Wikipedia talk:Talk page guidelines

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

Reverting interruptions[edit]

The guidance at WP:TPO says:

  • Interruptions: In some cases, it is okay to interrupt an editor's long contribution, either with a short comment (as a reply to a minor point) or with a heading (if the contribution introduces a new topic or subtopic; in that case, one might add ...[comments] below the heading to make the nature of the change clearer). ... One may also manually ensure that attribution is preserved by copy-pasting the original signature to just before the interruption. If an editor objects to such interruptions, interruptions should be reverted and another way to deal with the issue found. [emphasis added]

Is this to suggest that one editor may revert the other's comment? I think not. Recommend that the last sentence be revised to say "Upon request of an editor, interruptions in a long contribution should be reverted and posted elsewhere." – S. Rich (talk) 02:38, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

It is so rarely done that it (the interruptions topic) should probably be removed from the guideline entirely. Monty845 17:20, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I believe that the "posted elsewhere" sense is what was intended. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:35, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
Concur -- endorsing this practice on the guideline will just give folks something else to fight about ("some cases," "long contribution") vague terms that are just going to lead to trouble. I've removed the section per Monty's suggestion. NE Ent 21:19, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
I would still like to see interruptions addressed, if only to make clear that they should not occur. Deleting the passage saying they are sometimes acceptable does not make it clear that the consensus is (as I gather) that they are not acceptable. I have a strong bias against them because I have probably never seen a case where it aids in improving the related article or otherwise furthers discussion. In the archives, one point was made was that they're usually "tendentious" (perfect word), and I agree with that. Once an editor makes one interruption, they usually go on to interrupt further on a point-by-point basis. Another issue is that it makes further responses to the interrupting comments even harder. An additional objection I have is that it quickly becomes unclear to readers who is saying what, and it is very easy to misattribute words of one editor to another editor. I also have to disclose, I was recently in a protracted discussion with another editor who insisted on the interruptions approach, which drove me particularly batshit, so that's another reason I'd like clarity here. TJRC (talk) 21:45, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
"Interleaving was the predominant reply style in the Usenet discussion lists, years before the existence of the WWW and the spread of e-mail and the Internet outside the academic community."-Wikipedia It is also the predominant style on IETF mailing lists. So what you term "interrupting others' posts" has been and remains not just acceptable behavior, but best practice in many important arenas. "Interleaving continues to be used on technical mailing lists where clarity within complex threads is important" - ibid. On Wikipedia, clarity within complex threads is important, and interleaving, properly done, is an effective means to that end and is best practice. As noted here, within many years of discussion history,
(If you don't understand the above counterexamples and you're participating in this discussion, say so. Thx.) The latter's source.
Anyone find the above reply easy to grok, and the following hard to grok? Surely not.
I've noticed that some people don't understand how to read or participate in interleaved discussions; when they try to do so, some are frustrated. The appropriate solution is to educate these people regarding this best practice. (See especially "READING:" instruction entries below.) A clear guide would be invaluable. It's both very simple to understand and makes both reading and writing easier, but only after one learns it. And it's easy to learn.
Better tools would also be invaluable. The fact is, with a normal email client, reading and writing interleaved are both easy:
WRITING: All you do is go to the end of each statement you want to reply to, hit enter/return, and type your reply. That's it.
READING: It reads just like a novel. Easier; each contributor's comments are displayed in a color and with an indentation level unique to that contributor, and each contributor is identified right before their first comment begins. To read the latest reply, one just reads the unindented text, skipping everything else.
Currently, on Wikipedia talk pages, reading interleaved text is easy, but writing is difficult:
READING: It reads a lot like a play. Each contributor is identified at the end of their first comment, and at the end of any subsequent section of a comment. Successive replies are indented one level more than the text to which they respond; multiple responses to the same text are sometimes indented the same, but sometimes each is indented more than the previous one. This complicates the reading of both interleaved responses and bottom-posted responses. Coloring is not available.
WRITING: All you do is go to the end of each statement you want to reply to, hit enter/return, and type your reply, using a flush left set of colons before and after your reply to ensure it is indented one more level than the statement you're replying to and that the text after the statement you're replying to remains at the same level of indentation as it was before. (Add {{subst:interrupted|USER NAME OR IP}} before your reply too; often attribution is still obvious based on indentation level, but if multiple users reply to the same comment, those users' replies will have the same indentation; also, sometimes additional formatting in a discussion makes it hard to identify speakers with just indentation level to go by.) That's it.
As interleaved text is (at least where the tools don't get in the way) a superior communication style,
Well, the notion of "superior" is highly debatable. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:15, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
we certainly shouldn't be coming out and telling people not to use it.
Again, that notion is debatable, as the presumption seems faulty to say interleaved text is a "superior communication style" where the interleaved lines might overpower the simplicity of the original message, perhaps interjecting completely false issues, or ramble into tangents which obscure, or perhaps even reroute the original ideas by diverting into tangent ideas such as techniques to augment email structures with interleaved-note insertions, which might be an interesting, or even important subtopic, but far removed from the issue of talk-page rules. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:15, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Unfortunately,
Here, perhaps the word should be "Regretably" rather than "Unfortunately" as considered a side issue about fortunes, or perhaps a better choice would be the words "incidentally" or "totally unrelated to the current train of thought" and yet this line of reasoning shows another danger of interleaved text, in nitpicking the use of a single word, in the middle of the original message. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:15, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
our tools get in the way far too much for us to be prescribing its use.
Here the notion of "tools get in the way" seems entirely off-base when considering years of talk-page use with no tools involved, other than the NewPP parser changing tildes "~~ ~ ~~" into a timestamped signature. Hence, any presumptions about the use of tools, as an impediment to interleaved text, seems to boggle the mind about alleged impacts to "prescribing its use". To keep it short here, let's move on to another phrase. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:15, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I'd expect improved communication and less retirement of good editors will result when/if that changes.
At this point, with all these interleaved messages disrupting the original message, it is difficult to discern the antecedent of "when/if that changes" as to whether it refers to the above-disputed "tools get in the way" or some other issue. Please clarify here (ya right, months later). -Wikid77 (talk) 22:15, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Why?
Well, "why what" or perhaps say, "Why not?" as the interleaved response here. Also, remember how hermit crabs will test a variety of new shells, each time returning to the original shell, until finding a new shell with a better fit, and also checking for the new shell to be unoccupied by other creatures. Some might wonder the connection here to hermit crabs, but this is clear example of off-topic, tangent text within an interleaved response. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:15, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Questions are less likely to be left unanswered when the response to each question is placed directly after the question.
That notion presumes each response will be, in fact, an "answer" to each question, rather than a twisted, or off-topic reply, which might not be the case in a debated topic where the original message had presented a concise, coherent train-of-thought, but could be confused or obscured by several twisted responses intended to derail the logical flow of the message. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:15, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Points of agreement are more likely to be noted when it's easy to note one with a few keystrokes:
Well, use the bolded word "Support" to indicate agreement, followed by a phrase to clarify details. Also, note how inserting interleaved text could warp the original meaning, as if claiming the original poster thought everyone else was stupid, to which they replied below. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:15, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
"Agreed! <enter>". --Elvey (talk) 01:36, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Interleaving text above a reply (such as "Agreed") can warp the original meaning and mislead subsequent readers who do not check the date of reply. All rhetorical devices aside, unless a dialogue occurs between cooperative people, in a close timeframe, then it is too easy for opponents to slant the meaning of an original message by inserting twisted wording, as interleaved text, perhaps weeks or months later, when the original user would be unlikely to correct, or clarify, the distorted effects of the interleaved text. In general, there are too many dangers for misguided remarks, or twisting of meanings, to encourage the use of risky interleaved text, especially weeks, months or years after a comment has been posted. Hence, use of interleaved text should be avoided, or moved afterward with snippet quotes from the original message to provide context for each interleaved portion. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:15, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Because of my experience with USENET and BBS systems, I came to Wikipedia as a big fan of interspersed posting. As I started reading Wikipedia's bottom posting style I came to realize something.

  • USENET intersperse-posts because long posts are the norm.
  • Wikipedia bottom-posts because short posts are the norm.
  • For free-ranging USENET discussions, long posts are fine,
  • For discussion focusing on getting the job of improving an encyclopedia done, short posts are far more effective.

I have no answer as to why corporate email on exchange servers tends to be top-posted, or why it so often contains every attachment from every previous message. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:19, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

(off-topic) regarding corporate email: If I had to guess, I would say that it's more efficient in a business setting to see the new stuff first. Keeping the entire thread including attachments helps with "accountability" and "compliance" issues that are found in some corporate environments. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 01:56, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
That's correct. It's important to see the latest reply first as that might require action, and it's important that a clear history of the correspondence be easily and quickly accessible. Dougweller (talk) 11:48, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Template closing/resolving talk page sections[edit]

(Note: I would have searched to see if this has been discussed, but see not search box.)
I'm in a situation across a series of articles where issues are resolved after much discussion, visits to noticeboards, etc. and the same people bring the same issues up again a month or two later and the cycle starts again. (The articles even have community sanctions it's gotten so ridiculous.)

My question: I'm sure I've seen "Resolved" marks occassionally on talk page sections. Is there any way of making a template for use in such situations to at least agree upon a consensus and highlight it at the top of the section for future reference. It won't stop true new discussions, but might discourage same people from doing/writing same things over and over.

A Template that would say something like Resolution: Remove WP:OR interpretation of primary source quote, (see also WP:RSN discussion), Date . With a template something like {{resolved |outcome= txt| See also:= Noticeboard or other link|date=November 2013}} Maybe it even could become part of community sanctions. Thoughts?? User:Carolmooredc surprisedtalk 18:51, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

How do you think this would work? Are you saying that future editors can never re-examine the issue? What does that mean? Who would monitor that? Articles are continuously evolving. And what does it have to do with any Sanctions or other WP policy enforcement? Please explain. SPECIFICO talk 02:37, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
As an involved editor, I think you read my longer description of this on an article talk page that mentioned that of course new editors or new sources can reopen issues. This question is for people who have experience in talk page guidelines and processes and I assumed would know that. I think contentious articles, whether or not under sanctions, some times need at least some sort of summary if a consensus has been reached. Of course, I've seen ANI and WP:RSN summaries constantly violated, so I don't know why I think this would work. User:Carolmooredc surprisedtalk

Nearly this entire article has falsities, misrepresentation, and out right distortions. This is NOT a factual history of Copernicus, and this entire article needs much done to correct.. So much, that it should be deleted and redone.

98.156.73.236 (talk) 08:25, 28 December 2013 (UTC)Heather

98.156.73.236 Huh? This page is to discuss talk page guidelines, not the possible inaccuracies in Copernicus or whatever article it is that needs improvement. Please use that article's talk page to discuss improving that article. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 02:17, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Dealing with off topic posts[edit]

Why has it become common practice to remove (what some consider) offtopic posts from talkpages? The guidelines seems quite clear on this:

  • Be welcoming to newcomers: People new to Wikipedia may be unfamiliar with policy and conventions. Please do not bite the newcomers. If someone does something against custom, assume it was an unwitting mistake. You should politely... suggest a better approach.
  • Off-topic posts: If a discussion goes off-topic ...the general practice is to hide it by using the templates collapse top and collapse bottom or similar templates...

XOttawahitech (talk) 15:46, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

There are all sorts of off-topic posts, and it's hard to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to them. Some deserve to be nuked on sight (and occasionally RevDelled or even oversighted), others are best collapsed, others can be archived (the guideline also suggests that), and still others might be handled quite effectively with a brief reply and left unhatted. I'd like to think we have a sufficient number of clueful editors to judge these things on a case-by-case basis. In my experience, that's pretty much what happens a lot of the time. If I'm right, I guess the wording might be adjusted to better reflect the actual practice. Incidentally, another option with certain posts is to archive them. (I'm not sure I've ever done this, but the guideline mentions it as a possibility.) Rivertorch (talk) 16:46, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Agree. With the caveat that deprecating posts should not be a wikilaywering move to deprecate the other "side" or their arguments in a contentious situation or to prevent concerns from being raised. A good way to say it might be "if in doubt, do not deprecate it, or lean towards the milder method of deprecation)".North8000 (talk) 16:52, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

XOttawahitech (talk) 20:25, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Greetings and closings[edit]

Wasn't there something here about not adding letter greetings like "Hello" and letter closings like "Sincerely yours," "Warm regards," and the like? I could have sworn there was. In WP discussions, these are distracting and a waste of space, and, worse, sarcastic, when following a particularly aggressive criticism during discussion, even if not intended to be sarcastic. Civility and good etiquette should be baked into how we discuss, not feigned in decorative text. Article talk pages aren't letter exchanges, so greetings and closings should be deprecated, IMHO. "Be concise" sort of covers it, but not explicitly enough, I think. "Sign your posts" and WP:SIG describes explicitly how to do it, but don't explicitly address greetings and closings. Discuss? --Lexein (talk) 14:30, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

Bump? --Lexein (talk) 14:35, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
Bump? --Lexein (talk) 16:06, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Enough bumping. Make your edit(s) -- if folks don't like 'em they'll revert them. NE Ent 21:03, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Heh. Added, see WP:Talk page guidelines#greetings. --Lexein (talk) 05:40, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Greeting and Felicitations! Good call. Without the tone of voice and facial expressions that accompany face-to-face communication, what seems like politeness to the sender can easily come across as sarcasm or mocking to the reader. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this comment!!! --Guy Macon (talk) 08:15, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
+1 NE Ent 10:30, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't agree at all. When I get a talk page message that starts with "hello, James", I feel that I am dealing with someone who thinks of me as a person, rather than just an anonymous presence. I see absolutely no reason why anyone should take it amiss. Even if some people for some reason or other don't like such greetings, they don't have to use them. Arguments such as that an apparently friendly greeting may seem unfriendly "when following a particularly aggressive criticism" are completely irrelevant, because that is an argument about talk page posts that involve "particularly aggressive criticism", and there is no reason why they should affect how one acts when one is not making such "aggressive criticism". That is about like saying "never look at anyone , because if you were holding a gun in your hand, looking at someone might suggest that you were going to shoot them." JamesBWatson (talk) 14:44, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
I think it's fair to presume that you don't want named greetings and closings on every comment on every kind of Talk page. Anyways, please note that the main target here is collaboration discussions on Talk pages other than User talk pages, as described in the section lead paragraph WP:TPYES. But let's take two canonical bad news comments as examples:
on a User talk page:
Greetings,
You really need to read WP:RS#News organizations again - tabloids don't count. You're being seriously disruptive over at SomeRandomArticle, and are about to be taken to ANI. Wikipedia is not WP:THERAPY.
Warmest regards,
-- DisengenuousUser (talk) 01:46, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
There are no warm regards there - it's a bald lie. Decorative text doesn't make the statements any more civil or palatable. It just makes them take up glaringly more space on the page, with the cognitively dissonant pretense of politeness.
on an Article talk page:
Hello,
Who keeps deleting my book sources? What in holy hell?
Best wishes,
-- AnnoyedWellMeaningUser (talk) 01:46, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Here's a user torn between anger at loss of work, and trying to be civil about it. We're tough enough to take it without the greeting or the closing. I wouldn't chide the user for it, though, just respond sans the decoration.
That said, I don't mind the occasional greeting on my User talk page with my name in it, followed by a truly civil, polite, or even (gasp) courteous comment. It's pleasant in very small doses. If used more than that, I can't see it helping in Article talk, and it's not the practice at 99.99% of Wikipedia discussions AFAICT. So in my opinion, it's reasonable to formalize that it's not needed. --Lexein (talk) 01:46, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
JamesB's point is well taken; I've moved the section to the "article talk" section and trimmed it a bit; the second half struck me as a bit preachy, and I think it's better to focus on what to do, not what not to do. NE Ent 02:30, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough, although I think it is related to "be concise." --Lexein (talk) 06:19, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

BRD and refusal to discuss[edit]

Two things this guideline needs to do is:

  • ...keeping the proper balance so that someone who keeps re-asking a question that has been answered or who receives an answer but refuses to accept it will have difficulty using this guideline as a club. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:04, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
  • I've had those sinking-feeling discussions where my questions weren't answered except by walls of unrelated text. I agree with GM about balance. As I tried to compose an entry, I was struck that ignoring or refusing aren't in themselves wrong, just when accompanied by blathering on about something else. We need a shorter phrase to describe the problem, but longer than just "tendentious". --Lexein (talk) 05:56, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

We are to have a guideline requiring editors to answer questions addressed to them???? Really? I have just checked, and this was not posted on the first of April. So we are not to be allowed to decide what is worth answering and what isn't? Anyone who wants to can oblige me to write about something that I have no wish to write about? OK, but if we do, then let's rename the page from Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines to Wikipedia:Trolls' charter. Alternatively, we could just accept the fact that, in a voluntary project, where nobody is obliged to do anything, sometimes someone will choose not to answer a question that we would like them to answer. JamesBWatson (talk) 14:54, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Having had some absurd questions thrown at me lately, I think we can safely dispense with the "answering questions" section. But mentioning the people should look at BRD seems like an obvious addition. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 05:15, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Central points: Creating talk pages[edit]

The guidelines do not sufficiently explain whether or not one should create a talk page in order to place a {{WikiProject}} template on it; or should it be created for certain WikiProjects but not for others (for example WikiProject Disambiguation and/or WikiProject Anthroponymy)? Or perhaps this matter should rather be explained at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Council/Guide? -- -- -- 03:45, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Editing others' comments: Disambiguating or fixing links[edit]

The guidelines do not sufficiently explain whether or not one may or should fix red links in others' comments when they link to a page that never existed under that name, but which does exist under a different name or different spelling? -- -- -- 03:45, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

If a) it's an obvious typo and b) I have no reason to suspect that particular editor would object, e.g. based on past interaction, I just fix em per not a bureaucracy. NE Ent 10:30, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Do you think we should add this to the guidelines? -- -- -- 22:23, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
No. It takes experience to know when it might be desirable to fix something in a previous post, and when you might just be interfering. There is no way to sum it up in a guideline, so the simple rule of "don't" is best. In general, do not look for comments to fix. Johnuniq (talk) 01:11, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Concur, it's "covered" under the WP:NOTBURO pillar and best left to folks who have been around awhile. NE Ent 01:15, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks to both of you for responding (and so quickly!). -- -- -- 01:30, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Editing own comments (WP:REDACT)[edit]

The entire WP:REDACT section is repetitive and should be consolidated. For example, there are three separate references to using <del> tags to strike out deleted comments but only one reference to using <ins> tags to underline inserted comments.

Additionally, the text suggests amending timestamps, if comments are amended the "same day", by deleting the date and adding a new stamp after the time of the original post, the intention being that this would produce a timestamp such as "01:23/13:34, 32 Smarch 2013 (UTC)". This is a bad idea for three reasons:

  • Timestamps are automatically converted to the user's local time zone and time/date format according to their preferences. This is broken if the usual timestamp is not used. In the given example, the first time is not altered but the later time and date would be.
  • While the comment might be edited on the "same day" in the editor's time zone, the edit might be on the next date to a reader in another time zone (e.g., the above example could appear as "01:23/01:34, 33 Smarch 2013 (UTC+12)" to another user), leading to confusion as to the date of the original post was made. [Note: in this example, the edit was made more than 12 hours after the original post, however, appears to be only a few minutes later because the first time is not adjusted to the reader's time zone.]
  • Users can edit the format of timestamps, but this would not be applied to the first time as this would not be recognised as part of the timestamp, leading to inconsistent formatting.

I propose this section be amended as follows:

If it becomes necessary to edit your own comments to correct false information or remove (or redact) personal attacks, follow these guidelines:

  • Where possible, make the edits before other users reply or must step in to amend the text.
  • If anyone has already replied to or quoted the original comment, consider whether the edit could affect the interpretation of the replies or integrity of the quotes. Use "Show preview" and think about how your edited comment may look to others before you save it. Any corrected wording should fit with any replies or quotes. If this is not feasible, consider posting another message to clarify or correct the intended meaning instead.
  • Other than minor corrections for insignificant typographical errors made before other editors reply, changes should be noted to avoid misrepresenting the original post.
    • Mark deleted text with <del>...</del>, which renders in most browsers as struck-through text (e.g., wrong text).
    • Mark inserted text with <ins>...</ins>, which renders in most browsers as underlined text (e.g., corrected text).
    • If it is necessary to explain changes, insert comments in square brackets (e.g., "the default width is 100px 120px [the default changed last month]") or consider inserting a superscript note (e.g., "[corrected]") linking to a later subsection for a detailed explanation.
    • Append a new timestamp (e.g., "; edited ~~~~~" using five tildes) after the original timestamp at the end of the post.
  • Leaving false text unrevised could be worse that substantially altering a comment after someone has replied to the original post. If it is necessary to make such an edit, consider the following steps:
    • Add a comment in the edited comment (in square brackets) or below the comment to explain that you made the edit and explain why you needed to do this after others had replied to it.
    • Contact the person(s) who replied, posting on their talk page to explain the change.

Under some circumstances, you may entirely remove your comments. For example, if you accidentally posted a comment to the wrong page, and no one has replied to it yet, then the simplest solution is to self-revert your comment.

sroc 💬 13:29, 13 March 2014 (UTC) [edited to adjust example timestamps 13:44, 13 March 2014 (UTC)]

One of the worse things that an editor can do when communicating on a talk page is leave a comment out of context by removing theirs (or someone else's) or otherwise having significantly changed theirs in a way that now then misrepresents one or more of the subsequent comments. That is why I like that the current guideline states: "Removing or substantially altering a comment after a reply may deprive the reply of its original context, but leaving false text unrevised could be worse. It can also be confusing, so perhaps add '[corrected xx after reply below]'. Before you change your own comment, consider taking one of the following steps:"
And then it goes on to explain those steps. I think all of that is a good thing about the Own comments section. Flyer22 (talk) 13:42, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
The current guideline seems disorganised as it goes back and forth. It would be clearer re-organised in a bullet list like WP:TPO, which I attempted to do above without substantially altering the meaning. Do you have any suggestions on how to edit the above to better reflect the current version? sroc 💬 13:48, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Since no one else has weighed in yet, I'll go ahead and reply to your comment: I don't have any suggestions, except to reiterate that I favor keeping the aforementioned "Removing or substantially altering a comment" aspect. Flyer22 (talk) 14:23, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
@Flyer22: Note the second bullet:
  • If anyone has already replied to or quoted the original comment, consider whether the edit could affect the interpretation of the replies or integrity of the quotes. Use "Show preview" and think about how your edited comment may look to others before you save it. Any corrected wording should fit with any replies or quotes. If this is not feasible, consider posting another message to clarify or correct the intended meaning instead.
Could we re-phrase the above to address your concern? Alternatively, should the final bullet be amended? For example (changes highlighted):
  • Removing or substantially altering a comment after someone else has replied may deprive the reply of its original context, however, leaving false text unrevised could be worse. If it is necessary to make such an edit, consider the following steps:
    • Be sure to mark up your edits as shown above.
    • Add a comment in the edited comment (in square brackets) or below the comment to explain that you made the edit and explain why you needed to do this after others had replied to it.
    • Contact the person(s) who replied, posting on their talk page to explain the change.
I'm keen to avoid repetition and simplify the guideline without significantly disrupting the intended meaning. sroc 💬 05:01, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
The "If anyone has already replied" version is not stern enough for me; that's why I stated that I prefer to keep the "Removing or substantially altering a comment" aspect. Yes, as long as you keep the "Removing or substantially altering a comment" line, I can be fine with your changes. The "Contact the person(s) who replied, posting on their talk page to explain the change." line seems to me to be something we should also keep. Flyer22 (talk) 13:57, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
To be clear then, I understand that you would be happy with this version:

If it becomes necessary to edit your own comments to correct false information or remove (or redact) personal attacks, follow these guidelines:

  • Where possible, make the edits before other users reply or must step in to amend the text.
  • If anyone has already replied to or quoted the original comment, consider whether the edit could affect the interpretation of the replies or integrity of the quotes. Use "Show preview" and think about how your edited comment may look to others before you save it. Any corrected wording should fit with any replies or quotes. If this is not feasible, consider posting another message to clarify or correct the intended meaning instead.
  • Other than minor corrections for insignificant typographical errors made before other editors reply, changes should be noted to avoid misrepresenting the original post.
    • Mark deleted text with <del>...</del>, which renders in most browsers as struck-through text (e.g., wrong text).
    • Mark inserted text with <ins>...</ins>, which renders in most browsers as underlined text (e.g., corrected text).
    • If it is necessary to explain changes, insert comments in square brackets (e.g., "the default width is 100px 120px [the default changed last month]") or consider inserting a superscript note (e.g., "[corrected]") linking to a later subsection for a detailed explanation.
    • Append a new timestamp (e.g., "; edited ~~~~~" using five tildes) after the original timestamp at the end of the post.
  • Removing or substantially altering a comment after someone else has replied may deprive the reply of its original context, however, leaving false text unrevised could be worse. If it is necessary to make such an edit, consider the following steps:
    • Be sure to mark up your edits as shown above.
    • Add a comment in the edited comment (in square brackets) or below the comment to explain that you made the edit and explain why you needed to do this after others had replied to it.
    • Contact the person(s) who replied, posting on their talk page to explain the change.

Under some circumstances, you may entirely remove your comments. For example, if you accidentally posted a comment to the wrong page, and no one has replied to it yet, then the simplest solution is to self-revert your comment.

sroc 💬 14:40, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
It seems too restrictive for a guideline. The heart of the guideline is 'make any substantive change explicit.' It should not be phrased as "only do mark up this way". If users want to use brackets or small text or explanatory notes, they should not face 'mark up violation!' ... the guideline should just give 'examples' of ways to do it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:08, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
@Alanscottwalker: So...
  • Other than minor corrections for insignificant typographical errors made before other editors reply, changes should be noted to avoid misrepresenting the original post. For example:
    • Mark deleted text with <del>...</del>, which renders in most browsers as struck-through text (e.g., wrong text).
    • Mark inserted text with <ins>...</ins>, which renders in most browsers as underlined text (e.g., corrected text).
    • If it is necessary to explain changes, insert comments in square brackets (e.g., "the default width is 100px 120px [the default changed last month]") or consider inserting a superscript note (e.g., "[corrected]") linking to a later subsection for a detailed explanation.
    • Append a new timestamp (e.g., "; edited ~~~~~" using five tildes) after the original timestamp at the end of the post.
How is that? If you are not satisfied with this, could you be specific about the change you would like to see? sroc 💬 21:53, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
OK but I rather think that users feel free to do most anything -- up to including deleting -- to their post before someone else comments on it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 01:46, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Do you have any constructive ways on how to revise this, if it is not satisfactory? sroc 💬 02:22, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Yes check.svg Done sroc 💬 01:03, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

s vs del[edit]

I object to the replacement of <s></s> with <del>, as long as our editing tools support the former but not the latter. This reminds me of the failed effort to rename "talk" pages. --Elvey (talk) 16:03, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

I made this change from <s> to <del> for consistency with Wikipedia:Strikethrough:

Show deleted or inserted text

  • When editing regular Wikipedia articles, just make your changes and do not mark them up in any special way.
  • When editing your own previous remarks in talk pages, it is sometimes appropriate to mark up deleted or inserted content.
    • To indicate deleted content use <del>...</del>.
    • To indicate inserted content use <ins>...</ins>.
Markup Renders as
You can <del>strike out deleted content</del> and <ins>underline new content</ins>.
You can strike out deleted content and underline new content.
sroc 💬 22:28, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
I would propose that the other guideline be changed instead. I don't actually care about editing tools per se (everyone should use markup; wikimarkup is very simple and I don't see any need not to ask that people learn it). But <s> is just faster to type. --Trovatore (talk) 22:56, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
I was aware of that, sroc. I agree with Trovatore. Have asked Cacycle about it, apropos WikEd. --Elvey (talk) 01:26, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Fine, as long as they're consistent. I assumed <del> and <ins> were superior to <s> and <u> for some technical reason. sroc 💬 03:13, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
It comes from the Semantic Web, and I agree with Tim Berners-Lee[1]. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:36, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
You know, I have no objection to that in theory, but it seems kind of abstract to try to enforce it on users on talk pages. I wouldn't object to giving both options, together with an explanation of why one is better in theory. --Trovatore (talk) 21:49, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
In my opinion, this edit should be reverted. --Guy Macon (talk) 13:03, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Care to expand on that with reasons? sroc 💬 08:56, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
Because agree with Tim Berners-Lee[2], the World Wide Web Consortium[3] and Aaron Schwartz.[4] I could post a long explanation of why I think that the Semantic Web is a good idea, but we already have an article on it: Semantic Web. I would also note that the only argument anyone has posted against semantic markup is that 3 letters are harder to type than one letter. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:39, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Note that we have {{Strike}} (which uses <del>). Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 18:13, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Er, Andy, {{strike}} uses <s>...</s>, not <del>...</del> --Redrose64 (talk) 12:02, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Although I have a slight preference for <del>...</del> (Do a Google search on "semantic web"). I have a much stronger preference for consistency. Whether we decide on <del>...</del> or <s>...</s>, we should be consistent across help pages and templates. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:01, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Legal or Medical advice[edit]

With this edit I boldly made explicit what I believe to be already implied by the existing language. Of course I have no problem if someone disagrees and reverts the change while we discuss it.

Language before my edit:

Language after my edit:

  • Removing prohibited material such as libel, personal details, or violations of copyright, living persons or banning policies. On the reference desks, if an unambiguous request for legal or medical advice is posted, any answer providing such advice (other than simply telling the questioner to consult with a physician or attorney) may be removed. The question should not be removed, but instead should be closed with {{archive top}} and {{archive bottom}}.

In my opinion, existing policy allows actual prohibited material such as legal or medical advice to be removed, but good-faith questions asking for legal or medical advice are not themselves prohibited material.

Closing the discussion without deleting or collapsing has the following benefits:

  • It makes it visible that an editor has decided that the question is asking for legal or medical advice. The reference desks have a long history of disagreements about whether particular questions are asking for medical or legal advice. Allowing deletion makes it so that the other editors don't have a chance to disagree unless they check the page history.
  • It acts a a training tool for other editors posting questions or answers. Seeing the closed question teaches answerers to not answer those kinds of questions.
  • It avoids biting the newbies in a way that puzzles them. It is a perplexing experience to post a question and then have it disappear.

--Guy Macon (talk) 23:31, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

On a minor stylistic note, the final line could be amended:

...should be closed with {{archive top}} and {{archive bottom}}.

This has the advantage that the text can be copy-pasted whilst also linking the template pages. sroc 💬 00:00, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Done. Thanks!

In order to get more input on this, I posted notices of this discussion at:

If anyone can think of any other places that should get such a notice, please let me know. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:08, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

  • Comment - I think the second version is fine but I think we need some acknowledgement that the question has been seen, no answer can be given and it has thus been closed. Simply closing it without a note that says "it can't and won't be answered" might encourage less experienced editors to go the talk page of the asking IP or user to provide an answer. If an experienced editor closes/archives a question like that, they should be encouraged to add a note explaining why it is closed. Other than that, good idea. Stalwart111 07:03, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Good point. I was assuming that the person closing it would add that, but I didn't make that explicit. Once I am confident that my change has consensus, I will go to the reference desk guidelines and add instructions suggesting what should be in such a closing note (with my usual invite to follow WP:BRD if anyone disagrees). --Guy Macon (talk) 07:51, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Just a thought. Could this be achieved by using a tailored pair of collapsed templates (e.g., {{no advice top}} and {{no advice bottom}}) that inserts a standard explanation automatically? sroc 💬 07:54, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
The reference desks are not talk pages. I will remove this addition. The appropriate place is WP:RD/G which already says about this. Policies and guidelines should avoid overlapping. Dmcq (talk) 08:53, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
"When pages in other namespaces are used for discussion and communication between users, the same norms will usually also apply." --Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines
  • Oppose new version All Wikimedia sites have a long history of giving legal advice about copyright in telling people what they may contribute, especially regarding non-text media. I expect the community to continue giving this and other types of legal advice which are in the domain of community expertise. In general, I do not like the idea of deleting advice when it is given. When such questions are asked, people should be templated that this is not an appropriate forum. People giving advice should be admonished that this is not allowed. The advice should be hidden in an archive. However, I do not think it should be deleted unless after warnings people unreasonable persist in continuing the conversation with so much as a single post. It is community tradition to try to avoid deleting the posts of people who do not understand how Wikipedia works and to try to be nice to new users. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:23, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
The talk pages are for improving the article or policy or reference desk or help pages or whatever. They are not a forum for giving advice to people about medical or legal advice. The articles about medical matters an be read by readers. I wouldn't mind a bit of a change in the rules about legal or medical advice on the reference desks, I would support pointers to reference works or articles but no own opinion, but I know people have problems with keeping their own anecdotal ideas to themselves. This is however the wrong place to talk about the reference desks. Dmcq (talk) 11:37, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
"When pages in other namespaces are used for discussion and communication between users, the same norms will usually also apply." --Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines
"Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. For instance, unless they can convince the broader community that such action is right, participants in a WikiProject cannot decide that some generally accepted policy or guideline does not apply to articles within its scope." --Wikipedia:Consensus#Level of consensus --Guy Macon (talk) 13:34, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
As I said at the top, I have no problem with you reverting my change while we discuss it per WP:BRD, but I have a big problem with you telling Blue Rasberry that he cannot discuss the change. I hope that you are not going to make a habit of this and tell other participants in this discussion that they cannot discuss it, and I urge you to argue your own case and not try to suppress arguments that you disagree with. --Guy Macon (talk) 13:46, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Anyone can discuss the change here because that is what a talk page is about. What I pointed out was that talk pages are not a forum for discussing personal problems. The reference desk is the only place like that and it has its own guidelines because it is not a talk page. You stuck an irrelevant addition into this guideline and then misrepresented and made a personal attack against a person who removed it and said why. Dmcq (talk) 14:19, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
User:Bluerasberry, right now there are editors who interpret the current guideline as allowing deletion of both questions and answers. This is not to imply that your argument lacks merit; it just means that if the consensus agrees with you we will have to craft some specific language making it explicit, we will have to seek consensus to change Wikipedia:Medical disclaimer and Wikipedia:Legal disclaimer, and we will have to make sure that the WMF legal department is OK with it. In other words, it is a proposal for a major policy change which needs its own discussion per WP:PROPOSAL. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:06, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
User:Guy Macon I am not going to propose to change current policy, but for now I do oppose the changes in this request for policy on the grounds that I feel they make Wikipedia less friendly to new users. I am presuming that this change would affect new users. I regret that new users have it hard in existing policy, but at least I do not want to make things worse for them. I know that the legal disclaimer says that Wikipedia does not give legal opinions, but the truth is that Wikipedia gives more legal opinions on copyright than the rest of the Internet put together. I support stating that Wikipedia does not give legal opinions but I oppose new and harsher enforcement of this which would only discourage new users and bring no benefit. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:18, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Also, thanks for moderating this. I want to take a conservative stance on this and not do anything new or radical. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:21, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
That's a fair argument and I am glad you made it. I think we are on the same page about being cautious about any changes and this being about what is best for the encyclopedia rather than about "winning". --Guy Macon (talk) 14:52, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Why did you put something about the reference desks into the ttalk page gyuideline when there is the reference desk gguideline and the reference desks are not talk pages? Dmcq (talk) 14:23, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
What part of
"When pages in other namespaces are used for discussion and communication between users, the same norms will usually also apply." --Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines
and
"Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. For instance, unless they can convince the broader community that such action is right, participants in a WikiProject cannot decide that some generally accepted policy or guideline does not apply to articles within its scope." --Wikipedia:Consensus#Level of consensus
are you having trouble understanding?
WP:TALK specifically says that it applies to non-talk pages.
WP:CON specifically says that local guidelines such as the reference desk guidelines cannot cannot override pages such as WP:TALK that have community consensus on a wider scale. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:03, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Which part of maintain scope and avoid redundancy in WP:POLICY is it you don't understand? You are putting stuff in here about things that shouldn't be on a talk page in the first place and which are already covered in the place they should be in. Dmcq (talk) 17:48, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Redundancy is an unnecessary repetition of information, I would argue that repeating the information here could be helpful, and thus not unnecessary. It's common practice for there to be overlap across policy and guideline pages, for example the redirect guideline repeats information at the linking guideline from the Manual of Style. The deletion policy has information also found in the proposed deletion policy. And so on. This is reinforced by what WP:POLICY itself states, where it says, "When the scope of one advice page overlaps with the scope of another, minimize redundancy." It states to minimize redundancy, not that redundancy is to be avoided at all costs. -- Atama 21:25, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Fine, but why is this an even vaguely desirable redundancy? This is the question I put and was not given any answer to. Dmcq (talk) 23:22, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
This page is the guideline for all pages that facilitate discussion on Wikipedia, as is established in the lead of this guideline. If there is an exception for a particular discussion page to the usual guidelines outlined here, it is worth noting to maintain the usefulness of this guideline and to help prevent confusion. -- Atama 21:14, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Well that satisfies the 'vaguely desirable' part. But it would apply as a reason to have mission creep and redundancy in practically any policy or guideline. By the same argument we should then start sticking in the whole of the rest of WP:RD/G into this guideline. For instance should we put in a caveat here "On the reference desks we should normally restrict answers to direct answers or referrals to Wikipedia articles, web pages, or other sources, clarifications of other answers, or requests for clarification" Or how about we add "On the reference desks personal opinions in answers should be limited to what is absolutely necessary, and avoided entirely when it gets in the way of factual answers. In particular, when a question asks about a controversial topic, we should attempt to provide purely factual answers." This is why WP:POLICY guides to maintaining scope and avoiding redundancy, we need good reasons to do otherwise. Dmcq (talk) 23:15, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
If I start seeing ANI case after ANI case about multiple editors violating those rules and claiming that existing policy allows them to do so, I will look into changing the appropriate policy to make it more clear. Right now I am seeing ANI case after ANI case about multiple editors deleting others' questions and claiming that this policy allows them to do so. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:48, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
It would be much better if you pointed out a couple of these ANI discussions first rather than coming here and plonking in your own idea of a solution without any explanation and just quoting bits of policies in bold at me as if you thought I was some idiot or a troll. As it is I was getting that opinion of you with your unwillingness to explain or engage. Dmcq (talk) 10:38, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
"The reference desks are not talk pages." -- Dmcq (talk) 08:53, 18 March 2014 (UTC)[5]
"When pages in other namespaces are used for discussion and communication between users, the same norms will usually also apply." --Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines --Guy Macon 13:34, 18 March 2014 (UTC)[6]
"...reference desks are not talk pages..." --Dmcq 14:23, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
"WP:TALK specifically says that [the talk page guidelines] apply to non-talk pages."--Guy Macon 14:57, 18 March 2014 (UTC)[https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia_talk%3ATalk_page_guidelines&diff=600164870&oldid=600164223
"Which part of maintain scope and avoid redundancy in WP:POLICY is it you're too stupid to understand?" -- Dmcq 17:50, 18 March 2014 (UTC)[7]
"Which part of maintain scope and avoid redundancy in WP:POLICY is it you don't understand?" -- Dmcq 18:19, 18 March 2014 (UTC) (Edit of above comment without changing timestamp)[8]
"As WP:LOCALCONSENSUS clearly states, "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale." ... Everything in the reference desk guidelines is subservient to WP:TALK, and anything in the reference desk guidelines that conflicts with WP:TALK must be removed. --Guy Macon 02:01, 20 March 2014 (UTC)"[9]
[You are] just quoting bits of policies in bold at me as if you thought I was some idiot or a troll. As it is I was getting that opinion of you with your unwillingness to explain or engage." -- Dmcq 10:38, 20 March 2014 (UTC)[10]
"I personally fail to see how talk pages are supposed to completely override the reference desk guidelines." --Dmcq 11:30, 20 March 2014 (UTC)[11]
Given your refusal to acknowledge that the talk page guidelines apply to non-talk pages, and the fact that it really does not matter whether you believe it or not, I have concluded that engaging you further will just result in more of the same behavior. I have better things to do. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:20, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Why was this not posted at the ref desk talk page? Is there some reason other than for exactly this sort of discussion that that talk page exists? This discussion is extremely complex. It is filed in the wrong place. It is not in the form of an RfC. I might be sympathetic, as a hard rule adhered to by all is better than bland advice honored only in the breach. But this is simply out of place, and hence of no use. I suggest it be reposted at the ref desk talk page as an RfC. μηδείς (talk) 01:07, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Uh, Guy JUST answered that. ("Right now…") Still, I don't think the answer is good enough to justify the redundancy. Guy: What can/should we take away, if anything to so that claims that this policy allows them to do so aren't seen as valid? --Elvey (talk) 01:34, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Furthermore, I did post notices at
Wikipedia talk:Reference desk#Legal or Medical advice,
Wikipedia talk:Reference desk/Guidelines/Medical advice#Legal or Medical advice,
Wikipedia talk:Legal disclaimer#Legal or Medical advice,
Wikipedia talk:Medical disclaimer#Legal or Medical advice, and
Wikipedia talk:Policies and guidelines#Legal or Medical advice --Guy Macon (talk) 02:08, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
As it stands now, these questions should mostly simply be removed. If there's to be any change, it needs discussion there and a change to policy there. Informal inquiries here to GM's opinions are worth what you pay for them. I strongly suggest someone file an RfC at the ref desk talk page, where such a discussion would actually have force. /unwatching. μηδείς (talk) 01:46, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
You have it exactly backwards. As WP:LOCALCONSENSUS clearly states, "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale." Not editing or deleting others' comments is a Wikipedia-wide policy (and one for which you personally have been reported at ANI multiple times). Everything in the reference desk guidelines is subservient to WP:TALK, and anything in the reference desk guidelines that conflicts with WP:TALK must be removed. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:01, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Is this what the ANI discussions you allude to above have been saying? A link to some would be a good idea so we can see what the actual problem is. Dmcq (talk) 10:40, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
I've found Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Disruptive_editing_of_the_reference_desks, and in that it is evident Guy Macon was the first one to dispute that queries for legal advice could be hatted on the reference desks with this diff. Their argument is as above that a reference desk is a talk page. So I wonder about the ANI after ANI business - who exactly besides them says that? Well WP:RD/G differs from that for a start as for instance it says "Although the Reference Desk project pages are not strictly talk pages, the same indentation conventions apply." I personally fail to see how talk pages are supposed to completely override the reference desk guidelines. This guideline says "When pages in other namespaces are used for discussion and communication between users, the same norms will usually also apply." It does not say even in the case where there is a specific guideline does this guideline override the other guideline even if the other place is not a talk page. The reference desk guideline does however have a particular line which might cause confusion in this context "When removing or redacting someone else's posting, the usual talk page guidelines apply." Possibly the reference desk guideline could be improved to say where it itself does not apply the talk page guideline applies. There would still be no disagreement as talk pages should not be answering people's personal questions, those sorts of question are appropriate for the reference desks but we shouldn't answer the personal legal and medical queries. Dmcq (talk) 11:30, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
If we ignore the reference desks and make the guideline about legal and medical advice general in this guideline it sounds to me a bit like WP:BEANS. We'll be stuck with disputes about people sticking stuff in their user talk pages for instance. Dmcq (talk) 11:46, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose extra verbiage per Dmcq and Blueraspberry. The refdesks aren't quite talk pages - after all, talk pages are supposed to be for article improvement - the refdesk isn't. There's no need for this policy crossover. I suppose I should explain in a bit more detail: the real problem here is that the policy, especially the medical policy in regard to biological and general health questions, is very contentious and has been the subject of long drawn out arguments in the past. If we have two policy pages that each apply their own standards, that debate would be run between editors using inconsistent standards, trying to alter two different policies. It would make the conflict even more contentious. Wnt (talk) 01:49, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Inquiry I'm curious, as regards the RefDesks specifically, have there been any blatant violations of the policy of late which have served as impetus for this change? Because insofar as I've always observed, the current wording of the guideline has always been sufficient to restrain contributors, who collectively seem to understand its necessity to protect readers from bad advice in these areas and, more centrally, protect the project from fallout issuing from same. My main concern with explicitly empowering editors to remove the edits of others in any kind of talk or project page environment is that it seems inevitable that some will gradually become overzealous in the exercise of this ability, or will be perceived to be as such, leading to a good deal of acrimony. There is a reason why, in user/talk/project spaces, an editor's contributions are largely considered their own and removed by another only in the most extreme of circumstances. Creating exemptions to that principle should be done only in cases of clear and definite need. In other words, a solution to a non-problem that is likely to spawn its own issues is probably best to be avoided. I'm also persuaded by [[User:Wnt|Wnt]}'s argument concerning convoluted policy fomenting more contentious debate found immediately above. So I lean strongly towards opposition on this one, but I'm not immovable. What exactly are the statistics on how often a piece of advice has been posted that has necessitated removal (be it on the part of the original editor at request or by another pro-active party)? Snow (talk) 18:48, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

How to deal with user on theier own talk page?[edit]

Are we ok with edits like this or this? What can one do about it? CombatWombat42 (talk) 18:42, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Some suggestions:
  • Stop edit warring on someone else's talk page, like it's your own personal battlefield? - SchroCat (talk) 01:31, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
  • When people request you stop posting, then stop posting,before you are seem as a WP:dick. - SchroCat (talk) 01:39, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
  • When someone asks you not to post on your talk page, you try to keep just enough intelligence to respect t hat request. - SchroCat (talk) 01:48, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
The above is a misleading(He doesn't say he told me to stop posting on his talk page till AFTER he had on multiple times changed edits of mine to his talk page) personal attack by an editor who refused DRN, constantly refactors comments to misrepresent what another has written, and has constantly resorted to name calling. Perhaps I take him to ANI because that may be the only way this behavior will end....William 19:18, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

-:::*Remember to not WP:NTTR, if you've got any common sense. - SchroCat (talk) 01:42, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

  • Fix it (note: If anyone has replied, mark your "fix" in a way that makes it clear that the fix was done AFTER some or all replies). But if it gets un-fixed (as in this case)...
  • Explain to the editor that the changes he is making are materially misrepresenting you and could damage your reputation unfairly, and ask him politely to restore the text as you meant it to be. If that doesn't work...
  • If the item has not been replied to, delete it. But if it gets undeleted....
  • Make a self-reply correcting the material with diff(s) to relevant edits by you proving your original intent. If that gets reverted or changed...
  • Minimize future interactions with this person if possible. If the existing content of the page is still materially misrepresenting you, consider...
  • Reporting the person to an administrator or to an appropriate community dispute-resolution forum, on the grounds that the edits are materially misrepresenting you and that 1-1 dispute resolution has failed.
  • In the case of very inflammatory material, such as if an edit made you sound like you endorsed rape (not the case here as far as I can tell), then an immediate trip to an administrator's noticeboard or to an administrator-monitored IRC forum might be necessary.
davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 19:01, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

If you read WP:NTTR and WP:TTR, you will find that the arguments at WP:TTR are far more persuasive. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:26, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

Signature cleanup[edit]

I've just noticed that WP:SIGCLEAN#Signature cleanup advocates a violation of WP:SIG#NT. I've traced it to the many edits that occurred on 12 January 2010. To save you wading through, the previous form was

this was changed to

  • Signature cleanup: If a signature violates the guidelines for signatures, or is an attempt to fake a signature, you may edit the signature to the standard form with correct information (— {{User|USERNAME}} TIMESTAMP OF EDIT (UTC)) or some even simpler variant. Do not modify others' signatures for any other reason. If the user's signature has a coding error in it, you will need to contact the editor to fix this in their preferences.

and this has since become

  • Signature cleanup: If a signature violates the guidelines for signatures, or is an attempt to fake a signature, you may edit the signature to the standard form with correct information ({{User|USERNAME}} TIMESTAMP OF EDIT (UTC)) or some even simpler variant. Do not modify others' signatures for any other reason. If the user's signature has a coding error in it, you will need to contact the editor to fix this in their preferences (but see "Fixing layout errors", below).

I suggest this be amended to

  • Signature cleanup: If a signature violates the guidelines for signatures, or is an attempt to fake a signature, you may edit the signature to the standard form that would have been produced without signature customisation ([[User:USERNAME|USERNAME]] ([[User talk:USERNAME|talk]]) TIMESTAMP OF EDIT (UTC)) or some even simpler variant. The {{subst:unsigned|USERNAME}} template may be used for this. Do not modify others' signatures for any other reason. If the user's signature has a coding error in it, you will need to contact the editor to fix this in their preferences (but see "Fixing layout errors", below).

Comments please. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:10, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

sounds good. {{signing}} also seems to work. Frietjes (talk) 21:58, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Without prejudice to the merits of the proposal, can we please fix the punctuation at the end:

...(but see "Fixing layout errors", below).

sroc 💬 22:32, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Done that, and amended the above to suit. --Redrose64 (talk) 23:57, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Well spotted, I totally missed that. Thanks for tracing the origin. Your proposal looks good. — Scott talk 13:47, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't think {{Unsigned}} should be used if the comment was originally signed. –xenotalk 14:27, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Hmm. I've clearly not had enough caffeine today. You're quite right. How about The {{subst:usert|USERNAME}} template may be used for this.? — Scott talk 15:47, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes but it would have to be fixed to subst properly otherwise it's going to leave the template junk in the target page. –xenotalk 15:51, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) No, it doesn't subst: cleanly, which is the main reason that I made this revert. --Redrose64 (talk) 15:53, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
That should be easily fixable with safesubst, no? –xenotalk 15:58, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Like this, by PC-XT? User:PC-XT/sandbox/Template:User. — Scott talk 20:38, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
If it is easier to read, that example could use includeonly tags, instead of the parameter markup. The parameter only lets someone override the substitution if needed, for some reason. —PC-XT+ 20:51, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Note there is also {{subst:ProbSig}} that I just the other day created because of this problem before I saw this discussion. — {{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 13:50, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
    • That is redundant to many other user info templates and solves a problem that doesn't exist. TfD. — Scott talk 14:23, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
  • {{User}} should now be substitution-friendly. —PC-XT+ 08:43, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Talk page guidelines versus reference page ones[edit]

I have raised the problem about talk page guidelines versus reference desk ones at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#Claim_that_talk_page_guidelines_override_reference_desk_ones. Dmcq (talk) 17:59, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

I attempted to add the following to TPOC
Other namespaces: Additional reasons may be specified in the guidelines for any page where users directly interact outside the user and article namespaces (e.g., the WP:Reference desk).
but Guy Macon reverted saying "Major change in policy in the middle of a discussion about whether to change the policy"
(A) This is not a policy, but a behavioral guideline
(B) It isn't a "major change", since it doesn't actually do anything other than a bit of housekeeping that sidesteps the difficult taxonomic question whether direct communication pages outside the user & article namespaces are/aren't "talk pages" and it shunts debate over unique procedures needed for such pages (at lease according to some eds) to those pages instead of cluttering everything for everyone here.
(C) Would have resolved the alleged POLCON problem cited by Guy at the Village Pump.
IN SUM I am unclear as to the substantive basis for this revert, other than Guy did not like it. Guy? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:54, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
As a gesture of good will, I self-reverted while we discuss this.
As I understand the addition, and this relates to NewsAndEventsGuy's comment above ("and it shunts debate over unique procedures needed for such pages (at lease according to some eds) to those pages instead of cluttering everything for everyone here"), it changes this policy so that it allows local consensus to override WP:TPOC. Right now our policy is that W:TPOC lists what you can remove/edit, and per WP:LOCALCON, local consensus cannot decide that it is OK to delete comments for any reason not listed at TPOC. The additional wording not only allows the deletion/editing of non-harmful good-faith questions on the reference desks, but it allows the local consensus to decide that it is OK to delete anything written by an IP editor, or to delete anything that someone disagrees with. This is a major change from existing policy, which is that "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale", and it causes WP:TPG to directly contradict WP:LOCALCON. That looks like a major change in policy to me. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:34, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
(Sound of Crickets) Looks like WP:BRD was the right idea after all. No discussion, so I am going to remove it again as being an undiscussed major change of a guideline. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:50, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
So basically you are removing it as no-one except you complained when it was put in? Well by my reckoning Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#Claim_that_talk_page_guidelines_override_reference_desk_ones approves the change and it is a valid location for debates about policies and guidelines - especially if there is a conflict like this, however if you dispute my reading of the situation I'm sure a proper RfC and a note at centralized discussions etc can be set up. Dmcq (talk) 07:45, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
In fact as far as I can see there is good grounds from that discussion for saying that the reference desk pages are not talk pages as covered by this guideline, just that they have their own guideline which defers to this one in most matters. I think though we should wait and see if there are more contributions at VPP first though about that. Dmcq (talk) 08:00, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
You made a Bold edit. I Reverted it. I started Discussing it, but made the tactical error of self-Reverting and allowing your edit to stand while we discussed the matter.
Then you spent three days not responding.
So, realizing that you wouldn't discuss this unless you were reverted, I undid my self-revert. Lo and behold, three hours later here you are discussing it. Looks like I made the right call, doesn't it?
Alas, you also decided that WP:BRD and WP:TALKDONTREVERT don't apply to you and instead went for the popular (but wrong) BRRD.
That's a bit disappointing from someone who has been around as long as you have and who should know better.
Finally, discussion somewhere else does not justify a refusal to discuss on the talk page of the page you edited.
You are certainly free to summarize and refer to that other discussion, but anyone who is interested in the content of Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines will look for any WP:BRD discussion at Wikipedia talk:Talk page guidelines, and should not be required to monitor some other page.
So, are you going to do the right thing (WP:TALKDONTREVERT, WP:BRD), or are you going to stick with your decision to do the wrong thing (BRRD)? --Guy Macon (talk) 16:39, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
NewsAndEventsGuy put in the original edit, you reverted it, I put it in again. The discussion is on the village pump on policy because a conflict between two guidelines is being discussed and as it says "The policy section of the village pump is used to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines." Dmcq (talk) 19:02, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
OK, I have my answer to the question "are you going to do the right thing (WP:TALKDONTREVERT, WP:BRD), or are you going to stick with your decision to do the wrong thing (BRRD)?" You are clearly committed to your present path of doing the wrong thing (BRRD). Note that WP:BRD does not make an exception when The B and the second R are made by different editors. Its is still BRRD instead of BRD and it is still wrong. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:44, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Removed change; a small discussion at VPP is insufficient to call "consensus." (A policy rfc on this page would be, of course). NE Ent 20:52, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Have a look at the discussion. It is not a small discussion and the consensus is pretty clear that the reference desk is not to be considered a talk page. VPP is an appropriate page not here for such a discussion because the issue straddles two guidelines. If anything the statement should be stronger. Anyway you should give a better reason than that you think it hasn't been discussed enough yet, why do you think an RfC is needed given what is said there? Dmcq (talk) 22:20, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Poll[edit]

Should the statement:

  • Other namespaces: Additional reasons may be specified in the guidelines for any page where users directly interact outside the user and article namespaces (e.g., the WP:Reference desk).

be included in talk page guidelines? (See discussion above)

BACKGROUND: At the reference desk, question askers sometimes ask for legal, medical, or other forms of professional advice. Providing such advice might legally require a professional license and might expose the advice-givers to liability. What's really at issue here is whether such questions should (A) just be deleted, or (B) handled in some other way that leaves them visible but without providing the solicited advice.
  • One camp claims these talk page guidelines apply to RefDesk with controlling authority, and that the section about messing with others' comments does not allow such questions to be deleted outright. That camp views this proposed addition as changing how these guidelines work, because they think the proposal would free the RefDesk from what they say are controlling guidelines.
  • The other camp thinks the RefDesk is not a "talk page" and although the RefDesk has embraced most of the talk page guideline even though the RefDesk is not a talk page, this camp thinks the RefDesk is already free to adopt additional rules as needed for that unique area. This camp views the proposed addition as adding clarity to the talk page guidelines, without changing anything about their applicability to the RefDesk. According to this camp, the proposal is merely a crystal clear expression of how these guidelines and the RefDesk already work.
  • Partisans to the dispute have my permission to edit this summary if I got part wrong, but please refrain unless I really screwed up big time.)
NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 23:56, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Essentially correct but the reference desk guidelines actually talk about hatting or removing and replacing with a comment, not deleting without any sign so doing that would be against either guideline. The principle though is whether it can set up guidelines for its own best practice. Dmcq (talk) 08:02, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
As a side comment, anything about exposing advice-givers to liability (as mentioned by NewsAndEventsGuy) has been discussed before, and the reason for not giving medical or legal advice has nothing to do with liability. It is because Wikipedia must strive not to do any harm. Amateurish advice presented as a professional opinion could cause harm. The liability is a moot point if no one could realistically be caught anyway. IBE (talk) 03:19, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Support[edit]

  • Support No longer support The argument about whether the talk page guideline overrides the reference desk one has evaporated with agreement to work on fixing the reference desk ones rather than arguments that this guideline automatically override them. In that case I think this change is to an extent instruction creep. Dmcq (talk) 16:32, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
The previous comments by me were
The discussion is at WP:VPP#Claim that talk page guidelines override reference desk ones not above. The village pump on policy has a mandate to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines and this issue straddles two guidelines. It was notified on the talk page of both. At that discussion Proposal A which had a number of sections section B of which was this proposal. There was two supports and one against section B. Proposal B was to say that the reference desk was a talk page and this had 4 disagrees and no supports. The names for the proposals were disjoint. That gives 6 saying the reference desk is just different or that this sentence should be here and one against who says the reference desk guidelines are overridden by these guidelines. You can look there for some comments by a couple of others who didn't specifically say support or disagree.
I believe if anything the sentence at the start of this policy "When pages in other namespaces are used for discussion and communication between users, the same norms will usually also apply" may need revising to stop this trouble. I believe it is a reasonable statement but that the pushing of this as meaning the reference desk guidelines can be overridden where it gives specific advice about the reference desks is wrong. It is not justified by WP:LOCALCON which says guidelines have wide support or WP:POLCON which simply says that conflicts may need to be resolved to reflect actual practice. The concept of precedence only applies to policies compared to guidelines. However this issue has been based on those grounds so a clear statement may be needed to indicate in this instance that there is no automatic overriding. Dmcq (talk) 22:52, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support because this text is just an on-point explicit and clear statement of how things work if we just apply existing text. (A) The RefDesk is simply not a talk page. At Help:Using_talk_pages there is a box that lists the talk pages of the various namespaces. I've seen references that the RefDesk is part of the Help namespace, but right now it appears as part of the Wikipedia name space. Either way, it is not part of either Help_talk or Wikipedia_talk and these guidelines are not entirely controlling for that reason. (B) In addition, the talk page guidelines explicitly say
"Article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views on a subject. When pages in other namespaces are used for discussion and communication between users, the same norms will usually also apply." (Bold added)
It does not say "absolutely-positively-in-all-circumstances-no-matter-what apply". Just "usually" apply. Some whom I presume will be in the "opposed" camp want us to read the talk page guidelines as a powerful authority, and give them full force and effect. Well...... ok by me! That happens to include the phrase "usually apply", unless there is consensus to change that phrase. "Usually apply" means there are times when they won't and don't apply, for example to "pages in other namespaces [that] are used for discussion and communication between users", such as the RefDesk. (C) The RefDesk Guidelines have had a protocol for replacing medical-advice solicitations with a template since 2007. (D) Methinks editors who deal with the RefDesk are the ones best suited for reviewing their 2007 protocol and revising if something would better suit their needs over there. (E) IN SUM the proposal makes no change whatsoever, just turns an existing protocol from something that was implied to something explicit. SUPPORT.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:21, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support No longer support I have already commented at the other active discussion of this topic, WP:VPP#Claim that talk page guidelines override reference desk ones, that the Reference Desk is very different from other Wikipedia pages and needs to have its own guideline based on a consensus developed there. I won't repeat my reasoning here. While I generally oppose instruction creep, I feel that an addition is needed to end this "my guideline trumps your guideline" argument over the reference desk. The Talk page guidelines are not the right place to manage the reference desk and adding a sentence to clarify that is the best way for us to move on.--agr (talk) 14:22, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Per Dmcq, no longer needed.--agr (talk) 19:10, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Oppose[edit]

  • Unnecessary policy creep to deal with a transient problem caused by one editor at a single location (Reference Desk). Less is more NE Ent 23:00, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Agree that this is policy creep. Even if it isn't this is going in the wrong direction. Do we let the local consensus to decide that it is OK to delete anything you disagree with? As written, this addition allows that. WP:TPOC and WP:LOCALCON form an important barrier against a local consensus violating the consensus of the wider community. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:04, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Changing my !vote to Neutral. Whichever way the consensus goes is fine by me. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:44, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose to avoid instruction creep, but talk page guidelines can have exceptions. Also per Rhododendrites. —PC-XT+ 06:07, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Can we leave our comments in the appropriate section to make it easier for the eventual closer? NE Ent 01:22, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

  • Comment [Reply to Rhododendrites]
As the original author of the proposed addition, I'm confused as to why you are not in support? I mean, I wrote the original proposal because I don't think talk page guidelines have or should have controlling jurisdiction of the RefDesk (unless a RefDesk section were added that is). So why aren't you in support and then advocatig for the fixes to the RefDesk guidelines over there?NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:35, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
@NewsAndEventsGuy: - The text in question more explicitly clarifies talk page guidelines' jurisdiction over the refdesk guidelines by making explicit that "additional reasons may be specified." So, as I see it, while it says the talk page guidelines do apply, it effectively adds "but don't let that stop you from removing or altering other people's comments if that's what you do on the reference desk." I don't find that productive. So in other words while I understand this grants flexibility to the refdesk, it maintains the domain of the talk page guidelines while neutralizing the very part of them that deals with the problems at hand (which is to say, tempering the currently too loose refdesk guidelines on content removal/hatting). If the refdesk guidelines were improved, this addition wouldn't be so consequential, of course. --— Rhododendrites talk |  14:58, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Not sure I understand, precisely, but feel we are way down the hypertechnical rabbit hole. I may come back to this later, but for now would like to thank you for the explanation and apologize that it's not going "in" (yet, anyway). NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:21, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Rebuttal: Not Creep In my "support" !vote, I explained that this change takes an existing protocol based on existing text, but writes something concise and onpoint so that it is clear and explicit. Pursuant to WP:CREEP "All instruction should be as clear as possible". Thus, adding a pithy statement of how things already work, based on existing guidelines/policy, is not "creep". (Of course, if you can demonstrate that the RefDesk is a "talk page", then I'm wrong.) NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:30, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment [Reply to NE Ent]]
Perhaps you could say what problem you are talking about thanks and how it is transient. Dmcq (talk) 23:09, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment I don't understand and still don't understand why there's suddenly this big fuss (unless people are annoyed at one editor but rather than doing something about it are fussing over other stuff) and I've found it incredibly boring hence why I didn't comment until now. But I feel I should point out there seems to be a mistaken belief TPOC currently implies you can't close or remove medical or legal advice from RD if we intepret the TPOC as applying there.
This isn't correct as TPOC allows off topic posts to be closed or even removed although urges caution. This follows practice on article talk pages and noticeboards like ANI where offtopic posts are closed or occasionally removed depending on the post, how bad a problem offtopic posts are in that specific talk page, etc.
One difference is that we generally delete rather than close such discussions primarily because history suggests someone will still try to respond. (Although in some article talk pages where it's a big problem off topic posts are routinely deleted and as I said TPOC doesn't actually forbid removal even if it suggests closure.) The other main difference is that it's usually only happens in clearer cut cases whereas medical and legal advice questions are often disputed.
(The nature of what's offtopic and what's on topic is of course somewhat more confusing on the RD than in normal talk pages although some noticeboards may have similar issues. And besides medical and legal advice, we are generally fairly tolerant of stuff which seems offtopic with one editor who is an exception. )
But anyway, all this means that if medical and legal advice questions are offtopic on the RD then the TPOC doesn't actually prevent their removal as some seem to think.
None of this means we shouldn't clarify if people really feel it's necessary but I think people are reading TPOC to be more presciptive than it actually is if they think that it prevents these sort of resonable norms on what's acceptable and what isn't on talk page like boards.
Nil Einne (talk) 06:32, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Good point, i.e., that professional-advice solicitations are "off point" at a venue where such advice is probably against the law. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 07:59, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps the discussion for the comment below will illustrate the problem for you. You can have a person doing something on the reference desks which is wrong according to both guidelines but that original point gets obscured by an argument on what should be done with this guideline being quoted even on medical and legal matters which it doesn't mention. Dmcq (talk) 11:53, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment Though I am a support I have sympathy for the instruction creep argument and this change only had a small support at VPP. However you can see the WP:LOCALCON argument being advanced above as a reason for one of the opposes despite there being a strong consensus at VPP that the reference desks are not talk pages and can set up their own advice. When this RfC is closed I would like a clear statement on that point please or I fear this point will disrupt further discussions. Dmcq (talk) 08:25, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
  • The "strong consensus at VPP that the reference desks are not talk pages and can set up their own advice" does not actually exist. Dmcq wants it to exist, but the straw poll he is referring to asked another, unrelated question. Alas, Dmcq keeps making comments like the one above, acting as if his interpretation is an established fact.
The problem with taking a straw poll or RfC asking one question and trying to use it to answer another is one of self-selection. Let me illustrate with an example. Suppose you ran a straw poll with the question "which is better; an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy S series?" In the discussion, one person claims that the iPhone is more fragile, another claims that the Galaxy is more fragile, and the vast majority (over 90%) say that fragility is rather unimportant and that the usefulness of the smartphone is far more important. Could Dmcq use that to claim that "there is a strong consensus at the smartphone RfC that mobile phone usefulness is more important than ruggedness"? Please think about it for a moment and draw a conclusion before you read on.
What if there were ten Wikipedia users who use the Casio G'zOne Commando and a hundred who use the Casio G'zOne Boulder for every one that uses the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy? They wouldn't comment on an Iphone/Galaxy RfC, and indeed probably wouldn't have the page where the RfC was posted on their watchlists, but if you ran an RfC asking the specific question "which is more important; mobile phone usefulness or ruggedness" you could very well get a completely different answer because now the Casio users would reply. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:35, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
So something you disagree with at VPP is just a straw poll you can dismiss unless it is an RfC. So be it, you've got an RfC. The proposal that was dismissed outright at VPP was 'Proposal B Declare Ref Desk to be a rootin' tootin' talk page'. which is basically what Guy Macon is advocating. The discussion was at WP:VPP because that is where WP:Centralized discussion says is a good place for them and this affects the reference desk guideline as well and notices were placed on the talk page of both guidelines. I've already posted a note to the reference desk guidelines talk page about this RfC and I'll place a notice at VPP that the discussion has now moved to here.
This is the problem I have with this RfC. Guy Macon is as far as I can see here laying the ground for dismissing this RfC as having any relevance to the question of whether or not this guideline overrides the reference desk guideline which is the basis for the trouble. Dmcq (talk) 10:53, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
First, you have completely mischaracterized "what Guy Macon is advocating". I am not advocating what you think I am. This is, presumably, because your bias (not an insult, we all have biases, especially me) is coloring what you read into things. If you had asked me "are the reference desks talk pages?" I would have told you "of course not. They are pages in another namespace that are used for discussion and communication between users, as described in WP:TPOC".
But we are not disputing whether reference desks are talk pages. If that was your only claim I would have agreed at once. Your actual claim, as per your words above, is that "there [is] a strong consensus at VPP that the reference desks are not talk pages and can set up their own advice" (emphasis added). There is no such consensus.
As to your claim that "Guy Macon is as far as I can see here laying the ground for dismissing this RfC as having any relevance to the question of whether or not this guideline overrides the reference desk guideline", I flatly deny it and ask you to please WP:AGF. First, I always go along with consensus as demonstrated in an RfC or any other poll that has an uninvolved closer. Specifically, I go along with what the uninvolved closer say is the consensus, not on my interpretation or your interpretation of the results. Second, if I did think that there was a flaw with this RfC, I would have said so at once so you could fix it.
Would you do me a favor? would you please indicate that you agree that this RfC asks the specific question
"Should the statement: 'Other namespaces: Additional reasons may be specified in the guidelines for any page where users directly interact outside the user and article namespaces (e.g., the WP:Reference desk).' be included in talk page guidelines?"
and that you agree to not reinterpret the result as being the answer to some other question? Unless, of course, the closing admin says in his closing comments that there is or is not a consensus for something else. You are free to ask him to do that, BTW. --Guy Macon (talk) 11:36, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes that is the question, also I did ask for the closer to make a decision if they could on whether the talk page guidelines take precedence over the reference desk ones. The poll on whether the reference desk was a talk page was made in the context of this problem of which took precedence even if that was not explicitly written in the precise question. What is required to make a decision that you would accept and abide by on whether you are right that this guideline takes precedence over the reference desk one or whether you are wrong and should give up your LOCALCON argument? Dmcq (talk) 11:57, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
If either one of us thinks that the closing admin didn't answer the question of what happens when the talk page guidelines forbids something and the reference desk guidelines allow it, I will ask him to clarify. I am fully committed to follow the consensus from this RfC, and I have absolute confidence that you are as well. Both of us want to do what is best for the encyclopedia and both of us have been around long enough to know when to drop the stick, accept that consensus went against us, and continue working together with no hard feelings. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:32, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Ya'll keep referencing "the RFC" and the "Closing admin" and I'd like to go look that up, but I'm not 100% sure what thread you are talking about. Would one of you please provide a link? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:48, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Sorry I'm not exactly sure what they're saying either. 15:34, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
It's the one with {{rfc|policy|rfcid=0AB79B9}} at the top. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:26, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
Or more directly, Wikipedia talk:Talk page guidelines#rfc_0AB79B9. --Redrose64 (talk) 09:36, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Instruction creep in the "good practices" section[edit]

I've removed the last item, "Use wikilinks not full URLs for internal links; use {{Diff}} for diffs" from the bulleted list of "Good practices for all talk pages used for collaboration". It may be nice if posts to talkpages can be streamlined in such a manner, but I'm completely against being exclusionary of the less technically proficient by making such demands as a matter of good talkpage practice. The proof of the pudding is in the eating: what does it matter if people use full URLs? Clicking on them will take you to the target just the same as a wikilink. And how many people actually use {{Diff}}? (I don't.) The technically-minded may find the template helpful, but many people are uncomfortable around templates altogether. How does the way you create a diff affect the reader who clicks on it? (Answer: it doesn't.) These technicalities have no place in a list of important stuff that concerns consideration for others in the discussion, such as comment on content, not the contributor, avoid repeating your own lengthy posts, etc. They're instruction creep. Keeping the list itself concise matters. Bishonen | talk 09:45, 6 April 2014 (UTC).

Regarding the first point (only): internal links show up in What links Here only if constructed as wikilinks. If formatted as ELs, they don't. --Redrose64 (talk) 09:58, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
I won't be so blunt as to say "Who uses 'What links here' anyway?", I know it's useful/necessary for some purposes, but I do think it's a minor point. People nearly always do use wikilinks, because it's simpler; but new users might not be there yet. We should be pleased if they manage to link at all (it's certainly not always the case). We don't want to disinvite them with so many rules and regulations. Bishonen | talk 10:37, 6 April 2014 (UTC).
If it's actually important the bot geeks could be commissioned to write a bot that fixes the suboptimally formatted links. NE Ent 12:08, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
See this edit by Magioladitis (talk · contribs). I rather think that Basilicofresco (talk · contribs) (under the guise of FrescoBot (talk · contribs)) may well be a "bot geek". --Redrose64 (talk) 12:44, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Bishonen one of the advantages of wikilinks and the diff template is that they create stable urls. In case there is wikipedia makes changes to their url instead of fixing thousands of urls we can only update a single template. I also do not use the diff that often but we ofcourse kindly ask editors to use them in talk pages without denying them the possibility to use that fits them best. -- Magioladitis (talk) 15:14, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't come across like that when it's in this list, Magioladitis. All the other bulleted points are important matters of talkpage etiquette: you really mustn't do personal attacks, repetitiousness, over-long posts, etc etc, because these practices are actually disruptive. It's not a matter of kindly asking users to not, for instance, attack others, alter other people's posts, etc etc. We do want to deny them the possibility of doing those things. I think your comment really reinforces my point that the matter of urls and diffs, which you now inform me is merely meant as a polite suggestion, doesn't fit in that list. Please put it somewhere else, and include the information that people may do as they like if it suits them better. Maybe a "technical" section? Bishonen | talk 16:24, 6 April 2014 (UTC).
Bishonen just to be sure you got it correctly: The bots change wikilinks in mainspace not in talkpage space. -- Magioladitis (talk) 16:53, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
No, I didn't get that. I thought you were talking about the instruction creep in the "good practices" section of the talkpage guidelines like I was. Weren't you expressing an opinion about the issue I raised at all, then? (Do you have an opinion about it?) Bishonen | talk 17:23, 6 April 2014 (UTC).
So (again) if it's important ask the bot operators to expand their domain. As a dispute resolution volunteer, the diff is my bread and butter, and it's not worth the extra time of mucking with some template when I can type [] and cut and paste a url from my browser into the space between. NE Ent 17:03, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
OK here is my opinion again:
  • Fixing wikilinks is a common practise in mainspace
  • We do not lose anything if we ask editors to use wikilinks/{{diff}} in talk pages instead of plain urls.
  • I see no harm if bots visited talk pages and updated wikilinks/{{diff}} in comments to make text easier to read and urls more stable. -- Magioladitis (talk) 18:14, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
If someone takes this as a "Thou shalt always" commandment, rather than a "Hey, there might be a small advantage to this less-common style", then the harm could be significant and pointless drama. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:36, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Magioladitis, There needs to be some caution about this, since some (though very few, i suspect) of the links that were posted in an external format might have actually been wrote that way for a reason -- e.g., to force https or plain http as the protocol for accessing some content. -- Jokes_Free4Me (talk) 14:33, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
I use Special:Diff, though {{Diff}} has more options, so I'll probably use it, sometime. Wikilinks are always nice. I think these should be recommendations, rather than requirements, though I wouldn't oppose some guideline saying it is ok to change urls to wikilinks. Converting to {{Diff}} would probably be ok, too. —PC-XT+ 06:01, 7 April 2014 (UTC) (Since Special:Diff goes nowhere, an example is Special:Diff/12345, which is an old diff on the article Congruence (geometry).) —PC-XT+ 06:10, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Layout[edit]

A minor technical aside: there's been an "anchor hi-jack" here, Wikipedia:Talk_page_guidelines#Layout stops at one of the bullet-points within Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Good_practices_for_all_talk_pages_used_for_collaboration instead of going to the first sub-section of Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Technical_and_format_standards. At the very list this "shortcut" ought to be highlighted just as "EXHAUST" is. But i really think one of the two should change. Problem is, how many incoming links were for the section and how many for the bullet point?! -- Jokes_Free4Me (talk) 14:29, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Back to the actual topic that i want to clear up: Wikipedia:Talk_page_guidelines#WP:INTERSPERSE says Whitespace is also not necessary between any lines within an indented or bulleted list... but what, pray tell, is an "indented list"?! -- Jokes_Free4Me (talk) 14:29, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

They are talking about the wikitext in this comment.
This is a separate line with a new point.
In HTML jargon, this is a type of list.
  • Or it can be done with bullets.
  • This is another type of list.
  • None of these lines have a blank line ("whitespace") between them.
Johnuniq (talk) 01:57, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
HTML has three main kinds of lists (plus some obsolete types). These are:
  • the ordered list, enclosed in the <ol>...</ol> element - created in Wikimarkup by using # (the hash sign);
  • the unordered list, enclosed in the <ul>...</ul> element - created in Wikimarkup by using * (the asterisk); and
  • the association (or description) list, enclosed in the <dl>...</dl> element - created in Wikimarkup by using ; and : (the semicolon and colon).
This last one has had various names down the years: when first introduced in HTML 1.2, it was called a "glossary (or definition list)"; this settled on "definition list" in HTML 2.0 and the name was retained in HTML 3.0, HTML 3.2 and HTML 4.0 but in HTML5 is now known as an "association list ... (a description list)". Whatever its name or true purpose, this is the HTML structure that is emitted by the MediaWiki software when we use colons to indent lines. When colon-indented lines are contiguous, only one <dl>...</dl> element is output; but when blank lines are interspersed between colon-indented lines, multiple <dl>...</dl> elements are output. --Redrose64 (talk) 09:42, 9 April 2014 (UTC)