Wikipedia talk:Reference desk

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To ask a question, use the relevant Reference Desk
The guidelines for the Reference desk are at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Guidelines.
For help using Wikipedia, please see Wikipedia:Help desk.
This page is for discussion of the Reference Desks only. Please don't post comments here that don't relate to the Reference Desks. Other material may be moved.

Video game publisher[edit]

  • Transferred to Entertainment desk

User AlverichA[edit]

problem took care of itself --Jayron32 14:32, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Some contentious editing on the Humanities desk and a quick perusal of their contributions suggests that they are WP:NOTHERE to build an encyclopedia or to request information, but rather to make an argument - perhaps even WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS and get the WP:TRUTH out there. Just a heads up. Matt Deres (talk) 15:12, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

That's what it looks like. I've hatted both (so far) of their humanities ref desk sections. If you want to un-hat them, feel free. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:01, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

These questions appear to ask about the English-language terminology used to describe the geography and peoples of the western hemisphere. Whether the OP is here to learn, or here to make trouble, I cannot say: I rather prefer to follow the wisdom of one of my role-models; hypotheses non fingo.
Not very long ago - in January 2019, we had a legitimate question about the correct interpretation of terminology on a similar subject.
In that January question, which I interpreted as a good-faith request for information, I wrote a well-cited, referenced response that included links to multiple independent verifiable external sources.
I also wrote a commentary to introduce and briefly summarize some of the related issues of terminology.
May I make an impassioned dispassionate plea: whether the original question is intended in good faith or otherwise, may we assume good faith and write responses that are of encyclopedic quality? This is the best way to answer questions, even if the original post is trying to stir controversy. We may accidentally educate a few people along the way - including ourselves.
I am not a historian or a geographer, and I rarely contribute on the Humanities desk; but I sincerely hope that we can all uphold these standards. Our regular contributors who have greater subject-matter expertise should be able to defuse controversial topics easily, by progressively explaining these questions using resources suitable for this encyclopedia, and by writing responses in dispassionate, polite style.
Nimur (talk) 16:36, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

This message is for user Baseball Bugs, I must assume you are from USA and for that reason you erased my subjects. Your answers to my questions are very regionalists not valid. You also said that my facts are erroneous AlverichA (talk) 17:10, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

@AlverichA: What published, reliable sources contain the information you keep trying to add to Wikipedia articles? Wikipedia is built on published, reliable source text, not on what we feel, or what we think we know. If what you say is true, then published, reliable texts will have written it already. Produce those texts. --Jayron32 17:14, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Please note AA's questions came after dubious article edits like this, this, this and this. I am perfectly willing to see this as a newbie who is trying to find their way but it also should be said that they are not listening to the replies that they have received and hatting the threads keeps other editors from having to state the same thing over and over again. MarnetteD|Talk 17:24, 3 May 2019 (UTC

In 1507, some scholars at Saint-Dié-des-Vosges in northern France were working on a geography book called Cosmographiæ Introductio, which contained large cut-out maps that the reader could use to create his or her own globes. German cartographer Martin Waldseemüler, one of the book's authors, proposed that the newly discovered Brazilian portion of the New World be labeled America, the feminine version of the name Amerigo, after Amerigo Vespucci. The gesture was his means of honoring the person who discovered it, and indeed granted Vespucci the legacy of being America's namesake.--AlverichA (talk) 17:35, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

All of that is true. But it is entirely irrelevant towards supporting the changes you are trying to make to articles. --Jayron32 17:53, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I didn't erase anything. I merely boxed it up. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:00, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

I just asked, " why the Aztecs, Incas, Mayas, etc. are not consider native Americans?" If they came thousands years ago just like the native Indians of USA ---- AlverichA (talk) 19:04, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

Your question has already been answered. You just don't like the answer. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:27, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict)And you were answered - "Native American" is an almost uniquely US term (see Native American name controversy for more information). Indigenous peoples of other regions in North and South America are known by other names. It's purely an issue of terminology, and not an implication that only the indigenous peoples of the United States are the true natives. If you don't like that answer, well, that's your problem. Someguy1221 (talk) 19:30, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

That is a very regionalist answer, it doesn't mean because USA adopted the word America they have to proclaim themselves the only Americans, maybe it doesn't exist a correct way to called the natives of USA like in other languages and that's why they are called Americans ---- AlverichA (talk) 21:59, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

Maybe you're unaware that Mexicans, for example, call us Americanos. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:10, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Bugs is correct about usage among Spanish-speaking inhabitants of the Americas (North America and South America).
Among French-speaking inhabitants of the Americas, indigenous people are called "autochtone" from the Greek auto, own, and chthon, land.
Among English-speaking inhabitants of the Americas the use of the term Native Americans is common only in the US, having been adopted by the US government as a correction to the former term "Indian" (from a misnomer used by European explorers who erroneously thought they had landed on the Indian subcontinent). In Canada they don't use the Term "Native Americans".[1] In Canada, indigenous people are called the "First Nations"[2][3] (with certain subgroups called Inuit[4] and Métis[5]) again used to correct the erroneous "Indians", which is considered offensive.[6][7][8]
Related: The phrase "China" is often used to refer to the People's Republic of China even though the Republic of China exists. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:46, 3 May 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ Hill, Liz (2007). "National Museum of the American Indian". Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009.
  2. ^ "Assembly of First Nations - Assembly of First Nations-The Story". Assembly of First Nations. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009.
  3. ^ "The Canadian Atlas Online First Peoples". Canadian Geographic.
  4. ^ "Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada) – ICC Charter". Application Design & Development Indelta Communication. 2007. Archived from the original on March 5, 2010.
  5. ^ "final Written Submissions of Federal Crown In the Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Moot Court" (PDF). Factum of the Federal Crown Canada; University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 19, 2009.
  6. ^ "Terminology".
  7. ^ "Words First An Evolving Terminology Relating to Indigenous Peoples in Canada". Communications Branch of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. 2004. Archived from the original on November 14, 2007. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  8. ^ "Terminology of First Nations, Native, Indigenous and Métis" (PDF). Aboriginal Infant Development Programs of BC. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 14, 2010. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
Quick point of order - I believe it was established some time ago that, when hatting a section on the RefDesk, that we should sign the HAT portion so it's is clear who has performed the action. Matt Deres (talk) 14:23, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
You're right. I'll fix that. Although the subject had no problem figuring out who did it. He just didn't understand that it wasn't an erasure. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:49, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Surprised no one pointed this out yet, but Native Americans is actually a disambiguation page. While none of the articles on indigenous peoples of the Americas other than the USA ones have Native American in the title, we do have articles which seem to include those from outside the USA titled Native American cuisine, Native American religion (although coverage outside the USA is limited), Native American weaponry (which I think also isn't restricted to the USA), Native Americans in German popular culture (although it's likely a lot of the influence and stereotypes are from the USA), Native American disease and epidemics (again coverage outside the USA is limited), . In addition Indigenous peoples of the Americas may be so titled, but refers to term Native Americans in various contexts outside the USA. So yeah the OP's premise that the term Native Americans is restricted to those from the USA is not supported. Although as others have said, for various reasons Native Americans is generally mainly in reference to those from the area now the USA. The use of the term outside references to those from the area now the USA in our articles is probably in part reflective that there's no simple accepted universal term and Indigenous peoples of the Americas or similar terms are somewhat long, but probably also in part the high degree of influence of USA. In other words, despite the OP's suggestion of bias in not using the term for those outside the USA, there's a good chance there's also a lot of bias in using the term for such. As Guy Macon noted, the term isn't even accepted by all of those in the USA, let alone suggesting it should be an accepted or the normal term to those from outside the USA. For example, as our article sort of implies and Abya Yala even more, some don't feel there is any need to use a term in part deriving from the name of Amerigo Vespucci (or Richard Amerike if you subscribe to that theory). Nil Einne (talk) 07:18, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
The user is now blocked as being WP:NOTHERE to contribute constructively. Matt Deres (talk) 14:26, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
I have some doubts about the quality of the above discussion. Note that wikt:americano, per my old Spanish instructor, says that the main meaning of "americano" is "an inhabitant of the Americas". Also, as far as I know, the Americas were called "the Indies" not out of some confusion about landing in India as we define it, but because traditional European scholars called literally anything far to the east India, no matter how far it might be. (While we're at it, the Indus River, for which all are named, is a central feature of Pakistan). True, Columbus - not being known for ethics of any kind - did oversell his case on this one, since the East Indies were indeed prized trading partners. Wnt (talk) 01:23, 21 May 2019 (UTC)


The ultimate purpose of the reference desks, in my opinion, is surely to improve the pedia. The only reason,I think, people access the reference desk is to seek out information that cannot be gleaned easily from the existing pedia pages. The desks should not be used as a source of amusing interchanges tween rd vultures soaring on high ready to pick to pieces any unsuspecting questioner. Constructive comments welcome . (talk) 23:38, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

The reference desk also offers insight into the kinds of information that, de facto, isn't trivial to find elsewhere in our encyclopedia - or elsewhere on the internet. In that respect, the questions and the content on the reference desk comprise, metaphorically, the boundary between the set of all human knowledge that is easily discovered, and the set of all human knowledge which is not easily discovered.
To confound this metaphor of "all human knowledge," we naturally have a huge and diverse demographic. Information that is "easy to discover" for some is difficult for others. Additionally, some of our questions come from people who have not put in a good-faith effort. Many questions are answerable in a few seconds; so we may honestly wonder whether the person asking is really doing so in good faith.
I would love to see us enforce, more stringently, the Wikipedia guidelines on requiring competence from our participants. In specific, as Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, I would love it if more of our participants actually read it - and read other encyclopedias, for comparison - more frequently. We live in an amazing era in which it is so easy to find so much high quality written knowledge. I wish more people took advantage of this privilege! But, as I wrote in our 2013 discussion on this topic: "We don't vet newcomers; so that means some newcomers are troublemakers, and some are just idiots."
And yet...
"This is not the end of the world. New contributors, fresh with enthusiasm, dynamically enter (or re-enter) the contributor-pool, and they are able to tolerate all the undesirables; and we reach a sort of steady-state or equilibrium: old contributors "burning out" and new contributors coming in with fresh ideas and higher tolerance levels. Wikipedia is over a decade old, and is widely regarded as a successful hallmark of the proliferation of free information. This model works, and anyone who is actively trying to disrupt it is failing badly."
I wrote that many years ago, and if anything, I think it is even more relevant today. We surely do have issues, problems, and disagreements; but we have reached a steady-state condition in which the perennial problems are counterbalanced by equally-powerful perennial solutions.
Nimur (talk) 02:14, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
As a fun fact, in the very earliest days of the Reference Desk, people would often "answer questions" by creating a new article on the topic that was asked about. The assumption was that if someone asked a question, it could only be because Wikipedia was missing an important article.
For instance, the "Coprophagia" article was created when someone asked why dogs eat their own poop. ApLundell (talk) 00:26, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
There is no "Universal List of Notable Topics" from which Wikipedia progressively crosses off items as articles get created. We have various Articles for Creation lists, and many individual editors maintain their own private lists (I do), although not all of these would necessarily pass our notability test. So, in a sense, the community is constantly "remembering" topics that were always notable but which had not been at the forefront of people's minds - until some event caused them to get there. Or maybe a topic had been very much on someone's mind but they had other demands on their time in the real world. Also, some topics, while notable, are boring to write about, so it takes a special effort of mind to tackle them at the best of times; and since this project is entirely voluntary and there are no deadlines, much notable (but boring) stuff falls by the wayside where it remains, forgotten, abandoned, unloved. But one day ... -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:16, 15 May 2019 (UTC)