Wikipedia:News policy abuse
There is a much quoted "policy" on Wikipedia, which goes something like this:
- Breaking news shall not be covered by a new Wikipedia article. It does not matter if the news is published as a top story in newspapers on five continents. It does not matter if it is verifiable or true. It does not matter if it is covered neutrally. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and it must always be at least two or three years out of date. Any story based on recent news reports should be deleted.
The problem? There is no such policy. Yes, there are many policies which are cited as if they said that much if not most of the time in WP:AfD discussions. But they don't.
- WP:NOTNEWS says "breaking news should not be emphasized or otherwise treated differently from other information" Although it contains some unfortunate language excluding "routine news reporting on things like announcements, sports, or celebrities", this should be reasonably be taken to refer to the bulky middle of an ordinary newspaper which offers courtesies to the local community such as wedding announcements or sports coverage of teams from local teams. While some work could be done on the wording of the policy, it is apparent that some news is likely to be picked up by other newspapers or cited in serious research.
- WP:NTEMP says "Notability is not temporary: once a topic has been the subject of "significant coverage" in accordance with the general notability guideline, it does not need to have ongoing coverage." This is not a call to pull out the Tarot cards and try to predict whether the story will be covered in books in future years! It's a straightforward statement that notability can be gained right away, and once obtained it is permanent.
- WP:Notability (books) deems a book notable if it "has been the subject of multiple, non-trivial published works ... such as newspaper articles". There's a requirement that the coverage be independent of the book's publishers, and that coverage go beyond simple description of the plot; but it certainly doesn't exclude in-depth newspaper articles and reviews.
- WP:EVENT, the most troublesome of guidelines for this purpose, is also perhaps the least often cited. It was derived from the other guidelines through the lens of misinterpretation, and includes classes of local news which "may or may not be" notable. Though it offers some helpful advice about news stories from a single source or from tabloids, it also encourages readers to use their prejudices to determine what is worthy for Wikipedia to cover: to include articles affecting a "widespread social group", but probably not those important to a minority group. Since the guideline doesn't actually draw a firm line but simply talks in terms of probability, it doesn't end the argument.
- WP:BLP1E concerns biographies of living persons. It can be dealt with by giving articles long, unreasonable names that restrict biography articles to focus on negative content, such as Arrest of Bradley Manning. While unfortunate, it need not become a reason for deletion, and eventually the articles usually find their proper name and scope.