Wikipedia talk:Help desk/RD tip

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This template is intended to be used to respond to factual questions asked at the Help desk.


Would it be better to split this into {{RD}}, {{RD-sect}}, and {{RD-art}}? anyone using thsi must know which parameter, if any, it si beign called with. thsi would avoid the conditionals wqhich add lots of junk to the page and are at best contrversial as per WP:AUM. DES (talk) 23:25, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

I can't say I like the idea of splitting it. We can discuss this further if you'd like, but for the time being I'll say I think I've found a way to solve some of the current problems, and will now give it a try. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 13:41, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Apparently, thinking is not my strongest part. But as far as I understood, there are plans to make conditionals built-in to WP, which will probably solve all our problems. Until then, splitting actually doesn't sound like a bad idea, but since I want it to be as streamlined as possible, how about giving up on the words and go for something like {{RD}}, {{RD-}}, and {{RD--}}? -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 14:59, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Can someone explain to me why having I don't know how many templates would be better than having one? It even says it needs to be subst: to avoid server strain. So there's really no reason this particular template shouldn't be a meta one. - Mgm|(talk) 11:15, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
The main concern is, as far as I know, that the current template, when substed, puts a lot of junk on the page. This is harmless, I guess, but not very elegant. My efforts to reduce this junk have been unsuccessful - But if you know of a way to do it, that would be great. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 11:52, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
That's indeed the main argument. Also, the "junk" itself contains template calls and thus causes additional server load. I see no reason why we shouldn't have separate templates for these three different cases, and will emphatically support splitting. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 16:19, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Okay, how about having Wikipedia:Help desk/RD tip, Wikipedia:Help desk/RD tip section and Wikipedia:Help desk/RD tip article, with shortcuts {{RD}}, {{RD2}} and {{RD3}}? That should solve most of our problems. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 16:26, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Would having some <includeonly>subst:</includeonly> calls, like {{archivebox}} help reduce the amount of stuff in there? I cringed when I saw the if statement substed on every RD referral. --Christopherlin 17:03, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
I tried to do something of that sort, but it didn't work. Maybe it was because I screwed something up, but I think doing such things messes up the optional parameters. If you think you know a way to make it work, try it in some sandbox and tell us the results. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 17:41, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Okay. I'm thinking my user space, unless you can suggest a better place. Do you have records of what you tried that didn't work? --Christopherlin 19:35, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
I've placed that thing in User:Meni Rosenfeld/Temp, and I've put in User:Meni Rosenfeld/Sandbox what you get when you subst it with no parameters\1st parameter\2nd parameter. Only the last case works. Maybe the parameter calls need to be fixed. If you have any ideas, you can work directly on those pages. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 19:44, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
According to Template talk:Qif, qif doesn't work when subst-ed. I pretty much was thinking the same thing you already did. Oh well. There is probably a way to get them out of a single template, but I'm thinking splitting might be easier. Maybe using switch? I think optional parameters are better done for two cases. Doing so would require changing the way it works. Maybe something like {{RD|a|article}} and {{RD|t|topic}} using a switch/case statement on a/t? --Christopherlin 20:20, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
We might as well split it, then, and use {{RD-a|article}} and {{RD-t|topic}} instead. Not much difference in usage, is there, but the results are much cleaner. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 09:44, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I guess splitting is the best option. But we should decide how to call each fragment. So how about my proposed {{RD}}, {{RD2}} and {{RD3}}? -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 16:11, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
RD-a, RD-t seem more intuitive, but redirects are cheap. I still have to look before using the various otheruses templates. --Christopherlin 16:21, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

The deal is that I can already see myself, at least, whenever I try to use the template, struggling to figure out "With a hyphen? Without? article, art or just a? Lowercase or uppercase a?" With numbers I think this can be avoided, and it is also similar to the current usage, where the number of |'s determines the result. I also don't think making a swarm of redirects is good. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 16:33, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Unnecessarily condescending?[edit]

The current version, unlike the one shown at the top of this page, of this starts with "Please read the notice at the top of this page." I've been reading the helpdesk page, so I've encountered this over and over, and the cumulative experience is pretty offputting. Before I realized it was a template I kept thinking "why is everyone being so rude?" It's like being scolded by a bank teller or something. It seems so much more helpful to just... be helpful. I know part of the intent is to educate newbies so they don't make the mistake again, but I think the net effect is condescending and tends to make those newbies feel like they've broken yet another non-obvious rule, and god knows there are already lots of those. Comments welcome. rodii 00:46, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

I, too, didn't really like the "Please read the notice" thing, so I have now removed it. I hope you'll be more comfortable with the current version, which I think is polite and informative - People won't have trouble finding the answers they need after following the suggestions. But you'll have to agree that it is annoying that, despite the very clear instructions on what to post in the page, many people post misplaced questions. This template, and the comment I have removed, are a way of reminding people that it is unwise to do whatever they feel like without heeding the very sincere efforts to inform them what they should do. When I was new(er) I read the instructions carefully to make sure I am posting at the right place. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 13:50, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely, it is annoying. I understand the impulse behind putting that piece in there. I guess when it comes down to it, it seems like part of agreeing to do help-desk "duty" is having to swallow that annoyance and trying to educate people in more subtle ways. Like you, I tried "read the instructions" more carefully when I was a noob (actually I still feel like a noob), but I still screwed up in multiple ways. This place can be overwhelmingly complicated to a newcomer and, as any interface designer knows, people are expert at finding ways to overlook the obvious. :) Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful answer. rodii 14:01, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Sure. They can have formatting or something wrong. But if the top of the help desk says it's for questions about Wikipedia and that factual questions like <example> should go somewhere else, they're clearly not reading that if HD still gets reference desk questions. - Mgm|(talk) 11:12, 27 February 2006 (UTC)</nowiki>

The template has been split[edit]

I've split the template. See Wikipedia:Help desk/RD tip for further details. All instructions should be centralized in Wikipedia:Help desk/RD tip, and all discussion here at Wikipedia Talk:Help desk/RD tip. The template page will also temporarily contain the old version, for compatibility. Comments welcome. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 09:47, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Compatibility broken[edit]

To make sure no one uses the old template anymore, I've removed the old text and placed instead:

Do not use this template. Use {{RD1}}, {{RD2}} or {{RD3}} instead.

-- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 11:00, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, it's included instead of substed more than a few times. So instead of a pointer to the reference desk, it gives a "template" message instead. --Christopherlin 18:31, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

I could only find one, here, and have now fixed it. Are there any others? -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 18:43, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Special:Whatlinkshere/Template:RD has a few more inclusions in the archive. --Christopherlin 20:35, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

All fixed now (sort of). -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 17:38, 25 March 2006 (UTC)


I have done a few things to help reorganize. First of all, I find the names "RD1," "RD2," "RD3" to be a bit obscure, so I made two more redirect pages, {{RD section}} and {{RD article}}, which I find easier to remember.

Thirdly, I changed Template:RD to point to the same place as RD1. I found it very odd to be given a message telling me not to use it when I substitute it. It either should be deleted or redirected to new page, like I did.--Max Talk (add)Contribs 06:11, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

But this way, people who don't know about the split would try something like {{RD|Science}} and will wonder why they get the generic message, and not know what to do. A message that explains this template shouldn't be used anymore is the best option. Anyone will once try the old template, see the message, and learn how to fix it and not to use it. I will change it back, if you have any objection please discuss it here. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 10:25, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

The next step...[edit]

The RD templates are nice, but they don't cover everything. What about questions like "l,am looking to rent a shop on sutton way?". What responses should make for these?--Max Talk (add)Contribs 19:54, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

How about "I'm afraid we can't help you with that. Wikipedia is not a bulletin board."? Maybe it can be softened a little, but that should be the general idea. Perhaps with some links to online bulletin board sites. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 08:31, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Double Linkage[edit]

(moved from Wikipedia talk:Help desk/RD tip 1 (plain):)This is a pretty minor aesthetic thing, but it bothers me slightly that the reference desk is linked to twice - I really think the whole second sentence of "Here's a link" is unnecessary and slightly condescending, like "I think you're too stupid to notice the first link, so I'll put it again". I know I'm being a little over-reactive, but that's the general idea, at least from my perspective. So, rather, does anyone have any objections to either removing or rewording the second link, or just not linking to it the first time? Thanks in advanced for your comments! —Keakealani 06:13, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

You're right, I've fixed it. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 08:57, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
Ah, thank you, Meni! And thanks for moving my question to the right place...this is a much more logical place, I think. <3—Keakealani 22:17, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Naming 2 articles in RD3[edit]

I've come across times where I wanted to reference 2 possible articles for someone to look at, "otherwise try the RD". I have now added the ability to name 2 articles in RD3:

  • {{RD3|Butterfly}} gives (as before):
Symbol move vote.svg You might find what you are looking for in the article Butterfly. If you cannot find the answer there, you can try asking your question at Wikipedia's Reference Desk. They specialize in knowledge questions and will try to answer just about any question in the universe (except about how to use Wikipedia, which is what this help desk is for). I hope this helps.
  • {{RD3|Butterfly|Caterpillar}} gives (as before):
Symbol move vote.svg You might find what you are looking for in the articles Butterfly or Caterpillar. If you cannot find the answer there, you can try asking your question at Wikipedia's Reference Desk. They specialize in knowledge questions and will try to answer just about any question in the universe (except about how to use Wikipedia, which is what this help desk is for). I hope this helps.

Regards, -- PhantomSteve (Contact Me, My Contribs) 09:02, 19 October 2009 (UTC)