Wikipedia:Discussing cruft

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"Cruft" is computer jargon for excessive or needlessly detailed information. It has become adopted by the Wikipedia community in order to describe information that embodies excessive detail and triviality, to the point that it violates Wikipedia's policies and guidelines.

Many Wikipedians use "cruft" as a shorthand term to describe content that is inappropriate for Wikipedia, and the use of this term should not always be treated as a bad faith dismissal of the information. Nevertheless, editors who declare something to be "cruft" should take care to explain in their rationale for deletion which policy it fails and why it fails it.[1]

How to talk about cruft[edit]

Cruft is a real problem, not a dirty word[edit]

Bad Example:

  • I agree that this does not belong in Wikipedia. But calling it cruft is offensive. –Workingeditor 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)

Good Example:

  • I would appreciate it if you would help me identify the cruft. This article can be cleaned up and improved. –Workingeditor 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)

Cruft is a real problem in Wikipedia. Excessive or needless information prevents Wikipedia from meeting its content standards. Such content can make Wikipedia harder to read, harder to navigate, less reliable, and generally affect Wikipedia's quality and reputation. Although editors may sometimes disagree about what is or is not cruft, it does not make Wikipedia's policies and guidelines any less valid or important. Cruft is not a four-letter word. Honest efforts to identify and fix cruft should be taken in good faith.

Don't just state it[edit]

Bad Example:

  • Delete this is cruft. –Crufthater 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)

Good Example:

  • Delete this content as it is completely unverified cruft. Because no one can find reliable secondary sources on this subject we should delete it. –Crufthater 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a democracy. Expressing your opinion is okay. But opinions on Wikipedia gain more weight when they are backed by logic and evidence. Your opinion will not have much credibility if it is just a bald assertion. Learn to make stronger arguments and your voice will make a stronger impact. Learn to understand the policies and guidelines of Wikipedia and learn to apply these standards when evaluating whether information is cruft. Above all, learn to be specific and clear.

Talk about articles, not editors[edit]

Bad Example:

  • This is a lot of cruft. Are the editors of this article stupid? –Crufthater 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)

Good Example:

  • This content is a lot of cruft. Let us work together to fix it. –Crufthater 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)

Civility is a standard all editors have to follow. Honest and constructive criticism is always valuable. But insulting editors is considered an act of incivility. A pattern of gross incivility may result in action from an administrator. Focus on the cruft itself rather than the person who added it.

Articles don't have feelings[edit]

Bad Example:

  • Please don't call my article cruft. I worked hard on it and you're hurting my feelings. –Workingeditor 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)

Good Example:

  • We can verify most of this article with reliable secondary sources. If there is any cruft left, we can clean it up. –Workingeditor 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)

Nobody likes to find out that their hard work violates the policies and guidelines. But this is not a personal attack on your interests or abilities. There may be ways for you to improve your work so that it meets Wikipedia's quality standards. And there are many other sites on the Internet for what Wikipedia is not.

It's not about what you like[edit]

Bad Examples:

  • I hate this cruft. –Crufthater 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)
  • I like this article. It's useful information, not cruft. –Workingeditor 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)

Good Examples:

  • This article is cruft that violates specific guidelines ... –Crufthater 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)
  • The information is properly referenced. What is the real problem here? –Workingeditor 00:01, July 4 2008 (UTC)

Personal likes and dislikes should be avoided in deletion discussions, and in discussing articles in general. Cruft isn't whatever you don't like. Cruft is defined by what Wikipedia is not. Discuss the policies and guidelines and how they apply to the information to determine whether it is cruft.

What to do with suspected cruft[edit]

Be bold and remove it. Often that will be sufficient but if you are reverted then:

  1. Tag the article with a template message that specifically identifies the problem.
  2. Discuss which parts of the information don't belong in Wikipedia and remove it.
  3. Verify as much of the information as possible with reliable secondary sources.
  4. If cleaning up cruft will result in a short stub article, consider merging the article into a larger topic.
  5. If cleaning up cruft will result in virtually no information, consider redirecting the article or nominating it for deletion.
  6. And always engage in civil, well-reasoned discussion.

Wikipedia rules that target cruft[edit]

Policy[edit]

Guidelines[edit]

Jimbo[edit]

Notes[edit]

See also[edit]

Opinions on appropriate content[edit]

Opinions on appropriate discussion[edit]