Wikipedia talk:Reference desk

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To ask a question, use the relevant Reference Desk
The guidelines for the Reference desk are at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Guidelines.
For help using Wikipedia, please see Wikipedia:Help desk.
This page is for discussion of the Reference Desks only. Please don't post comments here that don't relate to the Reference Desks. Other material may be moved.


This question [1] seems to fit the bill. I don't know (and don't have time to learn) how to identify trolls, or what to do if one is identified, but I thought I'd raise the question. Marco polo (talk) 19:19, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

You're already learning. The colourful statements far outweigh the simple questions. This guy's not here to learn anything, and someone wanting to learn about this sort of thing probably doesn't want to read that shit first. InedibleHulk (talk) 20:27, June 17, 2015 (UTC)

Of course it's a troll if it's a question from an I.P. Disregard AGF, an IP is an IP. Just like how America was circa Jim Crow. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:42, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

Zapped. If anyone feels that this is a serious question, and would like to enlighten the OP, feel free to reinstall. -- (talk) 21:12, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
...And reinstalled as user's only edit before I had the time to post the diff: [2]-- (talk) 21:22, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
I see nothing wrong with this Q. Seems to ask valid questions. StuRat (talk) 21:35, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
In case you haven't noticed, we have a flurry of IP's from Romania, Spain and Germany posting and edit warring to keep the question posted. It's obviously meant to shock and provoke. μηδείς (talk) 21:42, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
There are two valid questions. How does physical trauma effect miscarriage and how much blood loss is too much?. The questions aren't the problem. The stuff they're coated in is. IPs aren't exactly the problem, either. If Jimbo Wales made this same posting, he'd just be easier to block. InedibleHulk (talk) 21:50, June 17, 2015 (UTC)
I have given User talk: a 3rr warning, but we probably need another semi-protection, I don't know if it was Jayron32 or someone else who placed the last one. μηδείς (talk) 21:36, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

can someone help[edit]

I just asked a question and I think I accidently deleted it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:00, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

Wasn't an accident, and wasn't you. InedibleHulk (talk) 22:03, June 17, 2015 (UTC)
See WP:ADMIN. Given your prior question you might also want to take it up with the person you have in mind, since many will not want the honor. μηδείς (talk) 00:26, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
It isn't clear why you, Medeis, are directing the IP to administrators. Checking the page history to see why a question was deleted is a function that any editor, registered or unregistered, can do. The question wasn't redacted, which would be an administrative function. The question was deleted because the person who deleted the question thought that it was inappropriate. Robert McClenon (talk) 03:48, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
It was the answer to the question that was deleted, the OP was asking about how I believe to nominate someone for adminship. The OP could also go to WP:HD I don't know who erased the previous question or why, but I have given him his answer. μηδείς (talk) 04:37, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
Uh you don't know? But the diff where the OP's question was deleted was linked in the first comment by InedibleHulk that you replied to. Why are you replying to a comment if you haven't even read the diff which was clearly a key part of the comment? If you only want to reply to the OP you should do so rather then replying to InedibleHulk which implies your comment has some relation to their comment (like you actually read it). Nil Einne (talk) 22:33, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
I answered the OP's question. I didn't bother to look at who deleted it and don't give a mile-high, since I wasn't interested in yelling at people or assigning blame. Some of you folk seem to like getting meta just for the sake of it. I make no apologies for giving the only answer here that actually addressed the OP. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Medeis (talkcontribs) 02:58, 20 June 2015‎ (UTC)
I believe that Nil Einne's intent here was simply to point out that your indentation made it appear as if your initial response was to InedibleHulk, particularly since it contained "your" and "you". Thank-you, Medeis, for your response to the OP -- that was certainly the right thing to do. It would have been perfect had it started with one fewer ':', but I'm sure the OP got the message and regulars here should be adept at catching indentation errors. From the wording of their comments it is clear that if your indentation did initially confuse Robert McClenon or Nil Einne, it didn't do so for long. To my ears, Nil Einne's comment sounds more provocative than it needed to be (nit-picking on the wording of your response to a response to your initial response), but we are all human here, and mis-indentation can easily put a coder on edge, and strive as we might, our emotions often influence our posts in less than charitable ways. Cheers! -- ToE 12:49, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Considering how many editors, including many very experienced editors, either aren't aware of indentation as described in WP:THREAD, or disagree with that and therefore choose to ignore it, I try hard not to read much into indentation, giving every benefit of the doubt. I recommend that approach for all. One very experienced editor told me authoritatively that the sole purpose of indentation is to visually offset a comment from the preceding one. When I pointed to the second box in WP:THREAD, they stopped responding and did not change their use of indentation. This attitude seems not uncommon, so indentation is not a reliable tool for its intended purpose. ―Mandruss  14:35, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
A subset of good faith editing is to have the best of indentions. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:26, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Keptin, the meta coefficient is exceeding Aleph-null. I canna hold her together if we go mooch further. Ken ya ask Mister Spawk ta put a temporary protection on the page for Gawd's seck. μηδείς (talk) 18:05, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I knew you weren't talking to me. InedibleHulk (talk) 20:34, June 21, 2015 (UTC)
For what it's worth, if I am replying to the sum of the comments above, even if not explicitly and directly to the one immediately above, I indent. μηδείς (talk) 22:02, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Mandruss, the second box in WP:THREAD is exactly correct. The second, third and fourth posts are all replying directly, and only, to the first one, so they are all indented one space in from the first one. Those three replies are not indented with respect to each other, since none of them is replying to either of the other two. The rule, in my view, is insanely simple: If you're replying to User A, indent one space in from User A's post, at whatever indent level that happens to be. In the Ref Desks, the OP does not indent. The first response should be indented 1 space. All later posts should be indented according to exactly who they're replying to, and this will not always be the OP. For example, in this thread, your post was indented 8 spaces, so my reply to you is indented 9 spaces. The comment about visual offsetting is misbegotten; sure, it has that effect when the reply follows immediately after the post it's replying to, and that's probably the majority of cases. But not all. When successive posts are at the same indent level, as happens when multiple people are replying to the same earlier user, a hard line break is very useful for spacing out the lines on the screen a little, and hard line breaks are always helpful in edit mode. I wish more people would get into that habit. It's not as if it uses up too much paper and contributes to global warming, or anything. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 00:21, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

Request for financial advice deleted.[edit]

I've deleted a request for legal/financial advice [3]. This was originally hatted (not deleted) by Medeis; the hat was removed in good faith by (talk · contribs · WHOIS). Tevildo (talk) 10:12, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

An obvious request for detailed financial advice. I think hatting would have been preferable, but the OP can find it in the history if he cares to. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:14, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
OP was asking for facts. I see no harm in referring the OP to relevant WP articles.--Shantavira|feed me 15:30, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Had the OP simply asked if wikipedia has any information about tax law or estate planning in the UK, that would be one thing. But we've got a rather elaborate situation, including a desire for as to whether he can sell a property yet avoid tax liability. "If you need specific advice (for example, medical, legal, financial or risk management), please seek a professional who is licensed or knowledgeable in that area."
Given it's a half-million pound estate, this is the sort of thing one gladly shells out a hundred quid or two for to get professional financial planning and tax law advice. It is not the sort of thing for which you create a single-purpose wp account in order to ask the advice random strangers at the ref desk. I thought hatting was the best way to handle this on the principle of least drama, but support Tevildo's removal at this point, especially given the unhatting by an IP who geolocates in the Philippines. Whether or not we are being had, if the OP is genuine, he doesn't want to find himself explaining to Inland Revenue that according to what he read at wp he didn't think there was a problem. μηδείς (talk) 17:11, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

and other interesting questions[edit]

There's a guy on the Science Desk who seems very concerned with knowing if putting semen in a man's blood will infallibly sterilize him. Might be worth a hat. Sterilization is a medical procedure with legal and financial consequences (most of them positive, but that's just my opinion). InedibleHulk (talk) 20:38, June 21, 2015 (UTC)
Relax; after all, I am certainly *not* going to do anything without talking to an actual doctor about this first. Futurist110 (talk) 22:35, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
While we know from previous statements that Futurist110 has a personal interest in male sterilization, in this question -- WP:RDS#Is putting sperm directly into a man's bloodstream a guaranteed way to permanently sterilize him? -- he has not asked for any treatment advice and no one has offered any. -- ToE 21:00, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, this is certainly accurate. Futurist110 (talk) 22:35, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
He's asking for help in finding a foolproof method for treating something (purely theoretical, for the time being). I don't feel too strongly about the guideline, in general, but many here seem to, so just bringing it up. It struck me as unusually tilted that way.
But yeah, so long as nobody fully answers him, we're by the book. InedibleHulk (talk) 21:18, June 21, 2015 (UTC)
Again, please relax--after all, I certainly *don't* intend to do anything without actually talking about this with a doctor first. Futurist110 (talk) 22:35, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm relaxed. And not a doctor, but I bet he says it might be fatal. That's one way to permanently sterilize a dude. Unless he freezes quick. InedibleHulk (talk) 23:44, June 21, 2015 (UTC)
Futurist110's questions seem to be random concatenations intended to draw attention. See his other sperm related threads [4] [5]. There's obviously an incongruent level of knowledge and feigned ignorance that makes AGF hard to apply. We have a few such outlandish regulars. The fact that the embryo in the bloodstream editor was banned as a multiple account abuser makes me wonder what and SPI would show here. But WP:DFTT is probably the best solution to such speculative silliness. μηδείς (talk) 22:00, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Actually, my questions here are certainly *not* designed to draw attention. Rather, I am genuinely curious about these things. While I myself certainly *don't* intend to do anything without talking about this with a doctor beforehand, I don't see the harm in merely asking about this here. Futurist110 (talk) 22:35, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

Also, for what it's worth, I have also asked this question on Reddit and I don't appear to have received anywhere near as much criticism on Reddit for asking this question as I have here on Wikipedia. Futurist110 (talk) 22:37, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

Exactly, because chat fora are exactly the kind of place for such random speculative questions. μηδείς (talk) 23:32, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Futurist110, I've answered with some links including one to a review article which should help further your research. Thank you for asking this interesting question and leading me to the field of immunocontraception of which I was previously unaware. -- ToE 01:48, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Huh. Maybe the bats literally didn't go anywhere. InedibleHulk (talk) 01:59, June 22, 2015 (UTC)
I don't mean to be thick, but I fail to see how this relates to white nose syndrome. -- ToE 02:20, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
It doesn't. It relates to plummeting bat numbers, like the nose thing. And like the mosquito eradication thing. And the wireless world thing. Never just one reason. I'll coin this "the application to wildlife population control thing". Catchy, eh?
I'm only about 3% into uncovering the truth (man), so I'm whispering. But don't worry, when I'm ready to blow the speculative lid off this thing, I'll do it in the proper forum. InedibleHulk (talk) 03:55, June 22, 2015 (UTC)
  • I think the question is an interesting one. Obviously, sperm has some antigenic variation to it, and sperm allergy does occur. Kicks to the nuts also occur. Can they cause an allergic sort of sterility? Is that why they hurt so much? I didn't look this one up (yet) but I should say that it is quite a fair question, with a wide range of potential implications of interest, even including a whole class of potential liability lawsuits that has at the moment gone completely undiscovered. Wnt (talk) 15:26, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Personal attacks: what they are and what they're not[edit]

I understood we'd agreed to confine personal disputes to this talk page, and not hang out our dirty laundry for all comers to see, such as this.

Since you've raised the issue, B. Bugs, you've been around here way long enough to know that a comment on someone's actions or behaviours cannot possibly be construed as a PERSONAL attack on them. The word "personal" in the expression "personal attack" refers to an attack on an editor personally. It does NOT refer to anything the editor has done or said. People and their actions are not the same thing. Hence, any comment on an action or a behaviour is NOT, repeat NOT, a personal attack.

For example, "You're an idiot" is a personal attack, clear and simple, because it's about what YOU ARE or ARE ALLEGED TO BE.

But "You've just made up or guessed what you just wrote there" is just as clearly NOT a personal attack, because it's not about YOU but about WHAT YOU'VE DONE. The difference ought to be starkly obvious.

(If you're so insecure that any less than glowing commentary on anything you post here is taken as an attack on you personally, then I can suggest some good therapists.)

If there really is a personal attack, don't edify the attacker (not to mention dragging the desk down to their level) by having it out with them on the front page, but bring it back here if it's worth the community's attention, or take it to their own talk page if you want to keep it between the two of you.

Please signify your acceptance of these basic tenets of human and wikicommunication, and please undertake never to disrupt the desks again for spurious reasons. Please try to set a better example to the younger ones, who are so badly in need of shining examplars exemplars in this sorry world of ours. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 23:17, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

Since you can't possibly know that they are guessing, that doesn't seem like an appropriate comment, in any case. Also, if you said "You always/often/tend to guess", then you are commenting on who they are, rather than what they did in a particular instance. And, of course, any such complaints about a reply belong here, not on the Ref Desk. We don't need to fight in front of the kids. StuRat (talk) 04:39, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
The frequency of someone's repeated action has nothing to do with who they are; it always remains a property of the action itself, albeit within the editor's control. It may be tiresome that someone often guesses when they really ought to be providing a reference once in a blue moon, but any comment on that is a comment or even an attack on the behaviour, not an attack on the editor personally. Now, if I were to say "All your relentless guessing does is demonstrate just how stupid you really are", or "You are the most awful person I've ever dealt with online", that's stepping over the line into a personal attack. As for guessing, there are often clues such as "I think", "I believe", "I feel", "It seems to me that" etc. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 05:38, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
It's the generalizations that become a personal attack. Saying "You didn't give a reference in these cases..." is a statement of fact, while "You often don't give references" is your opinion, since what constitutes "often" is pure opinion. And expressing negative opinions about people is a personal attack. StuRat (talk) 19:52, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
No, I still disagree. An opinion about one isolated case is no different, in essence, from an opinion about a generality of cases involving the same editor. As long as whatever negative aspects of the opinions there may be, remain on focus on the behaviours in question, and not on the editor personally, they do not get into the area of a personal attack. It's really quite easy to separate the two. I accept that "often" can be a judgment call; but if one can provide links to multiple cases where an editor has engaged in undesirable behaviour, that cannot be contested. That takes a little work, and most of us are too lazy/busy to do that detective work, so we opt for the fallback of saying "you often/frequently/tend to ... do X". That's still not a personal attack. A mature editor on the receiving end will not automatically treat it as a personal attack, go into knee-jerk self-defence mode, and deny everything without incontrovertible proof, or hit back with some counter-claim - but will accept there is at least a grain of truth in the other editor's point, and will work to improve their modus operandi. We all do better when we accept genuine feedback from others, because how we intend some post, or some way of expressing ourselves, to be, is often not how others receive it, and we need to hear that. It works both ways. Of course, if one is not interested in ever improving oneself, then that's a different story. I guess such people exist, but they're not on my Christmas card list. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:21, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
You're still insisting on making the same unsubstantiated claims that you accuse the other editor of. Not to mention polluting the Ref Desk with arguments rather than focusing on giving an answer. StuRat (talk) 01:12, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
To what "unsubstantiated claims" do you refer? To what "arguments" do you refer? Where have I "polluted" the ref desk? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:37, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
1) 'most of us are too lazy/busy to do that detective work, so we opt for the fallback of saying "you often/frequently/tend to ... do X".' That's an unsubstantiated claim.
2) Criticizing other editors is likely to start an argument.
3) Neither arguments nor criticizing other editors belongs on the Ref Desk proper. You should instead put your efforts into answering the Q, or perhaps making the Ref Desk a more enjoyable place by adding a bit of humor. But not answering the Q while making it a more unpleasant place is definitely not helpful. StuRat (talk) 01:55, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Point 1: It is unarguable that anyone who posts "You often do such-and-such" has NOT gone to the trouble of tracking down each and every instance of the editor doing that thing and providing all the relevant diffs. I really don't get why you're making an issue out of this. The reasons for their making that statement could be many, but laziness and lack of time would certainly be right up there. To be clear, I am NOT supporting people making such general statements about other editors. I was simply explaining the background to such a statement, in an effort to justify my belief that, no matter how undesirable it may be to make posts like that, it is still not a personal attack.
Point 2 goes to the very purpose of this thread. I was reminding people that responses to personal criticism/attacks should not be posted on the ref desk proper (that's aside from the fact that personal attacks shouldn't be made in the first place, either there or anywhere else). I agree with point 3. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 05:51, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
It is not the attacker's place to decide that the attackee should not take a givn comment personally. As you should know, per a discussion we had some months ago. Whatever it was I said, I didn't think it was a personal attack, but you did, so I apologized. I expect the same courtesy back from others. If the editor had said "that is incorrect" or "citation needed", instead of making a snippy and condescending comment, this whole deal would have been avoided. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:00, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
What tangent are you on? Who ever said that it's "the attacker's place to decide that the attackee should not take a givn comment personally"? That is a total perversion of what this thread is about. All I've ever said is that, IF - repeat IF - an editor feels personally attacked by something another editor writes, and they want to seek redress or take it further, that should occur either on this talk page or either of the parties' own talk pages, but not on the Ref Desk proper. This is hardly the first time this call has gone out, and I thought that you would be more aware of that protocol than most, having been a denizen of these pages longer than most. That's why your reaction to what Alansplodge said got my attention. That was the first thing (the discussion taking place in the wrong place). But on top of that, I am also arguing that what Alan wrote was not a personal attack to begin with, not by any definition of that expression I'm comfortable with. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 12:29, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
I quite agree that the editor should not have made his snippy comment to me in front of the OP. And if I don't get to decide what feels like a personal attack on me, then you don't get to decide what feels like a personal attack on you, either. I withdraw my previous well-intentioned but apparently scorned apology. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:11, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Good grief, Bugs!!. You seem to be not reading anything I say. Am I speaking in Patagonian or something? Let me say it again.
* If an editor feels attacked personally, he CAN - repeat, CAN - do something about it, just NOT on the Ref Desk proper. Somewhere else.
How on earth does that become "I don't get to decide what feels like a personal attack on me"?
I'm saying you do get to decide that, and you do get to do something about it. What you just wrote is is yet another total perversion of anything I have ever said, written or thought. Your Grand Deflection to personalise this by withdrawing an apology you issued to me months ago really feels like a deliberate campaign to do anything but actually accept that the rules of this Reference Desk apply to all of us, including each of us.
I don't hold grudges, hence I've forgotten what that earlier exchange between us was all about, but I do remember it commenced on this talk page and continued on our own talk pages, certainly not on the Reference Desk. That's all I'm saying. Have these sorts of discussions behind closed doors, out of the spotlight. You were happy enough to abide by that protocol back then. Why do you have such difficulty accepting it now? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 20:40, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
My proper course of action would have been to delete his snippy comments and re-post them on his talk page. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:59, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
When we phrase our insults like that, we go from personal attackers to personal attack weasels. I believe that seems to sound much worse. No source for that term, but Googling found something relevant at the top, so that'll do. InedibleHulk (talk) 06:08, June 23, 2015 (UTC)
I was just commenting on StuRat's statement that we don't know when people are guessing. In fact, we often do. An absence of a reference is usually prima facie evidence, then there are the other tell-tale clues I mentioned. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 06:57, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
"An absence of evidence (sources) is not evidence of absence (of knowledge)". You are just guessing that they are guessing, which is just as bad. If you can provide evidence that they are wrong, that's one thing, otherwise it's just your guess against their statement, which may or may not be a guess. StuRat (talk) 19:34, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, I guessed you'd know I understood, and would guess that I was branching off. If I know someone's an idiot, and say they "seem to be" an idiot, or "I believe you are an idiot", they can guess what I'm saying, even though I'm technically talking about me, not them.
And no, I'm not even vaguely hinting that I think you are an idiot. But by saying I'm not saying it, it still makes you guess whether I am. So we shouldn't be weaselly, even if we're not trying to attack. InedibleHulk (talk) 07:10, June 23, 2015 (UTC)
Just so we're clear, I haven't read the first link and don't know what specific thing we're talking about. I'm just about the general question of what is and isn't an attack. InedibleHulk (talk) 07:14, June 23, 2015 (UTC)
It can be tricky in real-life communication. If someone says "I don't trust you", that can be received by the hearer as an attack on them, in the sense of being told "You're untrustworthy". But on the surface it's a statement primarily about the speaker, and only marginally about the other person. If challenged, the speaker can deny they meant anything other than the literal meaning of the words they spoke. Whether the hearer believes them is up to them. So, where we have all the additional information that the non-verbals (voice tones, eye movements, etc) bring to the table, it can be easy to misconstrue the speaker's real intent, and that's just a property of the inherent complexity of RL spoken communication. But here, all we have is the words, and no non-verbals. So, it's just that much more impossible to presume to know what was really in an editor's mind when they typed whatever words they typed. Statements that are undoubtedly personal attacks should be given short shrift. Some other statements may be attacks in the mind of the writer, but it's impossible for the reader to know that, based solely on the words they post. We cannot ever get into the situation where people are punished, not even for their actual thoughts, but for what others presume to know what was in their minds. Just because A does not trust/like B because of some earlier interactions, that does not mean that whenever B says X, they're really meaning Y. Those who think they know better, usually don't. And that includes me. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 08:11, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Let's assume that the personal attack included in the above was merely for illustrative purposes. ―Mandruss  23:30, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
You can see the correct spelling at wikt:exemplars.—Wavelength (talk) 23:37, 22 June 2015 (UTC) and 23:52, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:10, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Clearly the quality of personal attacks on Wikipedia is declining. I created a web page to address this situation: [ ]. I hope this helps. :O --Guy Macon (talk) 00:24, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
    • I don't have this page on my watchlist, but someone seems to have mentioned me. "Fucking useless fucking hatters" was a general expression of frustration with the sort of people who fuck up the formatting, and hat loads of threads where one was hatted before. At the time I typed it I wasn't sure who had screwed up. I found out shortly after. DuncanHill (talk) 13:40, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
I think I've said this before, but I was raised on "Sticks and Stones", so anyone's free to call me (or my momma) any filthy thing, if it makes them feel better. Just do it on my Talk Page, where innocent people don't get offended and/or distracted. InedibleHulk (talk) 04:31, June 23, 2015 (UTC)
According to Eva Perón, saying somebody uses weasel words is not a personal attack. According to me, weasels are impressive, so not a personal attack to call someone one. InedibleHulk (talk) 06:13, June 23, 2015 (UTC)
Saying that someone is prone to error is not a personal attack either, since that is something that all humans have in common. But saying "You are incapable of doing anything without stuffing it up" is a personal attack. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 06:46, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Yep. Even if it's true. InedibleHulk (talk) 07:11, June 23, 2015 (UTC)
The editor who made that insulting comment has since apologized, so you can close this whenever you're ready. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:06, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Had you not raised the spurious issue of a personal attack, this thread would not exist. Would you be good enough to acknowledge that? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 13:38, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Had he not raised the spurious issue of "guessing", nothing would have happened. It didn't occur to me that I needed to explain to the OP what "third person" means. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:11, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Alansplodge's apology ("Apologies everybody, I picked up the wrong end of the stick") was, as I read it, for misconstruing the question and providing information in good faith (links and all) that turned out to be irrelevant to the OP. He apologised to "everybody", not to anyone in particular, and particularly not to you for mounting a personal attack on you, because, guess what, there was no personal attack on you, or anyone else, by anyone, including Alansplodge. But, as I pointed out at the start of this thread, even if Alan or someone really had attacked you personally, as unacceptable as that would have been, it's just as much of a crime to wage the battle with the offender right there on the front page. It'd be like 2 RL reference desk librarians having a bickering match right there in front of their clients and colleagues and other library users. It's just not on. Little kids come up with "But he started it". We don't do that. We take the offending party aside and have words behind closed doors. This talk page counts as closed doors, as does either party's personal talk page. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:55, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
If he apologized to everyone, then he apologized to me. I do agree that the proper thing would have been to delete his attack and re-post it on his talk page, with a warning not to make comments like that in front of the user. But he apologized, so it's moot. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:03, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
  • @Baseball Bugs: I think you're also getting carried away with your BLP complaint at "Who collects the reward?" I mean yes, it is technically correct to say that Roof is 'accused' of committing the killings, but of all the cases to go to the wall for, you want to pick this one? There is very little debate about this case in reliable sources. This ought to be a forum of reasonable people, not bureaucrats playing Policy Battle, and that's what complaints like that tend to make it into. Wnt (talk) 15:32, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
    • It would be a BLP violation to call the guy "the shooter" on his article, and BLP rules apply everywhere, hence it is also a BLP violation to call the guy "the shooter" on a ref desk. If you think BLP rules are "bureaucratic", take your argument to Wales and see what he has to say about it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:45, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Sigh. I wonder if it's a BLP violation to say that Matt and Sweat escaped in the 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape. I mean, it's only an allegation, hasn't been proven in court; maybe we should make sure to hold open the possibility they're both still in their cells and everybody just missed them. Wnt (talk) 00:31, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Saying "they escaped" should be fine - to escape is to fulfill a fine and noble instinct. To claim that they committed any kind of crime in escaping would be a BLP violation in the absence of a specific conviction reported by a reliable source. DuncanHill (talk) 00:52, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Reliable sources say they escaped. When and if they are captured, their additional punishment, if any, will be determined according to state law. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:56, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Oops, late to the party. The bigger sin in the diff IMO is that Bugs either failed to respect WP:INDENT/WP:THREAD or thought that I was making a personal attack on him. I can tolerate rudeness, give and get hurt feelings, but we should at least format it all correctly!
The bigger issue is of course a pattern of behavior. I will freely admit to chiding other users here for not using refs to support their claims. Sometimes I have chided the same user on more than one occasion, but never for a first (or second, or third) offense.
[citation needed] is not a personal attack! It is the Wiki way! - Use liberally at your discretion (you are not responsible for any feelings that may result from use of this template. Please consult your ethicist or manners maven for further direction. Yes this is advice. ). While I'm sure each of you is an expert at something, please don't ask me to trust you. On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog, but it doesn't matter if you can muster citations to support your claims. SemanticMantis (talk) 16:00, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
It should really be for a certain percentage of unreferenced answers, not absolute count, as any ref desk regular, yourself included, is sure to have given over 3 unreferenced answers. 1000 unreferenced answers and 9000 with refs isn't that bad. StuRat (talk) 19:38, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
It's not even about ratio, it's about when a claim needs support and when it doesn't. Here is not the place to debate the philosophy of WP:You_don't_need_to_cite_that_the_sky_is_blue compared to Wikipedia:You_do_need_to_cite_that_the_sky_is_blue, but as I think I have made abundantly clear, I will admit that I fall much closer to the latter approach. I have indeed posted many comments without references, but I doubt you can find many that constitute an "answer" to any question. Usually any un-referenced comments from me are discussion-oriented or clearly marked WP:OR. But I will live by my own medicine. If you or anyone else wants to call [citation needed] on one of my responses, I will not take it personally or call it an attack, but rather I will my best to either support the claim with a citation, or redact/flag as OR as appropriate. SemanticMantis (talk) 20:02, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
On the reference desk, all earnest attempts to answer a question should be referenced. Exceptions would be requests for clarifications, or simple comments that aren't intended to fully answer a question. Any attempts to provide a relatively complete answer should always be referenced. There are two possibilities 1) an answer is so obvious it doesn't require a reference (a claim StuRat frequently makes when called to task): if this is so, then it shouldn't even be provided: if it's that obvious, it doesn't need anyone to point it out. 2) An answer is not that obvious, and thus needs a reference. There's no reason why a person should ever answer a question with any kind of attempt at a real answer, without citing the source for their information. None at all. "citation needed" is not an accusation of lying. It's a statement that any answer which is not obvious to the question asker needs to be presented alongside references where the question asker can check the reliability of the answer. Any answer which is so obvious it doesn't need references doesn't even need to be typed out in the first place. --Jayron32 01:59, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Let's say the Q is how many days are in September. I can quickly give the correct answer. Yes, I could go find a reference to prove it, but why is that necessary ? Certainly if somebody doubts the answer a source can be easily found, but since that's never going to be an issue, looking up a source just seems like a waste of time. And we do get plenty of questions where the answer is obvious to most, but not all. StuRat (talk) 02:12, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
If the answer was obvious enough to the OP, they wouldn't have asked. If it seems obvious enough to you, you should still provide a reference. If the OP didn't need a reference for the answer, then you have no reason to answer it. Obvious to you is not obvious to the OP, and the four extra keystrokes necessary to type [[September]] instead of merely September is not too much of a burden for you. If you can't even do that, you shouldn't be answering. This is not the "demonstrate how much smarter I am than the person who asked the question desk". It's the reference desk. Give a link. --Jayron32 03:02, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
I would provide such a link, but, as you know, Wikipedia is not consider to be a reliable reference. So then, I'd need to read through the sources for our September article to determine which contain reliable sources on the length of the month. If none of them did, then I'd need to find other sources. That's more time than the Q is worth. "If the OP didn't need a reference for the answer, then you have no reason to answer it" is just plain wrong. Unless they specifically ask for references, it's safe to assume what they want is the answer, not the sources. In that case sources are only necessary should their be a dispute about the answer. StuRat (talk) 13:58, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
If it isn't worth your time, don't answer it. It's that simple. --Jayron32 16:15, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
I could say the same to you, where you provide lots of refs, apparently without reading them. If somebody on the Language Desk asks for a word with a specific meaning, I suppose I could just provide a link to an online dictionary, too, and say "your answer is in there". StuRat (talk) 02:14, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
You know, Stu, your actions don't magically start being correct because you invent some reason to discredit the person who is pointing out that you're wrong. It is the reference desk still, and not the "make shit up first, then create fake reasons to discredit people who call me on my bullshit" desk. --Jayron32 02:18, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
It's also not the "throw a dozen unread refs at them and hope one happens to support what you said" Desk. StuRat (talk) 02:24, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
I've read every reference I've ever put in a response. All of them. --Jayron32 02:38, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Really ? So when you provided 9 references in 10 minutes here: Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Science#.22Bringing_out_flavour.22, you read every source ? That seems impossible. Maybe you mean you just read the abstracts, which really isn't enough to know if the source answers the Q. And, since many of those sources were behind a paywall, you're really saying "Go buy all these articles, on the chance that they might answer your Q". I'm starting to see how you can provide so many sources so quickly. StuRat (talk) 03:00, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
So that means you can continue to provide no sources? Interesting argument. And we're not supposed to answer questions. We're supposed to provide references that could help a user answers questions. Whether or not I did or did not do anything is entirely unrelated to the idea of whether you should be encouraged to continue inventing answers and hoping no one calls you on it. You shouldn't. Give refs. The appropriateness of your actions is unrelated to whether or not I read abstracts or full articles. And I stand by my actions 100%. This is the reference desk. I provided references. What have your unreferenced, speculative, pull-out-of-your-ass answers done? --Jayron32 03:07, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
What have your unread, paywalled, pull-out-of-your-ass refs done? StuRat (talk) 03:11, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Irrelevant. You still don;t get to make up answers and avoid provide references. --Jayron32 03:22, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Alansplodge made the initial erroneous "guessing" comment, and then you added to it. Maybe I should have said "you all" instead of "you", in order to clarify matters. I really didn't think it necessary to go searching for a reference on what "third person" means. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:17, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Now you're just willfully misconstruing my comment there [6]. Please don't do that, that is a classic way to argue in bad faith. I asked you two questions, and made two statements. The fact that somebody can google things does not magically make your statements references. You writing "google [a phrase]" is not a reference. You can argue with the previous two sentences if you like (or the final two sentences of my comment in the thread), but you'll only make yourself look silly.
And you're still missing the point. Maybe Alan was wrong. Maybe you weren't guessing. I will put this in bold caps to make sure you read it. IF YOU DON'T POST REFERENCES WE HAVE NO WAY TO KNOW IF YOU ARE GUESSING, LYING, OR EVEN JUST CORRECT BUT TOO LAZY TO LINK TO A REFERENCE. This is a reference desk, Bugs. It's kind of our thing. SemanticMantis (talk) 16:28, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Are you saying I should have linked to an explanation of what "third person" is? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:55, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
No, I wasn't, but honestly, it's not that hard to put in some brackets so it becomes "third person", and that might be helpful in many similar cases. But that's not what I was suggesting. What I was suggesting is that if you had included any links or references with your very first comment at that thread, then probably nobody would have accused you of guessing. BTW I did google /your majesty third person/ and the first hit was wiktionary [7]. "Your majesty" is a second person construct, and the third person form is "his majesty". But none of that is relevant to the claims you made in the comment 1) that these are "indirect" forms of address, 2) that something is customary. Actually, this is all sort of irrelevant considering that none of that was even really addressing the question.
I only jumped in because in this case you made claims with no refs, then got all insulted when someone reasonably implied you were guessing. Just earlier today, you posted some good info on the confederate flag in Charleston. But no refs! The key thing in my mind is that we should always cite something if possible. So when you see me put [citation needed] below comments in the future, please understand that it is not a personal attack on anyone, it's my way of requesting that we all put out better effort to make the reference desk a more useful and helpful place. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:46, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
It's a third-person form with a second-person function. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:02, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
  • @Jayron32:@StuRat: I don't think that we should require people posting responses to give references every time - though beyond doubt it is better to have them than not. Making a reply without references is like showing up to a party without a food item - better than missing it, but a faux pas regardless. But when you answer without giving references, you should at least be reasonably confident that you have seen some kind of reference somewhere in your life, and aren't just guessing blindly. And there are times when I do think StuRat just gives a blind, wrong guess [8] that really is way off the mark. Now that said, I don't think that guesses should be banned; they just need to be labelled. This is the Refdesk, after all, and questions are welcome, and so follow-on questions should also be welcome. If someone asks "why does this happen?" and you follow up "is it because...?", that's still on topic and on mission. It's only when you proclaim your guess as the truth when you know, I mean know, you just pulled it out of your butt that things go wrong. So I'd urge StuRat to think about where his 'answers' come from, and phrase/label them accordingly, and hopefully Jayron and others can live with that. Wnt (talk) 01:47, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Stories (short and sweet)[edit]

I have started Wikipedia:Long stories made short (WP:LSMS) and Wikipedia:Bitter stories made sweet (WP:BSMS).
Wavelength (talk) 23:47, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

This is a very interesting idea, thanks! Obviously shorteners/sweeteners can introduce bias, but that shouldn't be a big problem as the shortening is signed, and a person can always offer a different shortening if they don't like the way one has been written. This is essentially a way of formalizing things like "What I think user X is trying to say is that Y..." - and that form of discussing can often facilitate civil conversation. SemanticMantis (talk) 17:36, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, keeping our answers short and pleasant is a worthy goal. Unfortunately, many seem to have the exact opposite goals. StuRat (talk) 02:05, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
I still wouldn't mind a little wordy exposition on this mysterious sweaty, possibly Turkish culture. There's such a thing as too short. InedibleHulk (talk) 03:50, June 27, 2015 (UTC)
On topic, though, I don't like this idea at all, if you're serious. I'll delete all my posts before letting someone "fix" them. The words that go before our signatures (even when we use fake names) are meant to be ours. It's different in articles, where everything's in one voice. InedibleHulk (talk) 04:06, June 27, 2015 (UTC)
The revised version is a supplement (not a replacement) for the unrevised version. The presence of "WP:LSMS" or "WP:BSMS" or both indicates that what follows is a revision. The presence of "shortened by" or "sweetened by" and two signatures and two timestamps indicates that the preceding post is a revision. A revised post allows editors to respond either to the unrevised post or to the revised version. Please note the times of day.

Blah blah blah blah blah blah.—User:Wordy (talk) 01:00, 1 July, 2015 (UTC)

This is my reply to User:Wordy.—User:Readmuch (talk) 01:30, 1 July, 2015 (UTC)

This is my reply to User:Wordy.—User:Readalot (talk) 03:00, 1 July, 2015 (UTC)

WP:LSMS: Blah blah blah.—User:Wordy (talk) 01:00, 1 July, 2015 (UTC), shortened by User:Terse (talk) 02:00, 1 July, 2015 (UTC)

This is my reply to User:Wordy.—User:Readlittle (talk) 02:30, 1 July, 2015 (UTC)

This is my reply to User:Wordy.—User:Readabit (talk) 03:30, 1 July, 2015 (UTC)

Wavelength (talk) 19:05, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
That looks like it would inherently make the whole thread longer, for the sake of shorter posts. Seems counterproductive. But I like the idea of new ideas. InedibleHulk (talk) 00:44, June 29, 2015 (UTC)
Or wait, I misunderstood. Probably all the "blah blah blah" instead of actual words. If you just want to write an extra condensed/sweetened version that doesn't get in the way, knock yourself out. InedibleHulk (talk) 04:10, June 27, 2015 (UTC)

Use of inline cleanup tags at the refdesk?[edit]

I'm fairly certain this would have been discussed in the past, but my archive searches are either off the mark or returning too many hits to go through.

So it seems like there is no actionable consensus that answers should not rely on conjecture and anecdote [according to whom?]. What about a consensus on whether or not inline cleanup tags (like these) should or should not be used? My guess is not since the refdesk shares too much in common with WP:TPO, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe section-level tags instead to avoid tagging a particular user's post or maybe there's a possibility of creating a new template that would be less easily perceived as an affront? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:01, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

Fine by me. It would be nice if there were some way to indicate who put what tags where. I can just say that I tagged your second sentence, but that's a little clunky. Honestly, it seems more polite to put in a tag than to say things like "Rhodo are you making things up again?!" I know I have done the latter at times and it is a little rude, but on the other hand, our whole operation looks bad and looses respect when low-quality un-sourced "answers" abound. Section-level tags could also work as a warning that things might not all be right in a thread, but they could also cause some confusion. E.g. is it my response or yours or someone else's that was questionable and drew the flag? SemanticMantis (talk) 21:11, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
How dare you! :) I added "actionable" after I initially wrote that sentence because while I think most people would agree it's best to avoid answering based on conjecture and anecdote, it's constant. That is, of course, {{OR}}, though. Section-level is indeed less precise -- just a bit friendlier. First choice: no guesswork; second choice: inline tags; third choice: section-level tags; fourth choice: whinging :) — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:21, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
No, I don't think inline tags are appropriate here. That's for articles, where each paragraph is a consensus statement, not for a threaded discussion, where each paragraph is one editor's words. In a follow-up thread you can explain exactly what you mean, and sign it. StuRat (talk) 02:02, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Assuming you agree that answers should not rely on conjecture and anecdote, is there an alternative approach we could take to address it on the refdesks (rather than on the talk page)? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 02:46, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Something like "Can you provide a source for your 3rd point ? I have this source which appears to contradict it: [ ]." That provides much more info than a "citation needed" tag. StuRat (talk) 02:51, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Sources are not required merely because someone may find something to contradict your answers. Sources are required because this is the reference desk. It should not be the burden of other users to check up every bullshit notion that enters your head that you feel the need to type out. --Jayron32 02:52, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
You're bringing your own agenda into an unrelated section. This isn't about when references are provided, it's about using inline tags on other people's comments. StuRat (talk) 03:31, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
It's not my agenda. It's the reference desk. I'm unimportant here. If you disagree with providing references, maybe you need to work to change the title and mission of this part of Wikipedia, but until you do, it is still the reference desk. --Jayron32 03:34, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Do you intend to hijack every unrelated discussion here to continue grinding your axe ? Learn how to move on. StuRat (talk) 03:36, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Do you intend to actually start providing references? --Jayron32 03:37, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm not going to continue discussing references here. I let you get the last word in that other section, that should be enough for you. You don't need to take over the discussion in every other section too. Let it go. StuRat (talk) 03:41, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You're bringing your own agenda into an unrelated section. This isn't about when references are provided, it's about using inline tags on other people's comments -- Of course this section is about when references are provided. It's about using inline tags for when references are not provided. Based on your alternative of "Can you provide a source for your 3rd point", it seems you are clearly of the position that the burden is not on the person responding to base their answer on anything in particular -- the burden is instead of everyone else to challenge that unsourced addition? I may be reading it wrong, but it seems like you would prefer a policy that allows you to respond in whatever way you want. If I'm wrong, then short of putting the burden on others, what can we do to ensure responses are based on more than conjecture, anecdote, and educated guesswork? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 04:02, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

There are lots of inline tags, and not all of them relate to references. I was under the impression you were asking about all of them. For example, if you want to add an inline tag that asks if a given date is Julian or Gregorian, I suggest asking that as a separate post in the thread, rather than edit that user's comments. StuRat (talk) 04:11, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Maybe my wording wasn't as clear as it could've been, but my intention in starting with talk about consensus regarding conjecture/anecdote was to ask about tagging as a direct alternative/response (i.e. since it seems there's no stopping these additions, can we at least tag them like we do unsourced statements in the encyclopedia.) — Rhododendrites talk \\ 04:40, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

List of Lists of Lists[edit]

I know many of us might already be aware of it, but I'd like to plug List_of_lists_of_lists as a great tool for finding WP articles to use on the ref desks. It's surprisingly broad and deep, and a good way to find that WP:WHAAOE article whose name might be a little different than you thought. SemanticMantis (talk) 13:43, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

WP:WHAAOE is also an excellent textbook example of overlinking. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:21, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Related: User:Greg L/Sewer cover in front of Greg L’s house and User:Guy Macon/On the Diameter of the Sewer cover in front of Greg L’s house. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:31, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
If anyone finds "article whose name might be a little different than you thought", please consider creating a redirect. If anyone isn't comfortable with creating redirects, just drop a request on my talk page and (if the redirect is plausible) I will create it for you. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:48, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Redirects are easy to create once you know how it is done, but, as User:Guy Macon notes, some editors just don't know and find it easier to ask than to learn, and editors who are comfortable with redirects may find it easier to do than to explain how. Sometimes an inexperienced enthusiastic editor will do a copy-and-paste create of a new article with a different form of its name because they don't know how redirects work. Of course, redirects are the proper way to give an article multiple names, far better than creating a copy-and-paste. (Also, editors who understand redirects are much less likely to engage in move-warring, because they know that an article doesn't have to have only one name, although it has one primary name.) Robert McClenon (talk) 22:19, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Good point. To add to the above, redirects are a great way to improve Wikipedia search. If I search for an article and don't find it, I ask myself if anyone else might plausibly do the same search. If the answer is yes, I create a redirect so that the next person who searches for that phrase finds the right page. Template:R template index is a good place to find the proper "R From" template, Wikipedia:Template messages/Redirect pages#List of redirects by function gives you more details. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:08, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Monkey butt[edit]

Baseball Bugs, is there more going on behind the scenes here regarding your edits to WP:RDS#Chimpanzee#Anatomy_and_physiology? I can't understand why you would snap at a questioner who has demonstrably made the effort to try to find their answer in our articles. Please WP:DNB. -- ToE 21:48, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Chimpanzees are not monkeys. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:25, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
I really wish to respond, "So? What does that have to do with my choice of epithet for BB?", but while I trust that BB has enough of a sense of humor to distinguish between a joke and an insult, I shouldn't risk the misunderstanding of others, so instead I will say, "Thank you Robert. Fact duly noted." -- ToE 00:08, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't think I was snapping at the OP. I was merely repeating what I've often seen here: When someone asks, "Why doesn't such-and-such article talk about such-and-such facts?" the response often is to invite the OP to improve the article. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:53, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Please consider the difference between the following responses:
  • Hi Romanophile! You are correct that our article on chimpanzees doesn't seem to cover this, and it is an interesting topic that probably should be in the article. If you get a good answer to your question (either here or elsewhere) I would encourage you to jump in and edit the article to include the information or to post the information on the article talk page and let someone else add it if you aren't quite ready to jump into editing.
  • If the article doesn't have the info, then someone needs to research it. There's no reason you couldn't do that work, unless someone turns out to be willing to do it for you.
They both basically say the same thing, but the second one (yours) is rather snarky and a bit rude. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:48, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Aha! I just realized that BB was probably confused by the title of the question -- which was a link to the section of an article -- into thinking that it was more of an article talk page question than an independent question with a link to where the questioner had expected to find the answer. I still think he could have been more gentle, but that does explain a bit. Otherwise we'd just tell everyone to go look it up themselves and hang out a permanent Out to Lunch sign. -- ToE 00:17, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
We may interpret questions differently, but this one struck me as just the sort of well formed question the reference desks are intended to address. They were not saying "Here is an interesting fact. Why isn't it in article X?", but instead saying "Question Q? I looked in article X but didn't find an answer." Isn't such a question an improvement over plain "Question Q?" with no indication of what effort, if any, the questioner expended seeking the answer? In this case the answer was, "Your question is indeed answered in Wikipedia, but in the species specific articles Pan troglodytes and Pan paniscus, not the genus specific article Pan in which you were looking." I would also suggest that when we do receive the "Why isn't it in article X?" questions, we are gentle in our suggestion that they either boldly make such an edit themself or take it up on that article's talk page because there is often an unspoken context to the question of "I expected to find this fact discussed in article X. Am I mistaken about this fact, or is there a more appropriate article Y in which I should be looking?" -- ToE 00:08, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
This answer stuck out to me as hilariously bizarre/useless as well. Not because it was bitey, but what exactly is the point of a reference desk that tells people to go research things themselves? How was that answer any more helpful or applicable to this question than it would be to literally any other? And your explanation here makes no sense at all...people only give that kind of response when people are demanding to know why certain info, presumably already known to them, isn't included in an article. This guy was just asking for info and references beyond what the article other words, exactly what the reference desk is for. Seriously, what?? -Elmer Clark (talk) 04:19, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Of the two bold, basically identical responses above, I prefer the second. The first one is wordy and overly polite. We don't want to bite people, but don't want to fake smile them too hard, either. That's for the Teahouse. InedibleHulk (talk) 00:57, June 29, 2015 (UTC)
FWIW, my overly polite post in the question in question was purely in response to what appeared to me to be BB telling the questioner to get lost. In general, I wouldn't expect any early non-answer response to such a question. -- ToE 21:52, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

To save time here, let's review a few things about Bugs.

  1. He will never go away, unless formally banned by some kind of AN/I action. And no one is going to file one. So he is here to stay.
  2. He will never change his ways. He is one of the most stubborn, obstinate editors I have ever met.
  3. If in his bluster he should chance to offend you, he will not apologize. He is one of the most unapologetic editors I have ever met.
  4. If you criticize his behavior or argue with him in any way, he will resort to one of several tactics. Though they are simple and obvious, he is startlingly good at employing them. In fact, he is much better at employing them than you and I are at defending against them, such that he will almost always prevail (which is one reason he's still around).
    1. Say something outrageous which is marginally on topic but mostly off topic and which will thoroughly derail the conversation. Guy Macon calls him out on this just above.
    2. Accuse you of personally attacking him. (We'll see an example of this shortly.)
    3. Whine about an alleged double standard such that trolls are coddled but upstanding editors are abused.

So: complain about him here all you like, argue with him all you like, but nothing, nothing is ever going to change. Ignore him if you can. (Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't.) —Steve Summit (talk) 14:31, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

I fully agree that I have a tendency to raise issues that many of you would rather not address. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:49, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

The best response to this sort of behavior is no response at all:

   |                                             .--.
   |                               ______.-------|  |
   |         __                   (_____(        |  |\\\\|
   | __..--  ``--.._                 __/ `-------|  |---,
   |         __       ``--..____.--'| \    ___   |  |  ||
   | __..--  ``--.._           |    |  |  |   |  |  |  ||
   `                  ``--..___|    |  |  |___|  |  |  ||
   The plug is pulled.          `--.|_/          |  |  ||
   Ignored is the disruptive one.  ____\ .-------|  |---`
   Feed him I will not.           (_____(        |  |\\\\|
   ,                                     `-------|  |
   |                                             `--`

The one thing they cannot stand is when folks stop paying attention to them. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:40, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

That's one sorry cord. I doubt it would work, even if plugged in. Is this important? Of course! InedibleHulk (talk) 00:04, June 30, 2015 (UTC)
Aren't serial cables pretty much obsolete anyway? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:11, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Not for this purpose, apparently. InedibleHulk (talk) 00:46, July 1, 2015 (UTC)

Please confine this to personal talk pages, it has nothing to do with the ref desks, Guy Macon warned hereμηδείς (talk) 03:58, 30 June 2015 (UTC)}}

Medical advice?[edit]

Concerning this thread: Wikipedia:Reference desk/Science#Possible to stop eyes from watering?.

Clearly Count Iblis and I have very different understandings of what constitutes medical advice -- and the extent to which it is appropriate. Rather than continue to go back and forth in the thread I'm here to ask for other people's input. Am I misunderstanding something? To me this seems about as clear-cut as it gets. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 01:21, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

Iblis believes he should do whatever he feels like, without regard for norms and rules, and also without regard for whether or not he does any good. He just acts on impulse. He says so on his own user page. --Jayron32 03:55, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Reference desk/Guidelines/Medical advice and User:Kainaw/Kainaw's criterion.
Wavelength (talk) 04:40, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
So is trying to enforce refdesk standards a futile enterprise? Make things up, give medical advise, and earn the resentment of other regulars but no other go ahead and keep doing the same thing? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 05:54, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
The thing is, the OP is being unclear about what's going on. It sounds as if he cries at emotional movie scenes, despite "not wanting to". So what is the real problem, if any? Only a doctor can tell him. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:20, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Well sure, but regardless of what the question or background is, saying that an SSRI will fix it is always going to be medical advice. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:05, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Right. That's why he needs to see a doctor if he thinks there's something wrong with him. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:09, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
The whole point of the medical advice disclaimer is to make sure we're not going to stand in the way of people getting the appropriate medical attention they may need. In general, it's not going to be a problem to point to certain classes of medicines that are likely to alleviate a problem, if those medicines are only available on prescription and a doctor would carefully have to evaluate a patient to see if such medicines are appropriate in that particular case. Saying that SSRI type medicines can fix it, may prompt the OP to read the Wiki article on this and may cause the OP to visit the doctor (suppose e.g. that the OP also has premature ejaculations which is also mentioned in the SSRI article). Count Iblis (talk) 16:17, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Or it may prompt the user to take / steal some their cousin's prescription, which could have bad consequences if the OP has certain medical conditions or takes certain other medicine that they didn't bother telling us about. Doctors have a chance to see a fuller picture than we do. Seriously, don't recommend specific drugs for random people on the internet. That's not okay. Dragons flight (talk) 17:11, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
It's worse than "not OK"; it's absolutely unethical. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:13, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
I've removed the SSRI advice (and the comments immediately following it). Dragons flight (talk) 17:14, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, and some other answer on another Ref Desk may prompt someone to rob a bank, commit suicide, poison his neighbor, start a fire or do something else that is a priori well known to be criminal/irresponsible/dangerous. So, why not just close down all the ref desks? Count Iblis (talk) 18:05, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

Note: I brought this thread up at WT:MED#medical advice on the refdesks. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 19:03, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

If you advise taking medication, knowing nothing about an OP's actual condition, you might well be aiding in an (unintentional) suicide. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:08, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Saying that X can help with Y isn't medical advice to take X, as the sale of X is restricted, it's only available on prescription. Children are already educated about not using other people's medicines, in the discussion with the OP it has already been mentioned that the OP could seek medical attention, I made it it clear that the mention of SSRIs was in that context (discuss this with your doctor). if all of this isn't enough, then I don't see why the Ref Desk should exist at all, because you can always raise the same one in a trillion exceptional possibility of extremely stupid behavior where something we write here leads to a problem. Count Iblis (talk) 19:26, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
So it still comes back to the same conclusion: The only proper response is, "See your doctor." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:29, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, but it can then help to put the issue in a context where it is clearer that there are actually non-trivial medical issues associated with it that the OP didn't know about. Otherwise the OP won't even know that this is something you should go to the doctor for. E.g. suppose your friend has mild arm pain while exercising that goes away when he stops. He tells you about that, but he doesn't seem to consider this to be a potentially serious medical issue. So, he isn't inclined to go to the doctor based on what he is experiencing. Then simply telling him "See your doctor." would lead to the response "why would I go to the doctor about this funny feeling in my arm if I'm not bothered by that feeling". I then doubt that you would not mention the potential of this being the sign of the heart not getting enough oxygen during exercise that he should check out. Count Iblis (talk) 19:56, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
According to the FDA, 1 in 5 US high school students reported having consumed someone's else prescription medication [10]. This is not a "one in a trillion" problem. Also, I don't think you made it at all clear that your comment was in the context of seeking medical attention, since your initial comment was essentially without any context, qualification, or warnings. You added some context many hours later, but not enough to excuse a clear violation of the no medical advice policy. Dragons flight (talk) 19:45, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
But, Count Iblis, that is a very different context and circumstance. The friend was just mentioning his arm pain, he wasn't asking for your opinion or your advice. You might well say nothing; or you might empathise but say nothing else; or you might tell him to "man up" and get on with the game; or you might ask a question about it; or you might have a chat and finish up with suggesting he have it checked out, because although it isn't bothering him now, it could be a sigh of something serious. Many responses are possible there.
What we have here is someone who has explicitly asked for information about his watering eyes. (A) We are in no position to know what's really causing his problem, but even if we were in the know (which we're not), (B) we are explicitly prohibited from giving medical advice, other than "see an appropriate health care professional about your problem". If the OP considers that response and says "Nah, it's not a problem I'd want to see a doctor about", or "OK, I'll make an appointment today", then either way THEY have made the call about their own well being, which is the proper state of affairs.
To be mentioning specific remedies, such as SSRIs, presupposes there is a medical condition that requires that specific medication. ONLY a doctor can make that call, which is actually 2 complex decisions: (1) After examining the patient's physical, mental and emotional states and discovering more about the background to this issue, I conclude based on years of special training that there is a medical condition that can likely be ameliorated by medication; (2) I conclude based on years of special training that Medication Z is appropriate in this case, and I will prescribe it. Getting to that point is the LAST part of the process. You have made it the FIRST. For a Ref Desk person to idly mention SSRIs or any other medication or any other specific form of treatment for a condition of which they know NOTHING, is as wrong as wrong can be. All it does in this case is display that you, Count Iblis, are aware of things called SSRIs and what they can generally be used for, and in this case that is nothing but an ego trip on your part. Imparting that knowledge to the OP does nothing for them; it could harm them. Consensus is dead against you on this one, so please don't argue any more. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:02, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Uhm, we are not acting as doctors here, but we can give information, pointers etc., the OP can go to a doctor for professional medical advice if he/she thinks that is appropriate. Your account of what I did wrong reads a lot like the admonishment you could get from the Communist Party in China for not sticking to the small print of the Party Doctrine. Count Iblis (talk) 01:24, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
There is no valid information we can give to that OP except, "If you're concerned, see a doctor." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:29, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
And if he dies, he dies. We're safe, because we technically didn't tell him to see the particular doctor he did. InedibleHulk (talk) 01:36, June 29, 2015 (UTC)
We are in no position to tell anyone what particular doctor to see. If his GP advises him to see a specialist, then that's what he should do. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:37, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm agreeing with you. Keep it vague and our hands are clean. I just think we could protect our collective Wikiconscience slightly more by not advising a doctor at all. In a way, it's as reckless as simply saying "take pills" or "get surgery", without specifying the kind. But recklessness at least makes us irresponsible. Lesser of two evils. InedibleHulk (talk) 02:02, June 29, 2015 (UTC)
I would have considered this to be obvious - is the OP asking for a "diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment advice"? Yes, they're asking how to stop their eyes watering. We therefore _should_ have replaced it with the template. But it's probably too late for that now. Tevildo (talk) 19:53, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
I have in the past been critical of a regular editor at the Reference Desks whom some of us think is too quick to hat or delete questions or answers. However, at least she believes in following the guidelines, sometimes too strictly. What we now have is an editor who has a stated policy that he will ignore the rules (and ArbCom precedents), and follow his own judgment. Everyone else here and at WT:MED is in agreement that the editor was quite out of line, and that editor continues defending his action. I now see a reason for hatting, templating, or deleting questions, which is that an editor might actually give medical advice and argue that it is harmless. See this reply from WT:MED:
I suggest that this thread be closed with a warning that if User:Count Iblis makes a single post in the future that even marginally contains medical or legal advice, the next stop will be WP:ANI for a topic-ban from the Reference Desks. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:37, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Indeed. My opinions of that editor are probably not dissimilar, but in this case... I've replaced the thread with the template. It, of course, can be resurrected if consensus is against me. Tevildo (talk) 23:15, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Sticking to rules in a mindless, rigid way led to the holocaust (this required the participation of hundreds of thousands who were indoctrinated to mindlessly follow the rules) and here on Wikipedia, bad things have happened in the past because of that. I was caught up in an issue and was almost banned due to stupid rules that had nothing to do with editing content here, and User:Likebox kicked out of Wikipedia because of that as if he was the worst vandal ever seen here. As a protest I put up that banner on my userpage and was hauled to ANI because of that protest. I was blocked but then that block was overturned. I decided to keep that banner to prevent the consensus (which tends to favor dictatorial rule here) from changing.
So, it should be clear that I will continue to answer any questions anywhere in the way I see fit, regardless of any restrictions. I'm open to discussions why an answer may not be ok. but the way the medical advice policy is invoked here is just stupid. No one is going to be harmed, but you can always pretend that people may be harmed using convoluted reasoning. Imagine that we had a policy about sexual content that said that we should abstain from discussing topics of a sexual nature to prevent teenagers from engaging in sexual behavior. You then could not answer any question about condoms, because that could promote teen sex. If someone like me were to challenge that by arguing that no harm could be done, you would have the party line consensus choir here trotting out how it actually could be harmful, the condom could burst, teen pregnancy, AIDS, blah blah blah.
If this means that I will be banned from Wikipedia, then so be it. Because if you can't contribute in a reasonable way somewhere because of a bad climate where the other participants are playing stupid games, then most likely that place isn't a productive venue for making such contributions. Indeed, the ref Desk isn't all that prominent, something I raised quite a few times before here. Count Iblis (talk) 02:08, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
If you intend to continue dispensing medical advice, you would be best off leaving immediately. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:24, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
There's a word for people who continue to associate themselves with organisations they hold in low esteem, while still refusing to play by the rules of that organisation. What could possibly be the point of acting that way? What ever happened to that other Wiki place you were exhorting us all to migrate to, some time back? Going well, is it? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 02:41, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm dispensing medical advice here. Now Bugs, as you see that place is far more prominent than the Ref Desk, so what are you doing here?
 :JackofOz, as you can see here, I'm a lot more active there than here. But a question is a question whether posted here or there... Count Iblis (talk) 02:47, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
I wouldn't want to be associated with a ref desk that allows dispensing medical advice. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:53, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
What then is the whole point of being against medical advice being dispensed? If you feel so strongly that some action is bad and it happens infrequent here but much more frequent at some other site, then what's the point of investing a huge effort to put a stop to it here while totally ignoring what happens at these other venues? Count Iblis (talk) 02:59, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
So I should go to your ref desk and fight a losing battle? No. If you want to be unethical over there, that's your problem. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:38, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
If you feel so strongly that some action is bad and it happens infrequent here but much more frequent at some other site, then what's the point of investing a huge effort to put a stop to it here while totally ignoring what happens at these other venues? -- ..... Because Wikipedia is not Stack Exchange? It's a totally different kind of website with a totally different purpose. Why on earth would we say "oh, well if Stack Exchange allows it, why even bother?" On 4chan people insert reaction gifs and porn into every thread, but we don't allow that. On Metapedia every article can have a white supremacist frame, but we don't allow that. On Google they display ads on every page, but we don't do that. On Silk Road they broker[ed] drug deals, but we don't do that... Not even infrequently. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 04:04, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Of course we are different, that's why this person and this person contribute there and not here. Count Iblis (talk) 17:38, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Sticking to rules in a mindless, rigid way led to the holocaust. I'm not entirely sure if you're serious with this, the communist china comment above it, talk of censorship, and so on, but it's as offensive as it is inane, and clearly you're not convincing anyone. If another holocaust starts because of rules about medical advice -- or other rules put in place by the evil censoring nazi hitler communist dictatorship khmer rouge nickelback jeffrey dahmer Wikipedia gestapo -- you'll have a fine "I don't you so" coming. Otherwise, there seems to be a very clear consensus that (a) what you're doing is giving medical advice (b) you should stop doing so. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 03:13, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

The preceding edit is 911 bytes. Ask your doctor to do the math, sheeple! InedibleHulk (talk) 04:47, June 29, 2015 (UTC)
I suggest that this discussion be closed with a warning. It appears that there is consensus that our existing rule against providing medical advice should be observed and was violated, and that the subject editor is in disagreement, so that further discussion is not useful. Robert McClenon (talk) 14:58, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, while the Supreme Soviet needs to discuss and vote on the proposals of the Politburo, since that's only a formality, we can skip that step. Count Iblis (talk) 17:45, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Request for Closure[edit]

Would some uninvolved editor please close this thread with a warning so that it doesn't just continue to be one editor spouting to the effect that restrictions on medical advice amount to totalitarianism? Robert McClenon (talk) 14:37, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Good idea. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:15, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I again request an uninvolved close, although this time not with a warning but because the discussion has been transferred to WP:ANI. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:28, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
It depends. There is no willingness to debate the fundamental problems with the way the medical advice policy is implemented here, all I hear are stupid arguments that make no sense given the way real people deal with their problems in the real world. On the other hand, the regulars here are willing to expend extraordinary amounts of time and effort fighting futile disputes (Medeis and Baseball Bugs being the lead actors in the daily soap operas here). So, I think if this thread stands in the way of the soap opera threads here, then it's perhaps best to close this one and start fighting your more favorite battles in another thread, take your time to draw some nice ascii paintings, or whatever else you want to do here. Count Iblis (talk) 20:46, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Request for keeping this thread open[edit]

The problems I raised have not been addressed using rational arguments. So far only hyped, emotional arguments have been used. I may have contributed to that too, so I'm not putting all the blame on everyone else here. The fundamental issue as I see it is that the way the medical advice ban is imposed here is very subjective, it's done on an ad hoc basis, and that paradoxically allows people to give their medical advice by invoking this policy. So, what happened here was that you have people who are dead set against doctors prescribing SSRIs except perhaps for the most severe depressions. That can be a legitimate private opinion, but by any reasonable interpretation of the "no medical advice rule", there should be no interference in medical interventions.

Now, suppose then that someone comes to the Ref Desk and asks a question about condition X, and someone else responds that Y could work. But whether or not the poster will end up using Y for condition X is then solely dependent on what the doctor would decide. However, the mention of Y could have an effect of whether or not the OP would visit the doctor in the first place (no mentioning it may remove a potential medical dimension of the issue). Clearly then, the whole motivation to flag this as "medical advice" primarily comes from those people here who would be against doctors prescribing Y to treat X. But that is precisely the sort of medical intervention that we should not engage in. Of course, they don't admit that, they (perhaps without doing this consciously, purely as a result of a cognitive bias) play the "dangerously ignorant OP card" who needs to be protected by censoring information to make sure he/she doesn't take dangerous action like using someone else's prescription.

So, if this happens again in the future, say someone asks about premature ejaculations, I see no valid reason not to simply mention Dapoxetine (e.g. simply saying that this can work, giving the wiki-link without giving any medical advice about whether or not the OP should actually use this), leaving it 100% up to the OP to inform himself using the refs given and to discuss things with his doctor. The only reason to block mention of Dapoxetine would be to keep the OP dumb in an effort to steer the OP away from potentially being prescribed this drug by his own doctor by the anti SSRI people here. Count Iblis (talk) 16:30, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Giving out medical advice here is unethical. Only a given OP's doctor is qualified to give the OP medical advice. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:16, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
It's not medical advice. Not sure where the hypersensitivity to all of this come from. Count Iblis (talk) 20:23, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Telling someone what to do to fix an ailment = medical advice. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:28, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I did not tell the OP to take SSRIs to fix his problem. All I said was that SSRIs are likely to remedy this problem in general. That's quite similar to looking up things on the internet, you can e.g. suffer from an allergy and read a wiki page that says that antihistamines are likely to help to alleviate symptoms. But that's not medical advice, anyone over the age of 6 will understand the difference between this and medical advice. Count Iblis (talk) 20:34, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
You're making assumptions about what the OP's problem (if any) actually is. That's against the rules. And anyone over the age of 6 would laugh at your hyperbole about the Politburo, etc. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:11, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I'd laugh at any six-year-old familiar with the Politburo. InedibleHulk (talk) 00:44, July 1, 2015 (UTC)
See Wikipedia: Medical disclaimer. It was explained to the subject above that the reason not to say that an SSRI might work is that this could be an encouragement to use someone else's SSRI. The subject dismissed this, with a rhetorical flourish, calling it "one in one trillion", or something bizarre like that. The disclaimer is clear. A statement that: "Your physician may be able to prescribe an appropriate medication" would be in order, but not to identify a particular one. The subject editor is being tendentious in wanting to keep this thread open. Do we need to go to WP:ANI now? Robert McClenon (talk) 17:35, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
When you start to assume that the OP may act in a stupid way, then all bets are off, as that allows you to argue any way you like. The argument that "this could be an encouragement to use someone else's SSRI" is such a stupid moronic argument that it should be ignored, no matter how strong the consensus here is in favor of such an argument being valid. Count Iblis (talk) 20:23, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I think we do. We have a dual problem here on the help desks; editors who delete or close things where there is a broad consensus not to do so, and editors who post things that pretty much everyone agrees should be deleted. This is clearly in the latter category, and Count Iblis has declared his intent to continue telling people what drugs they should take for various disorders. Clearly a case for ANI, in my opinion. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:25, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
It's at WP:ANI now. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:28, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Except that I've never ever told what drugs someone should or should not take. In fact, it were a few regulars here who played the "no medical advice card" who argued why SSRIs are a bad option, instead of leaving that to the OP's doctor. So, they were themselves guilty of violating the very same policy they accused me of violating. Count Iblis (talk) 20:23, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
You are assuming that this has something to do with SSRIs when it doesn't. If you had recommended Viagra or Penicillin or Lipitor, we still would have told you that recommending specific drugs to a specific person on the reference desk is not acceptable. While there are some gray areas when it comes to the "no medical advice" prohibition, there is wide agreement that recommending a specific course of treatment to a specific person is not one of those gray areas. Continuing to do that here is likely to get you blocked and/or topic banned from the reference desk. You are, of course, free to disagree with the policy and argue against it, but I wouldn't recommend ignoring the prohibition unless you are eager to be blocked. Dragons flight (talk) 18:47, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I have strong evidence that it does have a lot to do with being against SSRIs, because there was no problem when someone posted why SSRIs were a bad option, when that should be left to the doctors. I didn't recommend anything, other posters here did gave medical advice, in clear breach of the policy. Count Iblis (talk) 20:23, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Eyes watering excessively for physical reasons is a medical problem. However, eyes watering for emotional reasons (or when irritated) is not. This is a normal human biology. This appears to be the later case. Therefore, the Q should be restored. StuRat (talk) 19:08, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
That's what it seems like, but the user is being vague enough that it's not certain. And either way, he's still asking for medical advice. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:18, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Deleting Material[edit]

Please do not delete material without a good reason, such as that it is medical advice or a request for medical advice, and please do not delete material without an edit summary. If you simply disagree, state your disagreement. The Reference Desks fall within Talk Page Guidelines rather than article guidelines. (Unsourced or incorrect material in articles should be deleted, but edit summaries should be used.) If something really needs to be deleted, such as medical advice in response to a question that wasn't a request for medical advice, an edit summary is important. Robert McClenon (talk) 17:25, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

The user in question, Agent of the nine (talk · contribs), has been here a few weeks, and doesn't seem to be interested in explaining any of the various deletions he has made. Some of them look like he's deleting trolling, but the comment at the Science desk didn't look to me like trolling. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:36, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Apparently it's supposed to be "she", as per the improper update the user tried to make to my comments just above. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:54, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Signature discussion[edit]

(Moved here by me, thought it was out of place at an otherwise completely reasonable thread. Original question here [11] SemanticMantis (talk) 19:08, 30 June 2015 (UTC))

NAC:This seems to have gone on long enough and isn't going to result in anything. If anyone really thinks that there is a violation of policy, take it to ANI. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:36, 1 July 2015 (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.

μηδείς: I think Wikipedians are cleaver enough to acknowledge the facts, you don't have to insert/create a narrow minded thought/problem in their heads using your words... -- Space Ghost (talk) 07:21, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Also note that this is the second time Medeis is retrying to recreate a problem. -- Space Ghost (talk) 07:41, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
  • You really shouldn't be using a signature that has nothing to do with your ID. A more truthful yet semi-clever signature would be "Shoeless Joe from Russell-dot MO". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:00, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
@Medeis: @Baseball Bugs: The signature is perfectly allowable, as per Wikipedia:Signatures and Wikipedia:Username_policy, which explicitly also covers signatures/nicknames. Bugs' comment has no basis in WP guidelines. This has exact issue has come up before, and you were told before that it is allowable. I have personally asked to change his signature less often in the past, as I knew that some people would see it in a negative light. That being said, it's his prerogative, and nobody has to go out of their way to discuss it here on the ref desks. The username behind a sig is entirely obvious to anyone who cares to look. Please use any of the various talk pages in the future, or if you want to continue to discuss the present thread. As I know Bugs has said before, we should not put such off-topic discussion into a question thread. SemanticMantis (talk) 14:41, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
The more transparent way to handle it is the way Andy Mabbitt does it, by including both his name and his user ID in his signature.[12] And if Russ doesn't like his original user ID anymore, there is a process to get it renamed. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:08, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
And I concur that the entire discussion (from Medeis' observation on down) could and maybe should be moved to the talk page. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:16, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
No,'s behavior has already been the subject of discussion at ANI and elsewhere, my purpose here is to connect his obscure signature (which will not show up when you search his user name) to his user name. If that is something is opposed to, then this should go to ANI. But I assume has no such motive, and does not actually want to obscure his actions intentionally. μηδείς (talk) 16:13, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
There have already been some users called "Space Ghost", qualified by trailing numbers. There is currently no User:Space Ghost, but that page could be created with a redirect to his actual user ID. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:17, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Medeis' behavior has already been the subject of discussion at ANI and elsewhere, and it would be very rude of me to point that out every time I felt like it. Do you guys not realize that if you hover the mouse over a sig, the username pops up? You're both so good at equating an IP to some troll from years ago, but this simple signature change confuses you?! Give it a rest. I'm moving all this to the talk page. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:08, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Any objections to creating a redirect? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:23, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I could be wrong but I don't think that we're supposed to create redirects for other users/usernames. Of course a user can choose to do so for herself if she wishes. Also, given this unnecessary drama and past patterns, I expect will change his sig to something else within a few weeks anyway. You don't have to like it, but unless you can demonstrate that he's using his sig in a disallowed manner you'll just have to deal with it. SemanticMantis (talk) 19:45, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
The problem with his approach is that a user might come along and actually choose "Space Ghost" as his user ID. Then you've got a dilemma - two users with the same visible ID - a dilemma that can be pre-empted by creating a redirect, yes? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:17, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I suppose you're right - we wouldn't want anybody to impersonate another account, and that is already covered by our username policy under "real names" an "similar usernames". But that is not what is currently going on here, and it's still not our call to make a redirect. If someone does register User:Space Ghost, then there would be grounds to ask to change his signature. Please don't do that though, that would be transparently very WP:POINTY behavior. SemanticMantis (talk) 20:53, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Someone said this had been discussed before. Was it discussed on ANI, or only here? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:13, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I was referring to a discussion here on the talk page, that also involved and his sig. After a few minutes of searching I was unable to find it. I recall someone posted the sig/username guidelines. I recall someone (maybe Jack of Oz ?) mentioning several examples of well-respected users who sign with a nickname. I recall that you and I had both made comments to the thread, and probably Medeis as well. Maybe it wasn't on the talk page but in ref desk space, or maybe I was mistaken I still can't find it. SemanticMantis (talk) 21:28, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Hello, I was unaware of the discussion taking place here, I take time to write and have wasted a lot of time to discuss about a petty matter. What I wrote is as follows:

Repeating myself yet again (rewriting basically)!:

If you two (μηδείς & Baseball Bugs) have an issue with my name changing, then change the 'preference' page option rather than mourning at me and trying to make me look bad. Its perfectly allowable however. What's the point of performing a satanic activity knowingly?

Bugsy, you are well aware of the 'preference' page, knowingly you have (for the 1st time) trying to back it up with the 'searching' problem. Knowing of you (as much as I would think to have known till now), I think that 'you are aware' of the article SemanticMantis stated, yet you've made an unsuitable comment. Lets assume that you are unknown to the article, tell me, what will you say/how will you find me, if I create different accounts all the time, using different computers, all the time/every-time when I'm bored? Nothing, you'll sit back and assist as you are doing now, without a clue!

This matter was discussed a while ago, it was clearly stated and concluded, and was clear enough that Medeis was trying to resurface the matter intentionally in order to create a problem (I insist Medeis to insert the link of the 'talk page' where Bugsy, Medis, Sementics and Jayron were discussing because she was noisy enough the last time to find out about the ANI; please insert the ANI's link too), to create an issue which both (Bugsy & Sementics) have avoided as it was clear enough that 'she neglected'.

The last time I did not say anything because she helped me a few times. This time I am and I will, though with WP:Civility, because 1) I have begun considering myself as a Wikipedian (some time ago), and 2) I hate people who perform satanic activities.

Medeis: Your intention is clear as water i.e. wrong - purposeful intentional action. The problem is not mine, you are the problem creator here, I suggest you take this to ANI, and link this post. Note: Whatever I stated in this post, I had stated before, I'll state again, and again. You can't neglect the truth by camaflouging it. Also note: You are here to make WP better, not pick on people because 'you thought it was inappropriate', with/without knowing the facts.

My behaviour (if you strictly mean the signature issue, still its not a different story) was a subject before because people 'like you' were trying to create problems towards me, because they knew who I was, because my name was there, because I 'did not consecutively create a different account' and sought for my benefit, because I was too friendly, probably extremely angelic behaviour as the words 'extreme civility' was used, otherwise they would not have said anything, would've sat behind their desk and assisted instead of creating a problem towards me. That person however, stated his intentions thereafter to me, which was not clear at first, however, I neglected the facts knowingly because he helped making WP better, helps making people like me knowledgeable in other words (created many articles, also helps in the 'Ref Desk' and in the 'Tea house'; I would've inserted his name, since I'm talking bad about him, I won't).

Bugsy: I don't want to lose respect for you, I believe you are knowledgeable enough to assert right and wrong appropriately (not wrong as right), the reason why I gave you a medal once.

Anyway, if 'searching' is the case, since both (Medeis & Bugsy) are backing the 'searching' statement, I suggest one of you state it in the help desk, I suggest you both to make WP better by stating in the help desk, after tossing a coin of course, to insert/amend a function in order to keep both the facility i.e. 'name changing' as well as able to 'search' with 'names' and 'nicknames' otherwise people won't become a member and will only create/not create account, just use the service... Now, I do not wish to give a guarantee in advance, at this very moment, that none of you two will send a post in the 'Ref:Help desk' about it.

O, forgot, I have no problem with my name, sorry for trying to be friendly with Wikipedians.

Remember, you guys have/are with the problem, there is no point of 'telling me' to take this matter here and there. Now, I've insisted a solution, which will also make WP better, what you both lacked in understanding/concluding, let me know who's cleverer, who's performing a satanic activity/acting on a whimp because they know me, who is thinking of WP the righteous way, who's feels vulnerable because he/she is not knowledgeable enough therefore supporting WP however he/she could, and so on.

  • I don't wonder 'why' anymore now, why people would seek benefits, not create a login name, and so on.

Space Ghost (talk) 20:41, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Now, I'm not finished yet, First of all, thank you for your support Sementics. This is the last message for tonight so I'll be quick.

Don't listen to them, they don't have a base to stand on, they are just trying to make the wrong as right, I won't have any problem with another user who comes up as 'Space Ghost' because of some of the things you stated, also because when you have to search for the user 'Space Ghost', you have to type either 'User:Space Ghost' or '' then 'Space Ghost' along. Another thing to note, no two user can have the same name in WP. Its a pointless conversation with people I never thought I would argue with. Like you said once, people will always have a problem with it, and like I say now, only because they don't know the facts... Once again, thank you for your support and respect. -- Space Ghost (talk) 21:17, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Sorry about the confusion, I left a note at the thread but I should have left a link. SemanticMantis (talk) 21:22, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
The mistake was mine, careless indeed. It takes a century (lol) to write a meaningful thing... Anyway Goodnight/Good day. -- Space Ghost (talk) 21:33, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
You mentioned Preferences. I don't have access to your Preferences. Only you have access to it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:23, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
You have access to yours. You also advice me once something about the 'preferences' page? Therefore you know what's what... Anyway, I'm upset with you. Ras.gif -- Space Ghost (talk) 21:33, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
As you should be. You are being hounded and berated by two users for having done nothing wrong other than, evidently, being someone they don't like. (Perhaps you've done something else wrong, but not this.) Furthermore, few other editors have spoken out against their improper criticism, which unfortunately may make it seem like their actions are considered acceptable. They are not, but frankly we've become tired of saying so, and in fact their actions so border on trolling that we're trying not to respond to them at all. —Steve Summit (talk) 01:33, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Chill, bro. If the name is valid under the rules, then so be it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:11, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, I'm sorry to upset you. I don't really understand what you're trying to tell me. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:53, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
If you two (μηδείς & Baseball Bugs) have an issue with my name changing, then change the 'preference' page option - One possible interpretation: If a certain usage is to be forbidden, the software should make it impossible, and the user is suggesting that those opposed to his use of signature customization should work to get the software (the 'preference' page option) changed to that end. That of course is a pointless argument given current guidelines, as SemanticMantis pointed out. For better or worse, the usage is clearly supported by guideline and that should have ended this debate long before now. ―Mandruss  22:34, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
If Paul Diamond can be Kato and Max Moon, Mr. Mo can be Space Ghost and Supergirl's Vibrator. If another Space Ghost comes along with a more valid claim (like a matching username), he can then become Super Space Ghost, just like everyone else had to be Super Destroyer (or Super Parka), lest The Plain Old Destroyer decimate them (or La Plain Old Parka hit them with a chair). But the "real" Space Ghost doesn't exist. Just this harmless apparition. InedibleHulk (talk) 03:13, July 1, 2015 (UTC)
If the name is valid, then it's fine, and you could close this box. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 05:02, 1 July 2015 (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.