Talk:The Right Stuff

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The cited MOS page, like every other one, carries this header at the top:

This guideline is a part of Wikipedia's Manual of Style. It is a generally accepted standard that all editors should follow. However, it is not set in stone and should be treated with common sense and the occasional exception. When editing this page, ensure that your revision reflects consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.

Now, it is usual practice that while discussions are underway to determine what the consensus is, the status quo ante, the state of the page before the conflict came up, is maintained. Sometimes that can be difficult to determine, because pages have gone through so much editing in their history, but here it's quite simple, because it's a brand new page which I created, and I did so with the links in each line.

So, here we are, we are in a dispute over an edit, and the manual of style says quite specifically that it's not dogma and not set in stone, and that when there is doubt, a discussion should take place to determine what consensus is. So... please do not revert the page again while we have that discussion.

OK, so now that we're back where the page began before this conflict came up, I'm prepared to listen to the reasons, other than a slavish adherence to the Manual of Style (which is a guideline and not dogmatic fiat) why it's better not to have links in each entry, and then I will tell you why I think it's definitely better to have them, and why not having them is a disservice to the Wikipedia user, for whom the encyclopedia is intended to be a useful tool. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 06:41, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Why is this page "the occasional exception"? And for the record, I think the guideline should be changed to refer to WP:OVERLINK. Links on dab pages have been previously discussed here. --Jtir (talk) 13:02, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
It also needs to be noted that this is not a proper disambiguation page. This info has been grafted onto the redirect of the original page that contained both the film and the book. Wikipedia works by consensus. You are free to propose changing the MoS for disambig pages on its talk page and if a consensus is reached to allow these links then they can be readded. MarnetteD | Talk 13:41, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
"not a proper disambiguation page": AFAICT, it conforms to MOS:DAB. Aside from the links question, what other problem is there? (It might be better to start a new section, if needed.) --Jtir (talk) 14:51, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Please also see WP:OWN. Just because you created this page does not mean that is has to or will stay the way that it started. MarnetteD | Talk 13:44, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe that I "own" the page. I fully expect to see it change, I simply hope that those changes will make the page better and mose useful for the reader, and that was not the case here. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 19:22, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Waaaay too much time, energy and perspiration devoted to this topic. Time for all to slowly back away and give it a rest. Want a job, tackle the new Right stuff (book) and (film) articles. FWIW Bzuk (talk) 14:07, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Wise words, Bzuk, and ones that I will heed. Unfortunaely, another victory for unthinking dogmatism over practicality and utility. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 18:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
  • (Edit conflict) Ed, the problem here is that you haven't shown why the links you want added should be the exception when such pages aren't linked on the thousands of other DAB pages. What makes these links unique enough to need linking? I created the page so leave it be really doesn't explain the matter, nor does another victory for unthinking dogmatism over practicality and utility. I'll support you in changing the guidelines, if you chose to take that path. And while we're at it, bolding the main links would be nice too!- BillCJ (talk) 18:28, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I agree BillCJ, bolding would indeed be nice, which is why when I originally created the page the main links were bolded. But, you see, the almighty Manual of Style says you can't do that, so the links must, perforce, remain unbolded. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 18:35, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and "change the guidelines" - are you kidding? You have to give up your day job and spend all your time on it to get anything changed in Wikipedia! I'd rather edit articles, thank you, and try my best to stay away from the loons. You can be sure I'll never create a disambiguation page again, thanks to my experience here. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 18:40, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Also, BillCJ, if I may, you somewhat miss the point. Someone who makes a change in an article simply because the MoS says it's better that way, without knowing or undertanding (or agreeing) why it's better that way, well, that person is behaving entirely dogmatically, and treating the MoS like Holy Writ. I don't believe Wikipedians should behave that way. We're not automatons, slavishly following pre-programmed instructions, we're thinking rational human beings who should be able to decide things for ourselves. The fact that upon invitation to explain why the page is better without the links, no explanation was provided, simply citation of the MoS speaks volumes to me, and tells me that in the face of such unreasoning behavior, there's little sense in hanging around, unless you like banging your head against a brick wall, which I don't, particularly. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 18:56, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
There have been several, extended discussions of links on dab pages. This recent one has links to earlier ones: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages)#One link per entry guideline. --Jtir (talk) 19:27, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Incidentally, I just went to 10 random disambiguation pages, and 8 of them had more than a single link in at least one entry, so the MoS is not keeping up with common practice. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 20:23, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Good point re common practice. While linking MiG Alley, I happened to come across this dab page, which even has a lead sentence that defines the term (and an empty talk page). --Jtir (talk) 20:52, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Oh dear, bad case of WP:OWN being supported by a liberal interpretation of WP:IAR going on here; I'd best to just back away slowly... --Closedmouth (talk) 06:15, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, on Wikipedia, I guard my pages, to help keep the encyclopedia's quality up, but other editors' own theirs.

Oh, BTW, WP:IAR doesn't apply, because, as it says all over the place, the Manual of Style is not a set of rules, so I can hardly "ignore all rules" when it's guidelines that are being discussed. Now, if you want to write up WP:IAG, I'm there with you, but there's no way you'll get it through, not in the exclusionist atmosphere prevalent today.

Anyway, be careful while you're backing away. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 06:47, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Egh, sorry, that was poorly worded, I'm not having a good day. Anyway, I must say that I use Wikipedia extensively too, not just as an editor, and I completely disagree that the links serve any purpose at all. Dab pages are essentially redirects with multiple branches, and ideally, you would never come into contact with one. If I end up at a dab page, I only want links to the relevant articles. I didn't change the page because "ZOMG! TEH GIDELINES SEZ YOU MUST!!!", I changed it because I honestly think it looks and works better without the links.
Hmm, I'm not making myself very clear here...I guess the main point is, hey, we disagree, great, but isn't that what consensus is for?
Fuck it, I hate these discussions, I'm going to watch Scrapheap. --Closedmouth (talk) 07:19, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Hey! I welcome disagreement based on conflicting evaluations of function - it's so refreshing after those based on dogma and rigidity.

Clearly, I disagree with you, and here's why: the ability to move around Wikipedia is (as in the Internet in general) one of its strong points. To deliberate disable this capability by limiting dab links to one per line seems to me cutting off your nose to spite your face. Many times, when I arrive at a disambiguation page, I'm literally searching - that is, I'm heading toward a goal, but I don't actually know what that goal is, and I am looking at anything I can come up with that might help lead me to the place I'm trying to get to. Removing the additional links means that if I reach the dab, and see a reference that jogs my mind and makes me realize that my goal lies in that direction, I can't take off thataway and go further my search, I have to backup to the only link that's available, find the new link I want to follow, and then proceed. That seems an unecessary side-track, when I could do there directly with a link in the entry.

This kind of process mirrors, after a fashion, the way that our memories work, not by using a formal hierarchy, but by fits and starts, hints, inferences and implications. That Wikipedia should be so wonderfully and richly linked, and then seek to limit links in this one respect, seems ... just wierd and out of character.

Now, with links in the lines, I think that the main link should be bolded to keep the primary link in the eye, but I don't seem able to get that change to stick either. In fact, let me go bold it now, so you can see what I mean -- be quick, though, someone will be by to undo it soon, I'm sure! Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 07:36, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

So of course it reduces itself inexorably to personal preference. I personally believe the article looks and functions better without the links. You believe otherwise. (I don't even like the emboldening, unfortunately. Ain't diversity of opinion a bitch!) I browse the site differently too.
Whatever, I've never been much good at these kinds of arguments. Do what you want, it's a wiki after all. --Closedmouth (talk) 12:59, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, at least you got a chance to look at it before a good little WikiDABbie came and undid it. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 20:25, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

name of The Right Stuff disambig page[edit]

[Copied from User talk:Jtir to maintain context.] --Jtir (talk) 23:44, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Hi Jtir. My thought about why the current page isn't exactly right is that all of the disambig pages that I have created or worked with read Subject (disambiguation). I know that this makes the {{otheruses}} tag work better but I could be wrong in thinking that it is required. I posted this here so that it wouldn't get lost in the middle of the rest of the discussion on the talk page that we have already been posting on. Thanks for your time and happy editing. MarnetteD | Talk 23:40, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for bringing this up, because I was thinking along the same lines. AFAICT, WP:DAB#Page naming conventions prefers "The Right Stuff" to be the name of a dab page. However, I find it slightly confusing when reading the dab headers in the linked articles, because it seems, in my mind, that I already am reading "The Right Stuff".
The Right Stuff (book)
This article is about the book by Tom Wolfe. For other uses, see The Right Stuff.
There is already a redirect from The Right Stuff (disambiguation) to The Right Stuff (thanks Ed!), so the dab headers in the articles could be changed to "The Right Stuff (disambiguation)". That would satisfy me. This page could also be renamed "The Right Stuff (disambiguation)", so that "The Right Stuff" becomes a redirect instead.
War and Peace takes a slightly different approach, in that that is the name of an article on the novel and there is a separate War and Peace (disambiguation) page.
Presumably editors agreed that the novel was the most important use of the phrase "War and Peace".
I don't know if we could agree on the most important use here, though.
We could examine the "what links here" page for some evidence: Special:Whatlinkshere/The_Right_Stuff.
--Jtir (talk) 00:17, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
It is common for the main name to be a DAB page. In this case, most of the links in articles will already point to this page, whether it's about the book or the film. At some point, it would be good to chack all those links, and change them to the correct page.
Also, from WP:DAB#Page naming conventions:
A disambiguation page is usually named after the generic topic (e.g. "Term ABC"). "Term ABC (disambiguation)" is not the mandatory name for a disambiguation page, and is only used when there is a primary topic for the title "Term ABC". It is acceptable, on the other hand, to create a page at "Term ABC (disambiguation)" that redirects to the disambiguation page at "Term ABC". This type of redirect can be used to indicate deliberate links to the disambiguation page.
I'm sure it would not be easy to prove whether the film or book is more common/popular, so keeping this page as the DAB seems the best way to go. - BillCJ (talk) 03:04, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
The book is primary -- without it, there would have been no film. It was the original act of creation, the film is a subsidiary one. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 03:21, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
That the book came first is obvious; that it is the "primary topic" not so obvious. Again, from WP:DAB#Primary topic:
When there is a well known primary meaning for a term or phrase, much more used than any other (this may be indicated by a majority of links in existing articles or by consensus of the editors of those articles that it will be significantly more commonly searched for and read than other meanings), then that topic may be used for the title of the main article, with a disambiguation link at the top. If there's a disambiguation page, it should link back to the primary topic. If there is extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic, that may be a sign that there is in fact no primary topic, and that the disambiguation page should be located at the plain title with no "(disambiguation)". (emphasis added) - BillCJ (talk) 03:33, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
After typing a few titles into the search box, I can only conclude that it is difficult to predict what will pop up: electric koolaid acid test, bonfire of the vanities, batman, dick tracy, pride and prejudice, the shining, titanic, etc. Although some of these links are red, entering the titles in the search box leads to an actual page. (I cheated by creating a redirect for the "koolaid" example, which had been going to the search page.)
Interestingly, Pride and Prejudice (film) is a dab page.
--Jtir (talk) 13:16, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Original research, oh my heavens! No, I believe you should find a source which says explicitly "The Right Stuff book is more popular than The Right Stuff film" before you make any decisions here. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 06:58, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

A slippery slope objection[edit]

There's a argument now put forth that "if we start guessing about what else they might be looking for, we might as well link every single term." To begin with, no one's "guessing" anything -- major subjects have been linked as the obvious choices for places that people might want to go. That seems to me better than to deny the user any choice except the main links, that's pretty presumptuous.

Secondly, this is essentially a "slippery slope" objection - "if we start doing this, there will be no way to stop it." The vast majority of slippery slope arguments are silly as long as there's a mechanism in place for controlling the process in question, and indeed on Wikipedia there's the concept of "overlinking." There are hundreds of people out (perhaps thousands) who thrill at the prospect of removing extra links from an article, and DAB pages with too many links wouldn't be excluded from their purview. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 21:18, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

I edited the page according to guidance at WP:MOSDAB. The assumption is that a person arriving at this page was intending to go to some other article that is ambiguous with the title "The Right Stuff". The supposed benefit you presume by ignoring the MOS in this case is really not sufficient. Why have an MOS guideline if it is going to be ignored? Your snide remarks about what thrills you imagine other editors obtain from removing such links is not appropriate. olderwiser 21:29, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Why have a "guidelines" if you're not going to be "guided" by them, but instead follow them slavishly, without a hint of rational thought? Rather defeats the point of stamping them all over the place as being "guidelines" -- they should have just called a spade a spade and said "These are the regulations, you fill follow them at all times." They didn't do that, though.

Did you actually think about reverting my dashes back to commas, or did you just push the button because the MoS told you to? Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 21:38, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes indeed, why have guidelines if they are to be overridden at the whims of each editor without good reason? They are not mandatory by any means. I'm actually a firm proponent of flexibility. But as far as I can tell, you have not provided any substantial reason to not follow that guidance.
Did I "actually think about reverting [your] dashes back to commas" -- to be honest, no. Was there something actually worth considering? olderwiser 22:05, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it was actually worth taking a moment to decide whether another editor's non-vandalism edit was an improvement or not. In fact, I'd say it's the essence of the way this place is supposed to work, but doesn't, thanks in some part to knee-jerk edits and dogmatic insistence on roboticly following "guidelines" as if they were Holy Writ. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 22:42, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
If your edits were actually a substantive improvement rather than in this case purely cosmetic, it might have been worth considering. But as there was little more to the edit than you saying "I like it like this and I don't care what the MOS says", I see little merit to your petulant diatribes. olderwiser 23:56, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Your "flexibility" is a marvel to behold. So be it. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 00:26, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
As are your snide condescending remarks. olderwiser 17:04, 19 March 2008 (UTC)