Wikipedia talk:Spoiler/Archive 13

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Archive 12 Archive 13 Archive 14


L337 kybldmstr has started another TFD discussion on the template at Wikipedia:Templates_for_deletion#Template:Spoiler. Kusma (talk) 08:50, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

The TFD is emblematic of the paradox surrounding this issue. The pro-SW crowd will argue loudly that the template is useful...but it isn't being used anywhere. Perhaps it should be. But it isn't. Marc Shepherd 14:15, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
It isn't being used anywhere? And why is that? Because you keep removing it? Oh, I see. I can think of a way for notices to possibly go without detection for a while, but has it really come to that? --Pixelface 08:47, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I remain baffled why Template:Current fiction isn't a desirable replacement. Phil Sandifer 14:20, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
For SW proponents to embrace {{current fiction}}, they'd need to accept the idea that the need for SWs is temporal: works that are no longer current (however you define that term) would never have SWs. My sense (anecdotally) is that the vast majority of the concerns are addressed if recent works are tagged, but many SW proponents hold out the hope that SWs will return on pages like Psycho.
The other issue some people have with {{current fiction}} is that it tags the whole article, and therefore, doesn't distinguish between spoiler content and general information. Ironically, though, most editors tend to put {{spoiler}} on the entire plot anyway, and pro-SW editors have never been able to agree what constitutes a spoiler.
{{Current fiction}} has not been used anywhere near as much as it should be. At this moment, it's only on 19 articles. There are some design changes that could make it a lot easier to use; for instance, there should be easy-to-use versions for films, TV series, and so forth. I also think that {{current fiction}} gets removed far too quickly. It should stick around for a year or two, rather than a month or two. Marc Shepherd 15:13, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
I think shorter is better on its duration, but yes - it's a far superior tag. For one thing, by encompassing the entire article it admits to the ludicrousness of segregating spoilers. Phil Sandifer 15:17, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
I can contribute one data point on duration of {{current fiction}} tagging. When the latest Harry Potter novel came out, tagging for spoilers was rejected as a result of discussion, and "current fiction" was accepted. After further discussion, that tag was kept on the article until just over a month after the novel's first English language publication. The latest talk page discussion on the matter is here. Spoiler tags have been added once or twice since then but they are immediately removed. --Tony Sidaway 19:34, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Point of historical interest -- when the last Harry Potter book came out, some commercial newspapers included "spoiler warnings" which looked suspiciously like an old version of this template in their web articles. - Revolving Bugbear (formerly Che Nuevara) 22:34, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but such spoiler warnings are common on the internet. The issue here seems to be that we have outgrown the need to defer to our internet origins. --Tony Sidaway 23:57, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
You will find that when newspapers did this (and not all did), they were spoiler-protecting only the most recent book. The warnings were helpful only to those who'd read the first six books, but not the seventh. And the warnings were present for only a limited period of time. The newspaper warnings were, in essence, fulfilling a similar function to our {{current fiction}} template. Marc Shepherd 00:20, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

The #1 reason why I nominated the template for deletion is that Wikipedia:Content disclaimer explicitly states "Wikipedia contains spoilers." Which means we don't even need the template in the first place, since it only repeats what that disclaimer says. L337 kybldmstr 23:45, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Oh yes, the content disclaimer... That document that every reader knows by heart since it's tucked away at the bottom of every page and is only 2 links away from every article. I'm sure everyone here could sing along to it without even looking at it. Being so well-known and all... --Pixelface 09:00, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I think it's significant that during my early days on Wikipedia in late 2004 and early 2005, I happened to witness the death of a movement to place content disclaimers on articles containing potentially upsetting pictures. The discussion on Talk:Clitoris was particularly interesting.
That discussion went very strongly against the principle that Wikipedia articles should include such disclaimers as part of their content. One editor who persistently edit-warred over the inclusion of a photograph of a human vulva was ordered by the Committee to stop doing so.
We are creating an encyclopedia. Our version of the encyclopedia will dispense information according to our tenets of neutral point of view, verifiability, no original research and so on.
Those who want to dilute that to taste, or insert disclaimers into the content, or to strive in any other way to improve it, are welcome to copy the content on terms governed by the text of the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) and make what modifications they wish. In short, we do not need to provide the content disclaimers. Those to whom these things matter will spend a few hours setting up an instance of Mediawiki (at one time I had three such instances running on my very, very old and creaky laptop, so it's not a big deal), a while longer copying the content they're interested in (a full database dump is available at all times). Then they can do what the like. Wikipedia explicitly licenses such forks. I explicitly condone and encourage them. If they succeed, we will of course copy the content back to Wikpedia under the very same GFDL. --Tony Sidaway 00:42, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that the clitoris is fictional? We're talking about fictional works here. "Adult" content or images some readers may object to has nothing to do with this. Spoiler warnings in articles about fictional works has nothing to do with any sort of disclaimer. It also has nothing to do with historical images. A reader may be offended by an image taken at a concentration camp, but that event happened. The events in Saving Private Ryan never happened and they will never happen. It's fictional. It may be based on historical events but the film is a fictional work. Nobody reads the World War II article and finds out how the war ended and says "You spoiled the ending of WWII for me!" --Pixelface (talk) 07:56, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Your suggestion that any reader can fork Wikipedia, while perhaps technically possible, avoids consensus building and violates the policy on neutral point of view. Why even attempt to represent views in a neutral way in articles if anybody can just fork Wikipedia? Speaking of encyclopedias, could you show me an encyclopedia that retells the entire storyline of a film released in 2007? How about 1999? Hmm, here's an article on The Sixth Sense at Encarta. Huh, I don't see a spoiler warning. However, I do see an 83-word plot summary that would in no way necessitate a spoiler warning. Encyclopædia Britannica Online apparently doesn't have an article on The Sixth Sense. Do you think unsourced plot summaries that reveal the climax of a film dispense "information according to our tenets of neutral point of view, verifiability, no original research and so on."? --Pixelface 10:03, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Photographic representations of human sexual behaviour are de facto banned on Wikipedia. If disclaimer tags were to help overcome this situation, then they might be worth considering.--Nydas(Talk) 09:39, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
They are not banned, but like any material that editors may wish to add, they need to be relevant to the context. There are a lot of nutcases who want to disrupt Wikipedia. For some reason, they are more likely to do so by adding porn photos than by adding serious literary analysis of Greek tragedy. Marc Shepherd 13:54, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
The claim that "Photographic representations of human sexual behaviour are de facto banned on Wikipedia." is absolutely false and provably so: Autofellatio. --Tony Sidaway 17:07, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
That is the exception that proves the rule. On the human sexuality category, photos are rare or non-existant.--Nydas(Talk) 08:48, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
And WP:NDT explicitly lists Spoiler Warnings as an _exception_ to the general policy. As such, it does not apply. Look back into the archives, where we've rehashed the issue of how spoiler warnings differ from content warnings in many key ways. The short of it is, spoiler warnings are more of an organizational tool than a true warning, allowing people to read those sections they desire to, or more easily find the information they're looking for (if they're looking specifically for the spoilers). This is in large part because it's targetted. Wandering Ghost 14:55, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
That is an example of descriptivist policy - because spoiler tags were in widespread use, an exception was written into NDT. To date no reasoning for that exception has been presented, which is one of the reasons that consensus and practice have changed. Phil Sandifer 15:12, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
All WP:NDT does is to refer to the present version of the spoiler guideline, with the statement: "In certain circumstances, it may be considered appropriate to use spoiler notices." This wording perfectly shows why the guideline has failed. We need to do better than "in certain circumstances" and "may be considered appropriate."
Spoiler notices aren't an organizational tool, the way headings are. Headings are used in a neutral way to put structure around large amounts of material. Spoiler tags, by contrast, don't organize anything. Indeed, I believe there is broad consensus (even among those who favor spoiler notices) that an article shouldn't be re-organized for the purpose of helping spoiler-averse readers avert their eyes.
I don't recall anyone suggesting that spoiler tags "allow people to...easily find the information they're looking for...if they're looking specifically for the spoilers." Overwhelmingly, those who favor spoiler tags say that the purpose is to help the reader avoid material, not the opposite. Marc Shepherd 15:19, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
If a citation can be provided for a spoiler warning, I certainly think that is a circumstance where it is "appropriate to use spoiler notices." Headings divide text into sections, and so do {{spoiler}} and {{endspoiler}}. And headings don't require citations. If a spoiler warning has a citation, it's much more reliable than a heading.--Pixelface 10:18, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
However, in about 99.9% (my estimate) of the situations in which spoiler tags are added, no citation is given. If you are correct that spoilers warnings are "facts" subject to verification, it would mean that virtually all spoiler warnings are subject to removal simply because they are not supported by a verifiable source. Is that really the outcome that you want? Marc Shepherd 16:43, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
As of the time of this post, I see 1592 pages that link to Template:Spoiler. One article in the namespace links to it. One, out of 1592. One instance appears in Portal: space. The rest appear in User:, Talk:, and Wikipedia: space. Perhaps editors don't add citations when using spoiler tags because tags on Wikipedia don't require citations. And this guideline makes nearly no mention of citations whatsoever, a factor that the policies on verifiability, no original research, and neutral point of view rely on. The portion of this guideline that does mention sources and citations keeps getting ignored: "In a work that is uncommonly reliant on the impact of a plot twist or surprise ending — a murder mystery, for instance — a spoiler tag may be appropriate even within a properly labeled "Synopsis" section. These should be sourced when possible (e.g., by citing a professional reviewer who describes the impact of the surprise)." Perhaps the guideline should recommend citations, right at the top. I didn't say spoiler warnings are "facts", a cited spoiler warning means a statement is verifiable. And many tags on Wikipedia are the sole opinion of the editor adding the tag, like {{inappropriate tone}} and {{confusing}}. Editors should actually be free to put {{spoiler}} wherever they want. If an editor can read a book and write a plot summary on their own, why shouldn't they be able to put the spoiler tag where they think it should go? The policy on verifiability says "Editors should provide a reliable source for quotations and for any material that is challenged or is likely to be challenged, or it may be removed." If the {{spoiler}} template keeps getting challenged, perhaps editors should provide a source for the template. I don't see how spoiler warnings being subject to removal without citations would change the current situation. The {{spoiler}} tag keeps getting removed from every article in the namespace anyway. I really don't think citations for the tag should be a requirement, but if the tag has a citation, it shows that it's not merely the opinion of the editor adding it. --Pixelface 21:53, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I never understood why people would bring up templates like {{inappropriate tone}} here. If you are saying a spoiler template is similar, then you're saying the spoiler template should always be temporary. Sure, those are opinions, but it's saying "Hey! This is wrong, fix it!". Most SW proponents want a permanent template on some articles, which is a very different thing. Unless you're saying 'spoiler info' needs fixing? ? Melodia Chaconne ? 22:06, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I brought up the {{inappropriate tone}} tag because tags don't need citations. I'm not saying the spoiler tag should be temporary. There are tons of templates used on Wikipedia that are not temporary. Wikipedia has 5,785,241 registered users. There are around 12 editors that consistently remove any and all {{spoiler}} tags from the namespace. 4 of them are admins. The group keeps citing this guideline but this guideline says: In a work that is uncommonly reliant on the impact of a plot twist or surprise ending — a murder mystery, for instance — a spoiler tag may be appropriate even within a properly labeled "Synopsis" section. These should be sourced when possible (e.g., by citing a professional reviewer who describes the impact of the surprise). So what's the deal? It's obvious a small group of editors are pushing their POV, which violates the policy on neutral point of view. I suggest {{spoiler}} tags be added freely, and it gets painted as POV. I suggest {{spoiler}} tags use citations, and it gets painted as POV. Why all the warring? Unsourced plot summaries get free reign, but the moment an editor adds a spoiler tag it gets removed. Maybe the group that keeps removing the tag are unfamiliar with the term "spoiler", but when an editor can point to a third party that uses spoiler warnings and cite them in an article, what's the problem? If we're going to ignore citations, we might as well just mark WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:NPOV as historical because they clearly don't matter. --Pixelface 03:10, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
The whole trouble is the wording may be appropriate — implying the equally likely possibility that the warning is not appropriate. That's why progress is impossible until the guideline either disallows SW's entirely, or states some set of cases in which they are required. Otherwise, there is no basis for complaining about the people who remove {{spoiler}} tags; after all, the guideline merely said that they may be appropriate, but they also may not.
In addition, I just took a quick look at a number of articles that had the {{spoiler}} tag added recently. The guideline may say that "these should be sourced when possible," but this was not done in any of the examples I found. Marc Shepherd 15:27, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
I've maintained for many months that people use them as organization tools, because I use them this way. Spoiler warnings are different than content disclaimers. They _are_ more closer to headings, with the exception that they don't enter into the table of contents - they are easy to see while scrolling, so if you're _looking_ for the spoiler information, you can find it easily (I'd done this many times when I just wanted to know what the ending of a movie was, quickly), and if you're looking to avoid it, you don't have to read it. Just like if you're only interested in the early life of a person, you can use headings to only read about that - the table of contents is helpful to jumping to that part, but it's not essential. Disclaimers that go at the top (including the current fiction template) are different, because they don't allow this type of self-organizational ability. If there's a profanity disclaimer, nobody really says to themselves, "Okay, thanks for the disclaimer, I'm going to read everything but the profanity," or its converse, "I'm going to _just_ read the profanity." Similar with nudity. These disclaimers are to guard people from being offended, and they're redundant often because people who are going to be offended, are going to be anyway, whether warned or not. Spoiler warnings are more a little guide that "this information is of a particular type that you may or may not be especially interested in". Spoiler warnings were recognized as different than content disclaimers because THEY ARE different. That's also why they were used.
I notice you again complain that we need to do better than "in certain circumstances" and "may be considered appropriate", but you were curiously silent whenever such changes were opposed, and bright line decriptions of where spoiler tags should be used were added to the guideline and then removed, so I have to ask, do you really feel that this is necessary for a fair compromise? If so, instead of just saying that we need to do this or that, please help work to make this happen. If not, then it's a little disingenuous to keep bringing it up as the reason the guideline is a failure.
In any event, I've seen no evidence that consensus has changed to stop using spoiler warnings, and so spoilers are still considered as an exception to the general disclaimer policy. If it had, people would not be adding them, and a small group forced to remove them. The spoiler patrol itself disproves it, still resorting to the circular reasoning of using the guideline to support their removals while using the removal to support their version of the guideline. They can't even make up their mind whether to be prescriptivist or descriptivist, since when they started they were certainly prescriptivist, and now that they can manage to artificially keep the numbers down it suits them better to be descriptivist. I bet if people managed to get spoilers up to an unmanagable level they'd argue that they _should_ be used on less pages again.
And again, there is a bigger picture here, in that spoiler warnings facilitate information being added, and information being kept. People are more willing to add information when they have the ability to mark it off as a spoiler, and the blind rush to _delete_ spoiler warnings has missed times when people decided to remove the spoiler information itself because the spoiler patrol prevented them from using a warning. Wandering Ghost 13:29, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Ghost, you're the first person I've seen who favors spoiler tags because you want to find spoilers. Every other person seems more concerned about avoiding unwanted spoilers.
I don't remember what I was "curiously silent" about. I think I've said consistently that the only way to make progress is for those who favor SW's to propose concrete (as opposed to hypothetical) situations in which they would be required. By "concrete," I mean actual Wikipedia articles, with correct placement illustrated.
The curious thing is that many of the contributors to this page who are most militantly in favor of SW's never actually add any—at least, not lately. It would be nice, for a change, if a few of those folks walked the walk, rather than just talking the talk. Then we'd know what they're in favor of, because we'd see it in action on real articles. Marc Shepherd 16:52, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
You were curiously silent when a change was made to make the "may be used" to "should be used" in a few small cases, and it was reverted by one of the anti-warning group on the grounds that we should _not_ be making bright line rules, but rather refer to 'local consensus'. That would have been a perfect time to jump in and say that we should be making bright line rules.
As to the find spoilers vs avoiding spoilers, well, I'm fairly sure I'm not the only one, feel free to read the archive and find others, the point remains that this is a valid use for spoiler tags.
And with respect to people with SWs adding any, well, it gets a little frustrating because of the gross imbalance of technical power. If I want to add a spoiler warning I have to choose and manually go to a page that lacks one (since theres no handy tool to search for the absence), find the right place for it, and add it. This may be relatively easy, but in the time I've done it, the spoiler patrol can use tools to search for new uses of the spoiler template and revert it on 10 different articles. So yeah, it seems a little pointless to add them without trying to get consensus on the guideline first. The small number of people on the spoiler patrol can overrule _large_ numbers of people. In essense, they're ignoring the guideline as irrelevant, because as long as they can control the actually editing, they can push whatever standard they want. The problem is, the guideline as it stands should be more or less fine, if people weren't obsessive about pushing their point of view on every article. If the spoiler patrol didn't do anything, we'd naturally reach a state where some articles, the ones people judged as requiring spoiler tags, would have them, and others did not, and it'd be relatively small but not as small as it is now. Local consensus would be a good compromise, but they're not pushing local consensus, they're pushing spoiler-patrol-consensus, gaming the system to push their own POV, effectively deciding they own the spoiler template and that they have the duty to see it is used 'right' (in other words, not at all) on every page.
Yes, there will always be a problem that different people have somewhat different standards of where spoiler warnings should go, but that doesn't mean the correct solution is to chuck all of them. It means finding a rational compromise standard that people can agree on even if they aren't 100% pleased with it. In response to the last time you challenged me to come up with five examples of my own personal spoiler standard, I wrote up this, but didn't post it right away because I happened to get busy around that time, and by the time I got back the section in which the challenge was made was archived. Are my standards universal? Of course not. But at least I'm not acting like they are and mass editing all the pages to make sure that my standards stick. A free-for-all policy is better than that. Wandering Ghost 13:01, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
I think Wandering Ghost's spoiler demonstration is quite well done. And the explanations are very helpful to editors who need guidance on the placement of the {{spoiler}} template. --Pixelface 22:16, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Phil, there are many arguments and were presented already. SWs are not disclaimers in traditional sense, they can be used as a navigational tools (which Marc just admitted above in the last sentence, and according to polls, people used them as such). I can't imagine why someone would like to read about clitoris, but wouldn't want to see the picture. The arguments for nudity disclaimers are just hypocrisy, I think that people who want to regulate this want foremost to censor others, not themselves. Because in the case of fiction, it's not that people don't want to know the plot, they just don't want to know it from Wikipedia. But the main argument is, usefulness is more important than logical inconsistency of rules. If people think SWs are useful, to hell with the fact that rule is inconsistent with other rules! Human law is full of such contradictions. Samohyl Jan 23:15, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
This sounds like sophistry to me. Spoiler tags are used to warn readers of certain content. As such they're disclaimers, and are rendered superfluous by the site disclaimer. --Tony Sidaway 22:32, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Could you tell me how many readers have read the content disclaimer? Could you tell me how many readers know how to find it? Is it linked in the {{welcome}} template? Any of the welcome templates? --Pixelface 03:21, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
That's a very strawman argument, if I understand the term correctly. Ignorance doesn't discount anyone from obligations. If you don't know you you have to, say, stop for a school bus, you can't plead you didn't know if you get ticketed for it. The disclaimers are there, linked from EVERY page. If people don't read them, it's not the fault of anyone but the readers, even if for the majority of them it's ignorance. ? Melodia Chaconne ? 03:52, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
People have to pass a test before getting a driver's license, so they've already been told. Are readers required to read the content disclaimer before reading Wikipedia? No. Are readers required to read the content disclaimer before signing up for a username? No. Does a link to the content disclaimer appear in any welcome templates? No. How would a new reader find the content disclaimer?
1) They look at any article, they scroll to the very bottom. They click on Disclaimers. Then they click on Content disclaimer. What percentage of readers do this?
2) They look at any article, they scroll to the very bottom, they click on About Wikipedia. Or they look at the left sidebar and click About Wikipedia. Then they go to the Trademarks and copyrights section. Then they click on content disclaimer. What percentage of readers do this?
The percentage of readers familiar with the content disclaimer is relevant if people keep saying it renders the spoiler template unnecessary. Do readers typically read any articles on fictional works before reading the content disclaimer? We should be educating readers, not blaming them or saying it's their own fault for not predicting what an article reveals before they actually read the article. Wikipedia should not punish people for their ignorance. --Pixelface 21:24, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Pixelface that the official disclaimer is irrelevant for purposes of this discussion. Spoiler warnings are either a useful addition to the encyclopedia, or they aren't. It isn't helpful to hide behind a disclaimer that almost no one reads; it obscures, rather than illuminates, the issue. The real question is how to deploy spoiler warnings in such a way that they improve the quality of the product. It is here that the discussion invariably founders. Marc Shepherd 21:38, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
No, it isn't sophistry. It's argument from usefulness. Other disclaimers always apply to the article as whole, not a part. I would like to know what person finds the article about clitoris useful, but is still offended and doesn't want to see the picture. What is their actual user case? I can easily imagine such case in SWs, and there are many people who used fiction articles that way. So please, if you want to prove it's the same situation, find me an user case (which is not censorship to others) for having nudity content disclaimer. Samohyl Jan 01:05, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

I think some things need to be mentioned. Speaking of the TFD for the {{spoiler}} template, WP:TFD says "Templates that have been listed for more than seven days are eligible for deletion when a rough consensus to do so has been reached or no objections to its deletion have been raised." Template:Spoiler was not listed for deletion for more than seven days. The nominator's timestamp was 07:32, 8 November 2007 (UTC) and the closing admin's timestamp was 22:59, 14 November 2007 (UTC). The TFD was closed early by the administrator JzG, who previously voted to delete the template, and also made several comments on this talk page showing personal opposition to it.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]. In the TFD, 26 people argued to keep and 23 people argued to delete (22 if Cryptic's sarcastic comment is discounted). Only 4 people who argued to delete mentioned the {{current fiction}} template, which JzG said had consensus. Also, WP:TFD says "If a template is part of (the functioning of) a Wikipedia policy or guideline, the template cannot be listed for deletion on TfD separately, the template should be discussed where the discussion for that guideline is taking place." The decision to delete the template was taken to deletion review and the administrator JoshuaZ said the TFD showed no consensus. JoshuaZ reverted his closure because he decided he had closed the deletion review too early, and the deletion review was later closed by Xoloz who said "The deletion opponents largely didn't address the merits of the template itself, a key oversight on their part" and "I also cannot ignore that deletion supporters were alone in reaching the issue of the merits of the template, and that their arguments, unrebutted, where convincing." despite the fact that WP:DRV says "Remember that Deletion Review is not an opportunity to (re-)express your opinion on the content in question. It is an opportunity to correct errors in process (in the absence of significant new information), and thus the action specified should be the editor's feeling of the correct interpretation of the debate." I think the template was wrongly deleted but I still think it was a good thing. The existence of the template allowed a small group of editors to constantly suppress it for 6 months. A small group of editors was able to check Whatlinkshere daily and remove the template from every article, effectively burying it. Their suppression continued for 6 months despite no consensus to delete the template. These facts need to be widely known by the editors of Wikipedia. Thank you. --Pixelface (talk) 13:12, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

I certainly can't fault your Wikidetective skills--I've seen you pull those out now several times and have been thoroughly impressed each time. However, might I suggest you remove your historical commentary from that post? You've already collected what happened--is it necessary to say why you feel it was important as well? --jonny-mt(t)(c)Tell me what you think! 14:24, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
I've removed "For people reading this in the archives" from my comment because another user decided to put my comment into its own section. My comment was about the TFD. I know about the aggressive archiving that goes on on this page, that is why I said "For people reading this in the archives." This thread will be archived pretty soon as well. I do not think the Special:Whatlinkshere tool is meant for suppression of a template before there has been consensus to delete it. For editors coming to this guideline, I think that information is important and should be widely known since it resulted in the entire rewrite of this guideline and possibly affects all templates throughout Wikipedia. --Pixelface (talk) 22:44, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

My earlier statement that 22 people argued to keep and 22 people argued to delete was incorrect. I changed that in my above comment. These are the 26 people and 23 people (or 22) I am referring to:

In the TFD, the following editors argued to keep:

  1. Nydas[11]
  2. Tomgreeny[12]
  3. Wandering Ghost[13]
  4. Pixelface[14]
  5. AaronSw[15]
  6. KF[16]
  8. Pytom[18]
  9. Melodia[19]
  10. Kuronue[20]
  11. vsb[21]
  12. Enter Movie[22]
  13. Ned Scott[23]
  14. Harmil[24]
  15. Glenn Magus Harvey[25]
  16. Gwyndon[26]
  17. Ceres3[27]
  18. Photouploaded[28]
  19. Anakinjmt[29]
  20. Milomedes[30]
  21. Jake the Editor Man[31]
  22. DGG[32]
  23. Voldemore[33]
  24. Grue[34]
  25. orngjce223[35]
  26. XDanielx[36]

The following editors argued to delete (if you include the nominator):

  1. L337 kybldmstr[37]
  2. Kusma[38]
  3. Martarius[39]
  4. Phil Sandifer[40]
  5. Cryptic[41] (this was sarcastic I believe...)
  6. Marc Shepherd[42]
  7. Gavia immer[43]
  8. Angr[44]
  9. Axem Titanium[45]
  10. Captain Infinity[46]
  11. Tony Sidaway[47]
  12. Erik[48]
  13. Shalom[49]
  14. Atropos[50]
  15. Svetovid[51]
  16. Asyndeton[52]
  17. Sceptre[53]
  18. Garion96[54]
  19. Doczilla[55]
  20. Jrphayes[56]
  21. Rocket000[57]
  22. Black Falcon[58]
  23. David Gerard[59]

Even though the {{spoiler}} template was deleted, I think the deletion actually benefits editors who found the template useful. When the template existed, the Special:Whatlinkshere tool proved much more useful to the "spoiler patrol" — editors who systematically removed the template from every article. With the template gone, homemade spoiler warnings will persist, they just won't be standardized. A bot will be required to find them, such as TonyBot and it's output list. Editors can simply avoid using the word "spoiler" to avoid detection by TonyBot. One of the main reasons to remove homemade spoiler warnings was that a template existed, but with the template gone, what's the reason? POV? The current spoiler guideline says nothing about homemade spoiler warnings. --Pixelface (talk) 01:44, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

This guideline was completely rewritten after the TFD and this thread is still open for discussion. --Pixelface 20:18, 4 December 2007 (UTC)


Well, looks like the anti-spoiler admins are pulling out all the stops in order to give spoiler warnings a final hammering. One of their number, JzG, has deleted it in the face of the discussion, an obvious no consensus. I've started a deletion review.--Nydas(Talk) 23:20, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

So, again there's no clean spoiler-topic decision due to yet another clique process abuse. It recharges the issue of an ongoing string of loose cannon abuses that otherwise might have faded to an occasional grumble.
If not considering the process-governing wikiguides, the debate looked to me also like a no-consensus debate result, default to keep. But this abusive close mostly isn't about a biased judgment call. I've lost my capacity for astonishment that JzG/Guy also had to ignore two wikiguides to declare a delete.
First, this delete decision was made in an improper venue:

Wikipedia:Templates for deletion: "If a template is part of (the functioning of) a Wikipedia policy or guideline, the template cannot be listed for deletion on TfD separately,..."

Second, IIRC, the debate closer, JzG/Guy, was a highly opinionated anti-spoiler-notice participant in the early stages of the spoiler notice mass-removals debate beginning May 2007 – yet he closed anyway while having an unmistakable conflict of interest.

Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators: "3. As a general rule, don't close discussions or delete pages whose discussions you've participated in. Let someone else do it."

I noticed illogic and bias in JzG/Guy's delete Template:Spoiler closing summary. A combination of both was his statement: "The Great Spoiler War is over and the encyclopaedia won.", the illogic being that there still exists a spoiler guide, and a template is not needed to place plain-text spoiler notices. Since text versus template is a relatively small issue, nothing substantive has been settled. Having been mentioned in the debate (twice, IIRC), JzG/Guy cannot be ignorant of this fact, so something smells wrong with his haste to declare a "war" over — as well as his sinking to the level of calling a contentious debate a "war". If it's a "war" then all is fair to abuse process to win, and that appears to be what happened.
I reject JzG's unconsensed declaration of "war", as a perilous and divisive metaphor, which leads to unspoken assumptions that good-faith debate opponents would become "enemies" on both sides — with all that implies. Such thinking is not only ethically bankrupt, it's a barbarian notion beneath the encyclopedia project's civilized teamwork concept.
JzG's inflammatory eagerness to ignore the facts suggests a bias of double meaning, superficially that "the encyclopaedia won" because {{current fiction}} is a "better idea" than {{tld|spoiler}}, yet darkly suggestive in subtext that "the encyclopaedia" was against whomever lost, and renews the WP:OWN charge that he and the rest of the clique consider themselves alone to be "the encyclopaedia", while the other editors just work here free for them.
JzG/Guy can claim it doesn't mean the latter, he can even believe it himself, but one of the classic problems of conflict of interest is that people who don't think they are biased, often are. Even if they aren't actually biased, the appearance of a conflict of interest is as damaging to public trust as a bias-in-fact. Based on long experience in western civilization, recusal from making judgments during a conflict of interest is the only ethical course of action; that's exactly what the Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators calls for.
During this November 2007 template deletion debate, Wandering Ghost wrote: "The spoiler patrollers are OBSESSIVE, in a way that people adding spoiler warnings can't be." I think Ghost has a point based on observable behaviors. Milo 04:12, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
This may be, but the template was deleted. Wrongly so perhaps, but I think it had to be done. The debate was reaching the stage of a full-on war. With the template, there was no hope of any consensus (without intervention from ArbCom), heated arguments and accusations abounded and things were going nowhere. Without out it, things are cooling down. Finally people are sitting down and discussing how to improve things around here, rather than arguing over moot points. Now tell me, would you rather the former because "we HAVE to keep it", or the latter because we can actually do something useful?
Milomedes, the thing to note here is, while sometimes unfair things happen here, you just have to understand that it's probably for the best. This is the case here; unless we take the source of the war out of the equation, we will not move on. L337 kybldmstr 05:06, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, so the consensus on Wikipedia is built by silencing one party? And it's for the better? Nice quotes, really, it's sad someone believes that. I am sorry, but I already have heard this from communists (not the real ones - see Czechoslovakia:_1948-1989). Samohyl Jan 06:41, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
That's not what I said at all. I disagree with the way that TfD ended, but think about it - it's gone, and with it a lot of the pressure everyone was being put under. In other words, this debate will hopefully fade away into nothing now the source of it is gone. The whole point of the TfD was to diffuse the edit war; if people simply want to reignite it, then intervention will inevitably result at some point. L337 kybldmstr 10:48, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
The debate will not "fade away into nothing" because the {{spoiler}} template was not the source of this debate. For now, the focus has merely shifted onto another template, {{current fiction}}, which is supposedly "superior." --Pixelface (talk) 08:01, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
I argued to keep the template, but I think it's kind of refreshing it was deleted. That means the Whatlinkshere page can't be used anymore by anti-taggers to remove it from every article. They'll have to rely on a bot now to remove homemade spoiler warnings. --Pixelface 07:32, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

L337 kybldmstr (05:06) wrote: "Now tell me, would you rather" Rising a meta-level above the false dilemma fallacy, I'd say we give significantly different weights as to what's important.
I care about spoiler notices only moderately. If they had been removed by due process consensus last May 2007, I'd shrug it off and wouldn't be here now. I care about the template only moderately, but if kept, I think the clique would have been slightly more open to compromise.
As is, it seems increasingly likely that any change will come from the external world after big publishing/Hollywood decides how much money (if any) suppressing spoilers is worth to them. If they decide it's worth it, there are a lot of pressure options open to them. If you think about it, all they really have to do is convince Jimbo to side with them, and 45,000 spoiler notices will be back within a year. I'm not forecasting that will happen, I'm just pointing out how expedient it would be for spoiler notices to return with zero consequences.
What I do care about is due process abuse and corruption. If you want to know why, read Code of Hammurabi and Wikipedia:Process is important. I feel about due process something like Jimbo feels about NPOV. Neither one can be perfect, but each improves the other.
What's really deja vu about this dialogue is the "L337" in your username. From my point of view, you have marginalized my investigative reporting efforts to help you and your peers.
After the mass-removal process abuses of May 2007, I decided to investigate why. I eventually deduced an unconsensed hidden agenda by the anti-spoiler clique to exclude a large class of young people from using or participating in Wikipedia, partly because some have a subculture that uses the l33t dialect of English, and partly because anti-child culture may be a significant covert trend. I gather that l33ts on WP were young, difficult to control, interested in fiction, and frequently wrote formally ungrammatical spoiler tags like "OMG SP01L3RZ!!!".
I assume that they are now growing up and probably don't write l33t as much as they use to. IMHO, getting rid of spoiler notices as a way of getting rid of l33ts is an extreme reaction, to a minor annoyance much better handled with wikiguide education.
I don't want to oversimplify a story of complex motivations, because the clique's good writing agenda is one of which I approve. If you want all the details, search the archives at the top of this page starting archive 4/May 5 for "Milo", and read my posts. Or for a quick overview search for "l33t" which is found in Milo 22:04, 2007-07-11 and Milo 21:51, 2007-09-01. Milo 09:30, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
I have never used 1337 if that's what you meant; I'm not with them. And I am helping peers - as in everyone who's involved with this. By that I mean, I want to put an end to this war before it goes any further. I'm not anti-SW - I don't delete them, I don't add them either. My nominating the template in the first place had nothing to do with any of that, though I admit my explanation was rather misplaced. I have not taken, and will not take, any side in this. All I'm trying to do is resolve this conflict. Whether that involves deleting the template, or taking the matter to ArbCom or whatever doesn't matter - as long as this conflict comes to an end, everyone should hopefullly be happy. Please understand that. L337 kybldmstr 10:48, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that the motivations behind the spoiler tag removal are down to a desire to keep out the young in particular. There's been a lot of stuff like 'let this end', but this isn't really the end of anything. It's only a small part of a wider trend by some parts of the admin caste to retreat from the things that make Wikipedia good. Indeed, this is small beans compared to the imminent threat of flagged revisions.
As the Internet expands, there will be an influx of people with markedly different worldviews, young and old. The drawbridge is being gradually raised to keep them out.
It's telling that this campaign was kickstarted on that startling anachronism, the Wikipedia mailing list. It's also telling how very far the donations are from reaching their target.--Nydas(Talk) 11:02, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Whoa, I didn't even know that I was dealing with a frickin admin when this was happening; I didn't know JzG/Guy was an admin. Though I did note that some things he said about the spoiler tag were echoed in the TfD discussion here. ~GMH talk to me 08:49, 3 December 2007 (UTC)


"how very far the donations are from reaching their target" Seriously? Got comparison trendline stats from previous years? If not, please tell me what you remember anecdotally.
I suggested the possibility of donation trouble a few months ago, but it's hard to believe that WP spoiler policy has anything to do with it (pending some obvious PR blitz against "spoiler sites"). However, the March 22, 2007 global TV/newspaper coverage of Wikipedia's unpredictable unreliability for academic citation, that I could believe has something to do with it. Milo 12:03, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

They've changed the format of the donation bar, so they're probably having trouble. Spoiler warnings are small potatoes compared to other stuff, but it all adds up.--Nydas(Talk) 18:30, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
The Fundraising FAQ "Why aren't you announcing a target?" and "If you don't have a financial target, how are you measuring success?" is vague about the reasons for counting donors instead of dollars. That may be because it's an experiment based on 96% small contributions (averaging $22.41 in 2005-2006 [60]). I have no reason to believe that I wouldn't support the idea if I were on the board.
I did some estimates to detect possible donation trouble. Feel free to skip the method work and down to the bottom line.
The WMF Live contributions fundraising page was removed from the FAQ, but I found it by browsing the FAQ's page history. There's an unlabled green banner showing $1,664,997.73, but it's in a directory "fundraising/2006/meter.png", so that might be last year's total, since the 2005-2006? goal may have been $1.5M before the WMF board stopped setting financial goals on Dec 20, 2006.
It would take way too much time to total all the current 23,101 donations from the current 924 pages, so I multiplied the 2005-2006 average donation ($22.41) by 23,101 = $517,624. Then I used the Live contributions page filter to select donations $100+ between fundraising start of Oct 22 and today Nov 17, which was about 40 donations totaling $10,533, including only two $1000+ donations, so there's no significant percentage of big money in the current fundraiser. Compare that to big donations up to $300K from previous periods by removing the date filter restriction.
So my estimated of current donations are over $528,000, ~3.5 weeks (43%) into an eight week (100%) campaign. Dividing $528,000 by 43% yields a 1% of $12,279, multiplied by 100% yields a linear projected campaign total of $1,227,907.
Since the green banner showing $1.6M may be an annual total, I reset the Live contributions date filter to show between Jan 7 to Oct 22 (between the last? public fund drive ending to the start of this one), and to show $1000+ donations. There were about 50 donations totaling $307,731. Added to the projected total of $1,227,907 sums to $1,535,638 annual 2007 estimated.
The difference from the green banner is $129,360, which is down 7.8%. But, this is an estimate, not an audit. There could be a burst of donations toward the Dec 22 end of the public campaign, which is not unusual for donation campaigns. There could be more big donations at years' end for tax purposes. About the only thing I can reasonably say is that the current estmate of donations doesn't seem to be better than last year. Milo 06:12, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
I've found an official daily Contributions Summary page. The to-date (Nov 28, 2007) current total is $929,736.25. At $30.60, the 2007 average donation is much higher (~30%) than the average from the legacy fundraising page used for my estimate above.
"They've changed the format of the donation bar, so they're probably having trouble" This does seem to be the case, and this issue was reported by Wikipedia Signpost/2007-11-12/News and notes#Fundraiser continues. I found a detailed discussion at WP:Fundraising redesign#Banner Effect History.
Also reported by the Signpost, the more interesting news is that donors have found a way to complain by making trivial donations with a comment. "The number of donations below $0.30, often made by users critical of Wikipedia policies who wish to have their comments displayed on the donation website, is about four times that of last year's drive." The complaint donations are through the graphical roof; see Image:Wiki pennies.png. Unfortunately, the donation filter can't be set to show only small donations, so it isn't possible to read the complaints without the resources to download and sort possibly a thousand pages of 25 commented donations each. Milo 09:21, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Proposed addition to the guideline regarding citations

Before this portion..

It is not acceptable to delete information from an article about a work of fiction because you think it spoils the plot. Such concerns must not interfere with neutral point of view, encyclopedic tone, completeness, or any other element of article quality (for example, WP:LEAD).

I propose we add..

Articles on fictional works should offer sourced analysis. The opinion that certain information will spoil someone's enjoyment of a fictional work is one possible interpretation. On Wikipedia, interpretations must be attributed to reliable sources that make these interpretations in order to prevent original research. When a reliable source (such as a newspaper or magazine) uses a spoiler warning in a review of a fictional work (such as a film, book, video game, comic book, etc), editors can mention who gave the spoiler warning and cite the review and place it at the beginning of a plot summary.


When describing the plot of the film, Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert gave a spoiler warning.[61]

When describing the plot of the film, Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert gave a spoiler warning.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Critics have no right to play spoiler |accessdate=2007-11-11 |author=[[Roger Ebert]] |date=[[2005-01-29]] |work=[[Chicago Sun-Times]]}}</ref>

Shall I add that to the guideline? Any comments or suggestions are welcome. --Pixelface 08:11, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

As I remarked on Talk:Million Dollar Baby:
This does look to me as if it belongs, if anywhere, on Ebert's own article. It is one critic's opinion on a subject only tangentially related to the plot of this movie. As such I think it looks out of place in the plot summary.
However the principle that we should refer to sourced analysis is a good one. I believe this is, and should be, covered properly on Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction) (WP:WAF). In covering fiction, the opinion of a single critic, even a fairly prominent one, is usually not significant. We should take care not to give the false impression (as we appear to be doing in the example) that the most significant thing the critics have said about Million Dollar Baby is that it has an ending that some viewers may find surprising. The ending isn't that far removed from, say, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
It's only because I think the addition gets the balance wrong here that I have reservations about it. --Tony Sidaway 09:07, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't think I quite understand you Tony Sidaway. Are you suggesting that interpretations of films by critics should be put on the critics' articles and not on the articles of the films they are commenting on? If the opinion of one critic is not significant, how many sources (These links may discuss in detail the plot of Million Dollar Baby )[62][63][64][65][66][67][68][69] do you think it takes? ---- Pixelface (talk) 20:05, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
I do not think this should be added, for two reasons. First, it's not a very common situation. Since Pixelface started contributing to this talk page, he has repeatedly mentioned the same isolated example (Ebert & Million Dollar Baby), without offering any others. Perhaps more like it could be found, but it clearly doesn't happen often. Guidelines are needed for frequently re-occurring issues, not for things that happen only rarely.
And secondly, in every article I can think of, the "Plot" section describes the plot, not other people's commentary about the plot. If a critic's opinion is important, it belongs in a section about the work's reception, not in the plot. Marc Shepherd 09:46, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Care to choose one or more of the films at Box office number-one films of 2007 (USA) so I could provide some more examples? --Pixelface (talk) 10:16, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I can not find it in the above discussion but where was it concluded that the section about "should this article contain spoilers" be removed? –– Lid(Talk) 10:25, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with this proposal. I think it sufficient to instead say that should a work of fiction contain a twist or an ending that a good source (such as Mr Ebert above) has deemed notable enough to advise people to avoid information on, then editors should consider limiting mentions of such information to the Plot section (save where it might inform critical commentary elsewhere). As surely anyone reading a section titled Plot will realise it might, y'know, give details of said plot. Liquidfinale (T) (Ç) (W) 10:51, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

"As surely anyone reading a section titled Plot will realise it might, y'know, give details of said plot." Are you sure about that? Expecting details is different than expecting spoilers. --Pixelface (talk) 10:19, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
In actual fact, you are indeed correct on this one point. Some people may think that the Plot section is something in the way of critical commentary on the plot, rather than a full synopsis. We should instead be titling them Plot summary in order to remove the ambiguity. Liquidfinale (T) (Ç) (W) 13:27, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

I can think of a limited number of places where this would be a good idea - a discussion of what was and wasn't marked with spoiler warnings in reviews of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows seems interesting because the question of spoilers was so integral to the cultural reception of that book. But the mere fact of a spoiler warning, absent a larger critical context, is a matter for trivia sections, and you know how much we like trivia sections. Phil Sandifer 16:41, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

The RFC has the summary "Several editors have said plot summaries cannot cite reliable sources for interpretation." While interpretation should usually not go into a plot section but into an "Interpretation" section, this is certainly the wrong page for an RFC about that topic. Kusma (talk) 10:39, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
No, this is not the wrong page. It's about proposed additions to this guideline. Marc Shepherd said interpretations belong in the Critical reception section. Liquidfinale said "editors should consider limiting mentions of such information to the Plot section (save where it might inform critical commentary elsewhere)." And you have said interpretation should go into an Interpretation section. --Pixelface (talk) 12:19, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
What does this have to do with spoilers? Kusma (talk) 13:48, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Spoiler warnings in reliable sources are interpretations of films. If a spoiler warning precedes a plot description in a reliable source, it should be placed before the plot description in an article to keep that interpretation in context. --Pixelface (talk) 13:58, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
No. It should be placed in a section that talks about spoiler warnings if that discussion is important in the context of the film's reception. If the question of spoilers is not relevant in the context of a film's reception, then there is no need to mention this at all. It only serves as a spoiler warning, something Wikipedia does not use in its articles. Kusma (talk) 14:06, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Spoiler warnings are not a matter of reception. And Wikipedia has no policies on importance, nor relevance. If a reliable source uses a spoiler warning before a plot description, this interpretation should be mentioned in the article before the plot description to keep it in context — or I should say, if this is mentioned before the plot description, it shouldn't be moved by editors with a grudge. This guideline needs to make it clear that interpretations from reliable sources can be cited before plot descriptions — so they won't be removed by biased editors. This has nothing to do with editors' personal feelings. This is about citations. --Pixelface (talk) 14:13, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Pixel, you seem to be the only one I've ever seen arguing for this. You're also the only one I've ever seen who has had some issue with the "fact that headings aren't cited" or whatever it was. I'm not trying to insult you here, but could it be perhaps, that you are simply dead wrong about all of this? And as I said on the TFD page, the diff above is EXACTLY the reason the warnings were hugely paired down in the first place. The guy claims he had the ending spoiled...but then puts it the warning around the whole plot. How does that even help not spoil an ending? ? Melodia Chaconne ? (talk) 14:24, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
This guideline has ignored citations for quite some time now. I don't think I'm "dead wrong" to insist on citations. As encyclopedia editors, we should be writing articles based on citations. Citations underlie the policies of verifiability, no original research, and neutral point of view. Editors who hold a grudge against spoiler warnings would never suggest spoiler warnings be cited because they don't want them in articles at all, cited or not. And yes, I did say that headings cannot be relied on since headings don't require citations. I don't see anything wrong with a spoiler warning preceding a plot summary, especially if the warning was published in a reliable source. It gives readers a choice. It's polite. It has a long history of use on the Internet. And most importantly, it's verifiable. A reader who hasn't seen a film doesn't know what he/she doesn't know. They don't know if reading the plot description will spoil the film. They can make an educated guess, and many editors and readers do — but as that diff shows, many readers do not. A spoiler warning right under a heading can be useful, and so can a spoiler warning before a certain paragraph. But have you ever glanced at text you haven't read yet or scanned ahead? Putting a spoiler warning right before a twist or a film's ending makes it fairly useless. Once you've read something, you can't unread it — and you can't know what a sentence says until you've read it. Are we writing this encyclopedia for readers or for editors who have a certain number of edits and know Wikipedia culture? If someone has already seen a film, they really don't need to read a plot summary anyway. So plot summaries are mainly for people who have not seen a film/read a book/played a video game, etc. A fictional work can be considered a future history. A book may have been written in the past, but when someone begins reading it, unread portions of the book take place in the future. If an author has created suspense or writes about some mystery, or if an author plans on surprising a reader or changing their perspective, to force readers of Wikipedia articles to know what happens before they read the book destroys what the author has created. Authors die, but their fictional works live on, for new people to discover. As encyclopedia editors, we don't need to be destroying what an author has created. We don't need to turn readers away from books. We don't need to turn readers away from films. We don't need to be writing readers' book reports for them. If you wrote a book, would you want people to be able to read the entire storyline on Wikipedia, find out the ending, and then decide not to buy the book? Plot summaries can only be provided under a claim of fair use, and should contain as little content as possible. If editors don't care about fair use and want to write as detailed plot summaries as they can, I won't stop them. If editors want to describe every twist in a fictional work or tell everyone the ending, I won't stop them. But I will insist on citing published spoiler warnings and mentioning them before plot summaries in articles. If a spoiler warning is published in a reliable source, editors' personal feelings about spoiler warnings being "insulting" or "silly" or "redundant" or "obvious" or "censorship" don't really matter. It's verifiable. A reliable source doesn't stop being reliable simply because they printed a spoiler warning. Editors should set aside any grudges they have against spoiler warnings and focus on citations. If I'm dead wrong about that, I don't really know what to say. --Pixelface (talk) 15:39, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Pixel, aside from Million Dollar Baby, what articles can you name for which this is even an issue? As far as I can recall, you've never cited any other example? Marc Shepherd (talk) 15:25, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Name a film, and I'll do some research. Off the top of my head, how about the Eastern Promises article? I seem to remember you editing that article and removing a spoiler tag and later removing the tag even though it cited a reliable source that used a spoiler warning. The tag may be gone, but the citation is still valid. --Pixelface (talk) 15:47, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Pixel, it's not my job to find the data to support your proposal, which has so far failed to attract much support. Guidelines exist to describe how a frequently-occurring editorial issue should be handled. So far, you haven't shown that this issue is at all common. Marc Shepherd (talk) 21:29, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I know it's not your job. I've already found citations for Million Dollar Baby, Eastern Promises, and No Country for Old Men. I told you to name a film and I'll see if I can find a spoiler warning in a reliable source. Is the {{current fiction}} tag a "frequently-occurring editorial issue"? No, it's not. The template appears in 27 articles. But this guideline was rewritten around it. WP:GUIDE says "A guideline article is any page that: (1) recommends actions that editors should either take or avoid; and (2) reflects consensus. Guidelines are not set in stone and should be treated with common sense and the occasional exception." I'm following the policies on verifiability, no original research, neutral point of view, the policy on What Wikipedia is not, the guideline on reliable sources, the guideline on writing about fiction, and the style guide for films. What more do you want? --Pixelface (talk) 13:12, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Pixel, what's immediately striking is that, for all three examples, the critic is Roger Ebert. Do we really need to revise our guideline for something that one critic has done three times? Even if he's done it 30 times or 300 times, it probably doesn't warrant discussion in our guideline unless other critics have done so regularly. Marc Shepherd (talk) 13:29, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
We're not talking about something that one critic has done a total of three times. There's Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today[70], Jeffrey Overstreet of Christianity Today[71], film critic Debbie Schlussel[72], Michael Atkinson of The Village Voice[73], Ian Grey of Baltimore City Paper[74], Tim Appelo of Seattle Weekly[75] — and that is just for one film, Million Dollar Baby. There's a column by FindLaw columnist Julie Hilden[76] that discusses how spoilers can damage the market for a film. If editors are going to reveal spoilers, and if editors are going to use spoiler warnings, this guideline should recommend a course of action: it is the spoiler guideline. Most film critics don't reveal spoilers regularly so there's really no need for most critics to use spoiler warnings. How about we insist on citing secondary sources for spoilers? --Pixelface (talk) 08:03, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

A request for comment has been made and this proposal is still open for discussion. --Pixelface 20:12, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Reviews in plot sections to warn of spoilers

I oppose the implementation of reviews in Plot sections to warn of spoilers. Reviews are published so people can read about a film critic's perspective of a new film. These critics will vary in their approaches of how much of the storyline to divulge. For example, Roger Ebert said one should go into Before the Devil Knows You're Dead cold, yet other reviews will not say this and impart information that may or may not be considered spoiler-ish to the readership. So the question begs: Should we be liberal or conservative in our implementation of what critics say? I argue that we need to disregard the spoiler alert issue in its entirety. Wikipedia is not a film review. It is not supposed to tell the readership if a film is worth viewing or not. They can read the local newspaper or Rotten Tomatoes for that -- RT is placed in a great deal of film articles. Wikipedia's job in regard to films is to treat it from a historical perspective and not cater to the readership. Plot summaries, under WP:PLOT, are purely complementary to the article's content. Basically, it only exists to give shape to aspects like production, reception, etc. It does not exist to tell the readership what the film's about for the sake of seeing it, only for the sake of comprehending other information in the article. Lastly, film reviews combine opinion and plot detail, so highlighting spoilers within a review gives the readership a chance to skip a passage or two. In articles on Wikipedia, we make a very clear distinction between the plot and the critical reaction. Long as we've tried, there is no objective way to approach implementing spoilers short of coming up with code that allows a "Plot" section to be mostly hidden from view. I understand Pixelface's approach to resolve the matter by using reliable sources, but for the reasons I've explained above, the approach is still flawed. Wikipedia should not have started out concerning itself with spoilers because no matter how popular it is, it is intended to be a historical perspective of topics, fictional or otherwise. The best approach, seeing how discussions about spoilers are circuitous and subjective, is to apply Occam's razor -- to dismiss this issue and ultimately save us all a lot of grief. The earlier this is done, the better -- the readership will understand over time that Wikipedia is not for seeing if a film is worth watching or if a book is worth reading. It's for being educated about real-world context about the said topic. —Erik (talkcontrib) - 19:53, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

At the beginning, it was argued that spoiler warnings are condescending to the reader. So how is telling reader how to use Wikipedia not condescending? The bottom line is, having spoiler warnings is subjective matter, not objective, and should be treated as such, so there should be a real referendum between both parties. Samohyl Jan (talk) 06:45, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Erik, you said Wikipedia "is not supposed to tell the readership if a film is worth viewing or not" and then said "RT is placed in a great deal of film articles." What other purpose does including Rotten Tomatoes figures serve than letting readers know if a film is worth viewing or not? It lets readers know what critics thought of a film? And what purpose does that serve? It lets readers know if a film is worth viewing or not. I know Wikipedia is not a film review. We cite film reviews. If Wikipedia's job is to treat films from a historical perspective, why have articles on unreleased films? Why the {{future film}} tag? Why include plot summaries for recently released films? This is just information about a film. Any purpose or intent behind the information is "educational content." I don't think editors are in any place to say how the information can be used or not or should be used or not. WP:NOT#PLOT says film articles should not just contain plot summaries, but also sourced analysis. I cannot see why a notice that is common in film review after film review after film review should be excluded from all articles. If it appears in a reliable source, editors should be able to cite it. Any intent behind providing a plot summary is unrelated to what readers actually use them for. And I don't think you can approach films from a purely historical perspective. People watch films long after they are released. People watch films long after the writers and directors and actors are dead and buried. When someone begins watching a film, the story begins again. When writing about fiction, we write in the present tense. Events in a film are not just past events. They are past events in the sense that actors performed and their image was captured on film. But the actual story that a film tells is a future event. A person cannot know what is going to happen two years from now, but a person can know how a film is going to end. Should readers be forced to read how a film ends on Wikipedia? I realize nobody is forcing people to read Wikipedia articles, but once you've read something, you can't unread it. This is about what a typical person expects to find when they come upon a Wikipedia article. Surely editors who have been involved with editing Wikipedia for a long time know what to expect. But new readers don't. Are we writing this encyclopedia for the editors who know all of Wikipedia's "customs" or for the readers? Readers should be given a choice about the information that will be revealed to them about a fictional work. If a discussion about spoilers and spoiler warnings is subjective, editors should stay out of it and cite reliable sources. A plot summary of a fictional work provides zero real-world context. It's fiction. It never happened. Darth Vader isn't Luke's father. Darth Vader didn't tell Luke "I am your father." Darth Vader doesn't exist. David Prowse stood there in a costume and put out his hand. James Earl Jones spoke into a microphone in a recording studio. And George Lucas told him what to say. That is the real-world information. A plot summary of a fictional work has nothing to do with the real world. All fiction requires a suspension of disbelief. To take that away from readers is an attack on writers of fiction and an attack on fiction itself. The malicious intent behind revealing plot details to unaware people has got to stop. People who have seen a film really don't need to read a plot summary, they already know what happens. If I want to see a film and haven't seen it yet, I know to avoid Plot sections. But I am not the only person who reads Wikipedia. --Pixelface (talk) 12:39, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia cites film reviews to reflect how a film has been received, which is an integral part of its historical perspective. Rotten Tomatoes provides an independent way to gauge how a film has been received among a group of critics. It also provides links to the reviews, some of which are used to create the reception section. Since not all reviews are cited, a link to Rotten Tomatoes is provided. (Especially considering that for some articles, time hasn't been taken to write any reception section at all. I know you've done much better than most, Pixelface.) I'm not sure if I understand your arguments about how the Plot section is read, though. I know that the section does not provide real-world context -- it's everything else in the article that does, and the Plot section serves to complement that context. Certainly, people will read the plot summaries for different reasons, but the way WP:PLOT explains it, there is zero implication that plot detail needs to be shielded from the readership. No one has "malicious intent" about spoiling the readers, but Wikipedia articles on fictional works are not intended to present teasers. This is an encyclopedia, and the plot summaries exist to back the real-world context. They are purely complementary -- it may or may not be necessary to read the summaries for a full understanding of the real-world context, but it is still there to serve as the fictional background that the real-world context aimed to create (i.e., production) or to receive (i.e., reception). I don't think it's fair to gauge the impact of a lack of spoiler alerts. You've mentioned how film reviews set a precedent not to spoil the reader as the critic shares his or her opinion about the film. However, I've explained why this precedent does not transfer well to Wikipedia articles. My ultimate suggestion is that Wikipedia needs to set its own precedent due to the clear distinction between Plot and Critical reaction. It's possible that there will be collateral -- I imagine that the lack of censorship on Wikipedia has miffed a few folks. Yet we don't cater to them to censor vocabulary, and we don't cater to those who want to know just this much about a film before ultimately viewing it. —Erik (talkcontrib) - 17:50, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Erik, you said Wikipedia "is not supposed to tell the readership if a film is worth viewing or not" but that is exactly what a Critical reception section does and the style guide for films supports it. I know that WP:PLOT does not imply readers need to be shielded from plot details, but interpretations by critics that certain plot details are best discovered by viewers themselves is sourced analysis. Editors should be free to cite critics who use spoiler warnings and place that interpretation at the beginning of plot summaries. I know I'm going to do that, and if this guideline doesn't say that's allowed, I know my edits are going to be reverted by editors with a personal grudge against spoiler warnings, citation or not. And yes, there is malicious intent behind spoiling fictional works for people who haven't seen them yet. That's evident based on past edits people have made[77], and the whole "SNAPE KILLED ---" phenomenon, on Wikipedia[78], and elsewhere on the Internet (as seen at The Great Dumbledore Dies Meme of 2005 at Encyclopedia Dramatica). Spoiler warnings are in no way censorship. No information is being hidden or taken away. A spoiler warning is censorship like a traffic sign is censorship — not at all. --Pixelface (talk) 08:57, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Malicious intent is irrelevant to this discussion. No amount of spoiler warnings will prevent someone's inserting "HE'S A BLOODY GHOST!" or somesuch into the lead. Liquidfinale (Ţ) (Ç) (Ŵ) 09:12, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree that spoiler warnings won't prevent someone inserting something like that into the lead. That sort of text would probably be reverted by a vandal bot or reverted by another editor as vandalism. Do you think an editor adding that to a lead has good intentions? Malicious intent is very relevant to a discussion about spoiling fictional works for people. Certain people don't want to find out how a fictional work ends, and other people will gleefully ruin it for them. It's common[79] on the Internet. Revealing huge plot twists in articles for new readers to walk into is just as malicious. The idea that readers should find out for themselves that articles contain spoilers (plot details that could affect their enjoyment of a fictional work), the idea that every reader needs to be "burned" once to learn their lesson, is malicious. It destroys what an author has created. Editors who have opposed spoiler warnings have shown their malicious intent: "Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father; Rosebud is a sled; Jesus dies; the boat fucking sinks", "Readers will learn very quickly to take our section titles seriously", "Tell me... how many people did I just 'spoil' that for? He was also Luke Skywalker's father! Wow, huh?", "if anyone wants to complain about how Cinderella now has been ruined for them, they can write a userspace essay and rant about how "useful" the warnings were there", etc. This is about articles on fictional works *spoiling* those fictional works for readers. When a person wants to see a film and reads a Wikipedia article about the film and accidentally reads something they were not expecting (like, a climax in the story or how the film ends), the motivation to spend money to see that film vanishes. Why should they pay money for a fictional work when they already know the whole story? --Pixelface (talk) 11:27, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Pixel, perhaps it's time to let it go. You've brought up this idea on this page and on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Films/Style guidelines, and faced overwhelming opposition. Arguing the same points over and over again with increasing vehemence is probably not going to turn the tide.

Part of the problem is that you seem to be trying to find a back-door way to reverse the deletion of Template:spoiler:

Should readers be forced to read how a film ends on Wikipedia? I realize nobody is forcing people to read Wikipedia articles, but once you've read something, you can't unread it. This is about what a typical person expects to find when they come upon a Wikipedia article. Surely editors who have been involved with editing Wikipedia for a long time know what to expect. But new readers don't. Are we writing this encyclopedia for the editors who know all of Wikipedia's "customs" or for the readers? Readers should be given a choice about the information that will be revealed to them about a fictional work.

These are precisely the arguments in favor of spoiler warnings in general. All you're trying to do is bring spoiler warnings back in that miniscule percentage of cases where there is a citation from a critic. Even if your position somehow gained consensus, it would be of use only for the 0.01% of fictional works where a critic's spoiler warning is available to be cited. Marc Shepherd (talk) 18:18, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Time to let it go? I wouldn't even be here if a cabal of editors hadn't shown up at Eastern Promises and edit warred. I'd still be contributing to the namespace. I'm here now and I'm not leaving. You're not going to rid of me. I'm glad the {{spoiler}} template got deleted. Now all the anti-spoiler warning goons can't just click Whatlinkshere and go on their daily removal sprees. I came here and was disgusted that 2 editors could almost singlehandedly push their POV across 45,000 articles. There was no consensus to delete the {{spoiler}} template in May and the constant suppression that went on is sickening. I'm not trying to find a "back-door." I contribute based on citations. If the number of spoiler warnings appearing in reliable sources is really so miniscule, what are you worried about? --Pixelface (talk) 09:19, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Not to mention those critics who have said words to the effect of "this film's so crummy I don't mind spoiling it; the butler did it!" which I have seen happen a couple of times, most memorably with The Forgotten I think (no, the butler didn't do it). Would the proposal mean I could prefix the plot section of that film with such a statement, should I wish to? I jest, but a strict interpretation of the guideline would allow it. Liquidfinale (Ţ) (Ç) (Ŵ) 18:35, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Go ahead. I won't follow you and revert all your edits. Maybe you've already seen every episode of Babylon 5 and think the story is obvious. Maybe nobody will ever watch Babylon 5 again so no spoiler warning is necessary. Maybe you've never heard of spoiler warnings. Maybe film critics in Rotherham don't use spoiler warnings in their film reviews, but many film critics in the United States do — and I think your anti-American bias is showing, Steve. --Pixelface (talk) 09:34, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
After this incivility, I think I would be well within my rights to eschew the assumption of good faith and call you a gibbering idiot. However, I will address your points. In the Babylon 5 article you mention, the plot summary appears in a section titled, wow, Plot summary, so I would think it would be obvious what that section contained. Secondly, it is not "anti-American bias" (as you accuse) to exclude US ratings information from film articles. It's trivia, and it's US-centric, unless the rating is especially notable and commented upon in some way. Many US-based editors have reached the same conclusion, and indeed, I merely followed their lead on this. Best regards, Liquidfinale (Ţ) (Ç) (Ŵ) 09:45, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

This proposal just encourages bad editing in order to incorporate a general spoiler warning over the entire plot section. Need I remind you that the community by in large rejected tagging entire plot sections with spoiler warnings. Also Ebert's "warning" is far too general to be useful in determining if a plot detail is a spoiler. Ebert even stated that he started using "spoiler warnings" before going into plot details do to reader complaints. So his use of the spoiler tag is nothing more then a CYA action on his part and should not be interpreted as thing more then that.

Also mentioning that Ebert gave a spoiler warning when describing the plot is undue weight. It asserts that Ebert's opinion of what is or isn't a spoiler is more important then other reviewers. But also, such opinions don't belong in a "Plot summery" section, but a "Critical reception" section if the opinion is relevant.

Take for example Million Dollar Baby, the fact that Ebert pleaded with people to not revel the plot to those who haven't seen the move is something that clearly belongs in the "Critical reception" section, but not the "Plot summery". --Farix (Talk) 19:48, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Writing from citations is not bad editing. And when you say "the community by in large", are you referring to David Gerard and Tony Sidaway? Ebert's purpose for using spoiler warnings is irrelevant. WP:V and WP:RS say nothing about a source's reasons. If one critic is undue weight, how many critics does it take? Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today[80]? Jeffrey Overstreet of Christianity Today[81]? Film critic Debbie Schlussel[82]? Michael Atkinson of The Village Voice[83]? Ian Grey of Baltimore City Paper[84]? Tim Appelo of Seattle Weekly[85]? Interpretations are not forbidden from plot summaries. Secondary sources are not forbidden from plot summaries. The idea that Plot sections should contain zero citations and be written by fans who just saw a film is ridiculous. A spoiler warning is not an evaluation whether a film is good or bad, it's an interpretation of the plot, and it is sourced analysis. --Pixelface (talk) 09:50, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Pixel, the plain fact is that Plot summary sections generally do not contain analysis. Actually, I can't think of any that do (unless you've added them in the last 12 hours). No one is saying that a plot summary cannot contain citations. But what we are saying is that a Plot summary should contain a plot summary, not analysis. Marc Shepherd (talk) 13:44, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
So the Plot section should be a derivative work? The guideline on writing about fiction says "It has been held in a number of court cases that any work which re-tells original ideas from a fictional source, in sufficient quantity without adding information about that work, or in some way analysing and explaining it, may be construed as a derivative work or a copyright violation." --Pixelface 03:08, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
All of that is good stuff to put in a "Critical reception" section or a section analyzing the plot, maybe a brief mention in the lead, such as "The film sparked a debate among critics about whether it is appropriate to revel the film's major plot twist in their reviews." You can then go in to the debate in a separate section further down the article. But it is simply out of place to put it in a "Plot summery". Analyst of a plot should be separated from the plot summery. --Farix (Talk) 14:31, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Why's it out of place? There's no guideline or policy which says that plot summaries have to be in-universe fanstuff.--Nydas(Talk) 09:46, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Actually, there is. The manual of style for film articles describes plot sections as simple descriptions of what happens in the film. With regard to citations, the current version reads, "Plot summaries do not normally require citations; the film itself is the source, as the accuracy of the plot description can be verified by watching the film. An exception to this rule may be films containing plot details that are unclear or open to interpretation, in which case the different interpretations should be sourced to reliable sources." It also has a good bit of information about spoilers, etc. that might be informative to this discussion. (And before anybody rushes to check the history, I'll tell you right now that Liquid made a single edit to remove an unnecessary word.) --jonny-mt(t)(c)Tell me what you think! 14:33, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Actually, it's an ignorable trial balloon. Cop 663 added that paragraph on Nov 8, to be presumed as a preemptive strike against the spoiler citation issue Pixelface first mentioned on Oct 23.
"before anybody rushes to check the history" This guide paragraph didn't pass the 'coincidental' smell test so I checked anyway. Sure enough, you were successfully meta-gamed (a rules change in the middle of the game).
FYI, the tool I used to find this stealth edit is "Compare selected versions". The 1,850,000 byte spoiler-mass-removals debate began in May 2007. I clicked the May 4 button; with the current Nov 17 button already selected, I clicked the "Compare..." bar, looked for the paragraph, and found it added between those dates. Then I clicked other date buttons in a binary search pattern to locate the author, whose edit summary used a synonym not found in the edit itself. Milo 20:48, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
That's just a Wikiproject guideline, they've little weight, especially when it makes no real effort to justify itself. The upshot of 'simple' plot descriptions is that film's plots cannot be described in meaningful language. Twist endings, climatic final scenes, musical scenes, fast-paced title sequences, presumably all of these get turned into bland prose with little relation to the actual on-screen events.--Nydas(Talk) 17:25, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Nydas, why do you ask for a guideline or a policy, then write off the style guideline that's been provided? In addition, plot summaries exclude interpretations because interpretations are just that -- interpretations. What if there are different ways to look at a film, like with 2001? What if only one aspect of a film needs to be studied? The specific plot detail can be re-summoned in a single sentence in an Interpretations section. Plot summaries are essentially neutral and serve as background information for every other aspect of a film article. Even independent voices will have different ideas of "meaningful language" in a plot -- one could think that a certain event was the turning point, while another could think the same of another event. Also, why is there this accusation of "in-universe fanstuff"? Such a description is not appropriate for film articles, which is appropriately structured to cover real-world context about them -- production, reception, even trivia, as indiscriminate as such sections may be. —Erik (talkcontrib) - 17:59, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
"write off the style guideline that's been provided?" (e/c) As noted above it was a preemptive strike trial balloon and can be ignored. It also fails verification policy, as detailed below, and needs to be removed. Milo 23:42, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
A plot summary guideline which forbids twist endings (and presumably other narrative devices) from being mentioned is a violation of neutral point of view. It's specifically forbidden to invent 'intermediate' views, which is what you're advocating here. One of the few anti-spoiler tag arguments to have intellectual merit was that they encouraged articles to be broken up in undesirable ways; is this now being cast aside?
It's common practice to strive for an out-of-universe perspective, yet the guideline forbids the use of certain out-of-universe terminology, because it's an 'interpretation'. Even if the creator says a twist ending is a twist ending, it's still not allowed. This is inevitably going to open the door for fans to add their 'neutral' plot summaries (the film guideline pointedly ignores this).--Nydas(Talk) 21:53, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
In response to jonny-mt, An exception to this rule may be films containing plot details that are unclear or open to interpretation, in which case the different interpretations should be sourced to reliable sources. That is what I am talking about. I was going by the style guide for films when I made this proposal. And I was going by WP:NOT#PLOT which says articles should have sourced analysis. If a critic has made the interpretation that foreknoweldge of certain plot details will affect the experience of viewing a film, and if that interpretation has been published in a reliable source, editors should be free to cite that source and this guideline should make that clear so those citations are not removed by editors with a personal grudge against spoiler warnings. --Pixelface (talk) 07:18, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Pixel, you seem to be conflating a few separate issues. Can a critic's opinion about spoilers be included in an article? Yes, absolutely, if it is relevant. But, having located the opinion and established its relevance, where in the article should it go? The answer is in a section on critical reception, not in a section called plot summary. The reason is that a section called plot summary is for summarizing the plot. Assessments of the plot's impact on viewers belong in another section. Marc Shepherd (talk) 17:59, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
No guideline says where it should go. Secondary sources are not forbidden from plot summaries. And the policy on no original research says interpretations must be sourced to reliable sources that make these interpretations. A spoiler warning is not an evaluation of whether a film is good or bad. It does not indicate how a film was received by critics. It's an interpretation of a plot. Therefore, it should go in the plot summary. And since it appears before a plot description in a critic's review, it should be placed before the plot description in the article to keep that interpretation in context. You can't say spoilers belong in a Plot section and then exclude secondary sources from that section. This guideline needs to make it clear that interpretations are allowed in Plot sections so citations from reliable sources that use spoiler warnings are not removed or moved by editors with a personal grudge. --Pixelface (talk) 14:28, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
You're right that none of our guidelines addresses this specific point. That's because, as far as I know, you are the first and only editor to have suggested the idea. By now, it's surely apparent that the proposal has met with overwhelming opposition. You're perfectly welcome to keep suggesting it, but I would recommend that you consider another approach. Don't take it personally; no one is right every time. Marc Shepherd (talk) 15:31, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm not the first editor to suggest this guideline mention citations. Up until November 15, 2007 this guideline said "In a work that is uncommonly reliant on the impact of a plot twist or surprise ending — a murder mystery, for instance — a spoiler tag may be appropriate even within a properly labeled "Synopsis" section. These should be sourced when possible (e.g., by citing a professional reviewer who describes the impact of the surprise)." As far as I can tell, this was added on September 15, 2007 by Jere7my. --Pixelface 03:22, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
We are not primarily writing movie/book/x reviews, but discussing movies/ / , and there is a difference. Where has there ever been a discussion of a movie/ / in a serious non-review source that has a spoiler? If someone does want reviews, they are abundant on the web, and, at the judgment of the author, they will contain spoilers. People coming to an encyclopedia expect an encyclopedia--if they did not realise that WP is actually one--and many people apparently don't--they will soon find out, and our references to reviews will teach them where reviews can be found. Marc is right that discussion of the critics reaction as of the audience reaction belongs in WP, but in their appropriate separate sections. How extensive such details will be would obviously depend on the importance of the work, or of the reaction to it. DGG (talk) 00:45, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
I hope you didn't mean to imply what I'm inferring — that for whatever stylistic opinion reasons, as well as your soft pedal promotion of the clique's unconsensed reader punishment and expulsion theory — you and Marc would condone violation of WP:NOR-PSTS policy, by preventing the placement of secondary source citation reference numbers within a primary sourced section of Wikipedia? Milo 04:11, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Your tone does not strike me as civil, Milo. Can I ask you to revise your statement to focus on the content, rather than the editors? —Erik (talkcontrib) - 04:22, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
{??} I posted my (Milo 04:11) regrettably unaware of the little food fight that broke out above; so despite your concern, my tone is adequate. A policy-adherence discussion is of necessity editor-focused, so there's no need to revise. I would like DGG and Marc to answer my question now. Milo 12:27, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Milo's comment was at his usual level of civility. Naturally, he depends on eccentric and wholly unsupported assumptions ("clique" and "reader punishment and expulsion theory"), but we are all used to that by now.
To answer the question: No, I was not saying that a plot summary section cannot contain secondary source citations. I was saying that a plot summary section should summarize the plot. Critics' opinions about the plot's impact on viewers belong in another section. Marc Shepherd (talk) 14:24, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

This thread is also still active. --Pixelface 20:14, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Notable spoiler verification as policy

"Plot summaries are essentially neutral" That's an illusion. Plot summaries (and "plot synopses" which have the same definition) are significantly biased by big publishing/Hollywood profit pressure, as well as fan pressure, to selectively leave out spoiler details. Two posters claimed every detail can be a spoiler. Even if one doesn't accept that extreme view, it still points out that all plots, plot summaries, and plot synopses (plus "Story" or "Overview") have non-neutral bias about which details to exclude. Only a "plot compendium" is defined as having everything and is therefore unbiased by definition.
I tried to add suggested use of "Plot compendium" to the spoiler guide and was reverted with the catch 22 fallacy reasoning that Wikipedia doesn't have plot compendiums. So things can't change, because things haven't changed, even when I changed them.
The most important reason that Pixelface is correct, that spoilers are citable in the plot, is that plot sections are primary source research. Primary source research is acceptable if it's only descriptive and carefully used. But at Wikipedia, primary source research must yield to secondary source research where that's possible. Ok, it's partly possible. In however claimed few cases, it's partly possible, and WP:NOR#Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources (a.k.a., WP:PSTS) policy calls for it to be done.
The consensus is, at Wikipedia spoilers should be included. How is it verified that they have been included? Prior to May 2007, editors identified them with spoiler notices that were agreed by consensus. The 45,000 classic spoiler notices are now gone, the template is now gone, so spoiler-inclusion/exclusion bias now goes unknown, unchecked, uncited, and therefore unverified. This is a potential policy violation in plot sections.
Now combine these ideas:
• Industry and fans are biased to leave spoiler details out. Such bias is insidious and inexact to define without identification by a local consensus art jury or notable citations.
• WP consensus is to include spoiler details in plot sections. Yet there are no verifications of the notable spoilers with cite numbers in the plot section.
• Only plot compendiums are all-details neutral, yet Wikipedia has only biased, details-omitted plots, plot summaries, and plot synopses (plus "story" or "overview" ilk).
• How do WP editors and readers know that notable spoilers have been included? They can't, because spoilers are no longer in-article verifiable by the local consensus art jury, because the tools to do so have been removed.
• The suggestion of placing spoiler citations in another section leaves the plot section's primary research incompliant of policy mandate for secondary research when possible.
• What's a replacement verification to comply with WP:NOR-PSTS? (That's a policy, not a guide.) Simple, when a notable spoiler citation is available, hang a cite reference number on the spoiling detail in the plot section. If the citation is notable but non-specific ('don't tell anyone about what happens in this movie', etc.), then the cite number gets attached to the plot section header, or hung free floating just under that header.
Milo 23:42, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
It's dead, Jim. --Tony Sidaway 17:31, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
"Leonard McCoy#"He's dead, Jim." My stars, you're right! You've identified at least five notable spoilers, 36% of total mentions, where McCoy was wrong or hoaxing death and the audience didn't know it. There might even be spoiler citations to them somewhere in 40 years worth of reliably sourced offline commentary. Milo 22:17, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Spoiler Template Deletion OverturnedEndorsed at DRV


Well the deletion has been overturned so I've reverted the guideline to the pre-template deletion version. I think we should all take a breather and have a think about where we should go from here. Tomgreeny (talk) 19:59, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

The guidelines have been reverted back to the current version (not by me, but I don't particularly mind, either). Although it's certainly headed towards restoration and relisting, I think we should wait until the DRV closes before reverting all the changes that have already been made. In the meantime, though, a small break might not be a bad idea. --jonny-mt(t)(c)Tell me what you think! 01:49, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
DRV regular Xoloz closed the discussion with a result of "endorse". Kusma (talk) 15:23, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
I see that Xoloz didn't bother to edit Marc Shepard/s final comment which got cut in half by the following and last commenter before he archived the discussion .Garda40 (talk) 16:41, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
It's displaying correctly, as far as I can tell. Marc Shepherd (talk) 16:47, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
You seemed to have added part of it above it too. I was about to delete the fragment myself, but it was closed. It's probably not a big deal. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 17:04, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh yes, I see it now. That was my mistake. I believe I got distracted while editing, and when I returned to the screen, lost track of where I was. Anyhow, it's not a big deal at this point. Marc Shepherd (talk) 17:07, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
As the comment was unsigned and could be confused with a following comment by User:Lindacious, I struck it out and tailed it with a duplicate of the signature from the full version of the comment made in the same edit. --Tony Sidaway 22:00, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

The fact that we have two different closures of the same DRV, with pretty much the same comments when both admins reviewed it, pretty clearly shows how messed up this is. Regardless of how you feel about this, the community has just been denied it's right to decide this matter, and that is an insult to everyone involved. DRV is being abused at this point, as it's only meant to review the merits of the closure of the TfD. -- Ned Scott (talk) 22:26, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't know what more you would want. The second closing admin had no involvement in the spoiler wars to date. If you wanted the decision made by a neutral party, you couldn't do much better. Although consensus doesn't mean voting, there was considerably more support endorsing the deletion than for overturning it.
The fact is that on this page, on the TfD page, and on the DRV page, the overwhelming majority of the discussion has come from just a handful of people. Given the viral nature of Internet discourse, the deafening silence from the rest of the community is telling. It's safe to guess that most are happy with the outcome, or more likely, they don't care. Marc Shepherd (talk) 22:36, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Deafening silence? At the TFD, 22 people argued to keep and 22 people argued to delete. Given that the template appeared on less than 11 articles at the time instead of 45,000, I think it's quite telling. --Pixelface (talk) 06:50, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Indeed just now I examined the tfd discussion, and noted that roughly half of the kilobyte count was due solely to the contributions of two editors who have also contributed a lot to the discussion on this page. Checking the deletion review I'm therefore not surprised that those two editors contributed one-third of the kilobyte count to that debate. Other familiar faces (on both sides) also contributed significant amounts of verbiage. Comment from outside this tight-knit group was forthcoming in both the deletion debate and the review, and the result of the process does seem to reflect the opinions expressed, though not perhaps in proportion to the amount of typing. --Tony Sidaway 23:33, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Ned, Xoloz closed the DRV only way he could given the comments of all those who participated. The consensus of those who participated in the DRV was to endorse the deletion. Even if there were problem with Guy's closer of the TfD, the people who reviewed the closure didn't see fit to overturn it. That's just how WP:CONSENSUS works, warts and all. I also don't think a second DRV[86] is going to help matters and will probably result in a speedy closed. --Farix (Talk) 23:46, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
"Xoloz closed the DRV only way he could" If that was true, then JoshuaZ wouldn't have made the opposite close from Xoloz, the way I read it.
Xoloz short-sheeted the five-day debate time rule by 9 hours, 15 minutes, but at least I've found no evidence that he had a conflict of interest like JoshuaZ did. On appeal by me and kybldmstr, JoshuaZ did withdraw his COI close and recuse himself, so I consider him qualified for Arbcom election.
"consensus doesn't mean voting" Sometimes it does, sometimes not. Xoloz interpreted consensus as a 2/3 majority, and JoshuaZ interpreted consensus using the "good answer" that bias and process rule-breaking by the Nov 8 TFD closer, overrule even a large majority during DRV.
I'm not comfortable with either interpretation. I suggest that, in practice, WP:CONSENSUS is a concept that can be arbitrarily interpreted as either majoritarian voting or "good answer" judging. In his own terms, Xoloz uses both [87]. But because consensus is arbitrary, it's hard to test it the way a recount can test an election. Therefore, as the spoiler police demonstrated, consensus can also be ex parte manufactured behind a smokescreen to support a preexisting POV.
The 2/3-some DRV vote endorsing abusive process demonstrates that majoritarian voting doesn't work when the issues are whether due process rules were followed. The DRV should be a "good answer" judging process, since it functions as an appeals court. I think that's why the real world separates powers among process-trained courts, citizen legislatures, and a mostly hired executive bureaucracy. Milo 08:52, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Milo that the ever-changing meaning of "consensus" is no credit to the community. I often think we would be far better off if we would just candidly admit that in some situations consensus does mean voting. But I am usually shouted down whenever I say that. Marc Shepherd (talk) 13:47, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Majoritarian rule works if and only if your concern is "X or not X?" If you want restrictions on how to arrive at the answer to that question, majority rule is useless. -Amarkov moo! 14:37, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I initially had to do a double take when I first saw Milomedes's complain about JoshuaZ's first closing and accusing JoshuaZ of bias. JoshuaZ closed the DRV in Milomedes's favor after all, and yet Milomedes complained. Then when Xoloz's closed the DRV with an entirely different result because he used a more literal method of determining consensus, Milomedes still complains because he didn't get the outcome he wanted. At this point, I don't think that Milomedes doesn't know or doesn't care what he wants and is simply complaining just to keep things going. --Farix (Talk) 14:49, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
"I ... think that Milomedes doesn't know or doesn't care what he wants" Then you haven't been reading what I've repeatedly written. I want a clean and predictable due process for determining the outcome of community disagreements over consensus. I want compromise for the spoiler issues themselves where there is clearly no consensus, nor even evidence of a majority for anti-spoiler-notice POV. Of the two, due process outcomes dwarf symbolic spoiler issues in importance.
I consider JoshaZ's recusal to be a benefit for the community. I'm still studying Xoloz' complicated decision process and result. He suggests his decision was not that literal.
Whatever your AGF intentions, you appear extreme and uncompromising "to keep things going". Milo 20:19, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I think Milomedes knows exactly what he/she wants. I can't speak for Milomedes, but maybe Milomedes is concerned about conflicts of interest. Neutral point of view applies to all editors. If Milomedes hadn't brought it up to JoshuaZ, the TFD probably would have stayed overturned, which Milomedes supported. But having an admin on your side to close a debate in your favor is not the way to go about things. Admins should not close debates they've already prejudged. All these guidelines and policies and rules and discussions are totally meaningless if admins are going to make sweeping decisions according to their own personal whim. Admins are merely human, they're not dictators. The deletion review was about abuse of process, not one side winning or losing at all costs. The result is meaningless if the process is rotten. You fail to realize that. --Pixelface (talk) 06:32, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Milomedes has scored one of the most memorable own goals in Wikipedia history. He had the outcome he wanted, and complained anyway. Marc Shepherd (talk) 15:00, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Self-consistent Jeffersonian governance philosophy is always a shock to those raised to view community politics as a zero-sum field game. Milo 20:19, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
You still don't get it. This is about administrators acting unilaterally. Do you really have no clue why Milomedes would notify JoshuaZ? Have you read WP:NPOV or WP:COI? Do you think sports should be refereed by team members? Getting the result you want is meaningless if the judges are already on your side. --Pixelface (talk) 06:41, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
I'll probably get called out for this, but User_talk:Gene_Poole#Milomedes is quite telling. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 15:22, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
You mean the part where Gene Poole offered absolutely no proof or diffs? --Pixelface (talk) 07:02, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
If you would like to enter mediation with me I would be honored to do so. We have shared interests that you know nothing about. Milo 20:19, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Nothing there that hasn't been said before. --Tony Sidaway 18:56, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Interesting. Are you endorsing a harrassment campaign in payback for my reporting of a legal threat against another editor? Milo 20:19, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I oppose any form of harassment. If my comments have inadvertently aided or abetted such a campaign, I apologise. I withdraw the comment for the time being. --Tony Sidaway 12:09, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

This thread is also still ongoing. It concerns the TFD closed by an admin with a conflict of interest and the DRV of that TFD. --Pixelface 20:16, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

This is not the place for discussion of conduct matters. Again I urge you to use the dispute resolution process. --Tony Sidaway 19:02, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
DRV is a place for discussion of conduct matters. This thread is about the DRV of the TFD. Discussion is one of the steps of the dispute resolution process. --Pixelface (talk) 04:51, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Proposal to merge this guideline back to WP:NDT

The effect of this guideline is that it is now completely consistent with Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles (aka WP:NDT and WP:NDA). It remains for me to propose formally that we merge this guideline to that one by replacing it with a redirect and perhaps adding a sentence or two from this one into that. This talk page and its extensive archives would remain separate, and the merge could still be undone at a future date, should consensus shift again. --Tony Sidaway 13:20, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

I see no reason to redirect. This guideline exists to provide recommendations to editors on how to handle spoilers and spoiler warnings. Spoiler warnings are not disclaimers. And spoiler warnings that appear in reliable sources are not disclaimers. If this guideline is redirected, your TonyBot crawls and listings of pages that contain the word spoiler would not be supported by any policy or guideline. Why are you trying to bury this guideline and it's extensive talk page history? --Pixelface (talk) 15:08, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't really see the need to merge at this point. Marc Shepherd (talk) 15:21, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
No merge or redirect. In any case, a merge to the Wikipedia WP:NDT legal disclaimers makes no logical sense. Per dictionary definition ( disclaimer (legal) (also see Disclaimer)), spoiler notices don't refer to a hazardous risk (which disappointment is not) and therefore aren't legal disclaimers — despite the widespread popular misconception. WP:NDT tacitly admits that by making spoiler notices an exception acceptable in articles. Milo 18:48, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Spoilers, despite the arguments above, do fall under our disclaimer guideline. I don't anticipate any change to the current situation in the near future, and since it doesn't encompass spoiler tagging and hasn't done in practical terms for some months now I thought it might be a good idea to merge. Merge isn't the consensus here so I withdraw the suggestion for now. Perhaps in the new year the case for merge will seem more obvious. --Tony Sidaway 18:58, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
  • For the record: the confusion was caused by Milomedes' describing the "disclaimers" guideline as "legal disclaimers". As Tony Sidaway points out, the disclaimers guideline refers to disclaimers of all sorts not just legal disclaimers. --Lquilter 14:52, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Secondary Spoiler citations in primary research Plot sections

16:42, 24 November 2007 Pixelface (3,576 bytes) (revert. consensus on this talk page does not invalidate policy)

16:46, 24 November 2007 Marc Shepherd(2,779 bytes) (Undid revision 173505529 by Pixelface (talk) Revert...there is no such policy)

Pixelface inclusively added and Marc inclusively deleted:
"Articles on fictional works should offer sourced analysis. The opinion that certain information will spoil someone's enjoyment of a fictional work is one possible interpretation. On Wikipedia, interpretations must be attributed to reliable sources that make these interpretations in order to prevent original research. When a reliable source (such as a newspaper or magazine) uses a spoiler warning in a review of a fictional work (such as a film, book, video game, comic book, etc), editors can mention who gave the spoiler warning and cite the review and place it at the beginning of a plot summary.
" Example: When describing the plot of the film, Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert gave a spoiler warning.[88]"

I agree that there is a strong policy case underlying Pixelface's edit. Marc seems to have carelessly placed himself in the position of challenging core Wikipedia WP:NOR-PSTS citation policy, which if he persists could lead to an RFCU on him, as well as censure at Village pump/policy. Perhaps less blind challenge and more thoughtful realization would be useful to the discussion. Milo 18:48, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

There's an overwhelming policy case. Intermediate, artificially neutral viewpoints aren't allowed under WP:NPOV. One of the few valid complaints about spoiler warnings was that they could cause articles to be structured in weird ways. Now we've got the anti-spoiler faction arguing for references to narrative devices to be cleansed from the summary of those narratives, and to be dumped somewhere else.--Nydas(Talk) 20:25, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Nydas, can I suggest toning down the "us against them" mentality? It's a rather combative attitude, and I don't think any of us want this discussion to turn uncivil. In addition, Nydas, no one is opposing sourced analysis. The plot summary is purely complementary to articles about fictional topics. Sourced analysis is intended for the fictional topic in general -- it does not directly support the plot summary that is present in the article. As WP:PLOT states, articles about fictional topics should have real-world context. Plot summaries are an afterthought, in a manner of speaking. Thus, it is not appropriate to re-focus real-world context (in this case, a reviewer mentioning a spoiler for his own piece of writing) on an aspect of the article that is complementary. When we write real-world context, we write it about the topic at large, not specifically about what is available in a plot summary. Like I've said before, there is a clear distinction between real-world context (may it be production information or critical reaction) and the plot summary. Thus, unlike a film critic's review, there is no need to warn the reader of being spoiled due to the appropriately identified section headings. If the Critical reaction section were to have a film critic's review focus on the details of a film's ending, then there would need to be separate discussion about how to approach including that review. Here, I'm not sure why there is talk of cleansing and dumping -- beyond the consensus to remove spoiler warnings from plot summaries, there is nothing else that is being deprived from these complementary sections. Rather, there appear to be approaches to amend the removal of the spoiler warning, but as I've explained above, real-world context is intended to address the topic at large, not the in-universe information that complements the article under the appropriate section heading. —Erik (talkcontrib) - 22:15, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Your personal interpretation of WP:PLOT doesn't address my point about WP:NPOV being violated. Artificially neutral or intermediate viewpoints are not permitted. Pushing mainstream viewpoints out of plot summaries is an example of that.--Nydas(Talk) 08:32, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Masterful glossing and distraction, but I don't buy it. Your bottom line position is an attempt to substitute guide-level style opinions for WP:NOR-PSTS secondary-sourced analysis-citation policy requirements. My bottom line is that secondary citation reference numbers cannot be kept out of primary research plot sections,
no matter how any guide reads. Milo 02:57, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
You really need to be banned from WP, Milo. You make my head explode. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 03:23, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Hm, this time it could be the hyphenated phrases. I've usually explained all those details previously, so it's a way of summarizing in a sentence. It's a style adapted to the constant flow of editors who've only read the last thing I wrote.
Ok, you're a classical music editor. At Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring ballet score (non-music editors may find interest in a description of the Paris, 1913, audience riot it caused; ¶3), here's the quote from George Perle: "intersecting of inherently non-symmetrical diatonic elements with inherently non-diatonic symmetrical elements seems...the defining principle of the musical language of Le Sacre and the source of the unparalleled tension and conflicted energy of the work". Music people write like that, so why can't I? Milo 07:21, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Can you explain why real-world context should focus on a complementary section about the topic rather than the topic itself? I really don't see how I've glossed and distracted, and I really do not appreciate how you have not assumed good faith about my explanation. Please respond with your arguments about why my points are invalid, rather than determining me to be the enemy and assuming off the bat that all my explanations are to maliciously draw away from your goal. —Erik (talkcontrib) - 03:25, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Ok, AGF, you are well-intended in writing what turned out to be masterfully glossy and distracting. Viewed positively, it's a talent that's appreciated and lucrative at an ad agency. Go for it.
As persuasive debate, your explanation is wikilawyering – generally understood as the attempt to defeat higher-level principles or concepts by arguing lower-level concepts or details. With that understood as my position, there is no need to engage in a point-by-point debate.
I'm offended by your casual escalation of rhetoric to include a presumptive attribution of war metaphors to my determinations. I likewise publicly criticized JzG/Guy's disturbing TfD close – this may be a great debate, but it's not a war. IMHO, you need a wikivacation. Milo 07:21, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Milo, WP:LAWYER says, "Occasionally, editors who engage in semantic discussions about the language of a policy or guideline... will be accused of WikiLawyering. In such cases, it may make sense instead to assume good faith and engage in the discussion productively rather than tar those editors with the WikiLawyering brush." I understand your public criticism of the TfD close, but your word choice in getting your perspective across strikes me as counterproductive. In this discussion, you tell me to get a wikivacation, which strikes me as uncooperative. I've presented my points about the distinction of the plot summary from other aspects of an article, and you are welcome to refute them. However, if your combative attitude keeps up, I will not respond to you any longer. Others are free to weigh in on this particular aspect of the discussion. —Erik (talkcontrib) - 14:08, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
"editors who engage in semantic discussions ... will be accused of WikiLawyering." Quite so. Most editors don't know the difference between lawyering and wikilawyering, and you are among them. I take your point that you didn't realize it, but nonetheless, you were inadvertently wikilawyering, and your entire argument fails for that reason.
" tell me to get a wikivacation, which strikes me as uncooperative." Let's check the record to see whether a wikivacation for you might be an appropriately cooperative opinion.
Pixelface (12:39, 19 Nov) and you (Erik 17:50, 19 Nov) engaged in a lengthy, unparagraphed debate. I didn't read either, because at a glance they seemed tangential to my position that a guide-level argument can not trump WP:NOR-PSTS. You wrote no more posts for about two days. I hadn't paid any attention to you, one way or another. I'm not even sure I'd ever seen your username before. You are certainly not a regular at WP:Talk Spoiler.
I skipped way down, and in the process I missed the little two post incivility skirmish. Even though you weren't involved, I infer it got it you charged up, since that's my only explanation for what you did subsequently that suggests your need for a wikivacation.
I joined the debate at my (Milo 20:48, 21 Nov) in response to jonny-mt (14:33, 21 Nov). I then began writing a new sub-section (#Notable spoiler verification as policy, Milo 23:42). You (Erik 17:59, 21 Nov) asked Nydas (17:25) a question which was on-topic to my new subsection, so I answered your question as a brief 4-line addendum during an edit conflict: "write off the style guideline that's been provided?" (e/c) As noted above it was a preemptive strike trial balloon and can be ignored. It also fails verification policy, as detailed below, and needs to be removed. Milo 23:42, 21 Nov 2007 " That's the total of my first-ever interaction with you, and you didn't reply.
Eight posts and two days later after I had responded to DGG (00:45, 23 Nov) and indirectly to Marc, you dropped out of the sky and laid a trash tone-civility charge on an astonished me. Erik (04:22, 23 Nov): "Your tone does not strike me as civil, Milo. ..."
There is no literal thing as an uncivil tone, since tone is a subjective quality and civil "...often suggests little more than the avoidance of overt rudeness" civil. Beyond that minimum standard, my post was "adequate in courtesy and politeness", and despite your following misread of a premised question, I made no "statement". Premised questions are standard fare in questioning authority, precisely because they have considerable immunity from civility charges. That you did not recognize this, suggests that you are debating out of your league.
Marc took issue with the premise, but it's based on fully-evidenced quotations gathered over a six month debate, and I've stated it here frequently. I'm a careful researcher, and I check my drafts to prevent writing things I can't back up.
You followed up by offending me with escalated rhetoric presumptively attributing a war metaphor to my determinations. Instead of an apology, I got a quick distractive side step to (Erik 14:08) "...word choice in getting your perspective across strikes me as counterproductive." Yes, you're entitled to your opinion, but when offered in place of an apology to me, it opens cracks in your constant claims to AGF for yourself.
So far you've laid: "tone does not strike me as civil", "determining me to be the enemy", "counterproductive", "uncooperative", and "combative" at my door.
Let's look at WP:CIVIL-ICA(4) "Ill-considered accusations of impropriety of one kind or another". That's what you started at (Erik 04:22, 23 Nov), and what you have steadily escalated in (Erik 03:25) and (Erik 14:08). Of course, you keep telling me about your good intentions. Ok, AGF, your WP:ICA violations suggest that your demonstrated, commentable behavior has so far been that of a scale model loose cannon.
Finally, after all your claimed unintentional yet escalating provocations, started with your WP:ICA attack from the blue, you had the unmitigated nerve to rebuff my reasonable opinion that you need a wikivacation. I stand on my opinion as justified by the facts of record.
Do understand that I had made previous plans to comment at movie articles on Plot section citations where Pixelface has posted. I see that you have already posted there, so avoiding you is not an obvious option. If you have any more WP:ICAs about my style, choice of words, or kindred objections following defeat on principle at league debate, please keep them to yourself. Milo 23:24, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Removal of the Spoiler Template Does Not Indicate Banning Consensus

I thought I'd point out again, the removal of a template does not indicate consensus against things the template is used for. Most people voted to keep the template than voted to remove it, just as more people _added_ it to articles before the deletion was forced than removed it. Many of those who voted to delete it claimed to have done it _solely_ because it wasn't on many articles, and we all know why that was, and it wasn't consensus. So even some delete votes can't be considered consensus to remove spoiler warnings as a whole.

So, you still have to demonstrate consensus that spoiler warnings are not acceptible on WP. Not that conensus seems to matter to many of the people here. All that's been done thus far is (inappropriately) remove the template. Which means discussion of how in-text spoiler warnings can be done without the template is still on the table until otherwise is demonstrated. I suggest some text in the guideline along the lines of "it is possibile to use subsections in a plot category as extra spoiler warnings... for example, a plot might have subsections for Beginning, Middle, and End, or Setup, Rising Action, Climax" would therefore improve the guideline and therefore (somewhat) better reflect consensus. Pixelface's sourcing of spoiler warnings is also possible. Wandering Ghost (talk) 13:13, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

I think there was a pretty broad consensus that if Wikipedia should have spoiler warnings at all, they should be templated. If you want to add non-templated warnings, you should demonstrate consensus for that. Kusma (talk) 13:18, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Ah, yes, mister "Following the rules wasn't getting us anywhere" himself. Thanks for your input, but you've already demonstrated bad faith with that quote over in the DRV. Consensus exists for some form of spoiler warning, due to the LACK of consensus for removing them. This lack of consensus has existed for months, and has not changed. As such, we once again are supposed to be working for compromise.Wandering Ghost (talk) 17:03, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

There's a bit of muddled thinking going on here. I know there are some people who think the TfD and the DRV had the wrong outcome. That's a respectable viewpoint. But no sane person could believe that the editors who recommended deleting the template — the viewpoint that was ultimately ratified as community consensus — were at the same time endorsing the "home-brew" spoiler warning as its replacement. That would not be a coherent analysis of what occurred. Marc Shepherd (talk) 14:22, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

The TFD in November 2007 was to delete the {{spoiler}} template. It was not a ruling on homemade spoiler warnings. This guideline says nothing about homemade spoiler warnings. Editors will continue to use them and this guideline, the spoiler guideline, needs to address that. --Pixelface 20:24, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
The thinking is evolving, but clear enough. Your analysis is based on inadequate research.
The spoiler guide is disestablished by the spoiler template DRV. Therefore, no statement made in it at DRV time has any authority. Therefore, every spoiler option in text is available for any editor to use anywhere, right now.
That also means that the spoiler police have had their badges revoked. It's going to take a while to demonstrate to formerly oppressed notice-adding editors that the ex spoiler police are now just private editors, pushing their personal POVs by pointing at a revoked document. The descriptive phrase I would use for such POV pushing is 'false color of authority'.
The spoiler guide should now be tagged as historic, but I expect bitter-enders among the anti-spoiler clique will again revert feud to stall due process tagging.
Marc, you're being a newb again. Casual references to sanity acceptable in private conversations can too easily be taken as libels in public. Milo 18:04, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
See, I could make the same appeals to sanity. I could say 'we don't want spoiler warnings' is a respectable viewpoint. However, 'no sane person would suggest that it's a good idea to engage in or allow or endorse a series of bad faith compromises and abuses of process to achieve that end.' And yet, here we are, with many insane people on the anti-spoiler-warning side, who have done just that, yourself among them (you voted not to overturn the deletion, despite the fact that _more_ people were in favour of keep in the TfD, did you not? You saw the rampant spoiler deletion patrols, withought even so much as saying "this is wrong" did you not?).
Maybe some new sort of RfC would be appropriate to discuss Spoiler Warnings as a whole, since the policy is now completely unclear thanks to the template deletion. Until that happens, please demonstrate consensus that the deletion of the template means what you think it means. Wandering Ghost (talk) 17:03, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Much wishful thinking on the part of Milomedes and Wandering Ghost. --Tony Sidaway 19:09, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

This is getting ridiculous...

You know, I just don't get it. It's say more...but what's the use? Seriously. You're all right, you're all wrong. Is there a point to arguing it all any more? The template is gone, no matter how it got there. At the moment, at least, WP can't have warnings beyond the disclaimer and the current fiction tag. I truly don't know the real consensus in the matter, but it's really gotten horridly petty, with thousands of useless words being spewed again and again. So..what have we accomplished, class? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 17:09, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

"Is there a point to arguing it all any more?" The point of arguing is to persuade the community that compromise below the level of core policies is in the best interests of the encyclopedia project. My originally-text spoiler notice was removed without bone fide consensus, no established authority currently exists to forbid text notices, unbadged POV pushers are suppressing other text noters daily, and I want my edit of a text spoiler notice back. I would compromise to have my edit back in a Hide'nShow form.
Why are you still here arguing? Milo 20:45, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
In which article did you place that spoiler notice, and when did you do so? Marc Shepherd (talk) 21:48, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
The subject matter is famously distracting, and I don't want to derail Melodia's thread. Why don't you just answer her question? Milo 00:57, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't really have any comment on Melodia's post. What she wrote speaks for itself, and I took her questions to be rhetorical. But as you claim to be one of the aggrieved parties, I was curious what edit "you wanted to make, that the cabal/clique allegedly prevented you from making. If you don't want to derail Melodia's thread, feel free to start a new one. Marc Shepherd (talk) 02:29, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
I started a couple months ago so I'm still just learning how all this works. I added some spoiler warnings by writing "(spoiler warning)" at the part of the story where the surprise was going to start, but somebody erased them and told me I had to use the template. Then I used the template and someone erased it right away and quoted WP:SPOILER. That happened on a few articles and seemed totally official so I gave up on spoiler warnings even though I didn't want to. After a while I found out there was conflict about it all along and I wasn't the only person to be upset about it and I saw the pages about deleting the template and wrote something there. I also saw that some of the people who told me not to use spoiler warnings have been writing on this page and the other ones about deleting the template.
Why do people want to spoil the stories for people who haven't read the books or seen the movies yet? The wikipedia politics about how the rules are made is confusing and I don't even know if I'm writing this in the right place. In case anybody cares about what new editors think is the right thing to do, I wanted to write something about this. People should know that there are other people who like to read about movies and books before they watch them or read them so they can enjoy them more and learn interesting things about them. It's disrespectful to give away the surprises without warning them first so they can skip that part. I don't see why we're not allowed to be courteus and put in a few words to tell the reader that a surprise is coming up so they might want to not read that part. --Linda (talk) 02:08, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
For my part, the trouble was that no one could define which works needed warnings, or how much a reader was willing to be told, before s/he would consider the story 'spoiled'. In my experience, the pre-May '07 usage had very little rhyme or reason. If an article lacked a spoiler tag, you couldn't tell if it was because it disclosed no surprises, or if the tag was just missing for some reason. Even where the tag was present, it often was mis-used, so that the amount of material "protected" was either too much, or too little. There were also cases where articles were getting re-arranged to put all the "spoilers" in one place, and some editors felt that the aim of putting information in "quarantine" was trumping the more important purpose of writing good articles.
There are, of course, counter-arguments to those points. But after lengthy debate, the result—which some people don't agree with, and will never agree with—is that Wikipedia is better off without spoiler warnings. And this resolution has at least one virtue. At most, a new reader will be "spoiled" only once, before s/he will realize that Wikipedia contains spoilers. Under the prior system, the amount of times it could happen was endless, since the spoiler template was used so inconsistently.
I came to this debate originally with the viewpoint that perhaps spoiler warnings could be intelligently employed with no harm to Wikipedia's larger mission. It was the inability, and indeed downright refusal, of those who most favored them to define what they wanted that finally persuaded me that it was hopeless. Marc Shepherd (talk) 02:48, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
When you say "But after lengthy debate, the result—which some people don't agree with, and will never agree with—is that Wikipedia is better off without spoiler warnings.", are you referring to the discussion to delete a template? 26 people argued to keep the template and 22 people argued to delete the template and that somehow means "Wikipedia is better off without spoiler warnings"? Also, you said "At most, a new reader will be "spoiled" only once, before s/he will realize that Wikipedia contains spoilers." Was that not also the case under the "prior system" when the spoiler template was used "inconsistently"? --Pixelface (talk) 23:34, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
What about the idea of spoiler warnings for recent fiction and murder mysteries?--Nydas(Talk) 21:34, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for explaining your feelings about this. I understand your idea that at least without any warnings people will know right away not to read the articles. But there are so many people writing articles and using different styles and organizing ideas in different ways, the articles will never all have one clean method as if it was done by a company with a boss and employees hired to write articles. Isn't that the whole point of wikipeida inviting everybody to write the articles?
I don't think it's fair to spoil the stories for people so I wanted to write something here in case anybody cared to find out about the opinions about other people writing the articles who didn't even know that it's possible for any of the rules to change. But after reading the pages of arguing, it looks pretty stressful so I don't think it's a good thing for me to try to change anyone's mind. But just to let people know, there are people who want to be able to warn readers so the surprises don't get wrecked, and it feels bad to write about stories with surprises in them and not be allowed to do that. I'm not worried about the articles getting messed up by that, because people will find ways to make good articles anyway, even if they are allowed to warn about spoilers. Thanks again for replying to my note. --Linda (talk) 09:39, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
To clarify one point, the result of the debate was _not_ that Wikipedia was better off without spoiler warnings. There was no result to the _debate_, because Wikipedia is actually quite divided on the issue at the base level. What should have happened with regards to that, in a sane world with rational people, is that a compromise would have been reached. That 'Wikipedia is better off without spoilers' is the decision of a few crusaders who felt personally offended at spoiler warnings and went around removing the page from every attempt to add one, and resisted any of the valid proposals to compromise (indeed, removed spoiler warnings in violation of the compromises that were reached), and then used the subsequent lack of spoilers on pages and the lack of any compromise to try and force through the decision that wikipedia should be without spoilers. This abuse of Wikipedia's principles to push a particular point of view is way more important than the spoiler question (even though the lack of warnings will lead to less information being added), because it could happen at any time, on any number of issues, and it's very shameful that people are supporting it just because it's happening in favour of their preferred point of view. I only hope that the next time it happens, it happens against them, to perhaps open their eyes. There's still time for them to change their minds on their own, but I've given up hope for most of them. Wandering Ghost (talk) 13:06, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
One must separate distaste for the result, from acknowledgment that it has happened. Plenty of people think that Al Gore really "won" the 2000 U.S. presidential election, and that only a few unscrupulous crusaders (that is, conservative Supreme Court Justices) kept him from being president. But we have only one system for resolving such disputes, and under that system Bush won. Even those who resent the outcome can recognize that it was the outcome.
Likewise, the result of the spoiler debate is that Wikipedia is better off without spoiler warnings. Those who recommended deleting the template were clearly not suggesting that spoiler warnings should continue to be employed in some other way (other than via {{current fiction}}). Even those who strenuously believe that the TfD was wrongly closed, ought to be able to see what the closure meant. It may have been the "wrong" outcome in some abstract sense, but just like presidential elections, Wikipedia isn't perfect, and sometimes we arrive at a result that does not please everybody. Marc Shepherd (talk) 13:23, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
So you're advocating that Wikepedia should ignore all evidence it's doing something wrong ,embark on a course of action that will damage it's reputation and take years to recover lost ground .Interesting Garda40 (talk) 15:58, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
You said "the result of the spoiler debate is that Wikipedia is better off without spoiler warnings" but the closing admin of the TFD said the {{current fiction}} tag, a spoiler warning with an expiration date, had consensus. Care to change your statement? --Pixelface (talk) 23:38, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
See false dichotomy. Marc Shepherd (talk) 16:00, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
See Joke especially when you leave such a rich target .Garda40 (talk) 16:20, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, seriously, none of your purported facts have been even remotely demonstrated. The evidence doesn't all point in one direction, Wikipedia's future reputation is a mere prediction unburdened by facts, and there has been no "lost ground" that will take any amount of time to recover. Marc Shepherd (talk) 16:52, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
I haven't given out any facts .I'm surprised I have to explain this but you mentioned the election of Al Gore and then mentioned in the next paragraph this It may have been the "wrong" outcome in some abstract sense, but just like presidential elections, Wikipedia isn't perfect, and sometimes we arrive at a result that does not please everybody..
See how I made a joke link between the election of Bush ( "wrong" result ) and his actions in office and the "wrong" result with the spoiler templete deletion and what may follow from that .Garda40 (talk) 17:22, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Some might say the loss of the warnings would cause it to have a bad reputation. Others might say it might help show that WP is dedicated toward being more serious than fansites and forums. Which way that'll roll, I do not know. Unless you're referring to the process itself, in which case probably not enough people will look at the nitty gritty to matter. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 17:08, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
I want to respond to Marc in the same sense as Garda40 has. In democracy, if majority wins, then the minority should accept the result (unless it's oppression of the minority). But what you advocate is even if the majority is against something, which is implemented by minority anyway, the majority should just shut up and live with that. This is quite elitist position, and can quickly lead to destruction of democracy (before you give me "Wikipedia is not democracy" mantra - it factually is, as any society where decision making is consensual is democracy, because consensual means everyone agrees, therefore majority agrees; moreover, the original statement includes ".. not experiment in ..", which changes the meaning - it may well be democracy, but to study how well it works as democracy is not the purpose of the project). If there are more and more things that majority disagrees with (maybe a different majority each time), the majority will leave. Now, you probably disagree that majority wanted SWs - my answer is we don't know that, because nobody put that to the *real* test ever (I mean real voting where the rules are determined and fair). There are only clues - for example, the TfD of SW ended with slight majority for keep. If I would see that majority doesn't want SWs (for whatever reason - both sides have sounds reasons), I wouldn't have any problem. This is the biggest threat to Wikipedia IMHO - lack of democracy and respect for majority opinion (especially, somehow failing to notify public at large when something is being deleted), which will detract contributors in the long term. Samohyl Jan (talk) 18:10, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
"There are only clues - for example, the TfD of SW ended with ..." In the interests of historical accuracy, note that the count by Pixelface (13:12/13, 26 Nov timestamp bug?) is "In the TFD, 22 people argued to keep and 22 people argued to delete." You may be referring to my (Milo's) earlier count at the DRV that I declared a "quick, possibly inexact count" at "26 to 24", but "that close a vote flags a possible no-consensus result". (I quickly searched for, and hand tallied the words "keep" and "delete", in the first twenty-some characters of each line of the voting section of the Nov 8, 2007 TFD, then added one to each that I had commented on as unusual.) Milo 20:28, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Milo, the timestamp of my comment on this page appears as 13:12 on this page, but in the edit history it appears as 13:13. I can only guess that a few seconds after I clicked Save page, the edit history recorded the time. Maybe there's a slight lag. I guess it's a bug. I've never encountered it before. And my statement that 22 people argued to keep and 22 people argued to delete was incorrect. I think the number of people that argued to keep is actually 26 and the number of people that argued to delete is 22 (if you include the nomination and exclude Cryptic's comment). I think the deletion of the template ironically benefits editors who favor spoiler warnings. I've left a comment in the TFD section about it. --Pixelface (talk) 02:00, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
If you mean that it's now harder to go on spoiler patrol, I'm afraid there's no joy. Tony Sidaway runs a bot that searches for "unexpected" uses of the word "spoiler," so the patrol remains alive and well (see User:Tony Sidaway/searches/spoiler). My informal observation is that home-brew spoiler warnings are not that prevalent, with only a very small number of them showing up every day. You can check the history of that page, and see for yourself. There's no evidence for the supposed vast legions of editors who want to add spoiler warnings, but are being prevented from doing so. Marc Shepherd (talk) 03:37, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, I'm well aware of TonyBot and its list. I believe MiszaBot also has a list. But now, the "spoiler patrol" has zero credibility because this guideline says nothing about homemade spoiler warnings. You say "There's no evidence for the supposed vast legions of editors who want to add spoiler warnings" but that's because you keep burying the evidence. No more spoiler template = no more spoiler patrol. Editors will continue to use spoiler warnings. What will be your excuse for removing them now? POV? With the template gone, editors can now word spoiler warnings however they want, and if they want to avoid detection by TonyBot, they just have to omit the word "spoiler" from their notice. --Pixelface (talk) 17:11, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
If nothing else, they potentially violate WP:SELF. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 17:25, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
The credibility of the spoiler patrol, needless to say, is this very guideline, which says that Wikipedia does not use spoiler warnings. The spoiler patrol had pretty good success even with the previous wimpy guideline, which said that warnings may be appropriate in certain circumstances, without mandating them in any particular case. The current version is far more clear-cut.
If an editor finds a back-door way to temporarily "avoid detection," eventually they are found out, and it usually happens pretty quickly. Fortunately, in my experience, the vast majority of editors operate in good faith. Marc Shepherd (talk) 17:35, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
No, the guideline changed. It says nothing about homemade spoiler warnings. The tag removers had their chance to edit it and didn't bother to mention them. The guideline currently says "Wikipedia carries no spoiler warnings except for the Content disclaimer" but that's obviously false. If Wikipedia carried no spoiler warnings, editors would not be removing them. This is a guideline. It's not set in stone. And the current guideline does not endorse any sort of spoiler patrol. I suppose "success" is easy when 2 editors edit 45,000 articles with a tool only meant for non-controversial edits. Editors should not have to find a "back-door" to avoid detection by a small group of editors pushing their POV across every article. This guideline does not forbid spoiler warnings. If the spoiler patrol has demonstrated anything, good faith is not it. --Pixelface (talk) 21:32, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
This guideline does indeed forbid spoiler warnings, to the extent a guideline can "forbid" anything. What about Wikipedia carries no spoiler warnings don't you understand?
Obviously, like every single one of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, it is violated constantly—though far less often than most. (Compare, for instance, the number of spoiler warnings added to the number of invalid images uploaded.) That's what happens when you have a website that anyone can edit. You get a large number of low-value or negative-value edits, which someone then has to go and clean up.
Many Wikipedia policies and guidelines are enforced by some kind of "patrol". Indeed, if there is a way to search for something in an automated way, rest assured that somebody is searching for it. Whether you happen to like this particular guideline, "patrolling" is the only way to maintain some semblance of quality, when the site is this large, and anyone is allowed to edit. Marc Shepherd (talk) 22:09, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
I think the phrase "Wikipedia carries no spoiler warnings" is misleading. It's certainly not descriptive, because if Wikipedia carried no spoiler warnings, Tony Sidaway wouldn't be regularly removing them. I see it's meant to be prescriptive. Kusma added that to the current guideline (or rather, reverted to a prior version of the guideline that contained that phrase) on November 15, 2007 (diff). The prior version was from October 12, 2007 (diff) (oldid), the version that Kusma mentioned in the TFD for the {{spoiler}} template. You can see a diff between the November 15 and October 12 versions here (there is none). Apparently the October 12, 2007 version was also the September 13, 2007 version, written by Kusma (diff) (there is none). You can see a diff between the November 15, 2007 and September 13, 2007 version here. I changed the sentence "Therefore, Wikipedia carries no spoiler warnings except for the Content disclaimer." on November 15, 2007[89][90]. Those changes were reverted. On November 18, 2007 I changed the sentence "Therefore, Wikipedia carries no spoiler warnings except for the Content disclaimer." to a sentence I felt was more accurate, "The Content disclaimer says Wikipedia contains spoilers."(diff). The Content disclaimer is not a spoiler warning. And I don't think spoiler warnings are disclaimers. And I certainly don't think that citations from reliable sources that use spoiler warnings are disclaimers. I would not recommend patrolling in order to enforce a disputed guideline. --Pixelface 04:13, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
My argument is really more pragmatic than philosophical. There is much about Wikipedia that I think is highly flawed, and that I would change if they put me in charge. But on a personal level, I've made a decision to work within the system, which means accepting project-wide decisions with which I disagree, of which there are many.
Clearly, no one else is obligated to make the same trade-off that I have made. But I am not sure what is accomplished by the same handful of people making the same handful of arguments on this project page. There are thousands of Wikipedians, and most of them quite obviously don't feel strongly enough about spoiler warnings to make a contribution here. Some of the meta-arguments you're making aren't about SW's per se, and whatever their merits, probably would get a wider audience in another forum.
Whatever the vote count of the TfD may have been, clearly the number participating was miniscule compared to the number of Wikipedians. If the "lack of democracy and respect for majority opinion" are eventually going to be this site's downfall, I think it'll have to be on an issue that has much more traction than this one did. Marc Shepherd (talk) 00:58, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Continually removing a template from every article while there is no consensus to delete that template is not working within the system. It is circumventing it. You said "There are thousands of Wikipedians, and most of them quite obviously don't feel strongly enough about spoiler warnings to make a contribution here." I think your logic is flawed. If the template was in 45,000 articles when it was listed for deletion, I may agree with you, but the spoiler template appeared in no more than 11 articles during the TFD and editors continued to remove it from articles during the TFD. With the template gone, pretty much the only time anyone would show up here is if Tony Sidaway mentioned WP:SPOILER in his edit summary when he removes a homemade spoiler warning. I'm sure any editors who show up here will be quite confused since this guideline does not forbid homemade spoiler warnings. I agree that the number of people participating in the TFD was small. Should a small group of people dictate guidelines for millions of editors?
On May 15, 2007, Phil Sandifer wrote an email on the WikiEN-l mailing list (where he is an administrator and can moderate any emails) with the subject line "{{tld|spoiler}} vs. writing a goddamn encyclopedia" and said "Bold proposal: Nuke the spoiler template. Nuke all "spoiler" policies." In May 2007, there were 425 emails on the WikiEN-l mailing list that had "spoil" in the subject line. As far as I can tell, 57 people participated in that discussion, and that was off-site. Phil Sandifer (who suggested the spoiler template and all spoiler policies be "nuked") was there, David Gerard (who said he removed the spoiler template from 10 to 20,000 articles) was there, Kusma was there, JzG (who closed the TFD as delete) was there. Also, Ken Arromdee was there. On June 27, 2007, Ken Arromdee made a request for arbitration against the editor Tony Sidaway, the admin Phil Sandifer, the admin David Gerard, and the admin Kusma.[91] The current spoiler guideline looks the way it does mostly due to edits made by the admin David Gerard, L337_kybldmstr, the admin Phil Sandifer, Tony Sidaway, and the admin Kusma. The TFD was closed as delete by the admin JzG. All of these editors, except for L337_kybldmstr, were present at the RfA in June and here we are, with a totally rewritten guideline, written mostly by them. The issue of spoilers and spoiler warnings pertains to every article about a fictional work. Mailing lists should not be used to circumvent the TFD process.
You can see all 425 emails here on the /Mailing list May 2007 subpage I've created. Everyone here should read them to find out how we ended up where we are now. You can also search the mailing list archives here. --Pixelface 04:57, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

"I've made a decision to work within the system" {spit-take} That's funny – for months you've been supporting what I understand as anarchist revolutionary theory. Milo 05:49, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
I have seen similar problems at Wikiproject Mathematics recently - deletion of Category:Erdos numbers and of Template:Proof. The decision was by no means fair - they didn't really inform the people on the project. This concerns several orders less people than SWs - on the original RfC about SWs were hundreds of people - but it still pissed them off. I don't think there will be a single large event if Wikipedia starts failing - it will be small events like this that will drive people off. People will know why is it happening, but most administrators will not accept it.
About the debate here - I feel that when I made a really interesting argument (and not always the same), I got no response from Tony or David or Phil, or they repeated "it's unencyclopedic" or "we don't want that", so I don't feel like that debate has actually taken place. I will give you examples if you want. Samohyl Jan (talk) 06:27, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
You've made a decision to 'work within the system'. That could be noble if it were a decision to 'work within the system in order to try and change it'. However, in order to do that, you'd have to stand up when there are problems, which I've never actually seen you do. Perhaps you have on other issues, but hey, I'm not going to follow you around to other debates, so I'm just going to go on what I see. And what I see is someone who seems to, on most occasions, sound reasonable, but is never, when called upon, actually moved to act in such a way. You talk compromise and the need for bright line policy where spoilers are required but refuse to support them when proposed. When a TfD is closed clearly improperly you vote to not overturn the decision. So I can only assume your decision is "work within the system and shrug and say oh well to any problems". I hope I am wrong on that, because I consider that cowardice. You know, the whole "all that is required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"/"Do not fear your enemies, the worst they can do is kill you. Do not fear friends. At worst, they may betray you. Fear those who do not care; they neither kill nor betray, but betrayal and murder exist because of their silent consent." type thing. You've given your silent (and occasionally not-so-silent) consent to the problems of Wikipedia, to the people who use dirty tricks to fake consensus for an issue. Wandering Ghost (talk) 12:27, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
This isn't exactly a Storming of the Bastille situation. Remarkably few people actually give a damn about spoiler warnings. As I noted above, the number of contributors to the TfD and the DRV discussions was miniscule, compared to the number of Wikipedians. One's level of indignation needs to be proportionate to the magnitude of the problem, and in this case the magnitude barely makes a ripple.
My position was always that spoiler warnings weren't going to help Wikipedia, but if done right, wouldn't harm it either. As you've noted, I believed that a bright-line standard was needed, which would not only keep out misplaced spoiler warnings, but would also prevent the removal of those that truly belonged. Ultimately, those who felt most passionately about the issue weren't able to articulate what the standard should be; most did not even try, even when strongly encouraged to do so. (To your credit, Ghost, I believe you were one of the few who did attempt to work up some examples, although it was on a sandbox page that you never formally offered to the community for discussion and refinement.)Marc Shepherd (talk) 15:06, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
You said "Remarkably few people actually give a damn about spoiler warnings." If you're talking about the "spoiler patrol", yes their numbers are probably remarkably few compared to the registered users of this site. You said "the number of contributors to the TfD and the DRV discussions was miniscule, compared to the number of Wikipedians." Do you think the number of transclusions of the spoiler template had anything to do with the number of contributors to the TFD and DRV? Do you think 45,000 transclusions would have attracted more contributors? In May, there was no consensus to delete the template. In November, the {{spoiler}} template never appeared in more than 11 articles throughout the TFD, yet 26 people argued to keep and 22 people argued to delete. Any chance the template had of being put to another community-wide discussion was subverted by the efforts of David Gerard, Tony Sidaway, you, and other members of the "spoiler patrol." Don't remove a template from every article and then complain that nobody showed up at the TFD. Or was that the plan all along? --Pixelface (talk) 21:06, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, we know for sure that there were 45,000 spoiler tags, and there was no "storming of the barricades" after they disappeared. Given the viral nature of Internet discourse, if there were huge numbers of people who were offended by this, I would have expected them to do something. Instead, we've got this moribud talk page with the same 10 highly indignant people arguing about the grave injustice that was allegedly done, and the other 10,000,000 users getting on with their lives. I would infer that the other 10,000,000 are either satisfied with what was done, or they aren't dissatisfied enough to make it their personal crusade. Only about 10 people have done that. Marc Shepherd (talk) 22:21, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
"there was no "storming of the barricades" after they disappeared" Duh. Almost no one knew then because the clique abusively suppressed May 2007 spoiler-related process announcements, as I documented at the Nov 8 TFD. I think most editors still don't know about it. Here's actual testimony of the result: "I actually do remember when all across Wikipedia all of a sudden all the spoiler tags were gone for films and such, but I had no idea until now how or why it had happened." (N.S. 14:48, 7 September 2007 [92]). Had they known, I estimate 675-some annoyed editors might have shown up. The clique knew perfectly well that a properly promoted spoiler process would overwhelm them, so they muddled through what was in effect a semi-secret coup. Did they send plot emails to each other? It wouldn't be necessary. Anyone with their experience at manipulating naive Wikipedians would instinctively try to suppress process announcement publicity.
"the grave injustice that was allegedly done" I think you still don't get it. The grave injustice was the abuse of due process, for the wiki-wide reasons described here: Wikipedia:Process is important Milo 04:00, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Whether or not there were attempts to "suppress process announcement publicity", one can hardly claim that this was a "semi-secret coup." There was a mediation case, a complaint on the AWB approvals page, and at least one arbitration application. Then there was the spoiler TfD itself and finally the deletion review. At each and every single step, things went against those who opposed the change of policy. These things don't happen in the absence of consensus. --Tony Sidaway 04:13, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
By "semi-secret coup" I refer specifically to the period of the Spoiler Guideline MfD of May 2007 (opened ~21:31, 15 May) through the early stages of the Spoiler Guideline RFC (Poll #1 was closed 14:08, 27 May). Process abusive events have continued after that time but at least they have been noted as such and documented as they unfolded.
"These things don't happen in the absence of consensus." A Google test suggests otherwise. I found 1,500 references on the web to "manufacturing consensus". As early as 1922, Walter Lippmann wrote in Public Opinion:

"That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough."

Milo 06:34, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I still don't see how one could even apply the term semi-secret to an activity that took place in thousands of article edits, and discussions on an RFC and on a guideline and its talk page, on a public wiki. Weak allegations of manipulation and secrecy aren't enough, you have to substantiate them. --Tony Sidaway 15:58, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
"you have to substantiate them" I just did (Milo 04:00, 29 November 2007). You ignored it. (Oops, quick, switch to denial.) Milo 22:36, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Without a doubt, there are "ways of getting things done" on Wikipedia. Someone skilled in the process is likely to have greater success than other people. The administrators who helped make spoiler warnings go away are unquestionably skilled at "getting things done," and they clearly used those skills to their advantage. However, there was nothing secret about it. Marc Shepherd (talk) 17:27, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
"there was nothing secret about it" "Nothing secret"?? That's not credible on the facts. Based on the detailed historical timeline, including smoking evidence ("Get on with your lives") of intentionally deleting a critical spoiler RFC announcement to prevent more affected editors from joining the debate, and the resulting mysterious spoiler notice disappearances testified to by witnesses like N.S. — semi-secret looks an appropriate description to me. secret: "1 a: kept from knowledge or view : hidden .... 4: designed to elude observation or detection..."
Proved intentional cause; proved resulting effect. Unless you are an apologist, a denier, and/or in on it, what more do you want? Milo 22:36, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I think we'll have to agree to differ. I was actually involved in much of the spoiler tag removal effort, and I recall nothing remotely secretive about it. Even if we'd wanted to, we wouldn't have been able to do so. And why would we have wanted to? By the time we'd deleted 3,000 tags, we could see that we obviously had consensus for the removals. --Tony Sidaway —Preceding comment was added at 22:51, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
"Getting Things Done" here translates to 'subverting the process of determining consensus to push through a particular point of view.', and yes, there are ways to do it on Wikipedia, and many of the people in this debate on the anti-warning side are clearly quite skilled at it and have no compunctions about going about them, but just as there are ways to cheat somebody out of their paycheck, it doesn't make it something we should endorse. As to secrecy, well, most of the initial spoiler deletions were marked 'minor'. Throughout the debate, many of the spoiler removers used "per Wikipedia spoiler" as justification to lend their edits a false air of authority, even for those many months that the spoiler guideline itself was marked as in dispute. Then there was the mere fact of the spoiler patrol itself - nobody fesses up to outright going out and looking for pretty well all spoilers to remove. Yes, if you're really paying attention, the same 5 editors jump in on any attempt to add a spoiler warning and remove it, but if you're not, you could be under the impression that they, like you, had the page on their watchlist and had a rational difference of opinion about whether this particular instance should be included. And, of course, there's the fact that often they were doing this in violation of the previous guideline - that guideline allowed exceptions, their edits did not. Now, you might say, "ah, but that's not in violation of the guideline because it only said that spoilers _could_ be included in some cases, not that they _should_", but then that all goes back to the whole false compromises thing. They claim to have made a compromise while in bad faith they attempt to go beyond it in practice. I'd consider that an aspect of secrecy. Now, it's not CIA level secrecy, but for an open process like Wikipedia it's probably as close as is possible. At every step certain people in the debate have tried to cover up what they're doing under subtle and not-so-subtle threats of banning, making false compromises in bad faith, falsely implying authority that did not exist, and gaming the system with a host of other dirty tricks that individually may not be actionable or provable, but put together count as being extremely deceptive. If that's what counts as "Getting Things Done" on Wikipedia, and is something you endorse, then Wikipedia isn't anything it's cracked up to be, and you might as well get started rewriting the core principles because you've just crapped all over them. Wandering Ghost 15:08, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
You're back to accusations of bad faith again. --Tony Sidaway 22:26, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
A lot of it is hyperbole, e.g., "cheat someone out of their paycheck." As far as I can tell, the vast majority of Wikipedians don't seem to care whether the encyclopedia has spoiler warnings or not. Even if it's true that the methods employed were nefarious, the subject matter was trivial. It's a bit like uncovering a vast conspiracy to commit jaywalking. Marc Shepherd 22:40, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Why ascribe to bad faith what can be best understood as forceful ignorance? A bit like the closure of Japan. After all, real soldiers don't use firearms.--Nydas(Talk) 09:01, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Enough. We've had months on end of these false and ridiculous, not to mention grossly inappropriate, accusations of bad faith and underhandedness. --Tony Sidaway 12:43, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Actually, it's _more_ dangerous if it's done over something trivial. Because if these people are going to expend all this effort and use nefarious means to do something _trivial_, my god what are they going to do when it's something _important_? If I discovered a secret bug in Wikipedia that allowed me to edit something without it showing up in edit histories, is it a-ok if I use that, if I'm just using it on 'trivial' matters that only a few people care about? This is why abuse of process should be fought no matter what the subject matter. And if a subject is not trivial enough for you to ignore completely, it's not trivial enough for you to abdicate your responsibility to try and stop inappropriate behaviour. The fact of the matter is, there was no consensus to completely remove spoilers warnings. On a vote, the numbers were roughly half and half. The number of people who removed spoiler warnings was vastly outweighed by the people who added them, but they had a technical advantage, so they were able to hold it down artificially. Yes, most people didn't do either, but there are lots of things most people don't do, and there's no reason "I don't care" should be counted as a vote to remove warnings, anymore than the people who don't care about breaking biography sections for easier reading should be counted as votes to remove section breaks. There was no consensus. Every step along the way certain people have ignored that, or actively tried to get _around_ that little problem, and worse, people have ignored _that_. And it's continuing. Template: Current_Fiction, that's supposedly replaced spoiler warnings (even though it doesn't do very many of the beneficial things spoiler warnings do, and the current guideline is very restrictive about where it should be used even not considering the time deadline) is only on something like 20 articles. I would be very surprised if it lives out the year, and I'd also be surprised if the same tools aren't applied: a patrol going around enforcing its use and removing most of the examples, finally by someone standing up and pointing out, "hey, the template isn't really being _used_ very much, so we might as well chuck it completely," and nearly everybody who voted to remove spoiler warnings and replace it with current_fiction voting to remove it (and of course, this time not replace it with _any_ warnings). I bet it was already _planned_ by some of them. They probably don't want do it _right now_ because they just got rid of the spoiler template, and they fear that'll look suspicious. But you've already demonstrated most people aren't paying attention, and even if there are more comments to keep it than remove it they've already proven even reasonable people like Marc here won't stand up, so go ahead. List it now. It's only being used on 20 articles. That's no much more than the spoiler template was, and in this case it's usually _completely_ redundant. So list it for deletion now, save us (and yourselves) time and trouble. Wandering Ghost 13:18, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Both you and Nydas (and on occasion some other editors in this discussion) have repeatedly made pretty serious accusations about alleged underhanded behavior. Expressed like that, those allegations constitute de facto evidence of a conduct dispute. Wikipedia policy provides methods for resolving conduct disputes. Use them or stop making these accusations. Continually raising these false accusations only serves to poison the well of the discussion, and is severely contrary to Wikipedia No personal attacks policy. --Tony Sidaway 14:45, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

This is a response to Tony Sidaway's edit above from 04:13, 29 November 2007 (UTC). You said "These things don't happen in the absence of consensus."

The admin who closed the TFD of the {{spoiler}} template as delete in November 2007 was JzG. JzG was present and took part in the discussion about spoilers on the WikiEN-l mailing list in May 2007.[93][94][95][96][97][98][99][100][101][102][103][104][105][106][107][108][109][110][111][112] One of the emails I found particularly interesting: [113]

On the WikiEN-l mailing list, David Gerard said "Sounds like time for a removal of stupid spoiler tags. Could all reading this please go to the above URL and get hacking?", a reference to As an admin with checkuser rights and oversight permission, and as a past arbitrator, I would expect better behavior out of David Gerard.

On May 16, 2007 14:35, you, Tony Sidaway moved the May 2007 TFD and closed it abruptly.

On June 16, 2007, Random832 attempted to get David Gerard's AWB usage revoked, and you and JzG were there to defend David Gerard.[114]

On June 27, 2007, Ken Arromdee, an editor who also took part in the May 2007 mailing list discussion, made a request for arbitration against you, Phil Sandifer, David Gerard, and Kusma.[115]. JzG was also present at that request for arbitration by Ken and said "This request is baseless."[116][117] and defended the mass removal of the template.[118][119]. JzG has also said in the past "Since this is a plot section, and the play was published OVER A CENTURY AGO, and has already been filmed more than once, this spoiler warning is absurd."[120] and "A major spoiler???? This is fucking LEGO! Even my kids don't give a shit about this, seriously."[121]

The current guideline looks the way it does due to the efforts of David Gerard, you Tony Sidaway, Phil Sandifer, Kusma, and the TFD close by JzG. When you talk about consensus Tony, are you referring to consensus among 4 or 5 editors? Shall we write a new guideline that involves input from more than just these select few, hmm? --Pixelface 06:10, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

You're giving a very slanted picture here. I am talking about Wikipedia-wide consensus. The editing of the document merely reflects that strong and abiding consensus. --Tony Sidaway 19:06, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Do you have additional information that would give a better picture of the situation? I realize you participated in the mediation case in June and for that you have my respect. But the current version of this guideline only reflects the consensus of 4 or 5 editors who all argued to delete the spoiler template. --Pixelface (talk) 05:08, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

2007-05-17 WikiEN-l: Wikipedia Spoiler Coup

(Copied from #This is getting ridiculous...)

(snip top section)
"On May 15, 2007, Phil Sandifer wrote an email on the WikiEN-l mailing list (where he is an administrator and can moderate any emails) with the subject line "{{tld|spoiler}} vs. writing a goddamn encyclopedia" and said "Bold proposal: Nuke the spoiler template. Nuke all "spoiler" policies." In May 2007, there were 425 emails on the WikiEN-l mailing list that had "spoil" in the subject line. As far as I can tell, 57 people participated in that discussion, and that was off-site. Phil Sandifer (who suggested the spoiler template and all spoiler policies be "nuked") was there, David Gerard (who said he removed the spoiler template from 10 to 20,000 articles) was there, Kusma was there, JzG (who closed the TFD as delete) was there. Also, Ken Arromdee was there."
(snip middle section)
"You can see all 425 emails here on the /Mailing list May 2007 subpage I've created. Everyone here should read them to find out how we ended up where we are now. You can also search the mailing list archives here. --Pixelface 04:57, 4 Dec 2007"
"May 15, 2007 ... on the WikiEN-l mailing list" The Wikipedia Spoiler Coup began with immediately familiar arguments against spoilers and spoiler templates: the good ideas (reform article structure); the bad ideas (delete all spoiler templates); the extremist rejection of available compromise (hide the spoiler templates); the fan-industrial hyperbole confusion, of spoiler content notices with legal disclaimer warnings – further blindly confused with the counter-fanatic struggle against sex, religious, and other censorship; the insular adult-culture disdain for young people's tastes and education; and that crowning dud, the elitist failure to get wiki-wide consensus for an irreversible wiki-wide change.
The following WikiEN-l summaries are in approximate archive linked-thread order, not the same as post order; some OT posts left out; my summary interpretations, except as quoted:
01 Phil Sandifer Tue May 15 02:29- "... pretext to write bad articles" .... "Nuke the spoiler template. Nuke all "spoiler" policies. People may well get burnt...";
02 geni 02:48 - spoiler-free bad sources;
05 Slim Virgin 04:35 - non-entertainment misuse;
07 Pedro Sanchez 07:14 - use <div> foldable hide and show compromise;
08 doc 07:47 - no compromise, delete 'em;
09 Steve Bennett 07:54 - don't piss off readers or alienate editors;
10 doc 07:56 - "if that pisses people off - tough";
11 Steve Bennett 08:19 - pointless, not helpful;
12 doc 08:31 - warnings, adult, sex, plot, censorship, security, religion, Vader;
13 Todd Allen 08:30 - oppose spoiler omissions;
15 MacGyverMagic May 16 09:38 - wants to research fiction without being spoilered;
17 Christiano 15:07 - opera project doesn't use/need them;
23 doc 17:49 - crap juvenile patronizing, except weak current fiction case;
24 David Gerard Tue May 15 17:53 - "Sounds like time for a removal of stupid spoiler tags. Could all reading this please go to the above URL
[Special:Whatlinkshere/Template:Spoiler] and get hacking?"
Out of less than 20 discussing editors, and in an initial period of only 15 hours, 25 minutes, a few commandos began executing an unconsensed spoiler coup, which ultimately violated the practice and spirit of two of Jimbo's founding principles:
— no elitism, and don't make irreversible changes to the software —
two spoiler coup violations that made Bold—Revert—Discuss consensus impossible.
One contentious issue can now be laid to rest: there was no plan to gain a larger community spoiler template consensus. Rather, there was to be allowed an ignored division of Wikipedians into those who were or were not pissed off by deletions. If you are now pissed or alienated, tell objectors that you are doing your part, as described in the WikiEN-l discussion planning the spoiler template mass removals. Milo 12:36, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
So what? A number of editors who are trying to improve the encyclopedia had a discussion about it in a public forum. Nothing secret or underhanded there — the posts are publicly accessible to anyone who wants to read them, as the post above plainly shows. I'm sure plenty of things have been discussed on that forum that have later been implemented.
I always love when people invoke Jimbo's name to support their position. Jimbo statements can probably be mined to support just about anything. As I recall, Jimbo said (a long while back) that he did not think spoiler tags belonged in Wikipedia. Marc Shepherd 14:49, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
So what? The discussion on the mailing list resulted in the spoiler template being removed from at least 45,000 articles when there was no consensus to delete it. Sure the mailing list archives are publicly accessible, but what percentage of Wikipedia readers knew about the discussion in May 2007? How many people know now? 57 people discussed it at the time on the mailing list. The mailing list should never be used to circumvent the TFD process. The mailing list should never be used for canvassing. The mailing list should never be used to incite people to go to a URL and "get hacking", especially by a an admin with checkuser rights and oversight permission as well as a former arbitrator. You obviously don't care because you were just doing what David Gerard suggested, checking Whatlinkshere daily to remove the template from every article while there was no consensus to delete it. Would you want a group of admins to show up at Thespis (opera) or Gilbert and Sullivan and totally change the articles based on discussions you never knew they had? You don't think it's a conflict of interest that the admin that closed the TFD as delete in November 2007, JzG (who supposedly "retired" on October 18, 2007 and said "This user is tired of silly drama on Wikipedia."[122]), suggested the TFD in May? This is about administrators abusing their privileges and pushing their POV across thousands and thousands of articles using automated tools[123][124] and closing TFDs abruptly[125][126] and rushing to defend each other over AWB abuse[127] and closing TFDs in their favor. The admin who suggested on the mailing list (where he is an administrator and moderator) that the template be "nuked", Phil Sandifer AKA Snowspinner, told everyone he was leaving Wikipedia and now has apparently guessed his random password and hasn't really left. The editor who closed the TFD abruptly in May, Tony Sidaway, has had multiple RFCs against him[128][129][130][131]. Tony Sidaway became an admin on March 11, 2005 and is obviously not an admin now, and I can find no record in the logs of when he was de-sysoped. These are some WP:ANI threads that involved Tony Sidaway[132][133][134]. He has also been involved in multiple requests for arbitration. He was asked to resign as an ArbCom clerk by the Arbitration Committee and apparently gave up his sysop access under controversial circumstances. A request for arbitration was made against him specifically, where the arbitration committee found that "Tony Sidaway has engaged in wheel warring multiple times."[135], and he was placed on administrative 1RR[136]. In January 2006, Tony Sidaway and Snowspinner AKA Phil Sandifer were "cautioned to remain civil" by the arbitration committee.[137]. The editors responsible for rewriting this guideline after the TFD have a pattern of disruptive behavior, and are all admins. Why talk about "nuking" templates and policies on the mailing list? That is what talk pages are for. And if you want to claim Jimbo Wales said anything Marc, you'll have to provide some diffs. --Pixelface 19:24, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
The whole situation is asinine and could have all been avoided by one admin inserting "display: none" under ".spoiler" in the MediaWiki:Common.css file. --Pixelface 19:35, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Is there an actual policy that states the mailing list cannot be used this way? I am not on the list myself, but in my experience, if 57 people are in a discussion that violates policy, someone will usually speak up. My guess is that no rules were broken—you're just unhappy with the outcome. Obviously, once they were done talking about it on the mailing list, they had come here to edit the articles and explain their reasoning. Most Wikipedians seem to have greeted the decision with a collective yawn, which leaves the two dozen or so who are still here discussing it.
I don't see the relevance of Phil Sandifer and Guy "retiring" and then "unretiring". Many people have done that, including me. As an admin, Tony Sidaway did indeed attract more complaints than I would consider healthy, and eventually he resigned the position. I don't see the relevance of that either; Tony didn't do this all by himself. Yes, Guy's closure of the TfD was both surprising and aggressive, but I think it's notable that the DRV passed by an even greater margin than the TfD did.
If you think that administrators have abused their privileges, then why don't you file an ArbCom case? You seem to be quite familiar with ArbCom.
I have never had an issue with the use of "What links here" to find articles containing spoiler warnings. There are many editing functions that involve searching for articles with shared characteristics, and then modifying those articles in a standard way. Although their view of spoiler warnings is different than yours, there's nothing wrong with the method. Indeed, if the spoiler template ever makes a return, I hope that the people who most ardently support it—people like yourself—would take the time to find articles transcluding it, and ensure the template is used correctly. Marc Shepherd 20:53, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I do not believe the mailing list is intended as a way to get around the TFD process. I don't really know if it's come up before. Ken Arromdee took part in the discussion on the mailing list in May 2007, and he did speak up. He made a request for arbitration on June 27, 2007 against Tony Sidaway, Phil Sandifer, David Gerard, and Kusma.
On June 27, 2007, a Mediation Cabal case was requested by Kierano[138]. FunPika closed the case, saying "There no longer appears to be a need for mediation" after reading this comment by Tony Sidaway saying "I no longer think there is anything to mediate." and " I predict that the arbitration committee will reject the arbitration case on the grounds that, beyond a debate on the wording of guideline which is hardly a matter for mediation or arbitration, there is no dispute that needs to be resolved."
I realize the request for arbitration brought by Ken Arromdee was declined by the Arbitration Committee. Arbitrator FloNight rejected the request and said it was a matter for the community to decide. Arbitrator Jpgordon said "Defer at least until medcab finishes its work." Arbitrator Charles Matthews rejected the request and said "One template out of thousands: its associated policy is not something the AC need deal with, unless there is a clear conflict with other policies or the encyclopedic mission." Arbitrator Fred Bauder accepted the request and said "modifying 45,000 articles in the absence of agreement deserves at least a warning and a clarification that policy is not made by whoever is more aggressive." Arbitrator Morven rejected the request and gave no reason. Arbitrator SimonP rejected the request, saying "A debate over policy, not an arbitration matter." Arbitrator Paul August accepted the request per Fred Bauder's reasoning. Arbitrator Kirill Lokshin declined the request per FloNight's reasoning.
I believe I need to do more research before I file an ArbCom case. Arbitration is the last resort in dispute resolution. Although, a mediation case has already been tried, a previous request for arbitration was made, and a request for comment was made. I was not involved in the mediation case or previous request for arbitration, but I did made a request for comment. I really don't know what I can say on the talk pages of the involved parties. "Hey, um, could you take back your suggestion to nuke the template and hack away at Whatlinkshere?" An involved party is a former arbitrator and is still a subscriber to the private arbcom mailing list, and is privy to their private discussions — so I question whether the committee would accept the case. The fact that elections are currently taking place also does not help matters I think. I've made a combined list of the contributions made by the involved parties in May 2007 and also included the emails on the WikiEN-l mailing list in May 2007 and sorted them by date. All of those are over 30,000 diffs I need to look at. When presenting an ArbCom case, the limit is 100 diffs, so I would need to do some serious trimming. The scope of the abuse is so large, I need time to analyze it all. --Pixelface (talk) 21:40, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
This is not the place to air serious allegations of misconduct of the kind we see above. If there were evidence for the alleged misconduct, it would be blatant and easily available. Take this to a conduct RFC or somewhere, but stop poisoning the atmosphere. --Tony Sidaway 19:08, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
If editors are in a dispute about 45,000 edits and a related guideline, is it a dispute over conduct or content or both? --Pixelface (talk) 05:28, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

There should be some common sense applied

Despite the spoiler-friendly atmosphere that has now been engendered here, I think this style guideline should be expanded to discuss common-sense approaches to using spoilers. For example (and I hope this spoils some surprises for people), it has been announced that Billie Piper is returning as Rose Tyler in Doctor Who. I just edited the article on Rose Tyler to remove this spoiler from the lead and put it farther down the article. Imagine, for example, if Soylent Green was a current movie and someone wrote in the lead "Soylent Green is a science fiction film in which it's revealed that the human race is being turned into food". It doesn't matter if spoilers are to be given in the clear or not, some common sense needs to be applied. Am I making sense? Basically what I'm asking for is some expansion of the guideline to the effect that "Yes, spoilers are OK, but here's some ways to incorporate them without having a negative effect on the reader." I also think the content disclaimer banner should be on every page as well for those who don't think of looking in places like this (it can always include a button allowing users to minimize it a la templates and infoboxes once they get the picture). 23skidoo (talk) 14:57, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

You do realise that Billie Piper's return to the role of Rose Tyler has been announced by BBC News in its entertainment section? We shouldn't be mangling articles so as to conceal real life facts such as casting announcements that make headline news. On the other hand, the announcement was misplaced in the lead of Rose Tyler. --Tony Sidaway 15:31, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
You keep saying that, as though the entire article would be rendered unreadable by a different arrangement of sentences. "Mangling" indeed. Kuronue | Talk 21:22, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Indeed, there should be some common sense applied; starting with the fact that Wikipedia is a reference work; not press materials produced by a publisher or distributor who benefits by creating an air of suspense. A character's return is surely one of the more important facts about the character, from a real-world perspective. "Mangling" is a bit over-dramatic perhaps, but warping strikes the right tone. Plenty of people come to an encyclopedia to get current, basic information, presented in the most logical format. For instance, I think it is entirely reasonable to go to an encyclopedia to get the quick summary sentence in the lede about Soylent Green. It is actually incredibly frustrating to have to dig through a bunch of content and spoiler warnings and padded spaces and what-not simply to get to the pertinent details of something. As for Rose Tyler, fans of the character will surely want to know that it's returning, and burying the most current, news-worthy information about a character does not do encyclopedia readers any favors. --Lquilter (talk) 23:07, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
The common sense issues expressed by 23skidoo and by Lquilter are addressed by supporting the Hide'nShow compromise, slowly evolved here during the past two years.
23skidoo wants "ways to incorporate them without having a negative effect on the reader". With Hide'nShow, spoiler content notices aren't shown until clicked for visibility.
Lquilter apparently wants to see the spoilers right away without having to "dig through". No problem, click to reveal the Hide'nShow spoiler navigation notices, and glance or page find directly to them.
"spoiler warnings" They're spoiler notices, not warnings. Common sense says disappointment is not dangerous. "content disclaimer" Likewise, spoiler notices are not legal disclaimers, because disappointment is not a hazardous risk. Milo 02:30, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
The Japanese Wikipedia does this (see their article on Super Mario Galaxy for an example), but I'm not sure it's a good idea, mostly because it requires the analysis of facts presented to make the call as to what to show and hide, which might run afoul of Wikipedia's policies on original research (by determining what is and isn't a spoiler based on only the content) and neutral point of view (by hiding something, an editor is saying that they believe it is important enough to the story that it could damage the enjoyment of whoever reads it). I think it's a step in the direction of much-needed compromise, but I can't exactly support it as a solution. --jonny-mt(t)(c)I'm on editor review! 04:28, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
A Hide'nShow compromise by the pro-spoiler side is that no content will be hidden, only spoiler notices. In general, Wikipedia editors must decide what thoughts of others are more important or less so for organization, inclusion, or deletion. Milo 06:43, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, the question will naturally arise as to how this:
Spoiler Warning

This text has spoilers. any different from the old spoiler warnings. As for your point about Wikipedia editors exercising their judgement in deciding what to include and what not to include, the issues of WP:NOR and WP:NPOV rear their ugly heads in that particular arena quite often, which is why we have guidelines covering that process right down to the language used (e.g. weasel words and peacock terms). While I'm a bit on the fence as to whether or not spoiler tags can be added without violating WP:NPOV and WP:NOR, I can see how someone would argue that their inclusion confers a disproportional amount of importance on a given piece of information and is thus in the same family as the two guidelines cited above. --jonny-mt(t)(c)I'm on editor review! 07:45, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
←There wouldn't be any inline title text or button as in your dynamic demo. The default tags-off text would look unchanged as it does presently, like this example:
The story opens on a dark and stormy night. Colonel Yellow shreds the case file before the audience can learn who did it. Critics who praised this twist ending have been booed at public appearances.
Clicking a button or tab at the top, perhaps | tags |, shows Hide'nShow text that looks like this static demo:
The story opens on a dark and stormy night.
Note: Spoiler details follow
. {extra spacing}
Colonel Yellow shreds the case file before the audience can learn who did it.
. {extra spacing}
End spoiler details
Critics who praised this twist ending have been booed at public appearances.
Milo 21:44, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Write the code for it, submit it to the devs, see what happens. These are not implementable by any consensus that could possibly form on this page, and so there's little reason to talk about it - you're asking us to use technological features that simply don't exist. Phil Sandifer 21:50, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
"technological features that simply don't exist" That would be certainly true only of the Hide'nShow mark III | tags | embedded top menu version. According to several editors, the mark I spoiler-notice prototype is implementable as is, with no development needed. An editor with specific experience posted the simple code in the archives with no technical dissent. I haven't seen code for the mark II version with a free-floating html | tags | button, so I'll wait for technical comment on whether that requires development.
"there's little reason to talk about it" Marc has exerted constant pressure to do just the opposite. Granted that he's impatient with the snail's pace of a 12 to 24 month spoiler reconsensus debate, but, it looks like Melodia's six-month progress report request is about finished, so maybe it's time for some new phase. Milo 23:06, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Please link me to where these various "marks" are explained and where the technical code is. Please also create a live demo of the mark 1 system you are proposing. Otherwise, you are talking about hypotheticals - it is impossible to implement a proposal that does not, on a technical level, exist. Show a demo of what you're talking about so it can actually gather consensus. Otherwise, this is just blowing smoke. Phil Sandifer 23:27, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
"where the technical code is" I couldn't locate the code sample I recall being posted here (somewhere in 1,850,000+ bytes), but it may have been similar to:
 #spoiler { display: none }
"talking about hypotheticals" But thank you for your request, it made me realize that previously posted code sample was to hide spoiler text, not show it. I agree that a new working .css 'show' code sample needs to be posted. Sample html-button code to toggle it would be nice too.
"various "marks" are explained" I did so in Milo (23:06). ( Mark I is formally a model number for vehicles and machines, such as was added to the names of early computers. Semantically somewhat between project "phase", and software "version", mark I,II,III,..., are casual terms of sequential construction planning, since the orignal Mark I tank went through 10 models, the last of which was only on paper. It wouldn't surprise me if Nydas already knows this from his study of British military history.)
"impossible to implement a proposal that does not, on a technical level, exist" While that is an illusion of distance in a snapshot of compressed project time, it does not reflect the arc of project gestation in close up view. All that's needed at this 'mark-0' phase is workable sample code.
"demo of what you're talking about so it can actually gather consensus" I did provide a static demo in Milo (21:44). Assuming the sample code works, the interface design needs some consensus, but the heavy lifting is consensus of concept. Once/if that's achieved, everything else should begin to function, perhaps within six weeks. Even if some really bad bug shows up around mark II-½, consensus of concept will lead to development help in overcoming it. Milo 08:16, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
You statically demoed the thing that you can't implement because it requires recoding MediaWiki. I want a live and fully functional demo of mark 1 - the thing that you are looking to implement presently. Basically, as I see it, these are the things that have to happen before "hide and show" becomes anything than an inexplicably green-colored slogan.
  1. Live and fully functional demos need to be prepared of any implementations that people actually want to implement now. Ideally, frankly, you'd go code the mark 3 system you clearly want and take that through the developers instead of bothering with these earlier designs. But if you sincerely want to implement Mark 1 or Mark 2, a live and fully functional demo needs to exist before consensus can form to do so.
  2. Evidence of a broad consensus that it is OK to implement hide-and-show editorial tags of this nature. The question here is a broader one than spoilers - it is the general question of "is it acceptable to have hide and show tags that serve as disclaimer templates?" Even if one takes the position that spoiler tags are not disclaimer templates (a position I disagree with, but whatever) it does seem to me that they share a vital characteristic of disclaimer templates - they attempt to anticipate what sections of an article a reader might object to on grounds other than their basic quality, and to steer the reader around those sections. This seems to me something that, presently, we actively do not use. Hide and show would change that, and a clear consensus needs to exist that this is something we are, broadly, willing to change. I would want extensive comments on this idea and issue at the village pump, and, frankly, since it gets so close to some big issues, it's something I'd want to see Jimbo comment on.
Once those two things happen, it's at least possible to come here and start the relevant discussion of whether, given that we have allowed for hide-and-show technology, spoilers are something we would want to use that technology for. But until those happen, this is not a discussion that it is meaningful to have. Phil Sandifer 14:28, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
"You statically demoed the thing that you can't implement because it requires recoding MediaWiki" On the contrary, I statically demoed it because it is the fastest method of simple visual interface design. Unlike code, everyone understands a simple two-state text demo, and can contribute their own for consensus.
" requires recoding MediaWiki." According to posters who have done it, hiding of text clearly does not require recoding MediaWiki, and it's anti-intuitive to think that the simple inverse showing of text would either. However, I await further technical comment.
"I want a live and fully functional demo of mark 1" I would be satisfied with mark-0 'show' code samples equivalent to the existing 'hide' code samples.
"inexplicably green-colored slogan" hehe, green is a fashionable color for compromise.
"1. Live and fully functional demos ... implementations that people actually want to implement now." I'm not aware that anyone pro-spoiler-notice is that impatiently unrealistic.
"code the mark 3 system you clearly want and take that through the developers instead of bothering with these earlier designs." Incremental organic development is far more flexible to meet changing needs in an uncertain environment. In any case, direct-to-developer is not a grassroots project pathway.
"Mark 1 or Mark 2, a live and fully functional demo needs to exist before consensus can form to do so" That argument fails need, when the output is a simple two-state What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG). One consenses to what they see as the show-on and hide-off results, and if not, has the option to write a different show-on static demo.
"2. Evidence of a broad consensus" Paragraph 2 rests on assumptions that I don't share.
• Some assumptions are rooted in the confusion caused by widespread failure to purge identified colloquial misuse of formal dictionary language (from an encyclopedia with supposed aspirations to Britannica authority). For example, in your larger context of spoiler tags as near-disclaimers, you have subtly mischaracterized "sections of an article a reader might object to", as though these sections were something objectionable in the sense of disclaimably harmful content that the reader never wants to see. Yet in the same sentence you have correctly characterized the desired navigational content notice function of "steer the reader around those sections". You may not have noticed this subtle confusion. Some months ago, neither did I.
"...we actively do not use. ... clear consensus needs to exist ... broadly, willing to change. ... extensive comments on this idea and issue ... village pump ..." You see this quite differently than I do.
A lot of people care somewhat about avoiding spoilers, but the depth of caring is insufficient to form a clear or even noticeably broad consensus. I think that discussions at Wikipedia too frequently fall victim to the hyperbolic language confusion evolved by the fan-industrial complex: --> fiction --> spoiler --> warning --> disclaimer --> censorship --> things that are/should/shouldn't be censored --> polarized failure of consensus.
Those big issues may seem close, but they are red herrings that prevent rational discussion, much less consensus. Therefore, my position is that currently no consensus is to be gained by extensive comments at the pump, since the subject lacks agreed-on, neutral terms-of-art. I've also observed little interest in changing the terminology that leads to the impasse, even among pro-spoiler-tag supporters.
That leaves external forces to decide what Wikipedia will do. I've long forecast that will take 12 to 24 months, of which nearly 7 have passed.
One of those forces is fans. I've done a trivial technical analysis of their posting activity. "Spoiler warning" and "spoiler alert" used to be equally divided by Google test at 49% each, somewhere nearer the beginning of this debate. Now "spoiler alert" has gained at 61%, to "spoiler warning" at 39%. New Harry Potter fans is a speculative explanation, since "Harry Potter" co-hits favor "spoiler alert", 67% to "spoiler warning", 33%.
Another of those forces is industrial profit.
"Jimbo comment" Playing the Jimbo wild card? Let's count the deck to see what you're really holding.
By inspection of your May 2007 position opposing advance notices of spoiler text, you would apparently be asking Jimbo to certify Wikipedia as a de facto spoilering site, thus siding himself against globally popular billionaire author J.K. Rowling [139], corporate consultant Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D. —'s ethics columnist [140], and oh yes, the latest shoe drop, Miss Manners™ (2007-11-25) — the Judith Martin etiquette column read by 35 million[141] of the middle class population. Big publishing and Hollywood (IIRC, USA's biggest global exporter), haven't been heard from as yet, but I doubt that Jimbo wants to take a position against their profit interests (to which Rowling alluded).
In the reverse play of that wild card, Jimbo could easily conclude that Wikipedia has an exposure to bad PR as being the #1 global spoilering site, because you, Phil, refused to compromise on grounds that can at best be described as vague.
In summary, I doubt that card will play – Jimbo is reputed to know where the smart money is going, and it's obviously not going the way of your pet-POV. Milo 09:15, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Your absolute refusal to create a live demo of the plan you want to implement causes me to oppose it on the basis that you obviously have something to hide and are being disingenuous. The request to see a fully functional demo of something before I say "this is a good idea that we should implement" is wholly reasonable. The request to see a broad consensus before a fundamental aspect of Wikipedia's design and presentation is altered is also reasonable. Until you are willing to do those two things, you are not participating in any consensus-driven process of policy formation, and what you are doing on this page is grandstanding, not discussing. That is acceptable to a point, but I would note that, on the hide and show issue, that point is rapidly approaching. Either use the page to help generate a meaningful consensus or stop disrupting it with long and derailing posts. Phil Sandifer 13:53, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
"obviously have something to hide and are being disingenuous." I laughed out loud when I saw this, possibly due to a combination of over-the-top and failure to remove the pun. I've have seen some worse assumptions of bad faith, but yours being notable is not to your credit as a candidate for an Arbcom vote.
Yes, {ahem} I want to hide spoiler notices as a compromise, and though I can be wrong, I believe things are as I've stated them to be. In order to negotiate for compromise, I've represented the facts and other editor's positions as I best understand them.
"request to see a fully functional demo ... reasonable" It's reasonable to ask, but at this early stage it's not yet available. I have no objection to your withholding approval until you see it. Fortunately, your approval isn't necessary for others to continue working on the proposal as and if they see fit.
"request to see a broad consensus ... reasonable" Again, it's reasonable to ask, but without adequate and agreed-to negotiating terminology, it's too early to have that discussion.
You are impatiently pushing the river to shortcut a long, long debate that is huge in scope, evolves in metaphorical millimeters, yet is so diffuse that it's difficult to grasp and coalesce details for a productive outcome. By your own account, your goings from and comings to Wikipedia reflect a lack of frustration tolerance, which is a prime character need for this project. On May 15, 2007, your manifesto opened a can of worms, with awesomely bad timing prior to the July 21 launch of Harry Potter 7 and its noisy spoilering controversies. You and your friends feverishly pursued the 45,000 spoiler-tag mass-removals, without understanding that you were positioning Wikipedia, a major Google search hit destination, to annoy big publishing/Hollywood profit. Who would have thought that spoilering would unexpectedly became a public morals and manners issue? If you lack the right stuff to help negotiate a compromise way out of this mess, then you should apply your talents elsewhere.
"causes me to oppose it" .... "do those two things" As you are now a declared member of the opposition, I'll accept those phrases as a statement of your negotiating position – rather than it being your purview to impose them as an agenda.
I note that long posts are a tradition on this page, and that requiring you to make a few <PageDown> key presses to skip over reading of them is hardly disruptive.
You make yourself a subject for analysis, to first post while raising complex issues, and then apparently complaining about a point-by-point response, necessarily at length. That's transparently rejectable as a form of double bind. The most superficial explanation of doing that, is that you bit off more than you can quickly chew, and now begrudge the necessary time to respond. You have my sympathy, but since we are all busy, I see it as your problem.
The close of your post degenerates towards unhelpful intimidation; again something of a tradition on this page, so I don't take it personally, or seriously. Milo 02:42, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Some examples used in the links you added were dinner table conversations, stating the ending of a book before it it published and spoilers in a film review. All that is not even remotely relevant to the question of spoilers in an encyclopedia. Garion96 (talk) 10:32, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
but, it looks like Melodia's six-month progress report request is about finished, so maybe it's time for some new phase......buh? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ 00:34, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
"So..what have we accomplished, class?" Melodia Chaconne 17:09, 26 Nov 2007 Milo 08:16, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Re: Milo' last comment 13:53 12/2. (1) Good grief, you're suggesting some sort of legal implications of including factual information in an encyclopedia? Information reliably sourced elsewhere -- which is all that WP should include -- is not any sort of trade secret and the copyright claims on bare facts (such as Rose Tyler rejoining the cast of Doctor Who) are thin-to-non-existent. What other legal issues do you suppose are present? (2) Your comment summary was that "... Wikipedia has an exposure to bad PR as being the #1 global spoilering site". This argument does not help you because it contradicts your entire premise. Your argument for spoiler protections is that people's experience of a text will be "spoiled", against their will. But if Wikipedia develops the reputation of including spoiler sites then that solves the problem, acting, in effect, be a giant "spoiler warning" for the whole site. (3) IMO this sort of escalation of drama (legal issues, global ramifications, etc.) in a discussion is not helpful to your argument. --Lquilter 14:20, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Let me suggest that if someone does not want to see information about a subject, they ought not click to an encyclopedia article about a topic. This is not information being broadcast into their home and brains against their will; this is information people are seeking out. Spoiler "hiding", spoiler click-to-reveal, spoiler "burying" the lede, spoiler warnings, etc., all hinder people from getting information they are seeking. --Lquilter 01:10, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
The feature under discussion will benefit the 68% of readers who use spoilers (Poll #5). The accommodating pro-spoiler group compromised, so that you being in the minority, will not be hindered from getting information you are seeking. I think you should give them a barnstar for being so nice to you. Milo 08:16, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
  • (1) Sorry, an utterly unscientific "poll" doesn't really add anything to the discussion, even if it is described with a percentage -- I could generate utterly unscientific polls about, for instance, the presence of and utility of spoiler warnings in print encyclopedias, but you know what they say about statistics. (-: (2) Sarcasm similarly is not helpful. Barnstar for being nice to me, indeed. (3) Regarding your "hide and show" "compromise", it appears (from the cite to Japanese wikipedia) that this is not a feature currently implemented on English Wikipedia, so it's not actually a useful compromise suggestion. --Lquilter 21:13, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Don't feed the troll. Marc Shepherd 17:03, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Tiny niggling point of clarification--I was the one who cited Japanese Wikipedia, which just uses a variety of the hiding text I put in above. Not a big deal since your point about the current lack of implementation on en holds, but I just wanted to clear it up lest it derail the conversation. --jonny-mt(t)(c)I'm on editor review! 08:07, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Tx for clarity! (-: (I edited my cmts to reflect correction.) --Lquilter 14:33, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

An actual proposal

In the article for The Shawshank Redemption on the Chinese Wikipedia, it uses Template:SpoilerH (header I assume) and Template:SpoilerF (footer I assume) to mark spoilers and hide them in a collapsible frame. Like Jonny-mt said, the Japanese Wikipedia also uses Template:SpoilerH and Template:SpoilerF. The page Wikipedia:NavFrame would help anyone trying to write a template to hide information, although it says "NavFrame have been deprecated in favor of #Collapsible tables since September 2007." What Milomedes wants can be accomplished with Template:Hidden. The syntax is like this: {{hidden|Title text here|Body text line 1<br/>Body text line 2}}. Instead of Template:Hidden, one could also use Template:Hidden begin and Template:Hidden end, like this:

Reveal spoilers

It is revealed at the end of the film that the secret identity of Wilson is actually Cooper.

The source looks like this:
{{hidden begin|title=Reveal spoilers|titlealign=center|titlebackground=#C0C0C0}}
It is revealed at the end of the film that the secret identity of Wilson is actually Cooper.
{{hidden end}}

Perhaps a user preference could be implemented to allow registered users to always view spoilers by default or always hide spoilers by default. --Pixelface 07:40, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

I should have looked more closely at the above comments. Jonny-mt already mentioned Template:Hidden begin and Template:Hidden end and Milomedes wants the option to hide spoiler warnings. I don't know much about them, but with NavFrames, the default is show and you can change the style to hide by default like this:

<div class="NavContent" style="display:none;">

In the preferences tab, there could be a tab or box that registered users can check to show spoiler warnings instead of hiding spoiler warnings by default. This perhaps would alter a user's monobook.css or common.css file and change the default NavContent style to show.

On a related note, MediaWiki:Common.css still has this code in it:

.spoiler {
    border-top: 2px solid #ddd;
    border-bottom: 2px solid #ddd;

And the method to hide spoiler warnings was to insert this into your monobook.css or common.css file:

#spoiler { display: none }

One could ask questions at MediaWiki_talk:Common.css or the village pump (technical) about a new user preference. --Pixelface 08:10, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Ugh. This is horrible - spoiler content all appears in little colored boxes? Even with hiding ability, this damages the basic flow of the article irreparably by shoving things in boxes. Absolutely not. This is worse than the April status quo. Phil Sandifer 14:15, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Jimbo Wales, in one of his three comments seen in the archives on this page, suggested spoilers be put in a section called Plot details. Does that damage the basic flow of an article? Collapsible boxes is one option, and has been used on the Japanese Wikipedia and the Chinese Wikipedia. Another option involves changes to MediaWiki:Common.css and would be implementable right away and wouldn't interrupt the flow of the article. An admin would have to insert "display: none" under ".spoiler" and spoiler tags would be hidden for all users by default. A spoiler tag would only be visible to users who disabled "display: none" in a personal .css file. --Pixelface 17:52, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
"damages the basic flow of the article" My sense of the Hide'NShow compromise package (which is more than merely technical) is that the flow of the article should not be damaged. This isn't just a Phil concern. There is a significant but vocal minority who can't tolerate unnecessary interruptions in the article text. A snapshot of that dialogue appeared in a WikiEN-l spawned Template:spoiler thread on May 16 23:45. (A physiological explanation for this reaction is that some humans have an inefficient brain function known as a stimulus barrier, which means that they are too easily distracted compared to the average human. It is one reason why tobacco-nicotine use remains so popular as a work-accomplishment drug.) Milo 07:34, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
  • If anything using this technology were to be implemented at all, it should be done in a way that is non-disruptive to the ordinary reader. In other words, spoiler-phobic people can change their account preferences to display these boxes; the default should be to show plain text unimpeded. As if in an encyclopedia article. Which is what Wikipedia is. Again, though, why are we talking about this when the technology is not available on wikimedia? No offense but if I wanted to do all these tech discussions I would play around on mediawiki boards. Can't we "spoiler" hide these proposals? --Lquilter 15:23, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
To be fair, this proposal could be implemented immediately. It would just be a horrible, ugly idea. Phil Sandifer 15:25, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

I think that's way too complicated for the average editor to put in an article, and it's much more disruptive than the former spoiler tag. --YellowTapedR 17:08, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

"more disruptive" A folding box (like the Table of Contents), has been previously proposed numerous times, but when folded it leaves visible traces, so that is not the Hide'nShow proposal.
"way too complicated" You're apparently saying that an existing tool, the folding box, is too complicated. Every editor has limits on how well they can write Wikitext and program in MediaWiki. Fortunately, Wikipedia is a collaborative effort. If there is something uncontroversial but technically challenging that you want to do, you can ask for help.
That said, Hide'nShow mark-I (personal .css scripting) and mark-II (html/js button switch if possible) may well be complicated. This complication usually is handled using copy-and-paste cookbook code. Mark-III (recoding MediaWiki with top menu tab), if it ever gets that far, could make the editing fairly simple. Milo 07:34, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
There's never been any doubt that Milo's idea was implementable. The doubt was about the wisdom of doing so. Marc Shepherd 17:21, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
"Milo's idea was implementable" Just to be clear, implementability is not yet known for mark-I (personal .css 'show') and mark-II (html/js button switch). Mark-III is undoubtedly implementable. Milo 07:34, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm just throwing ideas out. The Japanese Wikipedia, which has 443,073 articles doesn't seem to oppose hiding spoilers.(Japanese WP:SW (rough Google translation ja>en). (Japanese Wikipedia Template:SpoilerH Whatlinkshere) The Chinese Wikipedia, doesn't seem to oppose hiding spoilers (The Shawshank Redemption, (Chinese Wikipedia Template:SpoierH Whatlinkshere). If the spoiler template returned, an admin could simply edit MediaWiki:Common.css to look like this:

.spoiler {
    border-top: 2px solid #ddd;
    border-bottom: 2px solid #ddd;
    display: none
"#spoiler" should be ".spoiler".--Patrick (talk) 01:02, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Patrick. I've changed it back. --Pixelface (talk) 04:29, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

...and spoiler templates would be hidden to registered users by default (although still visible in the edit window). Editors would need to be informed on this guideline that the spoiler tag is not visible by default so it should not be removed by editors who dislike spoiler warnings. If an editor wanted to be able to see spoiler tags, they would place the following code in their Special:Mypage/monobook.css or Special:Mypage/common.css file:

.spoiler {
    border-top: 2px solid #ddd;
    border-bottom: 2px solid #ddd;
This should be
.spoiler {
display: block;
I am in favor of this, it works fine.--Patrick (talk) 08:33, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
That is also the code that Werdna mentioned at the technical village pump. --Pixelface (talk) 17:57, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I think Milomedes would prefer a user preference tab, but what Milomedes wants can certainly be implemented with the current technology. People who want visible spoiler tags would be the only people who would have to worry about pasting any code in their personal .css files. --Pixelface 17:34, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

"admin could simply edit MediaWiki:Common.css to look like this: .spoiler .... display: none"
"If an editor wanted to be able to see spoiler tags, they would place the following code in their Special:Mypage/monobook.css or Special:Mypage/common.css file:.spoiler .... (same code without display: none) "
This is what I've labeled mark-I (personal .css 'show'). "what Milomedes wants can certainly be implemented with the current technology" Are you sure? Does it leave no visible traces in default hidden mode? (I'd test this, but there is no spoiler template.)
"Milomedes would prefer a user preference tab" That's mark-III (recoding MediaWiki with top menu tab). The in-between maybe/unknown possibility is mark-II (html/js button switch).
"People who want visible spoiler tags would be the only people who would have to worry about pasting any code in their personal .css files." Certainly true for the mark-I implementation. Pasting personal .css code would surely go away for mark-III. Mark-II is too iffy to know about. Milo 07:34, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
If spoiler tags are readded in this fashion, might I suggest that a field be added to describe what area the spoiler covers (areas being "film", "books", etc., exact values to be discussed) and would be used to create a further CSS class of spoiler types that either through prefs or user css, they can modify as whether to show or not. Someone that may regularly work on video game articles would likely want to see all information, spoiler or not, on those pages, but when browsing, may wish to avoid spoiling on upcoming films. --MASEM 17:48, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
"field be added to describe what area the spoiler covers" Good idea, but what you describe with fields may have to wait for mark-III (recoding MediaWiki), if that version ever happens, which I'm not assuming. Mark-I and II are simplistic .css display switches that don't have that kind of smarts.
On the other hand, if mark-I/II works, I suppose a differing class of .css could be created for each spoiler subtype in addition to the existing master class. Without planning, if the master spoiler class were subsequently replaced by a subtype class on a given page, the personal .css would stop working. Yet since you have made that useful suggestion now, the subtypes can be planned now, and the personal .css cookbook copy-and-paste code can include all of them from the start. Milo 07:34, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
  • The Japanese Wikipedia [and] Chinese Wikipedia doesn't seem to oppose hiding spoilers ... I think this is at best a lack of evidence against hatred of spoiler warnings, not evidence for liking spoiler warnings. The existence of this spoiler-etc technology, in a wiki environment, is certainly the product of the spoiler-averse crowd getting organized & active; maybe the anti-spoiler-hiding people just haven't gotten organized yet. ... If people in support of this technology & the Chinese/Japanese uses of it can show substantive debates where the anti-hider people were convinced, or show that these technologies have been in existence for a long time with no objection, then they come closer to being able to make the positive point for that argument. (It still won't get them that far, though, because -- do I have to say it? -- there is no compelling reason to standardize across languages & cultures.)
That said, however, if spoiler-averse people want to spend their time developing a completely unobtrusive technology that places the burden on them to implement, guidelines for how to do it, SWFD fora to argue about when and how to delete inappropriate warnings, and so on, I have no objection to Wikipedia resources being used for it. I only object if they place any additional burden on the ordinary reader to see the information they have come to the encyclopedia to find. --Lquilter 18:08, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Historically, the pro-SW crowd have spent almost zero time developing guidelines for when warnings are appropriate, criteria for deletion, and so forth. All of their energy was spent on opposing the total-deletionists like Guy, David Gerard, Tony Sidaway, et al. Obviously, once spoiler warnings are again permitted on Wikipedia, there will be good ones and bad ones—in other words, the same thing that happens with every other kind of content. I suspect the problem will be even worse, because if the warnings are hidden by default, it means that most editors won't see them, and therefore, there will be fewer eyeballs for quality control. Marc Shepherd 18:51, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
"pro-SW crowd have spent almost zero time developing guidelines for when warnings are appropriate" In good part, that was because you and some other obstructionists reverted creative guideline developments on the grounds that they hadn't been previously created. Milo 07:34, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
  1. "when warnings are appropriate" When an editor thinks something is a spoiler. Citations would help resolve any disputes. The spoiler tag would be hidden for every registered user by default in the MediaWiki:Common.css file.
  2. "criteria for deletion" They clearly don't belong in non-fiction articles. I think articles like Bible should also be avoided to prevent controversy. They could be limited to fictional works that are not in the public domain so editors don't flip out over seeing the tag in the source of the Hamlet article.
  3. "I suspect the problem will be even worse, because if the warnings are hidden by default, it means that most editors won't see them, and therefore, there will be fewer eyeballs for quality control." You and Tony Sidaway seem to be able to find them just fine.
The editors who want to see spoiler warnings don't seem to be arguing over where they should go. Only the editors who don't want to see them at all. You don't really need to worry about it Marc. --Pixelface 20:02, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
"They clearly don't belong in non-fiction articles." Um, no, that's a deletionist myth. Any form of structured entertainment and sports is eligible. For example, there are secret surprises built into amusement rides, and the outcomes of delayed sports broadcasts are spoilers that get some fans very upset.
"They could be limited to fictional works that are not in the public domain" Then you would rob students annually of the master authors' twists in Dickens, Twain, Doyle, and many other classics that will probably never go out of style in education. If it's not visible, so what if a tag gets added to Hamlet. Ditto fairy tales which include serious gothic literature. Ditto the Three Little Pigs, which anyway teaches children what a spoiler is – an introduction to narrative structure. Any decision about the Bible should not be made by any non-local editor, and any editor standing on some 'right' to do so is asking for a dispute. The well-known exception is opera, because as noted by WikiEN-l Moreschi May 15 15:07, "Most people listen to opera knowing the plot in advance". Milo 07:34, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Why exempt opera? See Moonstruck in which the protagonist is very distraught over the death of the opera protagonist -- Violetta, if I'm not mistaken. Perhaps opera, too, can be improved by the surprised gasps of the audience when someone survives or dies. --Lquilter (talk) 16:30, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
You're right Milo, I mispoke about non-fiction articles. If an editor honestly thinks certain information is a spoiler, they should be able to tag it. If the spoiler template comes back and is hidden to every reader by default, editors would still see {{spoiler}} in the source of an article and might remove it. I think there may be around 20 editors who regularly removed it so this guideline should inform them that it should not be removed. --Pixelface (talk) 18:52, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
The editors who want to see spoiler warnings are not arguing over where they should go, because they have spent all their energy arguing with the total deletionists. Assuming that argument finally ends with a victory for the pro-warning crowd, anyone can foresee that the next vista to be conquered is ensuring the quality of the material that actually gets added.
You're right that, under this proposal, anyone could find spoiler tags via "What links here". But I thought you disapproved of that practice. Citations would not help to resolve disputes, because there are very few works for which the placement of the spoiler warning can be determined from an external source. Marc Shepherd (talk) 21:32, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
"few works for which the placement of the spoiler warning can be determined from an external source" But start with the ones that do. Milo 07:34, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Ensuring the quality of the material that gets added? You mean the placement of the spoiler tag? I have no problem with editors using Whatlinkshere to find articles that have spoiler warnings. But I disapprove of using Whatlinkshere to remove every instance of a template from the namespace before there has been a TFD with a delete result. After a delete result, admins use AWB all the time to remove every instance. Let the editors who have turned on spoiler warnings worry about "quality control." You say "there are very few works for which the placement of the spoiler warning can be determined from an external source" but entries for films at the Internet Movie Database typically tell readers that the Plot Synopsis may contain spoilers[142][143]. A Google search for "spoiler" turns up about 33.9 million hits. --Pixelface (talk) 22:52, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Most of those hits are Usenet posts (or the equivalent), and would be no more reliable than editors simply adding spoilers based on their own judgment—a practice you seem to believe is dubious. Marc Shepherd (talk) 23:05, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
No, I've always thought editors should be able to add spoiler tags where they feel they should go — like every other tag. Citations can be used to resolve disputes. If people move or delete a spoiler tag because they honestly don't think something is a spoiler, that's one thing. If people remove a spoiler tag because they think it's redundant under a particular heading, they probably wouldn't turn on spoiler warnings anyway. If people remove a spoiler tag because they personally think the tag is stupid, that should be discouraged. If people remove a spoiler tag just to be quarrelous, that should be seriously discouraged. If plot summaries can be written based on an editor's personal observations and don't require secondary sources, why not the same for spoiler tags? --Pixelface (talk) 23:25, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Another concern occurs to me - these are nasty bits of code that make articles less editable. I am very much nervous about bloating article source with more material that is not easily human-readable. Phil Sandifer 19:18, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
"code that make articles less editable" It's a bigger problem with references. To solve it, I have previously suggested font color and type style changes to differentiate main text, reference text, code, and other elements. Milo 07:34, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
No more nasty than long {{cite web}} code in my opinion. --Pixelface 20:02, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I do agree with you that the citation templates (and not just {{cite web}}) gum up the articles and are an obstacle to editing. Marc Shepherd (talk) 21:36, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Well {{cite web}} can be hard for new editors to read, but simple tags like {{unreferenced}} or {{spoiler}} don't really pose an obstacle in my opinion. I don't think any template actually "bloats" an article. I think templates are actually meant to prevent "bloat", by transclusion. --Pixelface (talk) 23:25, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
As I understood it, the above proposal would entail much more technical formatting code going into the articles themselves — the "nasty bits of code" that Phil Sandifer referred to. If the proposal simply involves a bare template, as before, then that concern isn't valid.
The template {{spoiler}}, in whatever form it is ultimately deployed, should not be compared to {{unreferenced}}, which is meant to flag a problem and is removed as soon as the problem is resolved. In terms of its purpose, it is more like {{cite web}}, in that it's meant (by the people who favor it) to become a permanent part of the article. Marc Shepherd (talk) 15:31, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Endorsements or not of 'An actual proposal'

I endorse Pixelface proposal and most of his other opinions. Samohyl Jan (talk) 23:48, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I think this proposal is unsuitable for a working encyclopedia. Inserting unencyclopedic information into the articles would not improve it. I also have concerns about the embedded ref tags but they have undeniably improved the quality, so they're justified. Over the past six months we've decided as a community that spoiler warnings aren't suitable for an encyclopedia, so this suggestion seems to have no merit because it's simply a way to re-introduce that which we have rejected. --Tony Sidaway 16:40, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
"we've decided as a community" That claim is now bankrupt, so speak for your clique. Community decision-making was hijacked from day one during the plan of May 15. By proof text at 2007-05-17 WikiEN-l: Wikipedia Spoiler Coup, there is no longer any question that "we" consists of only one faction of a community "tough"ly divided into pissed off readers, alienated editors, and those not so.
The hijack was subsequently reinforced by abuse after abuse, documented here in excruciating detail during the last six months.
"a way to re-introduce that which we have rejected" Hijacks of community can change. Milo 20:17, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
The TFD for Template:Spoiler was closed by JzG, who suggested a TFD on the mailing list. That's a conflict of interest, don't you think? --Pixelface (talk)
Encyclopedias don't contain spoilers. The Encyclopædia Britannica does not reveal the ending of The Sixth Sense. Encarta does not reveal the ending of The Sixth Sense. So what does that make Wikipedia? Could you explain how removing a template from every article lets the entire Wikipedia community discuss it? Could you list the people in the community you refer to that say spoiler warnings are not suitable for an encyclopedia? --Pixelface (talk) 21:11, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm fairly sure my comments should have gone down here too, but in any case, as proposed, this is a terrible idea that is actually worse than the original spoiler warnings. Phil Sandifer (talk) 18:06, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Why is making the spoiler template hidden by default in MediaWiki:Common.css worse than displaying it by default? --Pixelface (talk) 18:10, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Because it sets a bad precedent for other content that users might want to avoid. Phil Sandifer (talk) 18:15, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
How about we focus on the current issue instead of worrying about boogeymen from the future? If you don't want to see the spoiler template, you won't. --Pixelface (talk) 18:18, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
The current issue is "you're attempting to reverse a fundamental aspect of disclaimer templates, and this requires a larger consensus than you have here." Phil Sandifer (talk) 18:23, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
No, the issue is you using the mailing list in May 2007 to circumvent the TFD process, when you wrote "Bold proposal: Nuke the spoiler template. Nuke all "spoiler" policies." Even if I agree to call the spoiler template a disclaimer (and I don't think it is), the no disclaimers in articles guideline listed spoiler warnings as an exception. --Pixelface (talk) 18:36, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I somehow feel as though you are not interested in discussion as such. Phil Sandifer (talk) 19:13, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
No, I'm quite interested in why you suggested on the mailing list that a template be "nuked"[144] before listing it for deletion.[145] Would you care to explain that? --Pixelface (talk) 21:15, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what, exactly, you're asking me to explain. Why I used the official discussion list for the English Wikipedia to discuss an idea for the English Wikipedia? Phil Sandifer (talk) 22:16, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't call it a mere "idea." That "idea" resulted in the editing of at least 45,000 articles and the continuous suppression of the spoiler template for 6 months and the eventual removal of the template from every article in the absence of a TFD delete result and a mediation case involving you and a request for arbitration naming you as an involved party. As the person who began the TFD page, I have to wonder why you used the mailing list to incite people to "Nuke the spoiler template. Nuke all "spoiler" policies." instead of using the TFD process. Is this the kind of behavior we can expect from administrators? Is this the kind of behavior we can expect from someone who wanted to be a member of the arbitration committee? --Pixelface (talk) 04:25, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes - when one's idea is for a course of action, one generally hopes that the idea will be followed up by action. Again, would you rather we not use the official mailing list to discuss ideas for things to do on Wikipedia? Would you have preferred I start a TfD without running the idea by some people and getting a sense of the arguments? I completely fail to see what possible allegations of misconduct you find in using the mailing list for its intended purpose. Phil Sandifer (talk) 05:20, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I was unaware that the mailing list is for suggesting the nuking of templates. Thank you for letting me know. I nominated the {{trivia}} template for deletion a while back but if I had known I could have just suggested it be nuked on the mailing list, perhaps I should have done that instead of putting it up for discussion. If you thought the Valen article was "a complete piece of shit", you have always been free to edit it. I don't see why this guideline needed to be disrupted simply because you let your Babylon 5 fandom get in the way of writing a "goddamn encyclopedia." --Pixelface (talk) 07:13, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
The mailing list is for discussing Wikipedia and ideas for Wikipedia, and discussing an idea before trying to enact it is reasonable. You cannot make a misconduct charge stick on this one, and your efforts are saying far more about your motivations here than mine. Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:34, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Pixelface (04:25): "you let your Babylon 5 fandom get in the way of writing"
Phil (14:34): "your efforts are saying far more about your motivations here than mine"
Behavior is much easier to evidentially comment and judge than motivations. The behaviors of Phil and others directly involved needs to be assembled into a timeline. I just found an item for that timeline, Phil's (21:26, 15 May 2007) placing of an MfD template on the spoiler guide (diff). The actual MfD creation diff is still missing, I think because the MfD was moved to Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Policies/Wikipedia:Spoiler warning/MfD where there is only an archive page history. Phil Sandifer's nominating post is timestamped 21:31, 15 May 2007, but the next two posts are out of time order. Milo 22:01, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Why? What on Earth is that going to show? This is turning into actionable harassment, between the assumptions of bad faith and personal attacks in the form of absurd claims of malfeasance on my part. Phil Sandifer (talk) 23:09, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
You think disruptive canvassing is reasonable? You're an administrator and you incited others to "Nuke the spoiler template. Nuke all "spoiler" policies."" And the edit-warring on this guideline has not stopped since then. Archive4 through Archive12 of this talk page is from May 2007 and on. This guideline has existed since October 2001 and the majority of the debate on this guideline talk page can be traced directly back to you. You complained about "fannish wankery" on your userpage, yet all of this disruption can be traced to an email where you said the article about a Babylon 5 character was a "complete piece of shit." Were you trying to remove all "advertising" for the TFD of the spoiler template? As a result of your email, a former arbitrator and admin with checkuser rights and oversight rights, David Gerard, wrote an email on the WikiEN-l mailing list asking other users to go a URL and "get hacking."[146] On May 16, 2007, David Gerard wrote an email on the WikiEN-l mailing list and said "Find "what links here" from Template:Spoiler, open all articles beginning with a letter and clear that letter out. Or ten or twenty. Shouldn't take too long."[147] David Gerard also wrote an email saying "Can we kill this creature yet? Huh? Can we?"[148]. On May 19, 2007, David Gerard wrote an email and said "I note that I've been removing inappropriate spoilers as fast as I can and almost all have stayed that way. Whereas those reverting me have tended to be blocked for 3RR a lot, i.e. are hotheads."[149] On May 19, 2007, David Gerard wrote "Where is the evidence our readers even care?"[150]. Steve Bennett asked "Can anyone give me a 1-sentence description of the net outcome of the recent spoiler war?" and on May 31, 2007 David Gerard wrote "Net outcome: If your article needs {{spoiler}}, it's defective enough it may as well be tagged {{cleanup}}."[151]. The admin who recently closed the TFD for the {{spoiler}} template, JzG, took part in the May 2007 mailing list discussion and suggested the TFD. A mediation case was opened and you refused to participate. A request for arbitration was made. A request for comment has been made. I cannot make a misconduct charge stick on this one? Could that be because it involves at least 1 former admin known for wheel-warring and 5 current admins, which includes a former arbitrator who still subscribes to the arbcom mailing list? I see you've been involved in multiple requests for arbitration before. My motivations here are to come to a reasonable compromise on this guideline, but that is impossible when it's being controlled by 4 or 5 editors. Why are you here? --Pixelface (talk) 20:25, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Re-stating the same accusations multiple times with increasing vehemence doesn't make them any more true.
Here's what happened: On a public mailing list where meta issues are often raised, there was a discussion of spoilers that stated many of the same pros & cons that have so often appeared on this very page. Editors reached a conclusion and started editing, as they are entitled to do. They used tools that any member of this project can use, as they are entitled to do. As noted at the time, and repeatedly noted since then, the vast majority of their edits were met with no argument whatsoever: most Wikipedians were fine with the decision.
Yes, Phil Sandifer referred to "Nuking" the template. That's just a slang word for "make it go away." Some may find his use of slang insensitive. He could have said, "This should go away." Whether you think admins shouldn't talk in street-slang, it doesn't alter fundamentally what was going on: A group of editors was discussing the direction of the project. Phil thought that the right direction was for the {{spoiler}} template to go away. He's entitled to that view. He and other like-minded editors got busy. If Phil's ideas were wrong for the project, the widespread revolt that one might expect never materialized. To most Wikipedians, it was a mere blip. They went on with their lives—either happy, or at least not particularly unhappy, with what had occurred. Marc Shepherd (talk) 21:20, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
←Pixelface, there is still more evidence to be considered before drawing closure on what Phil should or shouldn't have done, and when he should or shouldn't have done it.
I recall reading, and it might be located in Jimbo's founding principles, that WikiEN-l is to be used for discussing Wikipedia meta-issues. Phil did that, so that part is ok.
The problem began with Phil's inflammatory and offensive language. Nuclear war metaphors appear in his opening WikiEN-l email, combined with scorching religious profanity in the bold top subject of every followup email. These are divisive fighting words, but the problem is now to consider them with proportionally less heat. Not every editor may be capable of such proportional judgment.
Fighting words are recognized by courts of law as blameworthy causes of public trouble that follows. Surely I'm not the only editor who was either offended (like I was later), or stirred to ill-considered actions by this extremely unpleasant combination. Is it consequential that unconsensed extremist actions followed sooner or later?
The WikiEN-l activity needs to be integrated into a timeline with the events I recorded at the Nov 8, 2007, TFD History of May 2007 MfD, TfD, RFC, and template notices.
I infer that Phil got doc [glascow] (07:56) stirred up on WikiEN-l, then David Gerard (17:53) called for hacking the template. Later on Doc (21:22) at Template_talk:Spoiler#blanking started irritating admins/editors by blanking the template in reference to the "MfD/RfC". The Spoiler Guideline MfD of May 2007 was opened (at a currently unnoted location), and ran ~21:31, 15 May. Note my approximate start time and doc's earlier timestamp reference to it. It needs to be sorted out, as to what doc believed his claim of mandate was to blank the template.
Note also the need to sort out the same timestamp on Phil (21:31) - started the May 15 RFC here. Milo 09:14, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
When Doc blanked the spoiler template at 20:49, 16 May 2007, he gave the edit summary "improving the encyclopedia". As you know, if rules stop you from improving Wikipedia, you should ignore them, which is what happened here. I don't know what further mandate you are looking for. Kusma (talk) 09:48, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
"if rules stop you from improving Wikipedia, you should ignore them," I'll try to answer this with a reductio ad absurdum argument.
How many pages can one blank using the edit summary reason 'improving the encyclopedia', before you would conclude that the encyclopedia was not actually improved, but rather vandalized? 1? 3? 100? 3000? All of them?
If one's answer is 3, as suggested by 3RR, that would mean every vandal is allowed to blank 3 pages per day, as long as they use the edit summary 'improving the encyclopedia'.
If one's answer is 1, because doc did so, that would mean every vandal is allowed to blank 1 page per day, as long as they use the edit summary 'improving the encyclopedia'. If that isn't ok with you, how do you know that doc didn't commit a vandalism?
The point of course, is that doc did not give an edit summary reason for blanking that resolves to anything more than WP:IDON'TLIKEIT – which is the worst reason for invoking WP:IAR, since it is an act of anarchy. Indeed, acts and endorsement of anarchy are one of the central elephant in the room issues in this debate.
"what further mandate you are looking for" At Template talk:Spoiler#blanking Doc (21:22, 16 May 2007) wrote: "The MfD/RfC on the policy page, shows there is no consensus for its use." Mike Peel (21:23) wanted to see that discussion. So do I. Milo 22:01, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Pixelface, again you have raised a very serious allegation of misconduct against someone you disagree with. I again entreat you to resort to dispute resolution on such matters, instead of poisoning the well of discussion by these repeated allegations. --Tony Sidaway 18:43, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Tony, you've recently made several calls for charges of various kinds to be dealt with in dispute resolution channels. IIRC, some of those did have a personal flavor, so ordinarily that might be reasonable call, but IIRC, all of them are spoiler-topic related. I even agree that it would have been a good idea generally if all of this had been settled by Arbcom. But been there, done that — Abcom said no twice, and more or less said to settle it here.
So, lacking Arbcom justice, what's going on here is a Truth and Reconciliation Debate to de-poison the well of discussion. The allegations have been repeated again and again, partly because yet more evidence surfaces again and again. I've been here since about two weeks from May 15 Spoiler Coup day, and I'm agog that smoking evidence is still being uncovered. Milo 09:14, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Phil, why you want to control what content do users read? If they want to avoid some content, why not allow them to do so? Samohyl Jan (talk) 18:46, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Because it's a fundamental shift in our view of how we present information that requires more programmatic thought than is being put into it here, where it seems to be being presented as some sort revenge for my past actions. Phil Sandifer (talk) 19:13, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Before you suggested the spoiler template and all spoiler policies be "nuked", this guideline looked like this. It had clear instructions on how to turn spoiler tags off. Instead of taking a few seconds to paste some code in your monobook.css file, you wrote an email on the mailing list and the edit-warring on this guideline has continued to this day. Nobody wants revenge for your past actions. But I think your emails on the mailing list in May 2007 were unacceptable for an administrator. I think many editors would just like the guideline back to the way it was before it was disrupted due to ill advice on the mailing list. Do admins really need to be edit-warring and removing the spoiler template on the Three Little Pigs article? That's what your email spawned. --Pixelface (talk) 08:18, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Spoiler tags were not only an eyesore that could be turned off, but articles were structured around them, with some people moving highly relevant information away from the lead section "because it is a spoiler". This structure problem was much easier addressed by a post to the mailing list than by pretending it doesn't exist (hiding spoiler tags would mean just that: instead of fixing the problems, close our eyes so we don't see them anymore). None of this has anything to do with Phil's administrator access, which means that he has the technical ability to use some extra software features. It was indeed ridiculous that the spoiler tag on Three Little Pigs had to be removed several times because of some people's aversion to common sense; I think the insistence of some pro-warning folks on spoiler warnings in articles like this has helped to demonstrate that the spoiler template had to die to avoid such silliness. Kusma (talk) 08:32, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Don't you think it's silly to have added a spoiler warning to this guideline? I see that Phil Sandifer used the mailing list to complain about the lead sections of 2 articles. And you edited this guideline to reflect that. So readers should close their eyes so they don't see spoilers anymore but editors can't be bothered to ignore spoiler warnings or turn them off? The actions by several admins on this issue has made me seriously question whether they should be admins. What's sillier, that a new Wikipedia editor added the {{spoiler}} template to Three Little Pigs or that four admins felt the need to edit-war over it? I really don't think the editors who added the spoiler tag to Three Little Pigs thought it was silly. The edit warring on Three Little Pigs seems to me to have been instigated on the mailing list by the admin The Epopt. The admin David Gerard wrote an email and said "I have asked the user to explain how their edit improves the encyclopedia. I can't wait to hear the answer." It's cute, really, how all the admins were joking on the mailing list about people who don't already know what they know. The admin JzG said "My best one to date was Jack and the beanstalk, but the same applies. And is there really anyone left in the world who does not know the ending of the 1933 King Kong? Or understand what Catch-22 is about?"[152] I know, I know. I mean, isn't everyone born knowing this stuff? The admin Doc glasgow said "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, if that pisses people off - tough." He really showed those editors at Three Little Pigs that he means business! The edit-war over this guideline in mid-May 2007 (and pretty much every day up till now) can be directly traced to Phil Sandifer's email on the WikiEN-l mailing list on May 15, 2007. Admins should know better. --Pixelface (talk) 09:44, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Of course it was silly of me to add a spoiler warning to the spoiler guideline. It was just demonstrating how redundant 90% of the spoiler warnings we had at that time were --- they just said "Warning! This article contains information about its subject! Do not read any further unless you really want to read this article". Almost all spoiler warnings were directly below a descriptive header (for example, spoiler warnings for solutions of the type ==Solution== {{tld|spoiler-blank|Solution details follow.}} I made a joke highlighting this on the project page and on my user page. Should admins never make jokes? Kusma (talk) 10:03, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Do you have a list of the articles that spoiler warnings appeared in at that time? Correct me I'm wrong, but I don't think the spoiler template ever contained the text "Warning! This article contains information about its subject! Do not read any further unless you really want to read this article." Every plot summary does not necessarily contain spoilers so I'm not sure what you mean regarding headings. Spoilers typically refer to surprises or secrets, not just "information about a subject." If you think the spoiler template was redundant, the {{current fiction}} template is just as redundant, but the admin that closed the TFD of the spoiler template said it had consensus and should be used. Admins are certainly free to make jokes. I suppose they're also free to tell their friends and edit-war on the Three Little Pigs article. But I'm not laughing. --Pixelface (talk) 20:37, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Admins are held to higher standards of ethics, and that is what is in question here, not an admin abuse of access. Milo 09:14, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
That's, where is that unethical conduct you're referring to? Administrators are editors, too. Like any good editors, they have strong views about what would make Wikipedia a better encyclopedia. They might be right or wrong, but they are not unethical. Marc Shepherd (talk) 13:07, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

At the moment, I consider this proposal incomplete. Specifically, there is no proposal for what the revised version of the guideline would say. If the proposal is to have no guideline at all, I would be opposed. If the proposal is to restore the pre-TfD guideline, I would be opposed, because that guideline was a total failure.

The fact that some editors consider the TfD outcome illegitimate is irrelevant to me. The fact that some editors discussed their views for imporving the encyclopedia on an external mailing list is irrelevant to me. This proposal is just like any other proposal to add new content to the encyclopedia: the burden is on those proposing to add the content. Marc Shepherd (talk) 18:55, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Let's assume for this moment there is no guideline at all (except the Sw hidden by default). On what grounds do you oppose such proposal? Samohyl Jan (talk) 19:01, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I believe that every type of content needs guidelines for its correct placement and use. That's the only way to control quality in an encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Without a guideline, the editors placing spoiler tags would be no more "correct" than the editors removing them. Based on experience, we already know how well that would work (i.e., not well). Marc Shepherd (talk) 19:30, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I have never really taken a side in the whole Spoiler debate, but recently I have come around and decided that there really is no space for such constructions in Wikipedia. It is just unencyclopedic. There are so many things we COULD do in wikipedia, but that does not mean we have to do them. Anyone who comes across one of these pages and reads more than the first line of the article is simply spoiling his OWN fun, and we are not responsible for safeguarding people against their own stupidity. --TheDJ (talkcontribs) 19:12, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

"no space" See WP:NOT#PAPER.
"never really taken a side in the whole Spoiler debate" Not a prudent way to start. It would be unwise of you to repeat your final remark anywhere wrestling fans can easily read it. They would get seriously, uh, torqued at the idea that they are stupid. Then, after you read up on the broadcast time-zone spoiler problem you might say, 'oh that's different, spoiler tags are ok for them.' If I then point out more and more things you hadn't thought about, you might actually be reasonable enough to concede that this isn't about stupid people, but rather much more about whether unlimited-size electronic encyclopedias updated in nearly real time, must look and act exactly like paper encyclopedias fully updated only after decades. Milo 20:17, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Please learn to read. "no space" was obviously not meant literrally and as such cannot be rebuked with WP:PAPER. And you clearly don't know my history, because I have always been someone with very strong opinions about articles that deal with fiction. trivia, plot summaries, lists of episodes and fair use of images related to topics. In many of them, my point is that we are much too strong about what we enforce. I have often fought for less anal fair use policies and more time to grow proper articles where many people are on the "delete it all" side. One thing that I never occupied myself with was spoilers however. As of late I have formed an opinion about it however. If we have to I would rather even see the {{current fiction}} idea in use then wrecking good prose with spoiler tags. The only reason i chose to mention my opinion here at all, is because I get the feeling that a lot of folks are simply ignoring the topic because they don't want to get into the discussion anymore. I think that this is equally skewing this debate, and as such I cared about making my opinion known. This is currently my opinion, and you cannot bully my opinion of this talk page. However you have succeeded in bullying me out of the discussion, because this will be the last thing I am gonna say about it. I don't like being dragged into a war. I care about the topic, I do not care about the continuous fighting on these kinds of topics. Good luck to you in life --TheDJ (talkcontribs) 20:44, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
"wrecking good prose with spoiler tags" No longer an issue – you won't see them.
"no space" was obviously not meant literally" It's not obvious – the reason that WP:NOT#PAPER exists is because so many editors use that fallacy as a reason. "Unencyclopedic" doesn't help either – see WP:UNENCYCLOPEDIC. You still haven't explained "no space", so my best guess now is that you meant WP:IDON'TLIKE IT.
"bullying" 'Scuse me? You uncivilly referred to the "stupidity" of spoiler-averse encyclopedia-reading people; but, being a nice guy, I gave you a pass on WP:CIVIL. I used polite language, and even a little pun humor, to point out that some of those people had a good reason to need spoiler tags, probably unknown to you, and hey, they might be seriously offended if they read your reference to "stupidity". For engaging you in a normal polite debate, and suggesting that you might be reasonable enough to reconsider your "stupidity" position on learning the facts, you then call me a "bully"?? First "stupidity", then "bully", and now you seem to want a consequence-free debate exit pass??? Impressive audacity... please see WP:CIVIL-ICA(4), and at least consider offering me an apology. Milo 09:14, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Hiding text under certain conditions for certain people WILL affect the way people write an alinea in my opinion. I have as much proof of that as you have for "no longer an issue".
Oh yes, i don't like it either. Thanks for reminding. I usually avoid saying that because its a bad argument, but if you prefer it I'd say it than I guess I should.
I'm sick and tired of having to present reports of 200 pages on why I don't like something. I've said a few things about it, stated which arguments of the "no-SW camp" I support and that will have to do. This discussion is not a competition in who can write the most text to defend his point of view, and if you think that this is the way to defend your point of view, then you should not be surprised some people do not want to engage in discussion with you and accuse you of bullying. You are taking things personally that are clearly not intended as personal attacks. If I say "their own stupidity" then this hardly reflects on you or your peers. It is merely another way of saying that we should have no responsibility towards others to protect them from themselves and their fun. I've considered offering you an apology, but I decided i'd rather jump of a tall building. --TheDJ (talkcontribs) 14:31, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand your argument. You basically say "I don't care about SWs (I don't use nor despise them), but still they shouldn't be there, even if there is a large minority of people who find them useful." If you don't care, why you want to force your way on others? This is also a response to Marc above. If SWs can be hidden, the correct (ie. liberal) response of person who doesn't like them is to let them alone; so in fact, there is no big conflict. There may be conflicts like if they should be on the bible etc., but these conflicts have to be resolved in the group of people who want to see SWs in the first place. So this is very different situation than was there before. Samohyl Jan (talk) 19:48, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I care about the encyclopedia and the quality of our articles, as well as about the topics themselves. I dont really care much for spoilerwarnings, because I have never really found them useful nor annoying. However I have changed my position on this. Can I do that? pretty pretty please ????? --TheDJ (talkcontribs) 20:44, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
As long as you think this is subjective matter, which should be resolved by pure voting without taking any arguments into consideration, then your (no) argument is fine. The problem is, the deletion of SW template for instance wasn't decided like this. Samohyl Jan (talk) 07:23, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
This approach assumes intellectual dishonesty on the part of those who oppose SW's in Wikipedia. The premise seems to be: "As long as you don't see them, why should you care if they are right or wrong, good or bad, helpful or not?" Well, I think that most people here — whether they are pro- or anti-SW — have an actual and sincere desire to see the quality of the encyclopedia improved. They aren't going to lose interest just because you've figured out a technical way to hide the content they are concerned about. Marc Shepherd (talk) 19:58, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
"content" Strawman argument — no content is under discussion, only notices like the TOC and disambiguation notices. Milo 20:17, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
That's a new one, LOL. Marc Shepherd (talk) 20:51, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Probably discussed before your time here. You misspelled 'newb' :) Milo 09:14, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Certainly Wikipedia can be improved by making its users more satisfied. So if those who want to see SW could see it, and those who don't want won't, then everybody will be more satisfied, and Wikipedia will be more improved. That's the core of my argument. You assume that there is objective way to improve Wikipedia by having policy on SWs, while in reality, people are very divided on the issue if it should have SWs at all, and both sides have only subjective (SW are "useful", "unencyclopedic" etc.) arguments. Samohyl Jan (talk) 07:23, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Gadgets: social problems

I'll note that mw:Extension:Gadgets has been enabled on Wikipedia. This could easily provide a means of controlling the display of spoiler tags, by providing a means of running Javascript code that shows or hides spoilers or spoiler warnings. Of course, there are still social problems that would need to be solved: Are spoiler warnings a service we want to provide to users? If so, how do we define what should be spoiler-tagged, and how do we ensure that spoiler warnings are used consistently? — PyTom (talk) 05:57, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Since the no-consensus spoiler philosophy debate will bloat the technical question thread, I've copied the technical question into a new section #Gadgets: technical display of spoiler tags. Milo 21:56, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Gadgets: technical display of spoiler tags

(Copied from #Gadgets: social problems)

"I'll note that mw:Extension:Gadgets has been enabled on Wikipedia. This could easily provide a means of controlling the display of spoiler tags, by providing a means of running Javascript code that shows or hides spoilers or spoiler warnings. .... Pytom 05:57, 5 Dec 2007"

If workable, this could be a tool for implementing Hide'nShow mark-II (html/js button switch). Mark-II would have a spoiler-notice tag switch somewhere near the top of a page, something like | tags |. This button would activate gadget or other code, which would in turn show the .css-hidden spoiler notices on the button's page.
If you have code samples of how a button can activate some gadget, it would be nice to see it posted here. Interfacing that button-gadget sample to the mark-I (personal .css scripting) text-showing code is a separate programming problem.
With a mark-II unhiding button available 'per page', mark-I unhiding preferences should continue to work 'per class' for every .css class of spoiler notice (All, Wrestling, Books, Movies, etc.), selected and enabled by copy-paste to personal monobook.css or common.css pages.
If/when mark-III (recoding MediaWiki) is ever developed, a | tags | tab should appear embedded in the top menu. Clicking this tab would reveal a menu of available actions that could: (1) show the hidden tags as the mark-II button would do; (2) optionally write the mark-I preferences to a user's monobook.css or common.css pages. Mark-III should also make simple wikitext code available to deprecate the custom button-.css-gadget code, though the mark-I and mark-II methods should continue to work under the application shell principle of good software. Milo 21:56, 5 December 2007 (UTC)


I was asked to look into this dispute and perhaps provide some fresh insight into resolving it. It would seem that much of the talk here has been going in circles lately, which needless to say isn't particularly productive. Thus I offer the following points:

  • Primarily, the accusations of improper conduct must stop, and immediately. This is because (a) they are extraordinarily unhelpful in resolving anything; (b) just because someone didn't use the "proper method" to arrive at some conclusion, does not mean that said conclusion is therefore invalid; and (c) Wikipedia really does not have stringent rules that must be followed all the time; indeed, the only rule that has been seriously breached here, and by both "sides", is that of civility. I offer this page as explanation of the foundation of Wikipedia process, and how there really isn't much to "breach" in there.
  • Aside from that, everybody should realize that they speak for themselves. Alluding to a multitude of hypothetical editors that would "obviously" agree to whatever point one happens to be making is an exercise in futile rhetoric, not in dispute resolution.
  • Secondarily, it is obvious that there exists a technical method of creating spoiler warnings. Barring new developer inventions, that method obviously involves templates, because spreading one message over various pages is precisely what templates are for. Attempting to type a message manually because one feels "the templates are not allowed" is only fighting symptoms, and as such really doesn't help until the underlying issue is resolved.
  • Most importantly, and tying in to the above, I see a lot of discussion on how spoiler warnings could be given, but that's really not important, because we know it is possible. The important question here is when spoiler warnings should be given. Now the answer of "whenever editors feel like it" is, at this point, no longer acceptable - we've tried that, and it didn't work out or we wouldn't be here. That is hardly surprising; we have a vast number of style guidelines because e.g. article layout also isn't done "however people feel like it", but has become (mostly) standardized at some point in our past.
  • So I believe that the way ahead would be for those in favor of spoiler warnings to provide a clear and concise definition of when such warnings are appropriate, without resorting to such vagaries as "whenever people might become upset at reading something". If such a definition can be consensually agreed upon, the technical part becomes trivial. It would seem that "recently released films" would be a good place to start.
  • >Radiant< 23:37, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
"The important question here is when spoiler warnings should be given." Do you have an idea of how many guidelines tell editors where to place tags? --Pixelface (talk) 03:17, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't think I understand you Radiant!. You said "Wikipedia really does not have stringent rules" and then you said "the way ahead would be for those in favor of spoiler warnings to provide a clear and concise definition of when such warnings are appropriate" and "If such a definition can be consensually agreed upon, the technical part becomes trivial." Are you suggesting there's a proper method for placing spoiler warnings? I can say when I think warnings are appropriate, but you said Wikipedia does not really have stringent rules that must be followed all the time. If Wikipedia does not really have stringent rules that must be followed all the time, why is the answer "whenever editors feel like it" unacceptable? Telling people when it's appropriate to place warnings and where they should go sounds like a rule to me. Do other tags have strict rules on placement? --Pixelface (talk) 03:41, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
For the most part, we don't have "strict rules" on Wikipedia. That said, we do have innumerable guidelines, of which this is one. I think (and he may correct me if I'm misinterpreting) that he was describing the way forward in discussing what the text of this guideline should be, and how to move forward to attain consensus. As an aside, I'm staying neutral to this discussion atm. This is just a friendly attempt at clarification : ) - jc37 05:09, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Radiant, I don't think that discussion is going in circles (although, interestingly, whenever I have really good argument, it gets archived without answer, which happened just now with my last answer to Marc). There is a proposal to implement showable SWs (hidden by default). If that is implemented without any additional guidance, then only people who want to see SWs would decide if they are appropriate, and others shouldn't care. Therefore, this would be clearly different group of people than decided if SWs are appropriate before, and thus previous experience cannot be applied. Samohyl Jan (talk) 06:01, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Wow, what a condescending post. You obviously haven't read much of the discussion, since there already is a template like you describe for recently released fiction. --YellowTapedR (talk) 06:16, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Yes, I am aware of that template. The fact that it already exists is precisely why it's a good place to start. >Radiant< 16:13, 7 December 2007 (UTC)