Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles

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From time to time, editors insert additional disclaimers into an article either as text or as a template – for instance, "This article contains profanity" or "This article is not suitable for children" or "Spoiler ahead".

While ideas like this have been continually proposed, the consensus is that they should not be used. In fact, all articles already have a disclaimer, linked at the bottom of this page and every other page on Wikipedia. Additional disclaimers in encyclopedia articles should generally be removed, and disclaimer templates should be removed and deleted.

There are a few notable exceptions:

  • "Technical" disclaimers assisting the user with display problems, such as {{contains Indic text}}. These do not refer to article content but to issues related to the proper display of article content.
  • Current event and temporal templates such as {{current}} or {{recent death}}. These alert the reader that the article content may be subject to a flux of recent and upcoming significant changes for reasons beyond the control of Wikipedia.
  • Some article message box templates, such as {{POV}}, {{original research}} or {{cleanup}}, are technically disclaimers but are by design temporary. They point to deficiencies in the article that should be corrected promptly, and articles with these deficiencies are always denied featured article status.

What are disclaimers?[edit]

For the purpose of this guideline, disclaimers are templates or text inserted into an article that duplicate the information at one of the five standard disclaimer pages:

Why disclaimers should not be used[edit]

  • They are redundant with the disclaimer linked at the bottom of every page.
  • Wikipedia is not censored.
  • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and is not a how-to guide.
  • It is hard to define which articles should have a disclaimer (e.g., what defines an "adult content" article, which varies dramatically by culture and individual). Allowing some disclaimers would generate a significant overhead of disputes regarding where to draw the line; this draws editors away from more productive tasks.
  • The lack of the disclaimer on certain pages as opposed to others might open Wikipedia to lawsuits.
  • They take up large amounts of page space when used in banner form.

Dissenting opinions[edit]

Minority arguments in favour of disclaimers have included:

  • Some content may offend some people, and the lack of such disclaimers may preclude them from knowing when a given article contains that content.
  • The benefits of disclaimers are immediate, frequent, and obvious; whereas, lawsuits are distant, rare, and hypothetical.

Status of this guideline[edit]

This content guideline represents a solid and longstanding consensus on the English Wikipedia. It has not been elevated to the status of policy, because of the few possible exceptions listed above, and a certain room for disagreement about precisely how far these exceptions should be taken.

Unlike the fundamental policies of WP:NPOV, WP:V, and WP:OR, the current consensus on disclaimers is still negotiable. Indeed, several non-English Wikipedia projects do allow certain disclaimers which this guideline precludes (e.g., de:Vorlage:Gesundheitshinweis, pt:Predefinição:Aviso médico, and it:Categoria:Template disclaimer).

Nonetheless, any future modifications of this guideline should be implemented only after consensus for the change has been achieved.

Previous discussions[edit]

A short list of previous discussions is at Wikipedia talk:Risk disclaimer#More disclaimer templates. Some older discussion are at Wikipedia talk:Risk disclaimer or in the templates for deletion archives.

See also[edit]

Talk page disclaimer templates[edit]