Template talk:POV

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

When to remove[edit]

There are three occasions when it is recommended to remove this template: when -

  1. No discussion about neutrality issues was started on this article's talk page.
  2. Discussion about neutrality issues is dormant.
  3. There is consensus in the discussion that the problems have been resolved.

Number 3 is fine, though numbers 1 & 2 are problematic. That discussion hasn't started or has paused doesn't necessarily mean the POV issue is not present.

Possible wording:

  1. There is consensus on the talkpage that the issue has been resolved (*1)
  2. The tagger has agreed that the issue has been resolved
  3. It is not clear what the neutrality issue is, and no satisfactory explanation has been given (*2)
  4. The matter has been referred to Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard and resolved
  5. The tagging was clearly disruptive (*3)

*1 The tagger should be invited to participate in the discussion (if possible), but does not have to take part or even to agree with the outcome, provided there is a clear consensus
*2 The tagger should be requested to give an explanation (if possible), if there is none forthcoming, or it is unsatisfactory, the tag can be removed
*3 Done by a vandal or subsequently sanctioned user

If a discussion has started but ceased without consensus, then refer the matter to Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard. The mere passage of time does not imply a neutrality issue has gone away - it may mean a resolution hasn't yet been found.

My proposal is that the current wording is problematic, and the suggested wording is a starting point for discussion - the wording does not have to be accepted or rejected as a complete package: are some, all or none of the ideas/sentences acceptable? What else may work? SilkTork ✔Tea time 22:23, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

You were bold in adapting the documentation to your comment after two days and with no comments from other editors. I disagree with one thing you removed, and have restored that part of the documentation. If you feel you are right, please discuss. Debresser (talk) 22:49, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I now noticed that there were many obvious statements in your version, so I pruned it. Debresser (talk) 22:56, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Your edits were useful in compressing a lot of the information - I had over worded matters! However, I re-removed the passage of time statement as mere passage of time is not suitable cause. Allowing passage of time allows gaming to take place. At least some form of check should take place: look at the article, or start a discussion - but don't just simply remove a concern that an article violates one of our core policies without some form of due diligence. SilkTork ✔Tea time 20:56, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your praise. I have to undo your removal of that condition. It has been here for a considerable time, which implies it is consensus. Apart from that, it does make sense. If others were to perceive the issue as a serious POV violation, it stands to reason, that it would have been addressed in the article or on the talkpage. In any case, please do not edit against consensus. If you disagree, discuss it and establish a new consensus first. Debresser (talk) 07:17, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Agree w/ Debresser. Such perma-tagging would just increase the culturewar effects of the tag at the expense of the grunt-work of meaningful collaborative editing. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 10:48, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Missing if?[edit]

The editor placing this template in an article should promptly provide a reason on the article's talk page. In the absence of a reason and if it is not clear what the neutrality issue is, this tag may be removed by any editor.--Antidiskriminator (talk) 12:29, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Edit request[edit]

I see editors adding these tags a lot as a "badge of shame," even though this template warns against doing that. I'd therefore like to strengthen the advice that editors should try to resolve disputes first, and that tagging is a last resort. Also, that their suggestions must be actionable within the policies. So my suggested edit is:

Instead of:

  • "The editor placing this template in an article should promptly provide a reason on the article's talk page. In the absence of a reason and it is not clear what the neutrality issue is, this tag may be removed by any editor."

Replace with some of the language from WP:NPOV dispute:

  • Drive-by tagging is strongly discouraged. The editor who adds the tag should first discuss concerns on the talk page, pointing to specific issues that are actionable within the content policies, and should add this tag only as a last resort. In the absence of such a discussion, or where it remains unclear what the NPOV violation is, the tag may be removed by any editor."

SlimVirgin (talk) 22:02, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

I agree with adding the warning that "Drive-by tagging is strongly discouraged", but am not comfortable with such demands as "should first discuss concerns on the talk page".
The "pointing to specific issues that are actionable within the content policies" part is too legal. Complicated and unclear. Wikipedia is not law school. Too much instructions for such a simple thing as a tag. Debresser (talk) 00:47, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

New NPOV template[edit]

Put {{Snowball keep}} on an article in between an AfD tag and cleanup tags to snowball keep without having to edit the AfD subpage. Anna|talk 20:27, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

That won't work: first, WP:SNOW makes no mention of neutrality and only uses the word "dispute" once, and then not in the context intended by {{Snowball keep}}; secondly, the admin who closes the AfD is supposed to primarily consider the arguments put forward at the AfD - putting notices on the page is essentially a fork of the discussion.
Also: why would you want to avoid editing the AfD subpage? --Redrose64 (talk) 11:11, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Because it's easier. Plus, I edited the template. Anna|talk 18:37, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Proposal to delete dormancy as reason for removing POV tag[edit]

The instructions for when to remove state:

This template is not meant to be a permanent resident on any article. Remove this template whenever:


In the absence of any discussion, or if the discussion has become dormant.

I'm sorry but POV problems in articles are not alcohol or water. They don't evaporate on their own nor do they magically disappear. They don't depreciate over time like machinery, nor do they grow old and fade away like soldiers. They don't wither like leaves nor do they melt like snow. They don't grow up and turn into productive members of society once they reach a certain age. There's no statue of limitations on POV so that it stops being POV after seven years. There's no ocean which gradually licks the rocky shores of POV and erodes it over eons. If POV is in an article and it is not removed, then that POV stays in there.

Usually discussions go dormant because no consensus can be reached (if consensus has been achieved, then the first point of the list covers that already). That does not mean that POV is gone, once you give it enough time. I'm removing that qualifier from the sentence as it's plainly silly and obviously badly thought out.Volunteer Marek 01:28, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Actually I remember we put it there, because there was consensus for it. Perhaps see discussions above, before you start trowing words like "silly" and "badly thought out"? Debresser (talk) 09:38, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Keep. I'm interested in good faith editing; I've seen lots of driveby POV tagging, where the tagger has no real intent on sticking around for constructive discussion. When I have cleaned up such tags, I have specifically acted under this proviso. Whether an argument can be made for the applicability of the word "silly" or not, another applicable word is "useful". NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:16, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

The way I see it, the tags are just handy tools in building the encyclopedia, they are not the final and intrinsic part of any particular subject. Tags need to be followed up by other means of reaching consensus. If not, there would be little motivation for further improvement among the editors. Poeticbent talk 19:12, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

This is a very long standing arrangement. The tagging is an indication that a dispute is in progress. William Avery (talk) 20:30, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

@William. No, The tagging is an indication that article has problems. At least that's what it should be. Look. If someone starts building a bridge, and puts a sign up that says "Warning: Bridge out!" and then for whatever reason doesn't finish that bridge, you don't remove the sign or people will get hurt. Same thing here. Just stop and think of it from the point of view of "what benefits the reader" not "what makes an article stable" (if the article is crap, who cares) or "what makes Wikipedia look good" (substance over appearances please). The POV tag alerts the readers that the bridge is out - that they should approach the text of the article with caution. This is common sense, and that piece of the template is neither supported by policy, WP:NPOV, which says NOTHING about POV problems evaporating magically on their own, nor does it pass the test of common sense. And both actual policy and common sense trump what some people might have once decided on a template talk page.
@Poeticbent. Sure. Tags DO need to be followed by discussion and attempts to build consensus. But we all know that sometimes this is not possible. If no consensus has been reached and discussion has exhausted itself that does not mean that the POV problem has been solved. Ignoring a problem is not the same as fixing a problem. Anyway, the rest of the guideline, without the "if the discussion has become dormant." covers the fact.
@NewsAndEventsGuy. This isn't about drive-by-tagging. Yeah, that's bad and it irritates me as much as the next guy. But that's already covered by the other parts of the "when to remove". This is about a situation where an article has POV, it has been tagged, the reasons for it have been given and discussed but discussion has lead nowhere and no consensus has been reached. That's not drive by tagging. That's just realizing that in reality things don't always work out magically like we hope they would.
@Debresser. Like I already said, WP:NPOV doesn't say anything about POV in articles magically disappearing on its own over time. Probably because, you know, it actually doesn't. And actual policy trumps whatever silly agreement some people came to here. And there really is no other way to describe this kind of wishful thinking - that POV problems will just fade away if we ignore them long enough - except as idiotic and badly thought out.
Freakin' a. Wikipedia already has way too many mutually contradictory, sophomoric, inane, esoteric, bureaucratic and silly policies and guidelines. Let's not add to that.Volunteer Marek 21:29, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
So it is a badge of shame? William Avery (talk) 21:45, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
If an article deserves it then, yeah. Ok. Suppose you got an article with POV problems. Suppose the discussion has died out and no consensus was reached. The problem is still there. Should we really pretend to the readers that this article doesn't have any problems? If not the POV template, how should we indicate to them to be wary (or do we just assume that Wikipedia readers are savvy enough to know that a lot of our articles are crap?)
Put it another way. If an article is badly written, with horrible prose, in an unencyclopedic language and without sources, and someone adds a Template:Bad summary, or Template:In-universe or Template:Unreferenced (just to pick a few examples) to it, we don't remove these templates until the actual problem is solved - the section is properly summarized, the article is rewritten in encyclopedic language and references are provided. And that's exactly right. Summaries don't write themselves, pronouns and prose don't arrange in just the right way on their own and sources don't hop on a train and voluntarily arrive in articles. If someone adds a [citation needed] tag to an unsourced piece of text and no one provides a source for a couple of years, we don't remove the tag, we remove the text.
It's exactly the same thing here. Our readers don't care if there is an "ongoing discussion on talk". They care whether our articles are well written, sourced and non-biased. If we have failed, for whatever reason, to deliver that, the least we can do is put up a warning sign.Volunteer Marek 22:07, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Dear Volunteer Marek, you seem to have overlooked one essential part of the entire process. In my entire wiki career I have seen only one instance (just one) of an editor who first put a POV tag in, and then removed it after the article was improved. It was Piotrus. He was asked by the principal author to consider it. People who tag articles don't come back (ever), even after the article has been doubled and tripled in size, similar to editors who lost an argument in talk. Most taggers abandon the subject hoping that silence (mistaken for research) would result in their POV tag staying in place forever. It is easy to put a POV tag back in place, with a fresh note on the article's talk page. Articles don’t disappear from our watchlists by themselves. ... not even after a couple of years! Poeticbent talk 23:52, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

The proper thing to do in cases where you come back to an article with a POV talk some time after discussion has died down is to politely ask on the talk page if the tag can be removed. I'd go even further and say that you should leave a note/question on whoever tagged the article's talk page. Of course I have no problem with the tag being removed if no one objects. And yes, this can be gamed. However, the basic policy of Wikipedia is that any policy, regardless of how well written and well intentioned, can be gamed by bad faithed editors, including WP:GAME itself. So you get abuse either way. The thing to do is those instances is to bring other eyes to the article and follow DR (yes, yes, I know this doesn't work a lot of times).
The opposite situation can happen too. Two editors disagree. One insists on including some wacky views in the article and won't budge so the other editor puts a POV tag in. Due to intransigence discussion dies out. Several months later, the non-tagger comes back (perhaps with a sock puppet account) and quietly removes the tag. In fact the wording right now actually incentivizes this kind of behavior. Why compromise, seek consensus and come to an agreement when you can just stealthily get your way if you're willing to wait a couple months? Volunteer Marek 17:16, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── On the subject of non-neutral tagging, even when there is lots of discussion, what I have seen is usually in the nature of "This is POV" vs "No it is not". The tagger eventually goes away, and there was never any "clear understanding what the neutrality issue is", because there was never consensus that it existed in the first place. Once that discussion goes dormant, the language you don't like is the operative wording for removing the tag. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 01:33, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Which is exactly why it shouldn't be there.Volunteer Marek 17:16, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
I can understand arguments to both sides: if there is no active discussion that does not mean the problem is solved, so why remove the tag. On the other hand, if there is no active discussion, then is the tag useful? At the end of the day I agree with the recent removal by Volunteer Marek, per the opinion that a dormant discussion is not a good reason to remove a tag. Debresser (talk) 11:00, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
If there is no active discussion, who says "the problem" existed in the first place? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:28, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
The folks who were part of the discussion that went inactive, obviously.Volunteer Marek 17:16, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
If they didn't agree on that when they were present, how do they agree on it when they are absent? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 19:58, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
??? They don't, which is why the tag needs to stay.Volunteer Marek 20:18, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
That seems backwards to me. So imagine that some pro-homeopathy editor tags Alternative cancer treatment as POV because it (*gasp*) dares to present the mainstream viewpoint that alternative treatments don't cure cancer.
The editors have a discussion, in which one side says "you nasty science people" and the other side says "you idiot homeopaths". There is "no consensus" that a POV problem exists. Eventually everyone quits wasting their time on the pointless discussion with someone who has an WP:IDHT problem.
Do you think that tag should remain on the article under those circumstances? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:44, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
Seems backward to me too.
Note the tag displays the following text
"The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved."
The text states "is disputed". It does not say "was disputed in a long-dormant discussion somewhere in the archives of the talk page".NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 19:09, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
If the dispute was never resolved then the correct phrasing (grammatically and factually) to describe the situation actually is "is disputed". Because, again, POV doesn't evaporate on its own. Notice the wording is NOT "is being disputed", which is what you seem to think it means. That's an error on your part though.Volunteer Marek 20:13, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
And come to think of it, that last part "Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved" directly contradicts the injunction to remove "if the discussion has become dormant". "Dispute is resolved" =/ "discussion has become dormant", obviously.Volunteer Marek 20:15, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
If the discussions are (truly) dormant, then the dispute is resolved. "The dispute" is not the same thing as "the contents of the article". To give an analogy, if two drunken sports fans get into a fistfight over which team is better, then "the dispute" is over when the fistfight is over, not when the two of them agree on the relative merits of various teams. We always recognize dormancy as the end of disputes at RFC/U, ArbCom, and other dispute-resolution pages. That's what WP:DISENGAGE is about. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:09, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Sorry, Volunteer Marek, your ideas don't not work for me. We are all volunteers here, with limited time on hand. If for example, someone tags a piece that includes Nazi war propaganda, the propaganda bit does not get to stay along with the tag forever like some kind of end product of our collaborative effort. The proper thing to do is to go to WP:RS to have the crap removed from mainspace, instead of trying to resurect the case with the original tagger who might no longer be around. Otherwise, it is the Wikipedia alone that suffers most. By the same token, most taggers hardly ever come back. This is what we call dormancy in wiki language. 21:21, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
— Let me give you a concrete example of what I mean. I used this rationale once following a dispute at the Rape during the liberation of Poland. Someone who did not believe the rapes were real, put a tag on the article even though the list of reliable third-party sources was longer than the article itself. The dispute went dormant, because there was no merit to any prolonged objections. I removed the tag after a while, because the tag was trying to make the article look suspicious for the reader. The tag was not returned. Poeticbent talk 01:00, 26 June 2013 (UTC) (dif)

Oh please. I can come up with scary stories (real and hypothetical) all days as well.
Suppose that an article gets taken over by pro-homeopathy editors who write it to promote their favorite kind of "Alternative cancer treatment". A mainstream science editor comes along and says, hey, this is POV and FRINGE and tries to clean up the article. Lots of discussion ensues but the pro-homeopaths won't budge. Finally, exasperated the mainstream editor says "I won't waste my time on this anymore, but at the very least the article should have a POV tag as a warning to readers", and adds the tag. S/he then leaves and does something more productive with her life. A few months later a pro-homeopathy editor sneaks back in and (perhaps with a sockpuppet or IP account) removes the tag because "discussion is dormant". Now we've got a totally crap article which doesn't even warn readers that it's potentially crap.
Suppose that a Stalinist apologist comes to the article on Rape during the liberation of Poland and rewrites it to suggest that it was a marginal phenomenon and turns it into a glowing paean to the heroism of the Red Army. Other editors objects. Discussion ensues but the apologist won't budge. Exasperated the other editors finally say "whatever, but at least the article should have a POV tag on it", tag it and go on and do something more productive with their lives. A few months later the Stalinist editor sneaks back in (perhaps with a sockpuppet or IP account - User:Jacob Peters anyone?) and removes the tag because "discussion is dormant". Now we've got a totally crap article which doesn't even warn readers that it's potentially crap.
I can also provide concrete actual examples from Wikipedia if you wish.
You guys are thinking in terms of (personal) anecdotes. What you need to think of is in general terms and rules which are most conducive to building an encyclopedia.
It's really a Type I Error (a neutral article gets wrongly tagged with the POV template) and Type II Error (a POV article does NOT get tagged with the POV template) problem - and the associated Loss function. What matters overall is not anecdotes (which may not be representative of the actual situation) but:
1. Which kind of situation is more likely to occur (i.e. your scenarios or mine)
2. What are the costs of each kind of erroneous outcome.
In regard to #1, you guys are basically assuming that POV problems are usually solved within the article itself and the only problem is that people unjustly tag neutral articles with the POV template. I happen to think that a whole buttload of POV problems in a lot of articles never get solved. And those articles should have a POV tag on them, regardless whether there's active discussion on talk page or not. Now, maybe I'm a bit of a pessimist but I've been on Wikipedia for more than 8 years and I'm pretty sure my view is closer to Wikipedia reality. But, even if your view is the more frequent case then #2 suggests that the wording about "dormant discussion" should still be removed from this template's instructions.
Consider what happens with Type I error - a perfectly neutral article gets a POV tag. Well, it might annoy the authors of the article who worked hard on it. But Wikipedia serves (or should serve) the readers not the editors. So what happens from the perspective of a reader who arrives at such an article? If the article is truly neutral best case scenario is that the reader walks away thinking "hmm, that was a good article, I don't know why that tag is there". Worst case scenario is that the reader walks away thinking "hmm, that was a good article but it has that tag on it, maybe I should do some further research". Not a huge deal. The costs associated with wrongly tagging a neutral article are small.
What happens with Type II error - a POV article does NOT get tagged because someone removed the template because "discussion was dormant"? Well, some POV articles are so over top and obnoxious that their non-neutrality is readily observable. While these may be an embarrassment to Wikipedia (especially if they're untagged!) readers will probably realize that they're crap. It's the sophisticated, sneaky POV that is the real problem. Creationists presenting Intelligent Design as science in "scientific language". Homeopaths presenting their alternative treatments as valid using "medical language". Racists and nationalists rewriting history with a lot of code words and phrases ("race realist" rather than simple "racism" comes to mind). Etc. In those cases we do a real, serious, and even potentially harmful disservice to the readers by allowing those POV tags to be removed because "discussion is dormant". I don't want to get hyperbolic but consider the fact that some of these "Alternative Medicine" articles have info in them that could actually cause real physical harm. Would you risk not warning readers about that just because some other neutral article might get tagged unfairly? The costs associated with not tagging non-neutral articles is potentially large.
Look. I'm not against removing POV templates when it seems to be the appropriate course of action (no discussion, no one objects, AND the article actually appears neutral). What I'm arguing against is instructing editors to remove POV tags simply because discussion is "dormant". That's why that wording needs to be removed.
Volunteer Marek 19:54, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
Or to paraphrase a worn saying, I'd rather that dozens of neutral articles should get wrongly tagged than one non-neutral article should escape the tag.Volunteer Marek 19:59, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
I wouldn't. But I would try to be concise.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 03:18, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
If you're so damn lazy, why are you pretending to write an encyclopedia? Volunteer Marek 13:19, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
The purpose of these tags is not to "warn the readers". See the documentation: The purpose of this group of templates is to attract editors with different viewpoints to edit articles that need additional insight. This template should not be used as a badge of shame. Do not use this template to "warn" readers about the article." WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:13, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Bang head against wallVolunteer Marek 13:19, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Please don't feel too irritated. Because in the end – just like with everything else in Wikipedia – NPOV is the matter of time and priorities in the lives of individual editors. Thousands of entries read like editorial nightmares, because no-one cares. Those who do care however, need an option of addressing the practice of drive-by tagging by demanding some kind of follow-up. Poeticbent talk 15:57, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Volunteer Marek is completely correct. When an article has serious problems, it should have a tag. The tag notifies readers that problems are alleged (yes, that is one reason we use tags), and encourages editors to look at the article with an eye to removing the problem. Both of those aims are negated by removing the tag on irrelevant grounds. While an argument for the tag must be provided when the tag is originally added, the absence of an ongoing discussion at a later stage is irrelevant to whether the tag is deserved. Most commonly, it just means that the original discussion says it all and nobody has seen fit to repeat themselves. Moreover, the one who wants to query the tag is just as able to reopen the discussion as anyone else. That person should ask on the talk page if anyone is still arguing for the tag, or should give a reason on the talk page why the tag is no longer appropriate. The present wording here is commonly used by POV pushers to remove tags they don't like without any discussion. Zerotalk 00:42, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

I too have to agree with Volunteer Marek. It's one thing to remove stale tags. That's something which I do regularly. It's another thing to edit war over stale tags because they are stale. If someone restores the tags after they've been removed because they are dormant, the appeal that "but they are dormant so they should be removed!" should not carry any weight. aprock (talk) 13:46, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
disagree. When conversation, if any, is long dormant the tag no longer complies with the instructions, which say that the tag means neutrality "is disputed". When conversation died with the dinosaurs, at most we can say that the matter was disputed. Aprock seems to argue that simply reverting the reasoned tag removal instantly converts was disputed into is disputed. Not so. Turning "was" into "is" requires new talk page conversation in the present. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 01:42, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
I endorse the view of Zero above, and I might add that I've long thought the procedures over addition/removal of this tag are broken and need amendment, and would probably have proposed changes myself long ago had I been able to find the time. Gatoclass (talk) 15:13, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Well, if you put it like that, the tag may as well be deleted (or discontinued) as too controversial to begin with. If the article is POV pushing beyond belief, send it to AfD instead to get others to comment on your rationale. If the problems are solvable, use the inline tags to point the attention to actual real problems that require fixing. One big POV tag placed over the entire article (and fought over by POV warriors using loopholes) is just another form of extreme POV. Nothing good comes out of it. Poeticbent talk 17:17, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

My general feeling is that editors should explain their actions. We "strongly discourage" drive-by tagging, and so we should: editors who add tags should explain their reasons and be willing to defend them. However, the present wording encourages drive-by untagging, since it provides an excuse for a tag to be removed without giving any reason that is related to article content or the appropriateness of the tag. Someone seeing a tag with a dormant discussion should at least consider whether the tag belongs in the article, and should state a reason for the deletion if that is the outcome. While a more major revision could be argued for, a small change stating that editors should explain tag deletion as well as tag addition would fix the worst problem. I'll propose exact wording unless someone else does. Zerotalk 02:23, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

Please go ahead and make a proposal if you want, but remember also to please allow for an instance where someone in talk claims to be actively involved in research (i.e. making promises), but after half a year nothing comes in ... thus making the "discussion" dormant. Poeticbent talk 04:17, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

I don't think we have a consensus that "disputes" in which no one has made a comment for years, should continue to be tagged. But I do think that Volunteer Marek made a good point above: we should not "order" the editors to remove it every single time a discussion appears to be dormant. So I've boldly attempted to improve this by saying that you "may" remove it when it is dormant, rather than the previous, unqualified "remove it" language. Perhaps that compromise will move us in the direction of best practices. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:06, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

"may" or "should" does not make a big difference. But the editsummary was incorrect. The editsummary said that we need to allow to remove the tag when the discussion was resolved. "resolved" and "dormant" are different things. If the issue is resolved, then that was already mentioned in reason number one for removal of the tag. Discussion being dormant is not a reason to remove a tag. 21:11, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
I support changing "should" to "may". Good idea. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 23:39, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Debresser, in your mind, are all dormant-for-years discussions "resolved"? Can you give me an example of a (hypothetical) dispute, in which nobody has mentioned a single word about it on the talk page for more than a year, but you would not consider the dispute to be "resolved"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:19, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm sure there are quite a few articles covered by ArbComm which have tags, and which haven't been edited actively for months or years. aprock (talk) 01:33, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I support changing "should" to "may". Good idea. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 23:39, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Neither Volunteer Marek nor I argued that "disputes in which no one has made a comment for years, should continue to be tagged". That was not the issue at all. The issue was whether the mere dormancy of discussion, without even considering the merits of the tag, is sufficient reason for deleting the tag. I don't think anyone should do anything at all in Wikipedia without considering the consequences. All I am asking for here is that editors who remove tags should state a reason that is something to do with article content. A reason might be as simple as "the tag doesn't seem to be appropriate any more" or "the article has been changed a lot since the tag was added"; at least those have something to do with the article. A valid reason could be "the argument seems to have been resolved" (and "resolved" is an entirely different concept from "dormant"). But "nobody discussed this tag for a long time" is not a reason at all. Zerotalk 01:24, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I have to broadly agree. It's one thing to remove a tag which appears to be dormant. It's another thing insist that it may be removed because the discussion has become dormant. aprock (talk) 01:37, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
@Zero, what is the difference between
A - the status quo - "You may remove the template whenever.... the discussion has become dormant."
B - the de facto practical result of your suggestion - "You may remove the template whenever.... the discussion has become dormant as long as your edit summary says you don't think it is appropriate, or you don't see any current dispute, etc"
Seems to me that you are trying to draft legal language requiring intellectual objectivity and integrity. Remember Hunt for Red October, and Jack Ryan? Later in the storyline he became president, and was fond of saying "If you have to write down your ethics rules, you have already lost the battle."
Another point; tagging can be superficially justified. You appear to expect tag removers to do an analysis of intellectual integrity to the same extent we would like taggers to do in the first place, only we know they frequently don't. Removal should be no more difficult. The only real answer here is to trust to the integrity of that part of our ed community that really strives for NPOV. Yet more legalese won't make up any deficit in that department.

NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:20, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

So why bother with policies and guidelines at all? Yes, it's true that some users misapply existing policies and procedures to their own ends, but that's not to say we can't make it more difficult for them to do so. Gatoclass (talk) 12:27, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
The difference between A and B is that B is better guidance to editors. Nothing to do with trust or integrity. Remember that this is not a policy page, so nothing we write here mandates anything. We ask people who add tags to state their reasons, why should removing tags be different? Zerotalk 12:39, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
A. Surplussage. Under existing text, when I remove tags due to long dormant discussion, I do explain my reason. I say "No current discussion" or "no evidence of current dispute" or something like that. I could easily change the wording to say "Doesn't seem appropriate" and I would be referencing the exact same thought process. So the textual change under B would add "surplussage", i.e., extra text to describe current procedure. The only way to get around that is to add yet more text to define the appropriate use of "not appropriate" in edit summaries.
B. Unequal standard. Tags appear with the barest lip service to discussion, and then discussion goes dormant. When a superficial discussion is started to meet the barest criteria of "is disputed", then, at some subjective point in time after that insincere conversation becomes dormant, it should be equally simple to remove the tag. Seems like you want to prevent tag removal unless people thoroughly audit the article for POV issues first. That is a much higher standard than what it currently takes to get a tag to initially stick for a few days in the first place.
C. Orphaned tags will poliferate.
D. BETTER SOLUTION TO IMPROVE THE PROJECT; Spend serious time really studying the RSs for articles in which you have an interest, and make effective use of the DR process to actually resolve actively-disputed tags, rather than seeking a way to help orphaned tags proliferate and linger. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:34, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Response to A: You may explain your reason, but the present docs don't require you to write a single word regarding why you remove a tag.
Response to B: No, it is the present rules that are unequal. The docs say that people placing tags should justify it but allow removal of tags without giving a reason at all.
Response to C: Articles with serious problems will have their tags removed, reducing their chance of being fixed.
Response to D: This argument counterindicates removal of tags without checking whether that they indicate existing serious problems. Zerotalk 08:45, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Re A, incorrect. A reason would still be required, at least if one follows WP:FIES
Re B, (you just repeated your A argument)
Re C, any articles with "serious" problems that get nearly zero traffic aren't a good reason for making it easy for dormant tags to linger on articles with traffic; for articles with "serious" problems that do get traffic, if the problems are "serious" a better solution is to trust that the community will produce editors willing to invest the sweat and time to actually engage the RSs and if necessary the DR process to truly resolve those problems in the present; the project is not aided by pinning dormant badges of shame on such articles.
Re D, Your rebuttal on D looks a whole lot like my argument B, at least for tags placed by those unwilling to engage in talk beyond the barest showing of compliance with the discussion rule. And that's precisely why the tag should continue to mean "IS disputed" instead of "WAS disputed but no one apparently cared enough to figure it out back then".
NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:46, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
The primary reason that I support an "unqualified" or "non-verbose" version of the dormancy rule is that it's not something people can really argue over. I find a tag that is many years old. I find that the "discussion" amounted to two sentences posted three years ago by someone who has never edited since. I remove the tag, citing a lack of ongoing effort to resolve the (alleged) dispute.
Anybody can look at that and say, "Yup, no current discussion". Given that reason, almost anybody can easily deduce the 'solution', if he wants to restore the tag: go make one (1) comment on the talk page about the POV issues, and revert the removal with an explanation that he's restarted the discussion.
By contrast, if you have a rule about needing to judge that "it doesn't seem appropriate", then we're back into the area of pure subjective opinion, and there is no clear path to restoring the tag. If you think I'm wrong, do you restore the tag and offer to edit war over it? Do you need to convince me to change my mind? Do you need to convince someone else? Do we need to go through dispute resolution about whether the tag should be placed (rather than whether or how to adjust the POV in the article)?
Of course the long-standing rule should not be implemented mindlessly or by a bot, just like the placement of these tags should not be done mindlessly or by a bot. But I think the community benefits from having a non-judgmental and objective reason for removing old tags that are associated with zero effort to improve the article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:39, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The strikeout was me complaining about an edit, and as a result the ed self reverted. Thanks, D. I notice that a user has removed the "dormant" provision 3 times in about a week, in what looks a lot like a slo-mo edit war, despite ongoing substantive arguments against this change. Dormancy has been a reason for tag removal since the end of 2010. In my view, there should be clear consensus to alter this 2.5 year old template instruction. First, I'm unclear if there is a majority one way or the other. We should really do an RFC and !vote for this change to test this. As for the current state of affairs, the slo mo edit war appears to be driven by the common error of equating a majority (if it even exists) as the measure of consensus (Compare this edit summary to this one. Except here consensus is not measured by !votes, but by strength of reasoning. I think the dormant text should be restored to the last stable version,.....

I think an RFC/poll should be taken to get strong comments from the broad community before making any changes. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:52, 25 July 2013 (UTC) UPDATED NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:01, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Support. And please, no changes without a direct poll to follow. Poeticbent talk 00:34, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
To the two editors above. Wikipedia is about consensus, not polling. See Wikipedia:Polling is not a substitute for discussion. Debresser (talk) 14:11, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
How exactly do you assess the outcome of a prolonged discussion if there's no clear consensus among editors ... which there isn't? By using smoke and mirrors? Of course, people who remove stale POV tag first read the article in question ... because POV is a form of assessment also. Poeticbent talk 15:00, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
@Debesser, whatever. Maybe I misspoke with the technical wording. I just posted a notice to the pump to try to call more attention to the thread. We seem to agree that there should be meaningful discussion. Exactly why dormant tags should go away, and let a page watcher who cares step up to the discussion plate or hold their tongue. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:58, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

I am having a problem with some of the reasons given above for opposing removal of the "dormancy" provision, those who oppose it are arguing that it will make no effective difference to untagging, if that is the case why bother opposing removal? Removing it will at least require those doing so to give a reason why the tag is no longer valid, which means they will have to address the reasons given for adding the tag in the first place, why shouldn't they have to do so? Gatoclass (talk) 04:59, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Gatoclass erroneously said, "those who oppose it are arguing that it will make no effective difference to untagging". This is not an accurate representation of my views.
In addition, the dormancy provision does not excuse an ed from giving a reason. For these dormant tags, frequently there is no obvious talk page thread at which to say "Removing due to no discussion". But even in these cases we are still supposed to follow WP:FIES, and that is why I say "No current discussion" in the edit summary. Page watchers who care can then revert and start talking to prove me wrong. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:54, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
@Gatoclass With the present documentation, dormancy is in itself a sufficient reason to remove the tag. I think there are many cases where the POV issue may be serious and not resolved, and untagging just because there is no active discussion would be incorrect. After all, the POV is there, whether or not there is any discussion. Debresser (talk) 11:33, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
On zero-traffic pages, this isn't much of an issue. On high-traffic pages, if your premise is correct (serious POV issues) then there are page watchers. More to the point there are page watchers who have been sitting idly by allowing serious POV issues to linger, without meaningful discussion. What better way to give 'em a cold fish slap in the face than to remove the stale, orphaned, dormant tag. If these problems are serious, and its a page that matters, this puts the page watchers on notice they've been... what was that word I was called up above? "so damn lazy" I think it was. In my view, if there is an un-attended and un-addressed long lasting serious POV problem with no discussion, the existece or removal of the POV tag is small potatoes, because our house is burning down all around us. That's the reason I feel so strongly that dormancy must remain as a reason for removing tags. It forces partisans to engage meaningfully with consensus, not just accepting a POV tag status quo on every controversial article. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:54, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
You might be right in a more ideal world. But on Wikipedia as it is, issues are often not addressed for a long, long time. Note: Did you ever notice the lists of long-lingering fixes made by some editors? I once made a fix to an article which is among the 100 most important articles on Wikipedia, fixing names that were changed by a vandal 4 (!) years ago. So I think my argument holds. If an issue is not resolved, or not re-assessed as not really an issue, the tag should not be removed. Dormancy is standard on Wikipedia. See all the maintenance categories dating from 2009, 2010, etc. Debresser (talk) 12:29, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
NewsAndEventsGuy, I don't think your analysis is correct. If a page has had a serious problem for a long time, the correct ways to draw attention to the problem are to restart the discussion on the talk page, list the page on a suitable noticeboard, leave messages on the talk pages of editors with the skills to fix the problem, and so on. Removing the tag will have the opposite effect. Editors who are not watching very closely will think the problem has been fixed, and editors who come along later will not realise the problem exists at all. Zerotalk 12:56, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
I'll again agree with Zero's reasoning here. Some editors are capable of sustaining intense scrutiny and editing behavior for months or years at a time. Other editors vary their editing with the season or as life dictates. Other editors come and go, sometimes too busy to deal with the bureaucracy, other times finding other ways to express themselves. Our tagging policy should not be tilted so that disputes are resolved in a "last man standing" manner. That is a recipe increasing the POV problems, not decreasing them. If you see an old tag, you should review the article for the issues. If you see the issues you should update the date on the tag. If you don't see the issues you should remove it. Dormancy should never be a reason for removal, but it should be a reason to review the article. If a dormant tagged is removed, but then restored by another editor, there should never be a discussion about how the tag removal is still justified because the tag was dormant. aprock (talk) 13:45, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── FYI, I have posted a notice about this discussion at the V Pump. I haven't learned how to RFC it, but will try to figure that out later unless you beat me to it. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:55, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

  • The problem I see is that a discussion can become dormant, without resolving the POV problems that caused the discussion (and the tag) in the first place. With this in mind, I propose the following ...
BEFORE you remove a "dormant" POV tag - first make an attempt to revive the discussion by going to the talk page and starting a new thread... you could say something like: "I see that this article/section has been tagged as POV for (X amount of time). Are there still POV concerns about the article/section?... if so what are they?" Then wait a few days. If no one responds... then you can assume that the issue is dormant (and not just the discussion about it) and remove the tag if you wish to do so. If someone does respond, work with them to resolve the POV issues... so the tag becomes no longer relevant and can be removed. Blueboar (talk) 01:36, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
As I noted just above, this amounts to a "last man standing" policy, where POV pushing editors can just outlast neutral editors to impose their personal points of view. If you come across a tagged article, and the article still has the issues noted in the tag, you are free to reopen the discussion on the talk page. However, removing the tags when you see issues that should be tagged is inappropriate. aprock (talk) 04:41, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
That assumes that you know enough about the subject to be able to tell whether something is neutral or not. It's easy enough in some cases. It's very difficult in others. I've seen people assert POV problems, and when you pinned them down, their excuse was basically "Well, the article is about a small corporation, and it only said sort of neutral or nice things about them. Haven't all businesses done something bad? Why is there no criticism section? I found a blog posting from a dissatisfied customer, so I'm sure this one has problems." Or it's about a person, and someone with a blog doesn't like the person, or it's about a book, and someone with a blog doesn't like the book, or it's about an idea, and someone with a blog doesn't like the idea. Or even someone without a blog, but who figured out how to get a Wikipedia account doesn't like it, and they have provided zero sources and zero justification beyond "Everybody hates teh subject, but Wikipedia just whitewashes it and will never tell the whole truth".
And, you know, unless you just happen to be familiar with the literature for this particular subject, then you won't actually know whether this article is truly neutral, and a quick web search is not really adequate to really know in most cases.
So what should you do? Involve half a dozen editors in an RFC so that you can show "a consensus" that the tag is probably not warranted? Spend a couple of hours researching the company?
Or maybe admit that while it's possible that there is truly a POV problem, there is nothing obviously POVish to you, and the fact is that nobody's substantiated it on the talk page, and nobody's even cared enough to say anything about it for months or years—and maybe if we don't care enough to say anything about it, then maybe we don't care enough to maintain a possibly wrong and unjustifiable tag on the article, either.
IMO the advantage to saying "I'm taking this off because nobody's talked about this for two years" is that anyone can easily fix that dormancy problem by actually talking about their concerns (if, in fact, anyone still has any). If instead I say "I'm taking this off because this article does not have a POV problem", then I am issuing a judgment about the article and about the validity of the tag. The practical result is that tags that are probably wrong will erroneously remain on articles that do not have POV problems.
As it says, this tag is not a warning to the readers, and it is not meant to be a permanent resident on articles. If the tag isn't doing its job—which is to attract editors' attention to the dispute—then it is pointless and might as well be removed. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:19, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Firstly, I think it's worth pointing out that the "dormancy" provision appears to be unique to this template, so the question is, why should this template, alone, be easier to remove than other templates? Given the amount of edit warring that goes on over this template, in my opinion it should if anything have a higher bar for removal - much higher in fact, a point I will return to in a moment.
Secondly, I think the "badge of shame" provision should be removed. Certainly the template should never be used as a badge of shame, but it most certainly should be used to alert readers to the fact that the content of the article may not be neutral. There are some extremely biased articles on this project, it is a scientifically established fact that first impressions of an issue are very difficult to correct later, and wikipedia surely has many impressionable young people looking for basic, reliable information on politically charged issues - why on earth would we not want to warn our readership if an article is not up to scratch?
Finally, while this discussion is currently confined to the dormancy provision, as I said above, I think there needs to be a much higher bar for removal of this template, at least for topic areas subject to discretionary sanctions. I have found in practice that involved editors will typically remove a POV template the moment they have established the smallest possible local consensus - which again is usually not difficult to achieve given the political factions at work in DS-related topic areas. This means one has to continually re-add the template if the issues have not been resolved, which in turn leads to accusations of "edit warring", even minor episodes of which can attract substantial sanctions at WP:AE.
In practice then, it is hardly possible to keep a template in place on an article regardless of the article's condition in certain topic areas. This is not a good thing not only because readers can be misled, but because the addition of a POV template often proves a pretty useful way of getting otherwise reluctant editors to engage constructively with their opponents in an effort to get the template removed. In short, while removal of the "dormancy" tag would be a small step forward, I would like to see a much higher bar for removal of the template in DS-related topic areas. One possibility might be a requirement that an uninvolved admin agree there is no legitimate dispute which might justify the retention of the template. Gatoclass (talk) 08:40, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
The "badge of shame" idea and the "dormancy" idea are really the same idea, so I don't think it helps much to invoke one of them to justify the other. They should be considered together. Personally I believe that a proper function of tags, though not the only function, is to warn readers that article content is disputed. Tags have been used for that purpose since they were first invented. Regarding WhatamIdoing's comments, I think that someone who can't tell if there is a neutrality problem has no business either adding or subtracting neutrality tags. There is no need that every editor be able to solve every problem. Regarding Gatoglass' comments, I'm not sure that's a proper role for an administrator, though I agree the bar for removal should be higher than it is now. I think that the same dispute resolution processes that work (or don't work) now for content disputes should be used for tag disputes. Zerotalk 10:36, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Well, the admin thing wasn't a formal proposal, it was just meant as an example of another approach, and yes, I would have to give more thought to an idea like that. But I am inclined to agree that the same processes should probably be utilized for tag as for content disputes, though those processes also need tightening. Gatoclass (talk) 11:42, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
So here's reality This tag is added by people who don't know te subject, don't know the policy, and don't have an interest in fixing the problem. This tag is added by drive-by editors. It is added when it's not appropriate, e.g., when what's needed is basic copyediting to remove marketing buzzwords. I have encountered disputes in which an editor agrees on the talk page that the article reflects the published reliable sources, but not the editor's personal opinion. And I have actually seen an inexperienced editor say that's okay: as long as there's a POV tag on the article to warn the readers that not everyone agrees with the reliable sources, then the article can stay the way it is.
Now under the old rules, if this POV pusher just goes away, I can remove this admittedly inappropriate tag from the article without bothering anyone else and without publicly dismissing the editor's personal beliefs. Under your "higher bar" proposal, what would I have to do to get rid of a completely inappropriate tag? Hold an RFC, in the hope that several new editors will show up (unlikely—when's the last time you responded to RFCs on minor articles that you didn't care about?) and actually read the sources (extremely unlikely)?
It's basically not possible to have an edit war under the dormancy clause. If it's restored with any comment, then the discussion is obviously not dormant any longer. If you're encountering edit warring allegedly due to "dormant" discussions, you ought to be able to solve that problem by providing your opponent with a link to a dictionary. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:37, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
You ask how to get rid of a completely inappropriate tag. Easy, you write a sentence or two on the talk page explaining why you think it is inappropriate, then you delete it. Zerotalk 16:14, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing Drive-by tagging is a problem, because it doesn't do much to resolve the issue. But if the tag was added correctly, then at least the drive-by tagging served the purpose of pointing out the problem. If the tag is added incorrectly, then obviously it should be removed. That is not the issue here. In short, I see no reason to remove a dormant tag. And the additional argument that other tags don't have such a provision is also a strong one.
I pretty much see a consensus, with one notable opponent, to remove the dormancy clause. If nobody disagrees with me on this, then I think we should finally remove it. Debresser (talk) 18:00, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Seems like an uninvolved ed should make this call, especially since you count one opposed where I count at least 3.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:13, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
  • As a specific example to show how this dormancy clause can lead to undesirable outcomes I would cite Beit HaShalom, an article about an obviously controversial topic, and one subject to discretionary sanctions. I placed a POV template on this in 2008, explaining clearly on the talk page the reason for it and why I am in not in a position, not knowing the languages in which relevant sources would be written, to fix the issue myself. There was a short discussion on the talk page in which nobody has yet replied to my explanation of why the tag is needed. The template was removed last month citing this clause without anything being done to address the POV issue. Yes, there are far too many "drive by" tags on articles, but this dormancy clause does nothing to distinguish between those and tags that have been placed with a reasoned explanation. This practice seems to be an encouragement to POV-pushers (I'm not including any of the editors of that article in that description) not to reply to talk page postings, because that will eventually lead to dormancy and the removal of this tag that warns our readers that the article may not be neutral. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:28, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
    • I have to disagree. I think Beit HaShalom is an excellent example of why removal of a dormant tag should be permitted. I had never heard of this dispute before, though I do follow the Arab Israeli conflict. The article gave me a pretty good feel for what has happened up to 2008. I did not find it biased to any one side. Your questions on the talk page raise interesting issues and the article would be improved if they were addressed, but the lack of that information does not make it POV. In particular, the lack of a mention of a specific Arab position on this settlement would not lead a reader to assume there was none or that they approve. Arab rejection of settlements is pretty much common knowledge and the See also link to Israeli settlement provides plenty of detail. The article does need to be updated to reflect what has happened since, but that is a different matter.--agr (talk) 20:58, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
      • So you think that an article about a settlement that is not in Israel is neutral when it is only supported by Israeli sources? That's simply ridiculous. And, anyway, the point is that nobody has made such a reply to my last comment on the talk page in the years when this tag has been on the article. That doesn't mean that the issue flagged by the tag has magically gone away, so, until it is resolved, the tag should remain. Phil Bridger (talk) 21:23, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
Note that these are arguments over whether a particular article deserves a tag, based on the content of the article. That's fine, we will always have such arguments. However, the subject of this debate is whether the mere dormancy of discussion, regardless of the state of the article, should be given in the template docs as sufficient reason for removal. Do either of you believe that? Nobody here is arguing that tags can't be removed by editors who have studied the article and concluded that the tag is undeserved. Zerotalk 00:08, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia editors should use good judgement in everything they do. In this case I conclude the article has some balance. Here is where the dormancy issue applies: Phil tagged the article in December 2008. If I came upon the article in mid 2009 and reached the same conclusion about its balance, I would not remove the tag. Phil raised some good questions on the talk page and the POV tag might still get a knowledgeable reader to make some of the improvements he requested. Today, after 4-1/2 years, it's another matter and I would remove the tag. It's now clear that no one else is likely to fulfill Phil's request. A POV tag is itself a one-sided, unsourced expression of opinion. The purpose it serves is to goad editors into discussion and action. When that has grown stale after several years, the tag no longer serves a purpose.--agr (talk) 02:49, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Why do you think the tag is no longer trying to "goad editors into discussion and action"? If the justification for the tag is still clearly visible, what has changed? Zerotalk 03:03, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
What has change is the accumulated years of silence, which suggests a consensus that the requested changes are unwarranted or unfeasible. In this particular case the tagger requested sources in local languages. Those were not forthcoming. (Most articles on international topics are arguably biased by reliance on English-language sources.) Note that dormancy is a very low barrier for someone concerned with alleged POV to overcome. One can edit the article to insert a missing view point, tag unsourced statements, link to other articles that cover the controversy, ask for editing help on a project page, request a third opinion, post to a notice board, etc. Indeed the removal of the tag might be a better goad, if anyone still cares. At some point, though, we move on. How long should a POV tag inserted by a single editor persist? Five years? Ten? Fifty?--agr (talk) 08:48, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Sorry but removing a tag is not a goad at all. Only the few editors watching very closely will understand what is happening. Others will assume the problem has been fixed and editors who visit the article later won't know there is a problem. What you are saying is that problems that haven't been solved for a long time should be hidden. Zerotalk 09:23, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Oh, but removing a POV tag does goad some editors into action. Removing tags is often a very useful way of convincing people to re-start the discussion. And in this case, the only action Phil needs take to to overcome the dormancy objection is to post one short comment on the talk page. We don't need a major discussion. There need not be any other participant. We just need some indication that someone, anyone, still believes that there is a problem to be solved here.
Phil did notice, and did understand what happened, so I don't think that we need to worry about your assertions that nobody will notice or understand the removal of the tag. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:05, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
One example proves a general case? Also, if nobody leaps up to fix the article, will you put the tag back? Zerotalk 08:27, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
This sub-thread is in response to just one example. And in this entire discussion, I haven't seen other examples given where someone thought removal of a dormant POV tag was problematic. Normally we like to see a number of actual examples, not hypotheticals, when considering changes to guidelines.--agr (talk) 12:08, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Who is this we you mention? Because we have no problem judging issues on their theoretical considerations alone. Debresser (talk) 17:56, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
See WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY--agr (talk) 20:13, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't see anything there saying that Wikipedia should keep a bad rule just the discussion is about the rule itself and doesn't bring too many examples. Note, the discussion is about the practical repercussions of the rule and possible implementations. Sorry, but your comment seems to me off-topic, to say the least. Debresser (talk) 23:08, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Comment - Weighing in on this issue, I will point out that a tag on an article is by far and away inferior to opening a discussion on the talk page of the article and expressing your specific concerns about the article and how it might be afoul of some particular policy.... particularly for something like a POV bias that seems to be perceived. Starting a talk page discussion on obscure articles can have a protracted conversation that I've seen happen over the course of years (not just months or days) where sometimes situations do get resolved over time. This is something I simply don't see happening when some "drive-by editor" tosses a tag on an article and then doesn't say a thing about the reasons for it on the talk page at all. I certainly have removed some of these kind of tags in the past and don't even hesitate.... especially if some considerable time (aka on the order of months or years) has transpired. Sometimes I'll move the "tag" to the talk page too in terms of noting it was placed on the article without comment.

Reiterating, the point of a tag is to show there is a problem that should be addressed, but it is to me far more important that a real discussion takes place. Even a single sentence response on the talk page is often more than sufficient... and usually talk pages don't get archived on those more obscure articles anyway so it is no loss that nobody responds for a couple years or even a decade (now possible with some Wikipedia articles). Tags really should be about currently active discussions where somebody is either in the process of making changes or at least has the article bookmarked in some fashion to get to the article "soon" and make some changes (however you define "soon").

If we are talking active articles with dozens of editors regularly reviewing the article on their watch lists, hopefully somebody notices a tag being removed. Then again, the issues will likely be resolved in a timely manner or will turn into a talk page battle royale (often involving admins and cooler heads trying to calm things down). I really don't see this particular issue of removing tags from articles because the tag has been on that article for a couple of years (or certainly an extended period of time) with no discussion being a major problem. The problem is the lack of discussion, not too much or an edit war happening. --Robert Horning (talk) 00:06, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

I think nobody here will disagree with you that fixing the problem with the text is the best solution. The problem is that this solution is not always easy or within the skill set of every editor. I think we also all agree that serious tags like NPOV should not be added without a clear explanation, and I have often deleted tags added in a drive-by fashion. Zerotalk 01:03, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - The template stays until someone fixes the problems. The problem is still there, and made worse by removing it without fixing it. The editor who removes it needs to make a genuine effort to resolve the problems first. - Sidelight12 Talk 00:00, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Do not use this template to "warn" readers about the article.[edit]

This phrase in the template documentation is misleading. All cleanup templates are shown to readers, so they are inherently warning readers of something. The scare quotes in the phrase are too subtle; the probable intent is to expound on the warning not to use the tag as a badge of shame, which is already stated. I previously never read too much into this, but noticed that it is a problem when I saw WhatamIdoing quoting that in the discussion above. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 07:27, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Agree completely. It is a good thing to warn other editors and readers about serious POV issues in an article. Readers who do not want to address the issue will at least know to take the text as less than the absolute truth, and hopefully soon or later somebody will fix it. Debresser (talk) 08:54, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I think this is the same issue as is being discussed above. Readers are entitled to know that an article is disputed by editors. Zerotalk 09:25, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
It's more subtle than that :) The above discussion is about whether a dispute can automatically expire or not. This discussion is about a particular phrase that looks as if it's contrary to the general idea of cleanup templates. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 09:31, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Joy, I'm unsure exactly what you are getting at. I think I know, but I'd rather not guess. Could you please illustrate by articulating a specific suggestion for how to change the template instructions? Thanks. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 10:36, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I would simply remove that sentence, what else? --Joy [shallot] (talk) 14:12, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, that makes it clear.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:15, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Opposed to removing the sentence
"Do not use this template to 'warn' readers about the article."

Although Joy correctly points out that readers do see these tags, and this might put some readers on notice about a problem, this sentence does not relate to the fact of visibility nor to the message a reader might take. Rather, this sentence relates to editor intent, and the point we are trying to emphasize, I think, is that no one has any business doing any tagging primarily to warn readers about problems. Instead, although any ed in good standing can technically add a tag, the idealistic editor in me thinks we all are expected to earn the right to add a tag, and we earn that right by committing to starting a good faith and substantive discussion about the alleged problems. When we say, in shorthand, "Do not use this template to 'warn' readers about the article." I believe we're trying to communicate the expectation that the tagging ed makes such a committment. If there is a problem with this shorthand, we should add to this text to make this expectation more clear, rather than take away the text altogether. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:15, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

But don't we already communicate the same thing through the preceding sentence "This template should not be used as a badge of shame."? I don't understand why you'd prefer to keep a convoluted, redundant sentence as opposed to removing or even rephrasing it. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:12, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
We have both because some editors understand what we're after when you put it one way, and others understand it better when you put it the other way. Some even seem to understand it better when you repeat the same idea several times. We're not really trying to write with brilliant prose here. We're just trying to make sure that the greatest percentage of editors understand the point. I oppose removing it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:08, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
What proof do you have that you're actually getting your point across with that? I just don't see it. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 07:17, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Agree to removing the sentence per Joy. Debresser (talk) 17:11, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I also agree. We should remember that Wikipedia doesn't exist to keep editors amused, it exists to present accurate balanced information to an extremely large public audience. When we see an article that is not balanced, we should be concerned about the public being misled by it. Of course the best solution is to fix the article, but in the interim a warning is appropriate. In other words, I think that warning readers is a valid motivation. This does not excuse editors from having to justify the tag by giving an argument why they believe the article is unbalanced. Zerotalk 08:25, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Wait - before people start !voting - I don't think this need be an either/or issue. IMO, it should be possible to come up with some sort of compromise wording that will be acceptable to the majority. I will probably propose something myself shortly. Gatoclass (talk) 08:52, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

So that's what I did but it was trashed by NewsAndEventsGuy,

This template should not be misused, for example, it shouldn't be used as a badge of shame. The template should be used only if it is appropriate.

This is what he said "this 5-year old text should not be fiddled with as a bit of goodfaith gnomish cleanup nor fiddled with for some other purpose under guise as gnomish cleanup."
Looks like those who agree with removal is "fiddled with as a bit of goodfaith gnomish cleanup nor fiddled with for some other purpose under guise as gnomish cleanup." :( -- (talk) 15:58, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Agree The template is to "warn" or really warn the readers that something is inappropriate about an article. Also, it is not that this change is done for good, that line is necessarily a disrupt because it is wrong not to warn the reader that if the content has misinformation or have yet to reach Wikipedia standard. -- (talk) 12:36, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Oppose removing the sentence. The template should not simply be used to warn. If there is no accompanying explanation on the article talk page about the perceived POV issue, the "warning" is likely to be insufficient anyway; the only way that it will be sufficient is if an editor who sees that tag sees the same POV issue or can perceive what the POV issue might be. And if the tag is added without talk page justification, it is permitted to be removed. Flyer22 (talk) 12:56, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

"The template should not simply be used to warn." - Agree.
"If there is no accompanying explanation on the article talk page about the perceived POV issue, the "warning" is likely to be insufficient anyway" - Maybe.
"the only way that it will be sufficient is if an editor who sees that tag sees the same POV issue or can perceive what the POV issue might be." - Perhaps..
"And if the tag is added without talk page justification, it is permitted to be removed." -- Probably.
I am sorry, I am confused that you wrote some arguments about how warning is insufficient (so we should keep it, or not?) and all of which is irrelevant to not to warn readers about the article, which is the sentence in question to be removed. Can you elaborate? -- (talk) 13:10, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose In March this text will have its 5th anniversary as stable text. If the purpose is to change the meaning of this tag, that requires a very large community-wide discussion. But when I restored this text, an edit-warring IP deleted it again saying the IP's changes are "cleanup" in nature. I am dubious the IP really cares about cleaning up 5-year static text badly enough to edit war over it, in defiance of opposing comments in this thread. And I am very opposed, because I regularly run into people saying readers need to be "warned". The most recent time was just last week at the talk page for an article with 50,000+ daily views, where an editor asserted
"Readers need to be warned that the article is not neutral..."

The sentence that succinctly states "Do not use the tag to warn readers" is useful, is frequently quoted, and this 5-year old text should not be fiddled with as a bit of goodfaith gnomish cleanup nor fiddled with for some other purpose under guise as gnomish cleanup. If people want to provide redundant or overlapping additional text further explaining misuse, that's great. But "warning" is a frequent offender so this super simple sentence should remain. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:45, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

But "warning" is a frequent offender so this super simple sentence should remain.

Maybe, but it is out of question.
What "warn" doesn't change is the fact that the "warn" here is ambiguous. As I mentioned above, can you reply that should reader not be warned if the content is inappropriate? -- (talk) 15:16, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
(A)All of my college professor friends say all wikipedia material is suspect, and every article should carry a warning. (B) This reply indicates your edit summary during the edit war about this being "cleanup" was untruthful. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:51, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
(A) So readers don't have to be warned? (B) It is truthful, whether the cleanup will pass or not is debatable, but the cleanup on its removal after it sticks for 5 yrs is truthful. -- (talk) 16:03, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
"Cleanup" was a smokescreen because you want to change the meaning of the tag from one of "come participate in the problem-solving discussion I took time and invested sweat to begin on the talk page" to one of driveby tagging justified by "warning" readers but without really trying to improve the encyclopedia. Your obsession with "warning" readers is that of a WP:BATTLE attitude; instead how about emphasizing the need for the tagging party to start a meaningful (ie non-WP:SOAP) talk page discussion and using the tag with the core goal of welcoming readers to collaborate in our project? One is consistent with our mission and philosophy. The other with fighting. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:24, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
(Pardon the battling tone since multiple editors also agree that readers can be warned, ...are they edit-warriors too? Well, of course, no one said and encourage that readers have to be warned with obsession.)

All of my college professor friends say all wikipedia material is suspect, and every article should carry a warning.

Given the Wikipedia articles, the readers do not have to be warned or notified?
The readers don't want to distinguish articles between appropriate one and half-baked one? The readers don't want to distinguish articles between the appropriate one and the disrupted one?
i.e. Is Wikipedia so bad that the readers who come read Wikipedia articles, do not have to distinguish between the article that is known to be disrupted and the regular one?
I hope you understand now, that how much good-faith I have to engage in this talk and edit, because it changes the fundamental perspective about Wikipedia. Also, I hope our discussion can focus more on content. -- (talk) 17:48, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Was fine the way it was. The templates are to invite editors to fix issues. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 14:15, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    Jmh649, may I ask, does the template not serve the purpose of notifying the readers that the content is inappropriate? -- (talk) 15:16, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    In these discussions sometimes one gets this surreal feeling that a lot of editors genuinely believe that there are only *Wikipedia editors* but no such thing as *Wikipedia readers*. From that it easily follows that all policies and guidelines need only concern themselves with Wikipedia editors, rather than readers, who apparently don't actually exist (never mind the subjects of articles).Volunteer Marek (talk) 18:12, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    Well said. Zerotalk 22:15, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
    Are editors and readers entirely different? I use this tag to communicate the same thing to both groups: there is a discussion on the talk page, and you are invited to participate in it. I never use this tag to tell either readers (future editors!) or existing editors that I think the contents of the page will be somehow harmful to them ("warn"). I also never use this tag as a means of publicly registering my objections to the current content. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:47, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Delete the sentence. One of the legitimate purposes of this tag is to notify readers that the editors of the page are not agreed on its conformance to Wikipedia rules. If it was meant for editors only, we'd put it on the talk page. Removing the sentence will not resolve the tagger from the responsibility of explaining on the talk page, on the basis of article content, why the tag is deserved. Nor would it prevent removal of the tag by consensus. In fact the sentence serves no useful purpose that I know of. Delete it. Zerotalk 23:06, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
    I've seen this sentence stop edit wars by inexperienced editors who "lost" the consensus discussion (of the "How dare you imply that this herbal concoction isn't an effective medical treatment" variety) and still wanted to keep the POV tag on the article to "warn the readers" and to protest the way Wikipedia works. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:47, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
How does an extra sentence help in that case? I still don't see any proof it does. If someone is acting against consensus, that's entirely orthogonal to this sentence. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:36, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Because most people actually do want to "follow the rules", so when they say on the talk page, "I've added this to warn the readers", and you show them a "rule" that says "don't use this to warn the readers", then they tend to say, "Oh. Well, I guess I'm not allowed to do that, even thought I want to." WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:21, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
That's... anecdotal. And even if true, using this misleading sentence as some sort of a tool to fight that specific problem is misguided - the WP:CONS policy is a rule superior to any cleanup template's documentation. The policy already tells them they're not allowed to force issues like that. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 00:00, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose removing the sentence. (Strongly oppose.) The tags are to encourage discussion about content in the article that the editor adding the tag disagrees with (whether the disagreement is over what is included or over what has not been included), not to warn readers that an editor disagrees with the content. Moreover, there is a clear process for how discussions can proceed and determinations of the outcomes of the discussions can be made, leading to the eventual removal of the tags. If tags are being used just to warn readers that even a single editor disputes the content, what is the process for removing the tags? If the text describing use of the tags is going to be changed, text needs to be added to clearly explain when it is appropriate to add the tags as well as when they can be removed, else half or more of the encyclopedia will be littered with badge of shame tags, many left by fly-by taggers who saw something they didn't like in an article. Also, as NewsAndEventsGuy says, such a major change in text that has been stable for so long will need consensus based on input from a very large part of the Wikipedia community, not just from a handful of discussants who happen to follow this Talk page. Dezastru (talk) 20:30, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
You're talking about people tagging articles just because they disagree with them. This is not a proper use of this tag anyway - it's a failure to observe consensus. The existence of this sentence does not affect our handling of the behavior you're describing. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:36, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. The POV tag should be only for editors, not readers. Ideally, every article would be made neutral after having been tagged. If the article is not neutral despite efforts to make it so, then appeals to higher authority should be made. The danger in using a tag as a "badge of shame" to label a non-neutral article for the reader is that the tag can be placed by an angry editor or even reader who is not happy with talk page consensus. It's the talk page consensus that we should honor, not the unhappy tagger. Binksternet (talk) 00:20, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
I dont find this argument coherent, if the consensus is that the page is neutral then the warning tag is removed. No single angry editor can of course hold the page hostage, but as long as there is no consensus, readers need to be warned that the article has potential problems.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:16, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
So, if the whole tag should be for editors only, are you then proposing that we remove it from the main space and move it to Talk space only? How is this relevant to this discussion? --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:36, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Joy, with regard to Binksternet's comment, I'm sure that the vast majority of our editors see the article before they see the talk page; many don't even check the talk page. Flyer22 (talk) 00:27, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It should not be used as a warning. But by the same token, it should not be removed for mere dormancy. It should be used to tag articles which have POV problems. If a POV problem is long running and intractable, the tag should remain until it becomes tractable. aprock (talk) 02:53, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Every cleanup tag is used as a warning - it tells the readers that there's a non-trivial problem. In this case, this tag tells readers that the tagged article has POV problems. What are you really thinking of when you say "It should not be used as a warning", can you elaborate? --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:36, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm not following you. Could you be a little clearer, or address what I wrote more explicitly. aprock (talk) 00:54, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
How is the mere act of tagging a problematic article not a warning to the readers? --Joy [shallot] (talk) 10:32, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
That's like asking "Have you stopped beating your children yet?" Who is to say whether an article is truly problematic? You? Me? In cases of genuine child beating we don't hang a sign outside the house. Instead our procedures call for investigating (including discussions) and then intervening somehow to stop the beatings. In the same fashion, individual editors aren't supposed to swagger about passing individual pronouncements about neutrality. And they're not supposed to swagger it to the talk page to make a WP:POINT. Rather, they are supposed to genuinely strive for article improvement. Our philosophy is (on paper anyway) that by bringing in diverse perspectives to discuss content we can arrive at a genuinely neutral consensus. The tag isn't a vigilante's issuance of a traffic citation. Rather it is an invitation to a town meeting to discuss whether the posted speed limit is appropriate.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:53, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
That's got to be the dumbest case of false analogy I've seen on Wikipedia, and I've seen a lot. Child abuse is *not* like a Wikipedia articles with a POV tag, not by far. That's actually a very distasteful comparison. As to who is to say whether an article is truly problematic the answer is simple: Wikipedia editors. So yes, you and me. Volunteer Marek (talk) 19:30, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
First, it is not technically possible for more than one editor to add a tag at the same time, so it is indeed the action of one editor. On the other hand, the continuance of the tag is a matter of consensus. While it exists, it warns the reader that editors have a problem with the article. It cannot help but do so, whether we wish it or not. We can't legislate this fact away; we need to recognise it. Zerotalk 12:36, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
(A) Say rather that, While it exists, it warns the reader that editors have at least one person alleges a problem with the article.
(B) The point, though, is all about tagging editor intent, which should be to invite diverse voices to that town meeting I was talking about. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:11, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Article POV problems are not akin to child abuse and cleanup templates are not swaggering. If we thought cleanup templates were inappropriate "individual pronouncements" about a topic, we wouldn't have any of them. You're acting as if the mere act of tagging an article with this cleanup template is vigilantism. That's simply contrary to the general consensus that cleanup templates are a useful tool and contrary to the general assumption of good faith. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:46, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
These things are also useful tools but like the template those things can also be abused. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 20:54, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
I still don't see how this ambiguous warning against warning has any effect in curbing this perceived problem. Heck, if the problem is still happening to an extent that you're so worried about it, surely this measure against it is not being nearly as effective as necessary. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 12:02, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
People still get polio even though we vaccinate. People still fall down stairs even though we put up handrails. I agree that no matter what we write partisans will still tag articles like Global warming or Abortion or Jesus with POV with the intent to impact readers and with no intent to improve the articles. Does that mean we should stop vaccinating and remove all the handrails? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:42, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Really, please stop it with the false and inappropriate analogies. Arguing from analogy only works if Situation A is similar to Situation B in a fairly obvious way. Stopping people from getting vaccinated is NOT in any way similar to ... putting a POV tag in an article with POV problems to warn readers. Where do you come up with these comparisons? Volunteer Marek (talk) 19:35, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Suppose for posterity I should protest.... you've twisted the analogy. Joy seemed to be saying that since some text was not 100% effective in reaching its goal, the failure to be 100% effective was a reason the text should go away. Like that text, the vaccine is not 100% effective in reaching its goal. Is the failure to be 100% effective a reason for the vaccine to go away? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:19, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Remove the sentence. Agree with Joy's rationale, which, unlike some of the incoherent and desperate counter arguments, is sound. Volunteer Marek (talk) 19:37, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
People who can't counter analogies always try to dismiss them with a wave of the inapplicable hand. Just tells me I hit close to home. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 20:28, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Not sure why you're attacking other editors here. It's quite unseemly. aprock (talk) 02:44, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
You must be talking about the editor who wants outcome A and called the arguments of another who wants outcome B "incoherent". After all, truly incoherent arguments need no one to label them as such, so why say such a thing out loud? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 07:41, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
As an explanation of the !vote of course. Volunteer Marek (talk) 07:45, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
@NewsAndEventsGuy, the other editor refers to arguments. You refer to people. You've been around long enough to know the difference. aprock (talk) 14:22, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I suppose I could have said 'when no rebuttal argument based on on facts, policies, or logic is forthcoming, a common argument of last resort is to simply label the unrebuttable arguments as (fill in the blank) term of dismissal'. Note that we are now talking about me instead of the merit of the arguments of those who wish to delete the sentence "do not use this template to 'warn' readers". Would you mind filing an ANI about my behavior or else take your own advice by getting back to the topic, Aprock ? Please? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:43, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
You're the one who opened the topic of editor behavior, I'll leave it to you to close it. The last word is yours. Feel free to take it. aprock (talk) 20:57, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
The first part is debatable, but because it won't serve any purpose to do so I guess it's a wrap. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 23:02, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Agree very much with deleting the sentence: Warning templates are both meant as a suggestion for editors to fix a page (this function could be handled without a visible banner for example by a category or a banner on the talkpage), but also importantly as a warning to readers that a page is not necessarily giving a balanced view of the topic (this is the main function of visible banners on top of the page). The Warning function is vital to wikipedias credibility, and not having a warning function when pages are non-neutral would be to fail to live up to our responsibility to the readers. Neutrality concerns do not simply go away because no one fixes the page, or because a discussion stalls. Readers still need to know that the neutrality of a page is contested. Neutrality tags can be removed when a talkpage consensus considers the page neutral, not before.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:55, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - The article should be neutral in the first place, because people depend on what is written here. If there is bias, it shouldn't be hidden from the reader. Also, the reader may be encouraged to correct the problems. What is the purpose of hiding if an article is non-neutral anyways? - Sidelight12 Talk 00:04, 2 February 2014 (UTC)


Would it be helpful to anyone if we added a general description of what "dormant" means? I usually take it to mean no comments for over a month, and I thought we could add "...if the discussion has become dormant (usually, this means no comments for about a month)".

I don't want to add it if it just seems like WP:Instruction creep (and I think it might be). On the other hand, I don't want anyone to think that we require a year or anything absurd like that. What do you think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:54, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

I'd leave it undefined, to accomodate editor judgment when viewing articles with 50,000 hits a day versus those with only 50. Seems reasonable for the latter to retain the tag longer, since the purpose is to attract editors and there aren't all that many looking. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:01, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Agree with leaving as is per both editors above, especially NewsAndEventsGuy. Debresser (talk) 09:53, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

Keeping it honest - Proposal to REQUIRE talk page thread before using POV tag[edit]


While personally I agree with the proposal the consensus is clearly oppose. NE Ent 20:41, 13 April 2014 (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.

About that heading.... since someone complained I'd like to say that I was using "honest" as a synonym for "keeping it consistent". Right now the consensus in the usage doc is to not use the tag to warn readers & not drive by tag as badge of shame. The proposal to explicitly require the tagging ed to include a link to a specific thread is intended only to keep things consistent with that current consensus, and to tighten up the procedures for both tagging and reverting editors. If consensus changes to "warn the reader" then all bets are off.

I support careful editors with sincere concerns using the POV tag for its currently-stated purpose, which is to "attract editors" with different viewpoints to work thru issues on the talk page.

To further that goal I propose:

  • (A) We explicitly require a talk page thread (instead of the implicit requirement we now seem to have)
  • (B) We require use of the talk parameter to point to that thread (which is now optional, leaving other eds to guess which thread - if any - applies.)

These simple changes will preserve the function of the tag for genuine attempts to improve the project, while streamlining the elimination of disruptive tagging.

Rationale for THREAD first, TAG second

  • When a careful editor starts the thread, they then have the name of the thread to complete the talk parameter in the link
  • When a careful editor tags first with no link, and the tag is reverted while the ed is starting the thread, the careful editor will know about the reversion and can simply retag with the link
  • When a well-meaning editor tags but forgets to start the thread at all, they will still be alerted when the tag is reverted.
  • When other eds see a tag with no link to a thread, they can revert the tag without fretting whether they have let the subjective "enough" time go by before concluding no thread will be forthcoming
  • THREAD first, TAG second protects all wannabe-diligent editors, both tagger and reverter, and will reduce instances when people argue whether a tag edit war has occurred. In the remaining cases of tags with no links the tagging editor never intended to engage is serious talk page discussions anyway
Handling multiple threads
(A) When the multiple threads are really sub-discussions of one basic issue, the talk page guidelines already encourage collecting the sub-discussions as sub-sections under a single main section heading, which is what should go in the talk parameter.
(B) When the multiple threads are really different issues, eds should instead use the "multiple issues" template.

This is what those changes would look like. Implementing this change would enhance our ability to purge bullshit tags. Thoughts? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:30, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose. This might work for some articles. But not all articles are the same. What I think would be acceptable is that a POV template can be removed IF no discussion is started on talk. Volunteer Marek (talk) 13:34, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
That's what we already do, but the tag defaults to point to the entire talk page, and we end up arguing whether something, somewhere, on the talk page meets the threshold. The proposal would dispense with all that noise. As for your objection, without elaboration that seems to me to be the equivalent of I-do-not-like, or perhaps an unstated proposal that we change to a policy of "warning readers", but I admit I may be blind to the articles you mention that are not "the same". Please explain your objection in more detail? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:42, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
And yes and what we already do is fine, no need to invent new rules and regulations.Volunteer Marek (talk) 15:07, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment What's the point of the POV tag anyway? It just gives editors something else to argue about. Other than warning our readers that they're about to read a potentially crappy article, what benefit does the tag serve? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 13:45, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
I presume in an ideal case invested editors would review the article and attempt to address the neutrality concerns.
I support the requirement of a Talk page thread when this tag is invoked, and I support the removal of the tag if there isn't a clearly pertinent Talk page thread, and I'd support requiring that said thread be started by the editor inserting the tag for reasons of clarity (even if all they were doing was modifying a section header and inserting a blurb to make it clear where the dispute was), but requiring a Talk page thread before the tag is inserted seems like overkill to me. In fact, if a presumably well-meaning editor has inserted the tag but not started a Talk page thread, I'd recommend giving them a friendly nudge to start a thread rather than simply removing the tag entirely. DonIago (talk) 14:55, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Good comments but please consider, (A) the ed who tags first, then threads is a diligent editor who will be flagged when their tagging is reverted, so they can retag with the link and all is well; (B) the ed who tags and never starts a thread is not a diligent editor and in my repeated experience energy expended to get them to start a thread almost always results in WP:SOAP and WP:FORUM with no actionable suggestions for improving the article; (C) Requiring the thread first does two things. First it gives the tagging editor the name of the thread to plug into the talk parameter, and second it relieves everyone else from wondering if a subjective "enough" time has gone by before concluding the tag was a driveby, in which case the driveby tags can be instantly purged and the false alarms will be re-tagged by the diligent editor after the thread is begun.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:11, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Given your comments above and on my Talk page, I will clarify that I support requiring that the specific Talk page thread be pinpointed but oppose requiring a Talk page thread before tagging. I can think of reasons why an editor might tag for NPOV but not start a Talk page thread for reasons entirely unrelated to diligence, and believe it prudent to AGF in such cases. OTOH, if it was a random IP doing the tagging without starting a thread I admit I'd probably revert...but this may be a good argument for a friendly notification template that can be used for editors who do the tag but not the talk. DonIago (talk) 15:36, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. This is a fine proposal which will help the template be more constructive. Binksternet (talk) 14:52, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. I strongly support this and believe that it would improve Wikipedia. Keep in mind that most readers do not understand how Wikipedia works--they think that "supervisors" or "administrators" come along and tag articles. I have even seen well-known bloggers say things such as: ...and then an administrator had to write a warning about the article!!! Furthermore, as often as not the tags are not well-thought-out, just plain stupid, or show that the editor does not agree with the text but has nothing to refute it, and I could go on... Also, apparently even editors do not understand that it is OK to remove an old tag if no work is being done on what is, in your opinion, an imaginary flaw in the article. If that is not the case one would not so often find tags that are many years old, with no talk page discussion what-so-ever. And one more thing, it is an underhanded way to throw doubt into article statements since readers, as I have said, think that supervisors have suggested that the article is so flawed that they needed to add a warning to the article. Gandydancer (talk) 16:22, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Sort of oppose I'm sympathetic, but:
    • If your POV discussion is the only one on the talk page, then who really needs a link to the section at all? That's just a pointless bureaucratic requirement.
    • Template parameters are difficult, so requiring a link has the effect of discouraging participation by new and inexperienced people—people who might be subject-matter experts rather than wikitext experts.
    • Are we on a strict WP:DEADLINE? I can't imagine why having the discussion posted ten minutes after tagging is such a big problem that we would need to enforce writing the discussion first, especially when it's perfectly obvious what the problem is. (I've personally declined to remove "dormant" POV tags tat have been around for years because the need for editors to resolve the problem is still evident at a causal glance; these do exist, and frequently on low-traffic pages. You may remove the tag when discussion is dormant or non-existent, but no WP:VOLUNTEER is required to do so.)
  • But perhaps we could approach the problem from the other direction, and provide a default section heading. I believe that the {{Merge to}} tags did this. Then you can place the tag, click the discussion link, and see (in the URL) what the section heading should be. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:50, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
NEG and I have given some so-far-minor thought to whether some of this could be bot-automated...things like checking to see that the NPOV tag links to a valid discussion, having a page where NPOV tags that aren't linking to anything can be reviewed, etc... DonIago (talk) 17:05, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - And the canvassing isn't being done with neutral headers. --Onorem (talk) 17:36, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose We recommend to open a talk page discussion, and that should be enough. If there is a tag and it is completely unclear why it is there, simply ask the editor or remove it. Also I move for a procedural close since this proposed rule would create a precedent for all maintenance tags and should (must) be discussed on a more central forum. Debresser (talk) 15:52, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
(A) "that should be enough" = I don't like
(B) Procedural close does not apply since that is for deletion discussions.
(C) The "precedent" argument is unpersuasive for two reasons (1) This is the only tag I have seen be regularly abused by driveby taggers in my 2.5 years here; (2) If driveby tagging problems manifest on some other tag, the community can at that point in time have a similar conversation about that one.
(D) The "just remove it" is good advice except the current text exposes the removing editor to discretionary sanctions in highly contentious subject areas, and questions whether there was an edit war problem involving the removal. This new text protects the removing editors and helps the entire community find the exact thread for those situations in which the tagging editor is investing energy (at talk) working for a mutual solution.
(E) No one has identified any operational problem with the proposal, or shown how it would fail to work in some situation.
(F) Since there are benefits and no mechanical problems other than versions of I-don't-like, seems like it should fly to me.
NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 21:25, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
(A) and "you like". So?
(C) you need more to go on then your own personal experiences. In fact this appears to be the problem here (based on previous discussions). It's some kind of sour grapes stemming from your own editing here. Someone added some POV tags or something to articles you were interested in and you had trouble removing them. And now this crusade. *Show* that this is the most "abused tag". You know, [citation needed]
(D) You'd only be exposed to discretionary sanctions if you're edit warring about a tag without starting a discussion yourself. If you remove the tag, the other person restores it, you start a discussion, they don't respond, you remove it again, they restore it again, then it's them that's exposed to discretionary sanctions. Unless you're trying to bully your way through or something.
(F) There are costs (crappy articles will be presented as if they were hunky-dory) and the only argument for it seems to be I-like.
Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:34, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Your reply is inherently inconsistent. In your "D" you acknowledge tag-removal when there is no talk thread but in your "F" you want to use the tag to WARN-THE-READER, which is against the current consensus, but I acknowledge is your desire. As for my like/dislike, problem identification goes beyond personal preference. The current consensus to not badge-of-shame tag is being abused. Its true I don't like blatant disregard for consensus over good collaborative procedure. Proposing a mechanism to better support that collaborative procedure is a project improvement, not just the apple of my eye. But of course, it goes against your desire to "warn readers". Instead of dismissing my procedural improvement suggestions as a like-issue, how about instead trying to win on the merits of your desire to change the consensus to favor reader warnings? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 21:47, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't agree that what you claim to be the consensus actually is. Actually opinion is quite divided on it. Zerotalk 07:34, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Where are those discussions and why does the usage doc encourage stripping out tags with no talk thread and why does it say "do not use the tag to warn the reader"? 08:59, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Because you obstinately stalled any efforts to make any changes and then called that "consensus"? Volunteer Marek (talk) 11:29, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
NewsAndEventsGuy, I have to agree with Volunteer Marek, that your claim of "I don't like" is not doing justice to the opinion of your opponents, and I do not appreciate it. You want to impose another piece of instruction creep, namely "don't tag without opening a discussion". I am against instruction creep, and so are many Wikipedians. I do agree that opening a discussion is a good idea, but see no reason it should be mandatory.
If you see a tag and the reason is not obvious, then you can 1. ask the tagging editor for an explanation 2. ask on the talk page 3. remove the tag. All these options are legitimate.
Your claim that this tag is more misused than others is perhaps true, but on the other hand, I agree with Volunteer Marek that this is your limited experience only. As the Talmud already said that "I have not seen" is not a proof. Other tags are also misused sometimes, and therefore this discussion would create a precedent. As such, it is imperative to open a discussion at a more broadly visited forum like Wikipedia:Village pump or Wikipedia:Centralized discussion.
Your last argument in (F) is your standard "I like" of which you accused me yourself. Proving just another piece of Talmudic wisdom, that people accuse others of their own shortcomings. In any case, your "arguments" don't fly with me. Debresser (talk) 17:19, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Requiring edits to a page to go through talk page consensus before hitting the article is contrary to WP:5. Everyone should be able to edit the encyclopedia. Adding procedural fluff only hurts the project. If there is a problem with an edit, then it can go WP:BRD like everything else. The RfC appears to be a gross violation of WP:AGF against those who might tag an article. aprock (talk) 01:57, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── FYI, having been suggested that this is perhaps a bigger topic, I added an entry to the list of 3RR exemptions to talk about ambiguous tags. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:08, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
No way. I was going to revert it myself but someone got there literally within seconds of your edit. There's no way that is going to fly. Again, this seems like some kind of axe-grinding on your part.Volunteer Marek (talk) 14:45, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Eventually I'll start a talk thread there, with a cross link to this tag-specific thread, and we'll see what other perspectives arise.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:53, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure what problem you're fixing here. Bullshit POV tags? They can and should be removed without this requirement. Someone is reverting a bullshit POV tag removal? That is also a problem that is managed using the existing policies regarding edit wars, consensus, user conduct disputes, etc. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:45, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose This just makes it difficult to keep pages neutral, one of the three core policies of Wikipedia. Meatpuppets and friends of people who have no intent of keeping a neutral article will use phony consensus to keep a neutral pov template off of the page. Bad policy. What are people trying to hide here? What agenda are people trying to push by censoring pov problems? - Sidelight12 Talk 01:18, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose We need more help in removing bias from articles, not more roadblocks, which is all this would accomplish. DreamGuy (talk) 18:53, 15 February 2014 (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.

Request for comments on an issue in a tag similar to this one[edit]

Hi, there is a general issue with a tag that is related to this one, and I would like to request some feedback since the problems are similar to some of those that have been discussed here earlier.

Please have a look at Template talk:Unreliable sources, and reply in that talk page if you want to comment. The reason why I'm posting about it here is because it doesn't seem like anyone is watching the other template's talkpage. Anonimski (talk) 15:20, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Two cents offered. DonIago (talk) 16:22, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Request for template Correction / Update in line with core policy[edit]

Hi, there appears to be a discrepancy between the template and the core Wikipedia policy on NPOV, which has caused a fair bit of confusion on the Malaysia Airlines MH17 Article Talk page. The template uses the phrase "reliable secondary sources", while the NPOV uses "reliable sources". I attach the comment I just put on the MH17 Article Talk page, so that you are aware of it and can update the template appropriately.

Thanks Volunteer Marek, I see exactly what you mean! The Template says one thing, while the WP:NPOV says another!
The Template does indeed say “The neutral point of view is determined by the prevalence of a perspective in high-quality, independent, reliable secondary sources, not by its prevalence among Wikipedia editors or the public.”
Unfortunately, the Template isn’t fully consistent with Wikipedia policies, I quote a couple:-
“Editing from a neutral point of view (NPOV) means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic.” Note the use of phrase "reliable sources", instead of "reliable secondary sources" per Template. The core policy does not exclude the use of reliable primary and tertiary sources.
The core policy is further reinforced on the following excellent link "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Identifying_and_using_primary_and_secondary_sources", which goes on to explain the subtleties under various headings:-
  • "Secondary" is not another way to spell "good"
  • "Primary" is not another way to spell "bad"
  • "Are news-reporting media secondary or primary sources?"
The last section is definitely recommended reading for all editors on this article, because it shows that the many items in the MH17 article are in fact primary sources (either outright or by Wikipedia policy), even when we mistakenly think of them as "secondary".

The Template has been in existence since Dec 2003. The phrase “reliable secondary sources” wording was first introduced on 27 January 2008 by User CBM, who is an Administrator and mainly writes on mathematical logic, per his User page. It is a different world in the arena of academic and scientific articles, where use of primary sources is generally not helpful (quote from Wikipedia docs: " Primary sources may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements that any educated person—with access to the source but without specialist knowledge—will be able to verify are directly supported by the source.", an educated person would NOT be able to understand a specialist subject, therefore not allowed).
The Template can be corrected quite easily by removing the word “secondary” and perhaps adding an explanation for different arenas, e.g. current events, scientific research, etc. Using proper Wikipedia process, of course!
It could be a simple error, or perhaps the rules have changed but the template was mnot updated. I’ll leave a note on CBM User page. If anyone knows the process for alerting Template editors, or even finding out who they are, please help me here - I'm still a newbie, and alert them to a request for Template update in line with the current Wikipedia policy.

Tennispompom (talk) 11:25, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

It's probably not an error, and it would probably make sense to make the use of primary sources more strict, not less. Many POV disputes arrise because many editors do not understand how to use a primary source properly. Their resulting edits often result in WP:SYNTHESIS and sometimes WP:OR. In fact, overuse of primary sources is one of the barometers of POV editing. In particular, primary sources cannot be used to establish WP:DUE weight. Additionally, most sources are mix of primary and secondary content, and it's quite common for editors to take what are largely secondary sources, and to present any novel conclusions contained therein without evaluating those novel conclusions in the broader body of work. aprock (talk) 17:15, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
The template (displayed above as it looks in articles) doesn't mention sources at all. I guess you mean the template documentation at Template:POV/doc which was transcluded on the template page Template:POV by CBM 27 January 2008 [1] but had other content then [2] and didn't contain any of the words in "reliable secondary source". "secondary" was added by User:SlimVirgin 19 September 2012.[3] By the way, Template:POV/doc is not protected and can be edited by anyone with no template knowledge. PrimeHunter (talk) 18:04, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
The 4th bullet in the Template Documentation, Template usage box has been extensively quoted on the article's talk page, and it has the text "reliable secondary sources" in it.
Here's the link to the archived version where text "reliable secondary sources" is first mentioned: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:POV&oldid=187309437
The word "secondary" has caused confusion on the MH 17 article talk page, because it contradicts the following doc: "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Identifying_and_using_primary_and_secondary_sources", in particular the Section Title "Are news-reporting media secondary or primary sources?".
Are you saying that the Template documentation should not be quoted in Talk discussions when explaining policy? Because that's what's been happening. Tennispompom (talk) 20:20, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The policy is WP:NPOV. It is one of the WP:5 pillars of wikipedia. To the extent that the template documentation is useful it is to underscore policy. The precise language of the template is not all that critical, but the precise language of the policy is. Refer to that instead. aprock (talk) 20:50, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Aprock, much appreciated. Tennispompom (talk) 21:35, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
You are right that https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:POV&oldid=187309437 is dated 27 January 2008 and says "reliable secondary sources" today, but it didn't before 19 September 2012. This is due to a feature which sometimes causes confusion. If you view an old page version which transcludes another page then the other page is used with the content it has today and not the content it had at the time. This can actually be seen directly at https://web.archive.org/web/*/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:POV which has stored the rendered page many times, including 17 September 2012 and 25 September 2012. PrimeHunter (talk) 21:54, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Badge of shame[edit]

On multiple occasions I've seen editors argue for the removal of a POV tag because it shouldn't be used as "badge of shame." I'd simply like some help understanding what this means. In addition I think some clarification in the template is due. There's no reference to the term in WP:NPV. Based on discussion on this page and in my own experience, it seems to me it's ambiguous at the moment and can be used to justify the removal of a legitimate tag. Moreover, it's difficult for a legitimate tagger to respond when they are accused of using a tag as a badge of shame, when the accusation is ambiguous. (Full disclosure: I'm in a "badge of shame" dispute at the moment. This is a good-faith attempt to understand, not to forum shop.) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:45, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

In this context, seems to me that
"Badge of shame" is synonymous with "Drive-by tagging"
and both refer to editors tagging the article but refusing to make substantive comment on the talk page. When an ed points at specific turns of phrase or sources and makes cogent argument for why it is not neutral, these terms would not apply. In contrast, in "badge of shame" cases the tagging ed never appears at article talk, or if they they do appear at article talk they skip over the specific reasons for the tag, and instead say only (and sometimes verbosely) that the tag is obviously necessary to "warn the reader", or words to that effect. See WP:IJUSTDONTLIKEIT. You can ask a few times for specifics, and if they keep ignoring that request some would say that is disruptive (see WP:DISRUPTSIGNS). Awhile back I proposed that before using this tag an editor should be required to initiate a talk page thread, but the proposal was shot down. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 19:17, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Some users use the "badge of shame" argument to remove tags for which substantive arguments and legitimate concerns about neutrality have been voiced at the talkpage. That procedure is not sanctioned by the policy. If an editor presents legitimate substantial and concrete arguments or concerns about neutrality then the tag should stay in place untill there is a consensus that the page is sufficiently neutral. It doesnt matte i POV tags have been in place for a long time, if the concerns have not been discussed or addressed - as long as the editor who originally placed it there presented enough of an argument for the concerns could be acted upon by others. An editor who places the tag has no responsibility for actually fixing the article, but does have a responsibility to make their concerns sufficiently concrete so that others can fix the neutrality concerns, or to engage in dialogue with editors who disagree with the concerns in order to build consensus. POV tags are warnings to readers, alerting them to the fact that an editor has expressed concern, and they cannot be removed untill there is a talkpage consensus that the concern is not warranted by the article. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 20:39, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
This is exactly where I stand and I think something to this effect should be included in the template description. I'm also puzzled by the usage notes saying the tag shouldn't be used to warn readers about the article, as that has always struck me as one of the benefits of legitimate tagging. This purpose is also sanctioned by WP:TAGGING. But, enough of my views, I'd like to hear more from the anti-tagging crowd. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 20:48, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
I also agree with Manus, except that readers should be informed, not warned. The tag should only be used to solicit article improvements, and should never be used to "warn readers". The former emphasizes the need to articulate problems that can potentially be repaired, and the latter invites disruptive back-and-forth culture war tagging/untagging. If anyone's neutral knowledge of the RSs is enough to get in a tizzy about warning readers, they should rather take a few minutes to inform the readers by fixing the perceived problems. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 21:06, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
In practical terms what is the difference between being informed of something bad and being warned about it? I know the policy says what yuo say, but I consider it to be a question of semantics. And I also believe it is essentially incorrect to consider the template to be basically meant to inform editors and not readers - of that were the case we could use a category instead.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 21:51, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Flawed reasoning.... you're assuming every ed interested in an article makes use of cats. Many, like me, never even look at them, with the result that I wouldn't even know about a cat entry, much less care. Since the two-part goal is to make sure interested editors know and nudge them to care, plastering the template in plain sight for everyone who stops by the article is waaaaaaay more effective.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 08:53, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Cleanup tags are meant exclusively for editors. The aim is to draw readers into fixing problems. They are not intended to be some sort of scoring system. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 20:03, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I've been linked to this discussion for being an early user of the "badge of shame" phrase when referring to this tag. I should point out that I'm actually a firm proponent of "drive-by tagging", and in general I support the inclusion of cleanup tags where they are necessary. But I draw a clear distinction between "cleanup tags", where there is an obvious problem with an article that requires no discussion, and "dispute tags" which are used to alert editors to ongoing talk page action. In the latter case I believe tagging should be strictly limited to the duration of an active discussion, and where a discussion has become stale the tag should be removed. {{POV}} is a dispute tag rather than a cleanup tag; as such, any use should be accompanied by an open talk page discussion, and the absence of the latter should permit the removal of the former. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 22:38, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! So what does "badge of shame" mean to you? --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 00:13, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I hadn't really thought about cleanup vs dispute tags, though I've been here quite awhile now. I wonder how many other eds are aware of the distinction? Anyway, thanks for a good pithy statement. I agree completely, Thumper. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:35, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I dont believe that distinction makes sense at all - NPOV is also a cleanup tag. It is also false that a NPOV tag necessarily involves a dispute, sometimes every active editor agrees that the article is biased, they just dont do anything about it, and untill they do the article should remain tagged.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 04:30, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree. There are also many low-traffic articles with real NPV problems. These can and probably should be tagged to recruit editors to resolve the issues. The tagger leaves the explanation on the talk page and there is no response, until perhaps a year later someone notices the tag and takes up the task to fix the problem. This is exactly how tagging should work. I see no reason for the tag to be removed after some unspecified period due to lack of dispute or fix. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 05:06, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
@Maunus, if there is consensus that its biased, there's no reason to remove the tag. Where there is at least one active editor who thinks otherwise, that person has every right to remove the tag if none of the others make a tangible statement of the problem. So for POV tag to remain there should be either (A) consensus that there is bias, or (B) an active dispute based on the tagging ed's tangible and actionable statement of the problem. Lacking either a consensus or this sort of reasoning-based dispute, the tag should be struck. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 08:53, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
There is also an option 3. namely that the original tagger left a concrete rationale for the tag on the talkpage, which noone then ever responded to. This is not a dispute, but it does provide a rationale that is sufficient that noone should remove the tag without either fixng the concerns or stating why they disagree with the tag's validity.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 22:43, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I'd prefer evidence that this is actually a thing before any action is taken on it. Anecdotally, pretty much every time I've seen a stale dispute tag the issue has either been quietly resolved without further discussion or the original complaint didn't really warrant a tag in the first place. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 10:07, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Quite. The argument here appears to be that we're suffering because of people summarily removing this tag when it's still applicable. I'd prefer to see evidence of this being commonplace before we start changing our documentation. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 19:59, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I am not sure that many people do it, but many people use the "badge of shame" argument in this way in discussions - which is of course a misapplication of the policy wording.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 22:43, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Given that cleanup templates don't actually have any feelings, I'm not sure why it matters how editors refer to them so long as they're following our usage guidelines. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 10:07, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
You misunderstand me. When editors use the "badge of shame" wording as an argument for removing a POV template because it is stale or because they personally disagree with the rationale that is a misapplication of the policy. The problem is that the current policy wording does suggest that POV templates should not be on the article for a extended periods and that they can be removed without consensus or fixing the problems because they shouldnt be "badges of shame". ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 18:03, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
I think that can be fixed with minor rewording. The sentence as a whole certainly implies a more nuanced meaning, basically "don't just use this as a badge of shame". Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 12:56, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
(But rather than getting into a far ranging discussion about the proper use of tags, I'd still like to get Chris's view on what "badge of shame" means, and perhaps whether/how it might be clarified.) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 05:08, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
The phrase is linked to an article which explains the general meaning of the term. I'm not sure what more clarification you require here. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 19:56, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward), why are you "a firm proponent" of drive-by tagging, given that such tagging often has no validity? How are editors to know what is non-WP:Neutral about the article if the matter is not stated on the article talk page? That is, unless the non-WP:Neutral factor is blatantly obvious. After all, there is the fact that people commonly misunderstand the WP:Neutral policy. Flyer22 (talk) 05:20, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
{{linkrot}}, {{tooshort}}, {{external links}}, {{too many see alsos}} are either blatantly self-explanatory or link to clear documentation which explains exactly how to fix the underlying problem. Only the most virulent anti-taggers consider removing such templates merely because there were no talk page thread when the problems are still present to be acceptable. In contrast, the long-standing consensus is that discussion is mandatory for dispute tags, because the problem is rarely clean-cut and may require far more significant work on the article than with a mere cleanup tag. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 19:56, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You can also do drive-by untagging, so it balances out a bit. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:55, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward), thanks for explaining. I don't object to drive-by tagging when the problem is blatantly obvious, which is why I stated above "unless the non-WP:Neutral factor is blatantly obvious." I was also focusing on the non-WP:Neutral (POV) tag. Generally, I am against drive-by tagging in the case of that tag. And its template obviously states not to do drive-by tagging with that tag. Flyer22 (talk) 21:05, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Quite. So given that the documentation is already in line with our expectations on usage, what's the problem here? Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 10:09, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

A badge of shame, as the article says, is a label whose main purpose is to communicate severe disapproval. If Alice disagrees with the content of Example, and consensus is that the content is fine, then Alice doesn't get to add this tag after the discussion, as a form of communicating her disagreement with the consensus to readers. (Yes, I've seen people do that.)

Drive-by tagging is a completely different thing. (Both behaviors are discouraged for this particular tag.) I don't object to drive-by tagging in principle. However, I understand why the community finds it so frustrating, especially when people are wielding "big deal" tags like this one on pages that don't seem to have problems. However, in other cases, the problem is so obvious that no discussion is really necessary (although a quick trip to the page history might be). Although the problem of stale tags is a wiki-wide scourge, I personally will not remove an NPOV tag, no matter how old or how un-discussed, if the problem is truly obvious. If it's not obvious, and the tag is old, then I assume that the problem has since been resolved (or that the tag was placed as a mistake), and I usually pull it.

I believe that the underlying theme is that this tag should be added when your intention is attracting problem-solving attention from other editors. It should not be intended to be permanent. It should not be added if there is a consensus that no problem exists. It should not be added if the problem isn't significant enough for you to leave a quick message on the talk page, or at least if you're not willing to explain why you added it upon request. It should not be added if you are actively obstructing solutions (I wouldn't expect that of anyone here, but I have seen that in a few highly contentious subjects). It should be used as part of the solution, not as a way to concede failure. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:55, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

WhatamIdoing, well said. Flyer22 (talk) 21:05, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
@What, why tolerate POV tagging with no explanation unless requested? That amounts to delay and needless procedural folderol, compared to the simplicity and aide bestowed on everyone else if the tagger just explains right up front at the time of tagging. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 22:51, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
In some cases, the problem is (IMO) so severe that I might think that any explanation is redundant. I might therefore think that posting even a quick message about it is pointless bureaucracy and a waste of time. But perhaps you don't see the problem that is so obvious to me. In that case, you might ask me for an explanation (optional on your part), which I should be willing to give you. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:33, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, I like your take a lot, except that I'm a bit confused by your take on the term "badge of shame." Our Badge of shame article doesn't describe the term as you say, and it suggests the term only applies to people or groups of people. In addition it doesn't seem like the desire to "communicate severe disapproval" is a bad thing. Any legitimate POV tagging could be described as a communication of severe disapproval. Reading the remainder of your comment, it strikes me that maybe you mean "badge of shame" to apply to taggings that aren't made in a collaborative spirit or with the intention of improving the article. Am I close? --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 07:09, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
The authors of the articles often take these tags very personally, and this tag has been abused in attempts to shame Wikipedia-the-project (people).
Communicating your personal severe disapproval of the editors' consensus is not permitted in mainspace at all. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:33, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
I broadly agree with all of what WhatamIdoing has said, though again my primary concern here is that for all this discussion nobody seems to have articulated an actual problem with the present documentation, such that it's acting to the detriment of the project. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 10:07, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
My primary goal in starting this discussion wasn't to fix a problem, but to educate myself. But I did actually articular an actual problem, in that the reference to "badge of shame" is ambiguous, leading to it sometimes being used to justify the removal of legitimate tags, and that it is difficult to have discussions about whether a tag is being used as badge of shame when the tag description doesn't make it clear what that means. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 17:44, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Proposal: Remove "badge of shame wording"[edit]

I suggest we remove the entire paragrap h stating "This template should not be used as a badge of shame. Do not use this template to "warn" readers about the article.". The reason is that I think the template should be used both as a warning for readers and editors, and as a badge of shame, in the sense that it should make us as editors feel that the article is inadequate and move us to fix the problems. Suggesting that the template is only used to attract editors to the article does not reflect the actual way that templates are used, and also they ignore the fact that templates like these are a help for readers who are better able to take a critical stance when they read an article with this tag on top. I don't think we need this eording at all.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 18:08, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Basically, I disagree with everything you say here. Self-references should not be aimed at readers. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:33, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
In wikipedia readers and editors are the supposed to be the same, any reader is a potential future editor. So first of all the distinction between readers and editors as audience is impossible - it will necessarily be seen and noticed by both groups. Secondly, there are very good reasons to think of certain kinds of templates as being a service to readers who do not yet consider themselves editors, this is particularly the case those templates that draw attention to potentially erroneous or otherwise problematic content. So the notion that templates can be aimed only at editors is both impossible and undesirable.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 19:44, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
I firmly disagree with all of that. As far as I'm concerned, it's settled consensus that tags are aimed solely at editors. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 12:58, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Essentially, Maunus is proposing that the encyclopedia tell the reader that the peomple working on the encyclopedia cannot edit neutrally. The product will inform the reader that the product is flawed. I cannot accept this admission of defeat. We must work to make the encyclopedia as good as possible, and represent the results as best as possible. Binksternet (talk) 20:02, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
    That is a nonsense argument, or at the very least a gross misrepresentation/misunderstanding of my argument. It is a fact that wikipedia editors sometimes cannot edit neutrally. It is a reasonable thing to do to let reader know when that is the case. It is not an admission of defeat it is a sign that the work is still in progress and that improvements can be expected. Just like we put a star on our best articles, it makes sense to let the readers know which articles are still not up to scratch. Wikipedia, unlike paper encyclopedias, is a work in progress the the fact that we know which articles need work should inspire confidence in the reader. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 20:35, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
    It is equally a fact that some editors cannot tag neutrally, and when someone adds a tag for the primary purpose of "warning readers" that said editor disagrees with the community's consensus, then that tag should not be permitted (especially since most non-editing users believe that those tags are added only by admins or moderators, and not by any old POV pusher who happens to come by). WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:16, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
    The template already states explicitly that a tag can be removed when there is consensus to do so. Changing the policy on warning is not going to change that, the teplate would and should be usd when there is a consensus that a page is not neutral.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 03:12, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
    No: when there is a consensus that the page is not neutral, then the page should get fixed, not tagged. Tags exist to attract attention to a discussion about whether there is a problem and how to address it. You don't need a consensus to add this tag and/or start a discussion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:59, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
    Does this mean we should do away with POV tags altogether? --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 20:25, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
    I don't think so. While this tag has been abused, it has also been put to really effective use. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:27, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose I haven't studied the above—is there an indication of the underlying problem? Normally when people discuss something like this they are actually thinking of a case where user A wanted to tag an article and B said they were just using it as a badge of shame. In my experience, B is almost always correct. If A wants a tag to tell the world about their dissatisfaction, let them give a detailed account on talk which clearly demonstrates a problem (in which case B's claims can be ignored and the proposed change to the documentation is not relevant). Johnuniq (talk) 01:01, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  • oppose. while badge of shame is a catchy phrase it is not really defined, and I could live without it. however the proposal also seeks deletion of the "warn the reader" language, which I view as an entirely different question, and I am opposed to removing that because doing so would encourage even more POV tags that are not supported with a reason on the talk page.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 01:35, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
    The template would still state explicitly that no tag can be placed without discussion and that it cannot remain if there is consensus to remove it.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 03:09, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
    No, it won't, because it doesn't say that now. You can place it without discussion. However, if you don't start a discussion, any other editor may (optionally, entirely at his or her discretion) remove it. See RFC 2119 for the definitions: You "should" discuss your concerns. "Should" does not mean "must". WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:59, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
    "warning readers" is cited as the reason for tags on articles in my watch list at least 3x/ year and usually with prolonged FORUM gishgallop unactionable nonsense So it does not hurt to keep that if your implication of redundancy is correct, and it helps to be able to point to that bit of usage instruction in situations like I described. retention has no cost but generates project improvement. Still opposed to removing "do not use POV tag towarn the reader"NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:28, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  • As fond as I am of the tagging system, I'm firmly of the belief that dispute tags should be used exclusively to highlight an ongoing discussion. They occupy a space somewhere between AfD / page move tags (which are strictly time-limited) and cleanup tags (which stay until the problem is fixed) but cannot be neatly aligned with either. Accordingly, we need to impress upon editors both that they are not intended as permanent fixtures (a stalemate or an abandonment of discussion on talk should necessitate the removal of the tag) and also that they should not be summarily removed while there is a discussion. I think the current wording does that rather well, and I don't think it requires anything more than minor wording adjustments. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 13:02, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
amen to that!NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:38, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Alternate proposal: replace "badge of shame" with clearer language[edit]

It's evident we're not going to reach a consensus anytime soon on proper tagging procedures. This discussion has strayed far beyond its intended scope. All I want is clarification on what "badge of shame" means in the context of POV tagging. The only explanation given in this discussion was by WhatAmIDoing, who says "badge of shame" means when a tag is used to signal disapproval of an existing NPV consensus. Does anyone disagree with this understanding? If yes, please explain your own understanding of the term. Otherwise, I propose the following language in the usage notes: "The purpose of this group of templates is to attract editors with different viewpoints to edit articles that need additional insight. This template should not be used to disapprove of a consensus the tagging editor disagrees with, or to "warn" readers about the article." --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 16:48, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

I don't see that replacing a metaphor which seems to be broadly understood with a much wordier explanation is productive. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 17:39, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't see any evidence that the metaphor is broadly understood. Let's start with you, do you agree with WhatAmIDoing's interpretation? (I don't know why this has to be so adversarial; we can always benefit from a little clarity, especially on contentious issues such as POV tagging. Some people such as yourself claim to understand what "badge of shame" means and some claim not to understand. Why not educate us?) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 17:53, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

To aid in a direct comparison, here are the two versions, the current instructions first, the proposed change second:

  • The purpose of this group of templates is to attract editors with different viewpoints to edit articles that need additional insight. This template should not be used as a badge of shame. Do not use this template to "warn" readers about the article.
  • The purpose of this group of templates is to attract editors with different viewpoints to edit articles that need additional insight. This template should not be used to disapprove of a consensus the tagging editor disagrees with, or to "warn" readers about the article.

To me, the "badge of shame" concept is very simple and clear. The proposed "disapprove of a consensus the tagging editor disagrees with" is not as widely applicable, as a consensus may not exist at the article talk page. Binksternet (talk) 18:00, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

If the concept is so simple and clear to you, then please explain it to the rest of us. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:28, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I think that, at this point, you already understand it.
I often find in writing policies and guidelines that a little "unnecessary" wordiness, and especially explaining the same concept using in three or four different sets of words, helps more people understand the ideas. You might understand the first explanation, and the next person might understand the next one. (Some arrive at the page already understanding everything, so whatever it says automatically makes sense to them.)
Consequently, I'm not opposed to adding other descriptions. If you're worried about the volume, then one less obtrusive way to do that is with footnotes. However, I also find that what you might call a catchy phrase helps some people remember the concepts. This particular phrase has been quoted a couple hundred times since it was posted here, which I believe indicates that some editors are finding it to be helpful.
Your proposed wording is a bit awkward. Something more like "Do not add this template when there is a consensus that the article is neutral, even if you disagree with the consensus" would be simpler. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:15, 13 March 2015 (UTC)