Help talk:Maintenance template removal

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unclear: what to doEdit


just a thought: every now and then, people add a maintenance template on a page, but it is unclear what they are referring to (this recently happened to me with "citation style"). It may be helpful to add a suggestion on this help page what to do in such a case. I am experienced enough to go to the editors talkpage and ask them: but newer editors may not have this inclination. This page is being referred to for guidance, so it makes sense to me to describe it here. effeietsanders 23:13, 23 August 2020 (UTC)

Hi effeiets. I must confess I don't understand your concern. I drafted this help page in great part specifically to provide advice describing "what to do" when "people add a maintenance template on a page" and "it is unclear what they are referring to". Did you read the section on addressing the flagged problem, the section on researching the tagged issue section and the section headlined Still need help?

I even included a section on specific template guidance, going into much more detail about what to do when finding a page tagged with some of the more common maintenance templates—there is only so much room on the page for this, so it cannot cover every maintenance template one might come across. If you have read all of the linked parts of the page and your question is not answered, can you try to explain what more could be included to help address your concern? Best regards--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 01:37, 25 September 2020 (UTC)

@Fuhghettaboutit: Thanks for your follow-up. I'll try to walk you through my experience. Note that I'm fairly experienced; an actual newcomer may have a much harder time. The scenario is that I created a page, or care about a page. Someone added a template at the top of that page, without being overly specific. For example, it may state that it needs more citations. Or that the style is not to their liking. But without specificity, that's not very instructive. So they are sent to this help page. When I start reading this page, everything suggests to me that I should already know what the problem is that I have to address. When I go to "Addressing the flagged problem" (I'm assuming the user is of good faith, and actually wants to fix it), I see that I should basically read the policies. That's not very helpful, because those are gigantic often, and don't indicate specifically what is wrong. It then ends with " Whatever maintenance tag brought you to this help page should likewise contain relevant explanatory links addressed to whatever its issue is." (which is not the case in our scenario". Then it spends a lot of time talking about removal, which is not particularly relevant. So I stop reading. The specific guidances are nice, but are folded by default, and hard to spot for our newcomer (they need to know the template name - which they won't know if they use visual editor).
The template specific descriptions are actually rather helpful when described, except that they feel a bit outdated (heavily relying on source editing rather than visual editor - in the case of citations not even acknowledging that visual editor exists), but that is besides the point. Some improvements could include simple step-by-step approaches, rather than a lot of references to policies and other more extensive help pages. It also feels to focus a bit too much on nuance and explaining the expert view (I don't quite understand how
It should not be used for articles with no sources at all ({{unreferenced}} should be used instead), nor for articles without inline citations but which contain some sources ({{No footnotes}} should be used instead), nor for article on living persons ({{BLP sources}} should be used instead). This template no longer applies once an article has been made fairly well sourced.
would help me if I get a 'refimprove' on my article, for example). In my case, the template was not listed, but I can see that you can't cater to each and every template with this level of detail.
But the unfortunately likely problem "I get this general policy notification, but don't know why this would be a problem on my article - looks fine to me" is not solved. All that is then left, is the 'go to these super general places ask random strangers for help' which sounds very scary.
After reading this page again, I realize that there are quite a few nuggets in here. My suggestions for improvement would be:
  • Update to visual editor, or at least acknowledge both.
  • Instead of folding the descriptions, show the templates, and bring people to a more specific subpage. Once you know they care about 'refimprove', that is all they need to see.
  • Cut down on the nuance, and leave that for other pages. Make it more actionable and focused on your target audience: people who need help fixing their template. I personally am a big fan of step-by-step approaches.
  • Maybe rename the page and relay the focus a bit from 'how to remove a template' to 'how to address this issue that someone flagged'. Or split it?
  • Make the 'more help needed' more specific. Give them one first option. If that doesn't work, they can try other things. This choice between options that I don't really know is terrifying after reading so much help-page. My intuition would be to first see if they can contact the person who added the template. That person should probably know what is needed, but may not always respond. But you're more informed to what the best recommendation would be on enwiki (e.g. maybe you're afraid they'll bite the newcomer?).
  • Finally, I would put a 5-line executive summary on top. That makes sure that people don't have to struggle through the whole page.
I know that you put in a lot of effort, and that some parts are still there. My concern is less about my specific problem, but about how we can help more people work through their problems. I love the idea of this help page trying to actually guide people through the problem - I just believe it could be more effective. Sorry for the long writing, I hope it makes more sense this way. effeietsanders 07:45, 25 September 2020 (UTC)

Pls help me. Im bluer Genrelessongs (talk) 05:59, 3 December 2020 (UTC)

Please can this message be removed?Edit

As above Sutton12 (talk) 01:28, 1 November 2020 (UTC) @Sutton12:, please can you explain clearly what you are asking for? Deb (talk) 12:32, 2 November 2020 (UTC)

This information is wrong please remove it Syedfani4530 (talk) 14:09, 14 December 2020 (UTC)

Criterion (4)'s timing – pre-implementation removal – is better thoughtEdit

This help page has become high traffic and past changes to the removal criterion themselves have seemingly only been done after discussion and consensus here, so I decided to write this talk page section and not just make the change – though I do think it is obviously problematic in hindsight.

We should not be advising removal "[w]hen there is consensus on the talk page (or elsewhere) as to how to address the flagged issue", i.e., advising removal before requiring implementation of the solution the talk page discusses.

First of all, because I have seen many template removals (and because I think it defies common sense), I very much doubt many people are actually removing article maintenance templates at the stage when some solution has been only talked about. Accordingly, this criterion is in seeming conflict with the silent consensus of what is actually done in normal practice by most users. (When I was drafting this help page, I was in large part trying to capture relevant aspects of our actual practice as to maintenance templates).

Second, except in rare case, for any given article the number of people viewing the talk page is some miniscule percentage of those reading the article, and the point of maintenance templates is just as much to inform readers, as to get action on the flagged issue (e.g., an unreferenced template serves the very important role of telling the reader, in effect, "Wikipedia operates on reliable sourcing, which is tied to reliability of content; because this article lacks it, on average you should take the encyclopedic reliability of the current content with a grain of salt...".

So, if we remove but don't implement contemporaneously, we lose that informing-the-reader function.

Third, a stalled implementation of talk page consensus becomes more likely to be continuing under the current criterion. That is, once some talk page consensus is "buried" on the talk page, but not implemented—because the template's been removed, as condoned under the current criterion's wording—the chances of having another user see the talk page consensus, so that it gets implement, goes down precipitously.

Fourth, and most obvious of all, the most direct response we hope for is that someone seeing a maintenance template reads it and follows the advice, either directly or after reading this page, and makes the good edits that address the template's basis. What a shame if someone says "ooh, the talk page has consensus about what to do, and so just removes the template. Then, someone who might otherwise otherwise have seen the template and acted, doesn't (and then five years go by with un-implemented consensus sitting on the talk page [or in its archives]). That's what the current language invites. I propose replacement (also slightly modifying the current last sentence for flow) with:

4. When there is consensus on the talk page (or elsewhere), either: i) as to how to address the flagged issue, and you are reasonably implementing those changes, or ii) that the flagged issue has already been adequately addressed. (In either case, it is good practice to note the location of the consensus in the edit summary accompanying your removal, ideally with a link to the location);"--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 19:50, 18 November 2020 (UTC)
Fuhghettaboutit I'm not sure I understand your concern here. Criteria #2 of "When not to remove" clearly states The issue has not yet been resolved. Might it be that you're worried about the theoretical case where somebody removes the template after consensus but before implementation, and thus risks leaving the article in an "uncleaned" state with no cleanup tag? Because in practice, you'd simply revert that edit and tell them not to be silly. Do note: I might be misinterpreting you here. Anyway, my take is that #4 is for cases that doesn't fall under #1 or #2 (not that I can come up with any). Tell you what, perhaps the better solution is to ask ourselves which practical cases for which #4 does apply. If we can identify some, it will likely help guide us to a good phrasing. And if we can't - well, then maybe deleting #4 is the right way to go. Regards, CapnZapp (talk) 22:51, 4 December 2020 (UTC)
@CapnZapp: Yes, this was in contradiction with the language of when not to remove No 2. It functions perfectly now, with the clarified language. I'm not sure how I can say it any more clearly than I have above. The prior language, even if it was unintended, parsed as allowing (and endorsing) removal of a template at the time stage when the talk page had a proposed fix to address a maintenance template's basis, but that had not yet been implemented. Okay let me provide an example.
An article has a {{refimprove}} tag on it. User:NewUser opens a discussion on the talk page:
→ "These five sources verify all the existing content; I don't understand citation markup, so someone please add them: Source 1 (for ¶1); source 2 (for ¶2)..."
User:Experienced ambles by:
→ "Wow these sources take care of the refimprove issue really well. Good job. User:NewUser! I'll add these when I get around to it.
"Then User:3, User:4 and User:5 all swing by and each add various comments to the effect:
→"Yep, that'll take care of it really well!"
Two months later, when nothing has been done (maybe User:Experienced forgot, or has disappeared from Wikipedia, or still intends to do it some time), User:IDon'tLikeTags comes calling and sees the discussion on talk page, and then, through the link in the refimprove template, comes to this project page. He or she reads the when to remove section (and neither reads the when not to remove section, nor if they did, would they be sure to recognize any implicit contradiction between the two sections). So they read that it's okay to remove:
"When there is consensus on the talk page (or elsewhere) as to how to address the flagged issue"
With that instruction in their mind, since they just read a discussion on the talk page fairly containing consensus as to "how to address the flagged issue", which is all that's needed under the instruction for removal to be warranted, they go right ahead and remove the refimprove template. Bad result. As I said the "timing issue" of this language was probably unintended but it is what this language endorsed.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 05:15, 5 December 2020 (UTC)
Sure, okay. Can I just add that I asked Might it be that you're worried about the theoretical case where somebody removes the template after consensus but before implementation, and thus risks leaving the article in an "uncleaned" state with no cleanup tag? and it seems a simpler answer would be "yes" :) CapnZapp (talk) 23:34, 5 December 2020 (UTC)
Now that we're on the same page can I again interest you in giving your opinion on Tell you what, perhaps the better solution is to ask ourselves which practical cases for which #4 does apply. If we can identify some, it will likely help guide us to a good phrasing. And if we can't - well, then maybe deleting #4 is the right way to go? Cheers CapnZapp (talk) 23:35, 5 December 2020 (UTC)
Ha! But when someone expresses mystification after a post of mine as to what I mean, even if they seem to summarize it correctly, my takeaway is that they didn't fully understand what I meant/I wasn't clear enough. Sorry for overexplaining:-) (You certainly sounded dubious about what the issue was [when I thought I was so sparkingly clear]: "I'm not sure I understand your concern here.... Might it be that you're worried about...")

Anyway, yeah we're on the same page! But now I don't get you. The language I've changed it to I thought about carefully, and as far as can tell, fully addresses the issue. It does what I think was actually intended by the original language but gets rid of the problem I identified entirely – and adds clarity to the criteria. There's (now) a nice meshing affect, insofar as don't remove No. 2 and this one, as modified, are now cross-reinforcing on the same sentiment, instead of contradictory. So, why remove entirely? / what's your criticism of the implemented change?--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 11:28, 6 December 2020 (UTC)

I feel this might be a case of not seeing the forest for all the trees. Yes, you have plugged the hole. But why does #4 exist in the first place? Instead of complexifying this criteria I'm just taking a step back: "waitaminute - why not simply delete the whole of #4?" Can you come up with a reason why #4 was created... is what I'm asking. Anyhoo... At the very least, we should be able to agree that 4.i and 4.ii deserves to be two separate points. (I must confess I can't understand why 4.ii exists at all, since it appears to be be identical to #1, but I'm not you). Cheers, CapnZapp (talk) 17:45, 6 December 2020 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 15 January 2021Edit

On the East Lansing Mayors article there are a number of warnings about the reference to Mark Meadows that were entered in September 2019, during his reelection campaign and are either misleading or non-sensical. They should be removed and should not have been permitted to be entered. The person who entered them did so for political purposes and should be prohibited from editing any article. (talk) 14:48, 15 January 2021 (UTC) (talk) 14:48, 15 January 2021 (UTC)

  Not done: this is the talk page for discussing improvements to the page Help:Maintenance template removal. Please make your request at the talk page for the article concerned. Seagull123 Φ 15:29, 15 January 2021 (UTC)

What about adding a “maintenance template message”?Edit

Does someone know when and how to add a “maintenance template message” to an article? KevinML (talk) 11:56, 29 January 2021 (UTC)

Return to "Maintenance template removal" page.