Template talk:Current

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Current events    (Inactive)
WikiProject icon This template is within the scope of WikiProject Current events, a project which is currently considered to be inactive.
 

Requested change - very recent events[edit]

This template is currently used on Velika Ivanča shooting. While useful to demonstrate that reports are still coming in, describing the event as "current" is incorrect (the shooter has been apprehended) and the worst case scenario is that someone reads the top banner and assumes the shooting is ongoing.

Thus can we have a third flag to change text to "recent", i.e.:

{{#if:{{{3|recent}}}|{{{ '''This {{#if:{{{1|}}}|{{{1}}}|article}} documents a [[Portal:Current events|{{#if:{{{2|}}}|{{{2}}}|very recent event}}]].''' Information may change rapidly as new reports become available. }}}| '''This {{#if:{{{1|}}}|{{{1}}}|article}} documents a [[Portal:Current events|{{#if:{{{2|}}}|{{{2}}}|current event}}]].''' Information may change rapidly as the event progresses. }}

--LukeSurl t c 12:17, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

I think that "very current" is an awkward formula and a distinction which it will be hard if not impossible to make. Just keep it the way it is. The event, including all the details that are in the article, is still current, after all. At least its aftermath, which is also part of the subject of the article. Debresser (talk) 18:40, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit protected}} template. It is unreasonable for someone to believe that this template means that the shooting is ongoing (i.e. people are being shot as I type this). The meaning of "current event" is well known and unambiguous. ‑Scottywong| express _ 22:33, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Reworking this template[edit]

As explained in its documentation, this template is intended to serve "as an advisory to editors" and "may be used in those extraordinary occasions that many editors (perhaps a hundred or more) edit an article on the same day". "Every article on Wikipedia has a general disclaimer indicating that the article contents may not be accurate", so "it is not intended to be used to mark an article that merely has recent news articles about the topic; if it were, hundreds of thousands of articles would have this template, with no informational consequence."

But the template's accidental misuse probably exceeds its correct use by a wide margin. (I don't think that it's an exaggeration to say that I encounter five inappropriate transclusions for every appropriate one.) And this is entirely understandable, as the template's wording doesn't adequately convey its actual function.

Most editors, who never see the template's documentation, assume that its purpose is simply to indicate that article relates to a current event (even if it's been edited by only four or five users that day). This sets up a never-ending cycle, wherein a well-meaning editor tags the article, another editor removes the template and explains its intended use, and yet another well-meaning editor notices that the template is missing and adds it back.

Further complicating the matter, various persons (perhaps themselves confused regarding this template's purpose) have created offshoots (such as {{current tornado outbreak}}) that are intended to serve as reader advisories. Whether such tags should exist is debatable (and to my knowledge, no community discussion has occurred), but let's set aside that question and focus on {{current}}.

For the reasons noted above, this template has become essentially worthless; it no longer can be relied upon to convey any useful information at all. At the very least, major rewording (to clarify the template's function) is in order. But why even keep this message in the actual articles? On my talk page, an editor (whose well-meaning tagging I reverted) asked why we don't make the template visible to editors only. Indeed, why don't we?

Back in 2012, the idea of switching to an editnotice-based setup was discussed briefly. As far as I can tell, all disagreement (much of which belonged to an earlier branch of the discussion predating this specific suggestion) stemmed from the very misunderstanding mentioned above (and fueled by the template's misleading name and wording) — that the template's purpose is to inform readers that the article relates to a current event and its content is subject to change.

One way or another, we really need to fix this problem. —David Levy 17:07, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree that of we accept the documentation as reflection correct use of this template, that the text should be reworked. But I can not agree with the documentation at all. Especially the fact the documentation tries to give numbers (over 100 edits a day, in use for 1 day) sits badly with me. These were drawn up by User:Yellowdesk in this edit of August 18, 2007. Debresser (talk) 20:22, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I think the easiest thing to do would be to change {{current}}'s official purpose so that it matches its actual usage and create a new template to warn editors about potential edit conflicts. If we decide that {{current}}'s de facto purpose is unnecessary (and I don't see why it would be – there's a similar template for people who recently died), we can just delete it. Esszet (talk) 20:32, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I think the easiest thing to do would be to change {{current}}'s official purpose so that it matches its actual usage and create a new template to warn editors about potential edit conflicts.
If there's consensus that such an article template should exist, that would be the most sensible course of action. Discussion is needed, as much of the actual usage occurs simply because editors assume that it's expected.
If we decide that {{current}}'s de facto purpose is unnecessary (and I don't see why it would be – there's a similar template for people who recently died), we can just delete it.
Template:Recent death is one of the aforementioned offshoots. Its documentation is a mishmash, as it combines an explanation that the "template warns our readers that the information presented in the article may not be final due to missing/unpublished/uncertain information about a recently deceased person, and that readers should therefore be cautious about the content presented" with advice that the template "only be used in cases where many editors (perhaps dozens or more) are editing the article on the same day" and "be removed as soon as the editing goes down to a normal level again", further instructing editors to "not use it merely to tag the article of a recently deceased person, as that would defeat the template's purpose".
This seems like a direct contradiction. (If an article about a recently deceased person has received few recent edits, it's among the most likely to lack up-to-date information.) It appears that the confusion regarding these templates' purpose(s) has extended even to their documentation.
As noted above, a centralized discussion is needed. Whatever consensus dictates is preferable to ambiguity and uncertainty. —David Levy 21:29, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Should we have that discussion here? Esszet (talk) 23:09, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Probably. We can initiate an RfC and post notices on the other relevant templates' talk pages (along with WP:CENT).
But it probably is a good idea to wait a bit to allow for local input on exactly how to proceed. And if we go ahead with an RfC, we'll want to ensure that its wording explains the issue neutrally and thoroughly (but also as succinctly as possible). —David Levy 23:20, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps the documentation's current wording is overly strict and should be adjusted. I certainly don't adhere to it rigidly. (For example, I wouldn't remove the template from an article that's been tagged for two days and edited by fifty users in the past day.) —David Levy 21:29, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

  • I can give some history and context.
    You can see from my comments further above, on this talk page and archives going several years back, that I think the template should be used rarely, and it and its functionally equivalent copies should be deleted, because they do not add anything to an article, from the reader's perspective that the lede cannot state with better precision and context. My edit history discloses that I remove somewhere around 5 to 20 uses of {{current}} a week. I, every few days, remove {{current}} from any article with fewer than four editors participating per hour for the last several hours. I also remove {{recent death}} from articles in which there is no confusion or dispute about the circumstances of death of the individual in question.
    You are apprised of my perspective.

    The {{current}} template was created a couple of days into the 2004 Madrid train bombings event. The Madrid article had, for the era, very high edit activity, with possibly an unprecedented number of edits and editors working on the article in a short span of time, over the course of its initial history. Here are the edits for for first several days, which had 861 edits a little less than four-and-a-half days: 14:01 March 11, 2004 through 23:59 March 15, 2004. The top of the article's talk page, four days after the event, at 02:45, March 15, 2004 is instructive, indicating that managing many edits by many editors was an issue. The warning to editors at the top of the talk page had some functionality, basically indicating that some thoughtful caution and completeness is desirable from the potential editor. Take a look at the link.

    It does not take much imagination to guess how the template would over subsequent months and years appear on hundreds of articles because an editor noticed some event was some flavor of current, and that such additions might be forgotten when the article was abandoned, and by 2007, there were hundreds of inactive articles with the {{current}} on it, with some significant number in which the most recent edit months before was the addition of the template. Here's a {{current}} talk page post, archived dated in November 2004, with commentary through 2006 about the focus and use of current. The creator of the template argues that "that this tag be limited in its usage to current event articles that will likely experience numerous edits in a short period of time."

    I came along in 2007, and found the template on 1,300 articles, many with zero activity, and put forward a plan of management. See my archived talk page post entitled "Draft guidelines for the Template Page" dated 13 August 2007. Since then, several above 15 modified copies of the "current" template devoted to particular topics, were deleted in the "templates for deletion/discussion" forum, as functionally the same as {{current}}, and thus redundant and superfluous. Also someone came along and did a similar cleaning of the articles with {{current sport}}, paring that template's usage down from many hundreds to a very few or no uses. See the talk archive page for details. Someone seems to continue to harvest the {{current sport}} template, since it has not proliferated in use since that time. Someone else in 2010 also created a bot that will remove the {{current}} template if an article with the template is not edited for several hours. See the talk pages or archive here. I don't know if the bot is active at this point.

    I am in favor of a large discussion in a central place, undertaking a discussion about the proposition that nearly all "current" templates are superfluous, and fail to add to the content of any article that the lede of the article can provide and should be deleted, and that the {{editnotice}} satisfies the need for warning to editors.

    I don't have much interest in organizing the discussion about the template's text or whether it should even survive, but I welcome someone undertaking such a discussion. I do desire to emphasize that operationally, for {{current}} (whatever the text the template may ultimately state, if it continues to survive) and for that matter, operationally for {{editnotice}} as well, it is very desirable to have a clear endpoint for its use, so that there may be a reasonably determined and actionable rationale for both its use and removal.
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 05:57, 29 January 2014 (UTC)


I agree with David Levy that an Rfc might be the best way to be about this. I have no problem with having this template, but think the documentation is overly strict. On a technical note, we could merge all the other templates into this one and add only a parameter saying "tornado" or "death" etc. Debresser (talk) 08:16, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Making this template to show up only for editors seems like a good idea. To those who disagree with the current documentation: It has never been the purpose of this template to inform our readers of an article being a current event, as Yellowdesk explained above. There's absolutely no point in telling our readers this, since that's the job of the article itself. --Conti| 14:20, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

That may not have been the intent, but that is what the template is doing in the perception of many In any case the documentation is too strict. Debresser (talk) 18:27, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Then the template needs to be changed to be more clear, as per the original suggestion. If you want to change the way the template works, you need to provide an actual reason explaining why this is a good idea. So: Why should we tell our readers that an even is current? --Conti| 12:16, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I mean that the usage is less strict than the instructions. The reason stays to warn about many edits. Debresser (talk) 12:36, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
What would your suggestions be regarding the instructions? Since the template exists to warn users about rapid edits (so rapid that it becomes near impossible to detect/revert vandalism reliably, hence the need for a warning), the number of >100 editors per day seems reasonable. Personally, I tend to look at the article history when seeing the template, and remove it if there have been less than 10 edits in the last hour. --Conti| 15:46, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
The purpose of the template wouldn't just be to say that an event is current; it would also say that the content of the article is especially likely to change. The same goes for templates like {{recent death}}. Esszet (talk) 15:20, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
That seems like a distinction without a difference. If an event is current, how could the article's content not be especially likely to change? —David Levy 15:49, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I actually agree with that. The template informs readers and editors alike that the information is likely to change rapidly. Debresser (talk) 16:07, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Why do we need to advise readers of this via a template? As noted above, the article's prose should convey that the event is ongoing. —David Levy 16:20, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
There is a distinction here. That the event is ongoing should indeed be clear from the text. That this means that the article may change rapidly, to that fact the reader's attention is drawn by this template. Debresser (talk) 18:20, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
If an article contains current information about an ongoing event, how is that fact not self-explanatory? —David Levy 18:37, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
It's not self-explanatory; when most people read Wikipedia articles about current events, they don't think ‘Hmm, since this is Wikipedia and this article is about a current event, the article could change pretty quickly…I might want to try reloading the page or checking back in a few minutes.’ This template will remind them of that. Esszet (talk) 20:54, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
It certainly isn't self-explanatory (or even true in all instances) that an article will be updated promptly. But if, as I wrote, an article contains current information about an ongoing event, how else could it possibly exist? How could someone encounter a description of something happening right now and not realize that article updates are occurring? There's no other conceivable explanation. —David Levy 21:08, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
It is inherent in Wikipedia itself that articles can change. That some articles can change more often than others does not seem like a fact that is worth pointing out to me, and, again, was never the intention of this template. This template warns of rapid change, not of any kind of change. And rapid change happens on very, very few articles, usually less than a handful at a time. --Conti| 21:17, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
But if, as I wrote, an article contains current information about an ongoing event, how else could it possibly exist?
It couldn't possibly exist otherwise, but most things that people read, even on Wikipedia, aren't updated as often if at all as current events articles are. Current events articles and other articles about things in the news usually are the ones that change rapidly – as more information becomes known or the event progresses, the article changes quickly because it can be edited by anyone with access to Wikipedia and because Wikipedia incorporates sources from all over the web. ‘Quickly’ doesn't have to mean ‘by the minute’; 10 or 20 edits in a few hours is still relatively many for such a short time frame. The possibility that such rapid change could occur is what this template would warn readers about – the information in the article is not final or is incomplete, or the event is still unfolding and the article could rapidly be updated to reflect the most recent developments, information about which could also be not final or incomplete. All content on Wikipedia may well be subject to change and be covered by a disclaimer that it may be wrong, but current events articles are much more likely to change rapidly to reflect the most recent developments in the story. Most other sources of information about current events don't change as rapidly as Wikipedia can and often does in cases of articles on current events, so we should probably warn our readers about it. Esszet (talk) 23:19, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
It couldn't possibly exist otherwise, but most things that people read, even on Wikipedia, aren't updated as often if at all as current events articles are.
How is that relevant? When someone reads a Wikipedia article containing up-to-the-minute information, he/she can see (by its very nature) that it's being updated.
The possibility that such rapid change could occur is what this template would warn readers about – the information in the article is not final or is incomplete, or the event is still unfolding
Again, all of this should be clear from the article's prose.
and the article could rapidly be updated to reflect the most recent developments, information about which could also be not final or incomplete.
And this is clear from the fact that he/she is reading something that was updated in that manner.
All content on Wikipedia may well be subject to change and be covered by a disclaimer that it may be wrong, but current events articles are much more likely to change rapidly to reflect the most recent developments in the story.
And when they do, this is readily apparent. —David Levy 00:30, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
  • In what sense do you wish for some kind of documentation liberality?
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 03:16, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

I think that this discussion shows there are varying opinions on the precise function of this template. The documentation here is a one-man project, and at any rate is arbitrary. In short, it is about time to open a broad discussion. Debresser (talk) 23:39, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

I think that we can agree on the following:
1. The template was created to advise editors of rapid changes that made editing difficult. It was worded ambiguously because we had no means (at the time) of hiding it from readers and wanted it to disrupt their experiences as little as possible.
2. Since then, the template has been perceived as a notice for readers (or editors and readers) and treated as such by many.
3. We can discuss the original intent's merit, but we aren't bound by it (or by the documentation); if there's consensus that the template benefits readers, it's appropriate to use it in that context.
4. Our goal, at this juncture, is to gauge the aforementioned consensus. This requires wide input from the community.
Does anyone disagree with any of the above? —David Levy 00:30, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
There's no harm in having a discussion, and consensus can always change. So if people want that, sure, why not. But I personally don't see any need to broaden the template's scope, and in fact think it's entirely nonsensical. Notification templates like this one are reserved for notifying readers about issues with an article (It's not neutral, it's protected, it's badly written, there might be a conflict of interest here, etc.), telling our readers to be mindful when reading the article. In that sense, this template notifies our readers that there is rapid editing going on (due to the article dealing with a current event), and thus the reader should be mindful about potential vandalism/swiftly changing article content, and so on. The template does not just tell our readers that an event is current, or that it may change, or that it may not be final. It's the article's job itself to notify our readers whether an event is current or not, and there is no need whatsoever to notify our readers that an article may change or is not final, as those are facts inherent in every single article we have. Rapid editing is our only concern here, and the only reason we may need this template at all. When there is no rapid editing, there is no reason to warn our readers, and there is absolutely nothing our readers will gain from this template. --Conti| 02:30, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
No disagreement here. Esszet (talk) 03:19, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Same. Debresser (talk) 09:58, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Those four items are suitable start, yet there is a greater and systemic disfunction that merits a central discussion, besides the divergence of the {{current}} template text and the guideline for use.
    - It is also desirable to frame a conversation about the proliferation of a constellation of temporal templates that were over the years copied from {{current}} and are functionally equivalent, that equally fail to add content to the article for the reader, and in one form or another re-state aspects of the standard Wikipedia disclaimer (which warns that all articles are not to relied upon and subject to change). Some of those additional templates are listed in Wikipedia:Current event templates and others in Category:Temporal_templates.
    - If someone desires, I'll draw up a list.
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 05:54, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Do draw up a list, but let's focus on {{current}} for the time being. Esszet (talk) 13:41, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
I'd rather we draw up general guidelines for most, if not all, current event templates. Within the next few days, I fully expect someone to attempt to massively tag all 2014 Winter Olympics-related articles with {{current sport}} on grounds that they are merely current events, not because they are experiencing massive editing throughout the entire two weeks that the Olympics will be ongoing. That is what happened during 2012 London Olympics with someone massively tagged all the 2012 Olympics-related pages. Zzyzx11 (talk) 05:08, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I'd also prefer to tackle all of them at once. That shouldn't make the task much more complicated. Debresser (talk) 10:03, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
We can draw up general guidelines, but they'd still have to be individually checked to see if they meet the guidelines. I thought Yellowdesk meant he wanted to decide in one discussion whether to keep each template. If there's no further disagreement on this, I think it's time to start the discussion. Esszet (talk) 17:11, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
We need to formulate suitable wording for the RfC. It should be neutral, of course, but it's important to convey the relevant concerns and options. We should be careful to avoid implying that this is an all-or-nothing proposition (retain the status quo or abolish all of the templates); various middle-ground outcomes (such as keeping only some of the templates and/or modifying their usage) are possible. —David Levy 17:36, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Why do we need an RfC, though? Aren't we all roughly in agreement how these templates should be used? --Conti| 23:19, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I'll get a list in order, with some commentary today. I desire to have a larger discussion for the reason that the operational and systemic difficulty described for {{current}} applies to all of the temporal templates that were copied from {{current}}. From a process and procedural point of view, there is some advantage to developing a consensus for the singular {{current}} that consequently influences the larger discussion for the related temporal templates.
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 17:21, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Agree, and Esszet's comment is easily incorporated by making exceptions to a rule for individual templates, if such would be needed. Debresser (talk)

Rfc proposal[edit]

How's this for the RfC:
{{current}} is misused much more often than it is used correctly. As explained in its documentation, the temple is intended to serve as an advisory to editors that current events articles that are rapidly being updated may be especially prone to edit conflicts, but because the template itself makes no mention of its intended function and states that ‘Information may change rapidly as the event progresses,’ most editors who use it assume that it's supposed to serve as an advisory to readers to that effect, and they use it accordingly. We (the undersigned?) would like to:
  • establish whether there is a community consensus that {{current}} in its de facto function benefits readers
  • if so, to change {{current}}'s official function so that it matches its de facto function and create a new template to warn editors about potential edit conflicts on such articles
  • if not, to change the template's wording and method of notification to better reflect its intended function
Since there are various offshoots, such as {{recent death}} and {{Current disaster}}, of {{current}}, we would like to decide their fates as well. Once we decide what to do with {{current}}, we would also like to:
  • draw up general guidelines for the use of current events templates, if we feel that there should be any at all
  • delete, retain, or edit the other current events templates accordingly
We would prefer discussion about exactly what to do with other current events templates to take place on their respective talk pages. We do not want this to turn into a lengthy discussion about exactly what to do with multiple templates at once.
We kindly request your comment on this matter.
Esszet (talk) 23:35, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to make a few changes to this proposal:
  • Instead of "and create a new template" I'd say "and discuss the creation of a new template". It is not a given that the community wants such a template.
  • I would add the option "merge" to "delete, retain, or edit", and I'd like it to be the first option: "merge, delete, retain, or edit".
  • I would to the contrary prefer to have discussion about all the Current templates centralized in one Rfc. Discussion about issues specific to any one of the offshoot templates could be restricted to a subsection for readability. Debresser (talk) 10:19, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Alright, I added ‘merge’ to the list of options for what we can do with the offshoots, but I think it's safe to assume that most people would think that {{current}} in its official function benefits editors. If the community doesn't think so, they can say it.
I'd rather not have a centralized discussion on all the current events templates. It would get too long, and it would be easier to have on the offshoots' respective talk pages the discussions about what to do with them.
Oh, and Yellowdesk, haven't I made the two proposed options explicit? And feel free to make additional suggestions for what we should do with {{current}}, but I think I've already outlined what we'd like to do.
The revised RfC:
{{current}} is misused much more often than it is used correctly. As explained in its documentation, the template is intended to serve as an advisory to editors that current events articles that are rapidly being updated may be especially prone to edit conflicts, but because the template itself makes no mention of its intended function and states that ‘Information may change rapidly as the event progresses,’ most editors who use it assume that it's supposed to serve as an advisory to readers to that effect, and they use it accordingly. We (the undersigned?) would like to:
  • establish whether there is a community consensus that {{current}} in its de facto function benefits readers
  • if so, to change {{current}}'s official function so that it matches its de facto function and create a new template to warn editors about potential edit conflicts on such articles
  • if not, to change the template's wording and method of notification to better reflect its intended function
Since there are various offshoots, such as {{recent death}} and {{Current disaster}}, of {{current}}, we would like to decide their fates as well. Once we decide what to do with {{current}}, we would also like to:
  • draw up general guidelines for the use of current events templates, if we feel that there should be any at all
  • merge, delete, retain, or edit the other current events templates accordingly
We would prefer discussion about exactly what to do with other current events templates to take place on their respective talk pages. We do not want this to turn into a lengthy discussion about exactly what to do with multiple templates at once.
We kindly request your comment on this matter.
Esszet (talk) 14:17, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
I for one disagree that the official function of Current is needed. If there is an edit conflict, you'll find out! Moreover, some editors may not even have considered the "official" meaning. In short, I think we must say "and discuss the creation of a new template".
Having discussions on 20 subtemplate pages is A Really Bad Idea. That will lead to chaos. We should have a centralized discussion. It will be larger, but with subsection it should remain overseeable. At least it will help people sticking to the central points of the template's usage. Debresser (talk) 22:05, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Alright, but it seems that most of us do think that {{current}}'s official function is necessary. If someone in the community disagrees, he or she can raise the issue for discussion as you did.
Having discussions on 20 offshoot pages would be a bad idea if there were people trying to draw up general guidelines on each of them. Once we have general guidelines established, I don't see the the harm in relegating to each offshoot's talk page discussion about exactly what to do with it. Esszet (talk) 22:20, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
The "official function" is not necessarily to warn of just edit conflicts, but of rapid editing in general which may result in vandalism and/or wrong/unverified information remaining undetected in the article for a while. --Conti| 11:42, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
I think the original Rfc should already raise the issue of the desirability of the "official" function of this template. As you see, I already raise it and the proposed text of the Rfc already implicitly acknowledges the issue by saying that the template is more used incorrectly than correctly. The Rfc should therefore acknowledge the issue more explicitly as well. Without this, I feel, the Rfc is not valid. A discussion that starts with limiting its own scope is flawed from the start.
I foresee that the idea as you propose it, to first discuss general issues and then go to talkpages of subtemplates for more specific concerns, will not work out the way you expect it, and it will be a mess, with first a general discussion, then reopening of many issues because of additional concerns from subtemplates that weren't thought through the first time, and everybody ending up unsatisfied with the final result. My feeling is that the only way to have a meaningful discussion is to open up all issues at once, in orderly sections, and then come to general and specific conclusions alike. Debresser (talk) 12:28, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Whether or not {{current}}'s official function is desirable is irrelevant to whether or not it's correct; its correct function is the one outlined on its documentation subpage. As for the possibility that the discussions on the overall desirability of the offshoots will wander off-topic if they take place on the offshoots' respective talk pages, couldn't that also happen if they all take place in one discussion? Or do you expect an admin or other supervisor of some sort to keep them on-topic on the single discussion page as he or she could also do on several talk pages? Esszet (talk) 19:24, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
A centralized discussion is better because it enables easy and effective communication on matters relevant to multiple templates in the set (e.g. an idea to merge some of them), thereby avoiding fragmentation and redundancy. Holding separate discussions on twenty talk pages would force users to jump from one to the next to provide the same input over and over. And not everyone would do this, so their participation would be constrained needlessly.
Provided that we're clear in stating that this isn't an all-or-nothing proposition (and editors are welcome to suggest that one template be treated differently from another), I see no reason not to centralize the discussion here (with links on all of the templates' talk pages, of course).
This doesn't preclude the possibility of working in phases, with general issues discussed first and more specific ones addressed later (when we have a better idea of how to proceed). —David Levy 20:12, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
I think general issues should be discussed first, and I don't think the discussion should be relegated to the offshoots' respective talk pages until you wouldn't be providing the same input over and over; you'd be checking each template to see if it meets the general guidelines established in the centralized discussion. Esszet (talk) 22:09, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Esszet "its correct function is the one outlined on its documentation subpage". Please stop telling the whole world what is correct and what isn't. The function of this template is fair game. If you are not interested in opening that question in the Rfc, don't write the text of it. Debresser (talk) 16:19, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Correct doesn't necessarily mean good. If the template's documentation says ‘This is what the template is for’, then that's its correct function. Of course, it is open to change, and the whole point of the RfC is to see if the community wants to change its correct function, isn't it? Esszet (talk) 20:15, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Precisely, and for that reason, the text of the Rfc should make it clear that we are willing to review the function as stated in the documentation and say "the template was intended" and "and discuss the desirability of creating a new template to warn editors". It is not necessarily true that the documentation documents the "correct" function. It is possible that the documentation is not updated with actual usage. That may well be the case here. So let's not say that the documentation documents the "one and only" correct function of this template. Let's be a little more openminded, and acknowledge, that that issue is actually open for discussion and revision. Debresser (talk) 02:09, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
You seem to think that ‘correct’ in this case means ‘good, beneficial, useful, helpful’. It doesn't; it means ‘conforming to accepted standards of propriety’ (see here), and since its documentation, which sets out rules for it and thus forms an accepted standard of propriety for it, says that it's supposed to serve as a warning to editors, that's its ‘correct’ (i.e. proper) function. That it isn't used in accordance with its documentation does mean it's used ‘incorrectly’, but, as you saw above, that doesn't necessarily mean you think its ‘incorrect’ use is bad; I support its currently ‘incorrect’ use. Of course, I don't think it should be ‘incorrect’, and that's why I'm pushing to have its ‘correct’ function changed. Calling its correct function ‘correct’ doesn't imply that it's the template's only acceptable function; it just says that that's the function prescribed to it by the rules that apply to it. Since its documentation prescribes only one function (i.e. to warn editors) to it, that is its only ‘correct’ function for the time being, but since rules can be changed, the word ‘correct’ does not imply that its current function is its one and only ‘correct’ function. And since most of us (David Levy, Yellowdesk, Conti, and myself) do want to preserve its ‘correct’ function in some way, we should say so. And yes, its documentation obviously wasn't updated to reflect its actual usage, and that's the root of the entire problem here.
And by the way, as I pointed out below, and as no one seems to have noticed, confusion about the proper use of {{current}} has made its way into Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles. Getting rid of it in its de facto function could be a major problem. Esszet (talk) 16:38, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Most of Wikipedia's "rules" are descriptive, not prescriptive. If the documentation doesn't reflect consensus, it's the documentation that's incorrect (even if it was correct at one time).
Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles helps to illustrate the issue. That guideline (on which many users likely have relied over the years) contradicts the template's documentation, so they can't both be "correct". At some point, someone added that advice (which he/she almost certainly believed to be accurate). Apparently, no one noticed the discrepancy until now. (I personally edited that page without the word "reader" jumping out at me.)
So let's not get hung up on terminology. We all agree on what needs to be done. Let's just describe the situation without labeling any particular usage "correct" or "incorrect". —David Levy 16:59, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Well that's rather strange, but if that is the case…
{{current}} is usually used in accordance with the belief that it's supposed to serve as an advisory to editors that the content of the article ‘may change rapidly as the event progresses’, in the words of the template itself. As explained in its documentation, it is intended to serve as an advisory to editors that current events articles that are rapidly being updated may be especially prone to edit conflicts, but because the template itself makes no mention of its intended function and states that ‘Information may change rapidly as the event progresses,’ most editors who use it assume that it's supposed to serve as an advisory to readers to that effect, and they use it accordingly. We (the undersigned?) would like to:
  • establish whether there is a community consensus that {{current}} in its de facto function benefits readers
  • if so, to change {{current}}'s documentation so that it reflects its de facto function and create a new template to warn editors about potential edit conflicts on such articles
  • if not, to change the template's wording and method of notification to better reflect its intended function
Since there are various offshoots, such as {{recent death}} and {{Current disaster}}, of {{current}}, we would like to decide what to do with them as well. Once we decide {{current}}'s fate, we would also like to:
  • draw up general guidelines for the use of current events templates, if we feel that there should be any at all
  • merge, delete, retain, or edit the other current events templates accordingly
We would prefer discussion about exactly what to do with other current events templates to take place on their respective talk pages. We do not want this to turn into a lengthy discussion about exactly what to do with multiple templates at once.
We kindly request your comment on this matter.
Esszet (talk) 17:24, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh, and if most of Wikipedia's ‘rules’ are purely descriptive, why did you bother taking the template down in the first place when I used it, erm, ‘incorrectly’? Esszet (talk) 17:32, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
I did so because the template's documentation describes the only function for which consensus has been established (even if we set aside the question of whether the template is useful to readers and focus strictly on the frequency of edits).
Alternative usage is common, but it stems primarily from misunderstanding on the part of editors who've seen the template in other articles (and read its ambiguous wording) and therefore assume that its inclusion is expected.
That's why it's important to discuss the matter instead of relying on the template's documentation or its usage to gauge consensus. —David Levy 18:26, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
1) I'm inclined to think that even if an editor assumed its usage was expected, he or she wouldn't use it if he or she thought it wasn't useful.
2) In any event, that's a minor issue for the time being. How's the RfC? Esszet (talk) 18:51, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Actually, I'll take ‘de facto’ out and replace it with ‘most common’; using ‘de facto’ implies that there is a ‘de jure’ (i.e. correct) use.
{{current}} is usually used in accordance with the belief that it's supposed to serve as an advisory to readers that the content of the article ‘may change rapidly as the event progresses’, in the words of the template itself. As explained in its documentation, however, it is intended to serve as an advisory to editors that current events articles that are rapidly being updated may be especially prone to edit conflicts, but because the template itself makes no mention of its intended function and states that ‘Information may change rapidly as the event progresses,’ most editors who use it assume that it's supposed to serve as an advisory to readers to that effect, and they use it accordingly. We (the undersigned?) would like to:
  • establish whether there is a community consensus that {{current}} in its most common function benefits readers
  • if so, to change {{current}}'s documentation so that it reflects its most common function and create a new template to warn editors about potential edit conflicts on such articles
  • if not, to change the template's wording and method of notification to better reflect its intended function
Since there are various offshoots, such as {{recent death}} and {{Current disaster}}, of {{current}}, we would like to decide what to do with them as well. Once we decide {{current}}'s fate, we would also like to:
  • draw up general guidelines for the use of current events templates, if we feel that there should be any at all
  • merge, delete, retain, or edit the other current events templates accordingly
We would prefer discussion about exactly what to do with other current events templates to take place on their respective talk pages. We do not want this to turn into a lengthy discussion about exactly what to do with multiple templates at once.
We kindly request your comment on this matter.
Esszet (talk) 19:00, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Again, I feel we must replace "and create a new template" by "and discuss the desirability of creating a new template". Debresser (talk) 20:42, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Or we can simply can simply remove that wording and address the issue if/when the need arises.
We also should remove or reword "We would prefer discussion about exactly what to do with other current events templates to take place on their respective talk pages. We do not want this to turn into a lengthy discussion about exactly what to do with multiple templates at once." (which, as discussed above, communicates something very different from Esszet's intended meaning). —David Levy 21:40, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm inclined to think that even if an editor assumed its usage was expected, he or she wouldn't use it if he or she thought it wasn't useful.
That's true. But it's common for editors to simply assume that something is useful/helpful (without even considering why) on the basis that if it weren't, it wouldn't be done.
And these things tend to snowball. Various templates were renamed/merged, so the surviving templates' documentation included mentions of the former templates' names (which had become redirects to their replacements) to inform editors of the changes. Somebody mistakenly assumed that the objective was to list every redirect in existence in every template's documentation. (This is quite pointless, of course; such information is of extremely limited utility, and MediaWiki provides it natively anyway.) So this individual went around doing just that — compiling exhaustive lists of templates' redirects and adding them to their documentation. Before long, others saw these lists, assumed that they served some useful purpose, and began expanding them and emulating them elsewhere. When I asked some of these editors why they were doing this, I received responses along the lines of "I guess I just thought we were supposed to."
In another instance, a user deployed a bot (without discussion) to remove a template from hundreds of articles, based solely on a minor typo in its documentation (which had absolutely no basis in the template's actual use). That editor actually told me that it would be fine to use another template with identical output. As in the other example, "why" never entered the equation. —David Levy 21:40, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
I think {{current}}'s utility is self-explanatory and thus does enter the minds of those who use it, but let's set that aside for the moment and focus on the RfC: what part of the statement in question is misleading? I didn't consult all of you before writing it, but if we really don't want discussion about exactly what to do with the other templates to take place in the general discussion, it says that. Esszet (talk) 02:02, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
When I've discussed the matter with editors who've used {{current}} in a manner inconsistent with its documentation, it's been clear that some had a concept of utility in mind and others did not.
The wording came across to me (and possibly to Debresser) as an instruction to confine all non-general discussion of templates other than {{current}} to their respective talk pages. Combined with the bulleted item immediately preceding it, I took it to mean "But we don't want to do that here." —David Levy 03:10, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Let's try it like this:

{{Current}} is usually used in accordance with the understanding that it is supposed to serve as an advisory to readers that the content of the article ‘may change rapidly as the event progresses’, in the words of the template itself. Its documentation states it is intended to serve as an advisory to editors that current events articles that are rapidly being updated may be especially prone to edit conflicts. However, because the template itself makes no mention of its intended function and states that ‘Information may change rapidly as the event progresses’, most editors who use it assume that it is supposed to serve as an advisory to readers to that effect, and they use it accordingly. We would like to:
  • establish whether there is a community consensus that {{Current}} in its usual function benefits readers
if so,
  • to change {{Current}}'s documentation so that it reflects that function, and
  • discuss the desirability of creating a new template to warn editors about potential edit conflicts on such articles
if not,
  • to change the template's wording to better reflect its intended function
Since there are various offshoots of {{current}}, such as {{Recent death}} and {{Current disaster}}, we would like to decide what to do with them as well. Once we decide {{current}}'s fate, we would also like to:
  • draw up general guidelines for the use of all other current events templates, if we feel that there should be any at all
  • merge, delete, retain, or edit the other current events templates accordingly
We kindly request your comment on this matter.
Alright, but before we start the discussion, what happens if a consensus can't be reached? Do we just maintain the status quo, or is there a set procedure for what to do when that happens?
Oh and in the first sentence, be sure to change ‘editors’ to ‘readers’; that was a mistake that of mine went unnoticed for a while. Esszet (talk) 12:53, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
I can't imagine the Rfc not reaching any conclusion, but if that would happen, and the Rfc wouldn't see this happening and propose a course of action, then the usual result of no consensus is maintain the status quo. Debresser (talk) 21:53, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Alright, but since the status quo cannot be maintained in this case, should we add something along the lines of ‘If a consensus on the utility of {{current}} in its usual function cannot be reached, we will change all the current events templates' documentation pages to reflect their usual functions and will move on to discussion of whether or not there should be a template to warn editors of potential edit conflicts on current events articles that are or could be rapidly being updated’? Esszet (talk) 02:02, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
In my view, the template's use for a given purpose (be it one that you prefer, one that I prefer, or something else) requires explicit consensus. (In the past, there was explicit consensus for its use to advise editors of potential difficulties, but I'm not sure that this remains the case.) So if there's no consensus at all, the template should be deleted. However, in the event of partial consensus (e.g. wide agreement that the template is suitable for one function, but no agreement as to whether or not it's suitable for another), we should move to whatever common ground exists. —David Levy 02:35, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
You think we should delete it even if a large part of the community favours its retention in some function? Esszet (talk) 22:24, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
If there's no consensus for said function, yes, I see no viable alternative.
In general, the onus is on those who wish to include contested article content to demonstrate consensus. This is true of encyclopedic material (such as factual claims), and if anything, it's even truer of a template like this (which isn't even part of the actual article).
Yellowdesk mentioned the "spoiler wars" below. In that instance, a large segment of the community (which included me at one point, though I eventually was persuaded to change my mind) wanted to continue using spoiler warning templates. But while the practice was longstanding, it was shown to no longer have consensus (so the templates were deleted). —David Levy 02:09, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
If lack of consensus is enough to warrant a template's deletion, why did the discussion go on long enough to be called a war? In any case, I don't think that that is (or should be) grounds for deletion; if a template has, say, 75% of involved users behind it, it should be retained. Templates for which consensus cannot be reached should at least be put to a vote of some sort.
Oh, and we should probably say that discussion about deleting or merging templates should take place at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion. Esszet (talk) 02:54, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
If lack of consensus is enough to warrant a template's deletion, why did the discussion go on long enough to be called a war?
That description reflects the passion with which editors on both sides of the dispute strove to prevail. People had very strong opinions about whether to include spoiler warnings, which led to widespread edit-warring and other unpleasant interactions before meaningful discussion occurred.
In any case, I don't think that that is (or should be) grounds for deletion; if a template has, say, 75% of involved users behind it, it should be retained.
You may have misunderstood. Consensus isn't gauged purely on a numerical basis, but if 75% of respondents agree on something, it probably has consensus. Unanimity isn't required (and rarely exists).
Templates for which consensus cannot be reached should at least be put to a vote of some sort.
To what sort of vote are you referring? —David Levy 04:00, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
If consensus is defined as ‘general agreement’, then I guess you're right; we should delete it if there's no consensus behind it. A technical question: is lack of consensus one of the criteria for speedy deletion, and if not, what happens if a consensus can't be reached in the deletion discussion? Esszet (talk) 15:38, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh dear, it appears it isn't…what should we do? Esszet (talk) 18:10, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
That's a good question. A redundant TfD debate certainly isn't desirable. Given that "delete" and "merge" are options on the table, perhaps we should organize a combined RfC/TfD discussion. —David Levy 19:14, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
An Rfc would be enough reason to delete a template in itself. I would recommend posting a link in a few visible places like WP:VP and also the talkpage of WP:Tfd. Debresser (talk) 21:15, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
To clarify, I don't mean that we should do anything extra. I was thinking that perhaps we could hold the discussion at TfD (so it's clear that "merge" and "delete" are possible outcomes and no one can complain that the proper procedure wasn't followed) and advertise it via RfC.
I'd hate for us to go through the whole RfC — with clear consensus (or the lack thereof) emerging — only to see it deemed invalid on a technicality. —David Levy 21:30, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Would a combined RfC/TfD discussion solve the consensus problem? There could still be a deadlock there, couldn't there? Esszet (talk) 21:46, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Indeed, a combined RfC/TfD discussion wouldn't ensure that consensus is reached. But if the discussion's outcome is clear, it would prevent a situation in which editors reject it on the basis that the "wrong" forum was used. —David Levy 22:03, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Then at this point, we have two options:
1) Try to get ‘lack of consensus’ added to the list of criteria for speedy (or just normal; it could require some further discussion) deletion for templates
2) Do something other than try to delete it in the event that a consensus can't be reached in the initial dissuasion
Esszet (talk) 22:09, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────A speedy deletion criterion certainly isn't called for. (Those criteria are for situations in which no discussion is required.) And such a standard shouldn't be codified as part of TfD, as it isn't generally applicable. (It applies in this instance only because if there's no consensus to perform any of the underlying tasks, there's no valid reason for the templates to exist.)
In the event that no consensus for the templates' continued use is established, an alternative to their actual deletion would be deprecation (changing their wording/documentation to indicate that they're no longer to appear in articles). That might actually be preferable in the short term, as it could prevent confusion. (Of course, we might establish consensus for the templates' continued use, in which case all of this will be moot.) —David Levy 22:33, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Again, if an Rfc would decide that a template is to be deleted or deprecated, then that is enough, and even if somebody would claim that Tfd was the proper venue, I am confident that opinion would be ignored. Again, dropping a note at Tfd is recommended, but definitely not mandatory. Debresser (talk) 23:21, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree with most of that. But if we can avoid a potential headache, we should.
However, I've thought of a possible downside to holding the discussion at TfD: this might encourage drive-by "keep"/"delete"/"merge" votes (and discourage deeper analysis of the situation). We don't want to trade one headache for another, so consider the suggestion withdrawn. —David Levy 23:37, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
And such a standard shouldn't be codified as part of TfD, as it isn't generally applicable.
Wouldn't it be applicable to all templates for which consensus doesn't exist in any of their current or proposed functions? It could be codified as something like ‘If consensus does not exist for a template in any of its current or proposed functions, it should be deleted.’ Esszet (talk) 02:09, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
And add to that ‘and most interested parties agree that the discussion should not be continued’ after ‘proposed functions’. Esszet (talk) 02:20, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
It depends on the context. Suppose that multiple templates aid in a useful task via different methods — and there's no consensus that any of those methods is the one to use. It wouldn't make sense to delete all of the templates on that basis. —David Levy 02:37, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but in that case, there would be consensus that the function should be performed in some way or other. We're talking about a situation in which there's no consensus that the function should be performed at all. I suppose we should change it to ‘If there is no consensus that a given function performed by a template should exist at all, that function should be deleted.’ In this case, that would be sufficient to have {{current}} deleted if there is no consensus behind it in any of its current functions. Esszet (talk) 03:02, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree with that. —David Levy 03:42, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Alright then, should we propose to add it to the list of reasons for deletion at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion? In any case, here's the updated RfC: Esszet (talk) 04:17, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
  • No, on simply adding it to the reasons for deletion, at Templates for Discussion. It would be desirable to have an independent proposal and discussion there, about the worthiness of that being a universal standard for all templates. -- Yellowdesk (talk) 01:53, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

RfC Proposal II[edit]

{{Current}} is usually used in accordance with the understanding that it is supposed to serve as an advisory to readers that the content of the article ‘may change rapidly as the event progresses’, in the words of the template itself. Its documentation states it is intended to serve as an advisory to editors that current events articles that are rapidly being updated may be especially prone to edit conflicts. However, because the template itself makes no mention of its intended function and states that ‘Information may change rapidly as the event progresses’, most editors who use it assume that it is supposed to serve as an advisory to readers to that effect, and they use it accordingly. We the undersigned would like to:

  • establish whether there is a community consensus that {{Current}} in its usual function benefits readers
if so,
  • to change {{Current}}'s documentation so that it reflects that function, and
  • discuss the desirability of creating a new template to warn editors about potential edit conflicts on such articles
if not,
  • to change the template's wording to better reflect its intended function

Since there are various offshoots of {{current}}, such as {{Recent death}} and {{Current disaster}}, we would like to decide what to do with them as well. Once we decide {{current}}'s fate, we would also like to:

  • draw up general guidelines for the use of all other current events templates, if we feel that there should be any at all
  • merge, delete, retain, or edit the other current events templates accordingly

Discussion on whether to merge templates or delete a template should take place at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion. If consensus cannot be established for any of the functions of any of the templates mentioned above, it will be deleted.

We kindly request your comment on this matter.

Esszet (talk) 04:17, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

I see no reason to involve Tfd. If the Rfc reaches clear consensus regarding merging or deleting certain templates, no further Tfd discussion is needed, especially if they were informed of the ongoing discussion. I therefore propose to remove that last paragraph from the proposed text. The last line specifically is not acceptable, since no consensus should mean no action, not delete. I thought these point were already explained above. Debresser (talk) 16:55, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
With deletion discussions, there's usually consensus as to what the content should do if it is kept. In this case, we might not even have that. Since discussion on whether to delete or merge templates is supposed to take place at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion, I'll leave that line in; if a consensus is reached in the main discussion or on one of their talk pages, a symbolic discussion should still take place there. Esszet (talk) 19:05, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh, and shouldn't we also change {{current}}'s method of notification if there is consensus that it should notify editors of potential edit conflicts on current events articles that are or could be rapidly being updated? There's no reason to put a notification like that on the main article page. Esszet (talk) 19:49, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Esszet, you concern yourself too much with unlikely outcomes and other people's problems. An Rfc is more than likely to reach a clear consensus and will itself indicate what should be done in case there is no consensus. There is no reason to take the template to Tfd afterwards. If the result will be to send a template to Tfd for formalities sake, then that is for the Rfc to decide, not for us to stipulate now.
May I understand from your lack of comment regarding the last sentence saying that no consensus = deletion, that you agree it should be removed? Debresser (talk) 20:32, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I think it should be removed if the community can't agree on what to do with it. I personally think it should be retained in its usual function, but in the unlikely event that consensus can't be reached, we should have a course of action set out. I don't think that's being controlling or overbearing. Guidelines for what to do in such situations should be part of official Wikipedia policy; we wouldn't want people's deciding on different outcomes for what to do in similar situations, which are admittedly uncommon, and retaining in active usage a template (or any other content, for that matter) for which people cannot agree on a function is certainly not desirable. I suppose deprecation is a viable alternative in this case; I'll add it to the last paragraph, which will now read: ‘Discussion on whether to merge templates or delete a template should take place at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion. If consensus cannot be established for any of the functions for any of the templates mentioned above, it will be deprecated or deleted.’ Oh, and since guidelines should be followed, I'm going to leave the sentence about TfD in. Esszet (talk) 22:35, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I suggest that the draft RfC headnote admit that it is editors that make use of the template, instead of the presently framed passive voice without an actor. It is editors who have particular kinds of uses of {{current}}, and it is readers who see the template as a consequence of the template's addition to an article by editors.
  • To state in the first sentence of the draft that there is an unqualified singular "understanding" shades the entire discussion we are attempting to have, which is particularly about at least two kinds for views on the desirabilility of the existence, documentation and text of the {{current}}.
  • I suggest that the deletion of the template {{current}} be an item with the same level of standing as a discussion choice and decision as the choices "change the documentation" or "change the text". As I have consistently stated in the talk pages here, it is my view this is preferable outcome for {{current}}, and ask that deletion be explicitly on the table for discussion. There is in part a lack of consensus about whether {{current}} serves any useful reader function given the standard Wikipedia disclaimer, hence the desirability of considering and discussing deleting it.
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 02:37, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I suggest that the draft RfC headnote admit that it is editors that make use of the template, instead of the presently framed passive voice without an actor. It is editors who have particular kinds of uses of {{current}}, and it is readers who see the template as a consequence of the template's addition to an article by editors.
Yes, and?
To state in the first sentence of the draft that there is an unqualified singular "understanding" shades the entire discussion we are attempting to have, which is particularly about at least two kinds for views on the desirabilility of the existence, documentation and text of the {{current}}.
It does shade the entire discussion, but since such an understanding does exist, it should be mentioned.
I suggest that the deletion of the template {{current}} be an item with the same level of standing as a discussion choice and decision as the choices "change the documentation" or "change the text". As I have consistently stated in the talk pages here, it is my view this is preferable outcome for {{current}}[…]
If you are of the "edit-notice" view, as you call it, why would you want to delete {{current}} rather than change it to an {{editnotice}} feature? And even if even if the community does think it's useless, the RfC is supposed to be about what we would like to do, not what we think the community would like to do. Unless most of us think deletion could be desirable in some situation, we shouldn't mention it. I'll admit that neither I nor David Levy got input from you or Conti before putting in the sentence about deleting it in the event of a lack on consensus on what function it should serve, so I'll ask Conti now: what do you think we should do if consensus can't be reached on what function {{current}} should serve? Esszet (talk) 13:40, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Do you agree or disagree? Esszet (talk) 15:34, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree that if there is no discussion, nothing must be undertaken. Debresser (talk) 21:54, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Well yes, but is further discussion needed on the RfC? Esszet (talk) 01:31, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
No. If such a thing would happen, the Rfc would simply be closed. Again, I stress, that this is a very unlikely outcome. I am confident the Rfc will lead to some result, even if some questions would remain unresolved. Debresser (talk) 01:54, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Alright then.
{{Current}} is usually used in accordance with the belief that it is supposed to serve as an advisory to readers that the content of the article ‘may change rapidly as the event progresses’, in the words of the template itself. Its documentation, however, states that it is intended to serve as an advisory to editors that current events articles that are rapidly being updated may be especially prone to edit conflicts, and so one should use caution when editing such articles. Because the template itself makes no mention of its intended function and states that ‘Information may change rapidly as the event progresses’, most editors who use it assume that it is supposed to serve as an advisory to readers to that effect, and they use it accordingly. We the undersigned would like to:
  • establish whether there is a community consensus that {{Current}} in its usual function benefits readers
if so,
  • change {{Current}}'s documentation so that it reflects that function, and
  • discuss the desirability of creating a new template to warn editors about potential edit conflicts on such articles
if not,
  • change the template's wording and method of notification to better reflect its intended function
Since there are various offshoots of {{Current}}, such as {{Recent death}} and {{Current disaster}}, we would like to decide what to do with them as well. Once we decide {{current}}'s fate, we would also like to:
  • draw up general guidelines for the use of all other current events templates, if we feel that there should be any at all
  • merge, delete, retain, or edit the other current events templates accordingly
Discussion on whether to merge templates or delete a template should take place at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion. If consensus cannot be established for any of the other functions of any of the templates mentioned above, we will leave it to you to decide what to do with it.
We kindly request your comment on this matter.
Esszet (talk) 03:00, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
No, and no. The two last sentences are wrong. Discussion about deletion and merge will be done within the Rfc itself. And "we will leave it to you to decide" is just ridiculous. Simply remove those two sentences, and you have a perfect Rfc. Debresser (talk) 02:18, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Since discussion about mergers and deletions should take place at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion, we should leave that line in. And how is saying ‘we will leave it to you’ ridiculous?
Oh, and I just realized, you'd be fine with an editnotice template if there's no consensus behind {{current}} in its usual function, but you'd want to discuss it if there is? Esszet (talk) 13:38, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
What do you think? Esszet (talk) 15:56, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Comments invited from David Levy, Debresser, Yellowdesk, and Conti Esszet (talk) 21:17, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I still don't see why we need a request for comment when we are all roughly in agreement on what the purpose of the template should be (which is pretty close - if not identical - to how it is currently used), so I'm not sure what I should comment on. --Conti| 23:54, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Most of us agree that there should be an editnotice function of some sort, but we don't agree as to whether it should be used as it's currently used — gauging consensus for that would be the purpose of the RfC. Esszet (talk) 01:27, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
  • I wish to report an active article that clearly qualifies under the "current" template's founding intent. See the first 14 hours of the revision history of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which has above 870 edits from 00:37, March 8, 2014‎ to 14:00, March 8, 2014‎
    On the draft RfC, I see no harm, and suggest that there is actual good consequence to discussing merger and deletion within an RfC. There have been occasions in which the Templates for Deletion discussion was guided by the RfC consensus. I'll attempt to comment further on the present draft proposal later today or tomorrow.
    Yellowdesk (talk) 15:07, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

List of temporal templates with similar functionality to template current[edit]

Here's a working list of templates that were derived from {{current}} or have similar functionality.
This may get revised as I look more closely at the history of their creation and use.
-- Yellowdesk (talk) 04:03, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

List of functional relatives of Template Current

#
Template
Name
Modeled on
{{current}}?
Creation
Date
Article uses as of
02 Feb 2014
Comments / Issues
{{Current}} not applicable March 14, 2004‎ zero Created for high-edit occasions. Text of template diverges from rationale for creation and guide to use, directed for editors. Visible to readers. Perhaps a modified version of {{editnotice}} preferable. Reduplicates warnings of the Wikipedia:General disclaimer, contrary to the guideline Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles
{{Current related}} yes June 6, 2006 zero {{Seealso}} adequately indicates a link to an active topic.
{{Current person}} yes June 22, 2006 zero {{Seealso}} adequately indicates a link to an active topic.
{{Current disaster}} yes January 30, 2008 zero Specifically created for natural disasters. Fairly often used for man-made events.
{{Current sport}} yes December 9, 2005 zero Reduplicates warnings of the Wikipedia:General disclaimer, contrary to the guideline Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles.
{{Current sport-related}} yes January 27, 2007 zero {{Seealso}} adequately indicates a link to a related topic.
{{Current sports transaction}} yes December 8, 2011 one There are many thousands of sports player signings, trades and other transactions a year. Given the complicated circumstances and long-drawn out nature of completing many transaction, it is best to fully describe the activity in the article text.
{{Current tornado outbreak}} yes March 25, 2011 zero Reduplicates warnings of the Wikipedia:General disclaimer, contrary to the guideline Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles.
{{Current tropical cyclone}} yes September 21, 2005 zero Reduplicates warnings of the Wikipedia:General disclaimer, contrary to the guideline Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles
{{Recent death}} yes January 3, 2007 zero For occasions in which people die with unreported or unexplained circumstances. Needlessly used for well-reported, well explained deaths.
{{Recent death presumed}} yes February 16, 2008 zero Rarely used. Better to state the circumstances in the text of the article. If {{recent death}} continues to survive, it should become a parameter to that template.
{{Current spaceflight}} yes September 14, 2006 zero Signficantly modified from {{current}}. Indicates satellites presently in operations or orbit. Given that hundreds of significant objects are in orbit, best to indicate project status in the article text.
{{Launching}} to review September 22, 2006 23 articles, but visible on __. Modified from {{current}}. Can reside on an article without visibility, and be made visible with a parameter change. Originally created to note launches scheduled within 24 hours. Presently appears on articles about particular kinds of rockets, or satellite programs.
{{Drug-emerging}} uncertain October 24, 2013 five Highlights that the drug in question is not properly supported by references, which makes the template functionally a variety of {{crystal}}.
{{Recently revised}} uncertain January 2, 2006 eight Needless and superfluous. A comment on the talk page, as well as edit summary for the edit history are sufficient.
{{in use}} created before current December 18, 2003 seven Perhaps desirable to convert to an {{editnotice}}. It has survived four deletion nominations.
It looks as though confusion about the proper use of {{current}} is so widespread that it's made its way into Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles (under exceptions): ‘Current event and temporal templates such as {{current}} or {{recent death}}. These alert the reader that the article content may be subject to a flux of recent and upcoming significant changes for reasons beyond the control of Wikipedia.’ Esszet (talk) 16:16, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

link alt[edit]

Technical thing, place alt=|link= to the icon (it's CC0) like in other notice templates. --Rezonansowy (talkcontribs) 11:02, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

  • Done I also updated the template used on commons from cc-pd to cc0. — {{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 11:19, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Can the views be aligned?[edit]

  • There is one view that desires to liberate {{current}} from its formative mission, by warning readers that articles may change frequently, and creating a more modest advisory threshold for use.
    I'll call this view the "use 'current' more" view.
  • Another view is that the reader is previously informed of a topic's changing quality via the thoughtful article text, and that only the editor need be apprised of frequent change, especially since a topic may have anywhere from 100 to 10,000 times more readers than editors.
    I'll call this the "edit-notice" view.

I'm having trouble seeing how the expression of both views in the RfC will make for much progress in a consensus-generating way, via an RfC.
Can these views be reconciled here before the RfC?
Calling upon various recent participants to discuss the nub of this difference and whether you might conceive of persuadability on point; if not, perhaps there is no avoiding the potential deadlock in the RfC as well.
    Comments invited especially from --->   - User:Esszet - User:Debresser - User:David_Levy - User:Conti - User:Zzyzx11
-- (signed) Yellowdesk (talk) 05:25, 9 February 2014 (UTC)


  • I'll start off by admitting, as an overall template minimalist, I don't see the need for {{current}} from a reader's perspective.
    Is there a reader's argument that I've missed that might persuade me?
    So far I have not met it.
    Similarly might a "use 'current' more" editor equally imagine the notice only appearing for editors, at the moment of editing, or eloquently explain why an additional warning is needed for the reader, besides the article text and the wikipedia general disclaimer?
    I'm genuinely attempting to see if there is a place both camps can have a meeting of minds.
    -- Yellowdesk (talk) 05:25, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
I was going to ask what happens if we can't establish a consensus in the general discussion. My views on the desirability of {{current}} in its de facto function are outlined above; I can resume the debate with David Levy, but even if one of us wins that, there could still be a deadlock in the general discussion. Is there a set policy for what to do when a consensus can't be reached? If there isn't, I recommend either putting it to a vote of some sort or retaining {{current}} in its de facto function if and simply because a large part of the community favours it. Esszet (talk) 01:34, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
There are perennial topics that come up in the RfC world without new movement or consensus. Some topics after more than one effort do come to a new consequence. There was, for example a couple of times that the template "spoiler" (several years ago) came up for discussion in an effort called the "spoiler wars" and after more than one round of conversation, the "spoiler" template and its kindred were deleted as contrary to the whole idea of an encyclopedia as an information resource ("If someone arrives at the article, interested in learning about a movie, game, or novel, what is the informational and graphical benefit of warning the reader against the information provided further into the article?") And then some topics for comment generate a new point of action. Taking a look at the history of the several varieties of "Requests for Comment" sub-pages would be educational. An exceedingly small fraction of all editors visit those pages, which is its own separate fact.
-- Yellowdesk (talk) 01:25, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Alright, I'm discussing with David Levy what to do in the event of a failure to reach consensus (see above under Rfc proposal). Esszet (talk) 22:29, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Proposed change: third parameter to vary "the event progresses"[edit]

As LukeSurl noted above at #Requested change - very recent events, the wording "the event progresses" is inappropriate in some cases and it would be useful to have a parameter allowing this default text to be overridden. A current example is at Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which has the following variant:

The "incident" per se is over, but more information is flooding in as the investigation continues. It would be more accurate to say:

This article documents a recent aviation incident. Information may change rapidly as the investigation continues.

or:

This article documents a recent aviation incident. Information may change rapidly as more details become available.

There are already variants for other situations:

Why can't we allow other customisable variations for other situations that don't have a dedicated template, to be used judiciously where the default text "as the event progresses" is unsuitable or undesirable? sroc 💬 00:05, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

I'm worried that this would invite the overuse of this template in situations where it should not be used in the first place. For instance, at this point Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is edited about 5-10 times an hour, so it would be reasonable to just remove the template altogether. This is the "Something so big is happening that Wikipedia can barely keep up"-template, and as such its usage should be very rare and (usually) short lived. I'm not sure there's a need to add more customization to such a template. --Conti| 10:03, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
We can change the text to "as more details become available", I think. That should be general enough. Debresser (talk) 20:41, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
@Conti: Please stick to the issue, which is not whether or not the template should now be used on a specific article, but that the template should allow such flexibility when it is used (as it has been since 8 March when the flurry of edits was manic).
@Debresser: Do you mean change the template for all cases, changing its appearance on every article where it's used? Why not keep the current text as the default but allow customisation where appropriate? sroc 💬 22:09, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
My point was that allowing more flexibility would invite greater usage of the template, which I do not think is a good thing. I do not think that greater flexibility is required. --Conti| 22:14, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Do you think the above template ending in "as the event progresses" is fine for aviation disasters (i.e., after the plane has crashed/been missing for more than a day)? I don't. Being inflexible in wording a template is not a solution to avoid misuse of a template. sroc 💬 23:18, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Changing a template for a single use case does not seem very useful, either. There's also Template:Current disaster, though given the lack of details on the flight it might not be the perfect solution, either. The template could also be substituted in the article to change the wording for that one article, or, as I said already, it could simply be removed entirely since it has served its purpose already. Or, per Debresser, the wording could be changed in general. --Conti| 23:37, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
  • It's not for a single isolated case: MH370 just happens to be the particular case where I noticed it. LukeSurl previously raised it in relation to Velika Ivanča shooting. Presumably the various other templates modelled on this one were created precisely because this one was not fit for purpose within its constraints. No doubt there are other cases where editors are too busy to be bothered doing anything about it.
  • You acknowledge that {{current disaster}} isn't a perfect solution, so why suggest it? Why have a multitude of templates for specific situations when none of them are ideal for other situations?
  • Substituting the template is specifically advised against in the template documentation.
  • Whether or not a template should eventually be removed once it has outlived its purpose is entirely beside the point of having a template that is suited to the purpose in the first place. Let's have a template that can be used for any relevant situation and removed once it's no longer needed—not say, "well, it's only inaccurate for a while, so let's ignore it and wait for it to go away."
  • Debresser's suggested wording just substitutes one fixed phrase for another and does not assist editors to use their judgment to use wording that it appropriate for particular situations without having to create entirely separate templates (such as the other variants).
  • I disagree that providing a parameter allowing flexibility for tailoring the template to the nature of a given article encourages the use of the template in inappropriate cases. Most users wouldn't even think of using the template when it is inappropriate, let alone become aware of the parameter. The template documentation already makes it clear when the template is appropriate, and this can be beefed up if necessary. If the template is used inappropriately in individual cases (regardless of the new parameter), it will be quickly removed by an observant editor.
sroc 💬 00:12, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
  • > "Most users wouldn't even think of using the template when it is inappropriate, let alone become aware of the parameter."
    As a review of my edit history will demonstrate, about ninety-five percent of all uses of the template are not appropriate. The argument is a makeweight.
    I am not in favor of adding an additional parameter, and in my view the template should be deleted, in favor of one that only is visible only to those that edit the article, along the lines of the {{edit notice}} template.
    Yellowdesk (talk) 03:07, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
@Yellowdesk We disagree as to what is the "appropriate" usage of this template, and most editors likewise disagree with you. That is why you think that 95% of the usage is wrong. :)
@sroc I think that the new fixed phrase is better than the existing one, but I do not think that adding another parameter and adding flexibility is a good idea. The word "template" implies a certain inflexibility.Debresser (talk) 17:49, 29 March 2014 (UTC)