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AFD courtesy problem

Jimmy Wales
It is increasingly common that non-notable people write to me after they
find their own name in Wikipedia via a google search.  They are finding,
of course, their own AFD entry.

In these entries there are very very very VERY VERY VERY often comments
which suggest a suspicion that the entry was vanity.

"Non-notable scientist vanity.  Has very few publications. If he ever
publishes anything he should submit the page again then." -- paraphrase
of example problematic comment

Now imagine that you are very innocently minding your own business and
then you discover that this is the top ranked link in google for your
name.  How would you feel?

I can tell you how most people feel.  They feel sad and annoyed enough
to write letters to me about it.  And justifiably so.  And then I have
to figure out what to do with it.

What I recommend is the following procedure:

1. A general meme that it is extremely discourteous without absolute
positive proof to speculate that the author of some non-notable
biography is the subject himself or herself.  Yes, it is often true, but
there is zero gain to us from assuming this rather than assuming the
opposite.  We really don't care who wrote it: we care if it is worthy
for inclusion or not.

2. At the close of all VfD debates, the discussion is deleted.  If there
is a need to have a stub page left there to guide people to the fact
that there was a prior debate, then create that stub fresh, with the
history gone.  In the event it is needed, the history can always be
resurrected by some admin.

Is there anything wrong with this concept?

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Re: AFD courtesy problem

geni
On 1/17/06, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2. At the close of all VfD debates, the discussion is deleted.  If there
> is a need to have a stub page left there to guide people to the fact
> that there was a prior debate, then create that stub fresh, with the
> history gone.  In the event it is needed, the history can always be
> resurrected by some admin.
>
> Is there anything wrong with this concept?

Simply useing nofollow tags and not includeing it in the database dump
would be preferable. We try to be as open as posible on wikipedia.
--
geni
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Hermione1980
In reply to this post by Jimmy Wales
The first problems I see are 1. transparency and 2.
linking to prior AfD debates if the page is nominated
again. Can't we just add AfD to robots.txt? There's
not any reason that I can fathom that anyone besides
people who are actually on Wikipedia anyway would need
to see it. Or is there something about that that I'm
missing?

Point 1 should be essential, though. [[WP:AGF]] and
all that. Not all articles about non-notable people
are submitted by the people themselves.

-Hermione1980

--- Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:

[snip]

>
> 2. At the close of all VfD debates, the discussion
> is deleted.  If there
> is a need to have a stub page left there to guide
> people to the fact
> that there was a prior debate, then create that stub
> fresh, with the
> history gone.  In the event it is needed, the
> history can always be
> resurrected by some admin.
>
> Is there anything wrong with this concept?


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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Kat Walsh
In reply to this post by Jimmy Wales
On 1/17/06, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2. At the close of all VfD debates, the discussion is deleted.  If there
> is a need to have a stub page left there to guide people to the fact
> that there was a prior debate, then create that stub fresh, with the
> history gone.  In the event it is needed, the history can always be
> resurrected by some admin.

Why delete (instead of just replacing the debate with a notice,
perhaps even protecting it that way, without deleting the existing
history) unless there's some compelling reason? Non-admins also ought
to be able to go back and look at the debate.

-Kat

--
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"Once you have tasted flight you will always walk with your eyes cast
upward. For there you have been and there you will always be."
- Leonardo da Vinci
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Rob-24
In reply to this post by geni
Can we prevent google from indexing Vfd discussion pages?  Preventing these
discussions from being a top google hit on a minor person or company is
something I strongly agree with, and this would be a way to do this without
sacrificing any openness or useful history.   I'd say delete them, but
vanity articles and articles that appear to be vanity are often resurrected
and old vfd discussions are useful in those instances.
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Sam Korn
In reply to this post by Jimmy Wales
On 1/17/06, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
> 2. At the close of all VfD debates, the discussion is deleted.  If there
> is a need to have a stub page left there to guide people to the fact
> that there was a prior debate, then create that stub fresh, with the
> history gone.  In the event it is needed, the history can always be
> resurrected by some admin.
>
> Is there anything wrong with this concept?

How about a blanking, linking to the last version in the history for
archive purposes, then protecting.  This should mean that there won't
be anything to complain about.

--
Sam
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Sarah-128
In reply to this post by Jimmy Wales
On 1/17/06, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
> It is increasingly common that non-notable people write to me after they
> find their own name in Wikipedia via a google search.  They are finding,
> of course, their own AFD entry ... They feel sad and annoyed enough
> to write letters to me about it.

> What I recommend is the following procedure: ...
>
> 2. At the close of all VfD debates, the discussion is deleted.

I like the idea of deleting the VfD page when the debate has closed. I
remember one debate about a teenager who had killed himself, where the
discussion about whether he was notable involved allegations that his
parents were implicated in his death. That very hurtful page is
probably still floating out there on Google.

The broader issue is why we allow Google to pick up any of our talk or
project pages, where NPOV, NOR, and V don't apply. Can anyone explain
why we allow that?

Sarah
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by Kat Walsh

On Jan 17, 2006, at 4:43 PM, Kat Walsh wrote:

> On 1/17/06, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> 2. At the close of all VfD debates, the discussion is deleted.  If  
>> there
>> is a need to have a stub page left there to guide people to the fact
>> that there was a prior debate, then create that stub fresh, with the
>> history gone.  In the event it is needed, the history can always be
>> resurrected by some admin.
>
> Why delete (instead of just replacing the debate with a notice,
> perhaps even protecting it that way, without deleting the existing
> history) unless there's some compelling reason? Non-admins also ought
> to be able to go back and look at the debate.

Indeed - with the number of debates that close with two or three  
votes - many of which are deeply flawed closes - I would be wary of  
making it so fewer people can find bad debates.

I think another important thing here would be to do away with voting  
on deletion. We supposedly did that when we called it AfD instead of  
VfD, except we kept the vote structure. Why don't we just stop with  
the bulleted list of boldfaced keep and delete votes and have it be  
an actual discussion. You know. "This guy doesn't seem like a very  
important figure in his field - I can't find any publications," says  
one person. "I just found one in Journal X." "Oh, yeah, but he's  
third author, and that's his only publication - he's probably a grad  
student." And people who just want to chime in with "me too" delete  
votes, well, don't have to.

Then closing admins can just read the discussion, read the arguments,  
look at past precedent and make a call, remembering things like "when  
in doubt, don't delete."

Best,
Phil
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Katefan0
In reply to this post by Sarah-128
If it's possible to do, it seems to me the solution requiring the least
potential future work (undeleting, etc.) would be simply fixing it so that
search engines can't archive these kinds of pages.

K.


On 1/17/06, [hidden email] <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On 1/17/06, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > It is increasingly common that non-notable people write to me after they
> > find their own name in Wikipedia via a google search.  They are finding,
> > of course, their own AFD entry ... They feel sad and annoyed enough
> > to write letters to me about it.
>
> > What I recommend is the following procedure: ...
> >
> > 2. At the close of all VfD debates, the discussion is deleted.
>
> I like the idea of deleting the VfD page when the debate has closed. I
> remember one debate about a teenager who had killed himself, where the
> discussion about whether he was notable involved allegations that his
> parents were implicated in his death. That very hurtful page is
> probably still floating out there on Google.
>
> The broader issue is why we allow Google to pick up any of our talk or
> project pages, where NPOV, NOR, and V don't apply. Can anyone explain
> why we allow that?
>
> Sarah
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Andrew Gray
In reply to this post by Sarah-128
On 17/01/06, [hidden email] <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The broader issue is why we allow Google to pick up any of our talk or
> project pages, where NPOV, NOR, and V don't apply. Can anyone explain
> why we allow that?

It's logistically quite tricky to arrange matters so the spiders
understand the difference between a talk page and a "real" page;
"allowing" isn't the key, it's "why don't we prevent it", and the
answer is "if we tried it probably wouldn't work very well".

Not to stop anyone attempting something, but...

--
- Andrew Gray
  [hidden email]
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Katefan0
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer-2
Phil,

The problem under discussion isn't created by the words "keep" and "delete"
on AFD pages, it's about the tenor of the discussion itself.  This solution
doesn't fix the base problem.

K.


On 1/17/06, Snowspinner <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> On Jan 17, 2006, at 4:43 PM, Kat Walsh wrote:
>
> > On 1/17/06, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> >> 2. At the close of all VfD debates, the discussion is deleted.  If
> >> there
> >> is a need to have a stub page left there to guide people to the fact
> >> that there was a prior debate, then create that stub fresh, with the
> >> history gone.  In the event it is needed, the history can always be
> >> resurrected by some admin.
> >
> > Why delete (instead of just replacing the debate with a notice,
> > perhaps even protecting it that way, without deleting the existing
> > history) unless there's some compelling reason? Non-admins also ought
> > to be able to go back and look at the debate.
>
> Indeed - with the number of debates that close with two or three
> votes - many of which are deeply flawed closes - I would be wary of
> making it so fewer people can find bad debates.
>
> I think another important thing here would be to do away with voting
> on deletion. We supposedly did that when we called it AfD instead of
> VfD, except we kept the vote structure. Why don't we just stop with
> the bulleted list of boldfaced keep and delete votes and have it be
> an actual discussion. You know. "This guy doesn't seem like a very
> important figure in his field - I can't find any publications," says
> one person. "I just found one in Journal X." "Oh, yeah, but he's
> third author, and that's his only publication - he's probably a grad
> student." And people who just want to chime in with "me too" delete
> votes, well, don't have to.
>
> Then closing admins can just read the discussion, read the arguments,
> look at past precedent and make a call, remembering things like "when
> in doubt, don't delete."
>
> Best,
> Phil
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Kat Walsh
In reply to this post by Katefan0
On 1/17/06, Katefan0 <[hidden email]> wrote:
> If it's possible to do, it seems to me the solution requiring the least
> potential future work (undeleting, etc.) would be simply fixing it so that
> search engines can't archive these kinds of pages.
>
> K.
>

I still think (and I don't remember if it was my idea originally or
someone else's now :-)) that AfD needs to be in its own namespace and
not indexed by Google so it has the added bonus of not making searches
in Wikipedia: space useless by cluttering it up with noise.

-Kat

--
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upward. For there you have been and there you will always be."
- Leonardo da Vinci
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Wales wrote


> It is increasingly common that non-notable people write to me after they
> find their own name in Wikipedia via a google search.  They are finding,
> of course, their own AFD entry.

Despite a great deal of adverse comment, certainly on this list, we do seem
stuck with AfD as monolithic, unsegmented, and to a large extent the lowest
common denominator of behaviour.

How about, first, just making AfD for biographies a separate institution?
And secondly, making a policy framework for it?  And thirdly enforcing that
framework more rigorously than for discussion about - well, minor Star Wars
backstory characters or whatever?

Charles


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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Sam Korn
In reply to this post by Andrew Gray
On 1/17/06, Andrew Gray <[hidden email]> wrote:
> It's logistically quite tricky to arrange matters so the spiders
> understand the difference between a talk page and a "real" page;
> "allowing" isn't the key, it's "why don't we prevent it", and the
> answer is "if we tried it probably wouldn't work very well".
>
> Not to stop anyone attempting something, but...

Wouldn't adding

Disallow: /wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion

to http://meta.wikimedia.org/robots.txt do the trick?  I assume the
search engines will treat subpages as directories, as they are
separated by slashes.

Can robots.txt use wildcards?  If it can, we could quite easily
restrict caching of the entire Wikipedia namespace, if we wanted (and
I doubt we would), using:

Disallow: /wiki/Wikipedia:*

--
Sam
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

bbatsell
On Jan 17, 2006, at 3:59 PM, Sam Korn wrote:

> Can robots.txt use wildcards?

Not according to the Robots Exclusion Standard, so no.

Regards,
[[en:User:Bbatsell]]



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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Oskar Sigvardsson
On 1/17/06, Brock Batsell <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Jan 17, 2006, at 3:59 PM, Sam Korn wrote:
>
> > Can robots.txt use wildcards?
>
> Not according to the Robots Exclusion Standard, so no.
>
> Regards,
> [[en:User:Bbatsell]]
>

Isn't there something you can put in the head of a html page that
makes search engines not index that page. It would be trivial to
change the mediawiki code to include that in all articles starting
with "Wikipedia:Articles for Deletion", wouldn't it?

The whole blanking it thing and linking to the history, I'm not sure
that would work, wouldn't the robot simply follow the link and index
that page? It would probably be lower in the scores, but it would
still show up in searches.

- Oskar
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

MacGyverMagic/Mgm
In reply to this post by bbatsell
I don't see the need to delete debates and as noted before, it would cause
problems when linking to earlier debates. And it would be harder for newbies
to figure out why "their" article was deleted. The whole point of archiving
the debate is to keep it accessible for people within Wikipedia (including
non-admins).

We should just make sure AFD debates are kept out of google. If we adjust
robots.txt or whatever we need to adjust to manipulate Google bots, we don't
even need to anymore.

Mgm

On 1/17/06, Brock Batsell <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On Jan 17, 2006, at 3:59 PM, Sam Korn wrote:
>
> > Can robots.txt use wildcards?
>
> Not according to the Robots Exclusion Standard, so no.
>
> Regards,
> [[en:User:Bbatsell]]
>
>
>
>
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>
>
>
>
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

bbatsell
In reply to this post by Oskar Sigvardsson
On Jan 17, 2006, at 4:12 PM, Oskar Sigvardsson wrote:

> Isn't there something you can put in the head of a html page that
> makes search engines not index that page. It would be trivial to
> change the mediawiki code to include that in all articles starting
> with "Wikipedia:Articles for Deletion", wouldn't it?

Yes, although in the past this hasn't been as widely supported as  
robots.txt (it may be pretty much equal now).  I do believe that  
disallowing spiders from /wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion would  
do the trick rather nicely.  The only way we can find out is to give  
it a shot!

Regards,
[[en:User:Bbatsell]]

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Re: AFD courtesy problem

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by Katefan0

On Jan 17, 2006, at 4:54 PM, Katefan0 wrote:

> Phil,
>
> The problem under discussion isn't created by the words "keep" and  
> "delete"
> on AFD pages, it's about the tenor of the discussion itself.  This  
> solution
> doesn't fix the base problem.

I disagree - the problem is, I think, created by the expectation and  
compulsion of comment. When your opinion is measured by whether you  
speak instead of by what you say, you are given more of a license to  
speculate. It doesn't matter what you say after "delete," after all.  
You're not really accountable for it, because the substantive part of  
what you say is "keep" or "delete." Everything else is posturing.

If the content of your comment is your reason, and if your voice  
doesn't matter save for the reason you give to it, you are obliged to  
not be stupid in your reasons. Whereas right now, your reasons don't  
matter - just your right to put things in boldface.

-Phil
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Re: AFD courtesy problem

bbatsell
On Jan 17, 2006, at 4:23 PM, Snowspinner wrote:

> I disagree - the problem is, I think, created by the expectation  
> and compulsion of comment. When your opinion is measured by whether  
> you speak instead of by what you say, you are given more of a  
> license to speculate. It doesn't matter what you say after  
> "delete," after all. You're not really accountable for it, because  
> the substantive part of what you say is "keep" or "delete."  
> Everything else is posturing.
>
> If the content of your comment is your reason, and if your voice  
> doesn't matter save for the reason you give to it, you are obliged  
> to not be stupid in your reasons. Whereas right now, your reasons  
> don't matter - just your right to put things in boldface.
I must say I think I agree with the gist of what Phil is saying — I  
don't think anyone on this list is harboring any ideas that AfD is  
working perfectly at the moment.  I am concerned about the added  
pressure and time required of the administrator closing this type of  
AfD debate.  Are there any ways to alleviate this problem?

[[en:User:Bbatsell]]

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