Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Image placeholders/Question 1. WP:SELF: Are placeholders compatible?

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For example, should we first look at whether the placeholders are incompatible with WP:SELF? --Kleinzach (talk) 07:49, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

They aren't unless you are going to try and argue for the deletion of stub notices.Genisock2 (talk) 12:46, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I disagree with that comparison Genisock. Stubs are different in two very important ways. First, stubs are designed to draw the attention of editors to articles that are defficient in essential information. Photos however are not essential information and in my oppinion not necessary (although they are nice to have). Second, stubs are relatively unobtrusive by virtue of being small and at the bottom of articles. As a result, stubs are much less distracting and ad-like than the present image place holders. One of my major contentions with the proponents of these image placeholders is the assumption that articles without photos or graphics are somehow incomplete or inferior to articles with visual bells and whistles. Open any current encyclopedia and most of the articles contain no pictures. Tags are for the purpose of pointing out flaws and errors and I don't view the lack of a photo as a flaw. Tags also highlight problems that are usually fixed relatively quickly, so they ideally don't remain on articles very long. My concern is that these image place holders will become permanent fixtures on many articles. Also tags don't make appeals to readers (i.e. Do you have the ability to fix this?, Do you own one?) but simply state problems. The whole structure and look of this image is not like a tag or a stub but an advertisement which I think violates WP:SELF.Nrswanson (talk) 13:50, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Template:expand is widely used and contians the phrase "Please help improve this article or section by expanding it" Template:expand is placed at the top of articles. Your argument about images would have ah more conviction if you had made it about 2 years ago during the fair use conflict. In any case open any encyclopedia and you will find what wikipedia would view as stubs. Tags are not a permanent fixture evidences suggest otherwise."Please help improve this article or section by expanding it" looks like an appeal to readers to me. The image is not an advert in any way shape or form it is a request for help no more no less. WP:SELF is in any case an MOS guideline and can be ignored where there is reason to do so.Genisock2 (talk) 14:43, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Again, I think you are making a false comparison. Template expand, as I understand it, is used only on articles where an appropraite stub is not available and is used to tag articles lacking essential information. Photos are not essential. Also, if a stub is available, then typically editors remove the Template expand and replace it with the stub as it is less encroaching on the article. The expansion tag also doesn't read and look like an add, even if it is a polite appeal. As for the fair use thing, I have only been a member of wikipedia for about 11 months so I don't see how that relates to me. And although there are tags that seem to have become permanent fixtures, I garauntee you that the ratio of cleanup tags placed to cleanup tags removed is astronomically better than the ratio of image placeholders put on articles to image placeholders removed will be. Which is scary comsidering how many image placeholders are already out there. Nrswanson (talk) 17:02, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Your understanding of the expand template is incorrect. The placeholder does not read or look like an add either it is again an appeal. The fair use thing is important since it showed that there was a significant body of opinion that viewed articles without images as incomplete (or given the area you edit without sounds). Cleanup backlogs have over the last few years only got longer two year backlogs are starting to appear.Genisock2 (talk) 19:15, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Compatible. The images themselves do not refer to Wikipedia so I don't think it is against the SELF guideline, only if you click on it do you see a link to the special Wikipedia upload page. Wikipedia has always encouraged readers to help out by adding content, that is part of what is unique about it and sets it apart from other encyclopedia projects. DoubleBlue (Talk) 21:40, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
The problem here is that the placeholder is in the most conspicuous, prominent position - top right actually inside the article body text - that's why WP:SELF becomes an issue here. It wouldn't be such a problem if the notice were moved outside the article to one of the edges of the page. --Kleinzach (talk) 22:15, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
The current image placeholders violate WP:SELF without question. WP:SELF says "don't use terms such as 'click here'". Our image placeholders say "please click here". Obviously that looks pretty stupid on printed versions of articles. In reply to someone's previous comment, stub notices also violate WP:SELF, but that's a debate for another day. Kaldari (talk) 22:54, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Not really. If we accept that WP:SELF is being ignored on a massive scale we change WP:SELF.Genisock2 (talk) 23:15, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I could be wrong but I believe infoboxes are supposed to use {{Image class}} which suppresses the printing of placeholder images. DoubleBlue (Talk) 23:18, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Good point, DoubleBlue. {{Image class}} should absolutely be used on these "replace me" images. I had assumed it was, but checking now I see that it's not; the images print out. This should be corrected immediately, without waiting for this discussion to conclude; I would hope that nobody would argue that printouts of articles should contain these images? -Pete (talk) 00:05, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
On a more general note, I would argue that cleanup/expand/notability/etc. notices are in violation of WP:SELF, when used incorrectly. If a section is not neutral, the best thing to do is to remove it and put it on the talk page until consensus is reached; leaving a "NPOV" tag for months at a time violates WP:SELF. If an article needs expansion, a non-obtrusive stub tag at the bottom is sufficient, and an "expand" template up top is a violation of WP:SELF. If an article lacks inline citations for specific figures or controversial claims, that is a severe shortcoming that compounds if unaddressed, and is worthy of being noted in the article; not a violation of WP:SELF.
But there's a more compelling reason that these images violate the policy. In the examples above, the template serves a dual purpose: it advises potential editors of something they should consider doing, but it also serves as a cautionary note to readers who may never intend to become editors. If an article lacks a neutral voice, that may not be obvious to, say, a young reader unfamiliar with the subject. Likewise, some readers may not fully grasp the importance of citations, and drawing a significant lack of citations to the reader's attention may be important to their evaluation of the article. But these images serve no such purpose: the absence of a photo is entirely self-evident to any reader with functioning eyes. For those who have no desire to become contributors, or who don't own a qualifying photo, the image serves no informative purpose whatsoever. It may inform them a bit about how Wikipedia works, but it does not inform them about the subject they've looked up to study. That, in my view, violates WP:SELF in a more fundamental way than the examples I raised above. -Pete (talk) 00:05, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
The same objection can be raised to stub templates - the fact that an article is very short is self evident but for people with no interest in expanding it the invitation to do so is useless. Like stub templates, however, these images have the potential to motivate and organise people who are interested in assisting. Which part of Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid do you feel this violates in a fundamental way? I'm afraid I can't find the section you refer to. --Cherry blossom tree 09:01, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
The sections Avoid referring to "Wikipedia", Community and website feature references, Writing about Wikipedia itself, and Articles are about their subjects all touch on this issue. I do believe that {{stub}} templates violate the policy somewhat, but I'm not too concerned about that, since (1) there is broad and longstanding consensus around their use, (2) they are about as non-obtrusive as possible, being at the bottom of the article and consisting merely of a small quantity of text, and (3) they encourage an action (text expansion) that is technically possible for nearly any reader to perform, by visiting the library or reading a newspaper or something similarly accessible. None of those three conditions apply to the images at question; there is no visible consensus around their use, they are in the most conspicuous place and take up a lot of space, and only very specific readers (those with cameras and access to the person in question) have the ability to meet the request. -Pete (talk) 23:08, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Avoid referring to "Wikipedia" touches on this issue only tangentially - it focuses on the main article text, rather than site housekeeping notices. I can see no connection at all with regard to Writing about Wikipedia itself or Articles are about their subjects unless you take the section title out of context. If it has anything to say about image placeholders then it is in Community and website feature references, which states: "an article which is still in its initial development or under dispute often will include {{stub}}, {{npov}}, {{refimprove}}, or other maintenance tags to help editors further develop the article, and the text in these templates include self-references." As far as Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid is concerned, I think the discussion should focus on whether these templates consist of a valid exception as described there.
With regard to stub templates, (1) is a valid point, if inherently accepting of the status quo. It's not clear whether (2) is plus or minus point and (3) seems misleading. Stub templates appeal to a tiny minority of readers who potentially have any interest in becoming editors. Image placeholders also appeal to anyone who has ever taken a photo of the person in question, which with some public figures is probably a lot of people. I could also add (4) image placeholders encourage significant one-off contributions from people who will never become Wikipedians - contributions we would otherwise have little chance of getting. --Cherry blossom tree 19:24, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

I like it. Let's revise WP:SELF instead if that's what is stopping us - encouraging users to upload free images is a great thing! Also, I actually think the infoboxes look better with this image placeholder in it than without an image at all. Really. Jobjörn (talk) 00:14, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

I think we need to agree for this discussion not to talk about freely revising WP guidelines as if that is something we can do with a snap of our fingers. This discussion can't proceed unless we can agree on some basic guidelines that have strong consensus. And "we" have already agreed on WP:SELF. If you want to attempt to change it, that's great, but you need to do so BEFORE using a hypothetically new-and-revised WP:SELF as support in this discussion. (Otherwise, I could just say this image placeholder violates WP:RULE X. And if it doesn't, well then let's just go write WP:RULE X!) Northwesterner1 (talk) 00:57, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
WP:SELF is a guideline and a MOS guideline at that. Not policy.Genisock2 (talk) 09:28, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, of course. I don't mean to suggest that WP:SELF is some kind of binding law. What I mean is that there is strong consensus behind it, and hypothetical discussions about what it may or may not say in the future if we were to try to change it don't really have any standing at the moment. The question of this section is, Does the placeholder box violate WP:SELF as it is currently written? End of story. If the answer is yes, then we have three options: change the guideline, change the placeholder, or ignore WP:SELF. But that's a different matter...
I'm sorry but I am not sure I understand about the authority/ non-authority of WP SELF. I don't mean to distract from the discussion here, so if someone would mine clarifying for me on my talk page I would appriciate it. Thank you.Broadweighbabe (talk) 06:37, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: No. The placeholder images are not compatible with WP:SELF, and violate the letter and spirit of the guideline to a much greater degree than frequently used stub templates, citation templates, etc.Northwesterner1 (talk) 09:58, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: No. -- I begin by admitting that WP:SELF is somewhat flexible. For instance, it is not violated by small "edit" tags within the article (reason: they're too unobtrusive to call attention to themselves). Nor by cleanup tags placed for short periods of time that draw attention to major deficiencies within the article (reason: the risks to users of the article if the tags are missing outweigh the self-reference in the article), nor by one or two stub tags at the bottom of the article (reason: unobtrusive plus long-standing community consensus that predates and is more wide-spread than WP:SELF).

The image placeholders don't seem to me to have a compelling reason for stretching WP:SELF--they are obtrusive, they do not call attention to deficiencies in an article (in fact, they're often automatically placed by people who don't know the subject enough to know if an image would help), and as we've seen in the discussion on the Female placeholder, there's certainly not enough widespread consensus that this tag is useful to use that as the reason to violate WP:SELF.

To me, the image is the visual equivalent of adding this prose to an article, "Hi! Can anyone help me fill out the rest of the paragraph? If so, just click the edit button at the top of the page, and add your ideas! Thanks!" If this sounds more like something that belongs on the Talk page, then that's where this placeholder should go. (Oops, don't we already have the "It is requested that a photograph be added to improve this article" talk page template?) -- Myke Cuthbert (talk) 20:01, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Strangely readers don't look at talk pages much so little point in putting stuff aimed at them there. Incidentally what type of timescale are you using to get two years as a short period?Genisock2 (talk) 01:34, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Geni's point about the stub templates seems to me on target - images are considered essential parts of articles and are a prerequisite for featured article status where images are available or expected to be so. Phil Sandifer (talk) 02:40, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. Photos are not essential. They are not a requirement for good article status for one thing and the issue here is largely the fact that people placing these images have no personal vested interest in the actual article itself having made no contributions to the article's content and in all likelihood not even having read them either.Nrswanson (talk) 05:15, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Are you suggesting the stub sorting group do?Geni 13:58, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: No. Per comments by Northwesterner1 and Mscuthbert. I do feel however, that this method of uploading photos is superior to earlier methods. It is a much less complicated and user friendly method. I think the real problem here is just the prominant position of the image on articles. Perhaps if we made the image smaller and moved it to the bottom of articles it would be better. I agree with genisock that people really don't read talk pages enough for it to be particularly useful there.Broadweighbabe (talk) 09:10, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: No. The image request boxes are about Wikipedia; they are not about the subject of the article. (Also they are "in-your-face', distracting and ugly, IMO.) Perhaps a discrete request for an image at the bottom of the article, as Broadweighbabe suggests. Wanderer57 (talk) 17:15, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Comment The image placeholders are unsightly, resembling advertisements found on commercial websites with for-profit motives. I doubt this debate would ever have erupted if many editors didn’t simply find the placeholder images to be distracting and unattractive, leading to scrutiny of whether they violate more “substantive” rules. I think aesthetics suffice in and of themselves to do away with the placeholders. To draw an analogy: in grammar, some object violently to split infinitives. Others find them inoffensive, and at least some actively approve of them. In formal writing, then, the most prudent practice is to eschew them simply to avoid distracting those readers who find them objectionable, to the detriment of the substantive point one is trying to make. So, I think, it is here; if a substantial segment of the community (and, perhaps more importantly, the general readership) finds the placeholders a distraction or disfigurement, the better course is to follow a general rule of “avoid unless compelling reasons unique to a particular article counsel otherwise.” Drhoehl (talk) 23:31, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

English grammar allows split infinitives. If people wish to try and apply the rules of Latin grammar that is their problem.Genisock2 (talk) 17:42, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm afraid your analogy doesn't make sense. Of course it makes sense to ignore split infinitives if there is no benefit to using them, but these image placeholders are not simply being used as a matter of preference. There is a clear goal to their use which is not achieved by not using them. --Cherry blossom tree 19:05, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Whether split infinitives are--or are not--"permissible" or even serve a useful purpose is not my point. What I'm getting at is that the question arouses heated, seemingly endless debate (just like that over the placeholder images), and at least a substantial number of readers disapprove of them (like the placeholder images) and find them distracting (like the placeholder images), regardless of what the "correct" answer is, assuming there even is one. The circumspect writer, then, takes that into account and, as a general practice, avoids split infinitives, regardless of whether they are "permitted," because they get in the way of communication. They are a distraction, taking readers' attention away from the matter at hand. So, I think, it is with the placeholders. They may or may not violate this or that Wikipedia "rule," but that's beside the point: they definitely annoy and distract a substantial group of users/editors and draw attention away from the information that Wikipedia is attempting to convey. Given that our goal is to communicate, not to ensure that we as editors have fully exercised every possible "right" available to us under Wikipedia's rules and regs, I'd say that we would do best to find a less divisive and distracting way of accomplishing an admittedly worthy goal, namely encouraging the submission of appropriate photographs that would enhance our entries. In fact, I suggested one (by no means uniquely mine) in the other comment that I posted concurrently with the one above, which seems to have disappeared without a trace at some point that I don't have time or energy to chase out. Hence, I'll repeat it here: what's wrong with having, instead of the placeholder image, a simple, textual template inserted below the article inviting readers with copyright-free images to submit them and linking to the simplified submission system? If those who like placeholders insist on a graphic, it could even include a little icon, like the various stub icons--maybe a picture frame with a question mark in it or some such.
Oh, by the way, please take the foregoing as a vote against the use of placeholders, not because I consider them "illegal" but because I consider their use unwise and needlessly divisive. Drhoehl (talk) 20:53, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
You are missing the point, which is that split infinitives are not analogous to placeholders. If you are writing a sentence, you can either use split infinitives or not use them and still convey your meaning. If you use them, you will annoy some people. If you don't, no-one will notice. So it is a perfectly reasonable conclusion not to use them since there is no cost associated with it. On Wikipedia, however, if you use placeholders you will annoy some people but they will also supply you with a source of free images. If you don't use them, the people you annoyed will be happy, but you won't get this source of free images, which will annoy a new set of people. The use of placeholders is a divisive issue, but it remains divisive whether you decide to use them or not. Unlike your example there are costs and benefits associated with each choice so your reasoning is invalid. If you'd like to talk about using a stub template style then there is discussion on one of the subpages. --Cherry blossom tree 22:26, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: Don't care. They may not be fully compatible with the "letter of the law", but this isn't what that standard was supposed to be about. I think the analogy to stub templates is completely legitimate, and I think that having at least one image of a person is a close-to-essential portion of a bio, at least as important as having a precise date of birth (as against a "circa" or a year). - Jmabel | Talk 18:37, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

No. Agree with Nrswanson. Perhaps stub tags do similar things as these images, but they are much less conspicuous and intrusive: it's a matter of scale. In addition, very few typical readers happen to have a free image lying around; many more are likely to have access to a reliable source. The meat of Wikipedia is content and information; photos are like a garnish. Fishal (talk) 14:14, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

This guideline does not refer to how conspicuous or intrusive something is, or to whether readers are likely to have a free image lying around. --Cherry blossom tree 15:31, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: incompatible. The very reason images are placed in that spot is because it is prominent, visible and unignorable. Placing Wiki-solicits in that space directly contravenes WP:SELF. Ford MF (talk) 19:02, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Can you explain which part of Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid this directly contravenes and how? Thanks. --Cherry blossom tree 22:12, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
WP:SELF says "Avoid self-references within Wikipedia articles to the Wikipedia project.." and points to Self-reference to define self-reference. That article says "Self-reference is a phenomenon in natural or formal languages consisting of a sentence or formula referring to itself directly, or through some intermediate sentence or formula, or by means of some encoding." The placeholder is a communication to the reader requesting that he upload a photo to Wikipedia. That's the self-reference.
Don't be misled by the bullet points introduced by the phrase "such as" in WP:SELF.. Phrases like "such as" introduce examples and should never be construed as exhaustive lists.
We have other self-references that are permitted; the most obvious two are the "edit" indicia and the various templates that point out serious imperfections in the article, such as lack of references. But these are different from the placeholders. The edit indicia are inherent in an editable encyclopedia, and in any event are artifacts of the software, not of the content. And the templates are indicia that there is a problem with the article that needs to be addressed, which serves both to get the problem addressed and to warn a reader that the article has problems.
In contrast, the placeholders merely solicit a nice-to-have but unessential feature, a picture. The lack of an image, which does not indicate any problem with the article, is insufficient justification for the solicitation. TJRC (talk) 00:24, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Your first two paragraphs are obviously true but don't address the issue. Your third paragraph, which contains your justification, is not based on Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid. This guideline makes no reference to whether something is a result of the software or not and it does not limit the use of templates to those which alert the reader to urgent problems. --Cherry blossom tree 09:13, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
(Your first two paragraphs are obviously true but don't address the issue.) Well, I'm going to disagree with you on that. I think the first two paragraphs make clear why the placeholders are self-referential and not within the class of self-references that are appropriate (e.g., when the article itself is a discussion of WP). I can't claim that it's convincing to you, of course. (Your third paragraph, which contains your justification...') No, no; my third paragraph is in anticipation of the obvious comeback: "so why aren't the edit tabs and the templates also self-referential"? They are, but with good reasons that are not applicable to the image placeholder. TJRC (talk)
Your first two paragraphs established that image placeholders are self references, which I have never disputed. You don't establish that they are not within an acceptable class of self-references - you don't mention this issue. Your third paragraph does explain why you personally think that edit tabs and templates are acceptable, but it has no basis in the guideline. Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid states that edit tabs and templates are acceptable because site housekeeping notices are explicitly permitted. Image placeholders seem to fall squarely into this category. --Cherry blossom tree 09:26, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, I'm afraid all I can do at this point is shrug; I think it's pretty clear. But as I said above, "I can't claim that it's convincing to you, of course." TJRC (talk) 17:48, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
You might think it is pretty clear, but it is not based on the guideline that you say it is. This is not an opinion, it's a fact. The only part you derive from the guideline is that image placeholders are self references, which is obvious. Your explanation for why they are self references that are not valid according to Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid has no basis in Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid. --Cherry blossom tree 22:31, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: No. for the reasons set out in my 00:24, 18 April 2008 comment above (just to get my opinion more clearly in the record). TJRC (talk) 00:31, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: No. per TJRC's excellent explanation. --Kleinzach (talk) 01:11, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: In principle, Yes. The Album project uses placeholders and (as far as I recall) nobody brought up the idea they were incompatible self-references. But of course there are differences: those are placeholders for non-free media and don't link to the upload mechanism. Gimmetrow 04:42, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: Yes. They are an invitation to expand the article, and we have numerous others forms of notice to that effect. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 09:03, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: Yes, of course. Think about the actual content reuser: there are dozens and dozens of templates that they will not be using verbatim, like all the stub templates, content warnings etc. Whatever wording we used in this template would not be used by anyone reusing the content. We're just shooting ourselves in the foot by avoiding useful invitations to contribute. Stevage 06:49, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinion: Detrimental to Wikipedia in current state. Call me one of those who is against the current implementation of these boxes. I believe they do not violate WP:SELF in terms of a self-reference to Wikipedia, but the boxes themselves are visually detrimental to articles and are therefore not okay in their current state. I sometimes find myself upset by these boxes and do not like the recent widespread and automatic placement of them. The request for free images has an important function, but the gray image itself is distracting and ugly. My recommendation would be to have no grayscale images used as backgrounds for the text. Black and white text with a border would be preferable. Guroadrunner (talk) 12:11, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

How would this proposal affect other practices?[edit]

(moved from separate question, by Pete)

I have difficulty finding much difference between image placeholders and requests for expansion, which seem to be in fairly routine use. Wouldn't the logic of this extend equally to those? If there's a reason to treat them differently, can somebody articulate it? --Michael Snow (talk) 16:33, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

I see my question was moved because the issue is touched on above. I can understand there's a case to be made for treating warnings differently, since those serve the reader. But specifically with requests for expansion, I don't see it. The only argument is about missing "essential information", which is about as useful as an undefined concept of "notability", and doesn't address the way these templates are actually being used in my opinion. --Michael Snow (talk) 17:59, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
Michael, I suspect that "how templates are used" varies widely across different areas of Wikipedia. In the articles I work on, I very rarely see {{expand}} templates, and I think that's as it should be. I don't think those are warranted very often, if ever. So the fact that they are used is not a compelling reason, to me, to justify the use of image placeholders. Another major difference is that there has never, to my knowledge, been a widespread campaign to add those templates to articles using automated tools; they are added on a case-by-case basis. -Pete (talk) 18:05, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
I'd say "a case-by-case basis" is a fairly charitable description of the amount of thought some people put into slapping templates onto articles. If you're concerned about over-automation of the encyclopedia, I totally understand. As for the argument that practices can be allowed to vary in different areas, sure, but wouldn't that logic apply equally to image placeholders? --Michael Snow (talk) 18:37, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
I was saying that practices may vary as a matter of observation -- that your seeing lots of {{expand}} templates does not match my experience. That's all I meant by that. And yes, I'm aware that many templates are placed without much thought, but it's the automation aspect that most concerns me.

It's important to this section of discussion to note that saying "other stuff exists" is generally not accepted as a valid argument on Wikipedia. -Pete (talk) 19:38, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm not interested in this as a point-scoring debate over what arguments are deemed "valid", and I'm not sure you understand what argument I'm making, since I've been focused more on asking questions about the arguments of others. That's because I'd like to explore the implications of those arguments if they are accepted. In this case, I'd be quite happy to proceed with removing a lot of the requests for expansion or relegating them to talk pages. It's a repeat of a discussion that was already had several years ago, see Wikipedia:Template locations. --Michael Snow (talk) 20:03, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
That was a general comment to the various people advancing the opinion that since other templates exist, this one is okay too. It's not a foregone conclusion that other templates are acceptable, just because they exist. (If you're not taking that position, my apologies for implying otherwise.) Thank you for the link to past discussion, that's very helpful. I was not aware of that debate. -Pete (talk) 20:10, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
Okay, it seemed to be directed at me since we were the only ones discussing in this section up to that point. I figured your lack of indentation was an oversight and didn't read it as a signal that you were switching to a comment for the general audience. Sorry for the misunderstanding. --Michael Snow (talk) 22:16, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
You seem to be misusing Wikipedia:Other stuff exists. It very specifically argues against saying "Practice A is bad but Practice B, which also goes on, is also bad therefore Practice A should continue." This relies on the person advancing the argument accepting that Practice B (in this case requests for expansion or whatever) is bad, which is not the case in this debate. Arguing that image placeholders are acceptable in the same way as requests for expansion are acceptable seems to me to be a sound argument. --Cherry blossom tree 22:10, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
Or perhaps they are both wrong? Like Pete I would say I rarely come across expansion tags. And when I do see one, I always find an appropraite stub, add that, and then remove the request for expansion tag. The only real use for an expansion tag is when there is no appropriate stub topic available for a particular article, which rarely happens. Articles that aren't stubs don't need an expansion tag and articles that have stub tags on them don't need an expansion tag. But it seems to me that the discussion here should be about placeholders and not requests for expansion tags.Nrswanson (talk) 13:30, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
talking about what you come across while editing you appear to have exactly zero free uploads and one unfree upload. Given this lack of experience with wikipedia's upload systems how much weight do you think should be given to your opinions?Genisock2 (talk) 13:47, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps they are both wrong - it makes no difference. What is relevant is that the people making the point don't think they are, so the reference to Wikipedia:Other stuff exists is mistaken.
I will also note that the existence of {{section-expand}} sidesteps your objection as (arguably) does the fact that there are articles which are not stubs but still need more info. While we are discussing placeholders, other issues are relevant where they may create a precedent and where similar debates may be found. --Cherry blossom tree 13:44, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Genisock, regarding your ad hominem dismissal of Nrswanson's position: I agree with what Nrswanson says, and I have quite a few uploads of, and edits to, both free and non-free images. I have also participated in a number of WP:IFD discussions, and have been approved as a Flickr reviewer on Commons. What Nrswanson has to say is perfectly legitimate point of view, and his apparently small number of uploads has absolutely no bearing on this discussion.
Cherry blossom tree, my mention of "otherstuffexists" is not meant to be an outright dismissal of any argument, but merely a cautionary note. Specifically, I hold the position -- and I have the sense that some others agree -- that stub tags and {{expand}} tags violate WP:SELF. I don't feel that it rises to a level where I need to make a big deal out of it, but I do believe they are technically in violation of the guideline. So any argument that relies on their existence will not compel me to change my view of the placeholders. As I've pointed out above, I find the placeholders to be far more widespread than expand tags, and far more obtrusive than stub tags, which makes them significantly more objectionable to me. The "otherstuffexists" arguments may be convincing to people who strongly support the existence of stub and expansion tags; I don't dispute that. -Pete (talk) 16:33, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
That's fine. Saying A is acceptable for the same reasons that B is acceptable is never going to convince someone who thinks that B is unacceptable, I understand that. I just wanted to defend the possibility of a logically sound argument with that premise. Incidentally, I'd be interested (though this might fit better in the other section) to know which bit of Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid is violated by stub tags and {{expand}} tags. --Cherry blossom tree 18:02, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
As I said before, pretty much the entire guideline. Cherry blossom tree, I think the disagreement you and I have comes down to this: I interpret the guideline to generally apply to articles as opposed to talk pages, Wikipedia-space pages, etc; you seem to interpret it more narrowly as applying only to the main body text of articles, but not to info boxes, templates, etc. That is fine, I don't see anything in the guideline that proves either of us right or wrong. The beginning of the guideline states Such self-references are entirely acceptable on talk pages or in the Wikipedia namespace, but they are inappropriate in articles for two reasons... I believe that, and many similar passages, apply to info-boxes and stub templates and expand templates.
Furthermore, much of the justification for the guideline has to do with printed versions and other derivative works. Unlike stub templates and expand templates, the placeholders are not suppressed from printout, which I consider an enormous problem. Genisock has stated it's impossible to suppress them, which I don't believe to be true (for instance, I think it would probably be possible to use a template that includes the image link and the {{image class}} template, in place of a simple image link). If it's truly impossible, in my view that makes the system a truly egregious violation; if it's possible to correct the behavior, that might be one of a number of changes that could make the system marginally more acceptable to me. -Pete (talk) 18:30, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Using {{image class}} on the image parameter in infoboxes should be standard and does suppress placeholder printing by adding "metadata" class and also adds "dummy" class to allow placeholders to be suppressed by user's preferences. I don't believe placeholders violate WP:SELF as it does not refer to Wikipedia at all. DoubleBlue (Talk) 19:23, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I disagree with your characterisation of the difference between our positions. I think that Wikipedia:Self-references to avoid applies to the entire article space and that the paragraph you quote, if taken in isolation, would constitute an open and shut case. It also seems to me, however, that the section "Community and website feature references" explicitly allows stub tags, requests for expansion and so on and that image placeholders fit pretty neatly into this category.
I entirely agree with you, by the way, that suppressing the image from printouts would be an unqualified good thing. My technical knowledge is limited, but I suspect that the image could be replaced by a template calling the image with the image-hiding code attached. My only worry is that this might create further problems that I haven't foreseen. --Cherry blossom tree 23:03, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I understand you better now. As far as my view, I feel like we're getting pretty deep into issues that are merely semantic. You're correct, there is an explicit exception for stubs, expand tags etc. So technically, they are permitted by WP:SELF. I guess I disagree with the explicit exception. But that disagreement really doesn't affect the present discussion. Given that the exception is there -- within the exception is a description of the "category" of tags you refer to as applying to "An article which is still in its initial development." As I explain in another section of this discussion, I do not accept that an article merely missing a photo is automatically "in its initial development." There are lots of biographies of living persons that have been assessed as good articles, and at least one that is featured. I don't believe these articles should have tags of any kind indicating they are incomplete (or in "initial development"). I consider that principle to apply to the absence of a photo in general; in itself the absence of a photo does not make an article incomplete, and is not worthy of mention in the main article space. -Pete (talk) 01:26, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Move to subpage?[edit]

The main page is still 127k long and it's a bit difficult to navigate - especially for newcomers. Would it be acceptable to move this ('Question 1. WP:SELF: Are placeholders compatible?') to its own subpage? The page would of course still be open - it would not be an archive. Thanks. --Kleinzach (talk) 23:37, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

I think the most logical way to split the page would be to have the issues and proposals on separate pages, rather that cutting a section in half. --Cherry blossom tree 09:39, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand, are you saying that Questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 should all go on one page? That would be about 70k - potentially much more - which seems far too much. BTW I wasn't suggesting we cut any sections in half - in this case it would be the whole of Question 1 which has gone quiet for the past couple of days. --Kleinzach (talk) 09:58, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
One big advantage of having separate pages is that you can watch each of them and see where the action is. This is difficult with one big page.--Kleinzach (talk) 10:01, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
I was saying that if you were going to split a page containing Questions 1-5 and Proposals 1-3 it would make more sense to have Questions 1-5 on one page and Proposals 1-3 on another than to have Question 1 on one page and Questions 2-5 and Proposals 1-3 on the other. If further splitting is required then so be it, but this seems a logical first step. --Cherry blossom tree 11:17, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
I propose to split the questions off one by one starting with this one. Is that OK? Subpages of subpages might confuse people. --Kleinzach (talk) 11:46, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
I object to having the proposals as the only thing on this page because this would encourage people to leap straight into voting without contributing to the discussion or at least familiarising themselves with it. I have no objection in principle to splitting the discussion up, though. --Cherry blossom tree 15:34, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

I did not suggest taking everything off the main page except the proposals - I think it's good to keep important, active sections of the debate on the main page. I suggested making Question 1 a subpage.

This main page is now 154k. This morning - I am in a different time zone from most people here - I am having real difficulty seeing what has been going on in the night. However I am at least familiar with the debate. What about newcomers? What will they make of it? My suggestion was to make this Question 1 a subpage to relieve a bit of the congestion. Are you (Cherry blossom tree) objecting to this for tactical reasons? If so, I think that's deplorable. What do other people think? Should we reduce the size of the main page?--Kleinzach (talk) 23:32, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Frankly, I'm profoundly insulted. No, of course I'm not objecting to this for tactical reasons. Unless you think that discouraging voting before discussion is somehow 'tactical'. But no, I've already made my aim in that regard quite clear so you would have no reason to ask the question if that was the case. What are 'tactical reasons', anyway? I really don't see how it would be tactically beneficial to either side to either split or not to split the discussion. Do you think it would benefit your case to split the discussion? I can't see how it would, but that logically follows from arguing that the other side might oppose it for tactical reasons. Please, tell me if you can see anything. But above all, please don't question the motives of people you disagree with in this way.
You said "I propose to split the questions off one by one starting with this one". On a page which consists of questions and proposals, I'm afraid splitting off the questions one by one is "taking everything off the main page except the proposals". If this isn't what you meant, then I'm sorry for misunderstanding, but it is what you said.
Finally, I did not object to splitting up the page to make it easier to read - I'd just like to see it done in a way that would encourage rather than hinder debate. Infact, I specifically said "I have no objection in principle to splitting the discussion up". Hopefully I have managed to clarify a few points here and the discussion can continue. --Cherry blossom tree 00:10, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
One simple question: will you agree to making Question 1 a subpage? I will not - and never intended - to move any other 'Questions' without asking first. Is that OK with you now? It seems no-one else has any objection. --Kleinzach (talk) 00:28, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I'd generally be in favor of moving to a subpage, but it also looks like we're not getting substantially new arguments or opinions on this page, and proposal 1 shows a strong consensus towards removing the placeholders (a little more than 3:1 for), so given that there's been five days for discussion, I think closing the discussion as "proposal 1 passes" would be appropriate, followed by archiving the whole debate. I'm not sure exactly what the rule for closing these discussions are, but the AfD 5-day rule with strong consensus (almost SNOW?) seems appropriate. -- Myke Cuthbert (talk) 04:24, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
The scale of this centralized discussion is large and it's taken time to put out notices about it. The last one went out in the (delayed) Signpost yesterday. I hope in the next few days we can judge how it is going, how much more time we need. I'd be in favour of deciding a date for concluding the discussion. (BTW subpages have nothing to do with closing anything - just making it all easier to access). --Kleinzach (talk) 10:13, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I hope I've already made it clear that I am generally supportive of splitting the discussion up, but I am unwilling to comment on whether you're going about it in a sensible way until I know the details of your master plan. I also think that while 5 days discussion may be acceptable for an AfD it is not sufficient to make a change of this magnitude. --Cherry blossom tree 09:49, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Myke Cuthbert's master plan or mine? I don't have a master plan. This page is now 176k. That's too much, hence we need to make subpages. --Kleinzach (talk) 10:20, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I was somewhat flippant there. You have spoken about splitting off more and more of this discussion (which I don't necessarily disagree with.) Before I comment, I'd like to know how you see it ending up, in broad terms. Thanks. --Cherry blossom tree 10:43, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
It's now 178k. I'd like to see it down much lower - half maybe - starting with making this Question 1 into a subpage. --Kleinzach (talk) 11:08, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I entirely agree with you that making this page smaller is a good move, but I can't make an informed comment until you explain how you plan to achieve this goal. Basically, what I don't want to happen is that we get people coming to this page leaping straight into voting without considering the debate, which I think would happen if the main content of this page was simply the proposals. If you're confident that whatever you have in mind won't have this effect then I'm sure I won't object. --Cherry blossom tree 11:49, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
One possibility is to move everything to subpages... all questions and all proposals. We could write a paragraph under each section header providing a NPOV summary of the points discussed so far. This page would then become something like the main page of an "article series", from which editors can navigate to the various subpages for discussion or navigate to the proposals page if they choose to comment there. I believe we also should have a discussion here about procedure, how long to continue the process before closing the proposals. While I agree with mscuthbert that it looks like a consensus is emerging, I think that given the level of change we're talking about (affecting 50,000+ articles) we need to wait for a much stronger consensus than the average AfD. And if this is going to continue for another week or ten days or more, eventually we're going to have to move everything to subpages. My thought is that we might as well do it now and do it cleanly. Anyone want to propose a date for closing the discussion...?Northwesterner1 (talk) 12:00, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Any proposal would have to be made in a proper place - not here. No sensible person would undertake the labour of reading through this section. --Kleinzach (talk) 13:10, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I've started Section 1.2 for this. --Kleinzach (talk) 13:18, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Moving everything to subpages with a central index on this page works fine for me. --Cherry blossom tree 13:46, 18 April 2008 (UTC)