Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Deprecating "Future" templates

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The original proposal[edit]

This is a centralized discussion about the possible deprecation of all the "Future" templates. Now before you click on that "edit this page" link to let your voice be heard, please read the arguments presented here first.

Just so you know what I'm talking about, the usual "Future" template looks like this:

We've got dozens of these templates for future albums, television stations, elections, cars and so on. Most of them can be found at Category:Temporal templates. All in all, there are probably thousands of articles that use such a template, if not more. The very first one was Template:Future, created on 5 June 2005. It seems to have been modelled after Template:Current (compare Template:Current in June 2005 with Template:Future in June 2005), so I presume that the supposed usage of the template was similar as well: To warn our readers when an article was being edited heavily ("Information may change rapidly"), either due to being a current event, or due to being a future event.

This usage has been entirely forgotten over the years, and instead of a warning for our readers on heavily edited articles, the template (and all the templates that it has spawned) began to be used everywhere. If an article was talking about a future event, a "future event" template was added. If a category of articles did not have their own "future event" template yet, it got created, and people started using that as well. The focus of the template changed, and eventually it wasn't a warning anymore, it was a notice to our readers that the article they are reading contains information about the future, and that said information may change.

And a template that notifies our readers about that is, in my opinion, entirely pointless. There is no reason to tell our readers something that is (a) more than obvious, and (b) already covered by our general disclaimer. So I'd like to find some consensus to deprecate the use of these templates, or at least find guidelines that would give the templates some purpose again and reduce their usage to a sane level.

Note that this is supposed to be a discussion, not a vote, so please be prepared to use actual arguments and respond to the arguments of those that disagree with you. :)


Proposal[edit]

RFC[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.

Intro

This is a complicated matter and I have spent a good deal of time reviewing all points made & weighing the arguments. I am breaking my close into 4 parts:the original RfC, the discussion on implementation, this RfC, and the way forward.

Original RfC

This discussion was correctly closed as the overwhelming consensus in both numbers and strength of argument was to deprecate. A subtlety that was perhaps lost on some participants is "deprecated" isn't the same thing as "remove all current uses." Strictly speaking, it means don't add any new uses.

Additionally, the essence of consensus on Wikipedia is to always come to a mutually acceptable conclusion when possible. The majority of those against deprecation agreed that most future templates should be deprecated and only a few kept. Thus a reasonable close was to say "in general they are deprecated, but individual templates of greater-than-average value should be discussed. Not sure if that is what Tone was intending in his close (I can't read his mind), but that is the way it reads to me.

The discussion attracted a large number of editors (by RfC standards) and was appropriately advertised in a wide variety of venues. There is no reason to believe that those who participated were not a representative sample of the community as a whole.

Discussion on implementation

This decision came to the conclusion that the templates should be visibly marked to inform users of the impending replacement. This was done, at least in part, to give people additional chance to object. This was a reasonable strategy, but not the only possible one.

Some people were in favor of simply stopping use of the templates. However, those against this correctly pointed out that most likely simply marking the templates as deprecated would not substantially reduce new use as few users would notice the change. Thus, on strength of argument delayed deletion was the best option presented.

It should be noted, however, that the participants in this discussion were less representative of the community as a whole since those who disagreed with the original close were less likely to discuss how to implement the change than those who agreed with it. On the other hand, those newly attracted to the discussion after the "this template is deprecated message" popped up where substantially more likely to oppose the change than the community as a whole since people who had no problem with it were less to join the discussion at that time. Overall, there is no reason to believe the conclusion reached was not inline with the community's will.

RfC 2

In terms of numbers alone, this RfC was much closer to "no consensus" than "deprecate & delete". Additionally, those against mass deletion did a much better job of articulating their arguments in prior discussions. However, a "no consensus" outcome based on this RfC alone would be inaccurate for three reasons. One, consensus is primarily not determined by numbers. Two, the discussion drew less participation than previous ones. And three, the arguments where better explained, but were not substantially different than the prior arguments.

Comments that procedure where not properly followed were mostly dismissed as no compelling alternative to the avenue chosen was offered. A mass TfD would have almost certainly been speedy closed as disruptive\unable to draw conclusions about community desires. Additionally, it would have been likely to draw far less eyes than the initial RfC did. The original RfC was widely advertised and no compelling ideas to attract more participation were offered. Additionally, no compelling reasons were offered to suggest the conclusion was not representative of the community as a whole.

The participation in the second RfC was naturally skewed towards people who were unhappy, as those you agreed with the initial conclusion were less likely to come back and say the same thing again since their incentive was considerably less.

With all that said, those against deletion did offer one compelling argument that has not fully been answered by those in favor. Specifically, the idea that not all future templates are of equal utility. This is address in my conclusion below.

Conclusion

All future templates are considered deprecated at this time. Mass removal of the {{future}} template may continue (if needed), and it should be deleted upon completion of the task. However, mass removal of specific future templates should not continue at this time. Instead, I am (slightly) invoking WP:IAR here at drawing a conclusion which is in the spirit of the discussion but which was not directly suggested.

Those wishing to "save" specific future templates have two weeks from this notice to put them up individually at TfD. There are two caveats to this though. 1) The argument is to focus on how the specific template is more useful/important than future templates in general. The reviewing admin is instructed to ignore all !votes that don't directly argue about how it is or is not more useful/important than average. 2) A "no consensus" outcome will default to delete rather keep as a local no consensus can't override the global consensus to delete. It is advised to add a link to these instructions and a link here to any such TfDs. (This section is linked to directly via [[Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Deprecating "Future" templates#Conclusion]]). Any TfDs that result in a close of "keep" will only affect the status of that template (i.e., undeprecate that specific template) and not the overall conclusion.

Any templates not put up for TfD within 14 days may be mass removed and deleted. --ThaddeusB (talk) 23:58, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

(P.S. Yes, I am aware these instructions are slightly out of normal policy, but I feel this is an appropriate use of IAR to hopefully resolve a difficult situation.)



Note: I've tried to make this initial comment as neutral as I can from my biased point of view. If you feel that you can make it more neutral, please feel free to edit it. It doesn't have my signature. :) –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 01:24, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

This discussion is getting out of control... on both sides. Nobody's putting forth a good idea for a next step, and I couldn't think of one other than this. So, I'd like to try to restart the discussion. Conti's original proposal is still what is being discussed. To make things clear:

  • If you have already commented above, please repost your arguments here. Keep everything organized, and don't just say "see above" or anything like that.
  • If consensus is to deprecate the templates, they will be removed from articles and deleted. There would be no need for a TfD.
  • Due to the discussion above, many templates have already been removed from articles, including {{Future}}, {{Future film}}, {{Future game}}, {{Future album}}, and {{Future book}}. If consensus is to keep the templates, then the WikiProject(s) related to the last four of these will be contacted on an individual basis for further discussion of their related template; re-adding the templates must be done manually, not by bot, and so would take time and doing so unnecessarily would be counterproductive.
  • I am going to make this a high-visibility discussion. In addition to WP:RFC and WP:CENT, I'll post at WP:VPP, WP:CAFET, and WP:NDIA. A TFD has also been posted, which directs people here. If you have other ideas on where to post notices, please go ahead and post the notices.
  • Regardless of consensus here, individual templates may be considered on a case-by-case basis. It may be that some templates should be deleted and others kept; however, having separate discussions with copy-paste rationales seems pointless.
  • Please, don't just say that the templates should be kept or deleted. Explain reasons, from a reader and/or policy standpoint.

Just trying to bring some order to this current madness. We'll never reach a consensus the way things have been looking above, with neither side apparently willing to give in at all. During this discussion, please be willing to try and find some middle ground. Perhaps changing the guidelines on the use of the templates, or changing what they actually say, rather than an all-or-nothing keep-or-delete.

RFC Discussion[edit]

  • My feeling is that these should be deprecated, as I have outlined above. There are a number of reasons for this: First, the reader should be able to tell that the article is about a future _____ after reading a sentence or two; if they can't, then there's a bigger problem with the article than just a template. Second, I think that a lot of people ignore cleanup banners anyway; I know some readers who do. A lot of people probably go "those are for the editors" and not even look at them. But we editors don't really need them, do we? The templates are intended for the readers, unlike other banners.
    Third, these banners can sit around for a long time. Take 2028 Summer Olympics, for instance. The tag on that article will, theoretically, be around for longer than Wikipedia has existed to date... 19 years from now, altogether (note that this page doesn't currently have the template, because a bot removed it after the initial discussion above). Although this is an extreme case, many pages have templates that will be present for three, seven, or even ten years. In the case of cleanup templates, current event templates, etc., it is anticipated that the templates will be removed in a couple of years (for some cleanup templates, although in some cases the backlog takes longer), or a few days (other cleanup templates, {{Current}}, {{Recent death}}, etc.) –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 01:42, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
  • As I alluded to in the original discussion, I think the use of these templates stems from an understandable compulsion to tag articles based on categories. Many other online databases show graphical tags to categorize their information, to tell readers that an article is about music, or sports, etc, regardless of how obvious those things might be. It's just "nice" to have that quickly recognizable information displayed. Wikipedia does things a bit differently than most other websites though, and one of those differences is that we specifically don't use tags this way, and so I think Future tags should be deprecated and deleted. Though as I also suggested originally, since we do basically "tag" articles based on their category (by adding categories to articles), perhaps this whole event is a sign that we need to make categories more prominently visible in articles, rather than leaving them at the bottom as simple text links that no one really notices. Equazcion (talk) 02:44, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

0[edit]

  • I think Equazcion's point is largely reasonable, but there may be some instances where such tagging is more beneficial.
While I am not in favor of mass-deprecation, I do believe that we over-use future templates, they often form an unnecessary disclaimer or graphical tagging of the obvious, and their use should be restricted to areas where they are more useful. Experience suggests that there is a specific and disproportionate risk of substantial inaccuracy in articles on certain classes of future events, which may not be obvious to a typical reader, and where the disclaimer element may therefore be informative. Note that the verifiability of articles about future events is inherently and crucially different from those about past events, a vital point only hinted at in the original discussion and worth fleshing out. Consider two well-written articles, one about a past event and one about a future one, where each statement is referenced to a clearly reliable source. Both articles will look and feel trustworthy to a casual reader. Yet while the "past" article probably is, the "future" article may well not be. For instance, a reference stating that a "past" film was released in July of last year is almost certainly correct, and someone viewing the article critically can verify that by clicking through the references (as all wisely wary readers of Wikipedia, in addition to our content reviewers, are wont to do). A reference stating that a "future" film is slated for release in July of next year was almost certainly correct at the time of going to press, but it may well be that the current situation is different - film release dates are notorious for being postponed. However, the original source (especially if a news article or press release) is unlikely to have been updated, so clicking through all the references may not reveal the error. When verifying "future" articles there is a strong additional requirement to review all of the references to see if they have been supplanted by more recent ones (for instance, a new statement announcing the postponement of the release date), which is a far more difficult task. Only rarely will it be obvious that an article has not been updated to reflect more recent developments (though on occasion, I've come across articles that give a particular projected future release date, that has long since passed!) even if changes have been very substantial. To my mind, if there is a forceful risk that an article will fall into this "looks good, apparently well-sourced, but actually substantially and unobviously incorrect" trap (particularly were its original author to abandon the article, or indeed Wikipedia), then it merits a specific disclaimer, additional to our general one, because it may well degenerate (or already have degenerated!) in a way that our general articles do not. I also think it should be a public disclaimer, not just the addition of a hidden maintenance category, because potentially inaccurate and harder-than-usual-to-verify information is a problem to readers, not just to editors.
If my line of logic holds true, then where do we most need these disclaimers? My (anecdotal) experience has been that articles on upcoming elections and sporting events have been largely unaffected by these problems - they seem no better or worse for factual accuracy or prematurely dating than our "non-future" articles. (There are hypothetical explanations for why this is reasonable: perhaps the articles tend to convey facts that are less subject to change - e.g. the law under which elections are contested is already fixed - or where new developments - such as the announcement of sporting venues - are well-publicized. Electoral and sporting events often occur at predictable and relatively sparse intervals, making them more amenable to be handled systematically. They may just have keener editors and better organized WikiProjects than other areas.) I notice that articles on future film, TV, musical and architectural projects are disproportionately likely to be very poor - at the time of reading the article, such projects have sometimes been canceled, renamed, substantially altered, or already taken place! (Again, perhaps this is understandable; particularly for blue-sky projects, even people in the industry may have little idea whether the project is dead, alive or just "on ice". Projects are often announced in a blaze of readily-sourced publicity, but updates tend to be low-key and rare, often in industry news sources rather than the mainstream press, so are missed by Wikipedia editors even though they may contain information that would radically transform the article. These topics are not as sequential as World Cups, Olympics or elections, so maintenance may be harder.) This is just personal experience, and I would welcome input from WikiProjects or indeed more statistically valid investigation, to determine which topic areas, if any, are at unusually high systematic risk. I would recommend deprecating templates in areas which seem to be low-risk, and where their main purpose would merely be to convey information that would be obvious from the title or first sentence of an article.
I do wonder whether our banners also warn about slightly the wrong thing. Although it's true that information about a future event will often change as its time draws nearer, that doesn't mean that all future events articles are locked in flurries of editing activity; indeed many of our "future" articles are characterized more by stability than flux. Some are "too stable" - they have simply been abandoned and are now out of date! And more troubling still is the fact these articles may misleadingly appear to be up to date and well-referenced. (I don't buy the counterargument that readers are warned by the "This page was last modified on ..." about the degree to which an article can be regarded as current, since a great bulk of WP edits are of a drive-through nature: wikignomery, formatting, or vandalism and counter-vandalism. An anecdotal example of this can be seen in the history of "gayness", lovingly recalled on my userpage.) My tldr summary would be that "future events articles have different verifiability concerns to most others, and at least in certain topic areas appear to have an unusually high risk of becoming inaccurate despite appearing misleadingly up-to-date" - perhaps some aspects of this should be reflected in our banner notices, if they are not all deprecated. TheGrappler (talk) 03:29, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I haven't read this comment completely (but I did "spot-read" it), as it's very long and I don't have the time right now. I'd suggest that many people will feel the same way and this comment is unnecessarily long, and I'd encourage TheGrappler to try and cut it down, or agree to collapse it, if only for the sake of the readability of this page and to not intimidate other potential commenters with its length. That said, I did neglect to address the main point that's been brought up in favor of keeping the templates (shame on me). The potential problems an article on a future product or event might have is not all that dissimilar from other articles. An article on, say, the JFK assassination, or Michael Jackson's molestation charges, are similarly topics where not all of the information necessary to form a reliable body of information is currently "in" yet, and actually, may never be. Would those not be in even more dire need of such a tag? Equazcion (talk) 04:16, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I think it's actually a pretty worthwhile comment to read, despite its length. And there is a TL;DR summary. :) --Conti| 10:51, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Srry 4 2 long! :) As people have already commented on it, and it clearly didn't intimidate anybody else from commenting(!) I'll refrain from collapsing it now. The JFK/MJ comparison is interesting but flawed - both subjects would be easy to fix if new information arose as they are big stories and updates attract attention. I suggest notifying readers in cases that seem "high-risk", which generally will be lower profile. The wider "articles where all the info isn't in yet" is a better comparison, and something I'd considered. I don't think most (or even very many) of our articles are like that, but a good example is "possibly living people" - e.g. an entertainer who faded into obscurity with no media coverage since the 1940s, and has probably already died in anonymity, with even local press failing to report it. The question of whether they are currently alive shares many of the same difficulties as our more obscure "future" articles (checking there is no new information is trying to "prove a negative", which is the frustrating prime difficulty in both cases) and I think our biography of them should openly admit editorial uncertainty. Since only the death date is basically at issue, tagging the whole article seems disproportionate; but I guess if there are non-future articles where a great part of the content has that degree of verifiability/uncertainty problem, and especially if it wouldn't be obvious to the reader from the text itself, I'd be happy with a suitable warning tag. Usually however, at least for an article about something that happened in the past, our description of what happened - if properly sourced - is almost certainly sound. New or missing information is often just an addition (like the date of death for the obscurely deceased). On the other hand, some of our "future" articles contain little except announcements, intentions and predictions - the really substantive stuff hasn't happened yet. Even well-sourced predictions and intentions are often proved wrong, and it is rarely obvious when they have have been superseded! If a film was released in July 1930, we need only one reliable source to check this. But if a future film's release date is pushed back, it's often done quietly (if you do check for new sources, you may have a hard time finding any, especially ones that meet WP:RS) and a reader could easily be misled into too great a certainty by the way we have a fully cited and apparently reliable source for the original planned release date. If the bulk of details in an article (about the future or otherwise) are subject to that level of uncertainty, and it's a reasonable guess it may not be updated when new information becomes available (depending on topic, WikiProjects and the obscurity of the article), then to my mind that's a problem meriting an additional disclaimer. TheGrappler (talk) 01:16, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
My MJ/JFK examples are only high-profile because I wanted to use something everyone would be familiar with. The same can be said for string theory and the possible genetic causality of tongue rolling (which by the way, I think, is about as obscure as it gets). On the contrary (to your opinion), I think nearly every topic, big or small, obscure or not, is subject to similar uncertainty. We never know just how inaccurate our information is. Your reasoning seems to apply to any obscure topics that aren't well-watched, and will likely need to be updated in the near future, whatever the reason (ie. because they happen in the future or some other reason, like a developing theory, technology, career, etc). I think that's a whole other story. There are many topics that will likely require updates soon and probably many of those aren't heavily watched. Do we tag them all? I don't see a difference. The way I see it, that's the essence of Wikipedia, is the uncertainty, for whatever reason, and the constant need to update all our information. Because most topics are always changing. Equazcion (talk) 01:43, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I suspected your examples were meant to be big for that reason :) But seriously: try going through 20 or 30 random articles (I've just done this) and consider which statements are susceptible to needing revision, how likely those updates are likely to be, and what are the odds that new information would slip through the net. I think you'll find it is far less than you imagine, and my experience is that it's disproportionately worse on the "future" articles. A lot of articles might need additional information added, but very few will have the bulk of their claims retracted and replaced, because we generally talk about things that have already happened (dates of birth, tracklists on albums, weight and gunnery of a frigate, paths of tropical storms, who wrote what books in 1873, locations of towns, dates and results of a battle, sport and election results, concepts of a philosophical theory - all these are pretty fixed). Sometimes there are wide scale changes - administrative boundaries or biological taxonomies for instance - but these couldn't be done quietly! It would be rare for us to have to change a scientific theory article because it had been deprecated (and again, Wikipedian subject specialists would most likely notice it had been falsified as this would be academic news) and still, what we wrote about the history and development of the theory, as well as the details it proposed, would hold true. If you can identify a specific class of other articles that are just as uncertain, and as difficult-but-necessary to check that no changes have taken place (the tough "prove the negative") as our "future" articles, then I'd recommend a specific disclaimer for them too. (At heart I want to identify which articles are the "toughest nuts" of maintainability for us, so we can (a) warn readers and (b) consider what we can do about them, and many "future" articles are clearly part of that. Citizendium's policy is to only start articles that can be systematically maintained - it's possible they've got one over us in that respect and it makes a degree more sense than our "notability" requirement does, but our culture isn't going to change to that now.) TheGrappler (talk) 02:25, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Okay, let's assume your reasoning is sound, and that obscure future articles need attention somehow. Your point is that you think they require attention to make sure they get updated despite the fact that people might not actually be looking at them a whole lot. So my question is, if people aren't looking at them enough, how will they see the tags? Perhaps categorizing these articles would address that problem, so that interested people can see a list of articles that will likely need attention in the near future (which is basically already done), or if you want to take it further, create a task force or wikiproject. The argument for a visible tag has to stem from some need to inform the reader that something might not be right with the article, and as we've already established, that holds true for many articles other than future ones. So, to rehash, if we're just trying to call attention on these articles that otherwise might not get it, so they'll get updated, why the need for a visible tag? Equazcion (talk) 02:45, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Read both (a) and (b) at the end - I think in some "high risk" circumstances readers should be given a little extra nudge that our information may not be up to date. The "future" templates may serve that purpose although I feel they are currently overused. When you write that the problem is "something might not be right with the article, and as we've already established, that holds true for many articles other than future ones" you're overlooking that future articles (and perhaps a couple of others) have a very specific and potentially serious (especially in obscure articles) problem. Lots of articles are subject to change, especially new information becoming available, but that's not what this is about. A good "future" article may consist of well-referenced statements, but sometimes almost every single claim is provisional and tentative, and each reference really requires a "proving a negative" search to ensure it hasn't been superseded. Except for the extreme philosophical skeptic, that's simply not the case in the vast majority of other articles - honestly, do the 30 random article test and see for yourself. Concrete examples time: actress J. Smith-Cameron might need updating, perhaps she has done some more film roles, but there's no reason to check that sources claiming she had roles in Law & Order have been superseded because it wasn't actually her (the reference could be wrong, it may even have been discovered she was misattributed, but the reference looks good enough so I'll believe it). Did Ed Merkle wear jersey number 51? Was the Battle of Oriskany fought on August 6, 1777? I'm just going to trust that we have reliable sources! Hypothetically, historians of sport and war may have blown these theories out of the water, but it seems sufficiently unlikely that "duly diligent verification" need not involve a fruitless search to doublecheck there isn't a new "Merkle really wore 52" school of thought. Now compare this to It's a Wonderful Afterlife. There's quite a stellar cast list, but are they still committed to the project? Well, the given source states that filming has begun, so that doesn't seem likely to change much and I probably don't need to check for newer sources. If the cast list had been provisional, I'd have had to check that it was still up-to-date more carefully. According to our article it's currently slated for release on April 2, 2010. But is it still? To be sure, it really would be worth checking through Bollywood news sites to see whether any fresher information has been announced. The original source for that date may have been perfectly reliable when published but if I am being a verifiability stickler, I can't just accept that it's still correct. And to reiterate: this is a problem for readers too. We have an article that might look well-written and well-referenced, but the citations are a worse guarantee than usual of factual accuracy, and some of those facts may be difficult to verify. (On my random article trawl, the only thing to give me similar pause for thought was a species of fungus. The year of its discovery and where it was found seem trustworthy enough but the taxonomy bugged me - I know mycologists can argue about or change taxonomies, so many reference books on the subject are out of date and no longer reliable. I'd need to take extra care that the reference used was still considered valid; hopefully it would be trivial to check that it was a current edition. If it had been sourced to a non-current edition, I'd need to do a "new sources" check, albeit a far more straightforward one than the usual "proving a negative" type, since I could just look the species up in an acceptable reference. Far easier than checking the currency of claims in an old press release or news article! I don't see any reason to believe our wikimycologists are likely to have dropped the ball with this, so there's no point alerting readers. If there is ever a large scale taxonomy shakeup affecting a significant minority of fungi articles, and we lack enough specialists to implement it quickly, I would suggest a notice to readers in the taxonomy infobox.) TheGrappler (talk) 03:53, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

← That takes us back to my JFK/Michael Jackson example: The sources may be good but the information highly suspect. They should require tags too, if this reasoning is sound. You said no before, because future templates need attention for updating -- but the updating reason shouldn't require a visible tag. So what else is there? Equazcion (talk) 04:02, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

I can understand that certain articles (like future music and film articles) are more likely to change or contain uncertain information. But we need to address those problems specifically. A tag named future (or future film, or whatever) will inevitably be added to every article that has any information about the future. There are more specific tags, like {{update}}, {{crystal}} etc. And there is perhaps a need to create new ones. But there is absolutely no need for a generic message that applies to every future event. What message do we want to give readers of the It's a Wonderful Afterlife article? It is an upcoming film, yes. But that message is already in the lead. "Details are likely to change"? Perhaps. If so, lets create a tag for that message. We must avoid having future as a core message in order to prevent this tag to be added to thousands of articles. --Kildor (talk) 16:40, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

1[edit]

  • "We'll never reach a consensus the way things have been looking above"
That's right, we won't, which means stop trying. We don't need a consensus to maintain the status quo, only to abandon it, therefore establishing a consensus only serves one side.
To repeat myself, since previous discussion has been hidden by wielder of the deletion bot:
Removal of these templates is nonsense. Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles does not apply, and even if it did it uses the same sort of templates, making its rule ridiculous in the first place. Will we delete the {{policy}} template? How about the [edit] links? How about {{fact}}? How about all article-space templates? Where do we draw the line? Editors use these "future" templates in the same manner as those others, so what makes them alone more worthy of deletion? Nothing. ¦ Reisio (talk) 04:19, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure how much effort to devote to this. I hope I'm not feeding a troll. You're saying that if we delete one group of templates, we should delete all other templates, plus remove the ability to edit articles? I don't follow this logic at all. Could you clarify? Equazcion (talk) 04:32, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
You hope you aren't feeding a troll? :p
I'm saying (for the third time) that there are plenty of templates we use in the exact same way we use these "future" templates, and nobody's considering deleting them, so why these? ¦ Reisio (talk) 06:17, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
We are not using those in the same way. {{fact}} for instance is asking for a citation, something that can be fixed. The same for almost all the templates in Wikipedia:Templates#Article-related namespace. The future templates are just being used as an unnecessary extra large warning for something which is obvious when you read the article. Garion96 (talk) 06:24, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Well obviously it's not that obvious to some or this article would have not been flagged for deletion (originally a speedy) for crystal balling, when obviously it is a future EP. It was never flagged until right after the bot removed the future album tag.『 ɠu¹ɖяy 』 ¤ • ¢ 06:50, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
It wasn't flagged as a speedy, only wp:proposed deletion. Which you can agree or disagree with but if an article is kept solely on it having a {{future}} tag then there is something wrong with the article anyway. Garion96 (talk) 11:33, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
No originally it was flagged for speedy, read what I type. Crystal ball means looking into the future & obviously someone that didn't actually look at the article that it was a future album. 『 ɠu¹ɖяy 』 ¤ • ¢ 15:29, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I read what you typed but I also read the history of M.A.D. EP and it was not flagged for speedy deletion, only proposed deletion. Garion96 (talk) 15:34, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
The article was proposed for deletion for "crystal balling". Which means "The article talks about a future thing without any reliable sources". I don't know if that's true in that case, but either way, the Future album tag would not have changed anything in this case. It would still be crystal balling (or not), and it would still be tagged accordingly. --Conti| 15:37, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Would re-wording them to something like {{Current}} be a good option? I can see a use for this template just after an announcement has been made on a topic (e.g. when the host city the 2012 Olympics was announced) but they should not be up continually If it said This article documents an future event. Information may change rapidly as new announcements have been made and more information becomes available. Similarly imminent events, e.g. the week before the Super Bowl should possibly be tagged, ({{Imminent}}?) but {{Current}} could potentially be used in those cases. --Natet/c 08:51, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

2[edit]

  • I oppose the method used to decide the future of these templates, not everyone joins wikiprojects / puts them on watch and not all wikiprojects were correctly informed so when templates started disappearing from 100s of articles it obviously led to some people coming here and disagreeing with the actions . This method was simply used as a backdoor to fully delete all these templates, knowing that taking them to TFD would see many of them saved. We are now told to look at each individual template to see if theres justification for it to be restored, surely this is the wrong way around? Each template should have been looked at individually, rather than just have some bot come round mass deleting everything. One example of templates still on articles is the Template:Future ship which is being planned for deletion but some may not notice they will be deleted until they are removed from those articles as well. Also, there was only a note on wikiprojects about a possible removal of the template, an update on the outcome of the debate BEFORE mass deletions from articles was carried out might have been useful.

People just want to delete these templates for the sake of it, having a template at the top of the article warning readers that major contents may change is valuable diclaimer and advice for the reader. The "no diclaimers" policy states temporal templates are an exception.

It is true that ALL wikipedia articles may change as its a never ending process, but there is clearly a difference between how radical a change to Summer Olympics 2008 there would be compared to Summer Olympics 2012. Unless the 2008 article contains incorrect information, nothing serious will change. The one in the future is providing details for an event that could radically change and could impact on the reader in a far bigger way than coverage of a past event can. What happens if people plan their holidays around such an event (unwise ofcourse) but wikipedia is meant to be a trusted source, some form of diclaimer / warning as mentioned before that things can change is more useful. Encyclopedias tend to cover only things in the past, wikipedia clearly covers things in the future. I see no reason why we cant have a visual display at the top of an article reminding people about this. We should not forget the future templates do not just say "This is a future event" it contained a reminder about the contents..
{{future sport|event=Olympic Games|image=Olympic_Rings.svg}}

Why delete something thats useful. BritishWatcher (talk) 10:33, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Why is it useful? Do we really think our readers are so dumb that they need a huge template telling them that the Summer Olympics 2012 article is about something in the future? Garion96 (talk) 11:22, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I think our readers should be reminded that as the article is on an event that is yet to happen, the contents of the article can radically change in the way the contents of the article on the 2008 sporting event clearly will not. BritishWatcher (talk) 12:53, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I think our readers already know that since they are smart enough to realise that information about an event in 2012 can rapidly change when they read it in 2009. Garion96 (talk) 12:58, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
But in 2012 it will be a future sporting event still. And this is just one example which does have a date in the title unlike most articles that use templates, like about a new ship. I still see no harm in reminding people that its a future event and information may change. BritishWatcher (talk) 13:06, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Even in Januari 2012 I think that our readers are smart enough to realise that the article might rapidly change when reaching 27 juli 2012. :) Garion96 (talk) 14:18, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

3[edit]

  • I have been away for a while, and just resumed editing in the last week or so - so I missed the initial centralized discussion on this topic, which I guess is my own dumb fault. However, a set of templates in use on several thousand articles would seem to demand broad consensus, both to deprecate the templates and to trump a TFD discussion to delete them. I'm worried that that does not exist here. Some objections to the process as it stands:
    • I am concerned that we don't have a list of the templates under threat of deletion - Which templates are included in the scope of this discussion? Which aren't? The consensus was to deprecate "future templates", but does that mean all of the templates in Category:Temporal templates? Or just {{future}}? Or some combination?
    • The closing admin also specifically noted that individual cases should be discussed separately - and this was not done. The example of WP:CARS is a good one, as they had no opportunity to object to the deletion of the future car model template (don't have the link - which one was it?). The olympics template is similar.
    • If given the chance, I'd argue that {{Future spaceflight}} needs to be kept, since information about a spaceflight might be authoritative and reliably sourced, but may still change significantly prior to the launch. Launch times are a good example - we can verify the scheduled launch time, but it's not final until the spacecraft is actually launched. My argument may have merit, it may not - and it might be applicable to other templates, or it might not. It's my fault that I missed the discussion in August, true - but I'm concerned that I didn't/haven't had the chance to raise that objection as it relates to that specific template, since we haven't discussed any specific templates, then or now.
  • A lot of good editors have put a lot of time into this proposal, and I don't want to do anything to disparage their efforts - but this feels like it's moving too fast. We skipped a step, and we need to correct that. Thanks, UltraExactZZ Claims ~ Evidence 14:52, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
    • There is a list at User:Conti/"Future" templates/List. Basically, we're talking about all templates in the temporal templates category that begin with "Future". You say that information about future spaceflights might change significantly prior to the launch. I certainly agree with that, but my point is that this is true in general: information about spaceflights might change significantly. Period. Whether they're in the future, currently ongoing, or in the past, even. Sure, it's not as probably in the latter case, but then again, considering the articles that use the future spaceflight template, I would argue that most of those won't change significantly, either. Actually, most of those will probably not change much at all and will be quite boring. :) And I don't think we should say "Well, they still might change, so let's tag all of them. Just in case." Because the same argument can be made for a lot of other situations. --Conti| 15:32, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Didn't see that list, thanks. I'm not suggesting that we tag everything that might change at some point in the future - quite the opposite, I think many of the future templates can go. My specific example looks at spaceflights because we list the actual launch (and landing) times of each flight down to the second. With that level of precision, we need to show when the time listed is a planned future launch time as opposed to an actual launch time, as this has implications for orbits, altitudes, and a myriad of other factors, all reliably sourced and documented. In this case, at least as far as the date and time of launch, these facts will not change after the fact. Perhaps the template should be more narrowly tailored for that purpose, or the infobox altered to indicate "Until the spacecraft actually launches, times indicated are subject to change" or something. There are very very few events that use Future templates where the exact second that the event took place is critical, so I think this is a different case, and I think this specific case could be debated - as the closing admin very specifically recommended.UltraExactZZ Claims ~ Evidence 16:28, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
This could be debated, yes, and you very well might have a good point here, I don't know (because I don't know too much about spaceflights). But I'm not sure if we should mix the discussion about specific templates with the discussion about the idea of the templates in general, as that would be somewhat chaotic. I think the idea of the closing comment was that individual templates could be discussed after the original discussion was closed. One thing, tho: There is Template:Launching, wouldn't that satisfy your concerns? --Conti| 17:01, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm surprised that template isn't listed here, though it's a much broader template than {{future spaceflight}}. I'd agree that specific templates can be discussed separately, and so long as that happens I'm satisfied. My concern was mainly that we don't say we're going to discuss specific templates, and then blam them all without doing so. Thanks. UltraExactZZ Claims ~ Evidence 12:10, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

4[edit]

  • Really? Again? This had been pretty well settled; seeing this run through a second RfC because of a few vociferous complaints from those who hadn't jumped into the first discussion is a triumph of bureacracy for bureaucracy's sake. It is almost enough to make me want to boycott the process altogether. Anyway, to completely rehash what has been said over and over again: these templates do not accomplish anything that should not be readily apparant from the prose of the article. If a big, unsightly template is required for a reader to realize "Hey, this article is about something that doesn't exist yet", then the only thing the template is really indicative of is an article writing failure. I understand that WP:NDA gives an "out" for temporal disclaimers, but it should be evident that the intent of that exception is for subjects that are actually in the process of changing - not ones that might change somewhere down the line. I do not understand the attachment some people have to these templates but they serve as little more than visual clutter, and an extraordinarily substandard method of indicating that the content of the article will change down the line. Shereth 15:57, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, it's annoying when people who had been excluded from the discussion get to participate, isn't it? :p If these templates are deleted I will be nominating every other article-space template for deletion, one at a time, until the end of time. They all just make articles "unsightly" and point out things that are obvious to everyone who's read the policies and guidelines anyways, right? ¦ Reisio (talk) 16:20, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Wrong. Very, very wrong. I mean, there are legitimate reasons to keep these templates, but comparing them to all other article-space templates certainly isn't one of them. Heck, you compared these templates to the [edit] link, which doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Article-space templates serve countless different purposes. Some are useful, some aren't. And this discussion is about whether the future-type templates are useful. The main difference I see between most article-space templates and these templates is that the former say "There is a problem, please fix it", while the latter say "There may be a problem. Just so you know". In addition, threatening to violate WP:POINT when things don't go way really isn't helping your position at all. --Conti| 16:30, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
If they weren't useful, they wouldn't have existed in the first place. The templates also do not say "there may be a problem", they merely state clearly a fact and nothing more. In addition, stating that I will nominate templates for deletion based on the fact other templates used in the exact same manner have been deleted is not remotely a violation of WP:POINT. ¦ Reisio (talk) 17:17, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Alright, if you think doing that won't be WP:POINTy, that's your call. Are you implying that the existence of a template proves its usefulness? I kinda doubt it, but I don't see any other way to interpret your first sentence. Of course the templates state a (true, verfiable) fact, but a template that'd say "This is an article about a clown." would do that, too. And it would be just as unneccessary, too. --Conti| 17:55, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
What is necessary, though? I can personally do without all the templates in article-space, but people use them, they are useful. Again, where do you draw the line, and why? ¦ Reisio (talk) 02:25, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Honestly, I think that some of those templates are unnecessary, too, but that's simply besides the point. As I said, different templates have different purposes. Some make sense to me, some don't. To take a random example, Template:NPOV is important because it warns the reader that an article might not be neutral. Which is an important piece of information that is quite probably not obvious to the reader at all, hence the template. It is added when a user thinks that an article is not neutral, and it is removed once there is agreement that it is neutral (again). That seems like a sensible use of an article-namespace template to me. I decide on a case-by-case basis what I consider useful and what not, and there's no clear line. For instance, I think we could do without Template:Orphan (the template, not its category), but I don't strongly oppose it. The Future-templates, on the other hand, I consider to be one of the most useless templates that we currently use on a lot of articles. Why I think so, I already described in many, many paragraphs in my various comments on this page. --Conti| 17:14, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
(ec, reply to Reisio)No one had been excluded from participating in the previous discussion. It had been open for a reasonable amount of time and its existence made visible in several locations. It is unfortunate that a few people missed the discussion for one reason or another, but they were not excluded. When this iteration of the discussion ends, what happens when a few people show up after it has been closed with a "Hey, what about me" complaint? Do we reboot the discussion yet again? Closing the discussion after a period of time is not an attempt to rush judgement, and keeping it closed in spite of complaints after the fact is not an attempt to exclude input. If we are forced to do otherwise, nothing gets done around here. To address your second point : if you want to run afoul of WP:POINT, be my guest. Understanding an article is about a future event/structure/whatever is not a matter of being familiar with policies and guidelines but is merely a matter of reading the article at hand. "Future" templates are content disclaimers, not notifications of a deficiency in meeting policy/guidelines. Your sarcastic comparison is an invalid one. Shereth 16:35, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Just call me Mr. No one, then. If the templates had been listed in WP:TFD like usual, I would have known about this, instead the discussion and decision took place here at Wikipedia:Centralized discussion, a place I have never in four years been to until now. Exclusion is not subjective — I wasn't aware of the event, so I was excluded. Yes, if more people show up, we "reboot" the discussion yet again WP:CCC. Having a discussion about something without the input of the people who use that something is unacceptable. To address my second point, stating that I will nominate templates for deletion based on the fact other templates used in the exact same manner have been deleted is not remotely a violation of WP:POINT. ¦ Reisio (talk) 17:17, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
A good-faith effort was made to give widespread notification of the discussion. {{cent}} isn't really somewhere you go, but it's transcluded all over the place. I'm surprised it is no on WP:TFD, since it is transcluded on to WP:AFD, WP:RFD and WP:MFD. In any event, not being notified is hardly an exclusion. It is unfortunate that you never saw this, but again, a good-faith effort was made to advertise the discussion. As far as WP:CCC is concerned, yes you are right. It is always acceptable to rehash a debate. What I am objecting to here is the wholesale discarding of the previous debate and starting over - that isn't how it should go. This new discussion should be "Hey, did we get it wrong before?" and not "Well maybe we got it wrong before, so let's scrap it and start over". Discussions are not rebooted, they are revisited. Shereth 17:28, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
If you're talking about how all the previous discussion (which I did deign to participate in) is now hidden, that was all Drilnoth the bot wielder; I came close to reverting those edits myself. Yes, you (guys who were involved) got it wrong. ¦ Reisio (talk) 02:25, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't understand, I thought this was fully settled and the consensus was to get rid of them. Why do we have to have yet another discussion about the same thing? Why did someone delete the previous discussions? Gigs (talk) 13:11, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

5[edit]

Reason for this RFC: In short, because there are a few editors who are strongly opposed to the change after the discussion was first resolved. Personally, I don't think that a second RFC is needed but I'm not sure if anything else can settle the issue. It got down to a few people arguing against a few other people, because very few were still watching the page, and at that point I wasn't really sure what to do with my bot... perhaps there is more opposition than was represented in the original RFC, or maybe there are just a few people with strong views who hadn't seen the initial discussion. Additionally, the original proposal wasn't clear on how the deprecation could be implemented, which caused more controversy by people saying that removing the templates from articles was equivalent to deleting them; should they be deleted or just tagged as deprecated; etc. I, personally, don't feel that more discussion should be needed but, I'd rather not have the bot remove all the templates only for it later to be decided that it shouldn't have. Re-adding the templates much be done manually, but removing them can be done by bot. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 15:46, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
As far as I can see, the original discussion/proposal was properly advertised and a clear consensus was established. And there is no way we could make everyone agree on such a proposal like this. There will always be objections, and I do not see why a few objections should overturn that consensus. It is time to go on and let the bot work again. --Kildor (talk) 20:00, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
You can have all the discussions and "consensus" you like, but if the people who actually use the templates in question don't participate, what you've decided is meaningless. ¦ Reisio (talk) 20:47, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
So how do we get the people who actually use the templates to participate? --Conti| 20:49, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment - Why not just do a TfD? They were removed with consensus (I believe) so just follow the normal procedure. Otherwise, deprecate and delete. I'd like to see a lot of article spaces templates gotten rid of. I haven't seen many that do anything beneficial. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 00:59, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

TFD?[edit]

It's been a week since major discussion here. There was clear consensus for deprecation, but many complaints delayed the process. Can we just have a TFD for all of these useless Future templates already? Reywas92Talk 01:17, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

I think we should get an uninvolved admin to have a look over this page and provide an assessment, with TFD being a possible outcome. Would that be agreeable to everyone? Equazcion (talk) 01:22, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 01:24, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Individual TfDs would probably be less controversial than one massive one... --Cybercobra (talk) 02:36, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
No, this must be a single discussion. No one wants to have to copy and paste their vote to twenty different TFDs, and it would be terrible and pointless if half were kept and half were deleted. Every single one of these templates is exactly the same, just signifying a different topic. Reywas92Talk 02:42, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Since a prominent argument has been that the templates are not all the same, it'd probably be best to leave this up to the uninvolved admin. Equazcion (talk) 05:55, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I've made a request at ANI: WP:ANI#Uninvolved admin needed to assess .22Future.22 template discussion. Equazcion (talk) 06:27, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I was going to suggest for a request to close this discussion myself, as no new comments have been made in a while, despite the deprecation message still being on all the future-class templates. I'm not feeling comfortable with a TfD, tho. The entire point of this discussion was to avoid a) Different TfDs for the same kind of template with different outcomes, and b) a straight vote instead of an actual discussion. I, personally, think that this discussion is enough to form a consensus (or declare that there is none), but I will of course respect the closing admin's decision. --Conti| 07:57, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I think that a TFD is unnessecary, too, but I won't completely oppose one if that is what is required. However, it needs to be a single discussion... that is, a discussion almost identical to the one above, but in a different location. I'd urge the closing admin to look at everything that has been said and see the bureaucracy involved in having a TfD after this discussion. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 15:15, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
The request at ANI seems to be getting ignored. This page is probably intimidating. If anyone can think of additional places to post a request, feel free. Equazcion (talk) 17:07, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, WP:AN is usually the place for such requests, if I'm not mistaken. Moving it there will get it some more attention, at least. --Conti| 17:20, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
Done. Hope it works. Equazcion (talk) 20:11, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Closure[edit]

Thank you for the close. I'll start the bot running again in about 2 weeks from today, to allow for time to contest individual template deletions. I know that this was a tough close; thank you for taking the time to really study the whole thing. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 00:35, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

You are welcome. Hopefully this solution will satisfy most everyone or at least avoid further drama. --ThaddeusB (talk) 01:28, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
I hope so, too - that is a well thought-out, reasonable conclusion. Thanks, UltraExactZZ Claims ~ Evidence 13:45, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Where are your "future categories"? WHERE?[edit]

moved from Template_talk:Future_software -- Equazcion (talk) 03:38, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

I'll put this up here, because the WP:DFUTURE is now meant as an archive and not meant to be edited any longer. (DANG!) I just missed the whole caboodle and just stumbled on a "deprecated" message with a future software article; that's why I started to look for information. Uh-huh, again some dude which wants to make himself immortal by his great proposal; 100 different users commenting to it meaning "All of Wikipedians" (like the jury in the U.S. court!). So if 80% say "deprecated", this is projected onto the point of view of the rest. Uh-huh. OK, let's give an example. Software not released yet: Azure Services Platform. Categories I can find there are: Microsoft and Cloud Platforms. Fantastic. So all you bigmouths that promised us future categories as replacement of our beloved future... templates, where did you hide them? Currently, things look like this: a bot will auto-delete the "deprecated" templates and then there will be no new "future category"! I'm not as stupid to believe the bot will auto-INSERT a new category after it has deleted the future template. Not a cat in hell's chance I'm gonna buy that story. -andy 92.229.113.76 (talk) 01:45, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

You're free to not believe it, of course, but that's exactly what the bot is going to do. --Conti| 10:54, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Azure Services Platform indeed doesn't have the category. But it also never had a future tag in the first place. Therefore no bot removed the future tag and no category was being added. Garion96 (talk) 11:08, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Time to go on[edit]

It is now more than two weeks since the last RFC was closed, and not a single "future template" has been put up at TfD. Therefore I assume it is ok to let the bot proceed and remove the remaining future templats. The message "The template below has been deprecated (see discussion), and will soon be automatically replaced with the corresponding category" has been up for quite a while now. --Kildor (talk) 14:36, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Indeed. Equazcion (talk) 19:48, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Indeed indeed. :) I just deleted the remaining orphaned templates. Garion96 (talk) 20:04, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
It's running!Drilnoth (T • C • L) 14:24, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

DrilBot needs your help![edit]

DrilBot has removed all but 292 uses of the future templates. However, it can't finish removing {{Future public transportation}} because the template has a couple of parameters (year and country) which modify what template is added, which would be very difficult to code DrilBot to handle at this point using AWB. As such, it would be most excellent if somebody(s) around here could help me empty this list of pages by removing the template and replacing it with the proper category. Thank you! –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 19:26, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Tried to help a bit, but it's slow. Couldn't the bot work from Category:Future public transportation in China and the other country categories? Almost every article in there has the future tag and needs to be put in the category again after the template removal. I already did that for Category:Future public transportation in Canada Garion96 (talk) 19:52, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Aha! <duh>I completely hadn't thought of making lists by categories rather than by transclusions.</duh> I don't have much more time today, but I should be able to go through the rest tomorrow that way then and then everything should be done. Thanks! –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 21:36, 8 October 2009 (UTC)