Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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

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

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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)


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.


  • 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 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:
  • 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? (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. (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. (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]


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. (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 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)
  • Oppose AC is not a reliable source. It does not demonstrate notability (ORCID exists for most academics), it does not necessarily demonstrate existence (VIAF has many bogus entries) or reliably prove any claim (VIAF has sometimes wrong birth dates and gender). MarioGom (talk) 06:51, 18 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)

  • Support. I support any attempt to clarify the BLPPROD page. Doesn't matter to me whether authority control counts as a source or not, as long as whether it counts or not is stated somewhere on that page. The proposal above this one is trending toward authority control not counting, so I support adding this proposal's wording or something similar. –Novem Linguae (talk) 10:37, 21 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)
    The procedure already only allows the tag to be removed when a reliable source is added. —Kusma (talk) 08:23, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
    • Yes, but that's a much rare situation to be dealt with. BLPROD is intended to be an easy sweep for a large amount of absolute junk articles on which there was not even an attempt to source. --Nat Gertler (talk) 14:25, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Support – BLPs are too important to play fast and loose with. A reliable source is a minimum for writing something about a living person and posting it on the fifth-most-visited website and (almost always) the top Google search result. I'd support a rule like "clearly reliable source" or even "WP:GNG source" or requiring two such sources or three, but just adding "reliable" to "source" is a good start. We really can't overdo it when it comes to requiring that our BLPs are well-sourced so as to meet our V, NPOV, and BLP policies. And it's really irresponsible of us to allow people to create BLPs with anything less than solid sourcing. BLPs have to be the area where we are strictest about sourcing. Levivich 13:35, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
    • The current presumption is "don't delete it unless it's clearly unsourced." That should be reversed for BLPs: delete it immediately unless it's clearly properly sourced. I can go create a page about Levivich based on some shoddy (even user generated) source, and it'll be live for at least a week before it gets deleted at AFD. During that week it may get indexed and mirrored. That's almost outrageous to me. I can't imagine why the rule for BLPs isn't a very hard "proper sources first, then article - no article without proper sourcing." I truly don't understand how anyone can think the benefits of not deleting outweigh the risks of not deleting, or that the potential for improvement is more important than the potential for harm. (And I don't understand why we leave BLPs live while we discuss whether they should remain live. BLPs should at least be in draftspace unless they're clearly properly sourced, e.g. two obvious GNG sources. /rant.) Levivich 19:08, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
  • The problematic phrase here is the parenthetical “reliable or otherwise”… this implies that a non-reliable source is enough to negate a BLPPROD. I would require reliable sources.
That said, WP:BEFORE needs to be factored in to any prod. For a prod to be successful, there has to be a reasonable belief that no reliable sources exist, not just that no reliable sources are currently cited in the article.
To tie this into the discussion re authority control: Authority control is not a source. So… a link to it is not (on its own) sufficient to cancel a prod. However, authority control does point to potential sources… and it is those sources that need to be reviewed and checked for reliability BEFORE prodding. Due diligence is required. Blueboar (talk) 14:58, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose per the RFC at Wikipedia_talk:Proposed_deletion_of_biographies_of_living_people/Archive_7#RfC:_Articles_with_only_IMDb_references_eligible_for_BLPPROD?, which resoundingly rejected a weaker version of this proposal (and all the other times this has been raised at WT:BLPPROD). There will never be agreement on which kinds of sources are reliable or not, so the best thing is to treat all sources equally for BLPPROD purposes. The existence of BLPPROD doesn't stop WP:PROD (easier to add) or WP:AFD (harder to remove) from being used. IffyChat -- 17:03, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
    OK, so let's recap: If an article has an IMDB link via Authority Control as only source, it is eligible for BLPPROD per the above. If it is a direct IMDB link, it is not eligible for BLPPROD per the discussion you just mentioned. However, if a BLPPROD is placed on an article with IMDB-via-AC, adding the direct IMDB link is not enough to remove the BLPPROD. Could we, perhaps, simplify this process to remove special cases? Or we could just get rid of it. —Kusma (talk) 18:23, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
    Assuming the above discussions is a consensus for the notion that authority control isn't a source, then yes; because in the case of the direct IMDB link, someone added the IMDB link with the intention of using it as a source of some kind and therefore the article is not unsourced. In the case of the AC-derived IMDB link, Adding the IMDB link directly doesn't defeat a validly placed BLPPROD because IMDB is not a reliable source. BLPPROD was designed to get rid of unsourced BLPs, not poorly sourced BLPs. IffyChat -- 18:50, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Iffy, WP:PROD already exists, if something uncontroversially fails WP:GNG use it, if that is contested, AFD exists. W42 17:33, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Ehhhhh The goal of BLPPROD is to avoid having to make judgement calls about whether sources are reliable or not, considering other alternatives to deletion exist. I completely agree with the sentiment here, though. SportingFlyer T·C 18:31, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As stated above we have plenty of other deletion procedures that can be used if no sources are available for a subject. This procedure was only introduced because we had several editors, egged on by Jimmy Wales, who seemed to think that deleting perfectly innocuous articles that could be sourced in seconds took precedence over fixing genuine WP:BLP violations, which often have loads of sources. It was a case of "something must be done", "this is something", so "this must be done". A form of reasoning that seems to have taken hold here. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:40, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
  • It's not about "replacing" anything. This is the new kid on the block when it comes to deletion procedures. We have speedy deletion and WP:PROD as well as AfD. No deletion procedure takes any longer than BLPPROD. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:35, 18 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)
Here is an example to demonstrate the need of the policy modification. Lightbluerain (Talk | contribs) 08:17, 19 June 2021 (UTC)


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.[21] Am I doing something wrong? I don't think I'm canvassing... I am exposing in this discussion[22] 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 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 ) - 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)
                Wikivoyage doesn't want the tables because they don't have enough volunteers to keep them all up to date. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:23, 22 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]

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)


  • 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)


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]

As noted, this should be discussed at WP:RSN, MediaWiki talk:Spam-blacklist or WP:BOTREQ. -- RoySmith (talk) 01:57, 19 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.

.... 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" = * = *
wikipedia has around 1,019 references to * and * and they don't seem to be reliable sources, I think the websites * and * 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 URLs due to plagiarism, the process is what? .... 0mtwb9gd5wx (talk) 02:25, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
If you want to discuss if the source is unreliable, use the WP:RSN link above. If you feel it is a bad site that should never be used anywhere you may request blacklisting at MediaWiki talk:Spam-blacklist. If you want someone to go find links and change them to something else, that is a good job for a bot and you can go ask at WP:BOTREQ. None of this is a policy or guildeline proposal which is the scope of this page. — xaosflux Talk 10:01, 18 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.

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)

  • Kusma and Masem, this editor is now using your replies here to justify rejection of reliable secondary sources based solely on their own OR and POV, as seen here. There are no April Fools' or op-eds involved here. The fact is that, in general, we do consider a reputable mainstream outlet, like the BBC, to be reliable, which is the whole point of the idea of verifiability and reliable sources, and any questioning of any particular claim has to come from other reliable sources, not an editor's own ideas. This is basic WP:NOR, WP:NPOV, and WP:V. Crossroads -talk- 21:05, 18 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)
  • First off, prison metaphors are never helpful. A restriction from taking certain actions on a single website is not comparable to being stripped of your rights as a citizen and locked up in a facility that dictates every aspect of your life. As to the actual issue: while I agree that "it's working so why get rid of it" is not the most helpful comment, I don't know how anyone is supposed to know the magic time frame after which someone will be able to exhibit the necessary self-control sufficient to prevent them from doing whatever it was that got them so restricted. If we did automatic expiry on tbans or ibans, and the person has not changed, that creates needless drama and they'll just end up sanctioned again. So, as a general idea this is just not good. Since you bring up your specific case, your block log and talk history shows multiple instances of violating said bans, and doubling down when blocked, resulting in loss of talk page access. For someone like that it should be difficult to overturn a valid topic or interaction ban. The vast majority of Wikipedia editors are under no individual restrictions of any kind, maybe consider why it is that you were so restricted in the first place, and work on that instead of trying to change policy so you don't have to. Beeblebrox (talk) 16:06, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
    I never violated the IBAN I requested to remove. As for my history, we have admins mixing up bans and topics and when I said "let it rest" a rogue admin came in and took away my talk page access, and then when I sought clarification from OTRS how letting it rest is considered being disruptive, that said admin denied the request. So as to why things happen, it's because this place is toxic with bad admins running around, That's why I don't edit as much. All that has nothing to do with my request that indefinite should not be infinite without proof of it being needed. Sir Joseph (talk) 16:16, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
    This is the explanation you were given when your talk page access was removed. Since you are still making unfounded accusations against people, and calling this place "toxic" rather than evaluating your own contribution to that environment, I recommend rereading and considering Swarm's advice.
    As for the broader topic at hand, bans should remain in place until the community is convinced that the potential for disruption has been mitigated. At the time a ban is placed there is usually no way to know when that will be. In your particular case, judging from your comments here, the answer is clearly "not yet". – bradv🍁 17:47, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
    As I posted on my talkpage, ". I'm OK with leaving this site for a month, I'm just upset over the toxicity of ANI and how I was railroaded, IMO." That is clearly not disruptive, and certainly not disruptive enough for TP revocation and certainly not to be dismissed by the same admin who took it away. Certainly not unfounded.
    Regardless, none of that is about the IBAN which I haven't violated, and the reasons given were "it seems to work, so let's just keep it. I will wait for people that don't automatically see my name and decide a certain way before taking away my claim that this place is toxic. Sir Joseph (talk) 17:59, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
    If people are mixing up which of your restrictions you violated, that says something about you that you might want to consider as, again, the vast majority of users are never subject to even one such ban, let alone a small pile of them. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:25, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
    By small pile you mean two, right? And again, this isn't necessarily about me but about a policy that makes indefinite into infinite. Sir Joseph (talk) 21:59, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
    User:Sir Joseph - This may seem like a stupid question, but I will ask it anyway. If you characterize Wikipedia as toxic and think that it has rogue admins, why is it so important to you that your restrictions be lifted? Robert McClenon (talk) 04:04, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
    I agree that WP:ANI can be a very unpleasant forum. It is especially unpleasant for editors who bring their toxicity with them. But editors who think that Wikipedia is as toxic or as corrupt as you seem to think it is tend not to last very long. You have survived much longer than most editors who have been comparably negative. But why do you want to be here if that is your opinion? Robert McClenon (talk) 04:04, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
    The standard offer is always available though, as I read this thread, the OP is nowhere close to being able to use it. There are too many examples of editors who simply waited out their block or ban and resumed their toxic behavior once they expired or were lifted. MarnetteD|Talk 04:15, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
Pretty much what Beeblebrox said. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 08:47, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
User:Sir Joseph - I have some advice that you probably don't want. If you want the partial bans lifted, the best thing to do is to stop complaining about the alleged toxicity of Wikipedia and about the behavior of rogue admins. This does not mean that being quiet will end those restrictions, but it does mean that being noisy means that, at a minimum, the existing bans will be left in place. Robert McClenon (talk) 13:28, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Disagree Indef puts the onus where it ought to be, on the offender, who needs to convince others it ought to be lifted.Selfstudier (talk) 13:33, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Why would we allow a TBAN or an IBAN to expire without any indication that the user accepts what they did wrong and will not repeat their behaviour? This makes no sense. Pawnkingthree (talk) 14:10, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
    • Because sanctions are preventative not punitive and there is no connection between a person "accepting what they did was wrong" (what the heck does that even mean?) and a person not doing it again. Levivich 14:18, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
      • There's no connection? Really? If someone doesn't understand why they were banned in the first place, they aren't more likely to repeat? Pawnkingthree (talk) 14:29, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
        • "Understand why they were banned in the first place" is not the same as "accept what they did was wrong" and neither are the same as, or even connected to, "will not do it again." Levivich 16:06, 20 June 2021 (UTC)

Converting Wikipedia:Student assignments into an actual guideline[edit]

I noticed semi-recently that we don't have an actual policy or guideline on how student assignments should function. The closest we have is WP:Student assignments, but that's an information page. There's been a lot of discussion over at the Wikipedia:Education noticeboard over the proper boundaries for class assignments and what should and shouldn't be permitted and I think it's time we either convert WP:Student assignments into an actual guideline or create some new guideline from scratch that outlines what our expectations are as a community for student assignments, given that quite a lot of expectations are informal and not really written down into a guideline. I'm hoping to get some input on other editors on whether this is a good idea and to get input on changes we might want to make to WP:Student assignments before turning it into a guideline. I'm making some changes to it now but I was hoping other editors might chime in as well. Chess (talk) (please use {{reply to|Chess}} on reply) 06:47, 18 June 2021 (UTC)

I support the idea of being sure to make it clear what is expected, but I don't think making it a guideline or a policy is necessary. We currently offer advice and information. It is the responsibility of every editor to behave in a manner consistent with site policies, regardless of how they came to be editing Wikipedia. Making student-specific rules strikes me as problematic and probably unworkable. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:34, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
User:Chess, User:Beeblebrox - I think that there are some rules that may need to be stated more clearly about what student assignments should not be or do. In particular, they should not tell students that their grade will depend on getting an article accepted in Wikipedia. They also should not involve original research, and they should not involve articles that are opinion essays. We at Articles for Creation see some of the same wrong types of assignments, indicating that the instructor is not familiar with how Wikipedia works, over and over again. Robert McClenon (talk) 04:27, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
I totally agree that explaining those existing rules clearly and firmly is a good idea. Beeblebrox (talk) 04:42, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
I, on the other hand, support making it a guideline. I've hoped that this would eventually happen ever since I coauthored the original version of the page with another editor years ago. We need a guideline, or maybe even a policy, to govern class assignments. As for making expectations clear, we've already been doing that. That's what the WikiEd staff work on full-time, and they do an excellent job of it – especially if the instructor chooses to work with them and pay attention to what they say.
But we have a problem with classes that just show up without working with WikiEd. And that happens with regularity. And there's a difference between the general run-of-the-mill problems we always have with disruptive editing, and what happens when a class of 100 students shows up and simultaneously rewrites 100 different pages in ways that mess up the pages badly, and edit wars if anyone tries to revert them. A lot of editors feel bad about "interfering" with class assignments, even though classes do not WP:OWN the pages they work on.
To some degree, telling faculty and students to read WP:ASSIGN helps a lot. But things would be clearer if the community could say that some things are sure to be reverted and sure to end up at a noticeboard like ANI if they persist. WP:ASSIGN is written now as an information page, and would have to be revised to work as a guideline, but that may well be worth the effort. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:21, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
I would never tell my students to read WP:ASSIGN, because I don't think it fit for that purpose; not to mention that for some exercises (e.g. "add a suitable citation where one is missing") it would take longer than the allotted teaching time for them to read it. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 22:02, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
I don't really think ASSIGN is intended for short assignments such as adding a citation, nor is anything special really needed for that purpose. But I hope that you would not take the position that you would never tell your students to read Wikipedia:Citing sources in that case. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:46, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
I might include Wikipedia:Citing sources in a list of optional resources, but I would never tell my students (or any trainee) they have to read it, nor expect them to do so. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:26, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Oppose per Beeblebrox. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 22:02, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Support, a clear set of guidelines could only assist students and educators (and the community), even if it was predominantly a set of endorsed links to relevant policy and other guidelines. Cavalryman (talk) 23:11, 19 June 2021 (UTC).

Why do Wikipedia editors dislike pseudoscience so much?[edit]

I'm not here to oppose Wikipedia:Psci, and I'm not saying that it's unreasonable, but I just sometimes wonder: Is there philosophical or moral reason why Wikipedia editors hate pseudoscience so much? Most other encyclopedias I've read don't attack pseudoscience that much, but why does the typical Wikipedia editor do so? (Some editors are very short tempered to such people.) Félix An (talk) 01:27, 19 June 2021 (UTC)

Other encyclopedias can't be edited by the proponents of pseudoscience. It gets a little old pushing back against nonsense. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:44, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
Presumably because it is diametrically opposed to the goal of an encyclopedia. Pseudo-, which means "false, not genuine, fake" is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to do here. Zoozaz1 talk 01:47, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
It befouls the very concept of science, substituting some mixture of superstition, folly, and outright fraud for actual scientific inquiry into truth. --Orange Mike | Talk 01:51, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
Honestly I think the answer to this should be common sense but basically pseudoscience ruins the reputation of the encyclopedia.CycoMa (talk) 01:50, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
Pseudoscience topics can be suitable for Wikipedia provided that they are Notable (as evidenced by many independent reliable sources) and clearly LABELED as pseudoscience or as being outside the mainstream canon (for example see Heim theory). What must never be done is to imply that pseudoscience topics are in the scientific mainstream, although this is what their proponents often try to do. Xxanthippe (talk) 03:39, 19 June 2021 (UTC).
A more interesting question is "Why do followers of pseudoscientific topics like promoting them as not pseudoscientific?". Johnuniq (talk) 03:50, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
User:Johnuniq - I think that is a relatively easy question to answer. That is because it is often difficult for people without a scientific education to tell pseudoscience from science (and it isn't always easy with a scientific education). And often pseudoscience, unlike science, has simplistic answers. Robert McClenon (talk) 04:21, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
That is for sure the root problem. Wikipedia goes ahead and calls pseudoscience what it is, and people whose income is dependent on selling healing crystals or tiger penis wine don't like seeing it clearly stated that it's a bunch of nonsense. Beeblebrox (talk) 04:45, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
That's what makes it so dangerous, it's nonsense disguised as science. —El Millo (talk) 04:49, 19 June 2021 (UTC)
If the only information about a topic comes from within a WP:walled garden of true believers the topic will not be suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia. Xxanthippe (talk) 23:10, 19 June 2021 (UTC).
I can think of two reasons. In Medicine, where I work, money is a major factor. The "dietary supplements" industry rakes in several billion dollars a year, but it's pennies on the dollar compared to what gets spent on real medicine, and they know it. But the other factor, I think, is that some forms of pseudoscience are akin to a religious belief for some people (and indeed, there are some new (ie within the past century) religious movements that incorporate pseudoscience. "Toxins" is just the new word for Haram or Traif, "natural" just means the same as Kosher or Halal. Hyperion35 (talk) 15:23, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
For those who have access to Netflix, I recommend a watch of Behind the Curve for an explanation of why flat-earthers believe what they do. Sdrqaz (talk) 01:39, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
Because one set of POV pushers mostly beat the other set. There is a way to cover the topics with more neutrality, as mentioned above like real professional encyclopedias. But as Beeblebrox mentions this one can, for the moment, be edited by anyone. Pros and cons to everything! PackMecEng (talk) 01:43, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
Wikipedia provides an environment where bad reasoning is discouraged. Personal attacks, red herrings, argumentum ad populum, to mention just a few instances, will not work here. (Insofar, it is similar to science, which has high standards for reasoning too, but slightly different ones.) That means that in a discussion between two "sets of POV pushers", the side with the good reasons on their side will beat the bluffing windbags. This is what happened: climatology beats denialism, medicine beats homeopathy, physics beats perpetual motion, evolution beats creation. Of course, the people who are not competent enough to tell good reasoning from bad will only see that one side won, but not be able to make out the pattern. --Hob Gadling (talk) 15:00, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
That is a good theory but I am not so sure that is what really happens in practice. Each side seems themselves as the one true bastion of reason and the other size as crazy POV pushers. As noted above and below our pseudoscience articles tend to go to far in one direction or another pushing them outside neutrality. Your statement sounds alarmingly like you are trying to right great wrongs. I only mention that because I do consider you a close friend on here and just want to help. PackMecEng (talk) 15:26, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
I am not so sure that is what really happens in practice Of course not, because you don't look at the actual reasoning and try to determine whether it is good or bad, using expert knowledge about quality of arguments as well as about the scientific subjects in question. If you did, you would see the difference and be sure that is what really happens in practice.
The right-great-wrongs thing does not make sense. The only wrong I am trying to right is wrong content of articles based on bad sources or original research. That obnoxious one-sided fake friendship thing of yours is also wrong, of course, but I have no way of making that right. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:50, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Again right great wrong is an editing style. You keep harping on that your arguments are obviously right so we need to stomp down and push the POV way to the other side. So instead of making an encyclopedic article it becomes a pov hit piece. Your view is apparently the exact same as the pov pushers for the other side and just as much of a problem for creating an encyclopedia. Again you are not looking at this objectively with the aim of creating encyclopedic content, rather from a perspective of someone that is fighting the great wrongs of the other side. It's not a sides thing, it is an encyclopedia thing my friend. Fight as you may, we are still buddies though. Don't worry! PackMecEng (talk) 17:22, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Your comments about being friends read like passive aggressive harassment to me. Also, you're grossly mischaracterizing Hob's points. Taking those two facts together, this discussion really strains my ability to AGF here, and I wouldn't be surprised if Hob's ability to do the same was null.
Even if you're being completely sincere, it really doesn't look like you are.
And to be clear: I don't have any issue with you. We can be buddies, if you like (as long as you add a song or two to my little collection). I'm just explaining what I'm seeing here, because I think you might benefit from a third opinion. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:33, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Yeah the friend stuff is a bit of fun since they get so uppity about it. I have no problem with either of you! But I do think they get a little blinded by their opinions of pseudoscience which leads to unencyclopedic editing. It's a distinction that Hob and others truly seem to be missing in this discussion. Yes, by all means describe pseudoscience as what it really is. That does not mean that every other sentence needs to be alone the lines of "and its a terrible such and such". It's repetitive and just bad writing style in general, let alone for an encyclopedia. That is the issue I have with all people that have strong feelings for or against pretty much anything and why WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS fits so well to describe the situation. Heck I remember we had to have a full RFC to remove one sentence out of like 3 or 4 from the lead of a pseudoscience article, not because it was wrong but because it was already said 3 other times in the same section. It's tiring dealing with both sides honestly and that's why people with strong feelings gave up there. PackMecEng (talk) 20:49, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
I've heard a few editors express this sentiment, but I've never seen an example of this in action, except on dangerous medical pseudosciences, where it's absolutely warranted. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 20:59, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Without an example to point to, I would think it is completely possible to make sure a few running sentences can be worded as clear attributed claims and assertions to the pseudoscience, followed by the necessary rebuttals based on sound science and medicine. I agree in the area of bad medical pseudoscience that there needs to be more "break points" in the narrative of the pseudoscience to call out to why it is wrong/bad/etc, but again, doesn't need to be a per-sentence rebuttal. Should be a thought-by-thought aspect. --Masem (t) 21:43, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
I agree. What I was saying is that I occasionally see it claimed that many of our articles on pseudoscience do stop every other sentence to refute the BS, or that they use intemperate language to do so, but I've never once been shown an example of either.
In my entire Wikicareer, I've seen exactly two examples of skepticism going too far. One was so long ago I can't even remember what it was about, and the other time was when I butted heads with JzG and SlimVirgin about the definition of "conspiracy theory". You can read that whole shebang through several sections here, and you can check the article to see that my preference (to not state that all CSs are categorically false in the lede) won out.
That's the biggest difference I've seen between skeptical editors and fans of pseudoscience; skeptics can and will change their minds, even if things get heated and heels get dug in, so long as the evidence is there. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:19, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Which also brings up a point that likely dominates individual discussions: editors (both new and old) tend to qualify which "category" ("skeptic" vs "fanatic" vs "Anti-pseudoscience") an editor is on simply by which side they argue, which may not always be true, and that itself can cause problems. Arguing for a nuanced approach rather than a hard "refute" mode is not necessarily the sign of a "fanatic", but perhaps an editor seeing to balance what can be said from RSes. Its a good idea to remind all editors that we comment on content, not commentators, and if there is a behavioral issue (a "fanatic" that won't drop the stick, for example) that's where AN/I comes into play. This is probably not as major a factor overall here, but knowing how I see it come up all the time in other discussions related to neutrality on pages where we're talking ideological issues, I'd expect it is a frequent occurrence. --Masem (t) 22:35, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Sometimes we get new users who would be "on the side" of skeptics, but for the fact that they do not behave in the way required of Wikipedians, especially WP:IDHT and WP:NPA. They never stay long because they are even opposed by the people who are against pseudoscience. On the other hand, there are some profringe editors who are able to stay longer because they can stop themselves at the right moment, or are good at Wikilawyering and stay just below the sanctionable limit. They still try to turn articles into fringe propaganda pieces again and again, they whitewash criticism away, you have to explain to them the same basic principles again and again in different Talk pages, and that is a very good reason to categorize them on the dark side - their goal is a different, lower-quality Wikipedia. But usually, bad behaviour, disrespect of rules, and short Wikipedia life closely correlate with a profringe position. In any case, that "simply by which side they argue" thing is not strictly true. --Hob Gadling (talk) 07:52, 22 June 2021 (UTC)

OP, "Most other encyclopedias I've read"... which ones? How many general purpose encyclopedias except for us and Britannica are out there anymore? I mean... Colliers? Funk & Wagnal's? Encarta? I kind of have to question your experience. If you're talking about the many specialized encyclopedias out there, music encyclopedias and biology encyclopedias and comic book encyclopedias, I'm not sure how they relate to what we do... If you're talking about Encarta etc., I mean these articles are like 15 years old at least, so... if you're talking about just Britannica, well, I dunno, who knows why they do what they do. Maybe it's not that we're too hard but that they're too soft. Ask them. Herostratus (talk) 03:03, 20 June 2021 (UTC)

I don't think that most Wikipedia editors hate pseudoscience. I for example think that articles on any pseudoscience should explain that it has no support in science, then explain to readers what it is about in a neutral tone using reliable sources. The tone of many of these articles is preaching, which harms the credibility of what articles say. If I read the Journal of the Plague Year and want to know more about how doctors of the time treated it, I don't need to be reminded every other sentence that their methods were not based on science and didn't work. I'm smart enough to know that modern medicine has improved since the 1600s.
In my experience, the most anti-pseudoscience editors have backgrounds in GMO research, chemicals and agribusiness, since a lot of often unfair criticism comes from pseudoscience. Hence the Genetic Literacy Project ("Science not Ideology"), which has overlapping support with climate science denial websites. Since the runup to the 2016 U.S. election, a lot of these editors have broadened their interests into U.S. politics.
Bear in mind though that since some readers may rely on Wikipedia articles to treat illnesses (even though they shouldn't), we need to take extra care that claims that have no support in science are never given credibility.
TFD (talk) 04:28, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
This right here. Wikipedia definitely should not show any type of legitimacy to pseudoscience, but that doesn't mean we should treat the topics with hostility or contempt in Wikivoice. There are ways to still write neutrally to present what the theory/concept is behind the psci - without necessarily commenting on its bad science - and then going into a breakdown of how its been refuted or the like from appropriate scientific RSes. Instead, we sometimes treat these topics as if they are morally reprehensible in wikivoice, which is a problem. We can stay completely out of giving pseudoscience any weight while staying neutral in tone while writing about them. --Masem (t) 06:07, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
The topics definitely are "morally reprehensible", but I agree that we should not use the encyclopedia's voice to say this. A major problem, as is made clear by comments above, is that pseudoscience supporters regard any information on the ineffectiveness of pseudoscientific medical practices, however well sourced, as attacking and non-neutral.
@Masem: write neutrally to present what the theory/concept is behind the psci - without necessarily commenting on its bad science - and then going into a breakdown of how its been refuted or the like. I thnk this is impossible (or at the least very difficult) to do without violating WP:STRUCTURE, since it will appear as one section for the proponents and one for the opponents, which is explicitly (and rightly) prohibited. You cannot present pseudoscience neutrally without incorporating the evidence that it is not correct. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:31, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
While it is likely impossible to generalize to all cases, I would expect in a reasonable neutral article on psci that the pseudoscience at the basis of the matter would be only a section, elements like its history and impact/reactions/etc. fleshing out the rest of the article. And keeping to the fact that we're sticking to RSes and not to primary works, we would then only briefly summarize enough of the pseudoscience in one shot as to give context to these other sections of the article, and then following that in the same section, the refuting sound science fact that disproves the psci. If for some reason there's many parts of the psci then there it would make sense to present one facet, then the refuting RSes, then another facet and the refuting RSes, and so on. We do not need to set constant flags that the psci topic is false/mistaken/bad (This is what leads to the apparent hostility). We can use wording to be clear anything said about the psci concept is not in Wikivoice and part of what the pseudoscience theory is, and making sure that after brief summaries we're there with the refuting text, its still clear WP is not treating the psci in any way as true. I do agree we do not want one big section that lets the psci topic be introduced without addressing its problems overall, but we also don't need to be at the per-sentence rebuttal level either. Its a tonal balance. --Masem (t) 13:42, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
With medical topics, it doesn't matter how neutrally you phrase "X is unscientific nonsense that has no medical use" (i.e. Homeopathy), you are still going to get supporters and exponents of those things complaining about it. There's simply nothing we can do about that. Black Kite (talk) 14:08, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
I know of hardly any, if any, anti-pseudoscience editors with backgrounds in GMO research and agribusiness. Even if there is "overlapping support" of the Genetic Literacy Project and climate science denial (I haven't seen any evidence), some people are pro-(part of)-science for the wrong reasons. Some people on the political left support climate science mainly from being anti-corporation (Big Oil), which then leads them into denialism with GMOs, which they perceive as benefiting big corporations. The same thing happens at least as much on the right with reversed polarity (especially regarding climate science). Crossroads -talk- 20:43, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
User:Jytdog for one works in biotechnology at a univerity.[23][24] A number of other editors report similar backgrounds on their user pages. Note his edits on Himalayan salt: he added additional cites that health claims are baseless. Himalayan salt is sold in specialty sections of grocery stories are purchased because some chefs recommend it and it has a pleasing pink hue and some people erroneously think it has health benefits. But there's no need to turn this into an article about pseudoscience. (If you are interested, you can read through the edit wars and discussion page.) Some people buy pink lemonade. We don't need paragraphs explaining that it tastes no different from yellow lemonade and has no additional health benefits.
The Genetic Literacy Project was (GLP) founded by Jon Entine who began his pro-GMO advocacy as a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute which advocates climate change denial. I found it ironice that the GLP would accuse anti-GMO activists of denialism and anti-science, comparing them with climate change deniers.
TFD (talk) 21:44, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Given that there are actual RSes that point out that there are claims that pink Himalayan salt provides health benefits (and which go on to say these are hooky), it makes 100% sense to include that those claims exist and then include MEDRS sourcing to refute them. Jytdog (and presumably others) did not pull this nonsense out of thing air to add because they are anti-pseudoscience - there was actual documentable (via RSes) pseudoscience to cover and properly refute. As soon as you point to sources that make the claim that pink lemonade had health benefits over normal lemonade, then the same issue can be raised at that page. --Masem (t) 21:58, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
A broad answer is that since most Wikipedia editors are interested in accruing knowledge, there will be an intense dislike of falsehoods and lies and such. Additionally, pseudoscience generally disrespects and actively opposes values like verifiability, NPOV, accuracy, etc. A more focused answer is that many Wikipedia editors work in scientific fields or in fields that are essentially applied science, like medicine or engineering. So for us, we have experience in decisions based on science and evidence, and in having a responsibility to make those decisions carefully. We're often more aware of the costs of pseudoscience. And finally, I think you also have to take into account that most forms of pseudoscience, at some point or another, wind up involving conspiracy theories against actual scientists and people who work in these fields. My patience for hearing that I gleefully watch people die of cancer because I won't agree to cover Laetrile is so infinitesimal that Planck would have difficulty finding it. Hyperion35 (talk) 15:31, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
I think we are all pretty constant. -Roxy . wooF 15:44, 20 June 2021 (UTC)
To iterate on this point, WP editors should be interested on the how and why a piece of pseudoscience came about and/or why it is maintained despite science and medicine pointing out why it is flawed. e.g. how can people still believe in the Flat Earth theory? We are not going to document, in a great extent, the theory itself, but the reasons why - as documented in our reliable sources - why the theory continues to propagate or the like, and that helps to keep these topics neutral without conceding too much toward inclusion of the pseudosicence. --Masem (t) 21:41, 20 June 2021 (UTC)

Yes. We are biased.[edit]

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, once wrote:

"Wikipedia’s policies ... are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals – that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.
What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse'. It isn’t.[25] [26] [27] [28]"

So yes, we are biased.

We are biased towards science and biased against pseudoscience.
We are biased towards astronomy, and biased against astrology.[1]
We are biased towards chemistry, and biased against alchemy.[2]
We are biased towards mathematics, and biased against numerology.[3]
We are biased towards medicine, and biased against homeopathy.[4]
We are biased towards venipuncture, and biased against acupuncture.[5]
We are biased towards solar energy, and biased against esoteric energy.[6]
We are biased towards actual conspiracies and biased against conspiracy theories.[7]
We are biased towards cargo planes, and biased against cargo cults.
We are biased towards vaccination, and biased against vaccine hesitancy.[8]
We are biased towards magnetic resonance imaging, and biased against magnetic therapy.[9]
We are biased towards crops, and biased against crop circles.[10]
We are biased towards laundry detergent, and biased against laundry balls.[11]
We are biased towards augmentative and alternative communication, and biased against facilitated communication.
We are biased towards water treatment, and biased against magnetic water treatment.
We are biased towards mercury in saturated calomel electrodes, and biased against mercury in quack medicines.[12]
We are biased towards blood transfusions, and biased against blood letting.
We are biased towards electromagnetic fields, and biased against microlepton fields.[13]
We are biased towards evolution, and biased against young earth creationism.[14]
We are biased towards holocaust studies, and biased against holocaust denial.[15]
We are biased towards the sociology of race, and biased against scientific racism.[16]
We are biased towards the scientific consensus on climate change, and biased against global warming conspiracy theories.[17]
We are biased towards geology, and biased against flood geology.[18]
We are biased towards medical treatments that have been proven to be effective in double-blind clinical trials, and biased against medical treatments that are based upon preying on the gullible.[19]
We are biased towards astronauts and cosmonauts, and biased against ancient astronauts.[20]
We are biased towards psychology, and biased against phrenology.
We are biased towards Mendelism, and biased against Lysenkoism.

And we are not going to change.


  1. ^ [1] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Astrology". Archive 13, section "Bias against astrology"
  2. ^ [2] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Alchemy". Archive 2, section "naturalistic_bias_in_article"
  3. ^ [3] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Numerology". Archive 1, section "There's_more_work_to_be_done"
  4. ^ [4] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Homeopathy". Archive 60, section "Wikipedia_Bias"
  5. ^ [5] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Acupuncture". Archive 13, section "Strong_Bias_towards_Skeptic_Researchers"
  6. ^ [6] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Energy_(esotericism)". Archive 1, section "Bias"
  7. ^ [7] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Conspiracy_theory". Archive 12, section "Sequence_of_sections_and_bias"
  8. ^ [8] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Vaccine_hesitancy". Archive 5, section "Clearly_a_bias_attack_article"
  9. ^ [9] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Magnet_therapy". Archive 1, section "Contradiction_and_bias"
  10. ^ [10] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Crop_circle". Archive 9, section "Bower_and_Chorley_Bias_Destroyed_by_Mathematician"
  11. ^ [11] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Laundry ball". Archive 17
  12. ^ [12] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Ayurveda". Archive 15, section "Suggestion_to_Shed_Biases"
  13. ^ [13] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Torsion_field_(pseudoscience)". Archive 1, section "stop_f****_supressing_science_with_your_bias_bull****"
  14. ^ [14] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Young_Earth_creationism". Archive 3, section "Biased_Article_(part_2)"
  15. ^ [15] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Holocaust_denial". Archive 12, section "Blatant_bias_on_this_page"
  16. ^ [16] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Scientific_racism". Archive 1, section "THIS_is_propaganda"
  17. ^ [17] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Global_warming_conspiracy_theory". Archive 3, section "Problems_with_the_article"
  18. ^ [18] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Flood_geology". Archive 4, section "Obvious_bias"
  19. ^ [19] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Quackery". Archive 1, section "POV_#2"
  20. ^ [20] Talk page of Wikipedia article "Ancient_astronauts". Archive 4, section "Pseudoscience"

--Guy Macon (talk) 01:38, 21 June 2021 (UTC)

I’d be interested in seeing the reasoning behind the OP’s conclusion that Wikipedia editors dislike pseudoscience. Brunton (talk) 08:14, 21 June 2021 (UTC)

Well said User:Guy Macon, not all heroes wear capes. HighInBC Need help? Just ask. 08:19, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Guy Macon, that response is brilliant. I might steal that for a subpage of my profile! doktorb wordsdeeds 09:09, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
It already is Guy's subpage: User:Guy Macon/Yes. We are biased., with three WP shortcuts and the redirect Wikipedia:All your bias are belong to us. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:58, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Furthermore, I released it under CC0 instead of CC BY-SA 3.0 specifically so that anyone can use it as if they thought of it themselves without attributing it to me. Information wants to be free. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:34, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
It's not a question of hatred but of describing topics with accuracy in mind, aiming for a good encyclopedia. Describing science and its methods properly would be unrealistic here but scientific method and epistemology may help. Science aims to be universal as well as to test its tenets, correct them and revise its knowledge and textbooks. This allowed it to gain a certain reputation and led to advances in technology, medicine, etc. Conversely there are belief systems that when contradicted by evidence or confronted for the lack of evidence to support them, can come up with science-like apologetics or already were based on science-like, but discredited methods or untestable tenets (in some cases, prescience, protoscience). The demarcation line can be difficult to draw in some cases but is also often obvious. In the latter case, critical sources usually are easy to find and it's part of a respectable encyclopedia's role to educate. This may also avoid unnecessary harm that can result from dangerous practices or the failure to recognize them as lacking evidence, especially if it also leads to the avoidance of more reliable or safer solutions that exist (medicine comes to mind). It is also common for pseudoscientific arguments to be used in attempt to justify ideologies of all types, including some that are divisive or harmful to education, peace, the environment, etc. The last two points touch ethics, possibly partly answering the part about morality. Some argue that ethics should be outside of science, but it certainly can be informed by science and is unavoidable as part of its process. Many universities have good introductions to the scientific method and pseudoscience on their sites. —PaleoNeonate – 17:03, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Are you kiddin me? I LOVE pseudoscience! It's one of my favorite things, alongside conspiracy theories. The way adherents create their own little worlds, the amusing stupidity on display by some of the more vocal and less-well-educated believers, the narratives of Fighting For The Truth™... It's fascinating stuff. And each one has a puzzle in terms of discovering how and why it's flawed, or occasionally, even if it's flawed. Pseudoscience is awesome and I love it.
I just wish people knew better than to believe it. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:38, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
That's basically the whole point of our systematic bias, which is a combination of external and internal factors, most that we cannot resolve since it all stems from sourcing. All we can do is recognize that we do have this bias and that should be of concern when we are looking to points of tone and neutral writing style, not necessarily content, on these topics. We can maintain an impartial, dispassionate voice in writing about psuedoscience while still treating them with the implicit bias of underlying sourcing that these are "wrong" and reflect bad science or poor critical thinking. It is just often difficult to do when we have the supporters and avid followers of that psci areas wanting better promotion of that (eg the recent mess on the Wuhan lab leak stuff). --Masem (t) 17:43, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
I think it's pretty obvious that competent Wikipedia editors should hate pseudoscience - it denies the basic concept of an encyclopedia based on accepted, confirmed knowledge. Having said that I think that there are editors who convert that hatred into unencyclopedic, non-factual activity. As one example from many years ago I remember editing an article about a homeopathic society that was established well before homeopathy had been debunked, and others insisted on it containing a long screed about how homeopathy is now considered pseudoscience (as it is) rather than consisting of content about the history of the society, to the extent that more of the article consisted of the former rather than the latter. Of course such content belongs in our article on homeopathy, which was linked, but we don't need to reproduce it everywhere as if this was an encyclopedia for small children who are incapable of recognising bunkum when they see it. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:11, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
There's a point where someone can treat science as a religion. The role of science is to find theories than can predict future events rather than a search for absolute truth. In that sense they are turning science into a religion. I don't hate Babylonian astrologists or shamans. I just think they tried to interpret the world and were wrong. People who look for wisdom in their teachings are misguided. I think articles should say that without preaching, which is more typically associated with religion and belief systems than objective science. TFD (talk) 20:43, 21 June 2021 (UTC)

Pseudoscience is a species of cultural pathology and is as worthy of study as any other pathology is. Xxanthippe (talk) 23:16, 21 June 2021 (UTC).

Why do Wikipedia editors like the word pseudoscience so much?[edit]

I think a legitimate question is: Why do Wikipedia editors like labeling things as "pseudoscience" so much. Outside our Wikipedia bubble it's not that common of a word, but we so often use it in the first sentence of an article. Like, "So and so is the pseudoscientific practice of blah blah blah." (My spellchecker (Firefox) is underlining the word pseudoscientific.) Really we should be defining the subject before going off on its pseudoscientificness.

Here's a current example from an article:

Astrology is a pseudoscience that claims to divine information about human affairs and terrestrial events by studying the movements and relative positions of celestial objects.[1][2][3][4]

That might be better written as:

Astrology is the practice of attempting to forecast information about human affairs and earthly events by studying the movements and positions of the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets.

That's more fair to its long history as a protoscience. (I'm not an expert on the topic, but I assume that many early astronomers were astrologers, as many early chemists were alchemists.) And the 2nd paragraph makes it clear that modern astrology has no basis in science. (Though if we took the word "pseudoscience" out of the first sentence we should put something in the 1st paragraph the way Brittanica does when it says Astrology is "diametrically opposed to the findings and theories of modern Western science."

I suspect part of pseudoscience's ubiquity here stems from constant fighting over categorization of certain articles, and the title of Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Pseudoscience. But in the majority of cases I think it would be more clear to our readers if we used plain language like "So and so is not supported by science" or "So and so contradicts many scientific principles" or "So and so contradicts many scientific principles" instead of "So and so is pseudoscience." ~Awilley (talk) 00:14, 22 June 2021 (UTC)

Pseudoscience is easy to identify. A topic in mainstream science will be extensively cited in the science citation databases, all of which deal only with reliable sources. If the topic is not in those it is outside the mainstream and likely to be pseudoscience. Xxanthippe (talk) 00:21, 22 June 2021 (UTC),
Definitely a non-sequitur, but I'll reply. It certainly would be convenient if we had a canon of scientific knowledge. But reality isn't as tidy as you describe. There's plenty of undiscovered truth that hasn't yet found its way into the scientific literature, and plenty of what was once considered common knowledge that has since been overturned. As Carl Sagan said, "Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking." ~Awilley (talk) 01:30, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
I am talking about what is in the current mainstream. If somebody has their own little nugget of undiscovered truth then it is up to them to get it into the mainstream by means of scholarship and research that is accepted by the scientific community. Until then, Wikipedia will regard it as fringe. Xxanthippe (talk) 02:35, 22 June 2021 (UTC).
That's because astrology is pseudoscience, and utter horseshit. That is the current status of astrology, and our article needs to reflect that. You can, after making it clear to the reader that this is considered nonsense by anyone with half a brain, discuss the history of astrology and the like. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 11:07, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
While I'm no fan of pseudoscience, I would say that awilley has a point. It seems that our internal lingua of marking things as "pseudo science" has crept into the lead of lots of articles.. I do think that that is problematic. Many in the general public have never heard of the term pseudo science I presume and they would never qualify things organically as such. This means that the term probably isn't good for the first sentence/lead of an article. Descriptors like "a custom", "a practice" , "a religion" or "a speculation/theory" seem much better to me. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 11:53, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
@Xxanthippe, I find that pseudoscience is not always easy to identify. More specifically, I find that some reliable sources use 'pseudoscience' as a kind of general insult for anything they disagree with, without using the word precisely and correctly. It's easy to find sources, for example, that say economics is a pseudoscience. Or religion. The main problem with calling everything a pseudoscience is not that you can't find some source, somewhere, to back it up, but that it's usually WP:UNDUE outside of things like homeopathy. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:46, 22 June 2021 (UTC)

Yes, this answer is inefficient[edit]

The article on Feng-shui is far from a flat, historical and scientific study of the phenomenon, across countries and centuries. Rather, it gives the impression of a leaflet writen by a preacher deprived of some market share by another preacher. Geomancy has been used to build cities, palaces and tombs. But the good preacher doesn't care. His target is the cheap house decorating pendants sold by the bad preacher around the corner. In the CJK world, geomancy has been criticized from ages, as can be seen in the Dream of the Red Chamber, and so many other sources. But the good preacher doesn't care. His pet books, writen here and now by his pet preachers, are circumscribing his horizon. Across the centuries, a lot of social unrest has arisen around the motto "powerful people are monopolizing favorable places". This is not even alluded to. And now, the most important question: why are there people who are not convinced by the argument: "pray with us, or be branded as a laundry ball advertizer" ? Pldx1 (talk) 15:30, 21 June 2021 (UTC)

No. We are not going to treat on Feng-shui as if it is anything other than complete bullshit. And we already do a great job of discribing the history of Feng-shui. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:42, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
I recommend WP:FIXBIAS and to post suggested changes at the article's talk page instead of here, —PaleoNeonate – 01:26, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
Dear User: PaleoNeonate. My previous post was not about the Feng-shui article, but about the "ineffectiveness" of preaching against Feng-shui. To be proud of being biased is ridiculous, and rather counterproductive. Once again, many cities, palaces and tombs were planned and built using Feng-shui. The existence of Beijing, Xi'an, etc. is a rather massive fact, and deserves scientific and respectful studies. Even including the fact that Feng-shui did not prevent the Summer Palace from being ransacked by the opium soldiers. Shouting "bullshit" ... and rearranging other people's posts won't change the story. Pldx1 (talk) 08:17, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
@Guy Macon, you know how to make stuff don't you? @Pldx1's mention of laundry balls reminded me that it's summer, and the world still doesn't have a machine that will get fine sand out of swimsuit fabric. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:26, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
We already know how to do that. Let it dry, suck up the sand with a shop vac (I recommend Ridgid[29]), and follow up with a trip through a standard washing machine. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:50, 23 June 2021 (UTC)

pseudoscience vs religious belief[edit]

  • I would like to ask people to examine how we write articles on pseudoscientific beliefs and compare that to how we write articles on religious beliefs.
In articles about religious beliefs (even fairly fringe beliefs), we tend go out of our way to be respectful to believers. We are able to neutrally describe the belief as being a belief - without feeling a need to editorialize and caution the reader by noting that non-believers find that belief utterly ridiculous.
This isn’t how we write articles about pseudoscientific beliefs. With pseudoscientific beliefs we sometimes go out of our way to note that non-believers find it ridiculous.
My question is - why? Why don’t we write articles about pseudoscientific beliefs using the same neutral tone and language that we use when we write about religious beliefs? Blueboar (talk) 12:22, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
@Blueboar: the problem is repeatedly that what appears to be a neutral tone to one editor/reader does not to another. I think that the articles on Christian Science and Traditional Chinese medicine are neutral – too neutral in places in my view – but I suspect that believers in either would take a different view. Certainly it has been a constant battle to get any criticism into some of the articles on traditional Indian medical systems, and believers are constantly adding bits to articles about plants used in these systems that violate WP:MEDRS and have to be removed. So the key question is "who defines neutral"? Peter coxhead (talk) 12:39, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
At Wikipedia:All your bias are belong to us I have, with the invaluable help of the Wikipedia community, documented places where wikipedia has been accused of being biased against holocaust denial, acupuncture. laundry balls, creationism, conspiracy theories, etc. It is fascinating how few items on my list have not generated such complaints. Note that the complaints have resulted in a more favorable treatment of the subject exactly zero times.
As it says on that page, saying that "Wikipedia is biased" or that "Wikipedia fails to follow its own neutral point of view rules" is not a set of magic words that will cause Wikipedia to accept your favorite conspiracy theory, urban myth, pseudoscience, alternative medicine or fringe theory. --Guy Macon (talk) 13:58, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
"we tend go out of our way to be respectful to believers", not really. We make things clear that religious beliefs are religious beliefs. When religious beliefs overlap with the real world, and are held in spite of evidence, we call them out as such, like faith healing. Or when Mormons claim that Native Americans are descendants of a lost tribe of Isreal, we also clearly label it as not accepted by anyone that knows anything about archeology/genetics. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 23:13, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
But we don't say that the Mormon religious beliefs are pseudoscientific. We say that there's no scientific evidence, which is a more normal/less fight-y way to disagree. We don't try to slap derogatory labels on their religious stories. The same is true for origin stories when we're writing about Native American people. We may say that the traditional belief is that the tribe originated in this or that way, and that genetic research indicates this or that instead, but we don't say that these are pseudoscientific beliefs. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:33, 23 June 2021 (UTC)

Discussion at Wikipedia talk:Proposed deletion (books) § Mark process as historical[edit]

 You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Proposed deletion (books) § Mark process as historical. --Trialpears (talk) 08:44, 19 June 2021 (UTC)

Danish article[edit]

Is this article about Skanderborg Festival or compilation from this concert? Btw. is here any place here to ask about thing in other languages? Eurohunter (talk) 12:59, 21 June 2021 (UTC)

@Eurohunter: There used to be the WP:Local Embassy for users to ask questions in other languages, but unfortunately it seems to be rather dead and I'm not seeing any Danish speakers listed. Perhaps try asking at WP:WikiProject Denmark or WP:WikiProject Intertranswiki? (talk) 13:47, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
@Ipigott: Hello. Maybe you will know? I think it should take minute or a two to realise. Eurohunter (talk) 16:11, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Eurohunter: Smukfest 2021 has been cancelled - see [30].--Ipigott (talk) 19:53, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
@Ipigott: I don't understand. This article is from 2019. Eurohunter (talk) 20:14, 21 June 2021 (UTC)

Eurohunter: If I may interfere: The festival was also cancelled last year. I believe the article is about some sort of Dj event with Den Sorte Skole featuring music from some of the favourite acts from the latest ten years of the festival (and mash-ups of them). I assume it was created as a substitute for the cancelled festival. It is not really a sort of music I am very familiar with, so forgive my inability to use the correct terms here.Ramblersen2 (talk) 20:44, 21 June 2021 (UTC)

Multi-line templates and field spacing[edit]

Hi folks! Is this OK to post here? I am wondering if consensus has formed regarding spacing around fields in multi-line templates. Before-and-after example. I have seen bots or WP:AWB jobs that pad fields with spaces so that the = signs are aligned vertically. This is usually how I see it in carefully-constructed articles. It makes it easier to edit the source. But of course, WP:Visual editor doesn't much care for that kind of nicety. Elizium23 (talk) 02:46, 22 June 2021 (UTC)

I think it'd be good for us to decide and firmly establish what the optimum state is, since we don't want different tools undoing each other, as I've seen for other cosmetic edits like spacing between parameters for inline templates. But fundamentally this is extreme WP:Cosmetic territory, not anything worth arguing over. Hopefully someday we'll all be editing in an improved version of VE and it'll become irrelevant. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 08:34, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
@Elizium23, if you want that infobox to have "the right" spacing, then you need to go edit Template:Infobox university#Parameter descriptions to establish what the right spacing is. VisualEditor and other tools will respect what you tell them the spacing should be. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:44, 23 June 2021 (UTC)

Pronunciation in the page heading[edit]

My edit on Giovanni Berlinguer was reverted because it was considered useful to have these pronunciation on a page without opening two separate pages, even if they can be found on Giovanni and Berlinguer. Is there a policy about this topic? Thanks in advance.--Carnby (talk) 13:36, 22 June 2021 (UTC)

Neither of these links are in the article, and neither should be in the article. The pronunciation should stay (it is fairly standard for non-English names and for those in English whose spelling is even less connected to pronunciation than usual). MOS:IPA is the relevant guideline. —Kusma (talk) 13:40, 22 June 2021 (UTC)

Should admins with community-placed editing restrictions be admins?[edit]

Proposed: Admins with community-placed (as opposed to arbcom-placed) editing restrictions should have their admin privileges automatically revoked. RFC initiated 15:41, 22 June 2021 (UTC)

  • Support as proposer. Simple logic: no one who is not an editor in good standing should be an admin. No one who has a community-placed editing restriction is an editor in good standing. Therefore, no one who has a community-placed editing restriction should be an admin. How can we not trust someone enough to edit without a formal restriction, yet still trust them enough to protect, block, delete, and view deleted material? Levivich 15:41, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    • To add: I would also support this proposal if it were limited to only certain editing restrictions and not others (or to multiple editing restrictions and not just one), or if it included a "grandfather clause" so that it only applied prospectively and not retroactively. Oh and I'd ask Legobot be given a chance to advertise this before it's snow closed (I think that's like 48hrs). Levivich 18:29, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Question: Where is "in good standing" defined on WP? (Sincere question. I couldn't find it.) ---Sluzzelin talk 15:45, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    It's described at our clean start policy: no active or unexpired sanctions and who is not being or about to be formally discussed for their conduct, but I wouldn't consider that definition to be authoritative. Sdrqaz (talk) 15:51, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    Thanks, Sdrqaz! Dammit, I thought I had tried "WP:Clean start" etc. ---Sluzzelin talk 15:56, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    @Sluzzelin: I'm not sure if it's defined in any one specific place, but it's a phrase used on over 1,000 pages in the WP namespace. [31]. I understand "good standing" to mean the same thing as "not under an active editing restriction." Levivich 16:00, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    Fair enough, Levivich. I knew I'd seen it used in context of who is allowed to vote in arbitrator elections, where it simply meant "not currently blocked" (e.g. here), but I also knew it's been used differently. Thanks. ---Sluzzelin talk 16:07, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    I think where I got it from was WP:IPBE and WP:NAC, but good point that it's not a clearly defined term. In retrospect I probably shouldn't have used it, and just said "under an editing restriction" for clarity. Levivich 16:12, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Another question – why is having an arbcom-placed restriction apparently ok and a community-placed one not? And what is included in editing restrictions? Is it topic bans, or does it include interaction bans? I think it would be helpful if the concept proposed was explained in a bit more detail. Cheers, Number 57 15:50, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    Personally its not, and you might find that many editors would question an Arbcom decision to sanction an admin with an editing restriction rather than remove the tools outright. I dont think this has actually come up that often recently, as usually by the point an Admin hits Arbcom they are either getting off with a slap on the wrist or losing the tools, there has rarely been a middle ground. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:57, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    @Number 57: If we made the rule also apply to arbcom-imposed sanctions, then that means arbcom couldn't do anything less than a desysop, i.e., if arbcom TBANed an admin, that would be an automatic desysop (if this proposal passed in the expanded form). Now, maybe that's what we want, maybe we don't, but I thought it best to just leave that issue aside for another day, and see if there is even consensus for just the basic principle that we should not have admins under editing restrictions. So it's just a "for another day"-type exclusion. Levivich 16:00, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    Thanks, and what about the question about what's included in the definition of editing restrictions? Number 57 16:11, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    Sorry, I missed the second question. "Editing restrictions" are listed at Wikipedia:Editing restrictions#Types of restrictions. For my part, I'd still support this proposal even if it were narrowed, e.g., only to certain types of editing restrictions and not others. Levivich 16:14, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    Basically because the only way to participate on site is to edit, any prohibition of on-site behaviour is an editing restriction. Technically prohibitions on off-site activities such as on IRC aren't editing restrictions per se, but personally I think any ongoing restriction on behaviour ought to be treated in an equivalent category as a topic ban. isaacl (talk) 20:28, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The main effect such a resolution would have is that it would be much, much harder to e.g. get a two-way interaction ban with an admin. While in an ideal world no admin would ever need a restriction, in reality it is much better to e.g. have an otherwise good admin who temporarily loses his objectivity and calm over, say, post-1992 politics and gets a 6-month restriction from it, than to either lose a good admin over this or let them continue un-restricted because they are an admin (the Supermario effect but worse). While a restrictions is one step closer to desysoping of course, it shouldn't be a certain, automatic consequence. Fram (talk) 15:54, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Proposal makes no sense. Having an admin under community-placed editing restrictions implies there was a community discussion in which desysopping was either not considered or was rejected. The community has already expressed an opinion (or lack of). Cabayi (talk) 15:56, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    • That's not true. The community does not discuss desysopping because we have no community-based desysop. Admins have been placed under editing restrictions with no discussion of their desysopping. (I hate to name names and give examples, but just look at the predicate ANI threads for any admin who is under an editing restriction.) Levivich 16:00, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
      • "we have no community-based desysop" but we'd have community-based edit restrictions which automatically carried a desysop? Still makes no sense. Cabayi (talk) 16:47, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
        • This is a desysop proposal, for an automatic desysop for admins under a community based editing restriction, so yeah, it's a community based desysop proposal in that sense. If this proposal were to pass, then we'd have community based desysop. Levivich 18:23, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose This should not be automatic - there may be good procedural reasons for someone to remain an admin but to be under a community-specific editing restriction. I'm also not sure how often this scenario even arises, but automatic is far too harsh. SportingFlyer T·C 16:13, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Another question (sorry, but I'd rather gather more information before !voting): Is there a concrete reason for this? Are there administrators with community-placed editing restrictions whose admin actions or arguments qua admin are doing the project a disservice, or is this more of a principled suggestion? ---Sluzzelin talk 16:15, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    • No worries about the question. I know I'm proposed a big thing with a very short proposal and support !vote :-) It's specifically because, well, it's a request for comments, and questions. I don't really know how the community will react. I'm not sure how to answer your question because I don't agree with the dichotomy: either it's a principled suggestion, or there are sanctioned admins whose actions or arguments are doing the project a disservice. I think having sanctioned admins does the project a disservice, in and of itself. I can't say that there are sanctioned admins who are continuing to engage in other sanctionable behavior. But the point is that an admin who has engaged in behavior that is bad enough to be sanctioned (which is really bad behavior, because it takes a lot to get sanctioned by the community, e.g., it takes a lot to get a TBAN through ANI, especially against an admin), has already done enough damage that continuing to allow them to see deleted material, block users, etc., is a disservice to Wikipedia. I guess that's a "principle" argument? Sorry if that didn't answer your question. No one with an editing restriction would ever pass an RFA today; so I don't think anyone with an editing restriction should keep being an admin, nor should the community have to spend the time of an arbcom case to take that second step of desysopping a sanctioned admin. From my viewpoint, this is a giant loophole that we should close: someone can pass RFA, then engage in sanctionable behavior, and still be an admin. That's wrong IMO and should be fixed. Levivich 16:25, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • That's like saying that if someone gets a parking ticket they automatically get the death penalty. But if we had the needed distinction that only a subset of admins should be handling disciplinary issues for established editors, significantly bad behavior as an editor by an admin should certainly exclude them from that subset.North8000 (talk) 16:22, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    • No, it's like saying a police officer who was convicted of a felony should not continue to be a police officer. A logged editing restriction is not a "parking ticket" by any means. A warning is, maybe, but not a logged TBAN. That's a serious "felony" under our "jurisprudence." (And desysopping is not the "death penalty", that's a site ban.) Levivich 16:25, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
      • @Levivich: Well, I did choose the extremes for simplicity which was probably both a good and bad idea. But my point was that the proposed ensuing automatic penalty is worse than the deliberately chosen one.North8000 (talk) 20:21, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
        • I don't see a desysop as worse than a sanction, rather the opposite. I know I'd rather be a non-admin than a sanctioned editor, given the choice. I'd rather be desysopped than TBANed, by far. Levivich 21:24, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose. You may be unaware that desysopping is considered to be a severe punishment. There should be lesser punishments available. Your proposal to remove all lesser sanctions will make it difficult to sanction admins at all. IBANs between admins should not mean we lose two admins. —Kusma (talk) 16:33, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    • What about TBANs? Won't anyone at any point make the actual argument for why it's OK to have a TBANned admin? :-) Levivich 16:43, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
      I can think of a TBAN and IBAN that would have prevented the Portals RFAr. I don't see why admins should be exempt from TBANs. —Kusma (talk) 17:00, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • The mechanics of this proposal don't work. It would actually ban all admin restriction discussions (at least ones where there is any chance of a restriction) by converting them in effect to desyssop discussions. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:39, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    • Huh? Why would it "ban" them? Levivich 16:43, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
      • Because it turns edit restriction discussions into de-facto desysop discussions. Cabayi (talk) 17:05, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
        • ...which are not banned? Levivich 18:23, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I understand the logic, but it will just make it next to impossible to impose lesser sanctions. Our de-sysop system is broken, but this isn't the way to fix it. Calliopejen1 (talk) 17:03, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If it is believed that an admin needs to be desysopped, ArbCom is thataway, and is a much more deliberative forum in which to decide that. Certainly the fact that the community has placed such restrictions should be considered in an ArbCom proceeding, but it should not be automatic. I have seen, for example, a few cases in which an admin who really has done nothing wrong nonetheless agrees to an IBAN with someone, either to be themself left alone by them or just because their personalities clash. But individual cases should be decided on individual merits. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:11, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose I have stated on more than one occasion that an admin who is subject to editing restrictions probably should not be an admin. Admins are supposed to help resolve drama, if their behavior rises to the point where they need a formal restriction, they are clearly doing it wrong. However, this is obviously an attempt at a back-door community desysop process. The community has repeatedly rejected every single proposal for such a process so sneaking it in this way is just not ok. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:37, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Wait. So:
    • Current status: Community can restrict an admin's editing, but cannot desysop them without going thru ArbCom.
    • Proposed status: Community can desysop an admin without going thru ArbCom, but no lesser editing restrictions possible.
  • That doesn't seem reasonable. --Floquenbeam (talk) 17:44, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    • If this proposal were to pass, then the community could desysop without going to arbcom. I'm not sure how some are not understanding that this is a proposal for a new path to desysop, using existing systems (the existing system is laid out at WP:EDR). So the fact that we don't have an existing path doesn't mean we can't make a new one. Levivich 18:23, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
      • Just my two cents, but I think the reason that this desysop proposal is a difficult sell is because, if community-placed editing restrictions resulted in an automatic desysop, then it could potentially make it harder for community-placed editing restrictions to pass, since it would be seen as raising the bar and eliminating lower-level solutions that might have passed more easily. In a sense, if we placed community ERs at Level 1, community ERs with automatic desysop at Level 2, and not doing anything at Level 0, someone who might have otherwise received a Level 1 might be given a Level 0 instead because Level 2 is seen as being too harsh on them. —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 21:39, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • The same logic regarding arbitration committee-imposed sanctions applies: this would mean the community is limited to always including the revocation of administrative privileges with any sanction. Additionally, this would introduce a new procedure for removing administrative privileges using a standard for which the most recent discussion on revoking administrative privileges does not show evidence of consensus support. isaacl (talk) 17:47, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    • That pretty much sums it up for me. ---Sluzzelin talk 17:57, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose, reluctantly. If I was dictator of Wikipedia I would support this, but I am not and as things stand it would make it more difficult to put edit restrictions on admins who should have them, because many people (in particular those who confuse quantity with quality and come out with statements like "but she deletes 30 articles every day" or "but he blocks loads of people" in favour of an editor retaining adminship) would refuse to put restrictions on an admin if it meant automatic de-sysopping. I would personally support making adminship a much more "easy come: easy go" permission, under community control, but consensus seems to be against the "easy go" part, without which we cannot have the "easy come". Phil Bridger (talk) 18:00, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    Incidentally, I find that the community seems to oppose the "easy come" part, so we can't afford to have an "easy go" policy. —Kusma (talk) 18:07, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    The community wouldn't support an RFA of a TBANed editor. I think the standards for becoming an admin should be the same as the standards for retaining adminship. But I appreciate Phil's point about the practical difficulties. I kind of would rather us "push through" that but it's a good point. Levivich 18:23, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    In RfA, we currently have only two options: +sysop or not +sysop. (With only two options and no room for compromise or creative solutions, we should be voting instead of finding "consensus"). When an admin does bad things, we currently have many options (all kinds of creative and targeted editing restrictions, trouts, arbcom) and you seem to suggest to reduce our options to -sysop or not -sysop. That does not look like an improvement to me at all. —Kusma (talk) 18:38, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    I wouldn't say it's reducing the options, I'd say it's adding -sysop as an automatic rider to some of the options. So the options would be TBAN and -sysop, IBAN and -sysop, etc. That's only "reducing" the options if you think that -sysop is such a big deal as to make the other part (TBAN, IBAN) irrelevant. I don't see it that way. I think "it goes without saying" that if we choose an option like TBAN, then of course that should also mean -sysop. Phil's point is if you tack on "-sysop," then no one will choose any of the options. That I concede is a risk, but I think we should try it and find out. Levivich 18:46, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    Objectively speaking, the proposal halves the number of permutations that can be selected. The only way it wouldn't, in practice, limit the available options is if historically the community always paired editing restrictions with a request to remove administrative privileges. I feel the community has the ability and responsibility, though, to decide on the best approach in each individual situation. isaacl (talk) 20:02, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    No editor, with or without administrative privileges, is expected to be perfect. The community can decide that imposing an editing restriction is warranted, and also if the behvaiour warrants opening an arbitration case to request the removal of administrative privileges. It is in control of figuring out the best path forward for each situation. isaacl (talk) 18:41, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above, and forecast WP:SNOW. Because de-sysopping is de facto a big deal, this would make it harder to give admins lesser punishments. I agree with others above that we ought to be seeking other ways of reforming the de-sysopping process to better hold admins accountable. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 18:42, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is an obvious non-starter. While I agree that admin recall by the community would be a good thing, we've never been able to agree on how it would work. This is just community admin recall in disguise and poorly defined. If you want to propose an admin recall process, that's fine, but don't wrap it up as something else. -- RoySmith (talk) 18:48, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
    • I think that's really unfair, to describe this as a disguised proposal. Levivich 21:27, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • ArbCom is both efficient and effective at removing admin access. If there's a problem, go there. It makes no sense to create a parallel process when the one we have works well. Jehochman Talk 19:52, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose although this is a well-meaning proposal. I see it as being somewhat like the "War on Drugs" in that the idea comes from a good place, but enforcement would turn into a complete fustercluck and do far more harm than good. Note also that this skips over the idea of making desysop an optional sanction for community enforcement and goes right to making it automatic (a bit like mandatory minimum sentencing, another idea that worked far better in theory than practice). As others have pointed out, two-way IBans are often entered with mutual agreement as a simple means of defusing a problem, and I could imagine someone with an old two-way IBan making it through RfA. Additionally, be aware that TBans are also easier to acquire via Discretionary Sanctions on some topics now. Overall, while I can certainly imagine plenty of instances where disciplinary action might indicate that someone should no longer be an admin, those situations need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis, not an automatic desysop based on sanctions that may or may not even relate to their work as an admin. Hyperion35 (talk) 19:59, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Hyperion35. NW1223(Howl at me|My hunts) 20:12, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose for each of the following reasons:
    1. An admin should only be community-desysopped over misuse or threats of abuse of adminship.
    2. This proposal would effectively be a community-desysop process, yet every proposal for such a process has been rejected.
    3. This would cause users who favor desysopping a specific admin to vote in favor of restricting him or her - as well as users voting against restrictions to prevent desysopping.
    4. The basic premise is an over-simplification: two-way IBANs are frequently the result of one-way issues, and even other partial bans are not necessarily the result of behavior which would prevent one from passing an RFA. (talk) 00:32, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose A community consensus to restrict an admin is not the same as a community consensus to desysop. What is more there has never been a consensus that there should be a community desysop process. If it is felt that an admin has lost the trust of the community then arbcom is always willing to consider this. If you want you can start the 57th(guessing) debate on if there should be community desysoping that is fine but this is just an end run around that. HighInBC Need help? Just ask. 00:37, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Oppose This seems to be an attempt to get around the lack of consensus for community desysops. It leaves an admin open to those who would game the system. MarnetteD|Talk 00:55, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
  • Only if all community-placed editing restrictions on anyone also come with an indefinite block.
    Now that you're done spluttering, indef blocks get reversed reasonably frequently, and don't even prevent you from editing. Becoming an admin again after a desysop for cause is all but unheard of; it's happened exactly once. It's a more severe sanction. —Cryptic 01:50, 23 June 2021 (UTC)