Template talk:Supplement

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[originally posted at Template talk:Poldetail]

What is this for? If the content is policy (clarification), it should be tagged as "policy", or merged. If it is not, then in what are these "discussion of policy" diferent from an "essay"? - Nabla 17:33, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Take a look at the two most prominent pages that use it: WP:BRD and WP:WIARM. They're explanations of policy, without themselves having the actionable, enforceable qualities of policies. Pages like this occupy a specialized role. Maybe "poldetail" will be superceded by some other approach at some point, but for now, it's a sensible way to characterize these pages.--Father Goose 21:24, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
They're actually both essays. This template is ill-conceived; see also WP:NOTAG. >Radiant< 12:28, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm on the fence regarding this template. What led you to change your mind? (I ask because you created it after authoring the aforementioned essay.) —David Levy 13:42, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
It was a good idea in theory, but turns out not to work that well in practice. The confusion that some people get over the "tagging" of pages in the Wikipedia namespace is only increased by creating more tags. >Radiant< 14:01, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
As you say, this seems like a good idea in theory. Do you have some examples of the confusion that it causes? —David Levy 14:26, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I wish we had some category like "widely-accepted essay" (yes, I know {{popular essay}} was deleted): "You don't have to follow the suggestions on this page, but most editors consider them to be damn good."--Father Goose 16:41, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
  • We don't, because what you describe is precisely what a "guideline" is. >Radiant< 07:16, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines#The differences between policies, guidelines, essays, etc. has this bit -

Many pages in the Wikipedia namespace fall in one of the following groups. However, this is not a strict classification; it is not problematic if a page is not in any of these groups, and indeed many pages in the namespace are not.

So is there a need for this template? Newbyguesses - Talk 03:43, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm guessing Radiant added that line to WP:POL (just a guess though). In principle I agree with it, but in practice I find a tag really useful on most pages: I like to know how much of the community's weight they carry.--Father Goose 06:06, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  • In practice the majority of Wikipedia: namespace pages does not have a tag. I'm thinking of the various noticeboards, deletion debates, chatrooms, wikiprojects, bug logs, humor pages, and other metadata. But yeah, tags are useful, but compulsively tagging everything is not. >Radiant< 07:16, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, the page I was discussing is actually T:Supplemental page, which links to this talkpage. The Poldetail template which existed earlier this week was clearer, where is it gone? Newbyguesses - Talk 06:22, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  • It was edited, apparently. Personally I find the new version to be clearer, because it does not assert the existence of a fourth major "class" of pages (other than P/G/E). >Radiant< 07:16, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Much better now, as it does not imply the essay to be "quasi-policy". I still think using a pair of {{essay}} with {{nutshell}}, plus getting it to be linked from the policy, could get the job done, and done well. Without the need of yet another template, but this looks already good enough. - Nabla 15:18, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. Nutshell isn't quite right, but you've got an idea there. How about the regular old "essay" tag plus
Right.svg This essay expands upon the policy Wikipedia:Ignore all rules.
--Father Goose 17:46, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I would prefer to avoid cluttering these pages with an additional box. —David Levy 18:01, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
How about a combined template, then?
Text-x-generic.svg This is an essay. It is not a policy or guideline; it merely reflects the opinions of some of its author(s). Please update the page as needed, or discuss it on the talk page.
This essay expands upon the policy Wikipedia:Ignore all rules.
Add one parameter to {{essay}}: expandsupon=, and just have it add the text "This essay expands upon " and skip the parser functions to keep it flexible.--Father Goose 19:11, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
There was concern expressed at Wikipedia talk:What "Ignore all rules" means that the new template shouldn't include the "it merely reflects the opinions of some of its author(s)" wording, and I'm inclined to agree. While Radiant has made a good point about not wanting to imply that these pages belong to a new "class," I think that it's better to keep this as a separate template and reserve its use for pages containing policy/guideline interpretations (excluding those that clearly are opposed by the community). This is not to say that they carry more weight than other essays, but there is a relevant distinction between such pages and essays containing opinions not rooted in policies or guidelines. —David Levy 20:30, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I like it.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  20:07, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, there are ten "classes" listed at WP:POL, only four big ones, though. Introducing this new template, with problematic wording, would require separate discussion on every page that it appeared. In particular, being unsuitable for WP:WIARM, it would cause problems trying to introduce it there. Newbyguesses - Talk 22:08, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
1. What is problematic about the current wording?
2. Why do you believe that the template's use "would require separate discussion on every page that it appeared"? Wouldn't it make more sense to simply add the tag and discuss it if someone removes it and/or complains about it? —David Levy 22:20, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
1 The close juxtaposition of the words *policy* and *mere opinion* is stylistically jarring, and may be misleading in meaning as well.
2 It would make sense to apply the template, if it first has established consensus. Otherwise, argument may break out on a number of affected talkpages. - Newbyguesses - Talk 23:13, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
1. That criticism doesn't apply to the current wording. I removed the statement that "it merely reflects the opinions of some of its author(s)" in an effort to address the concerns expressed at Wikipedia talk:What "Ignore all rules" means.
2. If I understand you correctly (and I might not), that isn't how a wiki works. If we waited to establish consensus before performing every little edit, nothing would ever get done. We're supposed to be bold (while using our best judgement) and address feedback as it arises. —David Levy 23:42, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
1. Those words concerned me, but not majorly now. A specific wording eludes me, I prefer active voice, stylistically, but am not bothered by any phrases currently suggested, majorly, thanks for the work.
2. Well, I agree with you there David, perform edits, even when they impact on dozens or more pages, as a template does. This is a service to Wikipedia. By following correct procedure, and writing good code, a user's contributions come to be appreciated. Comments on this page in the main are in support of the template, which is agreeable to me, presently, with good wishes. 01:37, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
That being said, the version just above on this page could work, it reads better than the one on currently on the template-page, which would look ugly if it got on to a bunch of pages, the wording is clumsy. Newbyguesses - Talk 22:16, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
How so? —David Levy 22:20, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
The wording just above is more direct. Newbyguesses - Talk 23:13, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
To which wording are you referring? I'm no longer sure. —David Levy 23:42, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Nor am I, at this point, I was editting in mainspace, which I will be getting back to presently, thanks. Newbyguesses - Talk 01:37, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • I think adding the "expandsupon" parameter to {{essay}} is a good approach. I think that neither this template, nor the essay template, particularly need the phrasing "it is merely an opinion". The sentence "this is an essay, not a policy" says it all. KISS principle. >Radiant< 09:04, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
My concern is that this would encourage essay authors to insert such policy/guideline links where they aren't appropriate (attempting to bolster their opinions' credibility). I believe that this message should be reserved for instances in which there is general agreement that the essays are reasonable (even if debatable) interpretations of existing policies/guidelines. Having a separate template is the easiest way to track this (because I don't believe that we should create a separate category). —David Levy 16:00, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm not convinced that that is actually problematic (if someone writes an idiotic essay and claims it explains some policy, we can pretty much ignore him) but I have no objection to tracking it like this. >Radiant< 16:05, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  • I quite like the "essay w/ parameter" proposal. It kills two birds in one shot: avoids creating another layer, and helps sorting essays. I think a better name for the parameter would be "about". Maybe valid parameters should be coded into the template (with a "if-then-else" flow control or similar), along with the respective categories. - Nabla 19:11, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
PS: Provided it will be incorporated into "essay" itself not at this "supplemental essay", otherwise the problem of creating another layer would be just the same. - Nabla 19:13, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
You feel that having two separate categories is preferable to having two separate templates? Isn't an additional category "another layer"? —David Levy 19:48, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, an extra category strikes me as unnecessary. I prefer the essay w/parameter approach for stylistic reasons: the supplmented policy is more prominent on a separate line, not buried in the boilerplate. This is how {{poldetail}} was originally formatted.--Father Goose 20:25, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, that's really a separate issue (because either style could be used with either method). I will comment that your preferred layout doesn't look good at my resolution (because a great deal of empty space is present). —David Levy 21:14, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Surely we could add some CSS formatting to fix that.--Father Goose 21:38, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
The issue stems from the fact that very little text wraps to the second line at higher resolutions. Combined with the fact that the last sentence is short, pushing it onto a third line leaves a large amount of empty space. Here's a screen capture.David Levy 22:26, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
I added a linebreak between the first and second sentences of {{essay}}. Can we add the parameter now? ;-) --Father Goose 23:07, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
1. As I noted above, any layout (including the one that you propose) could be adopted irrespective of whether we use a parameter in the {{essay}} template or retain this separate template. I've explained the latter's advantage.
2. Thank you for attempting to address my concern, but that created a similar issue at lower resolutions (even without the additional line of text). Meanwhile, the version without the line break looks fine at higher resolutions unless the aforementioned text line is added.
3. Incidentally, I personally prefer the integrated text (even if the issue discussed above didn't exist). —David Levy 23:39/23:43, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

(back to the left, and in reply to David Levy's question: «Isn't an additional category "another layer"?») No. We have several kinds of pages about WP at Wikipedia:: policies, guidelines, essays. (I'm ignoring processes, projects, etc, which are easy to set apart by context or naming convention.) Policies, guidelines, and essays, all have the same type of content. So we tag them to set them apart. I say we keep it limited to those 3. It's either WP's 'law' (and thus a "policy" or a "guideline") or some individual(s) opinion(s) (and thus an "essay"). Still it may be useful to organize them. Category:Wikipedia guidelines has 7 subcats, yet it does not make any of them less or more important. It simply makes it easier to find a specific one, or related ones. That is exactly what I am proposing to do with essays. The change currently discussed to the template "essay" could be used to split the category in, say, Category:Wikipedia essays about deletion policy, Category:Wikipedia essays about vandalism, etc.. Note that there are currently 727 essays in Category:Wikipedia essays, organising it, even if slowly, could be useful for WP. - Nabla 05:13, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm not arguing that we shouldn't categorize essays (and doing so by topic may be useful). I'm arguing that we shouldn't create a special "community-approved essays" category (or similar).
Setting aside that issue, I'm not clear on what your objection to the separate template is. Are you suggesting that it creates an additional type of page beyond "those 3"? —David Levy 05:34, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, like Radiant has pointed, out, "community-approved essays" might as well be called guidelines.
Incidentally, I changed the wording of {{essay}} just now, since more than one person has mentioned not liking "opinions of its authors" in the past, and I'm inclined to agree with them. We'll see how the change is taken, and maybe it'll open the door further to streamlining the use of the template. I'm starting to like the prospect of essay subcategories.--Father Goose 05:54, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Oh! So we agree on the possibility of categorising, I just failed to understand it and to make myself understood at first try (written communication is hard sometimes...).
What's the difference between a "suplemental essay" and a plain "essay"? I figure it is simply that one states it is about a specific policy/guideline and the other does not (or is about 'life, the universe, and everything else'). So, I think one template could do the job, and better. Set the parameter and we have a "essay about something"; don't set it and we have a plain old "essay". Keeping it in one template would reduce maintenance, avoiding drifts in wording and style. And I presume it would not yet be a overly complicated template, that is, not something that only some template-expert could fix and change in the future. - Nabla 15:57, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
As noted above, my concern is that this would encourage essay authors to insert such policy/guideline links where they aren't appropriate (attempting to bolster their opinions' credibility). I believe that this message should be reserved for instances in which there is general agreement that the essays are reasonable (even if debatable) interpretations of existing policies/guidelines. Having a separate template is the easiest way to track this.
I'm not suggesting that one type of essay is on a higher level than another. An essay about life, the universe, and everything else can be as valuable as one about a policy or guideline. The idea is to discourage and prevent editors from generating confusion between the former and the latter. —David Levy 04:57, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't see how essay writers are more likely to abuse "essay+expandsupon" than "supplemental essay". It looks like the two approaches will produce an identical template, just implemented differently.--Father Goose 06:30, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
Such abuse is equally likely to arise under either setup, but only the current one allows us to monitor this and respond accordingly. —David Levy 06:39, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
Nabla's categorization approach would permit tracking in much the same way, no?--Father Goose 06:49, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
I noted the possibility before Nabla commented on the "essay w/ parameter" proposal. As I said, I don't believe that we should create a special category for essays that supplement policies and guidelines. —David Levy 07:03, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
Yep, I only supported it. You don't want to 'create a special category for essays that supplement policies and guidelines'. I know that, those who read this know that, but others don't.A template named 'supplemental essay', doing something that can be done by 'essay', may cause others to think they are different and edit one of them accordingly. And given enough time anything that may happen, will happen. So why don't we avoid that right now and keep just one? (that is, use the content of 'supplemental essay' in 'essay') - Nabla 17:37, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I've explained my reasoning above. (You're entitled to disagree, of course.)
I don't see how having more than one essay template is more confusing or misleading than having more than one guideline template is. I've never encountered the mistaken impression that a style guideline or any of the guidelines containing this tag belonged to a higher or lower class than pages tagged with the original guideline template. —David Levy 19:11, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

(reset indent) Well, having a single template would keep the wording of the two "essay" templates in sync. If they both have equivalent status, I see the sense in keeping them from diverging. Aren't we just arguing about an invisible technical distinction at this point?--Father Goose 20:37, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

1. We have numerous template sets, and it isn't difficult to keep their wordings in sync (not that this is crucial).
2. The technical distinction is quite visible. —David Levy 20:43, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Use of this template[edit]

What situations are envisaged which would require the use of such a template? posted Newbyguesses - Talk 23:40, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

The idea is simply to have a version of the {{essay}} tag that links to the policy/guideline page(s) on which a particular essay is based. —David Levy 03:52, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
That would be assuming that they were essays in the first place. Our guidelines are based on consensus. Pages that give greater insight into the Consensus behind or application of a guideline probably should not erroneously be classified as essays. (in fact, any page on established consensus should not be classified as an essay, no matter how much you might wish you could). Local consensus does not override global consensus, and you can't wish a consensus away.
Note that pages like Wikipedia:Avoid instruction creep are not exactly essays, by any definition. --Kim Bruning 04:30, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
...Except, of course, for dictionary definitions.
I don't know what gave you the idea that someone was attempting to override consensus. The pages in question aren't necessarily backed by consensus and aren't necessarily actionable. They're interpretations of pages that are actionable and backed by consensus. They can be very useful, but they're still essays. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive. —David Levy 19:36, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
I understand that that is your conviction, but I don't agree. Certain pages describe known-good best practices based on long experience. Not following those practices is probably a worse idea than ignoring some of what passes for policy. :-P Avoid instruction creep is one such principle that has existed before wikipedia came along, and will likely cntinue to exist long after wikipedia is gone. Other pages, such as BRD, describe practices that have been observed to be valid on any consensus-based-wiki. In both cases, I don't think you can simply state that these pages are merely the opinion of their author. Nor do I believe they can safely be ignored, because failure to apply these pages in the relevant contexts can have serious consequences. The essay tag falsely implies that failure to comply might be an option. --Kim Bruning 18:24, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Once again, the above is based on the false belief that "essay" means "crap that should ignored." It doesn't. The word has a meaning that has existed before Wikipedia came along, and it will likely continue to exist long after Wikipedia is gone. —David Levy 18:38, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
You are once again entirely correct. I am only discussing the intervening period where wikipedia actually exists, and is filled by horrible cynical old people like me. ;-) --Kim Bruning 19:17, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure what people are playing at here, so I've switched the template back to Poldetail for now. --Kim Bruning 04:30, 26 August 2007 (UTC) naturally, the only true way to dig us out of the muck is to actually remove the entire project namespace and start over. There is too much nomic playing. Could we maybe stick to actually documenting what we know?
What criteria do you use to distinguish "policy"/"guideline" from "poldetail" (regardless of name) from "essay"? Why is it needed? Why is it more bureaucratic having "poldetail" than not having "poldetail"? - Nabla 16:13, 26 August 2007 (UTC) You are free to propose for deletion anything you want to be deleted. You think main namespace is messy? You want knowledge documented? How about organising it, so it may be easier for all to find what's missing and what's duplicated?
  • Essay is anything people A. Don't like, or B. Would like to deprecate. Basically a big rubbish-bag category. Anything that is remotely useful probably should not be an essay.
  • It is very difficult to edit pages marked 'policy', making it very hard to keep them up to date. Providing a space where people can document their experience (nota bene the whole point of the project namespace!) is essential. . Note that the policy tag does not provide this functionality, the guideline tag does not provide this functionality, and the essay tag does not provide this functionality. Yet this is the key reason for the existence of the project namespace. I'm very interested in hearing solutions for this! :-)
  • I'm consistently pushing for debureaucratisation of the project namespace, as in general bureaucratic systems are detrimental to net-based projects. The policy/guideline/essay framework currently provides no facilities to do so (see above), however, so that's a bit of a problem. If this was somehow implemented, a lot of my objections would disappear.
  • There are some issues with straight-out deletion, including the risk of loss of vital historic documentation.[1]
  • You mean the project namespace? Yes I do think it is somewhat messy. It does contain most essential information somewhere. I did make a start at organising it at one point. Check out the simplified ruleset project, especially where people took it over and formed it into the five pillars.
  • Further organisation would definitely be good. Think of ways to organise information so that the form of organisation is of no interest to egos, power-gamers, page owners and nomic-players; and you will have yourself a winner. :-) I'm still scratching my head on that topic, and am willing to try just about anything new by now.
--Kim Bruning 17:02, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Your definition of "essay" is entirely inconsistent with that of the project (and any dictionary, for that matter). There are plenty of highly useful essays, and editors cite them on a regular basis. They simply aren't actionable and/or aren't backed by consensus. The essay tag is used when people "document their experience," and I can't imagine what led you to believe otherwise. —David Levy 19:36, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
In theory, you are perfectly correct. However, in practice, the essay tag has been and is abused quite regularly, to the point where IMHO it's meaningless. --Kim Bruning 18:07, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
So deal with the abuse instead of inventing nonsensical definitions! —David Levy 18:18, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
I prefer to deflect or redirect abuse rather than try to deal with it head on. I'm not inventing anything new at the moment, mind you. (if you're still discussing the definition of essay, note differences: do not confuse "an actual page on en.wikipedia.org that happens to transclude a template that contains the string 'essay'"; with "page as defined by WP:Essay"; or with wiktionary definition of essay. ) --Kim Bruning 19:57, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
The word "essay" is supposed to mean "essay" here, just as it does everywhere else. Your definition is backed by neither a dictionary nor consensus. —David Levy 20:12, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
I once again agree on what essay is supposed to mean. However, on pages on en.wikipedia.org that tranclude the template {{essay}} , such transclusion is often used to deprecate pages that people find annoying, typically pages that people-who-favor-bureaucracy find annoying, or is otherwise misused or misplaced (such as The five pillars [1], for instance). Hence my perhaps slightly kneejerk initial reaction which might admittedly be slightly incomprehensible to people who are not familiar with the history --Kim Bruning 21:11, 30 August 2007 (UTC) [1] Not suggesting that User:Stevertigo is such an evil bureaucratinator, but rather that some pretty famous pages have been mis-marked in the past. My position is based on raw facts that are easy to find (< 5 mins for this one), and easy to verify.
That some editors have attempted to abuse the {{essay}} template by perverting the meaning of the word "essay" doesn't justify inventing a 100% incorrect definition. Again, please address the actual problem instead of yielding to it. —David Levy 21:48, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
<shrug> You contradict yourself, by first claiming others perverted the term, and then consequently ascribe the invention to myself instea. While I am often proud to invent things, I would rather not be associated with this one in particular ;-P. Unfortunately I do not have the time to take the initiative to address this problem once and for all at this very moment. However, I shall certainly assist you if you yourself would like to proceed. --Kim Bruning 22:44, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
You're the only person that I've seen actually define the word "essay" in this manner.
If I witness the abuse in question, I'll certainly attempt to rectify the situation. —David Levy 23:06, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
We are also willing to try something new, but someone came along and reverted it. Nonetheless, I think one thing we can agree on is that policy/guideline/essay/whatever-the-fuck-ever is a haphazard system; however, organizational changes will not change the fact that power-gamers are attracted to policy. Well, excluding me, of course.--Father Goose 21:37, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
David Levy explained what you were trying on my talk page. And of course you'd never have anything to do with powergaming. ;-) --Kim Bruning 19:57, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
It was explained on this page (which you claim to have read) long ago. —David Levy 20:12, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
We aren't "playing at" anything. Once again, you've intervened in a situation without bothering to first ascertain its nature. As Nabla wrote in an edit summary, "understand first, revert later, please." And once again, you're spouting this business about "nomic" and mass deletions.
And incidentally, I noticed that you described a "mess" of my creation in an edit summary. In fact, I was very careful to perform the mergers in an organized fashion (after initiating discussion). There was no mess until you became involved (and left double redirects in place until Nabla repaired them). —David Levy 19:36, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
If I have misascertained the situation, please explain it to me, and I'll see what I can do. I have in fact read the current discussion.
The "mess" referred to is the tricky work of trying to split out discussion pages once they have been merged. Sometimes doing so is beneficial though, so perhaps I do owe you an apology there. --Kim Bruning 18:07, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
At one point, various template-phrasings here- thispage (similar to at T:Essay) went from "This is an essay, it is not a policy or guideline, it is merely the opinion of its authors" to "This is not a policy or guideline". I am unsure which version is current, but the latter is clearly more coherent. The omitted words could easily be paraphrased, I see, as "This is a page, and people(s) wrote on it", which means zip, so its been removed, hasnt it? Newbyguesses - Talk 06:05, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

This is an essay. It is not a policy or guideline and editors are not bound by its advice. Please update the page as needed, or discuss it on the talk page.


This page discusses a part of a policy in greater detail or expands on the policy, but is not itself a policy. The actual policy is [[{{{1}}}]].

That combination currently looks good to this editor. u:Newbyguesses - Talk 06:17, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Well, Kim does have a point - a number of pages that are effectively guidelines (as per the dictionary definition of the word, and their accuracy in representing what we do on Wikipedia) but are labeled "essay" because either people don't like them, or people think they can change practice by changing description of practice, or people "don't feel comfortable with tagging them otherwise", or similar junk. WP:CREEP is a good example; some people who Like Rules have been quite vocally attacking that page. The proper respnose is probably to fix the mislabeled pages, rather than create more labels. >Radiant< 09:58, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Cool! Feel free to try to get a policy or guideline tag past the WP:OWNers and game-players on those pages. :-) Personally I'd rather not deal with those folks, but am not opposed to someone investing the energy to do so. In the meanwhile, what do you recommend for people to do if they wish to write further documentation about wikipedia practices? --Kim Bruning 17:52, 30 August 2007 (UTC) It is currently fairly hard to do anything in the project namespace at all in fact.

Abuse of the word "essay"[edit]

My main problem is the fact that the word "essay" gets abused so much. (Hence I never tag any page with that particular tag).

For now I've split off poldetail so that pages that originally used that template can keep that infobox. If people wish to create new pages and tag them Supplemental essay, I'm not stopping them. --Kim Bruning 18:12, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

You are the only person arguing for that template's retention. Please stop unilaterally undoing a consensus-backed change. —David Levy 18:18, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Clearing up some misperceptions first: I have no actual opinion on how many templates we should have or which templates should be removed or kept. I'd also like to point out that there is no policy, guideline or essay describing, prescribing or proscribing "Unilateralism", so I'm not sure if the word has meaning here; conversely, there is a guideline called BE BOLD, which I apply at all times . Finally, there is clearly no current consensus on this matter, as evidenced by the fact that we are holding a discussion on the topic right now.
With those out of the way, could you address the problem with the word "Essay" in the template? Trying to deal with template abuse in general is likely outside the scope of this discussion, but we can discuss changes in wording, perhaps, or alternate courses of action.
I specifically started using the Poldetail template because it lacked a claim of being policy, guideline or essay. This somehow made the template marvelously resistant to template abuse and inadvertent games of Nomic.
As this situation avoided large amounts of conflict and stress, and prevented rather large amounts of nervousness and depression, I rather liked it, and would like to continue in some similar vein.
What equivalent alternative should I use, or what course of action do you suggest I take so that I might continue to work productively? --Kim Bruning 20:12, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
1. As I explained on your talk page, I never claimed that there was a policy against unilateral edits.
2. "Be bold" doesn't mean "ignore everyone else's opinions and do whatever you please."
3. I'm stunned by the fact that you're citing your lone opposition as evidence that "there is clearly no current consensus on this matter." "Consensus" ≠ "unanimity"!
4. As I noted on your talk page, the word "essay" was removed from the template's text. We certainly can discuss further rewording (and even renaming), but there has been agreement thus far that the pages in questions are essays. Your assumption that this is a "problem" is not backed by consensus (though consensus certainly can change, of course). —David Levy 21:48, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
I am in agreement with u:Kim Bruning here, that the word *essay* apparently conveys a disapproving connotation to some, or many editors. As DL has pointed out, the word *essay* was adjudged to be redundant at this time, and has been removed from thistemplate, which now reads quite clearly, to my satisfaction anyway, and considering the input from a number of editors which is evident in this discussion to date, I hope this can now be considered as resolved. Newbyguesses - Talk 22:41, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. I also agree that some editors have begun using the word "essay" as a pejorative and that this needs to be addressed. It's clear, however, that this is a misuse of the word and that the solution is not to embrace said misuse. —David Levy 22:45, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
If you put it that way, it seems we might have been in violent agreement all along, <looks slightly red> --Kim Bruning 22:47, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
If we can call this template merely {{Supplemental}} or {{Supplement}}, I think that covers most of my remaining issues. (checking beforehand, since page moves are annoying to revert) --Kim Bruning 22:50, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
{{Supplement}} seems fine to me. If anyone objects, please revert and discuss. —David Levy 23:06, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
  • I foresee problems with this template as editors that disagree with a particular policy will use it to add "supplements" to it that in fact contradict it. >Radiant< 11:54, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

That does it. Let's destroy "essay" already, eh?--Father Goose 17:16, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

For the record, I think it should remain an essay(one form of essay or another) unless there is a demonstration of the wide acceptance amongst the community that policy requires. (1 == 2)Until 05:50, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I'd prefer for it to be none of essay, guideline, or policy. --Kim Bruning (talk) 06:33, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
The current template is fine by me. It automatically adds the templated to page to CAT:Essay, does it not? Newbyguesses - Talk 13:00, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
There's little difference since Aug07, and no problems during that time with the use of the template that I know of. Til it cropped up at Wikipedia talk:Silence and consensus which will get sorted out there, unless it already is sorted. Newbyguesses - Talk 13:23, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


as the definition of supplement per wikt:supplement is "# An extension to a document or publication that adds information, corrects errors or brings up to date.", I updated the template to reflect if it's an essay, guideline or policy. AzaToth 00:16, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Oh my god NO! The point of providing supplements is to give people breathing space, and especially to prevent the infamous infinite-template-edit-wars that plague many pages. If you make this template a reflection of the other templates, people will edit war over it like with the other templates. That's a Bad Idea (tm) --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:59, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
As a suppliment cannot bear the function as the page it's supplement it, the risk of edit war is void. AzaToth 01:07, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Excellent formal logic. All I have to bring to the table myself is just some empirical experience mediating disputes about tags, once or twice. O:-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:31, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

When something needs to be supplemented we just edit it. How can it not be policy, but be a supplement to policy? Either it is policy or it isn't, this seems like a grey area to me. 1 != 2 07:37, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

In theory, you are right. In practice, policy pages are subject to a lot of WP:OWNership. In those situations, a grey area is a Good Thing (tm). (Grey areas are a good thing in general in a consensus system, as it means that people can safely disagree to some extent, at least for a while).
That, and sometimes you can write a lot of additional information and detail about a policy, that might not quite be handy to have on the policy page itself. (Consider trying to merge WP:BRD with Wikipedia:Consensus, for instance. ;-) ) --Kim Bruning (talk) 15:51, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

If there are ownership issues it is better to find third parties to take a look at things than making a "gray area". Violations of WP:OWN are behavioral issues, only tangentially related to content. If third parties don't see the ownership it might not be there. I agree that polices can benefit by additional information that would not fit on the policy page itself. Such information can be in the form of an essay like Wikipedia:Revert only when necessary is to WP:EW, or if it gains widespread acceptance it can become policy such as WP:3RR is to WP:EW. They are both arguably "supplements", but one is policy and the other is not. That distinction is important because we don't want to many rules. (1 == 2)Until 01:20, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Oh gosh, do you know how much wikidrama would be caused? And the arbcom has trouble solving these issues, because they can't really make decisions about policy. Even so, if you can try and succeed in some locations, I'd love to see that. Even so, this is actually the wrong version of the template, this one has "essay" all over it. :-P --Kim Bruning (talk) 21:48, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

3RR issue[edit]


So for 3RR purposes, how do you count someone unrverting a revert made by someone who reverts themselves? Can one get into unrevert wars? The discriminating Wiki-nomic player wants to know!


--Kim Bruning (talk) 17:12, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I would love to see an unrevert war make its way to ArbCom. ;-) Rockstar (T/C) 18:19, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Usage of (this) template Supplement[edit]

This is close to what the template was used for from its creation.

  • the template should be used in cases where the *essay* has been added to the target page or pages by consensus, after development and discussion.

Using it otherwise hasn't worked in Wikipediaspace since the template was introduced. Newbyguesses - Talk 02:54, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

This template sed to be known as TEMPLATE:SUPPLEMENTAL ESSAY.
Before that I think there was TEMPLATE:POLDETAIL.
At date, it is known as Template:SUPPLEMENT. --Newbyguesses (talk) 21:45, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
There are currently 7 items in Category:Wikipedia supplemental essays, six essays and the TEMPLATE itself. ?? --Newbyguesses (talk) 08:15, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

No drama on this discussion page, thank you.[edit]

SIX (6) essays are currently in the CATEGORY. Category:Wikipedia supplemental essays.

Wikipedia:Avoid instruction creep is linked at WP:BURO.

Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle is linked at WP:CON.

Wikipedia:Edit summary legend is supplemental to Help:Edit summary.

Wikipedia:These are not original research is linked at WP:NOR.

Wikipedia:Understanding IAR is linked at WP:IAR.

Wikipedia:What "Ignore all rules" means is linked at WP:IAR.

Little discussion has occurred at this page since DIFFsAugust 2007, when the monumental event (name change from supplemental to supplement) occurred. Thank you --Newbyguesses (talk) 12:52, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Why was this ever renamed from "Supplemental essay"? That name seemed to explain what this page was much better. Now was this a request for more drama, or pointing out the lack of it.... hehe (1 == 2)Until 13:43, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Sometimes a grey area is a good idea. [2] lol.

I would just like to reiterate from the section immediately above this, that when an essay is linked by consensus at a POLPAGE, it can wear this TEMPLATE. Discussion takes place at the policy-page (talk), or the essay talk:page: NOT AT THIS PAGE in general, as such, sorry for shouting. --Newbyguesses (talk) 15:09, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

No drama redux[edit]

Let's please not make this the fourth page of an ongoing edit war. I have reverted once because the discussion above made clear that the most recent edit was not consensus, including Aug 2007 comments from David Levy, who does not wish to participate in this edit war either. FYI there are now 12 pages in this category and I anticipate more:

  • Wikipedia:Edit summary legend (transclusion) (links)
  • Wikipedia:Use common sense (transclusion) (links)
  • Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle (transclusion) (links)
  • Wikipedia:Avoid instruction creep (transclusion) (links)
  • Wikipedia:These are not original research (transclusion) (links)
  • Wikipedia:Honesty (transclusion) (links)
  • Wikipedia:What "Ignore all rules" means (transclusion) (links)
  • Wikipedia:Merge and delete (transclusion) (links)
  • Wikipedia:NPOV, V and OR (transclusion) (links)
  • Wikipedia:Silence and consensus (transclusion) (links)
  • Wikipedia:Understanding IAR (transclusion) (links)
  • Wikipedia:How to be civil (transclusion) (links)

Hmm. What do these all have in common? What standards are there or should there be, or not? JJB 15:39, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

  • J, I see a need to clarify in this tag, as we have at Essay, that essays are opinions. I'm not fussy about how it is done. It took us awhile to clarify this message at the essay tag. I introduced the Supplement concept as a subset of Essays at WP:Policy yesterday, and expect some modifications as others weigh-in with their thoughts. When that stabilizes, then the tag should reflect the description at the policy page. I'm all for brevity and one of the most ardent defenders against Creep, but we must balance all this with clarity. Essays are opinions and nothing more and this needs to be CLEAR! Other than that cheers! --Kevin Murray (talk) 16:45, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
    • First of all, per WP:CREEP the WP:Policy page does not need an additional item. For now this tag falls into general category "essay", which is already described there. So, in short words, I reverted. I agree with JJB that this tag has some issues, so lets resolve them first. --Kubanczyk (talk) 12:31, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
For policy-and-guideline-related essays, I certainly see a need to notify readers that "you are not obliged to follow this essay, but see the policy". However, this is best achieved with a parameter to {{essay}}, I've implemented this parameter last month or so. Now I see that the 2007's discussion generally supported such solution.
But, there is one more case to be discussed. What do you think about above NBG's opinion: "when an essay is linked by consensus at a POLPAGE, it can wear this TEMPLATE"? See the next section. --Kubanczyk (talk) 12:58, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Policies that delegate to an essay[edit]

There are some essays that are linked from a policy/guideline. In other words, a policy explicitly delegates some of its inherent consensus to an essay, it tells you "do it as described in that essay". And here you have an actual "supplement": something added to a policy/guideline to fix a deficiency. This is somewhat confusing situation (grey area) when an essay is elevated to a semi-policy status. Intuitively I don't like the situation at all, but I'm going to examine some actual pages to see if I'm missing some useful aspect here. A few examples, note the links:

Policy/guideline Citation with essay links
Wikipedia:Consensus policy "In essence, silence implies consent, if there is adequate exposure to the community."
Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons policy "Criticism and praise - Further information: Wikipedia:Coatrack"
Wikipedia:Civility policy "Please. Thank you. I'm sorry. You're welcome. You're a good person and I know we'll work this out. (...) Walk away. Wikipedia is a very big place."
Wikipedia:Dispute resolution policy "This policy describes what you can do when you have a dispute with another editor. See also (...) the essay Wikipedia:Staying cool when the editing gets hot for more tips."
Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not policy "Instruction creep should be avoided. A perceived procedural error made in posting anything, such as an idea or nomination, is not grounds for invalidating that post. Follow the spirit, not the letter, of any rules (...)"
Wikipedia:Deletion policy policy "Note that an outcome of "merge and delete" may potentially cause GFDL problems if attribution for contributed content is lost in the process. The essay merge and delete discusses this."
Wikipedia:Gaming the system guideline "Examples of gaming include (but are not limited to): Bad faith wikilawyering - arguing the word of policy to defeat the spirit of policy"
multiple policies and guidelines "Use common sense."

--Kubanczyk (talk) 14:26, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Same as Template:Infopage[edit]

I think there should be some clear direction for when to use this template and when to use Template:Infopage. The two seem to be saying the same thing, the differences, if any, should be made apparent. -- œ 15:06, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Character limit for "shortcut=", "shortcut2=", etc?[edit]

After performing a related edit to this topic that was reverted by a fellow editor, I thought to bring up this topic: Should there be a character limit (set by consensus) for how many characters can be typed after a "shortcut=" handle in Template:Supplement? Here's an example of what could be accepted, and what could not be accepted if there was a character limit set ... of, let's say 8 characters: in this example, WP:ISNOT would be acceptable to put into the template, but WP:NONADMINCLOSURE would not be acceptable. Also, if there should be a character limit, what should the limit be? Steel1943 (talk) 06:11, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

This is not a character limit issue. I just don't think it fits any reasonable definition of a shortcut as it doesn't shorten the title whatsoever. I am not contesting the fact it is a perfectly valid redirect, however!
I will note that WP:DELETIONPROCESS is not listed as a shortcut to WP:Deletion Process, and the same can be said of pretty much any other such pages I know of. :) ·Salvidrim!·  06:19, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
The reason I started this discussion is after seeing what I did on that article, I agree with you ... essentially. Having that many characters in this banner stretches it out too wide, and doesn't look like a shortcut at all. For shortcuts that are not in this template that have more characters than that, it could made sense ... such as in Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, but I cannot say the same for this template (Template:Supplement) specifically. I feel it makes the shortcut banner at the top of the page look too stretched out. Steel1943 (talk) 06:24, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
(additional comment)...So, I'm thinking that this template's doc file needs some specific language stating guidelines for the "shortcut=" field (such as not including the whole title, character limit, etc.) so that something like what happened on Wikipedia:Non-admin closure might be able to be avoided in the future by other editors. I mean it happened once; might as well see if there's some sort of consensus that can be formed for reference in case this happens to other editors in the future. Steel1943 (talk) 06:33, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

It is not hard to find shortcuts with 10 characters (after the WP:) that are in use (for some of the many subpages and subtopics of the WP:MOS). It is conceivable that other long shortcuts exist or are necessary. So I oppose any hard rule on character limits for shortcuts. The common sense suggestion that shortcuts should be abbreviations is something I can support, though. (With the exception of the really useful WP:Oh I say, what are you doing? Come down from there at once! Really, you're making a frightful exhibition of yourself.) —Kusma (t·c) 06:51, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Sidenote. This discussion is specifically about this template. I don't believe there would be many editors that would try to do this...
...but, then again, I could be wrong. Steel1943 (talk) 07:00, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
If a page has a shortcut and a {{supplement}}, isn't the shortcut supposed to go inside the template? So I think this can be seen as a general question about appropriateness of shortcuts. —Kusma (t·c) 08:59, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment. I think that if a shortcut is listed in Template:Supplement, it should not contain most of the text from the original title (unless the title is very short), or should only consist of only the starting letters of all of the words in the title, or should only contain no more than two three words from the original title. Steel1943 (talk) 07:20, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

"That page" should become "these pages" when page parameter >1[edit]

FWIW, the grammar becomes bad (and borderline confusing) when the pages parameter is >1. Right now it says (emphasis mine):

"While this essay is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline itself, it is intended to supplement the WP:V and WP:OR policies, to which editors should defer in case of inconsistency between that page and this one."

Thanks! --Middle 8 (leave me alonetalk to meCOI?) 11:41, 17 August 2014 (UTC)


Needs to be reset. It has drifted gradually to give supplements almost the same power as the policy or guideline they supplement.

"While this essay is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline itself, it is intended to supplement other such guidance, to which editors should defer in case of inconsistency between that page and this one."

  • The word "While" does a lot of damage here.
  • "to supplement" implies the same or similar strength.
  • "to which editors should defer in case of inconsistency between that page and this one." (as well as being horrendously verbose for "to which editors should defer.") points up the promotion of the content to near policy/guideline level.

I am replacing with the simpler and more accurate:

"This essay is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline itself, it is intended to be an explanatory supplement other such guidance."

All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 18:37, 21 August 2015 (UTC).

Change back "page" to "essay"[edit]

I'm changing back the recent change of "essay" into "page". Some editors are already treating pages like WP:Reverting and WP:BRD as if they had become policy, which is not the intention of this change.

This template was initially named Supplemental essay, and is mostly used by essays linked from policies and guidelines. It is not to be confused with Infopages, which were not created as essays and need to be worded in a much more neutral way. I don't oppose updating the template text overall, and my reverted has respected the other tweaks; but this particular change should be handled with much more care. Diego (talk) 08:11, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

If some don't get it let's spell it out for them. Small change link to essay still there.--Moxy (talk) 15:15, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
The proposed changes here appear to reflect desired changes at WP:Project namespace, which at present is fundamentally flawed. The problem over there is that on the one hand we all agree that so-called "supplement" essays are "just essays" but on the other hand that project has one section for those "mere" essays and another for these "rule supplementation" essays (with the italicized characterization being unintentionally implied yet inescapable). I'm working on a post about this for the village pump. In the meantime, I'm reverting the template to the pre-Dec 2016 version. At the conceptual level, the source of the dilemma is at the project page. If the pump produces a consensus for how to characterize essays versus rule-supplementing essays I'll be happy to see the recent work here restored and maybe modified as needed. But this is kind of a big concept so we should get as much input as possible. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:06, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
We would need to discuss the spreation of these pages as they currenlty appear on our main page WP:RULES. --Moxy (talk) 16:13, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia talk:Project namespace#Supplemental pages.

Reversion by NewsAndEventsGuy[edit]

NewsAndEventsGuy, why do you believe it to be "Incorrect" that "Per WP:INFOPAGE, explanatory supplements have a status distinct from that of essays"? WP:INFOPAGE is clear that there is a distinction between the two:

Where "essay pages" offer advice or opinions through viewpoints, "information pages" should supplement or clarify technical or factual information about Wikipedia in an impartial way. (talk) 04:19, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

iInformation pages are distinct in function ....but have no more status then other non-guideline/policy pages. Only 2 levels of pages here....those approved by the community and those that are not....pls see WP:Local consensus.--Moxy (talk) 05:06, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
That is not to say they have the same status, however. WP:INFOPAGE makes no reference to "more status" (or "less status" or any other hierarchical gradation of "status" between the two types of pages), but rather a distinct status, given that "some [essays] represent widespread norms [and] others only represent minority viewpoints" whereas explanatory supplements must represent "communal norms". There is clearly a distinction in their role. And if the idea of "more status" vs "less status" is not backed up by policies or guidelines, it is misleading to include it. (talk) 05:30, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes.....but one should be impartial and factual while the other may not be...that is the distinction between the two. How can we make this clear in your view. --Moxy (talk) 05:45, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
In my opinion, the assertion that one should be "impartial and factual while the other may not be" is itself an opinion, and it fails to draw any bright lines of distinction between these blurry labels. Does that language appear in any of the guidelines or policies, Moxy? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:37, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
You left out that explanatory supplements document "communal norms" in contrast to essays which may or may not do so. (talk) 20:00, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
@Moxy: By making clear that an explanatory supplement is not a policy or a guideline, we are making a clear distinction as to the page's role. But where in the relevant guideline are we getting the language "more status"? I don't see any reference to a hierarchical gradation of "status" between the two types of pages in the guideline. (talk) 20:00, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
WP:CONLEVEL---Moxy (talk) 03:37, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
WP:GUIDESMoxy (talk) 14:38, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you're linking to that. (talk) 20:00, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
makes sense if still in proper order [3]. --Moxy (talk) 03:37, 17 July 2017 (UTC)