Deletionism on Wikipedia

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Deletionists are people who are in favour of deleting articles more readily.

Related Wikipedia Discussions

Why do articles on non-notable subjects need deleting

I'm interested to know why articles on non-notable topics are deleted. I mean, I get that not many people will read them, but if no one reads it is doesn't cause anyone a problem ( it's not like you have to scroll through an index of all the articles)and if someone reads it is clearly at least marginally notable. So basically what I want to know is: what HARM do non-notable articles do? please can someone explain. Alicianpig (talk) 10:59, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

I get the feeling you are misunderstanding what 'notable' means in the context of Wikipedia. It means that someone has taken the trouble to write something specifically about it in a reliable source. If an article cannot be supported with some sort of reasonable source it is just whatever the editor wrote. Wikipedia is not a blog for peoples ramblings and the more rubbish there is around like that them more cluttered and messy and filled with rubbish it becomes. People look up wikipedia and it is better they find nothing than that we waste their time on a load of garbage. The reputation of Wikipedia should not be sacrificed that way. Dmcq (talk) 11:12, 25 July 2011 (UTC) I see where you're coming from. The area I would have a concern is biographical. I guess we wouldn't want Wikipedia to fill up with thousands of articles on people with little verifiable information. That could become a battleground for POV, vandalism or self-publicity and a host of other problems. It could add a huge policing and management burden! --Bermicourt (talk) 11:15, 25 July 2011 (UTC) The problem with a policy of allowing articles about any topic is that it makes Wikipedia look like a catalogue over the obscure. Typically, articles like this will only sourced by the subjects' own websites or publications. Wikipedia's purpose is to be an encyclopedia, not a directory, and without notability guidelines at all we dilute that purpose, this will in turn reduce Wikipedia's credibility. Sjakkalle (Check!) 11:21, 25 July 2011 (UTC) In the information age where technology allows someone to, in seconds, give you more "information" in seconds than you can read in a lifetime, we learn that real information is defined by narrowing. In this sense the vetting by the notability requirement increases the true information content of Wikipedia. North8000 (talk) 11:24, 25 July 2011 (UTC) Bermicourt: I see what you mean. That makes sense. Thanks Alicianpig (talk) 11:27, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Dmcq: I don't really see how it could be cluttered as you only find what you search for. someone looking up World War Two isn't going to find an article on Bob's favourite colour of fairy liquid. Surely however much rubbish there is you still find what you're looking for. Thanks Alicianpig (talk) 11:27, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

North8000: Surely it doesn't increase the amount of 'true information', rather it decreases the amount of information which most people may find useless and insignificant but which may be useful to a select group of people. Because you locate information by searching rather than by looking through a list, narrowing is not neccessary as it is easy to filter what you find by what you search. Thanks Alicianpig (talk) 12:35, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Sjakkalle: wikipedia already has very little credibility. Alicianpig (talk) 12:38, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

An encyclopedia is a compendium of knowledge, not a vacuum cleaner that sucks in every scrap in its path. We as editors choose what is important to the sum of human knowledge and what is trivial. Tarc (talk) 12:48, 25 July 2011 (UTC) You say that "wikipedia already has very little credibility", so how is adding an "article on Bob's favourite colour of fairy liquid" going to improve wikipedia's credibility? In my opinion adding all these trivial pieces of data will reduce the credibility of wikipedia and in answer to your original question, that is the harm that non-notable articles do. GB fan please review my editing 12:57, 25 July 2011 (UTC) Related thread pump thread here started as a response to this AFD. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 13:35, 25 July 2011 (UTC) GB Fan: If an article is of a non-notable subject which no one will look at, who will see it and think wikipedia is non-notable? Someone who would not think it was notable will not know about it to look it up, and someone who looks it up must think it is at least notable enough to be on wikipedia. Alicianpig (talk) 14:30, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

What you are describing is already available elsewhere. It's called the entire internet, searchable by Google.  :-) Wikipedia is different.North8000 (talk) 14:52, 25 July 2011 (UTC) I think the notability bar should be lowered, but not removed entirely. An article about your pet cat is obviously of no use to the general population. But, articles about household objects, no matter how obscure, might be of some value to somebody. StuRat (talk) 14:55, 25 July 2011 (UTC) I think a lot of this discussion focuses on verifiability is missing the main reason (imo) for notability criteria. WP articles should improve over time through the efforts of a number of contributors. The notability criteria insure that there will, at least in theory, be a pool of editors who are knowledgeable enough about the subject to improve it, as opposed to a single person who may put his/her own point of view into it. WP has been used as a vehicle for people promoting themselves or their own work and verifiability alone does not suffice to prevent this. For people as subjects there are privacy concerns as well. Notability also helps verifiability by insuring that it is possible to verify the information without overly specialized knowledge. If a subject is so arcane that only a few specialists can understand what the references are saying then it's unlikely that anyone but the author will be able to verify the information, in other words having references does no good if the only editor who can read them is the person writing the article.--RDBury (talk) 14:57, 25 July 2011 (UTC) I don't want my non-notable subject to be just on the internet, I want it to be in Wikipedia, which is much more prestigious because they don't allow articles on non-notable subjects. :-) North8000 (talk) 15:00, 25 July 2011 (UTC) As this is a volunteer site, the culture is very important. You've heard of the broken window theory? Allowing articles on non-notable subjects will negatively affect the entire encyclopedia in the same way that a single damaged building negatively affects an entire neighborhood. It's easy to think that those articles aren't hurting anyone because they're "separate" from the real articles, but they will delegitimize our editing culture. We take verifiability, content, and layout seriously, and we hold each other to a higher standard than the bare minimum. If we stop doing that across the board, then there's nothing holding the ship together. Yes, some people will still care about those policies even if we allowed stray articles, but the culture of quality won't have the same energy or strength. Once you weaken that culture, you won't get it back. —Designate (talk) 16:23, 25 July 2011 (UTC) I admit that I find good arguments on both sides of this. I agree that we shouldn't add everything to the pedia but all too aften I have seen very weak arguments get articles deleted due to a perceived lack of notability. The problem is that notability is subjective. For example, international football players (soccer for us Americans) are less than notable for me and I wouldn't bat an eye if they all suddently disappeared one night, others would certainly scream. Likewise I would scream if someone deleted all the Medal of Honor recipients, others couldn't care less and consider all or most of them Wikiclutter. My point is that we should be careful to discount an article as simply being non notible because we individually don't care about it. In some cases there are very good references and enough information to build a very good article, even though the context of the article may stretch the limits of notability. One article of dubious notability that comes to mind is Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. --Kumioko (talk) 16:46, 25 July 2011 (UTC) Agree North8000 (talk) 17:03, 25 July 2011 (UTC) Those cats satisfy the Wikipedia criteria for a notable topic quite easily. The criteria are pretty much non-subjective. It does sort of emphasise though how thoroughly unnotable non-notable topics are. Dmcq (talk) 17:55, 25 July 2011 (UTC) Kumioko, have you read Wikipedia:Notability? —Designate (talk) 20:38, 25 July 2011 (UTC) Yes Designate I am very familiar with those rules but I am also aware that several projects have set their own "notability" guidelines, we have other guidelines that conflict or supercede Wikipedia:Notability and that on occassion the criteria has been overlooked for several reasons. All I am trying to say is that notability is not a black and white rule and sometimes there is a grey area group of articles that might be allowable. --Kumioko (talk) 14:18, 27 July 2011 (UTC) I understand that some things are not relevant, such as an article on your pet cat, but take for example the article on whinge wars. The type of subject isn't intrinsicly non notable, but that particular game is not. What few sources there are about it are written, and there is nothing unreliable about the article. However, in this instance the subject matter is not well known.

North8000: if you made a wikipedia article called (for example) Bob's favourite washing up liquid, then searched Bob's favourite washing up liquid, you would find the article. If you made a website with the same name then searched it on google, you wouldn't be able to find it.

Alicianpig (talk) 18:35, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

One of the reasons why I'm a big supporter of our notability guideline is because it helps prevent Wikipedia from being misused. Currently, we don't allow articles about non-notable subjects. That means that the subject has already received attention, which has led to analysis by sources that we consider to be reliable, and we are able to draw from that analysis to write an unbiased and verifiable article. If we discard or unduly relax the notability guideline, then articles on subjects such as "whinge wars" can be created for the sole purpose of bringing attention to the subject. In effect, Wikipedia would become a place to make something notable, rather than a place for notable subjects. This would no longer be an encyclopedia at that point. Also, I don't buy the defeatist attitude that Wikipedia has zero credibility, if that was the case then it wouldn't be one of the most popular sites on the web. Sensible people don't take everything at face value at every article (after all, we're not allowed to use Wikipedia itself as a reliable source) but the reliability of this site has been favorably compared to the Encyclopedia Britannica which is rather high praise. -- Atama頭 19:42, 25 July 2011 (UTC) Alicianpig, "Bob's favourite washing up liquid" could have its own Facebook page. Those are free, unregulated, and appear moderately high on Google searches. And you can (generally) get away with copyrighted photos. And unlike on Wikipedia, the creator of the Facebook page has total control. If "Bob's favourite washing up liquid" got into some kind of legal scandal, the Facebook page could pretend it never happened. Really, it's a better deal for promoting some obscure thing. Wikipedia's brand requires a certain editorial seriousness that you'd never get if only fans and owners ever saw the page. —Designate (talk) 20:58, 25 July 2011 (UTC) We do not have articles on non-notable subjects primarily because it is not possible to write a fair, balanced, and neutral article on such subjects. You cannot write a fair article if no (or very few) WP:Independent sources have ever been WP:Published. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:26, 25 July 2011 (UTC This seems to contradict the assuming good faith policy. The internet is not the only source of information. someone who is an expert on a particular subject could write a perfectly good article without using online information, and assuming the editor is trying to help the project, it is not neccessary to prove the information with internet references.

Also, someone said that if people could make non-notable articles it would ruin wikipedia's credibility. However, the articles on notable subjects would be just as good as before, so it would not decrease the credibility of those. Alicianpig (talk) 18:44, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

No one has said that the sources have to be accessible on the internet. The information does have to be verifiable with reliable sources though. Those sources can be hard copy books, journals, newspapers or other sources that are not available on the internet. GB fan please review my editing 18:53, 26 July 2011 (UTC) I give you a list of restaurants which I say are worth trying out. The first four all have slow service, surly staff, the food is indifferent at best and the prices extortionate. Are you going to go to the fifth one on the list or decide to stay in and order pizza? GraemeLeggett (talk) 18:56, 26 July 2011 (UTC) There is no 'pizza'. Wikipedia is the easiest way to access information. Alicianpig (talk) 19:29, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

There's always pizza. I can name a very good pizza delivery service, or perhaps you prefer to collect. GraemeLeggett (talk) 19:36, 26 July 2011 (UTC) Because Wikipedia is still immensely popular. And unfortunately, many organizations take advantage of that purely for SEO reasons. Imagine if Wikipedia was not as popular as it is right now, or if Wikipedia did not gather remotely as much Googlejuice as it has - would it still be that used as a place for just any bit of information? Would it be any more viable than Wikinfo? –MuZemike 03:44, 27 July 2011 (UTC) I think this mostly comes down to whether or not there is any sourcing independent of the topic, with which one can build an article. While it has little to do with the sources being online or off, for most editors, online sources tend to be much easier to find and cite these days (though one must still be mindful about their independence and depth). Nobody can write an article drawn from sources they've written themselves which have not been independently published/cited, whatever their credentials may be, that's beyond the bounds allowed by the original research policy and beyond the ken of an encyclopedia. Why? Because without independent sourcing, the reader has no way to check up, if need be, on what they've read. The bounds on WP:BLP, articles about living people, are much sterner, because such articles can have meaningful sway on their lives. As for reliability, Wikipedia is not reliable, no encyclopedia is thought of as reliable. Wikipedia is a handy tool for looking stuff up, either as a quick, messy take on a topic, or as a means to get an overview for learning much more. Wikipedia is built mostly from independent secondary sources which the reader can one way or another check out. Since most secondary sources do carry deep flaws, so does Wikipedia. Reader beware. Gwen Gale (talk) 20:11, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

GraemeLeggett: Wikipedia is free pizza with free delivery. However bad something is, no one cares as long as it's free and easy to get Alicianpig (talk) 07:23, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

To continue on with this analogy, you are looking for a free delivery service for free food, not just free pizza. You are advocating that any variety of food be available for free with free delivery from one place. When you start expanding past pizza to chinese, mexican, and other varieties of food, you can't do any of it to any acceptable level. I would have to disagree with you that no one cares how bad something is if it is free and easy to get. I would rather pay for good food than be given bad food. GB fan please review my editing 12:57, 27 July 2011 (UTC) If a pizza takeaway (continuing on the pizza theme) started selling all sorts of food, yes the new food would probably be badly done by the dodgy new people you bought in to make it, but the pizza would be just as good as before as long as the same pizza guy kept making it, and people who thought the pizza was good would keep coming for that. Alicianpig (talk) 13:26, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

To use an analogy a different way, notability is like limiting the list to real, commercial pizza restaurants, as confirmed according to certain methods. So people who are hoping to get in the pizza business if they could just get somebody to call them at their house, or a burger joint just thinking of getting into the pizza business are not listed. So the narrowing process adds important information and value to the list. North8000 (talk) 13:49, 27 July 2011 (UTC) All of the stuff about SEO and notability is all smoke and mirrors, I think. We've been inching towards being more and more inclusive over the years, but there is a limit. it seems to me that Gwen hits the real motivation for placing the line where it is currently at... when it feels like a topic is unreferencable (garage bands for example, barring some instant fame... which turns a garage band into a mainstream group anyway), then the article isn't likely to survive here. That's the embodiment of what notability is supposed to say, but it seems as though people continually feel the need to tack on extra stuff to the notability standard idea (just like there's a lot of extra "smoke and mirrors" justifications being presented here). — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 15:28, 27 July 2011 (UTC) I'm puzzled and stunned that nobody has mentioned the most important issue: who the hell would patrol all these articles for NPOV, verifiability, COI, etc.? There are over 3.5 million articles and rising, and we know there are all sorts of hidden pus pockets, walled gardens and pseudo-secret sections that don't get cleaned up because nobody happens to stumble on them. Add another 5-10 million articles (conservative estimate) on neighborhood bars, garage bands, high school glee clubs, and village council members from small Lesothan hamlets, and who would be able to maintain any quality whatsoever? We can't have articles on everything and everybody on a planet of 7 billion people and rising! --Orange Mike | Talk 02:10, 31 July 2011 (UTC) [edit] SourcesIs it unusual or undesirable to have a "Further Reading" list of five items, all by the same author, and none other? Is this mitigated by adding a single additional source, by a different author? The article in question is Americans in Hong Kong. DOR (HK) (talk) 05:47, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Without looking; it could be possible that the author is an expert on the subject and written several books on the various aspects of the topic. Having looked; it seems more likely that these are all short articles the author? has but two books listed on Amazon. This is one of the futher reading items Conference proceedings perhaps? GraemeLeggett (talk) 19:07, 26 July 2011 (UTC) I'd say so; it's the parallel to "External links", in which, instead of external links, it's other (non-online) print sources in which people may want to read more upon. –MuZemike 03:35, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

The whole system is unfair and biased

It seems to me that, while wikipedia is presented as the encycleopedia that anyone can edit, this is very misleading. It seems a lot more like an encycleopaedia which only experienced, well connected people who know all the tricks to keep their articles on and delete other people's can edit. And also, the rules are supposed to be all community driven and democratic, but democracy doesn't work when most people are wrong about something. It is the more experienced editors who know how to change things on wikipedia, and these are the people who the unfair, biased, current system benefits. I keep hearing the saying 'When in Rome, Do as the Romans'. I prefer the saying 'Be in the world, but not of the world'. Just because most people are wrong, that doesn't mean I should be wrong as well. It also seems that people on here enjoy deleting people's articles for fun, however much they may make excuss about 'official wikipedia rules'. so I think the whole sysem needs sorting out, but the chances are this will never happen, because of who gets to make the decisions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alicianpig (talk • contribs) 12:42, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

To address your concerns: many people also think the policy "system needs sorting out" and it can happen, but will likely need years, unless new rules are imposed by top management (revolution is often faster then evolution). Wikipedia has already improved, from pure mobocracy towards the "Rule of law" where WP:CONSENSUS now states that an agreement of many people cannot override long-term policies. A united group of rumor mongers cannot decree that gossip, or crude jokes, will be allowed in celebrity articles, so there are limits which prevent "most people" from doing what they want. However, the Rule of Law works better with strict, but fair enforcement of sanctions for rule breakers ("outlaws"), and unfortunately, Wikipedia has limited polices about "fairness" where even the articles omit major concepts of fairness, such as no article in 10 years for "Proportional punishment" but only for "Mandatory sentencing". Meanwhile, the WP:Article_Incubator gives people more chances to create articles that can survive deletion. However, beware that you might want Wikipedia to be more fair than any nation on Earth. More below. -Wikid77 06:15, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

This desk is "to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines." Why did you post the above rant here? ╟─TreasuryTag►Syndic General─╢ 14:49, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

You know, I'm really tired of seeing new editors attacked and belittled for not knowing all the rules. This includes the removal of the editor's comments above by TreasuryTag [27] ([28]) after I restored them once before. [29] [30] While I have to assume Bob House 884 just didn't know any better because he is a fairly new editor, TreasuryTag is not a new editor. In the case of TreasuryTag's removal of this editor's comments, this has got to be one of the most blatent disregards for WP:AGF and WP:BITE that I've seen. --Tothwolf (talk) 14:59, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

I never questioned Alicianpig's good faith. I said that they posted their rant on the wrong noticeboard, because it is clearly not a proposed new policy or a discussion of existing policies. ╟─TreasuryTag►stannary parliament─╢ 15:01, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

On the contrary, it expresses a viewpoint about the way policies ("rules") are applied on WP. Many threads on this page are far more off-topic than this.--Kotniski (talk) 15:05, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Just to say, I removed the comment initially because it seemed plainly outside the scope of the board and didn't seem likely to attract any constructive comment. Perhaps hatting would have been a better idea. Slightly ironically it seems that the cause of Alicianpig's stress is the impending deletion of an article called 'Whinge wars' Bob House 884 (talk) 15:10, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

(Directed at the OP) Instead of making vague generalizations, can you give specific examples of what you're referring to? The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 15:11, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

I think that the OP may be making a reference to Wikipedians' general scepticism of the WP:BROTHER excuse! ╟─TreasuryTag►senator─╢ 15:14, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Ah, that might explain things; however, I do see Alicianpig was given a dose of good faith there, which is, after all, what we're supposed to do around here. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 15:18, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

(ec)Tempest in a tea pot, really, hatting would be likely been better. We should go have a refreshing beverage. But am I correct that implying another editor is a troll in an edit summary could be interpreted as a personal attack? --Nuujinn (talk) 15:16, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

It wouldn't be the first time. [31] This also begs the question if TreasuryTag wasn't simply trying to revert my restoration of Alicianpig's comments here because I had warned them for canvassing [32] here on VPP for this section above. Sigh. WP:POINT, anyone? --Tothwolf (talk) 16:16, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

TreasuryTag you did question Alicianpig's good faith, by calling them a troll in an edit summary. GB fan (talk) 15:13, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Don't know the particulars here, but Wikipedia is a vicious place for new editors. Imagine a world with zillions of imperfectly written rules where everything done violates a literal broad interpration of them, and where every person (including social misfits) is given a badge and a gun. That is the WP world to a new editor. North8000 (talk) 15:32, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. TheParasite (talk) 15:34, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Note that North8000 (talk · contribs) and TheParasite (talk · contribs) are the same person [33] – ╟─TreasuryTag►constabulary─╢ 15:56, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

With the exception of the "badge and a gun", wouldn't that be real life? –MuZemike 08:09, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Speaking as an occasional but serious editor, still a newbie in many ways, I have to say that I do not have a problem with understanding and following the rules once they are pointed out to me (which sometimes had to happen repeatedly.) I find the experienced and active editors to be friendly and helpful without exception. I do get irritated with editors who persist, sometimes in very mischievous ways which stay within the "rules", to push their (obviously) biased PoV. I have to work hard at disciplining myself not to retaliate in kind, and I think I have mostly been successful. I love what Wikipedia is doing, and I am pleased and proud to have played a small part in it. pietopper (talk) 22:23, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

With regards to the "particulars" in which why the complainant is here, I need to repeat that Wikipedia is not the place to post stuff that is completely unverifiable or otherwise madeup; see Wikipedia:Verifiability for details. This is an encyclopedia which relies on information that is verified by reliable, independent sources and that are neutral. If the complainant cannot understand those very basic things, then there is not much we can do to help. –MuZemike 08:24, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Of course Wikipedia isn't the place for unverifiable material, but we still shouldn't bite and bash a newbie over the head when they attempt to express their frustration with the general unfriendliness of the system. --Tothwolf (talk) 17:06, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I completely agree with Alicianpig - it's amazing that 'the free encyclopedia' can have such a vicious hierarchy which seems to take great pleasure from removing posts from new editors. How is Wikipedia supposed to encourage more people to start editing, when anyone who accidentally violates the smallest, most inane rule is slapped with an angry notice and sees their article/post deleted? I once referenced an online news story about an event which happened in July 2008. In the article, I accidentally wrote that it happened in 2007. Clearly a typo - but what does the editor at the top of the food chain do? Instead of correcting the obvious, one-character error, he/she decides to delete my article. This is exactly the sort of thing the 'important' people endorse - they assume they have some sort of power and decide to use it to make the whole experience difficult for new editors. — Preceding unsigned comment added by R013 (talk • contribs) 09:40, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

First off, there are differences between your case and Alicianpig's above – you were writing about stuff that were more viable, as opposed to something that was completely unverifiable or otherwise madeup. Second, it is not your article – once you hit the "Save page" button, it becomes the community's article and can be edited at will by others, within common sense and basic policies, of course. Moreover, I highly doubt an administrator deleted the article in question because of one minor typo. –MuZemike 13:29, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

"It seems a lot more like an encycleopaedia which only experienced, well connected people who know all the tricks to keep their articles on and delete other people's can edit."

In some way this is true. Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a place where everybody can write whatever he or she wants to. In order for this to work, there have to be some rules, otherwise everybody would just make what he or she wanted to and no encyclopedia would be built.

Also, I think that I am also still a relatively new editor (I started editing in mid 2010). And I have made some mistakes since then. At the beginning, I really had no idea, where to look for anything I wanted to know (rules or policies for example). My experience is, it requires some time to be able to become a "well working editor". You can't expect to simply jump in and know all the nos and goes of Wikipedia. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes in good faith. I have also made a number of mistakes since I began editing here. I think you simply have to take Wikipedia a bit serious and you should always try to improve your knowledge of the working of Wikipedia. If you don't know how something works, don't just give up. If you really can't make sense of something yourself, you can always ask at WP:Help desk. Don't be afraid to ask question you think might sound silly, simply bring up what you have problems with, and try to behave as intended (eg try to avoid coming into the NOs part of Wikipea, such as Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not). For example, Wikipedia is not a democracy. And if there is anything you need help with, you can always ask me on my talk page. I simply try to be a helpful part of this community and while there are editors who bite other people or might seem unfriendly, there are also a lot of welcoming people on Wikipedia. I hope I am one of them. Cheers. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 11:21, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

A lot of Wikipedians have problems with the hierarchy, bureaucracy and sometimes difficult to understand, or to access, rules that WP operates on. Sometimes this results in inequity or BITEyness and sometimes we all want to complain about it, but this thread does not contain any actionable proposal. Have a cup of tea and visit the help desk if you need help. Bob House 884 (talk) 14:04, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Actionable isn't the point. There is active discussion going on here and I've undone your close of this discussion thread. --Tothwolf (talk) 16:53, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

(edit was simultaneous with the closing) Us who have have been down in the rabbit hole in the Wikipedia alternate universe for some time should realize that newcomers sometimes may have a better perspective than we have. North8000 (talk) 14:06, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

The only suggestion I have is mandatory retirement of VIP editors after so many years, maybe the memory of being a newbie will stay with them the second time around. Unscintillating (talk) 04:59, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

[edit] It's time for some massive changeI was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who seemed to agree with me about the unfairness of the current wikipedia system with regards to the treatment of new editors. I think that if so many people disagree with the way more experienced editors aggressively treat newer ones, maybe it is time for this to be changed. Please leave your opinions about this below (Alicianpig (talk) 17:24, 20 June 2011 (UTC))

Agree that change is needed

change? (I got nothing) Gurch (talk) 17:43, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm not entirely sure this is relevant. However, deleting it would go entirely against what I'm trying to say. (even though your post was actually pointless, thanks for giving me an oppurtunity to make this point)(Alicianpig (talk) 18:11, 20 June 2011 (UTC))

I agree that change would be good. I have had similar problems with creating articles, so I just don't write new articles anymore. See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Aerogarden and Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Jamison_Parker. I think that some of us forget that this is a volunteer project and seem to have a bit of an attack-dog/guilty-until-proven-innocent mentality. There seems to be lots of inaccurate, uninformed accusation slinging, too. I don't think these things are productive. I don't have any particularly good suggestions, but here is some evidence in support of Alicianpig's comments. --Jp07 (talk) 16:56, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

I agree that change is needed, but I think you should specify what you mean. Over the years, I have seen many problems, which have been spoken about by many others. In particular: (a) Wikipedia is really an insider's game, and without connections or a thorough understanding of Wikipedia procedure, new contributors get slammed. (b) Wikipedia is best at textbook-type topics, but it gets weak in many areas. (c) the public expects Wikipedia to have coverage of virtually everything, and yet deletionists are very quick to remove many topics which would be fine to remain as stubs. (d) Wikipedia is not user friendly. (e) Wikipedia does not have a good way to deal with COI. It's absurd that major organizations, public figures, companies, or individuals are virtually barred from having meaningful information about themselves. There should be very simple how-to type guidelines for ~100 different kinds of articles, with tips and suggestions on how to get started. Then, if a newbie messes up, there should be friendly (not bitchy) newbie-style guidelines to refer them to. Wxidea (talk) 22:31, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Interestingly, wp:coi is well written and allows them to do this. But wp:coi is usually misquoted, especially by the bullies....they say that having such a relationship with a company IS a wp:coi, which is absolutely wrong, and absolutely not what the guideline says. North8000 (talk) 20:52, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

I also agree that we delete new contributor's articles way too quickly. The notability requirement is one problem. If they want to write an article of interest only to a few people, I don't see the problem. Disk space is cheap. And if it's poorly written or not long enough, does this matter, if few people will ever read it ? I'd say we should improve such articles and/or mentor the newcomers to do so, rather than just delete them. StuRat (talk) 23:04, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Agree. The deletion of articles is a sore spot, I continue to be puzzled as to why there is such a strong deletionist bias among the admins, the only explanation I have is that they have so many articles to delete all of the time that they become insensitive to the amount of work they are destroying. One of the issues here is there is a difference between deleted articles with minor technical deficiencies that when deleted should be archived, and articles that really should be taken offline. Radio Sandwell is a perfect example, it just needs one good source from a local newspaper, but now that it is hidden from the sight of regular users, only admins can really do anything about improving the article. So at AfD we need to be differentiating between taking material out of mainspace and archiving it, and removing objectional material from mainspace. Another example of an article that should be available in an archive is Kippax Uniting Church. I think this would also help a lot of editors who put their work in here, knowing that they could still find their old work in an archive of deleted articles. Beyond that, the problem with deletion continues to be the creation of articles that need to be deleted. I think we need to require sources before an article can be created, one for identifiability of the article name, and one for content. Also, the creator needs to place a rationale for creation to start the talk page. Another reasonable idea that was proposed was to require that a red link to the article exist before the article could be created. Yet another idea would be to start the article on the talk page, and it would require a second editor to actually create the article itself. Maybe it would make sense to start all articles in the incubator. Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Proposal to require autoconfirmed status in order to create articles goes in the right direction. Unscintillating (talk) 03:00, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I strongly agree with [User:Unscintillating|Unscintillating]]'s comments that deletionist-prone editors and admins "have so many articles to delete all of the time that they become insensitive to the amount of work they are destroying." It's great that they weed out so much spam, but many newbies put a lot of work into trying to be encyclopedic, and rather then be helpful, I have seen too many examples of editors bullying new authors with wikipedia regulations, snotty attitude, or just plowing through an AfD. I am sure the deletionists mean well on some level, but it burns new contributors. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wxidea (talk • contribs) 06:34, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Also agree. But even Unscintillating's comments are limited only to well-intentioned but rough "enforcers" are just a part of the problem. There are also bullies roaming WP, using wikilawyering instead of fists. North8000 (talk) 20:43, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia is a mean place for new editors due to a combination of factors. Agree that a large amount of changes are needed with respect to this. That doesn't define what the changes are, but the strategic decision can come first. North8000 (talk) 19:58, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Agree in principle that change is needed. Wikipedia is currently at risk of coming to comprise an underclass of content creators effectively ruled by a supervisory class that uses mechanisms of content destruction to extract labor from the underclass on pain of having the fruits of their voluntary labors needlessly lost. There are counter-trends to the factors that create this risk, but it is in no way clear that they are presently on track to overcome it. This needs to change. How to change it is, as North8000 notes, another exercise. —chaos5023 (talk) 20:16, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Agree that change is needed. In my first efforts, in 2007, I was bitten twice in the same Wikiproject. Now I'd know how to deal with these cases. More generally, instead of the current "welcome" message, which links to reams of policies and guidelines, newcomers need: simple explanations of the main policies, e.g. 2-3 sentences each; links to the relevant noticeboards for the occasional more complex cases; and advice and tools that can make newcomers productive quickly. At User:Philcha/Essays/Advice_for_new_Wikipedia_editors I have a draft on these lines, and hope some editors will comment at User_talk:Philcha/Essays/Advice_for_new_Wikipedia_editors. --Philcha (talk) 21:01, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Disagree that change is needed

"Change" is an attractive, but utterly meaningless term. Everyone can say "oh yes change is good" but what change? How can we avoid biting new editors and deleting their articles when a good number of those articles violate core Wikipedia tenets? Should we throw out notability requirements and let anyone post anything? Should we throw out Verifiability requirements, or allow only one self-published source to suffice for an article? Without doing both of those things the fact of the matter is a good chunk of new articles will be summarily deleted. I am all for changes but there are no CORE POLICY issues here. Except maybe us being less tolerant of incivility everywhere and much more liberal with indef. bans for incivility and personal attacks. now THAT is change I can support. HominidMachinae (talk) 07:23, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

I think a good start would be to adopt a policy of innocent- or good faith-until-proven-guilty. I do not write new articles anymore because I know that I will inevitably be accosted for something, and it really requires full-time defense of the article to prevent speedy deletion. As a volunteer who has other things going on in his life, I don't have time to sit at my computer for several days straight writing a magnum opus and defending an article that was meant to be a donation of my time. Excellent writing takes a great deal of time, and I think it's silly to expect such devotion from unpaid workers. Perhaps establishing stronger checks and balances would be effective. It might be a good idea to require someone with established authority (I'm not familiar with the authority structure) to nominate articles for speedy deletion. When the average joe editor with a Napoleon complex attacks a newbie editor, that newbie is not going to contribute anymore, even though they could become a valuable asset to the project. I think speedy deletion nominations should come only from those with a demonstrated track record of civility. Other editors should have a separate space where they can submit concerns for senior editors to review and decide whether or not the topic of deletion should even be brought up. A separate locale will prevent hostilities between the concerned and those who are working on the article as the writers will not be notified of concerns that do not necessitate deletion. In corporate life, hostile managers do not run effective workplaces. Managers must be assertive, but civil. Think of it that way. --Jp07 (talk) 07:48, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

If an article requires aggressive defense against a CSD deletion then it is most likely (but not certain, admins make mistakes like any other human being) that the article meets at least one criterion for speedy deletion. There's a reason that the criteria are very specific and all grounds for immediate deletion without any prior steps: namely that they are articles that have no chance of being salvaged or are actively damaging to our reputation (attack pages, nonsense, pure vandalism, ect). Speedy deletion is not the problem. The problem is the article. I think that the combination of speedy deletion, the AfD system and Deletion Review do form adequate checks and balances. The only way it could be improved is mandatory notification of article creators of speedy deletion. HominidMachinae (talk) 08:26, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm finding it hard to reply to this because I'm not familiar with any of your acronyms, which -- pardon my frankness -- I think is another problem that we run into in engaging in conversations about change. Although we are all Wikipedia editors, some of us have a great deal of experience, whereas others of us do not. And I think you could edit Wikipedia throughout your lifetime and still not learn all of the jargon and acronyms. So, Thing #1: I think it is best to avoid jargon and to spell out acronyms. Thing #2: I agree with you on this: attack pages, nonsense, vandalism, etc. should all be quickly removed from the wiki because these compromise credibility, and they also may have legal ramifications. I do not, however, believe that articles that do not conform to every facet of Wikipedia style and those that are stubs should be instant targets for persecution. Reference Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Jamison_Parker. Although this topic is notable and the article is still around today, other editors seemed more interested in deleting the article because they were not personally familiar with the band and because of coincidences that inspired elaborate theories on Wikipedia abuse. I think this is a pretty clear demonstration of what I'm talking about. If these editors had taken the time to investigate a little bit, they would have realized that the topic was, in fact, notable, and that I was a new editor. The article was not my best piece of writing, but it was not horrible, either, and my demonstrated mastery of the English language was perfectly fine (despite inappropriate comments to the contrary). This is a relatively commonplace occurrence for editors who write new articles, particularly when those editors are new to Wikipedia. This will not lead to repeat customers.--Jp07 (talk) 08:54, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Sorry for being unclear. For the record CSD means "Criteria for speedy deletion" and AfD means "Articles for Deletion" Deletion Review is often abbreviated DRV. I think the largest problem is the perception that Articles for deletion is seen as "OMG they're going to get rid of it, when in reality it is a discussion forum. To me an Articles for Deletion nomination means "hey guys, I think that this article might not meet notability/verifiability/other requirements, can I get some input? It's not a bad thing, certainly, and as many articles get saved from deletion as get deleted. Perhaps the best solution would be to follow Redirects for Discussion and call it "Articles for Discussion" not "deletion". HominidMachinae (talk) 22:33, 29 June 2011 (UTC)


Right yeah 'change' - are you actually suggesting something? Bob House 884 (talk) 17:27, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm thinking about changing the rules so that it is not so easy to delete other people's articles and so the rules are less complicated (as this gives an advantage to experienced people who learn them). However, I'm interested to hear what other, possibly more experienced editors, have to say about this issue. Thanks for asking, I didn't make it very clear to start with. (Alicianpig (talk) 17:34, 20 June 2011 (UTC))

I'm inclined to think that your experience at wikipedia might be better if you didn't upload obvious copyright violations (File:Vishling.jpg), didn't make personal attacks [34], and didn't write insulting things on people's own personal pages [35] and maybe didnt ask other people to come and sabotage wikipedia on an off-site website [36]. All of these things are real world rules - they're easy enough to stick to with a healthy dose of common sense. People might be more inclined to help you out if you stuck to the more obvious stuff like that - you can then try to get to grips with the more complicated ideas which are specific to wikipedia like WP:Notability (which is why your article got deleted) and WP:Verifiability. Regards, Bob House 884 (talk) 17:43, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

This is nothing to do with the system or policy, just a need for consideration for inexperienced users.--Charles (talk) 17:48, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

The OP appears to be unfamiliar with WP:BITE. --Jayron32 17:53, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Are you referring to me or to Alicianpig? Bob House 884 (talk) 17:55, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Not you. --Jayron32 18:12, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Okay, thanks. Regards, Bob House 884 (talk) 18:14, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Oh. so it's bad doing that stuff, but it's ok to do vicious, underhand stuff as long as it fits in with the ridiculous rules on this website. It's ok to repeatedly come up with different excuses to delete someones website. It's ok to call someone a sockpuppeteer and a troll. It's ok to accuse them of breaking copyright laws with a photo they NEVER ACTUALLY ENDED UP PUTTING IN THEIR ARTICLE. I think I'm starting to get the idea. If you're an experienced editor who knows the tricks of the trade, sure, it's fine to do bad stuff, go ahead, as long as you keep within your own stupid rules. But a new editor doing what's necessary to fight his own against repeated harassment and aggression? Who could think such a ridiculous thing?.(Alicianpig (talk) 18:05, 20 June 2011 (UTC))

Are you, Alicianpig, asking for help or are you just here to express anger because you didn't get your way? --Jayron32 18:12, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Both, and more. Not just on a personal level, I do think that there needs to be a certain amount of help and protection for newcomers. However, I am also expressing a certain amount of anger about how I have been treated by certain editors so far, both with regards to my Whinge Wars article, and also to my suggestions of change. Thanks for asking. (Alicianpig (talk) 18:22, 20 June 2011 (UTC))

The main reason for your concern seems to be the deletion of your article Whinge wars at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Whinge wars. I see there is also an attempt to recruit people to keep the article at See Wikipedia:Canvassing. In [37] (admin only diff of deleted page) you wrote: "This is not a made up game Due to the current small scale of this game, there is no information available other than the source website. However, this does not necessarily mean it is made up, just that it has little online presence. As it is not a commercially available or predominantly online game, the internet does not have much information about it. This is why it is necessary for the information to be published on wikipedia, so the information is accessible online somewhere other than the actual website. It is a mistake to say that there is no online information about it, because this article IS the online information. If wikipedia only contains information which is available elsewhere, there is very little point in it existing" Regardless of how new editors are treated, the above is a fundamental misunderstanding of what Wikipedia is for. The article would also have been deleted if it had been written by an experienced editor knowing all the rules. Nobody would be able to satisfy Wikipedia's source requirements if the only source in existence is the subjects own website. Wikipedia is exactly for containing information which is available elsewhere in reliable sources, but collected here in a free encyclopedic format. See also Wikipedia:Verifiability. You will not get this fundamental principle changed. And there are millions of selfpublished websites. Wikipedia is not the place to duplicate the Internet or advertise almost unknown subjects which "need" a Wikipedia presence to become better known. PrimeHunter (talk) 18:25, 20 June 2011 (UTC) I agree with PrimeHunter here. I thought several other editors made this clear several threads above. Wikipedia is not intended as a substitute for the rest of the Internet, but rather it is a complement. This all concerns an article you created that was doing to be deleted regardless of how lax we would have been with the guidelines we have. Once again, it is (or was) not your article; once you hit that "Save page" button, it becomes the community's article and can be edited at will, within common sense and the basic rules we have. That is one of the most basic aspects of a wiki-editing environment (its communal nature), and editors who cannot understand that will likely not get along well here.

As far as the perceived harassment is concerned, we have several people who are trying to help you and trying to guide you in the correct direction, but, from what I have seen so far, you have not tried to follow our guidance. If you feel you have a problem with being harassed, then I suggest that you step back a bit and try to put things in perspective.

That being said, when I started here some 3 years ago, to me, it seemed like common sense that we try and build up articles whose content is verifiable, and that not everything under the sun is going to be included; otherwise, Wikipedia ceases to be what its primary purpose is – which is an encyclopedia. –MuZemike 21:27, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

That's what I'm trying to say. If the old rules are wrong, however 'fundamental' they may be, surely they need changing. Nothing is really ever going to be changed if no one is willing to do anything more than modify the most minute rules. (Alicianpig (talk) 06:25, 21 June 2011 (UTC))

I tend to agree with all of this (and the reason that it's being brought up, because the user "lost" at AFD, certainly doesn't help), except... NPP'ers and vandal patrollers still seem to get overzealous or burnt out from time to time. More importantly, I think that many of us who have been around for a while have become somewhat "ossified" in our thinking, which is exemplified by your closing comment MuZemike. I find the whole "Wikipedia is too big!" thinking to be unproductive, and I suspect that it's more of a reflection of some user's need for control rather then anything that is really related to the encyclopedia. — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 22:14, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I find myself wondering why it is people seem to have already forgotten about the results from Wikipedia:Newbie treatment at Criteria for speedy deletion (related Signpost article)? --Tothwolf (talk) 22:47, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it can (seem to?) be an extremely bitey place, even for an intelligent person. My first 'comeback' edits disappeared insanely quickly, because I was unfamiliar with the rules (obviously! How many people, in all seriousness, are going to read the whole rule book before making a one-sentence or two-sentence edit?) If I had not been me, I might have just never come back, instead of trying to find out what happened and where I went wrong. And we really do need to remember that some newbies can be real youngsters, and what seems mightily important to them may be complete crap to the rest of us - but it doesn't mean that they don't have the ability to turn into really useful members of the community, given the right nurturing. Imagine if the newbie you'd just given a severe bite to turned out to be a very bright 10 year old kid with a load of potential, who spent the next week crying themselves to sleep every night. Hmmmm. I'll bet Einstein himself could have looked pretty trollish as a kid. We really mustn't assume that all our newbies are adults, and likely to respond and react and interact in an adult manner. And DO remember - we have some exceptional young-teen editors on-site; they have to start somewhere! Yes, some people are just trolls. But some really do just need a bit more guidance than others, and could turn out good - instead of just walking away whimpering, or biting back. Always remember, in your interactions with someone who just doesn't seem to 'get it', that this could be a kid you're talking to. They're not going to 'get it' like a 17+-year-old will! And they may not even know what some of the words and phrases you're using even mean! Pesky (talk …stalk!) 05:06, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

With all due respect, I don't get what is so "ossifying" about requiring that content be verified by stuff that is reliable rather than from some "Joe Schmoe forumite" or "I heard it somewhere" source. Moreover, I'm not suggesting that "Wikipedia is too big", as we're already at over 3.5 million articles and increasing daily – including topics from Abraham Lincoln to Toilet paper orientation. However, there is a threshold for what we include and don't include, and that one most basic policy is one of our gauges of that. –MuZemike 15:50, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Proposal: why don't we try and make sure that our rules and guidelines are written in a vocabulary that our younger editors can actually understand without having to have a dictionary on-hand while they read them? Young !=stupid. But it can very reasonably = reduced vocabulary. So, with rules and guidelines, the first one to follow is WP:KISS. This might not only solve quite a few problems, but actually encourage and retain the next generation of Wikipedians. If we can't make our rules easy to understand, then the fault lies with us, not with them. Pesky (talk …stalk!) 05:24, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

What makes you think that we WANT or NEED "young" editors? If you dont have the vocabulary to comprehend our !rules to the point that you can make a contribution (it need not be perfect, just not vandalism or incomprehensible, we are a work in progress and someone will come along and refine your grammar or fix your infobox formatting, etc). Yes young!=stupid, but it can equal immature. Just as you we make you wait until you are 18 to vote because you need some knowledge of the greater world before voting, regardless of IQ or educational attainment. You can graduate college at 14, but you still can not smoke, drink, drive, vote, or serve in our military. Intelligence does not mean you have the social skills and ability to contribute, we should not make it EASIER and dumb down our Wikipedia policies for younger people. We are not desperate for newbies. Simple English exists.Camelbinky (talk) 22:55, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Massive change? Sure. Anomie⚔ 03:21, 30 June 2011 (UTC)[edit] Real proposal - projectRe-wording templates, rules, all-sorts.

Suggest adding a "The Simplest Explanation" sentence to the top of each rule page.


NPOV = "Don't take sides. Anyone reading what you've written shouldn't be able to guess which side you're on." (I boldly did that one) Verifiability : "people have to be able to check that you didn't just make it up!" Maybe? Boldly did that, too. ... aaaand ... just got reverted! Oh, well .... Pesky (talk …stalk!) 07:07, 21 June 2011 (UTC) Bite: "don't be too harsh on new editors" I Boldly did this one (Alicianpig (talk) 06:36, 21 June 2011 (UTC)) Simple stuff. Who do we have who's creative enough and interested enough to make this work? Pesky (talk …stalk!) 06:12, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

This sounds like a very good idea. (Alicianpig (talk) 06:26, 21 June 2011 (UTC))

Ahhh, good! I've done two 'simple explanation' things - can you go check them out, please? They're at WP:NPOV and WP:V. :o) Pesky (talk …stalk!) 06:36, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

This all seems to me to be a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. If people are unable to read the guidelines as they are written, they are not going to be able to contribute writing of the quality required for an encyclopedia. The "nutshell" versions are concise and clear, and I don't see a need for two one-sentence summaries of the policies. ~ Mesoderm (talk) 07:46, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

There are many things people can do that don't involve writing high-quality prose, but still require understanding the policies. For example, Alicianpig does not appear to have understood that merely uploading a copyrighted picture to Wikipedia is itself a serious copyright violation, even if s/he never linked the picture into an article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:51, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

People who fall foul of the rules, either because they don't even know what they are, that the rules exist, etc., are our target-audience for the policy pages. In order to be able to understand what the policies actually mean, so that we can make sure they don't continue to fall foul of them, there has to be a dead-simple explanation which that target audience can understand. As we're for the main part likely to be talking about newbies, and often young newbies, it's therefore our responsibility to make sure that there's a jargon-free, readily-understandable 'simple concept' thing right near the top of the page. There's almost always a way of describing a concept so that a 12-year-old can at least understand what we mean by what we're saying; and if we write the entire page in language which is hard for them to understand, from start to finish, then we can hardly blame them for our failure to make it clear to them. It may be one's view that 12-year-olds shouldn't be trying to edit Wikipedia in the first place, or that 12-year-olds should come to us ready-equipped with an internal WikiJargon dictionary - but that's not what happens in real life. The target audience for policy pages is going to be precisely those people who don't yet know the rules or understand the jargon. Pesky (talk …stalk!) 10:35, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

I think you have a very good point. There was a previous small scale study on the readability of user warnings which was covered in the May 16, 2011 Signpost. It might not be a bad idea at all to see a larger study done for all of our guidelines and policies. I seem to remember there also being a bot-generated list of the most frequently cited policies and guidelines but I can't find it now. --Tothwolf (talk) 12:14, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Tothwolf, as and when you can find it, could you please let me have a list of those? If we can improve the understandability of the first thing people see in all the guidelines they get pointed to, that would be a great start :o) Anything we can do which makes the basic concepts really easy to grab will reduce the necessity for subsequent re-explanations, and ultimately potentially save everyone a lot of time and heartache. This is the idea. Pesky (talk …stalk!) 21:18, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

I've spent hours looking for it and I cannot find it now. I even checked under Wikipedia:Database reports and it isn't there either. In order to generate a new report for the various guidelines and policies the bot or process will also need to resolve any incoming redirects (mainly shortcut links) for each of the guideline and policy pages too. It would probably be best generated by someone using the toolserver. --Tothwolf (talk) 23:04, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

There is another related discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Teenage Editors. --Tothwolf (talk) 23:06, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Template, please?Can someone do this? I feel that the 'simplest explanation' thing should be in a box right under 'this page in a nutshell'. :o) Pesky (talk …stalk!) 06:46, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

So we're going to have a "In a nutshell" box with a once-sentence summary of the policy, and then below that there will be another box with a one-sentence summary of the policy for people who lack reading comprehension? ~ Mesoderm (talk) 07:46, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

No, not the point, quite. We need to make sure that whatever summary we have can be understood by pretty much anyone capable of clicking on the link to the page they've been directed to. I'm really hoping that we can get this done - even if people don't yet have the ability to understand the in-depth explanations - or even the 'in a nutshell' explanation (because some of those aren't 'simple'!) they really have to be able to understand the purpose of the rule at an elementary level. We can't just throw people in at the deep end of vocabulary, particularly if they're new - and those are exactly the type of people who'll be being directed to those pages. Anything we can do to recude biteyness has to be a good thing, on the whole. Pesky (talk …stalk!) 07:57, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

What does your suggested one-sentence summary do that is different from the one-sentence summary in the "Nutshell" box? Can you give me an example of a "Nutshell" box that uses difficult language? Can you explain why you feel that it wouldn't be better to just rewrite the "Nutshell" box to use simpler language? ~ Mesoderm (talk) 08:06, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Rewriting the 'nutshell' box is certainly an alternative way to go about this. My suggestion - of really dead-simple wording - will get the idea across to absolutely everybody, including the 12-year-old who wants to put something in about thier favourite place / game / whatever. If they can't understand what we mean, and make mistakes because of that, then that's our fault, not theirs. Pesky (talk …stalk!) 08:13, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

This is an encyclopedia, not a collection of trivia about 12-year-olds' favorite comic book characters. We don't need to cater to people who can't read. ~ Mesoderm (talk) 08:25, 21 June 2011 (UTC) "representing all significant views fairly, proportionately, and without bias" isn't that easy for a youngster to 'get'. "don't take sides!" they understand from very early on! Pesky (talk …stalk!) 08:15, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Now I think I understand what you're trying to say. You're not concerned about the vocabulary, really. You're actually concerned with people not understanding the purpose of the policies. Is this correct? ~ Mesoderm (talk) 08:39, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

My concern is that at least the basics of each rule, the why and the how, must be able to be understood by the person we've just directed to the page, whoever they are. It seems unfair to expect people to abide by rules which we can't make really clear for them, and all of us should be able to word things in a way in which people don't have to be totally fluent in the jargon to understand. I hope this is clear :o) So, a summary which a 12-year-old can understand will help them not to fall foul of the rule. Pesky (talk …stalk!) 09:02, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

I just removed "Innocent until proven guilty" from wp:Assume good faith because that is not what AGF means. This a serious danger when you try to explain policies in 6 year old language. Take for example your "don't pick sides", that is not what the actual policy says. For example we write the moon landing happened and only provide a small section about the people who say it didn't. If we didn't pick sides we would have to treat them as equal, but as the undue weight section explains we don't do that. "don't pick sides" completely ignores that section of the policy and would therefore actually cause new editors to misunderstand the policy. Yoenit (talk) 11:34, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

The vast majority of 12 years olds won't understand most of the concepts anyway, not matter how simplistically you break down the content. I understand where you are coming from, Pesky, but I think it is a mistake to equate a lack of clarity (or failure to understand) the policies with the choice of language. Talking simplistically doesn't often have the effect that is expected. The policy pages are primarily there to record, in detail, the established policy of Wikipedia. Making them understandable is probably best done as a separate "project" - perhaps a collection of pages expressing the policies in various simple and effective ways that can be used to link new users lacking comprehension. Although, at the end of the day, no matter how simple or clear you make something there are still many people for whom it will not "click"--Errant (chat!) 11:57, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

You don't have to get all the small details into a 'The simplest explanation sentence. You just have to get the general point across. for example 'don't take sides' doesn't give you an exact, detailed explanation of NPOV, but it gets the general sentiment across. (Alicianpig (talk) 12:19, 21 June 2011 (UTC))

The problem is that it doesn't really. Such an explanation is useful advice for an editor, of course, but isn't really the NPOV policy --Errant (chat!) 12:26, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

As Mesoderm already pointed out, that's what we have Template:Nutshell for. I think most of them are written pretty reasonably, but if there is room for improvement, then changes are welcome, though care should be taken per Yoenit's points above. It is understood that there is often initial confusion, and that's what we have WP:BITE for. Otherwise, if someone really doesn't have enough competency in the English language to grasp the meaning of the policies (whether it is because they are 10 years old or speak English non-natively, or have a learning disability or etc.), then maybe the Simple English Wikipedia is the place for them. —Akrabbimtalk 12:33, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Anything that gets even the beginning of the idea across has to be better than something which people shy away from. Sometimes you have to do a minor 'not-quite-accurate' version of something, just to give people a foothold on the thing. See Lying_to_children; that explains it pretty well. I should probably point out here that I'm actually a trained & qualified instructor myself, and have been since (eeek!) 1977! I've taught all ages, and obviously don't teach beginners and advanced students the same way. Beginners progress to more advanced knowledge, and more advanced explanations, as they go along. Pesky (talk …stalk!) 13:14, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Weren't the nutshells on each policy page for the purposes of what these summaries are? And we have WP:5P which is a great summary of most existing policies and covers the "problem" (if there is one) that is attempted to be solved here. I see no problem. I see a terrible solution creating problems. For clarification I think some here dont seem to understand that our policies are not prescriptive of future action, they are descriptive of our past consensus and actions. Policies are written codifications of how we have decided in the past on how things should be done, they are not laws we must conform to and frequently are overruled in individual cases. They are guides that show "this is how we made decisions before, use this to guide you in future similar issues/problems/cases". WP:IAR. Too many here seem to think to be a good editor you have to know the policies. All you need to know is "do no harm". Mistakes will be made. Someone will download a copyright picture. OMG! The world wont end. It will be deleted. If the editor learns his mistake he/she can go on and be a great contributor. If not- oh well, banned or blocked or loses interest. There is no problem here. Please stop making policies more bureaucratic and cluttered over a non-issue.Camelbinky (talk) 23:03, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

If Nutshells are too complicated, re-write the "in a nutshell" section. but we are a grown-up encyclopedia not one for kids. That means we get into areas and issues that require complex policy to deal with. Some policies are easy to break down to a very simple sentence (WP:V "do not say anything you cannot prove" WP:RS "only use sources that you can trust to tell the truth") others are definitely not. The above example of WP:NPOV for instance is a great example. "don't take sides" isn't accurate, as has been pointed out. The simplest any explanation could be would be something like "keep the same ratio in our articles as the sources do. If a viewpoint is the majority, say so. If it is a significant minority, add it but keep the section small. If a viewpoint is a small minority, it is best left out unless the article is about that viewpoint specifically" HominidMachinae (talk) 07:33, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm certainly not trying to make any policy "more bureaucratic", and I'm not suggesting that we become a kids' encyclopedia. All I'm suggesting is that the first thing that a newbie sees, when they are directed to a policy page, is something that is universally understandable. It's not only 'kids' who can have problems with in-depth, complicated ideas expressed in vocabulary which is sometimes (often?) more complex than it needs to be. The NPOV suggestions was not just "don't take sides"; it's "Don't take sides, explain the sides, fairly". Of course that's not a stand-alone thing - but it gives everyone a foothold on the ladder. Someone - I forget who - once said "The mark of a good teacher is that they can explain the lesson to everyone." Pesky (talk …stalk!) 04:07, 6 July 2011 (UTC)