Template talk:COI

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Edit request on 3 January 2012[edit]

Hi, I have had a go at trying to tidy this article up, remnove bias and verify sources. Please can you scan it and check it for neutrality? Thank you Conanthevegetarian (talk) 13:22, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Conanthevegetarian (talk) 13:22, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Not done: You appear to be lost. This page is for discussion the {{COI}} template itself, not any particular article that may be tagged as COI. Please go to the article in question and post on its talk page. Anomie 20:41, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Update from sandbox[edit]

Please update the template from the sandbox at Template:COI/sandbox. Improvements: 1. Implementation of the latest {{Ambox}} functionalities, with no changes to the functioning of the template. 2. Addition of a "section" parameter, which became necessary after the redirect of Template:COI-section here per this Tfd discussion. Debresser (talk) 02:55, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done -FASTILY (TALK) 11:37, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Debresser (talk) 12:32, 15 January 2012 (UTC)


Hi there. A short thing that occurred to me: Shouldn't we change "A major contributor..." to "One or more major contributor(s)..." to clarify that the tag also applies if multiple COI people are involved? Or maybe we could add a variable like {{COI|coi-num=2}} to automatically output "2 major contributors..."? Regards SoWhy 22:19, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

I think this template is redundant and misused more than it helps anything[edit]

Please add {{Tfd|COI}} so we can look at deleting this. Insomesia (talk) 17:08, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Could you open the TfD discussion first? — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 20:29, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
It's at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2012 June 25, thank you. Insomesia (talk) 20:59, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Done Anomie 00:10, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Since the tag is not being deleted maybe we can fix its directions[edit]

Please update the language from the sandbox after others have had a chance to review it. I've drafted some initial language to address what I see as deficiencies with this clean-up tag; specifically I updated the language to emphasize that the tag is there because clean-up is needed and that the list of specific actionable items is on the talk page. I also added that the tag is not to linger after those issues have been addressed. I hope this can ease the drive-by tagging of articles with no effort to indicate what is actually wrong with an article. Or worse, the gutting of an article to one sentence that couldn't possibly be cleaned any further, yet the tag remains. Insomesia (talk) 03:27, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Please use {{editprotected}} only when there is consensus for the change. My personal opinion: there are too many words in your proposed version. Perhaps you can try to reduce the verbosity a little? — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 11:24, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
I'll ask the same question I've always had about this template: Why use this instead of {{POV}} and tags for whatever other issues actually exist? Anomie 14:20, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
That was exactly my point but the crowd wants to keep the template so let's see how much it can be fixed until it's ultimately deleted. MSG, I'm open to any wording suggestion that accomplished that the talk page is used for specific actionable items and that the template gets removed in tandem with those fixes. Insomesia (talk) 21:55, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
I would tend to agree with Anomie, but it seems the TfD participants do not share this opinion. So why not base it more on that wording, e.g. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 07:39, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
NPOV is only one reason for a COI problem article, this is why the problems need to be specifically spelled out so those willing to will fix them. If they can be combined though, or if NPOV is by far the most common issue, then perhaps that would be the best option. I do like that it focusses on the article more than the contributor. Insomesia (talk) 06:52, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
What other problems with an article are likely to result from a conflict of interest? — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 20:57, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure in theory there are many, however I agree that NPOV easily covers the specific and actionable issues of most. Insomesia (talk) 21:05, 2 July 2012 (UTC)



Comment - I like the proposed wording, but think it somewhat invites the COI users to remove the tag themselves, rather than by a neutral reviewer.  -- WikHead (talk) 03:11, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
What I've seen is that those who are against the alleged COI users are more willing to brand a label and enforce it being there than to admit we might want the article and make a path for improvement. After all if it's a hopeless article it shouldn't exist at all, the rest should be fixed. With the recent changes in the wording do you see this as still problematic? Any suggestions? My concern is getting the article fixed and having this template removed. Often the issues are addressed and the tag sits and stews on the article. Insomesia (talk) 06:52, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that the sentence "please remove tag when issues have been resolved" is needed. Very few other maintenance templates say this (as it should be obvious) and this seems more at home on the template's documentation than in the message itself. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 20:57, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Even in the short discussion several people agreed that a talk page component is called for and the tag should specify when it would be removed. I think that it should be removed is lost on some, that indeed we want the issues fixed, not left in place with a tag. Perhaps we should address some best practices in the documentation first? Insomesia (talk) 21:05, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Ideally, the master solution would be to convince more editors to work this template's backlog. That however, would probably prove to be a much more difficult task, but perhaps the best point of focus for those who find the current arrangement offensive. If you're finding tagged articles where COI issues have clearly been addressed, simply pull the tag and state your reason in the edit summary.  -- WikHead (talk) 21:52, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I have a hunch that there are people on many of these articles that are willing to do clean-up but that COI itself isn't a very clear tag as to what exactly the problems are. That would apply as well to the backlog, but what if the backlog is simply being added to because the tag is vague and unhelpful? Insomesia (talk) 22:14, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I guess it would probably be helpful if more of these contributors read WP:BOLD. This is not to discredit what you're saying, but there are times when someone just needs to step up to the plate and look the monster in the eye. If the removal of a tag is contested, it may just cause a discussion to break out.  -- WikHead (talk) 23:40, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
If it is lost on some then I think that is a problem with the editor not with the template. The {{wikify}} tag should be removed after the article is wikified but it doesn't say "Please remove this tag when the article has been wikified". The {{unreferenced}} tag should be removed after references have been added to an article, but it doesn't say "Please remove this tag after adding references to the article". That's because it is obvious and common-sense, and so it should be with this tag. Any editor wanting to keep a tag must be prepared to say what is wrong with an article. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 21:45, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Maybe have a look at how the tag is applied then? I agree that an editor should have a specific reason and be ready to explain why a tag is there, but they don't seem to do that often. Safetray was an example of this. The author went to extensive measures to reveal their COI and several editors double-checked the work. Then a COI tag was just slapped on for no apparent reason accept a COI was at one time an issue. Perhaps we could specify in the instructions that the tag should be accompanied with a talk page discussion of specific actionable items, and that once those items are addressed the tag should be removed? Then the tag itself wouldn't have allude to being removed. Insomesia (talk) 22:11, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Go ahead ... the instructions (documentation) are freely editable. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 12:27, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Apologies, I didn't realize I could. Insomesia (talk) 21:00, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Shall we deploy the sandbox version? How should this template differ from Template:COI-check? Do we need both? — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 12:27, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to deploy this then maybe redirect Template:COI-check here unless there is something quite different between the two. Insomesia (talk) 21:00, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Thank you MSG for all your help on this! Insomesia (talk) 22:42, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
No problem, let's see if this change sticks — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 07:40, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Update 'Usage' section[edit]

Under 'Usage' we currently state - "Unless you are able to immediately correct the problem, please also post at the talk page, explaining specifically why you feel there was a conflict of interest."

I feel this could be worded better. For starters if the problem is corrected then there is no need for a clean-up template. I also think we should emphasize that specific actionable items should be listed on the talk page that once addressed includes removing of the COI tag. For starters I suggest:

If you have immediately corrected the problem there is no need for a COI clean-up tag, this is not a badge of shame. If you still feel there are specific actionable issues please post them on the talk page. Once these are addressed the COI tag should be removed.

To me this helps emphasize that we don't just label an article and forget it but try to address specific issues and fix the article so no COI issues remain. I think this may help people who are making a good faith effort to identify and rectify COI tag issues. Thoughts? Insomesia (talk) 23:43, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Apologies, I didn't realize I could edit there. Insomesia (talk) 20:58, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Attempt to evade the effect of consensus reached in a deletion discussion[edit]

This template was discussed at Wikipedia:Templates_for_discussion/Log/2012_June_25#Template:COI. The result was a consensus to keep it. Within a few days, the template was changed from saying that there was a conflict of interest which might posasibly cause non-neutrality to saying that there was non-neutrality which might possibly be due to a conflict of interest. This change was the result of a discussion initiated on this page by the editor who had started the deletion discussion. That editor introduced the discussion on this page with the words "Since the tag is not being...", and went on to say that the idea was "to address what I see as deficiencies with this clean-up tag". He/she dismissed the majority of editors in the deletion discussion, whose consensus prevailed there, as "the crowd", and said "so let's see how much it can be fixed until it's ultimately deleted".

The view that there was no place for a tag the main point of which was to say that there was a conflict of interest, and that instead one should use only tags saying that there an article was non-neutral (if that was the case) was proposed in the deletion discussion, but consensus was against it. What has happened here is that the person who initiated the deletion discussion, instead of accepting that discussion, has taken steps which effectively undermined that discussion. There was a clear consensus in the discussion that wee should keep a template that pointed out that an article had been edited by one or more editors with a conflict of interest, which might possibly lead to problems. Instead of that consensus being accepted, a small group of editors who disagree with consensus have removed that template, and replaced it with a very different one. We already have templates to state that an article is written from a non-neutral point of view. The discussion above makes it perfectly clear that the participants were well aware that what they were doing was contrary to consensus in the deletion discussion. For example, we have "Why use this instead of {{POV}} and tags for whatever other issues actually exist?" to which comes the response "That was exactly my point but the crowd wants to keep the template so let's see how much it can be fixed until it's ultimately deleted", and then "I would tend to agree with Anomie, but it seems the TfD participants do not share this opinion. So why not base it more on that wording ..."

I first discovered this problem when I added a conflict of interest tag to an article, and found it produced totally inappropriate wording to the article. What is worse, this has changed the wording on many existing articles already tagged. Effectively, the small group of editors who have made this change have changed wording on over 6700 articles to say something very different than what was intended by the editors who tagged those articles.

To justify overturning consensus at a deletion discussion within a few days requires more than the discussion among a small handful of editors that has taken place here. Rather than acting immediately when I discovered the problem, I have waited two days to give myself time to think this through and be sure of what I was doing. The conclusion I have reached, as will by now be apparent, is that this was a completely unacceptable failure to accept consensus. I shall restore the template which was discussed and for which there was consensus that it should be kept. Editors who don't like it don't have to use it, but they have no right to prevent others from doing so. JamesBWatson (talk) 09:33, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

I think the deletion discussion was focussed more on if it should be kept or not. Most of the respondents didn't weigh in on how it was being used, was the wording accurate or anything else but that the tag was useful. And I stated in my own comment that i wouldn't have started that discussion had the previous one been posted on this page, which I did once learning of it. So the only point of several rounds of discussing the wording was to try to address some remaining problems. Rather that unilaterally dismissing that discussion you could instead try to persuade that the current wording is still not sufficient. In most cases I've looked at this template is installed with no discussion or reasoning on the talk page. That is it is delivered as a vague problem identified as COI with no evidence whatsoever. And it is left, for up to five years now, with other editors having little clue as to what actual issues it is referring. I'm a little offended that you think anyone was trying to do anything but help it be more of a help than a question mark. Just because consensus was to keep it hardly means it can't be improved. Insomesia (talk) 09:59, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. But there is a considerable difference between improving it and changing it into something completely different from what was discussed. Getting rid of the conflict of interest template and replacing it with a variation of an NPOV template that mentions possible COI as a secondary matter is not in any meaningful sense keeping the conflict of interest template. JamesBWatson (talk) 14:31, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
That wording came from a consensus during discussion. I think it's ironic that you are now throwing out a consensus decision for your preferred version. I find it frustrating that we would now have to start the entire process again. Insomesia (talk) 23:06, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

JBW: I would echo what Insomesia has said above. The TfD discussion was about whether to keep or delete this template, the consensus of which was clearly to keep it. However the wording of the template is clearly a matter for this talk page, and accusations of "attempting to evade consensus" wholly fail to assume good faith. The discussion on this talk page involved four editors, and your reverting to your preferred version does not look good and I ask you to undo your change. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 14:29, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

  • In the deletion discussion the opinion was raised that we should use tags saying such things as "non-neutral point of view" rather than "conflict of interest". Consensus was clearly against this opinion, so the template saying "conflict of interest" was kept. Changing that template so that its essential message is "non-neutral point of view" rather than "conflict of interest" is unambiguously evading the consensus, whatever the intention may have been. The changes went beyond just changing "the wording of the template", and amounted in effect to changing it into a completely different template. A discussion involving about 20or so editors produced a very clear consensus that we should retain the ability to use a template the essential message of which was that there is a conflict of interest. For a group of four users who disagree with that decision to change the template in such a way as to mean that we lose that ability is not reasonable. If anyone persists in trying to maintain the changes then we can inform every editor who took part in the deletion discussion, so that we can get a more balanced discussion. As for suggestions that I failed to assume good faith, the words "the crowd wants to keep the template so let's see how much it can be fixed until it's ultimately deleted" seem to me to state pretty unequivocally what the purpose was in starting the discussion here. I don't have to assume what is intended when the editor in question tells us what is intended. JamesBWatson (talk) 11:40, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
    • You can stop insinuating that because we disagreed with the outcome we tried to change the essential message. A reading of the discussion proves that wrong. I think the editors who did take part here accepted that the template was to be kept, so be it. Then the discussion went to address if there were ways to improve this template to address the same concerns that caused the deletion discussion to be started. The many editors who part in that discussion did not really delve into possible changes at all, only a yes keep response. Most said little beyond it's useful. However a handful agreed that rewording the template likely should be looked at to address problems, tagging should include listing specific actionable items on the talk page and it should be clear when it could be removed.

      I'm the editor in question you're using to justify bad faith assumptions, and despite a comment born of frustration for starting a discussion that shouldn't have even been started (because the same discussion had just taken place a few months prior yet not noted on this page), and I can guarantee you my intent was hardly to fundamentally change what the tag was communicating. Instead my intent was to help alleviate some ongoing problems like driveby tagging against consensus (like on Safetray which as it turns out was by you) and help users who employ or find this tag create the path for article improvement so this clean-up tag is no longer needed. I second MSGJ's request for you to undue your change to your preferred version. Insomesia (talk) 12:29, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

      • I don't think that I assumed bad faith, but I may have mistaken the purpose of the change. If so then I apologise. I thought that it was done in perfectly good faith, with the intention of preventing the use of the template in its existing form, in the sincere belief that was an improvement. I thought that you sincerely and in good faith failed to realise that doing so negated the whole reason why those editors who argued for "keep" wanted the template kept. I didn't "insinuate" that you "tried to change the essential message", I directly stated it, because I genuinely thought that was your intention, and I thought that the to do that was held in good faith. However, it is clear from what you say that I was mistaken, and that was not your intention. I am sorry that I mistook your intention, and I am particularly sorry that I gave the impression of not assuming good faith. However, I have given the matter more thought, and come up with what I hope is a satisfactory solution. I have created Template:NPOV COI, which is an exact copy of Template:COI before I reverted the change. That way, those of you who prefer a template which puts the primary emphasis on the belief that an article is not written from a neutral point of view, and mentions only secondarily the possibility that this may be due to conflict of interest, can use Template:NPOV COI. Meanwhile, those of us who think that there is a place for a template which puts the emphasis on the conflict of interest problem, such as the majority in the recent deletion discussion, can use Template:COI, so everyone should be happy. The only way I can see anyone objecting to that is if someone wanted to actively prevent others from using a template that puts the emphasis on the conflict of interest if they choose to, but I am told that thinking anyone had that purpose in mind was assuming bad faith, so evidently that is not the case. Of course, an alternative would be to keep the modified version of Template:COI, and create a new copy of the unmodified one, but that would have the severe disadvantage of significantly changing the message on the pages where the existing template is transcluded. That would amount to refactoring messages posted by a large number of editors, misrepresenting what they said, and I trust nobody would be happy to do that. JamesBWatson (talk) 15:39, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
        • Creating a new template is not needed, respecting the consensus on this one is what is being asked. I suggest you revert your changes and work to a consensus. Insomesia (talk) 20:40, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I looked over the proposed change and it is a drastic difference to a template that has been set for a few years now. The change would emphasize NPOV, which has its own tag. The purpose of this tage is to point out to our readers that a potential COI exists, so they can factor that into their analysis of the material. It is disappointing that we published this tag for a few weeks with this disingenuous wording. We need to be straightforward with our readers when it comes to suspected COI cases and the best way to do that is with this tag in its current form. ThemFromSpace 02:30, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
    • That's a fair criticism, which would have helped while the wording was being discussed. But even afterwards is good to know. Insomesia (talk) 21:00, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Also to Martin, you can't rewrite a template that has been stable for years without any consensus and then expect anyone to protect the new wording. A change this fundamental requires a consensus to proceed, especially when challenged. ThemFromSpace 02:34, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
    • We developed consensus, that's the point. Insomesia (talk) 21:00, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
      • No you didn't. duffbeerforme (talk) 14:38, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
        • We certainly did or no change would have occurred. Insomesia (talk) 21:54, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • About as clear an attempt at forum shopping as I have seen for quite a while. JamesBWatson (talk) 12:18, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
    • How is talking about the exact tag on the tags' talkpage in any way forum shopping? Insomesia (talk) 21:54, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Edit requested August 4, 2012[edit]

In order for this template to be displayed properly in {{Multiple issues}} properly, could someone please change this from:

| text  = ''' A major contributor to this {{{1|article}}} appears to have a [[Wikipedia:Conflict of interest|close connection]] with its subject.''' It may require [[Wikipedia:cleanup|cleanup]] to comply with Wikipedia's content policies, particularly [[Wikipedia:Neutral point of view|neutral point of view]]. Please discuss further on the [[Talk:{{PAGENAME}}|talk page]].


| issue = ''' A major contributor to this {{{1|article}}} appears to have a [[Wikipedia:Conflict of interest|close connection]] with its subject.'''
| fix   = It may require [[Wikipedia:cleanup|cleanup]] to comply with Wikipedia's content policies, particularly [[Wikipedia:Neutral point of view|neutral point of view]]. Please discuss further on the [[Talk:{{PAGENAME}}|talk page]].

Thanks! GoingBatty (talk) 00:25, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Done --Redrose64 (talk) 08:52, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! GoingBatty (talk) 21:31, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Usage of this on autobiographical articles[edit]

Could someone please make it clear in the usage section that whether this tag be always replaced with {{autobiography}} template in article having content written by the subject himself? Thank you···Vanischenu「m/Talk」 19:34, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Proposed new parameter: concern=[edit]

See Wikipedia talk:Conflict of interest#propose to edit for what to do for article talk and separating discussions for possible changes to the COI guideline and possible changes to this template, including the addition of a "concern=" parameter. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 20:18, 15 June 2013 (UTC)