Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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

Please see this FAQ page for a list of frequently rejected or ignored proposals. Discussions are automatically archived after remaining inactive for two weeks.

Geographic sourcing bias on Wikipedia[edit]

Why do some Wikipedia editors believe that popular western sources are the only independent sources deserving of consideration for determining the notability of subjects? In a deletion discussion about Patrick Lancaster, an editor is claiming that the lengthy treatise by Zabrorona on the subject is not journalistic, and other editors support this saying there are no independent sources. The subject is very specific to Ukraine and Zabrorona is a very high-quality independent source from Ukraine, and I tried getting community input on Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard as advised by Wikipedia:Reliable sources, but no response so far. If independent sources from the west are the only ones that can be trusted, then millions of articles on notable Tatar musicians, Indian shamans, and Indonesian politicians are likely missing from Wikipedia. IntrepidContributor (talk) 09:58, 13 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Define "independent" sources and provide examples of such purported sources in Wikipedia articles. (talk) 11:28, 13 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think "independent" needs more than a dictionary definition. There are many examples of non-western independent sources being used in Wikipedia, like Kompas, a local Indonesian newspaper. The problem is that there seems to be a prevailing view that these sources are not high-quality enough to establish notability on subjects, like in the example above. IntrepidContributor (talk) 13:50, 13 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Don't mean to sound obtuse, but when it comes to sources, "independent" needs explanation. Is the source "independent" of the various viewpoints on a particular issue? That doesn't mean that it should be thought of as reliable relative to the issue. It may not adhere to any POV, but still have a POV of its own. That would be an "independent" viewpoint, and as unreliable as any other POV. (talk) 15:03, 13 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If the definition of independent really needs further clarification, then let's make it specific to Zabrorona and Patrick Lancaster. Is there any reason you think Zabrorona shouldn't be considered as a reliable enough source for determining (along with Vice) the notability of Lancaster? Other editors could cite other examples. IntrepidContributor (talk) 18:23, 13 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To give a considered answer, one would need to learn about the subject and the reporting on it. Have no time for this now, but in general, there is no such thing as a "reliable source", no person/organization owns that holy grail in toto or in perpetuity. There can be a reliable reference. Reliable references depend on both the wikitext presentation and the choice of sources. There may be widely disseminated and commented upon propaganda from a [biased?] source. That would make the propaganda notable. The wikitext could give an example, citing the [biased?] source, in a neutral manner. But although this is factual, it is misleading. Contrary examples (if any) to the propaganda should also be provided, with their own sources, also in a neutral manner. That may also be factual, but is incomplete. In order for the reader (the uninterested observer) to have the full picture, include verifiable information that one or all sides may be biased. If other sources provide a more truthful accounting of the issue, they should be included too, with some explanation regarding their status. (talk) 21:17, 13 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you didn't have the time to look into the example, perhaps you shouldn't have replied. IntrepidContributor (talk) 17:26, 15 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we are going to share opinions about what other people should or should not do, perhaps you should not attempt to elevate your pet interest to a general issue of supposed site-wide "bias" in a crude attempt to attract eyeballs. You were done the courtesy of responses, anyway. So there it is. (talk) 13:23, 17 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What is the policy that you are suggesting needs changing/discussing? Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 15:07, 13 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Having read WP:GNG once and now twice, I don't think it needs any changes. I guess the problem is just that one (and now two) editors believe the Zabrorona article is not "Independent of the subject," claiming it is an advertorial when it is clearly not. IntrepidContributor (talk) 17:31, 15 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is a very tricky problem, and I'm not sure if there is any easy solution. Because Wikipedia is fundamentally a western web site (for both better and for worse), thus it is near on impossible to get rid of that inherent bias which is built into Wikipedia's DNA and instead have a truly 100% NPOV. As anything which differs slightly from the western "consensus" will easily be discarded with accusations of "pro-Arab" / "pro-Russia" / "pro-China" / etc as most western editors lack the flexibility of mindset to see from all the other perspectives so as to arrive at where the neutral perspective should fall upon. If someone can only see from a western perspective they will of course quite naturally perceive the "middle position" (i.e. their "neutral point of view") to fall right in the middle of the western viewpoints, and in the process totally ignore all other viewpoints. Mathmo Talk 16:55, 13 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a pretty thick stack of assumptions, opinions, and generalizations for such a short paragraph. (talk) 21:20, 13 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps if Arab, Russian and China had more Freedom of the press the we would have more reliable sources from those countries. My issue is with second "tier" reliable sources from lower "caste" countries that are being ruled out for establishing notability of subjects on English Wikipedia. IntrepidContributor (talk) 17:15, 15 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
" then millions of articles on notable Tatar musicians, Indian shamans, and Indonesian politicians are likely missing from Wikipedia"
You are absolutely right. Mathmo Talk 17:01, 13 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yup. Just watch AfD lately, watch Bangladesh and Sri Lankan articles that are undoubtedly notable going down the toilet because there’s not anyone on the English Wikipedia to defend them. I helped save one or two, but don’t have the energy to save them all because it’s not my expertise. It’s not the deletionists expertise either, but if you just want to destroy some articles, they make an easy target.Jacona (talk) 14:53, 17 July 2022 (UT
No on wants to "destroy articles". What people want is articles built around information which is trustworthy. Being silent on a subject, especially a BLP, is better than being untrustworthy on said subject, and for subjects for which no one can produce any verifiable information from reliable sources, then what does it do to have an article? If the sources exist (in any language), then there's no reason to delete an article, but if all we have is the word of the article author or a fan of the person in question saying "trust me", then that's not enough to create an article at Wikipedia. No one, meaning not a single person, prefers deleting articles. However, being willing to concede that unverifiable text does more harm to Wikipedia and to the subject of the article than no next at all is key. --Jayron32 18:28, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've gone about six rounds on this subject with a long-time wiki-friend (fortunately for me, someone who is patient with my pedantry and obsessiveness about this), and I have the following quick comments.
  • The IP is basically wrong, about basically everything. For one thing, WP:BIASED sources are allowed. Also, we already have a definition of Wikipedia:Independent sources. As a first approximation (to a first approximation, the entire universe is made of Hydrogen), a source is independent when it is not paid for running that content.
  • Some editors have a personal opinion about how a trustworthy source should "sound" or because their website has the Right™ Look and feel. This is as untrustworthy as believing that one computer system is more advanced than another because it has prettier lights on front panel, but the effect is real. These editors believe that independently ascertained facts will never be presented in a silly, fawning, outdated, or otherwise "inappropriate" (for their own culture) way. They're wrong (sometimes), but convincing them might not be worth your time.
  • One really practical, if occasionally difficult, way to deal with this sort of "I've never heard of it, so it's bad" problem is to make lists and articles about the sources. Editors react differently to a source they know nothing about and a source with a Wikipedia entry that says something like "weekly print newspaper founded in 2018 with certified circulation of 12,453". Zabrorona was founded by some award-winning journalists; that's a point in its favor. It also accepts native advertising, which is a big problem (unless all of those paid advertisements are clearly marked as "Advertising" – because otherwise, how would we know which ones are paid advertisements and which aren't?).
WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:05, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Another interesting case. Will the new Ukrainian and Kazak sources I just added to Anatoly Levin-Utkin be enough to establish his notability? IntrepidContributor (talk) 19:43, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Terminology for undocumented immigrants[edit]

The page Wikipedia:Naming conventions (immigration) has been archived with no resolution. As-is, it notes that the AP Stylebook suggests the term "illegal immigrant;" however, as of 2013, this is no longer true.[1] Joe Biden's administration in 2021 has moved to the term "unauthorized noncitizen." This has made the issue more clear than it was during the prior discussion. Direct quotes should use the exact wording quoted; for non-quoted text, I suggest it is not appropriate to describe certain human beings as "illegal." John Moser (talk) 05:34, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Which would be a valid point if that was what was being done here. "Illegal immigrant" is an exact parallel to "illegal operator" as used in cases such as this: . --User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 12:21, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There was a Village Pump proposal in 2014 thread Guideline for terminology on immigrants.There was a WP:WTW proposal in 2017 thread The term "illegal alien". Both failed. Good. My favourite refutation was that we don't call football players "wide receivers" as a pejorative about their wideness. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 14:08, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm glad you cleared that up. To my non-American ear "wide receiver" sounds like a rather obscene sexual term. Phil Bridger (talk) 15:53, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A lot of Americans make jokes about that, too. Not to mention the "tight ends" on the same team. Even "full back" has possibilities for innuendo. --User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 15:59, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The term exists in Canadian football too. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 15:12, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fun stuff. If the term "wide receiver" were used while locking up, deporting, and denying rights to wide receivers; if it were used for decades as a racist dogwhistle; if wide receivers themselves had been advocating against the term for many years; if many mainstream style guides had moved away from the term "wide receiver"... but Wikipedians preferred to outright mock it anyway, then yes it would be quite similar. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:22, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Context matters. The refutation was of the argument that if an adjective appears before a noun that is derived from a verb, it cannot be referring to the meaning of the verb (if I understood the argument correctly). Peter Gulutzan (talk) 15:12, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, the argument was that referring to people as "illegal" is dehumanizing and unencyclopedic, and puts us at odds with the reliable sources that we're charged with reflecting. It's a pretty compelling argument. MastCell Talk 16:39, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It seems like WP:MOS#Vocabulary has this covered pretty well: since the term "illegal immigrant" is (a) contested, (b) not the most common usage in reliable sources, and (c) not generally used by the people to whom it refers, there is unlikely to be any good reason to use it outside of direct quotes. -- Visviva (talk) 16:36, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The new AP guidance basically said to avoid noun-ifying people as illegal immigrants. Instead to describe it in terms of the illegal action, and presumably only when that aspect is relevant. It doesn't push for "undocumented" and notes that that ambiguous term obscures the point that it is used to "specify"....that the entry or presence is illegal. North8000 (talk) 17:28, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are two problems: The first problem is that while you might find broad consensus that a term is preferred (or better avoided) in basically all instances, Wikipedians are extremely reluctant to codify an explicit preference or ban some term. Yes, "illegal immigrant", "illegal alien", and "illegals" are all denigrating language about immigrants for a wide range of social, historical, and legal reasons. That this is the case isn't actually controversial -- the controversy is whether to do anything about it. One of the most common arguments in favor (apart from "I don't like it when people tell me the words I use are offensive") is that they're still used by some official sources. While styleguides and the various sources we consider reliable are increasingly phasing out the language, it's true that they do still appear in various official documents (although less and less -- US immigration enforcement had to stop using it last year, and they were one of the last hold-outs). What's not controversial is that the groups affected by these terms (not limited to people who crossed a border illegally) aren't fans.
The second problem is the lack of an obvious replacement. "Undocumented immigrant", "unauthorized migrant", "person who crossed the border illegally", etc. -- people have different preferences, and there are legitimate criticisms that e.g. "undocumented" is imprecise. Without an obvious replacement, it's again hard to codify. I'd support a proposal to say that Wikipedia doesn't have a preferred formulation but that the three I listed above are discouraged, and would be happy to furnish a pile of sources which explain it (won't get too far into it here). Ultimately, there are a lot of reasons not to use the term, and not a lot of great reasons to use it. Who knows, maybe enough people will be on board, but I'm pessimistic. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:22, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That sounds sensible. Getting broad agreement for that formulation may, as you indicate, be difficult. - Donald Albury 22:05, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, a formulation would be tricky, but Rhodedendrites proposal looks good. Doug Weller talk 07:04, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If the proposal is to discourage "illegal immigrant", it doesn't look good to me. Wikipedia articles Illegal immigration, Illegal immigration to the United States Economic impact of illegal immigrants in the United States Illegal immigration to Canada etc. exist and there's no proposed alternative. The word "undocumented" appears for Wikipedia articles too (I don't know of a proposal to discourage it); however, although "illegal immigrant" seems like it may be in decline when I look at Google Ngrams, it still beats "undocumented migrant" by that measure. Certainly I don't agree with Rhododendrites that it's "denigrating language about immigrants", it very specifically is language about illegal immigrants, that's not merely a hint, it's shouting for all the world to see that if there's an objection it's about the illegality. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 15:12, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Turning the smoothing off on Ngrams shows a more accurate picture: [1]. They're off by less than 0.000001%, a virtual tie, and if they were nearly equal in 2019, they probably already crossed by 2022, given the very strong trendline over the past two decades. The last illegal immigration RM appears to have been seven years ago. I wonder if the result would be different today. Levivich (talk) 15:42, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Should we use Ngrams? Apologies for copying this text by User:Wee Curry Monster
A) Ngram being used to defend the position. When it comes to capitalisation Ngram are not an effective or reliable means of establishing usage in the literature. [2],[3], [4] Not only are they ineffective but can be easily manipulated. You see if you use my Ngram [5] it shows Copper Head Culture as the predominant term.
B) The only reliable means of establishing usage is a literature review.
Doug Weller talk 15:59, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure what capitalization has to do with what we're talking about here, but those Ngram examples are being manipulated by changing the smoothing setting: they are set at 10, 40, or 50, all of which are extremely high values; the best value is 0 (if you want recent trends); the default is 3 (good for long term trends). Set the smoothing to 0 and all those charts show the same thing. It's true that Ngrams aren't the be-all and end-all, and they can be manipulated, but they're accurate for what they show. Levivich (talk) 16:08, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would never suggest you don't use Ngram without smoothing the data, small values if you want to see short term trends, larger values if you want to see long term trends. 10 isn't high for looking at long term trends say 50-100 years. 1 or 0 is rather too small in general. 3 is rather too small for long term trends but I would recommend it if you wanted to look say over a decade. It is explained much better here. I'm not saying you shouldn't use Ngram for trends in language usage but trying to argue for trends in say capitalisation its very vulnerable to the point of being useless. If you wanted to compare one phrase against another it can be very nuanced. I would say whilst they can be helpful in guiding research, they can for example be used to search for sources in a particular timeframe, I don't think they are a substitute for reviewing sources to find trends in the literature. WCMemail 16:27, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Looking at the particular topic posed, you can observe some trends. In American English, [6] undocumented immigrant has recently overtaken illegal immigrant. In British English, [7] the reverse is true there is poor take up of the use of the term. Combining the two [8] illegal immigrant remains the predominant term. I don't think its as simple as recommending terms not to use, since there are significant variations per WP:ENGVAR. Imposing a term common in one English language variation that is uncommon in another is a recipe for conflict. WCMemail 16:41, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed. In Canada arguments have involved the word "irregular". Disclosure: I removed a claim about Canadian usage in the Illegal immigration to Canada article because that cited source said no such thing. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 17:31, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The term "illegal immigration" should be fine, since it's calling the immigration illegal, not the immigrant. An action that is contrary to established law can be legitimately called illegal, but labeling a person as illegal is problematic. --Ahecht (TALK
) 22:01, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comparing ngrams assumes the terms are roughly equivalent in both denotation and connotation, and that we're simply choosing which is most common. That's not the case here. "Retarded" and "retard" are still more common than "[intellectually/mentally/developmentally/adjective forms of these] [disabled/handicapped/noun form of these]. In American English, "Eskimo" is still more common than either "Inuit" or "Yupik". But our articles on these subjects aren't at the more common ngram. Why? As with "illegal immigrant", the many reasons why these terms are problematic are easily accessible with a simple search. The idea that because a term is offensive in one English-speaking country but not others we must default to the latter, as though the alternatives are unintelligible or the meaning for the former is irrelevant, is nonsensical (nevermind that a significant plurality of enwp readers are from a country where it's offensive). I will grant that "illegal immigrant" certainly has wider acceptance in 2022 than the two examples I gave above, but the fact remains that it's an offensive term to a large number of people. When we have the choice to use one of many different terms for the same thing, and some distract from the content because of loaded connotations, what reason is there to choose it? I don't think "people commonly use it" is sufficient in that context. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 17:20, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't actually see it as an offensive or problematic term and it certainly isn't where I reside. You are obviously passionate about this for some reason of which I am not aware. I am not so I will go forth and find something more useful to do with my time. I will observe if you impose a solution upon a group who do not share your world view it rarely ends well. You have a nice day now. WCMemail 17:33, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't actually see it as an offensive or problematic term and it certainly isn't where I reside. You are obviously passionate about this for some reason of which I am not aware. Let me make you aware: because the term is offensive or problematic in many parts of the world, even if it's not where you live. It's offensive in American English, which is the predominant variety of English. Levivich (talk) 17:36, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's offensive in Canada, too. There's horrifying things in our past like the Eskimo Identification Tag System. There's a reason people don't use words like that. I realize now that this thread is mainly about illegal immigrants, that one example just really jumped out to me, likely because I started Project Surname. But my opinion is that using "illegal" to describe human beings is also offensive. It's not a crime to exist. Clovermoss (talk) 17:53, 19 July 2022 (UTC), edited 18:01, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
for some reason of which I am not aware - I'm passionate about not insulting large groups of our readers, and prefer to use terms that aren't quite as loaded and distracting where possible. I hope it's possible here. It's strange to me that it not being a problematic term where you live is reason to dismiss the idea like some fringe POV rather than an opportunity to research and learn how/why people consider it an offensive term elsewhere. I'm unsurprised that it doesn't come up much outside of North America, but it's also really easy to google. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:14, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A good general rule is to avoid "noun-ifying" people by some attribute without a pretty strong reason. But when the context makes illegal vs. legal status important, "undocumented" won't do because it is ambiguous / does not convey the status, PC ness aside. North8000 (talk) 17:44, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Per Visivia and Rhododendrites above, it seems reasonable to proscribe the pejorative "illegal" formulation when used to describe a person (and all such variants), but not to prescribe other such uses. When describing a specific person in a biographical sense, "phrasing such as "illegally entered" or similar would be okay, as it describes an action, but we shouldn't use the terminology "illegal immigrant" or "illegal alien" or similar to describe a person in a biographical sense. I'm less concerned about the formulation in a general, non-personal usage, such as merely describing the concept, though I am not unconcerned; I'd prefer a less pejorative and more neutral terminology that doesn't carry the baggage that "illegal immigrant" carries, but the alternate terminology, such as "undocumented" or "unregistered", suffers from similar problems. I'd be willing to concede that a non-emotionally-charged term doesn't exist, but that also means we need to be careful when using the term in a biographical context, to the point of avoiding it. Which is to say, that unless someone can propose a reasonably-well-used neutrally regarded formulation, we're probably stuck with article titles like Illegal immigration to India, however we should still basically never encounter something like "John Doe was an illegal immigrant". --Jayron32 17:58, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Personally, I think this is precisely the situation where Wikipedia shouldn't have any guidelines. Wikipedia is a big, diverse place and a term some people have grown to disfavor may be perfectly common in non-pejorative usage in other areas. In my opinion, there is nothing pejorative about saying someone is in a country illegally (what illegal immigrant means); it is simply a statement of fact (with no clear, undisputed replacements). That being said, I understand reasonable people disagree. To me, that's exactly the sort of situation where Wikipedia should let local consensus or an individual writer determine usage. Zoozaz1 (talk) 23:46, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that that is a good summary of it. My only note is as with other areas, we should avoid negative nounification of people without a really pressing reason. We generally do say "Joe Doe is a race car driver" we shouldn't say "John Doe is a dog kicker" without a really pressing reason even if one can wikilawyer in the "dog kicker" using a non-existent urban legend policy.North8000 (talk) 12:54, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Disagree that it's a good summary. there is nothing pejorative about saying someone is in a country illegally betrays not having put in any effort into learning what the debate is even about. Nobody disagrees that there is nothing pejorative about saying someone is in a country illegally. "It's not offensive to me" while making no effort to learn why anyone considers it offensive (or even what we're talking about) doesn't negate the fact that it's problematic for large groups of people, and to completely dismiss that with an "agree to disagree" when there are other options is... not ideal. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:33, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suppose one could say that anybody who is breaking a law might be offended by the "illegal" term. The avoidance of the term for this particular case relates more to American politics. Nevertheless there's no reason to use the term unless the legality is relevant to the sentence / text it's used in. `Even then, avoiding nounifying is a good goal. North8000 (talk) 16:09, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suppose one could say that anybody who is breaking a law might be offended by the "illegal" term - Yes, if people who park where they aren't supposed to were called "illegal parkers," including when they parked legally but stayed too long, or when they had no say in where they parked, and if "illegal parkers" were frequently used in a racist context about specific groups of people, then it might be analogous. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:31, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My perspective is that we ought to be tolerant of different perspectives because of how hugely diverse Wikipedia is. I fully understand that some people are offended by "noun-ifying" the term. They should be able to write on Wikipedia as they wish. Others view it as a neutral statement of fact; they should be able to write how they wish as well. The ideal, to me, is not forcing one perspective on another for what is ultimately a fairly harmless debate. In clearer cases were the term has not gained mainstream, non-pejorative acceptance (such as "illegals") there is a much better case for discouraging a term, but the term illegal immigrant is still used neutrally and non-pejoratively in many contexts. Zoozaz1 (talk) 18:09, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This isn’t actually a harmless debate when it involves real people who are or could be identified. Doug Weller talk 18:12, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My point is that calling a person an illegal immigrant instead of saying that they are in a country illegally (or vice versa) is ultimately fairly (not entirely) harmless in the grand scheme of things. Zoozaz1 (talk) 18:21, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So individuals don’t count, only some sort of “grand scheme”. You could excuse a lot of things with that. Doug Weller talk 18:46, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We need to operate by a logic that's more sophisticated than "well, some people don't think it's offensive or imprecise, so it's A-ok for Wikipedia". That would allow for absolutely any terms considered offensive as long as some people simply say "it's not offensive". The only really relevant question is how prominent the view is that it's offensive or otherwise problematic. I'd argue that when members of the group it refers to nearly uniformly object to it, when major media outlets pointedly stop using it, when it's explicitly excluded from various organizational and institutional handbooks... maybe it's not a good basis for policy to just go by "well Zoozaz1 on Wikipedia says it's no big deal". Adding: This is feeling like wheel-spinning, and I'm taking up too much of this section, so I'm going to duck out of this thread unless/until it comes time to !vote on something (or if anyone wants help putting together a proposal). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:31, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll just say this then. I certainly don't think every offensive term someone considers neutral should be allowed. But if that term has been and continues to be (if less so recently, as you highlighted) used often in mainstream sources and society as a whole in a non-pejorative fashion, then I believe we should tolerate it for the sake of pluralism. Zoozaz1 (talk) 19:27, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But is it used in a non-pejorative fashion? Many newspapers here in the UK use the term "illegal immigrant", but in my experience it is nearly always used as a pejorative, to turn people against the people described as such. We should be following better sources than newspapers. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:04, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Usage of terms in Wikipedia should reflect usage in reliable sources. Since rs have mostly stopped using the term "illegal immigrant," so should articles. If one wants to be pedantic, it's not clear that any of these undocumented workers are in the U.S. illegally until that has been finally determined by a court. IOW, we don't know if they are "illegal immigrants" until they are deported, in which case they cease to be illegal immigrants. TFD (talk) 16:29, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IMO, this is more about American politics than it is about offense. I have many friends from south of the border (some here illegally) and spend a lot of time with them including in their homes. They don't nounify people by their legal status and legal status is not used in conversations where it is not germane, but don't hesitate to use the term "illegal" when referring to legal status, including for themselves. BTW I started making the distinction between politics and offense when I learned they do consider the politically fashionable term "latinx" to be an insult to their culture which proudly uses gendered nouns. North8000 (talk) 20:03, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Interesting reading here. The author discusses the pejorative use of "illegal", noting that there are claims that the term is a "dog whistle" for racist profiling. One interesting point is the author's statement that entering the US without prior authorization is a criminal offense, while staying in the US after one's visa has expired is a civil offense, a difference that calling all people residing in the US without current authorization "illegal" obscures. - Donald Albury 22:53, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

They seem to be saying that somethings that are illegal are a "civil offense" and thus can't be called illegal and that unless it is "criminal" it can't be called illegal. There is such a thing as civil law (which is a basis for court actions by individuals) but I've never heard of "civil offense" and suspect that there is no such official thing. Even parking illegally is illegal.North8000 (talk) 03:55, 22 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's a good one. North8000 (talk) 12:35, 22 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Almost. See below.
First, I agree with you (North8000) and Ahecht that the action is illegal, not the person (e.g., illegal publication would refer to breach of copyright, but I don't think it is common to label someone an "illegal publisher"). It's understandable, though, that media enjoy grammatical shortcuts, therefore it will be easy to find sources that use the identifier.
Second, and my main point, is that the awkward term "unauthorized noncitizen" mentioned by the OP is more accurate. I'm not a fan of Uncle Joe Biden but his terminology fits better with an article I read saying that a large fraction of "illegal immigrants" (something like 40% or was it 60%?) are people who entered *legally* but overstayed their visa. In that sense, they are (or should be IMO) categorized differently from people who never followed the law. Some countries are flexible about that, to one degree or another.
Third, as an additional point, a lot of these people aren't immigrants -- the do *not* intend to stay forever, only long enough to earn a bundle and buy a house (or whatever) back in their home country. Many people on working visas have similar motivation but they legally applied for their status, which is designated "non-immigrant" in DHS categorization. Martindo (talk) 20:41, 2 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whatever new term we use will be considered a pejorative in ten years as Wikipedia's inclusion of the term will ensure its entrance into common discourse and its inevitable misuse. If this is about specific people, avoid the term and state the facts. John Doe is a best selling author who entered Fooland without a visa and was subsequently charged with entering Fooland without prior authorization. On use when discussing the topic in general no real opinion as labels do not change facts. Just as someone who is homeless/unsheltered/unhoused is still suffering from a lack of stable residence and using one label or another may make others feel better but does nothing to actually change the individual's circumstances. Slywriter (talk) 21:11, 2 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As a side note, the 2006 page called Wikipedia:Naming conventions (immigration) probably needs to be moved to a more appropriate page title. Our Wikipedia:Naming conventions are about what we put in the article title (e.g., Illegal immigrants in India, which is a redirect), not in the body of the article. The failed proposal on that page is largely about what to write in the article ("Bob was suspected of being an illegal immigrant"). If it had been successful, it probably would have ended up as a subpage of the Manual of Style, but since it wasn't, it might be better to give in a simpler name that doesn't imply any connection to any system of policies or guidelines. Does anyone have any ideas? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:56, 22 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I guess the edge case is when the sentence cries for noun-ification, and status is essential to the sentence. Like "the state police were issuing tickets to speeders" vs. "the state police were issuing tickets to persons violating the speed limit". North8000 (talk) 22:07, 2 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My strong preference would be to push for policy which avoids the term "illegal immigrant" especially and specifically because of its pejorative, racist, and tactical use by right-wing American politicians for many decades now. The term cannot be NPOV regardless if we find it grammatically convenient. We should move away from it to make sure that wikipedia does not implicitly support language which does the bidding of white nationalists. Protonk (talk) 22:12, 7 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

“Illegal immigrants” or “illegal immigration” seems to be a clear and appropriate term. It describes group who are in the country without following the immigration policies of that country. Bookworm857158367 (talk) 13:00, 8 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Many people do not see those as neutral terms.("Words Matter: Illegal Immigrant, Undocumented Immigrant, or Unauthorized Immigrant?") - Donald Albury 15:51, 8 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I prefer clear language over euphemisms. If the subject being talked about is the legality of their presence in a certain location, “illegal” is the correct terminology. Bookworm857158367 (talk) 16:32, 8 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


MOS section on intro material for lists[edit]

I made a series of edits [9] which I intended to better explain established practice for the intro section on lists. No changes to actual practice were intended. I'd appreciate some other eyeballs checking it over, to make it better (or catch my goofs). Thanks. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:23, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

related edits at Guideline for stand alone lists[edit]

Similarly, I tried to add existing practice in a new subsection at WP:Stand-alone lists#Documenting selection criteria. Again, no changes in practice were intended. Please review. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:38, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Those edits look pretty good to me; thanks for taking on such a thankless task. I am a bit concerned however, that the new "Documenting selection criteria" section, as currently worded, appears to create a new expectation that editors seek consensus before establishing list inclusion criteria. I don't think we should have anything that would discourage an individual editor from boldly creating a new list and defining some reasonable initial criteria for it, while recognizing that those may later be disputed or refined by other editors. Given how much of Wikipedia has tumbleweeds blowing through it these days, it can be hard just to find anyone to reach consensus with; and additional barriers don't help the situation. (Of course, many Wikipedians would invoke WP:EDITCON, and rightly so, but that's not what "establishing consensus" would usually be interpreted to mean, especially given the subsequent reference to the "document where consensus was established".) I have proposed some alternative wording on the talk page. -- Visviva (talk) 17:50, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The "new list" angle is a really good nuance, thank you. I answered at the source venue. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:56, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

FYI Proposal Ver 2 just went live here... NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 09:05, 23 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Directions please[edit]

I am having difficulty finding the policy or guideline about proposing policy edits to gain advantage in an ongoing content dispute, and/or the obligation to alert participants in the content dispute about the policy proposal. Where the heck is it? Anythingyouwant (talk) 02:29, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The relevant policy is WP:AGF and WP:NPA and WP:POINT. If you want to discuss it further, I'll do so in ANI/AE/ARBCOM but not here. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 02:56, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All three of them discuss editing policies to gain advantage in content disputes? I’m just looking for explicit discussion of that topic in P&G. Once I find the pertinent explicit P&G then I’ll decide whether or not to do anything else. Anythingyouwant (talk) 03:10, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm uncertain (haven't looked for this specifically) but you might look at WP:GAMING NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 03:12, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don’t see anything there about this particular issue, nor in the associated talk page or its archives. Please let others respond if they know where I can find the pertinent rule. If you respond then other editors may assume the question has been answered. Thanks. Anythingyouwant (talk) 03:17, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's probably nothing written down, and I hope so. We don't have rules for everything. First of all, it's not clear if you think that proposing edits to policy in the middle of a dispute is a good thing or a bad thing. I think that the answer is "could be either". So the rule would basically have to say "Well, sometimes yes, sometimes no, use your common sense". A cogent essay on the question would be good tho.
We recently changed the MOS in the middle of a dispute which we were having with a author... he was wrongly misinterpreting the MOS to say something that it didn't or anyway shouldn't, but it was a little unclear. So we cleared it up right then, and problem solved. Other times editors will propose policy changes for bad reasons and they'll get shouted down -- and if they don't, if they have consensus for the change, what's the problem? Herostratus (talk) 13:30, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For one thing, if there’s a content dispute at article talk, and an editor goes off to change a pertinent guideline or policy, might it not be wise to require that that editor say something about it at article talk, and conversely mention the content dispute at the policy’s talk page (and/or Village pump)? Anythingyouwant (talk) 15:56, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Anythingyouwant, the sentence you are seeking is in WP:PGBOLD: "Editing a policy to support your own argument in an active discussion may be seen as gaming the system, especially if you do not disclose your involvement in the argument when making the edits".
(Mind the gap between "editing a policy" and "proposing a change on the talk page".) WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:06, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Great info, thanks. I spent a huge amount of time looking for that. I was never particularly good at finding things in real life too, but still, maybe I’ll sprinkle some links to that policy. Cheers, Anythingyouwant (talk) 21:22, 25 July 2022 (UTC)!Reply[reply]
Of course for it to apply, there needs to be a showing that the proposed changes were intended to alter the determination of consensus at the article content dispute, but I'm only mentioning that here just so we're all on the same page. This isn't the place to go into that debate.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 23:27, 25 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's also ArbCom precedent, to wit: "While edits to policy pages are often prompted by specific editing experiences, it is inappropriate to alter policy pages to further one's position in a specific dispute." Not to put too fine a point on it, but I'm sure Anythingyouwant is familiar with that finding. MastCell Talk 00:59, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • We have just installed a hatnote about this here. I will comment now about the 11-year-old quote from MastCell (which I barely remember). It seems a bit more stringent than WP:PGBOLD about which we just wrote the hatnote. Hopefully that discrepancy can be dealt with easily. My current interest in the matter does not stem from what happened 11 years ago, but rather from this. Regarding the policy edit I made 11 years ago, I cited that revision of policy weeks after I edited the policy with an appropriate edit summary (“A bold addition, pertinent to an article I edited today”), and weeks after another editor had revised my policy change edit. Back in 2011, when ArbCom made the statement quoted here by MastCell (and when I edited the policy that led ArbCom to make that statement), the pertinent part of WP:PGBOLD was exactly as it remains today. I don’t know whether the ArbCom statement quoted by MastCell takes precedence over WP:PGBOLD or vice versa, especially since ArbCom did not apparently evince any awareness of WP:PGBOLD. It would be unfortunate if WP:PGBOLD leads Wikipedians to think that the governing Wikipedia position on this matter is different from what it actually is. I don’t remember whether I relied in 2011 upon having seen WP:PGBOLD or not; even if I was able to find it, I told Arbcom that the word limits were being exceeded and that I wasn't obliged to address the excess accusations (ArbCom evidently didn’t think much of that argument as they never mentioned it). I also pointed out back in 2011 that I viewed my policy edit as a clarification rather than change in policy, and years later I encountered an editor who confirmed in my mind that my policy edit was basically already implied by the policy. So, if anyone here is interested in editing WP:PGBOLD in reaction to the 2011 ArbCom statement that MastCell quoted, now you have some more background about it, and you’re also now aware of why I could be biased despite my best efforts to write clearly and frankly. Anythingyouwant (talk) 10:52, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Anythingyouwant: I've wearily and patiently let you cast aspersions at me over this long enough. Please give it your best shot at WP:ANI or WP:DROPTHESTICK. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:14, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oy, have I accused you of anything in this entire section titled “Directions please”? This whole section was started so I could find a pertinent policy. Now I have the policy thanks to User:WhatamIdoing who quite properly pointed out that we should “Mind the gap between ‘editing a policy’ and ‘proposing a change on the talk page’.” I am not aware that you have edited any policy about list criteria, so clearly you’ve not violated WP:PGBOLD, and I don’t really care right now whether ArbCom has a stricter policy. Anythingyouwant (talk) 11:24, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Message to Author When New Article Is Draftified[edit]

This concern is about the message that is posted on the user talk page of the author of an article that is moved to draft space by a reviewer. A New Page reviewer who moves a new article to draft space normally does so with a script that posts a message including

It needs more citations from reliable, independent sources. (Information that can't be referenced should be removed (verifiability is of central importance on Wikipedia).

The problem is that new articles are draftified for at least two different reasons. The first, which is what the canned message is oriented toward, is a sourcing or verifiability issue. The second, which is also a common reason why new articles are draftified, is a notability issue. The article has reliable sources, but they don't provide significant coverage to meet general notability, or they don't satisfy a special notability guideline such as musical notability. This results in unhelpful guidance to the author. The author may then reference-bomb the draft and resubmit it, without addressing the notability issue. The message that is used is not consistent with the standards that are normally applied by New Page reviewers in moving articles to draft space. It is correct for many articles that have inadequate sourcing, but it is not correct for adequately sourced articles that do not establish notability.

I just declined a dispute resolution request at DRN filed by an author whose article was moved to draft space and then declined. The article was a BLP of an Israeli musician, and the references were to reliable Israeli newspapers. The article didn't establish musical notability. The author said that the sources were reliable. The sources were reliable, but the article didn't establish notability. The message was profoundly unhelpful. This is a common problem.

I see four possible solutions:

  • 1. Instruct New Page reviewers that they should only move an article to draft space if the sourcing is inadequate. Instruct New Page reviewers that they should propose the article for deletion or nominate the article for deletion if there is a notability issue that is not also a sourcing issue.
  • 2. Instruct New Page reviewers to rewrite the draftify message when moving an article to draft space for notability reasons.
  • 3. Reword the canned message, either to expand the explanation of why articles are moved to draft space, or to include advice to ask the reviewer for guidance.
  • 4. Enhance the draftification script to provide a choice of messages.

Any option is likely to create more work for reviewers. My opinion is that, in any case, the canned message should include advice to ask the reviewer for guidance. Reviewers should be willing to explain why they have taken an action that new authors do not like. I don't recommend option 1; reviewers should be able to move an article to draft space for notability reasons even if it has references that don't establish notability. Robert McClenon (talk) 01:27, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Let's have a tool like the XfD interface, where the draftifying editor can choose a basis from a dropdown menu. BD2412 T 02:09, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can we not just include that into User:Evad37/MoveToDraft instead of creating a whole new tool? Curbon7 (talk) 04:38, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Robert McClenon this is pretty broad, which specific policies and/or guidelines are you proposing changes to? If editors are poorly communicating with other editors, coaching them may be sufficient - sounds like the major issue is related to people just needing to review and follow WP:BITE / WP:DTTR? Wikipedia talk:New pages patrol/Reviewers may be a better forum to go over general improvements to NPR processes. — xaosflux Talk 13:11, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For articles which require GNG, the routine needs to be for the zillion editors to find and include GNG sources, or give it up if they don't exist, and draft is a suitable place to work on that when the article doesn't have them. By saying "only AFD these" (with the current wp:before routine) you are (possibly unintentionally) proposing shifting the entire "search for sources" job from editors to the already-buried NPP'ers who are trying to handle the reviewing and disposition workload of about 1,000 articles per day. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 02:38, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

User:North8000 - Either you misread what I wrote or I didn't write it clearly. You said that I was, perhaps unintentionally, proposing shifting the entire search for sources job from editors to NPPers. No. Please notice that I said that I didn't recommend option 1, and that is because it will create more work for reviewers. I had to list option 1 for completeness, because it is what is consistent with the way the script leaves the message on the user talk page. I don't like option 1, for the reasons that you list, but it is consistent with the current tools. Robert McClenon (talk) 06:02, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Robert McClenon: Yes, you're right. I missed that. Sorry 'bout that. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 13:02, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Editors can amend the standard text to reflect the reason for draftifying in any case, and right there in the box it says in big red letters to vary the text as appropriate. I agree it would be easier to have a default text that focused on notability rather than verifiability as an option. Mccapra (talk) 05:00, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
User:Mccapra - I am aware that editors can amend the standard text. I have very seldom seen reviewers do that. I am not sure that reviewers consider the wording of the draftify message to be important, or think about whether to rewrite it. Robert McClenon (talk) 06:02, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What I think we should agree is a part of the solution is to add language to the standard draftify message saying that the author can ask the reviewer for guidance. Robert McClenon (talk) 06:02, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That would be good, yes. Mccapra (talk) 07:33, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with that, but it would also help if the automessage included tickbox options for reasons for draftification. Ingratis (talk) 08:22, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Even just deleting the default message and saying "insert message here" would be an improvement. IMO the default message is too specialized and too bitey. It also implies something which is incorrect which is that they are not allowed to move it out of draft themselves. North8000 (talk) 13:22, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is an open request to provide a formal draftification option within the NPP Page Curation tool. Until the WMF allocates more resources in support of NPP, that probably won't be implemented very quickly. If it ever is, this new tool should certainly incorporate good messaging options. Until we get a new tool, it would be easier to just reword the default message. MB 01:40, 28 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment editors are free to alter the language within the drafting tool. I have been adding a message within the text, so an editor can cut and paste, or delete and type. I know it takes a few extra minutes, but it works. Bruxton (talk) 23:12, 28 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Manual of Style - Postnominals in Biographies[edit]

I have posted on the talk page at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Biography to propose a refinement on the policy on postnominals, which would lead to some postnominals being removed from the lede and infoboxes of articles. Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Biography#Fellowships_by_subscription,_e.g._FRSA

I made this change [10] but this was reverted by another editor who felt more discussion was needed. Please participate in the discussion if you are interested. Historylikeyou (talk) 11:59, 29 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I did not feel that "more discussion was needed". I felt that any discussion was needed. This editor, who had a previous total of exactly 17 edits, made a unilateral major change to MOS without the slightest bit of WP:CONSENSUS, and then proceeded to mass-implement his change by mass-deleting certain postnominals from British biographies. See WP:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Newbie mass deleting postnominals from British biographies (current permalink [11]). Softlavender (talk) 01:30, 31 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New essay - Prefer truth[edit]

Please have a look at my new essay, Wikipedia:Prefer truth. Sennalen (talk) 22:57, 5 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Define "truth".Jéské Couriano v^_^v a little blue Bori 23:03, 5 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The top value of a Boolean lattice Sennalen (talk) 23:24, 5 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As Pilate asks, We both have truths...are mine the same as yours? Schazjmd (talk) 23:28, 5 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I mean, wasn't the point of that kind of that Pilate was a bad guy with his everything-is-relative shtick, and that Jesus was the good guy cos some truths are universal periodt? Asking. Herostratus (talk) 04:51, 6 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]