Template talk:POV

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Do not use this template to "warn" readers about the article.[edit]

This phrase in the template documentation is misleading. All cleanup templates are shown to readers, so they are inherently warning readers of something. The scare quotes in the phrase are too subtle; the probable intent is to expound on the warning not to use the tag as a badge of shame, which is already stated. I previously never read too much into this, but noticed that it is a problem when I saw WhatamIdoing quoting that in the discussion above. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 07:27, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Agree completely. It is a good thing to warn other editors and readers about serious POV issues in an article. Readers who do not want to address the issue will at least know to take the text as less than the absolute truth, and hopefully soon or later somebody will fix it. Debresser (talk) 08:54, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I think this is the same issue as is being discussed above. Readers are entitled to know that an article is disputed by editors. Zerotalk 09:25, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
It's more subtle than that :) The above discussion is about whether a dispute can automatically expire or not. This discussion is about a particular phrase that looks as if it's contrary to the general idea of cleanup templates. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 09:31, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Joy, I'm unsure exactly what you are getting at. I think I know, but I'd rather not guess. Could you please illustrate by articulating a specific suggestion for how to change the template instructions? Thanks. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 10:36, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I would simply remove that sentence, what else? --Joy [shallot] (talk) 14:12, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, that makes it clear.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:15, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Opposed to removing the sentence
"Do not use this template to 'warn' readers about the article."

Although Joy correctly points out that readers do see these tags, and this might put some readers on notice about a problem, this sentence does not relate to the fact of visibility nor to the message a reader might take. Rather, this sentence relates to editor intent, and the point we are trying to emphasize, I think, is that no one has any business doing any tagging primarily to warn readers about problems. Instead, although any ed in good standing can technically add a tag, the idealistic editor in me thinks we all are expected to earn the right to add a tag, and we earn that right by committing to starting a good faith and substantive discussion about the alleged problems. When we say, in shorthand, "Do not use this template to 'warn' readers about the article." I believe we're trying to communicate the expectation that the tagging ed makes such a committment. If there is a problem with this shorthand, we should add to this text to make this expectation more clear, rather than take away the text altogether. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:15, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

But don't we already communicate the same thing through the preceding sentence "This template should not be used as a badge of shame."? I don't understand why you'd prefer to keep a convoluted, redundant sentence as opposed to removing or even rephrasing it. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:12, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
We have both because some editors understand what we're after when you put it one way, and others understand it better when you put it the other way. Some even seem to understand it better when you repeat the same idea several times. We're not really trying to write with brilliant prose here. We're just trying to make sure that the greatest percentage of editors understand the point. I oppose removing it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:08, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
What proof do you have that you're actually getting your point across with that? I just don't see it. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 07:17, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Agree to removing the sentence per Joy. Debresser (talk) 17:11, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I also agree. We should remember that Wikipedia doesn't exist to keep editors amused, it exists to present accurate balanced information to an extremely large public audience. When we see an article that is not balanced, we should be concerned about the public being misled by it. Of course the best solution is to fix the article, but in the interim a warning is appropriate. In other words, I think that warning readers is a valid motivation. This does not excuse editors from having to justify the tag by giving an argument why they believe the article is unbalanced. Zerotalk 08:25, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Wait - before people start !voting - I don't think this need be an either/or issue. IMO, it should be possible to come up with some sort of compromise wording that will be acceptable to the majority. I will probably propose something myself shortly. Gatoclass (talk) 08:52, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

So that's what I did but it was trashed by NewsAndEventsGuy,

This template should not be misused, for example, it shouldn't be used as a badge of shame. The template should be used only if it is appropriate.

This is what he said "this 5-year old text should not be fiddled with as a bit of goodfaith gnomish cleanup nor fiddled with for some other purpose under guise as gnomish cleanup."
Looks like those who agree with removal is "fiddled with as a bit of goodfaith gnomish cleanup nor fiddled with for some other purpose under guise as gnomish cleanup." :( -- (talk) 15:58, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Agree The template is to "warn" or really warn the readers that something is inappropriate about an article. Also, it is not that this change is done for good, that line is necessarily a disrupt because it is wrong not to warn the reader that if the content has misinformation or have yet to reach Wikipedia standard. -- (talk) 12:36, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Oppose removing the sentence. The template should not simply be used to warn. If there is no accompanying explanation on the article talk page about the perceived POV issue, the "warning" is likely to be insufficient anyway; the only way that it will be sufficient is if an editor who sees that tag sees the same POV issue or can perceive what the POV issue might be. And if the tag is added without talk page justification, it is permitted to be removed. Flyer22 (talk) 12:56, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

"The template should not simply be used to warn." - Agree.
"If there is no accompanying explanation on the article talk page about the perceived POV issue, the "warning" is likely to be insufficient anyway" - Maybe.
"the only way that it will be sufficient is if an editor who sees that tag sees the same POV issue or can perceive what the POV issue might be." - Perhaps..
"And if the tag is added without talk page justification, it is permitted to be removed." -- Probably.
I am sorry, I am confused that you wrote some arguments about how warning is insufficient (so we should keep it, or not?) and all of which is irrelevant to not to warn readers about the article, which is the sentence in question to be removed. Can you elaborate? -- (talk) 13:10, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose In March this text will have its 5th anniversary as stable text. If the purpose is to change the meaning of this tag, that requires a very large community-wide discussion. But when I restored this text, an edit-warring IP deleted it again saying the IP's changes are "cleanup" in nature. I am dubious the IP really cares about cleaning up 5-year static text badly enough to edit war over it, in defiance of opposing comments in this thread. And I am very opposed, because I regularly run into people saying readers need to be "warned". The most recent time was just last week at the talk page for an article with 50,000+ daily views, where an editor asserted
"Readers need to be warned that the article is not neutral..."

The sentence that succinctly states "Do not use the tag to warn readers" is useful, is frequently quoted, and this 5-year old text should not be fiddled with as a bit of goodfaith gnomish cleanup nor fiddled with for some other purpose under guise as gnomish cleanup. If people want to provide redundant or overlapping additional text further explaining misuse, that's great. But "warning" is a frequent offender so this super simple sentence should remain. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:45, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

But "warning" is a frequent offender so this super simple sentence should remain.

Maybe, but it is out of question.
What "warn" doesn't change is the fact that the "warn" here is ambiguous. As I mentioned above, can you reply that should reader not be warned if the content is inappropriate? -- (talk) 15:16, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
(A)All of my college professor friends say all wikipedia material is suspect, and every article should carry a warning. (B) This reply indicates your edit summary during the edit war about this being "cleanup" was untruthful. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:51, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
(A) So readers don't have to be warned? (B) It is truthful, whether the cleanup will pass or not is debatable, but the cleanup on its removal after it sticks for 5 yrs is truthful. -- (talk) 16:03, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
"Cleanup" was a smokescreen because you want to change the meaning of the tag from one of "come participate in the problem-solving discussion I took time and invested sweat to begin on the talk page" to one of driveby tagging justified by "warning" readers but without really trying to improve the encyclopedia. Your obsession with "warning" readers is that of a WP:BATTLE attitude; instead how about emphasizing the need for the tagging party to start a meaningful (ie non-WP:SOAP) talk page discussion and using the tag with the core goal of welcoming readers to collaborate in our project? One is consistent with our mission and philosophy. The other with fighting. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:24, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
(Pardon the battling tone since multiple editors also agree that readers can be warned, ...are they edit-warriors too? Well, of course, no one said and encourage that readers have to be warned with obsession.)

All of my college professor friends say all wikipedia material is suspect, and every article should carry a warning.

Given the Wikipedia articles, the readers do not have to be warned or notified?
The readers don't want to distinguish articles between appropriate one and half-baked one? The readers don't want to distinguish articles between the appropriate one and the disrupted one?
i.e. Is Wikipedia so bad that the readers who come read Wikipedia articles, do not have to distinguish between the article that is known to be disrupted and the regular one?
I hope you understand now, that how much good-faith I have to engage in this talk and edit, because it changes the fundamental perspective about Wikipedia. Also, I hope our discussion can focus more on content. -- (talk) 17:48, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Was fine the way it was. The templates are to invite editors to fix issues. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 14:15, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    Jmh649, may I ask, does the template not serve the purpose of notifying the readers that the content is inappropriate? -- (talk) 15:16, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    In these discussions sometimes one gets this surreal feeling that a lot of editors genuinely believe that there are only *Wikipedia editors* but no such thing as *Wikipedia readers*. From that it easily follows that all policies and guidelines need only concern themselves with Wikipedia editors, rather than readers, who apparently don't actually exist (never mind the subjects of articles).Volunteer Marek (talk) 18:12, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    Well said. Zerotalk 22:15, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
    Are editors and readers entirely different? I use this tag to communicate the same thing to both groups: there is a discussion on the talk page, and you are invited to participate in it. I never use this tag to tell either readers (future editors!) or existing editors that I think the contents of the page will be somehow harmful to them ("warn"). I also never use this tag as a means of publicly registering my objections to the current content. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:47, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Delete the sentence. One of the legitimate purposes of this tag is to notify readers that the editors of the page are not agreed on its conformance to Wikipedia rules. If it was meant for editors only, we'd put it on the talk page. Removing the sentence will not resolve the tagger from the responsibility of explaining on the talk page, on the basis of article content, why the tag is deserved. Nor would it prevent removal of the tag by consensus. In fact the sentence serves no useful purpose that I know of. Delete it. Zerotalk 23:06, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
    I've seen this sentence stop edit wars by inexperienced editors who "lost" the consensus discussion (of the "How dare you imply that this herbal concoction isn't an effective medical treatment" variety) and still wanted to keep the POV tag on the article to "warn the readers" and to protest the way Wikipedia works. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:47, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
How does an extra sentence help in that case? I still don't see any proof it does. If someone is acting against consensus, that's entirely orthogonal to this sentence. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:36, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Because most people actually do want to "follow the rules", so when they say on the talk page, "I've added this to warn the readers", and you show them a "rule" that says "don't use this to warn the readers", then they tend to say, "Oh. Well, I guess I'm not allowed to do that, even thought I want to." WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:21, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
That's... anecdotal. And even if true, using this misleading sentence as some sort of a tool to fight that specific problem is misguided - the WP:CONS policy is a rule superior to any cleanup template's documentation. The policy already tells them they're not allowed to force issues like that. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 00:00, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose removing the sentence. (Strongly oppose.) The tags are to encourage discussion about content in the article that the editor adding the tag disagrees with (whether the disagreement is over what is included or over what has not been included), not to warn readers that an editor disagrees with the content. Moreover, there is a clear process for how discussions can proceed and determinations of the outcomes of the discussions can be made, leading to the eventual removal of the tags. If tags are being used just to warn readers that even a single editor disputes the content, what is the process for removing the tags? If the text describing use of the tags is going to be changed, text needs to be added to clearly explain when it is appropriate to add the tags as well as when they can be removed, else half or more of the encyclopedia will be littered with badge of shame tags, many left by fly-by taggers who saw something they didn't like in an article. Also, as NewsAndEventsGuy says, such a major change in text that has been stable for so long will need consensus based on input from a very large part of the Wikipedia community, not just from a handful of discussants who happen to follow this Talk page. Dezastru (talk) 20:30, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
You're talking about people tagging articles just because they disagree with them. This is not a proper use of this tag anyway - it's a failure to observe consensus. The existence of this sentence does not affect our handling of the behavior you're describing. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:36, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. The POV tag should be only for editors, not readers. Ideally, every article would be made neutral after having been tagged. If the article is not neutral despite efforts to make it so, then appeals to higher authority should be made. The danger in using a tag as a "badge of shame" to label a non-neutral article for the reader is that the tag can be placed by an angry editor or even reader who is not happy with talk page consensus. It's the talk page consensus that we should honor, not the unhappy tagger. Binksternet (talk) 00:20, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
I dont find this argument coherent, if the consensus is that the page is neutral then the warning tag is removed. No single angry editor can of course hold the page hostage, but as long as there is no consensus, readers need to be warned that the article has potential problems.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:16, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
So, if the whole tag should be for editors only, are you then proposing that we remove it from the main space and move it to Talk space only? How is this relevant to this discussion? --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:36, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Joy, with regard to Binksternet's comment, I'm sure that the vast majority of our editors see the article before they see the talk page; many don't even check the talk page. Flyer22 (talk) 00:27, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It should not be used as a warning. But by the same token, it should not be removed for mere dormancy. It should be used to tag articles which have POV problems. If a POV problem is long running and intractable, the tag should remain until it becomes tractable. aprock (talk) 02:53, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Every cleanup tag is used as a warning - it tells the readers that there's a non-trivial problem. In this case, this tag tells readers that the tagged article has POV problems. What are you really thinking of when you say "It should not be used as a warning", can you elaborate? --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:36, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm not following you. Could you be a little clearer, or address what I wrote more explicitly. aprock (talk) 00:54, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
How is the mere act of tagging a problematic article not a warning to the readers? --Joy [shallot] (talk) 10:32, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
That's like asking "Have you stopped beating your children yet?" Who is to say whether an article is truly problematic? You? Me? In cases of genuine child beating we don't hang a sign outside the house. Instead our procedures call for investigating (including discussions) and then intervening somehow to stop the beatings. In the same fashion, individual editors aren't supposed to swagger about passing individual pronouncements about neutrality. And they're not supposed to swagger it to the talk page to make a WP:POINT. Rather, they are supposed to genuinely strive for article improvement. Our philosophy is (on paper anyway) that by bringing in diverse perspectives to discuss content we can arrive at a genuinely neutral consensus. The tag isn't a vigilante's issuance of a traffic citation. Rather it is an invitation to a town meeting to discuss whether the posted speed limit is appropriate.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:53, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
That's got to be the dumbest case of false analogy I've seen on Wikipedia, and I've seen a lot. Child abuse is *not* like a Wikipedia articles with a POV tag, not by far. That's actually a very distasteful comparison. As to who is to say whether an article is truly problematic the answer is simple: Wikipedia editors. So yes, you and me. Volunteer Marek (talk) 19:30, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
First, it is not technically possible for more than one editor to add a tag at the same time, so it is indeed the action of one editor. On the other hand, the continuance of the tag is a matter of consensus. While it exists, it warns the reader that editors have a problem with the article. It cannot help but do so, whether we wish it or not. We can't legislate this fact away; we need to recognise it. Zerotalk 12:36, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
(A) Say rather that, While it exists, it warns the reader that editors have at least one person alleges a problem with the article.
(B) The point, though, is all about tagging editor intent, which should be to invite diverse voices to that town meeting I was talking about. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:11, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Article POV problems are not akin to child abuse and cleanup templates are not swaggering. If we thought cleanup templates were inappropriate "individual pronouncements" about a topic, we wouldn't have any of them. You're acting as if the mere act of tagging an article with this cleanup template is vigilantism. That's simply contrary to the general consensus that cleanup templates are a useful tool and contrary to the general assumption of good faith. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:46, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
These things are also useful tools but like the template those things can also be abused. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 20:54, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
I still don't see how this ambiguous warning against warning has any effect in curbing this perceived problem. Heck, if the problem is still happening to an extent that you're so worried about it, surely this measure against it is not being nearly as effective as necessary. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 12:02, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
People still get polio even though we vaccinate. People still fall down stairs even though we put up handrails. I agree that no matter what we write partisans will still tag articles like Global warming or Abortion or Jesus with POV with the intent to impact readers and with no intent to improve the articles. Does that mean we should stop vaccinating and remove all the handrails? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:42, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Really, please stop it with the false and inappropriate analogies. Arguing from analogy only works if Situation A is similar to Situation B in a fairly obvious way. Stopping people from getting vaccinated is NOT in any way similar to ... putting a POV tag in an article with POV problems to warn readers. Where do you come up with these comparisons? Volunteer Marek (talk) 19:35, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Suppose for posterity I should protest.... you've twisted the analogy. Joy seemed to be saying that since some text was not 100% effective in reaching its goal, the failure to be 100% effective was a reason the text should go away. Like that text, the vaccine is not 100% effective in reaching its goal. Is the failure to be 100% effective a reason for the vaccine to go away? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:19, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Remove the sentence. Agree with Joy's rationale, which, unlike some of the incoherent and desperate counter arguments, is sound. Volunteer Marek (talk) 19:37, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
People who can't counter analogies always try to dismiss them with a wave of the inapplicable hand. Just tells me I hit close to home. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 20:28, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Not sure why you're attacking other editors here. It's quite unseemly. aprock (talk) 02:44, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
You must be talking about the editor who wants outcome A and called the arguments of another who wants outcome B "incoherent". After all, truly incoherent arguments need no one to label them as such, so why say such a thing out loud? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 07:41, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
As an explanation of the !vote of course. Volunteer Marek (talk) 07:45, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
@NewsAndEventsGuy, the other editor refers to arguments. You refer to people. You've been around long enough to know the difference. aprock (talk) 14:22, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I suppose I could have said 'when no rebuttal argument based on on facts, policies, or logic is forthcoming, a common argument of last resort is to simply label the unrebuttable arguments as (fill in the blank) term of dismissal'. Note that we are now talking about me instead of the merit of the arguments of those who wish to delete the sentence "do not use this template to 'warn' readers". Would you mind filing an ANI about my behavior or else take your own advice by getting back to the topic, Aprock ? Please? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:43, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
You're the one who opened the topic of editor behavior, I'll leave it to you to close it. The last word is yours. Feel free to take it. aprock (talk) 20:57, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
The first part is debatable, but because it won't serve any purpose to do so I guess it's a wrap. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 23:02, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Agree very much with deleting the sentence: Warning templates are both meant as a suggestion for editors to fix a page (this function could be handled without a visible banner for example by a category or a banner on the talkpage), but also importantly as a warning to readers that a page is not necessarily giving a balanced view of the topic (this is the main function of visible banners on top of the page). The Warning function is vital to wikipedias credibility, and not having a warning function when pages are non-neutral would be to fail to live up to our responsibility to the readers. Neutrality concerns do not simply go away because no one fixes the page, or because a discussion stalls. Readers still need to know that the neutrality of a page is contested. Neutrality tags can be removed when a talkpage consensus considers the page neutral, not before.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:55, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - The article should be neutral in the first place, because people depend on what is written here. If there is bias, it shouldn't be hidden from the reader. Also, the reader may be encouraged to correct the problems. What is the purpose of hiding if an article is non-neutral anyways? - Sidelight12 Talk 00:04, 2 February 2014 (UTC)


Would it be helpful to anyone if we added a general description of what "dormant" means? I usually take it to mean no comments for over a month, and I thought we could add "...if the discussion has become dormant (usually, this means no comments for about a month)".

I don't want to add it if it just seems like WP:Instruction creep (and I think it might be). On the other hand, I don't want anyone to think that we require a year or anything absurd like that. What do you think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:54, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

I'd leave it undefined, to accomodate editor judgment when viewing articles with 50,000 hits a day versus those with only 50. Seems reasonable for the latter to retain the tag longer, since the purpose is to attract editors and there aren't all that many looking. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:01, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Agree with leaving as is per both editors above, especially NewsAndEventsGuy. Debresser (talk) 09:53, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
I think this is a problematic policy in practice. There are some articles that have had POV problems for a long time, such as History of North Korea, which was first tagged in 2011. I removed the tag recently after working to improve the article. I don't think that POV issues go away just because discussions cease, any more than a lack of references is improved without work being done. Recently, another editor removed my tag on List of Americans detained by North Korea because the discussion was "dormant". In fact, no one had responded to my comments. Does this mean that editors who support the POV of the article can simply refuse to engage with any criticism and then remove the tag after a month or so? I have come across a similar issue with Era of Stagnation where the tag was removed in 2013, even though there are still obviously POV issues with the article. These are just some examples.--Jack Upland (talk) 20:05, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with the above; "dormancy" doesn't seem like it should land on the side of removing the tag; if anything, I would think it should favor retaining the tag. DonIago (talk) 16:46, 21 March 2016 (UTC)

Keeping it honest - Proposal to REQUIRE talk page thread before using POV tag[edit]


While personally I agree with the proposal the consensus is clearly oppose. NE Ent 20:41, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

About that heading.... since someone complained I'd like to say that I was using "honest" as a synonym for "keeping it consistent". Right now the consensus in the usage doc is to not use the tag to warn readers & not drive by tag as badge of shame. The proposal to explicitly require the tagging ed to include a link to a specific thread is intended only to keep things consistent with that current consensus, and to tighten up the procedures for both tagging and reverting editors. If consensus changes to "warn the reader" then all bets are off.

I support careful editors with sincere concerns using the POV tag for its currently-stated purpose, which is to "attract editors" with different viewpoints to work thru issues on the talk page.

To further that goal I propose:

  • (A) We explicitly require a talk page thread (instead of the implicit requirement we now seem to have)
  • (B) We require use of the talk parameter to point to that thread (which is now optional, leaving other eds to guess which thread - if any - applies.)

These simple changes will preserve the function of the tag for genuine attempts to improve the project, while streamlining the elimination of disruptive tagging.

Rationale for THREAD first, TAG second

  • When a careful editor starts the thread, they then have the name of the thread to complete the talk parameter in the link
  • When a careful editor tags first with no link, and the tag is reverted while the ed is starting the thread, the careful editor will know about the reversion and can simply retag with the link
  • When a well-meaning editor tags but forgets to start the thread at all, they will still be alerted when the tag is reverted.
  • When other eds see a tag with no link to a thread, they can revert the tag without fretting whether they have let the subjective "enough" time go by before concluding no thread will be forthcoming
  • THREAD first, TAG second protects all wannabe-diligent editors, both tagger and reverter, and will reduce instances when people argue whether a tag edit war has occurred. In the remaining cases of tags with no links the tagging editor never intended to engage is serious talk page discussions anyway
Handling multiple threads
(A) When the multiple threads are really sub-discussions of one basic issue, the talk page guidelines already encourage collecting the sub-discussions as sub-sections under a single main section heading, which is what should go in the talk parameter.
(B) When the multiple threads are really different issues, eds should instead use the "multiple issues" template.

This is what those changes would look like. Implementing this change would enhance our ability to purge bullshit tags. Thoughts? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:30, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose. This might work for some articles. But not all articles are the same. What I think would be acceptable is that a POV template can be removed IF no discussion is started on talk. Volunteer Marek (talk) 13:34, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
That's what we already do, but the tag defaults to point to the entire talk page, and we end up arguing whether something, somewhere, on the talk page meets the threshold. The proposal would dispense with all that noise. As for your objection, without elaboration that seems to me to be the equivalent of I-do-not-like, or perhaps an unstated proposal that we change to a policy of "warning readers", but I admit I may be blind to the articles you mention that are not "the same". Please explain your objection in more detail? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:42, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
And yes and what we already do is fine, no need to invent new rules and regulations.Volunteer Marek (talk) 15:07, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment What's the point of the POV tag anyway? It just gives editors something else to argue about. Other than warning our readers that they're about to read a potentially crappy article, what benefit does the tag serve? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 13:45, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
I presume in an ideal case invested editors would review the article and attempt to address the neutrality concerns.
I support the requirement of a Talk page thread when this tag is invoked, and I support the removal of the tag if there isn't a clearly pertinent Talk page thread, and I'd support requiring that said thread be started by the editor inserting the tag for reasons of clarity (even if all they were doing was modifying a section header and inserting a blurb to make it clear where the dispute was), but requiring a Talk page thread before the tag is inserted seems like overkill to me. In fact, if a presumably well-meaning editor has inserted the tag but not started a Talk page thread, I'd recommend giving them a friendly nudge to start a thread rather than simply removing the tag entirely. DonIago (talk) 14:55, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Good comments but please consider, (A) the ed who tags first, then threads is a diligent editor who will be flagged when their tagging is reverted, so they can retag with the link and all is well; (B) the ed who tags and never starts a thread is not a diligent editor and in my repeated experience energy expended to get them to start a thread almost always results in WP:SOAP and WP:FORUM with no actionable suggestions for improving the article; (C) Requiring the thread first does two things. First it gives the tagging editor the name of the thread to plug into the talk parameter, and second it relieves everyone else from wondering if a subjective "enough" time has gone by before concluding the tag was a driveby, in which case the driveby tags can be instantly purged and the false alarms will be re-tagged by the diligent editor after the thread is begun.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:11, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Given your comments above and on my Talk page, I will clarify that I support requiring that the specific Talk page thread be pinpointed but oppose requiring a Talk page thread before tagging. I can think of reasons why an editor might tag for NPOV but not start a Talk page thread for reasons entirely unrelated to diligence, and believe it prudent to AGF in such cases. OTOH, if it was a random IP doing the tagging without starting a thread I admit I'd probably revert...but this may be a good argument for a friendly notification template that can be used for editors who do the tag but not the talk. DonIago (talk) 15:36, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. This is a fine proposal which will help the template be more constructive. Binksternet (talk) 14:52, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. I strongly support this and believe that it would improve Wikipedia. Keep in mind that most readers do not understand how Wikipedia works--they think that "supervisors" or "administrators" come along and tag articles. I have even seen well-known bloggers say things such as: ...and then an administrator had to write a warning about the article!!! Furthermore, as often as not the tags are not well-thought-out, just plain stupid, or show that the editor does not agree with the text but has nothing to refute it, and I could go on... Also, apparently even editors do not understand that it is OK to remove an old tag if no work is being done on what is, in your opinion, an imaginary flaw in the article. If that is not the case one would not so often find tags that are many years old, with no talk page discussion what-so-ever. And one more thing, it is an underhanded way to throw doubt into article statements since readers, as I have said, think that supervisors have suggested that the article is so flawed that they needed to add a warning to the article. Gandydancer (talk) 16:22, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Sort of oppose I'm sympathetic, but:
    • If your POV discussion is the only one on the talk page, then who really needs a link to the section at all? That's just a pointless bureaucratic requirement.
    • Template parameters are difficult, so requiring a link has the effect of discouraging participation by new and inexperienced people—people who might be subject-matter experts rather than wikitext experts.
    • Are we on a strict WP:DEADLINE? I can't imagine why having the discussion posted ten minutes after tagging is such a big problem that we would need to enforce writing the discussion first, especially when it's perfectly obvious what the problem is. (I've personally declined to remove "dormant" POV tags tat have been around for years because the need for editors to resolve the problem is still evident at a causal glance; these do exist, and frequently on low-traffic pages. You may remove the tag when discussion is dormant or non-existent, but no WP:VOLUNTEER is required to do so.)
  • But perhaps we could approach the problem from the other direction, and provide a default section heading. I believe that the {{Merge to}} tags did this. Then you can place the tag, click the discussion link, and see (in the URL) what the section heading should be. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:50, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
NEG and I have given some so-far-minor thought to whether some of this could be bot-automated...things like checking to see that the NPOV tag links to a valid discussion, having a page where NPOV tags that aren't linking to anything can be reviewed, etc... DonIago (talk) 17:05, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - And the canvassing isn't being done with neutral headers. --Onorem (talk) 17:36, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose We recommend to open a talk page discussion, and that should be enough. If there is a tag and it is completely unclear why it is there, simply ask the editor or remove it. Also I move for a procedural close since this proposed rule would create a precedent for all maintenance tags and should (must) be discussed on a more central forum. Debresser (talk) 15:52, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
(A) "that should be enough" = I don't like
(B) Procedural close does not apply since that is for deletion discussions.
(C) The "precedent" argument is unpersuasive for two reasons (1) This is the only tag I have seen be regularly abused by driveby taggers in my 2.5 years here; (2) If driveby tagging problems manifest on some other tag, the community can at that point in time have a similar conversation about that one.
(D) The "just remove it" is good advice except the current text exposes the removing editor to discretionary sanctions in highly contentious subject areas, and questions whether there was an edit war problem involving the removal. This new text protects the removing editors and helps the entire community find the exact thread for those situations in which the tagging editor is investing energy (at talk) working for a mutual solution.
(E) No one has identified any operational problem with the proposal, or shown how it would fail to work in some situation.
(F) Since there are benefits and no mechanical problems other than versions of I-don't-like, seems like it should fly to me.
NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 21:25, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
(A) and "you like". So?
(C) you need more to go on then your own personal experiences. In fact this appears to be the problem here (based on previous discussions). It's some kind of sour grapes stemming from your own editing here. Someone added some POV tags or something to articles you were interested in and you had trouble removing them. And now this crusade. *Show* that this is the most "abused tag". You know, [citation needed]
(D) You'd only be exposed to discretionary sanctions if you're edit warring about a tag without starting a discussion yourself. If you remove the tag, the other person restores it, you start a discussion, they don't respond, you remove it again, they restore it again, then it's them that's exposed to discretionary sanctions. Unless you're trying to bully your way through or something.
(F) There are costs (crappy articles will be presented as if they were hunky-dory) and the only argument for it seems to be I-like.
Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:34, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Your reply is inherently inconsistent. In your "D" you acknowledge tag-removal when there is no talk thread but in your "F" you want to use the tag to WARN-THE-READER, which is against the current consensus, but I acknowledge is your desire. As for my like/dislike, problem identification goes beyond personal preference. The current consensus to not badge-of-shame tag is being abused. Its true I don't like blatant disregard for consensus over good collaborative procedure. Proposing a mechanism to better support that collaborative procedure is a project improvement, not just the apple of my eye. But of course, it goes against your desire to "warn readers". Instead of dismissing my procedural improvement suggestions as a like-issue, how about instead trying to win on the merits of your desire to change the consensus to favor reader warnings? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 21:47, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't agree that what you claim to be the consensus actually is. Actually opinion is quite divided on it. Zerotalk 07:34, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Where are those discussions and why does the usage doc encourage stripping out tags with no talk thread and why does it say "do not use the tag to warn the reader"? 08:59, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Because you obstinately stalled any efforts to make any changes and then called that "consensus"? Volunteer Marek (talk) 11:29, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
NewsAndEventsGuy, I have to agree with Volunteer Marek, that your claim of "I don't like" is not doing justice to the opinion of your opponents, and I do not appreciate it. You want to impose another piece of instruction creep, namely "don't tag without opening a discussion". I am against instruction creep, and so are many Wikipedians. I do agree that opening a discussion is a good idea, but see no reason it should be mandatory.
If you see a tag and the reason is not obvious, then you can 1. ask the tagging editor for an explanation 2. ask on the talk page 3. remove the tag. All these options are legitimate.
Your claim that this tag is more misused than others is perhaps true, but on the other hand, I agree with Volunteer Marek that this is your limited experience only. As the Talmud already said that "I have not seen" is not a proof. Other tags are also misused sometimes, and therefore this discussion would create a precedent. As such, it is imperative to open a discussion at a more broadly visited forum like Wikipedia:Village pump or Wikipedia:Centralized discussion.
Your last argument in (F) is your standard "I like" of which you accused me yourself. Proving just another piece of Talmudic wisdom, that people accuse others of their own shortcomings. In any case, your "arguments" don't fly with me. Debresser (talk) 17:19, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Requiring edits to a page to go through talk page consensus before hitting the article is contrary to WP:5. Everyone should be able to edit the encyclopedia. Adding procedural fluff only hurts the project. If there is a problem with an edit, then it can go WP:BRD like everything else. The RfC appears to be a gross violation of WP:AGF against those who might tag an article. aprock (talk) 01:57, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── FYI, having been suggested that this is perhaps a bigger topic, I added an entry to the list of 3RR exemptions to talk about ambiguous tags. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:08, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
No way. I was going to revert it myself but someone got there literally within seconds of your edit. There's no way that is going to fly. Again, this seems like some kind of axe-grinding on your part.Volunteer Marek (talk) 14:45, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Eventually I'll start a talk thread there, with a cross link to this tag-specific thread, and we'll see what other perspectives arise.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:53, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure what problem you're fixing here. Bullshit POV tags? They can and should be removed without this requirement. Someone is reverting a bullshit POV tag removal? That is also a problem that is managed using the existing policies regarding edit wars, consensus, user conduct disputes, etc. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:45, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose This just makes it difficult to keep pages neutral, one of the three core policies of Wikipedia. Meatpuppets and friends of people who have no intent of keeping a neutral article will use phony consensus to keep a neutral pov template off of the page. Bad policy. What are people trying to hide here? What agenda are people trying to push by censoring pov problems? - Sidelight12 Talk 01:18, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose We need more help in removing bias from articles, not more roadblocks, which is all this would accomplish. DreamGuy (talk) 18:53, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Request for comments on an issue in a tag similar to this one[edit]

Hi, there is a general issue with a tag that is related to this one, and I would like to request some feedback since the problems are similar to some of those that have been discussed here earlier.

Please have a look at Template talk:Unreliable sources, and reply in that talk page if you want to comment. The reason why I'm posting about it here is because it doesn't seem like anyone is watching the other template's talkpage. Anonimski (talk) 15:20, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Two cents offered. DonIago (talk) 16:22, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Request for template Correction / Update in line with core policy[edit]

Hi, there appears to be a discrepancy between the template and the core Wikipedia policy on NPOV, which has caused a fair bit of confusion on the Malaysia Airlines MH17 Article Talk page. The template uses the phrase "reliable secondary sources", while the NPOV uses "reliable sources". I attach the comment I just put on the MH17 Article Talk page, so that you are aware of it and can update the template appropriately.

Thanks Volunteer Marek, I see exactly what you mean! The Template says one thing, while the WP:NPOV says another!
The Template does indeed say “The neutral point of view is determined by the prevalence of a perspective in high-quality, independent, reliable secondary sources, not by its prevalence among Wikipedia editors or the public.”
Unfortunately, the Template isn’t fully consistent with Wikipedia policies, I quote a couple:-
“Editing from a neutral point of view (NPOV) means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic.” Note the use of phrase "reliable sources", instead of "reliable secondary sources" per Template. The core policy does not exclude the use of reliable primary and tertiary sources.
The core policy is further reinforced on the following excellent link "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Identifying_and_using_primary_and_secondary_sources", which goes on to explain the subtleties under various headings:-
  • "Secondary" is not another way to spell "good"
  • "Primary" is not another way to spell "bad"
  • "Are news-reporting media secondary or primary sources?"
The last section is definitely recommended reading for all editors on this article, because it shows that the many items in the MH17 article are in fact primary sources (either outright or by Wikipedia policy), even when we mistakenly think of them as "secondary".

The Template has been in existence since Dec 2003. The phrase “reliable secondary sources” wording was first introduced on 27 January 2008 by User CBM, who is an Administrator and mainly writes on mathematical logic, per his User page. It is a different world in the arena of academic and scientific articles, where use of primary sources is generally not helpful (quote from Wikipedia docs: " Primary sources may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements that any educated person—with access to the source but without specialist knowledge—will be able to verify are directly supported by the source.", an educated person would NOT be able to understand a specialist subject, therefore not allowed).
The Template can be corrected quite easily by removing the word “secondary” and perhaps adding an explanation for different arenas, e.g. current events, scientific research, etc. Using proper Wikipedia process, of course!
It could be a simple error, or perhaps the rules have changed but the template was mnot updated. I’ll leave a note on CBM User page. If anyone knows the process for alerting Template editors, or even finding out who they are, please help me here - I'm still a newbie, and alert them to a request for Template update in line with the current Wikipedia policy.

Tennispompom (talk) 11:25, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

It's probably not an error, and it would probably make sense to make the use of primary sources more strict, not less. Many POV disputes arrise because many editors do not understand how to use a primary source properly. Their resulting edits often result in WP:SYNTHESIS and sometimes WP:OR. In fact, overuse of primary sources is one of the barometers of POV editing. In particular, primary sources cannot be used to establish WP:DUE weight. Additionally, most sources are mix of primary and secondary content, and it's quite common for editors to take what are largely secondary sources, and to present any novel conclusions contained therein without evaluating those novel conclusions in the broader body of work. aprock (talk) 17:15, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
The template (displayed above as it looks in articles) doesn't mention sources at all. I guess you mean the template documentation at Template:POV/doc which was transcluded on the template page Template:POV by CBM 27 January 2008 [1] but had other content then [2] and didn't contain any of the words in "reliable secondary source". "secondary" was added by User:SlimVirgin 19 September 2012.[3] By the way, Template:POV/doc is not protected and can be edited by anyone with no template knowledge. PrimeHunter (talk) 18:04, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
The 4th bullet in the Template Documentation, Template usage box has been extensively quoted on the article's talk page, and it has the text "reliable secondary sources" in it.
Here's the link to the archived version where text "reliable secondary sources" is first mentioned: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:POV&oldid=187309437
The word "secondary" has caused confusion on the MH 17 article talk page, because it contradicts the following doc: "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Identifying_and_using_primary_and_secondary_sources", in particular the Section Title "Are news-reporting media secondary or primary sources?".
Are you saying that the Template documentation should not be quoted in Talk discussions when explaining policy? Because that's what's been happening. Tennispompom (talk) 20:20, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The policy is WP:NPOV. It is one of the WP:5 pillars of wikipedia. To the extent that the template documentation is useful it is to underscore policy. The precise language of the template is not all that critical, but the precise language of the policy is. Refer to that instead. aprock (talk) 20:50, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Aprock, much appreciated. Tennispompom (talk) 21:35, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
You are right that https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:POV&oldid=187309437 is dated 27 January 2008 and says "reliable secondary sources" today, but it didn't before 19 September 2012. This is due to a feature which sometimes causes confusion. If you view an old page version which transcludes another page then the other page is used with the content it has today and not the content it had at the time. This can actually be seen directly at https://web.archive.org/web/*/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:POV which has stored the rendered page many times, including 17 September 2012 and 25 September 2012. PrimeHunter (talk) 21:54, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Badge of shame[edit]

On multiple occasions I've seen editors argue for the removal of a POV tag because it shouldn't be used as "badge of shame." I'd simply like some help understanding what this means. In addition I think some clarification in the template is due. There's no reference to the term in WP:NPV. Based on discussion on this page and in my own experience, it seems to me it's ambiguous at the moment and can be used to justify the removal of a legitimate tag. Moreover, it's difficult for a legitimate tagger to respond when they are accused of using a tag as a badge of shame, when the accusation is ambiguous. (Full disclosure: I'm in a "badge of shame" dispute at the moment. This is a good-faith attempt to understand, not to forum shop.) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:45, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

In this context, seems to me that
"Badge of shame" is synonymous with "Drive-by tagging"
and both refer to editors tagging the article but refusing to make substantive comment on the talk page. When an ed points at specific turns of phrase or sources and makes cogent argument for why it is not neutral, these terms would not apply. In contrast, in "badge of shame" cases the tagging ed never appears at article talk, or if they they do appear at article talk they skip over the specific reasons for the tag, and instead say only (and sometimes verbosely) that the tag is obviously necessary to "warn the reader", or words to that effect. See WP:IJUSTDONTLIKEIT. You can ask a few times for specifics, and if they keep ignoring that request some would say that is disruptive (see WP:DISRUPTSIGNS). Awhile back I proposed that before using this tag an editor should be required to initiate a talk page thread, but the proposal was shot down. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 19:17, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Some users use the "badge of shame" argument to remove tags for which substantive arguments and legitimate concerns about neutrality have been voiced at the talkpage. That procedure is not sanctioned by the policy. If an editor presents legitimate substantial and concrete arguments or concerns about neutrality then the tag should stay in place untill there is a consensus that the page is sufficiently neutral. It doesnt matte i POV tags have been in place for a long time, if the concerns have not been discussed or addressed - as long as the editor who originally placed it there presented enough of an argument for the concerns could be acted upon by others. An editor who places the tag has no responsibility for actually fixing the article, but does have a responsibility to make their concerns sufficiently concrete so that others can fix the neutrality concerns, or to engage in dialogue with editors who disagree with the concerns in order to build consensus. POV tags are warnings to readers, alerting them to the fact that an editor has expressed concern, and they cannot be removed untill there is a talkpage consensus that the concern is not warranted by the article. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 20:39, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
This is exactly where I stand and I think something to this effect should be included in the template description. I'm also puzzled by the usage notes saying the tag shouldn't be used to warn readers about the article, as that has always struck me as one of the benefits of legitimate tagging. This purpose is also sanctioned by WP:TAGGING. But, enough of my views, I'd like to hear more from the anti-tagging crowd. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 20:48, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
I also agree with Manus, except that readers should be informed, not warned. The tag should only be used to solicit article improvements, and should never be used to "warn readers". The former emphasizes the need to articulate problems that can potentially be repaired, and the latter invites disruptive back-and-forth culture war tagging/untagging. If anyone's neutral knowledge of the RSs is enough to get in a tizzy about warning readers, they should rather take a few minutes to inform the readers by fixing the perceived problems. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 21:06, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
In practical terms what is the difference between being informed of something bad and being warned about it? I know the policy says what yuo say, but I consider it to be a question of semantics. And I also believe it is essentially incorrect to consider the template to be basically meant to inform editors and not readers - of that were the case we could use a category instead.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 21:51, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Flawed reasoning.... you're assuming every ed interested in an article makes use of cats. Many, like me, never even look at them, with the result that I wouldn't even know about a cat entry, much less care. Since the two-part goal is to make sure interested editors know and nudge them to care, plastering the template in plain sight for everyone who stops by the article is waaaaaaay more effective.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 08:53, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Cleanup tags are meant exclusively for editors. The aim is to draw readers into fixing problems. They are not intended to be some sort of scoring system. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 20:03, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I've been linked to this discussion for being an early user of the "badge of shame" phrase when referring to this tag. I should point out that I'm actually a firm proponent of "drive-by tagging", and in general I support the inclusion of cleanup tags where they are necessary. But I draw a clear distinction between "cleanup tags", where there is an obvious problem with an article that requires no discussion, and "dispute tags" which are used to alert editors to ongoing talk page action. In the latter case I believe tagging should be strictly limited to the duration of an active discussion, and where a discussion has become stale the tag should be removed. {{POV}} is a dispute tag rather than a cleanup tag; as such, any use should be accompanied by an open talk page discussion, and the absence of the latter should permit the removal of the former. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 22:38, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! So what does "badge of shame" mean to you? --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 00:13, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I hadn't really thought about cleanup vs dispute tags, though I've been here quite awhile now. I wonder how many other eds are aware of the distinction? Anyway, thanks for a good pithy statement. I agree completely, Thumper. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:35, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I dont believe that distinction makes sense at all - NPOV is also a cleanup tag. It is also false that a NPOV tag necessarily involves a dispute, sometimes every active editor agrees that the article is biased, they just dont do anything about it, and untill they do the article should remain tagged.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 04:30, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree. There are also many low-traffic articles with real NPV problems. These can and probably should be tagged to recruit editors to resolve the issues. The tagger leaves the explanation on the talk page and there is no response, until perhaps a year later someone notices the tag and takes up the task to fix the problem. This is exactly how tagging should work. I see no reason for the tag to be removed after some unspecified period due to lack of dispute or fix. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 05:06, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
@Maunus, if there is consensus that its biased, there's no reason to remove the tag. Where there is at least one active editor who thinks otherwise, that person has every right to remove the tag if none of the others make a tangible statement of the problem. So for POV tag to remain there should be either (A) consensus that there is bias, or (B) an active dispute based on the tagging ed's tangible and actionable statement of the problem. Lacking either a consensus or this sort of reasoning-based dispute, the tag should be struck. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 08:53, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
There is also an option 3. namely that the original tagger left a concrete rationale for the tag on the talkpage, which noone then ever responded to. This is not a dispute, but it does provide a rationale that is sufficient that noone should remove the tag without either fixng the concerns or stating why they disagree with the tag's validity.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 22:43, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I'd prefer evidence that this is actually a thing before any action is taken on it. Anecdotally, pretty much every time I've seen a stale dispute tag the issue has either been quietly resolved without further discussion or the original complaint didn't really warrant a tag in the first place. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 10:07, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Quite. The argument here appears to be that we're suffering because of people summarily removing this tag when it's still applicable. I'd prefer to see evidence of this being commonplace before we start changing our documentation. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 19:59, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I am not sure that many people do it, but many people use the "badge of shame" argument in this way in discussions - which is of course a misapplication of the policy wording.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 22:43, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Given that cleanup templates don't actually have any feelings, I'm not sure why it matters how editors refer to them so long as they're following our usage guidelines. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 10:07, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
You misunderstand me. When editors use the "badge of shame" wording as an argument for removing a POV template because it is stale or because they personally disagree with the rationale that is a misapplication of the policy. The problem is that the current policy wording does suggest that POV templates should not be on the article for a extended periods and that they can be removed without consensus or fixing the problems because they shouldnt be "badges of shame". ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 18:03, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
I think that can be fixed with minor rewording. The sentence as a whole certainly implies a more nuanced meaning, basically "don't just use this as a badge of shame". Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 12:56, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
(But rather than getting into a far ranging discussion about the proper use of tags, I'd still like to get Chris's view on what "badge of shame" means, and perhaps whether/how it might be clarified.) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 05:08, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
The phrase is linked to an article which explains the general meaning of the term. I'm not sure what more clarification you require here. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 19:56, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward), why are you "a firm proponent" of drive-by tagging, given that such tagging often has no validity? How are editors to know what is non-WP:Neutral about the article if the matter is not stated on the article talk page? That is, unless the non-WP:Neutral factor is blatantly obvious. After all, there is the fact that people commonly misunderstand the WP:Neutral policy. Flyer22 (talk) 05:20, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
{{linkrot}}, {{tooshort}}, {{external links}}, {{too many see alsos}} are either blatantly self-explanatory or link to clear documentation which explains exactly how to fix the underlying problem. Only the most virulent anti-taggers consider removing such templates merely because there were no talk page thread when the problems are still present to be acceptable. In contrast, the long-standing consensus is that discussion is mandatory for dispute tags, because the problem is rarely clean-cut and may require far more significant work on the article than with a mere cleanup tag. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 19:56, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You can also do drive-by untagging, so it balances out a bit. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:55, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward), thanks for explaining. I don't object to drive-by tagging when the problem is blatantly obvious, which is why I stated above "unless the non-WP:Neutral factor is blatantly obvious." I was also focusing on the non-WP:Neutral (POV) tag. Generally, I am against drive-by tagging in the case of that tag. And its template obviously states not to do drive-by tagging with that tag. Flyer22 (talk) 21:05, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Quite. So given that the documentation is already in line with our expectations on usage, what's the problem here? Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 10:09, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

A badge of shame, as the article says, is a label whose main purpose is to communicate severe disapproval. If Alice disagrees with the content of Example, and consensus is that the content is fine, then Alice doesn't get to add this tag after the discussion, as a form of communicating her disagreement with the consensus to readers. (Yes, I've seen people do that.)

Drive-by tagging is a completely different thing. (Both behaviors are discouraged for this particular tag.) I don't object to drive-by tagging in principle. However, I understand why the community finds it so frustrating, especially when people are wielding "big deal" tags like this one on pages that don't seem to have problems. However, in other cases, the problem is so obvious that no discussion is really necessary (although a quick trip to the page history might be). Although the problem of stale tags is a wiki-wide scourge, I personally will not remove an NPOV tag, no matter how old or how un-discussed, if the problem is truly obvious. If it's not obvious, and the tag is old, then I assume that the problem has since been resolved (or that the tag was placed as a mistake), and I usually pull it.

I believe that the underlying theme is that this tag should be added when your intention is attracting problem-solving attention from other editors. It should not be intended to be permanent. It should not be added if there is a consensus that no problem exists. It should not be added if the problem isn't significant enough for you to leave a quick message on the talk page, or at least if you're not willing to explain why you added it upon request. It should not be added if you are actively obstructing solutions (I wouldn't expect that of anyone here, but I have seen that in a few highly contentious subjects). It should be used as part of the solution, not as a way to concede failure. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:55, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

WhatamIdoing, well said. Flyer22 (talk) 21:05, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
@What, why tolerate POV tagging with no explanation unless requested? That amounts to delay and needless procedural folderol, compared to the simplicity and aide bestowed on everyone else if the tagger just explains right up front at the time of tagging. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 22:51, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
In some cases, the problem is (IMO) so severe that I might think that any explanation is redundant. I might therefore think that posting even a quick message about it is pointless bureaucracy and a waste of time. But perhaps you don't see the problem that is so obvious to me. In that case, you might ask me for an explanation (optional on your part), which I should be willing to give you. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:33, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, I like your take a lot, except that I'm a bit confused by your take on the term "badge of shame." Our Badge of shame article doesn't describe the term as you say, and it suggests the term only applies to people or groups of people. In addition it doesn't seem like the desire to "communicate severe disapproval" is a bad thing. Any legitimate POV tagging could be described as a communication of severe disapproval. Reading the remainder of your comment, it strikes me that maybe you mean "badge of shame" to apply to taggings that aren't made in a collaborative spirit or with the intention of improving the article. Am I close? --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 07:09, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
The authors of the articles often take these tags very personally, and this tag has been abused in attempts to shame Wikipedia-the-project (people).
Communicating your personal severe disapproval of the editors' consensus is not permitted in mainspace at all. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:33, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
I broadly agree with all of what WhatamIdoing has said, though again my primary concern here is that for all this discussion nobody seems to have articulated an actual problem with the present documentation, such that it's acting to the detriment of the project. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 10:07, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
My primary goal in starting this discussion wasn't to fix a problem, but to educate myself. But I did actually articular an actual problem, in that the reference to "badge of shame" is ambiguous, leading to it sometimes being used to justify the removal of legitimate tags, and that it is difficult to have discussions about whether a tag is being used as badge of shame when the tag description doesn't make it clear what that means. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 17:44, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Proposal: Remove "badge of shame wording"[edit]

I suggest we remove the entire paragrap h stating "This template should not be used as a badge of shame. Do not use this template to "warn" readers about the article.". The reason is that I think the template should be used both as a warning for readers and editors, and as a badge of shame, in the sense that it should make us as editors feel that the article is inadequate and move us to fix the problems. Suggesting that the template is only used to attract editors to the article does not reflect the actual way that templates are used, and also they ignore the fact that templates like these are a help for readers who are better able to take a critical stance when they read an article with this tag on top. I don't think we need this eording at all.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 18:08, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Basically, I disagree with everything you say here. Self-references should not be aimed at readers. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:33, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
In wikipedia readers and editors are the supposed to be the same, any reader is a potential future editor. So first of all the distinction between readers and editors as audience is impossible - it will necessarily be seen and noticed by both groups. Secondly, there are very good reasons to think of certain kinds of templates as being a service to readers who do not yet consider themselves editors, this is particularly the case those templates that draw attention to potentially erroneous or otherwise problematic content. So the notion that templates can be aimed only at editors is both impossible and undesirable.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 19:44, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
I firmly disagree with all of that. As far as I'm concerned, it's settled consensus that tags are aimed solely at editors. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 12:58, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
You can aim at editors all you like, but readers read them too.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 01:39, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Essentially, Maunus is proposing that the encyclopedia tell the reader that the peomple working on the encyclopedia cannot edit neutrally. The product will inform the reader that the product is flawed. I cannot accept this admission of defeat. We must work to make the encyclopedia as good as possible, and represent the results as best as possible. Binksternet (talk) 20:02, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
    That is a nonsense argument, or at the very least a gross misrepresentation/misunderstanding of my argument. It is a fact that wikipedia editors sometimes cannot edit neutrally. It is a reasonable thing to do to let reader know when that is the case. It is not an admission of defeat it is a sign that the work is still in progress and that improvements can be expected. Just like we put a star on our best articles, it makes sense to let the readers know which articles are still not up to scratch. Wikipedia, unlike paper encyclopedias, is a work in progress the the fact that we know which articles need work should inspire confidence in the reader. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 20:35, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
    It is equally a fact that some editors cannot tag neutrally, and when someone adds a tag for the primary purpose of "warning readers" that said editor disagrees with the community's consensus, then that tag should not be permitted (especially since most non-editing users believe that those tags are added only by admins or moderators, and not by any old POV pusher who happens to come by). WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:16, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
    The template already states explicitly that a tag can be removed when there is consensus to do so. Changing the policy on warning is not going to change that, the teplate would and should be usd when there is a consensus that a page is not neutral.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 03:12, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
    No: when there is a consensus that the page is not neutral, then the page should get fixed, not tagged. Tags exist to attract attention to a discussion about whether there is a problem and how to address it. You don't need a consensus to add this tag and/or start a discussion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:59, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
    Does this mean we should do away with POV tags altogether? --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 20:25, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
    I don't think so. While this tag has been abused, it has also been put to really effective use. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:27, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose I haven't studied the above—is there an indication of the underlying problem? Normally when people discuss something like this they are actually thinking of a case where user A wanted to tag an article and B said they were just using it as a badge of shame. In my experience, B is almost always correct. If A wants a tag to tell the world about their dissatisfaction, let them give a detailed account on talk which clearly demonstrates a problem (in which case B's claims can be ignored and the proposed change to the documentation is not relevant). Johnuniq (talk) 01:01, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  • oppose. while badge of shame is a catchy phrase it is not really defined, and I could live without it. however the proposal also seeks deletion of the "warn the reader" language, which I view as an entirely different question, and I am opposed to removing that because doing so would encourage even more POV tags that are not supported with a reason on the talk page.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 01:35, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
    The template would still state explicitly that no tag can be placed without discussion and that it cannot remain if there is consensus to remove it.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 03:09, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
    No, it won't, because it doesn't say that now. You can place it without discussion. However, if you don't start a discussion, any other editor may (optionally, entirely at his or her discretion) remove it. See RFC 2119 for the definitions: You "should" discuss your concerns. "Should" does not mean "must". WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:59, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
    "warning readers" is cited as the reason for tags on articles in my watch list at least 3x/ year and usually with prolonged FORUM gishgallop unactionable nonsense So it does not hurt to keep that if your implication of redundancy is correct, and it helps to be able to point to that bit of usage instruction in situations like I described. retention has no cost but generates project improvement. Still opposed to removing "do not use POV tag towarn the reader"NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:28, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  • As fond as I am of the tagging system, I'm firmly of the belief that dispute tags should be used exclusively to highlight an ongoing discussion. They occupy a space somewhere between AfD / page move tags (which are strictly time-limited) and cleanup tags (which stay until the problem is fixed) but cannot be neatly aligned with either. Accordingly, we need to impress upon editors both that they are not intended as permanent fixtures (a stalemate or an abandonment of discussion on talk should necessitate the removal of the tag) and also that they should not be summarily removed while there is a discussion. I think the current wording does that rather well, and I don't think it requires anything more than minor wording adjustments. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 13:02, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
amen to that!NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:38, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Alternate proposal: replace "badge of shame" with clearer language[edit]

It's evident we're not going to reach a consensus anytime soon on proper tagging procedures. This discussion has strayed far beyond its intended scope. All I want is clarification on what "badge of shame" means in the context of POV tagging. The only explanation given in this discussion was by WhatAmIDoing, who says "badge of shame" means when a tag is used to signal disapproval of an existing NPV consensus. Does anyone disagree with this understanding? If yes, please explain your own understanding of the term. Otherwise, I propose the following language in the usage notes: "The purpose of this group of templates is to attract editors with different viewpoints to edit articles that need additional insight. This template should not be used to disapprove of a consensus the tagging editor disagrees with, or to "warn" readers about the article." --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 16:48, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

I don't see that replacing a metaphor which seems to be broadly understood with a much wordier explanation is productive. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 17:39, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't see any evidence that the metaphor is broadly understood. Let's start with you, do you agree with WhatAmIDoing's interpretation? (I don't know why this has to be so adversarial; we can always benefit from a little clarity, especially on contentious issues such as POV tagging. Some people such as yourself claim to understand what "badge of shame" means and some claim not to understand. Why not educate us?) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 17:53, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

To aid in a direct comparison, here are the two versions, the current instructions first, the proposed change second:

  • The purpose of this group of templates is to attract editors with different viewpoints to edit articles that need additional insight. This template should not be used as a badge of shame. Do not use this template to "warn" readers about the article.
  • The purpose of this group of templates is to attract editors with different viewpoints to edit articles that need additional insight. This template should not be used to disapprove of a consensus the tagging editor disagrees with, or to "warn" readers about the article.

To me, the "badge of shame" concept is very simple and clear. The proposed "disapprove of a consensus the tagging editor disagrees with" is not as widely applicable, as a consensus may not exist at the article talk page. Binksternet (talk) 18:00, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

If the concept is so simple and clear to you, then please explain it to the rest of us. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:28, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I think that, at this point, you already understand it.
I often find in writing policies and guidelines that a little "unnecessary" wordiness, and especially explaining the same concept using in three or four different sets of words, helps more people understand the ideas. You might understand the first explanation, and the next person might understand the next one. (Some arrive at the page already understanding everything, so whatever it says automatically makes sense to them.)
Consequently, I'm not opposed to adding other descriptions. If you're worried about the volume, then one less obtrusive way to do that is with footnotes. However, I also find that what you might call a catchy phrase helps some people remember the concepts. This particular phrase has been quoted a couple hundred times since it was posted here, which I believe indicates that some editors are finding it to be helpful.
Your proposed wording is a bit awkward. Something more like "Do not add this template when there is a consensus that the article is neutral, even if you disagree with the consensus" would be simpler. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:15, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

POV title[edit]

Is there a specific way to tag a title as POV, eg Piggate. I'd like to tag the title as not being neutral. Can I do so? If not, why? ♫ RichardWeiss talk contribs 00:11, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

See {{POV-title}}, which is the appropriate tag, for instructions. Debresser (talk) 12:38, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved.[edit]

The phrase "Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved." seems to repeatedly make editors feel enabled to use or defend the tag in ways that the more detailed instructions at Template:POV specifically recommend against. A less absolute statement might be better. Rhoark (talk) 16:17, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Maybe "until there is a consensus that the dispute is resolved".·maunus · snunɐɯ· 16:51, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Won't work. Because a discussion can also become stale, without being resolved. Removing this should be fine. After all, other maintenance templates don't add such a warning. If somebody would remove it, it will simply be restored. Thee are clear instructions when to remove this template on the documentation Template:POV#When_to_remove. Debresser (talk) 19:48, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
I go by the "Template usage notes" at the top of the template for when to remove. Commonly, based on those usage notes, the tag doesn't even belong. As has been stated at this talk page before, so many editors do not understand the WP:Neutral policy; they think being neutral on Wikipedia means what being neutral means in common discourse. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 04:27, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
Those notes are ultimately what should be used. I've tried to think of a concise way to summarize the conditions within the tag, but it inevitably would leave out an important clause. Perhaps the banner should just link to the instructions on removal rather than summarizing them? Rhoark (talk) 22:46, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
A link should be fine, I would think. DreamGuy (talk) 00:33, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
(Oops. I see below I was late to the game.) DreamGuy (talk) 00:35, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

Template-protected edit request on 13 November 2015[edit]

Please change the phrasing "Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved." to "Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met." with a hyperlink to those conditions at Template:POV#When_to_remove

Resolution is only one of three applicable conditions, which has led to edit warring over the banner when it is eligible to remove by one of the other conditions instead. Rhoark (talk) 20:51, 13 November 2015 (UTC) Rhoark (talk) 20:51, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Done. Johnuniq (talk) 22:54, 13 November 2015 (UTC)


I put a POV tag on the Christian Gospel section of the Jesus page, and two editors have removed it at their own discretion. The template says one can remove it if "It is not clear what the neutrality issue is, and no satisfactory explanation has been given." Certain editors see the section as neutral, and they are not satisfied with my explanation for why it's POV. Since they don't find my answer satisfactory, can they remove the tag? Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:17, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Yes. If there is consensus that a certain issue is not an issue, then yes. Debresser (talk) 16:47, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Once there's a consensus, of course the POV tag can go away, but what about if the issue is under discussion and no consensus has been met? I'd love to get another set of eyes on the Jesus page. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 16:10, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Use an alternative mechanism, such as RFC. William Avery (talk) 17:06, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Rfc is likely to be overkill. Active discussion on the talkpage, combined if necessary with a notification on a related WikiProjects to draw more opinions, should in most cases be enough. Debresser (talk) 15:41, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

Consensus to add tag?[edit]

I have repeatedly seen users remove this tag from controversial subjects, claiming that the editor who added the NPOV tag acted improperly by doing so without first achieving consensus on the necessity of the tag. Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding of the NPOV is that it is intended to attract uninvolved editors with different viewpoints to an article, in situations where the neutrality is disputed. Now, perhaps I simply lack imagination, but I cannot concieve of a situation in which A, an NPOV tag is warranted (i.e. there is are concerns about bias in the edits and editors of an article), B, a consensus is achieved that such a tag is warranted (i.e. the editors, necessarily including any biased editors, agree that the article is biased and those biases should be rectified), and C, it is still necessary uninvolved editors to step in and help resolve the issue (despite consensus having already been reached). Firstly, condition B by itself seems a logical impossibility to me, as I will explain: Logically, there are only three types of biased editors possible: 1. Biased editors who are unaware of their bias 2. Biased editors who are aware of their bias, but continue editing in bad faith 3. Biased editors who are aware of their bias, and rightfully remove themselves from the discussion. As category 3 is irrelevant, and the first two act similarly enough that attempting to distinguish between the two is both difficult and unnecessary (in addition to being poor form), for all practical purposes, it can be assumed that there is only one type of biased editor: That which will insist they, and the edits they make, are unbiased. Secondly, condition B and C seem to be mutually exclusive in nearly every if not all possible situations .Thirdly, the necessity of consensus is unsupported by the template guidelines. Said guidlines refer to an individual adding the tag while stating his/her case with no mention of consensus, while later specifically stating consensus as a condition for removal. Why would consensus be implicitly required in one instance, but not in another? In short, I argue that not only is consensus not required for the addition of an NPOV, a lack of consensus is the only situation in which the NPOV tag can possibly be used correctly. Am I wrong in this? It just seems bizarre that consensus is required for the addition of a tag which documents a lack of consensus. Monkeyfoetus (talk) 02:10, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

I assume this question relates to the edit warring at Gamergate controversy (an article under discretionary sanctions). That fuss is a perfect illustration of what the purpose of a tag is not. There are two warring camps, and the side which has been losing for the last two years has decided to decorate the article for Christmas with some helpful tags—as if the Arbcom discretionary notice on the talk page wasn't enough indication that some people are really upset. To more directly answer the question, a tag is not a weapon to express frustration or to punish opponents. There is no chance that anyone who might substantively edit that article would be unaware of the fact that some people are pro and some are anti gamergate, and they don't need a tag to tell them that one of the sides doesn't like the current state of the article. A tag might be useful if an editor notices a problem on some more obscure page. Perhaps the editor does not have the time or resources to research and fix the problem, so they tag the article in the hope that a passing angel will do the job. To put it another way, how helpful would it be if any passing contributor could slap a tag on an article and insist that it stay? Johnuniq (talk) 03:12, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

Edit request[edit]

Can you add "or at the NPOV noticeboard" after "Revelnent disscusion can found on the talk page" because some disscusions on the NPOV noticeboard rather on the article's talk page. KGirlTrucker87 talk what I'm been doing 20:29, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

CitiesGamer66, unfortunately, given the way the template is currently structured, this is impossible. Specifically, the Lua module that makes the text can only say "Relevant discussion may be found on" and then either a talk page or a section of the current page. This issue should probably be raised on Module talk:Message box, although I'm not sure if that's the right venue. Enterprisey (talk!(formerly APerson) 00:53, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
@Enterprisey: I know that some users that may be confused with it nor I'd not did by drive-by tagging by mistake. Can you make and edit request to fix it? KGirlTrucker87 talk what I'm been doing 01:39, 30 May 2016 (UTC)