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.
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Contents

Should Wikipedians be allowed to use community granted tools in exchange for money?[edit]

Recently we had an OTRS "volunteer" lose their access to the tool here. User:KDS4444 is a well known long term paid editor.

This raises the question:

  • Should OTRS volunteers be allowed to request money from people sending in question to OTRS?
  • Should editors at AfC be able to request money for passing / accepting an article at AfC?
  • Should admins be allowed to bill for undeleting an article / use of admin tools?
  • Etc

Or should we have policies clearly disallowing this. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:18, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Seems like WP:INVOLVED and WP:COI capture most of the spirit of this, and would be the places to amend if clarification is needed. — xaosflux Talk 16:40, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • That we have had OTRS agents using the system to make money proves that when it comes to paid editing "spirit" is often not enough. We need it to be black and white. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:46, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Obviously not, that's corruption. If our existing policies do not effectively forbid it then we should have news ones that do - perhaps amendments to WP:INVOLVED and WP:COI, as xaosflux says. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 16:58, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I think that an explicit prohibition of such would be a good idea. In government and business that is considered to be bribery or a kickback scheme. And since Wikipedia conflates tools with related powers/positions, we should note that it's not just mis-use of tools, it's mis-use of powers/position. North8000 (talk) 17:10, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • The admin aspect was already discussed and rejected as a standalone item. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 17:11, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • One difference is that the proposal there was "No administrator may accept payment to edit articles or to perform any administrative function on Wikipedia" (my emphasis). This suggestion is only about prohibiting paid use of tools. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:17, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • And after reading a bit through it, the discussion is essentially about whether admins should be prohibited from paid editing. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:32, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Making rules that are impossible to enforce is...problematic. Honest people lose, liars win. As someone who has never gotten a dime for editing Wikipedia, I can only suggest (mostly facetiously) that all editors be required to give WMF regular copies of all bank statements. Or quarantine all editors on a desert island with internet access. What a nightmare this all is. If I had to guess, I’d say that at least 10% of political edits at Wikipedia are financed by somebody. Anythingyouwant (talk) 17:51, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • Locking your door does not prevent 100% of break-in, that does not make it useless. Wikipedia improves when good faith editors overall have a greater ability to contribute that bad faith ones. Rules help achieve a positive balance. Google Knol failed as it filled full of advertising. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:06, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Obviously the answer is 'No!' It's odd that the questions even have to be raised, but the goal therein is to make it absolutely clear, because paid editors - some of whom are notorious for their Wikilawyering - will use any 'omission' in the policies to practice their art. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 18:01, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Okay so with respect to wording, what do people thing about adding at WP:COI:
"No one may use admin tools or accepting articles at WP:AfC in exchange for a financial reward. Additionally the WP:OTRS system may no be used for recruiting clients or payment."
Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:55, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • In order to shine a light on this, if we read current policies as prohibiting administrators, editors or OTRS volunteers, from taking actions while at risk of being thought to be paid for those actions, then no funded academic, employee, Wikimedian in residence, should ever take any action using their editing/sysop/access rights which could in any way benefit their employer or funder, even the scenario often used in the past by certain employees that though they are employed, they were editing in their volunteer time... It might actually be better to highlight case studies where administrators that were in a paid contract or had a grant, did legitimately use the tools as they were the best person at that time to do so, while correctly handling their declaration of interest in a transparent way. There may be cases where conflicts of loyalty have nothing to do with money, and those may also make for useful case studies. -- (talk) 17:55, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • If you were a WiR at say the NIH and you protected all NIH related article without explicit consensus to do so, that would still be a problem. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:08, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
    • (edit conflict) Some good points there, which were raised in that other discussion (I've just finished reading it). While we should certainly want to prohibit 'corrupt' use of tools, it's hard to word policy so it does not adversely affect honest use as in examples like those. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 18:11, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I fully support this. Nick (talk) 18:08, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Anything other than "regular" editing (as can be done by an auto-confirmed user; a name-space restriction has too many edge cases to be reasonable) in exchange for payment should be strictly prohibited. The corner cases (what if a professor who is an admin does admin work on university time) can be figured out by lawyers, the spirit should be clear. power~enwiki (π, ν) 18:10, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I also support making policy clear against potential corruption. I don't have a problem with Doc James formulation; it's of course always possible to improve it in the future for precision, i.e. WMF legal suggestions welcome... —PaleoNeonate – 19:36, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • My view: No editor should be allowed to use permissions given through community input or tools that allow editors to work in an "official" capacity (OTRS, etc.) to edit for pay. As long as a draft meets all normal AfC requirements, I'm ok with editors being paid for their work. Admins can be paid for their work as long as they don't use their admin toolbox in the process. Of course, all paid contributions should be declared. Gestrid (talk) 08:24, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • OTRS is outside of our domain, and it seems the question has already been answered. However, I'm not aware of any instance of an admin using tools for pay - I'd be hard pressed to think of a situation where that would occur. Do we need to prohibit a practice that doesn't happen? As to AfC, that is a common job request, so it does represent something that happens. My knowledge of AfC is limited, though - do you need special tools in order to approve an article from AfC? I didn't think that was the case, but maybe I'm mistaken. - Bilby (talk) 08:49, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Bilby, Of course you're not aware of any instance of an admin using tools for pay. I'm not. Nobody is. They are not exactly going to yell it from the rooftops if they are. It's a very plausible concern and I can think of several situations where it might occur. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:23, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Hard pressed to think of a situation where an admin using tools for pay would occur? How about undeleting an article that had been deleted, unblocking a blocked paid editor, protecting an article at a favoured revision? It took me about 30 seconds to think of those three. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:37, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
No, I'm hard pressed to think of a situation where an admin is accepting money to undelete an article. The advantages are clear, but I haven't seen an admin use the tools for pay, and I'm hard pressed to picture that situation arising. - Bilby (talk) 11:41, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Several years ago, a Russian Wikipedia admin was desysopped for using admin tools to promote paid editing.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:24, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
One instance, several years ago, on a different language Wikipedia. Ok. But has this ever happened here? I agree with the principal - no admin should use the tools in return for pay - and if the community wants that to be clearly stated I'm a bit concerned re WP:BUREAU, but it doesn't bother me overly much. I do worry about "the sky is falling" policy changes, though, and pushing through changes without evidence of there being a need for them. - Bilby (talk)
Did you ever hear, (until now), that somebody was actively using OTRS to recruit clients and solicit payments?Winged Blades of GodricOn leave 10:21, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
I can testify for my own part, that this case was particularly egregious and lost me a bit of sleep thinking about it. I realize it may not look that way from our end, but from the perspective of our readers, OTRS is in few ways a higher position of trust than being an admin on wiki. From the perspective of readers, they're getting an email from Wikipedia, and not a message from some anonymous user on Wikipedia. I think per discussion below, I'm personally leaning toward favoring something along the lines of No one may misuse a position of community trust... and perhaps specify that this can include user rights, various coordinator positions, and off wiki access like OTRS and ACC. GMGtalk 10:29, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
The problem with OTRS was a serious one, but that should be handled through OTRS. As I said, I'm not opposed to this on principal. My concern is that I'm seeing a lot of rhetoric and exaggerated claims about paid editing which are leading us to take more extreme steps, but not a lot of data to back up the specific claims. Given that I can't imagine any current admin accepting money to use the admin tools, the change in policy is moot, and I'll support a well worded proposal. It doesn't prevent anyone from doing anything that they were going to do. But I do want to be cautious of inventing problems that don't exist. - Bilby (talk) 11:10, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, at least to my mind, the admin bit isn't really special here. It's just one of many rights or positions, of which there are many requiring both more and less community trust, and more or less oversight. And this isn't an expectation of admins; it's an expectation of everyone, and admins are an everyone. The key common factor there is the trust, not the number of buttons. For example, autopatrolled users are trusted by the community to make acceptable quality articles that don't require community review.
Also pretty much just to my own mind, there are really two distinct types of policy formation. There's policy that attempts to create new process to deal with outstanding problems, and there's policy that simply documents widespread community practice that's already in place, but hasn't been explicitly written down anywhere. I believe this is the latter. It's already a de facto policy. When we have, and if we do find someone abusing positions of trust, we will remove them from that position. That's a fact. But we currently don't appear to have explicit, unequivocal wording that says You knew this was going to happen when you made the decision to abuse your position or access. GMGtalk 11:26, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
I understand where you are coming from - I am fully in agreement that admins should not use tools for pay, with the various normal exceptions for WiR and whatever. My caution comes from seeing what can only be described as a war between paid editors and anti-paid editors, and in that war we're giving up progressively more. Thus I need to ask, every time a new policy change is put forward, the basic three questions - is it needed, will it work, what will it cost? This one costs nothing, in that it is such a specific case that it won't have a wider impact. But it isn't needed, because we have no evidence of this ever happening on en.Wiki. Will it work? I can't see how anything can "stop" something that doesn't occur, but I think we'll find that this is going to be very hard to prove to the level where we can desysop someone if it ever does arise, and that from a practical sense we'll end up using a different justification.
In regard to other tools, though, the approach doesn't seem to be the best solution. With AFC, I think we need a clear statement that says "you cannot approve any draft in return for financial remuneration" - it isn't about the use of tools, but the act of approving a draft. Focusing on the tools is the wrong part of the equation - someone just needs to take the longer process of approving it without any special permissions to meet the policy. Similarly, if we remain worried about auto-patrolled users, we need to say that all paid articles must be created through AfC is we want a real fix. It isn't the auto-patrolled status that is the core problem, but paid articles being created in mainspace and not being independently verified - although there will be more of a cost if we make that change. - Bilby (talk) 11:49, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Not to beat the horse into a pulp, but to focus narrowly on existing community practice and reasonable expectation of future practice:
  • When we have found users abusing AfC for paid editing, we have removed their access;
  • When we have found users abusing OTRS for solicitation, we have removed their access;
  • If we did find someone abusing autopatrolled to avoid scrutiny of paid articles, we would remove it;
  • If we did find an FA coordinator, a member of the ArbCom electoral commission, etc. abusing their position, we would remove them from it;
  • If we did find a sysop doing this (as other projects have), they'd have their mop snatched so fast it would cause whiplash;
So that raises the question to me, of why we haven't taken the time to write this down, when we seem to all agree to some extent that it is the way things work, and the way they can be expected to work for the foreseeable future. GMGtalk 12:05, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't understand enough about OTRS - my assumption is that it was a meta issue, not a en.WP issue, but if I'm wrong it is something to address here.
In the case of ArbCom, FA coordinators and admins, you are correct - we'd act if we found them. In general I don't really care if we wish to formalize those issues, except to note that we're formalizing something that we've never done, never had to do, and which would happen irrespective of any decision here. I'm wary of the principal of creating unnecessary changes. (I'd also note that, if policy reflects practice, in these cases we're reflecting what we believe would be practice, not what actually is, simply because it has never arisen).
With autopatrolled, yes, we would (and have) removed it. Let's put that in Wikipedia:Autopatrolled as the relevant place to discuss this and make the change. This one is far more important to me, and reflects something that we do, should do, and should formally note.
AfC is the other big issue to me - I would like to see that hole filled, as there are a lot of jobs hiring people to pass articles at AfC. But it isn't the tools that are the issue, so much as the approval. I'd like to see a more important change stating that articles cannot be approved from AfC in return for pay, as that would address the actual problem. Focusing on the tools rather than the approval is an error.
Just to be clear, my disagreement isn't with the spirit of the proposal, but with the two basic issues - I don't like creating policy changes that are not needed, and I don't care for skirting around the real issues (permissions) when we should be addressing the actual problems (approving articles for pay; creating paid articles in mainspace). - Bilby (talk) 13:03, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Well... it seems the main difference in approaches is that you would like to wait until each individual right or position is abused, and then add a specific policy on that specific topic. (Also, BTW, OTRS is stand alone project and AFAIK the only one running media wiki that doesn't accept SULs.) To my mind, it just seems simpler to put a blanket statement on a central place, like PAID. GMGtalk 13:11, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Not quite. I have two main differences. a) I'd like to address the real problem at AfC of approving articles for pay, rather than tackling the secondary (and mostly irrelevant) issue of use of permissions. b) I don't think we would need to change in policy even in the unlikely chance that the problems with FAC coordinators, admins or ArbCom members arose, because we would solve it without a change in policy. In that situation, I don't like creating policy changes to address remote issues that have never arisen and wouldn't need a policy change if they ever did arise.
I'm sure we'll end up with a blanket statement at paid. And WP won't end as a result. But I wish this energy went into changes that would have an impact or would address the real problems. - Bilby (talk) 13:22, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
That's part of my concern though, that if we have a blanket statement, we have one arguably time wasting discussion. If we do it piece meal, we end up with separate recurring discussions for each individual piece. GMGtalk 13:49, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I think I've been explaining things badly. If we have this discussion and agree to make this change to WP:PAID - which it is likely we will if we can get the wording right - it won't make any difference to how we respond to the main cases you raise: admins, FaC coordinators and ArbCom members. It may not do any harm, but it won't change the response, make it more or less likely that the problem will arise, or make things any easier if the situation ever appears.
In regard to this change and AfC, based on what I was told below, all the paid editor needs to do is not use any advanced permissions to pass something through. They can either argue that use of the helper script is not an advanced user right, or they simply don't use the script and do it the long way. That's because the AfC problem is not about permissions, but about actions. So if we make this change, we will still need to have another discussion to address the real problem.
In the situation of auto-patrolled users, the change I'd most like to see isn't a ruling that paid editors can't create pages in mainspace if auto-patrolled, but a rule that says that paid editors cannot create pages in mainspace. That second one seems more valuable to me, and will also involve a separate discussion.
Anyway, this is not of much value, because we're having the discussion however I may feel about it. :) Which is fine. But I've been arguing against paid editors for many years now, and what I'd most like to see is discussion around actions which will address the core issues without harming the project. This discussion has the advantage of not harming WP, but it retains the disadvantage of not addressing the problems that matter. - Bilby (talk) 14:19, 4 November 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well, part of my concern is once the issue of the paid OTRS agent was raised, it took several days for access to be removed. Even after the evidence was damning, it didn't seem like anyone wanted to unilaterally pull the trigger. Yes, it's technically a separate jurisdiction, but for English agents, it's pretty much the same cops on the beat. (I don't know of specific instances where autopatrolled has been removed for paid editing, but I'd be interested to.) This is the kind of thing that is to be expected where sysops, ideally cautious by nature, are in fairly uncharted territory as far as the letter of the law.

As to AfC, that and the issue of non-user right positions (coordinators, etc), are the reasons for my focus on emphasizing "positions of trust" and not just user rights. From a lower level implementation standpoint, if there is a project wide policy in place to that effect, project or right specific policies can probably for the most part be boldly added, and simply point to the main. Something along the lines of:

No user may use positions of community trust in order to solicit or accept payment for activities which have a direct and foreseeable impact on Wikipedia. This includes advanced user rights for which individual vetting and permission granting is required, positions of authority elected or appointed by the community, and system access on or off wiki not normally available to all users.

I think something like that would fairly well cover everything, including OTRS and AfC. GMGtalk 15:57, 4 November 2017 (UTC)

GreenMeansGo: to your question, the same OTRS agent Doc James mentioned above voluntarily relinquished their autopatrolled flag after I suggested it to them when the issue was first raised. We have no policy as to when to revoke user permissions in cases like this, and as a recent ArbCom case pointed out, the removal of user permissions is one of the most controversial things an admin can do.
Re: your proposed wording, I think I like it. I might also add something such as ...impact on Wikipedia; or use such a position to take actions on behalf of a client. for clarity. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:05, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
My issue with raising OTRS here is not that it hasn't proven to be an issue, but that my understanding is that OTRS policy is managed at meta, so I assumed that a change in that policy in regard to paid editors has to be presented and discussed there. If this is not the case I have no problems with agreeing to the policy change here, but I had always assumed that OTRS policy is outside of our immediate control.
I still need to return to my issue with the AfC problem. I do not see permissions or "positions of trust" as the primary concern, based on what I've been told. What I think we need is not the change being discussed here, but a clear and unambiguous change to Wikipedia:WikiProject Articles for creation that states that you are not permitted to approve an article where you have a COI, and in particular you are not permitted to approve an article in return for remuneration. It isn't about positions of trust or advanced permissions, but simply who can and cannot approve an article. - Bilby (talk) 16:28, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, my thought was that AfC would be covered under system access on or off wiki not normally available to all users. It's true that en.wiki can't actually enforce anything at OTRS. But I think we can probably still say that someone abusing OTRS to make changes to en.wiki is exactly half in en.wiki jurisdiction, and we can still say that we don't approve of it.
Also, I'm fine with Tony's suggested addition. And I think the absence of policy on when to remove these rights is part of the problem, and part of why sysops are rightfully hesitant to do so. GMGtalk 17:00, 4 November 2017 (UTC)

    • Yeah, AFC Reviewers need access to a helper-script, designed for the purpose, that heavily eases the process/workflow.It may be noted though, that all auto-confirmed editors have the right to move articles from draft space into mainspace or that any body could choose to follow a tedious manual reviewing process, that existed before the development of the script.Winged Blades of GodricOn leave 09:08, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
      • In that case, there are no special permissions needed for AfC? Just optional access to a helper script that is open to any autoconfirmed editor? - Bilby (talk) 10:08, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
        • Manually reviewing articles is sufficiently tedious so as to be prohibitive for most users. It is a de facto user right. GMGtalk 10:27, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
        • Echo Timothy.In a very strict sense, AFC is not a right.But, in my wiki-life, I have neither seen someone evading the script-access-barrier by manually reviewing the submissions nor someone who is moving other author's AfC draft(s) to mainspace without using the script.Winged Blades of GodricOn leave 10:45, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
          • I guess what I'm wondering is if you need special community-granted permission to use the tool. Is this the case? Or an anyone use the tool? - Bilby (talk) 11:41, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
            • AfC works similarly to rights granted at PERM, but at a different venue. All you need is to convince one sysop that you're competent. The major differences are 1) it doesn't automatically come with the admin kit, although theoretically any admin could grant it to themselves, similar maybe to the way some things work with stewards (unless I'm mistaken), 2) it's not technically required for reviewing, but it's a bit like saying you don't technically need access to the elevator to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower. GMGtalk 11:49, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • There was "consensus for some language on this issue" last time and it is still a good idea, so support. Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:57, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Regarding Doc J's wording, if it is to be used, it may be simpler and more effective to say No one may use advanced user rights.... I have a hard time imagining a scenario where any right couldn't potentially be abused, which is why they're restricted. In fact, with ACTRIAL in effect, it could be easily argued that creating a paid article outright, instead of going through AfC is itself a type of abuse of auto-confirmed.
For rights with a greater potential for damage (e.g., sysop, AfC, page mover, AWB), and especially for those which have a comparatively limited amount of public oversight (e.g., OTRS, CU, OS)... Well... until very recently I should have thought that this actually didn't need to be spelled out at all, and that anyone with enough sense to use them would have had enough sense to assume this as a matter of course. But since the laundry list of rights and the myriad ways they could be abused is so lengthy, probably best to spell out the principle, and let the community decide the specifics, For example, is it an abuse of auto-patrolled if an editor doesn't unreview their own paid article creation? I don't know that we've ever needed to answer that question, but we might at some point. GMGtalk 10:59, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Actually, after thinking my way through a hot shower:
  1. It may be better to say No one may use abuse advanced user rights...
  2. I realize most autopatrolled users probably can't unreview their own article in the first place, because they probably don't have NPP. Which adds another layer of hypothetical problems.
  3. It's not entirely clear that pieces of the admin kit that non-admins may also have should be on the one hand, specially covered for sysops, or on the other, specially exempted for non-sysops. GMGtalk 11:10, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No to allow use of "community granted tools in exchange for money" - for all the obvious reasons. Yes to policies that disallow it.Atsme📞📧 11:56, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • An even more perverse variant of this problem crops up periodically at AFC. An author/submitter of a declined (or deleted) draft is contacted off-wiki by someone who claims they will approve (or undelete) the page for payment. This practice of holding a page (draft or mainspace article) to ransom has been condemned as a form of extortion. There is a standing request that all such incidents be reported to WMF Legal. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 12:07, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • NO - No one should be paid this way. This smacks of bribery. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:15, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No- this is a horrible idea. Reyk YO! 12:21, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I'd like to be clear that the question here is quite different from "Can an editor simultaneously be a paid editor and have access to certain user rights, so long as they do not overlap those roles?" ~ Rob13Talk 14:12, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
    • I'd planned on commenting on this today and it was closed before I could. Rob makes a good point, and I think it is worth clarifying if there are circumstances when being paid is incompatible with a role: the only thing I feel somewhat strongly about in this regard as an absolute no is the autopatrolled flag since it's impossible to turn off for only paid articles. Other areas I do think need clearer guidelines as well, and I think this is a first step in the direction of setting up those guidelines. Obviously this is a nuanced topic where there are strong opinions on both sides by the community, and I think further discussion (if not on this question then on other questions) is needed. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:24, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
    • (+1) to Rob's queries.But, primarily this discussion has in itself stemmed from an overlap.I have requested CPower678 to vacate their close.Winged Blades of GodricOn leave 14:40, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
      • The close is fine, mostly because the question as posed was wrong. The question is "should volunteers in roles of trust be allowed to use their tools for money?" The answer is a snow no, which is obvious. There is quite a separate question of whether volunteers can both hold roles of trust and separately be paid. For instance, should Wikipedians-in-residence be able to be admins? That is a very nuanced issue that would need a very different discussion. We can't have that discussion when it starts with such a flawed question. ~ Rob13Talk 14:59, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
At least to my mind, one of the more intuitive ways to go with this is that if you have an account with basically any userrights other than extended confirmed or autopatrolled, and you want to do disclosed paid editing, then you need to register a separate account for the sake of propriety. GMGtalk 15:11, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
As to off wiki access like OTRS, that's a blanket no from me. It can't be separated technically, since access is granted to a person, and not to an account, and it has comparatively little oversight. Probably similarly with CU since they have access to private information, possibly also ACC, and being part of ArbCom is right out. (Jesus this list gets long fast.) GMGtalk 15:14, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The WiR issue in particular is complex because while generally a wonderful program it has caused issues in the past (I think I'm thinking of one WiR who copied compatibly licensed advocacy pieces into en.wiki about 6 months back). That being said, having worked with Doc James on PAID issues several times, he typically is not referring to individuals employed by orgs that share the WMF's mission and values (the WiR program or similar), but to those who are paid to edit commercially.
This could be spelled out better, I agree, but I don't think the question is fundamentally flawed: establishing a principle that people agree on has value, even if it is only a very basic one. That gives a starting point for agreement for any future conversations on the issue, which as Rob rightly point out will be nuanced out of necessity. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:17, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
The UNESCO fellow? GMGtalk 15:20, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
That's the one I was thinking of. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:25, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Rob, the question, flawed or not, concluded with "or should we have policies clearly disallowing this.". The close failed to address that adequately, or explain why it was overlooking it. I agree with your other sentiments, and a close thus explained would have been fine. -- Begoon 15:28, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No since this is open again, the answer to the question asked is clearly no. I also disagree with Rob that this is a flawed question, and think we can set out some general best practices here for the less complex cases that will make the more complex cases easier to deal with when the time comes to have conversations on those issues (call it the baby-steps approach if you want). These are the policy things I think are fairly easy to deal with:
  1. No one should use a position of community trust to solicit payment for services rendered on Wikipedia.
  2. No one should use any user rights or positions of trust to advocate for their clients or to make technical changes that would not otherwise be possible if they did not have the rights (i.e. an admin undeleting a page or a page mover skipping the RM process for a controversial move over a redirect, etc.)
  3. Technical permissions, use of tools requiring a checklist, and positions of trust that involve new content cannot be used to evade our normal scrutiny system for new content and COI content.
I think these three principles are things most people can get behind, and can help be the policy basis for any guidelines on how to apply the principles that Doc James is asking about. There are obviously others that might be able to be agreed upon as well and questions that can be raised regarding these points, but I think they would provide a basis for future discussions on the more nuanced and complex cases. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:42, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment I've seen questions raised about whether buying access to admin capabilities is really a big deal. Yes, it is. Look at the number of admins whose talk pages are filled with begging from conflicted editors whose articles were deleted. Won't spell this out due to BEANS but the possibility for a rent-seeking admin with access to deleted revisions are obvious. Also, very few people know about this, but I've communicated privately my evidence-based concern about at least one other CU confirmed socking account that was trying to gain access in 2015 to OTRS. There are good reasons to believe the socking was undisclosed paid/advocacy editing-related as is often the case. This is a big deal since OTRS handles all kinds of private, confidential information that could lead to WP:OUTING at the very least.
If you can't tell I'm leaning very hard towards "no" on the question, but want to see some refinement of the terms before making a commitment. Behavior that even smells of rent-seeking and bureaucratic malfeasance, aka bribery, could be another piece in the puzzle that results in the end of this worthwhile project. ☆ Bri (talk) 17:35, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Yes? I think Anythingyouwant sort of addresses my viewpoint. There's an unmet need in the economy for moving drafts through AfC and getting images approved at OTRS. I would never want to turn either of those processes into pay-for-play and perhaps that's what the opposition is scared of. The fact is, volunteers do a poor job of meeting our various backlogs. Wikipedians edit where they find satisfaction and avoid the drudgery that's needed to keep our maintenance effort going. So long as editors divulge their payments per ToU, I don't see the problem. I don't think money is universally corrupting. I'd like to see our hard-working Wikipedians get paid for their work, and I'd love if some of our most-talented Wikipedians could make a living off of editing just as we're happy to see our favorite YouTubers be able to focus full time on their content work. Disclosure is the sunshine treatment that prevents corrupt activity. If the WMF would stop spending money on un-asked for coding projects and started on-going investigations for business promotion (among other problems) I think introducing a pay mechanism would help us refine product. I know I've enjoyed getting paid to edit; sadly there aren't many reasonable opportunities anymore. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:42, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Hell no and props to Doc James for raising this issue. Support a common-sense prohibition. Coretheapple (talk) 17:14, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • NO in the strongest possible terms - This does not conform to the spirit of the encyclopedia. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 16:19, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Once again, we have a proposal that would, whether intentionally or not, stop or hinder Wikimedians in Residence in their valuable work. "Should Wikipedians be allowed to use community granted tools in exchange for money?" What, like when I use my account creator status to set up accounts for attendees at an editathon I'm running, as a paid WiR, even thought it was given to me for that purpose? I mustn't move an article that one of my trainees creates? I mustn't use AWB, or rollback, or mark an edit as patrolled, in my WiR role? "No one should use a position of community trust to solicit payment for services rendered on Wikipedia." So, when I apply for a paid WiR role, I mustn't mention my experience as a Wikimedian? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:28, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
Usage of ACC right for editathons etc. and WIR does not fall under the purview of this discussion. Winged Blades Godric 15:05, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No - it seems I inadvertently said this twice; see my comments below under Kudpung's proposal. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 15:51, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
  • No--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 16:09, 16 January 2018 (UTC)

We just need acceptable wording and a place to put it[edit]

I agreed with the now retracted close. This is a "snow no" to allowing people to use positions of trust and tools for personal enrichment. There are many cases covered here, mainly at AfC, OTRS, and admins, so we need to refine the wording and place it in the right policies. I say policies in the plural because paid editors routinely ignore guidelines and because OTRS is regulated on enWiki by Wikipedia:Global rights policy, admins are regulated at WP:Admins (specifically at WP:Involved}, whereas AfC reviewing is not regulated by any policy that I know of, only by Wikipedia:WikiProject Articles for creation.

I suggest similar wording for all the above, based on User:TonyBallioni's wording just above. Once we get the wording to almost everybody's liking, then place it for an RfC at WP:GRP and WP:Admin. I'll be bold and start the discussion at Wikipedia:WikiProject Articles for creation soon myself.

Basic wording:

No editor may use a position of trust or any user rights to:

  • solicit payment for services to be rendered on Wikipedia, or
  • accept payment for the use of such a position or rights
    • for the benefit a client
    • for advocating for a client, or
    • to evade our normal scrutiny system for new content and COI content.

Payments and grants made by the Wikimedia Foundation or its affiliates (e.g. chapters) are excepted.

Please see AfC and the related talk page. Smallbones(smalltalk) 18:38, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support since it is based on my wording above, see my reasoning there. I would also extend this to NPP/the NPR flag as well as AfC because that is what gives a user the ability to mark a page for indexing by Google. This wording should cover that, but I did want to mention it explicitly in my support. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:40, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support as initial wording, without prejudice to editing or improving as with any policy. This seems concise, reasonable, and easy to understand. Everything a policy needs to be. --Jayron32 19:04, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment How would this apply to Wikipedians in residence (i.e. people who edit on behalf of universities, libraries, and museums). I personally know someone who was paid by a museum to help write articles on 100 notable New Zealand craft artists as part of a GLAM project. It seems like the wording used here could be made to apply to that project as well. "any user rights" seems ambiguous. I am extendedconfirmed, does that count as a 'user right' in this context? Does that mean that autoconfirmed users are not allowed to use the perks of that 'user right' (i.e. creating articles) to create articles for pay? Or is this meant to only apply to user rights that are community granted (i.e. page mover, rollback). — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 19:53, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
    • It'd be pretty simple to deal with WiR's would create distinct accounts, which they do anyway normally, and in most cases, I would expect the accounts wouldn't have additional flags. Autoconfirmed isn't a flag but an implicit group that is determined every time a user action is attempted. Extended confirmed is a flag, but it is automatically granted, so I'd assume we'd use common sense and treat it the same as autoconfirmed. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:23, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment I agree with ICPH any paid editor (disclosed or otherwise), any wikipedian in residence that uses an autoconfirmed user right to create a page or even just to edit is in breech of this text; Wikipedia:User right is redirected to WP:User access levels and ALL user groups have right attached to them. Domdeparis (talk) 20:08, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Those creating articles for pay are to go through AfC. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:18, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • As I mentioned above, autoconfirmed is not a user right. It is a test that the software does automatically when any action is attempted. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:23, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
You might be right about autoconfirmed. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 21:36, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Insertcleverphrasehere: yes, this is made clearer in Special:UserRights. See yours here. It lists autoconfirmed as an implicit membership rather than a membership. Its just a software check. From the admin side of it, we can't revoke autoconfirmed status once it has been achieved (there is no tick box for it, and removing the confirmed tick box on the rare occasions that flag is granted does nothing once someone meets the software requirements). TonyBallioni (talk) 21:44, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:18, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I definitely support a prohibition such as this. I would suggest that the way to distinguish someone like a Wikipedian in residence etc. from what we want to prohibit, is that the prohibited conduct occurs when there is a quid pro quo in exchange for something that would not be approved if it were out in the open. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:21, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
    • Tryptofish, WiRs who have distinct accounts for their work as a WiR would be in compliance with the user permissions part of this since that role account would not have additional permissions. We do want to prohibit a WiR who is also an OTRS agent (or hell, hypothetical future arbcom member) from using that position to somehow advance the cause of the org they are being paid by just as much as we'd want to prevent those paid for commercial purposes. The WiR program is good but we also need to recognize that some of them do have a COI on advocacy issues, and that the same principles apply to them as well. I think the overwhelming majority would not abuse it, but I don't want to exempt them completely. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:29, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
      • I agree with what you say. I didn't mean to make it sound like I was saying that there should be anything special about WiR, but I see now that it sounded that way. What I meant was distinguishing acceptable from unacceptable conduct. And I think that what defines unacceptable is (i) a quid pro quo and (ii) a result that would have been opposed by the community if it had happened out in the open. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:34, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - I don't know if this is exactly the right wording, someone can probably improve upon it, but I would suggest going with something more like No editor may use advanced user rights requiring community trust.... Auto confirmed and Extended confirmed are both user rights, but they're not really an expression of community trust, and they're not really a user right in any meaningful sense that we are talking about now. As for the rest of it, if we did have a user with advanced rights go out for WiR, I think it would be totally appropriate for them to either request their rights be temporarily removed, or register a disclosed second account, especially as it concerns auto-patrolled and sysop. I don't really see a reason why a WiR would need to be active at places like NPP or AfC anyway. GMGtalk 20:24, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
I'd support this proposed change in the wording (which I believe was the original and understood intent of the version proposed above). I propose that we amend the proposal to this new wording, and then continue the voting. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 22:11, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
If we are going to change it lets just come out and add normal editing by autoconfirmed or extended confirmed users is not considered use of permissions for these purposes or something like so we don't get into quibbling as to what an advanced permission is or which ones require community trust. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:19, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Umm... I think I actually disagree on one point. I think the purpose is kindof to be intentionally vague to some extent, and let the community decide the specifics in an actual situation. GMGtalk 22:30, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
Not all forms of advanced editing privileges requiring community trust are backed by user rights. I wouldn't want FAC coordinators accepting money to get commissioned articles on the Main Page, for instance. MER-C 12:57, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
Ah ha! Now this is actually a very good point indeed! There are actually quite a bit of coordinator type positions that have nothing to do with a user right in the software but could be just a easily used improperly and in many cases with greater effect. This should probably be covered here somehow. GMGtalk 14:12, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose for now. I'm 100% in support of the sentiment here, but I still think the wording is a little vague. For instance, last year I spent some time in a paid WIR position. I registered a separate account, and made it clear that I would not be using any of my admin/functionary access for anything related to my work as a WIR. I kept the separation going to the point of CSD tagging old userspace drafts rather than deleting them myself. I did not make a secret of the fact that I was an administrator before taking the job, and I suppose that an overzealous individual could say that by making this clear I was trading my 'authority' as an admin and trusted user in exchange for a job? I am also not sure what problem this instruction creep is going to solve, as in the KDS4444 situation the user was quickly evicted from OTRS once their conduct was discovered without the need for a policy change. This does have the smell of security theatre about it. Lankiveil (speak to me) 02:17, 3 November 2017 (UTC).
    • Wikipedians are not the only audience for this policy. This creates a policy we can point to when reporting spammers to freelance job sites and/or in OTRS tickets regarding commissioned articles. MER-C 12:52, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No editor may use a position of trust... may be overly broad. If you were going to legitimately hire someone to make non-promotional edits, you'd want to engage someone who was trusted by the community. Conversely, if an editor is going to provide copy-writing services, the community should prefer someone who is trusted to follow policies, guidelines, and best practices, versus someone who has failed to be proven trustworthy. isaacl (talk) 03:05, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support in principle. Wording wise, I suggest something like "Editors with advanced editing privileges requiring community trust must not solicit or accept payments for using said privileges to advocate for or on behalf of a client or circumvent normal editorial processes regarding new and COI content". As for placement, why not put it in WP:PAID as well? MER-C 12:52, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment Personally I would go even further and require that any advanced user right cannot be *held or granted* if you are engaged in or offering any commercial or otherwise paid service related to Wikipedia. The inherent conflict of interest that receiving money for services engages means that its too much of a risk. Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:14, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, with wording to be refined, particularly regarding acceptable exceptions. And yes, per Only in death, no advanced right or permission should be granted or allowed to paid editors. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 20:24, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
    I don't see that working generically for practical reasons. The GLAMwikitoolset right has been given to GLAM and Wikimedia Chapter employees for their "official" user accounts in order to manage donations of image archives to Wikimedia Commons and in some cases to run bot-generated reports (with granted bot flag) to support reuse on Wikipedias. They were being paid to do the work, and there is no reason to waste valuable unpaid volunteer time when projects like these are run transparently. -- (talk) 22:56, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
    @: minor questions. a) Is this being run to make edits on enWiki? b) is this right covered at WP:GRP? c) does my proposed wording below make your objection mute? Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:30, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
, what I said in my first short sentence above ("wording to be refined, particularly regarding acceptable exceptions") should be taken as applying also to what I said in the second sentence. Also, what happens on Commons happens on Commons; my opinion expressed here on Wikipedia relates specifically to this project. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 18:43, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I'm ok with the principal, but what is meant by "any user rights"? That seems overly broad. The wording makes it sound as if anything you can do as a user - create new articles, edit, revert, etc - would fall under this. The wording needs to better reflect what rights are at issue. - Bilby (talk) 08:14, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The suggestion is that "payment for service" is automatically harming the encyclopedia, that is just suspicion, it's possible to be paid for doing good work, it's also possible for an admin to put their responsibilities to the community last or first, paid is not proof of a problem, it's only proof that we don't trust them. The heart of the issue isn't WHY the editor, or admin might be acting against the community, only that there is a problem with what they actually did. So lets be focused on behavior not mistrust. Dougmcdonell (talk) 19:17, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Prohibition statements etc. in policies/guidelines oalmost always reflect upon the behaviour of common folks, not that of the outliers.Though, if you had choosen to oppose, because you think, that there's no problem in any editor soliciting payment(s) from potential customers through OTRS channels (as long as the worth the article he/she later churns out is satisfactory) or somebody self-patrolling his own paid creations, despite the elements of obvious cognitive bias or some sysop restoring articles, declining CSDs, closing AfDs in lieu of payments, it's another case.Winged Blades of GodricOn leave 14:05, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I think Wikipedians should always be able to solicit "payment for services to be rendered on Wikipedia". Chris Troutman (talk) 21:46, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support long overdue. Coretheapple (talk) 17:16, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support in principle and most specifics; I prefer the slight modification in the next subsection. It's concise, non-bureaucratic, and consistent with the general community take on these matters. We know there'll be some paid/COI editing, and consensus implemented policy about it. This just closes a loophole.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  00:23, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── With very few exceptions there are no opposes here based on principle. We're just arguing about wording (and where to put that wording). Within the limits of my available time, I'll keep coming back to this. There are several places to put this, and I think several are needed since advanced rights are covered in several places. Progress so far:

Other discussions, with possible wording changes, will have to be held at WP:GRP (for ORTS) and WP:Admin. I don't expect any opposition at WP:GRP, and will start that discussion on Monday. My suggestion for wording follow. I'm just adding a line on Wikipedians in residence, but please note that the "who" in the 1st line will change based on where the policy is proposed. Once everything is done, we can then summarize the changes at WP:Paid.

  • I don't get it. As far as I can tell, using any bit in exchange for money is already disallowed so outlining rules for it just makes it easier to game. Anyone misusing any bit is subject to having that bit removed. Doing it for pay is clearly misusing it. There really is no question about it. Any admin unblocking for cash would be dragged to Arb and bit stripped, for instance. No one would oppose that. A new rule is superfluous. Dennis Brown - 20:14, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @Dennis Brown, the TOU—even in the brave new world of the WMF crackdown—aren't as clear-cut as you think, and there are still quite a few loopholes. Show me where in policy it's forbidden for an admin to profit from their access to deleted revisions, for instance—and that's something that does have commercial potential, there are ad-funded websites that literally do nothing but host deleted Wikipedia articles (Deletionpedia is the best-known). ‑ Iridescent 20:23, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
  • As long as policy is based on consensus and consensus is overwhelmingly against selling use of the bits, then it seems obvious to me. If I find any admin using any bit for gain, I won't hesitate to block them, for example. I don't need a specific policy statement, WP:COMMONSENSE covers it well, as bits are based on trust that they will be used only to benefit Wikipedia. Any use of the bit to gain advantage, be it financial, in an edit war, or otherwise, is grounds to lose the bit. Any bit. The community has already said this by providing a vetting system for all the bits, and policies on use of each of the bits. Anyone that doesn't understand that shouldn't have advanced bits, as the reason we have them is to benefit the encyclopedia, not ourselves. I'm afraid once you start setting specific rules, you start creating loopholes. As it is now, ANY misuse of any kind, even those we can't think of ahead of time, is grounds to lose the bit. I truly feel we codify too much that is already covered by common sense, and that is part of the problem with the contradictory maze of policies we have. Dennis Brown - 01:35, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Without a policy to back it up, the odds of a desysop from arbcom are negligible. Sure we could go the community ban route that we went with within the last few days for an OTRS agent, but that would also lead to the inevitable arbcom case. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:45, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I have a bit of a counter-proposal to this, which is that rather than setting out prohibitions for paid editing activities, we should merely set out a very tightly limited list of what paid editors can do, and specify that any action not on that list is prohibited. The list would be something like, following disclosure of having been paid, adding reliably sourced information to a draft, or proposing on an article talk page that content be added or changed. If that is the complete list, then obviously things like unearthing deleted edit histories would be outside the scope. bd2412 T 20:28, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
    • As the United States discovered when it tried to ban alcohol, it is very difficult to regulate that which you prohibit, and I think your proposal comes so close to prohibition that the same principle will apply. If you make the rules too onerous, then at some point paid editors will just not disclose their paid status. I'm sure this already happens, and probably quite a bit, but it will get worse. WP:OUTING is written so strongly (too strongly IMO, but that's a separate discussion) that enforcement will be very difficult. --Trovatore (talk) 21:14, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support this or a similar version. Gandydancer (talk) 04:33, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support in principle. I don't like this wording -- for example, I don't know whether the limitation of the circumstances under which accepting payment is prohibited also apply to soliciting payment. More importantly, the access to non-public or privileged information described by User:GreenMeansGo in his boxed text above is missing. While admins getting a pass for articles about Mzoli's or something is mildly disturbing, I'm far more alarmed (for example) by the prospect that the Turkish government could call up an admin and say that their sockpuppet about to start a big argument with a Gulenist and they'd like to see the admin indef them both. Or that they could use the block to goad the editor into emailing a user or accessing a custom document to give away his IP, or simply get SPI access if they have it. We are wording this policy to fight nuisances, but we need to look at the serious threats above all. Mercs hiring themselves out to hurt our editors under color of etiquette. Wnt (talk) 16:07, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • support--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 16:12, 16 January 2018 (UTC)

break[edit]

New basic wording:

No editor may use a position of trust or advanced user rights to:

  • solicit payment for services to be rendered on Wikipedia, or
  • accept payment for the use of such a position or rights
    • for the benefit a client
    • for advocating for a client, or
    • to evade our normal scrutiny system for new content and COI content.

Payments and grants made by the Wikimedia Foundation or its affiliates (e.g. chapters) are excepted. Wikipedians-in-Residence should declare their paid status and their paid use of advanced rights, but are otherwise exempt.

Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:30, 4 November 2017 (UTC)

This is an improvement, but I'm still a little uncomfortable with the word "solicit", which I think could potentially cover a wider range of scenarios than what is intended. Am I correct in assuming the intended effect of that clause is to stop people using OTRS and other WMF-sponsored tools for finding work? Lankiveil (speak to me) 02:30, 5 November 2017 (UTC).
Examples where "solicit" may come into play: Orangemoody-type advertising via email, i.e. Pay me to write your article and I'll make sure it sticks because I'm an admin, b) ads on Fiverr "You can pay me to write your article, and I'm an admin". One place that it wouldn't come into play is with Wikipedians-in-Residence because they "are otherwise exempt." I have no problem with a potential WiR saying to a respectable GLAM "BTW I also volunteer at OTRS" because GLAMs are aligned with our aims, and because I think GLAM folks (on- and off-Wiki) would police the activity themselves. I trust librarians!. Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:20, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Can the scope of "position of trust" be narrowed? What roles that do not require advanced user rights are being targeted? For example, is a co-ordinator of WikiProject Military history, an elected position, considered a position of trust for the purpose of this proposed guidance? How about the Today's featured article co-ordinators? Teahouse hosts? isaacl (talk) 18:26, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Sorry for my absence here, real-world obligations catch up sometimes. The answer to @Isaacl:'s question is most that there are many places where the rules for different positions and user rights are set out. I believe that each place needs input from the folks that hang out there and that the exact wording for each position can be worked out, In short, it'll be narrowed by doing one position at a time, and by the people involved. That's not to say that folks here can't be involved at those pages as well. So far:
  • small change already made at WP:AFC, with no opposition
  • small change at WP:COI reflecting the AfC change
  • an interesting discussion at WT:Good articles
  • I'll start a discussion very soon at WT:GRP (which covers OTRS and other rights)
Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:47, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Can you list some examples of roles that would be covered which do not have associated advanced user rights? This would help me consider what type of wording may be appropriate. Personally, I do not think just being trusted by the community should be in itself a disqualifying factor, even though trusted editors inherently have a greater influence on discussions than those who aren't trusted. isaacl (talk) 17:00, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
My main concern is with holders of advanced rights who use their status, rather than the rights per se for paid editing, e.g. OTRS "volunteers" who might come on to enWiki (their rights, if we call them that are used elsewhere) and post something on a talk page, e.g. "From an OTRS ticket, I'm removing .... until a better source can be found." Or say an admin !voting at ANI. That's not exactly using their tools - it's a use of their position or status.
As far as "trusted positions" without tools - the only ones that concern me at all are AfC reviewer (this seems to have been taken care of) and Good Article reviewer (which is still being discussed). Others may be concerned about different positions - but let them make the proposals. As far as the elected director of WP:Military history - I just don't know enough about it - but I doubt that he'd win an election if he declared that he was willing to sell his services as the director. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:49, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
FA coordinator and the ArbCom election commission have been mentioned above. GMGtalk 17:56, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be better to cast the restriction (for editors without advanced user rights) in terms of the type of services offered: the commonality seems to be decisions that are entrusted to one or a small number of persons, or the evaluation of the community's consensus view. So maybe something like this:
  • No editor with advanced user rights may solicit or accept payment for any service related to Wikipedia. Examples of services include advocating for a client, or evading scrutiny for any edits benefiting a client.
  • No editor may solicit or accept payment for any service related to evaluating the Wikipedia community's consensus view, or to deciding on an outcome either as an individual or within a committee, as opposed to part of a community discussion. Examples of outcomes include decisions made by the feature article co-ordinators, and rulings made by the Arbitration Committee election commission.
Further examples of course can be listed. isaacl (talk) 18:35, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Prefer this version to the one in the above section, since it deals with the "coordinators" matter. I do think the admin, CU, etc. policies need to be updated with explicit rules again using such special power/tools/authority on behalf of off-site interests. It really doesn't have anything to do with money changing hands but with PoV, COI, and NOT#ADVOCACY policy.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  00:24, 11 November 2017 (UTC); revised: 12:34, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I've made the relevant additions to New Page Patrol: [1][2]. MER-C 09:33, 22 November 2017 (UTC)

(radical?) counterproposal[edit]

Instead of running away and pretending we can stop editing (hint - I've only seen reports and instances of paid editing increase since the change in the ToS from my OTRS work), why don't we almost create a "trusted editor" system - editors that are trusted by the community are added to a page, can be contacted by external editors, and if the subject is indeed notable, the page can be created by them for either a charge or a donation to the WMF? (something a bit like WP:JOB but better publicised) Paid editing is clearly not going to go away - as I see it, we can have a choice where both us (with better paid-for articles, so less NPP needed), and the subjects (article less likely to get deleted, less likely to be scammed). I'm aware this does present a potential COI flag over the foundation, but as it is independent editors carrying out the editing, I don't see this as an issue.

Note: I'm not involved in paid editing, I just regularly dealt with the fall out from it. The current approach clearly isn't working IMO - maybe a shift in our approach may well get better results. Mdann52 (talk) 22:50, 3 November 2017 (UTC)

Those hiring paid editors are often looking for promotional rather than neutral content. The problem is growing as we become more well known and respected and the businesses that do this work increase in number. The rise of sites like Elance and Fivver also contribute. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 07:18, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
@Doc James: True - however, I think if we are going to keep our head into the sands that this issue can be solved with our current approach, promotional content is going to become more widely available. I think that trialing different approaches to see what impact they make would be at least vaguely worthwhile. Mdann52 (talk) 17:01, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Our current approach appears to be 1) some pretending the problem does not exist or if it does it does not matter 2) a small group trying very hard to keep our rules against paid editing from being applied and try to do everything possible to prevent any new rules from being created to regulate the practice or enforce our TOU.
So it is not surprising we are here. We do need to try things, but I would like to suggest we try enforcing our current rules or ban paid promotional editing directly in article space completely. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:41, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @Godric on Leave: I can see the parallels there, but that seemed to be far more about money from the WMF rather than subjects. I'm under no illusion this proposal is not going to get any real levels of support - sometimes, I think it's best to throw radical proposals out there to get people thinking, as in my time on Wikipedia, towing the same line has only seen the problem get worse... Mdann52 (talk) 17:05, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Hi all! My opinion is simply disallowing those types of paied contributions because especially OTRs members as will as admins should be of the most confident users and represent the idea of volunteering for wikipedia and if we allow them to be paied for their contributions then wikipedia will become like any paid website and will lost its main principle of free knowledge. Those paied users are more prone to bias than those who are freely volunteering and sacrificing there efforts and time!. Regards--مصعب (talk) 11:18, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
This isn't going to happen.
  • @مصعب: There are a few editors involved with Wikipedia who are paid for their work and tend to produce high-quality articles - I'm of the opinion that paid editors != bad editors as a general rule - hence why I'd rather it was members of the community being paid for writing articles outside their comfort areas, rather than unknown people writing paid promotional content. Mdann52 (talk) 17:01, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Just no TonyBallioni (talk) 13:13, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Hell no! - it would be reputational suicide. --Orange Mike | Talk 20:58, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Heck no! - some people get carried away! Smallbones(smalltalk) 21:44, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Absolutely no . This is even worse than the error that was made in the first place by allowing paid editing under the condition of disclosure. No form of paid editing is compatible with the volunteer philosophy of Wikipedia.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:36, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Hahaha Worth imagining just so that in my mind I can see the look on the WMF's face if we tried to turn the platform into a donation machine through community consensus... In all seriousness though: not gonna happen. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 12:31, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • @Insertcleverphrasehere: Evidently, you've never been on Wikipedia around December while logged out for the annual fundraising drive... :P Mdann52 (talk) 22:12, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Presses nuke button - Seriously though, it is a good idea but per above wishful thinking. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 16:24, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No. Such a web site would be possible, and might be no worse than the commercial world already is, but whoever wants to run it, can and must do so entirely independently from WP or the WMF, and I do not think anyone could ethically participate in both. The problem is that our copyright permits anyone to use our material, and then add commercialism onto it, but we always knew that's inherent in the license. Personally I sometimes think we should have chosen -NC, but we didn't. DGG ( talk ) 19:14, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
  • No Absolutely not. Bad idea. Qaei 10:17, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

History - people with privileges who edited for pay[edit]

Several folks have asked if this has ever happened. I've been spending a bit of time looking at that...

apparent sock (listed at SPI): Homechap (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)
apparent sock (listed in Arbcom decision June 2009): Zithan (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)
crat, oversighter, admin, OTRS.
per edit count first edit in 2004.
status, Zithan blocked; other accounts not blocked, Nichalp retired; last edit on en-WP was Jan 2009 (left enigmatic note here 31 Jan 2009).
Made a 'crat here in September 2005 ; stripped by arbcom here June 2009.
joined OTRS here October 2007; removed from list here July 2009 with edit note No longer active(!)
June 2009 SPI filed and was put on hold for Arbcom, Arbcom finding is here
btw this from July 2008 looks a lot like trying to figure out how to cover their socking tracks after a goof, using the tools.
The arbcom decision spawned a long discussion at the related talk page here.
Led to a slew of AfDs eg linked from Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Brad Sugars
Led to a mammoth RfC that ran June-July 2009 Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Paid_editing
admin
Status. not blocked. Still an admin. not too active per edit count, last edit was Feb 2017
per edit count, created in 2006
diff, June 2009 acknowledged editing for pay; explained here on 11 June that they work for a university and I only add content or modify content with information that is sourced directly from our publications and web-sites, or from accompanying articles.. That diff says that they gave up the bit and they did but they asked for it back in Nov 2009 log)
admin
sock of account formerly called Mrinal Pandey, renamed to Empengent (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)
See SPI Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations/Mrinal_Pandey/Archive (I had never looked at that before. Wow)
arbcom case Feb 2015; desysopped and banned for socking and editing for pay on behalf of a university, Indian Institute of Planning and Management
Master account (edit count) created Dec 2006
Wifione account (per edit count) created April 2009.
user rights log, made admin Sept 2010.
OTRS, autopatrol
status, indeffed Nov 2017)
OTRS (removed Oct 2017)

--(That is what I found so far. Jytdog (talk) 18:31, 18 November 2017 (UTC))

admin
Currently editing for pay through "Mister Wiki"

— (added by JJMC89(T·C) 18:56, 19 November 2017 (UTC))

New Page Patroller
Systematically marked as patrolled new pages created by one of the big UPE sockfarms.

-- added by Rentier (talk) 19:27, 19 November 2017 (UTC))

AFC reviewer
Does work for "Mister Wiki".

- (added by Jytdog (talk) 22:54, 19 November 2017 (UTC))

Other history[edit]

Had never seen this list before. Back in 2009 already somebody was tracking ads for paid editing on Elance. See User:Brumski/paid_editing_adverts. Jytdog (talk) 18:31, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Rather than putting this list on the village pump page, how about including it somewhere under Wikipedia:WikiProject Integrity, such as a subpage of Wikipedia:WikiProject Integrity/Editor Registry, so it can more easily located again in future and kept up-to-date? isaacl (talk) 20:07, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

As I noted at the top, people in the RfC discussion asked about other people with advanced privileges (PWAPs ??) who edited for pay and I wanted to make it easy for folks participating to see. But yes it should be copied to the Integrity page. Jytdog (talk) 21:17, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
You guys should probably take care to separate your own sigs from the list of editors in the section above. ☆ Bri (talk) 00:31, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
thx, added notations and smallified. :) Jytdog (talk) 02:40, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

Current developments[edit]

In view of the current case (which is going to be accepted) at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case#Mister_Wiki concerning an admin, the entire proposal should be reworded as:

The holding of advanced rights is incompatible with paid editing

Even if a user with advanced rights creates creates another identity for his/her paid editing (such as user:Salvidrim!), it just creates yet another perceived degree of tolerance for paid editing - and its still the same person. No one can claim to successfully manage a voluntary split personality. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:01, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

  • I didn't realize this discussion was happening here, I had been commenting on the case request. I'll just basically expand on what I said there: I think that it would be a very good idea if we made users choose between holding advanced permissions or being paid to edit. To my mind it's pretty simple: if you want to accept payment for doing something on Wikipedia, you first go to WP:BN and say "I've been hired to do a thing, please remove all of my userrights" (yes, rollback and everything, right down to autoconfirmed). Maybe we should require that you describe the work you're being paid to do, or post a link to the request on Fiverr or wherever, that seems like a good idea for transparency. Then you go do your paid gig, making proper disclosures along the way, and once you're done you go back to BN and say "my paid gig is done, please give me back my userrights". Then, obviously, you don't touch that topic again. It's all done from one account so you're accountable for it, and nobody is prevented from doing paid editing if that's a thing they want to do. And if you're being paid to "manage" content on an ongoing basis, you shouldn't be entitled to any advanced permissions.
As for Pigsonthewing's concern about Wikipedians in Residence, I think it stands to reason that being paid to promote Wikipedia and facilitate outreach events is somewhat different from being paid to edit Wikipedia on behalf of a third party. The WiR program is already pretty transparent, and clearly valuable. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 15:43, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I think this would be a very bad idea. There are far too many grey areas and corner cases and times where this would harm the encyclopaedia (making it much harder for someone to revert vandalism they happen across) - not to mention that it would encourage people with rights greater than autoconfirmed to lie about any paid editing making the problem worse rather than better. We will either lose many good editors and admins because of technical violations or the rules will be inconsistently enforced making much more of a mess than we currently have. Thryduulf (talk) 17:15, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
Support the principle that The holding of advanced rights is incompatible with paid editing. I'm not sure that lesser rights than admin really need to be covered, but it does no great harm and keeps it simple. Anything in excess of auto-confirmed rights should be covered.
And this seems to me to be consistent with the direction ARBCOM has taken. When I became an admin, the principle seemed to be that I'd be under greater scrutiny when exercising "the mop", but that's now been extended to every edit an admin makes. We should be consistent, and apply this principle to all advanced rights and positions.
But please note I'm not advocating enforcement as a solution. The spirit of wp:5P5 as I see it is, whenever we need to enforce the rules, they have in a sense already failed. The goal should be to write the rules, and build consensus supporting them, so that enforcement is rarely necessary, and so that the cases where sanctions are needed stick out like sore thumbs, because users that are here try to follow the rules whether they agree with them or not. Andrewa (talk) 22:01, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
Support Kudpung's proposal that "The holding of advanced rights is incompatible with paid editing". Once money enters the scene the motivation for every action is questionable. In Salvidrim's case, granting rights to the alternate account is (imho) indistinguishable from sockpuppetry. Regardless of the outcome at Arbcom Salvidrim's credibility and impartiality is shot. How can an admin, who accepts payment under another hat, give fair judgement on other paid editors?
A bright-line rule as proposed by Kudpung would leave no room for ambiguity or doubt, and leave no grey area for anybody to stumble into. The restriction needs to be applicable not only to Admins but to Page Movers (for suppressredirect) and Template Editors (for the ability to duck the title blacklist) at the very least. Cabayi (talk) 18:31, 23 December 2017 (UTC)
Not in this form. With the way the question is being framed so far, the proposed solution is missing the aim. The problem underlying all the situations that have been discussed so far is not the fact itself that payments have been made, it is the introduction of a conflict of interest subsequent to these payments. It is the conflicts of interest that we should strive to find ways of tackling, regardless of their form (and there are myriads ways for this to happen: personally, I think the existence of visible edit counts acts as a much stronger disincentive to keep wikipedia's purpose in mind than all the harmful money you could pump into the project). Directly or indirectly receiving payment for any forms of editing (with or without the exercising of advanced rights) can happen in a variety of situations that do not involve such conflicts of interest. How about wikipedians in residence, WMF staff or WikiEdu coordinators, should they be banned from using any advanced tools? Is it wrong for the organisers of a big student editathon to hire a wikipedian to clean up the resultant mess? Is it wrong for a user to start a crowdfunding campaign among her friends so that she can dedicate a month of her time to helping clear the AfC backlog? – Uanfala (talk) 19:27, 24 December 2017 (UTC)

RfC on naming of Chinese railway line articles[edit]

How should the titles of railway line articles for Mainland China and the high-speed railway in Hong Kong be named? Jc86035 (talk) 09:29, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

Background (naming of Chinese railway line articles)[edit]

Most article titles for Chinese railway lines follow the structure "Place 1Place 2 Railway" or similar, though they have been inconsistently named and the naming guideline is probably a reflection of the state of articles rather than a fully consensus-based system. However, Dicklyon has recently renamed or made RMs for a number of railway lines to decapitalize them. (According to this PetScan query, out of about 270 railway lines and former railway companies, 174 are named with "Railway" and 86 are named with "railway". Dicklyon renamed all 86 of the latter this week.) Their naming should be based on reliable sources per MOS. A mix of non-capitalized and capitalized is used by sources for the more well-known high-speed railways, but more than 90% of sources use the capitalized form for the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link (but a mix when the line is referred to as just the "Express Rail Link" or "express rail link"), and most news articles for the Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Railway use the capitalized form unless they refer to it without the phrase "intercity railway" e.g. "Beijing-Tianjin intercity route". There are very few English-language sources about the slow railways; 3 news sources use "Beijing–Kowloon Railway" and one source uses "Beijing–Kowloon railway", while others use "Beijing–Jiujiang–Kowloon [Rr]ailway". (Almost all passenger and freight lines in China are operated by China Railway and its subsidiaries, so it would probably be odd to capitalize them differently entirely based on the inconsistent capitalization of sources.) Further investigation is probably needed.

In addition, some articles are named in their abbreviated form, using only one Chinese character from each place name (e.g. Guangshen Railway instead of Guangzhou–Shenzhen Railway). Sources about high-speed lines usually use the long form. Most news articles about the Guangzhou–Shenzhen [Rr]ailway are actually about the subsidiary of China Railway which operates it, which is named with the abbreviated form. (The railway itself seems to never be in the news.) Most Google results for "Jingjiu railway" [Beijing–Kowloon] are Wikipedia articles; sources generally use the long forms. There is some old discussion in the archives of Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Chinese) which indicates that the long form should be used for clarity, although the highways also addressed by the naming convention have always been named using the short form (e.g. Guangshen Expressway).

Some articles are also named "Passenger Railway" instead of "High-Speed Railway". This is a result of the official Chinese names being literally translated; most English-language sources avoid "passenger railway" probably for clarity, although it's also possible that they used Wikipedia's article titles.

Note that my observation is probably incomplete and more web searches will be needed.

A B C
Should the railway line articles be named with a capitalized "Railway"? 1 capitalized not case-by-case (i.e. based entirely on sources)
Should the railway line articles be named with the short or long form? 2 short long case-by-case
Should the railway line articles be named high-speed railway or passenger railway? 3 high-speed passenger case-by-case
Should the railway line articles be named intercity railway or passenger railway? 4 intercity passenger case-by-case
Should closed/historical/heritage/narrow-gauge railway line articles (e.g. Gebishi Railway, Jiayang Coal Railway) be named the same way as open railway lines operated by China Railway? 5 yes no case-by-case
Should the current and former railway company articles be renamed to match the line articles? 6 yes no case-by-case
How should railway lines with termini in Tibet and Xinjiang etc. be named? 7 Mandarin-derived name local name case-by-case

Survey (naming of Chinese railway line articles)[edit]

  • 1B, 2B, 3A, 4A, 5C, 6B and 7C. (I am the RfC initiator.) Jc86035 (talk) 09:38, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
    See WP:JUSTAVOTE; why do you support those options?  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  13:31, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
    @SMcCandlish:
    • I am the initiator so my reasoning for 1B and 2B is largely outlined in the section above.
    • This needs to be double-checked, but 3A and 4A are sorted this way because the Chinese government seems to officially name high-speed lines "客运专线" (literally, "passenger dedicated line"). Some Chinese Wikipedia articles are named that way; others use "高速铁路" ("high-speed railway"). I don't know why. I have corrected "passenger line" to "passenger railway" since it is probably an editor's translation of the same phrase.
    • I !voted 5C since heritage railways may or may not be state-owned and thus may be named using a different system. Similarly, the name may be translated differently.
    • I !voted 6B since the company name does not need to be the same as and has little to do with the railway name; it would be a little like renaming c2c because the railway it operates on isn't called the c2c railway. The only operator for which this applies is Guangshen Railway (company), and the company is publicly listed internationally so it has an official English name which we don't need to change. The other operator [with an article] is Daqin Railway (company), which operates over multiple lines which are mostly not named the Daqin Railway. To be honest, this doesn't actually have much to do with the rest of the RfC, so maybe it could be removed.
    • I !voted 7B since the Chinese government apparently has an tendency to pretend that ethnic groups in the autonomous regions don't exist and only installs English-language signage based on the Mandarin Chinese transliteration rather than signage based on the Tibetan or Uyghur names. I've changed my preference to 7C.
    Jc86035 (talk) 15:30, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Remove WP:NC-CHINA#Transport as a bunch of no-consensus WP:CREEP – do not expand it further with this stuff. Not only does it directly conflict with site-wide guidelines like MOS:CAPS and WP:NCCAPS, it is not actually addressing anything unique to China and is thus off-topic – just one wikiproject PoV-pushing a bunch of trivial nit-picks without consensus. I checked – there was no discussion at WT:NC-CHINA about adding any of that material, and it's just someone's opinion, i.e. a mis-placed WP:PROJPAGE essay. It's also unnecessary (as I demonstrate below), because we already have title and sourcing policies, basic naming conventions, and style guides that result in usable article names simply by following them. I'm a huge fan of consistency within reason, but this RfC is just ridiculous. In case this nonsense is kept, I've answered the RfC questions below, with actual rationales, based on site-wide rules and advice.
Details, by number:

1B, 2C (2B by default), 3C (3A by default), 4C (4A by default), 5C (5A by default), 6C (6A by default), 7C (7A by default).
Reasons:

  1. 1A is not actually an option (per MOS:CAPS, WP:NCCAPS, WP:NOR).
  2. 2C (2B by default) because these are usually descriptive names, in translation, so should be descriptive, but in the case that one is a proper name, use that.
  3. 3C per follow the sources; the choice doesn't even make sense, since "high-speed" and "passenger" are not synonyms and there are passenger lines that are not high-speed; if the railway is high-speed, use that by default as more descriptive.
  4. 4C (4A by default) per follow the souces; the choice the nom offers is another false equivalence, as there are passenger lines that are not intercity; for an intercity case, that word is more descriptive; but use whatever a proper name actually translates as.
  5. 5C (5A by default) per WP:CONSISTENCY policy, with allowance for a [translation or transliteration of a] proper name that doesn't fit the format.
  6. 6C (6A by default) per WP:CONSISTENCY and because not doing it (absent unusual proper name exceptions) invalidates the whole point of the RfC to settle on a consistent naming convention. It's utterly baffling that the nominator would pick 6B.
  7. 7C (7A by default) per COMMONNAME and follow the sources.

Important note: "I saw it on a sign" does not equate to "proper name"; signs are primary sources self-published by the agency in question, and are written in an intentionally compressed fashion; they are not natural English. And the agency's own publication cannot be used to "style-war" for overcapitalization or other quirks, since WP doesn't follow external house style of random other organizations, and these names aren't in English anyway.

This kind of instruction creep is problematic, because if even a few topical-interest wikiprojects did something like this, MoS page by MoS page as WP:TRAINS has been trying to do, then a page like MOS:CHINA would be so long no one would read or follow anything in it. We should have no MoS rules other than those that address points of style and usage that editors have repeatedly had raucous conflicts about (or which address internal, usually technical, requirements) and which are not adquately addressed by existing WP:P&G pages. MoS/AT material is not a style guide for the public but an internal problem-solving tool. Every new rule added that isn't actually needed is just a reduction in editorial leeway and pisses people off.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  13:31, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: The last discussion about railways at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Chinese) was more than six years ago. There probably aren't enough active editors to form a consensus, other than through the RM process (which probably isn't as widely trafficked as this page). I agree that some of these didn't really need to be in the RfC, but it made sense to ask them all at the same time to have a sort of more solid precedent than a RM from 2009 which ended in no consensus. It's a bit of a stretch to say that building consensus on these things is "instruction creep" and "ridiculous", since these are all (well, 1 to 5, anyway) points of inconsistency between article titles which no discussion has managed to sort out in the last decade.
I am also proposing this independent of the guideline and do not really care whether or not the guideline is changed to reflect it; I should have clarified this. I am fine with removing the guideline's section, since it only serves to reflect the status quo and has its own problems like introducing infobox title inconsistencies. Jc86035 (talk) 15:30, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
It's actually worse than that; it's a WP:POLICYFORK that contradicts the main guidelines on capitalization, among other problems.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  15:36, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: Would it be acceptable to notify the Chinese Wikipedia of this RfC, or would that be canvassing? Jc86035 (talk) 04:28, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't. This doesn't have anything to do with what's done in Chinese, and zh.WP doesn't share our style guide.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:10, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixing style guidelines with naming conventions1B usually, since we have site-wide consensus represented in WP:NCCAPS and MOS:CAPS to reserve caps for proper names, typically as determined by consistent capitalization in sources, and these are pretty mixed in sources as nom notes. No new guideline or instruction is neeeded; see my RFC a few sections up where nobody disagrees with following these central guidelines. For the rest, these are more like project naming conventions; I agree there are some consistency improvements that would be useful. In terms of the current state, I started with downcasing "XXX High-Speed Railway", and then "XXX Intercity Railway" after studying sources about those. I would plan to look next at "XXX Passenger Railway" and plain "XXX Railway". In many parts of the world, the latter form is typically referring to a company, and is capped, while the railway infrastructure is called a "line". So I need to look at what's going on here. Any help you care to offer will be appreciated. Dicklyon (talk) 17:02, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

Comment It is a proper name in Chinese and just lost in translation in English and by grammar it should be capitalised (the Chinese government had a system to name it, does not mean it is not a proper name, such as the First Bridge of "Long River", the Frist Road of People, or People East/West/North/South Road. Or Shenzhen Airport. Beijing International Airport. Matthew_hk tc 03:24, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

@Matthew hk: I don't think this is necessarily the case, as English grammar norms are a little different from those of Chinese. For example, the zhwiki article for Shenzhen is called 深圳市 (Shenzhen City), but our article is titled simply Shenzhen because we don't consider "City" to be part of the proper name and it's not necessary for disambiguation. Jc86035 (talk) 04:28, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Yep.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:10, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
What I saw is wikipedia screw with no sense that Australia use English language and capitalize Fremantle Line [3] in their webpage and the wiki lower cap them. Matthew_hk tc 06:06, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Yes, we "screw with" some of their styling, since they're not even consistent (see [4]) and since we go by secondary sources. Dicklyon (talk) 06:35, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
And more citation on Chinese railway: Hsü, Immanuel C.Y. The Rise of Modern China. Oxford University Press. , a history book written in English (by a guy with Chinese surname publish by a reputable university press) use Wade–Giles, uses Peking-Hankow Railway, Canton-Hankow Railway Matthew_hk tc 06:46, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
He also has "Fengtien-Peking and Tientsin-Pukow railways", which would seem unlikely if their proper names were Fengtien-Peking Railway and Tientsin-Pukow Railway. Things like "Southern Manchurian Railway track" that he has make more sense, as referring probably to the company South Manchuria Railway Company as opposed to the line. Anyway, he has a style, but it's not WP style. Dicklyon (talk) 03:16, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
Here I will comment that there is no such thing as a "South Manchuria railway" as a single line. The South Manchuria Railway operated a number of lines, of which none were called the "South Manchuria Line". For the record, they were called the Lianjing Line (Dalian–Xinjing/Changchun), the Anfeng Line (Andong/Dandong–Fengtian/Shenyang), and the Jincheng Line (Jinzhou–Chengzitong).2Q (talk) 03:35, 19 December 2017 (UTC)

Comment: If we in proper English capitalise "Hollywood Boulevard" or "Fifth Avenue" or "Crescent City" or "Brooklyn Bridge", then these cases of railways wherein 'Line' is part of the proper name need to be capitalised too. Though I'm thinking more specifically of Korea and Japan, but applicable elsewhere too, including China. Secondly, there are/were numerous railway lines in Hamgyeong Province, or in the Tohoku region ... saying "Hamgyeong line" (or "Tohoku line" etc) is not specifically referring to any of said lines, whereas "Hamgyeong Line" ("Tohoku Line" etc) is specifically referring to the one line that is commonly known by that name.

I know in China railway lines are called 鐵路 (railway) and not 線 (line), but I'd say the same thing applies. Proper names are capitalised, this is a basic and universal rule of English orthography. 2Q (talk) 02:04, 27 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Avoid instruction creep. (Basically "C" in all cases above [where not in conflict with MOS:CAPS, etc.].) WP guidelines aren't for us to neatly order the lamentably inconsistent real world; they are created as a last resort to help editors focus on improving articles rather than waste time endlessly bickering about small things without resolution. Here, I don't see a long-standing ongoing conflict that needs some WP guideline to come down and make decisions for us. Especially in this RfC, where we are asked to !vote on a list of different rules for different small sub-subjects. This requires anyone commenting get detailed knowledge for each separate issue, which an RfC is the worst way to achieve. I'd close this RfC as a bad idea no matter what the outcome. (Maybe start a separate RfC for each issue where needed.) --A D Monroe III(talk) 16:12, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

Korea exception?[edit]

Is Korea different from China? I started downcasing a few lines in Korea, but got reverted by 2Q. See discussion at User talk:Dicklyon#Undid page moves. The argument seems to be that since Korean and maybe other Asian languages have no analog of capitalization, and even though there's not consistent capping in English-language sources, we must nevertheless treat these line names as proper names. Anyone buy that? Dicklyon (talk) 03:31, 29 November 2017 (UTC)

Not on your life; the fact that CJK scripts have no case distinction means we absolutely should use lower-case here because our translations of them are just approximations and thus cannot be their proper names. We have the same rule when it comes to translating titles of published works: the translations go in sentence case. (However, the English-language title of an English-language edition of a book, or English-dubbed/subtitled English-language-market release of a film, or traditional English name of a famous artwork, goes in title case.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  13:31, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't see how the Korean language has any influence here. Per COMMMONNAME, The naming we follow is based on English, not uses in other languages; we don't call Germany Deutschland. If English sources cap it, then we should, especially when the native official language has no caps. I'm sure the French Wikipedia doesn't look to English sources to determine if "Basketball" is a masculine or feminine noun, a concept English doesn't have. --A D Monroe III(talk) 15:39, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

In User_talk:Dicklyon#South_Manchuria_Railway, User:2Q makes a case for capping "Line" for Japan and Korea lines. It makes more sense than I've seen elsewhere (more than for the NYC subway lines, for instance). Comments? Dicklyon (talk) 06:06, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

US or NYC exception?[edit]

There is also some pushback on capitalization normalization of "Line" in New York, in spite of sources using lowercase a lot. See ongoing RM discussion at Talk:IRT_Lexington_Avenue_Line#Requested_move_17_November_2017. The notification of the project has brought in some local opposition based on their longstanding practice of capping "Line". Dicklyon (talk) 16:30, 29 November 2017 (UTC)

Hong Kong exception?[edit]

I've downcased the majority of Chinese XXX Railway articles, and working away on them; a few seem to be consistently capped in sources, and a few have a little pushback for other reasons (2Q also comments on some of those). But it's when I mess with things that get into Hong Kong that I find more pushback, especially on downcasing Station (e.g. see Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Hong_Kong#Railway_and_Station_capitalization and User_talk:Dicklyon#Why_are_you_even_allowed_admin_tools?). And I continue to get random comments from the banned/sock Russia anon for my work there, sprinkled into some of these conversations. I'm going to hold off on Japan and Korea, go slow on Hong Kong, and see how things go as I try to finish up China. Comments? Dicklyon (talk) 06:06, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

On the Hong Kong MTR stations, I've opened a mulit-RM discussion: Talk:Hung_Hom_Station#Requested_move_17_December_2017. Dicklyon (talk) 16:55, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

Strong opposition and motion for reconsideration[edit]

As the creator or editor of the vast majority of China railway articles in English Wikipedia, I am appalled and deeply dismayed that this de-capitalization exercise was undertaken with little to no input from the editors who are familiar with the content of this subject area and laid down the conventions for article in naming, as a means to help readers identify the articles they are reading and editors to help expand the subject area.

First, the naming convention which I proposed and was adopted in 2011 after significant discussion with other China railway editors, has worked. See Archive 11 (reproduced below). Until Dickylyon started de-capitalizing high-speed railway names, virtually all articles about particular railways in China had "railway" capitalized in the same way that Great Western Railway, Trans-Siberian Railway and Union Pacific Railroad have railway/railroad capitalized in their names. The capitalization signifies that the article name is referring to a particular railway, and the names of particular railways are proper nouns. Per MOS:CAPS, proper nouns are capitalized.

This section is weirdly broken and not editable, having sections inside the collapsed part. How about a link to the relevant archive instead? And did these proposals ever get adopted or documented any place, or just discussed? Dicklyon (talk) 05:16, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
And trying to edit sections after this also doesn't work so well; the edit button usually leads to the wrong section number. Dicklyon (talk) 05:53, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
I think I've fixed the problem. Someone say if that's not true. - dcljr (talk) 05:48, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
The 2011 discussion and consenus
For article names of Chinese railways, replace transliterated shorthand names with hyphenated full names

Under the current naming convention, Wikipedia English article names of Chinese railways (and expressways) follow the shorthand Chinese character names for these railways (and expressways) transliterated into English. For example, the Beijing-Shanghai Railway is named Jinghu Railway, after the shorthand of the Chinese name for this railway, 京沪铁路. Jing is the pinyin tranliteration for 京, the character used in Chinese as a shorthand for the city of Beijing. Hu is the pinyin transliteration for 沪, the character used in Chinese as a shorthand for the city of Shanghai. Beijing and Shanghai are the two terminal cities on the railway.

For ease of reference, let’s call Jinghu Railway the “transliterated shorthand name” and the Beijing-Shanghai Railway, the “hyphenated full name”. The transliterated shorthand name, while seemingly faithful to the Chinese naming method, is not helpful or effective for most English Wikipedia readers and fails to satisfy most of the objectives under Wikipedia’s article naming convention, which are recognizability, naturalness, precision, conciseness and consistency. This naming convention should be replaced by hyphenated full names of Chinese railways, which has the two terminal location references (usually cities but also could be provinces) of each railway fully spelled out and connected by a hyphen. This hyphenated name should be followed by “Railway”, capitalized because the name of each Chinese railway is a proper noun. The transliterated shorthand name could be mentioned in the article and could have a redirect link, but should not be the primary article name – for the following reasons:

Recognizabilityan ideal title will confirm, to readers who are familiar with (though not necessarily expert in) the topic, that the article is indeed about that topic. The names of most railways in China, regardless of naming method, are not familiar or recognizable to most English Wikipedia readers. When this is the case, the more descriptive name will make the railway more identifiable. For example, most English readers are unfamiliar with, say, the railway between Chengdu and Chongqing, but between Chengyu Railway and the Chengdu-Chongqing Railway, they’re much more likely to identify the latter as the railway between the two cities.

As of April 22, 2011, articles for only a handful of railways in China have been created and named with the transliterated shorthand name method. Most of these articles are for railways that many bilingual (Chinese and English) readers can recognize, such as the Jinghu, Jingguang, Jingjiu, Jingbao Railway, so the naming convention appears to be fine. Yet, once we expand the article coverage to railways that are less well-known, recognizability of names will diminish. Railways like the Funen, Kuybei, Qibei, Nenlin, are likely to be as obscure to the English reader as they are to the bilingual reader. As the number of articles proliferates, the article names will become progressively more difficult to recognize and tell apart. Try telling apart the following railways: Fuhuai, Fuxia and Funen.

Part of the difficulty is that the transliteration method obscures differences in Chinese characters and Chinese tones that help to pick apart some of those names, such as 阜淮, 福厦, 富嫩 in the riddle above. Compared to the shorthand names, Fuxin-Huainan, Fuzhou-Xiamen, and Fuyu-Nenjiang, are more recognizable. With pinyin transliteration from Chinese to English, considerable detail and discerning information is lost. Consider more examples:

  • Xiangyu, Xianggui, Xiangpu Railways all have different “Xiang” characters;
  • Baolan and Baocheng Railways have different “Bao” characters;
  • Jiaoji and Jitong Railways have different “Ji” characters;
  • Jiaoji and Jiaoliu Railways have different “Jiao” characters
  • Jitong and Tongpu Lines have different “Tong” characters;
  • Lanxin and Lanyan Lines have different “Lan” characters;
  • Qibei and Ningqi Lines have different “Qi” characters;
  • Tongjiu, Tongpu, Jitong Railways have different “Tong” characters
  • Xianggui and Guikun Lines have different “Gui” characters;
  • Yiwan and Wangan Railways have different “Wan” characters;
  • Yiwan, Yijia, and Xinyi Lines have different “Yi” characters;
  • Yuli and Licha Railways have different “Li” characters;

Many English readers may be unfamiliar with one-character abbreviations of Chinese cities and provinces that are commonly used in Chinese shorthand names for railways, Hu for Shanghai, Yu for Chongqing, Rong for Chengdu, Ning for Nanjing, Yong for Ningbo and Jiu for Kowloon. Compare Beijing-Kowloon Railway with Jingjiu Railway. Just when you thought Jing stood for Beijing, there is Jingsha Railway, between Jingmen and Shashi in Hubei Province.

Part of the difficulty is that the Chinese method itself is vulnerable to confusion due to the repetition of the same characters used to describe different location. Consider Changda (长大), Xinchang (新长), and Daqin (大秦) railways. These three lines have two pairs of Chang and Da characters in common but those two characters refer to four different cities: Changchun, Changxing, Dalian and Datong. When these homographs characters are transliterated into the English, the confusion they cause is compounded by their homophone characters. Joining the Da (大) railways, e.g. Daqin (大秦) and Dazheng (大郑), are the Da (达) railways – Dacheng (达成) Dawan (达万) Railway. Joining Chang (长) railways are other Changs such as (昌), as in the Changjiu (昌九) Railway.

Naturalnessrefers to the names and terms that readers are most likely to look for in order to find the article (and to which editors will most naturally link from other articles). How are the names of Chinese railways referred to in English publications? A search in the English news articles for Beijing-Shanghai Railway yields hundreds of results. A search for Jinghu Railway yields few to no results. In everyday use, when an English writer wants to identify a Chinese railway in English prose to an English reading audience, he/she is much more likely to use the hyphenated full name approach than the transliterated shorthand name approach.

Precisiontitles are expected to use names and terms that are precise, but only as precise as is necessary to identify the topic of the article unambiguously. Not surprisingly, the hyphenated full name is more precise and less prone to confusion than the transliterated shorthand name. For example, does Xinyi Railway refer to the railway between Fuxin and Yi County (新义铁路) or the railway of Xinyi (新沂铁路), which goes to Changxing? What about the Ningwu Railway, is it one of the railways that originates from Ningwu or the Nanjing-Wuhu Railway, whose transliterated shorthand is also Ningwu?

Concisenessshorter titles are generally preferred to longer ones. This is the only consideration where the transliterated shorthand name appears to have the edge. But this objective is far outweighed by others consideration. The hyphenated full name is hardly long by Wikipedia article name standards. Furthermore, as a rule, in Wikipedia, we do not use abbreviations as article names. Why adopt Chinese abbreviations as the official English names?

Consistency - titles which follow the same pattern as those of similar articles are generally preferred. As noted, news articles about railways overwhelmingly follow the hyphenated full name approach. Among China’s high-speed railways, the majority also following the hyphenated full-name approach, because this approach delivers more identifying information and is less prone to confusion.

It’s time to make the English article names of Chinese railways consistent, clear and descriptive. The need for hyphenated full names for Chinese railways is more pressing than it is for Chinese highways. Whereas railway names are stable, highways in China frequently have their names changed as expressways are lengthened and numbering systems are adopted. As an encyclopedia, we want to present seemingly complex information to readers in a way that is clear and consistent and easy to understand and follow. Under the hyphenated full name approach, readers can tell right away, what the two terminal cities of any railway are, and if they can recognize one of the two cities, be able to orient the railway. They will be able to tell that the Nanjing-Xian (Ningxi), Nanjing-Wuhu (Ningwu) and Nanjing-Qidong (Ningqi) Railways do not originate from the same city as the Ningwu-Kelan (Ningke) and Ningwu-Jingle (Ningjing) Railways.

For consistency and clarity, Wikipedia article names of Chinese railways should always feature the full names. In-article references can use transliterated shorthand names. The only exception may be the Longhai Line, which has become a two-character word in itself. The reason for this lengthy argument is because prior attempts to convert transliterated shorthand article names into hyphenated full names have been reversed with reference to the naming convention. ContinentalAve (talk) 15:14, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

I will refuse to agree to anything regarding railways unless something is done to expressways as well. Since expressways follow about the same convention, with the only conceivable difference being the addition of the "G__" numbering system, it makes little sense to have 2 separate conventions. Also, I am pretty sure that you fell for the pitfall of not using " " (i.e. exact phrasing) when doing Google searches. HSR, since they have been built only recently, are mentioned using the Terminus 1-Terminus 2 format in most media sources.
And with regards to "most English Wikipedia readers"... that's not the most important issue to be considered here, and probably should not be one. Precision far eclipses recognisability; you pointed this out. Full transliteration often creates disambiguation. --HXL's Roundtable and Record 00:15, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
HXL:Appreciate your prompt response.
Regarding the highway naming convention: Sure, we can certainly adopt the same full-name approach for highways. i.e. G12 Hunchun-Ulanhot Expressway instead of G12 Hunwu Expressway.
Regarding the Google searches: the point here is that more English writers use the full-name approach than the transliterated shorthand approach because the former is more natural. This is true whether we are talking newly built HSRs or longstanding regular speed railways. A search for "Beijing-Shanghai Railway" (in quotes) yields 269,000 results on Google, whereas "Jinghu Railway" (in quotes) yields only 77,000. The "Baotou-Lanzhou Railway" has 16,100 results and "Baolan Railway" has only 1,010 results.
Regarding most "English Wikipedia readers": I would not dismiss them so readily from our consideration of naming conventions. Wikipedia exists for their and our use. Two criteria in Wikipedia's naming convention -- recognizability and naturalness -- are based on the reader's experience. While it is true that many of the railway and expressways in China are currently unfamiliar to English readers (and therefore not recognizable to them), Wikipedia can help to change that through the creation of articles about them. This is why it is important for the names of these articles to be helpful, descriptive and memorable. Over time, many of the railways and expressways in China will become more recognizable. How we name them can have quite a lot to do with how quickly they gain acceptance.
Precision versus Recognizability: If I read your last point sentence correctly -- Full transliteration often creates disambiguation. -- then you're in agreement with me that using the full-names of these railways and highways creates less ambiguity than the shorthand names, not just often, but almost always.
Thank you for your attention. ContinentalAve (talk) 14:36, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
To be clear, it is not that I am necessarily opposed to the proposal, but I am concerned about some of the wording of the rationale. Indeed, I will come out and say that full spelling is required in all cases where ambiguation with even one terminus is possible (i.e. Nanjing). --HXL's Roundtable and Record 14:52, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

I am fairly neutral on the proposal; but, as one data point, there were 455 results when searching on "beijing-hankou railway" on Google Books; 26 and 35 results when searching on "jing-han railway" and "jinghan railway", respectively. (Among them, there must have been a few "pseudobooks", created by a parasitic publisher from Wikipedia pages; but the number was small enough as not to affect the overall results significantly. There were also a few hits with "chinghan", "beiping-hankow", etc., but again to few too affect the overall ratios). -- Vmenkov (talk) 15:50, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

I broadly support this. I am far from proficient in Chinese but recognise many place names, including most cities. But the short names really make no sense to me, i.e. on encountering them I would need to look for the longer full name to understand what is being referred to. I suspect only those proficient in Chinese would recognise the short names, and such people are unlikely to be using the English Wikipedia as a reference for the Chinese railway system. It seems that broader usage agrees with this, based on the searches done. There will still be redirects for those that are searching by the short names, but the full names are more appropriate for the article titles.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 16:26, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

I appreciate the helpful input from everyone. HXL, I understand your reluctance to change a long-standing policy but your proposed solution of spelling out the full name only when there is ambiguity with the abbreviated name will prove to be difficult to implement. For one, many writers will not be aware of ambiguities because they haven’t considered the whole galaxy of railway and expressway names. This is why I have gone through the effort of creating a very long post with many examples to illustrate the problem. Only when you consider the Ningwu-based railways will the Nanjing-based railway names seem ambiguous. Second, as we all know, China is undergoing extensive infrastructural expansion and the number of highways and railways will proliferate and create new ambiguities. For example, Hubei and Hunan are building a railway between Jingmen and Yueyang called the Jingyue Railway. The Jingyue along with the Jingsha Railway will start to erode the distinctiveness of Jing for Beijing in English. It will be more and more difficult to tell whether the Jingyuan and Jingzhang Railways are really obscure railways linked to Beijing or somehow related to the Jingyihuo Railway in Xinjiang. If Jing can be made ambiguous, no one is safe. Third, Wikipedia is the place where old knowledge finds new life. Many historical railways in China, like the Jinghan, will have articles created for them. Their inclusion will compound the potential for ambiguity. The earlier we adopt a clear and consistent policy, the less uncertainty and difficulty there will be for article creators going forward. After all, you were the one who opposed bifurcating railways from highways! :P

Set forth below, is my proposal of the revised naming convention for the transportation section:

Transportation

When naming articles of expressways, highways, railways, railway stations, or airports in China, use the common English name if it can be determined, e.g. Karakorum Highway. Otherwise, follow these naming rules for the article name:

For roadways, highways, expressways and railways whose names in Chinese consist of two- or three-character abbreviations of the terminal cities (or other location names), do not adopt the pinyin version of the Chinese abbreviated name as the English article name. Instead, spell out the full English name of each abbreviated Chinese place name and connect them with hyphens in the article name:

For the 宁芜铁路, use Nanjing-Wuhu Railway as the article name not, Ningwu Railway.

The {[full English spelling of terminus 1][hyphen][full English spelling of terminus 2] [Expressway/Railway]} article naming format is intended to identify expressways/railways with precision and avoid ambiguity. E.g. In addition to the Ningwu Railway, there are Ningwu-Kelan and Ningwu-Jingle Railways.

The pinyin version of the Chinese abbreviated name should be mentioned in the first sentence of the article as a secondary name of the expressway/railway, and should be made a redirect link to the article. Furthermore, the pinyin version of the Chinese abbreviated name can be freely used in the article itself and in other articles. The rule above applies only to article names. Where there is ambiguity in the pinyin version of the Chinese abbreviated name, create a disambiguation page for the ambiguous name.

Nanfu Railway may refer to:

Please capitalize Expressway/Railway in the article name.

Railways

Where the pinyin spelling of a place name differs from the official English spelling of the place name (especially in the case of non-Chinese place names) use the official English spelling.

Use the same naming format for China's high-speed railways

Exceptions to hyphenated full-spelling naming format:

Where the Chinese name is descriptive, use a brief translation of the descriptive name:

Where the abbreviations in the Chinese name are no longer considered abbreviations. This usually occurs when the abbreviated name has survived changes in the underlying names.

  • 陇海铁路 - Longhai Railway not Longxi-Haizhou Railway because Longxi is no longer used to describe eastern Gansu Province and Haizhou is now part of Lianyungang
Roadways

For [[5]], add the expressway number as a prefix to the hyphenated expressway name in the article. The prefix and the hyphenated expressway should be separated by a space.

The pinyin version of the Chinese abbreviated name should be mentioned in the first sentence of the article as a secondary name of the expressway and should be made a redirect link to the article.

For National Highways that are numbered simply follow the format {China National Highway [number]}:

National Highways can be abbreviated with "G{no. of highway}", e.g. G105 as a redirect link for China National Highway 105.

Railway Station

Articles for railway stations in China should be named using the city's name (or in some cases the station's unique name— for example, 丰台火车站) followed by the English translation of the cardinal direction in the railway station name, if applicable (North, South etc.), and then [Railway Station]:

Abbreviated forms of the railway station name should be mentioned in the article's first sentence as secondary names and should have redirect links to the article name.

Airports

Airport articles should have the city's name followed by the [airport's name] if applicable, followed by [International Airport] or [Airport] as applicable:

ContinentalAve (talk) 19:01, 23 April 2011 (UTC) Revised ContinentalAve (talk) 08:05, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

I am not opposed to this proposal. Sounds sensible and reasonable for the large readership who doesn't understand the abbreviation used in Chinese. The short names are usually used in mass media. As such, I assume these will be redirects to the full hypenated names. --Visik (Chinwag Podium) 02:31, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
This proposal sounds eminently sensible and generally excellent. Hear hear! Jpatokal (talk) 10:01, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the proposal as well. It may be appropriate, however, to explicitly say in the policy that the "two-syllable" names of railways and highway (Jinghu Railway etc) should also be mentioned in the lede of relevant article. -- Vmenkov (talk) 15:11, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for everyone's suggestions. I have incorporated your input about the need to mention the Chinese abbreviated name in the first sentence of the article and to have redirect links created for the Chinese abbreviated name. ContinentalAve (talk) 08:05, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
By the way, you probably will need to clarify the new policy a bit once certain ambiguities are found. For one, I am not entirely supportive of reducing "Terminus A–B County" to "Terminus A–B". Secondly, cases where the article title of a terminus (i.e. X City or Y County) is not at X or Y County, respectively, due to the existence of other settlements of the same name, need to be dealt with. With romanisation, the reader cannot always know which "X" or "Y County" is being referred to. To begin with, a solution is to use "X City" in the title if there are no other officially-designated cities of the same name. I don't know about the other 2 cases for now. –HXL's Roundtable and Record 04:51, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Endorse, though of course, some wording needs to be changed. My experience with disambiguating town, township, and subdistrict divisions is frustrating enough; no two counties or county-level cities in mainland China share the same name in Chinese but then when romanising, many counties and county-level cities are "repeated" across provinces when fully romanised. Applying this sentiment here, the precision point alone is enough grounds for me to support the policy change. And sorry for the delayed response; have been busy with what I alluded to above...check my contribs if you wish to know. –HXL's Roundtable and Record 04:44, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
HXL49, thank you for the endorsement, thoughtful reply and questions.
In general, the Terminal A-Terminal B naming method should follow the unabbreviated Chinese place names used to identify the terminals in the name of the railway itself, even if those place names are different from the actual place names currently used to name the places in which the terminal is located. What do I mean?
Generally, there is no difference between the place name used to identify a terminal in the name of the railway and the place name in which the terminal is located. E.g. The Yingtan-Xiamen Railway refers to the railway between Yingtan and Xiamen. However, consider the 临策铁路 Linhe-Ceke Railway. The railway was planned when the eastern terminal city was called Linhe. Linhe has since been renamed Bayan Nur, but the underlying railway name still uses the abbreviation for Linhe 临河. Since we are naming articles of the railways, not the place names, we should adhere to the Chinese place name used in the railway name and maintain Linhe-Ceke Railway, not Bayan Nur-Ceke Railway.
There are instances where the terminals of a railway are not actually located in the place identified in the terminal place name. For example, the Qiqihar-Bei'an Railway begins in the station of Angangxi, near Qiqihar but not in the city itself. Since the railway name uses Qiqihar as the terminal place name, the article name follows with Qiqihar-Bei'an Railway, not Angangxi-Bei'an Railway. In the first paragraph of the article, there should be a clarification of any differences between the location of the actual terminal and the place suggested by the terminal name referenced in the name of the railway.
Consider an opposite example, 南福铁路 Nanping-Fuzhou Railway, was built in 1956 as a branch of the Yingtan-Xiamen Railway. This railway begins in the west at the 外洋 Waiyang Station on the Yingxia Line. Waiyang is located in 来舟 Laizhou, a township of Nanping. Initially, this was the only railway near Nanping and was called the Nanping-Fuzhou Railway. Later as other railways were built into Nanping itself, the line took on 外福铁路 Waiyang-Fuzhou Railway and 来福铁路 Laizhou-Fuzhou Railway as alternate names. In English Wikipedia, an article name has been created for each of the three names. Currently, Waiyang-Fuzhou and Laizhou-Fuzhou redirect to Nanping-Fuzhou because all three names are now considered to be historical names since most of the line has become part of the Hengfeng-Nanping Railway. Nanping-Fuzhou was the first name for the line and remains the most intelligible. The point here is that the article name should follow whichever Chinese place names are used in the Chinese railway name.
Quite a few railway terminals are named after and located in counties. See Ningwu-Jingle Railway. If I understand you correctly, I don't think you are calling for this line to be named Ningwu County-Jingle County Railway, since there is no ambiguity with Ningwu or Jingle. I think the more tricky scenario you alluded to is when one of the terminal names when romanized into English is itself ambiguous. Consider the 新义铁路, which when translated under the general rule, becomes the Fuxin-Yi County Railway. But there are several "Yi Counties" in China, and this could lead to some confusion. I do not see a definite solution, but see several options:
(a) Fuxin-Yi County Railway. Leave it as is. There may be several Yi Counties in China, but only one Fuxin-Yi County Railway. When the reader clicks through, the first sentence of the article should explain which Yi County the railway connects to.
(b) Fuxin-Yi County (Liaoning) Railway. This approach completely disambiguates Yi County.
(c) Fuxin-Yi County Railway (Liaoning). This approach explains that the entire railway is located in Liaoning, which should dispel any ambiguity about which Yi County is being referred to, but might give the misleading impression that there is another Fuxin-Yi County Railway in another province.
I'm indifferent. What do you and others think? ContinentalAve (talk) 08:33, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
Who approved this new change? It was not like this before. Python eggs (talk) 01:49, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
That's the key idea behind "change". You can see through the history that a proposal was put into place back in April and nobody posted any oppositions for the entire two months that the discussion was open. See this section.  –Nav  talk to me or sign my guestbook 01:52, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Dear Python eggs, on April 24, 2011, shortly after making this proposal, I posted a message on your talk page informing you of this discussion and inviting you to participate. I wanted to give everyone sufficient opportunity to discuss and make inputs and build a consensus before making the agreed to changes two months hence. ContinentalAve (talk) 05:38, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Okay, I do not oppose (not support either) most names, but names like “Lanzhou–Xinjing Railway” really suck, even the Railways itself use “新建铁路兰州至乌鲁木齐第二双线” when it had to write in the long form. [Comment by User:Python eggs]
Dear Python eggs, can you explain your objection to the name Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway more clearly? It is difficult for others to tell why you don't like this name. ContinentalAve (talk) 14:57, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I would like to ask why User:Python eggs reverted some (or most) of my renamings of the articles, which were performed in order to fit with this new convention. Special:Contributions/Python_eggs and Special:Contributions/Heights. I would like to leave a message in light of this new discussion here before moving them back again because it seems some issue has arisen. Heights(Want to talk?) 20:26, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Also sorry I must point up another issue. From the official chinese names of the high-speed railway lines, most of them are in the format of XY客运专线. Now I am not sure of the exact translation of this but it seems to be "Passenger Dedicated Line" or "Passenger Railway." The problem is even the larger lines which comprises of several smaller lines are also called 客运专线, for example Beijing-Harbin客运专线 encompasses Beijing-Shenyang客运专线, Harbin-Dalian客运专线, Panjin-Yingkou客运专线 (客运专线 used because I don't know what the name is). I made the effort of moving all of the larger lines to a "XY Passenger Dedicated Line" format such as Beijing–Harbin Passenger Dedicated Line and the smaller lines that are part of it, such as the Harbin–Dalian Passenger Railway, in the XY Passenger Railway format. I know this is inconsistent because in Chinese, they are both 客运专线, however one encompasses several smaller 客运专线. User:Python eggs reverted some of these back to XY High-Speed Railway such as Harbin–Dalian High-Speed Railway which I feel is incorrect because the Chinese name is 客运专线, which does roughly translate as "passenger dedicated line." Nowhere in those 4 characters do you see any reference to high-speed, albeit it is high speed. In contrast, the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway makes sense because in Chinese, the name is 京沪高速铁路, with 高速铁路 specifically meaning "High-Speed Railway Line." This is understandable and makes sense. I understand that Wikipedia is also about recognition and High-Speed would be more recognizable, but can we also come up with a consensus on how to name larger 客运专线s, smaller 客运专线, and 高速铁路, before I start moving articles again. Thank you, Heights(Want to talk?) 20:34, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Harbin–Dalian High-Speed Railway and others

Can you please explain your rationale for moving Harbin–Dalian Passenger Railway to Harbin–Dalian High-Speed Railway. I moved all of the articles to a X–Y Passenger Railway format in order to maintain consistency. In Chinese, these lines are referred to as 客运专线, which roughly translates as "passenger dedicated line" or "passenger railway" but nowhere do I see the words "High-Speed." In contrast, the Beijing to Shanghai High Speed Railway is correct because in Chinese it is actually named 高速铁路, the words 高速 clearly indicating High-Speed.

Also, explain your rationale for reverting all of my moves for Qinshen Passenger Railway and such. Please take a read at Wikipedia:NC-CHINA#Transportation as the new naming convention is to name the articles with the termini stations, aka Qinhuangdao and Shenyang, not Qinshen.

Please explain your rationale and/or conform to naming conventions set by WP:NC-CHINA. Thank you Heights(Want to talk?) 20:21, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

No. In Chinese, it is controversy. If you search for "哈大高铁" on Google, tons of results will be returned, and many of them from official sites like xinhuanet or gov.cn. Chinese government is switching from "客运专线" to "高速铁路". Python eggs (talk) 03:01, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I think Python eggs is trying to say that in Chinese official usage, "客运专线" is giving way to "高速铁路". But see [6] using 客运专线 from yesterday's Heilongjiang Economic Daily. It's difficult to create a consensus between "客运专线" and "高速铁路" when these lines are so new and often still not yet in operation. I can't see why one is more correct than the other. Maybe in a few years' time, one description will prevail over the other. ContinentalAve (talk) 14:57, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Ok, so I am taking this as all of the 客运专线 should be High-Speed Railway? I was just slightly confused because before I moved all of them to Passenger Railway, the Qinshen or Qinhuangdao-Shenyang article was Qinshen Passenger Railway but everything else was High-Speed Railway. I also find government sources and government sanctioned news sources using 客运专线 and also it is weird that Chinese Wikipedia still has everything as 客运专线 Heights(Want to talk?) 00:59, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I suggest "XXX High-Speed Railway" for all 300+ km/h lines. Recently, all 300+ km/h lines are commonly known as "高速铁路" in China, like 郑西高铁, 武广高铁, 沪杭高铁, 广深港高铁, and etc. The exceptions are Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Railway and Shanghai–Nanjing Intercity High-Speed Railway which is formally referred as "沪宁城际高速铁路". For lines less than 300 km/h, use "XXX Passenger Railway", or simply "XXX Railway" if their no paralleled old railway. (i.e. Hening Railway, Hewu Railway, Wenfu Railway, etc.) [Python eggs]
Python eggs, I think it is premature to enact such a blanket policy on the naming of high-speed railways in China until more consistent usage patterns emerge. Heights was certainly within reason to use passenger railway to describe 客运专线. The 300km/h threshold you propose creates an unclear distinction between high-speed railway and passenger railway (and passenger dedicated line) based on speed of operation, which is not necessarily true. The Wuhan-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway is still being mentioned in some Chinese press articles as the 武广客运专线. Let's wait and see how naming conventions in Chinese evolve before adopting a formal policy. ContinentalAve (talk) 14:39, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Second, many if not most railways in China are not written about very much in English-language sources, so sources are often limited and trends may not be readily apparent. The authoritative sources such as the rail operator itself China Railways [7], China Railway Construction Corporation Limited, a leading builder of railways in China [8], as well as sources that study or follow Chinese railways closely such as the World Bank [9] and Asia Development Bank [10] tend to capitalize the word “railway”. They do so because this subject area requires greater precision.

Unlike virtually any other part of the world, rail transport in China is unprecedented expansion, with the number of railways, types of railways, railway stations, etc. proliferating rapidly. See High-speed rail in China The new railway assets are often located in the same places as older assets, giving rise to the need for greater precision in the naming of the new assets as well as the older ones.

For example, as of December 2017, there are two railways between Beijing and Shanghai: the Beijing-Shanghai Railway and the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway. A second Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway will be built in the next five years. Consider this statement:

I’m traveling on the Beijing-Shanghai railway.

Can you tell that “Beijing-Shanghai railway” is a proper noun and therefore refers to conventional-speed railway between Beijing and Shanghai? Or is this term is referring to any of the railways between Beijing and Shanghai?

The problem is more acute with the names of railway stations. With the boom in railway construction, Chinese cities are adding railway stations. Apart from a handful of exceptions such as Shanghai Hongqiao, most Chinese railway stations are named after the city in which they are located, plus a cardinal direction, to distinguish the first railway station in the city from newer ones. Consider this statement:

The train arrived at the Beijing railway station.

Did the train arrive at the Beijing Railway Station? Or another railway station in Beijing such as Beijing South Railway Station (for now, the city’s principal high-speed rail hub), the Beijing West Railway Station (for now, the busiest railway station in the city), the Beijing North Railway Station (for day trips to the Great Wall), the Beijing East Railway Station (current undergoing expansion to accommodate the expected opening of the Beijing-Shenyang High-Speed Railway)? Or any of the other railway stations in Beijing, such as the Fengtai railway station (which gives rise to another question, the old Fengtai Station or the new one currently under construction)?

This train is running on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway heading to the Beijing railway station.
But on which Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway is the train running and to which Beijing railway station it is headed?
[Note: Image gallery above refactored to prevent an overwide page for some users, by dcljr (talk) 07:07, 8 January 2018 (UTC).]

Why create the confusion when capitalizing these proper nouns would make the message so much more clear? At the least, I would like to see the de-capitalization campaign implemented in English-language dominated areas.

I urge you to reconsider this deeply misguided decision to de-capitalize names of rail lines and rail stations in China. It will only create problems for editors and readers, stunt the growth of coverage in this subject area and ultimately be reversed due to user and editor complaints, as the ambiguity problems become more pronounced.

ContinentalAve (talk) 21:01, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

Broken section above[edit]

I can't edit the section above, since it contains sections in the collapsed part, so may this new subsection will work.

I don't agree that the lowercase railway, station, or line necessarily adds ambiguity. There's a big difference between "the Beijing–Shanghai railway" and "a Beijing–Shanghai railway". One is specific, the other is not. There's no difficulty in distinguishing the specific referents of "the Beijing–Shanghai railway" and "the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway" that would be any different with capital letters. Dicklyon (talk) 05:22, 20 December 2017 (UTC)

I think I've fixed the problem that prevented editing the section above. FYI. - dcljr (talk) 05:49, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Also strongly oppose[edit]

The two users most strongly wanting to decapitalise are Dicklyon and SMcCandlish... I find no evidence of either of them having any knowledge of either the subjects or the languages in question. Yes, knowledge of the language isn't really relevant to en.wiki generally, but I think in this case, it's important, because, quoting SMcCandlish from above: "the fact that CJK scripts have no case distinction means we absolutely should use lower-case here because our translations of them are just approximations and thus cannot be their proper names." is patently false. The concept of a proper name is basically universal across languages; by that logic, we should also be transcribing 東城秀樹 as "tojohideki" instead of "Hideki Tojo", 毛澤東 as "maozedong" instead of "Mao Zedong", and 김일성 as "kimilsŏng" instead of as "Kim Il-sŏng" or "Kim Il-sung". A proper name is a proper name, and it per the rules of English, they are to be capitalised. A quick Google search tells me that this concept is taught in Grade 2 or Grade 3.

Regarding the capitalisation of "station", "line", and "railway" in the CJK context specifically, though, I'd make the following observations.

1. Station - I'm not at all adamant that the 'station' part be considered part of the proper name, w/r/t the contexts of Korea, Japan, PRC, and Taiwan; as far as HK is concerned, English is an official language there, so we should do whatever is most widely used in HK - to which I cannot speak to, because I don't know aught about HK's railways. As far as the others are concerned, though, I can agree that 'station' is not always an integral part of the proper name, even though it is often used like that in those languages. In some cases, however, it would be necessary to capitalise it, to disambiguate. For example, Pyongyang Station refers to one specific station in Pyongyang; there are numerous other stations in Pyongyang, including West Pyongyang Station, Taedonggang, Man'gyongdae, Rangrim, etc. To say only "Pyongyang station" is, as ContinentalAve pointed out above with a Chinese example, ambiguous, so it needs to be capitalised for clarity. And if that's done, then it should follow that it be done in other non-ambiguous cases, simply for the sake of consistency.

2. Line - this isn't applicable to the PRC, but is applicable to Japan, Korea, and the parts of mainland China under Japanese administration prior to 1945, where railway lines used 線 as part of their name. In these cases, it must absolutely be capitalised, because it is without question a proper name. In Japan, names of railway lines are for the most part taken from either one location on the line, from the region the line is in, from one character from each terminus of the line, or some other descriptor, such as

  • Aizu Line, from the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture;
  • ja:小松島線 Komatsushima Line, from Komatsushima, one of the termini of the line;
  • Keiyō Line, which is formed from the second character of each terminus, Tokyo (東京) and Chiba (千葉) (京葉 together is read as "Keiyō"), to form a new proper name as a specific designator for the line;
  • Sankō Line, whose name means "Three Rivers Line", but there is no station on the line with that name, but rather is descriptive of the area; this sort of name is also used for the Chuo Main Line aka Chuo Line (=Central Line), etc.

To take "Aizu Line" as an example, it is without question the proper name of one specific line, because there are numerous other railway lines in the Aizu region, such as the Tadami Line, the Banetsu West Line, the former Nitchū Line ja:日中線, etc., which makes saying "Aizu line" ambiguous - *which* Aizu line is being referred to? So - it's necessary to capitalise the 'line' in this case, too, and so by extension, even if we accept the (ridiculous) notion that these are not necessarily proper names, for consistency's sake all "XYZ Line" names should be capitalised.

Railway practice in Korea is derived from Japanese practice, as it was the Japanese who brought the railway to the Korean peninsula; to this day, the naming of lines follows the Japanese models described above, primarily using the first and third varieties, though the other two turn up, as well. Taking the Hambuk Line as an example, its name is taken from the region it is in - Hamgyeong Buk-do (buk = north, North Hamgyeong Province); like the Aizu Line example above, writing "Hambuk line", however, would be ambiguous, as there are numerous other lines in the province. Another example would be the Gyeongbu Line (style number 3 above), whose name is formed from one character from each terminus - Gyeongseong (today called Seoul) and Busan; these names are, like Keiyō Line above, new formations used specifically for the naming of the railway line in question.

This third way (with 線) was also commonly used in China prior to 1945 in areas under Japanese rule, such as for the South Manchuria Railway's lines like the Anfeng Line, or the Manchukuo National Railway's Chaokai Line, etc. These are, without question, proper names.

The PRC differs from the above in using not 線 but 鐵路 to name its railway lines, which complicates the question a bit, 鐵路 means 'railway' in Chinese; 線 means 'line' (in the general sense), 'thread', 'wire', 'route' etc. And, in China, there are both long and short forms of names for railway lines, e.g. the Beijing–Harbin railway which is also called the Jingha Railway along the third model shown above. In the latter case, for the same reasons as above, these are proper names (there are several railway lines between Beijing and Harbin, for example). Although I will maintain that "Beijing–Harbin Railway" - when referring to one certain, specific line - is just as much a proper name as "Jingha Railway" is, I'd suggest that as a compromise we can consider the long form as just a descriptor, with 'railway' left uncapitalised, but that the short form is a proper name without question and so should be capitalised. Long-form names like this are in my experience rarely-to-never seen in Japanese or Korean.

I'll admit I'm not too adamant about what we do for the PRC, as I don't really have more than a superficial interest in the post-1945 situation there, I'm just including it for completeness; however, for Japan, Korea, and the railway companies of China under Japanese rule - the South Manchuria Railway, the Manchukuo National Railway, the Central China Railway, the North China Transportation Company, and several smaller, privately-owned railway companies in Manchukuo, such as the East Manchuria Railway (note that in these cases the 'railway' must be capitalised, as it is part of the name of the company, just like Canadian Pacific Railway etc) - I will be extremely adamant on the capitalisation of 'line' in reference to specific lines.2Q (talk) 16:18, 19 December 2017 (UTC)

Write all such articles in German. That way we don't have to worry about any of this (since in German, all nouns are capitalized). –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 16:28, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
How is this in any way a useful comment? 2Q (talk) 16:33, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
Because sometimes, when faced with utter lunacy (like the amount of effort that's been spent arguing over such a minute detail in an area of such niche interest), a little humor is exactly what's needed to put things in perspective. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 16:40, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
Fair enough. :) I agree, though, it is kinda a ridiculous thing to be arguing about. 2Q (talk) 18:35, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
@2Q:, I appreciate that you're an expert on these old Japanese, Korean, and Chinese railways. Great stuff. And I understand that it's possible that I made mistakes and downcased some things that are legitimately proper names. But it's not really clear, from your explanations; when you say "it is without question the proper name of one specific line", it's not clear why you say "proper" in there. Many specific line names in many countries use lowercase "descriptive" names, or proper names with "line" or "railway" appended. When a specific Chinese character implies a proper name, I'd need help understanding that before I say OK. And when a "... Railway" title is about a company, as opposed to a rail line, then certainly I agree it's a proper name, and if I downcased any articles about companies I apologize (we had a dispute a year ago on the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways, an article that was originally written to be about the rail lines, but was rewritten to be about the company to justify the caps). Anyway, as I said, I've done my pass; now, if I got some wrong, point those out for discussion, or just move them back. Then maybe we can learn something and come out ahead. Dicklyon (talk) 05:00, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
I suppose the clearest way I can explain it is that in Japan and Korea there is (or, "was", in the case of parts of China under Japanese rule) a practice of naming railway lines, the same way that there is a (I imagine universal) practice of naming streets in a city. So, much like we've got a Granville Street and a Trafalgar Street and a King George Boulevard here where I live, in Japan and Korea etc they name railway lines in the same way, with the naming schemes I described earlier, so you've got a Tadami Line and a Gyeongbu Line and a Musan Line and what have you. There isn't a universal analogy to this in the West, aside from occasional cases, such as the SkyTrain system in Greater Vancouver, which has the Canada Line, the Expo Line, the Millennium Line, and the Evergreen Line. But these are proper names (in the same sense as street names etc.).
I'll admit don't know enough about the situation in the PRC post-1949 to say with 100% conviction it's the same there, but the impression I have is that they do have the same practice in use there as in Japan and both Koreas, and formerly in Manchukuo and the other Japanese-controlled parts of China. 2Q (talk) 15:39, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
The "practice of naming streets in a city" is much older than the practice of treating the "avenue" or "boulevard" or "street" as part of the proper name. Over time the interpretation of what's a proper name evolves, and this is where sources come in. In most places I've looked, I see of lot of lowercase line and railway and such (but always capped street, avenue, and such). I admit that for Japan the capitalized Line seems more prevalent. But I'm not at all sure that I can accept and extend that to the older lines without English-language evidence or a better explanation of what kind of name should be considered a "proper name" when it appears in Japanese or Korean or Chinese. Dicklyon (talk) 16:30, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
"The "practice of naming streets in a city" is much older than the practice of treating the "avenue" or "boulevard" or "street" as part of the proper name" - how is this relevant, though? It is the case now, and has been since at least the beginning of the 20th century. Capitalised Line is pretty much universal for Japan and is the basically standard form used in Romaji/English writing of line names... I'm really not sure how else to explain it more clearly than I already have short of suggesting you learn Japanese or Korean; I don't mean to be rude (and I don't think I honestly believe this, either, but you know how feelings can go), but it almost feels like you're being obtuse for the sake of being obtuse... okay that said I think if you're asking me how I'd define what constitutes a proper name... I'd say: if it is written with 線 and follows one of the four schemes I described above, it's a proper name... as when talking about a line in general, Japanese and Korean will most usually use "路線" ('route'), and will most usually be writing out the names of the termini in full.
For the record then I don't care what yous all decide on for lines in the PRC (although the situation with names like "Shendan Railway" *is* the same as with "Line")... I don't really care enough to put further effort into that. But for Japan, Korea, and the Japanese-controlled railways in the occupied parts of China and in Manchukuo (namely the South Manchuria Railway, the Manchukuo National Railway, the East Manchuria Railway, the North China Transportation Company, the Central China Railway, and a number of small privately owned railways in Manchukuo) I'll dig in as long as it takes. If it's written with 線 and follows one of the four schemes I described above, it's a proper name and should be capitalised as "XYZ Line"; in these places, if it's writing about 鉄道/鐵道 ("railway"), it's either speaking in general, or about the name of a railway company - which context will make clear, and if necessary can be dealt with on a case by case basis. 2Q (talk) 17:51, 20 December 2017 (UTC)

Comment and extension to metro stations[edit]

Sorry for being late, and I just wanted to give my two cents here as a somewhat active contributor to Chinese rail transport (railway, mostly metro) articles in the past. With respect to the 2011 "consensus" that ContinentalAve referenced regarding the naming, I don't really see any debate about the lowercase or uppercase naming for the "railway" or "railway station" part, which is the current issue at hand. It seems to have been glossed over and either didn't warrant debate or no one brought it up. I would say I weakly support the move to de-capitalize the words "railway," "railway station," and "station" in all cases (railways and metro systems) for PRC articles because there really isn't consistent inclusion or exclusion of the words for "Station" or "Railway" as part of the proper name, even in Chinese. ContinentalAve brings up some good points regarding the fact that there is a greater emphasis on the words "railway station" and "railway line" as part of the proper noun in China, but is this really a big deal when we're dealing with an English audience? For example, the phrase: The train has arrived at Beijing railway station, I don't see any ambiguity in terms of does this refer to the one Beijing Railway Station or a railway station in Beijing? I think it is clear that it refers to the railway station named Beijing, and there is only one, as the other ones are named Beijing South, etc. Another point, this problem doesn't even exist in spoken language, only written language. With respect to I'm travelling on the Beijing-Shanghai railway, I again fail to see how using capitalization, as in I'm travelling on the Beijing Shanghai Railway would provide additional clarity to the average layperson who may not be aware there is a normal conventional railway and a high-speed railway. So again in terms of describing it in English it doesn't provide any more clarity by simply capitalizing it.

I also wanted to bring up an extension of this debate regarding metro stations in PRC in general. I see above that there is a debate for Hong Kong MTR stations that is leaning towards supporting the de-capitalization of the word "Station," and I just wanted clarity on the same thing for all metro systems in China. Currently right now I think the convention is to capitalize the word Station. I think again one can argue that the word "Station" is important to the proper name in a Chinese context, but really there is some inconsistency in application. For example, if I walk into a Shanghai Metro station, usually the sign overhead at the entrance will say something like Shuicheng Road Station, which includes the word station as part of the proper name. But on the platform, we just see the words Shuicheng Road on all signs (in English), and even stop announcements just refer to it as Shuicheng Road (omitting the word station). In terms of this discussion, I would like to see it extended to look at and deal with all rail and metro system-related articles in PRC to ensure consistency. In all cases, I'm leaning towards de-capitalization, just to be consistent with Wikipedia guidelines as a last resort. Again, I agree in some respects that there is likely a greater emphasis on including "Railway" or "Railway Station" as part of the proper noun in China, but the application is inconsistent at best. I don't really see how a simply capitalization issue would "stunt the growth of coverage in this area" and don't really agree that there is an ambiguity problem that would be solved simply be capitalizing.

On a last note, a very specific one, it seems above that there was agreement that in cases where the station name contains the word "Railway Station", as in the metro station named "Hongqiao Railway Station", we would leave Railway Station capitalized. In this case, I'd like to propose we move back Hongqiao railway station (metro) to Hongqiao Railway Station (metro), and possibly to Hongqiao Railway Station station, as the (metro) part seems to be confusing and doesn't really clearly disambiguate what the article is about from the title alone (metropolitan area? what is metro?). It seems this was de-capitalized as part of the massive auto-de-capitalization list that was performed. Heights(Want to talk?) 05:03, 28 December 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing out the odd case of the metro station named for the railway station. I think Hongqiao Railway Station station is logically sensible, yet jarringly wrong looking at the same time. Perhaps Hongqiao Railway Station (Shanghai Metro station) would be more clear and less jarring? Dicklyon (talk) 07:10, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
@Dicklyon: But then it wouldn't be consistent with other articles in the system, which would likely all be renamed to "Name station" or "Name station (system/city?)" by decapitalizing "Station". The zhwiki article is titled "虹桥火车站站" (lit. Hongqiao railway station station). The article South Square of Chongqingbei Railway Station station has already been renamed, and being titled "South Square of Chongqingbei Railway Station (Chongqing Rail Transit station)" might imply the station's name to be "South Square of Chongqingbei". Jc86035 (talk) 09:06, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
@Jc86035: Agree, I would prefer the double use of station given that the second one is decapitalized, which right now (at least for Shanghai Metro articles) it isn't. It is also, as Jc86035 pointed out, used in Chinese, where "站站" can be used to refer to a station that's at another station. The second proposal where it would be named Hongqiao Railway Station (Shanghai Metro station) does kind of mess up the consistency, and also for other stations requiring disambiguation, we currently use the format xx Station (Shanghai Metro), i.e. Xiaonanmen Station (Shanghai Metro), so if we switch to the second format, we would need to rename these articles to xx (Shanghai Metro station) as well. Heights(Want to talk?) 15:01, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
True. I moved it back to Hongqiao Railway Station (metro) to match the others (I think). No objection here if someone has a better idea. Dicklyon (talk) 17:03, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
Okay, that works for now. I think I'd like to eventually see a broader framework or set of guidelines established for naming of all metro-related articles in Mainland China as well, so we can remove any confusion and inconsistency in naming. I guess this is a similar discussion to the one for conventional railways and we can kind of tackle two issues at once if we come to some closure. There are similar questions like:

And more specific questions like:

  • Should we always use official English names provided by the transit agency, even when they are seemingly inconsistent? e.g. some systems, like Beijing and Nanjing, like to keep the character 路, meaning road, left in Pinyin as lu, such as Zhichunlu Station and Yunjinlu Station. Others, like Suzhou, like to keep it as lu, but with a space in between, such as Lindun Lu Station. Shanghai likes to translate the character to road, resulting in Boxing Road Station. Very inconsistent. The direction right now seems to use the official English name used within the system, which I tend to prefer, even though it is inconsistent across systems. It is generally consistent within a system, but even Shanghai still has an exception in Waihuanlu Station.
  • How should the cases of metro stations at railway stations be handled? Should we use xxx Railway Station station? xxx Railway Station (metro)? xxx Railway Station (Shanghai Metro)? or something else? Heights(Want to talk?) 19:17, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
I would prefer not capitalizing "station"; no preference for "[Ll]ine" (probably defer to sources); disambiguate with system (ASDFGH moved a lot of these from system to city but not sure if there was any consensus, and systems' stations are not necessarily within city limits); use the name the company uses (since they've provided official English names); use "…Railway Station station". Jc86035 (talk) 09:15, 29 December 2017 (UTC)
As in most other countries, we should lowercase "station" and "line" when moving toward consistency (even if the "official" listing caps them). I'd avoid anything like "Railway Station station" if possible. Dicklyon (talk) 18:16, 29 December 2017 (UTC)
@Dicklyon: Would you name South Square of Chongqingbei Railway Station station and Tianjinzhan Station (天津站站; lit. Tianjin railway station station) differently from the rest? For consistency, "…Station station" is probably the best option, although merging the articles for the mainline and metro/subway stations would also work (this is already the case for some articles such as Wuhan railway station, though it might not be entirely accurate if there is no official interchange like for National Rail/London Underground interchanges). Jc86035 (talk) 06:42, 30 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't have a strong opinion on these; just don't want to see excess caps. I don't think a complete consistency is that important. Dicklyon (talk) 22:08, 30 December 2017 (UTC)
And that, right there, is the best statement in this entire thread.... complete consistency ISN’T that important. Blueboar (talk) 01:15, 31 December 2017 (UTC)

RfC: Comma or parenthetic disambiguation for "small places"[edit]

There are recurrent disputes about article titles for what could be called "small places" – churches, sporting event arenas and other venues, schools and other institutions, malls, plazas, parks, outdoor statues and monuments, railway stations, and other things to which one can go but which are structures or otherwise have an architectural component, and are not villages, cities, forests, or other large areas. Just today, for example, there was move-warring between Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam and Nieuwe Kerk (Amsterdam), both moves performed via WP:RM/TR despite being potentially controversial. I see stuff like this all the time, and the amount of disruption (both to article locations and to editorial tempers) has gotten to the "enough is enough" point.

Should Wikipedia:Article titles#COMMADIS be applied to such "small places" consistently, or should we continue to arbitrarily apply parenthetic disambiguation to some of them? If the latter, what determines whether to use the one style versus the other?

Background: according to WP:ATDIS policy, parenthetic disambiguation is the third (that is, quite disfavored) choice in disambiguation style, with comma-based disambiguation ahead of it as number 2, and natural disambiguation preferred over all. An argument can be made that comma style in this sort of case is actually a form of natural disambiguation because it is regularly used in everyday English (i.e., comma disambiguation that isn't also natural is really more like Robert Scarlett, 2nd Baron Abinger and Robert Scarlett, 6th Baron Abinger – an awkward formalism, though still less awkward than parenthetic). The section in this policy on comma disambiguation gives both royal styles/titles and locations as examples, but not only is this not an exclusive list, it specifically says "Comma-separated disambiguation is sometimes also used in other contexts". The counter-argument appears to be that "places" was meant to be interpreted strictly as jurisdictions, is not inclusive of structures, fields/pitches, and other "micro-places", and that "sometimes also used in other contexts" doesn't apply to them.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:51, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

Comments on COMMADIS scope[edit]

  • Apply COMMADIS consistently, as more in keeping with WP:CONSISTENCY and WP:NATURAL policies (not to be confused with WP:NATURALDIS, which is dependent on it), and to put an end to pointless but heated and near-constant disputation over this disambiguation trivia, which is predicated on subjective, unclear, idiosyncratic distinctions about what is and isn't a "place".  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:51, 23 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Support for all cases where there's no good reason to do otherwise. Tony (talk)
  • No objection to adding churches, parks and stations to the list. But for example this generally does not work for paintings in art galleries (or in cities). Johnbod (talk) 13:40, 23 November 2017 (UTC)
    • Sure; this isn't mean to apply to anything no one would think of a "place", i.e. something one can neither enter nor (thinking of large monuments with no doors) climb. If it's big and outside, it should qualify. More like: stuff that our language naturally disambiguates with commas qualifies generally (per WP:ATDAB policy's order of disambiguation-style precedence); but commas don't work well for small, indoor things, or for stuff that's abstract or a person, or otherwise not something we non-awkwardly use commas with in English.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:49, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I do not get how this works for neighborhoods/sections of a city, where there is also a park or other geographical feature with the same name. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:47, 23 November 2017 (UTC)
    • Same as for any other such naming clash: disambiguate further, probably parenthetically. The idea that "Foo Bar, Baz" and "Foo Bar (Baz)" with each term identical between the examples (i.e. Foo = Foo), is supposed to meaningfully disambiguate between (e.g.) a park and a neighborhood is silly and impractical. The fact that people have been trying this and that readers and even many editors have been confused by it is a part of why this RfC has been opened. The sensible approach is to use "Foo Bar, Baz" for the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC and "Foo Bar, Baz (park)" or whatever for the non-primary one(s).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:42, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comma disambiguation is a relic of the fact that this is how names of populated places tend to be addressed in the real world. I think it would be absurd to apply it to objects like statues. With respect to natural features like rivers and mountains, it typically distinguishes between those features and place names that happen to include the word "River" or "Mountain". bd2412 T 05:51, 24 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Note: An editor has expressed a concern that editors have been canvassed to this discussion. (diffs: [11], [12], [13])  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:37, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Consistency is not needed... What determines whether to use the one style versus the other? Discussion and local consensus. Blueboar (talk) 15:11, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
    That doesn't seem to be particularly meaningful. This is a discussion, and WP:CONLEVEL specifically exists to prevent a "local consensus" from making up its own rules that conflict with site-wide policy like WP:ATDAB.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:38, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
I’m not saying that a “rule” should be made at a local level... I’m saying that the “rule” is: “There are several acceptable forms of disambiguation”... and the determination of WHICH acceptable form of disambiguation is most appropriate to use in any given article has to be made at the article level... on a topic by topic basis. Blueboar (talk) 13:04, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
  • This RfC seems a poorly framed (i.e., unclear) attempt to make policy based on edge cases. In general, I really, really do not understand why some editors have such an irrational dislike for parenthetical disambiguation. Personally, I think parenthetical disambiguation should be the default EXCEPT in those cases where there is a commonly used natural language title. Parenthetical disambiguation makes it clearer to readers what part of the title is the actual name of the subject rather than some arbitrarily appended term to disambiguate. So, I think that would place me firmly in the oppose camp. olderwiser 15:25, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
    Cognitive dissonance. It seems "unclear" to you, and you "don't understand" and think there's something "irrational" going on because you've made an incorrect assumption that this has something to do with likes and preferences. In reality, it's about how to apply the WP:ATDAB policy more consistently, to avoid continual pointless dispute on the matter. By way of analogy 1: You can harbor a dislike of a particular rule in Texas hold'em poker and wish that the game were a little different, but you'll still strenuously object when one of your opponents cheats under the rules as-written. Analogy 2) Your argument is effectively indistinguishable from "Kosher and hallal are weird nonsense. I don't get why these people hate pigs and have emotional issues with dairy. It's irrational that they won't eat my pepperoni pizza." It has nothing to do with emotional preferences, but with wether the food you put in front of them complies with rule systems they take seriously.

    I personally don't mind parenthetic DAB at all. I'd be quite happy if we eliminated all other options. But we have a four-tier system of DAB, with parenthetic in next-to-last place of preference, and that's what consensus has decided we collectively want. Analogy 3: Don't show up to a football game with a basketball and complain about all this kicking and grass and lack of a hoop.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:45, 29 November 2017 (UTC)

    I stand by the assertion that this is unclear (not only that it seems so). You want to read WP:ATDAB policy as being more hierarchical than it is or than how others interpret it. Sorry, I remain unconvinced. Ignoring your deprecating asides as off point and irrelevant, I continue to maintain it is more beneficial for readers to clearly mark the disambiguating terms with parentheses rather than make implicit suggesting that the comma term is a part of the name. olderwiser 16:18, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Close per WP:FORUMSHOP. See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Trains#RfC: UK railway station disambiguation. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 21:24, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
    • Nonsense. That's an only tangentially related discussion, primarily about word order, for one topic+country intersection. This is about a general principle across all topics, site-wide.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:36, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
So what was the objection to advising those participating in that specific discussion that a discussion of the 'general principle' had now been initiated (and would outrank the local discussion)?Rjccumbria (talk) 16:48, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't know. Where is this objection of which you speak, so we can look at it?  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  10:53, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with comma disambiguation for these places. It should be applied as it has always been applied. Consistently according to consensus (e.g. in most Commonwealth countries, the consensus is and has long been to use commas). -- Necrothesp (talk) 14:20, 29 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I have several issues:
    • I agree with Bkonrad in believing that my esteemed colleague, SMcCandlish, is mistaken in asserting that, because in WP:ATDIS policy, parenthetic disambiguation is listed third, it is a "quite disfavored" choice in disambiguation style. In fact, WP:ATDIS says, "When deciding on which disambiguation method(s) to use, all article titling criteria are weighed in," and then it lists 5 methods. There is no basis for concluding that these methods are listed in order of most-favored to least-favored.
    • The topic heading here is vague. Streets and roads are long and narrow; are they small places? For example:
    • Schools are typically disambiguated with parentheses, see, e.g. Lincoln High School.
    • It was recently decided that rail lines should use parentheses disambiguation.
    • "X, state" implies that X is the name of a locality within a state, for example, Syracuse, New York. We should avoid using comma disambiguation when it incorrectly implies that something is a locality.
    • In conclusion, I think this proposal should be quietly forgotten, i.e.,
    • Close. —Anomalocaris (talk) 10:20, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Use parenthetical disambiguation for geographical objects which are not, as Wiktionary says, "inhabited areas" (place § English § Noun 1.3). While both would be correct but strange if inserted into the middle of an English sentence (and assuming we can't use "in place" as a disambiguator), using parentheses would marginally help with some consistency in naming for classes of physical objects which are disambiguated by things that are and are not place [inhabited area] names, such as railway stations. Jc86035 (talk) 15:13, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Prefer comma disambiguation when it would be a natural way to describe a place in a sentence. As Jc86035 says, some "would be correct but strange if inserted into the middle of an English sentence"; the comma-disambiguated ones that would be correct and not strange should be preferred that way. I would think this would apply to a lot of Main Streets and railway stations. Dicklyon (talk) 16:17, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Close. I cannot see how any one rule is going to fit well for all purposes, places, and regional styles; the reasonable exceptions may well outweight the "majority". "Small places" is imprecise, likely to create more EW, not less. Maybe this RfC could be broken down in a few manageable sub-cases (like the railway naming), but not one rule to ring them all. --A D Monroe III(talk) 18:04, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Close with "no consensus". As per Anomalocaris, there is more than one way to disambiguate, and the comma is not always the natural way. This entire RfC seems to be another attempt by SMcC to make everyone follow the rules as determined by him or else. Useddenim (talk) 14:45, 29 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CREEP. Andrew D. (talk) 18:14, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Extended discussion of COMMADIS scope[edit]

What are you raving about, McCandlish? There has only been a single move, which I performed (not by WP:RM/TR), at Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, to what you admit (behind the usual smokescreen of verbiage) is the right title. You might be thinking of Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, which is where it has long been, until some well-meaning type briefly moved it to Oude Kerk (Amsterdam), to agree with the Nieuwe Kerk as it then was, and I moved it back (via a WP:RM/TR request). The vast majority of churches are disamed with a comma, and rightly so. No "move-warring", still less "pointless but heated and near-constant disputation", & nothing "potentially controversial", Johnbod (talk) 13:22, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

I decline to address uncivil characterizations like that. If I say this is about a long-term pattern of conflict, then I mean that. The fact that you don't like one example has no bearing on the RfC other than maybe some additional examples would have been in order. At this late a date, there'd be no point.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  16:48, 16 December 2017 (UTC)

Are these "small places" actually places, or are they just things which happen to have a fixed place because they're too big to move easily? For example, Forres railway station just moved. (Must update the article...) The term "Forres railway station" now applies to the new facility (even though they built new platforms rather than shifting the old one), suggesting that the article's topic is an object rather than a place. There is an argument for COMMADIS applying, but I don't think it's an obvious consequence of "small places" being a subset of "places". Certes (talk) 15:18, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

@Certes: See also wiktionary:place#noun. I think you could look at this debate as entirely based on which sub-definition of "place" is supposed to be meant. Jc86035 (talk) 15:21, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

RFC on forming possessive form of singular names, MOS advice simplification[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.
The result of this discussion was that there appears to be consensus in support of the proposal. Bellezzasolo Discuss 16:39, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

Should we simplify the advice of the WP:Manual of Style to choose between a pronunciation-based option and a uniform "add apostophe and s" option, in favor of just the uniform approach, since the pronunciation-based approach is complicated, seems to be misunderstood, and is hard to apply? Dicklyon (talk) 02:36, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

Specifically, the proposal, based on the discussion at WT:MOS#Apostronot, is that the nearly three hundred words of the existing MOS:POSS under the heading Singular nouns be replaced with this text that paraphrases the advice in University of Oxford Style Guide:

For the possessive of singular nouns, including proper names and words ending with an s (sounded as /s/ or /z/, or silent), add 's: my niece's wedding, James's house, Cortez's men, Glass's books, Illinois's largest employer, Descartes's philosophy. If a name already ends in s or z and would be difficult to pronounce if ’s were added to the end, consider rearranging the phrase to avoid the difficulty: Jesus’s teachings or the teachings of Jesus.

Note that most modern English guides recommend an approach close to this, though often with a short list or small category of exceptions. Please comment, support, or oppose. Feel free to propose alternative simplifications if neither this proposal nor the status quo seems ideal. If you prefer exceptions, what is the list or how will it be determined? Dicklyon (talk) 02:36, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

Comments on singular possessive form[edit]

  • Support as much simpler and easier to understand and explain; would avoid the pronunciation arguments that the current MOS:POSS generates, and reflect common usage MapReader (talk) 06:10, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I've always found this rule from the University of Oxford's style guide to be very clear and useful. I'd support this change. Killiondude (talk) 07:09, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support (preferably without the second sentence, since pronunciation varies widely). This is the sensible "please stop fighting about this" approach, and is very clear and simple both for editors and more importantly for readers. The "sometimes just use ' by itself" styles are ambiguous, inconsistent, confusing, and lead to frequent dispute, while the "consistently use 's" style is understood by everyone, and 100% clear on whether something is a singular or plural possessive. Verbal pronunciation-based ideas about how to punctuate are of no relevance on Wikipedia, which is not a broadcast medium. Such "rules" (which sharply conflict in both specifics and rationales from publisher to publisher) are found in regional style guides, but do not make any sense in an international encyclopedia, because pronunciation of things like Jones's and Texas's vary on more than one axis (both syllabification and, often, /s/ versus /z/ – varying not only by dialect but by individual word/name). Modern style guides are increasingly shifting to a simple "just use 's" rule, including The Chicago Manual of Style (with some nitpicks [some of which are not even self-consistent – even CMoS has some editing gaffes] in the 17th ed., University of Oxford Style Guide, and various others. Those that want some kind of "odd exceptions for ' by itself" variance are mostly either old, or are written for a fixed audience with known dominant pronunciation patterns. We have no need of the rather tortured "make a special exception for ..." stuff found very randomly and inconsistently in various off-WP style guides (when not based on regional pronunciation, they're usually based on the traditionalism of "Jesus'" and "Moses'" in the King James Version of the Bible, which is written in late Middle English, while Wikipedia obviously is not).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  11:25, 12 December 2017 (UTC); revised 14:24, 14 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support but allow occasional exceptions if contemporary English reliable sources are (mostly) consistent in using just '. Above all don't edit war about it. Thryduulf (talk) 13:43, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
    I was assuming it went without saying that the normal approach of preserving format for citations and quotations would continue to apply. Other than that, I doubt that there are any words where an alternative format is consistently used; even Jesus's is very common nowadays MapReader (talk)
  • Support This is the only sensible version. No need for a list of exceptions, just rephrase the sentence if you don't like how it sounds. --Khajidha (talk) 13:46, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. This is great.The current MOS, with two options, one unconditional and the other depending on pronunciation, with the one to be used depending on who's edited the article first, couldn't be better designed to generate editor disputes. The new proposal is so much better. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2a00:23c5:5a4c:c400:d093:4f95:a3d0:abdb (talkcontribs)
  • Support per University of Oxford style guide linked above. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 15:42, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
    Just to be clear, this is the "University of Oxford Style Guide", not one of the "professional" guides published by Oxford University Press, which it states it is not trying to compete with, but does differ from a bit. Dicklyon (talk) 16:35, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
    Thanks, edited to clarify. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 18:57, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - in the example, I don't understand why it's recommended to add 's for "Glass's books" while it's recommended to rewrite "Jesus's teachings". What's the difference? Both end with a hard s sound, at least how I pronounce them. And maybe it's different in different places, but wouldn't "Jesus's teachings" and "Jesus' teachings" be pronounced the same? Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 18:55, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Your last sentence is a good point. I suggest that multiple editors corner their respective priests/pastors at church on Sunday and ask them how they pronounce the possessive of "Jesus" in their sermons. And report back here afterwards. If "Jesus's" is good enough for Father Bob and his congregation, it should be good enough for Wikipedia. ―Mandruss  19:49, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Jesus's is certainly good enough for a range of reputable sources including the Daily Telegraph, the Atlantic website, Newsweek magazine, and the Guardian, as well as a whole batch of Christian sites in both the U.S. and Europe. MapReader (talk) 20:59, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • That being the case, even if the last sentence is retained, which I will probably oppose as a cost:benefit fail, "Jesus's" is a crappy choice for an example. ―Mandruss  21:06, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Nevertheless the proposal delivers 90% of what you are arguing for, and the option to re-word a phrase is always there, whether flagged by the MOS or not. WP MOS proposals are littered with examples of the good failing for want of the best, and hopefully editors will recognise that a leap forward is progress even if not perfection in a single bound? MapReader (talk) 22:55, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I stated support for "as written" as second choice. That means that, absent a consensus for my first choice, my !vote is no different from yours. Thus, this is not a case of "better is the enemy of good". But there is no chance of that consensus if nobody is willing to be the first to !vote for it. ―Mandruss  05:12, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Yep. I've changed my own stated preference to match yours, since I hold the same views; all the second sentence does is shift the point of contention instead of removing it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:24, 14 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Many guides discuss exception for names already ending with two sibilants, like Jesus and Moses; quite different from Glass. And if you would pronounce Jesus' the same as Jesus's, you are evidence for the fact that this distinction is super confusing. Dicklyon (talk) 20:24, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • No, that's the key point, the ' is silent (in those style rules, like ours, that are based upon pronunciation). Listen to the Velvet Underground song Heroin, the line containing Jesus' son. Pronounced the same as Jesus son. Indeed pretty much the only argument for the ', given the potential ambiguity it creates, is the supposed difficulty of pronouncing 's (in certain limited circumstances). Yet, as SMcC says above, WP is not a broadcast medium. MapReader (talk) 20:46, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
Is that a point of difficulty with the instructions? I've always read constructions like Jesus's and Jesus' as both sounding like "Jesuses", although it occurs to me that I would pronounce something like "Jesus' son" as you said in your example. I've also wondered why it became standard to use s' at all, figuring it's just one of those weird English things. Like how in Shakespearean-era English in a phrase like "all are punished!" the word "punished" is pronounced with three syllables (pun-ish-ed), where for it to be pronounced like we do these days it would be written "punish'd". That is, just something weird that evolved into (or out of) the language. This is probably way off-topic. The point is, if people don't agree on how to pronounce these things, then a standard based on pronunciation will fail. I don't know if this is a widespread case: it's what I'm used to, but it could still be a rare thing. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 21:37, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
The only argument for not adding the 's, which is the standard approach in written English, is the link (in some style guides) with pronunciation. As soon as you divorce pronunciation from the written form - already a common approach, English being full of irregularities - you may as well always just add 's for the written possessive. As you say, we would be better off without a style guide within WP that tries to link punctuation with pronunciation, given how much the latter varies around the world. MapReader (talk) 03:43, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - If a name already ends in s or z and would be difficult to pronounce if ’s were added to the end, consider rearranging the phrase to avoid the difficulty: Jesus’s teachings or the teachings of Jesus. - Why does it matter whether it's difficult to pronounce (for some people)? How often do people read Wikipedia articles aloud? Are readers going to spend a significant amount of time struggling to "pronounce" "Jesus's" in their minds? ―Mandruss  19:35, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
    You're right, and the group of us that discussed it on the MOS talk page did consider going a step further and recommending simply always adding 's. The final proposal we ran with retains a small part of the existing link to pronunciation, particularly for sensitive words like Jesus - but through the option of re-ordering the phrase (which is always open to editors anyhow). MapReader (talk) 20:51, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
    To answer this would take quite awhile and involve the mechanics of how people actually perform the process of 'reading'. Short version: Internal voice can trip up reading as much as external voice. See Subvocalization. If its hard to say, it can be hard to read. Only in death does duty end (talk) 09:16, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
    That is not an argument for omitting the 's. I get "tripped up" more by Jesus' than by Jesus's—my language processing center needs the 's sound to make it a possessive.
    Regardless, even if there is some subvocalization benefit that is so minute that we need academics to tell us it exists (and that has yet to be shown, anyway), I weigh all benefit against its cost and I believe that that second sentence is a cost/benefit fail for the project. Editor time is a finite resource; there will never be enough of it to do everything, so priorities must be set and some less important things must be allowed to slide in favor of more important things. The editor time spent arguing, edit-warring, and RfCing about this (and more editor time dealing with the disputes at DRN, ANI, AN3, etc) would be editor time not spent doing things that benefit readers more. ―Mandruss  20:24, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support first sentence only per my comments above. I fully support the use of guidelines to eliminate unjustifiable battlegrounds, and the second sentence does the opposite. It will not be a good use of community time to engage in debates about the degree of difficulty in pronouncing "Hughes's"—replete with academic/pedantic references to sibilants and such—especially considering that readers are not required to pronounce it. Support as written as second choice, as that would still be a marked improvement. ―Mandruss  21:46, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose anything more: I am extremely unfamiliar with "'s" being added to possessives ending with an "s"; it looks really weird. In that regard, I am completely against anything that fully discourages the use of "s'". If—however—it is evidently becoming common (and I have missed it), by all means give editors a choice. Sb2001 14:19, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
    Adding 's has always been the most common thing, for most names ending in s. I've never seen a style guide that said generally not to, have you? A lot of people do confuse the rules from plurals that end in s, however, which may be the case with your own familiarity. For examples, see the history of the Steve Jobs article; every now and then someone comes along and claims they were taught that Jobs's would be wrong; but by all style guides I've ever seen, it's right and preferred. Still, some of the cited sources do use Jobs', so we quote them that way. Neither of the alternatives recommended by our MOS or most guides would sanction that. Dicklyon (talk) 02:02, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
    I cannot say I have ever consulted a style guide on this—it has never been disputed. I have always written "s'", and haven't been questioned about it. Most of my grammar, etc, comes from education. The teacher who introduced me to possessives must have adopted this style. Sb2001 01:00, 20 December 2017 (UTC)
    See here for some recent previous style guide and dictionary discussion, before the RfC. See also long list of previous discussions going back to MoS's earliest period. The précis is that style guides since at least Strunk & White's The Elements of Style have advised consistently using apostrophe-s, while some have made various inconsistent exceptions but decreasingly do so, and various news publishers have preferred dropping the s under various circumstances to save space but they also don't do it consistently.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:44, 14 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose standardising this completely. As there are still style guides that recommend checking the pronunciation [14], we don't need to force editors to write "Mephistopheles’s" against their will. Our MoS should not recommend something and then say "if it looks weird to you, rephrase it". Instead, allow non-weird possessives. —Kusma (t·c) 21:55, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
    You are of course free to write it any way you please. The MOS does not force editors to do anything. But if someone moves it toward MOS compliance, let it go, OK? That's all we ask. Dicklyon (talk) 03:58, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
    Unfortunately, in reality, no one is free to write anything any way they please because MOS does force editors to do it the MOS way -- and it's why one editor can easily lord over another editor with [[MOS:SAYS]]. Pyxis Solitary talk 12:14, 23 December 2017 (UTC)
    I can't even imagine how I could force you or another editor to write the way the MOS recommends. Dicklyon (talk) 00:49, 24 December 2017 (UTC)
Off-topic digression about editors who delete content based on MoS-related arguments
  • Every time an editor swoops into an article to delete or change content with [[MOS:SAYS]] as the reason, he's using MOS to force editors to write content in a manner that complies with MOS. Sometimes it's legitimate, but sometimes MOS is used by assholes who spend their life nitpicking articles as self-appointed MOS enforcers. Pyxis Solitary talk 03:59, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
    I'd like to see one example of an editor referring to themselves as a "MOS enforcer". Primergrey (talk) 05:42, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
    I'll bet you thought you had a perfect riposte. But I suggest you re-read what was actually written. Pyxis Solitary talk 03:26, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
    So how do you decide which it is? Legitimate attempt to bring an article more into accord with en.w's MOS, versus just nitpicking self-appointed enforcers? And how does that force anyone else to write one way or another? Dicklyon (talk) 04:11, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
    Experience, with certain editors who shall remain nameless. I've seen editors wipe out content, for example, and point to MOS as the basis. But when you read what MOS actually says, the "basis" was a personal interpretation of MOS. And these are editors who, when you look at their history, are habitually involved in ANIs. (Having a system in place for resolving disputes is laudable, but Wikipedia also needs a simple 'EditorName+ANI' search function so that everyone can find out how contentious some editors are.) MOS in a Webopedia offers a measure of uniformity in its articles (sections, sources, links, images, et al.). But nitpicking, for example, is when an editor removes a name from an infobox because the article does not also contain a source for the name, and gives MOS as the reason for the deletion — when what he should have done is add a 'citation needed' template so that it stands out and another editor can then find a source. And then when you look at the history of the editor that deleted the content, you see that he's been swooping through numerous articles, making the same or similar edits to them.
    How can MOS be used to force someone to write one way or another? All you have to do is rewrite what that someone contributed and use [[MOS:SAYS]] as the reason. Maybe it was poorly written, and that's legitimate. But sometimes it's just another editor's preference for how something should be written. And that, in itself, sends a message. (And this discussion is not a means to an end. And is going nowhere. Because there's nowhere to go.) Pyxis Solitary talk 04:40, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
    Unless a change per MOS can be shown to harm the article, it should be left alone. If there is disagreement about whether it harms the article, that's why we have article talk pages and consensus. All of this can and should be resolved with mutual respect like any other issue. Hyperbolic and inflammatory references to swooping into articles (how does one "swoop into" an article, exactly?) and "assholes who spend their life nitpicking articles as self-appointed MOS enforcers" have no place in discussion or in one's thinking, smack of WP:PA and WP:OWN, and are themselves harmful to the project. Period. ―Mandruss  04:57, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
    "have no place in discussion or in one's thinking, smack of WP:PA and WP:OWN". And here is a perfect example of how WP guidelines can be abused.
    WP:PA doesn't apply to a generalized comment where no specific, individual editor is targeted in a comment. WP:OWN doesn't apply when a generalized comment does not involve an article.
    Saying that my comment smacks of "WP:PA and WP:OWN" is a veiled attempt to intimidate me. Until I say "So and So is an asshole" — WP:PA is null and void. Until I say "I don't want editors doing this and that to this article" — WP:OWN is null and void. I don't play games with WP guidelines and I don't use WP guidelines to apply pressure on another editor. And unlike the behavior and attitude I've witnessed from many editors since Day One ... I don't walk on water. Pyxis Solitary talk 03:21, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
    "Smack of" as in "smells like" as in "not far removed from". You acknowledge this yourself when you point out the distinctions between what you're saying and an actual violation of these policies. Primergrey (talk) 05:50, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
    Pyxis, you appear to be mixing up "the MoS" with "isolated disruptive editors I have a problem with and who deleted some content I would have kept". That whole block of invective is just is off-topic, since it has nothing to do with apostrophes and possessives. PS: The search function you want already exists; go to WP:ANI, and at the bottom of the "Noticeboard archives" navbox there's a search field.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:24, 14 January 2018 (UTC)
Pyxis is obviously confusing "writing" with "editwarring to prevent rewriting", confusing "I want to write how I want to write" with "I want to stop anyone else writing how I don't want to write in articles on my watchlist", and forgetting WP:MERCILESS. If you write "Amy Jones's", as advised by Chicago Manual of Style, et al., and Pyxis happened to have originally put "Amy Jones' " in there, under the old and confused/confusing MoS guidelines, it's Pyxis who wants to "swoop into an article to delete or change content ... to force editors to write content in a manner that complies" with a PoV position. This sort of thing is precisely why we have WP:OWN policy. — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:24, 14 January 2018 (UTC)
Kusma, "there are still style guides that recommend checking the pronunciation" is a faulty notion. Style guides are not in any way consistent in doing so (other than the major academic ones, on which MoS is based, are all moving to using " 's" consistently. Purported rules in the other direction I've seen (in old style guides, news journalism ones, and obscure ones) are to: use the apostrophe alone only with "Jesus" and "Moses" specifically; do it it for all Greek and Latin names; for "names from antiquity"; for everything ending in the character "s"; for everything ending in the character "s" or "z"; for everything ending in an "s" sound, for everything ending in an "s" or "z" sound; for anything ending in those sounds but only if a following /əz/ sound would be dropped from it [by that publication's target audience]; for anything that already has sibilants in both the final and penultimate syllables; and more besides. WP has no particular target audience, and pronunciation varies, widely, by region even in the same country. The only practical solutions here are what Dicklyon proposed, or Mandruss's shorter version without any "rewrite" suggestion. While editwarring about this doesn't rise to the level of a huge public controversy like the kind that end up with their own ArbCom case, it's still frequent. And it's always a facts-versus-opinion issue (what style guides that WP cares about say, versus WP:IDONTLIKEIT / WP:IDONTKNOWIT), and essentially the same debate again and again and again; preventing such perennial drain on editorial productivity and collaboration is why we have a style guide.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:24, 14 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support I think clearer instruction in the MOS would be beneficial to the project as a whole, (hopefully) eliminating one point of confusion/contention. At the very least, perhaps we can restrict this conflict to a single thread here as opposed to a myriad of article talk pages. Personally I have always cringed at the singular s-apostrophe construct, but I have noticed a marked increase in its usage of late, especially in more casual writing. CThomas3 (talk) 03:53, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
    • Some variant of it is commonly found in news style, but WP is not written in that style as a matter of clear policy at WP:NOT#NEWS. Its common in that field because journalism prizes compression over clarity due to print constraints (WP:NOT#PAPER), and is usually (aside from massive publications like The New York Times and The Guardian) written for localized audiences with predictable publication patterns. While use of the bare apostrophe has declined outside journalism, it seems to have increased in news, probably because of merger of broadcasting and print news operations, with internal consolidation of their style guides (pronunciation cues like using "Texas' " instead of "Texas's", in particular markets, has long been a feature of writing for teleprompters). We cannot predict how people are going to want to pronounce things.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:24, 14 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support per initiator. Jc86035 (talk) 09:45, 29 December 2017 (UTC)

Closure?[edit]

With over 80% support, a formal close does not appear to be needed. I'm make the proposed change at the MOS and see where we go from there. Dicklyon (talk) 02:32, 8 January 2018 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should Wikipedia have and maintain complete lists of airline destinations?[edit]

See Category:Lists of airline destinations.

These 444 pages are lists of every single city each of these airlines fly to. Should Wikipedia be hosting this content or is it a case of Wikipedia is not a directory? 22:28, 1 January 2018 (UTC)

  • It is my belief that these were created in good faith by somewhat over-eager fans of aviation. These lists provide far more information than is needed for a general-knowledge encyclopedia and to my mind amount to free advertising for the airlines, although I'd again like to stress that I do not believe that was the intent behind them.
An explanation in the main article on an airline of what region an airline operates in and what cities are its hubs is more than enough explanation, if readers desire further information they can follow the links to the airlines own website, which is far more likely to be accurate and up-to-date anyway. There is an important distinction between information and knowledge. Wikipedia strives to provide knowledge, and is explicitly not a directory or catalog, which is just information. I therefore believe a community discussion of whether we should retain this content is in order. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:28, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No. Well summed up by Beeblebrox. I can't imagine this would be possible to keep current indefinitely anyway. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 23:19, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Well, I just looked at one - the um, list was started 14 years ago! and it was pretty up-to-date - what are you going to do with them? Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:25, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
  • wow. I'd no idea we had that. I just looked at a few (per Alanscottwalker) and they look to be in good shape. Some in really good shape. So I have no problem with us keeping these as long as they can be kept up. So yes I suppose. Hobit (talk) 00:01, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Can we somehow port these over to Wikivoyage? bd2412 T 00:12, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Question: How is this any different from all our super-detailed info about railway, bus, streetcar, subway, and other transit destinations? The only obvious differences are the mode of transport and distance covered (sometimes – but there are very short flights and very long railway lines). A less obvious distinction is that it's easier to change flight patterns and routes of service, so they will change more often, so these lists will need more maintenance. We have lots of lists that need regular maintenance, so again: how it this case different? All that said and asked, I have no particular objection to the idea of moving the info to WikiVoyage, if that site is still really alive. Just makes me wonder what else should move there if we go that route [pun intended].  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  01:53, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
    • There isn't one, which is why the examples you give should also be rewritten, trimmed, and/or removed. James (talk/contribs) 14:38, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
    • WP:OTHER is no argument either way. Having said that, I agree that WP:NOTADIRECTORY deserves more respect than it gets and the whole lot probably need an axe job. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 19:01, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Obviously not. This is what NOTDIR is for. Regardless of how "current" these lists are, they do not belong here. If another site or project wants them, they can have them; we are CC-licensed, after all. James (talk/contribs) 14:38, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment – See previous (10+ year old) deletion discussions here and here. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 15:13, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment Is this any different from the "airlines and destinations" section present in almost every article about a commercial airport? As much as I like the sections because they give one an idea of the "reach" of an airport, I can't come up with a policy-based argument for keeping one but not the other. – Train2104 (t • c) 16:41, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No - As BD2412 suggested above, the information should somehow be copied over to Wikivoyage. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 16:44, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Perhaps re-run the old deletion noms? See what happens? -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:50, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No: might be ok at Wikivoyage but not here, for the reasons given by the OP. - Sitush (talk) 16:57, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I think no. The lead content in say Aerolíneas_Argentinas_destinations can be merged with Aerolíneas_Argentinas but the list itself is not needed. Galobtter (pingó mió) 17:05, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No: But I bet you, if these are deleted, editors will try and include the information in just as much excruciating detail in the articles proper on the airlines in question. At least this way its corralled out of the main articles. Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:06, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I'm not worried, we deal with these kinds of things all the time. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 17:09, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) I think we can avoid that problem if we move these to Wikivoyage, and then put up prominent crosswiki links to inform editors and readers that this is where they can be found and updated. bd2412 T 17:11, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I don't have a problem at all with the well-maintained ones, and have often used the destinations lists in airport articles. Just like most other transportation related articles, they are typically up to date, well maintained and useful. Wikipedia is not only a "general purpose encyclopaedia", but in addition contains vast amounts of specialised knowledge. I can't see a huge difference between lists of this type and many of our sports statistics pages -- both are specialised and require frequent updating. There may be interesting content to add to many of the lists (reasons for opening and closing of certain routes, or which routes were bought when some other operator collapsed). The historical destination lists seem to me to be a possibly quite valuable resource. Removing all those pages will throw out a lot of encyclopaedic material; not worth it just because some of them feel like they might not belong. —Kusma (t·c) 17:10, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Is there a way to separate the historical ones then or include the information via prose in other articles? If I were looking for what plane took me where I would inquire a travel agent, not Wikipedia. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 17:13, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
I do think that since changes in destinations do receive coverage it kinda makes sense to have it. Galobtter (pingó mió) 17:14, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No, for two reasons. A) Listcruft, B) Too difficult to keep up to date. Reyk YO! 17:16, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Yes It seems likely that these lists have been spun off from the airline articles as they have grown and developed. If there is scope for improvement in the way we do this, this this should happen in an organic way, rather than being disrupted by some crass deletionism, which has already been tried and failed. WikiVoyage would be hopeless as a substitute. It doesn't have pages for individual airlines and so does not appear when you search for such information, where our pages do. Wikidata might be better as a repository because their data is more comprehensive and better structured as a database. Exploring this possibility should be done in a constructive rather than destructive way per our editing policy. Andrew D. (talk) 17:28, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • "Crass deletionism" is not a useful argument, just as "crass inclusionism" is not. - Sitush (talk) 17:32, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Yes, despite wanting to say no, because Wikivoyage ought to be the more natural place for this sort of thing. Problem is, the editors at Wikivoyage disagree with this assessment! In early 2017 a decision was made to not host information about airlines or destinations due to concerns about how much there would be to maintain, and because they aren't attempting to maintain similar sorts of information about bus or train lines. There are other reasons, too. See wikivoyage:Talk:Airlines for more of that conversation.
But therein lies the reason why this information is probably okay to stay on Wikipedia -- we do maintain extremely comprehensive information about destinations served by train and bus lines all over the world. Random example: List of Toronto Transit Commission bus routes The long-standing existence of lists of routes suggests to me that Wikipedia has long accepted consensus around the idea of providing information about destinations. I guess I just don't why rail & bus would be fine, but airline would not -- servicing destinations is the intrinsic purpose of these businesses, right? A transit company/agency that didn't serve destinations wouldn't even be notable, right? Warren -talk- 03:06, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I stopped reading at WP:OSE as WP:NOTDIRECTORY is a policy used here. As I said if I wanted to see what airline took me where I would go-to a travel agent. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 03:16, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No but WP:OSE and WP:CCC does. Each case is different, you are comparing a train lines to airline destinations which change frequently. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 03:53, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
  • If Wikivoyage decided some time ago not to host these, perhaps we can ask them to reconsider. Obviously there is a community of interest willing to maintain them. Maybe those editors would be willing to maintain them on a sister project. bd2412 T 04:41, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Also, we are not obligated to do something just because Wikivoyage have decided not to do it either. Reyk YO! 05:51, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Nobody's disputing that. Warren -talk- 05:59, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Move to wikidata is what I say.. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 09:36, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No. Wikipedia is not a travel guide, and it's all but impossible to verify through reliable sources many destinations, as the airlines themselves consider many route alterations to be routine and therefore don't publicise them beyond altering their ticket-selling algorithms online. And that is what also defeats the WP:OTHERSTUFF argument of "but what about train stations and bus routes, we cover them?" above: train stations very rarely change, and when they do, there are news articles about it (because new stations have to be built, communities fret about losing their stations, etc.), and bus routes are also very stable things that can be easily sourced to reliable sources (at least in part due to the fact that you don't buy tickets from Bus Stop A to B, you instead look up where stations are). - The Bushranger One ping only 02:00, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No I agree with above comments that Wikipedia is not a directory, and is not maintained like a directory - these types of lists are likely to become outdated. SeraphWiki (talk) 02:19, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No, for the sole reason that Wikipedia is not a directory nor it is a travel guide. Ajf773 (talk) 09:17, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No - if we aren't a directory (and we shouldn't be) then we shouldn't have directory pages. We're also not a travel guide of course. Doug Weller talk 14:59, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No, particularly since destination cities frequently change. It is fair to have a list of major hub airports for an airline (eg Delta having Atlanta, etc.) but that probably can be in the article on the airline and doesn't require a list. --Masem (t) 15:03, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No. Unmaintainable and hence useless and even worse: misleading. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:01, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment - Well it appears that we have a consensus here against having lists of airline destinations. The next step would be AfD which is going to last another week (possibly more). I feel this should be closed now as the same arguments are going to be repeated in the AfD discussion anyways. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 16:15, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
Agree that the next step is for this to go to s “formal” AFD... if only to ensure wider consensus and notification. Blueboar (talk) 16:22, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment what an odd position to adopt, all of you who said "it's going to be too difficult to maintain", that could apply to any large article of temporally-sensitive data. Moreover, that's why we have templates like {{as of}}. This definitely opens the door to AFDs for articles such as London Buses route 159. The Rambling Man (talk) 16:37, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
That should go too. Its not remotely as notable as London Buses route 161. Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:02, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
Why would it do that? In this case, we are not a dumping ground for travel destinations. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 17:05, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong with article London Buses route 159. Staszek Lem (talk) 18:41, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No Obviously Wikipedia is not a directory; not for collecting indiscriminate factoids; and not a travel guide. I am surprised all these are on Wikipedia. It is problematic to find acceptable sourcing so all these fail WP:N per WP:GNG --Steve Quinn (talk) 19:15, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No Given the ephemeral nature of this information, it is unlikely to be able to be useful. --Jayron32 19:19, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
  • This is the sort of information that is at best moderately useful if we can guarantee its accuracy, and actively harmful if we cannot. We cannot. Use an external link to the airline or airport, as appropriate to the page in question. —Cryptic 19:38, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
  • hell no As above, I can see listing major hubs, in the airline's article, but every destination? A classic example of what WP:NOTDIR was supposed to forbid. Mangoe (talk) 14:38, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No per WP:NOTDIR. Gimubrc (talk) 14:53, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No per WP:NOTTRAVEL. MarnetteD|Talk 20:16, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

Early removal of a merge tag[edit]

Are there situations where a {{mergeto}} tag may be removed before the close of the merge proposal?

To me, it's intuitively obvious that the tag and the proposal should come and go together, and stating that at WP:MERGE should be unnecessary WP:CREEP. But intuitive obviousness is often a matter of opinion.

This is currently a matter of contention at Erica Garner, who recently died.

A merge proposal has been open for ​3 12 days and the Opposes have a strong lead. I am abstaining from the !voting as my only strong feelings there are about process. While WP:MERGECLOSE appears to suggest a default duration of 30 days, a A move to close was made at +17 hours based on that lead. Also in dispute is how early the proposal should be closed—I don't think anyone advocates the full 30 days—but I would like to limit this to whether the tag may be removed before the close. If not, I would like to ask whether something to that effect should be added at WP:MERGE.

Those who want to remove the tag say that it is derogatory and/or disrespectful to the recently deceased article subject to advertise to readers that her notability is in dispute. ―Mandruss  10:02, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

The merge proposal is losing 83-17%, having only increased from 72-28% the first time people requested an early closure. It has a large turnout and the discussion is a clear case of WP:SNOW, on what is an article receiving substantial traffic at present. As another editor commented at Talk:Erica Garner: "In this case, the tag is suggesting that this person's life did not matter; that they were a person of no account; merely their father's daughter. This implication seems likely to give offense to the relations and acquaintances of the subject and so it should not be maintained any longer than is necessary. Common decency, as specified by the policy, now requires that the tag be removed."
I would go further and suggest that it is likely to cause obvious, pointless offence to a large proportion of our readership of this article, being that it concerns a prominent figure in the civil rights movement. There is no possible chance of this proposal succeeding at this stage, but this allows for a couple of editors, in the face of overwhelming consensus, to force every reader of this article to see those couple of editors' view about the subject before they get to read our actual article about her. The only argument for doing this is "because we can". Having it up for another week, or two, or three, has zero chance of altering the result - but it means that they force every reader to see what they thought of the subject for that extra bit longer. This disregard for consensus and for at least the spirit of the BLP policy shows the uglier side of Wikipedia.. The Drover's Wife (talk) 10:20, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
This discussion is why I think we should have far fewer maintenance tags (aimed at involved editors) in article space (aimed at readers). Readers with no intention to edit should not be bothered by these kinds of messages that say nothing about the content quality of the article they are reading (in contrast to insufficient sourcing type of messages for example that give a warning about article quality). Arnoutf (talk) 13:04, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
It is simply false to say that The only argument for doing this is "because we can". In point of fact, that is one argument that has not been forwarded. Therefore you're either being intentionally misleading or suffering from WP:IDHT. Likewise disregard for consensus - there is no consensus by any definition I've ever seen. Now I'll leave this to objective outside observers; I didn't come here to continue the debate with you. ―Mandruss  10:35, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
You've argued that because it is a possible interpretation of policy to force it to remain there for 30 days in spite of the WP:SNOW opposition and ethical concerns, it should - that's the only argument you've given. That sounds like a lot like "because we can" to me. I think this is the first time in all my time on Wikipedia that I've ever heard someone try to argue that more than 80% opposition to a proposed merge with 25 people responding isn't consensus for Wikipedia purposes, so that's, uh, a fairly unique take. The Drover's Wife (talk) 10:57, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
(Personal attack removed) I have cleared stated twice[15][16] that I am not opposed to a close on 8 January, 70% short of 30 days. I also stated in the opener here that this thread is not about when to close anyway. It's clear enough that you are not here to debate in good faith. ―Mandruss  11:09, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
I have redacted that gross personal attack. Do not re-add it. ♠PMC(talk) 11:23, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
It was a sincere question, but not essential to my comment and I'll defer to your admin status. ―Mandruss  11:26, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
It's sincerity has nothing to do with offensiveness - questioning someone's mental ability is offensive and a personal attack. Galobtter (pingó mió) 11:45, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No - For circumstances in which a removal of the tag prior to close is proposed (or seems appropriate), a close of the discussion itself is preferable. If the discussion is not sufficiently developed as to facilitate a close, it is not sufficiently developed to allow removal of the tag. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 11:44, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

The whole issue here was that Mandruss alone was trying to prolong the close, and thus keeping the tag on the article, which gave rise to the above dispute about removing the tag first. The simple alternative to any grand meta-discussion here is that when you have WP:SNOW opposition to an attempt to merge the article of a highly-trafficked article about someone who has recently died, the decent thing to do is to close the damn merge bid (for all the reasons listed) - in which case one never has to argue about getting the tag off the article.

I suspect it is probably a necessary evil to have such a tag in situations where there is a realistic notability dispute, and I agree with Ryk72 on that point. But it's a bit moot: this kind of dispute is only ever going to arise in this way again if someone - as Mandruss did here - tries to prolong a close to keep the tag at the top of the article in a WP:SNOW situation. The Drover's Wife (talk) 11:47, 3 January 2018 (UTC) ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The proposal has been uninvolved-closed[17] and the tag has been properly removed. While I disagree with a close after ​3 12 days regardless of the numbers, I am not appealing it and as I've said this thread is not about when to close. The close statement includes: "... the meta-discussion related to this at WP:VPP#Early removal of a merge tag can be continued". Since I opened this for opinions on the policy question about early removal of merge tags, rather than being dispute resolution for that specific situation, I would like to see this discussion continue to something resembling a community consensus. This is not likely to be the last time a situation like this raises its ugly head.
I continue to disregard attempts by The Drover's Wife to personalize this issue. ―Mandruss  11:51, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

The answer to the meta-situation is pretty obvious, as Ryk72 said above: if there is actually no consensus, it should stay, and if there is a consensus, it should be closed. Attempts to prolong the discussion in a WP:SNOW situation merely in order to keep the tag on should be stomped on. Easy. It can't be separated from what happened here because there's no issue (from any side) unless someone does what you did here. The Drover's Wife (talk) 12:03, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
there's no issue (from any side) unless someone does what you did here. The tag was re-added by at least three other editors[18][19][20] and a fourth editor voiced support for my position on the talk page.[21] That's about the tag removal; on the issue of when to close, I had support from two editors[22][23] including one who does a lot of uninvolved closes. Thus, your attempt to make this appear as if I'm alone in this, with the correct assumption that nobody will take the time to look deeper, is yet another display of bad faith distortion of the situation. In stark contrast, I haven't tried to make it appear that you're alone in your position. If you have any credibility left here, people aren't paying attention.
Further, Ryk72 supported my view, not yours. They clearly said that the tag should not be removed before the close.
Please, can we end this counterproductive personal bickering and get more outside opinions on the policy question?Mandruss  12:50, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
  • If everyone in the Erica Garner merge discussion had accepted that the discussion was an example of a Snow-close then we all could have saved a large amount of time and effort arguing. I'm still unclear as to why Mandruss refused to accept that the approximately 85/15 balance of opinion, from a large number of editors, was not an example of Snow-close? MurielMary (talk) 10:50, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
  • If everyone in the Erica Garner merge discussion had accepted that the discussion was an example of a Snow-close then we all could have saved a large amount of time and effort arguing. Absolutely, tons of time could be saved if nobody ever disagreed on anything. Your point is? The concept that a discussion should remain open for some minimum amount of time regardless of the numbers is not one I invented. That minimum is something about which experienced and reasonable editors can and do disagree. That's what happened here, and it will continue to happen because Wikipedia does not like to put exact numbers in guidelines.
    Anyway, for something like the fourth time here (I've lost count), this thread is not about when to close but about whether the merge tag may be removed before the close. Thanks largely to off-topic comments that people understandably don't care to slog through, we've had exactly one outside opinion. ―Mandruss  16:53, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
    Re. "The concept that a discussion should remain open for some minimum amount of time regardless of the numbers is not one I invented" – in fact it was, invented by you in this particular case I mean, see discussion below and retraction above. The actual guidance, "If there is a consensus against the merger, or if there is no consensus or no discussion and you don't believe that it is appropriate to merge the pages, then please remove the merge proposal tags and, if necessary, close any discussion", has no provision of a minimum amount of time: the minimum amount of time to keep the discussion open only applies when there's a reasonable chance the merge proposal might succeed, which was evidently not the case in the cited example. --Francis Schonken (talk) 13:21, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
  • The "merge" tag on the article should not have been removed until the merge discussion was formally closed, with the closer responsible for removing the tag. I would treat it like an AFD tag - the tag should not be removed until the AFD is closed. --Masem (t) 16:57, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Since the reason for the tag is to solicit participants to the discussion so a consensus can be established, it would defeat the purpose of the tag to remove it while the discussion is still ongoing. The instructions for the {{merge to}} template describe when the tag can be removed; if any additional wordsmithing is desired, it can be done there. isaacl (talk) 17:21, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
  • @Isaacl: Not that I intend to change anything after only 36 hours and three comments (even unanimous ones)—but would the template doc have as much weight as WP:MERGE? ―Mandruss  05:34, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    • I thought about it, but honestly I don't think anyone disputes the general principle that the tag should remain until the discussion is closed (the objections above are arguing that, in that specific case, the discussion should have been closed), and so it feels like unnecessary effort to expand Wikipedia's guidance on merging further. isaacl (talk) 05:53, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Yes, per the current WP:MERGECLOSE guidance plenty scenarios are thinkable (and have been applied in practice) where a {{mergeto}} tag can be (and was) removed before the close of a merge proposal. Clues in the guidance, e.g. "... and, if necessary, close any discussion" (emphasis added): the "if necessary" indicates it is *not always* necessary to formally close a merge discussion. Example: Talk:Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis#Merge? indicates a merge tag has been in the article and was removed without formal close. --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:32, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    @Francis Schonken: As you know, consensus is not about raw numbers; if it were, we would vote instead of !vote. In the absence of an uninvolved such as yourself, how is it decided whether a close is needed? If there is some percentage threshold above which SNOW is self-evident, where is that number documented so that we're all on the same page with respect to it? Are we to assume that it's totally impossible for 80%+ of participants to be wrong in their interpretation of vague, complex, nuanced, and self-contradictory policy? Is the "minimum-time-open-regardless-of-numbers" concept something I just invented in your view?
    To be clear, I have no objection to skipping the close when there is substantial agreement that it is not necessary. That substantial agreement did not exist in this case, so the close correctly was not skipped and the tag should not have been removed before the close because 2 or 3 editors felt the tag was disrespectful to the deceased and her family. Guidance should say something like "The tag should remain on the article until the proposal is closed or there is substantial agreement that no close is necessary." ―Mandruss  07:03, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    This removal of the merge tag (edit summary: "removing merge tag as no consensus reached") was completely conforming to the MERGECLOSE guidance ("There is no required 30-day discussion period. ... if there is no consensus ... and you don't believe that it is appropriate to merge the pages, then please remove the merge proposal tags ..."). The additional "... and, if necessary, close any discussion" is in this case an appreciation left to the one removing the tag. If they don't think the discussion needs a formal close, then they don't. And that's where it should have left mainspace for at least (!!!!) 24H to allow talk page discussion to see if a consensus on re-introducing the tag could be reached.
    The edit that re-introduced the merge-tag a few minutes later was starting an edit war: no consensus to re-introduce the merge tag had been established on the talk page in the mean while. So it is very simple: you can't edit war over the presence of a merge proposal tag in mainspace. And it would be necessary to rewrite the MERGECLOSE guidance to allow such edit-warring. Which is of course not going to happen.
    "Lack of consensus" + "one editor not believing that it is appropriate to merge the pages" is enough to remove the tag, per the current guidance, and that should have been sufficient to prevent an edit war repeatedly (and without diligent talk page discussion) re-introducing the merge tag in this case.
    The rest of your proposal works remarkably less well to prevent edit-warring. --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:41, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    If your analysis is correct, it's yet another example of a policy so convoluted as to be missed by three uninvolved experienced editors in this thread, and incomprehensible to the average editor, thus ensuring perpetual conflict, edit warring, and time-consuming trips to dispute resolution venues for something that should be able to be handled locally. It's an argument that was not made by any editor at the article, by the way, so none of them were aware of it and understood it either. I specifically asked for p&g support for their actions and got none. Among a dozen or so editors involved in this, including the other three outside commenters in this thread, it appears you're the first who understands this. Do you see any problem with this situation? I sure as hell do, but after over 4 years and 39K edits I can't say it surprises me much. ―Mandruss  08:07, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    Nah, the guidance is as simple as can be: don't edit-war over the presence of a merge tag in mainspace. If there's disagreement, it takes no more than one person to remove the merge suggestion tag, and that's where things stay in mainspace until if and when a talk page consensus says something different, or sufficient time has elapsed to start a new merge proposal. Nah, the proposal to have a discussion closure every time someone suggests a merge is unnecessary red tape, and has many more levels of complexity than the current all in all very simple rules.
    Yeah sure, experienced editors may fail to grasp the simpler rules while being much, much more experienced in the complexer cases (takes many sorts of people to write an encyclopedia). No reason to make rules more complex in areas where they can be kept simple. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:31, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    Call it simple all you want; the bottom line is that it's too complex, too opaque, too inaccessible, or too [fill in adjective here] for 11 out of these 12 editors. The objective has to be a set of p&g that enables average editors to do the right things, most of the time, without consulting the wise men on routine processes, and with a minimum of conflict. I don't see how you can say this approaches that objective. Do you consider me and the others to be anomalies?
    If I really put my mind to it, I think I might be able to understand and absorb your analysis and apply it correctly in the future. The problem is that I had to spend a couple of hours on this page to even get to this point, and there are another _0,000 editors at my level or lower. It would take years to educate half of them on this question alone; in the meantime, we have repeats of this conflict and many others like it, and we continue to bleed good faith editors who are just too damned frustrated to continue, surrendering the project to bad faith editors who don't care much about policy anyway. I remain bewildered that anybody can look at this and say it's the best we can do. ―Mandruss  09:18, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Re. "...WP:MERGECLOSE appears to suggest a default duration of 30 days..." – it doesn't. It explicitly says "There is no required 30-day discussion period". It does not "suggest" the opposite of what it explicitly says. There's no need to make this more complicated than it actually is. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:23, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    The word "default" implies "not required". The two statements are therefore not inconsistent. But no matter: In this case I stated I was not opposed to 9 days, and would have accepted even less if not for the New Year's holidays. Your correction does not affect my last few comments above. ―Mandruss  11:28, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    WP:MERGECLOSE has two "special" rules each involving a 30-day period and a complete lack of objections to the proposed merger; after which it is made *explicit* that no conclusions for a default period can be drawn from these special cases (and certainly not in the case most participants object). So please read: "There is no required 30-day discussion period". Nor 30 days, nor any other period is suggested as a default in the case there is an immediate response mostly consisting of opposes. Not anywhere in the WP:MERGECLOSE guidance. The actual guidance might be easier to parse if not starting from ideas that really aren't there. --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:16, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    Per my 09:18 UTC comment, this is no longer about my understanding, if it ever was. You're missing the much larger point. If editors should be able to understand the guidance, that doesn't change the fact that they do not—unless we eleven are all anomalies who somehow happened to converge on this case—and the latter is what matters out there in the real Wikipedia world. Something needs to change, and that can't happen if editors like yourself keep insisting that there's nothing wrong.
    But, sigh, this is probably too meta for this page, and I'm not inclined to embark on a one-man crusade elsewhere, so I'm prepared to drop it. If she dies, she dies. Thanks for the convo. ―Mandruss  12:38, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    Disagree, this is still about your misgivings regarding the guidance. In the OP you posted "... WP:MERGECLOSE appears to suggest a default duration of 30 days ...", which it doesn't – and which steered this discussion somewhat off-topic from the outset. You didn't retract that statement from the OP, so that we could reboot this discussion somewhat less entangled in prejudiced directions. --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:58, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    Retracted. Effect on the larger issue: none. See ya. ―Mandruss  13:02, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No, especially not for such a bogus reason as a subjective sense that a template announcing a discussion is personally "disrespectful" to the subject. That's utterly ridiculous. Just close the merge discussion (with consensus to merge, with consensus to not merge, or without consensus, which amounts to no merge per the status quo principle). Removin the tag early is half the job, guaranteed to be controversial, and just leads to pointless F'ing drama. Don't do it. If you have consensus to remove the tag, you have consensus to close the discussion. If you're already involved in the discussion, then don't be a WP:JERK and invite dispute about the validity of the close; let someone else deal with it, or again there will be pointless F'ing drama. We have an entire noticeboard for requesting closure, at WP:AN/RFC, and if you indicate that it's a WP:SNOW, then someone will usually close it pretty quickly. Remember, WP:NODEADLINE.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:42, 9 January 2018 (UTC)

Article-space template messages should require starting a talk page discussion[edit]

Too often I see editors add something like {{globalize}} or {{confusing}} to the top of an article without explaining why and without trying to fix the issues. As a result, the messages are left at the top of the article for months (or years). I believe that for an editor to place a template message at the top of a page, they should have to also create a talk page discussion explaining what needs to be fixed.

I was surprised to see that this policy has not yet been implemented. Further, I can't seem to find any guidelines surrounding the use of these template messages at all. I welcome your thoughts. AdA&D 19:19, 5 January 2018 (UTC)

@Anne drew Andrew and Drew: WP:DRIVEBY says that non-obvious tagging should be explained on the talk page. Is that what you're looking for? RudolfRed (talk) 19:31, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
WP:DRIVEBY is something I certainly agree with, however it is an essay, not a guideline. I would propose a template guideline which states that all newly added cleanup templates must be explained in the talk page. Better yet, promote Wikipedia:Template messages/Cleanup to guideline, and strengthen its language against "drive-by tagging". AdA&D 19:46, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Remember that anyone can start a talk page discussion... even “you”. If someone leaves an unclear “cleanup” tag, and you can’t figure out what needs to be fixed... you can go to the talk page and ASK. Don’t wait for the other guy to do the right thing... do it yourself. Blueboar (talk) 20:11, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    I'm aware of that. I just think that the onus should be on the tagger to explain their reasoning. AdA&D 21:41, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I would oppose making this a policy, per WP:CREEP. If I can't figure out why a tag has been placed and the editor placing it hasn't made any effort to explain, I just remove it. I've been doing it for eight years, it doesn't seem to have been a problem yet. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 20:15, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    • I agree with your diagnosis, but it is certainly a problem, as there are editors who think that placement of tags is a right, not just another edit that anyone can revert.  There was an RfC on WT:V whose closure basicly concluded that WP:BRD applies to tag placements, [24]Unscintillating (talk) 04:04, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
  • {{globalize}}, {{technical}}, {{coi}}, {{unbalanced}}, {{systemic bias}}, {{unfocused}} and some others have instructions in their documentation stating that the talk page should be used to describe the issues at hand. The way we present this request varies significantly from template to template; maybe it'd make sense to add an encouragement to open a talk page discussion on more templates, or at least to standardize the language a little bit more across more templates. This doesn't require changing policy and it may help increase the amount of actionable information. Warren -talk- 01:01, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Here is another case, in which I reverted with the edit comment "unclear templates" without getting either BRD or any clarification.  In looking at just the COI tag, it has two talk page requirements that were disregarded.  Unscintillating (talk) 04:35, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
Eh, I happened to add {{Globalize/Eng}} at Ordinal number (linguistics) recently (without even seeing this thread). I didn't start a discussion on the talk page, because it seemed really obvious to me: it's a linguistics article about something that's not language specific, yet the article only covers English. I could have started a talk page thread, but I don't know what that would accomplish. And I just don't have the expertise to improve it, myself. So yeah, often times discussions are helpful, but sometimes there's just not much point. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 05:11, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
 
I don't see much point in trying to make talkpage explanations "mandatory". It really wouldn't change much. The current situation is that you can just go ahead and remove any tag lacking an apparent purpose, that wouldn't change. Currently the next step is that you can optionally leave a question or notification to that person that you removed the tag... that would change to an optional warning. Currently if someone engages in persistently and egregiously bad tagging, we can topic ban or otherwise sanction them for disruptive editing. That would change to... a stronger basis to topic ban or otherwise sanction them. And I see zero chance we're going to apply swift and firm enforcement on something like this. The proposal here just isn't going to change much. If an article is badly or mysteriously tagged, just remove it. If that editor wants to reassert their tag then they are going to have to show up and explain it (or risk sanction for unexplained editwarring to restore it).
However we could certainly try to make some of the template instructions more emphatic. Instructions on the template-docs aren't as effective as text on the live template. We really don't want to bloat the size of template messages, but templates which particularly suffer from this problem might try to squeeze in something short like "Unexplained tags may be removed", or references to talkpage explanations may use worlds like "need" or "should", or use "must be explained on talk" in conjunction with removal if not explained. Just don't expect or imply that failing to leave a talkpage message might be enforceably-prohibited. Alsee (talk) 09:04, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • While people certainly should do this, I don’t believe it should be mandatory. Personally, when I see this and don’t see the problem, I just remove the tag. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:38, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Yup. In a lot of cases the tags are old, the article has been fixed, but no one took the last step and removed the tag. --NeilN talk to me 00:48, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
    • Or the problems are obvious, and don't need a talk page discussion. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 00:52, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Nah. This would just be an excuse to remove 99% of dispute and cleanup templates.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  09:29, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose- most of the time it's obvious what the tagged problem is from looking at the article. There's nothing to be gained by placing yet another obstacle in the way of content maintainers. Reyk YO! 09:50, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Unnecessary – but if you see a tag and can't figure out what's it's trying to tell, just take it out. Dicklyon (talk) 04:08, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

Frontloading leads of articles on conservative organizations with negative criticism[edit]

I've noticed a pattern where articles on conservative/right wing organizations often have lengthy criticism, talk about specific controversies, or labels from their opponents tacked on to the lead while left wing counterparts have more generic descriptions and praise for awards. See Breitbart News, Conservapedia, One America News Network, and Drudge Report talk page for example. Compare Daily Kos, Rational Wiki, Democratic Underground, and Huffington Post.

Some specific examples

The site has published a number of falsehoods and conspiracy theories,[9][10][11][12] as well as intentionally misleading stories.[13] Its journalists are ideologically driven, and some of its content has been called misogynist, xenophobic and racist.

the channel has risen to greater prominence due to its pro-Trump coverage.[7] Robert Herring, Sr., founder and CEO of the network, has ordered producers to promote certain types of content, such as pro-Trump stories, anti-Clinton stories and anti-abortion stories, and minimize stories about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.[7]


When you confront editors about this their usual rationale is that everybody agreed with it some day in the past, or that they googled a few links that says what they want and that proves there is an objective consensus for what they're putting in.

I propose that criticism in controversial political articles be preferentially confined to its own section, or if not possible not in the lead, or at the very least some sort of higher standard be imposed on what criticism is allowed in the lead and how its phrased and that editors who want to preferentially frontload conservative organization articles with negative press but not leftwing organization articles provide stronger evidence for their claims than random search engine results. IE just because you can find a link from WaPo and the Huffington Post saying Breitbart News is very mean doesn't necessarily mean its universally agreed on and worthy of being stated as straight fact right at the top and almost the first thing you read about the site on a supposedly unbiased encyclopedia. Jarwulf (talk) 05:09, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

Something like MOS:LEAD? Jack N. Stock (talk) 05:41, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
The issue isn't that the organizations you mentioned are "right-wing", it's that they all actively court controversy, and their chosen methods of presenting themselves result in significant criticism. Wikipedia's article on Cato Institute, for instance, doesn't have the problems you mention because their public statements and publications are significantly less tendentious than Drudge Report. When a subject is mostly notable for its controversiality, then you have to accept that Wikipedia's coverage of that subject is mostly be focused on that. Warren.talk , 06:30, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
That still doesn't meant the lede should be frontloaded with the criticism/controversy around the group prior to the basic facts about the group though the criticism still should be in the lede. This is necessitated by the need to be impartial. How a group is seen by other groups is a matter of subjectivity and should follow want can be objectively stated about the group. (However, I know there are a number of editors that insist that if several media sources critize a group , that should be treated as a fact, which is not how we should work). --Masem (t) 06:59, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

I suggest we all reject participating in politicization here. Any labeling of article-subjects as liberal or conservative is irrelevant. Jarwulf has listed two sets of generic articles, suggesting one set may be written with negative bias and/or other set may written with a positive bias. Wikipedia's NPOV policy is that we summarize what Reliable Sources say about each topic, in rough proportion to significance and coverage of each viewpoint. To support those concerns Jarwulf quoted some content from the first set of articles. The copy-paste includes ref-numbers, however I pulled up the list of sources that those numbers represent:

  • L.A. Times
  • Associates Press
  • NBC News
  • CNN
  • FactCheck(*3)
  • Politifact
  • Snopes
  • Washington Post

If Jarwolf believes those sources are unreliable, or believes they are undue weight and do not reflect prevalent coverage present in a multitude of uncited Reliable Sources, Jarwolf can go to those articles and challenge that content. We have RFCs, other dispute resolution mechanisms, and administrative intervention available if editors are unwilling or unable to respect the applicable policies.

As for the articles which Jarwolf asserts are written with a favorable bias, Jarwolf can to go to those articles and demonstrate a comparable level of critical coverage in a comparable number and quality of Reliable Sources for any content they wish to add. We have RFCs, other dispute resolution mechanisms, and administrative intervention available if editors are unwilling or unable to respect the applicable policies.

There appears to be nothing to discuss here unless and until Jarwolf actually deals with policy issues and addresses sourcing for content they want to add/remove at particular articles.

If the issue turns out to be dissatisfaction with what Reliable Sources are (or aren't) writing about various topics, then that is an issue that we cannot and will not fix on Wikipedia. Wikipedia has a strong and deliberate bias for summarizing what Reliable sources say. Alsee (talk) 09:09, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

Agree with that. Objective criteria should be presented and using reliable sources and especially checking sites like Snopes or Politifact or FactCheck sounds like a good way of going around the business. Wikipedia is not the encyclopaedia of mumbled pleasantries. Noticing things is fine, but that means nothing unless you can show it is something in the real world rather than your own mind. Dmcq (talk) 10:51, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

The reason that Breitbart News' article begins that way is that, whether you agree with them or not, an overwhelming consensus of independent reliable sources describe the site in that manner. Your problem is with the sources, not with Wikipedia. If you believe that all of the reliable sources cited in the lede of Breitbart News are biased, then you are simply editing the wrong website and Conservapedia is thataway --->. We are not here to right the great wrong that you believe exists in mainstream media sources. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 19:00, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

As I suspected nobody here has any actual defense other than what I predicted; that a handful of googled citations equals definitive proof of some phantom consensus. Let me do what nobody else here is doing and provide actual specific logical arguments and evidence for my claims instead of mindlessly posting links to generic template guidelines. If I do a google search for "breitbart is a right" vs a search for "breitbart is a far" I get almost double the results. How exactly do the omniscient maharajis of wikipedia KNOW that 'far right' and 'racist and misogynist' are the 'overwhelming consensus' for describing the site? Snopes 'part of the consensus we don't question even if it might be wrong' has an Alexa rank in the 2000s while Breitbart which is not part of the 'consensus' has a rank of 200. 'But oh Breitbart is not reliable! (whatever that means)' Yeah well the omniscient maharajis have no problem packing articles which references from sites which have tons of criticism for bias and flawed reporting and nakedly partisan sources that proudly state their political alignment.
Look I'm not asking for removal of criticism. Or even partisan sources. All I'm asking is that a partisan editor (left or right) be held to a higher standard. Some vetting before being allowed to plant their flag on a article and put 'X is a naughty bad meanie mean dum dumb![1]' as the first sentence just because they found a HuffPo article that says so, and close down all discussion contesting it. Keep statements from openly partisan sources off the lead. Keep criticism off the lead. Directly attribute them rather than stating their insults as fact in the lead. Have some sort of logical basis for determining consensus other than 'HuffPo and WAPO is all I and 70% of editors read so they're the consensus'. I dunno. Do something that will actually make this place's selfprofessed neutrality meaningful. Or don't I guess, I'm just trying to offer some helpful advice. Take it, or leave it. Nobody takes this place's political articles seriously anyways so you are welcome to stay the course and accelerate wikipedia's rightful place in the rubbish bin of 8th grade poly sci teachers Jarwulf (talk) 23:34, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Jarwulf if as you describe someone puts that kind of criticism in the lead based on just a HuffPo article, you might have to contest it but you should ultimately win. (Unless the article-subject is barely notable and HuffPo is one of the only sources that exist.) There are various policies, guidelines, and ManualsOfStyle that may be relevant, but the main one you are looking for is Undue weight. The lead should summarize the body of the article, and the body of the article should reflect significant and prevalent views present across the available Reliable Sources. The Breitbart article contains at least 215 sources (some key refs contain multiple sources). A significant portion of those sources are devoted to establishing the Breitbart's ideological stance and the widespread critical commentary about it. Controversy and criticism *are* some of the most noted and noteworthy things about Breitbart. If you look at an article such as National_Review, it doesn't have any criticism in the lead. If someone were to add a flame-throwing HuffPo piece to the National Review lead, that would be flagrant Undue Weight. You would be absolutely justified in reverting and citing policy. If the other editor is combative, there's RFCs and other dispute resolution mechanisms which should ultimately result in policy compliance. Alsee (talk) 22:00, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I've been trying to argue what you have been asking for - in that our ledes should progress from the most objective, neutral facts, then into subjective praise or criticism of the topic - to be impartial and neutral. It's not about removing a wide-spread opinion from the lede, but presenting the lede in the order from objective to subjective matters. You see this all throughout most topics on WP (such as highly praised films or books, highly decorated soldiers and officers, proficient athletes and academics, etc.) where the subjective aspects are left for last. The only class of articles where this is completely flipped is anything on conservative/right-wing politics, and it is because of the resistance you speak to. It is claimed "but these people are notable for being bad people", which is not content of issue to include in the lede - the lede at some point needs to ID why the person or group is notable, and for those that are constantly barraged by press criticism, that is it. But it should be after establishing the neutral, objectives facts of the topic rather than frontloading. --Masem (t) 00:30, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
Agreed, this doesn't necessarily have to be a full formal policy change. Maybe just a reminder for overzealous editors. But it appears to be a systematic problem which is why I'm bringing it to general attention here instead of like some people suggested by running around like a hamster trying to convince self appointed lord after self appointed lord of each individual article. I'm not necessarily opposed to 'overwhelming consensus' but if you're going to regularly be stuffing in juvenile insults and tangents about specific controversies disproportionately, in what is supposed to be a generalized descriptive lead, we're going to need a bit more to go on than random hits on a fishing expedition in Google. I raised some points here and so far nobody I've seen has bothered to specifically respond to them, or seem to really care. So, I guess its open season on certain articles and you can tack on any rambling criticism you want at the top in there if you can google it up. Because its the 'overwhelming' consensus and 'self evident reality' cause a majority of editors say so. Whatever, I just offered some suggestions. Jarwulf (talk) 11:49, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
While this sounds plausible, I don't think it is true. If you look at WP articles on pseudo-science journals, for example, I believe you will normally find cautionary labels early in the lede. The same for extreme-left political parties, etc. My suspicion is that some editors only notice the cautionary labels when placed on articles that, by their own individual or fringe POV, they feel should not be so labelled. In those cases (only), such editors appeal for "objectivity" in the lede. Then they use false parallels with HuffPo or WaPo - which operate according to much more conventional journalistic standards - to confuse the issue. ---- — Preceding unsigned comment added by Newimpartial (talkcontribs) 01:46, 7 January 2018 (UTC)

In the words of