Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style

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MOSBIO proposal needs more participation[edit]

Seeking more participation for my proposal at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies#A slight expansion of MOS:JR.

The proposal has been quiet for 10 days, stalemated around a relatively minor detail. To wit: After considering the recent changes to MOS:JR, which established a default of no comma in John Doe Jr., which of the following surname-first forms should be preferred: Doe, John Jr. or Doe, John, Jr.?

Your participation is needed. If you !vote, please first read all of the discussion, including that in the "Extended discussion" subsection. ―Mandruss  17:40, 28 May 2016 (UTC)

Restored this from archive since the proposal is still quiet after 39 days. Using Template:Do not archive until to prevent re-archive for 90 days, but that can removed if and when the proposal archives without resolution. It would be a shame to fail to make the main improvement, which has consensus, because of the stalemate on this minor issue. ―Mandruss  07:46, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

RfC: What (if anything) to do about quotations, and the quotation templates?[edit]

Statement of the issues[edit]

There's no "Survey" section in this RfC and no up/down vote on an action item. That can come later. There's a lot to chew on here, so let's just have a threaded discussion(s). Maybe we can generate an action item(s) to "vote" on further down the road.

It's a complicated question covering a decade of use of some half-dozen templates which are transcluded over some half a million articles, with documentation in several places. So I apologize in advance for the length of the material.

The basic questions of this RfC[edit]

The basic question is "How should quotes be handled in articles" A legitimate answer, of course, is "exactly as they have been". (We are referring in this RfC to typical quotes from a general source, not specialized situations handled by specialized templates such as {{Quote hadith}} etc.)

So some more detailed questions that arise from this might be:

  • Is it OK to continue to have three different templates used for general quotes, or not? Why or why not?
  • The WP:MOS specifies to use {{Quote}} for quotes, and doesn't mention {{Quote box}} one way or the other, but {{Quote box}} itself says to not use it for regular quotes -- yet {{Quote box}} is used for quotes far more often than {{Quote}}; ought this situation be addressed, or not, and if so how?
  • {{Cquote}} is used a fair amount for quotations, even though this MOS strictly forbids this; ought this situation be addressed, or not, and if so how?
  • This MOS by inference supports pull quotes ("the {{pull quote}}... template, which [is] reserved for pull quotes"). Should this MOS discourage or even forbid pull quotes, or is it OK like this?

And there are probably lots of other questions. Possible solutions are many, including

  • Doing nothing, leave the present situation as is.
  • Functionally deleting two of {{Quote}} / {{Quote box}} / {{Cquote}} (by just making two of them a redirect to the remaining one? or whatever would be the best way technically to achieve this function).
  • Changing the documentation to overtly permit use of all three (or: some two) templates for quotes at editors' discretion.
  • Designing a new template which is better than any of the existing ones and deprecating the old ones.
  • Writing a new protocol which carves out separate uses for {{quote}} and {{quote box}} and/or {{cquote}}.

And certainly there are many other good ideas to be had. That's the purpose of this RfC, to think about these and various other possibilities, and maybe we can find some that seem worthy of being presented as action items, down the road. Herostratus (talk) 20:56, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

Reference: examples of the three templates commonly used for generic quotes[edit]

Below is {{Quote}}, the MOS officially sanctioned template, which formats quotations with only indentation:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

— Anonymous, Sad Sack Goes to College

Below is {{Quote box}}, which is supposed to be for pull quotes, but is not specifically forbidden in the MOS for normal quotes, and is sometimes used for normal quotes. It adds a box around the quotation:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Anonymous, Jr., My First Book of Complete Nonsense

Below is {{Cquote}} (which is actually a redirect to {{Pull quote}}), and which is specifically forbidden for normal quotes by the MOS, but is sometimes used for normal quotes. It adds large pastel quote marks around the quotation:

They're basically identical otherwise (each also has a scheme for short quotes spanning just part of the page width; they take a parameter for this, while {{Cquote}} also has a variation template, {{Rquote}}). Note that all of these may present a bit differently in more complicated layouts, such as when among many images.

Herostratus (talk) 20:56, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

While the above examples illustrate the default use of these templates, they can also be used to make sidebars (as shown below). A large number of uses of these templates are such, which can present issues that do not occur with default-mode inline use of the templates. Disputes over these templates at articles are often about this type of usage, not the default inline use.
Left, right, and center
A big title here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Anonymous III, Big Book of Quotes
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:16, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

Reference: additional material[edit]

A "pull quote" is a layout device used by magazines: a piece of text is "pulled" from the article and repeated in a box or a large or color font. This to break up the page layout and attract the eye to the material. We aren't a magazine and we don't use pull quotes -- almost never, and most editors appear to agree that they are appropriate very rarely or never for an encyclopedia article. {{Quote box}} and {{Cquote}} are (supposedly) just for pull quotes, but they are very very rarely if ever actually used for that.

Here's usage numbers:

  • {{Quote}}, {{Blockquote}}, and raw <blockquote>...</blockquote> (which are basically identical) are used in about 119,000 articles.
  • {{Cquote}} is used in about 18,000 articles. {{Rquote}} adds 1,400 more.
  • {{Quote box}} (and {{Quotebox}}) are used in about 8,000 articles.

Refs for "Quote" usage:[1][2][3][4][5]. [6][7][8][9][10]. Refs for "Cquote" usage:[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]. Refs for "Quote box" usage:[19][20][21][22].

The main operative section of this MOS is WP:BLOCKQUOTE (WP:MOS#Block quotations), most specifically the second and fourth sentences which read:

Block quotations can be enclosed in the {{quote}} template, or between a pair of <blockquote>...</blockquote> HTML tags... Do not enclose block quotations in quotation marks (and especially avoid decorative quotation marks in normal use, such as those provided by the {{pull quote}} a.k.a. {{cquote}} template, which are reserved for pull quotes).

Herostratus (talk) 20:56, 20 August 2016 (UTC) [revised, 21:21, 21 August 2016‎ (UTC), with data from SMcCandlish]

Here are more specific usage numbers, in case anyone wants to "check our work", comparing the transclusion counts (which can be misleading by themselves) from an external tool, followed by insource:/regex/i code search results showing actual total page counts, and article counts more specifically:
Usage statistics in more detail

Fair warning: most of these search links are quite slow, and they're hard on the server.

  • {{Quote}}, the prescribed template, has 85,609 transclusions [23], in 48,234 pages [24], including 40,201 articles [25] at that name. Its {{Blockquote}} alias adds 3,476 pages [26] and 2,143 articles [27]. Redirects of merged templates add many more: {{Quotation}} adds 14,395 pages [28] and 8,480 articles [29], and {{"}} adds 304 pages & 111 articles [30]. The total is around 60,500 paged plus several hundred more from other aliases, and about 51,000 articles plus a few hundred more from aliases.
  • Raw <blockquote>...</blockquote> markup – functionally equivalent to {{Quote}} in most cases – is used in 169,349 pages [31], of which 67,157 are articles [32]. It is the most common block quotation formatting in our articles, though any of its instances that have no custom CSS can be immediately replaced with {{Quote}}.
  • {{Quote box}} has an amazing 540,985 transclusions [33], but in "only" 89,066 pages [34], of which a mere 7,466 are articles [35]. Another 485 articles are added by its {{Quotebox}} alias [36], plus a few dozen more from other redirects, for a total of about 8,000 articles. The bulk of the usage is multiple transclusions on talk pages.
  • {{Pull quote}} (despite being the favorite of those who advocate for a decorative style) has only 36,934 total transclusions [37], of which 35,081 are of its {{Cquote}}} alias [38]. The latter appears in 33,818 pages [39], including 17,269 articles [40], plus 555 pages using its "canonical" name {{Pull quote}} [41], of which 251 are in articles [42], and 608 more pages [43] and 415 more articles [44] from the {{Centered pull quote}} alias, and about 100 more pages and 50 more articles from other redirects. The totals are approximately 35,000 pages and 18,000 articles.
  • The {{Reduced pull quote}} variant has 1,760 transclusions [45] in 101 pages [46] and 69 articles [47] at that name. Of the total 1,760 transclusions, its long-standing shortcut {{Rquote}} accounts for 1,672 [48], and adds 1,664 pages to the page count [49], and 1,306 articles [50], with very few more from other redirects. The totals are about 1,800 pages, 1,400 articles at most.
  • The rare {{Quote frame}} has 227 transclusions [51], and only 42 are in articles [52].

The page and article counts have a small margin of error, due to minor redirects being ignored, possibly other templates transcluding one of these templates, and references to the template in code markup, e.g. in template documentation, but overall they are a solid overview of the deployment of these templates.

Several of these templates, along with bare <blockquote>, are incorrectly being used as block-indentation markup for non-quotations, a violation of the HTML specs. Instances of such misuse should be replaced with {{Block indent}}.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:16, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

General threaded discussion[edit]

(If you have a specific proposal (which might perhaps be an action item in a later RfC), you might want to consider stating it in a separate section below, so it can be discussed separately? Or not... just a suggestion.) Herostratus (talk) 20:56, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

  • Certainly there is a problem here, but it seems to me that it is not so much with the MOS or the templates (which appear to be in agreement -- although strengthening and clarifying restrictions on {{Quote box}} and {{pull quote}} would be helpful), nor with general practice (which, if we could include <blockquote>...</blockquote> in the counts would, I expect, be mostly consistent with MOS) -- rather this is a simple case of editor error. If this is correct, the solution involves not guideline or template development, but just work -- some wikignome martyr would have to review every instance of templated "luxury" quotes and reformat correctly, where appropriate. Clearly I am against a mix of styles for the display of vanilla quotes... but I don't think that fuctional deletion via redirect is the correct path to uniformity, as this would bulldoze legitimate uses of (what should be) the rarer "luxury" templates and potentially somewhat alter their current sense. A case-in-point would be Featured article William Shakespeare#London and theatrical career which has (I think) correctly used <blockquote>...</blockquote> and {{Box quote}} right next to each other. Phil wink (talk) 23:01, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, 578,101 27,500 transclusions is an awful lot of editor errors.
My personal opinion is, {{quote}} is a poor template on the merits. It is very important that readers quickly comprehend when we are switching to a quote. {{quote}} lets them down and slows them down. It is insufficiently different from regular text to signal the switch to a quote.
That's my opinion. Maybe I'm wrong. But its an opinion shared by a lot of editors, I guess. I believe this a better explanation than error for half a million transclusions use in about 20% of cases even though it is expressly forbidden. I don't think our editors are that error-prone. I myself certainly don't use {{quote}}, on purpose, for the simple reason that to my mind it's not of sufficiently professional quality for the information design I want to achieve in the articles I am creating or building. I usually use {{cquote}}, most people use {{quote box}} I guess. And that's fine by the way. We don't need a bed of Procrustes approach to our editors. If we absolutely must have one template, I guess {{quote box}} would be the best choice, though. I don't think {{quote}} should be it. Herostratus (talk) 01:27, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Answering the four RfC questions in order, with detailed rationales:
    1. No, it is not OK to have multiple templates (in mainspace) for quotation pesentation. The decorative ones are several kinds of policy problem.
      • The decorative ones were kept, narrowly, at TfD (and few templates have been TfDed this many times – the community has long had serious concerns about them), only with the understanding that they would be reserved for non-mainspace use, or for rare instances of pull quotes in mainspace.
      • But, as I predicted, they have been rampantly abused to violate multiple policies – chiefly WP:NPOV (especially WP:UNDUE), but also WP:NOR and WP:NOT, as detailed below – to bludgeon readers with particular individuals' or organizations' statements, and to insert quotes that are irrelevant and non-encyclopedic, and to lazily slap quotes into articles at random locations as design "filler" without any regard at all for whether they make any sense in the contexts into which they've been jammed (or for the fact that much WP:REUSE will simply lose them).
      • Case study 1: Just the other day, I fixed all three of these problems at once in a single article, the first one I picked to do quote template cleanup on (and one which someone had pointed to as what they thought of as good use of the templates!). See edit history of Thorpe affair from this edit onward, or see all the cleanup in one diff here, including some other copyedits. User talk:SMcCandlish#Quote box [53] gives a detailed analysis of why all three quote templates in that article were "reader-hateful". They are not unusual in any way, but directly reprsentative of the three broad types of quote template abuse on Wikipedia: PoV-pushing, context-free decoration, and indiscriminate trivia-mongering.
    2. MoS and template docs are only read in detail by gnomes; most editors just copy what they see in older articles. This has lead to memetic propagation of a terrible style idea from WP's olden times faster than gnomes can clean it up. We thus need a technical solution.
      • MoS gives a specific template for block quotations, explains what a pull quote is and why we almost never use them, and says not to use pul-quote templates like Pull quote (which some refer to by its redirect "{{Cquote}}" as if to disguise the fact that they're misusing a pull-quote template) for block quotes. The other templates' documentation indicates they're pull-quote templates, too, so every single time someone is using them for non-pullquotes, they're either copy-catting old articles the template abuse has not been cleaned up in yet, or they're intentionally ignoring documentation, guidelines, and policies to force their design sense on Wikipedia.
      • I know for a fact that it's most often copy-catting; I've asked people why they inserted a decorative quote template, and they've told me it's because they saw it in another article and thought it was WP's official style! It's a memetic virus, pure and simple, just like capitalization of common names of species was in 2008 (which we're still cleaning up in August 2016).
      • Defense of decorative quotes in an article is almost invariably a WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS affair; people usually literally cannot think of any other rationale but "I saw it at [Article X], and that's an FA, so it must be the right way to do it", not understanding that the FA dates to before we had rules about this stuff and hasn't been fixed yet. Another favorite is the "WP:OWN policy doesn't exist" game: "I wrote almost all of this article, so it should be decorated if I wanted it that way." Mainly, though, it's just that most editors do not actually read MoS, or any more template docs than they have to figure out some parameters.
    3. The solution is to install a namespace switch in the decorative templates that changes their output to that of the standard {{Quote}} template if they are used in mainspace, then for editors to adjust their placement and contextualization over time, where necessary. It really doesn't matter if we have three or a dozen decorative quote templates as long as none of them work in articles.
      • Keeping them functional outside of mainspace would still permit the "screaming with decorations" effect of these templates in wikiproject pages, etc., where we don't care.
      • I proposed this obvious solution over two years ago, but TfD said "let's wait and see if that's really necessary". The result of that delay has been a tsunami of tacky picture frames and giant quotation marks shoving PoV-pushing, confusing, and pointless quotes in readers' faces.
      • The idea that there's a consensus to decorate quotations is demonstrably false. See stats above. The MoS rule has been around for years. No exceptions have been made to WP:NPOV policy, etc., for quotations. No one objects when those templates' scopes are repeatedly narrowed, and when half a dozen variations of them are merged right out of existence. When they are TfDed, hardly anyone defends them (usually the same handful, and usually for entirely unclear rationales).
      • Case study 2: I spent several days converting decorative quotes to standard {{Quote}} templates in 100 articles, and not once was I reverted or challenged on it. Basically, no one cares except about half a dozen "décor defenders" (you can find them also in the WT:MOSICONS archives as the lonely advocates of plastering pages with flag icons all over the place, etc.). Editors just copy-paste and customize the templates they see in other articles.
      • As with another large mess of this sort – the capitalization and linking of dates that we cleaned up in the early 2010s – this will probably require bot cleanup (see below).
      • To the extent that some editors think the default style isn't quite enough visual distinction, see #Slight display adjustments for how to address that.
    4. MoS should simply deprecate pull quotes. Less that 1% of the uses of the pull-quote templates are for actual pull quotes, and in every single case of one that I've found, it can be safely removed and will improve the article in its passage into the WikiAfterlife.
      • Pull quotes are a heavy-handed "teaser" news style. We have a Wikipedia is not news policy, with numerous implications, including that WP does not serve the purposes of a news publication, is not written in the same register as one, does not follow journalism style guides, has completely different reader expectations of it, and has no use for attention-seeking mechanisms to try to entice readers into zooming to particular sections, much less "walking away with a key message" that some editor wants to drill into their brain with a huge, decorated quotation.
      • These templates are a serious WP:CCPOL problem, and this is much more than a trivial style matter. We have tried pull quotes and they've failed dismally, both by doing nothing useful here themselves, and (much worse) by the templates for them being massively abused in article after article as excuses to violate neutrality policy (among others, like WP:NOR's prohibitions against steering/leading/manipulating the readers into drawing particular conclusions, and against over-reliance on primary source material, etc.). This has to end, and it should have ended years ago. (This "screaming for attention" quotations matter, by the way, is a great illustration of why "MoS is just a bunch of style nitpicks we don't need" is a wrongheaded viewpoint. Many aspects of MoS, from MOS:WTW to MOS:ACCESS to MOS:IDENTITY, are important content guidelines with deep connections to Wikipedia policy and mission, and aren't just "style" advice.)
    Recommended cleanup path: All instances of the noncompliant templates in mainspace should first be replaced, via bot, with a specific template redirect for each template e.g. {{Quote-Cquote}}, etc., to isolate these cases. The code can then be temporarily forked, making these redirects into copies of the templates. The original decorative templates, now expunged from transclusion in mainspace all get fitted with namespace detectors, such that their non-mainspace deployment is unaffected, but use in mainspace outputs {{Quote}} code or even a visible error message. The disused ones can also be merged into {{Quote box}}. In mainspace, the templates with compatible parameters can just be redirected to {{Quote}}; the one or two that do not will have to be replaced with template wrappers that call it and convert the parameters. Then we can finally have a bot replace them with calls to the main template by adjusting the parameters. All that would remain (and would already be underway in the interim) is working the former "sidebar" quotes into the content where they belong, and removing redundant or unencyclopedic ones.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:03, 21 August 2016 (UTC) Updated 06:44, 21 August 2016 (UTC)

OK, here're my answers:

  • Sure, it's OK to have more than one quote template. (The question of whether the three existing quote templates are all OK (I think they are) is a different question). People are way too much into micromanaging other editors sometimes. Trust the editor to do the right thing, given reasonable restrictions. Reasonable levels of empowerment is how you build a successful volunteer organization. If the editors do the wrong thing, educate them. We are not the Army where everything not mandatory is forbidden and can't thrive with that mindset. I have just described one large and important objective benefit of allowing editors some leeway here. (there are others). Look a lot of this comes down to opinion. I invite editors to show me the objective benefit of allowing just a single template and you will win me over, but not before.
  • Change the documentation of {{Quote box}} documentation to bring it in line with practice. People use it for quotes (for the good and sufficient reason that's a it's better than {{quote}} at letting the reader know that she's entering a quotation). Rules should describe practice. The current situation is dysfunctional, and going on a crusade against (what is certainly at least arguably) good layout and good information design, in order to make practice fit an ancient rule, is probably not the best answer.
  • Change the documentation of {{Cquote}} and one sentence in this MOS to bring it in line with practice, same argument as above.
  • Should not encourage pull quotes. Best would be to just not mention them at all, I think. They're very rare. Here is an example: Philippe I, Duke of Orléans #Homosexuality. I wouldn't do that, but it doesn't make me claw the draperies either. I not particularly bossy or certain that I'm the world's genius of information design or page layout, so I wouldn't be inclined to tell that editor "I order you to remove that". Just remove mention of pull quotes, everywhere, per WP:BEANS. Herostratus (talk) 22:01, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
    • @Herostratus: Asserting all these templates are fine when gross abuses of them are rampant, without addressing any of the reasons why they're problematic from a policy perspective, is basically a non-argument, though. Why would we change the documentation and MoS itself when the numbers show most editors comply, there's no consensus to undo MOS:BQ, none of the policy and other issues have been addressed, and there's a proposal on the table to adjust the default style mildly to obviate most if not all desire to use decorative quotation boxes that go so far they cause NPoV problems? There's very little (in the nature of discrete rules, rather than sometimes verbosity within one) that isn't there for a reason. WP:TFD's primary function (probably 75% of its activity) is getting rid of redundant templates (the rest mostly being deletion of unused or one-use templates), so we have an entire XfD standing against the idea of "Sure, it's OK to have more than one quote template", absent a really clearly justifiable reason to have more than one (e.g. for a specific technical need, that cannot be addressed with a parameter option) and without them causing more trouble than they're worth. It's also a speedy deletion criterion to delete templates that misrepresent policy. WP:POLICY includes guidelines, so a "defy MOS:BQ" template is a speedy deletion candidate; even if it were not, it would still be a regular deletion candidate, because the way to change policies and guidelines is not WP:FAITACCOMPLI defiance until the opposition is worn down. That's just tendentiousness. I don't think you're being tendentious; your proposed solution seems to be offered in good faith, but is simply not addressing anything in the debate at all other than the "I wanna decorate" urge that some editors have, which is a WP:NOT matter, really. Agreed WP doesn't need pull quotes, but we discourage them because people insert them willy-nilly if we don't.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:00, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
  1. One core template should suffice for simple blockquotes, because HTML only has one way of marking up a blockquote. Whether the community decides on one visual presentation or hundreds, the output follows the same pattern: a <blockquote> element containing the quoted text and maybe a <cite>. If different presentations are desired, just use parameters and maybe wrapper templates to adjust the class (or in a pinch, style) attribute. Maintenance is easier, skins can tweak the appearance, and user CSS can override as needed. {{Quote}} would need some changes to serve as such a core template, but the changes wouldn't be difficult.
  2. {{Quote box}} for blockquotes is an accessibility error. This puts a blockquote inside a <div>, making it impossible for some users to tell that it's quoted text, and should be addressed if only for that reason. One possibility: {{Quote box}} could be rewritten as a wrapper, something like {{Quote|class=float-box|…}}, provided the code support for that is in place. The few cases where {{Quote box}} is used for a pull quote can be replaced with, say, {{Pull quote|class=float-box|…}}.
  3. Ditto for {{Cquote}}. Code copy-and-pasted from {{Cquote}} is responsible for every blockquote I've ever seen rendered as a <table> on a wiki. I've started to imagine the "C" stands for something unpleasant and fast-spreading.
  4. Headings do the job of pull quotes better. In loosely structured or inverted-pyramid writing, like blog posts and news articles, pull quotes are a nice visual break in a long page. Wikipedia articles already get visual breaks from headings, with added benefits for organization and accessibility. So while pull quotes may be fine for a WP:Essay, etc., they are largely decorative in a Wikipedia article.

Sorry to duck the prickly question of which presentation options to prefer or keep, but if semantics and accessibility are fixed first, the presentation issues should be easier to approach. Matt Fitzpatrick (talk) 11:26, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

Proposals[edit]

Pastel line on the left[edit]

An editor, User:Waldir, just recently at Template_talk:Quote#Styling suggested that {{quote}} have a pastel line on the left, like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed ultricies nisi eu lectus egestas scelerisque. Etiam vitae ante vel lorem efficitur fermentum at quis nisi. Nulla et augue eget arcu scelerisque malesuada. Maecenas porta vestibulum libero eget varius. Donec lacus magna, fermentum vel ante vitae, malesuada posuere magna. Aenean scelerisque in neque ut semper. Donec eleifend tortor justo, ut ullamcorper tortor dictum at.

on the grounds that it makes quotes more readily identifiable, and since (he says) many stylesheets are doing this now it might be recognizable to many readers. He might be right. Perhaps an updated quote box like this would combine the best of the three templates now being used. (There might be technical issues though.) Herostratus (talk) 21:08, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

  • Because {{Quote}} is (mostly) fuctionally equivalent to <blockquote>...</blockquote> -- if greater consistency is desired in generic quotations -- adopting a pastel line for {{Quote}} would necessitate either 1) applying the same formatting to <blockquote>...</blockquote> or 2) systematically repackaging all generic blockquotes with {{Quote}}. Phil wink (talk) 23:11, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Already rejected: This was proposed a year or two ago in a Village Pump RfC and shot down. It looks far too much like our cleanup/dispute templates, and there was a clear sense that it's some random blog style, and already a dated one at that, and not appropriate here. Others also felt it was heavy-handed and visually disruptive in general, serving to draw WP:UNDUE emphasis to quoted material, when what WP wants to do is minimize the amount and impact of quotations (see WP:OVERQUOTE and WP:NPOV). Another problem with it is that it will not improve, only worsen, the problem of block quotations being "squeezed" between left and right images, by further reducing the horizontal space available. In such a layout, it will look like a broken partial border for the right side of the lefthand image.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:08, 21 August 2016 (UTC)

    PS: This style was also made available as an option in one of the templates, and no one used it. I would think it's been removed by now. If not, should be, as dead code.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:05, 3 September 2016 (UTC)

    • Oh. BTW One thing I've never understood is our documeentation "Hey, we have {{quote}}, but using the raw HTML is fine too". What's the advantage? I can see the disadvantage, one being just the situation described -- we can't globally alter quotes done in raw HTML, or even know how many there are. Sure I get that the software supports HTML and some people are going to use it whatever we say, but why do we actively recommended it? Anybody know? Herostratus (talk) 01:12, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
      • Not sure how that relates to this "pastel line" thing, but the reason that's in there is that some editors historically have objected to "forcing" (LOL) people to use wrapper templates for HTML elements, even when we have good reason to prefer that people use them (e.g. application of CSS classes), so we tended to always also mention the raw HTML behind the template. I would just as soon we did not and deprecated using the raw HTML.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:25, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
      • Well, maybe it's worth trying again, maybe the objectors have gone away. If not, we could offer a pointer down into the "Notes" section where we say "or you can also use raw HTML" in small text, that way not being so recommendy about it. Herostratus (talk) 21:26, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
        • @Herostratus: Agreed, and we should probably do this generally, in the various places in MoS where we say "you can use this template or this HTML code". It smacks too much of "you can use this template or this template or this template ...".  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:45, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
        • As I recall there is something somewhere deprecating HTML style mark-up where it can be avoided. I would certainly support a guideline to that effect. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 19:08, 26 August 2016 (UTC).
          • If it's buried on some MOS subpage, we should highlight it on the main one, too. Any idea where you saw that, Rich Farmbrough. It rings a bell to me, too, but my eyes hurt right now. Been at screen too long.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  17:27, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
            • @Rich Farmbrough and SMcCandlish: You're probably thinking of MOS:DEVIATIONS. And I agree: raw HTML should be actively and strongly discouraged in mainspace for both a11y and maintainability reasons (but, obviously, subject to the same WP:IAR exception as everything else; and that might be worthwhile to call out explicitly too.). --Xover (talk) 17:32, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
  • This pastel bar thing is absolutely ghastly. EEng 17:32, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
    • I agree with EEng on this one I'm afraid. Midnightblueowl (talk) 10:09, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
      • Well! Since you bring it up, I'm startled to find myself agreeing with you, too! EEng 02:52, 3 September 2016 (UTC)

Slight display adjustments[edit]

We should do what most style guides that address the matter recommend: Slightly reduce the font size (e.g. to 95%) to make a lengthy quotation better set-off from the surrounding text, as well as indenting it the way we already do. This would also offset the incidental emphasis effect that putting it its own block (paragraph) and indenting it has. The purpose of block quotations is not the SCREAM AT THE READER but simply to indicate "this is an extended quotation". Given the nature of the medium, we might also consider a very faint background color (e.g. a very light grey) that does not impact readability (see the colors section of MOS:ACCESS). This would help to still distinguish the quotation block in browser/display/layout situations where the content is squeeze so much the indentation is unclear or even eliminated. This would cost us no additional horizontal space at all, unlike the vertical bar proposal above.

The fact that so many people do not understand what block quotations are for, and mistakenly believe that the purpose of them is to greatly emphasize material, is the #1 reason that multiple templates have proliferated all over Wikipedia drawing enormous amounts of visual attention to quotations (against WP:NPOV in general, WP:UNDUE in particular, WP:NOR because leads/steers the reader's interpretation of the material, WP:SOAPBOX, MOS:BQ, etc.). It's time to put this to bed, just like we've put to bed date linking, and about 20 kinds of Rampant Over-Capitalization, and italicization of quotations, and use of boldface as emphasis in article text, and a many, many other things that were formerly common on Wikipedia.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:25, 21 August 2016 (UTC)

This seems quite reasonable (the first paragraph). We do want some kind of increased emphasis without over-doing it, so we're both on the same page here. Herostratus (talk) 01:33, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. Graham (talk) 02:17, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
My personal opinion is that we already have a template for increased emphasis without overdoing it: {{cquote}}. Without using a 95% font or a faint background, it signals to the reader that he is entering a quotation with the English universal symbol this: quotation marks. They're large, but they're faint, so the overall effect is subdued, at the same time making for an attractive layout.
However,  there's the political angle to consider. At least one editor hates {{cquote}} with a dark and burning fury and will never slacken in the battle against it, and there are other editors who also consider it overly twee. So whatever works reasonably well that can get passed is what we are looking for here. Herostratus (talk) 22:14, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
I am against any reduced font size. I have my screen set to the smallest font size I can reasonably read. Many other readers wil have the same set-up. (And please do not offer me advice on custom css that will fix this for me, it's the general accessibility issue that I am interested in.)
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 19:12, 26 August 2016 (UTC).
@Rich Farmbrough: Noted. Perhaps just a faint background would do it. Some other styles involve a font-face change, but we'd have to at least also retain the indentation, since the CSS font trick will coincide with some user's custom CSS here or their browser-side font choices, making, e.g., serif-formatted quotations indistinguishable from the rest of the prose if they use serif for all of it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:03, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
I also can not easily see reduced font sizes. Font size is an accessibility issue,which over-rides most all other format concerns. The great majority of users are just readers, without accounts to use preference settings. We organize WP primarily for our readers, not just for us DGG ( talk ) 14:24, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Test of background shading[edit]

Here's a sandbox (Template:Quote/sandbox) test of slight shading of the background (easily adjustable; I made it visible without being dramatic, nor so faint it was hard to tell it was there, on my monitor anyway.)

Fake heading
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

— A. U. Thor, Some Publication, 2016
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.


It works perfectly fine when "sandwiched":
Fake heading
Femme Mucha 0088.jpg
Femme Mucha 0089.jpg
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

— A. U. Thor, Some Publication, 2016
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.


So, it seems to me that this would address the need to make block quotations stand out a little more from regular text without introducing POV and accessibility concerns.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:40, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

Much ado about not much[edit]

The minutiae of what is/is not acceptable to the "commuity" when formatting quotes in articles is hardly the burning issue that some editors imagine it to be, but it has the capacity to be used as a warmongering device on countless talkpages, so it would be good to come to an agreed conclusion and codify this into the MoS. My standpoint is that of a content editor who understands the value of quotes in terms both of content and presentation. Briefly:

  • I agree that in-text quotations would be improved by a reduction in the text size (perhaps to 90% rather than 95%) which, combined with indenting should distinguish them from the text
  • I remember Cquotes being very popular ten-plus years ago when I first edited, but they seem terribly ugly, dated and unencyclopaedic now. I haven't encountered them on peer review or FAC for a long while—I don't think they are used much now, at least in quality articles, and I suggest that this format could be withdrawn without too much loss.
  • Quote boxes I see as as an alternative to images. We generally accept images when they illustrate an aspect of the text, without seeing them as placing undue emphasis on that aspect of the text. We also use images as an aid to readability, by breaking up slabs of text and by careful positioning. In some topics, particularly those of recent history, copyright law makes it hard to find relevant images, in which case carefully composed quote boxes can often be a useful substitute, provided their content is selected carefully. The argument that they distort readers' understanding by drawing the eye away from the context is an assumption for which I haven't seen any convincing evidence; in any event, this aspect can be dealt with on an article-by-article basis. In short, I would like MoS to recognise that in some cases the quote box provides a useful presentational tool—this has been widely accepted informally for some years now—and I don't think this should be overturned at the behest of the Savonarolas amongst us. Brianboulton (talk) 15:21, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
While this discussion does interest me, I'm not going to pretend that I've read even 5 per cent of the text dedicated to it above … Brianboulton's comments on Cquotes and Quote boxes summarise the situation perfectly, as far as I'm concerned, as someone who writes articles. Cquotes are unencyclopaedic and, I suggest, draw far too much emphasis to the quote. Boxed quotes/quote boxes are very useful and informative, not to mention popular with many GA and FA writers. The point about using them to break up slabs of text, particularly given the paucity of free images, is an important one. JG66 (talk) 15:52, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Echoing the above on breaking up what can seem for readers as dense walls of text. I'm unswayed by the opinion of one editor that they are "PoV-pushing, context-free decoration, and indiscriminate trivia-mongering": if that is the case on individual articles, then those individual articles should be re-worked. But to get rid of using the entire format because they are sometimes misused is doing our readers a disservice. – SchroCat (talk) 20:39, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
  • I haven't read more than 5% either, but my thinking is:
The caption should lead the reader into the article. For example, in History of the Peerage, a caption for Image:William I of England.jpg might say 'William of Normandy overthrew the Anglo-Saxon monarchs, bringing a new style of government.' Then the reader gets curious about that new form of government and reads text to learn what it is.
There's no reason a well-chosen quote (not necessarily repeating something in the article text proper) highlighted in some way (whether boxed, shaded, big-quoted, whatever -- I'll leave that to others) shouldn't be allowed to serve the same purpose, though of course only in situations well away from any possibility of POV. I'm probably going to regret pointing this out, but I think this works well at Memorial_Hall_(Harvard_University)#Conception_and_construction. (Those weird shaded rectangles didn't used to be there -- yuck!) EEng 20:49, 22 August 2016 (UTC) Edited to use boxed quote instead of bigquotes -- weird shaded rectangles no longer there. EEng 02:56, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
EEng 20:49, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
You are right on the shaded rectangles – horrible! I would also add to the list of things to avoid the use of the over-size quote marks. I've never seen a proper pull quote on WP (as in the correct definition of an excerpt of article text repeated as a stand alone quote), and the sooner the go, the better. The use of quote boxes, on the other hand, carefully and correctly used (as with an image to sit alongside a relevant piece of text, that enhances not just the readability of the text, but also the reader's understanding of a topic) has a lot to be said for it. – SchroCat (talk) 16:46, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
I used the bigquote template back when I added those quotes because I got lost in the vast selection of quote templates, and back then the shaded rectangles weren't there -- someone's changed something in the template. Anyway, I've redone it with a shaded quote box. EEng 17:35, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
If you want to see the only example of pull quotes that I've ever come across, SchroCat, take a look at Philippe I, Duke of Orléans #Homosexuality. Ironically, it doesn't use a quote template, but a customised table acting as a container! --RexxS (talk) 20:29, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • FYI: On the mobile frontend, {{quote}} and <blockquote>...</blockquote> set off quotations not only with indentation but also with oversize quotation marks - exactly like {{cquote}}, but black instead of blue. Abuse of <blockquote>...</blockquote> for indentation is thus immediately visible on mobile and really looks ridiculous. It also actually increases the font size, which I think is a very strange design choice - the indentation already reduces the available horizontal space, and increasing the font size further compounds this. I have no idea why the decision was made to imitate a deprecated template, but I've become accustomed to it (and it has the virtue of making quotations marked up by semantic abuse of the leading colon trivial to spot). At any rate, people discussing {{quote}} vs {{cquote}} seem unaware that they look almost the same on mobile.
Additionally {{quote box}} is not shoved off to the side like an image, but is put in the centre of the page... funnily enough, exactly as images are. My main objection to {{quote box}} is that it's a lazy way of getting a quotation in: the quotation appears totally devoid of context or motivation. Stylistically such isolated quotations are a train wreck. If there's no way to integrate such a quotation into the article text, it probably doesn't belong there. From what I understand the term to mean, they are not technically pull quotes - in fact, I don't believe I've ever seen a true pull quote on Wikipedia, and I would immediately remove one if I did because it's a journalistic style totally inappropriate for an encyclopedia. Hairy Dude (talk) 03:24, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
I beg to differ: if used properly and responsibly, quote boxes are not some "lazy way of getting a quotation in". They can provide a very good means for displaying certain types of quoted text, a letter, say, or a poem, or a piece of text which while not central to the direct narrative, provides a useful illustrative comment. Such boxes are not isolated if they adjoin the text to which they relate – the same rule applies to images. And you shouldn't rule out the presentational advantages of quote boxes, in terms of making blocks of text look more appealing to the reader – my years as a magazine editor taught me the importance of presentation, in particular the turn-off potential of walls of uninterrupted text. I agree that quote boxes should be used sparingly and with care, particularly when other options are available, but to withdraw altogether this useful tool would be an unnecessary mistake. Brianboulton (talk) 10:00, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
What some people think reading an article should feel like to the reader - "it was tedious to write, it should be tedious to read" — Preceding unsigned comment added by EEng (talkcontribs)
Very well said. The problem we're up against, Bb, is the some editors think that anything betraying any kind of care for the reader's pleasure or interest in reading the article is "unencyclopedic" (a vague term encompassing anything the speaker hasn't run into before). Savonarolas is right! EEng 14:54, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. I don't think there is one right answer to the question "what is the best quote template". It a matter of taste, opinion, one's personal concept of page design, and what is needed for that page environment (many images, no images, etc.) My inclination is to trust the editor, and correct-and-educate when the editor goes too far into the weeds (whether it's too long a quote, too many images, sections too long, etc. etc.) Crowdsourcing page design works! Herostratus (talk) 15:06, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
Wisely summarised. We should resist all tendency to over-regulate when common sense can easily be applied. Brianboulton (talk) 19:04, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I agree with the points made by Brianboulton, but would add: Quote boxes, certainly at the FA level, are not used for no purpose, and not merely to break up text. They serve to illustrate points to the reader, selected by savvy writers. A quote box with a random quote would probably face scrutiny at FAC, with suggestions the nominator not miss the opportunity presented by a quote box to highlight text more likely to be read by the reader than were it to be buried in a paragraph somewhere.-- an alternative to images (talk) 04:32, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
I highly support Brianboulton's and Wehwalt's position above. Briefly, we should
  1. Reduce the text-size in block quotes to about 90%.
  2. Change the documentation for Quote box to reflect it's use as illustrative text – similar to how images are used.
  3. Deprecate the use of Cquote; it should be replaced with either Quote or Quotebox, depending on use.
LK (talk) 23:35, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

It appears to me that Brianboulton's points are primarily made just to justify keeping the way he sensationalized bits of stuff in the Thorpe affair article, one that SMcCandlish uses to illustrate the main problem with these fancy boxes: they give the editor a soapbox to display a POV. In this case, it does not look like they "serve to illustrate points to the reader, selected by savvy writers." Dicklyon (talk) 15:10, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

  • Your judgement on that point is as ill-advised as your sub-standard edits to the article. Perhaps if you are unable to comment without pretending to read someone's mind, it would be best not to comment at all. - SchroCat (talk) 17:16, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
    • I don't understand your objection to my point. If you look at Thorpe affair, it's clear that Brianboulton decorated it with sensational quotes that are not discussed or contextualized in the text; if you look at the edit history, it's clear that he defends those strongly (with your help). His points here appear to be designed to support that. Is that observation too much of a stretch? What does that have to do with you reverting my edits there, calling them sub-standard? I'm sorry if my phrasing sounded too much like reading someone's mind, but your retort was much worse. This stuff is real. Dicklyon (talk) 05:27, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
OK, sounds like this particular case is a fair difference of opinion. About 2% of the article text is in the quotes... at least one of the images is decorative ("The village of Talybont, North Wales, where Scott lived in 1971"... really?) more than the quotes. Without the quotes and the "village of Talybont" image, though, you have quite an arid wall of text facing the reader. Do you see this as a problem, or not? Would the use of {{Quote}} (no borders, no background color) improve the page? Or made a lot of difference to your objection? Or are you maybe arguing for quashing quotations generally? (Which is a legitimate position, but not likely to be passed.) Herostratus (talk) 17:18, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
I note Dicklyon's comments above. I won't answer them here, because this discussion should not be about the use or misuse of quote boxes on any one article, but about the issue in principle: to what extent if any, the community wishes formally to approve of a usage of quote boxes that, while not currently supported by the letter of MoS, has become widely adopted in many articles. It shouldn't be about the use or misuse of quote boxes on any one article, about which opinions may differ. So, Dick, please put aside for a moment your obsessions with the Thorpe affair (that "excellent article" as you call it) and concentrate on the general point. Or at least, show you are not obsessed by commenting on the use of these boxes in some of the many other articles that use them in much the way I have done. Brianboulton (talk) 22:27, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
  • I essentially agree that they are mainly used for improper emphasis. They're a common trick of polemical or promotional articles. We normally have no need for this sort of emphasis, and making it easily available is an undue temptation. There are a few legitimate uses, but this is hard to control. Far better to remove all temptations to editorializing. As for reduced size, it's an accessibility issue. Since they're part of the main text, the ordinary reader without using preferences must be able to see all material even with diminished vision. WP is an encyclopedia meant for use by readers, and considerations of use and NPOV are more important that looking like conventional publications. DGG ( talk ) 14:24, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

Permit Template:Quote box for regular quotes[edit]

As was noted at the start of this thread, {{Quote box}} is widely used for regular quotes throughout Wikipedia, including on a great many FAs and GAs. However, Template:Quote box suggests that {{Quote box}} should not be used for this purpose. Thus we have a disconnect between a regulation and reality. Reading through the discussions above, it appears that there is some significant support for bringing about a change that officially permits {{Quote box}} for regular quotes, so can we get more support for this course of action? It would only require a very quick alteration to Template:Quote box and would solve a lot of problems. Midnightblueowl (talk) 09:18, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

Survey[edit]
  • Support as per comments. Midnightblueowl (talk) 09:18, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. I don't think we can get a decision out of this RfC, but I'm starting to think that a regular upvote-downvote RfC on overtly allowing {{Quote box}} as alternative to {{quote}} might be worthwhile. I can see two sources of opposition though: 1) those who don't like {{Quote box}}, and 2) those with maybe no opinion on that but who feel we should have just one active quote template. (One counter would be, horse is out of the barn lets now change the rule to describe practice.) For my part, I would like {{Cquote}} also allowed, but that might not garner as much support? and would complicate an RfC. Herostratus (talk) 16:47, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
    Note: An editor has expressed a concern that Herostratus (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion. (diff)
  • Strong Support but according to Brianboulton's viewpoint as above. Quoteboxes should not be used as an alternative to {{Quote}} for regular in-text quotes. Instead, {{Quote box}} (and {{Cquote}}) should be reserved for illustrative text, and used in a way similar to illustrations and photos (which complement the text of the article). LK (talk) 23:33, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Procedural matter@Midnightblueowl: I hope it wasn't your intention to selectively notify participants in the above discussion of this proposal, was it? Because there seems to be a correlation when looking at the four people you notified ([54] [55] [56] [57]) and WP:CANVASS clearly states that it is impermissible to send notifications based on the user's known opinions. On what basis were these notifications delivered? Graham (talk) 23:37, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
    • I tried to keep the wording that I sent to those four individuals as neutral as possible. However, I can see the concern here and as a means of correcting it I'm happy to inform everyone who has posted in the above discussion about the new support/oppose sub-section. Everyone who has previously posted in this discussion has now received the same message. That should hopefully deal with any concerns that people have about a particular bias in selection. I just wanted to get participation rolling here, to avoid this sub-section languishing in neglect. Midnightblueowl (talk) 10:16, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
      • Notifying everyone would certainly help at this stage. But you still haven't explained on what basis those four individuals were selected. Was it completely at random – and the opinions that they hold are just a complete coincidence? Graham (talk) 17:43, 1 September 2016 (UTC) I forgot to ping Midnightblueowl. Graham (talk) 18:25, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Pinging Midnightblueowl in case my question slipped under the radar. Graham (talk) 06:42, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Summoned by bot. I would also like to know why these particular people were invited, but I have confidence it was all done in good faith. I think that this should be allowed, partly because it is fairly common, and partly because it just looks better. Tamwin (talk) 04:58, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose, and procedurally object to hijacking the RfC in a misleading manner. The RfC already asked specific questions, and this !voting section goes off in left field to propose favoritism toward one particular template, when the RfC already makes it clear that it is a distant minority usage in mainspace. It's also already being proposed to adjust the style of the default quotation template to find a compromise between the stable and mostly complied-with MoS consensus for non-decorative quotation formatting, and reasonable concerns that the current default style is a bit too plain. This !voting section serves as an anti-RfC disrupting ongoing attempts to hammer out a consensus solution, by short-circuiting the discussion, whatever the intent for this move might have been.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:38, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

    An earlier comment by EEng vividly highlights exactly why these decorative quote templates are by their very nature serious PoV problems. He states that the intent of their use is to "draw the reader in and spark interest". Doing that to one particular party's quoted viewpoint is a blatant policy violation (WP:UNDUE), and the main reason MOS:BQ has for years said to avoid pull quotes and this sort of abuse of pull-quote templates to single out certain quotations as "special". There are other and more appropriate ways to attract reader interest, without favoring particular viewpoints. But doing so at the intra-article content level is not a WP goal anyway, per WP:NOT#MAGAZINE. Grabbing reader eyeballs for as long as possible, much less precisely steering them to what one editor wants to brow-beat them with, is not WP's job. Neutrally providing information readers actually want, arranging it logically and contextually, and backing it up with reliable sources, is WP's job, and the result is not going to look much like Rolling Stone or the Huffington Post blog. This is not an advertising-funded site, and we have no incentive to use psychological tricks to try to keep people here longer than they need to be here to get what they came for and get on with their lives (much of what WP:NOT policy is about is grounded in this fact). Life is short, and WP is not escapist entertainment in Web form, it's a a particular kind of information source that does note ape every gee-whiz marketing technique of other publication types.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:57, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

There are plenty of opportunities to use quotes that don't represent any "one particular party's quoted viewpoint", so the rest of what you say is nonsense. EEng 03:00, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
If it's a quotation, it is either one person, organization, publisher, etc.'s statement, or it's quoting a documentary source (biblical text, Justin Bieber song lyrics, etc). Neither of these needs to be presented in a decorative box. If we had consensus that documentary source quotes should be in decorative boxes (unlikely), we could have a special template for that, limited to such use and not allowed to unduly promote particular viewpoints. Unless and until we do, these template are a policy problem.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:50, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Support This will bring documentation more into line with widespread use. The use of quote boxes should be allowable if the circumstances of individual articles provide a need. By breaking walls of text they aid reader usability and can explain and highlight in the same way as an image. Someone in the thread above (EEng, I think) suggested the same rationale as an image caption—to draw the reader into the text—and the similarities in use are paralleled here. There is also no "procedural hijack" here, despite the handwaving: the discussion thread above was showing enough of a consensus of opinion toward this option that it's a sensible place to include a vote, unless you really want to pointlessly wikilawyer to force this into a separate proposal. (And before anyone asks, this page is still on my watchlist following my comments in the thread above). To somehow suggest that to draw readers by sparking their interest is "a blatant policy violation" is so far beyond hyperbole it's laughable (It's one of the criteria for a good caption, so an accepted standard on WP). The use of quotes in this way should be in line with other guidelines (such as the caption guideline, as well as weight, NPOV, etc, but it seems crass to do,such a disservice to our readers by denying the use of quote boxes in this way. - Gavin (talk) 06:50, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose—Has anyone read WP:RFC on the do's and don't's of starting and running an RFC? Agree with SMcCandlish. Tony (talk) 10:47, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support, quote boxes are often used to accent a page's information with quoted data which doesn't necessarily appear verbatim elsewhere on the page. Seems a reasonable use of presenting information to the public. Randy Kryn 11:35, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment: Every single support comment here amounts to "Support because WP:ILIKEIT, and ignore all of the policy and other issues raised in the real RfC above, because I can't think of an answer to them. The way to WP:WIN on WP is to avoid discussion and instead engage in just-a-vote until you get what you want." This anti-RfC is essentially nonsensical; you can't invalidate policies and guidelines by canvassing up a WP:FALSECONSENSUS to change some template's documentation.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:06, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
    • Please don't try to dismiss everyone's opinions just because they (shock horror) run counter to yours. There is a feeling of dissatisfaction with the existing strictures of the MoS (a set of guidelines, not something religiously set in stone) I this point, and this is a perfectly valid method of addressing what is a widely ignored flaw in its formation. You accuse participants of "ignor[ing] all of the policy and other issues raised in the real RfC above": that's just not true. Absolutely no-one is ignoring it, its just that people disagree with you. I'm sorry you don't like the emerging consensus to be against you, but that is no reason to besmirch everyone else's opinion. – Gavin (talk) 13:24, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
      • If people "disagree" about the clearly highlighted policy problems of using these templates to draw undue attention to, and blatantly promote, particular quoted viewpoints, then they can actually explain this alleged disagreement, in discussion, which is what the RfC above is for. WP is not a vote, and simply declaring on behalf of others that they "disagree" with something they have not even addressed at all is not an argument. Nor is presuming to speak for them your job. What "emerging" consensus? As of this writing, it's about an even split numerically, the supports have no policy-supportable basis at all, and that's without counting three multiple [the count keeps going up] canvassing complaints. This should be speedily closed as a waste of time and against WP:RFC instructions.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:57, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
        • And every single oppose here is based on "IDONTLIKEIT" - the main difference is that no one is going around to article's written by those who dont like quote boxing trying to strongarm and wikilawyer quoteboxes into those articles. In a collaborative encyclopedia there will always be differing aesthetic viewpoints on issues such as this and we should be able and willing to accommodate this diversity whereever it is not clearly detrimental to some other goal of the project. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 13:10, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
          • Clearly they are not, and are grounded largely in WP:NPOV policy.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:21, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support, although I'm slightly confused by the meaning of "regular quotes". To clarify: I strongly favour the use of block quotes (where necessary) and quote boxes (for a particularly informative or pertinent quote). Could be wrong but I believe that's in line with what editors such as Lawrencekhoo and Randy Kryn have said above. JG66 (talk) 14:40, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose – first procedurally, since this kind of tangent within an RFC is likely to confuse and miss those who think they have already responded to the RFC. Second, due to the canvassing that's noted above; 4 editors in favor were notified on 31 Aug, and the rest the next day after this canvassing was noted; I was notified in a very misleading way, with "you may wish to reiterate your opinion in a 'support/oppose' format", but this question was not even asked before. Third, the question seems contradictory on its face: how does "regular quote" relate to a quote displayed in a box? Not in any meaning of "regular" that I know of. Isn't a regular quote one that fits into the prose of an article, in a textual order, as opposed to being pulled out by placement or boxing? Dicklyon (talk) 15:29, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Slightly reluctant oppose - I don't think they fit the look and feel of an encyclopaedia article, at least not one targeted at adults. As usual I would advocate kid gloves in dealing with cases where they have been used. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 17:07, 1 September 2016 (UTC).
  • Interestingly the Encyclopaedia Britannica break their walls of text with "Read more" and "Test your Knowledge" graphic inserts (along with the ads, which I think are removed if you subscribe). – Gavin (talk) 17:47, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose per SMcCandlish's remarks in the above sections. This is an encyclopedia, not a magazine or a textbook, and in most any case in which these quotations are as important to the article as some have suggested they are, the quotation should be included in the text of the article itself. I imagine that there are exceptional circumstances that could warrant an exception to this, but I tried looking for an example to use and came up short, which speaks to the rarity of these situations. And I know that these rare situations are not the motivation for the opening of this section – the instigator of this discussion is currently trying to get an article passed FAC that has more than a dozen of these quote boxes.
    I should also note that it seems questionable that this section was opened while the issue was being looked at holistically and consensus was being built in the above sections – especially when the individual who began this discussion appears to have improperly canvassed her supporters here. Graham (talk) 22:56, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Your lack of imagination is hardly an argument. I can think of many very good reasons to use illustrative quotes in quote boxes, and no good reasons to oppose them across the board and on principle.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 13:15, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment: I made my views plain in the discussion above this thread and I presume I am not required to repeat them. There seems to be some confusion about the validity of this part of the process, announced as "not a vote", then followed by a list of supports and opposes, and I won't increase the confusion by adding mine. If the consensus is against him, McLandish and/or others will, I am sure, make a procedural objection, so I don't think the matter will end here, alas. Brianboulton (talk) 22:57, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Discussion about canvassing allegation
  • Note: An editor has expressed a concern that Brianboulton (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion. (diff)
    Somewhat unnecessary concern since I was a principal contributor to the main discussion and have not voted here! Brianboulton (talk) 23:25, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, there is that. Heh. 20:07, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
    • As this is not a vote, the fact that you did not format your opinion in bold text does not make a difference. And while you contributed to the main discussion, only certain contributors to that discussion were notified of this one for some reason (though the canvasser still won't explain on what basis those people were selected). Graham (talk) 23:49, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
      • I did not ask to be canvassed, and I had stated my views long before. Is this a procedural excuse to taint or disqualify my views, even though I had absolutely no hand in the process to which you object? Brianboulton (talk) 14:32, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
        • I did not suggest that your views were wholly disqualified. I'm merely making appropriate use of {{canvassed}} to assist the closer in taking these circumstances into account. Graham (talk) 15:18, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
          • I think you are misusing the template, by giving the impression that I and other prior contributors were brought to the discussion by a canvass, and that is false. The template should not be used to cast doubt on the views of of existing contributors who had no means of knowing that the canvass was selective. Brianboulton (talk) 21:30, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
  • I have always thought that the objections against using this kind of template are overblown (I have seen them repeated for a long time). There is no reason to think that an encyclopedia cannot have this kind of quote in its articles, and the fact that the template is used in thousands of articles suggests that others think the template is OK. The MOS should reflect this kind of practice, rather than trying to over-rule it. — Carl (CBM · talk) 01:48, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment -- Agree with Carl, Brian, the thrust of MidnightBlueOwl's argument at the top. Quote boxes are a useful way of breaking up walls of text, of adding quotes that may not fit into the general flow of a paragraph or section. Every content creator on WP makes decisions about how to organise material, and this includes deciding what images to use and where to place them; the same holds true for quotes, whether they be within the general flow of the text, like a block quote, or in the form of quote box. I too am surprised that there is such a fuss about it, I recall years ago when it was recommended to me to use them as an alternative to block quotes in certain circumstances, and have never seen it raised as a concern until recently. I think we all have better things to do with our time. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 02:04, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
  • There seems to be some confusion about what is actually being !voted on here. I will assume the most obvious meaning is intended: I weakly oppose using {{Quote box}} with align=none as a template for regular quotations, i.e. quotations integrated into article text, introduced in proper context, because {{Quote}} does the same thing, using the semantically meaningful <blockquote>...</blockquote> element, and because I prefer its style (and I would like stylistic consistency within Wikipedia). I was "canvassed" by talk page comment but I also participated in the discussion above. Hairy Dude (talk) 13:49, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Strong support as an editor who writes about language I know better than most that some topics are best illustrated not by images but by text quotes - quote boxes are essential for making quotes that illustrate lingiustic topics by giving examples of language use. QUote boxes can also illustrate an authors style in the same way that an image illustrates a painter's style. Moreover this is one of the places were absolutely nothing is won by having rules so detailed and restrictive that editors are being micromanaged in their usage of wikipedias functions.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 06:39, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Block quotes are useful. It should be up to the article writer as to whether to use them in a certain circumstance or not. We really need to cut the MOS back. The WP:CREEP is getting out of control. Hawkeye7 (talk) 08:55, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Strong support, pretty much per Maunus. There are numerous instances where block quotes are useful but one doesn't want the quoted material in the body text. In addition to those Maunus cites, one that comes up regularly on visual arts articles is when an artwork is intended to illustrate a particular passage from literature or mythology and one needs to provide the original text from which the artist worked, but doesn't want to drop a big chunk of Middle English into the body text. I agree entirely with those above that the purpose of the MOS is to provide a broad framework in which Wikipedia operates, not to micromanage the individual writing style of each editor to conform with how the authors of the MOS think they ought to be writing. ‑ Iridescent 10:24, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
To illustrate Iridescent's work-of-art point, it's worth taking a look at Freedom_from_Want_(painting), which has three quote boxes. The first (the Roosevelt quote) is a classic example of appropriate use. The second (quote from the artist) is also fully appropriate, and a great example of a boxed quote adding interest to the article -- it speaks for itself, needs no introduction, and would be awkward and forced if given in the main text (introduced by something like "Speaking of the circumstances of the painting's composition, Rockwell stated..."). The third (quote from an art critic) seems to me the sort of questionable use SMcCandlish worries about: I'm not sure this one commentator's observation (though interesting -- "No one's giving thanks") is appropriate to highlight in this way. EEng 22:16, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support per Iridescent. Any POV problems that occur can be handled on an article level. We don't throw out the baby with the bathwater when there are occasional issues. Ealdgyth - Talk 11:58, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support per Maunus and Iridescent. When to use a quote box and what they can contain is something that shouldn't be regulated at a broad level like this. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:14, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support, per Maunus and others about how quote boxes are useful, and also about micromanaging. SarahSV (talk) 03:26, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support, per Maunus, Iridescent, and BrianBoulton. Johnbod (talk) 03:32, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support per Maunus, Iridescent, BrianBoulton, SarahSV, and Johnbod, and Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and all the Saints and Apostles. Boxed quotes must be used with care, but they have their uses. They shouldn't be banned just because some people misuse them. EEng 03:49, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Is quoting within normal prose flow insufficient? I'm unconvinced that quote templates are necessary — ever. Fdssdf (talk) 06:28, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
Discussion about canvassing allegation

Note: An editor has expressed a concern that participants at Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates have been canvassed directly to this section to vote. ([58])

Neutrally notifying communities that are stakeholders in specific debates is not canvassing and suggesting it is is dishonest.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 10:57, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. A discussion is taking place here that is of concern to numerous FAC editors – why should they not be told about it? Do we really want to suppress opinion is this way? I would remind "an editor" that canvassing means the soliciting of votes in favour of a certain person or position: giving notice of a discussion does not fall within this definition. Mike's note at FAC talk was entirely neutral and responsible. Please stop these efforts to downgrade or neutralise expressions of opinion you don't like. Brianboulton (talk) 13:35, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
Hardly a neutral action. It was soliciting a bloc vote, directly to the "voting" section, from a tight concentration of the few editors likely to support this style at this particular moment on the basis of emotion instead of reason. As is clear from discussion on that page, the "local consensus" over there is to just oppose any MoS-related "interference" with FAs and stick it hard to all those "MoS obsessives" (insert 10 other anti-MoS-editor incivilities here). There is clearly no regard at all for any of the policy concerns raised in the RfC, which this anti-RfC poll has been engineered to encourage people to not read or participate in, and to instead try to change guidelines by changing one template's documentation to defy them. WP doesn't work that way, and you all know it. This is WP:FACTION and WP:POINT at its worst.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:57, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
Since I was the editor who posted the note to WT:FAC, I suppose I should respond here for the benefit of whoever closes this RfC. First, if this is determined to be an invalid RfC, as you assert, then these supports and opposes are irrelevant; it seems sensible to proceed as if this is going to be accepted as valid, since clearly many other editors are participating on that basis. Second, is there any reason not to notify editors at WT:FAC, regardless of what the local consensus is there? Surely editors who do a lot of content creation should be notified? You're right that I hoped they would agree with my position, but that's what any editor hopes when they notify any group -- you always hope everyone agrees with you. And believe it or not, I did not know for sure how people would !vote here. I singled out WT:FAC because that's the only community on WP that I have any significant interaction with; you can check my contributions if you like. One thing you'll find is that I almost never edit MoS or MoS talk pages; none are on my watchlist and I rarely read them. I had no idea of the history of all of this till it spilled onto the FAC talk page recently. I'd never seen anything to do with the Arbcom case on infoboxes, and still haven't (though I've commented on the recent request); frankly, I consider myself uninvolved (though of course I have opinions). If you think that bringing FAC editors in is one-sided, please go ahead and leave notices in other forums. I'm willing to assume that you will do so neutrally, and without cherry-picking. And I'm curious to know why you removed the {{unsigned}} template that SarahSV put under the canvas notice; in a discussion this contentious, wouldn't it be natural for editors to want to know that you were the one who posted that notice? I would think so, and I mention it explicitly here partly for that reason. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:50, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish:: It is not appropriate to declare that opinions contrary to yours are "on the basis of emotion instead of reason", and to infer that they should be disregarded on those grounds. That is a personal opinion, not a factual statement. I differ from you profoundly on this issue, but fully accept that your views are based on your honest convictions. May I request that you do likewise, with those that disagree with your position? Brianboulton (talk) 13:46, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
@Brianboulton and Mike Christie: Whether to put quotations in huge boxes has nothing whatsoever to do with content creation. If I only ever spent much time at WikiProject Science Fiction, would it be okay for me to solicit their votes on random subjects? Of course. I did not suggest any particular post here was based on emotion. The FAC view of this is demonstrably dominated by it right now, though. Just go read the WT:FAC discussion. Here's the précis: Two FA editors are quitting under a cloud [59] [I don't know about the third] after months of constant, undeniable, and inexcusable incivility toward everyone but other FA editors, over many unrelated matters that have in common only one thing: FA territorialism. Because FA people don't want them to leave, they are looking for a scapegoat, instead of accepting that some editors go off the rails and need a wikibreak. The dparting editors are said to have erred but hat this should be ignored because of their past contributions and because they're frustrated by disputes ... which they choose to participate negatively in. The scapegoat is, obviously, MoS and any editor who cares that an FA complies with anything in such WP guidelines (plus anyone who wants to argue about citation style, but that's "style", so blame MoS for that, too). Never mind that what these two editors are doing is a behavioral policy problem leading to multiple ANI requests, multiple ARCA requests, etc. Never mind that several content policies are also at issue. Never mind that the primary locus of this disputation is actually infoboxes which are not an MoS matter at all (MoS is neutral on them, and ArbCom, AE, and the dispute participants all insist that they're a content not style dispute). No, the only thing to do is blame MoS, blame MoS, blame MoS, and label anyone who cares about it "style obsessives" and other denigrating names, as if we're on a elementary school playground. No, I'm not going to attract other "votes" to this, because the RfC is up top, and people are still discussing the matters raised in it. This side-topic vote is a waste of time, an attempt to short-circuit discussion by a needlessly polarized red herring.

Trying to change the template's documentation to say you can use it any time you want for anything isn't going to magically undo the fact that we have years of consensus against using pull-quote templates to make block quotations leap out in the face of readers, as a WP:POLICY matter, and that nearly all editors comply with this; the only ones who don't seem to feel that they'e above the rules at "their" articles (see comment immediately below declaring the existence of a separate "FAC community"). It is not an arbitrary "style" rule; like much else in MoS, it's an inevitable interpretation of core content policy. If we want some neutral framing device for documentary sources (the Magna Carta, lyrics from an operetta, the opening of MLK's "I have a dream" speech), we can have a {{Document excerpt}} template for that probably (though people are not at all in agreement that decorative sidebars are the best approach); one that does not use giant quotation mark icons (see MOS:ICONS – more than one guideline is implicated here), and which is strictly limited to such materials, not permitted for usual quotations especially if they represent one side of issue with multiple sides (including from documents, like press releases); then add to NPOV policy an explicit rule to not abuse the template in such a way. But that sort of thing requires a mature discussion, not a "down with MoS!" voting party.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:20, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

If you could possibly try not to lie quite so blatantly. I have spun through a couple of your posts today, and they really are full of the most utter tosh of divisive nonsense. "Two FA editors are quitting under a cloud" is, I'm afraid untrue. I am neither an "FA editor", nor am I leaving under a cloud (and despite your ramblings elsewhere, although I suspected you were stalking my edits, I did not know (or care) that you were planning on some ridiculous fishing trip to ArbCom by way of further harassment—feel free to file it: it all says much more about you than me). "The scapegoat [for leaving] is, obviously, MoS and any editor who cares that an FA complies with anything in such WP guidelines": yet another deeply untrue claim, I'm afraid. I have said elsewhere why I am leaving: it is the behaviour of a small number of individuals, not something as abstract as a flexible guideline. Your numerous deeply divisive postings over several talk pages are indicative of many things, but a collegiate spirit is not one of them. And no, a malformed and one-sided request is not under a cloud (and the two former Arbs who have contacted me directly don't consider it so: I'll take their word over yours, I think). Again, it may be best of you focused on your own actions, rather than try and smear me over three? four? five? different talk pages: it really does say an awful lot more about you than me. – Gavin (talk) 21:40, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Policy needs to conform to reality. This style is well-accepted in the FAC community and people who seldom create quality content need to stop dictating to those of us who do. Montanabw(talk) 20:53, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
    • That's unbelievably insulting to millions of editors over the course of WP's history, and over 100,000 currently acive ones. It neatly sums up what this really is: nothing but a territory dispute. At least we're clear that the idea that certain FA authors believe their are a separate "community" not subject to WP-wide consensus is not an illusion, nor is their perception than the only content of worth on WP is their own articles, some tiny fraction of 1% of our actual content. What amuses me about this is that not everyone is interested in FA and GA badge collecting. Many of us just write articles with no regard to these labels. There is lots of GA and FA-quality content on WP that doesn't have these approval stickers. If these processes generate this sort of factionalism, they should be adjusted to not do so, or replaced with something that does not. Cf. ongoing RFARB about our mainpage processes (ITN, DYK, etc.) raising problems for similar reasons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:20, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose Pull quotes are evil; boxes nearly so. I am working drip by drip on rewriting Bengal famine of i943 in a sandbox. If pull quotes are allowed, every valued editor who thinks he's saving the world by bashing someone on Wikipedia will have the Churchill "Why hasn't Gandhi died?" quote in huge freaking neon pull quotes, preferably very prominently displayed. Three problems with that: WP:UNDUE,WP:UNDUE, and WP:UNDUE.   Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 23:54, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
That is an amazingly stupid reason to oppose LingZhi, first of al because the proposal has nothing to do with allowing or prohibiting pullquotes, but to allow editorial discretion in the use of quote boxes. Now the fact that quote boxes may be used to there lend undue weight to things is completely irrelevant because so may literally any other part of an article from pictures to infoboxes to prose. But there are thousands of ways in which quote boxes may be used for purposes that cause no editorial problems of the sort you worry about. Basing a general restriction on editors abilities to determine how to organize articles because the feature might hypothetically be abused in an article you are working on is just not an acceptable form of argumentation. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 05:33, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
It's not helpful to engage in name-calling, especially when the reason DS is being considered is all the name-calling.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:14, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Come off your hihg horse McCandlish you are about the least civil editor here - with or without namecalling. I happen to consider myself on very good terms with LngZhi who generally is not stupid. BUt that does not mean that this particular argument isnt stupid because it is.<·maunus · snunɐɯ· 07:22, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
Well, aside from the issue at hand, I'm now concerned about the article Bengal famine of 1943. We can read this page's edit history, so we know you originally wrote "dickhead" where you now have "valued editor" -- and you know we can. It sounds like your intent is to turn the article into a paen to Churchill, and the unfortunate fact that this complicated man did say "If food is so scarce, why hasn’t Gandhi died yet?" and that there is a template to display this stands in your way. But we not inclined to delete our useful templates to comfit culture warriors, so your argument is quite weak. Herostratus (talk) 01:13, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Every time I see your username, the text that precedes it baffles me completely. Seriuosly. Stumped. Compuzzled. But for your reading pleasure, do see if there is a paen to Churchil in User:Lingzhi/sandbox. And as for weak arguments...... well...  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 01:23, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Extended content
  • Herostratus: I'm in agreement with your position, but what exactly does a comfit ("a candy consisting of a piece of fruit, a root (as licorice), a nut, or a seed coated and preserved with sugar") have to do with anything?
  • Lingzhi: If seriuosly and compuzzled aren't words, they should be.
EEng 01:28, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Well, "comfit" is formed by back formation from "discomfit". Similar to "gruntled", "kempt", "descript", etc. I am plussed by your remembering the candy (rather high-tone for my crowd, I'm afraid.) Herostratus (talk) 01:54, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
A Google Books search makes me think there's something to Lingzhi's concerns re: WP:UNDUE. Curly Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 01:49, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Well, off topic for here, so take it over to that article's talk page I guess. Speaking as a dickhead who is apparently unable to string two meaningful words together, I'm not sure how much I can contribute. Herostratus (talk) 01:54, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, both of you. I'm completely gruntled by your responses. Excuse me while I go get sheveled for dinner. EEng 02:55, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
It is always a mistake to try and resolve a broad, general issue on the basis of an example drawn from one article. The Gandhi box may well be an example of misuse, but to call for a site-wide prohibition on quote boxes on that basis is irrational. Brianboulton (talk) 13:46, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Speedy close (and strong oppose) – This RFC is not written in a neutral manner and should be speedily closed. As to the issue, our house style is clear per WP:BQ that the {{quote box}} template should only be used for pull quotes. Pull quotes are generally unencyclopedic and almost never warranted, so I therefore strongly oppose allowing their unfettered use, especially once an article reaches the Good Article or Featured Article vetting level. Cheers! {{u|Checkingfax}} {Talk} 06:56, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Abstain (is this the bottom of the Survey section, it's hard to tell any more). Quote boxes can enhance reader engagement. It might depend on the topic? But I don't really see why quote boxes should be seen as (quote) "psychological tricks". And I don't see why, if there is a majority in favour of some style change, the MoS guideline can't be changed. Or do we have to check the Chicago Manual of Style before we can breathe around here? Martinevans123 (talk) 21:32, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
    • @Martinevans123: The ironic and sad thing is that this farcical section has distracted everyone from the section higher up, about adjusting the default block quotation template so that it obviates most of the desire to use the more excessive quotation templates, which really shouldn't be used in mainspace. This is the kind of case that WP:SPITE was written about.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:33, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
      • Ah yes, there may be a touch of irony. But I don't see much sadness. I guess folks must think this is a more important topic to discuss. In fact, one doesn't often see such strong agreement in discussions, does one? Let's hope no-one starts building fences, eh? Martinevans123 (talk) 16:19, 11 September 2016 (UTC) The RFC begins "There's no "Survey" section in this RfC". What a relief, eh?
  • Support - frankly if we all started putting pictures of cucumbers in every article, we could start an RfC saying "cucumbers are normally put in articles" and it should be accepted. As a non-notable philosopher once said, the MoS describes what is, not what we'd like to be. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 10:30, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
    • See the stats above in the RfC proper. What is: nearly everyone is using block quotations correctly. The sum total of those who "just don't wanna" have probably all already "voted" here (notably failing to address any of the concerns raised in the real RfC – this is why WP:NOTAVOTE was written). The bulk of uses of the "look at me! look at me!" quote boxes in mainspace are simply due to people copy-pasting them from other articles (they're found in some old FAs, because people resist bringing the FAs into guideline compliance). I know for a fact that users are almost never choosing to use them instead of the {{Quote}} template on purpose, because as an experiment about a year ago I changed 100 articles to use that standard template instead of decorative ones, and was not reverted or challenge even once. The only time it raises any fuss is when it's done to an FA or GA that that is "stewarded" against others' influence by someone who doesn't like MOS:BQ.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:33, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
Discussion[edit]
[moved from survey section by SV]
  • Comment. If anyone objects to my closing this discussion after 30 days, let me know. I'm neutral on the issue; I don't remember ever taking a position for or against blockquotes or quoteboxes in general. I'm offering because I know most of you here, and you know me. That may come in handy; there's a lot to sort out here. I have no objection to multiple closers, although they're hard to come by for these discussions. - Dank (push to talk) 01:13, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
    • Yeah no one likes style disputes, right? I don't have any objection, as long as we're talking about the entire thing not just this "anti-RfC" poll.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:10, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
      • First, I really appreciate that McCandlish and others were willing to let me close this, especially in light of my long involvement with MOS and FAC ... it would have been easy to see me as too biased, and I'm glad people don't. Second: I'm going to have to pull out as a closer, because I'm concerned enough about the back-and-forth between MOS and FAC regulars that, even before we get to the end of this RfC, it might be best to at least start a discussion about some appropriate discretionary sanctions. There was a request to consider it, and I'm considering it. My initial post is at WT:FAC#RfC regarding quote boxes. If there is some kind of enforcement, I'm going to do everything in my power to make it as painless as possible ... hopefully, 100% painless. - Dank (push to talk) 13:09, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
        • Dank has decided not to close it, so I'll ask for a closer on AN/RFC. SarahSV (talk) 19:54, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
        • Noting that I asked for a closer on AN/RFC. SMcCandlish then merged my request into an earlier post of his where he was trying to shut this down. I restored the request that this be closed as a separate RfC. SMcCandlish, do not edit other people's posts, especially in situations like this. SarahSV (talk) 23:27, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
          • See WP:REFACTOR; merging redundant requests is routine. You should consider not refactoring this page any further if you want your opposition to refactoring to be taken seriously.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:49, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
Let's look at some external sources on this[edit]

Much of this can be re-used to improve articles like Pull quote. While I believe "source the MoS!" campaigning is disruptive – our guidelines are determined by consensus, are not articles, and are not dictated by off-WP parties – sources are used to inform that consensus, and we really need some on this matter.

As just one example, here's several statements from a magazine's [see WP:NOT#MAGAZINE] house style guide [60]:

  • "Quotes are used to emphasize excerpts of text." ["Emphasis" is anti-NPoV, especially with a quotation, i.e. with presentation of one person/organization's own viewpoint.]
  • "we need to provide [our readers] with some focus anchors to fix their attention to the most important parts of our articles." ["Steering" readers and trying to make them accept the editor's view of what is important is directly against NOR policy.]
  • "They are used to pull a text passage out of the reader’s flow and give it a more dominant position in the post or the article." [Do I even need to comment? This is anti-encyclopedic on both counts.]
  • But this contrasts very sharply with what they say about block quotes (the kind MOS:BQ calls for): "Just like a pull quote ... block quotations ... are also set off from the main text as a distinct paragraph or block. ...[but] are usually placed within the reader’s flow." [This is exactly what MoS says to do.]

Here's a source for the fact the the style is an explicit "lure", in an definition of the pull quote style, from one of the most reputable publishers in the entire field of online copy and content presentation, SitePoint [61]:

  • "It’s a device designed to isolate and visually highlight a particularly interesting sentence within the body copy. It’s a 'lure' intended to draw skimmers into the content." [Hard to get any clearer than that this is a PoV and NOR problem.]

National Geographic Style Guide, on not misusing pull-quote style for block quotations or sidebars:

  • "pull quotes [should] be just that, material pulled [i.e., repeated] from the text and not stand-alone information." [62]

Just a few examples from a couple of minutes on Google. I haven't even delved into things like The Chicago Manual of Style on this question yet.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  18:49, 3 September 2016 (UTC)

All of this is irrelevant because the entire point is that the quote box can and is used for quotes that are not pull quotes. I have never added a pull quote to any article but I have frequently used the quote box.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 05:35, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Re-read it, please, and think about what it says, not about what result you demand. The entire point of this material (other than the very last item) is that it's about aggrandizing quotation style and its known effects on readers. The last point, about actual pull quotes and their content is there, and clearly identified as a separate matter, because part of this discussion has also been about whether WP should ever allow reall pull quotes in articles at all. You would also have already known this if you'd actually read the RfC and what it's about, not just the "voting" section on a side issue.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:11, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
It ridiculous to state that emphasis is inherently anti-NPOV. Writing an article is all about selectively emphasizing information that is most likely to educate a reader about a given topic - teaching requires emphasis. Like everything else in an article from images to the text in each paragraph quotes can be used to unduly emphasize a single viewpoint, and we have rules in place for dealing with POV issues for that reason. You would of course know all of this if you actually wrote articles instead of just pontificating about how others ought to do it. Article writers need flexible tools to present information as best as possible to the reader in a near infinite number of different possible context. This is not done by restricting everyone's tool box so that all must use the same tools that you personally happen to like.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 07:19, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
Could all parties dial it down a little? We should be collaborating, not fighting. Let's find more common ground, yes? Tony (talk) 07:22, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
Kill the moderator! EEng 07:26, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
WP:NOT a classroom, and it is not the editor's job to try to "steer" readers into accepting an interpretation. Doing so violates both WP:NOR and WP:NPOV policies simultaneously. I'm sure we have common ground on not wanting to do that, yes?  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:49, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
Any encyclopedia is an educational tool and it always has been - it is its raison d'etre to educate readers about topics. And of course for the same reason the job of any article is exactly to steer the readers towards and increased knowledge and understanding of the topic - which includes streering them towrads the interpretatoin that is most widely considered to be the correct one. To deny this is basic fact about encyclopedia writing absurd, and your doing so suggests that you lack the most basic understanding of the two policies that you are citing. Again if you actually wrote articles you might have a more clear understanding of the process through which encyclopedic knowledge is selected and represented. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 06:22, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Returning to the discussion after an interval, and with malice towards none and with charity to all, may I respectfully point out to SMcCandlish that although WP:NOT says: "The purpose of Wikipedia is to present facts, not to teach subject matter" it also says, in WP:BURO: "Do not follow an overly strict interpretation of the letter of policy without consideration for the principles of policies. If the rules truly prevent you from improving the encyclopedia, ignore them. Disagreements are resolved through consensus-based discussion, not by tightly sticking to rules and procedures." That seems to me to a pretty good principle that content creators could follow and MoS guardians respect. Brianboulton (talk) 16:09, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
@Brianboulton: sure, but it needs to be shown why ignoring the MoS actually does improve the encyclopedia. Exactly what part of the MoS is preventing you from improving the encyclopedia? Peter coxhead (talk) 19:16, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
He just said it: an overly strict interpretation of NOT ("present facts, don't teach") should not prevent the judicious use of boxed quotes which improve the reader's experience. EEng 21:38, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
@EEng: yes, he said it, but I asked for it to be shown as improving the encyclopedia, not the reader's experience. From a teaching point of view, visual variety, whether through images or boxed quotes, is good, and of course I understand an editor's desire to make articles "attractive". I know only too well the need to keep students' attention when teaching. But an encyclopedia is a repository of information, not a teaching device. The key point of difference here relates to the nature of an encyclopedia, and it seems to me that this is a matter of settled policy (e.g. WP:NOTTEXTBOOK). So the question is whether boxed quotes make an article more encyclopedic. I've seen no convincing argument that this is the case. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:06, 18 September 2016 (UTC)
Good examples have already been given e.g. Freedom_from_Want_(painting). EEng 08:30, 18 September 2016 (UTC)

If we are going to look at outside precedents for guidance, we should look at encyclopedias, because Wikipedia is one, not magazines or newspapers, which Wikipedia isn't. In an encyclopedia, calling special attention to a quotation should occur rarely because of the nature of an encyclopedia. On the other hand, blocking long quotations, using <blockquote></blockquote> Wiki markup, is conventional throughout publishing for convenience, not for calling special attention to the quotation. Among other virtues, blocking long quotations makes it easy for the reader to find the quotation's beginning and end and eliminates the need to "flip" single quotation marks to double and double to single.—Finell 18:49, 7 September 2016 (UTC)

I'm not sure I get what you're saying (or maybe I just don't agree): Using <blockquote></blockquote> just indents a section of text. It doesn't really indicate that the text within the tags is a quote (unless you're reading the HTML), but the assumption is that the reader will know this (I'm not sure I agree with that assumption).
I think that if you're going to have quotations separated out from the mainline text at all then you need some way to signal to the reader that it's a quotation. (A valid position would be "No, all quotations should be inline, like this", but I doubt you could win the day (that is, get an MfD to delete all the quote templates and the MOS to deprecate the use of <blockquote></blockquote>)). So then we are down to discussing the details of how to signal to the reader that its a quote. It's a fine line. What you're suggesting is, just use a slight indent. I don't think that's enough, particularly in some layouts. I just don't equate "slight indent" with "universal signal the we are entering a quotation".
SMcCandlish's suggestion (somewhere above) of using slightly smaller text and a slightly darkened background for {{quote}} might be the best compromise we've seen so far. Herostratus (talk) 12:51, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

Summary to date, and thinking about next steps[edit]

OK, so this has been open a while, so let's think about where we stand and where to go from here. Here's my take.

1) There's clearly no love for pull quotes. I suggest we open a RfC on, and (to avoid getting bogged down in other issues) only on, simply removing all reference to pull quotes, which IIRC are in three places: This WP:MOS, {{Quote box}}, and {{cquote}} and {{rquote}}. I'm looking for things which will offend the fewest and thus have a chance of being passed, what I'd suggest is simply removing all refs to pull quotes with just the minimum other changes required to makes sentences be grammatical and logical. (This would leave {{Quote box}} with just the message "This template should not be used for block quotations in article text" and little else, which is a little bit odd, but better than what we have now... and then #3 below might take care of that.) This would be a welcome and overdue cleanup of that section of the MOS I think.

2) I'd like to test how much love there really is for our suggesting that editors use the raw HTML of <blockquote>...</blockquote>. I'm thinking an RfC on (and only on) removing suggestions to use <blockquote>...</blockquote> in the various places it occurs (without deprecating the HTML either -- we just stop mentioning it). This is an RfC that might well fail but worth finding out maybe.

3) There seems to be a fair amount of love for using {{quote box}} as an alternative to {{quote}}. At #Permit Template:Quote box for regular quotes I see 20 support against 9 oppose. (Support: User:Midnightblueowl, User:Herostratus, User:Lawrencekhoo), User:Tamwin, User:SchroCat, User:Randy Kryn, User:JG66, User talk:CBM, User:Ian Rose, User:Maunus, User:Hawkeye7, User:Iridescent, User:Ealdgyth, User:Mike Christie, User:SlimVirgin, User:Johnbod, User talk:EEng, User:Brianboulton, User:Montanabw, User:Ritchie333; Oppose: User:SMcCandlish, User:Tony1, User:Rich Farmbrough, User:Graham11, User:Hairy Dude, User:DicklyonUser:Fdssdf, User:Lingzhi, User:Checkingfax; Abstain: User:Martinevans123)

Not only that, but trying to be as honest and fair-minded as possible, TBH some of the Oppose arguments are kind of weak. User:Lingzhi seems to be mad about something else, User:Fdssdf is opposed to all non-inline quotes including those using {{quote}} and User:Graham11 nearly so (and this is a non-starter: we are not going to start requiring all quotations be only inline because this would be quite unpopular), User:Checkingfax either thinks the RfC was about pull quotes and/or opposes changing the house style because that would entail changing the house style (or something; not clear) and most of the other oppose rest partly on procedural grounds -- that the RfC was malformed or canvassed. Whereas the Support arguments -- that rules should follow practice in particular -- are objectively stronger in my view.

I mean, I've seen lots of RfC where both sides have good arguments, and this isn't one of them. However, better Oppose arguments could possibly be developed. And since the Oppose people feel they were ill-treated here, perhaps a fresh RfC (pointing, of course, to this one and including the comments and votes so far) is called for. I'll leave it to someone else to decide this. They could say "2-1 headcount and stronger argument, the motion is passed" or they could say "requires a full new RfC".

4) There quite a bit of love for User:SMcCandlish's suggestion to add a light background as the default to {{Quote}} and reduce the font size a bit (or, instead, make a new template like that). The light-color background was quite popular, the smaller font size more controversial. The question of whether this should be the one true quote template and the others deprecated would need answering also. But it'd certainly be worth trying a full RfC on the matter. Herostratus (talk) 02:16, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

So that's what I get, four decisions to be made. Possibly, then, four full RfCs. There's not much love for {{Cquote}} so I'd let that lie for now. There was no love for the vertical-bar-on-the-left suggestion so that seems dead. There wasn't enough input I don't think on the question "should there be only quote template" so nothing going forward there at this time. There were a couple-few editors who were against any and all quote templates (or using <blockquote>...</blockquote>) but I don't see a real popular movement in that direction. It's been a sprawling RfC, I may have missed other good points opportunities for forward movement. Herostratus (talk) 02:16, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

#3 is patently misleading because the "anti-RfC" on this was a canvassing farm, and is just a bloc-voting party, not a proper discussion.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:37, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Your opinion about "weak arguments" seems premature. Forex, I am not "mad about something else". I am mad about pullquotes and quoteboxes (though I can envision some restricted use for the latter, especially in literature article, where images may be difficult to find, and quotes from the text of the work itself are quite legitimate). So i hope I can explain (again) why I hate both pullquotes and quoteboxes. I have one particular case in mind at the moment, but I am speaking from experience with more than a few similar cases I've encountered (and argued against) in FACs and other forums. So go to Bengal famine of 1943 and search for the words "why hasn't". Hey, look, it's in a big blue box! That's the ONLY quote on the page in a blue box. This is massive WP:UNDUE, even though it employs visual cues rather than explicit text. The message that is foregrounded is obvious: "Blame Churchill". it completely elides the fact that the issue at hand is massively complex (skim User:Lingzhi/sandbox, which is very very far from finished, and already complex). It privileges one view. The quotebox is the tool for privileging that view. I have encountered similar cases many times before...In this case, I wouldn't suggest "make it fair and balanced by using more quoteboxes" (hideously ugly headache-inducing method, no thanks). Instead I would suggest "no quoteboxes allowed, thanks!"  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 04:56, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
I completely agree that quote is nothing like the kind that's appropriate to box. That says nothing about whether there are quotes which are appropriate to box. For the nth time I point to Freedom_from_Want_(painting)#Background. EEng 05:07, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
I mentioned acceptable cases (e,g,, literature) in the opening of that post (. I think pullquotes should be outright banned from article space, and we should have meaningful guidelines for use of quoteboxes. Tks  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 06:32, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
Then what are we arguing about? EEng 06:43, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
It seems that Lingzhi is arguing against the inappropriate use of quote boxes (citing one example in particular), while accepting their use in certain articles. I think that is in line with the general position on the "support" side, so the "vote" is actually 21–8. Brianboulton (talk) 08:36, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

I would like to point out, once again, that the discussion here is confused over terminology:

  • "pull quote" means an extract from the article text. Virtually no one does this and it seems to be universally acknowledged to be bad style for an encyclopedia due to WP:UNDUE, etc.
  • "non-inline quote" (for want of a better term) means a quotation, not from article text but from somewhere else, that isn't integrated into the flow of article text. These are more contentious and are what Lingzhi is railing against.

I support removing references to "pull quotes" in template documentation - but probably not the MoS - because they don't seem to be an actual problem and mentioning them just causes confusion. Hairy Dude (talk) 08:15, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

  • Please allow me to clarify my position. There is an imperfect overlap between form (i.e., template) and function (use). I am in favor of banning the cartoon quote format (template) from article space. I am in favor of banning the pullquote function (repeating text in the article) from article space reagardless of format/ template used. I in favor of very sharply/clearly defining when the quotebox template may be used, to avoid abuse as in bengal famine. Iam in favor of altering that hideous Geocities Blue color to something more discreet.  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 10:49, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Just pointing out that "that hideous Geocities Blue color" is only there because someone has added the "bgcolor=#c6dbf7" html element to the text on that article, and that it's nothing remotely like the actual background color for quote boxes as they appear everywhere else. ‑ Iridescent 18:02, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
  • My take is that we need to get rid of the phrase "pull quotes" and let people use whichever existing quote template they want; some people may use pull quotes (but apparently very few) a lot of people use quotes as a standalone in various ways. The primary uses are for formatting blockquotes in the article body itself and the quote box that sets something off, often with a contrasting background, sometimes as something of a design element. Different designs have suitability for different needs. I do think the "cartoon quotes" are kind of clunky, but that's just my own style preference. We probably only really need a {{blockquote}} and a {{quotebox}} with customizable parameters. Most other designs could be incorporated into these. Montanabw(talk) 17:56, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
    • There are still lots and lots of actual pull quotes. Approx. 1-2% of uses of these decorative quote templates in mainspace are pull quotes, which adds up to a large number articles site-wide, and virtually none of them are appropriate uses of the technique. It's just not encyclopedic, but reeks of journo and PR style. No justification has been presented for having a quote box template in mainspace, just a bunch of ILIKEIT, and weird excuses like "we need it to break up large blocks of text" which is what headings are for, and without ever addressing the policy issues inherent in the approach, especially UNDUE and other POV concerns, but also frequently NOR, and various NOT triggers.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:37, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
"Approx. 1-2% of uses of these decorative quote templates in mainspace are pull quotes" -- where did you get that figure? I'd never seen a pull quote in my ten years here, until a single instance was pointed out in this course of this discussion. Herostratus (talk) 21:13, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

Proposed revision: links within quotes[edit]

As much as possible, avoid linking from within quotes, which may clutter the quotation, violate the principle of leaving quotations unchanged, and mislead or confuse the reader.

Despite being called into question time and again,[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] the above rule remains essentially the same as when it was added in Oct 2006 following a discussion. When I look at these conversations, it doesn't even look like the rule was ever built upon a clear, unanimous consensus in the first place, or has ever since been firmly supported, established or enforced.[8] I think this obscures its overall validity as a WP:POLICY as well, as expressed in the last comment at this discussion by Pmanderson.

I also couldn't agree more with the last comment about this issue on this talk, by SMcCandlish: "it's more helpful to say 'do this' than just 'don't do that'." So here's my proposed revision, in which I attempt to elaborate on the current rule rather than to alter it:

Version 1

Wikilinks within quotations must be kept to a bare minimum. Only link a word or phrase that is unequivocally referring to a unique and specific entity or notion—that is, usually a proper name or technical jargon—except when it is universally recognized and therefore easily understood by most readers (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking § Overlinking).

Excessive: Smith wrote, "The [[1990s]] [[German]] [[film]], [[Cinematography|shot]] on [[70 mm film|70&nbsp;mm]], is [[Epic film|bigger]] and more [[Film budgeting|expensive]] than ''[[Ben-Hur (1959 film)|Ben-Hur]]''."
Modest: Smith wrote, "The 1990s German film, shot on [[70 mm film|70&nbsp;mm]], is bigger and more expensive than ''[[Ben-Hur (1959 film)|Ben-Hur]]''."[9]

If such a subject is mentioned somewhere else in the article, however, then link those instead of the one inside the quote (see also Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking § Repeated links). And even if not, consider adding or moving a mention of the subject to the surrounding encyclopedic passage.

Confusing: "[[Paris, Texas|Paris]] still has the best", food critic John Smith said in 2007. (Reader must click on link to discover that the obvious interpretation of "Paris" is incorrect.)
Acceptable: "[[Paris, Texas|Paris[, Texas]]] still has the best", food critic John Smith said in 2007.
Better: "Paris still has the best", food critic John Smith said in 2007, referring to [[Paris, Texas]].[10]

Most importantly, never give links to words that are remotely semantically ambiguous or use piped links to direct to articles whose subject is significantly broader or narrower than the displayed text (Easter egg links). This is to avoid leaving any room for original research or violation of text–source integrity.

Bad: [[United States Declaration of Independence|Four score and seven years ago]] our [[Founding Fathers of the United States|fathers]] brought forth on [[North America|this continent]] a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that [[all men are created equal]].
OK: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.[11]

Clunky (?) examples aside, I think this generally sums up the points discussed in this talk before (as cited). What I would love to find out is if people think this is overall in the right direction or not, whether they might agree or disagree about some minutiae. Nardog (talk) 08:14, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

Notes

  • It's about time we tackled this idiotic provision. Without mulling it carefully (bedtime!) the above is a great start; subject to the OP's permission of course, I added a note to one of the examples.
  • Re "Only link a word or phrase that is unequivocally referring to a unique and specific entity or notion—that is, usually a proper name or technical jargon": Too strong, I think. There's no difference between linking within a quote and linking in a paraphrase of that quote: we need to be sure that what we're linking to reflects what the source was referring to; beyond that, if the link helps the reader understand the quote, that's no different from a link that helps the reader understand a paraphrase.
  • Re "except when it is universally recognized and therefore easily understood by most readers": Isn't this just trying to say what WP:OVERLINK says, and (I say again) the guiding principles for linking don't need to be any different inside quotes than they are outside quotes, so they don't need to be restated here in different ways.
  • Here's another example that might be useful:
The outer of the two rooms is of Alabama marble, with fluted columns and Ionic capitals.
EEng 08:45, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I am certainly being conservative here. My approach as a starting point was basically to fist clarify, paraphrase, and elaborate upon the current rule to bring it closer to the reality of what editors do. Nardog (talk) 02:18, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
  • I definitely support this change, whether or not the above word is perfect or eventually changed. (It's a #honour to have inspired something.) To be honest, I completely forgot this policy existed. I linked something in a quote the other day. That's just one example of how this policy is widely ignored and not supported by consensus. It definitely needs to be changed, whether or not it's changed to the above specifically. McLerristarr | Mclay1 08:49, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support (with some copyedits). We've needed to rectify this for a long time. Pretty much no one follows the current rule; it's surely the #1 most-triggered WP:IAR, because there are very few circumstances where adding explanatory text outside the quote to provide link points for the words already used in the quote produces better material. (The "Paris, Texas" example is good, because "Paris" by itself is confusing, and per WP:REUSE we cannot depend on an explanatory link to be available.) It instead usually results in redundant and repetitive material that is frustrating for editors and brow-beating and intelligence-insulting for readers. All rules in MoS and other guidelines (and policies) are not followed some of the time by some editors, because people just show up and start editing without reading all these rules first (and we want it that way; these rules are primary for clean-up gnomes). However, we should not retain a bogus rule that is intentionally ignored as nonsense by virtually all editors who are well aware of the rule; it's a matter of WP:CREEP and WP:COMMONSENSE (and WP:POLICY, which tells us these pages exist to codify actual best practices, not try to force changes that no one actually practices).

    Copyedits: Do not use <tt>...</tt>. This element has not even existed in HTML for years (and if you're habitually using it, please stop - cleaning up after it is a maintenance headache). The correct element in this context is <code>...</code>, and it should wrap the entire example that represents wikicode, not just the part with linking brackets. "Only link a word or phrase that is unequivocally referring to a unique and specific entity or notion—that is, usually a proper name or technical jargon—except when it is universally recognized and therefore easily understood by most readers" doesn't flow right. Try "... or technical jargon. Do not link something that is universally recognized ...". Use {{Crossref}} around crossreferences. "If such a subject is mentioned somewhere else in the article, however, then link those instead of the one inside the quote" doesn't have plurality agreement, and we generally do not want people to link multiple instances, remember. Compress the verbiage; e.g., that entire string can be replaced with "If the term is used outside the quote in the article, link it there instead". Other parts of it can similarly be compressed. The whole segment that starts with "Most importantly, never give links to words that are remotely semantically ambiguous" suffers from this problem. We should also not introduce anything like "never" and "remotely", per WP:BEANS; they're just drama-generation tools (see other thread on this talk page about terrible idea for a rule against "inconsequential" changes). Guidelines do best with "do" and "do not" wording versus "always" and "never" (which seems to deny that WP:IAR exists), and subjective pronouncements like "remotely" and "inconsequential" and "most importantly" incite interpretational disputes. "This is to ..." wording is awkward; it's better to integrate policy rationales directly into the rule's sentence. That whole bit should probably be rewritten. We also don't need to provide the "OK" example that just shows no linking. I think part of our point here would be that well-known quotations are often best left without linking inserted into them. It makes more sense to just say so that to provide an "un-example" with no links in it, for no clear reason.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:10, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for your suggestions. I'm not an experienced editor here on enwp, let alone its policies, so this is very helpful stuff. So please feel free to make changes below. Nardog (talk) 02:18, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
This is tangential and rather applies to the entire MOSes, but my problem with <code>...</code> is that it totally butchers the {{xt}}/{{!xt}} styling (at least with the default CSS). I found this template {{Plaincode}}, can we use this within {{xt}}/{{!xt}}'s? Nardog (talk) 02:43, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
We've not needed to do this, and have {{mxt}} (green) and {{!mxt}} (red) for this. The main problem is mix-and-matching styles on the same line; just use one:
{{em|Excessive}}: <code>{{!mxt|Smith wrote, "The <nowiki>[[1990s]] [[German]]</nowiki> ...}}</code>
gives:
Excessive: Smith wrote, "The [[1990s]] [[German]] ...
In this case, it's neither necessary nor desirable to show this markup, though. Just use plain {{xt}} and allow the links to link. This will illustrate the "sea of blue" effect in the quoted material.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:54, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

Version 2 (currently waiting for SM to edit in his suggested changes)[edit]

SMcCandlish, instead of everyone else wading through all your suggestions, why don't you just edit them into the version I've helpfully pasted in below, in a series of self-contained quanta? Start with the most obvious, unobjectionable ones, leaving the ones people may want to discuss or modify for the last. Then people can step through your edits, follow your reasoning in your edit summaries, and revert or modify for further discussion here. (Nardog, I hope you won't object to this approach.) I've already added the "Alabama marble" example, just so it doesn't get lost. EEng 18:37, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

Per suggestion below, I've made some edits [https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style&diff=738826688&oldid=738825763to the V2 text. Mitch Ames (talk) 08:08, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
V2

Wikilinks within quotations must be kept to a minimum. Only link a word or phrase that is unequivocally referring to a unique and specific entity or notion—usually a proper name or technical jargon—and not a common term easily understood by most readers. (See Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking § Overlinking.)

Example: The outer of the two rooms is of Alabama marble, with fluted columns and Ionic capitals.
Excessive: Smith wrote, "The [[1990s]] [[German]] [[film]], [[Cinematography|shot]] on [[70 mm film|70&nbsp;mm]], is [[Epic film|bigger]] and more [[Film budgeting|expensive]] than ''[[Ben-Hur (1959 film)|Ben-Hur]]''."
Appropriate: Smith wrote, "The 1990s German film, shot on [[70 mm film|70&nbsp;mm]], is bigger and more expensive than ''[[Ben-Hur (1959 film)|Ben-Hur]]''."

Where possible, link a word or phrase elsewhere in the article instead of in the quotation. If it is appropriate to link a word or phrase that does not appear elsewhere in the article, consider mentioning and linking it in text near the quote.

Confusing: "[[Paris, Texas|Paris]] still has the best", food critic John Smith said in 2007. (Reader must click on link to discover that the obvious interpretation of "Paris" is incorrect.)
Acceptable: "{{bracket|[[Paris, Texas]]}} still has the best", food critic John Smith said in 2007.
Better: "Paris still has the best", food critic John Smith said in 2007, referring to [[Paris, Texas]].

Most importantly, never give links to words that are remotely semantically ambiguous or use piped links to direct to articles whose subject is significantly broader or narrower than the displayed text (Easter egg links). This is to avoid leaving any room for original research or violation of text–source integrity.

Bad: [[United States Declaration of Independence|Four score and seven years ago]] our [[Founding Fathers of the United States|fathers]] brought forth on [[North America|this continent]] a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that [[all men are created equal]].
OK: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
  • OP here. I support this because the whole goal was to just suggest a starting point to revise the current rule, so that you, more experienced editors, can improve it. So please be WP:BOLD. Nardog (talk) 02:18, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

@Jayaguru-Shishya: notified me and others of this discussion and thinks it should be at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking. I don't agree, since the impugned statement is on Wikipedia:Manual of Style whereas Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking has nothing about quotes. As regards the substantive issue; I am in favour of not having any "rule" on this and letting editors use their discretion. I am sure some readers find links within quotes to be ugly, but they are a minority who need not be accommodated. Sometimes wikilinking in a quote is convenient and transparent. It shouldn't violate WP:EASTEREGG, but that's not specific to quotes. jnestorius(talk) 16:14, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

I don't know if Jayaguru-Shishya thinks it should be at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking, because it DOES have something about quotes: one sentence in WP:LINKSTYLE. And I actually sort of agree a written rule about this is redundant, but that was already once dismissed (years ago, though). But wouldn't you agree a revision would be at least better than leaving the current rule (Nirvana fallacy)? I think a change is more easily attained when it's gradual than when it's drastic. Nardog (talk) 16:49, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
So you have already tried proposing this at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking, but it didn't end up that well and now you are posting it here? Did I get it right? That'd be WP:FORUMSHOPing, I am afraid. Posting the same thing over and over in hope to "have better luck next time" isn't advisable either.
Anyway, this is the wrong place to discuss the changes concerning WP:MOSLINK. I bet the majority of the editors there aren't even aware of this discussion. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 17:59, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
I'm afraid but no, you didn't get it right. I honestly don't even know how one could possibly get such an impression. I proposed this here first, then linked to this discussion on MOS:LINK where it virtually has the summarized version of WP:MOS#Linking (because I had the exact same thought as you that editors there might not notice) only to be reverted by you, so I started a discussion there on WT:MOSLINK as you suggested when reverting. I don't know how that's forumshopping or "posting the same thing over and over". Nardog (talk) 18:29, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
If it's going to affect the wording at the main MoS it's better to discuss it here. See below; an RfC at MOS:NUM is now leading to dispute here because the RfC didn't take into account the wording at this page only at MOS:NUM. In general, any non-trivial MoS-related discussion is probably better held here, because far more people watch and comment at this page than at something like WT:MOSLINK.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:13, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Re: request to edit in changes – Okay, but I'll have to come back to it later. The "give me PoV-pushing quote boxes or give me death" stuff further up the page has soured my appetite for editing here today, and I'm focusing on article copyediting, category cleanup, and template work.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:13, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
I've no objection to discussion here about important changes to MOS offspring guidelines, as long as they're section-linked at the offspring talkpage. Is the green-background text above the existing, or has it been edited? I don't really want to encourage editors to use awkward square-bracket placements, although it's not exactly wrong to do it. "Paris[, Texas] still has the best" might be better as [[[Paris, Texas|Paris, Texas]]]. Also, we might consider suggesting that wherever it's convenient to link an item in the vicinity of a quotation rather than withing it, that might be preferable. Tony (talk) 03:47, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
If you mean the block beginning Wikilinks within quotations must be kept to a bare minimum with the vertical bar at the left (I ask because to me it looks more bluish than green), it's all new; the current guideline says simply As much as possible, avoid linking from within quotes, which may clutter the quotation, violate the principle of leaving quotations unchanged, and mislead or confuse the reader. I'm editing your suggestions into Version 2, subject of course to others' approval
  • You'll notice, if you look at the rendering of your own post just now, that triple brackets don't work the way one wants -- you have to use {{bracket}}.
  • I added Where possible, use linking elsewhere in the article to make linking inside the quotation unnecessary.
I have to say, though, that someone's suggestion that we might simply drop the current guideline is an attractive one. If trouble arises, then we can add guidance along the lines of what we've been discussing. EEng 04:08, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
There are other approaches than {{bracket}}; I use &#91;[[Link here]]&#93; because I memorized those HTML character entity codes years ago. You can also do [<nowiki />[[Link here]]]. In all cases, it's fiddly, so we don't want to advise it (no one will comply, and it will be easily broken).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:37, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
I should have said, "You need to use {{bracket}} or something." If this basic proposal gets traction, then we can talk about what markup to recommend (since, when you think about it, inside a quote is major use case for a bracketed link). I'm glad we've got back the old Sandy McCandlish we know and love. EEng 21:31, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
I think the biggest argument against removing the rule entirely would be precisely because it has existed for so long. So instead of paraphrasing or elaborating on it, it may be just enough to say something along the lines of "With regard to linking, quoted texts are no different from any other types of texts. But since they are more susceptible to a violation of WP:NOR or WP:EGG, see to it that they adhere to MOS:LINK." Nardog (talk) 08:20, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
Thinking it over, I'm thinking we might keep the first and second examples above, drop the third, and drop the explanatory text in favor of something much shorter such as what Nardog just suggested. But to not confuse things too much, let's wait for SMcCandlish's edits to Version 2, then think about what to do next. EEng 00:16, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
You all can just integrate what I suggested if you want; I probably can't get to this until tonight or tomorrow.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  17:17, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
  • I think we'll all be happy to wait for you. You know best what you have in mind. EEng 19:45, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
Some sugestions:
  • bare minimum should be minimum. The word "bare" adds no semantic value.
  • instead of
Where possible, use linking elsewhere in the article to make linking inside the quotation unnecessary.
use
Where possible, link a word or phrase elsewhere in the article instead of in the quotation.
  • In
that is, usually a proper name or technical jargon
the juxtaposition of "that is" and "usually" seems wrong. I suggest just deleting the former, ie:
... entity or notion—usually a proper name or technical jargon—except ...
  • The sentence
Only link a word or phrase that is unequivocally referring to a unique and specific entity or notion ... except when it is universally recognized and therefore easily understood by most readers
is potentially ambiguous. The "except" clause could be read as being an exception to "only" rather than "link". I suggest instead:
Only link a word or phrase that is unequivocally referring to a unique and specific entity or notion—usually a proper name or technical jargon—and not a common term easily understood by most readers (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking § Overlinking)
Mitch Ames (talk) 07:11, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

Version 2: comments

  • "If such a subject is mentioned somewhere else in the article, however, then link those instead of the one inside the quote (see also Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking § Repeated links). And even if not, consider adding or moving a mention of the subject to the surrounding encyclopedic passage.."

    What is "such a subject"? What does "those" refer back to? And even if not what? Even without addressing those points, a better opening might be: "However, if such a subject is mentioned elsewhere in the article, link those ..."

  • Is "most importantly" necessary? ("Never" is already intensive.) "Remotely semantically" is a little clumsy, and what does "semantically" add here? Either remove altogether or replace with "at all ambiguous? Tony (talk) 07:39, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Mitch Ames, Tony1: Will you please just edit your ideas directly into V2? A series of small edits, each with a clear edit summary, will allow others to follow your changes. Likely most if not all will be uncontroversi, but if someone dislikes something we can discuss it then. EEng 07:56, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
please just edit your ideas directly into V2 - Done. Mitch Ames (talk) 08:10, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
This edit to the V2 text might address the first of Tony1's points. Mitch Ames (talk) 08:26, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

More Version 2 comments[edit]

Version 2 now has changes made by Mitch Ames, which look good to me. Others should feel free to continue modifying it, or if there are concerns that can't be addressed by simple editing, comments can be added here. SMcCandlish, I'm sure we'd all like for you to edit in anything you still want to see changed. (If such edits are extensive, you might want to start a V3.) EEng 21:32, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

SMcCandlish, we're waiting. (And similarly at MOSDATE, too.) Can you please make time for this? EEng 08:33, 18 September 2016 (UTC)

Briefly, on linking from quotes. This should still be minimised as much as possible. The point of a quote is usually to transmit something in the voice of the person giving the quote (i.e. not in Wikipedia's voice). Linking distracts from this. If something is important enough to link from within a quote, then 99% of the time it will be mentioned elsewhere in the article, or should be mentioned elsewhere, and can be linked from there. In many cases, an explanatory footnote, with links, is better than linking from the quote itself. The reason this is rarely done appears to be because many editors are not familiar with how to generate actual footnotes containing text (as opposed to citations and references). Linking from within a quote is, IMO, a lazy way of explaining things to the reader. Taking the time to write the surrounding text so that things are explained without the need to link, is usually better. This is difficult to express in a guideline, though. Wikipedia:Nesting footnotes is useful to explain the 'reference within note' and similar approaches (hands up who uses the obscure methods 'Subnote within note' and 'Subnote within reference'?). Carcharoth (talk) 13:52, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

Is there anything you think should be changed in Version 2? EEng 14:15, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
It is difficult to engage with the examples, because they lack the context provided by the surrounding text which would in many cases suggest ways to avoid linking at all. Example three, I would add the year the quoted text was uttered/published and explain that 'Four score and seven years ago' is 87 years ago and that it is referring to the US Declaration of Independence in 1776. Or even simpler, when attributing the quote, just link to Gettysburg Address (1863). That should be sufficient for most readers. This is why the context of how you are giving the quote is important. Made-up or truncated examples (stripped of their context) don't really work here. Carcharoth (talk) 15:01, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

I would prefer simple text: "Be especially careful with wikilinks in quotations, ensuring that they are unambiguously appropriate to the text. As editors we do not impose additional meaning upon the words of others, except through the editorial voice, and only then when supported by reliable sources."

Why? Because these same problems can arise with wikilinks in article text. An incorrect or biased link from a quote is hardly more damaging than misleading contextual links. ...is widely considered [[Nazi|right wing]].... We can put words in someone's mouth but we can't put a link in their mouth.

All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 21:07, 22 September 2016 (UTC).

Version 3[edit]

This integrates Tony1's comments (I hope). Rich Farmbrough, I'm uncertain how to integrate the changes you're talking about above. Can you edit that into V3 for us? EEng 04:27, 23 September 2016 (UTC)

Wikilinks within quotations need special care, and for this reason are often worth avoiding altogether. Only link a word or phrase that is unequivocally referring to a unique and specific entity or notion—usually a proper name or technical jargon—and not a common term easily understood by most readers. (See Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking § Overlinking.)

Example: Opulent Architecture said, "The outer of the two rooms is of Alabama marble, with fluted columns and Ionic capitals."
Excessive: Smith wrote, "The [[1990s]] [[German]] [[film]], [[Cinematography|shot]] on [[70 mm film|70&nbsp;mm]], is [[Epic film|bigger]] and more [[Film budgeting|expensive]] than ''[[Ben-Hur (1959 film)|Ben-Hur]]''."
Appropriate: Smith wrote, "The 1990s German film, shot on [[70 mm film|70&nbsp;mm]], is bigger and more expensive than ''[[Ben-Hur (1959 film)|Ben-Hur]]''."

Where appropriate, put a link in nearby text instead of in the quotation; consider adding suitable text where none exists.

Confusing: "[[Paris, Texas|Paris]] still has the best", food critic John Smith said in 2007. (Reader must click on link to discover that the obvious interpretation of "Paris" is incorrect.)
Acceptable: "{{bracket|[[Paris, Texas]]}} still has the best", food critic John Smith said in 2007.
Better: "Paris still has the best", food critic John Smith said in 2007, referring to [[Paris, Texas]].

Don't link to words that are ambiguous or use piped links to direct to articles whose subject is significantly broader or narrower than the displayed text (Easter egg links). This is to avoid original research or violation of text–source integrity.

Bad: [[United States Declaration of Independence|Four score and seven years ago]] our [[Founding Fathers of the United States|fathers]] brought forth on [[North America|this continent]] a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that [[all men are created equal]].
OK: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

I have made some revisions to the above. I am inclined to remove the advice that applies to all links in running text, such as overlinking. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 12:33, 24 September 2016 (UTC).

I've made minor correction to the punctuation in Rich Farmbrough's new text. Mitch Ames (talk) 05:56, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

This link [63] shows the changes from V2 to V3. I'm fine with them. Comments? EEng 06:14, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

I disagree with this change:
Only link a word or phrase that is create links that are unequivocally referring to a unique and specific entity or notion...
In the original wording the word/phrase in the quote must be unambiguously referring to a specific entity, implying that the link target must be that specific entity. The newer wording says that the target must be a specific entity but does not say that the quoted word/phrase must be unambiguous, allowing the editor to infer the meaning of an ambiguous quote - which we ought not allow. Mitch Ames (talk) 06:41, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
Hmmmm. You may have a point. EEng 06:58, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
There being no further comment, I've edited V3 to undo the change Mitch Ames dislikes. Pinging everyone who's participated so far so see how close V3 now brings us to agreement: Mitch Ames, SMcCandlish, Tony1, Rich Farmbrough, Nardog, Mclay1, jnestorius, Jayaguru-Shishya, Carcharoth. EEng 08:40, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
I support V3. Nardog (talk) 10:30, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Oppose I don't see anything in the V3 "bad" examples that is specific to quotations. Overlinking is overlinking wherever it occurs; ditto for eastereggs. There are three cases:
  1. A snippet where the wikilinking is acceptable whether or not the snippet is a direct quotation
  2. A snippet where the wikilinking is unacceptable whether or not the snippet is a direct quotation
  3. A snippet where the wikilinking is acceptable if the snippet is ordinary running text but unacceptable if the identical wording is a direct quotation
Examples of type #1 and #2 are useless in helping editors see the point and scope of a quotation-specific policy. So advocates of any policy need to focus on finding examples of type 3. jnestorius(talk) 10:37, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
I don't like it. I generally disagree with the whole "avoid it" thing. The point of linking in any case is so that readers can gain an understanding of the context. This is no different in quotes. The only thing that needs to be avoided is linking to something that the person quoted didn't mean. However, there will be many, many cases where it is obvious or explicit what the person meant. It may even have been explained in another part of the quote that is not given in the article. So I don't agree at all that links "are often worth avoiding altogether". If someone's talking about the Beatles, we know they're talking about the Beatles. There's no need to avoid that outside of the rules that apply to normal linking. There's no reason readers will be any more or less aware of terms used within quotes. I would just delete "and for this reason are often worth avoiding altogether". "Wikilinks within quotations need special care" says enough. This bit – "Don't link to words that are ambiguous" – is either unclear or wrong. If the word (I think term is better) is ambiguous in that it requires interpretation that could be incorrect, then, yes, a link should be avoided for the all the stated reasons. However, if a term is ambiguous in that a reader may misunderstand it, but it's actually certain what the person was referring to, then that's a very good to reason to include a link. If a person says (and hypothetically no previous context was given), "I really hate spam", then "spam" needs to be linked to explain whether the person means the food or junk emails. Without that explanation, the quote is pointless. Yes, you could put an explanation in [brackets], but there may be situations where it's better to link. McLerristarr | Mclay1 14:14, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
  • I find Jnestorius' and Mclay1's points appealing. I wonder if we may be heading toward something very minimal, like a simple statement like "Wikilinks within quotations need special care..." and maybe just a bit more than that, and maybe or maybe not an example. But let's take this a bit at a time. How about if we start by changing
Wikilinks within quotations need special care, and for this reason are often worth avoiding altogether. Only link a word or phrase that is unequivocally referring to a unique and specific entity or notion—usually a proper name or technical jargon—and not a common term easily understood by most readers.
to read
Wikilinks within quotations need special care. Only link a word or phrase that unequivocally refers to a unique and specific entity or notion—​​usually a proper name or technical jargon.
I don't think we need to xref to MOS/Linking § Overlinking because that applies to all links. Can we all agree on that change, for starters? EEng 18:20, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree with jnestorius, or if there must be a version of the rule, with Mclay1. Direct quotes are not so frequent that overlinking or easter-egg linking won't be easily enough spotted. Harfarhs (talk) 20:16, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

page ranges...[edit]

At MOS:ENDASH, by implication from example it implies that page ranges should be truncated. In the subsection "In ranges that might otherwise be expressed with to or through" it gives a page range example as

pp. 211–19

(rather than "pp. 211-219"). This section is about en dashes, and the example is to show how the en dash is used rather than how we are supposed to show page numbers... but now I've run into an editor who went though an article and changed all the "pp. 211-219" type pages to "pp. 211–19", based on this example (I think the editor is only changing articles where both "pp. 211-219" and "pp. 211-19" are used, so that they will all use the same format, which fine; but being confronted with the question "what format shall I standardize the article on" is using the example given here at MOS:ENDASH as the answer.)

I object to this because if the format "pp. 211-219" is used, then I think the reader's though process is:

  1. OK, pages 211 through 219

whereas with the format "pp. 211-19" it's more like

  1. OK, pages 211 through 19
  2. Wait, what? That's not right
  3. Oh, they must mean pages 211 through 219

And so why make the reader use these extra clocks? Even if it takes the reader only a nanosecond to suss what the deal is (and we have a lot of readers and so that's a lot of nanoseconds), it's not like saving the occasional byte on the server matters that much these days. Right? And if not to save server space, what's the advantage?

Isn't this probably something left over from Ur and, being an en dash example, the numbering part was never thought through or discussed or consensus-adopted or intended to serve an as an example or even noticed until now? So is there any objection if I just go ahead and fix this? Or is there a counterargument and we need an RfC? Herostratus (talk) 03:17, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

I have to disagree with you there, I'm afraid. I think page ranges look much better in the 211–19 example. After all, we give year spans in the abbreviated, 1975–79 format (without needing to repeat the century). Also, take the case of huge reference books used as sources: without shortening the page range, we could end up with examples such as pp. 1034–1035 – which is pretty unsightly, imo, and unnecessary. JG66 (talk) 03:39, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
En dash and no elision of digits is pretty standard, I think, and my preference. Don't we have a recent RFC that decided not to do digit elision in general, even in years? So the MOS en dash section just needs to be updated. Dicklyon (talk) 03:44, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
Actually, per a recent RFC, date ranges with full years are preceded over trunicated years. Was at the villiage pump. And I disagree with truncating page ranges too, as there to much potential for excessive confusion or misreading. It doesn't really save anything, and there's really no benefit to truncating (the example isn't unsightly in my opinion at all; it's clear and concise. I applaud the bold fix already performed. oknazevad (talk) 03:46, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
I applaud that fix, too. If digit elision is to be discussed some place, it's certainly not in the endash section. Dicklyon (talk) 03:49, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
Oh well, I don't – I rue it! But what's an RFC on a point of editorial style doing at the Pump? JG66 (talk) 04:05, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
Anything can be at the pump. That's kinda it's point, to be a central clearing house so things are widely publicized so anyone who sees can chime in, instead of just the usual gang who frequent particular pages, as often happens with discussions. And it's not inappropriate per WP:NOTBURO, just to be crystal clear. oknazevad (talk) 04:09, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
Right, but one would expect to have seen a notification here at Talk:MOS, given that it's related to editorial style. Who knows, perhaps there was and I just missed it … Would you mind providing a link to the RFC? JG66 (talk) 04:24, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
It's at here. Don't know about notifications, but RFCs at the pump tend to show up on the central notifications template. oknazevad (talk) 18:15, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, oknazevad. JG66 (talk) 16:03, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Since MOS:ENDASH is about how you're supposed to use an endash for ranges (and not e.g. a hyphen), not about what goes on either side of the endash, I've boldly changed [64] the example from pp. 211–19 to pp. 7–19, thus avoiding the question here in this section. EEng 19:37, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

Wikipe-tan head.pngWikipe-tan approves! Herostratus (talk) 22:07, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

The MOS on whether to use full or truncated numbers in ranges (unfortunately silent on the issue of page numbers specifically) is here: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers#Ranges – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 22:19, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
It's silent on page numbers because (I think) page numbers rarely come up in article text proper, but rather in citations, and citation formats are allowed to vary widely (MLA, Chicago, yada yada yada) and specifically do vary on this elision question. EEng 01:21, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
In my view, the truncated form is much easier to read. Any reader who goes through the described "clockwork" for the first time (must be a kid) will adapt within seconds. Tony (talk) 01:26, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
I agree, but my point again is that anything we say here at WP:MOS and/or over at WP:MOSNUM will apply only outside citations/references. That's quite limited applicability, and people should know that before everyone gears up for another MOS fight to the death over it. EEng 01:33, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
FWIW, Chicago Manual of Style says digit elision is fine as long as two digits are carried forward. See here. Cbl62 (talk) 01:40, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
As far as I know, the shorter form is pretty much always used in scientific journal citations. Since journal articles are mostly not more than 100 pages, usually closer to 10, I suspect it is easier to read in the short form. References to books also likely don't reference so many pages. I notice that above, the suggestion is 211-19, and not 211-9, which could also work. As journal volumes easily get over 1000 pages, it could be 1211-19 vs. 1211-1219. The latter takes longer to read. Mostly, one either wants to know where to start, or how many pages long it is. Gah4 (talk) 14:57, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
"pretty much always used in scientific journal citations" probably exactly explains it: we have probably mindlessly inherited this habit from academia. But we are not an academic publication, we are a popular encyclopedia read by people from many walks of life.
If "the truncated form is much easier to read" that'd be different. I don't think it is because it requires an extra tick of mental processing to fill out the truncated form -- IMO. I don't know if there's an objective answer to this so it comes to opinion I suppose.
(What we really ought to put paid to is "pp.". Its probably a latinism -- "pp" is not a proper English abbreviation for "pages" (that would be be "pgs" or something) -- and anyway why abbreviate the short word "pages"? We don't abbreviate "author" as "au" and so on. Again, probably a silly habit unthinkingly inherited from the 19th and 20th centuries, and an egregious and needless barrier between our information and our readers's minds. We should be better than that. But that's another discussion.)
I do note that we no longer truncate years, and we have never truncated dates: it's always been "May 22-27" not "May 22-7". Nor would we truncate most other numbers ("90-95 parts per billion" not "90-5 parts..." and so on). We do it for page numbers because of mindless habit. Another word for following mindless habit is "being stupid". We shouldn't. Herostratus (talk) 15:28, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
Being stupid is two words, but who's counting? Anyway... Yet another word for following mindless habit is "Who gives a shit, pick one way to do it and get back to things that actually matter." EEng 15:57, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
I think that argument is deeply flawed. Aside from your comment regarding "an extra tick of mental processing to fill out the truncated form" (I mean, come one …), the style guide that Cbl62 cited actually qualifies that two digits should be carried forward in each instance, which negates your concerns about days of the year, 90-95 parts per billion, etc. JG66 (talk) 15:50, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
I believe the one people are used to, that they expect, is the one easiest to read. Consistently doing one or the other (why there is MOS) is best. If the usual form is to keep two digits, and dates never have more than two, that would explain that one. The distribution of year ranges isn't so obvious. I have thought more about page ranges in scientific journals, I don't know that it is more common there. I don't know the history of pp, but it seems common in library usage. Gah4 (talk) 15:46, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
OK. I don't agree. I don't see what's so wrong about wanting to save readers an extra tick of processing... however you believe that "the one people are used to, that they expect, is the one easiest to read" and I can't disprove that... so I don't think there could be a consensus on that.
I noticed that Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers#Ranges is really only about dates (it is within the section Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Dates, months and years) so it doesn't really provide guidance on number ranges that aren't dates. So we don't have any guidance on number ranges that aren't dates (now that EEng has (cleverly and properly IMO) redacted the example at MOS:NDASH).
Which fine. I'm seldom in favor of straighjacketing editors to one format. (It does mean that people rationalizing an article's refs so that they have the same format within that article have no guidance, so some will ellide page numbers and some will do the opposite... which the universe will survive.) It's not worth worrying about. As long as I'm not required to do things I personally consider reader-unfriendly (such as elliding page numbers) I'm happy. Herostratus (talk) 12:30, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
There is the field of library science where people study these things, but I don't, and don't know anyone who does. A somewhat quick search finds the Chicage Basic Style Guide[1] specifically requesting not to repeat the hundreds digit. (No mention of four digit page ranges.) Journal article references typically reference the whole article, such that it is the first and last page of the article. Only the first page is really needed, but knowing how many pages there are is nice. Matching first and last is one check against typographic errors. For book references, it is usually part of a book, such that a range is needed. Gah4 (talk) 14:08, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
  1. ^ "Chicago Basic Style Guide" (PDF). www.ryerson.ca. Ryerson University. p. 1. Retrieved 22 September 2016. 

(@Herostratus: see PP: "Pages (plural), in publishing, from Latin paginae". From Acronym#Representing plurals and possessives: "In some languages, the convention of doubling the letters in the acronym is used to indicate plural words: [...] This old convention is still followed for a limited number of English abbreviations, such as SS. for "Saints", pp. for the Latin plural of "pages", paginae, or MSS for "manuscripts".". All completely unsourced, of course. Carcharoth (talk) 15:09, 22 September 2016 (UTC))

Right. So, it's from when people wrote in Latin. In other words, from the middle ages. I think a good rule of thumb would be "The Wikipedia is not a medieval manuscript". However, I think it would be impossible to change it... I can just imagine the arguments now: "Who are we to alter the sacred style handed down over the generations from the Venerable Bede himself" or whatever, with "But that is how Oxford dons/librarians/other pedants do it" which is just a devolvement from that. So I don't propose to try. Herostratus (talk) 15:56, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

My own preference here is to spell out the full page numbers. I always find it confusing when they're abbreviated. And in the end of academic/scientific publishing that I'm active in, I never see them shortened. Old conventions whose main use is saving paper don't make sense here, anyway. For the same reason I'd prefer "pages" to "pp" but that would be more difficult to convince other editors of, I think. —David Eppstein (talk) 17:35, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

I would also support "pages" in place of "pp." - the reasons for these abbreviations are obsolete. Our references are to provide means for our readers to find information, not to train them in reading <foo> style references. No one should have trouble reading "page" or "pages", the same is not true of "pp" (or even the stylised or abbreviated notations for volumes and issue numbers). All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 21:27, 22 September 2016 (UTC).
I would strongly oppose, because "pages" is conventionally used in bibliographies (and our templates) to refer to the number of pages in a book or article. We are here to educate the readers; save the dumbing down for the Simple English Wikipedia. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:47, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not here to educate the readers. Primergrey (talk) 14:09, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
I would avoid any possibility of confusion by using the full page numbers (every digit). I feel it shows poor wikiquette to risk unnecessarily confusing readers. Also, JG66, MOS:DATERANGE specifically says to use the full year numbers with ranges, the only exception being consecutive years. So it should be 1975–1979, or 1975–76. - Reidgreg (talk) 17:13, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
No, the exception is consecutive years, or in infoboxes and tables where space is at a premium. Anyway, why are we still talking about this? The guideline takes no stand on this at all, so unless there's evidence we need a rule on this, we need to not have a rule on it. EEng 18:54, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
Well, the main reason to have a rule is to provide guidance to editors who are rationalizing a given article. We all agree (I assume) that if article has some pages in the format "pp. 1132-44" and some in the format "pp. 1132-1142" than it's called for, and valid WikiGnoming, to put all the page ranges in that article into one format or the other.
But which one? No guidance. Thus we have a situation where one editor is at one article changing all the "pp. 1132-44" to "pp. 1132-1144" and another editor is at another article changing all the "pp. 1132-1144" to "pp. 1132-44". We can live with that but its not ideal. Herostratus (talk) 22:20, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
This detail is a function of the particular citation format used in a given article, and MOS has always (for whatever reason) kept hands off citation formats. Do you have any evidence that editors are unable to work this out for themselves on each article, or that excessive time is being wasted relitigating the question over and over? EEng 22:46, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

.. the first ...[edit]

By default, write all articles in the present tense, including for those covering products or works that have been discontinued. One that keeps coming up, and I want to be sure about: XXX is/was the first to YYY. It seems to me that if you were the first, then you still are, so it should be is. But then again, sometimes it sounds right with was. Thanks for any fast replies! Gah4 (talk) 15:30, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

Here is the actual statement in question: The 12-bit PDP-8, produced by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), is the first successful commercial minicomputer. It is still a minicomputer, though no longer in production. For comparison: Jackie Robinson ... who became the first African American to play in Major League... Since he isn't playing anymore, past tense seems to make sense. The PDP-8 is still a minicomputer, and some are still running. It will still be a minicomputer, even when none are running. Thanks. Gah4 (talk) 14:45, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
"Was" is more natural except for cases where the qualification is still current and unique. "Margaret Thatcher was the first female Prime Minister of the UK." - she is no longer PM, and no longer the only female PM. "Angela Merkle is the first female Chancellor of Germany."
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 21:21, 22 September 2016 (UTC).
The current part I understood, but not the unique part. While Thatcher is no longer PM, the PDP-8 is still a minicomputer, though not the only one. I am willing to go either way on this. Would Thatcher have been not "...the first Prime Minister ..." (without the UK qualification) if a female Prime Minister of another country has been elected while she was serving? Is unique less important than current? Thanks in advance. Gah4 (talk) 21:59, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
Golda Meir and Indira Ghandi were the first female PMs - and the PDP-8 is no longer commercially successful. Face-smile.svg
But the general rule still holds.
I agree that this isn't logical on its face - consider though, racing your friends to a tea room. If you get there first you might call them and say "I am first here!" - but when they arrive you would say "I was first!". Perhaps there is some subtlety relating to "First to arrive", "First to be elected", "First to be appointed" which are events (generally) in the past, giving their tense to "First to hold the post of.." etc, which are states that could be current. Or perhaps this is just one of those linguistic oddities.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 11:27, 24 September 2016 (UTC).
Or maybe just rare is enough? Maybe still present for the first few, but after 10 or 20, being first isn't so important anymore, so past tense? Not so obvious to me. Gah4 (talk) 22:04, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

Putting paid to pull quotes... shall we?[edit]

It really seems that pull quotes are never used and that no one likes them. This seems manifest enough that I don't think we need to be bothered with an RfC on the matter. Instead, let's just remove all references to pull quotes.

I don't think we need to proscribe pull quotes since they are essentially never used, and per WP:BEANS why even mention it, it just clogs the MOS. We should just stop recommending them (by implication). If someone wants the MOS to actively prohibit pull quotes, that would be a separate discussion I think. You could do that later.

So here is what I propose to do presently. If anyone objects, say so soonest, and I will instead present the same as a proper RfC to be voted on and closed.

1) At MOS:BLOCKQUOTE (which is part of this WP:MOS page), strike through through the text shown below as bolded and struckthrough:

Format a long quote (more than about 40 words or a few hundred characters, or consisting of more than one paragraph, regardless of length) as a block quotation, indented on both sides. Block quotations can be enclosed in the {{quote}} template, or between a pair of <blockquote>...</blockquote> HTML tags. The template also provides parameters for attribution. Do not enclose block quotations in quotation marks (and especially avoid decorative quotation marks in normal use, such as those provided by the {{pull quote}} a.k.a.{{cquote}} template, which are reserved for pull quotes). Block quotations using a colored background are also discouraged.

2) Move {{Pull quote}} to {{Cquote}} to and {{Reduced pull quote}} to {{Rquote}} (these already exists as redirects). (In no wise am I saying that these might not be horrible templates that should be deleted or deprecated (Cquote already is deprecated), but that as long as they exist, since we are purging all recommendations to use pull quotes, they would need a new name.)

3) at {{cquote}}, redact parts of the main documentation section. Deletions are shown as bold strikethrough.

{{xt|This template is meant for pull quotes, the visually distinctive repetition of text that is already present on the same page. In most cases, this is not appropriate for use in encyclopedia articles.The Manual of Style guidelines for block quotations recommend formatting block quotations using the {{Quote}} template or the HTML <blockquote> element, for which that template provides a wrapper.
  • Pull [Q]uotes work best when used with short sentences, and at the start or end of a section, as a hint of or to help emphasize the section's content.
  • For typical pull quotes, especially those longer than the rest of the paragraph in which they are quoted, {{Cquote}} provides a borderless quote with decorative quotation marks, and {{Quote frame}} provides a bordered quote. Both span the article width.
  • For very short pull quotes, {{Rquote}} (with decorative quotation marks) or {{Quote box}} (framed) can be used to set the quote off to either the right or left as in a magazine sidebar. This can be effective on essay pages and WikiProject homepages.

And edit the "Usage" section:

{{xt|For actual pull quotes, [T]his template provides a centered, borderless pull quote, with scalable decorative quotation marks, and optional attribution of the source of the quote. It can be used with or without the names of the parameters.

4) At {{Rquote}}, similar redactions to remove references to pull quotes while leaving the rest as untouched as possible.

5) At {{Quotebox}}, similar redactions to remove references to pull quotes while leaving the rest as untouched as possible.

6) At {{Quote frame}}, similar redactions to remove references to pull quotes while leaving the rest as untouched as possible.

I think that is all the references to pull quotes that we have, but if there are others that anyone can point out, those also to be hunted down and shot.


I don't think any comments in the nature of "Well, at the same time we should also do such-and-such" would be helpful. I am trying to do one small thing well here. The more geegaws you stick on the more likely you gather objections and then nothing gets done.

I'm looking for (but hoping against) any comments in the manner of "I object to this". I'll treat that as if I had made these changes and been reverted per WP:BRD and therefore go ahead with a RfC. Which will be tedious and effort-costly and with a forgone conclusion (no one likes pull quotes), so think before you object. If you object to some particular detail of wording, may I suggest letting this go through and then you make your detail changes after. Herostratus (talk) 18:02, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

  • This is jumping the gun. Just because one camp canvassed and bloc voted in favor of a change they like doesn't mean that consensus has been achieved to stop treating pull quote templates as pull quote templates and enshrine them as alternatives to MoS's prescribed block quote template and code.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:42, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
OK. I'll take that as "I object" and we'll presently move to an RfC.
I guess an alternative to wording at points 3-4-5-6 would be remove all of {{Pull quote/boilerplate}} (that is, all of the text shown at point 3) except for the warning:
The problem with this being that useful information is also lost, such as what the template does. But it does have the virtue of simplicity while also removing all references to pull quotes. Would this be better? Herostratus (talk) 22:14, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

RFC: Gender-neutral language in templates[edit]

RFC Withdrawn. NasssaNser (talk/edits) 12:08, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I have discovered a lot of templates that when a user prefers to be "gender-neutral", the template will use "they" instead of "it", which looks like that there are multiple people using the same account.

These templates include several from the UAA series of templates, userboxes like this, and others.

I think that we should replace "they"s with "it"s, but want to know whether others agree.

NasssaNser (talk/edits) 11:38, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

  • Oppose usage of "it" – That is an impersonal pronoun, many people would get offended by it. Personally, I wouldn't get offended but find it awkward. Singular they is becoming increasingly common, but not everyone will understand it – perhaps we can provide an option for traditional "he/she" and "him/her" or similar, but keep the option of singular they. nyuszika7h (talk) 11:54, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Certainly not "It" is not used in English for people. The use of "they" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun is widely accepted, although not universally. You can either write something like An editor, if they want ... or An editor, if he or she wants ... or An editor, if she or he wants ... but never An editor, if it wants .... Peter coxhead (talk) 11:56, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose. "It" in English is only ever used for animals, newborn babies, machinery, and inanimate objects. Using that pronoun for anyone capable of rationally editing wikipedia is inherently insulting. Rhialto (talk) 12:01, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Measures in support of MOS:CURLY[edit]

I was surprised to find in an audit of my recent edits and a sampling of random pages that approximately 15% of articles contain one or more curly quotes or apostrophes. There have been previous discussions (2005, more 2005, 2010, 2016) on the problems with curlies. While promoting curlies has always been rejected I'd like to know how much support there is for MOS:CURLY in discouraging use of curlies or even a partial purge of curlies from mainspace.

Full disclosure: I use dial-up, 20 year old hardware and occasionally use a text-based web-browser. Just to say that editors like myself exist as an active part of the Wikipedia community. Also, I've been doing a lot of apostrophe-related typo fixes.

I would appreciate input on the following approaches:

  1. To have a bot convert curly apostrophes and quotes to straight apostrophes and quotes in the mainspace. (It would have to exclude articles belonging to categories like Category:Punctuation where curlies should be preserved, and exclude cases with adjacent apostrophes to avoid italic and bold issues.)
  2. To have a bot check recent edits for curlies and, when found, leave a message on the editor's talk page (similar to DPL bot when an editor links to a disambiguation page) alerting them to MOS:CURLY issues and linking to a page with instructions for turning off curlies in popular software packages. (Would have to take measures against spamming.)

Like most, I didn't think that curlies were too big of a problem. However, it could be pervasive, effecting some 700k articles. And it wouldn't hurt to inform the small minority of editors introducing curlies into articles. If it's agreed that there are problems with curlies, why not fix it? I'd appreciate your thoughts. - Reidgreg (talk) 17:22, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

Please, not another bot gnoming about. If this isn't already something AWB raises an alert on, that might be a good idea. EEng 19:03, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
Just to point out the "why" of curliest in the present, it's a combination of lazy copy-and-paste of quotes from websites, and/or editing in a word processor and then copying over to the Wikipedia editing window. In both cases, it's just some careless editing and can easily be done as part of routine gnomish edits. Is it more pervasive that we'd like, sure, but I don't think a bot just for that task is needed. oknazevad (talk) 22:04, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
The editor says "15% of articles contain one or more curly quotes or apostrophes" which seems pretty high to me. Some (unknown) number of articles must contain no quotation marks, so of articles which contain quotation marks, curlies must appear in over 15%. However, yeah, it's not a big deal; I fix them when I see them (and feel like it) but I don't know if its worth worrying about. And, one small advantage of curlies is they signal a possible copy-paste job which alerts me to look for possible copvio. Herostratus (talk) 22:13, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies. The percentage did seem high (15.6% of 500 edits and 14% of 50 random articles)), which led me to believe that AWB editors aren't keeping up. Thus the two-pronged approach to clear the backlog and inform lazy careless unaware editors. Copyvio trumps the curly issues, if they can be used as an indicator, though I imagine (or hope) you get a lot of false-positives that way. - Reidgreg (talk) 16:29, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
I don't think that curly quotes are part of AWB's general cleanup. Mr Stephen (talk) 18:01, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

A somewhat related issue I came across today is AWB, as a part of general clean-up, changing &Prime; and &prime; to ″ and ′ respectively. Since these are hard to distinguish from quotation marks visually (curly or straight, depending on the font) I wonder if AWB should be allowed to do this. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:09, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

I've noticed a correlation between curly quotes and copyvios, so it may not be entirely helpful just to "correct" them blindly. --Mirokado (talk) 18:14, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

Liberation lingo[edit]

Howzit all.

If this is not the right place to start this discussion, kindly redirect me elsewhere.

I work mostly on WikiProject MilHist related articles, and something I've increasingly noticed is the use of "liberation lingo", describing wars and conflicts as "liberation struggles" and the parties that waged them as "liberation movements". WP:VALUE says terms like "freedom fighter" are vale-laden labels which attempt to skew the readership's opinion, so my question is do the former two also fall into this category?

Liberation-this, or liberation-that is, I believe, an example of loaded language (except when used as a proper noun, such as National Liberation Front). It's use is common in describing the liberation of European territories from Nazi rule following WWII in the First World; however, in the Third World the word is mostly derived from communist terminology and used to denote a successful guerrilla war or an insurgency. Often both sides would claim to be fighting for freedom. Use of this language in that particular context is currently grossly pervasive in some areas of the encyclopedia. It doesn't help that the United Nations has a list of "liberation movements" it recognises, but then again the UN isn't subject to the rule of NPOV.

If indeed liberation lingo is an enormous breach of WP:VALUE as I suspect, we should add it to the list of terms to avoid.

Thanks, --Katangais (talk) 13:09, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Is there any evidence that editors are not working this out for themselves without MOS' help? EEng 14:19, 29 September 2016 (UTC)
See Freedom fighter? Martinevans123 (talk) 14:29, 29 September 2016 (UTC)