Wikipedia talk:Notability (people)

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Does "with verifiable notability" mean "has an article?"[edit]

In the section of this guideline that addresses "Lists of people", it says: "For instance, articles about schools often include (or link to) a list of notable alumni/alumnae, but such lists are not intended to contain everyone who attended the school — only those with verifiable notability." Does this mean that only people with articles should be included in those lists? If so, why does the sentence say "verifiable notability" instead of simply stating "notable" or "an article?" And how does this square with WP:N which clearly says that notability is not applied to the content of articles? ElKevbo (talk) 21:20, 27 August 2018 (UTC)

It depends on the list and what editors decide is appropriate for it. Editors may decide that there already must be an article for an entry to be included in a particular list, or they may decide that a redlink is permissible so long as a secondary source supporting notability is also provided. postdlf (talk) 21:27, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
That is not what this guideline says or implies. If your answer accurately reflects Wikipedia practice, please consider editing the guideline so it's clear and accurate. Thanks! ElKevbo (talk) 17:19, 29 August 2018 (UTC)
@ElKevbo: I think that the guideline is relatively clear. Either the list should contain blue links to biographies (presumably they are verifiably notable or their biography wouldn't be on Wikipedia (assuming that new page patrol did their job properly), or they can be verifiably notable via at least two reliable sources that are independent of the subject and provide significant coverage (added to the list, especially if someone contests inclusion). These people may be notable but not have an article because either someone hasn't written it yet, or because of some other reason, but as long as verifiable notability can be established via sources, there is no reason they cannot be included in the list (although if you are going to that much trouble, starting a stub might be worth a little extra time). — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 21:51, 29 August 2018 (UTC)
I think that "verifiable notability" is pretty clear, meaning either a blue link (existing article) or a red link (for a subject who is notable but for whom an article does not yet exist). That said, I believe the best (better) practice is to limit such entries to those alumni already with articles. K.e.coffman (talk) 05:20, 1 September 2018 (UTC)
A little more specifically, I interpret it as meaning "has an article or is obviously qualified for one" It is appropriate to leave red links for people such as members of a legislature, or holders of a named chair,or winners of an unquestionably major prize. I usually also leave links to such people as presidents of a famous company. Such links are a good way of suggesting to people that they write the articles. DGG ( talk ) 00:51, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
I would also add that if you are talking red links, there better be a quality source on that red link to show 1) the person is likely notable but doesn't have an article, and 2) meets the list's inclusion criteria. --Masem (t) 01:17, 17 September 2018 (UTC)

I am raising this issue again because I continue to see many editors who explicitly reference this policy when they remove people included in embedded lists because those people don't have articles already created for them. Here is the most recent such edit that popped onto my watchlist a few hours ago: remove individual from list of notables, who needs both a Wikipedia article **AND** independent reliable and verifiable sources establishing connection here, as specified by WP:NLIST. (Sorry, Alansohn - I'm not trying to pick on you!) I know that specific example doesn't have a reference but the explicit reasoning used by the editor clearly does not reflect the understanding of this policy as many of you have described it. And that - the apparent difference between how some editors read and understand this policy and how others read and understand it - is the problem I am raising. ElKevbo (talk) 19:22, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

ElKevbo, no offense taken. When this edit popped up on my watchlist equivalent, I searched for Patricia Puglise King and found nothing, including no Wikipedia articles with that name mentioned. I did the same for Annamaria Alfieri and found no article and no mention in an article. Similar to what DGG stated above, I looked at the description and saw that this wasn't someone who is presumed notable, say an elected official, professional athlete or prize-winner, among other possibilities. With no article, no meaningful claim of notability and no reliable and verifiable source, I deleted the entry. The catchphrase I use for deletion was verified at some point against policy and represents my understanding. In many other cases where an unlinked or unsourced entry has been added to a list of notables, I have found the article and identified a source connecting them to the place or school. I have added thousands upon thousands of notables to lists and I've added sources for 99.99% of them. There are limited circumstances where an entry should be retained without an existing article, but those are rare exceptions. If we insisted on articles existing for lists of notables *AND* required reliable and verifiable sources establishing a connection to the place / school, we'd solve the vast majority of problems with unsourced lists. I've tried to do cleanups and mass additions of sources, but this is a painstaking task that should be the responsibility of those adding the material to the article. If there needs to be a better bolierplate explanation to explain why entries without articles and sources have been removed, I'll be happy to add it to my edit summary repertoire. Alansohn (talk) 21:14, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
For someone who does have an article, I consider it sufficient if the reliable information connecting them to the category is found in the article on the individual; I do not think the reference needs to be copied to the list: WP is hypertext, and articles relate to each other. That said, it is still advisable to check., and check not just that there is a reference but that the reference says what is claimed. Yesterday I removed several "notable faculty" from a category who in fact were only teaching assistants during their PhD. In all of them, the information was also wrongly claimed in the infobox on the person. For all of them, I consider for independent reasons that it is very likely that the articles & categories had been written by PR staff from that university. (I am now proceeding to check every individual listed there.) This level of analysis of sources is not practical for us as a general rule. It's only really practical when there is good reason to challenge the information, and whoever is checking knows how sources in that area and aspect work. DGG ( talk ) 21:51, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
I generally view having an article as sufficient for inclusion, assuming the verifying material exists in that article. If it's there, anyone who has a problem with a lack of refs in the list can just copy it over. But yeah, typically an article should exist. I treat that as the default, and in some cases local consensus determines that citations to sources that demonstrate sufficient notability for an article could be sufficient (but really, at that point, just create an article). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 01:08, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
To respond to DGG and Rhododendrites - The problem, to coin a phrase, is that sourcing is not inherited. If someone has been added to a list of notables in some article, the fact that that person has a Wikipedia article doesn't prove that they're from that place or attended that school. This edit is typical, with an edit summary stating "remove Chris Wylde as notable; no source here, none in his article and no reliable and verifiable source found in a Google search to connect him to Hackettstown" This is a frequent situation, where someone takes an unsourced statement in Article A and uses that to spread the virus to Article B.
Then there's this edit, with the edit summary "remove Joseph Perella as notable; no source here, no mention in his article and no reliable and verifiable source found in a Google search to connect him to the school". This type of unsourced notable often leads me on a wild goose chase trying to figure out why the entry was added; surely there must be a source somewhere, but often there isn't and I have no idea why the entry was added.
If an entry is added to a list of notables and it has a source, then I don't need to check the article and I don't need to care if the fact is mentioned. If there is no source added, then the burden is on me and every other responsible editor to go to the article to see if there is a source there. Why should we accept entries without sources on blind faith?
ElKevbo, I stand behinf the original edit summary, because there is absolutely nothing to hang a hat on, either in terms of an article or a source. If we have nothing about the person to demonstrate notability, why are we keeping the entry in a list of notables? Alansohn (talk) 03:44, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
If there is no source added, then the burden is on me and every other responsible editor to go to the article to see if there is a source there. -- Well, yeah, like so much else on Wikipedia sometimes the choice is whether to take 5 seconds to revert or take 10 seconds to fix. Ideally, yes, there's a source in every instance, for every claim all across Wikipedia. In the case of a list, it doesn't take much more effort to click over to the article and see if it has a source than it does to revert. If there isn't a source in the article, I don't think anyone would have a problem with removing it per WP:BURDEN. Invoking WP:BURDEN without taking a few seconds to check the article, however, seems like a WP:PRESERVE, WP:SOFIXIT, etc. etc. matter. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 03:58, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
Alansohn, your edit summary was "remove individual from list of notables, who needs both a Wikipedia article **AND** independent reliable and verifiable sources establishing connection here, as specified by WP:NLIST" and my point is that this policy does NOT specify that people included in inline lists must have an article. Your edit summary reflects a common misunderstanding of this policy AND of [[WP:|our core policy about notability]] that explicitly rejects the idea that material included in articles must be notable. Your specific edit appears to have been fine in this instance but your edit summary reflects a common misunderstanding of important policies. My original question confirmed that my understanding of this policy is shared by many editors but your edit summary illustrates that other editors do not agree with this understanding. So we need to modify this policy to make it more clear, we modify if to match your understanding (i.e., the idea that some editors expound that policies should be descriptive of editors' practices and not prescriptive), or we accept that different editors have diametrically opposed interpretations of this specific bit of policy. ElKevbo (talk) 05:15, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment: This was a proper removal: [1]. Unsourced; unclear notability. Could have been a hoax or a BLP vio. --K.e.coffman (talk) 03:22, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
Please read my comment and focus on the edit summary that was used with removal. ElKevbo (talk) 03:27, 22 September 2018 (UTC)

Since there seems to be consensus here about what this policy says - inclusion in an in-line list does not require independent notability - I would appreciate other editors joining this discussion of a Wikiproject essay that contradicts this policy (and WP:N). Thanks! ElKevbo (talk) 05:58, 25 September 2018 (UTC)

Please also see Wikipedia talk:Notability#Is there a contradiction in other policies and essays?. I've just WP:PGBOLDly cleaned up the worst contradictions, but fundamentally, I think we should consider moving most or all of LISTBIO entirely out of this guideline. Notability is about whether the subject (e.g., a school) gets to have a separate article all about itself. Notability is not about which names you're allowed to type into that separate article after you've decided that it ought to exist. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:04, 3 October 2018 (UTC)

Local sources, again[edit]

This comes back every few years, but to summarize, Wikipedia:Notability_(organizations_and_companies) has a short and useful section WP:AUD. How about we move it here? While there is no consensus to apply this to GNG in general, I think that discussion does show more consensus for using this with biographies, particularly of modern individuals. With the caveat that this may could be limited to individuals primarily active from 2nd half of the 20th century onward, I think this would be a good rule to deal with some spam (i.e. people who receive in-depth write ups in very obscure sources, like city-wide or parish-wide magazines). To be clear: if one makes it to Foo Town Encyclopedia, that's ok. But if you get covered by Foo Town Newspaper that is not circulated outside Foo Town, I don't think that's a good source. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:32, 17 September 2018 (UTC)

I would strongly oppose this - precisely because "local" is so hard to define. I've seen serious Wikipedia editors argue that every single major newspaper in Australia bar one is a "local" newspaper. It gives no guidance to users and ensures ugly and pointless deletion discussions. The attempt to actually define "local" in the context of the companies rewrite a few months ago was a mess that wound up with no useful consensus on what that was, and the interpretation mess at AfD that followed in relation to other vague language in that rewrite (because I and others hoped it would generally be interpreted sensibly, and wasn't) tells me that redoing it in relation to biographies would be a very bad idea. The Drover's Wife (talk) 07:47, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Support, conditionally upon it always being very clear that it only applies to recent cases. It should probably apply to all BLPs. It should not apply to anyone who died more than 60-70 years ago. The wish to add the clause here I think is motivated by biographies with associated promotion, and I think that should probably be mentioned, I think company founders and CEOs should be treated as stringently as their companies. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:52, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
    • But we know that it would be used to try and delete many, many biographies that are not promotion, wasting editorial time and ensuring that more notable subjects of BLPs (and those who know them) get to see charming comments made about their notability - on subjects that have absolutely nothing to do with companies. Spam-hunters who've decided that it's easier to just kill everything in sight are becoming almost as much of a problem as spammers in my book. The Drover's Wife (talk) 07:57, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
      • Do we know? I am open to be persuaded. Can you give some examples? "Local" need not be hard to define, for this purpose. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:12, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
        • Well, the last time the discussion was had, it was long, fruitless, and involved people seriously trying to invalidate every newspaper in the country bar one, and experience at AfD has shown deletionists frequently applying absurdly wide readings of any vague language that was inserted in that rewrite more broadly. This does not make one want to repeat the process. The Drover's Wife (talk) 08:30, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
          • I can't speak for what some other people argued (and from what you say it doesn't seem like they made a particularly good argument). But I agree with Joe this shouldn't be to hard. A source that we should treat carefully, i.e. local, can be defined as having circulation no greater than one city or metropolitan area, or equivalent unit of administration (county, etc.). Provincial/state publications, i.e. regional, would be fine. And as noted before, limiting this to let's say 21st century sources or such would be ok too. The goal is to eliminate vanity spam, when someone gets an in-depth piece in their local city or parish or such newspaper, 'local boy/girl gets a career in the big city! look at that, folks!'. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:20, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. GNG works fine as is. WP:AUD was adopted as a narrow exception to address unique promotional concerns with companies and should not be extended to biographies. Moreover, the proposed change is grossly overbroad. While it may be appropriate to give discounted weight to small town newspapers, significant coverage in major metropolitan newspapers is entirely valid. Cbl62 (talk) 09:08, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. I think this is actually fine. I was a bit hesitant about the potential for overreach but I think the proposed text is pretty careful to exclude anything that could not be considered a small-town paper (i.e. it specifically mentions regional and statewide media which eliminates several of the concerns discussed above). It is definitely a problem that needs solving, because with regards to WP:POLITICIAN for example, there is nothing in the guideline that says local sources aren't fine, which would mean that every single local mayor or councillor could be (and has been) argued as notable under current guidelines, and the only counter-argument at the moment is "oh, no, we don't read it that way", which is a hell of a way to introduce newbies with an interest in local politics to Wikipedia. Frickeg (talk) 09:17, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
  • GNG and multiple sources I generally find that WP:GNG stating that "multiple sources are generally expected" is sufficient. This rules out the subject that gets coverage in only one or two "local" sources. Note that muliple articles from the same publisher still counts as one source.—Bagumba (talk) 10:34, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
    • "muliple articles from the same publisher still counts as one source". I like that a lot, but where is it written down? I echo Frickeg as I am pretty sure there are bios of local politicians which are argued notable because the subject has received several articles in the local town gazette (or website). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:23, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
      • @Piotrus: It's in WP:GNG at "Sources": "Multiple publications from the same author or organization are usually regarded as a single source for the purposes of establishing notability."—Bagumba (talk) 06:50, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
        • Who put the "usually" in? For the purpose of demonstrating notability, the independent sources have to be independent from the subject as well as from each other. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:49, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
          • @SmokeyJoe: The quote was regarding the number of sources (e.g. same newspaper with 10 different articles on the subject still counts as one "source" for notability purposes). It was not referring to "same author or organization" being the same as subject of the page.—Bagumba (talk) 08:42, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose To me, the reason that local (however it might be defined) sources are suspect is that they may not be reliable or independent of the subject. Saying all local sources should be discounted is an easy out, but not a good one. Many local sources are of acceptable quality, I don't see how being local equates to being dubious. If a source is of dubious quality or is too closely related to an article's subject it probably should be improved upon. If an article is at AfD due to poor sourcing or if a fact in an article is in dispute, the source should be analyzed on its own merits, regardless of whether or not it is local. Smmurphy(Talk) 15:02, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
I agree the quality of the source matters the most, but I know of many local papers (or online newspapers), which are just a repository of press releases (which may or may not be easy to spot). --Enos733 (talk) 17:20, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
Local sources are fine to support a topic once shown notable, the issue is that topics that only have local sourcing may likely not be notable for our purposes. We're likely to be able to document the history of a multi-generation family-owned small town restauarant via local sources over time, but that doesn't make the restaurant notable for a global work. --Masem (t) 17:42, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CREEP. Notability is a guideline, not policy, which means that it is quite imprecise and fuzzy. Adding more vague concepts like "local" would make matters worse, generating vexatious and opionated arguments which would essentially boil down to WP:IDONTLIKEIT. Andrew D. (talk) 09:14, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Support for BLPs: this would be a good addition, for two reasons. First, many SNGs already do a good job at indicating significant (i.e. WP:NPOL, WP:CREATIVE, WP:PROF), but in the areas without SNGs, it's more difficult to arrive at a consensus. This would apply to businesspeople, beauty pageant winners, motivational speakers, YouTube personalities, etc, which are prone to promotionalism and fancruft -- the second reason to tighten the requirements. --K.e.coffman (talk) 03:51, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
Changed to general "support". K.e.coffman (talk) 00:25, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per The Drover's Wife. We have no agreed upon metric to differentiate between a "local" newspaper or a "regional" newspaper or a "major metropolitan" newspaper or a "national" newspaper. For example, I have heard editors argue that the San Francisco Chronicle is a local paper despite the fact that has been circulated widely throughout Northern California since at least 1880 and has won many Pulitzer Prizes going back at least to 1941. Although I recognize the inherent issues of promotionalism regarding BLPs, especially of younger people in the early stages of their career, I think that it is a mistake to accept certain sources for establishing the notability of a person who is dead, but reject equivalent sources from the same publications for a person who is alive. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 23:00, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose largely per TDW. The main issue for me is determining what constitutes a "local" source, and the significant likelihood that deletionists will try to expand the definition of it. I also don't think we should be going down that path where we have one rule for dead people and another for BLPs regarding whether undefined "local" sources are useable to determine notability. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 02:40, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose – This would set a poor precedent, particularly regarding people based in or from third-world, less developed and rural areas of the world, where a lesser degree of new coverage and a lesser amount of news agencies and publishers exist. Seems that this could also lead to a greater degree of WP:SYSTEMIC bias on Wikipedia as well, whereby people covered in first world countries would receive favoritism for inclusion in the encyclopedia per a greater amount of overall said coverage, news agencies and publishers in first world countries. North America1000 04:16, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Massive oppose. AUD is bizarre nonsense that has nothing whatsoever to do with real scholarship. The very idea is simply wrong in principle per se. Circulation is simply not relevant. If the sources are reliable and independent, or the topic is objectively important and reliably sourced, there is nothing to discuss. Real historians use local newspapers: I really should not have to say anything else. ORG as a whole contains so much nonsense now that it is probably broken beyond repair and should probably be demoted to an essay. James500 (talk) 01:30, 25 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Do we have to have multiple local sources or will "the paper my old employer owns" just do? Does it have to be for multiple events or just "that fun run I did dressed as biffo the bear". I can see this just cluttering up the project with one event non celebrities who got an award for using the same broom for 15 years. Also how local do we make it, county, city, village, that working as a chicken soup machine repair man ward is notable why should we. We can use non English language sources, so there shuold (if someone is genuinely notable) be no trouble finding non English sources that meet our existing RS criteria.Slatersteven (talk) 10:28, 25 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Per K.E.Coffman and Masem - it's not that the sourcing is "local," it's that if a WP:BLP is only sourced to a local area, we should look twice at their notability. This would include someone from New York who gets written up in the NYT. SportingFlyer talk 07:48, 26 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - We are here to write reliable biographies about individuals covered in multiple published sources, not to endlessly debate whether the sources that comprise the information blocks for building the biographies are "important enough." GNG is all about avoiding the trap of such normative, time-sucking, fruitless, bad-feeling-generating arguments. There is no way to define "local" versus "regional." This just dumps mud on top of a reliable, useful, and thoroughly established GNG. Carrite (talk) 14:58, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - while I agree that "real historians" use local papers and that they are absolutely a reliable source, not all reliable sources are created equal when it comes to establishing notability for a worldwide encyclopedia. It's my opinion that there has to be at least a modicum of "non-local" interest in a particular topic for it to be notable enough to be included. I grew up in a small town of about 25,000, and I wouldn't be able to count the number of "local kid makes good" stories in our paper; one in particular that comes to mind was the half-page feature, with multiple color photos, of our high school baseball catcher and his counterpart on the rival high school baseball team, both of whom happened to be some of the better high school baseball players in the state. Unfortunately neither of them went on to play even major college ball, let alone any level of professional ball, but they both got that big feature article plus at least one other that I remember. I don't think anyone in their right mind would call either of these two kids notable in the Wikipedia sense, but if someone were to find those two articles, they would at least be on their way to meeting GNG as currently written. And the same would almost assuredly be true of a lot of otherwise non-notable college athlete, especially those from smaller towns where going on to play college athletics is less common. I guess where I am going is the fact that historians (and Wikipedians) should definitely use local papers, but historians don't have to screen topics the way we do; they get to research whatever the heck interests them. We need some kind of objective criteria to avoid writing (and keeping) articles that simply aren't of sufficient interest. CThomas3 (talk) 00:37, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above. It's impossible to clearly identify "local" sources; more importantly, for the sake of neutrality and not wasting time, notability should not be any kind of value judgement on how subjectively important or encyclopedically deserving a subject is, but a simple assessment of whether it's possible to have an article on some subject that meets the essential content policies (WP:V,WP:NPOV,WP:NOR, and WP:BLP). Wikipedia is not paper; if a reader doesn't want to learn about some locally renowned and reliably-covered individual, they're welcome to not search for them. That said, AfD participants should be vigilant about covert advertising, as they generally already are. FourViolas (talk) 03:19, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose A) Local is poorly defined B) it's a bad idea. We don't need to keep trying to narrow our scope. If we can write a good article, we should ideally have a good article. That requires independent reliable sources, nothing more. Hobit (talk) 21:19, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose'. This implies a level of reliability that is, in practice, likely to be highly contingent on the precise interpretation of local and the exact publication involved. Guy (Help!) 18:25, 30 October 2018 (UTC)

Inherited notability and architects[edit]

Would an architect be deemed to be notable because one or more of the structures that they designed are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (US), are listed buildings (UK), or similar national heritage etc directories? It is an issue that has bugged me for some time, bearing in mind WP:NOTINHERITED, but I know that there are a fair few people whose primary interest lies mainly in dealing with NRHP/LB etc articles. Perhaps this applies further afield also, eg: if an artist has a work exhibited/catalogued by a major gallery then is notability presumed? - Sitush (talk) 23:40, 17 September 2018 (UTC)

WP:NARTIST is more relevant and authoritative here than NOTINHERITED possibly could be. postdlf (talk) 23:50, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
Good point. But if little is known or written about them despite their creative work then where do we stand? The various notability criteria do sometimes appear to work at cross-purposes. I'm guessing the argument would be that, sooner or later, someone will find something that enables an article to progress but, hey, that is more or less the same argument I have just responded to in another thread on this talk page: when it happens then that is great but until it happens ... - Sitush (talk) 00:04, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
For me, I'd be ok with keeping them if they had 2+ structures in such registers. Multiple of something always help. Being notable for just one structure is a bit like WP:ONEEVENT stuff. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:24, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
Listed buildings can be listed for many reasons besides their architecture--in fact, the reason for most of them is the historical associations, and although the architect if known will be given in the description, that doesn't make him notable, any more than it does the builder or the original owner. Being listed as an example of the architectural work specifically would certainly contribute to notability . DGG ( talk ) 18:39, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
an example of the architectural work specifically meaning the architectural style, such as Gothic or Neo-whatever etc? I think pretty much all listings would refer to the style? Sorry, but I am a tad confused here - it may be the meds. Also confused about "historical associations": I can see that, for example, a building might be listed because person A or B lived there or because it was connected to a battle, a treaty signing etc but I'm pretty sure that, at least in the UK, most listed buildings do not fall into that type of category. I am not even sure that pretty much anything designed by, say, Charles Barry, Augustus Pugin or Christopher Wren would necessarily qualify for a listing (although the likelihood is quite high). Those three people are extremely well documented and would qualify regardless of listings but there are others whose bio articles seem to rely more on the fact of association with a listing than on the available biographical information. - Sitush (talk) 23:42, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more I think this discussion may need a wider audience. There are certainly some people, such as Doncram and FloridaArmy, who will have significant opinions because of their connection to the NRHP project and I am fairly sure that there will be equivalent contributors involved with similar national projects. - Sitush (talk) 00:06, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for pinging me. Yes, I created a good number and have contributed to the majority of the current 1,052 articles in administrative category Category:NRHP architects. A while back I systematically started articles for all architects having 5 or more NRHP listed works. If someone wants to contest such articles, go through that category and try to find the weakest ones. Please notify wt:NRHP if you open an AFD. And/or open a big negative ANI proceeding about me personally. :} Any architect who has an article by dint of other notability and has any NRHP work, even just one, should be put in the category (though perhaps not all are so categorized); it is an admin category and that is not controversial.
About whether designing one work that is NRHP-listed automatically makes an architect notable, the answer is no. Sometimes a house is NRHP-listed because of some notable person living there, and it may randomly be known that a local architect designed it; no one is creating an article for such an architect. But far more often, a building is notable architecturally as a good example of its type in a wide area, and/or it may be especially notable because it is a good example by a certain architect. For example I just created James Murdoch (architect) article, upon coming across him while developing NRHP article All Saints Episcopal Church (Denver). Its NRHP nomination document states the building "has added significance since it is the work of James Murdoch, an important architect in Denver in the late 19th and early 20th centuries." And I was able to find, elsewhere, a bio that gives birth and death dates and quite a bit more, though I only wrote out a fraction of the info available. And I list a few NRHP-listed works and a few others. I can think of a few cases where the reason a place is listed is because it is the only surviving known good example of work by a certain architect who is deemed to be notable, worth recognizing in American history, and their importance is noted by the listing itself. This is fine and good.
You might ask, what if very little info about the person is available, and if they are not generally otherwise deemed significant? If there are only one or very few known works by a person, and nothing much factual about the person, then probably an article isn't needed. If there are numerous works by the person, then even if little is known about the person biography-wise, then it is still worth having an article, essentially as a list of works by the person, covering the notable topic of the significant works of this person. If someone designs 50 schools that get NRHP-listed for their architecture, then they were doing something right, and it seems silly to deny an article. Also it is a matter of convenience: we want to state the list of works by this person in one place and link to that, rather than including mention of all 50 works in each of 50 separate articles. The title is better as the person's name, even if the article is essentially a list-article, IMO.
I don't think there is any widespread problem with the NRHP architect articles. Some which were created a while ago using little more than the NRHP's NRIS database info may now be considerably improved, since individual NRHP documents have become available over time, and these documents often convey interesting bio detail about an architect. If you do come across weak articles, I would be happy to be notified of them and I would be glad to put some effort in on them myself or try to coordinate others' involvement too. Cheers, --Doncram (talk) 01:43, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
P.S. Hey, the question of NRHP architect notability has been tested already in numerous AFDs around 2012, all of which closed Keep as I recall. I joked above, but do not welcome any new round of AFDs. This is settled stuff.
In case it makes someone feel better, basically the reasoning in developing NRHP architect articles has been essentially that they meet some version of wp:ARTIST. My reasoning is not at all about notability being inherited. wp:ARTIST includes statement that "The person has created or played a major role in co-creating a significant or well-known work or collective body of work. In addition, such work must have been the primary subject of an independent and notable work (for example, a book, film, or television series, but usually not a single episode of a television series) or of multiple independent periodical articles or reviews." The NRHP architects are more or less notable for having created a significant body of work, e.g. the slave who built covered bridges all over the state of Georgia, or the future governor of Kentucky who built numerous early stone houses, each of which is itself the primary subject of an NRHP listing and its review/nomination document representing systematic collective judgment of local, state, national level reviewers. Perhaps that wp:ARTIST statement could be modified to clarify that an NRHP listing is equivalent to a book, file or television series. --Doncram (talk) 02:59, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
Concur with Doncram. Cbl62 (talk) 01:55, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
  • My sense is that if there is only one such building, the coverage belongs with the building. If there is more than one, an article would often be justified. But only if we can find enough in reliable sources to write one that at least as the potential to be more than a stub. Hobit (talk) 21:22, 29 October 2018 (UTC)

Centralized discussion on the notability of political candidates[edit]

This is a centralized discussion to address inconsistencies between Wikipedia guidelines and de facto norms governing articles on unelected political candidates. The basic question is: Should political candidates who have been the subject of multiple feature news articles by journalists be considered notable, regardless of whether or not they have held the equivalent of state-level office or only received coverage in the context of their candidacy? FourViolas (talk) 17:05, 6 October 2018 (UTC)

The current guideline standard seems to suggest that, barring some specific WP:NOT or WP:AVOIDVICTIM problem, such people should be considered notable.

WP:BASIC: People are presumed notable if they have received significant coverage in multiple published secondary sources that are reliable, intellectually independent of each other, and independent of the subject.[...] People who meet the basic criteria may be considered notable without meeting the additional criteria below.

WP:NPOL: The following are presumed to be notable: [...] Major local political figures who have received significant press coverage.[1] Just being an elected local official, or an unelected candidate for political office, does not guarantee notability, although such people can still be notable if they meet the primary notability criterion.


  1. ^ A politician who has received "significant press coverage" has been written about, in depth, independently in multiple news feature articles, by journalists.

However, a higher standard is articulated in widely-cited essays on notability:

WP:POLOUTCOMES: Candidates who are running or unsuccessfully ran for a national legislature or other national office are not viewed as having inherent notability and are often deleted or merged into lists of campaign hopefuls [...] Losing candidates for office below the national level who are otherwise non-notable are generally deleted.

WP:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions#Geographic scope: Non-winning candidates for political office are not accepted as notable just because local coverage of the election campaign exists in the local media where that campaign would have been simply expected to garner coverage.

As a result of this discrepancy between the guideline and essay standards, many articles on political candidates who have never held political office but who do appear to meet the general notability guideline are deleted under a local consensus that such people are not notable.

To achieve better consistency in our notability standards, one of two things ought to be done:

  • 1) Statement A: Ordinarily, only politicians who have assumed the equivalent of U.S. statewide office should have articles. We should elevate the essay standard to guideline status in WP:NPOL.
  • 2) Statement B: Political candidates do not require more or different kinds of coverage than other individuals to qualify as notable. We should affirm the guideline standard, rewrite the essays to make this fact clearer, and notify admins who close politician-related AfDs that the essays do not reflect community consensus.

Previous discussion on this issue, including in 2015, six months ago and last month, reaffirmed consensus for the guideline standard, but the essay standard remains in use in practice, as shown in the collapsed section below. Whichever conclusion finds consensus here, we should develop a concrete plan for implementing and publicizing the result, so that we don't have to keep having such discussions.

Extended content:

Examples of recent AfDs whose outcomes depended on this question

In the deletion discussion for Greg Cox, Sporting flyer wrote: " I've reviewed all the sources set out above and all of the sources in the article and none of them are about him, but rather routine coverage of his actions in his role local politician." Sporting flyer voted Delete. The article ended up being kept, but it was hardly a landslide.

In the deletion discussion for Sara Innamorato, E.M.Gregory nominated the article, saying, "Candidate for state legislative seat with no claim to notability before this campaign." In a subsequent delete vote, John Pack Lambert added, "unelected candidates are not notable" and Sporting Flyer said "Almost all political candidates will receive coverage of their political campaigns" (i.e., an argument that the coverage of the subject is routine because she is a political candidate). When FourViolas pointed out this inconsistency, E.M. Gregory said, "have you taken a look at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes#Candidates?" The article was eventually kept in very short (two sentence) form and contains no information about the candidate other than her party affiliation and the margin of her primary win (i.e., two pieces of routine information). Other relevant information that might have been included was considered promotional.

The deletion discussion for the article on /Lawrence Rustem begins with Anarcho-authoritarian stating that the subject does not pass WP:NPOL; SportingFlyer sbsequently reiterates this. The problem is that passing WP:NPOL is not a requirement for a politician or any person, to be notable, and Emeraude attempts to point this out, offering the only Keep vote. Bearian's final comment is a reference to WP:ROTM, implying that coverage of the subject appears to be as run-of-the-mill (presumably because all discussion of political candidates can automatically be classified run-of-the-mill) and therefore not worthy of inclusion in an encyclopedia. The article is eventually deleted.

In the deletion discussion for the article on John Hollar, SportingFlyer begins by saying the subject is not notable because the non-primary coverage is too local, Bearcat votes to delete emphasizing that the subject does not automatically qualify on any of several grounds, and E.M.Gregory agrees by pointing out how small Montpelier is. None of these is an argument that the subject is not notable, only that the subject does not appear to qualify as notable automatically. The article is eventually deleted.

One of us (A loose noose) recently nominated three articles on unelected politicians for deletion (Bob Corlew, George S. Flinn Jr., and Kristin Gaspar), all of which were eventually deleted. In each, he began with the premise that these individuals did not pass WP:NPOL, were only political hopefuls, and therefore were not notable.

The list of completed politician-related deletion discussions can be read here, and the list of current discussions at Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Politicians. Any sample of these will demonstrate a similar pattern of reasoning.

Implications of statement A (elevating the essays)

On elevation of the Common Outcomes essay for unelected politicians, we would be clear that these individuals constitute an exception to the General Notability Guidelines. We can do this without making significant changes to WP:NPOL so long as we are also clear that it is possible for some candidates, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to qualify as exceptions if the coverage is so far above the usual that notability is obvious. We should probably develop with specific criteria for this case, and make clear why the standard is set this high for non-office holders. We could state that political coverage for candidates, as a category of coverage, is essentially "routine" and should not bear any weight in a deletion discussion even if it is independent, verifiable, reliable, in-depth, etc. Biographies of candidates published in newspapers would fall in this category, and will not count towards notability (whereas a similar biography on a non-political person still would). We could also emphasize the often-temporary nature of political candidacy, which may not last more than one election cycle and therefore (for candidates) should be discounted as lacking enduring significance, and we state the deeply promotional nature of political advocacy makes nearly all published discussions of a candidate's political platform moot. Lastly, we can concede that all of this will change the moment any such person actually becomes elected to state-level public office, at which point any of this information may be freely included in the person's automatically-qualified Wikipedia article.

Implications of statement B (affirming the guidelines)

On affirming that political candidates do not constitute a category of persons that require more or different kinds of coverage than other individuals to qualify as notable, we agree that the WP:NPOL guideline indicating that while a political candidate qua candidate will not qualify for an article "automatically", so long as there is significant coverage in reliable independent verifiable published sources and even if that coverage relates only to the person's candidacy, the person may still qualify as notable. Some editors will be concerned that this will open the floodgates to filling Wikipedia with "campaign brochures". This fear may be unfounded, however: even if these gates were opened, the subjects would still need to qualify as notable by having the right kind of coverage in the right kinds of sources. If there really are no good sources in any context, we can move to delete it. We would have to stop using the Common Outcomes essay and "failure to meet WP:NPOL" as deletion rationales; WP:NPOL might need to be reworded to make clearer that it is intended as a test of inclusion only, and failure to meet it only means the person doesn't qualify automatically but might still qualify if existing sources pass WP:BASIC). Admins who regularly close these AfD discussions would need to be made aware of the new standard. Articles previously deleted using these arguments might warrant re-evaluation.


  • Statement B (affirm guideline standard), as co-proposer. Notability shouldn't be a value judgement we get to confer or withhold from on high: it's just an answer to the question "is it possible to write a policy-compliant article about this subject?". Therefore, I approve of the standard set by NPOL#2: written about, in depth, independently in multiple news feature articles, by journalists. This amount of coverage will almost always contain enough material to make a useful, non-promotional page out of.
I also think Wikipedia should be a place where people can get useful, unbiased information about important topics, and I think that in democracies it's especially useful and important for people to be able to know the basic biographical information about the people they're voting for without relying on biased campaign websites or combing through old news stories. Collecting, summarizing, and freely distributing this information from reliable sources is exactly what Wikipedia is good at. This also creates a digital repository of metadata that could be very useful for future historians.
I'm sympathetic to the concern that this will fill Wikipedia with promotional "campaign brochures", but banning articles on unelected candidates doesn't solve that problem: it just means that only incumbents get to do this. The solution is to increase editorial attention to local politicians' articles, and possibly to declare politicians' press releases and campaign websites unreliable sources for describing their political positions, not to delete their articles. FourViolas (talk) 17:05, 6 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Affirm (as other co-proposer). My thoughts are pretty well laid out here already. Am hoping other editors will have the "concrete suggestions" mentioned above. A loose noose (talk) 21:38, 6 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Affirm per FourViolas. In my opinion, elected officials should be treated less harshly than unelected bureaucrats. (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) wumbolo ^^^ 21:51, 6 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Affirm (or Statement B) Since when do essays trump guidelines? (Hint: Never.) — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 23:32, 6 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose any change that would open the floodgates to a gusher of promotional political candidate campaign brochures masquerading as encyclopedia articles. The proper place to provide neutral coverage of an unelected political candidate is in a NPOV article about the political race, providing balanced coverage of all the candidates. This is the working consensus that I have observed at AfD for the eight years that I have been participating there. In all honesty, I believe that success of this proposal would be a catastrophe for the encyclopedia which would also allow for a flood of biographies of small town mayors, council members, mid-level business executives, local pizzerias, dental offices, florist shops and the like, all all based on press release generated predictable, formulaic coverage in local newspapers. I will oppose this change vigorously wherever it is proposed, as long as I am an editor. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 23:44, 6 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose both I think the either-or presented above is incorrect, and I'd vote to affirm on those grounds alone, and I agree with the notion someone who is unelected can still pass WP:GNG - but I agree with Cullen328. I think the notability bar for candidates is significantly higher than what is being proposed, and I don't think any of the AfDs which were presented above were in error. WP:NPOL is fine as it is. What needs to be clarified is that many, if not most, articles for political candidates or local politicians fail WP:NOT. Any campaign cycle will receive a level of news coverage. Much of this political coverage is WP:ROUTINE. Furthermore, since it's the only thing they're notable for, many of these candidates fail WP:BLP1E, Wikipedia is WP:NOTNEWS, and if this is for a candidate running for office, many, many of them fail WP:NPOV. Furthermore, our current consensus tends to redirect the candidate to the election in which they are running. Finally, I want to note this RfC is very U.S.-centric, which I guess makes sense as much of the political cruft we have to wade through comes from the U.S.
I think the biggest issue here is I (and others) tend to use "fails WP:NPOL" as an shorthand way of saying "WP:NOT." Similar to sports SNGs, it's often easier to just follow the SNG than it is to make the full argument. But I would support adding a specific WP:NOT - maybe something like WP:NOTCAMPAIGN? SportingFlyer talk 23:54, 6 October 2018 (UTC)
WP:ROUTINE, a guideline under WP:Notability (events), says it's meant to exclude wedding announcements, sports scores, crime logs [...] sports matches, film premieres, press conferences etc. To me, this seems to apply if there's only mechanical coverage like "there will be a debate next Thursday" or "the following candidates received such and such percent of the vote". However, it wouldn't exclude multiple in-depth, unique biographical feature articles, regardless of the fact that several such features are written "routinely" in the course of any election cycle—compare Olympic athletes.
WP:BLP1E is meant to protect WP:LOWPROFILE individuals who only flash into the news for a cycle or two. A political campaign is not usually a single event, but a sustained and active engagement with the public sphere and a process of legitimate and lasting public interest.
WP:NOTNEWS repeats that routine news reporting is insufficient, but I've already addressed that. It also says that unless news coverage of an individual goes beyond the context of a single event, our coverage of that individual should be limited to the article about that event. As I said, my sense is that an electoral campaign is more than a single event, but I agree that anyone with the opposite sense could oppose articles for candidates only known for a single campaign on these grounds—although we'd then have to revert to a standalone article when a politician runs for something a second time.
And you didn't mention this one, but WP:NOTPROMO, which is sometimes invoked, explicitly says that an article can report objectively about [political propaganda], as long as an attempt is made to describe the topic from a neutral point of view, which should always be possible when multiple journalistic profiles are available. FourViolas (talk) 00:43, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
I strongly disagree with you about WP:ROUTINE and WP:NOTPROMO, as I've seen many articles become mouthpieces or hit-pieces for the candidate involved. (I would also consider local coverage of local government acts to be routine reporting.) We must also consider recentism: we get a ton of candidate articles during an election cycle, but they do not obtain lasting notability. Looking at United States House of Representatives elections, 1974, the losing candidates who have articles were notable for reasons other than the fact they ran for congress. SportingFlyer talk 01:01, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Statement A It is clear that many candidates, even for statewide office, will receive local coverage that describes the individual's biography in enough depth that a Wikipedia article could potentially be written, but this is typically fleeting and often not in-depth. Simply applying GNG would allow far too many articles on marginally notable people for whom there was not even an expectation that they had a chance to win the office, an a lower profile office such as auditor at that. Short of more substantive out-of-state or non-news coverage or evidence of notability beyond simply having been a candidate, an article should not be expected. Any exceptions should be reasonably obvious; your example of AOC is beyond obvious for a poor comparison, especially as she doesn't even have a opponent and is in effect elected already - but she wasn't before the primary! I generally support the WP:POLOUTCOMES statement, though it may be too absolutist. (Members of state legislatures could follow the section there about municipal offices, as they are elected locally. Some people have made batches of articles about historic legislative members, despite the lack of sources beyond verification of their membership.) Reywas92Talk 02:31, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Statement B. I agree with the position outlined above by FourViolas. Cbl62 (talk) 02:58, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Statement B if the person has received sufficient coverage for WP:GNG, it doesn't matter if there is no subsequent coverage. feminist (talk) 08:49, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
  • I can't agree with either statement but I agree that WP:POLOUTCOMES should be the standard and someone whose only claim to notability is being an unelected candidate for office (including media coverage of that candidacy) isn't notable. This is consistent with WP:NOTNEWS and WP:ONEEVENT. We do, in fact, require that notability have some long term aspect, and people who satisfy the GNG because of a spate of media coverage in a short space of time relating to something which doesn't generate lasting significance aren't considered to be notable. Political candidates are almost always covered in local media coverage of the campaign but do not generate coverage after the campaign finishes, unless the candidate wins or they have some other source of notability (such as a wider political career). These people can be covered in articles about the election campaign. If a guideline is significantly out of step with practice then the guideline should be changed. Statement A also claims that "Ordinarily, only politicians who have assumed the equivalent of U.S. statewide office should have articles", which I don't think is a fair statement. Hut 8.5 10:55, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment I wanted to drop in a quick response to Cullen328 who said I believe that success of this proposal would be a catastrophe for the encyclopedia which would also allow for a flood of biographies of small town mayors, council members, mid-level business executives, local pizzerias, dental offices, florist shops and the like, all all based on press release generated predictable, formulaic coverage in local newspapers. I will oppose this change vigorously wherever it is proposed, as long as I am an editor. Ironically, we are proposing a reaffirmation of the existing guidelines, not a change to them! But I take his point: we need to keep out stuff that is based on things like a press release or a blog entry— but we aren't suggesting that the standards be changed to allow for such articles. First, we are only trying to clear up the situation with regard to unelected politicians (yes?), and second, if that pizzeria had been discussed in depth by multiple independent journalists, then... Well, then maybe it warrants a Wikipedia article after all, doesn't it? The point is, we (you and I) aren't supposed to judge what we feel or don't feel is notable, we are supposed to look at the sources, even for topics we can't imagine are notable, and if the sources for those topics meet our requirements, even if we don't think the subject is worthy, then we allow the article on that subject to exist anyway and we don't use our personal judgement to assess notability. We already make clear that press releases fail the independence clause— that is a red herring, no one is suggesting we start allowin them to count. But we are suggesting that there is a strong bias against unelected political candidates such that even those that would qualify for articles based on GNG are getting deleted as not notable for reasons not related to our guidelines. A loose noose (talk) 16:57, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
Again, I don't think there's a conflict - just because someone passes WP:GNG doesn't mean that they will be notable. Wikipedia isn't a place you should be able to go to read candidate advertising, that's the pandora's box we're all concerned about - they should be a place you go to read about things which are encyclopedic, and if you were to look at historical congressional election results, many losing candidates are only notable because they ran for U.S. Congress once or twice, which consensus shows is not encyclopedic. Perhaps adding a specific WP:NOT would be the best thing to do here. SportingFlyer talk 22:16, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
BASIC explicitly says People who meet the basic criteria may be considered notable without meeting the additional criteria below. If there's a consensus to the contrary in the case of politicians, there is a direct conflict and the guidelines need to be clarified. FourViolas (talk) 14:43, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
I don't see a contradiction; we also have WP:BIO1E which guides the coverage of otherwise nn individuals. Since a suitable merge/redirect target exists (the election page), the candidates can be just as successfully covered there, without a need for a stand-alone article. K.e.coffman (talk) 05:48, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose either (I think). The current approach works fine. WP:POLOUTCOMES provides sufficient guidance and is consistent with the current consensus on unelected candidates. They are subjects whose only claim to notability is being a candidate for office; they are not independently notable of the campaign and should be covered in the election page (with redirects to appropriate sections as needed). WP:NOTNEWS and WP:ONEEVENT also apply.
There are always exceptions, such as high-profile races where even the unelected candidate gets sufficient national coverage to ensure WP:LASTING notability beyond WP:MILL, or where winning a primary guarantees a win down the road. These exceptions are rare and are dealt with by existing policies and guidelines. (I'm still a bit unclear on what the proposal is trying to achieve, or what "Affirms" mean in this context. However, my comment is probably closer to A, meaning that unelected candidates are not presumed notable despite the routine coverage that they garner during their candidacy.) --K.e.coffman (talk) 16:48, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose both The current approach works, and broadly, unelected candidates should be redirected to the relevant election page or list or party hopefuls. I do strongly contend, that RS information about the candidate can be placed on the election page and these pages (election page or party list) can be expanded much more than they currently are. (Note, I plan to expand this comment in the future, as there are a few things that we should think about when dealing with political candidates.) --Enos733 (talk) 03:59, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Status Quo - There is a strong consensus at AfD as to what becomes of (fluff) bios of unelected politicians. Leave well enough alone. Carrite (talk) 14:50, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment For those supporting the status quo: do you agree that it represents a systematic exemption to BASIC's standard, People who meet the basic criteria may be considered notable without meeting the additional criteria below, or NPOL's assertion that [unelected candidates] can still be notable if they meet the primary notability criterion (with no mention of having to meet the PNC with sources independent of candidacy)? If so, why don't we need to revise these guidelines to codify the exception? FourViolas (talk) 15:08, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
To some degree, that is what articles of deletion is for - to discuss whether an article should be deleted. While the guidelines give direction to editors about what is or is not notable, the actual (formal) discussion about notability is in the deletion discussion. WP:OUTCOMES does a fair (if not better) job of trying to summarize consensus of those discussions. I know that there can be a desire to create bright(er) lines and more helpful guidance (and potentially limit what is considered for deletion), but respectful disagreement is a good thing. --Enos733 (talk) 18:04, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes, the status quo is a Special Notability Guideline "high bar" that subjects unelected politicians to harsher standards than normal use of GNG. I am a passionate advocate in GNG; however, using the Unelected Politician SNG is a sort of spam filter that works. Carrite (talk) 12:42, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose both I disagree with the interpretation present in this proposal that there is currently a disagreement between cited guidelines and essays. The cited essays reject "inherent notability", which I understand as the claim that some topic should have an article because it is important in the real world. Statement B says "Political candidates do not require more or different kinds of coverage than other individuals to qualify as notable." That obscures the real issue here, which is that politicians receive different kinds of coverage than other people, and so we must adjust our expectations of significant coverage and depth accordingly. If a businessman were interviewed on their opinions on immigration, I would ordinarily consider that extraordinary depth, but if a politician receives such coverage, I might dismiss it. Daask (talk) 19:55, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
  • And what, then if that businesswoman happens to be a politician, Daask? According to our current procedures, she pretty much gets deleted because she is an [unelected] politician. And that, as I see it, is the problem here, and is what we are trying to sort out. I do not think anyone will disagree with my assessment there, either! A loose noose (talk) 20:06, 14 October 2018 (UTC)
  • @A loose noose: If the person is independently notable from their unsuccessful campaign, they should be able to have an article, and I don't remember a time when it's been an issue. Maybe Eliot Cutler, but whether he would be notable apart from his candidacy was debatable? It's especially clear if the article passes WP:BIO and was created before they began campaigning. SportingFlyer talk 22:33, 14 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Not clear what oppose and affirm mean, so I'll just explain myself. Our standards require secondary sources, which in non-fringe theory means a source removed in time from the event and dependent on primary sources, which are not removed in time. We know that secondary sources pretty much always cover the elected candidates, so we grant exceptions to the occasional not-covered people, but since unelected candidates routinely don't get secondary coverage, why make any exceptions for them? Remember not to push fringe theories such as the idea that news reports are secondary sources, because that departs very significantly from the prevailing and mainstream views in this field. Nyttend (talk) 04:13, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
    • I mean, you can argue that view of newspaper sources, but longstanding Wikipedia consensus very clearly demonstrates the opposite. The Drover's Wife (talk) 04:22, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
      • The Drover's Wife there are useful definitions at WP:PRIMARY#Notes, which vary a bit. Newspapers are often a mix: a news item would be a primary source, while long-form or investigative journalism would be secondary (in my interpretation). K.e.coffman (talk) 04:42, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
        • The definitions there don't help much either way, since they're evenly split. Wikipedia has never remotely held that contemporaneous newspaper accounts are primary sources, apart from a couple of editors with strongly-held fringe views at AfD whose arguments rarely persuade anyone else. The Drover's Wife (talk) 05:24, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
I think this is what NPOL is trying to say by requiring news feature articles by journalists. An in-depth journalistic profile summarizing what is publicly known about somebody is the most common kind of secondary source about a politician, whereas a datelined report of a debate, rally, press conference, or speech would be primary. FourViolas (talk) 20:09, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
That is absolutely not what it does say, though. If someone wants to imply a far stricter definition of secondary source than the project has always used, they need to get a consensus to change it so that it says that. The Drover's Wife (talk) 22:42, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
Re: An in-depth journalistic profile summarizing what is publicly known..., yes, that would secondary coverage, but the thing is that such profiles are rare and / or published in a local Smalltown Tribune vs Washington Post, for example. In the case of the former, it makes much more sense to cover the candidate in the page on the election in question, rather than creating stand-alone articles. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:55, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
My understanding is that a secondary source is a secondary source, as long as we believe that the Tribune has editorial review and makes an effort to check facts. Are you suggesting we make WP:AUD, or something like it, apply to people as well as corporations? FourViolas (talk) 19:07, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
Please see my comment in the "restatement" section for my general thinking: [2]. In general, a candidate running for election is probably the closest we'd have of a biography being akin to WP:NPRODUCT / WP:NORG. Applying WP:AUD to unelected candidates may be a stretch, but not by much. K.e.coffman (talk) 20:09, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
Any campaign worth its salt will have some sort of media/PR presence. We discount PR material in WP:NORG, and while there's nothing wrong per se with local secondary sources, the fictional Tribune quoted above will cover any local election indiscriminately - and also have a greater chance of being influenced by the campaign's PR wing. I'm starting to think strengthening WP:NOTPROMO for unelected candidates who are currently campaigning is the correct end result here. SportingFlyer talk 09:39, 14 October 2018 (UTC)
I agree that there's a systemic sourcing problem, but I think the solution is to rely more on local coverage when editorially independent of the campaign, not less, while banning political WP:SELFSOURCEs, which are almost always unduly self-serving. Take a look at Phil_Scott_(politician)#Political_positions, which I've been working through: the real problem is sourcing to the politician's websites and press releases, which are always biased and selective, and any small-town journalism coverage is preferable, as long as it isn't reprinting or laundering a press release. This is usually pretty easy to tell: compare these two descriptions, from the same site, of the governor's role in passing a tax exemption [3][4]. FourViolas (talk) 16:44, 14 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support B: it requires an exceptional reason to invalidate GNG. As far as I know, NPROF is the only exception we have in theory. In reality, we get a lot of editors !voting as seen in political AfDs, where there's a higher standard for a subject because that subject is a politician. This is an understandable reaction to the mass of people trying to use Wikipedia to push their political agenda or promote an obscure candidate they have a COI with, but it's not the optimal one. The optimal one is to keep the articles, iff they meet GNG of course, and watchlist them to make sure NPOV is maintained. Bilorv(c)(talk) 18:22, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose both as well as the false dichotomy here. I don't think only those who have assumed state-wide office should have articles, and I don't believe that political candidates should be held to the same standards as all other individuals because what counts as "significant coverage" is field dependent. As Daask says above: politicians receive different kinds of coverage than other people, and so we must adjust our expectations of significant coverage and depth accordingly. If a businessman were interviewed on their opinions on immigration, I would ordinarily consider that extraordinary depth, but if a politician receives such coverage, I might dismiss it. I think we should clarify NPOL as to what constitutes "significant" coverage. As an example, local papers and news will routinely cover candidates and campaign activities in the region, I don't think that makes someone notable if they lose but it can be added to the associated election article. However if a candidate is being profiled outside of the geographic area they are campaigning, that's definitely significant because it's not written simply to inform voters about the election but because the candidate is thought by journalists to be newsworthy outside of the electorate. If it comes down to it, I'd be fine with B but definitely oppose A as too US-centric and for other reasons stated above. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 07:49, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
  • (Summoned by bot) Statement B sounds reasonable. SemiHypercube 10:47, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose both I am largely sympathetic to the views of Cullen, Hut 8.5, K.e.coffman, and Wugapodes. The lack of a hard and fast rule is a feature, not a bug, and I don't believe that the imposition of one is likely to settle matters any (no matter which way it goes, someone will try to claim that THIS candidate is an exception to the rule at AFD). shoy (reactions) 20:10, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Statement B Currently, Wikipedia is far too stringent on what qualifies as notable. If this change is made, we will be able to expand the knowledge hosted here. There's no reason not to add people of whom have run for office but not won, so long as there's enough relevant information on them from acceptable sources. Using the method for Statement B, and reaffirming such, would allow us to vastly expand the range of what Wikipedia covers with valuable, high-quality information on notable people. SuperChris (talk) 11:49, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose both, support status quo - Having been a major-party nominee myself, I know that the coverage of candidates is routine, and comes closer to BLP1E than anything else. If they don't win or otherwise acquire actual notability, coverage of candidates is more news coverage of the elections, than actual coverage of them for their own sakes. --Orange Mike | Talk 20:19, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Statement B per FourViolas. -- Tavix (talk) 17:58, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Approximately A. The initial could have been worded better, and some of the responses here seem a bit confused. The alternate wording proposed below is good: for unelected candidates, routine coverage of a political campaign is not considered to be sufficient for notability. GNG, and particularly NCORP, affirm the point of routine coverage. Coverage of failed campaigns is (commonly) very ephemeral. Once an election is over, most losing candidates would flunk the One Month Test, much less the Ten Year Test. Alsee (talk) 10:05, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • More B than anything, unsuccessful candidates especially for lesser office are basically WP:BLP1E, even if the event is an election that runs for some weeks. If, at the end, they go back to a job that is unlikely ever to gather any attention then merging to the election article is the correct course. We have no hope of maintaining compliant articles on people who were accountants for all but a month of their working lives. Guy (Help!) 21:01, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Statement B Though people standing for a single election should likely be covered in the article on that election, not as a stand-alone bio (assuming no other notability). Pretty much per WP:BLP1E. Hobit (talk) 03:04, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong Support B. ‎As so well stated by SuperChris. Bearing in mind Wikipedia's role as the #1 online encyclopedia, we do the reader a disservice by a rigidly deletionist NPOL. As matters now stand, articles about candidates having numerous RS refs that would otherwise meet N are being deleted at AfD. In the US, there are 50 governors and 100 Senators. As long as reliable secondary sources exist to verify a major party  candidate's biography and positions on the issues for these high offices, we owe it to the reader seeking this information to provide it, instead of suppressing it as NPOL is now interpreted.‎  JGHowes  talk 16:09, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, support status quo - Per Cullen, et al. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:44, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support both - NPOL should be made a guideline, but there are other ways in which a candidate may be notable. John Glenn was notable before he thought of the senate & a failed candidacy wouldn't have made him non-notable. I don't see the dichotomy between the statements. Though B should be clearer about which guidelines are to be rewritten. Cabayi (talk) 10:56, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose statement A as inherently US-centric; weak support statement B. I'm wary of any guideline which tries to defer to analogies to U.S. equivalents, because electoral systems and elected offices in different jurisdictions don't line up. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Christine Fong comes to mind on how we generally end up sidestepping the significance of the political role and evaluate the sourcing instead. Deryck C. 11:21, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Interesting, as I was going to respond to someone else about how I actually view statement B as the more U.S.-centric of the two, as U.S political cruft really is the source of the conflict here, and statement B would allow routine political coverage which we've typically discounted. WP:NPOL already gives a notability presumption to someone in the legislature at a national or sub-national level. Also, someone like Fong, who has held an elected post, isn't an unelected candidate in spite of her election losses and would have to be evaluated on WP:GNG anyways. SportingFlyer talk 11:56, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Statement A - Our guidelines should reflect our actual practices and it seems there is rough consensus at AfD to merge bios of failed candidates (who are otherwise unnotable) into the election articles. Kaldari (talk) 15:58, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Statement B with the understanding that failed candidates who are of marginal notability may still be merged back after the election.--Pharos (talk) 08:37, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Strongly support B over A, but still prefer suggested restatement framing and its option that "routine coverage of a political campaign is considered sufficient to notability." Wikipedia should assume responsibility for the fact that it is one of the most influential sites on the Web, and recognize the implications of its approach to covering elections. Under the policy as it currently stands, Wikipedia coverage is strongly biased in favor of the incumbent. While articles about officeholders are kept, those about highly competitive challengers for positions as important as U.S. Congress can be deleted despite multiple national and even international news articles published over a period of a year about their candidacy. One of many examples of such an article is Max Rose (politician), a major-party challenger in a competitive U.S. Congressional race who has been the subject of articles in the Times of Israel, the Guardian (UK), the New York Times, and other major national periodicals. A few editors have been acting on a self-perpetuating "precedent" to repeatedly delete this article, see the deletion discussion and deletion review. We have specific critera for notability of academics, and I don't see why we can't have specific criteria that would make well-covered challengers notable. Including the articles about notable elections, such as "New York's Congressional District 11", seems more difficult to find on search than the names of the candidates. La comadreja formerly AFriedman RESEARCH (talk) 17:46, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support B I don't think that challenger political candidates should need to pass a higher bar for an article than anyone else. If there are multiple independent, reliable sources, there should be an article. As an editor without much experience editing current candidate pages, I'd also like to note that the current local consensus is super confusing for editors new to the area. (The one caveat is that I do think that sourcing requirements should be especially stringent for current-candidate articles, since misinformation can be particularly harmful on current-election-related pages). Philepitta (talk) 00:21, 1 November 2018 (UTC) Also, adding point someone made elsewhere that I agree with: covering incumbents but not challengers is not NPOV, because it creates a bias towards incumbents. In the context of an election, challengers are often as notable as incumbents. So as long as there are independent, reliable sources (even if the sources are local) there should be an article about the challenger, because having an article about a marginally important candidate is preferable to having a systematic pro-incumbent bias Philepitta (talk) 21:00, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
  • That would also make Wikipedia more U.S.-centric, as in many elections around the world the party is more important than the candidate. We are not a web host. SportingFlyer talk 21:12, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
  • There's a lot of variety in electoral systems around the world, and the US is certainly not the only country with a candidate-based election system. Even if it were, I think it is appropriate to present balanced coverage of notable candidates for any country; generally striving for coverage that is balanced across opponents that visitors are likely to have high interest in is not US-centric. Philepitta (talk) 23:01, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support B. Political candidates should be evaluated on the same basis. If there are reliable sources that rise about the short, mundane, and truly routine coverage, then they should get an article, regardless of success in the election. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 07:44, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
  • 'Second comment. We grant automatic notability to high-level officebearers because they virtually always get significant coverage in reliable secondary sources, and it wouldn't be helpful to leave out the occasional random one that gets skipped. Unsuccessful aspirants for such offices, no matter what their coverage in the primary sources, routinely don't get secondary coverage. And by the way, remember not to advance the fringe theory that a news report is secondary for the matters that it's reporting, because you won't find any serious scholars who advocate such a theory. Nyttend (talk) 02:29, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
  • This comment began as a vote, but someone reminded me that I've already voted in this discussion nearly a month ago. Sorry about that; I'd completely forgotten about the existence of this discussion, let alone forgotten that I'd participated in it already. Nyttend (talk) 21:00, 5 November 2018 (UTC)


I don't have time to comment on the proposal right now but want to make a few "procedural" points. First, I agree that a widely-publicized RFC is necessary. Second, the mentions (which seem fairly thorough for people who have argued on both sides) were not pings, so notifications were not sent. Third, "elevate" v. "affirm" is very confusing; can we use "Statement A" v. "Statement B" voting instead? power~enwiki (π, ν) 22:09, 6 October 2018 (UTC)

Changed the wording as suggested. Re-pinging

78.26 Tone Wolfson5 SportingFlyer Bearcat Bkissin Johnpacklambert Premeditated Chaos Courcelles DGG Ivanvector JohnCD TheLongTone WikiDan61 Ron Ritzman Sam Walton Bmbaker88 AusLondonder Juliancolton Power~enwiki Kurykh Ritchie333 Redditaddict69 Hut 8.5 E.M.Gregory SoWhy Daask Enigma Snowycats Yunshui CASSIOPEIA Pburka Sarahj2107 Ad Orientem Champion RoySmithv Justlettersandnumbers Qwirkle reddogsix Nosebagbear Sandstein Dicklyon BrianCUA Cwmhiraeth Reywas92 Doncram Editorofthewiki Cullen328 Activist

Thanks for the advice! FourViolas (talk) 22:48, 6 October 2018 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure why I was pinged here, but I noticed I was pinged next to JohnCD, who passed away a year or so ago. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 23:12, 6 October 2018 (UTC)
  • I'm a little unclear about what problem the proposal is trying to solve. That too many political candidates' articles are being deleted, without regard to GNG? K.e.coffman (talk) 01:01, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
I think it's a statement that NPOL imposes the hardest to reach requirements in terms of individual coverage, in that no level of coverage is sufficient without a significant challenge to meet (in terms of acquiring office)
  • For now, power~enwiki is correct regarding the scale this needs to reach. It's centralised, which is a good start, but worth dropping a link in a few specific places (projects, portals etc) that would have significantly interested parties.
This would be one of the largest scale "niche" notability shifts we could do - I'm only a moderate AfD participator and a good 40 AfDs I !voted to delete/redirect would now become straight keeps. It will also open up some major pandora's boxes while closing a couple of others.
Too tired atm to do the analysis both on pluses vs negatives, but more importantly, whether NPOL, as it stands, is a qualitative anomaly as vs other specific guidelines (and whether it is justified or not). — Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}#top|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])
This looks like a classic "solution in search of a problem". The whole proposal ignores the simple principle that no SNG/guideline/essay/whatever can exclude a subject that complies with GNG. Take for example Arnold Schwarzenegger. A clearly notable actor long before he even thought of entering politics. The wrongheaded idea here would have him suddenly become non-notable the moment his name came up as a possible candidate for governor of California, and then instantly restore his notability the moment he won the election. NPOL currently properly points out that when the only sources about a subject are promotional (broadly construed) and routine coverage, that is not enough to meet GNG. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 07:05, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Eliot Cutler for an example of an article which actually was recently deleted (although deletion was overturned) because, as Activist saw it, "candidacy in itself is perversely being used to discredit the actual notability of subject who clearly would be notable if they never imagined they might run for anything." FourViolas (talk) 16:59, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Is it understood and expected that adopting Statement A would require the deletion of thousands of existing articles about politicians who have been members of state legislatures or the equivalent, but have not held statewide office or its equivalent? – Arms & Hearts (talk) 16:40, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
Arms & Hearts membership of a state legislature is a statewide office. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 17:25, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
@Dodger67: I think the phrase "statewide office" in the United States refers primarily, if not exclusively, to offices in which the electorate is the whole state, rather than a district or constituency (so governors, U.S. senators, elected state attorneys general, etc. – see List of U.S. statewide elected officials). Google results seem to confirm this understanding. Perhaps, for the sake of avoiding ambiguity, the statement could be clarified to reflect the wording of WP:POLITICIAN, which refers to "Politicians and judges who have held international, national or sub-national (statewide/provincewide) office, and members or former members of a national, state or provincial legislature" (emphasis added)? – Arms & Hearts (talk) 17:34, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
Nobody is proposing to delete any articles that would pass WP:GNG and WP:NOT under current consensus. State and national legislatures pass WP:NPOL. SportingFlyer talk 22:24, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
Meant to convey that, if the discussion here finds a consensus for statement B, the POLOUTCOMES standard should not be taken to represent the opinion of the wider WP community overall, despite any WP:LOCALCONSENSUS to the contrary. FourViolas (talk) 00:54, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
WP:POLOUTCOMES wasn't carved in stone and handed to Moses on Sinai. If it conflicts with a guideline, it should be corrected, or the community should fix WP:GNG to say that it applies to everything except political candidates who have not held office. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 01:04, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
Wikipedia has many SNGs that are either much stricter (corporations) or much weaker (sports) than GNG, depending on the circumstances. This is not different. The Drover's Wife (talk) 01:18, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment. There is clearly no community consensus to support keeping any candidate who merely passes WP:GNG: short of continually having closers supervote to override consensus results, it's not gonna happen. Most candidates for public office attract a reasonable level of coverage during their campaigns - and then never will again. This particular consensus have avoided countless raging BLP issues with people who just weren't notable outside of the context of that one campaign. To use one example from the above list: Julia Salazar is now notable because she won, but if she hadn't, she'd be a non-notable rando with a Wikipedia article documenting a long history of questionable statements about her background, to put it lightly: I consider that keeping those out (and there are examples of this in just about every election ever) is a really good idea. On the other hand, I don't think a statement about requiring election to statewide office is helpful: not only does it not account, for example, for local mayors, but it also doesn't deal with the issue of actually-notable failed candidates like Eliot Cutler, whose impact on Maine politics in the last decade has been huge. I would be interested to see if wording could be found to address issues with notable unelected candidates (though I'm not sure it's remotely possible), because I do think at times we've had a tendency (at least in my part of the world) to assume non-notability if someone has ever made a failed run for office, and I feel it would be useful to reign that in too. The Drover's Wife (talk) 01:18, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
    • Another way to view this is that running for office is WP:BLP1E, and if that's the only reason a person has gained attention, we probably shouldn't have an article about them. WP is not a Who's Who of who ran for office. But if they have notable factors of their past, that's reasonable. Basically, the act of running in an election in of itself is not a factor that is notable by itself. --Masem (t) 04:44, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
  • It appears I'm coming into this discussion rather late and I haven't had the time to read all of the context surrounding the issue. To add to the above list by Redditaddict69, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Theresa Obermeyer and the subsequent DRV which overturned the AFD decision should demonstrate that this isn't quite as cut and dried as it would appear from the numerous XFDs and "holders of a certain office are categorically notable while candidates for that office are categorically non-notable" consensus I've come across lately. The Obermeyer article has seen recent activity involving gaming BLP and other policies to deny that reliable sources had a field day with her state of mental health in 1996, which included multiple mentions by The New York Times. Moving forward to today, within the small subset of content I watch, there has been an active effort to use Wikipedia's coverage of Alaska elections and related content to influence those elections, coming on the eve of said elections and while reliable sources are reporting that several key races are too close to call. I really don't have the time anymore to intervene every time such a thing happens. The latest thing which struck me as suspicious was the creation of Draft:Alyse Galvin as a biography-of-sorts, while Alyse Galvin exists in mainspace as a list entry only. I'm still trying to wrap my head around how this serves our purposes, as opposed to this being an example of editors allowing themselves to be unduly influenced by pollsters, who in the days before the draft's creation were claiming that she was neck-and-neck with incumbent Don Young. Young's opponent 20 years ago, Jim Duncan, served in the state legislature for 24 years before that election. An attempt to create a draft on Duncan was buried and subsequently deleted. Galvin's accomplishments are pretty meaningless compared to Duncan, not to mention other past Young opponents such as Eben Hopson and Pat Rodey. The existence of this draft sends the clear message that Wikipedia exists to be a current events site or news site or popularity contest and not a serious information resource. Since it was created by an admin (one who has been very active at XFD pushing "holders of a certain office are categorically notable while candidates for that office are categorically non-notable", BTW), I expect to see the same double standard that already exists in draftspace, with admins using it as a holding pen for pet projects while casual users get their drafts deleted even while they're still working on them. RadioKAOS / Talk to me, Billy / Transmissions 03:23, 6 November 2018 (UTC)

suggested restatement[edit]

  • To clarify" by making this much simpler but with the same effect:
What this amounts to is rewriting NPOL along the lines of the very successful recent changes in NCORP, where we say specifically what is or is not acceptable for the purposes of the notability guideline. We would add a sentence saying one of these 3:
A) for unelected candidates, routine coverage of a political campaign is not considered to be sufficient for notability, or
B) for unelected candidate for state or national office routine coverage of a political campaign is considered sufficient to notability or
C): for unelected candidate for state or national office, it It is undecided whether routine coverage of a political campaign is or is not considered sufficient to notability DGG ( talk ) 01:13, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
Personally, I think the current status is "C", and I think that is the least satisfactory way of dealing with it. Either A or B would be better, would avoid most AfD discussions, and would permit oa quicker resolution of the ones that are still unclear or challenged. My own preference is very strongly for B, as has been I think made clear my my comments at the AfDs. But even so, I think it would be better than the present situation to settle it one way or another. DGG ( talk ) 01:17, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
I would propose something along the lines of "unelected candidates are not inherently notable, but can have an article if they pass WP:GNG. However, if coverage is routine or relates specifically to the election in which the candidate ran, information about the candidate should be included on the election page instead of in a stand-alone article." SportingFlyer talk 01:24, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
I agree with the gist of DGG's idea, but I feel like the "routine coverage" issue has been a mess at WP:NCORP, because it doesn't actually give much guidance: it stretches exactly as wide or narrow as the voter's deletionism and can be used to justify deleting basically anything within its purview if the voter feels like arguing it that way. To use an example from the long list of AfDs above: Eliot Cutler has had a huge impact on Maine politics, but because he's mainly notable in the context of his political campaigns, someone could (and this happens all the time with NCORP) argue that any coverage of his campaigns is routine. Conversely, it actually doesn't address well issues like Julia Salazar: someone who definitely received non-routine coverage by virtue of her scandals but had she lost wouldn't remotely have been notable beyond her campaign. The Drover's Wife (talk) 01:26, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
Agree that this would only be an improvement in practical clarity if we specified whether, for example, multiple biographical feature articles count as "routine". If they do, we'd also have to insert language into WP:BASIC to clarify, because this would be an exception to the general biographical notability standards.
I'd also worry that "routine" means different amounts of coverage in different contexts. Political biographers "routinely" write thousands of articles and dozens of books about every American Presidential candidate who makes it to the last few months of the primary elections; should we discount all such sources for the purposes of notability? If not, where is the line between this and regional newsweeklies writing up a few in-depth profiles of the local House candidates every two years? FourViolas (talk) 02:20, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
I tend to fall on the side of Statement A if I had to make a choice. No matter where or when the election takes place, the site is inundated by supporters of Candidate X and staff for the campaign of Candidate Y trying to use this site to WP:PROMO their candidate, using us to give their candidate an extra air of legitimacy. Cullen328 puts this more eloquently above. Will many of these candidates (especially those who do not win) be relevant in ten years? I don't think so. There are obvious exceptions to the rule. Peter Bevan-Baker ran for the provincial Green Party in 1997, and then twice for the federal Greens in 2008 and 2011 before finally winning a provincial seat in Prince Edward Island. He only received an article after winning a seat in the legislative assembly. However, his candidacies are not forgotten, they are mentioned in the candidate lists for the two federal elections. Bkissin (talk) 16:52, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
  • The "Ten Year" argument is part of the problem: we often do not know what will be notable in 10 years, but deleting articles on unelected candidates now is pre-emptive, and requires individual editors to assess the long-term prospects of topics/ people they do not personally know. There is nothing in our guidelines that says there is a requirement for an article on a person to seem likely in the minds of other editors to be around 10 years from now— that is only a suggestion about what kinds of things to include or not include. If a subject has multiple reliable independent published sources, then who are we to also assign a 10-year rule to that subject? That feels out of place, and like too much responsibility for us to claim as editors over the future of information. We have guidelines, and they do not mandate a 10-year guess.
Also, I have to wonder how much of what you are seeing as the unwarranted promotional inclusion of information on a candidate is a result of being the Wikipedia editor considering it for deletion— the person creating that content may simply be wanting to write up an article on the candidate and may be using legitimate sources to do so. If we look askance at such articles and delete them even though they adhere to all of our policies and guidelines, then we are actually failing the public who may visit our site and WANT more information on candidate X. It shouldn't be our job to sort such articles out so long as the article has the right kinds of sources in it. A loose noose (talk) 17:04, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
  • I also have issues with the so called ten year rule. Truth is, we don't know what will happen in ten years, and the Wikipedia standards for notability may be cast wider or smaller. I think that political candidates should not be deleted just for being candidates. Also, campaign coverage SHOULD count for notability purposes, much like most coverage works for non-politicians. There were a lot of bad arguments for deletion at the Mary Gay Scanlon AfD, such as that keeping the article would open the floodgates to campaign brochures disguised as articles. I think that major-party candidates in congressional races in important districts can certainly be notable. This would not include candidates for statewide races though, which are usually non notable. Honestly, I think the time to have the AfD is after the election, not before, if the candidate loses. Then we can assess whether they deserve an article, and let me be clear, some will certainly be deleted but others kept. Right now we need major changes to the wording of the guideline as well as clarifying what "routine" means. ~EDDY (talk/contribs)~ 17:14, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
It's certainly possible for some candidates to have a credible claim to being more notable than most other candidates; see for example Christine O'Donnell, who got such a firestorm of coverage for having to deny being a witch that her article is twice as long and cites three times as many distinct sources as the article about the actual senator she lost to, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who's already more internationally famous than 95 per cent of incumbent members of the House of Representatives. (I'm Canadian and I've heard of her, which is more than I can say for anybody in the US House who isn't (a) party leadership, (b) local to the specific city in the US whose local news stations I get on cable, or (c) Maxine Waters.) But the fact that some media coverage exists is not how a candidate becomes notable enough to keep a Wikipedia article, because some media coverage always exists of every candidate — what it takes to give a candidate a credible claim to being a special case is that a lot more coverage exists than normal. That's not what Mary Gay Scanlon's article was showing — it was simply showing a depth and range and volume of coverage completely in line with what every candidate could always show. Which is why the campaign brochure issue was not a bad argument: if Mary Gay Scanlon was special just because she had sources, then we would indeed have to always keep an article about every candidate for anything, because there's no candidate for any office anywhere who couldn't show as much sourcing as she had. If her sourcing were enough to make her more notable than most other candidates, then every candidate is always more notable than most other candidates, because no candidate could ever show any less sourceability.
And no, the "ten year test" is not a problem, either. It's true that we can't know who will be notable ten years from now, but it's not our job to try and guess one way or the other — our job is to keep articles about people who have already attained something encyclopedically notable as of today, not to make guesses about who might become more notable in the future and who might not. If "might become more notable in the future than (s)he is today" were an inclusion criterion in and of itself, then we would have to keep an article about every single person who exists at all, because that's automatically true of everybody — every single person who exists at all always has the possibility of accomplishing something more notable in the future than they have accomplished yet as of today, and even people who have accomplished something notable today were still once aspirants who hadn't accomplished anything notable yet as of that time, and wouldn't have been in Wikipedia yet, either. Even Bill Clinton was once just an unelected candidate making his very first run for public office, and even Beyoncé was once just an aspiring wannabe trying to get noticed on the amateur talent show scene. But had Wikipedia existed at those times, our job would not have been to try to predict the future — it would have been to wait until they had actually accomplished a hard notability claim before we started their articles. Bill Clinton would not have had an article in advance of winning his first election to a notable office, and Beyoncé would not have had an article in advance of actually accomplishing something that got her over WP:NMUSIC.
Obviously if Mary Gay Scanlon wins her seat next month, her article will be recreatable at that time, because her notability claim will have flipped from "candidate" to "officeholder". Nobody ever said otherwise. An AFD deletion is not a permanent ban on the subject ever being allowed to have a Wikipedia article — we have had lots of articles about people (not even just politicians, but musicians and writers and actors as well) that got deleted because at the time of their original creation, the subject was still only an aspirant, not yet an achevant, to notability, but then later on their hard work paid off with an election victory or a hit record or a major literary award, and so their articles became recreatable because the notability equation had now changed. Unelected candidates for office do sometimes win the election in the end, obviously (every person who holds political office was once an unelected candidate too) — and if that happens, then the article is allowed to be recreated again even if it was deleted when they were still just an unelected candidate, because the notability equation has now changed. But that doesn't prove that there's a problem with the ten year test for notability — because our job is to maintain articles about people who have already passed the ten year test, not to guess at what people might or might not achieve in the future that they haven't already achieved today. Bearcat (talk) 18:11, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
Right. To clarify, I wasn't making any prediction about the outcome of the race. I think the ten year rule is bad because it is very nebulous -- it depends on who is making the judgment. I could say Scanlon will be notable in 10 years based on her legal career, school board career, and congressional candidacy, while you could say the opposite, and neither would be objectively right. Bearcat, I think even you cold agree to a clarification as to what "routine" means, since we both come to the table with differing points of view on the topic. I don't think an article on her gives the right to have campaign brochures for articles on every candidate. Every candidate gets some coverage in an election, while not everyone gets what amounts to more than routine coverage (there we go again with that word). Also, some holders of notable office can have less notability since they get less coverage in a given area. ~EDDY (talk/contribs)~ 18:46, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
And none of Scanlon's coverage evinced anything unusual or out of the ordinary for campaign coverage of a candidate. Which is why I'm not buying your repeated assertions that "I don't think an article on her gives the right to have campaign brochures for articles on every candidate" — nothing about her coverage marked her out as any sort of special case of markedly greater notability than any other candidate. If the coverage shown in her article was enough to make her a special case who was exempted from having to pass WP:NPOL #1 just because that coverage exists, then every candidate is always a special case who is exempted from having to pass NPOL #1 just because their coverage exists, because nothing about her coverage was unusual in volume or range or depth compared to everybody else's. Bearcat (talk) 18:55, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
No need to relitigate the AfD discussion. The reason my argument about campaign brochures still stands is because your argument is a slippery slope argument and is thus not logically valid. While it is true that coverage of Scanlon is less than Ocasio-Cortez, it is certainly greater than someone running for Pennsylvania Senate, for instance. And I'd be open to having articles for candidates who have a similar level of coverage as Scanlon, since it is greater than "So-and-so wins primary with 16,000 votes" and the like. You don't have to agree with me, just stating my opinion. ~EDDY (talk/contribs)~ 19:14, 7 October 2018 (UTC)
I thought that was a very clear AfD, to be honest. I don't think the test is whether the person is more notable than other people running - the question is whether they have achieved a level of notability where an encyclopedia article is justified for the rest of time. As I've pointed out above, if you look at Congressional election articles from say the 1970's, very few candidates who lost have or indeed would qualify for an article. SportingFlyer talk 22:58, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
Earlier Editorofthewiki said I think the time to have the AfD is after the election, not before, if the candidate loses. That topic has been discussed before, and thoroughly killed. I believe somewhere in the Village Pump archives. The prevailing view is that non-notable individuals do not get to use Wikipedia as a free advertising platform for their campaign. Also rejected was a "fairness" argument... yes incumbents have an inherent advantage and no it's not Wikipedia's job to boost unknown-challengers up trying to level the playing field. Individuals have to earn an encyclopedia article on their own merits. For wannabe-politicians that (mostly) means getting elected. Alsee (talk) 09:37, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Statement A A politician first of all needs to assume a political duty, while a person campaigning for the post, they are NOT a politician and having an article for candidates that would fall under WP:PROMO. CASSIOPEIA(talk) 13:19, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Actually, that wasn't really the point we were trying to suss out here— you can't argue that any coverage of an unelected politician is promotional, and that therefore all such articles should be deleted. Clearly some unelected politicians are notable. The question is really, "What are we going to discount as routine coverage". From the above, it has been argued that a candidate needs to get "more coverage than usual" to be considered notable", but we don't seem to have established what that exactly means. For User:Bearcat: the problem with the 10 year rule is not that ditching it would end up having us keep all articles on potentially notable people because anyone could become notable someday, it is that it is being used to delete articles now when those articles already might meet our notability requirements. This is another red herring. No one is suggesting we start keeping all articles on everyone who might become notable— let's please keep this discussion more focused and not wander off into (weird?) scenarios that no one is proposing and no one would ever support. The point is that there appears to be a significant discrepancy between this set of guidelines and some corresponding essays and the ways that they are being used in deletion discussions which to a number of editors look to be inconsistent— this is what we are hoping to clear up and get to some long-term decisions about. I am also not sure that arguing that a candidate needs to have more coverage than most candidates to be notable is a useful criterion either: does the Queen of England need to have more coverage than most queens for her to qualify as notable? Notability is not determined (exclusively) by having more news-time than others like you, it is having coverage in multiple reliable published independent sources, and where the coverage itself is not routine!! When the coverage is an obituary, we know it is routine because everyone gets an obituary. But not everyone runs for political office and gets interviewed and written up in multiple newspapers and THAT, it seems to me, is in keeping with both the simplicity and the spirit of the GNG. It's not about "candidates more than other candidates', it's "candidates getting coverage which is more coverage than most [non-notable] people usually ever get." I think THAT aught to be our criterion, and yes, I think that probably makes a lot of them notable for Wikipedia's purposes. A loose noose (talk) 18:42, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
  • There's no such thing as a person who "already meets our notability requirements now but fails the 10YT anyway" — any person you could attempt that argument about, by definition, actually fails our notability requirements in the first place, such as by being a WP:BLP1E. And no, the Queen of England is not a valid comparison to the notability status of candidates, either — being the monarch of a sovereign country is an inherently notable role in its own right, where inclusion is automatically guaranteed because of that role in and of itself. So a king's or queen's notability is not dependent on comparing their volume of coverage to determine whether they're more or less notable than other kings or queens — the fact of being king or queen instantly gets them into Wikipedia right on its own face. Being a candidate for political office, conversely, is not an inherently notable role that confers automatic inclusion rights on every candidate for every office, but a role where inclusion is conditional on factors beyond the mere fact of being a candidate: such as preexisting notability for other reasons that would already have gotten them an article anyway, or a credible reason why their candidacy is a special case over and above most other candidacies. We distinguish between "inherently notable" roles that guarantee an article, like serving as Queen of England or President of the United States, and "not inherently notable" roles where inclusion depends on distinctions that mark a person out as more notable than most other people who are doing the same thing — and "as yet unelected candidates for political office" are of the latter type, not the former. By comparison, writers aren't guaranteed articles just because their books can be verified by or WorldCat as existing, nor are musicians guaranteed articles just because their albums verify on Bandcamp or — writers and musicians have to pass conditional notability standards beyond just existing, such as by winning or getting nominated for a major literary or music award.
    Giving a person guaranteed inclusion rights depends on proving that they've passed our subject-specific inclusion standards for their occupation: politicians who hold NPOL-passing roles, musicians who pass one or more NMUSIC criteria, and on and so forth — if a person passes no subject-specific inclusion criteria, and instead you're shooting for "they're still notable just because media coverage exists", then that media coverage does have to show them as significantly more notable than most other people who are doing the same things. If "media coverage exists" were enough in and of itself to automatically exempt everybody who ever got their name into a newspaper from having to actually pass any SNG, then we would have to keep an article about my mother's former neighbour who got some "news of the weird" coverage a few years ago for finding somebody's escaped pet pig on her front lawn. But we don't, because passing GNG is not just a case of "two media hits exist and therefore she's automatically exempted from having to actually have a real notability claim beyond the existence of media coverage" — if a person doesn't actually pass the defined inclusion criteria for her field of endeavour, and instead you're shooting for "passes GNG anyway just because media coverage exists", then that media coverage does have to mark him or her out as a special case who has a credible claim to being more notable than most other people who are doing the same things. But the Queen of England cleanly passes the SNG for monarchy, so she doesn't have to make the same demonstration of being somehow more notable than other queens — she just has to be verifiable as having been the queen, which she is. Bearcat (talk) 19:35, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
As we quoted in the proposal, WP:BASIC explicitly says that a subject about whom multiple in-depth reliable independent secondary sources exist can be notable without meeting a relevant SNG. There is a longstanding, if loose, consensus behind the idea that special notability guidelines do not trump the GNG; they provide heuristics for quickly estimating whether sufficient coverage exists rather than reasons to ignore such coverage. See previous discussions in 2008, 2013, and this year. FourViolas (talk) 03:36, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Note although I am still thinking the options over, I want to point out the enormous difference among candidates for statewide office. In the U.S., an individual with no pre-exisitng notability running for the lower house of a state legislature is likely to be a non-notable person, and to continue to be a non-notable person if s/he loses in November. But candidate for Governor or the United States Senate or House with no previous claim to WP:NOTABILITY who wins the Democratic or Republican primary election will in many, perhaps most, cases have just become a notable person.E.M.Gregory (talk) 18:53, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
...Interesting... As our NPOL criteria would give the former non-notable person a free pass, but continue to hold the latter to a higher standard until winning that governorship. Yeah, that doesn't seem right, does it. A loose noose (talk) 18:58, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
Actually, no, a candidate for governor or Congress or president wouldn't be handed an automatic presumption of notability on that candidacy alone. What is true about candidates for high office is that they're likelier to already have had preexisting notability for other reasons anyway than candidates for lower offices are — a person is monumentally unlikely, for example, to be able to win the Democratic or Republican nominations for President without having already held another political office that would have already gotten them over NPOL anyway: Obama served in the state legislature and in Congress before running for president, Bill Clinton and Mitt Romney and Martin O'Malley and John Kasich were state governors before running for president, Hillary Clinton was First Lady and served in the US Senate, John McCain and Ted Cruz were US Senators, and on and so forth — and even the one obvious exception to "the presidency is not an entry-level job in politics", a certain D. Trump, still had preexisting notability in another field. It's not that candidates at some levels of office are guaranteed Wikipedia articles while candidates at other levels of office aren't, it's that candidates at some levels of office are more likely to have already been notable anyway than candidates at other levels of office are. People who weren't already notable for other reasons regularly run for city council or state legislature or even Congress/Parliament — but people who weren't already notable for other reasons are remarkably unlikely to ever actually win a major political party's nomination for governor or President at all. Bearcat (talk) 19:35, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
Bearcat, President is a STRAWMAN rgument. We were talking about major party candidates for U.S. Governor, Senator, Member of the House. In fact, we get them here pretty often (albeit not, to my knowledge, nominated by Bearcat). The list someone posted above inculudes several recent discussions about failed major party candidates for Senate Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Richard Ziser, and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Bob Tuke, [[5]], Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Dwight Grotberg, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Kathleen Sullivan Alioto. It really looks to me as though we are having a lot of nominations of notable candidates for Senate apparently encouraged by POL OUTCOMES statement on non-elected candidates. As I said, state legislators are separate, but certainly major party (Dem and Republican) candidates for Governor and Senator, and possibly U.S. House, ought to be mentioned as quite likely to be notable in POL OUTCOMES.E.M.Gregory (talk) 20:17, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
No, we're not getting a lot of nominations of "notable candidates for Senate" — there's nothing "inherently" notable about being a candidate for Senate per se, but rather a Senate candidate's notability is still determined by the same standards as the notability of any other candidate for any other office: winning the election, having preexisting notability for other reasons that would already have gotten them an article anyway, and/or showing credible evidence that their candidacy was special for some substantive reason beyond the mere fact of having been a candidate. People don't get a special presumption of notability just for being non-winning candidates per se just because the office they're running for is in Washington DC instead of a state capitol — major or minor party, governor or president or Congress or state legislature, the notability standards for candidates still work the same way no matter what. The only difference is that some levels of office will have a higher proportion of candidates who do meet the "preexisting notability for other reasons" and/or "highly sourceable as special cases" conditions than other levels of office do — but even at those levels, a candidate still isn't handed an automatic presumption of notability just for being a candidate if they don't meet one of those conditions.
Of the examples you listed, both Ziser and Tuke were salvaged by stronger sources emerging to show evidence of notability for other reasons, not by the candidacies themselves, and Grotberg is a 12-year old discussion, at a time when candidates were deemed notable just for being candidates — you obviously meant to link to the second discussion, not the original, but the second discussion closed as a delete because Grotberg wasn't shown as meeting the conditions for deeming a candidate notable, and thus isn't proof of the point you think you're making. Again, none of them hinged on "notable because candidate" — they all hinged on whether preexisting notability could or couldn't be located for other reasons besides being a candidate per se, which is not the same thing. Bearcat (talk) 20:33, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
The other issue is that not every candidate for the US Senate represents a major political party. While we could easily say that Christine O'Donnell was the Republican candidate from New Jersey and should be notable because of that, Glenn Miller and James Rash were on the same ballot as well. I do not think we should be basing our standard for notability because of how we (or how a political institution) determine what is a major political party. Enos733 (talk) 22:20, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
It makes sense to say Democrat and Republican candidates have a better chance at being notable because, for better or for worse, these two parties corner the political process and thus the media coverage. Nor do I wish to argue that a nominee for governor, senator or Congress deserves an article because a major party nominated them. While I think this is generally true, there are exceptions, and sometimes the party nominates a real nobody to be their candidate. It happens, but I would count election coverage toward notability for candidates, just as book reviews and coverage are counted towards the notability of an author. What I think is worth discussing is having an AfD for a failed candidate AFTER the election. Wikipedia can be a great source of information for voters who are sitting on the fence or just want to learn about their party's candide. Saying "this candidate needs more coverage than similar candidates" as a standard for notability would be counterproductive. ~EDDY (talk/contribs)~ 01:31, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
But it's not Wikipedia's role to be the voter information service. Ballotpedia does a professional job at explaining and profiling candidates for political office in a nonpartisan way. We can educate voters on incumbent politicians, OR we can expand existing election articles with candidate positions and profiles. As it stands right now, the average 2018 election article has some information, but does not go into detail about the local issues in each district, or where the candidates stand on these issues. You echo the same concerns that Bearcat and I have mentioned, that candidacy (even if it's for a major party) is not inherently notable. Bkissin (talk) 13:34, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
Indeed. And another thing that editors need to keep in mind is that Wikipedia volunteer time is a finite resource. It's certainly possible to write an appropriately neutral article about a candidate rather than a blatantly advertorial version, I'm not denying that — but even if somebody does that, Wikipedia's status as an encyclopedia that anybody can edit makes us an extremely alluring target for followup edits that change the tone to something else entirely. There's literally nothing stopping a political candidate's campaign staff from replacing the whole article with a whitewashed version copied and pasted from their own campaign literature, or their opponent's campaign staff from dirtwashing the whole thing with attack edits. We have no mechanisms in place to prevent a Wikipedia rule from being broken before it happens — the only thing we have is the ability to clean up the mess after the rule has already been broken, and even then we can only do that if we catch the mess. I've utterly lost count of how many times I've seen hella bad edits that needed immediate reversion stay in articles for weeks or even months, because nobody had seen the bad edit happen at the time and some completely unrelated maintenance run weeks or months later led me to be the first person to actually notice it. (I'm not even making this up, I actually once came across an article that had spent three full years calling its topic, obviously without a titch of sourcing, a cannibal pedophile who smuggled children into the Chernobyl exclusion zone to rape, kill and eat them.)
Wikipedia's quality control model, which depends on the attention and oversight of other editors, works extremely well on high profile topics who actually generate a reasonably high volume of reader traffic — a bad edit to Donald Trump's or Hillary Clinton's or Justin Trudeau's articles will get caught literally within seconds. But as the topic's level of public prominence declines, there is a tipping point below which the wikimodel falls flat on its ass — lower profile topics, like a candidate for political office who's virtually unknown outside of their own district as of yet, are incredibly vulnerable to getting misused for purposes not consistent with our mission and values and policies, because the article just doesn't generate the same amount of traffic. Wikipedia already has our hands full enough as it is just keeping our articles about officeholders clean, without having to monitor somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 unelected candidates per election cycle too — we simply don't have enough active volunteers to stay on top of all of that.
If we had a tighter quality control model in place, I probably wouldn't care so much about maintaining a firewall against articles about unelected candidates for political office. If our articles were much safer from being whitewashed or dirtwashed by political partisans than they actually are, it wouldn't be such a big deal. And if we were a wiki devoted only to politicians, and didn't also maintain articles about writers and musicians and actors and botanists and hockey players and cartoonists and restaurants and parks and mountains and area codes and talk show hosts and on and so forth, then adding unelected candidates to our mission might not be such an unreasonable volume of new articles to maintain and monitor. But under the quality control model we actually have, we can't just think about the quality of our own edits — we have to keep in mind all the possibilities of what might get done to the article by other editors in the future too, and whether the topic is going to generate enough wikitraffic to control the bad shit or not. (And no, promising that you'll keep an eye on it isn't enough, either — Wikipedia editors do quit or die or get blocked, or just aren't always here all day every day, so we can't ever leave the quality control for any article solely in the hands of one single editor.) Other sites, such as Ballotpedia and Vote Smart, already exist which take on "non-partisan voter education about all the candidates" as their core mission — it's hardly as though we're the only possible source for voters to learn about their local congressional candidates — so I see no compelling reason why Wikipedia needs to add that to our mission too, especially if we're not able to guarantee such articles the consistent level of scrutiny and maintenance they require. Those sites have decided that giving space to all candidates is their core mission, which is great and I'm glad those resources are out there — but Wikipedia doesn't need to do the same thing, because firstly, those other sites are already available, and secondly, there are a lot of legitimate reasons why our inclusion cutoff for politicians needs to be located at a different place in the spectrum than their inclusion cutoffs are. Bearcat (talk) 14:58, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
But just because an article could be whitewashed or vandalized isn't a really good argument for deletion, is it? I mean, anything could be vandalized and not caught for a while, like the example you cited above. I know I keep articles I create on my watchlist, not saying that is perfect, mind you. Ballotpedia doesn't typically go into detail on candidates biographies like wiki articles do. Plus congressional election articles rarely talk about the candidates more than a sentence or two. ~EDDY (talk/contribs)~ 15:49, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
I didn't say the possibility of vandalism was an argument for deletion per se — for one thing, that possibility never disappears entirely, even on the Trumps and Obamas and Clintons of the world. As I said, the difference isn't that the president of the United States will never get vandalized — boy howdy he will — but what he has is enough people watchlisting him that any vandalism will always get caught right away instead of lingering for days or weeks or months. What it is, rather, is a reason to put the brakes on starting the article in the first place, if the person hasn't yet achieved anything that would make them the nexus of broad enough reader interest to keep the risk of vandalism at a manageable level of containment. Even stuff you have on your own watchlist, you will sometimes still miss because you're not around for a few days, or because you just don't necessarily always check every single edit that shows up on your watchlist even when you are around — which is precisely why I pointed out that just promising to keep an eye on the article yourself isn't enough. The less certain you can be that a broad range of editors besides just yourself will keep an article watchlisted to control for vandalism potential, the harder you have to think about whether an article is really justified at all. Bearcat (talk) 16:23, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
I agree that in its current form the congressional election articles don't talk about the candidates more than a sentence or two, but it remains a valid alternative to a full-on article for someone who fails to meet candidate notability. Many AfD discussions surrounding candidate notability are often met with votes to merge the information into the congressional election article, and rather than having an election article with bare-bones basic information, wouldn't it be better to have a more detailed account of the routine election coverage on the article surrounding the election? Bkissin (talk) 16:58, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
  • "A politician first of all needs to assume a political duty" is not correct. The career of a politician consists of campaigning for office. The career of a legislator consists of being elected to a legislature. someone who is never elected to anything can have a political influence. This has never in the US been shown as clearly as this year in particular, where the mere running for a congressional office is of politician significance and commented on as such. Unusually, this year even people running unsuccessfully in many primaries got considerable attention, because of the challenge they posed. But even in a ordinary year, running in the final election in the US 2-party system is of importance. It may not be in some effectually one-party constituencies, but these are many fewer than there were in the early and mid 20th century)
But all this is missing the real point: those WPedians interest in the topic have a certain amount of time. They can devote it to arguing in afd, or to writing (and watching) articles. Minor differences in the border range of notability don't much affect the encyclopedia -- efforts spent in arguing about whether to have them are at best a distraction. (they're good places to argue politics, of course, but doing that here detracts from the encyclopedia also. .) The reason for an encyclopedia is that people who might want to look for information will find it--people might reasonably look for information on everybody on the ballot. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DGG (talkcontribs)
  • Support statement A (for unelected candidates, routine coverage of a political campaign is not considered to be sufficient for notability), since people are commenting here as well. The unelected candidates can and should be mentioned in the pages of the respective elections, as in "Election for X#Candidate Name". These candidates do not have notability independent of the event, thus making it WP:BIO1E. In certain cases, such as an especially high-profile race, a separate article may be justified, but these exceptions are rare. When a obvious merge/redirect target exists, the content should be added there to begin with. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:42, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
  • A per my comment in the previous section. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 19:51, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Statement A, albeit with some language adjustment to accommodate Kecoffman's clarifications. The actual consensus as it stands is that the campaign coverage usually isn't enough in and of itself to make a candidate permanently notable just for being a candidate per se, but that there is some wiggle room at the very high end of the scale for the occasional candidate who gets far, far more coverage than the norm to be considered a special case whose candidacy is more notable than most other people's candidacies — somebody like an Alexandria Ocasio Cortez or a Christine O'Donnell, who for whatever reason becomes nationally or internationally famous. Bearcat (talk) 21:51, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment the "state wide" wording is not correct. State wide means elected by everyone in the state. "State level" would be a better term. Also don't exclude Mayors of major cities who are often more notable amd powerful than a state legislator. Also, remember the US is not the world and try to word the criteria to be globally inclusive. Legacypac (talk) 00:19, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
You're right, mea culpa. WP:NPOL's language gives a free pass (even without passing GNG) to politicians and judges who have held international, national or sub-national (statewide/provincewide) office, and members or former members of a national, state or provincial legislature, which is the higher standard we meant to advert to. FourViolas (talk) 13:20, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment Generally, it is unhelpful to have these types of guideline discussions during the heat of a campaign (we're just a few weeks from a major election in the US). It is better to wait until after the election so more rational (less emotional) discussion can take place. That being said, I believe that the notability standard should apply equally to everyone, whether they are office holders or not; whether they are candidates or not. No one should gain notability simply because they ran for an office or simply because they won an election. If they meet the standard for general notability, then give them an article. Sparkie82 (tc) 06:44, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
I.e., if a candidate or officeholder has "received significant coverage in multiple published secondary sources that are reliable, intellectually independent of each other, and independent of the" candidate or officeholder, then they are notable. Major party candidates for a national legislature or for executive of a sub-national unit (like a governor of a province or a federated state), are most likely going to get enough coverage to be notable. However, sometimes an officeholder may not get enough coverage to be notable, therefore they shouldn't get an article just because they got appointed or elected to office. Sparkie82 (tc) 07:45, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
People who hold notable offices — congresspeople, state legislators, governors, presidents, etc. — get coverage. Sometimes people don't actually get serious about making the article any good by actually citing that coverage in the article, meaning that some articles about holders of notable office take years to actually get beyond "John Smith is a state legislator who exists" — but people not doing anything with the coverage is not the same thing as the coverage not existing in the first place. For example, former Canadian MP Shaughnessy Cohen existed for 13 years before anybody actually took on the job of turning it into anything more than a single-sourced four-line stub. There's no such thing as a congressperson or a state legislator who somehow manages to hold office without getting any coverage at all — the only thing that does sometimes exist is congresspeople or state legislators for whom Wikipedians aren't putting in the work needed to make the articles good by actually citing the coverage, but there's no such thing as a person in either of those roles for whom coverage doesn't exist at all. Bearcat (talk) 19:42, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
Nice expansion! I think WP:There is no deadline, but even if you think there should be, this problem doesn't require any change to notability standards: if you find a page that looks "forgotten" and don't feel like improving it yourself, just propose a merge to a relevant election and see if anyone shows up with the motivation to improve the article instead. FourViolas (talk) 21:13, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
My point wasn't that there's a deadline, it was that the fact that some officeholders' articles aren't very well sourced at present isn't proof that officeholders aren't getting media coverage and are therefore being exempted from having to pass GNG — all officeholders do get coverage, and we're just not always on the ball about using it to expand our articles about them with. Nothing in that suggests there's a deadline at all — the point was to explain why a faulty argument, that officeholders don't always get coverage and thus by keeping them we're somehow exempting them from having to pass GNG, isn't accurate: they do pass GNG and we're just not always prompt about making their articles show it. Bearcat (talk) 17:20, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Also, I don't think the "notable for only one event" anti-criterion applies here because elections are generally major events when the participants receive sufficient coverage. Sparkie82 (tc) 07:45, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
Note that what I just said above is basically what the overall WP:N criteria are because all those sub-category guidelines (including for politicians) are just thumbnail suggestions. WP:N states that merely meeting the specific sub-categorical suggestions "does not guarantee that a subject should be included" and "A person who does not meet these additional criteria may still be notable". The sub-category suggestions are just rough guides -- the ultimate criterion is the basic WP:N, and each person must meet that criteria in order to get an article irrespective of how they come out on the specific suggestions, such as the specific suggestions for politician notability. Sparkie82 (tc) 08:23, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
that they are seen as just suggestions is the source of most controversy at afd. we should rather interpret them as we do WP:PROF, as sufficient for notability. It's the first step to rational inclusion criteria. DGG ( talk ) 04:38, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • A, good wording, per my comment in the previous section. Alsee (talk) 10:07, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Iffy A, until detailed re-write - I think A is how it has to be until we have got some clear-cut but probably fairly detailed rules about what might be permitted. I could see conditions where under very high levels (repeated national etc) it might be permissible. Alternatively we could require say a candidate who reached 25% in a poll to be permissible. These however would be fairly complex, so I think it is safer to err on the current set-up. We also get edge cases where a candidate does something odd during the run - like a bizarre campaigning method - campaigning is routine, but the method is not. I've seen multiple disputes on that issue. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:53, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Which countries would the 25% of the poll work for? I haven't seen many other countries with the same depth as polling as the United States, largely because in other countries voters tend to vote more along party lines than for the specific candidate, and the 25% would include candidates who haven't received much press. SportingFlyer talk 11:58, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • @SportingFlyer: - an interesting point, obviously it would also require the standard coverage to be made, but I concede it would be limited to a reasonably small number of countries (though wider than might be thought). As someone who doesn't just want anyone meeting a level of coverage to be included in an NPOL sense but conceding the rules are probably too tight, it was a potential option to widen the circle to some degree Nosebagbear (talk) 23:13, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Major party needs some refinement. In England the two major parties are Labour & Conservatives. Given the case of a safe seat, such as Sedgefield (Tony Blair's former constituency) the Conservative candidate is going to be a local party member making themselves a sacrificial offering, or a junior party official hoping to show their party loyalty & climb the ladder. In either case, not notable. Any free ride given to major party candidates should only apply in those cases where they have a credible chance of winning. Cabayi (talk) 12:46, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • B is better than A with the shortcomings of that approach noted by people like Cabayi. I would say that a failed gubernatorial candidate in New Hampshire is going to be more notable, including in a lasting sense, than a large number of the 400 odd state representatives elected, who are presumed notable under our current guidelines. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 14:40, 29 October 2018 (UTC)

B I'm going for B, just simply because A's wording is a bit vague and US-centric. For example, where it says US statewide office or equivalent (which you can reasonably say is one level below national government), in England the equivalent would be county councils but I cannot imagine that the community as a whole would support every candidate standing for Kent County Council be considered notable for example. With this one for candidates, I would say use GNG but for those who win and go onto hold the office, then this should apply. The C of E God Save the Queen! (talk) 07:35, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

  • B Far better than our current policy of C, or than A. Wikipedia is already one of the most important single sources of information about elections. Without coverage of challengers that are already receiving media attention, the information about elections is strongly biased in favor of incumbents. I'm seeing this with the U.S. congressional candidates' coverage. Many of the challengers in highly competitive elections aren't notable for other reasons, so voters are uninformed without Wikipedia articles about them. La comadreja formerly AFriedman RESEARCH (talk) 17:56, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support B - I'm a latecomer to this discussion, having been made aware of it over in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Audrey Denney. Having read everything here, I agree with FourViolas' point (reiterated by La comadreja) about how important Wikipedia is for synthesizing summaries about important political issues. Per A loose noose's call for "concrete suggestions", my hope is that we get a little more liberal about allowing individual articles for elections for which the winner is guaranteed to be notable (e.g. U.S. House of Representatives), and the race itself becomes notable due to the plausibility of incumbent office-holder losing office. This offers us a pre-election escape valve for the pressure to create an article for every minor candidate from the most fringe of political parties, since we can rely on the WP:BLP1E policy to avoid creating articles about single-election candidates, but encourage the editors eager to create articles for not-yet-notable candidates to focus their efforts on making the section about their candidate solid and encyclopedic. I believe that the Audrey Denney article offered us that opportunity pre-election, which is why my response on the BLP was to suggest renaming the article to California's 1st congressional district election, 2018 (a focused article about this single election), and give the article a structure similar to California's 10th congressional district election, 2018, rather than deleting both articles and redirecting them to the crowded and unfocused United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2018 article. -- RobLa (talk) 06:08, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

RfC: Amendment for BIO to address systemic bias in the base of sources[edit]

Should the following section be added, just before the "additional criteria" section?

This was developed in a long discussion at N, here. Jytdog (talk) 01:20, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

Proposed addition[edit]

Non-living members of marginalized groups

The requirement for multiple reliable sources with substantial discussion of the subject, can be relaxed for non-living individuals who were members of a marginalized group,[a] for whom limited sourcing exists.[b] For such individuals, the "additional criteria" should be read in light of the bias in the underlying base of sources (e.g. a contribution by such a person may not be "widely recognized" in sources, while similar contributions by a person who is not in a marginalized group might be widely recognized.) This should not be taken as justification for the creation of thinly sourced permastubs. However as scholarship is developing on the history of marginalized peoples, pages about such non-living people should be given a two year moratorium on deletion before judging whether there is no reasonable prospect for expansion.

  1. ^ A marginalized group is a segment of society which because of class, gender, ethnic origin or race, belief, colonization, or other systemic bias was subjected to discrimination or exclusion.
  2. ^ The community recognizes that the base of reliable sources from which it draws, is itself the product of societies with systemic biases and thus reflects those biases – increasingly less so with respect to more contemporary sources.

-- Jytdog (talk) 01:20, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

Note - the two year moratorium was added to address concerns raised in the linked discussion. Removed. Everybody who has voted, has been pinged. Jytdog (talk) 14:03, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

!votes on addition[edit]

  • Oppose I don't see why "non-marginalized groups" (read: European/white men) shouldn't fall under the same guidelines just because we have too many minor dukes, bishops, and cricketers already. Having discussion at AFD about whether a person qualifies as part of a "marginalized group" or not sounds like pure hell. A principle that the volume of coverage necessary for an article is lower for deceased persons is probably fine. power~enwiki (π, ν) 01:40, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support, except the two-year moratorium on deletion – It makes sense that our notability criteria not strictly replicate the biases outside of Wikipedia. While our standards for the inclusion of information in articles reflect the idea of "verifiability, not truth", the same does not apply to our notability criteria. The two-year moratorium on deletion, however, really isn't justifiable. Jytdog, can I suggest that that be dropped from the proposal? I suspect many would find the proposal much more palatable without it. (talk) 02:28, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Striking qualification of support based on the proposal's amendment. (talk) 19:57, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, agree in principle on relaxing requirements for dead people - not recent deceased, but dead for at least 10 yrs - and in particular for marginalized groups, but 2 yr moratorium is ridiculous. Renata (talk) 03:33, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose a step backwards that makes our already ambiguous notability guidelines more ambiguous, which will only make it more difficult for people to include articles of people who should be covered from marginalized groups. This is because it makes it substantially more difficult for new users to determine who meets our guidelines. We need to remember that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written by amateurs who do not in most cases have professional training in evaluating sourcing and weight it accordingly when determining historical significance. Ambiguity makes this even more difficult and leads to more people getting pushed off the project when the article they thought met our guidelines gets deleted, because the 2 year moratorium will not be enforced since this guideline cannot overrule the deletion policy. Objective criteria is the way to fix this problem, not more imprecise language about sourcing. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:50, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The criteria are so vague that they will lead to endless quibbles about their interpretation. And indeed the likelihood of the creation of more content-lite perma-stubs is increased. I can't understand the reason for the two-year moratorium. Xxanthippe (talk) 04:04, 26 October 2018 (UTC).
  • Support to some degree in principle, but oppose making a rule of it. I think that Xxanthippe has it right: any attempt at great specificity here will lead to even greater confusion. However, I think we do need to use some flexibility with respect both to marginalized groups, and earlier periods. I personally interpret the rules about sourcing to mean reliable sourcing in the context of what can be expected for the subject. We already do this to a considerable extent--for example, inclusion in a reliable biographical directory for figures in antiquity. I recognize that it's going to result in some considerable erraticness and overemphasis on what is temporarily popular to leave this up to the community judgement in individual instances, but I think that we are showing increasing good sense and some degree of consensus in deciding when and when not to interpret strictly.
I agree totally with TonyBallioni about the better way to do this, which is objective criteria. Our emphasis on sourcing give all sorts of artificial results--it in effect means that the criterion for notability is whether people who know how to argue here care deeply enough in any particular case to use their skills to include (or exclude) the article--almost any source can be argued as reliable or non-reliable, depending on the desired result. I'll agree with almost any fixed criterion whether or not it is what I would prefer--our efforts are better used improving articles than arguing about them.
And a long moratorium on deletion is exactly the wrong approach--if we let articles on unencyclopedic subjects get established, they will become much harder to remove, and in the interim lead to more dubious articles being submitted. We are still dealing with the effect of the very erratic standards of the first few years. DGG ( talk ) 05:06, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
@DGG: What kind of criteria might you have in mind, for example? (talk) 05:18, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose although I support the underlying sentiment. Wikipedia should be a lagging indicator, not a platform for advocacy that takes the lead in endorsing various marginalized people as notable. The solution is for authors and historians and journalists and literary critics and social scientists to write more research and reporting about marginalized people, and to have that work published in reliable sources. Then, we will have the raw materials to write more policy compliant encyclopedia articles about topics related to marginalized people. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:50, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, although like Cullen328 above I agree with the sentiment. The reason why we require a certain degree of sourcing for an article is that we need these sources as a basis for a verifiable article. Relaxing these requirements, in these cases as in others, invites the creation of inadequately sourced, unverifiable or inaccurate articles, which would lower the quality of the encyclopedia and do a disservice both to readers interested in topics related to marginalized groups, and to these people and groups themselves. If because of past bias or discrimination inadequate sources exist, then this is sadly not something that we as Wikipedians can do anything about. Sandstein 05:56, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • I remain opposed to the proposal even after the removal of the AfD moratorium for the reasons above. Sandstein 14:16, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm very, very sympathetic to the underlying problem driving this discussion but I strongly believe that this encyclopedia must be a trailing edge indicator and aggregator of knowledge and not a leading edge. That much of the scholarship in different bodies of knowledge is historically rife with prejudice and sometimes outright bigotry is a massive problem but that fundamental problem needs to be fixed by the knowledgeable and ethical scholars in those disciplines and not by amateurs writing an encyclopedia. This encyclopedia must reflect the state of knowledge documented in reliable sources and not try to get ahead of it or drive it; to do otherwise is to become a very different kind of project altogether (which would be a very worthy cause but would require some very different policies and practices!). This proposal seems to be a form of WP:GREATWRONGS; although the wrong exists and is indeed great this is not a good venue in which to address it. ElKevbo (talk) 05:59, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support There is no possible way to make "objective criteria" for all the fields of endeavor in the world, nor make that criteria equitable. For example, noted woman scientist, (still being cited in at least five languages, 160 years after a discovery, who worked at notable universities and laboratories her entire career), is clearly notable. Details of her life are very sketchy because she was forced to move, a lot (She lived in at least 4 different countries), to find employment. There are multitudes of sources which can be used to ferret out her life story, to confirm significant coverage of her accomplishments, though that coverage does not occur in a single source. She was dismissed from various posts for being a woman, for being a foreigner, for her religion. Internationally known male scientists who were her peers and wrote recommendations for her had a different merit scale than she did. So how do we write this objective criteria? If you were a woman, this is the minimum standard for merit, if you were a minority religion this is the standard, if you were a member of this ethnic group this is the minimum? Since in almost every field, until the 1960s jobs were specifically defined by gender and race and status, having one scale to judge merit would be comparing apples and oranges. Even if two people worked at the same employer, women were assigned different jobs than men, people of color were only eligible for certain positions, etc. As one can see, quite impossible. No one is asking for thinly sourced articles, simply a recognition that sourcing differs historically for different groups, meaning one arrives at significant coverage in different ways. SusunW (talk) 06:35, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per the arguments presented by DGG. ——SerialNumber54129 07:14, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, very strongly for any moratorium on deletion of anything, and generally so for the rest. As Sandstein said, the requirement for substantial quantities of reliable source material is not an arbitrary decision, it is to ensure that articles we write are factual and neutral. We do that by summarizing a variety of high-quality sources. If such sources don't exist, but could, the solution is for the sources to be created, and then the article can follow. If the trend in scholarship is for more intensive study of historically underrepresented groups, I very much welcome and encourage that, but Wikipedia follows such things, not leads. Seraphimblade Talk to me 07:48, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - It's not our place to fix the alleged biases of the past, it's to follow the reliable sources on what matters about what happened in the past. If reliable sources believe that fixing WP:GREATWRONGS is a worthy cause, they will do so and then we can follow their coverage, if they don't, there's no problem to fix. IffyChat -- 08:48, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The proposal is self contradictory in citing "limited sourcing exists" while disclaiming "thinly sourced permastubs". While well intentioned, this is a clear case of trying to Right Great Wrongs. In a perfect universe half of our biographies would be women. That idealism patently fails when it requires half of US-President biographies to be women. Throughout most of history and most of the world, women (and other groups) have not had equal opportunity in education, achievement, or recognition. The past is permanently unfixable, and it's not our job to try to fix the present either. Our job is to try to build a perfect encyclopedia. That means 100% of our US-President biographies are men. That means accurately reporting and reflecting that women and various other groups are grossly underrepresented throughout most of history and most of the world. The world sucks, the history of the world sucks even worse. Please don't accuse me of supporting that suckage. I'm eager to get a first female US president biography. I'm eager to see more women and other under-represented groups get more biographies as the world slowly gets it's shit together with more equal opportunity for all. Alsee (talk) 09:13, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • I support the principle that topics that have received less coverage due to any form of systematic bias need proportionately less coverage in order to be notable. Since there is a massive systematic bias against dead people, I support the principle that dead people need less coverage in order to be notable. I think that notability criteria for dead people should be made generally more inclusive. I think that we should have more articles about dead people. In fact, I think we should have at least 12 million of them for reasons that I stated in the discussion at WT:N. This proposal only applies to dead people. I am under the impression that it will result in more articles on dead people than we would otherwise have. I think that the logical conclusion of the preceding propositions is that I must support this proposal in principle, at least as a starting point, with the caveat that, if an even more inclusive criteria for dead people is proposed in the future, I reserve the right to support that as well. I am not concerned that this proposal is too inclusive of dead people; my only concern is that it might not be inclusive enough. I am not concerned that this will result in poor sourcing because I am aware that many of our present restrictions on sourcing have no basis in real scholarship, as they are not based on the published reliable opinions of real scholars. "Significant coverage" is one of those. It is a piece of meaningless gibberish that we invented. James500 (talk) 09:18, 26 October 2018 (UTC) As far as I can see, this proposal does not authorise unreferenced content or suspend the policy WP:V. Indeed, a guideline cannot suspend a policy. What this proposal authorises is shorter articles based on a smaller number of shorter reliable sources. There is no reason to imagine that this will result in greater inaccuracy, since the sources are still required to be reliable. There is no sourcing issue whatsoever. Further, there is nothing partisan about this proposal. Nothing in this proposal says that the articles created have to be flattering about their subjects. There is no reason why they could not be deeply unflattering. James500 (talk) 03:53, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose- taking away sourcing standards will lead to falsehoods getting into the mainspace, and a moratorium on deleting the falsehoods would just compound the problem. It'd be a big disservice to both the encyclopedia, and to the subjects of those articles. Reyk YO! 10:35, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
    • Comment- now that the moratorium business has been struck, I am still opposing this proposal per the sourcing standards argument and InsertcleverPhraseHere's eloquent protest below. Reyk YO! 14:57, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Too blunt and vague, tending to lead to lack of good encyclopedic articles and many disruptions. The way to deal with specific issues around a particularized group is SNG's that specify the group in a refined, workable manner, identify why and what is good info, and specifically deal with sourcing vagaries in that area. (Also, a side suggestion, go off the internet and read modern books, long form articles, modern RS encyclopedias, textbooks, WP:SCHOLARSHIP, etc: make sure you are not missing what is there (and if it's not there and/or not on the internet, how can you possibly write) and if what you find is a sentence or two than see if and where the info fits in a larger Wikipedia topic, eg Women in science or gather enough RS for a sub-article, eg. Women scientists in the 19th century; African women in science, etc. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:26, 26 October 2018 (UTC) Adding: As this discussion has developed, more and more, there appears to be an argument along the lines of, 'the proposal does not say what you think its says'. So, let me add: the proposal is too ambiguous, to my oppose. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:22, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose This isn't a partisan social justice project. Chris Troutman (talk) 11:43, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Nice sentiment, terrible idea in practice. Let's not politicize GNG, it is not that high of a bar. Carrite (talk) 12:14, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We only include topics which have significant coverage in reliable sources. That's what makes us an encyclopedia instead of something else, which we are not. If you want to start including topics that currently have no significant coverage in reliable sources, you need to win the fight outside of Wikipedia first and get those topics covered. I also second power~enwiki's rationale: "Having discussion at AFD about whether a person qualifies as part of a 'marginalized group' or not sounds like pure hell." – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 12:44, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support I agree with Jytdog and also agree that there's not really a need for an AfD ban, so if that's removed, I'm fine with it. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 13:53, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Still support after changes made. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 19:34, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Note -- content was changed here; in the flow of !votes. Jytdog (talk) 14:36, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Strongest possible of strong Opposes Sorry, but no. I understand the sentiment behind it, and I know how hard it can be to find sources on topics where I often think "this should be notable". However, it is not our job to decide who is 'marginalised' and who isn't (and not the place to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS). Can you imagine the debates this would cause in AfD discussions? Are all women marginalised? only minorities? If so, does that count white people in South Africa? Does it count all people that grew up outside the West? What about class boundaries? Are all poor people marginalised? Are rich minorities marginalised? Is everyone marginalised? Am I marginalised? If you argue that someone isn't maginalised, are YOU racist? I really don't want these arguments to happen at Wikipedia at all and the atmosphere it would create would be horrific to the point that I would likely abandon the project entirely. No, for the love of god, NO! — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 14:53, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Insertcleverphrasehere, you have hit the nail on the head along with above !votes which mention If you want to start including topics that currently have no significant coverage in reliable sources, you need to win the fight outside of Wikipedia first and get those topics covered and This isn't a partisan social justice project.
  • As Cullen says, The solution is for authors and historians and journalists and literary critics and social scientists to write more research and reporting about marginalized people, and to have that work published in reliable sources, not develop noble standards and publish them over here.
  • FWIW, while I don't admire pile-up(s) and thus won't contribute by !voting, I will note that the two main proponents of this change somehow seem to believe that defining a marginalized community or creating a set of marginalized people, (who would be protected by the addition), is a very objective criterion) are quite off-the-base.
  • Some application of common-sense is quite okay but umm.......a moratorium? Seriously, on such a vague criterion?!WBGconverse 15:42, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • WBG the moratorium was struck before you made your comment above. Would you please revise your comment? Thanks Jytdog (talk) 19:40, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the same primary reason of many of the above - the vagueness will be a nightmare. AfDs on bios are already unpleasant, this will make them impossible. Nosebagbear (talk) 17:35, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support with caveat that the word "relaxed" be replaced with something more along the lines of "reconsidered" or "reassessed in light of historic marginalization." We aren't talking about a "short bus" here. These people did ALL THE SAME THINGS that would be deemed notable if done by white, first-world, upper class, men. (Except, as in the Ginger Rogers example, people from marginalized groups may have had to accomplish these goals by also dancing backwards in high heels). What we are doing is assessing notability by a criteria that neutralizes past bias. In effect, what we are looking at is similar to adjusting a historic monetary value for inflation. We are assessing history through a lens that factors in past devaluation. Montanabw(talk) 18:23, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Editors of an encyclopedia are not qualified to "assess history." We leave that to professionals e.g., historians. ElKevbo (talk) 19:02, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Additionally, both the degree of and if at all the bias will fluctuate wildly, with as many different view-points as there are editors Nosebagbear (talk) 19:45, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
We do, however, assess what subjects are or are not covered. "Verifiability, not truth" doesn't apply to notability standards. (talk) 19:57, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose as well, with regret. I definitely sympathize with the underlying problem, but I agree with the opposes that it will cause far more problems than it solves on a number of fronts. As much as many of these marginalized people deserve to be written about, someone besides us actually needs to do the writing before we can include them. Otherwise we will be left with permastubs or WP:OR. CThomas3 (talk) 19:51, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is just WP:ILIKEIT. It would be marvellous of there were better sources on things we absolutely know in our heart of hearts to be important, but sometimes there aren't, and that's not Wikipedia's problem to fix. Find a friendly academic to write a treatise. Guy (Help!) 20:56, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - although I understand the desire. I've written a couple of articles on what I would consider folks who were in marginalized sectors of society, and it was incredibly difficult research work. But it can be done (and doing the research on Lone Wolf was incredibly interesting). Onel5969 TT me 23:20, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose: a solution in search of a problem, to some extent. There are countless members of various marginalised groups who are notable, with significant RS sourcing, but the articles for whom do not exist yet. There is plenty for editors to do: join WikiProject Women in Red; translate articles from other wikis; research under-represented women scientists or Native American community activists; and so on. I would focus on the low hanging fruit to improve coverage of such groups on Wikipedia, instead of loosening existing guidelines. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:03, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Recruitment: One more thing -- editors can join Wikipedia:WikiProject Articles for creation to review and surface promising drafts on such marginalised groups. That would not only expand Wikipedia but would also improve retention of editors who submit drafts on related topics. Current wait times could be two or three months, especially if the subject's notability is unclear. Editors could use their research skills to actively improve such drafts. --K.e.coffman (talk) 00:13, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose After the discussion below, I feel as if this is a solution to a problem which doesn't really exist (the problem being I see not being the bias, even though the bias requires hard work to overcome.) There are some very good quality articles mentioned below which I would easily vote keep on at an AfD because of WP:GNG and a "delete" AfD which seems as if it was properly decided, though I can't view that page's history. While I recognise the bias exists and that the bias makes it harder to write articles, I don't see a clear enough pattern based on the AfDs or articles presented to require the creation of a new notability rule. SportingFlyer talk 02:28, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose in broader context. I know Wikipedia has a problem with articles about women, but the sources generally exist to pass WP:GNG, if that is fairly interpreted. I think that if we have two good general biography sources about somebody, that should be good enough to go, without having to try to prove their overall significance in the world of men (emphasis on the men). Specialty notability guidelines are of no real use beyond GNG anyway and I favor scrapping them all -- properly read, they admit very few additional articles, but they are usually improperly read to restrict GNG-worthy articles which is never any good. Furthermore, I doubt that we should really be hosting biographies that are not GNG-worthy because of the usual concerns: if we don't have multiple independent reliable sources, we are likely writing from bias or writing a very incomplete "biography". So I can't support extending the circumstances in which unsourceable biographies are admitted. I mean, if there's just one general source about someone and a few snippets floating around that seem to relate to it, we risk propagating a hagiography or a hit piece. Wnt (talk) 03:40, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Despite many of the above objections, I believe editors are generally mature enough to be able to interpret the proposed changes sensibly. If implemented, the changes will provide for richer encyclopaedic coverage.--Ipigott (talk) 06:16, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
@Ipigott: "generally mature enough"? "interpret sensibly"? I laughed out loud at this. The proposed changes are so opaque that I would no idea where to enact the rule, and it could conceivably be argued to apply pretty much everywhere except on pages of upper class Caucasian European dudes. Not only that, but it isn't precisely clear what the proposed changes expect us to do; what does 'relaxed' mean anyway? — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 08:30, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose. Wikipedia is not a place in which we can WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. We must cover content objectively and fairly, and set the bar no higher or lower for a person because of their being a member of a marginalized group. Doing so will encourage people to overstate the possibility that a person may have been in a marginalized group, therefore lowering quality by adding in sections that may not be accurate, so that said person can be added into the encyclopedia. If we are to lower the bar to entry (of which is a bit high), we should do it universally, and perhaps strike a balance between this and the current guidelines. Nonetheless, the current notability guidelines are far too strict; I would be in full support of a system like what was proposed by Wnt. SuperChris (talk) 17:32, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
@SuperChris: Honestly, I don't think I'm actually proposing anything new. The entire WP:Notability (people) is a snake's nest of screwed up logic, but it still says front-and-center that "People who meet the basic criteria may be considered notable without meeting the additional criteria below." What's more, it explains lower down that if subjects "fail basic criteria but meet additional criteria" the article still ought to be merged. In other words, the entire mass of drivel committed to the guideline summarizes down to what it should be: #REDIRECT WP:GNG. Unfortunately, that's not how it is interpreted -- people interpret it to mean whatever they want it to mean, and usually, they don't want it to mean having articles about women they don't personally think are interesting ... which they rarely do. Wnt (talk) 21:47, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
@Wumbolo: I don't understand this "Support per Megalibrarygirl". She didn't make an independent argument in favour of addition at all. Her !vote comment above amounts to "support per nom". Another person above did this too, am I missing something? — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 21:57, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose While I've run into the problem before of not being able to create biographies of deceased female scientists that I believe should be notable enough for an article, there is a reason for the guidelines we have, and this change is not consistent with how wikipedia works. We write article on topics covered by reliable sources and I agree with the mentions of WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS above. Natureium (talk) 22:37, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I foresee abuse of this should to be added, and fervent disputes as well. It seems to move us away from the reliance on reliable sources. If deceased persons of marginalized groups are discovered by research to have been notable after all, for reasons that were ignored at the time, there will be sources which support that notability, so there is no reason for a change at our end. The solution to this problem does not lie with us. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:41, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per Cullen, although I understand the pressing need to deal with these difficult underlying issues. GABgab 17:21, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are many things that we'd like to cover but there aren't sufficient sources for. We don't have reliable sources on important early historical figures in many regions where writing hadn't been invented yet, or where records weren't sufficiently durable, or where all records were successfully destroyed. This doesn't mean we should pretend as though we do have such sources. We don't get to RIGHTGREATWRONGS, nor can we advocate for or against the standing of any society's marginalized groups. This is an encyclopedia. --Yair rand (talk) 17:50, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support as long as it's clear that we still need reliable sources— that is, that we're relaxing the requirement for substantial sources, not the requirement for reliable sources (agreeing with James500 and SusunW here). It's crucial for the bios of people from marginalized groups that a Wikipedia page be able to be built out of multiple good sources that may individually be rather tiny but that add up to a coherent picture of a person of notable accomplishment. In my opinion, this is not a case of making the standard weaker or more vague; it is a pragmatic response to a clear difficulty: that of reliable but individually thin sources. (I find the worry about creating permastubs to be a red herring— stubs may be useful and there is no telling what info may come along to make expanding a stub possible.) Alafarge (talk) 00:13, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Two separate issues. First is that as Wikipedians we are not in the business of defining marginalized people. Definitions like that are best left to professional historians whose work we are, in theory, building on. Collectively the community is not qualified to pass judgement on what makes an individual or group marginalized, and if we try to do it anyway on an ad hoc basis, I can only see total chaos in the making.
Second, and more importantly for me, is the prospect of weakening sourcing standards. Wikipedia's premise fundamentally rests on being a compendium of information from reliable sources, and I don't think that can be compromised. It's unfortunate that the pool of reliable sources is limited or unbalanced, but it's what we have to work with, and we shouldn't be opening doors to moving outside of the bounds of existing sourcing standards. I am in complete agreement that humanity's incomplete historical record is a tragedy, but it is not ours to fix. We can only do the best with what we have.
Furthermore it's not entirely clear to me what the proposed effect of the wording would be - does "relaxing" standards mean that a looser view of "reliable" would be accepted? Would it allow for articles to cited entirely to a single source? How would it be reconciled with the assertion that thinly sourced permastubs are still discouraged? I don't see how a policy of allowing articles based on even more "limited sourcing" than is acceptable now could possibly fail to lead to thinly sourced permastubs in abundance. It pains me, as a rather staunch inclusionist, to oppose an idea that could lead to more content added, but I just can't support a proposal that would see such a significant change to fundamental principles of the project while being so vague on the specifics. The Wicked Twisted Road (talk) 01:35, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Moral support. I'm not sure how practical this is, and since the !votes are pretty one-sided I'll make this a moral support without considering practicality for now. (If that changes, someone ping me and I'll reassess.) That being said, GNG is relatively subjective as it is, and I feel like the status quo is that biographies of historical women often face a higher bar for what "significant coverage" means or how many sources are necessary (or something that isn't even covered in GNG, like the scope of the source). If it takes a written guideline to cancel out the unconscious biases against historical women's biographies at AfD, then we might just need one. TheCatalyst31 ReactionCreation 02:27, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - If our goal is truly to share the sum of all knowledge, we need to account for systemic biases in the existing sources. I'm not sure the best way to accomplish that, but I support the effort in that direction. Kaldari (talk) 17:11, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Per the essay User:Ocaasi/under. We are here to share the world's knowledge, which happens to also be righting great wrongs. When done with specificity and intention, there is no contradiction between WP:RGW, WP:N, and WP:V. We are at a point where it's ok to stop making excuses about why this can't be done, and start thinking of creating ways to make it happen. Wikipedia's nature as a tertiary source does not preclude efforts at inclusion, and following guidelines by rote does leaves me wondering why we don't ask more often, "are we really doing the best we can here?" I personally, as a volunteer, applaud the effort at a textual intervention to the notability policy by User:Jytdog. It gives me great hope in our projects and the way we can continue to grow and evolve into fulfilling our mission. Ocaasi t | c 20:42, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment This is really an interesting discussion, because I think what tends to happen on Wikipedia is that editors de facto relax the requirements for topics like xmonad, which has undergone 3 AFDs with terrible sourcing yet has passed every time because Wikipedia editors are overwhelmingly technical. I definitely think it's worth putting effort into implementing policies that can counter WP:Systemic bias, but I'm not sure if this particular policy is the right one. I think it may be a little too vague and it's unclear which sourcing requirement we're relaxing: are we relaxing the secondary aspect, the substantial aspect, the multiple aspect? I'm really glad that this discussion is taking place though. It's a very important conversation to have. Editors !voting on this should keep in mind that we already have de facto source requirement relaxation for quite a few topics, and that a de jure relaxation for more underrepresented topics may not be as absurd as it seems on the surface. – FenixFeather (talk)(Contribs) 20:21, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Reading Suggestion I'm going to post this article from Sue Gardner, a former Wikimedia executive, here because I think it's relevant reading to this discussion: [6]. One of the key reasons she cites for women not editing Wikipedia is that there are lax sourcing requirements for topics like software and video games, but much more stringent sourcing requirements for topics like female YA authors. This difference in sourcing requirements isn't embedded in policy (no WP:CAPITALWORDS here) but rather in how discussions like AFDs usually go down because of the demographic makeup of current Wikipedia editors. So before you dismiss this RFC as non-"objective", keep in mind that current de facto sourcing requirements are far from objective. – FenixFeather (talk)(Contribs) 20:31, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support per Jytdog's nutshell statement here."We end up with systemic bias because the base of sources is the product of systemic bias." (Jytdog from past N discussion). I don't like the term "relaxed" which suggests sloppiness so maybe something else would work. I also think sources must be reliable although I don't think Jytdog is suggesting they shouldn't be. I acknowledge the very real issue of identifying notability when what is considered biased is often based on the subjective. Right now I don't think we see notability as consistent in anyway with importance possibly another consideration. I also don't know that we consider that even hard copy sources are much more available in the present day West than at any time in the past. For all of these reasons and many good points above we must deal with this issue. Only a support vote leaves the door open. Note: someone may have to resuscitate Jytdog since I don't think I've ever agreed with him before and he may have had a heart attack or passed out after reading this support. :O)(Littleolive oil (talk) 21:28, 29 October 2018 (UTC))
  • I see Montana has suggested replacing relaxed with, "reassessed in light of historic marginalization", which I like. Per DGG no we are not lowering our standards; I'd suggest we are taking on the very real task an editor faces which is to make educated and more sophisticated judgements about what we do and do not included. In reading years old posts I noticed editors back then lacked some of the knowledge and sophistication we have now. I believe we can handle more nuance than we could when the policy was first written.(Littleolive oil (talk) 21:36, 29 October 2018 (UTC))
"Reassessed" may not be as hair-raising as "relaxed", but is entirely meaningless; as if the sources were not assessed the first time around (?). It begs the question: What is the point then? We are going to have to debate at AfD how marginalised certain groups are(oh god no... please no) for... what gain exactly? What advantage would "reassessed in light of historic marginalization" give to 'marginalised' biographies? There is no substance to this proposed rewording. Are we just virtue signaling at this point? — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 22:20, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
Relaxed to me means a judgement. Reassessed is active, driven to action. In the RfDS I've been involved in I and others have discussed marginalization and sources are reassessed all the time. For example, in science based topics research can be withdrawn, and archived and we have to be aware of that and act accordingly. Sources are never frozen-in-stone acceptable. This wording simply opens the door for the fact that we are even in ten years more knowledgeable, have better access to sources and maybe have learned a few lessons about how to discuss differences.(Littleolive oil (talk) 22:45, 29 October 2018 (UTC))
It is not virtue signaling so much as a gentle reminder to keep an open mind, and to consider non-hegemonic perspectives. I don't know why there is so much hand-wringing over debates over "how marginalized" a group is. You really think AFDs are going to devolve into people debating whether women have x marginalization units vs how black people have y marginalization units? I don't really see that happening and I don't see why it would; intersectionalism is a thing and oppression olympics are generally frowned upon, especially in social justice circles. This just seems like reactionary fearmongering and a strawperson argument. I think what's going to happen is that we'll be reminded to be mindful of our own biases, since Wikipedia is biased toward Western, technically savvy straight white male perspectives. – FenixFeather (talk)(Contribs) 23:17, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
FenixFeather, I've been involved in far too many heated AfD discussions not to think that "debates over "how marginalized" a group is" would be common and horrific to be involved in, especially if this conferred some benefit toward 'keeping' the article. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 07:18, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
I'm still not sure how this would go down. It's just an encouragement to keep in mind that marginalized groups should be considered more carefully because Wikipedia is biased against them. I don't know why it would be comparative? What kind of person would be doing those comparisons? This just doesn't make any sense to me. You can't just say "there will definitely be people comparing how oppressed women are compared to how oppressed Asian Americans are!" and not provide any evidence or scenarios to back that up. That's called fearmongering. – FenixFeather (talk)(Contribs) 17:24, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose I like what this is trying to do, but the problem is really to do with the purpose of notability. Years ago we used to argue about whether or not to change the name, because it wasn't meant to indicate "importance", but to indicate whether or not sources have "taken note" of the subject. If we don't have sources that provide extensive and balanced coverage, even extremely important topics can't be covered, as we don't have the material to write the article. If the significant but marginalised subject has not been written about in enough detail to pass the primary bar of non-trivial coverage in two or more sources, then we're stuck - an article about such a subject based on trivial coverage in multiple sources is unlikely to have the depth we need for an NPOV encyclopaedic article; an article based on a single source with non-trivial coverage risks not having the balance we require. - Bilby (talk) 23:51, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support ed g2stalk 11:32, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. While I respect the principle of trying to get more members of underrepresented groups covered in Wikipedia, and actually participate in efforts where I can (e.g. LGBT writers), the problem is that I actually have seen attempts in the past to argue that only straight white men should actually be held to notability standards, while women, people of colour and LGBTs should be entitled to have articles, regardless of what they have or haven't actually accomplished, just because we can verify that the person exists. I actually have seen the argument attempted that a woman, a person of colour or an LGBT person should be able to get into Wikipedia just for being a school board trustee or a committee member or a small-town municipal councillor or a county clerk, even though we wouldn't normally accept those as NPOL-passing offices otherwise; I have seen people try to play the gay or race cards in deletion discussions about people whose only sourceability was their own Twitter feed; and on and so forth. Yes, it's important to be conscious of the fact that there may be a bias in Wikipedia, and to make an effort to counter that by locating the women, POCs and LGBTs who do pass our existing notability standards and are getting overlooked (e.g. a lot of LGBT writers who pass WP:AUTHOR by having won Lambdas are still redlinks) — but as written, this effectively just suspends Wikipedia being able to apply any notability criteria at all to a very large percentage of our biographical articles about people, and makes some articles undeletable even if they really, truly shouldn't be here. Bearcat (talk) 17:38, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - Per Jytdog and SusanW. Systemic bias in the sources leads to embarrassing gaps and bias in our coverage. This small addition isn't righting a great wrong, let's not blow it out of proportion. Proposed change only affects dead people, does not mean that no sources are required, and does not (anymore) call for significant change in our deletion processes. Editors focusing on adding useful content about people from marginalized communities to Wikipedia run into roadblocks with bias in sources every day. It is indeed necessary to address larger issues of systemic bias in the sources, outside of Wikipedia. But while we're waiting for that to happen, adding this small bit of language helps to acknowledges the issue and lessen just one of the barriers to writing biographies about notable people from marginalized communities. Siko (talk) 21:53, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support more articles on historical figures - I think even broader than the current proposal, we should have allowances for more articles on non-BLPs that are clearly of a non-promotional nature (ie those that are not genealogical or similar). This is important for coverage of marginalized groups, but it's also valuable in general, and more dukes and bishops really wouldn't do any harm either.--Pharos (talk) 01:49, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose solely because such an addition is unenforceable. If there is not enough sourcing to write a good quality article which satisfies WP:V requirements, the article should not be written. Wikipedia should encourage speakers of other languages (who would be able to use foreign-language RS) to write more biographies, instead of lowering article quality standards. feminist (talk) 07:04, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support these kinds of policies are really important in making sure that for folks who need clear rules for AFD and patrolling purposes, can understand why exceptions are necessary when dealing with marginalized knowledge. Sadads (talk) 10:48, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support and if the amendment hadn't struck through the last part it'd have been strong support - Wikipedia has not handled marginalized people well for a very long time. This would be a small step in the right direction. Simonm223 (talk) 12:02, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Support and comment - I don't see it as a huge departure from how we currently work that we consider that 'significant' means different things at different times and in different contexts. In fact, I think we already do this - coverage of a notable person today might be regurgitated in dozens of different news outlets, whereas we would consider a handful of mentions in the past to be sufficient because we understand that the world was a different place. In the same way that the breadth of possible coverage of a person has changed over time, so too has the degree to which groups of people are covered. I think it's important to note, as Alafarge says above, that we're not talking about Verifiability here - though many oppose voters above seem to think we are - this proposal does not advocate for relaxing our standards on how to verify information; it doesn't say "Content about marginalized people can be original research", it requests that we consider what "significant" means for different groups. Viewed through this lens, I think this proposal is a) not at odds with current practices and b) a step in the right direction for a project which aims to bring free knowledge to the world. I think it's also worth mentioning that a number of voters above state that things will get better over time, and we can simply wait for that and have better articles on marginalized people in the future. This ignores that we're talking about people from the past, for whom this breadth of sourcing is likely to never magically appear. Sam Walton (talk) 12:25, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose the mainstream media has shamefully ignored me and I'm due my unsourced, unverifiable autobiography... stuff and nonsense. Cabayi (talk) 12:43, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The bar for inclusion is already very low (too low in some instances, e.g. sports), lowering that bar even further (but only for some vaguely defined groups) is not the way forward. If people have not (yet) received significant attention in multiple sources, they aren't notable. This applies to everyone (and everything for that matter), and should remain so. The current proposal would mean that if we get for example one book dealing with "important people in the history of X", we could include all women, non-whites, ... from such a book, but not the white males (unless they are otherwise a suppressed minority apparently). And this would solve things how exactly? Wikipedia shouldn't try to solve the unequal treatment and chances many groups have had throughout the ages, by supporting reversed unequal treatment. I fully support attempts to uncover truly notable persons from suppressed groups, and to create and improve articles on them (e.g. a project like Women in Red, if used for this goal). I would support attempts to enforce rules that SNGs may never allow people who don't meet the GNG to get articles anyway (e.g. non notable soccer or cricket players), regardless of their religion, gender or supposed race. But I can't support a proposal which would treat people with the same achievements and the same level of recognition (in reliable sources) in a different way. Fram (talk) 12:47, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose At the end of the day it is not our job to make up for poor scholarship of under represented people, that is the job of scholars. If they are genuinely notable I find it impossible to believe that you could not find half a dozen "whateverologosts" noting them, even if in op-ed pieces.Slatersteven (talk) 12:55, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. Blueboar (talk) 13:32, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Not our remit - how can this be reconciled with the fundamental approach of proportionally documenting what the world has written, rather than assigning the proportions ourselves? Wikipedians by and large are can not be expected to be experts at assessing someone's historical import, impact or legacy - that's why we leave that to the actual experts, whose works we rely on. It's tempting to imagine Wikipedia doing its bit to address historical and societal injustice in a more overt way than that of providing free information to everyone. But it can't be by way of fracturing the guidelines that prevent it from becoming Wikia. Also, practically not workable - how can this not turn AfD discussions into bubbling tar pits? --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 13:35, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose While I agree the problem exists, we need less notability exceptions not more. I would support a generalized relaxing of the standard for people who have been dead for >20 years or so. As others have said, this feels like a great wrong that Wikipedia can't fix. As much as I support everyone who is actually notable having an article, we shouldn't be creating carve outs for specific groups, will that result in some level of biases/missing coverage? Yes, but that isn't a problem we can fix. We have to have good sources. zchrykng (talk) 15:42, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose this well-meaning attempt to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:29, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose — While I understand where this is coming from, the criteria is too subjective and also seems to be WP:RGW and WP:CREEP. — pythoncoder  (talk | contribs) 21:07, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I agree and sympathize with the underlying problem here, but Wikipedia is not the place to solve it. All this proposal stands to do is make arguments over notability at AfD, a tricky topic to start with, even more nitpicky. Plus, I'm sure we'll eventually end up with unending fights over the definition of "marginalized group" and ultimately accusations of racism on all sides. I support less rules for determining notability, not more, and especially not ones that will turn AfD into even more of a minefield. --Nathan2055talk - contribs 23:01, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose basically per all the above opposes. The systemic bias in Wikipedia is for the most part merely a reflection of the systemic bias of the world at large. The problem exists in the source material, it's the historians and journalists who should be "forced" to write about marginalized people, then we can in turn create the WP articles. When the Strickland Nobel topic became an issue in the media my first thought was that these news media who were screeching about the lack of a WP article are actually the ones to blame. They have no right to demand/expect an article of us if they have never written anything about her before! We're a tertiary source, the problem is the absence or inaccessibility of primary and secondary sources. We cannot create articles out of hot air and wishful thinking. It's an issue I deal with regularly in my roles as an AFC reviewer, admin and as a founder of WikiProject Disability. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 23:34, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Well meaning, but not consistent with NPOV. We are not in the business of "de-biasing" RSs. Eperoton (talk) 23:37, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per many of the above commenters, especially Iffy and Insertcleverphrasehere. Double sharp (talk) 06:28, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose The definition of marginalized groups is too broad ("and other"). Also: who decides that "sourcing" lacks because of a bias, or simply because the person is not notable? If a Wikipedian really thinks that he or she wants to write a Wikipedia article about a person without "sourcing", then the Wikipedian should invest time first in writing and publishing such a "secondary source". If the person really is notable, and if you can find and use enough reliable primary sources, then you certainly will find a journal that wants to publish your secondary source article. Ziko (talk) 08:15, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose The tendency to want to compensate formerly committed injustice in the aftermath looks praiseworthy, but in the end it is just nonsense. You can not retroactively improve the history. On the contrary, if one did not serve history and science, one would soften the criteria. Rules should always apply universally, otherwise there is a positive discrimination - but that too is discrimination. - Marcus Cyron (talk) 12:14, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - while I wholeheartedly support the plight of marginalized groups (being a member of one myself), I can't really support this proposal in good faith for a number of reasons. Everyone opposing above has pretty solid reasoning, so I'll keep this short: Wikipedia is supposed to be a lagging indicator, and everything in the project should be verifiable. This is a core foundation of the project, and we can't really relax that standard. This RfC is basically asking us to change the second pillar. We avoid advocacy. This is POV-pushing, albeit in a good-faith way. An encyclopedia is just not the place to do this. cymru.lass (talkcontribs) 19:31, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support per Siko's thoughtful analysis. --Theredproject (talk) 14:07, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose How are we going to write an accurate and verifiable article about someone if we don't have multiple reliable sources with substantial discussion of the person? Inaccurate and poorly sourced articles do not benefit marginalized groups and damage the credibility of Wikipedia. Tornado chaser (talk) 15:38, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support in principle. This is a really, really well-documented pattern: you define a set of "objective" criteria for determining the merits of Foos and Bars. You notice that Bars are underrepresented in your final selections, but you convince yourself that, because your criteria were "objective" and you chose only on "merit", then the problem must not be your fault or something you can solve. The source of this mistaken impression is usually that the "objective" criteria are themselves biased, and that you - probably coming from a cultural context similar to the one that created those biased criteria - are unaware of your own biases and how they might influence your decisions. Attempts to explicitly correct for these baseline biases tend to elicit the same reactions elsewhere that they're getting here - "Are you saying some people should get special treatment? I thought we were all for equality!" In this context the biases are not only in the sources, but also in how Wikipedians think about and evaluate sources, and are baked into our particular idiosyncratic terms of art like "reliable sources" and "verifiability". (You can see the conceptual seams cracking in some of the comments to the effect of "but how could we write a well-sourced article if we relax the notability criteria?" - special bonus points for bluelinking WP:V or WP:RS but not doing any introspection about where anything documented there originates or whether those criteria might also be biased.) As a matter of practice, I do think after-the-fact blunt corrections - like "relaxed" notability expectations - are imperfect solutions that are generally less effective than trying to address the biases closer to their source. But since that doesn't seem to be a practical alternative here, I think this proposal is reasonable to try. If it turns out that Wikipedia is unexpectedly inundated with articles about members of underrepresented demographics in history, to a point that we can barely find all our one-line stubs on cricketers anymore, then we can revisit the issue. Opabinia externa (talk) 22:39, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia is based on WP:V and without enough independent and reliable sources, how are we supposed to even write about a person in a way which follows Wikipedia's policies and guidelines? Without enough sources, what editors write can easily fall into the realm of original research and then the article becomes unreliable. If independent and reliable sources talk about a person, Wikipedia will then be able to follow, with writing an article on them. We don't WP:RIGHT WRONGS, so have to wait for these sources to be available. Also, this change would only murky the waters of notability further. What constitutes "a marginalized group" is subjective, as you could say that Christians could be "a marginalized group", as Christians have been (and are still in some parts of the world) discriminated against and persecuted, but are also the largest religious group in the world. There would have to be a hard and definitive "cut of point" for what makes a group "marginalized" if this proposal is to be accepted, as editors can argue both ways with relative ease. Although I think that Wikipedia should have more articles on people who have been marginalized, lack of sources cannot be a way bypass having enough reliable and independent sources. Dreamy Jazz 🎷 talk to me | my contributions 12:35, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, on two grounds: Practicality: "Marginalized" is so broadly/poorly defined here that it could be stretched to cover just about everybody. Morality: If we worsen verifiability standards for a particular group, that group will by definition come to have less-verifiable, lower-quality articles. Over time this could even be a vector to insert racist and sexist material into Wikipedia, which would then be harder to remove due to the poorer verifiability standards. Article subjects deserve verifiable articles with solid sourcing--if we can't manage that, it's better to have no article than a badly sourced, possibly-defamatory article. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 20:03, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. For two reasons - first determining who is marginalized is OR and POV (and - heck - American WASPs are now claiming to be marginalized and persecuted) - leading to an unclear criteria. Second - this is simply not needed - as such systemic attempts at "correction" already occur by a plethora of WP:RSes who choose to cover individuals perceived to be of marginalized groups for accomplishments (e.g. first X to do Y, or just inspiring life stories) that would not be covered otherwise. Notability should be (mainly) SIGCOV based - with the underlying coverage correcting biases (or introducing biases in the case of models and football players) - not us. Icewhiz (talk) 12:24, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Comment: numerous people have commented that determining who is marginalized is difficult. It is not. If law forbade someone for having equal civil, socio-economic or political rights, they were marginalized. No OR or opinion required. SusunW (talk) 15:16, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Which, if we look at the world pre-20th century, includes probably 98% of all men, and 99.9% of all women. Fram (talk) 15:29, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Even in the 20th century, many would consider African Americans to be marginalized even after de jure equality (we can quibble on when that was achieved - but following the 60s civil rights legislation, constitutional amendments, and court rulings one would generally claim de jure equality - though many still argue persisting discrimination exists due to factors outside of the law)). Many forms of discrimination are informal or extralegal (e.g. the KKK in the US context which operated outside the bounds of the law). In many class based systems (think of India's myriad castes, or serfs, Jews, freemen, clergy, petty nobility, major nobility, and royalty in a medieval context) there is a lack of equality vs. any class - each class (and subsets within the class) had different rights. Icewhiz (talk) 15:49, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
Fram, yes, the majority. I would argue that any historical figure who was legally marginalized and for whom verifiable notability exists in multiple sources qualifies under the proposal. Icewhiz being a target of extralegal or informal discrimination is not likely to prohibit media/academic publishing, in fact the opposite. The point is the place and time in which one lived and the characteristics which made up their identity impacts the amount of sourcing that will be available. Doesn't say no sourcing, doesn't imply poor sourcing, doesn't fix history. Simply acknowledges that what is required to constitute significant coverage may take different forms. SusunW (talk) 19:35, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
"any [...] figure [...] for whom verifiable notability exists in multiple sources" is already what WPBIO has as rule, and what we use as the general inclusion criteria at AfD (with some exceptions like some politicans, pornbios, ...). Fram (talk) 07:29, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose I appreciate the way the plan addresses the concerns involved, but we don't WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. FoxyGrampa75 (talk) 04:38, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose (Summoned by bot) No we don't WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS as many others above have pointed out. Well-intentioned but our notability rules are too lax as it is. Terrible idea. Coretheapple (talk) 05:01, 13 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support in principle I don't have an ideal solution, but it's a problem that needs to be solved. If this isn't the right solution, we need to keep thinking and talking valereee (talk) 20:07, 13 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. We are not relaxing any policies or guidelines because people are complaining. Kamafa Delgato (Lojbanist)Styrofoam is not made from kittens. 01:02, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. We're here to make an encyclopedia not to right great wrongs. I echo power~enwiki's view that all people should have to conform to the same standard. Exception clauses are inherently biased, we need one rule for all or no rules at all. SITH (talk) 13:59, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This belies the very concept of our notability criterion, which isn't just based on "importance." It's based on actual verifiability as well. If most of these people are ignored throughout history and have significantly less coverage than the WP:GNG warrants or other subject-specific notability criterion, there's most likely not going to be enough sources to even create any sort of verifiable encyclopedia article beyond a name. The presumably non-white person who invented the wheel almost certainly satisfies the subject-specific notability criterion, for example, but we don't have a Wikipedia article on them because there's almost certainly no verifiable information on this person. This will most likely be the same with most "marginalized" (included in quotes as I don't believe there is agreement on what the term means) peoples who don't really satisfy the GNG or notability criteria. Grognard Extraordinaire Chess (talk) Ping when replying 13:50, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Like others have mentioned above it is a good sentiment. But generally not a good idea to relax verifiable requirements. It also seems like something that is vague enough to be easily abused. PackMecEng (talk) 14:13, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

Discussion on addition[edit]

  • I don't mind this except for the two-year moratorium on deletion, to which I am vociferously opposed. I'd also prefer a bit more clarification on exactly when this would and would not apply. SportingFlyer talk 01:27, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • I propose modifying "can be relaxed for non-living individuals who were members of a marginalized group" to "can be relaxed for non-living individuals who were members of a wp:notable marginalized group"
The proposed wording smells of righting great wrongs, and it invites WP:OR on assigning the characteristic "marginalized". "wp:notable group" is much more objective, it means the group has a Wikipedia article.
Is the individual a member of the group? At the most lax, there must be a reliable source for the individual being a member of the specific group. More restrictive, and probably more reasonable, would be a requirement that the individual is mentioned in the article on the group. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:13, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
SmokeyJoe, IMHO, this is more nonsensical, than the one being proposed. What's a group? Individual castes, individual tribes, caste-clusters, a community, a linguistic race, a political group, a religious sect, fringe groups of lunatic charlatans, how is a group defined? I can give a hundred more examples, all of which have (very-deservedly) an article on
And, if you propose extensively loosening the notability guidelines for all deceased members of this huge set, which will contain a near unbounded number of elements, that's just disastrous. WBGconverse 15:55, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
User:Winged Blades of Godric, I'm sure I could modify to avoid your concerns, but I was just trying to steer a bad idea in a better direction. "Groups" must be wikipedia-notable; some mention of sourcing. But don't worry, the proposal is going nowhere. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:45, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Does anyone have something - preferably but not necessarily an AfD or draft piece - where this would rule needs to come into play? SportingFlyer talk 05:28, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment How can this work, when people have made these !votes, to re-open as an essentially different discussion? Shouldn't this be addressed as a separate proposal? Jacona (talk) 15:22, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Everyone has been notified already. (talk) 19:59, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • It says "This should not be taken as justification for the creation of thinly sourced permastubs"; but how are you supposed to create a non-stub without having reliable sources to cite? Are we going to have a bunch of uncited material in these articles? Or are they going to be cited to unreliable sources? If you have multiple reliable sources to flesh out the article, why do you need this change? If you have only one decent source to flesh out the article, how is it verifiable? My only conclusion is that this proposal is contrary to the 5 pillars: Excerpt from the Second Pillar of Wikipedia: "All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy, citing reliable, authoritative sourceS" (emphasis mine). Thus being added to this page is both invalid and can be ignored in light of being superseded by higher-level policy. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 15:31, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
    Insertcleverphrasehere, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Isophene Goodin Bailhache.There were sources, I must admit. WBGconverse 16:00, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
SportingFlyer too numerous too count, but yes Maymie de Mena, Carmen Casco de Lara Castro, Vera Gedroits and you can ignore the example cited above. The writer is well aware that my belief was that there was questionable notability. SusunW (talk) 18:05, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Lots of strong feelings being aired, which is all fine. Some of them don't appear to be dealing with the actual proposal, which is how these things go. This specific proposal doesn't appear to be likely to gain consensus, but I am hopeful that a closer will be able to pull out directions for future community consideration. We'll see. Jytdog (talk) 19:42, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
The logical consequences of the proposal are the biggest problems. If you want to discuss changing the 'significant coverage' guidance for long dead people, then that is probably the most promising avenue, but anything where Wikipedians are required to assess the degree of 'marginalisation' a given person has been subjected to is a complete non-starter. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 21:09, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
User:Insertcleverphrasehere in your experience, are there a lot of people clamoring to add badly-sourced pages about really obviously non-notable dead people from marginalized groups where there is some actual risk of this being abused? If so I am interested to hear about that. (I am very aware of people clamoring to add badly sourced content about living people - athletes, executives, entertainers, etc - that is a different issue). Jytdog (talk) 22:47, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
there are a number of problems:
(1) to the extent people work on adding non-notable people in marginalized groups, they don't add the notable ones.
(2) worse, this tends to perpetuate the myth that there is less to be expected in the way of accomplishments from members of these groups.
(3) they generally to use nonselective directory sources
(4) this impairs our recognition and location of good sources for these individuals -- usually, printed sources.
(5) any lack of selectivity for people from the late 20th century and later, even if deceased, lays the ground for similar articles of living individuals.
(6) NOT ADVOCACY refers to more than commercial advocacy--it refers to advocacy of any enterprise or movement, even the most laudable ones.
(7) to the extent we compromise this in directions we think justifiable, we provide the basis and the excuse for others.
(8) aside for being a distortion of the purpose of an encyclopedia, articles written with an intention of advocacy tend to be poorly written and sourced, and almost always depart from NPOV.
(9) while overing borderline notable subjects does not necessarily detract much from the value of Wikipedia , but departures from NPOV destroy it.
(10) to the extent we tolerate such articles, we need to bring them to some semblance of community standards, but the resource that we are most limited in is experienced editors willing to improve articles, and they are more needed for the inadequately written articles of subjects that are actually notable .
but there's solution: Wikidata is much less selective, and not limited by WP concepts of notability (they use the term in a different and immensely broader meaning [7]: can be described using serious and publicly available references. . Verified information entered there will be of direct and indirect benefit to everyone in the community, now and in the future, and to users, with all their various purposes. This is the place to enter these people: if the sources are considered at some later point show notability , the basic references will be there. DGG ( talk ) 03:11, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
DGG I'd like to see your documentation for these claims. Having read numerous studies on Wikipedia and its coverage of women and western-bias, notable men and women are represented equally in field specific studies. By equally meaning, notable figures recognized by other encyclopedias tend to be equally covered in WP. Articles about women on WP typically are longer and more in-depth, despite the sourcing biases. However, due to those same sourcing and systemic biases, there are less notable women in the historic record.[8][9] Articles about significant cultural figures from outside the language scheme of the platform are underrepresented; meaning that significant Chinese figures are more likely to appear on WP.zh than on WP.en and vice versa.[10] But if significant figures are covered, the sourcing tends to be better with more references cited on WP.en.[11] I have no data regarding your claim that there are many non-notable people written about on WP, but as <18% of biographies on WP.en are women, if that is indeed the case, it would indicate that the non-notables tend to be figures from mainstream cultures and not marginalized populations given actual research by academics of the platform. SusunW (talk) 14:18, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
  • SusunW, I agree with you completely that people from marginalized groups are under-represented in WP. I agree with you 100% that they need to be added, I agree with you 100% that campaigns to add them are appropriate, and I have been participating in as many such events as I can. Though I usually don't often start articles, I revise them to better show the notability and defend them if challenged. I admit I never thought of it this way, but you are completely right that articles on women in WP are usually better-than those for men, because they have been added more carefully, with experienced people working on them and revising them, as you and I both do. And I agree that this is true for other marginalized groups also: if we cover people from them at all, we cover them well. I think that the way that WiR and similar projects (such as Black Lunch Table) are doing this is a very good way to make articles, and a model for many other areas. This is an important argument, and I am glad you have called it to my attention, for I shall be using it also in the attempt to improve WP quality.
That's not the question here. The question is is whether to get adequate representation it is necessary to lower the notability standards for them, because that is what has been proposed. I think doing this will cause the loss of the quality you rightly refer to above. There is no need to do this, for there are many thousands of women who do meet the standards for us to write about, covering many fields. We need to maintain the same high standards, not compromise them. DGG ( talk ) 06:29, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
DGG I think you and others are misreading the proposal and maybe its the choice of the word "relaxed". All the proposed change is asking is that the way we view substantial coverage to reflect historical reality, as Montanabw said reassessed in light of historic marginalization of certain segments who have been historically ignored. Where they were written about, source articles tended to be short with very little detail, other than weighty statements. What the proposal is asking that instead of requiring length, we acknowledge depth. For a visual example instead of a 5 lb. bag of sugar, we recognize that five 1 lb bags is the equivalent and more likely what we will be able to find. One long biography may not exist, but if one can use multiple smaller references to develop a complete profile, we can increase the number of articles on notable people in large segments of the population. SusunW (talk) 16:14, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
Then this should be applied across the board to long dead people. I will Oppose any proposal that purports that Wikipedians are qualified to assess weather a person was 'marginalised' or not. This is a terrible idea that will lead to very ugly discussions and very ugly accusations that nobody wants to be a part of (I won't go into deatail as to what sort of discussions I fear, for fear of sparking one off here). — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 21:28, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
SusunW Yes, we should be assessing the sources for notability in the context of what can be expected for the subject. But notability is not a quantity that can be approximated by counting sources or by adding them, but rather by what the sources are and what is said in them. It's not something infinitely dividable like a pile of sugar: if we must use far-fetched analogies like this, a closer one is that if I need 5lb of sugar to make something, it doesn't help if I have 1 pound this week and 1 pound next week, and so on --I need 5 at a time. to be notable a person has to do something recognized as important, not do many things that are not really important. A writer gets to be recognized as notable for publishing a best seller, not any number of books that are only slight noticed. A scientist, by publishing even a small amount of important work that is highly cited, not any number of papers that almost nobody cites. A political, by winning an election, not coming in second in many. What we need to do is recognize a wider range or sources, and a wider range of accomplishments. (I've argued for years that nursing is as notable as any other medical profession, where the head of a national association & the like is notable & I think this has become accepted; I now recognize that being head of a state WCTU is an important civic office (tho I didn't realize this at first). DGG ( talk ) 02:57, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
Which is probably why articles on women are longer—from the get go, one must compile a list of resources to justify their import. You have nailed the problem, DGG, it isn't about notability, it's about perception. It is the idea that the kinds of positions marginalized people were allowed were unimportant, thus anyone doing them could not be notable. It isn't just nurses who are deemed less than. Public administrators who are politicians are notable if they won an election at a minimum of the sub-national level, but social workers who run state level agencies are perceived as just routinely performing a job, regardless of whether they were the person who established the statewide network for public aid. And yes, being a state, national or international leader of notable organizations like WILPF, NAACP, League of Women Voters, the Anti-Slavery Society, the International Alliance of Women, the WCTU, etc., which represented the only political activities marginalized people were allowed to participate in, is an indicator of notability. It isn't remotely about lowering standards or righting society's wrongs, it is about looking at what is and including a "wider range of accomplishments" and better assessing the quality of sources, not their length or circulation base. SusunW (talk) 05:52, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
@DGG: I'm surprised to see you here making arguments about maintaining high sourcing standards and not compromising them, because on the xmonad AFD you were making the argument that we should relax sourcing requirements [12], because Wikipedia is "known for software articles" and also made a WP:IAR argument in favor of relaxing sourcing requirements for xmonad here [13]. I'm curious as to your reasoning why we can relax sourcing requirements for software without compromising quality, but apparently we can't relax sourcing requirements for marginalized groups. – FenixFeather (talk)(Contribs) 20:37, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
  • I've been watching silently for a while. In terms of what is sufficient sourcing for an article about a (in this case, black) woman, I offer an article I created almost 12 years ago, M. Athalie Range. This article has never been challenged, even with its weak sourcing. Are we talking about creating articles with even less sourcing than this, or has this article slipped through the system? - Donald Albury 01:15, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
I wouldn't have thought so. There's excellent coverage in the Marvin Dunn book, the Miami Herald obituary is also good, and the South Florida CEO piece seems ok to me. The article seems to pass the current bar of significant coverage in multiple independent sources. - Bilby (talk) 02:29, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Then, what about Virginia "Ginny" Montes? This article has survived almost 13 years on very thin sources (I just added the obit from The New York Times a couple of weeks ago) without being challenged. Because of my conflict of interest (acknowledged on the talk page), I have been reluctant to work on the article since creating it, but it does need cleaning up and more references. In this case, it appears that an article about a Hispanic woman managed to fly below the radar despite poor sourcing. I think the obit in The New York Times, which was sent out over its news service and printed in papers across the US, establishes her notability, but that is the one solid source. So, is this a test case for sourcing a biography about a dead person? - Donald Albury 16:17, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
@Donald Albury and Bilby: Montes is a good example, as are the discussion of Bess Adams in the previous thread and my examples above. With Maymie de Mena, I found one detailed biography in the Oxford Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro–Latin American Biography, which made the claim of her notability and was published in a reliable source. The problem was much of the information in the article was wrong. It said de Mena was Nicaraguan and born in 1891, when in actuality she was born in Louisiana in 1879. I found a second scholarly article written in Women, Gender, and Families of Color, which analyzed the problems in the published record about de Mena, her fluid identity, her name changes over 5 marriages and the reasons why her biography had been obscured by historians. Though it depicted her rise in the Universal Negro Improvement Association, very little of her life in Jamaica was covered by the author. With a thorough search in primary records and newspapers, I was able to confirm that the feminist article was the more reliable source and flesh out de Mena's life in Jamaica. What you referred to above, Bilby as "trivial" sources is a misnomer; short does not mean trivial. Trivial is unimportant or unnecessary minor detail. Weighty detail, like she founded an organization which brought technical training to island women, is significant. By combining the information from the one reliable source, a feminist journal, what could be verified from the Oxford Dictionary piece and multiple short but weighty articles, de Mena's became a GA, not "an article about such a subject based on trivial coverage in multiple sources is unlikely to have the depth we need for an NPOV encyclopaedic article". (As a side note, in the year and a half since the article was reviewed, I have been corresponding with Morris, the author of the feminist journal, who researching a full book on de Mena. So, again, we are not talking about a stagnant situation, where adequate secondary sources may not at some point be available).
Donald Albury, my guess is that Montes can be fleshed out with newspaper articles. I find several articles that could help you do that [14], [15], for starters. She apparently worked as a journalist for the The Tampa Times in the 1960s, as there are many articles "by" her. Possibly you can find sources to document that. She was honored by the GA legislature [16]. While "find a grave" is not a RS, her tombstone photograph shows she was born [17] 1 April 1943. SusunW (talk) 17:46, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
I really doubt that she was writing for the Tampa Times in the 1960s, as she was a student at the University of Florida in Gainesville when I met her in 1964 (although she was from Tampa and had transferred from the University of South Florida). We were married in 1966, and I was never aware of her writing for any newspaper, at least through 1979, when we were divorced. She was active in civil rights in Gainesville in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but coverage (under her married name) for that period may be difficult to find. The The Gainesville Sun does not keep back copies more than a year, and the local library does not seem to have microfilm copies going that far back. She was in Tallahassee from 1976 to the early 1980s, when she moved to Atlanta, so there may be some coverage there. The birth date at 'find a grave' sounds about right, but I can't verify that. It is probably true that more newspaper coverage is available now on-line than when I created the article in 2006, but I have shied away from making more than some wonky edits over the years. In any case, I don't plan on editing the article, although I will post anything I find on the talk page. - Donald Albury 20:43, 30 October 2018 (UTC)
Donald Albury, everything I found with her writing was in the early 1960s and talked about university policies. And yes, marriage and name changes always make women's bios more difficult. SusunW (talk) 21:03, 30 October 2018 (UTC)

And this sums it up nicely for me (and says more or less what I have) [[18]], the fact that this situation exists is not one we can fix, it is down to the professional commentators to do it.Slatersteven (talk) 18:32, 6 November 2018 (UTC)

Alt suggestion[edit]

  • I would be inclined to support something a bit more nuanced, something like:

Just as context matters when determining the reliability of sources, it also matters when determining notability. While it may be reasonable to expect notable individuals in the age of the internet to have scores of sources easily available, this may not be true of those in other historical contexts. For example, someone from an earlier time may have comparatively few sources that are difficult to access, while still having sufficient sourcing available to construct a verifiable article, and may still be among the most notable of their peers.

This should not be taken as leave to create permastubs or engage in original research, but should serve as a reminder that the first metric we should be considering is whether a verifiable article can be written which doesn't violate our core content policies, and not a subjective measure of "importance", which may contain its own implicit historical biases.

GMGtalk 11:30, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
GreenMeansGo, Now this looks like something I could get behind. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 11:33, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
I second Insertcleverphrasehere's preference for GreenMeansGo's more nuanced suggestion. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 13:52, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
This version looks much better to me as well. zchrykng (talk) 15:04, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
That's not bad, but doesn't directly address the systemic bias in our base of sources, which is the actual (not imaginary) problem that started this whole discussion back at WT:N. The bias in the source base makes articles that we can create vulnerable to deletion, and folks trying to create those articles get discouraged. None of that is about having policy-violating articles but rather thinking in a nuanced way about N for dead (not living) people (article topics) who have been objects of systemic bias -- to have something concrete that people can point to in deletion discussions and can help guide creation of appropriate pages about such people (which is why I linked to the WiR guide in the proposal).
If people don't want to craft something that addresses this actual problem I understand that, but this misses the mark. Jytdog (talk) 16:15, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Jytdog, Systemic bias can't be qualified in any meaningful way. Codifying that 'context matters' is about the closest that you are going to get without creating a quagmire of marginalisation Olympics that we will all have to wade through. You can't lower the sourcing requirement bar below two reliable sources with significant coverage:
  • if you have no sources, it is original research,
  • If you have only 1 good source, then all you can create is an article that isn't verifiable, then you have no way to verify WP:NPOV.
  • If you have a bunch of reliable sources, but none cover it with anything more than a couple sentences, then you create notability out of Synthesis.
Without multiple reliable sources, you simply can't create a verifiable standalone article on someone. Yes. History sucks. But you can't fix thousands of years of bad scholarship by lowering sourcing standards on the encyclopedia. GNG is a minimum bar that exists because that is what is needed to properly source an article verifiably, not because it is some handwavy threshold of 'importance' that we made up.
Saying that context matters, and that the main concern should be "can we source a decent length article on this person with the sources that exist?" is the best we can do. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 16:30, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
This is what I was trying to say above, but far better said. zchrykng (talk) 16:39, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
If the "1 good source" really is a high-quality source, then it is verifiable in the real world. It is often the case that someone from a marginalized community will be "rediscovered" (bad terminology!) by an academic or other high-quality publication, that is the first to write about them in a prominent secondary source in many decades. This also sometimes happens with biographies of people who are not from marginalized communities of course. Perhaps a version of your text that acknowledged the importance of the issue for covering marginalized communities, and accepting something like a high-quality "1 good source", without necessarily setting a separate standard, would be helpful,--Pharos (talk) 17:02, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Pharos Sorry. You are correct that a single reliable source can be considered verifiable. The issue with only one reliable source is establishing a neutral point of view. As discussed in WP:WHYN, We require multiple sources so that we can write a reasonably balanced article that complies with Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, rather than representing only one author's point of view.. I have amended this above. Requiring only one source would also be contary to the five pillars, which require sourceS. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 17:30, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Insertcleverphrasehere you also aren't creating notability out of synthesis unless you are drawing conclusions. Simple paraphrasing of the information in multiple sourceS does not require conclusions to be drawn. SusunW (talk) 17:40, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, but if the source you start with is, for example, a 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica article that you can copy verbatim because it's public domain, then you've got a pretty damned good start. GMGtalk 17:37, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
GreenMeansGo, Yes that is a pretty damn good start, and at times I have argued that if such sources exist, then it is no doubt that other sources exist offline that haven't been found yet. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 20:58, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
I'm a Britannica nostalgic myself, but if you're happy to accept a copy-paste from 1911 with a distinct British Empire POV, then I think a 21st century scholar writing about a historical figure from a marginalized community for citation as your "1 good source" (with others cited as well, but that being the main contributor to notability) would be at least as good from a global NPOV perspective.--Pharos (talk) 17:37, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
Well I think if you're fishing for a standard that is lower than "verifiable article that doesn't violate our core content policies" then you're not gonna get it, and IMO shouldn't get it. I'm not gonna link to diffs, because my intention is to call out the organizational culture, rather than particular individuals, but if you don't think deletion arguments are being based on subjective "importance" criteria like I'd accept Chair of the committee as sufficient for probable notability, but I would not extend that to vice-chair or Neither being the head librarian of a city library nor being the first president of a city-club-federation does contribute to encyclopedic notability. then you are definitely wrong. Neither of those rationales pertain to whether an encyclopedia article can be written; they have to do with arbitrary personal standards of whether a subject is "worthy" of an article. GMGtalk 17:07, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
User:Insertcleverphrasehere your comment has nothing to do with what I wrote and there is no point responding to it. If you want to re-read what I wrote and actually respond to it I will be happy to respond to that. Jytdog (talk) 17:56, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Jytdog, How do you define subjects "who have been objects of systemic bias" as 'marginalised' without creating an insane amount of turmoil and ending up with a subjective, biased, result anyway? (the grey areas are especially problematic here.)
People could point to the bit in GMG's proposal that says "context matters". — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 20:56, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
You are still not acknowledging the problem and there is no point talking about your objection to proposed solutions if there is no shared understanding of the problem. It's cart before the horse, CWOT. I reviewed all your comments here and there is no point where you have grappled with the problems (the systemic bias in the source base; people at AfD being quick to dismiss) other than the barest nod in your original !vote. If you do understand the problem and your ground-response is "not WP's problem" then just say that. Jytdog (talk) 22:37, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Jytdog "Acknowledging the problem" isn't the issue here. Are certain people less likely to receive coverage due to societal biases? Yes. This was especially true in the past. However, this isn't Wikipedia's job to fix. Wikipedia does not lead, we follow. Moreover, there is no practical solution to creating articles when sufficient sourcing to meet the bare minimum of the GNG doesn't exist. Additionally, there is no practical solution to decide who is 'marginalised' and who is not. These are the things that you have not "Acknowledged" and are the main reasons why the original proposal above is in the process of being opposed. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 07:24, 1 November 2018 (UTC)`````````
Thanks for stating that in your view, this isn't Wikipedia's job to fix. Everything else you have written on this issue is noise.
I do hope at some point that you think more carefully about the problems of systemic bias in WP and what that means to our mission. As I said above, I remain interested to see how this RfC is closed, to see if there are hints of a way forward (or not) on how we might address the particular root of bias in our source base. (btw, the P&G have loads of concepts that are not clearly bounded and sharply defined - civility, pseudoscience, and even notability itself, for example -- yet we use them every day, because they point to concepts that are important to the community.)
Finally, in the future, please do reconsider attempting to mansplain basic P&G concepts to people who are far more experienced than you.
I will not be responding to you further in this discussion. Jytdog (talk) 12:49, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
Jytdog, You've made my point far better than I could have. Discussions involving 'marginalisation' invariably devolve into aspersions about the participants in the discussion. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 14:27, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
I will reply to that, to simply note the continuation of sloppy thinking. My comments here have been purely about what you have been doing in this discussion. There is some validity to a stance that this is not WP's problem to solve but instead of simply stating that you have been throwing shit at the wall (as you just did again), which is not helpful. I have no tolerance for bullshit. Jytdog (talk) 14:34, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
Jytdog, From the beginning I have maintained that there are two issues with your proposal: 1) Wikipedia is supposed to be a lagging indicator, this needs to be fixed elsewhere first. and 2) difficulty in defining 'marginalisation' and the resultant conflict it would create at AfD discussions.
There is absolutely no reason to use that kind of language describing me or my words, which is bordering on PA.
GMG's proposal addresses these issues by focusing on examples where sourcing is difficult to obtain, but likely does exist, and avoids adding terms like 'marginalisation' as it seems clear from the !vote section above that it is unworkable.
Is it the same proposal? No. Does it address all of the same issues? No. Does it help address other problems? Yes. Does it address your core concern? Somewhat. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 07:47, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
I've read what you have written; repeating yourself is dull. Calling this "my proposal" and framing this as "my concern" is yet more bullshit. If you do want to understand my thoughts on this, please do read my comments at the preceding discussion at WT:N, from the first one onwards.Jytdog (talk) 12:14, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
Jytdog, I am familiar with the discussions at WP:N. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 13:23, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
You show no awareness of having read the section Wikipedia_talk:Notability#so_what_could_we_do? nor having thought about it. I stepped in there because the discussion was going no where, and I stated my skepticism very clearly, and asked authentic questions and listened to the answers. My mind was changed by listening to SusunW especially; the proposal arose from listening and trying to capture the concerns of the people whose work is being thwarted (work that does not violate any policies). The people doing the WiR work and similar work (which in my view is highly valued in the community) have identified a problem and are asking for community support. I am not sure this proposal is correct but in my view we should work toward something that will be specifically helpful to address the problem they identified at AfDs. This is a first effort and like many such efforts it will take a while to arrive at something. Jytdog (talk) 13:42, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
Jytdog, how would you prefer someone refer to the above proposal? Since you made it, "your proposal" seems like a very normal english way of referring to it. Same with "your concern", how would you prefer it have it referred to? "The concerns that the above proposal attempts to address" is kind of awkward and long. I don't think the usage of those words/phrases was meant in anyway to dismiss the real problems that the proposal attempts to address. Can we all please assume good faith and be civil with each other? zchrykng (talk) 14:00, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
Zchrykng I have been around the block a lot of times. Framing something as being about "your proposal" and "your concerns" is a very typical (and very human) way to personalize things and dismiss them. it is a very common form of bullshit. Its just "the RfC proposal" (I don't particularly own it; i just happened to be the one who posed it after listening to what people wanted) And the "concerns" are the frustrations expressed by the people whose work is being thwarted: i would hope that we are all concerned about that, at least. As to what we as a community choose to do about it - that is a very open question. The RfC proposal is just one (there are other possible amendments to BIO; another would be to show up at AfDs and just slowly work to change the way N is applied on these topics, afd by afd; there are others) Or maybe nothing. Jytdog (talk) 14:43, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
Jytdog, I think the main issue is with people being to strict with certain rules (i.e. significant coverage) in certain contexts (long dead people, marginalised people). The fact is that If we have significant enough coverage in reliable sources overall that can be used to write a strong non-stub article, then we probably should be able to.
I agree that there is a proposed change somewhere here, and I think it lies somewhere in saying that for assessing notability that "context matters" when assessing sources for notability (this is a phrase that Susan brought up in the discussion over at WT:N as well). Additionally, it lies in stating that if we can write an extensive article that is well sourced to multiple reliable sources, without engaging in WP:SYNTH, then we should, regardless of the arbitrary length of individual sources (e.g. when each reliable source discusses different aspects of the person's life, but not with much length of coverage in each source). This might be rare, but it does happen.
Note that under this rule, if you have multiple reliable sources that all say the same thing about the subject, then we can't write an article, regardless of context (e.g. coverage that is substantially the same between sources can't add to the significance of the overall coverage, regardless of how many sources it is found in).
However, anything that attempts to allow this only for 'marginalised' people is a nonstarter. I believe that trying to define who is marginalised and who is not (especially if this gives some benefit at AfD) would be detrimental to the AfD process and in many cases wouldn't be able to get a clear consensus anyway due to the vagueness of the term. Refer to my original Oppose above: "Are all women marginalised? only minorities? If so, does that count white people in South Africa? Does it count all people that grew up outside the West? What about class boundaries? Are all poor people marginalised? Are rich minorities marginalised?". These are unanswered, and fundamental unanswerable questions in many cases that will only serve to cause friction in discussions. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 08:29, 3 November 2018 (UTC)
You are repeating yourself yet again and again are mansplaining basic policies to me. So tedious.
I directly addressed the definition question above, and your failure to acknowledge that is IDHT bullshit.
There is nothing I can do about your paranoia about identity politics nor your "unanswerable questions" which are fox-news-worthy garbage along the lines of "Are there terrorists and rapists in the caravans?" and "What if Hilary knew about Benghazi?" That is the garbage rhetorical card you have been playing relentlessly here. I return to the stance of not responding to you further. Jytdog (talk) 17:28, 3 November 2018 (UTC)
Jytdog, You repeatedly use the word 'mansplain' as if it isn't an inherently sexist term used to dismiss the opinions of others. This thread of the conversation is indeed over. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 10:13, 4 November 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Insertcleverphrasehere, thank you for taking the time to reassess what is on the table. (I'm guessing y'all are talking about me—2 "u"s no "a"). I honestly do not care one iota if reassessing our sourcing and significant coverage requirements for dead people allows more notable historic white men to be covered too; if they are notable, they should be candidates for an article provided there are sources. Context is everything. We aren't righting wrongs, we are simply acknowledging that the sources we are working from reflect the past reality. Historically anyone who wasn't part of the power structure could be ignored and publications typically omitted their activities. I truly do not understand why recognizing historic bias creates any emotional reaction or drama. It happened. White South Africans were typically part of the dominant culture and though they were in the minority, they suppressed the majority. While wealth may be an equalizer in some instances, it doesn't mean ethnicity or race would historically have been ignored in published materials. The question is not "are", it is "were", as we are talking about history, dead people, those who lived in eras where there was little concept of human rights being equal for all people, there were the haves and the have nots. The point is, notable males from the dominant culture should have sufficient traditional sourcing, because someone probably wrote about them. For everyone else, the question does become can you "write an extensive article that is well sourced to multiple reliable sources, without engaging in SYNTH"? SusunW (talk) 09:46, 3 November 2018 (UTC)

Hi SusunW, If we start to build some criteria, and updated guideline would state several things:
  • Context matters when determining notability,
  • Where a person died x years ago (before the internet age kicked off fully, I'd lean for before January 1 2000 as a good round number);
  • If person's coverage consists of difficult to access offline sources, foreign language sources that are difficult to search, their peers would not have been literate or members of the media, or they were from a non-literate society, etc. then they are more likely to be notable if we have multiple reliable sources, even if they don't each discuss the subject with extensive coverage.
  • For such people, so long as multiple reliable sources can be established, which together provide significant coverage of the person's life; sufficient to create a well sourced non-stub article (sourcing exists to potentially create a GA equivalent level article), then that person is notable and such topics should be kept regardless of how much coverage is in each source.
  • If sufficient coverage does not exist across sources to flesh out such an article, then the topic should be merged into another topic, if possible, or deleted unless it meets broader GNG or N criteria. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 10:38, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Is there any other criteria that you would suggest adding? (obviously re-wording will be necessary, I'm just brainstorming at the moment). — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 10:32, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Insertcleverphrasehere I'd put in something about avoiding SYNTH, but acknowledging that combining sources without drawing conclusions is not original research or synth. I'm not sure about "their peers would not have been literate or members of the media". Lots of highly educated women, colonized individuals, members of certain racial groups were literate and members of the media, but they were barred from mainstream publications. How does one address the elephant in the room if one cannot acknowledge that it is there? "Their peers were not typically covered in traditional media nor historic academic publications", maybe? I'd also state something that if an individual's activities indicate that their sphere of influence was larger than local, even if that confirmation is contained in local sources, they are considered notable. Surely there must be a better way to say that, but the problem manifests when you have someone working in an endeavor at a state/province/district level (and at times even national/international), but not something that is comparable to other fields with more prestige, for example the head of a state/province/district agency/organization who widely effected policy as opposed to a politician. SusunW (talk) 14:54, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Insertcleverphrasehere I keep struggling with why you have problems with "marginalization" and who might be considered "marginalized". It is really quite academic—anyone who was historically, legally deprived of their civil, socio-economic, or political rights, leaves very little up for discussion or editor's opinions. It is a measurable standard. Does that help you with the concept? SusunW (talk) 21:15, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
SusunW The concept is very easy to understand, and many people are unambiguously marginalised and coverage about them suppressed (in these sorts of cases I will always argue to give sources the best side of the coin flip at AfD). The problem is that AfD often deals with fringe cases, and near the fringes of who is 'marginalised' and who is not it is difficult or even impossible to define the term. Enshrining a "sometimes impossible to define" term in policy comes with the very large downside of making our already ambiguous policy pages even more nebulous than they already are and I can see it leading to some very ugly disputes. I respectfully disagree with your comment that it "leaves very little up for discussion or editor's opinions". Editors will end up arguing vociferously over things like "what is a socio-economic right?" and how it applies to a given person. Its just a hornet's nest that is best avoided if possible. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 21:26, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
Insertcleverphrasehere AfDs on women rarely deal with fringe cases, in my experience. They almost always revolve around sourcing difficulties and perception that the kinds of activities they were allowed to participate in were not notable. Socio-economic rights are those that allow people to earn a living and participate in society, like any other citizen. Laws that forbade education, deprived women of citizenship in their own right (requiring them to adopt their spouse's nationality and become stateless if a marriage dissolved), or forced them upon marriage to terminate employment are examples. Legal deprivation is an objective definition and quantifiable. Opinions certainly may surface as to whether there were such laws, but if it is verifiable, opinion is irrelevant. I think it is not a good policy to decide whether or not one will write about a notable person based upon whether it will survive discussions at AfD. No matter how policy is written, if people choose the path of aggression, they do—regardless of whether that thwarts our overall aim to build an encyclopedia. SusunW (talk) 22:00, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose I fail to see how the addressees either the issue (after all this could just as much be used to write articles about white men who would not pass under out current system, but who some hobbyist thinks is notable). Or many of the concerns (such it is down to academics and the media to create the notability, not us, then we can create the articles without having to create new polices (rather then writing articles but why we have not got articles about such and such)). If there is a problem write a book or magazine article get it published and then come here with notability established (its what many of these people are paid for, its why they are professional academics or reporters, and not me).Slatersteven (talk) 09:36, 1 November 2018 (UTC)
To be fair, this is intended to be more of an interpretation of existing policy, rather than a new addition per se. It's just the way I already think GNG should congeal with common sense. If we are applying for example, the same standard for SUSTAINED for someone born in 1794 as we are someone born in 1994, then I think we are applying an implicit historical bias. If we are applying a subjective assessment of "importance" such as my example above (e.g., being merely a head librarian for a city does not make one notable), then we are applying an implicit cultural bias, in this instance, that people should be defined first and foremost by their careers, and in a time when prestigious career advancement was systematically cut off from large swaths of people (and has honestly nothing to do with whether we have sources to work with in the first place).
Within the existing framework, we should already be applying an interpretation of GNG that asks primarily whether a policy-compliant article can be written rather than whether it should be written. The former deals primarily with the nature of the subject and the sources, while the latter deals primarily with our own preconceptions. The latter is a major avenue for bias, because it often applies what are historically white male markers of success: business prowess, political office, military achievements, and it predisposes us to give a pass to a subject with equal sourcing because they more neatly fit our preconceptions of "importance". Moreover, we're often applying these types of standards to historical periods when minorities couldn't own property (or were legally themselves considered property of another), couldn't vote or run for public office, and couldn't serve in the armed forces.
Would this fix our kerfuffle with Strickland? No, probably not. Would it regularly save articles on marginalized subjects from deletion? If applied consistently, yes. GMGtalk 11:48, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
It is not the business of Wikipedians to attempt to correct for perceived bias in the historical record. This evinces more RIGHTGREATWRONGS thinking at the behest of a partisan agenda. Chris Troutman (talk) 12:24, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
Why not? We regularly do this type of thing with content and sources. We don't include conspiracy wackery from Breitbart and Infowars and say "well it's not our job to correct bias in the sources". Why would we not apply the same standard when interpreting GNG? GMGtalk 13:04, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
No. If we have five sources and one of them is considered by the consensus to be biased, we can write using four good sources. If we have only one good source and maybe some unacceptable sources, you suggest we decide that it's good enough for the minority subject of your choosing. You're inventing notability. Worse, you have an end-state in mind (more articles about some people but not others) and you want to change the rules to achieve that goal. That's objectively wrong. Either the rules are applied or we have no rules. I prefer the status quo. Chris Troutman (talk) 13:22, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
What I'm suggesting is precisely the opposite: that people are inventing rules related to subjective importance, when they have nothing to do with GNG. When someone says that being the head of a city library does not contribute to encyclopedic notability, they are not applying rules that I want to change; they are making up rules of their own.
What's more is that in the cases where we are applying certain SNGs, like held a rank considered to be a flag, general or air officer, or their historical equivalents or Politicians and judges who have held international, national or sub-national (statewide/provincewide) office, in as much as those reflect a bias, they reflect our bias because they are rules we made, and have nothing to do with the sources at all. GMGtalk 13:56, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
─────────────────────────────────Yes, fully agreed there is a problem, I'm just not sure that there is anything that can be done on Wikipedia's end to fix it. Only reason I commented was it seemed like you and Insertcleverphrasehere were talking past each other. They can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they agree that there is a problem, just that they don't think this proposal is a good solution.
Maybe it is just my personality, but I see something like this and my brain immediately goes to all the ways it could be abused or used to game the system in some way. Since there seems to be significant opposition to the original proposal, it is probably more helpful to be working together on an alternative solution than arguing about how something is phrased, no matter how poorly. Anyway, that is my two cents worth. zchrykng (talk) 15:10, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
@GreenMeansGo: Being a head librarian would not result in the sort of source coverage we need to write a decent article. I agree in principle that WP:NATHLETE (for example) probably results in more biographies about men than women because there's little commercial interest in women's sports. WP:NOLY is much more fair (I think) because of the structure of the Olympics. I don't think Wikipedia should attempt a Title IX effort to correct for NATHLETE's perceived gender bias. NATHLETE probably allows for many biographies about people of color to be included, so check your privilege. If we don't have good sources, we can't write and it's not our fault if there's a lot of media around athletes. It was NSOLDIER (which you mentioned) that allowed me to write about Robin Fontes. Should we exclude her biography? If what you're arguing is that we abolish all SNGs, it would make Wikipedia less-inclusive. Further, GNG (which is a really low bar) is also subjective leading to many more disputes at both AfC and all XfD processes. Our more objective SNGs like NSOLDIER, NOLY, and WP:MUSICBIO are less fraught and open the door for various minorities. Chris Troutman (talk) 16:12, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
Being a head librarian is irrelevant, and has nothing whatsoever to do with whether sufficient sources exist with which to write an article. That's the point.
But anyway, I probably should have never perused this line of discussion to begin with, since starting with How dare you push such a partisan agenda as suggesting people consider context and nuance!? is probably a good indication this is going nowhere, and I've got other things I need to be doing. GMGtalk 16:21, 2 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose What exactly is a marginalized group? Are women a marginalized group, despite taking up 50% of the population. Bad idea, but with good intent. ~EDDY (talk/contribs)~ 17:16, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
    This proposal doesn't mention marginalized groups at all. Pburka (talk) 17:29, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
    Editorofthewiki, I think you put this !vote in the wrong section. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 17:38, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
    Insertcleverphrasehere you are right, I was opposing the original. The alt plan is better, and I would be inclined to agree assuming GNG is met. Pre-internet sourcing is tougher than now. ~EDDY (talk/contribs)~ 17:48, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. This alternative proposal reflects how many of us already apply WP:GNG today. Context matters also applies to topics for which there are a surplus of sources, e.g. politicians. Context matters: running for office almost by-necessity results in dozens of potential sources, but, because of the context, we consider these less indicative of notability. Pburka (talk) 17:29, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Alt suggestion. It is so vague as to be open to wide varieties of interpretation. Xxanthippe (talk) 21:38, 8 November 2018 (UTC).
........................ GMGtalk 22:00, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- difficulty in availability of sources is not among obstacles for WP:V. "Multiple" means 2-3 and since in old times there was much less bullshit in printed matter, this number should be enough for WP:GNG. Staszek Lem (talk) 18:58, 13 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment This discussion has gotten so long as to be a bit unwieldy. Could we perhaps get a summary of the arguments so far? Also, examples of articles that would be affected by this change would be useful. Benjamin (talk) 11:12, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. This one is better than the original proposal with regards to WP:V, but is less complete. (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) wumbolo ^^^ 17:52, 15 November 2018 (UTC)