms, but sure, I'll expand. It would create tremendous turnover on the Main Page that would take tons of maintenance. It would put out a huge amount of free advertising, which is quite clearly obviously against WP's tenets; it would also open up a great avenue for self-serving editing. It would put on the Main Page not necessarily what people are searching for, but what users choose to edit and submit to ITN. It would take actual important stories and kick them off the Main Page in a heartbeat. It would unfairly and heavily favor sports and entertainment (which is a huge problem to me, and I work in sports).
    I'm not saying ITN is perfect- boy howdy, is it flawed- but throwing any old article on the Main Page as long as it's sourced isn't the solution. Kicking222 (talk) 23:17, 28 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thanks for the organized list, @Kicking222. Here are my thoughts on each item:
    • I'm not sure that it would create any additional turnover on the Main Page at all. In fact, we could choose to update it less often than we do right now. Nobody here has suggested an automated ticker.
    • I believe that Wikipedia:We don't care what happens to your website, and I don't see anything in any of the principles or value statements that says anything about trying to minimize any "free advertising". It's true that some individual editors hold this POV, and most of us loathe the idea of COI editors secretly manipulating articles, but there is no general principle that we should edit in ways that minimize the financial effect (whether positive or negative) on the subjects of articles.
    • I don't understand how a human-controlled but page-views driven metric would encourage editing. I could imagine someone trying to drive up page views, but (a) having more people read an article is not necessarily a bad thing, and (b) page views aren't editing.
    • It is currently true that ITN puts on the Main Page not necessarily what people are searching for, but what editors choose to edit and submit to ITN. My suggestion ("things readers are looking for, that have been updated recently") would change the current 100%-editor-focused process to consider both readers (their interests, as represented by page views – perhaps a bot would post a traffic report for editors to look over once a day) and editors (because the article still has to be updated, submitted, approved, and manually added to the ITN page).
    • If the articles about subjects that are important (in your personal and subjective opinion, of course) aren't interesting to readers (in their individual, personal, and subjective opinions), then why should we be giving "free advertising" those uninteresting subjects? If the articles about subjects that are unimportant to you are important enough to readers that they're actively searching for them, then why shouldn't we make it easier on readers to find the things that are important to them?
    WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:44, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I certainly think a reader-first approach as opposed to an editor-first approach is the right idea. I also certainly understand most of your points, which are well-reasoned and well-stated. I completely disagree with your first one, though; I cannot foresee any scenario in which turnover is not greatly increased if we're expanding the scope of ITN from "important things that happen" to "anything that happens". I further believe that, if that were the case, you would find a ton of people complaining- "I submitted this article, and it's in great shape, and people said it meets the criteria, but you still didn't post it! What gives?"
    As for advertising, let's consider a specific scenario. I have personal connections to the game Unavowed; it has an article that is written, updated, and sourced properly (indeed, it's a GA). If I submitted to ITN/C "Point-and-click adventure video game Unavowed is released to positive reviews", there's no way anyone could argue against it. If that's the type of thing you want on the Main Page, cool- you're entitled to that opinion, and by virtue, the game is able to get a lot more eyeballs on it. Is merely having that on the Main Page a problem? Is that pushing off a more important story a problem? If I proposed posting it with a free-use photo of the game designer, would that be a problem? If you think the answer to all of those is "no", I won't argue with you because it's totally subjective, but I don't love it (besides from my NPOV "I want my friends who made the game to succeed" perspective). Kicking222 (talk) 18:49, 30 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I find Masem's comment somewhere above resonating with me, about topic areas of ITN coverage. As I write this, the current stories are of the form: politician inaugurated; politician elected; criminal receives sentence; sporting event concludes. Meanwhile the ongoing events are: natural disaster, organised violence, organised violence, organised violence. Honestly, I'd almost prefer if some pointless celebrity gossip were included to round it out.
I do take WhatamIdoing's point close above how the service to the reader will align with links they would likely arrive at by other means (search, search from external site), but I feel like there's a whole lot of life missed out on when ITN blurbs fall almost exclusively into politics, sports, violence, and extreme weather events.
I get trying to represent more regions more fairly, but this is the inadequate representation that vibes more with me. What if we had three open slots, where any story whose article meets quality critera could socket into, one slot for anything not US/UK, and one slot for anything but politics, sport, violence, and extreme weather events? Folly Mox (talk) 23:45, 22 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That might work. InedibleHulk (talk) 03:16, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I actually really like the idea you make in the third para. Curbon7 (talk) 06:15, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've been thinking about this, I'm not sure if it's logistically possible (or at least logistically uncomplicated). The issue is that the number of blurbs constantly changes due to WP:ITNBALANCE; just recently, there have been times where there are as many as 7 blurbs and as few as 3. I'd be interested in workshopping this, as I think it is a meritorious idea, but it should be straight-forward for the sake of both participants and admins. Curbon7 (talk) 21:02, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh I agree that my simplistic 3+1+1 idea hastily jotted down on the way out the door for sure requires workshopping. I never even knew of the existence of WP:ITNBALANCE. It doesn't have any effect on or benefit to mobile view. That has to be a weird feeling, to have the output of your consensus process directly affected by prose wording from two unrelated processes like a second class citizen. Folly Mox (talk) 22:33, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"one slot for anything not US/UK" I would go even further and say "one slot for anything not North America or Western Europe". That might encourage more quality work on geographic areas that are underrepresented on Wikipedia. -- Random person no 362478479 (talk) 17:24, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I said above, I think we should make the more general change first before tinkering with it. The more complicated the proposal, the harder it will be to gain consensus to do it. 331dot (talk) 17:28, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't mean to be a downer, nor to start consensus polling, but I quite frankly find nothing wrong with the ITN status quo. Maintaining notability requirements for blurbs is essential for not crowding out the really important news stuff from ITN (I know this is essentially a WP:FASTCYCLE argument, but that whole essay only applies when there even is notability to be argued about). Similar to RfA, ITN has its practices and customs that have developed over a decade and a half and I feel that they serve useful functions and oughtn't be removed. I'd actually rather see ITN abolished altogether than have "free rein" without any feelings of overall importance. – John M Wolfson (talk • contribs) 04:33, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In establishing what a notable event for ITN is, prospective reformers would be prudent to grant a degree of leniency while ensuring that ambiguity does not cloud purpose. This proposal does not particularly impose clear restrictions on what ITN coverage entails. If one were to seriously considering standardizing ITN notability—a daunting task itself—one would need to establish the elements of a proper nomination. A proper set of ITN guidelines assumes inequality in what stories are presented to ITN. A mass shooting in which eight people are killed would be exceptional for Norway but above-average for the United States. ITN cannot function if context is absent. On a grander scale, stories need to hold individual merit; celebrity news will never meet that requirement because celebrity news is inherently tabloid, but the change of a head of state or major scientific discovery is "in the news". Lucy Letby's conviction is internal news to the United Kingdom. It holds no global significance and is not particularly exceptional in the U.K. With regards to ITN's processes, I take no issue with the consensus system. However, consensus is difficult to achieve with geographic differences and systemic bias. elijahpepe@wikipedia (he/him) 06:26, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The ITN box is big enough to easily hold 4-6 thumbnail pictures, and still have room for the Ongoing and RD tickers at the bottom. I would get rid of blurbs and replace them with pictures. The "significance" criteria should be replaced with something objective and measurable, like "front page coverage in multiple national newspapers outside the country where the event occurred." I don't agree with the 5-sentences/3-paragraphs rule for "recently updated" -- in fact, we don't need a rule for that at all; if it's front page coverage in multiple national newspapers outside the country where the event occurred, it's 100% guaranteed to have been updated in a Wikipedia article somewhere (or a new article created). I think "no" orange tags is too strict for quality -- some tags are OK, it depends on the tag. I think the one place where some subjectivity is OK is quality. Levivich (talk) 19:04, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First, what are "front page headlines" in today's digital world is an impossible metric as spelled out on the ITN pages. But moreover if we did that we would succuum to the Western/US/UK bias that global media has. For example, we have just posted the Indian moon lender's arrival...That ain't going to be a front page topic against to-night GOP debates or Trump and codefendents turning themselves in. We need to have encyclopedic considerations of what topics that have been in the news that should be posted to avoid the systematic bias of the media. Masem (t) 20:28, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here are paper front page headlines in today's digital world. The India moon landing happened today; it'll be in the world's papers tomorrow as it's already on the websites. You can look at this morning's world front pages and see that BRICS is getting far more coverage than Trump or GOP debates. The evidence contradicts your assumptions. Levivich (talk) 20:38, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The landing only just happened today so it won't be flecked for another 24hr. And to add to.the craziness of the news we have the plane crash in Russia. While India's success will likely be big in India, there's too much else that the media will grab onto to bury that elsewhere. That is we'd never see major scientific milestones at all, nor most elections, nor most sporting events, if we stuck to headlines. We want diversity of topics at ITN, so following the importance given by the press fails that. Masem (t) 21:00, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You can click that link now and see the India moon landing on the front page of today's papers in China, Germany, Saudi Arabia, UAE, among others. The Russian plane crash is also all over the world's front pages. Not Trump or GOP or American politics. Levivich (talk) 04:27, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Levivich; and I want to expand ITN and make it less focused on notability and newness. Cover more topics. Andre🚐 21:24, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you really want to make "In The News" be less about what's in the news? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:19, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you want ITN to be something other than ITN, that would probably be better discussed with its abolition, below. 331dot (talk) 19:28, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That could be easily be solved, though, by defining a broader range of media that would be considered reputable global media. Off the top of my head, we could consider the Times of India, the South China Morning Post, the Straits Times, Al Jazeera - and these are just some English language ones. Khuft (talk) 20:59, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We already determine that at WP:RSN and WP:RSP Andre🚐 21:25, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd actually much rather abolish RD altogether and just leave the hook to Deaths in 2023 in the box. That page gives you more information then just a link on the homepage and covers almost all deaths, not just ones that someone bothered to work on the page for. Just a box of deaths feels kinda boring and would lead to endless debate over what picture to use, which is always a silly debate that can be solved by "who cares, don't have a picture". DarkSide830 (talk) 04:13, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
RD has been effective and works well; I strongly oppose removing it even if ITN was ultimately done away with(which I also oppose). 331dot (talk) 19:27, 24 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And you are entitled to that opinion, but I simply think a short list of names of dead people on the mainpage is less useful when you are already linking to a longer list of dead people already. But to each their own. DarkSide830 (talk) 22:47, 25 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not seeing any evidence that RD is "effective and works well". It tends to work in a perverse way so that, the more accomplished a person, the less likely they are to be posted – see Jimmy Buffett for a recent example. And, even if someone is posted, the listing is so brief, content-free and perfunctory that most readers don't notice and so the effect on readership is negligible. Andrew🐉(talk) 12:16, 11 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Buffett situation is less of an RD issue and is more emblematic of the poor state of many of our articles on actors and musicians. In recent weeks, plenty of very accomplished people, such as Bill Richardson and Heath Streak, were posted in a timely manner. Curbon7 (talk) 21:10, 11 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Jimmy Buffett article is graded C-class just like the Heath Streak article. And, for most of our readership, it's far better because it has good pictures while Streak has none at all. And our readers have voted with their feet, ignoring ITN's idiosyncratic and irrelevant obsessions. The only thing resembling a complaint on Buffett's talk page seems to have been from the man himself. He observed that communications were poor and that's for sure. And now we'll never know what was on his mind, alas. Andrew🐉(talk) 10:21, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Right, I get the point about readership, but the issue is that since these are going to be highlighted on the main page, there is a degree of basic quality (not too dissimilar from DYK) needed. If I remember correctly, several blurbs of the most recent Nobel winners, including the peace prize, were not posted on similar quality grounds; perhaps a solution could be to more actively encourage ITN editors to improve articles with sourcing/prose issues rather than simply commenting on those issues. Curbon7 (talk) 19:18, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Given the daily violations of WP:OR, WP:CONSENSUS, and WP:OWN after countless warnings (for the main page no less), the additional disregard for WP:N and WP:NOT, and the fact that these frequent village pump discussions have yet to accomplish a thing, the idea of an ANI discussion about the ITN community as a whole is sounding more and more reasonable. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:47, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are plenty of ideas floated here, you are welcome to be bold and start an RfC on any you want. Curbon7 (talk) 21:27, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
An ANI discussion about the entire ITN community? As if that place didn't have enough drama to fill a hogshead. What are you suggesting; indef blocks all around? Duly signed, WaltClipper -(talk) 14:17, 10 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I proposed something similar, but with a slight twist: require articles in newspapers of record in 3 (5? more?) separate countries. That includes non-Western countries. Criteria for cleanup tags/quality can be debated separately, but the main problem at ITN is the total subjectivity of "this topic is worth featuring at ITN, this topic isn't". Only one way to solve that: defer to an external authority (our sources), otherwise people just make up criteria as they go. That subjectivity increases Western bias, it doesn't decrease it, contrary to widespread belief. And it just needs to go. DFlhb (talk) 15:48, 10 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@BilledMammal also suggested this, and I think something like that would be optimal. I also like @Levivich's suggestion of using frontpages as a metric for what current events are important globally. Everyone I know who isn't a wiki editor already thinks the only purpose of ITN is to highlight the biggest news stories around the world. JoelleJay (talk) 20:34, 10 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm honestly not surprised that both this discussion and similarly the abolition discussion has petered out yet again. ITN seems to be one of those issues where people would like to see it changed, but it's such a low-profile section of the Main Page that the only time we notice it is when there's a Big Problem. And once the Big Problem more or less quietly lapses into obscurity, its back to business as usual. Thinking out loud, rather than focusing the topic around getting rid of ITN in particular, perhaps any discussion on altering the Main Page needs to specifically be more additive/constructive, i.e. is it worth changing or replacing any section so that we can publicize Wikipedia:Featured lists? Duly signed, WaltClipper -(talk) 14:34, 24 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WaltCip, I think based on how this discussion went, a good start would be community-imposed WP:General sanctions for civility at ITN. Curbon7 (talk) 04:46, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's worth a try, though I think at this point, we'll honestly have to wait for yet another flareup of incivility at ITN/C before the community will have an appetite to reconsider the issue. Duly signed, WaltClipper -(talk) 14:02, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think an ANI discussion would be a good idea. In general however I think the ban hammer should be wielded more liberally. Let's make it a designated 'strict' space, with immediate 1 year ITN-specific interaction bans for those who are not conductive to a participatory and collaborative environment. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 14:42, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There have always been ANI discussions regarding individual problematic editors at ITN; two recent examples I can remember are this civility restriction) and this p-block. If you want a comprehensive look, that's probably going to have to go through WP:ARBCOM as I reckon it'd be way out of ANI's capability. Curbon7 (talk) 16:53, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Soft Delete[edit]

One of the barriers to dealing with the legacy issue of mass-created articles is that it is difficult to determine at scale whether we should have an article on that topic and some editors oppose removing the content without first making that determination, as it may make it a little harder to create a proper article in the future.

In WP:ARBDEL I briefly raised the possibility of splitting deletion into two forms; "hard deletion" and "soft deletion" as a method to address this; by removing one of the barriers to recreating an article if sources are found it may make the topic less contentious.

Hard deletion
Hard deletion would function as deletion does at the moment, and would be used for content that contain defamatory or other legally suspect material or would otherwise be subject to oversight or revision deletion. This should fulfill the requirements of the WMF to only allow trustworthy individuals access to deleted articles.

As we cannot retroactively determine whether soft deletion or hard deletion should be applied to past deletions, all past deletions would be converted to hard deletions.

Deletion demonstration

Soft deletion

Soft deletion would preserve public access to the history of an article, but restore the status of a page as a red-link; see the mockup to the left.

This will have several advantages:

  1. It will ensure that the past content is accessible to all editors, which will:
    1. Make it easier to contest prods after the seven day notice period
    2. Make it easier to identify recreated articles that are eligible for WP:G4
    3. Make it easier to use that content if the topic becomes eligible, or is identified as eligible, for an article
  2. It will mean that links to the article are displayed as redlinks, which may:
    1. Increase the chance that someone will create an article on the topic
    2. Increase the chance that a substantial article will exist on the topic, as new articles, particularly on obscure topics, are rarely expanded beyond a microstub if the creator does not do so
  3. It will open up the possibility of non-admins being allowed to delete articles through a right similar to page mover

There is a disadvantage, in that it would make it easier for people to recreate articles on topics that the community has rejected. However, that can be handled through the use of salt, and I think it is outweighed by the advantages.

The largest issue with this would be implementation; it would require modification to the MediaWiki software, and whether the WMF would be willing to do those modifications is a difficult question. As such, I'm opening this up as a preliminary discussion of the idea; if there is a belief we should move forward with it or a variation on it we can consider how best to bring it to the WMF.

BilledMammal (talk) 18:28, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A similar proposal from long, long ago. —Cryptic 18:37, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That proposal appears to work without work from the WMF, which if still true would significant reduce the practical barriers to implementation, and the method proposed - making blanked pages function in the same way as deleted pages - would naturally implement the third possible benefit of soft deleting.
The biggest issue raised in that discussion is that editors would need to be aware they need to check for copyright violations prior to tagging for deletion. This could, however, be addressed by keeping "hard delete" as the default, and only using "soft delete" when it is explicitly called for, such as by a consensus at AfD when the participants believe it is possible an article could exist on a topic but sources are difficult to find. BilledMammal (talk) 19:01, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this largely makes sense. Would viewing of "soft deleted" pages be restricted to editors, or for readers as well? Especially if it includes readers, we should have some pretty large caveats at the top, like this:
Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 20:41, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My thinking was that it should be viewable to all, but on reflection I'm wondering if it would be better to limit it to editors; I can't see any benefit of non-editors viewing them, and I can see the potential for issues.
The idea of including a warning makes sense, though I would suggest only showing it when the reader is looking at the history, not when they are just looking at the page. BilledMammal (talk) 21:54, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But who are "non-editors"? Many good (and bad) contributions come from IP addresses, though of course they're not allowed to create articles. Certes (talk) 10:31, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This seems to overlap a bit with the idea behind draftification, which is to get content not ready for mainspace out of mainspace, and to get it out of Google Search results, without completely erasing it and allowing work to continue on it since it may have potential. Do we think it's a good idea to have another draftification-adjacent process? Also, would this help reduce any backlogs? –Novem Linguae (talk) 21:18, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see them being used for similar but different purposes. They both get content that is not ready for mainspace out of mainspace, but soft deletion would preserve the work and keep it readily accessible in the long term for future use, while draftification would provide space for work to continue in the short term.
Also, would this help reduce any backlogs? Aside from the "silent backlog" of mass-created articles, that I believe it will help address by reducing the finality of each result, there is the backlog at various XfD noticeboards (Pppery has a seemingly never-ending stream of them posted at WP:RFCL) that this would likely help to address by broadening the pool of editors technically capable of closing them. BilledMammal (talk) 21:54, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It will end when there stop being deletion discussions that have been open for more than a month. I think my efforts there to draw attention to them are working, and this proposal wouldn't have any impact as it only applies to articles where as the backlogged venues are RfD and CfD, and the former target of a RfD-ed redirect/contents of a CfD-ed category are already publicly visible (although in the latter case somewhat of a pain to access). * Pppery * it has begun... 21:58, 3 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Outside of copyvio or other legal/courtesy reasons, "soft deletion" would never need to convert to "hard deletion", because it's already in a deleted state. I.e. the soft deleted article can remain useful to editors in perpetuity. Whereas drafts are not in a deleted state so they likely do need some sort of cleanup mechanism. —siroχo 08:54, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It seems similar, I agree, but draftification is really more to get the creator to fix whatever issues make it unsuitable for mainspace undisturbed, then hopefully move it back. "Soft deleted" pages (I assume) couldn't be edited, and would not be a working space. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 12:21, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unless a page is protected from being created, anyone would be able to re-create it based on the earlier content. isaacl (talk) 16:45, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As BilledMammal, said, that can be overcome by selective salting. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 17:03, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that's what's I said. Perhaps I misread the original proposal; my impression was that the default would be to allow a page to be re-created, contingent on the identification of appropriate sources, and only to block it from re-creation if this were identified as necessary. isaacl (talk) 17:57, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, perhaps I misunderstood your comment. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 17:59, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Anyone can recreate a page (at an unsalted title) anyway. A persistent creator of unwanted articles will have the previous wikitext saved at home ready to paste, and there are places to find deleted articles. The proposal just simplifies things for those who aren't wily career spammers. Certes (talk) 10:36, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that's what I said regarding re-creation. isaacl (talk) 14:26, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When I wrote the initial proposal for how drafts would work, I specifically omitted a hard deadline for deleting drafts so that they could be used as a form of soft delete. Several years later, G13 was expanded to enforce a harsh six month deadline for drafts, and it was decided that you can't dratify an article older than 90 days without consensus first. Ultimately I think we could use drafts as a form of low stakes soft delete again if that G13 criteria was repealed, now that we have developed a precedent of using the Village Pump to discuss mass draftfication of old articles. There is no reason we need to "clean up" drafts that readers can't find by hard deleting them. We can afford petabytes of database storage space for drafts, and they aren't visible to search. If that happened, then we could handle things like LUGSTUBS by draftifying them without any legitimate argument that it was a slow drip version of hard deletion. Steven Walling • talk 23:18, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Personally, I really don't like the fact that drafts contributed to by active editors can be speedy deleted in just 6 months. It feels a bit counter to the spirit of WP:5P3 because it discourages use of a collaborative space for the ultimate Wikipedia backlog -- the "article creation backlog". —siroχo 01:43, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I had a similar idea a while back, but never shared it. Thanks for getting the ball rolling! Anyway, this can be done without a software change, by creating a new noindexed namespace (let's call it "Archive"). Then a "soft deletion" of BadArticle would be accomplished as follows:
  1. Move BadArticle to Archive:BadArticle without leaving a redirect.
  2. Blank Archive:BadArticle, and replace the content some boilerplate disclaimer, instructing users that this page might be inaccurate and they should view the history.
  3. Fully protect Archive:BadArticle.
Some combination of edit filters and title blacklist could be used to prevent non-admins from performing step 1.
With that said, I think there are certain classes of pages (apart from the obvious ones like copvios and attack pages) that should never be soft deleted. BLPs at least, for privacy reasons. No, not just "BLP violations". Any BLP and anything BLP-adjacent, e.g. "List of people who ....". And probably anything even slightly spammy; yes, these pages will be excluded from search engines, but the spammer might not know that. If they see there's a way to "create a profile on wiki" [sic] that exists in perpetuity, they might be motivated to create more spam.
I'll note that this method excludes the page from our own internal search engine. I cannot decide if that's a bug or a feature. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 23:03, 4 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I support the proposal in principle and Suffusion of Yellow's implementation specifically for not requiring software changes (for which we might wait decades). There are many legitimate uses for seeing deleted pages, where not prohibited for good reason (copyvio, libel, etc.) They may have some content worth salvaging, and it's often useful to see a spammer or hoaxer's previous work when identifying sock puppets. Minor details need attention, such as what happens when we soft-delete the same title multiple times, but they are easily resolved (just add to the existing history?). Certes (talk) 10:47, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
what happens when someone wants to revive and improve Archive:BadArticle? Full protection would prevent its being moved to main or Draft: namespace (and we may want to prevent the latter anyway, as it might result in real deletion after six months.) Should an editor wanting to rescue the article copy-paste it with suitable attribution, or is there a better way? Certes (talk) 12:56, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I guess they can request at WP:RM or WP:REFUND or some new page created for that purpose. We can even have two type of "archiving": "soft archiving" (just request unarchiving, no reason needed) and "hard archiving" (show that the consensus was misinterpreted, or start a new discussion). We can put something in Template:Editnotices/Namespace/Main to warn people if an archived page with same name exists, and direct them to request unarchiving instead of cutting and pasting. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 20:31, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this is a fair bit better than the "what if we had yet another unsupervised unilateral backdoor deletion method?" undertone of the OP and several supporters, and closer to being a workable proposal. I don't agree with the "make people request unarchiving if they want to make a new article" thing, which sounds closer to a soft salt -- most deleted articles that are recreated are just recreated, sometimes with history restored and sometimes not, and the idea that most of them have to formally request permission comes from the same error of perception that gets RSN making all its calls based on "how would this source be used in an AMPOL article?". I firmly agree that this should absolutely not be an unbundled delete, but rather a more flexible replacement for most deletions. (There are very few failed RfAs of viable candidates in the modern RfA era, but it's striking how many of them reference a more zealous interpretation of deletion or exclusion than the community endorses.) Vaticidalprophet 09:03, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Re "make people request unarchiving if they want to make a new article": Not if they want to start a new article from scratch. But if they want to base their new article on the old one? We need some method of keeping the history in one place. Yes, a histmerge after the fact is possible, but a hassle. If we want to allow unilateral unarchiving by non-admins, one option would be an edit filter allowing moves but not edits to "soft" archived pages. (I already tried the title blacklist but couldn't get that to work.) Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 00:14, 7 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Another disadvantage is that it will make it easier to delete articles without prior discussion or consensus. Given the near-continuous disagreements about draftification (which, as others have noted, is basically a kludged version of this) since it was introduced, I think that could be a significant disadvantage. – Joe (talk) 07:48, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think "archiving" (what I'm going to call this; as noted below "soft deletion" means something else) should be technically restricted to admins, and restricted by policy to pages that could have been deleted under the old system. The idea is that one should not have to go through RFA to read the history of a page unless it is somehow potentially "harmful": e.g. copvios, BLPs, maybe spam. You don't need to be an admin to see content that was removed from a live page, unless it was revdel-worthy. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 20:39, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm not opposed to widening access to deleted histories, but FTR it's not the case now that you need to be an admin to see them. You just need to ask an admin, e.g. at WP:REFUND. – Joe (talk) 10:14, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment (1) the terms hard deletion and soft deletion are already in use at AfD debates, so it would be helpful to explain the differences and clarify the terminologies so we don't end up with confusion and ambiguity.
  • Comment (2) I'm grateful someone's looking at the underlying problem of mass-produced articles. The next-level-up problem is "bulk discussions". Wikipedia is very biased towards individual debates about individual articles. As a result, we get a stream of nearly identical AfDs on some topics (e.g. footballers who've appeared in only one match). It's very difficult for an inexperienced editor to know where to find the global debates which decided how these individual debates shoudl be handled. It would be far more efficient to have a global debate, and then carry out the result globally. But the global debates are scattered across project pages, requests-for-comment, archived talk-pages and all over the place. Unless you were involved, you'll never know. A lot of them fizzled out with low participation, leaving us for ever unsure what constitutes a notable rail-accident or bus-stop, and every time an individual bus-stop appears at AfD, we have to go through the whole thing again. Isn't there some way we can (1) draw attention to the bulk debates and make decisions on whole categories at once, with sufficiently broad input that the decision is safe, and (2) form working-parties who just do the job, instead of relying on the articles to trickle through AfD, and hope that at AfD there are sufficient people who know what the decision was to ensure someone tells Liz which way to close it. In effect, this suggestion is a step in the right direction, but we need a whole mechanism for bulk-handling, starting with robust, safe decision-making. AfD isn't ideal for bulk decisions.
  • Comment (3) maybe bulk draftification would be safer if there were an option to draftify without the 6-month-delete rule. Elemimele (talk) 12:38, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Re comment(1): There is some overlap between this proposal and the existing term "soft deletion", though they do differ in some ways. We should clarify whether we are revising the existing term or creating a new one, to exist in parallel, which should have a different name. Certes (talk) 12:53, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The latter, I think. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 20:03, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Re (1), I'm going with "archiving" unless someone comes up with a better name. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 20:40, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If the 6-month-deletion-rule is dropped, then articles in draft space should be subject to being prodded or taken to AfD 6 months after creation/draftification. Donald Albury 23:59, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Why? Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 00:21, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If drafts are going to be allowed to stay indefinitely, then they should be subject to the same review processes as articles. Alright, set it to six months after the last substantive edit. If the draft has potential, it can be kept. If it doesn't have potential, why not delete it? Donald Albury 01:55, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If drafts are going to be allowed to stay indefinitely, then they should be subject to the same review processes as articles. Why? Drafts aren't visible in search engines (either on Wikipedia or on Google). That means they aren't part of the encyclopedia, just like user pages aren't. If I can have a personal sandbox or subpage that lives on indefinitely, what is the difference between that and a draft? Steven Walling • talk 05:41, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think this proposed solution to the problem "legacy issue of mass-created articles" is quite broad and may not address how some editors feel about the sport stubs. In practice, any good faith editor can ask an administrator to restore an article for review or expansion, and frequently that request is granted. The exception if the article was salted. Second, I think many editors have concerns with any mass action of articles, so a softer form of deletion may not address those concerns. --Enos733 (talk) 04:26, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is an interesting proposal. I've thought for a while now that "notability is not temporary", while important in some respects, is problematic in others. You see this repeatedly around current-events articles, where NTEMP means people obsess the moment an article goes up about duking out whether this will be Massively Important Forever or not, because the idea of "Wikipedia is a living document, and whether a standalone article is the best way to cover something can change over time" just refuses to sit in some peoples' minds. Similarly, it results in people overcorrecting to a very high notability standard with a high false negative rate in an attempt to avoid the prevalent "BLP no one can update" problem, because no one is willing to say "well, maybe a standalone article isn't the best way to cover this anymore if someone has had no coverage in the last 20 years and seemingly never will again". People don't internalize NOTPAPER and the idea that "is a dedicated article the best way to handle this?" can change over the course of decades, in both directions, frequently both at different times for the same subject. (In the very long run, just about anything we know today could have a dedicated article, in the same way notability standards are tacitly much lower a century back or further.)
Mass creation is another paradox. While mass creation (here narrowly-defined 'bot-stub' types, to avoid the definition cagematches of WP:ACAS) purports to improve Wikipedia's coverage, it actually worsens it. Because of the commons-burning issue of huge numbers of uninformative articles clogging Special:Random and search engine results, people try to construct notability guidelines in an "if literally everything that this describes had a standalone article suddenly appear for it tomorrow, what would happen" way. This is atrocious logic, the very peak of the ways Wikipedia-at-its-worst falls into both "everything not mandatory is forbidden" and "hard cases make bad law". The resulting standards keep not solving the underlying problem of uninformative articles while preventing the creation or expansion of well-developed, inclusion-worthy articles that fall below a technicality. (Similar sub-problem of "everything not mandatory is forbidden": a lot of people seem to understand "notability" as demarcating the line where something must have an article rather than where it can. This has come up a bit at the NJOURNALS affair, where many people seem not to understand that the choice is between "editorial discretion of articles or lists" or "mandatory lists". The ATA-thumping subset at AfD contributes to this, where a misunderstanding is perpetuated that notability is the only inclusion or exclusion barometer that exists, and no other form of editorial judgement matters.)
Substituting 'archival' for 'deletion' in many cases might help handle this. If we actively move away from an understanding of standalone article inclusion based on "it Existentially Matters whether This Subject can ever appear on Wikipedia!" to "does this way of presenting information serve readers best right now or does some other way?", that could strike significantly at all three issues -- but there's a lot more that would have to be set up for it. I'm currently in the early stages of some research on reader views and understandings of articles and how they match/contradict editor views, which is really understudied throughout the project history. Any serious embarkment on "how do we fix all of this?" needs more data than we have. It also needs to consider things like "people who have articles are people, and we've accidentally hijacked the narrative of who they are forever, and they tend to have strong opinions on this and on things like whether their article exists or not". But...we probably need to stop making bad law. Vaticidalprophet 05:09, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes! To take your final paragraph on a bit of a tangent, regarding If we actively move away from an understanding of standalone article inclusion based on "it Existentially Matters whether This Subject can ever appear on Wikipedia!" to "does this way of presenting information serve readers best right now or does some other way?" This parallels another thought I've been having. Between AfD "delete" and "merge" outcomes there's a gulf we need to fill. I have some raw thoughts in a draft essay about how NORG (a very necessary notability guideline) fails us from time to time User:Siroxo/How to fix NORG AFDs, and how merges aren't working as well as they need to, right now. —siroχo 05:47, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your Hush Records and ImpactGenius examples are interesting to me, because 'sources and sourcemakers' are the big thing I think GNG doesn't work for and the place I'm most interested in carving out exceptions to it. (This is as opposed to, say, "GNG works here as well as it does for most things but people want to apply a higher standard", like our major overcorrections around fiction and the ridiculous "but if the sources have the wrong name..." clause of NSONGS.) Record labels with many notable acts are worth having some centralized place for, because readers interested in reading about a specific band are plausibly going to want to know more about how they ended up at a label and how typical they are of its acts; it occurs to me that many editors who would object to "X Records" would not object to a functionally identical "List of bands signed by X Records". (See also: gaming studios with many notable games, film production companies with many notable films, etc.) Things that are themselves sources have the additional factor of "contextualizing Wikipedia content itself", which has been a pretty widespread discussion topic lately, but also serve a function of contextualizing anywhere they may appear and not just mentions in WP articles. Narrowly notability-focused understandings of inclusion and exclusion don't handle these cases well, IMO. Vaticidalprophet 06:43, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah Vaticidalprophet is on the right tangent. Anything that helps us fight out from under the Tyranny of the Article will go a long way towards allowing us more flexibility in presenting information in more apt ways, rather than the current false dichotomy of standalone article on the one hand and list article (functionally, tabular data) on the other.
I remarked something similar but less insightful at WP:LUGSTUBS2. Meanwhile Infrastructure of the Brill Tramway abides in a middle ground. A deep restructuring of how we deal with borderline notable topics is of course its own journey, but if we've been struggling with the same problems for a decade or more it doesn't seem likely we'll solve them with current methods. Folly Mox (talk) 06:48, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with the sentiment that there is a class of borderline articles which aren't fit for mainspace but aren't sufficiently bad to warrant removing from public access through hard deletion. There are uncontroversial and verifiable subjects which are not notable, and yet the page history holds some value. For these borderline articles, hard deletion is not in keeping with the open spirit of a wiki. In particular, deleted articles take their talk pages with them - for longstanding articles, these often contain much good-faith and insightful community discussion.
I also agree with other editors who have highlighted the similarity between this proposal and Draftspace. All the proposed advantages are met or nearly met by the use of draftification, so I wonder if it would be helpful to discuss improving use of Draftspace to better meet these goals, rather than pursuing a software change. I think Steve Walling is correct that G13 is the main barrier.
At the moment, Draftspace is purgatory - a temporary stay of execution for failed articles, awaiting their final destination via G13. Repealing G13 and expanding our use of draftification could renew the purpose of Draftspace. Barnards.tar.gz (talk) 11:43, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Amongst other things, this would require accepting that "draftspace as a way to create articles" is a failed experiment. Meanwhile, enough of the community thinks we should be expanding the degree to which potential articles are forced through draftspace that "what if we just stopped telling people to make articles, at all?" was a proposal that happened and had supporters. It would also (contra the "archival sounds great because then I could unilaterally delete articles that, mysteriously, other people don't agree should be deleted" subset of interpretations of this proposal) mean draftification has to be bundled into adminship, which...I mean, I don't think I'd oppose that, even for draftification as it exists right now, but it'd have some complex consequences. Vaticidalprophet 12:57, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Was draftspace ever intended to be "a way to create articles"? It functions well in its role as a spam filter; the big problem seems to be excessive bycatch. Folly Mox (talk) 16:32, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The draft space was created because the other option, which was that articles were deleted, was deemed to WP:BITEy for new users, so AFC and the Draft Space was created to give newbies time to incubate their articles and grow them till they were ready for the main space. Whether this is a) what the process was ever used for or b) could have ever actually been useful in solving the problem is debatable. But that was the purpose. --Jayron32 17:58, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yep at the time, brand new accounts could still create articles, but newcomers were being told to use AFC, which was driven using an even uglier set of templates and subpages than the system today. So the thought was that it would be friendlier than AFC or just creating your article directly and then getting nuked by CSD, with no option to keep working on your article text. So the hope was that it could serve both as incubator and a form of soft delete. Steven Walling • talk 19:27, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think archiving should work in tandem with draftspace. Here's my view:
  • Articles in the "Archive" namespace can only be edited by administrators, by default.
  • Draft articles can be edited by anyone unless explicity protected.
  • "Archived" articles are articles deleted via PROD or AfD or other consensus that do not have legal or moral issues: "archived" articles should not contain copyvios, libel, harassment, etc. Such articles should be hard deleted.
  • Draft articles can be improved by anyone, at anytime. They are a space to work and improve articles. Draftification is an extention of this, it is saying: "your article needs some more work. Let's keep it here where you can safely work on it before moving it back to mainspace". Draftification is not comparable to deletion.
  • "Archived" articles are deleted. They can be used as a resource to re-create the article, or for other means with the overall goal of transparency. They are not a working space; they are a public archive of articles rejected by the community, like a garbage bin that anyone can rummage in.
Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 19:51, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
User:Edward-Woodrow/archived. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 20:07, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Basically what you're proposing is to let anyone view deleted article text in some cases. This is something we could do without introducing a different word for it like archived vs. deleted. It would be relatively straightforward to change the permissions such that non-admins could view deleted article revisions unless it was deleted for copyvio or another reason. Steven Walling • talk 20:21, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is? Seems like a big technical challenge to me. What approach do you have in mind on the technical side? –Novem Linguae (talk) 20:26, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah. The only piece of information we have as to whether a deletion was done for copyright infringement is the deletion log. Making currently-deleted revisions world-visible unless their deletion log says they were deleted for copyright infringement is a really bad idea for at least three reasons I can think of off the top of my head:
  • Reliably detecting "copyvio" and all its variants and all their misspellings, without allowing any false negatives, is technically nightmarish. All of these are copyvio deletions (though this very similar comment isn't). And those are just what I turned up in five minutes of searching for obvious likely false negatives.
  • There's lots of other things that shouldn't be made visible besides copyright infringement. All of their variants and misspellings would have to be detected too. Worse, admins are encouraged to delete material with deliberately innocuous log comments when deleting material prior to oversight (explicitly so for revision deletion, though also a common if undocumented practice for normal deletion), and are encouraged to send stuff along to oversight even if they think it's borderline. Borderline material by definition is going to include pages that don't end up being oversighted (overseen?), but that doesn't mean it's ok for everyone to see; and nobody's going to then undelete the page and redelete it saying "A7: self-identification, birthdate, email address, and street address of someone a year too old to be considered a minor".
  • If nobody happens to notice copyright infringement or defamation in a draft before it hits the six-months-unedited mark, the administrators pushing the G13 button hardly ever look for it either. That check gets done at WP:REFUND if and when someone asks for it to be restored. We also used to find a lot of copyright infringement at WP:DRV, after a page had already been deleted for other reasons and was only then getting inspected by a bunch more admin eyes. (I think the main reason that happens less these days is because newer users get pointed at draft and AFC instead.) While "we might accidentally make copyright infringement nobody's ever noticed visible" isn't a particularly good argument, my point is that the deletion log usually isn't explicitly amended in such cases - the pages aren't restored and then redeleted with a "copyvio" log, they're just left saying G13 or WP:AFD/Articlename or whatever.
Cryptic 22:48, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hold on. I thought the consensus was that currently "hard-deleted" articles would not be converted to soft-deleted (archived) pages. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 23:22, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oops, I meant to reply to Cryptic. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 23:22, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The draft space was created because the other option, which was that articles were deleted, was deemed to WP:BITEy for new users – I think you're rewriting history a bit there. Draftspace was intended for new articles, replacing the former practice of storing them as subpages of WP:AFC. As far as I can tell (and I've spent quite a bit of time digging into the history of this), the possibility of using it as an alternative to deletion was barely even discussed, presumably because this was explicitly disallowed by both of its predecessor processes (AfC and WP:INCUBATOR). The practice of moving new pages to draft began a couple of years after draftspace was created, without explicit consensus that it was allowed. – Joe (talk) 06:42, 7 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As a further note to Jayron32's response: this discussion led to the creation of the draft namespace. The intent was to have a central place for new article drafts, rather than having them as subpages of various pages in the Wikipedia and Wikipedia talk namespaces, as was being done by various tools. isaacl (talk) 18:37, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Note: Prior to the creation of the Draft namespace, we had “Userfication”. If an article was deemed too problematic for Mainspace - but potentially fixable - an editor would volunteer to “adopt” it and have it moved to a subpage in his/her Userspace. That editor would attempt to fix the problems (sometimes on his/her own, sometimes in collaboration with others), and then return it to Mainspace when they felt it was up to snuff.
That system worked… in part because the “adopter” felt that they had a stake in improving the “draft” that was sitting in “their” Userspace. The down side was that it implied a degree of “ownership”. Blueboar (talk) 19:29, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think userfication also worked because there was no deadline. In that discussion, it was sadly prescient when, in response to my idea that draftification would be a good alternative to deletion, Sven Manguard said That will work until the moment that rules are put into place regarding how long a draft can go unedited before it gets speedy deleted. This is why I think instead of introducing a new "soft delete" or archived idea, we just get rid of the rule that all drafts older than six months get nuked. Steven Walling • talk 20:24, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We still can move articles to a user's space if one volunteers to be responsible for it. It can be an issue, though, when the volunteer's ambitions are too large for their available time. Although the number of editors trawling through draft space is small (although I imagine there are others, I can only think of one, who stopped doing it after a while, and now is deceased), I imagine no one is going through user space drafts unless there's a pointer to a specific page/set of pages from some improvement initiative page. isaacl (talk) 21:29, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The big difference is that userfication wasn't (and still isn't) allowed without prior consensus at AfD or similar; see WP:USERFY#NO. When draftspace was created, that expectation wasn't inherited by the new namespace, leading to the "long PROD" situation we have today. – Joe (talk) 06:45, 7 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So if I create an article about a garage band, and you believe that it should not be in the mainspace, then you're allowed to boldly move it to draftspace without saying a word to me or anyone else, but you're not allowed to move it to my userspace, even at my request, without first sending it through AFD or another deletion process? That is not really sensible. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:40, 10 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This idea seems like it would involve a lot of workflow complexity and technical complexity for little payoff. What problem is it trying to solve again? I guess it's trying to make it easier for editors to get WP:REFUNDs? –Novem Linguae (talk) 20:31, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The "problem being solved" is that deletion is a blunt instrument. The same tool is being used for the most vile attack pages as for pages like Google Chrome version history. That doesn't make sense; it's just historical inertial. A question:
    1. Article Foo has a section called "Foo in popular culture". One day, by consensus, the whole section is removed as cruft.
    2. Article Bar does not have such a section. Instead, it's on a separate page called Bar in popular culture. One day, by consensus, the whole article is deleted as cruft.
    Can you argue, from first principles, why people who haven't gone through RFA should, without asking an admin for help, be able to view the full history of (1) but not (2)? Why, in short, should information that would have been blanked or reverted but never in a million years revdelled, require special privileges to view, because it happens to have been published on a separate page? Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 23:49, 6 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Sure: If the consensus at AFD was to delete, rather than a quick blank-and-redirect outcome, then they presumably had some reason for that. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:36, 10 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Sometimes the reason is that there's no valid redirect target, no? So there could hypothetically arise a situation where a 'redirectable' article can end in a BLAR, preserving page history, but a 'nonredirectable' article of otherwise equal quality can only practically end in a delete. Why shouldn't WP:BLAR and WP:BLANK (or, perhaps more realistically, adding some sort of 'this is a deleted page' warning tag to the article as suggested above) be equally accepted outcomes? Shells-shells (talk) 02:21, 11 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That would not be relevant for the examples given, however, which specified that we were deleting Bar in popular culture, which is related to the existing article Bar. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:10, 14 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And if Bar has no "in popular culture" section, and consensus is against including one? Anyway, I just used pop culture as an example of the sort of page that's unlikely to contain subtle libel. It's hardly the only example. And saying "that's what the consensus was" when there has never been an option to do this sort of thing, is kind of like saying "Given a choice between kale ice cream, and tuna ice cream, 95% of people pick kale, so obviously consensus is against chocolate". Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 21:01, 15 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    For fiction and popular culture? Most of the time, it's "the three people who show up to all those AfDs specifically showed up there, and all voted delete". ATD-R outcomes usually only happen when people specifically mention them, not by default, and that topic area specifically has a strong concentration of both "unanimous deletes that should've been redirects or merges" and "unanimous deletes that probably should've been keeps". Vaticidalprophet 13:59, 11 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Draft proposal to implement archival[edit]

Reviewing this discussion, I'm seeing broad support for some sort of "soft deletion" process; in particular, I'm seeing a preference for moving soft-deleted articles to an archival space; I believe that rather than creating a new space for this it would be better to use draft space. In line with this, I've crafted a proposal for how this would be done; if editors prefer the creation of a new "archival space" the proposal can easily be repurposed for that, and similarly if editors prefer a technical solution similar to either what I originally proposed or was proposed at Wikipedia:Pure wiki deletion system it can be repurposed for that.

In line with Suffusion of Yellow's proposal, I will be using "Archiving" in place of "Soft deletion", to avoid confusion with the existing use of that term.

Currently, any article that is deemed to cover a non-notable topic is deleted, unless a suitable redirect target can be found. For such articles should we instead implement a process to archive them, and limit deletion to articles containing content that would be subject to revision deletion, that violate What Wikipedia is not, or that cover living people?

If successful, this proposal would repurpose draft space to also be used for archival, and would involve the following changes:
In Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion, G13 Abandoned drafts and Articles for creation submissions is renamed Abandoned BLP drafts and Articles for creation submissions, and This applies to any pages that have not been edited by a human in six months found in: is changed to This applies to any pages covering a living person that have not been edited by a human in six months found in:
In Deletion policy, Proposed deletion is renamed Proposed archival, and the content changed from:

An editor who believes a page obviously and uncontroversially does not belong in an encyclopedia can propose its deletion. Such a page can be deleted by any administrator if, after seven days, no one objects to the proposed deletion. Once there is an objection or a deletion discussion, a page may not be proposed for deletion again. This process only applies to pages in the main namespace (article namespace) and the file namespace. Redirects are not eligible for proposed deletion (for information on deleting redirects, see Wikipedia:Redirect § When should we delete a redirect?).


An editor who believes a page obviously and uncontroversially does not belong in an encyclopedia can propose its archival. Such a page can be archived by any editor if, after seven days, no one objects to the proposed archival. Once there is an objection or a archival discussion, a page may not be proposed for deletion again. This process only applies to pages in the main namespace (article namespace) and the file namespace. Redirects are not eligible for proposed archival (for information on deleting redirects, see Wikipedia:Redirect § When should we delete a redirect?).

In Deletion policy#Processes a new section is added, Restoration from archive. This will read:

Articles that were archived by consensus should only be restored when the reasons the page was deemed unsuitable for mainspace have been addressed. Restoration of pages without addressing those concerns may be reverted by any editor.

In Deletion policy#Alternatives to deletion a new section is added at the top, Archival. This will read:

Articles that are deemed not to meet our standards for notability should be archived; this allows for editors to more readily recreate the article if sources are identified or if the topic becomes notable in the future.

This can be done either through an expired prod, or through consensus either at AfD or another sufficiently prominent location. Archived articles are generally not deleted, but in rare circumstances if the existence of the archive is disruptive they may be deleted through a consensus at MfD.

In Deletion policy, WP:ATD-I is changed from:

Recently created articles that have potential, but that do not yet meet Wikipedia's quality standards, may be moved to the draft namespace ("draftified") for improvement, with the aim of eventually moving them back to the main namespace, optionally via the articles for creation (AfC) process. If drafts are not edited for a period of six months, they are eligible for deletion under criteria for speedy deletion G13. In comparison to user space drafts, the draft namespace makes these proto-articles easier to find and work on collaboratively. Moving to user space is still preferred for templates that seem to serve a single editor's needs, or essays that only reflect a particular editor's viewpoint. Drafts in user space are not subject to G13 deletion unless submitted to AfC.

Incubation must not be used as a "backdoor to deletion". Because abandoned drafts are deleted after six months, moving articles to draft space should generally be done only for newly created articles (typically as part of new page review) or as the result of a deletion discussion.[1] Older articles—as a rule of thumb those older than 90 days—should not be draftified without prior consensus at AfD.[2]


Recently created articles - as a rule of thumb, those younger than 90 days - that have potential but do not yet meet Wikipedia's quality standards, may be moved to the draft namespace ("draftified") for improvement, with the aim of eventually moving them back to the main namespace, optionally via the articles for creation (AfC) process. In comparison to user space drafts, the draft namespace makes these proto-articles easier to find and work on collaboratively. Moving to user space is still preferred for templates that seem to serve a single editor's needs, or essays that only reflect a particular editor's viewpoint.

Articles moved to draft space for the purpose of incubation are not considered archived and may be returned to mainspace at any time.

In Deletion policy#Processes, the section Deletion of drafts is removed:

If an article isn't ready for the main namespace, it can be moved to the draft namespace, and if it sits there without being worked on for six months, it will be eligible for speedy deletion. See Wikipedia:Drafts#Deletion of old drafts.

Deletion policy#Deletion discussion is changed from:

Pages that do not fall in the above three categories may be deleted after community discussion at one of the deletion discussions, the results of which may be reviewed after the fact at Wikipedia:Deletion review (see below). This includes contested speedy or proposed deletions. Here, editors who wish to participate can give their opinions on what should be done with the page.

These processes are not decided through a head count, so participants are each encouraged to explain their opinion and refer to policy. The discussion lasts at least seven full days; afterwards, pages are deleted by an administrator if there is consensus to do so. A nomination that gets little response after the discussion period has ended can be relisted if the closing editor believes that more time would be likely to generate a clearer consensus.


Pages that do not fall in the above three categories may be deleted or archived after community discussion at one of the deletion discussions, the results of which may be reviewed after the fact at Wikipedia:Deletion review (see below). This includes contested speedy deletions or proposed archivals. Here, editors who wish to participate can give their opinions on what should be done with the page.

These processes are not decided through a head count, so participants are each encouraged to explain their opinion and refer to policy. The discussion lasts at least seven full days; afterwards, pages are deleted by an administrator or archived by an experienced editor if there is consensus to do so. A nomination that gets little response after the discussion period has ended can be relisted if the closing editor believes that more time would be likely to generate a clearer consensus.

Deletion policy#Deletion review is changed from:

If you believe a page was wrongly deleted, or should have been deleted but wasn't, or a deletion discussion was improperly closed, you should discuss this with the person who performed the deletion, or closed the debate, on their talk page. If this fails to resolve the issue, you may be able to request review of the closure at Wikipedia:Deletion review.


If you believe a deletion discussion was improperly closed you should discuss this with the person who closed the debate on their talk page. If this fails to resolve the issue, you may be able to request review of the closure at Wikipedia:Deletion review.

This proposal is very early stage, and likely misses some policies and guidelines that will need modification to accommodate the change.

I limited the scope of this change to be for articles deleted for notability reasons, in order to continue supporting the deletion of articles for reasons such as violating WP:NOTWEBHOST, though further discussion of this may be beneficial; I understand there are some not violations that we may be less concerned with the content being archived, such as violations of WP:NOTDIRECTORY, but I'm not certain we can find a balance between the two.

I also limited the scope to only apply to non-BLP's; given the sensitivity around BLP's and the lack of visibility of draft space I think it is best that such articles continue being deleted; again, further discussion may be beneficial.

I've also included a line permitting the deletion of archived articles at AfD, in circumstances where the existence of the archive becomes disruptive; I think this is necessary to ensure we can protect the encyclopedia, but I imagine use of it would be rare.

It also implicitly expands the number of editors who can close deletion discussions; we may want to explicitly restrict this to administrators? BilledMammal (talk) 03:11, 14 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it's a good start. Some thoughts...
1) Articles that are deemed not to meet our standards for notability should be archived. I wouldn't go so far as to say that such articles should be archived. I think we should just offer archiving as an option that may be arrived at by consensus at an AfD discussion, and we should probably recommend that the option is only used for borderline cases where some potential is identified. I think there will still be plenty of non-BLP articles that are unambiguously non-notable and have no potential.
2) Such a page can be archived by any editor. I believe AfD outcomes are nearly always implemented by administrators and I think if we view archival as a type of AfD outcome, that should continue.
3) The proposal leans on the idea of potential. There is the essay WP:POTENTIAL, but it is currently just an essay. I wonder if a precursor to this proposal might be to put in some work to uplift that essay to a guideline. I can imagine many AfD discussions hinging on what exactly "potential" means.
4) I'm not sold on the term "archival", when it seems here to mean the same thing as draftification (which is itself a comical wikiologism, but at least one which has a clear meaning). In other fields, "archival" has connotations of immutability and long-term preservation, but I don't think we are proposing that. Barnards.tar.gz (talk) 08:18, 14 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also think this is a good start, although I expect tweaks will be necessary as discussion clarifies issues, such as those raised by Barnards.tar.gz above. I certainly want to mull this over for a while. Donald Albury 14:28, 14 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure this is quite the thing either Suffusion or I are enthused about, and perhaps rather closer to being the thing we're anti-enthused about. I definitely don't think this should be conflated with draftification, which is either a failed experiment (that we should just shunt out completely) or genuinely a way to create articles (in which case we need to figure out something more complex, separately, to make it actually a way to create articles); the odd half-confession that it's a failed experiment while still broad-grins directing newbies to it is ethically questionable. I remain very unconvinced it would be a good idea to make archival an unbundled ability. I'm more thinking of it as a replacement for most forms of deletion, the way Suff is. Having said that, I like the specific element of replacing prodding with...PA-ing?, which is an obvious step. Vaticidalprophet 17:08, 15 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A further thought: perhaps a good way of proving the value of this proposal would be to review historical AfDs and WP:REFUND a sample of articles that we believe would have been archived under this new standard. Barnards.tar.gz (talk) 17:36, 15 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is not really what I had in mind. "Archiving" would be something clearly different from draftification; to Barndard's point, it really would mean "immutability and long-term preservation". If you want to modify an archived page, either un-archive it ("soft archiving") or get consensus to do so ("hard archiving"). It would be a place to store pages with very low (or even zero) potential, but that don't cause any harm by being publicly visible, just like low-quality but not harmful page revisions are kept publicly visible. Think unused templates. Non-notable fictional characters or long-deceased people or landforms.
This looks more like a proposal to exclude some drafts from G13. That's confusing, and there is great potential for attack pages, copyvios, minor's autobiographies, etc., that should have been deleted to slip by. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 20:52, 15 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In fact, it just took me one literal minute to find a blatant attack draft, complete with a photograph of a minor, that had been lurking in draftspace since April. G13 means in would have been deleted in a month or so anyway. Yes, it's technically a BLP, but a bot doesn't know that, so it would not have been tagged until it was reviewed by a human. We really need to keep automatic G13 deletions around for the unreviewed crud. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 21:19, 15 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed. After about two minutes of searching I found two attack pages, one promotional page, and one hoax about a person that, based on my searches, doesn't exist. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 21:30, 15 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'd prefer to see page-blanking as described in phab:T5843 serve this arhchival task, rather than 'defining a new concept of archiving and adding a new namespace for it'. Upgrading blanking is easy to implement and less confusing, involving no new tools and relying on the existing history tab. It also allows for the logical combination of archiving and drafts (a blanked draft), which as Steven pointed out should be a more common end state than deleted drafts. – SJ + 16:28, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Drafting Responsive Vector 2022 RfC[edit]

I asked in phab:T291656 about why the responsive mode button not working in preferences on Vector 2022, and I was told that the reason it was not implemented is that some editors despise responsive skins. So I was thinking about how I could format this RfC with the maximum chance of success. I was thinking something along these lines:

  • Option 1 - Enable Responsive Vector 2022, enable by default for all readers and editors (opt out in Special:Preferences or maybe via a button saying "switch to desktop")
  • Option 2 - Enable Responsive Vector 2022, opt in for all readers and editors via Special:Preferences
  • Option 3 - Roll out Vector 2022 on mobile site.
  • Option 4 - Do nothing.

A follow up question would be for disabling the mobile front end on the English Wikipedia. This is a long term goal but well worth it as unifying the experience makes it much more consistent for all readers and editors. I don't know how to phrase the question though. Aasim - Herrscher of Wikis ❄️ 14:47, 7 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is there somewhere we can try this out? An RFC without a demo is not likely to produce a meaningful result. People will just !vote based on their experiences with other responsive designs, about 90% of which (on the web in general) are based on the assumption that mobile == moron, hence all the hatred. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 20:27, 7 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Suffusion of Yellow: I was told in phab:T319305 and in Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Deployment_of_Vector_(2022)#Mobile_screenshots that adding one line of code in the header:
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1">
would add responsiveness to this skin. I tried it myself and it made the Vector 2022 skin feel a little more fluid and much much easier to interact with on mobile. BTW - Mobile devices don't misbehave, although certain browsers, namely Safari, end up causing lots of headaches.
Courtesy ping @Jdlrobson as they might be able to get a working demo up and running. Aasim - Herrscher of Wikis ❄️ 03:55, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The word "despise" doesn't appear in that Phabricator ticket; are you thinking of another response elsewhere? From skimming the ticket, I get the sense that it hasn't been made a sufficient priority to achieve, and Jdlrobson response to you of getting an RfC approved would help with (a) elevating the priority and (b) justifying disrupting any users who had checked the preference and left it on, unaware that it might cause a change in future to the skin appearance. isaacl (talk) 21:12, 7 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see the response (in essence) in the other ticket you've referenced, phab:T319305. isaacl (talk) 05:22, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I disagree that unifying the experience... for all readers and editors is desirable at all, much less worth tradeoffs, workflow reconfiguration, drama threads, etc. Why should all readers and editors be forced into the same experience regardless of their device and its restrictions? I certainly wouldn't advocate for making Minerva the default skin on desktop, but it works well for mobile because I seldom have to perform pinch zooms or sidey swipes in order to inteface with the website.
I'm vaguely aware that what I'm responding to above is a followup question, but it's opaque to me what a "responsive skin" entails— even given the phab comment that it has something to do with "optimizing the viewport", which I think I might kinda understand. Folly Mox (talk) 04:29, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When the first phones were released that could view web pages, web sites hadn't been designed to fit on smaller screens. Thus phones (and now other smaller screen devices) by default render the page as if the screen was bigger, and scale it down to fit. Adding the <meta name="viewport" ...> element shown above tells the phone not to do this, as the web page has been designed to fit on the screen (whatever size it is). A responsive web page design is one that is designed to lay itself out differently based on the size of the display screen, using various techniques to simplify ongoing maintenance. The Vector2022 skin has been designed to be responsive to the display size, but without the appropriate directive, the page is still rendered by the small screen device in the default manner (pretending the screen is larger and then scaling it down). isaacl (talk) 05:21, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think I might be fine phrasing question 1 as "Should Vector 2022 be deployed as responsive?", with the options for deployment in the beginning of the RfC. The second question would be "If Vector 2022 is deployed, should the mobile front end be removed?" with the options for removing the mobile front end "remove mobile front end and redirect to main site", "keep mobile front end but deploy Vector 2022 there", and "keep mobile front end and everything as is". Aasim - Herrscher of Wikis ❄️ 11:45, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If / when this goes to proposal, I think it should be spelled out what effect each option will have on the mobile experience. I'm not particularly technologically illiterate[needs update] and I appreciate and believe I understand User:isaacl's explanation of "responsive" above; it's worth keeping in mind that as compared to the overall userbase, the population segment active here at the VPs underrepresents mobile users.
Personally I'm rather fond of Minerva, and think it gets more right than not. The screenshots at phab:T319305 demonstrate that a responsive Vector 2022 would e.g. result in a lot of not particularly useful stuff at the top of revision histories (like how to use the page, what all the abbreviations mean, external tools, etc.) that crowd out two or three diffs. This is just one example out of probably dozens of changes to the mobile experience that might be unwanted.
Unless we're prepared to have a bunch of conversations weighing the pros and cons of placement – particularly top placement – of information and elements on non–reader-facing pages, the idea of "unifying the experience" loses us a lot of flexibility to account for user screen real estate. And while I'm not per se against having those conversations, as noted above desktop users are overrepresented in the active editor base, and any consensus decisions on how to present pages seem like they would fail to account adequately for the mobile experience almost perforce.
So I think what I might be arguing is that irrespective of whether or not Vector 2022 can have a responsive mode, removing the mobile frontend entirely seems like a much bigger project, and probably not a great idea given that non-editing readers outnumber us something like a thousand to one. Folly Mox (talk) 16:30, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
non-editing readers outnumber us something like a thousand to one Well, yeah, I think we should focus most of our resources on making sure that the reading experience is perfect, as editing on mobile has almost always sucked, typing on a keyboard that is not physical is not ergonomic. The Mobile Front End IMHO is just a band-aid that made the editing experience on mobile suck less, while really cleaning up the reading experience.
It should also be noted that most of these changes won't happen immediately, but WMF would probably help out a lot in taking steps to implement them to minimize breakage. Aasim - Herrscher of Wikis ❄️ 17:30, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Folly Mox that changing the default skin for mobile users has a very different set of considerations, and would be better addressed in a separate request for comments if desired. I also suspect that the majority of non-logged in readers would prefer a skin tailored specifically for reading on mobile devices, but of course this could only be verified through user research. isaacl (talk) 16:43, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Firstly thanks for starting this! Making Vector 2022 responsive is a relatively straightforward change that can be acted on within 1-4 weeks. I think it would be a very impactful change as it would draw a lot of attention to templates in articles that cause problems to mobile devices and pave the way for future RFCs.
Removing MobileFrontend is much more substantial work and Vector 2022 is not yet a suitable replacement IMO. I think such an RFC would need much more detail about the implementation and impact of the change. Perhaps this RFC could happen at a later date (if the first once passes) as then editors will have experienced the Vector 2022 skin on mobile and had a chance to see and understand those problems firsthand? Jdlrobson (talk) 17:06, 10 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jdlrobson Is the RFC of a good format? Aasim - Herrscher of Wikis ❄️ 15:42, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rewording WP:General sanctions' mentions on discretionary sanctions into contentious topics[edit]

As noticed on the General Sanctions page, many topics are still listed as using the old discretionary sanctions system, and not the superseding Contentious Topics procedure now in force. To avoid potential editor confusion, I think we should brainstorm on how to reword the general sanctions' listing into Contentious Topics. I would be bold, but I'm concerned that one editor, let alone a non-admin, would be able to do so officially and with wide-ranging acceptance from the community. InvadingInvader (userpage, talk) 18:58, 11 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would be even bolder and split "WP:CT" into "Community designated contentious topics" and "Arbitration designated contentious topics". The same procedure as designated by ArbCom would apply for both. Aasim - Herrscher of Wikis ❄️ 18:12, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmmmm – maybe that might be needed. If you end up taking it to VPPR, I'd probably back it. InvadingInvader (userpage, talk) 18:26, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@InvadingInvader How would this RfC format look like:
Title: "RfC: Converting Community Authorized Discretionary Sanctions to Contentious Topics"
Should all community sanctions previously authorized under the discretionary sanctions procedure be formally converted to "contentious topics" as set out by the Arbitration Committee? /sign/
In 2021-2022, the Arbitration Committee has overhauled its discretionary sanctions system with new procedures specifying how people are alerted to contentious topics. While these changes are great, the old community discretionary sanctions procedure still technically applies to community authorized contentious topics.
The purpose of this RfC is to formalize if and how this conversion process should be undergone. There are multiple ways this merge can be done, including:
I think this could be edited further but I absolutely think it is a great idea to unify the two together. Aasim - Herrscher of Wikis ❄️ 16:05, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Note "general sanctions" is not synonymous with community-authorized discretionary sanctions. (Also note that strictly speaking, authorizing the use of discretionary sanctions or designating an area as a contentious topic isn't a sanction yet.) Thus I think Wikipedia:General sanctions should continue to cover all types of sanctions that apply to all editors (such as page restrictions), and not be subsumed under a title of "Contentious topics". Personally I would prefer keeping "Contentious topics" as the page name for the community-consensus approved system, with a separate Arbitration-committee controlled page that describes specifics for its customizations. isaacl (talk) 17:12, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Paraphrasing a comment I made at Template talk:Gs, I think a good way forward is for the community to formally convert all of its previous authorizations for discretionary sanctions into community designations of contentious topics, and then to work with the arbitration committee to take over responsibility for the contentious topics process and procedures, providing the committee the ability to add its own customizations as desired. This would keep the base process and pages describing it under community control and so they wouldn't disappear in future if the committee decided to move away from contentious topics. isaacl (talk) 21:32, 12 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I actually started a little in Module:Sanctions/sandbox and Module:Sanctions/data/sandbox what a merged Contentious Topics handling both ArbCom and community designations module might look like. You can see Template:Contentious topics/alert/first/sandbox and Template:Contentious topics/alert/sandbox for what the merged alerts would look like. Of course I would probably have to ask ArbCom before the behavior could even be merged. It probably would be a quick and simple motion to authorize the merge though. Aasim - Herrscher of Wikis ❄️ 23:30, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oversight of the main page[edit]

Given the handful of recent controversies at DYK, ITN, and now TFA over the last few weeks, I think it's time to start talking about a sitewide consensus for how main page content is selected and curated. The English Wikipedia main page is one of the most widely visited webpages in the world, but there's next to no oversight as to what actually goes on it. Currently, the different corners of the main page operate on their own rules in a bubble, and their quality assurance processes are insufficient. The best solution we have so far is WP:ERRORS, which is for mistakes caught after the fact, and it's not that useful for policy-related issues.

We need some sort of solution to prevent these issues, which often go undetected or ignored by the ingrained culture of each corner posting on the main page. This might be a separate guideline codifying how things are posted to the main page. Or maybe something like Wikipedia:Main Page/Tomorrow could be made more visible to editors specifically for the purpose of checking items on a policy basis for WP:BLP, WP:N, WP:NPOV, etc in the days before they're posted. Or it should be possible to have a script identify each link to be posted on the main page and then provide information about that article's quality statistics as a quick check to make sure poor quality articles aren't getting through. But I'm placing this here in the idea lab hoping that progress toward any sort of solution or improvement can be made. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 01:46, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A big issue is that you're talking about two different things: quality, and selection of what gets featured in the first place. Speaking in terms of quality: The best solution we have so far is WP:ERRORS, which is for mistakes caught after the fact is an outright incorrect statement, as WP:Errors covers multiple days in advance; this has been used as recently as today. As you state in the third sentence of your second paragraph, the best solution thus is to encourage editors to more often look at main page candidates days in advance. A minimum quality guideline would be easily achievable, as the three non-TFA areas have pretty much the same minimum quality requirements; WP:ITNQUALITY may be a good baseline in such a case. Curbon7 (talk) 02:46, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Getting more editors to look at future main page content would be the trick to making WP:ERRORS more useful. But even then, that would still just be a one day head start without future main page content being more broadly accessible. And it wouldn't help with ITN, which goes straight from a few votes to the main page, often with a very loose interpretation of WP:CONSENSUS and with virtually no checks for policy compliance like TFA and sometimes DYK have. That latter point is why I have little faith in the criteria set by ITN. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 03:05, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To be frank, and of course I say this respectfully, I think you're wrong with the statement with virtually no checks for policy compliance like TFA and sometimes DYK have with regards to ITN from a quality-perspective. It's quite uncommon that a candidate that has been posted is pulled for a quality-related reason; every candidate article undergoes a check for quality and has to be manually posted (thus has to be checked) by an admin. You state that you have little faith in the criteria set by ITN, but what specifically in WP:ITNQUALITY do you take issue with? Curbon7 (talk) 04:00, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've made a bit of a stink about this at ITN in the past, but the general idea is that there's no expectation of articles being evaluated for policy issues like WP:OR, WP:NPOV, WP:V, WP:N, etc (and that last one can bring us down a separate tangent about whether events that just happened can meet notability guidelines at all). From there, the actual selection process is essentially the wild west, which is a structure that most of Wikipedia has moved on from. Once the article isn't a stub, whether it gets posted is basically down to whatever the voters feel like. I contend that this is an inherent, blatant OR problem. DYK by contrast has uniform standards where any article can be posted if it meets certain requirements (eliminating OR in the selection process) and at least nominally requires checks for V and NPOV (even if they're not applied as well as they could be). Thebiguglyalien (talk) 04:27, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are definitely wrong with ITN content. We have maybe at most a 1% error rate in target articles having major problems with the core content policies, which usually results in them being pulled; article quality is checked by many people during the ITNC process. TFA always has to start with featured content. DYK has content requirements too, but these typically are only checked by one person so can have possible issues, but I would think from history its error rate is also less than 1%. That's all working as intended, so this all seems to be a nonissue. Masem (t) 04:10, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Actually, the solution would be to remove about 75% of the content featured daily on the Main Page, which would make it less cluttered, more visually appealing, and less prone to error or selection of content that isn't likely to attract interest. We should be able to see how many people click through on each individual item on the main page to figure out which ones are actually gaining sufficient attention to keep; I'm sure a bot could be programmed to produce a daily report. Risker (talk) 04:18, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Let's see:
  • DYK works by peer review/promotion, with little oversight outside of the DYK bubble.
  • ITN works similar to DYK, but with broader discussion (i.e., not just one reviewer).
  • TFA is controlled by a few "coordinators".
  • OTD works by random people unilaterally updating things. I mean, it's the least bureaucratic and it's easy to get things done, but little oversight anywhere until the last minute...
Yep, I see a problem. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 18:05, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except for TFA, all these are volunteer and open processes, any editor can get involved (and increasing participation absolutely can help). TFA require featured content, which itself is already volunteer-based through consensus to push anything through, and its only managing the rotation of articles that is generally limited to the coordinators. Masem (t) 18:23, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not denying that, I'm just saying that each section does, as Thebiguglyalien said, have a tendency to operate in its own bubble. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 18:25, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Most of the recent Main Page controversies were not really about the quality of the encyclopedic content, but about the question whether it was appropriate for the Main Page. The Main Page isn't part of the encyclopedia, and rules and expectations are different (for example, it is subject to censorship). The ethical issues around mentioning embarrassing things in a BLP and highlighting them on the Main Page are also different, and neutrality questions inherent in content selection are different from each of the articles adhering to NPOV. So we might need a more journalistic code of ethics covering the Main Page. In the absence of such a code, we have a lot of disagreement, often with poor arguments ("it is common sense not to run this" doesn't really explain why).
I don't think quality control is such a major issue; wrong statements on the Main Page are fairly rare. We should perhaps follow good journalistic practice and issue corrections/retractions, though. —Kusma (talk) 05:17, 17 September 2023 (UTC

Does Creation/Edits of articles related to username get flagged by the various AI bots?[edit]

I found one the other day (and I have misplaced my paper notepad :-)) where the article was John Smith edited by JohnS or JS1234? Does this get flagged for an editor to review? Also is it flagged (assuming anonymity is preserved) if the editors IP address (or domain email address) owner on whois and DNS is related to the article topic?

(Apologies in advance if I have the terminology wrong) Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 09:07, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We have tags that are applied if a username is similar to an article title or external link, see [1]. I don't think there is any IP address matching, and there probably should not be for privacy reasons. —Kusma (talk) 09:54, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Donald Albury @Kusma Thank-you. With IP address matching I was thinking of blackbox- its flagged, but you don't know the details. But as David wrote assume good faith and he has every right to edit Albury
I looked through the special search, the last 30 days of examples but didn't see a match on initials. It does match on
  • article name and user name match
  • any article word match with any part of username (and I assume common words are excluded, and
  • non English alphabet! (but why can editors create articles in other character sets?? Or write comments not partly in English [2]
(But David - Albury is always suspect because it is [New South Wales|North of the Border]] rather than in Mexico)

Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 10:59, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If someone edits without being logged in, then the IP address is exposed (although the Foundation plans to change that sometime in the future) and anyone can look for a connection to the topic being edited. If a user edits while logged in, then only a Checkuser can see the IP address, and may do so only under certain circumstances. There is no automatic process that tags the types of connections you are asking about. If a user thinks there may be a connection between an editor and an article they have edited, then that editor may be asked if they have a conflict of interest to disclose. Always assume good faith, as many apparent connections are not real. For instance, I have edited Albury a number of times, but I have no connection to that city other than sharing the name. Donald Albury 14:47, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unreferenced articles[edit]

Since I don't like writing long walls of text, and nobody reads those anyways, I'll state my idea in point form:

  • Unreferenced articles (i.e. those with zero sources) are a huge problem, and a violation of one of Wikipedia's core content policies: WP:V.
  • There are currently 119,000 articles tagged as unreferenced; and new ones get added every month.
  • With articles needing more sources, one can invoke WP:BURDEN and trim off the unsourced claims. One can't do that with totally unreferenced articles.
  • So here's my idea: "unreferenced" tags act as pseudo-prods. If the tag isn't removed within two weeks (and the problem fixed), the article is deleted. Users can draftify or improve the article during that period. Tags should not be removed unless references are added.
    • Don't panic! This idea will not apply retroactively; i.e.; articles already tagged with {{unreferenced}} would not be subject to this change.
  • This would greatly discourage creation of new, unsourced articles, of which there are too many.
  • This would stop the addition of new articles to the unreferenced backlog, allowing that to be picked away at.
  • This would maintain a higher average quality of verifiability and quality on the encyclopedia.
  • This would incentivise users to add sources to their unreferenced contributions.

I have a feeling this is idea will be drastically unpopular, but I believe something should be done, so... thoughts on the proposal? Since this is the idea lab, we can modify the idea to whatever directions necessary. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 18:17, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

P.S.: Please ping me on reply. Cheers, Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 18:24, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • As long as this is not applied retroactively, as described in the proposed idea, this doesn't seem like too problematic of an idea, although it's not within current policy. WP:MINREF states: Technically, if an article contains none of these four types of material, then it is not required by any policy to name any sources at all, either as inline citations or as general references. That's an information page, but WP:V has always stated that All content must be verifiable. I think it was last year User:Levivich opened an RFC at VPP or somewhere proposing this language be changed to All content must be verified; the RFC did not pass. I think the present idea might be forcing through an unsupported policy change. If there is sufficient support for this, I would prefer an action less drastic than deletion, but as evidenced by other discussions currently active at VPR and VPI, something like draftification is a whole can of worms inside a barrel of worms inside an intermodal shipping container of worms. Folly Mox (talk) 19:18, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I did consider proposing draftification, but abandoned it for pretty much that reason. I do frequently draftify articles myself, but I think institutionalized, automatic draftification would lead no where good, especially as long as G13 is around and kicking. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 19:21, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    What if, instead of leaping all the way to deletion, articles thus tagged, after 14 days, were __NOINDEX__ed? That's just a tiny baby step towards a fully referenced mainspace, but mitigates propagation of potential misinformation, and retains the problem articles for potential improvement. Folly Mox (talk) 15:53, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The page would still be accessible, though, through links or URL-hopping. It is possible this idea could go hand-in-hand with the above-proposed softdeleting/archiving/whatever we're calling it this week. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 19:42, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The RFC I was thinking of was indeed last year. Folly Mox (talk) 20:18, 17 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Although MINREF says that, WP:V which is policy boy an information page says Any material lacking an inline citation to a reliable source that directly supports the material may be removed and should not be restored without an inline citation to a reliable source. So an editor can redirect an article without any referencing, or cut it down to a stub. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 21:42, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Agreed. Stubbifying, redirecting, sourcing, tagging, and the null action are all permitted over unreferenced articles under current policy. Folly Mox (talk) 05:26, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. It's not 2004 anymore. Everyone in the English-speaking world with an internet connection knows what Wikipedia is and what its basic requirements are, to the extent that {{Citation needed}} is a pretty universally recognized phrase even outside the context of Wikipedia. Sourcing things with the internet is easier now than it ever has been. So we should expect much more of people when it comes to citing something at article creation than we did in 2004. I would also guess we're somewhere approaching 99% coverage of the most globally-notable non-CE topics; thus, unlike in 2004, there is virtually 0% any old as-yet-untagged unreferenced article is going to be on a subject so integral to society that we can be certain expansion and sourcing will ever happen. JoelleJay (talk) 01:32, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think the idea that we're approaching 99% "completion" isn't accurate; see this recent discussion at VPM, for example. Curbon7 (talk) 03:09, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I did not say 99% "completion". I said 99% coverage of the most globally-notable non-CE topics. This means subjects like apple and knee and Muhammad and psychology and division (mathematics) and beauty and Russia. Things that are universally recognized and would always be expected to appear in any broad general-use encyclopedia. JoelleJay (talk) 03:31, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    For clarification, when you say coverage are you talking about articles created or articles fleshed out? Curbon7 (talk) 04:24, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Articles created. JoelleJay (talk) 22:01, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Everyone in the English-speaking world with an internet connection knows what Wikipedia is and what its basic requirements are: on this point, it's just wrong to presume that everyone understands Wikipedia. They really don't. It might be a frequently used tool but it's extremely to rare to find people who have scraped near its innards, or to have more than the vaguest idea of en.wp's reliability beyond "I know it's iffy but it seems mostly ok". {{Citation needed}} is a niche reference in the first place, but especially outside cities and outside the age group 20–35. Even for highly educated people, have they ever looked at a Wikipedia reference list? would not infrequently elicit a 'they have those?'. Notability and verifiability are pretty much Wikipedia's basic requirements, and it's totally mad to expect anywhere upwards of 5% to recognise either one. Everyone in the English-speaking world with an internet connection? That sentence struck me as a massive example of projecting oneself on others, and I'm sorry if it's tangential but just wanted to put it out there. J947edits 09:46, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Agree with Everyone here being an overstatement. My experience has been that people of my generation are aware of Wikipedia's existence, and people of younger generations typically encounter us in the form of their google lady saying "according to Wikipedia," before answering a question beginning "ok google" asked aloud in their kitchen.
    If nothing else, the data constantly spewing in from AfC indicate that people generally don't understand what Wikipedia is and especially don't understand its basic requirements. Folly Mox (talk) 14:39, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    By "understand Wikipedia", I mean "understand that it's an encyclopedia" and what an encyclopedia is. It's the 5th-most visited website in the world, people are using it as a resource for accurate information. Sure, "everyone" might be hyperbolic--I guess there is that cohort of old folks who haven't had to write an essay in 50 years and so might have forgotten that things should be cited--but looking things up online is universal within the demographic I mentioned so I find it highly unlikely anyone doesn't understand what Wikipedia is. We have many expectations of adults that aren't always met, that doesn't mean we shouldn't have those expectations. Likewise, we can expect (as distinct from presume) that editors provide sources when creating articles. JoelleJay (talk) 18:47, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose as utterly irresponsible. I don't like a subject area, I go and mass tag all the unreferenced articles at a pace that nobody can keep up with, and they are gone in 14 days. It is simple as that. Could even be done by bot. --Rschen7754 04:13, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't like a subject area, I go and mass tag all the unreferenced articles at a pace that nobody can keep up with: are you suggesting requesting sources or deleting unsourced content is a form of vandalism or harassment? Or are you suggesting that a fait accompli implies what has been done is now everyone's valuable treasure and responsibility?
    If users did not add sources it is their problem, providing sources is the responsibility of the person who added information (WP:BURDEN). And other users have to deal with this lack of sources: no user should consider themselves "bad", "frivolous", "in a deletion frenzy", or "irresponsible", because they are simply doing what's right by removing what is unsourced (deleting articles included). Again, it is the person who adds the information who should be sourcing them. There were thousands of people who did not provide a source on multiple articles throughout WP? Anyone can remove what they have added, any of those unsourced articles should be deleted. Veverve (talk) 05:38, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't like a subject area, I go and mass tag all the unreferenced articles at a pace that nobody can keep up with: Not only would this happen, we would probably see a few people who "accidentally" remove "unreliable" (according to them) sources just before tagging them, or even tagging articles while the sources are still present. That's not IMO a sound reason not to set this long, slow train in motion, but I wouldn't want anyone to be surprised when it does happen. WhatamIdoing (talk) 09:15, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    we would probably see a few people who "accidentally" remove "unreliable" (according to them) sources just before tagging them, or even tagging articles while the sources are still present: the same argument can be said for anything that gets PRODed or XfDed. Veverve (talk) 10:32, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It already happens with PROD and XFD; that's why I am confident that it will happen here, too. I suppose the more subtle way to handle this is for one editor to remove sources from the articles they dislike, and another to come along later to tag them for deletion. Since we can reasonably predict that this will be interpreted as a black-and-white rule, we should expect all uncited articles to be tagged for deletion. If it follows a PROD-like process, there's a risk that an admin will notice that the article was previously sourced, but I would not expect that to be a major barrier to deleting most articles about any subject we choose. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:43, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I read the will not apply retroactively as applying to articles created prior to the potential adoption of this idea, rather than articles tagged prior, but that could certainly be clarified further. Are there whole topic areas lacking references? There probably shouldn't be any topic areas lacking references created in the future, and if such a situation were to arise, I think I'd characterise the creation of all the unreferenced articles as more disruptive than tagging them all db-unref or whatever we'd call this process. Folly Mox (talk) 14:58, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    My intent was articles tagged prior to potential adoption, but I'm willing to be talked around. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 19:44, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support: you add information, you source, you prove notability. WP:BURDEN is on you. A 2007 essay already proposed the same philosophy Edward-Woodrow does here: Wikipedia:No reliable sources, no verifiability, no article. Veverve (talk) 05:27, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Deletion would be too harsh; consider that these may be created by newcomers, who would be bit and perhaps leave before they can become a good contributor. If we have to go down this road, then draftifying is a better solution, but with no deadline, this is way more than is necessary for all but BLPs and sensitive topics. SounderBruce 07:08, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If someone in 2023 does not understand that they need to cite whichever sources they're using to write a Wikipedia article, they should not be writing Wikipedia articles. JoelleJay (talk) 18:18, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    No one begins editing with a perfect understanding of policies. Many editors receive proper guidance and become productive with some experience; turning them away at the first step would only contribute to worsening editor retention. There are also cultures that might not conform to our ideas of citations and reliable sources; are all those people not excluded from what should be an inclusive movement? Do we want to wall ourselves off to only people who fit a colonialist view of knowledge? SounderBruce 00:52, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @SounderBruce: They'll have two weeks to find references. Besides, speedy deletion would be far more bitey than this. I'm not sure I understand your statement There are also cultures that might not conform to our ideas of citations and reliable sources; are all those people not excluded from what should be an inclusive movement? Wikipedia policy requires sources. Period. And in what way would different cultures diverge on interpretation of "citations reliable sources?" I'm not sure I understand this. Edward-Woodrowtalk 01:16, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    We could write more about this subject than anyone would probably care to read, but the following two points are probably the biggest general areas:
    • What counts as "reliable" varies by culture. My culture doesn't accept "I saw Karp in the elevator, and he said it was probably np-complete" as a reliable source, but personal information from an expert is a very highly valued source in some other cultures.
    • Cultures without a long tradition of written language do not expect the sources they rely upon to be fixed in a tangible form. My culture (and enwiki's policy) does.
    WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:49, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I see, thanks. Edward-Woodrowtalk 12:12, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You don't need a perfect understanding of the policies. You only need to meet the most basic expectation that you cite whatever source you're using to write an article so that other editors can verify it. If someone is from some hypothetical culture that doesn't have the concept of "this information came from this place" ends up on Wikipedia, gains autoconfirmed status, and then creates an unsourced article in passable English, this proposal would alert them to the requirement for sources (and what that means) and they could learn what to do. But I find it very unlikely that anyone creating unreferenced articles in 2023 is an editor we would want to retain, and even more unlikely that deleting unreferenced articles from 2006 would be discouraging to anyone. JoelleJay (talk) 01:31, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You are assuming that the person is using a source, that the source has been fixed in a reasonably permanent form, and that the source has been made available to the general public. We require that it be possible to cite such a source, but I also know that I could write, without consulting a single source, that there is one public park in the small town where my mother grew up. It would be accurate, and it would probably be verifiable (I assume the town has a website), but if you asked me to "cite whatever source you're using", I'd have to say "I'm not using any sources. This is just something I've known for decades." While I give an example of a single sentence, it's possible to do this for whole articles.
    I think we do want to retain editors whose first contributions don't have inline citations. Your first addition of content was unsourced. Your first article had a few bare URLs but no inline citations. (My first edits were no better: although my first mainspace edit was to add bare URL as a source, my second added a significant amount of verifiable but uncited information, and my first article had just one bare URL, to what's now a dead link but whose domain name makes me think it might have been a personal blog.) I think that the core community would agree that they are happy that we have both been retained. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:05, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I wrote my first article 13 years ago as a high schooler, and despite clearly not having read Wikipedia's rules I still assumed I needed to cite some sources before I even published it to userspace. It had inline citations and a reflist a bit over an hour after going into mainspace.
    I'm talking about articles created in 2023 that don't have a single hint of a source, including external links. Someone so totally unaware of the concept of "published sources" that after two weeks they still don't understand what to do when their page gets the proposed tag should not be editing here. It should be irrelevant whether they come from some hypothetical culture that doesn't use/acknowledge Western sources even when they are writing on a modern platform. JoelleJay (talk) 01:21, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree with SounderBruce (talk · contribs), draftiying is a better way to tackle new unreferenced articles. Deleting unreferenced articles, and assuming that they fail WP:V does not WP:AGF. SailingInABathTub ~~🛁~~ 09:08, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support in theory. Reminds me of the Commons thing where files without copyright data can be deleted with a similar system.
    • Does the tagger have a burden to search for sources and add them directly (or through Template:Refideas or similar)? We would need detailed policy on when not to tag. Add to TW eventually?
    • This would probably be primarily for the 110 000-some articles that already are unsourced, not affecting NPP, because unsourced articles wouldnt get through anyway? If this would affect NPP (flowchart), how?
    • What would 'automatically deleted after X days' mean in practice? Would an admin check for sources before deleting, or are articles really automatically gone?
      • How about a deletion review, where like 3 RS found = restore?
    • Eventually could we have nice things, like cats and bot-updated tables. NotAGenious (talk) 08:10, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @NotAGenious, based on how things went when we started deleting unsourced BLPs, "how it would work" is "with a good deal of finger-pointing and blame-shifting". The group of people who demand that articles be sourced tend unfortunately not to overlap significantly with the group of people who actually source articles themselves. For example, in the last ~two months, you've made about 750 edits and added about 15 refs. This doesn't mean that your contributions are unhelpful – nothing like that at all – but overall, as a purely practical matter, we'd probably have to assume that you wouldn't contribute a lot to the work necessary to make this proposal successful. I wouldn't be surprised to discover that was the case for most editors who support the idea in theory. WhatamIdoing (talk) 08:23, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The group of people who demand that articles be sourced tend unfortunately not to overlap significantly with the group of people who actually source articles themselves: and why should it be otherwise? Burden is not on those who demand sources, but on those who add information.
    As a sidenote, I have noticed that those who do not add sources to their claims are very much overlapping with those who do not want those kind of methods to exist. One just has to look at the fact you yourself consider unsourced contributions as valuable. Veverve (talk) 10:27, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    When you demand that other people do work that you do not choose to do yourself, they tend to feel like you are uncollegial, uncollaborative, and a nuisance. And when the person making those demands adds unsourced content himself (example from earlier this year), we can add hypocritical to the list of words people might apply to someone who says everything must be sourced, but doesn't actually add sources himself.
    But I wasn't actually concerned about you in particular; I'm just saying that if we're going to identify a problem that needs to be fixed on a certain timeline, we need to consider whether that is realistic with the time and energy that actual editors are willing to devote to it. Otherwise, the work won't actually get done.
    I do not consider unsourced contributions to be valuable per se, even though I opposed having your badly written essay in the project space. I consider some unsourced contributions to be valuable, and others to be garbage, just like I consider some cited contributions to be valuable and others to be garbage. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:20, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thank you, WhatAmIDoing, for expressing your concerns. While I have read a lot of info and past discussions on referencing and participated in a few discussions on reliable sources, I agree that I haven't focused much on adding sources (well, nor content creation overall - but when I write something, I always source it). But, from what I've learned, I feel competent enough to participate here, and if the idea is succesful, be a part on implementing the system. NotAGenious (talk) 10:39, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm glad to hear it. The next question is: How many others like you are willing to pitch in?
    If we have 100,000 articles, and everyone in the team cites one article per week, we'll need 2,000 editors to accomplish this goal in one year. If they can do one a day, we'll need 275 for a year. Realistically speaking, and keeping in mind that all of the other work of the wiki still has to happen, including some major challenges during the next year (e.g., the introduction of mw:Help:Temporary accounts in 2024, which may ultimately be an improvement, but which will disrupt some people's workflows), how many do you think that an editor like you could do? WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:25, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    A rotating crew of eleven, each sourcing an average of five articles a day, could complete the task by 2030. One year sounds like a pretty ambitious timeframe. Folly Mox (talk) 17:16, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    One article per week seems like a good goal. One per day seems like a little too much. Edward-Woodrowtalk 19:54, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    All right: At the rate of one article per week, per editor, between now and the start of 2030, we need 300 editors signed up. Doing it over the course of six years will require continually recruiting folks to replace those who fall away, but that's the scale that we're looking at.
    Now: Is that reasonable? I'm thinking that it's maybe not entirely reasonable. For comparison, consider the one-month-long Wikipedia:WikiCup and Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles/GAN Backlog Drives, which seem to draw about 100 participants (some of which don't do much; others of which do a lot more). We're looking at needing three times as many people, for one or two orders of magnitude longer (depending on whether you think of this as "six annual events, each of which is 12 months long" or "72 months in a row"). Either way, it's more people for a much longer period of time.
    What might make it feasible, or at least not obviously impossible, is that the request is smaller. I added two sources to five medicine-related articles just now. It took me about 45 minutes to do five articles, with some of them being faster than others. (Generally, the more specific/narrow the subject, the easier it is to find a relevant source.) So if the goal is to get just one source into an article, rather than to fully source the content, that request is just 10 minutes a week, and the challenge would be to find enough people (you'd probably have to recruit more than a thousand, in the end, because people won't do a full year), and to find ways to keep them on task (because even people who genuinely want to help will forget). WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:13, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It would be helpful if a couple of other editors did a similar self-experiment. I pulled five non-organizational, non-BLP articles out of There are similar lists for most of the large WikiProjects. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:17, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I would say the tagger has a burden to do a cursory search, to make sure they aren't about to delete a future FA. It would be good for an admin to do the same quick searches, just to be safe. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 11:39, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Edward-Woodrow, The very first bullet point is wrong. Unreferenced articles are not "a violation of one of Wikipedia's core content policies: WP:V." WP:V only requires inline citations under certain circumstances. It is possible to write a (very short) stub that is not required to contain any inline citations. For example:
  • Lung cancer is a type of cancer. Smoking raises the risk of lung cancer.
  • Christmas candy is a type of candy associated with Christmas. Candy canes are one type of Christmas candy.
  • French Renaissance sculpture is the type of sculpture made in France during the Renaissance.
None of those sub-stubs contain direct quotations; none of them contain contentious matter about living people; none of them contain material that is WP:LIKELY to be challenged; none of them contain material that has already been challenged. If you wish to expand your view a little further, then all three of them contain solely material for which a source could be found quite easily, so it's not a NOR violation, either.
It is true that none of them prove that they are notable subjects, but I suggest to you that it is equally true that no editor will genuinely have any doubts about the notability of these subjects, and for better or worse, there is not one sentence in any of the core policies that says obviously notable subjects must be proven to be notable through the addition of an inline citation, even if every editor already knows that these are notable subjects. Past efforts to create such a requirement have failed. Maybe if you want to be able to delete articles because somebody else didn't do the thing that you haven't done yourself, then you should first try to get the undesirable behavior officially banned first. That's how we ended up with WP:BLPPROD some years back: first, you have to get the policy amended to disallow unsourced articles; only after that can you start deleting them for violating the rule. WhatamIdoing (talk) 08:13, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not saying that everything needs an inline citation, I'm saying that all material in Wikipedia mainspace, including everything in articles, lists, and captions, must be verifiable. It's not verifiable if there isn't a source anywhere in the article, is it? Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 11:33, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Typical cases where things are verifiable but unsourced are when articles summarise other articles, and the references can be found only in articles linked from the unsourced article in question. —Kusma (talk) 11:43, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
User:Edward-Woodrow, It's not verifiable if there isn't a source anywhere in the article, is it? To me this reads as a misconception. Information is verifiable if it has been published somewhere. It makes everything way way easier if some indication of that publication is in the article, but "takes extra work to verify" is not equivalent to "unverifiable". Folly Mox (talk) 14:47, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is definitely not how people evaluate WP:V in practice. An unsourced article tagged with {{sources exist}} because of some sigcov in obscure scholarship is rightfully said to “have unverifiable statements.” All information not proven false could theoretically be verified. Mach61 (talk) 23:40, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then 'people' are wrong. – Joe (talk) 12:45, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Joe Roe, you're right, but @Mach61 has only been editing for a year, and I would not be the least bit surprised to hear that some high-volume editors "stretch" or "simplify" the rules for newer editors, in ways that happen to favor the convenience of the high-volume editors. We have an endless supply of written rules, but WP:Nobody reads the directions, and most people learn the alleged rules through a sort of telephone game: one editor tells me a slightly distorted version of the rules, and I misinterpret that when I tell you what you should do, and you're stuck with bad information. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:33, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've been thinking the same thing a lot lately. It seems like new editors are increasingly learning about our policies from, well, somewhere other than the policies themselves (training programmes? Condensed summaries? Word of mouth on Discord? I really don't know), resulting in baffling examples of people misunderstanding what I always considered to be very straightforward directions, mixing up concepts, applying guidance on one thing to something completely different, throwing around shortcuts without knowing what the linked section actually says (never mind the next section), etc. And I don't think I'm just being a cranky old man here; it really does seem like something has changed in the last couple of years. I wish I could put my finger on what it is. – Joe (talk) 06:44, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the change predates the pandemic, and I wonder sometimes if we could trace it back to as early as 2016. That's the year when both "extended confirmed" and "new page reviewer" became addition user rights, and their main purpose is to give experienced editors control. So whatever zeitgeist at that time prompted this desire for even more control might be the start, not of "nobody reads the directions", which has been a thing on the internet since before most people had internet access, but of the idea that everything should be tailored to my convenience, and that the highest goal was reverting someone else's less-than-perfect first contribution, instead of creating content yourself. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:40, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the change has crept up on us gradually. There were people like that when I started editing in 2007, but they seem to have got more and more vocal. I am of the generation to whom you could say RTFM and I would go away sheepishly to do so, but more and more people seem to think that everything should be done their way, which usually involves someone else doing the work. Phil Bridger (talk) 15:29, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that it has been a gradual shift. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:27, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Edward-Woodrow, if there isn't a source anywhere in the article, it's only uncited. It's still verifiable if you (i.e., anyone) are able to find a reliable source that matches the contents. The rule is that content must be verifiABLE, and we assume you are "able" to use a search engine. See Wikipedia:Glossary#verifiable for a short definition of the related terms. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:29, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes but as I said above WP:V says Any material lacking an inline citation to a reliable source that directly supports the material may be removed and should not be restored without an inline citation to a reliable source. So there should be no expectation that unreferenced content can standard if it is challenged. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 21:51, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is the idea lab, so I don't know what all the bold "support" votes above are here for. Anyway, the vast majority of the "unreferenced articles" issue is in old articles; most if not all new articles have some references (so I don't think your proposal would help discourage new unreferenced articles any more than they already are). Deleting articles that are unreferenced-but-nobody-has-tagged-them-yet (which focuses on articles that have been unreferenced for short times, not long times) seems less useful than other methods of choosing which unreferenced articles to deal with. You could randomly AfD five unreferenced articles per day. —Kusma (talk) 08:20, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think they're almost all tagged. We sent a bot through to tag unref'd articles some years back. I rarely encounter an untagged one (and sometimes still encounter an incorrectly tagged one). WhatamIdoing (talk) 08:25, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Disagree. I checked Petscan. There are 307 articles in the category for this month, but only 15 of those articles were created after July 1 of this year. Many were created years ago. 276 out of 307 were created before 2018. So the assumption that because this only applies to newly tagged articles, it only applies to newly created articles, is untrue; this proposal as stated will have retroactive effects. DFlhb (talk) 09:21, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
most if not all new articles have some references (so I don't think your proposal would help discourage new unreferenced articles any more than they already are). Besides DFlhb's reply above.... I suggest you check the New Pages Feed. This month, I have draftified 104 articles because the have no sources. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 11:42, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My question is how many new unsourced articles make it through New Page patrol. —Kusma (talk) 11:44, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, based on my limited experience, it depends, mostly on the reviewer. Some people like to tag and leave a friendly message on the talk page, I prefer to draftify, with the goal there to get it out of mainspace, and I assume there are other methods, too. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 11:49, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've done I'd guess a few thousand NPP's. If I ever saw an article with zero references but where suitable sources clearly exist (and the article didn't have other disqualifying attributes and isn't a good situation for conversion of a stub to a redirect) I'd pass it, but that has never happened. North8000 (talk) 14:33, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've seen a few with zero references but where suitable sources clearly exist. When I find ones like that, I add the sources. Yes, that makes NPP take longer and is arguably not NPP's job, but I'm of the mind that it should be part of the job. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 14:54, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Personally, I'd rather have NPP focus on CSD-worthy problems (=its original remit) and leave the rest for the rest of the community, but the scope creep has extended so far that I don't know that there is any chance of reducing the load on the NPPers at this point. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:36, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I feel like I read somewhere that there are two actions that can be taken on new pages: patrol and review. I'm not sure whether this is a distinction without a difference or two actually separate things, but it would make sense to me if there were a first order "is this CSDable" check and a second "are there any other major issues" check.
There was also a discussion somewhere about smearing out this boolean NPP tagging, by introducing other actions that could be undertaken by people with different skillsets, such that one person could mark an article as "not copyvio", another could mark it "not spam" etc until the bar is crossed where it becomes "fully patrolled", without pushing any one editor into making determinations they don't feel sufficiently practised at. To address myself in the present comment, this tangent would probably be better suited to a different venue. Folly Mox (talk) 17:30, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Folly Mox: introducing other actions that could be undertaken by people with different skillsets, such that one person could mark an article as "not copyvio", another could mark it "not spam" etc until the bar is crossed where it becomes "fully patrolled" I understand the rationale behind that, but I feel like it would just make everything take orders of magnitude longer in NPP; the backlog is big enough (although it looks like the redirect backlog is levelling off? Maybe?). Edward-Woodrowtalk 19:51, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It wasn't my idea, and it's not for this conversation, but yeah definitely if people have a single assigned station and you're always waiting on User:Example to finish the G5 check or whatever, NPP would certainly take longer. I think the original idea was to allow partial patrols to be recorded somehow, like if no one is comfortable assessing the reliability of the sourcing because it's in Armenian or Mongolian or something, but Earwig came up clean, there could at least be an easy way to record that to avoid duplication of effort. I think the thought was that ideally all NPPers would still be competent in all the areas to patrol an article fully from zero to indexed by search engines, but people who are weak in certain areas or can only dedicate time in smol chunks could still put in partial labour. Hopefully someone else remembers the conversation if anyone considers my hazy recollections to have value as a starting point for a new NPP experiment. Folly Mox (talk) 21:25, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Folly Mox, you are thinking of User talk:Iridescent/Archive 50#c-WhatamIdoing-20221011190200-Novem Linguae-20221010223100. It was partly inspired by the way MILHIST does B-class assessments.
A new article often gets ~50 page views on the first day. Particularly in the first hour, people are most often looking for the "quick fail". Those who have particular areas of interest (e.g., attack pages and copyvios) could save some time and reduce duplicated effort by being able to filter out articles that have already been determined not to be a hoax, attack page, etc. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:44, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I feel like Alice and Bob might have been there, but Special:Search has not been aligning with what my brain tells me it once read. I'll take your word for it. That sounds more reliable than my leaky memory. Sometimes it all feels like a dream. Folly Mox (talk) 07:54, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm pretty sure that I was in (at least) two discussions on that topic around that same time. Another at WT:AFC or a similar page, perhaps? It's possible that an insource: search for the buttons would find it, if we assume that I copied them from one discussion to the other.
P.S. Alice and Bob are everywhere. ;-) WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:20, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed, it was the same conversation. I just had to scroll up from the posted link to the top of the subheading. That will (not) teach me to read the larger context I'm always harping on about. Folly Mox (talk) 18:16, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Duplicated effort is not necessarily a bad thing. One person may spot what another has missed. Phil Bridger (talk) 08:20, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But the tenth person is unlikely to find an attack page that was somehow missed by the previous nine. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:21, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Folly Mox: Sorry to continue this tangent on NPP, but the patrol vs review discrepancy is only because of a complicated technical issue explained Wikipedia:New pages patrol#Other issues under the Technical details subsection. VickKiang (talk) 08:15, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My goodness! So it's not so much a two tiered system as it is a technical glitch. I'll forgo any further commentary on what it could or should be. Tangents are beautiful. Folly Mox (talk) 08:32, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • A good idea, although I would apply it retroactively as well; there is no reason unsourced articles should exist in 2023. BilledMammal (talk) 08:46, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Applying it retroactively (though I have no doubt that we'll end up there eventually) might make it more difficult to get the necessary policy changes accepted. WhatamIdoing (talk) 09:11, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That would mean 119 000 improvable articles about to be deleted. And 119 000 articles needing to be deleted by an administrator. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 11:43, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Of course there's a reason: there's a backlog (and it's pretty long). Folly Mox (talk) 13:58, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The following is a not uncommon scenario which currently occurs: the references of a BLP are removed through vandalism and this is not detected and reverted; a good-faith editor tags the article as BLPPROD without checking the page history; usually this error is caught, but I wouldn't be surprised if some slip through the cracks and are deleted. Can this process handle that scenario, with the assumption that the scale here is going to be significantly larger? Curbon7 (talk) 09:35, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Well, I would hope that the tagging user does a quick check for sources and checks the page history. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 11:43, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    We have not found that to be reliable in the past, but we can frequently rely on admins to check the page history before deleting a page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:37, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm generally against anything categorical like this, but having absolutely zero references is a very very very very very very low bar and I'd support it. It would need some safety mechanisms to avoid unintended consequences. It would also put us a step towards the mentality that finding reference(es) is the main step 1 of building an article which would solve many of our problems. Without that somebody has done nothing of value / nothing worth preserving. It's like I say that I'm giving somebody a car and I just give them a floor mat and call that an "unfinished car" and tell them to keep a space for it in their garage while they "develop" the car. North8000 (talk) 14:22, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I would support this, as long as currently existing articles are grandfathered-in and ineligible. Curious how that could be technically implemented. Could we have a bot revert this template when added to older articles? DFlhb (talk) 14:44, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Question - wouldn’t it be simpler to have a bot scan any potential new article - and simply not accept the “save” into Mainspace unless there was at least one citation? It could generate an error message so the creator knows why the text isn’t being saved. Blueboar (talk) 14:58, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Not exactly a bot task, but presumably the Submit button on drafts could be coded to throw an error if no ref tags are present in the article rather than doing whatever it does to submit the draft to the AfC heap. Articles created directly in mainspace, expanded from redirects, or moved manually across namespaces would require at least an edit filter and possibly a software change. Folly Mox (talk) 15:05, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    (edit conflict) It would be difficult. Many (if not a majority) of new articles go into mainspace via "move" and so that restriction would also need to get applied to "move". Many others are created by conversion of redirects and it would also need to apply to those. Finally, people creating articles in mainspace would need to know that the absolute first edit would need to contain a reference which would practically mean that only clever insiders could build an article in mainspace. North8000 (talk) 15:09, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There's also the issue that any warning describing how to solve the problem (e.g. "Error: All drafts must contain at least one reference before they can be saved to mainspace. Refs are added using <ref></ref> tags containing by the reference's name, ...") will just have users copy-and-paste the "magic words" so their article can be saved, without them knowing or caring what those tags mean to begin with. 2603:8001:4542:28FB:49F5:C6E1:BDC2:515F (talk) 15:24, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It would be non-trivial, but those can be addressed by the WMF with thought-through interface changes. It would also narrow the "feedback gap" (proactive enforcement vs reactive, so newbs are told ahead of time if they're doing something they shouldn't, which would be more newb-friendly). Given the vast amounts of work spent on maintenance and gnoming, we could do with more 'automation' of this kind. DFlhb (talk) 16:16, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree that pro-active feedback is potentially the way to go, via improvements to the AfC wizard, edit filter warnings, etc. Suriname0 (talk) 20:47, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    See mw:Edit check, which will be nudging editors to add sources (for any whole paragraph, at the moment, but that can be changed.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:39, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This looks like a great initiative. Eager to see the results once this gets deployed. Suriname0 (talk) 03:14, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This should be a non-issue for drafts, as an unsourced draft is easily dispositioned as such by AfC. --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 18:30, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, this template would only be applicable to mainspace. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 19:36, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good idea. Anything that reduces the burden of AfD and cleans up the project with only high quality sources is a good thing. I would use it to amend BLPPROD. Aasim - Herrscher of Wikis ❄️ 15:45, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm in general agreement with something along these lines - a requirement that articles cite at least one source (doesn't have to be in-line; doesn't have to be the best quality source) to remain in mainspace. I also think sending all such articles to draft is a bad idea. This seems to be similar to BLPPROD. That said, the two week time frame seems arbitrary. BLPPROD gives people 7 days to add sources. Regular PROD provides 7 days for someone to object. If instead of this psuedo prod we sent it to draft, they would have 6 months (although the drafts are harder to find than PRODs). I think this needs to be in line with some of our other processes, and either be 7 days or 6 months. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 16:40, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good idea as is Blueboar & North8000's idea above to have the Submit button throw an error code if someone tries to make an article without sources. I wouldn't even mind this being retroactive for the oldest articles- say, any articles from the <current oldest year tagged> get tagged with this. I'm neutral on whether this should last a week or a fortnight.
Additionally, I would point out that requiring sources isn't just a Wikipedia thing. Every essay requiring research since high school that I've written has required me to cite my sources. It doesn't take a genius to cite sources- if the average high school idiot can manage, there's no reason not to require it of would-be editors. This would just be a change to enforce rules that keep Wikipedia better than a failing high school essay. Happy editing, SilverTiger12 (talk) 17:46, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@ONUnicorn and SilverTiger12: About the time frame... I chose fourteen days because I thought seven days would be seen as a bit too stringent, especially since I suspect there will be more unreferenced-prods then other PRODs. Then again, seven days would be more consistent, and thus easier to remember, etc. Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 19:39, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good goal in spirit. I don't agree with this suggested implementation for roughly 4 reasons.
  1. We should strive for clarity for our editors, experienced or new. We should improve the accuracy of template names, rather than making them mean something other than their name. Thus, repurposing {{unreferenced}} is not the right idea. I'm not fundamentally opposed to a new tag, for example {{proposed deletion unreferenced}} or even a fancy custom message for something like {{proposed deletion|unreferenced}}.
  2. {{unreferenced}} is currently often misused.
    1. For example already published books etc are sometimes marked unreferenced, but an article about an already published book has implicitly verifiable information from the published item itself.
    2. Sometimes it's also used when {{no footnotes}} would be more appropriate.
  3. Changing the meaning of {{unreferenced}} isn't worth it for the gain. Articles without references at AfD are not a major problem, they are (1) rare in comparison to other types of articles at AfD and (2) frequnetly HEY-able. The biggest threats to Wikipedia at AfD these days are WP:PROMO/WP:NOTCV things, and these articles tend to be WP:REFBOMBED with weak references.
  4. After some time, this would begin to encourage editors to add weak references. An article with only weak references is arguably worse than one with none at all. An article without any references is easy to spot and therefore improve. It's also easier to spot for readers. An article with weak references is harder to spot and could sit unimproved for much longer. For readers who only check for lists of references (as many of us do on occasion), it might fool them into thinking its better referenced than it really is.
siroχo 19:14, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Edward-Woodrow Here's some feedback on the specific use of {{unreferenced}}, forgot you had asked for a ping on reply so here it is now. —siroχo 19:16, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Excellent points, especially number 4. We want people to add proper references, not the crap that sometimes gets added in referencing contests. An unsourced article is better than one with inline citations to a Wikipedia mirror. —Kusma (talk) 11:40, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think in that case, an editor could re-add the tag. <ref/> tags aren't the magic word, it's what's in them. Edward-Woodrowtalk 11:58, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, so your proposal isn't just about unsourced articles, but also about the (far more numerous) articles using bad sources? —Kusma (talk) 13:34, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, I didn't say that. But it isn't a stretch to say that the following example would be disallowed:
  • Editor A creates an article with no sources.
  • Editor B tags it with {{unreferenced PROD}}
  • Editor A adds an unrelated citation that does not support the content, and they remove the tag, saying "look, it's referenced now".
In that case, the tag should clearly be re-added, otherwise the entire purpose is nulled. Edward-Woodrowtalk 19:42, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Realistically, it'd be better to follow the removed-PROD process, and ship it off to AFD. Otherwise, you're just going to end up with edit wars over whether that source is reliable, supports the content, etc. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:51, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
True. However, in egregious cases, Editor B can probably safely re-add the tag. Edward-Woodrowtalk 22:18, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support For the simple reason that this is the standard already applied to most IP and new editors, realistically only long-term editors can get away with creating such cruft. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 21:46, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I like with siroχo ideas of a new proposed deletion template would be a better idea than repurposing a pre-existing template. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 21:54, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support I think it is high time that we work at insuring that information in Wikipedia is in fact verifiable by requiring citation of source that varify the content. It is no longer enough to assume that something is verifiable without bothering to find and cite reliable sources. - Donald Albury 23:34, 18 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If I'm going to be 100% honest, I kind of thought something like this was already happening. You just don't see many of these unreference articles being successfully pushed out, at least not in my experience going from random page to random page. That being said, if at any point this becomes a bigger issue, such a process would be vital to have. I'm very much on board with this, but I think the month based system proposed would be better off as a set amount of time rather than the end of the month (should that be what you're actually proposing). Somewhere between 21-30 days? - Mebigrouxboy (talk) 04:52, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Since this idea seems to be enjoying broad support, I will start a WP:VPPR discussion in early October, bearing mind the suggestions here. I support Siroxo's suggestion of creating a new template ({{unreferenced}} would be marked as deprecated). There remains the question of how long the waiting period should be. One week? Two weeks? One month?
We should also make sure that users don't:
  • Add nonsense references so they can remove the tag.
  • Add failed verification references so they can remove the tag.
  • etc.: listing the myriad methods here would be a WP:BEANS violation.
Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 14:04, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose Whenever I see one, my first reaction to assume good faith the creator thought the topic is notable. I do a quick search and add some references, which usually exist. I don't understand a first reaction to delete the entire article for lack of a 20 second Google search. The nominator and others sound like they don't want to do the work, with mass deletion the easy solution. If you don't want to do it, let others do it. Lots of articles have been fixed that were previously tagged. -- GreenC 19:56, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    ...but there is still a backlog of 119 000 unverified articles with absolutely no sources. How is that in any wise acceptable? Edward-Woodrowtalk 19:58, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Less than two percent of articles are tagged as unsourced. For many of them it is trivial to find at least some sources (they might be one click to a parent or sub-article away, or one click on an interwikilink away). I wouldn't want to threaten all of these article with deletion without at least trying to save the low hanging fruit. —Kusma (talk) 12:24, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Especially lists. Yes, it's definitely best to have inline citations for list entries, and I cleaned up a bunch of them at Faked death#Notable faked deaths this summer, but it mostly involved clicking through to the linked article and copying a citation from that. If the whole page had been citation-less, it would have been silly to think that was a deletion-worthy problem, but the fact is that we have more than a couple of editors who look at these things from a very black-and-white POV: uncited is bad, uncited is deletion-worthy, the BURDEN is on you, and therefore I don't have to even lift a finger to help – indeed, it would be more morally correct for me to push this list towards deletion instead of spending two minutes copying refs over myself. These editors see their job as forcing other people to drop everything to make the articles conform to their own standards, not to improve the articles to their own standards themselves, even when it would be very easy for them to do so. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:48, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Cleanup categories are acceptable. Editors have been actively working through this backlog for 20 years keeping it down. If not for their work, it would be a lot larger than 119k. See the stats at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Unreferenced_articles. For example, Category:Articles lacking sources from September 2007 has been reduced by 67%. That is, of the tags added in September 2007, 67% of them have been resolved. -- GreenC 14:50, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment Even if this was done, tagging so many articles with such a short time period ensures most of the will never get looked at before being deleted. -- GreenC 19:56, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It wouldn't apply retroactively. - Mebigrouxboy (talk) 22:20, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It might. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:49, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In the same way that an IP "might" apply for adminship. This idea will not apply retroactively, says the proposal. - Mebigrouxboy (talk) 21:44, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And the proposal has not been adopted in that form. Even if the proposal is made in that form, if the community says "Great idea, let's extend your idea to apply retroactively", then it will apply retroactively. If you want to know whether the community might change the proposal in that way, then I suggest looking at the comments in this thread that say things like "I wouldn't even mind if this being retroactive", "A good idea, although I would apply it retroactively as well", "I would eventually want this procedure to apply to all unreferenced articles retroactively", etc.
    Additionally, even if it's not adopted as a retroactive measure from the very beginning, it almost certainly will be extended that way in the future. Wikipedia:Proposed deletion of biographies of living people began by applying only to articles created after the policy was adopted, and now all BLP articles are subject to deletion through that route. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:38, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Support. This seems like a good path to take. There really is no reason in allowing new articles to be created with zero sources. Regarding the above mentioned gaming the system, a fail verification or a nonsense source should be removed and the article tagged as unsourced. Personally, I'd not grandfather any article, but that's me. Gonnym (talk) 19:56, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Good idea. Given the risk of vandalism removing references, I'd prefer to have admins make all decisions about deletion, and not leave anything to bots. And there should be advice along the lines of WP:BEFORE for the use of the template. We might want to make repeatedly tagging pages that shouldn't be tagged something that is considered disruptive conduct. I would eventually want this procedure to apply to all unreferenced articles retroactively, although I realize that there would be a backlog. (I suspect, but don't know for sure, that a proposal like this could get consensus, even without grandfathering old articles.) I'm ambivalent about the length of the waiting period. On the one hand, I feel like editors should not be too rushed to find sources. On the other hand, with a likely backlog, there will be a delay anyway. I guess two weeks might be reasonable. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:31, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Whether two weeks is reasonable depends on how many of them get tagged in a given time span. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:50, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Following up, I've been thinking about the concerns some editors have raised, that this would go against what Wikipedia has stood for. It seems to me that, nonetheless, times change, and this might be something where it's reasonable for us to do something that differs from historical practice. In its early days, the project needed to create new pages. Today, we have a much larger problem with low-quality content, than with missing content. So I believe we can move in the direction discussed here, without turning into Citizendium. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:32, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In its present form, this proposal is not compatible with WP:ATD, WP:NPOSSIBLE and WP:BEFORE. Unreferenced tags are very often erroneously placed on articles that are referenced. Many erroneous tags still remain on those articles. There are editors trying to clear the backlog of unreferenced articles by adding sources, and an artificial two week deadline would seriously disrupt their efforts. If an editor is trying to work through the unreferenced tags on, to pick a random example, articles about the chronology of Ireland (which has many obviously notable articles to which tags were inappropriately added instead of sources), it is not helpful to waste his time by forcing him to look at yet another prodlist every day. What is really needed is more people working on the backlog. James500 (talk) 06:18, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The proposal would only apply to new articles, not the backlog Mach61 (talk) 12:01, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Actually I'm certain this would apply to the backlog, at least eventually. NPP and AFC already prevent new articles from not having any sources. If this debate is about new articles only, then people are passionately debating a moot point. Dave (talk) 22:27, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Good idea. I'm not sure if I would ultimately support or oppose the proposal, but this has clearly been thought through and I would encourage the OP to take it to RfC when they feel it is appropriate. Curbon7 (talk) 09:18, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Upon reading more of the comments here, I am not sure of the feasibility of this. I think Kusma raises a good point below that this may simply lead to a rise of poor sourcing, and it feels like the proposal is getting more complicated as we're now talking about deprecating templates and de-"Prodding" procedure rather than a simple page tag. Curbon7 (talk) 08:37, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A reminder that this is the idea lab, so please remember not to make support/oppose !votes, just suggestions for how we can improve the proposal. Thanks, Edward-Woodrowtalk 12:09, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What people always seem to miss when trying to (mis)apply WP:BURDEN to deletion is that, while creating an unsourced article is analagous to adding an unsourced statement to an existing article, deleting an article is decidely not analagous to removing text from an existing article. You can't undo an article deletion without a whole bureaucratic song-and-dance. You can't even see what was deleted without the help of an admin. Removing an unsourced statement is just the first step in WP:BRD; deleting an article is a drastic and, for vast majority of editors, irreversable rejection of that content. That's why our deletion policy has always been based on the principle that we don't use deletion for surmountable problems, and unless you have reason to believe the whole article is unverifiable, lack of citations is definitely falls in that category. – Joe (talk) 12:41, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The idea behind this is valid, we definitely should not be solving it by enshrining grandfather clauses into Wikipedia's rules. * Pppery * it has begun... 02:28, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If you do propose this, you need to be clear about what you are proposing - is it "unreferenced articles created after <DATE> are subject to this process", or "all unreferenced articles are subject to this process, but some human has to edit the page to start the 14-day count". The former I would oppose as both too infrequent to bother with (most unref tags are old unreferenced articles that somebody decided to add a tag to today) and creating an obvious double standard, and the latter I would probably support. * Pppery * it has begun... 02:47, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Pppery: The latter. Specifically, in the theoretical case this was implemented, here's what (I imagine) would happen from the technical perspective:
    • {{unreferenced}} is marked deprecated.
    • {{unreferenced PROD}} is created.
    • The {{unreferenced}} backlog stops growing at all.
    • {{unreferenced PROD}} replaces {{unreferenced}} except in the places where the old tag is already transcluded. Twinkle etc. remove the tag from their tagging options and add the new version to their "PROD" section.
    • Now, if you see an unreferenced article, instead of tagging it with the old template, you tag it with the PROD template.
    Edward-Woodrowtalk 12:20, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm not sold that "deletion within 14 days" is a good way to deal with unsourced articles (mostly because I am afraid we will see too much poor sourcing as an unintended consequence), but I agree that grandfathering is not the way to go. Instead of concentrating on articles newly tagged as unsourced, any new proposal should deal with the unsourced backlog. If we had a method to deal with two months' worth of backlog per month, we should be able to kill the backlog within ten years; if we can do four months per months, in five years. Anything faster than that is probably too fast for our limited number of volunteers. —Kusma (talk) 08:13, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The current system is (or at least is supposed to be) that an editor concerned about a lack of sourcing looks for sources first, and then, if unsuccessful, nominates for deletion if deletion policy applies. What is wrong with that? Remember that the creator doesn't own the article. Phil Bridger (talk) 15:42, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It's always been policy that every article should be good enough to pass a GAC review if nominated. However, until recently, that was seen as a goal; an imprefect article was better than no article. It is my honest opinion this fairly recent trend of people who by and large do not contribute content to the encyclopedia, but go around and tag every flaw they find in articles with "Fix it now or I send this sucker off to AFD" will be the eventual demise of Wikipedia. I truely believe this. What made wikipedia great and allowed it to defeat Encarta, Citizendium and a hundred other encyclopedias in the market was that Wikipedia was a "one stop shop" with at least some coverage of the core topics you'd find in any respectable encyclopedia and those "$10 bar bet" articles that were beneath coverage in a "academically credentialed encyclopedia". The fact that many of the articles were flawed didn't really matter; what mattered is Wikipedia had coverage of a topic and "they" didn't. In my opinion, the people who now want Wikipedia to switch to the very model that it defeated a hundred times over should be laughed at, not listened to. If you find a flaw in an article, the right thing to do, IMHO, is fix the flaw; not tag, not whine, not delete. I see tagging as a means of requesting help when you can't fix the flaw yourself. Deletion should be reserved for when the flaws in an article are foundational and cannot be fixed by editing.Dave (talk) 18:45, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Indeed, the approach to building the encyclopedia that you describe is detailed in the editing policy, specifically at WP:IMPERFECT and WP:PRESERVE. —siroχo 18:54, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You're saying I should be laughed at? I'm fine with that. Go ahead. I still think we should maintain quality over quantity. Edward-Woodrowtalk 19:49, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    My interpretation of Dave's comment was not literally that you should be laughed at, but that the model of encyclopedia creation that traditional encyclopedias, or UGC encyclopedias like Citizendium have used is less effective at creating a high quality encyclopedia.
    It's a worry that workable suggestions like yours could, over time, add up to a model like that. The vast majority of articles on Wikipedia started as low quality in one language or another, it's rare that the first edit creates a true good article.
    There is value in low quality articles. So when/if we implement a policy like this, we do need to take care not to lose that value. So, personally, the question I'm trying to help answer here how do we effectively reduce the number of unverifiable articles on Wikipedia without losing the value that low quality articles continue to bring to Wikipedia. —siroχo 02:54, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Edward, I don't think it's "quality over quantity". I think it's "narrowness over breadth".
    I think this old comment from Iridescent might be worth thinking about. Maybe the world needs our little articles on ultra-niche subjects, even if they aren't beautiful, more than the world needs Wikipedia:Vital articles from us. You can get information about popular and generally important subjects from many websites. But if you want to know more about the Ceilings of the Natural History Museum, London, Wikipedia may be one of your few free options. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:33, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think this comment is a little inappropriate, in that it suggests editors support getting rid of articles like Ceilings of the Natural History Museum, London; that is very much false. BilledMammal (talk) 06:46, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Which is an FA? I'm not sure I see your point. Edward-Woodrowtalk 12:28, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Sure, it's a beautiful article, as one would expect from both the subject matter and the editor who created it. But also: "the ceilings in a particular museum" is not a subject whose notability is obvious from the start. What often matters is that we have some information about the subject, not that we have perfect information.
    The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of this. The highest traffic to the articles was in the gap between the disease obviously becoming a problem and "proper" sources getting their things published. For a couple of weeks, we were one of the best places on the internet for reasonably up to date, reasonably accurate information. When better (free) sources became available, our page views dropped. People might prefer beautiful articles from authoritative sources, but what they need is something useful.
    We've seen the same pattern for natural disasters, celebrity deaths, and other time-bound subjects. For those readers, what matters is that we have content. They do not need or expect us to be perfect. Material can be useful without being trustworthy, authoritative, or credible. We all know this from the real-world, too: If Uncle Bob says ____ about politics, then the opposite is almost certainly true. Uncle Bob isn't trustworthy, authoritative, or credible, but he's still useful. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:39, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Are you a long-lost cousin or sister that I didn't know I had? We seem to have the same Uncle Bob. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:53, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    So you're saying that sometimes people rely on us for information, even though sometimes it's incorrect? I don't see the advantage of misinformation. If Uncle Bob is wrong, then Uncle Bob is not useful (unless he is consistently, 100% wrong, but that's a different matter). Edward-Woodrowtalk 19:41, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Edward, while I would largely agree with Dave's comments, I don't find your actions or proposals offensive or laughable. However, there are two broad philosophical points I would earnestly urge you to consider. The first is that, in their time, Nupedia and Citizendium could have justified their superiority on the exact same grounds that you've given: they favored quality over quantity. Quality is a virtue, but pursuing it in certain ways endangers the entire enterprise of a crowdsourced encyclopedia. The second is to consider our overall goal as a work of reference: we are here to present true (well, verifiable) and relevant information about the generalized and specialized topics that people look up here (IMO, anyway). Things like sourcing and policy compliance are metrics we use to estimate how well we're meeting that goal, because it can't easily be evaluated at scale. However, as anyone who's been part of a large, modern organization can testify, confusing the metrics with the goal itself can have major detrimental consequences. Choess (talk) 13:10, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Exactly. Not only could they, Citizendium did. They bragged they had a better model of quality over quantity. Veropedia was another one that did. The only Wikipedia competitor that is still around with a quality over quantity model that I can name off the top of my head is Encyclopedia Brittanica. Even then Wikipedia has made a severe dent in their market share, and they have had to change their business model to adapt to Wikiedia's dominance. I think the heart of this difference in philosophies is the assumption "but we can't have flawed articles out there, we could mislead the public." Twenty years of experience suggests that's not the case. The public knows Wikipedia's model of "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit" will result in potential flaws in it's articles. This is well known and discussed ad-nauseum all over the internet. Yet Wikipedia has thrived. The vastness of coverage in Wikipedia's articles makes up for the fact that a number of them have flaws; the flaws are known and tolerated. I would view it more like the market leader in many products, from cars to computer operating systems has many critics who point out the numerous flaws and longtime issues that have never been fixed. Yet they remain the market leader because in the big picture they still deliver what there competitors can't. That doesn't mean we ignore flaws in articles, we should fix them as we find them. I am saying Toyota shouldn't throw away it's market dominance to change business models because Volvo is perceived as having higher quality. Dave (talk) 15:50, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This is edging towards the age-old inclusionist–deletionist debate, which I'd prefer to avoid in this discussion (and my leanings are probably fairly obvious, anyways), but I will say this.
    Wikipedia needs stubs and we need coverage in obscure areas; even if the articles aren't perfect. And no article is "perfect".
    However, an unreferenced article is completely different from an unnotable article. Unreferenced articles are a poison that we could do without. We shouldn't force out anything that isn't a C-class article and devolve into Encyclopedia Britannica v2.0, but we also shouldn't be willingly letting in unreferenced content without a fight. This proposal isn't a speedy deletion criterion or anything so drastic; it gives plenty of time for the creator and other interested editors to improve the article by one very small step. Really, it's BLPPROD extended to all articles.
    Perhaps deletion is too drastic, per WP:PRESERVE. Perhaps this idea could work with BilledMammal's idea of "soft-deleting" (or "archiving").
    Fundamentally, I see the core idea of this proposal (minus any specifics) – and my intent in starting this discussion – as an extension of WP:BURDEN:

    Any material lacking an inline citation to a reliable source that directly supports [...] the material may be removed and should not be restored without an inline citation to a reliable source. [...] In some cases, editors may object if you remove material without giving them time to provide references. Consider adding a citation needed tag as an interim step.

    Happy editing, Edward-Woodrowtalk 22:30, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose as unnecessary for cleanup and irresponsible to our preservation goals. Certainly not appropriate for deletion; maybe in some cases for converting to an archive [if we had a non-draft archive space that didn't auto-delete after 6 months]. The equivalent mass deletion on Commons of all images without modern copyright tags was a mistake and an avoidable loss. – SJ + 02:14, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You bring up a good point, WP:PRESERVE is a policy.-- GreenC 17:00, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The proposal sounds sensible in spirit, but it has bite potential, and I feel that retaining and training new editors is a more valuable pursuit than aggressively removing unreferenced articles. Barnards.tar.gz (talk) 16:16, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. I think this is a really good idea, but I think there should be a delay before the article is proposed for deletion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Professor Penguino (talkcontribs) 09:58, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per Rschen7754 and against the spirit of WP:BEFORE. -- King of ♥ 01:47, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    A reminder that This page is not for consensus polling. Stalwart "Oppose" and "Support" comments generally have no place here. Instead, discuss ideas and suggest variations on them. This is not the RfC on this proposed change. Curbon7 (talk) 02:02, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm intrigued by against the spirit of WP:BEFORE. Would you care to elaborate? I was assuming the nominator would do a quick WP:BEFORE check to see if the problem can be easily fixed, like one would for PROD or AfD. Edward-Woodrowtalk 12:18, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "I was assuming the nominator would do a quick WP:BEFORE" That is indeed the way it's supposed to work, however, a quick scan at some of the mass deletions, including mass deletions of every article that was ever created by an editor we've now deemed isn't worthy to be on this site, will reveal that is no longer how our deletion process works.Dave (talk) 16:42, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    But this isn't a mass-deletion question. Edward-Woodrowtalk 16:51, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Based on my reading of the proposal, it allows deletion of articles simply for being unreferenced, not for being unreferenceable. If the nominator is supposed to conduct WP:BEFORE (and refrain from nominating articles where sources exist), then how is it not redundant to our existing PROD and AfD processes? -- King of ♥ 02:33, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose we already have a {{prod}} tag. This proposal is to hijack a different, useful maintenance tag to become a copy of that tag. And even the proposer agrees that deleting all 100k articles tagged as "unsourced" (some of which are lists that don't need sourcing) is infeasible.
    As far as the proposals to (via edit filters, etc.) require new articles to have at least one source at the time of creation: possibly, but I'll believe it's possible when I see it. (talk) 04:02, 24 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This is a good point, but there is one major difference between current WP:PROD and this proposal. PROD must be subject to WP:DEL-REASON; unreferenced articles are not explicitly included in that policy, and thus this would exist as a sort of exception, propped up by WP:BURDEN, in the same way that BLPPROD is an exception, propped up by WP:BLP. The closest DEL-REASON comes to unreferenced articles is a little more stringent:
    • Articles that cannot possibly be attributed to reliable sources, including neologisms, original theories and conclusions, and hoaxes
    • Articles for which thorough attempts to find reliable sources to verify them have failed.
    Cheers, Edward-Woodrowtalk 13:02, 24 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is 2023.
A: The earth is not a cube.
B: Add references please.
A: The earth is not a cube. You know it and I know it. It’s verifiable. Our children may not know it and we’re telling them now. Why do we need that?
B: Please provide references. It’s our policy.
A: Why don’t YOU add that if you think it’s needed?
B: The BURDEN is on you.
A: Oh the atmosphere here is toxic. The people here are . . . OKOK, the earth is a cube. It’s a cube. Okay? Please don’t chase after me. I won’t edit any more. You can do whatever you want.
B: . . .
--Dustfreeworld (talk) 06:40, 24 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
...seems like a WP:SKYBLUE scenario rather than a relevant analogy, honestly. Edward-Woodrowtalk 12:57, 24 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But when we set down a "rule", we can expect it to get implemented mindlessly. Consider, e.g., BURDEN, which says you may (=are permitted but not required to) remove uncited content, while noting that if you're stupid, mindless, or POINTY about it, people will be angry with you, but which is twisted by someone basically every day of the week to say that uncited content must be removed, that it is an abomination to have even exclusively SKYBLUE information on a page if there isn't a source on the page, etc.
And, of course, if you think that a particular unsourced sentence is okay (Something vulgaris is a type of insect in the Something family"), and therefore an unsourced article containing only that would be okay, then there wouldn't be any point to this proposal. You'd check an individual article, do a quick WP:BEFORE search, and then either add a source or {{subst:PROD}} it through the existing process. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:55, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Category:Articles lacking sources I am surprised to see articles created this year on the list. Just don't let new articles be created that don't have references. I thought we had that already. Didn't we have that at one point in time? A bot should be created to post on the talk pages of all those who created these articles, with a link to where to find references and instructions. Specific instructions can be given such as if they are in the catagory for artists, mention that any musuem that has their artwork will have an official website that mentions them and being featured in a permanent musuem collection confirms the notability of an artist. Dream Focus 15:50, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Dream Focus: Ah, so it's NPP's fault for letting in bad articles? Edward-Woodrowtalk 19:43, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    During the time this discussion has been open multiple new/IP editors have been blocked as disruptive for creating continuously unreferenced articles, it's only established accounts that can get away with doing this. But they are a special case and shouldn't be subjected to community policies apparently. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 19:50, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Wait... are there articles from this year? The category just contains articles according to when they were tagged. Birel, for example, is listed as September 2023, but it was created in 2004. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:20, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, currently 123 of them. —Cryptic 23:05, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I created one of those. List of fire departments in United States. Navigational list don't need references. Dream Focus 15:03, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What about pages like weak operator topology? There's a reason that page is still unsourced after all these years: most of us are utterly unqualified to judge if any reference even supports any non-trivial claim in the article. The responsible thing is to leave that page to someone who actually knows what they are doing, however long it takes, instead of accidentally TURGIDAXing it in an attempt to protect it from deletion.
    And it's not just math and physics. What about subjects where all the likely sources are in a language I do not speak? Again, if there's a deadline to deletion, and no speaker of the language seems to be coming along, should I just use Google Translate and hope for the best?
    Instead of this broad proposal, what I might favor is expanding BLPPROD (or a similar process) to cover at least some subjects other than BLPs. For example, anything that might realistically cause real-world harm, e.g. an unsourced page about a medical treatment. And maybe some "spam-magnet" subjects, e.g. online content, commercial products, etc. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 23:14, 26 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Alternative Idea[edit]

How about instead we have it so that they have to be fixed within 30 days before they can be nominated for deletion? After they are nominated for proposed deletion sources must be added then within 14 days. There can also be a tag for "An editor has identified that the contents of this article is verifiable, but the article does not cite any sources. Please help improve this article. More information can be discussed on the talk page." The PROD tag could then only be removed as soon as a single reliable source is added. Sources in WP:RSPS determined to be "deprecated" can be discounted when assessing whether any sources are cited. Aasim - Herrscher of Wikis ❄️ 18:58, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment - I doubt anyone is reading this far down but could maybe someone send a bot through to add == References == {{reflist}} to the 118,000 that don't have it? It would just make the repair work slightly easier for people going through and trying to get things up to par. Who knows it might even prompt someone to add a ref just because it irritates them to see an empty unfilled field for them? jengod (talk) 20:19, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suppose it couldn't hurt. Also, I like the idea of empty references sections glaring at the readers. Edward-Woodrowtalk 20:27, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, for some reason that imagery also appeals to me a lot. JoelleJay (talk) 05:17, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like this idea for a bot. It could check the last edit time to make sure to wait at least a few hours from the last edit. —siroχo 23:32, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Enwiki-WMF Relationship discussions[edit]

For the past month a number of us have been discussing holding a number of discussions on the relationship between the Wikimedia Foundation and the English Wikipedia; these discussions can be found here.

The formal discussions that we are planning to hold are:

  1. An RfC at either WP:VPW or WP:VPR, proposing non-binding resolutions that would express the opinion of the English Wikipedia on a number of topics to the Wikimedia Foundation. The draft for this discussion, including the proposed resolutions, can be found here here. The purpose of this discussion will be to inform the WMF of areas that concern us in the hope that they will be willing to consider adjusting their behavior in those areas; given that policy is mostly silent on these questions, to encourage participation the RfC is structured closer to a vote, with separated support and oppose sections, than to our normal RfC structure.
  2. An RfC at WP:VPP proposing reducing the privileges accorded to the Wikimedia Foundation under WP:CONEXCEPT, to try to encourage the WMF to see us as a partner and stakeholder rather than a subordinate, and to reflect reality in that the WMF cannot use this power without extreme controversy. The draft RfC for the proposed change can be found here.
  3. A discussion at WP:AN, proposing applying general sanctions to WP:VPW in order to address concerns that the WMF has with the level of incivility that is sometimes directed at their employees and encourage them to communicate with us more frequently. The proposed text can be found here.

Before opening these formal discussions I am opening an informal discussion here to discuss the proposed texts and resolutions.

In particular, I am interested in hearing:

  1. Whether the text of the proposed resolutions are appropriate; whether some can be merged to reduce the number that need to be considered
  2. Whether some of the proposed resolutions should be removed entirely
  3. Whether there are other topics that should be addressed in the proposed resolutions that are not, keeping in mind that we don't want to create too many resolutions'
  4. Whether it would be better to hold the discussion on the proposed resolution at WP:VPW or WP:VPR
  5. Whether the proposed new wording for CONEXCEPT is functional
  6. Whether the proposed sanctions wording is functional
  7. Whether general sanctions are needed; if we can instead implement just the wording proposed to be added to the top of WP:VPW
  8. Any other thoughts that editors may have

BilledMammal (talk) 02:36, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Initial note, having not yet clicked through to any of the discussions:
Regarding discussion 3, WMF staff typically make announcements at VPM, which I feel like is a matter of their policy, although I have not been able to track it down.
Whenever these conversations are kicked off, consider dropping links at meta:Wikimedia Forum, since good communication runs both ways.
Mild request to host discussion 1 on a dedicated subpage. Seems like it will be a big 'un, and these poor pumps already groan under load. Folly Mox (talk) 05:07, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The VPM thing is something I had an idea about resolving through a bot—see Wikipedia:Bot_requests#Forward_VPM_MassMessages_to_a_new_MassMessage_list. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 18:00, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That would help; my thought has been to create cross-wiki pages, which would allow editors to interact with the same page without needing to go to a centralized forum. Unfortunately, it would require a radical redesign of Mediawiki, but if it was possible it would be a massive boon in terms of permitting Wikiprojects to work with each and with the WMF. BilledMammal (talk) 14:06, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Given that VPW doesn't see as much activity, would you have an issue with it being held there or would you still think a subpage would be a better idea? BilledMammal (talk) 12:02, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As this is only a discussion about potential further discussion, with links to earlier discussion about potential discussion; I think that we need more discussion. I propose an informal discussion about the discussions regarding potential future discussion. Where this discussion takes place should be decided through a formal discussion at a location yet to be determined (we should probably discuss it, though).[Humour] Edward-Woodrow :) [talk] 13:45, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia:Discussions for discussion would probably be the appropriate venue. Folly Mox (talk) 13:56, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for your great work in a much-needed area. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 03:08, 19 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Having now clicked through, I think that resolutions 1–3 are probably unworkable, although I'm only one pessimist. We can certainly request that the Foundation issue more complete financial statements, but have no means of holding them to it. As to getting community consensus for grants, that would be a nightmare likely resulting in no grants ever being issued, and I know the Foundation does have a committee about it that volunteers sit on, although I think I saw the link to that on a talk page in your (User:BilledMammal's) userspace, not meta:Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/Committee review process and framework like I thought.
Resolution 4 is obvious, and would benefit other projects as well as en.wp, and I certainly hope it is adopted and followed. Since the broken Graphs extension is mentioned, I thought I might drop a link to mw:Extension talk:Graph/Plans#Update: 15 September.
Things two and three seem fine to go to RfC; no prediction regarding outcome. Folly Mox (talk) 16:29, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I guess I'd characterise resolutions 1–3 as "presumptuous", like we're looking to control funding, salaries, etc. Seems like it would be nice (for us), but feels a little inappropriate to suggest. JMO, Folly Mox (talk) 16:55, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I guess I also have a question (apologies for my fragmented thoughts— they're always like this): there's a redlink to Wikipedia:WikiProject WMF Relations. Is this still intended to be a thing / part of this conversation? Folly Mox (talk) 17:23, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See User_talk:BilledMammal/2023_Wikimedia_RfC#Draft_Wikiproject. There's a lot of discussion/context on that page (though some of it pertains to earlier drafts). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:12, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

GS for VPW? Have there been many previous ANI discussions, blocks, ArbCom cases, ... indicating that this is indeed needed there? It seems like severe overkill, and reminds me too much of the use of such measures on Meta and Phabricator where they are mainly used to stifle criticism of the WMF and some of their more disastrous projects. I see no reason why that page should get more scrutiny and harsher treatment of infractions than other pages. "To address valid concerns held by the WMF at the incivility that is sometimes directed at its employees" needs examples of some relatively recent incidents at that page. Fram (talk) 17:13, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I agree with Fram that there hasn't been the kind of evidence that suggests GS would be useful that we normally have before implementing it. This also feels like us doing something to foundation employees rather than for foundation employees because as far as I know there has been no conversation with them about what would help us acheive our goals, just us trying to figure out what tools we have in our toolbox to try and get what we want based on our understanding of what their problems are. Frankly it reminds me of the ham fisted way certain WMF initiatives happen. Barkeep49 (talk) 20:27, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree that for a healthy, long-term collaboration, the community is better off working with the WMF on aligning upon common objectives. I know this is difficult to achieve, and many English Wikipedia editors are not interested in being involved on meta-wiki or serving on committees. It's the price that has to be paid, though, to really be involved in decision-making: we need to use our voices during planning to ensure the resulting projects meet our needs. isaacl (talk) 23:19, 20 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Personally I think the general sanction idea won't achieve its goal for a different reason. While some WMFers may avoid contributing here for fear of incivility, I think more often they don't contributing here for reasons internal to the WMF. For example, I heard a while back that they had an internal CoC that includes things like that no one except the person assigned to "communications" on a project should communicate about it. And I know that they've had managers who'd stoop to workplace bullying and other such practices to silence or eliminate people who make them look bad. Anomie 11:36, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    SSpalding from WMF Legal here. I don't want to butt in too much on lively debate, but I did want to give first hand experience as a staff member. I do honestly think that a meaningful percentage of WMF staff fear (emotionally) to contribute to conversations because of the concern of getting bullied or (unfairly) interrogated. I assume a lot more people from WMF would communicate directly in places like the WMF portion of the Village Pump felt like a "safer space." (I'm trying not to use culturally loaded vernacular but that's probably the best term for it).
    I like contributing and talking to everyone here and on meta because I have relatively think skin. I do think certain "general suspicion about the Foundation as a whole" infects any "specific conversations directly with staff on Wiki about specific projects".
    In any online community, it takes a big jump from going from lurker to contributor. If the water seems too cold or deep (unwelcoming in a general sense), then you are not going to jump then the ocean. If the water is warm and clear but you see sharks in the distance (a handful of specific actors in the community who are on welcoming) you probably also won't jump in the ocean. To take this analogy to its conclusion, most people don't get attacked by sharks. It's a total illusion that shark attacks are common (that it's always going to happen that a staff member will be bullied). But the fear keeps many people out of the ocean regardless.
    I can only speak for myself, but I can -- and do -- post across different Wikis without oversight from any manager. I imagine there are teams who, for coordination purposes, elect to have one speaker. But I also think that teams might elect to have one speaker because that speaker has particularly thick skin for debate.
    This isn't an argument for or against general sanctions or anything else that's being discussed here. But I did think it was useful data to add that fear of being involved in a hostile debate (and being censured about projects or initiatives that the staff member knows nothing about) is real. It is a meaningful issue that I see personally and it's important to me because I'd love to see a world where more staff members could feel comfortable contributing more often. I don't know how to achieve that world though. Thanks for listening! SSpalding (WMF) (talk) 23:39, 23 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That sounds like something we can fix. Create a special safe space page, where anyone who doesn't behave in a certain way (details TBD, but make them strict) gets their message deleted and blocked from the page. Then publicize it among WMF employees with the suggestion that they can respond to any question with "Answer posted as [safe space page]". I think a back and forth discussion with everyone being forced to be overly polite would be much preferred to the current silence we get when we ask reasonable questions. --Guy Macon Alternate Account (talk) 02:05, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I actually like the idea of creating a safe space for WMF staff to interact without worry of editors holding them accountable for every financial decision and software design choice ever made by their employer, but I wonder if topic bans might be a better tool than pageblocks. A pageblock will cut off Wikipedia Library access, which is remedied by an email to WMF staff.... I guess this detail could be read as a feature rather than a bug (I would choose reversion over deletion for transgressive posts too), but the basic idea of a safe space for communication feels kind, which means something to me anyway. Folly Mox (talk) 04:29, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That was the intent behind this proposal, but unfortunately there seems to be a lack of support among the community - although I'm happy to revive it, or a variant on it. BilledMammal (talk) 04:51, 25 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Maybe it just needs to be framed as a bespoke remedy instead of using GS. Seems like it should be stricter than GS, from what I understand of sanctions regimes. What looks to be desirable here is an environment that is not necessarily open to "robust debate", and embracing of a higher standard of interaction than just civility. It makes me wonder though if something like this is actually workable here (I do hope so) and if the solution for communication might just require en.wp eeitors to be more active on meta, which doesn't seem unfair. Folly Mox (talk) 18:56, 25 September 2023 (UTC)