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Wikipedia:Jimbo on Userboxes

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Jimbo Wales has expressed views on userboxes several times; since these are quoted by several parties in discussion of the issue, it may be useful to have them in a single location.

Please add any omitted statements, in full, with diff.



Consider removalEdit

"I wonder if you might consider simply removing your political/religious/etc. 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."--Jimbo Wales 10:53, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Templates that are divisive and inflammatoryEdit

For any templates that are not speedy deletion candidates, use Wikipedia:Templates for deletion

  1. Templates that are divisive and inflammatory.

04:17, 6 February 2006 rvt of WP:CSD to this edit with comment below on CSD talk page.

Regarding the new Template CsDEdit

"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.

"A thoughtful process of change is important."

"And whatever you do, do NOT wheel war about this." --Jimbo Wales 07:04, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Activists for a POVEdit

"I think it is somewhat problematic to have users pasting bits of cruft on their userpage which make them seem to be engaged in Wikipedia as activists for a particular POV. I think users should realize that having that sort of cruft on their userpage will quite rightly diminish other people's respect for you and your work. But, whatever, if people want to do it, I see no reason to get absolutely draconian about it. However... The current situation with these things being in the main Template namespace, and promoted as if healthy and normal in the Wikipedia namespace, is that they are damaging to our culture. They are attracting the wrong sort of people, and giving newcomers the wrong idea of what it means to be a Wikipedian." --Jimbo Wales 2006 Feb 20 19:34:13 UTC

I have done nothingEdit

"The simple fact of the matter is that in this entire userbox conflict, I have actually done absolutely nothing. There have been no decrees from me, no mass deletions, nothing but a serious attempt to engage a wide variety of people in serious discussion."--Jimbo Wales 19:58, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Everyone please relaxEdit

*g* Funny isn't it? I keep stumbling across pages ranting against my irrational vendetta and ban of userboxes when basically I'm just saying Everyone please relax a notch or two.--Jimbo Wales 02:35, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

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)

No new namespace, userboxes OK in userspaceEdit

==A hopefully constructive modification==

It seems that the separate namespace issue won't fly. And I think that's right because I think it fails to address the heart of the matter, which is whether or not official wikipedia pages and/or namespaces ought to encourage factionalism.

But it seems that the namespace proposal goes a bit further than what you need to achieve what you want to achieve. Let me quote you on something: "The text of WP:UPP is filled with what one can and cannot say, specifically, All userbox templates that show a POV or are not directly related to wikipedia will be deleted after a period of time. Note that a user subpage that is transcluded without substitution by multiple users is considered a 'template'. This is like saying, "You may have pamphlets, but you may not mechanically print and distribute them. This is not an infringement of free speech". To put it kindly, this is counter-intuitive."

Suppose we omit the bit about user subpages transcluded without substitution? If we do that, then a certain amount of userboxing can go on no problem, but outside the officially sanctioned spaces. This respects our long tradition of allowing wide latitude on userspace stuff, while at the same time keeping these userboxes out of officially sanctioned areas which would suggest to new users that this is an official thing that one ought to be doing. There would still be restrictions on the range of possible userboxes, of course, but this is not different from the restriction on all manner of things people might put on their userpages already.--Jimbo Wales 12:34, 17 March 2006 (UTC) [1]

On the use of templatesEdit

[Elroch,] You've missed the main opposition point on userboxes, actually. Userboxes are templates, but templates were designed to help write articles (and as such need to be NPOV). --Cyde Weys 01:51, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I would state the same point as Cyde, but slightly differently. The problem with userboxes is that people really really ought not to be using their user pages to advocate for or against green energy or anyone else. We actually are extremely tolerant about this, and I see no reason for us to change that. However, the issue with userboxes is that they are templates, and as such, they are categorized and easy to replicate and easy to use for campaigning and so on, and so they turn individual advocacy behavior, which is bad enough, into group campaigns. The pages which list userboxes, in the template namespace, make it seem as though putting these things on userpages is a normal and accepted community behavior, when in fact it is not.

There is a middle ground, I agree. 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. --Jimbo Wales 02:07, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Userbox space out of the questionEdit

In relation to the Wikipedia:May Userbox policy poll:

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)