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Meta:Delete: this page does not belong on Meta

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
This page has been superseded by Meta:Inclusion policy.

Some participants list some pages on Requests for deletion, and claim they do not belong to Meta, so should be deleted. Other participants strongly object to these deletions and claim they do belong to Meta.

This implies that it is perhaps unclear to participants

  • what Meta is about
  • when Meta purpose is roughly outlined, which types of pages are part of the project, which are not, and which are borderline
  • when pages are borderline with regards to Meta purposes, why it is perhaps best to keep them.

What is Meta

Meta is meant to go along with Wikipedia and its related projects. To simplify, the focus below is made on Wikipedia itself, but the other projects follow the same principles, so same is applicable.

Wikipedia has three meanings

  • First, it is an encyclopedia. This is the end product, which has to be promoted (via press release, interviews), stabilized (CD and paper version), distributed (in as many countries and as many languages possible) and protected (respect of our copyright, brand name)
  • Second, it is a project. With all its technical requirements, data organisation etc.
  • Third, it is a community, rather loose, very diverse, with participants having one common goal: making free and organised content together... and perhaps as many related goals as there are participants

Meta is meant to work on these three meanings, not technical issues only, not drafts for policy only, not compendium of latest Alexa hits analysis only. These three meanings (and their extension to other Wikimedia projects) define what Meta is : Meta is about a product, about a project and about a community. That means pages related to each of these three directions do belong to Meta.

Now, look at Meta main page, and consider the identified blocks displayed. Each of these blocks recovers a reality of what Meta is. What are these blocks about?

  • development of the software and maintenance of the server
  • all means to set a new projects, from the language files, to the logo, setting sysop included
  • a central point of information about all projects, and way to contact other editors
  • some governance discussions, draft of policies...
  • Wikimedia association issues
  • participants space (for personal essays, POV opinions, affiliations)

All this is Meta.

Now, most Meta participants will not edit all these different spaces. Some will choose to focus on the technical space (and take care of logos, of languages files and such). Others will quietly work on policy drafts and gather evidence about problematic users on their wikipedia. Others yet will focus on a user guide for wikimedia project. Or on updating announcements. Or on fixing donations report. Or copyright issues. Perhaps working on a mapping project. Often, a user comes around just to add his name to a list of sub cultural affiliation. There are also those willing to help by giving time and consideration on smaller Wikipedias. And there are also all those writing comments about various attitudes, wikistress, mediation, community. And finally, there are personal essays, which sometimes stay personal or sometimes are edited by other users. Few will participate to all this. Most will only focus on one area or two, according to their taste. And usually, most will respect the little area in which others are participating.

All this is Meta. And all this is good. All this is welcome. All this is relevant to Meta.
The only major limits of Meta are

  • respect of copyright (please do upload copyrighted things, with a GFDL license, please do not engage in copyright infringement, please do use the most free format practical)
  • respect of other participants (please try to stay polite, to avoid personal attacks, to avoid lying, to avoid cheating, to avoid threatening – instead, think Wikilove)
  • respect for Meta content (please, do not remove Meta content, do not deface the place, do not hurt Meta image – instead, use the discussion page, or go have a scream in the sandbox, or set up your own Wiki)

Which pages are more likely to be a victim of deletionists?

This is the result of a little analysis of RfD and the deletion log over the months – it does not include obvious vandalism or newbie tests. It is a compendium of most pages listed on RfD, upon which there is quite often disagreement over deletion.

  • pages containing copyrighted text or images
  • users' personal pictures, uploaded for personal use
  • pages created by a "banned" user, before the user was banned on one Wikipedia at least (usually not Meta)
  • pages created by a "banned" user, after the user was banned on one Wikipedia at least (usually not Meta)
  • personal essays
  • encyclopedic articles
  • pages meant to be user pages, but which are not in the user space
  • temporary versions of encyclopedia articles
  • historical pages
  • sub cultural affiliation pages

Suggestion for thoughts

Copyright, fair use and co

Suggestions :

Copyright infringing text should be replaced

  • In case of doubt, list it on RfD
  • If a relevant link is found, give the link in the comment box or discussion page, and straight delete the page, provided you are certain that the link will be valid for as long as the page is needed.

There is disagreement about what to do with images under copyright. At a minimum, we accept copyrighted GFDL works. Labelling the image copyright status should be mandatory. US users should remember that a fair use item is more restricted outside the US and a restrictive license will often accompany a fair use work and make it easier to use outside the US and/or protect the uploader. If the Wikipedian who uploaded the image is still active, consider asking him or her the copyright status. That is much more polite and gentle.

Meta serves all projects, so it needs to be no more restrictive than the least restrictive project. It also serves as the place for the history of the project and that history requires using things which are fair use and may require using things with restrictive licenses. While we like free things, we do need to accept that we can't persuade every supplier whose equipment or software we use to make GFDL descriptions available. Since this is history, we can't use links to the sites - the pages on the sites will be gone long before our need to record our history is over.

Banned users

I hate to spoil your fun, but a user banned on one Wikimedia project is not banned on all Wikimedia projects. Banning reasons, banning procedures varies, and banning may even be applied differently depending on wikipedia. For those answering that "right, but a user banned on en: should be banned here as well", I firmly answer no. For the following reasons

  • Meta governance is not en: governance. It is not under English Wikipedia law and the Arbitration Committee is meant to be an organ of decision for the English Wikipedia, not other Wikipedias, and not meta which is a central place of work for all Wikimedia projects. If banning decisions must be taken here, it should be locally decided (hopefully, very simply, by share use of logic, and easy communication among us, at least as long as we are not numerous)
  • most of Meta is in English. That does not mean that pages written in English is only English Wikipedia stuff. Fortunately or unfortunately, English is probably the most obvious language for us to communicate. So, in terms of content, pages written in English are not necessarily an extension of en: either.

Besides, what is called "vandalism" on other Wikimedia projects and worth a ban, is not necessarily worth banning here. On Wikipedias, we need to very strictly follow some guidelines related to encyclopedic building : for example NPOV. A user constantly inserting POV comments in articles, is likely to get banned, especially if very prolific. Meta not being under the NPOV requirement, the reason why the user was banned on Wikipedia itself is irrelevant on Meta. It may be that banning on meta is more likely, if the user does not follow basic rules of civility and guidelines of wikilove. Wikipedia thrives on diversity a lot, and must be very careful to stay open as much as possible to achieve diversity of pov in the article, even to the cost of participants' happiness with regards to problematic users. Meta may or may not be required to bear problematic contributions so much.

This said, even though I believe Meta should not automatically follow banning decisions made on other wikipedias, I also think natural instinct should be followed. Natural instinct for a Wikipedian could be

  • preserve information first
  • keep people happy to contribute second

Which leads me to suggest that any banned user on any wikipedia be under soft ban on meta. Soft ban means essentially that we seek to preserve what is good, while rejecting what is bad. For each edit made by a soft banned user

  • if the contribution is worth, keep the contribution
  • if the contribution is not worth or is an attack on a user, revert or delete the contribution
  • if the contributor is damaging the wikipedia or attacking a user, block the soft ban user

I recently noticed that a couple of valuable contributions by Bird were kept, while his "bad" contributions were removed. Hence, I suspect this is the natural behavior adopted by several users here. However, I think this would benefit to be clarified, in particular to new sysops.

Soft banning have two advantages

  • recognition that banning procedures on all wikipedia are different
  • ability for anyone to revert or delete or block a banned user without fear of sanction
  • no loss of good content
  • protection of meta in less agressive ways, sanctions for bad moves and rewards for good moves

To sum it up

  • the usual practice is "no deletion of pages written by banned user, before the ban"
  • suggestion of soft banning of users banned on other wikipedia : keep what is good, revert/delete was is bad, block the user if non acceptable behavior.

Encyclopedic pages

Move these to the appropriate encyclopedia. Please, avoid repeatedly listing pages "for deletion after move to a wikipedia", then always wait for others to do the move job. Consider doing the move yourself

User pages

Sometimes, users confuse meta space with user space, and create their pages

  • pages containing copyright infringing text, or copyright infringing images
  • user personal pictures, uploaded for personal usage (but not for personal descriptions or other meta purposes)
  • pages created by a "banned" user, before the user was banned on one wikipedia at least (usually not meta)
  • pages created by a "banned" user, after the user was banned on one wikipedia at least (usually not meta)
  • personal essays (except those related to meta business)
  • encyclopedic articles
  • pages meant to be user page, but which are not in the user space
  • temporary version of an encyclopedia article
  • historical pages
    Surely the history of Wikimedia is an appropriate topic here?
  • sub cultural affiliation pages

Anthere 13:57, 29 Apr 2004 (UTC)

What're "sub cultural affiliation pages"? MrJones 08:49, 3 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]

Wikipedians categorized by sub-cultural affiliation.
Those sound like a useful meta item, since a sub-cultural affiliation should be a place shared by all so people don't need to have copies in every project. Jamesday 17:22, 22 Jul 2004 (UTC)