Wikipedia talk:Coatrack articles

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Clarify examples?[edit]

I think there is the germ of a REALLY useful guideline on this page. However, I find the examples very unclear. Could someone who has given this topic more thought than I please provide article titles to go with the examples, even if they are fake article titles? I don't really know how the examples apply to wikipedia on a practical level because they are written in a self-consciously jokey way (for example: "Some dude did it so it must be good" - what would the article here be? About the "dude"? About the religion? Are we to assume this is a made-up religion and not, say, Judaism or Islam?) Surfer83 (talk) 22:47, 22 August 2009 (UTC)


A good article to check out would be the Todd Bentley article. Here is a classic example of the criticism problem and the coatracking problem. Personally I think the article is fair minded, however by its very subject it is easy to criticize it as coatracking, attack, and non-neutrality. Todd Bentley was an evangelist who rose to prominence a few years ago by leading revivals in Lakeland, Florida. Things did not end very well by any interpretation for him. Investigative journalism found that none of his professed "faith healings" were verifiable, and he was committing some form of marital infidelity, which according to his own theological beliefs was wrong, and the goings on at his revivals were decidedly unorthodox by any reasonable interpretation of the more widely attended Christian denominations in America. The article briefly discusses his background before discussing these things extensively. The problem is that he would never have been notable enough to receive a wikipedia enry had these things not happened, meaning that a majority of events worth mentioning are largely negative things for Mr. Bentley, with no real alternative interpretation being a reasonable thing to enter into the article. Musing Sojourner (talk) 20:08, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

this is a situation that should be discussed at the Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard. The article is ,as you say, quite a problem. DGG ( talk ) 23:51, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Oops! I forgot to add why it was coatracking insteadof just a problematic bio of a living person. Although the coatracking appears to be somewhat gone (though the article is still problematic), the article had been used to go after several different theological factions in the charismatic church, to which the subject was affiliated, in a pretty direct way. Much of that language is gone and now the other issues are as you say DGG better suited to be discussed at Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/NoticeboardMusing Sojourner (talk) 15:21, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

This article needs to be much tighter (and smaller) to be usful in conflict situations, IMHO (22:22, 4 September 2012 (UTC))

No, More Realistic Examples[edit]

My problem is that the examples presented have words like "evil", "lousy", "wonderful", "stupid", etc. These are far beyond what's typical in a WP article and since that material is clearly against other WP policies anyway, they do little to help one understand coatracking. Wouldn't a better example be one where material that doesn't violate any other policy, is included in an inappropriate context and is therefore coatracking? AngusCA (talk) 15:24, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

These are not real examples. These are condensed, simplified sketches of biased information of marginal relevance. Probably a phrase explaining this must be added to the text. I am sure you know 12 "politically correct" ways to say "lousy". But they will make text much longer and will actually obscure the intent of the examples. Staszek Lem (talk) 19:07, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't help that it's rather hard to read the "Dr. Fronkensteen" one without either A.) Giggling like a madman, B.) Suddenly having the urge to say "Frau Blucher" and see if horses neigh, or C.) Both of the above. Kitsunedawn (at work, will "sign" this in an edit when I get home)

I think I just came across a realistic example. In Apollo 1 (1967 fire which killed three astronauts in 1967), someone years ago (who only made two edits and then left) added an uncited small paragraph about some people "from MIT" who supposedly studied static electricity, and found that nylon space suits rubbing against the seats were capable of causing sparks. In fact, this subject was never mentioned or considered by the investigation board, which found that electrical wiring problems were the likely ignition source. I removed this. Another good-faith editor did some digging and found a 1969 NASA study (no mention of MIT) on static electricity in the improved post-fire spacecraft and suits (no more nylon). This study in no way mentioned or was relevant to the Apollo 1 fire, but the editor used this (with citation) to replace the deleted paragraph. I think that's a replacement of the original "coat" tossed onto the Apollo 1 "rack". (See Feb. 27-28, 2015 revision history.) JustinTime55 (talk) 14:20, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

Nominal and tangential subject[edit]

Can someone explain what precisely is meant by "nominal subject" and "tangential subject". --Shabidoo | Talk 01:08, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Yes, please. I want to know it too. I still don't know what this is all about. This article is just comedy. Shouldn't it supposed to help people write articles? --2.245.65.151 (talk) 01:05, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Proposal to develop a content guideline on encyclopedic relevance[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please comment at Wikipedia talk:Handling trivia#Proposal to develop a content guideline on encyclopedic relevance.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:32, 14 June 2015 (UTC)


Name[edit]

Should we move to Coat-rack article? I spent some time wondering what a "Coa-track" was.... Rich Farmbrough, 08:24 16 July 2007 (GMT).

same here. -- 85.125.140.110 (talk) 13:39, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Same here! I was just about to post a similar comment - "what exactly is a coa track?" - Gobeirne (talk) 10:15, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I concur. I think zero opposition in almost 8 years is consensus to move, but I'll open an RM on it anyway.
Yes, let's move it - i also was mistified by the name. Zezen (talk) 15:29, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Requested move 14 June 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no consensus. Jenks24 (talk) 12:35, 15 July 2015 (UTC)



Wikipedia:CoatrackWikipedia:Coat-rack article – Parseability. This move has been proposed since 2007 with support but zero opposition. Still, it's a well-used essay, so a last-call RM is probably in order. Relisted. Jenks24 (talk) 06:22, 6 July 2015 (UTC) --Relisted. George Ho (talk) 00:28, 21 June 2015 (UTC)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:01, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

oppose. tradition. wikipedia has more of much weirder slang. if you are wondering what coa track is, read the article.-M.Altenmann >t 15:16, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment why is being posted in the middle of an 8 year old section that has had no activity for most of a decade? This hides the material from people expecting new talk at the bottom. Further, that discussion is blatantly stale (such as people not posting into it because it is stale), so this should have been a new section at the bottom. Indeed on many pages, there are multiple renaming discussions, where we do not just go back to the first posted section that are years old with no activity; for example, the recent request at Talk:Victor Valley, California does not reopen the 4-year old stale discussion at the top of the page, but opens a new discussion at the bottom of the talk page. -- 70.51.203.69 (talk) 05:50, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
I agree. It should have been a new section at the bottom of the page. However, since it has instead been added to the old section, rather than break it up I am moving the whole section to the bottom. The editor who uses the pseudonym "JamesBWatson" (talk) 16:26, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
It's been moved, but who cares? People find RMs by clicking on them at WP:RM, or by what they see in their watchlists, not by trawling millions of articles' talk pages and manually looking at recent threads. Let's not be silly.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:03, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support of course this change will make no change to the use of shortcuts WP:COAT and WP:COATRACK yet it makes valuable sense of the content. I would prefer a title as Wikipedia:Coat-rack articles. GregKaye 20:20, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Concision, tradition. Don't really see the value add to spelling it out, you still need to read the essay to understand WTF it's talking about. SnowFire (talk) 00:37, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
  • The value-add is that it's plain English and makes sense as a title without having to go read it to find out why we have a page about a piece of foyer furniture. The #2 complaint of new WP editors (after a snobby, insiders-only attitude, which is closely related to #2) is that it's too dense with confusing jargon.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:03, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I entirely agree, it's a big problem. However, I don't see how "Coatrack article" is any clearer. WTF does that even mean? It's *still* internal jargon, incomprehensible unless you read the essay. Wikipedia:Articles should be about the actual article would be descriptive and friendlier to newbies but not concise (unless turned into an incomprehensible acronym), so choose your poison. SnowFire (talk) 15:22, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
It's clearer in that you at least know it refers to a classification of articles. Look, WP:COATRACK is a shortcut. The point of a shortcut is that it's shorter than the page name, which should generally be more descriptive. There are some exceptions, like WP:Consensus, where a longer title would be superfluous, but that's not the case here. "Coatrack" by itself just means a piece of furniture in a lobby.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:35, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
WP:COATRACK is not only about article. There can be a coatrack section. The title of the essay is irrelevant. Unlike wikipedia articles, it is not a searchable term. Normally a reader sees it only when it is cited in a discussion. If somebody does not know WTH is this, they simply have to click this wikilink, if only to learn a new piece of wikilingo. E.g. do you know what "pigtail" or "bird's beak" mean in electronics? -M.Altenmann >t 15:33, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Fair enough point about "not only about articles". We can relist this, and suggest alternatives. Some obvious ones are WP:Coatrack content (describe the "substance"), WP:Don't coatrack (gives advice and uses a verb that makes it clears it's a term of art, not furniture), WP:Articles aren't coatracks (describe the situation, and it still works because sections are part of articles). Etc. I did know pigtail, don't recall birdbeak, but it rings a bell. The thing is, I'm not even slightly compelled to go see what it means. Not everyone shares your fondness for clicking to find lingo. :-) I generally don't bother, since I know all the important pages here already, and any new ones I see are either links to probably crappy new essays, or disused shortcuts to stuff I already know. Everything on WP is searchable, just not be default with WP's own search tool. To the extent there's some "joy of discovery" factor involved in wondering what "coatrack" means on WP and clicking to learn about it, that will still happen, since most references to this page use the WP:COATRACK not-really-shortcut.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:26, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

All about George[edit]

In the All about George section, the essay states "perhaps George Washington did own slaves at the time, nonetheless, it presents it in a negative, non-neutral point-of-view". This suggests that slavery shouldn't be presented in a negative way, which I don't think is supported by WP:NPOV. Perhaps we can reword the section? Pburka (talk) 22:16, 29 May 2016 (UTC)