Wikipedia:Ambox Suggestions

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Wikipedia articles have become crowded with Amboxes (Article Message Boxes). These boxes are editorial criticisms of content in articles. They are useful for encouraging corrections, but they have some problems of their own:

  • Amboxes are confusing to newer users of Wikipedia: they suggest that Wikipedia cannot be trusted.
  • Amboxes clutter up the start of articles so that readers are annoyed.
  • Amboxes, like textual megaphones, are often pointedly offensive to prior editors of articles, thus discouraging further constructive participation.
  • Amboxes discourage new participants from joining an article, because they taint articles. While removing vandalism is a shared goal of all responsible Wikipedians, Amboxes have a presumed merit. You can't tar and feather an article and then expect it to make friends (i.e. attract edits).
  • Amboxes remove the implied good faith of article editors, thus failing to recognize that editing articles is difficult enough for busy people without others stamping "Stupid" on their foreheads.
  • Amboxes provide a cop-out for editors who find it easier to poke fun at the work done by others that to fix things themselves.
  • Amboxes make Wikipedia a more hostile place. The whole project is meant to be collaborative, not competitive and spiteful: more Sesame Street and less Lord of the Flies.

Suggestions:

  • Place some Amboxes on the top of the discussion page.
  • Place some Amboxes at the bottom of the article page.
  • Use fewer Amboxes.
  • Make some Amboxes just an icon. Interested users can click on the icon to see what it means. "Amboxers" will still get their stamp of disapproval, it just won't be as annoying to everyone else.
  • Create a climate of that encourages deliberative repairing of articles. Discourage drive-by critics.