Template talk:Nutshell

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Let's take a specific case: WP:NPOV[edit]

First of all, "nutshells" are necessary devices for conveying to a new person the 1) decisions and 2) conceptual material treated in the individual modules of any complex system.

Likewise, a well-written "nutshell" for the WP:NPOV page could be useful in conveying to new editors the 1) decisions and 2) conceptual material treated in the detailed text of the WP:NPOV page. However, the policy text of the WP:NPOV page is murky, ambiguous, and self-contradictory. And to remove the "nutshell" from the WP:NPOV page only makes the situation much worse.

In any rational approach to problem-solving, the "nutshell" is both a 1) design tool to make sure the policy text under it is self-consistent and a 2) "mnemonic formula" against which the reader can make sense of the detail. May I quote a sage: "A good nutshell can help refocus a project page and be the guide in rewriting it."

I give you an example of the use of "nutshells" to make clear the 1) decision points and 2) conceptual material of the detailed text that follows. Robert Boyd & Joan B. Silk (2003), in their How Humans Evolved, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., use a "nutshell" on almost every page. Here is an example from page 176.

  • Males do not care for their offspring when 1) they can easily use their resources to acquire many additional matings or 2) when caring for their offspring would not appreciably increase the offspring's fitness.

And of course in the following page and a half of text, the authors explain that they are not talking about individual "males"; they are talking about the behavior of the median male in a population consisting of males and females, where the population has evolved over millennia under stable resource conditions. But that "nutshell" serves to 1) focus the questions and challenges of the reader accurately and to 2) provide a quality control device to make sure that the following text is self-consistent.

For all of the above reasons, this template should be retained and filled with clear and concise text. The Wikipedia community refuses to do the necessary work to make its policy pages clear and self-consistent. And removal of this template is just another work avoidance. What do you think we should do to rectify the murky, ambiguous, and self-contradictory text of WP:NPOV, just for starters? --Rednblu 18:13, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Regardless of nutshelling, a self-contradictory policy (or even two mutually contradicting policies) is bad and should be fixed. >Radiant< 18:32, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Why can't the first part of the introduction serve these purposes? —Centrxtalk • 21:23, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Nutshells on policy documents[edit]

I like the idea of nutshells on policy (and other Wikipedia) documents, but some of the arguments against their use are also persuasive. Essentially though, Wikipedia policy is (or should be) mostly common sense. Most of the time I think about what I would do if there were no guidelines. Then I check the guidelines. 99% of the time, my common sense agrees with the masses and masses of policy pages out there. But what about those people genuinely seeking guidance. Do the nutshells help them? I think they do, and I think nutshells should stay. Also, a massive reorgansiation and summarising of the policy and guideline pages is still long overdue. That is more important than debating nutshells! Carcharoth 15:49, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

  • That's a reasonable point of view. I think nutshells are useful on some policy pages, but not all of them (some are not easily summarizable, or already summarized in the title). >Radiant< 20:35, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

An example of the confusion caused by these templates[edit]

Here is an excellent example of why these templates cause more harm than good. Users look at the "nutshell" and incorrectly assume that they know everything about the policy page. They make it far too easy for users to ignore the nuance and the qualifications which the policy page describes. Worse, they make it too easy for those lazy users to attempt to bludgeon other users rather than engaging in rational discourse.

(Note: If the section-link doesn't work, you might have to look in the page history to see the discussion. DRVs are traditionally blanked when the discussion is complete.) Rossami (talk) 20:57, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Any tool can be mis-used or mis-applied. In most cases this is not a reason to toss the tool away. The nutshell allows new users to get up to speed quickly. Taking it away could force them to carefully read every word of a complex policy, OTOH it could just force them to scan quickly, pick up a couple of keywords, and leave with a bigger misimpression or misconception than a possibly oversimplified nutshell phrasing. In the issue in question, the nutshells are used to 'prove' that the AfD'd article deserves another chance. The editors are saying that the old AfD determined it was a 'howto' guide and non-encyclopedic, and it has not changed since, hence the conformance to the individual words of the policies does not magically convert it from a 'howto' to an encyclopedia article. I don't think the issue here is the oversimplification of the nutshells - the proponent could have used a lot more verbiage and still the same conclusion would have been reached. IMO, this is a case of WP:NOT a howto trumping the WP:V, WP:NOR, WP:N policies, not a reason to deprecate the nutshells. Crum375 21:18, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
They could simply read the introduction, which would serve the purpose of the nutshell, but not be a redundant fork. —Centrxtalk • 01:13, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
I think, as I mentioned before, the intro and the nutshell serve a different purpose. The nutshell is a simple visual tool to let someone in a real rush get a quick overview of the essential ingredients of the policy. OTOH, the intro's job is to present the policy by introducing the main issues that will be addressed. Yes, there are a lot of similarities, and one can benefit from the other, but their missions are not identical. For example, we can let the intro run a little longer, maybe use some more background or rationale, whereas the nutshell should always be short and sweet list of essential points. Also, for someone used to "following the nut trail", going quickly from policy to policy to quickly learn the ropes, it is very convenient and visually pleasing to follow the crispy nut templates. To me personally it is a very useful tool, and I know the intro and all the rest are there for me, for whenever I have the need and/or time to dig deeper. Crum375 01:23, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

As the creator of this template, I'd like to make the following comments:

  • People arguing over the text of the nutshell summary is good. It means they're actually debating what the policy means, which doesn't really happen when the whole policy itself is up for grabs.
  • People reading the nutshell summary and "thinking they know what the policy is about" is the whole idea. The alternative is them reading nothing at all, and having no idea what the policy is about. We're all agreed that no one reads *all* the policies. So let's stick with a workable trade-off.
  • Visual clutter? A question for the graphic designers. Floating boxes everywhere *is* a bad idea. So fix it.
  • The best summary is a succinct title? Yes, but there are obviously limits. I would happily support renaming all our policies to be succinct summaries. Wikipedia:Username would be a great place to start.
  • I'm finding the nutshell summaries a really good way to keep up with how the policies are changing. They really do capture subtle shifts in interpretation without forcing me to re-read the whole policy. Stevage 14:00, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Text alignment parameter[edit]

With all the modifications to the template, adding a text alignment parameter no longer works. Was this a by-product of formatting the caption for the template? If so, please restore the ability to specify how the text quoted in the template is aligned. (I'd do it myself, but I'm not well-versed in templates.) Thanks.Chidom talk  06:24, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

The template is meant to be used in the official WP policy pages, and should be as much as possible standardized for uniform appearance. Can you give an example of which policy page you want a different alignment in? Thanks, Crum375 15:24, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

There was also an issue with this on Wikipedia:Verifiability. If it continues to be centered, it is not going to be used on that page. I also don't see why centering is necessary for every other page. Please explain; this was in fact left-aligned until a few weeks ago. —Centrxtalk • 07:07, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

I am looking at WP:V and the template looks nice and centered right now. What is the specific problem you are referring to? see below Crum375 14:37, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
As a former typesetter who understands how the human eye moves to read text, a numbered list should never be centered; the eye needs to move back to the same horizontal space to begin the next numbered item. It may be appropriate to center this text in the template when it is one or two lines of unnumbererd type; up until recently, there was an option to choose the appopriate text alignment based on the content of the template.Chidom talk  18:46, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, now that you mention it, the list does look kind of ugly being centered. I guess part of the problem is that the 'nutshell' text there is kind of long, and maybe a list inside a nutshell is too much. I am for any ideas for improvement in that case. Crum375 18:50, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Centrx and Chidom, and I have restored the parameter-controlled alignment, with default=left. Crum375 19:56, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. It looks much better and, more importantly, is more readable. I appreciate the help.Chidom talk  06:36, 6 December 2006 (UTC)


I created a new Nutshell2 template with the image on the left for compatibility with template:style-guideline. I added it to WP:CONTEXT and I think it improves readability (compare to previous version).Dhaluza 23:39, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Your layout is better, so I've merged it into {{nutshell}}. —David Levy 19:20, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
OK, thanks. I changed WP:CONTEXT and tagged {{nutshell2}} for speedy delete. Dhaluza 21:04, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
And I've deleted it. Ah, the great circle of life... er...templates. :) --Brad Beattie (talk) 09:15, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

One of the valid objections raised here is the difference or lack thereof between the nutshell and the intro paragraph. And I've noted a few pages where there is no difference, making the nutshell redundant and useless. Repetition is a useful learning tool, but redundancy is not. I think they should convey information differently, like the difference between Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (sorry for the brand reference, but you get the point).

So to start the ball rolling again, I have regenerated the {{Nutshell2}} template as bulleted list, and applied it to WP:CONTEXT again. To address the clutter issue, I have hard coded it to a maximum of three bullets. Have a look, and post your observations here. I know there are some people who will not be happy with anything we create, but their concerns are still valid and should be addressed. Dhaluza 03:58, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

The same style of list can easily be created with the standard {{nutshell}} template. It's inappropriate to fork this thing again, especially for the purpose of imposing an arbitrary and artificial (as well as undiscussed) set of rules. There might be a good reason to include four items, and that's what boldness and discussion are for.
You noted on my talk page that you "created this template as a prototype for discussion," but you could have done that outside the template namespace (where these forks have a tendency to breed).
FYI, I replaced and redirected your new template before I saw the above message (and I began typing my reply before you reverted).—David Levy 04:11, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, and your reply beat mine here as well. Dhaluza 04:16, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
I added a bold note on the {{Nutshell2}} about the proposed usage and the lack of consensus. Dhaluza 04:22, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
It would be easier to simply move the template to your user space. —David Levy 04:31, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Another editor pointed out that the same effect can be obtained by using {{nutshell}}. I created this template as a prototype for discussion to possibly replace the main nutshell template again. The current formulation forces the list to be bulleted, and caps it at three entries (unless you employ the code trick). The idea is to constrain the nutshell to a narrower range of acceptable usages. Dhaluza 04:14, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
1. As I noted, it's inappropriate to create a new template in the template namespace to demonstrate a proposed reformat of an existing template. This misleads inexperienced users to believe that it's a good idea to create countless minor variants of existing templates. Would you object to moving it to User:Dhaluza/Nutshell and deleting the redirect again?
2. Again, it's unreasonable to deliberately impose artificial limitations as a means of forcing editors to do something a certain way (thereby bypassing discussion). Furthermore, this style of list actually wastes a great deal of space; it would make many nutshell transclusions larger, even if their verbiage were reduced. —David Levy 04:31, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
You noted that nothing prevents someone from doing the same thing with the existing template. I think the purpose of templates is precisely to have people do something a certain way to create a unified style, for example the {{otheruses}} templates. The bulleted list will use more vertical column space with 3 bullets (hence the limit) but white space is actually an effective layout tool if used correctly. I would like to let others have a chance to comment. I think you formed a snap judgment on this (even before I was able to lay out the initial case). Dhaluza 11:40, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
1. You didn't address point 1. Is it okay with you to move this to your user space?
2. It's difficult to use white space as an effective layout tool when everyone sees a differernt amount of it. (At my resolution, I see far more than I do text.)
3. If there's consensus for changing every nutshell transclusion to the bullet style, we can add such code to the template. There's no valid reason, however, to place an artificial limitation on the number of items. If someone wants to include more than three, there might be a valid reason. This is something that should be determined (and discussed, if need be) on an individual basis, not arbitrarily determined on the template level. —David Levy 12:28, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
No one objected the last time. Let others weigh in first.Dhaluza 13:20, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
To what are you responding? —David Levy 14:44, 23 January 2007 (UTC)


I removed the depreciated usages from the main page. While I was there, I added a very brief summary of some of the pearls of wisdom gleaned from the discussion page as guidance to others using the template.Dhaluza 02:24, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I applied a notes template to the template notes, and did some minor edits.Dhaluza 03:37, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Just FYI, you may get some pushback on those criteria you added - specifically the meanings of "brief" and "significant weight", and "the nutshell should not simply repeat text from the main article." These, especially the latter, are currently being disputed at WP:NPOV and WP:NOR and WP:NAME, all three of which use nutshells copied verbatim from the text below them. You may want to seek consensus before putting these criteria into the template usage notes. - Brian Kendig 06:22, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that's exactly why I put them there and posted the notice here. I believe they are a summary of topics discussed in the talk page here, and I added them to the template notes to test for consensus, per the standard WP:Consensus process (not the alternative process used on those pages based on interpretation of {{policy}}). Dhaluza 11:54, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I personally believe that the last 2 items are unnecessary and prefer the 'usage' to be simpler. If others insist on adding them, I suggest reaching consensus on this page first. Thanks, Crum375 12:45, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I feel somewhat strongly in favor of "The nutshell should not simply repeat text from the main article." In my opinion, if the nutshell repeats the first sentence of the guideline, then it's redundant and kind of silly-looking. If it repeats some line further down in the guideline, then that means that the main idea of the guideline is buried and should be brought up to the first sentence, and that again makes the nutshell redundant. IMHO, the nutshell should paraphrase the guideline in a way that values brevity over covering all bases. I've seen the value of nutshells, and I really like them in a few cases, but I really do not like the trend of making nutshells that try to contain the whole nut. - Brian Kendig 15:53, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree that it may look awkward in some cases to have repetition, especially if the repeated text is in close proximity, which makes it look downright ugly. But OTOH I think there may be cases where some repetition is unavoidable, and given that the nut is targeted at a potentially different audience (e.g. those who are following the 'nut trail' for a quick review of WP guidelines/policies), I wouldn't want to handcuff the nut authors too stringently. Perhaps a mere 'recommendation' would make sense there, I am open to phrasing suggestions. Crum375 16:10, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I've seen repeated reference to this "nut trail" - what do you mean by it, exactly? Is there a page with a collection of all nutshells? If so, then I agree it's useful to make sure a nutshell is comprehensive in representing its guideline, lest people read it out of context and make the wrong assumptions. But if the nutshell only ever appears on its guideline page - then why shouldn't it be a goal to make this nutshell simple and brief enough for a reader to parse it in the time it takes his eyes to flick past it? If the nutshell needs to be longer than just a few words, or if it needs to repeat something verbatim that's already in the guideline, then why not just put that summary into the guideline's first sentence instead? Is there something special about putting text into an infobox? (When I'm in a hurry, my eyes generally skip over infoboxes, having been trained that infoboxes rarely contain information specific to the guideline itself.) I just don't see any usefulness at all in having a nutshell parrot something that is (or should be) right at the top of the guideline itself. - Brian Kendig 21:27, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately we seem to be going around in circles. All one has to do is read this Talk page and see that all these issues have been addressed, several times, in several separate threads. Just to mention a few: the 'nut trail' is just a way of describing the learning path taken by a novice user who wants to quickly obtain a top level understanding of the policies/guidelines. S/he skips from page to page, in each one just taking in the nut verbiage, and if necessary can dig in deeper by reading the intro, the TOC, or individual sections. The nut is guaranteed by definition to included the essential elements of the policy/guideline, while the intro could in principle be 'the first salvo of a long dissertation', and could include history, background, rationale, while the nut would get right to and focus on the core ingredidents. That you, as a seasoned user, may not need or use the nut is fine: you would probably look a the changes that occured since you last looked at a policy/guideline, while the novice often specifically comes to see the nut only, and having it right at the top is the most convenient. We would like WP to welcome new users, and we can go the extra mile to make our policies/guidelines extra friendly for them, even at the minimal cost that the rest of us may need to scroll a few lines lower to get to the intro. In summary, the nut trail is a systematic way to make WP user-friendly by presenting a bite sized form of bare essentials of each policy/guideline inside a standardized neat graphic box. It does not compete with and is separate from the intro which is not guaranteed to serve the same purpose, and the nut gives the new user a secure feeling of having seen the core essentials simply, quickly and efficiently. Crum375 22:37, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree that these issues have been raised often, but I wouldn't say they've been addressed. Just have a look at WP:NPOV for an example of a nutshell that's unnecessarily wordy, verbose, and redundant (well, okay, it's not THAT bad, but I don't see why it has to include three synonyms), and WP:NOR for a nutshell that makes me read through it a couple of times to figure out what it's trying to say - it certainly isn't "friendly". I've tried to address both of these situations, and have had my every attempt reverted by people who feel that these nutshells do already embody what a nutshell is supposed to be. That's why I want to see a clarification agreed upon. If nutshells are supposed to be "bite sized", "bare essentials", and "extra friendly", then I welcome them, but I feel that several of the current nutshells just don't meet this description. - Brian Kendig 22:47, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Brian, your concerns are certainly legitimate and constructive, and should be addressed individually on each respective Talk page. The current NPOV nut is this: "All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing views fairly, proportionately and without bias". I fail to see how this is "wordy, verbose, and redundant". Sure there could be a better way of doing it, so suggest it on the Talk page and get a consensus for the new version. I think that discussing it here is wrong, as this is a specific issue to NPOV and does not taint the nut concept as a whole. I agree with you that the NOR nut can also be improved, but again IMO this is the wrong place to discuss it. I would focus all this critical energy into improving, by consensus, each specific nut. Thanks, Crum375 22:59, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Good evening, Crum. I think you're missing the point. One way to interpret the conversation is as specific examples that need improvement. The other way to interpret it as general examples that the nutshells are not and quite possibly can not live up to the expectations set for them. They can't be fixed one by one if the underlying concept is unworkable. And that is the core question.
To Brian's point, the issues around nutshells have been raised over and over. And in fairness, you have tried to answer those questions. But I do not consider those problems to have ever been successfully "addressed". You politely copy the same answers each time but I, at least, remain unconvinced that the nutshells are a net benefit to the readers' understanding. Rossami (talk) 23:10, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Good evening Rossami, I understand your point exactly, as I do Brian's. I agree that there are 2 separate issues: whether we should have nuts at all, and what the specific nut for each policy/guideline page should be if answer #1 is 'yes'. Currently, de facto, the answer is yes, and we should do our best to keep improving the nuts. If there is consensus that the nuts should go, then they should go, and there should be a separate discussion for that. Unfortunately, it seems that we keep arguing the same points over and over. To some people the pro-nut arguments are convincing, to others they are not. Just raising the same points over and over and going around in circles will not get us anywhere. And by the way, I have not 'copied' any of my points, I am just re-iterating them, since the anti-nut arguments seem to be repeated, ignoring the previous responses. I think it's clear some people have a nut allergy, the question is whether the rest of us, and the new users who especially benefit from them, should do without. Crum375 23:22, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to point out that Crum is not alone in thinking the nutshells are beneficial. I very much think the concept is a good idea, and have seldom stepped in to give my opinion, only because I think Crum does such a good job explaining the benefits that I think my words aren't needed. Obviously, there are some that will never be convinced, but I support Crum and Brian Kendig's efforts to improve those nutshell summaries that reflect badly on the concept as a whole. -- Renesis (talk) 23:23, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree that this isn't the place to get into specific examples. But just have a look over the 'What Links Here' list for Template:Nutshell, and read several of the Wikipedia:* nutshells, and you'll notice two distinct kinds of nutshells in use: ones that cleverly and simply sum up the purpose of the article, and ones that try to encapsulate the article itself by covering all bases and leaving no ambiguity. There are people who believe that the latter is the proper purpose of nutshells; I disagree, and I'd like to see a clear statement either way. I'd also like to see a clear guideline on whether nutshells are part of a policy and require consensus before they're edited, or whether they're a summary of a policy and can be tweaked for wording without an approval process. - Brian Kendig 23:31, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I think all your points are valid. IMO, the ideal nut is 'a careful balance between brevity and completeness', and can be tweaked to achieve that magical sweet spot. Nuts both summarize the policy and are in a way part of it, and do require consensus, but not necessarily prior to editing. WP:BOLD does apply to the nuts, and anyone is welcome to try to improve them, but since they typically represent a careful balance, often reached after lots of give and take on the Talk page and discussion of each word, extra careful consideration should be given to not upsetting that balance. Crum375 23:40, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Nice to see the lively discussion. Yes, although these items have been discussed before, no consensus was documented. So now we have something taking shape on the main page. I did some more housekeeping chores, making the template follow convention with a location section, and stating the obvious there. I moved one bullet up (and reworked it slightly) then added the excellent point about making WP inviting to new users from Crum375. Dhaluza 00:54, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Opinions requested[edit]

Would y'all please weigh in on the nutshell for WP:NPOV, as being discussed on Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view? I believe this case is important in setting precedent for future guidelines - Brian Kendig 16:48, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I'm a bit concerned. At first I didn't like nutshells, because I saw them as excuses for a poor opening paragraph. Then I saw some good nutshells such as WP:BOLD - "If in doubt, fix it." So I've been trying to tweak other nutshells to be succinct, and people have been reverting my changes. Two examples:

WP:NOR - original nutshell: "Articles may not contain any unpublished arguments, ideas, data, or theories; or any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published arguments, ideas, data, or theories that serves to advance a position."
My edit, which was reverted: "Wikipedia articles may only contain information that's been published in other sources."
WP:NPOV - original nutshell: "All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing views fairly, proportionately and without bias."
My first edit, which was reverted: "Bias is unacceptable in articles. Be fair when presenting conflicting points of view."
My second edit, which was reverted: "Wikipedia articles must be written from a neutral point of view, representing viewpoints without bias."

There seems to be an opinion that changes to nutshells are changes to policy, and must gain approval on the Talk page before they can be made. There also seems to be an opinion that a nutshell must be comprehensive - even when I tried to remove "and other encyclopedic content" from the NPOV nutshell, I got pushback. So, let me ask you this: am I wrong in feeling that a nutshell should be a friendly-sounding "gist" of the general purpose of the article? Should a nutshell really try to cover all bases? - Brian Kendig 17:10, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm with you in principle, but I don't believe that your changes were improvements.
Your WP:NOR nutshell tag actually was vague enough to be misleading; "Wikipedia articles may only contain information that's been published in other sources." could be misinterpreted to mean that the actual prose must be copied from other sources.
Your versions of the WP:NPOV nutshell tag didn't convey any false information, but they did omit some of the page's scope.
In both cases, I really don't see any benefit to these changes. I agree that the nutshell summaries shouldn't be too long, but the ones in question already were succinct enough. In my opinion, yours were too succinct. —David Levy 18:00, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
I can accept that. I was inspired by the "If in doubt, fix it" nutshell of WP:BOLD. I like the nutshells which are refreshingly congenial in tone, and I feel that's a goal that all nutshells should strive for, even at the expense of omitting details - that's what the rest of the guideline is there to take care of. - Brian Kendig 18:09, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Please see my reply at Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view. —David Levy 18:27, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Your reply makes a good point, and makes me think that perhaps some guidelines for nutshells are a good idea to have. It would be a good thing to have some rules of thumb so that nutshells can be consistent in tone and in level of detail. - Brian Kendig 18:43, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

More reason why I feel we really need to agree on a policy: The nutshell for WP:NAME was an exact copy of the article's fifth sentence. I changed it to "Have a general audience in mind when naming Wikipedia articles" - not the best nutshell, I admit, but more approachable than the original, IMHO. It was reverted with this comment: "General audience" of what? Those who know nothing about the subject? The experts? Rockhopper penguins? I believe that this is a dangerous justification to use. If nutshells are required to qualify themselves, then they cease being nutshells at all, and are merely repetitions of some part of the guideline below them. So, what should nutshells be? Friendly and succinct? Or specific and detailed? - Brian Kendig 04:09, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

I think a good nutshell, which is certainly a challenge to achieve, strikes a balance between brevity and completeness. It should try to best describe the essential elements of the policy or guideline. Assume you just read and understood the entire page and someone asked you to summarize it for them in 20 words. Crum375 04:18, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Nutshells not only for policies[edit]

I really like the nutshell idea, and only realized recently that it is limited to wikipedia policy pages. Wouldn't it be an interesting suggestion to use them in any kind of article ? XApple 21:11, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

They are already used for guidelines and other types in Wikipedia space, but I would think that their use would not make sense for article space, for example. Can you give an example where you think they would be useful outside their current domain? Crum375 21:22, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
That purpose is served by the introduction. —Centrxtalk • 16:57, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
For instance, I was going to put on on the Dolly Zoom article before I found out you're not supposed to use them on articles. You have to read the whole first paragraph to really understand what it's about, but Dolly Zoom could be summarised into one sentence, for someone who was just wondering what it meant. I'm kinda new here, so I'm not sure how things work. Humphreys7 (talk) 03:06, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
That's an excellent indicator that the article lead needs a rewrite. Be bold and fix the article. Clumsy and ugly infoboxes at the top of the page, however, are a distraction to the reader and a disruption to the proper flow of the article. Rossami (talk) 13:15, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Template merge[edit]

David, nice job on the merge! I was just thinking it was time to suggest completing this, since the Nutshell2 bulleted list usage was stable. You beat me to the punch. Thanks for being WP:BOLD. Dhaluza 23:11, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

You forgot to put the word "is"[edit]

Before I changed the mistake, the template read "This page in a nushell". Well I fixed it and put "This page is in a nutshell.--Angel David 21:49, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Why would we want it to say that? -- Renesis (talk) 23:17, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Minor change[edit]

I changed the image to an svg version. It's not identical but it gets the point across quite clearly...and it's vector graphics (yay). Aar☢n BruceTalk/Contribs 21:51, 20 March 2008 (UTC)


Does anyone else really like the svg version better? The png looks like a brain to me... Aar☢n BruceTalk/Contribs 06:59, 21 March 2008 (UTC) Nutshell.png Nutshell.svg

To me, the PNG resembles a split walnut shell, while the SVG resembles two edible nuts. Conceptually, the former is a better fit. —David Levy 15:18, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
You could have waited for a response before reverting from the longstanding icon, and a change that you know is disputed doesn't qualify as "minor" (not that an edit that significantly altered the template's appearance was minor in the first place). —David Levy 15:29, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the PNG looks like more like a brain. Besides that, if a vector image is available, it should be used over the raster version (for obvious reasons), and thus this template should utilize the SVG, IMHO.--Opertinicy (talk) 02:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

What are the "obvious reasons"? —David Levy 21:29, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Nutshells are useless. Replace them with better summaries[edit]

Nut shells seem to be what summaries should be. If the nutshell is the solution to long summaries, those summaries should be shortened per wikipedia guidelines. This nutshell business is ridiculous. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Personally, I agree. (See the comments in the #Aw, nuts! section above where this was discussed before.) The concerns raised back in 2006 when this template was first drafted have never been successfully addressed. With an extra two years of experience, I am even more convinced that though they are well-intentioned, in aggregate they do more harm than good. Rossami (talk) 16:11, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

A request of a dummy[edit]

I am new in using wiki and opened my own one. I would like to copy this template, but I have no frickin clue what part of the many brackets the template is…could some one add a simple box at the bottom with the code for the template?? If it depends on something, a small list?? This would be, btw., a general request. More and more dummies like me are trying to get something run and we do not get the complete logic behind the code… Thank you!--Jorgusch (talk) 13:39, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Ombox time[edit]


Wikipedia pages[edit]

Talk pages[edit]

|text='''{{{title|This page}}} in a nutshell:''' {{#if:{{{2|}}}|*{{{1}}}

yes, we're using walnut.svg too. ViperSnake151 16:29, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Done. Seems every other template in sight is getting standardized, as well, so don't anticipate much objection. – Luna Santin (talk) 03:51, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I came here since I saw in "what links here" for {{mbox}} that this template used mbox. As far as I understand {{nutshell}} is for "Wikipedia:" pages and not talk pages. And besides {{mbox}} is not even deployed yet since we have not decided on what styles it should use for talk pages yet. So I changed the code to use {{ombox}} directly.
--David Göthberg (talk) 14:26, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

PNG -> SVG[edit]

Could an admin update the image from Nutshell.png to Walnut.svg at the same resolution? (talk) 15:34, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Why? The SVG isn't an exact duplicate of the PNG and doesn't look as good at that size; in particular, the former has inferior anti-aliasing and an overwhelming shadow: SVGPNGDavid Levy 15:45, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with David Levy. The current PNG image looks much better than the two SVG images that have been suggested on this talk page so far.
--David Göthberg (talk) 14:34, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
After reading David Levy's statement, I now believe the PNG looks much better than the SVG. Mythdon (talk) 10:14, 8 October 2008 (UTC)


Please remove de and nl interwiki links, those pages do not exist (any more). --Kam Solusar (talk) 00:17, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

YesY Done - I know template stuff is tricky, but next time you can update the interwikis yourself, since /doc pages are not protected. That is, if you click the [edit] button on the green doc box you can edit the interwikis at the bottom of the /doc page. --David Göthberg (talk) 14:45, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Other than policy or guideline[edit]

Is this template allowed to be used for any page other than policy or guidelines?. Mythdon (talk) 10:13, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Yes of course. You can use it on any non-article page. For instance we often use it on how-to guides, see for instance Wikipedia:Line break handling#Preventing and controlling word wraps.
Oh, I see now that the template documentation sounds like any other usage is discouraged. Which is untrue. I'll fix the documentation right away.
--David Göthberg (talk) 13:37, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Can it be used in the userspace?. Mythdon (talk) 13:52, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Sure, in user space you have very much freedom. Well, you shouldn't turn your user page into your blog or similar. I can imagine using this box something like this on my user page: "David Göthberg in a nutshell: I am from Sweden and I mainly program templates and edit articles about cryptography. You can contact me on my talk page."
Of course with proper wiki links on the relevant words. :))
--David Göthberg (talk) 14:19, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Style tweaks[edit]


I've reworked the sandbox to bring the template styling into line with the general mbox defaults. Just needs synced. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:17, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done — {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 07:35, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Err, I set the image size back to 30px as the original PNG is only 30×30px to begin with—pixelation is not pretty. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 07:40, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
And I reverted it all, sorry.
  • This template is used in several namespaces, such as talk pages. So it needs to use the {{mbox}} which detects namespace and automatically changes style accordingly.
  • We usually put the {{pp-template}} on the template page itself, not in the /doc subpage. (Mostly so that beginner editors don't try to add or remove the {{pp-template}} to try to protect or unprotect the page. Not that it helps much, since I have also seen beginner admins that thought that adding {{pp-template}} protects a page! :))
  • I think the image should continue to be 30x30px. Since this box should look smaller and not dominate over other boxes such as the "This is a guideline" boxes that usually comes above it.
--David Göthberg (talk) 19:12, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Accessibility improvement for visually-impaired readers[edit]

{{editprotected}} For WP:ACCESSIBILITY to visually-impaired readers, WP:ALT #When to specify suggests omitting links from purely-decorative icons, so that screen readers don't burden the visually-impaired users with useless verbiage. I created a patch into the sandbox that does this by adding "|link=" in the obvious place. Please install this into the main version. For licensing reasons it has been argued that icons used in this way must not have licenses that require attribution; I don't agree with this argument, but to forestall any objections on these grounds the patch substitutes a public-domain icon. Thanks. Eubulides (talk) 21:09, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Partially done. I was going to wait a bit to see if there was any objections to changing the image, considering the discussion above. I have no problem with it, but I thought I would wait for any additional feedback. Plastikspork (talk) 22:19, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
I object to the proposed image change. That's an acorn, not a nutshell. —David Levy 23:51, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
The change that Plastikspork installed suffices to fix the WP:ACCESSIBILITY problem; thanks. I suppose some might object to adding |link= with that image, but it's fine with me to leave it just as it is. Perhaps, if someone objects, we can ask them to come up with an image that they'd prefer. Eubulides (talk) 04:54, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that seems sensible. —David Levy 05:11, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Now needs "alt=" too[edit]

{{editprotected}} As a result of a recent change to MediaWiki we must now say both "|link=|alt=" to mark the nutshell as purely decorative; "|link=" by itself no longer suffices. This is documented in WP:ALT #Purely decorative images. Please install this obvious sandbox patch to do this. Thanks. Eubulides (talk) 04:54, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Done; please update the documentation accordingly. Cheers,  Skomorokh, barbarian  07:40, 6 October 2009 (UTC)


I have reverted the above. The image currently being used is licensed as CC-BY-SA-1.0, which requires attribution, which we provide by linking the image to the file description page. Anomie 21:56, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from Hiuby, 20 May 2011[edit]

{{edit protected}} I have noticed the wiki tag "{{{1}}}" on the template. Please let me change the text from "{{{1}}}" to "{{{text}}}" (if you can). Thank you. --ヒウビ 私に話しかけて!User:Hiuby/Templates/HiubyTime

This cannot be done, as it would break the template. --Diannaa (Talk) 03:37, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
That's okay. --ヒウビ 私に話しかけて! User:Hiuby/Templates/HiubyTime
It would be possible to make both {{{1}}} and {{{text}}} work, however, I don't see a strong reason to do so. Thanks! Plastikspork ―Œ(talk) 22:51, 21 May 2011 (UTC)


How do you put multiple shortcuts on the template? (talk) 01:54, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Image size[edit]


Please can we increase the image size to 40px, in line with other message boxes. That way the text lines up better when using multiple mboxes. No need to reply (I'm not going to watch this page), just make the change or don't. It's only a small matter. nagualdesign (talk) 17:49, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

I swapped the {{nutshell}} on my user page for a customized {{mbox}} that uses the larger nut, if anyone's interested in seeing how it looks. The text lines up rather nicely. Regards, nagualdesign (talk) 10:29, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Personally, I like the small icon. It encourages people to keep the text concise. Kaldari (talk) 02:51, 13 May 2012 (UTC)


I request that where it says "nutshell" we should make a link to Wikipedia:Nutshell. It just seemed like something that wouldm't hurt anybody and I always thought would make sense.

--Walex03. Talking, working, friending. 23:58, 20 March 2012 (UTC)


I request that where it says "nutshell" we should make a link to Wikipedia:Nutshell. It just seemed like something that wouldm't hurt anybody and I always thought would make sense.

--Walex03. Talking, working, friending. 23:58, 20 March 2012 (UTC)


How to reduce the width of the template and float it to right? Why there is no parameter for that specified in the documentation?Aravind V R (talk) 07:52, 7 May 2012 (UTC)


Img replace to File:Walnut.svg .thx --Olli (talk) 18:21, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Not done: Let's see if there is consensus for this change. Note that the current image may be used without a link to the file page, while the proposed replacement must retain the file link. Anomie 18:49, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Why the SVG needs file link? And if it needs, why it would be unacceptable to have file link? --Olli (talk) 08:18, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
File:Walnut.svg needs the file link because the CC-BY-SA-1.0 license used requires that redistribution include a notice that the work is licensed under the CC-BY-SA-1.0 license, including a link to the license itself. It is considered that our linking of the file back to the file description page satisfies this requirement. Links to the file page on "decorative" images like this are opposed by some on accessibility grounds, as the information about the useless-to-blind-people image and link will still be read out by screen readers; see WP:ALT#Links and attribution for details. Anomie 14:25, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Current Proposed
Nutshell.png Walnut.svg

Edit request[edit]

I was trying to list more than one shortcut in this template on a page utilizing this template, and was trying to figure out what it was not working. And then I realized why; this template looks like it is built to only allow 1 shortcut to be listed in it. In order to allow more than one shortcut to be listed in this template, without breaking the shortcuts already utilizing this template, could this line:

| imageright = {{#if:{{{shortcut|}}} | {{Ombox/Shortcut|{{{shortcut}}} }} }}

... be replaced with this:

| imageright = {{#if:{{{shortcut|}}} | {{Ombox/shortcut|{{{shortcut|}}}|{{{shortcut2|}}}|{{{shortcut3|}}}|{{{shortcut4|}}}|{{{shortcut5|}}} }} }}

...If so, please inform me of the changes, and I will be more than willing to update Template:Nutshell/doc accordingly. Thanks in advance! Steel1943 (talk) 02:56, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

  • Also, please refer to my recent edit on Template:Nutshell/sandbox for my edit request tested. Steel1943 (talk) 03:11, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
    Done. Thanks for the suggestion. I also added a "shortcut1" alias for "shortcut", as I thought that would make more sense for people using multiple shortcuts. And yes, please update the documentation. :) Best — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 10:17, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Template-protected edit request on 5 March 2015[edit]

Nest the template, please. Like this:

<<< SOME GADGET GEEK >>> (talk) 16:43, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 16:52, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
I would like the templates to be nested, with one template appearing inside of another, as shown in the above example. Here is a further example: <<< SOME GADGET GEEK >>> (talk) 17:11, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Why? — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 17:31, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Because it makes the key point of the article stand out, reducing the amount of time needed to identify the purpose of the article itself. <<< SOME GADGET GEEK >>> (talk) 17:57, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit template-protected}} template. Not only is your broken example a perfectly valid reason why this shouldn't be done, but common sense (which I have little of) demands it won't be done without a consensus to do so. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 19:17, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Section parameter?[edit]

Having created a bit of a wall of text at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(idea_lab)#Easier_access_to_biography_articles_via_subject_surname.3F, I decided to add a "Nutshell" - but the only way to make it refer to a section was to subst and edit, which I've done. It would be useful, for talk pages, if there was a "Section" parameter to add to create this text? Any thoughts? PamD 18:40, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

There is already a documented |title= parameter to replace the "This page" text, if that's what you're referring to:
{{Nutshell|Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet|title=This section}}
SiBr4 (talk) 19:06, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Change template[edit]

The {{unordered list}} template is used in the {{nutshell}} template; however, the {{unordered list}} template is merely a redirect to the {{bulleted list}} template. Whilst it mayn’t be a very significant change, I think that the template should be changed to {{bulleted list}} in this template.
PapíDimmi (talk | contribs) 18:21, 13 July 2016 (UTC)