Template talk:Lead too short

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This tag is incredibly annoying, and I wish people would simply leave messages on the talk page instead of using it. This isn't an issue where we need to "warn the reader of problems", like some other cleanup tags -- it's simply an editing issue when the article is less than perfect. -- phoebe/(talk) 19:18, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

My thoughts exactly. It's a case of "the lead of this article isn't very good, so lets make it even worse with a big tag". violet/riga (t) 11:45, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
It's especially inappropriate for short / stub articles where (in my opinion) a one or two sentence lead is just right, not too short at all. In those cases the tag encourages people to add unstructured information to the lead when they really should be working on expanding the article. I left a comment on the Wikipedia talk:Lead section page because I think this may reflect an underlying flaw in the guideline.Wikidemo 14:42, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Template for Deletion Debate[edit]

This template was proposed for deletion on December 2, 2007. The result was keep, per WP:SNOW. SkierRMH (talk) 22:43, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

It would have been helpful if a link to the discussion had been included. (Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2007 December 2#Template:Tooshort). The discussion lasted 24-hours and there were four "keeps" and the administrator called that a snowball. This is an annoying and unuseful template that an editor could quickly rectify rather than throwing the template on. Everything about this stinks. Americasroof (talk) 18:10, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

It would funnier if this template were called too$hort --nathanbeach 04:07, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Keep... but why is there no unity on Wikipedia? Every template tag has its own syntax. Unless you memorize or store a database of all of the templates you plan to use, usage of templates in general is a hassle. I usually resort to Google to help me find a template, because the organization of the template pages is... non-existent. A lot of templates use hyphens, some don't... and this one is just ridiculous. "tooshort" is not a word. {{intro-too-short}} might be nice, or perhaps {{introtooshort}} or {{introshort}}--Tkgd2007 (talk) 07:54, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Consistent date formatting[edit]


To conform with other templates, please have a consistent date format. Find the following:

article.<br />{{#if:{{{date|}}}|This article has been tagged since '''{{{date}}}'''.}}</small>

Replace it with:

article. {{#if:{{{date|}}}|''({{{date}}})''}}</small>

And you are done! Gary King (talk) 03:18, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Done. --- RockMFR 07:19, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Rework to give a better idea of what is needed[edit]

See the work at the shiny new sandbox. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:04, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Done. Since there seemed to be no objection, I went ahead with the change. --Elonka 03:23, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

More rewording[edit]


I've tweaked the wording in the sandbox to remove the repetition of the word "article". Can this be synced again? Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 15:52, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

 Done. Huntster (t@c) 02:51, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Further tweaks[edit]


I've made some more changes to the sandbox to fit better with other cleanup templates. Just needs synced. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:14, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. Cheers. --MZMcBride (talk) 06:24, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Tweaked wording[edit]

I've tweaked the wording a little to be more inviting of editors to make some changes. The old wording was too authoritative in my opinion. Can someone check it over, and if they agree, sync it? Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:39, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Why not go with "may" in the first sentence too? I don't mind a slight reduction in authority here. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 00:53, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Well I thought that if the intro isn't too short, the template shouldn't be there, and I don't think short introductions are such a big deal that templates should be added "just in case" they are (there is always the talk page too). So 'may' seemed a little odd. I'm more worried about the template being a little more inviting though, so I won't argue if you disagree with the 'may' bit. Cheers, Ben (talk) 01:05, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I think I've probably tagged more articles with this than anyone else. :) I think it's inviting enough with "may". The problem usually stands out immediately when the tag's in place, so I don't think we need to be too strong. I've merged "may" back in; the editprotected in the above section will hopefully get looked at soon. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 01:09, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Well the 'may' and inviting concerns were two different issues to me, but like I said, I'm not too concerned about 'may' over 'does', so no problem. Cheers, Ben (talk) 01:15, 17 December 2008 (UTC)


Category:Wikipedia introduction cleanup now has nearly 9000 article in it, which makes it a bit unwieldy for cleanup work. I reckon that the tooshort entries should be moved to a new sub-category, Category:Wikipedia introduction length cleanup, which would make it easier to track them. Comments? Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:00, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Bypass redirect[edit]

Can someone change the link to the redirection page WP:LEDE to point directly to WP:Lead section? —Largo Plazo (talk) 15:52, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Template family names should be consistent[edit]

This template should have a name similar to "Intro-too long" rather than it's current "Lead too short". However, as it's protected, I cannot move the article, which suggests that I need to drum up consensus. Anyone else have thoughts? --Izno (talk) 19:07, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

I do. And an old thought at that. Move {{Intro-too long}} to {{Intro too long}} to get rid of the dash, and move {{Lead too short}} to {{Intro too short}} for uniformity as per your comment. Debresser (talk) 10:59, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Moved "Into-too long" to "Lead too long". Reasoning, "intro" is an abbreviation and is vague. Avoid "lede" as it is to technical/jargony. Rich Farmbrough, 14:52, 13 February 2010 (UTC).
I have requested User:Rich Farmbrough to undo his changes, as they go against the two other opinions here, and ignore that we have two more templates that use the word "intro" (with which I see nothing wrong). Debresser (talk) 17:30, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Personally disagree with the vagueness of "Intro", as that's an abbreviation understood outside of Wikipedia; lead is not such a word, I'd dare say, that sees use outside. That said, as long as they're all consistent, I'm a happy camper. --Izno (talk) 17:59, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I can live with that, although my personal opinion is that "Intro" is the best choice here. But then we should rename {{Intro missing}} and {{Intro-rewrite}} as well. Debresser (talk) 18:04, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that on Wikipedia the primary term is WP:Lead section. If my perception is correct, then it should be called that consistently unless not confusing people isn't considered a worthwhile goal. —Largo Plazo (talk) 18:43, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
All templates are now at Lead.... Debresser (talk) 21:02, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for doing the work. :) --Izno (talk) 21:12, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
That was User:Rich Farmbrough. Debresser (talk) 21:29, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

What is the use of this tag??[edit]

In my view adding a template header to the top of an article (i.e. in article space) is always defacing the article and should therefor be avoided if at all possible.

There are in my view 2 reasons to add a topnote in article space:

  1. To give relevant information to a reader of the article (e.g. other use of terms, warnings about POV issues, lack of sourcing etc.) that may not be immediately clear to the reader.
  2. To give information to editors that is not immediately clear (e.g. merger proposals etc)

This template gives no relevant information to readers as it should be clear to any reader that the lede is short.

It also does not give any information whatsoever to an editor, as any editor would register that the lede is too short in the same time it takes this editor to register the tag.

So benefits for use of this tag - None; damage done by the tag - defacing articles. Why does this tag exist as using it will make articles worse without providing any help for improvement? Arnoutf (talk) 17:01, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Totally agree. I never saw any point in this template other than to deface articles. Garion96 (talk) 22:31, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
It is identifiable that the lead is short, but not that it is too short, and so this notice serves to inform the editors, rather than the readers. Not every editor knows about the lead-length guidelines, and I would find it arrogant to say that the template is of no use. In particular, calling all such templates "defacing" is assuming bad faith and is an opinion held by only a percentage of editors. --Izno (talk) 06:06, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
That's nonsense. It's not assuming bad faith, it's stating my own opinion. I know other editors disagree, which is fine by me. Garion96 (talk) 09:56, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
At the least, the way you stated it was in poor faith and could have more constructively and succinctly been said, e.g. "I feel like this makes the article look worse for little benefit". "Deface"ment though?... --Izno (talk) 23:48, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Why should I? My statement has absolutely nothing to do with bad or good or any faith. No one against or for this template is acting in bad faith, it's completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. Does this template deface (in the wiktionary meaning of "damage" perfectly ok articles? Yes, to me it does. And yes, as said before, I know the majority here does not agree with me. Garion96 (talk) 09:15, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Clearly Wikipedia as a community holds that having templates where needed is more important than having nice-looking articles. This template has a function, as do all 100 or so maintenance templates, and its use is clearly defined. I see no reason to remove this template. Debresser (talk) 18:23, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
True, but I think the community loves templates a little bit too much. Some maintenance templates warn for a very important reason. Neutrality or really bad writing or something else. I just don't find the fact that a lead is too small important enough to warrant a huge template at the top of the article. Garion96 (talk) 09:15, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Debresser that "having templates where needed is more important than having nice-looking articles."; although I have never seen a wiki policy that explicity addresses this, and especially what is "needed". In my opening of this thread I argued that this template is probably never needed in article space as the shortness of the lede should be obvious to everyone, reader and editor alike.
I would have no problem with using this type of templates on talk pages but on article pages I think to paraphrase a Dutch proverb it's "using a cannon to kill a mosquito". I do fully agree with Garion96 that we tend to be overly fond of templating articles which can be automated and hardly requires any effort. I have also observed earlier in other templates that talk pages of templates tend to be populated by editors who are busy constructing and using templates and are probably more the average in favour of using them all the time. Arnoutf (talk) 13:27, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
A lack of references should also be "obvious". The point is that "obvious" here means "obvious to editors intimitely familiar with our content and style guidelines", and not necessarily "obvious to everyone". The number of established editors who still think that the purpose of the lede is to provide a one-sentence introduction with the barest of context is amazing when you consider that we have a longstanding guideline on the subject. This template helps correct that. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:30, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Articles with good lede sections don't need tagged. Articles which don't should be tagged so as to get them improved more quickly. {{tooshort}} is probably the tag I use most often, and I've improved more article ledes than I've had hot dinners. As for the assumption of bad faith, "deface" is always assumed to connote vandalism, which is presumably why people took offense to it. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:25, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
As I said, I would support tagging these types of articles in talk space. In my view article space is primarily for readers, talk space is primarily for editors. Any template clearly visible in article space should therefore primarily be aimed at readers (e.g. to warn them from taking the content at face value).
If you go out to look for articles to improve, looking at "whatlinkshere" or automatic categorisation by the templates serve you as an editor extremely well, also when these tags are on the talk page. So if for the editor it would not matter where the template was. Arnoutf (talk) 13:37, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Cleanup tags should not be split between articlespace and talk space. In general, the consensus is that anything except for requests for wholly new material like "needs image" belong on the article itself. If you'd like to change that then please propose it in a more central place. While the consensus is as it is, widely-used and widely-accepted templates like this are fine on articlespace; any "defacement" is trivial to fix for those editors who have a severe dislike for cleanup tags with a bit of user CSS. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 14:21, 14 July 2010 (UTC)


{{editprotected}} Apparently the use of "lede" is deprecated, and so

WP:LEDEWikipedia:Lead section

as it is in most other introduction cleanup maintenance templates.  --Lambiam 08:15, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

 Done, expanded to the full page title. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward: not at work) - talk 11:15, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Deleting The Categories It Is Linking To Directly And Replacing With Category:Lead section too short Or Something Along Those Lines?[edit]

{{Editprotected}} I think this template is linking to categories that are irrelevant.

What are your guys thoughts on making a category solely devoted to this template?Bernolákovčina (talk) 23:40, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

See Template_talk:Lead_rewrite#Deleting_The_Categories_It_Is_Linking_To_Directly_And_Replacing_With_Category:Lead_section_needing_rewrite_Or_Something_Along_Those_Lines.3F. Debresser (talk) 17:18, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Please replace {{DMCA|Articles needing cleanup|from|{{{date|}}}|All pages needing cleanup}}{{DMCA|Wikipedia introduction cleanup|from|{{{date|}}}}} by {{DMCA|Wikipedia introduction cleanup|from|{{{date|}}}|All pages needing cleanup}} per the consensus there. Debresser (talk) 15:56, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

The protection level of this template was lowered to semi-protection, per my request, so I did this myself. Debresser (talk) 23:29, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Split, hide, and narrow scope[edit]

I've copied the following from the current TfD, as I think it's a relevant topic of discussion:

There are potential benefits to this template. Unfortunately, on Wikipedia theoretical use + lack of agreement on how to realise it = maintaining a bad status quo (proof).

It should be split into sub-templates, along the lines of {{inc-sport}}, so that editors can more easily identify required leads within their comfort zones. This should be hidden because any competent editor with eyes can see whether a lead is long enough or not, the benefit lies in categorisation. And this tag should be preserved exclusively for reasonably well developed articles or lists where the lead does not follow the body's thoroughness. Routinely slapping this on stubs is counterproductive: to get maximum use out of this we want relative novices to come to otherwise developed articles and be able to summarise the existing content. —WFC— 02:16, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Just because the community is split does not mean that some compromise is required here. The problem with a short lead (which led to the ill-advised fork to {{inadequate lead}}, which I've now undone) is not simply length: indeed, it really has nothing fundamental to do with length other than to try to dissuade well-meaning editors from this fallacy that the lead should be an exercise in brevity. The problem is lack of an adequate summary, and it just so happens that when you don't provide an adequate summary you don't have a long enough lead. Now, in some cases you've got a lead which is several paragraphs long but still doesn't adequately summarise the article: in this case, the problem is typically that the lead is rambling on about something or otherwise not in summary style, and thus needs rewritten from scratch. I am not in the least concerned with lead sections which adequately summarise their articles and yet which do not hit some specific word count; these simply need de-tagged (and if the nominator had simply done that rather than stormed off to nominate the cleanup template in revenge, we wouldn't be here right now). Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 06:53, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Compromise is never an end in itself – the objective of any discussion is to end up with the solution that best does the job we are trying to do. It wouldn't be any sort of "defeat" to fans of this template to consider how we could make it better. —WFC— 17:32, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

"All of its contents"?[edit]

This template as of today says

This article's lead section may not adequately summarize all of its contents. Please consider expanding the lead to provide an accessible overview of all of the article's key points.

Regardless of whether this template is needed, I don't see that an article's introduction should summarise all its contents. In particular I'm looking at the article on Camden Town, which bears this template. It seems to have a perfectly adequate introduction: where it is, what it is, very brief history, economic basis, character of the area. The body of the article includes also transport links, landmarks, governance, and (unnecessary in my opinion) local people and cultural references. The template implies that all this should be summarised in the introduction. I can't at the moment think of anything better, but, even if the introduction of an article is deficient, a template with this wording is worse than nothing.

(Added some hours later, after the next 3 comments) The template has now been changed, so my example is of historical interest only, I'm glad to say. Pol098 (talk) 21:16, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

I'll change it to something like "the key points of its contents". This is what WP:LEAD is actually about. Tijfo098 (talk) 22:20, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
That's a lot better. Pol098 (talk) 23:13, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

I removed the stress from the word "all" and the word "some". If contested, I can give good reasons for these changes. I think the initial changes should have been discussed more thoroughly before edits were made. Debresser (talk) 00:07, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Removing the extra bold was a good call (the general style is to bold only the problem clause; bolding random words is bad), as was the removal of "some" (which can be mistaken to mean "the lead only needs to summarise some of the key points", which seems to be the opposite of the intention). The rest of the rewording looks fine to me. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 17:22, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

"May not" could be interpreted as "should not"[edit]

I think the phrase "may not adequately summarize" should be re-phrased as "does not adequately summarize", to avoid any potential confusion. Jarble (talk) 16:38, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

I could agree with that. :))) Debresser (talk) 22:05, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

{{Lead too short}} vs. {{Inadequate lead}} (2014)[edit]

I'm confused about when to use {{Lead too short}} vs. {{Inadequate lead}}. Even the warnings/explanations contained in the messages boxes they produce sound very similar. I checked at {{Inadequate lead}} and there wasn't even a Talk page there - Will someone help me to understand the difference in practical terms? Thanks JDanek007Talk 20:48, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

It can be not too short, but still inadequate, for example when the lead summarizes an article unfairly, highlighting minor issues. Debresser (talk) 22:04, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Hi Debresser, I saw you deleted my question at the other template, thanks - keeping it centralized is reasonable. I guess what I'm confused by is the suggestion that a lead can be too short but still adequately summarize the contents of an article.
I could envision a situation, especially for a long article like Greg LeMond, where the lead is the "right" length (4 para in that case, I think, though I'd have to check the article and just cited it from memory) but doesn't summarizes adequately (though, iirc, in the case of GL article, it does summarize effectively). However, it's counter-intuitive to me to think that a lead could merit being tagged as {{Lead too short}} but still provide adequate summary. Wouldn't the case be then that whatever was to be added to the too-short lead would necessarily be "filler", since it'd been established that the summary function was carried out...it just wasn't "long" enough?
Genuinely appreciate any further insight, b/c this is really vexing me. Thanks! JDanek007Talk 21:35, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Too short is in a way inadequate, but saying it is too short is more specific. The opposite case, where it is long but still inadequate - is also clear. Debresser (talk) 02:34, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I personally don't think we need both of them. The only reason we apparently still have them both is that some people think that the name of the "lead too short" template limits it to times when the lead is, in fact, too short. However, the basic meaning of the actual text in both that template and the "inadequate lead" one is exactly the same. Jinkinson talk to me 18:36, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
If we added "or expanded" to the "Lead rewrite" template, would that do the trick? CorporateM (Talk) 22:20, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

Is the purpose of this template to advise readers or to shame editors?[edit]

This template does not seem to help readers in any way. Instead, it's purpose seems to be to shame editors who create or support the article into improving it, by applying this bird shit template at the top of the article. This does not seem valid to me. If purely editor-shaming, take it to the talk page. What is the justification for exposing this bit of whining to general readership? --Hobbes Goodyear (talk) 03:07, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

Is this garbage template active on any mainspace page in English WP?[edit]

I've deleted in one or two spots--can't seem to find anywhere else--would love to challenge this filthy dragon at every instance, but St George already seems to have blotted him out--am I missing something, or is this extinct? --Hobbes Goodyear (talk) 04:03, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

Have a look here - the what links here button on the template page: [1], more than enough spawn to practice your dragonslayer skills upon. Sadly templates are more like hydras than like dragons in my experience (cut off one head and you get two in return). Arnoutf (talk) 07:23, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Arnoutf. Problem worse than I thought. I think I will confine my dragon-slaying to my own watchlist, for the time being. --Hobbes Goodyear (talk) 02:33, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Changed my mind, but will proceed slowly, to allow other editors to correct me with their reasoned arguments. --Hobbes Goodyear (talk) 23:31, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Just make sure you don't remove templates that should be there. Debresser (talk) 08:19, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Have removed template here--> [2]. Please correct me if I am in error. --Hobbes Goodyear (talk) 23:31, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
Hmm...Have started to go through the overall list, but just in the subjects where I feel knowledgeable, and only removing this template in maybe half the cases. Not because the summary was wrong (don't think I've identified a single wrong _fact_) but even in big, well-known topics, we seem to have some summaries that are so simplified that it could mislead a reader approaching the subject afresh. So, now I feel like the know-it-all jerk who thought he was 99.99% right and is only 50% right, if that. To my chagrin, Debresser, there are lots of places where this template still belongs, and I will leave in place. --Hobbes Goodyear (talk) 03:45, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
That just shows you're a good Wikipedia editor. Debresser (talk) 07:02, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
Indeed it does. Nevertheless I appreciate it you take the thankless task of maintenance of templates use on article space. I have long noticed a tendency that templates get slapped onto pages without much explanation and linger there forever (even after the article has changed substantially). So thanks for pruning this one ;-) Arnoutf (talk) 10:17, 26 July 2015 (UTC)