Talk:White elephant

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Copyright violation[edit]

Editwarring to insert copyright violations is a Bad Thing. Stop that now. bobrayner (talk) 19:52, 9 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please have a look at Wikipedia:Non-free contentClicklander (talk) 07:38, 10 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What do you mean? One of those sources describes itself as "Originally published in Air & Space/Smithsonian, October/November 1995. Copyright 1995, Smithsonian Institution. All rights reserved." It may be a reliable source, but we should not lift sentences from it verbatim. I've cut it, and cut the other example which is only sourced to an apparently WP:RS-failing blog. --McGeddon (talk) 18:47, 10 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From the link you provided

"Brief quotations of copyrighted text may be used to illustrate a point, establish context, or attribute a point of view or idea. Use of copyrighted text must be in compliance with Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria policy."

and from Wikipedia:Non-free content

"Brief quotations of copyrighted text may be used to illustrate a point, establish context, or attribute a point of view or idea. In all cases, a citation is required. Copyrighted text that is used verbatim must be attributed with quotation marks or other standard notation, such as block quotes. Any alterations must be clearly marked, i.e. [brackets] for added text, an ellipsis (...) for removed text, and emphasis noted after the quotation as "(emphasis added)" or "(emphasis in the original)". Extensive quotation of copyrighted text is prohibited."

Wikipedia policy on quotation of copyrighted material does not differ from what generally applies in any other kind of published written document (books, newspapers, internet pages etc.). In our case it is just about an example within an article. It is not about the article itself. A brief quotation is enough to support the example. If anyone wants to rewrite the example in a different way you are free to do so, for me this brief quotation is more than enough.

Regarding the other example it is sourced to an article written by a sports commentator and published on a public media with author's name and date. I do not see why this is not a reliable source.Clicklander (talk) 07:23, 11 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I didn't realise you'd added quotemarks, I see your point now that you've stated it. I've re-added the example and rewritten it to avoid direct quotation, as the quote itself isn't that remarkable. I've left the football stadium one out, though - the source only says that the stadium was "rarely full" and "a hindrance" to teams; it does not allege "very low attendances" or "inappropriate design".--McGeddon (talk) 11:23, 11 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you very much for your contribution. That's exactly the way how the community should act in order to improve and enrich articles! Unfortunately some people around consider a contribution to find minor flaws within the articles and use them as a excuse to remove useful encyclopedic information entirely. That's not my way. As for the other example, "very low attendances" and "inappropriate design" can be retrieved form the corresponding wikipedia article itself: Stadio delle Alpi.Clicklander (talk) 13:20, 11 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Example sprawl[edit]

We should maybe exercise some editorial control rather than just digging up everything that has ever been called (even by only one source) a white elephant. Is there any obvious way to divide the examples into groups, and pick out the best examples of each type? --McGeddon (talk) 11:23, 11 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed. It is also necessary to confirm that the available citations invoke the 'white elephant' metaphor. I am not certain they all do. causa sui (talk) 23:43, 4 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think a list of a few would not be bad, but (a) a simple wikilink with a reference to it being expressly described as a white elepahant is all we need, and (b) it needs to be something that is a "valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth" - and I don't think many of the current examples qualify. Snori (talk) 01:34, 11 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

2015 redux[edit]

Broadly agree with all of the above. Absent any objections I intend to begin taking "ye olde wiki-axe" out and severly chopping this section in the near future. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:10, 31 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Kinda forgot about this, but it looks like nobody has any objections. I count nearly forty examples. I'd like to get that number down to ten or less, so I'm going to start chopping. If anyone objects to any specific items being removed please discuss them here. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:31, 21 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've chopped numerous entries and trimmed and consolidated some related entries, but it could probably use a bit more trimming and reformatting. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:04, 21 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have an objection regarding the Temple of Olympian Zeus (perhaps I have more, I haven't gone through all the deleted examples). This is one of the best White Elephant examples in human history and one of the most notorious of the ancient times.Clicklander (talk) 09:15, 15 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We had an extremely bloated example farm there, and the source used to support its inclusion in it was weak, appearing to be the personal web page of a single college professor. If you can locate better sourcing for it being a white elephant I could see it being re-introduced. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:04, 15 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A gigantic temple standing unfinished and unused for more than 600 years!!! Do you need more evidences to to see it as a white Elephant???Clicklander (talk) 07:25, 20 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Per WP:OR and WP:SYNTH it actually doesn't matter what I think, or what you think qualifies as white elephant. All that matters is finding WP:RS that have already made that determination. As I said, if you can locate such a source I would be fine with re-including it. Beeblebrox (talk) 16:10, 20 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There was a source that made this determination and you ignored it as a week because it was written by a professor. The Temple of Olympian Zeus was standing as a white elephant from the 6th century BC to the 2nd century AD. At that time not only there were no newspapers and media to write about as they do today for the modern white elephants and you can find hundreds of sources for them, but also the term "White Elephant" didn't even exist in the 6th century BC. So who else do you expect to call such an old project as a White Elephant of the time, other than professors who study history? Do not expect to find such a source in today journalist's articles as you can't find it in the ancient writings of that time. From encyclopedic point of view I think this example is very significant and has a place in wikipedia's article not only because of the scale of the project and the very long time it stayed as white elephant (perhaps the longest ever), but also because it is a very unique example from a different age and differs a lot from all other examples in the list. I agree with your efforts to minimize the article and keep the most characteristic examples but based on this concept this example definitely has a place in. After all there are also examples in the list that do not include sources at all like Christ's Hospital railway station.Clicklander (talk) 11:23, 22 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think a good way to resolve this would be to ask at WP:RSN about that source. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:36, 22 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The question was placed but no sufficient explanation was given for not to include this reference and no much discussion was opened on that. The topic has now been archived. I think I will put back the example until some further discussion takes place. Clicklander (talk) 13:30, 5 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Of course, you are conveniently ignoring the fact that what feedback you did get indicated that the user saw it the same way I do and have just decided to push your preferred version back into the article regardless. Beeblebrox (talk) 15:38, 5 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

1. The feedback I got was from only one single user. 2. This user had a different view from yours. His argument was not that the article was a single college professor's opinion as you said, but that the usage of "white elephant" was out of the article's definition. Nevertheless he was unable to support his argument. 3. After many days, no discussion on this made and there was no official response from Wikimedia Foundation. My question was finally archived so I guess the discussion is closed for the moment without having a clear answer. Therefore since there is no obvious problem with the reference I do not see why I shouldn't include it in the article, especially if it has to support such an obvious and significant example. I didn't ignore anything, but why should I get yours opinion as correct and not mine? We just see it from different perspective. If there are clear evidences that this source is problematic it's fine for me to leave it out, but isn't it more important to improve the article with useful information rather than arguing whose opinion is more correct?Clicklander (talk) 07:35, 8 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know why you would have expected an "official response from the Wikimedia Foundation" as this is not the sort of thing they ever get involved in. Consensus is our primary mode of decision making here. Unfortunately we don't really have enough particpation to say there is a consensus here, but it seems clear to me that it actually isn't fine with you if it is kept out despite what you say. I don't wish to edit war over it, but I do not see this as a mere difference of perspective, I see it as you using a single, very flimsy reference to support the inclusion of this item on the list, but I'm tired of arguing about it. This article was in bad shape, and my edits made it better. I don't want to see it turn back into a long rambling example farm with weak sourcing, but you are heading it back down that path. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:39, 8 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since there was not enough participation as as you said and since as far as I know Wikipedia is not democracy Wikipedia:DEM, I would expect some higher level contribution to resolve such a controversial issues. From my perspective, I am not 100% sure if this reference is good enough to be included in the article, but I am 100% convinced that this specific example adds value to the article and should stay.Clicklander (talk) 07:11, 9 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

new(est) examples[edit]

The Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, originally planned for 77 Mio., and now up to 789 Mio., but not yet finnished. -- (talk) 00:07, 7 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do you have a source, or preferably more than one, that explicitly calls it a "white elephant?" We already have more than enough examples, so I believe the standards for including any new ones should be fairly high. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:42, 7 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Lede contradicts the body[edit]

I noticed the lede of the article says that the white elephant would be gifted to a courtier who had made themselves obnoxious, whereas the body of the article's explanation says that the gift indicated that they were held in high favour, despite the fact that the gift was inconvenient in terms of having to maintain it. I haven't looked through the sources as I only came to this article with curiosity at this term, but someone might want to check which one is accurate and correct the article. (talk) 14:17, 30 April 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with this observation and have removed the passage as contradictory and unreferenced. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 17:24, 3 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Since 2013 editors have been discussing the intrusive list of examples which has now grown so irresponsibly long as to unbalance the article. This breaches Manual of Style guidelines, summed up at WP:LISTDD. The sure way to avoid the problem is to follow guidance and, instead of having a list that attracts creep, to summarise a few examples that cover types of white elephant projects in a single paragraph. Any future additions that add nothing new to the article can then be deleted. WP is supposed to be an encyclopaedia, not a dumping ground for news trivia. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 17:59, 3 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]