Wikipedia talk:The duck test

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User conduct or in general?[edit]

This essay needs to be clear as to whether it is referring to user conduct or things in general. in Talk:2011_Libyan_uprising#Civil_War.3F people are reaching their own conclusions that it is a civil war without the sources saying so and wish to prematurely change the page title. This goes against WP:SYNTH, but they are citing this somewhat vague page as justification for reaching their own conclusions, which are basically opinions in the end, rather than going by the sources. It has been said that this page was meant to refer to user conduct, but it's not very straightforward I am afraid. Thoughts? Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, AKA TheArchaeologist Say Herro 21:01, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Significant changes in view[edit]

MBelgrano has added some text the adds a lot of interpretation to the page and there seems no obvious consensus for the additions [[1]. Stating that it "Does not apply to article content" seems odd it's an essay so obviously does not overrule policy but it is useful when you want to point out that just because someone has decided to use a different name to describe the same thing doesn't mean it's different is it is obviously the same, i.e. you're only talking terminology not categorisation. p.s. Personally I'd say a a platypus does not look, or swim, like a duck. What do others think of the change? --Natet/c 10:03, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

The need for those changes was raised at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 84#WP:DUCK used in a way that contradicts WP:SYNTH MBelgrano (talk) 11:50, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I requested it and I like the change. His change was WP:BOLD, and provided much needed clarification. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie Say Shalom! 16:30, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Sadly as messes like Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability/First_sentence/Archive_1#Verifiability_Fact_vs_Truth the Unintended consequences of this has resulted in utterly insane arguments as to what constitutes OR. Editors are now using this to argue that unless a source states two sources conflict (ala WP:DUCK) we cannot present that fact.--BruceGrubb (talk) 11:15, 13 April 2012 (UTC)


It's not like a duck at all, even if it has a duck bill. It adds nothing to the essay and has no consensus for it to be there; an editor even asked for a citation. Dreadstar 07:13, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

An editor may have asked for a citation, but where was the concensus for it to be removed? You have removed it thrice thus far without concensus and with at least one editor (myself of course) objecting, and even after you made this topic, you still removed it from the page. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie Say Shalom! 07:25, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
There was no consensus to add it. Dreadstar 07:29, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
Does there have to be a consensus to add it? It was a WP:BOLD edit. Please review WP:ESAS. If there is obvious disagreement over the removal of something though, you shouldn't remove it unless the consensus is to temporarily remove it. Plus, it's a picture of a platypus and some text. It is not a massive or controversial change to the essay, and so it didn't require immediate removal. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie Say Shalom! 08:25, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes there has to be consensus to add it. Absolutely. Dreadstar 19:55, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
What is your reasoning for that? Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie Say Shalom! 19:31, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
The idea for including it is simply to add a graphical example of the idea of the essay, being specific about the duck, and it's certainly better than the "rabbit in disguise" one (which I did not remove, anyway). Who cares if, from a strict zoologic perspective and scientifical approach, we can set apart the platypus from a common duck? It resembles a duck enough, and it's different enough (a swan wouldn't work the same), so the idea can be understood. Cambalachero (talk) 13:37, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
It's misleading and doesn't make sense to me. Even though this is an essay, we shouldn't be presenting information that is wrong. And really, a platypus doesn't look like a duck at all... Why wouldn't a swan work?. Dreadstar 16:13, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
I am not really sure how it is misleading. What's so wrong about the duck-billed platypus exactly? The most defining feature of this animal is not its ability to lay eggs, its beaver tail or anything else, no. Most people know the platypus because of its duckbill. Heck, here is a direct quote from the article under taxonymy: "The scientific name Ornithorhynchus anatinus is derived from ορνιθόρυνχος ("ornithorhynkhos"), which literally means "bird snout" in Greek, and anatinus, which means "duck-like" in Latin." - now most of us might not know the scientific name, but you see what the main attraction is. In fact, here is another direct quote (with quotation marks altered) relating to the common-usage that further defends this idea: "The name 'platypus' is often prefixed with the adjective 'duck-billed' to form duck-billed platypus, despite there being only one species of platypus.[13]". Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie Say Shalom! 17:30, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
Does it quack like a duck? Does it swim like a duck? Does it walk like a duck? Does it act like a duck? Does it really resemble a duck? Would it fool anyone into thinking it's a duck? No. Dreadstar 18:27, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
It makes a weird rumbling noise, but you can't hear that quack through an image. The taxonymists seem to think it was duck-like hence the name. Its most prominent feature is the duck-bill, plus I'll cherrypick and say that it does indeed live in water and lay eggs like a duck. =p I don't see why you think it is such a big issue for it be there, like I said. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie Say Shalom! 19:31, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't see why you are making it a big issue out of it, what's the point? It in no way fits this essay, yet you try to force the issue. It's a very poor addition as an example, and I totally disagree that its most 'prominent feature' is the duck bill. The Ugly Duckling is a far superior example, yet you totally ingore it. Dreadstar 19:39, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

The platypus picture detracts from the essay. It's better without it. Gerardw (talk) 20:01, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

This article needs better writing ....[edit]

This whole article is horrible and unfair. Do you know it has inspired an editor to come chasing me, like a monkey with its tail burnt off, accusing me of sock puppetry? So that is what this page is about, eh! Opening the door for witch hunts. Perhaps you should all study the new decisions about old IPs and stale accounts before opening doors to paranoid accusers. Djathinkimacowboy 18:28, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

This essay doesn't apply to article content[edit]

To quote the "usage" section, "The 'duck test' is meant to be used for internal processes within Wikipedia...The duck test does not apply to article content, and does not trump or even stand aside policies such as WP:NOR, WP:VER, WP:NPOV or WP:SYNTH." But in a recent edit, BruceGrubb changed the last sentence to read "The duck test can apply to article content but only if it doesn't ignore policies such as WP:NOR, WP:VER, WP:NPOV or WP:SYNTH to do so." This makes the essay contradict itself—you can't first say the duck test is for internal processes and then say it can apply to article content too! But more importantly, to extend WP:DUCK to article content is a big expansion. It's not even clear to me exactly what's meant by applying the duck test to an article anyway.

Now, I know this page is an essay, but it's a widely-linked one, so it's important to make sure any changes made to it are clear and consensual. Especially when the editor who made the change goes on to cite WP:DUCK in WP:NOTOR (see [2]), which is not a policy page but is often consulted to explain policy... --Akhilleus (talk) 14:36, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Ouch, that was a bad change. The duck test is as you say for internal content, and to suggest it could apply to articles is wrong, ambiguous and almost certainly against policy. Dougweller (talk) 15:33, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck...[edit]

I'll just leave this here. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:05, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Not every bird is a duck[edit]

The way this concept is thrown around makes me believe it is being misapplied. What is considered "reasonable suspicion" seems to me to just be a fancier way of saying "a hunch" and, for some people, hunches reveal what they'd like to be the case rather than what is the case (opinions vs. reality).
Some Admins have a very low threshold and judge any creature with feathers as a duck, they don't even stop to notice how it looks, swims or quacks. It is damaging to Wikipedia when anyone who doesn't model the ideas and behavior of the "typical" Wikipedian gets labeled as a duck (that is, troll or sock). Wikipedia doesn't need clones of its current Editor stock, it needs diversity.
I just think of the childhood story, The Ugly Duckling...when an Admin boots out what he/she thinks is a duck, watch out because it could actually be a swan. Liz Read! Talk! 14:36, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

That could make a new section of the essay. benzband (talk) 15:54, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Consider the following behaviors, which I will label "TooSlow" and "TooQuick".
TooQuick: This is where an admin is too quick to identify a sockpuppet, and thus some percentage of non-sockpuppets get treated like sockpuppets.
TooSlow: This is where an admin is too slow to identify a sockpuppet, and thus some percentage of sockpuppets get treated like non-sockpuppets.
How much harm is done in each case?
TooSlow allows the sockpuppeteer to unduly influence consensus-based editorial decisions. It fools us into thinking that three or four editors support something when it is actually only one. Plus, if sockpuppetry works, you will see more of it. This is really quite harmful to the encyclopedia.
TooQuick is really annoying to the falsely accused. Yes, you can appeal, but some editors just quit. The thing is, an editor who always acts in good faith and follows the rules is unlikely to be suspected of being a sockpuppet or operating sockpuppets. The majority of sock puppet investigations involve accounts with little or no edit history, single-purpose accounts pushing a POV, Vandals, flamers, edit warriors, and vote-stackers. See WP:TRIGGER. In many cases, not having them around anymore is really no great loss.
The other thing to consider is that TooQuick admins get a lot of scrutiny. If you are determined to be a sockpuppet or sockpuppeteer, you can ask a totally uninvolved admin to review the decision. And it is the most experienced and productive editors who are most likely to appeal rather than quitting. TooSlow, on the other hand, is invisible. You don't see the harm that is being done. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:26, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
I came to post a comment and found I already had! I wish I had checked back sooner. I really didn't mean to sound as preachy as my original message sounds...I must have just seen some Editor bounced by the duck test and thought it was unfair, prompting this post.
Guy Macon, I don't see that TooQuick admins get more scrutiny than other fact, I think the more blocks an admin hands out, the less likely are editors to question them. They just judge them to be harsh and quick on the draw, so to speak. And I don't see how an editor blocked as a sock can appeal to another admin for review since I haven't run into a case where a sock block didn't involve revoking talk page access. In fact, I just asked an admin how an account blocked as a sock can return to editing because I haven't seen socks getting unblocked, they just try again with a new account. Liz Read! Talk! 21:25, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── When I started on Wikipedia 7 years ago, I was a fool and wrote an article about something completely trivial and un-notable. When it was nominated at AFD, I was vigorously defending it. I got blocked however for meatpuppetry when someone created an account solely to vote on the article. It wasn't me and I had no idea who the person was. It's been years and I'll never forget that because I'm still completely against this tradition to quickly assume meatpuppetry. Feedback 23:39, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Must... Resist... Urge... To...[edit]

swap in image of Magpie Goose. - Richfife (talk) 19:26, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

Helen Keller Auxiliary?[edit]

Would it be appropriate for this or WP:SPADE to have a small note to the effect of "If Helen Keller can see the (duck/spade) from the International Space Station, pretending it's not a (duck/spade) may be taken as a sign of bad faith," in cases like WP:SPA socks with nearly identical names carrying out completely identical actions. Ian.thomson (talk) 12:44, 5 August 2014 (UTC)


Why the image of any pokemon displayed? The caption and image, I don't think are co-related.
aGastya  ✉ Dicere Aliquid :) 21:36, 27 April 2015 (UTC)


After thinking awhile, I realized that Coots (most notably the American Coot) are often mistaken for ducks. Maybe we could include this? Just a thought. --Saltedcake (talk) 19:32, 2 May 2016 (UTC)