Template talk:Weasel

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Needs talk link[edit]

This template needs a talk link: what's "weasel words" is not always obvious. Problem is referred to above. Now it is marked by Category:Templates needing talk links and other improvements, which implies it will probably be fixed soon. Said: Rursus 09:48, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Found this: Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words. I'll insert it if nobody objects. Said: Rursus 18:10, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Oh, darn stupid of me! Pardon! Said: Rursus 18:11, 4 July 2007 (UTC)


Am I the only one wondering why is a browser logo being used in a template? Reinistalk 13:57, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

I think it should be reverted back, as I don't think it is appropriate. Danielnez1 18:40, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I've reverted it, since the change was done by a annon user and there reason for changing it was to match the style of Template:Peacock, which I don't think is a good enough reason. Danielnez1 18:49, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, it's much better now. Reinistalk 21:18, 12 August 2007 (UTC)


I'm not sure how many times this joke has been posted, but it is at least once. -- Jreferee (Talk) 04:35, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Weasel image: Stays or goes?[edit]

The weasel image was re-added a while ago; I'd really prefer this template to be as small and non-intrusive as possible (I'd vote for L1AM's suggestion, below). I'd revert to L1AM's design, but there's a lot of intermediate changes, and I don't want to undo things indiscriminately. Does anybody else think L1AM's suggestion is better than what we have right now? If not, I'll just leave it as is ... Gaurav 19:32, 14 April 2006 (UTC) Is this something with I.M. Weasel? (talk) 14:05, 20 November 2007 (UTC)Kinz

I'm thinking that an egg full of meaning being sucked out to nothing but a shell by a weasel is anti-PETA. Weasel words suck meaning out of facts. I don't see an easy way to illustrate that. Goes. BrewJay (talk) 06:58, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

This template uses weasel words[edit]

"May be compromised by weasel words"? The template, at least, should be straight with the facts. --Munchkinguy 04:48, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

This is an interesting point. Could "may" be removed - as the template would carry more weight and have more resonance with users - might receive higher responses. Wisdom89 (talk) 10:35, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
I think that would be ill-advised, as the implementation of the template often comes up in disputes. Consider the neutrality dispute template. The purpose of the templates is to alert readers and editors to potential problems that need fixing, not to label articles. ⟳ausa کui × 22:12, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
You can't hav weasel words in the template. That's hypocrisy. BrewJay (talk) 05:36, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I have to say, I found it hilarious that the template section for weasel words was itself cited for using weasel words. (talk) 21:08, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Weasel image obstructs text in safari[edit]

When looking at Template:Weasel in Safari 3.1.1 (latest version), the Weasel image is a bit too much to the right, obstructing the first 3 characters of each line. Could somebody fix that? Thanks! Paluv (talk) 11:29, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

I did a quick fix, maybe somebody can clean it up and make the code correct etc. Paluv (talk) 11:31, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Bring back the Weasel!! --293.xx.xxx.xx (talk) 21:52, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Weasel words suck draw meaning out of wikipedia.[edit]

BrewJay (talk) 23:32, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

I think David Levy missed the mark on what weasel words are. They are typically vague attributions. More jenerally, they are vagueness, period. Let's see: vagueness, fuzziness, indetermination, equivocation. "Fuzzy" could be barbaric. Please remove terms from this article or section that make it fuzzy. A problem with that is that I don't see anywhere to link notability and verifiability policies in, and it doesn't offer the alternative of snipping the whole sentence. BrewJay (talk) 06:37, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not changing the text. I'm just putting up a 57k VBR ogg that breaks George Orwell's sixth rule in "Politics and the English Language" in place of the exclamation mark. It needs two links, though. Hopefully I can see where wp:notability goes.BrewJay (talk) 05:40, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Barbaric it might be, and if you call it nonsense, then I'm raising the production value with my synth and adding a beat to put less emphasis on "suck". Nothing was wrong with the template; If the icon for audio is too big, then make it smaller for an ambox, please. BrewJay (talk) 11:38, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

This is a serious template that appears in articles. Please stop inserting your "joke" that breaks it. Thank you. —David Levy 12:15, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Broken is exajeration for a graphic image that is too big. I would fix it, and template:ambox is locked. I'm glad you still find humour in it, because I adapted (found a beat for) an instrumental refrain in High School Confidential (Rough Trade song). So, you can see that the tune is aimed at something other than humour. And isn't it also a refrain of Jim Wales to hav the objective of making the internet not suck? BrewJay (talk) 12:31, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

No, "broken" refers to the fact that you've repeatedly broken the template (by making it difficult or impossible to read). Don't do that. —David Levy 16:33, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
We hav here a tendency to egzajerate. Sticking text into the rightward third of the screen was and is not my decision, nor does it change how readable the text is. You'll find less than ten words in a newspaper column. Five is good enough, especially when there's about thirty words of it when ten will do. BrewJay (talk) 22:19, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
I don't know how the template was affected in your browser, but in mine (Firefox 3), the audio player covered much of the text. The template was broken, and you did this a second time (after I informed you of the problem), all for the sake of an admitted "joke." Please refrain from vandalising the template. —David Levy 23:33, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
That wasn't my choice, nor did I hav any details about browser distinctions. In I.E., at 800by600, all it did was make the play button take up two thirds of the width. The easy choice to make was to use features in the ambox template, rather than setting width:10% and height:10%, like I would if I were writing the style.
When someone tells you that your edit broke a page, don't bloody restore it without checking other browsers (not that the IE result was remotely acceptable). And don't add jokes to the article namespace, period. —David Levy 05:10, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Additionally, your joke sucks. Please refrain from making the template suck.
It must be funnier than the exclamation point. I didn't expect anybody would listen to the way I posted it the first time more than once. I don't remember anyone telling me the same joke twice in a day.BrewJay (talk) 22:19, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
The template isn't supposed to be funny; this is a serious encyclopedia. Do you have it confused with Uncyclopedia? —David Levy 23:33, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
Why is it so hard to explain that truth is in jokes? The funny part is in our understanding of them. Typically, a comedian will feign total ignorance of something to show you an angle on truth that's hard to see. For example I know this comedian who tried to tell David Suzuki that Whales we saved explain the rise in sea levels. Sometimes a perspective in nonsense is informative. In that case, it's showing what is likely (that we're still the cause) by taking an unlikely alternative. Every joke is like a riddle. Where is truth in it, and how much? The full explanation for why "Weasel words suck meaning out of wikipedia." is in piles and piles of essays (and gigabytes of phrase that didn't even make it to wikipedia) about circumlocution.
Jokes are a sketch and reminder of what you already know from a perspective that's obviously false. Someone experienced at writing and reading won't need to hear anything more to know foggy prose or what causes it. What to do about it will always be tricky.
Kindly keep your jokes out of the article namespace. —David Levy 05:10, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Your wording, Mister Levy, still fails to link to wp:notability. That's really what weasel words are best at: interfering with significance. BrewJay (talk) 13:02, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

That page deals primarily with determining the notability (or lack thereof) of articles' subjects. It has very little to do with this template. —David Levy 16:33, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
Weasel words weaken the meaning of a sentence, making what might otherwise be a notable fact into something that looks like fiction. That interferes with notability. Perhaps it tends to be the product of bias, and I think it's more important to attend to results, which are weakened facts; weakened notability. BrewJay (talk) 22:19, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
The page in question is about determining whether subjects are sufficiently notable to have articles in our encyclopedia. —David Levy 23:33, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
It follows to apply those rules to facts within those articles. For example, the subject of Gravity in Physics is notable. Statistics about opinions of whether the Sun goes around the Earth or vice-versa are not, because the remaining fact is that they both go around a mutual center of gravity that is very close to the center of the Sun.BrewJay (talk) 02:10, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Quoth Wikipedia:Notability: "These notability guidelines only pertain to the encyclopedic suitability of topics for articles but do not directly limit the content of articles." Please stop linking to an irrelevant page. —David Levy 05:10, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Vandalism (as posted on User talk:Brewhaha@edmc.net)[edit]

Please do not add nonsense to Wikipedia, as you did to the Template:Weasel page. It is considered vandalism. If you would like to experiment, use the sandbox. Thank you. —David Levy 12:12, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

I could accuse you of the same thing for using wording that does not link to wp:notability. This discussion doesn't belong on my talk page. I think my wording is all too clear, and you will need to think about your objection to it more carefully.BrewJay (talk) 13:12, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
No, using wording with which another editor disagrees isn't vandalism. Repeatedly breaking a serious template by inserting an admitted "joke" is. Don't do that.
My objection is that you're using vague wording (in a template designed to discourage the use of vague wording, no less). As noted above, the added link isn't helpful (because the page lacks relevance to this tag). —David Levy 16:33, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
To repeat myself, "breaking a serious template" is an egzaJeration, when all it does is display a graphic that's too big, and that's beyond my power to fix. BrewJay (talk) 21:41, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
Obscuring the text = breaking the template. Doing so for the sake of a "joke" = vandalism. —David Levy 23:33, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
Explain why wp:notability isn't in your "fix"!? BrewJay (talk) 21:41, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
I did; it lacks relevance. —David Levy 23:33, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
Biased has a bigger problem. You can't read motivation behind obscurant text; you can only guess that it actually and only represents an author's opinion, rather than a faithfully represented line from credible authors. If it is ONLY an opinion or unreliable hearsay, then it's not significant, and I won't be able to tell if it was biased without a very careful interview of the author.BrewJay (talk) 02:24, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Joke is not an admission. It's something to be proud of. If people want to hear it more than once, then maybe they'll come to understand what degree of truth is in it. To be sure, jokes are always lies of some kind. In this case, I think it's all in the strength of that one word "suck", that we demand of good vacuums and bad girls. BrewJay (talk) 21:41, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
Your pride in inserting jokes into the encyclopedia (a form of vandalism) is quite troubling, and your remark about "bad girls" was uncalled-for. —David Levy 23:33, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Please stop making the template equivocal. BrewJay (talk) 06:08, 3 August 2008 (UTC)


Dear Mister Levy:

I must take issue with your supposition that Wikipedia:notability does not make decisions on the notability of content within an article. In direct terms, it doesn't make decisions. It off-loads them. That's from a long-standing tradition of different standards for different subjects. The document leaves it for projects. In pure mathematics, the Probability of Significance must be one (applicability to anything real is incidental). In applied mathematics, it's arbitrary. In Physics, a lot of discussion is involved in arriving at an appropriate level of significance. It's usually .97 or greater. In Psychology, there is one number that I hear quoted more often than any other, and that's nineteen times out of twenty: 0.95. So, there are standards for significance. If wp:notability doesn't list them all or link to them, that's a fault in the policy document, not an opposition to the idea that significance is relevant to whether information should be in an article.

So, do statements become more important if they become definite? The Earth very probably revolves around The Sun, or it does. (Both statements are not quite right). You must see that having a definite answer is more valuable.

On another topic, I don't understand why you are putting bias into this template. It's relevant, and I don't see any way to be sure that weasel words are bias. They indicate that the information might be fabricated or original research, but those don't make it false. Since you can't clearly detect bias from weasel words, I favour removing the mention of bias from this template.

It is not safe to assume bias within an estimated or approximate fact. I can be definite with the way I want to word this template. It is not appropriate for this template to analyze tendencies or equivocate. Either too many statements in the document are foggy, or not.

In sum, even if we don't hav a single document, here, describing standards for notability or significance, all of which are arbitrary, those standards exist. Deleting weasel words or the statements attributed to anonymous authorities has its own pitfalls in bias. It is still the only path for primer documents to take.

Impeding significance is what weasel words do best; it is a problem; it is relevant to policy. BrewJay (talk) 11:01, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

1. My "suposition"?! I quoted the bloody page itself:
These notability guidelines only pertain to the encyclopedic suitability of topics for articles but do not directly limit the content of articles.
2. The template merely states that weasel words often accompany biased information (which is a true statement). —David Levy 13:35, 3 August 2008 (UTC)


I have fully protected the template for now in respect to long-term ongoing dispute about the language that has been carried out primarily, it seems, in the template. As WP:BOLD notes:

Please take this opportunity to establish consensus for language or other changes to this template. When the protection expires, please be sure that changes to the template accurately reflect the consensus established here. Efforts to force through changes without consensus by directly and repeatedly editing the template may constitute edit warring, even if not technically in violation of the "three revert" rule. Please consider following the dispute resolution process if consensus cannot be reached here. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:22, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

After discussing the matter at WP:ANI, I've extended the protection to infinite in accordance with the protection policy. If consensus is reached for a change, please follow the steps listed at the top of the page for having those implemented. Thanks. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 16:23, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Old habits are hard to break. This is not USENET. BrewJay (talk) 17:50, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Please feel free to comment here.[edit]

There has been no further discussion of these suggestions since September. And it is not a vote. A new discussion should be started, if necessary. -- NewbyG ( talk) 23:24, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Okay. I've explained this on your talk page. I've also explained it on user_talk:Sarcasticidealist's talk page. Both of you failed to understand my motivation in deleting argumentation that I consider irrelevant, so I've lost motivation to block you. But that could be intentional ignorance, so I've rephrased my motivation in the form of questions, and I want you to answer them, too.

I've also decided that archiving talk pages isn't worth the trouble. It's all there automatically archived in the history, so I see a lot of unnecessary trouble in manually creating archive pages and trying to use them. If someone wants to resurrect a thread, then it's all there.

Voting and argumentation are different things. It is good to ignore one while you are doing the other. You'll notice that I've summarized two positions that made it necessary to protect the page. Maybe even that, nor my position as ballot-maker, should be in the ballot as posed. It's gleanable from history, if someone insists on reading arguments.

BrewJay (talk) 04:12, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

@User:Brewhaha@edmc.net—Don't worry about protecting pages or blocking; those responsibilities are entrusted to Wikipedia administrators. Otherwise, Help:Archiving a talk page. HTH -- NewbyG ( talk) 05:09, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Useless to me. The next time anything like this comes up or I see a page that takes more than eight seconds to load, I'll copy the link to that particular entry in history, post that link as an archive, and delete any conversation that seems to be either very old or resolved. BrewJay (talk) 07:25, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Archiving this page[edit]

As the discussion page is less than 80K, there is no need to archive yet. Any completed threads could go in Archive 1 which still has room, but that would not be required at this time. -- NewbyG ( talk) 23:24, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Blanking this discussion page again would be against the Talk page guidelines. -- NewbyG ( talk) 02:40, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Request to squelch confusing commentary and dead conversation.[edit]

I'm afraid that I can't do as you request. First of all, please note that you seem to be under a couple of misconceptions: the template you placed on the talk page does not protect the page. Only an administrator can protect a page. Template:Weasel has been protected since August 3; Template talk:Weasel has been unprotected throughout, and your addition of the template to the page didn't change that. It did get an administrator to the scene (that being me), so you were right on that point. Second of all, you cannot block people (I noticed that you threatened to block Newbyguesses yourself). As for the page itself, we have talk page guidelines (WP:TALK) that preclude the removal of pertinent conversations. As well, since you are currently seeking outside input on an issue (as an aside, might I suggest that you try using a request for comment to draw others' attention?), it is likely to be valuable to people providing input to have the context of the dispute before them. Finally, I have to say that I think the fashion in which you have sought input is likely to be incomprehensible to most people; you might want to work on that. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 00:47, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, I noticed the request on Sarcasticidealist's Talk page and looked into it. Only an admin can protect a page, so only an admin should place a protected template on it as a notice. (Though if an admin forgot to do it, any user could place the template. It is not the template that protects, that's merely a notice.) There are noticeboards where ordinary mortals (like myself) can request page protection WP:RfPP or blocks WP:AN/I. However, requesting a block on a user through WP:AN/I should only be done as a last resort, and it better be a good reason, or else you may end up being blocked yourself for disruption. Rather, if you have a problem with a user, follow dispute resolution process, which starts with direct discussion, then, if that fails, try to get a third opinion or some informal mediation, and then there are steps beyond that (formal mediation, RfC, and arbitration). But most disputes can be resolved if the parties are at all reasonable or responsive to the community, before the more involved steps. Given the lack of WP:CLUE shown in your efforts here, I suggest educating yourself in general before trying to pull the splinter from your neighbor's eye. Lack of clue can be remedied by listening and reading and learning. --Abd (talk) 17:03, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Hi Brewjay - in answer to your questions:
How long hav I been trying to get people to fill in a voting form that I made up? --BrewJay
No idea. However, as I said above, I think part of the problem (not all of it, certainly) is that the form really isn't clear; I don't think people understand it. --SI

Could you make it clear, then? I could write it in HTML as a form with options and buttons, and then someone would hav to log the results and post them. This form is more convenient. You get to write yourself into the ballot and display a public opinion.

Is it wrong to restrict attention to that from people interested in this language issue?
Well, yes. Anybody who has any view on the issue is welcome to comment, whether it's on the basis of language or any other.

Well, you see. I broadcast a link on alt.usage.english, which is why I don't like all of this trouble or this mode of insisting that argumentation isn't over. At this point, about three days after my request, it's too late to cancel that post. I'll cancel it anyway, because there are bound to be a few Sunday netizens who haven't seen it.

Am I to understand that {{editprotected}} only calls for attention from an admin? --BrewJay
Yes: it's intended to be used in cases where non-admins believe that an edit needs to be made to a page that they can't edit because it's protected. It calls an admin over to evaluate whether it's appropriate to make the edits in question. Since you weren't requesting that any edit be made to the protected page, I removed the template. --SI
Am I likely to find that out before I first use it? --BrewJay
Hmm. Well, I thought it was reasonably apparent from the template's page description, but perhaps not. In any event, you know now - no harm done in the meantime. --SI
It's not apparent from the template's NAME, and I don't see any reason to make it apparent in the template's name. --BrewJay
How long was I allowed to delete irrelevant argumentation? --BrewJay
I'm not sure that I understand this question. --SI
I answered it for you. --BrewJay
Is twenty-four hours out of a likely month a great fraction? -- BrewJay
This one either.--SI
A simple no would be sufficient. 1/30th is a small fraction of time.
Why do judges spend a pre-trial period eliminating evidence that is irrelvant to the charges?
I gather you're comparing this situation to your desire to remove past discussion from Template talk:weasel. I don't think the comparison is a good one, for a few reasons: first, your position in this is not best likened to that of a judge, but to that of a lawyer for one of the sides, and such a person obviously doesn't have the authority to eliminate evidence because they consider it irrelevant. Second, your removal of the discussion - as both Newbyguesses and I have advised you - violated WP:TALK.
So, here we are discussing a template that describes and is used to enforce POLICY, and you refer to a GUIDELINE concerning ARGUMENTATION. My action was to delete ALL argumentation to post a vote, and you still haven't told me a better method. --BrewJay

If you're going to remove content from a talk page, it should be added into an archive somewhere which you didn't do. --SI

Actually, I did, and I think someone had that archive deleted for some stupid syntactical reason. To repeat myself, manual archives are redundant. They are in history. You could make an archive by linking to the version of a page before a major content reduction.

Moreover, such decisions are subject to consensus, which you obviously didn't have.

I saw no participation from Newbyguesses until this unnecessary archiving process showed up. All discussions are automatically and verbosely archived, so I don't see the point behind archiving, anymore. And, as I said, I DID IT, and you can probably find a link to an archive that I made manually. That was probably deleted, because the last time I saw it, it was red. --BrewJay
I hope this helps. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 04:00, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Your view is in a way correct, and in another way not very helpful. You see. user:moonriddengirl thot that protecting the page would encourage consensus, and she ignored the fact that she was endorsing one side: Levy, who is empowered to make changes, but has no reason to, since she endorsed his version of the template. Bias was in the result to begin with. How better to tell her another way than doing it myself? She and the other participants in deciding to protect the page were orijinally enumerated on the ballot, and I encouraged them to answer, directly. After all this time, none of them hav, so I posed it differently: Voter1, Voter2, Voter3.
My method was to eliminate all of the evidence and show two mock-ups, then describe the differences between them. Do you hav a better method? FWIW, I think I would be right in neither signing it nor posting two of the ballots. OTOH, if I show filled ballots as examples, then people can figure out what the letters mean, as well as glean why an edit war ensued. I should keep names and results out of the ballot and explain the meaning of letters.
For the sake of readability of this archive, I'll keep my comments brief and consolidated: you ask if I have a better way, and I think I do. Leave the discussion there, for context. File a request for comment, to solicit the opinions of other editors. I suspect that once you get a few more opinions in, a consensus will be apparent. If not, at that point you may wish to attempt a straw poll, to help clarify things. But I don't think it will be necessary. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 05:05, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
That hasn't worked for going on three months. I hav solicited outside opinions. Perhaps there are some hit statistics I can find. What I could do is try to highlight the vote with colour and put it at the beginning of the discussion. Following your recommendations actually prompts me to my recommendations to ignore the commentary, just so that someone other than I fill out this ballot. You are agreeing with user:newbyguesses, and you are not justifying it. --BrewJay
Has there been a request for comments filed? From a quick glance through the page's history, it appears not, but I could be mistaken. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 06:45, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
I filed that in [1], and I just burned it about two days after somebody insisted that the results be confounded with argumentative crap. Voters will be more confident of their lacking bias if biased opinions are not on the ballot. I'm not filing a request for comments until the issue of what should be on the ballot is settled. Further to your question, I induced participation of user:moonriddengirl by looking up 3rdO wikipedians and talking to her directly.[User:Brewhaha@edmc.net|BrewJay]] (talk) 06:58, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm afraid that that first link doesn't make any sense to me. If there was an RFC filed, can you link me to it? Sarcasticidealist (talk) 07:19, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
A CC is in your e-mail box. I cancelled the message, so you shouldn't be able to see it in the group, anymore. This is another way to find such things. To repeat myself, I'm glad that I didn't know a bloody thing about RFC before I've simplified understanding the ballot. BrewJay (talk) 07:33, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
So if I'm understanding this correctly, you requested input on this question from a newsgroup having nothing to do with Wikipedia? That really isn't how this works. Regardless, you say that you knew nothing about the concept of an RFC before; now that you do, will you consider filing one? Sarcasticidealist (talk) 07:38, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Heh. "newsgroup having nothing to do with Wikipedia?" Shows what you've cared to research. Wikipedians are in that group. I've answered two questions relating to articles there, and I'm sure that I've missed quite a few more. Maybe there's a category for USENET wikipedians. I'm not filing an RFC, here, until the ballot is short, sweet, and simple, nor am I repeating my RFC in alt.usage.english until the same condition is met. I am not a lawyer. That makes me happy. BrewJay (talk) 07:50, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, if you're not willing to engage in Wikipedia's dispute resolution procedures to resolve a dispute in which you're involved on Wikipedia, this entire exercise is pointless. Your options are to either back away from the dispute, or follow the dispute resolution procedures that are in place. It's up to you. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 07:54, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

It's 2:16, AM in Alberta, BTW, and the last I read about it, you were going about three hours AHEAD of me, so maybe you're getting tired. I am in the extreme night-owl mode, where I function normally for another four hours. Why don't you spend more time explaining why the ballot has to contain arguments? I've already explained that I've followed several paths towards getting more input here, and those explain my insistence on tersening the ballot with haste. Since I've cancelled my RFCs, I don't feel that frustration, anymore. If YOU feel that this talk page is ready as a ballot, then go ahead and file your premature RFC. The question really hinges on whether you think the guidelines should be written to incorporate what is typical in an election, and that is very terse ballots. As it stands now, the guidelines concerning voting don't hav approval. As it stands now, the guidelines concerning talk pages do not incorporate voting procedures, except for "Irrelevant discussions are subject to removal." WP:TALK, section 1.2. To a ballot, ALL DISCUSSIONS are irrelevant. Filling out a ballot means to the elector, 'CUI BONO?' BrewJay (talk) 08:21, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

You're quite right that I was getting tired; it's why you didn't hear from me again until now. In answer to your questions, I'm going to try to reframe this. Wikipedia has a dispute resolution process; it includes third opinions and RFCs and the like (all of which takes place on Wikipedia, I hasten to add). It doesn't include votes (indeed, WP:NOVOTE discourages ballots of the sort you've drawn up). Now, there's nothing saying that disputes can't be resolved by means other than those specifically set out in dispute resolution, but deviating from normal procedures should be something that's done with the consensus of all involved. However, instead of following the procedures set out in WP:DR or suggesting alternative means of resolving the dispute in the hopes that you could agree on some process, you went ahead and put up a ballot - one that is unlikely to be understood by other editors, especially if you rob them of context - and declared what the rules would be for this vote. Do you not see how that is not conducive to resolving the dispute? Moreover, there's another issue here that I've hesitated to bring up, but this has dragged on long enough that I feel I must broach it: I don't think there's any reasonable chance that uninvolved editors are going to support your version. The wording is just so unusual, and the presence of the sound file so unhelpful, that anybody you do manage to bring in to this is going to take one look at the dispute and opt for the status quo. If you want to change the template, I think that this way is the worst way you could go about it. Bring other users here via an RFC, ask them what they think, and if they disagree try to persuade them to your way of thinking through discussion. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 03:53, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

How can you speak for anyone but yourself without taking the poll? BrewJay (talk) 19:38, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

I can't speak for anybody else, nor am I purporting to. I am making a prediction, and I am doing so with an extremely high level of confidence. Moreover, to extend my prediction, I don't believe that anybody will participate in your poll, both because it's a well-established principle around here that content disputes are not resolved by voting (and often not resolved at all - har) and because, as I indicated earlier, the poll is itself extremely unclear. I reiterate something I said earlier: at this point, you are essentially left with the choice between resolving the dispute in accordance with Wikipedia's dispute resolution procedure, or stepping away from it. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 19:46, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Speculation doesn't make weasel words any more authoritative. Backing up weasel words with arguments doesn't make them true, and I'm very tired of your sticking this dispute resolution process in my face, because you are supposed to be part of it, and I've followed your directions against my better judgement. I tried IRC channels a long time ago. All this WP:DR seems to do is direct people who want to implement polls into some back office page that nobody views. The first time I used it, someone locked me out of this template. Over three thousand people subscribe to alt.usage.english on google, alone. That doesn't count over fourty thousand news-servers of various sizes. I estimate that I could put the main ingredients of this dispute into the eyes of about five thousand people, and if I were lucky, fifty would vote. The problem, dear prophet, is that at this point, I would be forced to receive those votes myself, because I don't hav permission to publish any one else's e-mail address on USENET. Offering to let me publish yours and count the results would've been helpful. So would arguing with the points I make below. Trying to buttress conclusions that you insist on making true is full of methane. BrewJay (talk) 06:55, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

This alternative wording was first brought up back in July and has received no support whatsoever; it just makes the template more confusing. As does trying to re-open this poll at Wikipedia talk:Avoid weasel words. -- NewbyG ( talk) 05:43, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
What you missed in the history was that most of it was composed of two guys arguing, and one of them wasn't shooting straight with all of his edit summaries. None of this leads me to believe that it would be worth my while to make a real duet with a soprano instead of a mixed solo. Mountains move, and I can haul ass on this contraption called the internet. I remember in particular that "foggy" is "unclear. Who's writing jokes? It just so happens that "vague" is "unclear". Which term among the last three terms in quotation marks is concrete?

BrewJay (talk) 10:32, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Proposed ballot[edit]

                     Voter1  Voter2  Voter3
Concrete Terms:         U      U       U
Notability:             U      U       U
Neutrality:             U      U       U
Contains Equivocation:  U      U       U
Audio:                  U      U       U
Suck or Draw:           U      U       U
Terse:                  U      U       U

To enter a position, please replase a "U", meaning undecided, with either an "A", meaning abstain, a "Y" meaning yes, or an "N" meaning no. The suck or draw question revolves upon one word in the audio that could be changed to "draw", so it should be either "D", "S", or "A". Identifying yourself at the top of a column of answers is optional, and it will aid in ascertaining that there were no multiple entries from the same person. BrewJay (talk)

BrewJay (talk) 18:23, 20 October 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Concrete terms[edit]

Yes. "Foggy" can also be called a sensory term. It is used very frequently for things that people don't understand. Everyday prose is a mixture of both concrete and abstract terms only because most writers use a mixture of words that sound good for what they're writing and mean precisely what they're writing. "Foggy" is a concrete term, and I prefer it, because it is clear.


Yes. Whenever a sentence isn't understood, it becomes less significant. Metaphors for facts, like "words that suck the life out of words around them, leaving an empty shell", however, mean more. People remember them because they stuck in their brains as inexact sense, and what those metaphors mean in practice is quite different and hard to understand. If weasel words hav one hallmark, it's that they make sentences weaker. Wikipedia's guideline about weasel words identifies specific and prolific examples. Even those examples make facts weaker and less significant, so I want notability written into the template.


No. Taking weasel words out of a statement makes it stronger, so it is not a neutrality issue unless it becomes a series of contrasting facts that different writers offer and try to buttress with guesses about levels of support. Weasel words are not an issue of bias.

Contains Equivocation[edit]

No. If you can avoid this problem that involves breaking your own rules, then you should. Equivocation, a synonym for weasel words, should be written out of this template. How to remove words that make writing foggy are a tough set of rules to understand, and WP:AWW probably shouldn't go into those rules. If anyone has learned them on their own, I do not want to encourage people to forget those rules by forgetting them in the template. BrewJay (talk) 18:23, 20 October 2008 (UTC)


Abstain. I recommend that you support my audio, because it is a terse approximation for the coinage of weasel words. If you find it confusing, then understand that confusion can be a sign of sophisticated thinking. What words make sentences weak?

Suck or Draw[edit]

Draw. I am able to change one word in the audio to "draw", and I think the beat of my tune will become clear (improve) if I do. I don't feel a lot of motivation to do this, because the best I can do is recruit a soprano to do the other part, and that seems challenjing at the moment.


Terse. If the template is verbose, then too many people will think that they know how to handle weasel words, when someone who actually read the guideline didn't. Resorting to invoking the template is a either a last resort or insistent training of a newbie editor.

Link to fr equivalent[edit]

{{editprotected}}Should add fr:Modèle:Contenu évasif to the "languages" toolbox. Thanks ! Calimo (talk) 16:59, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

 Done--Jac16888 (talk) 19:23, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Style updates[edit]


Minor tweaks to the layout (no wording changes) for legibility and consistency. Code is in the sandbox, just needs synced. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:48, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

 Done --CapitalR (talk) 19:34, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Article or Section[edit]

The template says "This article". I don't know if there is a way to modify what that says (I looked at the source, said 1|article... does 2 mean section?), but can we change it to "Article or Section"? It's used on sections as well as articles. Vistro (talk) 03:42, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Just write {{Weasel|section|date=May 2017}} and it will say "section". Debresser (talk) 06:11, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Useless without specific reference to actual words[edit]

So someone slaps a "weasel" on an article. Which words/phrase? Where in the article? Based on what geographical lexicon/idiom? If someone thinks that an article has a weasel word/phrase they need to actually identify which word/phrase and where. Also, something that is clear and readily understood in one part of the world may seem to be a weasel in another. Hence there needs to be more reason given as to why the person adding the tag considers a particular part of the article to be a weasel. Any tag without reference to specific words and without specific reasons should be immediately rejected. J'ai osé (talk) 11:01, 19 November 2009 (UTC))

I agree. Aren't there other templates that already say, "Hey, someone needs to come fix this article up"? Why use a vague weasely template to say that one or more words somewhere in the article may be a little vague instead of just inviting someone to come clean the article up (or tagging specific words or phrases)? Banaticus (talk) 09:05, 31 January 2011 (UTC)


"This article contains weasel words, vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information."

To me, the punctuation in this sentence does not look correct. Shouldn't the comma be a colon or something? (talk) 13:42, 21 April 2010 (UTC).

I made the above comment over a year ago, then forgot about it. However, I've just come across this template again, and it still looks badly punctuated to me. Could someone please change the comma to a colon? (talk) 12:41, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

I've changed it to a colon. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 14:59, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Interwiki dutch[edit]

The dutch interwiki can be removed. It is a dead link. The template does not exist anymore. itsme (talk) 07:38, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Does template language correctly reflect WP:WEASEL?[edit]

The template currently reads as follows (emphasis mine)...

This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be clarified or removed.

IMHO, this boldened text fails to reflect an aspect of the current WP:WEASEL language/guidance itself that can lead to a misinterpretation and/or misrepresentation of WP:WEASEL and can foster disruptive employment of the tag.

As per this discussion (and at least thus far), WP:WEASEL DOES allow for the legitimate use of non-specific language where WP:V and consensus consideration are both satisfied.

I'd suggest that the tag language might better read...

This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that may reflect biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be examined for both verifiability and consensus approval.

Comments solicited both here and at MOS talk (if you're so inclined). Thanks. JakeInJoisey (talk) 12:19, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

WP:WEASEL applies to articles, which are subject to POV editing, bad sourcing and bad writing. The only part of that which applies here is the bad writing part, but it does not apply in this case as the template is well written. It also does not apply because the guideline only applies to articles. BECritical__Talk 19:58, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
The "consensus approval" seems like an especially poor choice to me. Bad writing needs to be fixed or removed. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:55, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, I think you will concur that non-specific language doesn't inherently reflect "bad writing". It can also reflect consensus chosen language where textual attribution would add nothing to enhance the reader understanding that citation alone can provide...and in a less cumbersome fashion.
It's the erroneous implication (IMHO fostered by the current tag language) that the placement of a {{who}} tag (for example) somehow mandates textual, specific attribution rather than editorial consideration that I'm attempting to address/correct here...and it can become the subject of some warm debate.
Perhaps the following might better express your concern?...

This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that may reflect biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be examined for both verifiability and neutral point of view.

JakeInJoisey (talk) 11:04, 1 August 2011 (UTC)