Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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

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Requirement to contact copyright holders of existing content before allowing fair use[edit]

16:34, 1 December 2021 (UTC) Clarifying hatnote: the term "existing content" is used as the opposite to "content that hasn't been created yet". In the linked FfDs this concerns photos (=content) of people who recently passed away. Also to clarify: I don't propose we introduce this requirement, but there are several people who claim it already exists and use it to vote "delete" on FfD. 22:21, 4 December 2021 (UTC) Bonus hatnote: despite a 6-month period being mentioned repeatedly in this discussion, please be aware that there is no consensus or basis in policy for that period.

In this FfD discussion about the non-free photo for Halyna Hutchins it became clear that several editors (Joseph2302, Stephen, Masem, The Rambling Man, Sennecaster and possibly Marchjuly) believe this requirement already exists in some fashion while others (Elli, Sandstein, SparklingPessimist, Hahnchen and myself) don't believe it exists.

WP:NFC#1 reads "Non-free content is used only where no free equivalent is available, or could be created, that would serve the same encyclopedic purpose."

Some people define getting existing non-free content to be relicensed as creation of a free alternative, hence arguing that a free alternative "could be created", thus failing WP:NFC#1. I don't think that's right, creation of a work means taking a photo, filming a movie, carving out a sculpture, at least in my dictionary. It doesn't mean relicensing something that has already been created.

If we did follow the interpretation that considers relicensing as a form of creation, why don't we also contact copyright holders of movies, albums and video games to relicense the covers of their works? Especially the smaller ones might actually do it. We have a porno cover with VRT permission after all. Personally I don't think it would be particularly practical or enforceable, but I'm open to hearing more arguments. And hopefully we can figure out what the policy means, because roughly half of the people in that FfD discussion are using the wrong definition. Whoever's right, it'll need to be clarified because dress policy is bad. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 15:26, 1 December 2021 (UTC)

This reads like bad lawyering. Creating free content can come from existing non-free content. That's all that's being suggested (by me, at least) as an alternative to simply lazily uploading non-free images without doing some work in getting hold of free images. Why are we forum shopping? The Rambling Man (Keep wearing the mask...) 15:30, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
I was going to create a discussion about this at the NFCC talkpage, but here is fine. "Non-free content is used only where no free equivalent is available, or could be created, that would serve the same encyclopedic purpose." clearly means that non-free content can be turned free as an alternative in my opinion. The question is to what degree must someone try and get a free image before Wikipedia allows them to use a non-free image. half of the people in that FfD discussion are using the wrong definition- not true, we're using a different interpretation of this vague requirement compared to your interpretation. Note the same issues happened at this FFD, where we did manage to get a Flickr image freely licenced for us. Courtesy ping to Victuallers who participated in that discussion (I believe all other participants there have already been pinged). Joseph2302 (talk) 15:37, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
Joseph2302, not true, we're using a different interpretation of this vague requirement compared to your interpretation That's my point. Apparently the requirement is ambiguous, but it's supposed to mean one thing or the other. We can't both be right. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 16:00, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I'd oppose this as a bright-line rule. We shouldn't have to track down whomever currently holds the copyright for say an album cover to justify it being covered under fair use. Alexis Jazz I'm not exactly sure exactly what change you are proposing to the (assuming Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria) policy here? Requiring a "contact" suggests that there would be a new requirement to positively identify the current copyright holder first, and determine their correct contact information. This alone is putting a lot of burden on editors. Then as far as "requiring" a contact - what are the requirements of that contact? Will it require an acknowledgement of delivery? An acknowledgement that that the delivery was actually to the copyright holder? Some sort of response? — xaosflux Talk 15:55, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    • Obviously not for album covers, as no-one is going to release the rights for them. The linked discussions are for recently deceased people, as that's where this vague requirement has met disagreements on interpretations. Probably the thread starter should have mentioned this, instead of leaving it broad. Joseph2302 (talk) 15:57, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
      • @Joseph2302: fair-use doesn't require any release from the copyright holder. Think we are on the same page that this policy proposal needs at the very least some refining and restatement. — xaosflux Talk 15:59, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
        • My (badly made out) point was that album covers are a clear, sensible fair use, because no company would ever release the images (and so no free alternative will ever be found). For recently deceased people, the argument is on what level of "trying to find a free image" needs to be done before we can use a fair use image under "no free alternative can be found". Joseph2302 (talk) 16:03, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
          • Thanks - I just put that out as a very common example that matches the section heading here copyright holders of existing content - as it is obviously "existing content" that has a copyright holder. — xaosflux Talk 16:05, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
            Xaosflux, personally I oppose the requirement, but several editors claim it already exists and use it as rationale to vote "Delete" on FfD, claiming that some images don't meet NFC#1 unless an unspecified number of people who hold the copyright on existing non-free works is contacted in an unspecified way for some variable amount of time with unspecified methods of verifying whether they actually were contacted. As I said, I oppose the idea, but I'm not the one claiming it already exists. Obviously not for album covers, as no-one is going to release the rights for them. Joseph, you don't know that. Some Indie labels or independents just might, but I doubt it'd be worth the hassle. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 16:13, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
  • This must have already been discussed and agreed, because Template:Non-free biog-pic states that non-free media may be used "where the individual(s) concerned are deceased, or where access would for practical purposes be impossible". Why else would the "deceased" clause be included? If we are to change the interpretation of Wikipedia:Non-free content to include comprehensive enquiries with everyone who has known the subject throughout their lifetime, then whether the subject is deceased or not has no bearing. Obviously such exhaustive enquiries are entirely impractical. To those who think that hounding the friends and families of the recently deceased for free photos is a good idea, I suggest you stop being a ghoul and just let them grieve. - hahnchen 17:05, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    Thats why we use six months, because we don't think you should be approaching family and friends immediate after death for free images. This also gives a chance to do more extensive searches beyond Flickr for free images. The point is that on death, editors can't just assume there is no possible free image ... that shows zero effort to locate and against the WMF resolution that attempts to find replacements for nonfree should always be made. --Masem (t)
  • There is a big difference between asking permission for a non commercial copyrighted photo, and for a copyrighted work like an album cover made for commercial purposes. The latter will be heavily burdened by legal matters so it is not expected they can be made free (but this can happen), while personal photos are far easier for the uploaded to ask for permission and get it free. That is an effort that should be made for recently deceased people.--Masem (t) 17:48, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
  • whatever is decided can we PLEASE avoid a rule that is going to encourage wikimedians with 0 social skills to contact family and/or friends of recently deceased people with the goal of changing a license for wikipedia ? thx —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 18:02, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    +1. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:10, 7 December 2021 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) For a subject which cannot be re-photographed (e.g. a deceased person or a past event), if there are many photos available on Flickr none of which are CC, I think we should make an effort to ask for relicensing. If there is only one (or a few) available, we also have to consider the optics of it. If we ask and they say yes, great. But if they say no, then we go "well fuck you, we're going to use it anyways, because the law lets us do it." Assuming we're on solid legal ground, it would have been better to just use it without asking at all. Also consider cases of shooting victims, whose only available photos might be created by their family members; do they really want to be contacted by a stranger while they are still grieving? -- King of ♥ 18:09, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I think the intent here is to require that people make reasonable efforts to determine whether free content is or could be available. It is not possible to have a bright-line rule because there are so many different circumstances that mean what is reasonable in one case will not be in another. Spending half an hour to an hour searching online for existing content already under a free license is, in my opinion, always going to be reasonable. Asking a grieving family member is only going to be reasonable if you are already a close personal friend and in a position to judge when (and if) a suitable time to ask is. It's also reasonable, in my opinion, to require someone to spend a bit of time (usually half an hour to an hour or so) trying to identify the copyright holder and any contact details for them before declaring that the copyright holder is unknown and/or uncontactable. In all cases it's reasonable to require some evidence that reasonable attempts have been made before accepting a claim of fair use - the file talk page can be used to note where you looked and what the results were (at the very least this will mean the next person doesn't waste time duplicating your efforts). In terms of contacting someone, I think a good rule of thumb would be that if the reason you are not attempting to contact someone is because doing so would be inappropriate because someone close to them has just died then our using that image under fair use would also be inappropriate. Thryduulf (talk) 19:05, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
  • The onus is entirely on an editor claiming that an image can be obtained. All they have to do is get one to prove it. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 19:39, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    Hawkeye7,I love that answer!North8000 (talk) 20:05, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    No, the non-free content criteria (and my understanding of the relevant US law) require that the onus is on the person claiming fair use demonstrate that no alternative is reasonably possible to obtain. If it were otherwise then it would always be acceptable to upload a non-free file until someone replaced it with a free one, as this clearly is not the case your statement cannot be correct. Thryduulf (talk) 20:12, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    Thryduulf, what law are you referring to? (not saying you're wrong, I haven't exactly read Title 17 of the United States Code in full) Afaik, the purpose of fair use is free speech first, free beer second. For many notable people, there is an alternative: license a photo from a stock photo site. No, Wikimedia is not interested in paying for that, but from a legal point of view it's an alternative. Which makes me think the law is generally not gonna care whether a free alternative exists or not. But I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 20:55, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    Assuming we're talking fair use, it is always presented as a fair use defense that you have to show to the court that you meet all 4 prongs of it. Someone claiming a copyright violation only has to show they own said copyright and the use wasn't authorized. However I would not get caught up on the legal side and focus on the WMF resolution, that we are purposefully more restrictive on nonfree works because we want to encourage free content. Asking editors to do a bit of legwork before resorting to using nonfree is entirely in scope of that. And for that purpose the onus is on nonfree users to demonstrate why a free image cannot be created. --Masem (t) 21:44, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    (edit conflict) Terminology is confusing as we refer to our Non-free content criteria (NFCC) as "fair use", which are based on but stricter than the concept of "fair use" in US law. IANAL (or American) so I might be wrong, but my understanding is as follows - anyone can claim anything is fair use, but if that claim is challenged the burden is on the person claiming fair use to show why the use is fair rather than on the challenger to show it isn't. The English Wikipedia's policies are stricter than the law requires, at least in part because the WMF requires them to be (whether that is the whole reason I don't know, but it isn't really relevant), so the burden of proof is not and could not be reversed. One example of the stricter standards is that we require the rationale for fair use to be explicitly stated, in detail, whether that has been challenged or not. Thryduulf (talk) 21:45, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
  • In Wikipedia asking for a free version is a lot more than just asking permission. If John Smith sends you an image of his dead mother that he inherited from her and gives you permission to use it, that's just the start. He'll need to approve a scary looking license/wording that perhaps only his lawyer can read an reassure him about. He might also have to email Wikipedia directly to confirm all of that. But even then he's not finished. He might have to explain to Wikipedia how he obtained ownership of the image. But then he still might not be done. He might still have to meet the impossible task of how, 40 years ago, his mother obtained transfer of ownership of the picture from the person who pushed the button on the/her camera. North8000 (talk) 20:04, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
  • That has never been a thing. And is a really dumb idea. The only cases where we might reach out is the specific topic of photos for recently deceased people and only if the photo is on a personal account like Flickr. But if it's a photo that is already being used in the media? No, we would just use it as non-free fair use. SilverserenC 21:03, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    We never "just use" a non-free photo, regardless of who else is using it. We would and should only ever use it if there are no free alternatives available, even if lower quality. Thryduulf (talk) 21:47, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    Yes, that's obvious. But that doesn't mean that "hypothetical free alternatives" are a counterargument, as people in that discussion are using. Otherwise, there is an infinite number of hypothetical alternatives. If no free use alternative exists right now, then there is no free alternative. We do not make assumptions about future non-existent images. SilverserenC 22:22, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    Both the WMF resolution and our NFC policy state that we don't use nonfree if a free image could be obtained. Not if one doesnt exist already. For example, if we know a consumer product is due out in a known time frame, we don't include nonfree pre release images of that product since we know once it is for sale, we can get a free image. We do recognize we aren't going to wait out copyright expirations (decades), but something that should be available within a few months, absolutely. Same principle here for images of recently deceased. --Masem (t) 22:45, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    @Silver seren, Masem is correct - if a free image could reasonably be obtained in the future (6-12 months is a reasonable time to wait for images of deceased people, 3-5 years is not in most circumstances) then we may not use a non-free image. Consider also that, if the subject was elderly and had been notable for many years that there is a possibility that photographs of them from earlier in their career may become free of copyright in the reasonably near future - it is not going to happen often, but it will happen in a non-zero number of cases, so it must be considered where it is plausible. The person wanting to claim fair use must demonstrate that not only is there no free alternative now, there also will not be any free alternative in a few months time. Thryduulf (talk) 23:34, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I do not believe it is reasonable to consider photos taken by family and friends in private settings to be a potential source of CC BY-SA licensed images. I do think it is reasonable to consider photos taken by third parties in public settings to be a possible source, even following the death of the subject. isaacl (talk) 21:53, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    I think the key part of that is the setting not the photographer. I would consider it reasonable to consider a photo taken by family or friends in a public setting as a potentially free image (if requested in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time of course), but not a photograph taken by a third party in a private setting. Thryduulf (talk) 22:04, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    The key for me is the practical potential for a photograph existing that respects their private lives and the private lives of people who knew the subject and took photos for their own personal albums. Generally speaking, there are a lot of opportunities for a public figure to be photographed by the public, so there is a significant potential of finding someone who took an appropriate photo and might release it under an appropriate licence. For subjects who aren't interacting regularly with the public, there are fewer opportunities that respect the subject's privacy, and accordingly less potential. In my view, a third-party photo in a public setting (while respecting privacy) is a better fit based on this principle. In today's digital age, people take photos of themselves all the time, in private and public settings, to privately document their daily lives. I don't believe the Wikipedia community should be seeking to use photos that were originally taken for this private purpose. isaacl (talk) 02:54, 2 December 2021 (UTC)

If you want a real world example, I did this article Ralph Frese. A very historic and widely covered person, there is no remaining commercial enterprise. I made several attempts to reach a family member (but didn't make a life out of it to try to put one photo in one article) and then gave up. There are a gazillion pictures of him on the internet.....most with no ownership noted because nobody seems to care. .....basically everywhere except Wikipedia. Would I need to prove them all non-free to do a fair use?North8000 (talk) 22:56, 1 December 2021 (UTC)

  • I think it's important here to remember that we're discussing non-free content use and not fair use. The community decided a long time ago to make a clear distinction between the two as explained here, and mixing the two up just makes things more confusing and harder to resolve. Pretty much any image found online (including images of still living persons) could probably be used under fair use for Wikipedia purposes without any problems if we simply followed US copyright law, but the community decided to create a more restrictive policy in response to wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy. This seems to have an attempt to allow some fair use content to be used, but impose some form of limitations on it to avoid the project being flooded by copyrighted images. Pretty much anyone can take content found on Wikipedia and reuse it as they please as long as they follow WP:REUSE and I think there might have been some concern that allowing unlimited use of fair use content could somehow affect the reuse of Wikipedia content in general. Non-free content seems be treated as an exception to WP:COPY to begin with and things like WP:NFC and WP:NFCC are meant as ways of trying to explain what that exception means.
    As for this particular issue, I don't think WP:FREER applies to only newly created content in the sense of taking a new photo of a deceased person; I think it also means that an existing photo of said person could possibly found and the copyright holder could be asked to relicense the photo for Wikipedia's purposes. How much effort needs to be done to find a free equivalent is a bit subjective for sure, but simply uploading a non-free photo of someone because they are now dead and automatically assuming it meets all ten WP:NFCCP isn't in accordance with how WP:NFCC#1 seems to have been applied since the policy was established. Personally, I think there are two questions that need to be asked. The first one is whether a non-free image of a person can be used immediately upon their death as long as there are no free equivalent images currently available. It seems like a simple yes-no question because a consensus that says "yes" means that NFCC#1 is considered met if there are no free equivalent images currently available that could serve the same encyclopedic purpose. If the answer is "no", then things like "how much time", "how much effort", and any other conditions etc. can be sorted out. The second question has to do with clarifying the meaning of "article about that person" in item 10 of WP:NFCI. Does it mean only stand-alone biographies or does it also include other types of articles? Non-free images of deceased persons are often added to WP:BIO1E type of articles because these are argued to be "about that person". I think if these two questions can be shown to have a clear consensus either way, then other detailed stuff could then start being resolved. -- Marchjuly (talk) 23:17, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
    • In terms of timing, I can think of several alternatives which different people might support. Assumptions: The subject is recently deceased, and the only available picture(s) of them are non-free and were provided by a friend or family member of the subject (hereafter known as the source). The copyright holder either is not publicly known or is simply the source themself; in any case, securing permission for the photo would require contacting the source. Let X be the waiting period before it is socially acceptable to contact the source. Possible options (from permissive to restrictive): 1) X doesn't exist, and we allow non-free images immediately after death and indefinitely thereafter with no requirement to contact the source. 2) We allow non-free images immediately after death, but after X the image will be deleted unless an attempt to contact the source is made (inspired by {{Non-free proposed architecture}}). 3) We do not allow non-free images until X, and after X a non-free image will be allowed if an attempt to contact the source is made. -- King of ♥ 01:50, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
    • Since the outset of the WP:NFCC policy, there has been clear consensus that the use of non-free content to identify deceased subjects is within policy if there are no free equivalents. Go back the page histories at WP:NFCC over a decade, and it still states that non-free images are unacceptable for living people. The community decided a long time ago that there is a clear distinction between living and dead people. Now you and others are arguing that there is none, or that there is one, but it's at an arbitrary point decided by a gang of talk page policy wonks, like life+1 year or something. Enough. The distinction between living and dead is easily understood, we don't need jobsworths arguing on policy pages as to what a suitable mourning period is before pestering their estate for photos. Stop trying to make more work for yourselves and others. - hahnchen 01:56, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
      • The metric has always been "if a free image could be obtained" not "if no free image is currently available". We want editors to make some effort to prove that no free image could be made (which includes the creation of a new image or the free licensing of an existing one). The idea of a 6 month period after death is a fair time frame to assume someone is making efforts to locate a free image. Of course, if you can outline "no free images on flickr, google image search, or other common sources of free images; tried to contact people in close circles with that person and could not get permission" then, yes, then you are likely justified to use a non-free image. The problem is, so few editors actually try, stopping when flickr runs out, and then say we have to upload a non-free. The six-month period is aimed to presume someone in that time had looked farther than a surface search for a free image and found none. --Masem (t) 02:07, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
        • Re "We want editors": speak for yourself. And the metric for whether content on Wikipedia should be kept should be a function of that content, not of the behavior of Wikipedia editors loosely associated with it. The metric is whether it is possible to create a free image, not whether it is possible to make an unfree one somehow become free. The possibility of an unfree image becoming free is a stupid standard to use, because it can always be met, by waiting long enough for copyright to expire. That is a way to bureaucractically deny the possibility of any fair-use content while pretending to yourself that you are merely following rules. It is not a way to make fair-use content usable in constrained circumstances, when necessary in cases where ideological purity gets in the way of building an encyclopedia, which is the actual intent of NFCC. —David Eppstein (talk) 08:42, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
          @David Eppstein: we want editors, it is not just Masem that wants this, it is the WMF that wants this, it is the historical consensus of the English Wikipedia community that it wants this. Last time the question was asked (that I'm aware of anyway) there were many voices in favour of disallowing fair use on en.wp entirely (although they did not have a majority or consensus they were not trivially dismissible either). The goal must always be to use a free image if at all possible, and that requires that someone claiming it is impossible that a free image exists now or might exist in the 6-12 months must demonstrate that they have gone to reasonable efforts to demonstrate that. Thryduulf (talk) 11:20, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
          it is the WMF that wants this.[citation needed] Where has the WMF said that editors must attempt to contact people in close circles with the recently deceased before using non-free images under fair use? --Ahecht (TALK
          ) 15:03, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
        • Masem, the metric in NFC#1 is "could be created", not "could be obtained". In foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy it's "An EDP may not allow material where we can reasonably expect someone to upload a freely licensed file for the same purpose, such as is the case for almost all portraits of living notable individuals." which heavily implies that portraits of most living individuals are unacceptable because they're living. The only difference that "living" makes is that one could approach them with a camera. For a consumer product that hasn't been released yet (your other example above), that's rather different. Assuming it's not cancelled and utilitarian, any Wikimedian can order it and take a photo sans bugging other people with Wikipedia policies. Or worse: browbeat them into re-licensing because Wikimedians aren't known for their social skills. The moment that the only alternative is to impose oneself on random people which can easily end up being experienced as harassment, that's where "reasonable expectation" ends. That doesn't mean it could never happen and I'm grateful for the people who manage this tactfully, but they are going above and beyond and we shouldn't expect anyone to. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 09:30, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
          • We have always judged that "created" includes the creation of a free work from a newly applied free license (In fact, under US copyright law, the act of applying a free license is necessary to create a free work from an automatically-default copyrighted work). And yes, there are reasonable bounds we expect editors to respect in contacting; if you send an email and get no reply, then you're not expected to keep sending emails. The issue around all this is the effort to find a freely licensed image, which should not be expected to end just when the person dies; that's just flat out lazy. Unless considerable effort to find a free image before death was made and documented, we cannot accept the immediate upload of a non-free image of a recently deceased person because that implicitly suggested no effort was made when the person was alive. --Masem (t) 13:03, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
  • This is a bad idea. If copyright holders wished to make their work available on Wikipedia, they would license it under an open license; fair use would not come into play. If they do not wish to make their work available on Wikipedia, contacting them to tell them we're doing it anyway can only create ill will. In many cases where it appears likely that a work is under copyright, it is unknown who the copyright holder might be or how to contact them, creating a bureaucratic catch-22 and unnecessary burden on editors trying to add fair-use content. And trying to enforce this in any way, for instance by requiring copyright holders to email OTRS to verify that they have been contacted, is just likely to end in failure; again, if they wanted to play nice they would license the work openly and if they don't why would they jump through hoops for us? If there is some reason to expect that someone might be willing to openly license content so that it doesn't have to be used under fair use, by all means, contact them, but this should not be a requirement. As for the linked discussion: In no way should WP:FREER become reinterpreted as a requirement that we harass relatives of newly-dead people into giving us their photos. That clause is about the possibility that a Wikimedia contributor could create a new image that is properly licensed, not about pressuring people with existing images to change their minds about how they're licenced. Otherwise, nothing could ever be used under fair use, because there is always a tiny hope of a change of heart even after contact and stern refusals. —David Eppstein (talk) 01:37, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
    • We do have reasonable expectations of what can be done. As I mentioned above, for copyrighted works out of commercial products (like album covers, screenshots of films and TV shows, etc.) we don't have any reasonable expectation that these copyright owners will release their work under a free license (but that said, this can happen, the video games project has numerous images thanks to asking like this). And if the copyright issue is complex, we don't expect editors to have to hunt that down. At least for deceased people, we're talking photos that "regular people" would have control of and ability to relicense. And the six month period is purposely to allow time for mourning (weeks or a few months) so that editors don't go ruhsing off to bother loved ones in the immediate wake - though friends and close companions may be approachable. --Masem (t) 02:17, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
      • Hoping that relatives of newly-dead people will interrupt their grief to grind through the bureaucracy of Wikipedia open licensing, just so we can get their "no" and fulfill an even more bureaucratic made-up requirement for asking them, is not in any sense a "reasonable expectation". —David Eppstein (talk) 08:36, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
        • Which of course no one has said we do. It makes no sense to rush to contact them in 2-3 months of the death. But after that point it can become reasonable, hence why a six month period makes sense. --Masem (t) 12:56, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
          People stiff have grief after 6 months. Or after a year. When you lose someone close to you you eventually learn to move on, but the pain doesn't just go away. --Ahecht (TALK
          ) 15:06, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • For my wiki work I long ago gave up the idea of wiki fair use because Wikipedia makes it near-impossible. I was just circling back here to see if there are some possibilities. So I go after getting licenses. But, as I described above, if I find the owner and they give their OK, that is the beginning of their painful wiki ordeal, not the end of it. North8000 (talk) 02:27, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
    • That is unfortunately a problem that I agree is hard to fix (given that we want assurances for free media) - either they use Flickr and tag appropriately, register for a WMF account and use commons and tag appropriately, or they have to write an email to OTRS to give consent for us. It would be nice if they could just give the file to us to upload and handle, but we are a bit careful to make sure we have appropriate releases. --Masem (t) 02:45, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
      • @Masem: Even after the owner writes OTRS their ordeal is not over. Then sometimes OTRS writes them and say they haven't proven ownership. Like they need to remember who pushed the button on their camera 20 years ago and invent a story on how that stranger formally transferred their non-existent wiki-invented ownership rights. North8000 (talk) 13:46, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
        no, pretty much a real thing. Ppl forget that copyright is much more complicated then what normal consumers like. Because it was never intended for normal consumers. Change the law ! —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 19:03, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
        North8000, TheDJ, m:Wikilegal/Authorship and Copyright Ownership#The Example of the Third Party Photographer. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 00:42, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
        Thanks @Alexis Jazz:, that was very informative and useful. North8000 (talk) 01:55, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
        North8000, I should have probably mentioned (before you frantically start uploading bystander selfies) that I don't know if Wikilegal's perspective has been implemented in Commons policy yet. IIRC Yann was planning to propose that but I don't know if they have gotten around to it yet. As for Wikipedia (as we have local files as well), I'm unsure. The most relevant policy seems Wikipedia:Image use policy which makes no definitive claims. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 22:07, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit and so its editors have no particular authority, competence or qualifications; some of them are even minors. We should therefore not be requiring or even encouraging them to contact third parties to conduct contract negotiations in Wikipedia's name. The proposed six month surrogate for this just seems to be arbitrary bureaucracy for its own sake and proves nothing. As such requirements would be unnecessarily onerous and vexatious, they would be disruptive and so are not helpful or productive. People should therefore stop trying to invent them. Andrew🐉(talk) 10:02, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
  • As I have already said in another discussion this morning we need to remember that most people couldn't give two hoots about Wikipedia, so we cannot expect them to spend any time on replying to requests from random Wikipedia editors regarding our licencing policies, about which they probably neither know nor care. And to do this just after someone has died is crass in the extreme. Whatever policy we have on this shouldn't involve anyone, particularly unqualifed Wikipedia editors, contacting the family and friends of someone who has recently died. Phil Bridger (talk) 10:33, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
    • @Phil Bridger: It does feel like people "couldn't give two hoots about Wikipedia." I've been contacting copyright holders in the past few months and was only able to get one image released under a free license. In all other cases, the person either did not respond or said they are not the actual copyright holder. Ixfd64 (talk) 20:11, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
  • There is always a requirement for someone claiming fair use to have taken reasonable steps to determine that no free alternative exists, and where the copyright holder is a known living person whose livelihood does not depend on earning money from the media in question, asking them to relicense is always a reasonable step. However it is not appropriate to make contact with the relatives of the recently deceased, so the reasonable steps cannot be completed so in this situation it is never possible for the requirements to use a fair use image of this sort to be met. Everyone needs to realise though that family members are not the only potential source of images of notable people, and that third parties who have posted copyrighted photos on flickr, etc. can also be approached to relicense images. Thryduulf (talk) 11:26, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Who invented this "contacting family and friends of dead people" malarky? In many, if not all cases of recently deceased notable people, images are out there and are not owned by "family and friends". I wish people would stop inventing issues that simply don't exist. The Rambling Man (Keep wearing the mask...) 12:26, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
    • Agree, the easiest way seems to be Flickr, where if someone agrees to freely licence a photo, they can just change the notice with a couple of clicks. Which is a sensible expectation for people to try, if Flickr images exist. Joseph2302 (talk) 12:28, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
    • I think there is an important distinction to be made here between people who were notable before their death, and people who only became notable as a result of their death. For the former, contacting third parties is a reasonable expectation, but for the latter, most likely the only publicly known photos of the individual will be by their friends/family, and I am not in favor of a requirement to contact them after any duration of time. -- King of ♥ 00:29, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
      • If there is no way to obtain a free image other than by asking a close friend or relative then we have a simple choice: ask them or use no image. If it's inappropriate to ask them because it's too soon after their death, then we have no choice - we cannot use an image of them until it is no longer too soon, however long that takes. If after it is no longer too soon there is another reason why they cannot be contacted and, after making significant effort, it can be demonstrated that there is no alternative then using a fair use image might be acceptable - assuming all the other NFCC are met it would depend on what the reasons are. Realistically though, it's essentially almost never going to come to this because a person who lived recently enough for recency of their death to be relevant will almost certainly have been photographed by many people in many situations during their life. Thryduulf (talk) 01:03, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
        • The chance of getting a permission for any individual image is very slim. It is only when many images exist that it would be reasonable to expect to turn one of those images into a free image, by playing the numbers game. It is not reasonable to expect a single image, or a series of images from the same source, to become free. This is often the case when someone becomes notable only in death (e.g. shooting victim). By the way, your "no longer too soon" statement contradicts {{Non-free proposed architecture}}, which explicitly allows non-free images where a free equivalent is presently not possible but one can easily be created in a few years. -- King of ♥ 02:07, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
          Pictures of future architecture and pictures of the recently deceased people are very, very different scenarios and this is why a single bright-line rule could never work - there are far too many individual considerations, especially as the "no longer too soon" was in reference to contacting friends/relatives of the deceased which cannot apply to future buildings. With proposed architecture we know that that it will be possible to create a brand new freely licensed image in the future without relicensing an old image, whereas that obviously is not the cased with deceased people. Regarding the rest of your comment, the chance of any individual image being relicensed is basically identical, but even if you are playing the numbers game you cannot do that until you have done more research than the 5 minutes on flickr that some people seem to think is acceptable. Thryduulf (talk) 15:40, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
          Simply put, I concur with several people above that contacting friends/relatives of the deceased should never, after any period of time, be a bureaucratic check-box that needs to be checked off before a non-free image can be used. It is unenforceable. Whenever we AGF, in the end it comes down to "trust, but verify". So if someone claims searched online for existing free images, that is a claim that can be verified. It's possible that they accidentally missed something and someone else turns up an image they weren't able to find, but if this happens repeatedly then they are either lying or very bad at searching, and should no longer be trusted. However, if someone claims they contacted a copyright holder and received no reply, it would be inappropriate for other people to bombard the same person with similar requests; whether a non-free image is deleted or kept should not hinge on a single unverifiable claim.
          In terms of the numbers game, what I'm saying is predicated on two assumptions: 1) it is unreasonable to expect to turn up images (whether free or non-free) of a deceased subject beyond what is already available online; 2) if there are very few images of a subject available online, it is unreasonable to expect (i.e. the probability is low) that at least one of them will become free by asking. -- King of ♥ 17:00, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
          Arguably, we assume good faith that in that 6 month period, someone would have attempted to contact family/friends/Flickr users about a free license, but do not bury our heads that this likely might not happen. That 6 month period is sufficiently long that if someone really wanted to get a picture, they would have tried to do the contacting, and to prevent the immediate upload of a non-free as soon as the bold is cold. We don't expect attempts to content to be documented, but if they are and show that all reasonable sources for getting a free have been exhausted, then there should be no problem uploading a non-free before that 6 months is up, using the "failed to get free image after contact" as part of the rationale to allow it. The 6 month window is basically just a default expiration period, in that regard, and at that point, a non-free image can be used, which we will take the assumed basis that contact was attempted and failed. --Masem (t) 17:29, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
          @King of Hearts: I think it would be a good idea to keep track of attempts to contact copyright holders. We could use c:Commons:WikiProject Permission requests as a template. If a copyright holder declines to release a work under a free license, then other users would know not to waste their time. Ixfd64 (talk) 19:57, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
  • What's all of this nonsense about? Fair use is explicitly "any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner." (Stanford, emphasis mine). As to portraits of dead persons, {{Non-free biog-pic}} exists (example use Erhard Mauersberger). RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 18:24, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
    • Except, as stated above, our non-free policy is purposely stricter than fair use, as to encourage the use of free media over non-free. --Masem (t) 05:22, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Some time back I uploaded an image of a person who had since died. It was a promotional image, meant to be distributed and re-used. I found it in so many places that I was not actually able to determine the ultimate source. It was clearly made with the explicit intent that it be re-used. Under this sort of regime, it still would not be allowed. That's just silly. Making this a hard requirement would be of obvious detriment to the encyclopedia, for the simple reason that many entities would probably fail to respond to sucha request at all, because they don't care, they are too busy to bother with it, or they simply don't believe the random stranger contacting them is really "from" Wikipedia. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:17, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
    Probably the best way to approach that would be to put "common sense decisionmaking" into either policy or enforcement. In that case the risk of IP problems is microscopic, and in the unlikely event that they arose it could just be removed. One real world example, I would have like to put an image in Calvin Rutstrum but because wikipedia makes fair use attempts overly difficult I didn't even attempt it. And, with no clear place to go, I would have to make a life out of trying to track down some image owner of this long-dead person and get a license, and my life is too shot to spend a big chunk of it trying to get an image for an article. . North8000 (talk) 00:07, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    @Beeblebrox: If you wanted to use that image as non-free, I don't see the problem. If you mean to say it should be considered freely licensed, it's not that simple. Is it okay if a re-user drew a mustache on it? No? Not free. Can I print posters of it and sell them? No? Not free. Promotional images, if anything, are closer to Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives which isn't a free license. On the other hand, WMF legal is known to evaluate the possibility of fair use (to be clear: the law) to reject DMCA requests, even if it's hosted on a project without an Exemption Doctrine Policy. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 01:46, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    Nothing of this says you would not be able to use it, just that not in the first few months after dead, unless you have shown that you have tried to get a free image before they died and failed. What is the argument, being the claim "this person died, there are no existing free images of them, so I can immediately use a non-free" is generally a problem because it shows no good-faith attempt to get a free image in the first place. --Masem (t) 05:25, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
  • This section seems to be seeking permission for something which is already explicitly within the guidelines, namely WP:NFCI provision 10, which caveats use of photographs of deceased people with "ever obtaining a free close substitute is not reasonably likely". It is very clear that photographs already on the internet have a "reasonable likelihood" of being switched to the necessary copyleft, as indeed we've seen in the last couple of weeks with the image at Babette Smith. To do away with that provision by allowing fair-use images of recently deceased people with no attempt to find a free alternative would be a material change in our non-free content guideline, and anybody proposing that needs to get consensus on en-wiki and also be certain that it fits within the legal requirements set by the WMF.  — Amakuru (talk) 09:59, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
    As a note, I did propose a similar idea not too long ago. However, the only two responses I got did not support this change. Ixfd64 (talk) 07:34, 16 December 2021 (UTC)

Drafting a proposal[edit]

Taking the various comments in consideration, I think it's time to start drafting a proposal. A few things from the comments that influenced this:

  • Unreleased consumer products
  • Subjects for which relevant media will enter the public domain soon(-ish)
  • Wikipedians being unqualified to determine what a suitable mourning period is
  • Try not to carve out exceptions for specific cases
  • No ambiguous time periods

My draft for a proposal (this is not a proposal, please don't vote yet, I can ping you if/when I do create a proposal if you wish): NFC#1 becomes: "Non-free content is used only where, to the best of our knowledge, no free equivalent that would serve the same encyclopedic purpose is currently available and a free equivalent could not be provided by active Wikimedia users while respecting their rights."

This may sound slightly convoluted and the wording can possibly be simplified, but here's what it means:

  • A non-free image on Steam Deck (an unreleased product) would be unambiguously allowed and automatically starts failing NFC#1 once Valve starts shipping. Assuming Gabe Newell or any Valve rep isn't known to be an active Wikimedian.
  • If a subject passed away and a photo of them will enter the public domain soon(-ish), a non-free image is unambiguously allowed and automatically starts failing NFC#1 once the copyright expires. (automatic expiration with a predefined date is possible with templates btw)
  • Recognize that non-Wikimedians have no obligation towards Wikipedia whatsoever.
  • "created" is changed to "provided", which may require explanation: if an active Wikimedian is known to have the rights to a suitable alternative but hasn't released it with a free license (for example, a photo they posted on social media or a notable artist who is also active on Wikimedia, example), that Wikimedian should be asked (tactfully please, especially if the subject passed away) to consider relicensing their work. The difference with contacting random people is that these people already understand our cause and we can verify if an attempt was made to contact someone as talk pages are public.
  • "while respecting their rights":
    • If people who have the rights to a work refuse to relicense or don't respond, we must respect their rights and treat them like any non-Wikimedian.
    • If a free equivalent could be created by an active Wikimedian but would require for example trespassing, non-free is allowed.
  • Changed the ambiguous inclusive or from the current policy to "and".

I understand King of Hearts' comments about playing the numbers game. I've considered it, but I can't see a way to make it work. I once found a photo of a university professor, only a few photos of her existed I think, but one was on Flickr and clearly own work. Asked the photographer and they changed the license. Compare that to individuals with hundreds of photos of them floating around on social media with questionable authorship. And also, I don't think we should encourage any Wikimedian to bother any non-Wikimedian with Wikipedia policy. Could make us come across as a cult or at least a bunch of zealots, which perhaps we are, but let's try to hide that from the outside world. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 01:46, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

  • Consider someone like Dave Van Horne (if you imagine that there wasn't a photo there already). He's been in the public spotlight as a baseball broadcaster for 52 years and counting, and so there have been lots of opportunities for third parties to take photos of him at various promotional events. Personally I wouldn't feel comfortable using a non-free photo for someone with this type of public visibility. I do agree with trying to ward off Wikimedians from cold-calling strangers. I feel though that the suggested criteria might reduce the field of potential usable photos too much, thus triggering premature uses of non-free photos. isaacl (talk) 04:22, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    • I think this is all far too complicated. All the policy needs is a clarifying guideline along the lines of: non-free images of recently deceased people may not be used unless a documented, extensive investigation considering on- and off-line sources has determined that:
      • no free image is currently available, and
      • it is at least very unlikely that a new free image can and will be made available within the next 6-12 months, and
      • it is not possible that a non-free image can be relicensed to free within the next 6-12 months.
    • In the event that the investigation is unable to determine whether a free image is or is not possible, then a non-free image may not be used. It is almost never possible for such an investigation to be completed in less than a few weeks, exceptions will be where a documented extensive investigation has been carried out before the subjects death. Thryduulf (talk) 10:30, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I would note that it may even be true for lesser-known cases. Kelli Scarr is not exactly a household name, but I found some photographs of her on Flickr from one of her concerts. I contacted the person who took them, explained that I would like to use it in an article I was writing about her, and asked if he would be willing to change the license to CC-BY-SA so it would be usable, and he graciously agreed to do that. So I'm not sure where this "asking will never bear fruit" idea comes from. Certainly, it would be tremendously inappropriate to be contacting family members or friends shortly after an individual's death, and there are certain cases (such as images owned by Getty or the like) where we can say "Contacting them is a waste of time; they'd never agree to do that". But if there exist images that are not in commercial use and not likely to be, there is at least a reasonable chance that the copyright holder would be willing to relicense if asked to. It is at least worth a try. If they say no, well, so be it and move on. I also don't see merit in the argument that we'd be mad if we used it anyway under fair use provisions. In the case that they relicense under CC-BY-SA, they are substantially giving up all their rights to control over the media. If, on the other hand, we use it under fair use provisions, they do not forfeit those rights and may still control use of it by others. Seraphimblade Talk to me 21:15, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    Seraphimblade, nobody has said asking never bears fruit, though the success rate seems to be higher on Flickr with photos that are clearly own work. And in various cases it is worth a try and nobody is stopping you. But this isn't something that could easily be implemented as policy. Sheer numbers mean nothing as a 100 photos with questionable authorship on Facebook aren't worth pursuing. A Flickr-specific policy is obviously not brilliant either, and not every Flickr account is the same. Even if you work this out, there is no way to prove anyone was contacted. Even if we could, any rule that says "reach out before non-free is allowed" is a bad one. We really, really, really don't want to stimulate people to pressure outsiders to relicense. And while some us can handle this tactfully, we know full well not everybody has that skill. And if we ask, get denied and then use it as fair use anyway that'll certainly result in some bad blood. Not everybody is a copyright expert and for many Jane and John Does, us asking permission to use an image is a binary question. Licenses and fair use mean nothing to them. You asked for permission and either you got it or you didn't and if you didn't you shouldn't use the image. Not everybody is like us. We might consider a policy that requires selecting an image that is deemed among the most likely to get relicensed and asking the copyright holder of the fair use image we are already using (if known) to relicense. It would make the requirement somewhat less arbitrary but still leaves many problems unsolved. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 22:11, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    Well, it seems that people are implying that it could not bear fruit. NFCC #1 requires that there be no free image available, and no realistic possibility of obtaining one. Certainly, there are some cases, such as corporate logos and major label or book publisher covers, where we can reasonably say "Asking would be a waste of our time and theirs; never going to happen." But there are other cases where we won't know until we try—and in that case, NFCC #1 is not met until that possibility is exhausted. Seraphimblade Talk to me 22:16, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    I keep seeing this "6 month rule" mentioned, but no one ever gives a source. Is it just accepted practise by a small group of editors? In this case, it isnt a rule. Contacting grieving families is a bad idea because a) its tasteless b) its tricky, but most important IMO - they are a poor source. They will be dealing with requests from the media for biographies and photos and they are just going to be confused to find that Wikipedia won't just accept a link to an image and "Its OK". Besides this is not 1960. We are not going to write letters to people... images of nearly everyone are all over social media and many/most are posted by others who are not aware that others cannot freely re-use them. If we are expecting editors to dedicate weeks of their lives to proving that they cannot find images then we may as well not allow them. We want editors making useful contributions to our project not chasing the ghost of a chance of maybe getting a single missing image or at least failing (so they can then use fair use). Commons tells me that I have loaded 8,000 images that are used in articles. Lots of them by asking on Flickr and I have ample evidence of asking and no reply. I can tell you that replies come in hours or days and not weeks. We should expect that a reasonable effort is put into trying to find a free to use image (certainly a larger one than the zero effort made by someone who deletes it). A reasonable effort can be documented. Writing a well referenced Wikipedia biography is evidence of effort. Making a request via Twitter or YouTube to see if followers/employers/clubs would like to volunteer an image is recordable. Searching Flickr and making requests is evidence. A quick request to Wikidata will give me 100s who died 6,7 or 9 months ago. Waiting six months is no evidence of effort at all. Victuallers (talk) 13:05, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
    If you can document attempts and show that they have failed to produce a free image (even before a person has died), then there's no need to wait out the 6 months for the non-free, you've shown your work. The idea of 6 months is based on the principle that for any non-free we do expect editors to make a good-faith search or attempt to get or create a free image, but know 90% of the time this never really happens. When applied to recently deceased, that 6 months is a fair enough time frame that editors who really want a picture to seek out their free alternatives but make no mention or document their efforts. That is, implicitly, we going to assume a good-faith effort was made in those 6 months. We know that likely will not happen, but the possibility is there. That 6 months also gives time to get past a fair period of mourning (2-3 months) before it makes sense to contact those close to the person (we do not want one to pester them in the immediate wake). This is a necessary window to balance from those that would want to immediately upload a non-free image before the body is even cold without making any effort to find a free replacement. It may seem excessive but its necessary to maintain the free content mission. --Masem (t) 13:34, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
    So I am right, there is no rule and that IYO being able to " document attempts and show that they have failed to produce a free image" will ensure that images are not going to be deleted without any enquiry. A reasonable effort is all that can be requested. Calling out a single anecdote of a case where an image later turned up is no way to establish best practise. I believe a portrait of William Shakespeare turned up 100s of years after reasonable enquiries had been made. The appearance of the portrait did not negate that the former research was not a reasonable effort to find portraits of him. Surely the 6 month rule could just allows lazy editors to delete images without making a reasonable enquiry? How w/sh/could the effort be documented to avoid this irrespective of the time that has passed since someone's death? Victuallers (talk) 14:09, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
    Well, Alexis Jazz did bring up the idea above of some editors not having the same communication skills, and I think that's a valid point. I think we could help with that by developing a standardized form letter to send to people when requesting permission, as well as guidelines around both how to make contact and when contact is not appropriate at all (such as cases where it's hopeless, or grieving loved ones less than 6 months following the individual's death). So, that way, someone just sends off the form letter, and then either gets a "yes", gets a "no", or gets no response (which is equivalent to a "no"). Then they can say "I contacted Joe188, the owner of Flickr account ABC, on 6 December 2021, and he did not respond. I also contacted Jane511, who has some photos of the individual on Instagram account XYZ, on the same date, and she responded that she would be okay with CC-BY-NC-SA, but not CC-BY-SA. The only other known photos of this individual are held by press agencies and stock photo services, and they are on the 'known never to be willing' list so I did not contact them. Therefore, I have exhausted all potential sources that could be reasonably found and was unable to obtain a freely licensed image." Do we have to AGF with that, a bit? Sure, but we also have to do that when someone claims "own work". If it comes out that someone has been lying about it (in either instance), that would be a substantial embarrassment and loss of reputation for them. At the very least, that would require them to go find out who does have nonfree photos of that individual—and once you've gone to that trouble anyway, why not go ahead and copy and paste the form letter to get it out of the way? And once they find out that some people will say yes, they'll be even more inclined to do so. Then they don't have to jump through all the nonfree hoops, they just go ahead and use the newly free licensed stuff. That would also help with things like the above Kelli Scarr scenario—a nonfree image of her would not have been permitted since she is alive, but that certainly doesn't mean I had the opportunity to immediately go out and take a photo myself to freely license. But I was able to get one, just by asking the question. The answer's always going to be no if you don't even try. When it comes down to it, unless you have exhausted reasonable possibilities for obtaining a free image, you have not satisfied NFCC criterion #1. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:46, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
    Seraphimblade, Victuallers, there's another difference between what Victuallers does (and very occasionally I do too) and holding non-free content hostage until someone does it. Victuallers works for the carrot (but correct me if I'm wrong): they estimate the odds of any particular image being actually owned by the Flickr/social media/etc user and the odds that they would consider relicensing. The latter has no predefined criteria. Open source developers, people who use or mention Wikipedia publicly and people who are eager to get some message out in the form of a photo are somewhat more likely to respond positively. There are various possible reasons why this might be suspected but it's a matter of "you know it when you see it". But in any case: there is no "reward" if we guessed wrong.
    The people who propose 6 month rules and suggest contacting random photographers are going for the stick. You must contact random photographers or you will be denied that non-free image you needed for GA status or just really want to see on a particular article. It doesn't matter if the photographer agrees to relicense, you just have a box to check. This won't be done by people who think there's a chance of a free image, it'll be done by people who will be checking mandatory boxes. Or alternatively, it won't be done at all and a bot/script/category will notify people when the 6 months are up so they just run down the clock before uploading non-free files. The former hurts the reputation of Wikipedia, the latter is Kafkaesque bureaucracy. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 22:52, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
    I will stress what I said above: the 6 month period after death is a compromise position between either fully showing a good-faith effort to exhaust all possible sources for a free image (which I agree is far too overkill for our purpose), and the rush to add a non-free on the moment of death on the claim no free image can no longer be created without even attempting to seek one out, as to maintain the free content mission of WP (set by the WMF). We also assume good faith - if you said you contacted the flickr account and failed to convince them to release as a free image, we'll take your word (though obviously if later discovered this was falsified that might result in adminstrative action). We simply don't want editors to be lazy and sloppy around non-free usage. --Masem (t) 01:23, 7 December 2021 (UTC)
    A flow chart describing the Thryduulf's decision tree for whether a non-free image of a dead person is permitted on the English Wikipedia
    To illustrate what Masem and I (and others) are saying, here is a flowchart detailing the process that (I at least) believe should be followed. You will note that the six month point only applies if you have not made extensive efforts, and that the extensive efforts are not required after then (although it is still desirable and some effort is always required). Thryduulf (talk) 12:16, 7 December 2021 (UTC)
    A form letter doesnt score highly on my understanding of (successful) communication skills. Who has this level of success with form letters? Let them tell us how successful it is because I cannot believe that anyone does this successfully, to contact anyone (it may work with an organisation). And at the same time - who contacts families 0, 1,2,6, 12 or X months after their mum, child, brother, dad died? I'd like to hear an editor tell us of how they do that and how many dozens of people have donated? Again I think this a scary myth to keep mentioning "grieving families" - who does this? ... and will a flowchart help i.e. be used? What I'd really like to see is the flow chart that starts with "Can I delete this image of a dead person that says its fair use?" I do agree that we are looking at a carrot and stick approach and a fudge may well end with "kafkaesque bureaucracy" as we avoid mythical issues. Victuallers (talk) 22:44, 7 December 2021 (UTC)
    We specifically do not consider or care about fair use. The policy is based on minimization of non free images and using free images, which is a requirement from the WMF. For that reason, and how nonfree tends to get abused on WP, we tend to require more red tape on nonfree usage. --Masem (t) 23:17, 7 December 2021 (UTC)
    While I agree with User:Masem that our nonfree use policy properly goes beyond fair use considerations, I am also concerned that immediately using copyrighted images upon death does have fair use implications in that that is the time period when the market value for such images is greatest for use in obituaries and impact on market value is perhaps the single most important factor in fair use analysis. Accordingly, it would behoove us to not use copyrighted images in at least the month after death which would encompass the publishing cycle of obituaries. I have no objection to the longer six month abstention on our policy grounds, but I believe that first month of usage could place us at legal jeopardy. (talk) 17:03, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
    This is perhaps one of the most succinct and useful summaries of the situation relating to "near-instant" uploads of images of dead people. In other words, don't do it. It's not fair use. It's still pretty scary that we have actual working admins who don't get this, and worse, admins who are purportedly teaching others about how to edit Wikipedia. The Rambling Man (Keep wearing the mask...) 23:19, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
    Back in 2017, I proposed an addition to WP:NFCI#10 expressing this point which I later removed as failing to achieve consensus. Perhaps it could serve as part of a compromise solution. See diff. (talk) 18:07, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
    It is also the period when its use will be of greater public interest, another factor for fair use. The two would generally end up cancelling each other out: as public interest declines, commercial value decreases. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 08:05, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
    Perhaps "greater public interest" is a factor in fair use analysis in some other jurisdiction but it is not one of the four factors used by U.S. courts. See, e.g., Measuring Fair Use: The Four Factors. The educational nature of our use is one of the factors but the courts have not increased the value of this factor because people's interest in viewing a copyright image has increased due to being in the news. See Can I Use this Photo I Found on Facebook? Applying Copyright Law and Fair Use Analysis to Photographs on Social Networking Sites Republished for News Reporting Purposes. (talk) 17:30, 26 December 2021 (UTC)
"Can I delete this image of a dead person that says its [sic] fair use?"
Victuallers, here's your flowchart. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 08:05, 23 December 2021 (UTC)

Alexis Jazz no comments here for four days, as OP do you have any thoughts on the way forward? The Rambling Man (Keep wearing the mask...) 23:45, 22 December 2021 (UTC)

The Rambling Man, thank you for the reminder. I figured I'd let the discussion progress on its own for a while, see if any interesting new points would come up. Not much that really changes anything unfortunately. There was a flow chart that was kinda presented as if it details existing policy. Sorry Thryduulf, but I adjusted the caption to clarify it's your workflow and not policy. People get confused by that kind of thing. That's also why my flow chart is sufficiently ridiculous not to be taken seriously, even though it's a generally accurate but incomplete representation of policy. The essence of my proposal seems sound, but I'm unhappy about the wording and I don't know yet how to write it more clearly. For the discussion as a whole, I think the outcome is clear.
Seven six users (and I'm being stupidly generous here by even including the IP comment) believe this is already policy or are in favor:
  • The Rambling Man, Joseph2302, Masem, ?maybe Ixfd64?, ?maybe Seraphimblade?,
18 users have an opinion that ranges anywhere from "maybe under certain conditions with clear definitions" to "complete bollocks mate":
  • Alexis Jazz, xaosflux, hahnchen, TheDJ, WhatamIdoing, King of Hearts, Hawkeye7, North8000, Silver seren, isaacl, David Eppstein, Ahecht, Andrew Davidson, Phil Bridger, RandomCanadian, Beeblebrox, Amakuru, Victuallers
Unclear: Marchjuly, Thryduulf. The outcome seems clear to me: there isn't going to be a majority to support the novel interpretation of the policy with the 6 months period and cold calling and whatnot. Frankly that was the main point anyway so we're more or less done as far as I'm concerned. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 08:05, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
You appear to be listing me as supporting cold calling, which I absolutely do not. I do however believe that my flowchart represents the existing policy. If cold calling is required to verify whether a free image is or is not available (this will vary depending on the circumstances), but cold calling is not appropriate (almost never), then we cannot verify whether a free image is available. If we cannot verify whether a free image is available then, and the subject has been dead less than about six months, then policy does not allow us to use a non-free image (nor should it) - and this is not a "novel interpretation" either, but how it has been applied by many Wikipedians for many years. Thryduulf (talk) 08:55, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
Thryduulf, this confuses me. So you agree that cold calling is not appropriate, so we shall not do that, but do have to sit on our arses for 6 months while we're not cold calling before non-free is acceptable? Wait wut? I'll re-list you. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 07:09, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
What is the obsession with cold calling people? This is far from the only way that a free image might become available, and even if it were acceptable would only be so after less intrusive methods have failed. The key thing is that if you want to use a non-free image before a person has been dead about 6 months you must demonstrate that extensive efforts have been made to find a free image. This is not a novel interpretation of the policy - it is what the policy has been for several years at least. Non-free images are and have only ever been a last-resort. If there is a reasonable likelihood of a free image we are not allowed, by en.wp policy and by WMF resolution, to use a non-free image. The six month thing is that if we force people to wait that long before using a non-free image then we can presume that at least one person has spent some of that time hunting for a free one. There is no "sitting on our arses" involved - spend the time documenting your search for a free image. In very few cases will you even need to get near thinking of cold calling, because you will have found a free photo, or enquired with a fan on flikr, or politely emailed an agent, etc. Thryduulf (talk) 09:47, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
But in summary, there are times we will not have an image on the article for six months after they died - this is just a fact of life and is not a bad thing. If you're that bothered then you can always try to get a free image before they die - you don't have to wait. Thryduulf (talk) 09:49, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
Thryduulf, are we using different definitions of "cold calling"? I'd consider asking a fan on Flickr or an agent also cold calling, even if it's technically not a phone call. ("cold mailing" appears to be an existing term but not as popular) Note that cold calling also covers knocking on doors in the definition from Cambridge Dictionary, so the medium isn't restricted to phone calls. It doesn't really matter though as you seem to admit that if all else fails you support cold calling (with a phone) anyway. there are times we will not have an image on the article for six months after they died No we won't, provided someone goes through the effort of searching for existing free alternatives and uploads a non-free one if nothing is found. Six months isn't part of the deal. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 10:23, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
We do appear to have been using different interpretations of "cold calling" in relation to this discussion. To clarify:
  • Contacting the subject, their family, friends, agents, close associates, fans, etc. while the person is alive poses no issues
  • Contacting the family, friends, agents, close associates, fans, etc. after the person is dead can be done, but only after allowing an appropriate time for grieving. How long that period is varies depending on the contactee's relationship to the deceased, e.g. contacting a fan will often be OK after a few days to a week, an agent after some weeks, close family likely not for several months.
  • Contacting anyone who might be personally affected by the death in the immediate aftermath of the death is acceptable only if you know them personally and you know that being asked will not upset them. It should never be presumed that such contact is going to be possible and editors should never encourage it.
In all cases of contact I'm assuming this is done tactfully and professionally using publicly-available contact methods, doing so in a different manner is a different issue I don't think there is any disagreement regarding. Whether contact is by email, phone, letter or some other method is not directly relevant, although personally I'd regard an email as less intrusive than a phone call and so would be inappropriate for a shorter length of time, I don't know whether this is something others agree with or not.
Between the death and it being appropriate to contact someone then we cannot use a non-free image, if that means the article is unillustrated, then the article must remain unillustrated. Thryduulf (talk) 12:18, 25 December 2021 (UTC)
To be clear: I completely disagree that Wikipedians should ever have to determine what an appropriate amount of time for grieving is as a requirement to use non-free media. If we are summarizing, here's the core of what I think is an acceptable alternative to obtain freely licensed media. This summarizing may actually be helpful in trying to figure out what the policy should say.
  • Anything any sufficiently skilled Wikimedian can do by themselves. Take a photo of a bird, travel somewhere to take a photo of a statue, create a flowchart, etc.
  • Obtain anything that can be bought or rented off-the-shelf. Need a car to take a picture of it? Just rent or buy one.
  • Any service that can be found in the Yellow pages and similar directories. Need an illustration for BDSM? Call a dominatrix and maybe a professional photographer.
This never requires contacting anyone who may not wish to be contacted. While a subject is alive you could theoretically call a professional photographer and give them a wad of cash to take a picture of the subject without invading their privacy and transfer the copyright to you. If no photographer can be found who would be willing and able to do that, fair use would probably be appropriate. So from here, how does this apply to agents, fans, friends, family members, etc etc from people who passed away? It typically doesn't. If a photographer is offering a suitable photo including copyright transfer in a webshop, that would actually be an alternative, that's off-the-shelf. But fans, friends and family are not in the Yellow pages for this purpose. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 17:30, 25 December 2021 (UTC)
Part of the time delay (the 6 months) is for the reason that most editors are lazy when it comes to looking for free alternatives (this often manifests when people talk about images being fair use, etc. which demands none of what we seek). Six months is a good defacto period that balances the need for editors to seek out free works that can be used against the fact that we do want to illustrate articles and after death, it can become impossible to take a new free image and it may not always be possible to convert existing non-free to free - and which in most cases, editors likely aren't making any steps to try any steps to obtain a free image. And the six months is assumed that zero effort to find a free image while the person was alive had been made. If we know that there were serious efforts to get a free image (beyond just scanning Flickr) while they were alive, we'd allow a non-free to be used far sooner after death; just that again, editors are usually lazy and don't try to make a serious effort. --Masem (t) 18:18, 25 December 2021 (UTC)
If you don't think it appropriate that Wikipedians should ever be judging when it is an appropriate time to contact someone, then your only option is to wait about six months after a person's death before using a non-free image. Alternatively, as keeps getting ignored, attempting to obtain a free image before death is also possible (and indeed preferable, as that way we get an illustrated article sooner). Thryduulf (talk) 20:19, 25 December 2021 (UTC)

@Alexis Jazz: You can draft a proposal all you want. However, proposing something amidst at least one or two FFD discussions on individual images of deceased persons, including Halyna Hutchins, is a bad idea and would tremendously affect the results of those discussions. I think this thread should either die down or be closed and then be archived by a bot. Drafting and then starting a proposal can wait until after the FFD results. Alternatively, Marchjuly suggested at WT:RFC (oops, wrong link) an RFC on clarifying NFC rules about images of (recently) deceased persons. Then again, we still have to await the FFD results. Would you still insist a proposal amid the FFD discussion? --George Ho (talk) 02:17, 25 December 2021 (UTC); edited, 04:03, 25 December 2021 (UTC)

George Ho, as I said, I basically put this proposal in the fridge as I can't figure out the right wording, at least not yet, and these things take time. But it might not even be needed at all as this discussion made it fairly clear that the policy interpretation of the delete voters isn't the common interpretation, I think that removed most of the pressure anyway. The FfD has been silent for weeks so I'm not sure how much of an effect there would be anyway. Can you link the discussion from Marchjuly? I don't see it. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 03:44, 25 December 2021 (UTC)
Link: Wikipedia talk:Non-free content/Archive 72#Is this how it works? (diff 1, diff 2). BTW, I should've named another file on discussion: File:Friedrich Leibacher.jpg. --George Ho (talk) 04:03, 25 December 2021 (UTC)

Regarding The key thing is that if you want to use a non-free image before a person has been dead about 6 months you must demonstrate that extensive efforts have been made to find a free image. ... The six month thing is that if we force people to wait that long before using a non-free image then we can presume that at least one person has spent some of that time hunting for a free one.: I disagree with arbitrary thresholds. If it's necessary to show that efforts have been made to find a free image, the passage of time doesn't make this less necessary. isaacl (talk) 16:37, 27 December 2021 (UTC)

I agree that demonstrating efforts have been to find a free image should be required before using a non-free image regardless of when the person died, but we are discussing here what the policy is not what it should be, and policy does not currently require such a demonstration after the first roughly 6 months after death. If you want to propose changing the policy to require that I would certainly support you but given how eager some editors are to use a non-free image immediately after death I don't think it would gain consensus, unfortunately. Thryduulf (talk) 22:38, 27 December 2021 (UTC)
I don't think there is any written policy on a six-month threshold, or any rough threshold. Nor do I see a consensus here that a time threshold is a good thing. I think it's more important to resolve the original issue on what photos should be considered in scope as potential candidates for suitably licensed images. isaacl (talk) 05:35, 28 December 2021 (UTC)
There is no written policy, other than the combination of WP:NFCC and WP:BLP, but the circa six months has been long-standing typical practice, and I've not seen anything above that convinces me there is any consensus to change this. Regarding what photos should be in scope, that's easy - any photo where it is plausible that the rights holder (where known) would, if asked, be willing to relicense. How could it be anything else? Thryduulf (talk) 12:24, 28 December 2021 (UTC)
As the earlier discussion shows, including that between us, there is disagreement on what cases should be considered plausible. isaacl (talk) 21:25, 28 December 2021 (UTC)
No, there are some people who disagree about how much effort is required to determine whether a potentially free image can be converted to an actually free image before a non-free image can be used, but that is not the same thing. There will always be edge cases around which rights holders it's plausible might relicense (a random fan on flickr is pretty much always going to be worth asking, Getty images is pretty much always going to be a waste of time) but if you ask and they say no or don't respond we've not lost anything and you can use that as evidence you have attempted to find a free image without success and so a non-free image can be without having to wait a few months, but if they say yes then the encyclopaedia wins. This means you might as well try. Thryduulf (talk) 01:28, 29 December 2021 (UTC)
No, my disagreement is on the basis of scope, not the effort required. isaacl (talk) 16:49, 29 December 2021 (UTC)
If your disagreement that we should include files that are not currently free but which could plausibly be relicensed to become free when considering whether free images are available is not based on the amount of effort required to find out whether they can be relicensed or not, what is it based on? If it is just "we should only consider files that are currently freely licensed" how is that compatible with any of the NFCC, the WMF's resolution underpinning it or Wikipedia's mission to promote free content wherever possible? Thryduulf (talk) 18:20, 29 December 2021 (UTC)
I explained my viewpoint previously and you responded, so in the interest of concision I didn't want to repeat it. Beyond my original comment, another way of looking at the scope is the set of photos for which the subject's rights of privacy and publicity are respected, which generally means no model release is needed. For a public figure, even casual photos in public can be fairly published by the rights owner. For the many people who aren't public figures even if they meet English Wikipedia's standards for having an article, photos taken at public appearances would be fair game for publishing by the rights owner, but not, say, casual shots taken on the street. Photos taken by family and friends for personal use wouldn't be in this scope. isaacl (talk) 21:18, 29 December 2021 (UTC)
If you can reasonable document attempts to get a free image after death (no, we don't need to see the emails, but we need more than just "I tried, didn't get one"), then the 6 month period is not necessary. Six months is a good default length that we presume (probably wrongly but in fairness to all others, a good faith assumption) that an attempt was made but simply wasn't documented. But if you tell us, say, 3 months after death, that contacting the Flickr user that has a non-free, and a few close family members, but didn't get any response, then you've shown far more than most cases and we would allow the image. Its why I don't think we document this in any policy or guideline because it is not a hard-fast rule, and has common sense exceptions. --Masem (t) 13:10, 28 December 2021 (UTC)
I think it's a question of the plausibility of the assertion. If someone just says "I tried", then "Uh, what exactly did you try?" is a reasonable question. On the other hand, if they say "I contacted John Doe's press agent several weeks ago and have received no response, and also spoke to Exampleuser on Flickr who had photos of Doe, but he stated that he would not agree to any license that didn't include an NC restriction", that's sufficient that we can say "Okay, you have in fact made a genuine good-faith effort and it was not successful." Seraphimblade Talk to me 19:46, 29 December 2021 (UTC)
Again, take the example of someone like Dave Van Horne. For someone who has been in the public eye for that long, attending many public functions, it's implausible that there aren't any potential free images out there. Six months going by doesn't change that. (A lengthier period of time after death would make it less plausible that such a photo would be found, but it would be a period measured in decades.) isaacl (talk) 21:31, 29 December 2021 (UTC)

RfC - change to Wikipedia's five pillars - WP:5P[edit]

Which version of the first pillar of WP:5P1 is better?

  • Option A would be to maintain the status quo and restore the longstanding phrase "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers" to WP:5P.
  • Option B would be to retain the new wording "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias and other reference works." SportingFlyer T·C 15:57, 17 December 2021 (UTC)

Reasoning - 5P RFC[edit]

Recently, a short talk page discussion (four participants) led to the replacement of the phrase "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers" with the phrase "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias and other reference works." This has been the result of a long campaign by a small number of users to try to deprecate the premise that Wikipedia functions like a gazetteer. Though the rule that geographic features can be included as long as they are verifiable and can be discussed pre-dates the addition of the word gazetteer to the five pillars, a quick search of the pump's archives shows that the gazetteer function has been a firm pillar of Wikipedia for over a decade, and I believe this change requires more community input, considering the change would likely have the effect deprecating the idea Wikipedia functions like a gazetteer.. SportingFlyer T·C 15:57, 17 December 2021 (UTC)

dlthewave supports Option B and provides this reasoning in support: *Editors supporting the change (Option B) argue that "gazetteer" and "almanac" do not reflect Wikipedia's purpose as an encyclopedia and have led to harmful editing practices including mass stub creation from GNIS and GEOnet which require massive cleanup efforts. There is also concern that the page has no formal standing, yet is being used to override actual policies and guidelines." SportingFlyer T·C 18:40, 18 December 2021 (UTC)

Responses - 5P RFC[edit]

  • Option A Wikipedia is not a literal gazetteer and nothing in the removed phrase supports that, but it does contain elements of a gazetteer, namely lower notability standards for geographic features than for any general article, with the intent of providing information about the world's natural features and populated places. While I understand this was done to try to reduce confusion, specifically relegating this to "other reference works" is a major change to Wikipedia's functions and implies Wikipedia doesn't function as a place where geographic knowledge is retained, especially considering the change is already being used to AfD geography articles. SportingFlyer T·C 12:54, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A. There is a deletionist agenda here which is not generally supported and will enable some editors who don't like them to propose umpteen geographical articles for deletion. It's worked perfectly well up until now. It doesn't need changing. I have restored the phrasing, as the discussion on the talkpage clearly wasn't wide enough to change something so fundamental. We should obviously keep the longstanding phrasing until we have a consensus to change it, not retain the change until we have a consensus to change it back. That's doing it backwards. -- Necrothesp (talk) 14:31, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B - I think the new language better reflects what Wikipedia is (and should be). I don’t agree that this language significantly changes how we should interpret policy, nor should it be taken as “deprecating” gazette type articles. (These can be included under “… and other reference works”). If the new language is accepted, any “mass” deletion nominations based on the change should be deemed disruptive. Blueboar (talk) 14:50, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A. Change seems at odds with our practice, especially in the sports and geo areas. See also the pageviews for Deaths in 2021. JBchrch talk 15:10, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Bad RFC - Non-neutrally-worded RFC question for the reasons given below (and additionally noting that the change has been up for more than a month without any of the doom-laden predictions above occurring). Option B if it is changed to a neutrally-worded one without the POV that this necessarily has an effect on Wikipedia being (or not being) a gazetteer (i.e., something other than an encyclopaedia). The reasoning for this is that the term "gazetteer" (which was added to 5P in a BOLD edit) being recited at 5P leads to people trying to wave it around at AFD as an argument that Wikipedia necessarily is a gazetteer, and is confusing for something that is supposed to be a very general summary. FOARP (talk) 15:48, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Newimpartial (talk) 15:52, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A. While a gazetteer is a reference work, Wikipedia does WP:NOT function as a dictionary, directory, or manual which are also reference works. Therefore I think it's useful to explicitly list almanacs and gazetteers as functions of Wikipedia. – Anne drew 16:08, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A That wording has been in place since 2008, influencing the direction of the project. It should not have been removed without a project-wide RFC that found consensus to change the wording. Edited to add: I've reviewed the talk page discussion mentioned by Masem below, and it doesn't change my position that I'd want to see a wider consensus than four editors on a talk page.(end addition) Schazjmd (talk) 17:22, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    @Schazjmd: Regardless of what took place before, this is the project-wide RfC that you and others have asked for. Would you care to share your opinion on the proposed text or is there some other process that we should be going through first? –dlthewave 17:03, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
    On the original discussion that triggered this RfC, Masem said WP is clearly more than just an encyclopedia (including what you may consider as the sum of generalist and specialist encyclopedias), and its hard to explain what those additional functions are without mentioning the concepts around gazetteers and almanacs., which I agree with. I don't see that his suggestion to instead say "other reference works" solves anything, as it is even more imprecise. After considering all of the arguments here for each option, I'm reaffirming my support for Option A. Schazjmd (talk) 22:34, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B I encourage editors to review the talk page discussion at WT:5P of why having "inclusive" language related to gazetteers and almanacs had become problematic. 5P is not a policy page but it was being cited as a policy in notability and related page retention discussions. While the new wording does not change any policy , it is more reflective of it, and specifically that WP:NOT outlines where we don't go. Eg NOT outlines we aren't a dictionary, though we do include definitions on topics that are then expanded on more (eg like En banc). While the wording at 5P had been in place for years, it does not reflect changes in relevant policy that has been made since, and the change simply removes specific terms that are misused and inconsistent with today's policy. --Masem (t) 18:49, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A - the problems likely to be caused by the new wording seem on present showing to be likely to be far greater than the problems caused by the wording as it stands. In any case this should not have been decided by a little group of four. Ingratis (talk) 19:23, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B We are an encyclopedia, and encyclopedias obviously can cover geographic topics, so there is not a point to say we have features of a different type of book that also covers geographic topics in a different way. Gazetteers may list every item that appears on the map as a sort of index, which is not really how Wikipedia operates and removal would be more consistent with actual usage. I think the mention of almanacs should also be removed because "It includes information like weather forecasts, farmers' planting dates, tide tables, and other tabular data often arranged according to the calendar." is not what Wikipedia includes either. There are other types of references called almanacs that covers sports or politics or whatever, but typically as statistical listings rather than holistic articles or lists. Reywas92Talk 19:27, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A for purely procedural reasons, without prejudice towards holding a new discussion for any future changes. The discussion was not sufficient to change long-standing guidance. I'm fine with changing it if the community decides it needs to be changed, but the discussion cannot be said to represent "the community" in any meaningful way. Return it to the way it was, hold a more proper discussion with wider participation, let it run longer, and see where it goes. --Jayron32 19:33, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A I'm the editor who added "gazetteer" those many years ago (ah, the good old days, when a sensible edit would not be immediately reverted. But I digress). The current wording reflected Wikipedia practice then, and reflects Wikipedia practice now: populated places and other geographic features do not need significant coverage in reliable sources in order to have a Wikipedia article (though many of course do have such coverage); the source cited only needs to show the place or feature exists. We can debate whether that is a good thing (the current consensus) or a bad thing (which would be a change in consensus), but the way to seek such a change in consensus is to discuss it explicitly, not to propose changing the wording of an essay. And I would point out such a change in consensus would justify the deletion of many thousands of articles. UnitedStatesian (talk) 19:44, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    Except it's only legally recognized communities that are exempt from significant coverage. Physical features have a flexible requirement, but it's downright false to suggest we have articles merely if a source "shows the place or feature exists". I see no reason why a single component of GEOLAND would be embedded – very vaguely, mind you – into 5P. This would have no impact on "many thousands of articles" since NGEO controls, not 5P, but yes, there are in fact many articles that do not meet that guideline. Reywas92Talk 20:52, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    @Reywas92: you miss my point: it is precisely that language in NGOE that gives Wikipedia "many features of . . . gazetteers", so to remove the word from 5P without changing NGEO would create a contradiction between the two and is likely to cause confusion (because of how many articles are affected) that we have avoided for 13 years. And while writing that something is "downright false," I suggest you indicate you have looked at a sufficient number of non-populated place articles; I'll give you just two of many thousands of examples, Stoner Peak and Mount Kerr (Antarctica), that support my assertion that the presence of so many non-encyclopedic geographical features articles give Wikipedia "many features of . . . gazetteers" UnitedStatesian (talk) 14:49, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
    Both blatant failures of WP:GEOLAND. Just because it's hard to address the mass-production of articles that were imported from GNIS in bulk does not mean they are notability-compliant. We are not in fact a repository of every place name in existence merely because they exist. Reywas92Talk 19:02, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
    Also, the change of language does not eliminate the ability for us to function as a gazetteer within the context of NGEO, as that is still "other reference works". --Masem (t) 05:23, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
    but referenced work contain, and j quote from its own article: Reference works include encyclopedias, almanacs, atlases, bibliographies, biographical sources, catalogs such as library catalogs and art catalogs, concordances, dictionaries, directories such as business directories and telephone directories, discographies, filmographies, gazetteers, glossaries, handbooks, indices such as bibliographic indices and citation indices, manuals, research guides, thesauruses, and yearbooks. So does other referenced works include all of these? If so should we have sn option C that defines what we are?Davidstewartharvey (talk) 11:13, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B While I only mildly prefer this option (and supported it when it was proposed) I am strongly opposed to the wording of the RFC which goes beyond non-neutral and into abusive of the people who proposed it. I do like "bias" towards geographic places and features regarding wp:notability because they are more enclyclopedic than a lot of common wiki topics. But this is firmly entrenched in the SNG and common outcomes listings and doesn't need the double-down of an explicit mention in the 5 pillars. Also, if it isn't covered under Wikipedia being an enclopedia, why would we want it, and if it IS covered under being an encyclopedia, why would it need an explicit separate mention.?North8000 (talk) 20:12, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A A consensus that has existed for 13 years, changed at a discussion of 4? Come one let's get real. Wikipedia is a gazetteer for geo articles. Everything else has to meet notability rules (still think that we need to rename that to help new users).Davidstewartharvey (talk) 20:16, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    "A consensus that has existed for 13 years" False, this was added by one user unilaterally, that just didn't happen to be formally challenged for 13 years. "Wikipedia is a gazetteer for geo articles. Everything else has to meet notability rules" No, there are notability rules for geographic articles: WP:NGEO/WP:GEOLAND. Under these rules legally recognized populated places are generally exempt from significant coverage, but this is not the same as Wikipedia being a gazetteer, nor does this apply to everything under the concept of "geography". Reywas92Talk 20:56, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    The gazetteer text has been in NGEO since before it became a guideline from 2012 and was accepted by the community when the guideline was adopted in 2014. If there were any problems or issues with it, they would have been pointed out long before now. (There's even a comment from the 2014 guideline acceptance opposing saying all NGEO does is document a long-standing exception to all notability requirements taken from the "gazetteer" function.) SportingFlyer T·C 21:25, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    It is absolutely true that a long standing, unopposed edit has implicit consensus through editing and this fact is codified in policy form. What is sad is that so many editors remain ignorant of this provision or, even worse, unwilling to accept its remit.--John Cline (talk) 21:46, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A it's bad idea to introduce increasing vagueness to this ". . . and other. . . ?" What? Really? (Also see, WP:NOTDICT for policy problems with this vague wording). Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:01, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A Given that the A clause was WP:BOLDly introduced by UnitedStatesian on November 17, 2008 it may be considered a result of WP:SILENT consensus, which is weak and warrants attention. I also note that in the VP history there were several discussion referring to 5 pillars in the context of gazetteer issue. Even though not a policy, I support clarification efforts in full accordance with (presumably dead) WP:POLICY#Content policy and per opinions in the discussion below. AXONOV (talk) 21:31, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A for procedural reasons. I think the discussion to change was entirely in good faith and may have some valid arguments, but the idea that a change to the five pillars could be implemented on the consensus of four editors is absurd. Frickeg (talk) 22:12, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A per Frickeg mostly. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:56, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B the new wording is more inclusive, not less, as "other reference works" clearly includes gazetteers, as well as other works not previously cited such as atlases and discographies. I also agree with FOARP and North8000 that there is an unnecessary amount of WP:ABF in the "reasoning". --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 23:32, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A, and it is not a question of which is more or less inclusive, but rather accurate: the option B wording is unduly vague, and IMO opens up the door to endless litigation with BOTH sides each citing and arguing over their own interpretation of it. As to all of the various features of almanacs and gazetteers that we do not include, the longstanding wording does not say that we include every single aspect of those publications; and it is not necessary to specify that (it is, rather, common sense). Lastly, while I have no doubt those editors were acting in good faith, like others have said, a core policy based on established consensus cannot be changed per a discussion of four editors. I think the not-uncommon misunderstanding is that BOLD editing by A SINGLE EDITOR - even to core policies - is expressly permitted; however, as soon as there is a discussion between two or more editors, then any change based on such discussion is no longer a BOLD edit, and does require a discussion involving the wider community at large. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:39AF:8AB2:A850:B03D (talk) 00:17, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A as the best descriptive summary of Wikipedia as it exists, where geographic stubs abound :) Leijurv (talk) 02:07, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A—restore the status quo ante, which is a position that has had support, implicit or otherwise, for well over a decade. Imzadi 1979  02:57, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A interim, rediscuss, and a caution to the raiser - obviously, a pillar change should be CENT noticed, and possibly even watchlist noticed. I make no specific comment at this point as to whether the actual change is warranted. This RfC is also somewhat dubious in a neutrality sense. I should note that the original changing editors would appear to be acting in GF, and I do not believe represent a malign attempt to advance an agenda. And I assume my inclusionist credentials are sufficient to show I'm not part of this illusionary plot. Nosebagbear (talk) 13:48, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
    Nosebagbear, Added to WP:CENT. Curbon7 (talk) 01:43, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A Ain't broke, don't fix. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 13:52, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A per Jayron32, Leijruv and others. Thryduulf (talk) 14:48, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B since the term "gazetteer" has led to numerous violations of WP:NOTNEWS as well as other related and explicit policy instructions. This is sneaking reportage through the back door. The definition "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias and other reference works" is as precise as can be: An encyclopaedia is neither a gazetteer nor an almanac, unless we go Humpty Dumpty on the English language. -The Gnome (talk) 14:59, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B The Five Pilllars play an interesting role: As explained in the talk page FAQ they were originally a descriptive summary of our core P&G but have gradually become a prescriptive set of guiding principles that are sometimes seen as taking precedence over actual guidelines despite having no formal standing, adoption or review by the community.
    The odd thing about the "encyclopedias, almanacs and gazetteers" sentence is that unlike the rest of the pillars, it does not link to a policy/guideline that further explains its meaning. None of the pillars were meant to stand alone: Could you imagine if we left "Wikipedia is free content" open to interpretation and a group of editors decided that this meant we had to remove all paywall sources? Or if folks insisted that "Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view" meant that we had to give all opinions equal weight on controversial topics? When folks come along with ideas like these, we can point them to WP:C or WP:NPOV which explain in detail what these pillars actually mean. Unfortunately there is no page that formally explains Wikipedia's role as an almanac or gazetteer, so editors are left to make their own interpretations which often conflict with our actual guidelines. Although I disagree with it, I understand the point of view that we should have articles for all populated places, but too often "Wikipedia is a gazetteer" is used to shut down discussion before we've actually verified that a place is/was actually a distinct settlement. This causes actual problems when we maintain "unincorporated community" articles that are copied to various corners of the Internet before we realize that they were just rail junctions or crossroads. Although we did function as an exhaustive gazetteer at one time, the community adopted a more selective guideline for populated places in 2012 which has been strongly enforced for the past few years. I don't believe that "gazetteer" is an accurate description of what our current coverage aims to be.
    A question worth asking is "what are some features of almanacs and gazetteers that one would find in Wikipedia but not in an encyclopedia?" My answer is "None": Our minor geography articles are similar to what one might find in a regional geographic encyclopedia, and our coverage of countries is not indifferent from Britannica. There's virtually nothing in the tables of, say, Old Farmer's Almanac that would belong in Wikipedia; when we compare ourselves to The World Almanac and Book of Facts, the only resemblance is found in the Book of Facts portion. Nobody ever discusses our role as an almanac, it's just something we keep because it's been there a long time. To remove all ambiguity, I would suggest "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias."dlthewave 16:56, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
    • This causes actual problems when we maintain "unincorporated community" articles that are copied to various corners of the Internet before we realize that they were just rail junctions or crossroads. Who cares? So a mirror site will have an article about a rail junction or crossroad; how is this an "actual problem"? Mlb96 (talk) 05:20, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B per Dlthewave, The Gnome, and others. WP:5P says they are "fundamental principles" which has a connotation of supreme policy. I've seen "WP is a gazetteer" used as a notability argument without regard to actual guidelines. MB 17:17, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B per MB, above. The gazetteer language only adds confusion. Yilloslime (talk) 17:29, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B per above: the gazetteer language only adds confusion, and is misused to argue notability. We gain nothing by having this language included. Maybe in 2008 it made sense but not today. I also agree with dl's suggestion to remove "and other reference works". Wikipedia is (and should be) an encyclopedia, and not any other type of reference work. That's what WP:NOT, our oldest policy, is all about. Levivich 18:46, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
    • The problem is that we do include features of other reference works - for example, you go to any athlete in a professional league, and you'll see sports almanac-type stats, which have no place in a traditional encyclopedia. It's why it is important that we point to WP:NOT when we say "other reference works" as NOT sets those bounds. --Masem (t) 23:03, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Mild preference to Option B I think the language in option B is more inclusive. --Enos733 (talk) 18:51, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Comment - In response to those editors asking whether any changes are needed here, it is worth reviewing the recent cases with GEO articles written based on gazetteer or gazetteer-like sources, collectively involving the deletion/redirecting of tens of thousands of stub articles. These are:
  • All of these involved importing gazetteer-type information from a database en masse directly into Wikipedia in prose form. All of them were defended at one point or another by references to the mentioning of gazetteers in WP:5P.
    Some people seem to be under the misimpression that gazetteers are just encyclopaedias for geographical locations. They are not. The most commonly-used gazetteers on Wikipedia are GNS and GNIS, which consist of nothing more than statistical database entries, some of the fields of which (particularly whether a place was ever populated) can often be highly inaccurate. A gazetteer is, as our article explains, "a geographical dictionary or directory used in conjunction with a map or atlas", that is, it is literally an example of two things that Wikipedia explicitly isn't per WP:NOT.
    Option B corrects this problem by throwing the question of whether (and to what extent) Wikipedia is a gazetteer back to the community to decide. FOARP (talk) 11:31, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A The existing text is well-established while the proposed alternative seems vaguer and more confusing. The proposed change would therefore generate more argument rather than less. Andrew🐉(talk) 11:46, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B. I was also really irritated by the way this change was made. It was a totally inadequate level of consensus for a change to our fundamental principles. And generally speaking, the editors involved really need to knock it off with this tactic of tipping established policies in their favour with under-advertised (if I weren't assuming good faith, I might even say "sneaky") discussions on under-watched talk pages. Policy pages document long-term consensus and conventions, they don't create them. That said, the end result is actually reads better and doesn't contradict the old understanding that Wikipedia has elements of a gazetteer (as I have tried to explain in more depth at WP:GAZETTEER) and an almanac (WP:ALMANAC needs work!) – Joe (talk) 12:12, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
    Thanks Joe. I’ve got to say I actually like what you did with WP:Gazetteer and don’t think there’s ultimately a fundamental contradiction between it and WP:NOTGAZETTEER - the difference is one of emphasis. FOARP (talk) 13:29, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A because Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers and so is described succinctly. Thincat (talk) 13:52, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B, per Blueboar and Masem. And I agree with Joe Roe that the way the changes were introduced were somewhat less than ideal, but overall removing the explicit language that leads some to the implication that Wikipedia IS a gazeteer and not merely combines some features of is an improvement. There have been many cases of editors creating stubs about a place named in some government database regardless of any considerations of notability (or of English language usage). Mere existence (and often fleeting in many cases) is not a basis for a standalone encyclopedia article. olderwiser 14:24, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B - There is broad consensus that "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia", and that Wikipedia includes elements of a variety of other reference works, so it has always seemed surprising and counterintuitive that we single out just two of those reference works to put on equal footing with encyclopedias in the wording of this pillar. I mean we include almanac but not dictionary? Strange. Reference works is more inclusive, and helps to account for the extremely blurry lines between the domains and formats of the many kinds of reference works one might see in Wikipedia: dictionaries, encyclopedic dictionaries, handbooks, guidebooks, almanacs, gazetteers, epitomes, specula, compendia, annals, summa, geographic atlases, scientific atlases, taxonomies.... It just makes more sense to talk about encyclopedias and other reference works, and I think that best reflects the broadest consensus about what we're doing here. No reason to name certain reference works and no reason to exclude. Unfortunately, there is a lot of heated disagreement about the extent to which Wikipedia should function as a gazetteer, closely related to issues of deletion and systemic bias, and I suspect this whole discussion won't go anywhere because of how the "sides" of that debate view the importance of gazetteer having made it into this language and what it would mean to remove it. Nothing should be kept or deleted based on which reference works appear on 5P, and 5P should just reflect the broadest possible consensus. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:40, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
    • For the record, I support Wikipedia having elements of a gazetteer and haven't been involved in any of the debates over changes to that fact. The big point is this page should summarize big picture ideas, not set the policy. Regardless of A or B, it shouldn't be the basis of keeping or deleting anything. It's a quick overview of key ideas. If the word "gazetteer" appearing at 5P is key to a particular deletion/notability argument, that argument should carry no weight (this applies to the presence of gazetteer as well as its replacement by "reference works"). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:47, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A: The vagueness introduced by Option B appears to contradict WP:NOT, and we need a clearer description of the kinds of other reference works we mean. That doesn’t mean I love the current wording, as there is clear disagreement still, but if we incorporate some aspects of gazetteers and almanacs not otherwise included in most encyclopaedias, that deserves mention. Given that this change is being used to justify the deletion of articles, we cannot simply rely on “other” doing the job. Theknightwho (talk) 17:35, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
    • Specifying gazetteer and almanac is more in line with WP:NOT -- a page which doesn't mention either of those words even once? Even if it were true that Wikipedia includes exclusively elements of encyclopedias, gazetteers, and almanacs, "encyclopedias and other reference works" is still true. The big issue is, it's not actually exclusive. I would argue it's a greater contradiction to WP:NOT (the page which explains that "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia") to give the misleading impression that it's not primarily an encyclopedia with elements of other stuff (primacy of the encyclopedia) but rather a combination of encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers (which WP:NOT doesn't mention, as I said) — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:00, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
      • Why would they be mentioned on a page which explains what Wikipedia is not? And I agree that Wikipedia is not exclusively those things, but if the choice is between these two, and “other reference works” includes plenty of things that definitely are on WP:NOT as exclusions, we run into a problem. The fact is that this change is being used to justify making Wikipedia more exclusive, not less, so the idea that the status quo for 13 years is suddenly a problem for not being broad enough is a little confusing. Theknightwho (talk) 18:28, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
        Gazetteers are "a geographical dictionary or directory used in conjunction with a map or atlas" (that's two things that Wikipedia is explicitly not) and Almanacs are ""a book published every year which contains information about the movements of the planets, the changes of the moon and the tides, and the dates of important anniversaries"", which is another thing that Wikipedia is explicitly not. It is not clear to me why saying "here's two types of reference works we're going to explicitly call out that we include elements of" is better than just using a more general term that embraces more types of reference work that we also borrow elements of (discographies, bibliographies, filmographies, yearbooks etc.). FOARP (talk) 19:19, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
      As someone who does a lot of geography cleanup, I don't anticipate this making Wikipedia any more or less inclusive. WP:NGEO would still be the relevant SNG just as it has been since 2012. However this would eliminate the confusion which arises when editors interpret "combines features of gazetteers" as "covers all verifiable geographic entities as standalone articles" as if this somehow trumps the actual guideline. –dlthewave 20:25, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A This is much more clear wording and in addition to the fact that Wikipedia does indeed serve as a gazetteer, this also includes the implicit assumption that all places (geographical locations, not any smaller organizations than that) will have significant coverage of them in local and regional sources. And that assumption is just basic common sense. Anyone arguing otherwise is being purposefully disingenuous. SilverserenC 20:45, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A. We're not running up against our paper and printing budget. As the project goes forward, we would expect to add more material (as we do), not remove material. If we didn't have a gazeteer mission, now would be a time to add it. To increase the areas of knowlege which we are saving from obscurity. As always, a good solution for this stuff is "Don't like gazetter articles? Don't read them, but don't interfere with people who aren't like you". Better would be Option C, which would expand the text. "specialized encyclopedias" is too short and vague to have much power, and its ignored often enough.
    Someone wants to know about say Senteg. Granted, only 18 people have in the last three months. Possibly because it's in Nowhere, Russia and the population is 51. Still, 18 people. They're real. They count. What is the value of telling these people "Sorry, we had this information, with a ref, categorized with it's sisters in Category:Rural localities in Udmurtia, but we decided we don't want you people to have too much information. Sucks to be you, but good luck and maybe you can find the info somewhere else -- you never know!" Assekrem, Bogomerom Archipelago, etc. What's the upside.
    Given the number of mirror sites, I would expect that most (all?) of these 18 visitors were actually just bots coming to scrape any updates to the page. The upside is not hosting non-notable (and often hoax/promo) information and not enabling/encouraging WP:MEATBOT style editing. FOARP (talk) 10:06, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
    So delete them if they're hoaxes, but don't motte and bailey to argue for deleting articles that are otherwise fine. Benjamin (talk) 11:29, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
    It's just bullshit, people should go write some articles or do other constructive work rather than trying to make Wikipedia smaller, weaker, and less iformative. I'm tired of it. Herostratus (talk) 23:38, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A to restore the status quo. The text is already open-ended and does not mandate that we include every feature of those works. --Rschen7754 01:19, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A Combo of status quo and a few reasons given in earlier votes Signed, I Am Chaos (talk) 01:48, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A One of Wikipedia's strengths is that the concept of an encyclopedia, gazetteer, etc. is not novel, most people already understand it (just the method of collaboration is novel). This makes it easy for people to understand what they're getting into and I prefer the original wording on that basis. Legoktm (talk) 02:11, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A I think we're really ignoring a lot of stubs existed before the 2012 change to WP:NGEO. I mean there are other ways to go about this. – The Grid (talk) 04:00, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
    • The issue is that some editors are using the original wording (option A) of 5P to try to argue against the changes of NGEO in 2012. The site shifted away from wide acceptance of geographical articles then, and while we still have gazetteer functions, they are not as wide as we used to have them. 5P should have been updated with the 2012 NGEO change to reflect that. --Masem (t) 05:22, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
      Sorry, but I'm not inclined to trust those sort of things, particularly after the SCHOOLOUTCOMES fiasco. I've seen it other times too: a few people push thru some rule, and that becomes the basis for a campaign for everybody to "follow the rule". It's politics, in the bad sense. I don't know what happened back in 2012, but I'll tell you what: if it was so defining, why are most people supporting Option A here, mnmh? Herostratus (talk) 05:49, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A. A change to such a long-established and central piece of policy should not have been made without gaining a very wide consensus. I have found the recent trend to nominate for deletion large numbers of geographical entities extremely worrying, especially what looks like a lot like bullying in AfDs where editors disagree. Espresso Addict (talk) 05:32, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
    • I have also noticed that AfDs are often aggressive and unpleasant as well. No idea why there’s this trend at the moment. Theknightwho (talk) 05:49, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
      The problem is caused when editors go through every single item in a database creating articles about every entry, regardless of whether there is anything to actually write about them, and regardless of whether the database is in fact a reliable source for what it is being used for. This creates a massive backlog of poorly sourced or even hoax articles, the creators of which are heavily invested in them not being deleted. In my experience the problem at AFD comes from an insistence that “there must be sources” for these places and the assumption that anyone who fails to find sources is simply acting in bad faith. Of course, this behaviour is defended by references to 5P. FOARP (talk) 06:18, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
      I have no problem with deleting articles solely based on inaccurate databases. The problem I have observed in AfD repeatedly recently looks to me like tag-teaming between a group of editors where all sources presented are negated and all non-delete arguments are responded to aggressively. Espresso Addict (talk) 06:40, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
      Tag teaming implies off-wiki co-ordination. Instead, it’s just the same group of people (pro-deletion and pro-inclusion both) looking at the articles popping up on the geographical AFD notice board. The issue with sources is that so many bad sources exist because of algorithm-generated content and bad databases (primarily GNIS and GNS) but also personal blogs, personal websites, maps, wiki-mirrors etc. FOARP (talk) 06:52, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
      For clarity, I did not mean to imply any off-wiki coordination. Espresso Addict (talk) 06:58, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
      The strengths of the arguments are not relevant to questions of bullying. I have repeatedly observed bullying behaviour being outright justified in AfDs - even on this noticeboard - because of the perceived weakness of the arguments. That is unacceptable. Theknightwho (talk) 18:33, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
      This sounds like something that should be addressed, probably at ANI. Do you have any diffs of the bullying? –dlthewave 05:19, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
      • Sadly this has characterised AfDs for some time. Certain editors, usually those who wish to delete, cannot accept any difference from their opinion and therefore insult, sneer at and call into question the integrity and motives of any editor who disagrees with them. Because, of course, they are the only ones who truly understand or care about the project (even if they're relative newcomers). This is a very sad state of affairs and needs to stop now. It's completely against the spirit of Wikipedia. You can disagree without the unpleasantness. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:08, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
        • On that note, this recent conversation on my user talk page is depressing reading. It may be that community consensus about the notability of places is starting to shift, but unless and until that shift happens, it is unacceptable that we have new editors being aggressively criticised for creating articles that up until now have been seen as perfectly fine, just because they are not plugged into wikipolitics deeply enough to know that what was utterly unremarkable last year is now controversial. – Joe (talk) 09:22, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
          • Absolutely. Some editors increasingly seem to see Wikipedia as an extension of social media, where users hiding behind anonymity can spout as much vitriol as they choose and not be pulled up over it. We've always had some soapboxers who've done that, but usually they got the message that this wasn't the place for it, got bored and drifted away. Unfortunately, now some editors who seem to genuinely be involved in the project are doing it to other genuine editors just because they disagree with them, especially on AfD. I do not see what is wrong with civilised discussion without it degenerating into aggression, name-calling and allegations of lying. It's very disappointing and it shouldn't happen. -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:10, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
            • It seems to have become almost expected, but the recent two-pronged wave of GEO AfDs is particularly distasteful in tone. This AfD on Makhtumkala is an example - the belittling tone used against the Turkmen editor is really not acceptable. Ingratis (talk) 04:43, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
              • WP:AFD/GEO is currently a complete trainwreck, where the same handful of users seem to be nominating AFDs en masse and then voting “Redirect All”, with any and all comments by other users simply being ignored. I cannot see how this is a remotely positive direction for WP to be going in, when it is patently jumping the gun. Theknightwho (talk) 06:40, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
    WP:5P is not policy, it's a summary. --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 23:47, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B. Many aspects of Gazetteers and Almanacs fall under WP:INDISCRIMINATE, and thus it is inappropriate and misleading to state that Wikipedia holds these characteristics. To address the argument that "geographic features can be included as long as they are verifiable" and thus Wikipedia functions as a gazetteer; this is not true. WP:GEOLAND requires information beyond statistics and coordinates to exist, and articles are consistently deleted at AFD for failing this criteria. Incidentally, the inclusion of a "reasoning" section, in which this argument is contained, appears inappropriate with the potential to bias the RFC - it should be collapsed into either "discussion" or into the posters !vote, so that editors can directly respond to it and it doesn't take up an unduly prominent location.
    I would also object to the current wording of the RFC; leading option "A" with would be to maintain the status quo and restore the longstanding phrase comes across as suggestive towards it, and has already resulted in editors focusing on the process by which the change was implemented rather than the change itself. These should be changed to presenting the options, rather than providing such commentary. BilledMammal (talk) 07:04, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A, but... Are the participants in this RfC, or indeed this underlying dispute, aware WP:5P isn't a PAG? It's not marked as an essay on the page itself, but it is not and never has been a PAG. It's categorized under Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedia essays, its FAQ starts with It is none of [policies or guidelines]. It is a non-binding description of some of the fundamental principles, it appears on the essay impact list alongside other essays. 5P being a non-binding essay that ultimately says what people want it to say is the subject of regular discussion. There's an interesting discussion to have somewhere about essays that are popular enough people mistake them for PAGs but have never actually been vetted and are the subject of significant criticism in ways not generally held by equivalent guidelines; WP:ATA is another, plus a politics-related essay I'm sure no one needs me to name. I'm unconvinced we need an RfC for the text of a non-binding essay, but as long as we're here, I guess I'm leaning towards option A per "if people take it seriously enough for now we should probably err on the side of caution with changes that reflect current hot-button disputes". Vaticidalprophet 09:37, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
    Yes, it has been mentioned several times, both in the original discussion and here, and was the subject of a parallel disputed edit.[1] – Joe (talk) 09:46, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
    SOME people are aware of this. Others basically characterise 5P as the constitution of Wikipedia. Guess which argument gets more play at AFD? FOARP (talk) 10:06, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
    It's true that the five pillars page is not a policy, a guideline, or a constitution, but I would avoid putting it in the same category as other essays, even one like WP:ATA. Given how often it is referenced (e.g. in welcome messages to new editors), I would not be surprised if virtually every active editor on the project has read through the five pillars at least once. While it's true that many essays in project space have never actually been vetted and may not accurately reflect the views of the broader community, the five pillars is a unique exception to that. If there is an inconsistency or disagreement over its accuracy, then because of the page's high visibility, I do think it is important that we have a full discussion and get the content right. If that requires an RfC, then let's have an RfC. Mz7 (talk) 00:17, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
    WP:5P is also cited on most core vetted high-profile project pages such as WP:NPOV, WP:NOT ("Articles must abide by the appropriate content policies, particularly those covered in the five pillars."), etc., is the first thing on the policies and guidelines template, and is in the first graf of WP:POLICY (and has been since 2006). It is "popular" because Wikipedia policy surfaces and endorses it time and time again, and it's disingenuous to claim otherwise. Gnomingstuff (talk) 11:54, 26 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A, per UnitedStatesian and others. Benjamin (talk) 11:17, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B, mainly per Ahecht and Rhododendrites, while I echo the sentiment that the reasoning for this RfC is unnecessarily poisoning the well. (I am also of the opinion that the adjoining issue of "should every geographic place have an article" is not really dependent on the gazetteer-ness of WP, given that many gazetteers just have info that could be adequately written in list format, as opposed to having 50 articles with just the exact same one sentence while notable geographic features will still have SIGCOV and be notable, but that's tangential.) eviolite (talk) 13:43, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A I stand in opposition to these changes and support the status quo ante. Wikipedia does function as a gazetteer. Something like 20% of articles are geographic in nature - historic places, rivers, provinces, mountains, cities, etc. That is sufficient to explicitly call this usage out here. A change to remove a large portion of those articles from Wikipedia would not help the project or the Internet; furthermore this would be a backdoor approach to try to change the long-standing site policy of having articles on so many historic places, rivers, provinces, mountains, cities, etc. User:力 (powera, π, ν) 17:33, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A + Add and other reference works including e.g. before "almanacs" to broaden then notion a bit as opposed to potentially limiting it. — Godsy (TALKCONT) 21:33, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B, but strictly per Blueboar et al. This is more concise wording that I just think is better. I don't want this to be a trojan horse for any sort of mass deletions. --BDD (talk) 23:36, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia first and foremost and we should not be putting any other roles on the same level as that - we are not an almanac, and certainly do not function as a "gazetteer", nor have we ever made any effort to function as one, nor do any of our policies support the idea that we are or could ever attempt to be one. The inclusion of those two terms also feels like it is trying to resolve thorny policy disputes over when to exclude or include geographic features by a false fiat assertion that Wikipedia is a gazetteer, which is not really the intent of WP:5P - it covers the most utterly central aspects of our identity, purpose, and methodology. "Be an encyclopedia" is that. "Be a gazetteer" or "be an almanac" absolutely is not - they are strange, idiosyncratic, and obviously controversial. --Aquillion (talk) 04:49, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A This is nothing more than an attempt by a small group of deletionist editors to create a trump card in geostub deletion discussions. The status quo has worked perfectly fine for over a decade and there is no good justifiction for changing it aside from opposition to geostubs in general. Mlb96 (talk) 05:25, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
    • Could you explain how some editors would use the replacement of "almanacs, and gazetteers" with "other reference works" as a trump card, because I cannot see it? BilledMammal (talk) 06:14, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
      • "There was consensus to remove 'almanacs and gazetteers', so that means that there was consensus to tighten our requirements for geostubs." Something like that. Mlb96 (talk) 08:21, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
        • Any AfD argument based on close reading of a non-policy/summary page is a terrible argument rather than a trump card. Referencing 5P is shorthand for talking about the actual policies, and anyone who's closing discussions based on what is or is not mentioned here rather than in an actual policy/guideline should not be closing discussions. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:31, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
          It was used to immediately change policy in relation to geostubs, such as here. This is where much of the concern has come from. Theknightwho (talk) 16:48, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
          Which begs the questions of 1) Whether this actually changed anything about NGEO? 2) Why NGEO was referencing an essay in the first place? FOARP (talk) 22:04, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
          It doesn’t matter why it was referencing it, if that is what had consensus. You seem to be holding the simultaneous views that this change is both important enough to need to happen, while dismissing objections on the basis that the change doesn’t matter. How does that make any sense? Theknightwho (talk) 00:18, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
There’s nothing contradictory in saying “this is a minor change to an essay, it improves things”. Since the rules that had consensus at NGEO weren’t changed nothing more than that was needed. FOARP (talk) 07:13, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
It removes the very basis for why geographical features are "presumed" notable, which had consensus by being part of the policy, and given that AfDs seem to be filed almost routinely for new GEOLAND articles this is clearly a contentious question. Theknightwho (talk) 16:22, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
Since 2012, legally recognized populated are the only geographic features which have had presumed notability, and that's supported by the community consensus which was reached when the guideline was formally adopted. –dlthewave 03:59, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
        • That doesn't seem to be a functional change of policy? BilledMammal (talk) 00:11, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A I understand why this is an issue, and how it relates to WP:GEO. I'm also one of those who views 5P as a constitution of and I think non-trivial changes here need a lot larger discussion than has been had until now. Hobit (talk) 21:14, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
    • To be clearer, I believe a goal should be to be an almanac and gazetteer in addition to an encyclopedia. And we should say so. Hobit (talk) 23:07, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B The 'almanac' and 'gazetteer' portions bring no benefit whatsoever to the project: if a topic merits an article, this will already be self-evident from the available sources and wikipedia policies, not from a few words in an unofficial essay such as this. The added wording only casts unnecessary confusion on what Wikipedia is or is not, and encourages the gaming of its policies and guidelines: the exact opposite of what a summary is supposed to accomplish. Avilich (talk) 00:54, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A - oppose the backdoor attempt to alter longstanding Wikipedia practice. Altamel (talk) 06:16, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
In your opinion, what would be the "front door" way to propose a change in practice? –dlthewave 04:15, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option "start a new RfC on the topic of the original RfC" rather than contorting this discussion on undoing the original RfC into something it is not. JoelleJay (talk) 19:45, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A per UnitedStatesian and Frickeg. I consider sneaking in edits to Wikipedia's underpinning philosophy as a way to backdoor in a new AfD precedent to be infinitely more "harmful" (per revised wording below) than the existence of a, let's be real, inobtrusive and low-traffic stub could ever be. (At least they're not the thousands of tourist-guide geo articles that actually do harm the project's credibility.) There are so many better places to direct all this effort. Gnomingstuff (talk) 23:04, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B: so far as I can tell, there is no dispute that almanacs and gazetteers are reference works, so at face value option B is no more deletionist than A. There is a change in connotation, sure, but I am surprised to find almanacs and gazetteers specifically mentioned at WP:5P1 in the first place. I see people describe Wikipedia as an encyclopedia everywhere I look—I know it's my go-to—but it's very rarely called an almanac or gazetteer. Of course, there's no issue with some coverage that resembles such works, but again I do not think that anyone disputes the problems with mass creation of geo stubs based on unreliable databases or other WP:IINFO behaviour. It's all a bit of a mountain from a molehill and initial talk page discussion was good enough for this simple change. — Bilorv (talk) 11:40, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
    • I dispute that problem. From a standpoint of project credibility, I would rather have 10,000,000 objective, verifiable, NPOV stubs than no stubs but plenty of "The people in this village are ugly and thieves" and such -- not an exaggeration in the slightest, I've removed enough of it to know -- and I find the latter to be a much more pressing and embarrassing "massive cleanup project." I am also not impressed with the vilification of actual good-faith work being done toward the former ("Obviously he believes Wikipedia is some geeky RPG where he's out to win Game High Score," just a grotesque thing to say about another editor) and the attempt here to end-run that into Wikipedia's core principles. Gnomingstuff (talk) 10:16, 25 December 2021 (UTC)
      • I'm a little bit confused about your comment, Gnomingstuff. Is it a reply to me? The quote Obviously he believes Wikipedia is some geeky RPG where he's out to win Game High Score is not something I have said, and appears to come from an unrelated ANI comment by a different editor. — Bilorv (talk) 00:37, 27 December 2021 (UTC)
        • I was replying to "I do not think anyone disputes that...". The ANI in question is relevant to this broader discussion, though, because it and similar ones are the real reason this change was made, and do not reflect well upon the contingent making it. I find it ironic that the change involves the page reading "Wikipedia's editors should treat each other with respect and civility" given the appalling comments leading up to it. (See also the treatment of the Turkmen editor mentioned above, although in my opinion the tone of this ANI is even worse.) To be clear, I would not find the existence of stubs to be a problem even if everyone were polite about it and think the extent of "cleanup project" is wildly overstated compared to just about every other cleanup project Wikipedia has. But the context makes this whole thing especially distasteful, and should be pointed out. Gnomingstuff (talk) 08:07, 27 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B, if only because few people will know what an almanac or gazetteer even are (and it does not help that this RfC does not link the terms). Words not understood by most readers are not helpful to define what Wikipedia is. The wording of option B, "reference works", is much more readily understood. Sandstein 17:15, 26 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A - It's perfectly reasonable that Wikipedia has articles about geographical topics even if these aren't considered notable by the default criteria. --NaBUru38 (talk) 17:28, 27 December 2021 (UTC)
Agreed, but isn't that why we have the SNG which clearly defines those specific exceptions without the vague "functions of a gazetteer" language? –dlthewave 04:15, 28 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A - Per the argument of Anne drew Andrew and Drew, it is better to be specific about the kind of reference works that we consider ourselves encompassing, since we specifically do not encompass the role of dictionary. — Charles Stewart (talk) 20:33, 27 December 2021 (UTC)
Charles Stewart - A gazetteer is "a geographical dictionary or directory used in conjunction with a map or atlas", so aren't we aleady engaging in exactly the kind of contradiction you describe here? FOARP (talk) 23:11, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
  • I do not regard the core, scope-defining pages (i.e., the relevant part of 5P together with WP:NOT) as particularly coherent, indeed my user page has a link to a discussion in which I discuss a contradiction in how we apply WP:NOT in relation to galleries. But the abuse of these scope-defining pages at AfD is more often deletionist abuse (i.e. deletion of perfectly good reference material that complements the obviously encyclopedic articles) than inclusionist abuse (esp. having articles that we would better transwiki) so I am very cautious about changes here that would strengthen it as a weapon in the service of bad deletionist arguments. — Charles Stewart (talk) 12:39, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Option B I'm with Sandstein: how many people even know what an almanac or gazetteer even is? For notability, we have specific notability policies and guidelines which should be used for judging the notability of articles at AfD. (t · c) buidhe 13:48, 28 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option A: While honestly option B sounds better on first read, it's less clear, since while we absolutely do encompass some of the functions of an almanac and gazeteer in addition to being an encyclopedia, we are specifically not a dictionary, even though all three of those are "reference works". Loki (talk) 06:07, 29 December 2021 (UTC)
A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary. Avilich (talk) 18:30, 31 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B Is more inclusive and understandable to the average person trying to understand what Wikipedia is about. Instead of communicating accurately, the words "almanac" and "gazetteer" (which are completely foreign to most people) serve to confuse and demand research. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Popoki35 (talkcontribs) 14:30, 29 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Option B, but not for the original reason proposed in the RfC. I feel that the Option B wording describes better that Wikipedia hosts a wide variety of content, without needing to go into too much specific detail. 🐶 EpicPupper (he/him | talk) 19:00, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Option A, and perhaps add "atlas" to the list. Abductive (reasoning) 19:34, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Option C: "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, gazetteers, and other reference works". BD2412 T 01:19, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Option A "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers" could be modified to stress that it only combines some features of these works and not all (particularly for the latter two). I'd be worried that by making it vague we'd have people pushing for dictionary entries. -Indy beetle (talk) 17:34, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Meh. A bit navel-gazey for my liking. Stifle (talk) 14:11, 18 January 2022 (UTC)

Discussion - 5P RFC[edit]

  • Undo a related change pending discussion. Not only is this change with limited-participation being used in AFD, but that discussion on a talkpage of what is apparently just a WP:ESSAY is now being used as blanket application to make the same change to Wikipedia:Notability (geographic features), which is a WP:GUIDELINE. I don't think that is a reasonable broadening of the level of consensus or notice of discussion to change. Discussions at that guideline's talkpage still seem to support that gazzateer is explicitly included and there does not appear to be significant or any opposition when it's stated as a still-valid detail. Ping User:Yilloslime and User:FOARP who were involved in removal from NGEO. DMacks (talk) 14:59, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    Should an admin who is WP:INVOLVED in the discussion really be doing this? FOARP (talk) 15:54, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    A wider discussion on the subject has been initiated. The wider discussion should determine whether the edit should be made, not whether it should be reverted to its longstanding wording. It should have been very obvious that the change should not have been made after such a brief discussion and then used to change a guideline. -- Necrothesp (talk) 11:58, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
    • FWIW, my revert was based solely on the fact that the edit restored the text "Per Wikipedia's Five pillars, the encyclopedia includes features of a gazetteer" which--at the time of my revert--was not true. Yilloslime (talk) 18:39, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    @DMacks Where has this been cited at AFD? --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 23:29, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    That's a detail User:SportingFlyer mentioned in the first comment in this discusison.[2] DMacks (talk) 04:44, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
    The one that I found most concerning from a policy point of view was Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Agbau, Democratic Republic of the Congo (2nd nomination) - I can't fault the argument that it shouldn't be a stand-alone article, but that nomination is based on a complete mis-read of GEOLAND, as are the arguments being made at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Kirpichli, Turkmenistan (2nd nomination), and at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Millburne, Wyoming (where I'm involved). SportingFlyer T·C 12:29, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
    I'm probably missing something, but I don't see any reference to WP:5P in either of those discussions, just a link to WP:Wikipedia is not a gazetteer. --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 21:58, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Comment Is it even worth pursuing? Is it going to have any practical effects on the wikipedia's policies application or users' behavior? The WP:5P is no more than a guading summary… It's like an essay. AXONOV (talk) 20:35, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    @Alexander Davronov: Yes, it's potentially a fairly major change. The premise that some types of geographical articles don't need to meet GNG but rather just WP:V in order to be kept pre-dates 2008, but the debate (on the village pump and elsewhere) demonstrates that the reason for the addition of the gazetteer line to the five pillars was to help explain Wikipedia's role in functioning like a gazetteer - not as a gazetteer, since those go deeper into geographic minutia, but still enabling verifiable stubs on geographic features. Since this change was made, the principle that Wikipedia includes elements of a gazetteer was removed from NGEO completely since it referred back to the Five Pillars page, and NGEO is a policy. It may not matter at all, but the gazetteer line gets quoted often, and removing it from the five pillars would necessarily remove it from NGEO, which cites it. SportingFlyer T·C 20:57, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    Alright thanks for clarification. You should have put this explanation into your Motivation subsection above IMHO. I will opine that excessive vagueness is unwelcome regardless of the rules status. Just in line of what I said in the case above on 3RR clause. Regards. AXONOV (talk) 21:09, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
Notified: [[centralized discussion]]. Curbon7 (talk) 01:45, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
  • So much text in this RfC but I fail to see the significance. First, the page in question is basically an essay. Second, the change doesn't make Wikipedia a gazetteer or stop making it a gazetteer. Seems like much ado about nothing. Am I missing something? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 16:07, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
The issue is that the very status of 5P is also unclear, with some people treating it as a kind of constitution of Wikipedia. The mention of gazetteer within it is then treated as an unquestionable and unchangeable endorsement of the idea that Wikipedia should have separate articles on every single geographic location regardless of notability. FOARP (talk) 04:38, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Comment: Wikipedia combines many features.. Exactly which are those "many features" ? deserves a linked article describing those specific 'many features'.
Bookku, 'Encyclopedias = expanding information & knowledge' (talk) 02:30, 23 December 2021 (UTC)

Bad RFC[edit]

  • Please replace the RFC question with a neutrally-worded statement. Particularly no change to 5P could "officially would deprecate the idea Wikipedia functions like a gazetteer" because 5P is not a guideline/policy, or source of guidelines and policies, but instead "a non-binding description of some of the fundamental principles" per the WP:5P talk page. Even if it could the change does not do this (and does not not do this) because a) gazetteers are an example of reference works and b) there was never any consensus that Wikipedia has a "gazetteer function". FOARP (talk) 15:31, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    I agree that a neutral statement is needed. It also needs to be briefer, and ended with the filer's signature. Right now, legobot is unable to copy anything over to central listings due to the length of text before the first signature. @SportingFlyer:, how about just

    Which version of the beginning of WP:5P1 is better?

    • Option A would be to maintain the status quo and restore the longstanding phrase "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers" to WP:5P.
    • Option B would be to retain the new wording "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias and other reference works."
and then your signature at the end? Firefangledfeathers 15:44, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
The option B wording is not "new" (it's more than a month old). Preferred wording is:
  • Option A WP:5P1 should be changed back to the pre-11 November 2021‎ wording: "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers".
  • Option B would be to retain the post-11 November 2021‎ wording "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias and other reference works."
— Preceding unsigned comment added by FOARP (talkcontribs) 15:52, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
  • @Firefangledfeathers: fixed per your edit. The wording is absolutely new - one month versus 13 years of consensus... SportingFlyer T·C 15:58, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    Thank you. I would still encourage you to remove ", which officially would deprecate the idea Wikipedia functions like a gazetteer". Removal would add some neutrality and I've also had a recent experience of differing understandings of 'deprecate' leading to confusion in an RfC. Firefangledfeathers 16:03, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    I obviously dispute whether there ever was a consensus for the BOLD edit that included the term “gazetteer” in 5p. FOARP (talk) 16:05, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    Firefangledfeathers, done. FOARP Text that's spent over 13 years on a well-regarded page among lots of discussion is a pretty clear consensus. SportingFlyer T·C 16:07, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    Yes. And adding to what SportingFlyer said above, an editor is not required to get consensus before he makes a BOLD edit; if their edit is undone, THEN they need consensus to restore it. But if multiple editors are discussing a change, they are expected to open the discussion up to the wider community. I don't think that's codified anywhere, and any such changes made out of process tend to be viewed as illegitimate. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:907D:4451:8F72:3CE1 (talk) 01:56, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • The wording is worse than non-neutral, it attributes false motives to the people who proposed and supported the change.North8000 (talk) 19:56, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
    It does no such thing. We are all human, and groups of humans can make mistakes just as readily as individuals. Regarding the neutrality of the RFC own opinion on that matter (and this ain't directed at any of you, or anyone else in particular, because it gets thrown around at RFCs constantly) is that it is an entirely pedantic and dogmatic thing to fuss over: because in EnWikiland, these discussions must be proposed neutrally, but then the proposer gets to immediately give their own response, which on the one hand nullifies the neutral forming but on the other hand provides transparency..then those other kinds of discussions dont need to be worded neutrally, and the proposer still gets to vote upon posting. It all seems very arbitrary and IMO has very little bearing on the results. (Note, I'm not referring to RFCs that are set up in such a way as to game the outcome) 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:907D:4451:8F72:3CE1 (talk) 01:42, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Agree about the need for total neutrality on the proposal text. This is an extraordinarily important RfC: It's about the very definition of what Wikipedia is. And, SportingFlyer, when more than one editor protests about a non-neutral wording, perhaps you should take heed and take out any potentially controversial phrasing. Take care. -The Gnome (talk) 14:48, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • The Reasoning section needs to be rewritten. We have editors !voting based on process concerns related to the original change instead of giving their opinion on the proposed text, and I think the framing has a lot to do with it. –dlthewave 17:00, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
    • I propose the following rewrite to the Reasoning section, preserving Sportingflyer's version as a collapsed archive. This doesn't change the question being asked in any way. –dlthewave 18:42, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
  • See prior discussion here.

    • Editors supporting the change (Option B) argue that "gazetteer" and "almanac" do not reflect Wikipedia's purpose as an encyclopedia and have led to harmful editing practices including mass stub creation from GNIS and GEOnet which require massive cleanup efforts. There is also concern that the page has no formal standing, yet is being used to override actual policies and guidelines.
    • Editors opposing the change argue that Wikipedia has functioned as a gazetteer for many years, that the current language has long-standing implied consensus and is widely cited, and that the proposed change would lead to improper deletion of verified geographic features. There is also concern that changes to 5P require broader community consensus, which led to the opening of this RfC.
    Collapsing non-neutral notice. See rewrite above.
    The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

    Recently, a short talk page discussion (four participants) led to the replacement of the phrase "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers" with the phrase "Wikipedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias and other reference works." This has been the result of a long campaign by a small number of users to try to deprecate the premise that Wikipedia functions like a gazetteer. Though the rule that geographic features can be included as long as they are verifiable and can be discussed pre-dates the addition of the word gazetteer to the five pillars, a quick search of the pump's archives shows that the gazetteer function has been a firm pillar of Wikipedia for over a decade, and I believe this change requires more community input, considering the change would likely have the effect deprecating the idea Wikipedia functions like a gazetteer.. SportingFlyer T·C 15:57, 17 December 2021 (UTC)

    • Support placing this in the RFC per Dlthewave's proposal. Let's do it soon. North8000 (talk) 19:26, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
    Second. We need a neutrally-worded RFC statement. Reverting changes as it is undesirable to change the RFC mid-flow would be understandable if it had not already been changed multiple times. FOARP (talk) 20:09, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
    • Why would we spell out what the arguments for and against are before the RfC? That's what the RfC is for. This reads like a closing statement – written before the RfC is closed, by editors deeply involved in the dispute. SportingFlyer's "reasoning" section describes their reasoning for starting the RfC and in that sense it is fine. If people want to oppose because process was not followed, that's their call. I mean, honestly, the three of you taking issue with this have had plenty of input into this discussion already, can you please just step aside and let others form an opinion about it on their own? – Joe (talk) 20:38, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
    It is normal to have a brief, neutral summary of the discussion that led to an RfC, which is what I have written. It is not normal to have a statement like "This has been the result of a long campaign by a small number of users" which effectively poisons the well. The question here is whether we should change the wording, not whether or not the proper process was followed prior, and I think that the closer would be well justified if they chose to throw out !votes based on that premise. –dlthewave 20:50, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
    • SF's and Dl's reasoning paragraphs should be moved to under their respective !votes in the survey section. The RfC should have a neutrally worded question (which it currently does), followed by the survey section, where everyone writes their reasoning. This is our way and there's no reason for there to be a reasoning section containing non-neutral arguments in between the neutral statement and the part where everyone makes their arguments. Levivich 21:43, 19 December 2021 (UTC)

    Both options problematic[edit]

    Having come back to this after some time, I see the same issue with both options. Both tend to imply that WP goes beyond being an encyclopedia, because otherwise those similarities would be properties of encyclopedias in general. And general encyclopedias of the past have not tried to also be almanacs, nor gazetteers. If anything, the proposed rewording is worse, because it leaves open-ended the scope of the project. I would rather see the phrase in question replaced with a succinct definition of "encyclopedia". Mangoe (talk) 18:45, 31 December 2021 (UTC)

    I mentioned in my !vote that it may be better to leave it at "general and specialized encyclopedias" since Wikipedia is indeed an encyclopedia, and any other roles that we fill aren't significant enough to go in a summary of our fundamental principles. This is also the only sentence in the Five Pillars that doesn't link to any sort of policy or guideline for clarification, which means that it's going to be open-ended no matter how we word it. One solution would be to write a "What Wikipedia Is" page that could be linked to. –dlthewave 17:36, 1 January 2022 (UTC)
    Support: "..write a "What Wikipedia Is"..
    Bookku, 'Encyclopedias = expanding information & knowledge' (talk) 08:20, 4 January 2022 (UTC)
    Wikipedia:About Dege31 (talk) 12:59, 4 January 2022 (UTC)

    Moving back archives[edit]

    What is the guideline on modifying an archived talk page, for example to bring it back to active discussion?

    As per WP:Talk page guidelines#Archiving, If a thread has been archived prematurely, such as when it is still relevant to current work or was not concluded, unarchive it by copying it back to the talk page from the archive, and deleting it from the archive., whereas Help:Archiving a talk page#Continuing discussions seems to say the opposite, and says Given that archived discussions are immutable, archiving a discussion effectively ends that particular discussion. When reopening a discussion is desired, links to archived discussions can be provided in the new discussion thread. Jay (talk) 18:14, 25 December 2021 (UTC)

    It's one of those I know it when I see it cases. If you know how to unarchive a discussion without creating a mess and without messing up the archive, and if you know that the discussion should be unarchived, go for it. However, that is very unusual and 99% of us will get by with never unarchiving a discussion. Usually the people who want to unarchive something are those who should not. Johnuniq (talk) 23:50, 25 December 2021 (UTC)
    The quoted two-step process from WP:Talk page guidelines#Archiving appears straightforward. How does someone mess up the archive? So is it applicable for the rare 1% of cases, and ideally should not be used? Jay (talk) 17:23, 26 December 2021 (UTC)
    Johnuniq's 99% statement is bizarrely worded and I cannot interpret it as anything other than a red herring; of course 99% of us will get by just fine without unarchiving a discussion. But who ever said that unarchiving discussions was supposed to be self-serving? Or is he starting from the premise that only editors with some kind of ulterior motive would ever be inclined to unarchive a discussion in the first place? Either way, his assessment may well have been an accurate one 10 years ago, but shit's changed a LOT in that time. Discussion activity has plummeted to about 1/10 of what it once was, and auto archiving by bots has shot up by about 100x.
    Jay (how did you manage to snag THAT username - did you sign up on the first day of EnWP's existance? lol), following the two-step process that you quoted does not "mess up the archive", and to be absolutely certain, you can double check the archive afterward to make sure no formatting was messed up and everything is still readable. I also have no idea where anyone would have got the idea that archives are "unmutable" (i.e., where whoever wrote that help page got the idea). That, IMO, should likely either be deleted, or, if there is some rare type of archive that it is applicable to, that should be made clear. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:1016:1F91:1572:29CC (talk) 01:53, 28 December 2021 (UTC)
    The Help page statement is there since 2010, and was added by Int21h.
    (2600, I wanted to be User:J, but that was not available, so went for the next best name!). Jay (talk) 08:25, 28 December 2021 (UTC)
    I had notified of this discussion at the Help talk page last week, and notified the editor above who had added the text at the Help page. I'll wait for further input or clean up that text at the Help per IP2600. Jay (talk) 03:58, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
    Registered editors by edit count
    If you have made... then you rank in the... That's more than...
    1 edit top 50% of all editors 50% of all editors
    10 edits
    (the autoconfirmed)
    top 5% of all editors 95% of all editors
    100 edits top 1% of all editors 99% of all editors
    500 edits
    (the extendedconfirmed)
    top 0.25% of all editors 99.75% of all editors
    1,000 edits top 0.1% of all editors 99.9% of all editors
    10,000 edits top 10000 of all editors 99.975% of all editors
    25,000 edits top 0.01% of all editors 99.99% of all editors
    45,000 edits top 0.005% of all editors 99.995% of all editors
    90,000 edits top 0.002% of all editors 99.998% of all editors
    140,000 edits top 0.001% of all editors 99.999% of all editors
    200,000 edits top 0.0005% of all editors 99.9995% of all editors
    350,000 edits top 0.0002% of all editors 99.9998% of all editors
    470,000 edits top 0.0001% of all editors 99.9999% of all editors!
    99% of us will never make more than 100 edits. Many of those editors will never post a comment or use a talk page at all.
    @Jay, what exactly are you hoping to find? The rules, as I understand them, are still the simple, practical rules from years ago. Cut and paste the conversation back to the talk page if you need to continue the discussion, and don't worry about it too much. The only advice I'd add is that you shouldn't normally be un-archiving a discussion that you don't want to add a new comment to, although even that has exceptions (e.g., an open RFC that was bot-archived due to a few days' inactivity). WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:50, 4 January 2022 (UTC)
    What I am looking for is to resolve the inconsistency between the two pages I mentioned. I got significant input from only one user, so what I stated was that I'll go ahead with making the changes to the Help page. Jay (talk) 07:03, 5 January 2022 (UTC)

    Racial slurs?[edit]

    I'm sure most of you know about Wikipedia's no censor policy, but I had a question when it comes to racial slurs on Wikipedia. Recently, as part of a quote, I was going to type n****r uncensored, but I had a bit of an internal debate - one one hand - Wikipedia is anti-censorship, but, I am white and I didn't feel comfortable typing n****r uncensored. Can someone help me with this? Belarus ReaIdiot Belarus (Call ReaIdiot hotline) (Get a "cool" signature) 05:51, 30 December 2021 (UTC)

    Quotes in general should be used very sparingly. If the quote is topical and germaine to the topic, reproduce it in its full uncensored form. If it is not topical, or germaine to the topic, leave it out. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 06:48, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
    I'm white too and I've definitely typed or copied it during content creation, as I remember discomfort at doing so, though it's certainly not the most uncomfortable I've felt at writing something. The context of any use of the word will almost certainly be unpleasant. But bowdlerisation in an article is never right, and if the quote is encyclopedic and would otherwise follow best practice then it needs to be in the article. Something like Lee Atwater's Southern strategy quote is not properly historically documented without the slur. It is not an endorsement of Atwater to reproduce it (in a way, I think censoring it would unintentionally downplay his racism). — Bilorv (talk) 16:37, 1 January 2022 (UTC)
    Hello @ReaIdiot: I can certainly empathize with your discomfort here! According to WP:BOWDLERIZE, "in original Wikipedia content, a vulgarity or obscenity should either appear in its full form or not at all; words should never be minced by replacing letters with dashes, asterisks, or other symbols." This Wikipedia page on ethnic slurs lists them all in their full form. I also agree with Bilorv here that expurgation in a way can diminish the impact of the offensiveness of a word; using the words as they originally appeared can help underscore the obscenity. As uncomfortable as it is, I would recommend you type the word out fully as part of the quote to preserve the original. Kind regards~ PinkElixir (talk) 15:07, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
    Fixed that link. -- (talk) 05:58, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    • There is a preliminary question that needs to be asked… is it actually necessary to include the quotation in the article? Sometimes it will be, often it won’t. That said, in those situations when it is necessary, then quote it accurately (with the slur). Blueboar (talk) 15:37, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
    • In the context of hanging out and shooting the bull, it certainly makes sense to avoid foul or offensive language, but in an encyclopedia it's important to document the reality of a situation or event or concept. In Cohen v. California, for example, a man was arrested for wearing a jacket that said "Fuck the Draft" on it -- he was not arrested for wearing a jacket that said "Screw the Draft" or "F*** the Draft". Understanding what happened in the case (and what people were disagreeing about in the discourse related to it) requires you to understand that the guy had "fuck" written on his jacket. Similarly, an extremely racist poem from 1901 was not described as "indecent, obscene doggerel" because it said "n*****s", so we should not claim to readers that it did. Of course, if you feel uncomfortable typing out the word yourself, I imagine you could submit an edit request or something. jp×g 05:05, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
      {{g-d}} exists to enable those with religious beliefs that prohibit them from typing "god", and I would not be opposed to similar templates for racial slurs if multiple people would benefit from their existence. Thryduulf (talk) 15:22, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
      'Tis not the same - those that will not type the word 'God' refrain from doing so because they literally believe they will receive eternal damnation (or if not that, perhaps some extra time in Purgatory) for doing so. That's why accommodations are made for folks who hold religious beliefs that prescribe or proscribed certain things that would otherwise be expected of them. And religious beliefs are not open for discussion, i.e., it doesn't matter how illogical a belief is, or whether or not a religion's scripture actually forbids such and such, if enough people believe that it does then they should be respected.
      Usage or nonusage - or, more correctly, mention or nonmention - of slurs holds no such status. The concern over whether to type the word "nigger" is not that doing so will result in them burning in hell for all eternity. Better would be to educate these (well-intentioned) white editors, who, as well-intentioned as they are (and through no fault of their own), seem to have no clueb as to how and why and wherefore the word 'nigger' conjures up such strong emotions, even when its use by white folk is through unattached callousness and not vehement hatred. First, all editors need to be mindful and aware of the concept of Use-mention distinction (if you don't know what it is, click the link).
      At the present time in our society, there are only two slur words that are commonly-enough used (sadly) in the most vilest of such manner as to have such strong feelings attach to the words themselves: nigger and faggot. Black men and gay men are not, of course, the only targets of hate crimes, but they are the only ones that have uniquitous hateful elithets attached to what they are, and are hunted down like vermin and tortured and killed by mobs for what they are, the last words they hear being 'F-ing n-/f-' (note: the censorship here is only because I don't want to set off the edit filter, if what I haven't written so far isn't enough to do, I'm sure that that would, for an IP-user)).
      Now, mentioning these words in academic contexts when the situation calls for them to be discussed is NOT the same as using these words! And what's more, if you have an interest in combating racism and bigotry (which you obviously do if you're fussing over whether you need a bot to type the word for you because it would be wrong if your white fingers did so), then I say you have a DUTY to do so; just, if you are white, do so with the utmost of care - is its mention encyclopaedically valuable, does the article benefit from its inclusion, would it suffer from its exclusion. If the word be mentioned in prose not part of a quote, use italics or quotation marks and text that makes it unambiguously clear that the word is being mentioned rather than used. Keep in mind that if those like you will not do this, then the only people that will be will be the racists and murderers, and everyone else who isn't black will just blow it off as one more 'bad word' that you aren't allowed to say, but they won't understand why if no one has the stomach to teach them why, and good luck breaking the state of affairs, then. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:10BA:9558:7F4:32F (talk) 00:06, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
      Secular religion may be relevant reading. Anomie 14:43, 9 January 2022 (UTC)


    Can we have a space specifically for articles about fictional characters and objects? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Manwikiperson (talkcontribs) 01:49, 5 January 2022 (UTC)

    Not on Wikipedia, that's what Wikia/Fandom is for. --Masem (t) 01:54, 5 January 2022 (UTC)
    No need for a special space. Put it in article space if it conforms to all the guidlines/rules for any other article. For example, there is James T. Kirk article about the fictional spaceship captain and Captain Ahab about the earthbound ship captain, etc. If the fictional thing you want to write about is not notable, then it does not belong in this encyclopedia. RudolfRed (talk) 02:39, 5 January 2022 (UTC)

    Looking for feedback on a new essay[edit]

    I have a first draft of an essay which is at User:Sennalen/sandbox/essay3. I was working on a different essay (unfinished) when I realized one of the points I was making stood on its own in other areas too. The sentiment is similar to WP:SFOD but the presentation is hopefully clearer. I'd appreciate feedback about the content, as well as suggestions for a pithy title and shortcut. Thanks! Sennalen (talk) 19:22, 7 January 2022 (UTC)

    The role of the source's sources[edit]

    I add a discussion in Talk:Cannabis_(drug)#Added_sentence. The context is that recent reviews say that there are deaths due to cannabis (with and without overdose). However, an older 2018 review affirmed that there has been no reported cases of cannabis overdose, but the actual study referred in the review is a 2010 study. The review also refer to a 2016 book of the World Health Organization, but this book also refers to this 2010 study. My position was that the source's sources are relevant and the fact that the only actual study is 12 years old is a relevant information that can be seen as a part of what the review says. On the other hand, mentioning this part, sound like implying a criticism of the review in Wikipedia's voice and thus against neutrality. Does Neutrality imply here that we cannot mention in the article that the only actual study referred in the 2018 review to support its position is 12 years old? Can we at the least consider this information in the talk page to evaluate the weight and the relevance of the review's position? In my view, the 2018 review's position should have little weight, even as a four years old review, but even less weight given the fact that the only actual study is 12 years old. However, one might counter argue that it's not our job to evaluate the position of the 2018 review and the sources that it uses. I am not interested in resolving the specific case for the cannabis drug here. I am interested in the general principles. In fact, what I would like is to be referred to specific parts of essays, guidelines or policies that shed light on the general issue of considering the source's sources. Dominic Mayers (talk) 01:24, 9 January 2022 (UTC)

    WP:V is the relevant policy, in particular the requirement that sources must directly support material cited to them. Summarize what the source secondary says and do not bring your own thoughts about the source's sources to the table in order to state something different. That would be prohibited by policy. Quite often discussion of a source's sources might, however, be pertinent to a discussion of that source on Talk. Alexbrn (talk) 14:37, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    You see things in a way that is pejorative toward the Wikipedia's editors that are concerned about the source's sources. The Wikipedia editors might not have their "own thoughts" about the subject, but only an intention to be as accurate as possible regarding the actual content of the source. Your conclusion might still be correct, but your arguments are besides the point, negative and invite a polemic that is not needed. In other words, mentioning the source's sources could be a way to make sure that the point of view of the authors is well understood, which is the opposite of trying to say something different. After all, normally, knowing the source's sources should only help to understand what the source actually says. Dominic Mayers (talk) 15:04, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    Alexbrn, on that matter you're entirely wrong, and I do wonder if you misunderstood what you were responding to, cos that's not something I would have thought I'd see you say. Verifiability - and I'm pretty sure it says this in the policy itself somewhere, I'll check in a minute - and the sourcing that goes along with it, extends as far back into the sources of the sources of the sources as are traceable! Material originating from a bad source doesn't magically become reliable if an otherwise good source reprints it. Also, on verifiability matters, if say a source says the sky is pink polka dotted, and it cites a source, but that source doesn't say anything of the sort, then the claim that the sky is pink polka dots, despite having a source, still fails verifiability. 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:2C87:843A:838C:1CE9 (talk) 21:28, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    Questions about the interpretation of existing policies should preferably be asked at noticeboards, in this case WP:RSN. JBchrch talk 15:45, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    Here might not be the right place, but the reliability of the source is not the issue. Also, I have considered moving it to a noticeboard, but when I look at the description of the notice boards, they want a specific article, whereas I want the discussion to be more general, not attached to a specific article. After all, the notion of source's sources is very general. It's good to have the broad perspective. I do not want to discuss the specific article. I prefer to abandon the issue than to start a discussion that is centred on Cannabis (drug). Dominic Mayers (talk) 15:48, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    source's sources are relevant - it can be. We frequently delete articles on PROMO grounds because the sources sources are largely derived from press releases, not press releases themselves but churnalism. There has to be a compelling reason to question the underlying source used. It's pretty context sensitive. I can't answer your question about written guideline or policy. -- GreenC 16:13, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    Concrete examples of how they have been applied is as good the "written guideline or policy". There seems to a strong consensus that source's sources are relevant in talk page. The question that remains is what about somehow mentioning the source's sources in the most neutral manner possible in the article itself, something like "Referring to sources Y, Z, source A said..." I am sure that it's context sensitive, but is there a fundamental reason to oppose this. Dominic Mayers (talk) 16:23, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    I see no reason why you cannot cite the source's source directly if that's what you want to do. I don't see that the source's sources are relevant unless you want to bring an argument that the source is unreliable for some statement.Selfstudier (talk) 16:48, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    No, the question is not whether we can cite directly the source's sources, but whether we can mention that the source referred to these sources (see my example above). I see your point that the source's sources seem only relevant to criticize the source. I even mentioned it at the start of this discussion. To be more accurate, they seem only relevant to make a judgment on the source, which in some case could be a clarification, not criticism. I tend to agree that this extra judgment, no matter its nature, seem a violation of neutrality, because it's done in the voice of Wikipedia. I am surprise that this is not explicitly discussed in guidelines and policy, I mean by explicitly referring to the use of source's sources. Dominic Mayers (talk) 17:04, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    So, it seems that it's appropriate to consider the source's sources in the talk page as a way used by the editors to judge the source's reliability, relevance, etc. However, in the article itself, Wikipedia does not imply a judgment in its own voice by referring to the source's sources. Dominic Mayers (talk) 17:14, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    I would say so, the source (author) having already rendered an opinion of his source, no need for any further investigation without some good reason.Selfstudier (talk) 17:18, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    I would agree with "no need to present further investigation in the article". It's important to distinguish what can be presented in the article from what can be done in the talk page. In the talk page, it's fine to consider the source's sources to make a judgment to determine the relevancy and perhaps even to make sure we understand what the source says, why not. However, in the article, you present simply the point of view of the source and there is no need to refer to the source's sources. Dominic Mayers (talk) 17:27, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    In this topic area, it seems completely fair to say "In a 20XX study,..." ahead of any results made by the study as to indicate its age and helps to futureproof the article. It can encourage readers/editors to find a more up to date source if one exists. --Masem (t) 18:01, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    You might misunderstand the issue. The review is a 2018 review. However, only a 2010 study exists to support a claim made by the review. The 2018 review also cite a 2016 book, but that book is not a study and it also refers to the 2010 study. I believe the conclusion here is that one can consider these facts to judge whether the claim is relevant, etc., but (the conclusion here seems to be that) this important and necessary encyclopedic work must be done in the talk page. It cannot be presented in the article by referring to the source's sources. Dominic Mayers (talk) 18:14, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    If the 2010 is the most recent study and the two sources referring to it are reliable, and it is the type of study that would otherwise be revalant to the topic, then you can still say "In a 2010 study..." --Masem (t) 18:25, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    Except that would not be what the secondary source says. In a review, the assumption is the authors review the literature. If they say "there is no evidence strawberries cure cancer" and cite a 1950 study, we must not say "there was no evidence strawberries could cure cancer as of 1950" because it's not what the reliable source says and, worse, implies the reviewers are wrong or haven't been diligent in searching sources. They cannot cite a source to prove a negative. WP:V requires direct support support from sources, not indirect support garnered by digging around in the underlying material. Alexbrn (talk) 18:32, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    If it is 100% clear that the statement in this "first" source is referencing the older study (eg like an inline reference immediately after such a statement), there's no interpretation to say the year of the older study. If it is not crystal clear that a statement in the first is pulling the info from the older study, then I would agree that would be a problem for us. And there's ways to word things to not sound non-neutral. eg assuming the 1950 study can be mentioned, then instead of "there was no evidence strawberries could cure cancer as of 1950", you can say "there was no evidence strawberries could cure cancer as reported in 1950 study." That's not implying anything wrong. --Masem (t) 18:40, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    (edit conflict) @Alexbrn: You might have misunderstood Masem's point. He does not suggest that Wikipedia says that "A 2018 review says that a 2010 study says...". No, he suggests that Wikipedia simply says that "A 2010 study says..." and the 2018 review and the 2016 books can be used to show the notability of the 2010 study. There is nothing wrong with that. Wikipedia's editors can make a choice about what is most relevant and informative to the readers. Dominic Mayers (talk) 18:49, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    It's expanding on the source not summarizing it, and in a way the authors of the source did not do. Putting a date on things in this way is a common tactic by POV-pushers wanting to imply the knowledge expressed in sources is dated. Stick to the sources and all shall be well. Alexbrn (talk) 18:47, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    There is always a possibility of wikilawyering to push a point of view no matter which policy we discuss. It may as well be you that is wikilawyering to push your view. It's polemical to bring this very real aspect in the discussion. It does not help. Please don't do that. Dominic Mayers (talk) 18:55, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    I will stress my point was "here's how you can acknowledge a report that likely seems out of date but still mentioned in more recent ones". Whether that's used for POV pushing or other problems, I agree there's potential, but that's a whole separate issue. Eg if there's a problem with using an old report, you can bring up UNDUE. If the report wasn't from a MEDRS, you can point that out. I was only speaking to a generic case of "old study referenced in newer work" --Masem (t) 19:05, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    It is, because citing primary sources is usually bad, and for medical topics such sources are generally not reliable per WP:MEDRS. Articles must be based on secondary sources - we are meant to be reflecting the analysis and synthesis ("knowledge") contained in them. Alexbrn (talk) 18:56, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    Unless the source said it, then I don't think you can say "A 2010 study says (something)..." If you want to say that something, you need another secondary source to say it.Selfstudier (talk) 18:57, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    I disagree. The basic principle of attribution is that if X says P in a reliable source, Wikipedia can say in its own voice "X says P". There is no need for another source that says "X says P". That's the basic idea of attribution. Dominic Mayers (talk) 19:03, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    I wrote "Unless the source said it" ie X. But that's not what you asked, you asked if X has source Y that says Z etc. Selfstudier (talk) 19:08, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    I will repeat, if what you are trying to do is somehow reference a sources source, then cite it (or in the alternative, whatever the source said about it's own source). Selfstudier (talk) 19:13, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    Ok, perhaps I misunderstood that you had the same position as Masem, which I also did not understand at first. Dominic Mayers (talk) 19:31, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    @Alexbrn: There is nothing wrong in citing primary sources as long as it is done in the light of secondary sources. However, we must separate this issue from the issue of whether it is relevant to cite the 2018 review's claim directly. This can be discussed in the talk page in view of the source's sources. I understand that your talk's page position is that the 2018 review's claim is a well supported claim that extends over the 2010 study, even though it only provides this study and a book, which is not a study, as a reference immediately at the end of the claim. I agree that it is something to debate in the talk page, but here we discuss the general principles. Dominic Mayers (talk) 19:16, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    Depends what you mean by "in the light of", using primary sources to modify/undercut the claims of secondary sources is bad. Basically what you're saying is that you don't think the source cites adequate sources for its claims. But it's simply not our job to perform that kind of detailed peer review. Alexbrn (talk) 19:32, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    We are turning into a cycle. If there is a consensus that the 2018 claim is considered relevant in view of the source's sources, then it becomes pointless to mention directly the 2010 study. If you are suggesting that editors should not be allowed to consider source's sources to evaluate the source, then you are contradicting yourself (in the first comment you made here) and what seems to be a consensus here, which is that source's sources are relevant. It could be that the source's sources are much better than what it appears first. This is what you are saying when you say that the 2018 claim was not only based on the 2010 study. It should not be too difficult to read the review and figure that out. If you are saying that editors should not be allowed to actually read the review to make a judgment about what are the source's sources for a particular claim, then I think you are a bit fanatical, because, of course, a good encyclopedic work requires to actually read the source and understand it. Dominic Mayers (talk) 19:43, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    Read what I wrote above. Okay to discuss on Talk. Not okay to use this kind of ersatz "peer review" to originate novel content that the source doesn't have. Alexbrn (talk) 19:50, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    Investigating prior to making a case for unreliability is of course allowed but OR on its own won't be enough to establish that.Selfstudier (talk) 19:53, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    I fundamentally disagree if you suggest that understanding a source implies OR. This is not what OR is. Conflating discussing a source with OR is sad. It can only reduce the quality of the encyclopedic work that we must do. The only way I can make sense of the negativity toward discussing the source is that you understand the source and you have the impression that anyone who wants to discuss the source wants to say something different. This is negative. You should instead positively assume that a discussion would lead to a consensus about the source, the source's sources, etc. and this will help creating a better verified article and actually avoid original research, which indirectly exists, even if we don't realize it, when the source is not understood. Dominic Mayers (talk) 20:31, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    I think you misunderstood me, there is nothing wrong with OR as part of establishing source reliability, that's not the same thing as introducing OR into the article. Within limits OR is allowed on talk pages anyway. Selfstudier (talk) 21:30, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    I think merely seeing the letters OR causes a reaction for many editors, and not necessarily without good reason (editors castigating other editors for OR in contexts that NOR policy doesnt apply to is rampant here, even by people that know better but are hoping their opponents won't). I don't know, maybe it be best to avoid mentioning 'OR' at all when WP:NOR policy doesnt attach - even if that's what it is', just the fact that 'OR' also refers to a policy might be a recipe for misunderstanding. As to your point, I don't agree that it could never be enough; I'll grant it more likely than not wouldn't be, but I'm sure there could turn up some fruit of said OR that coukd be enough to do the job :D 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:2C87:843A:838C:1CE9 (talk) 22:07, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    Of course, OR has a very specific meaning in Wikipedia. It refers to the content of the article and it's always pejorative. Strictly speaking, discussions in the talk page cannot be OR by themselves. @Selfstudier: I interpreted your use of OR to mean that the outcome of the discussions will be OR (in the article being implicit) and I disagreed with that, especially when the purpose of the discussions is to understand the source, because then it's not even OR in any reasonable sense of the term. In fact, it's the other way around. Clearly, not understanding the source is almost a guarantee that OR will result in the article. OR is not a subjective thing. It's not because you stop thinking and blindly put what you feel the source says that you are not doing OR. So, a discussion about the source can only help remove OR. It seems that you worries are in the wrong direction. Dominic Mayers (talk) 22:39, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    The source, a review article published in 2018, says, "there are no known cases of fatal overdose from cannabis use in the epidemiologic literature". If there had been any reliable study from before it was written (which was probably, although that is only my OR guesswork, in 2017) we can assume that the authors would have said something different. The statement was not just that no cases were found in the particular studies cited but that none could be found in the literature. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:11, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    I start to be convinced by this argument. It's still ambiguous because the review should have provided the methodology used to cover the literature in support of the claim. Instead, it only provides the 2010 study, which I guess must itself must be a review, and a book as references. It needs further debate, but this is not the place for that. It should be done in the talk page of the article. Here we discuss the general principles. This is not a noticeboard to address issues in specific article. Dominic Mayers (talk) 19:24, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
    @Phil Bridger, I think this is an interesting source because of its own citation format. It says There are no known cases of fatal overdose from cannabis use in the epidemiologic literature (Calabria et al, 2010; Hall et al, 2016). I am wondering whether "As of 2010, there are no known cases" would have felt redundant in that situation, because the dates are obvious from the note at the end of the sentence.
    Also, since multiple newer sources have started to disagree (pop news story here, but see the article's talk page for proper MEDRS sources), this might be the kind of situation in which editors should be cautious about making absolute claims even if we weren't looking at a source whose statement is based on a 12-year-old paper. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:00, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
    While there are exceptions (such as in provable cases of citogenesis), in general the source's sources are irrelevant. Wikipedia is not usually in the business of second-guessing the sourcing of reliable sources. A reliable source may sometimes be clear about its own sources, but just as likely it's relying on hidden sources or the expertise of the author in addition to whatever sources it specifically cites, and this is often an important part of *why* it's reliable. A subject-matter expect who gives their professional opinion without citing specific sources is often a more reliable source than a random person who cites a single study, for example. Loki (talk) 02:57, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
    Well put. For good reasons we do not allow original research in Wikipedia articles, but the sources that we rely on to write them often do contain original research, and we have, and can have without creating an infinite regression, no prohibition against that. Phil Bridger (talk) 08:31, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
    There is no such thing as an a priori "reliable source". Every reference to a source must be judged in its context and according to its merits. A "usually" reliable source is an unreliable source. If any source uses wrong or unreliable information in a particular instance, it disqualifies the particular source, the reference, therefore the wikitext claim supported by the reference, and therefore the article, and therefore the encyclopedia. In this instance, one can say "according to such-and-such report ..." which allows the reader to accept that information, or not. If the information is time-sensitive, in the sense that a certain study conducted at a certain time supports it, then this is a pertinent fact should be made known in the article, and it properly frames the issue time wise. Otherwise, readers verifying the wikitext claims by looking up the citation may easily discover that the so-called "source" is actually a mouthpiece of the original. They may wonder why that information was not included, in an article about a subject where research is ongoing. The wikitext could claim "according to a 2010 report ... . This was republished in a 2018 report." Or, "according to a 2018 report based on a previous (2010) report ...". (talk) 16:02, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
    I don't think that people who started editing in the last couple of years have the same idea about WP:RSCONTEXT as those of us who've been around for a decade or more. The idea that a particular source could be reliable for "Based on data from 2010, there had been no overdoses" but not reliable for "There have never been any overdoses" can require deep knowledge of the subject and a lot of experience.
    The next sentence in that source, by the way, starts a summary of non-overdose deaths from cannabis. I don't think that it's fair to cherrypick a statement about dying through a specific method while ignoring all the other ways people die from or with cannabis use according to that paper. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:14, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
    Well, the thrust of the previous comment narrowly concerned the wikitext the citation is supposed to support. If the citation in effect presents historical data, that should be made clear in wikitext. If the historical data is still valid, that should also be made clear, especially in cases where scholarship is fluid/developing. Cherrypicking, a valid concern, has to do with the article's overall balance, NPOV, and completeness. Depending on such review, the wikitext in question (and its attendant citations) may have to be edited or removed. But that is not the issue here I think. (talk) 01:00, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    Following on from the IP editor, with whom I agree, wording such as "A 2018 review of a 2010 study said..." would be acceptable wording. The dates of sources are not always going to be relevant but I can't think of an occasion where including them where they aren't would be detrimental, so if there is a chance they could be pertinent information then its worth including. Thryduulf (talk) 22:19, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
    The review in question is meant to be an up-to-date survey (as of 2017/2018) of the US epidemiology of cannabis use and associated problems. The authors cite what they can. What they are stating is their view of what is current at the time of review based on the underlying literature, so by putting some old date there Wikipedia would be changing the meaning and intent of the source (and giving a nudge/wink that the source is out of date, right?) Stick to the source, is what I say, and don't risk original research. Alexbrn (talk) 06:36, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    That's where I am at as well. What is the reason to add "...based on a previous (2010) report..."? Do we know it as a fact that the source has based their judgement only on the 2010 study? Are we to do the same for all the sources' sources? Unless there is some valid reason to doubt the reliability of the source, then go with it, else leave it out and find another. Selfstudier (talk) 11:10, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    If the review in question is supposed to be an up-to-date survey, then the as-of date has semantic importance, and omitting it may slant the article. This has nothing to do with any source's reliability, but with properly presenting facts. If the review itself is based on historical (non-contemporaneous) data, then that is also important. If research is ongoing, this should be pointed out, with the caveat that further studies may or may not support the review. If parts of the review are currently accepted as fundamental and not likely to change, that should be pointed out too - don't say "they are fundamental", say "they are currently accepted as fundamental". These are facts. After all, the view of the universe (including the medical universe) that science has today is radically different from the one it had just 100 years ago. So don't presume anything is written in stone. This is especially so in a general-purpose encyclopedia geared to non-experts, who may have a tendency to accept expert opinion unthinkingly. Assuming all pertinent facts are included and they are presented neutrally relative to their currently accepted weight. And then anyone reading the article may spin the facts any way they are inclined to. (talk) 14:07, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    In terms of the general question about a source's sources, I think it is useful to distinguish between primary and secondary sources:
    • A primary source has, by definition, no direct sources of its own. It may (and in a scientific field usually will) build on earlier work, but in assessing the reliability we have to look to things like peer review, the reputation of the author and the reputation of the venue in which it is published.
    • A secondary source does have its own sources, and these are relevant. If they are specified then we can assess their reliability and use that to inform our judgement about the secondary source. If they are not specified then we have to judge matters on the basis of the secondary source alone, but we can be influenced by the nature of the claims (e.g. is it an extraordinary claim, who else is reporting them, whether there are any shared agendas, biases, etc). If a source with a reputation for fact checking is reporting something that is generally in accordance with the prevailing consensus view in all but one aspect, and that difference seems plausible given the contents of the article then it is probably correct. However if that same source reports something that seems way out of line, few details of sources are shared or seem vague then we need to tread lighter.
    However, in the overall case it is important to remember that no source is reliable for everything. For example, if The Telegraph, a generally reliable source but one with a noted conservative stance on social issues, said that a new study showed that cannabis was more harmful than previously thought then I would be looking to see where this study came from, who its authors are, etc. If that detail was not available I would definitely not want to see the claim included in Wikipedia's voice. If the source turns out to be a review published and/or funded by an anti-cannabis lobby group that cherry-picked the data then being published in The Telegraph doesn't make it reliable. Thryduulf (talk) 22:47, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
    Outside of a source classification as primary, which can be tricky: a published court opinion, for eg, is a primary source but is also an authoritative one, and by definition a reliable one regarding the related case. One does not need to cite a secondary source referring to the outcome of a case, or to the rationale of the decision. They can cite the expert opinion (the court's decision) itself.
    However, there are issues with some of the comments above. What is a "generally" reliable source? The term is foggy where exactness is required. How is "general" reliability arrived at? Is it reputation? Reputation literally is a subjective quality - it is something "reputed", not something factual, and can never guarantee the reliability of a source for a specific citation. But let's suppose a source, the Telegraph for instance, has been proven reliable after the fact in numerous cases when reporting on social issues. Their reports depicted facts accurately and timely, and the newspaper's declared bias as socially conservative was disclaimed where and when appropriate. Should one blindly trust them as reliable from now on? Of course not. Any more than one should blindly trust The Guardian on social issues. These entities have opinions, or stances, or positions. Encyclopedias are supposed to deal in facts. A citation is an independent event that cares nothing about the prior history of a source's reliability or reputation. Show me the money, every single time. (talk) 00:20, 11 January 2022 (UTC)

    Revisiting a recent thread[edit]

    Hi! About a month ago or so there was a discussion here (see archived thread) on the need to clarify closing guidelines for RfCs. I was wondering if any changes to the guidelines have been made, and if not which ones should be made. I think there was some agreement on the past thread the guidelines could be improved and I just wanted to make sure they have been.A. C. SantacruzPlease ping me! 11:43, 10 January 2022 (UTC)

    Notifying editors who participated in the last thread: @JBchrch, Colonestarrice, The Gnome, GoodDay, Giraffedata, Mathglot, and WhatamIdoing. A. C. SantacruzPlease ping me! 11:43, 10 January 2022 (UTC)

    I don't know if the guidelines were improved or not. GoodDay (talk) 13:43, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
    I don't think we need to make any changes to the advice we give editors. I also don't think it would be helpful in the particular situation that triggered the discussion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:17, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
    A._C._Santacruz, after reading that archived thread (though not the discussions that prompted it, which I am not going to do), I'm not entirely clear what exactly it is you were confused about, but I think it was about whether or not it was proper for you to close that discussion (and withdraw the RFC proposal?)? It seems to me there is general consensus that under those circumstances you CAN, with a significant minority dissenting to that view. Most of that discussion seemed academic to me, i.e., the things they were discussing didn't seem to be material to any actual controversy. I agree with WhatIAmDoing. If you happen to find yourself in a position where you've opened a discussion with some kind of proposal, and it quickly becomes abundantly clear that there is no support for what you proposed and leaving it open would be destructive, by all means, close the bastard! And if you get guff for it, just tell them there's nothing in the PaG that prohibit it.
    Remember, the policies and guidelines (most of them) are primarily to tell you what you CAN'T do, not what you CAN do. What you CAN do is (mostly) everything else that they don't mention 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:BD9C:7484:82F9:9D21 (talk) 08:30, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    Permission for the person who started an RFC to snow-close it early is literally item #1 at Wikipedia:Requests for comment#Ending RfCs. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:21, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    Number 1 should probably be worded more clearly; it certainly does not say that the OP may snow-close (or any-close) it early, or at any time. What #1 actually says, is that the OP may *withdraw* (not "close") an Rfc whose result is clear. That is to stay, the tag is removed, the Rfc stops, and is not assessed by an independent closer. This doesn't give the OP the right to close an Rfc that appears to be going their way in the initial votes one or two days into the normal running period of an Rfc, although it does give them the opportunity to save everyone else the wasted time of having to weigh in for another 29 days just to change the vote from 6 – 1 to 39 – 3, and perhaps also to avoid the spectacle of having to endure public rejection for another four weeks. Mathglot (talk) 06:31, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    @Mathglot, it sounds like the box in RFCEND is relevant here: "Some editors make a distinction between "closing" a discussion (discouraging further discussion, usually with the {{closed rfc top}} template pair) and "summarizing" a discussion (naming outcomes)."
    I think it's fine to "close" RFCs when your question has been answered. When asked, I never advise editors to summarize contentious discussions that they are "winning". That carries a risk of unnecessary and futile drama. And in this case, the drama would have been entirely futile: the question had already been answered approximately 20 to 1, and the alternative first sentence is still not in the article. Editors are expected to be able to evaluate and agree upon the results of most RfCs without outside assistance, and I think that this was certainly an instance in which even any editors who considered themselves to be "losing" should have been able to agree what the result of the discussion was. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:37, 15 January 2022 (UTC)

    "Manned" and related issues[edit]

    Looking at the prior discussion Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 168#Are we now banning the word "manned"?, there are some cases where using gender neutral language, however appropriate that may be for articles on something involving both men and women, produces extremely difficult problems for an article. The example I have in mind is anything to do with propulsion by oars. In non-technical language, we all call this rowing. However, in any article that goes into any technical detail on the subject, we have the problem that "rowing" has a precise meaning (which, frustratingly, varies with context). In some cases the correct word to use is "pulling". In explaining technical details it is easiest to say, e.g., "...each oarsman pulling one oar". In the context of the affected articles, it would be jarringly wrong to say "...each rower pulling one oar" as rowing and pulling are separate and different activities. Neither can one substitute "crewmember", because some members of the crew are not using an oar - and this can be relevant to the article content. After a lot of thought, I have come to the conclusion that the word "oarsman" has to be used if the articles affected are going to be at all comprehensible.

    It appears that the solution to the problem is to have a template that states, in much the way that many legal documents do, that use of "man" should be read as either gender. As a precedent I quote the widely respected yachting author Tom Cunliffe
    "In this respect, I fear that English is proving inadequate for the times, and any masculine pronouns should be read as referring to either the male, or the female of our species." (Hand, Reef and Steer 2nd edition (p. 11))
    Is such a template available?

    We are talking about a small number of articles where the English language is insufficient to deal with the problems of modern usage. I am reluctant to name articles on which I have been working where this has caused difficulty, for fear of alerting single-issue enthusiasts to them, but anyone can search for, e.g., the word "oarsmen" or "oarsman" occurring within articles and see what they find. Note that such a search will produce situations where "men" does mean the male of the species because of the historical role separation that is being described in historical situations - but that is another part of the subject. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 11:14, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

    In the context you use as an example, "oarspeople" is a word (albeit not a massively common one) that seems to fit perfectly. In most other contexts there will be other words or the possibility of reprhasing to avoid gendered language. In a few contexts, the "-man" word is used for people of any gender, e.g. fireman (steam engine)#Railways and so no changes are needed. Thryduulf (talk) 11:59, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    • While I commend TIR's work and logical process (and they're undoubtedly right), I disagree that a template indicating such is necessary. Its presence, (and potentially others if we are going to start defining words where the ready default of interpretation is going to be "it means both men and women" anyway) will just make articles more clunky unnecessarily. As crew, a rower, a sculler, a blade, an oarsman, a bowman, and more, the status quo (now better justified) seems sufficient without further article-side explanation. Nosebagbear (talk) 12:04, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    I don't believe the English language is insufficient. But first, is there really a problem here, and if so, what is it? If the boat is crewed by men, just say, "each oarsmen pulling one oar". If it is crewed by women, say, "each oarswoman pulling one oar". Is the situation about generalities, and not about a particular boat? Then say, "boats can be crewed by men or women, each pulling one oar [, except for the coxswain, who...]". Are there mixed crews? If so, talking about this in the abstract is too difficult; one is being asked to solve a problem that hasn't been fully defined. Please present an actual, real-world situation where you find the difficulty exists, preferably in the form of a long quotation setting up the context (or a link to it), along with the troublesome sentence, and I'm sure we can find a felicitous wording that solves the problem without sounding maladroit. Mathglot (talk) 06:41, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    I agree with Mathglot's assessment here. I'd additionally appreciate some indication that relevant RS are diverging from the standard "-men"/"-women" to some other alternatives, both because I believe we should follow the terms the RS use in these fields and it might provide suitable alternatives. A. C. SantacruzPlease ping me! 10:49, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

    RFC on WP: SPS and WP: BLPSPS[edit]

    There is a current discrepancy between how WP: V covers self published sources for BLP's and how WP: BLP covers self published sources for BLP's.

    The current text on WP:V (at WP:SPS) is Never use self-published sources as third-party sources about living people, even if the author is an expert, well-known professional researcher, or writer.

    The current text on WP:BLP (at WP:BLPSPS) is Never use self-published sources—including but not limited to books, zines, websites, blogs, and tweets—as sources of material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject of the article.

    The key difference being WP: V says "as third-party sources" and WP: BLP saying "as sources of material".

    The question is should we change the text of one to match the other, and if so which one.

    Option A No change to either policy text

    Option B Change WP: BLP to match WP: V

    Option C Change WP: V to match WP: BLP

    Option D Some other change

    --Kyohyi (talk) 15:05, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

    • Withdraw/close. Why are we having this RfC? Where is the WP:RFCBEFORE? This appears to be an obvious fix (self-published sources by an article subject are routinely used for non-contentious information about themselves) and KoA fixed it.[3] There are no counter-arguments - indeed no discussion at all I can see. Thus, this looks like a purely bureaucratic RfC. Alexbrn (talk) 15:11, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Current BLP policy explicitly forbids self-published sources on BLP's unless they are from the BLP. The change you just made on BLP implicitly allows self published sources as long as they are not used as a third-party source. That is a policy change and should get consensus first. --Kyohyi (talk) 15:20, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    So the problem is what? Third-party use is excluded so ... ? Alexbrn (talk) 15:28, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    The change is that non-third party use of self published sources on BLP's is going from being explicitly forbidden to implicitly allowed. That's a change and should get consensus first. Since this is something that affects policy that has discretionary sanctions tied to it, local consensus shouldn't be enough. Hence the RFC. --Kyohyi (talk) 15:35, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    How's it a change? Third-party sources are prohibited in BLP, just with different wording. Could you give an actual concrete example of something you think would now be allowed that wasn't before? Alexbrn (talk) 15:39, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Sorry, it doesn't say third-party sources are prohibited in BLP. In all actuality third-party sources are the preferred type of source. What do you think it means to use a source as a third-party source? Is it a Voice issue? The general policies that surround Third-party sources say that articles must be based upon them. Not that we can't use non-third party sources. There is no general prohibition to using non-third party sources, so this change now allows self-published non-third party sources. --Kyohyi (talk) 15:53, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Sorry, it doesn't say third-party sources are prohibited in BLP. ← third-party SPS, since this is what we're discussing. It says "Never use self-published sources as third-party sources about living people". I repeat: could you give an actual concrete example of something you think would now be allowed that wasn't before? Alexbrn (talk) 15:55, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Just about any self-published source. Again, what does it mean to use a source as a third-party source? Non-third party sources are not forbidden anywhere on Wikipedia. The text doesn't say "never use Third-party self-published sources". Third-party self-published source would be a description of the source, "never use self-published source as a third-party source" is a description of the source, and a description of how it can't be used. Which implies there is a way it can be used. So how do we use third-party sources vs. non-third party sources? The only policy is that we can't base our articles on non-third party sources. This change no longer forbids use of self-published non-third party sources on BLP's. --Kyohyi (talk) 16:09, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    "Just about any self-published source" ← no, only non third-party usages are allowed. I'm trying to understand what you think has changed by asking for an example. For the third time, please, just an example of a source/claim that you think would now be allowed that wasn't before. Alexbrn (talk) 16:37, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Alright, over at BLPN the Thacker discussion. What text in policy now forbids the useage of the Novella sources. I again ask the question, what does it mean to use a source as a non-third party? --Kyohyi (talk) 16:48, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    "What text in policy now forbids the useage of the Novella sources." As Paul Thacker is a living person, and the 'Novella' sources are by Steven Novella, from Steven Novella's blog, hosted by NESS - an organisation Steven Novella is president of, both the text of WP:V and WP:BLP which you have quoted above prevents their use. Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:03, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Congratulations, you've identified a self-published source as a self-published source. Now get to the part where we talk about what does it mean to use a self-published source as a third-party source. --Kyohyi (talk) 17:24, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Yeah I'm out on this. This is either deliberate trolling or a failure to understand on a basic level, and I am uninterested in finding out which. Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:31, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    • (after edit conflict) Kyohyi, as Alexbrn's question seems to be worded in a way that you do not understand, let me ask it in a different way. Is there any difference between a third-party source and one that is not written or published by the subject of the article? Phil Bridger (talk) 16:52, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    @Kyohyi: Novella's is an SPS and it's usage wrt Thacker would be third-party. So, contrary to policy exactly as now. Alexbrn (talk) 17:06, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    If Novella is in dispute with Thacker about something, Novella and Thacker become first and second party to each other with respect to the dispute. Novella is not a third-party in that instance. They are potentially a person with an axe to grind. In this case with Thacker. --Kyohyi (talk) 17:24, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    How's that relevant? This is about sourcing, not imagined legal disputes with their distinct terminology. I put it to you, you simply cannot produce an example of what the wording change, would change. This RfC should be withdrawn or closed. Alexbrn (talk) 17:32, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Whether or not a source is third-party is now relevant because you've added it as a usage requirement to the policy text. --Kyohyi (talk) 17:36, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Third party and self-published are not the same thing. See WP: IS and WP: USESPS. --Kyohyi (talk) 16:59, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Yes, we all know that, but it is not the question. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:09, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    A source from a person who is in conflict, or put another way whom has an axe to grind with the article subject would not be third-party. Especially if they are writing about the the topic in which they are in conflict. --Kyohyi (talk) 17:34, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    "A source from a person who is in conflict, or put another way whom has an axe to grind with the article subject would not be third-party" ← yes it would. And if self-published would not be allowed for biographical content about a living person. Alexbrn (talk) 17:39, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    No it woulnd't because they are both parties to the dispute. A third party could be someone else commenting on it, but the two parties themselves are not third-party to each-other with respect to the dispute. The text in WP: V would allow that, the Original text in BLP would not. --Kyohyi (talk) 17:53, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    In a (legal) dispute there may be "second parties". But this is about sources. The concept of a textual "second party source" does not exist on the English Wikipedia or in writing generally. If somebody is unaffiliated with a source it is a third-party source in respect to them. This is explained at WP:Third-party sources. Alexbrn (talk) 18:03, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    I'm am more than willing to drop this if you can provide a single argument which can be linked to that would refute this argument here: [[4]]. (Specifically that SPS can be used) I say this because I know this is going to be argued on BLP's and the BLP version is explicit in what it forbids. Whereas the WP: V version needs interpretation and reasoning. Mind you, I don't agree with the argument I linked. --Kyohyi (talk) 18:45, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    I don't think it makes sense. But anybody arguing that you can use a SPS as a third-party source for biographical content about living people, is wrong on every front. Alexbrn (talk) 18:58, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    It might not make sense, but can you disprove it. Changing the text to match WP: V would mean we would have to rely on the interpretation of third-party in WP:Third-party sources to have the same effect as the original text WP: BLP. Third-party sources is an explanatory supplement, which has all the same weight as an Essay. So we go from relying on the text of a policy to having to rely on the text of the policy and the text of an essay. --Kyohyi (talk) 19:56, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Nonsensical things are not amenable to proof or disproof. If "third-party" is too difficult for some readers there may be merit in having the BLP text at WP:V too. Alexbrn (talk) 20:00, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    I've noticed this too about Kyohyi's lines of comments and others trying to insist there are issues with V and R policy language on SPS sources in BLPs. It comes across as hand-waving that something is going to drastically change if we follow existing policy language the community has always been following, yet with no concrete examples provided (instead shifting the burden to others). It seems so odd that there's such a hard push against policy, yet when pushed actual issues that would justify C votes, nothing. KoA (talk) 18:37, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
    Kyohyi, maybe it would help if you made it clear who made that comment you just linked, or maybe even asked them what they were talking about instead of insinuating things and running with it so far as to start an RfC? There's a reason why Alexbrn said it didn't make sense, because you were taking me way out of context.
    The niche use I was alluding to in that case is described in WP:BLPPRIMARY: Where primary-source material has been discussed by a reliable secondary source, it may be acceptable to rely on it to augment the secondary source, subject to the restrictions . . . That language is in part why the community uses the independent/third-party language because it stresses the need for those kinds of sources, especially when an SPS is going to be mentioned significantly in a BLP in terms of WP:DUE. There are plenty of examples of that in articles when outside sources deemed an SPS said something noteworthy for the subject. KoA (talk) 03:09, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
    My apologies for getting the exception you were going for wrong. However, under current wording on BLP, primary self-published sources would not be allowed. BLPPRIMARY says may, so sources which are primary but not self-published could be allowed under current BLP. --Kyohyi (talk) 14:13, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
    BLPPRIMARY is policy and explicit that primary sources are possible to be used regardless of SPS or not when there is another accompanying appropriate source. Again, you're missing what our guidance is actually saying overall and kind of tilting at windmills as a result. That confusion could have been addressed at the policy page itself instead of launching a premature RfC. All other guidance in this subject is linked to focus on independent/third-party sources because we do have that very limited use where SPS can be cited according to policy and in long-standing practice. KoA (talk) 18:37, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
    Option A. A dictionary definition of third party e.g. "a person or group besides the two primarily involved in a situation, especially a dispute" appears to suggest that a person in a dispute with the BLP subject is not a third party. I thank Kyohyi for bringing this up. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 18:53, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    • Option C: Originally I read those two sentences as meaning the same thing, under the interpretation that a third-party source was simply one not published by the subject, and was consequently going to vote for Option A. However, upon closer reading of WP:INDY, it seems like the wording in WP:V would technically also allow us to use self-published sources if they are engaged in a dispute with a BLP, which is obviously dumb and not intended. The wording in WP:BLP avoids this and so we should change the wording in WP:V to match it. Loki (talk) 05:50, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    • C per Loki. The two intend to say the same thing but BLP says it better than V. We should avoid the use of the confusing jargon "third party", which means different things in different contexts. Levivich 16:37, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
      • While I think C is better than B (meaning, BLP's language is better than V), I would also be OK with D something else that said the same thing in a simpler way, such as "Don't use WP:SPS for WP:BLP content unless it's WP:ABOUTSELF." Levivich 19:21, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
        ^ This. That's basically what we mean. (Only, for clarity, that's "content about a BLP", not "content that happens to be in a BLP article but which isn't itself about a BLP". WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:36, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
    • D - I have long felt that these clauses are both written - and, more importantly, interpreted - too broadly. I would support them if they were limited to sourcing controversial BLP material, or if they were limited to sources in dispute with a (BLP) subject. But currently these clauses prevent us from directly citing in memoriam blog posts about colleagues, and even ban self-published expert analyses of living authors' professional contributions (the latter may or may not be an intended reading of WP policy, but it is definitely used that way). So I would like to see both passages reined in, rather than setting one the same as the other. Newimpartial (talk) 16:49, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    • Am I missing something It looks as though we are discussing changes in at least one if not two of our major policies. Without mentioning it at either policy's talk page or WP:CENT. Am I right? Doug Weller talk 16:47, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
      My apologies, I have added RFC notices to both policy pages. However I have no idea how the CENT template is supposed to work. --Kyohyi (talk) 17:51, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
      I listed it at WP:CENT. Levivich 19:18, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
    • Option C The clauses are intended to mean the same thing, but I agree with Loki and Levivich that C is clearer. If it's ever proposed, I would support (D) changing both to an imperative, such as "Self-published sources can only be used as a source of material about the person who wrote the source" (obv. word-smithing needed, of course). Schazjmd (talk) 18:06, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    • This RFC and the related situation has a lot of issues and should probably be terminated. Maybe start by opening a discussion at WP:VER about adopting the BLP wording (Option C) North8000 (talk) 18:22, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    • I made the original edit that triggered this, and I'll agree with others that this should probably be withdrawn/closed due to failing WP:RFCBEFORE. I won't have much time if any to respond to this more in-depth until the weekend. It honestly comes across more as steamrolling between blanket reverting already accepted clarifying language in policy even if they only disagreed with a small part of it in addition to jumping to a premature RfC. I do especially find it odd how even if the author is an expert, well-known professional researcher, or writer policy was reverted without any mention of it since, which is a pretty strong indication Kyohyi is rushing too much and glossing over a lot in the rush to make an RfC before there could be any input on its formation.
    When I was making the edit over at BLP, that was just intended as basic clarifying language that had already been adopted as policy on SPS's for years. Nothing to significantly change either policy, and if anything, strengthening the policy through clarification the community had accepted as policy. The whole point of the language at WP:SPS policy is answering why self-published sources don't have the standing to be used as independent or third-party sources, so it's unclear why editors would want to weaken BLP policy when both WP:SPS and WP:RS/SPS policies are already clear and stronger by using that language. WP:INDY (a high-quality supplement that is practically cited as a guideline) is clear on why we need to rely on good independent/third-party sources, as well as the nuances of that language. KoA (talk) 02:36, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
    As an afterthought, let's play devil's advocate for a bit though and assume that the text clarification at BLP actually was altering policy on the page. In that case, reverting the change would be violating established policy at both WP:R and WP:V on SPS's in BLPs. If two different policies disagree with you about including the third-party/independent language, that's a major issue in trying to claim any sort of consensus, much less the extremely high bar of proof needed of actual issues two change two other policies that's lacking here. KoA (talk) 02:53, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
    • Option C/D. I would remove this wording: "unless written or published by the subject of the article". It is very common that someone publish highly promotional materials about himself; some of that can be even a misleading information. Let's say the current place of work can be incorrect, etc. One needs strong 3rd party RS for BLP. That is the idea. While using self-published views by an expert on the subject of their expertise can be OK in many cases, I do not think that using self-published self-promotional materials is OK. My very best wishes (talk) 23:41, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
    • Option C/D. I think that the BLP wording may be a little clearer, especially for people who aren't sure how to go about Wikipedia:Identifying and using self-published works. However, I think that BLP's "unless written or published by the subject of the article" wording is overly restrictive. Imagine an article about a crime, e.g., Theft of Alice's sandwich from the office refrigerator. We would normally include a statement from any accused, e.g., "Bob denied stealing Alice's lunch", even if that denial is cited only to a social media post. The current BLP language technically says that you cannot use a self-published denial from Bob, about Bob, because "the subject of the article" is an event, not a person. That does not align with actual practice. The language should be changed to something like "unless written or published by the subject of the material". WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:48, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
    • Option C/D: I take Newimpartial's view here, more or less; absent that, I'm sympathetic to WAID's. It's fairly absurd that we can't cite memorials on a university blog, to give one of the former's examples. (It's a lot worse a BLP violation to list a dead person as living for years, at the top of their search results, in the most prominent forum about their life, than to cite the SPS of someone who knew them well and can confirm their passing.) Vaticidalprophet 19:35, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
      • Can you give examples of BLP subjects who are notable, who died, and for whom we had no sources about their death except an SPS source? I didn't realize this was something that happened. Levivich 19:36, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
        • "As far as we can tell someone is dead, but the RSes are absent" happens often enough to have come up barely a month ago, with reference to other cases as well. Both referenced cases there are just ones involving Wikipedians and their friends, so unusually likely to make it to high-profile backstage areas. It's a perennially tricky subject that tends to get wrapped up in both SPS issues and BLPPRIMARY issues. Vaticidalprophet 19:44, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
          • Thanks. Does this just happen with the death of BLP subjects or does it happen with other key facts, too? I'm wondering what kind of "D" language would cover this issue. Levivich 20:09, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
    One caveat with university "blogs" is that they often aren't actually blogs in the traditional sense. The third sentence of WP:BLPSPS covers this in the context of news orgs using blog in a slightly different sense (for better or worse), and the same model applies to many universities even if it's lesser known. It would really depend if it's a personal blog vs. the university owned one that would generally have oversight. KoA (talk) 01:05, 16 January 2022 (UTC)
    University "blogs" might not be blogs in the traditional sense, but they are not the same as blogs by a news org. A university blog might be best classified as a press release. You can {{cite press release}}, and you can {{cite blog}}, but you can cite them only for information about living people who could be considered "themselves". For organizations (everything from the most storied of academic organizations down to the scummiest of snake-oil sellers, and encompassing every kind of for-profit and non-profit organization in between), we normally interpret "themselves" as including anyone who works for them. Thus you can cite a self-published, self-interested source that says "Big University is delighted to announce that Prof. I.M. Portant has discovered that water is wet" about the living person, I.M. Portant, but you cannot cite such a source about people not belonging to the organization (e.g., "thus proving once and for all that his rival, Author Itative of Little University, is all wet").
    Back to the example here, one could cite an official university source (whether that's a blog managed by the publicity department or a press release, but perhaps not a social media post by a fellow colleague) to report the death. I wouldn't recommend using such a source for glowing information.
    If you are interested in this subject, then do please read Obituary and make a mental note about the difference between "a news article" and "a paid advertisement". Everything at, e.g., and its competitor falls into the second category. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:34, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
    This is probably going on a tangent at this point for this RfC, not I'm not referring to university press release style blogs, but actual news (typically science news or educational material) they put out. Usually that's through extension.[5] Often times they'll also mention retirements, deaths, etc. of researchers at the university, though that can vary. That's a very different setup than say a researcher's personal lab blog that really is often more of a personal blog. KoA (talk) 04:30, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
    • B followed by A and D. Insisting on C across all other policies instead of changing the single line at BLP is just WP:NOTBUREAU as others have mentioned, and weakens or ignores BLP policy itself. I didn't consider it a big deal, but still helpful, when I made that edit at BLP originally, and opposition to it (C), seems to be glossing over our inter-related policies and missing key details. Tl;dr at the bottom for skimmers.
    Here's what is added to the BLP page (italics) + the IS wikilink when it matches the language at all other policy pages that say what we do with SPS sources at BLPs: Never use self-published sources—including but not limited to books, zines, websites, blogs, and tweets—as third-party sources about living people, even if the author is an expert, well-known professional researcher, or writer, unless written or published by the subject of the article.[6]
    There's nothing wrong with the long-standing accepted language at WP:V and WP:R policies, and it only strengthens the single line at BLP that doesn't use it. Withdraw/close is really my first choice above for being so out-of-process with WP:RFCBEFORE at the BLP page and attempts to avoid even starting discussion, but it doesn't hurt to clarify what policy actually says here instead of the skimming past what the actual history was.
    Functionally, it doesn't change anything in policy implementation by adding it to BLP for those that actually read through the web of connected policies, but it gives clarification behind the why of how SPS are an issue, and adds stronger language about it not mattering who the SPS was written by. I'm also amazed people have been trying to remove the expert, professional researcher, etc. bit from BLP when it was added too. Here's actually what the policies say:
    • V policy at WP:SPS: Never use self-published sources as third-party sources about living people, even if the author is an expert, well-known professional researcher, or writer. Noting that V is a core content policy, and is generally considered stronger than other non-core policies and can't be overridden so readily.
    • R policy at WP:RS/SPS uses the same language except it says independent sources instead of third-party. WP:IS is one of our main policy supplements (really surprised no one has bumped it up to guideline yet) making it clear we generally treat third-party/independent as interchangeable on Wikipedia. The take home message there instead of someone hyper focusing on the language is we want sources that are independent and distanced from events or primary sources, regardless of BLP or not.
    No one should be opposed to stressing why third-party/independent sources are so important. What that language stresses is that SPS sources don't have the standing to be considered distant or independent enough, so they are functionally treated like primary sources. Anyone who's worked in WP:MEDRS areas would know what kind of aversion I have to primary sources, so the wild claims that already existing policy is going to allow widespread SPS's across BLPs is pretty unsubstantiated. As other's have said responding to those claims, since you can't use an SPS source as a third-party source, then what exactly are you going to use it as? Hint, you're not going to be able to just plop an SPS in to a BLP so easily, and that's why functionally nothing changes aside from strengthening against possible wikilawyering by having more explanation the community has already approved in policy.
    What existing policy does is essentially reduce SPS's to primary sources we already can't use carte blanche in any plain meaning. The reason why V and R policy use the independent/third-party language though is both because SPS don't meet that, but also because BLP policy does have a carveout that the community regularly uses, WP:BLPPRIMARY: Where primary-source material has been discussed by a reliable secondary source, it may be acceptable to rely on it to augment the secondary source, subject to the restrictions of this policy, no original research, and the other sourcing policies. If something mentioned by an SPS, and another reliable source mentions it in a WP:DUE manner, the SPS can be cited alongside the secondary source as verification/supplement in that limited fashion. This is already how the community approaches this issue.
    That's why C would be a dead-stop no because it would conflict with other policies, including parts of BLP. That's how the independent/third-party language links into to many other core parts of our editing policy and creates a solid web of strong BLP policy instead of having a single line of BLP that some people may focus on while ignoring the other parts of policy that discuss it.
    Tl;dr for B.
    1. Multiple policies use stronger language than BLP (including core content policies that have higher standing), and the single line in part of BLP is largely the lone wolf of policies commenting on BLP SPS's.
    2. It's longstanding approved policy language that only adds clarification to BLP and shouldn't be controversial.
    3. Third-party/independent only strengthens why SPS use is restricted.
    4. If someone disagrees with B's language (though I'm open to things like D), that means they're disagreeing with what practically every other policy on BLP SPS's have to say and is an extremely high bar to overcome.
    5. BLP policy itself actually does allow SPS citation in very limited instances when secondary sources are involved, so technically current BLP language isn't technically correct in that one line. B fixes that while adding stronger language.
    6. B has already been policy for years and hasn't caused the widespread SPS use some C !votes are claiming since it doesn't change what we functionally already do.
    7. This RfC's formation really isn't suited for tackling what lead to this or focused enough to manage widespread D options. KoA (talk) 00:58, 16 January 2022 (UTC)
    • B, largely per KoA. I will note that I believe that this RFC is proper and doesn't need to be withdrawn. BilledMammal (talk) 01:07, 19 January 2022 (UTC)

    Wikipedia:Role of Jimmy Wales has an RFC[edit]

    Wikipedia:Role of Jimmy Wales has an RFC for possible consensus. A discussion is taking place. If you would like to participate in the discussion, you are invited to add your comments on the discussion page. Thank you. Colonestarrice (talk) 13:15, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

    On the importance of proper documentation, or lack thereof[edit]

    Look at my recent contribution and see how I edited an archived lock request, because the super editor who fulfilled it didn't comment, and another one came and saw it was protected and asked to archive my request. It bothers me, because, if you do document things, and have this very nifty bureaucracy with all these rules... why bother with them if you only do it properly 50% of the time?. In the end it doesn't really matter, to me at least, but if you bother, and have archive of requests dating back 10 years... The least you can do is maintain it properly. And, if it's not obvious, I ask for it to be protected after it was vandalized 79 times since Norm's death! So my "little" contribution of asking for it to be protected, is kind of a big deal, to me at least. I feel I earned feeling good about this contribution. But then comes some random editor and robs of me of this little triumph, and of course this awesome icon . I suggest, you decide that the person who does the lock needs to comment. If he doesn't the least that needs to be done is for the one who archives it, to detail the protection type and period. What do you say? Am I right or I'm just being a jackass? I know that if it was my organization, I'd be very upset about the inconsistent documentation — Preceding unsigned comment added by Benderbr (talkcontribs) 20:48, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

    lol sorry forgot to sign as usual Benderbr (talk) 20:49, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    You asked for a page to be protected and it has been protected. What's the problem? Nobody should care who was the first person to spot that it needed protection, and I would suggest that anyone who does care about such things does not have the right temperament for editing Wikipedia. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:57, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    WP is a crowd-sourced, decentralized, half-regimented and half-chaotic mess that has somehow created the best encyclopedia in the world. Expecting every single i to be dotted and t to be crossed to your liking is going to lead to nothing but frustration and heartache. I understand your point. I understand TBF's point. At the end of the day, you have to let go of little stuff like this. How much time have you spent now, worrying about something that no one, literally, will ever, ever look at again. How much of TBF's time? I had an example of me getting annoyed at something similar in my early days here, but it got eaten when I clicked the wrong button and I don't have the heart to retype it. So you'll have to trust me that I really do understand, but I also really do think you need to let stuff like this go. --Floquenbeam (talk) 21:14, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    Just for the record, I'm perfectly fine with adding the awesome green plus icon to the archive. Some like barnstars, some like green plus icons, some like a high edit count, some like cookies. Receiving something logged/persistent for a volunteer contribution isn't a completely crazy desire. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 21:23, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    I'm sorry I used my personal history with TBF as the example. In my mind, it was easier than explaining. I don't really care about it, it's just that coming to ask for the lock, I couldn't submit my request at first, as It didn't follow the format, was too long, IDK? So I figured this is a very bureaucratic place. But then it's more like "Whatever goes", which is fine yeah? I was just under the (what appears to be, false) impression that you really dig all this formality and rules. I'm really asking, how things are? Is how things are (which I actually don't really mind as a user) is how it's supposed to be, or at least the power users vision? Is there any chance for automation of the process, so TBF doesn't waste his time with weirdos like me? Just so it's clear, I really don't care, it's just confusing. Are all edits meaningfull, or this green icon is like a gold star sticker for a small child? I think you might just stop with describing what was done altogether, as the lock icon on the article has the lock period on the tooltip. TL;DR - I think documentation should be 100% or 0%. Maybe it doesn't actually matter that every lock request is archived? IDK. I'm just asking questions. And I do want to publicly apologize to TBF, I did came off agressive and weird, I was trying to be funny and it's obviously didn't work. I appreciate all of you power users who help keep this place in one piece. It's a great wiki and I didn't mean to offend anyone or suggest I was wronged or anyone did anything wrong. I'm just asking - does it matter? maybe this interaction can lead to policy changes of what needs to be done, what's important (like you said, no one will look at the archives, right?). Anyhow I have nothing to add but I wanted to clarify, it's not about my personal thing, I tried to ask "in general" but everyone here took it as if I'm dissing TBF great work, which is not at all what I meant. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Benderbr (talkcontribs) 22:46, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    There are really no worries from my side. And as I pushed relatively strongly in favor of the creation of WP:RFPP/A, I obviously share the desire for proper documentation. I just thought that had happened. As there has been a disagreement about whether it happened, I have also already fixed it in a way that seems to address the concerns. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 23:28, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    I'm not going to read the screed above, it would be a waste of time (our most previous resource). You asked for the page to be protected, quite rightly, and it was protected - the job that needed doing was done. Worrying about exactly how the archives should look is beurocracy for its own sake. Girth Summit (blether) 23:29, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    It does contain an apology, though, Girth Summit. 🙂💐 ~ ToBeFree (talk) 23:33, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    Hmph. Maybe I should have read it. Really though - this is a lot of words, about very little. Colour me grumpy. Girth Summit (blether) 00:06, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
    Nah totally my fault. It's multifaceted question, and I tend to write long scrolls. If anything, this is critical of you (oops). Think of it like code, you need to save the proper comments. It's not about this anecdotal example, I was trying to exaggerate it to show how it might rub off wrong on some editors. I'm very thankful for the great work all of you are doing, and I try to bring to your attention, that I think it can be done automatically, and you mods being virtual janitors is kinda weird to me. Maybe posting this in policy discussion wasn't the right place, and me not trying to condense it and simplify it... well I just can't I guess? See I can't help it. Maybe the contributors are happy with the repeating administrative actions? To me it seems like a waste of your time. If you don't agree, I totally understand. I'm just a tiny editor, fix here fix there. TL;DR - I'm just trying to be helpful, I'm not good at draftsmanship. I do apologize deeply for any grievances, didn't intend for it, all of you keep with the awesome work. --Benderbr (talk) 14:03, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

    Proposal to adjust the TFA re-running period[edit]

     You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Today's featured article § Adjusting the TFA re-running period. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 17:33, 15 January 2022 (UTC)