Talk:Clown

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Original research[edit]

WOW, this article verges on complete original research! It's not badly written, but where are the sources? I'm suspecting this is the result of editors contributing their own knowledge. BashBrannigan (talk) 19:55, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Per above, I agree. Much of the sources are anecdotal at best, and just do not cut it in what is intended to be the distillation of the best sources available to human knowledge. What is particularly weak is the alleged psychological effect, or phobia, a property shared by the related article, coulrophobia. Since the psychiatric/psychological community does not appear to recognise this as a disorder, sourcing may be tricky; but that does not mean we should resort to "popular psychology" sources, as has recently been attempted, to overcome the non-negotiabele requirements for verifiability using reliable sources. The latter source sets out its stall in relation only to nightmares, contains no apparent references to academic research, and thus is thoroughly useless as a source here. In particular, it does not deal with the incidence of "fear of clowns" so as to justify use of the words "few" or "many". However, since the phenomenon is reported, however poorly, I think that we can say "some", without particularisation and in the absence of any statistical evidence whatsoever. We wouldn't do this for cancer, and I see no reason to relax our standards to do it here; unless, of course this venture is a joke, and not, in fact, an encyclopedia. Rodhullandemu 23:40, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
    • While I agree with the general point of this thread (that the sourcing is generally poor and often missing) I do not agree with your specific point. Use of the word "some" no less requires a citation than the word "many", which is now cited. Would you be happy with "some cancers are caused by original sin"? Malleus Fatuorum 00:05, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Terms such as "few" and "many" are relative, and meaningless without specific statistics, whereas "some" is beyond argument, since the phenomenon has been reported, albeit not to exacting scientific standards; to be frank, I'm amazed that you don't seem to understand the difference, unless you're taking this stance to make some point or other. Let's get rid of coulrophobia first, since it seems to exist on extremely shaky grounds as a psychological disorder as opposed to an internet meme; it should be rewritten as the latter if it lacks professional acceptance. As to your last point, I'm not currently amenable to "reductio ad absurdum", since we are dealing with what should be factual rather than mythical, and you know full well that such an assertion added to this encylopedia (remember?) would be shot down without argument, and rightly so.Rodhullandemu 00:18, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
      • Why do you refuse to accept that "some" is also relative? Relative to none, obviously. You seem to be arguing that nobody has a fear of clowns. Malleus
Where have I ever said, or implied, that? I'm arguing about the poverty of the sources and what it is reasonable to state in the face of poor sources? Rodhullandemu 00:57, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Fatuorum 00:50, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

  • As to the source, see here; this is all unsupported opinion. From the frontispiece, it clear that it's about dreams, and dreams only- not waking phobias, which have been reported to be psychologically damaging. If you look at their bibliography on page 347 of the Amazon online version, it's, er short, and would fail even as an high school essay, let alone an undergraduate essay, and the authors do not provide inline citations for their work. As a work of popular culture, it might fool a few people, or perhaps some, or maybe many, but as a reliable source, I would rather see it emerging from my drains into my sewer than use it as a source on Wikipedia. It's not just shite, it's unvalidated shite. And that's why it's unusable here. Please find a better source. Rodhullandemu 00:39, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
    • What's clear to me me clearly isn't clear to you. Malleus Fatuorum 00:50, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
All the more reason for a third opinion, don't you think? Rodhullandemu 00:55, 14 February 2011 (UTC)


Meh, I'm not entirely sure what you two are arguing about, but the dislike (not necessarily fear/phobia--there's a distinction to be made) is sourced from study published in Nursing Standard (according to this Reuters story). It may very well be that this dislike is culture-bound. A psychologist interviewed by the BBC in their coverage of that paper hinted to that "Very few children like clowns. They are unfamiliar and come from a different era. They don't look funny, they just look odd." I can't find the original article, and it may well require subscription. Per WP:MEDRS, the journalistic reports of medical stories should be avoided in preference of the original articles when possible. Tijfo098 (talk) 01:47, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

You are quite wrong. Wikipedia articles should rely on secondary, not primary sources. Malleus Fatuorum 02:55, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
And you are quite clueless: Wikipedia:MEDRS#Popular press. Tijfo098 (talk) 03:00, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
Have you ever heard of this? I suggest that you read it soon, before you find yourself in hot water. Do you understand what a "secondary source" is? Malleus Fatuorum 03:01, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
Don't patronize me—of course I understand what secondary means. Do you understand what a qualifies as a reliable secondary source in this area? It's spelled out in the MEDRS guideline. The popular press seldom does, for the reasons explained in the link I provided. Tijfo098 (talk) 03:09, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
Clearly you don't understand, as per your comment above: "I can't find the original article". What you ought to be looking for are review articles, not original papers. Do you understand what a review article is? Malleus Fatuorum 03:12, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
Care to point us to a review paper covering this study? I doubt one exists given that the original paper is not even indexed by pubmed. See sub-section below for more. Tijfo098 (talk) 03:33, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
  • I think when we are talking about an alleged psychological disorder, as opposed to a made-up name in popular culture, WP:MEDRS should take precedence. It's not recognised in DSM-IV-TR, or any other recognised psychiatric reliable source, and we are dealing with a poorly-sourced WP:NEOLOGISM. That's all. Rodhullandemu 03:14, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
    • I suggest that you and your friend Tifj ought to read all of WP:MEDRS, not just the bits that suit you. But as you have once again pursued me here then I will be making no further comment. Malleus Fatuorum 03:20, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
      • Wise move, but it's the integrity of this encyclopedia than matters, not your ego nor mine; however, what about dispute resolution? I don't see you seeking a third opinion or request for comment. Rodhullandemu 03:24, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
        • Are you threatening me? Again? Malleus Fatuorum 03:33, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
          • Oh, Rod and I are conspiring to get you, no doubt. I see you already concluded I'm a friend of his somehow. Tijfo098 (talk) 03:45, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

Curtis paper[edit]

The mass media focus on the fear of clowns in this paper appears to be questionable. In the authors' "leaflet for the professionals" [1] the only place where clowns are mentioned is in:

This doesn't seem to be fear, but dislike. The lead author, interviewed by the BBC, said "We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable." What proportion found them frightening is unclear. The Nursing Standard paper is not indexed by Pubmed [2]. Tijfo098 (talk) 03:29, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

There's actually a separate, maybe a bit spammy article Clown Care about clowns in hospitals. I came across it through adding a reference that visits from medical clowns made in vitro fertilization more effective (see the IVF section of that article). Of course the responses of women that age are likely to be different from those of children. But, I can't believe vast numbers of kids find clowns frightening, or else Ronald McDonald wouldn't have been able to sell them so many hamburgers. 71.141.88.54 (talk) 09:05, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Nursing Standard and other comments[edit]

I spent some time checking into this. Nursing Standard is not a medical journal (it's more of a trade mag for nurses) and it didn't publish the Sheffield study (it quoted from it in a popular-style article that says approx. the same stuff as the Reuters article). Nursing Standard actually ran three articles:

  1. "No more clowning around--it's too scary." Nursing Standard 22.19 (Jan 16, 2008): 11. (196 words)
    • This is the one mentioned by the Reuters story, that talks about the Sheffield study. It is a fairly light, popular-press style piece.
  2. "Clowns are not so scary after all.(NEWS)(clowns help to treat children faster)(Brief article)." Nursing Standard 22.34 (April 30, 2008): p10(1). (113 words)
    • This says "A survey conducted by academics at the University of Southampton with nurses, doctors, children and their parents shows that most appreciate the therapeutic distraction of the 'clown doctor' service provided by the Theodora Children's Trust." and mentions the earlier article about the Sheffield study. It too is a popular-style piece and IMO seems there to counterbalance the January article.
  3. "Laughter proves welcome relief in children's care: having clowns on wards can aid recovery for children with respiratory disease." (Clinical digest) 25.7 (Oct 20, 2010): p16(1). (287 words)
    • This one is written in a more serious way and it's about an Italian study, mentioning "The authors comment that the physiological observations appear to show children's bodies enjoyed a psychophysiologically positive state in response to the clowns." It cites the study Bertini Met al (2010), Clowns benefit children hospitalized for respiratory pathologies. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.[3] (it gives a DOI that doesn't work, but I found that prepub link through web search). I also found [4] in that journal.

Another article: [5] is informative, and gives some further promising cites. It does cite the wrong issue number for the Nursing Standard story (says issue 22:11 instead of issue 22.19 p. 11), which threw me for a while. It talks about a difference in performance styles between trained medical clowns, and normal circus-style clowns. I think this is a higher quality source than the first two Nursing Standard pieces or any of the popular-press stuff. I'm sure more can be found.

I believed the clown phobia story before without paying much attention, but at this point I think Rod is right and it's mostly a meme. I think it should be removed from the lede of Clown due to undue weight (it can be mentioned further in the article). Coulrophobia also seems like a mostly bogus article and IMO should be changed to redirect to a short section of Clown dealing with that subject. We should not write as if there is actually such a recognized phobia without MEDRS documentation. The current coulrophobia article's lede comes across like "this is a newly emerging area of clinical research" instead of "this is a bogus story that got thrown around in the press a few times". Treating a non-scientific subject as if it had scientific legitimacy is called "pseudoscience" (it doesn't even seem to rise to "fringe") and should be dealt with as such.

On the Malleus-Rodhullandemu thing: the acrimony between those editors is well known and I wish they'd disengage. Interaction style aside though, IMO Rod appears to be basically right about the content matters, and Malleus is being tendentious. Malleus's semi-threatening civility remarks toward Tijfo098 are also unimpressive. Arbcom wrote long ago,[6]

The premier rules to be observed are Wikipedia:Civility and Wikipedia:No personal attacks: you are counseled to be courteous to one another. This is a policy which extends beyond formal politeness. Please do not address one another with insulting bantering language. Please do not answer one offense with another. ...

By that standard, Malleus is in no position to go around complaining about others for incivility. While only Tijfo098 used the markedly impolite word "clueless", the complex range of behaviors involved in interacting courteously with another person can't be captured by simplistic formulas like avoiding certain words. Malleus's discourtesy is apparent through this discussion so he can't reasonably bring a civility complaint with clean hands. Tijfo098 and Rodhullandemu are of course also being quite discourteous.

Finally, Clown Care should be rewritten to use real sources and be less spammy. Medical clown redirects there now, but maybe the direction should be switched. I start to beieve there are enough MEDRS to write a reasonable article about clowns in medicine. 71.141.88.54 (talk) 20:55, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Regards, 71.141.88.54 (talk) 20:58, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

What exactly do you hope to gain by reopening an issue that was resolved some time ago? All the lead says now is "The term coulrophobia has been coined to describe those individuals who report a fear of clowns". That is incontrovertibly true, no matter what you, Rod, or anyone else thinks. Your twisted argument that my incivility (by your judgement, not by mine) excuses the incivility of others such as you and Rod is to say the least a dishonest one. If you don't like the colrouphobia article then take your argument there, it's not relevant here. Malleus Fatuorum 21:24, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
I think there is not enough sourcing to justify a separate coulrophobia article in the style of the existing one. It frankly seems like an attempt to propagate a meme. For example, the word "yet" in "[T]he term has also not yet been accepted by authoritative sources" is a wishful prediction (see WP:CRYSTAL) and maybe an attempt to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have to take care of stuff and will probably be offline most of the weekend but will check back here sooner or later. 71.141.88.54 (talk) 21:59, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
I didn't create the colrouphpobia article and I'm not now arguing, or have ever argued, for or against a separate colrouphobia article, I have no strong preference either way. If you do, then why not propose a merger of that article with this one? Malleus Fatuorum 22:36, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Nice "research dig", 71.141.88.54. My first impression on the "fear of clowns" being an overblown mass media meme seems even more justified now. MF does seem to "disagree" and lecture on policies for no good reason here. I'm adding a merge tag. Tijfo098 (talk) 13:27, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Merge coulrophobia here[edit]

Per in-depth analysis in the section above. Tijfo098 (talk) 13:27, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Actually, a move was just suggested at that article's talk page. You may want to comment there.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 14:05, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
A move to "fear of clowns" doesn't address the main issue, which is the lack of evidence. Tijfo098 (talk) 14:56, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Just to give you a point of comparison, there are over 500 proposed paraphilias in a recent monograph (which gives a list with name/description). Many of them don't have a Wikipedia article, and are not even listed at list of paraphilias. Just because some psychological disturbance (phobia in this case) was proposed, it doesn't mean it has gained acceptance. Brief mentions lacking any commentary like [7] don't justify a separate article. Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Tijfo098 (talk) 15:09, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
You confuse a lack of evidence that the condition exists with a lack of evidence that the term exists. As a first step, do you accept that the term exists? Malleus Fatuorum 15:12, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Sthenolagnia is also a term that exists, and even paraded in the popular press. We don't have an article about it because (1) no serious research exists on this concept, and (2) Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Coulrophobia is perhaps a slither more notable, but even the papers discussed above don't use this term, and don't refer to this dislike as a phobia experienced by some, never mind your unsourced claim that "many" people find clowns scary. Tijfo098 (talk) 18:05, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
We're not talking about sthenolagnia, it would help if we could keep the discussion focused. Let me repeat the question, and perhaps you might consider answering it this time instead of shooting off at yet another tangent. Do you, or do you not, accept that the term "coulrophobia" exists? Yes or no will do. BTW, the claim that "many" people suffer from colrouphobia was not introduced by me, as you could easily have seen had you taken the trouble to look. Perhaps we could try sticking to the facts? Malleus Fatuorum 18:11, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Just that WP:ITEXISTS is not a sufficient argument here. As for "the facts" concerning your edits: You have made this edit, haven't you? Do you routinely re-add unverifiable facts to Wikipedia just because you've read them here? Tijfo098 (talk) 20:20, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I didn't say that it was; I was responding to your argument that because X doesn't exist then neither should Y, which is equally invalid. Let me repeat the question once again: Do you, or do you not, accept that the term "coulrophobia" exists? Malleus Fatuorum 20:28, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
The answer to your rhetorical question is obviously yes. How does that justify a Wikipedia article for it? Tijfo098 (talk) 20:57, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I never said that it did, but at least now we're starting to get somewhere. In the separate discussion taking place at coulrophobia the very existence of the term has been challenged. And to answer your question, I did indeed revert one unsourced claim for the previous unsourced claim. Perhaps you could explain why it's OK for Rodhullandemu to add unsourced claims but not for anyone else? I say again, I did not add that claim to the article originally and I've got no idea who did. The proper thing for Rod to have done in the circumstances was to open a talk page discussion or to tag the article with {{cn}}, not to replace one unsourced claim with another that he preferred. Malleus Fatuorum 21:02, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Maybe, but two wrongs don't make it right. Edit warring over WP:WEASEL words is pretty WP:LAME. It's generally assumed that at least one individual has been identified by some expert as having a phobia/paraphilia and the like, or else the term would not have been proposed in the first place (we hope), so "some" as in "at least one" is more plausible than "many". This BBC article for instance does quote one such expert "Prof Paul Salkovskis, clinical director of the Maudsley Hospital Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, saw a patient in Yorkshire some years ago who feared clowns as one of a range of problems." As another comparison, there's a wide range of delusions, but not many are common enough to generate scientific publications. There's long way from a case study that seems to have been published only in the mass media to scientific acceptance (and estimates of prevalence). The scientific refs on (modern day UK) children dislike of clowns don't refer to it as a phobia (nor do they use coulrophobia). The "too scary" part appears to be media spin as discussed above. Tijfo098 (talk) 21:17, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

But one wrong is surely better than two. The original claim was unsourced and Rod's replacement claim was unsourced. Neither "some" nor "many" were sourced in other words, but "quite a few" was, which Rod also objected to on the basis that the Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins, amongst others, is an unreliable source. The issue is moot now anyway, because this article now uses an alternative form of wording that avoids the judgement of whether "many" or "some" is more accurate.
Returning to this article (the status of coulrophobia is a separate discussion best held on that article's talk page), as we're both agreed that the term exists (and has done for about 20 years apparently) then it's entirely proper to introduce it here, no? Malleus Fatuorum 21:47, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Proposal to close as no merge[edit]

I propose that this merge discussion is now closed with a consensus not to merge, as there is sufficient recent material (post the 1994 DSM-IV) that the term is indeed used by psychiatrists and psychologists, some of whom even claim or accept that many suffer from the phobia. Malleus Fatuorum 03:13, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Abuse of article block[edit]

The block should be justustified in the talk page and should have a short term expiration.--Sum (talk) 10:34, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

it should say things about the differences of clowns from country to country[edit]

french clowns seem to lack a wig and also seem to lack a white face. i dont have much knowledge about clowns from other countries though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.208.86.142 (talk) 08:42, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from Alayna.farrell, 22 April 2011[edit]


Alayna.farrell (talk) 21:58, 22 April 2011 (UTC) can i edittt ?

You need to be an autoconfirmed user to edit the article, which means you need to have made more than 10 edits and been registered for four days or longer. You registered today and this is your first edit. Malleus Fatuorum 22:03, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Merge?[edit]

There's a lot of overlap between this and Circus clown (which is not only about circus clowns anyway). Should be merged? Squiddy | (squirt ink?) 10:08, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

> Should definitely be merged. Almost the same content. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.193.168.170 (talk) 01:37, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Clown names[edit]

Moniker#Clowning contains some information, unfortunately completely unsourced, about clown names. If someone could locate sources, that could be a sensible addition to this article. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:47, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

In the last sentence of the History of clowns, instead of "North American native shaman" should be "North American native shaman". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Joaquin Gravel (talkcontribs) 03:42, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

In the last sentence of the History of clowns, instead of "North American native shaman" should be "North American native shaman". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Joaquin Gravel (talkcontribs) 03:43, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from 20 November 2011[edit]

ON THIS PARAGRAPH

Examples of historical, clown-like comedic performers have been the pantomimus in ancient Greece, the Lazzi of Commedia dell'Arte, bouffons, court jesters, as well as the French mime tradition. On top of this there are many non-European clowning traditions (including clown-like figures in Japanese Kabuki theatre), North American native shamen traditions to consider which may or may not have influenced what we now think of as a clown in the Western world.

IT SHOULD BE SHAMAN NOT SHAMEN, because there is not such a thing as "North American native shamen", wiki shaman and shamen

Joaquin Gravel (talk) 19:01, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

It should indeed, changed. Malleus Fatuorum 19:24, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Edit request on 15 December 2011[edit]

Hello. I would like to make an addition to your page by adding a weblink reference of an example of a scary clown. The character I had in mind would be the clown from The Twisted Metal series. Thank you for reading.

JohnnyH5 (talk) 03:53, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Not done: please be more specific about what needs to be changed. --Jnorton7558 (talk) 04:03, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Rodeo Clowns[edit]

This subsection is not relevant to this article. It it terminological rather than discussing persons or actions relevant to clowns or clowning. I have removed it. Robynthehode (talk) 06:42, 10 October 2012 (UTC) I have removed this entry in the clown article again. It has no place in an article about entertainment. The section clearly stated that rodeo clowns are animal wranglers not entertainers. The primary function of a clown is entertainment, that of a rodeo clown animal wrangling. Therefore the rodeo clown section should continue to be excluded from the clown article. Instead it should be in a separate article 'Animal Wrangling' with a link from the clown article if the author wants. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Robynthehode (talkcontribs) 16:46, 14 October 2012 (UTC) Ohnoitsjamie has reverted the section on rodeo clowns without giving any reasons. Please talk about this exclusion of the 'rodeo clown' section in these talk pages. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.136.219.85 (talk) 18:39, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

There is no reason for the revert of 'rodeo clowns' section back to its inclusion in the clown article. Rodeo clowns has its own page. Rodeo clowns have very little if nothing to do with clowns as entertainers. A link at the bottom of the page should suffice under ' See Also ' Robynthehode (talk) 21:42, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

As no-one has come back about my comments above I have done what I suggested in the last comment on 21st Oct. I have removed the section 'Rodeo Clowns' and added a link in the see also section. Rodeo Clowns has its own page and this should suffice. If you do not agree please do not revert but discuss the reasons in this talk page first. Thanks. Robynthehode (talk) 21:14, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Clowns promotion of sales[edit]

In North America, Clowns have been used as a "gimmick" for promotion of retail items on the TV, and they often work in the circus. I don't see any reference to this, and meteorologist Willard Scott went from being the "official" Clown for McDonald's franchise. After that he gained fame as the "weather man" on NBC. I was really surprised by seeing that this article was up for FA Status at some time! --Leahtwosaints (talk) 07:01, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

please add vince colvig jr in the north american hobo/bum section[edit]

Please add Vance Colvig Jr. as a North American clown in the hobo/bum section. He played the whiteface clown Bozo in the 1960s and acted in a number of films and TV shows using the bum clown persona. 24.11.169.223 (talk) 13:25, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Done. Thanks. --Stfg (talk) 14:30, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Martin McGuinness's picture...?[edit]

Is that appropriate for the wiki? Is he a clown, literally, IRL? Or is this a political joke? I am American, so I have nothing to gain from it. I suggest that picture be taken off if there's no inherent connection. 67.3.128.1 (talk) 02:10, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 12 January 2015[edit]

Please remove one section header. Either remove "Clown organizations" and make "Clowns International" the primary header (i.e. ==Clowns International==), or remove "Clowns International." You don't need a sub-section header that describes the whole section. And while you're at it, please fix the misspelled word "memorabilia." 65.210.65.16 (talk) 14:41, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

yellow tickY Partly done: I fixed the typo [8], but didn't change the headers. The overall header includes all clown organizations, although there are currently no others listed. There are others, though, e.g. World Clown Association & Clowns of America International. G S Palmer (talkcontribs) 16:47, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
But until the section has information about them, there's no need for two headers. Sub-section headers should divide text that's in the section, and a subsection header for the whole section is no more useful than a section for an entire short article, as if you had a "Company" section header at the top of Warner Communications. 65.210.65.16 (talk) 16:54, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done  B E C K Y S A Y L E 11:15, 13 January 2015 (UTC)