Proposal talk:Change Wikipedia Notability Guidelines

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For information:

February 2009 RFC on Notability

--KrebMarkt 22:49, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

What is the proposal?

The proposal says

  • Instead of deleting an article if it doesn't meet some people's criteria for notability,
  • the guidelines should encourage the creation of articles pertaining to subjects that may be less popular. An article should be considered for inclusion in Wikipedia if it informs the reader of relevant facts they would not have otherwise known.

This is a false dichotomy between deletion criteria and encouragement create content. There is nothing inconsistent between deletion of some content, on the one hand, and encouraging the creation of other content, on the other.

Moreover, the Key Questions include biased premises. The question

  • What does Wikipedia gain by deleting articles some administrators don't feel deserve to be included in Wikipedia?

presupposes what is in fact false, that it is "some administrators" who determine what is deleted. In fact, deletion is governed by a is than a consensus-based mechanism.

This proposal needs to be clarified and should have misleading assumptions removed.

Bongomatic 08:18, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Articles as an opportunity for vandalism

My problem with this proposal is that for each extra page we have on the encyclopedia the more venues there are for vandalism to take place and the more obscure the topic the more likely it is that the vandalism will go unseen and not reverted. I used to be an inclusionist. But since I've spent more time on patrolling recent changes the more I've become aware of vandalism taking place. On that basis I think I'd prefer to see the notability guidelines remain in place. --Bodnotbod 12:31, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure that actually is a concern. Even though the number of venues for vandalism to take place may increase, if there is no related increase in the number of vandals, it is likely there will be no increase in the number of instances of vandalism, and there will be no change to the current system of recent change patrol. 14:57, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

English Wikipedia only?

As this proposal is for the English Wikipedia and does not even state this, it is hardly a WMF subject and hardly strategic. Thanks, GerardM 14:59, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

As the largest, most visible WMF project, English Wikipedia and its policies have a large influence both on other wikis and on the broader reputation of the WMF. How English Wikipedia deals with issues of notability and inclusiveness are certainly strategic issues for the future of the Wikimedia community as a whole. I see no reason to exclude project-specific proposals from the strategic planning process.
In any case, this doesn't necessarily have to be an English Wikipedia-only proposal; all Wikipedias have similar rules (written and unwritten) for what to include and what to exclude, and it is conceivable (if not necessarily desirable) to come up with pan-lingual content guidelines in broad strokes.--ragesoss 16:58, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
It is entirely appropriate to post project or language specific issues here. This is a brainstorming space; things will be separated out into appropriate groups later. -- Philippe 20:25, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Ragesoss that this ultimately affects all pedias, even if at the moment it is most obviously relevant to the larger ones. I've spoken to German and Spanish editors and they also have articles deleted for lack of notability. Though the specific guidelines vary per project I doubt if any of our pedias would satisfy the most extreme inclusionists. WereSpielChequers 07:34, 19 September 2009 (UTC)


First please clarify. Really.

Second what do you have to say to the people who participated to the February 2009 RFC on Notability and who might feel slighted to this attempt to by-pass the consensus on notability?

Third few things are missing in your proposal: relevance of the added information for wikipedia, the verifiability of the added content and the quality of the added content.

The current notability is a delicate compromise, clearly imperfect but it's more or less working. --KrebMarkt 20:09, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

The decision in February 2009 was to keep EN:Wikipedia:Notability as a policy on the English Wikipedia and not delete or demote it from being a policy. I contend that proposals to change it and similar guidelines are entirely within the spirit of the closing rationale for that discussion, specifically "Possible changes and alterations to notability can and should be discussed". And a significant change to that policy could be a strategic change in what we are doing. WereSpielChequers 07:53, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Strategic decision

Above it is stated that the Notability Guidelines are a delicate compromise and based on consensus. Nevertheless the outcome of the strategy might be a new direction. For instance the w:Wikipedia:Be bold aproach or on the other hand high empahasis on verifiability and the quality of the added content. If there is a clear strategy the delicate compromise will shift slowly but surely accordingly. HenkvD 22:21, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

With who and for what? There will be no divine miracle in that area because of the high level of defiance.
The area where the community is the most divided is Fiction related articles which represent a big part of any wikipedia in general. I should point out the on-going to nowhere en:WP:FICT discussion and the memorable statement that no compromise may be found at this time en:Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Notability_and_fiction#The_community_is_divided for fiction.
w:Wikipedia:Be bold is excruciating to exert in such context because we don't need any en:Casus belli.
For verifiability & quality of the added content see bellow section --KrebMarkt 13:15, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Users can refer to the outcome of the Stratagy to make their point. For sure that will be a slow and gradual process. HenkvD 17:55, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
It will end with a RFC + vote or we are good for editors upraising. You can't enact any reform of that level without the support of the editors or push one group of editors against another. I'm not even sure that Arbcom will welcome that level of involvement from the fondation. I view any reform not supported by a consensus as a form of authoritarianism and will react accordingly. I'm sure that i'm not alone to have a such view regardless our personal & varied opinions on notability. --KrebMarkt 10:02, 24 August 2009 (UTC)


What bother me the most in this proposal is that the word "verifiability" is totally absent from this proposal but the word "information" is present 8 times. Does it means that the informations don't need to be verified?

Relaxing Notability will only permit more articles/containers to exist. In no way it is a free pass to add whatever information you want. That's the weakness of this proposal. Only the verified information from reliable sources would stay on articles and you can't change that.

At the worst we may a have more articles but all striped bare to "the what is verifiable level" and the success of this proposal would be then meaningless because the promised boom in quantity of "information" would have not happened.

--KrebMarkt 13:15, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

I took it that verifiability was not mentioned because the proposer is suggesting we change notability guidelines not verifiability, but I'll change the proposal to clarify that. WereSpielChequers 07:57, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. I really think that many users can't understand how constraining can be VERIFIABILITY especially combined with WP:BURDEN. --KrebMarkt 19:25, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Change proposal name

The proposal name should be changed from "Change Wikipedia Notability Guidelines" to "Weaken Wikipedia Notability Guidelines" to be more specific. And for what it's worth, I disagree with this proposal and would prefer the alternative "Strengthen Wikipedia Notability Guidelines". Jason Quinn 00:30, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Strengthen notability guidelines

I'd like to see the notability guidelines strengthened in the popular culture area. Specifically:

  • Raise standards for Wikipedia:WP:BAND. As a starting point, bands must win some significant award, at least to the gold record level, to be notable enough to get into Wikipedia. Albums would generally not be considered notable unless they achieve gold record status, get significant press, or are historically significant. Wikipedia is trying to manually replicate GraceNote, and isn't doing a very good job of it. If Wikipedia ever succeeded in replicating GraceNote, we'd have several million album articles, more than the entire English Wikipedia.
  • Raise standards for Wikipedia:WP:FICT. In general, there should be very few spin-off articles in the popular culture area. Harry Potter characters, yes, because there are serious third-party books on the subject. Zords in Power Rangers, no. --Nagle 22:28, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
    • Wikipedia:WP:FICT is not a guideline and highly doubt it will be one in a near future. Raising the standards is pointless because people don't agree on a standard to start with and this is not the job of the foundation to define those standards. If you are unhappy with that you can give your try at En:Wikipedia talk:Notability (fiction) bearing in mind that the community is clearly divided in the issue and i wish you good luck. --KrebMarkt 08:48, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

What notability really means

It seems to me that the author of this proposal hasn't actually understood what notability is. From this statement

the guidelines should encourage the creation of articles pertaining to subjects that may be less popular

I understand that he associates notability with popularity. While often there is a connection between notability and popularity, the two are clearly distinct. We have articles about subjects that are totally unknown to the general public, and we don't have articles on things that almost everyone knows.

A subject is notable if the experts of the field to which it belongs consider it to be meaningful within that field. The simple fact that there is information about a subject doesn't automatically make it worthy of an encyclopedia entry. It's not a question of saving space. It's the question whether or not a subject belongs to what we call human knowledge. Not every piece of information is human knowledge. AdiJapan 07:41, 26 August 2009 (UTC)


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:06, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Worst case articles stripped to the bare minimum of what is verifiable level. Making Notability guidelines less strict will just give most spot for content and is in no way a free pass to add any content. That's the very mistake of this proposal. (I'm repeating myself, my bad. I'm sorry). Hotted debates that sometimes occur during Afd will shift to the articles themselves and people disapproving a less strict notability will likely stick with a stricter interpretation of Verifiability policy that could summarized to "Remove anything not verifiable with reliable source". Not sure that those who are supporting this proposal envisioned that potential consequence.
Edit: removed something inaccurate --KrebMarkt 21:58, 3 September 2009 (UTC)


I agree with Bongo's comment above that this is not a matter of deletion criteria, but of the deletion process. Nonetheless, I do believe that the proposal addresses an issue that needs addressing; deletion of otherwise good-quality articles for simple failure of non-notability. I believe that a policy of shifting non-notable articles to the founding user's userspace (or to that of a key contributor) in order to shape the article into either something notable, or to allow the subject of the article to become notable. There is good-quality content that is being deleted on failure of notability alone, when it would later or otherwise be included in Wikipedia.

The main issue this raises, however, is that it may be exploited by proponents of fringe theories and other theories that do not have likelihood of becoming notable. This would be an issue that must be contended properly should articles begin to be moved to userspace on more occasions.

This is also an inclusionist vs. deletionist issue, and will probably again be argued as such. — Sasuke Sarutobi 23:07, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Editors can request a copy of a deleted page in their user space to admin proved that the deleted page isn't full copyright violation, blatant ads or hate & slanders stuffs. During an Afd any editors can request the page to be userfied in their user space and others editors can vote "Userfy" instead of "Delete". --KrebMarkt 21:35, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't see the point of userfying articles other than turning autobiographies into user pages and testpages into sandboxes. If its capable of meeting the notability guidelines through extra work then why delete it? If in the rather more common case that it could only meet notability if the "next big thing in the [insert genre] scene in [city]" get their missing drummer, play some gigs, get discovered, release some records and have some hits then I suspect they are more likely to have a new article created from scratch than have the userfied article dusted off and used. WereSpielChequers 08:14, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
Userfy is for articles which time may give more opportunity to receive coverage from a RS. Working on manga, an example is a series currently not notable per WP:BK but has potential to be licensed outside Japan and thus receiving Reliable & Credible coverage from English, French, German or whatever know languages to pass WP:BK. -- 19:13, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
Grr forgot that i was logged off when making the above reply. --KrebMarkt 19:14, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Keeping this discussion on topic

It would be great if this discussion could continue without any more of the negative and off-topic content that has predominated thus far. When I became aware of the strategic planning process I dared to hope that this forum might be relatively free of the extreme positions taken by some editors in spaces such as Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. I believe that this process can lead to a better future if all participants confine their actions to one or more of the following:

  • Make reasoned arguments for or against the proposal, rather than assertions that 'my way is the only way'.
  • Edit the proposal to improve its quality without attempting to change its core ideas.
  • If you feel strongly enough that a contrary view should be canvassed, write a proposal and let each compete on its merits.

Downsize43 12:08, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm a negative element. This proposal will fail if it is viewed as a "hijacking by pass" of the current status-quo and if the promised added content is mostly not verifiable. --KrebMarkt 17:16, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

A word from an editor

I worked at several IRC-related articles and at some point, a lot of them got deleted. Especially examples as this one are IMHO a huge problem: administrators delete an article against the majority's decision because they cannot justify notability, but still most people in the discussion felt it is notable - isn't that enough of a consensus to keep articles?

It's pretty awful to see well-referenced, although probably not that notable software articles getting deleted just because the software just isn't popular enough or even widespread and mentioned on many internet sides but just not mentioned a written book yet (despite one-liners). Does that mean that the article has to be badly referenced and the software isn't worth writing about? Does that mean the article wouldn't be of any help for someone or is necessarily wrong?

IMO a change in strict notability guidelines especially in the software and computing area would avoid a lot of frustration and also not damage Wikipedia's quality (as this doesn't involve lowering the referencing and sourcing guidelines). Yarcanox 09:06, 27 November 2009 (UTC)