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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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Undisclosed alternate accounts[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
This RfC resulted in real discussion and it has been suggested that this should be closed as "No Consensus" because the three options initially presented did not have a clear favorite. That would not, however, accurately reflect the discussion below. Very few simply !voted without some discussion, caveats, etc. Many of the voices that favor retaining WP:PROJSOCK did so acknowledging that it falls short either in practice or in conception. Many of the voices that favor "scrapping" that same policy provision did so acknowledging that it served some purpose. The crux of this discussion is that there are shortcomings in the current policy regarding these accounts.
  • That undisclosed alternate accounts are operated on a caveat emptor basis has a clear consensus. That is, anyone that operates such an account does so at their own risk and against the recommended operating processes of this project with the clear risk that the alternate and primary accounts may be tied together through a variety of avenues. There were no voices that suggested that security or privacy of the alternate accounts were to be guaranteed by this project, its administrators, arbitrators, the WMF, etc. The suggestion that undisclosed alternate accounts be banned entirely (as it is stated other-language wikis do) was distinctly a minority position.
  • That there should be some amount of limited participation in the WP: and WT: (internal Wikipedia and Wikipedia Talk) namespaces has a rough consensus. The current language of WP:PROJSOCK was defended as a bright-line rule that assisted enforcement of the general sock-puppet policy. The arguments that the rule as currently written is too restrictive, not an accurate reflection of the original meaning of the restrictions ArbCom intended to impose, unenforceable, or not enforced in practice (or some combinations of these points) were argued more forcefully. Retention of PROJSOCK as currently stated is also, therefore, a minority position on both numerical and strength of argument grounds.
  • Any agreement on the actual limits of such participation is more difficult to discern from the following conversations. The general principle that participation in specific conversations that directly affect the alternative identity but that policy-setting venues are out of bounds seems to underlay many of the statements below. What is not clear is that an enforceable consensus text can be extracted from this discussion to replace the current text. It is suboptimal for any close of a discussion as long (in both time and text dimensions) as this one to recommend further discussion but any mediated compromise text would stray too far into WP:SUPERVOTE to be tenable.
(non-admin closure) Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 21:04, 14 June 2021 (UTC)

Background[edit]

Since the early days of the English Wikipedia, there has been a tradition or custom of some users having either known or undisclosed alternate accounts. This has held over to some extent into the modern era of the project and is enshrined in policy at WP:VALIDALT. Publicly disclosed alternate accounts are fully free to edit in any way with few restrictions; however, WP:PROJSOCK states that undisclosed accounts may not edit the Wikipedia namespace. English Wikipedia is something of an outlier in this regard: many other WMF projects regard undisclosed alternate accounts as illegitimate sock puppets. Therefore, behavior that is technically acceptable at EN.WP can have serious consequences if practiced on many other WMF wikis. Existing policy makes it clear that private disclosure to ArbCom or individual functionaries does not allow for policy violations, but this is often misunderstood by users and can lead to frustration both on the side of users and of CheckUsers.

Issues[edit]

  • A blanket ban on undisclosed alternative accounts editing project space results in a situation where content created by an alt could be under discussion, for example via WP:AFD, or the user's behavior may be under discussion at forums such as WP:ANI and by the letter of current policy, the user cannot participate in those discussions at all.
  • Only the Arbitration Committee has access to the list of known undisclosed alternative accounts. This information is considered private and generally cannot be shared, even with checkusers. This means a user could have disclosed their alt account to the committee, only to be blocked for socking, and the connection between the accounts publicly revealed, in the course of a legitimate sockpuppet investigation.
  • There is not actually a hard obligation to disclose alternative accounts at all, to anyone. It is therefore likely that the accounts known to the arbitration committee or individual checkusers are mostly those who would not abuse them anyway, and represent only a small portion of the total number of such accounts.
  • There is no reasonable way to police all the edits of all known alternative accounts to ensure they are within policy.

Proposed remedies[edit]

  • Not anyone else's problem Change language of policy to actively discourage using privacy alts and to make it clear that if the connection is discovered it is not the responsibility of the community, the functionaries or the Arbitration Committee to conceal it. If the connection is made clear by the privacy alt's behavior, that is the fault of the account operator.
  • Clarify WP:PROJSOCK: Carve out narrow exemptions to the project space ban for deletion discussions related to content created or edited by the alt account, or discussions of the alt accounts' own behavior. Broader discussions on site policy, other users behavior, etc, are still strictly off limits.
  • No longer allowed at all: The use of privacy alts is to be considered deprecated and removed from policy. Any user operating more than one account without publicly linking them for any reason will be subject to the sockpuppetry policy. This would not apply to legitimate clean start accounts where one account was abandoned before the new account began editing. (this option is mutually exclusive with the other proposed options)

Discussion of proposed remedies[edit]

  • I've opened this discussion because some recent events have revealed a number of issues, identified above, with the policy on private alternative accounts. The first remedy in particular I feel pretty strongly about. Privacy alts are at-your-own-risk. If you screw it up and are detected, whoever you disclosed to can verify that you disclosed an alt to them, but that doesn't obligate that user to then cover up the entire affair. Generally, private alt accounts are just a bad idea, and we should probably be more stringent in discouraging them, and also making it clear that disclosing is not a free pass to otherwise violate the socking policy. On the second remedy, it's just not fair that we allow these accounts for privacy reasons, but by the letter of policy they cannot contribute to any project-space discussion, even if it is about their own behavior or content they created. The third remedy, I threw in there in case it happens that the community just wants to end this practice altogether, as many other projects have. I've not proposed specific wording, this is more about looking for consensus on the ideas, the wordsmiths can get in there and create the appropriate wording if such a consensus is reached. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:15, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    Beeblebrox, Thanks for starting this discussion. I suspect it will attract enough attention that maybe you want to break it out into its own subpage? -- RoySmith (talk) 22:23, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
  • One thing I'd like to see added to option 2 is permitting undisclosed alts to ask questions at appropriate venues (Teahouse, Help Desk, that sort of thing), since the letter of the law says those are projectspace but those aren't exactly policymaking venues. People also ask legitimate questions at the village pumps, but I'm not sure whether to include those in this exception since those are more "internal project policy discussion" venues. GeneralNotability (talk) 22:17, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Question: I understand the reasons for public alt accounts (such as having an alt for public computers or at work), but what are the reasons (in the past, at least) for allowing undisclosed/private alt accounts? Schazjmd (talk) 22:21, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
I would like to know this too. I don't have an issue with undisclosed alt accounts that would out someone who isn't paid but if you don't want to potentially connect yourself to your employer, a simple solution is to not edit about them. No one is forcing you to and conversely, no one is forcing you to edit Wikipedia at all. TAXIDICAE💰 22:27, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
See the comment directly below for one example. Often it's a matter of not wishing to "out"some specfic aspect of their life, either something mundane as mentioned below, or perhaps editing controversial topics on religion or sexual practices. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:32, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
@Schazjmd: that's a good question. The common old-school example for why someone would have a "secret" alt is to edit embarrassing subjects, e.g. certain sexuality topics. Another possibility is to edit a topic, which editing with the main account may compromise the user's privacy. Another possibility could be an existing Wikipedia editor having assigned coursework that involves editing Wikipedia, and would not want that associated with the main account, either from either side so to say (on-wiki in terms of an association with a given university, or having university colleagues know the existence of the main account). In some cases there are real-world implications in that Wikipedia editors may experience trouble with local authorities as a result of certain edits.
At the end of the day we are a project that permits pseudonymous editors. Short of running certain mass checkusers—something that is a non-starter as far as the privacy policy goes—we ought to accept that there is not much one can do about someone using two accounts to edit separate topics. Of course, there are obvious deceptive uses of multiple accounts; think of vote-stacking an AfD or cases where a banned user uses multiple accounts to evade the ban to continue the same disruption that led to the ban. That said, it ought to be considered whether the simple fact of using an alternate account is somehow a problem. Maxim(talk) 23:34, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
Praxidicae, I've edited with an undisclosed alt in the past. Not everyone is okay with being connected to articles about illness, politics, religion and sexuality. There's also a photo around here somewhere of the pierced penis of a Wikipedian which I helped anonymize. They made a request to vanish when they found potential clients who googled their name found a pierced penis as the top result. It actually took years, but I just checked it again and it seems Google has *finally* forgotten about it. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 15:04, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
Yes, I do recall you using an undisclosed alt in the past. AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 23:48, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I hope the third suggestion isn't going to be taken seriously. I have a some photos I've been meaning to add to a few articles when I get around to it. These photos could be traced back to my real-world identity. Should I really have to choose between adding the photos, and outing myself? Because I see no other way to add the photos than create a "privacy alt". Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 22:24, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    • I assumed someone would propose it during the course of the conversation, so I just put it out there. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:32, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    Suffusion of Yellow, regardless of the above changes, using a separate account only to upload pictures shouldn't put you at any risk. Blocking someone for using multiple accounts requires behavioural evidence (with or without technical evidence), so the chance of someone connecting those two accounts is practically zero. (Yes, mistakes happen, and checkusers occasionally run checks they shouldn't, but that's also why oversight exists.) – bradv🍁 23:27, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    It doesn't matter whether you would be caught for uploading the images. It matters that it's against the rules. I've been in similar cases to Suffusion of Yellow and agree that the third suggestion is ludicrous. If there is a common use case of people evading a rule with no harm done, no way of detection and in a way that nobody could possibly object to then it is a bad rule. Though in my case it would actually stop me uploading pictures altogether, because I would follow the rule even if it's pointless and unenforceable (too high consequences for too low a reward). (And though Commons isn't under our scope, this soft redirect and the fact I have used or would use an en.wiki account to add the uploaded images to articles means that this is our jurisdiction.) — Bilorv (talk) 12:17, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I would really only support 2 as worded, and could support 1 if language about "actively discouraging" is removed. I've never used an alternate account, but I respect that others may find it necessary. I agree that no one is ever under any obligation to keep knowledge of someone else's secondary account secret, HOWEVER, I also can understand legitimate reasons to use a secondary account. We should still discourage good hand/bad hand accounts, or similar purposes, such as participating in policy discussions while concealing prior activity on Wikipedia, but I do agree that exceptions need to be allowed for when the alternate account has itself an interest in the discussion, such as AFDs for articles where the account is a contributor. However, Wikipedia should neither encourage nor discourage the use of private alts with the only caveat that actual violations of community trust are likely to have consequences. --Jayron32 22:35, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
  • (This thread moved from its own section originally entitled A difficult example): Let's assume I'm a member of International Flat Earth Research Society, and I've made many posts edits from my personal account (with a non-PII account name) espousing this viewpoint, including vigorous participation in AfDs and other WP-namespace pages. In my day job, I'm employed by NASA where my job responsibilities include computing trajectories for space missions. I haven't told my employer of my flat earth beliefs because that knowledge would impact my career advancement. Assume for the moment that despite my private views, I'm good at my job. One day, my boss comes to me and says, "We need a WP:Wikipedian in Residence to curate articles about NASA, and you're it. Your job responsibilities will include being active in discussions about what articles to keep or delete". The "No longer allowed at all" option would put me in a bind. There's no way I can perform my job without either breaking our socking policy or outing myself to my employer. If you don't like my NASA example, I'm sure you can think of similar situations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by RoySmith (talkcontribs) 22:41, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    Aside from the absolute absurdity of this example, your career advancement isn't Wikipedia's problem, nor should it ever be. You can turn down a WIR or come clean - transparency is key here. You don't have to dox yourself by adding your full name or even first name. Disclosure doesn't require identifying yourself. WIR is another matter and not really relevant to this discussion. TAXIDICAE💰 22:47, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    Praxidicae, Why is the example absurd? We have many examples of people who edit as a requirement of their employment. A department in a University wanting every faculty member to have a wikipedia page and assigning that job to some low-level person in the department office. We've seen that scenario multiple times. -- RoySmith (talk) 22:56, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    And that person is welcome to decline that request from their employer if it would violate the sites terms of use for the same reason an employer demanding an employee break a law or policy should be declined. No one forces you to edit as a volunteer or a paid editor and our policy is already clear enough on that. TAXIDICAE💰 23:25, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    RoySmith, in this case you could just stop editing from your previous account. Using serial accounts does not constitute sockpuppetry, unless you are subject to a block or ban. – bradv🍁 23:15, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    But what if they are subject to block or other restriction. Continuing the NASA example, our theoretical editor (let's called them Tarquin) is presumably a generally good contributor and net positive to the encyclopaedia but perhaps they are topic banned from editing articles about the phantom time hypothesis or they have a mutual interaction ban with another user? If Tarquin just stayed away from those topics/editors we probably wouldn't be any the wiser, but it would be a breach of policy and obviously the other party to the interaction ban would not know to stay away from the new account. Thryduulf (talk) 01:28, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    If someone is subject to a ban they shouldn't be creating a new account or accepting a paid editing position – especially not without being fully transparent with both their employer and the editing community. That's currently prohibited by both our sockpuppetry policy and our paid editing policy, and none of the proposed changes above would alter that. – bradv🍁 02:07, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    @Thryduulf: I think you could have picked a better example for a username. :-) That user's very familiar to me for his early work in mathematics and classical music articles. I don't think I ever spoke to Tarquin personally but his name is very familiar to me in page histories and on old talk pages. I hope he'd be as amused by this as I am; I've mentioned it on his talk page. Graham87 08:46, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    In a paid WiR role, you are already mandated to disclose your alternative accounts under current policy Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure#How to disclose: "paid editors must provide links to the user page(s) of their Wikipedia account(s) on each website on which they advertise, solicit or obtain paid editing services, as well as in direct communications with each client and potential client (such as through email). If the paid editor has used or controlled more than one Wikipedia account, each account must be disclosed." This was added in a recent RfC. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 23:17, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    Whether and to what extent that applies to Wikipedians in residence is not at all clear. It is also completely and utterly unenforceable because we can (and should) never know the contents of all private communication, as was pointed out repeatedly when it was proposed. I'm also dubious that stipulating the content of communication between employer and (potential) client is something that it is even legal for a third party to place restrictions on. Thryduulf (talk) 01:01, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I explained my concerns with WP:PROJSOCK elsewhere. I can only see what I can read from the history, so perhaps someone who was actually there knows the context better and can point out any errors, but its current enforcement doesn't make sense to me. Most illegitimate uses are obvious why they're disallowed; you can't use multiple accounts to pretend to be multiple people in a way that bolsters your position, avoids scrutiny, or deceives editors. But PROJSOCK isn't intuitive in the same way. It's cited to an ArbCom case from 2007 where the evidence was an editor abusing multiple accounts to participate in policy discussions whilst avoiding scrutiny. The community appears to have narrowly worded it to this (and similar variants) for years after the case, clarifying that Alternate accounts should not edit policies, guidelines, or their talk pages; comment in Arbitration proceedings; or vote in requests for adminship, deletion debates, or elections. That all makes sense, and directly follows from the case evidence too. Then in 2014 someone boldly edited the page to the vaguer "quote[] from the underlying Arbcom decision" which says Undisclosed alternative accounts are not to be used in discussions internal to the project. As a reader, discussions internal to the project is ambiguous whether it means a namespace ban or (indeed, as the original interpretation appears to have been) just consensus discussions, and a Wikipedia namespace ban doesn't logically follow from the evidence in that case. Asking questions in venues (including WP:VPT, which whilst is a "village pump", it's used for asking questions not consensus discussions on making policy) is totally fine, for example. That 2014 edit, at least as interpreted now, appears to have been a material change. Was there a discussion leading up to that? Why is the WP namespace more of a problem than any other NS? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 22:44, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    • To be explicit, I’d vote to begin by scrapping PROJSOCK, as it’s clearly been misinterpreted from the original reason it was written, as is redundant to existing examples. But I see this not mutually exclusive with some other remedies, which extend beyond just project space. ProcSock (talk) 12:49, 27 May 2021 (UTC)
  • (based on your old sandbox I've presumed option 1 includes CUs disclosing connections) Presumably users can be subject to discretionary checks for various reasons, and the CU policy is rather vague on what is grounds for a check. So, reading that option now, a discretionary check could result in a privacy account popping out (possibly already disclosed to ArbCom which the CU wasn't aware about, but even if not we don't treat ignorance of policy as deliberate attempts to violate policy), so the CU goes ahead and links the two accounts publicly. So basically you'd have CUs outing editors, with solid technical evidence to dispel any doubt too. Which just isn't fair on its face. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 22:57, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
  • My tenure on the Arbitration Committee, and as a checkuser, made me aware of plenty of situations where the use of an alternative account was the only legitimate way to continue participating on the project. I also saw any number of situations where legitimate use strayed into illegitimate. This was often by accident, but if someone sees that slip, the cat is not getting back in the bag. The conflict between alternative accounts and Wikipedia's commitment to transparency is unresolvable. I'll defer to the current committee on whether they think the present system is sustainable. Personally, I wouldn't want to be entrusted with that information, and if I were seeking to avoid scrutiny and still edit Wikipedia (a difficult task), I would be loath to disclose that information to anyone. Mackensen (talk) 23:01, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
    Mackensen, I've just noticed that you were part of the Committee that passed the principle that led to PROJSOCK (Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Privatemusings § Sockpuppetry). What was the reasoning behind it? The first two sentences are intuitive, but I don't understand that final restriction. Pinging those members of the Committee. Sdrqaz (talk) 21:57, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    Sdrqaz wow, what a fucked up thing {{bcc}} is. How in the living hell is a recipient supposed to know where on the page they've been bcc'd? Otherwise, my opinion about sockpuppetry (I hate that term) is the same it was back then: "Should be generally forbidden. Wikipedia is not a role-playing game." But I wasn't going to win that argument, which is why I've divorced myself from all involvement in Wikipedia policy; I'm a sore loser.--jpgordon𝄢𝄆 𝄐𝄇 00:56, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    Sorry about that, jpgordon. I only use it when I feel there are too many people being pinged. Thanks for sharing your opinion on sockpuppetry. Sdrqaz (talk) 17:12, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    Sdrqaz, I don't think we thought we were saying anything new. See for example my comments at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Privatemusings/Workshop#Alternate accounts: The use of an alternate account to stir up policy debates while the main account does something different has never been acceptable on Wikipedia. Sockpuppetry was understood to mean the abuse of multiple accounts; using multiple accounts non-abusively was frowned on but not banned. Maintaining a burner to stir things up on policy pages evaded accountability. Mackensen (talk) 23:22, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    Sdrqaz, that said, this was apparently a controversial assertion at the time (I'm sure I knew that once, but I'd forgotten). See Wikipedia talk:Requests for arbitration/Privatemusings/Proposed decision#Principle 3 concerning sockpuppet policy. Mackensen (talk) 23:27, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    I was pinged into this discussion. The contentious issue seems to be the natural justice of excluding undisclosed private accounts from the Wikipedia: namespace. My reaction here is "too bad". I would keep the principle, and just note that there may be mitigating circumstances for such editing. On the whole we want to know that users edit in good faith from single accounts in internal discussions, and I find said "restriction" natural at the level of ArbCom principles. Charles Matthews (talk) 07:12, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    Thanks, Mackensen and Charles. Mackensen, wouldn't such abuse fall under the "avoiding scrutiny" part of policy? I don't think PROJSOCKing should be encouraged (and the maintenance of accounts in the Privatemusings case arguably falls under that avoidance), but a blanket ban doesn't sit well with me. Sdrqaz (talk) 17:12, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I would prefer that PROJSOCK be modified. There are cases where a privacy alt is useful. Just because we are not censored, does not mean the world is the same. They can be particularly useful in maintaining sexual health articles. A recent example is the RfD's for Tiny penis. It's reasonable to not want that at the top of your contribution history, and as long as the editor is not being deceptive or behaving in a way that will get them sus'd out, we should allow privacy alts in discussions of that nature and not actively discourage their use. Wug·a·po·des 23:24, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I generally back proposal 2. There are reasons for private accounts. While editors obviously can't be obliged to "cover it up", that does not mean that we have to pick an all or nothing approach. For example, a sockpuppet investigation could have the details revdelled if it was agreed no breach had occurred, but required major disclosure to demonstrate it. We wouldn't be any worse off, other than a few minutes of admin clerk time. Some minor amendments to the nature of proposal 2 to include helpdesks and so on in the exemption also seems reasonable. I had originally wondered "why not just switch back to the main account to ask", but realised that certain questions would require enough specificity to accidentally twin the accounts. One additional change I'd propose would be formally authorise ARBCOM to share details on private alts with CUs Nosebagbear (talk) 23:52, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
  • If never the two accounts shall meet, why should we care? Absent seeking significant bits, is it really an issue if an editor manages to successfully maintain two alternate wiki personalities for years on end? The risks should be disclosed up front (option 1) and from there on, it should be on the editor to ensure the two personalities are never in the same venue. Once they catch the eye of a CU AND violate policy, then public revelation may be a consequence (though pointing to things like WP:BLP, we have expressed an aversion to exposure that could lead to real-world harm of subjects, though guess editors do not get the same courtesy). In short, it seems like we shouldn't be playing a game of gotcha until/unless pseudo-anonymity is not a core policy of en-wiki. Slywriter (talk) 00:07, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • A modified option 2 (with the warnings from option 1) is really the only practical option here, but instead of minor amendments it should be rewritten wholesale to focus exclusively on detailing what activities and behaviours are prohibited. For example we want editors to be able to highlight problems and potential problems with articles/project pages/technical issues, we want them to be able to respond to queries about their editing, we want them to be able to ask questions aimed at improving their editing, etc. We don't want them to misrepresent themselves as more than one person, we don't want them to !vote multiple times in a discussion, we don't want them evading sanctions, etc. All of these things are equally desirable or not desirable regardless of what namespace they happen to occur in. Asking for help on an article talk page is no different to asking for help at a Wikiproject page or the teahouse, discussing the reliability of a source on an article talk page is no different to discussing the reliability of a source at WP:RSN. Discussing changes to a template used on user pages is unquestionably a "discussion internal to the project" but I see no possible justification for excluding privacy alts from such a discussion, doubly so if they are excluded if the discussion happens in the Wikipedia namespace but not if it happens in the template talk namespace. If there are certain discussions such users need to be excluded from (and I'm having difficulty thinking of any) then we need to detail what those discussions are and importantly why they excluded (people are more likely to abide by rules they understand the purpose of that rules they don't). Thryduulf (talk) 01:17, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I was writing something up, then Thryduulf put it in a far more elegant manner. I have no objection to private secondary accounts editing project space and would scrap PROJSOCK entirely. The standard provisions under WP:BADSOCK would apply, such as voting twice in the same AfD (though that would defeat the point of a "private" secondary account), voting twice in the same discussion, editing the same articles etc. Sdrqaz (talk) 01:24, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    Sdrqaz, I'm trying to think of any truly problematic behaviour that is prohibited under PROJSOCK but isn't covered by one of the other provisions, and I can't think of any. Scrapping that line entirely may, in fact, be the most straightforward solution. – bradv🍁 02:09, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    Thanks, Bradv. I'm open to changing my mind if someone puts forth a good argument, but I'm pleasantly surprised by how commenters so far are viewing it – I had thought mine would be a minority opinion due to a desire for transparency. Sdrqaz (talk) 17:56, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Scrapping WP:PROJSOCK sounds good, given that all of the areas where editing project space creates problems appear to be dealt with by other restrictions. Tamwin (talk) 07:02, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I agree that WP:PROJSOCK should be scrapped. As written, it doesn't make much sense because it may not be clear which account is the alternate and which is the primary. And it's not clear what "discussions internal to the project" means or why this matters. Andrew🐉(talk) 08:56, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Scrap WP:PROJSOCK. The whole thing has contradicted Wikipedia:Clean start outright for years, even though the latter is policy (rather than essay). The only things we need to stop alternate accounts doing is evading scrutiny, bypassing editing restrictions and creating a false illusion of support for an action (and anything else uncontroversial I'm forgetting off the top of my head). Our rules here are ludicrous. Let's say someone edits as a child and gives away a bit too much personal information (not enough to dox, just enough for them to be concerned that combined with the topic of their edits or time zone or something else, it's enough to not wish to be public). Let's say that someone copies and pastes the wrong text without noticing, it's personal information and by the time it can be oversighted they're scared someone has seen and saved it. Or someone drunkenly writes something with stupidly much information. All three of these people have the choice between losing all right to privacy or never editing Wikipedia properly again (just mainspace edits is not "properly"). People here are underestimating how much information editors can unintentionally give away in behavioural evidence such as subject knowledge contributions, timestamps of edits, edits about localised topics etc., and how much some people value privacy. If an experienced editor wanted a new account just to stop the behavioural evidence piling high enough that they could be targeted then that's a plenty good enough reason.
    If someone starts an SPI based on a valid alt then you need to contact them by email or contact a CU/SPI clerk by email and explain the situation. The SPI should then be dropped, with the closure written to create as little suspicion as possible. Tough situation with no ideal solution but it's better than nothing. If you think your alt is now unusable because of the connection drawn, even though the SPI was thrown out, then start a new valid alt. — Bilorv (talk) 12:17, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    Bilorv, creating a new account, as long as the old one was not under some sort of sanction or block, is not and has never been sockpuppetry and does not violate PROJSOCK. It's only sockpuppetry (and that includes PROJSOCK) if you operate multiple accounts simultaneously. GeneralNotability (talk) 19:46, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    @GeneralNotability: says who? WP:SOCK says "The general rule is one editor, one account", "sockpuppetry, or socking, refers to the misuse of multiple Wikipedia accounts", "Editors must not use alternative accounts to mislead, deceive, disrupt, or undermine consensus" etc. No mention of whether you're operating them simultaneously. PROJSOCK says, in full, "Undisclosed alternative accounts are not to be used in discussions internal to the project", correct? The page doesn't define "alternative" but I've always taken it to mean "second or subsequent account created" (with complications in the case of IP editing). If that's not the case and I've not overlooked a definition, then it needs properly defining. It also seems to me that a counterexample to your comment is that WP:BADSOCK explicitly lists "Misusing a clean start", a term specifically referring to a new account operating never in conjunction with an old account, as an instance of sanctionable sockpuppetry. (Though this bullet point is almost the exact opposite of CLEANSTART, as the main use of a clean start is when you think you've been messing up and you want a chance to leave that baggage behind i.e. avoid some types of scrutiny. Another one to remove entirely.) I think we need a lot of discussions about how to rectify the many contradictions within SOCK and itself, and SOCK and CLEANSTART, and removing PROJSOCK is one of the things I would like to happen. — Bilorv (talk) 20:42, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    Bilorv, further down the page, under WP:SOCKLEGIT: Clean start under a new name: A clean start is when a user stops using an old account in order to start afresh with a new account, usually due to past mistakes or to avoid harassment. A clean start is permitted only if there are no active bans, blocks, or sanctions in place against the old account. (some further details follow that quote, but that's the gist). Also, If you are unable to access your account because you have lost the password or because someone has obtained or guessed your password, you may create a new account with a clean password. SPIs are routinely declined because the reported accounts operated sequentially. I concede that both of those say you're supposed to mark the old account as retired or (for lost-password cases) publicly declare the connection between accounts. With lost-password scenarios, however, odds are that the editor in question didn't actually read the sockpuppetry rules when they got locked out and created a new account, so that is fairly loosely enforced. GeneralNotability (talk) 21:11, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    @GeneralNotability: I'm struggling to see which of this text supports the claim creating a new account, as long as the old one was not under some sort of sanction or block, is not and has never been sockpuppetry, or which of it refutes any of the statements I made. — Bilorv (talk) 21:23, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    Bilorv, apologies, it's actually the context of those sentences (the fact that they're under WP:SOCKLEGIT, which is the section "Legitimate uses") which supports the claim. The heading of that section, in part, says Alternative accounts have legitimate uses. For example, editors who contribute using their real name may wish to use a pseudonym for contributions with which they do not want their real name to be associated (...) These accounts are not considered sockpuppets. and then goes on to list examples of legitimate alternative accounts, two of which I quoted in my previous post. I do, however, quibble with the terminology of "alternative accounts" since that (to me) implies the use of more than one account at the same time. GeneralNotability (talk) 21:35, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    @GeneralNotability: thanks, I think I understand better where you're coming from now, though I can't agree that the policy as written supports your claim. On the other hand, I think I agree that it should be written in a way that makes the claim unambiguously true. There are lots of problems here—"Inappropriate uses of alternative accounts" is including things which maybe don't fit the letter of this definition of "sockpuppet", but it's labelled WP:BADSOCK and everyone uses this as a list of sockpuppet behaviour. This definition of "These accounts are not consider sockpuppets" follows the section, rather than preceding it, and still leaves a lot of terminology specification to be desired. This is the sort of thing I'm referring to about SOCK contradicting itself—I suppose the base issue here is that I've been here 7 years and read the page dozens of times and I don't feel I understand clearly where the boundaries are. In general I don't like legalese and bureaucracy, but I do think we're doing a huge disservice to anyone navigating alternate accounts (or IP and logged-in editing) in good faith because they need to be able to say: here is an ironclad justification for my actions and if I ever have to defend them, here is unambiguous policy as written at the time I made these decisions. Or they need to know: actually, I can't do this, and here's the unambiguous reason why. — Bilorv (talk) 21:56, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    The more this discussion goes on and the closer I look at all the policies the more I see what a complete mess they are. Wikipedia:Sockpuppetry could do with a complete top-to-bottom rewrite to increase clarity, remove contradictions, and present everything in a logical order. For example several of the bullets under inappropriate uses are different examples of appearing as multiple people, there should just be a single prohibition on doing that with an non-exhaustive list of examples. Thryduulf (talk) 21:44, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    Absolutely, this is part of the point I'm trying to make (though I think I'm muddling it partly because I don't even understand what the rules are and aren't, so I struggle to suggest concretely what new version to change to). — Bilorv (talk) 21:56, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
    @GeneralNotability: Question: Say you got a 14 year old doing some silly stuff and gets themselves indeffed. 4 years later they decide to give Wikipedia another try. Obviously it's not ideal to be continuing an account where one was adding obscenities to articles or something. So... they're expected to get an unblock on their main account, and then mark it as retired and then create a new one? If they've lost the password to the original, they're expected to reset it. If they've lost the email, then...? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 09:24, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    Just to clarify the point a bit: I strongly oppose all three of the proposed remedies and feel they are a step backwards from the already inadequate status quo, though (1) is the least objectionable. — Bilorv (talk) 20:42, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • 1 or 3 are my preferred solutions. --In actu (Guerillero) Parlez Moi 13:47, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Scrap WP:PROJSOCK. I can't think of any behavior we want to disallow which isn't already covered by one of the other bullet points in WP:ILLEGIT. -- RoySmith (talk) 14:39, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Scrap PROJSOCK per the others. Otherwise oppose all three options. Levivich harass/hound 15:44, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Keep PROJSOCK, but can clarify; 1 and 3 are preferred I largely agree with Guerillero on this (also courtesy ping to Risker for some history on the topic.) I am fine with clarification on PROJSOCK that people can validly use it to comment on discussions directly relevant to them, but that isn't a reason to throw our the baby with the bathwater.
    There are several reasons behind PROJSOCK, but one of the main ones is that it provides a clear line for individuals rather than the rather ambiguous avoidance of scrutiny line, which is open to interpretation. As an example of where these would be issues:
  1. People commenting on AE or ANI cases related to individuals they have a known negative relationship with. This prevents the closer from weighting arguments (grudges are fair to consider), and has the effect of potentially preventing sanctions on a main account (i.e. IBAN.) Even if only one account comments, this is an issue.
  2. Potential harassment concerns following users around in project space that they don't like from disputes elsewhere. Even if there is not any double voting, this is still an illegitimate use of multiple accounts. It is significantly harder to deal with, however, if there is not a clear prohibition.
  3. Concealing behaviour on internal discussions that might not be sanctionable but would have a negative impact on someone's position within the community -- if you're an archinclusionist or archdeletionist with positions way outside of the community norm and use a "privacy alt" to comment on AfDs this is an abuse of multiple accounts. If you request permissions at NPR and it is clear that you do not have an understanding of the notability policy that is in line with the community's it will be denied. If you run for RfA and you have positions on any number of topics that show a clear disconnect with community consensus, you will not pass RfA. All of these are forms of evasion of scrutiny that erode community trust, and are abuses of multiple accounts, but without PROJSOCK would be much more difficult to deal with.
We are an online community and part of that is about trust. If you don't know that the person who you are talking to is not commenting in a completely absurd and abusive manner 10 minutes later, or at least have reasonable assurances that they aren't, trust will go down hill. Many other Wikimedia projects do not allow secondary accounts at all. Updating our policy to allow people to essentially have as many personalities as they want in project space, and have ways to Wikilawyer out of it as the policy would be unclear is a clear negative, and would set us up with Commons to be one of the projects most open to abuse. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:32, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
Hmm... On #2, surely hounding is hounding anywhere (why is it any better to be following an editor around on article talk or template talk pages?). On #3, surely we shouldn't make policy that affects many editors for the sake of the dozen per year that want to run RfA (who can be asked to disclose individually?). Also, general note, aren't 1/3 not mutually exclusive with 2? Seems like Beeble has pointed out multiple issues, and even if PROJSOCK is adjusted (in whatever direction) the 'issues' about CUs not knowing declared alt accounts, or the infeasibility of policing edits (whether in WP: or any other namespace) remains. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 10:15, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
TonyBallioni, The problem is, this is conflating "internal discussions that affect project policy" with "Wikipedia namespace". Given that we do allow privacy socks, surely you're not arguing that WP:Teahouse should be off-limits? Is asking for help on Help talk:Footnotes OK, but not on Wikipedia talk:Citing sources?
If a privacy sock is dragged to WP:AN, can they defend themselves there? Or if one of their articles is nominated at WP:AfD, can they participate in that discussion? Would it be OK to protest a WP:PROD, because that happens in article Talk space, but once you've done that and somebody takes the next step and brings it to AfD, you're stuck?
And what about WP:DYK, WP:GA, WP:FA? Are those fair game for privacy socks? DYK reviews take place mostly in Template space, GA in article Talk space, and FA in Wikipedia space. Does that mean that DYK and GA are OK, but FA is not?
What about participating in wikiprojects? They're in Wikipedia space. Would our hapless NASA employee from my earlier example be barred from participating in WP:Wikiproject Flat Earth? Maybe that's off-limits but Portal:Flat Earth is fine?
What about drafts? Can they review submissions in Draft space, but not add their name to Wikipedia:WikiProject Articles for creation/Participants?
Your goal is to ensure that privacy socks don't get to speak with multiple voices at discussions that drive project policy. That's a laudable goal, but outlawing the subset of pages that happen to fall into the Wikipedia namespace does not advance that goal. By the time you're done carving out all these exemptions, the bright line you seek will have gotten rather blurry. -- RoySmith (talk) 12:47, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
Your goal is to ensure that privacy socks don't get to speak with multiple voices at discussions that drive project policy. No. That is not my goal, and my entire response above was saying it doesn't matter if people only contribute once to each discussion if they are doing so in a way that is designed to avoid scrutiny and deceive the community. My goal is to prevent evasion of scrutiny by people using multiple accounts, because evasion of scrutiny destroys trust on a collaborative project, which is one of the driving principles of our policy on the abuse of multiple accounts.
The reason why Wikipedia space in particular matters is because the only reason to use a second account in the Wikipedia namespace outside of limited discussions about content (RSN, AfD, and FA mainly) is to avoid scrutiny. It's to separate personalities, and not cause you to associate actions from one with the other. Unless your dealing with sexually deviant materials or other similar controversial topics, there really isn't a valid reason to want to have privacy on your project space discussions other than evasion of scrutiny
Which leads us to the final point: clear lines addressed with common sense are easier to enforce than ambiguous policy. No one is currently being blocked for commenting on the Tea House or in DYK or the like with a second account. CUs and SPI clerks have brains and are able to determine intent. If you remove a clear prohibition, that becomes much harder to figure out, and appeals become more difficult. Ambiguity on what constitutes "Avoidance of scrutiny" isn't helpful, and by keeping one line that clearly defines it for everyone, you help people know what is and isn't allowed and you help with enforcement. We're dealing with hypotheticals about the negatives, there are some heavy handed blocks, but they're pretty rare for this violation. The positives of this line when it comes to enforcement, however, are pretty huge. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:18, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
"by keeping one line that clearly defines it for everyone" Except the current single line doesn't clearly define it for everyone (otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion). In addition to RSN, FA, AfD there are the village pumps (this one arguably excluded), the help desk, WikiProject pages, XfDs (especially related to pages they've contributed to with the alt account), RFU, RFHM, ITNC, TALKPP and similar projects, AN(I) when their behaviour is being discussed or they are the victim of others' bad behaviour, CCI, EFR, EFFP, EAR, Arbitration space for cases relevant to the pages they edit with the alt, RFA/RFB for someone they've interacted with in topics they edit using their alt, and likely many more I've not heard of. Yet the current wording does not do anything to stop someone developing multiple account personalities in discussions that happen to occur in places other than the Wikipedia and Wikipedia talk namespaces. By saying "CUs and SPI clerks have brains and are able to determine intent." you seem to be agreeing with me that what matters is the intent of the person, so surely the rules should be written to state that what matters is the intent not the venue? "The positives of this line when it comes to enforcement, however, are pretty huge." I've not seen a single good enforcement of this rule that was not also covered by other existing provisions so I completely disagree with you that "The positives of this line when it comes to enforcement, however, are pretty huge."Thryduulf (talk) 18:19, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
clear lines addressed with common sense are easier to enforce than ambiguous policy — Easier for CUs. But for the people actually using these accounts, it's much harder. Whether you will be blocked and outed is based on the goodwill of a CU or their whim on whether to go by "common sense" or the rule. We should not be setting a rule stricter than how we want to apply it—rather, the opposite, because "disruptive editing" does not have and does not need a rigorous definition, as the community can always decide to rule something as disruptive on a case-by-case basis. — Bilorv (talk) 18:01, 27 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Keep PROJSOCK, leaning option 1 – essentially per Tony. Abolishing PROJSOCK would require us to replace it with a huge wall of text explaining what exactly constitutes evasion of scrutiny in projectspace. Yes, there's a reasonable argument to be made for split contribution histories in articlespace in some cases. But independently using two accounts to participate in behind-the-scenes community processes inherently makes it impossible for me to evaluate someone's conduct as an editor in context, and that is poison for community discourse. If carveouts and clarifications are needed, that's fine and we can discuss those, but deprecation of PROJSOCK would either lead to ballooning policy or socking galore. As for my take on option 1: The current system of is suboptimal because it presents us with complicated OUTING considerations – I'm not opposed to people using alts to edit controversial topics (in articlespace) per se, but using them in a way that's policy-compliant and disconnected from their main account should be the responsibility of the operator. --Blablubbs|talk 09:39, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    @Blablubbs and TonyBallioni: Why is projectspace special? Why is evading scrutiny on a page in the Wikipedia namespace different to evading scrutiny anywhere else? Why is, e.g. Wikipedia:Help desk a "behind-the-scenes community process" but e.g. Help talk:Citation Style 1 not? Why would we need a "huge wall of text explaining what exactly constitutes evasion of scrutiny"? Surely it is better to just prohibit "evading scrutiny" and list some examples so that we don't have to deal with wikilawyering? Thryduulf (talk) 11:08, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    Thryduulf, the Help Desk is one of the places I would consider carveout-worthy. What is special are places like AfD, AN(/I), AE or RFAR. The issue with relying only on the evasion of scrutiny clause is that it will lead to Wikilawyering either way. It inevitably provokes situations where people say "but it wasn't one of the listed examples" and we have to have drawn-out unblock discussions and AN threads about what is and isn't evasion of scrutiny. I'd argue that most scenarios where someone uses a privacy alt in community discussions are inherently scrutiny evasion; a blanket ban on PROJsocking with specific, narrow exceptions is more feasible. Blablubbs|talk 11:18, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    Even if we say something like PROJSOCK is required, "consensus discussions and conduct dispute resolution" seems to encompass all of those examples, and others. The average projectspace page is just not problematic, from WikiProject talk pages to bot/editfilter requests. Even the text I cite is questionable, as asking whether a source is reliable at RSN could be seen as a "consensus discussion" but is just not problematic. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 11:25, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    Also, what if a privacy alt is being harassed? They can't post to ANI, so what's their recourse? Should they contact an admin privately? (if so, how do you communicate this to them? using the ANI banner that evidence shows few actually read?) ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 11:34, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    @Blablubbs: So a privacy alt is not allowed to contribute to a discussion at XfD about a page they are a significant contributor to? What benefit to the project does that bring? As long as they only contribute using one of their accounts and don't otherwise give the impression of being multiple people, I just cannot see how their actions are harmful? As for "but it wasn't one of the listed examples" it's much much harder to wikilawyer around a list of examples that is explicitly not a complete list than it is a list that purports to be complete. Thryduulf (talk) 11:54, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    I'll reply with two quotes from Tony's comment that I'm in full agreement with. As for noticeboards and AfD discussions:
    • I am fine with clarification on PROJSOCK that people can validly use it to comment on discussions directly relevant to them, but that isn't a reason to throw our the baby with the bathwater. Whether we want to keep the wording as "projectspace", or tweak it to "consensus discussions and conduct dispute resolution" is another matter.
    As for what harm it brings to just blanket-allow participation in such discussions:
    • ...if you're an archinclusionist or archdeletionist with positions way outside of the community norm and use a "privacy alt" to comment on AfDs this is an abuse of multiple accounts.
    If we see such an obvious alternative account used to vote in AfDs now, current policy gives us grounds for an investigation; a deprecation of PROJSOCK would severely complicate that, but such behaviour is highly problematic and a serious breach of community trust. Blablubbs|talk 12:11, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    Firstly, why is using multiple accounts to express extreme views more problematic than using a single account to do so if there is no attempt to manipulate the discussion or appear as multiple people? Secondly, why is using multiple accounts to communicate such positions problematic in the Wikipedia namespace but not in any other namespace? Thirdly, If we agree that using an alternative account in a given manner is problematic then surely policy should explicitly prohibit using multiple accounts in that manner rather than as part of a very broad and very vague prohibition that requires numerous carveouts and exceptions to avoid catching things we don't want to prohibit and requires people to guess what behaviour we don't want them to engage in? Thryduulf (talk) 12:43, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    Anyway, even if we do nothing but remove "Undisclosed alternative accounts are not to be used in discussions internal to the project." the behaviour you are talking about would still be covered by "it is a violation of this policy to create alternative accounts to confuse or deceive editors who may have a legitimate interest in reviewing your contributions." Thryduulf (talk) 12:47, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    To answer your question as to why it's problematic for someone to use different accounts to segregate views on internal matters: our system is built on trusting other contributors, and part of that trust is built on knowing their past history of views. As an example, I know you and I agree significantly on most things related to the harassment policy and outing, but have very different views on speedy deletion. While I'll engage with you on the latter topic, I'm also not going to spend a significant amount of my time trying to persuade you around to my point of view because at some point based on past discussions, I know we're just going to have to agree to disagree. On the flip side, in discussions around harassment and privacy, I'm much more likely to rethink my position and see if I considered everything if I see you or someone else who I know I share similar thoughts to arguing one way.
    This is what comes with being a community: you take all of the actions and positions of people, and they do impact how you read what they're saying and influence your thoughts. That's not a bad thing, that's human nature and it is a natural and important part of communities, both online and otherwise. The concern isn't an account that exists solely to segregate views on policy discussions, it's two accounts that never overlap and are fully developed accounts with their own personalities contributing to community discussions in a way that if uncovered would cause a loss of trust in the community. Having some policy around that clearly prohibiting it is a good thing, as in my experience it's easier to deal with clear lines with common sense than it is to deal with ambiguous lines in a similar manner. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:18, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
  • All three original options seem reasonable to me, per the proposal. Removing WP:PROJSOCK from the sockpuppetry policy entirely, however, is an idea that came up during the discussion and that isn't agreeable to me. Imagine someone who operates two accounts, one for mainspace and one for projectspace. Both are strictly separated: The mainspace account never edits the Wikipedia namespace, the projectspace account never edits articles. The result is an account that does not violate any policies while undermining our trust in community discussions. One of the main aspects of internal Wikipedia discussions is that they're held by users who also contribute to the encyclopedia in ways that can be easily looked up. Allowing project-only sockpuppets to loudly participate in internal discussions without ever having made any visible contributions to the encyclopedia would be a mistake: Policies affecting all articles are created in internal discussions, so we'd suddenly be open to policy changes by people who have no idea what their proposed changes mean to editors. Policy must be written, and consensus must be found, by people who verifiably contribute to the encyclopedia. Project socks prevent this verification. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 10:59, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
    An account that edits only in projectspace is a very, very uncommon situation and PROJOCK both prohibits far, far more than that and doesn't actually prevent an account that doesn't contribute to the encyclopaedia from contributing (loudly or otherwise) in internal discussions held on e.g. template (talk) pages, help (talk) pages, article talk pages, category (talk) pages, etc. I'd also argue that an account that has contributes to the development of back-end tools and similar has verifiably contributed to the encyclopaedia. Thryduulf (talk) 11:14, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
  • "The reason why Wikipedia space in particular matters is because the only reason to use a second account in the Wikipedia namespace outside of limited discussions about content (RSN, AfD, and FA mainly) is to avoid scrutiny." I disagree with this. I would create a second account under my real identity if I could, and use my real-name account for noncontroversial editing and all noncontroversial project space discussions, while using my anonymous Levivich account to edit controversial topics (like war, politics and religion) and related project space discussions. If I did, it wouldn't evade scrutiny, it would increase it. Right now I could have a privacy alt that edits, say, sex topics (User:Sexivich?), and I can use this Levivich account to edit project space RFCs about sex issues and no one would know Sexivich's edits in those areas were mine. That avoids scrutiny. If instead I could use the Sexivich account for sex-related project space discussions, that would be more transparent, not less. If we're going to allow privacy alts (and we do, as we should), we should allow those alts to edit all namespaces. Levivich harass/hound 18:45, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Strongly agreed on the first remedy. We should discourage privacy alts not because they're illegitimate, but because they don't work very well. Like Beeblebrox, my experience with this on ArbCom was a bunch of cases of people setting up a privacy alt for good reasons, accidentally outing themselves and/or getting themselves CU-blocked because they misunderstood our byzantine sock policy, then asking us to unring the bell. Probably there's a bias there in that we only heard about the cases that went wrong but, with this and other policies (oversight, vanishing, clean starts), we need to be more up front with the fact that the only reliable way to maintain your privacy on Wikipedia is to never reveal private information in the first place.
I always thought PROJSOCK was an arbitrary rule, but I don't know the history behind it, so I'm on the fence about that. – Joe (talk) 19:05, 17 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Scrap PROJSOCK, remedy #2 second choice Projectsock is really an outdated and overly broad guideline that should be eliminated, but if that doesn't have consensus I would support clarifying it to make its reach more narrow.Jackattack1597 (talk) 00:59, 18 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Strongly Discourage non-publicly-declared parallel-editing accounts,
    and simplify the rules for simple cases before getting bogged down in the complicated LEGITSOCK rules.
WP:SOCK is confusing for a simple newish Wikipedian to get simple answers. There is some very complicated stuff in it that is interspersed with simple stuff, and I think the simple stuff should be stated clearly and upfront, and with the complicated stuff below, under warnings.
The simple stuff is:
WP:SOCKING is NOT:
  • The use of multiple accounts that are publicly declared (declared on the main userpage, and all such accounts connected). Examples for this include secure and non secure computers. Segregation of edits of different types. Maintenance of multiple watchlists. Templates for this include {{User alternative account name}}, and I think they belong at the top of the main userpage.
  • Non-editing accounts. eg. Reader accounts; long-abandoned accounts; doppelganger-prevention accounts.
  • Editing logged out to fix errors in mainspace.
Stuff gets complicated when talking about multiple editing accounts that are not publicly declared. Mainly, the reason for these seems to be "privacy". There are good reasons to not publicly disclose two editing accounts. You may have a good reason to edit publicly, in front of family, work, or for educational course purposes, and not want to reveal your main anonymous account. However, the section allowing for this should clearly and strongly state that doing this is NOT RECOMMENDED, and if done, done only briefly and for very narrowly defined purposes. One little mistake, and the connection may be spotted, and may then be forever public. Relative newcomers to Wikipedia should be actively discouraged from running undeclared editing accounts in parallel. This complicated stuff needs to be written, and is written, but it should be separated from the simple for the sake of simple comprehension of a simple reading of policy for simple questions.
The rules for non-publicly-declared parallel-editing accounts need to be clear and hard. There is currently a rule that you have these, only the main account may edit project space. This is very important for accountability. I think some words are needed to clarify what is a "main account".
Should an undeclared account every be allowed to participate in AfD discussions on their own content? We had discussions on this at WT:SOCK in March 2010, and in the end I found User:SlimVirgin, 10:03, 19 March 2010 specifically, convincing that legitsocks should not be allowed at AfD or dispute resolution. I also think that it is a simple and necessary extension to this that IPs must not be allowed to contribute to AfD, or to project space discussions in general.
--SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:36, 18 April 2021 (UTC)
Answering User:RoySmith's questions of 12:47, 17 April 2021 (UTC). For LEGITSOCKS, that are the not the main account, These should be specific-purpose, preferably short-term accounts. WP:Teahouse should be off-limits. Asking for help on Help talk:Footnotes maybe, but not on Wikipedia talk:Citing sources? No, simple hard rules are needed for this dangerous practice. The main account can ask questions about citing sources. I don't see why the non-main LEGITSOCK should be asking at Help talk:Footnotes.
If a privacy sock is dragged to WP:AN, they cannot defend themselves. If a privacy sock is dragged to WP:AN, and the thread is entertained, something is wrong, and the person is not qualified to run a privacy sock. An account trying to be quiet and do a specific thing should be quiet and well mannered.
If one of their articles is nominated at WP:AfD, can they participate in that discussion? No. The community has to be trusted to be running a fair AfD.
Would it be OK to protest a WP:PROD, because that happens in article Talk space, OK. But once you've done that and somebody takes the next step and brings it to AfD, you're stuck? That's right. Trust the community at AfD.
And what about WP:DYK, WP:GA, WP:FA? These are high end editing, competitive and somewhat drama associated. Reputation and accountability are important here. It is no place for a sockpuppet.
No to WikiProjects. No to AfC reviewing. No to Portals.
Pretty much, LEGITSOCKS should stick to mainspace, and to answer questions directed to them in talk space and user_talk. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:21, 18 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I strongly support the right to have privacy alts. Accordingly, they should be allowed to contribute in the project namespace, insofar as it's practical to write policy allowing this, subject to concerns such as the ones raised by TonyBallioni. They should certainly be allowed to defend their articles from deletion, and other such directly relevant activities. Benjamin (talk) 08:45, 18 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Scrap PROJSOCK and scrap disclosures - PROJSOCK misinterprets the Arbcom case that led to its addition to the policy. The issue there was not that the user was using undisclosed alternate accounts in project space (in and of itself) but that they were using them in ways that were already forbidden by WP:SOCK (apparently WP:GHBH and WP:STRAWSOCK). It's not Arbcom's place to invent policy and they should not have done so here. If someone uses different accounts to contribute to different discussions (not the same discussions) in otherwise legitimate ways, what does it matter? PROJSOCK is a "gotcha" policy that punishes users for no benefit to the project; we should just remove the bullet. As for disclosures, we should probably stop: it's irresponsible and probably unethical to suggest that disclosing a private alt to Arbcom somehow imparts a guarantee of privacy, which is absolutely not the case. It's also clear that everyday editors don't understand that each WMF site is a separate project with separate governance, that our coordination between projects is deliberately very limited, and that what might be allowed here might not be allowed on other WMF projects. What we should do is more strongly advise editors considering a privacy alt of the dangers: if they do use their alt in forbidden ways then we will publicly connect their main just as we do for all sockpuppet accounts, and although we discourage outing, Wikipedia is in the real world and we really have no control over other editors trying to "unmask" a privacy account, though I say we should do more to discourage editors who make a habit of malicious witchhunts. If a user is going to try to use a privacy alt, they need to understand the risks, and that they are responsible for maintaining their privacy, not Wikipedia. I am, however, very strongly against creating a policy that private alts are forbidden. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 13:30, 18 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Question: I've been editing since 2006, but usually I create a new account every few months because I don't think scrutiny is fair. That is, if someone doesn't like what I write about sexuality topics, I don't want them going through my environmental topic editing to dig dirt on me. Is my behavior outside established norms? If I give myself a WP:CLEANSTART every three months, and abandon all my earlier accounts, is that bad? 50.242.124.27 (talk) 16:04, 18 April 2021 (UTC)
    • I think it's fine. I'm sort of the opposite of you: I've only ever edited under one account. But I've given serious consideration to doing it your way (repeated clean starting), or just saying the heck with having a registered account and editing only under a dynamic IP. The irony of IP editing, especially from a large dynamic range like a mobile provider, is that it entirely avoids all the "scrutiny" that others talk about. Dynamic IPs can edit (almost) everything and there is zero way to even see their contribs history (since the ranges are shared). And like 90%+ of the encyclopedia is written by IPs this way... no scrutiny for most editors and yet the website doesn't fall apart. That's why I think talk of scrutiny and community is misplaced: really the transparency and control we think we have over registered accounts is a joke: we only have that for those who bother to register an account and use it, and use it within policy, which is a tiny minority of all editors. Transparency and scrutiny of this type are an illusion. Levivich harass/hound 17:44, 18 April 2021 (UTC)
      • None of this is aimed at clean start accounts. Having two accounts at once is different than abandoning an account and starting a new one. If the IP has really been doing that for as long as they say, they are doing it exceptionally well and I for one have no problem with that. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:20, 18 April 2021 (UTC)
        @Beeblebrox: Doesn't it (strictly speaking) violate the letter of Wikipedia:Clean_start#Contentious_and_scrutinized_topics? (if so, perhaps that letter needs rewording) ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 21:48, 19 April 2021 (UTC)
    • This is exactly the sort of case that SOCK/CLEANSTART needs to allow. Privacy is serious business. We can't just have our rules say that it's not an option. Thank you for your contributions and I would hate to see you forced to change your editing pattern. — Bilorv (talk) 18:01, 27 April 2021 (UTC)
  • There's an interesting point above. Posit this situation:

    RoySmith decided to do it the other way around: Edit as real-world identity User:RoySmith, easily identified with boating being a well-known name in the boating world, on boating subjects; and in order to hide the shame from xyr boating colleagues of also knowing about K-Pop and species of beetle, editing everything else except for boating as User:BigBubblyBoatingBob.

    Currently this is both a Project:Sockpuppetry#Legitimate uses and illegitimate under the above proposals.

    Is this even the problem to be addressed? People mention AFD, but the sorts of sockpuppetry that we largely get at AFD are pretty much always of the kind that are illegitimate anyway. It certainly does not seem to be anything like what the Privatemusings case was, either.

    Uncle G (talk) 22:48, 18 April 2021 (UTC)

  • I think the solution is to encourage sockpuppetry. There are a few common uses of sockpuppetry that are so heinous that the entire concept is banned: socking to evade a ban/block/sanction (block evasion), socking to create the illusion of consensus (vote-stacking), and socking to evade scrutiny (WP:GHBH). There's also the well-established norm that no person can have more than one account with admin permissions. Beyond that, I think we need to re-consider why socking is a problem. User:力 (power~enwiki, π, ν) 00:16, 20 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I don't support any option as I feel that some editors may be embarrassed for users to know that they edit in a specific category and if they declared that they used an alt in those categories it might further increase the embarassment. I feel like instead there should be a template that says "This is a privacy alt of a user who would wish to remain anonymous, who uses this alt to edit in these categories:", that way the alt would still technically be declared but it saves the editor the embarrassment of having to specifically declare that they own the alt who edits in categories they would wish to not be known as an active editor in. Blaze The Wolf | Proud Furry and Wikipedia Editor (talk) 19:59, 20 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Just to clarify for myself: I do not support getting rid of PROJSOCK entirely. I think it needs to be changed, but I do think it serves a purpose. Privacy alt sre intended to be used for editing content, if you want to talk about policy, you should use your main account. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:04, 21 April 2021 (UTC)
  • To borrow Benjamin's phrase, I strongly support the right to have privacy alts. To those people saying they need to judge a person's history and character to have a working community: a privacy alt is effectively a separate person (or persona). Their contributions, discussions, and interpersonal relationships can stand on their own. I understand there's a fear that you might hold Dr Jekyll in high esteem whilst there’s a Mr Hyde stalking around. Wouldn't that be a rare occurrence? Much more common would be the case of Rob the boating expert and Bob who edits in other areas. If both accounts behave in a respectful and constructive manner, and they're not teaming up to mislead, then they should both have a voice in all parts of the project that relate to their respective topic interests. Pelagicmessages ) – (11:14 Sun 25, AEDT) 00:14, 25 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Beeblebrox, it's a bit of bullshit that there is no option to "leave things as they are". We aren't under any obligation to parrot other wikis, after all. I haven't read all the discussion (and shouldn't need to in order to opine here), but a discussion for change that doesn't allow the option to leave the status quo is null and void, imho, as you can't gauge the most basic question "is there an appetite for ANY change?". It's not like you to make such a glaring omission like that. Dennis Brown - 18:03, 25 April 2021 (UTC)
    I don't quite see it that way. I'm proposing remedies to perceived problems. If the community feels that either there is no problem or these aren't the remedies that will solve them, they will be rejected and the status quo retained. Happens all the time. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:54, 25 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I support retiring WP:PROJSOCK, which I have always regarded as a truly asinine policy. I shouldn't have to log in every time I want to contribute to a "discussion internal to the project," which, by the way, could be understood to mean "any discussion anywhere, not just in the project space, that doesn't deal exclusively with article content," and my failing to do so shouldn't be a valid excuse for some priggish admin to block me. Also, I strongly oppose the idea of effectively restricting everyone to one account—I see it as nothing short of an attempt to sneak in a (near-)prohibition on IP editing. Iaritmioawp (talk) 14:52, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
  • This site is discussing an issue prevalent on Reddit; should burner accounts be allowed? Over there, people can get away with that with (near)-impunity; but, for what it's worth, this is a new account as my old account never had email when I created it in the late 2000s on here (around 2004-2005, IIRC). I would argue people do need privacy-related sockpuppets, but there's also the people who come simply to claim usernames. As it is, there was even a suggestion on here, way back in 2007, that a now long-gone vandal (notorious for moving pages, IIRC) who wanted to reform should restart under a new account and never disclose the old one! This is a difficult topic area. But allowing multiple accounts on platforms has always been a touchy issue. I can see both sides of the argument though. Chelston-temp-1 (talk) 13:20, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
  • Scrap WP:PROJSOCK. There are plenty of reasons why an editor might want to edit under their real name for their main edits, and an alt account for topics they don't want to be associated with their real name. Say they support an unpopular political candidate. But then that alt account can't participate in wikiprojects on that topic, or discuss policy issues that affect that topic. That's silly. --GRuban (talk) 17:51, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
I believe the policy clause being questioned here is a misinterpretation of ArbCom. The statement is sourced to Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Privatemusings#Sockpuppetry, which says: Sockpuppet accounts are not to be used in discussions internal to the project, such as policy debates. Firstly, this quote doesn't refer to discussions about behavior or to deletion discussions. Secondly, and more importantly, the question is if "sockpuppetry" means using multiple accounts in a single discussion, or using a non-main account in any of the discussions this statement refers to. I believe we should take the first meaning here, while the policy statement takes the second; if you take the second, it should apply only to the discussions refered to by the first issue here. 147.161.8.37 (talk) 12:57, 19 May 2021 (UTC)
The best way to know is to ask the arbs who handled this case, hope some of them are still around and remember this case 14 years later. The arbs are: User:Kirill Lokshin, User:UninvitedCompany, User:FloNight, User:Jpgordon, User:Jdforrester, User:Mackensen, User:Morven, and User:Charles Matthews. 147.161.8.37 (talk) 13:19, 19 May 2021 (UTC)
Anonymous editing, and efforts to maintain anonymity, were more widely thought to be good things in the early days of the project than today. Specific scenarios that I recall being discussed during that era (possibly but not necessarily as part of the Privatemusings decision) were individuals who were risking governmental or institutional reprisal for their edits, most notably editors from China. Another example would be editors disclosing details of cryptographic or DRM systems, which posed real risks of prosecution in some jurisdictions back in the day. Yet another would be contributions to topic areas that would reveal lifestyle choices (sexual orientation, recreational drug use) that could result in real-world discrimination. These concerns remain valid today for editors contributing from particularly conservative jurisdictions.
As Wikipedia has evolved, the very onerous restrictions on anonymous editing (especially in difficult topic areas) make it necessary to have a named account to make meaningful contributions. It is my view that requiring users to link all their contributions by using the same account at all times will silence important voices that have a genuine interest and ability to contribute. I also believe that the present approach to dealing with socking is heavyhanded and unsustainable, and that we are better off evaluating edits based on their merit rather than their source. UninvitedCompany 20:27, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
My mood at the time was pretty specific -- I was really pissed off at Privatemusing's socking to "carry on and exacerbate drama", as I said in refusing an unblock request from him, and I was likely only considering it through my really intense hatred of socking in general. I think now I'd recommend deleting it; we don't need this blanket policy to deal with disruptive and/or dishonest socking when it's disruptive and/or dishonest. --jpgordon𝄢𝄆 𝄐𝄇 23:29, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Delete WP:PROJSOCK. Since this discussion has not yet closed, I'll add my voice to those who think the simplest solution is to get rid of PROJSOCK entirely. I asked earlier in this conversation if there was any disruption being caused by alternate accounts editing in project space that was not also covered by one of the other rules, and to my knowledge, no one has come up with one. But what's more concerning to me, as a checkuser and a member of the arbitration committee, is the number of times that obvious alternate accounts get checked solely because they edited project space, despite there not being any disruption or evidence of abuse. I don't believe such checks fall within the spirit of the CU policy, but they are justified simply because of this wording in the sockpuppetry policy. This is circular logic at best, and it's high time we fix it. – bradv🍁 21:53, 27 May 2021 (UTC)
    • User:Bradv, and many others, what do you mean by “Delete WP:PROJSOCK”? It looks like you haven’t read the text that you link. PROJSOCK says that you mustn’t use alternative accounts to circumvent policy. I think you might mean WP:SOCK#Legitimiate uses#Privacy??? I note that WP:SOCK is a mess in terms of structural logic of presentation of information, and debating by reference to SHOUTYONEWORDSHORTCUTS is not helpful. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:11, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
      SmokeyJoe, you're right, I should clarify. I mean that this line should be removed: Internal discussions: Undisclosed alternative accounts are not to be used in discussions internal to the project. It's redundant to the actual problematic behaviour described in the subsequent lines. – bradv🍁 04:29, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
      @SmokeyJoe: I've tried to solve the problem by creating an anchor for that shortcut; WP:PROJSOCK should redirect to that sentence specifically. Sdrqaz (talk) 11:57, 31 May 2021 (UTC)
      User:Sdrqaz, I think that is counter productive. Too many non-intuitive shortcuts do not help understanding of the policy, and the6 make it harder to improve the structure and presentation. It would be better to quote text explicitly, and to not write in slogans. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:14, 31 May 2021 (UTC)
      SmokeyJoe, I agree that we shouldn't overuse these shortcuts (especially without linking to them when first mentioned) because it creates barriers of entry to newer users, but the immediate problem at that point was that it wasn't clear to where WP:PROJSOCK referring. That was the (admittedly superficial, in light of other concerns you've raised) problem I was trying to resolve. Sdrqaz (talk) 12:25, 31 May 2021 (UTC)
  • I think the current policy is good enough. No significant changes. That's OK to have a different policy in English WP. Also, no scrapping WP:PROJSOCK as a whole. I think Undisclosed alternative accounts are not to be used in discussions internal to the project just needs to be clarified. I guess it means editing in the project space, like the noticeboards and AfD? This needs to be more explicitly stated. My very best wishes (talk) 18:02, 8 June 2021 (UTC)
    @My very best wishes: That line is the entirety of PROJSOCK, but before it can be clarified it needs to be agreed what exactly it is trying to prohibit and why. Based on this discussion the only things that everybody agrees should be prohibited are already prohibited by other parts of this or other policies, meaning that if we restrict it to that it's completely redundant. Nobody has yet been able to explain what "discussions internal to the project" actually means in practice, nor why an editor using a privacy alt should be excluded from all of them. Thryduulf (talk) 19:36, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
    I've already made some changes to clarify that disclosing an alt to CUs or ArbCom does not exempt the user form following the rest of the policy, I think we may need a follow-up RFC to discuss PROJSOCK only. It's clearly problematic and needs to either be clarified or simply removed. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:22, 14 June 2021 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Consolidating help venues[edit]

BLPPROD and Authority Control[edit]

Hello!

I ran into a couple unsourced BLP articles (i.e. Kev Hopper) and proposed them for deletion via Wikipedia:Proposed deletion of biographies of living people. I noticed that they had authority control templates, but that was it. The BLPPROD templates were later removed on the grounds that authority control counts as sources in the same way that external links would. While this reasoning makes sense, authority control is pulling links from Wikidata. The Wikipedia page source code only shows {authority control} and nothing else, so in my mind, the Wikipedia page itself contains no sources in any form. That's the disconnect for me.

Whether authority control makes BLPPROD ineligible or not, I think it should be explicitly specified in the policy to avoid this confusion again, such as "adding article contains no sources in any form (as references, external links, authority control identifiers, etc.)". Mbdfar (talk) 19:02, 2 June 2021 (UTC)

  • This is ridiculous, authority control is not a substitute for sources. In the case of the particular article you mentioned the "source" in the authority control is unreliable anyway (see WP:UGC). The BLPPROD template clearly states Once the article has at least one reliable source, you may remove this tag., yet it was removed even though there are no reliable sources anywhere in the article including the authority control template.--Rusf10 (talk) 19:07, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
To be fair, GB fan would have been in his right to remove the tag if authority control does count for sourcing. Per the policy, "to place a BLPPROD tag, the process requires that the article contains no sources in any form (as references, external links, etc.) which support any statements made about the person in the biography. Please note that this is a different criterion than the one used for sources added after the correct placement of the tag." So if the authority control does count for sourcing (no matter the reliability), I would have placed BLPPROD incorrectly as the page would have been ineligible. Mbdfar (talk) 19:14, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
  • 100% agreement with Rusf10 here. The authority control listed at Kev Hopper links back to a database of user generated content, and even if the content were editorially controlled, that would not in any way establish notability, as there's no bar for inclusion that roughly translates to GNG. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:22, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
MPants at work, Rusf10; Right, but you guys are missing the point of this discussion. My apologies for being unclear. This is not an argument about subject notability, nor about the reliability of sources. This is about WP:BLPPROD. BLPPROD states that "to place a BLPPROD tag, the process requires that the article contains no sources in any form (as references, external links, etc., reliable or otherwise) " For example, BLPPROD is invalid on an article that has so much as a link to a tweet. My question is whether pre-existing authority control identifiers qualify as a source contained in the article. In other words, is an article BLPPROD eligible if it has a valid authority control identifier? The policy should be made clear. Mbdfar (talk) 22:32, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
No it isn't, because "To be eligible for a BLPPROD tag, the entry must be a biography of a living person and contain no sources in any form (as references, external links, etc., reliable or otherwise) supporting any statements made about the person in the biography". In the case of Kev Hopper, the AC link (which is to MusicBrainz) does not support any statement mde in the prose of the article. And even if it did, it's not a reliable source, which makes me wonder why we bother with it. Black Kite (talk) 22:38, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
Black Kite, if I may ask a follow-up question; If an AC link DOES support a statement made in the prose of the article, would you consider it a valid "source" (thus rendering the article BLPPROD ineligible)? Take the page Jorge Niosi for example. He has many identifiers that support his birthdate, nationality, and publications. Would you consider this page BLPPROD immune? Mbdfar (talk) 22:52, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
The AC link definitely does support material in the biography -- it verifies an item on his discography, and by having a discography, it verifies that he's a musician. Is it a reliable source? Probably not, but that is not (and should not be) a requirement for preventing BLPROD, which is meant to wipe the most blatant cases. If this concern about AC and BLPROD is something that arises frequently, then yes, it should be added explicitly to the BLPROD descriptor. If this is a rare case, then probably not worth the hassle. --Nat Gertler (talk) 23:03, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
The AC link verifies nothing because its NOT reliable. (WP:V is about using reliable sources) A source that is not reliable does not count. Otherwise, someone could just create an article and link to their own blog to circumvent BLPPROD.--Rusf10 (talk) 01:08, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
But BLPPROD does say reliable or otherwise, so someone could circumvent it that way. JoelleJay (talk) 02:39, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
A source that is not reliably absolutely counts for making the BLPROD illegitimate. Per WP:BLPROD, "The requirements can be summed up as: only add a BLPPROD if there are no sources in any form that support any statement made about the person in the article, but once (properly) placed, it can only be removed if a reliable source is added." If you want to change the core of BLPROD, that's a much larger discussion to have. --Nat Gertler (talk) 03:08, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
There are alternatives to get rid of pages with only unreliable sources such as speedy delete, prod, or AFD, so no need to be concerned about gaming the system. Unreliable sources need more examination to see if they are, so not great for fast deletion of articles based on that. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 03:56, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
Authority Control should be considered valid for external links, provided that (as far as we can tell, after the fact) the link in question was actually there when the tag was added. 147.161.12.57 (talk) 06:21, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
Mbdfar, I wholeheartedly concur with Black Kite's response to this comment. The AC template is not, and should not be considered a source. It is an index which allows one to find data on the subject, but it doesn't guarantee the existence or relevance of said data. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 12:23, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
  • I would agree that the AC template, on its own, is not enough to prevent a PROD... however... it does link us to an index of potential sources that should be reviewed prior to a PROD (per WP:BEFORE). If it is likely that one of those potential sources could support information in the article, then don’t prod... go directly to AFD if you wish to question/challenge notability. Blueboar (talk) 12:41, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
The question is not is the AC template enough to prevent a PROD. The question concerns WP:BLPPROD. The BLPPROD policy says that any source, reliable or not, on the article that supports any information in the article makes it ineligible for BLPROD. If we have this scenario:
  1. We have a BLP.
  2. The BLP has {{authority control}} in its source code.
  3. In the authority control template that renders on the article there are link(s).
  4. In at least one of the links there is some piece of information that is also in the article.
Is this enough to make this BLP ineligible for BLPPROD? ~ GB fan 13:56, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
GB fan, I would say that depends entirely on whether or not the information in that link exists and meets our standards for reliability. In the example listed above, it clearly does not do the latter. If there's a case where it does... Well, I think that such cases should be discussed, which probably puts me on your side of things for those cases. In general though, the presence or absence of an authority control template on a page should not be a factor in dealing with BLPROD. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:37, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
Exactly... Do due diligence BEFORE prodding. First check the potential sources linked through the AC template. If any of them could be cited in the article, then PROD is probably not appropriate. But if none are usable, then go ahead and prod (and mention that you checked AC and found no viable sources). Remember that PROD is for clear cut cases. If there is any doubt, don’t PROD. Blueboar (talk) 15:35, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
MPants at work: Why should an AC link be treated any differently than any other external link when it comes to BLPROD -- i.e., if it contains any of the information in the article, even if it's not reliable, then BLPROD is not allowed? If there's some reason, that would seem an exception that would have to be built into BLPROD, which it currently is not. --Nat Gertler (talk) 15:43, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
NatGertler, because there's no guarantee that it will contain any information at all, let alone any information that's in the article.Just because something's indexed in a database doesn't mean there's any data attached to that index. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:49, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
MPants at work, so it sounds like we should treat it like any other external link. Merely having an external link doesn't void a BLPROD. "To be eligible for a BLPPROD tag, the entry must be a biography of a living person and contain no sources in any form (as references, external links, etc., reliable or otherwise) supporting any statements made about the person in the biography." An AC link that supports statements in the bio would seem to fit quite nicely into the "etc." in that, if not simply as an "external link". I'm still not seeing the "but not Authority Control" exception in this. --Nat Gertler (talk) 16:09, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
  • snicker* good luck with that. The wikidata crowd dont want it treated as an external link because then it would be subject to WP:EL and its content being removed in many cases. The solution to this is to alter BLPPROD to allow BLPRODing of articles that do not contain references/sources. External links or templates are not a consideration if something can be prodded based on the sourcing, because they are not sources or references. Just remove the wording that is causing this. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:17, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
the "but not Authority Control" exception for me (which lead me to starting this discussion) is that the AC links are hosted on Wikidata, not Wikipedia. The links on Wikidata can be changed or removed without leaving a changelog on Wikipedia. I think this is important in a BLP context. The Wikipedia page itself hosts no external links or sources, which lead me to interpreting BLPPROD this way. Mbdfar (talk) 16:24, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
I don't think the distinction of whether data/link content is stored on Wikidata or on Wikipedia is particularly useful to make. We use images from Commons in our articles all the time although that means we don't have local control over changes. In the case at hand, had someone turned the AC template into a MusicBrainz link would not have made the situation any better, or any worse. —Kusma (talk) 18:52, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
  • NatGertler, Merely having an external link doesn't void a BLPROD. I agree, and believe that merely having an AC template should not void a BLPROD.

An AC link that supports statements in the bio would seem to fit quite nicely into the "etc." in that, if not simply as an "external link". Yes, hence why I said above that it's worth discussing in those cases. I agree with Blueboar that checking the AC links should be normal due diligence for BLPRODing an article. I also assert that double-checking the AC links should be part of the normal due diligence for removing a BLPROD. Finally, I also agree with Only in death below that external links should not be included in the criteria at WP:BLPROD. There should be actual sources to void it, not simply external links. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:26, 3 June 2021 (UTC)

  • As I understand it, BLPPROD uses bright line rules. The Musicbrainz link was present in the article (doesn't matter whether through AC or directly), so the article wasn't a BLPPROD candidate. However, the link doesn't verify anything useful, and I can't find sources that support much other than #REDIRECT [[Stump (band)]]. I would support strengthening BLPPROD to require presence of a reliable source/a reliable xlink before use, that would make adding and removing the BLPPROD follow the same rules. —Kusma (talk) 15:53, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
    Are there any serious objections to redirecting? We still have this unsourced BLP to take care of... —Kusma (talk) 18:54, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
If only we had a clear cut policy to take care of unsourced BLPs ;)
Jk, I think a redirect is rational. Mbdfar (talk) 04:06, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

The current version of WP:BLPPROD is, if there is any source in the article, whether it is reliable or not, and that source supports any statement in the article, the article can not be BLPPROD'd. So an external link to the BLP's personal self published website that supports some statement in the article makes the article ineligible for BLPPROD. Going back to the article that was mentioned in the first post in this section, Kev Hopper. It has an authority control template with one link. That link goes to musicbrainz.org. The musicbrainz page says that Kev Hopper released an album called Stolen Jewels in 1990. The first entry in the list of Solo albums in the Kev Hopper article says that he released Stolen Jewels in 1990. So we have an external link that supports information in the article. Under the current version of BLPPROD, is this eligible for a BLPPROD? ~ GB fan 17:51, 3 June 2021 (UTC)

  • Not eligible. —Kusma (talk) 18:04, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
Ignoring for the moment, the unreliability of that database, I don't think the name & release year of an album really rises to the level of being considered a source here, else one could just as validly point to the article's name as being sourced to the AC link. I'd want to see some substantial facts in the AC link, not just a single datum that does nothing to really tell us anything about the subject. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 18:22, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
  • If you determine that a subject is not notable then just use a different procedure to propose/nominate it for deletion. The BLPPROD procedure is simply something that was introduced in the midst of a moral panic when some disruptive editors, egged on by Jimmy Wales, thought that it was more urgent to delete unsourced articles that said "Joe Bloggs is a footballer who plays for Anytown United" than to delete genuine BLP violations, which often cite loads of sources. Please let's think about things, rather than blindly follow procedures. I'm still convinced that the difference between what is valid for placing a BLPPROD tag and what is valid for removing it was a simple accident of wording caused by the rush to put something in place, rather than the philosphical talking point beloved of Wikilawyers that it seems to have become. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:56, 3 June 2021 (UTC)

Proposal to adjust the policy wording to include "authority control"[edit]

I propose that we update the policy to read To be eligible for a BLPPROD tag, the entry must be a biography of a living person and contain no sources in any form (as references, external links, authority control links, etc., reliable or otherwise)Novem Linguae (talk) 03:45, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

  • Support as proposer. I've had one of my BLP prods declined for this before, and it was not intuitive to me. I think it needs to be explicitly stated. I don't have an opinion on whether authority control should count or not, I just want to make sure that if this is the de facto standard, that it is stated clearly in the policy. –Novem Linguae (talk) 03:45, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Support, seems I've made a mountain out of a molehill, huh? I echo everything stated above. Mbdfar (talk) 03:51, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
  • There are good arguments above for this. Namely that BLPPROD is a special circumstance, PROD is still available, and authority control does imply potential. That said, what about just a link to a google search for the subject's name? The idea of a "source" implies to me that it could in some way have been intended as a source for the text of the article. That is, it was added to support material in the article, even if it happened to be added as an external link, etc. That seems unlikely for authority control... — Rhododendrites talk \\ 04:49, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
    Thanks for your comment. The policy currently states "sources in any form, reliable or otherwise". Seems to me like any source or link invalidates the use of BLPPROD. If we wanted to discuss making the application of BLPPROD broader (having some links be "so bad" that they don't count as links, essentially), maybe we could start a second proposal. I have some opinions on this, but I'd prefer to discuss them in a different section, since at its heart it is a different proposal. –Novem Linguae (talk) 05:09, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
    I'm not so sure "sources" applies to absolutely any link on the page. Again, what about just a link to a google search? It makes more sense to interpret this as "if someone used a source but only included it as an external link rather than a citation, that's still a source" rather than "any link=source". — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:07, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Support only if a strengthening of BLPPROD does not pass. This proposal is a useful clarification that may save us pointless discussion in the future, but "BLPs must have a reliable source or be eligible for BLPPROD" might be a better approach overall. —Kusma (talk) 10:03, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Support Makes sense. Perhaps have authority control in between 'references' and 'external links'? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 10:12, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
    People !voting below seem to ignore the fact that AC provides a demonstration of notability (the example given isn't a good one, since MusicBrainz often isn't seen as a reliable source - but, say, the British Library?), and that the policy already includes 'external links' not only references/citations. Mike Peel (talk) 16:34, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    The problem is exactly that, that authority control links include random databases like MusicBrainz (quite why anyone would want to link to a database written by people who are doubly illiterate, in that they both don't know how to separate words and can't spell, is beyond me) as well as very reliable links like the British Library. I had always thought that authority control was about verifying that sources were about the same subject, but that goal seems to have been subverted on Wikipedia into being about any database that refers to a particular name, whether that is the same subject or not, and whether the database is in any way reliable or not. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:50, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose - A database of potential sources is not itself a viable source. The sources linked through AC may or may not invalidate a BLPPROD... but we don’t know without checking them before Prodding. I would also remove the “or otherwise” in the parenthetical - but that may require a second RFC. Blueboar (talk) 11:42, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose An authority control link is not a source. The language regarding external links is quite clearly to permit sourcing that's not properly cited, a common mistake by new editors. But any editor capableof implementing an AC template with the link, is capable of making proper cites. Given that an AC link doesn't guarantee to contain any info beyond the name of a subject... There's no reason to treat it like a source. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:45, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
We can not even assume that the AC template was added by a human editor. It might have been added by bot, with no one checking to see if any of the potential sources are actually viable. Blueboar (talk) 10:28, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
Damn good point, this. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:03, 9 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose Authority Control in some cases (including the one above) does not even use reliable sources. If anything we need to improve the quality of sources being used for BLPs.--Rusf10 (talk) 01:25, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose - authority control is not a reliable source. Levivich 15:04, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
    NOTE that BLPPROD does not (currently) require sources to be reliable to negate the PROD. Even the presence of unreliable sources can do so. (We can change that requirement if we want to, but that is a different question from what is being asked).
    The more fundamental problem is that Authority Control isn’t a source, but merely a generated list of databases in which potential sources might (or might not) be found. Blueboar (talk) 15:20, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
    Good point, thanks. I updated my !vote. Levivich 21:11, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose I think the wording's confusing about what constitutes a "source." An authority control is not a source. It could be a source, but it would need to support content in the article. We include "external link" because we have several different ways of referencing which new editors may be unfamiliar with, and may use direct links as a source - those words exist to not punish those users. SportingFlyer T·C 21:26, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose – a source, by definition, is something that the author relied upon in writing the article. Authority control, by definition, is a navigation tool. That's really all there is to it. Authority control templates are means by which someone could hypothetically find reliable sources in the future. They are not sources in and of themselves, any more than {{BLP unsourced}} is a source because it contains links to search engines that might hypothetically find reliable sources. Extraordinary Writ (talk) 22:01, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose AC is a link to potential sources, it is not a source itself and does not satisfy sourcing requirements for articles. — xaosflux Talk 18:51, 9 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose AC is basically WP:ITEXISTS. It's not a source and cannot be used to support any form of content in an article, thus if a BLP article only has an AC template somewhere then it still is unsourced since the provided "source" is not actually supporting any of the material in the article. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 16:04, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose changing the wording because sometimes AC links verify information in the entry and other times they don’t, as discussed at length above. And for what it’s worth, if they do verify info (even unreliably), to me that’s a source that renders the entry ineligible for BLPPROD. But this morass is a great example of why I would support WP:TNT for the whole process. Innisfree987 (talk) 02:13, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Support. If there is an authority control link that verifies anything in the article then it is ineligible for BLP-prod regardless of the reliability or otherwise of the authority control information. If you want to change the requirements of BLP-prod so that sources must be reliable and/or explicitly link to some particular statement then you need to get consensus to do that first. Thryduulf (talk) 19:59, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose, AC is not a source, reliable or not. Cavalryman (talk) 21:36, 13 June 2021 (UTC).
  • Oppose. AC is not even intended to be a source, let alone a reliable one. This seems to be more of an attempt to subvert the intention of the policy to me. Risker (talk) 00:59, 14 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose AC is not a source, period.Jackattack1597 (talk) 18:04, 16 June 2021 (UTC)

Alternative proposal to explicitly exclude authority control as a source[edit]

I alternatively propose the following wording: To be eligible for a BLPPROD tag, the entry must be a biography of a living person and contain no sources in any form (as references, external links, etc., reliable or otherwise). Authority control and any templates with the same function do not count as a source for the purpose of determining BLPPROD eligibilityJackattack1597 (talk) 18:07, 16 June 2021 (UTC)

Alternative proposal to give BLPPROD teeth[edit]

Articles should be eligible for BLPPROD if they have no reliable sources. The rules for adding and removing the BLP prod tag should be symmetric: BLPs should be eligible for sticky BLP PROD if and only if they have no reliable sources. One reliable source for any statement in the article is enough. —Kusma (talk) 21:47, 16 June 2021 (UTC)

  • Support The current process is confusing, in that it can only be BLPRODDED if it has no sources, but the tag can only be removed if a reliable source is added. Jackattack1597 (talk) 00:48, 17 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Support - The current state of affairs is that an obviously unacceptable source, such as IMDb, effectively blocks a BLPPROD. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Jéské Couriano 01:04, 17 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Support if "reliable" (or "unreliable") is more clearly defined. I could definitely see BLPPRODs being contested based on disagreements over whether a particular obscure source is reliable. JoelleJay (talk) 23:34, 17 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Conditional support - if there is a good faith disagreement about and/or it is unclear whether a source is or is not "reliable" and/or whether a source supports any particular statement, then the article is not eligible for BLP prod. Thryduulf (talk) 23:42, 17 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- unneeded. There are plenty of deletion procedures, this one is intentionally a minimalist one, and allows the original placement to be done without arguing over whether a source is reliable. --Nat Gertler (talk) 23:56, 17 June 2021 (UTC)

Welcome over warning[edit]

Hello, How about having a new policy for experienced Wikipedians in relation to WP:Don't Bite Newcomers that promotes sending "Welcome" over "warning"? A number of unconstructive edits by anonymous users don't happen to be pure Vandalism. They are either mistakes or test edits. Sometimes due to the lack of the knowledge of Wikipedia, they err the formatting. We have rollbacking tools like Redwarn that just warn those users. Whereas, the Welcome template has more helpful links for them to better understand Wikipedia and make constructive edits to Wikipedia. This way, we can retain more happy newcomers. P.S.- This need not be exercised for those who truly vandalize Wikipedia. They better be warned than getting a Welcome. Lightbluerain (Talk | contribs) 02:56, 5 June 2021 (UTC)

That is a good idea. I always use {{Subst:Welcome to Wikipedia}} due to its pleasant and yet comprehensive content. VV 06:21, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
  • It depends on WHY you are warning the new user. Some behaviors are so unacceptable and egregious that they should be slapped down (hard)… no matter who the editor is. Blueboar (talk) 15:30, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
    Certainly that is the case in some situations. But lets not have that get in the way of the broader discussion on being more welcoming to new editors in general. I agree that a little too often we are more likely to slap on a warning template rather than something a little more helpful and welcoming. PackMecEng (talk) 15:37, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
I agree we have such users but not all are as I wrote in my post as well. Lightbluerain (Talk | contribs) 06:00, 6 June 2021 (UTC)
Although I am sure that mistakes happen and I know from experience that some new editors are too quick to issue a vandalism warnings, and that tools like Redwarn perhaps make it too easy to issue such warnings, I would want to see data about how frequent such errors are overall. In my experience, it is pretty easy in most cases to distinguish between good faith newbie bungling and malicious intent. I strongly favor welcoming and assisting the honest newbies, and I also favor ousting malicious people promptly. Convincing evidence of a widespread problem that cannot be controlled by existing mechanisms should be required to implement a policy change. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:10, 8 June 2021 (UTC)
Cullen328, How to collect the data? I have no idea for this. Lightbluerain (Talk | contribs) 03:34, 9 June 2021 (UTC)
Lightbluerain, my personal skills are not in data collection on Wikipedia, but I will evaluate the data that editors with such skills collect. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:07, 9 June 2021 (UTC)
Alright. Lightbluerain (Talk | contribs) 10:06, 9 June 2021 (UTC)
Oppose. The level one warnings have a pretty nice and welcoming tone if you read their texts from the perspective of a newcomer, and that is intentional. They also have the advantage of being brief and readable, with concise and specific instructions that newcomers can immediately implement. In my view, this is actually more helpful to newcomers than a generic welcome message which doesn't address the problem with their contributions. JBchrch talk 11:16, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
JBchrch, we have welcome templates on twinkle that addresses some of the problematic edits. I agree the level one warning templates have welcoming tones. The welcome templates addressing problematic edits have more helpful links than the warning one along with an encouraging edit summary. I use both of them considering the conditions I specified in my post. Lightbluerain (Talk | contribs) 06:25, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

Wikiquote[edit]

Hello, my question is about the link to Wikiquote found at the bottom of some WP articles. In my opinion, the quotations inserted in WQ are often an important complement to the WP page, for example when WP talks about the thought of an author and WQ illustrates it with the author's own words. However, the link to WQ is located at the bottom of the WP page with other external links and I am sure that it goes unnoticed by the vast majority of readers who might be interested in such quotes. To remedy this lack of visibility, is one allowed to insert the link to WQ in one of the sections dealing with the author's thoughts? In the French WP it is tolerated. Regards,--Hamza Alaoui (talk) 14:53, 5 June 2021 (UTC)

In general, I think bottom of article is reasonable, since WQ is WP:USERG and shouldn't be given more "attention" than external links. I may be pessimistic, but I find it probable that a WQ entry could have serious cherry-picking problems from some sort of POV. I've never edited WQ, so I don't know how "good" it is. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 08:13, 6 June 2021 (UTC)
I agree with Hamza Alaoui, it is almost impossible to find the link to Wikiquote in the articles. Can't something be done to improve this? --Mhorg (talk) 11:29, 11 June 2021 (UTC)

Reverting a revert[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Rejected per snowball clause . The proposal has been withdrawn by HAL333. (non-admin closure) Sdrqaz (talk) 10:26, 8 June 2021 (UTC)

The following scenario is frustratingly common: An editor changes the longstanding status quo with an edit. You revert the edit and encourage them to discuss on the talk page. They then revert that revert. There should be repercussions for this disregard of civil discussion through the BOLD, revert, discuss cycle. I propose that the following becomes policy:

If a user's edit that changes the status quo is reverted, a revert of that revert will result in a talk page warning. A second revert of such a revert begets a 24 hour block.

This would not apply to an edit originally removing some gross violation of Wikipedia policy, such as a BLP vio. And, 3RR would still stand, as the 3 reverts do not necessarily have to be over the exact same issue. ~ HAL333 18:36, 6 June 2021 (UTC)

  • Support as nom It would encourage discussion and help stifle edit warring before it heats up. ~ HAL333 18:46, 6 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Comment – let's clarify this because the wording is a bit confusing. User1 makes a WP:BOLD edit, User2 reverts to WP:STATUSQUO and encourages talk page discussion. User1 reinstates the edit, gets a talk page warning. User2 reverts it again to the STATUSQUO. User1 again reinstates the edit, gets blocked. Is that what you're proposing, HAL333? —El Millo (talk) 18:50, 6 June 2021 (UTC)
    Facu-el Millo, Yes. Sorry for any confusion. ~ HAL333 19:04, 6 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Support, no contested edit should be allowed to remain before the issue is settled just because of the editor's persistence. —El Millo (talk) 23:50, 6 June 2021 (UTC)
    • Strike my support based on other comments below. I second Number57's opinion: The issue for me is more with 3RR giving an advantage to the editor going against the status quo. IMO this should be amended to allow an editor one free revert to restore the status quo. —El Millo (talk) 17:22, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose. People aren't born with knowledge of how Wikipedia works. A warning for making the same edit twice? And a block on the second offense. Maybe they thought their edit didn't save. Or maybe they're really right and the "status quo" is wrong, but they don't yet know about WP:CITE, WP:V, WP:BRD, WP:OMGWTFBBQ, etc. Or they didn't see the warning. Or the first person to revert them was carelessly pushing buttons. Or they're an busy or elderly expert in their field, and just don't have the time or patience to learn our petty little rules. Or they're a kid, trying their best. A block on the second offense would be spectacularly heavy-handed. Give people time to learn how this place works.
    And, I'd like to see "status quo" defined in a way where all the tricky edge cases don't just work out to "version preferred by the editor with the higher edit count" in practice. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 00:53, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
    Suffusion of Yellow Valid point - we shouldn't bite the newcomers. How about three such warning templates for IP, new, and autoconfirmed editors and only one for those who are extended confirmed? ~ HAL333 04:10, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
    I really don't think it's possible to write a message that is both non-bitey and makes it clear the editor will be blocked on the very next edit. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 20:21, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Comment I think we would have to clearly define at what point something becomes WP:STATUSQUO. Is it WP:STATUSQUO after being in the article a day, a week, a month, a year, etc? Regards  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 01:02, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
How about 15 days or anything present in an article after going through a GAN or FAC? It wouldn't be fair to give February and July equal treatment. ~ HAL333 04:13, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
15 days seems okay though I feel we may have to adjust on context (i.e. low traffic article has a higher wait time for status quo). Probably on FAC maybe on GAN, but I suppose we would also have to adjust WP:ONUS. It can be tricky to formulate the best way to propose it but I do certainly understand the frustration. I remember rewriting an article, I submitted to GAN, it got completely rewritten by another editor, I reverted it back to the status quo, back and forth and then another editor reverted it back to the new version forcing it off the status quo, then a different editor failed my GAN due to edit warring. Easier just to work on lower traffic articles...  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 07:02, 8 June 2021 (UTC)
  • [ec] Comment, There is nothing special about status quo per se. Do not mistake it for consensus as a result of reasoned discussion and evidence. A lot of status quo is the consequence of no-one getting round to making an improvement yet. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 04:16, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose as currently expressed. Too vague, with loopholes for misuse. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 04:25, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This needs to be added to WP:PERENNIAL. Making WP:BRD a guideline or policy instead of an essay has been proposed many times, and failed every time. If someone insists on engaging in editwarring, use WP:ANEW if it breaches WP:3RR. If it's more a long-term pattern of evading 3RR but editwarring a lot anyway, try WP:ANI as more likely to produce a restraint.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:14, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose BRD is worth trying to follow but it isn't always possible or even desirable. There are enough ways to deal with this situation already.Selfstudier (talk) 10:29, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are many situations where such a bright-line rule would lead to perverse outcomes, such as when a spelling mistake is corrected that nobody has noticed for years. Are we really saying that someone who reinstates a reverted correction should be warned and then blocked, even if the correction is obviously correct? As so often, this is an area where human judgement is needed rather than adherence to strict rules. Phil Bridger (talk) 10:33, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • I completely agree with the issue presented, but I can't agree with this implementation given concerns raised by Phil Bridger, among others. I agree we should use common sense more when it comes to edit warring. Elli (talk | contribs) 14:42, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Support in principle but oppose as currently written. "Do not repeat an edit without consensus" is what our rule should be (it would be an effective sitewide 1RR, which I would support, and is basically what is being proposed, but I quibble on the propose wording). Levivich 14:48, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
    As I understand it, WP:1RR allows the original editor to make one revert, whereas this proposal is explicitly prohibiting this. It's really making the bold, revert, discuss cycle mandatory. isaacl (talk) 20:13, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose There are several situations where a revert of a revert is perfectly acceptable – for instance, the outcome of a discussion being implemented and the original reverter being unaware of this outcome, or reverting a knee-jerk blind revert that was not done in good faith. The issue for me is more with 3RR giving an advantage to the editor going against the status quo. IMO this should be amended to allow an editor one free revert to restore the status quo. Number 57 15:10, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
    I totally agree with you on 3RR. ~ HAL333 16:33, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose and personally I like how 3RR advantages an editor going against the status quo. It forces people making a revert to find at least once other person to agree with them which proves consensus. Chess (talk) (please use {{reply to|Chess}} on reply) 19:47, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
    The problem is that conflicts with WP:CONSENSUS. Per NOCON (part of consensus) the change shouldn't be made unless there is a consensus to change it. Often edit wars occur because editors trying to make a change haven't shown consensus but they have enough reverts on their side to be the last revert standing. So long as CONSENSUS is policy our behavioral rules should push in that direction. Springee (talk) 21:28, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • As much as I think the bold, revert, discuss cycle is a good approach whose level of community support makes it close to a policy, I feel making it mandatory might be too inflexible for all situations. I think it could also exacerbate article ownership issues, by making it easy to turn every update into a protracted discussion. isaacl (talk) 20:24, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose as stated but... I strongly support the concern here. Far to often I've see a poor quality edit added to a page, it gets reverted (back to status quo) then the person who added it or even another editor restores the disputed content. A flaw of 1RR or 3RR is any time both editors use up their "edit limit" the result is the change stays vs is reverted. I would rather see something included in the 1RR rules that say, 1RR, mandatory BRD if a new edit is challenged. This would allow an editor to make several new edits to a page, even if one of those edits is reverted, without hitting the 1RR limit. However, if any edit is challenged they cannot restore it without talk page consensus first. Number 57's "one free revert" might work as well but reducing the number of reverts is probably better than increasing the number. Either way, it is a problem that the current system inadvertently favors a change vs status quo. Springee (talk) 21:24, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
    • An alternative might be to turn 3RR into a three edit rule – i.e. an editor cannot make the same edit more than three times within a 24 hour period. This would take away the advantage the editor going against the status quo has. Number 57
  • Comment from nominator Well this looks like a WP:SNOWCLOSE. But as suggested by multiple editors above, I'll propose a (more thought-out) change to 3RR in a few days. Cheers. ~ HAL333 21:29, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Am I canvassing?[edit]

Hi, a user just made this comment.[1] Am I doing something wrong? I don't think I'm canvassing... I am exposing in this discussion[2] with a user encountered in an AE request, all the events that I consider unfair about another user. If so, I'll stop now. Thank you.--Mhorg (talk) 18:57, 6 June 2021 (UTC)

 Comment: This seems like it should be brought up at WP:ANI, instead of here. 2601:1C0:4401:24A0:6463:127E:E490:C360 (talk) 16:30, 11 June 2021 (UTC)

Airport destination lists[edit]

I don't need to cite specific examples, just look up any article about a reasonably sized airport and you'll find an #Airlines_and_destinations section. I don't know if there's an explicit consensus for this (or, if there is, if it's a WP:LOCALCONSENSUS), but they seem to be blatant and obvious examples of WP:NOT (both because we're not a travel guide and because we're not an indiscriminate collection of information), in addition to being high-maintenance stuff. Would there be any objection to me starting an RfC (here) to get explicit consensus for their removal? RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 01:52, 11 June 2021 (UTC)

It appears to be part of the standard Wikipedia:WikiProject Airports/page content layout. Make sure you are clear in your RfC whether you are only talking about the destinations vs the whole airlines list also. DMacks (talk) 02:01, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
So LOCALCONSENSUS, as I was saying? RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 02:24, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
Not everything you didn't get a chance to vote on is a violation of "local consensus" and not every bit of text that appears at Wikipedia requires pre-approval by the entire community. Where the community has decided some principle, local consensus should not override it, but the community has not decided this issue in any meaningful way, and no one is doing anything wrong here. --Jayron32 14:40, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
It definitely feels like something to see if the project's standards are inconsistent with the overall en.wiki expectations. An RFC would be appropriate but you definitely need to make sure the Airports wikiproject is informed about it. --Masem (t) 02:31, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
On the other hand, we list all the stations train stations directly service, why not airports? --Golbez (talk) 04:01, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
Trains really cannot reroute as freely as airplanes, in which there that's all up to what airlines decide to do for the most part. There are reasons to consider, particularly for smaller regional/municipal airports, to say that they generally serve to provide connecting flights to a major airport hub, but this reasoning doesn't make sense for the large scale airports. --Masem (t) 04:14, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
New routes opening and closing does get mentioned in the media. People seem to maintain them. Kind of the only reason I can see to remove them is that Wikipedia is the best place on the internet for this information. Which isn't such a great reason to destroy this useful resource. —Kusma (talk) 05:51, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
For a slightly more encyclopaedic reasoning, something like the destination list is necessary to understand what kind of airport a given airport is. From a European perspective, for example it is a characterising feature whether an airport has domestic flights or not. Nuremberg Airport is reasonably usefully connected to hubs and business destinations (plus holidays), while Dortmund Airport serves holidays and flights home for Eastern Europeans working in Germany. You can read this off from the destination list without having to make a judgement in the article whether you consider flights to Barcelona and Paris to be business or leisure flights. If you explain the character of the destination list in prose, you still have to give some examples, and then going for the full list isn't very far away. —Kusma (talk) 06:34, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
There's no reason what type of airport cannot be described in text using terms-of-art words for describing the airports. Eg: as I mentioned, a small regional airport likely only has flights to two or three major hubs so that can be briefly mentioned. But I would not list all the possible destinations for a major hub like JFK or LAX. Instead, something like "Atlanta International Airport is one of Delta's main hubs in the United States, serving its domestic routes and international travel to Europe, Central and South America." That future proofs the article from any changes that may happen to Delta's flightplans. --Masem (t) 15:02, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
That would be an issue if the destination tables weren't regularly updated. Look at any airport, I just spot-checked Heathrow: we have lots of airport editors who gnome specifically to keep the information up-to-date. Some don't make any other edits. SportingFlyer T·C 22:45, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
A typical small regional airport in Germany, on the other hand, has zero connections to major national hubs. From Erfurt–Weimar Airport, you can't fly to Frankfurt or Munich. Airports are very different in countries with functioning rail networks and countries without. Future-proofing could work well using "as of" and by hiding the lists should they become out of date. In practice, airport destination lists have been well maintained, unlike, say, electoral constituencies, which are commonly ten years old and outdated by two elections. —Kusma (talk) 16:10, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
  • This comes up every so often, and is in my mind quite misguided. The tables have been kept up to date, and the destinations an airport serves receive quite a bit of media coverage. Furthermore, WP:NOTTRAVEL doesn't really apply here - as with train stations, a list of destinations gives an idea of the connectivity of a certain airport. I've often used Wikipedia as a reliable source to look at how places connect to other places. The airliner world often has to deal with poor WP:NOTTRAVEL arguments since it's transportation related - this may be a bit antiquated of an analogy now, but it's clear a table of airlines operating from the airport with the airline's phone number or web site without any destinations would be a NOTTRAVEL violation. A list of destinations has encyclopaedic value, and I'd be a strong oppose at any RfC. SportingFlyer T·C 09:50, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
    • This appears to be the most recent RfC on the matter. SportingFlyer T·C 09:54, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
    • Here is another RfC in a central location that clarified that transportation lists are fine. —Kusma (talk) 10:16, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
      • The first RfC was held at the page of the relevant wikiproject, likely attracted relatively low participation from outside editors, and was 5 years ago. The second RfC is about list articles, not about this specific example, so I'm not sure its particularly relevant. The only reason to keep them is because they're already there (AFAICS) - i.e., an appeal to tradition and a sunk cost fallacy. This comment also seems to highlight issues of BIAS which I hadn't thought of so far. A prose description of the main destinations served by airlines operating from an airport would have much more encyclopedic value than a WP:NOTDIR listing of all of them with barely any annotations, and most often only based on routine coverage/primary sources if at all significant. The tables can go at Wikitravel, it you want, really, but it is rather clear that they're not encyclopedic here as they stand. As has been said, I think by Drmies (IIRC) or someone else, lists (as opposed to actual prose) are often excuses for crap articles, or in this case I'd say for a not particularly helpful part of an article. Option 1 of the relevant RfC seems to really be the only policy-justifiable one: Wikipedia articles should be a "summary of knowledge" (as fit for an encyclopedia), not a listing of all of it. WP:NOTNEWS would also apply, since the route changes only get routine, non-significant coverage. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 14:03, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
        • In the specific example of Dortmund Airport, the destinations sections adds detail to what is written in the History section. It illustrates the article, just like the images do. An "as of" is missing, just like the images should clarify whether they are historic images or current images. I'd like to see the lists more in a historical context than always up-to-date (1940s and 1950s Shannon Airport destinations are probably more exciting than the current list) but I really don't get how Wikipedia gets better if the level of detail provided in these lists is explicitly outlawed. Would you also like to remove the current route from London Buses route 406 or is that ok because it doesn't list all of the stops, but makes a selection with unknown criteria and possibly bias? —Kusma (talk) 14:37, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
          • What does the destination section add that is not already in the history section (ignoring that the history section itself looks like OR, since no sources are cited)? It just gives an unannotated listing of every destination served. Doesn't highlight the fact the airport is mostly served by low-cost airlines, nor does it tell anything about overall flight frequency or which airports are most frequently served... I don't see why you're deflecting to bus routes: these, like trains, aren't quite as prone to frequent changes as airports, and as we can see the route and its destinations/trajectory and proposed changes thereto gets enough coverage that some encyclopedic prose can be written about it. And yes, partial lists which only highlight the overall route (the links are to London neighbourhoods which the route passes through, not to particular stops) and interchange points with other transit (an objective criteria, easy to assess) are much less problematic then ones which would give every single stop (compare what's in the article with http://tfl.gov.uk/bus/route/406/ ) - that's what the equivalent of listing every airport served is for a bus route. "1940s and 1950s Shannon Airport destinations are probably more exciting than the current list": probably, but that would likely be WP:OR if you can't find secondary sources which report on the significance of these routes (for ex. "Shannon Airport was an important stop-over point for transatlantic flights, bla bla so on so forth...[sources]"). If the only sources are WP:PRIMARY (a directory-like listing of routes), then it likely isn't encyclopedic information. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 15:10, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
            • I like the analogy to images illustrating the text - listing the destinations rather than calling something a "small, regional airport" is a way of showing rather than telling. Perhaps adding clickable maps to the articles would perhaps be even better, but that is likely a bigger maintenance burden. CapitalSasha ~ talk 16:05, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
              • Illustratively, at least for smaller airports (not major hubs) which have only a handful of inbound/outbound routes, you could easily make a map to show these as means of illustration without the need for a table. I would not also be suprirsed that for the major world hubs, LAX, JFX, SFO, etc. that you can find RSes that document the principle routes in and out of these cities and use that illustratively (eg showing like LAX connects to several main western Asian airports as well as Hawaii, in addition to its cross-US flights). I fully appreciate the need to point out, relatively, where these airports sit in a larger scheme of airport networks, that to me is encyclopedic and something if could be visually illustrated, would be good, but full route info (subject to short-term changes) is beyond WP scope. --Masem (t) 20:58, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
            Oh, I'm sure there are secondary sources for that. Most transport geek stuff is well documented. My personal transport geek phase was more than 30 years ago, so I won't go and fix any of these articles. I'd suggest you go to WT:AIRPORTS to discuss how airport articles can be improved by adding context to these lists, and by concentrating perhaps more on the text than the data. —Kusma (talk) 17:03, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
              • I'm relying on memory for this, but Wikitravel doesn't want the tables, since they're not really useful for a travel guide. (To be fair, I also don't understand the bus route argument.) I also don't think it's obvious at all they're not encyclopaedic, and that's ultimately what an RfC will be decided on, since there's not a clear policy answer here. We're probably also coming at this from completely different perspectives - I have a bunch of old books from the pre-internet days on airlines, aircraft, and airports, et cetera. Destinations and routes come up prominently, and I would expect a list of airlines operating to the airport at a bare minimum. SportingFlyer T·C 20:28, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Based on the above, and the sentiment I expressed, there seems to be some potential improvement, and at least a plausible chance of agreement, that replacing this with prose descriptions would be an improvement while still keeping the most important information about the airport's status and destinations in it. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 02:30, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Feel free to come up with a better question if you can. I didn't expect the reaction to the below. @Kusma: re. 1911 Britannica: example, please? Link to the Wikisource entry for convenience. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 16:10, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    @RandomCanadian, s:1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Liverpool tells us the American ports the city is connected to by steamer. They consider this information worth including although it could change before their next edition. —Kusma (talk) 16:22, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    @Kusma: The commerce of Liverpool extends to every part of the world, but probably the intercourse with North America stands pre-eminent, there being lines of steamers to New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Galveston, New Orleans and the Canadian ports. That's a one sentence mention, and it clearly isn't exhaustive, unlike the tables we have here. This would be equivalent of taking the example that was given earlier (Dortmund Airport) and saying stuff like "Dortmund is connected to most major European cities, such as Athens, London, Vienna, Prague, as well as to other low cost airports, ..." Your comparison is wrong. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 16:32, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    @RandomCanadian: Heh, "encyclopedic"/"unencyclopedic" stopped being a good word to use while talking about what should be in Wikipedia more than 10 years ago because there is no longer anything that can be usefully compared to Wikipedia, which is rather sui generis. Anyway, back to Britannica: This is a one sentence mention in the main article about Liverpool, not in some specialised page elsewhere, so they seem to attach some importance to it. They are also paper, and we are not. Apparently you do agree now that destination lists are encyclopedic (whatever that means), you just object to airport articles containing, in addition to a prose description, a complete and up to date list? Don't you think the Britannica article would be better if it told us what "the Canadian ports" are or if it did not have this bias of listing all American ports but no others? Being exhaustive helps avoiding bias. —Kusma (talk) 16:47, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    @Kusma: "you do agree now that destination lists are encyclopedic" - nope, what I agree is that a summary listing, ideally in prose format, of the most important information about destinations from a given travel point, is a valid "summary of knowledge" as befitting an encyclopedia. The 1911 example you give uses this to succinctly make the point that "Most of Liverpool's trade is [was, circa 1911] with North American ports." Which ports exactly doesn't matter, though I assume that the ones listed are the most prominent and most frequently served. This is useful information, and in doesn't get stuck up in the minutiae of which destinations exactly, since that's not really an important detail unless you actually wish to go somewhere, in which case you're not going to be taking your information from an encyclopedia anyway, are you? RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 17:08, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    @RandomCanadian: Thank you for withdrawing the RfC. FWIW, I would support a suggestion to have some prose that augments and contextualises the tables in, say, Wikipedia:WikiProject Airports/page content, but I don't wish impose this on the people doing the actual work, at least not without their involvement. For your last question, believe it or not, I have actually used these lists in my travel planning. Least annoying way to answer the question which of the 9 airports that I can reach with reasonable effort have direct flights to a given place. Saves me the trouble of finding the airport's official pages, clicking through ads and cookie banners, finding the content in a language I can read, find where they have their actual destinations instead of the page where they try to sell me some other flights... Thanks to an army of aviation nerds, I can just use Wikipedia instead, where it is in a standardised format that is the same for every airport. While WP:USEFUL isn't an accepted argument to keep this content, it isn't a good argument to get rid of it either. —Kusma (talk) 18:57, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

RfC: Ariport destination tables[edit]

WITHDRAWN
A shame, but clearly no enthusiasm for this particular proposal. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 16:05, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should tabular listings of destinations in airport articles be removed and replaced with prose descriptions? 02:23, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

  • Yes per comments in above discussion about NOTDIR and the high maintenance burden of this non-encyclopedic information. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 02:23, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose this type of instruction creep. Destination lists are encyclopedic information (just look into the 1911 Britannica), you just want them in prose instead of lists? The proposal basically says "we should avoid having complete and up to date information about these things". These lists change about as often as sports team squads do, and are being well maintained by dedicated people. The problem you wish to solve does not exist. —Kusma (talk) 06:18, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose They are useful information to have in articles, and having them as lists/tables makes it easier to quickly parse compared to prose. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 07:56, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose Just because we include information in a tabular format does not mean WP:NOTDIR applies. WP:NOTTRAVEL, mentioned above, also doesn't apply, since no travel guide would want this information - just because the information bases itself in travel does not mean that it's written like a travel guide. The "high maintenance" is wrong and completely ignores the fact we have many wiki-gnomes who update this on a frequent basis. "Non-encyclopaedic" is an opinion, and one I strongly disagree with. As someone with lots of aviation related books, destination information was one of my primary uses of the site before I started contributing on a regular basis. Finally, no example of what this would look like in prose has been contributed. This is a half-baked proposal that doesn't fix any problem. SportingFlyer T·C 08:01, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose Prose for this sort of information would be difficult to compile in an accessible manner. Tables are suitable and well established. NOTDIR does not apply, surely, as an airport article would be expected to contain an easy to read summary of destinations available from that airport. doktorb wordsdeeds 08:40, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
  • No. WP:NOTDIR doesn't apply here, as this is not a list of loosely associated topics, a directory for conducting business, nor a simple listing without context. The proposal to change it with prose description is merely table-phobia - if the content violated NOTDIR or NOTTRAVEL, it would do it in prose form as well. We are discussing merely about presentation format, and I'm not aware of no policy saying that tables are a format to avoid when showing a list of items. Also, the problem of having to maintain the content would also exist if this was changed to prose, so how does it solve the problem as stated? Diego (talk) 09:07, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The proposal is to reformat the content, with no comment about changing the scope or level of detail of the content (that is, it does not address the original goal of the preceding discussion). Therefore it it just a Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists question. Table seems the best way to organize this info, though no prejudice from also including other prose highlighting general themes or historical aspects. DMacks (talk) 15:21, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    If you read the clarification comment below, you'll see the proposal is to trim the info by putting it into prose and sticking to what can be found in reliable secondary sources and not simply to be a listing of destinations based on WP:PRIMARY sources. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 15:30, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    My position stands. No evidence that this can't be found in secondary (User:Kusma suggests above that it can). And no evidence that only using secondary for bare facts, which might lead to omissions, is better than a factually complete statement (the idea being the specific details, not the general patterns). And finally, WP:PRIMARY explicitly condones this sort of bare-facts use. DMacks (talk) 15:36, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Question clarification "prose descriptions" might be a bit vague, but this is intentional so as not to explicitly exclude specific but not thought of forms of reliably sourced information and also not to get people hung up on wording. It ideally includes any significant information which can be reliably sourced, such as main airlines serving the airport, most important destinations, so on so forth. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 02:30, 12 June 2021 (UTC)

  • @Diego: "it would also violate NOTDIR in prose format" - wrong. Prose format would make it far more inconvenient to give a full, excessive listing of all of them. We're an encyclopedia, not an airport departures board. Readers who absolutely need the information should not be using Wikipedia for this - they should instead go directly to the airport's website. To those who don't, the only relevant and encyclopedic information is providing a summary (Encyclopedia: "reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge") of it, for example in the case of the previously linked Dortmund Airport: "As of 2021, Dortmund is a hub for Wizz Air, and is also used by other low-cost carriers such as Ryanair ... Destinations served including most major European cities, and..." In the current form, the tables are a clear, context-less indiscriminate collection, without providing any useful information. We don't list every single stop of a bus route ('cause we're not a bus schedule website). Likewise, on the exact same grounds, we shouldn't list every single airport served from another one. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 12:42, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    It's not an indiscriminate list per WP:DISCRIMINATE, though - it's a very clearly defined list of airlines which serve the airport, and the places they fly to from that airport. They're also not schedules as you seem to imply, that would clearly violate WP:NOT. As someone who looks at this sort of information, I really don't understand why you think readers "shouldn't be using wikipedia for this." SportingFlyer T·C 12:47, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    Listing every element of a set, even if the set is clearly defined, can still be indiscriminate if it serves no useful encyclopedic purpose. Prose is preferred, especially if it can be used to give more context. Describing which type of airlines serve an airport, what the main focus of destinations is, ... is far more relevant context information than leaving an unannotated list which is subject to frequent and non-encyclopedic short-term changes. As I said, it's a WP:BADIDEA. RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 13:30, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    Again, "no useful encyclopaedic purpose" is your own opinion. We'll see how the discussion plays out. SportingFlyer T·C 13:35, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    The tables provide additional information with clearly given context that you mainly seem to object to because they are complete and up-to-date. WP:NOTPAPER tells us that we are not bound by the limitations of paper-based encyclopaedias, but can "include more information, provide more external links, and update more quickly." Your opinion "without providing any useful information" has already been disproved by other people telling you that they do regard this as useful information. —Kusma (talk) 14:13, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
    Thank you. Put exactly what I wanted to say, above. "NOTDIR" can be thrown about with enthusiasm but NOTPAPER should be our guiding principle here. doktorb wordsdeeds 15:04, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Banning IP editing?[edit]

There's a thread at WP:VPW#IP Masking Update which has morphed into an (informal) discussion of banning all IP editing. Posting this just to bring it to the attention of a wider audience. -- RoySmith (talk) 13:17, 14 June 2021 (UTC)


Question of What Noticeboard[edit]

This is sort of a meta-inquiry about a case request at DRN. The question is whether a social-media self-sourced statement should be used with regard to the gender of the subject of a biography of a living person. (If this is the wrong forum to ask this question, I can ask it somewhere else.) The question that I have is whether DRN or BLPN is a better noticeboard. The disadvantage to DRN is that the primary purpose of DRN is to resolve content disputes by compromise or moderated discussion, or, that failing, to resolve them by RFC. This is not really a matter if disagreement between editors, but of how to apply a policy which serves to balance the interests of two sets of non-editors, the subject and the readers. The disadvantage to the BLP noticeboard is that it says that it is primarily for cases about possibly defamatory material, which of course should be removed (and possibly redacted). My first and second thoughts are that BLPN is the right place anyway, because the regular editors may be thoroughly familiar with BLP policy, but I am asking for any third thoughts. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:15, 14 June 2021 (UTC)

  • BLP is a good noticeboard to post questions and RfCs that are about interpreting our BLP policy. Lots of noticeboards have instructions that should usually be followed, but can be safely ignored while still getting a response when the question is highly pertinent to the subject of the noticeboard. For example, the RfCs about the general reliability of a source which frequently appear at WP:RSN weren't expressly permitted by the instructions until a February, 2020 RfC changed them, yet several such discussions took place there previously. There have also been discussions about sourcing in general, certain types of sources, etc. As long as the discussion is directly relevant to the topic, the noticeboards are a good place to get input on a question. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:41, 14 June 2021 (UTC)
  • I don't think too much should be made of where the issue is discussed, as long as it is announced at the different relevant boards and it is discussed rather than edit-warred over. We have many possible places for discussion, and I have noticed (and have probably been guilty of this myself) that experienced editors tend to admonish new editors for raising discussions at the "wrong" place, even when it is often far from clear where the "right" place is. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:38, 14 June 2021 (UTC)

rfc: template:reply to use in talk pages[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
withdrawn. after reading the discussion i realise none of my proposals make sense. Serprinss (talk) please ping on reply. 07:37, 17 June 2021 (UTC)

what should the policy if any be on the use of template:reply to and template:ping? Serprinss (talk) please ping on reply. 06:35, 16 June 2021 (UTC)

Proposed solutions[edit]

  • option 0 keep it the same, do not mention reply to in talk page policies.
  • option 1 change the policy to recommend the use of reply to when replying in talk pages but don't require it.
  • option 2 require reply to to be used in talk pages when replying in talk pages.

Serprinss (talk) please ping on reply. 06:36, 16 June 2021 (UTC)

  • Option 0 because 1. not every reply requires a ping and 2. many people who use talk pages (and keep in mind talk pages exist for those who do not edit actively as well) do not understand templates. So not only is it unnecessary but it's also confusing new editors. versacespaceleave a message! 12:20, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Option 0 Is there some actual problem being solved here? * Pppery * it has begun... 14:10, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Questions To which talk page policies are you referring? If these are the (only) proposed solutions, what is/are the problem(s) being addressed? Is there an option to keep it the same, but allow the mention of {{reply to}}? Where was the preparatory discussion per WP:RFCBEFORE so we can understand the issues? — JohnFromPinckney (talk / edits) 14:54, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
    Hilarious. I just now noticed (after Phil's comment appeared on my watchlist) that we are expected to ping on every reply. This is something I wouldn't think of doing in an RfC, assuming that the requestor has the page watched and that watchlist hits plus pings would be terribly annoying to them. But apparently, I'm wrong in this case. @Serprinss: I replied and asked you some questions. Hours ago. — JohnFromPinckney (talk / edits) 20:33, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Strong NOT 2 making that a policy is a horrible idea, and would need many exceptions. For example, why would I need that on User_talk? Why would I need it when replying to myself? What defines "replying" (is general commentary to "all of the above" a reply?) etc etc etc? I would never want to end up sanctioning editors for this policy violation if they used a normal wikilink instead of some arbitrary template as well. — xaosflux Talk 15:35, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
    • Option 0 - even if engaging notif is desired, there are many other ways to do this, especially just including a normal wikilink without using a template, including in the edit summary. — xaosflux Talk 15:38, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Question @Serprinss: please clarify what policy you are looking to update. Are you thinking of amending Wikipedia:Talk_page_guidelines and then promoting it to policy instead of guideline? Also, per above, what problem are you trying to solve? RudolfRed (talk) 16:47, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
  • This is where we get when we pretend to be a social media site and introduce features like pinging. People start, in good faith, thinking that they should be compulsory. This is an encyclopedia, not a social media site. If you want to see what happens on a page then simply put it on your watchlist. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:11, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Option 0 I sometimes oppose policy proposals as being solutions looking for a problem but this isn't even that. It's a solution that has wandered into a completely foreign milieu and is wandering around looking for the drinks table before so it can get up the courage to begin looking for a problem. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 20:52, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Perhaps further discussion can be put on hold until the original poster provides significantly more details on the specific problem being addressed? isaacl (talk) 20:58, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

JRank : link farm ?[edit]

CloudSight

jrank.org, biography.jrank.org, jrank.com, biography.jrank.com
.... 0mtwb9gd5wx (talk) 12:12, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
  • @0mtwb9gd5wx: you have posted this to the Policy Village Pump - what proposed or existing policy or guideline are you trying to discuss, create, or modify with this? — xaosflux Talk 14:35, 17 June 2021 (UTC)
@Xaosflux: JRank = CloudSight = "Web Solutions" = "Image Searcher" = *.jrank.org = *.jrank.com
wikipedia has around 1,019 references to *.jrank.org and *.jrank.com and they don't seem to be reliable sources, I think the websites *.jrank.org and *.jrank.com should be blacklisted due to plagiarism:
.... 0mtwb9gd5wx (talk) 02:11, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
@0mtwb9gd5wx: OK, that doesn't require any new policies, you can discuss unreliable source issues at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. — xaosflux Talk 02:15, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
@Xaosflux: To prevent web cites with *.jrank.* as URL from being added to wikipedia, and to change current *.jrank.* web cites to encyclopedia.com URLs due to plagiarism, the process is what? .... 0mtwb9gd5wx (talk) 02:25, 18 June 2021 (UTC)

Individual articles from reliable sources[edit]

Are individual articles from non-depreceated sources automatically considered reliable, meaning per se they are blanket accepted, without there being an analysis of if the article from the source is reliable, and meets the journalistics standards expected? Sparkle1 (talk) 17:53, 17 June 2021 (UTC)

In this generality: no. Context always matters. There are reliable sources that participate in April Fools' Day, for example. —Kusma (talk) 18:09, 17 June 2021 (UTC)
We also look for thigs titled "opinion" or "op-eds" which may make them unreliable for use as facts in some cases though usable for their attributed opinions. Case-by-case evaluations should be discussed on talk pages. --Masem (t) 18:12, 17 June 2021 (UTC)

Thank you for the clarification, I was in a dispute where there was an argument that was boiling down to it is in a reliable source therefore the article is reliable because it is in a reliable source. Sparkle1 (talk) 18:19, 17 June 2021 (UTC)

Indefinite IBAN/TBAN should not be infinite, but have a sunset date[edit]

I think having a policy that says that an indefinite ban is defacto infinite is currently what we have and runs counter what Wikipedia is about. For example, I'm currently tbanned and one way ibanned, and in my appeal I noted how I acknowledged the reason for it, but it's been ages without incident and should be looked at. Those opposing said that "it's working now, why change?" Which is like telling someone in prison that they haven't committed any crimes in prison so why let them out? Right now it's very difficult to overturn an indefinite ban of any sort and I do think there should be a limit on the length of an iban or tban without explicit community action, or behavior that warrants it. Sir Joseph (talk) 19:44, 17 June 2021 (UTC)

How many years? Peter Gulutzan (talk) 20:16, 17 June 2021 (UTC)
  • There shouldn't any inherent sunset clause, since many individuals don't seem to improve, and therefore they'd just time out their sanction. Given you've been blocked repeatedly, including 3 times in 2019, that could well apply to you. I do agree that I get annoyed that individuals use "well clearly it's working in various TBAN and IBAN appeals, so we should leave it" as a justification, without suggesting what concrete steps they'd accept as sufficient evidence of improvement for an appeal, as it functionally makes changing or eliminating the sanction impossibly unfair. But a flick through your talk page for the last 2 years makes me concerned that you would not act as an ideal example of this, and this is more a proxy method of getting around its limitations Nosebagbear (talk) 00:43, 18 June 2021 (UTC)