User:Doc glasgow/seconding

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Policy proposal:

This policy in a nutshell:
Mmm, nuts!
All new articles should require 'seconding' by a trusted editor. Prior to their seconding, they are automatically flagged as 'provisional'. Articles that fail to attract a seconder after a specified period may be deleted by an administrator.


Background[edit]

  • A large percentage of new articles are (or ought to be) deleted either speedily, or by one of our deletion processes. Many are junk, spam, abusive, libellous or otherwise useless.
  • Whilst New Pages patrolling screens out a high degree of these, the process is inefficient and somewhat haphazard. Some articles are needlessly checked by dozens of patrollers, others may be missed altogether. Although those missed may be a small percentage, they are often problematic for Wikipedia.
  • Any restriction on the ability to create new pages will necessarily impede the creative spontaneity allowed by the wiki.

The proposal[edit]

  • At creation, all new articles would have an automatic flagging as 'provisional'.
  • Provisional articles could be listed by 'special/provisional' and sorted by date and time.
  • The provisional flag may be removed by an editor who has been technically enabled to do so. This would require a new 'permission'.
  • In removing the flag, the enabled editor is indicating that he/she has checked the article and that prima facie it appears to them to be valid, proper, and belonging on Wikipedia. If in doubt, they should leave the article for another editor to consider.
  • After a specified period, when we can be reasonable sure that all good articles will have been seconded, any remaining articles may be deleted by an administrator without the need for further process or criteria. This period could be adjusted in length after the process beds down. It should be long enough to ensure that good articles are not deleted, but no longer than necessary.
  • Seconders could also be required to perform other minimal tasks – e.g. mark {{stub}} or categorise ‘living person’ biographies.
  • No editor should second an article, unless he/she believes that it ‘’prima facie’’ belongs on Wikipedia.

Permission to second[edit]

  • This would need to be restricted to some degree to avoid sock puppets, or editors with insufficient understanding of Wikipedia, de-flagging articles.
  • Whilst many editors might be qualified to do this in terms of experience, in practice we would need only enough to ensure that all articles which may have some validity can find a seconder. Restricting the permission to administrators may be the easiest solution.
  • Seconding must be 'no big deal'. It should be a matter of routine for New Page patrollers. The seconder is not sponsoring or warranting the article or its accuracy. He is simply indicating that, at quick glance, it looks 'OK'. One exception to this might be living person biographies, where the seconder could be requested to do a little more checking and not second an unsourced negative biography.

Safeguards[edit]

  • Administrators would not be required to delete articles after the provisional period was over. Even at that stage, if the administrator views the article as having some validity, he/she may choose to second it instead. (As with expired PRODS)
  • Articles deleted via this process could be retrospectively seconded. In essence any administrator may undelete and second any such article, without discussion or further process, on the basis that he/she believes it to be valid.
  • A space could be created where article creators, or other concerned editors, can list articles that are either failing to attract a seconder, or have been deleted under this process. If the case convinces even one of our thousand administrators, the article can be quickly seconded (undeleting if neccessary).
  • Anyone contesting a seconded article proceeds through deletion process as normal.

Likely impact[edit]

  • On New Pages patrolling: - a deal more efficient. Patrollers (now 'provisional page patrollers') would have the choice of speedying where appropriate, seconding, or leaving for another to consider. Only those left for consideration would remain in the 'special/provisional' queue - focusing further attention on those articles.
  • On Speedy deletion: - no increase in the range of articles speedied, but nearer 100% of articles that should be speedied will be speedied - and perhaps a lot sooner. (Indeed, since admins know that an unseconded article can be deleted later, there may be less temptation to speedy borderline candidates.)
  • On Prod: – this might become obsolete. By definition, no article that has unanimous consensus to delete would ever be seconded. No provisional article should ever be prodded (effectively all articles are being prodded at creation).
  • On AfD: - again, no provisional article should ever be sent to AfD. AfD would be reserved for those articles that have been seconded, but where someone else objects tot heir inclusion. We should see an end to speedy candidates and unanimous deletion candidates on AfD - since only seconded articles should ever require its consideration.
  • On the inclusionist nature of Wikipedia if tweaked properly, this proposal should have zero impact on our inclusionist/deletionist balance. There should be sufficient time given to ensure any article thought worthy by any established Wikipedian could not be deleted via this process.

Other thoughts[edit]

  • Could such a system be used for images, templates, or other namespaces? There could be huge benefits with images requiring seconding by an administrator. Indeed, even if felt unsuitable for articles, this process could be considered for images.
  • This could fit with the German non-vandal flagging experiment.
  • Could provisional articles be hidden from search engines?