Help talk:Guidelines for use of Wikipedia

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When & Why to use Wikipedia Content at WeRelate [30 June 2009]

[draft content missing from Help page on this topic]

Wikipedia (WP) -- as its name implies -- is a wiki-based encyclopedia.

WeRelate (WR) is a wiki-based genealogy/family history site.

They're both wikis. But they have two different purposes and two very different sets of communities watching and using them.

That said, there are places where they overlap and where it makes sense to pull in WP content into WR. And WR has developed tools that enable powerful linking and sharing between the two sites. This page helps you understand when and how to use WP content in your WR pages.


Persons of Historical Interest [3 July 2009]

Some of us here at WR have people in our ancestry or who we are researching who played roles in history or who have otherwise been written about outside of the family history context. When this is the case, there's a good chance that they're documented over at Wikipedia. Therefore you may want to include a link to that WP page on the relevant person page here at WeRelate.

If NO information about your historical ancestor is currently on the relevant WR person page, you may want to pull in the text of the WP page on that ancestor. Instructions are below for doing this.

If the historical ancestor's WR page already contains information about them, then adding a link to the WP (as an external reference) may be all you need to do.

I think that the general rule of: if WR doesn't have any textual information about the person, pull in the WP information, makes sense. In the case where WR contributors have information on someone who also has an article at WP, I think we can leave it up to the contributors to decide whether to pull in the WP information or write their own. I don't think we need a policy for this. I'll change the guidelines to reflect this. Does this sound ok?--Dallan 19:54, 3 July 2009 (EDT)
When I did this, I move the information about creating WP templates by hand from the section on referencing (not copying) WP content to the section on including specific sections of WP pages into WR pages. I also modified the two examples listed to not include the WP templates in the source citations. I did this because I think including the moreinfo template is so much easier than creating templates by hand that we'll get more people to do this, and users can always follow the WP link if they want to read the article.--Dallan 20:22, 3 July 2009 (EDT)

Historical Events & Context of Genealogical Interest

Your ancestor may have been involved in a historically important or noticeable event, or an era or time period of particular historical interest. When that's the case, you may wish to pull in a portion of WP content related to that event into the relevant section of your person's WR page. Information on how to do that is also below.


Wiki Discernment

As you consider whether or not and how to use WP content on WR pages, remember: WR's purpose is genealogical; WP's purpose is encyclopedial. Play safely at the intersection, and if in doubt, ask a question on the Talk page.

jillaine 15:03, 30 June 2009 (EDT)


General Rebuttal [10 July 2009]

The observations above, and elsewhere, that WP and WR have some fundamental differences are really quite irrelevant. The fact that you'll find an article on WP regarding heavy-metal rock, while you'll find articles on WR regarding people of purely genealogical interest is just noise. No one is proposing that WR include articles on Metallica, nor is anyone expecting that WP is going to start encouraging pages on anyone that ever lived.

The question these guidelines are seeking to address is what happens when the page overlap is plain and complete - say, Edward I of England on WR and WP. How different are the two sites in dealing with this information? If there is plainly an active research group working on a page on WP - then why should we dilute the best possible effort by striking out on our own?

It is worth remembering that the primary sin that WR is meant to address, is the killing loss of quality and efficiency in disparate genealogical research. WR does not allow for more than one "person page" per person for this very reason. Why then, would we want to set up a separate camp for WR research when an active and equivalent WP research camp exists?

Your choice of word "equivalent" is not evident, and therefore why I think your argument fails. WP pages are written for a different audience by different authors having a different focus. As WR material gets more mature, I suspect it will deviate from WP more and more, because more of the WR pages will have material not interesting to WP readers but of great interest to WR readers. Do WP readers care who Thomas Prence's wives are? Probably not. Mostly, they are more interested in what kind of Governor of Plymouth Colony he was, and whether he was too harsh on the Quakers, and where he fits in the historical big picture. They say, fine, list the wives if you have too, I'll scan the names, but why are we going on and on about Samuel Freeman marrying a niece of Thomas' second wife Mary Collier, and who cares about a saddle in Thomas Howes' inventory?
Since they are not equivalent, it is not redundant. The genealogical work is usually not adequately done by wikipedia, and tracking down the baptismal registers and wills, etc. will still need to be done and documented.
And the disparate genealogical research is not the thing that kills quality, it is reliance on a single person's genealogical research with its limitations and its biases (like people that uploading GEDCOMs without surveying other sources out there). It is combining the disparate genealogical research cooperatively, including, but certainly not limited to, wikipedia, that promises more quality for everyone. --Jrich 20:36, 3 July 2009 (EDT)

Sort of reminds me of the Puritans hanging Quakers on Boston Common. The Puritans were kind of missing the basic point of it all weren't they?

While I had a predominant hand in writing the original guidelines, I think they are pretty clear on the point of duplication being the enemy. It is set out as one of the four introducing bullet items, and the conclusion brings it up again. The body concentrates on nuts and bolts of pulling it off.

At the end, I'm concluding that there is a lot of fear and loathing of WP, which I just don't understand. I do understand though, that whatever problems anyone may have encountered in using WP - they will ultimately resurface right here on WR. You have to deal with better and lesser contributors, and make the most of the situation regardless. Running away will solve nothing.

--Jrm03063 00:28, 2 July 2009 (EDT)


JRM,

What is it about the argument that WR and WP are two different entities with two different purposes and two different types of audiences and two different types of contributors that you find irrelevant?

We are not duplicating efforts/content when that content serves two very different purposes, as jrich quite succinctly points out above.

I do not sense any "fear and loathing" of WP. I see that most of us understand that they are two very different beasts. And while some content may overlap, it's not always appropriate for there to be 100% overlap.

That you continue to push your point makes me think that there is something that WE are not understanding about your point of view. I would like to understand it, but I'd also like to get some sense that you hear and understand what we are saying as well.

Respectfully, jillaine 09:54, 6 July 2009 (EDT)

Thanks, I'll take another crack at it. I guess my summary statement is that I value the Wiki essence of WR/WP more than I worry about the differences between WR/WP. Moreover, I think that the differences between a WP biographical page and a WR page are a whole lot less than has been suggested, and I'm prepared to back that up. In greater detail then...
There is nothing more important to the success of the wiki approach to data collection and quality, than bringing together a maximum number of people with common research interests together. Those interests may not be exactly identical, they will at least be complementary (say, as math is to physics) and they will be mutually supporting. This yields the most peer review and creates a dynamic of rapid progressive refinement.
There certainly are potential situations where a WR page may be able to feature content not well suited to a WP page. Having seen several thousand biographical pages on the WP side, and tens of thousands on the WR side though, I can imagine only a few dozen where that might be. So we're talking about a less than 5% situation, of the cases where there is both a WP biographical page and a WR shadow. Even in those circumstances - I would still argue that you maintain as much as you can on an existing WR page, and support it with a "for more info see" template on the WP side - pointing at the WR content.
So what's more important? Sustaining the best possible wiki-critical-research mass and maximizing the data quality by maximum review - or dealing with <5% of the potential situations where there is both a WP and a WR page? Actually, I think 5% is high, but let's be generous.
Honestly, the explanations for generally NOT working with WP offered thus far are so thin that they seem to me like nothing but attempts to rationalize a decision already taken. They don't have a ring of factual need or truth to me. But, as I think about it, I could be proved wrong. WP is a wiki too. Let's see the pages where WR content won't go or has been rebuffed (it'll show up in the discussion and history). Let's see if those situations represent the common case. I'll warrant that for every such you find, if any, I'll find 19 where the straight WP content is just fine and/or will easily accept the WR content extensions (thus, the 95% case).

--Jrm03063 23:02, 6 July 2009 (EDT)

I've looked at relatively few biographical pages on WP, but for what it's worth, the medieval royalty pages generally do a much better job at conveying family relationships (parents, spouses, children) than the more modern biographies. Most of the later biographies have very little information about family relationships. I don't think it needs to be an "either or" relationship between WR and WP. I think we can include the WP content when we don't have any content of our own, or when we want to add it to the content that we have.--Dallan 09:49, 7 July 2009 (EDT)

Okay, JRM, I'll take you up on your challenge. I'll start with the pages that got me started on the most recent thread over at the Watercooler. (I think this also confirms what Dallan points out above.)
1. Ureli C. Hill
a. Wikipedia version is a concise bio, no headings/subheadings, does include a photo.
b. Ureli Hill on WeRelate is a more expanded bio, including a chronology and census information, that latter of which is not likely to be of interest to WP readers.
In the case above, with the exception of the census information, I could see that editing the WP version to match the WR version would strengthen the WP version. But I'd rather see WP pulling in the data from WR than the other way around. Is WP open to doing that?
2. Edmund Rice
a. Wikipedia version is more genealogical in nature than other WP bios I've seen. In fact, it looks like it may have been created/edited by the Edmund Rice (1638) Association. Lists children-- which would be redundant information on WR. Is more biographical than research-oriented (although I like the DNA section-- is there a way to copy over just that section?)
b. Edmund Rice on WeRelate focuses more on the research challenges related to this person-- what has been done, what's been proved, what remains to be proven, etc. My sense is that this would not be appropriate for Wikipedia's version.
While I understand the value you describe of greater review of the data, and can even see areas of some overlap in these two examples, I see enough difference that I would not expect there to be a 100% overlap. I also resist editing two different sites; WP in particular has a set of requirements and standards that are not the same as WR. *I* do not have time to learn and follow policies at both WR and WP.
I think there are ways to encourage "cross-pollination" without having to dump WP content into WR pages or maintain two different sites. The mutual linking between the two should be able to support this.
jillaine 09:53, 7 July 2009 (EDT)
I would have to say that I remain pretty happy with extracts as a way to get WP information into WR w/o the risk of screwing it up in the transfer. When I get a WP extract, I can use the translated WP->WR links to verify that the relationship structure is correct. I'm also hopeful that some of the cosmetics can be improved simply by improved code, so I havn't worried about that too much.
You make an excellent general point though, WRT creating cross-linkages between WR and WP. For the two people you note above, I added links on the WP side that point over to the WR page. This was a trivial undertaking - I was wondering:
  • Do you have any other candidates where the WR page contains information, or a layout of that information, not present on WP? My goal in extracting so much from WP is really to help trigger more of the cross-pollination that you suggest. I really want it to be a two-way street.
  • What if the guidelines suggest this practice: a link, from WP to WR, as a good way to sort of notice the potential contributors at WP, about the WR work - without really taking people afield who prefer not to work on WP? I'm hoping folks like yourself would find that level of WP involvement a sufficiently low distraction - and easy to install - such that you wouldn't be averse to doing so.
??? --Jrm03063 17:33, 9 July 2009 (EDT)
I very well could have some folks who are on both sites. Thing is, I don't have time to look for them. My time for this kind of work is taken up enough as it is right here on WeRelate. Now, I'm imagining that Dallan has created for his son and dau some sort of tool that does a comparison between WP and WR and generates a list for them to review. If there was a way to run such a tool on a particular tree, then I could easily answer your question. Until then, it's not trivial for me to look into this. jillaine 18:45, 9 July 2009 (EDT)
I wouldn't have you search aimlessly - I was just wondering if you knew of others. Beyond that, I was wondering, if this seems like a reasonable suggestion to put in the guidelines? ...toward encouraging the whole cross pollination thing. --Jrm03063 19:40, 9 July 2009 (EDT)
FWIW, you can get a list of people with WP links by entering "wikipedia-notice" into the keywords field when searching. Also, the lists of wikipedia pages with potential matches at WeRelate that my children are working off of are below. They'll hopefully finish up in about a month.


I think, that if you really do in-depth work on a person, you WILL have information that is better served by WP and other information that is better served by WR. I don't think the guidelines we wrote dispute this (indeed, even with a straight WP extract, we expect genealogy fact material to be added to the WR fact list/columns directly). If you choose not to put info on WP, that could go on WP, that's not a crime - but it's not an ideal/guideline/best practice. I believe that both sites (and others too) should be used to their best advantage, in service of the best possible research and peer review. I worry very much, about breaking the critical mass of common research - as well as making that critical mass harder to acheive by ignoring potential "birds of a feather" at WP. Particularly so if the reasons for the split are parochial or cosmetic.
Of course I'm not ecstatic about what a WP extract looks like these days, but I'm content that we can do a better job with that as WR code gets bettter going forward. It also almost always beats the snot out of the bland and poorly done GEDCOM body content that I've typically encountered in merging abandoned GEDCOMs. I think we'll eventually have easily accessible choices that support grabbing the entire WP article (all sections, references and so on) as well as ways to select just the most appropriate pieces (instead of the present section-by-section a-la-carte functionality), and do all that "nicely".
Below are a few pages to mull coming from the other direction. I'm still working on the table contents - there are some "hybrid" WP/WR pages in here. All of these are watched by at least one other person WR-side person besides myself, but that mostly is a function of uploaded and abanadoned GEDCOMs. I strongly suggest following a few random links to WP, and then looking at the article contribution histories. You'll find "bot" edits, but there are real people actively working these pages over there - some of them might even become WR contributors if they encountered some dual WR/WP contributors over there who opened their eyes to the wonders of on-line cooperative genealogy...!!!
WR Person Pageformwp refs/state
Person:Henry of Almain (1)extract2
Person:Elizabeth I of England (1)extract20+
Person:Edward V of England (1)extract2
Person:Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York (1)extract2
Person:Isabella of Valois (1)extract0
Person:Catherine of York (1)extract0
Person:George Plantagenet, Duke of Bedford (1)extract0
Person:Anne of York, Countess of Surrey (1)extract0
Person:Mary of York (1)extract0
Person:Lady Katherine Neville (1)extract3
Person:Eleanor Percy, Countess of Northumberland (1)extractXXX
Person:John de Mowbray, 2nd Duke of Norfolk (1)extractXXX
Person:John de Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (1)extractXXX
Person:Richard le Despenser, 4th Baron Burghersh (1)extractXXX
Person:Isabel De Warrenne (1)extractXXX
Person:Simon VI de Montfort (1)extractXXX
Person:Edward Balilol (1)extractXXX
Person:Hugh d'Aubigny, 5th Earl of Arundel (1)extractXXX
Person:Margaret of Anjou (1)extractXXX
Person:John II, Duke of Alençon (1)extractXXX
Person:Charles, Duke of Orléans (1)extractXXX
Person:Alice Lee (10)extractXXX
Person:Alice Roosevelt (1)extractXXX
Person:Edith Carow (1)extractXXX
Person:Theodore Roosevelt (9)extractXXX
Person:Archibald Roosevelt (1)extractXXX
Person:Ethel Roosevelt (1)extractXXX
Person:Kermit Roosevelt (1)extractXXX
Person:Quentin Roosevelt (1)extractXXX
Person:Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury (1)extractXXX
Person:Margaret Wentworth (6)extractXXX
Person:Thomas Hooker (7)extractXXX
Person:John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury (1)extractXXX
Person:Constance of Burgundy (1)extractXXX
Person:Sancho Ramírez, King of Aragon and Navarre (1)extractXXX
Person:Robert Paine (1)extractXXX
Person:Clementine Hozier (1)extractXXX
Person:Henry the Young King (1)extractXXX
Person:William of Poitiers (1)extractXXX
Person:Manfred II of Saluzzo (1)extractXXX
Person:Azalaïs of Montferrat (1)extractXXX
Person:Conan III, Duke of Brittany (1)extractXXX
Person:David Stewart, Earl of Strathearn (1)extractXXX
Person:Niall, Earl of Carrick (1)extractXXX
Person:William Stanley (Battle of Bosworth) (1)extractXXX
Person:Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan (1)extractXXX
Person:Sancha of Castile (1)extractXXX
Person:Petronila Of Aragon (1)extractXXX
Person:Sanchia Berengar (1)extractXXX
Person:Eleanor of Aquitaine (1)extractXXX
Person:Henry Leuven (1)extractXXX

I'll believe in the whole cross-pollination thing when I see WeRelate material being transferred automatically to Wikipedia... Otherwise, it seems pretty unidirectional.

I have no trouble using Wikipedia when there is no WeRelate narrative to speak of. I think Dallan has laid out some good guidelines, regarding a) no significant material present, and b) particularly though not exclusviely pre-1500 which is almost the realm of professional historians. I think over time WeRelate can write more genealogically useful biographies, for which I would hold up Great Migration Begins as a better model, but I can also understand why nobody would want to suggest they are an expert on George Washington and write his narrative, and also that WeRelate is a work in progress. --Jrich 20:19, 9 July 2009 (EDT)


I offer it to you as well. What WR pages can you suggest, that cover more ground or do it better than their companion WP biography? I will gladly put in the WP->WR links if you would prefer not to.

--Jrm03063 20:49, 9 July 2009 (EDT)


Well, I would say that there are very few wikipedia pages that do a good job, genealogically. For example, the summary box on the right side of the page doesn't seem to list parents in many cases. I just looked at Clementine Hozier, having read several biographies of Winston Churchill, and while the summary says she is a life peeress in her own right, a potentially genealogically interesting fact, her parents are not named in the summary that gets pulled into WeRelate, nor are they in the summary box on the right side of the page. The included paragraph becomes hardly any more useful than the bare citation of Wikipedia is by itself. It is not until you read the article that you find she became a life peer in 1965, a situation I would have a hard time describing as "in her own right", as it was clearly the result of being Winston's wife.

Since Wikipedia is a secondary source, eventually a good genealogist will want to visit all the cited sources on the wikipedia page, and then replace the Wikipedia stuff with citations of the real sources. Eventually, Wikipedia extracts will be removed and WeRelate pages will accumulate genealogically interesting facts, and begin to resemble the articles in the Great Migration Begins Study, and there will be no need to include these two line summary of lives that are more geared towards history than genealogy.

Another example. Winston's mother's page would pull in this summary: "Lady Randolph Churchill, CI, DStJ (Jennie Jerome) (January 9, 1854 – June 9, 1921), born Jennie Jerome, was the wife of Lord Randolph Churchill and the mother of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill." Genealogically, of course, she should be listed by her maiden name, but this summary says nothing about one of the most interesting genealogical facts about her outside her famous son: she was born to American parents. You have to go to wikipedia and read the whole article. A summary written by a genealogist would probably select her American parens as one of the highlights, as well as the possibility her second son was not fathered by her husband. As well as her marriages after Randolph Churchill died. None of which are in the paragraph that would get copied to WeRelate, nor in the summary box on the right side of her wikipedia page.

Effectively, including a wikipedia article is a sign that not enough work has been done on the WeRelate page yet. --Jrich 00:39, 10 July 2009 (EDT)


Source Section is for Sources [19 November 2009]

Just watching recent edits, and finally got around to noticing how we're talking about using Wikipedia as a source. I really don't think that's a good idea. If anything, it's a repository. And I'm not sure it's even that. And article on Wikipedia is (or should be) sourced by other references. *Those* are closer to being a source than a wikipedia page. My $.02 jillaine 14:33, 14 September 2009 (EDT)


Arguably, WP is a source in a similar fashion to NEHGR being a source. That is to say that the real source is the individual pages and or articles. Sometimes, an NEHGR article gets full source treatment, but often not. In the latter case, while NEHGR goes in the "Source" field, the actual article is specified in the "Record Name" field. Use of the "Record Name" field results in a source citation that puts the "Record Name" content first, followed by "in" and the content of the Source field. --Jrm03063 14:55, 14 September 2009 (EDT)


Fascinating, I would not compare WP with NEHGR at all. NEHGR is a formally vetted, edited and produced publication. And even with NEHGR, it should be the article as the source (Author. Title.) with NEHGR in the Series name, right? WP is not vetted -- at least in the same way. At best, a particular page on WP could be a source (but not a very strong one necessarily). But WP itself seems much closer to a repository to me than a Source. jillaine 18:35, 14 September 2009 (EDT)


They are content containers. You like one, and you don't like the other. --Jrm03063 18:50, 14 September 2009 (EDT)


No, I concur: they *are* both content containers, containing multiple, diverse, non-related article content each with its own author(s) and title; as such they are closer to repositories than sources. jillaine 19:07, 14 September 2009 (EDT)


I am not sure I understand your idea of a source. A source is a holder of information. Wikipedia is a single collaborative work created under a uniform set of guidelines, very much like a magazine such as NEHGR with their standard format and their rules. The entries are not independent. They do not duplicate each other, but they do cross-reference each other, so are aware of the other entries.

Even vital records are created by different town clerks who spell differently, write in different hand writing, kept in different books, record varying amounts of data, attest to entries in batches or attest each record individually. We could argue that Vital Record of Rhode Island is a repository, and the individual towns are the sources. --Jrich 20:32, 14 September 2009 (EDT)


I think I'm experiencing menopause brain today. Sorry. I'm neither perceiving nor communicating well at all. I misunderstood the help text; I thought it was saying to use *Wikipedia* as a source; but it doesn't; it says to use a (specific) wikipedia page as a source. So, I'm okay with that, generally. But now I have a new/revised concern. The text on the help page says this:

If a person has a Wikipedia page, that page should always be cited as a source. (as opposed to being listed "only" as an external link).

The problem I have with this is that it doesn't seem like it SHOULD be cited as a source unless there is something specific on the WeRelate page that was drawn from a particular wikipedia page. I'm not going to cite as a source a particular WP page unless that is/was the source for the information I'm putting on WeRelate. That's just odd. jillaine 21:00, 14 September 2009 (EDT)


I think the idea is that inclusion in wikipedia is a measure of fame, and this enables some kind of assessment of who is a famous person, with some "marketing" potential of telling people if they have famous relatives, etc. But to do this, it requires either that the wikipedia text be pulled in, or that wikipedia is listed as a source. Personally, I am not going to cite wikipedia if I don't get my information from there. --Jrich 22:35, 14 September 2009 (EDT)


Well, maybe, but that isn't how that aspect of the guidelines started life. It's more a statement that leaving such an obvious source out - even if you don't choose to use it - is really unacceptable. It's better to always add a source that is plainly relevant so that the list of sources is as complete as possible. If particular sources only serve as background, there's nothing wrong with that. Even sources that you think are weak or insufficient should be mentioned - perhaps you'll want to add a note to them indicating WHY you find them so. Leaving them out just means the next researcher has to try to guess whether you overlooked or explicitly omitted those items.

Of course the next argument is, that such sources shouldn't be in the source list - but should be in a separate category, perhaps "for more information see...". That's costly though, since you lose all the WR structural support for entering and organizing a source citation - trading it for something ad-hoc in the body of the page. It also costs you the ability to represent it sanely in an exported GEDCOM. If you really want that sort of segregation of sources, it would be better to lobby Dallan for page display logic that sifts referenced sources from unreferenced sources, and creating both a "references" and an "additional background" section (or something like that). --Jrm03063 23:07, 14 September 2009 (EDT)


If we start changing the meaning of Source in a genealogical context, then we risk making WeRelate a non-genealogical web site. A genealogical source is the location of proof for data provided. Its purpose is to

  • support the legitimacy of the facts/info provided;
  • help researchers locate the origins of the data provided;
  • help researchers gauge the strength of a proposed theory or history of a person or family.

I also have a growing dislike for changing accepted genealogical protocols just to serve the purposes of technology. If the WR technology won't pull in WP data unless it's marked as a Source on WR, then darn it, change the technology; don't change accepted genealogical practices just so you can get WP content where you want it.

If a person has a WP page that would add to the context of the WR page, then by all means link to it in external links or elsewhere. But don't start using Sources for things that are not Sources. Please. jillaine 08:55, 15 September 2009 (EDT)


Interesting. Passionate. Almost completely wrong.

I will not be persuaded that leaving out obvious sources, whether strong or weak, used to justify specific facts or not, primary or secondary - is academically defensible in any context. Even more so in a context like WR, where we want to reach out to more than just the genealogical literati. I've also seen scads of GEDCOM uploads, apparently from online or CD databases, where sources are not attached to particular facts. I'm not seeing in practice that religiously linked sources is "just how genealogy is done". Even if it can be claimed so, I'm still happy to call that dead wrong.

We have to deal with this scenario (which is sort of the third bullet item above):

  • User One creates a page with a number of sources
  • User One is aware of a shadow WP article (or other obvious source), but it's stub quality or otherwise doesn't help, so they just omit it.
  • User Two comes along, discovers the WP article.

How does User Two know why User One did what they did? If User Two wants to "gauge the strength" of material offered by User One, don't they want to know what User One threw out (and why) as much as what User One left in? Why not add everything as a source and tag it with a note that says, as of date such and such this exists but didn't provide anything helpful? Isn't adding the article as a source, but not attaching it to any facts nearly an explicit statement to that effect?

If we want WR to sift "sources" into strict sources and background material, we can lobby Dallan for a way to do that kind of thing either mechanically or automatically. --Jrm03063 10:04, 15 September 2009 (EDT)


The system already has a way to include links to WP (or any other) content:

Put it an "External Links" or similarly appropriate sub section in the narrative of a given page.

But unless it is being used as a source for specific information on the page, it is not a Source.

I'm not saying don't link to it; I'm not saying exclude links to relevant WP content; I'm not saying a WP page's content can't be valuable or useful. I'm simply saying that it's not a Source unless it is being referenced by a specific fact.

jillaine 21:12, 15 September 2009 (EDT)



newcomer's input here... I may be new to WeRelate, but I have been doing genealogy for a number of years, albeit not professionally. I would never consider Wikipedia as a source. Wikipedia is a wonderful place to look for sources, just as I would look at family trees on Ancestry to see if someone had good sources to follow up with. It seems to me that it would be a good thing to add a link to a Wikipedia page for additional information. Having said that, I think the exception might be for places... Wikipedia does seem to have good place information, but again, it's not a source. The source is the information that the Wikipedia article cites as it's sources. Wikipedia is a wonderful source of information, but it is not a source in and of itself. I see above the comparison to NEHGR. I would not hesitate to use NEHGR as a source. The articles and research in them are created and approved by professional genealogists. A BETTER source would be the original documents that the NEHGR article refers to, and the reason that NEHGR is so respected is that every article has excellent sources. Wikipedia is not at that level of respected authority, in my humble opinion.

just my new two cents : ) Amelia J.--88buckaroo 11:13, 16 September 2009 (EDT)


It is amazing to me how the word "Source" is constantly being redefined by WR users. The place where you got information is your source. We may not think a certain one is a good source, but there it is. There are always better sources ...genealogy is all about constantly replacing current sources with better ones. But we have to start somewhere. I often use sources that may not be linked to a specific fact. Maybe I just haven't entered a fact yet. Maybe I'm gathering general information hoping that it will lead to a fact. I would hate to see us exclude useful information simply because one didn't pull out a fact to link it to. We have a personal history area in WR. I don't see a problem with gathering relevant sources to provide raw material for a history (bio) that someone may write someday (probably not me - I'm more researcher than writer). The dreadful pages we have for "famous people" have finally spurred me to touch up a few. WP is the first source until something better is found. These people aren't my primary mission, but the current state of the pages is an embarrassment. WP as a source is much better than the fractured misinformation that has been uploaded. --Judy (jlanoux) 12:22, 16 September 2009 (EDT) (who has no dog in this fight)


Judy, I don't think we're disagreeing. And I'm not redefining the term Source. If you are using content on a WP page as the source for the information you are putting on WR then by all means, cite that WP page as a Source. JRM, however, is talking about putting into the Source section of a given page a link to a pertinent WP page when that page is not being used as a Source for anything on the page. In fact, the guidelines imply that we should always do this when there is a WP page for a given person. Such a link belongs in an "External Links" section-- in fact (and this is pretty ironic), that's the practice that Wikipedia itself follows! The Source section of a page is for the source of information for particular facts or citations on the page. The External Links section-- a very common element of narrative sections in Wikipedia-- is commonly accepted as a place to include links to "additional information on this topic." jillaine 13:41, 16 September 2009 (EDT)


So Jillaine, while I agree with you that citing Wikipedia should not be done on well-sourced pages where wikipedia adds no unique information...
Actually, I never said that. I'm not saying don't link to WP. I'm saying that if you do, do it in the appropriate place. If the WP page in question is used as a source for some bit of information (name, date, other fact, etc.), then by all means, put it in the Source section. If the WP page in question is not being used as a source for said information, then put it in a "External Links" or "For more information..." section of the narrative. jillaine 15:11, 16 September 2009 (EDT)
I base my belief on a different philosophy than you, namely that conciseness is good, and WeRelate should strive to get a small set of sufficient sources to prove its assertions, but an exhaustive list is distracting and confusing.
Now here is where we are NOT different. I'm all for conciseness. I've said elsewhere, this is a different topic for me. jillaine 15:11, 16 September 2009 (EDT)
On any other grounds, I think your argument is going to fail. All JRM has to do is link his Wikipedia citation to the name field on the grounds that it is evidence that such a person existed and I think your objections become moot. And that is assuming the WP page gives absolutely no genealogical facts such as birth, death, residence, etc. for him to attach his source to.
If JRM wants to lie, I can't stop JRM from doing so. But don't make the assumption about the page lacking vital statistics. JRM is saying that no matter what is or is not on the page, whether or not it's already adequately sourced, add a link to a WP page as a Source. This is what I disagree with. jillaine 15:11, 16 September 2009 (EDT)
That is why I think, fundamentally, this whole issue is about whether the WeRelate mission is seen as providing an exhaustive cataloguing of all sources providing information, or rather, just a sufficient set of sources to represent a close approximation of the best thinking of the genealogical community. --Jrich 14:33, 16 September 2009 (EDT)
And here we can agree to disagree about what "this whole issue is about." While I believe your points about exhaustive vs sufficient sourcing is definitely worth discussion, I believe it's a separate issue. And I'm happy to support you in your view, which is similar to mine on that topic. But my current concern in THIS discussion is about the placement into the Source section of links that are not sources for information that is on the page. jillaine 15:11, 16 September 2009 (EDT)
On the contrary, Jrich is nearly right. This IS about sufficiency of sourcing. In particular, not leaving the next guy wondering why something obvious isn't there. WP is such a ubiquitous source, leaving it off strikes me as bad on its face. You don't have to have an exhaustive nor ascetic source policy to consider lack of an obvious source - even a secondary one - a serious defect in research. If you don't like the source, consider it weak, wrong, etc., that's fine - but you still owe the next researcher the respect of saying you know about the ubiquitous source, you find it weak/wrong/whatever, and why. For the truly lazy, adding it as a source but not attaching it to any citations at least implies that you looked at it and didn't consider it a basis for anything. Also, as an important aside, I would argue that badly done secondary sources ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT, since the shadow they cast is often long and unfortunate. Leaving such stuff off and leaving the next person wondering why is both rude and counter-productive. I mean, is learning that kind of unstated-stuff a genealogical hazing ritual? Everyone starts somewhere.
If there is a serious school of thought, that there are on-point "sources" and "other stuff", then we have to find a way to handle both nicely - both as a matter of site mechanics and guidelines. I have to believe that what we call sources today, can be automatically sifted into two piles - a set that back up particular fact and narrative citations and a set that don't (hence, background only). Maybe this starts to get to the distinction you're talking about, and helps encourage folks to focus on "real sources". Wouldn't it be nice, and jump right out at you, if you saw WP in the first list (citation-attached) and not in the second (background)?
Really, I get the premise that, in a perfect world and a really well done family/person page, WP would only appear as background - never as a "real" source. Still, there just has to be room on our pages for common or useful secondary/background material - even when the page is well done with "real sources".
Finally, there are special reasons that a WR "background source" should always appear if there is a corresponding page for the person. A WP page name turns out to be almost like an AFN, providing solid disambiguation. On that basis, it could well be offered as a general assertion on the person without it being a LIE (though I have not chosen to do that anywhere). WP articles also are not fixed - they do improve. Future researchers will always want to consult it to see if they're overlooking anything obvious. WP is also a special case in that WR owes WP a huge debt for media-wiki software, place data stubs and person data stubs. Finally, in our web-info connected world, it's a place people want to easily go when there is an appropriate link. Holding it back is just gratuitous. --Jrm03063 16:56, 22 September 2009 (EDT)

This is so frustrating. I do not know how to say it any differently. And yet time and again, I read interpretations of my messages that misrepresent my point.

I am NOT saying to exclude a link to appropriate WP pages. By all means, DO. PLEASE. I am simply saying, do so in the appropriate location of the WeRelate page:

  1. Place it in the SOURCE section IF the WP page in question was used as a source for some bit of information (including a name) on the page.
  2. Otherwise, place it in the EXTERNAL LINKS or FOR MORE INFORMATION section -- commonly used sections of wiki narrative (including on Wikipedia pages).

Placing it in "external links" or "for more information" serves the purpose you raise, JRM. It lets people know that the editor feels the WP page has been considered worth looking at. It's no less valuable just because it sits in a different section. But if the WP page in question (or any other link for that matter) has not been used as a source for information elsewhere on the WR page, then it doesn't belong in the sources section of the WR page.

jillaine 18:20, 22 September 2009 (EDT)

If you're choosing the "correct" birthdate from among 2 or 3 alternatives available on the various pages that you're merging by picking the birthdate that's displayed on WP, then I'd definitely list WP as the source, since WP is the reason you're choosing one birthdate over the others. Otherwise, I'm wondering how important it is whether WP is listed as a source citation or in the "External links" section (or listed on some pages one way and on other pages the other way).--Dallan 20:24, 28 September 2009 (EDT)
Dallan, in your example, I concur, placing a WP article page in the Source section is completely appropriate. jillaine 08:27, 29 September 2009 (EDT)
From Beth who has not read this entire thread. In the Guidelines for use of Wikipedia someone has asserted that if a WP page exists for my person then I am obligated to enter the WP page as a source. I must disagree. I decide on the pages I create what sources I enter. If you are participating with me on the research then we would have a discussion and come to a mutual agreement or not. If we could not reach an agreement then we would defer to the arbitration committee for the final say so (committee not yet created). That is my interpretation of a Wiki and I hope WeRelate. If this is not the widely held view on WeRelate perhaps I need to find another Wiki. --Beth 00:58, 19 November 2009 (EST)

Added templates - now what? [28 September 2009]

Can someone please add a section to the Help page to indicate when or how the actual process of sucking WP material actually happens? One doesn't know if they did it correctly if they don't know what is supposed to happen. How long does it take for the page to get updated? --Judy (jlanoux) 12:05, 16 September 2009 (EDT)

Judy. This is the Talk page for the page that has that information on it. And I'm fairly certain that the help pages have a link to this page. Is there a particular page you're looking at that does not link to this page? Let me know and I'll edit it. jillaine 13:31, 16 September 2009 (EDT)
I'm asking for help on the "Guidelines for Wikipedia" page. I think I'm on its talk. There are instructions for putting templates on a page. But there's no information about what's going to happen and when. So I don't know when to check back to see if I did it correctly. Can we add some info to the help page to tell a user what the system is going to do with the templates and how long is the wait? (I don't know the answer myself) --Judy (jlanoux) 14:36, 16 September 2009 (EDT)
Ah... I understand now. I concur; we need that text. I can't add that because I don't know the answer either. Hopefully someone who uses WP templates regularly can edit this Help page to add that info. Sorry I misunderstood. jillaine 15:01, 16 September 2009 (EDT)
I've added some information on what happens when based on Dallan's reply at Support. --Judy (jlanoux) 10:51, 22 September 2009 (EDT)
Thanks!--Dallan 20:25, 28 September 2009 (EDT)

Disambiguation? [6 April 2010]

The process of the WR agent that grabs WP material is still unclear. Is there a log that can be searched for its actions, when it is next to run, when it last ran, any errors encountered?

Unfortunately there isn't a convenient way for you to view the log. You can review Special:Contributions/WeRelate_agent to see what pages the agent has edited lately. (Don't try to select a namespace; there seems to be a bug that causes the page to not come back for a long time when you do.) But looking at the "diff" of a page that was edited by the agent can help you see how to set things up.

I was trying to add a WP template to Givenname:Eleazar. Although I can lookup the term Eleazar, or can directly go to the URL en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleazar, the template link remained red after waiting 2 weeks. What little I see on the Help page says something about the agent working weekly. How long do I wait before I assume I have done something wrong? Is this because there is a disambiguation page for Eleazar? That page is named Eleazar_(disambiguation) so I wouldn't think it would get in the way.

I just looked at Givenname:Eleazar. It looks fine now. The agent runs every Sunday, processing templates that were in the WeRelate pages as of Saturday evening. The version of Givenname:Eleazar from last Saturday didn't have the right template so the agent didn't process it, but the current version does, so it should be processed next Sunday.

I tried changing to {{Wp-Eleazar_(name)}} recently, but as it has only been a few days, I do not know if this is more valid than {{Wp-Eleazar}}? This is actually a better page for my purposes anyway but I do not know if the first one was ever tried, and if it so, why it failed? The wikipedia page name doesn't use an underscore, but I am assuming that is necessary for WeRelate, which will assume a space is the end of the URL?

The latest template: {{source-wikipedia|Eleazar (name)}} is what you want. The agent will replace that with the other templates that contain the wikipedia text when it runs.

Also, do you need to include the wikipedia-notice as well as the wp template? All the pages I look at have both, but of course, they are all mature pages that have already been populated. I assume so. The help page gives examples of special cases, but unless I missed something, never says here is what you put on the page in the simple case where you want to include just the initial summary from a wikipedia page.

When the agent runs, it will add the wikipedia-notice template.

Thank you. --Jrich 13:12, 3 April 2010 (EDT)

Just a quick note, I just realized it's been awhile since I downloaded an updated version of Wikipedia. The information copied from wikipedia will be from the version of the page from last summer. Once I get the new family editing features in place, I'll download a new wikipedia version and update everything.--Dallan 12:40, 6 April 2010 (EDT)

What's the minimum required for people with dual pages? [22 April 2011]

I discover that a person I'm working on also has a page on Wikipedia. But the Wikipedia page is pretty pitiful and I don't want my research confused with it.

I have been using Wikipedia as a source with a link to the page in RecordName as instructed. But the new, revision of the instructions make it appear that the "more information" template is now required in addition to the source. Am I misunderstanding something? We need to understand that Wikipedia doesn't imply good. In fact, when I'm done, I was planning to have Mike update the Wp page using WR as a source. --Judy (jlanoux) 10:50, 22 April 2011 (EDT)
Adding moreinfo has the effect of flagging the page to WR so that internal links between WP templates on WR pages will work (like if George Washington's WP bio mentions Thomas Jefferson, it links to Thomas Jefferson's WR page instead of his WP page) - which is something that in this case you want, because the WR page is better. And then editing the WP page is a great solution to the problem. If you didn't want to do those edits, then I'd suggest using the notes or the WP source citation field to note that, as of X date, the information on WP appears unsupported and unreliable (or whatever). --Amelia 10:58, 22 April 2011 (EDT)

Thanks for the quick reply. So to summarize... the "minimum" for a person who has a Wp page is to create a Wikipedia source and also to use the "More Information" template? (would be good if Help spelled this out)

If we don't pull in any Wikipedia text, is there anything for the template to cross-link to? Or is the issue that the More template is needed so that the OTHER person's page can link to THIS person's WR page? Thanks.
Thanks to you guys for enhancing the help page. This has been a very confusing topic.
--Judy  (jlanoux) 11:39, 22 April 2011 (EDT)

It's most important to always link to the WP page if there is one via one of the templates. If there's not actually any information to source or comment on from WP, I think that's less necessary, although I know others feel there should always be a source link.

On your second question, yes, the issue is that the moreinfo template makes it possible for the other page to provide an in-bound link.--Amelia 11:44, 22 April 2011 (EDT)

My preference is to always put in the Wikipedia reference - whether it supports a particular fact or not. This opinion is not uncontroversial, but my reasoning is that such source records are more apt to survive GEDCOM export/import cycles. Beyond that, the other issue is making sure that we have a way for the system to know that a particular WeRelate page corresponds to a particular Wikipedia page. That can be done either with the reference to a template extract of WP content, or by the Wikipedia external reference template. --Jrm03063 13:23, 22 April 2011 (EDT)

Clarification needed [23 April 2011]

There is something that I think needs to be clarified on this help page, but I can't come up with the right words to explain it. I'm noticing users adding the source-wikipedia or moreinfo wikipedia templates on place pages - but they point to a different WP page. For example, a WR page for a township in Missouri but the source-wikipedia template points to the county page on WP. My impression is that source-wikipedia is used to show when a WR page = WP page, otherwise a link should be used. --Jennifer (JBS66) 09:47, 23 April 2011 (EDT)


Trying to edit the main page to make it agree with the recent watercooler discussion [29 November 2012]

I've just modified the main page to make it agree with the recent watercooler discussion as best as I understand it. I've changed the content to say that referencing wikipedia content is preferred to copying it, including content from sections is discouraged (because section headings can change), and I removed the section about adding wikipedia as a source, since it can be added as a moreinfo link. I hope that's a reasonable approach to address the issues.--Dallan 21:52, 20 November 2012 (EST)

I slightly revised to clarify "something better to say." It's not strictly true that "genealogically relevant" content should always be preferred over Wikipedia. "George was born in 1732 in Virginia. He married Martha in 1759 and had no children" is more genealogically relevant than "George was the president of the United States", but it doesn't merit replacing WP content. I don't think the consensus was that all WP is garbage such that anything a WR user writes will be better (not that that viewpoint wasn't expressed).
To clarify specifically why I removed "In general, content that is especially targeted to genealogy is better than a generic Wikipedia extract." -- This point was highly debated on the Watercooler. At a minimum, "content especially targeted to genealogy" should be defined, because on it's face it's the same content that's in the facts that I use as an example above, and that will virtually never be a better intro to an article than the Wikipedia abstract.--Amelia 23:35, 20 November 2012 (EST)
Amelia, if you want people to discuss things on the Talk page, maybe you should practice what you preach. I happened to appreciate what Dallan posted and think it is the crux of the issue, and don't appreciate you editing it off the page as if your opinion is all that matters. Lame examples of how it can be misused do not change the fact that wikipedia rarely bothers to explain how genealogical facts are known, or uses inferior sources (often tertiary), nor does it present details of genealogical controversies that result in an unknown answer. Hence a narrative that does the right thing genealogically is much to be preferred to wikipedia. The goal should be that a genealogically sophisticated narrative is present on every page, and wikipedia is unnecessary, and that needs to be stated explicitly because certain people show absolutely no sense of perspective when it comes to this issue. --Jrich 23:59, 20 November 2012 (EST)
You are entitled to your minority opinion. Amelia, and the people who voted in the majority for the status quo, are entitled to theirs which - as far as I can tell - AUTHORIZED NO CHANGE WHATSOEVER. So merely softening the language of the changes seems like the LEAST that she has a right to. The majority is entitled to presume that the results of their votes will be respected. That isn't the case when the first action taken is to unilaterally implement a portion of the failed agenda. Instead, the next step should be a more focused explanation of what the original driving complaints were (something that still has not been satisfactorily done). Then a more narrow discussion can occur with reasonable hope of reaching a consensus on details. --jrm03063 12:25, 21 November 2012 (EST)
Let's be clear: the changes she edited out were made by Dallan, not by me, though she did also erase my attempt to restore one of his comments. I would assume he gets majority plus one votes, unless he chooses not to. He is also in the best position to know all the ramifications of any decision.
The issues are spread all over, including many discussions you have been participating in, including User_talk:Jrich "Regarding some of your recent edits" where you insisted on putting wikipedia entries on pages that already had moreinfo links recognizing wikipedia's existance, and more or better information than the wikipedia inclusion had; and "Removing Wikipedia Content" and "More Issues with Wikipedia" on WeRelate Talk:Watercooler where the potential for scaring off better contributions and the opportunity cost of the work maintaining wikipedia inclusion are questioned; and WeRelate:Suggestions/Wikipedia in other languages where linking is shown to be a more flexible approach; and others. --Jrich 13:57, 21 November 2012 (EST)

Some of us are wondering what "the issues" were. There has been no substantial explanation from the oversight committee before the WP matter came to a vote - and to the extent that there was a vote - the finding seems to have been for the status quo. An explanation of this matter seems very much in order. I also have some objections to the changes that have just been made - but reserve them until the overview committee explains more about what just took place and why. --jrm03063 23:45, 20 November 2012 (EST)

Agreed with Jrm. I will also note that Dallan made the changes to implement the discussion "so far as he understood them." As I did explain above, I attempted to add clarity and removed a statement that makes no sense without further discussion, and taken on its face represents the losing position. I'm not going to get in another debate about it. I also agree this has raised a serious governance issue and would like to hear from the Overview Committee as to what is going on.--Amelia 15:20, 21 November 2012 (EST)

Dallan's statement captured a lot of what I saw in the discussion, and of course, I disagree that it makes no sense, and so I think you removed clarity by selectively removing parts of a conclusion you disliked. What makes no sense is a practice of using wikipedia inclusion regardless of whether it is less informative or less informed than what is already on the page. What makes no sense is to insist that wikipedia be included on every pages regardless of whether it is additive, useful, or appropriate. If you think the narrative on, say, Richard Warren is better than the wikipedia inclusion that was once inserted in front of it, then that should indicate that such a writeup would ideally be preferred for all people to wikipedia, at such time as a knowledgeable party can provide it. Which is what the removed statement said.
Not sure what governance issue is being referred to? If there is a governance issue, it is that there is no formal decision making process. What I don't understand is why I can't also "attempt to add clarity" (of course, my clarity is different than yours)? I certainly don't think having a discussion the Watercooler represents a "governance issue". --Jrich 10:29, 22 November 2012 (EST)
It seems to me that we've already spent more time on this topic than it deserves. We're disagreeing over one sentence. I wish we could leave it and move on, but if not, I hope that we can be civil in our disagreements.--Dallan 10:59, 23 November 2012 (EST)
Move on to what? That would imply we've made some progress. The one sentence, which was essentially in two places, so removed twice, was the crux of the issue: i.e., whether wikipedia is always to be used if available, or whether there is a higher goal which allows people to remove wikpedia inclusions when appropriate. Perhaps some discussion of specific criteria could take place, but that is kind of hard if it people aren't "going to get in another debate about it". This is part of the problem with all these discussions: now we have a Talk page where you say "I've changed the content to say that referencing wikipedia content is preferred to copying it" and a Help page where those edits have been undone. We all know Help pages are the closest thing to policy statements at WeRelate, and right now the Help page merely represents the last edit by one user. So the Help pages lose authority. --Jrich 09:56, 25 November 2012 (EST)
The sentence I removed did not say that. It stated a standard as to when to remove WP content in favor of something else. The answer is not "always," nor is it never, and it deserves more than an ambiguous qualifier like "genealogically relevant". We should discuss how to define that point. My edits weren't intended to be the final word, and someone should propose alternative text, but you have done nothing other than insult me and misread my edits and statements Jrich, and I (and others) have learned that there is no productive discussion when that happens. There is the additional complication here that we got here after a public vote was sprung by the Overview Committee with no discussion or explanation. And, honestly, an outcome apparently divined from the comments and not the originally stated voting choices. That's the governance issue we're talking about. An explanation of the process, the original complaint, and an official outcome would give us some better direction.~----

The Overview Committee is still in the process of working on this. Please be assured - clearer guidelines that address all of the issues we've been having with Wikipedia inclusion are being worked on. I hope to having something more to present in a few days.

I want to clear up a misconception about the vote being "sprung". Often, when we try to engage in discussions, they melt into something that is less than useful. In addition, when we ask solely for a discussion, we lose the voices of a number of users who hesitate to even look at the Watercooler because fighting in not in their nature. As I said on the Watercooler, there were a number of problems being reported on various talk pages about WP inclusion. We wanted to gather users' input about the use of inclusion (the pros and the cons). Some people chose only to "vote", others chose to also discuss. I believe this process provided valuable information. Also, as I said, we would be instituting clearer policies regarding the use of inclusion. That is that stage we're at now. --Jennifer (JBS66) 10:58, 25 November 2012 (EST)

Governance:
You can clear up the matter of the Overview Committee's intent (which would be nice) - but I don't think you own our perceptions. WP guidelines are something that was thoroughly discussed to the point of consensus in the past. If there are new issues justifying revisiting the question - some of us long serving members of the community would really like to know what they are. Honestly - I have seen none. From my perspective, this is - and remains - an inexplicably re-vote on a previously taken decision. Further, votes have always been binding affairs in the past. If the committee is really seeking a statement of preferences, that it may elect to consider in a decision which it actually reserves entirely to itself, you really need to be clear on that. The word "poll" would be better suited.
The Issue At Hand:
On the specifics of WP inclusion - there's a phrase that I thought was in the guideline - but turns out not to have been. I found it in my statement of intentions for the "WP Inclusion Project":
* Encourage use of both WeRelate and Wikipedia, and each to best advantage
To my mind, this means at least a couple of things. There is no hard and fast statement of when literal inclusion is the right or wrong choice. It is, however, a hard and fast statement that a solid and obvious connection between corresponding pages on WR and WP is very important. That wiki scholarship on WR ought to carefully consider the body of contributions on both WP and WR.
So when we speak of "WP inclusion" - we don't really mean literal inclusion, we mean finding the best ways to accomplish figurative inclusion of the WP scholarship. Most of all, we seek to NOT EXCLUDE what exists and is found on WP. Sometimes, this is in fact best done by a straight up well-done introduction from WP indicating who a person was. We shouldn't be afraid of that - and we should be glad to use one if it exists. It it doesn't exist - then we can either go to WP and try to make the needed improvements - or (if it really comes to that) - write our own here.
I emphatically agree with Amelia that a mere genealogical focus does not make for better prose or a better introduction to who someone was. That would be a particularly lousy criteria.
My own opinion is that the "for more information see" form alone - is too weak to support the goal of keeping people aware of the two pages that are involved in the wiki scholarship for a person. So given any choice in the matter, I almost always choose literal inclusion.
The better discussions to have would be these:
* How do we choose to use, or not, a WP introduction over our own?
* Is there a different or better alternative to "for more information"?
I sincerely hope we will have those discussions - and have them openly. I think what has been done so far is an unfortunate and relatively useless rehash of well known preferences and biases. We really can do better - and actually make progress. --jrm03063 12:45, 25 November 2012 (EST)

"George was born in 1732 in Virginia. He married Martha in 1759 and had no children". This hypothetical example is not good genealogy. I cannot argue that there aren't WeRelate pages with similar narratives, so perhaps it could occur, but it would most likely occur on a person about whom there is no significant literature. In the case of George Washington, it is more likely that a fuller narrative would show up because source material is so much easier to come by. But even such a narrative has the advantage over a wikipedia inclusion of being readily editable, and so even if it did happen, somebody else that thought this was an inadequate treatment could easily fix it. Personally George Washington is a well-studied character, and I would not be inclined to summarize his life myself. But if somebody tried, I would like to encourage such contributions, and if they fell short, I expect most cases could be enhanced by the contributions of other users, to the point that they exceed the wikipedia summary in quality. However, if nobody is inclined, I have no problem with wikipedia as a stopgap, and have stated that several times, and practice it, as well.
Neither do I think the actual wikipedia summary, "Samuel Andrew (January 29, 1656 – January 24, 1738[1]) was an American Congregational clergyman and educator. He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He served as the rector of Yale University between 1707 and 1719", is all that useful, especially given the drawbacks of using wikipedia inclusion (not a dynamic inclusion, can't correctly include pages with templates or various tags on them, don't own the material and can't change it directly on WeRelate, doesn't include the sources that may be listed on the wikipedia page). The serious shortcoming of this wikipedia entry compared to what is currently on the WeRelate page, is that it does not list that he was one of the three founders of Yale university. And including it makes it difficult to add the missing details in an integrated manner without duplication. So, even though the WeRelate page is no candidate for featured page, adding the wikipedia inclusion is not appropriate.
"Genealogically relevant" may not be the best description of what is needed, but I believe it is a general description of the primary deficiency of wikipedia, and it also recognizes the more focused purpose of WeRelate, and thus is a broad summary of what the suggested criteria might be for choosing when inclusion is better and when it is not. It certainly can be better defined. The best narratives are the ones that discuss people in terms things like Origins, Families, Estate/Probate, as well as the historical importance of the person, all with appropriate documentation. This is especially true where any of those categories is subject to controversy, and I would think that discussing such genealogical controversies would be one of WeRelate's primary missions. Meanwhile, outside of summarizing the historical importance of a person, those items are seldom done in wikipedia. I do know that many people who don't warrant pages in wikipedia still need narratives, and in the long run, it is the needs of these people who determine what is the ideal on a WeRelate page, not the minority that are covered in wikipedia.
"My own opinion is that the 'for more information see' form alone - is too weak to support the goal of keeping people aware of the two pages that are involved in the wiki scholarship for a person." This is far from self-evident nor universally accepted. At some point one has to trust other people's ability to read the page and see what it says. So from the point of establishing "linkages", a moreinfo should be sufficient. For example, the Connecticut State Library has a page about Gov. William Leete that is far better than wikipedia's, but since it is copyrighted, people must be able to follow a link to outside sources in order to take advantage of such further-reading references. A simple link should be enough to establish a correspondence so that a bot can later build a more dynamic connection when such capability exists. Further, inclusion is actually counter-indicated by the fact that WeRelate users cannot maintain wikipedia material, cannot control, or get notified of, changes without a convoluted process that involves becoming a wikipedia user and working on wikipedia, which many, such as myself, would not be interested in and find an imposition. So unless inclusion improves a page on a case-by-case basis, I don't see any benefit from including wikipedia. It is not actually clear to me why even a link is desired, as I don't see any reciprocal benefit from the linkage per se, but a simple link is not all that intrusive, so it can be easily tolerated as a compromise.
Specific criteria when a user-written narrative is preferred to wikipedia, then, always subject to the requirement of being objectively as correct as possible, include added details, added genealogical discussion, inclusion of footnotes and other documentation, organization into subtopics, as determined by comparing a narrative against the wikipedia inclusion. In the event of parity, a user-written narrative to be preferred because of the possibility of easier enhancement. --Jrich 15:14, 25 November 2012 (EST)

Dear God, people. Really? Your time and energies would be better spent writing better narrative for profile pages than the reams of aether you're taking up here! Reading all this (or not as I glaze over after the first few lines) makes me pray no newbies stumble across this horridness. Who would want to play in THIS sandbox? Seriously, what are the priorities? And please stop being so awful to each other. Jillaine 20:29, 25 November 2012 (EST)

Agree 100% with Jillaine, let's just agree to disagree, leave the status quo where it is and MOVE ON! -Jim

This discussion arose because of problems with the status quo, which seems to place some inherent value on wikipedia material generally, beyond its possible utility in constructing particular individual WeRelate pages. So for people that are dissatisfied with wikipedia for any one of myriads of reasons given in the course of this or other discussions, the status quo is not moving on, it is a rejection of even attempts at compromise. As a participant I am more tired of discussing than you are of reading it, but there is no decision process, so this never gets resolved. I think many specific objections have been left unanswered, and attempts to improve the situation undone in the name of the status quo only. I am agreeing to disagree, meaning I still think the policy on wikipedia needs some clarification on when inclusion of wikipedia is appropriate and when not, and until a recognizable decision process results in a statement on that, I will continue to present reasons why it is needed and what it should be. Yes, my time would be better spent writing narratives, but one of the open questions is: would they be allowed to replace the wikipedia inclusion already on the page? --Jrich 15:46, 29 November 2012 (EST)

Jrich, I believe most of the users that have participated in this "discussion" have come to the full realization that:

1. Wikipedia content will continue to be allowed and included on WeRelate Pages (the vote has been taken)
2. Users will always be welcome to add additional narrative to the wikipedia content to a page to make the page more informational and hopefully more source-based and "genealogically worthy"
3. If Users have a problem with the wikipedia content, they can list their specific objections and add their sources to refute the material in question. In many cases the "Talk Page" may be the best place for the additional conversations to take place) In addition, Users are encouraged to contribute to wikipedia directly to help correct any perceived or real errors or inaccurate information and make wikipedia a better place for information.
4. Dallan (the owner of this site) has on several occations (listed above) suggested that this topic has been resolved to his satisfaction and that we should all move onto more productive efforts.
5. You won't apparently let this topic die until hell freezes over.

Now, in the words of the late Rodney King, "can we all just get along"?

---Delijim, 29 November 2012 (EST)

I disagree with #4 and #5. It appears that Dallan was inputting, or at least preparing to discuss, a new guideline, and it was changed by Amelia preemptorily. At this point, I have no idea what Dallan thought. Certainly if Dallan were to put out a policy statement in the guidelines that wasn't changed without discussion by somebody else, I'm sure it would be thoughtful, fair and the issue would drop. Or, since I suspect he might be waiting for the overview committee, if they were to put out some comprehensive statement addressing the various issues raised (like the impossibility of supporting inclusion of some wikipedia page because of unsupported features, the inadvisability of including sections other than the summary, how to handle wikipedia pages that are incorrect, how to include foreign language wikipedia, how to integrate custom material with wikipedia, and why or why not, and when or when not, inclusion might be required/desired/not desired). I might point out, also, that the discussion had been quiescent for four days until you chimed in, addressing none of the specific issues that have been raised. --Jrich 22:07, 29 November 2012 (EST)
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