WikiIndex talk:Policies and Guidelines

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Talk on article page[edit]

While I am most reluctant to get involved in this debate (and I'll try to make this my only post on the issue), shouldn't everything below the first section of this project page be on this talk page instead? It seems a bit strange that the "Policies and Guidelines" page does not follow such a policy. --Bob M 03:29, 2 October 2009 (EDT)

I believe this is by design. Per MarkDilley: "I think that commenting on any page is allowed - that is how wiki has worked for many places before Wikipedia." [1] I don't particularly care for it, as it muddies what is policy as opposed to what some people would like to be policy. But, then again, Wikipedia was the first wiki I ever edited, and that's the standard to which I am accustomed. More than once, I have errantly tried to apply Wikipedia policies to WikiIndex. --MarvelZuvembie 17:11, 2 October 2009 (EDT)
It made sense when wikis did not have "talk pages", indeed. But that was so 2003 or so, wasn't it? Now we have them, let's use them? Huw Powell 02:03, 6 October 2009 (EDT)

Proposal: Articles should preferably stick to facts[edit]

I was initially under the impression that WikiIndex had such a policy, not unlike Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy. However, somewhere along the line, Mark Dilley pointed out to me that the mission of WikiIndex does not preclude providing personal commentary on the wikis listed here. I'd link to this comment, but I no longer remember where this took place. Anyway, I think that this choice leaves us open to the edit wars which took place recently, which is why I'm not keen on it. Sticking to the facts is more akin to my way of thinking. --MarvelZuvembie 04:52, 4 October 2009 (EDT)

Wikipedia's policy on NPOV is connected to its policy on verifiablity. This usually requires third-party published sources. That would eliminate most of this wiki. Lumenos 17:26, 7 October 2009 (EDT)
I sorta agree with you, but it is easier said than done. I tried to post some "facts" in the RationalWiki article. My way of doing that is to quote sources and say who claimed what. Some problems with this are that it looks tacky, often sounds suspicious, and can be very repetitive when everything is something someone claims. More on that here. (Another scuffle broke out over an ambiguous statement. This is where "assume good faith" comes in.) Lumenos 17:26, 7 October 2009 (EDT)
(BTW, I've been trying to see if we can't get some extensions installed for footnotes/citations, to make these more tidy, but this wouldn't really solve the above issues. If I remember correctly we would need Extension:Cite and Extension:ParserFunctions.) Lumenos 17:26, 7 October 2009 (EDT)
Dilley does seem to agree with "neutralizing" any comments that are added, by rewriting them. This would be better than altering quotes, in my view (another small "conflict" recently). Lumenos 17:26, 7 October 2009 (EDT)
One way of changing an unsourced claim a to "fact", is to put the editor's name on it. It is like using a "citation needed" tag. But that looks weird and may reveal conflict, which seems to make many people uncomfortable. Lumenos 17:26, 7 October 2009 (EDT)
You can write about criticism in a neutral way, simply saying someone claims something, but this may still be controversial. Comments are facts about what someone said. The question is more whether they are notable facts and whether we are going to allow criticism, links to criticisms, or debates. Lumenos 17:26, 7 October 2009 (EDT)
So I think the best way to deal with conflict is to invite everyone to help develop policy. For example if many admins agree on polices, most editors would probably go along with them or leave. It will take some time. There are many complex issues when you think about it, but I'm confidant that we will figure out how to meet our objectives, eventually. Lumenos 17:26, 7 October 2009 (EDT)
I copied this section title from the proposal on the article side of this project page. It wasn't my suggestion, although I agree with it. However, based on your response, I suppose the wording doesn't say everything that I would want it to. By "sticking to the facts", what I mean is to only cover the basic information about the wiki, specifically, the parameters in the Wiki template and a description of the wiki, preferably quoted from the main page of the wiki itself. By design, this would not include criticism, commentary, reviews, warnings, or caveats about the wiki. To my mind, regardless of how well sourced it is, opening the door to this kind of criticism leads to the kind of tiresome wikidrama which has been prevalent here in the last few months.
However, I wish I could find Mark Dilley's commentary on this. As I understand it, the founders of WikiIndex are not inclined to be as restrictive as I am. So, this proposal is probably doomed. :-) --MarvelZuvembie 17:59, 7 October 2009 (EDT)
Oh you mean the invigorating wikidrama? ;-) That is much clearer; thank you. Lumenos 17:10, 14 October 2009 (EDT)
If we simply take what is on a wiki's mainpage, I would call this a 'sympathetic point of view' rather than a neutral one. That basically lets the administration of that wiki decide what will be in WikiIndex. I think you may indeed get less edit warring over articles, that way. People might not agree with it but they are less likely to care since they are not protecting "their" wiki from (misleading) criticism. Lumenos 17:10, 14 October 2009 (EDT)
But when you say "basic" information, that is less clear. In the aforementioned conflict, the disputed content was concerning the coverage of the recent service loss of RationalWiki. I would consider that basic information. Perhaps you would too. So everything "controversial" can't be eliminated. Granted this stuff shouldn't be that controversial but I think it is just the surface of an underlying conflict that is only between one or more admins, and a few editors. Lumenos 17:10, 14 October 2009 (EDT)
I believe readers benefit from much information that some would consider to be controversial, and I think it very possible to end disputes more quickly and efficiently by neutralizing claims in articles, streamlining (or "outsourcing") arbitration/debates, having clear inclusion policies, etc. Lumenos 17:10, 14 October 2009 (EDT)
Would your proposed inclusion policy also apply to talk pages? If not, I still think it would reduce argument, because articles are more prolific, but if you allow one editor to post something controversial on a talk page, there is likely to be a rebuttal. Lumenos 17:10, 14 October 2009 (EDT)
I could be wrong but my impression from Dilley is that he is not trying to be the end-all authority on everything here. He was asked to help resolve a dispute but no one really gave him a realistic proposal on how to do that. That is what we can do here. What I'm seeing now is that some editors and admins are demonstrating their own personal policies, that they are following or considering. They may reveal their "policies" here, on other talk pages, or with their behavior. Next we start to join our policies together and form "alliances" ("consensus"). The purpose of "war", as I see it, is to demonstrate who has the power. When a side becomes convinced they will "loose", they usually "surrender" ("agree"). I'm trying to create incentives for people to engage in constructive policy development rather than edit warring, ridiculing, etc. It is up to the administration/owners to decide whether they will support this or allow edit waring and intimidation to determine the content of articles. Lumenos 17:10, 14 October 2009 (EDT)
I'm glad you find it invigorating. I still find it tiresome. :-(
Yes, I consider whether or not a site is up or down to be basic information. In the avalanche of messages pertaining to conflicts at RationalWiki, I hadn't even noticed that was one of the points of contention. By basic information, I mean facts which can be verified empirically (the link, the underlying wiki engine, the statement of purpose, number of pages, etc.). I differentiate this from people's subjective experiences with the wiki.
This proposal isn't mine, BTW. It was proposed by Felix. But in the interest of discussion, I thought it was worth commenting on. In practice, I long ago realized that this is not a policy of WikiIndex and have been acting accordingly.
You're right about editors applying their own rules to WikiIndex. It's a natural tendency for humans to create rules. In WikiIndex's case, many people have tried to apply English Wikipedias rules to WikiIndex. However, it's important to remember that they are not the same thing. WikiIndex does not have a NPOV policy. Maybe it should, but it doesn't currently. Although, as Mark Dilley is not a fan of this policy, I don't see it being implemented here.
Speaking of Mark, I don't think he wants to be the ultimate arbiter of conflict or policy. However, he's been around here far longer than me, so I find him to be a good resource as to the original ethos of WikiIndex. --MarvelZuvembie 20:34, 16 October 2009 (EDT)
"I'm glad you find it invigorating. I still find it tiresome. :-(" You've been doing so much good editing here lately, I wouldn't want to deter you. I don't know exactly what you are referring to. Some things I regret writing. I don't understand why you would find something tiring if you don't have to read it. I can understand if you want WikiIndex to seem inviting to other editors. Some conflicts I've been involved in, seem necessary, others do not (in hindsight). Having no auto-filter for Recent changes makes it impossible to direct this information to only those who choose to read it. In the future, I will probably post such replies at Lumeniki and only post a link to it. Lumenos 03:32, 22 October 2009 (EDT)
"In the avalanche of messages pertaining to conflicts at RationalWiki, I hadn't even noticed that was one of the points of contention." The fact there was a service outage, was not a point of contention. Some points of contention were that I quoted sources and stated "facts", such as who said what. Some RW bureaucrats preferred that WikiIndex make unsourced claims or assume that these are reliable/infallible sources and paraphrase these (as if these claims are endorsed by WikiIndex). Lumenos 03:32, 22 October 2009 (EDT)
"By basic information, I mean facts which can be verified empirically (the link, the underlying wiki engine, the statement of purpose, number of pages, etc.)." The statement of purpose can be completely misleading. It is a fact that it is the statement of purpose, but it is also an "empirical" fact that someone else claims there are ulterior motives. There are all types of ways to subvert a democratic process and make it look like a wiki is based on some sort of consensus. For example, a wiki may claim it is based on a conservative viewpoint, but the majority of conservatives may disagree with many key claims of the wiki or the management in general. If these conservatives bother trying to edit the wiki they may be reprimanded, banned, etc. If WikiIndex simply parrots the claims of a wiki's owner, we contribute to this deception. Lumenos 03:32, 22 October 2009 (EDT)
Basic information may include things like funding, biographical information about ownership, prior endeavors of the wiki's rulers, copyright information, backup service, etc. It is difficult to predict what some may find offensive, intrusive, or notable. Some information may seem unimportant until a wiki drastically changes. Wiki's become unavailable, they move, they may completely change an important "policy" or "custom"... Lumenos 03:32, 22 October 2009 (EDT)
I would say the values of any sysops and prolific editors are a part of WikiIndex "policy", whether it is written or unwritten. Dilley's "policies" may keep you from enforcing your preferred policy, but I don't think that you would be involved in enforcing Dilley's "policies". Secondly, by posting "your policy proposal" (or Felix's paraphrase of "my" policy proposal :-)) you influence WikiIndex. I would think that is why Dilley would support commenting anywhere. If we can comment in articles, you are certainly welcome to comment on talk pages. I asked Dilley if he supports consensus, he said yes, and that if consensus is not possible, he would support a supermajority. It doesn't look like we will have consensus on this issue but it looks like a large majority (including editors and sysops) may favor "your" proposal. Lumenos 03:32, 22 October 2009 (EDT)
I believe that everything is on-topic somewhere.
I see the WikiIndex as an early, manual version 2 of what will someday become the highly automated Project Space Network. Version 1 was the now-offline SwitchWiki. Perhaps someday the WikiProject:Wiki-Noding will become version 3, or perhaps we'll figure out a better way.
I see all of these as a kind of manual content routing system. This is a system for (a) people looking for information on some topic can rapidly find one or more wiki that are likely to have that information, and more importantly (b) people who want to discuss and explain what they know about some topic can rapidly find the appropriate wiki for them to start talking about that topic, and (c) people who recognize that a witty, insightful page is off-topic for one wiki can find some more appropriate place for that witty, insightful page.
I think that most information -- even extremely notable information -- does not belong on WikiIndex itself. I want WikiIndex to help me quickly find the wiki where any particular kind of information does belong.
--DavidCary 23:32, 19 October 2009 (EDT)
For people to rapidly find the best wiki to read, edit, or create, I think comparisons and evaluations can be as important as the noncontroversial information. Many editors invest a lot of time in a wiki only to loose it all when the wiki dies. Or they find the community or management, overbearing, and wish they had contributed to a different place instead. If the license allows it, the content could be copied to another wiki, but this may be a lot of work and Google may penalize sites with duplicate content. Lumenos 03:41, 22 October 2009 (EDT)
To be fair, I haven't read all of the exchanges about RW and the other controversial wikis. I read up the point where I start to get a headache and then move on to something else. :-) I wouldn't worry that much about spamming Recent Changes. That's why there's a watchlist to allow people to track only the pages they are interested in.
Regarding sourcing, WikiIndex doesn't currently have policies regarding "reliable sources" or "verifiability". Wikipedians (like me) tend to act as though there are, but in doing so, we're really enforcing another site's rules where they don't apply. This is not to say that we shouldn't have policies on this, just that we don't now. So, in the case of RW, it is neither required nor prohibited to link to or quote secondary sources regarding the service outage. The question to be worked out by consensus is whether or not the cited coverage is beneficial or harmful to the listing.
I've stated before that I don't think that it's WikiIndex's job to be a consumer protection agency. I tend to concur with David Cary's content routing system concept. But I have come to realize had pointed out to me and come to agree that there's nothing in WikiIndex's charter that says that it can't provide commentary on the sites it lists. However, I fear that the listings for controversial wikis will get bogged down in a morass of perpetual reversions between highly subjective statements. --MarvelZuvembie 14:16, 22 October 2009 (EDT)
"Regarding sourcing, WikiIndex doesn't currently have policies regarding "reliable sources" or "verifiability". Wikipedians (like me) tend to act as though there are, but in doing so, we're really enforcing another site's rules where they don't apply." I suppose if you delete unsourced information, you would be going against the etiquette policy. Dilley supports rewriting the work of others (as you would expect in a wiki). He also supports tagging, so long as this points to a constructive suggestion. I would think that would include a "citation needed" tag. Lumenos 00:04, 23 October 2009 (EDT)
There must be many exceptions to the "no delete policy". It seems to be a super "simplified" rule but it could use a link to more details about what should be deleted and how to deal with repeated deletions. Lumenos 00:04, 23 October 2009 (EDT)
"So, in the case of RW, it is neither required nor prohibited to link to or quote secondary sources regarding the service outage." It may be against the "etiquette policy" to delete sources or quotes, if they are added. I didn't delete any unsourced information; they deleted the sources or quotes, when they rewrote the quotes as paraphrases. Lumenos 00:04, 23 October 2009 (EDT)
By the way, I looked back at it just now and I'd say their version was better overall because it was much more condensed without the quoting. I didn't want to make the claims myself. It is difficult for me to sacrifice "accuracy" (quoting) for brevity and "readability". But the "conflict" was when Proxima restored my and her edits, then protected the page, presumably enforcing the "no deleting policy". That happened when I wasn't around for a while. Lumenos 00:04, 23 October 2009 (EDT)

Found something from May of 2009 where David Shepheard and MarvelZuvembie discuss reviews of wikis and wiki farms (Wikia). Lumenos 16:37, 23 June 2010 (EDT)

Things to learn from the RationalWiki policies[edit]

Just a few snippets I liked:

"These are the guidelines defined by the RationalWiki community. These are not site rules but rather a list of standards we as a community try to live up to. Please do your best to live up to them."
"Our official policy on religion is that we do not have an official policy on religion. Our community of editors includes followers of various religions, as well as many atheists. Please bear this in mind when editing."
"The way things are done around here is the way things are done around here"
"Please keep in mind that the standards below are only an approximation of the site's working practices."
"don't panic"

There's a lesson or two in the above snippets. -- Felix Pleşoianu | talk 01:03, 5 October 2009 (EDT)

Thank you, Felix. Those "guidelines" were the result of a lot of people's work, and one genius' inspiration. Hint: the genius weren't me ;) Huw Powell 01:59, 6 October 2009 (EDT)

When Huw deleted 90% of the page[edit]

Here is the edit and Huw's edit summary, "This looks to me like the most sensible version - please use the talk page to discuss changes rather than piling up quoted stuff on the project page".

Felix and I discussed this in chat (one of the reasons I don't like to use "private" correspondence for these things). One issue we apparently agreed on, is that having a policy that forbids deleting things can be a source of confusion, edit waring, and premature blocking. You might notice how three RationalWiki bureaucrats; you, User:Nx, and Phantom Hoover, often delete large amounts of work written by others. Isn't it kind of ironic that you would restore the policy that forbids this?... and that you do this by deleting a large amount of work written by others? If you think the most "sensible" version says, "Controversial content should also not be deleted, but debated on the talk pages and/or improved by adding quotations, references, and anything else that may serve as evidence for (or against) it," please tell us how a sensible administrator should react when you delete controversial content? (A few other examples of Huw deleting content that was apparently "controversial" to him [2] [3] [4] [5].)
Hi Lumenos. You forgot to sign your post. Yeah, I ripped out a bunch of tripe. Oh well, may I way have been wrong. But your axe-grinding is getting really tiresome. Huw Powell 02:35, 7 October 2009 (EDT)
Thanks for indicating this was my post. Now prepare to be utterly humiliated when your fewlishness is exposed before all. ;-) Lumenos 17:26, 7 October 2009 (EDT)
I appologize if that appeared to be an "axe grind". I made my comments and questions as clear as I could. In contrast, declairing things "sensible" or "tripe", doesn't give us any reason to consider. Perhaps you were wrong, and maybe something you deleted wasn't tripe afterall? In the process of trying to argue a point or formulate a question, I often change my mind. I would think you should try that before making massive "corrections" to other people's work. On the other hand, maybe others find "long" arguments more annoying than deletions with trite explanations. Can't please everyone I guess. Lumenos 17:26, 7 October 2009 (EDT)
We've apparently settled on a compromise. I reverted to the last version by Felix that links to this subpage in my userspace. I have now put the version that Huw reverted in that location, added some administrative quotes, changed many of my comments, and redirected the talk page back here. That page, including this talk page, should provide editors with a lot of information about the diverse views of administrators here. Lumenos 04:33, 23 June 2010 (EDT)

Creating policy[edit]

What is the process for creating policy?

  • Is there a god king who can create it unilaterally?
  • Are we supposed to BeBold and create whatever policy we want, and see if anyone reverts it?
  • Are we supposed to propose it at the community portal?
  • Do we look to what sysops are able to actually do and get away with, and write policies describing that?

Leucosticte (talk) 15:56, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

I assent to this questions and like to add, that I see it as an attempt to build policy building policy more or less regardless how it was or was lacking in the past. Let's make a fresh start here! Manorainjan (talk) 20:01, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
The experience of English Wikipedia shows that stuff proposed at the village pump very rarely gets accepted as policy. It's hard to build consensus in that way. It seems more effective and efficient to just use the BRD cycle. The god king method is even better in some ways, because it leaves no question about whether a proposal has been accepted or rejected by a large enough margin of users. It all comes down to one guy saying "aye" or "no" and then that decides the matter conclusively, until someone changes his mind. Leucosticte (talk) 20:15, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
This Wiki does not even have a Village Pump. To compare it with Wikipedia seams to be of little or no use at all. We also got not God king (thanks for creating this page finally). We got no structure at all. Therefore we got to start rock bottom. It is amazing how much one or many can neglect to do within 8 years. I think the negligence is all more or less build on the clouded "envisioning" of Mark being a leader of this wiki. But actually we got only an domain owner and no leader at all. Therefore, attempts to clarify policy can easily blow this wiki. Manorainjan (talk) 20:32, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

Wiki people policy[edit]

As the author of a vast majority of this site's wiki people articles, I think we need some policies regarding said articles. Perhaps what would be prudent is a rule about giving out personal info (i.e., birthdays, selfies, real names, etc.) or at least keeping the person's bio wiki-related. What do you guys think? --This is MY book, and I'm gonna READ IT!!! 11:34, 17 January 2017 (PST)

The question is, who qualifies as wiki person? Just any one who once edited a wiki? --Manorainjan 10:13, 18 January 2017 (PST)
Agreed — We need to discuss the who's and the what's. Who would merit an entry in WikiIndex and what should we allow/encourage others to publish? One thing that I've considered is reserving shorter bios for the article about the wiki itself and in the case of personalities who are not associated with a single wiki to make a page for that person. Regarding what can be included, I think some info should be obvious, regarding the law (no SSNs,[clarify] no real names of someone who is a private figure, etc.) but there should also probably be a measure of civility when it comes to disagreements or controversies. We are in a bit of a pickle because on the one hand we want this to be a welcoming place that encourages members of the wikisphere to talk about their own wikis and experiences but we also don't want this to become a gossip clique or self-promotional spam. Koavf (talk) 11:34, 18 January 2017 (PST)
I think what qualifies as a wiki person is someone who has edited a large amount of wikis or is employed by a wiki farm, such as Yaron Koren. --This is MY book, and I'm gonna READ IT!!! 12:27, 18 January 2017 (PST)

Common sense has to be the starting point as to what we write here on WikiIndex. I would like us to follow same principles used for biographies on the English Wikipedia for living people. I have noticed (during my extended sabbatical) many wiki people articles here have been dramatically trimmed down - some are now verging on being a stub article. Fundamentally, if specific information about a wiki person is already in the public domain - and is related to their wiki activity, then we should also use said info here on WikiIndex. Furthermore, because these 'wiki people articles' are what could be considered a biography, we can also feasibly include a wider range of info on said person. Sean, aka Hoof HeartedAdmin / 'Crattalk2HH 16:20, 22 January 2017 (PST)

To learn from the vast experience in creating biographical articles which is condensed in the Wikipedia guidelines is certainly a form of common sense. We only need to check those guidelines and adapt them to our situation and purpose. --Manorainjan 16:29, 22 January 2017 (PST)
Once upon a time I had already made some suggestions on [6] to which nobody responded. --Manorainjan 04:53, 23 January 2017 (PST)
Hoof: I can start filling the people articles up with wiki bios, if needed. --This is MY book, and I'm gonna READ IT!!! 08:30, 24 January 2017 (PST)
This is MY book, and I'm gonna READ IT!!!: you indeed can expand any wiki people bio articles - along with anything else here on WikiIndex. :) Sean, aka Hoof HeartedAdmin / 'Crattalk2HH 19:07, 24 January 2017 (PST)
My feeling is that we stick with assume good faith when writing about WikiPeople and that those people are either; active on wiki, were active on wiki, studied wiki, wrote about wiki, whatever re: wiki. Appreciate the work! ~~ MarkDilley
Assuming good faith is great for a wiki as a whole, but we need to be more careful too over accuracy. We don't want to leave ourselves open to any potential legal action for factually incorrect information - especially if it was say defamatory or derogatory. Sean, aka Hoof HeartedAdmin / 'Crattalk2HH 02:41, 2 February 2017 (PST)

Pictures[edit]

JCM-snail.png

Certainly one has to clarify the questions regarding pictures too. Either pictures of the wiki people themselves or copies of their avatars, which often come possibly copyrighted material like comics or TV shows. --Manorainjan 09:12, 24 January 2017 (PST)

We all need to use both common sense, and assume good faith. Just remember that 'fair use' ONLY applies if used specifically for the wiki it is being used on. Sean, aka Hoof HeartedAdmin / 'Crattalk2HH 19:22, 24 January 2017 (PST)