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Discussion Reports and Miscellaneous Articulations

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By Hiding

The following is a brief overview of new discussions taking place on the English Wikipedia. For older, yet possibly active, discussions please see last week's edition.

Television schedules

Full disclosure: Your writer has participated in this debate

The debate regarding television schedules mentioned last week has continued, expanding to encompass a deletion debate. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of United States network television schedules, opened on 13 August, was closed as no consensus on 22 August, with participants directed back to the main request for comment. During the course of this week, the discussion led User:Gavin.collins to amend the policy page to read that articles on such schedules "may be acceptable if there is verifiable evidence they are notable".

User:Masem reverted this addition as no consensus was "demonstrated on talk page before making change (also, cannot promote WP:N to policy )"

Within the debate itself, User:Abductive attempted to tally opinion. However this action proved contentious, User:Pytom noting that

I'm in support of removing per-station program guides, while keeping network-level guides. I _think_ that's the same position as, for example, DGG... but you listed us with two different positions.

Eventually User:Firsfron re-formatted the counts, hoping to better capture people's opinion. The debate continued, with fresh participants voicing disparate opinions. User:Edison felt that:

Numerous reliable abd [sic] independent sources cover the network block schedules, such as books listed above as well as 'The complete directory to prime-timenetwork [sic] tv shows 1946-present,' by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, Ballantine Books, 1979. Additionally I have seen TV columnists in major newspapers discuss the networks scheduling choices for many seasons in the past

while User:BryanG wasn't swayed by arguments in favour of retaining such content:

I'm now convinced these standalone schedules are too much out of context to be useful, and that scheduling issues are better off discussed articles [sic] about the individual series and notable programming blocks.

As the discussion turned to arguments over the encyclopedic quality of the articles, User:DGG commented that

'encyclopedia' is a word that has multiple meanings, and it can be used for lists, including lists that include everything indiscriminately. There are works called encyclopedias, for example, listing every major available at each US college, but we would not consider this suitable for individual articles on each ... Any rule in Wikipedia can be used to give irrational results if used without common sense. Given the diversity of people here, the best guide to common sense is compromise solutions: National network schedules, for example, not those of individual stations.

Dates and numbers

At Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) User:Greg L proposed the locking down of the manual of style, with only an authorised gate-keeper allowed to amend the pages according to consensus formed through discussion on the talk pages:

Too often, editors come to MOSNUM to change things in order to lend legitimacy to their particular way of doing things in articles they’re working. However, this is often done with an insufficient understanding of the ramifications. This results in edit wars and instability on MOSNUM.

User:Laser brain was quick to point out that this approach was

counter to the Wikipedia spirit. I'd rather people exercise self-control and abide by consensus by choice than be systematically forced to.

Heard it on the grapevine?

User:Cyclopia initiated a discussion regarding the applicability of Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Remove unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material (WP:GRAPEVINE) "to non-article namespaces (Talk pages mostly)". User:ArnoldReinhold reasoned that

We are not an open discussion forum and we set our rules as to what is acceptable at some distance from the maximum we might be able to get away with.

Cyclopia proposed a compromise

of having a 'quarantine room' -i.e. a non-googlable talk subpage accessible only to trusted editors -and involved parties, such as people bringing the controversial statements first- to discuss the thing at will, reporting then the outcome of the discussion in the public talk page.

However, when User:Protonk pointed out that:

Discussions about how to improve articles or which sources to use or which sources to trust or what can and can't be included in an article are expressly allowed to go on in talk pages,

Cyclopia conceded that they

didn't read carefully that paragraph [and they were therefore] happy to know that the talk page policy is sensible after all.


A round up of polls spotted by your writer in the last seven days or so, bearing in mind of course that voting is evil. You can suggest a poll for inclusion, preferably including details as to how the poll will be closed and implemented, either on the tip line or by directly editing the next issue.

At the Village Pump, polling has been spotted on a proposal that would see any large-scale semi-automated or fully automated article creation task require affirmation from the community through the Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval process. Polling appears to have formed naturally during a community discussion initiated by User:Gavin.collins on 17 August, although it is unclear how or when it is to close.

A research group at University of Washington would like the opinions of Wikipedians on different images they have designed to quickly communicate the pattern of someone's various activities on Wikipedia. If you are willing to help the research group out by taking the survey, you will need to visit their site. Full details can be found at User:Commprac01.

Deletion round-up

Your writer has trawled the deletion debates opened and closed in the last week and presents these debates for your edification. Either they generated larger than average response, centred on policy in an illuminating way, or otherwise just jumped out as of interest. Feel free to suggest interesting deletion debates for future editions here.

Michael Jackson's "A Place With No Name"

The second deletion debate regarding the unreleased Michael Jackson song "A Place With No Name" was closed as "Content has been Merged" by non-admin User:Unionhawk on 20 August after a request made there by nominator User:Pokerdance. User:PokerDance made the request on the basis that the content had been merged to Michael Jackson#Posthumous releases, and that a

nominator changing their vote to something other than delete was automatic grounds for a speedy keep or close.

This prompted the article's creator User:JDelo93 to argue on Unionhawk's talk page that User:Pokerdance had

used the fact that the content was merged as an excuse to get rid of the article, however, the content was only merged because he did it himself, without reaching consensus from others involved in the debate.

Although Unionhawk initially declined the request to overturn the debate, after some minutes thought they agreed to relist the article in a third deletion debate. "A Place With No Name" has now been the subject of three deletion debates in as many weeks.

Merging during afd discussions

Taking a cue from the "A Place With No Name" deletion debates, we move on to a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Articles for deletion over whether a merge should be performed while an article is nominated for deletion. User:Flatscan opened the debate by noting that

WP:Guide to deletion#You may edit the article during the discussion advises against merging content from an article at AfD, suggesting that editor wait until the AfD is closed. Since Guide to deletion has low activity, I'm starting a discussion here to see if current consensus affirms this guidance."

User:NickPenguin chipped in his thoughts on the matter:

This leads me to believe that in such cases, nomination for deletion should never have occured [sic], and is indeed a waste of resources. If content is suitable for merging, I think keeping valuable content superseeds [sic] the deletion process, and would make things run smoother.

However User:Protonk thought this avenue unsuitable for the current debate:

In practice almost every fiction afd has a likely merge target (the parent work) and options other than deletion are often entertained. Whether that is right or wrong isn't really the issue.

User:Mazca offered a case-by-case solution:

Early merges should be encouraged, but only where consensus is sufficiently clear that an early closure would normally be warranted.

User:Jack Merridew/Blood and Roses

On 8 August User:Hullaballoo Wolfowitz nominated User:Jack Merridew/Blood and Roses for speedy deletion as a copyright infringement, given the text was a lengthy quotation from a copyrighted work in userspace with no fair use justification. Although User:Erik9 declined the speedy, Erik9 also regarded the matter as worthy of debate at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion:

I initiated this MFD discussion, based on my judgment, as an editor uninvolved in any preceding conflicts with Jack Merridew, that this massive use of non-free text in non-encyclopedic userspace is inconsistent with both the letter and and the intent of our non-free content policy, which seeks to minimize non-free content, especially when not used for any encyclopedic purposes.

The arguments to keep revolved around the contradictions between Wikipedia policies and United States law, as well as the intentions of Wikipedia policy. User:Philosopher noted that:

[o]ur fair use/copyright policies were generally created to prevent serious textual copyright violations and to create a more-strict-than-legally-required interpretation for media. Additionally, we are generally more permissive within userspace than we are elsewhere, remembering the above restrictions.

After robust discussion, User:Harej initially closed the debate regarding User:Jack Merridew/Blood and Roses as delete on 15 August:

The spirit of the policy is that Wikipedia is on some mission to produce free content, and that we should infringe other people's copyrights only when it's really necessary, i.e., in articles. Considering that during the development of Wikipedia's fair use policies, images were the primary concern for copyright infringement, most of the focus was on images and fair use. This was carried over when developed as a Foundation policy. In other words, I consider the lack of mention of text-fair-use to be an oversight rather than a deliberate exclusion.

However, after discussion, archived at User talk:Harej/Archive09#Your close, Harej overturned that decision:

because I feel like it I re-opened that discussion. In fact, I am listing it for another week.

At the end of that week, on 23 August, Harej again closed the debate, this time as having reached No Consensus:

there is no consensus over whether this violates the fair use rules or if it doesn't, whether 'user space leeway' applies to infringing copyright or not.

Erik9 contested the close, opening a deletion review with the rationale that:

Per Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators, 'Consensus is not determined by counting heads, but by looking at strength of argument, and underlying policy (if any). Arguments that contradict policy, are based on opinion rather than fact, or are logically fallacious, are frequently discounted.' This MFD discussion was incorrectly closed as "no consensus", despite the fact that it was clearly established that User:Jack Merridew/Blood and Roses violates Wikimedia Foundation policy regarding non-free content.

Although a number of participants felt the deletion review was rehashing arguments made at the deletion debate, User:Unitanode noting that:

DRV is not AFD part 2

User:S Marshall pointed out that the debate had missed a fundamental point:

To the extent that the said material contributes to building an encyclopaedia, it could be phrased differently. In other words, the use of copyrighted text in that instance is not necessary and I do not think it is justified either. So I would like to overturn the consensus itself and delete the offending material.

The debate regarding this material continues, with User:Lar expressing the view that:

[t]he next step here is to run an RfC to ask the community to clarify policy in this area.



Files, templates, redirects and stubs


Requests for comment

21 Requests for comment have been made in the week 18–23 August:

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If that's brief, I can't imagine the FA comprehensive version. Great work again. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 03:59, 25 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Yeah, really. This is one of the best summaries of internal Wikipedia affairs I've ever seen. Keep writing! HereToHelp (talk to me) 15:06, 30 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]


I'd like input on how I should handle quotations at Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost#The Signpost and the Manual of Style. Thanks, Hiding T 08:54, 25 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]


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