Wikipedia talk:T1 and T2 debates

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This page is for discussing the summary of T1 and T2 debates. It also includes a selected archive of debates from Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion relating to the T1 and T2 criteria, as applied to userboxes.


T1 and T2 debates discussion[edit]

Please edit the discussion on the project page in place, alter it freely and add further points. The idea is to get to the point where we can archive all the thousands of words of discussion and leave this as a brief (or at least, more brief) summary. --Tony Sidaway 00:47, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

A good idea; thanks, Tony. Septentrionalis 01:06, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Which policies do you mean by the "several policies" in the last main bullet? --AySz88|talk 01:34, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I hope that whoever added that bullet (or someone else) will add links to the relevant policy proposals. Please feel free to dive in and edit the wording until we find something that is more or less agreeable to all. --Tony Sidaway 01:55, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Seems to have been done. Septentrionalis 23:46, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I just organized them into subsections, please revert me if that isn't a helpful thing to have done. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:27, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

It is helpful to readers. It will probably also help those of us who have been edit conflicting as we review the record above. GRBerry 02:32, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Okay, would someone like to archive the fairly massive T1/T2 debates into a separate page? I think this is a better way of working. --Tony Sidaway 02:39, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Like... Wikipedia:T1 and T2 debates? -GTBacchus(talk) 02:43, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Good idea, but can it wait until the fast and furious review of the refactoring slows down? Moving the evidence while multiple editors are working on it isn't the best timing. GRBerry 02:49, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't see this until just now, and I've already archived 21 sections... -GTBacchus(talk) 02:58, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Don't worry, I found a way to work around it. And I have to go to bed now. Sigh, I've only made it through the discussion from May 11 through May 19. I know there was stuff already in the Jan-March and March-May archives for this page. Don't know if I'll have much time tomorrow, we are hosting a party. GRBerry 03:39, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Wasn't sure about the comments: what do you want here? —Ashley Y 07:18, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Well, we're trying to build an outline of the main arguments that have been presented in the extensive debates on this subject. What's up there is somewhat organized right now, and people have been adding points and subpoints for a few hours, although it's quieted down lately. I was hesitant to stop you commenting, because obviously your input is welcome, but I think it's worthwhile to get an organized summary together. The whole "Other arguments" section is awfully unstructured and sprawling right now. There are also a lot of discussions from this page that I refactored over to Wikipedia:T1 and T2 debates, which you may or may not have noticed. We're trying to organize this melee into more of a line dance, as it were. -GTBacchus(talk) 07:27, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
More helpfully phrased, perhaps, we're trying to report on the debate in a somewhat NPOV manner, so we can all look at the arguments for what they are. -GTBacchus(talk) 07:30, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
OK. So if I have new arguments to any of the points, where should I make them? —Ashley Y 07:41, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, do you care if someone "refactors" your ideas, by moving them around and rephrasing them in the third person? I mean, it's a Wiki, please yourself. I just wanted to call your attention to some structure that maybe you hadn't noticed. If you could try to add your ideas in a logical place within the structure that's there, that'd be awesome. As much as you want to play along with building this outline, you're perfectly welcome. -GTBacchus(talk) 07:51, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Also, please feel free to rephrase what's already there, if it doesn't seem to be presented fairly and neutrally. We'd like to see each argument in its Sunday best. -GTBacchus(talk) 07:52, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Can we move this to a separate page? —Ashley Y 08:10, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

A lot of discussion is already at Wikipedia:T1 and T2 debates. Shall we there? -GTBacchus(talk) 08:11, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I just mean the summary thingy. —Ashley Y 08:14, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Done, and done. -GTBacchus(talk) 08:20, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Several people are doing some very good work on this summary, and all your contributions are appreciated. I'd like to remind us all that the idea is to collect the various arguments in an organized format, and present all sides fairly and neutrally. This purpose is best served by refraining from deleting any ideas that come up, although refactoring for the purpose of clarity and organization is certainly helpful. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:12, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I must take issue with this suggestion. The worst or least competently presented ideas should be deleted, rather than refactored, otherwise we will end up with an unbalanced presentation (which I would argue has already blatantly happened). --Tony Sidaway 23:55, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, can you help those of us with a less finely tuned sense of the blatant to see what's unbalanced about it? -GTBacchus(talk) 00:43, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
I tend to think that the least competently presented ideas should be fix, so that they're competently presented. Isn't the goal to actually get each argument on the table and see it at its best, so readers can judge them all on merit? -GTBacchus(talk) 01:03, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Motions to remove are in order on the Talk page. I also feel that the present text is unbalanced; although in the direction of the opinions of the original drafter (as is natural). It is therefore probably close, in fact, to a neutral PoV. Septentrionalis 00:00, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
So sayeth the one who has repeatedly deleted arguments rather than attempt to answer them. Jay Maynard 00:03, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, we certainly started back on the talk page for WP:CSD with a blatantly unbalanced presentation - it didn't even look like balance was attempted the first time I saw it. The current version is a lot closer to balanced. I expect the pendulum to swing a few times before becoming stationary. I believe that most contributors are tyring to generate a fair presentation of the arguments, but with kilobytes and kilobytes of argumentation to wade through, it will take time. GRBerry 20:48, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm sure trying to keep my arguments to the facts. OTOH, if there are more arguments one way than the other, it is not the presentation that's unbalanced. Jay Maynard 04:09, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Tony, every user who responded to your suggestion that arguments should be deleted disagreed with you. So why did you go ahead and delete a bunch of arguments without discussing it here? One of them even included an explicit comment telling you personally not to delete it again. (I don't know who originally added that comment.) GRBerry 03:16, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
That was me. I got really frustrated at Tony's repeated deletion of what I believed to be an honest argument (and others have agreed). Jay Maynard 04:09, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

I have extensively used the "some commentators, some admins, some XXX, ..." formulation in building . In an article, this could be seen as using weasel-wording. I used it because 1) I don't want to drag personalities into the summary of the discussion and 2) not doing so in certain points could be seen as a personal attack. If anyone has a better solution, please use it. GRBerry 20:48, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree that those "some have argued" locutions are acceptable in this case. I also think we're making progress towards a reasonably complete and neutral presentation of the arguments involved. I hope I'm not the only one finding the process quite educational. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:39, 29 May 2006 (UTC)


I'm troubled by this sub-section. We don't have any examples presented yet where a userbox in template space was used for votestacking. We have specific paths for doing vote-stacking. The latter, at least, runs against he guidance in WP:BEANS. The first bit might also. But this is an argument that has been used repeatedly, so we can't just remove it. If we attempt to replace with a summary that doesn't run afoul of that guidance, this is what I'd suggest. "It has been argued that userboxes enable vote-stacking. However, those making this argument have been unable to back it up with examples where userboxes were the enabling tool. It is at most a rare problem that can be handled using the tools that are used to handle vote-stacking when other means enable the misbehaviour." Do others feel the WP:BEANS rationale is reason to remove it? If so, what summary should replace it? GRBerry 21:30, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't like your sentence "It is at most a rare problem that can be handled using the tools that are used to handle vote-stacking when other means enable the misbehaviour," because it doesn't seem very neutral to me. If it were hedged with something like "Thus, some argue that...," I would be more ok with it. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:39, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps "It has been argued that userboxes enable vote-stacking. However, those making this argument have been unable to back it up with examples where userboxes were the enabling tool. Thus, some argue that the tools used to handle vote-stacking enabled by other means are adequate to handle the use of userboxes for vote-stacking." GRBerry 00:54, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
  • (WP:BEANS) I don't think that this section says anything that isn't obvious, except that whatlinkshere can be used for vote-stacking (which should be part of the justification for any policy resulting from this discussion). I would have no objection to trimming down to "userboxes can be used for vote-stacking; votestacking by other means is just as easy" unless someone disagrees with that; if someone does, we must keep the argument. Septentrionalis 22:23, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Until I see examples where userboxes were actually used for vote-stacking, I think that we need to leave in the summary the fact that we haven't seen any examples yet. GRBerry 00:54, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

GTBacchus moved one of the arguments in this section under a sub-heading entitled "Does anyone care about this argument?". I introduced it in the talk days ago and added it to the summary. I don't know who elaborated or added the sub-point. I'm proposing here that we should shrink this section as if conflicts with WP:BEANS. So I'd be quite willing to see it go, but since I'm not the only contributor to that argument, I'm going to leave it up a while longer to provide opportunity for others to disagree. GRBerry 10:37, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

I added the reply to it, basically suggesting that it's a red herring. The existence of potentially biased and problematic Wiki-projects really has no bearing on userboxes, I think. I suggest the argument be removed unless someone has something to say for it. -GTBacchus(talk) 16:32, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

T1 and userboxes: how about a more precise wording?[edit]

I've noticed that quite a few userboxes have been speedy deleted citing T1, but there seems to be no consensus as to how T1 should be interpreted, and thus many users get annoyed at having their userbox deleted. I agree with the sentiment of T1, but speedy deleting these userboxes can often lead to divisiveness and inflammatory statements as well. What's the solution here?

Also, I'd be interested in seeing how Jimbo Wales's endorsement of this criterion was worded. It may provide some insight into this situation. -- T.o.n.y 14:54, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

If criterion CSD:T1 were in a template, it would be speedily deleted under T1, and rightfully so. It definitely needs to be reworded, but "we" editors (or even "you" admins) cannot do so without more input from Jimbo. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 14:58, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
I believe that all of Jimbo's pronouncements on the subject can be found here. Do any of them prohibit rewording or qualification of T1, and if so, which? Septentrionalis 22:04, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
I see nothing there supporting T1. Without Jimbo's suggestions, it wouldn't be present policy, as there has never been (visible) consensus supporting it. Hence, we have a policy created by fiat (and apparently not Jimbo's). The simplest solution would be to revert to the status quo ante T1 -- delete T1, undelete all templates deleted under T1 unless they violate WP:NPA, and do not re-delete as "unused" if they were ever used. Then, perhaps, a reasoned policy could be obtained by consensus. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 07:39, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree, especially with userboxes and other templates used (almost) solely in the User namespace. While I can understand Jimbo's sentiment concerning userboxes, I also know that people in any community want (and possibly need) a channel for self-expression. It helps others in the community learn about each other and identify their reasons for being in the community and their motivations behind the work they contribute to the community. Userboxes provide an easy way in this community to express oneself and (for the most part) don't inherently create division or heated debate. Of course, they can be misused, but that goes for almost any tool available to editors here at Wikipedia.
However, I think that any changes made to speedy delete criteria should reflect the general consensus of the community. While Jimbo's (inferred) opinions have considerable clout in this community, he is but one person. I think we should put this up to a vote. -- T.o.n.y 18:43, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
  • First, Voting is evil. It is much too premature to attempt to put this question to a polarizing vote. But more importantly, before you all lock in on this chain of reasoning, I'd ask everyone to please reread the many archived discussion pages leading up to the decision. Jimbo did not impose this policy out of the blue. There was rampant abuse and dissension being created by some userboxes at the time. Now that they've been deleted, it's all too easy to forget the worst examples which forced us into this (perhaps draconian) solution. Many people would agree with the assessment that the community has not yet reached consensus on this issue. But it is not fair to imply that Jimbo was alone in his opinion. As far as I know, he doesn't even have an opinion except that we should all get back to the real work of creating the best possible open-source encyclopedia. Many, many users heartily supported his decision. In my own observation, they were doing more harm than good to the project. I don't miss them. Rossami (talk) 22:05, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
    • I agree; the thing to do is to stop fighting the Userbox Wars, and go on from where we are. Genuinely divisive userboxes can (and should) be TfD'd; the editors they offend will vote to delete. They are no loss. Removing (or even modifying) T1 is enough. Septentrionalis 02:51, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't mind political, etc., userboxes being speedily deleted if we had a clear policy that allowed it. They are at best a waste of template space. Currently, however, we are seeing userboxes that are clearly not "divisive and inflammatory" being speedily deleted. An example was a userbox that said simply, "This user is a transhumanist". I don't see how this could be considered divisive in itself, since we are (generally) tolerant people, so we are not likely to be divided against each other merely by expressions of subscription to philosophical views that we may not happen agree with. In a tolerant community, such statements of ones's views are not met with the kind of hostility and active opposition that is implied by divisive. I realise that such a userbox, if in template space, could theoretically be used as an instrument for undoubtedly divisive activities such as votestacking, but it's not obvious to me that that theoretical possibility amounts to the userbox itself being "divisive". Even if the word "divisive" could be stretched so far, which is very doubtful, I don't see how the mere polite, non-provocative statement that "I am a transhumanist" could be considered inflammatory. As an absolute minimum, I think that T1 should be altered from "divisive and inflammatory" to read "divisive or inflammatory". That would capture any genuinely divisive userboxes as well as those that don't create particular divisions but simply arouse reasonable people to anger. I think that some indication should also be given that the word "divisive" is meant to be read in a broad sense to include any userbox (or other template) that lends itself as an instrument for factionalising etc, though I have no particular words to offer at this stage. Meanwhile, I don't think the current words should be interpreted and applied in an unnaturally broad way, as often seems to be happening. The words "divisive and inflammatory" are clear enough; they simply don't stretch as far as some of our colleagues would like them to. Metamagician3000 08:34, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

I would like to see T1 say "all political, religious, or philosophical" rather than "divisive and inflammatory". I can make the argument that any political view is divisive. Not just Nazism. Simple change, and would get us out of a lot of divisive and inflammmatory discussion about whether something is divisive (a judgement call that's hard to make) and move it to whether something is political (a lot easier call to make). ArbComm has held that T1 is policy. I support that. Now get it to be clear, easily applied policy. ++Lar: t/c 14:18, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

It could say both "all userboxes that express a religious, political, philosophical, or similar point of view, or are otherwise divisive or inflammatory". There will be grey areas no matter how it is worded, and deletion review would still be necessary, but this sort of language would put the issue beyond doubt with most userboxes. Metamagician3000 14:24, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Or better still, we could adapt Jimbo's own language: templates that "express personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues, or which are otherwise divisive or inflammatory". How's that? Metamagician3000 14:26, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
I'd support either of those formulations. I've mostly stayed out of the userbox debate because, frankly, I think most people's User pages are boring (including my own) and I never read them. But having read up on the issue I have to say: the more wiggles room we leave on this the worse it will be. Wikipedia is not a blog, and is not myspace. While people are welcome to write what they want on their user pages, within policy, there's no reason to waste our time weighing the merits of these various templates. Religious, political, philosophical, or similar...delete them all, regardless of whether or not they are divisive. That's my $0.02, anyway. Nandesuka 14:29, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Agree strongly with Nandesuka. People will wiggle but let us give them little room to do so. Agree with MM3K as well, (dude, your ID is too long!!! Grin) that Jimbo's wording is fine. It's far more precise and inclusive (of what we want to see deleted within process) than my suggestion. I'm not hung up on the exact wording. I just want it to be less wiggly than "divisive" which is just way too wiggly. ++Lar: t/c 14:52, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm starting to lean toward that, as it's clear that the admins (possibly encouraged by Jimbo, but there's no public evidence that Jimbo agrees that it should be policy) will delete userboxes, controversial or not, by whatever means necessary, and that, although the majority of active Wikipedians may disagree, there's clearly not enough weight to overturn that fiat. Hence, although that policy is clearly harmful to Wikipedia, the wheel warring is worse. (Note that I am assuming good faith, just noting that those admins mistakenly believe that the deletion of userboxes is good for Wikipedia, and that this outweighs the violation of existing process.) However, all userbox deletions, unless the text itself is objectionable on a userpage, must be subst'ed and converted to Template:Userbox format. However, even Nandesuka's formulation leaves enough wiggle room for wheel wars. My counter-proposal would be to delete all userboxes except wikiproject boxes. Note: I would still prefer restricting T1 to those templates which would be considered "attack templates" — but that rational appropach is not going to happen. My more restrictive form is probably the best that can be achieved. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 15:08, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Arthur Rubin, your good faith is quite clear, but you're mistaken in your implicit claim that "violation" of process is a Bad Thing, that might or might not be "outweighed" by some particular Good Thing. I can't pin down a particular guideline or essay that taught me to see it this way, but "acting out of process" is part of the perfectly healthy and normal functioning of Wikipedia. That's how process evolves - someone starts doing something because it's the right thing to do, others see them and mimic them, because it's clearly the right thing to do, and eventually when someone suggests writing it into the guidelines, a bunch of people say "oh, I thought it was already there".
The trick is to let people do what they do, and try to document the best practices once they're identified and selected for. For whatever reason, the interpretation of T1 that's rising to the top seems to be that "all userboxes that express a religious, political, philosophical, or similar point of view, or are otherwise divisive or inflammatory" don't get to be publicly transcluded, and shouldn't even be here. I'd also say there are very good reasons for that, but I don't want to double the length of this post, and it's all been said several times.
I support rewriting T1 according to Jimbo's formulation. -GTBacchus(talk) 15:58, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
No edit on this page [Note: this exchange is copied from WT:CSD ] can reflect Jimbo's formulation: He said nothing about speedying. What has happened, btw, to what Jimbo recommended: asking people to remove their political/religious userboxes, and so changing the culture one person at a time? Septentrionalis 23:09, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

My concern is that the T1 criteria are too subjective to allow for speedy deletions. They are good as deletion criteria, but not so good for speedy deletions. Powers 12:01, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

I would agree. Deletion without discussion (i.e. a speedy) is an extreme measure, and should only be used in cases where harm would occur if the target remined in place for the duration of the discussion (copyvios, attack pages, etc), or where a discussion was held previously (e.g G4). As it stands, the speedy deltion of neutrally worded templates is proving to be more devisive than the original templates ever could be. Regards, MartinRe 20:31, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
If I may try to add to the discussion, I would like to say, having recently come across a speedy deletion of a userbox I found funny, non-divisive, and non-inflammatory (unless one considers non-explicit references to sex divisive or inflammatory), that the speedy deletion of a userbox sufficiently unclear with respect to the criteria discussed here is extremely frustrating, disheartening, and alienating. On this end, not holding discussion thus feels like an abuse of procedure and seems in bad faith. I understand the dislike for userboxes, and I even sympathize with not wanting them in template space, but choosing speedy deletion over TfD, now, prior to reaching consensus on what is to be done about userboxes and after an initial deadlock on trying to reach such a policy? I fail to see the good faith in that. Just venting saying. ---Bersl2 07:12, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

I'd change the wording of T1 to "Templates that are both divisive and inflammatory" because too many deletions of userboxes have the reason "divisive" with no mention of it being inflammatory. T2, however, I'm not going to touch with a 50ft barge pole. Will (message me!) 22:21, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Change in T1[edit]

(Per GTb just above...)

I have so changed it to use the exact wording. See this version, under the Bold-revert-discuss paradigm. Revert me if you must but it's time we move to this level. ++Lar: t/c 16:14, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

I would just like to remind everyone at this point that T1 refers to all templates, not just userboxes, and it has been used to justify the speedy deletion of templates that were not userboxes. Even if the language is changed to apply only to userboxes, Lar's new wording allows for the speedy deletion of Babelboxes (which up till now have generally been considered "good" userboxes) for levels xx-0 through xx-4, since stating which foreign languages one has chosen to learn (and therefore which ones one has not chosen to learn) certainly expresses "personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions" and in some cases even "viewpoints on controversial issues". Angr (tc) 16:48, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
That may be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but if so, it's a price to be paid that I'm willing to pay, and I suspect others are too. The wording could be revised to exclude those, but I think there's merit in using Jimbo's words as is. ++Lar: t/c 17:07, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
I think you have to do unreasonable backflips to interpret "I speak language X" as "I am expressing a political viewpoint." So I disagree with you that this impacts babelboxes. If we wanted to be super-careful, we could specifically carve an exemption for them, but I don't think it's necessary. Nandesuka 17:11, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
There are certain situations where saying "I speak language X" is practically synonymous with "I am expressing a political viewpoint". For example, if a user from Northern Ireland says "I speak Irish" or "I speak Ulster Scots", their political affiliations will in most cases not be difficult to discern. Likewise "I speak Greek" vs. "I speak Turkish" for a user from Cyprus. I don't want to "carve out an exception" for the Babelboxes; I want everyone to be aware that Babelboxes can be every bit as "inflammatory and divisive" as any userbox already speedied under T1. Angr (tc) 20:31, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

User:Xaosflux reverted with the edit summary: rv "When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus." Signifigant policy changes should be discussed (in depth) first.

Xaosflux, are you reading this page? How has this not been discussed in depth? The very impetus for this particular edit was the emerging consensus at WP:DRV/U. Please state your objection to Lar's version. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:00, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

I subscribe to 1RR so I will not revert back, I leave that to others. But I think the conensus was pretty clear. This broadening is, IMHO, a change whose time has come. ++Lar: t/c
I will not revert this again either, although I 'strongly disagree with it for the reasons I've listed below. Apparently someone else has already reverted it again, if it goes again it seems to be a demonstration that consensus has not been met. — xaosflux Talk 17:12, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
(edit conflict note)I've reverted "Templates that express personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues, or which are otherwise divisive or inflammatory. (Note that this criterion was established with an endorsement from Jimbo Wales and now uses his exact wording.)" <-- that change to T1. It is too broad, just because a template expreses a controverisal issue does not mean it has no use. We have plenty of articles about controversial issues, this would go so far as to mean a navbox between several related controverisal articls would be speedily deletable in my interpertation. This is a criteria for all templates, not about "userboxes" If this change is trying to be specific to "userboxes" the best place to establish it's change would be in a userbox policy, IMHO. — xaosflux Talk 17:03, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
(double edit conflict) e.g. Template:Christianity is a "template that expresses an ideology", is it not? It doesn't support or condone it, but it expresses it. — xaosflux Talk 17:18, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, the thing is that I changed T1 from PART of Jimbo's wording to ALL of it. Arguably not an intent change, just a clarification that gets rid of the wiggle room that causes so much trouble. As for a userbox policy, been there, done that, got the tshirt, that dog don't hunt. People are speedying these things and I argue that the broadened T1 I put up is what they are using. I vehemently disagree with that because it's out of process, and yet I agree with their reasons for doing so. How to fix it? RfAr all of them for doing what is probably right? No. Change the criteria so it supports their actions. That gets to the right outcome and keeps us process wonks happy. ALL that said, I still dispute that this change doesn't reflect emerging consensus. If others agree I invite them to support this view with discuussion. (not votiing because voting is evil) ++Lar: t/c 17:15, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
It might be helpful to include a link to his statement, but I do think the templates described (an infobox for example) would really meet it. If the template used in an article already expresses a view, it probably should be at least NPOV'd. Also, can we archive some discussion off of this page? Kotepho 17:20, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for bringing this up on WP:VP, I forgot about it... as for Template:Christianity, it's used in mainspace. I doubt it would pass TfD much less CSD. Yes technically you could argue it expresses an ideology but I think it's a bit of a stretch. I don't see it as expressing, merely describing. No attribution to any person is intended. ++Lar: t/c 17:30, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Template:Christianity is part of the encyclopedic content, and let's be honest, T1 isn't made to deal with encyclopedic content. --Cyde Weys 17:31, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Template:Christianity doesn't express anything; it's a signpost to related articles. That's encyclopedic. "This User is a Christian" expresses something personal, and non-encyclopedic. There's no danger of confusion there - it's a red herring. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:13, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Concur with GTBacchus - there's a world of difference between "this is part of a series of articles on X" and expressing value judgements on X. The first is part of making the encyclopedia feel cohesive and nice. The latter is part of the messy stuff we've been dealing with. A good way to understand the difference is
  1. Does the template talk about its author/user specifically?
  2. Does the template invoke a value judgement? (this can get slightly fuzzy in some cases)
  3. Is the template intended for userspace or for articlespace?
  4. Does the template make the encyclopedia better (in a way unrelated to the "toss users a bone" argument)?
--Improv 20:35, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
T1 doesn't say anything about an exception being made for "encyclopedic content" (a concept not defined anywhere in Wikipedia AFAIK). Template:Christianity is a perfect example of a non-userbox template that has been made speediable by the new wording of T1. Angr (tc) 20:39, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Could you suggest a different wording that still carries the power of Jimbo's words but does allow for commonsense exceptions (since you feel it's deletable under T1. I don't, really, but if there is a clarification that works and retains the wording strength... I'd support it)? ++Lar: t/c 21:00, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
No, I can't. I don't think there is any wording that will uniquely capture the intent behind T1, because that intent is both subjective and arbitrary. And although I have objected to your new wording, it should be clear I was never a fan of the old wording either. The true intent behind it always seemed to be "any userbox any admin doesn't like", although it was always worded in such a way as to applicable to non-userboxes as well. And indeed the only templates I have ever argued should be deleted under T1 were used in article space. Angr (tc) 22:11, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry, no. How does Template:Christianity "express personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues"? That's nonsense. It's a big table of "see also" references. How does Jimbo's wording spill over and make any encyclopedic template speediable - I just don't see it. -GTBacchus(talk) 22:15, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
I think the confusion is a result of two different meanings of "express". The slightly broader meaning is to "show sign of" or "provide information about", but that's clearly not the one that is meant. The definition we want is closer to the "profess" meaning. I don't think that, provided precident is set properly by initial application of the expanded rule, we'll run into problems. I don't think the four clarifying questions I ask above are too far off the mark either. Even if what is encyclopedic is controversial in some areas, it is pretty clear that in this case, it's fine -- I don't think that anyone could say that providing bumper stickers are part of the goal of an encyclopedia. The vast majority of userboxen are simply that -- self-expression in the style of bumper stickers, and not helpful (often harmful) to our goals. I think the chance of confusing the Template:Christianity thing to "Template:User Christian" is negligible. If there is grey ground here, it's not particularly easy to see. --Improv 22:53, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Regardless of the definition of "express" you choose, Template:Christianity expresses all sorts of personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, and viewpoints on controversial issues. It includes the Trinity as part of Christianity, though some Christians do not believe in the Trinity. The section on the Bible excludes the Book of Mormon. It lumps all of Eastern Christianity into "Orthodox Christianity" while splitting all of Western Christianity into "Catholicism" and "Protestantism"; there are lots of Christian denominations that would not consider themselves as belonging to any of those three. Sounds pretty inflammatory and divisive to me. Angr (tc) 23:30, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

It does not express any personal commitments such as "I am a Christian" or "I support Christianity". That is the kind of thing we don't want a template to say. Or at least I hope we can agreement that that is the sort of thing now considered speediable that should be expressed in T1. The words I suggested yesterday still seem to me to make the distinction we want, but I'm prepared to see better formulations. Metamagician3000 00:41, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
We all know what we mean - this is just words lawyering - but how about: User templates that express personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues, or any other templates which are otherwise divisive or inflammatory. - that seems a reasonable clarification of Jimbo's words. --Doc ask? 00:50, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I would happily support that tweak, it's a good clarification. ++Lar: t/c 00:55, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Doc's proposal is very good. Nandesuka 01:05, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Sure. Any change along those lines has got to be better than the current words. And if it is just wikilawyering about precise formulations in the future, then we can either shrug it off or continue to fine tune. Someone going to be bold enough to make the change or do we await a broader consensus? Metamagician3000 01:08, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I see it currently has "my" wording. ;) Well, I for one won't object if someone boldly tweaks it. Metamagician3000 01:13, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
In for a penny, in for a pound. Tweaked. ++Lar: t/c 01:20, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Angr, regardless of whether I think these things are inherently deeply problematic or not with Template:Christianity, I do appreciate that that statement does provide enough information to move the conversation forward. I might guess that we should overinclude rather than underinclude, even if that means potentially offending people. If, for example, some followers of Orthodox Judaism were to say that Reform Judaism is not really Judaism, I don't think we should feel that it's getting involved in that struggle over the meanings of words to include a link in a Template:Judaism. A preference to overinclude when it comes to contention over definitional content will probably serve us well. --Improv 03:32, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

All right. Now we await the community's judgment as to whether we had adequate consensus here, and generally whether this will stick. I think we've done the right thing and that some wording like this should have been adopted from the beginning. Still, the events of the past few months have taught us what was needed. Metamagician3000 02:16, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

So, how does this proposal differ from the one roundly rejected in January, at ; Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/userbox templates concerning beliefs and convictions? Septentrionalis 04:50, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't see the resemblance. The intitiative taken here involves a change of policy not a vote on a bunch of userboxes under existing policy, and the circumstances are now quite different. E.g,. there's now been plenty of time for people to userfy and customise their userboxes and generally come to grips with the fact that sooner or later these sorts of userbox templates would cease to be accepted. Metamagician3000 06:08, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm reverting, as this actually covers something like "This user thinks that pink is for girls." (and that actually did get tagged as a CSD under T1), or even "This user's favorite color is blue," which expresses a personal belief. This is far too broad, and I don't see any real consensus for it. --Rory096 06:41, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

I've reverted this back, but I don't want to get into a revert war over it. Just think, though, before you keep reverting, why would we want a userbox expressing either of those opinions in template space? If someone wants to tell us their favourite colour, by all means let them do so on their userpage (which could be by way of a customised userbox). But this is not what template space is for, and I'm still betting that there is now a rough consensus about that, at least among those who care about the issue and the project. Metamagician3000 07:43, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Templatespace is not articlespace, it's not like it has to be encyclopaedic content. We could have a Userbox: space too, but nobody wants that. --Rory096 07:45, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Let's do a straw poll or something.  Grue  11:50, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Let's not. Policy pages are not legislation - they are a record of what actually happens. T1 is being interpreted in this way, and a growing consensus is endorsing such deletions. So update this page to reflect consensus. m:Polls are evil --Doc ask? 12:03, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
  • This wording is an improvement in one respect: it is much less subjective, so there will be greater agreement about when it applies.
  • However, there was 88% consensus against deleting such templates in January. The discussion now underway at WP:UBD about Template:User Christian looks to be about even (and most of the advocates of the present policy have already voiced their opinions). There is no consensus on this policy; if it is forming, it has not yet formed. Septentrionalis 18:00, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Just because you and some other admins interpret it this way doesn't mean you have the right to change policy to suit your needs. This kind of proactive policymaking is unacceptable. I won't even comment such silliness as "growing consensus". There either is one or there isn't one.  Grue  20:31, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Just to reinforce my point that if T1 is going to be useful at all, it should not be restricted to userboxes: just today, User:Freakofnurture quite appropriately speedy-deleted Template:Axis of Evil (a box consisting of "Iraq (former member) – IranNorth Korea") under T1. Rather than using T1 to whack userboxes, let it do its useful work of eliminating inflammatory and divisive templates from article space. Angr (tc) 20:26, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

I think it would be better to have separate criteria for templates in user and article space, so that we can draw each as narrowly as possible. I've edited T1 to say 'User templates.' Maybe we could have a T2 saying initially about the same thing, but 'Article templates,' and see how it develops. Tom Harrison Talk 20:54, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

I would endorse the view that there is no consensus for any version of T1 at this time, so that it should be completely removed from this page. I think it would be possible to develop a more limited consensus for adding language akin to "Templates used only in user space that describe a user, are inflamatory, and that express more about personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues than would help another editor to understand the using user's point of view." Then we could have a separate T2 that functions as Angr describes above "Templates used in the main space that are divisive, inflamatory, or inherently POV." 20:59, 12 May 2006 (UTC) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by GRBerry (talkcontribs) .

Endorse that a community consensus does not exist at this time. — xaosflux Talk 21:34, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
No, of course it doesn't, but that doesn't matter. Jimbo himself readded T1 after it had been deleted, and whether we like it or not, Jimbo's actions trump consensus at Wikipedia. Angr (tc) 21:45, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
The criterion Jimbo readded is not the present text, which is far more sweeping (and much more workable as a speedy criterion.) Septentrionalis 22:58, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, and in the absensce of both consensue, or any update from Jimbo, I would suggest it remains as it was at that point, namely "Templates that are divisive and inflammatory."[1] Regards, MartinRe 21:57, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
You would honestly remove our only speedy deletion criteria? So no matter what someone puts in a template, it would have to go through the rigamarole of WP:TFD? What if someone made a template whose sole content was "Fuck all Wikipedians up the ass"; we can't speedy that? Don't be ridiculous. --Cyde Weys 22:01, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
This is a misrepresentation. The general criteria would still apply. Do please try not to confuse this with straw men. Septentrionalis 22:58, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Such a template would of course be speediable under G3. Angr (tc) 22:15, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Not that I'm weighing in either way, but the eight General criteria apply to Templates too... —Whouk (talk) 22:12, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Endorse all opinions that the General provisions apply to all pages, and would easily cover a template stating "F*** all Wikipedians up the a**" just as they would support removing someone typing that on their userpage. — xaosflux Talk 23:37, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
There is no consensus whatsoever to support CSD:T1. But, Jimbo overrides any consensus as and when he wishes. I completely agree with the Grue above - there are several drastically bad userbox speedies happening, and it is getting worse. Stifle (talk) 22:31, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Then he should certainly be notified of any change; such as the one made yesterday. Septentrionalis 22:58, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
It is being discussed on the English Wikipedia mailing list, to which Jimbo subscribes. It's up to him whether he wants to get involved any further or exercise the option of masterful inactivity. Metamagician3000 00:14, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

What Jimbo actually wrote[edit]

I wonder if you might consider simply removing your political userboxes and asking others to do the same. This seems to me to be the best way to quickly and easily end the userbox wars.
Userboxes of a political or, more broadly, polemical, nature are bad for the project. They are attractive to the wrong kinds of people, and they give visitors the wrong idea of what it means to be a Wikipedian.
I think rather than us having to go through a mass deletion (which is what is likely to happen if the userbox fad doesn't go away), it will be better to simply change the culture, one person at a time. Will you help me?--Jimbo Wales 10:53, 21 January 2006 (UTC)[2]

I therefore propose the following language to qualify T1:

Unless there is some unusual circumstance, which should be noted at WP:ANI, deletion under this rule should be preceeded by
  • Discussion with the author or transcluder of the template, or
  • Modification to NPOV, e.g. changing This user supports X to This user is interested in X.
Templates which may or may not fall under this criterion should be sent to TfD.

Regards, Septentrionalis 05:18, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

I would support such a change. Deco 07:37, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I also support this, particularly the last line (which I would italicise for emphasis) - I've seen too many DRV/U discussions where there is clearly no consensus whether the template falls under the speedy criteria or not, only to have the deleter say "it doesn't matter about consensus if I think it is divisive then it gets deleted". Having a devisive template discussed for a week is less harmful than a vitriolic deletion review. Thryduulf 09:45, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I would support qualifying language, within reason, the criteria should be fairly easy to apply without having to fire up your internal parser. As for Jimbo's exact message I am thinking that a footnote giving it might be the best way to show it. But consensus is, in my view,forming around making T1 more precise and having it state the broadness that we're seeing in practice. ++Lar: t/c 10:16, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I am nervous about instruction creep with T1, but I think a big part of the problem with T1 is how its every use inflames the contributors using the affected template. It'd be nice if there were at least a friendly suggestion that it be used only as a last resort after more diplomatic means have failed, such as rewording the template or talking to the user. Deco 15:45, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I am not proposing to include Jimbo's words; although a linked subpage is an idea. Septentrionalis 18:03, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I think this suggestion is a very good idea. We will save ourselves a lot of angst in the long run if everyday users who happen to have these userboxes and haven't been following the debate (believe me, they do exist!) are politely informed about a template's deletion and the reasons for it before they notice a redlink on their user page and get upset about it. I would even support a further emendation, that any user page which still has a template transcluded onto it at the time that template is deleted under T1 should be subst'ed with the raw code of that template. If we're going to do this, let's not let it be New Year's all over again. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 19:23, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, of course; I should have thought of the subst requirement. (Although for I hate X boxes, this increases the necessity for discussion also.) Septentrionalis 23:10, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

For the record, I am strongly opposed to T1. More broadly, I am strongly opposed to userbox deletionism. Those userboxes do not hurt anyone, they do not harm the project, and more importantly, they have no impact on the encyclopedia content. Whatever it is you think that makes them "bad for the project", it's in your head. More importantly, whatever it is you think "it means to be a Wikipedian" is entirely in your head. That remark smells of repressive dictatorial sentiment and does not earn you credibility. If you do not have the tolerance to let people decide for themselves what it means to them to be Wikipedian, then you are the wrong person to dictate any policies, rules or guidelines in defiance of community concensus. Now please stop this bickering and let the people who want their userboxes have them. — Timwi 19:01, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

No. If you decide that what it means for you to be a Wikipedian is to participate in partisan politics at Wikipedia, for example, then you're just wrong, and have to go. You seem to be suggesting that Wikipedia is whatever each user decides it is. That's utterly irresponsible, and implies a complete abandonment of focus on the task at hand, which is writing a free, neutral encyclopedia. Oh, and that smell of repressive dictatorial sentiment - it's entirely in your head. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:38, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
You have entirely misunderstood me, and misrepresented me accordingly. Firstly, just because someone puts a userbox on their userpage doesn't mean they "participate in partisan politics". That's ridiculous. Suggesting that having userboxes even allows people to turn Wikipedia into "whatever each user decides it is", is even more ridiculous. Furthermore, I never said any such thing. — Timwi 00:05, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Why the new T1 is a good idea[edit]

First section[edit]

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a battleground for social, moral, or religious issues. Userbox templates and user templates group Wikipedians into competing factions. This infrastructure has been used in the past to abuse our decision-making policies by vote-stacking. If you really feel it is necessary to proclaim your religion on your userpage, you can do it, but you don't need a template to do so. By letting these templates remain we are passively endorsing them and giving outsiders the wrong idea of what it means to be a Wikipedian. --Cyde Weys 21:58, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

No one is saying that every template must stay, we are debating on whether there should be a discussion before deleting them or not. A speedy deletion is a deletion without any discussion and is an extreme measure, and not to be used lightly, which is why the crtiteria are so narrow. In my opinion a speedy deletion should only be used in cases where it would be potentially damaging to have the material there for the duration of the discussion, (copyvios, attack pages, etc.). All other cases are non-urgent, and should go to the appropiate *fd. The original T1 "Templates that are divisive and inflammatory"[3] was fine, it allowed speedy deletion of templates that were the template equilavent of attack pages, which could be seen as harmful enough to delete right now. However, I don't think any of the recently deleted templates were potentially harmful enough to do the same, if anything the speedy deletion of them is proving more devisive than the orignal templates ever could be. Many userboxes aren't of much relavence to the enclyopedia, true, but WP:NOT is not a blanket justification for speedy deletion, either in article or template space. Regards, MartinRe 22:14, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Precisely. They should be deleteable, they should not be speediable. Reasonable editors may differ on when a userbox is harmful to the encyclopedia, far more often than they will differ on when an article is gibberish or makes no claim of notability (and so on down for the other speedy criteria.) Septentrionalis 23:05, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Our deletion process and protections exist to prevent encyclopedic content being deleted without discusson, unless it is obviously junk. Userboxes are not encyclopedic, they simply do not deserve the procedural protection and consensus requirements due to article deletion, because their deletion is at worst neutral to the encyclopedia. There have been literally hundereds of POV-celebrating userboxes, and thousands of others created int he last months, so if there is a consensus to get rid of POV userboxes, it would simply be impractical to use TfD. TfD is for debates over encyclopedic templates, we really don't want to clog it up processing myspace junk. --Doc ask? 23:50, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Doc underestimates the advantages of TfD. It encourages discussion; it encourages civility; it requires consensus. All these are good things, which the present situation sorely lacks. It is also, quite often, faster.Septentrionalis 01:28, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
MartinRe, the problem is that if broad consensus is what T1 says it is (that all religious, philosophical, polemic, political, etc, userboxes do not belong in template space) but when any particular one is taken to TfD, it survives, then the process is broken. As surely everyone by now knows, I am a huge fan of process, when it works (which is almost all the time). But when the process does not work, it needs to be changed so that it will work. All these userboxes need to be speedied. With warning, with a chance for people to subst first, with consensus beforehand, but they must go. It has been long enough. That they typically do not survive DRVU suggests that the broad consensus is what it is being said to be. That they survive TfD suggests that TfD is broken. Further, there are times when consensus is not the only thing. At the root, the foundation, and Jimbo have some considerable say. And they want them gone. (I think I'm channeling Tony Sidaway here... yeesh!!!) ++Lar: t/c 01:12, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that there is a big difference between saying "political, etc userboxes don't belong in template space", and "political, etc userboxes don't belong in template space, and should be speedied". I agree that they don't belong in template space, but think this is not the best way to solve this problem. Even Jimbo suggested changing it one editor at a time, so I think a more gradual process would be more effective in the long term. IMO, It is more important to do something right, than do it 'right now'. I agree with the original T1, devisive/offensive templates are valid speedies, as the template equivalent of attack articles. However, the expanded T1 is proving to be very devisive, the fact that tfd and DRV/U give different answers is a clear indication that there is no consensus either way. I too am a big fan of process, and sometimes process gives different answers to what you might expect, but agreeing with processes only when it gives the answer you want is very risky, which makes decisions look arbitary, and gives potential legitimacy to rogue admins doing what they like, destroying the trust of the community in the process. I would strongly suggest that the speedy criteria remains restricted to material that does immediate harm, and to approach userboxes in a more restrained way. For example, one idea would be to do the following steps:
  1. Separate userboxes from categories (reduces auto cat add used for vote stacking, and also allows them to be transferred to {{userbox}} format.
  2. Convert all userboxes on the main pages to use {{userbox}} format, so new editors copying them in are already semi-subst'd. (I believe using the userbox template is the best way because it's simplier than raw HTML, and any text added is in user space, no edit wars over original template, as they are unlinked)
  3. Require any new templates designed for user space to use the above method. (and new ones created differently speedied)
  4. Gradually convert all templates to use the above format, and then delete the orignals when complete.
That I believe would end up with all the user POv, etc, out of template space, not as fast, yes, but I believe more effective in the long term. Regards, MartinRe 11:49, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Allow me to dissect Cyde's text piece by piece. (Is it even Cyde's? I thought it was from Jimbo. But that's irrelevant for the argument.) Timwi 00:18, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

It's Cyde's; what Jimbo said is at Wikipedia:Jimbo on Userboxes. Septentrionalis 02:07, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a battleground for social, moral, or religious issues.
Wikipedia already has userpages, and userboxes do not add any additional potential of turning Wikipedia into a "battleground" than userpages already do. Timwi 00:18, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Template userboxes allow easy votestacking. User pages do not allow easy votestacking. ++Lar: t/c 01:12, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Userbox templates and user templates group Wikipedians into competing factions.
That is simply not true. But even if it was, it is doubtful that userboxes would do that any more than any other mechanism, including user-categories or WikiProjects, already does it. Timwi 00:18, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
User categories associated with these userboxes need to go too. We have not seen egregious stacking due to projects. Censure for users that do it should be considered regardless of how the votestacklist is developed ++Lar: t/c 01:12, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
This infrastructure has been used in the past to abuse our decision-making policies by vote-stacking.
This is a strawman argument. Vote-stacking is a problem either way; forbidding certain userboxes doesn't solve it. Timwi 00:18, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
This used to be my argument too. Not any more. Removing these userboxes does not hurt, and can help. As well as get rid of divisiveness in general. ++Lar: t/c 01:12, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Nor will it help; attempts to prevent clique voting by inhibiting communication will not work: There are too many ways to communicate, many of them off Wikipedia entirely.Septentrionalis 01:28, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
It's not just about clique voting, it's also about presenting an appearance that encourages an unencyclopedic perception of Wikipedia and Wikipedians. When a newcomer sees a bunch of these boxes, they get the wrong idea about Wikipedia, that this is a place to be partisan. This is a place to try our best to rise above partisanship, not to fight or represent for our pet causes. It's an article of culture that we're not doing a great job at communicating. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:32, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Jimbo that the desirable way to change a culture is to appeal to editors one at a time. The Userbox War debased our culture noticeably; and yesterday's antics suggest that Userbox War II would be no better. The way to encourage people to be reasonable is by discussion and consensus; T2 is neither. Septentrionalis 02:05, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
If you really feel it is necessary to proclaim your religion on your userpage, you can do it, but you don't need a template to do so.
This is strictly correct, but doesn't mean you shouldn't use templates. Timwi 00:18, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't mean you should either. If there are other ways that don't have the downside, they should be used.++Lar: t/c 01:12, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
By letting these templates remain we are passively endorsing them...
It is doubtful that "passively endorsing them" is any worse than or even different from passively endorsing the idea of giving every user their own userpage where they can write what they want. Timwi 00:18, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
...and giving outsiders the wrong idea of what it means to be a Wikipedian.
Templates do not give any significantly different idea than userpages already do. "What it means to be a Wikipedian" is hardly something any single person can decide or define, much less impose on others, outsiders or insiders. But even so, the idea outsiders are supposed to get is that we are an encyclopedia; they are not supposed to be concerned with who writes it. Timwi 00:18, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Solution to votestacking[edit]

Why not just remove the categories from ubxen (which I think everybody agrees we should do anyway), and subst them, so whatlinkshere doesn't work? That allows us to keep the pre-made ubxen so people don't have to type too much stuff when creating a userpage (if you have to type everything out manually, doesn't that mean people would be focusing more on their userpage rather than the encyclopaedia?) and votestacking is unlikely to impossible. --Rory096 03:24, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

A reasonable proposal, but it won't solve votestacking. There are too many other ways to communicate. Septentrionalis 03:38, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Well it won't solve votestacking, but it would stop it from being made easy because of userboxen, which is one of the main (and only really legit, IMO) concern regarding ubxen. --Rory096 03:41, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
The other methods are no harder, starting with the (perfectly legitimate) method of having the Fooian Nationalists watch all the pages on Fooland. I can think of at least three others that would be more effective than that, but are no more trouble than userbox cats; but it would be WP:Beans to detail. This is the argument for non-partisan phrasing; if the Barlanders can join Category:Users who are interested in Fooland, it won't help with votestacking. Septentrionalis 14:44, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
True, but those don't really have anything to do with userboxen. --Rory096 22:08, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Agree. It is much more reasonable than subst and delete comments which have another purpose in mind. This proposal is not designed to stop vote-stacking completely, but thats not really what the userbox debate is about, so at least it would clear that part up so that people can discuss the real issue with having userboxes in template space and we can also focus on the votestacking issue without having reference to this concept which is not causally related to the votestacking issue. Ansell Review my progress! 22:57, 17 May 2006 (UTC)


I may have gone out on a limb here, and will not revert this change if removed by any registered user, but it seems that Jimbo's addition of T1 is not really the problem here, it is an expanded definition for userboxes, and arguing over it may unintentionally damage the original intent. To that end, I've restored T1 to a version placed by Jimbo, and forked all of the user template related items to T2. This does NOT mean that I endorse this version, just that there seems to be a pretty good community consensus on how normal templates should be dealt with. — xaosflux Talk 00:38, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

The distinction is useful and should be kept. If we decide on one of them, we can always comment the other out. Septentrionalis 02:15, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for that! I'm fine with this change into two criteria if it makes things clearer. I liked the note about things being speedied needing to go to TfD if they get undeleted, till this comes to rest, although I'd rather see them go to DRV. ++Lar: t/c 01:17, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

I support T1 as a criteria for speedy deletion. I absolutely oppose T2 as a criteria for speedy deletion. I think we could craft a significantly more restrictive version as a criteria for deletion, but not as a CSD. GRBerry 01:30, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

I think both should be criteria for deletion. The problem with T1 is that reasonable editors will (and have often) disagreed on what it covers; producing much of the chaos now with us. Septentrionalis 02:14, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

As far as T2 goes, the goal is WP:NPOV, not the elimination of userboxes. If doing something as simple as changing "likes/doesn't like" to "is interested in" eliminates the speedy deletion issue, then even attempting to have a speedy deletion policy appears to be the real issue in this case. Just clarify the usage guidelines for Userboxes with this type of syntax, put AWB on the case and be "done" with it. This is an opportunity for education on NPOV, don't make it a demonstration of intolerance. Rfrisbietalk 02:35, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

It smacks a bit too much of instruction creep for my taste, but I'm going to treat the proposal with respect and not revert without seeing more discussion. It's obviously a good faith effort to advance consideration of the issue. Metamagician3000 03:46, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

I removed some statements which appeared to be of a generic nature (xfd is always an option). I also think that the section "it would be civil..." is unnecessary and somewhat patronising. I think it should probably be removed. --Tony Sidaway 13:02, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

These are largely Jimbo's recommendations; if they had been generally followed, there would be less ill-feeling now. Please reword to adjust the tone. Septentrionalis 13:25, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
I've done that since Tony's remarks - and I've tried to keep the intention intact.--Doc ask? 13:40, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
I think that's too weak; it's certainly weaker than Jimbo was. How about We recommend? Septentrionalis 14:12, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Things have moved on, the writing has been on the wall for a long time, etc., etc. I do not condone the mass userbox deletions that happened in the past, of which I was one of many innocent victims, or the shenanigans with the "User Christian" userbox. But there has now been ample time for people to adjust to the idea of not having these things in template space. I think we all just have to accept that concept and make it official. Jimbo didn't say to stop taking strong action forever.
I say that we should keep the criteria as simple as possible. I do hope admins will show some sensitivity and take action to substitute, etc., before deleting, when it is practical, to try to look after people who don't know about all these debates. That will have to be a matter of discretion, though; this shouldn't turn into a new nightmare with all sorts of procedural challenges to people who are essentially doing the right thing. We have to trust admins to administer this with good sense. Metamagician3000 14:35, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Metamagician3000 100%. The train has left the station. Current practice is that any userbox template that expresses political, religious, or similar opinions may be speedily deleted. The CSD need to reflect that practice. Any formulation which ignores this reality is unacceptable. Nandesuka 16:02, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Is this ("current practice is that any userbox template that expresses ... similar opinions may be speedily deleted") even true, and does it have consensus? I don't think it is true, but that's only my impression from the pages I watch. --AySz88^-^ 16:25, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

T2 is a special case of T1. As such, it either should be renumbered to T1.1 or the terms "divisive and inflammatory" should be inserted, notwithstanding Nandesuka's revert and justification of "current practice." Practice should follow policy, not the other way around. Rfrisbietalk 16:48, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

No, policy pages are supposed to reflect practice, not the other way arround. --Doc ask? 17:08, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Really? That's interesting. I'll go and speedy delete all articles relating to France now, and then come back and write a new speedy criterion A9 "Articles relating to France", shall I? Angr (tc) 17:50, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
You missed the part where we're editing an encyclopedia, and not Nandesuka 18:00, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
No, I didn't miss that part. We're discussing the userspace portion of the encyclopedia. Not one bit of information on anyone's user page has any relevance to the encyclopedia. Not yours, not mine, not Jimbo's, no one's. Either userspace is allowed to contain unencyclopedic information (that status quo since Wikipedia began), or the entire User: namespace should be deleted. Angr (tc) 19:11, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
I thought we're talking about templatespace, though. Userboxes, the ones we're talking about, live in templatespace. I have subst'd userboxes on my user page and I've been arguing all along that knowing my POV helps others help me be a better editor. But in templatespace, they're part of the encyclopedia. ++Lar: t/c 19:36, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Templates are not viewed by readers in isolation; they're seen on pages. Templates that appear on articles should be judged by the same criteria as articles. Templates that appear on user pages should be judged by the same criteria as user pages. There are already lots of non-userbox templates intended for user pages (see Wikipedia:Template messages/User namespace and Wikipedia:Userboxes/Large/Licencing; the latter aren't userboxes despite the name). Presumably these are now all speediable under T2. Angr (tc) 23:06, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
In less-inflammatory words... I'd say policy reflects consensus (or Jimbo's will) but consensus is not necessarily reflected by practice. Consensus needs to be shown for the practice first if you want to say "policy reflects practice". --AySz88^-^ 18:03, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Go to WP:DRVU and scroll down to achieves - notce how such speedy deletions are increasingly being endorsed by the community. It isn't just that some admins are interpreting T1 in this fashion, it is that the community is endorsing it. That's policy in the making. --Doc ask? 18:10, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Deleting a template because it is divisive and inflammatory is not the same as deleting it because it characterizes a point of view. Using one argument to justify the other is unfounded. Rfrisbietalk 18:23, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Looking at the last two debates, my rough count looks like use athesist 13Del 17Undel, and user christan 20Del 22Undel, which is far from consensus to me, it's more like split down the center, and isn't devisiveness the exact thing we're trying to prevent?? MartinRe 18:25, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Which suggests that when consensus goes up against fiat, you get funny results. We've been asked to get rid of these out of templatespace for some time but DRVU sometimes comes up with funny results. ++Lar: t/c 19:36, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
I think it might help if it was first easier for people to move it to user space. Yes, they can subst, but many of the templates subst to complex html, instead of using a userbox template. Also, if the the templates listed at WP:UBX were updated to user {{userbox|a,b,}} instead of {{User abc}} it might reduce the number of new users linking to the templates as they would then be cutting and pasting in pre-subst'd code. I agree that these need to move to user space, but I just don't think speedying them like this is the correct way. (not yet anyway!) Regards, MartinRe 19:50, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
You should also look at the debates and see how much of a walled garden DRVU is, also DRVU does not show consensus as only a bare majority is needed. Kotepho 18:29, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

New proposal[edit]

The present state of WP:UBD demonstrates that there is no consensus for T2 as a speedy criterion. I suggest therefore we add the following to Wikipedia:Deletion policy:

Many Wikipedians disapprove od user pages templates that are frivolous or which express personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues. They may be perceived as unencyclopedic, or as condoning partisan behavior. It is always in order to suggest that such templates be substituted into user pages; or to reword them in a non-partisan fashion (for example, replacing This user likes x with This user is interested in X). If this fails, they can be listed at Wikipedia:Templates for Deletion; a consensus shall delete them if they are harmful to the project.
and comment out T2.

(I chose this wording because:

  • Mentioning votestacking is WP:BEANS.
  • Technically, This user likes X is NPOV; it's a (possibly verifiable) fact. Rather than encourage that dilatory argument, I used non-partisan.

But improvements are welcome.)

Combined with a {{tprod}} tag, which would be an in-line {{prod}} for templates, this should accomplish all the legitimate goals of T2. Please comment Septentrionalis 13:58, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

I think the tl|prod idea is a good one - at the moment you can't prod a template - so I'd strongly support that. You will need to discuss it with folk on the prod page first, I think.) As for T2, I disagree. I don't think it is really a new criterion, it is an interpretation (all be it a broad one) of T1 - personally I'd not have split it off. Many of us have been interpreting t1 broadly for a while (and will continue to do so evenif T2 was removed). That broader interpretation is gathering increasing support - as can be seen by recent consensuses on DRV. CSD are not primary legislation anyway, they are a reflection of what actually generally happens - they are a record not a permission. --Doc ask? 14:10, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
This broad interpretation of T1 is causing unnecessary discord. Please stop. Septentrionalis 14:15, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
I concur. At what point does "broad interpretation" become "bias"? Rfrisbietalk 14:23, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
All the same could be said for 'narrow interpretation'--Doc ask? 14:52, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Criteria for speedy deletion should be objectively verifyable, needing minimal interpretation, thus, minimizing the likelihood of any form of biased interpretation. Rfrisbietalk 14:59, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, that's what T2 tries to do - spell out more clearly what T1 might mean. --Doc ask? 15:17, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
IMHO, it tries and fails. That's why I added the section below. Rfrisbietalk 15:24, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. T2 circumvents due process on topics that are, by definition, controversial. POV in and of itself is not cause for deletion. In fact, in a userbox, it supports full and frank disclosure. Rfrisbietalk 15:55, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
  • What possible reason do we have for annealing layers and layers of "due process" around content that is in no way useful to the building of the encyclopedia? For templates in article space I agree. For templates in user space, give me a break. Nandesuka 16:00, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
    • To avoid the reality, and the appearance, of arbitrariness and oppression; and to keep a handful of users, on both sides, from making fools of themselves. Septentrionalis 23:41, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
      • How is it oppressive to ask users to type their opinions or affiliations on their user pages, rather than having them in templates? How does spending time and resources on maintaining blog-like content meant for personal use in template space advance the cause of building an encyclopedia? Answer: in no way whatsoever. Nandesuka 00:09, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
        • How is promoting and supporting collaboration being counter to the cause of building an encyclopedia? Rfrisbietalk 00:31, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
          • If you're unable to collaborate without a pretty HTML box stored in template space, you might want to look for a site more suited to what you hope to achieve. Nandesuka 00:40, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
            • You keep bringing up myspace, as if having userboxes on one's user page were tantamount to making them myspace pages. A faulty comparison at best -- and ironic considering you yourself have no fewer than three userboxes on your own user page "that express personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues". Angr (tc) 01:07, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
              • I have zero templated userboxes on my own user that meet that criteria. So I think your understanding of that phrase is simply wrong. If you're talking about the babelboxes, then I will claim that you're the only person in the entire universe who believes that "I speak French" is a "personal belief, ideology, ethical convinction, or viewpoint on a controversial issue." Nandesuka 01:45, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
                • Of course I'm talking about the babelboxes, and of course I am not the only person in the universe, or even the only Wikipedian, who considers a statement of which languages you have considered worth learning to be a statement of a personal belief; and, as I already mentioned above, one which in many cases (perhaps not yours) can have clear political indications. I am not saying we should get rid of Babelboxes. I am saying we should get rid of the idea that it's possible to draw a clear line between userboxes that do and do not meet the criteria of T2. It is furthermore utterly absurd that only templates on user pages should be subject to this restriction. Templates are just a convenient way of storing information to be placed on other pages. Restrictions on the content of templates should be relative to the pages on which they appear. Templates appearing on articles should be subject to the same conditions as the articles themselves. Templates appearing on user pages should be subject to the same conditions as the user pages themselves. If you say "templates appearing on user pages must not express personal beliefs etc.", that is functionally equivalent to saying "user pages must not express personal beliefs". If you're worried that a colored box saying "This user is a Christian Socialist" makes the user page look more like a myspace page, then you must feel the same way about a plain text sentence saying "I'm a Christian Socialist". Whether the statement is written in a template, substed from a template, or written in plain text is completely irrelevant. Angr (tc) 09:21, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

(de-indenting) You say: "If you say "templates appearing on user pages must not express personal beliefs etc.", that is functionally equivalent to saying "user pages must not express personal beliefs"". To which I reply "well, except that it really isn't functionally equivalent to that at all, in any way." So again: I simply think you're wrong. Kind of the same way that your claim that "I speak French" is "expressing a personal belief" turned out to be wrong also. Again: the entire point of expanding T2 is to avoid having to make these sorts of value judgments. No one (let me repeat that: no one) has suggested deleting babelboxes, except you in a sort of roundabout WP:POINT way, and I believe there would be consensus for carving out an explicit exception for babelboxes if that was a legitimate concern. But it's not a legitimate concern, it's a ridiculous example taken to extremes, and that's why no one has added that exception. Nandesuka 13:11, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm sorry, you're going to have to defend your statement "well, except that it really isn't functionally equivalent to that at all, in any way." If I have information about my religious and political beliefs on my user page, it's completely irrelevant how it got there and what the code looks like. People keep saying "template space is for encyclopedic content only", except that it isn't and never has been, as a glance at Wikipedia:Template messages/User namespace will show. That page is full of long-established, well respected templates without a shred of encyclopedic content, intended for use on user pages. As for Babel boxes, I have never suggested deleting them: I have always only pointed out that any attempt to write a policy banning any subset of userboxes will wind up applying to Babelboxes too, because it's impossible to draw clear lines as to what are "good" userboxes and what are "bad" ones. Angr (tc) 18:20, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Tack on the words "this policy does not apply to babelboxes." There, done. Your concept of "impossible" is extremely unambitious. Nandesuka 18:26, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
And how do we define babelboxes? Is {{User en-5}} a babelbox or just a "fun" userbox? What about {{User AmE-5}}? {{User tlh}}? I amend my statment above to "it's impossible to draw clear, non-arbitrary lines as to what are 'good' userboxes and what are 'bad' ones." Angr (tc) 19:03, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

T2 confuses POV for bias, making it inappropriate[edit]

T2 characterizes a "point of view" about a controversial subject. By inclusion here, it then appraises expressing such a POV as unacceptable, thus meeting a criterion for speedy deletion. This policy statement is inappropriate because it confuses POV with bias.

Some contributors to Wikipedia misuse the term POV, taking it as an antonym to "NPOV", implying that a particular article or passage is affected by an editor's point of view. This is not what the term POV means, and should be avoided. The term they are groping for is "biased". (Describing points of view)

In adition, T2 implies a form of objectivity that is not intended by the NPOV policy.

There's no such thing as objectivity
Everybody with any philosophical sophistication knows that. So how can we take the "neutrality" policy seriously? Neutrality, lack of bias, isn't possible.

This is probably the most common objection to the neutrality policy. It also reflects the most common misunderstanding of the policy. The misunderstanding is that the policy would have said something about the possibility of objectivity. It simply does not. In particular, the policy does not say that there even is such a thing as objectivity in a philosophical sense... (There's no such thing as objectivity)

Further, T2 pushes the boundaries of using Lack of neutrality as an excuse to delete.

There's sometimes trouble determining whether some claim is true or useful, particularly when there are few people on board who know about the topic. In such a case, it's a good idea to raise objections on a talk page; if one has some reason to believe that the author of the biased material will not be induced to change it, we have sometimes taken to removing the text to the talk page itself (but not deleting it entirely). But the latter should be done more or less as a last resort, never as a way of punishing people who have written something biased.

For reasons such as these, T2 is an inappropriate criterion for a speedy delete. Several less intrusive options are availiable, such as the example of replacing User likes X with User is interested in X. Beyond that, Wikipedia:Templates for deletion should be used to guard against the potential for abuses of this policy through its biased application. Rfrisbietalk 14:02, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Too bad doing that can get you blocked. (See Template:User pedo)-- 02:20, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

The following templates seem to express a POV:





etc., etc. These are templates expressing an opinion that are designed for user space. In the war against userboxes, let's be careful about the collateral damage we open ourselves up to. JDoorjam Talk 18:59, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

  • On the other hand, these are templates explicity in the service of the encyclopedia, with long histories, etc. Also, I think we usually subst those. Mackensen (talk) 20:20, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
    On the contrary, these templates are opinion based to some extent, they desire to express ones point of view with regard to vandalism. Remember, there is a thin line between vandalism and content disputes, the templates are quite easy to misuse in content dispute cases, where they are "divisive and inflammatory". Also, I think the subst debate is entirely different to the debate about the purpose of userboxes, it merely transfers the argument to look as it the user coded the HTML, however, without knowledge at this deep level, the users intentions are completely identical. Ansell 07:07, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Does moving userboxes to userspace solve any problems?[edit]

I started a conversation about Moving userboxes from Template space to User space. Does this solve any problems discussed here, or is it just rearranging deck chairs? Rfrisbietalk 19:42, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

In my view it does. Especially if images and categories are removed at the same time and if users are asked to subst or use {{userbox}} rather than transcluding each other's pages. Those all cut off avenues for easy votestacking (yes, votestacking is still possible, but harder). ++Lar: t/c 19:47, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
So, is "votestacking" the underlying issue (or at least a primary one)? If so, does this potential threat outweigh the potential benefits of "community building"? Rfrisbietalk 20:06, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Some of the problems it solves are: a)makes it more difficult to vote stack as attached categories are removed. b)moves all potential POV text into userspace. c) removes the edit war possibility, as everyone's userbox is independent.
I think converting all the {{user ABC}} templates to {{Userbox|A|B|C}} would do a lot to help, as currently many templates are subst's to raw html, which makes users likely to revert the subst. I think if it was substs to userbox templates, it would not be as complex (it's wiki format) but yet would move it out of template space. Also, I think if we were to encourage this method, it would be better to re-write WP:UBX to use userbox format (except in cases of very offical templates), to try and stem the tide first, before trying to reverse it. Regards, MartinRe
Okay, since there's no technical reason why a userspace userbox can't be categorized, I assume deleting categories is another issue. IMHO, that seems to be getting closer to the heart of the issue, at least in terms of the votestacking concern. However, categories have a tendency to be more neutrally worded, e.g., "Wikipedians interested in bla, bla, bla" even when the userbox might say something with a more POV tone. From this perspective, they serve two highly useful (also IMHO) purposes for writing content - networking around a topic and community building. Attempts at wholesale banning of the communication functions userboxes serve through deletions of the boxes and categories out of votestacking fears is like trying to ban cell phones because terrorists use them. The potential costs of overly restricting these communication tools far outweigh the potential benefits of responsibly using them in an open environment such as this...IMHO. ;-) Rfrisbietalk 21:10, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
p.s. Moving userboxes from Template space to User space demonstrates that "moving userboxes to userspace" does not necessarily make userboxes independent. They still can be transcluded (if that's the proper term for it). Maybe it's just me, but looking for ways to handcuff the use of an available technology intended to facilitate collaboration seems a bit odd to me. Rfrisbietalk 21:24, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

As it happens, I've been working on extra features for my userbox substing script. One of these is the ability to automatically convert ("un-subst") an existing userbox template back into a tidy {{Userbox}} call. It's not perfect yet, but it already works more than half the time — it should be able to handle any userbox that was originally created using {{Userbox}}, {{Userbox-r}} or {{Userbox-2}}, but a lot of userboxes have nonstandard modifications that have to be allowed for. I've got some plans for a more robust version which I'll try to implement after the weekend. (Pathoschild also has an AWB-based solution at User:Pathoschild/Projects/Userboxes.)

Basically, I started thinking that it might make sense to start a project to subst all the userboxes "that express personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues" in one pass. This would be much more efficient than doing them one by one, since the time required for script-assisted substitution scales proportionally to the number of user pages edited but is mostly independent of the number of boxes substed on each page. I have no desire to force this thing through in a hurry — but if the criterion I quoted above sticks, I feel it'd be better to subst the boxes before people start deleting them. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 21:43, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Please see userbox policy[edit]

This discussion is not about CSD; it's about userboxes. Please see Wikipedia:Userbox policy. You may wish to edit this policy to reflect your concerns or you might like to discuss it in the appropriate place. John Reid 23:18, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Well, maybe, but I think it's about CSD criteria. There have been attempts to develop new CSD criteria and this seems the place to discuss that. ++Lar: t/c 03:04, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, this is the appropriate discussion page. That doesn't necessarily preclude discussion elsewhere, but discussion here is totally appropriate. Metamagician3000 10:11, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

"And" -> "or"[edit]

A couple of days ago there seemed to be clear consensus that userboxes that are divisive or inflammatory should be deleted. There is quite clear arbcom precedent to say exactly that. T1 used to say "and/or" before it was deleted in the last flurry of changes a few months ago, and I think that when it was reinstated the wording with "and" was not intended to mean that henceforth a userbox had to be both divisive and inflammatory, even though that is what it literally said. The intention was surely that divisive userboxes and inflammatory userboxes would be deleted. Often, the rationale for deletion of userboxes has, in practice, just been "divisive".

However, someone has changed the "or" back to "and" over the last couple of days. As far as I can see, no explanation was given as to why this was done. I have taken the liberty of changing it back to "or" to reflect:

  • practice;
  • the original aims of T1;
  • arb. com.'s clear language;
  • what seemed to be the consensus here.

Metamagician3000 00:47, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

I think it should remain as "and" as per the diff referenced on the main page. Many things could be regarded as devisive, even {{user admin}} divides users into admins and non-admins. I don't think it's the division that's the problem, it's if there is hositily attached to it as well. That's why I think it should remain as "and" to allow the swift removal of anything that splits people into them/us in cases where this would create unnecessary tension. Regards, MartinRe 00:55, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
On second thoughts, I'd probably just simplify it to say inflammatory, as not all divisive issues are bad, but generally all inflammatory one are, even if they're not devisive. Regards, MartinRe 01:00, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Agreeded, or is MUCH broader than and. I don't mind removing divisive myself, but we should form consensus on chaning this policy first. — xaosflux Talk 03:41, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
I just reverted an and-->or back to and. This is the exact version that is in the citation where Jimbo added this. This section apparently is just starting to discuss this proposed change. — xaosflux Talk 03:39, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Personally, I do not think "or" was the original intent of Jimbo's creation of T1. My logic goes like this: Interpretation of T1 should be placed in the context of the {{User paedophilia}} controversy at the time, with which "divisive and inflammatory" more probably meant the kind of backlash and division created in the community by the existance of the userbox. It probably doesn't mean "divisive" on its own, which could be interpreted horrendously broadly to include male/female or "I think the singular they is acceptable". (Unless, of course, Jimbo has clarified it since.) --AySz88^-^ 04:33, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Well this unanimous arb com ruling seemed pretty clear on how the arb com interpreted the situation. Metamagician3000 10:25, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Jimbo did have the polemcial version around at one time (mailing list?), but polemic != divisive. I'd be fine with or if we were going back to polemical. — xaosflux Talk 11:19, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, I would almost say that polemic == "divisive 'and' inflammatory", but the latter is easier to understand for most people, as the former isn't a very common word, ime. MartinRe 12:00, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
"Polemical" actually seems like a weaker word than "divisive" to me. Anyway, I'll leave this alone for a while and get back to a mix of (1) editing an encyclopedia and (2) real life. Metamagician3000 12:09, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
It is weaker, if you are referring to the breadth of it's scope, but that may be by design. — xaosflux Talk 12:25, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Interestingly enough, one of the boxes deleted as part of the referenced Template:User paedophilia controversy was the box Template:User pedo, which follows precisely the formulation suggested for alternatives to divisive and inflammatory boxes (i.e. "This user is interested in Pedophilia"). The creation of that template led to a two month ban for the wikipedia who created it - it might be nice to place a little warning to that effect along with the suggestion that such a formulation is acceptable. My 2¢. -- 23:08, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

AFAIK the main problem with the pedophilia box was that it had a history behind it. In context, it was highly provocative, even though the words themselves were in a relatively anodyne form for such a sensitive subject. Anyway, I won't press the "and/or" issue, because I'm quite happy with the current (as I write this) formulation of TX. I'd just like to see it bed down. Metamagician3000 12:24, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Another idea[edit]

Another idea to throw into the mix before I hit the hay. Currently the discussion is about whether or not a template can be speedy deleted, or required to go to Tfd. However, because of the nature of templates, do we not have a middle option of "speedy subst+delete" that might be worth exploring? Would that option help reduce some of the tension as a half way house? So "really bad" templates get speedy deleted, "okay, not template space worthy, but would cause ill will if outright deleted" get substs to userspace, and all other go to tfd where the discussion can say delete, subst+delete, or keep. Comments? MartinRe 01:15, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

I could support that if it included removing categories and images at the same time (both can be used for votestacking) ++Lar: t/c 01:26, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Substituting first is good practice, but not always practical if a very large number of people have a userbox. My feeling is that with a userbox like "This user is a feminist" the best thing to do is change the template to "This user is interested in feminism". But there will be many situations, and I think we have to leave it to the good sense of admins. Let's avoid instruction creep. And yes, I know that not all admins have always used good sense in the past, but most have been quite cautious.
Responding to this point specifically, it took me about 40 minutes to fix all the 300 or so pages transcluding {{User Christian}}. Anyone can do this with a tabbed browser (optional but recommended) and a bit of javascript. Also, the script can easily do multiple userboxes at the same time, and can be run by multiple users. At a guess, the time needed to subst all the religious and ideological userboxes, once the groundwork (deciding which boxes to subst, copying them to userspace, replacing the HTML code with a tidy {{Userbox}} call) has been done, would be measured in hours or days at most. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 10:27, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
The main thing is to clarify what kinds of userboxes are not supposed to be in template space to stop the endless disputes when admins take actions that don't fall literally into the words of the old T1, with resulting inconsistencies, depending on the vagaries of how reviews go. We all know what kinds of userboxes Jimbo doesn't want to be in template space indefinitely. His views on this are widely shared, at least among the admins. It's time to ensure that formal policy is worded in a way that clearly conforms with this. That's what I'm trying to achieve, and what I think Lar, Doc, Nandesuka and so on are trying to achieve. I don't understand why anyone would be against this - as opposed to being against deletions that don't match the words of the policy.
I mean, if Jimbo steps in and says we are going too far in trying to get this policy change to stick, of course I'm going to back off and eat my tasty dessert of humble pie. But at the moment this seems like a necessary and overdue step. Once it is taken, admins should be able to act in sensible ways without too much controversy. If some admins then go on a wild spree to delete userboxes en masse without attempts at substitution I'll be disappointed in them, but I don't want a whole lot of instructions tying admins in knots. Keep it simple. Metamagician3000 02:22, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Precisely. I'm willing to get behind various ideas, even if they take things too far in the complexity direction, because I tend to go along with good faith efforts, but, as User:GTBacchus told me on my talk page yesterday, every once in a while it may be prudent to take a whack at all the exceptions, butifs, special cases, and etc and simplify back down to essentials. So sure, MartinRe, if you can get this to stick, fine. But I think going to how MM3K and I and everyone else were trying to get T1 to be worded (without T2 and all the special cases) is simpler and perhaps better. Jimbo said points of view in userboxes are divisive and asked us to get rid of them if we would. We haven't.
It's time to be crisper about this. Stuff that helps people transition is goodness but is not the main point here. The main point is that while it's OK to have a point of view (any point of view), having it in a box in template space is divisive, and it has to go, per Jimbo. He asked. Sooner or later he will tell us instead I think. I'd rather we took care of this ourselves if we can.
I expect there are some people raising their eyebrows at my taking this stance at this time, because back at the time of the New Years deletions I was pretty adamant about how the out of process deletions were a bad thing. I still feel that way and there is no inconsistency, but it's clear to me now that when policy or process fail to give the right result, the policy and process have to be changed or fixed, because constantly just invoking WP:IAR over and over in the face of incorrect policy or process is NOT the way to go. ++Lar: t/c 03:02, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
I also agre that overuse of IAR is not the way to go, and I also would like userboxes out of template space, but I feel that most of the solutions try and do too much in one fell swoop, and that doing in it in steps, while not as quick, will work better overall and end up in the same place, but without as much chaos. When policy and process give the wrong result, the problem is people, and that can't be changed quickly. I think the first step was done ages back, namely specifying every template designed for user space was prefixed with user, and I think the next step is to first stop the increase of those being created before we try and reduce it. In that light, I would support the speedy deletion of a) any template designed for user space without the prefix user and b) the sppedy deletion of any user templates created after X day which do not have clear use to the enclyopedia (to allow more {{user aid}} style, which I assume people believe are fine. Any new "userboxes" created must be created using the userbox template, and may be added to WP:UBX in that form only. All templates existing prior to that date (including those on UBX), either get speedy deleted if covered by the old T1 (devisive and inflamitory) or go to tfd, where the only results are "use to project, 'officalise' in section of UBX", "delete" or "de-cat, userboxify, subst, and then delete". UBX should be monitored to ensure that those "project useful" templates are in an appropiate labeled sections, and any others are re-edited to user userbox format. (e.g. by tagging templates with "userboxify this on ubx by X date or it will be removed from there". At that point, there may be still many userboxes on user pages, but they will all be in userspace, and I believe that without a central and simple place to create {{user is XYZ}} the number used will slowly wither away. And I think it'll be that allowing to wither away rather than abrupt removal that will allow it to work. For better or worse, people are seem to get attached to, and value more anything you try and forcibly take away. Think of a large group of people as a child with a toy, try and take it away to tidy up, and the child will throw a tantrum and claim it's their favourite. Simply ignore them and they'll eventually throw it away in boredom. Both end up at the same point, but the latter case, while not as quick, is handled without screams. Regards, MartinRe 09:39, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
PS so, if anything, I support a harsher speedy delete than proposed now (delete everything without a claim of "usefulability", (A7 for templates? :) albeit applied only to a subset created after an agreed date. Regards, MartinRe 09:43, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Votestacking is simply not enough of an argument here. There are tons of ways to locate editors besides userboxes, and most of the methods can be used for as much good as bad. It's like saying that automobiles should be outlawed, because you could use them to run somone over. — xaosflux Talk 03:25, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
I oppose bundling categories with templates on this issue. The potential benefits of collaboration facilitated by the use of wikipedian categories by topic far outweigh the potential costs of any form of aoutmated wikipedian groupings used to facilitate votestacking. Rfrisbietalk 03:30, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Templates are merely transclusions[edit]

Templates are part of "omni-space". Templates are merely transclusions. If there are objections to substance contained in templates, then the same substance should be removed from User:space. If there is no objection to substance, then there is no reason to remove the transclusion of that substance. Bits are bits are bits. --William Allen Simpson 15:25, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Bits is bits, and policy is policy. The critical issues revolve more around which policies apply. They are different for mainspace and userspace. The question then becomes which policies apply to which templates. Since transclusions are not "inherently" substantive, it makes sense that templates that are restricted to specific namespace(s) should be subject to their corresponding policies. In the case of userboxes, for example, they should be subject to userspace policies. Rfrisbietalk 16:35, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
I disagree. There's a number of things that we wouldn't allow in one namespace, but would in another. This sounds like you're talking about the userbox thing, so here's what I think about that: We wouldn't have a Wikipedia: page about wombats, and we shouldn't have a template page either. Anything on this encyclopedia exists to further to encyclopedia. Jokes and humor are fine, but keep it confined to userspace where people won't be the impression that these templates are what we're about. Snoutwood (talk) 16:43, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
The argument "Anything on this encyclopedia exists to further the encyclopedia" can lead to the entire deletion of User: space, and possibly Help: space, Wikipedia: space, and MediaWiki: space as well. Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. Angr (tc) 18:54, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that is a matter of concern, since there's no definition of what "furthering the encyclopedia" does or does not include. -- grm_wnr Esc 19:37, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
About the first post: I agree that templates which are used (or meant to be used) in User space are already governed by User policy, and other spaces by their policies - however, there is one difference with Template space that I know of: things controversial or borderline as to whether they are detrimental to the project probably shouldn't be allowed in Template space, since wide proliferation of those things is undesirable in favor of better alternatives. But that doesn't really change the point - in the end, the "it doesn't benefit the encyclopedia" argument (and some other arguments, probably) still doesn't really fit in here, since the argument is really about whether it should be used in User space and is about changing userspace policy, not the templates. If that argument has any weight, one should change the userspace policy to disallow such things.
I don't see a reason why that wombat box would be deleted. Since the wombat userbox is meant for userspace, if the joke is agreed to be acceptable in userspace (and I don't see any reason why it would ever be thought of as harmful to the project), there is no reason why a template would be unacceptable. Any such template would be used on userspace, where they've already been determined to be acceptable.
Especially with these joke templates, which I don't think can be construed as damaging to the project, whether or not those are within Template space seems meaningless to me, since there's no reason why having it in Template space is any worse than having it in User space. What good would it do to move these to User space if there is no reason why having it as in Template space is bad and most would agree that it would be acceptable in User space either way, and why not allow the harmless templates since they're not damaging the encyclopedia?
Also, saying that there would never be a Wikipedia: page about wombats is probably not correct, since one never knows the context in which one might be appropriate. And, you know, there's already one about tigers.--AySz88^-^ 20:43, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Wombat! Rfrisbietalk 22:11, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Any speedy deletion criteria specifically targeting userboxes are premature[edit]

Clearly, the use of userboxes is controversial. In addition, previous attempts at establishing a policy about their use have been unsuccessful, e.g., Wikipedia:Proposed policy on userboxes. Further, many attempts to speedy delete specific and even classes of userboxes have proven to be controversial and divisive. Thus, attempts to create speedy deletion criteria specifically targeting userboxes, such as the current T2, violate their own principles. If the underlying principles of T2 were applied to itself, it would qualify as a candidate for speedy deletion.

A fundamental problem with any attempts to target userboxes with speedy deletion criteria is that these criteria currently have no basis in a broader userbox policy. Until such a policy is in effect, speedy deletion criteria specifically for userboxes fail to have the guidance of policy-level consensus, exacerbating the likelihood of provoking exactly the type of divisiveness it purports to eliminate.

Because of these inherent pitfalls in the current situation, any attempts to develop speedy deletion criteria specifically targeting userboxes are premature. In the meantime, speedy deletion criterion T1 is in effect for all templates, including userboxes. If a userbox violates T1, it can be dealt with accordingly. Consequently, I propose the following.

  • Delete T2.
  • Hold a moratorium on developing userbox-specific speedy deletion criteria until such time that an approved userbox policy is in place. After the policy is in place, determine whether any additional speedy deletion criteria are necessary, and then proceed accordingly.
  • Work toward developing consensus and approving a userbox policy. A current proposed policy can be found at Wikipedia:Userbox policy.

Thank you for your good faith consideratrion of this proposal. Rfrisbietalk 00:28, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree that many people are trying to rush in their point of view into policy claiming current practice dictates it without thinking about a long term solution that has consensus to start with. Ansell 12:45, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Definitely agree with this, 100%. See also User:Misza13/Userbox Gallery Poll and WP:MACK. Please, admins, hold off a bit and see what the rest of us can come up with! TheJabberwʘck 04:18, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Abosultely agree. No userbox should be speedied unless it meets the general criteria for speedy deletion, until we've got together a proper policy on it. Stifle (talk) 16:51, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I would also like to object in the strongest possible terms to any modification of userboxes using T2 as the basis since this is a new and heavily disputed guideline. Specifically the efforts of Clyde need to be stopped for the time being at least until this issue is resolved here as he is systematically changing the meaning of several dozen userboxes without discussion. JohnnyBGood Flag of Mexico.svg t c 00:45, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Explanation of User:Tony Sidaway's revert of an edit by User:Matt Yeager[edit]

Matt_Yeager (talk · contribs) edited T2 from:

Templates designed for user pages that express personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues.


(Proposed criterion) Templates designed for user pages that express divisive and inflammatory personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues.

I have reverted this edit for the following reasons:

  1. templates are already being routinely speedied for expressing "beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues." This is largely just an interpretation of T1. Examples of such speedy deletions that were endorsed at deletion review include the deletions of the "No Marxism" template, the "Communism" template and the "against Saud" template.
  2. the repetition of "divisive and inflammatory" appears to be an attempt to weaken the clause, and doesn't really make much sense.
  3. the inclusion of the term "proposed criterion" is prejudicial. WP:CSD is the place for speedy deletion policy. We don't put mere proposals there (they would be discussed on the talk page).

--Tony Sidaway 12:16, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

The proposal is so broad that it encompasses everything. There are administrators who would take everything to be included in the category. You shouldn't justify your policy decision based on current practice, there has to be an objective reason why we should outlaw any expression of POV on user pages, and NPOV policy is not it. The inclusion of proposed criterion is perfectly fine, otherwise this debate is a foregone conclusion, and it most certainly is not a foregone conclusion. Maybe the proposal should be deleted and developed here since it is actually still a mere proposal. The repetition of divisive and inflammatory is what I think defines a scope for the whole proposal, it deserves to be there. Ansell 12:39, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

You misunderstand the purpose of these CSDs. They don't "outlaw any expression of POV on user pages" at all. They merely limit and hopefully effectively erradicate the ongoing abuse of template space, categories, whatlinkshere and the transclusion mechanism to promote partisan views.

This principle has already been well expressed in past debates. The thesis that we shouldn't based written policy on current practice is simply fatuous. That's what policy on Wikpiedia is. --Tony Sidaway 12:48, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia policy should not be made up by practice followed by someone saying its current practice therefore we must make policy fit it. That ignores the idea of consensus in the community. Ansell Review my progress! 07:41, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
At this moment the King, who had been for some time busily writing in his note-book, cackled out "Silence!" and read out from his book, "Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court."
Everybody looked at Alice.
"I'm not a mile high," said Alice.
"You are," said the King.
"Nearly two miles high," added the Queen.
"Well, I shan't go, at any rate," said Alice: "besides, that's not a regular rule: you invented it just now."
--Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Angr (tc) 08:21, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Per definition, current practice has consensus. (as there is no opposition to that which is already there). Wikipedia essay/guidelines/policy are said to be "descriptive not prescriptive", ie, current practice is to be written down.

This also explains things like Ignore All Rules. If you disagree with current practice, get consensus and apply a new current practice. Kim Bruning 10:51, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

In actions which any wikipedian can take, I would agree that current practice must have a decent level of consensus, but where the actions can only be taken by a subset of the involved parties, current practice may only by definition have consensus in that group. (ie, admin powers of deletion etc.) Ansell Review my progress! 10:56, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
This is why I am dismayed at the low efficacy of Requests For Adminship. We've gone from the wiki with the best user/admin ratio (due to adminship being "no big deal") to the wiki with the worst user/admin ratio (due to high influx).
Even so, actions like deletion can certainly be taken by anyone, you just need to know how, it just looks at tad funny. :-) Kim Bruning 11:06, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Is there also a method for people to be able to review deleted content without admin privileges. I know that would be helpful with deletion review comments, particularly speedy deletions ;-) Ansell Review my progress! 11:16, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, at some point there was community consensus that that should be made impossible, so it was. It's a tricky situation because it can also get us into legal trouble. <scratches head> Even so, that was years ago, and nothing is supposed to be binding forever. Perhaps you could come up with a proposal? Kim Bruning 11:35, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I didn't quite think it appropriate to do that just yet. Instead I made up Reduce confusion by following policy, an essay into why following policy can save wikipedians time in general. Have a look and comment or improve on it. Ansell Review my progress! 00:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Explanation of User:Tony Sidaway's removal of the "recommendations" section from T2[edit]

On reflection, I have removed the following subclause from T2:

(We recommend such options as: requesting users remove the template in question; attempting a more neutral rewording of the template, - e.g. replacing User likes X with User is interested in X; and substituting the template before deletion.)

Firstly, rewording a template that says (say) "This user is pro-life" with "This user is interested in the ethics of abortion" doesn't really resolve the problem; there will probably be a number of separate templates around each reflecting a separate view, and the best way to tackle this is to remove the templates completely.

Secondly, substituting alternative text is problematic because it does not reflect the transcluding user's intent.

Thirdly, speedy deletion is for the removal of obviously unsuitable material (such as that which asserts a political point of view) Our reason for using speedy deletion to do this is because userbox adherents tend not to be acculturated Wikipedians, they tend instead to be imbued with a "myspace" ethic, a belief in their unassailable right to express their partisan opinions using electronic bumper stickers in template space. At this stage we're well aware that asking the users to remove the templates (which I might add is not a recommendation in the case of any other class of speedy deletion) is likely to achieve nothing except dumb intransigence. If we're to remove these unsuitable templates, we should do so as expeditiously and unapologetically as possible. While there may occasoinally be room for doubt as to the encyclopedic value of an article, a userbox template by definition can never have encyclopedic value, so there's even less reason to pussyfoot around the issue that in the case of, save, CSD A7. --Tony Sidaway 12:42, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Why does NPOV apply in this case when it doesn't apply to the content of user pages? Considering you use it as your reference for neutral above. Sorry, you removed that section :) Ansell 12:48, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
That is an extremely dangerous precedent, 1, to call userbox enthusiasts as unaccultured in your view, and 2, to delete things quietly because it might cause a fuss, if there is such a huge fuss to be caused then maybe an actual userbox policy should be formulated to fall back on when the inevitable cruch comes to the few who are being so hasty in deleting something on the basis that it is not encyclopedic in their view. Ansell 12:53, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

"Speedy" and "quiet" perfectly describe the way in which many thousands of articles are speedy deleted every week. It's how speedy deletion is meant to work. You might think this "hasty", but it works well. --Tony Sidaway 13:26, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

The articles in question are being deleted in this way using well-defined criteria with community consensus. It is hasty to delete things based on criteria that may appear on the CSD page even though heavy discussion is still in order as to their exact wording. The lack of the "well-defined criteria with community consensus" puts them outside of the typical speedy situations. Ansell 13:47, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Template speedies are also taking place regularly and, although they're more frequently challenged, the number of successful challenges is actually quite low. Thus the speedy criteria for templates are now well established. --Tony Sidaway 12:15, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

  • I'll support this, I think there's processes established that allow challenging contentious speedies, and Tony's right on the broad point that speedy deletioin should really be just that. Speedy. Hiding Talk 13:28, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

T2 Clarity[edit]

Some contention on this issue may be the result of a lack of clarity due to all the conditional in the statement: "Templates designed for user pages that express personal beliefs, ideologies, ethical convictions, or viewpoints on controversial issues." Does this mean:

  • (Interpretation a) Templates ... that express (personal beliefs or ideologies or ethical convictions or viewpoints) on controversial issues.
  • (Interpreation b) Templates ... that express (personal beliefs or ideologies or ethical convictions or viewpoints on controversial issues).
The latter is much broader. — xaosflux Talk 12:43, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure I see the difference. Could you give examples of where a template would seem to fall under the second, "broader" criterion but not the first? --Tony Sidaway 12:51, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
The question is about the scope of "on controversial issues": does it modify "viewpoints" alone, or does it modify "personal beliefs", "ideologies", and "ethical convictions" as well? For example, "I think orange juice tastes good" expresses a personal belief, but not a personal belief on a controversial issue. If T2 has interpretation (a), a template saying "I think orange juice tastes good" is not speediable; if T2 has interpretation (b), such a template is speediable. Angr (tc) 13:52, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

It's not a good example. We'd obviously delete a template that said "I think orange juice tastes good" for its sheer fatuousness. As a communicable sentiment of supposed relevance to the encyclopedia, it's well below the event horizon. --Tony Sidaway 14:10, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Well, you'd obviously delete such a template. I don't see that it's any more fatuous than "This user understands that no user on Wikipedia 'owns' any of its pages and welcomes the assistance of others in making this page perfect" (which should be blindingly obvious to anyone who's read WP:OWN), yet no one has ever deleted {{User page perfect}}, or even nominated it for deletion. But that's not the point; I was merely trying to explain the difference between the two interpretations of T2. Angr (tc) 14:55, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Another attempt to explain the different interpretations:

  1. Templates ... user pages that express (personal beliefs or ideologies or ethical convictions or viewpoints) on controversial issues.
  2. Templates ... user pages that express (personal beliefs) or (ideologies) or (ethical convictions) or (viewpoints on controversial issues).

Shouldn't the "correct/official" meaning be made explicit in the policy language? FWIW, so far in practice the broadest (second) interpretation seems to be favorite. Jimbo's exact words read as version #2: "It should be noted that use of [userboxes related to beliefs, ideologies, viewpoints on controversial issues, and ethical convictions] is strongly discouraged at Wikipedia, and it is likely that very soon all these userboxes will be deleted or moved to userspace. Their use and creation is not recommended at this time." AvB ÷ talk 17:02, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

I think something along the following lines would be much clearer:

Templates, insofar designed for user pages, that express viewpoints on controversial issues, personal beliefs, ideologies or ethical convictions.

or even:

Templates that are designed for user pages and express one of the following:
  • viewpoints on controversial issues
  • personal beliefs
  • ideologies
  • ethical convictions

AvB ÷ talk 17:23, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

It still seems silly to isolate templates this way. Either user pages are allowed to have "viewpoints on controversial issues, personal beliefs, ideologies or ethical convictions", or they aren't. If they are, those viewpoints etc. should be expressable by means of a template, which is nothing more than a convenient tool for holding text. (And as the page Wikipedia:Template messages/User namespace shows, templates have never been restricted to article space.) If they aren't, then the speedy criterion should be U2 rather than T2 and say "User pages that express viewpoints on controversial issues, personal beliefs, ideologies or ethical convictions." Angr (tc) 17:44, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
No one is trying to censor viewpoints expressed on user pages. Rather, the point is that the use of templates to express personal beliefs in this way does nothing to advance the cause of editing an encyclopedia, and does a few things to hurt it. T2 is clearly intended to read the second way (since a major goal of the recent refactoring was "remove guesswork and the likelihood of bias from these speedies." Nandesuka 18:13, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
I still don't believe that using templates to express persnoal beliefs hurts the encyclopedia in any way. Nor do I believe that anything at all in userspace, regardless of how it's presented, advances the cause of editing an encyclopedia. If editing an encyclopedia were really all we were interested in, we wouldn't even have userspace. For the encyclopedia, it's useless. Userspace is just for users. Angr (tc) 18:20, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

I think it would be better to have waited for WP:MACK to take hold rather than reigniting the embers of the userbox war with another pointless, undiscussed can of kerosene. Cynical 15:39, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Quite. However, currently a minority of people are enforcing this issue much more tightly than Jimbo wanted or, I suspect, the community supports, while most other admins are staying the hell away from it. The result is that because most actions taken with regard to T1 and T2 are theirs, they appear to have more support than they actually do. I oppose this move in the strongest terms possible. Stifle (talk) 10:35, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Most definitely, and I'd like to see some of you admins participating in the discussion there rather than here. TheJabberwʘckhelp! 00:17, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Revocation of CSD:T2[edit]

First section[edit]

I move to revoke CSD:T2 forthwith, as it does not appear to have the support of the community. All templates deleted under CSD:T2 will remain deleted but can be taken to DRV normally. Stifle (talk) 00:04, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Second the motion. This criteria is not supported by consensus, and is open to abuse. It should be removed. -- 02:17, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
To revoke it, you'd have to stop administrators deleting userboxes that express controversial opinions. That isn't going to happen. --Tony Sidaway 02:21, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Is this an admission of a cabal. The definition would imply that you would never tell the truth. But the behavioural aspect fits. Admins doing what they want without regard to consensus. Kind of like WP:IAR has become king. I dont mean to sound like a troll, but if there is such a strong dislike of T2 how will Wikipedia really justify its image as "not making the internet suck". Kind of sounds like irony to make it suck for people again. Ansell Review my progress! 10:11, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I have to admit that you do sound like a troll. I don't think I'm the only one who thinks this. I don't see much dislike of T2. It's been working very well for months. --Tony Sidaway
I move that this section be renamed "Vote to determine whether this is an encyclopedia or a MySpace-style social website," because that's essentially what it is. —David Levy 02:35, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the administrators need to reflect upon the massive waste of time that needless deletion causes, and weigh it against the supposed benefits of removing userboxes. There is no tangible benefit to the deletion of userboxes. None. On the other hand, deletion causes massive strife and waste of time on the project. Kelly Martin's experience should have been a lesson to all - but instead she is being taken as a hero. Not so. T1 and T2 are meant to divide and inflame the community, and do so to a much greater extent than any userbox ever could. -- 02:45, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
I disagree with your assertion that "there is no tangible benefit to the deletion of userboxes." Frankly, the types in question are among the greatest threats to this website. They drain resources, fuel conflicts (apart from those pertaining to their deletion), facilitate vote-stacking, and convey an inaccurate impression of what Wikipedia is. (Newbies are signing up to "create profiles" and socialize.)
In short, these userboxes "divide and inflame the community." Fortunately, with the bad ones gone, the primary dividing line will lie between those who are here to build an encyclopedia and those who aren't. The fact that it would be easier to bow to your demands and rename the site "WikiMySpace" doesn’t mean that we should. —David Levy 04:10, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
At the very least, we must recognize that Stifle is correct to suggest that T2 itself is profoundly divisive, such that it may not command the support of a clear majority of users, even amongst only those who have been with the project a good while. I don't know that we ought to suspend speedy deletions currently undertaken pursuant to T2 (even as, for reasons I've expressed elsewhere, I am generally opposed to T2), but, irrespective of one's thoughts about T2, he/she ought to understand that there does not seem to exist a clear consensus for the continued operation of T2. One must observe, of course, that the vitiation of deletions under T2 doesn't necessarily result in our maintaining templates that are generally seen as divisive; we'd simply act with less celerity and more deliberation. Joe 05:09, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Someone, PLEASE, show me where these userboxes have caused conflict, besides the ones penetrate to their deletion, and where newbis have created profiles in order to socialize. And I guess vandalism isn't Wikipedia's biggest threat anymore? --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?) 21:09, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
1. Quoth the userpage of none other than Joeyramoney (the newbie who inadvertently found himself involved in the pedophilia userbox wheel war): "i just like wikipedia a lot, so i decided to start a profile." This user has edited numerous articles, but doesn't mean that it's appropriate for him to display userboxes (whether transcluded or substituted) proclaiming that he's a pedophile and that he suffers from "Ass-burger syndrome."
I'll leave it to someone else (Tony, perhaps) to post some links to discussions in which userbox-fueled vote-stacking (and the resultant conflicts) occurred.
2. "Among the greatest threats" != "the biggest threat." —David Levy 22:08, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

T2 gives formal expression to a practice that will continue to be followed even if someone deletes it from the project page. The practice is needed, and the policy should reflect it. Policy should follow (needed) practice, not the other way around. However, policy should also be updated so that it is transparent and genuinely does match practice and provide useful guidance as to what the accepted practice has become, and so it can be used as the immediate explanation for individual acts. Rather than explaining acts in terms of a contrived reading of T1 (which literally says that a template must be divisive and inflammatory, as if it is okay at Wikipedia for a template to be divisive as long as it is not also inflammatory, or inflammatory as long as it is not also divisive), it is better to have a policy that explicitly spells out what we are trying to accomplish here. What we are trying to accomplish is to get politically, theologically, etc., controversial userboxes out of template space. That aim is not negotiable. Jimbo himself has announced it, and no one has ever put a strong reason against it. I see no point in continually disputing whether this aim itself is a good idea. Once the aim is accepted, the only question is how policies should be worded to reflect and support it. Those of us who initiated the creation of T2 say it is better to have the aim stated clearly in the policy, rather than relying on a construction of T1 that does not literally say this at all, and was perhaps written with other aims in mind (though I'm not sure of the last point and don't especially rely on it). Deleting T2 would just produce unclarity, contrivance, and inconsistency as admins do in an ad hoc way what they have good reasons to do, but with no clear policy reflecting their reasons.

I strongly support the acceptance and retention of T2. Metamagician3000 03:21, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

(Aside) "T1...which literally says that a template must be divisive and inflammatory, as if it is okay at Wikipedia for a template to be divisive as long as it is not also inflammatory, or inflammatory as long as it is not also divisive...." I think the "and inflammatory" restricts "divisive" (i.e. "divisive" like in the pedophilia templates, not "divisive" like male/female). "Inflammatory" alone is probably too weak, as plenty of things can be inflammatory to some person or group of people (and I think people have been making the argument that all the belief userboxes are all currently "inflammatory" because of the debate over them). I don't think the phrase is as ridiculous as you interpreted it to be.
It is not obvious to some(most?) regular users that belief userboxes are harmful - it is a conclusion from what I think are at least two non-obvious assertions that would have to be learned through experience: that templates cause proliferation rather than just aid existing use, and that belief statements are only tolerated in userspace rather than accepted as "about me" (which in turn assumes people know that userspace isn't intended for "about me" anyway). I would say that a consensus acceptance of T2 as a speedy criteria would require some education, explanation, and agreement about why T2 would be necessary, the intended use of userspace, effects of such templates, etc. for some amount of time. (Certainly, some people would want to more evidence that certain assertions are true.)
In addition, the often-repeated statement that such userboxes will somehow transform Wikipedia into Myspace (and its somewhat less-confusing predecessor, "Wikipedia is not Myspace") definately doesn't help people understand why belief userboxes are being frowned upon, and I don't think it's helpful; please stop repeating it. --AySz88^-^ 04:29, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Why? It's an apt description. —David Levy 04:55, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Please explain to me how the existance of userboxes would make people believe that Wikipedia user pages should be used like a blog like Myspace. (Just in case: the converse, that people that already think such use userboxes, doesn't apply here.) --AySz88^-^ 01:40, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to call your attention to the large support for "an immediate moratorium on the speedy deletion of userboxes that are 'designed for user pages and express viewpoints on controversial issues, personal beliefs, ideologies, or ethical convictions,' but are not "divisive and inflammatory," until such time when a userbox policy is adopted" at Wikipedia:Mackensen's Proposal/Straw Poll. Λυδαcιτγ(TheJabberwock) 05:28, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

The contentious templates will die. Really all that is under debate is whether the people who want to continue to abuse Wikipedia as a myspace or livejournal site want to be bloody about it. --Tony Sidaway 00:22, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

I was under the impression that the answer to that was obvious, and the debate was now focused on what we ought to do about it. Kirill Lokshin 00:29, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Section break for editing[edit]

I am wondering, Tony, if what you say is based upon your own opinion of what you want Wikipedia to be, or a consensus that you perceive to exist. Please help me understand which, if either, of these is correct, and moreover, why getting dozens of people's backs up by speedying their mostly-harmless templates is a good thing. Stifle (talk) 00:46, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
No, it isn't just his idea of what wikipedia is. If you look at the top lefthand corder of the page, under the jigsaw ball, where it says 'WIKIPEDIA', now read the words underneath 'THE FREE....ENCYCLOPEDIA'. --Doc ask? 00:59, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Regardless of how you feel about the userboxes (and you and I are in agreement on them), it certainly doesn't deserve this sort of attitude. --badlydrawnjeff (WP:MEMES?) 01:24, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Indeed it doesn't. It's true there are lots of userpages that seem to confuse Wikipedia with MySpace or LiveJournal. I encounter a lot of them when deleting images with no copyright tag. And you know what? Not a single one of them has a single userbox on it! That's right, not one so far of the MySpace-type user pages I've found. In my experience, userboxes are used exclusively by people who actually contribute to writing the encyclopedia. Angr (tc) 09:29, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Give that man a barnstar. The "Userbox wars" are antagonizing a lot of genuine contributors. The one point I agree on is that they can be used for votestacking. The solution: Take the categories out of them. There is no other problem with userboxes - people will put what they want on their userpages anyway, and unless it's a fair use image or a ridiculous case of WP:NOT a free webhost, it will stay. The logical extension is wanting it to put them in a userbox. It doesn't harm anyone, so why are you stirring up trouble? Stifle (talk) 10:32, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
You're forgetting about the "What links here" link. —David Levy 15:43, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
That is 150% correct. The "Userbox lovers want Wikipedia to be MySpace" argument is blatantly false and anyone who uses that argument should be refuted publically. There are many users, some admins, who have loads of userboxes and also want to help build Wikipedia, and have made many significant edits. --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?) 16:12, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
The belief that Wikipedia is both an encyclopedia and a MySpace-style site is half-correct. A Wikipedian's only reasonable expectation is that this be encyclopedia. Anything else is gravy, not an entitlement (no matter how many positive contributions someone makes). This isn't about being mean by forcing everyone to do nothing but contribute to articles; it's about not tolerating activities that impede such efforts.
Of course, no one said anything about deleting all userboxes. It's possible to "have loads of" them that aren't problematic. I don't think that anyone is arguing that it's terribly harmful to include a small amount of personal content on one's userpage, provided that it doesn't interfere with the goal of writing an encyclopedia. Whether you agree or disagree, the assertion is that some userboxes do interfere with this goal, and these are ones that should be deleted. —David Levy 17:17, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Where did I say anything about Wikipedia co-existing as a MySpace along with an encyclopedia? --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?) 17:29, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
You noted that many userbox enthusiasts also make valuable contributions to the encyclopedia. I don't dispute that, and my point that this doesn't automatically entitle them to also use Wikipedia as a social community. To be clear, however, I condemn the latter activity only when it interferes with the former. —David Levy 18:32, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I wasn't implying that userboxes were meant for social networking. All I'm saying is that the argument that Wikipedians who support userboxes want to turn Wikipedia into a MySpace or LiveJournal is simply ridiculous and untrue. --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?) 18:37, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Likewise, I wasn't implying that userbox enthusiasts don't also serve as fine editors. My point is that Wikipedia shouldn't be treated as a MySpace-like site to any extent that interferes with the goal of writing the encyclopedia—even by users who also author outstanding articles. —David Levy 19:04, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't know how many of the userbox enthusiasts also make constructive edits, and I don't particularly care. Wikipedia isn't an encyclopedia/social network/soapbox/vote-stacking facilitator. It's an encyclopedia...period. If someone's willingness to make encyclopedic contributions is contingent upon the availability of unencyclopedic pursuits, that's too bad. Making a handful of (or even numerous) good edits doesn't entitle a user to also make bad ones. —David Levy 15:43, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
If that were true, that Wikipedia is exclusively an encyclopedia, not also a community, then we wouldn't have userspace at all. We might just as well delete User: namespace altogether, because nothing on anyone's userpage helps build an encyclopedia. Userspace is there for the users, not for the encyclopedia. We also wouldn't have meetups—they don't help the encyclopedia either. Wikimania never would have happened either. But Wikipedia is a community in addition to an encyclopedia: read Wikipedia:Wikipedians, where it explicitly says "Some people might think that Wikipedist would be a more appropriate name, as an encyclopedist is someone who contributes to an encyclopedia. ... The ending of Wikipedian, though, suggests being part of a group or community." Angr (tc) 17:46, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Firstly, I don't know where you got the idea that "nothing on anyone's userpage helps build an encyclopedia." Even some userboxes assist in the encyclopedia's authorship.
Secondly, I acknowledge that userpage content of the harmless variety indirectly benefits the encyclopedia by fostering community spirit (which leads to increased participation and better articles). I advocate the speedy deletion of userpage content that isn't harmless. Your assessment of what is and isn't harmful might differ from mine, but that's another matter. —David Levy 18:32, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I say nothing on anyone's userpage helps build an encyclopedia because there is not one single userpage whose deletion would harm the encyclopedia. The encyclopedia doesn't need user pages. Users do. I would advocate the speedy deletion of userpage content that was actively harmful if I believed it existed, but I don't. I've never seen anything on a userpage that was harmful to the encyclopedia. Nor anything on a userpage that was helpful to the encyclopedia either. Everything I've ever seen on anyone's userpage has been neutral to the encyclopedia. That's the nature of userpages. Angr (tc) 19:08, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Obviously, I disagree with you. I've already cited ways in which I believe some userpage content harms the encyclopedia. On the flip side, someone might seek the editing assistance of a user who speaks Spanish, lives in Australia, or is knowledgeable in the area of Egyptian culture (as three random examples). Userpages (and userboxes) can contain information that enables users to contact one another in a manner that benefits the encyclopedia. —David Levy 19:41, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, it's quite easy to get help on those issues without touching userspace. If I need a user who speaks Spanish, I can go to Wikipedia:Translators available, or leave a note at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language or Talk:Spanish language. If I'm looking for someone who lives in Australia I can leave a note at Talk:Australia or Talk:Australian English. For Egyptian culture I would ask at Talk:Egyptian culture. Don't get me wrong, I'm not seriously arguing for the deletion of userspace. I think it's good to have a community and it's bad to do things that hurt the community's morale. But deep down, I know that userspace isn't essential to the building of the encyclopedia, and if userspace were (hypothetically) to be deleted, the encyclopedia wouldn't be harmed. Angr (tc) 20:30, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
1. I didn't claim that it's impossible to contact someone via alternative means; I cited examples of situations in which userpages benefit the encyclopedia.
2. Do you disagree that the ability to identify specific users with declared interests and abilities and contact them directly (rather than posting a message to a talk page that they might not see) can be advantageous?
3. What if someone wanted to find someone who speaks Spanish and is knowledgeable in the area of Egyptian culture? (Again, keep in mind that these are random examples.)
4. The fact that something isn't "essential" doesn't mean that it isn't beneficial. We could get by without templates, but they certainly improve the encyclopedia.
5. As an aside, Talk:Egyptian culture doesn't exist. —David Levy 20:53, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
The encyclopedia would't get any worse, but the rate at which it gets better would decrease rapidly, I think. I, for one, wouldn't contribute to the encyclopedia as much without a sense of the people here. Λυδαcιτγ(TheJabberwock) 21:31, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Talk:Culture of Egypt then. In fact, even given the status quo I am far more likely to look for someone knowledgeable on an article talk page or the reference desk than I am to use a userbox's "What links here" function or a Wikipedians category. Actually, I don't think I've ever used userpage content to find someone knowledgeable. Userpages just aren't reliable enough; there are too many people who don't list their interests and abilities on their userpages. At an article talk page, you're sure to get your message read by several people who understand the topic. Anyway, my point here is not to argue against userspace, merely to point out that Wikipedia is both an encyclopedia and a community, and that userspace is there to nurture the "community" side of Wikipedia, not the "encyclopedia" side. Angr (tc) 22:48, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
And my point is that userpages do benefit the encyclopedia (both directly and indirectly), regardless of whether you personally use them in that capacity. (And there's no reason for the two cited contact methods to be regarded as mutually exclusive.)
Recently, I received several requests for advice regarding templates (which I was more than happy to provide). Initially, I didn't know how these strangers were aware of my template experience. I later learned that they followed a file link from the Template Barnstar image page. If not for my userpage, how would these people have found me? —David Levy 23:41, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Expressing your personal opinion on matters not related to Wikipedia is a de facto unwikipedian act. Insisting on using a userbox to do the same thing is yet another unwikipedian act. The idea that the myspacers and the userboxers are disjoint sets is simply preposterous. --Tony Sidaway 17:39, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

You're entitled to your opinion, Tony, but that doesn't make it true. If it weren't POINTing I'd add a hundred userboxes to my user page right now just to prove you wrong. -- grm_wnr Esc 17:46, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
You cannot prove the statement wrong by adding userboxes to your user page. --Tony Sidaway 17:52, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, since the terms "myspacers" and "userboxers" aren't really defined, you're right, I guess. -- grm_wnr Esc 17:55, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
To be sure, Grm is an excellent exemplar of Angr's point supra; Grm has a page with several userboxes (though most are largely jocular in nature and in any case not necessarily descriptive of Grm, he avers), but we also learn from his user page that he has helped promote four articles to Featured Article status, accumulated sundry barnstars, and uploaded 59 images. And, of course, he serves the project as an admin here and at Commons. Not only oughtn't we to state categorically that those who approve of userboxes in template space fundamentally misunderstand the project, but we oughtn't, IMHO, even to conclude that the majority of those supporting userboxes in template space (or expression of POV at all on one's user page) are less-than-valuable contributors. Joe 18:03, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I simply observe that Grm's userboxes have nothing to do with producing an encyclopedia. He's a good example of a myspacer, someone who promotes tha abuse of Wikipedia as a social forum. See amended comment below. --Tony Sidaway 19:44, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
That's a personal attack, since you are attacking an user, not an action or a page. From your previous statements I conclude that you understand "myspacer" to be a derogative term. Tony, Tony, you really ought to be more careful about your words. Reading ANI, I also understand that you are in favour of blocking users without warning for repeatedly doing that, so draw your own conclusions. -- grm_wnr Esc 19:52, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
You approached me about this on #wikipedia, and User:D-Day has independently complained about this [4]. I withdraw it as a personal attack. Please accept my apologies for this lapse of civility. No excuses. I should always try to express myself without giving offence. --Tony Sidaway 22:02, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I accept, and I'm apologizing for my somewhat intemperate reaction as well. -- grm_wnr Esc 22:05, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Amended comment: I believe that what you were doing had the effect of promoting the abuse of Wikipedia for the purpose of social networking. You've deleted it, which is cool. Thank you for taking the criticism on board. I will do my best to reciprocate.
Incidentally I don't advocate blocking without warning for personal attacks. I have said, correctly, that blocking for egregious personal attacks well within the blocking policy. A warning is nice but isn't necessary. --Tony Sidaway 22:10, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, it isn't, unless they place users in danger. That's why the ArbCom places people on personal attack or civility parole. See the relevant section of the Blocking policy. Stifle (talk) 22:27, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Or, for making excessive personal attacks to the extent that they disrut the Wikipedia. Stifle (talk) 22:28, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
This isn't really the place to discuss the policy on disruption. The circumstances in which people are blocked for making personal attacks are not limited by the clause quoted. --Tony Sidaway 23:02, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I am wondering again, Tony, if what you say is based upon your own opinion of what you want Wikipedia policy to be, or a consensus that you perceive to exist. The blocking policy doesn't entertain any of your derivative policies, I'm afraid, and your attempt to neuter the discussion by saying "this isn't the place" isn't going to work. If you suggest a better place, I'll be delighted to discuss it there. Stifle (talk) 08:25, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Any chance we can tone the rhetoric down a touch here, and not bandy about derogatory statements and veiled threats? I can't see that such opposing views will be reconciled, and perhaps the discussion would be better served if it was less heated? Hiding Talk 20:02, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I won't block anyone. It's just that these permanent accusations and assumptions of bad faith really are grating on the nerves. --Grm_wnr 20:04, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I must say that I fully support revoking T2; which seems to be more trouble than it's worth. In fact, I would strongly support a statement to the opposite effect be placed, since people seem to suggest some editors would take it upon themselves to continue to enforce an intentionally revoked rule: in order to clearly indicate userboxes and templates are not subject to speedy or ad-hoc deletion, except if they meet the T1 criteria; as being purely inflammatory; editors should presumably be able to express themselves fairly and without prejudice by others.. in their user space, with the point being they keep it out of the article space. --Mysidia (talk) 23:17, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Section break for editing 2[edit]

  • Posting simply to note my support of T2. My support is based upon reasons expressed above, namely that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia rather than a tool for personal expression. Where the personal expression aspect infringes civility, good faith or user page guidance, I feel they should be deleted, and I feel that's the spirit in which this policy is enforced and meant to be enforced. I think we have adequate processes in hand to examine such deletions, and so see no need for the revocation. Hiding Talk 18:01, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
    • Strongly oppose T2 as written (at least today). "Templates that are designed for user pages and express viewpoints on controversial issues, personal beliefs, ideologies, or ethical convictions. " Leave only as "express viewpoints on controversial issues". Allow "personal beliefs, ideologies, or ethical convictions.". (I agreed with it as a suggestion in DRV/U only to get the matter out in the open in the appropriate venue.) — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 14:59, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Hiding, What part of T2 is supported by the user page guidelines? And T1 is enough to support the civility and NPA policies IMO, leaving T2 simply as an extra that some users would like because they recognise that their personal opinions of what make a wikipedian "true" is different to the consensus ideas. Ansell Review my progress! 03:12, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
    • To me, the parts that say:
      • Personal statements that could be considered polemical, such as opinions on matters unrelated to Wikipedia
      • Opinion pieces not related to Wikipedia or other non-encyclopedic material
    • in the section What can I not have on my user page? Hiding Talk 10:07, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
    I do not see how Polemical can be compared to "This user is a Christian". The definition of Polemical includes "inciting disputation or causing controversy". Is it not assuming good faith if you say that someone is straight out inciting disputation by stating their faith in a fancy HTML box. I would be extremely worried if an admin went around pages deleting a persons text statement of belief, how is that different at all, in any way, to having it encapsulated in HTML in an ordered manner. Ansell Review my progress! 11:18, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  • You seem to read WP:USER in a different way to me then. I have no objection to someone having a line stating that , "as a christian, I mainly edit concepts related to that personal belief", but I can't see how stating "I am a christian" is in keeping with guidance to the effect of your user page is not a personal homepage. Your page is about you as a Wikipedian. In these times in which we live, a declaration of personal belief can be contentious. Do we allow all such declarations or none? Anything else is entirely subjective. However, for the record, I would like it noted I'm not attempting to advocate that any admin remove anything from someone's user page without very good reason. Whilst I wouldn't be unduly worried if an admin went around removing a textual statement of belief from user pages, I'd have a long list of things they could do first. I guess we just have different opinions on this issue. I don't see that the criterion is a huge problem, but perhaps that is because it hasn't seemed to impact upon me. All I wanted to do with my statement was express support for the criterion. If there is a consensus to removing it, my opinion will, quite rightly, count for little. I just tend to hold fast to the fact that user space is for describing one's self as a wikipedian, not as a person. Hiding Talk 12:23, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Strongly oppose Userboxes do not merely provide a way for social contact. They also can show any biases that a person has. It is important to know editors biases in order to create a reliable encyclopedia.

Wow, when did the community agree on it? If not, as shown above this needs to be removed. User space, is for the users to state their beliefs and such, and so we should have no problem with those kind of user templates. Following the logic of T2 we should delete user pages, if they contain any "controversial statements", "beliefs" etc. Which is basically what most user pages are. That said, it could be reworded to speedy-delete the more specific and less usefel templates. Falphin 17:44, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

  • "User space, is for the users to state their beliefs and such" - see, that's not strictly true. In fact, WP:USER proscribes against Personal statements that could be considered polemical, such as opinions on matters unrelated to Wikipedia. Hiding Talk 10:07, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Umm, well thats why we don't need the less useful templates. But declaring an opinion on a controversial matter is helpful to wikipedia. Also note that at the top it states, "Generally, you should avoid substantial content on your user page that is unrelated to Wikipedia." Substantial is tricky word, but I'm confidant a few templates don't count as substantial. Falphin 01:39, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Speedy creep[edit]

It's dismaying to see CSD creep like kudzu into debates on policy. Speedy is for non-controversial deletion. If there's an active debate on the merits of an issue, speedy is inappropriate. Please settle issues in the appropriate place; then bring the results here. John Reid 07:36, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't believe this is historically correct. Certainly I find no suggestion of this in early incarnations of this project page. More recently speedy deletion has been used to accelerate controversial deletions that are necessary for the smooth running of Wikipedia. It's unlikely, for instance, that most "fair use" speedies would succeed if every single one were put to a straw poll. Similarly we need to deal with the excessive proliferation of highly contentious user templates, but straw polls on these tend to fail. --Tony Sidaway 00:18, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Are the inevitable debates about this really worth the potential benefits for all of the two or three really controversial vote-stacking incidents that happen every week/month. Could we not just leave it to an admin to decipher the problems when they close an AfD. Is that not what this is all about. Stopping people from votestacking. The difference to the server from transcluding, or even from just pushing out plain HTML from these things is low. If as the user in the above says that Userboxes are used by actual editors, not the "social-networking" types than how do the few people pushing this speedy criteria actually justify their actions. Ansell 10:18, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Past experience has shown that speedying during a deletion debate has only made things worse. --D-Day 16:20, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

I haven't found this to be the case. Whether during a debate or without a debate makes little difference to a valid speedy. --Tony Sidaway 19:50, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree with this much, at least for regular AFDs, with very few exceptions. Stifle (talk) 07:45, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

when citing T1, T2[edit]

Could folks start refering to T1 and T2 as "CSD Terminator1 and 2"? that would make DRv a lot more fun... ugh, what a dumb coment, ++ not helpful for me. Mike McGregor (Can) 12:42, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Reverting Edits by Anonymous Contributors[edit]

Speaking of removals, an anon/some anons have been changing things ([5], [6], and [7]). I and others have reverted them, since the changes didn't appear to have been discussed and agreed upon. Ardric47 03:44, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

I've sprotected the page. Over half the edits to this page are anonymous changes and reverts, and it's cluttering up the history so that good editors have to spend far too much time diffing to see what substantive changes have been made. For a widely followed page like this, it isn't worth it particularly given that, as far as I know, there has never been an anon edit to this page that hasn't been reverted. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 20:01, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Not objecting to sprotection under the circumstances -- but what would really make it easier to follow things was if the ongoing userbox dispute could somehow be separated from the criteria for deletions that actually matter... Henning Makholm 01:26, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

T2 provenance[edit]

Where did T2 come from? Is there consensus for it? If not, it should be removed from the policy. —Ashley Y 01:39, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

  • There was no policy pump discussion I've been told of. I'm going to move it there tommorow. And ask the the admins to stop deleting templates. Falphin 01:45, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

This page is the place to discuss the T2 speedy deletion policy. T2 is simply an elaboration of T1. If it were revoked, administrators would label deletion of inappropriate templates as T1. T2 just provides more clarity. --Tony Sidaway 01:57, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Is there any consensus for this "elaboration"? What is its provenance? —Ashley Y 02:02, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
None, that I have seen and I have asked for some, and have been told there was none. Falphin 02:03, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Ok, lets compare the t1 and t2. I don't see family resemblence. T1 " Templates that are divisive and inflammatory." Stating this "User is an Atheist" is not divisive in the least bit. And is definetly not inflammatory. T2. " Templates that are designed for user pages and express viewpoints on controversial issues, personal beliefs, ideologies, or ethical convictions." Now, the only simmilarity is they are both talking about templates but the second is specifically for User page templates. Besides that show me how "This user is a Muslim" can be deleted under the first. Falphin 02:03, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Well obviously "this user is an atheist" is divisive. It makes a big deal about separating Wikipedians according to beliefs, matters that are irrelevant (and indeed actively destructive, which is why T1 exists) to the creation of an encyclopedia. T2 is just another way of putting it. All templates expressing religious beliefs can be deleted under either T1 or T2. --Tony Sidaway 02:07, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
The word "obviously" suggests consensus. Where is this consensus?
It might be reasonably argued that "There is no God" is a divisive statement, while "This user is an atheist" is not. If T2 really were "just another way of putting it", there would be no need for it. Instead, you (or someone) have chosen one particular interpretation of T1 and added it as T2, but I cannot find consensus for this interpretation. —Ashley Y 02:13, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
What????? Thats censorship????? Wikipedia does not censor its conent so why are we censoring our user pages???? Anyway your logic if flawed. It is basic info, basically a basic biography which is allowed. And a lot of things are "irrelevant" to the creation of an encyclopedia on here, but user space is not part of the encyclopedia. Thats been established in numerous afds, and policy talks. Besides, wikipedia is an enyclopedia created by "wikipedians" We aren't Briticannica. We aren't designed differntly, so there is no reason we should act the same. Lastly, you still haven't shown how the templates are similar. I suppose T1 has a secret meaning only you and who else wrote it know about. Falphin 02:16, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Tony: It is not obvious (nor even necessarily true) that "divisive" is the "this userbox categorizes Wikipedians" kind and not the "this userbox provokes a division in Wikipedians" kind. I think it means the second kind (especially with the elaboration "and inflammatory"), and I don't see any reason why one would be led to believe it's the first kind. (The first kind certainly is being argued as a reason to delete, but I don't think it's part of the CSD criteria.) --AySz88^-^ 04:23, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
"...but user space is not part of the encyclopedia." Exactly! User space is not, but template space is. Ardric47 07:58, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
For my own interest, where is it declared that template space "is part of the encyclopedia." To me it certainly is not of the importance that the Article and Category spaces have. I have always thought that it was a multi-space type environment. After all, it does contain templates used purely for disciplining bad editors, that is hardly a "part of the encyclopedia", as that is not a contribution to the knowledge encyclopedia. Ansell Review my progress! 08:34, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Interesting points. I may be guilty of simply repeating what others have said. Does anyone have a link to the discussions of the creation of the template namespace? Ardric47 09:07, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

It seems there is no consensus that T2 is merely an elaboration of T1, nor is there consensus for T2 as new policy. Is that correct? —Ashley Y 02:20, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

It's probably not valid to draw conclusions from just this thread. ++Lar: t/c 02:46, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Is there any such consensus obtained in some other thread? —Ashley Y 02:55, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

If you think there is no consensus for T2, you should try to remove it from the project page and persuade administrators not to use it. I don't think either of these is going to happen. --Tony Sidaway 02:49, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I would rather establish here that there is no consensus for it before removing it.
And I don't think the "we're going to do it anyway" argument is particularly helpful. Administrative behaviour, particularly contentious administrative behaviour, should follow policy, not the other way around. I refer you to Wikipedia:Administrator Code of Conduct#Consensus. —Ashley Y 02:55, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
It is illogical that there is consensus if so many people keep protesting it. —David618 03:02, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
It's obvious to this peon that it's an admins vs. peons issue, and the admins don't care that the peons don't have a consensus for's just the admins who count around here. Just look at Tony and Cyde's comments. Jay Maynard 03:07, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
If there is no consensus, it should be a simple matter to just be bold and remove the criterion. --Tony Sidaway 03:05, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
In the spirit of Lar's caution, I shall give others a chance to point to some consensus that I may have missed. —Ashley Y 03:12, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Tony, do you really think the resulting revert war would be productive? I thought the standard around here was to get consensus before making controversial edits, and there's no doubt that one would be controversial. Jay Maynard 03:15, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
It is clear that there is no consensus for T2. I have tried to remove it, but have been reverted numerous times. It is not policy, and should not be part of the official policy page. -- 04:49, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I think Tony is correct - it should be a simple matter to just be bold and remove the criterion. I will be happy to do so. --Fudgenudger 05:15, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

There seems to be no have been no consensus for adding T2, and therefore it should be removed. If anyone can see a flaw in my logic here (regardless of whether T2 is in fact a good idea or not), please let me know. —Ashley Y 05:31, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

You are entirely correct. I would remove the criteria, but this page has been protected. --Cyde Saddle 06:03, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
I think a unilateral action such as removing it without any further discussion would be counterproductive, T2 reflects reality and has been in place long enough to act as a valid description of how policy is carried out Rx StrangeLove 06:06, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
The unilateral action of adding it, against consensus and without discussion, is supposed to be more productive than discussing the policy here before implementing it? T2 does not reflect "reality". It reflects a known bias and narrow interpretation of policy by a particular group of editors. It has not been in place long enough to act as a valid description of anything except for the POV of the editors who created it out of (exceedingly) thin air. --!E 06:18, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
The only reason that T2 is still around is because admins insist that it be there. It is not a valid description of policy being carried out. It is simply a reflection of admins who are uptight about what is divisive, regardless of the feelings of the many "peons" who have not yet heard a legitimate argument, or else they wouldn't still be voicing their opinions. What they have heard is that this thing is "going to happen anyway" ignoring the idea that our voices count at all in the project, and that when the criterion has been deleted from the page it has been put back, even though in every other case criterion are developed here and then put there, not the other way around. If people followed policy there would be less divisiveness in the community than this... if that isn't irony then I dont know what could be. Ansell Review my progress! 06:23, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I am alarmed that no-one can defend the inclusion of T2 on the basis of Wikipedia:Consensus. How did it end up on the policy page? —Ashley Y 07:05, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

We should at least figure out where the discussion that led to its creation is located. Ardric47 08:07, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
The discussion is on this talk page above, starting with a comment of mine on 12-May. (I forgot to sign, but some kind sole did the unsigned thing, so you can search for my username.) At that time T1 and T2 were written as a single policy, and being as heavily debated as T2 is now. Some of us realized that all of the debate was about the T2 portion of the criteria. I proposed splitting them. On 13-May, xaosflux agreed and implemented the split. (See the ssection entitled "CSD:Tx for his action and subsequent comment.) GRBerry 12:52, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Removal of T2[edit]

Speedy deletion is intended for things that either are so toxic they shan't stand around and burn things while we waffle about deleting them or are so widely accepted as delete-able that we shouldn't waste time talking about doing what we're going to do in the end anyway. The application (and defense) of the T2 seems to misunderstand what that second section mean. It doesn't mean "going to do anyway" in the sense of "you can't stop me." Since this doesn't have wide approval, I'm removing it. I'd ask that the few people who've re-added it before not be the one to do so again. If it's actually so widely accepted, someone not famous for being a box-hater will replace it. Heck I hate user boxes myself, it must be said. - brenneman {L} 06:56, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Bravo.  Grue  07:04, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. —Ashley Y 07:08, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Agree fully (well, except I'm not a userbox hater). There is a good deal of opposition to both T1 and T2. I think it's hard to say that these are clear cut cases. They seem to be more a ruling from above than any kind of community decision. The Ungovernable Force 07:59, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Agree. T1 and T2 are the worst things to have happened to Wikipedia since the Willy on Wheels sockpuppets. Thank you for bold move. --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 11:32, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Someone put it back to show what was under discussion; I strengthened the disclaimer to show that it was not policy since there is no consensus. Jay Maynard 11:36, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I toned that down a little, it had written "not policy" twice, so I made it once. I'm pleased to see, though, that everyone appears to be editing and not reverting like crazy. - brenneman {L} 12:03, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
I can live with that, though I wish you hadn't removed the note about there being doubt that it reflects consensus. I'm not going to start the revert war by putting it back. As for not just reverting, we're simply staking out our positions before the revert war starts. :-) Jay Maynard 12:29, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Ok, it now says "Note that this criterion is currently under discussion and should not be considered policy." Do you think that is not strong enough? I would have preferred it removed, but I'm trying to find some middle ground. - brenneman {L} 12:50, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
I think the wording about there being doubt that it is the consensus view is both self-evident (else, why would there be all this debate over it?) and necessary. Jay Maynard 12:58, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Just a note: no less than three sockpuppets of Dschor (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · nuke contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) have been participating in this discussion. Mackensen (talk) 12:40, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Should we start an Arbcom about this? --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 12:42, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Remember Niven's Law: "Ideas are not responsible for those who hold them". (Well, one of Niven's Laws, anyway.) Just because someone who's been banned has been using sock puppets to weigh in on one side of the debate does not mean that side is wrong. Jay Maynard 12:45, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not saying that. I just want people to be aware that three of the users above are actually one, and that they've all been banned. Transparency and all that. D-Day, he was already under probation from arbcom (which he violated repeatedly), so I've simply banned him. There's no need for an arbitration case at this point. Mackensen (talk) 12:48, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Is it worth putting a dagger or aster or something next to them to help latecomers seperate the wheat from the chaff? - brenneman {L} 12:53, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
It might (or might not) be useful to mention that some of the anons who have edited the page are probably sockpuppets of someone (not necessarily anyone who has commented here)—there may indeed be widespread opposition to the policy, but the opinion is not accurately reflected around here. Ardric47 00:29, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

...and Tony put it back in as settled policy, without bothering to discuss it here first. Guess that shows me just what my opinion's worth. Jay Maynard 13:05, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

T2 is the most useless thing since edilble condoms. The Gerg 22:59, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Explanation of User:Tony Sidaway's removal of a notice from this document.[edit]

Somebody placed a notice in front of the T2 criterion stating:

'Note that this criterion is currently under discussion and should not be considered policy.'

This gave a misleading impression of the nature of this document. It is a policy document and should reflect policy at all times. As far as I'm aware T2 is in regular use and the deletions associated with it have been going on for months. Despite a vocal opposition, such deletions have been for the most part unchallenged and such challenges as have been made have been overwhelmed by the strong support.

It should in my view be considered policy.

On the other hand, if it is not policy, the correct thing to do is not to put a misleading notice up, but to remove the criterion.

The deletions in question would then proceed under criterion T1, as was the case prior to the creation of the second criterion.

I have removed the misleading notice. The criterion should either remain as documentation of our site policy or be removed as non-policy. --Tony Sidaway 13:08, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

In which case, remove it. Wikipedia consensus shows that T2 is not, nor should it be policy. --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 13:15, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Why should it be considered policy? THere's considerable doubt as to whether it is the consensus view that it should be. People have asked for some support for that; all that's been produced is repeated assertion that it is. Further, there is also considerable doubt that, if it is not policy, the deletions in question would, in fact, be covered under T1. No support for this idea has been forthcoming either.
You called for people to be bold and remove it. Someone did. Someone else put it back with a note that it was not policy, so that people could actually see what was being debated. You simply reverted all that, unilaterally, without participating in the ongoing dicussion and gaining consensus first. This is in keeping with the rest of your actions in this whole debate, where you have been assiduous in listing userbox templates for deletion and deleting them out of process prematurely and in violation of consensus that they should be kept.
Your actions in this affair, along with the fact that you ahve not been brought to heel by anyone else, lead me to the inescapable conclusion that the admins of this system don't care what the ordinary editor thinks, and that the entire consensus building process is just for show. In essence, I'm being told to sit down and shut up. I realize I'm new around here, and that my contributions are probably less valuable than those of most other folks - I'm probably still under 100 mainspace edits - but when an admin consistently does things his way, in the face of at least considerable doubt whether there is consensus in favor of that policy, if not a consensus in opposition, and he's permitted to continue, then what conclusion should I reach but that I should go back to editing articles and not meddle in the affairs of my betters? Jay Maynard 13:17, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I think Tony is right that if it isn't policy, it should be deleted. What was wrong was reverting it back in after someone boldly took his advice. As I've said for more than two weeks, there is no consensus in favor of this, and I am highly doubtful that there ever will be consensus in favor of this as a criteria for speedy deletion. It might pass gain consensus as a criteria for non-speedy deletion, but its adherents will have to stop asserting that it is already policy and start making arguments as to why it should be policy. Jimbo can, but has not yet on Wikipedia, make it policy by fiat. If he ever does, it will have to be done by him, from his own account, and marked as a policy in place by fiat rather than by consensus. GRBerry 14:46, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
I think there's a practical reason for that notice: it allows people to see that the merit of T2 is under debate, as otherwise people might start using T1 to cover the same as T2 again, but that's exactly why they were split in the first place. Making sure people know that T2 is actually disagreed with and hasn't been just merged into T1 is probably an important distinction. --AySz88^-^ 13:27, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Was T1 ever agreed on in the first place? --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 13:32, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Policy's not written[edit]

Policy isn't what's written down, but it's not "what we do" either. When it's what some people do it's probably best to stop and talk. - brenneman {L} 13:54, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I suppose asking for people to use the talk page rather than reverting is futile? What if I beg? - brenneman {L} 14:26, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Taking it onto the talkpage is discouraged, because it leeds to discussion, which could lead to consensus, which is bad for Wikipedia. Instead, leave it up to people who almost know what they're doing. Sure, they'll destroy the purpose of the encyclopedia, cause half the users to leave, but it's what Jimbo wants. </sarcasm> --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 14:29, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Ok, someone needs a hug. No, no! *backs away with horrofied look* Not from me!
  • Seriously though, don't get a skewed impression. The staggeringly large majority of Wikipedia works, and works well, because most people are willing to find some middle ground. And let's not be coy: The "Uzerbox Freedom Fighters" haven't exactly helped find a middle ground, either.
  • Oh, all right, you can have that hug then.
brenneman {L} 14:45, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't know if you're including me in the "Uzerbox Freedom Fighters", but I'm not at all sure there is a middle ground. The admins pushing T2 (or, equivalently, treating T1 as though it covered the same territory) are adamant that userboxes are harmful to Wikipedia and should be wiped from the face of the planet. The few efforts at "compromise" they've endorsed, albeit in a very lukewarm manner, were simply restatements of that idea. Several attempts at compromise have been made, but those admins have done their best to shoot them down as "this simply isn't going to happen". WP:MUPP is getting better than 70% support, and is one attempt at compromise - but I have little hope that it will actually become policy. In the face of that, can you blame some of us for giving up? Jay Maynard 14:54, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
T1 is basically a consequence of the collision of Wikipedia isn't a soapbox and a significant minority of people who are determined that it should be abused for that purpose through use of the template space, whatlinkshere, categories and transclusion. The form of their activities make it difficult for us to determine consensus by the use of conventional straw polls, so the T1 criterion was given a bit of a boost by Jimbo and isn't going to go away.
Lately some opponents of Wikipedia's core policies have tried to challenge T1 deletions by saying that X or Y expression of belief isn't divisive. T2 seems to me to be an attempt to clarify that all uses of Wikipedia as a platform or soapbox can be speedy deleted. I don't think it's particularly necessary but since it's a logical consequence of our site policy, and we're still seeing people packing polls in order to attack fundamental Wikipedia policy, I can understand why it has been proposed. Use of Wikipedia resources outside the userspace, to campaign, to express personal opinions on matters unrelated to Wikipedia, and so on, are incompatible with Wikipedia's goals and constitute, when considered en masse, a serious abuse of Wikipedia. Whether through T1, T2 or just plain old commonsense, continued abuses of Wikipedia as a platform for social or political campaigning or religious proselytism will be stopped. --Tony Sidaway 15:24, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that saying that all expressions of belief are divisive flies in the face of WP:AGF. If people are packing polls, then address that. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. Are the folks in favor of T2 truly unable to separate statements of personal belief from campaigning for those beliefs? They are most assuredly different. Jay Maynard 15:32, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
By AGF you mean "Assume good faith". An expression of opinion can have a divisive effect irrespective of the motivation of the person expressing it. It's simply incorrect to describe as a violation of "Assume good faith" the statement that an expression of belief is divisive. And divisive templates are speediable under T1. --Tony Sidaway 15:36, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
One problem. Several of the templates that were speedied under T1 WEREN'T divisive. --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 15:45, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Saying that a userbox that says "This user is a Republican" is divisive does not assume good faith on the part of the poster. I am not campaigning for the Republican party; I am declaring my bias up front so that others may watch for it. Campaigning for the party would be "This user is a Republican, and thinks you should be too". Where does it end? Is my "This user is an amateur radio operator" divisive? To an advocate of BPL technology, it could very well be, but I doubt that anyone here except the most ardent advocate of userbox eradication would say so. By that argument, all userboxes are divisive, and should be eradicated - but there's most certainly NOT a consensus on that point. If it's going to be stretched to that degree based on Jimbo's statement, then he can damned well come in here and speak ex cathedris; until that point, such arguments are merely hearsay. Jay Maynard 15:46, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Removal of T2 by User:Tony Sidaway[edit]

I have removed the following:

# Templates that are designed for user pages and express viewpoints on controversial issues, personal beliefs, ideologies, or ethical convictions. Please note that while this has been used, a consensus on it has been not reached. As the "vast majority of contributors" have not yet accepted it, it may not be considered policy, and its use is controversial.'

The continued adding of notices to try to state that this isn't policy is counter-productive--this project page should attempt to state policy and only policy. If more discussion is required then we should discuss and not engage in silly disclaimers that significantly misstate the nature of Wikipedia policy by misquoting other policy documents.

Removal of divisive templates will of course continue. --Tony Sidaway 15:36, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Divisive by whose definition? Misleading by whose definition? You do not speak for you? Jay Maynard 15:48, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
I think it would be best if T1 and T2 were moved to their own proposed policy page and have it decided there. And futhermore, these "divisive userboxes" must clearly be proven why they are divisive in order for their deletion to be valid.
P.S. No one has given me any evidence that userboxes have lead to argumentation between users(except for when it comes to deletion) or any violation of WP:AGF, which I have been asking for since this whole debate started. --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 15:59, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
It's a bit late to challenge T1. The proposal that such templates lead to "argumentation between users", which you have chosen to present as an argument for which you have found no supporting evidence, is a rhetorical device known as a Straw man. You have, perhaps inadvertently, chosen to attack that sham argument rather than confront the arguments actually expressed for removal of divisive and inflammatory templates. --Tony Sidaway 16:05, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
It may be late to challenge T1, but it's not at all late to challenge the assumption that all, or even most, userboxes are deletable under T1. That's what this entire discussion is about, and that's what you're trying to ram through over significant opposition. Jay Maynard 16:14, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
That argument was not my idea. Many users who wanted to see a userbox gone would claim that the userbox was divisive, and would cause a rift in Wikipedia. When I asked for evidence as to where that instance occured, none was given. I belive, therefore, that assertion was false, but still bring it up in the hope that someone will correct me. It is not a "sham" argument. I am merely asking people to back up their claims with facts. And I have confronted the arguments expressed for removal of divisive and inflammatory templates, especially the ones that don't fall under T1. --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 16:11, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
I am in favour of removing T2 from the policy page until a consensus is reached about whether to include it. Being bold in adding things is OK, but re-adding things when they turn out to be controversial is being unhelpful. Stephen B Streater 17:11, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. T2 has been more devisive than any userbox. —David618 22:43, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps, but keep in mind, there are thousands of userboxes and only two template deletion policies. So yeah, any one of the latter is bound to be more "controversial" (however you choose to find that) than any one of the former. --Cyde↔Weys 22:46, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
A logical arguement but I find my meaning clear: T2 causing more division that if the policy was never proposed. —David618 22:50, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

WP:NOT is not the same as WP:CSD[edit]

Many of the comments I see seem to be missing one very important issue, namely that WP:NOT is not, and should not be, a speedy delete criteria.. T1 is more accurately described as the template equivalent of an attack article, which is in there at A6. I don't think many people would disagree with the speedy deletion of an attack article, so I doubt many would disagree with the zapping of a similar attack, just because it was in template form. (i.e. the original T1)

As for T2, there is a big difference between saying that "template X is a soapbox, and should be deleted", and "template X is a soapbox, and should be deleted right now with no discussion". I agree that soapbox style userboxs are WP:NOT, and like everything that is WP:NOT, should go to the appropiate *fd, where it should probably get deleted. However, I believe it is the attempt to skip the tfd step that is causing a lot of the friction. The speedy deletion criteria are deliberately very narrowly defined for a reason - they exisit only to remove material that would be immediately damaging, and anything else is disccussed and deleted/kept based on consensus/policy. The addition of T2 to "allow" speedy deletion of material that is not immediately damaging is proving extremely divisive, and the impression it is giving is one of arbitary decision making, and the ignoring of consensus by bypassing any discussion. That to me, is more damaging to wikipedia in the long term than any pretty boxes. In short, I don't disagree with the deletion of userboxes, but I strongly disagree with the speedy deletion of them. Regards, MartinRe 18:27, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I really like the points you make about what does more harm. This is a good way to look at things - let's think in terms of damage control. I think many (maybe even most?) of us agree that userboxes can sometimes be harmful, but this doesn't mean we have to delete them all right now, as you say. In many cases, so far, the cure has been far worse than the disease. Friday (talk) 18:41, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Most userboxes are harmless. The harmful ones need to be deleted. --Tony Sidaway 21:22, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but "deleted", or "deleted right now"? That was the point of my comment. Clearly harmful ones (i.e. attack ones) should be "deleted right now", of course, but if it's unclear it should go to tfd. What shouldn't happen is admins saying "I think that's harmful, delete it, no discussion", as that can be used to justify deletion of practically anything, right up to babel boxes. Regards, MartinRe 21:41, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Deleted right now because (a) they're crap and (b) unfortunately any troll can get a Wikipedia account and play "userbox freedom fighter". It's a silly game and, you may have noticed, one that the Arbitration Committee has slammed down heavy upon. Speedy deletion is about "deletion without discussion." That is the very purpose. Some things are so toxic that they are deleted so as to deny trolls, people of little intelligence, and those who just like to argue, the opportunity to waste time. --— Preceding unsigned comment added by Tony Sidaway (talkcontribs) 22:05, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
That is extremely close to a personal attack. Editors who are most definitely not trolls are calling for discussion on it. It is not just admins against trolls, dont generalise the process for your own benefit. Ansell Review my progress! 22:36, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Honestly, Tony. Enough of the borderline/if not exceeding personal attacks. You're an administrator, so please be a model for new users. --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 22:48, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, you're one of the ones that give us peons the impression that you think substantially all are harmful. Counterexamples? When have you not voted Delete, or, worse, speedy deleted any userbox you encountered? Jay Maynard 21:38, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Why don't you compile a list and we'll see if we agree? The vast majority of userboxes I have seen seem to be utterly harmless. --Tony Sidaway 22:05, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Then why do you want them all deleted? I'm starting to a notice a double standard Tony, and I'm afraid I don't like it. --D-Day on WHEELS!!! 19:24, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I do not want all userboxes deleted. --Tony Sidaway 19:20, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I certainly do not disagree with using T1 to delete an attack template. It's the extreme expansion of T1 to cover any userbox that expresses any viewpoint at all that I (and, apparently, lots of others) have heartburn with, and especially those admins who assert that that's the right thing to do in spite of what appears to me to be an overwhelming consensus otherwise. Jay Maynard 21:41, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
But that is the very intent of T1. To kill the unencyclopedic activities. If you want to engage in these activities, find another website. This is an encyclopedia, devoted to the Neutral point of view. We should of course actively discourage, and in extreme case ban (and I can give copious recent examples of both conducted by the Arbitration Committee) attempts to abuse Wikipedia for the expression of personal points of view using resources other than the usepage. . --Tony Sidaway 21:57, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
*sigh* Tony, not once have I contended that NPOV is anything but mandatory, or said that I do not believe in it wholeheartedly. I strongly doubt that anyone in this entire brouhaha would argue that it's other than fundamental. Please stop insinuating that folks argue with the concept. The problem is that people are imperfect. I know that I'm not experienced enough in editing Wikipedia to ensure that my biases don't leak out into my writing - or, conversely, that I'm not bending so far over backwards to avoid it that I wind up introducing the other POV. I list my biases on my user page so people can read my writing, then keep me honest, or help me be not quite so uptight, as the case may be. This is valuable for the encyclopedia.
The problem is that you equate showing a belief in anything, in any way, on any part of Wikipedia, to not believing in NPOV. This is not assuming good faith on the part of the folks who believe as I do. You also think we should hide our biases, instead of hauling them out into the light. This denies basic human nature, and also only serves to try to homogenize one of the most diverse communities on the planet. Dammit, we're not just Wikipedians, no matter how much you'd like to believe otherwise. Jay Maynard 22:11, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Obviously POV in articles is harmful, but has that activity been provoked by userboxes. And there are plenty of things that are "unencyclopedic." (i.e. WP:BJAODN) Do we delete those of T1? --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 22:48, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Expression of a point of view on an external matter anywhere on Wikipedia' is regrettable. I do not know Jimmy Wales' opinion on the invasion of Iraq. Do you? I'd rather not know. --Tony Sidaway 22:07, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
I do not know his view, but I'd like to know if I had to work with him on an Iraq war article. It would help me know where he was coming from on his changes to the article, and as to double-check so that his edits are not POV. --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 22:48, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Then ask him, or go to his userpage. But inviting him to abuse transclusion, template space, whatlinkshere and even categories seems to me a bit much. If I want you to know that I'm a Christian I can do so by typing the words "I am a Christian" on my userbpage. Facilitating any more than that is utterly ridiculous and far beyond what is excusable as a legitimate part of our project (which, in case you had forgotten, is solely and exclusively to create a high quality encyclopedia. --Tony Sidaway 22:35, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Transclusion and whatlinkshere and categories are not reasons that are necessary to have a premade bit of HTML planted on your page to demonstrate your POV so that editors can more fully understand your edits. The creation of a high quality encyclopedia can, IMO benefit from people more fully understanding where others are coming from. Stop mixing issues together. They are not related. And try not to lose your temper just because you are the one who is having to do the vast bulk of defending of your personal views on userboxes. Ansell Review my progress! 22:41, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Tony. Explaining your biases so that other people can see where you're coming from is commendable. Userboxes are neither the best way, nor even a very good way to do that. They're colorful little stickers that give the impression of advertising one's biases. They're "attractive to the wrong kinds of people" (from WP:JOU). I'm not saying that every person who has userboxes is the "wrong kind", but I'm saying that these toys inadvertently attract the wrong kind, i.e., activists. Activists are a greater threat to Wikipedia than vandals, and we should avoid anything that reinforces a culture of partisanship. -GTBacchus(talk) 22:48, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Please do note that it is possible to agree that they need to be deleted, while disagreeing that they need to be speedy deleted. That seems to be a common misunderstanding, anyone disagreeing with the speedy deletion is automatically assumed to ba arguing to keep them, but that is not the case. Discussion before deletes is not an "opportunity to waste time", it is a keystone of consensus - can you imagine what would happen if we scrapped Afd and let admins speedy delete anything they thought failed WP:NOT? Regards, MartinRe 23:47, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Excellent points. I agree totally. --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 23:51, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, how are you going to get consistency? This a recipe for more popular views among Wikipedians to survive TfDs and less popular ones to fail. We could end up with "This user is a Christian" being deleted and "This user is an atheist" being kept, or vice versa. That is a far more divisive outcome that having a clear rule enabling admins to delete both on sight. Deletion of such userboxes is not the sort of thing that can be voted on one at a time with varied outcomes that reflect the demographic biases of users or who showed up that day. Either all such userboxes are unacceptable as templates or they are all acceptable (at least as long as they are not so extreme as to bring the project into disrepute). It seems to me as if we either have T2 or we don't. There is no way the issue can be decided case by case through TfD's, while also preserving consistency.Metamagician3000 01:38, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
MartinRe, that's true. Furthermore, arguing that something shouldn't be speedied is different from arguing that it should be undeleted and taken to TfD for re-deletion, which has been happening a lot with userboxes. I simply cannot countennance reanimating a dead body just to re-kill it according to a different process. I've been taking advantage of DRV to try to have those important conversations, and, as Jimbo said "change the culture, one person at a time". It appears that some are willing to support Jimbo fully in the idea that userboxes are bad, but disagree with him utterly about how they should be gotten rid of. There's a balancing act, between getting rid of crap that needs to go, and getting as many editors as possible on board. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:57, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, undeleting hopeless cases is pointless prcess wonking, but for many not so hopeless cases I've seen DRV turns into a de-facto tfd after the fact, so we still end up with a discussion and a deleted template either way, but with added ill feeling for the out of process deletions. So why not simply try and do it the normal way, end up in the same place, but without as much badwill? Regards, MartinRe 00:06, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, it doesn't sound as if we're disagreeing particularly... I do think a lot of the bad will is generated by misunderstanding the role of written guidelines and procedures here, but that just undrerscores the fact that more dialogue needs to be going on. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:10, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Dialogue is good :) My objection is the speed of deletions, and not the deletions themselves. The arbcom case (linked below) enforced that polemic or inflamatory userboxes may be speedy deleted, and that I have no problem with, as a template attack page, and is covered by T1. What I do have a problem with it is extending the speedy criteria to a wording that could cover the rest of them, instead of sending them to tfd. I would have the same objection if articles were being speedied because they were WP:NOT in one person's opinion, instead of being afd'd. From what I see the main confusion about policy is why the speedy deletion criteria exists. Deleting without discussion is quite harsh, and easily abused, so that's why the criteria were narrowly worded, so that's it clear a) what falls under this criteria and b) whatever falls under this criteria should obviously be deleted. T1 satisifes this, but T2 does not, because it is so broad. It can be used to justify anything from userboxes containing wording that would be acceptable in article space, or even the babel boxes, as language is a controversial issue too. Speedily zap polemic userboxes like "christians must be thrown to the lions", sure, but speedy zap "X is a christian"? That's not polemic, so should be taken to tfd. Find a user whose page is full of non-polemic bumberstickers? mfd it as a being against WP:USER. Written guidleines are important to make the working of wikipedia transparent and reasonably consistant, which is important for all editors. (and without editors, there is no wikipedia) Of course it won't be exact picture of what happens in practice, due to slight diferent interpretations, or to stop people wikilawyering, but it should people the confidence that things will be treated reasonably consistantly and predictably, as otherwise it just looks complete arbitary, depending on who is making the decision. And that's my main objection to T2, it's so vague, that what templates will be deleted or kept appears a completely arbitary decision, and when arbitary decisions are made, confidence is lost. Regards, MartinRe 10:19, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree. I put my opinions up front on my user page, and wish others would do the same. This is one of the reasons I found POV userboxes helpful. I can then work with editors with other PsOV to create neutral articles. —Ashley Y 22:33, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Putting the words "I believe in X" on your userpage is fine. Do it now. Should you demand any further indulgence from your fellow Wikipedians, you shall not get it. --Tony Sidaway 23:38, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
If you feel a userbox is not revealing a user's bias in a satisfactory way, I'd say slow down, maybe change the wording first and talk with the box's users. Speedy deletion is definately not a solution, as the DRvs show - it's more of a WP:PANIC reaction. --AySz88^-^ 02:34, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Feeling frustrated here.[edit]

First section[edit]

I can't help expressing frustration at how this has gone. I believe that we should either keep T2 or stop deleting userboxes that fall short of being divisive and inflammatory. Right now I have no idea what policy I am supposed to enforce. In my opinion, T2 was good policy that represented the emergent practice here, widely accepted by admins. As such, it should be in the formal policies. I don't see how we can have it both ways, though. If we can't make T2 stick on the policy page, then we shouldn't be continuing with it as the practice.

I repeat what I've said all along since T2 was proposed. I'm happy to have a policy such as T2 to keep such userboxes as "This user is a Christian" or "This user is a feminist" out of template space. I thought that was the direction we were moving in. It was consistent with Jimbo's words, and it was timely, after the passage of months, to bring the policy into conformity with practice. But I refuse to butcher the English language by claiming that such a userbox, expressing its message in a polite way, is "divisive and inflammatory". It is not an appropriate use of the template system, it gives the wrong impression about Wikipedia to new users, it is be manipulable as an instrument for vote stacking in some relatively rare circumstances. Those are all good reasons for continuing the practice that would have been expressed by T2. But a politely expressed statement of belief such as "This user is a Christian" is not divisive or inflammatory in itself, and it is certainly not both. Tolerant communities are not divided against themselves by polite expressions of diverse beliefs - they are strengthened. Tolerant people are not inflamed to rage by polite expressions of diverse beliefs. "I am a Christian" is not a divisive and inflammatory statement, however inappropriate it is to use template space to make such a statement on Wikipedia.

With a couple of other people, I proposed T2 (originally an expansion of T1) to remedy the situation where admin practice had run ahead of the policy, and the practice was sometimes inconsistent. There was some strong support for this at the time. I'm now seeing very little support for it. Very well, but I don't think we can simultaneously say "we are going to remove T2 from the policy page" AND "we are going to go on acting as if the practice it refers to is good policy (by way of a contrived reading of T1)". Either put T2 back, so we all know where we stand, or don't expect admins to continue following the practice it describes.

I believe that T2 should be restored to the policy page, but since I now seem to be the only person defending it I guess that won't happen. Right now, we seem to have a group of people who are just not prepared to accept that viewpoint userboxes are a bad use of template space. We have another group of people who claim that such userboxes are automatically divisive and inflammatory. IMHO neither view is intellectually tenable. I tried in good faith to get a solution to this issue, with a policy proposal that acknowledged that some viewpoint userboxes are not inherently divisive and inflammatory, but still maintained that they are an inappropriate use of template space. It was evidently a solution that the community does not want, so it looks like I have to accept that. I have no idea what other solution is possible, short of intervention from Jimbo. Metamagician3000 00:38, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Some other comments before I leave this. It's no use relying on TfD's or deletion reviews to handle the problem. That is a recipe for inconsistency. If a template such as "this user is a Christian" going to be deleted, then "this user is an atheist" should also be deleted. Either they are both are acceptable or neither is. Likewise "this user is a Democrat" and "this user is a Republican". What will really cause bad will is the situation where one userbox survives but an equivalent one does not. We need a clear policy on this - it can't be left to the vagaries of particular TfD's, or of particular deletion reviews when admins have chanced their arm. We've had inconsistent results in the past - "this user is a feminist" survived the process but many others no more divisive and inflammatory did not, because they could not get a consensus to restore on deletion review. We need consistency so users know what is acceptable and the generality of admins who are not militant userbox slayers know what they are supposed to be doing.
I have to give a hollow laugh at the idea that T2 has been divisive. It may have acted as a lightning rod to attract comments from the different camps. But T2 merely writes down a practice that various admins were already following. Blame that practice. Better still, blame the vote stacking by some users which made the practice desirable in this first place. There is an underlying problem here with different views about how template space is supposed to be used. T2 did not create that problem. It wrote down a solution to the problem that seemed to be emerging, i.e. an admin practice of deleting certain kinds of userboxes and then arguing hard against their restoration. I suspect that that practice will not go away if T2 fails to stick - as seems to have happened. If anyone thinks that T2 itself was causing the divisions or that they will go away if T2 is now removed from policy, I think they will soon be disillusioned. Metamagician3000 00:53, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I also think that T2 should be put back on the policy page, simply because it's a good elaboration of T1. Please feel free to put it back, but if you do so, also be prepared to remove false statements to the effect that it isn't Wikipedia policy. I'd far rather have Wikipedia policy both recorded and executed, but if it needs to be unrecorded but executed, that's okay too. --Tony Sidaway 01:00, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
If a template such as "this user is a Christian" going to be deleted, then "this user is an atheist" should also be deleted
Yes of course both should be deleted. Is there a problem with this? --Tony Sidaway 01:02, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
They are equivalent and if one is deleted the other can not justifiably be kept. The problem is that neither is devise nor inflammatory, so neither should be deleted. —David618 01:10, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
T2 cannot be put back on the policy page as a true policy. Policies on Wikipeida need to be agreed on by consensus, which T2 does not have. —David618 01:13, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
T2 is simply an elaboration of T1. We're talking about criteria. The policy hasn't changed. The policy relating to this is Wikipedia is not a soapbox. As long as the straw polls are abused to go against that policy, blatantly divisive templates will have to be speedy deleted without a straw poll. --Tony Sidaway 01:25, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
David618, the page you linked to, WP:POL, announces quite prominently "While we try to respect consensus, Wikipedia is not a democracy, and its governance can be inconsistent." In other words, you're wrong. A group of people can derail consensus (hell, one person can do that). No group of people (unless it includes Jimbo) can decide that Wikipedia is a soapbox, a battleground, or a free webhost. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:39, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
No amount of claims from those who oppose userboxes can turn them into being automatically divisive, either. Jay Maynard 01:42, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
That's not what I'm claiming, as we've discussed. Ideological userboxes reinforce a culture of partisanship, which is anathema to the entire project. Anything legitimate that can be done with userboxes can be done better without them. You might not abuse them, but they actively attract people who will. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:56, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Please look up the meaning of consensus. Consensus is not a unanimous decision but a general agreement. —David618 01:48, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Firmly beside the point. Consensus does not trump policy, whichever version of consensus you're thinking of. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:56, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry. I don't get what you mean. —David618 01:59, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I must have been overly terse. There are different models of consensus decision-making in practice in the world. Sometimes, it does mean unanimity. Some groups use a U-2 model, where it takes 3 people to veto, for example. We tend to use a much more haphazard method, where consensus means "somewhere around 80% of whoever happens to show up, except in cases of sock-puppetry, etc, etc." The point is, it doesn't matter whicjh definition of consensus we're employing here, it still doesn't overrule policy, and you claimed above that "Policies on Wikipeida need to be agreed on by consensus," which is false. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:05, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
A proposed policy being adopted by consensus. (See Wikipedia:How to create policy) —David618 02:14, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

The simple solution to this problem is not to delete userboxes unless they are obviously divisive and inflammatory. Even hardcore "free the userbox" folks are willing to accept that some userboxes may not belong in template space - but speedy deletion should be used only where it is obvious. Any expansion of the criteria for deletion beyond this basic formula is a recipe for disaster. Just stop deleting userboxes - they are not the problem you are trying to solve. If you are worried about vote stacking, then go after vote stackers. T2 is not a good idea, and the practice that it attempts to turn into a policy is a big part of the problem with userboxes - specifically, that people can't seem to leave them alone. Just stop deleting them for three months - and see what happens. You might be surprised at how harmless userboxes really are. -- 01:21, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

I can put it back once more today, I think - but I'm getting damn close to a 3RR breach here and I have no intention of getting blocked over the issue. If the only way to keep the policy there is by one or two people constantly reverting it back in, then it looks like T2 is just not sticking. At some point, we have to admit that it lacks consensus, whatever seemed to be the case a couple of weeks ago when Lar and I and a few others proposed that it be written down and included in the formal policies. Perhaps T2 needs to be explained more, or something, but I've done about as much of that as one person reasonably can. Without more people who are prepared to spend time explaining and defending T2, I don't think we can keep it there - which will make the underlying problem worse IMHO. It is not satisfactory for it to continue as an optional, unwritten policy followed by some admins and not others, but that is what will happen. Metamagician3000 01:25, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Explaining it will not help. T2 is too broad and can easily be minipulated to delete most userboxes. If you would like to propose a new set of criteria I suggest that it allows for beliefs to be posted in userboxes. thanks —David618 01:30, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Calling it "an elaboration of T1" is grossly wrong, because it is most certainly not. I just reverted some Cydebot vandalism of my user page. If you want me to turn a userbox into the base code, especially without bothering to list it for deletion, you can damned well ask me first. I'd put a vandalism warning on Cydebot's page, but that's an exercise in futility. Jay Maynard 01:35, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't know why, but the ~~~~ I put there the first time didn't seem to stick. In any event, I'll point out that if it's not policy, admins shouldn't behave as though it were. Is that really too much to ask? Jay Maynard 01:49, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
You may have actually used the 5-tilde, which is date stamp only. Regarding policy, our policies are descriptive, not prescriptive. The way it works is that people do things because they're good ideas, and eventually someone says "hey, let's write that down." -GTBacchus(talk) 01:56, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree that calling T2 a derivation of T1 in its current form does not fit semantically. T2 does not aim at what reactions are caused. It aims at a wide variety of things that could possibly be thought of as causing a fuss on wikipedia. However, in its current form, it is still arbitrary as to the causes which it recognises as at all possibly making a fuss.
I see the next step as either redefining wikipedia as a tolerant society, or continuing with commands from above in the lack of recognition of tolerancy between editors (against the WP:AGF and WP:CIVIL basic principles) . Ansell Review my progress! 02:07, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Your characterization of opposition to userboxes as lack of tolerance indicates a deep misunderstanding of why we oppose them. Please assume good faith, and try to understand that I oppose userboxes because I see that they hurt Wikipedia, a project that I care about rather strongly. You can disagree with me about that, but don't assume that I'm against a "tolerant society" - those are separte issues. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:17, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I still can't see why admins want to enshrine Template space as though everything in it has to be NPOV and nothing in it can express a point of view. I also do not see how they practically hurt wikipedia. The most common arguments are the issues of votestacking and attracting "bad editors" (the latter being against good faith when used to characterise future editors). The first issue is something that will not be fixed by removing the templates from Template space, subst: and keep with category removal solves that problem. As for the argument about the second one that having fancy HTML boxes attracts non serious editors, well, thats a highly personal view on their effect, negating any possible good that they have for helping people understand other editors and practice "tolerance". I cannot accept that the bad effects which have been alleged so far to be the utter depths of what wikipedia should not fall to, are either right for a Speedy deletion criteria, or are enough to say that any belief statements are the causes of the pain that is being suffered by admins in controlling the massive number of editors who have userboxes so far. Ansell Review my progress! 02:41, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Assuming good faith does not mean pretending that POV warriors don't exist, and going ahead and decorating Wikipedia to look welcoming to political advocacy, and unappealing to those who think of an encyclopedia as a place for scholarship, research, and neutrality. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:55, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Section break[edit]

I also find this frustrating and feel that it should be restored. The T2 provenance section above exemplifies the frustrating nature of the discussion. It isn't about whether t2 is good for wikipedia or if it's current practice or having the desired results. It's about whether it was added in the correct way and raising policy over everything's even explicitly stated as such: There seems to be no have been no consensus for adding T2, and therefore it should be removed. If anyone can see a flaw in my logic here (regardless of whether T2 is in fact a good idea or not)... It's no longer about writing an encyclopedia but merely following policy. It's too bad that something so worthless as userboxes are defended with such vigor y waving the rulebook around. Rx StrangeLove 01:42, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

I hate it when people act as if Wikipedia content depended on the number of times they revert an edit. It doesn't work that way. In the past few weeks many very divisive templates have been speedy deleted. Some of those deletions have been challenged, and most of those challenges have failed spectacularly. Here is a small list of those articles whose deletion was challenged. All deletions were endorsed on review. Many more such template deletions took place without any challenge.
Template:User scientology, Template:User liberal, Template:User liberty, Template:User chav, Template:User notchav, Template:User hate, Template:User ProIsrael,Template:User antiuserboxdeletion, Template:User Darwinist,User:UBX/Communist, Template:User No Marxism], Template:User against Saud, Template:User_Unamerican, Template:User transhumanist, Template:User anti-transhumanist, Template:User Unamerican, Template:User Objectivism, Template:User No Objectivism, Template:User marriage man-woman, Template:User Same Sex Marriage
They're all gone. T1, T2, call it what you will. This is Wikipedia policy. It might be a good idea,or then again not, actually to write it up in the documentation. It's all the same to me. What happens, happens. --Tony Sidaway
What part of Wikipedia:Undeletion_policy did people not understand? "A page listed for undeletion should remain on DRV for at least five days." Please, tell me how many of the above met that test? -- 04:17, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Oh I thought it was ten days. Are you sure it's only five? Wikipedia isn't a bureaucracy, you know. Would you prefer it if it was? --Tony Sidaway 04:23, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
On what basis? T2? No consensus. T1? A long, long stretch. Admins running amok and acting outside the policies that users and editrs believe in? *ding*ding*ding*ding* We have a winner! Bah. Jay Maynard 02:00, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Tony is correct...current practice and past results are a much greater reflection on real policy than reverting back and forth waving rule books.'re right, they reflect current practice regardless of what the last revert was. Rx StrangeLove 02:01, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Polcy must make practice—not vice versa—David618 02:05, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Policy is meant to enshrine good practice that is actually being followed. That is what T2 does. But written policy should not be allowed to lag too far behind practice, so the time has come to write the practice down. Again, that is what T2 does. Anyway, I restored it. Metamagician3000 02:04, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Both policy and practice at WP are supposed to be consensual. - Keith D. Tyler (AMA) 23:44, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Please see Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Tony_Sidaway#Polemical_or_inflammatory_userboxes_may_be_speedily_deleted.

It was found by the arbitration committee, as long as two months ago, that polemical and inflammatory userboxes can be deleted. All of the userboxes that I have listed above were in that small proportion of such deletions that have been challenged. All were kept deleted because the deletions were endorsed on review. --Tony Sidaway 02:09, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

I have to add that, in my opinion, the "administrstors running amock" story is getting a little tired. Without the diligent work of administrators, we wouldn't have a Wikipedia to work on. --Tony Sidaway 02:13, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Admins deleting userboxes for very little good reason is getting tired, too; indeed, that's why we're having this...discussion? I understand that admins are doing lots of thankless, tedious work behind the scenes. Despite appearances, I do appreciate it. I just don't appreciate it when they think that gives them license to do as they darn well please. That said, if the ArbCom says it's policy, then it's policy, and the opinions of peons like me don't matter a hill of beans, and nobody really cares what I think, and I'll go find some better use for my time. Jay Maynard 02:18, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
So, after reading volumes of reasons, you really don't belive that we're working for what we see as the good of Wikipedia? You really think it's just about people getting kicks throwing their weight around? You think we've been lying about our reasons? I think that's a shame. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:31, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
No more, and no less, than folks like Tony and Cyde appear to believe that userboxes are about people wanting to impose their own POV on Wikipedia. No, I don't think people are lying about wanting to improve Wikipedia, any more than I am; I do think they're simply refusing to consider that others can have differing opinions on how to do so and reach different conclusions, and that this is a community of volunteers with specific dynamics that are greatly affected by what can easily be seen as heavy-handed authoritarianism. I also am thoroughly disappointed that, despite all the rhetoric about only doing things by consensus, when it comes right down to it, there's a cabal that's more equal than others, and what they say goes - while denying it the whole time.
I've just wasted most of a week on trying to affect policy, because I honestly believed that my input was sought and welcomed. I know better now. I'm not going to leave Wikipedia, but I'm not going to spend this kind of time on it in the future, either. Jay Maynard 03:01, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I think most admins are working for what they see as the good of wikipedia. However, I also think it is easy for admins to lose the new user's perspective on Wikipedia - they almost definately stopped being new users long before they became an admin. Almost policy page in wikipedia starts with a template saying that it is policy because it is consensus. That box is what new users see as the requirement for being a policy. If admins start saying that consensus is not needed to make policy, they sound to new users like they themselves are violating policy in so doing.
Most users don't want to spend their Wikipedia time discussing policies. I'd certainly rather be elsewhere, but I believe the practice of speedily deleting userboxes that often look to be very harmless is actually quite harmful. The resulting debates are a waste of everyone's time, and are caused by the speedy deletion. Deletion via TfD would be less harmful. Yes, it takes more time - someone has to nominate and explain their reasons. The explanation will support Jimbo's preferred method of reducing the presnece userboxes - educating one user at a time.
Admittedly, T1 doesn't cover vote-stacking userboxes. That is an easier expansion - if a template is actually used for vote-stacking, it should be deleted. (Now, anyone could edit a template they want to get rid of to look like it was a vote-stacker, then delete it. But lets assume good faith unless it becomes a problem.)
Finally, most users do not see T2 as an elaboration of T1. They see it as very different. Because people are human, they hold points of view. Having a point of view is not inherently divisive or inflammatory, much less divisive and inflamatory. Several users, myself included, have commented above that we would rather know our fellow editors POV than make assumptions about it. Others believe that all statements on a user page of a POV are inherently divisive. This is a real difference of opinion, and will not be eliminated without significant discussion and citation of examples. I think we all need to back off on both the practice and the statement of T2 and have a long, drawn out, discussion. My personal belief is that either we will end up with some version of the Wikipedia:May Userbox policy poll or with a decision that T2 is not grounds for speedy deletion, but may be a rationale for deletion in the presence of other factors. GRBerry 03:30, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Back to the original posts: There certainly seems to be agreement (see #CSD:Tx) that the T2 sense of "divisive" should be split from the T1 sense of "divisive and inflammatory"; the problem is that somehow the split seems to have been interpreted to be an automatic endorsement of T2 just by virtue of it having been split from T1. That is, splitting the two interpretations of T1 doesn't mean that both senses have been agreed upon. The second interpretation is much more disputed than the first interpretation, I think. --AySz88^-^ 02:54, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

I see the page has now been protected. That may stop the immediate revert war, but it is not going to be possible to leave the page protected until disputes are resolved. I see no way to resolve this dispute by consensus at the moment. Meanwhile, some admins will continue to apply T2 on the basis that (as they'll say correctly) the page protection does not endorse the protected version, or interpret T1 broadly enough to include T2's content, or simply follow the practice that T2 would formalise and shrug about the formal policy lagging behind the practice. Some users will continue to resist the aim of getting viewpoint userboxes out of template space.

Well, I've made my position clear that I still think T2 is sound policy that updates the page for current good practice. I'm not going to wheel war by removing the page protection, but I do note that it won't solve the underlying problem. We will all have to do what we think is best, acting in good faith, until the issue is finally resolved. I think it is ultimately going to have to be resolved, one way or another, at a higher level than any of us. It's a pity it had to happen in this way. Metamagician3000 02:59, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Indeed, the point of splitting T2 out was to protect T1, which was clearly agreed upon policy. That is why I proposed it above on 12 May, and why another user implemented it the next day. At the time that occured, the combined version was being described as not policy. GRBerry 02:58, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Reproduced from above[edit]

Template Deleted by Log link
Template:User scientology Tony Sidaway, Improv [8]
Template:User liberal Tony Sidaway, Doc glasgow [9]
Template:User liberty Tony Sidaway, Doc glasgow, Drini [10]
Template:User chav Tony Sidaway [11]
Template:User notchav Tony Sidaway [12]
Template:User hate Doc glasgow [13]
Template:User ProIsrael Sean Black [14]
Template:User antiuserboxdeletion Mackensen [15]
Template:User Darwinist Doc glasgow [16]
User:UBX/Communist Kelly Martin, Drini, Tony Sidaway X2 [17]
Template:User No Marxism] Tony Sidaway X2 Doc glasgow X2 MarkSweep X2 Cyde [18]
Template:User against Saud Tony Sidaway, SCZenz, Pathoschild, Mackensen [19]
Template:User_Unamerican Physchim62 , Doc glasgow [20]
Template:User marriage man-woman Physchim62, Sean Black [21]
Template:User Same Sex Marriage Doc glasgow, Physchim62, MarkSweep, Mackensen, Cyde [22]
Count Deleter Sample % Cum. %
1 Improv 3%
1 Kelly Martin 3%
1 Pathoschild 3%
1 SCZenz 3%
2 Cyde 5%
2 Drini 5% 22%
2 MarkSweep 5%
2 Sean_Black 5%
3 Physchim62 8%
4 Mackensen 11%
8 Doc_Glasgow 22%
10 Tony_Sidaway 27% 78%

A really REALLY long sub-section[edit]

This discussion is all over the shop like a mad woman's breakfast, and has more straw men than a scarecrow convention. Can we try to focus a little bit, and pick apart the threads of what's being said? I'm going to sign each paragraph below so that we can have threaded responses. - brenneman {L} 09:13, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Policy is descriptive, not prescriptive. Whatever we do, it's policy.
The problems with this are clear if taken to its logical extreme. Re-creation of previously deleted material: If a group starts doing it, would that make it policy? Administrators could block and protect, but AOL users could keep coming back and using alterate spellings. If enough people did this, would it become "policy" evnetually? The further problem with the application of this paradigm to user box deletion is the way that "we" is defined. If it's admins than that represents a cultural shift to saying "Admins make policy." Policy is built, in almost every case, from the ground up, and the (pardon me) MySpacers have as much of a right to build the encyclopedia in the manner that they see fit as anyone. That includes policy. - brenneman {L} 09:13, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Any argument taken to an extreme loses some of it's cohesion. If it's not used in the extreme then it's not relevant to take it that far. If a group starts doing something, and enough editors agree, dispute resolution measures back it up, the final authority on the site is amiable toward it's goal and the subject is not relevant to writing an encyclopedia then yes, it's well on it's way to policy. Sure, everyone has a right to edit Wikipedia. But that right stops when they attempt to alter the purpose of Wikipedia. The right also ends when they attempt to alter what it means to be an editor while on the site. Rx StrangeLove 09:51, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
It appears to me that the idea that policy is descriptive relies on two things. First, People must start doing it (this is of course obvious). Second, the actions must be supported by the community. If community does not support the actions then logically they do not use those actions. Therefore, if most people do not use those actions you can not claim them as policy. Though editors can not delete pages this does not mean that they can be excluded from this; if editors disagree it is the same as if they do not delete pages. —David618 21:44, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
The userbox deletion policy is widely accepted, so it's policy.
This hinges on the definition of "widely accepted." The discussion hasn't died, so what is it that we're calling accepted? Is it that the deletions are sticking and thus admins at least are happy with it? *cough* I'm an admin. *cough* Admins range widely in their respect for the actions of others. Some are quite happy to wheel war unless explicitly forbidden to do so by the ArbCom. Others are loathe to revert, preferring to reach consensus through discussion. - brenneman {L} 09:13, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
The T1 deletion criterion is widely used, so it's policy.
This one says not that everyone agrees, or even that admins all agree, but only that the criterion is being applied. A brief glance at the skewed table above will put the lie to that. Even the userboxes that are clearly divisive are only being deleted by a handfull of admins, half by just two in this case. - brenneman {L} 09:13, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
A look at Tfd dicussions from last week shows that non-polemical userboxes have been accepted by the Wiki-Community. Should that be policy as well? (This is not a rhetorical question by the way.) --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 12:26, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
The myth of consistancy.
Wikipedia is not cosistant. We to a large degree don't even try to make it consistant. Why, for example, is the almost-universally accepted guideline for inclusion of bands not a speedy deletion criterion? Because we prefer to decide case by case as much as possbile, trusting in the system. Sometimes that develops into a de facto policy, sometimes into a real one, but there is no requirement to be consistant. - brenneman {L} 09:13, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Good rant. Quite interesting, in fact. I particularly liked the bit about consistency (sic), BTW ;-) One size fits all rules will never work while WP is growing so organically - consistency = stagnation. Stephen B Streater 09:27, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, on something like this consistency is all important. It is critical that if "This user is a Republican" is allowed then "This user is a Democrat" is allowed. On some issues there can be outcomes based on the facts but nothing could be more divisive than this. Personally, I think it is going to be a nightmare having any policy other than one that disallows all expressions of political, religious, ethical and social opinion. Of course someone will be able to come up with an example to test the boundaries in order to make a WP:POINT. But we need to know whether polite expressions of belief in things that are not hateful like Nazism are in or not.
Beyond clarifying my view on that point, there's not much more I can say. Except this. As far as I'm concerned, the ultimate aim of getting these political etc userboxes out of template space was established long ago. All that is up for debate is the timing and the method. I'm frustrated by the number of people who refuse to conduct the debate on that basis. If the ultimate aim is going to be challenged at every point, if people are organising to challenge it, as I see on some users' talk pages, and if newbies are misled into thinking that the aim is negotiable or is not taken seriously by Jimbo and most admins, we'll get nowhere. I believe the aim is clear, the recent practice is clear, Jimbo's support for the ultimate aim is clear, and the need for consistency is clear. T2 does all this. It sums up the situation in just a few words. It crystallises a practice that has been getting established for a long time now. If someone put up a positive proposal, such as a short phasing in period during which admins should delete only new userboxes that fall under T2 (creating a moratorium on such userbox creation), while there is a publicity campaign and a process of userfying existing T2-able boxes, I'd be happy to discuss it. I'm not gung-ho about this issue at all. T2 can be delayed for a short while longer if needed. But so much of what we're getting is last-ditch resistance to the non-negotiable ultimate aim. When proposals are put forward to introducing something like T2 over time, consensus is not achieved because the fundamental aim is challenged and some people vote on that basis. That doesn't help us find a way forward. Right now, nothing makes me inclined to treat T2 as anything other than good policy, written or not, but I'd rather it was written. Metamagician3000 11:22, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Now that you've once again hit me over the head with Jimbo's stone tablets, I'll go away. Jay Maynard 11:28, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Non policy arguments aka opinions.
"Even mild boxes are divisive" isn't proven. "This is an encyclopedia" is an orthoganal statemtnt, and anything about a "mild" userbox that follows that is a non sequitur. "They send the wrong message" has two unproven statements: That they send a ubiquitous message, and that it's the wrong one. When there is a difference of opinon we should talk about it until we find a solution we all hate equally. Note that statements like "Don't be stupid" or "Such fripparies are to be destroyed" does not contitute talking. - brenneman {L} 09:13, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

A subsection, entitled "On Bias and Divisiveness"[edit]

(There's no telling what developments I've missed since I started writing this, got interrupted, etc. Some parts may be irrelevant.)

Okay...A few people have made excellent points (in my opinion) that the CSD are natural extensions of the core policy WP:NOT. Much of the discussion here has focused on the appropriateness of the content, rather than the pseudo-technical issues under review at Wikipedia:May Userbox policy poll et al. I was on the verge of thinking that divisive and inflammatory templates would somehow be okay to keep in some sort of new namespace. This would not really be a good idea, in light of the "soapbox clause," although the diplomat in me still likes the idea of a compromise.

Some people have said that those templates are useful for identifying bias. Let me tell a slightly dramatized short story, for what it's worth. One day, a Wikipedian named Ardric was walking through the project namespace and came across a page of userboxes. He read through them all, intrigued by the wide range of interests, skills, and even beliefs that they could express. After choosing some key userboxes about skills related to editing an encyclopedia, he took more that were somewhat less academic and that covered such subjects as Coca-Cola and Jack Bauer. Then a witch appeared. Just kidding. Anyway, he noticed some userboxes that mentioned political beliefs. At first, he thought that it might be a good idea to let people know—"Tell us about yourself," he envisioned the other Wikipedians asking. "Inquiring minds want to know!" But he realized that it might give the appearance of a conflict of interest. He didn't wish to jeopardize relationships with other editors before they even existed.

(Yes, that was kind of silly; just trying to add some variety.) We (ideally) don't contribute to Wikipedia as supporters of political parties, representatives of corporations, etc. Jimbo Wales has called the neutral point of view concept "absolute and non-negotiable." Biases should be left at the proverbial door. Let's not kid ourselves, though; bias certainly exists. However, cases of personal bias are often taken care of on the article talk pages. If an editor thinks that his or her personal bias should be mentioned, then he or she can mention it, preferably in a factual manner. If an editor simply wishes to express an opinion (not a strong one, hopefully), then he or she can express it. It isn't really necessary to have templates for that. Ardric47 04:48, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

First, biases exist whether we want them to or not. I try to be neutral but that does not mean what I consider neutral as being is what it really is. Second, userboxes provide a standard form in which to place information so that there is some uniformity between pages. The userbox format also provides ease of use in looking at someone's info. Userboxes are much easier to differentiate then a list &c. —David618 21:34, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

The state of play on WP:NOT and T1[edit]

Well the state of play on T1 is that it's policy, but some editors are unhappy about that. Some editors seem to be strong on saying how terrible it is that administrators are taking policy into their own hands (say what?) but a little weak on how, with the chronic problems with straw polls on tfd, one might actually implement our official policy that Wikipedia is not a soapbox. But if soapboxy statements such as "This user is opposed to the House of Saud" are still regarded by some misguided editors as a legitimate use of Wikipedia resources, obviously we'll have to keep deleting stuff without playing the straw poll game. Wikipedia really isn't myspace. If you think it is, you probably blundered onto the wrong website. --Tony Sidaway 04:16, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

I thought we were above juvenile rollback of insightful comments. Forgive me. Will someone please repost the reply that was removed here by an administrator against policy? -- 04:46, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
T1 is policy as written. What we are concerned with is not admins applying policy, but admins inventing policy, including inventing their own peculiar "interpretations" and "elaborations" of existing policy.
On exactly how to implement such guidelines as WP:NOT, might I recommend those apparently unfashionable standbys of Wikipedia, discussion and consensus? —Ashley Y 05:51, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
As I think I've stated elsewhere, the relevant interpretation of the T1 policy was a finding of fact in the arbitration case Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Tony Sidaway, so it's hardly just an "own peculiar interpretation". We've been deleting polemical userboxes for ages under T1 on this basis. --Tony Sidaway 13:50, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think the "polemical or inflammatory" interpretation of T1 is meant to include the meaning in T2 (which I would assume is where this is going? Else this whole section seems rather out-of-the-blue....) --AySz88^-^ 14:18, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I think the T2 wording was an attempt to pin down the meaning of "polemical". I don't personally think that is necessary in the context of Wikipedia. We don't try to pin down the wording of the other criteria too hard, and T1 works quite well as it is. --Tony Sidaway 14:24, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Except for its blatant misuse on templates that AREN'T divisive. I agree with the meaning behind T1, but we cannot pretend it hasn't been abused. --D-Day(Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?, on WHEELS?!) 14:51, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
If CSD's are ever believed to have been abused, the deletions can be reviewed. In practice most T1 speedies when reviewed seem to be endorsed. As time goes on fewer and fewer instances of T1 are even challenged, though nearly every single one seemed to be challenged in the early days. --Tony Sidaway 14:42, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Divide T2 by date?[edit]

Would it be helpful to break down T2 by creation date to assist the transition, as before we can reduce the number of userbox templates we have, we have to first stop that number increasing, surely? I would easily support a T2 (or even a harsher version of it) if it only applied to templates created after a certain date (e.g. June 1), and templates created before that date were userfied in steps, if required. I'd even suggest that existing templates (and any new ones created) should have to be userfied by default, and to move into template space, there should be clear consesus that this is required/useful to the project (as opposed to requiring consesus to move them out of template space). I have no problem with speedy deleting invalid templates created after a policy change, but for material that existed prior to that change, I think jumping straight from "tolerated" to "speedy delete" is not the way to go, and there should a middle ground of "depreciated" first, where no new ones are created, and old one are converted. Regards, MartinRe 18:56, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, why would anyone want to "reduce the number of userbox templates we have"? — Timwi 20:32, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Various reasons, see the debates above, in the archives and elsewhere. Happy editing! Hiding Talk 20:44, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Uhm... obviously a majority does not want to reduce the number of userbox templates, or else there would not be such clearly-visible opposition to it. So stop trying it, especially using such weird tricks! — Timwi 22:26, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
If there really were a majority against deleting userboxes, then we wouldn't be very successfully deleting userboxes. Tony Sidaway 22:37, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Unless, of course, a group of admins were to add CSD policy without first obtaining consensus. —Ashley Y 22:43, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
The thing is, that consensus does not overrule offical policy, and consensus can not superceed WP:NOT, no more than a unamious keep vote will stop a copyvio being deleted. I agree broadly with Tony Sidaway about the end result, my main disagreement is the method of getting there. I think we are all trying to ensure that WP:NOT is adhered to, all we are trying to do is try and find a consensus about the best way of doing that. Trying to find consensus to change WP:NOT, however, would be doomed to failure by definition. Regards, MartinRe 00:03, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
As someone has said before, WP:NOT shouldn't be a speedy criteria it requires a subjective determination. --AySz88^-^ 00:10, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
But we haven't found consensus on whether WP:NOT applies. —David618 00:12, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Ah, AySz88, the "someone" you refer to was me. Quite funny having my own words quoted back at me :) And yes, WP:NOT shouldn't be a speedy, in my view, but many of the speedy critera do have some subjective determination, A7 for instance, what is regarded as a "claim for notability?" And as for whether WP:NOT applies, I think user pages are used for information relevant to working on the encyclopedia would apply to most cases. How relevant to enclyopedia editing are most things? My personal opinion is that if you have a bias, it's either not worth mentioning, or if it's strong enough to mention, it would be better to contribute in sections that you are more neutral, in which case you don't need to mention it. Regards MartinRe 00:28, 27 May 2006 (UTC) (aka Yossarian for that last comment :)
There is a greater tendency to agreement on whether A7 or G4 apply than T1 has ever had. Septentrionalis 21:14, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Yet another T2 topic - drawing lines[edit]

First section[edit]

Here's another spin. If we have T1, which seems to have stuck, but we don't have T2, which seems to have trouble sticking, then we have to decide which beliefs and ideological stances are divisive and or and inflammatory.

  • user Democrat, user Republican, user Libertarian, user communist, user anarchist, user fascist, user Nazi
  • user human rights, user free speech, user pro-choice, user gun rights, user drug legalization, user legalize prostitution, user legalize pedophilia
  • user Christian, user Moslem, user Catholic, user Atheist, user Pagan, user Scientologist, user Satanist
  • user Parliamentarian, user Kiwanis, user Salvation Army, user ACLU, user NRA, user KKK, user al qaeda

If you support T1 and not T2, then you have a way of deciding in every case whether a given belief is divisive and inflammatory? I suspect that the grey area is densely filled in, and that drawing lines across it would involve arbitrary and largely indefensible decisions. "Sorry, but your political party massacred more people than his, so your box gets deleted, but his stays." "Wikipedia supports calling for free Tibet, but free Palestine... not so much."

I dunno, am I barking up the wrong tree here? Thoughts? -GTBacchus(talk) 22:45, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

There is nothing polemical about saying "This user is a Republican" in a userbox However, saying "This user is a Republican who thinks EVERY STINKING DEMOCRAT MUST ROT IN HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" is a different story. --D-Day 22:53, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
How about this user is a white supremacist? -GTBacchus(talk) 22:54, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Borderline racism. Why, is there a userbox that says that? --D-Day 23:53, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I am concerned with the more obvious ones. Those definately should stay. I am not quite sure on how to decide the more borderline cases besides precidence. I particularly have no problem with userboxes that say, "I am a Nazi," or, "I am a white supremacist." I have problems with userboxes that say, "Die {{{your favorite slur}}}," &c. But most likely those three would be considered devisive and inflammatory—I wouldn't object at all to that decision. We would just need to decide on a case by case basis at the beginning and develop a precidence for similar types of borderline boxes. —David618 00:09, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

"There is no god.": divisive

"This user is an atheist.": not divisive. —Ashley Y 00:26, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Evidently I'm stupid, because I am unable to see how labelling people as "ises" and "isn'tes" — i.e., dividing them up — isn't, ahem, "divisive".
James F. (talk) 00:38, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
It depends on what devisive means. In this case it means causing rifts instead of merely dividing people into groups. Call it semantics but that is what I believe the meaning to be. —David618 00:47, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Oh, it does, does it now? That's a new one on me. :-)
James F. (talk) 00:58, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Because that's not necessarily the sense of "divisive" that was meant, and I don't think that's what was meant by "divisive". "Divisive" may be interpreted as literally "this userbox divides people" (i.e. any sort of categorization), but "divisive and inflammatory" and the context of the pedophila boxes suggests to me that the phrase more probably means "it causes heated controversy in the community". The "polemical" word choice of the ArbCom decision also suggests the same. --AySz88 00:49, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Please forgive me for my impudence, but I would immodestly say that I am particularly well-situated to judge as to what particular sense the term was meant, given its source.
James F. (talk) 00:58, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I might may have misunderstood, but I thought "its source" would be Jimbo? How would you be able to know what Jimbo meant by T1? (Now that I think about it, hasn't anyone asked Jimbo what he meant?) --AySz88 16:32, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I think its source was actually Sannse. Jimbo endorsed it but did not originate it. --Tony Sidaway 16:36, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. I think that devise devisive should be changed to something more clear. For the time being: because devisive goes along with inflammatory it is logical to conclude that devisive has a similar meaning. —David618 00:55, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
David, "divisive" is derived from the word "divide", not "devise". Very different meanings; be careful. James is making the same point that I was: unless we go with all or nothing, we're going to piss off a lot of people. Who are you to say one userbox is inflammatory and another one isn't? There, in fact, is no fair place to draw that line. The only fair possibilities are all, or none. To do anything else would be to take a stand on which issues should and shouldn't count as inflammatory, and we can't do that. Without T2, there is no way to apply T1 fairly. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:12, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Where do you get devise from? The word divisive can have different meanings and neuances like all English words. Semantics must be used to interperate the meaning of devisive in T1. —David618 01:43, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I got "devise" from your post above, where you typed it. I was trying to politely point out that the word is spelled "d-I-visive, not d-E-visive, because it's a form of the word "divide", not the word you used, "devise". I thought you might not be clear on that point. I'm sorry if I was confusing. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:49, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
My appologies. I see what you mean. Thanks for making it know to me. —David618 02:23, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Deletions of userboxes saying "This user is a communist", "This user is a libertarian" and so on have been routinely kept deleted where reviewed after deletion under T1. --Tony Sidaway 01:00, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Exactly, Tony.
On an unpopular note (but then, what figgin give I to ochlocracy?), I perceive even location userboxes to divide people, and at one and the same time be wholly pointless - except, of course, on the pom-pom-waving, MySpace-doting, "community"-building non-contributors' front, where I understand they help to build "networks". Net-doesn't-work, more like it.
James F. (talk) 01:05, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Was T2 on the policy page at the time the review occurred? —Ashley Y 01:08, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Do you really believe that matters? Do technicalities suddenly have weight here, and it wasn't announced? -GTBacchus(talk) 01:11, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
If the review looked at the policy page and saw T2, they might come to a different decision than if T2 were not there. —Ashley Y 01:16, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, ok.... which particular review are we talking about, then? -GTBacchus(talk) 01:19, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Whatever reviews Tony is referring to. —Ashley Y 01:22, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
As he said, they happen routinely. That's before T2 was written down and while it was there. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:30, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Saying "this user is an admin" divides people up in the same way. But clearly such a thing is not intended to be covered by T1. I think this is a rather disingenuous argument. —Ashley Y 01:10, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree that "this user is an admin" divides people up. It divides them up by function on Wikipedia. This is an extant and necessary division. "I am a socialist" or whatever is an unnecessary division, and it's obviously what the T1 criterion is intended for. I think this objection smacks of wikilawyering. We know what we mean so it's silly to get into semantic quibbles. --Tony Sidaway 14:41, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Section Break[edit]

I think I must not have been very clear making this point at first. It's this: if we try to live with T1 and no T2, then we have to make a bunch of decisions that amount to political stances: "This opinion is T1, that one isn't." There is no fair way to make those decisions. T1 without T2 is a broken policy. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:30, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

We've managed fine for months without T2. Political, polemical and religious crap gets deleted, end of story. --Tony Sidaway 01:39, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Tony, we're not disagreeing. I'm pointing out that if you delete some ideological boxes, you have to delete them all. This is for the benefit of people who want to get rid of user Nazi, but keep user Christian, and believe that they're holding a defensible position. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:42, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
How can you say that a religious userbox is as devisive as a fascist one. I don't like religion but it is not on part with the Nazis. It's not like the catholic church still burns heretics. —David618 01:45, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not saying anything even remotely close to that. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:49, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
To put it in terms you might prefer: once T1 is policy, then so is T2, like it or not, written down or not. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:43, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
T1 is only against divisive and inflammatory userboxes. Stating a belief that is not inflammatory should be kept. —David618 01:47, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
And who gets to decide which beliefs are inflammatory? You? -GTBacchus(talk) 01:49, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
If only. I am for consensus whenever possible. Groups of userboxes should be reviewed and whatever is deemed "devisive and inflammatory" should be applied to all similar userboxes. That is essentially what you want but you groiup unrelated subjects together. —David618 01:53, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Ok, David, I think we're close to being on the same page... now you're suggesting that we go ahead and make a bunch of decisions - keep this, delete that, etc. I'm saying, while those decisions may seem easy for friendly boxes like "user Christian" and for nasty boxes like "user fascist", that when we get borderline cases, those decisions cannot be fairly made. We'll have to tell someone "sorry, your box goes, while that other one stays", even though the two boxes aren't very different, just very close to the boundary that we choose to draw. Drawing that boundary is impossible to do without inadvertently taking a lot of political stances that we don't need to be taking. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:57, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I argue that what a consensus of Wikipeidians agree upon is fair. —David618 02:03, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Ok, how about cases where we can't reach a consensus? You're taking those into account, right? Now, we've basically got this one big argument going on about userboxes. Imagine a hundred of these arguments going on, over every borderline case. The only solution will be to get rid of all of them. So, let's skip the drama, and do that now. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:10, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I say: come to consensus on general cases. Is it "devisive and inflammatory" to state that you hate {{{whatever}}}. Those can then be applied to individual userboxes. The only arguement would be under what category the userbox fits. We need to try to make the categories as definate as possible to stop arguements. It is rediculous to argue that many of these userboxes are "devisive and inflammatory." T2 is causing a lot of debate already, so just focus on the truely inflammatory ones—the majority of users would agree that a lot of the borderline ones are inflammatory. —David618 02:17, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
[Edit conflict, this is a response to GTBacchus' comment]] Actually, another solution to cases where we can't reach a consensus is to keep all of them. It is the logical equivalent. Even more, that is the standard resolution of xFD cases with no consensus - they get kept. So having the opposite position be a basis for speedy deletion amounts to a very hard to justify conclusion. I've said before, and I'll say it more strongly again, that I believe there is a chance that some form of T2 could become a criteria for deletion, but that it will not be possible to build consensus for T2 as a criteria for speedy deletion in any short time frame. Maybe with continuous discussion for the next 3-5 years a consensus as a speedy criteria could be built. GRBerry
I agree with your arguement. However, I believe that any criteria that prohibit beliefs, personal opinions, &c. would be opposed by too many people even for other types of deletion. —David618 02:28, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I will assume the premise that we must delete all userboxes or keep all userboxes. Why not keep all userboxes that don't violate existing policy? We don't even need T1 to delete boxes that are egregiously bad. If interpreting T1 is such a heavy burden, just chuck it. Leave the boxes alone unless they are actively harming the project. Nobody here has shown any evidence that userboxes harm the project in any way. I say, delete T1 from the policy page. We managed fine for years without it - I think we can safely remove it. --My Spandex Heaven 02:15, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Um... we got along fine without T1 when there weren't a bunch of userboxes, of course. Then they started growing like a cancer, and the advent of T1 is a response to that. A problem arose, and we addressed it. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:32, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Though I believe that truely divisive and inflammatory userboxes should be deleted, if we can not fairly follow T1 then we should scrap it. —David618 02:19, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
We can't scrap T1, for various reasons, among them being that we'd be flirting with the law, and also that Jimbo made T1 policy, and it's his website. We can and should fairly follow T1 by getting rid of unencyclopedic, just-asking-for-trouble, fire-starting ideological userboxes. Get all the ideological partisanship the hell off of this website; it's at odds with our project. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:36, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Jimbo did endorse T1 but also said: "At least for a little bit, I advise everyone to chill about this. Let's take some time to reflect on this issue as a community. That means: don't make any crazy userboxes designed to try to trip this rule, and don't go on any sprees deleting ones that already exist." If T1 is being used to delete any template that pertains to beliefs then it should be removed. —David618 02:42, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Where's that quote from? It doesn't seem to be at WP:JOU with the others. Regardless, I think this conversation is a part of reflecting on this issue as a community. I'm just trying to work out the arguments, which I find somewhat complicated. I have an idea what's at the core of it, and I suspect there's an elephant in the room that nobody's mentioning. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:53, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
The quote seems remarkably like the one that went on this page after he reverted the deletion of T1 after its initial planting by another user. Also, how would we be flirting with the law without T1 as a speedy deletion criteria? Also, in what world is saying "This user is a Christian" a "unencyclopedic, just-asking-for-trouble, fire-starting ideological userboxes". Statements of personal belief are part of what it means to be a human. Your belief in what you think wikipedia is may actually be called divisive and inflammatory, by reference of the fact that this whole page is filled with discussion about the issue, and that the policy page is protected as a direct result of your belief that the deletions themselves relieve division, or which you can provide precious little evidence of the wholescale problem with any beliefs in userboxes on wikipedia. --Ansell 10:09, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, well, well. The folks wielding the stone tablets forgot one. Why am I not surprised? They certainly went on a spree of deletion... Jay Maynard 12:32, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

I really don't see what the problem with POV userboxes is. If it's OK to say "This user is an atheist" directly on one's user page, why is it not OK to do the same with a template? And frankly I don't see how it's any more "divisive" that saying "this user is an administrator", which also "divides" in only the most literal sense. —Ashley Y 02:58, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

As for borderline "divisive and inflammatory" cases, that's what TFD is for. It's like any other deletion dispute: let the community decide. —Ashley Y 03:04, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

This argument over the precise meaning of the rule is an inevitable consequence of creating a highly subjective speedy deletion criterion. In this way, this rule is just as bad as having a speedy deletion rule for "non-notable", "offensive", or "uninteresting" articles (which we don't have for good reason). Do userboxes disrupt the community? Maybe so - but a rule that can be so broadly interpreted that it lets people delete any userbox they don't like is even more disruptive. Deco 03:12, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Deco, you may be right about that, but it kind of begs the question, why have these things around at all if they're bound to cause disruption? -GTBacchus(talk) 03:15, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Could you point me to some of this disruption caused by userboxes? I mean apart from debate on whether POV userboxes should exist? —Ashley Y 03:19, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
There's definitely an elephant in the room. Ashley, please give me a few minutes - I'm cooking dinner and my arm's in a sling. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:29, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
As our revered founder once said: "Get these motherfucking snakes off of my plane! And I don't mean that as an order, or an edict, just an expression of opinion."
Seriously, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. It follows that Wikipedia's facilities will not be abused for other purposes. If you want a little pastel box saying "I'm an X-ist", go elsewhere. --Tony Sidaway 13:18, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Enough of the "Userbox lovers don't care about Wikipedia" crap. And did Jimbo's statement have anything to do with userboxes? And if so, where is the link proving he said that? --D-Day 13:22, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
That was a parody. Also, I haven't said that userbox proponents "don't care about Wikipedia." I have said that putting aforementioned opinionated little pastel box has nothing to do with making an encyclopedia. --Tony Sidaway 13:28, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
And for quoting Jimbo, see [23], where the "current situation with these things being in the main Template namespace [...] is that they are damaging to our culture". Jimbo thinks they are damaging to remain in template space, and I agree, what's under discussion is the best way to do that [move out of template space], not whether or not it should be done. Regards, MartinRe 13:35, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
WP:BJAODN has nothing to with creating an encyclopedia. ArbCom has very little to do with creating an encyclopedia. Your subpages have nothing to do with creating an encyclopedia. The Wikipedia Department of Fun has nothing to do with creating an encyclopedia. Wikipedia's Facebook has nothing to do with creating an encyclopedia. Heck, Jimbo's user page has little to do with creating an encyclopedia. Do you see those getting mercilessly speedied at will? I agree some things don't belong in here, but most userboxes do have something to do with creating an encyclopedia: They help uncover user biases, helping to reach the goal of neutrality, and they declare a user's interest, which other editors can use to recruit them to work on those articles that talk about their interests. --D-Day What up? 13:52, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Most of your examples are easily disputed. But that's by-the-by. Let's pretend for the sake of argument that you have given good examples of unencyclopedic activities that are tolerated on Wikipedia. The difference with all of the above is that we don't put them in template space and invite other editors to transclude them on their userpages. --Tony Sidaway 13:48, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
They're still taking up server space. And Jimbo's page encourages people to edit it. And you're subtlely encouraged to put your picture on facebook. But that's OK. You support those pages' existence, so they must be OK. --D-Day What up? 13:52, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, you're right. I don't have a problem with User:Jimbo Wales or the facebook. They all perform useful functions as part of building the encyclopedia, and they do so in a non-viral manner. --Tony Sidaway 14:09, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
How does the facebook help anything? It's MySpacey crap that gives new users the impression that Wikipedia is a social-networking site. --D-Day What up? 27 May 2006 (UTC)
That's plausible, I suppose. I was under the impression that the facebook was of use to people arranging to meet one another. This is the sole purpose for which I have had occasion to use it. I've hardly ever heard it discussed and I don't see it being promoted in the same way as userboxes. Editors do not, to my knowledge, spend most of their time on Wikipedia producing a facebook entry. --Tony Sidaway 14:36, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Er, how are userboxes being promoted or taking up most of the time of any editor, other than the current debate? --AySz88|Talk16:30, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
The facebook isn't being discussed here, but one possible benefit is that it's easier to say rash words to a typewritten name than it is when you can visualise the person you're talking to. So, in that way, it encourages people to be civil. Also, this enclyopedia is written by people, so having a list of authors (or their pictures) isn't unreasonable. Wikipedia isn't a social-networking site, but that is not to say that social networking doesn't exist, it does, but so long as the primary aim of the networking is to contribute to building the enclyopedia, and not to be a social network in its own right, that's fine by me. Regards, MartinRe 14:41, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Neutrality is better served by editors proclaiming their opinions up-front rather than pretending that they become "neutral" the moment they start editing. Userboxes are a convenient way of doing this. —Ashley Y 16:40, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
There's an arguable case for people stating their biases. This can be done by individual users who want to do so writing about themselves in English on their userpages, or else voluntarily disclosing their biases in discussion. Although this argument is often trundled out whenever the deletion of userboxes is challenged, this clearly isn't the purpose for which userboxes are commonly used. Their use in relatively non-contentious contexts ("this user wears levis", etc) is advertising, promotion and endorsement. This is also certainly true of the belief-based userboxes that are the target of T1. --Tony Sidaway 16:48, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
No, the purpose for which belief-based userboxes are commonly used is to proclaim ones beliefs up-front. This better serves neutrality. —Ashley Y 17:00, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
This has come up several times before. Userboxes are neither the only way, nor a very good way to declare one's biases. Userboxes are colorful little stickers that appear to be fun, club-housey asvertisements of one's bias. Pretending this whole dispute is about people who want to declare their biases in the service of neutrality is rather deluded. The purpose for which they're generally used in unencyclopedic. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:53, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I started putting userboxes on my userpage in order to show by biases. I thought that it was important for me to show certain things at the time and userboxes were the best way. It's good that userboxes are "colorful little stickers;" a long list of text is much harder to find perticular things in. —David618 23:44, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

T1/2 & Beliefs About Wikipedia[edit]

What about beliefs regarding Wikipedia. Shouldn't userboxes be allowed to express opinions about Wikipedia itself. It's not as if someone is going to make a userbox that says, "This user believes wikipedia should promote Nazism" (though on thinking about it I wouldn't be too supprised. after all we have been arguing for quite some time that makes little difference in the real world). —David618 02:08, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Even if a user created a box stating "This user believes wikipedia should promote Nazism", it would do no damage. So yes, userboxes should be allowed to express opinions. Period. --KCUf 06:37, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
The nazism one would be deleted as inflammatory and, if reviewed, would be kept deleted. It would be an obvious troll. --Tony Sidaway 13:14, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I have to say, KCUf, if you seriously believe that "it would do no damage" then your judgement is rather brought into question.
James F. (talk) 15:36, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I actually like the userboxes and don't see a need for speedy deletion. Is the above userbox really going to "hurt" anybody while its getting deleted/nuked?? I would find that box useful, 'cause I could go to the guy/gals page, see the box, understand that he/her is a troll and act accordingly. I have more trouble when I am not sure of an editors agenda/POV and have to spend alot of time researching it before I can act. Just my 2 cents. --Tom 16:35, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Hopefully we don't have that many trolls who want to promote nazism on Wikipedia, or to pretend they want to. If they do want to do so, they'll find their own ways of doing it. Let's not give them the right to abuse template space in order to carry out their trolling. --Tony Sidaway 16:39, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Editors with an extreme agenda make it clear from their editing, so an additional userbox is unnecessary. Other editors, while they might have a POV, might not always edit from that POV, and might have written a perfectly NPOV article, (or even an slightly other direction article if they tried too hard to be neutral). In those cases, assuming what they wrote was biased to their POV solely on a little box on their page and acting accordingly would be incorrect, and even counterproductive. Regards, MartinRe 16:55, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
There is no such thing as a neutral editor. Everyone has PsOV, and even when people make an effort to write fairly, as they should, their POV is always present. Much better to state it up-front so you can better work with editors with other PsOV, and thus come closer to neutrality. —Ashley Y 17:04, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Unless you're in the habit of checking every editor's userpage before you edit an article, it's of limited use. If an edit looks biased enough to check the page, chances are you know what the bias is anyway. In any case, this is not about whether declaring potential biases is good or not (I think not, for reasons above) this is about the use of template space to do it. Assuming you believe POV must be declared, do you have a reason why it must be declared using template space? Regards, MartinRe 17:19, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
The benefit is probably more that the editors themselves are acknowledging their own bias than the fact that the boxes let others know about their biases. Encouraging the acknowledgement of one's own biases, I think, should be encouraged; thus appropriate for Template space.
Granted, not everyone who uses userboxes might view it that way, but that's why I'd sketched an idea to make it more likely that people do view them that way. AySz88|talk 17:28, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
You don't need userboxes to declare a point of view. You can write "I'm a socialist" or "I'm anti-abortion" or whatever on your user page. This is an encyclopedia so all editors are supposed to have a reasonable grasp of English, so writing a short English sentence should be very easy. --Tony Sidaway 18:40, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
The userbox has a better chance of grabbing people's attention than standard text. AySz88 is 150% correct. Letting your biases known should be accepted, as long as it doesn't trickle into articlespace. --D-Day What up? 19:04, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Even so, a userbox in user space has the idential look to a userbox in template space, so whether displaying biases is good or bad is a moot issue really for this debate. Regards, MartinRe 19:07, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Letting your biases be known is accepted, we're just arguing over a particular format that has side-effects. -GTBacchus(talk) 20:06, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Those side effects may include nausea, headache, diarrhea, heartburn, loss of sleep, intense stomach pain, and abhorence of user pages. Some pregnant women should not use userboxes. Talk to your doctor before using any T1 template. Ooops, sorry about that! You mentioned "side effects", and well...
But Martin is right. (again) I plan on subst-ing my userboxes with the {{userbox}} format today. Someone looking at them wouldn't know the difference. Question is, are they still taking up userspace because of the {{userbox}} format? --D-Day What up? 20:22, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I think that's the best thing. If you want the boxes, I don't think there's anyone on the wiki who would say you can't have them. The problem is the transclusion, template space, whatlinkshere and categories. And those all go away, for the purposes of this discussion, if you use {{userbox}}. --Tony Sidaway 00:01, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Whether or not something should be a template has a lot to do with whether it should be encouraged, because the existance of something in Template space encourages the thing's proliferation - Jimbo's reasoning of whether userboxes were appropriate for Template space hinged on his opinion that their proliferation "attracted the wrong sorts of people" (or some similar wording). If userboxes should be encouraged instead of discouraged - because userboxes encourage acknowledgement of editors' biases - then it would be beneficial to put them in the Template space. --AySz88talk 20:17, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Jimbos exact wording is at [24], but if your arguement is based on Jimbo being wrong, then I don't think it'll fly on a website owned by him. FWIW, I think he's right, advertising POV templates does suggest that wikipedians should "choose a side", which is not what we're about. It's like going to a wedding and being asked "bride or groom?" when you know both of them. Oh, if you're interested and believe POV should be declared, you (or anyone interested) can try what I propsed at User_talk:Ashley_Y#Neutral_editor. I declare no bias on my user page, but if that has affected my editing, it should be obvious by now. I'm the guinea pig. Analzse my editing, show a bias, and give me a userbox that would have helped. Regards, MartinRe 22:20, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood what my point was; you said that whether or not expressing bias is good or bad is a moot issue - however, I don't think it's a moot issue, because that issue is important to deciding whether some T2 userboxes are beneficial and should be encouraged, and that's important to whether or not T2 userboxes should stay in Template space. --AySz88talk 23:48, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes. that's it. If someone comes here to promote something, our message to them should be an unambiguous "go elsewhere." We should state that message loudly, clearly, repeatedly and with one voice. We cannot do that while we have things that look like promotional messages on our userpages. --Tony Sidaway 23:02, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
(Who knows which level of indentation this should really be...) Wikipedia:Assume Good Faith is directly relevant here. One of the points that I was trying to make in my long-winded subsection above is that editors shouldn't need to label each other. Ardric47 04:56, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Refactoring suggestion[edit]

I think we've had a lot of repetitive discussion lately and would welcome any reasonable attempt at radical refactoring. Obviously I'm far too involved to undertake this. Anybody else want to give it a go? You'd have my full support. --Tony Sidaway 16:31, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

OK - I'm (relatively) fresh to this debate. As I see it there are two types of user boxes:
  • Those which, if you have them, show you are better able to edit an article eg Mathematician makes you better at editing Mathmatics articles
  • Those which, if you have them, make you worse at edting an article eg Political candidate for party X make you worse at editing articles where that party has a strong POV prejudiced opinion.
So one idea is to allow relatively neutral ones which show where you can help WP (and hence get invitations to chip in), but remove ones where the only reason to ask for help would be stack a poll or edit war in one particular direction. Stephen B Streater 17:44, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the "This user is interested in mathematics" kind of stuff is pretty unexceptionable and I don't know of such a userbox that has been deleted (aside from Template:User pedo, which stated "This user is interested in pedophilia."). Belief-based userboxes tend to be very controversial, especially in the light of our neutral point of view and concerns that there is a promotional component to their creation and use. They're being phased out, basically. See Jimbo's comment about this [25]. --Tony Sidaway 18:59, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Also by wikipedia having the POV userboxes displayed in offical space gives the indication that wikipedia encourages people to "pick a side". This implied factionisation of wikipedia users is what I believe Jimbo meant by being "damaging to our culture"[26] Regards, MartinRe 19:03, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Tony, how about a subpage for all the T1/T2 discussions? -GTBacchus(talk) 17:56, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm not in favor of such subpages. The discussion is relevant, but just very repetitive. --Tony Sidaway 18:41, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
The point of having a subpage would be to make it easier for the rest of us, who don't care any which way about userboxes, to follow any debate that might arise about the criteria for things that matter. (Really, both sides of the dispute are incomprehensible to me. Why is it so important for some people to use ugly HTML soup to declare their biases? On the other hand, why does Tony insist on claiming as an axiom that "I like brussels sprouts" in plain text is OK, whereas "This user likes brussels sprouts" in ugly HTML soup is somehow evil divisive promotion of brussels sprouts? Do you think people who read userpages are so easily swayed that a splash of garish color is likely to change their opinion about anything? Or do you thing that people who use userboxes stupid enough that they think their readers are that easily swayed? If not, why would the HTML soup be a sign of trying to actively promote BS?) Henning Makholm 00:00, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Both are promotion. The difference is well explained by Jimbo, and has been repeated a number of times now so I won't do it all over again. --Tony Sidaway 00:07, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Could you point to one of those repetitions? I have not seen any coherent explanation of what the big deal is on this page. I also have not seen any coherent explanation of how the mere assertion of an opinion, disjoint from any attempt to argue its validity, could possibly count as "promotion" in a company of intelligent human beings. How is "User:Foo is a communist" different from "Vladimir Lenin was a communist", and why would the former be more effective at convincing anybody than the latter? Henning Makholm 01:09, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I wrote the following (so of course I think it brilliant ;) and someone else added it to the UserBox page where it has remained for three months (to what avail I don't know):
The primary purpose of user boxes and user categories should be to alert other Wikipedians to ways you might aid them in editing. For instance, if you speak a second language or have professional expertise in a technical field, other users will know they can contact you for assistance. User boxes that are designed to provoke, offend, or reflect a POV rather than show expertise are generally discouraged.
I actually think this should be a line of policy with "generally discouraged" changed to "may be deleted." Deciding what "reflects a POV rather than show expertise" will, of course, be subjective but this provides a common referent. Jimbo liked it anyhow. Marskell 18:52, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
This looks pretty good to me. Given the heat being generated here, perhaps a debate should precede POV deletion claims. Someone who is an expert in Green Energy could come under 'technical expertise', like my sister who has numerous qualifications and many years experience as a Mechanical Engineer in this area, or could just be some guy who has personal issues and as picked on renewable energy. This dichotomy is apparently already present, and (by convergent evolution as I haven't found the current userbox pages yet) in my earlier post. So I'll support the current wording. "Generally discouraged" allows a grey area to stop life-and-death struggles. I'm moving towards "is strongly discouraged" to discourage WP:SOAP. Stephen B Streater 19:37, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

T1 debate summary[edit]

See main project page

Just a quick question about the whole userbox deletion thing[edit]

If this has such broad support, and is so widely accepted, why is it being driven by so very few? When I look over this talk page, one voice seems to stand out. The chart above shows that even of the actually divisive userboxes listed, half were deleted by two people. Concensus should not have such a volume component. I'd ask, as nicely as possible, if perhaps it wouldn't be a good thing for the loudest voices (including me) to just step back for a while? To let other people do the talking and deleting, so that we can perhaps hear what other people have to say?
brenneman {L} 03:04, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

If Doc, Cyde and the other administrators who have taken to speedy deleting any and all userboxes would be willing to take a break from deletion, it would probably go a long way toward resolving this issue, IMHO. -- 03:52, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think this is a relevant question. It doesn't matter who pulls the trigger. What matters is that the community supports the decision, which is clearly the case. --Tony Sidaway 03:59, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Clearly the case? I think you may be deluding yourself, Tony. -- 04:22, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
No, I'm going on personal experience and the results of the deletion reviews. --Tony Sidaway 04:28, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I see, so Tony is consensus, and DRV can be dispensed with. It is all WP:SNOW, right? -- 04:47, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Don't forget Jimbo. It's not just Tony and I ... most people are saner than us to actually get involved in this nonsense. --Cyde↔Weys 05:11, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes, Cyde. Don't forget Jimbo said to avoid mass deletion. How is that going? --Cjytop 05:28, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Look, can we hold off on the back-and-forth sniping? I'm trying to make a reasonable suggestion: That those people (from both sides, ideally) who have the most extreme positions just step back. If there actually is wide-spread support etc. etc. than we don't need the special love that only one admin can give. Same goes for the kicking and screaming from the other side: Surely some middle ground can be found, and if you (whomever I'm pointing at) won't back off than perhaps stop saying there is consensus? - brenneman {L} 05:49, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I have a question about this too. listed four userboxes on DRV. They were deleted three times by three different admins, two of which who deleted two of the four userboxes. None offered any explanation, just the sterile "reverted edits by ... back to version by ..." Since WP:DRVU is gone, I figured that listing any UBX on the regular DRV was acceptable. Apparently it's not? Or it's not acceptable by an anon? Hbdragon88 08:03, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
At some point, it's not cool to drag the same userboxes back to DRV again and again. Are we obliged to re-explain an arbitrary number of times why they're gone? Their code is readily available if anyone wants them in userspace. There's also such a thing as a three revert rule - the anon made that same edit about a dozen times, jumping around about six IPs and as many throwaway accounts. That same anon was also making vandalistic edits, and at some point, a troll is a troll. I tried dealing with him reasonably, but as soon as I asked a question he didn't like he started vandalizing. -GTBacchus(talk) 08:10, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Okay, good, now I have an explanation. That other account that also restorted the userboxes was also too, I suppose? Well now I have my explanation, so I will vanish. But it would have made a lot more sense had it been explained in the edit summary. Hbdragon88 06:19, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't even know why I'm bothering to read this, since I have no hope of affecting policy, and I've already turned my userpage into the bland, homogenous pap that Tony and Cyde want. I don't believe there is compromise to be found here. Some folks don't want userboxes, period. (If they simply objected to having them in template space, why would they vote against a proposal to move them to another readily-accessible space?) Some folks think they're of value for the encyclopedia. Where is there middle ground between those two positions? To move them to users' pages destroys their utility as readily-specifiable, easily editable expressions of who a user is, especially if there is no central directory listing them.
Step back? I stepped back, because I got disgusted and made to feel unwelcome. If I step back any further, it will be away from Wikipedia entirely. Jay Maynard 13:21, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Consensus and leadership[edit]

Wikipedia works on consensus. Where there is no consensus, leadership is required to create one. Various attempts at leadership have been tried, for example deleting suspect userboxes or initiating discussions, but none of these have yet yielded a consensus. This is my attempt to draw out a consensus.

Here are my observations as a relatively new user of WP:

  • WP is a social place where people can discuss almost any topic, contributing and learning
  • A typical new user takes WP pretty much as it is, or leaves
  • Userboxes contribute a lot to how new users see WP and so to how consensus on WP will evolve

So what are the consequencies of possible userbox policies:

  • If we allow any userbox, WP will become fun and controversial, an informal meeting place with an encycopaedia tacked on
  • If we abolish userboxes, WP will become a less attractive place for new users, narrowing the contributor base

I propose:

  • We allow userboxes listing expertise in a particular area "I am a concert standard musician"
  • We allow, but discourage, factual userboxes about a person which do not involve out-of-the ordinary knowledge "I have a baby"
  • We exclude soap box style boxes: "Nokia make the best mobile phones"

This policy will:

  • Focus new users (who with current exponential growth will soon be most users) on the encyclopaedia aspect of WP
  • Allowing a simple way to add attractive graphics to user pages, making WP more attractive
  • Move the User pages towards information more relevant to building an encyclopaedia

Stephen B Streater 11:13, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Jimbo, admins, and consensus[edit]

Jimbo doesn't like POV userboxes (WP:JOU) and would like to see them gone. However, it's clear that he wants this to happen by the usual Wikipedia practice of obtaining consensus, and not by administrative action. How does one obtain consensus for one's views? By "changing the culture, one person at a time".

Instead, a bunch of administrators decided to implement Jimbo's wishes through administrative action. Furthermore, they were careful to make sure that at no point were their actions to be subject to obtaining the consensus of the community. This is why the deletions were done under CSD rather than TFD, since TFD involves obtaining consensus. This is why T1 was surreptitiously broadened rather than a new policy proposed, since new policy involves obtaining consensus.

It's clear to me that T2 and all the userbox deletions done under it were done without consensus and are therefore out of line. Those deletions should be restored, past DRv decisions notwithstanding, until consensus on this issue has been obtained or Jimbo abandons his attempt to obtain consensus and makes a binding decision. —Ashley Y 18:39, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

At this point, aren't you advocating digging something up so we can rebury it later? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:45, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm hoping Jimbo might change his mind, actually, since the consensus process works both ways. —Ashley Y 19:11, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry but the above by Ashley Y is tripe. T1 was clearly endorsed by Jimbo, and arbcom, in the discussions of which Jimbo has access and sometimes participates, endorsed a broad interpretation of it in the Tony Sidaway arbitration. Everything since than has been attempts by some parties to roll that back by misrepresenting the correct T1 speedies as action without consensus. Why? Because T1 has proven itself valueable again and again at review, and Wikipedia is slowly taking back the encyclopedia from those who propose that it should be abused for non-encyclopedic purposes. --Tony Sidaway 18:59, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Tony, for the benefit of all of us, could you comment on Jimbo's words about "changing the culture, one person at a time" and "not going on any deletion sprees". What weight do you give those parts of his statements? -GTBacchus(talk) 19:05, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Jimbo's hopeful comment in late January became somewhat academic after the events of early February. See the pedophilia userbox wheel war arbitration. --Tony Sidaway 20:52, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
It sounds like ArbCom, but not Jimbo, actually endorsed a broad interpretation of T1. So this broad interpretation didn't come from Jimbo and doesn't come from broad consensus, and therefore has no authority. Also, regardless of how effective you feel I am at this purpose, I have a specifically encyclopaedic purpose in including POV userboxes on my userpage (currently on a subpage). They supplement the opinions expressed in English on my userpage. —Ashley Y 19:17, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think it's accurate to characterize ArbCom as "no authority". Jimbo created ArbCom and gave them authority. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:33, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
They don't have authority to create new policy, see Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines#How are policies started.3F. I don't think the "slow evolution" clause counts either, for something so contested. —Ashley Y 20:03, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
It's probably a mistake to declare that arbcom has no authority to create new policy. Nothing in the arbitration policy that I'm aware of says that they cannot. They're rightly wary of doing so, but in practice I think it's fair to say that they do create new policy. As examples I'd suggest probation, general probation, revert parole and personal attack parole which are all general delegations of power by arbitration committee to individual self-selecting administrators or (in the case of general probation, a self-selecting group of three administrators). These are all examples of policy created by arbcom with the effect of substantially extending the powers of the administrators as a whole (and of course completely circumventing the traditional consensus-based flow of power). --Tony Sidaway 20:59, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Jimbo monitors decisions, and he communicates with arbitrators. If arbcom's interpretation was wrong he'd tell them (and us!) By contrast, you can see the recent comments Jimbo has written for himself and you'll see that, in fact, he's somewhat ahead of arbcom on this.
I think that my problem with your view of affairs, Ashley Y, is that I think you wrongly believe that the administrators are overstepping their remit. If this were the case, the deletion reviews, which are open to all editors and not just administrators, would be consistently saying "slow down" or "stop". I'm just not seeing this. The reviews are returning mostly green lights. Thus the deleting administrators, Jimbo, the arbitrators, and the Wikipedia consensus seem to be as much in accord as could be expected on any issue. The suggestion that administrators are just acting rogue here is insuppportable. --Tony Sidaway 20:52, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think undeleting userboxes would make anyone feel much better - the damage is done. I agree that deletions shouldn't have been made under T2 when the policy change was made without consensus, but if they didn't have T2 they probably would've just deleted them under T1, which is so vague that it can be interpreted to include the same cases. I think it's T1 we really have to worry about - if we want to restore consensus-based policy, I think the first step would be to get Jimbo's permission to make T1 something we can revise instead of an infallible proclamation. Deco 19:15, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
All deletions are subject to review. Where the T1 deletions have been reviewed, they're most often endorsed very strongly. This gives us confidence that T1 is a good policy capable of a robust and broad interpretation. Of course the people who want to continue to abuse Wikipedia for non-encyclopedic purposes don't see it that way. --Tony Sidaway 21:02, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
From my subjective view on Deletion Reviews of Userboxes I would disagree that they have been endorsed strongly. There was a consensus to relist the User Christian template for instance. How would that happen if T1 was so broadly applicable. Could you give evidence as to your point about full-length deletion reviews which were clearly endorsing T1. User:Ansell 21:25, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Wait... You disappeared the evidence a few days ago... How will I ever make up my own mind about them. User:Ansell 21:27, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Here's the best place to find those discussions. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:38, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
User Church of Christ, deleted, but hardly without protest, or direct reference to T2 for delete votes. [27]
{{User Christian}}, listed at TfD after a controversial Speedy by Mackensen in response to vandalism by Tony and Cyde, survived TfD almost unanimously [28]
{{User Ideal Dictator}}, listed at TfD after a successful deletion review after a speedy delete under T1
{{User_independent_Iraq}} Deleted under T1 after a successful deletion review and a (slightly, leaning far towards keep) no consensus TfD
{{User darwinist}} Did not run to its length before being closed by Tony with a Close, kd, stupidly high proportion of endorsements although the actual proportion was at the time of closing, all of 26 hours after its nomination, was 5 to 15, hardly a total unanimous action.
It seems clear that the speedy something and then decide whether it can come back through a two week process, which has been followed by successful readmissions is hardly worth the saving in effort by a speedy deletion. User:Ansell 01:22, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

What does the following quoted sentence mean? I cannot parse it.

It seems clear that the speedy something and then decide whether it can come back through a two week process, which has been followed by successful readmissions is hardly worth the saving in effort by a speedy deletion.

Looking at the above, you've listed three templates that were clear successes for T1 (Independent Iraq, darwinist, church of christ).

You have also falsely accused me of being involved in vandalism of Template:User christian. Basically you're presenting poor quality evidence. Please take this process more seriously. --Tony Sidaway 01:32, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Please clarify[edit]

I do not understand this response (italicized).

  • Nevertheless, discounting such voices will discourage vote-stacking.
    • It can be argued that this is an attempt to have it both ways: while votes don't count, nevertheless they do count when one side wishes to use them to make a point. Which is it? Do they count, or not?

Can the poster clarify? In practice, many closers determine the result of a discussion by counting the raw vote and then adjusting it for various factors, including the presence of sockpuppets and meatpuppets. If this were generally extended to count the Fooian Nationalist contingent as (say) two voices, they would have no profit in more than two of them arguing, which ought to give them less incentive to vote-stack. I do not see what double standard is being used in this observation. Septentrionalis 00:12, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

There are two arguments here:
  1. Userboxes allow vote-stacking. Vote-stacking is bad, because it distorts the Wikipedia decision making process.
  2. Wikipedia is not a democracy; thus, voting doesn't count, and admins can (and have) delete userboxes even in the face of an overwhelming Keep vote.
These two arguments are the converse of each other. If voting doesn't count, what difference does it make that someone has gone out and drummed up a bunch of votes? If voting counts, why are things being deleted even though the vote said to keep them? This argument is self-contradictory, and yet nobody's questioned it until I posted it (and re-posted twice when Tony deleted it). Jay Maynard 00:18, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Welcome to Wikipedia. Please don't talk like a troll. People might begin to treat you like one. --Tony Sidaway 01:34, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Tony, Jay's argument makes sense. The above is not trolling, by any reasonable interpretation. If you fail to understand it, or don't have an answer for it, that doesn't make him a troll. Is your problem with reading comprehension, or with assuming good faith, or what is your problem here? I'm sorry, that was unhelpful. Do you not understand Jay's argument here? Which part of it is unclear? I think it's a valid argument, and I'm thinking about a reply to it. I don't see how he's acting like a troll. It seems to me that you might be forgeting your civility here, and that I certainly just did. -GTBacchus(talk) 14:13, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Bravo! A laudable display of character by GTBacchus. :-) Rfrisbietalk 16:16, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Tony, I'm trying, possibly not hard enough, to not dismiss your arguments, but instead answer them, and trying, possibly not hard enough, to assume good faith on your part. You, OTOH, have dismissed some of my arguments as "is this serious?" and "trolling". Yes, I'm serious. I'm not raising arguments here that I don't consider serious, and I'm not trolling at all: I believe in every argument I've raised, and I'm not arguing just to be arguing.
What leads you to believe I'm not being entirely serious? What leads you to believe I'm trolling? Why should I assume good faith on your part when you refuse to take me and my arguments seriously?
I'm getting really tired of being the target of personal attacks such as this and being labeled a "MySpacer". My patience, for this process and for Wikipedia's governance, is wearing quite thin. Jay Maynard 02:24, 29 May 2006 (UTC)


With regards to votestacking vs "votes don't count" being in conflict, I would agree that it looks somewhat strange, but I would suggest that's because "votestacking" is an inaccurate term in this context, it's more like "consensus skewing". Consensus only really works if you have have "reasonable editors who make a good faith effort to work together". I'm also of the opinion that it works best with a smaller representive sample group, as with more people the discussion increases in complexity (c/f The Mythical Man-Month). Because of this, adding people by "vote stacking" to a discussion will skew it unfairly, and if vote stacking occurrs on multiple sides, the discussion often disintegrates into chaos. While you could say that if a majority of a group express one preference, that must be the consesus, that it only really true if the group is representative, but when votestacking occurs, the group has a selection bias, and the outcome is unreliable. Regards, MartinRe 19:00, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Very well put. Thank you, MartinRe. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:03, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Every discussion at Wikipedia is subject to selection bias in the form of self-selection. Only those who are interested, motivated, and are aware of any discussion participate. Please explain to me how any discussion at Wikipedia, particularly those on controversial subjects, are based on a representative sample group? In my mind, this appears to be more of a straw man argument used to protect the transactions of a nonexistent mythological group. Rfrisbietalk 19:26, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think the point is so much about whether your sample is representative or not in the absence of vote-stacking. The idea is that, if one side vote stacks, it's meaningless because it's unrepresentative, and if you try to make it representatives by letting both sides stack, then you get chaos.
If the process is working, the discussion isn't in terms of POV anyway, but in terms of policy, and what's best for the encyclopedia, so we shouldn't need a representative sample. MartinRe's good point, which I was applauding, is noting that it doesn't have to be a vote for a group of fourteen POV pushers to mess it up. When AfD gets flooded with votes, AfD stinks on ice. Anyone who's spent time there knows that. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:42, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
My broken-record reply to that is points of view are not evil, nor are they possible to avoid. The antithesis of "NPOV" is not "POV," it's "bias." (Wikipedia:Describing points of view). In my view, the best way to neutralize votestacking bias is increased participation. When the "true value" of a discussion is "no consensus," then so be it. That's the real situation when policies are necessary. (And they can't be established by consensus in such cases. It's a leadership responsibility.) Addressing instances of votestacking when they occur is far superior to stifling value-neutral technologies that can be used in many more useful situations to promote valid means of collaboration on the project. Rfrisbietalk 20:05, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
If it were about numbers, the best way to "neutralize" "vote-stacking" would be increased participation. Since it's about discussion, that strategy succeeds in drowning out all rational discourse and replacing it with multiple mobs. The best way to deal with discussion flooding isn't more flooding, from another tap. What's more, your broken record doesn't actually address the way I was using the word POV. I meant "point of view", and not as a Bad Thing. It's a value-neutral thing that deletion discussions are not in terms of. -GTBacchus(talk) 20:10, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Okay, if a policy discussion is posted on the Community Portal, e.g., "A one-week poll has started on TheTrueSora's proposal regarding moving userboxes to a userbox namespace." that gets a lot of participation, how is that a "bad" thing? Rfrisbietalk 20:38, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, it certainly encourages the idea that we're about polls and majorites, which is a destructive idea. Still it's not a targeted piece of spam, delivered to talk pages of all the users in a certain POV-based category. That not only encourages thinking of discussions as votes by placing value on numbers, but it suggests that the discussion/vote/whatever is somehow about people's POV, when it isn't. On the other hand, if a bunch of people show up and start advocating for some POV, it suddenly becomes about that, which is bad.
I hope I'm making sense. I feel that I might have slipped into repetition by now, which is never a good sign. -GTBacchus(talk) 20:49, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
What was the question?... :-) I'll take a break and do some more reading before I comment anywhere else on this debate. Rfrisbietalk 20:58, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Alternatives to T2[edit]

Should the section be entitled simply alternatives to T2, as it does not seem to be the existence of T1 that is being debated, it is simply its interpretation that has been actively debated. T2 on the other hand has had both meaning and interpretation actively debated. Ansell Review my progress! 02:51, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

How about "Interpretation of T1 and alternatives to T2"? Too wordy? Jay Maynard 02:52, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
I think a split into two sections addressing each issue may be appropriate. Ansell Review my progress! 02:56, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
T1 and T2 are too closely linked to split them into different pages. —David618 t 17:02, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
For one example of this, some editors hold the good-faith view that T2 is the proper interpretation of T1; T2 cannot be reasonably discussed without addressing this argument as long as it continues to be held. Septentrionalis 21:08, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

New userbox policy[edit]

The May Userbox policy poll has been ratified as an official policy on the English Wikipedia. Rfrisbietalk 20:15, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

What do you mean "ratified"? -GTBacchus(talk) 20:24, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Apparently, I didn't count to ten, check the history. "How many admins does it take to close a proposal?" :-) Rfrisbietalk 20:28, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
I am all for the May Userbox policy, but I do not see consensus. —David618 t 22:51, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Is this how T1/T2 policy is to be created "by consensus"?[edit]

Is this how Wikipedia policy on T1/T2 is to be created "by consensus"? Rfrisbietalk 21:28, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

"Oh yes, people edit war over written policy all the time. It doesn't stop us doing things. We work according to Wikipedia policy, and in a certain sense we create it, while the written policy struggles to catch up. --Tony Sidaway 02:04, 29 May 2006 (UTC)" (User talk:Tony Sidaway#Template:User liberty)

Tony goes to far in his beliefs on who makes policy. Policy comes from (1) a proposed policy being adopted by consensus, (2) a slow evolution of convention and common practice eventually codified as a policy, or (3) Jimbo Wales, the Board, or the Developers (WP:POL). Nowhere does it say that a few administrators can just create policy. —David618 t 22:58, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Straw Poll[edit]

I propose that we create a straw poll with questions on each of the issues in order to show what people engaged in this debate believe and to aid in forming a compromise. Hopefully we would be able to find areas that the consensus agrees upon and conclude this debate. I am creating some questions to be transfered to Wikipedia: T1 and T2 debates/Straw poll on my sandbox, any constructive additions are welcomed. —David618 t 01:14, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

While this might be a good idea eventually, the editing of the refactored summary is still moving quite a bit. I'd suggeest waiting until it stabilizes before starting that. GRBerry 01:42, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Does anyone else think it seems a bit early to be polling? I mean, what are we getting out of this debate summary we've been working on? It's certainly kept a few of us busy for a while - are we understanding each other any better than before? Has there been a point to this exercise? Thoughts? -GTBacchus(talk) 01:47, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
This page has only demonstrated how far removed the userbox proponents are from reality. There is no need for a poll. T1 is in operation and is successfully cleansing the wiki and returning this website to its primary function as an encyclopedia. --Tony Sidaway 02:03, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
There are definate differences that are clear without a poll but I would like to see a range of different issues. Hopefully there would be at least something to start compromising on. I resent Tony's comment about being removed from reality—I however will not take cheap shots at you. I do not expect any consensus to be reached by this. A poll would merely be a guide to finding a resolution hopefully in the future. —David618 t 02:23, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
All we're going to determine is how many pro- and anti- userbox people are still bothering to pay attention. What has that got to do with consensus, policy, common sense, or anything else? -GTBacchus(talk) 02:37, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
The people still paying attention are the strongest supports of both sides. At least we will be able to tell on what areas we can compromise on.
As a point of clearification: I intended that the poll would have more indepth questions than "do you support T2." I would like it to have pretty much everything that is being discussed that is related to this issue. —David618 t 02:42, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I really wish I could come up with some way to say what " successfully cleansing the wiki" conjures up in my mind without resorting to blatantly offensive historical references. Jay Maynard 04:23, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. I decided to stop short of making direct comments on that in my reply. I just suggest to Tony that he take a step back and calm down. —David618 t 19:49, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Butchering contest[edit]

I don't think we can use this "summary" technique very well because if I go away for a day I come back to find a rather large amount of opinion expressed as fact, some facts weaseled away as marginal opinion, and so on. This is a kind of butchering contest. Initially suggested as a way of summarising the repetitive debate then going on, it has been removed to a separate page and increasingly marginal opinions have been added and elaborated. This isn't helpful. I don't see any point in this. --Tony Sidaway 02:01, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

What were you hoping for, or imagining it would be like? -GTBacchus(talk) 02:03, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

My intention was to reduce the extreme repetition involved in the original debate. It was getting monotonous to see the same arguments trotted out and to shoot them down day after day. This endless piling on of silly quibbles and, in particular, the attempts to weasel away the clear pronouncements of Jimbo and the arbitration committee on this issue, are not helpful. --Tony Sidaway

Tony, with all do resepect, you assume what Jimbo meant. In fact, Jimbo specifically stated that he did not want mass deletions (I could find the quote if you want). People's opinions have the right to be expressed—do not merely dismiss them as "silly quibbles." —David618 t 02:29, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
ArbCom don't make policy, at least not under such dispute. Jimbo does, but has chosen not to, preferring consensus, for which there is none yet. You keep trotting out these same arguments, and it's getting monotonous to shoot them down day after day. —Ashley Y 02:24, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I'll take that pair of replies as a "no, we're not any closer to understanding each other" then? -GTBacchus(talk) 02:26, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think so, but I still believe in a poll. —David618 t 02:30, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm actually pretty happy with the summary, and encourage Tony to work with the structure he started, rather than complaining when the arguments speak against him. —Ashley Y 02:33, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I think it at least serves one purpose. If you don't feel like repeating an argument, you can just hand someone a link, and let them get sick of it for themselves. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:40, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
You weren't shooting down arguments. You were declaring them "silly" or "trolling" and deleting them. If anyone's walking around here with a bloody cleaver in his hand, it's you. Jay Maynard 04:24, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Careful Jay, you're starting to sound just like him. You know what they say about pigs and mud? -GTBacchus(talk) 04:26, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Don't get me started on Tony. I just hope he will eventually come to realize that there are other people working on this project who care deeply about its success, and who disagree with him honestly and intelligently. Until then, this process is just treading water. -- 05:18, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I share that hope, but I don't blame Tony. If you're not used to seeing things from other people's perspective, it's hard. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:33, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I really hate being called a troll when I'm making serious arguments. To me, trolls are the scourge of the Internet, and disrupt what it's all about: communication. Jay Maynard 07:12, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't blame you for feeling that way. -GTBacchus(talk) 07:24, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Well I think the summary page is working. It's much shorter than the vast discussions, as it allows editing in place. I do think though that many people are starting from the wrong end. The idea is not to try and work out what current policy is, but to make a new policy which works for Wikipedia. This is why I added a Risks section - which I'm going to change to Consequences. Once we agree on our aims, we can start to talk about implementation - not the other way round. Stephen B Streater 09:28, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Another major advantage of the summary format is makes a version of the the discussion from which personalities have been subtracted. While Tony is the strong deletionist most active in building the summary, he is a representative of a faction that is larger than just him, and we wouldn't be able to accurately reflect the discussion without either him or some other representative of that faction. But Tony, your contributions would be more valuable if you improved the deletionist arguments than if you deleted other arguments. I've gone and found examples for a couple of them because the originally offered examples were off point - as you have been part of the process and discussion far longer then me, you probably would have an easier time finding good examples. But please check what the example actually shows before adding it - the vote-stacking argument is in my mind pretty much defeated by the quality of support examples that have been offered to date, and it is the argument I was most prepared to treat as a major problem in need of speedy deletion as a solution. GRBerry 10:52, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Tony, how is this [29] a contribution to this summary? This edit severely distorted the argument against your position - and you even marked it as minor, which it is anything but. Why did you delete arguments in this edit [30] or this pair[31] instead of responding to them?

Edits such as this one [32] are improvements to the summary and I encourage you to make this type of edit in the future. GRBerry 16:18, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

This has degenerated into personal attacks and denigration, alongside the most appalling attempt to weasel away the clear statements of Jimbo and the arbitration committee and the repeated endorsement by the community of a broad interpretation of T1. I don't thnk it would be productive to involve myself further. I shall content myself with putting a "disputed" tag on the summary, from which most of the factual evidence has been repeatedly removed. --Tony Sidaway 17:30, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I think Tony has made a major concession by adding the word neutral to the potential benefits section. What he is implicitely saying is that he will accept neutral user boxes. Anyone can add back in non-neutral (and hence controversial) user boxes as additional potential benefit as something which may help to build community, if that is what they believe. Stephen B Streater 17:37, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
You think Tony's made a concession? He's just saying what we've said all along - statements of expertise and interest are fine, but statements of opinion or belief can't be on templates. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:22, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely. We've had babel boxes for ages and nobody tries to delete them. --Tony Sidaway 20:41, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
[Edit conflict, response to Tony.]]If Tony is leaving then we should find a strong deletionist that can replace him. I don't know who would be a good replacement contributor. GRBerry 17:39, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I hope Tony hangs around, but there is no consensus for strong deletionism. However there are very real risks to a free-for-all. I haven't been around long enough to know all the history, but it seems to me that whatever the consensus is now, we should adopt a policy which shapes Wikipedia development in a positive and constructive way. The consensus of newer users, I expect, will be to have more fun and less work, but this is a slippery slope as it will attract ever less diligent people to WP. We should be biasing our intake towards users who will contribute positively to the encyclopaedia, even if this lags behind current membership. One reason that the deletionists are claimed to be a clique of admins is that they have been around longer and are not representative of current members. The writing is on the wall. Stephen B Streater 17:55, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I suspect I speak for Tony and myself when I say you're painting a very unrealistic picture. "We should adopt a policy?" Who do you think "we" is? You think if a bunch of users get together and agree on a policy, that makes it so? What makes you think users get input into whether or not they get to use template space for political networking? People will always vote themselves more entitlements, no matter what the cost; that doesn't affect the reality of Wikipedia policy. The only writing on the wall is that ideological userboxes are not allowed in template space. (See, I can talk like a "strong deletionist" too.) -GTBacchus(talk) 18:22, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
It's not as simple as this. In future, there will be MSopedia, Googlepedia, Myspaceopedia, BBCopaedia etc. If we take the easy options and ignore users - dictat from above (which seems to be your rather poor deletionist argument) - Wikipedia will soon become a historical backwater with irrelevant out of date articles. The Netscape of on-line encyclopaedias. So Wikipedia will gain a phyrric victory. The way to thrive not to reject the future, nor to accept the future - it is to shape the future. Stephen B Streater 19:21, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Accepting a dictate from above is not my main deletionist argument, it's the third or fourth in importance. It also happens to be the most irrefutable one, because Jimbo has been clear, and there's no way around that. I don't believe that we're about to see a proliferation of 'pedias; that's a vision I don't buy. I think Wikipedia is shaping the future, right now, and it's vital that we do it without falling victim to partisanism. We can't be an encyclopedia and a political networking site. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:32, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm glad you have better arguments for deletionism. As for Xopedia, I'd like you to look at how many leading internet establishments ten years ago are leaders today. And if WP is not the leader, who will fund it? The question is how to achieve success without alienating bystanders. This is where Tony's subtlety is a problem. Stephen B Streater 19:44, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Jimbo has been clear that he is not in favor of belief oriented userboxes but he has also made it clear that he does not want a mass deletion like some deletionist have been doing. —David618 t 19:55, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
If there had been a "mass deletion", they'd all be gone. We've beed doing one and two at a time; but some people won't be happy until we decide that we don't care about policy and stop deleting them entirely. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:06, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
(Reply to GRBerry, above) I doubt we'll get another strong deletionist in here to replace Tony. I think his actions show that he considers the broadest possible interpretation of T1 to be a done deal, and no argument against it will stand, no matter how strong. Else, why delete them, or call them "silly" or "trolling"? I think his view is the view of the admin community, and so we'll see userboxes go away, period - followed shortly by their equivalents in user-coded Wikicode, plain HTML, or just plain text. No matter what anyone else thinks, and no matter how much consensus that the approach being taken is wrong, that's what we'll see. My userpage is the coming Wikipedia standard. Get used to it. Jay Maynard 01:57, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Stopping the Use of T1[edit]

Although I am in favor of T1, I believe we should stop its implementation until this debate is resolved. Some admins are currently going on deletion sprees and have all but stated that they will use T1 to delete all the userboxes being discussed currently. If they are not stopped now, then irreperable harm may be done to groups of userboxes that have not been proven to be under T1. —David618 t 20:14, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

It's simply incorrect to talk of deletion sprees. There is now a very large body of reviewed deletions demonstrating that T1 is used responsibly and appropriately to delete unacceptable templates. If a userbox is deleted wrongly under "T1" then it can be undeleted on review. --Tony Sidaway 20:39, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
"All but"? Let's state it outright then: We're going to use T1 to delete all the userboxes being discussed currently. What part of "Template space is not for that" don't you understand? -GTBacchus(talk) 21:11, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
From WP:JOU:
There seems to be an understanding that you have given the OK for mass userbox deletion. I think it would be helpful if you could make it fully clear that this is not the case. Everyking 04:40, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't know how I could be any more clear about it.--Jimbo Wales 14:53, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Jimbo has said that he is not infavor of mass deletion. —David618 t 21:44, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
And then, 3 months later he said, "Template space is not for that". You didn't answer my question - what is unclear about that?. It has, incidentally, been suggested that the pedophilia userbox affair changed the lay of the land somewhat, and Jimbo's altered tone is evidence of this. Furthermore, I don't see how deleting userboxes one and two at a time, and suffering them to be brought back to DRV so we can explain everything over and over again, counts as a "mass deletion". A mass deletion looks like: you log on one morning, and they're all gone. That hasn't happened. We've been bending over backwards to explain what's going on in lurid detail at every single step. What on Earth do you want? -GTBacchus(talk) 22:02, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
So you admit you are actually disregarding the fact that he said that noone should go on deletion sprees, such as have happened in the past few weeks. Mass deletion was what was happening at TfD, and at DRVU and using speedies under the hastily constructed T2. You cannot say that you are bending over backwards to keep the community together. You are simply pointing out that a group of admins have taken it upon themselves to choose a process that includes walled gardens and even when there is clear consensus, reversion to calling for a speedy close of a discussion is always available. It is also quite convienient to take out four of my responses from the main page as if they simply dont count. Not satisfied.... Ansell Review my progress! 00:32, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't say "disregarding," no. I think you asked the wrong deletionist that question. Now let's look at what Jimbo said, and what happened:
February:At least for a little bit, I advise everyone to chill about this. Let's take some time to reflect on this issue as a community. That means: don't make any crazy userboxes designed to try to trip this rule, and don't go on any sprees deleting ones that already exist.
There, about 3 months ago, he asked us not to go on any deletion sprees, at least for a little bit. He had already expressed his expectation that we shift away from ideological userboxes. Then what happened? Did we all chill out? No, someone decided to say "Fuck you Jimbo and Wikipedia" by pushing the envelope and making the most offensive userbox they could, to prove a juvenile point, or just to troll. "User pedophile" or whatever was a roaring success, and then we reflected on it as a community all through March and April. Then someone finally decided it was time to actually make the situation move instead of sit in a stalemate that means the userboxes get more entrenched. That's obviously a stupid state to remain in if you think they should go, so we're finally getting something done. In the midst of that work, after we deleting a hundred or so userboxes in like four weeks - a pretty leisurely "spree" - Jimbo talks again, replying to someone complaining about "User Green Energy" up at DRV. He says:
May The middle ground is to let people do as they will in the user space, and merely use reason and argument to teach people over time why one ought not use Wikipedia userpages for political or other campaigns.... while at the same time saying, no, really, the template namespace is not for that, that we do not endorse this behavior. This is the solution that the Germans have put into effect with great results.
You don't read that as an endorsement of the deletion of that box? You read what he wrote two days ago, and really believe that he's still thinking - "we just need to chill, and not go on any sprees right now." Do you think the guy lives in a cave? Note how he made a contrast in that statement, let me highlight it for you: on the one hand regarding User space, "melely use reason and argument to teach, etc."; on the other hand regarding template space, "template namespace is not for that, . . . we do not endorse this behavior." Did he say, let's use reason to convince people to move them out of template space on their own time, meanwhile letting them get more and more into the habit of using template space? No, first we get them out of template space, then we use reason to show that they shouldn't be here AT ALL.
So, fully regarding all of Jimbos statements, in context, I would still say what I said above. I also have no idea how you can have a walled garden on a open Wiki - are the pro-userbox people's watchlists broken? I admit that every discussion here is biased towards those who are paying attention, but... c'mon, yours is the side with the group notification tools! -GTBacchus(talk) 01:44, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Did you consider that that is evidence against userboxes being used to stack votes. —David618 t 01:54, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Whatever, it's certainly evidence against the "walled garden" theory. If there's one thing I've learned from this summary, it's that userboxes have to go, entirely independently of whether or not we have examples of their being used directly for vote-stacking, which is a stupid thing to look for, when they're category linked anyway. The fact remains that userbox people are the same people who think that vote-stacking is just groovy, proving everything we've been saying about the problem being a misunderstanding of Wikipedia culture. Ideological userboxes and vote-stacking are just two symptoms of an attitude that Wikipedia is a place to engage in politics. It isn't, and we're paying now for not making that clearer sooner. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:30, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Where did I say that vote-stacking was "just groovy"? I didn't, and don't, believe that it's related to userboxes, nor do I believe that getting rid of userboxes will do a thing to stop it, and I do think that the emphasis on it is misplaced given the fact that Wikipedia is not a democracy, but I don't think it's fundamentally good. As for Wikipedia being a place to engage in politics, this entire debate is political: the userbox wars are themselves a form of Wikipedia politics. Jay Maynard 10:45, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I am not happy that someone pushed the boundaries. I personally have made no actions in this at all. I have merely tried to work through arguments. Having Tony go through and call a large set of arguments mostly put down by me, as silly and old is hardly the treatment that anyone deserves. The deleted arguments have been stated before on the verbose conversational style pages, why should someone be able to delete them saying that they are just silly. I have tried my hardest to respect all of the arguments put forward by others, putting evidence up for them, all we get is someone going along calling them silly or taking evidence down because it doesn't suit them (that wasn't you obviously). [33] Ansell Review my progress! 02:04, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
You'll note I haven't made any actions either, except for giving opinions at DRV. You may also note that I've complained about Tony's removal of arguments, and suggested to him that he's not bringing a quicker end to the controversy by alienating people when he could go ahead and be respectful instead. I think he's prolonging the drama by making it so damned easy and appealing to be against him and associating the anti-userbox side with arrogance, boorishness and complete lack of diplomacy. Apparently he can't be bothered to care about that, so I'm just trying to work around his attitude. I'd very much appreciate your not confusing me with him - I actually have been bending over backwards to build consensus here, which I'm sure Tony considers a big waste of my time. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:30, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, you have, and if it weren't for your effort, I would have been out of here a long time ago. Jay Maynard 10:45, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes, unsuitable templates are being happily removed, one and two at a time. Nobody is engaged in mass deletion. There is no need for hasty and precipitate action; what matters is that we get to the destination, not how quickly we get there. --Tony Sidaway 22:18, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

The more you say that, the more determined you make everyone else to hold out. This wouldn't be an issue if it hadn't been made into one on a certain day in early January. Rogue 9 13:12, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
First of all I am unclear to what "that" refers to but I'll assume it means userboxes stating beliefs. It is clear to me that while Jimbo does not support userboxes he is in favor of a gradual change rather than a mass deletion. We of course dissagree on what a mass deletion is. My interpretation of the phrase does not neccissarily mean deleting all of them over night.
T1 does not apply to userboxes that contain beliefs. Stating one believes in something is not neccissarily inflammatory. Though I should assume good faith, some comments have made me uneasy with deletions being justified under T1 until we determin how broadly it can be read. —David618 t 22:22, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Be assured that the outcome of review after review is that T1 most certainly does refer to userboxes containing beliefs. They are inherently divisive. Divisive userboxes can be speedy deleted; this has been endorsed scores of times. --Tony Sidaway 22:41, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
No, they are not inherently divisive. Let me say that again. There is nothing divisive about me being told that another user is a Democrat, a Communist, an anarchist, or whatever. I don't care about that, not on Wikipedia. If a person can contribute in a positive manner, he can be a goddamned space alien for all I care about his activities here, and I would be greatly surprised if that was different for very many other people. Someone who automatically hates another person because of a little box saying he disagrees with you on some minor point is going to be a problem regardless, because someone so easily offended will get offended and cause a fuss with or without userboxes. Rogue 9 13:17, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
The problem with a speedy is that most editors can't see what the offending box was at the DRV and there is no debate to go on. So DRV is a bit limited. I did get involved in one, but it's hard to form a proper judgement in these circumstances. Stephen B Streater 22:37, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Nonsense. For most of the time that we have been reviewing T1 deletions, some helpful person has reproduced the userbox code at the head of the debate. It doesn't seem to have had any effect on the end result. Deletion of crap tends to be endorsed even more strongly if the crap can be seen in all its ugliness. --Tony Sidaway 22:39, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, that didn't happen in my case. Perhaps you could oblige with the green energy one. If it is divisive, I'll change my opinion. Stephen B Streater 22:49, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. It is appropriate to show the userbox being discussed. —David618 t 23:49, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

The more upsetting aspect of the ongoing deletions of userboxes is that TFD consensus is often ignored, and DRV consensus is often short-circuited because the discussion is closed prematurely. I'm not sure why one would insist that these are not mass deletions. Mass murder can occur over an extended period, and so can mass deletions of userboxes. The fact that administrators are ignoring policy, failing to learn from the mistakes of others (KM?), and continuing to plug away at userboxes is a sign that they are not paying attention to the needs of the community. It does seem that the debate has changed recently - because it is clear that there is a faction bent on deletion that is not concerned with process, policy, consensus or civility. --Godwhacker 01:30, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Please try to assume good faith, Godwhacker. It's pretty clear to anyone familiar with this debate that those deleting userboxes are concerned with policy, though they may have different ideas than you about what policy is. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:51, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I do realise that these admins' actions are based on what they feel is best for the cummunity but I do find it disconcerting that they are continuing deletions even though large parts of the community have problems with either what they are doing or the ends they wish to achieve. —David618 t 01:59, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
"This policy does not require that editors continue to assume good faith in the presence of evidence to the contrary." (Wikipedia:Assume good faith). Rfrisbietalk 03:47, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I did say "please", didn't I? If you want to "conclude" bad faith, I guess I can't stop you. I have no doubt of the good faith behind the userbox deletions, regardless of how they're carried out. It's possible to do something a large part of the community has problems with, and still be doing the right thing. It happens all the time. David "finds it disconcerting", ok. I find a lot of things about this controversy disconcerting; none of that changes my mind about userboxes though. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:03, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Do we take arguments from related discussions?[edit]

The first major spree of building this was to take all the arguments that appeared in the CSD Talk page in May. I think we have/had all of those arguments included by now. Do we want to go through all of the various related policy discussions and find other pertinent arguments? I think it would at least be worth going over them to see if any of the arguments are more effectively made elsewhere, because we want to see all of the arguments in their "Sunday best". I've just noted some better written versions at Wikipedia talk:Mackensen's Proposal. I suspect they are in better form there because there was less feeling of urgency in a proposed policy context than in the speedy deletion context. GRBerry 09:37, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Oh yeah, wherever we can get them from, as long as it seems helpful. Whatever else you may find, there's still the "No way to apply T1 consistently without T2" argument, and there's the realization that, at some point, we're dealing with conflicting visions of what Wikipedia is. We haven't presented either of those yet, not to mention the elephant, which I'm still trying to figure out how to bring up. -GTBacchus(talk) 15:34, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
The consistency argument does need to be made. My take on consistency is that we need to make T1 less ambiguous - and that it is logically possible to make it less ambiguous on either a broad or narrow interpretation. We are dealing with conflicting visions, and I think the arguments referencing education are, at least in part, attempting to say that an educational process is the best way of resolving the vision conflict. I'll admit to not knowing what "the elephant" is. GRBerry 16:22, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I believe "the elephant" argument would refer to the story of the Blind Men and an Elephant. In other words, people looking at the exact same issue and coming up with vastly different interpetations. If not that, then I would like to request GTBacchus expand on what he means there.--tjstrf 16:27, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
No, it's not that elephant. I'm referring to... y'know when there's an elephant in the room, but nobody wants to mention it, so they talk about everything but the elephant in the room, but it's making people nervous, so they're kind of alluding to it, and it's obviously not going away, but nobody's willing to just say "HEY, WHAT ABOUT THE FREAKING ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM?" so they just get even more perturbed about whatever smoke and mirrors distraction they're talking about - y'know how that is? -GTBacchus(talk) 16:58, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm still guessing pretty blindly, but are you referring to Wikipedia:No angry mastodons? And if you aren't should we introduce an argument based around that? GRBerry 18:32, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Goodness no, I'm not talking about that. I'm working on a section to explain myself, please give me a few minutes. Now, do you mean an anti-deletion argument, that there's no urgency necessitating speedy deletions as opposed to AfD? Yeah, isn't there already a section that could go under? This one? I guess that could link to WP:NAM. It's a pretty meaningless argument though, to someone who thinks that userboxes are doing active damage to Wikipedia, because then there is an urgency.
There's a thought - looking through the arguments and trying to pick out which ones carry any weight from the other side's perspective. Trying to work that that out is a good exercise.
Anyway, re-reading about it, I guess No Angry Mastadons is more about one's personal comportment than about actions on the Wiki such as deletions. In that sense, it can't really hurt to remind everyone of the dangers of typing under the influence of anger. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:55, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
The Elephant in the room would be here. Rfrisbietalk 03:16, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
It turns out that by "a few minutes," I mean probably overnight. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:30, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and imported some of the arguments from Wikipedia talk:Mackensen's Proposal. There are probably more arguments that have better form there, but I didn't spot them quickly. And I'm sure there are more elsewhere. (Amusingly, most of the ones I took are from regulars on building this summary.) GRBerry 19:29, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
(originally re GTBacchus's T1 v T2 comment, but it wandered a bit!
I've never found any problem in differentiating T1 and T2. I regarded T1 as the template equilavent of an attack page, and T2 more like WP:NOT, which, while it needs to be addressed, does not need to be speedied to do so. The acid test for me is to ask whether or not the content would be acceptable if subst'd on a user page, if not, it's a T1 Speedy, if it would be acceptable, it shouldn't be speedied, but still should be moved to userspace.
The problem I see with having "T2 style" userboxes in template space is that having them there, and on offical wikipedia pages, is that gives new users that sides must be chosen, or at least that they matter. Take the comparision if you went to a offical "Blah inc" meeting, there's a big difference between having people there with personal badges, than if there was a table inside the door with "Blah inc" badges with a list of groups you could be in. The former is personalisaton, the latter much more divisive. I also disagree that displaying bias is necessary, I think that bias is either not majorly relavent, or if it is, it's obvious without it being displayed on the userpage.
The problem with this current situation is that several cornerstones of wikipedia are in temporary conflict. Wikipedia is first and foremost a enclyopledia, and that product is built by people following processes according to policy and consensus. I believe everyone is trying to get to the same place (a good product), we just have differing ideas about the best way to do so. Applying policy harshly can lead to lack of confidence in process and consenus, and people being disillusioned. On the other hand, following process literally may end up with a result that's against policy. Neither are good for wikipedia, without people there is no product, but without policy, the product is not wikipedia.
So, where does that leave us? I think there is a widespread misunderstanding of that WP is not, namely about it not being a web host or a soapbox. The main situation I see is the WP:USER guideline getting more and more stretched. Userpages are supposed to be user for enclyopedia work first, but personalisation is fine too, within reason - we're not all boring here, so they don't have to be bland! But, over time, the balance appears to have shifted, from focusing on wikipedia, to focusing on the personal web host aspect, with userboxes being one visible aspect of that. My impression is that the trend for new users seems be shifting from "wiki-editing first, and then set up a userpage" to "set up userpage first, and then wiki-edit", with some not even doing the second (and vital!) step, and, simply "setting up user page". I don't think anyone would think that's a good trend.
The problem with userboxes is that this trend is encouraged, and by having them in template space, it gives the impression of being offically sanctioned also. That is at odds with WP:NOT, and is what has led to the inconsistancy of processs gives different answers to policy. However, it's important to note that consensus is based on the assumption that the editors are working towards a solution in line with policy, and I'd also add that it has the assumption of a *reasonably* representive sample group (see clarification above) If either of these assumptions aren't valid, either because the arguments put forward conflict with policy, or if the consensus is skewed, you'll end up with a result according to consensus that isn't valid according to policy.
When there are large group of people involved, I don't think a quick fix is possible, which is why I'm against the speedy part of the T2 deletion. Changes to the status quo can't be abrupt without annoying many people, which I why I think mass speedy deletions are out. I think it would less better to first focus on stopping creation and proliferation before tackling any reduction, one possiblity would be to re-enforce Jimbo's statement at Wikipedia:Userboxes/Beliefs. If use is to be discouraged, should not the first thing be to stop new users using them, before persuading existing people to remove ones? I can see those unfamiliar saying "discouraged? then why give a list?" and using them regardless. Should we not remove the list as a starting point? Likewise for any "T2 type" templates, surely the first step is to remove the code from the offical pages to stop use and creation and then let them reduce in use over time before subst'd/deleting the template. Would that not be less hassle in the long run than trying to push through deletes when they are at their height of usage?
Anyway, Just a few thoughts, Regards, MartinRe 21:17, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

discriminatory application of T2?[edit]

It doesn't seem to me like we have reached a decision yet to apply T2, that is, deleting all templates of the type user_worldview. Whatever this decision will be, it seems highly undesireable to me that different measures should be applied to the templates of users with different worldviews. In the present case, the template:user atheist (talk), which said "this user is an atheist", has been redirected to "template:user atheism" ("template_talk:user_atheism|talk"), which says "this user is interested in atheism". While it may not be intended as such, I regard this action as discriminatory against non-religious users, as long as templates as template:user_christian are not treated the same. -- 790 10:10, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Also, being an atheist is not the same as being interested in atheism. Stephen B Streater 10:19, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree that "Being an X" and "Being interested in X" are not the same, and anyone who thinks that one is a good substitute for the other should be asked to think again. Given the trend, that template:user_christian survived a speedy deletion, deletion review, and TfD discussion is only a temporary state. In part this outcome may have been due to the particularly egregious way this one was handled prior to deletion. The discrimination argument was raised in the TfD discussion - in comparison to template:user_satanist.
I see two possible outcomes for this overall process. The first is that we find some compromise that preserves templates. The second is that Jimbo imposes a no-tolerance policy and subsequently we go on a mass deletion spree. I happen to think that the former is better for Wikipedia, so encourage you to participate in the various discussions that search for a compromise, keeping in mind what the alternative to compromise is. GRBerry 13:29, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Reviewing what I wrote above, I'm appalled at myself. I'd meant to write userboxes, but wrote templates. I intended to say that a compromise that had non-template userboxes was a possible outcome. GRBerry 15:55, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Hopefully, based on Jimbo's recent comments, something like the German solution may finally get through. --StuffOfInterest 14:40, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm not quite familiar with the formalisms on en.WP... can't we have just have a poll on T2? -- 790 14:19, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately as the community is fairly evenly split regarding userboxes it has been impossible for months to get any sort of policy established via concensus votes. Because of this T1 was only brought in by dictate of Jimbo. An attempt to expand the scope of T1 created enough of an uproar that it had to be split off into T2. After that the debate on T2 bogged down to the point that there is no way for it to gain a concensus. Now a few admins are going around acting as if T2 is set policy any anyone who counteracts their actions will be accused of wheel warring. All in all, it is a grand mess. --StuffOfInterest 14:40, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
790, regarding the "formalisms" here, m:Power structure is a good read. StuffOfInterest's description is one way of looking at it. Someone else might tell you that T1 was introduced as policy in February and has enjoyed broad support with a broad reading, but that a small but vocal minority of users remains in denial of this fact. A third person might tell you that the vast majority of Wikipedians don't give a whit about userboxes one way or the other, and that you've stumbled upon the part of the site where we go to get our daily dose of drama. The truth, as usual, is some kind of weighted average, and then we start arguing over the weights... -GTBacchus(talk) 15:20, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
GTBacchus, I'm not trying to be confrontational, but could you plesae point me towards the polls and/or discussions which has established this "broad support". Every poll I've seen that has anything to do with userboxes which has had more than a handfull of votes ended up on a roughly 60-40 split. Sometimes it comes down on one side and sometimes on the other. It never goes far enough to establish any sort of concensus. This is sort of like calling 51% a "strong mandate" (for a slight political joke). --StuffOfInterest 15:39, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
StuffOfInterest, I don't really consider those polls meaningful. Think about it: what happens when you put a poll up about a contentious issue at a place like Wikipedia? The vast, vast majority of Wikipedians don't know about it, or ignore it. Participation is entirely self-selective, and since it's open to see, a lot of people choose whether or not to participate based largely on what the current tally is when they see it. If they side they like less doesn't seem to be in danger of "winning" a lot of people just walk on by, maybe watchlisting it, maybe not. Try to see it through Tony Sidaway's eyes: most experienced Wikipedians don't mess around with it because they don't consider it a threat. They know wikipedia isn't democracy or mob rule, and no number of signatures on a petition is going to undermine our fundamental policies. Just imagine that you think that way, and try to see how I'm able to say, "someone else might tell you...., etc." I don't agree with Tony Sidaway's about everything, but I'm certainly aware of some very experienced, very well-respected Wikipedians who consider this whole mess a tempest in a teacup that will pass with time, and the userbox fad nonsense will hardly be remembered. Those polls are almost guaranteed to come out around 60/40, because if it drifts very far from that, more people will show up on whichever side to balance it out. It means absolutely nothing. -GTBacchus(talk) 15:51, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
You (and the related comments I've seen) have convinced me to opt out of the myth of consensus building. Rfrisbietalk 16:06, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
No meaningfull poll will end with complete consensus, and while I admit that there is such a mechanism as described by GTBacchus, I don't see why it should make the poll worthless altogether... And as I reckon that most Wikpedians do believe in democracy, I'm pretty sure even a 51%-ruling will get enough acceptance to make it work. All in all, it seems to me that this way of dealing with disputed policies is by far more satisfying than the alternative: asking our beloved founder to impose a ruling on us... So why don't we set up a simple poll: (A) all user_worldview, and equivalent, templates are to be deleted without further notice; (B) user_worldview templates are not to be deleted unless they are found to be inflamatory per T1 -- 790 16:37, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
[Edit conflict - response to GTBacchus]I think this is (to tweak the analogy) "a fire that will burn out in time." I also think the approach some people are taking is the effective equivalent of throwing cans of gasoline on the fire - it is explosive and doesn't help put the fire out quickly. I'd prefer a smother it in sand approach to cutting a massive firebreak. But whether we smother it in sand or cut a massive firebreak, we also need to make sure the fire doesn't restart later when new fuel is added. That last will take formation of a clearly communicated, unambiguous, accepted policy. For the purpose of putitng out the fire, it almost doesn't matter what the policy is. For the success of Wikipedia, it does matter what the policy is. GRBerry 16:45, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree with 790's original post. We can't apply T1 some some "user worldview" templates and not to others, or else we're taking a stance on which worldviews are acceptable for wikipedians to hold and announce via template, which makes a mockery of the idea that our purpose is to write an encyclopedia. We're not here to pass judgement on different worldviews; we're here to research and write articles, right? The only solution I've seen suggested for this problem is to let the community decide by consensus which worldviews are divisive and inflammatory and which ones aren't. That sounds to me like a shitstorm ten times the size of the current one, when we could cut through the Gordian knot real quick by just sticking with no "user worldview" templates. -GTBacchus(talk) 15:20, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree that this wouldn't be an easy way to deal with things... but it would still be preferable to the current limbo -- 790 16:37, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
[Edit conflict - response to GTBacchus]I'd disagree - most of the proposed policies (I haven't read them all) on this subject wouldn't leave T1 in place as written. They either make it more explicit (broadly or narrowly) or overturn it. Almost any of the policy proposals is better than the current state of affairs. GRBerry 16:45, 31 May 2006 (UTC)


I've seen multiple references to a T3 in the deletion review debates. I don't recollect seeing anything about it on the talk for CSD. What is it and should we include it? GRBerry 22:47, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

T3 (according to some deletionist admins) = all POV templates. Only babel should survive. Maybe. Has not consensus but is happily used under the guise of T1 (see Deletion review. CharonX talk Userboxes 02:08, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

The German solution[edit]

This is the musing that just might inspire the development of what has been called "The German solution" to finally end the userbox wars.

May 27, 2006 The middle ground is to let people do as they will in the user space, and merely use reason and argument to teach people over time why one ought not use Wikipedia userpages for political or other campaigns.... while at the same time saying, no, really, the template namespace is not for that, that we do not endorse this behavior. This is the solution that the Germans have put into effect with great results.

Here is a partial list of discussions before and since that might be used to help formulate this solution. Please feel free to add other related discussions. Rfrisbietalk 23:49, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Created Wikipedia:The German solution, go ahead and improve as you see fit... —Ashley Y 00:05, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Mumble. This still seems to me to be not very much of a compromise...but, OTOH, if the existing userbox directory pages will be maintained and simply updated to point to the userboxes in user space, and the admins who have been deleting userboxes whenever they get half an excuse will not do so if the userbox in question is in user space (except for things that are obviously against some other policy - I'm not proposing to waive Wikipedia policy entirely for userboxes, and never have), then it might work. Without either of these two conditions, however, it's not a compromise - it's a total capitulation. Jay Maynard 01:08, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
It works like this: All "non-standard" (i.e. almost all except Babel boxes) are migrated into userspace. Either a central repository is created or (more likely) individual users adopt them in their (to be created) userbox archive pages (which sould be interlinked). They still can be used like templates, just that they are in userspace now and outside the encyclopedic content. Standard Wiki policy apply (i.e. WP:NPA, WP:CIVIL, etc.) but besides that they only have to follow WP:USER - i.e. they are allowed to be POV or controversal, and are not subject to T1 (T2) speedy-deletion rules. Check my (small) repository to see how it looks like (too tired to expand it right now) CharonX talk Userboxes 02:06, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
unfortunately, I think that moving the said templates to userspace is a solution only in a "juristical" sense... if there was a pro-T2-decision, they could well stay in template space, if there was a contra-T2-decision, a move to user space wouldn't seem appropriate to me.-- 790 03:29, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Userfying userboxes Ashibaka tock 15:33, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

This page has a list of German implementation features that may be useful as background for other proposals as well. Rfrisbietalk 11:08, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

What's the point in even having this debate?[edit]

Enough administrators have made it clear that they are going to do whatever the heck they feel like regardless of policy.

Template:User Christian has been deleted out of process yet again, despite surviving every TFD and DRVU it has faced. IT HASN'T EVEN BEEN A WEEK since it survived the TFD process.

Yet, on the ensuing DRV, administrators User:Doc glasgow, User:Tony Sidaway, User:Phil Boswell, User:Sean Black, User:Metamagician3000, User:Jareth, and User:GTBacchus have all demonstrated that community consensus is irrelevant to them by endorsing a patently incorrect deletion. I find it incomprehensible that we are even having this discussion. You guys are just making up rules as we go along.

If you are going to refuse to enforce whatever actual policy is decided on and just delete anything you don't like out of process, why even bother pretending to go through the motions of getting a community consensus?

You guys weren't chosen as administrators in order that you enforce your own viewpoints. Might does not make right.

BigDT 05:01, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Community consensus is not "irrelevant", but if a group of users take it upon themselves to make it impossible to obtain a consensus to enforce policy for the good of Wikipedia, then I'm afraid policy trumps consensus. Otherwise we allow people to hijack Wikipedia for unencyclopeic uses by "voting" against policy. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:21, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
So what you are saying, in effect, is, "consensus is fine as long as it agrees with me." You are quite correct that policy trumps consensus, however, there is no applicable policy. T1 says "divisive and inflammatory". Nobody could possibly believe that there is anything inherently divisive and inflammatory about a simple statement, "this user is a Christian". That said, I don't question that it has become "divisive and inflammatory". But there's not a problem with the template itself - the problem is with the out of process deletions.
I've said it a couple of times before. I didn't come here to fight userbox wars. The reason I became involved is that I noticed an edit to my userpage (it was on my watchlist). I then saw the prior vandalism to the template by Cyde and others. Had that vandalism and subsequent out of process deletion not taken place, I never would have cared one way or another.
The "so what" of this is that you and other administrators are actually causing the very problem you are trying to solve. By taking actions against a consensus, by inventing non-existent policy or claiming that policy means something that it clearly does not, all you do is cause there to be more support for the pro-userbox side. BigDT 05:39, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Suppose something different were happening, that was against policy as you understand it. Suppose a group of people were preventing the implementation of something you thought was important? Would you just shrug it off, and say "oh well, since 50 of them showed up and said to hell with WP:NOT, I guess they win." Is that what you'd do? I don't really care what words T1 happens to be written in just now. The applicable policy is that Jimbo's made it clear that template space is not for advocacy or statements of personal belief.
Seriously, BigDT, what if you really believed that userboxes are actively harmful to Wikipedia: what would you do? How would you do it better? I'm all ears. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:51, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Jimbo has the power to decree thus sayeth the word of Jimbo, henceforth there shalt be no more userboxen. He has not and thus is it incorrect to procede as though he had. At any rate, with respect to T1, it is at most very questionable whether this userbox falls into that criterion. On the other hand, there are very clear and unambiguous policies laid out for TFD and DRV. There is a strong consensus (though not yet a firm policy with an exact implementation) against administrative wheel warring. From where I sit, there's no question whatsoever. If it is so clear, as you seem to think it is, that there is something inherently harmful about these things, why did Jimbo stop with T1? Why did he not decree once and for all that they are abolished? The fact is that he didn't and proceding as though he had is a violation of clear policies and consensus. BigDT 05:58, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
You didn't address my question. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:24, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
I'll give it a try: If I believed they were harmful to Wikipedia, and repeated DRVs showed "keep" consensus, I wouldn't wheel war, or anything else. In the end, there's got to be someone who sets policy and has the power to make it stick. That someone has to step up to the plate and make a decision. I'd do everything in my power to get that decision made. I'm surprised that Jimbo has avoided doing so; it is his inaction that has resulted in this mess dragging out for as long as it has.
That said, I'll repeat what I said over in the DRV for Template:User Christian: Repeatedly deleting, in the face of repeated consensus for Keep and repeated undeletions on DRV, shows nothing but complete contempt for the user community. Is that really what you want to show us? Arguing that Jimbo supports repeatedly deleting in the face of consensus to keep is an argument that Jimbo shows complete contempt for the user community. Is that what you want to argue? Are you really willing to risk running off users because you're so insistent that you know better than they do? That's what it's coming down to. Jay Maynard 11:37, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Jay, hi. When you say "I wouldn't wheel war, or anything else," I don't quite know what to make of "or anything else". Does that mean you would remain completely inert, you wouldn't try to convince people to change their way of thinking, you wouldn't continue to voice your opinion in deletion discussions?
Regardless of what you meant there, you're suggesting that you'd take it to Jimbo. Duly noted. You're wrong about "nothing but complete contempt for the user community". I think we're squarely in a realm where broad categorical statements like that are not to be trusted. You're failing to appreciate the deletionist perspective. There is a considerable segment of the community that is troubled by userboxes, and perfectly happy for them to go away. A hard-line userbox policy shows respect for and solidarity with that part of the community. -GTBacchus(talk) 16:24, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I was imprecise. By "or anything else", I wouldn't take any actions that would fan the flames, such as speedily deleting any userbox that wasn't blatantly over the line. If it would cause further controversy, then I wouldn't do it until the dust settled. The controversy is far worse than even the most inflammatory userbox. No, I wouldn't be inert, and no, I wouldn't keep my mouth shut - but I wouldn't damage my own credibility by taking action in violation of a repeatedly expressed consensus. That is why i don't trust Tony or Cyde any farther than I can throw my Lexus.
It is not the hard-line userbox policy itself that shows complete contempt for the community. It's the repeated deletion of a userbox for which the community has repeatedly shown a consensus opinion that it be kept. To delete it in the face of such a repeated consensus spits in the eye of the community, and says that the admin doing the deleting doesn't care about consensus. That is contempt. In the face of actions like that, is it any wonder people are driven to expressions such as mine? Jay Maynard 17:54, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
What you are proposing by your question is a system where any administrator can take any action because he thinks it is right, regardless of any consensus otherwise. That's the whole problem here. This is a wheel war (albeit a very slow one). One administrator deletes the userbox. Another restores it. Another deletes it. That's a wheel war. So what you're asking me is, if I thought something should be done, would I wheel war to impose my will? No. That's not an appropriate use of administrative tools. BigDT 12:02, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Actually, BigDT, I wasn't proposing anything by the question; it was an honest question. I want to know what you would do, not what you wouldn't do. I don't know what you think I'm doing, but I haven't touched a wheel this whole time. Tell me what you think I should do, if I really believe that userboxes are actively hurting Wikipedia. Jmaynard gave an answer; what's yours? -GTBacchus(talk) 16:10, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
If I believed that, (and to a great extent I do) then I would seek community consensus on the issue. Not attempt to force the issue by going around the community and hope no one notices. Sincere belief is present on both sides of this issue as with any other, and sincerity definitely does not make you right. Suicide bombers are among the most sincere people I can think of. Does that make them right? If the communithy disagrees with you, you must live with it. If the community is in contention, you must not subvert the debate. --tjstrf 17:08, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Please forgive me if I implied that you personally were wheel warring. I did not intend to. The administrators who have deleted/undeleted it are, IMO, engaging in a wheel war. As for an answer to your question, what I would do in this case is essentially what the current WP:NWW proposal says, which is an interpretation of WP:WHEEL. "If you think something is a good idea, do it. If people disagree, take a step back and discuss it." At that point, according to WP:NWW, after the action has been undone, redoing it would be a wheel war violation. So I wouldn't wheel war. I would discuss the issue and attempt to gain a consensus. But according to the wheel war policy and the wheel war proposal, taking an action twice without consensus ought to be considered a wheel war and ought to be considered a violation. Thus, it is unacceptable behavior. BigDT 23:02, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
As far as the point of having this debate, I think there are people learning from each other on this page. What if we decide to adopt something like the German solution? Then these arguments could be helpful in discussing the details of how that would work. I also just hope the process is thought-provoking, and helps us understand each other in the long run. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:28, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
I would submit that that's a rather poor reason. The constant bickerings are destructive more than anything and are fueled by the out-of-process deletions. For example, today, when Tony arbitrarilly decided to stop a DRV discussion in clear violation of undeletion procedure, six pages of debate ensued on WP:AN/I. Meanwhile, I had to make two requests for help in dealing with a user who was making repeated personal attacks and adding uninteligible nonsense to articles. The only administrator to respond was a brand new one - User:AmiDaniel. If the reason that no other administrators responded is that they were too busy defending out-of-process deletions of userboxes, then that's a problem. BigDT 05:52, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
The process of implementing the removal of useboxes from template space could also be educational and help us understand each other in the long run. But doing it by speedy deletion is inflammatory instead of educational. See Wikipedia:Reduce confusion by following policy or Wikipedia:Process is Important for more general versions of this argument. That is part of why there are a significant number of people who want a very narrow interpretation of T1, combined with either TfD discussions about deletion of POV useboxes or even better a real guideline/policy on userboxes. GRBerry 16:06, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

The point of having this debate is that the alternatives are worse. Besides, if WP supposedly uses consensus as a basis for policy, then debates are the only way we seem to have of attempting to determine/force a consensus. More to the point, why are admins allowed to make changes that would be considered vandalism if done by the average user without discussion? --tjstrf 06:04, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to add that deleting templates under CSD has been massively unhelpful for the German solution, as templates just vanish without ordinary users being able to recover the code. —Ashley Y 06:06, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

"template space is not for advocacy or statements of personal belief" sounds well and good, but T1, the "Jimbo-approved" criteria, reads "Templates that are divisive and inflammatory." not "Templates that promote advocacy or state personal belief." I and many others would interpet "divisive and inflammatory" to mean hatespeech, trolling, insults to the beliefs of others, etc. not statements of personal belief which are worded in a strictly factual manner. (Advocacy is a different issue.)

If a viewer finds the simple statement "This user is a republican/muslim/homosexual/ex-convict/communist/whatever" to be in some manner divisive or inflammatory, the problem lies in the viewer, not the statement. As an administrator, I'm sure you have encountered users whose personal POV is so strong on an issue that from their perspective the NPOV which everyone else can at least tolerate is an impermissable affront to their personal beliefs. Do we bow to the wishes of such editors, and pervert the article's nonbiased stance for the sake of not offending an individual who finds the very existance of people they disagree with offensive? No. So why should we do so with userboxes? Only an extremist can find a statement of belief which lies in a vacuum offensive.--tjstrf 08:22, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

I think it's the question of consistency. If we go around deleting the Satanist userbox while leaving the the other religion userboxes intact, that will get outcry. If we delete all religion userboxes, we'll get outcry anyway, but at least we'll be consistent. So we either keep all the religion userboxes intact, or we delete them all (under T2 or whatever). Personally, I'm in favour of the latter. But above all else, we have to be consistent. --Deathphoenix ʕ 15:03, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Consistency is necessary, but if an issue is under hot contention, then consistency becomes a meaningless argument, as both sides can use it with equal validity any time a decision is only partially implemented. Once the debate has been settled, then you swiftly and unilaterally enforce consistency, but when we are still determining what a rule means, things should be judged case by case.
On the issue of the template User: Satanist, I would argue that it --along with User: Christian, User: Athiest, User: Democrat, etc.-- is not inherently divisive or inflammatory. (provided it was properly worded, not sure about that since it seems to be DELETED right now...) It does not say "This user is a Satanist. Go evil!" or "This user is a Satanist and thinks Christians are a bunch of wimpy goody-two shoes." it says "This user is a Satanist." period. No claims that the view is superior. No activism. No hatred towards other religions. No more divisive than the template "This user's favorite colour is blue." is.
If the reader attaches the connotation of superiority, endorsement of human sacrifice, or an attack on their own beliefs to that statement, they are simply showing their own ignorance of the Satanist philosophy and their insecurity or extremism in their own religion. We are not here to build a whitewashed padded nursery for those who cannot cope with the existance of people who disagree with them. --tjstrf 15:57, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
I am John Doe. I only know and care about consistency. I have no idea, nor do I care, what a Christian, a Satanist, an Athiest, a Democrat, or whatever is. I have no idea what is evil, good, superior, or inferior. If these userboxes are covered under T2, and T2 is approved, I will delete all these userboxes regardless of what these things are. If T2 is not approved, I will keep all these userboxes regardless of what these things are. Consistency means deleting (or keeping) templates regardless of what's evil, good, superior, or inferior. I think the approval of T2 will allow consistency to be applied. OTOH, if T2 is not approved, consistency should be applied on the other side and all these templates should be allowed (unless they are covered under T1). --Deathphoenix ʕ 16:26, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
(edit conflict w/ Deathphoenix) Tjstrf, when you say "If the reader attaches the connotation of superiority, endorsement of human sacrifice, or an attack on their own beliefs to that statement,..." you are completely missing the boat, as far as what the objection is to the userbox. It's not about any of that. It's about using template space for something that is utterly unrelated to building an encyclopedia. So someone's a satanist - super, great, whatever. What on Earth has that got to do with Wikipedia? It's personal stuff, keep it in user space. It's a matter of demarcation - letting personal expression content and personal belief content drift into namespaces that are related to encyclopedia-building is mixing work and play. It muddies the line between the encyclopedia and the community, which is bad because the encyclopedia has to follow rules that the community doesn't. Just keep the template space "business only", and do what you want in the user-space. It's #The German solution. -GTBacchus(talk) 16:35, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
@Deathpheonix: And if T2 is officially approved, then I would wholeheartedly agree with and support its enforcement, and further hope for a rule supporting the deletion of all non-project oriented userboxes as well. If a rule is there, we as users and even more so you as administrators are obligated to uphold it. However, until that point, you cannot claim they must be deleted (or kept) for the sake of consistency, as there is not a consistent standard to judge them by.
Personally, I hate userboxes, I find them irritating in general, the nonsense/humour ones disruptive, and the users who flood their pages with them cliquish and annoying. Because of that, I refuse to personally use them, even the Babel ones. But I do not attempt to get them all deleted because of my own personal opinion.

@GTBacchus: In that case, you have a valid concern, but not one that is addressed by either of these regulations. If your concern is that users's personal preferences have no place as templates, then address that issue specifically and seperately, not via abuse of the "Divisive and Inflammatory" clause. That's going against the intent of the rule. "Divisive and inflammatory" should not be used as a legal basis for deleting things when your opposition to them is instead that they are non-encyclopedic in purpose. (Reminds me of the absurd number of laws we have in the US that are based on the Federal government's Interstate Trade control...) --tjstrf 17:08, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

I like userboxes. I have some that state my skills and some that state what WikiProjects and WikiOrganisations I'm on. I dislike all the other ones. But I don't delete any of them. If I were to delete them, I'd delete the ones that are clearly covered under T1. I'd be itching to delete some under T2, if it passes. --Deathphoenix ʕ 17:14, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
And you would be justified in doing so, as they were policies with consensus to back them. However, twisting a policy to enforce a different viewpoint than it was written to cover is an ause of the system. To make a comparison to a current ongoing political issue in the US, The T1 "divisive and inflammatory" clause is no more intended for deletion of templates which are simply unencyclopedic than the Constitution's eminent domain is intended for the building of shopping malls. --tjstrf 17:34, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
That's the purpose of the T2 proposal. --Deathphoenix ʕ 18:57, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
T2 is not for unencyclopedic templates either. It's for removal of opinion based userboxes. If you want unencyclopedic template to be a proper cause for deletion, then that needs to be its own criteria. (And one I would highly support.) I do not, however, support using a template's expression of political or moral opinion as a criteria for speedy deletion when we have templates like "This user wishes they had a girlfriend" and psuedo-Babel boxes like "This user can write at a professional level of Bullshit", which would go unchallenged even under T2. (To say nothing of the User: Gibberish templates... why aren't those in BJAODN by now?)
If your concern truly is templates of unencyclopedic nonsense destroying wikipedia, create a criteria to address ALL of them. Attempting to indirectly deal with the problem by deleting templates which express a view which might have some bearing on Wikipedia while ignoring those which have NO bearing on wikipedia is anything but consistent and has caused the current problem.
The deletionists have a perfectly good point that unencyclopedic templates need deleted. The problems are their methods, and their attempt at indirectly enforcing this concept through misuse of unrelated deletion criteria. --tjstrf 19:29, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, T2 addresses what I care about, which is userboxes that display an opinion or show membership to organisations that display such an opinion. As for unencyclopedic templates, well, if you think T2 isn't enough, why don't you propose to expand the definition of T2 (if you haven't done so already)? --Deathphoenix ʕ 20:02, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Two primary reasons, the first being I don't want to add more complexity to the debate just yet, and the second being that I don't know the proper "official" channels for proposing new rules. Plus, if I waited to proposed it until after the debate on T2, it would probably meet less resistance no matter what happened to T2. If T2 were to pass, the idea of deleting random junk templates would be less controversial than that of deleting everything opinionated, and it could probably slip in with relative ease. If T2 were to fail, since the debate was over I could start the proposal with a relatively clean slate and less emotional baggage from wikiactivists, also aiding its passing. Also, no offense intended, but why do you care more about people identifying their beliefs than filling their userpages with what is, although at times admittedly funny, undeniably drivel?--tjstrf 20:31, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Good plan. :-) As for why I care about it, it's because I believe that personal beliefs can't be summed up with official-looking badges. Having an official-looking template saying that you're part of the Esperanza project is one thing. Having another official-looking tempate saying that you belong to some out-of-Wikipedia organisation, or believe that the Earth is flat, or whatever, isn't. I think such things should be described in your own sentences, not in an official, pre-written userbox residing in the template-space. Oh, don't get me wrong, I think the unencyclopedic stuff should be gone too, but I simply don't care as much about that drivel... though I wouldn't mind seeing it go either. --Deathphoenix ʕ 21:39, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

A small amount of craft is more effective than trying to brute-force your opinions through, let's just say that. As for wanting everyone to write out their opinions in text, if you did that, you'd have article-length opinion pieces for user pages, which would be far more divisive and inflammatory than the user boxes ever were. (Also, imagine if the people who use 40-60 userboxes were to write a text elaboration of every one of them, plus every other random factoid they could think of about themselves.) Even for the userboxes that aren't annoying, I simply don't want to have to read why some user likes the colour blue, what they think about their being a Wikifaerie, and a paragraph of German to prove that they do in fact write it at the Babel:3 level. --tjstrf 22:15, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

If they had to do it... they won't. It's so much simpler to have forty or fifty userboxes than it is to have forty or fifty sentences about yourself... and that's exactly why it's best not to have these userboxes. If one actually had to think about what to write on a user page, rather than slap on forty or fifty userboces that say "This user likes eggs", "This user is a gangster", "This user wears a hat", or such similar drivel, I'll bet that person's user page would be a lot more appropriate to be a Wikipedia page rather than a cutsey little MySpace page. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Don't get me wrong, I like userboxes, I've got some myself. But an official-looking Wikipedia userbox that describes one as believing that George W. Bush's edits to the constitution need to be reverted really isn't the best thing to have. I'd rather see that user have to explain why he thinks that is true, rather than taking the easy way and slap on an official-looking Wikipedia template. --Deathphoenix ʕ 04:01, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
ARGH!!! Why does everyone who oppose userboxes accuse those of us who support them of wanting to see user pages turned into MySpace?! It's insulting as hell! Jay Maynard 10:42, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Because being divisive and inflammatory is an excellent debate tactic for those whose position is that we must abolish such things on the wiki? No wait... In all seriousness though, some people do have userbox lists that resemble the random factoid boxes on MySpace, only without the Q/A format.--tjstrf 10:57, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
A template saying that a user believes George Bush's edits to the constitution need reverted would be a valid "divisive and inflammatory" call. But not necessarily "This user believes in Original Intent." or something similar. And I believe that most users who really do have strong POV on issues would be willing to write them out on their user pages.
In the mean time, for an example of a userbox that I think should be deleted long before we even start addressing ones like User Christian, see Template:User intercal. "This user hates you and insists you learn to program in intercal." Divisive? Check. Inflammatory? Check. Direct insult to reader? Check. (Stupid joke? Check.) WHY are people focusing around a few borderline cases to try forcing their point accross when we have templates (in the main templatespace I might add) that people on both sides would probably agree should be pulled down? If you guys had started with templates like User intercal in the first place, you probably could have gotten T1 as a well-established precedant that could actually be used without automatically being reviewed to death, and then worked from there to whatever your personal object is. (Also, I think this was probably my weirdest edit summary ever.) --tjstrf 05:52, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break[edit]

Jay: Look, I don't oppose userboxes. Take a look at my userboxes. I even have a couple of fun ones (like the, pig-4, 1337-0, CN). It's the sheer volume and types of userboxes that I have a problem with. Okay, you don't want a comparison to MySpace? How about this... A user page dotted with userboxes is just plain ugly. These official-looking userboxes make user pages look like a cookie cutter page. I'm reminded of some web page builder where you go through a list of items to check off:

Check all that apply to you:

  • You are a Democrat
  • You are a Republican
  • You are a Christian
  • You are a Satanist
  • You like eggs
  • You are a gangster

Just enable all the checkboxes that apply to you and you have your home page with a list of easy-to-describe boxes about you. With Wikipedia, just stick a piece of Wikicode and voila! Instant self-description. It's just so easy to put these userboxes in. Why not simply take a little time to actually describe yourself? I don't see any problems with that. These userboxes make it seem like Wikipedia somehow condones Demcrats, Republicans, Christians, Satanists, those who like eggs, and gangsters. What Wikipedia should really be condoning are those who can contribute to Wikipedia in English, or German; those who know how to develop HTML pages, or write Javascript; those who are on the Esperanza, Harry Potter, or Cricket Wikiprojects. That's what's appropriate for an official user box. --Deathphoenix ʕ 12:20, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

A well thought out point, but I fail to see what that has to do with the T1 or T2 deletion criteria. Wikipedia doesn't "condone" anything you find on a userpage, that's why it's a User page, not an article. Further, the anti-systematic bias group would hate you for saying that the only skills which deserve mention are those of the techie and linguistic types, as it further promotes the image that only computer geeks are allowed on the wikipedia.--tjstrf 20:24, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Au contraire, I believe it has a fair bit to do with T1 and T2, but because of the effect of these two CSDs. What I mean by "condone" is the fact that Userboxes lie in the Template: space. This would also have been true if the failed proposal to move these to the Userbox: space passed. Even though these userboxes are in user pages, the fact that they reside in the templatespace indicates that their use is official and someone condoned by Wikipedia. T1 certainly addresses the concern of some of the devisive userboxes, I'm hoping T2 will address the userboxes that are irrelevant to Wikipedia (ie, Babelboxes and Wikiprojects are certainly relevant, and will stay). If this means some of the userboxes I'm using are deleted, so be it. --Deathphoenix ʕ 20:47, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
It (the desire to get rid of irrelevant userboxes) may have something to do with the effect of the criteria, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the object of the criteria. Neither addresses relevance to wikipedia, which is why I view them as incomplete regulations, and why their abuse by certain admins to mass delete userboxess which are irrelevant but not inflammatory irritates me so much. Many of the T2 supporters seem to be supporting it because of ulterior motives. --tjstrf 21:32, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
I can't speak for the other T2 supports, but yy motive is clear. I don't like irrelevant userboxes. Simple as that. --Deathphoenix ʕ 03:58, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

And I share your opinion in that. What we disagree on, as best I can tell, are 2 minor issues:

1. Is T2 the proper criteria to accomplish the object of abolishing irrelevant userboxes?
2. Can we non-hypocritically delete POV templates while allowing tripe and humour ones to still run rampant?

I say no to both. The proper path is to propose the deletion of unencyclopedic templates. Not disrupt the wiki over a few borderline cases whose proponents will fight hard to keep them while turning a blind eye to those worthless ones which could be silently put down. An added benefit of this idea would be it would establis non-controversial precedants that could be turned into uncontested core policy, then expanded over time.
Slower but with an even higher chance of success would be to propose the deletion of all "Nonsense templates", a definition that could gradually expand with time to include anything unencyclopedic. Devious? Maybe. Better for wikipedia in the long run? Definitely. --tjstrf 05:49, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Well, I disagree with your response to #1. I say T2 can delete a lot of irrelevant userboxes. It may leave some irrelevant userboxes behind, but it'll go a long way in cleaning up a lot of the irrelevant ones to start off. As for #2, I'd agree with you and say no. And I'm prepared to let go of my, pig-4, 1337-0, and CN templates if that means a lot of these "This user is a Christian", "This user is a Satanist", "This user likes eggs", and "This user is a gangster" userboxes are deleted. --Deathphoenix ʕ 12:42, 3 June 2006 (UTC)


This is the T1 and T2 debates. I think we should reorder the T1 and T2 debate summary section. Continue leading with events and Jimbo's views - they are great at the top. But arguments about the value of userboxes shouldn't come next, they should come last, because this debate is primarily about what T1 means, whether T2 is unstated policy, and what if anything should be speedily deleted under these criteria. I propose this section ordering:

  1. Events
  2. Jimbo's Views
  3. Arguments about the T1 and T2 criteria
  4. Arguments regarding recent deletions
  5. Alternatives to T1/T2
  6. Arguments as to the value of userboxes
  7. Potential consequences for Wikipedia

By the way, if I were to reword as "Potential consequences of ____ for Wikipedia", what goes in the blank? I don't know, and if the rest of us don't have the same obvious answer, this section should be dismantled and the content merged into Arguments as to the value of userboxes.

If I hear no objection in the next five hours, I'll probably implement this tonight. The time consuming bit will be fixing all the "above"/"below" references that get flipped. GRBerry 20:02, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Ok, by tonight I clearly meant tomorrow night. But the reorganization is done, except for dismantling "Potential consequences". Anyone want to do it? GRBerry 01:14, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

NPOV in userspace?[edit]

Can someone point out exactly where it says that NPOV does not apply to userspace? I was under the impression that "community policies ... apply to your user space just as they do elsewhere" (WP:UP). 18:44, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

WP:UP#Ownership and editing of pages in the user space: "As a tradition, Wikipedia offers wide latitude to users to manage their user space as they see fit. However, pages in user space still do belong to the community" might be the bit you are looking for. Stephen B Streater 18:50, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
So, exactly which part of that statement suggests that it does not apply? 19:07, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
Don't think of it legalistically. We traditionally allow wide latitude, if you don't try to think of it as a rule, but just as the way things are done, it makes much more sense. "Where is it written that...?", is almost always the wrong question. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:11, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

POV cannot be banned on userpages, it's utterly impossible. Why? Simply because Userpages are not collaborative, they are automatically an unbalanced POV piece. Personal attacks and polemical material are still banned on userpages, but any statement made on your userpage is implied to be your opinion automatically. However, it is for this exact reason that they shouldn't be considered offensive to anyone until they reach a much higher degree than an article would. Anything on your userpage, since it is being directly stated by you, has the implied logical beginning "I believe that..." Example: (I believe that) My name is Beric Jones. (I believe that) I am a 22 year old law student in Virginia. (I believe that) Anyone who smokes pot will go to hell.

When you think about it that way, you'll notice that unless he is lying they are all true statements, he does believe those things. (The last one is polemical though and should still be removed.) --tjstrf 23:52, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

You really consider your name, age, location and occupation to be matters of opinion on par with your religious and political beliefs? I'm not sure what to make of that... -GTBacchus(talk) 23:55, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
Logically, yes, all 3 of those sentences are claims and matters of opinion. Which is why people being offended by the userboxes which state a simple opinion is so absurd when the userboxes even explicitly state that the view expressed is just an opinion, but I digress. More to the point, claiming userpages must be NPOV makes as much sense as claiming they must be well-sourced, notable, and verifiable. --tjstrf 00:08, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
What then do you consider a "fact"? -GTBacchus(talk) 05:46, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
All those statements are facts. The guy does believe those things. --tjstrf 06:55, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I was actually hoping for an explanation of how "I believe I'm in Oregon" is a fact but "I'm in Oregon" is an opinion? Do there exist facts that don't begin with the words "I believe that..."? (I realize this is off-topic, you've just piqued my curiosity.) -GTBacchus(talk) 12:46, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
The only difference between "I believe I'm in Oregon." and "I'm in Oregon." is that in the second one, "I believe" is implied rather than explicitly stated. I think you're misunderstanding the point of this though, which is that you, as the listener, can apply this to make yourself not be offended by the factually stated opinions of others by realizing that everything they say is their opinion. In the end, the statements of an individual should not be offensive under most circumstances because they are exactly that, the statements of an individual. It's a difference of perspective.
Whether objective facts, rather than merely facts in context, exist or not is an entirely different issue. I believe that they do. I also believe that they are not objectively determinable by humans. (I also believe I am mostly right about what they are, but since this is Wikipedia, not "tj's view of the universe", I don't try writing articles about them.)--tjstrf 13:31, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm not misunderstanding the point so much as not very interested in it. I'm not going to be offended by anything anyone says in a userbox, for something close to the reasons you state, I think. I just thought you were saying something provocative about reality, and was kind of interested. Like I said, it's off-topic. I still don't understand why you're saying that "I'm in Oregon" is an opinion instead of a fact. -GTBacchus(talk) 14:45, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
What if you are on the border of Oregon. You believe you are in oregon but the fact may be that you do not, simply because it is your own opinion as to how to interpret your location. Some such "opinions" are beyond any doubt as to also be facts, while others may be questionable. If I say "I am a student at Uni X" that would clearly be such a case, but if I said "I am the best student at Uni X" then the "I believe" which is implied at the beginning would reduce people being offended because they wouldn't then challenge you asking for factual verification of the statement ("I am" is a statement, "I believe I am" is an opinion). I understand perfectly where Tjstrf is coming from, its abundantly clear and quite consise. Enigmatical 02:52, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, it is something interesting about the universe, but it doesn't have much application other than not being offended by people. Other than in the resolution of a few logical paradoxes, at least. Paradoxal statements that assert their own falsehood are not actually logical paradoxes according to this view, merely self-contradictory. --tjstrf 15:32, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

The point isn't POV. To frame it thusly is to invite the retort, WP:NPOV. The relevant policy is the first: Wikipedia is an encylopedia; q.v. WP:NOT.Timothy Usher 23:58, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

An aside[edit]

You know, I never would have gotten involved in this if I hadn't come back to my userpage one day to see a bunch of my userboxes just vanish without trace or process. When you speedy-delete a userbox, what you are actually doing is removing something from someone else's userpage without their permission or even giving notice. Now that may or may not be allowed under the rules (hey, their fault for not substing, huh?), but it is also obnoxious. It creates annoyance and bad feeling. And when the process under which this is done turns out to be rather suspect, and when userboxes that are voted to keep in TfD are subsequently speedy-deleted anyway, it compounds the annoyance and gives the impression of a small group of admins taking policy into their own hands and riding roughshod over user consensus. It damages the editor-base of Wikipedia and our faith in the process for dispute resolution and ultimately our interest in contributing to the project. This is why for me this has always been a debate about transparency, process and consensus; certainly I would delete all my userboxes if there emerged a policy against them. Jimbo seems to have repeatedly urged people to cool down, to stop the deletion, and work on building consensus; instead we have seen admins taking his words "divisive and inflammatory" and "interpreting" them in ways surely not originally intended. (I even read one admin say that "divisive and inflammatory" would still apply to user-space, only this time they would choose to interpret that narrowly; which makes no sense to me, surely the words have only one meaning whatever it is?) Likewise, popular sentiment has been very much against the deletions, in policy proposals, at TfD, and at DRv just as soon as ordinary editors found out about it, but that has also been ignored.

The userbox speedy-deletes have been a disaster politically, if one may speak of Wiki-politics, and have fanned the flames of the userbox wars and created the impression of bad faith and bad feeling all around. A much better approach would have been to build consensus on what to do first, or do what we are now doing, which is to create userboxes in user space (now frequently having to look around for substs of speedied deletions to recover the code). —Ashley Y 06:38, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

I would like to start the education and consensus building before the mass deletions. People feel they own their user page, and take offense if they find out the truth too rudely. WP:USER says: "It's a mistake to think of it as a homepage". Even knowing this makes a difference. I've been trimming my own page since I started looking into these things, and will continue to improve it. Stephen B Streater 18:15, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Ashley, this isn't directly on point, but if you ever need code from a deleted box, please feel free to ask me; I'd be happy to copy it for you, if you don't have a substed copy handy. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:52, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Ok... I'll reply first to Ashley's comments beginning this section. First of all, I agree that speedying userboxes without substing them or anything, just leaving red links on people's user pages, displays exceedingly poor judgement. It's kind of like asking for a userbox war to please happen and be really unpleasant, please. On the other hand, I don't fall back on policy, process, and getting everyone to sign on before doing anything. I can think of a third way, but I'm not going to say what that is right now.
I've noticed, through this userbox war, there are certain things that get repeated a whole lot, and I've seen them in other contexts, too. "Our policies are descriptive, not prescriptive." "You're Wikilawyering." "That's process-wonking." "It's not a vote." "Written policy will catch up." "The AfD was wrong." . . . I suspect it's statements like these that characterize the "ignoring process" attitude to which you object. I think I understand what you're saying about transparency, process and consensus, and how you imagine the Wiki working, if only everyone else were seeing it that way, too.
Now, I can grant that what you describe is a model of how a wiki could work, and it's not ridiculous, or inconsistent, or even strange. It's also not how Wikipedia has been working, but there seems to be some pressure lately for it to become that way. When I say "lately", I fully intend the implication that this vision is more common among newer editors. I think that many more experienced editors share a different vision, that I think we've done a really terrible job of communicating.
Maybe Wikipedia just needs to give up what it was, and become what a lot of people assume it must be and get upset when it isn't. I think, though, that there's value to what Wikipedia has been, and I'm not ready to toss that vision aside, just because people find it kind of shocking. They do, and it's silly to think they won't, because it is kind of radical, and to my mind, much cooler and more powerful than the system you're envisioning.
Have I been vague enough? Exponential growth means you're always dealing with growing pains, and there are certain aspects of a Wiki that scale more easily than others. I'd like to try to have a conversation, if anyone else is willing to have it, about these conflicting visions of how Wikipedia works, hopefully learning in the process how we can better communicate with each other, and all be working on the same project. I guess I could start a new page called Wikipedia:The Miseducation of Wikipedia, but I'm also comfortable here. -GTBacchus(talk) 00:12, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
My issue is not with the "Ignore all rules" approach, in general. It's using that approach when it is obviously inappropriate and when so many people are crying foul precisely because process is not being followed. This is where the pain is coming from, and why, for instance, so many editors are coming out of the woodwork and ending up on DRv, of all places ("the woodwork" in this case being "contributing to an encyclopedia"). This could have been avoided. I would still recommend a note on T1 that it is to be interpreted narrowly, at least until we've figured out what to do.
Of course, sometimes one just needs to "do what needs to be done"; but if you do that, I think you should have at least the idea that there might be consensus for it. If some admin action is not policy, and you know there isn't consensus for it, what legitimacy does it have? Is this the sort of admin behaviour we should encourage? I don't think it has a good track record.
And this is not a new direction for Wikipedia, either, see for instance the essays Wikipedia:Reduce confusion by following policy and Wikipedia:Process is Important and the discussions on them on their talk pages. There's always been a balance between the two, ideally in the service of consensus. —Ashley Y 01:03, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Those two essays don't support your assertion for which you cite them. They're both new this year, and both created largely in response to the userbox controversy. Their novelty actually supports my assertion, that the pressure to be more process-oriented is kind of new. Wikipedia:Ignore all rules has been around for over four years, and it's linked under the fifth pillar at WP:5P. There's a lot of culture based around tht rule; and ignoring that culture leads to problems, just as sure as ignoring consensus does.
But I feel we may be talking past each other here, Ashley. I think I'm saying more than you think I'm saying, especially since you characterize it as the "ignore all rules" approach. What I'd really like to do is see (or write) a Wikipedia essay or two about the vision I'm sharing with many other Wikipedians, which we've never really bothered to write down. I'm not convinced that you know what I'm talking about. I wonder if you're convinced that I know what you're talking about? I want to avoid the same pain that you want to avoid, and I think I know how you're suggesting we avoid it. Do you know what I'm suggesting? -GTBacchus(talk) 01:27, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
You should write your essay, and add it to the pool. I really don't know what you're suggesting, but I hope it's not going to be on the theme of "educating new editors on the culture of Wikipedia" especially if it's that culture, and not a process aberration as I earlier thought, that was responsible for the speedy deletions. —Ashley Y 02:30, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
What I'm really looking for is a conversation, but it looks like I'll have to keep looking, or just develop the ideas on my own, which is slower. I thought I was clear that I opposed how those deletions were done, but I guess you don't believe me. :( -GTBacchus(talk) 02:33, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
No, I do believe you, but you really need to explain your vision rather than just allude to it. Go ahead and write the essay, the essays in WP space are one of the more useful developments to come out of the UBX controversy. —Ashley Y 02:39, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I'm working on it. I was alluding rather than explaining because... I think I found it necessary to establish a few things that I'm not talking about first - flushing any residual poison out of the well, as it were. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:18, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

The really frustrating thing about the userbox wars is the fact that it clearly shows just how skewed AFD, TFD, and DRV really are. It's not about the actual policy itself; it's about who shows up. Template:User admins ignoring policy survived three TFDs and two DRVs before losing on its third DRV, where either the anti-UBX users came out stronger or the UBX supporters just got tired of voting keep. I think this really shows the ultimate power of the admins - they can delete it instantly, but trying to get it back is a long, uncertain process. That userbox had been there for seven weeks before an admin arbitrarily declared "bloody obvious t1" even though it was contested and kept through TFD and DRV. Hbdragon88 01:00, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Right now we have an anomaly whereby things get speedy-deleted under T1 that would be voted "keep" under TfD. The result is a massive process train-wreck of speedy, TfD and DRv that for instance Template:User Christian is currently involved in. I believe the simplest way to resolve this is to make T1 explictly narrow (as I believe was originally intended?) and then we can figure out what to do next. —Ashley Y 01:11, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Wouln't a policy stating, "userboxes must not be deleted unless so-and-so" grant userboxes even greater protection than actual articles?Timothy Usher 01:31, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
No. They'd still be valid for deletion via TfD (in fact, since templates have no standard deletion regulations, they can be deleted via TfD for next to nothing and sometimes are) just not speediable unless they were "divisive and inflammatory" to a non-extremist. --tjstrf 01:48, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Reply to GTBacchus - "The Miseducation of Wikipedia". I’m all for discussing and learning more about wikivision and wikilosophy. However, I’d rather not have it start with the premise that I am “miseducated.” This conversation reminds me of M. Scott Peck’s “The true meaning of community.” Wikipedia is not there. But then again, I am an eventualist (sorry, no userbox available, go figure...parting complements of Doc glasgow). Rfrisbietalk 01:27, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Well that wasn't how I meant it, but I can see how you would see that. I was shooting for kind of ambiguously cheeky while referencing Lauryn Hill. Then again, I had some ideas about where a page like that would develop, and the deprecation was actually more self-directed, but you had no way of knowing that. And here I am, trying to talk about communication! -GTBacchus(talk) 02:31, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
I knew it was tongue-in-cheek. I was just messing with you. The Doc glasgow thing got me to delete my smiley. If I ask me, I “believe” Wikipedia could use a good paradigm shift or two. Bring it on! :-) p.s. Can someone just undelete {{User even}}? Rfrisbietalk 02:54, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Just write it... —Ashley Y 02:40, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm working on it - I don't know what it says yet. I don't even know what it's called. User:GTBacchus/Temp. There, that'll do until it crystallizes a bit; then I'll move it to project space, and speedy the old version of it out of process without telling anyone, mua-ha-ha! My basic thought, at this point, is that there are certain elements of Wiki culture that tend to surprise and upset people, but which a lot of people are very committed to, and we really ought to find a way to articulate what those aspects are, so we can talk about them, seeing as they seem to be hiding under every other argument here. There's also some important stuff about scaling. I don't know. -GTBacchus(talk) 04:18, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Popcorn in hand, breath baited...;-) Rfrisbietalk 04:45, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
I think that even the strictest of process sticklers would agree that DR'ing an out of process deletion of a person's userspace by that user would be asinine. :p But, on topic, it looks like it will be an interesting essay, though you probably need some sort of thesis, unless it's just planned as a discussion starter. --tjstrf 04:39, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm going to let it develop organically, and see what happens. I have a thesis (different kind) to write this week, so according to the usual rules of procrastination, I'll be much more inspired to write about Wikipedia policy and culture than about graph colorings. I do have to turn in for the night very soon, though. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:58, 6 June 2006 (UTC)


What if, instead of deleting boxes, they simply are placed in the creator's user space, and all links are changed to reflect the move? Rather than subst:, which destroys the uniformity of the template, how about transcluding from user space. I think this is the best solution at this point - the deletionists will have their way with template space, and the userbox afficionados can keep their boxes just the way they like them. Any takers? Any objections? Anybody want to help make User:Boxhunter/Boxes into a more complete catalog? I welcome all comments. --Boxhunter 02:06, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:The German solution for pre-existing discussion. The idea is alredy being worked on. General prefernce seems to be that actual users have it in their space rather than boxholding special purpose users. GRBerry 02:13, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
It seems that it would be helpful to have some central repository. Even the German's provide for users with catalogs of userboxes. --BlankFlank 02:30, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
I think that's what people are talking about here. Maybe not one central repository with all the boxes, but a few big warehouses, hosted by individuals who want to host them, and all interlinked and listed. Some users are hosting religion boxes, some politics boxes, etc. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:58, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
This is a wonderfully wiki way to do things, but it could also end up being a waste of server space as these catalogs will probably have a large amount of duplication. Standardization is also negatively impacted, as the boxes will likely diverge in content from one instance to another. Still, this seems to be the best available solution outside template space. --Speedy Deletion is not a Toy 22:32, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

T1 and T2 again[edit]

Given that Jimbo said this:

Cquote1.png This is not an acceptable policy, and it has not achieved the requisite level of consensus. The single most important thing that must be done is the removal of a centralized official space for Userboxes. A userbox namespace is exactly the wrong answer.--Jimbo Wales 10:16, 6 June 2006 (UTC) Cquote2.png

from User_talk:Jimbo_Wales Diff

I'm just wondering if the support for a broader T2 (perhaps if deletion was preceded by userification except in clear T1 cases) might be forthcoming from folk that were previously opposed? ++Lar: t/c 03:08, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure what that quote has to do with T1 or T2? It looks to me like he doesn't like the directory of userboxes in the Wikipedia namespace. --AySz88^-^ 03:19, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
Seems obviously connected to me (although there is the oracular factor to contend with) Since he says "the removal of" it has to be a space that exists now not one being proposed for creation. That rules out Userbox space. And since it's an "official space for userboxes" that pretty clearly points (to me anyway) to templatespace, not wikipediaspace. So I read it as opposition to userboxes living in templatespace and support for The German Solution. Hence, a broader T2 that bans all userboxes from templatespace seems justifiable. YMMV of course. ++Lar: t/c 04:31, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
I think that T2 is still good policy and every comment by Jimbo reinforces it. It's just that it's hard to write it down anywhere without causing a backlash from the group of people who think it's cool to have POV userboxes in template space. I wish Jimbo would be clearer and tougher, but his general view has been stated often enough for those who have ears to hear to get the message. No admin who deletes T2 boxes in a gradual way, shows some sensitivity, etc., is doing the wrong thing. Metamagician3000 06:13, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:The German solution is happening, without anyone having to propose any policies or anything. The emerging consensus (from where I'm standing anyway) seems to be that userboxes all get migrated to userspace, per Jimbo, where they get to go ahead and be POV if they want, also per Jimbo. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:18, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

There is one problem with the reworded T1 criteria - it makes it easy to go after userspace content. All I have to do is transclude your userpage to a subpage of my userspace, and I can immediately delete it as "T1". This seems like an overly broad criteria, that bleeds impermissibly into other namespaces. I think it should go back to the way it was worded before, in the interests of all parties (and our collective sanity). -- 18:28, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Don't you think that would be transparently obvious? Who but the most extreme of process wonks would support such a deletion? It would be like putting an image of a hammer and sickle on someone's user page and then calling them a Communist. The edit history would immediately show what really happened. · rodii · 18:39, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Two userboxes located in user space were speedy deleted today as "T1 deletion as per CSD and Tony Sidaway arbcom case." —Mira 23:29, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
And to carry that factual note further, they are up at deletion review and at least one participant there has supported the speedy deletion. GRBerry 04:21, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

My view: T1 gains it's policy status from endorsement by Jimbo. Jimbo has said, very clearly, that the goal is to remove divisive viewpoints from anyplace that might appear to give them official endorsement. He has also said, again very specifically, that transcluding within the user space does not create the same problems and should be subjected only to the same limitations we place on user page content in general. Ergo, any expansion of T1 to prohibit transclusion of 'divisive userspace content' directly contradicts Jimbo's position and is not part of the T1 policy he has endorsed... and therefor should go through normal process creation / adjustment procedures. You can't say 'this is policy because Jimbo says so' once you have 're-interpreted' something to directly contradict Jimbo. --CBDunkerson 12:26, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

T1 changes June 12-13[edit]

Changes to T1 are hotly debated. If we are going to expand it, it is at least as important to expand upon the limitations to its use as it is to expand the areas where it can be used. So I added the limitations that Jimbo has endorsed - and given that the community originally accepted having any version of T1 only because Jimbo endorsed it, his thoughts on what it means are still more indicative of policy than anything else. GRBerry 04:30, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I made another change. Given that the purpose of T1 is to 'remove divisive statements from the 'officially sanctioned' template namespace' it inherently does not apply to transclusion of user pages. It would apply to transcluding in something from the equally 'official' Wikipedia namespace, Portal namespace, et cetera... but that is rarely done and never with 'divisive' content that I have seen. However, the user namespace is a different case. Comments there are less likely to be taken as 'endorsed' by Wikimedia and we have a long tradition of allowing wide (but not infinite) lattitude in such statements. T1 was brought into existence to remove endorsement of views that should not be taken as supported by Wikimedia from all namespaces except the user namespace. There people have always been allowed to express their own views. --CBDunkerson 11:42, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Template deletion: Please expand on "Divisive or Inflammatory"[edit]

I would like to get a better understanding of exactly what the words divisiveand inflammatory mean within the context of the Criteria for speedy deletion.

It appears that the term divisive means anything which causes unity to be lost, or where people are therefore seperated as a result of the template itself. If this is correct then it would assume that any template which indicates gender, location, preference or anything else is actually being divisive (ie we seperate ourselves into male/female, us/other country, pizza eaters/non-pizza eaters). If there is somehow an implied level of divisiveness then it may be appropriate to expand on this and explain exactly what level is significant enough to meet the criteria.

  • Is it based on the controversial nature of the topic that is causing the division?
  • What consensus is required to stop those with a specific POV from misdiagnosing the level of controversy?
  • What measure is in place when a sizeable group of the community disagree with its level of controversy and thus disagree with it meeting the criteria based on this?

It also appears that the term inflammatory is fairly straight forward and indicates the purposeful use of a template for no other reason than to cause trouble and discomfort in other members of the community. This could be seen as combining with diversiveness when the topic is agreed by most to be highly controversial in nature.

  • Does the fact that some people may take a topic personally (where no personal intention is made) make it inflammatory?
  • Can someone subvert this process by stating it is inflaming them simply because they dont agree with the topic?
  • What measure is in place to allow those who are inflamed by a template to have it recorded in this way and thus provide enough eivdence to have it meet the criteria?

Ultimately there have been many cases where a template has been instantly deleted without any consensus from the community, where little or no outcry has occurred in the removal of such templates and where many people have been confused and sought answers as to why it was deleted so quickly in an environment which prides itself on being a group effort. Hopefully explaination of these terms and perhaps even a refinement of them will help in maintaining this sense of group effort and clarify the reasoning behind certain decisions.

Leaving these terms unquantified and as "broad" as they are may be seen by some as a means to allow individuals the right to speedy delete templates they personally do not like because the terms are so broad they can choose when it does or does not meet the criteria necessary. I assume we all want to avoid this do we not? Enigmatical 05:48, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

I think most people believe this criterion is too subjective. I asked Jimbo if it was okay if we clarified it to make it more objective, but never got a response. I think we should go ahead and do it anyway. Deco 03:49, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
Please be aware of Wikipedia:T1 and T2 debates which attempts to be a summary of prior debate about this criteria. The summary is long enough that an article of that length is recommended to be split into multiple articles. GRBerry 04:06, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I see all of that "discussion" but I see no resolution or even an attempt to head towards a resolution in the near (or even distant) future. While it is clear that mass deletion is frowned upon, it hasn't stopped admins from taking their time and deleting userboxes every now and then (Could this be a slow form of mass deletion which slips under the radar due to how infrequently it is done?). So where do we go from here? A prime example was the deletion of the Template:User transhumanist template. Personally I fail to see how this is either divisive or inflammatory. It is neither more divisive than male/female, religion or any other existing userbox nor would it cause anyone to throw their arms up in horror to hear that someone personally believes in evolving ourselves as human beings through our own technological means (other than some minorities who have a religious disagreement with it). So how does one get this template un-deleted when the person who removed it did so without any warning and with at least 50+ users who still had it referened on their user pages? Enigmatical 03:57, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Just to bring in an additional clarification here, I believe the "spirit" of the terms were to catch anything which would in common society cause a harsh and negative separation of people and/or cause great pain to rational and tolerant people to read. Thus things which are bigoted, racist, sexist, immoral, rampantly unethical etc, etc would be reason to be speedy deleted because it would be an offense to allow them to stay up for even the length of time it takes to debate the issue. It was not intended for topics where there is clearly multiple points of view, where each point of view is perfectly valid and where reasonable members (Do note the use of the word reasonable) of each point of view happily accept alternatives or have no problem in those alternatives existing. Does everyone agree that this was the original intention of T1 and T2? Enigmatical 04:03, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Where is the precedent?[edit]

Tony Sidaway (talk · contribs) and Tom harrison (talk · contribs) recently both reverted an edit to Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion [34] [35] which attempted to provide some clarification on exactly what the terms "divisive" and "inflammatory" meant. In both cases they stated precident as the reasons for removal. Precident would indicate that it should be extremely easy to find previous cases where these terms gained a clear and precise definition that could be used by those confused by these terms in the future.

I would like to ask both of these people if they would provide this precident, or at least a few examples of it so that other people can use this information to get a better understanding in the future. This should be an incredibly simple and fast task considering their reasoning for reverting in the first place. Enigmatical 03:37, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I think it's rather self-explanatory, actually. Their obvious objections are twofold: first, that you highlighted "and", which I know at least Tony Sidaway opposed, preferring and/or. Second, as they stated, the definitions of "divisive" and "inflammatory" we utilize in judging templates may not actually match those of the official definition. (Such is bureacracy.) The final, less-obvious reason is stability: That was/is an insanely controversial regulation, effectively in existance only due to Divine intervention. Any changes to it will be considered contentious by default, and should be discussed ahead of time. As for what the precedant is, try reading the debate above. It'll take a few hours, but you should be able to answer your questions. --tjstrf 03:50, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Its self-explanatory.... yet your points neither answer the question or are accurate:
  1. The word "and" has nothing to do with me and was there previously. I simply wikilinked the two words to the wiktionary definition and highlighted the operator. My edit did not change it from and/or.
  2. If the words do not match their definitions then it is a clear indication that it needs better explaination as most people would take those words to be at face value would they not? Thus if the use of those words as judgement is different to what is commonly expected of them, it shows clearly why confusion is occuring. Given that as the "status quo", admins are quite likely to use these criteria to incorrectly speedy delete things because their own interpretation could be different
  3. I did read the above and the fact it does take hours to read clearly shows that there is a need to extrapolate this "precident" from the large amount of material. Thus the statement that precident clearly shows the definition of these words must be flawed.
We still need to clearly define what definition is being used here rather than just pointing people to a very large and spread out series of talk pages and wiki discussions and telling them "its in there somewhere". Enigmatical 05:48, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the editors already answered the questions themselves. I merely restated and expanded their answers.
  1. The highlighting emphasizes it. Emphasizing something that is begrudged by the userbox deletionists is obviously not going to be appreciated by them.
  2. The words do match their definitions, roughly at least. Unless you think "divisive and inflammatory" means the userboxes must hunt people down, chop them into pieces, and light them on fire in order to qualify for speedy deletion. Additionally, things are at times purposefully left ambiguous so that they can be debated, interpeted, and applied in a case-by-case basis.
  3. The current version is the only one people agreed on. Changing it without discussion can very understandably be reverted.
And finally, the precedent IS this gigantic debate, the talk pages, the TfD nominations and discussions, their talk pages, multiple essays, mailing list posts and even an arbcom case if I remember correctly. Expecting all of this to be condensed into some tidy little summary is absurd. The project page here, T1 and T2 debates, attempts to give the major points, and I'l assume you've read it. Isn't it clear enough already? Finally, if you really want a full understanding of any situation, you must go back to the original conversations. --tjstrf 06:20, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

What I take from all that is that it is in the best interest of the admins to not have these terms made clearer and that they are purposely being left ambiguous so that they can arbitrarily apply them when they personally feel the need to and as long as they do not appear to go on a delitionist spree in doing so. Whats more, the "precident" being stated is not only so difficult to wade through and is large enough that nobody can possibly get a clear understanding (thus again supporting the original statement). It does seem to perfectly suit this point of view. Enigmatical 22:46, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

All rules are meant to be interpeted and negotiable. Leaving them slightly ambiguous is for the better. It's not like this in any way hurts you. Finally, if you're too lazy to read the precedent when it's offered, that's your problem, it's not realistic to summarize all that text any more clearly than already has been done on this project page. So either read it yourself, or stop complaining. I wouldn't trust an individual unwilling to read the debate to make judgments about its results either. --tjstrf 23:19, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Please remain civil. I dont appreciate being told to stop whining. We are both doing what we feel is necessary for the betterment of Wikipedia as a whole. While you see ambiguity as a benefit I see it as a scapegoat which has been used to subvert due process. We each have a right to our own point of view. I respect yours and your desire to support it, please do me the same courteousy. Enigmatical 02:06, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Apologies for any incivility conveyed, my statement about whining referred to the fact that you won't take the trouble to read the debate yourself, not your actual concerns, which are understandable though imo invalid. Ambiguity and open-endedness lends itself to fair case-by-case judgment a lot more than set in stone rules (which are forbidden anyway with the exception of the founding principles) or blanket determinations ever will. --tjstrf 02:23, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
The meaning of T1 has never been clear; its authority is Jimbo's unexplained reversion to someone else's edit; and the result has been both inflammatory and divisive. (But all this is on the project page.) Septentrionalis 02:26, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
If you check on Jimbo on Userboxes you will infact find an explanation for his reversion, which means it is incorrect to say it was an unexplained reversion. Ansell 11:25, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
There's more there than the last time I saw it, which is good; but I don't see which you mean. Which section am I overlooking? Septentrionalis 14:33, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I have indeed taken the trouble to read the debate, I even stated so before.I wont be so bold as to say I have read and understood all of it, I don't think thats actually possible to completely comprehend the entirity of it for anyone. This is half the problem... There is so much to wade through it is easy to miss things and different people pull out different parts and state that its their interpretation which is the "whole point". After reading it I can see several deleted userboxes which should never have been deleted, while we still have religious useboxes hanging around well after (Yet it was the religious and political useboxes Jimbo was originally talking about). To me, after reading the debate it clearly shows that some admins have broken policy and speedied some useboxes which do not meet this criteria. Of course they will argue it does because they draw their own definition from the "precident" and we go full circle and end up in the same place we started... with no clearer understanding and no way to validate whe policy is adhered to or broken. And people say we don't need to clarify it?!??! Enigmatical 22:26, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Jimbo does say that "Userboxes of a political or, more broadly, polemical, nature are bad for the project". That is enough an explanation for me. No need to use extra definitions for the statement he endorsed but did not actually create. Thats like trying to push his definition inside yours. Ansell 23:19, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
That doesn't explain the speedy deletion of a userbox that advocated organ donation. That's about as unpolemical as a userbox can get. Really, it's about stifling any shadow of people saying who they are and what they favor. Jay Maynard 23:49, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
I would have to agree there. I was not referring to specifics though myself. That would be a target that should still merit a Deletion review. Ansell 00:01, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
And thats where the problem lies. Admins use this to speedy delete the userbox and when people complain and ask why T1 and T2 are stated as reasons. People then fairly and reasonably argue that the userbox does not qualify for either of those definitions but the admin in question states that he feels it does. End result? No discussion, no conscensus, no community spirit... the admin effectively ignores any correspondance and the userbox remains deleted. How on earth is that considered better for wikipedia than the userbox it deleted? I actually believe some userboxes bond the community more than divide them. If I go to a user page and see they have a userbox for transhumanism I think to myself "Oh wow, someone else who shares my view". This gives me some common ground with the person and thus is the complete antithesis of divisive. I dont think anyone could argue that such a userbox meets either condition but an admin decided it did and removed it on the spot. Enigmatical 02:15, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
A lot of this problem originated from the distraction that is the German Solution being paraded as if it actually solved some portion of the problem. All it does is shove the issue under the rug, where the people who still care can easily find it and complain. --tjstrf 02:33, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
Actually, what it does is place it in an area where Administrators are less able to speedy delete it without showing their bias, thus protecting it until such time as a resolution is found. The more this debate goes on the more I personally feel that a reasonable and mature use of userboxes provides diversity and an opportunity for readers to gain understandings of topics which previously they may never have known about when they read other people's user pages. Enigmatical 02:41, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Repealing of CSD T1[edit]

For anyone still watching this, I'm moving for the repealing of criterion for speedy deletion T1. I invite your opinions and discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Criteria_for_speedy_deletion#Removal_of_T1_redux. Dcoetzee 03:07, 27 January 2009 (UTC)