Wikipedia talk:Lists

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There has been a lot of discussion revolving around lists lately. Much of it is on one RfD or another and there is no central point for peoples opinions

Types of lists[change source]

It seem most people do not have an issue with "closed" lists, lists with a set group of line items such as best Oscar winners, Superbowl MVPs, Presidents of Uzbekistan, etc. List that are easy to make complete and manage as new entries crop up. "Open" list are a totally different thing. These are list such as "List of Argentine scientists" While there may be a finite number of entries (every scientist from Argentina) that is neither doable or managable.

Requirements[change source]

These types of list can be done but they must be well defined, of a reasonable scope and properly managed. The managed part is always an issue, but that is mostly about watchlists and dealing with vandals and agf editors. We do this already so I know we can do it for lists as well. This leaves scope and definition. Both of these should be set up in the initial creation of the list.

Scope[change source]

Scope first. The list should be kept to a level where it can be managed properly. List of scientist is too broad, List of Asian scientist probably is as well. Lish of Japanese scientists would be do able. In these cases, LoJscientists would be the actual listing. LoAscientists could provide samples of other lists with links to the main lists or categories when they exist. LoS would just be the list of lower lists, possibly continent list, countries on that continent, next continent, etc..

Definition[change source]

The list needs to be fully defined. What it is about, what is required to be included, etc. All of this needs to be set at the start of the list. This information would be best kept at the top of the lists talk page.

What makes up the entries on the list?

  • Does Argentine mean only nationality, citizenship, widely accepted association with, some combination?
  • What defines a scientist? Any field listed under the term "sciences"? only physical and theoretical sciences (picture the people in lab coats) but not the social and political sciences? Is training enough or is experience needed?
  • Parts of this could need separate discussions to define terms such as the "what is a scientist?" dilemma, but thats not in the scope of lists themselves and more of a general issue that needs to be discussed elsewhere.

Is there some limit to entries? For example, List of Asian scientist could be limited to a max of 5 individual entries and the link to the main list. The standards expected for the selection of these name (where more than 5 are present) needs to be laid out. A variety of subclasses and individual qualities where possible but not more important than notablility. Diversity should be supported but not just for diversity sake. Putting Danica Patrick on a list of 5 American race car drivers to make the list more diverse is not the best of things, Putting Marie Curie on the list of scientists on the other hand is (very notable as well as showing diversity)

Other factors may need addressed. Are redlinks acceptable? should there be conditions on them?

As an example of what I suggest here, see Talk:List of scientists from South America#Basis for the list for the basics for a mid level / hybrid list

If the ground work is set for a list and it is kept to a reasonable level from its creation, I can see them being of value. There just has to be accepted rules/guidelines and they (the rules) need to be maintained.

Discussion[change source]

Opinions? --Creol(talk) 00:18, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

From my point of view, there is no reason for some of these lists. There is no reason we can't cover literally everything in List of scientists from South America in a category. I don't know if there are any previous consensus or anything yet but if the article does not have any particular significance, then I don't see the point of having it other than in a category. MrMeAndMrMeLet's talk 02:30, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I can't say that I disagree with that, but I can accept there are others who will always see a need for lists. Lists and categories are not the same thing and both have their place and such. I am not under the delusion that we would ever not have lists. They are an inevitability. Given that, we need to determine as a group the best ways to deal with such lists. Personally, when I make such a list. I copy the cat listing over, trim out the questionable entries and add a bit of flavor. Essentially when I create a list it is just a fluffy cat listing but when I say it like that, I can see how lists can be useful. That extra bit of flavor provides additional info that a blank category listing does not have. For some people that can be useful. They don't need to look at each article to weed thru the entries for something of interest. Rather than sorting through an entire category article by article, they could look over the list and just pull up the articles of likely interest to them. Say while looking at English scientists that could just look at the articles labeled physicists on the list and not have to look at 100 other articles on biologists, chemists and botanist which they have no interest in. List can help expand their search options. Cats also can't include redlink articles. Most times, they are more thorough and up to date about what we offer, but they are limited to only articles that exist at that time and require extra work to narrow the selection.
End result, there will always be people that prefer one over the other. We need to try to satisfy both sides.
And to quote Djsasso: "Lists and categories are not mutually exclusive." He's not wrong either. Both side are valid opinions. --Creol(talk) 04:27, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
You can't cover everything in that particular list (scientists from South America) in a category, but there are lots of lists where you could. Some lists are just plain lists, like List of fruits. Others, like List of chancellors of Germany, include more pieces of information and even an image. Others are more like regular articles, but happen to have a list embedded in them. Others, like List of prime ministers of Thailand, are barely in list format at all. -- Auntof6 (talk) 04:49, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Lists are often plagued by nationalism, and the "List of scientists from wherever" is a good example. Lists of Chancellors of Germany has a criterion which no-one can dispute. That's a good basis for a list. Lists of something from somewhere are plagued by nationalistic bias, and should be shunned. Unless, of course, there is no doubt as to the criterion for listing. I am tired of the "list of scientists in my backyard"-type pages. They are an insult to our intelligence, and damage WP. Macdonald-ross (talk) 11:00, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    I don't agree that such lists are nationalistic (especially with lists that are for continents, like South America--is "continentalistic" a word?). It might be nationalistic if a page called "List of scientists" contained only or mostly scientists from one country. But when the page title clearly says it's only for those from a given place, that's just as clear a criterion as the list of German chancellors. A list of scientists that wasn't limited by place would be unwieldy. By the way, we actually do have lists of scientists from the other continents. Except for jobs which self-evidently convey notability on their occupants, entries from all forms of employment ought to show notability case by case.
    Sometimes the English language Wikipedias can be Eurocentric, and having lists for other places can counteract that. But articles here, including lists, are created by volunteers who create pages that they're interested in creating. We shouldn't discourage people from concentrating on certain places just because no one is creating things for other places. -- Auntof6 (talk) 13:43, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Interjection: No! because a German Chancellor is always notable, whereas scientists is a line of work where few are notable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Macdonald-ross (talkcontribs)
I'll just point out that the comment "But when the page title clearly says it's only for those from a given place, that's just as clear a criterion as the list of German chancellors" is utterly wrong. Elections decide who are Chancellors of Germany, not WP editors. Scientists who achieve some agreed ranking would meet notability. But just to be a scientist is not by itself notable. And the say-so of an individual editor is neither here nor there. Macdonald-ross (talk) 13:23, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The problem lies in the "from ...": Jacques Offenbach was born in Cologne, but spent most of his life in France: So would you say he's worthy to be included in a list of French Composers?- Same thing for Frédéric Chopin, who was Polish.... - In what way were they different from say Gabriel Fauré or Maurice Ravel? (Apart from the fact that all three lived later than Offenbach.. Eptalon (talk) 14:40, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
If it is about doing operas or opera-like works, take Georges Bizet or Hector Berlioz... Eptalon (talk) 14:46, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
So the thing I can see in this is "No red links" as they could be unnotable. If the page exists, and does not get deleted, then they are notable else the problem lies in an area that is not the list. Is there anything else there that I missed about the topic of open lists? --Creol(talk) 19:58, 30 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Every language of Wikipedia is plagued with nationalism to one degree of another. Each version tends to be more focused on issues important to people who speak that language as they are the people choosing which articles to create. By your logic, every aspect of every wiki should be shunned. Any volunteer based system is going to have this issue. "If I'm not being paid, I'll create what I want to, when I want to and only if I want to" is a given. More Indian writers will yeild more Indian based topics. This isn't nationalism, it personal choice. People will make lists and people will want lists. This much will never change. What must change is how we deal with the topic. Our current policy ("screw it, whatever" and "We'll RfD it later and let that drag on with no end in sight") is working just as well as one would expect it to - ie. not at all. We need to find a way to deal with the issue of "open" lists and that is what this is about. As Auntof6 points out, the inclusion of more global information it good for the wiki.
    Back on topic, List of German chancellors is a good example of good things about our lists. While it is a close list and not what this is about, it has a well defined scope and requirements for inclusion. The title itself is a well chosen name as well. List of German Chancellors would be a bad choice as that is not the job title. For open lists, these aspects need to be followed as much as possible.
    Also the bias isn't just nationalist. The one list of scientist (South America, I believe but not really certain) covered many areas but was strongly focused in economist. If an economist is or isn't a scientist is up to a "What defines the term scientist" discussion but that aside, the list should provide more variety than just leaning heavy into one field --Creol(talk) 20:33, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    With the 'List of Scientis from ...' there were the following problems:
    • Certain countries have very few scientists; also the scientists may not be active in the field of their eductaion (general problem)
    • Science is often focused; people getting scientific awards probably only come from a handful (I'd guess 10-15) countries. Also, reasearch in hard sciences may be expensive, and depending on the domain, require many specialized tools. So, as a geneticist, you are likely not from one of the 'poorer countries', because there are no meaningful places to work there.
    • The problem I meanioned above: Does a geneticist from Western Sahara need to be from that place, or just have a close association with it? - Will people with double nationalities show up on both lists; this is especially a problem, since many German scientists emigrated before/during WWII, and then ended up in othewr countries. They may still be German scientists though.
    • If I have a list of entries, two entries picked at random should be comparable. In the case of an open list, this is rarely the case. - Also two peole on the list should have similar achievements
    • We should honor both sexes; I know that this may be difficult, women firefighters, women construction workers, male nurses, male midwives anyone? Eptalon (talk) 22:42, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    For what determines "from". I see it as three factors. Two are pretty much unquestionable as to yes or no: Place if birth and citizenship. The third is the only one that I see as being debateble: associated with. In some areas, this isnt an issue. For example politicians will be associated with anyplace they held office. Not so much the national capitol if they are there representing another part of the country but yes is they are representing the capitol. Mayor of Washington, DC is DC, Senator for Texas representing Texas in DC is not. Judges where they sat the bench, Lawyers where they primarily practiced (not a case here and there but a substantial part of their work). For less defined environments it can get a bit muddier. As scientists are a favorite field and German scientist a solid example: I think if a large (not necessary majority but significantly large) part of their work is in one area and they lived there for a decent amount of time, they are most often accosiated with that "from". German scientist emigrated to Brazil? Did he continue to work as a scientist in Brazil in a reasonably large capacity or did he just retire to there? If he was still working, then he is most likely "from" there as well as from Germany and would likely qualify for both lists. There are several entries on the South American and Argentine lists of foreign born people being listed as members of that community and I think that phrase sums it up: "member of the community". IF it is reasonable to assume they are a member of the given community, then it is reasonable for them to make the list.
    As to honoring both sexes (and genders, races, religions. etc), I fully support diversity as long as it is not at the cost of level of contribution. If the number of position on a list is limited, A person should not make the list just as a token for some group when someone more representative is omitted to allow them room. An example I think I mentioned above: List of American racecar drivers (not limited in size) would include Danica Patrick but a list of North American racecar drivers (limited to 6 drivers per country) would not as there would be many more representative entries who are better examples of the field. At the same time, Marie Curie is at the top of her field and gets added points for ticking the diversity box. Her notability gets her into the final cut. Her diversity makes her a better inclusion. That said, it would be advisable to try to find possible entries with the diversity benefit whenever possible. --Creol(talk) 23:37, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

There's a lot of different aspects being discussed here, would it perhaps be easier to break each issue out individually and address it? For example,

  • Importance of diversity
  • Determining inclusion of people in geographically-based lists
  • Suitability of lists vs categories

Overall however, I feel that these broader open lists we discuss shouldn't exist, but should simply list other lists that are more closed in nature. Griff (talk) 19:13, 2 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Moved[change source]

Just moved in from Wikipedia:Simple talk#Lists. --Ferien (talk) 11:39, 1 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]