Gpedia:Village pump (policy)

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The policy section of the village pump is used to discuss already proposed policies and guidelines and to discuss changes to existing policies and guidelines.

Please see this FAQ page for a list of frequently rejected or ignored proposals. Discussions are automatically archived after remaining inactive for two weeks.

Has Gpedia policy ever shifted toward inclusion?

I am curious if there are any points when PAGs that previously excluded content have changed to include it. For example, has a notability guideline ever been successfully amended to extend notability more broadly than it previously did? (My hypothesis is "no, never", but I'd be very interested in falsifying that.) Just curious if any examples come to mind. Many thanks in advance! -- Visviva (talk) 17:10, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The general notability guideline has been stable over the years (and a quick note that guidelines and policy have different specific meanings on Gpedia). I'd have to do some research to see how it's changed but since it's been stable I don't think it's shifted in any meaningful way either towards or against inclusion. But if I really understand your question, the recent changes to NSPORT were a shift away from inclusion, but likewise SNGs have been added (though admittedly none since 2011). Existing SNG criteria are also sometimes expanded, such as when more women athletes were presumed notable under NSPORT as the number of women's leagues increased (though obviously this is a bit complicated now with the overall change to it). Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 17:23, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks! I will need to add some nuance to my thoughts on what SNG creation signifies. -- Visviva (talk) 17:30, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You really have to examine when a specific SNG was created. Some predate the GNG, but others were written as a reaction to GNG (laying out alternatives to GNG)… while a few were written to reinforce GNG. Some are more inclusionist in their criteria, others are more exclusionist. The most stable ones tend to aim for a practical middle road: too inclusionist for some editors, while at the same time being too exclusionist for others. Blueboar (talk) 20:10, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Another factor is that there have been several inclusion regimes that have never been supported by actual SNGs, just sort of unstated agreements. I think this was the case with the view that every winner of a US state level Miss America or Miss USA pageant was notable, it seems to have been presumed and implemented without actual support. The same seems to have been the case with all competitors in the Olympic Arts Competition, I have never seen anywhere where people were extending the same rules that apply to sports competitors to arts competitors, but in creation of articles there was the same assumption of default notability. The discussion of the Olympic notability guidelines assumes we are talking about sports competitors. The fact that the arts competition was ended in 1948, 74 years ago, in part because it was not reaching the level of acclaim that the organizers wanted, makes it likely that lots of people do not even know it ever existed. I didn't until I happned on some articles on competitors. There are probably lots of other examples. Some of this may come about because in addition to SNGs, which say various things and position themselves with regard to GNG in various ways, we also have other statements on inclusion that look sort of like SNGs, but are not quite SNGs.John Pack Lambert (talk) 12:53, 12 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What is the best way to go through the full list of currently accepted SNGs?John Pack Lambert (talk) 13:00, 12 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Category:Gpedia notability guidelines Ductwork (talk) 14:24, 12 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • There was a time when many SNGs were written rather willy-nilly, and many of them seemed to endorse creating new articles for which no reliable source content could actually be found. In recent times, this has been started to be reeled back in, to ensure that we can actually have an article whose content is based on reliable sources, and not just mostly empty sub-stubs on subjects that meet some arbitrary criteria. The basic inclusion criteria has always been "Does enough reliable source content exist out there (waves vaguely at the entire universe of knowledge) to be used to help us write a reasonably well-written and comprehensive here at Gpedia". SNGs were an attempt to circumvent that process, a way to start a new article about some subject for which no attempt needs to be made to determine if enough reliable source material even exists to support a reasonable article. Recent history has thankfully started to reel that in. --Jayron32 14:30, 12 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For what it's worth, of course we are going to be more inclusive as we move forward in time. We don't have a deadline, like say aiming to be one by 2030 (except for new events and developments). We've done most of the really notable stuff, and the pretty notable stuff, and the somewhat notable stuff, and the barely notable stuff. Time to move on to the hardly notable stuff and the marginally notable stuff. That means lowering our standers, to include more material and make the internet suck that much less. Herostratus (talk) 02:57, 26 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't think we've written articles about all the "really notable" subjects yet. Italian Renaissance sculpture was created only a few months ago. French Renaissance sculpture doesn't exist yet, nor does Spanish Renaissance sculpture, English Renaissance sculpture, Dutch Renaissance sculpture, or German Renaissance sculpture. These are all "really notable", if you measure that status in terms of something which whole books have been published about over the course of many decades. I think this is a pretty common situation. Once you get out of the "really popular" subjects (e.g., Star Wars, professional football), I think that many such holes exist. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:31, 26 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, fair point. But still. Herostratus (talk) 22:08, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I still think Herostratus makes a good point because the notable subjects are indeed strictly limited even if they are not all done yet, and so the shift must inevitably lead toward more inclusive since the stated goals of Gpedia also include " access to the sum of all human knowledge." "...that contains information on all branches of knowledge." it seems inclusion is a foregone conclusion, and arguments that I always hear mainly from deletionists with needless worry about "endless this" or "endless that" make no sense at all to me because even when we run out of the notable stuff we will follow through to the logical conclusion that even less notable stuff is limited, and finite. There is no "endless this" or "endless that". It's just an imaginary "problem" to "solve". Some people wrongly identify me as an inclusionist by the way I talk, but I'm not. I'm just against hard core deletionism. I find it to be most harmful. Hardcore inclusionism is also harmful, but I only see it manifest on articles, where it is easy to dispense with, whereas I see deletionism manifest in policy, where it takes diligence, and an act of congress to sniff it out, and set it right so I think deletionism is far more harmful. Huggums537 (talk) 22:59, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Our standards have raised considerably since I've been here. Especially through 2015ish, the running theme of FA after a few years is that they either improve with the times or they get delisted (which is why I find FA OWNers' typical interpretations of FAOWN hilarious, but that's for other threads). Bot-created stubs have been largely cleaned up, and although if I weren't dormant at the time I would have vehemently opposed AfC, the research and implementation have held up. There's a lot to worry about with the future of Gpedia (for my part I think the editor retention issue and ingroup mentalities are hand-in-hand at the top of the list, though probably only the former matters, since more editors would make the ingroup people matter less), but a decline in standards is not one of them. A decline in quality by other metrics and definitions, however -- politicization/moralization, single-track options to editing and conflict, editorX over UX (not exactly new behaviors, but not acceptable with how ubiquitous a resource WP is) -- that I will definitely hear out. SamuelRiv (talk) 22:38, 27 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For what it's worth, of course we are going to be more inclusive as we move forward in time. I have to say that I really don't think this is true unless there's a major sea change. We are actually becoming far less inclusive, with a number of non-guideline but still widely applied (and even some that were written into guidelines) notability standards being quashed by RfCs. For example, once we considered pretty much all railway stations, all secondary schools, all degree-awarding institutions, all Olympians, all top-flight sportspeople and all generals, admirals and air marshals to be notable and pretty much every AfD on these topics was closed that way. That is no longer the case and the fact it is no longer the case is endlessly crowed by the deletionist lobby. So no, sadly this is not true at all. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:07, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It has been necessary to restrict what topics are included due to either on popular culture topics that can be endlessly sourced to primary material but not secondary works, excessively detailed news coverage, or due to those b trying to ask WP as a promotional source. Most other changes in notability have been a result or the mass article creation leave unexpandable stubs, we have a long way to go in covering more academic material since we are a volunteer project and academic subjects are lacking. We also know that they are minority groups underrepresented on AP that we are limited by sourcing that we are seeking the means to expand. So there are areas we want more inclusion, while we are still more deletions in others.Masem (t) 02:25, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • 'Neither an inclusionist nor a deletionist be' is the basic precept for the approach to notability and quality of sources by New Page Reviewers - their task at least, is not hardcore one way or the other. Their work is significantly constrained however, by some SNGs that favour inclusion under the flimsiest of interpretations of sources that support notability such as by the massive fan base for the world's favourite field sport (outside the US) that will outvote any motion to get its SNG tightened up, and I'm not as convinced as tJayron32 that 'this has been started to be reeled back in'. The natural tendency of the clean-up workers is also to perceive, to their sorrow, the Foundation's policy/philosophy as being 'quantity is more important than quality' and hence the salaried devs' reluctance to service the tools that makes the reviewers' work less depressing.
While the sheer number of articles is something to boast about and may attract donations, the obverse is that the increasing complaints and jokes in the media about the reliability of Gpedia may well be putting other donors off. Atsme, a lead NPP tutor, sums it up well with her “It's better for us to have 5,500,000 quality articles than 6,500,000 that include a million garbage articles. Funders donate because they are expecting some level of quality in what we publish.” I think NPPers and anyone else who is familiar with the content of the daily submissions of new articles will quickly concur that all advantages brought by the 2018 ACPERM policy have since been lost through the increase in the availability of broadband connectivity and the drop in prices of mobile devices.
Not all the traditional encyclopedic topics have been exhausted yet; as WhatamIdoing suggests, 'many such holes exist' but as basically a technology company for hosting the corpora, the Foundation is ostensibly developing what has become its main goal rather than developing the genuinely required software needs of its encyclopedia editors and attending to the community's appeals for tools for its quality supervisors. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:54, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm of the mind that the WMF needs to make more quality sources readily available to editors, especially AfC and NPP reviewers, and content creators. We are expected to determine whether or not a topic is notable based on the cited sources and coverage via what means? A Google search? And what happens if we don't use the right combo of keywords, or the needed material is in a book, or it is in an archived news article, or paywalled journal? Using geographic feature as an example, what are our expectations of widespread coverage for named, obviously notable, geographic features? Should we automatically assume named geographic features are not notable if they fail SIGCOV, and swoosh them away at AfD? I think not, but at the same time, I don't think we should automatically include articles about every named sandbar around the globe. On the other hand, if a particular group of named sandbars on major rivers in different states are known to provide critical habitat for migratory endangered species, then should we only include an article about the endangered species and a little section about the sandbars, or would those named sandbars be notable as standalone articles? I think the latter, as long as those named sandbars are verifiable and can be cited to at least 1 or 2 sources upon article creation. NEXIST would then apply because there's a high likelihood that a group of biologists and researchers have documented important information about those named sandbars in their respective state resource publications, or perhaps USF&WS has published something about them, and what the public needs to know; it could even be something as simple as a USF&WS sign at the location that makes it noteworthy. There may also be a bit of coverage by local news, so where do we draw the line for "adequate coverage" and notability? Is it a general belief that all editors who focus on "cleaning up the pedia of non-expandable stubs" actually know what resources to access in order to expand a stub if they are not familiar with that particular topic? There are many notable topics that have not received widespread coverage as say a celebrity, or sports personality, a disaster, or a scientific break-thru, but that doesn't make them any less notable. We have a finite number of writers/reporters/journalists/researchers and publications in our global talent pool, and they cannot possibly cover everything on a global scale. We should also not overlook potential historic significance of a topic which means we need access to old newspapers, and the like.
  • WP:TWL has been moving in the right direction relative to securing more free access to important sources for us, and deserve accolades for their efforts, but free access is still limited which means you may end up on a waiting list. It is time for WMF to shake loose of some funding or at least bargain for more access to paywalled resources so we can properly do our jobs. I have mentioned the paywall issue more than once on Jimmy's TP several years ago before it became the issue it is today. Not all NPP reviewers and serious content creators can access Nature, or PNAS, or JSTOR along with a host of other resources behind paywalls, so how can we properly determine WP:N if we cannot access the necessary sources? What exactly is needed to establish "adequate coverage" when common sense tells us a topic is indeed notable? Some of our guidelines actually work in that regard at AfD, including WP:CONTN, WP:NEXIST and SNG, but they need more clarity and clout, not the opposite as some have suggested. SIGCOV should not be the sole determining factor for notability because there are far too many topics that are worthy of being noted or attracting notice. We also need to craft a specific policy to ward off questionable mass deletions (ArbCom is inching closer toward an RfC on this topic) and pay closer attention to the benefits of SNG because of the nuances that require critical thinking skills and common sense in lieu of a simple binary approach per SIGCOV and GNG. After all, WP is supposed to be the sum of all knowledge. Atsme 💬 📧 10:40, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Can you give an example of what sources you want access to? The Gpedia Library is quite broad Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 10:51, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Hi, Wakelamp, Sam just mentioned a few that are back in. I don't know about the access possibilities but the AVMA Journals - American Veterinary Medical Association, I presume we now have access to The Veterinary Journal via by Elsevier? A sideline thought might be access to The Kennel Club and American Kennel Club libraries, and NYTimes, WaPo and WSJ which are behind paywalls. As often as WP cites those news sources, one would think they would be happy to give verified WP editors free access considering we generate a substantial number of the clicks to their online publications. Atsme 💬 📧 15:11, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I thought the NYT times was there via Newspaper? I would like the WSJ as well, plus [The TImes]] - have they been vetoed because they are Murdoch? My wishlistalso includes full access to the whole of google books through an agreement with the Author's Guild (??) :-) And scanning of more libraries in other countries . and....:-) ~~~ Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 15:40, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Internet Archive has so much stuff it's hard to comprehend, it exceeds what Google Books does, example. They are scanning thousands of books a day. Some will say copyright, but for research on notability it doesn't matter because links are not required to cite a work. -- GreenC 02:08, 4 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Atsme: Thanks for mentioning TWL :) We're working hard to add more publishers to the library, and we've just added both SAGE and (re-added) Elsevier, which are huge collections of content, available immediately to all eligible users. In terms of NPP, since the minimum standards for being a new page patroller are 90 days and 500 edits, almost all patrollers should meet the eligibility criteria of 180 days and 500 edits for the library, meaning they can access Nature, PNAS, JSTOR, and many other collections, without any waitlists at all. Samwalton9 (WMF) (talk) 14:18, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Hi, Samwalton9 – it is always good to hear from you, and thank you for the wonderful news & update! Dating back years ago to when I first volunteered as a TWL coordinator, I have considered it a lifeline for WP. I can't imagine what we'd do without it. I think it was Science Direct that I needed access but now that Elsevier is added back, I'm good to go. Thank you for all you do!!! Atsme 💬 📧 15:11, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe not on topic, but I think the English Gpedia needs to prioritize bringing unsourced or under-sourced stubs up to a minimum level of quality before worrying about expanding coverage. At the very least, let us try to raise existing articles to a minimum standard of quality faster than we add new poor-quality articles. I have an example of the problem with letting poorly sourced sub-stubs sit around for years, described at User:Donald Albury/The rescue of a sub-stub biography. This is not the first poor-quality article that I have expanded, but it was particularly egregious in how much it had wrong about the subject. That it sat around for more than ten years with so much misinformation in it is an embarassment to Gpedia. - Donald Albury 16:52, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are 1,773 Category:All unreferenced BLPs, and why we're not batch-moving them to draftspace, I don't know. There are another >100,000 Category:All articles lacking sources and >430,000 Category:All articles needing additional references. I remember a recent discussion about this and there was no consensus to batch move these out of mainspace, as I recall. Levivich 19:27, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Who is "the English Gpedia" that should do this, if not us? And what if I decide that my own WP:VOLUNTEER efforts are best spent doing the opposite?
I fairly often see editors who have made "only" dozens, rather than tens of thousands, of edits who are adding sources to existing content or adding new material plus a source. I wonder what we would find, if we compared the contributions of the editors in this discussion against the ideal of expanding and sourcing existing articles. My own contributions today have likely removed more sourced text than I added. Several people in this discussion haven't expanded or added a source to an article in a long while. In fact, several haven't touched the mainspace for days – or months, in at least one case. I have heard that one of the Gpedia's has a WP:NOTHERE concept that expects 30% of all edits to be in the mainspace. It's not a hard-and-fast rule (e.g., you don't want to ban someone who solves problems with templates), but their idea is that Gpedia needs more getting the work done and fewer people who do little except tell others what they ought to do. I suspect that many of us here would be in trouble. I suspect that, if you look at the last several years, you'd find that three-quarters of my edits were outside the main namespace. If you didn't count non-content-oriented edits (e.g., formatting edits, WP:AWB runs, etc.), then perhaps a large fraction of the Gpedia:List of Wikipedians by number of edits editors would be consider "not here" to write an encyclopedia. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:45, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The juxtaposition here is a bit odd since Donald Albury has 50,000+ edits of which 60% are in mainspace, and created 300+ pages in main... Andre🚐 21:36, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You and I, on the other hand, would not fare quite so well. Only 24% of your edits were in the mainspace last month (Donald's score was 49%). But beyond the number of edits, I feel like we (we, the core community; we, the people who hang out at the village pumps) tend to say things like "The English Gpedia needs to do add more references to under-sourced articles", and we will all solemnly agree, but then we don't add more references. We agree that somebody ought to do that, and then we go back to the edits that we enjoy, like tagging articles written and sourced by other people so they'll know we found their work deficient. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:54, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I typically average only 30% in mainspace, but I do spend a lot of my edits nowadays expanding and editing references and expanding text, and recently I've cleaned up a few articles that were languishing for years. Still, I agree that there's no shame in being a gnomish editor, or spending a lot of time in discussion and meta land, or only uploading files, or mostly reverting and blocking vandals, or whatever it is volunteers want to do. I do agree though with Donald's point as well that there is plenty of work to do improving existing articles, though it's not always the most exciting or glamorous work. Andre🚐 23:54, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This may be contributing to a pissing contest, but I think I am in a position to call for improving sourcing in existing articles, as that is a lot of what I do. (As an aside, the percentage of my edits that are in main space is fairly high because I don't post much on project pages like this.) Now, I understand and appreciate that editors contribute in different ways, and no one can be forced to do something they don't want to do, but I think we can say that some ways of editing do not improve the encyclopedia, especially if they create unnecessary work for other editors. It is policy that everything in an article must be verifiable from reliable sources. Failure to provide citations to sources creates problems for readers and other editors. I will look for and add sources when I have time and the resources, but I will also tag unsourced material when I feel that it is important to do so, and I do not have the time and/or the resources to find suitable sources. People may want to ignore it, but there is the principle that the burden of providing sourcing for material lies on those who want to keep in the encyclopedia. Donald Albury 15:12, 4 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm not sure this is a good or productive way to view debates over our content policies - it's a bit WP:BATTLEGROUNDy. But as someone who has edited since 2004, one thing I'd point out is that prior to the broad adoption of the WP:GNG, it was not uncommon for people to argue that certain subjects or topics were inherently non-notable, regardless of the sources produced for them (or at least to demand sources far beyond what the GNG now requires) - "not notable" was a sort of vague, often hard-to-answer WP:AFD argument that people would make for all sorts of reasons. The GNG set a clear threshold, which made that less common (and made it easier to answer an assertion that something isn't notable.) --Aquillion (talk) 05:33, 4 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This still happens all the time. The arguments that boil down to "GNG doesn't count anymore because we don't want this kind of article in the encyclopedia" are rampant enough to basically be de facto policy. Gnomingstuff (talk) 13:04, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Articles for deletion

Why does a "no consensus" vote at an article for deletion (AfD) discussion result in keeping the article. It would seem that if editors cannot agree an article should exist, then it shouldn't.

Since most AfDs attract little attention, the outcome is already weighted in favor of keep, since the creator and other contributors are likely to vote to keep.

I have seen cases where it took several tries before an AfD was successful.

TFD (talk) 13:02, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree, it runs counter to the principles of our policies like WP:ONUS and WP:BURDEN, all of which require affirmative consensus for inclusion. I would support a "no consensus" outcome being a default "draftify". Levivich 15:42, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would disagree, draftify should be presented as an option, or the closer can make a judgment call to take a poorly attended AFD no consensus as a draft. What we do not want is a high traffic AFD that is no consensus to be suddenly drafted. Masem (t) 15:49, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There may well have been legitimate grounds for a 'no consensus results in keep' policy in Gpedia's early days, when expanding the encyclopaedia took priority over adequate sourcing. That seems no longer to be the general consensus amongst most regular contributors, who quite rightly expect new articles to demonstrate notability (through proper sourcing etc) from the start. So yes, per WP:BURDEN, draftification for no-consensus content would seem a very good idea. As it stands, we are including content of debatable merit to our readers (and to search engines), with no indication whatsoever that it may be problematic. That cannot inspire confidence... AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:00, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Plenty of AfD discussions net only a couple unsubstantial comments. Outside commentators might just "vote" and leave. A closer has nothing to work with. Does that justify deletion? SamuelRiv (talk) 16:09, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Chances are, when there are no sources at all, an AFD will not result in a “no consensus”. That usually occurs when sourcing is “iffy”… or when it seems likely that reliable sources should exist, but simply have not YET been added to the article.
The idea behind “no consensus = keep” is to give editors time to WP:FIXTHEPROBLEM. Remember that there is no rush… should it turn out that the problem can’t be fixed (because we assumed wrong, and reliable sources don’t actually exist), we can always hold a second (follow up) AFD, noting that we tried and failed to find sources. Blueboar (talk) 16:20, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No-consensus draftification still gives time to fix problems - without displaying questionable material to readers in the meantime. If there is no rush, why the urge to display it? AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:25, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The idea behind no consensus keep is to give editors time to FIXTHEPROBLEM. What is that based on? This happens on articles that have been around for years and years with poor (often primary) sourcing and questionable notability. The keep !votes are often from fans of a particular niche type article. MB 16:34, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So what if there are fans of a niche article? The world is like that, a long tail distribution of interest in topics. I often see people deleting because they consider something far down the tail curve as inherently non-notable. Like, how could this community fire station in podunk town be notable?! It conflates popularity with notability. -- GreenC 18:17, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Notability is based on the existence of significant coverage in independent sources. Fans show up and say keep because they want to see articles on all community fire stations regardless of the coverage. MB 19:01, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Articles without coverage don't usually pass Keep at AfD. The problem is some see community fire stations and presume Delete first, then figure out how to discount sources second. -- GreenC 00:56, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This was about No Consensus. Articles without significant coverage can end as Keep or No Consensus if there is little participation except for a few editors who have a much lower standard for what constitutes SIGCOV and a very idiosyncratic take on what is "independent" and "primary". Those are not my words, but a quote from a related discussion. MB 01:25, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It might be true that "draftification still gives time to fix problems", but research indicates that articles get fixed faster if they're left in the mainspace. If you want an individual article to get edited, then you need to leave it out there where someone will feel like it's worthwhile to fix it. If you want an individual article to stay broken, then put it out of sight, and out of mind in the draftspace. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:03, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It seems like this is something that depends on the nature of the article and AFD in question--for recently created articles, TFD's criticism applies. For longstanding articles being brought to AFD due to forking, OR or WP:PAGEDECIDE concerns, keep makes more sense as a status quo outcome in the event of no consensus. signed, Rosguill talk 16:25, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Other way around. New articles have a higher chance to be actually improved than old articles - the problem(usually that there is no consensus upon notability) has evidently not been fixed in a long time if an article has no consensus, and if it is between "keep" and "Redirect" the option "redirect" should always win(because it preserves the content and allows people to work with the old content if necessary and still applies WP:ONUS and WP:BURDEN).Lurking shadow (talk) 16:56, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Lurking shadow, I think that perspective presupposes that "the problem" with the hypothetical article in question is real in the case of a no consensus outcome and that we should move towards the most likely long-term solution (that a new article can be fixed and that an old article cannot), whereas my view would be that a no consensus outcome means that there is no consensus and that we default to whatever the prior status quo was. signed, Rosguill talk 17:10, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except that there isn't always good reason for giving the status quo extra weight. Article age isn't one of them! Not all articles have been extensively edited(other than automated copyedits).Lurking shadow (talk) 18:56, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure, I can respect that as a perspective, but note that it would retrench rather than resolve the disagreement between AfD processes and our general "status quo wins when in doubt" rule that appears to motivate TFD opening this discussion. signed, Rosguill talk 18:59, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Expanding on "presuppos[ing] that "the problem" with the hypothetical article in question is real", here are the most four recent AFDs I could find with an outcome of no consensus:
None of these sound like seriously problematic articles. The owners of Schön might prefer that their dirty laundry wasn't aired out for all to see, but there's no obvious harm to having the articles vs not having them. Also, I had to check three days' worth of AFDs last week to find just four AFDs that closed this way, so it's not a common outcome. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:29, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Only four NCs in three days? Something like 10% of all AfDs I participate close in NC, I would expect that number to be a lot higher... JoelleJay (talk) 01:37, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
At the "mass creation/AfDs ArbCom RfC" workshop-workshop, specifically in the context of NSPORT, I suggested a watchlistable pseudo-draftspace with a longer or indefinite incubation time before auto-deletion eligibility, as well as restrictions on how many drafts could be nominated at AfD or moved into mainspace per week. I wonder if something like that, if feasible at all, could work for NC closes. Users could watchlist the categories they're interested in to see what's added and moved out of purgatory, and the lists could be transcluded in relevant wikiprojects. JoelleJay (talk) 02:11, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think there has been good input here. Now the TFD has brought this up I think it is worth looking at. If "no consensus" allows poorly sourced long term articles to remain then I think this should be changed to "dratify" or "redirect." This allows for the option of improving the article without having it listed on search engines (outside Gpedia). This improves the quality of Gpedia overall and, as has been mentioned, readers don't run away due to poor quality.

I realize this retrenches the status quo and doesn't resolve the disagreement mentioned by Rosguill, but it is better than the current status quo. Also, as Masem says, for high traffic AfDs "no consensus" should be optional draftify. Optional dratftify allows for a decision that would cause the least disruption, i.e., editors angrily going to DRV. And such high traffic AfDs can always be re-nominated. Concerning a "no consensus" new article, I'm not sure the best way to deal with that - let consensus about that rule the day. ---Steve Quinn (talk) 19:54, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I think this starts with a serious rule, like a policy, that in order to exist in mainspace, an article must meet certain minimum criteria (WP:V, WP:N, WP:BLP?). If a mainspace article's eligibility is questioned (like at AFD), there must be affirmative consensus that it meets the minimum criteria, or else some WP:ATD must be applied (e.g. merge, redirect, draftify), unless there is affirmative consensus to delete. Levivich 21:11, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    So when editors don't agree that there's something wrong with having a separate article about this subject, then you'd like us to assume that there's definitely something wrong with having a separate article? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:30, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes exactly. If editors don't agree whether or not an article should be in mainspace, it should not be in mainspace. Only that which we agree should be there, should be there, whether it's parts of pages or entire pages. Affirmative consensus ftw. Levivich 23:01, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Let's start by agreeing to delete WP:QUO. Gpedia:Nobody reads the directions anyway, so as long as we point the redirect somewhere, probably nobody would be any the wiser anyway. ;-) WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:05, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Our general stance on everything is that if something is going to be controversial, we want to see an affirmative action to do it, and no consensus defaults to no action being taken. I don't think it has anything to do with AfD in particular. Just how the project works from a governance perspective. TonyBallioni (talk) 21:17, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@The Four Deuces: The main issue here is that you're interpreting this as no consensus to keep, but the alternative no consensus to delete is equally valid.
So we err on the side of inclusion because you can easily renominate the same article for deletion later, and WP:NODEADLINE/WP:NOTPAPER also apply. This also gives the option to find an alternatives to deletion, like a bold merge to some other topic. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:17, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"No consensus" means no consensus either way. Perhaps the confusion appears because we sometimes say "no consensus" because we don't always want to say "really bad idea, dude". WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:32, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A deleted article can always be userfied so that the Keep side can keep working on it. But I disagree that articles have no consensus to keep because they are poorly sourced. Usually, it is because the delete editors have found there are too few if any reliable sources available to write an informative and balanced article. Since the article therefore lacks weight, it could actually misinform readers.
In my experience, articles that have no consensus to delete never get developed into reasonable articles. Can you provide any examples where they have?
TFD (talk) 22:57, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it depends on your idea of what constitutes a reasonable article. Gpedia:Articles for deletion/Islamic fascism (the article has since be renamed to Islamofascism) closed as "no consensus", and it's currently a B-class article. H.V. Dalling looks reasonable to me. Kinetite is short, but still looks reasonable to me. Aziz Shavershian looks reasonable to me. List of largest shopping centres in Australia isn't a subject that interests me, but it looks like there is an inline citation for every entry. All of these ended with "no consensus" at AFD. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:04, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Setting the very high bar of "reasonable article" being the same as a Featured or Good article, there are 26 that had previous NC results:
-- GreenC 01:39, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except article rating doesn't assess actual notability and is not a particularly consensus-driven process in the first place. That Neil Harvey article is a prime example of the overly-detailed, UNDUE trivia that accumulates when no one is actually discussing the subject directly, but which when well-crafted appears to satisfy article reviewers. JoelleJay (talk) 01:34, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have some sympathy for the idea given that the bar for deletion is quite high. There are so many ways to get to nocon, I think one cannot easily legislate for them all. Selfstudier (talk) 22:40, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Deletion has balances of power because 1 person can nominate 10 articles in 10 minutes (or less) while to save those articles can take days of effort researching sources, improving the articles, arguing at AfD. It usually never gets done in practice for that reason. The valuable commodity is time. That's why we let it sit until someone has the time to work on it. -- GreenC 01:02, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And one person can create 10 articles in 10 minutes, while to delete them it takes at least 7 days and multiple other editors each. If we actually valued community time we'd enforce greater restrictions on creation such that most of the time spent on any one article is spent by one editor who wants to document that subject, rather than that plus the effort of 8 other editors with no interest in the subject doing x% of the same work redundantly and in parallel over the course of a week. JoelleJay (talk) 01:48, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Just a random idea, maybe a bad one maybe not, but what if articles closed as no consensus were to be automatically added to a list of "AfDs closed as no consensus" & relisted for discussion a year down the line? That'd give people plenty of time to work on it; keeps the article in mainspace during that time which does attract more potential editors than draft/user-space; but still ensures there isn't a risk they'll get forgotten about for years and years until someone stumbles upon it again. AddWittyNameHere 02:21, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I like this idea more than NC==keep. JoelleJay (talk) 01:40, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And a year later, WP:NODEADLINE will still apply. Just like in 3 months, or 5 years. Automatic relisting is just busy work and bureaucracy, we don't need that. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 10:16, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Sure, some of the time, that will be the exact outcome, and in some cases, the article that gets relisted will so obviously have improved it gets into speedy keep territory. I'm not unaware there are downsides to my suggestion.
    However, in other cases, consensus on notability of a subject may well have changed and the article gets deleted after all. (After all, there's more than enough cases where an article survives one or two AfD listings before eventually getting deleted.)
    As things stand right now, a good bunch of these gets relisted down the line anyway and many of the others would have gotten relisted if folks actually remembered they exist. But it puts the burden of doing so on individual editors who have to remember those articles exist and judge when it's been long enough since the last time at AfD, and in some subject areas it exposes these editors to unnecessary drama and ALLCAPS shortcut accusations like WP:IDHT and WP:POINT levied towards them for re-AfDing it.
    At least if it's an automatic process, the burden of remembering the article's existence doesn't end up on individual editors; folks aren't required to possibly open themselves up to drama and accusations in order to get such articles up at AfD again; and it rebalances the outcome of "no consensus" more closely towards it's actual meaning: there was no consensus for either keeping or deleting (so let's try again some point down the line to see if an actual consensus in either direction exists now). AddWittyNameHere 08:57, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply] took several tries before an AfD was successful

No, no, you're not understanding what we're about, here. An AfD is not necessarily "successful" if an article is destroyed; most times yeah, but often enough, it's a cockup. The attitude shown by that statement is just silly, in my view. It's not 2010 anymore. There's a whole culture of editors backslapping each other for destroying articles, and we are destroying more OK articles than we should be. Making it easier to destroy more is the opposite of what we need. Suggestion rejected. Herostratus (talk) 03:02, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A lot of your examples are articles created about non-notable people who subsequently achieved notability. For example, the article about the baseball player Jason Heyward was created before he had ever played as a professional. When it was nominated for deletion, the full article read:
"Jason Heyward is an outfielder and first-baseman drafted by the Atlanta Braves. He played baseball in high school for Henry County High School in McDonough, Georgia. He was selected 14th overall in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft. He is a 6 foot 1 inch, 220 pound player."[1]
At that time [18 June 2007], the subject lacked notability per Sports personalities as there were no sources providing significant coverage.
Your argument would therefore be a form of WP:CRYSTALBALL, which is creating an article now in anticipation of the topic becoming notable in the future.
There's an upcoming movie starring Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, Luiz Guzman and other notable actors, but little has been released about it at this time. An editor submitted it to Articles for Creation, but it was rejected and they were told not to re-submit until the film had attracted sufficient media coverage to meet notability. But if they had created the article, it probably would have survived an AfD because of no consensus. I am sure however that it will attract attention, good or bad, based on the high profile of the actors.
AfDs BTW provide an opportunity for editors to find and add sources to articles. They don't need another four weeks, four months or whatever and then put the community through another AfD.
TFD (talk) 04:32, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are cases too where a notable topic exists, but the article is so poorly written that WP:BLOWITUP is the best approach. For example, Left-wing terrorism is a defined concept in terrorism studies with relative agreement on their objectives, methods and which groups it applies to. However, the original article was terrorists who happened to be left-wing, which is not the definition. There was overwhelming consensus for deletion. (See Gpedia:Articles for deletion/Left-wing terrorism.) Four years later, I re-created the article based on reliable sources. I notice that AndyTheGrump is also a contributor. It was far easier to create a new article than to fix a bad article. And there was no public benefit to have kept a bad article for four years, waiting for someone to fix it. ([[I also recreated Right-wing terrorism which had been deleted at the same time.) TFD (talk) 14:33, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh yes, absolutely, most articles sent to AfD should be deleted. They're memorials, or ephemera, or unsourceable, or COI advertisements, or not-easily-fixable BLP or NPOV violations, or resumes, and so on and so forth. For all the rest, simplify your life. Throw away all the noise, throw away all the THIS CAPITALIZED LINK and THAT CAPITALIZED LINK and the general war of capitalized links. Instead, ask a simple question:

This article has X daily readers. Overall, it would improve the experience of people searching on this term to get a 404 rather than article, because _______.

If you can't fill in the blank with something useful, go do something else. There are cogent reasons that can go in the blank. It's just that "Rule X or Rule Y or Rule Z says to delete, beep beep" isn't one of them,
So, as you say, if the article needs to get blown up, its worse than nothing. If the article says things that are false or might be false (since there's no reliable source) and we probably can't source those with reasonable effort and deleting them all would ruin the article, the article's not much use. If the article cherry-picks to spin the subject, and we can't easily fix that, the reader would be better off getting nothing. If X is at or near zero, there's not much point in having the article. If the subject is so emphemeral that we can guess that X will be at or near zero in ten years or twenty, same. And there's lot of other reasons.
Even if you can, there are some other reasons. Sometimes the article is too far beyond our remit. A how-to. A bare recipe. An essay. Many other things. We've decided not to publish stuff like that, and that's fine. Or, the article might be a net drag on the project, for some reason.
Other than that, what's the harm of having an article about some bohunk footballer from Franistan or whatever. People like to write about that, people like to read about that. You might not like it, but you can't stop them. And our remit is to be a very large and detailed encyclopedia of football ("Gpedia ... incorporates elements of general and specialized encyclopedias"). Tell me what the harm is. If you can't, move on.
As to "AfDs BTW provide an opportunity for editors to find and add sources to articles", good grief no. I hope editors aren't of the mind "well, this article could use more sources, but I don't wanna do it, I'll send it to AfD so it'll be improved". That would be... not what AfD is for. I mean it is hard to add new sources to an article if we've deleted it. Right? Sure some few articles sent to AfD get improved and saved per WP:HEY. But a lot just slip into the grave. I mean this is an extremely risky way to build an encyclopedia, I really don't want editors to ever be thinking this. Herostratus (talk) 23:13, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed. Unless there has previously been an affirmative consensus to keep an article, no consensus should default to the article not being kept - either through it being redirected, or through it being moved to draft space. This is in line with policies such as WP:ONUS and WP:BURDEN, and would also partially address some WP:FAITACCOMPLI issues related to article creation. BilledMammal (talk) 02:32, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Remember we are here to build an encyclopedia. Deleting pages does not achieve that. And as stated above, no consensus means we don't change the way it is, so if the article exists, we don't delete it. If you want it to be a redirect, then argue for that, and get consensus. If the policy is not clear on what the deletion decisions are based, perhaps we need more discussion on the policy. In my opinion we have far too many biographies that do not pass the GNG, but I don't normally waste time arguing about their deletion, because there are so many special criteria that allow keeping. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 05:18, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I don't see why building an encyclopedia means giving new page creators "first mover advantage", such that I can create any mainspace page and unless there's consensus to delete it, it stays. I'm here to build an accurate encyclopedia--and a curated one, WP:NOTEVERYTHING. Levivich 05:58, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      I don't see why building an encyclopedia means giving AFD nominators a "second mover advantage", such that they can delete any mainspace page, and unless there's a consensus to keep it, it goes – especially since only one person can create a given article, but there are thousands of us who could try to get it deleted. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:12, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Remember we are here to build an encyclopedia. Deleting pages does not achieve that. Only if the sole definition of "building an encyclopedia" is "increasing the total number of standalone articles". But one way Gpedia defines itself is by what it is NOT, so removing articles that violate NOT is "building the encyclopedia" just as much as creating articles on encyclopedically-worthy subjects. And anyway, who would hire a gardener who not only doesn't weed your garden, but also actively plants weeds? JoelleJay (talk) 22:07, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The problem is that article creation can be done unilaterally without consensus (or even proof of notability), but deletion requires research and at least 3 editors to reach consensus if the article creator contests it. –dlthewave 06:12, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose change (unclear status of the "proposal") - No consensus means default to inclusion because it is no consensus to change - no consensus by a new page patroller should mean return to draft. So the original burden is on the new article, unlike what is noted above. But the burden is instead on the change, which is in fact the norm on Gpedia. That is why no consensus defaults to keep. Those suggesting it should be userfied are, in effect, proposing deletion by the backdoor. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:48, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't believe your assertion that there is a consensus for these articles due to the existence of NPP is accurate; the opinion of a single new page patroller isn't enough to form a consensus, and articles created by autopatrolled editors are not reviewed by NPP.
I also think we should avoid bolded !votes until there is a formal proposal. BilledMammal (talk) 12:09, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@BilledMammal on the former point, it's meant to be akin to that one person could add some content with a source, and if someone reverted it, the onus would be on them to prove it should be included. But if they added such, and someone else disagreed a year later, the onus would be on the remover. On the latter, I would do so, except for the fact we're in VPP, not VPI, and so it's supposed to already be a full proposal. If we don't want bolded !votes then we can shift the convo over to VPI and I'll happily strike. Nosebagbear (talk) 21:30, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose change per Nosebagbear. Exactly my thoughts. Pavlor (talk) 11:52, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If Gpedia's mission is to sort the known universe into things that are notable and things that are not notable, defaulting AfDs to keep makes sense. If its mission is to write an encyclopaedia that keeps growing and improving, not so much. – Joe (talk) 12:01, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think this is merely a discussion. The editor who opened this thread did not put forth a proposal. They asked a question and a discussion has ensued. No need to "oppose" or "support" because there is no proposal on the table. ---Steve Quinn (talk) 14:09, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • As others have pointed out, while keeping recently-created pages as a result of "No consensus" does create some WP:Fait accompli issues with regards to the article creator, I don't think this is really the major issue. The real problem is that some "No Consensus" closes aren't a reflection of genuine and plausible disagreement over something being notable, but are instead the result of !vote counting without due regard for those !votes actually incorporating policy into their reasoning. -Indy beetle (talk) 18:42, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The answer to this question is simply that the burden of proof rests on the person who asserts the claim. For a deletion proposer, that's on them. --RockstoneSend me a message! 08:17, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have to disagree with Since most AfDs attract little attention, the outcome is already weighted in favor of keep, since the creator and other contributors are likely to vote to keep. An AfD with no participation results in a soft delete, and there are just as many "other contributors" who will come along and vote delete (or WP:PERNOM). If the nominator writes an effective rationale the burden is then on the keep voters to counter that. An effective rationale countered by a keep vote with no or poor reasoning is likely to be closed as delete. I would oppose any change here. NemesisAT (talk) 09:01, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Oppose change. The article by definition already exists. Someone has bothered to write it. If there was consensus to delete it then this would result in deletion at AfD. We should err on the side of keeping articles that someone has bothered to work on rather than erring on the side of deleting articles that someone has decided they don't like. If you examine AfDs you will see that there are some editors who never saw an AfD they didn't want to vote delete on; it's just their dogma - if it's been nominated for deletion then it clearly should be deleted. Sometimes the same group of editors votes delete one after the other. As long as there are enough other editors who vote keep then the onus should always be on the deletors to say why it should be deleted and convince other editors of that, not the other way around. It's very easy to vote delete; it's not so easy to put work into writing an article. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:07, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    We should err on the side of keeping articles that someone has bothered to work on rather than erring on the side of deleting articles that someone has decided they don't like. would be putting the editor above the reader. The fact that someone "bothered to work on" something doesn't make it necessarily good or valuable, and it certainly doesn't mean it meets any of our policies or guidelines. We should not show the reader anything that we don't agree meets our policies and guidelines. The reader should know that everything they're reading has consensus as policy-compliant. Levivich 15:46, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    No, it doesn't. But this about a no consensus result, not a delete result! That suggests that at least some editors think the article is worth keeping. The reader should know that everything they're reading has consensus as policy-compliant. Anyone would think that Gpedia had fixed rules that must be obeyed! We don't and we never have had. That's why we have AfDs and not admin deletion of articles that are non-"policy-compliant" (which is clearly very often highly subjective in any case) without discussion. -- Necrothesp (talk) 16:23, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Articles are regularly deleted because they don't fit a strict definition of some guideline despite having many views. This deletionism is not putting the reader first. NemesisAT (talk) 14:05, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I bet you can't name three articles with "many views" that have been deleted. Levivich 14:50, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't know how we would get the page view counts for articles such as 2022 New Mexico parade ramming. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:19, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Straight off the top of my head is List of largest towns in England without a railway station which was the top result in Google for searches on British settlements without a railway station. Tell me how deleting that is putting the reader first. NemesisAT (talk) 23:23, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Where to even begin with this comment... JoelleJay (talk) 04:28, 5 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. There are cases where non-policy-based "Keep" votes incorrectly lead the closer to a "No consensus" result. The solution is to better educate closers on discounting such votes. But where there is a legitimate lack of consensus, we should err on the side of WP:PRESERVE. Cbl62 (talk) 16:38, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • oppose, no consensus has long meant status quo. There are speedy deletion criteria also. Andre🚐 21:43, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I mean, as usual, I find these discussions depressing. Before the slow Eternal September starting in IDK the mid to late oughts, there was a different attitude. Now we have many people robotically and rigidly following immutable rules and/or using rules as a club to battle for their ideology -- which is destructive often enough -- and other editors teaching new editors that that's the way to roll. It's hard to contribute by writing articles; trolling thru the project and finding articles that don't meet this rule or that rule or the other rule and trying to have them deleted is much easier -- and there are now many editors who will high-five new editors who do that. There are editors who are on a long-term class-warfare crusade to find grounds to have articles about low culture subjects deleted. And there are lot of nominated articles where the nominator, thru either misfeasance or malfeasance, hasn't done due diligence, and often enough nobody checks this. You get a few driveby "Delete per nom" votes from editors who have been brought up in this mindset, and then a busy admin who sees her job as to clear the backlog as quickly as possible, which is most easily done with a headcount..

From the days of Nupedia the rubric was (formerly) that if you had a good article, that people wanted to read, that was within our remit, then you wouldn't delete it. I had an article deleted, a good article, because we're working here with people... how to put this... maybe lack a subtle and nuanced understanding of how ref vetting works and really what we're supposed to be doing here... it is the encyclopedia that anyone can participate in, there's no threshold for subtlety of mind or commitment to the project goals. Anyway, I found this experience both alarming and alienating. Herostratus (talk) 01:45, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm going to BOLDly suggest a couple compromises, for the sake of discussion. So, "Delete" results could be split into to -- something like "Delete with prejudice" where the subject is inherently no good or the article was terrible or a BLP violation or what have you, and Deletes where the article was not that bad, didn't meet the GNG or whatever (or did, but was considered of interest only to the lower classes) but is not actually harmful for people to read. For the latter, we could have a process where: 1) The article is blanked (but not deleted) and protected 2) The reader is instructed how to go into the history and find the last good version and access that That way, the editors who like to delete OK articles get satisfaction, but the reader is also able to access the article.

Or, if we don't want the readers to access deleted articles at all, for the latter we could, instead of having the actually pretty insulting suggestion that reader make it herself (which is OK for articles that have never been made, that's different), we could have a page like this:

I mean, we ought to be straight with the reader and not beat around the bush. Herostratus (talk) 01:45, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, because you can never have too many unsourced articles on people who played one cricket match in 1845. Dennis Brown - 01:58, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Especially ones that are basically mirrors of the sports database websites where they get their only mention. We definitely need those! -Indy beetle (talk) 08:44, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Now you're getting it! Except for the "unsourced" part (if it means unsourceable with reasonable effort); we don't want to tell readers wrong things, or things that might be wrong. As you say, per the first sentence of the First Pillar, "Gpedia combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias" (emphasis added). It's important to keep this in mind, I think, because after all that is what I signed on to and so did others. People like to make these articles and people like to read them, and people who don't like it are advised to consider the Wikipedian's Meditation.
"Combines many features of" does not mean the same thing as "is". WP is not a specialist encyclopedia, almanac, or gazetteer even if it combines many features of them, but if you signed up to write one of those, you're in the wrong place. Levivich 14:57, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And FWIW, if you really want to go after articles about very obscure subjects with sources to bare mentions in obscure databases, how about articles like Gogana conwayi? We have thousands upon thousands of articles like that. Call them "biocruft" and get them destroyed, why not. Oh wait, I forgot science is for our sort of people. Sports is for the peasantry. Phhht. Herostratus (talk) 10:20, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
actually, the more recent issue is recognition that these stubs around geolocations,sports figurrs, or special is to namw A few is that they highlight the plight around trying to create articles on underrepresented groups ( dye to systematic bias) like women and minorities, even in just Western cultures. these stubs would never have gotten through the current AFC or drafting processes to be put to mainspace, which the same issue faces those trying to create articles on women/etc.. this doesn't mean that we should delete the existing stubs, but the attitude (currently be drafted into an RFC about mass article creation and deletion) is that mass creation of these stub like article is not recommended without seeking community concurrence. But at the same time, we have to be aware that there are other ways to present the same info without creating microstubs, such as covering the arching genus of a spevies, each known species under it as list entry rather than a separate article, until GNG notability can be shown. Masem (t) 13:51, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • We have a rule that AfD isn't for cleanup. We also have a rule that says there is no deadline to improve content. Because AfD isn't for cleanup and we don't have any other process with deadlines, any request to improve the sources for an article can be put off by other editors, and there is no limit to how often this can be done. I call this "infinite deferral".
    We also have a rule that says when we're talking about biographies of living people, editors should be very firm about requiring the highest quality sources, but because of infinite deferral, there is no venue at all where editors can be firm about sources. The "no-consensus-defaults-to-keep" facet of AfD rather exacerbates this, I think. I'm coming to the view that we need a place where we can enforce WP:BLP, WP:BURDEN and WP:ONUS, all of which are paragraphs of core policy. If AfD can't be adapted into that place, then I would tend to suggest a new process.—S Marshall T/C 20:54, 4 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You can be just as firm and rapid as you want about adding high-quality sources – as long as you're doing the work yourself, and not just ordering others to do it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:16, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I sort of 'Oppose'. This is because there are cases when people can't be bothered to be involved as the afd does not interest them, don't either bother looking for any sources, or don't actually look at the sources to see if they are any good. We therefore get no concensus, when Articles should either be deleted or kept. No consensus does not mean keep. Drafty became an option at AFD because editors could see that articles could be improved but didn't have time to do the donkey work at the AFD. My other issue is closers. There are editors closing or extending AFDs making decisions not actually based on fact. I recently nominated County Borough of Southend-on-Sea, for hardly any participation, which the editor extending the AFD deadline made a snide comment about the nomination, which a further editor pointed out was wrong.Davidstewartharvey (talk) 05:33, 5 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose any changes. The OP brings up WP:ONUS, but article deletion is not the same thing as text removal. Article deletion says "Should we or should we not have a stand-alone article dedicated to this topic", whereas the information contained in such a putative article could still be covered at Gpedia in any other appropriate article. Deleting an article is primarily about how we organize information at Gpedia, it is NOT about whether or not such information should be included at all. Let's say, for example, there's an article about the Anytown Police Department, and lets say that AFD decides to delete the article, because the Anytown Police Department is not notable enough for a stand-alone article. That deletion decision has nothing at all to do with how we deal with properly referenced information about the Anytown Police Department at Gpedia. Want to include a well-referenced paragraph on the Anytown Police Department in the article titled Anytown? The AFD decision has no influence on that. As long as the information passes proper referencing, and there is consensus (or, lack of objection) to adding it, go ahead and add that paragraph. So the comparison is NOT apt, and I find the argument in favor of changing policy regarding article deletion falls flat given that is the primary rationale for changing it. No consensus defaults to status quo, just as in other decisions, except in cases like WP:ONUS, which I think is a good exception to that standard policy. --Jayron32 17:43, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose any changes. "Gpedia's purpose is to benefit readers by acting as a widely accessible and free encyclopedia that contains information on all branches of knowledge." If there's no consensus to delete the page then keep it.--Ortizesp (talk) 18:18, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strongest possible oppose doing anything about this "problem." It is easy to nominate an article for deletion and harder to improve it, so the burden of proof must be on the person nominating an article for deletion in order to counterbalance it. In reference to your point of "contributors are likely to vote to keep," the sheer amount of AfDs that get extended prove this wrong. Gpedia has existed for decades. The expectation that a subject-matter expert with access to high-quality sourcing who edited an article in 2010 make himself available for a discussion he doesn't know exists, during a 1-week timeslot he wasn't told about, needs to appear for an article to be kept will make the problem of notable content being deleted on poor/nonexistent WP:BEFORE research worse than it already is. Gnomingstuff (talk) 13:18, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
While this discussion could've been closed earlier due to a clear consensus against the change, the debate among editors was still ongoing. Now that it's slowed down, it seems a good time to take a summary of what was discussed (and it seems some others agree).

This proposal began after an update by the ArbCom called "Special Circumstances Blocks", which specified that administrators were to "contact the appropriate group rather than issue a block" depending on the circumstances. This led to a discussion in which users were divided on the wording of WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE, specifically, what "information to which not all administrators have access" meant.

An initial wave of supporters noted that allowing administrators to block users based on off-wiki evidence (to be emailed to ArbCom afterward and to any admin that requested it) would be helpful in fighting UPE and sockmasters, while at the same time offloading some work from CUs. Some noted that these types of blocks are already commonplace and, as such, a good reason to rewrite the policy to reflect current practices.

While some opposing saw this as a breach of WP:OUTING, the discussion eventually drifted away from this topic after explanation that using off-wiki evidence of misconduct is not prohibited, but should be sent to the appropriate functionary queue, where they can act on that information. But, even ignoring those !votes that were solely based on this reasoning, it is quite clear that a big part of the community feels uncomfortable with administrators issuing blocks that depend on off-wiki info, which should be done by functionaries.

Editors made it clear that, while administrators are trusted members of the community, they haven't signed the confidentiality agreement and shouldn't be the ones making blocking decisions based on that kind of information. Editors rejected the proposed rewording of the blocking policy presented here saying administrators should be able to justify their blocks using on-wiki evidence, even if it includes aspects only accessible by other administrators (eg., revdel'ed edits and deleted pages). Any block that depends on off-wiki evidence should be issued by the proper group of functionaries. This falls in line with the guidance published by ArbCom.

Considering this happened due to differing interpretations of WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE, the following paragraph should be amended to clarify that blocks that can't be justified without the use of off-wiki evidence must go through the appropriate group of functionaries (CU, OS or ArbCom): "If a user needs to be blocked based on information that is not available to all administrators, that information should be sent to the Arbitration Committee, a checkuser or an oversighter for action. These editors are qualified to handle non-public evidence, and they operate under strict controls. The community has rejected the idea of individual administrators acting on evidence that cannot be peer-reviewed." (no specific wording was suggested) (non-admin closure) Isabelle 🏳‍🌈 01:33, 23 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE be updated to explicitly allow administrators to consider off-wiki evidence when making blocks for on-wiki misconduct, as long as that evidence will be made available to all uninvolved administrators and recorded with the Arbitration Committee? 21:52, 6 September 2022 (UTC)

It is well-established that blocks for off-wiki conduct fall outside of individual administrators' blocking authority. However, the situation is less clear when off-wiki evidence contributes to a decision to block a user for on-wiki misconduct: for instance, a user who denies a COI on-wiki, while a LinkedIn profile tells a different story. Currently, WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE, WP:ADMIN § Special situations, de facto community practice, and ArbCom's recent statement on Special Circumstances blocks provide guidance to administrators in inconsistent ways, open to varying interpretations. This disagreement recently received significant attention at the arbitration noticeboard talk page. The proposers of this RfC disagree on the current meaning of BLOCKEVIDENCE, but agree that it is both ambiguous and out-of-date with respect to current practices.

This proposed change to BLOCKEVIDENCE would explicitly allow administrators to block based on off-wiki evidence as long as that evidence will be made available to any uninvolved administrator upon request. In order to ensure the retention of evidence supporting these blocks, administrators would be required to record the evidence supporting these blocks with the Arbitration Committee when making these blocks. The intent of this proposal is to allow administrators to continue to make blocks for spam and undisclosed paid editing, while establishing safeguards for evidence retention.

Proposed new text

If an administrator blocks a user based on information to which not all administrators have access, that information should be submitted to the Arbitration Committee before the block to ensure that the information is recorded in the event of any appeal.[1] Evidence supporting these blocks must be made privately available by the blocking administrator to any uninvolved administrator upon request (for the purpose of peer review or appeal). In the event that the blocking administrator is unavailable to transmit the evidence, the Arbitration Committee will do so. These blocks typically should not be marked as "appealable only to ArbCom" and are reviewable by any uninvolved administrator.

If the blocking administrator is unwilling to share this evidence with any uninvolved administrator upon request, the administrator may not issue a block. The community has rejected the idea of individual administrators acting on evidence that cannot be peer-reviewed. Instead, the administrator should request action from the Arbitration Committee, or from the Checkuser or Oversight team, as appropriate. These editors are qualified to handle non-public evidence, and they operate under strict controls.

A separate set of requirements apply to administrators holding checkuser or oversight privileges. Those administrators may block users based on non-public information accessible only to checkusers and oversighters without emailing the Arbitration Committee. This may include information revealed through the CheckUser tool, edits that have been suppressed ("oversighted"), and information recorded in the checkuser-en-wp or paid-en-wp VRTS queues. These blocks are considered to be Checkuser or Oversight actions, as appropriate, although the technical action to issue a block is an administrative one. All such blocks are subject to direct review by the Arbitration Committee.

Unified diff

If a user needs to be blocked an administrator blocks a user based on information that will not be made available to all administrators to which not all administrators have access, that information should be sent to the Arbitration Committee or a checkuser or oversighter for action. These editors are qualified to handle non-public evidence, and they operate under strict controls. submitted to the Arbitration Committee before the block to ensure that the information is recorded in the event of any appeal.[1] Evidence supporting these blocks must be made privately available by the blocking administrator to any uninvolved administrator upon request (for the purpose of peer review or appeal). In the event that the blocking administrator is unavailable to transmit the evidence, the Arbitration Committee will do so. These blocks typically should not be marked as "appealable only to ArbCom" and are reviewable by any uninvolved administrator.

If the blocking administrator is unwilling to share this evidence with any uninvolved administrator upon request, the administrator may not issue a block. The community has rejected the idea of individual administrators acting on evidence that cannot be peer-reviewed. Instead, the administrator should request action from the Arbitration Committee, or from the Checkuser or Oversight team, as appropriate. These editors are qualified to handle non-public evidence, and they operate under strict controls.

An exception is made for A separate set of requirements apply to administrators holding checkuser or oversight privileges; such . Those administrators may block users based on non-public information accessible only to Checkusers and Oversighters without emailing the Arbitration Committee. This may include information revealed through the checkuser CheckUser tool, or on edits that have been suppressed ("oversighted") and are inaccessible to administrators , and information recorded in the checkuser-en-wp or paid-en-wp VRTS queues. As such, an administrative action is generally viewed to be made in the user's capacity as an oversighter or checkuser, although the action itself is an administrative one. These blocks are considered to be checkuser or Oversight actions, as appropriate, although the technical action to issue a block is an administrative one. All such blocks are subject to direct review by the Arbitration Committee.

Side-by-side diff
If a user needs to be blocked based on information that will not be made available to all administrators, that information should be sent to the [[WP:ARB|Arbitration Committee]] or a [[Gpedia:Checkuser|checkuser]] or [[WP:SIGHT|oversighter]] for action. These editors are qualified to handle non-public evidence, and they operate under strict controls. The community has rejected the idea of individual administrators acting on evidence that cannot be peer-reviewed.<div class="paragraphbreak" style="margin-top:0.5em"></div> An exception is made for administrators holding [[Gpedia:Checkuser|Checkuser]] or [[Gpedia:Oversight|Oversight]] privileges; such administrators may block users based on non-public information revealed through the checkuser tool, or on edits that have been suppressed ("oversighted") and are inaccessible to administrators. As such, an administrative action is generally viewed to be made in the user's capacity as an oversighter or checkuser, although the action itself is an administrative one. All such blocks are subject to direct review by the [[Gpedia:Arbitration Committee|Arbitration Committee]].
If an administrator blocks a user based on information to which not all administrators have access, that information should be submitted to the [[WP:Arbitration Committee|Arbitration Committee]] before the block to ensure that the information is recorded in the event of any appeal. Evidence supporting these blocks must be made privately available by the blocking administrator to any uninvolved administrator upon request (for the purpose of peer review or appeal). In the event that the blocking administrator is unavailable to transmit the evidence, the Arbitration Committee will do so. These blocks [[Gpedia:Arbitration_Committee/Noticeboard/Archive_13#Special_Circumstances_Blocks|typically should <em >not</em> be marked]] as "appealable only to ArbCom" and are reviewable by any uninvolved administrator.

If the blocking administrator is unwilling to share this evidence with any uninvolved administrator upon request, the administrator may not issue a block. The community has rejected the idea of individual administrators acting on evidence that cannot be peer-reviewed. Instead, the administrator should request action from the Arbitration Committee, or from the [[WP:Checkuser|Checkuser]] or [[WP:Oversight|Oversight]] team, [[Gpedia:Arbitration_Committee/Noticeboard/Archive_13#Special_Circumstances_Blocks|as appropriate]]. These editors are qualified to handle non-public evidence, and they operate under strict controls.

A separate set of requirements apply to administrators holding checkuser or oversight privileges. Those administrators may block users based on non-public information accessible only to checkusers and oversighters without emailing the Arbitration Committee. This may include information revealed through the CheckUser tool, edits that have been suppressed ("oversighted"), and information recorded in the [[Gpedia:Arbitration_Committee/Noticeboard/Archive_13#Special_Circumstances_Blocks|checkuser-en-wp or paid-en-wp VRTS queues]]. These blocks are considered to be Checkuser or Oversight actions, as appropriate, although the technical action to issue a block is an administrative one. All such blocks are subject to direct review by the Arbitration Committee.


  1. ^ a b c Administrators are also encouraged to do the same where their interpretation of on-wiki evidence might not be obvious to an administrator reviewing an unblock request—for instance, a sockpuppetry block justified by subtle behavioral "tells".

If this proposal is successful, the change would be communicated to all administrators via MassMessage, as has been done with past changes to blocking procedure. Gpedia:Appealing a block would also be updated to reflect this change to blocking policy. Finally, the Arbitration Committee would be recommended to establish a new unmonitored VRTS queue to receive evidence supporting these blocks (distinct from its handling of "appeal only to ArbCom" blocks), with ticket numbers that can be included in the block log.

Co-signed 21:52, 6 September 2022 (UTC):
-- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe)
KevinL (aka L235 · t · c)


  • Support as proposer. I thank L235 for suggesting creating this RfC, in light of our disagreement about the policy's current meaning, one that sees multiple experienced administrators on both sides. It's clear to me that BLOCKEVIDENCE is not in keeping with current practices, and creates a dangerous dead letter of essentially unenforced wording amidst a very important policy. As a new administrator, I have already run into scenarios several times that fall into this ambiguity. To highlight a few examples:
    1. A user recreated an article on a non-notable person, which had been deleted several times in the past. Past versions appeared autobiographical, but the new account seemed to be someone different. I Googled the username and found that someone with that exact name worked in marketing for a company affiliated with the article's subject. I blocked for meatpuppetry, directing other admins to contact me for evidence.
    2. A user was reported to SPI for AfD !votestacking. At issue was whether they knew another user off-wiki, so I Googled their username and found a LinkedIn profile where someone with that name claims to be a Gpedia editor and claims to work for a company that the user had edited about extensively. I asked the user if they were affiliated with the company. They denied it, and I blocked for UPE, directing other admins to contact me for evidence.
    3. The other day, GoodPhone2022 (talk · contribs) emailed me, (mostly-)[1]confessing to being a sock of AlfredoEditor. In this case, given the username similarity to past sock GoodPhone2020 (talk · contribs), I was comfortable blocking, but if not for that, I would be in an area of policy ambiguity.
  • In each of these cases, ArbCom's current prescription is that I would have had to forward the email to a CU-staffed queue, in two out of three cases for a routine sockpuppet. In all three cases, the reason for blocking is on-wiki misconduct, most of the evidence is on-wiki, and the off-wiki evidence was straightforward.[2]
    We have four conflicting rulesets here: BLOCKEVIDENCE, if interpreted to forbid all blocks based on private evidence, forbids these three blocks, even the routine sockblock. If interpreted to forbid only blocks based on evidence that cannot be shared off-wiki with other admins, it allows this (since under WP:OUTING admins can discuss such evidence by email). ADMIN § Special situations, meanwhile, complicates this, in that it could be interpreted to allow these blocks but require making them "appeal only to ArbCom". ArbCom's recent statement, however, forbids that designation for the most part, and, depending on how literally one sentence is taken,[3] forbids making the block at all. And finally, de facto current practice is that administrators do make such blocks and either explicitly or implicitly direct other admins to contact them off-wiki for evidence.
    Since ArbCom has sent no admin-wide bulletin, I suspect that the upshot of ArbCom's recent statement is that it will be ignored and business will continue as normal until someday it doesn't and we get some drama-filled desysop or admonishment that pits admins saying "But we all do this!" against arbs saying "But we said you can't!" I don't like that outcome, and I don't like the status quo of a policy that is both ambiguous and ignored. Critically, even if BLOCKEVIDENCE does allow these blocks, we have the problem that it's not a very good system. Admins resign or get for-caused or die. Admins forget why they blocked someone. LinkedIn profiles get taken down, Upwork contracts get closed. By both formalizing the permissibility of blocks like these and creating a system for admins to store evidence (mandatory when off-wiki evidence is involved, optional but encouraged for complex interpretation of on-wiki evidence), we solve that problem while clarifying the situations under which admins can and can't make blocks like these. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 21:57, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Tamzin: I would be very surprised if it is "current practice" for admins to make blocks based on nonpublic evidence without having signed the confidentiality agreement for nonpublic information. Do you have any examples of anyone other than yourself doing it? Historically as a project we are very careful about private information and, while I have no doubt that your different interpretation of WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE was reached in good faith, in the subsequent discussion on ARBN, the majority of admins, including functionaries with years of experience in actually handling these kind of blocks within the established processes, agreed with ArbCom's interpretation. – Joe (talk) 09:17, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Joe Roe: Just sent a brief email. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 15:52, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ You deleted my sock's subpage, User:GoodPhone2020/List of islands by area [...] I'm not a sockpuppet
  2. ^ In the second case, the unblock-reviewing admin didn't even consult me for evidence, but found it themself.
  3. ^ Administrators should contact the appropriate group rather than issue a block covered above.
  • Support as proposer. In my view, policy currently prohibits many blocks that are frequently made by administrators (e.g., low-level UPE blocks based on Upwork profiles). But those blocks seem to have become accepted by the community and the administrative corps. This proposal catches policy up to reality while adding a safeguard: the evidence will be recorded in case it’s needed in the future. I therefore support the change.
    Also, because there’s disagreement about what policy currently requires, I’d ask any folks who oppose this proposal to indicate what they think the current policy says. (Are blocks based on info with an “email me for the evidence” note permissible? Does that count as information that will [] be made available to all administrators?) With thanks to Tamzin and everyone who discussed and ideated on this, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 21:58, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support - currently we are caught between the former status quo, with the risk of block evidence being lost putting appellants and unblocking admins in an unenviable position and the Arbcom created new rules that simply would put too many tasks on CU-only where they don't need to be. This proposal offers a solution to that, especially in the "low-hanging fruit" part of off-wiki evidence. Tamzin's reasoning is detailed and the examples are a good set of those frequently seen. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:04, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. Seems pretty straightforward to me. –MJLTalk 22:24, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. We shouldn't prohibit good blocks just because policy doesn't allow the evidence to go public. I do have one quibble with the proposed text. It says the info will be recorded by arbcom and can be retrieved there by admins, but it also says the blocking admin MUST supply the info to other admins on request. That implies all admins using this policy must retain a permanent duplicate record of the info. That seems pointless. I'd drop the unreliable requirement for admins to supply the evidence. Alsee (talk) 22:26, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support, with thanks to both proposers. The problem of UPE is a significant one, and I'm pretty sure there is community consensus that we need to allow some degree of "research" about users suspected of UPE or even just COI, regardless of the WP:HARASS prohibition of "opposition research". This proposal makes it clear how admins can be effective while still protecting private evidence, and solves problems with forgotten evidence. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:30, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Tryptofish: We already allow this kind of research, by anyone, just with the caveat that only functionaries can make a block based on it. The evidence for these blocks is then logged in one of various VRT queues or private wikis (depending on the kind of block). For example, if you find evidence that a user is making undisclosed paid edits, you can email it to for recording and action. – Joe (talk) 09:02, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think it's pretty obvious from subsequent discussion below, that the community is divided over whether or not that is, or should be, true. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:35, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    As I read comments by other editors, I want to add to my original comment. As much as I consider doxxing to be appalling, I think there are shades of gray when it comes to people who are openly engaging offsite in for-profit abuse of the community's trust. Deceiving other editors by hiding one's actual agenda in order to slant our content to serve a corporate or political purpose is not OK. And anyone who thinks it's not happening on a large and growing scale is kidding themselves. Gpedia is a very attractive target for self-promotion. That's nowhere near to regular good-faith contributors who want to be able to edit anonymously (like me). Our policies should not be suicide pacts, and we should not make our belief in the right to anonymity into a cultish Thing-That-May-Not-Be-Questioned. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:11, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I support the idea behind this proposal. However, I'm unsure about the following sentence: "In the event that the blocking administrator is unavailable to transmit the evidence, the Arbitration Committee will do so." Can we really require them to do so? This seems to convert ArbCom into a marketplace for off-wiki outing. I guess "will do so if possible" or "may do so" would be more precise. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 22:39, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm definitely OK with "if possible" or "may do so" if people feel very strongly, but my first thought is that it seems like this is an edge case that doesn't need to be spelled out – presumably we can trust ArbCom not to engage in impermissible OUTING, as they handle all sorts of private information normally. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 22:52, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Well, as mentioned in Tamzin's support comment, the harassment policy does contain an outing exception specifically for emailing, so it's less of a concern than it looked to me first anyway. Formalizing the existing way for all administrators to access the evidence behind such blocks is a positive development.
    I have reviewed paid-editing blocks based on admin-only evidence (and requests for them) a few times and found it difficult to come to a clear conclusion whether the blocked user was actually lying into our faces or genuinely pointing out a case of mistaken identity. I guess those active at WP:SPI got used to this feeling. Transparency, as far as possible, increases the number of eyes that need to make the same mistake for an incorrect block to happen/stay. I can't really complain about that. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 23:14, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. This is a reasonable way out of the current conflicting-norms problem. Unlike ToBeFree, I have no issue with the fact that the en.WP community can require its own ArbCom to do something. ArbCom answers to us, not the other way around.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  23:11, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    (Now that might be oversimplified as ArbCom consists of volunteers... somehow... within the boundaries of WP:ADMINACCT and similar principles. And, although probably not applicable to the type of evidence we're discussing, there are of course even additional restrictions on what we can require them to do, described in their NDAs.) ~ ToBeFree (talk) 23:20, 6 September 2022 (UTC) Reply[reply]
    I agree the community can compel arbcom to do something through Arbpol. This is not that. However if this passes I will absolutely be in favor of setting up an email queue for things to be sent to. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 06:14, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support This is a good solution for a difficult problem and is necessary to reduce disruption. Johnuniq (talk) 23:26, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support makes sense and clears up an ambiguity/conflict in policies/procedures/best practices. I don't see any reason not to make this change. --TheSandDoctor Talk 23:46, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Absolute and unequivocal Oppose. While clearly a good-faith proposal, I think this may be the single worst idea I've seen advanced to the community in quite some time, full of ill-considered potential knock-on effects that aren't even contemplated within the proposition, let alone addressed. With due respect to Tamzin, I think they have seriously misinterpreted both the wording of relevant policy and the established community consensus on which it is based.
    For example, the first scenario that they use as evidence for why this system is needed (in their support !vote)... I'm sorry Tamzin, but that's just not the kind of investigation I want you to be undertaking under any circumstances, nor do I think it is properly within your remit as an admin: in fact, I think it is a brightline violation of the wording of WP:OUTING. The exception contemplated in that policy is that a user might utilize information relating to a generic posting by a company seeking COI editors--not the notion that users (admins included) would be tracking down potentially doxxing information regarding specific editors, just so long as they have socking concerns to justify it. That clearly goes against the spirit of the policy and longstanding community consensus.
    I suppose it's true that nothing currently prohibits any community member from acting as a non-sanctioned investigator and submitting such information to VRTS--whom I hope routinely ignore it in the (probable majority) of problematic cases and focus on on-project information and technical assets. But I am deeply concerned about how enabled similarly-thinking admins as Tamzin (again, no personal offense intended, but I feel strongly about this issue) might feel if they perceive a further institutional greenlight on such activities. And note that the outing policy would also need to be rewritten here in order to facilitate this new system, since it currently expressly forbids some of the activity that would be involved, and expresses a very different philosophy with how off-wiki information (and linking it to on-project accounts) is meant to be handled.
    Whats more, in order to facilitate this new and highly problematic role for admins, there is to now be a new log of sorts containing any amount of potentially sensitive personal information on any number of community members (and indeed, where the admin-inspector's instincts are off, personal information of people who may have nothing to do with the project whatsoever), creating one of the greatest systematic doxing risks generated by the project? All it would take is one bad actor getting access to that system, through legitimate or illegitimate means to create a world of harm. Nor should we expect any potential disruption to be limited to just a handful of overzealous admins, since this new system would encourage anyone of such a mindset, and on good terms with an admin who views their authority in this new area as broad, to seek out potentially damning information on other editors to relay it to said admins.
    I'm sorry, but our current policies with regard to the collection, dissemination, and storing of off-project personal information (which may or may not relate to community members) did not evolve in a vacuum: they are meant to place a premium on the protection of anonymity on a project that presents a massive risk of real world harm for many of its members. This proposal would be a significant erosion of that framework, which would invite all manner of potential problems. Far from being a "constitutional overreach", the rules promulgated by ArbCom (which have in any event been status quo for a long time), are, by comparison, much more in conformance with the traditional principles and concerns regarding privacy on this project, and it is (in my opinion) this proposal which would violate existing community norms and important checks and balances.
    In short, very much a case of the cure being much worse than the disease it proposes to address (and which is already effectively controlled by an existing treatment, if one that moves a little slower. I'm sorry, but we cannot, in the name of combating paid editing, vitiate some of our most important privacy policies. It just is not remotely a balanced reaction to that situation. SnowRise let's rap 01:50, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The outing policy, a section of the harassment policy, does not prevent administrators (or anyone for that matter) from investigating users' off-wiki activities, and explicitly notes Nothing in this policy prohibits the emailing of personal information about editors to individual administrators, functionaries, or arbitrators, or to the Wikimedia Foundation, when doing so is necessary to report violations of confidentiality-sensitive policies. If you think it ought to prohibit these things, you should propose a change to that policy. But the status quo is that such investigations and discussions are allowed; the question we're discussing here is who should block based on them, and how. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 03:02, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I find that quoting of the policy incredibly selective, considering the very next two sentences read: "Only the minimum information necessary should be conveyed and the minimum number of people contacted. Editors are warned, however, that the community has rejected the idea that editors should "investigate" each other."(emphasis added). The expansion of an administrator's permitted activities that you are proposing (and at least one of the examples of conduct which you seem to already engage in) are clearly not in keeping with that principle. You are just fundamentally wrong about what the kind of behavior the community has long proscribed with that rule: no, neither admins nor rank-and-file community members are meant to be tracking eachother off-project--that is quite simply a very foolish (and for some, expressly dangerous) notion, and the outing policy is the first and perhaps most fundamental layer in a firewall that exists to protect the privacy (and in many cases even the safety) of our volunteers.
    There is already a system in place for users (admins included) to act on off-project information suggestive of on-project disruption: WP:VRTS. That system seems to aggrieve you because you perceive it as ArbCom somehow dictating the purview of administrators, but there's clearly a lot of important policy rationale for why the system is set up like that in the first place: that information is simply not meant to become part of the record on contributors here, even in cases of disruption. Nor are our community members meant to be openly policing eachother in the manner you would have use normalize.
    What's more, you would have us log all the information thus collected in some fashion broadly available to at least editors of a certain class of permissions--and all that would need to happen in order for such doxxing data to be collected and retained for a user is that any one of our admins thought that maybe it was possible that they were socking... I'm sorry, but do you really not see all the ways that any such system would be vulnerable to exploitation or penetration, deeply undermining our traditional commitment to prioritizing the privacy and safety of our volunteers? I'm afraid that neither allowing for slightly speedier responses to a small subset of COI cases, nor giving a particularly defensive segment of the administrative corps an opportunity to thumb their nose at ArbCom are sufficiently good reasons to abrogate the principle of user anonymity so significantly. SnowRise let's rap 06:15, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    (edit conflict)There's a clause in the outing policy that Editors are warned, however, that the community has rejected the idea that editors should "investigate" each other. My reading of the proposal is that this policy is complimentary with WP:OUTING and that both the public meaning and intent of this proposed policy maintain respect for the principle that editors should not investigate each others' private lives. @Tamzin and L235: Yes or no, is this reading of policy yours as well? — Red-tailed hawk (nest) 06:20, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Kevin and I are not suggesting any change to WP:OUTING. My reading of that clause in OUTING—taken in context alongside other language that, as noted, explicitly allows reports of sensitive information—is that editors should not try to "dig up dirt" on one another, especially not speculatively or vindictively. OUTING is not a blanket ban on ever looking at anything anyone does off-wiki, and the community has repeatedly rejected attempts to make it one, something reflected in its current wording. Give that functionaries and ArbCom are bound by OUTING too, any stricter reading of that clause would mean that they commit blockable/desysoppable offenses anytime they block someone for off-wiki harassment—a block that by necessity involves some level of looking at what someone has been doing off-wiki. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 06:43, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That's clearly a non-sequitor: no one (that I have seen anyway) is suggesting that an admin who in good faith comes into possession of evidence of off-wiki harassment should refuse to act to protect the harassed party. And in fact, that's the very reason we have the system that we presently have, which balances user privacy with the possibility of administrative action in the fashion it does (with appropriate non-public oversight). But that is a very different animal from permitting admins (and potentially cohorts working in close collaboration with them) to unilaterally (and on their own onus) begin digging into the off-project identities of users. That is an exception that just cannot do anything but ultimately swallow the rule. It's very clearly the exact bridge too far that inspired the very plainly worded prohibition on investigating your fellow editors in the outing policy. Acting on information brought to you about an especially harmful and chilling class of harassment is one thing; every admin having the power to self-appoint themselves an inspector-general, in any random case of any user they can say they genuinely thought might be a sock, is a very different thing, and something I pray the community will have the good sense to reject here. SnowRise let's rap 07:11, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Red-tailed hawk: Yes, I believe that the proposal here is consistent with and should be read together with WP:OUTING, and that no changes to OUTING are implied by this proposal. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 17:05, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Even though I still support the proposal, I actually think that it contradicts the current understanding by the community of what the outing policy says. This proposal, taken along with the harassment policy, is basically saying that a non-admin can be sanctioned for doing opposition research, but it's OK for admins to do it, so long as they are simply doing it to enforce policy, rather than to push a personal grudge. That said, I believe this to be the actual existing practice of how things are done, but we continue to have policies that say something different, and some very strong sentiment in the community that we need to keep hands and eyes off of off-wiki everything. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:42, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support, obviously. If you organized a gang of vandals off-wiki, you should be blocked. Not blocking due to the coms being off-wiki is just taking advantage of a technicality to me. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 02:10, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    As for the potential for a power-grab/privacy concerns raised by SnowRise, I agree that the proposal should be flushed out before being implemented. But you need to propose your idea first. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 02:11, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support admins need more help and more tools to prevent bad editing and problematic accounts. Andre🚐 03:56, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support in principle. The particular part of the policy that states that the information has to be submitted strictly before the block seems to be a bit arbitrary and might delay an admin taking action against actively coordinated off-wiki vandalism organized on something like Twitter. Giving the admin some time after making the block (i.e. within 24 hours or something to that effect) would be superior to strictly requiring administrators to submit evidence before a block is made. — Red-tailed hawk (nest) 06:20, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose largely per SnowRise. I find Tamzin's examples bizarre; they seem to me to be right on the line of desysopable offences (even blockable ones), if not over it. Blocking someone because you googled their user name and found apparent connections to their editing is not okay. Sharing personal information of other editors by email (as proposed here) with any admin who asks for it is not okay. We have teams of people who deal with off-wiki evidence precisely to avoid this situation - those people have to have signed an agreement with the WMF to protect the confidentiality of data they use. Normal admins have not. GoldenRing (talk) 08:45, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Also, I really think WMF Legal need to be involved here, as I can see potential implications for the site ToU and privacy policy. IANAL but if admins are sharing editors' personal information at will for the purposes of maintaining the site, does this not expose the foundation to a degree of legal risk? GoldenRing (talk) 08:50, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree that this should be run past WMF Legal if implemented. Especially the part where ArbCom is supposed to act as a sort of information broker that provides personal information on editors to any admin that asks. – Joe (talk) 12:04, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    WP:Wikimedia Foundation statement on paid editing and outing exists. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 18:23, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm well aware of that, thanks. It also doesn't say anything at all that would be relevant to the Arbitration Committee, whose members are all signatories to the WMF's confidentiality agreement, sharing personal information on third parties with people who are not. – Joe (talk) 18:55, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Which part of the WMF's confidentiality agreement prevents an arbitrator from saying "When X blocked Y, they said it was because if you Google Y's username, you get a Twitter profile for the director of marketing at the company Y was making promotional edits about"? Genuine question. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 19:25, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    All arbitrators have agreed to refrain from disclosing nonpublic personal data to anyone. If they have access to the identity of Y because of their role, e.g. they got it from the WMF-hosted VRTS you've suggested setting up, that could be nonpublic personal data covered by the access policy. In the specific example you've chosen, you could probably argue that the Twitter profile was excepted because it is or was public (but off-wiki) information, but that isn't the case for all off-wiki blocks by any means. Also, importantly, IANAL, which is why I said I supported checking this with Legal – I'm not saying I have all the answers. That, generally, is another good reason to continue leaving this kind of work to functionaries: we tend to be a cautious bunch that will err on the side of privacy unless told otherwise. I can't say the same of the admin body at large. – Joe (talk) 20:07, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The quote above seems to come from [2]. It should perhaps be noted that the sentence continues with "except as permitted under those policies" ("the Privacy Policy; the Access to nonpublic personal data Policy; and any other applicable and nonconflicting community policy relating to nonpublic information"), and that "Nonpublic Personal Data" (capitalized in [3]) refers to a term defined earlier on the page. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 20:36, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. This is a terrible idea. as long as that evidence will be made available to any uninvolved administrator upon request – what if the blocking administrator isn't available? Or has left the project? Or lost the evidence? Or died? Just as the evidence for regular blocks are documented on-wiki, blocks for private evidence need to be documented somewhere so that no one person is a bottleneck for an appeal or unblock request, which could (and regularly does) come years after the initial block. ArbCom set up processes for doing precisely that years ago, using secure, WMF-maintained software, staffed by experienced and vetted functionaries who have signed the confidentiality agreement for handling nonpublic information, and it has been working perfectly fine for years. I don't see what problem this is supposed to solve and frankly it seems to stem entirely from one of our newest admins misunderstanding WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE. – Joe (talk) 08:51, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm also a bit worried that good number of the supporters so far seem to be supporting because the opening text of this RfC gives the impression that we currently don't block people based on non-public information (e.g. of UPE). This is not correct. Users are regularly blocked based on non-public information, but policy restricts these blocks only to CheckUsers, Oversighters, or Arbitrators who have signed the confidentiality agreement. The proposal here is to alter WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE so that all administrators are permitted to make these type of blocks. – Joe (talk) 08:59, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Joe Roe: I'm a bit confused by your reasoning here, with respect to admin resignation/death/etc. The entire "send evidence to ArbCom" portion of this proposal is meant to address that scenario, filling a gap that currently occurs any time an admin makes a block like this. Which is a fairly common occurrence, particularly for admins who do a lot of anti-UPE work; the fact that you were unaware of that is a good example of the disconnect between different groups of admins that prompted me and Kevin to start this RfC. (FWIW, of the 1,015 blocks I've made since becoming "one of our newest admins", I reckon there's 5 or fewer that fall under the scope of this RfC. In all cases I have said I was willing to share evidence with inquiring admins, in line with my and many other admins' interpretation of BLOCKEVIDENCE's current meaning.) -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 16:54, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Sorry, I was in a hurry and wasn't clear. The thing is that that gap only exists if you are making blocks against policy, hence this is a proposal that only solves a 'problem' of its own creation. If we stick to current policy, there are already robust processes that don't make one person the bottleneck and don't involve passing nonpublic personal information around a group of over a thousand people. I've yet to see any evidence that the latter is a "common occurrence" or that "many other admins" have the same misunderstanding about BLOCKEVIDENCE that you did. If I'm wrong, then as Thryduulf says below, they need to stop now and start following policy as it's currently written, not how they'd like it to be, before this ends up with ArbCom. – Joe (talk) 18:26, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Joe Roe: The whole point of this RfC is that policy as it's currently written is ambiguous. I and many other admins interpret will [ ] be made available to all administrators to require admins to be willing to share evidence privately when asked, but not to require them to present it on-wiki. That is not a "misunderstanding". It is a good-faith interpretation of an unclear clause. If you want to change BLOCKEVIDENCE to be more clear in your proposed direction, you should make a counter-proposal; but acting like the current meaning is crystal-clear is disingenuous. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 19:22, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I look forward to hearing from these many other admins. So far it seems there is a unanimous consensus amongst functionaries (who have been dealing with these kind of blocks day-in-day-out for years), that will not be made available to all administrators means will not be made available to all administrators, not just to individuals on request. I can't see why I would need to make a "counter-proposal" to keep a policy as it has been for fifteen years, apparently without any problems. – Joe (talk) 20:22, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You've already heard from several, both here and at WT:ACN. It's not exactly surprising that many functionaries, who are allowed to make these blocks under either interpretation, don't care about the distinction. Incidentally, your and several other functionaries' statements squarely at odd with multiple policies, including WP:OUTING (RoySmith, Thryduulf), the m:ANPDP (you, Thryduulf) and WP:UPE (Thryduulf), does not exactly bode well for the premise that functionaries (who need only finish in the top ~8 out of ~10/12 in an ACE to have that status for life) are somehow a more responsible body than their fellow administrators. Your attitude here reeks of superiority. You are not better than me or any of my ~1,000 non-funct admin peers just because 71% of voters 4 years ago thought that you should be on ArbCom. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 20:35, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Read the threads again Tamzin, it's pretty much just you. Nobody is saying they're superior to you, but knowledge of how policy operates comes from experience in applying it. The functionary team (who are not all former arbs, by the way) have a collective experience of handling nonpublic data stretching back decades. They are vetted by the community and the WMF at a higher standard than RfA, and work within an established system of documentation and oversight (inc. ArbCom, OmCom and WMF T&S). It's astounding to me that, less than six months after you got the bit, when the Arbitration Committee told you that you'd misunderstood a part of the blocking policy that they originated, and posted a formal statement clarifying what to do in similar situations in future, you decided it must be they and/or the policy that was wrong. – Joe (talk) 06:11, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment The more I think about it, the less comfortable I am with this solution. I like it in principle, but I do think it needs a bit more consideration regarding the personal information. In Europe, we are governed by GDPR with regards to data protection, how long data can be kept, what purposes it can be kept for. Legally, the servers may be in the USA, if a user is accessing the data from Europe I'm not sure how that falls - and that's assuming the data is all held on the servers in the US. At present, the suggestion is that data is sent to the arbcom list, which is then immediately disseminated to Arbitrators mail boxes, which they have full control over. It's hard to argue the "US servers" point of view there, an arbitrator is clearly a data controller.
    Then there's the technical side of things. Based only on information that the user chooses to share - username they created, information they've given etc, you are investigating the individual online. That opens up a lot of risk - of mistakes, of joe jobs, of abuse. We shouldn't be encouraging this sort of behaviour, especially in our administrators.
    I still need to think more about it, so won't outright oppose, but I'm certainly uncomfortable. WormTT(talk) 09:01, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose per GoldenRing, Joe and SnowRise. This is not something administrators should be doing at all, if you are doing it you need to stop it now. Use the existing channels to report any off-wiki coordination you stumble across. Thryduulf (talk) 10:11, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose Run-on-the-mill admin blocks should be for stopping sustained atrociously poor editing that cannot be solved by attempts at communication, and should be held accountable by the community at large. This entire proposal throws out a basic principle of adminship, public accountability, out the window. In the proposal's scenarios with dishonest COI editors, I fail to see any benefits to blocking users just because of their IRL jobs, instead of concretely visible on-wiki activity like actually writing promotional articles, actually posting spam, vexatious restoration of deleted content, and the like. — Ceso femmuin mbolgaig mbung, mellohi! (投稿) 12:53, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    To be clear, in both UPE examples given, the editor had edited about their employer or someone affiliated therewith and then denied having any COI, a violation of enwiki policy and the Terms of Use. In one case there were blatant spam issues, and in the other there was meatpuppetry to keep a COI article at AfD. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 17:03, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If there are spam issues then there is ample on-wiki evidence for a block, you don't need anything else. If someone is engaging in sockpuppetry then give the evidence to checkusers who are explicitly empowered by the WMF to deal with that information. If they are engaged in meatpuppetry then there will be ample on-wiki evidence of this behaviour and they can be blocked without needing any non-public information. If they are edit warring to keep an article then block them for edit warring, again you don't need anything else. If you believe they are violating the terms of use then you need to make the WMF aware of that, as they are the only ones empowered to enforce that. Thryduulf (talk) 19:11, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There are many situations where the existence of a COI tips the balance of AGF toward blocking. That was the case in both examples I gave. Admins are often fairly patient with users who might be, for instance, just an over-eager fan of a TV show; while someone known to work for the show's production company will get blocked. As to the final sentence of your comment, that is dramatically out of step with current policy. There have been 212 blocks so far this year mentioning the ToU in the block summary, exercising the authority given to admins under WP:UPE. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 19:33, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    A list of 1228 such blocks, forked from the above-linked SQL query. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 04:57, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The last sentence is incorrect. "The Wikimedia community and its members may also take action when so allowed by the community or Foundation policies applicable to the specific Project edition, including but not limited to warning, investigating, blocking, or banning users who violate those policies." ~ ToBeFree (talk) 19:36, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In general, I think that we should only block people on the basis of on-wiki evidence. With few exceptions, whatever happens off-wiki should be irrelevant. The first exception that springs to mind if off-wiki harassment, but there are also other cases, such as UPE etc. However, those should remain just that: exceptions. After all, opposition research is strongly discouraged even when it is based on information that may be publicly available on-wiki (see WP:OUTING and Gpedia:Harassment#How to deal with personal information). This policy change, in my opinion, normalises blocks based on off-wiki evidence too much, for my tastes, and risks encouraging opposition research. In addition, it runs counter to two fundamental principles of the project: transparency and the idea that all editors are equal regardless of their user rights. In fact, when an editor is blocked on the basis of off-wiki evidence that is only made available to administrators, we are preventing non-administrators from evaluating whether the block was appropriate, without a good reason. We should not forget that administrators are not really qualified to handle non-public information, since they have not signed the WMF confidentiality agreement and have not been vetted for those responsibilities. On the other hand functionaries and arbitrators have been vetted and have signed the confidentiality agreement and policy already recognises that they are qualified to make blocks based on non-public information. I don't think the policy should be changed, I don't find the change necessary or wise. If it seems complicated to have someone blocked on the basis of off-wiki evidence, in my opinion it's because that's how it should be. Salvio 13:34, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Salvio giuliano: I think it's a valid outcome of this RfC for the community to clarify that it is unacceptable for admins to make many blocks they already make: I know administrators other than Tamzin make those blocks frequently. If the community does so, I would like it to speak clearly – as I wrote above, Also, because there’s disagreement about what policy currently requires, I’d ask any folks who oppose this proposal to indicate what they think the current policy says. (Are blocks based on info with an “email me for the evidence” note permissible? Does that count as information that will [] be made available to all administrators?) If the community says "no", we ought to update BLOCKEVIDENCE to say so. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 15:49, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @L235: Are blocks based on info with an “email me for the evidence” note permissible? Does that count as information that will [] be made available to all administrators?) in my opinion no, those blocks are not permissible unless the admin in question can guarantee that they will always be available to promptly respond to requests for that information for the next 5-10 years (possibly longer) in the event of an appeal or other legitimate reason for needing the information and never give it out in other situations. If the information cannot be shared on-wiki then it must be shared, at approximately the same time as the block, with the arbitration committee. Thryduulf (talk) 16:41, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If the information cannot be shared on-wiki then it must be shared, at approximately the same time as the block, with the arbitration committee.
    This is pretty much what the proposal says, though, right? I'm not trying to be obtuse – I just am not quite getting it. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 16:55, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @L235 I was answering your question in the quote about whether admin's saying "email me for the evidence" is acceptable. And to reiterate, it absolutely is not. The proposal mitigates that aspect, but that's one part of my opposition. Thryduulf (talk) 19:05, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree that it can be useful for the community to reiterate its position, so that everyone is aware of what is and is not proper. However, I've got to say that, the way I interpret policy, blocks with an "e-mail me" note are already inappropriate. The relevant clause of WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE may be argued to be less than clear, but, if we consider the body of relevant policies and their spirit, it's clear to me that admins are supposed to be blocking only when the information the block is based on is available to all administrators, such as when a block is based on deleted edits. When it's not, it's not appropriate for an administrator to impose a block, unless it's one of those "appealable only to ArbCom" blocks (or is based on CU or OS data). Salvio 19:18, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't know if it's been mentioned, but the sentence in question initially read [...] based on information that cannot be made public, so the original intent was quite clear and, in the fifteen years since, it doesn't look like anyone else has found the reworded version confusing enough to bring it up. – Joe (talk) 20:12, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Wrong question. Before we figure out how to handle the record keeping for non-CU blocks involving off-wiki evidence, we should figure out if we even want that to be happening at all. If we're going to officially condone people poking around in LinkedIn, UpWork, etc, looking for evidence for blocks, then we need a wholesale rewrite of WP:OUTING. I know it goes on, so I guess it's good that this RfC got started because it brings the practice out in the open for discussion. Only after we figure out if we want admins (or anybody) doing that, then it's time to figure out how we want to handle the record keeping. -- RoySmith (talk) 13:41, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Prodded by Tamzin's comment elsewhere in this thread, I've put in some quality time re-reading WP:OUTING and the documents it references. I'll walk back my "wholesale rewrite of WP:OUTING" partly as an overstatement, but more because it's a non-sequitur. The key point I was trying to make above is that there's two quite distinct issues here:
    • Does the community want admins doing these kinds of off-wiki investigations?
    • If the answer is yes, then what documentation process do we want to build around that?
    It seems to me that this RfC presupposes that the answer to the first question is "yes". Based on what I'm seeing here, I'm unconvinced that's correct. Until we're sure we know the answer to the first question, considering the second one just confuses things. -- RoySmith (talk) 15:12, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I am a bit surprised to see so many editors suggest that combatting professional, some of it very sophisticated, attempts to manipulate our content through paid editing is not a top flight concern. Our social policies are not a suicide pact and OUTING is a social policy. It is designed to protect good faith and bad faith editors alike. But that doesn't mean we should say to those administrators who wish to stop bad faith editors "oh sorry, you're not fit to do so until you get Checkuser and/or Oversight". L235 makes a crucial point that in actual practice these efforts seem to be accepted. What we are talking about here are efforts to ensure our readers are met with content that matches core policies and pillars like "Gpedia is written from a neutral point of view". I'm a bit ambivalent on this proposal on the whole - hence why I'm not supporting - but I actually expected to be here with some of my concerns (some of which are capture above) rather than with what I see as the merits of this proposal. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 14:39, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm surprised, disappointed (and frankly a little horrified) to find that so many editors are supporting the principal (and even practice!) of permitting random editors to undertake privacy-violating research into other editors based only on a suspicion that they may, or may not, have done something that may, or may not, have broken a policy an editor may, or may not, know about. What matters is that our articles are neutral, whether something is or is not neutral is not something that is determined by whether an editor received money for an edit, it is based solely on the words on the wikipage and the coverage of the topic in (reliable) sources. Even aside from that, not a single one of us has the right to authorise any other of us to invade the privacy of another human being just because we don't like something they might have done on a website. Thryduulf (talk) 16:53, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Thryduulf I'm not suggesting we allow random editors. I am suggesting that it is current practice to allow administrators to make such blocks. But I certainly can understand why that's not a trade-off you'd be willing to make, even if it is currently common in the community. Some feelings along those lines are a minor reason why I'm here as a commentator rather than !voter. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 17:35, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think this line of argument is a bit of a red herring. The question here is not whether we fight spam coordinated off-wiki—of course we should, and we do—but whether enforcement should be open to all admins or restricted to functionaries. I've been fairly deeply involved in the UPE area since before I became an admin and I don't think the former is a common practice or ever has been, so I'm rather surprised to see more than one arb now say that it is. If you guys are aware of admins making blocks that are against current policy, shouldn't you, you know... stop them? – Joe (talk) 17:55, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Exactly what Joe says. If you haven't signed the foundation's agreement related to non-public information then you have absolutely no business dealing with non-public information (and that's the minium requirement imo). If anybody is currently doing that, and you know about it, then (1) why have you not stopped them? and (2) please make sure WMF legal is aware of it so they can take any appropriate action to mitigate the consequences. Thryduulf (talk) 19:01, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The term "non-public information", when used in the context of WMF policy, refers to non-public information held by the Wikimedia Foundation, such as IP addresses. The m:ANPDP does not in any way regulate how community members interact with non-public information that they did not get from the WMF. Similarly, Legal has explicitly said that the m:Privacy policy does not apply to information gleaned from non-WMF sources. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 19:12, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Barkeep49: TBH my first thought on seeing this RFC was to file a request for arbitration, requesting that User:Tamzin be desysopped for cause as blocking based on similarity of names between an on-wiki account and a Google search result seems so blatantly wrong. I don't think, given my recent history, that I'm the person to do it but I'm still not sure it would be the wrong move. So I'm rather stunned to see a current arb here treating it as business as usual. WP:OUTING is crystal clear that posting personal information on-wiki unless that user themselves has revealed the information on-wiki - regardless of how really available the information might be offhwiki - is harassment which always merits a block; posting on-wiki "I have this guy's personal information, just email me and I'll provide it" might arguably avoid technically violating that policy but IMO it is a clear attempt at an end-run around it. GoldenRing (talk) 21:22, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @GoldenRing:. So, User:JohnUncommonsurname creates Acme Corp. It's a G11, but not on its own a G11-and-block. I delete it and ask JohnUncommonsurname if he has any connection to Acme Corp., telling him that he's required to answer honestly. He says no. I then Google "John Uncommonsurname." The top result is a LinkedIn profile for the director of marketing at Acme Corp. Your position is that it is "blatantly wrong" for anyone—not just me, but even a functionary—to block based on that? The chance of coincidence in such a situation is considerably lower than the chance of coincidence we see as acceptable in sockblocks, for context. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 21:32, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Tamzin, while I agree with you that this might be the best thing to do to protect the encyclopedia from bad people, the community has traditionally, AFAIK, frowned on such things, even if communications remained off-wiki. Checkusers, oversight and arbitrators probably have community mandate to do this, but there are 400+ admins and so far, I don't believe this kind of off-wiki investigation used for blocking was explicitly allowed, and it only takes place by WP:IAR. Obviously, you haven't shared this information on-wiki, so it isn't by-the-letter WP:OUTING, but the community has tended to frown on it, and I think it's a fair point that while we like and trust Tamzin, we might not like and trust every administrator. Also, what about unreliable information from a fake social media profile, then getting someone blocked that they deny connection to? If we open the door to Linkedin searches, can I get blocked for an unpaid parking ticket? Joking aside, I supported changing the policy, above, but I also can see why the position is defensible not to permit such things. Andre🚐 21:42, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Tamzin: I did not say so. As others have repeatedly pointed out to you here, functionaries are in a different position to admins because they have the option to make blocks where evidence is only available to other functionaries and all functionaries must establish their real-world identities with the WMF and sign the non-disclosure agreement. You, as a non-functionary admin, are not in that position and so your only options in this situation are to make the evidence available to all admins (and I question whether a note in the block log meets this requirement anyway - I've been desysopped after disappearing for two and a half years so God help anyone I blocked on non-public evidence who wanted to appeal in that time - but that's beside the point here) or to mark the block appealable only to arbcom and immediately forward the evidence to them. I still don't get how you think what you've done is okay. GoldenRing (talk) 22:00, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @GoldenRing: "all functionaries must establish their real-world identities with the WMF" — this hasn't been the case for a long time (way back when I first got access to OTRS I had to send in a scan of my passport, but that was years ago...), "and sign the non-disclosure agreement" — this is the access to nonpublic personal data policy (the same thing the VRT folx sign), a topic which I muse on below — TheresNoTime (talk • she/her) 22:12, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    No, you aren't the best person to be doing so, and it would be the wrong move regardless. Black Kite (talk) 21:35, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @GoldenRing first what I can/have to say as an editor and what I can/have to say as an arb are not the same. So playing the "stunned to see a current arb" card in a non-arb context is not my favorite and contributes to me feeling unable to be a part of the community in ways that are unpleasant for me - such as being able to participate in an RfC about policy that I care deeply about.
    But putting on my arb hat, the background here, which you may or may not be aware of, is Tamzin following the blocking policy, leveled an "appeal only to arbcom" block, and reported the evidence to ArbCom as the policy dictated. I had long been aware of the discrepancy Moneytree notes below between Admin and Blocking policies and that block spurred ArbCom to audit "appeal only to arbcom" blocks. Based on that audit, after consulting with functionaries, we updated previous guidance - written before there were OS blocks and before the Foundation had taken over child protection, in other words in a time where a lot of more "private evidence" blocks made sense that had lead to that appeal only to arbcom language being added to the blocking policy. That updated guidance spurred discussion between Tamzin and myself but mainly between Tamzin and L235 who ended up here. As an Arb I stand by everything in that updated guidance and reflects my current approach to any case requests we might get about the topic.
    But yes I also am respectful of the fact that the blocks so many find troubling are very common and have never resulted in a case request or other substantial issue raising suggesting, because policy is practice, and that regardless of my preference the community seems to have been OK with it despite what ADMIN said. Bottomline: I would love to get rid of the idea of those blocks and I would love for the discrepancy in what is allowed between the BLOCKing and ADMIN policies to be reconciled. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 23:22, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Barkeep49: I'm sorry to put you in that position but I think it's unavoidable. We are talking here about what is apparently a widespread breach of very longstanding policy by a large group of admins (at least, one admin says it's widespread and a large group of admins) and it is your job as an arbitrator to reign that in. You are the only recourse the community has to stop administrators doing this. You issued guidance which you've linked above which explicitly says this is wrong. I don't see how you can realistically discuss this while pretending you're not an arbitrator; if arbcom is not willing to enforce policy against administrators here then where does that leave us? Why is the approach being taken here to propose a change to policy that would retrospectively make this policy breach okay rather than enforcing policy as written and your own guidance on that policy? I'm not usually one of the ones to moan about arbcom but I just don't get the approach here. GoldenRing (talk) 09:07, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think we have very different conceptions of what an arb can do. My belief is that the community has intentionally put a check on ArbCom's powers by making it a reactive rather than proactive body. So if I see something that is, in my view, a policy violation I can either file a case request, the same as any other editor, or I can hold that opinion and wait until the community decides to raise it with us. And yet in this very specific situation ArbCom did exactly what you wished for here and tried to get the community aligned on policy. We issued a statement about how private information should be handled which was directly based on 2 previous statements arbcom had done (in other words there was clear precedent). And what feedback did we receive? significantly exceeded its authority, an overreach of authority, and an unexpected, significant change to give examples of quotes from three different editors. There were also a couple supportive comments as well. But that statement is my current view, as an arb, about what is allowed under policy today. This, however, is a discussion of what policy should be. And so I feel entitled as a member of this community to comment the same as anyone else. And, as I keep having to point out, not even comment that I think it should pass which is why I haven't voted in favor of it. I'm not opposing it because I would love to get rid of the idea of those blocks and I would love for the discrepancy in what is allowed between the BLOCKing and ADMIN policies to be reconciled. and at minimum this does that even if it's not in my preferred way. But again that's me as an editor. If you want to know what I think as an arb about policy today, I already did what you asked, to criticism. Critism I'm willing to handle because that's what I volunteered for. I didn't volunteer to be told I no longer get to have opinions on how to improve our community. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 13:39, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Barkeep49: Okay, I think I've been reading more into your comments than was there and I'm sorry for it. I'm afraid arbs could put their socks on in the morning and some would consider it an overreach of authority; I think that statement hits exactly the right note, FWIW. GoldenRing (talk) 16:34, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support and question why anything easily google-able is being considered private information for purposes of OUTING. If any editor can enter the article subject, connected parties or editors handle into a search engine and find the connection, it's not private. UPE is only getting worse and we need every tool available to shut them down quickly. Slywriter (talk) 14:49, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Because OUTING is rightly very clear that only information an editor has voluntarily shared or linked to on-wiki is considered public. Every editor, even those suspected of undisclosed paid editing, is entitled to their privacy and we absolutely must not erode that. Thryduulf (talk) 16:45, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The "voluntarily shared" part is the key here. Most people edit under a pseudonym. That's a public declaration that they have an on-wiki identify and an off-wiki identify and they desire the two to be kept separate. The fact that we may be able to pierce that veil with little trouble doesn't make it right to do so.
    In the real world, I have a cheap padlock on my garage door. Nobody intent on theft would need more than a moment to pop it open with tools available at any hardware store. The real purpose it serves is an unmistakable declaration that "The things behind this door belong to me and you're not allowed to enter without my permission". If somebody cut the lock and stole my bicycle, they wouldn't get very far in their criminal defense with, "It was a crappy lock; it hardly took any effort at all to get past it". -- RoySmith (talk) 19:40, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Slywriter, to answer your question of why "easily google-able" things are considered private information for purposes of OUTING policy: We don't want routine wiki squabbles bleeding over into off-wiki harassment, because we don't want people's off-wiki lives being used as cannon fodder on wiki in routine squabbles, because editors in some parts of the world could be in danger of arrest or death for their on wiki work, and because we tend to highly value privacy as a general principal. So when some sanction or other official action involved off-wiki info, we require it to be handled in a confidential manner. The question here, as I understand it, is basically whether admins are permitted to act on the info or whether they need to pass it to a checkuser/oversighter/arb for possible action. Alsee (talk) 19:19, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The point of "public" in Gpedia is what is on Gpedia, not the one on Google. Yes, what is on Google is public, but the Internet is limitless. While you think that it is okay for an admin to look up your username, is it okay to look up your email? Is it okay for an admin to look up Reddit and try to find similar username, and see what kind of subreddit you had subscribed? Is it okay for an admin to look at hacked databases (available in online as well!) to try to find a connection? The potential for overreach is endless. I don't want admins running amok doing fishing expeditions just to catch some paid editors. ✠ SunDawn ✠ (contact) 12:30, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm a bit confused by the proposal and several support and oppose votes above; there seems to be a pretty fractured understanding of outing vs. pursuing UPE cases vs. disruptive offwiki behavior vs. public and non-public information vs. NDAs vs. etc. above. My main question, though, is the text at Gpedia:Administrators#Special_situations that appears to approve these sort of blocks and contradicts BLOCKEVIDENCE per my reasoning here going to be changed as a result of this? Or will this just create more policy headaches? Or does this proposal and the text and ADMIN actually align in some way I'm not noticing? Moneytrees🏝️(Talk) 14:57, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Moneytrees: In answer to your ACN talk message, when I voted for the statement, I did so because the text at Gpedia:Administrators#Special_situations appeared to be derived from ArbCom's prior statement, not as an independent expression of community policy/consensus. I therefore understood it to be within ArbCom's authority to change it. If this proposal passes, ADMIN will be harmonized to be consistent with it. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 15:59, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    My thining behind the scenes is that I don't think ArbCom can directly change ADMIN policy. But it absolutely could update its statement and the community could decide how/if to incorporate that into ADMIN. And that's what happened in this situation and now here - this RfC is a reaction to that statement. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:11, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. Jayron32 nicely summed up my thoughts. Functionaries are supposed to handle nonpublic information, not admins. Strong oppose until legal is consulted: I agree with the above that this needs to be run through legal before we make this change. Better safe than sorry. Not sure where I land on the merits of the proposal. If/when legal gives the okay, I will strike my oppose. HouseBlastertalk 16:33, 7 September 2022 (UTC) struck and replaced 01:19, 10 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    See above ("WP:Wikimedia Foundation statement on paid editing and outing exists") ~ ToBeFree (talk) 18:26, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I have the same feeling I get whenever there's a major proposal or change (on Gpedia or in the rest of the world) involving a significant trade-off of privacy for security. There would be a lot of harm that could be prevented if we could connect an abusive user to their off-wiki identities, but there's also harm in removing those protections. Basically nothing to hide argument. I'd tend to oppose based on the reasons articulated in that article. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 17:27, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose for several reasons. First, I am also leary to advise any editor, including admins, to act as real-life investigators to try to dig up information about the real-life identity of Gpedia users. The kind of un-intended consequences and knock-on effects of such advics is frankly scary; and where policies come into conflict (and policies always will) I tend to grant supremacy to WP:OUTING and privacy concerns over any other policy. On-wiki behavior should be (in most cases) all we should be basing our blocking decisions on; if off-wiki evidence is necessary, it should be turned over to Arbcom or T&S or someone else with advanced positions of trust. There is no way I expect the hundreds of admins to deal with such concerns adequately. I know that WP:UPE exists; but such concerns do not trump privacy concerns, which we should hold as sacrosanct. I am also against the deputizing of other admins to "handle" private information. Some functionaries are vetted and have approval to handle such information. Admins are not and I am not comfortable with that. If a private information must be used as evidence, pass it on to Arbcom or T&S and let them handle it. --Jayron32 17:34, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose on legal grounds, and this seems to be a massive overreach of Gpedia's powers. Doesn't seem right to allow Gpedia to pry into the personal life of users and use that information to interact with the user in any way.--Ortizesp (talk) 18:20, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This doesn't change anything legally or otherwise wrt private evidence being used to block anyone or sanction them - it's just about who is privy to it. And until the foundation itself takes charge of their own legal terms and prohibitions (particularly UPE), that's how it will remain. PICKLEDICAE🥒 19:28, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm sorry but that is just factually incorrect: under current rules no admins (who have not also been vetted for particular functionary roles reserved for this exact purpose, and signed agreements on the handling of such private information) are meant to be issuing blocks on the basis of off-project information. They are meant to exclusively forward that information to the Trust and Safety team, to ArbCom, or to the VTRS queue, not take direct action on it. That is precisely the reason Tamzin forwarded the proposal: because they think admins should have that ability. As is expressly stated in the prompt.. And yes, that system is very much entangled with the legal implications of the handling of such of information, as expressed by WMF legal and tghe Trust and Safety team, ArbCom, and other bodies with heightened authority, tools, and concerns in this area. So, without meaning offense, your statement is just plain wrong: this would be a radical departure from the existing community consensus, the existing framework for handling such information and legal considerations and interests for parties on all sides. SnowRise let's rap 20:42, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    re-read what I said. Nothing has changed legally or otherwise. PICKLEDICAE🥒 20:57, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Well I guess its possible we are in fact talking past eachother here. But if you're saying that the proposal wouldn't change anything "legal or otherwise", that is quite clearly and massively incorrect. And if that's not what you mean, I'm not sure what you were trying to say in your response to the Ortizesp that would have been accurate. SnowRise let's rap 21:16, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    No; there is a disagreement about what "information that will not be made available to all administrators" means, and this is a proposal to clarify it in one specific direction. As a minimum result of this discussion, the wording should be changed to match the actual consensus in a less ambiguous way. Interestingly, even those opposed to the proposal could perhaps agree on the proposed term "information to which not all administrators have access", which is much clearer. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 20:58, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I do tend to agree that any clarity resulting from the discussion can be viewed as good cause for having it. That said: a) this discussion is clearly about more than just how the information would be shared, as it also proposes to allow admins to make blocks in circumstances they are currently proscribed from, and would either tacitly or expressly allow them more latitude in tracking down editor identities off project in a manner they (like all other community members) are presently not meant to be doing; and b) even putting all of that aside, the system of logging such personal information as proposed would itself be a change of truly staggering policy and legal implications for the project and the WMF. SnowRise let's rap 21:16, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "in circumstances they are currently proscribed from", according to your interpretation of the current wording. Not according to others'. This is because some interpret "information that will not be made available to all administrators" as meaning "information that will not be made available to any requesting administrator via e-mail request". You don't, some do. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 21:33, 7 September 2022 (UTC)rReply[reply]
    I don't think there is much ambiguity at all, when we consider that the other hald of that sentence, which follows the highly selectively-quoted clause that keeps getting foessed around here says "that information should be sent to the Arbitration Committee or a checkuser or oversighter for action. These editors are qualified to handle non-public evidence, and they operate under strict controls. The community has rejected the idea of individual administrators acting on evidence that cannot be peer-reviewed." That pretty much says it all: blocks based on non-public evidence are specifically and expressly meant to be handled by particular functionaries operating under a higher standard of controls and safety protocols, and this system exists expressly to foreground the privacy and security of our volunteers. I just simply do not see the flex in that wording you suggest is there.
    The WP:OUTING policy also converges on this wording, and there is absolutely no question what ArbCom thinks on the matter. But even if we were to confine ourselves to looking at the exact wording of that one sentence in WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE in isolation, I don't see how any reasonable reading could hold that the major concern is that there was until now not a system for logging that information, since clearly that has always been a trivial technical hurdle. The overwhelming concern meant to be voiced by that language (which becomes clear when you quote the entire sentence and not just five fragmentary words from it), is for the protection of the privacy and safety of our volunteers. It's so obvious in how it is framed when read in full that I don't think anyone can really reasonably take another meaning unless they went looking for it from the outset.
    Which is clearly also what is going on with the supposed "open to interpretation" argument of the ArbCom ruling, since, if the OP really wanted to get to the bottom of that question, a simple request to the committee would have sufficed. It's pretty clear the answer is taken for obvious, hence the strategy here of instead trying to drum up community opposition to ArbCom's read on the issue, which (yes, in my opinion here) is much more consistent with policy, existing community consensus, and common sense, since the knock-on effects of the altenartive proposed here would be nothing short of vitiating of our current privacy standards. SnowRise let's rap 22:30, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Hi @Snow Rise. I am a co-proposer of this RfC and am also on ArbCom and voted for the statement you're quoting from. Speaking personally, I think policy as written does not currently allow these blocks, but I absolutely think the community has come to accept them – it is the prevailing practice. I think you overstate it when you say that It's so obvious and one can't reasonably take another meaning. You may not agree with the interpretation, as I don't, but it's certainly not unreasonable. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 22:35, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @L235 I agree that there's been no objection (well, previous to this discussion), but I'm not sure that's the same as acceptance. It may simply be that most people are unaware that these kinds of off-wiki investigations are going on. -- RoySmith (talk) 23:39, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Fair enough--I don't want to seem to be begging the question here. And insofar as the proposal was co-drafted in the fashion it was, it supports a "reasonable minds may differ" take on this. But I do think the argument in advance of the proposition in support of such acitivity does lean awfully heavily on selective quoting (and to some extent perhaps even willfully missing the forest for the trees), in order to validate a behavior/self-assumed authority that is already being engaged in. Obviously any admin already undetaking such blocks and wanting to persist in that habit has a vested interest in a certain interpretation here, whatever policy actually says.
    And even making all possible caveats for good faith differences of opinion, I still feel it is pretty clear from both the express wording of the relevant policies (and the long course of community discussion surrounding them) that the primary concern voiced in BLOCKEVIDENCE is the protection of volunteer privacy and safety. The lack of an existing system to store personal information in order to facilitate blocks by admins in cases of off-project evidence is not just some highly improbable failure of the community to realize that a log could be created for this purpose: the current system exists (and eschews the collection of personal information in this way) expressly and specifically to avoid having the typical admin (or more precisely, anyone who does not operate under the heightened protection and accountability scheme for dealing with private information) behaving in such a fashion--with regard to both the block and the personally-impelled investigations.
    And I don't think I'm the only non-mop veteran community member here who is rather shocked to learn how presumptuos certain admins have become with regard to this kind of thing. If they have in fact been engaging in this activity, I feel not the least bit conflicted in saying it is not because the community has ever greenlit such activity or in any way has voiced support for such a role as part and parcel of the administrative tools. Quite the contrary: this is a major overeeach in defiance of longstanding community principles, and I feel it needs to be made to stop with regard to any admin who thinks it is within their purview. But then, I assume that is precisely the reason you co-endorsed the RfC itself and that I am preaching to the choir on this. SnowRise let's rap 00:26, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm a mop-holder and I'm shocked to learn that these sorts of blocks are being made. My understanding is that they are not allowed - the fact that we've site banned folks in the past for doing opposition research or doxxing kinda made me understand that doing that was not allowed, so I never would have considered that an admin would be doing blocks based on behavior that we've site banned folks for. I'm .. rather shocked at the people saying that it's common - and that there aren't ArbCom cases happening because of these blocks. Ealdgyth (talk) 13:05, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment: There's a lot of mentions here of VRT (in regards to "admins shouldn't deal with personal data, but VRT can") — it may be worth noting that the barrier for entry to VRT is much much much lower than our RfA standards. I'm fairly sure any admin making a request for VRT access would likely be granted it, which seems to suggest the issues being raised here are more due to the fact that admins have not signed something like the VRTS Users Confidentiality Agreement - Nonpublic Information (which, I believe, anyone can just go and sign?) and less a question of trust/over-reach. Would those opposing this change their mind if we asked admins who wished to do these sorts of blocks to sign such a document? — TheresNoTime (talk • she/her) 21:53, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @TheresNoTime: There are VRT queues only accessible to functionaries (e.g. and, which is where nonpublic evidence of misconduct is currently supposed to be sent. If I understand the proposal correctly, the new queue for off-wiki block evidence would be similarly restricted. Regular VRT users do sign the same agreements that functionaries do, but it's not the agreement alone that makes someone 'trusted' to handle nonpublic data. It's the prior vetting, peer review, oversight from ArbCom/OmCom/T&S, etc. – Joe (talk) 06:18, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Everyone using the VRT system handles nonpublic data. You can't really run an e-mail-based system without trusting people to handle the nonpublic e-mail addresses that the messages come from. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:53, 12 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per SnowRise, GoldenRing, and JoeRoe. I do not want admins to go playing Private Investigator and am vehemently opposed to the idea that we start keeping data on the folks doxxed in this manner (because, frankly, that's what's happening - the editors are being investigated and then their information is being shared with others ... doxxing.) I am trying to AGF that those supporting this don't really support holding secret files of evidence on editors that get shared around but... Ealdgyth (talk) 22:46, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Having witnessed off-site material be used to improperly block users under alternative pretenses, this will only embolden admins with good intentions to make unfortunate mistakes. That said, I appreciate the general concept of this proposal. ~ Pbritti (talk) 23:56, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per the above arugments. This would be a slippery slope towards invasions of privacy and administrator overreach. ~Darth StabroTalk/Contribs 00:38, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per SnowRise et al. Like others, I had no idea this was going on, and would have objected if I had known. I'm less concerned about people Googling people than I am about admins blocking editors unilaterally based on off-wiki evidence (whether it's public or private off-wiki evidence). If the evidence, for whatever reason, can't be posted on-wiki, then it needs to be sent to paid@ or arbcom@ or whomever, for further action. Recently I sent a report to paid@ and arbcom@ with what I thought was slam-dunk off-wiki evidence. A CU checked it, and after a discussion with the editor in question, determined that there were in fact no policy violations. Shortly thereafter, an arb granted the editor autopatrolled. Clearly, I was wrong, and there was more information than whatever evidence I had. If I had been an admin and had blocked that editor, it would have been a seriously harmful mistake, possibly driving off a good-faith editor, even if it was later overturned. We are all capable of making mistakes; sharing evidence on-wiki, or sharing it via email if it's off-wiki evidence, ensures that there are checks and balances, that it's not just one individual acting unilaterally. Levivich😃 01:15, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose, encouraging admins to essentially stalk people off-wiki is not the way to go about things. Such behaviour is a total violation of privacy, and to my mind has the potential to be very creepy. Take an admin stalking an editors' social media for example, under this proposal this hypothetical admin would be able to explain away their behaviour if accused by stating they were merely "looking for evidence" on whether they should perform a block, and indeed this adminwould be able to doxx the editor by storing their personal information in this proposed archive without any method for this doxxing to be undone, since it would have to be maintained indefinitely so the admin could hoof it around to any other admin who wants it in order to explain their block. There is already a way to block editors for off-wiki behaviour, and I have yet to see any evidence that it is not working, only that it's not working as fast as some people would like. Devonian Wombat (talk) 01:27, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This - there is a way to block people for this behavior already. If it ain't broke... ~Darth StabroTalk/Contribs 03:31, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The status quo is in fact that non-CU admins make those blocks. Prohibiting those blocks may well make it broke. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 02:07, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose, mainly for reasons that SnowRise mentioned, as well as legal issues Re GDPR that WMF Legal should probably look into. While this does not go against the letter of WP:DOX "Posting another editor's personal information is harassment, unless that person has voluntarily posted their own information, or links to such information, on Gpedia." - certainly measures against it ae re being discussed, but it seems like a slippery slope. Maximilian775 (talk) 02:31, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. Ordinary admins with negative off-wiki evidence about an editor should pass it up the tree. They shouldn't act on it themselves. The proposal that any other admin has the right of access to the information is especially preposterous. If this isn't already clear in policy then it should be made clear. Zerotalk 03:44, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per Snow Rise et al. I think this is something most rank-and-file editors would not be comfortable with. LEPRICAVARK (talk) 04:23, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose in parts, support in parts. When once upon a time we elected our functionaries, and the level of support required to gain either CU or OS was far above what it would take to pass RFA, then sure I could see a substantive difference in the level of trust granted to admins by the community and the level of trust granted to functionaries. I suppose I still kinda see that for the functionaries that are that due to their ACE elections, but Tamzin is right that all that really means is that you finished in the top 8 out of 12 people running or so, so I dont even really get the distinction between an arb elected in 2012 and an admin elected in 2021 in terms of level of trust the community has given them. If the functional difference is having agreed to the privacy policy, well as far as I can tell the the Access to nonpublic personal data Policy is about CU data and material that has been oversighted, but also you can just have people sign that agreement as TNT noted above. I dont like the idea that any admin can request that information from an admin who made a block based on off-wiki evidence, but I dont especially have a problem with the scenario outlined above in which say for example somebody's upwork profile provides DUCK level proof of UPE violations and making a block. But the evidence should be sent to whichever group of admins an appeal of such a block would be directed, OS, CU, ArbCom, whatever. It does not need to be spread as widely as "any active admin". So I oppose the sentence on the evidence should be provided to any uninvolved admin, and instead would favor any block issued on the basis of off-site evidence have its evidence forwarded to an appropriate team with advanced permissions so that they may review it, either as the result of an appeal or just as peer-review. And like CU or OS blocks, if there is evidence of an admin going rogue with their blocks, then AC may desysop that admin or restrict them from making such blocks by motion, like they would strip CU or OS from a functionary that was misusing it. nableezy - 16:25, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • That's treading into dangerous territory if you hide evidence. I'd prefer to have this go to an ArbCom type forum, so the evidence can be reviewed and noted; a closed courtroom where the evidence is discussed but only given to those who need to make the decision, preferably the ArbCom people would be otherwise uninvolved in the block decision. We have to keep this as neutral as possible.Oaktree b (talk) 01:36, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. I'm in a weird headspace where I am not convinced the process proposed by the RfC is necesssary, but I am also unconvinced it is necessary for the community to clarify that it is unacceptable for admins to make many blocks they already make (quoting L235 above). My interpretation of WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE as currently written is as follows. Administrators may only justify blocks using on-wiki evidence that any administrator has the technical ability to see (including deleted revisions, private edit filter logs, etc.). If a block cannot be justified using on-wiki evidence alone, then that block would be impermissible unless the user is a checkuser, oversighter, or arbitrator acting within the bounds of their respective roles and responsibilities. The community has never allowed non-functionary administrators to block editors based primarily on off-wiki/private information.
    The key word, however, is primarily. The RfC essentially makes the claim that this policy is too restrictive and that it would require many "routine" spam and sockpuppetry blocks to go to ArbCom or the CU team. That's where I disagree. It's not uncommon to find cases where there is additional off-wiki evidence that the blocking administrator might be aware of (and could be helpful additional information that could be provided on request to administrators reviewing a block), but in the wide majority of these cases, the block could nonetheless be justified just with the on-wiki evidence. Consider one of Tamzin's examples above in which A user recreated an article on a non-notable person, which had been deleted several times in the past. Repeatedly attempting to create an article about an obscure non-notable topic inherently suggests some kind of connection to past socks that tried the same thing; while I'm not familiar with the exact context here, I strongly suspect the block would have been justifiable based on the on-wiki evidence alone (sure, the justification wouldn't have been as strong, but there would have at least been a plausible argument nonetheless). That's the key here. Contacting a checkuser, an oversighter, or an arbitrator would only be necessary if an editor needs to be blocked based on private evidence and a block cannot be justified without that private evidence.
    The one pesky policy section that is admittedly confusing is WP:ADMIN#Special situations. I wrote at the ACN discussion that triggered this RfC that I don't see that section as necessarily irreconcilable with BLOCKEVIDENCE as currently worded—but I do wish this RfC were more about clarifying that section (which appears to have been added unilaterally in 2012) rather than BLOCKEVIDENCE. Mz7 (talk) 10:31, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think this is a reasonable way to look at the current policy. I just ran into this with my block of Quintin-Mills: His one edit was spammy enough to bring it into the discretionary range between warn and block, but what tipped me in the direction of blocking was a statement he made in a global rename request. With this RfC in mind, I referenced that as additional evidence in the block rationale, but did not make it the primary reason, as I think most admins will agree that Special:DeletedContributions/Quintin-Mills falls within admin discretion to block over. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 22:16, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Nobody should be blocked on evidence which is not available to the Community at large or which cannot be revealed pursuant to a WP:ADMINCOND request. If anyone thinks they possess offwiki evidence that merits a block they should notify the target and open an ArbCom case in which the target can make representations (if necessary by email). For the same reason, the work to mask IP addresses should be stopped dead in its tracks. The damage that this will do to editors fighting vandalism will be incalculable. 2A00:23A8:4C31:5901:9580:C3C4:6DB1:AE40 (talk) 17:14, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Tamzin:, back at WT:ACN, you wrote The community's consensus is that admins may issue blocks based on private evidence.... Was there a formal discussion you can link to out of which said consensus emerged, or were you using the term in the more informal sense of "We've been doing it that way for a long time and nobody objected"? -- RoySmith (talk) 21:59, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @RoySmith: I was referring to the consensus behind the current will be made available to wording, and the implicit consensus to not have that say is available to. -- Tamzin[cetacean needed] (she|they|xe) 22:16, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose If I'm reading this correctly it creates some new responsibilities that I'm not liking: (1) The sitting ArbCom must maintain an indefinite library of these evidences (2) The sitting ArbCom must maintain a process to produce this evidence to any admin on demand. Well, what are you going to do if arbcom doesn't turn up a volunteer to do this? Creating an indefintite responsibility to future volunteers is a bad idea. — xaosflux Talk 22:42, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. The only people who should be judging others on/have access to non-public evidence should be those that have signed the Gpedia:Access to nonpublic information policy. Also, ArbCom is elected on behalf of the community specifically to oversee cases such as these that are not amenable to public review. WP:BLOCKEVIDENCE is fine as-is. If a block is based on evidence that would be WP:OVERSIGHTED if published on Wiki, someone who has WP:OVERSIGHT permissions should be in charge of these blocks. The real issue for me it seems is that our existing policies are not being enforced. Chess (talk) (please use {{reply to|Chess}} on reply) 03:03, 10 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support for LTA cases/cases where off-wiki harassment is part of the case, not simply for seeing what else we can find: There should be stringent reasoning behind an administrator choosing to investigate a user's off-wiki activities – either off-wiki conduct is part of the problem, or a user's abusive behaviour is part of a dangerous and wider trend of how they conduct themselves online (as in, LTA cases where "this user may stalk you/send you death threats" has to be added to the LTA case file). Investigating off-wiki behaviour should be unsuitable in the vast majority of cases, but I can see times when it will probably be necessary. In these cases, there needs to be more of a record than "this administrator found it and this administrator saw it too"; having it entered into record somewhere hopefully makes it a more accountable process.--Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 13:04, 10 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It seems like you're saying that someone who lives with a very real Wiki-generated threat would benefit by having any admin who requests it be given access to detail which could further endanger the stalked person like, say, information in police records. What if the off-Wiki harassment is from an individual who was an admin? What if the admin who issues a block happens to be an ex-arb? The forced disclosure in this wording would still apply; would it not obligate them to disclose personal information (that could endanger the threatened editor) to any admin who is curious about what looks like an odd block, but has signed no confidentiality agreement? The wording of this proposal was perchance conceived to try to address the (relatively less real, 'cuz nobody dies) problem of paid editing, without full consideration to situations of more consequence than someone getting their company promoted on the internet. Not one of the three examples applies to real-life real threats that happen to Gpedia editors. Perspective, priorities, and reality check, pls. Obviously, I oppose the wording as written, and in fact, would consider the whole matter should probably be reviewed by someone at legal should it advance, because the alarming repercussions to real people in real life if confidential information, revealed to arbs, ends up revealed to any 65% threshhold admin who has not signed a confidentiality agreement and was not elected is dangerous in real ways ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:40, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per Ealdgyth et al. I am shocked to learn that an admin (or many) has been doing the off-wiki investigation the opening statement seems to indicate; surely this is contrary to all our privacy values. Happy days ~ LindsayHello 20:59, 10 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. I am uneasy that private information might be passed around among people who have not signed up to the WMF access to non public information agreement. There is already a dedicated VRT/functionaries email address for issues concerning undisclosed paid editing so it is not necessary to do this. --Malcolmxl5 (talk) 22:12, 10 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Hell no. Administrators should never be blocking users based on "nonpublic evidence". Ever. Any "standard" admin actions must be backed up by public evidence. If the evidence can't be posted on-wiki for whatever reason (and it better be a legal reason or a significant privacy concern, nothing else) the action(s) in question need to be carried out by the Arbitration Committee (for local matters) or the WMF Office (for global matters). And frankly, for ArbCom matters, unless the user being sanctioned is an administrator or otherwise in some sort of higher capacity, the action should really just be a quiet {{ArbComBlock}} without a public motion or noticeboard posting. If you can't publicly share the evidence, don't make a public announcement about the fact that you can't share the evidence. But to be clear, this should only be done in cases where the evidence can't be shared for legal or privacy reasons, not just because admins don't feel like sharing it publicly for whatever reason. I see way too much of "I'm not going to share the evidence publicly because the sanctioned user will use it to evade detection next time" (especially in sock puppetry cases but also elsewhere too). This makes it impossible for someone to defend themselves. While we may not be a court of law, we still need to act in the interest of fairness. Refusing to provide the evidence to the accused and to possible witnesses or outside third parties makes it literally impossible for the accused to prove that they are in fact innocent (even cases of serious harassment can be mistaken; there was once a case on a now-defunct community website that I used to administrate where someone pulled off the most elaborate joe job that I have ever seen, and managed to get a completely innocent user blocked for making death threats (among other things) when it was in fact the user that reported the harassment who was doing the harassing. Fortunately in that circumstance the situation was swiftly corrected, but I worry that such a situation here on enwiki would not be. I realize that this is a bit of an off topic tangent, but this is an issue that continues to weigh heavily on me and one that I feel strongly about. The long and short of it is that if an editor needs to be blocked for some reason that cannot be stated on wiki, that block must be carried out either by ArbCom or the WMF Office. No exceptions. No regular admin should be acting in their regular capacity and blocking users based on nonpublic evidence of any kind. If there is a situation (alluded to above) where there is both on-wiki evidence and supplemental off-wiki evidence, block only based on the on-wiki evidence and don't even publicly mention the off-wiki evidence. If you can't discuss it publicly, don't mention it publicly. The end. And if the evidence does not violate any privacy or other laws, it must be stated publicly and all of this becomes moot. Evidence must only be kept private if there is a legal reason or a significant privacy reason to do so - not just because an admin feels like it. Taking Out The Trash (talk) 02:46, 11 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I don't want individual sysops making this call based on fishing expeditions, but I do think we need a lightweight process in which three or four of our more experienced sysops can reach a quick decision where there's need. An AN/I thread would be an appropriate venue.—S Marshall T/C 23:27, 11 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    ...And, a block by an individual sysop with "email me for the evidence" is way, way, way out of line. If Arbcom became aware of that ever happening, I'd look to them for a prompt and summary desysopping of the blocker.—S Marshall T/C 23:37, 11 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support I think the problem of UPE is significant enough that additional tools are needed to combat it. I would support the idea of requiring more than one administrator to concur in the block, to prevent abuse. It seems pretty ridiculous that we can't use things like LinkedIn to identify bad-faith editors. Calliopejen1 (talk) 18:45, 14 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Calliopejen1: We can, you just need to send it to a functionary or ArbCom for action, preferably via – Joe (talk) 07:06, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per Snow Rise. This is clearly outside the remit of admin. What is outside should stay outside. We elect admins to clean things up in Gpedia, not to run checks on people based on off-wiki information. In my opinion, attempts to connect real world identity to editor name is a clear overreach of power and a blatant invasion of privacy. I could be a known criminal in my real life, but in the event I got investigated for my on-wiki conduct, my real life should not affect my on-wiki investigation. My off-wiki conduct should never "poison" any investigation on my on-wiki conduct.
And we are talking about non-public information that can't be shared. Yes, the information would be shared among admins. But who will guarantee that the information would not be kept securely? Who would guarantee that the admins would not spread the information off-wiki? Are all admins privy to the information? Will the information be destroyed after a certain time? Who would guarantee that the admin judging the case will be fair and unbiased with the evidence off-wiki?. Will some people with WP:UPE get away because of this? Absolutely. But protecting the privacy of many is more important than attempting to stop a small number of bad actors.Admins should not be doing "fishing expeditions" through Google to block someone. If the on-wiki evidence is not enough to "convict" someone, the editor should not be blocked - just like real life. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SunDawn (talkcontribs) 12:23, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Personally I would strip the whole section out of the policy and refer all blocks related to off-wiki evidence to ArbCom/functionaries. It made sense in the mid-2000s but not now. --Rschen7754 05:15, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per SnowRise and others. This is highly inappropriate and, IMO, carries real risks of abuse. Blocks should occur for on-wiki actions due to on-wiki evidence. --SilverTiger12 (talk) 00:25, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • 'Support' - administrators are already permitted to speedy delete pages and block users based on the deleted content. This means that they are trusted to take administrative action based on information visible only to admins. The only question is how to ensure that an admin who becomes unavailable can still make sure that other admins can still know the facts behind it. The use of informing ArbCom is intended to solve this problem, and informing them before they take action is to deal with the highly unlikely situation that an admin drops dead immediately after blocking. Animal lover |666| 17:40, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Deleted pages or contents are not off-wiki evidence. Those are still available to all admins, as they are on-wiki. The problem with this new policy is that off-wiki evidence, such as Google searches or LinkedIn pages, that are only available to some admins, will be allowed to be used as an evidence against you. There is no debate about whether on-wiki evidence can be used or not, the debate is about off-wiki evidence. ✠ SunDawn ✠ (contact) 11:38, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per Rschen7754. Typically people digging around off-wiki is not a good thing, and on-wiki evidence for the block is substantially stronger. I understand the allure of private block evidence, but I don't think it is a direction we should head as a community. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:50, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Also, since this was asked by Kevin: my interpretation of the current policy is that blocks by administrators based on off-wiki evidence that cannot be reviewed on-wiki are prohibited in virtually all circumstances. I think Salvio giuliano and Thryduulf sum it up better than I could. My interpretation of the wording The community has rejected the idea of individual administrators acting on evidence that cannot be peer-reviewed is that it requires public peer-review unless a user is making a block in their capacity as a CheckUser or Oversighter. The historical reason for allowing private evidence ArbCom-only blocks had to deal with child protection. That's been handed over to T&S now. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:03, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose -- the community did not like the whole Fram affair, and whatever exactly happened is still unknown to us. This sounds many times worse. Also, it seems to fly in the face of due process. Can the accused access the evidence that the administrator is using to justify their action? While Gpedia is not obligated to provide due process, it is, nonetheless, fundamental that everyone have their say and the right to defend themselves. I've seen and experienced how badly social media sites (such as Facebook and Twitter) fail at providing people an adequate defense to challenge blocks, I'd rather not see Gpedia fall down that same path. --RockstoneSend me a message! 08:09, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. If a block must be done for non-public evidence, it should be by ArbCom, not as a standard admin action. Perhaps we could consider a process to make it easier to ask for such blocks from ArbCom or functionaries instead. Regards, User:TheDragonFire300. (Contact me | Contributions). 09:47, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose, and I would urge Tamzin (and others doing the same) to cease making such blocks and to instead follow actual policy, even if that means some extra red tape or the occasional spammer not being blocked immediately. Continuing to make such blocks should be grounds for a desysop. If selective reading of policies seemed to condone such blocks based on off-wiki hunting, then the policy needs to be made clearer: but it looks as if the policy was clear enough already, and some admins just didn't read the whole policy, only the bits they wanted to see. Fram (talk) 10:31, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I've commented substantively in this RfC so I am clearly not uninvolved. But in reading over the discussion I think there is a consensus to be had. It's not consensus for what was proposed by Tamzin and L235 but there is a consensus none-the-less and I hope that whoever closes this discussion will note that consensus so relevant policy pages can be updated. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 21:46, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree with this reading of the discussion. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 21:55, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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.

"Demoting" patent nonsense to an info page

You are invited to join the discussion at Gpedia talk:Patent nonsense#RfC on "demoting" to information page. HouseBlastertalk 02:32, 12 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Texas online law regarding content moderation

Texas' law that was passed last year, which makes it illegal for companies with more than 50 million users to moderate content based on political/ideological alignment, just got its injunction overturned by the 5th Circuit today. [4]. This could have implications on Gpedia, since we do moderate content in a manner that I could see some politicians and others claim is against the law. Obviously, we should not take steps now, but hopefully WMF legal would step in if something like that hits us. Masem (t) 03:46, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The 5th Circuit decision conflicts with a May opinion by the 11th Circuit which held that major provisions of a similar social media law in Florida violate the First Amendment. These conflicting rulings could be cause for another appeal to the Supreme Court, whose May ruling did not touch on the merits of the underlying Texas case.[5] IANAL but I cannot see how the 11th Circuit decision isn't a more likely First Amendment one for the Supreme Court ruling. Companies like Facebook, Google, or even the WMF, a nonprofit foundation, typically are considered to exercise control over their platforms. It'd be like if I demanded you publish my political letter to the editor on the bulletin board of the local supermarket. You can always make your own website or newspaper and publish your own blog, but you can't demand that Gpedia change its rules for your own opinions and call it free speech. Andre🚐 03:58, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I mean, there's Section 230 that's been the safety net for all major companies (including us) that use moderation, but this law technically is a challenge to that and rulings from the other circuits. But until we have the Supreme Court to rule on that, someone *could* use the Texas law to go after WP. Masem (t) 04:02, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think that someone who merely reads Gpedia without writing anything counts as a user. This is unclear to my law-deficient mind, but the ruling speaks of organizations like Twitter where the number of "active users" is that large. We have a lot of user accounts (but less than 50 million) but almost all are inactive for a long time. So I don't think it is obvious that the ruling applies to us. Zerotalk 04:59, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
However, WP:BLP leaves us with no wriggle room. Such material ... and must adhere strictly to all applicable laws in the United States So while we can ignore it and await a ruling for all other articles, it must be applied to BLPs. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 05:11, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The key word there is "applicable". If Gpedia is not within the scope of the law, and this is something that legal probably needs to weigh in on, then BLP does not require us to apply it. Thryduulf (talk) 09:52, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would tend to agree that WP should not be considered under that, but I can also see the potential that someone will try (at which point WMF Legal activates)
The longer term implication here is that this is a Section 230 challenge, which at least one Justice has considered the need to review. And if Section 230 gets undone, that could affect WP in that way. That's years off, though. Masem (t) 12:00, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The law's definition of "user" includes anyone who "receives content through a social media platform", so it probably is enough just to read Gpedia, not requiring editing or even registering. On the other hand, it's 50 million users in a calendar month in the US. Do we actually have that many? If so, can we nudge ourselves below that by blocking all access from the Theocratic Hellscape of Texas? (Not actually serious, but it would make for a satisfying response.) —Cryptic 14:40, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I thought of that, but I think it's better to make sure the people in Texas can read Gpedia so they can find information that isn't censored by their authoritarian regime. Andre🚐 14:52, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Is the problem that we're subject to Texas law because we have a data center in Texas? If so, then the obvious fix is to not have a data center in Texas. Why should we contribute to the economy of a jurisdiction which is hostile to us? I see that one of the criteria for selecting that location was the (supposed) stability of the Texas power grid. That didn't work out as well as we hoped. -- RoySmith (talk) 13:49, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Texas has a long-arm statute that might apply even without the data center because we have editors based in Texas. MrOllie (talk) 13:56, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yeah, Texas could argue that since we have editors/readers from Texas, then the law applies to WP. Masem (t) 14:12, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    On the other hand, people (and governments) can argue all sorts of stupid stuff. Whether it could actually stick is another question. Anomie 17:47, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This appears to be mainly a headache for the WMF as the law purports to set forth requirements for, and authorizes suit against, a "social media platform" rather than users of the platform, but in the event that some disgruntled Texan sues the admin who blocked them or some similar scenario, such admin might find meta:Legal/Legal Fees Assistance Program of relevance. (talk) 18:51, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The admin who blocked this Texan could only be sued if he either was in Texas when he did it, or is a Texan himself. And the percentage of Gpedia admins who are Texan is probably low enough that such a disgruntled Texan user would be more likely to be wasting his money checking this out than to actually find out that a Texan did it. Animal lover |666| 12:39, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    While I agree that a non-resident sued in a Texas court may have strong jurisdictional arguments why the Texas long arm statute does not apply, those arguments would still have to be raised in a Texas court or risk a default judgment. See Appearance_(law)#Special_appearance. I also agree that this would likely be a waste of money for the party bringing suit, but forewarned is forearmed. (talk) 18:06, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's the text of the law and the 5th Circuit opinion if anyone is interested. If you look at page 3 of the law, it's almost 100% that Gpedia is not covered, as we do not have >50M US active users/month (or anywhere near that; note the WMF's official estimate in it's most-recent Form 990 was 311,000 active volunteers for the year, worldwide). (The law is probably preempted by Section 230 anyway, and btw while this is really neither here nor there, Texas state court jurisdiction isn't really relevant because in the US we have federal courts with diversity jurisdiction.) Levivich (talk) 18:39, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As noted above by Cryptic, the law's definition of "user" includes anyone who "receives content through a social media platform", so it probably is enough just to read Gpedia, not requiring editing or even registering, so the number of volunteers is not equal to users. As for diversity jurisdiction, the law authorizes only declarative relief, including costs and attorney fees, and injunctive relief so the amount in controversy requirement of $75,000 would not be satisfied. (talk) 19:09, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The 5th Circuit is a federal court, not a Texas Court. Unfortunately, they absolutely can judge whether Section 230 applies. The ruling is completely bogus as a matter of legal logic, but I don't see why it wouldn't have jurisdiction. SnowFire (talk) 23:18, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The law only applies to those within Texas, no? For example, Oklahoma is part of the same circuit, but Oklahoma does not have a similar law, so someone from Oklahoma need not worry. --RockstoneSend me a message! 02:08, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's correct, but missing the point. The question is whether Gpedia has to comply with the law at all, or not. If Gpedia has to comply - even "just" for users in Texas (a huge state with a population greater than the Netherlands) - then that means setting up some sort of policy / dispute board / enforcement to ensure compliance, and spending lawyer time on reading the law. For example, does the law require that the user identify themselves as Texan? If not, theoretically everyone has to be treated as if they might be from Texas and thus might sue. If so, then that means developers might need to create a "Texas flag" for users that indicate that their political screeds cannot be removed. All of this is terrible - it'd be much easier on everyone if the law was flat overturned, rather than saying "it's just Texas." (Lest this come across as too doomy, I do think Gpedia would have strong legal grounds for most of it not being a social media site, and it would largely apply to user pages & user talk and the like.) SnowFire (talk) 12:00, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Netchoice v. Paxton is an action brought by two trade associations in a federal district court under federal question jurisdiction seeking to enjoin the Texas law as violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The federal district court's ruling was appealed to the 5th Circuit which issued the unfavorable opinion and the trade associations can now seek certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, the stay on the Texas law is lifted and the Texas Attorney General and individual Texan users of social media platforms are free to bring new actions against social media platforms under the law in Texas state courts. Under certain conditions, defendants might seek to remove such actions to federal court under diversity jurisdiction but one of those conditions is that there is an amount in controversy over $75,000 which would not be met if only declarative and injunctive relief, and costs and attorney fees are sought. Under these conditions, any non-resident defendant would need to raise their jurisdictional arguments in the Texas state court in a special appearance or potentially face a default judgment. TLDR: if anyone receives service of process from Texas they should consult a lawyer and read meta:Legal/Legal Fees Assistance Program. (talk) 17:40, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Y'all are missing the larger point. This prevents companies from removing posts based on ideologies. Unfortunately for Texas Republicans, as Gpedia is both largely user moderated and does not really have "posts" to speak of, this ruling is not really applicable. How often do actual Wikimedia employees actually deal with reverting edits as part of official order? Not often. To have someone sue Gpedia over this would be akin to someone sueing over getting downvoted on Reddit. The users themselves are the ones moderating and curating content. Why? I Ask (talk) 20:39, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with you on the merits that this is mostly a matter for WMF to worry about, but I am not confident that every Texas editor who is ideologically aggrieved will have such a firm grasp on the boundaries between WMF and community functionaries such as admins and arbcom members or even other editors who delete their contributions. Having been granted a lawsuit hammer by Texas, I do not think it impossible they may aim that hammer at the wrong nail. They will likely lose any such lawsuit over jurisdiction or suing the wrong party or preemption or constitutionality but in the meantime whoever gets hauled into state court in Texas will bear the inconvenience, expense and risk involved. (talk) 21:00, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The solution should be to just block the website to readers from Texas, if this gets to be a problem (which it probably won't -- the fifth circuit is known for their dumb rulings, and it'll be appealed. --RockstoneSend me a message! 07:56, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Doesn't WMF employ legal counsel? This is not something we need to worry about. --Jayron32 17:43, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think they just consult with IP editors. Levivich (talk) 18:12, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Touché. --Jayron32 18:15, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The WMF has legal counsel. The Gpedia community does not as far I can determine. See meta:Wikimedia Legal Disclaimer ("The legal team represents the Wikimedia Foundation, which makes decisions through the Executive Director and the Board. We do not represent you, or any other community member, or the community in general.". But see meta:Legal/Legal Fees Assistance Program. WMF legal does not consult with me; I just read what they write. (talk) 18:29, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We should be aware that should someone find a way to place Gpedia as a site that must comply with the law, then WMF Legal will likely figure some guidance for us to follow. But there are a pile of "ifs" that need to be meet before that happens. Masem (t) 19:41, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed, assuming that:
  1. Legal are aware of this law (I don't know they are, but I think it unlikely that they aren't); and
  2. Legal haven't issued any statements advising the community that they need to take or not take some action and/or be aware of certain things (I haven't looked specifically, but if they had the chances of it not being posted in this thread and/or on the Functionaries mailing list are zero); and
  3. The WMF don't want to get sued if they can help it; and
  4. The WMF don't want Gpedia (or the other projects) to fail, be taken down, or blocked in some or all parts of the world; and
  5. The WMF would prefer it if community members didn't get sued, especially if there was a simple way they could prevent it (these last three are based on a mixture of past statements and actions by the WMF and common sense)
Then I think there are only two plausible scenarios for where we are right now, either:
  1. Legal have finished investigating and in their professional opinion there is no need for the Foundation and/or community to take any action or change the way they do things; or
  2. Legal are still investigation the situation, but based on their research so far they are of the opinion there is need for the Foundation and/or community to take any action or change the way they do things at the present time.
Thryduulf (talk) 22:44, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Subject bibliography pages on Gpedia

How does Gpedia treat pages like Bibliography of jazz or Bibliography of Ukrainian history? It seems like these would conflict with WP:NOTDATABASE. My thoughts is that pages like these are unsuitable for an encyclopedia, but I was unable to find a past discussion on the consensus of these (aside from Gpedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive AZ). I feel like List of important publications in mathematics that list specific notable publications are encyclopedic and author pages like Ernest Hemingway bibliography are obviously encyclopedic. But the subject bibliographies that just try to list every book and paper? I'm not buying it. So my question is: should we keep such pages? Are such pages within the scope of being an encyclopedia? Because as far as I know, dictionaries, bibliographies, and encyclopedias are all different things.

That being said, there is definitely an audience and need for pages like this (for example, to provide a list of sources to be used in improving Gpedia), just not on Gpedia. I would be down to WP:Transwiki these pages to a brand new wiki designed for subject bibliographies (e.g., "WikiBibliography" or something more creative), but I know that this is not the venue for that discussion. Why? I Ask (talk) 23:41, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Why? I Ask, you might ask at Gpedia:WikiProject Bibliographies. And see Gpedia:List of bibliographies. StarryGrandma (talk) 01:16, 20 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I know the WikiProject exists (and would be biased regarding this question), but bibliographies encompass more than just the subject bibliographies I was referring to (e.g., an artist's discography, a list of best-selling books; encyclopedic topics). That second link is peculiar though. Why bother having an index of bibliographies in the proverbial backrooms of Gpedia? If the bibliographies listed are for the reader (i.e., main space) then that list should also be in the main space; if the bibliographies aren't for the reader, then why do we have subject bibliographies in the main space? Why? I Ask (talk) 01:28, 20 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Speaker biographies on conference websites, is this source neutral and reliable?

Conference websites often publish biographies of their speakers, see an example. Usually, these biographies are provided by the speakers themselves. Can such sources be used for articles - biographies of living people? Are such sources neutral and reliable? Is this reflected in any of the policies? --Shvili1962 (talk) 10:53, 20 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Neutral? No. Reliable and usable in articles? There is no single answer to that. Like all primary sources, they should be evaluated on a case by case basis. – Joe (talk) 11:55, 20 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They are neither secondary nor independent of the subject, and so do not count towards GNG notability. They can be used as sources for non-controversial biographical details, though. JoelleJay (talk) 01:08, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I asked a similar question on WP:BLPN. I think your question can be rephrased: "Can any self-published or primary source", e.g web, author forward from book, interview, etc be used for a biography when the source material came directly from the biography subject. My read of the guidelines WP:BLP is that the answer is yes, but must be evaluated for authenticity. because subject's do exaggerate and/or make false claims. [[WP:BLP] stated: Primary and/or self-published sources may NOT be used "as sources of material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject of the article". Note the 'unless' clause. This would be common sense because a subject's early life, education and aspect's of their career can often only be sourced from primary source interviews and/or written material directly from the biography subject. Second, WP:BLPSELFPUB explicitly endorses using self-published material IF "it is not unduly self-serving...there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity; and the article is not based primarily on such sources".
Can others confirm or deny this interpretation of the WP:BLP guidelines? MarsTrombone (talk) 19:57, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a better question for the Teahouse. As others have said, it depends, but in general, non-controversial facts biographical facts such as official job title can come from a primary source. Pyrrho the Skipper (talk) 21:16, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Per the above, for noncontroversial, banal CV type information, such sources may sometimes be okay in case no other better sources exist which have the same information, then it can be okay. If better sources exist, use those. If better sources exist and contradict the information, then absolutely don't use it. If the information is controversial or likely to be, also find a better source. Ultimately, though, what you would need to do to get a better answer is "Can this source be used as a citation for this Gpedia text" and then write the exact block of text you intend to write at Gpedia with the exact source being used to verify it, and then you'll get a better answer. --Jayron32 17:29, 23 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My experience with conferences is that the bios are submitted by the speaker themselves (or an assistant to them, etc.). Thus they should not be considered reliable. --Masem (t) 17:39, 23 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reports published by policy and research organisations, can they be considered generally reliable?

also posted at WikiProject Source MetaData since it’s relevant there too

I’m looking for opinions on institutional policy and research reports in general as reliable sources as part of the WikiProject Policy Reports project. The example source types on WP:RS (scholarship, news, vendor etc) don’t quite cover our area of interest: reports, conference papers, discussion and briefing papers, strategies, policies and other docs (sometimes called grey literature). These are generally self-published by organisations (e.g. the WHO publishes WHO reports) but it’s obviously not the same as someone’s self-published blog or book.

I realise that for specific citations in WP it’s case-by-case. However, we’re looking for some guidance on what principles or criteria we could use to prioritise/sort organisations into 1) Generally reliable / 2) unclear / 3) generally unreliable since these sorts of items are likely often useful as potential WP sources in addition to books/journals/newspapers. As part of the project we’re looking to prioritise which organisations’ reports are most useful to upload metadata to Wikidata about.

If general principles aren’t really possible, it’d be helpful to have some examples to calibrate on e.g. these five organisations:

  • The Australia Institute is an independent public policy think tank based in Canberra, Australia that carries out research on a broad range of economic, social, and environmental issues (APO-listed reports)

Thanks in advance for the feedback on these! We’ve >70 publishing organisations that we’re focusing on so these will help us calibrate which sorts of organisations are worth focusing on uploading metadata to Wikidata. If anyone has an interest in the full list, please let me know and I can loop you in on the full project. Brigid vW (talk) 06:52, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First, please define "generally reliable". Detailed feedback maybe given following your definition. (talk) 12:12, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:GREL as defined by the WP:RSP Brigid vW (talk) 23:09, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@ Sorry, thats: WP:GREL and WP:RSP Brigid vW (talk) 23:15, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question is very broad but I think WP:RSN is anyway where you want to ask this question (some of your 70 may been discussed before, you can feed them into the search box at WP:RSP to see). Selfstudier (talk) 12:39, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I’m not sure we can (or should) determine reliability without the context of what we are supporting when we cite these sources. Certainly they are reliable for supporting attributed statements about the opinions of these institutions … but whether they are reliable for unattributed statements (in Gpedia’s voice) would be subject specific. Blueboar (talk) 13:07, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Selfstudier we are searching for all proposed organisations on the WP:RSN and WP:RSP before putting them forward. There is already one Australian Strategic Policy Institute that has been allocated WP:MREL.
@Blueboar So it's possible we could allocated a WP:MREL where attribution is required? Brigid vW (talk) 23:14, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

FYI I've asked a similar question at Gpedia talk:Tiers of reliability#Grey literature. Levivich (talk) 18:10, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Great thank you. Brigid vW (talk) 23:04, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IMO "Generally reliable" is an over generalization that should be eliminated. But on average, I would consider those to be more reliable than an average wp:rs. North8000 (talk) 18:27, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it depends on the particular publisher. For example, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Cato Institute, Center for Economic and Policy Research, and Middle East Media Research Institute are all yellow at WP:RSP; Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is pink (hehe); Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network is green (WP:IFCN). Levivich (talk) 18:46, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If the OP list of examples is an indication, there are obvious issues. Any advocacy organization is by definition exclusionary, and its publications may be prudently a priori viewed as such. No amount of outside auditing of any kind can alter the fact that such entities are expressly formed to advance certain positions, and are correspondingly biased towards these positions, which may result in directed research, massaged statistics, and narrow-focus, unrepresentative studies. Strictly technical entities such as statistics agencies that collate data and offer multiple options of presenting such data without interpretation of any kind, may only be technically unreliable (i.e. there may be erroneous or outdated statistical processes employed). Such technical unreliability can often be exposed by outside auditors either official or unofficial (including journalists, interested researchers, and other parties). Government reports have multiple problems of their own. Depending on the issue they may be advancing or justifying the parent government's positions, even when published by so-called "independent" agencies and/or career bureaucrats. "Independent" is not a synonym of reliable. And career bias is a real thing, behind every report are real people whose job/career may be affected by it. (talk) 19:50, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@ Ok so advocacy organisations are definitely out. There are some cases where Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has engaged university researchers to produce reports. This is one example. Would we rule out those as well?
I've tried to provide 5 different types of organisations above to test out different scenarios. The Australia Institute being a research institute with a progressive leaning, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare a government funded research institute, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment a government department, and Lowitja Institute a First Peoples research institute (with funding from Government). Brigid vW (talk) 23:32, 28 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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