Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)

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RfC: Populating article descriptions magic word[edit]

In late March - early April 2017, Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 138#Rfc: Remove description taken from Wikidata from mobile view of en-WP ended with the WMF declaring[1] "we have decided to turn the wikidata descriptions feature off for enwiki for the time being."

In September 2017, it was found that through misunderstanding or miscommunication, this feature was only turned off for one subset of cases, but remained on enwiki for other things (in some apps, search results, ...) The effect of this description is that e.g. for 2 hours this week, everyone who searched for Henry VIII of England or saw it through those apps or in "related pages" or some such got the description "obey hitler"[2] (no idea how many people actually saw this, this Good Article is viewed some 13,000 times a day and is indefinitely semi-protected here to protect against such vandalism).

The discussion about this started in Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 137#Wikidata descriptions still used on enwiki and continued mainly on Wikipedia talk:Wikidata/2017 State of affairs (you can find the discussions in Archive 5 up to Archive 12!). In the end, the WMF agreed to create a new magic word (name to be decided), to be implemented if all goes well near the end of February 2018, which will replace the use of the Wikidata descriptions on enwiki in all cases.

We now need to decide two things. Fram (talk) 09:58, 8 December 2017 (UTC)

How will we populate the magic word with local descriptions?[edit]

  1. Initially, copy the Wikidata descriptions by bot
  2. With a bot, use a stripped version of the first sentence of the article (the method described by User:David Eppstein and User:Alsee in Wikipedia talk:Wikidata/2017 State of affairs/Archive 5#Wikipedia descriptions vs Wikidata descriptions)
  3. With a bot, use information from the infobox (e.g. for people a country + occupation combination: "American singer", "Nepali politician", ...)
  4. Start with blanks and fill in manually (for all articles, or just for BLPs)
  5. Start with blanks, allowing to fill in manually and/or by bot (bot-filling after successful bot approval per usual procedures)
  6. Other

Discussion on initial population[edit]

  • #5 – allows bot operations for larger or smaller sets of articles per criteria that don't have to be decided all at once, and manual overrides at all times. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:28, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #5 is my preference following the reasoning below:
    Option 1, copying from Wikidata, will populate Wikipedia with a lot of really bad descriptions, which will remain until someone gets around to fixing them. My initial rough estimates are that there are more bad/nonexistent Wikidata descriptions than good ones. I strongly oppose this option unless and until someone comes up with solid data indicating that it will be a net gain.
    Option 2, extracting a useful description from the first sentence or paragraph seems a nice idea at first glance, but how will it be done? Has anyone promoting this option a good idea of how effective it would be, how long it would take, and if it would on average produce better descriptions than option 1? This option should be considered unsuitable until some evidence is provided that it is reasonably practicable and will do more good than harm.
    Option 3, copying from the infobox, may work for some of the articles that actually have an infobox with a useful short description, or components that can be assembled into a useful short description. This may work for a useful subset of articles, but it is not known yet how many. I would guess way less than half so not a good primary option.
    Option 4, start with blanks and fill in manually, is probably the only thing that can be done for a large proportion of articles, my guess in the order of half. It will have to be done, and is probably the de facto default. It is easy, quick and will do no harm. It is totally compatible with option 5, for which it is the first step.
    Option 5 is starting with option 4 and applying ad hoc local solutions which can be shown to be useful. Any harm is localised, Wikidata descriptions can be used when they are appropriate, extracts from leads can be used when appropriate, mashups from infoboxes can be used when appropriate, and manual input from people who actually know what the article is about can be used when appropriate. I think there is no better, simpler, and more practical option than this, and suggest that projects should consider how to deal with their articles. WPSCUBA already has manually entered short descriptions ready for use for more than half of its articles, which I provided as an experiment. It is fairly time consuming, but gets easier with practice. Some editors may find that this is a fun project, others will not, and there will inevitably be conflicts, which I suggest should be managed by BRD as simple content disagreements, to be discussed on talk pages and finalised by consensus. In effect, option 5 is the wiki way. It is simple and flexible, and likely to produce the best results with the least amount of damage. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 11:26, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    (There was an edit conflict here and I chose to group all my comments together · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 11:26, 8 December 2017 (UTC))
  • #5. Whether a Wikidata description is suitable or not is very different across many groups of articles. It should be decided (and possibly bot populated) per group, sometimes per small group, and for that we need to start from blank descriptions.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:23, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Start with not using it anywhere, only use it as override per situation. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:09, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    TheDJ, To clarify, is this an Option 6: Other that you are proposing here? i.e. Only add the magic word to articles where the Wikidata short description is unsuitable, and use Wikidata description as default in all cases until someone finds a problem and adds a magic word, after which the short description will be taken from the magic word? If this is the case, what is your opinion on reverting to Wikidata description for any reason at a later date? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 14:53, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    @Pbsouthwood: Correct. I have no opinions on reverting at a later moment. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 13:42, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #5. That doesn't deal with all the issues, but it comes closest to my views, given the choices. See also my comments at WT:Wikidata/2017 State of affairs/Archive 12 and WT:Wikidata/2017 State of affairs now archived to WT:Wikidata/2017 State of affairs/Archive 13. - Dank (push to talk) 14:06, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    • Peter asked me for clarification. If people have specific questions, or if they want a summary of my previous posts, I'll do my best to answer. - Dank (push to talk) 15:30, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    • To whoever closes this: the discussion started here seems to be continuing at a new RfC at Usage of Wikidata links. - Dank (push to talk) 15:18, 16 January 2018 (UTC)
  • #5 but don't wait too long to fill in where possible. Fram (talk) 14:14, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    Fram Are you recommending a massive short term drive to produce short descriptions to make the system useful? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:09, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    • Yes, although this isn't in my view necessary to proceed with this, only preferable. No descriptions is better than the current situations, but decent enwiki-based descriptions is in many cases better than no descriptions. No need to throw out the baby (descriptions to be shown in search and so on) with the bathwater. Fram (talk) 15:21, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #6 - don't use it. There has been no consensus to have this magic word in the first place - that is the question that should have been asked in this RfC (see discussion here). I personally think it is a bad idea and a waste of developer time. It's better to focus on improving the descriptions on Wikidata instead. Mike Peel (talk) 15:27, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #6 — Find a solution that monitors and updates Wikidata descriptions — If a description is good enough for Wikipedia(ns), it should be on Wikidata. If vandalism is blocked on Wikipedia, it should be simultaneously reverted on Wikidata. Wikidata is the hub for interwiki links and a storage site for both descriptions and structured data that then are harvested by external knowledge-based search engines (think Siri, Alexa, and Google's Knowledge Graph). For interwiki purposes, we should want to ensure that short descriptions at Wikidata are accurate, facilitating other language Wikipedias when they interlink to en.wiki. For external harvesting, we should want to prevent vandalism from being propagated. The problems regarding vandalism and sourcing on Wikidata are real, but the solution is for Wikipedians and our anti-vandalism bots to be able to easily monitor and edit the relevant Wikidata material. Possible solutions would include: (a) Implementing a pending changes-like functionality for changes to descriptions on high-traffic or contentious pages; (b) Make changes to short descriptions prominently visible on Wikipedia watchlists, inside the VisualEditor, and as a preference option for Wikipedia editors; (c) Develop and implement in-Wikipedia editing of Wikidata short descriptions using some kind of click-on-this-pencil tool.--Carwil (talk) 15:46, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    • After those solutions are implemented, you are free to ask for an rfC to overturn the consensus of the previous RfC which decided not to have these descriptions. This RfC is a discussion to get solutions which give you what you want on enwiki (descriptions in VE, mobile, ...) without interfering in what Wikidata does (they are free to have their own descriptions or to import ours). Fram (talk) 16:01, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    Carwil, How do you propose that Wikipedia controls access by vandals to Wikidata? Are you suggesting that Wikipedia admins should be able to protect Wikidata items and block Wikidata users?
    The easy options are… "undo" functionality for Wikidata descriptions in Wikipedia watchlists, and option (a) I proposed above, something like pending-changes that protects pages on Wikipedia from unreviewed changes from Wikidata. Transferring anti-vandalism bots from Wikipedia to Wikidata would also be helpful.--Carwil (talk) 16:47, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    Cluebot already runs on Wikidata. ChristianKl (talk) 15:19, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose 4 and strongly oppose 5—Let's reject any solution that mass-blanks short descriptions: these are a functional part of mobile browsing and of the VisualEditor. As an editor and a teacher who brings students into editing Wikipedia, the latter functionality is a crucial timesaver. Wikipedia is increasingly accessed by mobile devices and short descriptions prevent clicking through to a page only to find it's not the one you are looking for.--Carwil (talk) 15:46, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    • Note, this is a double vote, Carwil already expressed a bolded "support" above... Fram (talk) 10:11, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
    Have you analysed the overall usefulness of Wikidata descriptions and found that there are more good descriptions than bad, or found a way to find all the bad ones so they can be changed to good? If so please point to your methods and results, as they would be extremely valuable. What methods have you used to indicate the comparative harm done by bad descriptions versus the good done by good descriptions? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:14, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I have analyzed a sample here. I found that 13 of 30 had adequate descriptions (though 7 of them could be improved), 13 had no descriptions at all, 1 was incorrectly described (not vandalism), 2 were redundant with the article title (i.e., they should be overridden with a blank), and 1 represented a case where the Wikipedia article and the Wikidata entity were not identical and shouldn't share the same description. The redundant descriptions would cause no harm. Mislabelling "Administrative divisions of Bolivia" with the subheading "administrative territorial entity of Bolivia" would cause mild confusion. The legibility provided by descriptions easily outweigh the harms. (The only compelling harm is due to vandalism, which should be addressed by improving vandalism tools not forking the descriptions between the projects.)--Carwil (talk) 16:47, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
The options 4 and 5 are not to blank anything, they are to put short descriptions, which are text content, into the article they describe, where they can be properly, (or at least better), maintained, by people who may actually know what the article is about. Wikidata can use them if their terms of use allow, and if they are actually better for Wikidata's purposes, which is by no means clear at present. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:14, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Options 4 and 5 involve starting with blanks everywhere. The whole proposal assumes that we should fork a dataset describing Wikipedia articles into two independently editable versions. Forking a dataset always creates inconsistencies and reduces the visibility of problems by splitting the number of eyes to watch for problems. Better to make Wikipedians' eyes more powerful and spotting problems (which are unusual) rather than to throw up wall between the two projects. My sample suggests that 90% of the time, or more, the two projects are working towards the same goal here.--Carwil (talk) 16:47, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
They do, but it is unlikely the WMF will switch until the Wikipedia results are no worse than the Wikidata results, though I have no idea how they would measure that, since they don't seem to have much idea of the quality they will be comparing against, or if they do, are not keen on sharing it.
The dataset does not suit Wikipedia. We should not be forced to use it. A dataset that suits Wikipedia may not suit Wikidata. Should we force it on them? Two datasets means Wikipedia can look after their own, and Wikidata can use what they find useful from it, and Wikipedians are not coerced into editing a project they did not sign up for. Using shitty quality data on Wikipedia to exert pressure on Wikipedians to edit Wikidata may have a backlash that will harm either or both projects, not a risk I would be willing to take, if it could affect my employment, unless of course I was being paid to damage the WMF, but that would be conspiracy theory, and frankly I think it unlikely.
I also did a bit of a survey, my results do not agree with yours, and they are also from such a small sample as to be statistically unreliable. I also wrote short descriptions for about 600 articles in WPSCUBA, but did not keep records. Most (more than half) articles needed a new description as the Wikidata one either did nor exist or was inappropriate. There were some which were perfectly adequate, but less than half of the ones that actually existed, from memory. It would be possible to go back and count, but I think it would be a better use of my time to do new ones, if anyone is willing to join such a project. Maybe Wikiproject Medicine, or Biography, where quality actually may have real life consequences, but I don't usually work much in those fields and hesitate to move into them without some project participation. I have already run into occasional unfriendly reactions where projects overlap, but fortunately very few. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 18:18, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • @Pbsouthwood: I don't think there's much daylight between Wikipedia's purpose for these descriptions (which hasn't been written yet), the value of them for the mobile app, the value of them for the VisualEditor (as disambiguators for making links), and the value for Wikidata as discussed here. There, the requirements include: "a short phrase designed to disambiguate items with the same or similar labels"; avoiding POV, bias, promotion, and controversial claims; and avoiding "information that is likely to change." Only the last one seems likely to differ from the ideal Wikipedia description and only marginally: e.g., "current president of the United States" would have to be replaced with "45th president of the United States."--Carwil (talk) 22:11, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
  • There have been extensive discussions between community and WMF on the description issue. I wish this RFC had gone through a draft stage before posting. There may be other options or issues that may need to be sorted out, potentially affecting the outcome here. A followup RFC might be needed.
    The previous RFC[3] consensus was clearly to eliminate wikidata-descriptions, and that is definitely my position. An alternate option would be to skip creating a description-keyword at all, and just take the description from the lead sentence. That has the benefits of (1) ensuring all articles automatically have descriptions (2) avoiding any work to create and maintenance on descriptions and (3) it would avoid creating a new independent independent issue of description-vandalism. The downside is that the lead sentence doesn't always make for a great short description.
    If we go with a new description keyword, #5 #2 and #1 are all reasonable. (#3 and #4 are basically redundant to bot approval in #5). However as I note in the question below, #5 can be implemented with a temporary wikidata-default. This gives us time to start filling in local-descriptions before the wikidata-descriptions are shut off. This would avoid abruptly blanking descriptions. Alsee (talk) 21:49, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #2, with #5 as a second preference. The autogenerated descriptions look like they're good enough for most purposes. Sandstein 16:14, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
    Sandstein, How big was your test sample, and how were the examples chosen? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:36, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • 5. Mass-importing WD content defeats the purpose of getting rid of WD descriptions. James (talk/contribs) 16:30, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
    Only true for a limited period until someone gets round to changing them where necessary. If the problem is big enough, there will be bot runs to do fixes, so over a medium term it does not make much difference as once the descriptions are in Wikipedia we can fix them as fast as we can make arrangements to do so and will no longer be handicapped by WP:ICANTHEARTHAT obfuscations from WMF. The important part is to get them where we have the control so we can start work getting them right. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 07:47, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  • 5 Basically what Peter said. In some areas, the wikidata descriptions will be good. In others the first sentence stripping will be good. In some data from infoboxes can be used. Etcetera. Galobtter (pingó mió) 16:20, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
  • 5 - Having just read the discussions on this I'm absolutely astounded that so much vandalism has taken place, Anyway back on point Wikidata is beyond useless when it comes to dealing with vandalism and as such 5 is the best way of dealing with it!. –Davey2010 Merry Xmas / Happy New Year 23:24, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Combination of 1 and 5. Important but keep hidden until reviewed on WP. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:19, 30 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #6 Retain Wikidata descriptions and bypass only those not needed Eventually all Wikipedias will have to use Wikidata. Moving back and forth make no much sense. The only thing we could do is possibly add functions to update Wikidata directly and retain functionality to bypass magic word locally. -- Magioladitis (talk) 15:56, 30 December 2017 (UTC)
    • Circular reasoning. "Use Wikidata because we will have to use Wikidata"? Fram (talk) 10:11, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • 5 - For reasons stated by others above. Tony Tan · talk 04:17, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

What to do with blanks[edit]

What should we do when there is no magic word, or the magic word has no value?

  1. Show the Wikidata description instead
  2. Show no description
  3. Show no description for a predefined list of cases (lists, disambiguation pages, ...) and the Wikidata one otherwise (this is the solution advocated by User:DannyH (WMF) at the moment)
  4. Other
  5. A transition from #1 to #2. In the initial stage, any article that lacks a local description will continue to draw a description from Wikidata. We deploy the new description keyword and start filling in local descriptions which override Wikidata descriptions. Once we have built a sufficient base of local descriptions, we finalize the transition by switching-off Wikidata descriptions completely. (Note: Added 16:34, 6 January 2018 (UTC). Previous discussion participants have been pinged to discuss this new option in subsection Filling in blanks: option #5.)

Discussion on blanks[edit]

  • #2 – comes closest to having no description per initial aborted RfC; those who want them can write them, or fill in automatically (per usual bot approval procedures). --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:28, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    • No reasonable variant/alternative/compromise has been proposed since I supported #2 a month ago. Please replace DannyH as an intermediary (not the first time I suggest this): they have been pretty clear about their inability to propose anything tangible. The well-being of the Wikipedia project should not be left in the hands of those who are a paid to improve the project but can deliver next to nothing. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:37, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • #5 as a reasonable compromise per various discussions below. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 18:24, 6 January 2018 (UTC) #2 The Wikidata description should not be allowed as a default where there is no useful purpose to be served by a short description. An empty parameter to the magic word must be respected as a Wikipedia editorial decision that no short description is wanted. This decision can always be discussed on the talk page. Under no circumstances should WMF force an unwanted short description from Wikidata as a default. Nothing stops anyone from manually adding a description which is also used by Wikidata, but that is a personal decision of the editor and they take personal responsibility as for any other edit. Automatically providing no description for a predefined list of classes has problems, in that those classes may not be as easily defined as some people might like to think. For example, most list articles don't need a short description, but some do. The same may be true for disambiguation pages. Leaving them blank as the first stage and not displaying a short description until a (hopefully competent) editor has added one is easy to manage for the edge cases, and may be managed by other methods per option 5 of population. It is flexible and can deal with all possibilities. There is no need to make it more complicated and liable to break some time. Ideally the magic word could be given a comment in place of a parameter where an explanation of why there should not be a short description would be useful. In this case the comment should not be displayed and is there to inform editors who might wonder if it had been missed. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 11:43, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #1 - Show the wikidata description in stead. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:10, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #2. No magic word (and magic word with no parameter) should result in no description, not some non-enwiki data being confusingly shown to readers (while being missed by most vandalism patrollers apparently). Today, for 8 hours, we had this blatant BLP violation on a page with 10,000 pageviews per day. Using these descriptions by default (or at all) is a bad idea, and was rejected at the previous RfC. Fram (talk) 14:21, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Top read sep 17 2017.png
  • #1 - From the WMF: We're proposing using Wikidata as the fallback default if there isn't a defined magic word on Wikipedia, because short descriptions are useful for readers (on the app in search results, in the top read module, at the top of article pages) and for editors (in the Visual Editor link dialog). For example: in the top read module from September pictured here, 3 of the 5 top articles benefit from having a short description -- I don't know who Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Álvarez are, and having them described as "Kazakhstani boxer" and "Mexican boxer" tells me whether I'm going to be interested in clicking on those. (The answer on that is no, I'm not really a boxing guy.) I know that Mother! is a 2017 film, but I'm sure there are lots of people who would find that article title completely baffling without the description. Clicking through to the full list of top read articles, there are a lot of names that people wouldn't know -- Amber Tamblyn, Arjan Singh, Goran Dragić. This is a really popular feature on the apps, and it would be next to useless without the descriptions.
We want to create the magic word, so that Wikipedia editors have editorial control over the descriptions, which they should. But if the magic word is left blank on Wikipedia -- especially in the cases where Wikipedia editors haven't written a description yet -- then for the vast majority of cases, showing the description from Wikidata is better than not showing anything at all. As a reader looking at that top read module, I want to know who Gennady Golovkin is, and the module should say "Kazakhstani boxer," whether that text comes from Wikipedia or Wikidata.
I know that a big reason why people are concerned about showing the Wikidata descriptions is that the Wikidata community may sometimes be slower than the Wikipedia community to pick up on specific examples of vandalism. The example that Fram cites of Henry VIII of England showing "obey hitler" for two hours is disappointing and frustrating. However, I think that the best solution there should be to improve the community's ability to monitor the short descriptions, so that vandalism or mistakes can be spotted and reverted more quickly. The Wikidata team has been working on providing more granular display in watchlists on Wikipedia, so that Wikipedia editors can see edits to the descriptions for the articles that they're watching, without getting buried by other irrelevant edits made to that Wikidata item. That work is being tracked in this Phabricator ticket -- phab:T90436 -- but I'm not sure what the current status is. Ping for User:Lydia Pintscher (WMDE) -- do you know how this is progressing?
Sorry for only getting back to this now. It slipped through. So we have continued working on improving which changes show up in the recent changes and watchlist here from Wikidata. Specifically we have put a lot of work into scaling the current system, which is a requirement for any further improvements. We have made the changes we are sending smaller and we have made it so that less changes are send from Wikidata to Wikipedia. We have also rolled out fine-grained usage tracking on more wikis (cawiki, cewiki, kowiki, trwiki) to see how it scales. With fine-grained usage tracking you will no longer see changes in recent changes and watchlist that do not actually affect an article like it is happening now. The roll-outs on these wikis so far looks promising. In January we will continue rolling it out to more wikis and see if it scales enough for enwiki. At the same time we will talk to various teams at the developer summit in January to brainstorm other ways to make the system scale better or overhaul it. --Lydia Pintscher (WMDE) (talk) 09:31, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
We've talked in the previous discussions about types of pages where the Wikidata descriptions aren't useful for article display, because they're describing the page itself, rather than the subject of the article. The examples that I know right now are category pages (currently "Wikimedia category page"), disambiguation pages ("Wikimedia disambiguation page"), list pages, and the main page. Those may be helpful in the case of the VE link dialog, especially "disambiguation page", but there's no reason to display those at the top of the article page, where they look redundant and kind of silly. We're proposing that we just filter those out of the article page display, and anywhere else where they're unnecessary. I'd like to know more examples of pages where short descriptions aren't useful, if people know any.
For article pages, I don't know of any examples so far where a blank description would be better for the people who need them (people reading, searching or adding links on VE). If we're going to build the "show a blank description" feature, then we need to talk about specific use cases where that would be the best outcome. That's how product development works -- you don't build a feature, if you don't have any examples for where it would be useful. If people have specific examples, then that would help a lot. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 14:58, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
"For article pages, I don't know of any examples so far where a blank description would be better " Check the two examples of vandalism on pages with 10K+ pageviews per day I gave in this very discussion, including one very blatant BLP violation which lasted for 8 hours today. In these examples, a blank description would have been far preferable over the vandalized one, no? Both articles, by the way, are semi-protected here, so that vandalism couldn't have done by the IPs here (and would very likely have been caught much earlier). "specific use cases where that would be the best outcome."=all articles, and certainly BLPs. Fram (talk) 15:19, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
Better than no description?
If you want another example of where no description would be preferable over the Wikidata one, look to the right. This is what people who search for WWII (or have it in "related articles", the mobile app, ... see right now and have seen since more than 5 hours (it will undoubtedly soon be reverted now that I have posted this here). This kind of thing happens every day, and way too often on some of our most-viewed pages. Fram (talk) 15:38, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree that the vandalism response rate on Wikidata is sometimes too slow. I think the solution to that is to make that response rate better, by making it easier for Wikipedia editors to monitor and fix vandalism of the descriptions. I disagree that the best solution is to pre-emptively blank descriptions because we know that there's a possibility that they'll be vandalized. I'm asking for specific examples where editors would make the choice to not show a description on the article page, because a blank description is better than the majority of good-to-adequate descriptions already on Wikidata. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 16:10, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
And I am saying that this is a red herring. Firstly, you claim that there exists a majority of good-to adequate descriptions on Wikidata, without any convincing evidence that this is the case. I am stating that out of several hundred short descriptions that I produced, there were a non-zero number of cases where a short description made no apparent improvement over the article title by itself. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:21, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
DannyH (WMF), Filtering descriptions out of the article page view means that they will be invisible for maintenance which is very bad, unless they are filtered out based on content, not on page type, which may be technically problematic - you tell me, I don't write filter code. Can you guarantee that no vandalism can sneak through by this route?. As long as they are visible anywhere in association with the Wikipedia article they are a Wikipedia editorial issue. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:39, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
We are not asking for a development feature to leave out descriptions that don't exist, it is the simplest possible default. Please try to accept that simply displaying whatever content is in the magic word parameter is the simplest and most versatile solution, and that if we leave it blank that is because we prefer it to be left blank. If anyone prefers to have a short description in any of these cases, they can edit Wikipedia to put in the one they think is right, and if anyone disagrees strongly enough to want to remove it, they can follow standard procedure for editorial disagreement, which is get consensus on the talk page. It is not rocket science, it is the Wikipedia way of doing these things. If it is difficult for the magic word to handle a comment in the parameter we can simply put the comment outside. There may be a few more cases where people will fail to notice that it is there, but probably not a train smash. Is there any reason why a comment in the parameter space should not be parsed as equivalent to no description? I have asked this before, and am still waiting for an answer.· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:39, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #1 - and focus on improving the descriptions on Wikidata. Mike Peel (talk) 15:27, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
    • See discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Wikidata/2017_State_of_affairs#Circular_"sourcing"_on_Wikidata - I've posted a random sample of 1,000 articles and descriptions, of which only 1 description had a typo and none seemed to be blatently wrong - although 39% don't yet have a description. So let's add those extra descriptions / improve the existing ones, rather that forking the system. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 00:14, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
      • That sample includes the many typical descriptions which are right on Wikidata and useless (or at least very unclear) for the average enwiki reader: "Wikimedia disambiguation page" (what is Wikimedia, shouldn't that be Wikipedia, and even then, I know I'm on Wikipedia, and we don't use "Wikipedia article" as description for standard articles either...) There are also further typos ("British Slavation Army officer"), useless descriptions ("human settlement", can we be slightly more precise please), redundant ones (Shine On (Ralph Stanley album) - "album by Ralph Stanley")... And the basic issue, that language-based issues shouldn't be maintained at Wikidata but at the specific languages, is not "forking", it is taking back content which doesn't belong at Wikidata but at enwiki. Fram (talk) 05:45, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
    • You may add "Descriptions not in English" to the problems list from that sample: "Engels; schilder; 1919; Londen (Engeland); 1984". Fram (talk) 06:01, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
    • And "determined sex of an animal or plant. Use Q6581097 for a male human" is not really suitable for use on enwiki either (but presumably perfect for Wikidata). Neeraj Grover murder case - "TV Executive" seems like the wrong description as well. Stefan Terzić - "Team handball" could also use some improvement. Fram (talk) 07:56, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
      • OK, so maybe 4/1000 have typos/aren't in English/are wrong - that's still not bad. Most of the rest seems to be WP:IDONTLIKEIT (where I'd say WP:SOFIXIT on Wikidata, but you don't want to do that). Yes, it is forking - the descriptions currently only exist on Wikidata (we've never had them on Wikipedia), and they aren't going away because of this - so you want to fork them, and in a way that means the two systems can't later be unforked (due to licensing issues). That's not helpful, particularly in the long term. Mike Peel (talk) 19:58, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
        • I gave more than 4 examples, some 40% don't have a description (so can hardly be wrong, even if many of those need a description), and many have descriptions we can't or shouldn't use. Basically, you started with 0.1% problem in your view, when it is closer to 50% in reality. Please indicate which licensing issues you see which would make unforking impossible. It seems that these non-issues would then also make it impossible to import the Wikidata descriptions, no? Seems like a red herring to me. By the way, have you ever complained about forking when Wikidata was populated with millions of items from enwiki (and other languages), where from then on they might evolve separately? Or is forking only an issue when it is done from Wikidata to enwiki, and not the reverse? Fram (talk) 22:28, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
          • Only a few of your example problems seem to be actual problems, the rest are subjective. You're proposing that we switch to 100% without description, so I can't see how you can argue about the 40% blank descriptions (and they weren't a problem at the start of this discussion). I'm not saying 0.1%, but ~1% seems reasonable here. Enwp descriptions are CC-BY-SA licensed, which means they can't be simply copied to Wikidata as that has a CC-0 license (and yes, this isn't great, and copyrighting the simple descriptions doesn't make any sense, but it is what it is) - although that means that we can still copy from Wikidata to here if needed. I'm complaining that we're forking things here to do the same task (describing topics), and that we're trying to do so using the wrong tool (free text with hacks) rather than a better tool (a structured database). Mike Peel (talk) 23:01, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
            • Ah, the old "structured database" vs "free text with hacks" claim, I wondered why it wasn't mentioned yet. In Wikidata, you are putting free text in a database field, which then at runtime gets read and displayed. In enwiki, you are putting free text in a "magic word" template, which then at runtime gets read and displayed. Pretending that the descriptions in Wikidata aren't free text and in enwiki are free text is not really convincing. However, what is the wrong tool for the task is Wikidata, as that is not part of the enwiki page history and wikitext, and thus can't be adequately monitored, protected, ... The only "hack" is the current one, using Wikidata to do something enwiki can do better (and which philosophically also belongs on enwiki, as it is language-based text, not some universally accepted value). Fram (talk) 07:53, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #2, or transition from #1 to #2. I have engaged significant discussions with the WMF on the descriptions-issue on the Wikidata/2017 State of affairs talk page. The WMF has valid concerns about abruptly blanking descriptions, and we should try to cooperate on those concerns. Temporarily letting a blank keyword default to wikidata (#1) will give us time to begin filling empty local descriptions before shutting off wikidata descriptions (#2). But in the long run my position is definitely #2. Alsee (talk) 21:02, 8 December 2017 (UTC) Adding explicit support for #5, which is essentially matches my original !vote. Alsee (talk) 16:36, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
    This could work. While we are filling in short descriptions, whenever we find an article that should not have a short description, we could put in a non-breaking space to override an unnecessary Wikidata description. We will need to see the actual display shown on mobile on desktop too, so we can see what we are doing. As long as there is a display of the short description in actual use on desktop, it might be unnecessary to switch. That would reduce the pressure to rush the process, which may be a good thing, but also may not. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:12, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
    Alsee, thanks. I've been staying out of conversations about if/when/how the magic word gets used/populated, because I think those are the content decisions that need to be made by the English WP community. I want to figure out how we can get to the place where Wikipedia editors have proper editorial control over the short descriptions, without hurting the experience of the readers and editors who are using those descriptions now. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 23:29, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
You can enable a view of the Q-code, short description and alias via this script: [[4]].--Carwil (talk) 13:01, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
Carwil, This is exactly the kind of display I had in mind. It is easily visible, but obviously not part of the article per se, as it is displayed with other metadata in a different text size. To be useful it would have to be visible to all editors who might make improvements to poor quality descriptions, so would have to be a default display on desktop. This may not be well received by all, but it would be useful, maybe as an opt-out for those who really do not want to know. It still does not deal with the inherent problems of having the description on Wikidata, in that it is not Wikipedia and we do not dictate Wikidata's content policies, control their page protection, block their vandals etc, but it does let us see what is there, and fixing is actually quite easy, though maybe I am biased as I have done a fair amount of work on Wikidata. I would be interested to hear the opinions of people who have not previously edited Wikidata on using this script. I can definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to monitor the Wikidata description. Kudos to Yair rand.· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:15, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
It also does not solve the problem of different needs for the description. When the Wikidata description is unsuitable for Wikipedia, we should not arbitrarily change it if it is well suited to Wikidata's purposes, but if it is going to be used for Wikipedia, we may have to do just that.· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:21, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #2. Any Wikidata import should be avoided because that content is not subject to Wikipedia editorial control and consensus. Sandstein 16:16, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
    Sandstein, My personal preference is that eventually all short descriptions should be part of Wikipedia, and not imported in run time, however, as an interim measure, to get things moving more quickly, I see some value in initially displaying the Wikidata description as a default for a blank magic word parameter, as it is no worse than what WMF are already doing, and in my opinion are likely to continue doing until they think the Wikipedia local descriptions are better on average. If anyone finds a Wikidata description on display that is unsuitable, all they have to do is insert a better one in the magic word and it immediately becomes a part of Wikipedia. If you find a Wikidata description that is good, you can also insert it into the magic word and make it local, as they are necessarily CC0 licensed. The only limitation on getting 100% local content is how much effort we as Wikipedians are prepared to put into it. Supporters of Wikidata can improve descriptions on Wikidata instead if that is what they prefer to do, and as long as a good short description is displayed, it may happen that nobody feels strongly enough to stop allowing it to be used. I predict that whenever a vandalised description is spotted, most Wikipedians will provide a local short description, so anyone in favour of using Wikidata descriptions would be encouraged to work out how to reduce vandalism and get it fixed faster, which will greatly improve Wikidata. Everybody wins, maybe not as much as either side would prefer, but more than they might otherwise. As it would happen, WMF win the most, but annoying as that may be to some, we can live with it as long as we also have a net gain for Wikipedia and Wikidata. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:58, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  • 2. We have neither the responsibility nor the authority to enforce WP guidelines on a project with diametrically opposed policies. Content outside of WP's editorial control should not appear on our pages, period. James (talk/contribs) 16:34, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • 2 comes closest to my views, given the choices. See my comments at WT:Wikidata/2017 State of affairs/Archive 12 and WT:Wikidata/2017 State of affairs. Also see the RfC from March; most of what was said there is equally relevant to the current question. - Dank (push to talk) 21:01, 11 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment from WMF: I want to say a word about compromise and consensus. I've been involved in these discussions for almost three months now, and there are a few things that I've been consistent about.
First is that I recognize and agree that the existing feature doesn't allow Wikipedia editors to have editorial control over the descriptions, and it's too difficult for Wikipedia editors to see the existing descriptions, monitor changes, and fix problems when they arise. Those are problems that need to be fixed, by the WMF product team and/or the Wikidata team.
Second: the way that we fix this problem doesn't involve us making the editorial decisions about the format or the content. That's up to the English Wikipedia and Wikidata communities, and if there's disagreement between people in those communities, then ultimate control should be located on Wikipedia and not on Wikidata. In other words: when we build the magic word, we're not going to control how it's used, how often, or what the format should be. I think that both of these two points are in line with what most of the people here are saying.
The third thing is that we're not going to agree to a course of action that results in the mass blanking of existing descriptions, for any meaningful length of time. I recognize that that's something that most of the people here want us to build, but that would be harmful to the readers and editors that use those descriptions, and that matters. This solution needs to have consensus with us, too, because we're the ones who are going to build it. I'm not saying that we're going to ignore the consensus of this discussion; I'm saying that we need to be a part of that consensus. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 15:13, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
How many people have actually complained in the 8 months or so that descriptions have now been disabled in mobile view? "readers and editors that use those descriptions": which editors would that be? Anyway, basically you are not going to interfere in content decisions, unless you don't like the result. But at the same time you can't be bothered to provide the necessary tools to patrol and control your features (and your first point is rather moot when this magic word goes live and works as requested anyway). Which is the same thing you did (personally and as WMF) with Flow, Gather, ... which then didn't get changed, improved, gradually accepted, but simply shot down in flames, at the same time creating lots of unnecessary friction and bad blood. Have you actually learned anything from those debacles? Most people here actually want to have descriptions, and these will be filled quite rapidly (likely to a higher percentage than what is provided now at Wikidata). But we will fill them where necessary, and we will leave them blank where we want them to be blank. You could have suggested over the past few months a compromise, where either "no magic word" or "magic word with no description" would mean "take the wikidata description", and the other meant "no description". You could have suggested "after the magic word is installed, we'll take a transitional period of three months, to see if the descriptions get populated here on enwiki; afterwards we'll disable the "fetch desc from wikidata" completely". Instead you insisted that the WMF would have the final say and would not allow blanks unless it was for a WMF-preapproved list of articles (or article groups). Why? No idea. If the WMF is so bothered that readers should get descriptions no matter what (even if many, many articles don't have Wikidata descriptions anyway in the first place), then they should hire and pay some people to monitor these and make sure that e.g. blatant BLP violations don't remain for hours or days. But forcing us to display non-enwiki content against our will and without providing any serious help in patrolling it is just not acceptable. Fram (talk) 15:44, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Fram, those compromises are what I'm asking for us to discuss. I'm glad you're bringing them up, that's a conversation that we can have. I'm going to be talking to the Wikidata team next week about the progress on building the patrolling and moderation tools. We don't have direct control over what the Wikidata team chooses to do, but I want to talk with them about how the continued lack of a way to effectively monitor the short descriptions is affecting this conversation, this community, and the feature as a whole. English Wikipedia editors need to have the tools to effectively populate and monitor the descriptions, and you need to have that on a timeline that makes sense. I need to talk to more people, and keep working on how to make that happen. I'm going to talk with people internally about the transitional period that you're suggesting. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 16:04, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
I think the major concern is the lack of control over enwp content. There are currently only two outside sources of enwp content over which the local community has no control: Commons and Wikidata; it has taken some years for Commons to build a level of trust over their content policies and failsafes to prevent abuse at enwp through Commons. The only reason today that the use of Commons materials here is two-fold 1) they've proven they can handle their business, and 2) there exists local over-rides that are transparent and easy to enact. For Wikidata to be useful and to avoid the kind of acrimony we are seeing here, we would need the SAME thing from Wikidata. Point 1) can only occur over time, and Wikidata is far too new to be proven in that direction. Recent gaffes in allowing vandalism off-site at Wikidata to perpetuate at enwp does not help either. If the enwp community is going to feel good about allowing Wikidata to be useful going forward, until that trust reaches what Commons has achieved, we need point 2 more than anything. Defaulting to local control over off-site control is necessary, and any top-down policy that removes local control, either directly or as a fait accompli by subtling controlling the technology, is unlikely to be workable. If Wikidata can prove their ability to take care of their own business reliably over many years, the local community would feel better about handing some of that local control over to them, as works with Commons now. But that cannot happen today, and it cannot happen if local overrides are not simple, robust, and the default. --Jayron32 17:32, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
"English Wikipedia editors need to have the tools to effectively populate and monitor the descriptions, and you need to have that on a timeline that makes sense." You know, yiou have lost months doing this by continually stalling the discussions and "misinterpreting" comments (always in the same direction, which is strange for real misunderstandings and looks like wilful obstruction instead). You just give us the magic word, and then we have the tools to monitor the descriptions: recent changes, watchlists, page histories, ... plus tools like semi- or full protection and the like. We can even build filters to check for these changes specifically. We can build bots to populate them. From the very start, everyone or nearly everyone who was discussing these things with you has suggested or stated these things, you were the only one (or nearly the only one) creating obstacles and finding issues with these solutions where none existed. "I'm going to be talking to the Wikidata team next week about the progress on building the patrolling and moderation tools." is totally and utterly irrelevant for this discussion, even though it is something that is sorely needed in general. Patrolling and moderating Wikidata descriptions is something we are not going to do; we will patrol and moderate ENWIKI descriptions, and we have the tools to do so (a conversation may be needed whether the descriptions will be shown in the desktop version or not, this could best be a user preference, but that is not what you mean). Please stop fighting lost battles and get on with what is actually decided and needed instead. Fram (talk) 17:54, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm talking to several different groups right now -- the community here, the WMF product team, and the Wikidata team -- and I'm trying to get all those groups to a compromise that gives Wikipedia editors the control over these descriptions that you need, and doesn't result in mass blanking of descriptions for a meaningful amount of time. That's a process that takes time, and I'm still working with each of those groups. I know that there isn't much of a reason for you to believe or trust me on this. I'm just saying that's what I'm doing. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 18:02, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Indeed, I don't. I'm interested to hear why you would need to talk to the Wikidata team to find a compromise about something which won't affect the Wikidata team one bit, unless you still aren't planning on implementing the agreed upon solution and let enwiki decide how to deal with it. Fram (talk) 22:28, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Fram, you're saying "us", "we", etc. here rather freely. Please do not speak for all editors here, particularly when putting your own views forward at the same time. There's a reason we have RfC's... Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:11, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
Don't worry, I'm not speaking for you. But we (enwiki) had an RfC on this already, and it's the consensus from there (and what is currently the consensus at this RfC) I'm defending. There's indeed a reason we have RfC's, and some of us respect the results of those. Fram (talk) 22:28, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm glad you're not speaking for me - but why are you trying to speak for everyone except for me? What consensus are you talking about, this RfC is still running (although I'm worried that potential participants are being scared off by these arguments in the !vote sections)? And what consensuses are you accusing me of disrespecting? Mike Peel (talk) 22:40, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, Fram definitely speaks for me. James (talk/contribs) 23:24, 12 December 2017 (UTC)
You don't really seem to care about the results of the previous RfC on this, just like you didn't respect the result of the WHS RfC when your solution was not to revert to non-Wikidata versions, but to bot-move the template uses to a /Wikidata subpage which was identical to the rejected template. Basically, when you have to choose between defending Wikidata use on enwiki or respecting RfCs, you go with the former more than the latter. Fram (talk) 07:53, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── ok... I propose that from this point on, DannyH, User:Mike Peel and User:Fram, cease any further participation in this RfC. You three and your mutual disagreements are again completely dominating the discussion, the exact thing that the Arbcom case was warning against. This is NOT helping the result of this discussion. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 14:24, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #3 – This makes the most sense to me for reasons I stated above. I would amend #3 only by saying: Immediately populate a local description for any pages being actively protected from vandalism which could just mean protected pages, or could mean (where appropriate) pages subjected to arbitration enforcement as well.--Carwil (talk) 18:02, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #1 This whole idea is just adding complexity over a rather small problem. The less duplication on the datas, the better. We should focus on ways to follow more project add glance and focus on better tools to follow change on Wikipedia rather than splitting the Wikimedian forces on all the different project. Co-operation and sharing are the essence of these projects, not control, defiance and data duplication. TomT0m (talk) 16:34, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #1 per DannyH. Additionally, we can configure protected articles to never display data from Wikidata. It's worth noting that this option allows you to run a bot that puts " " as description for a specific class of articles when you don't like the kind of descriptions that Wikidata shows for those articles. ChristianKl (talk) 15:29, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
    For clarification, Is your claim that we can configure protected articles to never display data from Wikidata based on knowing how this could be done, and that it is a reasonably easy thing to do, or a conjecture? Bear in mind how WMF is using the data on the mobile display. I ask because I do not know how they do it, so cannot predict how easy or otherwise it would be to block from Wikipedia side. Ordinary logic suggests that it may not be so easy, or it would already have been done. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 04:44, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
    Without the magic keyword being active, it's not possible to easily prevent the import. However, once the feature is implemented you will be able to run a bot quite easily that creates "magic keyword=' '" for every article that's protected or for other classes of articles where there's the belief that the class of article shouldn't import Wikidata and is better of with showing the user a ' ' instead of the Wikidata description.
    Additionally, I think the WMF should hardcode a limitation that once a Wikipedia semiprotects an article the article stops displaying Wikidata derived information. That would take some work on the WMF, but if that's what they have to do to get a compromise I think they would be happy to provide that guarantee. ChristianKl (talk) 12:31, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
    I would be both encouraged and a bit surprised to see WMF provide a guarantee. So far they have been very careful to avoid making any commitments to anything we have requested. I will believe it when I see it. I have no personal knowledge of the complexity of coding a filter that checks whether the article is protected or semi-protected and using that to control whether a Wikidata description is used that is fast and efficient enough to run every time that a short description may be displayed. but I would guess that this is an additional overhead that WMF would prefer to avoid. Requiring such additional software could also delay getting the magic word implemented, which would be a major step in the wrong direction. This needs to be simple and efficient, so the bugs will be minimised and speed maximised. Putting in a blank string parameter that displays as a blank string is easy and simple and requires no complicated extra coding. This can be done by any admin protecting an article where there is no local short description. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:33, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
    ChristianKl, Wouldn't it make the most sense to produce a description for each protected article, rather than produce a blank? We're talking about a considerable shorter list than all articles here. Then we would have functionality (what WMF says they want) and protection from vandalism on Wikidata.--Carwil (talk) 15:23, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
    I agree with you that writing description in those cases makes sense, but the people who voted #2 seem to have the opinion that this isn't enough protection from vandalism on Wikidata and don't want that Wikidata content is shown even if the 'magic word' is empty. ChristianKl (talk) 17:55, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #1 Most of the time, for most purposes, the Wikidata descriptions are fine. #1 gives a sensible over-ride mechanism for cases where there is particular sensitivity. Jheald (talk) 20:55, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
    Unless you have a reasonably robust analysis to base this prediction on, it is speculation. However it will make little difference in the long run, as it will be easy to override the Wikidata descriptions through the magic word. It is just a question of how tedious it would be, depending on what proportion of 5.5 million will have to be done.· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 04:44, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
  • #2 Agree with Alsee. Most sensible. Wikidata entries can be imported initially, if needed. It's easiest if things are kept on the same area, with the same community and policies. I really don't see the advantage of having things on Wikidata - the description is different for every language. Galobtter (pingó mió) 11:54, 19 December 2017 (UTC) Peter Southwood makes excellent practical points - an interim measure, to get things moving more quickly, I see some value in initially displaying the Wikidata description as a default for a blank magic word parameter, as it is no worse than what WMF are already doing too. Galobtter (pingó mió) 11:58, 19 December 2017 (UTC) Addendum, #5 is basically it, yeah. What matters is in the long-run it's there here. Galobtter (pingó mió) 07:21, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
Galobtter—Wikidata has a data structure that maintains separate descriptions for each language (or at least each language with a Wikipedia).--Carwil (talk) 15:23, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
I know that, what I'm saying is why have all that when it's mostly useful only to that language wikipedia. Other data on wikidata is useful across wikipedias - raw numbers, language links, etc Galobtter (pingó mió) 15:27, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
If the description is defined in the article text, then it can only be used in that article, on that language Wikipedia. If the description is on Wikidata, then you can access it from other articles (e.g., list articles), and places like Commons (descriptions for categories on the same topic as the articles), or on Wikivoyage etc. If it's in a data structure like on Wikidata, then it's a lot more easy to automatically reuse it than if it's embedded in free-form text. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 15:34, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
The description on Wikidata will remain available, if other projects or environments want to use it and think it suits their purpose (and can better access it than Enwiki magic words). This is rather out-of-scope for this discussion though, which won't change anything on Wikidata. Fram (talk) 15:47, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
  • 2 because Wikidata is shite and shouldn't ever be used regardless of how good it is in some articles, WMF have had ample oppertunity to patrol that site and do something about it however instead they've ignored requests time and time again so it's about time we did something ourselves, Anyway back on point using blanks is better - If someone adds a silly description they'll be reverted and no doubt one will be added. –Davey2010 Merry Xmas / Happy New Year 23:31, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Combination of 2 and 1: Wikidata descriptions are off (except for maybe a brief run in) but will be possibly shown when ONLY changes to them can occur in the watchlist. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:24, 30 December 2017 (UTC)
  • 2, because we need complete editorial control over this type of content. Alternatively, #5 as a compromise. Tony Tan · talk 04:21, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

Filling in blanks: option #5[edit]

Pinging everyone who !voted in the What to do with blanks discussion: Francis Schonken, Peter (Southwood), TheDJ, Fram, DannyH (WMF), Mike Peel, Sandstein , James, Dank, Carwil, TomT0m,ChristianKl, Jheald, Galobtter, Davey2010, Doc James.

If the debate is viewed as a simple option #1 vs option #2 outcome, the situation is rather unpleasant. By my count there is currently a majority for #2, however it's not exactly overwhelming. On the other hand #1 has substantial minority support, and the WMF is strongly averse to the possibility that descriptions get mass-blanked before we can repopulate with new descriptions.

There has been substantial discussion of an alternative that was not presented in the original RFC choices: a transition from #1 to #2. In the initial stage, any article that lacks a local description will continue to draw a description from Wikidata. We deploy the new description keyword and start filling in local descriptions which override Wikidata descriptions. Once we have built a sufficient base of local descriptions, we finalize the transition by switching-off Wikidata descriptions completely.

I believe multiple people above have expressed support above for this kind of compromise. People on opposing sides may consider this less-than-ideal for opposing reasons, however I hope everyone will consider this plan in an effort to build a collaborative compromise-consensus. Alsee (talk) 16:24, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

I don't really care how the transition is done (as long as it's done within a few months ish) - main goal is to eventually have everything on enwiki and rely little or not at all on wikidata. Galobtter (pingó mió) 16:58, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
I would grudgingly support a transition as long as WMF commits to a hard temporal deadline for switching off Wikidata descriptions. James (talk/contribs) 18:06, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I would accept this compromise. It does not really matter in the long run, as long as WMF will switch off when Wikipedians decide that the local descriptions are adequate. It will be up to Wikipedians to get the descriptions populated. Anyone who wants to get Wikidata descriptions shut down sooner can make it happen by adding more short descriptions. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 18:11, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
It still seems like a waste of time to me. Just use the Wikidata descriptions, and improve them there. Mike Peel (talk) 19:05, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
As we discussed below, the WMF plan is to switch from a Wikidata-fallback to full enwiki control when there are 2 million non-blank short descriptions on enwiki, which is roughly comparable to the number of existing descriptions on Wikidata. That will help to ensure that the readers and editors who use these descriptions won't notice a sudden degradation of the feature. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 19:16, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
I don't remember seeing any consensus regarding the 2 million quoted above.· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:22, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
As I think about this more, it would really just be easier if we could have that one item of Wikidata appear in our watchlists (for those who wish). I would than support simply continuing to use WD.
Would also be good to show the short definitions within Wikipedia text for those who wish and are logged in. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:51, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
That should be the default then - that's the only way can get the same amount of people looking at it. It should also be more visible - appearing somewhere when editing on enwiki (maybe even "editable" there) but stored on wikidata. It's currently pretty obscure where it is stored; should be known to most people editing where they can change the description. Then it's somewhat reasonable. Objections would be enwiki control over them. Galobtter (pingó mió) 07:00, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
@Doc James: We're already half-way there with Preferences -> Watchlist -> "Show Wikidata edits in your watchlist" to see Wikidata edits in enwp watchlists, and this javascript to show the wikidata descriptions at the top of articles. It would make much more sense to me if we spent the developer time that would be spent on this pointless magic word on instead improving that functionality. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 07:58, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
Ah very nice user script. Have turned it on. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:05, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
That script it quite nice; however it needs to be default (or atleast show somwhere when editing) so people can spot vandalism. Galobtter (pingó mió) 08:09, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
Keeping the description on Wikidata keeps it under the control and policies of a different project. It is unfair to Wikidata if English Wikipedia imposes their policies on what can be content in Wikidata which will happen if the descriptions are stored there. Moving text that is specific to a Wikipedia article to Wikipedia avoids that can of worms. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:22, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
Yeah i did point out that addition objection above; will definitely need enwp policies on it though unsure how much clash will be there. Probably will have standardizations for it etc Galobtter (pingó mió) 15:24, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
Only having it in our watchlists isn't enough. For starters, we need to monitor other Wikidata changes as well, for as long as using Wikidata dierctly in our articles is allowed (infoboxes, templates like "official website", authority control), so we wouldn't only have the descriptions in our watchlist, but these others as well (and at the moment and for a long time already al irrelevant changes as well, while some relevant ones are missing). It would need to be in the page history as well, it would need to be immediate (now there often is a delay, somtimes of hours, before it appears in our watchlists). And then there are the protection and block issues, as Wikidata allows circumventing our blocks and protections. Finally, these descriptions are also meant for internal Wikidata use, but these too often clash with our purpose (e.g. the "Wikimedia list" descriptions, or descriptions including advice on which Q-number to use). Enwiki and Wikidata are two different worlds, with different policies, practices and purposes, and forced mixing of them is a bad idea (now and in the long run). Fram (talk) 10:11, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose any "compromise" forced by WMF bullying and selective reading. Enwiki should decide when to turn off the automatic use of Wikidata descriptions, not the WMF. Fram (talk) 10:15, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I stand by my original choice. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 11:58, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I still agree with Mike Peel on this: the best use of WP editors' time would be to make good descriptions that then also appear on Wikidata. And the best use of WMF developer's time is not making special workarounds for en.wp but rather making tools that allow all Wikipedias to monitor and protect the short description fields stored on Wikidata. But given that we're likely to have such as system let me suggest: (1) Either WMF should find a way to immediately freeze edits on short descriptions for protected pages and the most-viewed pages (which might be technically difficult) OR the en.wp community should do a drive to write such descriptions, inserting them BOTH on en.wp using the magic word and on Wikidata. (2) The magic word system should include an "intentional blank" that is different from a not-yet-written blank space. The WMF should count these intentional blanks as part of its 2 million goal. Community members should only use this system when the description genuinely adds nothing to page because its title is already clear (3) Lists and disambiguation pages should be handled in context specific way (e.g., it might make sense for "Wikipedia disambiguation page" to appear on VisualEditor but not on a mobile or desktop view of the page).--Carwil (talk) 19:15, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
  • For 12 months the description for Bo Scarbrough was "Clemson gave him that 'l'" - it has been viewed 140+thousand times (not obscure) since- until I saw it using that script that shows the wikidata description. See here. 100%, definitely need it to be visible - very visible - on enwiki so that vandalism can be detected, if it isn't stored in a magic word. Needs to be visible in the history of the article and there are also problems with protections, blocks etc etc as Fram points out. Currently the security seems to be by obscurity, which is pretty awful (and also means that descriptions are far less likely to be added). I think for reasons like enwiki control (and so having standardization, guidelines by enwiki and making it more suitable for enwiki) and detecting vandalism it should be in a magic word. Galobtter (pingó mió) 07:29, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

Other discussion[edit]

I don't understand any of this. Could someone please explain this to me? Hydra Tacoz (talk) 21:49, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
@Hydra Tacoz: Some uses of Wikiepdia have short descriptions of articles (e.g. in the Wikipedia app or for search engines). Where and how we get or store this info is what is being discussed. A logical place to keep it is Wikidata but there are some problems with that. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 21:55, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
@Koavf|Justin Thank you! So, how is the Wikidata a safe place? What exactly is the Wikidata? Hydra Tacoz (talk) 22:04, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
@Hydra Tacoz: Wikidata is a sister project of Wikipedia: it is a wiki but it is not an encyclopedia like this is but a place to store structured data. If you aren't familiar with databases, it may seem confusing at first but imagine a musician (e.g. John Coltrane) and at Wikipedia, we would write a biography of him, Wikiqoute would have quotes by and about him, Commons would have photos or recordings of or about him, etc. Wikidata would store individual facts such as his birth date, citizenship status, record labels signed to, etc. One function of Wikidata internally for projects like Wikipedia is to store short descriptions of the subject--in this case, something like "American jazz saxophonist and composer". ―Justin (koavf)TCM 22:07, 18 December 2017 (UTC)
To clarify: The function of the short description on Wikidata is an internal Wikidata function. It is not, (or was not originally), intended for use as a description of a Wikipedia article for use when displaying a Wikipedia article name by a Wikimedia project other than Wikidata. WMF currently use it for this purpose because they consider it the best available alternative (pretty much the only existing non-zero option). The intention is reasonable, as it helps users to identify which of a selected group of articles is most likely to be useful, but has the problem that it is outside the direct control of the Wikipedia editors of the articles it is used to describe, and there are problems with persistent vandalism, inappropriate or sub-optimal descriptions, which can only be edited on Wikidata, and that some Wikipedians are not keen on being coerced into editing and maintaining Wikidata to prevent vandalism appearing in connection with Wikipedia articles. There is also a technical problem in that the short description is currently not visible from desktop view,and does not show up usefully on watchlists, so vandalism can go undetected by Wikipedians. The proposed solution is to provide a short description on Wikipedia for each article which can be drawn on for any purpose where it may be useful, and the WMF devs say that must be done by a new "magic word" which as far as I can make out is like a more efficient template function. Whether the magic word is initially populated with blanks or Wikidata short descriptions is relatively unimportant over the long term, as once it exists, Wikipedians can watch and change the short descriptions as and when editors feel that it is needed, from within the Wikipedia editing environment of the associated article - The short description will be part of the article itself, and changes will show up on watchlists. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:22, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
Hydra Tacoz if you click this search link and type Bar into the search box (do not press enter) you will see a list of articles. The first entry will probably be Bar: establishment serving alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises. That text is the short-description being discussed here. To help small-screen mobile users, that description appears at the top of an article when it's read in the Wikipedia App. It used to appear appear on the mobile-browser view as well. It appears in the link-tool in Visual editor, and it might appear elsewhere. That text is not written anywhere at Wikipedia. It comes from the Wikidata entry for bar. You can edit it there. As others noted, Wikidata is a sister project of the Wikimedia family. Wikidata has been creating those descriptions for their own use, and the Foundation decided it would be convenient to re-use those descriptions here. The EnWiki community was rather surprised when we realized it was added and how it works. There are concerns that most EnWiki editors never see those descriptions, and even if they do see them, they often don't know who to fix them. There is concern/debate about how well the Wikidata community can catch and fix vandalism. There are concerns that the descriptions are not subject to EnWiki policies, page-protection, or user-blocks. Edits at wikidata (including vandalism, biased edit-warring, or otherwise) will bypass any page-protection we put on the article, and we can potentially be blocked from editing a description if a Wikidata admin disagrees with EnWiki policies such as BLP. Descriptions intended for Wikidata-purposes also may not always be best suited for our purposes. The discussion here is for adding something like {{description|a retail business establishment that serves alcoholic beverages}} at the top of our articles, and using that instead of Wikidata's descriptions. Then the description can be seen, edited, and controlled just like any other article wikitext. The downside is that EnWiki and Wikidata would have parallel systems managing similar descriptions for similar purposes. Alsee (talk) 11:25, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

WMF two-stage proposal for Wikipedia-hosted descriptions[edit]

We've been talking for a long time about how to give Wikipedia contributors editorial control over the short descriptions. I've got a new approach to a solution here, and I'd like to know what you think.

First up, to establish where this approach is coming from:

  • English Wikipedia editors need to be able to see, edit and effectively moderate the short descriptions on desktop and mobile web, without becoming active Wikidata editors. That requires meaningful integration in Wikipedia watchlists and page history. Those are features that the Wikidata team is working on, but they don't currently exist, and they don't have a timeline for it.
  • The short descriptions are very useful for readers of the mobile apps and for editors using VisualEditor, and blanking a significant number of descriptions for a meaningful period of time would harm the experience for those readers and editors.
  • English Wikipedia editors should make the content decisions about how to actually populate the descriptions, including being able to specify pages where a description isn't helpful.

That last point is the one we've been wrestling with for a while. I was asking for examples of article pages that shouldn't have a description, and several people brought up examples where the article had a disambiguation phrase, and the short description was only repeating information from that disambig phrase. Here's some examples:

I said above that I didn't think the redundancy was harmful, but some folks pointed out that I was moving the goalposts -- asking for examples, and then saying they didn't matter. I was trying to make content decisions about the format, and I'm not one of the people who are doing the actual work of writing and moderating them. Fair point.

So I wanted to estimate how many useful descriptions there currently are -- taking out "Wikimedia list page" and "Wikimedia disambiguation page", and also taking out pages where the description is just repeating a disambiguation phrase.

Last week, Mike Peel generated a list of 1,000 random articles and descriptions, which helped us to survey the quality of descriptions on a decent cross-section of pages. I wanted a bigger sample, so we generated a list of 10,000 articles and descriptions.

Here's the breakdown from that larger sample of 10,000 random articles. This is my current definition of "not useful" descriptions:

  • 39.82% have no short description on Wikidata
  • 7.76% have descriptions that include "Wikipedia" or "Wikimedia"
  • 1.16% have a disambiguation phrase in the article title, which is entirely duplicated in the description (116/10,000, marked on the page linked above)

Putting those together, that makes 48.75% blank/not useful descriptions, and 51.25% useful descriptions.

Extrapolating that out to 5.5 million articles, it suggests that about 2.82 million Wikipedia articles have useful descriptions. (I'm open to continuing to iterate on the definition of useful vs not useful, if people have thoughts about that.)

Now, from the WMF side, the thing that we want to avoid is switching suddenly from 2.8 million useful descriptions to a much lower number, which is what would happen if we built a magic word that's blank by default. That would hurt the experience of the readers and editors who rely on the descriptions.

So, the solution that I'm proposing is: WMF builds a magic word that Wikipedia editors can populate with descriptions.

  • Stage 1: Initially, the display of the descriptions pulls from the Wikipedia-hosted magic words -- but if there isn't one on Wikipedia, or the Wikipedia one is some version of blank, then it falls back to showing the Wikidata-hosted description.
  • Stage 2: When there are non-blank Wikipedia-hosted magic words on a number of articles that's roughly comparable to 2.8 million, then WMF switches to only pulling from the Wikipedia-hosted magic words, and we don't fall back to Wikidata-hosted descriptions. At that point, descriptions that Wikipedia editors leave blank will actually be blank on the site.

The decisions about how to generate ~2.8 million descriptions will be made by Wikipedia editors, and the timeline is up to you. I'll be interested to see how that process develops, but it's not our process. Our role is to switch to full Wikipedia-hosted descriptions when there are enough descriptions that the folks who use them won't notice a meaningful degredation. So that's the idea.

One final thing that I want to say is that there are a lot of people in the movement, including the WMF, who believe that more integration and interdependence between Wikidata and Wikipedia is going to be key to the movement's growth and success in the future. We're going to keep working on helping Wikidata to build features that make that integration realistic and practical.

Right now, Wikidata doesn't have the working features that would make short descriptions easy to see and moderate from Wikipedia. In the future, as the Wikidata team builds those kinds of features, we'll want to keep talking to folks about how to encourage productive interdependence between the two projects. I'm hoping that a positive resolution on this short descriptions question helps to keep the door open for those future conversations. What do you think? -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 00:32, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

I'm having trouble following this. Admittedly I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box, so could you help by giving the Cliff's Notes version of this proposal? Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:54, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
The WMF claims, based on a sample of 10,000 articles and some dubious mathematics (116/10,000 is not 0.01% obviously, but 1.16%) that about 2.8 million enwiki articles have useful Wikidata descriptions; based on this, they will continue to use the Wikidata description when there is no enwiki magic word description, until enwiki has populated 2.8 million magic words. At that time, they will switch off the "use the Wikidata description when there is no enwiki description" and switich to "show a blank description when there is no enwiki magic word description". 08:09, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
Your count is a bit optimistic. Apart from the maths error explained above, I see in your sample "12. en:German International School New York - school". I also see that in yor count of the disambiguations, you don't count ones that aren't identical, even if it is less specific and useful than the disambiguation: "3. en:William McAdoo (New Jersey politician) - American politician", or add something which is hardly useful: "15. en:Matt Jones (golfer) - professional golfer". That's 3 out of the first 15 you don't count as useless descriptions, or some 20% more. Which would drop your 2.88 million to 1.8 million or so... Fram (talk) 08:09, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
And Fram's math is also wrong here. Just to be precise, DannyH (WMF) found 116 uninformative (because duplicating) parenthetical disambiguations. There are 1197 of those, 116 of which are already counted as faulty, so adding 20% of the remainder gets us to 116+216=332. So the faulty descriptions for parenthetical citations are only 3.32% of the total. We're still at about half valid descriptions. (From my perspective, "professional golfer" is more informative than "golfer" in the same way that "American politician" is less informative that "New Jersey politician.")--Carwil (talk) 12:46, 23 December 2017 (UTC)
I found 20% of the first 15 overall, not 20% of the remainder. Of course, nothing guarantees that this percentage will remain the same across all 10K, but it is not the calculation you are making. My 20% was not only about disambiguations, e.g. my first example (number 12) is not a disambiguation. Fram (talk) 15:03, 23 December 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Fram that the above-mentioned statistical analysis does not bear close inspection and claims a significantly inflated number of useful descriptions. Instead of pointlessly arguing the red herring of how many are good and how many are bad, I think we would actually be better off with populating the magic word with Wikidata descriptions at the start, and immediately switching to only showing descriptions from Wikipedia, as then we could get rid of the garbage more easily, and would be free of interference and externally imposed vandalism at the soonest possible date. This path should also reduce the coding to the minimum achievable required complexity, as all it would have to do is produce a description string from Wikipedia, without any conditionals. Blank description=> Blank display, Non-blank description=> Non-blank display. This should be the lowest possible overhead with the lowest probability of bugs, and should allow us to get started with fixing earlier. If the Wikidata description is good enough that no-one bothers to improve it, then it can stay. Empty descriptions will be empty at Wikidata too, so no disadvantage. Vandalism copied over from Wikidata will be absent from mobile and VE display after being deleted once. Crap copied over from Wikidata can be seen on Wikipedia and eliminated, either by providing a better short description, or simply deleting it. Way better than continuing to pull dubious material from Wikidata until a somewhat arbitrary number of non-blank descriptions have been produced on Wikipedia. Once the magic word syntax has been defined, a single bot run authorised by Wikipedians can populate the articles, even before the display code has been finalised. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:01, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
DannyH (WMF), I don't think your proposal is an improvement on what I have described here, it prolongs the lack of internal control over Wikipedia content unneccessarily and to no advantage. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:19, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
Pbsouthwood and Fram: We can get into the weeds on duplicates, but ultimately I don't think it's going to provide a lot of clarity for the amount of time and work it would take. This is the fairest option that we can provide, and I can't keep coming up with new solutions just because you say it's not an improvement. We need to bring this to a conclusion. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 17:56, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
DannyH (WMF), Firstly I have no idea what "get into the weeds on duplicates" is supposed to mean, so cannot comment on it further. Secondly, I don't think it is a fairer option than the one I have described, depending on how you define "fair" in this case. Thirdly, I don't see that your options are actually "solutions". Partial solutions, perhaps. Compromises, yes, but so are most of the other options discussed. I think you are missing the point again. Please read my suggestion above, and instead of a blanket dismissal, explain where it has technical problems and what they are. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 03:40, 23 December 2017 (UTC)
DannyH, where did I say "it's not an improvement"? I have only commented on your poor calculations, that's all. If you can't accept any comments, then just shut down this RfC and declare what the WMF will do. Fram (talk) 11:11, 23 December 2017 (UTC)
Fram and Pbsouthwood: We've been talking about this for months, and I have agreed with many points that both of you have made. This compromise that I'm proposing will result in fully Wikipedia-hosted descriptions, with control over individual pages where WP editors think the description should be blank. This is the thing that you said that you wanted. The only compromise that I'm asking for on your side is for Wikipedia editors to actually write the short descriptions that you said that Wikipedia editors want to write. Do you think that this is an acceptable compromise? -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 22:44, 23 December 2017 (UTC)
DannyH (WMF), The compromise you are suggesting requires Wikipedians to produce 2.8 million descriptions before you will agree to turn off Wikidata as the empty magic word default, meaning that the problems of vandalism remain for that period, which may be a long time, as Wikipedia is edited by volunteers who will edit as and where they choose. Fram disputes the validity of this number, and I consider a simpler option preferable which could result in a much earlier shutoff of Wikidata, without any loss of useful functionality for WMF. You have not made any reply to my query regarding technical objections, so should I assume there are none? Have you read and understood my suggestion above which I have now set in italics so you can find it more easily? These are not rhetorical questions, I ask them in order to get answers which may be relevant to getting closer tom a solution. I cannot force you to answer them, but you might find that discussions go more smoothly and productively when you answer questions instead of changing the subject.
In answer to your question, No, until you have answered our questions I cannot accept your proposal as an acceptable compromise because I am lacking what I consider to be important data for making that decision. However, I speak only for myself. Others may agree or disagree with my opinions, and I will go with the consensus. What I am trying to do is get us there by getting the options as clear as possible. I also think that most, if not all of the regular Wikipedians here are doing the same. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:57, 24 December 2017 (UTC)
Pbsouthwood, what you're describing above is absolutely within the bounds of the proposal that I made. We can turn off the Wikidata fallback when there's a comparable number of good descriptions hosted on Wikipedia. We're not going to decide how to populate the magic words; those are content decisions that Wikipedia editors can make. If people want to copy all of the existing Wikidata descriptions, then that would hit the threshold of descriptions, and we could turn off the Wikidata fallback at that point. Does that answer your question? -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 18:30, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
DannyH (WMF), That answers my question partly. If WMF is willing to commit to switching off the Wikidata fallback when Wikipedia decides that all the acceptable descriptions from Wikidata have been transferred, or have provided better ones, then I would accept the proposal, but not if WMF plans to hold out for an arbitrary and poorly defined number based on a small sample and a dubious analysis. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 19:01, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support for either the 'two phase' solution (filling descriptions first and switching off wikidata later), or copying the wikidata descriptions and shutting off wikidata more quickly.
    After reviewing the 10k random Wikidata descriptions I see DannyH's calculation of 2.8 million 'useful' descriptions at wikidata is somewhat of an overestimate. It includes few percent that have zero value, and another few percent with negligible value. However I expect we all have reasonable flexibility on the vague threshold for local descriptions to credibly substitute for wikidata descriptions. Alsee (talk) 23:02, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
Pbsouthwood and Alsee: Okay, good. Yeah, we can work together on what the threshold for switching would be. I was hoping at first that we could pull the description for every page (5.5m), but the query would take days to run, and I wanted to go through a sample by hand anyway. That's why I used the random 10,000. If somebody wants to get a better estimate somehow, that's cool, or we just say a round number like 2 million. Or maybe someone has a better idea for how to judge that threshold. What do you think? -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 21:21, 29 December 2017 (UTC)
DannyH (WMF), I think that if we can agree on a reasonably objective way to establish that the usefulness of Wikidata as a source for short descriptions has been effectively exhausted, we don't have to agree on any specific number. At some stage Wikipedians will suggest that we have taken as many of the short descriptions as is reasonably practicable and are actually useful, and request a shutdown of the Wikidata fallback. We would establish this point by internal discussion and consensus, as is traditional. At this point I suggest that WMF be allowed a two week period to check, and show statistically convincing evidence that it is worth the effort of finding and extracting more, and a way to find them, or do the shutdown without further delay. There is nothing to stop anyone who thinks that scavenging the last few useful descriptions is worth further effort from doing so at any time after the shutdown. Nobody gains by haggling over a specific number in the absence of reliable evidence. A few weeks or months of actually creating and transferring short descriptions is likely to inspire a whole range of more useful ideas on how to estimate the cutoff point. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:08, 30 December 2017 (UTC)
Pbsouthwood, I think we need some kind of goal to shoot for. If we just say that the community will decide when they feel like it's done, then we're going to find ourselves in exactly the same place, however many months away it is. I'd like to have a clear line that we can agree on, so we can go through the rest of the process in amicable peace. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 19:08, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
DannyH (WMF). There are two problems with this latest proposal:
  1. What makes you think it will be easier to come up with a reasonable, generally acceptable fixed number now than later?
  2. Who is going to produce a credible number without generally acceptable evidence of statistical validity, or an actual count? Your proposals so far have appeared ingenuous. I doubt that Wikipedians would accept your suggestions without fairly convincing evidence, and it is you who is asking for a fixed number, therefore your burden to find one that we can accept. If you are trying to delay things as much as possible, this looks like a very effective method of stonewalling any progress. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:16, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
Please confirm that development of the magic word is not being delayed until a final decision on numbers is reached. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:16, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
Pbsouthwood, we are both operating in good faith here. I posted a list of 10k random Wikidata descriptions, with an explanation of the methodology I used to arrive at an estimate of 2.8 million useful descriptions. I've marked all of the descriptions in that list of 10,000 which are only repeating information from the disambiguation phrase, and not counting them. If somebody else wants to go through it and mark ones that they think I missed, that's fine, and I'll adjust the estimate.
What we're measuring is partially a judgment call -- what counts as a repeat of the disambiguation phrase? -- so it's not a task that a script can do accurately. It needs a person who can go through descriptions and make that judgment call. I've done that for 10,000 descriptions, and it took me a couple of hours. I can't spend more time looking at a bigger sample.
Development of the magic word is not being delayed until a final decision on numbers is reached. We will build the magic word that overrides the Wikidata description. Making the switch to shut off Wikidata descriptions and only pull from the Wikipedia descriptions will depend on the number that we're talking about. I am suggesting 2 million descriptions, which is significantly lower than my estimate of existing descriptions. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 18:58, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
DannyH (WMF), in my personal life I'm not a fan of carving long term specifics in stone, and the wiki-community also generally deals with things on the fly. If the descriptions get filled in quickly then any target number isn't going to matter much. If things proceed too slowly then some sort of examination of what's happening would probably be warranted anyway. However I can understand some people may be more comfortable if there is a clear target in place. If it's important, I guess I could sign onto a 2-million-or-earlier target. If necessary we could always meet that target by copying wikidata descriptions. Alsee (talk) 18:35, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
Alsee, I think it's helpful to have an estimate to shoot for, so that the community can make the kind of decision that you're referring to -- do we need to copy Wikidata descriptions, or should we try to write them all ourselves? "We need to write 2 million descriptions" is very different from "we need to write a lot of descriptions." -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 22:40, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
Alsee, I agree with your most recent analysis and comment.· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:08, 30 December 2017 (UTC)

This is the key bit:

English Wikipedia editors need to be able to see, edit and effectively moderate the short descriptions on desktop and mobile web, without becoming active Wikidata editors. That requires meaningful integration in Wikipedia watchlists and page history. Those are features that the Wikidata team is working on, but they don't currently exist, and they don't have a timeline for it.

Integration is not possible until this capability is created. The current situation exposes us to prolonged vandalism and thus harms our reputation. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:12, 30 December 2017 (UTC)

I agree with Doc James. We need local editorial control over what is displayed on this Wikipedia. Tony Tan · talk 04:24, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

A proposal to permanently semi-protect the Template space[edit]

Following a series of vandal edits to the template space (here and here, and the ANI about it), MusikAnimal template-protected (without opposition) templates with 5k+ transclusions and semi-protect all those with 1000+ transclusions.

Earlier today a template with 956 transclusions was vandalised.

Due to the fact that the template space isn't widely patrolled, and the potential for great harm to be done in a very short amount of time, I am proposing that all templates be semi-protected. This would likely involve a software change, but I think it's the only way to ensure that major vandalism on a relatively-unused template doesn't sit around for ages, to be seen by the unsuspecting public who might not know how to let us know to fix it.

I briefly discussed this off-wiki with Cyberpower678, who said they would support if there was a minimum transclusion count (10+ was discussed) so I am amenable to that option, but from an administrative standpoint I think it's easier to just batch-protect everything (unless we can get a protect-bot that can autoprotect templates with 10+ transclusions). Primefac (talk) 18:18, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

NOTE: This would not require a "software" change (to apply to an entire namespace), but would require a configuration change in InitialiseSettings.php. See example of auto confirmed being used for the Module: namespace on eswiki (scroll to the bottom of the page). — xaosflux Talk 19:30, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Supportentire space a small transclusion number but not the entire space, per zzuuzz's argument below. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 18:25, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Yeah. OK make it so. net positive -- Dlohcierekim (talk) 18:26, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Having a protect-bot is a little ehh, because it means that anyone can semi-protect any template with less than 10 transclusions by transcluding it..not too much potential for harm there, but still. Galobtter (pingó mió) 18:39, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
    Other than "winning" an edit war, I don't see the how it would be gaming the system to add a few more transclusions to result in semi-prot. Primefac (talk) 18:50, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
I mean, that is a vague problem. But rare. Galobtter (pingó mió) 03:58, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I did indeed say I will support this and I can easily create a bot to enforce this. When I did say 10+ transclusions, I did mean in articlespace. So not too much potential for gaming as mentioned above.—CYBERPOWER (Merry Christmas) 18:42, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Net positive. I love IPs and new editors, but they can either log in and wait 4 days or just wait 4 days to edit the Templates. L3X1 (distænt write) 18:53, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't find zzuzz's argument convincing. "Autoconfirmed socks are easy to come by" If you bother getting your mouse over to the create an account button. Driveby vandals aren't usually socks. And I didn't think this was being proposed as a cure for socking, just vandalism which can be pretty hard to detect. I'm fine for the base limit to be raised to a thousand transclusions or something like that, but SEMI is a very effective anti-vandal lockdown. Also "encyclopedia anyone can edit" doesn't apply here. The template space is maintenance and framework of the encyclopedia, not the content. L3X1 (distænt write) 20:19, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
Oh the number of autoconfirmed socks I've blocked - these are dedicated regular vandals who do this, not drive-bys. But that's a minor point - I disagree with you strongly about the use of templates. Some are indeed maintenance and framework templates (particularly those targeted), but the vast majority of templates (particularly those edited by unregistered users) contain lists, and names, and numbers, and very much form part of the content. -- zzuuzz (talk) 20:36, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment Primefac, wouldn't it be easier just to roll out an ACTRIAL like technical restriction rather than semi-protect every new template? TonyBallioni (talk) 19:08, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
    TonyBallioni, I'm not overly concerned about the creation of templates, I'm concerned about vandalism to templates. The vandalism to Template:Redirect-multi was done almost two years after the page was created. Primefac (talk) 19:24, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
    Right, but what I'm saying is that there may be a way simply to prohibit any editing to templates to non-AC users on en.wiki without having to manually protect them, which would be ideal. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:26, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose basically because of this. This proposal is fine in theory for long standing prominent, widely-used and heavily transcluded templates - typically maintenance templates. However there's a notable maintenance of less common templates by new and unregistered users, including those with dozens of transclusions. I find it's especially notable in sports templates, but several other topics - politics, media, software, all sorts actually. Many of these templates are almost exclusively maintained by unregistered users. Several hundred transclusions would be my floor. I would prefer instead that the current system of caching and purging is improved to reduce any vandalism's longevity. Also, autoconfirmed socks are incredibly easy to come by. -- zzuuzz (talk) 19:12, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
I do see that problem. Don't see why it has to be several hundred transclusions though. Most of those have less than 10 transclusions. Galobtter (pingó mió) 03:58, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
But plenty have more than ten transclusions. It's a figure based on experience. Take some random obscure examples recently edited by unregistered users: Template:Philip K. Dick - 184 transclusions; Template:Syracuse TV - 37 transclusions; Template:Miss International - 64 transclusions; Template:Cryptocurrencies - 109 transclusions; Template:Pixar - 110 transclusions; Template:Flash 99 transclusions. There's a lot like this. -- zzuuzz (talk) 07:22, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit but there are only 159 editors with template editor right. I don't have this right myself and would resent being considered a suspicious vandal by default. We have far too much creeping lockdown of Wikipedia which is tending to kill the project. If such paranoia had been allowed to prevail in the early days, Wikipedia would never have been successful. Andrew D. (talk) 19:51, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
    @Andrew Davidson: This proposal is to semi-protect the templates, not template protect them. Just thought I would clarify that.—CYBERPOWER (Merry Christmas) 20:09, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose zzuuzz's argument is convincing. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:01, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Sort of oppose, sort of support. 10 transclusions is way too low a limit and the devil is in the details. Maybe 100+, or 1000+ and I'd be OK with this. But I feel a better approach might be to simply be identifying templates that do not need to be edited regularly, and semi-protect those (e.g. semi-protect maintenance templates, infoboxes, etc...). But I do not see a need to semi-protect templates like navboxes, for instance. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 21:13, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • comment would it be better, perhaps, to use PC1? seems to me, aht it's a useful way to allow ipusers and new registered to make productive edits, without them going live immediately. (this may, however, require technical changes. -- Aunva6talk - contribs 22:32, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support semi-protting, but ONLY for templates with 250+ transclusions. The vandals are going to be drawn to those templates that are widely used in order to cause chaos, so the simplest thing to do is to semi-protect only those templates that are used in many articles at once. As per usual I oppose CRASHlock on ideological grounds, not to mention that only an idiot would want that many pages CRASHlocked all at once.Jeremy v^_^v Bori! 22:57, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
  • There must be some vague way to figure out if something is a maintenance or content template. Maybe make templates that take parameters semi-protected? Some sort of solution of 10+ transclusions and that. But it'd also have to be designed to prevent abuse. Galobtter (pingó mió) 03:58, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Aside from zzuuzz's points, it would vastly increase the workload on WP:Template editors (and admins who respond to requests that TE's can also do). Yes, non-TEs could respond to template-editing requests on templates that are only semi-protected, but most of them don't know that, and it would likely not be obvious what the protection level was when it came to any particular request. I think a more reasonable proposal would be to semi-protect templates with X number of transclusions. 100? 250? 1000? I'm rather agnostic on the matter. A good thing to do would be to find the sports-specific template that is used on the largest number of pages that is not an infobox (we do not want anons adding or deleting parameters from an infobox, because those templates are a massive WP:DRAMA factory as it is) and not a navobox (because we have rules about them, and anons mostly will not have read them). There are likely football (soccer) templates relating to team roster, uniforms ("kit"), league standings, etc., used on hundreds of articles at least, possible 1000+, to which anons with some experience could meaningfully contribute. Might give us an idea what number we should be thinking about. Anyway, I would actually like to see automatic semi-protection on somewhat-high-use templates as an anti-vandalism method, and also as a means for reducing the number of templates that have template-editor protection for which semi-protection would actually be sufficient. That will not only waste less TE time, it will get us more template development by anons and non-anons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:07, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Excellent arguments made by zzuuzz. I read through the recent changes link, and surprisingly few of the diffs listed were vandalism. We might want to protect highly-used maintenance templates. Perhaps 5000 transclusions would be a good floor for this (from what I've seen at the most-transcluded templates report). Enterprisey (talk!) 05:16, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Vandalism on template is affecting several pages at the same time. Any IP user can propose any meaningful change via edit request which normally doesn't last 24 hours without getting response. –Ammarpad (talk) 09:15, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
    Based on recent data this would affect around 1,500 edits every week. I think most wouldn't even bother making requests, but if even a proportion did I would expect that to increase. -- zzuuzz (talk) 10:53, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I would support a proposal for using a bot to give all templates with more than 10 transclusions semi-protection, or pending changes protection if possible; and to remove semi-protection if templates, having been protected by the bot, have their number of transclusions reduced below 10. Automatic semi-protection of all templates is definitely overkill (having a bot find the number of transclusions is definitely possible), and 5000 as a minimum for semi is definitely too high (I'd say even 500 would work for template protection). Note that none of these would increase the workload of template editors, since they are only needed for editing template-protected templates and modules. The bot could also avoid protecting templates consisting solely of navboxes or sidebars, since they are supposed to be transcluded on many pages by design and are relatively easy to edit. Jc86035 (talk) 11:38, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
  • OP Comment Okay, a few things I've seen that keep popping up:
    First, all templates with 1000+ transclusions are already semi'd (and 5k+ TE'd). This proposal is talking about those with 0-999 transclusions being potentially vandalised.
    Second, the proposal is for semi protection, which would not increase Template Editor's jobs in any way, shape or form. They would of course be welcome to patrol the edit requests for Template-space issues, but not required.
    Third (going off the previous note) the TEs aren't exactly hammered under the weight of responsibility. We get maybe three TPER requests a week.
Just felt I should clarify those things going forward. I will admit that IPs aren't all bad with their changes, especially to Sports templates, but those type of frequently-updated templates are (for the most part) single-season templates that are rarely used on more than 10 pages (which would mean the 10+ option of semiprot wouldn't affect them). If Cyberpower says he can make a bot to do it, then it wouldn't involve any software changes. Primefac (talk) 13:22, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
And for what it's worth, I don't particularly care if we decide on 10+ or 250+ or 500+, but I think there should be some threshold for semi-protecting templates. Primefac (talk) 13:24, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
So... if we (assuming we can) run the numbers, looking at frequency of edits and number of transclusions, what does that graph look like? Is there some evidence based threshold beneath which most IP editors can happily plod along, while the rest of us can avoid having a cock and balls transcluded on a few hundred pages every few weeks? GMGtalk 13:44, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, current protection level works generally well, and vandalism level on templates isn't very high. Openness ("anyone can edit") is more important than restricting vandalism to sleeper accounts. —Kusma (t·c) 18:17, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose blanket protection. zzuuzz's argument is compelling and this is the free encyclopedia that anybody can edit. At a certain number of transclusions, the tradeoff points in the direction of protecting. So I would support an x+ transclusions rule. Malinaccier (talk) 18:28, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, there are template such as sports competitions, sport team lineups, list of stations etc, where IP contributions are mainly constructive and helpful. I could support the x+ protection, though 10 inclusions looks like a low bar for me (a football team lineup is at least 23 + the team + the coach), I would more think about fifty or so.--Ymblanter (talk) 00:00, 25 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is the encyclopedia anyone could edit. Functionally, semi-protecting everything would be great, but its not what we do and it's fundamentally against our ideas. Don't do this kneejerk action. Be smart, and judge it on a case-by-case basis. !dave 08:17, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are many templates that would be perfectly legitimate for newer editors to edit, especially navboxes and the like. I would support semi-protecting everything with 100+ transclusions. We probably should create an edit filter logging newer editor's edits to template namespace, as an aside. ~ Rob13Talk 08:24, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
    @BU Rob13: If you use the new filters form on RC/WL/RCL (see beta preferences), this is all non-EC edits to template space. --Izno (talk) 13:39, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support on templates used more than 100/200 times but Oppose generally. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:59, 30 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose entirely per my response to BU Rob13. The majority of changes made in the template space by non-EC users are good changes; routine updates to navboxes seemingly the majority of such changes. --Izno (talk) 06:32, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Counting transclusions isn't that useful in template vandalism, you really care about page views. If a template is transcluded 30 times, but one of those pages is Obama, it's a highly viewed template and should be protected. But if a stub template is used on a thousand pages that barely get read, protecting it is of little use. Beside that, protecting an entire namespace is an extremely dangerous road to go down IMO. We should always default to open. Legoktm (talk) 07:11, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Semiprotection is not an insurmountable hurdle. The benefit of this proposal outweighs concerns, imo. James (talk/contribs) 14:43, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support with a reasonable threshold of transclusions (say 200?). Peter coxhead (talk) 16:01, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Templates that are used in more than 200 pages should be permanently semi-protected. However, it doesn't seem to be reasonable to semi-protect all templates. I have seen constructive edits made by IP editors to templates. Extended confirmed protection for all the templates that are used to warn users about their edits. Pkbwcgs (talk) 16:49, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support as long as a) there is a transclusion threshold, b) the bot removes protection when a page drops below the transclusion threshold, and c) there is a mechanism to request that a template be unprotected (and a flag that the bot will obey). --Ahecht (TALK
    PAGE
    ) 22:28, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per zzuuzz, Kusma et al. Better to apply whatever protection is required manually on an individual basis. At the end of the day, newby vandals are unlikely to be aware of template space anyway, and those out to deliberately disrupt the project would have no problems about waiting till they're auto-confirmed. Optimist on the run (talk) 11:22, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per zzuuzz et al, Not all IPs are vandals and the other point is "We're an Encyclopedia that anyone can edit" .... we'd be defeating the purpose of the object if we locked all templates, Whilst in theory I agree with this proposal unless we ban all IP editing (which sounds great!) then I think it's best to just stick with semi protecting here and there and blocking here and there. –Davey2010Talk 16:47, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support, no particular opinion on best number for cutoff. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 19:02, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose on ideological grounds. This is the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Protection of so many templates runs contrary with Wikipedia's principles. AdA&D 19:28, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Templates are a gaping hole in our antivandal protection; one edit can splash an offensive image, a WP:BLP-violating message, or even a link to malware across dozens or even hundreds of pages. I feel for our IP editors, but that horse left the barn years ago (and wouldn't even be an issue at all if the WMF listened to its editors with regard to SITE, but that's an entirely different kettle of surstromming). This is something that must be done, because the alternative is to wait until we're forced to - under terms we probably won't get to dictate. - The Bushranger One ping only 07:10, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. WP:IP addresses are not people. IPs are free to do basic editing, but this is a situation where the risk for damage outweighs the benefit of the edit to a template. My second choice would by limited the protection to templates that are used in a dozen or more articles. Dennis Brown - 18:56, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support semi-protecting templates with ~250+ transclusions (or some other reasonable number determined by consensus). Tony Tan · talk 03:59, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

Discussion (permanently semi-protect the Template space)[edit]

  • If the proposal is adopted, then the transclusion count cut-off point should be somewhere above 200. The vast majority of templates are navboxes: they don't get vandalised often and they do requite quite a bit of maintenance that anons are generally able and willing to help out with. – Uanfala (talk) 15:46, 24 December 2017 (UTC)
  • I havent observed the editing history of templates much. But Uanfala's comment above makes sense. Also, by doing this we will take away one more thing from "anybody can edit" thingy. Yes, anybody can edit, but you need an account. Also, you need to wait for 4-5 days, and make 11 edits before you can edit.
    Also, if a vandal who is going to vandalise through templates, i think he is already familiar with concepts of socks, and sleepers. So I dont see much point in implementing these proposals. courtesy ping to Uanfala to let them know that their comment was moved.usernamekiran(talk) 23:44, 24 December 2017 (UTC)
  • The template subspace not only contains templates but also their talk pages. New users should be able to ask for help on the talk pages of templates so the talk pages shouldn't be semiprotected. ChristianKl❫ 22:57, 31 December 2017 (UTC)
    • So far two ideas seem to be floating: one, that a bot protects any template with more than 10 transclusions (uses) or a sitewide configuration change for the template namespace. In neither case would talk pages be affected. :) Killiondude (talk) 03:31, 1 January 2018 (UTC)

Atleast can we have semi-protection for 100+ transclusions? Another incident occured today that shows why it really is needed. {{Sidebar person}} is transcluded on 564 pages, including Donald Trump. Yet it was completely unprotected, and was vandalized by someone so that a huge "fuck donald trump" showed for at least 40 minutes (probably more) at-least 2 hours (based on a reddit post), 2 hours after the vandalism was reverted (only for logged-out users, because apparently they get a cached version of the page - so regular editors did not see it) I'm thinking that after that automatic semi-protection, at admin discretion, maintenance templates that shouldn't be changed much can be preemptively template/semi protected. Galobtter (pingó mió) 11:25, 1 January 2018 (UTC) I'm wondering if there's a smarter way to do it. Templates that are transcluded onto other templates (like that one was) should be protected at a lower count. I'm sure there are reasonable ways so that sports stat templates etc are not protected while ones like these are. Galobtter (pingó mió) 11:52, 1 January 2018 (UTC)

This sub-transclusion problem is of course a major one not addressed above. What today's vandalism shows, yet again, is that it's templates with not merely tens or a hundred of transclusions, but several hundred transclusions. The templates which generated this thread were around 1,000 transclusions. But also the real problem is not the vandalism but the caching and no effective means to bust the caches. -- zzuuzz (talk) 12:03, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
Another tool might be an admin ability to mass purge cache, perhaps cache's generated in a certain period of time (when the template was vandalized) linked to a certain template. Galobtter (pingó mió) 12:15, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
Has anyone confirmed or heard if that was seen on any other page or did it just happen to Donald Trump? Emir of Wikipedia (talk) 16:49, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
Yes others[5][6]. -- zzuuzz (talk) 16:54, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Purge#forcerecursivelinkupdate is interesting Galobtter (pingó mió) 16:56, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
Apparently can force cache update of all transcluded pages.. Galobtter (pingó mió) 16:58, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Another 900-page template got hit this morning. Primefac (talk) 16:38, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
  • 200-page template that got hit, as well as 110-page and 31-page templates. As a minor note, this was after I semi-protected all templates with 350+ transclusions, so while they're still being vandalised, the templates are having a smaller impact as they pick the (to quote Bushranger) "lower-hanging fruit". Primefac (talk) 14:34, 14 January 2018 (UTC)

Hashing out a number[edit]

It looks like about half of the "oppose" votes are opposing the "blanket" semiprot, which I sorta get. That half also mentioned that an alternate option was an "X+ transclusions" option. Seeing as how the % of !votes who would be amenable to that is more than the "hard oppose", I think it's time to flesh out a number. The numbers that were thrown around the most were 10+, 100+, and 250+. So, despite my personal concern that we'll never agree on anything, I'd like to see if we can try. Primefac (talk) 02:21, 4 January 2018 (UTC)

  • 100+ - it's a high enough bar that the sports-type templates that frequently get updated by the helpful IPs won't be affected, but keep "bigger" templates from causing more harm than necessary (and <100 pages is a piece of cake for someone with AWB to null edit in a hurry). Primefac (talk) 02:21, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
    250+ per the comments below. Still a low bar for AWB/null edits. Primefac (talk) 13:56, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • 250+; I've made my reasons why clear above. —Jeremy v^_^v Bori! 02:27, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
  • 250+ or 10+ semi-protected pages. (I'm not sure this suggestion is feasible) Templates like Template:Duke Blue Devils men's basketball navbox should be able to stay unprotected. Templates transcluded on high-profile pages should have a lower threshold. power~enwiki (π, ν) 11:56, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
    Wait, are we talking semi-protection, or pending-changes protection? I could support pending-changes for the entire namespace. power~enwiki (π, ν) 12:17, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
    @Power~enwiki: I don't think the software supports pending changes in templates, as the software will always transclude the latest version. I can't find where I read that, though. -- John of Reading (talk) 07:23, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
    Not to mention that that would be too much of a strain on the hive of idiots that is CRASH. Like I said above, only utter fools would want so many pages CRASHlocked. —Jeremy v^_^v Bori! 20:36, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
  • No numbers please. If we came up with a rule that references a particular number I'm afraid this will have the effect of discouraging the exercise of common sense. If there's any take-home message from the above discussion, it is that the circumstances vary between templates and that some basic judgement should be exercised. If a template is unlikely to ever be edited – say, if it's simply a wrapper for a module, or it produces some very simple code that is unlikely to be changed – then it may be protected even if it has a low number of transclusions (say, 30). On the other hand, if it's a large template that is likely to need some sort of regular maintenance (like a navbox) then it usually doesn't make sense to protect it, even if it's got thousands of transclusions. – Uanfala (talk) 15:23, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
    The entire reason for this discussion is because of the increasing frequency of vandalism regarding templates with hundreds of transclusions, since it grossly disrupts articles the template is then transcluded on; hence the numbers. Blanket semi-protection of the Template: space isn't workable or viable, so the goal should be to eliminate the most tempting low-hanging fruit to prevent this sort of vandalism. —Jeremy v^_^v Bori! 21:43, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
  • My druthers would be to protect all of them, as only protecting "the most tempting low-hanging fruit" will simply make the fruit on the next branch up increase in temptation value. But if a number must be set, 10+. - The Bushranger One ping only 07:10, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the same is true with semi-protection, it isn't difficult to reach autoconfirmed level with trivial edits, even in a sandbox... —PaleoNeonate – 10:39, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
Template vandalism is virtually always drive-by, however. Setting up an autocon-buster takes time, and since the goal of these accounts is to cause disruption for a quick laugh then move on, that takes more time and dedication than they are willing to spend. —Jeremy v^_^v Bori! 17:48, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
  • 250+ is a reasonable number. Tony Tan · talk 04:02, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I'd be fine with 250+, yes. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:48, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

RfC: Cross-wiki redirects to Wiktionary[edit]

Should cross-wiki recirects to Wiktionary be deleted, all or in part? Huon (talk) 00:46, 26 December 2017 (UTC)

Survey (Cross-wiki redirects to Wiktionary)[edit]

  • Delete all Huon (talk) 00:46, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Save prefix/suffixes. For instance: -ic, -izzle, Petro-, -ous, it seems appropriate for these. Brightgalrs (/braɪtˈɡæl.ərˌɛs/)[1] 13:56, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Delete them all. I've always hated this cross-project redirects, and interwiki search results make them even less useful. FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY [u+1F602] 18:34, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Delete all per NOTDICTIONARY, which they basically turn us into. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:13, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Delete all yeah, don't see the value in them, NOTDICTIONARY and all that. Galobtter (pingó mió) 19:24, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Delete all, unless the search filters out the results for a term (e.g. " ", though that page isn't a Wiktionary redirect). Jc86035 (talk) 08:54, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Keep {{wiktionary redirect}} is not really a cross-wiki redirect, it's little more than a replacement for the standard "Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name" message, and doesn't over-emphasize Wiktionary, but is infinitely more useful for readers that get there via a wikilink or google search.--Ahecht (TALK
    PAGE
    ) 17:48, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep. I don't understand the rationale behind this proposal. {{wiktionary redirect}} serves a valuable function in helping to prevent the creation of dict-def articles. olderwiser 20:56, 5 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep. I think this keeps Wikipedia from being a dictionary. Otherwise we'd have articles that would be a definition. The soft redirect highlights the difference without leaving users in a lurch. Users are unlikely to click on a red link and then search and then click on the wiktionary suggestion. Nessie (talk) 17:03, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep all per NessieVL's reasoning above. WP:NOTDICTIONARY says "Wikipedia is not a dictionary, phrasebook, or a slang, jargon or usage guide" (emphasis added). Linking to a dictionary does not make Wikipedia a dictionary just like linking to YouTube does not make it a video sharing platform. The redirect serves a valuable function in cases of (accidental) linking and actively prevents users from creating dictionary entries by making it clear that someone has already thought about it and decided that this is not a subject that should have an article. The template's documentation already limits the usage to a few cases but those are useful ones. Regards SoWhy 10:31, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep per the rationales above. The links to Wiktionary help direct readers to the actual dictionary definition, which prevents a duplicate article from being created here. --Jayron32 16:38, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Delete all - Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Jack1956 (talk) 00:42, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Delete all per others and WP:NOTDICT, especially now that interwiki search results exist. Even when some users use a gadget via preferences settings to opt-out/hide the results, I don't see necessity to preserve all crosswiki redirects to Wiktionary entries as they take up a lot space and lack valuable encyclopedic content. Some of them can be either converted to or reincarnated as encyclopedic articles. Well, I perceive potential re-creations of some crosswiki redirects to those entries, but that's something that can be individually raised at RfD (or DRV) in the future. I wonder whether WP:G4 applies to those redirects if deleted per this discussion and then re-created.

    WP:R#KEEP guideline shows what reasons are to avoid deleting redirects; however, even when R#KEEP is enforceable for those redirects, I don't see how preserving those crosswiki redirect pages helps improve Wikipedia. Even the conditions of WP:R#DELETE aren't met for most of them. WP:GUIDES says to make some exceptions and use common sense in case that the guideline doesn't help much.

    Other things already do the same roles that those redirects do. Disambiguation pages and {{Wiktionary}} are sufficient enough and can take over the roles of those cross-wiki (soft) redirects. In response to an argument saying that those redirects are meant to prevent dictionary entries, the protection system, which includes creation-protection and EC-protection, already does the role (but by preventing re-creation) if things get out of hand. George Ho (talk) 09:23, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

Your argument fails to take into account direct links to such pages (R#KEEP #2 and #4), which includes links from other websites. People coming from such sites are not helped by the fact that the search does find Wiktionary entries now. As for the idea that they "take up a lot of space", Wikipedia:Don't worry about performance. So far neither you nor anyone else arguing for deletion has explained how WP:NOTDICT applies to links to a dictionary (because the page certainly does not say so) or how the project actually benefits from deletion (which is basically what WP:R#DELETE requires). Regards SoWhy 16:45, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep all, per SoWhy. Those that can be converted to articles certainly should be, but anyone can be BOLD and do that. As for the rest, if we leave these as redlinks, people are persistently going to be driven to recreate them, and it's really not plausible to create-protect 1300+ pages. ♠PMC(talk) 09:57, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep all until someone can point to several AfDs that have shown a clear consensus to delete individual cases. The purpose of NOTDICTIONARY is to ensure that people don't make fake articles that consist merely of a definition padded with some Google hits—an article needs encyclopedic content about the topic, but the cases being discussed are explicitly not articles. Johnuniq (talk) 21:34, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Delete all - per above and WP:NOTDICT. Hummerrocket (talk) 00:41, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep all. WP:NOTDICT is the reason these redirects exist, not a reason to delete them. The project would not be improved by this; in fact, quite the opposite, as there would suddenly be several hundred odd redlinks, that 1. would no longer be directing people to where they could find the information they want (interesting tip: not everyone uses, or knows how to use, search, so "interwiki searches exist" is not a viable reason either) and 2. acting as bait for people to create content that does fall foul of NOTDICT. Unless it's being suggested that every wiktionary redirect come with a serving of WP:SALT on the former title? In short: this wouldn't improve the encyclopedia, it would in fact harm the encyclopedia and have well-within-reasonable-plausibiity potential for further harm, and would require additional work from editors afterwards. (Also, did someone seriously say delete them because they take up space? DWAP aside, redirects take less server space than deletions do...) - The Bushranger One ping only 07:02, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I didn't think this would be so evenly split, otherwise I would've chimed in sooner. Of course these should be kept per what Bushranger and others above me have said. Killiondude (talk) 07:07, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep per The Bushranger. MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:48, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep. The Bushranger sums it up perfectly, so I won't parrot him and just say I completely agree. Dennis Brown - 18:54, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep all per SoWhy, The Bushranger. These redirects exist because of WP:NOTDICT, not in spite of it. From a practical standpoint, like it or not, there will be people who try and use Wikipedia like a dictionary, and in those cases, we should direct them to Wiktionary, which is the sister project that is actually a dictionary. Having these redirects informs the above people of Wikitionary's existence and prevents them from creating half-assed dic-def pages that Wikipedia would then have to delete. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 16:32, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep all per The Bushranger who's put it better than I ever could - These redirects all serve a useful purpose so as such should all be kept. –Davey2010Talk 16:44, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep all, per Bushranger mostly. But also because some people might think it's worth linking food items in a sentence like "he had the soupe du jour and a croissant". Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:53, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Keep per The Bushranger. Ckoerner (talk) 21:00, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

Threaded discussion (Cross-wiki redirects to Wiktionary)[edit]

There are some 1,300+ cross-wiki redirects to Wiktionary, many of them making use of Template:Wiktionary redirect. Since the default search has been adapted to show results from sister projects (including Wiktionary) when there's no WP page of that title, those redirects don't serve much of a purpose any more. The template was recently nominated for deletion; the discussion resulted in "speedy keep" and a finding that the fate of the redirects should be discussed at the village pump instead. So I'm bringing it here. The only redirects that arguably still serve a purpose are those where the Wiktionary page redirected to doesn't share a name with the WP page with the redirect. So keeping those and only deleting those where target name and origin name are identical is an option. Personally I don't think that's worthwhile. Huon (talk) 00:46, 26 December 2017 (UTC)

  • No comments on the merits of this proposal.As the closer of the original TfD, this is the correct venue for such discussions.Regards:)Winged BladesGodric 08:29, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Support this deletion. And yes, a discussion here is the right way to handle these, not a TFD discussion (although a case could be made for a mass-RFD, a discussion here is probably better). עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 10:35, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
  • If there is a mass deletion, would links to the deleted pages be changed to wikt links? Or failing that, notification sent to authors/watchers of pages linking to the redirects so that editors can update pages? Nessie (talk) 13:31, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
  • What do you all think should be done with a page such as Floccinaucinihilipilification (one of the soft redirects affected by this proposal)? Redlinked, so that people will keep trying to create it? Hard redirect directly to the Wikitionary entry? "Just not have these pages" is an unlikely outcome, since many of these soft redirects are already protected due to repeated re-creation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:52, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
  • Are we sure that all people likely to end up on such soft redirects come to the soft redirects via the site search? Direct links to Wikipedia pages do exist, as does Google search. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 10:53, 29 December 2017 (UTC)

Linking[edit]

I think the real issue is about linking, where most people will see these pages - should they be linked (they currently are somewhat), or should the wiktionary entry be directly linked, or is it that there is no reason to ever link them (or if there is, there should be an article instead of redirect)? If they shouldn't be linked I think they should be deleted to prevent linking. Galobtter (pingó mió) 10:25, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

I'm unsure whether MOS:LINK and WP:Red link help resolve this situation. I see cute hoor and moonless not used in mainspace pages. Local battery and cocksucker are used by a few pages. Per annum is used by multiple pages. See others at Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Wiktionary redirect. George Ho (talk) 11:07, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

Should mathematical Equations be text instead of images?[edit]

There have been many times that I have wanted to use mathematical equations I found on Wikipedia, so that I could put them into a text document or online calculator like wolfram alpha and realized that they were inline images rather than formatted text. If I just want the equation as is, that would be fine, but I often want to use the equation or slightly edit it, and images are not usable. I just have to open multiple tabs and hand copy it over.

I am not sure how this would be implemented, but it would help end users like me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michalchik (talkcontribs) 23:01, 8 January 2018 (UTC)

I'm confused. Taking a few examples from template:math:
f(x)=bx=y
and
1/21/3=1/6
copy/paste just fine from WP directly into Wolfram Alpha for me using Win10 and Google Chrome.
+∞
0
ex dx=1
does not. From the above, though, I'm not sure what alternative presentation you are suggesting. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 02:49, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
@Wtmitchell: A) The user is probably commenting on <math> tags, which for B) the majority of users and all readers (not logged in users) are served images, rather than some obviously copy-and-pasteable stuff. --Izno (talk) 03:35, 9 January 2018 (UTC)

Having mathematical equations as text seems to make sense for me - after all they are not images. Vorbee (talk) 11:53, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

@Whatamidoing thanks for the ping. It would be great if average users could copy equations on Wikipedia the same way as on other websites. For example two days ago user:Elcap wrote: "Bei der Schreibweise der Formeln und den Einheiten habe ich Probleme, seitdem ich Windows 10 habe. Die Formeln und Einheiten mit "math" geschrieben werden beim Kopieren nicht in Word eingefügt, deshalb in geschriebener Weise." [7] (=he cannot copy equations into microsoft word) I did not enquire further since the discussion was on improving the article, but from my expericence with <math>, the very old "use html for simple formulas" was copyable, the png images could be copied as images (with obvious drawbacks), MathJax (as opt-in for registered users) was copyable and the current rendering is not, unless you are for example a firefox user and have installed the "MathML Copy" addon.
My suggestion would be to use MathJax like on math.stackexchange.com, however it appears to be difficult to integrate into MediaWiki and my proposal [8] did not get enough votes. I hope this changes with MathJax 3.0 (a first alpha version was released recently) which has built in support for node.js.--Debenben (talk) 17:05, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
@Michalchik: In Preferences -> Appearance, there is a 'Math' section that lets you chose between "PNG images", "LaTeX source (for text browsers)", or "MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools)" - does the last one in particular handle this issue? Is it not the default for readers/new users? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:34, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
Mike Peel, you are correct that MathML is the default. But I believe User:Izno is also correct to say that most readers are getting the "SVG or PNG fallback" instead of the MathML. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:26, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

Emergency role account[edit]

Could a role account be created, in the same vein as User:Oversight, to contact the emergency team? The email address for emergency, visible at Wikipedia:Emergency, could be assigned to the account to make it easy to email via the interface. Conveniently, User:Emergency is not registered. Home Lander (talk) 18:30, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

Attempting to create that account results in it saying "Username entered already in use. Please choose a different name." Emir of Wikipedia (talk) 20:05, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
Image of it at Imgur here https://imgur.com/a/ogwKH --Emir of Wikipedia (talk) 20:07, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
That name is already registered, yes. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:07, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
Suppose there's no chance in hell that that account, since it appears to be a blocked sock on fr (am I correct?), could be renamed to something else to vacate the username? Home Lander (talk) 20:19, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
JSutherland (WMF) might be the one to ask about this (or he would at least know who the correct person to ask is.) TonyBallioni (talk) 20:24, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
I'll shoot him a message. Home Lander (talk) 20:53, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
Why not User:EmergencyContact? It's not registered on any wiki. —Jeremy v^_^v Bori! 21:46, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
It would work, it just wouldn't match up exactly with WP:Emergency, like Oversight does. I've already sent JSutherland (WMF) an email as described above. Home Lander (talk) 21:50, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
Received :) This is something we'd need to chat about as a team, though. Joe Sutherland (WMF) (talk) 22:20, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, this is something we can ask for but emergency response is done by the back office, so it’s pretty much up to them if they want to do this. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:36, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

Ping Home Lander, et al. – We spoke about this as a team, and have basically come to the conclusion that this isn't something we need to give an okay for. If the community wants for there to be a specific role account for this purpose then we can look into it, though I would probably suggest an RfC or something similar to judge if it's something the community would find useful. Joe Sutherland (WMF) (talk) 20:05, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

Hello again Joe. Sounds like a plan. I have not before opened an RFC, but it seems to me that Wikipedia proposals would be the most appropriate location for something like this? Home Lander (talk) 23:02, 19 January 2018 (UTC)
That seems as good a place as any, it can also be listed at WP:CENT to draw more community input. I’ve done quite a number of RFCs, if you need any further advice/assistance with it let me know. (I’ve also written an essay on the subject but it is more aimed things likely to be controversial, which this hopefully will not be.) Beeblebrox (talk) 00:07, 20 January 2018 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox:  Done here. First time I've done this, so if I've done anything really stupid, feel free to trout me. Home Lander (talk) 00:54, 20 January 2018 (UTC)
Looks fine, I’ve added it to CENT. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:57, 20 January 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Pinging Joe and Beeblebrox: Per [9] the RfC is closed. Can we have a foundation member with access to the emergency email being the process of creating this account? Home Lander (talk) 22:01, 21 January 2018 (UTC)

Modest Proposal: Editors must read the Text or Author on which they edit prior to editing[edit]

Consensus is that all editors are hereby banned from editing articles they've not read or have no knowledge about, Anyone caught doing so will be indeffed. –Davey2010Talk 16:40, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

While I feel Uanfala's pain, WP:RANDY has always been here, Randy will always be here, and Randy lives in all of us (even as we are all made of WP:CHEESE). - The Bushranger One ping only 06:55, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
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Early snow. This isn't going anywhere and isn't likely to do so. — TransporterMan (TALK) 16:50, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Too many of our bloviating editors presume to edit articles on authors and texts which they have not themselves read. This problem is legion in the Philosophy section of the encylopedia, where the illiterati rule with an iron fist. I propose that no editor should be allowed to edit any article on a text or author without having read the text or author themselves, and that violators should be exiled or rebuked publicly with a scarlet letter. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 47.16.203.5 (talkcontribs) 2018-01-12T14:35:21 (UTC)

  • Support Capital idea. Implement with furious speed. 47.16.203.5 (talk) 15:21, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Impossible until we solve thoughtcrime. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:24, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Super-duper oppose. People writing about or commenting on topics they know absolutely nothing about are the life and blood of the encyclopedia. If they got removed, then Wikipedia as we know it will cease to exist. – Uanfala (talk) 15:46, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per others, entirely unenforceable, and violators should be exiled or rebuked publicly with a scarlet letter smacks of trolling. ―Mandruss  16:00, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I propose that no editor should be allowed to propose a new policy without having read the existing policy themselves, WP:PRIMARY. The proposal also assumes you need to have read Wittgenstein to edit his date of birth... pffft. Cabayi (talk) 16:05, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Question. How would we know whether or not a would-be-editor has read an article?Vorbee (talk) 16:26, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Assume good faith is a core principle; we assume editors have read material that they are citing in an article. If it becomes a pattern that an editor is not at all representing what sources say to the point of being disruptive, we deal with that on a case-by-case basis. --Masem (t) 16:43, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
  • Now seriously, even though there is probably no way we could do anything about that, we could at least acknowledge the problem, can't we? I don't think I'm the only one who's had to, time and again, deal with article content or !votes in discussions done in perfectly good faith but afflicted with misunderstandings and misinterpretations at various levels of subtleness or grossness, and which would never have been there if the editor who contributed them had had the most rudimentary awareness of the overall context of the topic. – Uanfala (talk) 19:57, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Reverse support. If an editor has read the text or author that is the subject of an article, they now have a COI and should not be allowed to edit the article. Natureium (talk) 20:00, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I'd be happy if people just read the article before editing it. The number of times I have to revert due to someone apparently not doing so is legion, eg: in the last couple of days at Bhagat Singh. It won't happen, of course, and I'm not daft enough to propose it. - Sitush (talk) 20:21, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
How many nesting levels of closing and hatting are we going to get? – Uanfala (talk) 20:29, 13 January 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Update post-edit confirmation (resolved)[edit]

You know the little "Your edit was saved" box that appears at the top of the screen? Now that the button that makes it appear has been renamed from "Save" to "Publish changes", the post-edit notification should be updated to "Your edit was published". It's needlessly confusing to click "Publish changes" only to be told your edit was "Saved", and avoiding this sort of confusion was the motivation (link fixed) for renaming the Save button in the first place. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 13:06, 13 January 2018 (UTC)

Redirect _ to Underscore (character)[edit]

Redirect http://en.wikipedia.org.mevn.net/wiki/_ to Underscore (character) Care to differ or discuss with me? The Nth User 04:09, 15 January 2018 (UTC)

In that case, what if it led to the standard bad title page, but with links at the bottom to Underscore (character) and Space (punctuation)? Care to differ or discuss with me? The Nth User 02:01, 16 January 2018 (UTC)
If I've understood correctly you're asking for a change to Wikimedia code that has no function other than to allow something useful to appear when a user types an underscore into the search box. I don't know what the developers' priority queue looks like, but I wouldn't count on that bubbling to the top of it any time soon, or ever. --Trovatore (talk) 02:15, 16 January 2018 (UTC)
@Trovatore: These can easily be changed at places like MediaWiki:Title-invalid-empty and MediaWiki:Badtitletext. You can find more here. Nihlus 02:25, 16 January 2018 (UTC)
Ah. Well, I did say "if I've understood correctly" :-). --Trovatore (talk) 04:09, 16 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I fail to see the point in this .... If you didn't know the name of it then you'd search "_" but I'd imagine 99.99999% of the world knows what an underscore is. –Davey2010Talk 16:35, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Underscores are url representations of spaces. Titles cannot start or end with a space per Wikipedia:Naming conventions (technical restrictions)#Spaces and underscores. An exception for an isolated space would require a MediaWiki change and be confusing. Many features stripping leading and trailing spaces would need adaptation. Different wikis would want to redirect it to different names or make it an article so I assume " " (one space) would become a valid title linked with [[ ]] and [[_]]. The name would be invisible unless you also make a MediaWiki change saying that a single space is displayed as an underscore unlike all other spaces. This creates more confusion. If you make a redirect on "_" without making it a real page then you confuse people trying to edit the page or find its code. And I don't find it "obvious" that a single underscore or space in the url or search box means that a user is looking for an article about those characters. It could just as well be a software or human error. The top article at User:West.andrew.g/Popular pages is currently "-" with 10 million views in a week. How many of those were actually looking for that character? PrimeHunter (talk) 18:02, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
To be fair, most of the hits on - are coming from the Blackboard Safeassign web spider, not real users (see phab:T150990). --Ahecht (TALK
PAGE
) 21:22, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Going to "_" doesn't work and brings up "The requested page title is empty or contains only the name of a namespace." Adding a link to just an underscore doesn't work (see here: [[_]]) (I didn't use nowiki tags). —MRD2014 Talk 00:55, 22 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Technical reasons as outlined above. In fact, it's basically impossible and we'd probably reject a Phab request to do it. Suggest closing this proposal. FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY [u+1F602] 05:54, 22 January 2018 (UTC)

RFC on Terms for Admins[edit]

Aside from the OP, I make it one in favor and 21 against. There's clearly an overwhelming consensus that this would be unworkable, and equally clearly not going to be any consensus formed in favor of this, and there's no point having an ever-expanding thread of pile-on opposes clogging the Village Pump for 30 days. If someone can actually suggest how effective recall procedures would work rather than just saying that we really ought to have them, feel free to propose them as a fresh RFC. ‑ Iridescent 16:55, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should there be a term for adminship, after which if an admin wants to continue as admin needs to go through another RFA? Sir Joseph (talk) 15:18, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

Survey: Terms for admins[edit]

  • Oppose term limitslimited terms, but support effective recall procedures. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 15:44, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    To clarify, this is not for term limits, rather for terms of office. So an admin, under this proposal, can serve for 10 years, once they pass the RFA after every term. Sir Joseph (talk) 15:52, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    Thanks, fixed. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 16:00, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support terms and also to echo SarekofVulcan there does need to be a real method of recall. I suggest for terms, a two year term. Sir Joseph (talk) 15:52, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    Two year terms? There are currently 1200 admins. That's 50 RfA's per month, 11 per week. Since an RfA runs for one week that means 11 simultaneous RfA's running continuously, and even that assumes that they will be evenly distributed. Completely unfeasible. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 20:14, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose the whole reason en.wiki has gone with the whole “in good behavior” model is that the unique political environment we are in would make it so that admins in any area would be afraid to make the correct calls. Look at the most recent RfB (where I opposed, but I think it’s a good example): you have an admin who was doing his job in good faith and in line with policy facing calls for a desysop because he was conservative on CSD. I’d hate to imagine what the admins who actively work AE and ANI would face. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:56, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose I don't like the prospect of essentially forcing recalls on every single administrator. We shouldn't be putting admins in good standing through multiple RfAs; I recommend focusing on something that actively works to remove the admins in which the community has lost trust instead. Nihlus 16:02, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    • We already have that in the form of an ArbCom case request: they are very effective and serve both to protect the community from abusive admins and to prevent rage-based desysops at ANI. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:08, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
      • Yes, I know. However, the trend as of late is to establish a selective recall process of some sort that the community controls. However, the myriad of proposals (including this one) put forth so far have been underwhelming and entirely miss the mark. Nihlus 16:13, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Per TonyBallioni; oh god, yes he is somewhat single-minded in RfA's and being conservative in CSDs but that's not desyopable. I think an AE admin would have a smorgasbord of "oppose - blocks experienced editors too quick", "oppose - doesn't block quick enough", "oppose - has double-standards in blocking". On the number of RfAs, wonder how many less RfAs would be there assuming not automatic running, and so most inactive admins won't - but then you'd lose admins etc. Galobtter (pingó mió) 16:14, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per this. Any other discussion seems like overkill for a fairly clear SNOW fail. ―Mandruss  16:27, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    How many of them are active, and how many would want to continue should an RFA be required? Sir Joseph (talk) 16:37, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    In other words, many admins will commit adminisuicide rather than submit to another grueling RfA, so the problem isn't as bad as 12 per week. That's !wonderful reasoning—never mind that 3 per week would be more than we could handle. No, the sensible thing is to deal with the few bad ones and leave the many others alone. If the mechanism for dealing with the few bad ones needs improvement, this proposal isn't going to accomplish that. ―Mandruss  16:55, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - Wonderful idea, We can lose more and more admins after each year and then we become just like Simple English Wikipedia .... That sounds a great plan I fully support it can you tell ?. –Davey2010Talk 16:31, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    I can tell that this is clearly sarcastic. Emir of Wikipedia (talk) 16:45, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    You're very perceptive. ―Mandruss  16:57, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    I assume they had some help with that Face-wink.svg Regards SoWhy 16:33, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Mostly per TonyBallioni, but I also share the concerns of SarekOfVulcan. At least at the beginning, the number of RFAs running at a time would be overwhelming. The number of administrators both active and inactive would slowly drop, further starving the project of active administrators willing to deal with conflicts. --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 16:35, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose This looks like a solution in search of a problem. Unless we have a serious issue with dormant administrators returning and making catastrophic mistakes - which we don't - there is no purpose to this proposal. Yunshui  16:53, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • 'Oppose. Mechanisms exist to remove egregiously bad admins, and this proposal would just deter people from engaging in controversial work and overwhelm RFA. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 17:02, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose At the moment we have 1,240 admins. If each of these was required to go through RfA after two years, and every two years thereafter until desysopped, this would mean that on average twelve reconfirmation RfAs would be started every week (one every fourteen hours or so), and that's in addition to the new admin candidates (there were 40 RfAs in 2017, or one every nine days). Quite apart from the fact that a number of admins would not wish to go through the whole RfA process even once after their original RfA, could we get an appropriate level of interest from the regular RfA voting crew without tedium setting in? The whole notion is impractical. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 17:09, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    Oh, I see that SarekOfVulcan has already written much the same thing (subsection below). I stand by my argument. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 17:12, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Such extensive rights should be revalidated at a regular interval. The process for doing so might be streamlined or refocussed to look at what the editor had done with the admin functions. The recent reconfirmation of Harrias shows that it need not be a big deal. Note that, as the years pass and the amount of fresh blood is now limited, the admin corps may increasingly become a gerontocracy. This does not seem balanced or sensible when arbcom is subject to the comparatively stringent process of an identity check and regular annual elections. Andrew D. (talk) 17:32, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    Your behaviour at RfA has repeatedly dissuaded a significant number of candidates from running at RfA, and it is your behaviour which dissuades a significant portion of the community actually committing to a sensible re-validation proposal. I don't think the community will begin to countenance a re-validation system when there are users such as yourself who make ridiculous and entirely unhelpful comments at venues such as RfA. Nick (talk) 18:03, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    What is this significant number? Please list some of these candidates and provide evidence that they have been dissuaded. Andrew D. (talk) 19:55, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose IMO this is a Wikipedia:Don't be high-maintenance RFC. There are other avenues for removing an admin who is not meeting the standards set for them. MarnetteD|Talk 17:42, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Redrose64, it just isn't practical. --Cameron11598 (Talk) 18:01, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Meh - It's logistically prohibitive, as pointed out by others. And would probably mostly just end up clearing out a bunch of old timers, who are mostly harmless, if occasionally annoying. GMGtalk 18:13, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. One of the inevitable effects of an active adminship is that you will piss off spammers, COI editors, and zealots, even if only by the neutral and dispassionate closure of discussions in conformity with a consensus that disagrees with them. It is likely that an automatic reconfirmation procedure would become a magnet for the disaffected to make trouble for those who moderated the project to their dissatisfaction. I would support a reasonable recall procedure where the need can be demonstrated by showing bad admin conduct separate from merely disputed admin actions. bd2412 T 19:18, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose periodic reconfirmations/refra's for all admins. I'd rather see inactivity reforms, perhaps with reconfirmation required for barely active admins that want to retain tools. — xaosflux Talk 19:22, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose , concurring with  xaosflux. Besides which, this RfC is a perennial proposal which has never gained traction. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 19:43, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose aw HELL No... it is a bit like asking the diciplinarian parent to stand for reelection. The kids have more votes than the parents. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 19:48, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - As others have said above, it would inhibit the work of any admin who is active an areas like AE, ANI, etc. We need admins who can act without fear of reprisal. I agree an effective (or more effective) means for recall could be helpful. And an inactivity review (perhaps just confidence/no confidence !votes). But new RFAs each term is extreme. EvergreenFir (talk) 19:51, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose limited terms per TonyBallioni and bd2412, but support an effective recall process as suggested by SarekOfVulcan. Tony Tan · talk 19:55, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose This proposal stands to do more harm than good. It doesn't actually stand to do much good at all. I'd like to see a more streamlined method of admin removal but not a system where someone loses their adminship because they can't get enough votes because a campaigning troll is pissed off at them because they were banned for behaving outside of wiki norms. A system like this stands to just do that.-Serialjoepsycho- (talk) 01:41, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Reconfirm administrators. All of the reasons mentioned there still apply, especially the huge amount of time wasted for having 12+ of those RfAs each week. Regards SoWhy 16:30, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per most of the above, in particular Tony. Suggest SNOW Close. -Ad Orientem (talk) 16:42, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

Discussion: Terms for admins[edit]

There have been previous discussions on this; anyone know some? Galobtter (pingó mió) 15:38, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

Listed as perennial at Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Reconfirm administrators. ―Mandruss  15:40, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
Hmm, no recent, within few years discussion listed there on this Galobtter (pingó mió) 15:45, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
What is the rationale for this proposal? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:56, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
For me, it's that we should not have lifers. We have admins who were granted the power a decade ago, we also have admins who come on once or twice a year. Everywhere else in the world some sort of power structure routinely has a tenure and a need for renewal. We should not grant people admin powers and then leave it in such a way that the bar to remove those powers are difficult. Sir Joseph (talk) 15:59, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
@Sir Joseph: At minimum you need to include your rationale in your !vote, else it's a !!vote (aka vote). ―Mandruss  16:02, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Our system is roughly like the US courts and most appointed upper houses: places where people are put specifically to make unpopular decisions that need to be made sometimes. The community recognizes this, and gives admins protection because of it. ArbCom can remove when needed, and normally does once a case has been accepted. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:06, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
I understand that, but what do we do about certain "super admins?" You're a fairly new admin and if you screw up, you could be removed, but there are admins that have such a cemented adminship that they are untouchable, and they know it, and everyone else knows it. We do need a better way of dealing with admins who should not be admins. Going to ARBCOM is such a big deal, perhaps an RFC/U or RFC for removal of adminship is something we can work on. But I also don't think being an admin should be a lifetime job. Sir Joseph (talk) 16:36, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
TRM and Salvidrim! were both desysoped, and they both were/are popular with large segments of the community and had been longstanding admins. The advantage of the ArbCom process is that it allows much wider community consultation than the noticeboards (upwards of 50 people commented on the Mister Wiki case request), it allows a thorough examination of the facts, and it forces a desysop to only occur when a cross section of the community has approved it: the committee is the only body that is elected by the community at large, and with around 2,000 people voting for it is much more representative than any noticeboard discussion could be. The solution if you don't like the current committee is to run or have people who think like you run. The solution if you think more admins should be desysoped for abusing their role is to file a case request. There is nothing stopping anyone from doing either. The fact that people don't I think shows that the system works as intended: if something an admin does isn't worth the ArbCom case it likely isn't a big enough deal to desysop. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:46, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
No, it could also show that a person is not willing to put himself in the crosshairs. Let's say I want you desysopped. I post on your page that I am requesting you to step down, or open yourself up to recall. You, and your posse, will then have it out for me. There are cliques here, ,and I think you will admit to that. Whether this passes or not, there has to be a better way of dealing with removal of sysop tools. An ARBCOM case should not be the only option. I have a couple of admins in mind who I think should not be admins but there is nothing I can do about it. Were I to post an ARBCOM case, the posse will come out, all oppose and then I'd be blocked most likely. Sir Joseph (talk) 17:29, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

@Mandruss and Sir Joseph: sorry about the mis-sign (the script read it). Whomever is proposing this RfC should use a full signature rather than just having the date so we know who to address questions to. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:01, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

Ok. Sir Joseph, please sign your RfC.Mandruss  16:03, 17 January 2018 (UTC) @Sir Joseph: Never mind, I did it for you after waiting over ten minutes. ―Mandruss  16:15, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

There are currently 1240 admins, according to WP:ADMIN. With two-year terms, that's as many 12 RFAs per week, continuously. That's not practical. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 16:10, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

That might only be if all 1240 are active and want an RFA, which is something to consider. Sir Joseph (talk) 16:36, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
Say 33% decide not to run again. That would take it down to 8 RFAs per week, again continuously, for at least 2 years. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 17:04, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

If people think RFA is horrible now, wait until some of these reconfirmation RFAs are put up. --NeilN talk to me 17:06, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

Most unlkely that there will be a stampede by admins standing for reconfirmation on a voluntary basis. It's already been stated in several places that this is such a rare occurence, it's not even worth discussing. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 19:49, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Move some talk-page templates to page itself[edit]

I think that templates such as {{image requested}}, {{map requested}}, and {{infobox requested}} should be placed on a page itself instead of its talk page, in line with most other cleanup templates. KMF (talk) 18:12, 20 January 2018 (UTC)

That'd be a problem because cleanup templates are for problems and there is no universal agreement that the absence of infoboxes, maps or images on a given article is one. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:10, 20 January 2018 (UTC)
I would agree with Jo-Jo Eumerus and oppose this proposal. There are quite a lot who already complain that too many articles languish with clean-up templates on them for years and years without the underlying issues ever being addressed. Adding to that burden with "image requested" templates on vast numbers of pages helps noone, nor can anyone just nip out and resolve the issue, as they can by editing the article itself and addressing content or style concerns. Flagging pages for image or a map wanted are merely desiderata for improvements, best left to the Talk page. I could be pursuaded that flagging up an absent Infobox/taxobox is worth highlighting on the main page, but that wasn't what you were proposing. Regards, Nick Moyes (talk) 14:00, 21 January 2018 (UTC)
Disagree - Though i agree that images are one of the most important portions of an article, i think cleanup templates and so forth are already too prominent. The average user who never has any interest in editing will just think it’s a worthless article that even editors disdain. It’s better if they don’t see how hard the swan is kicking. Nessie (talk) 16:00, 21 January 2018 (UTC)