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De-list computer languages

I doubt much of the general population has ever heard of C, Java, PHP, or (my beloved) Perl, nor would they care to know. Indeed, the only computer language worth listing as an essential topic is BASIC. My two cents. 09:26, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't see the point of linking to Simple Wiki, a depopulateded and generally rather mediocre-quality encyclopedia, for every single topic on this list. Just because the list originated there doesn't mean providing links to every page there is helpful: people will follow the links wanting to find basic info on each person linked to so they'll have a resource to draw from for various foreign-language Wikis and an understanding of what the topic is about. As such, why not just link to En-Wiki, which, being by far the most populated and active Wiki, has articles for every topic listed, and often very comprehensive ones. It just seems like the most practical thing to do. What do y'all think? -Silence 05:35, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

No no no no no, you're supposed to wait for some kind of response here before you go ahead on your own and change every single link to an entirely different wikipedia. I'm glad you went through the formality of stating your intention here, but what's the difference if you have already acted unilaterally anyway??? Blockinblox 12:38, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and reverted to the status pro quo until there is at least some discussion or consensus on the matter. You don't do something this major and turn the whole thing upside down by yourself with no second opinion whatsoever; this is a collaborative effort, not a one man show. Blockinblox 12:50, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't appreciate the accusations or hostility. I came here to help, to move the article forward, and to build consensus, not to try to force the article to go my way with unilateral actions. Your kneejerk assumption that I'm just here to make push my agenda and my post here was merely a "formality", just because I made major edits (that happen to all be improvements) to the article, is, to put it mildly, premature. I started making my edits before anyone had responded on the talk page for three reasons: (1) because editing the article itself is the best way to get other editor's attention (a very valuable thing considering that this is not an especially active project page), which is why I directed interested editors to this Talk page in my edit summaries (yet you arbitrarily claimed I thought "noone would object or notice" anyway); (2) to give a clear demonstration of what a lot of the changes I have in mind will look like if implemented, knowing they can be reverted if necessary but that putting such a version up will give people a much better idea of the options available; and (3) because I've made equally major edits many times in the past to this very list, and never has anyone objected to a single one, so I had no reason to assume there'd be a huge upswelling of bile at this particular edit.
So, there's just one key problem with your response: you haven't actually said anything that's actually wrong with any of the changes I made. Your sole objection thus far is that I didn't wait long enough before making the changes, which is a bureaucratic objection, not a content-related one. As such, I'd greatly appreciate it if, rather than shrilly denouncing me for not waiting a few months for the proper bureaucratic channels to allow me to quickly and easily show what page changes I have in mind, you actually explained why you think so many of the recent edits I made "violate several agreed-upon compromises here", and, much more importantly, why they're bad for this page. Wikis allow reverts; there's no need for such tedious, counterproductive formality, when simply boldly making the changes facilitates debate and discussion much better. I've now shown some of the edits I have in mind, and you've now said you have an objection to them, so we can begin: Let's discuss this, not lobby accusations at one another. What about my changes is detrimental or harmful, rather than productive and valuable? I'd love nothing more than some thought-out criticism. -Silence 17:12, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Okay, fair enough, and that was a very passionate response... Sorry if I seemed too snippy at first... Most (but not all) of your alterations were indeed improvements, but I would like to see at least a couple of other voices weigh in, particularly the big change here that I feel needs approval is the redirecting from simple to main en:...
I realise a lot of the articles are missing from simple, but I've spent months trying to whip up the ones that are there into shape, so that editors of foreign languages can more easily use them for a template for quick translation to kick start their articles... Yes I know the simple en wikipedia is far from perfect, and has been subjected to much criticism, but I can tell you the people I've met there who do contribute do take a lot of pride in their effort at what is sometimes a difficult task, much like walking a tightrope... In the long run it may not matter, because I've noticed that most of the wikis that have adopted this list into their own languages as a starting point, have ended up with vastly different looking lists, sometimes linking to en, sometimes to simple, sometimes to a mixture of the two, but rest assured, they generally will make the 'list of articles all languages should have' look the way they think it ought to look, and not at all the way it looks here. And I still don't think trying to force every culture and all languages to "be on the same page" is ever a good thing, so I'm actually glad that all the lists look different. Blockinblox 22:26, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
"Sorry if I seemed too snippy at first..." - No problem. I understand the reaction. Everyone feels a degree of involuntary possessiveness and conservatism with regards to articles they've spent a lot of time working on.
"but I would like to see at least a couple of other voices weigh in," - So would I. And I think the best way to get a lot of people's opinions on all these changes is to put them on the main page so users will realize something's happening and come to the Talk page to voice their opinion. If you prefer, we can wait until at least a few more supporters manifest on the Talk page before restoring my edits, but I just think it's faster in the long run to leave the heavily-revised up on the main page, even if we end up not using any of my changes in the end.
"particularly the big change here that I feel needs approval is the redirecting from simple to main en:" - Fair enough, but realize that that's the easiest change to revert of them all: a simple mass-replace (which any text editor can perform) of "[[en:" with "[[simple:" will instantly restore the original links—that's how I changed all the links to linking to the English Wikipedia, in fact. So, if the only change I made that you object to at this point is the "[[simple:" -> "[[en:" change, why not restore my previous edit, if only so I can continue working on other aspects of the list in the meantime (I've been continuing to work on my changes, reorganizations, copyediting, link-checking, etc. while waiting, and will gladly upload them as soon as it's OK).
"I realise a lot of the articles are missing from simple," - That's an understatement. Most of the articles are missing from simple (whereas all but one or two of the articles on the entire list are on the English Wikipedia), and even the ones that are there are usually very small (often one or two sentences) and in mediocre or poor English. (This is not meant to be an insult, it is just an honest assessment of the vast majority of Simple English articles I've read, of which there are a few hundred.) Simple English may certainly someday be a viable source for concise, well-written articles on all the subjects listed in "List of articles all languages should have", but at this time, purely realistically and practically speaking, English Wikipedia is a much better utility to link to. It's in the same language, but it has many more articles, much more content in those articles (but the lead sections of most of those articles should serve the same "summarizing" purpose as Simple English articles, and should be equally clear and understandable), and a vastly larger body of editors to check that content and ensure that it is verifiable, NPOV, consistent, and well-written.
"but I can tell you the people I've met there who do contribute do take a lot of pride in their effort at what is sometimes a difficult task, much like walking a tightrope..." - I understand the difficulty, respect the editors for their dedication, and appreciate the effort they've put into creating and improving so many articles, but they do have the list at "Simple English" already, right? Why not use that one to link to Simple English's articles, and for this one, which is much more expanded and thus much more difficult to meet the requirements of with Simple English's (relatively) minimal resources, use English Wikipedia?
"And I still don't think trying to force every culture and all languages to "be on the same page" is ever a good thing, so I'm actually glad that all the lists look different." - Sure. Though it does make the title of this page misleading, no? :) -Silence 23:10, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Your other changes are not so innocent as they may seem; in particular, you have reintroduced "homosexuality" as an "article all wikipedias should have" when I have talked at length about the inappropriateness of requiring or even suggesting all wikipedias to include this topic. I don't know if this is something else you are personally passionate about, but many cultures are just as passionate about not mentioning it at all. If you will note, the compromise was finally reached by changing the link to read simply "sexuality" but by repeatedly going back to the old situation, you are reopening the same can of worms, and I will be forced to resist it again with full force. DO NOT force your agenda on the rest of the world. What you do in your country is your country's problem. Thank you. Blockinblox 03:17, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
I fail to see how what you describe is in any way not "innocent"; are you insinuating that I am not acting in good faith? Why is "homosexuality" an unimportant or off-limits topic? I added both homosexuality and heterosexuality to the list of topics, along with asexual reproduction, sexual reproduction, sex, sexual intercourse, male, female, etc.—all vitally important topics that were missing from the list. Why do you object to "homosexuality", but not "heterosexuality" or any of the others I added? And I saw no valid arguments against including it in any of the above discussions; could you repeat or quote the argument you are referring to? Homosexuality is not an issue in just one country or other; it is a matter of worldwide importance, biologically (it's not like humans are the only ones to engage in homosexual behavior), socially, historically, ethically, and politically, and for both those who approve of it and those who oppose it. Censoring the inclusion of a homosexuality article on the list just because it's controversial is deeply biased and itself seems specifically targeted to promoting an agenda (by suppressing information on a highly noteworthy encyclopedic topic just because some find it distasteful): the fact that it's controversial makes it more noteworthy and important to include in any general-use encyclopedia, regardless of language—and as you said, this list is a guideline, not absolute law, so any Wikipedia that prefers not to include such an article can do so! Not including an article on homosexuality would be like not including an article on "evolution" on this list just because it's controversial or offensive to certain people. That's not an "agenda", anymore than listing articles on abortion, The Holocaust, or God is "promoting an agenda"; any good encyclopedia article will include all noteworthy information on the relevant topic, both positive and negative. Plus "sexuality" is too vague a topic; most encyclopedias, including the English Wikipedia, don't even have an article on "sexuality"—you might be thinking of sexual orientation if you're looking for an umbrella-article for this topic, though I honestly don't see the need. Care to enlighten me -Silence 03:46, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
"Homosexuality is not an issue in just one country or other; it is a matter of worldwide importance, biologically"
I would beg to differ with that assessment. Your pov is showing here... It is far, far from a matter of "worldwide importance"., and I object that it should be categorised as something "biological". There should be nothing like this page drawn up to look all official, dictating that all languages must write an article about homosexuality. Leave things like that optional for each wiki, and don't try to destroy them by forcing things down their throat they might not want to include, if you wish for the whole project to be taken seriously. Blockinblox 04:00, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Also, you speak about "homosexuality" and "heterosexuality" like they are somehow on an equal par or something... but this must be all in your own mind, or pov... Not so at all... "Heterosexuality" has never been widely viewed as a deviancy around the world. Blockinblox 04:28, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
"I would beg to differ with that assessment." - Then supply evidence and reasoning that demonstrates that homosexuality is not an international issue, and not a biological issue. I am not so unreasonable that I am unwilling to be convinced on this, or any other, issue, provided that you support it with something more than your personal opinion. I can certainly support everything I said, if you dispute a word of it.
"Your pov is showing here..." - An incorrect statement, and one that, ironically, applies to you instead of myself. I have not expressed anything regarding my own POVs on the matter; indeed, I have no strong leanings one way or the other on this issue, though there are certainly other, unrelated issues regarding which I hold a bias. All I have said is that homosexuality is a noteworthy topic, which it is; I don't have to have an "agenda" to hold that homosexuality is an important topic for an encyclopedia anymore than I have to be a Nazi or Zionist to hold that "The Holocaust" is important, or a pregnant woman or religious fundamentalist to hold that "abortion" is important, or a soldier or pacifist to hold that "war" is important, or a mathematician to hold that "mathematics" is important; all of these are just as clearly significant and necessary as "homosexuality", and bias one way or the other has nothing to do with it. Your own POV, on the other hand, is very clearly being shown by the fact that you are explicitly justifying the exclusion of a "homosexuality" article from the list on the grounds that you believe, based on your own personal biases, that it is a "deviancy" (even though plenty of other "deviancies" are already included on the list!), and that if a certain culture has no tolerance for homosexuality, we cannot suggest (you repeatedly argue that including that article on this list would be "shoving it down their throats", when we had mere lines above already very clearly demonstrated that the entirety of this list is suggestions and ideas, not requirements!) that an article be written to cover the topic. Although I have until this point at least found your POVs reasonable, even where I disagreed with them, on this issue I'm afraid that your bigotry has completely clouded your better judgment. There is no consensus to ban "homosexuality" from this list, and no possible reasonable justification for such a ban. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, which means that it deals solely in information—it is not a tool for trying to force one's morality upon others by restricting articles to "clean", "safe", or "uncontroversial" topics, which is excactly what you are (very inconsistently) trying to do here by banning homosexuality not on the basis that it's not important (which is the only requirement for inclusion on the list!), but on the basis that it's evil or that certain cultures believe it to be. On those grounds, if Nazi Germany was still in power it would be unacceptable of us to list "Judaism" on the main page, because that would be offensive to people who consider Jews immoral or deviants; that level of cultural relativism isn't so much tolerant of others' views as it is oppressive and intolerant, to the point of censorship. You'll need a damned good argument and a hell of a strong consensus to violate common sense and every Wikipedia's standards so drastically.
"and I object that it should be categorised as something "biological"." - If you think homosexuality is important because of its social and political implications (which is certainly a strong aspect of its significance in today's world), then add it to the "Human/Social issues" section instead of the "Sex" one; excluding it altogether, however, is clearly unacceptable and an endorsement by Wikipedia of bigotry. I truly don't see any basis for your claim that homosexuality isn't biological, however (even if it's not only biological, by the definition you happen to be using), and even if it was, that wouldn't make it any less noteworthy or relevant to the list—that's just another aspect of the "controversy" that any source of neutral and verifiable information, like Wikipedia, must not ignore.
"dictating that all languages must write an article about homosexuality." - Nothing on this list dictates anything, or says anything about what languages must do. You are constructing a very flimsy strawman, conveniently ignoring the conversation on this exact topic that we'd had mere minutes before. Nothing on this list is an absolute requirement, so why are you suddenly forgeting that obvious fact? Either you've somehow forgotten that fact or you're just being blatantly deceitful with your rhetoric at this point; either way, it's time to stop.
"Leave things like that optional for each wiki," - It's already optional. Everything on this list is optional.
"and don't try to destroy them" - You'll have to back up this outrageous accusation if it's to be interpreted as anything other than a personal attack (and more unsupported rhetoric). That, or apologize.
"if you wish for the whole project to be taken seriously." - Listing "homosexuality" on a very lengthy page of all highly noteworthy topics for an encyclopedia to cover will make the project not "be taken seriously"? That's funny. In reality, the exact opposite is the truth. You're making a mockery of the list by trying to force your POV down the throats of the entire Wikipedia project: because you personally find homosexuality immoral, you find it unacceptable to write about this topic, even though there's just about unanimous agreement among Wikipedia's editors that it's highly noteworthy! This project is not just a way for you to try to push an agenda on others, as you should surely be aware of by now; if you want to argue that homosexuality (or anything else, for that matter!) isn't globally noteworthy or encyclopedic because of its morality, start a new Wikimedia or Wikipedia proposal to that effect, and I'll gladly discuss this there. (Though it will surely be shot down, just like every other attempt in the past to institute a moral code on Wikipedia projects, every single one of which has failed in the past.) Don't try to sneak this subtle homophobia into a totally unrelated page simply because it's what you believe; that's just dishonest and manipulative. Sorry to have to say it, but it's the truth: only one of us is trying to use this page to force a POV on Wikipedia regarding the "homosexuality" topic, and that person is you.
"Also, you speak about "homosexuality" and "heterosexuality" like they are somehow on an equal par or something" - They are—on Wikipedia, even if nothing else. For Wikipedia's purposes, they are no more or less equal than "right" or "left", "black" or "white"; they are two aspects of a sexual dichotomy, and nothing more or less. Whether one is "good" or the other is "bad" is not for Wikipedia to decide; that's just one of many subjects which articles on those two sexual orientations can cover, along with health risks, history, terminology, political and religious controversy, etc. "Evil" topics and "good" ones are covered exactly equally on Wikipedia; it is never justifiable to attempt to restrict coverage on a noteworthy topic based solely on whether the subject of that topic is good or bad. I challenge you to present any policy on a Wikipedia of any language that forbids writing about homosexuality; until you can do so, you have absolutely no right to try to interject your anti-homosexual POV onto this general-usage page, no matter how strong your convictions on this matter are. Save it for your user page. This project is a list of important topics, not a list of socially acceptable/ethical/uncontroversial topics. In fact, in many cases, the more controversial or "immoral" something is, the more significant and noteworthy it is, making it more likely to appear on this page than something that almost nobody has any strong opinions about (like the ethics of cottage cheese).
By the way, this addition is infinitely less controversial and unusual than Blockinbox seems so strongly to think it is. There are already homosexuality articles (many of them quite detailed and lengthy) on every single one of the most widely-used Wikipedias in existence; out of the 25 Wikipedias that have the largest number of articles, only a single one (one of the lower ones, #19) lacks an article on homosexuality (or just hasn't bothered to put interwiki tags on the page in question). In fact, the only thing that seems to determine whether or not homosexuality is covered in a certain language's Wikipedia, that I can ascertain, is how many articles that Wikipedia has—the fewer articles a Wikipedia has, the less likely it is to have an article on homosexuality (and the less likely it is to have an article on any other specific topic, quite naturally!), which is quite understandable: the fewer articles and editors a Wikipedia has, the less likely it is that they've gotten around to creating pages for specific sexual orientations, or for hundreds and hundreds of other items that are on the "List of articles all languages should have". Homosexuality gets much better use on foreign-language Wikipedias than most of the things on the "List of articles all languages should have", though!! I can provide you with a complete list (in order of number of total articles) of which Wikipedias do and don't have articles on homosexuality, if you'd like; I wrote one up while researching to see if any of your claims have a basis in fact (as far as I've been able to ascertain, they don't), and can easily share it if you think it would be valuable for discerning a bias or variance in coverage.
Until you can back up some of your claims, however, I'm afraid that it's simply unacceptable to leave your version of the page on "List of articles all languages should have"; you are the one on whom the burden of proof will lie to demonstrate that homosexuality is considered unacceptable to write about on a significant number of the foreign-language Wikipedias, since you are the only one making such a dramatic and bold statement. Just because my version of the page is newer doesn't make it more controversial—the view that homosexuality is a "deviancy", despite being a common view, is infinitely more controversial than the view that homosexuality is a significant issue (which is all this page is concerned with), which the vast majority of people on both sides of this controversy can agree on, if nothing else. -Silence 04:06, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry but you continue to say that homosexuality is of major significance to every culture in the world. I say it is not. you speak like you have some kind of authority on the subject, saying that for wikipedia purposes, homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality like right and left. How did you get to make up this rule for wikipedia? That is something for each individual wikipedia to decide independently by consensus among the speakers of that language, and many are going to object strongly to the notion of some unseen, central bureau in unknowmn location, dictating that it "must" write about distasteful topics that it does not deem necessary. The software should not be used as a vehicle for what you are trying to push. I am not required to prove anything to you. In many countries it is illegal to promote homosexual behaviour, that is a fact you can easily find out, the subject is similar to bestiality and if you want to write about it in your language do so. Do not force your sicknesses on every people ND in the world, I will continue to expose and resist your sick scheme tooth and nail by any means possible for me, if this is what you have set in your mind that your purpose is to recruit deviant and sick, sinful and backward behaviours to all the peoples and languages of the world. Blockinblox 16:33, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
"you continue to say that homosexuality is of major significance to every culture in the world." - That's a misunderstanding and distortion at best. I never said that homosexuality is significant purely on a cultural level; it's more important on a social, religious, and political level (though certainly there is a cultural aspect to it). More importantly, you seem to hold the deeply mistaken view that different language Wikipedias are supposed to be biased towards different cultures. This is not the case: the only reason different Wikipedias exist at all is because not everyone speaks any one language, and thus information must be translated into a variety of languages to reach a wider audience. If it was possible (and it's obviously not), there would be no difference between any of the foreign-language Wikipedias; every Wikipedia, regardless of language, would have the exact same content, just written in a different tongue. Since that is not possible, obviously cultural bias will affect every Wikipedia, but our objective is not to go out of a way to succumb to our respective biases and let them fester while ignoring all contrary views, but rather to explain each culture's view within encyclopedia articles. That's what the NPOV policy is for. The Swedish Wikipedia, the Arabic Wikipedia, the English Wikipedia, and every other language's Wikipedia should all be trying equally hard to counter their respective cultural biases with outside perspectives. Every language of Wikipedia should, ideally, at some point deal with every significant perspective, including ones from outside the culture of the speakers of that language. This is the only way to avoid systemic bias and to make Wikipedia an encyclopedia of human knowledge and information, not a moral code or tool for censorship. If there is controversy over whether homosexuality is a sin or not, it is every Wikipedia's job to report on that controversy, not to participate in it and try to endorse one view or the other by suppressing or forbidding an article on the issue, regardless of the majority view on homosexuality within a certain country (and Wikipedia's are divided on a linguistic, not nationalistic, basis anyway). That's what encyclopedias, and reference tools in general, in every culture, do: they provide well-referenced, unbiased information (or as close to it as possible) on all subjects, controversial and uncontroversial, and try to minimize, not exacerbate, their natural biases. Obviously it's not always easy to overcome cultural bias, but that's an ongoing struggle on every Wikipedia—cultural bias is not something that should be encouraged, as that only leads to the suppression of highly noteworthy and commonplace alternative views, which would transform Wikipedia from an encyclopedic resource into nothing but a tool for propaganda. All of this applies to the English Wikipedia just as much as the others, of course.
"I say it is not." - You've already established that. The difference is, I have (and can, if you ask me to back up any of my statements) supported all of my statements with reasoning and evidence, whereas all you've done are repeatedly state your POV, without any justification or support, and expected that to hold sway. I'm getting rather bored of this discussion's one-sidedness.
"you speak like you have some kind of authority on the subject" - No, I don't. I speak like someone who's familiar with the subject, and can thus explain it to you, since you obviously deeply misunderstand Wikipedia policy on this issue.
"saying that for wikipedia purposes, homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality like right and left." - It is. For Wikipedia purposes, no article's subject is good or evil; no article on Wikipedia should ever state "X is wrong" or "Y is immoral" or "Z is good"; it should only provide, with proper sourcing, claims and statements of such things, and who has claimed and stated them. Wikipedia itself does not have an opinion about any political issue; it merely reports on the controversy, without weighing in on it. Ergo, Wikipedia has no more favoritism for "heterosexuality" over "homosexuality" than it does for "right-handed" over "left-handed", even though most humans are heterosexual and most are right-handed, and even though historically many cultures have discriminated against both homosexual people and left-handed people. Even if homosexuality is immoral (which is unlikely, but not impossible—very little is genuinely impossible), it is not Wikipedia's place to say so (nor is it Wikipedia's place to act like this noteworthy issue does not exist by not even writing about it in an article), only to report on noteworthy sources that have said so.
"How did you get to make up this rule for wikipedia?" - I didn't. I just have a passing familiarity with the rules, standards, and principles that already exist on Wikipedia, and indeed exist in all general-use encyclopedic references. You would do well to review Wikipedia's official policies, including Neutral point of view, and to become acquainted with Wikipedia's numerous and ongoing attempts to combat systemic cultural bias. If anything, you're the one who needs to provide a policy supporting your claims that it's acceptable to ban "homosexuality" from this list, since you're the one making the new claim to this effect. If a policy supporting your view does not currently exist, you will have to propose one and seek to get it passed; until one is created permitting your censorship of homosexuality-related topics, you cannot implement your personal beliefs on this unrelated page.
"That is something for each individual wikipedia to decide independently by consensus among the speakers of that language, and many are going to object strongly to the notion of some unseen, central bureau in unknowmn location, dictating that it "must" write about distasteful topics that it does not deem necessary." - Nope, but more will object to some arbitrary, deeply biased individual randomly deciding that "homosexuality" isn't an important topic just because he finds it distasteful. You are not God; you cannot dictate what topics are or are not "distasteful". That is to be left to the individual articles to decide; the only purpose of this list is to provide a listing of highly noteworthy and significant topics, not to judge whether some of those topics are or aren't culturally acceptable. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not an arbiter of morality, and you are profoundly overstepping your bounds to judge that "homosexuality" is an unacceptably offensive topic, and nothing else on the list is—to censor certain topics on this list is not only problematic because it leads to biased and uneven coverage of noteworthy information, but also because it implicitly suggests that Wikipedia approves of every other article listed! In other words, your actions are making it seem that Wikipedia approves of genocide, rape, and slavery, but disapproves of homosexuality. Clearly this is not an acceptable state of affairs. If you want to create a list of "uncontroversial" articles, that's a completely different matter, and you should make a separate page for that. You should not try to infect this list with your personal biases, especially when they're biases against certain topics rather than for them (the latter being much less harmful and destructive in the long run).
Incidentally, you continue to repeatedly claim that a number of foreign-language Wikipedias are going to object to including any information whatsoever on "homosexuality", but you have utterly failed to provide any support whatsoever for this claim. In reality there's no Wikipedia in existence that has expressed any problem with having an article on "homosexuality"—if there is one, on any language, please feel free to share it with us. Until then, your claims are entirely baseless, and just reflect your own strongly-felt POVs on the matter: because you consider homosexuality a "deviancy" and "distasteful", you think everyone else should, even on a neutral and academic resource like Wikipedia. This is fundamentally unacceptable and bigoted. Wikipedia does not judge morality: it reports on information. Silence can speak louder than words, and excluding noteworthy topics entirely because a certain editor disapproves of them is even worse than including ones that aren't quite noteworthy enough.
"The software should not be used as a vehicle for what you are trying to push." - And what am I trying to push? You have repeatedly insinuated that just because I disagree with you about what topics are noteworthy enough to include on the list, and that just because I don't believe this list should be used to try to judge which topics are "moral" and which are "immoral", I am somehow trying to advance an "agenda" or am just following my own "POV" or am trying to "push" my views down people's throats; all of these are very clearly false claims, and you still owe me a number of apologies for making such unsupported personal attacks and accusations, veiled though some of them may be. I am here to improve the list's usefulness to editors, not to push any POV. The problem here is that you are more concerned with pushing your POV than with what's in the best interests of Wikipedia and this list, and you assume that just because I am not willing to let you use this list as a vehicle for your homophobia, I am "trying to push" a belief on others. The opposite is the case; I'm removing another user's bias, not adding my own. Trust me, if I was going to add articles to this list based on my own personal interests and POV, I'd be adding very different entries than the ones I currently am; I'm honestly not remotely interested in this silly controversy. :) I'm just not so blind that I'm incapable of realizing that the issue exists and is noteworthy.
"I am not required to prove anything to you." - Of course you are, if you want any of your claims to be evaluated based on their truth-value reasonability, rather than purely on their rhetorical tactics. If you fail to provide any support for your claims, beliefs, biases and accusations, they are only words, and we cannot assume that they are correct just because you believe in them strongly. I've provided plenty of support for my reasoning (and will gladly provide more if you dispute anything at all I've said); why are you so unwiling (unable?) to do the same?
"In many countries it is illegal to promote homosexual behaviour," - How is that relevant? That's just another important fact that every comprehensive Wikipedia should include in their "homosexuality" articles. On Wikipedia, articles do not exist to promote or support the thing that is being written about; they only exist to provide neutral, factual, cited information on that thing.
"that is a fact you can easily find out," - It's a fact I already knew, and is one of the many reasons I added "homosexuality" to the list. The fact that a topic is unpleasant or controversial does not make it less noteworthy, and noteworthiness and significance are the only things that determine what is included on this list. If it wasn't, we wouldn't have Adolf Hitler included on the list either, but Hitler is obviously noteworthy, despite expression of Nazism being important in some countries, like Germany.
"the subject is similar to bestiality" - Correct. If bestiality was a more noteworthy and immediate, current issue in so many parts of the world today, it would be included on the list too. Since it's less noteworthy, it's not included, and rightly so; the list is an analysis of the most significant encyclopedic articles to write about, not a judgment of the most pleasant, good, righteous, lawful, or moral topics to write about.
"and if you want to write about it in your language do so." - If I want to write about it in any article, there is no policy against my doing so. The same applies to any noteworthy topic on any subject. Wikipedia's various languages are (at least in principle) divided solely on a linguistic level. The only difference between the English Wikipedia, the Chinese Wikipedia, and the Finnish Wikipedia is the language they are written in; every single one should, ideally, have all noteworthy perspectives on the subject matter in question, regardless of what language or country they were originally written in. Wikipedia is not a tool for propaganda or censorship, in this or any other language, and that's never going to change. Sorry for the bad news.
"Do not force your sicknesses on every people ND in the world," - What "sickness" are you talking about? The sickness of encyclopedic, neutral coverage of topics? If you continue to make acidic personal attacks and insinuations on my character, motivation, and personal life, I will be forced to . This is your only warning; please remain civil in this discussion. Or at the very least provide evidence and reasoning, not rhetoric and jabs, to support your claims; at least that would progress the discussion, rather than try to drag it down into a battle.
"I will continue to expose and resist your sick scheme tooth and nail by any means possible for me, if this is what you have set in your mind that your purpose is to recruit deviant and sick, sinful and backward behaviours to all the peoples and languages of the world." - As I said, this is your final warning. I have no interest in exchanging personal attacks with you. I am here to improve the utility and value of this list. If you have a problem with maintaining a basic level of tolerance or understanding of your fellow human beings, that's your own personal issue, and you should use a personal website to promote that view, not Wikipedia. Please remain civil in your comments, and stop sabotaging and warping the project you've spent so much time in the past improving. -Silence 20:49, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

You obviously don't have a fmaliliarity with very much outside your own little world. Not only is it illegal to promote homosexuality in many countries around the world, but in many of the smaller languuages around the world, homosexuality is simply not a topic that can be discussed and there are simply no words to discuss them in those languages in encyclopedic terms. Your impatience to foist your cultural values on cultures you don't have the first inkling of is going to be resisted, and I promise I'm going to do whatever I can, with all resources available to me, to thwart this misguided effort. If you're really determined to do this thing, and it ibviously is extremely important for your personal agenda, prepare now for a long struggle every step of the way. Blockinblox 21:10, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
Oh, by the way, I totally reject your "warning", or your presumed authority over me to give me any warning. I am entitled to express my opinion, and will continue to do so. SeeyaBlockinblox 21:15, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Blockinblox, while you are certainly entitled to your personal moral views, you are not entitled to attempt to force them upon this project. Unless you have anything more valuable to contribute to this page besides bigotry and empty rhetoric, you should stop wasting the time of editors who are genuinely concerned with improving this list of articles. Wikipedia does not promote the various views it discusses - Wikipedia certainly does not promote, say, drug overdose, but that doesn't mean that it can't talk about John Belushi's death, or any other topic relating to drug overdose. If drug overdose were not a uniformly-negative subject, then talking about any positive aspects of it would also not be promoting it. Wikipedia aspires to a Neutral Point of View on all subjects, and the majority of editors regularly attempt to bring that quality to every article. People who attempt to stop that are violating Wiki policy and undermining the whole project. Rarr 23:35, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I've re-asserted NPOV neutrality on "homosexuality" once again.
I've removed heterosexuality and homosexuality from "reproduction" and placed "sexuality" in the "social issues" section.
Note I do so for NPOV, acceptable compromise and factual accuracy, not moral judgement (see "inclusion of homosexuality" discussion above).
Sexuality as a whole is a separate social issue, related but essentially independent of the mechanics of sexual reproduction.
After all, it could be deemed as equally prejudical to leave out bisexuality, non-sexuality (rare but possible: Those who lack any sexual urges completely), celebacy (of religious and non-religious types), no sex before marriage and the like.
Positive discrimination is still discrimination and violates NPOV from the other direction of showing favouritism instead of prejudice. Both are NPOV violations.
Also, this compromise was reached by consensus (because if subcategories of "sexuality" are left to the individual Wikipedias then where it is an illegal offence to promote homosexuality, the article can be left out to avoid breaking the law). One shouldn't really have unilaterally changed it without consultation. *cough* PetrochemicalPete 14:12, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
On the other matter of unilateral changes: There's nothing inherently wrong in this. "Be bold" is the Wikipedia motto.
The issue was merely one of courtesy. People have worked on the list for months. Debates have raged over the inclusion of one thing or the exclusion of another. Compromises have been bashed out.
It is a social "faux pas" not to have shown courtesy to others by acknowledging and respecting their work. It is an editing "faux pas" to assert a unilateral list over a multilateral one; You unintentionally re-ignite all the contravertial issues all over again. Pragmatically, you undo do a lot of hard work and, if compromises need to be debated again, you introduce unnecessary duplication of work.
Wikipedia is a collabrative effort; Please - everyone - respect that fact and respect the work and efforts of others. This applies as equally in both directions. Major unilateral change without consultation can appear to be a form of vandalism to other people's prior efforts (and comes across as rude, whether intentional or not). But, at the same time, Wikipedia is a collabrative effort of constant revision that "no edit is final nor sacred".
Disagreements keep us honest and accurate. Embrace them and learn from them. PetrochemicalPete 14:32, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Revision -modest proposal :)

One snap scanning of the list and three proposals:

  1. Religion - there are severals articles in major religions informing about their doctrines. However, the list lacks divisions!
  2. Mathematicians: the list lacks of at least a couple of truly great names like Augustin Cauchy (one of the founders of mathematical analysis), A.N. Kolmogorov (axiomatic probability) or Stefan Banach (functional analysis). I know the list should be possibly lean (and overall - it _isn't_) but I think these people are far more important for overall humanity than pretty locacl games of, say, simple:Mancala or simple:Waterpolo.
  3. Langugages - the list is quite long but I would consider submitting simple:Italian (as a child langauge of Latin, quite widely spoken) and simple:Polish (second Slavic and the biggest western Slavic language with a quite big diaspora all over the world) and maybe Portugal (Portugal - and Brasil). I would perceive the fact of the considerably large Wikipedias written in these languages as some additional incentive and evdence to put these languages on the list.

Greetings, and thanks for the discussion. aegis maelstrom δ 12:19, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

What stays, what goes?

I propose that we establish a consistent system for discussing and verifying the inclusion of entries in this list. There are many items on this list that clearly don't belong there, many that clearly do belong there, and many that are in a grey-zone where we will need to talk about the reasons why and why not to have such an article included. The current list is, by and large, haphazard and arbitrary, with inconsistent coverage that demonstrates bias both by culture and by field of knowledge; it is ruled by the whims of whoever happens to edit it on each day, with no real method of determining what stays and what goes beyond each individual user's personal conception of the relative "importance" of all these articles. As long as this situation continues, this page will be of minimal use to the many Wikipedias. The first step in tightening and bulking up this page should be to figure out a way to address the hundreds and hundreds of articles on this list which may have their importance disputed.

Although I welcome any suggestions for how best to pursue this goal (or any other comments whatsoever), if some specific ideas are what you're looking for, I propose, first of all, that we create a "removed" list for storing all the entries whose importance has not been established. (A similar practice has been instituted, highly successfully, on several lengthy (and prone to continuous expansion) lists on Wikipedia. Perhaps have it at Talk:List of articles all languages should have/Removed?) This will encourage users to discuss and justify both removals and additions, will keep former staples of the list that are later deemed not significant enough from being lost and forgotten entirely, and will make the list in general easier to deal with by not crushing us with the weight of quasi-noteworthy entries. Second, we should go through each section of this page, one at a time, and discuss (and possibly vote on, if there's any support for that) the various entries of each and whether there are any important missing topics, or any topics that should be removed. This will make the page less fluid and more stable, and thus a more reliable resource, at least for ascertaining what most editors think the most necessary articles are.

Once that's out of the way and we've made quite a few removals and additions, we can start discussing ways to make the individual entries more useful to our readers, such as by adding one-sentence descriptions of each article (which will also help establish why each entry provided is noteworthy, which is currently very unclear to anyone reading this list, though the new links to the English Wikipedia help that greatly), grading entries on a 1-3 scale of importance (e.g., "1" for articles like "language", "2" for articles like "grammar", and "3" for articles like "english language", in decreasing order of centrality), and/or list various translations of the entries in the most common languages of Wikipedias—there are many interesting possibilities to discuss in the future, but we can't begin to really delve into and debate how to expand this page's format until we've gone over the specific entries in enough depth to confirm their reliable status (so we don't end up wasting too much more time by saving the reworking of the list's entries until after they've been expanded) as "articles all languages should have", to at least establish a stable position to start from. -Silence 02:56, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

My personal opinion: Do not plan to have a single list of articles all languages should have; instead, have two lists. The first list should be the 1000 articles which all languages should have. The second should contain 4000 - 9000 additional articles which are in addition to the top 1000.
Criteria for the top 1000 will be varied, and disputed. Wikipedias are not primarily used for research, but for answering questions. For this reason, usefulness and popularity of an article are of greater importance than historic or effectual value. [[George W. Bush]] is a more important figure than [[George Washington]] of Mount Vernon in this scale, to use a US-centric example.
Criteria for the additional articles may be somewhat looser; there is more room, so pick the top number of entries and stop worrying about inclusion/exclusion until that number has been reached. At that time, budget the number of entries by field, and allow persons focused on those fields to determine relative importance (again, I would stress usefulness over academic value; [[birth control in humans]] is not as useful as[[condom]].) - Amgine / talk meta 03:10, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Your suggestion about having two lists seems extremely reasonable to me. It is, in fact, one of the ways I'd imagined possibly implementing the "1-3" system I specified above: 1-2 would be listed on a single, compact page, while 3 (i.e. the more borderline entries, still very important but not quite as "vital") would be listed in a much more expansive version. Or something like that, anyway. The only thing I disagree on is the exact numbers you suggested we make the lists adhere to; I don't see the value of forcing the list to adhere to an artificial, set number of articles just because it seems more orderly. Each list should be exactly as long as it merited by the number of topics that meet that page's standards of importance, be that 500 articles or 5,000. We should worry about being consistent in how we apply our standards to each page, not about how many entries are on each page total (at least not in a specific way; if either page gets bloated in a general sense (e.g., having 10,000 entries instead of 1,000 would be a big problem, but having 1,400 would not) that's indeed an issue). But, yes, I think that would indeed be the most organized, and valuable, way to deal with this project: an ideal mix of inclusivity and strictness of standards.
"For this reason, usefulness and popularity of an article are of greater importance than historic or effectual value." - I'm not sure I understand, perhaps because I tend to mean the same thing when I say "useful" and "valuable"; if something's valuable, how could it be useless to our readers? I think I agree in principle, though, if what you're saying is that we should concern ourselves with the practical issue of giving our readers basic knowledge on the most essential topics, rather than with more esoteric concerns such as qualifying whether this topic or that one is more objectively important. Perhaps if you clarified what you mean a bit, I'd be more sure that I agree with what you're saying.
"Wikipedias are not primarily used for research, but for answering questions." - Perhaps, but Wikipedias are still encyclopedias, not FAQs.
"George W. Bush is a more important figure than George Washington of Mount Vernon in this scale, to use a US-centric example." - I only half-agree. Though I honestly wouldn't be especially averse to seeing a list that includes G. Bush and not G. Washington (and I'd certainly place both Bush and Washington much higher on the scale of relevance to this list than other "founding father" American history staples like Franklin, Jefferson and Adams), I think we should, at least to some extent, minimize the natural tendency of editors to be biased towards modern events vs. historical ones. Though the utilitarian model does, in general, prefer current situations to past ones, and I don't object to this being implemented on some level, to distinguish Washington and Bush to such an extreme level that Bush is definitely kept and Washington definitely excluded seems to be overdoing it: temporal bias is already a bad problem on most Wikipedias, and we shouldn't worsen it by excessively favoring recent history over earlier history). Part of the reason for having a list like this is to remind people of important articles they might forget to make, which means that sticking entirely to the articles that are already the most popular and commonplace ones on every Wikipedia rather defeats the purpose of this project. Overall, I think we should strike a balance between appealing solely to the most popular, modern topics, and being completely apathetic to whether something happened yesterday (9/11) or 2000 years ago (the burning of Rome); the latter's just plain unrealistic and unhelpful, but the former's rather too short-sighted and will cause this list to change rapidly with new trends and current events, which is harmful as well and will undermine the stability and reliability of the listings. (For example, one issue is: will we update the list with the new U.S. president every single time one comes into office? Though Bush is noteworthy enough to be indisputably necessary on this list, not every future president will necessarily be the same, despite the U.S.'s current central importance in world politics.)
"so pick the top number of entries and stop worrying about inclusion/exclusion until that number has been reached." - I'll have to disagree with you here again. Such a method would just cause the list to be deeply biased towards whichever things the first editors to work on that list are most interested in, and biased against any later editors' additions. We should apply the same standards to a certain article that's been suggested for inclusion, regardless of whether we currently have 12 or 3,500 articles out of a 3,500 maximum. Important is important. This is also one of the reasons I don't like the idea of an arbitrary, set limit of articles to either list: it will inevitably either lead to bloat (as people add relatively trivial entries just to fill up space), favoritism and exclusion of some topics in favor of others (as newly-suggested entries aren't added simply because there are already too many entries in the list), or, most likely, both. If we're diligent in applying standards of importance to every article that's added to both lists, it won't matter exactly how large—or how small—either one gets.
"At that time, budget the number of entries by field," - This also seems like a very bad idea to me (unless I'm misinterpreting what you mean by "budget by field"). What if there just happen to be more much-needed entries in "biography" than in "mathematics", in "geography" than in "history", or in "biology" than in "chemistry"? Why set arbitrary maximums or minimums on lists, when we can't be certain ahead of time what the ideal number for any section or field will be? It's just a simple fact that some fields of human knowledge have more vitally-important distinct articles to be written about than others; we should have more distinct articles from the field of anatomy, for example, than from the field of psychology, even though both are very important fields—not because anatomy is necessarily more important than psychology, but because more of the concepts in anatomy require distinct articles to clearly explain (for example, lungs, heart and brain are higher-priority separate articles than ego, supergo and id). Artificial limits will cause more harm than benefit, and more bureaucracy than order.
"again, I would stress usefulness over academic value" - I partially agree, but remember that academic value is a type of usefulness; Wikipedia is still a general encyclopedia, and not a how-to manual or self-help book. I think I get your point, though I'm not sure I agree (why is "condom" more important than "birth control" if the concept of condoms, and many other forms of birth control, are surely discussed in the "birth control" article, making "condom" a daughter article of sorts?).
But those sorts of details can be worked out later; right now, the main issue is how to get from where we're currently at (an overlarge and rather disorderly list of all sorts of "articles all languages should have") to where we want to be at (which seems to be two separate lists); should we start going through the list and discussing which entries belong on "list A" (1 and 2 on my importance/necessity scale), "list B" (3 on my importance/necessity scale), and neither list (less important or necessary than 3)? Or should we just pick out individually the clearly "list A" entries (like "human", "science", "war", "plant"), and then worry about sorting the less noteworthy ones afterwards? In other words, should we start at the top of the list and work our way down the various sections, or start with the most obviously noteworthy ones and then branch outwards into the steadily more "grey-area" articles? -Silence 03:55, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Here's my reasoning:
  • Number-limited lists
    The purpose of the list is, primarily, to prioritize article creation/translation for wikipedias, to develop a "seed" of usefulness for these wikipedias.
  • Usefulness vs. value
    It is far more valuable to have a dozen articles about the US presidency, its position in politics and law, foreign policy, etc. But for someone on the Nepali wp they likely are only interested in information about the current US president. Things people want the answer to now are of greater importance than articles which are extremely useful background information to those pop-culture needs. An article about forms of government is less useful than an article about rice. Priority should be on articles which are extremely popular over many languages, and on simpler over-views rather than in-depth knowledge. Leave room for each language to develop the articles, to make it relevant to their milieu.
  • Budgeting numbers of articles
    The majority of these articles will initially be translated by non-native speakers to the wikipedia in question. Maintaining interest beyond the top 1000 for these translators will be difficult; keeping a relatively low number of articles within a field of interest (Humanities, Science...) allows an achievable goal while also giving them a reasonable area of influence (I know much about a subset of human health services, and should be able to have input there, but not in the field of modern culture or history of African cultures.)
  • Choosing smaller rather than broader
    Yes, I know I argued the opposite above. The choice of condom vs. human birth control is one of scope. The condom is the most common form of artificial birth control in the world; it requires little explanation in any setting, and its use can be grasped without language. Attempting to explain the cultural relevance of the rhythm method or the legal/religious discussions related to RU-486 would almost certainly be an element of human birth control, and be almost impossible to make translatable to every language. Choices like these should be made, to select what is immediately useful, and reserve the background article for later development.
My suggestion: set limits; people work better to a limit and a deadline. Set a deadline (Alpha release of list on 1 May 2005, for example), knowing the list will be revised continually but trying to get a product available for translating teams to begin with. Then others may make plans based on the efforts here. Start a section for the top 1000, separate from the over-large list. And begin. - Amgine / talk meta 04:55, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, personally I wouldn't be that sure with this "usefulness vs. value" thing. Yes, you are right, it's highly more probable that people look for recent information. However, on the other hand, they have a plenty of souces to find it. Being honest, if only they watch TV news and read newspapers they actually know a bit who is Mr Bush (rare nations are so self-centred as Americans :P ). Some historical or specific data can be much more useful becuase of rarity.
Re other choices (quotas vs. non-quotas, one step vs. 2, 3 or road map etc.) I'm afraid that there is no perfect choice but two- or three- step solution seems to be fine (the language projects are on diferent stages of their development).
Re ways of making decision - I think a larger group of people should be involved and culture-uncentred experts and participants from other language projects should be asked (there does exist a language bareer - English - on Meta). We may agree that present list is anglocentric - just like enWikipedia. The further the culture is from some "likes" and standards of en: users, the harder time it gets on en:. People from anglo-saxon world tend to think they are not biased and there was no propaganda (in fact, it still exists there, as at least to some point everywhere, I guess).
In this way we can make this list useful (I think many Wikipedias tend to ignore it and it seems to be quite reasonable for me).
Best, aegis maelstrom δ 09:11, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Say, you want a list of 1000 articles... There are almost 250 pedias now... I wonder, if we asked each 'pedia to submint the top five articles it feels are most important to know about to a list, what would the overall list end up looking like? (Each pedia would have to determine this by some kind of internal vote on its editors, users or admins, I suppose...) I bet it would look a lot less Hollywood-centric than this list...! Til Eulenspiegel 13:08, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
  • After further consideration, I've changed my mind about having two lists. At least for now, such a move would be premature and inefficient. However, I do like very much the idea of distinguishing between the urgently important entries in the list (like "History" and "Earth" and "Big Bang"), and other important, but not quite as important, entries in the list (like "Martial arts" and "Tornado" and "European Union"), but I think we should distinguish them, at least to begin with, by bolding the more important ones, rather than by doing anything fancy like page-shuffling. In other words, we'll have highly important articles like "Year" in bold, but less important articles like the specific months of the year unbolded (though "Month" itself may be bolded too). After we've finished trimming the list and bolding the most important entries on the list, then it may be feasible to create one or two smaller lists based on the main list: certainly one that only has the bolded entries, and possibly also one that only has the unbolded ones. The reason for this is that if we start off, before anything's settled yet, by splitting the article up, it will lead to a very disorganized and decentralized situation, and we'll inevitably lose track of a lot of articles in the midst of all the entry-moving and sporadic changes and reverts that will be going on; the two-edit process of removing an article from one list and then adding it to another will, I'm quite certain, cause lots of unnecessary labor, and lots of inconsistencies and repetitions and missed entries. Far simpler to make the process a simple matter of bolding or unbolding certain entries, and far less likely to cause any accidents to occur. Plus it makes it easier to organize the page if we follow your logic and decide that many specific topics (like "condom") are more important than general topics (like "birth control"); by having the two pages merged as one, we can indent "condom" properly to show that it's a daughter article of "birth control" (since it's a specific type of birth control), but we can bold "condom" and leave "birth control" unbolded if we end up deciding that condom's important enough for "List A", but birth control is only important enough for "List B" (which I'd dispute, but I'm just giving a hypothetical example). Likewise, we might want to keep the animal listing as organized as it is now, with "Insect" a subarticle of "Arthropod" and "Mammal" a subarticle of "Chordate", but we'll probably end up with "Mammal" as a more important article than "Chordate" because of what a common and central term it is, in which case we can simply bold "Mammal" and leave "Chordate" unbolded (unless we end up deciding that "Chordate" is so unimportant that we shouldn't even have it on List B, which I'd dispute as well, but that's certainly an option). So, overall, I say it's much better to distinguish the two lists by bolding certain entries and leaving other entries unbolded, at least until the two lists are stable enough that we aren't constantly moving entries from one list to the other (which will surely be the case for some length of time, as we discuss the various placements of each article). Once they're relatively stable, we can use both systems fairly easily. -Silence 21:47, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

"Can we *talk* first?"

In response to Aegis Maelstrom: That's exactly what I've been trying to cause to happen. It's been 3 or 4 days without any discussion here whatsoever; it's like I said, this place is too inactive. I'm delighted that my last edit to the page caused you to review as well which actors and directors merit listing, and I will continue to make such edits in the hope of provoking discussion so consensuses can be reached.

In the meantime, I'm starting to compile a rough draft of my own list of which entries we should bold/move to List A, so that discussion on differentiating the two levels of "shouldness" in the "list of articles all languages should have" can begin. Anyone else who's interested is free to do the same, and we can then compare and discuss our respective lists to get a good idea for where to start from and what different people's conceptions of the two lists are. Just keep in mind that (1) a lot of entries will probably be removed and added in the coming days, and (2) the "List A" of entries should be very short (at the very least to begin with) and very selective; if both lists are thousands of entries long, then the whole point of dividing the list (to provide a manageably short list of especially necessary articles too) is missed. -Silence 16:22, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Raw materials and energy

I would propose Power Station for this topic, because running power plants are substantial for our society. -- 09:20, 2 April 2006 (UTC) Markus Schweiß, Deutschland

Sounds like a reasonable addition, though a clearer explanation for why "power station/plant" is one of the most necessary articles on a Wikipedia would be appreciated; what information do such articles provide that the articles about the energy sources themselves don't? In the meantime, go for it, though. -Silence 18:47, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

20th-century musicians

With the recent addition of Pink Floyd, I've looked back over this section and decided to remove both Pink Floyd and the less marginal The Rolling Stones; although both bands are fairly notable, they aren't quite vital enough to merit inclusion on this list; to add them represents too much of a bias towards late-20th-century-British-rock-music-groups-who-formed-in-the-1960s (The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and The Rolling Stones all adhere to those terms), and although they're important, they're not top-level-important. If we do add a third 20th-century American/British pop/rock musician along with Elvis Presley and The Beatles, if anything we should probably go with Michael Jackson, both for his significance as a musician and for his notoriety as a celebrity. But at this point, I don't think we need to add too many similar musicians to the list (though certainly I'm willing to discuss all possibilities, if anyone disagrees!), as it's too easy to risk bloat.

Also, on a side-note, we should probably add Tchaikovsky to the list of musicians and composers; he seems to be the most glaring ommission currently. -Silence 04:03, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Choosing which entries to bold

This is a (very) rough draft of the list of entries which I would recommend bolding. The list is fairly "safe" (i.e. few surprises) and simple, and also fairly Western-centric, so I welcome any attempts to expand on it (or to dispute any of the ones I listed, of course), though I think if it is expanded, it should only be expanded very little: we should be extremely strict in which biographical entries we bold (and only somewhat less strict in which we allow on the page at all), for example, and should probably avoid having more than 15–20 bolded; the fewer the better, as it makes working through the huge list much easier, which is the entire purpose of dividing the list into bold and non-bold entries: to have a greatly-shortened list and a relatively expansive one. But, yeah, this is just a place to start from; it's extremely incomplete and I was hoping for more discussion first, but since this place is so inactive, maybe if I keep chugging along it'll attract more interest.

  • Biography
    • Actors, dancers and models: None
    • Artists and architects: Vincent van Gogh, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso
    • Authors, playwrights and poets: Dante Alighieri, Homer, William Shakespeare
    • Composers and musicians: Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    • Explorers: Christopher Columbus
    • Film directors and screenwriters: None
    • Inventors, scientists and mathematicians: Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton
    • Social scientists: Aristotle, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Plato
    • Politicians, leaders and aristocrats: George W. Bush, Adolf Hitler
  • History: History
    • Prehistory and ancient world: ?
    • Middle Ages and Renaissance: ?
    • Industrial age: Cold War, Industrial Revolution, World War I, World War II
  • Geography: Geography, City, Continent, Country, Ocean
    • Continents and major regions: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America
    • Cities: Hong Kong, Jerusalem, London, New York City, Paris, Rome, Tokyo
    • Bodies of water: Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Nile, Pacific Ocean
    • Mountains, valleys and deserts: Himalaya, Sahara
  • Society: Society, Education
    • Family: Family, Adult, Child, Infant, Marriage
    • Politics: Politics, Government, State
    • Economics: Economics, Money
    • Law: Law
    • International organizations: United Nations, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
    • War and military: Military, Peace, War
    • Social issues: Capital punishment, Human rights, Slavery
  • Culture: Culture, Art, Dance, Theatre
    • Language and literature: Language, Alphabet, Book, Letter, Literature, Poetry, Grammar, Word, Writing
    • Architecture and civil engineering: Architecture, House
    • Film, radio and television: Film, Radio, Television
    • Music: Music
    • Sports and games: Sport, Game
    • Religion: Religion, Deity, Mythology, Soul, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam
    • Philosophy: Philosophy, Logic, Reality, Truth
  • Science: Science
    • Astronomy: Astronomy, Big Bang, Galaxy, Moon, Planet, Earth, Star, Sun, Universe
    • Biology: Biology, DNA, Death, Life
      • Biological processes: Metabolism, Photosynthesis, Evolution, Biological reproduction
      • Anatomy: Anatomy, Cell, Circulatory system, Heart, Nervous system, Brain, Reproductive system, Skeleton
      • Organisms: Organism, Animal, Insect, Amphibian, Bird, Fish, Mammal, Human, Reptile, Bacteria, Fungus, Plant
      • Health and medicine: Medicine, Disease, AIDS, Cancer, Influenza, Malaria, Virus
    • Chemistry: Chemistry, Element, Gold, Hydrogen, Iron, Oxygen, Salt, Geology, Mineral, Rock, Metal, Phase (matter)
    • Weather, climate and geology: Weather, Climate, Geology, Mineral, Rock
    • Physics: Physics, Atom, Energy, Color, Force, Molecule, Time
    • Timekeeping: Calendar, Day, Month, Year

-Silence 06:01, 6 April 2006 (UTC)


One of the most glaring deficiencies for this page is its complete lack of any recommendations on which countries to have articles for. All it has is a lame cop-out, making the unreasonable and completely unhelpful demand that every Wikipedia have an article on every country, with absolutely no differentiation or prioritization between whether we need an article on India or on Swaziland first. This is both absurd and highly impractical. Clearly the only reason we resorted to this is to avoid any possibility of being accused of bias for choosing one country and not another, but I don't see why this is a problem solely for that part of the page and not for any other. If we managed to be so selective with which religions and languages we included on this list, even though there's just as much of a chance of someone being offended by not having theirs included, then surely we should be able to do the same for "countries". At the very least, even if we do not differentiate between countries, we should list them all here, so users don't have to visit another page to see them. But I think that the much more valuable method for dealing with countries would be to handle them consistently and fairly by treating them just the same as articles on every other topic: create a working list, a rough draft, of highly noteworthy and significant countries, and then invite everyone to add and remove entries from the list so we can slowly, over time, chisel it down into the best list we can manage. As a rough goal to aim for, I'd say that we should have about 100 countries total, about 15 of which should be bolded. Obviously this is not set in stone, and can increase or diminish over time (whichever's most beneficial), but I think that's a good place to start from. We should then, if there's worry about disputes arising, provide explanations for why every single country we list is important enough to be included on such a selective list. This will help avoid most of the POV disputes that could arise if we didn't make explicit which aspects of the countries we're choosing (like population, history, economic status, etc.) if justifying its inclusion in the list.

So, what do you say? Shall we try it? -Silence 07:02, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

  • I've set up a working rough draft-in-progress at w:User:Silence/Countries. Feel free to edit it there; if anyone wants me to move it to a MediaWiki page, I'll gladly do so. As soon as there's support for this addition (or if, as with my past few suggestions, once again everyone else is out to lunch), I'll make the addition so it can receive more attention from editors of various backgrounds. -Silence 08:18, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
    • Hi, I looked over your list. I think it is a good idea to have subset of countries for the purposes here. I think that bolding Spain would be a good idea, because of historical importance and because Spanish is one of top 5 most common mother tongues. We might want to expand that top 15 up to top 25 so that we can include countries like Italy and Canada (both are G8 countries and of course Italy is historically important) and South Korea, Mexico and Egypt as well. Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar and Palestine probably should go up to the 100 list. --Vir 03:23, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
    • Thanks for the help! Lessee.. this'll be tricky..
    • Alright, those additions seem reasonable enough, though I'm reluctant to add too many bolded entries (because if we have 25-30 rather than 10-15 it'll be much harder to say "no" to anyone's requests that we bold more countries, which will eventually make the bolding distinction an irrelevant one because it'll be too large!). Also, "Spanish language" (which covers much of Spain's linguistic importance) and "Ancient Rome" (which covers much of Italy's historical importance) are already included in the main List, so I don't think bolding them primarily on linguistic and historical grounds is especially necessary (plus the bolded-list already has too much of a Eurocentric bias, having, for example, 0 African countries). Canada, however, is definitely a borderline one, and I've already strongly considered adding it to the list, but have been reluctant partly because of the Anglocentric bias it might demonstrate to have the US, UK, Australia and Canada all on such a short-short list of top-priority countries (I was reluctant to add "Australia" originally too, but caved in partly on the grounds that it's the only country that one could also get away with listing as a "continent").
    • The only country addition you recommended for the 100 list that I won't be adding is "Hong Kong", because it's already listed (and, in fact, bolded) in our list of "Cities". -Silence 06:28, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
    • Overall, I'd be much, much more receptive to any requests that we make the list smaller than 100 entries than to requests that we make them larger, because the list is both more useful and more easy to keep NPOV when we have enough entries that the excluded ones are in the majority, rather than the minority—as soon as they're in the minority, we're in big trouble because we're practically going out of our way to say they're unimportant, rather than reserving "inclusion on this list" status for an extremely selective and careful listing, as we should. As such, even more than recommendations for countries to add to the "included" list, I'd love to hear countries that should be removed from the "included" list (at least until a good enough rationale can be provided for them being listed). Otherwise it'll just become too bloated to be useful, and will overpower the rest of the "Geography" section. -Silence 06:28, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
Silence, here are some list triming suggestions and more on adding a few top bolded entries. An issue to consider is if listing all these countries under geography is the way to go. I think listing and linking to the general country articles under some other part of the list (which all include links to geography articles and many other aspects of countries) might be a better approach. The nation state is a basic category of analysis in all macro level social sciences.
From the current list of 43 countries on the meta page, one could drop Monaco and Vatican City (or move VC to the city list even if VC is a country technically).
In addition to the above, from the list of top 100 countries on your use page, you could drop (mostly because they are tiny -- having high living standard is not everything, as in Barbados and Luxembourg) the following. I don't see why these tiny countries should be on list when larger countries in their region are not: Barbados, Burundi, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Luxembourg, Monaco, Republic of Moldova, Samoa, Slovenia. In another pass, perhaps more countries could be removed.
Well, I'll try again for Spain and Italy: I think Spain should be a featured country because not only of language but also because of it's history of colonization (related) and being a key power in Europe, its key role in channeling Islamic learning and culture to Europe, the global appeal of Latin culture (of course related to language and colinization), and it would be nice for a Mediterranean power to be featured: either Italy or Spain, I would think. Spain has a very vital history of grass roots democratic movements (a rather important one). Spain is growing again as an economic power -- one of top 10 or 11 in world (though Italy's economy is larger). The legacy of this Spanish (and Italian) versions of socialist political theory in Latin America, Spain and Italy are becoming important on the global stage today through global justice/anti-globalization movements. Very important. Also, Italian and Spanish are amongst the top 10 Wikipedias (not that we want Poland as a top 15 country article, but Wikipedia size is another factor). On Italy: Not only was Italy of fundamental importance in the ancient times but also in the middle ages and also in the Renaissance. Hmm. If Indonesia is in, we should add Italy and Spain and South Korea, while we're at it. Perhaps make 20 countries the cut off. --Vir 19:54, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

For reference, here is a World Bank list of top 15 economies: List of countries by GDP (PPP)

Rank Country GDP (PPP) — World 55,938,191 — European Union 12,020,939 1 United States 11,628,083 2 People's Republic of China 7,123,712[2] 3 Japan 3,774,086 4 India 3,362,960 5 Germany 2,325,828 6 United Kingdom 1,832,252 7 France 1,744,352 8 Italy 1,621,372 9 Brazil 1,482,859 10 Russia 1,408,603 11 Spain 1,046,249 12 Mexico 1,014,514 13 Canada 993,079 14 South Korea 980,694 15 Indonesia 779,719 --Vir 19:54, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Ps. I see that the list of countries (and perhaps cities) under the geography section are linked to main multi-disciplinary articles on those. This is very good as the general country articles better coverage of the importance of those countries. These categories may be misplaced. Countries are a main marco level unit of analysis in all the social sciences. I think the country and city articles should be moved from the geography section to the society section. If that makes for a large society category, it can't be helped. Countries as discussed in the linked articles are units of society not geographical topics. Clarity is better than evening things out. --Vir 20:03, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
Pps. One could shorten the bolded country list links and much reduce the Euro-centric character of the bolded countries by having EU as a bolded item -- it is in a sense a network state -- and unbolding all European countries. I think you could include Mexico and Egypt then. With that, you have all the most major long term civilization areas of the planet covered. --Vir 23:47, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
  • "An issue to consider is if listing all these countries under geography is the way to go." - A lot of the current organizational system is based on what's most convenient, rather than on what's strictly and absolutely accurate. That's we have "history" as its own top-level section, rather than as a sub-section of "society" or somesuch; its shorthand for "events", like "geography" is shorthand for "places". So, one big reason not to move "cities" or "countries" to "society", even though they're political and social entities at least as much as geographic, is because it would excessively bloat the "society" section and leave the "geography" section (which is already relatively small and limited) severely deficient. It's just easier to navigate through the list that way, and it makes such on an intuitive, even if not a technical, level to have countries listed alongside continents.
  • "The nation state is a basic category of analysis in all macro level social sciences." - Then add the article "nation-state" to the "Society" section. :) -Silence 03:09, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
  • "From the current list of 43 countries on the meta page, one could drop Monaco" - I included Monaco mainly because it's the most densely populated country in the entire world, the second-smallest independent state in the world (after Vatican City), the largest police force and presence (per capita and per area) in the world, etc. But I suppose that in such a selective list, most of those are relatively trivial and semantic claims to fame, so I don't oppose removing Monaco.
  • "Vatican City (or move VC to the city list even if VC is a country technically)." - I don't want Vatican City removed from the list altogether; its a hugely important city in global religion and even politics, despite its small size. But certainly moving it to the "Cities" list seems reasonable to me, even if technically inaccurate; it's only fair, really, considering that "Hong Kong" is also listed under "Cities".
  • "Barbados, Burundi, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Luxembourg, Monaco, Republic of Moldova, Samoa, Slovenia. In another pass, perhaps more countries could be removed." - A good start! I'm delighted to have some removal suggestions, as I have little confidence in my own ability to gauge the importance of most countries. It is indeed true that most of those were added because they scored especially high (or especially low) on certain statistics regarding population, quality of life, poverty, etc.; in lieu of a better way to determine noteworthiness, I went with some lists like that to start from. However, since you justify removing those entries largely based on their size, do keep in mind that I don't think we should consider geographic size a very important factor in inclusion. Population size is much more important; the geographic size of many countries and states is rather arbitrary.
  • "Also, Italian and Spanish are amongst the top 10 Wikipedias (not that we want Poland as a top 15 country article, but Wikipedia size is another factor)." - Actually, even though I'm a very big Italian history enthusiast, I'd consider Poland to be almost as important as Italy and Spain, especially if one puts more weight on recent history than on older history. Additionally, I strongly feel that the size of the Wikipedias of certain languages should not be too much considered in determining what should be included in this list, as that would worsen some of Wikipedia's systemic biases (for example, much of the reason certain language Wikipedias have more articles than others is based on how widespread computer and Internet use is, and other cultural factors). Furthermore, your argument about languages, again, is a stronger argument for including "Italian language" in the article than for including "Italy". However, I'm not strongly opposed to bolding Italy and Spain, so, pending further discussion, although I still have a fair number of reservations, I'm OK with adding them to the bolded list. Thank you for taking the time to explain your reasoning to me; discussions like these are what this list is most in need of.
  • "If Indonesia is in, we should add Italy and Spain and South Korea, while we're at it." - Why South Korea and not North Korea? Economic status is not the only factors in choosing countries.
  • "Perhaps make 20 countries the cut off." - I don't think we need a hard, absolute cut-off at any specific number, but we should certainly be very careful about which countries we bold and which we don't. Bolding more countries is a slippery slope that could lead (and I personally feel already is starting to lead) to bloat that would make the list much less useful to small Wikipedias. However, we'll just have to see how things turn out in the long run.
  • "One could shorten the bolded country list links and much reduce the Euro-centric character of the bolded countries by having EU as a bolded item -- it is in a sense a network state -- and unbolding all European countries." - Absolutely not. That's a cop-out, and "European Union" is already listed where it should be: under "International organizations", not "Countries". I'm glad you're thinking, though! It is, obviously, more important to avoid bias than it is to avoid the appearance of bias; if there happen to be more highly internationally noteworthy countries in Europe than in Africa, that's just the way things are, and we shouldn't try to change that for the sake of arbitrary Political Correctness. However, we should certainly do our very best to express a global, not just Western, view.
  • "With that, you have all the most major long term civilization areas of the planet covered." - The European Union is an economic and political organization, not a civilization. And for that matter, Mexico and Egypt, in their modern forms, are not "major long term civilizations" either, even if they coincide geogrraphically and nominally with ancient civilizations; and Italy is not Ancient Rome either. I feel that simply including them on the list, and including civilizations like the Ancient Egyptians and Incas and Romans and Ancient Greeks in the History section (perhaps we should discuss which of those should be bolded, since I haven't gotten around to bolding any of the "Ancient History" articles yet?), should suffice, even without bolding. As long as we're rather exclusive with who gets on the list at all, it won't be considered a "put-down" to be on the list and not be bolded. It will start to become so if we lower our requirements too much and let Egypt, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and South Korea in, even though obviously all five of those places are very important. -Silence 03:09, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Since it is late, here are some points as they pop in my head: If you look at the GDP (PPP) table above, Mexico, Spain and Italy have higher GDP than Indonesia and Canada. That was part of my reasoning there. These are economic superpowers, compared to the rest of the world.
PC/diversity is a good criteria for including one or a few of the 15 to 20 countries -- I think - so as to have one major country from each continent. Why not?
No, Egypt doesn't need to go bold. But, for PC reasons, some one African country should. Take your pick: Egypt, Nigeria, or South Africa. Nigeria has quite a large population (9th in world). Also, from memory, Nigeria may have been part of homeland of the expansion which drove the Niger-Congo language family across most of subsaharan Africa along along with a subsaharan package of agriculture. Niger-Congo is arguably the largest language family in the world.
Mexico is up there in GDP (the PPP version) -- the people and culture of ancient Mexico continue on in Mexico. Huge population too.
I think EU as a network state is on the way to being a super-country, like the U.S. and Russia and China and India. It is just less centralized (for the time being). I think you dismiss the EU as a unity too quickly (and for ideological reasons?). An argument can be made for reading EU as an economic-political and cultural bloc, more and more so, in various ways. In addition to legal and economic unifications, one key aspect of a modern state is will it defend it's interests militarily in a unified way -- EU is beginning to take small steps in this direction. Done. The big baby regional state is walking. I think it is near inevitable for EU to become a very complex nation state (not unlike India and China, with many languages). EU not a civilization? Hmm. I disagree. Modern Western Europe, while fragmented politically and somewhat linguistically, is a civilization with a great many economic, cultural and techno-scientific continuities (and with extensions around the world). Pomo be damned on that. Of course, now, this western civilization, driven to global supremacy by a complex of factors has been morphing into a global civilization blending with many localities and regional powers and global trends. Granted, most trade is still regional. But, this is gradually changing. (This is frighteningly so in the erosion of regulation, which might reverse eventually. But, how soon?) Anyway...
The cultures and empires of classical China, India, Europe, and Indonesia inspired their proximate and later successor states (and civilizations yes) and their diaspora beyond. I think this argument can be made in terms of linguistic, philosophical, religious, etc. continuities (or streams of development). The argument can be less made so for Mexico but I wonder about the areas of high concentration of indigenous population in the south. Persia, Iraq and Egypt are somewhat less so the case in continuity with their classical civilizations -- but their dominant cultures are moreso direct continuities of another great civilization sphere, the Islamic commonwealth. These are not whimsical connections: most of the super states today rest on the foundedations, in cultural-linguistic unity and in sheer population mass, that were established by the large empires of the past. So, your top 15 or 20 list will reflect this. The former colonies -- America, Australia, Brazil, and S. Africa-- seem to be the exceptions (unless you count them as extensions of European civ).
Btw, I love Peru -- but it just doesn't pop out on the scales we are talking about.
Poland -- I almost mentioned Poland. Important, more so in early modern times. But you were wanting less, not more bolds, and I agree. The GDP is not quite there. Population neither. Size neither.
Obviously population is an issue along with country size. These four criteria might do for cut offs in both bold and longer lists: PC (1 on each continent at least), GDP (PPP version), country size, and population size. This favors the legacy states of the old empires. Sigh. Keep it simple? Objective even?
The tiny countries: many have less than a few million population, even a few 100,000. These are small lakes of humanity compared to the oceans of humanity in large states. New York or Mexico City or Mumbai alone would swallow 20 or more of them. You are wanting a shorter list yes? I agree for top level encyclopedia purposes. If doing a course on states or an article on the nature of states: bring in all the variety.
I only mentioned the Wiki thing for Spain as one among many factors. If GDP is a key factor, Spain really should go in.
The more I think of it, the more I am found of the idea of de-bolding all the European places and just going with the EU -- all the European states are one click away then -- not just the big ones. Be bold and unbold, eh? :)
Viewing the world as a global system: what are the major powers in the world today? U.S., EU (gradually increasingly more so than the individual countries), India, China, Japan, Russia still for awhile (and maybe it will regenerate), Brazil perhaps, Mexico perhaps eventually, an Islamic alliance perhaps, a unified Korea perhaps (even ununified) or even an Asian economic bloc, a South American Union including Brazil perhaps and an African Union down the road and a SE Asain alliance. We are moving to an era of large regional states mostly as geopolitical players. Who else is can/will force their will in an era of various globalizations? Large states are necessary developments in the face of (and sadly as instruments of) the force of transnational corporations and financial markets moving massive monetary and trade flows around. (Global networks of social movements, right and left, are fighting this, but won't stop it.) Times have changed. Perhaps let our outlines reflect this to an extent.
Why South Korea only? Why Russia and not Ukraine? Look at the GDP (PPP) chart. S. Korea is in Top 15. One could check other types of GDP tables at the link above to get different takes.
Geography should perhaps be renamed to Places and Geography. Geography is quite misleading. Why have an encyclopedia with obfuscation at the top level. I'm not a fan of one word lables when two are three words accomplish much more (and indicate all sort of interesting connections) -- especially in a long list format like this. In a table to manage data, OK, maybe you want single words. But you need clear labels for organizing meaning. --Vir 05:39, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
"Mexico, Spain and Italy have higher GDP than Indonesia and Canada. That was part of my reasoning there. These are economic superpowers, compared to the rest of the world." - But Indonesia has the 4th-largest population in the world! Compared to Spain (43,000,000), Egypt (75,000,000), Italy (60,000,000), Mexico (100,000,000), and South Korea (48,000,000), Indonesia (220,000,000) is a people superpower! Like I said earlier, economic status should not be our primary factor in determining what countries should be bolded. Population shouldn't either, but both popluation and economic status should only be sufficient to require bolding for the top 5 or so countries on the list; when we're getting down to below the top 10 (as you are getting with South Korea, etc.), more is required.
"PC/diversity is a good criteria for including one or a few of the 15 to 20 countries -- I think - so as to have one major country from each continent. Why not?" - Because it's wasteful. We already have an article on each continent bolded. Like I said before, the list should be based on which countries are most internationally important, not based on which countries would make us look most PC. That's one of the main reasons I'd much rather have 10 countries bolded than 20: when you're only choosing about 10 countries out of a total of 7 continents, it's completely forgivable to not have a country from every continent bolded, and to have various other important countries not bolded. But when the requirements for bolding are so low that 20 countries make the list, it becomes a lot trickier to keep the list neutral and NPOV. I do't know that we really want to deal with that.
"No, Egypt doesn't need to go bold. But, for PC reasons, some one African country should." - Not if we find a way to shorten the list of bolded countries rather than grow it.
"Take your pick: Egypt, Nigeria, or South Africa." - All three of those countries are tempting. I'd also strongly consider the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Wikipedia claims that it is the only African country with a significant chance of becoming a major power this century, was the site of the deadliest conflict since World War II, and is the 12th-largest country in the world.
"I think EU as a network state is on the way to being a super-country, like the U.S. and Russia and China and India." - This is extremely speculative. EU's territory spans a much larger area than even the U.S. and China, and the vast majority of the EU's influence and international role is economic, not administrative. At this point, listing Europe (or the European Union) as a single country would be akin to listing the Middle East (or the Arab League) as one.
"I think you dismiss the EU as a unity too quickly (and for ideological reasons?)" - What the hell? Forgetting to assume good faith, there? What "ideological reasons" are you insinuating that I have? I'm offended.
"An argument can be made for reading EU as an economic-political and cultural bloc, more and more so, in various ways." - The same argument could be made for reading the United States and Canada as an economic-political and cultural bloc, but that doesn't make them the same country. Jeez.
"The GDP is not quite there. Population neither. Size neither." - The GDP and population are significant factors (though not overwhelmingly so), but the size of a certain country really isn't all that significant. The United Kingdom is the 78th-largest country in the world, yet surely you wouldn't call it less important than Kazakhstan, the 9th-largest country in the world, based on its size! I think we should stop worrying about geographic size so much; just because the countries are listed under "Geography" as a matter of convention (because they deal with places, even if those places are more geopolitically- than geographically-based) doesn't mean that their geographic features (such as altitude and climate and area) are of the highest importance.
"one key aspect of a modern state is will it defend it's interests militarily in a unified way -- EU is beginning to take small steps in this direction." - So? There are plenty of places that the United States would defend if attacked, that aren't a part of the United States. By your logic, the various twisted alliances in and preceding World War I constituted the formation of new countries just because the alliances required various countries to militarily defend each other. Until the European Union article is in a "Countries" category rather than an "International organizations" category (look at the bottom of the page!), your revolutionary reclassification theories are premature (and potentially offensive to many Europeans, who wouldn't want their countries removed from the list of important Countries just because they're members of a major international organization).
"Obviously population is an issue along with country size." - No, population is a major issue, size is a minor one. Antarctica is less internationally important than India despite being about four times as large geographically. If a country has large expanses of uninhabitable desert, why should that country be deemed more important than another country that would be equally large if one counted the significantly-inhabited regions only? Raw map size is a factor, but not a major one; Russia is bolded more for its historical and political importance than for its sheer size. The same applies to the U.S., India, Brazil and China; their size is a minor contributing factor to their being bolded, at best.
"If GDP is a key factor, Spain really should go in." - GDP is not a key factor (at least, not past the top 5 or so on the GDP list). GDP is certainly an important factor, but there are dozens of other important factors.
"The more I think of it, the more I am found of the idea of de-bolding all the European places and just going with the EU" - A truly terrible idea. I'd actually say that the EU is currently vastly less important than a number of existing countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom (was the British Empire a "country", based on your evaluation?). Clearly your political leanings and hopes for the future are preventing you from making an unbiased evaluation of Europe. Perhaps you should stick to other continents until you get some hard evidence that EU is a country or get over that fantasy so that country-inclusion can be discussed reasonably. Even if EU becomes a country sometime in the future (which Wikipedia obviously shouldn't speculate about until it's actually happened!), it's blatantly clear that it's not one now, which is all that should matter to us.
"Times have changed. Perhaps let our outlines reflect this to an extent." - Nope. Times have changed a great deal, yes, and we should reflect that in our list, but none of the developments you're fantasizing about (such as a unified, singular "Asian bloc" of power) are anywhere near actually existing at this point in time, or even in the foreseeable future. Your starry-eyed speculation about the future, no matter how strong your personal convictions are, cannot override the facts. Until Atlases and other encyclopedias start printing data based solely on these imaginary, futuristic supercountries instead of based on the actual, internationally-recognized existing countries of today, it would clearly be overstepping the line and POV-pushing to restructure a list like this based on absolute speculation. I, too, believe that the world is becoming increasingly globalized and centralized, and will continue to do so in the future, but that doesn't mean that we can rewrite the global geopolitical landscape for our own purposes just because we want to. Encyclopedias should reflect the facts of the past and present, not the imagined possibilities of the future; Wikipedia is not a crystal ball. Moreover, "viewing the world as a global system" is just one way of viewing the world. Presenting hypothetical future situations as present-day truths is clearly a violation of Wikipedia's core policies, Neutral point of view, Verifiability, and No original research.
"Why Russia and not Ukraine?" - Because Russia is much more historically and politically significant (not to mention, since you're so fond of comparing countries' sizes, that it's the largest country in the entire world). That I added Ukraine to the list at all is more than sufficient. Answering a question with another question is not answering the question at all; why South Korea and not North Korea?
"Look at the GDP (PPP) chart. S. Korea is in Top 15." - I honestly don't especially care. Mexico, Spain and Italy all have a much higher GDP than South Korea, yet they aren't bolded either. This is a list of the most important topics for a small-sized Wikipedia to have articles about, not a raw list of which countries have the highest GDPs. In fact, there'd be even fewer high-GDP countries bolded if so many countries with huge populations and a lot of political influence didn't happen to also have high GDPs; the fact that the GDP coincides nicely with some of the bolded entries is just that: a coincidence. GDP is not the be-all and end-all of the entire history, culture, geography, politics, social structure, and all other significant factors of every country in existence, and bolding countries based solely on their economic status is itself biased, because it forwards the idea that a country is only and entirely important because it has lots of money. Obviously things aren't quite that simple.
"Geography is quite misleading." - No more misleading than "history" is. "Geography" deals with places, "history" with events. The fact that "Geographic" lists certain countries and other divisions that are geopolitical more than strictly geographic is no more significant than the fact that "History" lists certain events that are actually prehistoric! For that matter, "Biography" isn't confined solely to biographic data; it's just about "People". If you wanted, you could rename "Geography" to "Places", "History" to "Events and periods", and "Biography" to "People"; it'd be more accurate, it just wouldn't look as pretty. It's a pretty trivial issue. I'm more concerned with improving the list than with minor semantic quibbles like that. If you want clearer labels, I recommend simply adding brief descriptions clarifying the title's meaning to the beginning of those sections: add a single-sentence explanation at the top of "Biography" to note that it's for articles about people (not for articles about biographies!), at the top of "History" to note that it's for articles about events and periods in human (pre)history, and at the top of "Geography" to note that it's not just for strictly geographical topics, but for all sorts of articles about places. Would that be sufficient clarification? We could likewise add clarifying lines to the beginning of "Society" and "Culture" and "Technology", since those are all pretty abstract and vague concepts, and non-native-English-speakers may not fully understand them (and, for example, "Technology" is sometimes considered a subgrouping under "Culture", at other times a subgrouping under "Science"). A little bit of clarifying text should clear up most of that obfuscation you speak of without having to completely overhaul the page. It's particulraly important to use one-word section names rather than multi-word ones because this page is for numerous non-English Wikis, and simpler words like "Geography" are better than lengthy, elaborate clauses explaining the exactitudes of the section's requirements. (Of course, that's anoter good argument for just going with "People", "Places" and "Events" rather than fanciness of "Biography", "Geography" and "History". But then, that's another thing to discuss.) -Silence 18:51, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Hey, I'm sorry you were offended. I didn't mean to offend. I think you took offense too easily. No offense was intended. I meant by "ideological" that you had a theory that you strongly cared about in this and believed. (ps. various definitions of en:ideology are not "judgemental.") That was the only topic on which you had previously said "absolutely" not. So, that sounded like a very strong belief. It is not meant as an insult. I was figuring we could joust back and forth here with ideas and critiques. I was partly jousting (a common thing in academic circles that I sadly spend too much time in) because your previous reply had seemed a bit dismissive about the EU state idea. Actually, I was just using contemporary social theory. See last paragraph below about Castells.
To the point: I think your counter examples above are not the best counters that could be given to the points I've made, which have more substance than you're granting. For instance, I mentioned repeatedly that EU is emerging as a "Network" state -- that is distinct from a country. The network state is a different type of beast from the traditional capitalist nation state. But, it is an emerging type of state, for the EU. Wikipedia may not write about it yet. But, we should and will. I did say that down the road that an African bloc etc. might emerge and was in no way implying that was close to a reality.
Though you criticized me for emphasizing some individual factors, I mentioned that 4 or 5 factors could be used together in selecting countries to bold. My general ideas in this have been considering various factors (see Spain at top), though my arguments may have emphasized specifics at times. For later: At the end of discussions such as this, I think it could help to summarize what factors are used to select bolded and general items.
Using one word titles for phrases for translation is an interesting point. Perhaps subtitles would be a way to get around this. People, places and events might be better. And nature for science. But, hmm, nature and science and place and geography still seem better to me. I don't think these are so difficult to translate. Very common words. --Vir 20:31, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Anyway, again, no offense intended. Really. I was both jousting/arguing and offering a criticism. Social scientists use ideology in various ways -- as a set of strongly held beliefs is one way. And I wanted you to consider looking at your beliefs. Something perhaps to consider some time: en:Manuel Castells, a prominent European social theorist (working in the U.S. now), very familiar with the EU and new social transformations, writes about the rise of the Network state in "The Information Age" trilogy, 3rd volume. Others disagree with his points. If you're familiar with that work, great. If not, I find Castells to be worth reading (and criticizing). Anyway, I'll be back to chat in a week or two -- I really have some big deadlines to meet. --Vir 20:22, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Fix Greek language; Bold Lenin; Hebrew alphabet

Fix: Greek language is currently listed as "Geek language".

Bold: Vladimir Lenin should be bold.

Add: Hebrew alphabet. Because the ancient version of it is the basis for Greek, Cyrillic and Latin and some others (arguably the Indian writing systems too).--Amir E. Aharoni 10:17, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Some good ideas; feel free to make changes yourself, too. But why add "Hebrew alphabet" without adding its source, "Phonecian alphabet"? -Silence 07:55, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
I can't make the changes - it's protected. As for Phoenician alphabet - indeed, historically it's more important to include it and not the modern Hebrew. Just put both :)--Amir E. Aharoni 04:57, 20 April 2006 (UTC)


Jehovah's Witnesses shouldn't be there. And if they are there, then Latter Day Saints and Seventh Day Adventists should be there too - they have pretty much the same number of adherents.

And Eastern Orthodoxy is left out altogether!

Also, Jehovah doesn't belong to Christianity alone. Besides, the current article about it is just about the name (and in the state of merge proposal!). To put it short - "God" is just enough.--Amir E. Aharoni 05:03, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree with removing Jehovah's Witnesses and Jehovah. - 06:17, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Space, and Laika

en:Neil Armstrong is in the list, so shoud en:Yuri Gagarin (first man in space).

Maybe also en:Laika who was the first mammal in space. ~ Røed 16:32, 26 April 2006 (UTC)


It seems to me that there should be an article about Earth in every language. 04:32, 2 May 2006 (UTC) This was actually me. Shijeru 04:35, 2 May 2006 (UTC)


It strikes me as strange that en:Ludwig Wittgenstein is not on the list, though for example en:Bertrand Russell is. Though a well-known figure in his day, Russell is not considered very significant now; in my philosophy degrees he was hardly mentioned. I'd say many (perhaps most) philosophers would consider Wittgenstein the most significant philosopher in the 20th century, even if they disagree with him; if not Witt, who else would be? 12:21, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

I think that Russell was a relatively recent addition; if you want to remove his article, I won't object. Likewise, I don't see any problem with adding Wittgenstein to the list. -Silence 14:47, 5 June 2006 (UTC)


While browsing this page, I found it amusing that not only was George W. Bush one of the articles, but he was ranked alongside Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin. I suppose that's an appropriate trio. :-) Maunakea 03:20, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Another political figure for inclusion

... should be Haile Selassie. Not only did he gain much fame in his speech before the League of Nations concerning Italian aggression (& which doubtlessly set Ethiopia back a generation in its economic development), but he was the founder of the Organization of African Unity, a major figure in the Non-aligned movement, & is worshipped as a religious figure by countless thousands. And his inclusion would help counter Systematic Bias. -- Llywrch 22:49, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Good point. I have added him. Codex Sinaiticus 21:35, 14 August 2006 (UTC)


It strikes me as odd that John Locke, David Hume and John Rawls are missing from the list. I realise that due to the nature of the list space is limited (or else I would suggest Karl Popper and Gottlob Frege as well, perhaps even W.V.O. Quine, Donald Davidson and Saul Kripke as well), but Hume, Locke and Rawls are all very central figures in philosophy and extremely influential. These philosophers have all had a greater impact than say, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Jean-Jeacques Rousseau who are on the list. -- 04:00, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I concur, although I'd say that Rousseau and Emerson are important as literary figures, and ought to be on the list. People who don't study philosophy often don't realize that philosophes like Rousseau and Voltaire weren't, strictly speaking, philosophers. Locke and Hume should definitely go on. Rawls I'm ambivalent on. John Kenney 12:04, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Authors, playwrights and poets

Why are Aeschylus and Euripides not on the list since Aristophanes is? Arguably both of them are a lot more influential and important writers than Aristophanes. I also find it weird that neither Democritus, the originator of ancient atomism, Epicurus, one of its most infulential thinkers, nor Lucretius, the most important and widely read author on ancient atomism (as well as a major literary figure in the history of Latin literature), is on the list, given the enormous impact ancient atomism had on early modern science. -- 14:08, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Agree on Aeschylus and Euripides. I would say that Epicurus, of the three atomists, makes the most sense (note that the only Latin literary figure at the moment is Virgil - I'd say Horace and Ovid should get added before Lucretius). John Kenney 12:05, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

This list should be more honest about its biases

I'm not quite sure I follow the point of this list, but it seems to me that it would be more appropriately titled "A list of articles that Euro-centric English-speaking people think should be on every wikipedia". I don't necessarily feel that these kinds of articles/lists/projects need to be NPOV (such a thing would be entirely impossible), but the pretentions of this one seem a bit much, more even than lists of the 100 greatest films and the like. In fact, I'm not against lists like this at all--I think they serve a valuable purpose, and we shouldn't waste out time wringing our hands about how to come up with a non-NPOV version of this list--but I think we should try to be clearer about the POV that they represent. Jun-Dai 06:58, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

The discussion shows that the contributors have tried to take a global perspective. This is of course very difficult to do. And since the work is done using the English language, most of the contributars are English speaking, and consequently most of the contributors have an anglosaxon perspective on the world. --Ettrig 09:02, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
The English-speaking bias in literature is pretty blatant. As Jun-Dai says, I don't think anything's wrong with that, but I think it should be acknowledged. John Kenney 12:06, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
That would be the easy way to do it. The better way is to try to change the selection to include more articles that are important in the non-English-speaking parts of the world, and remove some articles that aren't important for the people there. --Boivie 06:44, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, some of the authors were clearly not terribly important - I removed Edna St. Vincent Millay and Carl Sandburg, who are minor authors at best. But reducing the number of English language authors to, say, 5, seems really difficult to me. Better to make the list bigger. I could easily add a bunch of French language authors, and some authors for other languages. But that makes the list bigger. How sacred is the "about 1000 articles" limit? John Kenney 19:54, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
I thinkt it's good to have a limit, so that the list won't grow uncontrolled. 1000 articles has been the aim for a while, and I think it sounds pretty reasonable. --Boivie 17:03, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
There's already well more than a thousand articles. The list isn't going to grow uncontrolled, because not too many people are working on it, and obvious cruft can get cleared away. Of course the list will tend to grow as it goes on. It's got some weird biases at the moment - towards computer scientists, for instance; is it really more important to have an article on Dennis Ritchie than it has to have one on, say, Marsupials or Henry VIII? Of course not. It just happens that the people who have contributed to the list have tended to be computer nerds. The way to fix this is not to set some arbitrary number, but to allow the list to gradually balance itself by leaving it open and encouraging people to add names. Every once in a while, somebody can come through and clear particularly bad names, like the obscure Norwegian politicians, minor American authors, and semi-legendary female rulers (the Queen of Sheba was on the list, but not King Solomon! That's entirely absurd) who had somehow crept in when I found the place. The basic fact is that there are well more than a thousand articles that all languages should have articles on, and any limitation is basically going to bias the list in favor of the currently odd balance, because people always feel more willing to add names than to remove them. The page is basically a goal for starting up wikipedias - these are articles that are reasonably high priority to add, on a basis which is hopefully beyond that of individual cultures, although of course it has a western, and particularly an anglophone, bias because of who has contributed to it. Limiting the list, I think, especially to a number that has already been surpassed, will just stunt it and leave it with an odd, idiosyncratic set of choices. John Kenney 20:34, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I think en:Wikipedia:Vital articles (with just over 700 articles) is a much tidier list, though I haven't taken a close look to see if it's as balanced as it should be. I think a better approach, in any case, would be to create separate 100-article lists of important articles in certain areas: 100 most important cities, 100 most important authors, 100 most important politicians throughout history, etc. From these lists, the main 1,000-article list could be compiled if desired. This would be good for starting WikiProjects at our smaller wikis, since they have a decent number of articles to work on. It would also be useful for smaller projects, for which less specific topics, like historical events (wars etc.), would be a higher priority than individual figures in history; for which articles on the major languages are more important than articles on the writers that represent them. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 02:59, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
I think any list of this sort is bound to be somewhat silly, but I think that, in general, it's likely to improve. The idea of smaller lists does seem like a good idea. I'd suggest, though, that something like "the 100 most important politicians" rapidly gets silly, just as "the 1000 most important encyclopedia article topics" does. The more specific the better. "100 Most important British potlical figures," for instance, would make sense, because that allows for a level of commensurability - British political figures are essentially comparable to one another, and can thus be compared and a decent list thought up. "100 most important European monarchs" would seem a sensible idea for a list - big enough to give some room to be expansive, small and specific enough that all examples are readily comparable. Similarly, dividing up authors, either by nationality or by genre (or both) would likely give more comparable lists. It's easier to say who the "100 most important writers in the English language," or the "100 most important poets" are than it is to say who the "100 most important writers" are. But that's just a refinement of your idea, which I think is a good one. Once the more specific lists are made, one can move up a pyramid to construct broader and broader lists, until one gets to this one. It's a rather expansive project, though. I think the basic issue is that there's just a ton of articles that an encyclopedia ought to have articles on, and that any genuinely full list is going to be highly discouraging. But I like making lists, so I'm going to fiddle about thinking about some of this. John Kenney 19:59, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

(Breaking indent.) Yes, I like the idea of having more specific topics for lists, but it creates a lot more work, and I'm not sure we can find enough people to do it here at Meta. Though maybe it's possible over at the English Wikipedia, where some contributors have obviously been working towards a "1.0 release". I'm not sure how much help I can give you here, but I'll add in articles as I think of them. Hopefully people see more activity at this page and start contributing to it. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 02:57, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Civil engineering is technology

Civil engineering is technology. I find this so obviously true that I cannot think of an argument for it that is more obvious. Yet civil engineering is now listed under Culture. --Ettrig 09:02, 27 August 2006 (UTC)


The author list looks completely mad to me.

Looking first at English language authors, I will note some people who seem to have been forgotten, and some who probably should not be on there.

  1. Isaac Asimov
    Chinua Achebe, perhaps, to include an African anglophone author?
  2. Jane Austen
  3. William Blake
  4. Lord Byron
    What has happened to Charles Dickens? Isn't he more important than Isaac Asimov? What about Geoffrey Chaucer?
  5. Emily Dickinson
    John Donne is perhaps worth mentioning.
  6. Arthur Conan Doyle
    William Faulkner? George Eliot? T. S. Eliot? Ralph Waldo Emerson? Henry Fielding?
  7. F. Scott Fitzgerald
  8. Dashiell Hammett
  9. Nathaniel Hawthorne
  10. Ernest Hemingway
  11. Langston Hughes
    Samuel Johnson?
  12. James Joyce
    John Keats? Herman Melville? Christopher Marlowe?
  13. Edna St. Vincent Millay
    Millay is distinctly non-essential. Does anyone evern read her anymore?
  14. Arthur Miller
    John Milton?
  15. Edgar Allan Poe
    Ezra Pound?
  16. Carl Sandburg
    Sandburg is even more non-essential than Millay. Sir Walter Scott, as the inventor of the historical novel, should perhaps be considered.
  17. William Shakespeare
  18. George Bernard Shaw
  19. Mary Shelley
    Percy Bysshe Shelley has traditionally been considered a more important literary figure than his wife.
  20. Robert Louis Stevenson
    Stevenson doesn't seem terribly essential, especially given the 19th century novelists who've been left off. I'd say Anthony Trollope, at least, is of greater note.
    Alfred, Lord Tennyson?
  21. J. R. R. Tolkien
    I suppose the fanboys must be appeased...
  22. Mark Twain
  23. H. G. Wells
  24. Walt Whitman
  25. Oscar Wilde
    William Wordsworth, surely? And Virginia Woolf?
  26. William Butler Yeats

Next, to the French language:

  1. Alexandre Dumas
  2. Victor Hugo
  3. Molière
  4. Marcel Proust
  5. Jean-Paul Sartre
  6. Jules Verne

First, note the incredibly bias towards English over French. Second, Dumas and Verne are not particular giants. Getting past that, surely there should be Honoré de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire, Albert Camus, Gustave Flaubert, Michel de Montaigne, François Rabelais, Jean Racine, Arthur Rimbaud, Stendhal, Paul Verlaine, Emila Zola, for a start.

Next, to the German:

  1. Bertolt Brecht
  2. Brothers Grimm
  3. Hildegard of Bingen
  4. Franz Kafka
  5. Thomas Mann
  6. Rainer Maria Rilke

All good choices (well, I don't really know who Hildegard of Bingen is, but otherwise.) But, umm, isn't there something missing here? Something enormous missing? Oh yeah...Johann Wolfgang Goethe, the most important writer in the German language. Also Friedrich Schiller should probably be on here, and perhaps Heinrich Heine as well. There's other possibilities.

For Russians

  1. Anton Chekhov
  2. Fyodor Dostoevsky
  3. Aleksandr Pushkin
  4. Leo Tolstoy

In this case, at least, we seem to have stuck with the most important four. There's others who might be added - Ivan Turgenev, Mikhail Lermontov, Nikolai Gogol from the 19th century; various writers like Gorky, Bulgakov, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn for the 20th...

There aren't any Italians. Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio should probably be added, for a start.

Finally, and I'll stop here, for classical writers:

  1. Aristophanes
  2. Homer
  3. Sappho
  4. Sophocles
  5. Virgil

All good, but surely Aeschylus, Euripides, Horace, and Ovid should all be added. There's a bunch of others one could note - Hesiod, Pindar, Catullus, Cicero, Plautus, Terence, and so forth.

Anyway, I await any comment. What are the rules about adding names? I see that it says there's to be a thousand articles, how strong of a guideline is that? John Kenney 19:02, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Countries 2

The list of countries seems kind of perverse.

Why exactly should we have Cuba, Kazakhstan, Monaco(!?), Mongolia(!?!), Niger, Rwanda, and Switzerland, but not Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Romania, Philippines, Thailand, or Pakistan? (Also, having Bangladesh and Nepa, but not Pakistan is completely insane. So is having Singapore and not Malaysia.) 00:32, 30 August 2006 (UTC) [oops, this was me. John Kenney 00:33, 30 August 2006 (UTC)]

This list is highly biased. All the countries should be included, as they are of different importance for different people. And it does not make a difference whether there are 100 countries on the list or all approx 200. Although this is in opposition with my argument at the cities section, that the list should not be too wide, the countries are a different case as the number is considerably smaller that the number of possible cities to include. If no counter arguments, I will put there all the countries. --Tone 11:24, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that any disucssion based on "reasoned rationale" made by anyone (whose rationale is necessartily biased by his own cultural environment) will ever be conclusive.
The only bias-neutral list will one based purely on statistics collected from existing wikipedias. That's why I much favor making the list simply not sorted by topic or domain, but simply by pure statitics collected on at least the top-10 major wikis:
the articles with the greatest number of interwikis
sorted secondarily with the greates number of local links in those wikis.
The choice of source wikis to check should be the top-most ones, because the smallest ones have sometimes been expanded by bots importing massive numbers of stub articles with little importance (for example a list of French or US cities, whose source is easy to get, and easy to automate, and so easy to put in first place in the list of top-interwikis). This is the reason why I also think that getting the statistics about the articles with the most important number of local links is a big hint about how important a topic is, even on the largest interwikis.
I think you will be surprized to see that all the rationale above about which article to select is completely wrong, and totaly biased.
The list should not remainstatic, but should be updated each month after statistic collection. There would then be reports on all wikis to see how they implement the list: stubs would be created for missing articles, but this will still not allow changing much the local links statistics. So the "global culture" improved by the interwikicollection willnot completely erase the regional culture viewed by local links.
The two aspects (interwikis, and local links) are important: if a wiki has an article with lots of local links, it is most probably important to have it also in other languages, at least as a stub to be improved later, but from which the interwiki collection can start (collecting interwikis will help improving these stubs, by enhancing the translation effort).
More generally, such lists will really benefit to all wikis because lots of useful information will be found in other languages for articles with poor quality in some languages (including in the English, German or French wikis that have concentrated lots of efforts).
Additionally, these statistical lists should be developed (separately) on other interesting namespaces ("Template:", "Category:" and "Portal:") because they will help maintaining the general coherence of wikipedias and will allow wikis to improve their own local maintenance, typography, general aspect, and organization/classification of the content. Such tool would rapidly demonstrate that most wikis (including English!) could be largely improved with less centric bias, and more openness to other cultures and knowledge domains.
These lists don't need to be sorted by domain. A pure statistic sort is enough (at least at the start). The classification by domain will follow the general evolution of wikis for their local organization of their own content!
Then completing the list by cultural/scientific domain should be done later after classification has been made with the main article namedpace, by collecting interwikis statistics on the "category:" namespace (for the top-100 most-wanted categories): note that statistics on locallinksto categories is a non-sense as the level of detail will be high in wikis with well structured categories, but the corresponding level of local links will be realtively low in those wikis).
Such statistical lists can then initiate new maintenance projects in all wikis, and this will give very interesting hints to contributors about where to put their efforts (creation, translation, organization, ...). It will also help solving local conflicts by looking at what has been done in other more local wikis (where there will be more experts in some cultural domains, and probably more external references). Verdy_p, 22:08, 27 December 2006 (UTC).
How about taking out the countries category altogether and leaving just the note saying that any wikipedia edition should eventually have an article about all the 200+ independent countries in the world. That is, I believe, how it was done originally. The list as a whole is still too long and could do with more cuts. I agree that it would be impossible to create an unbiased list of 30-40 countries that are recommended for any wikipedia edition to have. Also, this list seems highly susceptible to spurious additions (anonymous users adding supposed their country silently to the list). --Akigka 02:25, 29 December 2006 (UTC)


Vatican City is a country, not a city. It is within the city of Rome. Beyond that, what about a South African city or two (Johannesburg and Cape Town would be the obvious possibilities)? Why Belgrade and Copenhagen but not São Paulo or Buenos Aires? Why no Calcutta or Montreal or Chicago? Why Munich but not Hamburg? John Kenney 01:30, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Also, why Edinburgh and not Dublin? They seem to be me to be of exactly comparable importance? John Kenney 01:31, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Ok, some more cities of doubtful upmost importance: Belfast and Galway. Both are small and not capital of the country. I will remove them. --Tone 14:24, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Erm, Belfast is the capitol of Northern Ireland and Galway is one of the largest cities on the island and is the largest Irish-speaking city on the planet. As such, I'm going to reinsert them. Hoopydink 02:47, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Great. With this criteria, the list will soon reach several hundred cities. I don't oppose the relative importance and I am sorry to have picked up two Irish cities, but it should be decided, how many cities to include to high-priority list at all. For example, I could easily add Ljubljana, the largest Slovenian-speaking city, or Zagreb, the capital of Croatia or Cardiff, the capital of Wales or Khartoum, the capital of the largest country in Africa or whatever. Still, the list can be pretty wide and it might not be a bad idea. However, if I get the idea of this list right, it should contain a relatively small amount of impotrant articles from different areas, so I would not expand it at the cities part too much. Regards, --Tone 11:20, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
I'd say Belfast has some historical and political interest, apart from being the capital of Northern Ireland. Of Galway I know nothing, even though I travelled around Ireland for a week this summer... --Boivie 20:58, 12 October 2006 (UTC)


The first prime minister of Norway, another random ass Norwegian politician, the Queen of Sheba (who is almost completely mythical), Semiramis (also largely mythical), and Eva Perón, but no kings of France (Louis XIV would be an obvious choice here), no Habsburgs save Franz Ferdinand and Maria Theresa (Franz Ferdinand himself is not dreadfully important. An article on World War I, or even on the origins of World War I, might seem mandatory, but Franz Ferdinand himself is not terribly important. Franz Joseph is surely, overall, a more important figure, to say nothing of Charles V and Philip II, who are not ont the list), no Kings of England (just some queens - William the Conqueror and Henry VIII, at least, would seem obvious choices), no British prime ministers save Blair, Churchill, and Thatcher (Walpole, the Pitts, Palmerston, Gladstone, and Disraeli, at least, would seem of considerable importance)? There's also some pretty dubious affirmative action for female leaders (or not-leaders, as the case may be). Why on earth Golda Meir but not David Ben-Gurion? Why Indira Gandhi and not Nehru? Why Nefertiti and not Akhenaten? Why Lucrezia Borgia and not her father or brother? Why Princess Di and not Prince Charles? For that matter, why Eva Perón and not her husband? Is Eleanor Roosevelt more important than her uncle Teddy?

I also notice: no Metternich, no Caliphs, and a variety of other random issues. Is Kaiser Wilhelm really one of the most important figures in world history?

As a final point, shouldn't leaders who were on the list because of their position as current heads of government, who are no longer head of government, be replaced? I think here of Schröder and Berlusconi, who should perhaps be replaced by Merkel and Prodi. John Kenney 01:48, 30 August 2006 (UTC)


Aren't golf and horse racing more important than, say, badminton and lacrosse? John Kenney 12:13, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Being bold

As no one has really responded to me, I've been being bold and adding and taking away things and reorganizing and so forth. Given the number of alphabetization errors for names, I thought it might make sense to display them all with the name that's being alphabetized first, but I haven't completed the change... John Kenney 21:01, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for stepping forward to revamp the list. Now I just have the daunting task of synchronizing the Vietnamese version of the page... :^) We've already made some of the changes on our own, but you've brought up a great many topics that the Vietnamese Wikipedia should definitely cover. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 04:45, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Glad to be of service. I'm not sure I'm done yet, and I'd like to have some more input on particular changes, but nobody seems to be about. John Kenney 12:06, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Specific cultural products

There is an awkward section in "Law" that mentions some specific texts - Magna Carta, Communist Manifesto, Leviathan, but nothing else for specific works. This seems like it would be a useful thing. Things like the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Oresteia, the Aeneid, The Divine Comedy, Hamlet, Don Quixote, Faust, Ulysses, In Search of Lost Time, and so forth seem like fairly obvious "must-have" articles. Famous buildings and structures would also seem useful - Parthenon, Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica, Taj Mahal, Hagia Sophia, Pyramids of Giza, Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, Great Wall of China are also obvious topics. One could perhaps do the same with works of art (David, Sistine Chapel, Mona Lisa are obvious ones), musical compositions (er...The Ring of the Nibelung, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Brandenburg Concertos, maybe?), and perhaps movies (Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, and so forth) and even television shows (although here things get much more culturally specific, and perhaps there's no need). Anyway, what's the thought? The major literary and architectural/artistic works seems fairly obvious to me. John Kenney 01:29, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Ah, I see there's already a section on literary works. But none for the others. The famous structures, at least, seems pretty obvious. I may add it, once I figure out the best place for it. John Kenney 03:09, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Hah, there's currently a whopping three famous structures listed, under "Architecture and civil engineering". I guess that might do, though there are probably enough famous buildings to justify a separate section for them. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 04:48, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Masjid al-Haram

The Architecture and civil engineering section should include the Masjid al-Haram, seeing as it is the focal point of Islam, the second-largest religion in the world. -- Earle Martin 01:36, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Friedrich Engels

Why was he removed from the list? Along with Marx, he was the father of communism. -- Cielomobile 03:32, 12 October 2006 (UTC)


If Micheal Jackson is here, why neither John Lennon or Paul McCartney are? -- 20:01, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Good question. Perhaps they should be added? Cielomobile 05:21, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Music genres

I added Blues to the list, as it is the foundation for Rock music and also plays an important role in jazz, both of which are on the list. Cielomobile 05:21, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Requested health and medicine additions

I'm not sure if I am supposed to add these myself, but here are a few health and medicine topics I feel should be in every encyclopedia:

Comments? --Lethargy 02:22, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Maybe Avian flu should be included. And Tuberculosis, but it's already in the list. --Boivie 00:04, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Avian flu has killed less than 200 people worldwide: that's peanuts. I'm going to add aspirin and heart attack, though.--Steven Fruitsmaak (Talk) 18:07, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

List getting (way) too long

This list currently contains more than 1500 articles. This means that to avoid perverting its original purpose we need to eliminate some 500 articles from the list. Any suggested candidates? --Akigka 10:56, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

If I might suggest a method to cut down this list it would be to drastically reduce the biographies section (currently 1/3 of the entire list), flatten the list and remove most of the twice and three times nested lists. E.g. in the section on specific religions we have, in addition to the names of major world religions, many lists of founders, holy books, sacred sites etc. Shouldn't we simply assume that once the article on the religion itself is created somewhere in the wikiverse, in all likelihood, the rest will follow naturally? Anyway, it seems obvious to me that this list is getting too long which IMHO reduces its usefulness for new/small wikipedias who would otherwise put it to good use (e.g. to contrast particularist/national/cultural bias). I therefore suggest that suggestions of new additions should always be accompanied with suggestions of an equal amount of deletions. --Akigka 11:13, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree with your concerns, the list would be more useful with only 1000 articles. We just have to delete posts that we believe are not among the 1000 most important topics for Wikipedias in all languages. --Boivie 18:23, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
The list is now down to ca 1300 entries, which means there are only 300 cuts to go :) Thank you for being bold in removing entries. --Akigka 10:13, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
I made further cuts so the list is now 1236 entries long. Still some way to go to get it down to 1000 and I think the "biographies" section is still way too long. --Akigka 12:55, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
After cutting down the biographies section to 200 and shortening the countries/cities section the list is now, I'm happy to say, only 1131 articles long - i.e. 131 articles short of being 1000 entries long. It seems that it is the biographies section (because it's at the top?) and the countries/cities section that are most in danger of spurious edits/additions that grow the list out of proportion. It has to be kept in mind that this is not a list of "most important topics in wikipedia" but simply a useful tool for smaller wikipedias to use. I therefore suggest the following:
  • For an addition to the list to be kept it has to be matched with a deletion
  • The biographies section and the geography section should be moved to the bottom of the list
I made some extensive cuts to the list and removed some 100 entries from it - all very worthy topics. I believe this was necessary to get the list down to 1000 entries. It is now 1021 entries long, according to my count. I do think that the rule of one deleted entry per added entry should be used to keep the list from becoming bloated out of proportion, which is what prompted these cuts in the first place. The idea of someone adding to the list and someone else having to do the cutting does not seem fair. Also, adding an entry becomes more of a difficult decision if you also have to remove something else instead, thus discouraging spurious additions. If someone thinks I am being too radical and thinks this list would also be useful at, say 1300 or 1500 entries, I believe that should be discussed here before it is allowed to happen. Anyway, some limit is necessary, IMHO, to keep this list useful for small wikipedias, which is its purpose - again - not to be a list of everybody's idea of "the most important topics in the world". --Akigka 22:40, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
It is now exactly 1000 entries long. --Akigka 23:13, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

The Quechua Test

I was diverted to this page from checking on on Wikipedia in Quechua. The Quechua are a group descended from the Incas and now living in the highlands of the Andes from Colombia to Argentina.

So, I am looking at the list from a Quechua perspective, and considering the making of the Quechua Wikipedia. Things I notice:

1: as mentioned, a very strong anglo-saxon bias 2: a lack of certain key articles that someone Quechua might consider of importance to the World: the Inca Empire, the Spanish Conquest of the Americas, etc

Now, certain topics are clearly key to everyone. Such "World-key" items might include:

People: George W Bush

History: Nazi Germany

Geography: Ocean

Society: Law


Others might be of particularly Quechua interest, and would be added to the Quechua Wikipedia naturally in time: details of countries and provinces in the Quechua zone, Tupac Amaru, Quechua literary figures, etc. But, many of the topics in this list of 1000 seem of little relevance; I wonder how many people would want to read about the plasma state of matter or the Thirty Years War in Quechua.

So I propose: The Quechua Test

To have a place on this list, every topic should be of interest and importance to a Quechua speaker. By a Quechua, I mean perhaps "someone you guys don't know much about". It could be an actual Quechua in Bolivia or someone speaking a minor language anywhere else in the world. So, here's a profile of our "Quechua":

1: minor languages are either spoken by people who are also (perhaps more) fluent in a major language (e.g. Welsh and English) or by people who are not. I propose that this list be catered more toward the latter category: for them, their wikipedia is a necessity for access to information rather than an extravagance.

2: these peoples will generally lack access to many things we take for granted. There are very few websites in Quechua apart from the Quechua Wikipedia. Most major computer programs are not available in Quechua translations, for instance, so the relevance of specific articles on many computer languages is of less relevance as readers will be unable to learn how to use them.

3: education is often at a lower level for monolingual speakers of minority languages, so we should include well-written articles on what might be considered basic topics in English Wikipedia.

This will give us a core list more suited to the use intended: this is not supposed to be a list of the most important articles in English Wikipedia, but rather one of the most necessary articles in a minority language. I am in favor of a list of much fewer than 1000 articles, perhaps 200 to make the project of creating them less daunting to a small group of bilingual wikipedians with access to the relevant information. I also suggest the creation of stripped down pages on these topics, edited in English with the aim of an easily translatable but informative piece.

As a final suggestion, perhaps we could include "floating" entries -- ones that are different depending on what language it is, e.g:

The Presidents of countries where this language is spoken Diseases most common to speakers of this language Cultures of groups adjacent to that of this language

or we could assume that those will be created naturally anyway.

Interesting thoughts. About stripped down pages, try the Simple English Wikipedia. Their articles are usually suitable for translation. --Boivie 18:28, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Eliminate bias in Authors, playwrights and poets

My proposal is:

  • 3 authors for major languages (Chinese, English, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi)
  • 2 authors major literatures (French, German, Japanese, Farsi, etc.)
  • 2 authors for ancient and classical lenguages
  • 1 author for other lenguages/literatures/authors that are important

It would look like something like this:

Of course there is much to discuss here. Do all languages have authors that are worth putting on the list (see Breton or Sicilian)? What languages have major literatures? What authors are to be selected in every language? For instance, for Spanish, I have chosen a novelist, a playwright and a poet, and tried to take two classical and one modern, one American and two Spaniards, to try to achieve a bit of equilibrium, but there some other I could have chosen. This should be done with all other languages, but always respecting the limits.

I'll wait for comments. If no one objects I may change the list. Cheers, --Ecelan 12:30, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Interesting thoughts. But I think it might be better (but more difficult) to look at the notability of the authors in different part of the world, than to strictly go for a certain number of authors from each language. An approach I would like is to try to find out Which Asian authors are known in America? and Which African authors are known in China? and similar questions. However feel free to make the adjustments you think is good, then we'll see if someone change it. --Boivie 11:06, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
I think that the usefulness of lists like this lies not least in it trying actively to contrast systematic cultural bias. Quotas like you suggest are one (highly controversial) way of doing so. However, you already seem to introduce bias by your premises: What is the definition of a "major language" for example? Or a "big literature"? Why should novels, poetry and plays be selected over all other forms of verbal expression (i.e. folklore, short stories)? The main point is that we have only so much space on a list of "articles all wikipedias should have" that should (at least in principle) be limited to a 1000 articles to be practical. The way you suggest would inevitably either come up with way too many candidates, or be so limited as to be susceptible to systematic bias anyway. It's basically like this: pick those that in your opinion constitute the world's top three novelists out of all the novelists in the world... Such a short list will always be susceptible to someone's perception of bias. --Akigka 21:48, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
First of all, thanks for anwering.
In a list like this, where you have the best of anything, unless you have objective means of measuring, you will always have a subjective list and thus a bias. I think we can all agree on that. The point is to try to make that bias as small as possible. Right now, 29 of 95 (about 30%) writers listed use English; 1 of 95 use Chinese. Chinese has a literature that is 2500 years old and 900 million speakers. I think we can do better than that.
Boivie, the idea you propose still has a big bias in favor of western culture and mainly English speaking literature. Ask the people around you and you will see just how few know anything about Persian, Thai or Hindi literature. With that method, the first author on the list would be J. K. Rowling, the second Tolkien and the third Dan Brown. I'm not saying these should not go in the list, but I'd prefer Shakespeare any day.
The list I have proposed tries to combine the bias of a subjective list with some rules that would objecivize it a little bit. We would do what Akigka says (world's top three novelists), but instead the Ø/two/three best writers of the X language and we just take the most important languages.
Of course we'll still have to discuss what language goes where and what writers should be listed. To decide which literatures are big shouldn't really be that difficult. Let's just say: several centuries of existence, a certain number of writers, number of speakers, a (modern) publishing industry with X titles per year, etc. all these should be objective criteria. We can adjust these criteria so that we get the numbers we need. For "major languages" we just have to take the 5 (or less) most spoken, but I would at least take Chinese and English.
Personally I really would have flexible criteria on what goes where (and not so many rules) and combine them with common sense, but one way or the other, you would always have a frame to keep you grounded.
Cheers, --Ecelan 19:25, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
I think the method you propose to reform the list of writers is valid however and think you should go ahead and make those changes you think are justified on that basis. I would first, however, like to go over the list and simply reduce it to ca 50 entries. We need to cut this list by some 300 entries to keep it 1000 entries long. What worries me most is that it seems to grow by undiscussed, anonymous and seemingly spurious additions. This severely limits its usefulness, which I think is important to consider. --Akigka 12:21, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

I have done my best. (I still think we should take some western authors out of the list and add some south and central asian ones, but I know too little about it to do it myself.) Cheers, --Ecelan 19:04, 23 December 2006 (UTC)