Wikipedia talk:Avoiding common mistakes

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First message[edit]

I just tried to make the whole page less arrogant and a bit nicer to newcomers. Thoughts? (and what happened to the old Talk: ?? Aha! found it. reposted below.) +sj+ 18:48, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)

For attribution purposes, the history of the old talk page can be found at Wikipedia talk:Most common Wikipedia faux pas. Graham87 08:17, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Older Talk[edit]

I've unprotected this page so that anyone can edit it, as I don't feel that the material on it is sensitive enough to justify edit protection. Enchanter 16:45 Sep 8, 2002 (UTC)

I'd like to add something about "don't asssume the reader's cultural background" -- I find we get a lot of articles that assume the reader is familiar with US terms & habits (the Groundhog Day article was a good example: it leapt in with the origins of GD without actually saying what GD is.) ANy objections / modifications? -- Tarquin 11:38 Jan 12, 2003 (UTC)

I agree. How about the point of view? Many articles assume readers are USA citizens (not english-speakers). For example, in Japan article, the size of Japan is the almost same as California or the life expansion is longer than that of USA. Why do we have to compare things with things that americans are familar with? I know it is nice not just say the number but also compare something familiar. But certainly we can't assume what is familiar. Any idea? -- Taku 15:53 Jan 12, 2003 (UTC)

Temporarily imperfect?[edit]

Temporarily Imperfect? That's a lofty goal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Weatherman667 (talkcontribs) 07:02, 26 August 2004 (UTC)

Deleting your User Talk page or removing text from your User Talk page.[edit]

  • I believe deleting blatant vandalism from your User Talk page is OK (although deleting criticism isn't). JIP | Talk 15:04, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Creating more work for WikiJanitors?[edit]

I removed this from the page for the time being:

"Creating more work for WikiJanitors, especially for pages in the Wikipedia namespace. Many well-meaning users will attempt to improve a process without considering that their changes will increase the workload for others. See: m:instruction creep."

In a word: huh?

  1. What's a "WikiJanitor?"
  2. "Many well-meaning users will attempt to improve a process..." How do these users attempt to improve a process? Give an example!
  3. "...without considering that their changes will increase the workload for others." How will their changes increase the workload for others? Give an example!

I'm sure this is trying to say something useful. Anyone feel like rewriting it?

- Pioneer-12 20:44, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedians are all altruists?[edit]

"Arming for war. Wikipedia is a unique community of altruistic and consensus-oriented people."

Really? Then I'm in the wrong place! Seriously, altruism is a particular ethical viewpoint which is not shared by all users. I changed this to read "...unique community of reasonable and consensus-oriented people". Even though I'm sure the adjective "reasonable" also does not apply to all users, I think it is a much more accurate characterization of the vast majority. capitalist 03:09, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

I believe you are referring to unselfish self-interest, the drive to improve something for oneself in such a way that other people might benefit secondarily. However, I think editing Wikipedia is probably more altruistic than that. After all, this is a website where people go to learn and to research existing knowledge. If a person places correct information on the page, it is not that user that benefits, but others, since the editing user has that knowledge and is sharing it. The only way I can think of to use Wikipedia selfishly and yet reasonably is to place information on Wikipedia to later reference in a research paper, or to prove someone else wrong in an argument. So, whether or not we are altruistic in general, Wikipedians exhibit altruistic behavior when editing, and are thus, for the time, altruistic. BlueNight 21:58, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

I wouldn't be referring to "unselfish self-interest" any more than I'd be referring to "very short tall people", since both are contradictory. If a person places correct information in Wikipedia, it may be for entirely selfish reasons such as wanting to live in a society of informed people who do things right. For example, if I place information here about how to build a bridge correctly, it's not because I'm being altruistic; it's because I prefer not to drive or walk over bridges which collapse. I'm expanding the knowledge of others not for their well being (although that may be a result), but for my own. capitalist 02:57, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
And I prefer bridges built by trained engineers, not people who learned how to build them on Wikipedia. ;) --BlueNight 07:51, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Expressing a personal preference? How un-altruistic of you. Shocking!  ;) capitalist 04:49, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Multiple line breaks and HTML tables (instead of table markup)[edit]

Would these classify as common mistakes?

Such as:

This is a paragraph.

This is another paragraph.


<table> <tr> <td>Hi</td> </tr> </table>

? -x42bn6 Talk 14:40, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

Adding a section[edit]

Now that anon page creation is disabled one of the most common mistakes by newcomers is writing about themselves or their company. I think we ought to add that; if nobody objects I'll do it myself. - Just zis  Guy, you know? [T]/[C] AfD? 17:27, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Good idea. Put it under 'helping in the wrong way'. Link to appropriate policies. Stevage 20:59, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Another good reason not to talk about your company, besides those listed, is that if you accidentally disclose intellectual property, you might get fired. I'd add it myself, but as a new Wikipedian, I'm a little timid about editing such a visible page as this one :) --Jaysweet 20:17, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

How about this?[edit]

Being a newcomer, I have no idea if this is common or not, but maybe something about checking for a deletion log when creating a new article should be added. I know I didn't do this for my first article, and, being one that had been deleted previously, it was speedily deleted. This almost convinced me to leave Wikipedia. -- VGF11 23:03, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree heartily with this one. I've been a Wikipedian for years now, but I still don't know of an easy and intuitive way to find the logs for deleted articles. I'll try to find it and put it in the article. Spalding 22:40, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Praise and a question[edit]

There really are a lot of smart people here. I was highly amused with the internal links policy. (each word was cleverly linked, thrive linked to 'failure to thrive', while 'but' linked to 'butt') Nicely done. However, I was wondering if there was a wiki on avoiding common mistakes in Talk/discussion pages. I know you shouldn't incite flamewars, etc... but maybe something as complete, yet simple as this article. Thanks all -rocket —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 05:28, 21 October 2006

See WP:EIW#Talk. How's that for a fast answer? --Teratornis (talk) 09:01, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
About as good as this one. BreakfastJr (talk) 09:37, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Promote to guideline[edit]

This should really be marked out as a guideline --Barberio 00:06, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Isn't it more like a list that points to a number of existing guidelines? >Radiant< 09:48, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
    I agree with Radiant. Like lists in the article namespace, this contains no standalone content; instead, it contains summarized duplications of things that are found elsewhere. This page is useful to direct people to, but it doesn't really need guideline status to get its points across. On another note, why did I have this page on my watchlist? Picaroon 20:27, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
As per above comments, I think this new header is the best reflection. This avoids getting new policy material inadvertantly inserted via summaries like this. AndrewRT(Talk) 21:40, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Text Addition[edit]

The proposed policy page contains the following text:

Company articles. It is often better not to write an article about the company you work for or own. Firstly, you may have problems maintaining a neutral point of view, and secondly, it may be that your article will be quickly deleted. If your company is notable enough, someone else will write an article about it.

I would like to add the following text to give a more positive direction to persons who want more content about their companies on Wikipedia, as many notable companies are probably not included in Wikipedia already:

Company articles. It is often better not to write an article about the company you work for or own. Firstly, you may have problems maintaining a neutral point of view, and secondly, it may be that your article will be quickly deleted. If your company is notable enough, someone else will write an article about it. If you feel the company meets notability criteria, but does not have an article, you can request someone write an article on it.

I would appreciate any comments on this addition, as this is a proposed policy/guideline, I thought it might be worth seeking input before changing the text. --Matthew 21:53, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Looks like a good addition to me! I much prefer telling someone what they may do instead of simply saying "Don't do that". Flakeloaf 15:46, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
First of all, whether this is added or not, the word "often" should be removed. I find it very unlikely that there is going to be an exception, but the use of the word "often" implies there might be.
I also think the link to Wikipedia:Requested articles is a bad idea. Giving people interested in promoting their company, as many - I'm not going to say most - of those who want these articles are, is not something we want to do. Instead, we should make it clear to them that any article on the company they are associated some of them will), the requestor's ability to say "but somebody else wrote it!" will throw a monkey wrench in the process of removing non-notable content. Granted, many of the requests for article writing will be ignored, but if some are accepted, it could be seen as a form of meatpuppetry (albeit in good faith), could it not?
To sum up what I said, I think "often" should be removed, but your last sentence shouldn't be added. Picaroon 22:41, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

How do I make bullet points and how do i make a columns and how do i get photos onto this website.CorreyBonnick 17:00, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

user pages question[edit]

I've heard it said that wikipedia is not a blog, this article seems to be saying that a person can use their user page as 1, by saying they can write anything to their hearts content. What are sandoxes for then (up to now I have not even used my sanbox as a blog. I have been of the impression that all wikipedia should be used in line w/ wikipedia, and that many even feel that @ least most userboxes were pushing it in terms of self-promotion. Please helpThaddeus Slamp

What About Volunteers?[edit]

I was trying to parse the wikiquette and I wasn't sure about my situation. I'm a part-time volunteer for a non-profit and someone recently added an entry for the project I'm working on. Is it improper to edit it to reflect more accurate information about the project? Schear 22:59, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Read WP:COI, WP:RS, and Wikipedia:FAQ/Organizations. If you see an error of fact, but you have no reliable published source to support your personal knowledge, you could explain your position on the article's talk page and let independent editors work it out. If your knowledge about the organization is not in any reliable published sources, you could contact a reputable journalist and sit for an interview. The limiting factor for developing Wikipedia is often the lack of suitable sources on which to base our articles. --Teratornis (talk) 09:05, 28 January 2010 (UTC)


The similar page Wikipedia:Common mistakes was merged with this page following an unchallenged proposal at Wikipedia talk:Common mistakes. If you have any objections to this merge, please feel free to voice them. haz (talk) 16:55, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Signatures in discussions[edit]

Can we add a section about forgetting to add signatures in talk pages? When I first got on Wikipedia I don't think I knew about signatures at all. Then, after I first learned about signatures, I thought I had to sign with my actual name! Only after I made a relatively large number of edits did SineBot alert me that I was doing it wrong. -- (talk) 23:28, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

. -- (t Hasan308 (talk) 12:33, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

. -- Hasan308 (talk) 12:33, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Minnesotans for the WRITE Choice[edit]

Minnesotans for the WRITE Choice -- (MWC) formed in early September 1990 in a statewide, grass-roots write-in campaign to elect Independent-Republican State Auditor Arne H. Carlson governor. The group formed shortly after Carlson's surprise Primary Election defeat to Jon Grunseth, a fellow Republican and abortion rights opponent.

Before the six-week run up to Minnesota's gubernatorial primary, Republican Party candidates Carlson and Grunseth split sharply over abortion rights, popularly called "Pro-Choice." Pollsters predicted Carlson, a supporter of women's choice, would win. When the Republican Primary votes were tallied, Carlson had lost.

MWC was organized by pro-choice Democrats and Republicans to launch a statewide write-in campaign to elect Carlson governor, according to co-chair, Michael Dunstan. The 18-member MRC group included veteran Democratic Farmer-Labor Union(DFL) strategist Jim Goff, women's organizer and co-chair Sara Jahne and Dunstan, its sole Republican, and Minneapolis public relations agency owner.

Beginning with a news conference at the Minnesota State Capitol, MWC saturated Minnesota news media promoting its Carlson write-in campaign. MWC organized campaign volunteers, mobilzed canvassers and printed more than one million stickers to be pasted on write-in ballots across the state.

While MWC campaigned for Carlson, news media dogged Grunseth over alleged sexual misconduct with minors in coverage that dragged on almost daily.

Two weeks before the vote, Dunstan and MWC supporters staged a pro-Carlson rally in front of his State Auditor's office in St. Paul. There Carlson announced his return as candidate for Governor before local and national news media. A few days later, Grunseth stepped down from the Republican nomination, enabling Carlson to ascend as the Republican nominee.

Carlson presented himself as a less polarizing leader than the incumbent governor, Rudy Perpich -- himself an abortion foe. Carlson won the general election by 3 percentage points and went on to serve a second term as Minnesota's 37th Governor, ending in 1999. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Razorfish721 (talkcontribs) 08:28, 24 December 2012 (UTC)