Wikipedia talk:Talk page guidelines/Archive 11

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Policy dispute

Okay, I have a major dispute here concerning WP:TPO. I disagree with the prohibition of removing others comments for a number of reasons. First of all, I see especially at deletion discussions and requested moves editors using WP:ATAD arguments. For example, recently I encountered at a move discussion several editors using simply previous unsuccessful move requests as an opposition statement, and nothing else. These were essentially WP:LASTTIME at WP:ATA (yes, I know that is an essay, but it is usually an irrelevant argument). The current request is to move to a title that has not been proposed before. The previous requested titles were contradictory to the WP:COMMONNAME. So it was not a rehash of the same discussions. I attempted to WP:IAR this guideline, and struck the arguments, but got reported to ANI (which accomplished nothing), but after I agreed to stop and had discussed it with the reverting user, upon realising that I had passed three reverts. This is just one of several examples I have encountered (this being the most recent). I've seen lots of other common irrelevant arguments at AfDs, too, including WP:OTHERSTUFF, WP:LOTSOFSOURCES, WP:USEFUL, WP:MUST, etc, and the outcome of the AfD is affected by these; if they had not been present, the result of the AfD would have been the entire opposite. (I also think that WP:ATA should be a guideline, as well as the others). I personally think that it should be allowed to remove/strike these !VOTEs (if that's the right term). If someone were to oppose, it would most likely be because the opposer was using an irrelevant reason for opposition, or vice versa, the remover used an invalid argument. The main concern here is that these arguments often influence the outcome of a discussion, even though it's supposed to be based on consensus. This more commonly happens at requested moves (one of the reasons I oppose non-admin closures), but I've seen it at practically every kind of discussion. I'm considering submitting an RfC about this, but I'd like to see what others think about this before I do. Qxukhgiels (talk) 01:01, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

@Qxukhgiels: On your user page you make reference to having Asperger Syndrome explicitly so others can take that into account when they are interacting with you. Since you seem to have not grasped, and may have difficulty grasping, what people were saying at ANI I will try to explain. Please take this comment with the good will that is intended from a person who sometimes also does not 'get' why others do not see the world my way. :)

What you are doing [and asking to change the rules to allow] by deleting/striking or changing someone else's comments is the same as saying "shut up, your opinion does not matter". This is never socially acceptable in real life or online. I know people are often repetitive and what may be obvious to you is completely missed by them but this is why we have conversations. What you want to do short circuits the consensus making process and pisses people off to boot. Not everyone involved in a given discussion has participated in all of the previous related discussions.

If the rules were changed as you want I (or anyone else) would be able to delete your post here because you were already shouted down over at ANI. You would then get (rightly) angry about the deletion and drama would ensue. This would be repeated thousands of times on thousands of pages as others did the same thing. Better to spend a few seconds reading over repetitive writing, which if irrelevant, a closing admin will ignore, than to spend hours and days arguing about why that opinion should be deleted.

Sometimes, when you see the world differently from others, you just have to accept that in order to participate in the world you must follow certain conventions. Letting others have their say, no matter how stupid, repetitive or irrelevant you think it is is one of those rules. Social rules do not always make sense but they are what humans came up with to keep from knocking each other on the head with rocks. Those conventions of courtesy are more important for productive interaction via computer not less.

For other's reference here is a link to the ANI discussion closed 4 days ago because you agreed to stop refactoring others comments.

JBH (talk) 17:24, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

I should've explained, but just because if users were to get their comments struck doesn't mean they're not welcome to comment again, but only if their opinion matters. Jbhunley, I don't see how you'd be allowed to strike my comment. I don't want the rules to be changed to where any user may strike any comment; just ones that are irrelevant to the purpose of the discussion. The relevance would be agreed by upon consensus, and generally what counts as irrelevant would be noted at WP:TPO.Qxukhgiels (talk) 21:16, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
@Qxukhgiels: What you are missing is that is not how people communicate with each other. Everyone in a discussion thinks different things are relevant, *you* can not decide what *I* or *anyone else* may think is relevant just as *I* can not decide what is relevant to *you*.

The example I made of me striking your initial comments perfectly demonstrates the problem with what you want to allow. I have read your earlier ANI and found your argument not ​persuasive, the people who commented at your ANI felt your arguments were not persuasive and a consensus formed against your arguments. So by your logic I could delete your post. Now you, of course feel that I am wrong in my opinion, so now the conversation would be derailed into whose opinion matters enough to be part of the discussion and nothing gets resolved on the original issue. Better to let others have their say and depend on having a good argument. If it was good enough before it will be good enough again. Unless of course others have decided that they agree with those irrelevant opinions you wanted to exclude, then consensus changes, as it should.

That was the soft sell here is the hard sell: You have no right to decide whose opinion matters. To say that you want to strike a person's comments because *you* feel they are not relevant and then say they are "...welcome to comment again, but only if their opinion matters." is a perniciously obnoxious attitude and has absolutely no place on Wikipedia or indeed in any civil discourse. If you can not understand that you are bound for disappointment here.

Making a change to [WP:TPO]] does not make the idea any less odious, all it could give is a guideline as to what is relevant and you would still have editors arguing over what should be struck and what should not based upon their various readings of the guidelines. The chaos would be paralyzing to the project. What you propose, no matter how much sense it makes to you, is not only unworkable but anathema to any social or collaborative project. Please understand what you want will never happen here. I have gone into greater detail here than the people at ANI did in a hope to give you some understanding of why that is so and why people responded there as they did at ANI. I hope I have provided some idea of how strongly people would object to what you propose. JBH (talk) 00:00, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

@Jbhunley:- first of all, let me just clarify that the comment left by Egsan Bacon (talk · contribs) was off topic. He should have opened a new case and discussed it there. But I'll give you an example of a scenario about what I'm trying to point out. I'll use an AfD about a made-up organisation that is not notable.
  • Reason- organisation does not appear to meet WP:ORG, as well as WP:GNG. Nominator (talk) 12:00 13 January 2015
  • Delete- fails WP:ORG as well as WP:GNG. User 1 (talk) 12:10 13 January 2015
  • Delete- per above. User 2 (talk) 12:50 13 January 2015
  • Keep- there's an article about X; this is just as notable. User 3 (talk) 2:00 13 January 2015
  • Keep- keep digging around. You'll probably find more reliable sources. User 4 (talk) 3:00 13 January 2015
  • Keep- they may not be well known know, but they're sure to make a name for themselves soon. Let's just wait and see. User 5 (talk) 13 January 2015
  • Keep- this information is important. People will probably come to Wikipedia looking for information about this organisation User 6 (talk) 13 January 2015 21:00

In this example, the majority just happens to be users who use irrelevant arguments. This is what I'm mostly wanting to show you. In most situations as this, the AfD will get relisted, but if there just happens to be more !votes as this, the article is usually kept/deleted. If someone re-nominates the article, then users turn directly to WP:LASTTIME. I think most would agree that these arguments should not be included in a discussion. If an argument is used per policial evidence, then it is usually included, but if it is not, but is common sense, then it is usually disputed until a consensus is reached. I've seen this before, but the the usual outcome, in a nutshell, is "they voted; they don't matter any more or less than everyone else. They have the right to say their opinion, no matter what it is."Qxukhgiels (talk) 21:17, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

But AFD is not a vote. Any admin closing AFD's should have a firm grasp of this concept and weigh comments accordingly. --NeilN talk to me 21:27, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Edit Conflict w NeilN
@Qxukhgiels: I understand exactly what you are saying. However, what you seem unable to grasp is that closers are perfectly capable of deciding what to take note of and that to ignore and to actually delete someoneelse's arguments will cause more disruption than just leaving them alone. I understand your frustration with squishy and un-rigorous thinkers and arguments but they make up a large majority of the population. What I am trying, seeming unsuccessfully, to communicate to you is, if you want to participate in a community you must let people have their say no matter how irrelevant you think it is or how much easier it would be if they behaved as you would like. This is something that you have absolutely no choice in. The only choice you have is whether to participate in the discussion. Just like you must drive on the right (or left depending on where you are) side of the road, stop at stop signs and yield to pedestrians if you want to drive a car, you must allow people to have their say and not erase the their comments if you want to participate in Wikipedia.(Not intended as a threat or anything, just completing the analogy.)

I think, if I have not been able to communicate this to you by now, we have reached the point of talking past one another and it is time for me to disengage. I am sorry if I have been unable to successfully communicate to you what I believe is the consensus of the vast majority of Wikipedians on the issue you have raised. I wish you a productive and enjoyable time here and hope to be able to work on an article with you one day. Best wishes. JBH (talk) 22:10, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

(edit conflict)Comment: Let me dig around and try to find some examples of administrators closing AfDs based on votes, not consensus. It does happen, but not often. Qxukhgiels (talk) 22:14, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
@Qxukhgiels: Don't bother digging up examples. If they occur, then that is a separate issue that admins are not following WP:!VOTE (or it may be your perception that this is the case). That does not justify deleting or striking out others' comments because you think are "irrelevant". Allowing everyone to do so would waste everyone's time arguing over whether individual comments are "relevant" and little else would get done. If you think an opinion has already been refuted, the best thing you can do is reiterate the counter-argument or link to the earlier discussion. Striking others out of the discussion wouldn't reflect well on you, either. sroc 💬 22:59, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

Proposed New Section: Talk Page Restrictions

I would like to add a new section to this policy, concerning restrictions on talk page posting for specific editors. I see three cases. First, an editor may request that another editor not post to their talk page. Although such a request is not binding in the sense that it is not a ban, it should be honored, and ignoring it may be considered harassment. (However, required postings, such as of noticeboard threads, are still required.) Second, if an editor is subject to a topic ban or interaction ban, the ban applies to talk pages. (If editor A is banned from posting on weather, they are banned from posting to Talk: Snow. If editor B and editor C are subject to an interaction ban by the community, the ArbCom, or arbitration enforcement, a post by editor B to editor C's talk page is a violation of the ban.) Third, in special cases, an editor may be subject to a limit on talk page use by the community or the ArbCom. The section should state that such violations may result in blocks. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:41, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

  • Support, pending text For point 1, I am leery of saying "should be honored" (read "Thou shalt honor thy banning or burn in hell"). Can we preserve the idea that reconciliation/reform is possible by saying "should ordinarily be honored"? For points 2 and 3, initially I was opposed because I did not see any problem being solved. After all, the targets of those restrictions have already been provided with plenty of education about their talk page privileges and adding some other text here won't really tweak their behavior. Upon reflection, I think adding those two points can help educate newish editors who have not run into these things but are suddenly being effected via third parties. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 20:30, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Support - With respect to User:NewsAndEventsGuy's (legitimate) concern, I would note that 'should' is not the same as 'shall' so there is wiggle room for necessary postings and/or an olive branch. Also, by the time an interaction gets to the point of asking a user to not post on your talk page it is very unlikely that the problem will be solved on that user's talk page. There are many other forums where 'confidence building' interactions can take place and where others can act to buffer the conversation. I am, however, flexible on the specific text but would prefer not to complicate it and instead avoid ambiguity. JBH (talk) 21:53, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment, although I think it is based on the faulty premise that "should" is never understood as shall. See Merriam-Webster defs 2 and 5. Since "should" has both the meaning you describe and a command form (either direct of "softened") the word by itself is ambiguous, and we agree that ambiguity should be avoided. By adding "ordinarily" we can explicitly and unambiguously include that wriggle room we both value. If Ed A then asks Ed B to cease posting at Ed A's talk page and Ed B fails to do so, that begs the question "Where does Ed B's continued posting fall in that "wiggle room", on the OK side of the guideline or crosses over into WP:Harassment? We have that problem whether the wiggle room is implied (your preference to just say "should") or explicit (my preference to add "ordinarily"). We don't need to explore those issues here because its already spelled out in WP:Harassment.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 23:26, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, adding "ordinarily" to soften "should" from its imperative definition sounds good. Would something like: To avoid disturbance, a user can ask a person to stop posting on their User Talk page and that desire ordinarily should be respected. and possibly add a pointer to WP:Harassment like See WP:Harassment for ongoing problems on your User Talk page.? Hopefully the opening clause helps address the issue User:PBS brought up about a user trying to prevent another user from participating in a block discussion on their talk page. JBH (talk) 16:11, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I take it the proposal is to add some text (yet to be decided) to spell out certain details: (a) an editor can request someone to not post at their talk, except for required notifications; (b) topic bans apply to talk pages unless otherwise specified; (c) a user may be restricted from certain talk-page activities.

    These would not be desirable. Re (a): something clearer at WP:NOBAN might be desirable, but no benefit is likely to come from promoting the idea that it is part of normal procedure to ban other editors from one's talk. Re (b) and (c): these are part of banning policy and advice about them should not be in a talk page guideline because it would either be redundant or wrong. Johnuniq (talk) 23:42, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

One should [sic] never use should in guidance as it has been shown over the great "Men's rights movement" debate that different dialects of English use should to mean different things "shall" and "ought" for example. -- PBS (talk) 14:13, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Once upon a time, I had linked RFC 2119 in WP:POLICY itself to deal with that problem. Not all of it applies, but the definitions of must and should are the ones that most of our guidelines are actually using. WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:29, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

This is a guideline not a policy page and such rules belong on a policy page not in a guideline. I am also opposed to this suggested expansion because it is too loosely drafted (numbering as per the proposal).

  1. For example I have recently seen a now blocked user argue that an administrator ought not to post to their talk page because they had requested that they did not do so. This was not a warning but a discussion about whether they ought to be blocked. This wording would support the user's request which is clearly a nonsense.
  2. It is not up to this guideline to lay out default meanings for community bans or ArbCom rulings. That is something to be defined in the bans and rulings. To put it here is instruction creep.
  3. Likewise this is also instruction creep.

-- PBS (talk) 14:13, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

@Robert McClenon:, the responding eds seem to have read your opening post in different ways. Please clear up the confusion by clarifying whether your opening post contained proposed draft text or was meant to just discuss the issues first on a conceptual level? Thanks. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:17, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

My opening post was not intended as draft language but as a conceptual summary. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:02, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Prematurely archived content

Regarding the "When to archive pages" section, if a discussion is archived prematurely—that is, the discussion is still continuing—the discussion should always be restored to the talk page, in my opinion. The current guideline says one should either restore the prematurely archived discussion or link to the prematurely archived discussion in continuing the discussion. In my opinion, one should link to archived content only where it is relevant to a current discussion or when reopening a properly closed archived discussion.—Finell 02:02, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Please do not anything at Wikipedia unless there is a good chance that the action would assist the encyclopedia. Johnuniq (talk) 05:14, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Johnuniq, I do not understand your comment in relation to what I posted. Please explain. Thank you.—Finell 21:16, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
The proposal appears to be that under certain conditions an archived discussion "should always be restored to the talk page". I'm just saying that we don't bother with rules like that—if it would help the encyclopedia, by all means restore a discussion, however in most cases it probably wouldn't, so don't. Johnuniq (talk) 10:44, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Linking to Template:Redacted

With this edit, I added Template:Redacted to the WP:Redact section, stating, "Template:Redacted should be noted somewhere in this section." I then added it as a WP:Pipelink. NewsAndEventsGuy reverted, stating, "Disagree; The goal should be minimize disruption so why shoot a flare gun to call attention to our regretted comments?"

The point of adding Template:Redacted to that section, in one way or another, is that it is the section about redacting a comment. Template:Redacted is commonly used, and not only in Wikipedia:Revision deletion and WP:Oversight cases. It should be left up to the editor or editors whether or not Template:Redacted should be used; it should not be up to us to hide this option. Anyone who doesn't like the existence of Template:Redacted should perhaps seek to get it deleted. But as long as it exists, it is an option. I recently used Template:Redacted on my talk page, minutes ago; moments before that, however, I had forgotten the name of the template and looked to WP:Talk to remind me, only to find it not mentioned/linked in WP:Talk. Flyer22 (talk) 16:29, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Reference to the template as an option would be appropriate under the third bullet in that section. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:53, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Transclusion of to-do lists on WikiProject tags

There is a proposal at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Council#Proposal: Disallow transcluded to-do lists. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:58, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

WP:TPO wording

Not a question about the policy itself, but rather a question about the wording be used. Isn't the sentence "Some examples of appropriately editing others' comments:" gramatically incorrect because the clause being marked by the colon is not independent? It seems that "Some examples of appropriately editing others' comments are as follows:" is how it should be written. I know this seems trivial, and if it were an article page I would be WP:BOLD and just edit the sentence myself. It's a guidelines page, however, so I figure it's best to propose the change here first and see what others have to say just in case I'm wrong. Thanks in advance. - Marchjuly (talk) 15:20, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

About Closing Discussions

I have a question about this section. In an RfC, if consensus clearly appears to be to one side, and the 30-day suggested time frame for an RfC is near, may an involved editor (such as the user who started the discussion) be allowed to close it, as a possible exemption to the line "any uninvolved editor?" Pyrotle {T/C} 20:47, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

Not a good idea. Post a request at WP:ANRFC if you think it's ready to close. NE Ent 20:54, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
@NE Ent: One problem: this is what it says on WP:ANRFC:
Many discussions do not need formal closure and do not need to be listed here. Many discussions result in a reasonably clear consensus, so if the consensus is clear, any editor—even one involved in the discussion—may close the discussion.
That phrase implies that I am indeed allowed to close my own RfC, just as long as consensus is clear. WP:ANRFC appears to be only for discussions with a controversial consensus; in most instances, consensuses are not. Pyrotle {T/C} 22:18, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
Good point. Conflicting statements in different places, as this page clearly says only uninvolved editors should close RFCs. What page are we talking about? NE Ent 22:42, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
@NE Ent: The RfC I'm talking about is this one; the 30-day timeframe for this RfC ends tomorrow, and consensus is quite clear with removing a certain line in the article. Pyrotle {T/C} 22:58, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
I took the liberty of closing it. In the future, a simple edit like this that has not been controversial could be handled by talk-page discussion, without a formal RfC. --MelanieN (talk) 23:14, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

TPO omits linking other`s comments

I believe that it`s fairly well accepted practice to add wikilink markup (e.g. change mention of LeadSongDog to user talk:LeadSongDog) in other`s comments provided that the meaning isn`t altered. The examples at wp:TPO don't address this sort of edit. Any objection to adding this? LeadSongDog come howl! 16:22, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

It invites misunderstandings or irritation. We can avoid that easily by asking permission first or adding a comment like, "Since {{User|LeadSongDog}} was mentioned but possibly not notified, I'm pinging them now." But I won't object if there's a strong "support" response. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 19:08, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
That's kind of why I put in the "meaning isn't altered" caveat. In any case, I don't much care which way the guidance goes, I'm just trying to have some guidance in place to prevent misunderstandings. If you can suggest some helpful wording, by all means do so. I'm thinking of something along the lines of "It may occasionally be useful to add wikilinking to clarify terms used in other's comments. This should be done with care, so as to ensure that the intended meaning is not altered." LeadSongDog come howl! 17:05, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
The caveat "without changing the meaing" invites drama/dispute as to whether one changed another's meaning. Your issue is solved without inviting drama by simply addding your own comment with what you think was the intended link, and maybe even asking for confirmation. That way (A) precision is assured (B) without anyone getting their nose out of joint if you link to something other than what was intended. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:55, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Well, I agree that's usually better practice, but I don't think the community has a real problem with such linking, when it is done judiciously, especially in clarification of lengthy posts, to avoid repetition.LeadSongDog come howl! 23:00, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
If there's no real problem, that's an even better reason. Just say no to WP:CREEP. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 23:09, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree. If TPO covers the situation, nothing is needed. If TPO does not cover the situation, making a rule about what may be changed is unhelpful because it implies that it is always acceptable to make such changes (even when the two editors are known to despise each other), and it suggests that anything not mentioned is off-limits. Johnuniq (talk) 00:11, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Threaded discussions

Opinions are needed on the following matter: Help talk:Using talk pages#Threaded discussions. A WP:Permalink for the discussion is here. Flyer22 (talk) 06:19, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

The TPG requires a link to explain threaded indentation, and your change from the essay to the help file was an improvement.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 07:52, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
I didn't change it from the essay, but I did suggest it. Yes, I don't mind if we change the link from WP:Indentation to Help:Using talk pages#Indentation. Flyer22 (talk) 08:54, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I did a text search on "indent" and found a link to the help page in the layout section. We agree the link you're talking about should also point to the help page, which in turn lists the essay under "see also". NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:38, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

Clarification needed for removal of comments on a user's own talk page

I think clarification is needed, that removal of others' comments at your own Talk page is allowed. I tried revising the guideline in this edit but was reverted. It was User:NewsAndEventsGuy who reverted with edit summary about avoiding instructional creep. Perhaps my wording was too long? NE Ent, or others, could someone suggest a different wording? I came to revise the guideline because it seems to have misdirected a user. --doncram 03:22, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

@Doncram: I think that section 3 (User Talk Pages) is clear that you can remove comments from your own page. However, based on the conversation you were having that prompted your edit, there is nothing that codifies a users ability to request that someone cease posting on their talk page. I have seen such requests referred to often but there seems to be no policy backing it up. I would propose that Section 3 be amended to read:
While the purpose of article talk pages is to discuss the content of articles, the purpose of user talk pages is to draw the attention or discuss the edits of a user. Wikipedia is not a social networking site, and all discussion should ultimately be directed solely toward the improvement of the encyclopedia. To avoid disruption, or for any other reason, a user can ask a person to stop posting on their User Talk page and that desire should be respected.
I have no opinion on the original conversation that brought you here to edit this page I was just lurking about on the noticeboards and some associated user talk pages. If I am off base here feel free to ignore me. JBH (talk) 05:55, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
That an editor should stop posting to another editor's talk page upon request of the other editor might as well be in the guideline, since editors have been reprimanded and/or WP:Blocked for continually posting on someone's talk page against that person's wishes. WP:Administrators and other editors have cited the matter as WP:Harassment (a policy). The only exceptions have been cases noted at Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#User talk pages (meaning Wikipedia:User pages#Removal of comments, notices, and warnings) and what Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines states about not misrepresenting another editor's comment. Flyer22 (talk) 06:13, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
Agree with that. Notices that the guidelines say a user should be informed about should always be allowed, but harassment on user's talk page is unfortunately all too common and user's have to be able to ban other users from posting general comments on their talk page. It is general practice and good and sometimes questioned so it should be in the guideline. Dmcq (talk) 11:07, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
@Jbhunley, to me your suggestion tends to cut off the possibility of future steps (even baby steps) towards renewed collaboration. Better, in my opinion, to refer editors to WP:DROP, WP:HORSEMEAT, WP:DENY, WP:OWNTALK etc. An ed being harrassed doesn't have to read or respond to crap, and can delete it from their talk page without explanation or reason. For egregious cases, filing at ANI citing WP:HARRASS or other applicable policy. Generally, I'm optimistic that bridges can always be initiated and that we should try to create those conditions, but I'm concerned your language would be abused by combatants to just build more walls. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:38, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
@NewsAndEventsGuy: We can continue this discussion, which I agree is needed, in the section opened below. JBH (talk) 22:48, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
Since the section "Other's comments" lacked any reference to the section "User talk pages", I agree with Doncram (talk · contribs) that it can be confusing. I've even been on the receiving end of protests when I've deleted harassment on my own talk page. Perhaps this edit will stick? I just copied the key sentence from User Talk pages, to make a bridge showing how the rules work at your OWNTALK vs everywhere else. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:09, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

@Kingofaces43:, In this edit you reverted an addition I made with the edit summary "should be discussed" (paraphrased). Fair enough, but as you can see the discussion is already underway. During my time here, I've been on the receiving end 2-3 times of protests from harrassing editors citing Cautiously editing or removing another editor's comments is sometimes allowed, but normally you should stop if there is any objection. It is the nature of some people to just find some text that supports their point of view, and not read further. True, deleting from your own talk page is mentioned two other times. So? In my opinion, the edit you reverted better supports newish editors faced with harassment, because it eliminates the harassers' selective reading at least two of us in this thread have experienced, and is probably far more common. It boils down to: REDUNDANT vs PREVENTION. Thoughts, anyone? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:19, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

I see where you're going here. I was just looking at the user talk page content and was mainly deleting that because a bridge shouldn't be littered with specific exceptions because we're going into all those specific exceptions further down. This is because there are other things that can be deleted regardless of protest. The somewhat separate problem seems to be the "Cautiously . . ." sentence being used as a hard rule. Wouldn't be better to flesh out WP:OWNTALK instead? Otherwise it seems like we’re unnecessarily complicated the prose or something that can be said much simpler and directly cited. It already says comments can be freely removed, which should normally overrule the very general cautiously sentence for most disputing editors. I prefer just to have a single sentence that can be cited for troublesome editors rather than peppering the idea throughout the guideline, so what if we just changed “Users may freely remove comments from their own talk pages, though archiving is preferred.” to include a slight rephrase? I’d say freely should already be a strong enough word, but can that be made stronger? Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:49, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
"problem seems to be the "Cautiously . . ." sentence being used as a hard rule. Wouldn't be better to flesh out WP:OWNTALK instead?" No, it wouldn't. The OWNTALK text appears in a section at the end of the article, where no disruptive editor will see it or care. Instead, such eds will continue to abuse the "cautiously" sentence, in a different section, much higher in the article. If you can suggest a pithy, unambiguous, consistent and more concise approach to addressing that problem, please post a draft. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:36, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
NewsAndEventsGuy, I realize a lot of this is out of frustration with troublesome editors, but I'm a little wary we might be getting a little knee-jerky about this. I definitely hear the frustration though since I've seen some of the same behavior too. Either an editor is going to read the entirety of this guideline and follow it, or they're skimming over parts of it and need to be reminded of a specific part whether that's just good-faith missing a section, or cherry-picking favorite sections to benefit them. When dealing with a troublesome editor in this case, you're not going to go and just tell them to read the talk page guidelines again, you're going to direct them directly to WP:OWNTALK and by very concise about what exactly you are allowed to do. That's why it doesn't really seem to matter where the section is placed on the page in this particular case. If you don't keep it concise/unambiguous and it's a tendentious editor, they're just going to keep cherry-picking again. That's why I like the general format we currently have of discussing guidelines for pages in general, and setting aside specific cases later on in the page. If we word OWNTALK a bit more strongly the general scenario should be this:
  1. Editor 1 removes comment by editor 2 from their own talk page.
  2. Editor 2 reverts.
  3. Editor 1 cites OWNTALK.
  4. Done.
Now if editor 2 persists, it's unambiguous the change was allowed, so that's more of an issue for admins/blocking at that point. I realize your approach might be an attempt an prevention rather than treatment, but there comes a point when we're going to deal with tendentious editors no matter how much we try to prevent that behavior. This seems like a case it's better to make a good attempt at being clear where most reasonable people understand the intention like we currently do, and if they don't get it, they need to be brought directly to OWNTALK regardless their reason for missing it is. Basically I'm thinking it's better to get the treatment for the problem editors down first before worrying about the tougher problem to solve of prevention. Does that seem like a decent approach here? Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:51, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
It is a bad idea to have exceptions in a secondary place without indicating the way to find out about the exception in the main place. This principle is enshrined in WP:POLICY in that if a policy and a guideline contradict each other then the policy takes precedence. For instance in WP:TITLE they are very clear that there may be topic specific guidelines and that the common name guideline for instance might be overridden in specific circumstances. The talk page guidelines which are specific to articles do not in general conflict with the ones which are specific to user talk pages except on this business about deleting messages so I don't think there is any problem about littering with specific exceptions. An alternative would be to have a section which is specifically for talk pages other than user talk pages - then it wouldn't have to mention the user talk pages. Dmcq (talk) 18:41, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Comments by PBS, moved here from a separate section by me, per TPG section WP:MULTINewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:35, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

  • user:Doncram Revision as of 01:44, 9 January 2015 addition "Cautiously editing or removing another editor's comments, besides at your own User Talk page,is sometimes allowed, but normally you should stop if there is any objection." (emphasis is mine, and shows what I added --doncram)
Hey, that's not my wording! I did not add that sentence! When I look at my diff given in my opening of this section, I see that what I did was to insert the phrase "besides at your own User Talk page". And I just now added the italics within the sentence above to indicate those words. What I was driving at was that removals at your own User Talk page have different's more acceptable and guideline for that is explained here below...etc.. I know my change didn't express that properly, and I was fine with being reverted and I opened this section. I also see consensus that some revision on this point is needed, in this section and section(s) further below. I just comment here because I saw that sentence attributed to me and I know I would not write that. I wouldn't have introduced the construction "Cautiously ...removing ... is sometimes allowed....". No biggie, but I wanted to clarify. --doncram 17:44, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
  • user:NE Ent Revision as of 02:21, 9 January 2015 revert
  • user:NewsAndEventsGuy Revision as of 12:05, 9 January 2015 "Users may freely remove comments from their own talk pages, though archiving is preferred (see User talk pages, below). Elsewhere, cautiously editing or removing another editor's comments is sometimes allowed, but normally you should stop if there is any objection."
  • user:Kingofaces43 Revision as of 16:02, 9 January 2015 rv
  • user:JamesBWatson Revision as of 16:31, 9 January 2015 reinserted user:NewsAndEventsGuy edit
  • user:PBS Revision as of 10:26, 10 January 2015 rv

Time to talk -- PBS (talk) 10:37, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Comments in the history

  • 01:44, 9 January 2015‎ Doncram "Others' comments: modify to add about important exception: removing others posts to your own user talk page, and banning other users, is now generally allowed"
  • 02:21, 9 January 2015‎ NE Ent rv "Disagree with creep"
  • 12:05, 9 January 2015‎ NewsAndEventsGuy "‎Others' comments: without a bridge between these sections it could be confusing, I agree"
  • 16:02, 9 January 2015‎ Kingofaces43 rv "This is otherwise mentioned twice in the article. Current version seems ok, but probably best to discuss at talk at this point."
  • 16:31, 9 January 2015‎ JamesBWatson "Yes, mentioned elsewhere, but it's helpful to have a mention in this context: it's unrealistic to expect all readers to read the whole page and mentally collate everything relevant. This also seems consistent with the general line taken in the talk page."
  • 10:26, 10 January 2015‎ PBS rv " I don't think this point should be emphasised near the top of this page as deletion is bad practice compared to archiving"

-- PBS (talk) 10:42, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

@user:Doncram your addition does not work because although deleting is allowed editing of another's comment on ones own talk page is not. Also you commented " now generally allowed" it was common practice ten years ago before archiving became the norm. I suggest that far from encouraging it we ought to be looking at restricting it to that which is similar for all talk pages and encourage archiving, because some editors delete warnings etc, but keep favourable comments in archives which presents a false image to the world as to their editing behaviour, this in turn forces anyone who wishes to see the edit behaviour of another editor to look through the edit history of the editor's talk page. This is less than helpful because it is so time consuming. -- PBS (talk) 10:48, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

I had not looked for another section on this talk page because I had assumed that as editors were repeatedly inserting and removing text that no discussion was ongoing. Giving that it was why were people still inserting the text while a discussion was under-way? -- PBS (talk) 14:19, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
I think a big part of the confusion is that pointing to WP:TPO leads readers to first read "Never edit or move someone's comment to change its meaning..." but then later, if one reads that far, it says that different standards may apply to your personal talk page. What's needed is a new shortcut to a subsection devoted exclusively to the guidelines regarding your personal talk page. I've not set up the actual shortcut, but I did create a new subsection and just copied the existing text for 'Personal talk page cleanup to the new subsection, and proposed a new shortcut name there.[1] If accepted, the duplicate version of "personal talk page cleanup" in the section on edition other's comments can and should be eliminated. I think it's a good idea to have a separate shortcut and section regarding personal talk page guidelines, whether they are the same or different from normal talk page guidelines, just to clarify any confusion regarding these different kinds of talk space.—GodBlessYou2 (talk) 03:03, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

I have reverted your change. I presumed you have missed the section WP:OWNTALK. I think there is a problem with the section Talk page guidelines#Others' comments as it is at the moment

Never edit or move someone's comment to change its meaning, even on your own talk page.

Striking text constitutes a change in meaning, and should only be done by the user who wrote it or someone acting at their explicit request.

Cautiously editing or removing another editor's comments is sometimes allowed, but normally you should stop if there is any objection. If you make anything more than minor changes it is good practice to leave a short explanatory note such as "[possible libel removed by ~~~~]". Some examples of appropriately editing others' comments:

  • If you have their permission.
  • Personal talk page cleanup: On your own user talk page, you may archive threads at your discretion. Simply deleting others' comments on your talk page is permitted, but most editors prefer archiving. Many new users believe they can hide critical comments by deleting them. This is not true: Such comments can always be retrieved from the page history. Removal of a comment is taken as proof that the user has read it.

I suggest that the first two bullet points are inverted. and that the anchors to the bullet point are moved down to the section linked to by WP:OWNTALK. I also suggest that the wording for the bullet point is changed to something like:

"Personal talk page cleanup: See § User talk pages for more details.

-- PBS (talk) 14:34, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

I think this looks like a good approach. The other comments section just needs to be made a bit less ambiguous that permission doesn't apply in all cases, and OWNTALK can handle the heaving lifting on its own scope. This seems like it would at least be a step towards a concise improvement. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:54, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
PBS, what do you think of moving WP:OWNTALK up to be a subsection of editing comments. Perhaps even the first section of editing comments? The problem, at least in the incident I was involved in, was that the editor deleting my objection on his talk page to the way he was handling deletion of sources.[2]. I objected to his deleting my comment and he cite WP:TPO (not WP:OWNTALK) as his justification for doing so.[3] If he had cited WP:OWNTALK, I would have understood his argument. But going to WP:TPO, the first thing I read was guidelines supporting my view, which I then pointed out to him, reverting his deletion of my comment and cited WP:TPO as my justification [4]. In short, we were both pointing to the same policy but reading different portions of it. So, I was not familiar with the OWNTALK shortcut, nor apparently was Jytdog. Whether or not that policy should allow deleting a record of complaints is important, but a side issue at the moment. The question is how to make the OWNTALK material more prominently part of the Editing Comments section to eliminate the type of confusion Jytdog and I encountered when citing the same policy (TPO) to each other when in fact we were looking at different parts of TPO.—GodBlessYou2 (talk) 18:13, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
What is TPO short for? -- PBS (talk) 01:49, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
It's a shortcut. I'm guessing it is for Talk Page Other.(?) So what do you think? Should we try moving "User Talk Pages" up to the section "editing comments" along with by others and self? —2602:30A:C0F0:290:FDDC:6D1D:F687:96D3 (talk) 03:25, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
No I don't think it ought to be moved at the moment. Lets try my proposed changes and see if that reduced the confusion. -- PBS (talk) 08:58, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
I have made the suggested changes. I agree I think WP:TPO it probably short for "Talk page Other's Comments" as there is also WP:TPOC which seems to mean the same thing. -- PBS (talk) 12:58, 21 January 2015‎ (UTC)

Proposal to delete the sci-fi/cli-fi term sections

Propose deleting at least the "sci-fi term" section. It is not relevant to this article. Also propose deleting the "cli-fi term" section, though I would like to see what the upcoming articles say about it. I have already deleted these sections once, with valid arguments. My argument now includes the fact that the person adding it back is ignoring actual resources about cli-fi in the media and has his own agenda, and is using this article as a platform to push a term, not a genre. If we are not supporting the genre, what is this article then? Should it exist? LynnS79 (talk) 17:01, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Are you sure this is the right forum? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:07, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Lynn, did you see an read my Mea culpa yet of apology and do you accept my apolgoy? Or you dont accept it? can you signal me somehow your acceptance or not accept? tahnks (Chiayi77 (talk) 07:21, 27 March 2015 (UTC)).

Semi-protected edit request on 27 March 2015

The St Helena's Church page is slightly out of date. Lundy is now a Parish in its own right. See this article from North Devon Gazette -

Also note that the church is now usually referred to as St Helens. (talk) 15:21, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

  Not done: this is the talk page for discussing improvements to the page Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines. Please make your request at the talk page for the article concerned. NiciVampireHeart 16:35, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Diffs to previous versions of edited or redacted comments

I've been going through a rough spot and have written some intemperate things, that I either went back and edited (if no one had commented on them) or had redacted, if others had, or removed it altogether. Folks are citing the earlier revisions against me. I have always felt that this is... icky, but i have not found any guideline (i doubt there would be any policy on it). I think this would be the place where it should be.

I propose amending the Wikipedia:Talk_page_guidelines#Behavior_that_is_unacceptable section of this guideline, as follows (added note - the underlined part is the proposed amendment. everything else is in TPG already):

*Do not misrepresent other people: The record should accurately show significant exchanges that took place, and in the right context. This usually means:

    • Be precise in quoting others.
    • When describing other people's contributions or edits, use diffs. The advantage of diffs in referring to a comment is that it will always remain the same, even when a talk page gets archived or a comment gets changed. If an editor has edited or redacted a comment, you should provide a diff to the current version; you can provide a diff to an earlier version but you should also provide a diff to the current version.

Thoughts? Jytdog (talk) 19:12, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Opposed as WP:CREEP and inherent in WP:Civility, etc. Most especially, I'm not interested in seeing an explosion of wikilawyer ANI case filings where one party is trying to make the case that someone else misrepresented them. Talk about hesaid-shesaid! NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 19:26, 28 March 2015 (UTC) PS The bullets might be ok, I haven't really thought about them. Brain froze on the bold text. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 19:27, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
The bolded text is quoted from the current guideline, NewsAndEventsGuy. the added stuff is underlined. i added a note above to clarify that Jytdog (talk) 01:42, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I missed that but I remain opposed. After thinking about the underlined text, I still thinks its CREEP, and share Johnuniq's opinion below. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 07:37, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
ok. thanksJytdog (talk) 12:22, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
  • No. Guidelines cannot cover every situation, and more rules is just more pointless stuff to argue about. If some editor wrote abusive comments, and deleted them with "sorry" within a day or so, no one that matters would pay any attention. If someone wants to report the editor with a diff of the abusive comment, the issue would need to be briefly discussed—is there a pattern of abusive comments? is there a pattern of the reporter making misguided reports? We don't need a guideline saying people should not be misrepresented. Johnuniq (talk) 01:25, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for replying. Hearing it, that you don't like this. Jytdog (talk) 01:39, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
I think this is forum shopping: see ani thread NE Ent 13:20, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts but I acknowledged at the start of this, that I have been subject to this. And I am not forum shopping; no one at ANI commented when I mentioned backlinking like this. And I had no intention that this would apply going backward. It would only be going forward. Jytdog (talk) 14:46, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Opposition to, editing of or removal of section headings

The related article content currently says:

  • Sectioning: If a thread has developed new subjects, it may be desirable to split it into separate discussions with their own headings or subheadings. When a topic is split into two topics, rather than sub-sectioned, it is often useful for there to be a link from the new topic to the original and vice versa. A common way of doing this is noting the change at the [then-]end of the original thread, and adding an unobtrusive note under the new heading, e.g., :<small>This topic was split off from [[#FOOBAR]], above.</small>. Some reformatting may be necessary to maintain the sense of the discussion to date and to preserve attribution. It is essential that splitting does not inadvertently alter the meaning of any comments. Very long discussions may also be divided into sub-sections.
In the same way as collapsing may be contended I think that similar should be applied to the placement of section titles. In the same way as a collapse box can be given an unfavourable or argumentative title and demonstrate a form of censor, similar may potentially apply to the isolation of a content through the placement of headings. One editor makes an edit and then another editor makes an edit out of sequence so as to place a heading which then may cast opinion or judgement on the content below. However, in opening comments on Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Others' comments, it says, "The basic rule—with some specific exceptions outlined below—is that you should not edit or delete the comments of other editors without their permission." At present it appears that protection is given to the out of sequence placement of, in effect, any headline as may be chosen by another editor from the one who wrote the content that follows.
Please can some parameters regarding specific exception etc. be developed in relation to Sectioning.
GregKaye 04:00, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
The purported problem seems to be "At present it appears that protection is given to the out of sequence placement of, in effect, any headline as may be chosen by another editor from the one who wrote the content that follows.". Why do you think that? Everyone is equally free to fix allegedly problem section headings as the person who created them. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 03:10, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Where "meta-talk page discussions

As you may know, topics related to ways to improve particular talk pages (archiving, FAQs, hatnotes, etc.) sometimes occur on the talk page in question.

At times, it has been suggested that such "meta-talk page topics" are not on topic, as they are not directly about ways to improve the article, but rather ways to improve the article's supporting talk page, and according to WP:TALK, talk pages are intended to discuss ways of improving articles, not their supporting talk pages, so such discussions should take place elsewhere.

If we have a ruling as one way or another on this and then added to these guidelines whether or not meta-talk page discussions should take place on the talk page in question, it could save people having to spend time disagreeing about it.

I've just created this: Wikipedia:Meta talk page discussions. Feel free to edit it and then, once it's ready, to merge it into these quidelines or elsewhere as appropriate, because as these guidelines read now, they might seem to imply that meta-talk page topics don't belong on that talk page but elsewhere.

Thanks; and happy editing! Chrisrus (talk) 23:37, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

This concerns gamergate controversy where off-wiki campaigns are being brought to Wikipedia with dozens of accounts reactivated or created in order to push the line that gamergate is about ethics in journalism, and all the reliable sources (which claim it is about harassment of female gamers) are wrong. The campaign involves ultra-civil "good faith" repetition of settled arguments and meta-discussions which have the effect of provoking normal editors who may be uncivil to one of the throw-away accounts. The admins who monitor WP:AE are exhausted and don't want to be seen to be too aggressive, so the civil disruption grinds on—see some hatting/unhatting (permalink) and village pump, misc. Johnuniq (talk) 03:56, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
That makes no sense. The truth is, I was on that article's talk page the other day and encountered for the first time the assertion that WP:TALK implies meta-talk page conversations were off-topic. That gave me the idea, hey, you know, we should clarify that at WP:TALK. That fact doesn't mean that this clarification shouldn't happen because doing so would somehow open the door to a pack of wolves. That's just what had just happened that made me see that this is needed. Chrisrus (talk) 05:32, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

WP:BOLD addition - "Male is not the default"

Fellow Wikipedians, I noticed a new addition to the guidelines by Sarah (SV), as follows:

Male is not the default Editors should avoid exchanges that might make a talk page a hostile place for women. This includes locker-room banter and the use of sexual slurs. As of 2015 between eight and 16 percent of Wikipedians are thought to be women. If that percentage is to increase, talk pages must be places where women feel comfortable participating.

While I share and genuinely admire the editor's desire for improved Talk page behaviour, I am not sure that this is best couched as a gendered issue. And considered that it might be worth discussing to ensure consensus.

I welcome the thoughts of interested editors.

Please let me know if this has already been discussed in an alternate location. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 22:24, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

I'd like to see more women editing wikipedia also. (Once I suggested a women's only discussion corner, but that idea was trashed instantly.) Anyway, when I realize I don't know one's gender, I usually ask, or if speaking in the third person (and I remember) I type "(s)he". It would be nice if the language had a gender-neutral pronoun, but alas. I rather think sensitivity of this sort can not be legislated. There are probably lots of examples of basic politeness that have been written into the TPG. As Tom Clancy's character Jack Ryan was fond of saying, "If you have to write down your ethics rules, you've already lost the battle." I'm open to hearing other viewpoints but I sort of lean towards not wanting to include elementary politeness. Granted there are a lot of male Neanderthals out there, but I doubt any will be won over by text here, which means text here becomes mainly useful for clobbering people... don't we have enough of that already? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 22:53, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
NewsAndEventsGuy, since there are gender-neutral language choices, like the "(s)he" option you employed or singular they, what do you mean by "It would be nice if the language had a gender-neutral pronoun"? Flyer22 (talk) 09:08, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
I meant a word that appears in every English dictionary, and kids know before they enter kindergarten. A real grammatically correct word, rather than a modge-podge of our own non-grammatical inventions. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 09:23, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
It should absolutely be couched as a gender issue. I'm not sure how anyone can think otherwise! A huge - and I mean huge - part of solving the gender gap is for everyone to work hard at establishing empathy with other editors. One of the biggest problems with sexist behavior is people who are unaware of gender participation problems. A simple reminder to them that the gender gap exists can go a long way to establishing that. --Jorm (talk) 23:38, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
I think it's pretty obvious that locker-room banter and sexual slurs should be avoided, but there's no reason to make it a gender issue. I know many women who say things that make me blush and many men who are easily offended. Saying it needs to be avoided because we need to accommodate the sensitivity of the ladies doesn't seem like a step in the right direction to me. --Onorem (talk) 01:47, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
I've been trying to deal with WP:DIVA in this light (see its talk page). I agree strongly that the gender gap is a huge problem. It may really be the #1 problem. If it's not, then it's #2, behind semi-pro POV pushing by concerted groups of editors to shift coverage on religious, ethnic-political, or socio-political agenda grounds. I leaned in support of this edit, because, as Jorm says, "A simple reminder ... that the gender gap exists can go a long way". But I can see the objection to it being this specific. I wouldn't want to lose the gender-gap pointer, but maybe the advice could include avoidance of assumptions about religious, political, and other cultural traits. I was looking at stats only two days ago. While I've forgotten the precise numbers (which differed from study to study), it seemed to indicate about 80% of editors are white, male, heterosexual, and American, and that (while not a majority) the largest bloc of editors are from the US West Coast, and in the tech industry or academia. So, it's an endeavor dominated by white, American, male, straight nerds. Add "obsessive compulsive" to that list, too, according to another paper. Which explains a whole lot of things. The imbalances caused by this editor-base bias in turn tend to generate problematic overcompensation reactions (e.g. campaigning by a camp in the GLBT activism sphere has led to sweeping transgender-related changes in policy [in the broad sense] that are having some negative consequences and probably need to be adjusted a little, to not create a special class of people given rights as subjects of article coverage that others do not enjoy). Anyway, if it's correct that the top 2 issues are sexism (mostly latent) and issue-based POVwarring (rather more explicit), addressing them at once is probably more bang for the buck. Sorry, Americanism for "better output for the same input effort". Oh, that's a geekism, wait...  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:57, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
I agree with SMcCandlish's suggested modification " maybe the advice could include avoidance of assumptions about religious, political, and other cultural traits. How about
Try to avoid making assumptions about other editors. This includes, but is not limited to, assumptions about the other editor's gender, religious belief, political views, cultural or ethnic backgroundand, etc. When in doubt it's better to admit uncertainty, ask the other editor, or make your point without mentioning the issue at all. Editors citing this guideline should do so while making an extra effort at WP:Assuming good faith, since these problems frequently arise from unconscious habit, rather than malice.
That might provide the gentle reminder, while mitigating against this language being used as a club. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 09:21, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
Needs some compression: "Try to avoid making assumptions about other editors' gender ...". I like the "try" in that; implants that it's a conscious effort one chooses to engage in, instead of just ordering "Avoid ..." Can we keep SV's intro: "Editors should avoid exchanges that might make a talk page a hostile place for" others? Actually, 3rd & 4th sentences her original could be a gender-specific bullet point, then add another about social group issues like religion/politics/nationality, perhaps. Doubt we'd need stats for that, just some kind of "from all over the world, all walks of life, and faiths" kind of message. There's a focus shift, though. Not making assumption is one topic,
(A) Yes my #1 issue is to change "AVOID" to "TRY", and provide explicit reminder to AGF when citing the rule. Beyond that, what I say is wordsmithing.

(B) Speaking of wordsmithing, if we itemize different forms of discrimination in distinct bullets, how many are too many? I mean, gee, we should certainly try to reduce gender bias, but why just gender bias? There are many other groups getting the short end of the stick. How many do we add? If the answer is "as many as it takes", could the list ever become so long that it becomes absurd? If victims in these various groups hope for a different society, someday we need to advocate for what we want instead of just fighting against what we don't. Said another way, do we foster gender or racial blindness by constantly putting "don't think about race and gender" in each other's face, or by instead speaking as though the world were already better than that? I tried to emphasize the latter in my text. But if people want a distinct list of hurts, that's OK with me, provided this is pitched not in terms of "Thou Shalt" and also puts responsibility on the 2nd party to AGF when citing this for "gentle reminder" purposes. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 10:55, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm thinking two is enough, and normal prose is best – bullets will inspire lengthening the list. The gender one is distinct from political/religious/ethnic/national/etc., since the underlying divide is essentially universal and innate, while the rest seem to be soci-cultural aggregations. There are other innate differences (sexual preference, many disabilities, cis/transgender, etc.), but they don't seem to relate strongly to specific needs for "think before you type" quasi-rules here. The two most clearly problematic are approaching everything from a "dude" point of view, and approaching everything from a liberal, Pacific Coast, nerdy, white hipster point of view. That latter grouping (even when intersect with the first) is already pretty cool with TG and disability issues. The statistical fact of the gender divide is important. A stat about what is the largest editing bloc would provide, in inverse form, the same kind of information without having to list separate stats for each political/religious/ethnic/national/etc. variant. Google turns up that data very quickly, but I'm not sure which is the most recent/reliable. They're all probably good enough, so maybe pick the one that shows what the largest editing block is in as many socio-cultural intersections.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:05, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
Isn't the quiet assumption in this advice inadvertently sexist against women as well? It sets two distinct categories.

Editors should avoid exchanges that might make a talk page a hostile place for women. This includes locker-room banter[clarification needed] and the use of sexual slurs[specify]. As of 2015 between eight and 16 percent of Wikipedians are thought to be women. If that percentage is to increase, talk pages must be places where women feel comfortable participating.[how?]"

Despite its good intentions this statement seems particularly generalizing in its description of the average woman; the need to be protected from Wikipedia's disproportionately male society, the disgust with "locker-room banter", refusal to engage in sexual slurs or jokes (although I by no means deny the importance of harshly penalizing remarks like "bitch" and comments like "go back to the kitchen" under WP:CIVIL). Would it not be better to make this a central point of WP:SYSTEMICBIAS and to work from there? We also have disproportionately few Russian and Asian people editing this wiki. We should be taking a look at the demographics of the administrators. More female administrators would likely help ease the problems. Bataaf van Oranje (talk) 13:23, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
Right, but I think we're now looking at the "Try to avoid making assumptions about other editors. This includes, but is not limited to, assumptions about the other editor's gender, religious belief, ..." rewrite. I agree that SYSTEMIC is the locus for the extended rationale about this, but it's also a content guideline, not a talk page guideline. So, if we cover it here briefly with regard to our editing environment, we can "see also" the content guideline for the extended treatment.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  14:02, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
My thought as well. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:17, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

I don't think we should be calling out either gender in our policies. I find that the wording[5] suggests that locker-room banter and the use of sexual slurs are inherently male. Naturally we should not make assumptions about other editors but that goes both ways. We should avoid being hostile to people regardless of their gender. Chillum 22:16, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

Couldn't have said it better myself. Weegeerunner chat it up 20:12, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Locker-room banter and sexual slurs on Wikipedia almost always come from men. I haven't offered examples because I don't want to point the finger. The editors almost never mean harm by the banter, and I would guess don't even notice that it's off-putting. That's why I used the expression "male is not the default," because I think a lot of it is accidental.
There was a recent example of banter where a woman objected to it, someone told her off for objecting, and another man (he had taken part in the banter, but was now defending the woman) said to the scolder something like: "hang on, you might change your attitude if I tell you that's a woman." This sums up the problem. His intentions were good, but the bottom line was that women are "other." So I would like to add something about making sure talk pages don't deterioriate into locker-room-type exchanges. Sarah (talk) 21:56, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
But this is not merely a gender issue, why do we have to focus on one issue? We should just say no banter in general, as it can make WP a hostile place for any group of people. Weegeerunner chat it up 03:01, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
But it is a gender issue. There is a marked difference in communication styles that has a disproportionate and adverse impact on women editors. Last year's paper "Emotions under Discussion: Gender, Status and Communication in Online Collaboration" details how this can manifest itself on our talk pages. The lack of women editors is often attributed to exactly the sort of behavior/environment that this addition addresses. gobonobo + c 12:19, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

how ironic ... sometimes I wonder why I still edit here. Frietjes (talk) 15:34, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

It is not a gender issue, it is a behavioural issue. It is down right inappropriate for us to be declaring that one gender is the problem. We can all work under the same policy. Chillum 15:44, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

On closing discussions

I've had a go at discouraging the forces of bureaucracy in Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Closing discussions.

The reasons, of course, are that soliciting a formal closing statement when everyone already knows the results is a waste of everyone's time. Our editors are smart enough to be able to figure out the consensus from most discussions.

Please WP:Be bold with improving it, and {{ping}} me if you have questions specifically for me. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:08, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

I don't like your change of "Any uninvolved editor" to "Any editor." In my opinion, the editor should usually be uninvolved unless it's an uncontentious discussion where the WP:Consensus is very clear. As for your statement that "Our editors are smart enough to be able to figure out the consensus from most discussions.", that is often not my experience. Too many of our editors (newbies, experienced ones, and those in between) base consensus solely on headcount, which is the exact opposite of what WP:Consensus is about. Too many of them have to be reminded of WP:NOTAVOTE. Flyer22 (talk) 20:32, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
I readded "uninvolved". Flyer22 (talk) 05:28, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
If you like. I think it depends on how narrowly you understand a "close". If a close is always some fancy official action, then, sure, it should probably be an uninvolved editor, for the sake of appearances if nothing else. But if your "close" is the kind of everyday comment that you write on talk pages, saying that it looks like people have basically agreed on X, so you're doing that now, then there's definitely no need to exclude involved editors. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:53, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
I didn't object to your removal of "uninvolved" because of always or mostly wanting an "official" close; I based it on experience. I was clear that there is an exception aspect to it, by stating "unless it's an uncontentious discussion where the WP:Consensus is very clear." I was not talking about common-sense closes seen on talk pages (and I don't think people will interpret the guideline to mean those); of course, that is an exception. People should know very well when they should and should not close a discussion; if they don't know that, they need more experience with Wikipedia debates requiring a decent close and the type of common-sense closes seen on talk pages and elsewhere on Wikipedia. Goodness knows...the ones who don't understand WP:Consensus should not be closing a thing. Flyer22 (talk) 17:21, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Furthermore, using "uninvolved" is consistent with the Requesting a close subsection. Flyer22 (talk) 17:33, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
I too think "Uninvolved" should remain. As an aside in reply to "the ones who don't understand WP:Consensus should not be closing a thing" So true. Trouble is many people don't know that they don't know. That's not so bad because they can learn. The bigger problem is people who think they know, but suffer from the Dunning–Kruger effect. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:37, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

Refusal to communicate on uncomfortable topics?

BullRangifer, I understand that you added this bit to WP:Talk page guidelines after making this edit to the WP:Own policy, but I think that the "Refusal to communicate on uncomfortable topics" part needs clarification/rewording. There are various Wikipedia topics that editors here might find uncomfortable and not want to discuss on their talk pages; refusing to discuss such things on their talk pages doesn't automatically mean that they are violating the function of the talk page and are being uncollaborative. For one, article matters are often better discussed at the article talk page (so that others watching the article, or passerby editors, will know of the discussion). For two, an editor repeatedly posting to another editor's talk page against their wishes is usually frowned upon and considered WP:Harassment unless there is a valid reason (such as a WP:BLP violation matter) for the editor to be repeatedly posting there. And for three, if it's not related to improving a Wikipedia article or a similar Wikipedia page, the editor also likely is not violating the function of the talk page and being uncollaborative. Flyer22 (talk) 15:55, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

I think we are in basic agreement on most of your points, and my wording probably could be improved. The core idea is most relevant for behavioral issues involving blocked editors who can only discuss on their talk page. Sometimes issues need to be discussed so that the editor comes to a better understanding of policies and/or what they did wrong. If they suddenly refuse to continue the already existing conversation (because it's uncomfortable and there are no truly personal attacks and nastiness) by banning other involved editors and admins, then they are being uncollaborative and acting like they own their talk page, when the talk page has a community function which should not be impaired. It's a different matter when they can use article talk pages to discuss content. That might be awkwardly worded, but I hope you get the drift. If this is too controversial, just remove it. I'm not wedded to the idea. I just thought it needed to be addressed. -- BullRangifer (talk) 02:09, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Right, but it reads like "If you're a kid, and you don't want to talk about sex because it makes you uncomfortable, then you're bad" or "If you're dying, and you don't want to talk about your impending death because it makes you uncomfortable, then you're bad". I've had a go at narrowing it to your own behavior, which might help. I'm not entirely certain that the sentence is really necessary, though. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:50, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, WhatamIdoing, this is an improvement. Thanks. Even though I'd seen that BullRangifer had replied to me, I just now read that reply. Flyer22 (talk) 20:32, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Very good points. The narrowing of focus is a needed improvement, as it was too ambiguous. -- BullRangifer (talk) 02:05, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Sorry but I oppose the addition. The sentiment is good but seems like WP:CREEP because as the saying goes, "Locks keep out the honest people." Blocked eds in a huff will still withdraw from discussions on their talk pages (or delete them) as they see fit, and most likely eds of that frame of mind won't even know of this text. In addition, suppose this text is violated (whether they know or not)? Would this text let us do anything different to their talk page? Answer no; that would take a community decision to impose controls about what you can delete from OWNTALK. What then? Ah, yes. What's left is the ability to point to this text in support of "They took their marbles and went home" at ANI/AE etc. But the factual story tells that tale just fine. We don't need still more legalese to help support it. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 04:59, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Good points. Flyer22 (talk) 05:29, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
I oppose the addition too. It is what editors do, not what they don't do that can cause problems on Wikipedia. It is an editor posting comments that are uncomfortable on a users talk page that would be doing something that is causing a problem. Everyone is entitled to inaction on Wikipedia. Dmcq (talk) 08:01, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Dmcq, if an editor refuses to discuss anything on Wikipedia, you think that's never a problem? I can point to various examples where it's been a problem. For example, problematic editors who don't respond on their talk pages or elsewhere on Wikipedia. Or the ones who rarely respond. Trying to get those types of editors to understand problems they are making is a pain. And because they refuse to communicate, one cannot know if they do understand...but are doing what they want to do. Such editors are routinely indefinitely blocked as WP:NOTHERE or for WP:Disruptive editing. Their inaction is part of the problem. That's why the Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Ignoring comments section exists. Even well-meaning editors who are WP:Disruptive and are not communicating are indefinitely blocked. The Wikipedia editors who never communicate or occasionally communicate are commonly a problem because they usually understand so little about how Wikipedia is supposed to work. If they cannot collaborate, they shouldn't be editing Wikipedia. On Wikipedia, collaboration normally includes discussion. So, in that regard, I understand BullRangifer's concern. And inaction on Wikipedia causes other problems, such as no one helping out with a WP:Dispute resolution matter, but that's another topic. Flyer22 (talk) 18:05, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
How on earth did you go from problematic silence to Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Ignoring comments? I ask because it so happens I'm the ed who penned that subsection; I don't think it has been tweaked very much if at all. As the author, the "reason it exists" is to encourage sensible talk page formatting (as the text states) and it has at all to do with problematic silence. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 19:43, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
I went from problematic silence to Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Ignoring comments because I noted editors who engage in problematic silence as commonly being problematic editors and stated "inaction is part of the problem." I was clear that editors who refuse to comment on talk pages and/or rarely comment on talk pages understand so little about how Wikipedia is supposed to work. This includes not editing talk pages appropriately after having been repeatedly informed of talk page protocol. I've repeatedly experienced that type of editing from problematic silent editors. Flyer22 (talk) 22:38, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Sounds like you read the heading more than the text. The text does not scold people for ignoring talk page comments. It explains one circumstance when ignoring others may be appropriate silence, rather than the problematic kind. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 01:01, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
No, I read the text. I have almost all of the guideline memorized (it's not intentional memorization; I'm like that with text in general). I don't know how else to get you to understand why I cited that aspect of the guideline; so instead of repeating myself, I'll just state that I did not mean that it "scold[s] people for ignoring talk page comments." Flyer22 (talk) 01:13, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
I'll give what I meant one more try; the section you wrote states, "Persistent noncompliant talk page formatting after friendly notification is a mild form of disruption. After editors have been alerted to specific aspects of these guidelines (such as indentation, sectioning, and signatures), they are expected to make a reasonable effort to follow those conventions. Other editors are under no obligation to address the content of additional posts that flagrantly disregard the talk page formatting standards." What the text states about a mild form of disruption and editors being expected to make a reasonable effort to follow the talk page conventions concerns editors who are problematic in that regard (meaning the ones who do not follow the talk page guidelines after having been repeatedly informed of them). Silent editors are commonly problematic in that regard because they usually don't have a good grasp of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines due to their lack of communication with others on Wikipedia. Simply observing Wikipedia is clearly usually not enough; communication is important on Wikipedia. There are Wikipedia editors who have been on Wikipedia for several years but are essentially WP:Newbies because they haven't taken the time to significantly learn Wikipedia's ways; in my experience, these editors are commonly the silent types and commonly do not know of appropriate Wikipedia talk page protocol. Flyer22 (talk) 01:37, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
If an e4ditor refuses to talk to you on their talkpage that is not a problem. What is a problem is if they do things in articles or article talk pages which disrupts Wikipedia. You are not entitled to a response from somebody. You are not entitled to understand somebody. Whether you understand them or not is your problem. Certainly go an try and talk to somebody on their talk page if you think it will resolve a problem but that's all it is, talk. Action is what matters. If you complain about something it takes the form xyz has been doing something, I and others have tried to reason with them but they don't respond and they continue doing it. The continue doing it is the problem. Dmcq (talk) 20:16, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Personally I'm quite happy if people just stay the hell away from my talk page and don't try discussing anything with me on it. If they want to discuss things on the article talk pages fine but I see too much of people forming cliques and harassment and bullying people. So I discourage it. Any pointing to a clause here implying that a person is being uncollaborative because they don't want to diiscuss things on their talk page gives I feel a free hand to bullying behaviour. Dmcq (talk) 20:40, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Dmcq, stating that we "are not entitled to a response from somebody. [We] are not entitled to understand somebody. Whether [we] understand them or not is [our] problem." is the exact opposite of how Wikipedia is supposed to work. If an editor doesn't want to respond to anything/work with others, that editor should not be editing Wikipedia. Whether or not we understand editors is commonly the problem, as seen every day at WP:ANI and elsewhere on Wikipedia. Like WP:NOTHERE states for its Little or no interest in working collaboratively listing: "Extreme lack of interest in working constructively and in a cooperative manner with the community where the views of other users may differ; extreme lack of interest in heeding others' legitimate concerns; interest in furthering rather than mitigating conflict." Those are all reasons to block a Wikipedia editor, and I support that listing, having personally dealt with so many silent or mostly silent problematic editors. So per what I stated in my "18:05, 12 July 2015 (UTC)" post above, I agree to disagree with you on this, and don't see your rationale as a good rationale to have removed the addition. I think that NewsAndEventsGuy's rationale is the better rationale for the removal. Flyer22 (talk) 22:38, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
And, of course, considering that I started this section, I agree that we are not necessarily entitled to a response from somebody. But there are certainly things on Wikipedia that editors should answer to. And again, if they don't want to answer to those things, Wikipedia is not the place for them. Flyer22 (talk) 22:46, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a social forum. It s purpose is to develop an online encyclopaedia. That a person doesn't want to talk to you is your problem. What you are entitled to complain about is what they do to articles or disruption on the article talk pages. And we don't need you going around telling people that Wikipedia is not the place for them because they don't want to talk to you on their talk page. Dmcq (talk) 23:06, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Was I not clear that problematic editors who don't respond on their talk pages or elsewhere on Wikipedia, or the ones who rarely respond, are commonly a problem because they usually understand so little about how Wikipedia is supposed to work? Was I not clear that trying to get those types of editors to understand problems they are making has repeatedly proven a problem for Wikipedia? Was I not clear that Wikipedia is about collaboration and that, on Wikipedia, collaboration normally includes discussion? None of that has anything to do with viewing Wikipedia as a social forum; in that regard, I don't need to be reminded of the very thing that is in the WP:NOT policy. What we don't need is you or others telling Wikipedia editors that it's a good idea or fine that they don't communicate on Wikipedia; it's not a good idea whatsoever, as made clear by different Wikipedia protocols/rules, including Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#How to use article talk pages. Nowhere did I state or imply that Wikipedia is not a place for an editor because they don't want to talk to me or others on their talk page (again, I am the one who started this section and complained about part of the addition you removed before you removed the addition in its entirety); I've been clear that editors who don't communicate at all on Wikipedia are commonly a problem; to act like it is just my problem or the problem of another editor trying to do the communicating is utterly false. It is a Wikipedia problem, as proven time and time again by those who have been indefinitely blocked in part because of their failure to communicate on Wikipedia. Flyer22 (talk) 23:39, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

I suspect there is a misunderstanding which is making the discussion difficult. Let's narrow the discussion from an overly broad "unwilling to discuss anything at all in any and all situations on a user talk page" (that's deliberate hyperbole to highlight a misunderstanding of Flyer22's points) to "a blocked editor who suddenly becomes unwilling to continue an existing discussion on their talk page." Do you see the difference?

We have many situations which require use of user talk pages for purposes other than directly dealing with specific article content. We often have discussions involving reasons for a block, and a blocked editor suddenly decides they will not reply to certain editors, while continuing to reply to others. A blocked editor has no right to dictate the scope of a discussion of their problems by refusing to discuss those problems. Because of their block, they actually have fewer ownership rights, not more, on their talk page. It belongs to the community, and this is a situation where the community's concerns are more important.

I've seen a couple instances where such an editor banned every editor who brought up the specifics of his misdeeds, and demanded that only uninvolved admins reply. That's pretty uncollaborative, and their eventual banning was delayed quite a long time because of their obstructive attitude. Hundreds of man hours were wasted.

They were preventing use of their talk page for one of its intended purposes, and this is what we need to address. Such obstructionism should not be allowed, and it needs to be addressed. Maybe the language needs to be narrowed to this specific type of situation. -- BullRangifer (talk) 02:59, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

If an admin delays blocking a person more because they don't respond compared to when they do respond then the admin is not coping properly. The real problem should be that people do respond and that delays their blocking - and that occurs far more often with admins bending over backwards allowing all sorts of behaviour. Dmcq (talk) 20:20, 13 July 2015 (UTC)


@Njsustain: made a bold edit claiming that using exclamation points can violate WP:SHOUT (possibly in response to me using them on other talk pages. Any time I used them they said I was "shouting"). Does everybody agree that this should be included on this article..? Prcc27 (talk) 05:20, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

It is used for emphasis, so doing so repeatedly, autimatically, without restraint (possibly as Prcc27 does almost every time he makes a statement on a talk page) is certainly within the description given in the article. Does anyone think it should not be included? Njsustain (talk) 05:27, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
The edit to WP:TPG referred to is here. I see no issue in principle with explicitly mentioning exclamation marks in this section, and support the text included by Njsustain. No comment or judgement on individual editors contributions is intended. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 06:25, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Editing talk-page archives

An editor has been requesting that NACs "close" discussions that were archived weeks ago. (That is, the discussion ends naturally, the section gets archived one or more weeks later, and then several weeks after the archiving, he requests that someone write a closing statement for the long-archived discussion – so long ago, that it would be inappropriate to unarchive the discussion per TPG's usual rules.)

I propose changing this guideline and WP:RFC to discourage editors from adding closing statements to archives or requesting closes for long-archived discussions. Since this could affect more than one page, please see Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 121#Requesting closing statements for archived discussions as a central discussion point. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:10, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Non talk page reviews and posting style

The following entry was added to the subsection Others' comments:

Review pages: Peer reviews, good article reviews, and featured article candidates are collaborative processes in which a reviewer may provide a list of comments on an article; most editors expect the responses to be interspersed among these comments. An example is here; note that you should not modify the comments themselves in any way.

From the history of the page:

  • 12:55, 19 July 2015‎ Mike Christie (→‎Others' comments: Add another bullet for review processes, which allow replies interspersed with original comments)
  • 15:56, 3 August 2015‎ PBS (removed Mike Christiecomment on "Review pages" because it is unfocused this a TALK page guideline NOT about review pages. This page need to be kept focused.)
  • 01:58, 5 August 2015‎ WhatamIdoing (Undid revision 674384504 by PBS (talk) Review pages *are* a kind of talk page, i.e., a page that "provide[s] space for editors to discuss changes to its associated article or project page") (undo | thank)

WhatamIdoing why are you reverting something to keep in on the project page when it is a new bullet point and there has not been a discussion on its merits? I am not going to revert it again immediately, but unless there is a clear consensus to keep it please assume that I have, and that the onus is on you to show that there is a clear consensus to insert it. -- PBS (talk) 18:20, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

The lead states:

The purpose of a Wikipedia talk page (accessible via the talk or discussion tab) is to provide space for editors to discuss changes to its associated article or project page. Article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views on a subject. When pages in other namespaces are used for discussion and communication between users, the same norms will usually also apply.

So far so good but this bullet point is about is something other than talk pages. In which case I do not see its relevant to this guideline. If needed (and I do not think it is) it is better off on the specific guidance for those pages.

If someone uses a similar format on talk pages to that described in this bullet point then it is likely the response would be similar, some object to "interspersed" (The term used in the article Posting style is "Interleaved") other do not.

There are problems with the wording "Peer reviews, good article reviews, and featured article candidates are collaborative processes in which a reviewer may provide a list of comments on an article". Does this mean that talk pages are not collaborative processes in which an editor may provide a list of comments on an article?

-- PBS (talk) 18:20, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

No, the onus is on everyone to figure out what the actual consensus is. Bold editing of guidelines (and even policies) is explicitly permitted.
Your rationale was wrong, because review pages are covered by TPG. In fact, if you think of TPG's primary purpose as covering discussions about improving articles, then it makes far more sense for TPG to include FARs than to include ANI. In reality, it covers all of the above: any page that editors use primarily for communicating with each other.
Some people dislike interleaved comments. However, that style is quite common on GA, FAC, FAR, and PR pages, and it is unusual to see complaints about that style on those pages. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:54, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Some people raised this issue above in #Posting within another editor's post -- PBS (talk) 19:56, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm not too concerned about the exact wording, but I think this guideline should include something that makes it clear that interleaved comments are acceptable (in fact, they're often expected, not merely acceptable) on, e.g., FAC, GAN, and PR. I've seen a couple of cases where editors (who were new to those processes) were avoiding interleaving because this guideline makes it appear it's unacceptable. I agree with Whatamidoing that this guideline applies to those pages -- article talk pages are the most common space for editor interaction but unless I'm misunderstanding something these guidelines are really interaction guidelines and would be cited by an editor if, for example, someone edited another editor's comments on a page that was not a talk page.
Actually, there are cases even in article talk pages where interleaving is acceptable, but I admit I've mostly seen it among editors who are habitués of FAC. For example, a list of points for discussion may draw (and may be intended to draw) interleaved responses. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 19:13, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 26 August 2015

Page named Ebony Simpson- birth date is incorrect, she was born on 22 December 1982, not August 83. (talk) 10:38, 26 August 2015 (UTC) (talk) 10:38, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

  Not done as you are in the wrong place, since this page is only to discuss improvements to Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines.
If you want to suggest a change, please request this on the talk page of the relevant article in the form "Please replace XXX with YYY" or "Please add ZZZ between PPP and QQQ".
Please also cite reliable sources to back up your request, without which no information should be added to, or changed in, any article. - Arjayay (talk) 10:44, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Posting within another editor's post

Should an editor post within another editor's post? I think this is a poor if relatively rare practice. One can say that this is addressed by language such as "Never edit or move someone's comment", but why not explicitly state "Do not situate your post within another editor's post" or "Do not post within another editor's post"? Bus stop (talk) 16:42, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

You are right; that's not the way we do things. It wouldn't seem proper to dig into another editor's post and insert replies in between paragraphs, sentences, or interjecting mid-sentence! How exactly do you want to work it into the text? Chrisrus (talk) 13:58, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
Any proposal should link to Help:Using talk pages, which has a good section on indenting. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:24, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
As an example, see this insertion into a comment of mine; I did not feel affronted as it was signed and not a bad faith attempt to refactor my comment, but I did reformat it by indenting and enclosing in square brackets to make it more obvious that it was a departure from my comment, without removing it from its place interrupting my comment. However, this is perhaps an exceptional example and the practice should generally not be encouraged as it has great potential for confusion if editors need to reply to replies within comments Inception-style. sroc 💬 17:05, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
A brief paragraph under the paragraph reading "Never edit or move someone's comment to change its meaning, even on your own talk page. Striking text constitutes a change in meaning, and should only be done by the user who wrote it or someone acting at their explicit request" is what I think might be a good way to communicate this. That next, brief paragraph could read: "Never post within another editor's post as this may interrupt the flow of their writing." I will go ahead and do this, if given the green light to do so. I can be reverted, of course, if their are objections. Bus stop (talk) 13:43, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Opposed; the principle at play is change its meaning so I'm opposed to replacing those words with a waffly "may interrupt flow". Alternatively,if you meant we should keep the existing text about "change its meaning" but add a sentence starting "NEVER", then I'm opposed because the first admits the possibility of appropriate insertions, but the new proposed sentence says the opposite ("never"), and that's contradictory NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:43, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Hi NewsAndEventsGuy—there is a difference between moving someone else's post and posting within someone else's post. I'm not suggesting removing or changing language already existing in policy. I'm describing where I think would be a good place to insert an additional sentence. It might be easier if I just make the change, and then you or another editor can revert me or alter my language. Alternatively we can discuss it here, but it might be more cumbersome. Bus stop (talk)
You did not address the basis for my objection (i.e., your text would create a contradiction). How about this alternative proposal, which preserves existing text and adds new text that I have underlined for clarity
Never edit or move someone's comment to change its meaning, even on your own talk page. Striking text constitutes a change in meaning, and should only be done by the user who wrote it or someone acting at their explicit request.
Do not add comments in the middle of another editor's post. Instead, add your remark at an appropriate point after the other editor's signature, using proper threading and indentation.
Can you please tell me what "contradiction" you feel I was adding? Bus stop (talk) 18:38, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
The existing text does not say "Never insert" it only says "don't change". Your text can be read as "Never insert, period". If one reads the first part as
  • "if on a rare occasion you insert something in someone else's comment, make sure you don't change it"
and your text as
  • "never ever insert anything whatsoever"
then that is a contradiction. You may not read the existing text that way, and you may not mean your proposed text that way, but they are susceptible to those contradictory interpretations. I think we're talking about the insertion of an everyday run-of-the-mill type of comment, so my alternative language is (A) written to try to describe those sorts of remarks and (B) echo the meaning and link (i.e., help page on how to WP:THREAD) as described in the "Keep the layout clear" section under "good practices" at the top of the TPG. What did you think of my alternative? Is it at least as good as your proposal? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 19:42, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
I fail to see the "contradiction", but moving on, I can accept your wording except that I would end your second sentence after the word "signature". Bus stop (talk) 19:52, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Stopping after "signature" is fine if our goal is to have lingo we can cite when complaining. However, if our goal is to help eds who don't already know about this basic convention, then they probably don't know about threading/indenting either. Why not reward the diligent new editor who reads this far with the link to Help:Using talk pages#Indentation? That way they know (A) to not add their comment in the middle of another's and (B) how to indent their comment so everyone knows who is replying to whom? Does that extra text hurt?NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 23:23, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
I felt that brevity resulted in a statement that was more emphatic, but your reasoning is sound. Include the last few words. Please make the edit. Should the first two words, "Do not", be bolded? It seems like a good idea to me. Bus stop (talk) 23:55, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
  Done with some additional edits to hopefully make it read easier for first timer readers. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:46, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
You didn't put the links in for "using proper threading and indentation". Bus stop (talk) 01:26, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
Dope! Thanks. Fixed NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 04:24, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

I have reverted these changes for two reasons.

  1. changing imperatives "Never edit or move someone's comment to change its meaning, even on your own talk page. " to "It is generally inappropriate to .... Change the meaning of someone else's comment" -- is are really big change in this guideline that needs much more discussion (a well advertised RfC) for such a large change.
  2. I do not approve of a total ban on "newsgroup" interleaving in favour of the Lotus Notes style email conversations (although inverted to move the latest comment from the top to bottom). This is something that has been bubbling along for a long time and again if some editors want to insert this change it ought to be discussed and a consensus built for it in a well advertised RfC.

Such large changes ought not to be made by just four editors. -- PBS (talk) 16:19, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

I think there are two issues here:
1. Often people write write a long comment with points 1, 2, and 3 in separate paragraphs. Is it OK for me to insert a properly-indented and signed comment *between* points 1 and 2, responding only to point 1 ? I've seen well-meaning Wikipedia editors point at the WP:INTERSPERSE guideline on this page and claim it clearly says there is a total ban on interleaved conversations, because that "changes" the original long comment. I've seen other well-meaning Wikipedia editors (Talk:Passphrase) imply that this guideline page clearly says it's OK to do that, as long as I properly indent my comment so it is clear who wrote what, and I put my new comments between paragraphs in the original comment so I am "not changing" even a single sentence or paragraph in the original comment.
Honestly, I'm not seeing any clear direction on this page one way or another, so it's not at all clear. Am I even reading the same page as those editors?
2. Even if we come to a consensus that one should always put comments to an existing section at the bottom of the section, as suggested by Help:Wikipedia: The _Missing Manual/Collaborating with other editors/Communicating with your fellow editors#Adding a comment to an existing section, inevitably some well-meaning Wikipedia editors who have not yet read that guideline will post a comment *between* points 1 and 2 of some long comment I or someone else has written. What should my response be? Should we add this situation to the list in the "Fixing layout errors" section of this guideline, recommending that I move that person's comments to the bottom of the section, where they belong? Should this guideline recommend I hit the revert button, in effect deleting everything that well-meaning editor just said, and put a link to that guideline in the edit summary? Should this guideline recommend that I post to that editor's talk page, with a link to this guideline and a suggestion that they self-revert and re-add those comments to the bottom of the section where they belong? --DavidCary (talk) 19:40, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
With regards to the above comment by DavidCary, effectively concerning the interleaving posting style, I would place emphasis on the necessity of identification at each inserted phrase. Indentation is obviously also necessary, but the source of the interspersed comment must be made clear in all instances, without in any way materially changing the original content. Further, whenever this method needn't be employed, I would argue that for clarity/readability's sake: it shouldn't.
Notwithstanding, the major Style Guide changes that PBS makes reference to above are unquestionably within the province of large-scale consensus, via a major RfC. --UBI-et-ORBI (talk) 20:03, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
P.S. For a bit of support in current Policy for my statement re. signatures/identification, I would cite the text of WP:SIGNHERE, which is fairly unambiguous. --UBI-et-ORBI (talk) 20:32, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
I think the WP:SIGNHERE is an example of exactly the sort of ambiguity I'm trying to point out: we all agree that "posts made to ... article talk pages ... must be signed."
However, quite often someone makes a post to an article talk page without a signature.
What should I do when I see that happen? The WP:SIGNHERE guideline itself says nothing.
Another guideline on the same page, the WP:UNSIGNED guideline, has some tips on what I should do -- rather than treat the "bad" post without a signature exactly the same as vandalism and simply revert, the WP:UNSIGNED guideline recommends something else (although I usually let User:SineBot do that work for me).
We seem to have consensus that interspersed edits should be avoided, and perhaps we could promote that to a guideline analogous to WP:SIGNHERE. But I think we need more discussion on what to do when (inevitably) well-meaning editors intersperse their point-by-point comments. Three options: Should I treat those "bad" posts exactly the same as vandalism and simply revert? Or should I fix-up those posts, more analogous to the WP:UNSIGNED guideline? Or should we maybe construct a 'bot to automatically fix up such posts? --DavidCary (talk) 03:40, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

Whatever is done should make it clear that there are many cases where interleaving is acceptable and often expected. See further down this page for some relevant discussion and a recent edit to the guideline to this effect. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 03:48, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

Somewhere there should be advice that talk page comments on several different topics should be signed at the end of each topic, so that responses can be put in the proper places without attribution being confused. Zerotalk 08:38, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

Added a note about excluding other users

I have boldly added a note about users not being able to post notices indicating that users can't exclude other users based on one of their unrelated qualities (e.g. "admins can't post here" and the like). Prior to this, this has been used by at least one user as a loophole to allow them to do so: Special:Diff/677913514. Gparyani (talk) 02:06, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

Gparyani, I reverted per WP:UP#OWN and WP:OWNTALK. Specifically, I stated, "I disagree since this can be taken to mean one's own talk page. There is more leeway with editors' own talk pages, and editors should not have to put up with unwelcomed individuals at their talk pages, except for certain cases." If your proposed addition is reworded (for example, pointing out the right of WP:Administrators to post to a person's talk page because of behavioral/sanction-worthy issues), I could support it. Flyer22 (talk) 02:52, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
The addition was entirely too broad. Editors are excluded from certain talk pages via topic or interaction bans. An entire class of editors is excluded from Talk:Gamergate controversy. --NeilN talk to me 03:08, 16 September 2015 (UTC)


WP:TALKNEW Placement of New Sections in Dormant Policy Discussions

Closing per a WP:ANRFC request.
There is a clear consensus against this proposal. Armbrust The Homunculus 10:13, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I recently began a discussion with another editor with regards to the placement of new Talk Page sections for the WP Policies & Guidelines WP:NCCL, which had been dormant until my recent proposal since June of 2014. I will summarize my initial position, in quotation, below:

The idea of new discussions (on unique areas of the WP guidelines) being best found on the bottom of the Talk Page appears contradictory to the intention of making them easily found. It seems to me that especially where Talk Page activity that effects WP Policies & Guidelines both covers a unique knowledge area and has been long-dormant, new issues should be presented at the forefront of the Page.

Proposal is therefore that we give consideration to including an exception to the current prescriptions of WP:TALKNEW, that distinctive new Sections added to the Talk Pages of articles discussing WP Policies & Guidelines that have been inactive beyond a reasonable period of time should be raised to the top of the said Page. --UBI-et-ORBI (talk) 13:31, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

N.B.: The above reference to NCCL provides a good example of situations wherein several lengthy yet stagnant discussions (which have not been removed by bots) have "buried" the new Section. A link to the aforementioned Talk Page Section is available here. --UBI-et-ORBI (talk) 21:14, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
How about instead of changing the talk page guidelines, archive some of the long stagnant sections. -- GB fan 21:24, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
I like the idea (especially because this really only needs to be brought to use in certain "odd" situations like WP:NCCL Talk), but my worry is that it may run afoul with those patrolling for adherence to WP:ARCHIVENOTDELETE, considering many of these discussions often trail-off without definitive resolution. Anybody have thoughts on this? --UBI-et-ORBI (talk) 22:07, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
Automated archival is your friend. I have set it up for that page. The parameters I have used, means it will always leave at least 5 sections on the talk page, but archive any older ones that have not had any additional comments for 100 days. -- PBS (talk) 18:02, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
  • No. (1) Having different standards for different situations would cause confusion. (2) Changing the guideline would not automatically cause everyone to change doing what is long-established practice, and some people doing it one way, some another would cause further confusion. (3) Suggesting that the practice of putting new content at the top is "contradictory to the intention of making them easily found" is based on the assumption that everybody looks first at the top. I look first at the bottom, because I know that is where new content usually is, and I bet many other editors so the same. (4) If we start having new content sometimes in one place and sometimes in another, it will make it much more likely that editors will miss it, because it will not be obvious where to look for new content. It is much more helpful to know that there is one place to look for new content. (5) Oh, great, we have one more opportunity for pointless and time-wasting Wikilawyering, as different editors have different views as to whether or not a particular post qualifies under the circumstances where an exception should be made and new content should go at the top! No thank you. The editor who uses the pseudonym "JamesBWatson" (talk) 11:45, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
  • No.. In 2006, an idea similar to this was briefly considered and rejected at WT:MILHIST precisely because most editors expect to find new sections at the bottom of a talk page (see section Talk page layout and the section immediately after it). Apart from custom another of the argument against placing them anywhere but the bottom is the [new section] tab on talk pages creates new sections at the bottom. -- PBS (talk) 20:28, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
Comment. @JamesBWatson and PBS: While JamesBWatson confuses my meaning on his point No. (3); I am willing to accede to the fact that you both make good arguments against the proposal. What I'm wondering is what you think is appropriate for cases like WP:NCCL, where the discussion is stagnant? I don't want to pursue the opposite evil (i.e. wide-scale RFCs for each and every issue), whereas I also don't want fossilized threads hindering the natural visibility of new discussion topics... Do we need more bot activity here? Something else? I'm interested in your thoughts. --UBI-et-ORBI (talk) 04:49, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
  • No. Aside from the potential confusion, I doubt it would have the desired effect. If a new discussion isn't getting much attention it's probably either a low traffic page and/or people just aren't interested in jumping in on that discussion. If a new topic warrants a larger discussion and people aren't showing up, an RfC can be used and/or you can link to it on relevant project pages. For example posting a link at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Religion would probably draw people interested and knowledgeable if a Naming_conventions_(clergy) topic needs more attention. If the topic is Proper Form in the Titling of Roman Catholic Cardinals, you could link it at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Catholicism.
And as noted above, pages can be de-cluttered by archiving stale sections of little current value. Worst case, someone complains and de-archives it. Alsee (talk) 07:57, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
  • No. Based on the presupposition people go to the top to look for new material. The Wikiwide standard is the bottom and there is no good reason to make an exception for particular talk pages. Any potential benefit is far outweighed by the definite confusion and disruption it would cause. JbhTalk 01:12, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
  • No. Summoned by bot. Reasons have more-or-less been covered by others. The confusion that would be caused by inconsistency across the project outweighs any potential benefit. ~ RobTalk 00:43, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
  • No. - This would seem more likely to increase confusion & misunderstanding than to aid the resolution of threads which have become dormant. There is benefit to having one system, even if it is sub-optimal in some areas. Support the methods articulated by Alsee in preference. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 01:39, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


There's wording in OWNTALK: "There are certain types of notices that users may not remove from their own talk pages, such as declined unblock requests and speedy deletion tags (see User pages § Removal of comments, notices, and warnings for full details)." that's confusing. Unless I'm mistaken, the removal of speedy deletion tags refers to WP:SPEEDY and doesn't apply a pro forma notice on a user's talk page. Chris Troutman (talk) 02:34, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

I think ... based reviewing Wikipedia_talk:User_pages/Archive_10#Deletion_of_user_talk_pages the circumstances would be something like WP:G10 or WP:G12 csd of the user's talk page when there is no other history to keep. (But I agree it's confusing as written.) NE Ent 02:48, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
Right. WP:BLANKING and the section of this are talking about removing {{Db}}, not a user removing the {{db-reason-notice}} from their talk pages. The way this is written it almost intones a user can't delete the "delete reason" notice, which is nonsense. Chris Troutman (talk) 03:17, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

Indicating redacted material

In the guidelines, we offer two methods of indicating redacted text -

  • Mark deleted text with <s>...</s>, or <del>...</del>, which render in most browsers as struck-through text (e.g., wrong text).
  • Mark inserted text with <u>...</u>, or <ins>...</ins>, which renders in most browsers as underlined text (e.g., corrected text).

Given that some editors sometimes use underlining to emphasise parts of their text on Talk pages, to avoid confusion, should we reconsider using underlining to indicate redacted text?DrChrissy (talk) 19:27, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

No. Underline = insert new text. It's standard procedure. Humans seem able to misunderstand anything, and there is nothing that can be done to eliminate that possibility. Johnuniq (talk) 00:02, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
No. Agree with Johnuniq here. For many changes or edits to comments it is important that we have a method to identify what changed; as such may influence our understanding of any following intermediate comments by others. This is a standard procedure that editors should be encouraged to follow; even if that means they do not use underline for emphasis. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 01:53, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
This one of those "standards" that most people don't know. Zerotalk 09:28, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
Hi Zero, While I think that your assessment is quite likely accurate (and also consider that many editors will not insert text but simply add a new comment), I do think that we should still have a method of indicating inserted text; and that we should document that method - such that editors who are not yet aware, can be easily made aware. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 09:51, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
Underline for wanting to show new text that has been specially put in and underline for emphasis mean very similar things - the person wants that to show. There's no need to try and devise something new. In accordance with the general principle that in general guidelines should document best practices rather than try and dictate them I think what is there is right. Is anyone confused in some way that matters about the underline I just stuck in? Dmcq (talk) 10:02, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
I would recommend using semantic tags (ins, del) for being more future-proof, accessible and so on. Maybe we could encourage to use ins and del, while not forbidding the s and u as they probably have a number of established users and are already on many talk pages? Maciekz (talk) 17:58, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Nonsense/empty Edit requests

Is there a policy on what to do with empty edit requests on talk pages, or ones that contain text that does not even begin to resemble a request? Do we ask what they mean or want, or is it better to simply remove the section? This is not about poorly formulated requests, then it's better to ask for clarification. Gap9551 (talk) 00:11, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

Hi Gap9551, As I observe it, the standard practice appears to be to: 1) make no changes to the article; 2) mark the request as answered; 3) request that the editors re-raise the request in the appropriate format ("please change X to Y; please include Z; etc). I see benefit in the requests being closed out. Hope this helps. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 00:26, 3 December 2015 (UTC) re-ping Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 00:36, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Ok, thanks @Ryk72:. Then I'll ask what the editor would like to change in every case. But what about older such requests, if no response follows for a week or so? Gap9551 (talk) 00:53, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Hi Gap9551, The standard appears to be to be to mark the request as answered; that is, to close the request. And have the editors re-raise it if they wish to. So there shouldn't really be requests pending a response. I think I may not have entirely understood your meaning, please let me know if so. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 01:11, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Thanks @Ryk72:, I was wondering whether closed, empty/nonsense requests can be removed from the talk page altogether if the original requester never responds (some time after closing), so they don't take up space anymore. Gap9551 (talk) 01:16, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Please just delete empty or nonsense edit requests. People see a button to make an edit request and click it to see what happens. Editors who respond to edit requests using tools may find it easy to click a button adding the standard boilerplate, but that clutters the talk page for no reason and looks silly. Johnuniq (talk) 01:19, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Ah, now I see! Agree with Johnuniq here, if the request is _strictly_ empty/nonsense, then no objection to a removal. (I would, however, have a very narrow reading of nonsense). Also suggest that if the Talk page is overly long that archiving is a good way to address this. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 01:27, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Thanks both of you! Gap9551 (talk) 01:29, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

Sockpuppet comment strikes

I've added WP:TPG#sockvote following discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Administrators'_noticeboard#striking_comments ... it's my understanding from the discussion there that is is a common practice supported by the community, especially in Afd space. NE Ent 15:17, 5 December 2015 (UTC)

I would support a minor change, from "identified" to "confirmed" or "blocked". Personal identification by individual editors should not be enough; especially considering WP:NOTVOTE. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 18:43, 5 December 2015 (UTC)
Done. NE Ent 23:24, 5 December 2015 (UTC)

Looking for MOS of Talkpages

Please see: Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style#Looking_for_MOS_of_Talkpages. Thanks in advance, Ottawahitech (talk) 16:45, 9 January 2016 (UTC)please ping me

If you just ask your question here, someone's more likely to notice and answer. Dicklyon (talk) 02:05, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

where can i report improper closure of discussion

thanks.. (talk) 21:56, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

Hi, I'd suggest having a look over WP:CLOSE, especially Wikipedia:Closing discussions#Challenging a closing. There are explicit sections on challenging deletion & move discussions, and a general section on other closes. Assuming that it is a general discussion, the first step would be to discuss with the closing editor. If this does not resolve the issue, then you can raise something at the Administrators' Noticeboard. Hope this helps. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 21:21, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
Why would I need to follow procedural 'challenge' when the other editor did not follow the request section which should precede closure? (talk) 00:44, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Sup Chewy3128 (talk) 21:42, 19 February 2016 (UTC)

User talk pages and posts by banned users

A question has been raised that has to do with user talk pages and sockpuppets (whether IP addresses or throwaway accounts) of banned users. It is a policy in general that posts by banned users may be deleted, but that their deletion is not required. The question is: If a sockpuppet of a banned user posts to a user talk page, is the decision as to whether to leave the post standing or delete it up to the user whose talk page it is? My assumption would be that the user whose talk page it is can decide what to do about the post, and that, except in unusual situations (such as copyright violation), other editors or administrators should not aggressively delete posts by banned users to the talk pages of other users. Comments? Robert McClenon (talk) 04:44, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

See WP:OWN. User talk pages are for collaboration and do not have an owner. As you know, a banned user is trolling by posting on the reference desks and user talk pages. Some editors passionately support free speech (but see WP:NOTFREESPEECH) and liberty, and they want to provide a safe harbor for the banned user. That is super unhelpful, and has nothing to do with contributing towards the encyclopedia. Johnuniq (talk) 05:23, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Some users do not want to engage in dialogue with the troll but think that ignoring the troll's posts to their user talk pages is more appropriate than aggressive deletion of the troll's posts from their talk pages. Robert McClenon (talk) 07:50, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
I will add that I don't think that anyone wants to provide a safe harbor for the banner user. I see at least two issues. First, some editors think that the Reference Desks are special, and are primarily an outreach mission to unregistered editors, and so need to be redesigned so that they never need semi-protection. I disagree with this viewpoint. Second, some editors think that aggressive deletion of posts by the banned user, including aggressive deletion from talk pages of other users, actually encourages the troll. I agree with this viewpoint, and think that allowing individual users who have troll posts on their talk pages to decide what to do with them, ignore or delete, is appropriate. Robert McClenon (talk) 17:30, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

Graham's pyramid "Sounds something like 'You are a Wikip(-)idiot.'"

As for Graham's pyramid, the bottom section states a point, but would it not be better if, while still stating the point, we were to replace the current "Sounds something like 'You are an idiot.'" with the humorous "Sounds something like 'You are a Wikip(-)idiot.'" (meaning "an idiot on Wikipedia")? It sounds funnier and may make the Wikipedia guidelines be more fun for us to read. Gamingforfun365 (talk) 02:47, 8 March 2016 (UTC)

Right or wrong, humor is restricted to essays, and explicitly identified as humor. We can't even be humorous in talk space (except user talk) without risking a negative comment and/or a hat. We're a very serious bunch here. ―Mandruss  00:01, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
Can you had a link to a guideline or an essay, regarding that such content must be serious? Otherwise, my regretfully speaking, you might be arguing from your own advice. Gamingforfun365 (talk) 05:20, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
No, I don't think I can. Some things are not written down but are a widely accepted part of Wikipedia culture. Likewise, there is no law against loud farting in public places, but most people refrain from doing it anyway. They know it's frowned upon, they don't hear anyone else doing it, and they conform because they wish to be a part of the community. wikt:when in Rome, do as the Romans do. A few prefer to fart loudly in public places, just to show that they are non-conformists, and they become social outcasts among the larger community. Their choice. ―Mandruss  09:29, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
I would prefer the word flatulence. Gamingforfun365 (talk) 05:07, 12 March 2016 (UTC)

Related discussion

People who follow here may be interested in Help_talk:Archiving_a_talk_page#Links_to_archives. Thanks, ansh666 01:29, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Is there an actual policy that prevents editors from retroactively changing archived talk pages, or is it just a suggestion?

? -- Kendrick7talk 01:24, 19 May 2016 (UTC)

As far as I know there is no policy that says archived talk pages can't be changed. It is usually best to not change an archive but there are reasons why an archive might need to be changed. -- GB fan 01:37, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
So why does the template say otherwise? Should the template just say this is a recommendation? -- Kendrick7talk 01:56, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
Going to start off by commenting on my perception of your original question. From my experience when someone is asking a general question like you did, they are usually following up on a specific incident that happened (as I now see is happening here). If they get an answer that agrees with them then they try to use that to argue their point. There are almost always exceptions to every rule, for every rule there is always one overarching rule, WP:Ignore all rules. A generic question such as your deserves a generic answer such as mine. Now, a template such as Template:Automatic archive navigator does not set policy, but it does quickly explain policy or in this case general practice. In general the content of archive pages shouldn't be changed, but there are times when it makes sense. In the case below, not editing the archive page would do future editors a disservice. They would not know that the RFC close had been modified after additional discussion. They could have then used that information in a discussion even though it was outdated. This is a case when the general practice of not modifying the contents of an archive page does not make sense. Should the template be modified to make it say recommendation, no it shouldn't. For the most part it is correct and when it isn't we can ignore it. -- GB fan 10:31, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
The mantra don't do silly things applies everywhere and it is not desirable to edit war at a talk page archive. The admin who modified their close in the archive left an extremely prominent and clear explanation on the article talk page (here), so arguing that the admin should not have altered an archive misses the point. Johnuniq (talk) 03:16, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
Kendrick7 seems to be WP:FORUMSHOPping, see ANI archive and Template talk:aan --Redrose64 (talk) 10:58, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
Definitely looks like forum shopping to try to bolster his position, see edit summary here and here. -- GB fan 12:26, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
I'm just asking around, not forum shopping. Can I get a straight answer of do I need to file a formal RfC? -- Kendrick7talk 01:32, 25 May 2016 (UTC)
The straight answer, provided by GB fan, is no, there isn't. The template's wording is general practice, not an absolute policy-based prohibition. ansh666 01:46, 25 May 2016 (UTC)
I would like to add Wikipedia talk:Requests for comment#Is there a time limit for admins to change their mind about how they closed an Rfc? to my previous post. --Redrose64 (talk) 08:51, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

Dumping sources

A user insists that it's okay to dump sources (i.e. official press releases) on articles talk pages even if none of them is actually used in the article. If find nothing in the talk page guidelines supporting this. I always thought that talk pages were intended for discussing changes to articles and I feel dumping (unused) sources on them is at odds with WP:NOTREPOSITORY and clogs up talk pages. After all there are sites out there which do the archiving for us. So I was wondering what the project's stance is on this matter. Tvx1 18:38, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

I don't see anything wrong with that, really; someone could find them useful for expanding article content. WP:NOTLINK is mostly for the article space, not talk pages. If a list of links are making a talk page hard to navigate, there's always the {{collapse top}} and {{collapse bottom}} templates. ansh666 21:05, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
I can understand providing and discussing sources that might be useful on the talk page. But simply listing everything that is published about the subject? I really don't see the value in that. Archiving sources is not our purpose after all. Tvx1 21:15, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Recent substantial change to "Own comments" section

Because of this edit, I just now noticed this huge change by Msnicki to the "Own comments" section. Msnicki tweaked things afterward. The changes appear to have gone unchallenged, but I am always wary of substantial undiscussed changes made to our policies and guidelines. So I reverted moments ago.

Is everyone okay with everything that Msnicki changed? I don't like the "Once others have replied or if it's been more than a short while, if you wish to change or delete your comment, you should always indicate your changes." sentence. This is because I (and others) might make small changes to comments after others have replied. I don't feel we need to indicate all of these changes, unless they take another poster's comment out of context. And while Msnicki's edits seem to have added some improvement, I'm not sure that it was best to remove everything she removed. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:12, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

That's not really a change. The original language, which you've restored, said, "Other than minor corrections for insignificant typographical errors made before other editors reply, changes should be noted to avoid misrepresenting the original post." Under the old language, you shouldn't have been making any changes at all, not even small ones, after others have replied, without indicating them. My intent was to clarify that if you make a comment, then persist in making endless tiny changes that go on for days, it's tedious for others to watch this stuff. It's better if you can at some point call it done. But I also wanted to clarify that we all expect it's reasonable to do some copy-editting of your remarks for a little while after you make a post. Msnicki (talk) 01:07, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
I noticed the changes when they were made and I thought they were improvements. They are fine with me. Jytdog (talk) 03:18, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Msnick, thanks for explaining. I didn't perceive the old language as stating that we shouldn't have been making any changes at all; I viewed it as making sure that the changes do not misrepresent the post, mainly so that others' replies to it are not taken out of context. I feel that your wording of "if it's been more than a short while" is vague since people will define "a short while" differently, and I think that the "you should always indicate your changes" aspect is a little strong per what I stated above in this section. Other than that, I suppose you should feel free to restore the version you crafted. I think it's best to wait for others' thought first, though.
Thanks for commenting, Jytdog. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 03:58, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for posting! It is good to check consensus Jytdog (talk) 04:00, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Thank you, Flyer22 Reborn. I've reinstated the change but softened the language [6] you were concerned about. Msnicki (talk) 04:57, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Tweaked to this and this. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:15, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Using talk pages to link to sources that may be useful in the future.

For years and years I have been using talk pages as a way to "save" primary source documents and report files, as well as some media sources, as a way of:

  • Reminding myself to look at these sources in the future so they may be integrated in the article
  • Telling Wikipedians the locations of archives I made on Webcitation, etc. so they may be found. This especially started back when Webcitation didn't have a search feature (and older entries on Webcitation still can't be found on it)

This is particularly the case with plane crashes: the country in charge of the investigation often releases media reports, final reports, media files, etc. (and material in multiple languages, usually the country's language, English, and/or the destination language(s) of the crashed flight) and I want to preserve all of that and inform Wikipedians of where the archives are. I don't like it when a source is deleted/excluded from the Wayback Machine and unable to be found.


These were very busy talk pages with many users, and not one of them opposed me linking sources like this. I recall getting a few "thank you messages" in regards to the MH17 final report list.

Very recently a Wikipedian told me that it is against talk page policy to mass-link archives of sources, since talk pages are only to be used for discussion and nothing else. He argued that I only need to link to a website that is an index of the archived material and that should be enough, and that if I post any links on a talk page I must always propose at that exact moment/time how/why it should be included in the article. (See User_talk:Tvx1#Lists_of_sources) - This is concerning a list of press releases from the Egyptian government, who is scheduled to investigate the accident of MS804. The Egyptian Ministry of Transport does not so far have a central page for MS804 but instead list various individual entries in its press release section.

I disagree with the Wikipedian; I think that the guidelines already clearly support using without having to at that exact moment, propose using it in the article because I interpret "Share material" as including not only written article prose intended to actually go into the talk page but also lists of sources which may be useful for later. Also talk pages are to "Deal with facts: The talk page is the ideal place for issues relating to verification, such as asking for help finding sources" so I am pre-emptively preserving/saving sources so people don't have to look far and wide for them. In my view talk pages should be broadly about improving the article, not simply "discussion".

If there is any concern over "clogging talkpages" with these lists one can move them to dedicated sub-pages of talk pages (this is what I did with Air France and Gary Webb once I realized there was so much material) WhisperToMe (talk) 13:19, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

If you really really insist, that indeed create a subpage or a sandbox for them. The main talk pages are for discussion. The sources we actually need are cited in the article. The entire process of the investigations is also detailed in the article backed with sources. Tvx1 15:48, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
In that case I'm happy to move material to a subpage (Gary Webb and Air France are examples of that).
Even though X number of sources are cited in an article there may be additional comparisons of sources/investigations of the background necessary and that may mean comparing to primary sources/original language comparisons, etc. (some material is originally written in another language, and Arabic seems to be the primary language of the Egyptian authorities).
  • For example a user may say that the English-language media sources misinterpret what a French agency had to say, or that the French agency had made an error in its English translation. You want to have the French original documents on hand to verify things, even if those documents won't be cited in the English Wikipedia article. (I also archive documents in languages other than the original language and other than English so that users of other Wikipedias can benefit from the exercise and/or so that Wikipedians translating things in other languages can understand the terminology used in those languages and write Commons descriptions accordingly)
Sometimes at a later point countries/agencies put certain things in the public domain that weren't there previously, and once that happens everything released by that agency can be put on the Commons (in the case of MH17 all material made by the Dutch Safety Board is AFAIK in the public domain and can be moved to the commons)
WhisperToMe (talk) 20:37, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Misuse of the phrase "ad hominem."

We are told to avoid "ad hominem attacks," but it seems clear from the context that this is not intended to put a limit on the personal attacks discouraged, limiting the ukase to ad hominems.

Rather it seems be intended as emphasis through the authority of Latin, with the assumption that "ad hominem" means "at a person" or "on a person." This is not what it means.

It is true that some American dictionaries, in a generation now passing, were gleefully demotic, and confused popular misuses with definitions. Merriam-Webster was a particularly shoddy victim of this fad, from perhaps WWII to the turn of the century. They may, or may not, be in recovery.

The Latin "ad" means "to."

An ad hominem, or redundantly an ad hominem argument, is an argument -- a proposal, a submission -- constructed to the person, i.e. in such a way as to appeal to a particular person's biases. "We must fight for our flag" is an ad hominem, because it is an appeal to the audience's patriotism, since the flag certainly doesn't know or care who does what.

"You mother wears army boots" would be an ad hominem attack if and only if the person addressed considered this a shameful thing for their mother to have been caught doing, while all others considered it svelte for mothers to wear army boots.

In the absence of such a nice distinction, it's just trash-talking, a perfectly ordinary form of attack. This use of "ad hominem attack" is a Latinate Malapropism.

David Lloyd-Jones (talk) 03:40, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

OED disagrees with you, with examples back to the 16th century. Zerotalk 12:26, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
In Latin, no preposition was needed to indicate "to". The dative case would suffice. "ad", which takes the accusative case, can of course mean many things - Whitaker's Words gives "to, up to, towards; near, at; until, on, by; almost; according to; about (with num[eral])".
Dictionaries began as an attempt to document how people were actually using (and spelling) words, not dictate which use (or spelling, or pronunciation) was correct. As I recall it, from day one dictionaries valiantly tried to resist becoming an authority used to determine right and wrong, but their audience has always fought back and assumed that was what dictionaries are for. (talk) 05:30, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 5 July 2016

Under the headline Propulsion, we are asking that the following text be inserted after the first and only paragraph that is presently there. The following text is from Aerojet Rocketdyne. It has been approved by NASA, United Launch Alliance and Dr. Scott Bolton, who is overseeing the Juno mission. You can find the information from Aerojet Rocketdyne's press release at Wiki editors can also find the same information in a simple Google search. Here is the text:

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s role in the Juno mission has been significant. Juno was launched aboard United Launch Alliance's powerful Atlas V rocket on Aug. 5, 2011 to help place the spacecraft on its path toward Jupiter. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion aboard the Atlas V included an RL10A-4-2 upper-stage engine that provided 22,300 lbf thrust; five AJ60 solid rocket boosters that offered an average of 250,000 lbf of thrust each; eight retro-rockets for the Centaur separation from the Atlas common core booster; and 12 MR-106 monopropellant hydrazine thrusters on the Atlas V Centaur upper stage that provided roll, pitch and yaw control, as well as settling burns for the upper-stage main engines. The Juno spacecraft includes 12 Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-111C 1.0 lbf monopropellant hydrazine Rocket Engine Assemblies that have provided attitude control for the spacecraft throughout its journey, as well as during insertion into Jupiter’s orbit, which occurred on July 4, 2016. ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provides the pressure vessels on the first and second stages on the launch vehicle. (talk) 22:15, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

  Not done: this is the talk page for discussing improvements to the page Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines. Please make your request at the talk page for the article concerned. --Redrose64 (talk) 22:43, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Clean Up Education description

Trump attended the Chapin School in New York until age 15,[3] transferring and graduating from Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut.[4] She was admitted to Georgetown University where she spent two years. She transferred to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated cum laude in 2004 with a B.S. in Economics.[3][5][6] (talk) 19:17, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

  Not done: this is the talk page for discussing improvements to the page Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines. Please make your request at the talk page for the article concerned. --Redrose64 (talk) 19:33, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

Sections whose issues have been resolved

Is it okay to delete sections of the talk page where whatever the problem was has been resolved?? Daiyusha (talk) 11:16, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

@Daiyusha: No (unless your own comment was the only one in the section) but it would certainly help to add a {{Done}} or similar, with additional explanation as needed. This would be a useful addition to the guidelines, as many talk pages are full of comments from years ago bearing no relation to the current content of the article: Noyster (talk), 11:44, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
@Daiyusha: If you resolved it yourself, use {{done}} at the bottom; but whoever resolved it, you can put {{resolved}} at the top. See for example Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 148#New "basic" usergroup? --Redrose64 (talk) 14:17, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
  Done Thanks Daiyusha, Redrose64, I've added advice to this effect under "Closing discussions" on the project page: Noyster (talk), 11:22, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

Declined unblocked requests being autoarchived

Should WP:OWNTALK ("There are certain types of notices that users may not remove from their own talk pages...") also apply to automatic talk page archiving, in the case of declined unblock requests? It seems obvious enough that if a speedy deletion template gets archived, it's now on the wrong page and should be restored, but I'm less sure about unblock requests - is it enough that they're still visible in the archive, or is it important that any admin reviewing future unblock requests can easily see the declined ones? --McGeddon (talk) 13:10, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Speedy deletion templates are highly unlikely to be archived. First, they're put at the top of the page, outside the threads, and are not signed - archiving bots ignore the content before the first heading. Second, if the speedy deletion template is valid, the page will be deleted long before any archiving bot decides that the thread (which it isn't, see previous sentence) is old enough to be archived. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:13, 1 August 2016 (UTC)
Sure. My question was about declined unblock requests, which can be autoarchived during the block period if the user's talk page remains active or has a low bar for archiving. --McGeddon (talk) 07:22, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
McGeddon:Any archiving bot should be reverted if it removes notices of the type listed at WP:REMOVED and should be blocked until the bug is fixed if removed notices are in a standard format that a bot should be able to recognize and avoid archiving. IMO.--Elvey(tc) 03:50, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

Collapsed image galleries in talk page

I have a dispute in Talk:Cessna 208 Caravan (in the revision history) over wether or not there should be collapsed image galleries in the talk page. I curated interesting pictures from commons in galleries (collapsed to not be huge) for future use in the article, but other participants didn't like it and reverted my addition. I replaced them citing WP:TPO, but it was deleted again. Is there any place where I could save it for future use? --Marc Lacoste (talk) 19:00, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

Nobody follows this page? --Marc Lacoste (talk) 14:28, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

@Marc Lacoste: Yep, 958 people do. But maybe 957 either don't know or don't care. --Redrose64 (talk) 14:33, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
It seemed and interesting point : is a talk page a good place to stock content to be used later? --Marc Lacoste (talk) 14:42, 17 November 2016 (UTC) As in "#Share material: The talk page can be used to "park" material [...]. New material can be prepared on the talk page until it is ready to be put into the article"
At the help desk, I was suggested to create a page in my userspace, so perhaps it would be useful to add to the cited sentence "Large content can be parked in your userspace."? --Marc Lacoste (talk) 15:46, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
@Marc Lacoste: Userspace yes; but you created the page at Marc Lacoste/Cessna 208 gallery, which is an improper use of mainspace. I moved it to User:Marc Lacoste/Cessna 208 gallery. --Redrose64 (talk) 16:29, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

Using Talk pages as a link dump

Is there any project page regarding the use of article Talk pages as a link dump, e.g. for potential sources? I recently came across a mess of some 50 completely disorganized URLs scattered through a Talk page, with no context or discussion or even user signatures. I formatted them all into a *list, but that’s still a list of over 50 URLs. What’s the best practice for this, if there is one? — (talk) 03:53, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

if they are relevant to the article, Ya done good. if they were put there ages ago you can manually archive them; if they are fairly recent you can leave them in case someone wants to try to deploy them. On the other hand if it is random garbage then just delete them. Jytdog (talk) 04:05, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
See WP:LINKFARM; Also a constant onslaught of links from an editor who does not make meaningful effort to use them to improve articles might be external link spam, which could be grounds for blocking. When there are no signatures, if you want to figure out who posted it you can sift through the version history and then add their sig with Template:Unsigned. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 10:33, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
Does LINKFARM apply to Talk pages though? It seems to be about articles. I have no doubt of the intent to (at some point) use those links to improve the article, and some of them probably were used as sources, but it didn’t look like they were ever going to be removed from Talk afterward. — (talk) 20:42, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
the URLS that the IP is talking about where added to the Talk page of an article about video games with open source code in these diffs; they are in a section called "material to add". It is fine. The cleanup and collapse were helpful and the links can stay there. Jytdog (talk) 21:07, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
@Jytdog: Thanks for the answer! You missed the links that had been added farther down the page, including in an unrelated section. Here was the state I found it in: [7]. I’ll leave it be with the collapse, unless anyone says different. — (talk) 21:47, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
Yes you are right, i added a diff for the second series at the talk page. Jytdog (talk) 23:32, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

Disable bot notices

Is there a way to stop getting impersonal "notices"? I mean things like ArbCom election reminders. I only want personal messages written specifically to me by a human user. Equinox 06:25, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

The "ArbCom elections are now open!" messages are sent out by MediaWiki message delivery (talk · contribs). Its user page gives information on how to prevent delivery of all messages from that "user". --Redrose64 (talk) 15:56, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

When an editor keeps commenting in a closed RfC...

As seen at Talk:Eidetic memory#Same editor again (permalink here), an editor keeps commenting a closed RfC. I have reverted the editor twice. Should I simply let the editor comment in the closed RfC? Or should I report the matter if it happens again?

I know that WP:TPYES states, "Comment on content, not on the contributor." And that WP:TALKNEW states, "Don't address other users in a heading." But this case is specifically about one editor's behavior, including their edits. So using a vague heading like "Same editor again" felt appropriate to me. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:45, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Update: He's stopped editing the RfC for now. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 04:25, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

TPO and hat/collapse/close titles?

(Posting this logged out to prevent the specific circumstances surrounding my recent dispute from overshadowinf the general nature of my query. If anyone really wants to know who I am, I'm the editor who wrote most of the text of our Li He article.)

Is removing and/or refactoring unnecessary, non-neutral or inaccurate summaries in hat templates covered under TPO? I had always taken it as a given that if one is going to collapse other users' comments, they have a right to say they don't like the way you summarized their comments, but I've rcently been told that replacing such summaries with, say "Extended content" or "This discussion is closed. Do not alter it." is a removal or refactoring of another editor's comment. To me, this seems like turning the spirit, if not the letter, of TPO on its head.

Which interpretation is accurate? (talk) 07:12, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

Probably depends on context. Was it an admin's summary during hatting? Formal non-admin closure? Or the act of an involved ed? What template did they use? What claims were made in the remarks? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 08:14, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
No. No. Not really. Template:Hat. "unconstructive bickering". Basically, I had made a poorly-considered side-proposal on a drama-board, the editor targeted made a string of comments that in retrospect I should have realized were deliberate filibustering/bait, and I kept responding. An editor who agreed with me on the substance closed of the subsection and told me it wasn't going anywhere and was distracting from the main proposal. After agreeing to that, I changed the summary to the default "Closed. Don't modify.". Another editor (who also agreed with both me and the collapser on the basic substance) reverted me and reinserted the summary. There was also a question of striking the word "bickering" but leaving the rest intact, but I wasn't actually aware of that until after posting the above. Not sure if that's relevant, as in that TPO does apply to removing a summary that already had a challenged element stricken, but perhaps not before the striking. (talk) 08:32, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
WP:TPO is a guideline, and that's all. Collapsing of unhelpful comments occurs all the time. It's impossibe to give precise guidelines about things like that because, as mentioned above, it all depends. Sometimes other editors revert collapsing, and sometimes there is an edit war over the issue. Sensible editors know when they have been dragged into something unconstructive and are quite happy to have someone collapse it. At any rate, it is very rarely desirable to object to collapsing unless the person doing it is clearly disruptive in other ways. Johnuniq (talk) 09:03, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Johnuniq I agree with that J, however I'm not sure you addressed the issue in the opening post. As I hear the OP, they are not questioning the fact of the collapse but rather the words used to go along with it. For example
{{Collapse top|This is a friggin' STUPID example}} might be objectionable whereas
{{Collapse top|This example is off topic}} might not be
But then there's the question "So what?" Is that a disagreement worth spending time on? I agree with the thrust of Johnuniq's comment. If we're going to get upset about the words used in the collapse, barring major problem under BLP THREAT NPA etc, then we're going 'way off the real issue How do we improve the article. Maybe we should create WP:Unconstructive bickering as a redirect that points to WP:DROPSTICK. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:04, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

Limit FAQ in talk pages to non-contested material?

I've often thought that FAQs on talk pages are a loophole to put in what should be article content without subjecting it to the requirements and process of / for article content. I'm thinking of this with respect to both regular articles and policy and guideline pages. Would it be good to say that FAQ content requires a particularly strong consensus to go in or remain in?

North8000 (talk) 13:51, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

No. Why give people another thing to argue over? If a FAQ really bothers you and your edits are reverted and talk page discussion is unproductive, hold an RfC. Johnuniq (talk) 00:39, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
The first case that came to mind was where there was essentially article material that was questionable and unsourced. I.E. a way to circumvent wp:ver. North8000 (talk) 05:04, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Agree we should clarify; FAQs are defined as a "subpage" of an article or talk page. Under discussion is the latter case, i.e., when the FAQ is attached to the talk page. As a subpage of the talk page the existing general rule about maintaining policy on talk pages should also apply to any subpages.... such as a FAQNewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:56, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Probably should be treated more like a part of the article rather than as talk. FAQ's are an embedded part of the article. BTW my raising this here is not due to any issues that I'm currently involved at. But there were a few instances in the past that led me to notice this loophole. One was an article where I ended up being the peacemaker in a range war. Folks were in essence putting contested article-space type statements into the FAQ where the normal standards for inclusion do not apply. But if we were to say that article space rules fully apply to FAQ's that could create a mess. North8000 (talk) 14:14, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Using "what links here" it seems Template:FAQ is linked by about 320 talk pages and....wait for it..... zero articles. The template documentation seems to say it can be a subpage of an article, but this "feature" is not currently in use, apparently. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 02:54, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Well, the good news is that on a talk page it allows useful summarization on those questions that would be forbidden as synthesis on the article page. The bad news is that the talk page provides a lower bar for inclusion (in the "permanent" text) and retention of contested material. So something that would give the best of both worlds would be my "particularly strong consensus" idea. North8000 (talk) 05:24, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
You've suggested we write some new rules, but writing rules is hard. At issue, presently, is only about 320 pages (if I researched it correctly). If you then look at page views for these faq pages I bet they get almost no traffic, and easier than writing rules might be to find the FAQ with the most traffic and just improve its contents the old fashioned way. Then again, I suppose depending on formatting a person might look at some FAQ answers as part of the talk page, so we may not be able to determine traffic volume very easily. But I'm sticking by my guess that traffic at these things is low. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 08:19, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
I just looked back at an article that I've not looked at in years and the FAQ is a massively-overeaching O/R fest (that many sources would disagree with) on topics that belong in article space. But I don't want to "start something" by pointing people to it. I just thought that a small tweak in the wording e.g. "Content in talk page FAQ's should be un-contested or at least have a particularly strong consensus"; would be helpful on that "loophole" which allows putting in "article" type content in a "permanent" authoritative-looking place in without it even being subject to article content policies. I would be happy to discuss my idea further but otherwise do not plan to further push my idea. So all should feel free to let this fade out and I would not mind. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 14:14, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Minds may disagree if this is WP:CREEP but either way, since there are only 320 talk pages with faqs and you've ruled out tackling their content head on, I'm opposed to adding language beyond the general principles already stated in the thread above. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:40, 15 February 2017 (UTC) PS and if anyone does embark on a FAQ cleanup I'm not quite persuaded that we need new language to support such an effort. I'm willing to listen to new arguments, though. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:42, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

And/or considered harmful

The text of this Wikipedia guideline contains the and/or expression which is prohibited per WP:MOS. We must change "and/or" to "or". Παναγιώτης Κελεπούρης (talk) 18:22, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Where in the MOS? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:34, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
  Done per MOS:ANDOR, the offending conjunction at WP:EXHAUST has been changed to plain "or": Noyster (talk), 21:30, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
I usually adhere to MOS:ANDOR, but I don't consider "and/or" harmful. It also is not prohibited, as Παναγιώτης Κελεπούρης claims. MOS is a guideline and it states "avoid." Also, I don't think it applies to our policies and guidelines. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:02, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Agree. Alanscottwalker (talk) 02:26, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Yeah. There are contexts where there is no other construction that will unambiguously convey the intended meaning. It's not graceful writing, and it can almost always be avoided in articles, but it's not necessarily a problem in project namespace. I actually find the offending sentence hard to read both before and after "and/or" got the chop; the "at once" bit trips me up much more than the choice of conjunction(s). RivertorchFIREWATER 04:34, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
The term fills a logical "hole" / missing word in our language. My guess is that it will end up in the dictionary in a few years. North8000 (talk) 11:55, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
My, aren't you prescient? You not only predicted the future; you advanced it to the present. Why couldn't you have written, "My guess is that Rivertorch will win millions in the lottery in a few years"? RivertorchFIREWATER 17:07, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
I'll give it a try: Rivertorch is going to win a big lottery within a few years.  :-) North8000 (talk) 18:17, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
  Undone since this discussion has in the meantime deemed the usage appropriate.Tvx1 18:28, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

When an editor reverts your talk page message

What is the best way to respond to this? A well-established editor removes content a misuses a script from a featured article. I post a polite message on the editor's talk page, and it is quickly reverted with an inappropriate edit summary. For a new editor, I wouldn't care, but when the editor has tens of thousands of edits after several years, this type of action is unnecessary. Obviously, this isn't anything worthy filing a dispute for, but I am tempted to follow-up with the editor, while wanting to stay civil. Any feedback would be appreciated. –Dream out loud (talk) 11:31, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

@Dream out loud: It's not a crime. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 17:01, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
@Dream out loud: You mean this? I template the regulars. Bury non-compliant editors under a pile of warnings, make a case for AN, and send them packing. There is not one sort of justice for editors with 5 edits versus editors with 50,000 edits. Disruptive editing is disruptive editing. That said, if someone doesn't want you posting on their talk page, try not to. Sometimes we just have to stay out of each other's way.Chris Troutman (talk) 17:33, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

How to start a clear discussion

I never visited this project talk page before, so I can give this a try. I thought I fully understood the spirit of the guideline. However, over the years, the way I start discussions may lead to confusion or befuddlement, like one discussion I made. Therefore, I forced myself to be clearer and clearer, like starting another discussion about the same thing. I have done in a discussion about another subject. If I start a discussion about something complex, must I do three or five paragraphs for comprehension? Also, how many paragraphs if I want to discuss something simple? If one paragraph, how must a paragraph be? George Ho (talk) 05:44, 26 March 2017 (UTC)

If the best way to organize the material is with three or five paragraphs, then that sounds good to me. Seriously, just do it. Learn as you go. Accept feedback and try to have a thick skin (don't shoot back if anyone is rude) NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:03, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. BTW, must I be fully honest when starting the discussion, such as providing motive and evidence for starting the discussion? George Ho (talk) 02:25, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
It needs to make sense; whatever you say needs to be honest; you are not obligate to say everything but beware of lying through ommission. This place - in theory - works on trust. At controversial articles and sometimes with certain eds thats hard to come by, so you try to keep your own house in order without being so uptight about it you can't do productive work. For some related reading see WP:Gaming the system and WP:Wikilawyer NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 02:31, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

Receiving messages about being careful

Why do I receive messages that tell me to be more careful? Is being bold or discussing things more effective? For the latest message, I don't know why sometimes a discussion is necessary, but I reluctantly discuss things, including minor ones like tenses, to avoid conflicts. Is being an editor more about improving things or discussing things with others first to improve things? Or... I don't know why I feel frustrated by receiving constant messages about being careful. --George Ho (talk) 21:15, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

@George Ho: You're asking on the wrong page, you should be asking the three different users who made those posts; and see the box at the top "Do not ask general questions on this page." also that presented when you are editing here "Do not post general inquiries here. This area is for discussing the talk page guidelines themselves."
However, the word "careful" does not occur in any of those three posts. Indeed, the only use of the word on that page is in your post of 14:03, 19 April 2017 (UTC). --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 23:45, 22 April 2017 (UTC)


As we can see with this edit, Sangdeboeuf attempted to extend the initial sentence of the introduction to all Wikipedia talk pages, and Chris troutman objected, suggesting that Sangdeboeuf bring the matter to this talk page. With this edit, Sangdeboeuf removed the following: "When talk pages in other namespaces and userspaces are used for discussion and communication between users, the same norms will usually apply." Sangdeboeuf changed it to "These norms also apply to talk pages in other namespaces (such as Project namespace) as well as userspaces.", and moved it to after the initial two sentences. I objected with this edit (followup note here) because the initial two sentences are about "provid[ing] space for editors to discuss changes to its associated article or project page" and letting us know that "[a]rticle talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views on a subject." So what are the norms that this piece is referring to? It seems to be stating that user pages/talk pages should not air editors' personal views. But, like I noted when partially reverting Sangdeboeuf, we are mainly concerned with article talk pages. Not with what editors do on their own talk pages, unless they are violating WP:BLP or WP:POLEMIC. Many editors put their personal views on their user page/talk page. I've certainly put mine on my user page/talk page, including my views on Wikipedia. Unless I am indefinitely blocked or banned someday, no one can validly take those personal views down, and certainly not by pointing to this guideline. So to get across what is meant when it comes to user talk pages, I added a bit from the "User talk pages" section in the guideline, and this is that "all discussion should ultimately be directed solely toward the improvement of the encyclopedia." When it comes to user talk pages, it isn't always, obviously. But I feel that this wording is clearer and less strict than "These norms also apply to talk pages in other namespaces (such as Project namespace) as well as userspaces." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 22:34, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

With this edit, NewsAndEventsGuy objected to my addition, stating "unclear the standing text was deficient, and new text always invites new arguments about what it means. Lets talk first to be sure something needs fixing." I reverted the text to before Sangdeboeuf's changes, and noted with a dummy edit that I didn't add new text; I merely repeated some existing text in the introduction. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 22:39, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

I don't have a dog in this fight. I am opposed to individual editors being bold and changing the wording of policies or guidelines without consensus. I expect status quo ante to remain absent a new consensus of more than just a handful of editors. Chris Troutman (talk) 22:41, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
As some know, that's how I feel about editors changing our policies and guidelines...unless the change is not significant. I only made the edit I did because no one else had reverted Sangdeboeuf, and I felt that my text (which was already existing text) was clearer and less strict. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:11, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Disclaimer, I did the initial revert. Further study and the explaination above persuade me it is a good change. I'd like to add that the old version did not encompass user talk discussion about editor behavior. While discussing user talk, the old version mentioned "these same norms" but in that version "these same norms" refers to improvements to articles or projects. Arguably, editor behavior lies outside that scope, but is certainly within the scope of the much improved version, calling for usertalk discussions to be generally for the benefit of the project. That new language also makes room for the friendly exchanges and banter that has nothing to do with improving our text, but has everything to do with building our community, so that seems to be included in the new text too. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 01:51, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
It seems you support the change I made, correct? Yeah, I see what you mean. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:16, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
That's right... after further thought your change does seem to better describe our actual practice. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:08, 26 April 2017 (UTC) PS Flyer22 Reborn (talk · contribs) OK by me if you want to restore my revert, unless Chris troutman (talk · contribs) or another user has some logical reasoning to oppose it. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:41, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Okay, restored. I would have restored earlier, but I've been absent from editing for days. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:14, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Regarding this, I think "also ultimately" is included lower in the guideline because of what you stated about "usertalk discussions [generally being] for the benefit of the project [and the] new language mak[ing] room for the friendly exchanges and banter that has nothing to do with improving our text, but has everything to do with building our community." If we're being honest, many discussions on user talk pages concern discussions that are not about improving whatever article or even about improving Wikipedia, but rather consist of editors being collegial with one another while discussing their daily life. At times, these discussions concern improving a Wikipedia article or Wikipedia in general. So maybe "improvement of the encyclopedia" should be changed to "improvement of the encyclopedia and its community," or something like that, to be clearer about what we mean by "the encyclopedia." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:52, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Why are you guys continously reverting my changes made to an actress

I have made changes regarding Tunisha sharma and her age. Also have given a credible reference of newspaper article to it which mentions her age is 15 YR old. and she is studying in 9th..but editors simply revert it. Why are editors hell bent in reverting even when we give reliable source which mentions the correct age of the actress. Check your facts (talk) 11:41, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Check your facts, if you're referring to this edit, please note that Famous Birthdays is not considered a reliable source (and it's definitely not "a newspaper article"). Please read through WP:RS and find a reliable source to verify your claims. Thanks. Primefac (talk) 11:48, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
This is not the venue to discuss articles. Discuss this on the article's talk page.Tvx1 13:50, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Images on talk pages

With this edit, Cambalachero added, "Non-free content can not be used at talk pages. If they are being discussed, they must be linked with a colon, as described, and If they are included for decorative purposes, they must be removed. "

But Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria states, "Non-free content is allowed only in articles (not disambiguation pages), and only in article namespace, subject to exemptions."

Thoughts? Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 06:17, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

I think you have found an error dating back to 2005 . The language you quoted is obviously flawed because all articles are in article name space . This redundancy appeared In this edit. Prior to that time the text said Non- free images may only be used in article namespace, period. That text gave the green light to article talk pages. the extra text saying " only in articles " was probably intended to preclude disambiguation pages, since an explanatory parenthetical comes right after the quoted " only in articles". Seems like the only way to really resolve this for purposes of these guidelines as to attempt to fix this problem on the guideline for non-free use . But that does seem worth doing since the confusion here appears to be the result of a clerical mistake in the diff I provided. It should probably read " only an article name space , excluding disambiguation pages . NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 07:15, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Articles need not be in article space. They might be in User: space, or in Draft: space. Also, that text did not give the green light to article talk pages: article talk pages are in Talk: space - they are the talk pages for pages that are in article space, but they are not in article space themselves. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 09:42, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
oops, thanks for pointing out that an article talk page is not in article namespace.... WP:Namespaces. I hate not noticing when I am assuming! NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:28, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

Would someone please spell out the problem? Flyer22's OP includes two quotes:

  1. "Non-free content can not be used at talk pages ..."
  2. "Non-free content is allowed only in articles ... only in article namespace ..."

These statements seem to agree. The first is spelling out a consequence of the second, and the second has more detail (it's not just article talk pages where non-free content is prohibited). I regard "only in article namespace" as a redundant device to hose down wikilawyers who may argue they can copy an article to a user subpage and retain non-free content because it is no different from the "article". Indeed, Redrose64 gives that reasonable interpretation, although I would regard a copy of an article as different from the actual article. For example, article categories should be removed from copies of articles. Johnuniq (talk) 10:17, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

Let's put for example the lead image of The Avengers (2012 film). Writing [[File:TheAvengers2012Poster.jpg]], without colon, displays the image. That's what can only be done in article namespace. Writing [[:File:TheAvengers2012Poster.jpg]], with a colon, generates a mere link to the image, File:TheAvengers2012Poster.jpg. That's just a link, and may be used anywhere. It is not the image itself, but just a software element to make reference to the filename used to store the file. Cambalachero (talk) 12:06, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

IP user talk page

I'd welcome other opinions on this edit.

It seems to me that it's not what the guideline intends at all. But in that, as far as I can tell, IP user talk pages are in namespace 3, the same as the talk pages of registered users, perhaps this needs clarification.

See Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#User: for some of the background to this. Andrewa (talk) 05:11, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

@Andrewa: It's explicitly prohibited by WP:REMOVED, fourth bullet. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 08:05, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
So it is! Thank you. Andrewa (talk) 08:24, 26 June 2017 (UTC)


I believe we should codify in these guidelines that WP:DTTR is not sufficient grounds to justify removal of a post on a talk page other than your own. Though DTTR is often treated as a policy or guideline, it isn't one, there's an antithetical one called Wikipedia:Do template the regulars, and user warnings are specifically written to not be personal attacks. Thoughts? pbp 14:03, 11 August 2017 (UTC)

WP:DTTR is just an essay, which can be boiled down to "templates often treat the editor as brand new, and provide helpful links - regular editors (should) already know about all the links and what's expected of them, so treating them otherwise isn't the best idea". Regardless of if someone agrees or disagrees with DTTR, it does not give grounds to remove a post from a talk page other than your own -- There'sNoTime (to explain) 14:15, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
Except that's not what DTTR means. It means don't assume an experienced editor is some cluebag who needs a warning and is probably doing something stupid or wicked; take a moment to read their edit summary, look at the page history, think about what they did and what experienced-editor reasons they might have had, and if it still seems wrong-head, have the courtesy to ask them to explain, while you give context-specific reasons regarding your own concerns.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:13, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose See WP:CREEP. While I agree this is a correct reading of existing rules, observe that 3 of us read the existing rules as already frowning on third party talk page reverts of this sort. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:16, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
  • The arguments in WP:TTR are superior to the arguments in WP:DTTR. I have yet to see a single example of any editor (other than someone who recently misbehaved and didn't like being warned) who has read both and came to the opposite conclusion. --Guy Macon (talk) 08:27, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
    Well, meet one, and I'm not alone. TTR has its merits, but frankly they're weak. Templating the regulars is rude and lazy, and typically doesn't communicate enough information to facilitate resolution, and generally reduces things to false "do/do not" dichomtomies. Exceptions are notices that are required in order for some process to be invoked, e.g. {{Ds/alert}} (though that one needs to be WP:TNTed and redone since it almost invariably inspires panic and/or rage despite its intent) and {{uw-3rr}}; and various "high-level" warnings usually left by admins, e.g. an edit-warring template that warns of an impending block; and copyvio tags that point to specific nit-picky rules that many editors never really grok with fullness. Aside from special cases like that, I can't think of an instance of regulars-templating I've seen any time in the last year or two that wouldn't have been better done with a regular talk-page post. There're other reasons few of us do template the regulars. It often pisses people off and thus makes amicable and quick resolution much less likely; that's high on the list. If you leave a 10-year WP veteran some {{subst:uw-foo1}}, odds are you're making a mistake. Maybe not if you are intemperate and have a hard time writing a talk page without sounds like you're screaming. >;-)

    DTTR does have one serious flaw, the idea that templating disruptive noobs may seem like "impersonal bureaucratic processing". That's bogus, because noobs don't know what a template is; even after they find out, they don't which thing they're seeing is a substituted template and whether it's been customized. For noobs, it's better to use the templates because they've been crafted with "noob pointers" in mind.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:13, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

  • Agree this is unnecessary instruction creep. Pretty much no one removes template notices from other people's talk pages, and if one made a habit of it, we'd take them to WP:ANI for disruptive editing. Existing rules have this entirely covered. (I would equally oppose trying to codify DTTR ideas here, not just TTR ones. Essay stuff is almost always in an essay because it's subjective essay material.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:13, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

Very old talk pages

On old talk pages, I find some weird layouts.





What was that? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nixinova (talkcontribs) 20:42, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

A different style we don't use any more.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  14:13, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

Guidance against interleaving replies

Proposed text for introduction in "Editing others' comments" section:

"Generally you should not break up another editor's comment to reply to individual points. Interleaving comments like this confuses the layout of the page and obscures the original editor's intent, as well as potentially leaving text unsigned."

Version 2 of proposal (19:49, 14 August 2017 (UTC)):

"Generally you should not break up another editor's comment to reply to individual points. Mixing comments like this confuses the layout of the page and obscures the original editor's intent, as well as potentially leaving text unsigned. Instead, place your reply entirely below the original comment. You may wish to use the {{Talk quotation}} template to quote a portion of the material in question."

I have encountered a few times situations where to respond to seemingly itemized multiple points an editor interleaves their reply within the post they are replying to, for example as Andrewa did here (I'm inviting them to continue the discussion here out of courtesy). It may be particularly prone to happen when a post has bulleted points which I have seen a couple times and which made a real mess of the talk page. The biggest issue is that it leaves the original post's text broken up and without signatures. If signatures were added after the fact that would, to me, definitely constitute editing another's post and changing what they intended to convey and how they wanted it to look, without improving the clarity of formatting. I think instead the proper convention should be to say something like Regarding X, "Regarding X," whether X is a description or a numbered point in cases where there is one, or Quoted material: with the tq template, and to do this entirely below the post you are replying to. I am proposing that some guidance be added in this regard. —DIYeditor (talk) 00:26, 14 August 2017 (UTC) Edited to correct use of tq template. 19:08, 14 August 2017 (UTC) Updated with Version 2 of proposal. 19:49, 14 August 2017 (UTC) Underlined version 2. 02:06, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

The convention as I have followed it is not to break up existing paragraphs. It is in my experience easily learned and followed, and common elsewhere on the Internet. The indenting makes the authorship plain, and the interleaving makes the logic plain. Respecting others' paragraphs leaves their comments intact.
The proposed addition doesn't really make it clear that this is discouraged, and I'm not convinced it should be.
The convention I have followed is however easily messed up, either accidentally or deliberately, and when this happens it can get very messy.
I'd like a stronger statement on the mixing of colon and asterisk indenting. This is the most common way that the convention gets messed up, in my experience. Andrewa (talk) 01:02, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
No, please do not do that. Consider what might happen if someone wanted to reply to you, and then there was some back-and-forth. That leaves a dreadful mess. Talk pages are not just for the benefit of those currently participating who might know what is going on. In a year, people might want to work out why a particular decision was taken or not taken. Johnuniq (talk) 03:10, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
Exactly. But the mixing of asterix and colon indenting is depressingly common, and as you say often leaves a dreadful mess... I'll dig up some examples. Sometimes I suspect it is even deliberate rantstyle (I might not give examples of that as it raises behavioural issues) but other times it is, disappointingly, experienced and respected users, to the point I sometimes suspect I'm just being grumpy to criticise it. But if we could avoid it, it would greatly increase the value of the archives, as you say, as well as making it easier IMO to arrive at and assess consensus in the first place. Andrewa (talk) 06:34, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
This edit is a case in point - I fixed three problems there:
  1. blank lines, contrary to WP:INDENTGAP (and which incidentally I have also fixed in this edit);
  2. signature divorced from post by interspersed comments;
  3. markup symbols inconsistent between a post and its reply which caused the enumerated list to restart at 1 instead of continuing with 3.
Mixing the three styles (asterisk, colon and hash) is not a problem per se, the problem is when people mix them incorrectly. The general principle should be that if you reply to somebody, copy the markup from the start of their post, whatever combination of symbols that might be; and add one symbol (of any type) to the right hand end. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 09:01, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
Agree that the protocol proposed in the above post copy the markup from the start of their post, whatever combination of symbols that might be; and add one symbol (of any type) to the right hand end would work extremely well if followed consistently. But we need to deal with bold edits by inexperienced editors as well as considered edits by old hands, and as even the old hands often depart from the relatively simple current rule of Generally colons and asterisks should not be mixed for no obvious reason, there's reason to be very afraid of a new and more complex rule. I think on balance it would be worth a try. Andrewa (talk) 13:16, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
You know, Wikipedia possesses specific tools which allows one to reply to a specific section or paragraph of an other contributor's post. For instance, the template {{Talkquote}} allows one to quote the specific part of the post one wishes to reply to, complete with signature and linked timestamp, within one's own post below which one can then post one's own reply.Tvx1 17:21, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
Certainly... at the expense only of brevity. But that can also raise objections, in my experience. Andrewa (talk) 22:39, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Although long posts can be troubling in themselves, interrupting their flow to reply to a specific point takes any shortcoming with the fact its a long post and multiplies that by 10. So don't do that please. In the discussion I noticed two related and somewhat side issues to which I reply as follows -
Re A) on messy format.... see WP:SOFIXIT. These guidelines already encourage stand-alone edits that only clean up formatting problems. I usually do not do that with regulars unless I get their permission first. But for newbies, don't hesitate, just do it, and give them a friendly how-to-do-better-formatting note.
Re B) on replying point-by-point.... hopefully my comment here shows how I do this. If the long post does not include numbers or letters so you can reply that way, just give the point you want to reply to a letter or number and say what you wish after the longwinded editor's signature.
In closing, I think the suggestion to not insert comments in the middle is a good one, but I don't care for the word "interweave". My brain stopped cold, I had to think, it was an obstacle. Better to just use simple third grade language, something only a bit more refined than "Don't butt in line". NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:06, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps "Mixing comments" rather than "Interleaving comments"? And how about some additional guidance like: "Instead, place your reply entirely below the original comment." and perhaps "You may wish to use the Talk quotation template to quote a portion of the material in question." I agree that keeping it simple would be good but maybe some clear advice on what to do in addition to what not to do would help. —DIYeditor (talk) 19:19, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
Positive guidance, rather than negative, is greatly to be preferred. It is both far more likely to be effective and adheres to the spirit of wp:AGF. Andrewa (talk) 19:45, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't think those are side issues at all...
A) I would welcome strengthening the relevant guidelines to make that a bit clearer. In particular, In general... is vague. If the proposed more elaborate guideline (which is growing on me) is adopted, I hope the phrasing will be more to the point than that.
B) Yes, that works in cases like this. Another technique which I have employed is to start a new subsection on a particularly important point that is raised. I've received some criticism in the past for doing this, but generally from those who did not wish to hear what was said (at the risk of violating wp:AGF... sometimes the assumption wears a bit thin). Andrewa (talk) 19:45, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
Andrewa, as far as your A) on this this proposal maybe it should simply be "You should not" rather than "Generally". I wasn't sure if consensus would be behind a strong statement but it seems to be heading that direction. —DIYeditor (talk) 23:58, 14 August 2017 (UTC)

I must state that I cannot stand when an editor breaks up my comment to reply to individual parts. Any time that it is done, I either put my comment back the way it was or copy and paste my signature for each part of the broken up comment to make sure that others are not confused by who is commenting. And I ask the editor not to break up my comment like that again. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:33, 31 August 2017 (UTC)

  • Strongly oppose this proposal. (Placing this here, because the mess below is farcical and I decline to waste two hours trying to figure out some other place to put it.) The short version is: We have WP:REFACTOR for a reason. The long version: It's occasionally better to split up a long, muddled post that requires detailed answers to numerous unconnected questions/observations, into a series of separate points, sometimes even separate sections. This doesn't happen frequently, but there's nothing wrong with it when it does. Many of us have been doing it now and again for years, and rarely with any objection. The only trick is to copy-paste the original attribution to each of the now-separate bits so it remains clear who posted the original material. This comes up so infrequently, and more to the point is so unobjectionable when it does come up and is done sanely, that trying to add a rule about it is WP:CREEP. Especially when the "problem" identified is actually rare, random noobs doing it in a boneheaded way, for WP:POINTy reasons, and editwarring over it, not experienced editors in doing it in a sensible way, and letting it drop if they're reverted. This proposal is a throw-out-the-baby-with-the-bathwater approach. The rule proposed is simply wrong anyway, in that it defies accepted practice. The last thing we need is some kind of "'Tis forbidden to make talk pages actually make sense" rule, just to protect the interests of people who are unreasonably proprietary about the exact formatting of their posts. See also WP:NOT#BLOG and WP:OWN policies: you do not own the talk pages here, not even your own user talk page. So, consider this !vote a "Not just no, but hell no." Every time I see someone lose their shit about a refactor that actually made sense, I want to slap them for riding a WP:NOTHERE hobby horse, until they come to their senses, climb down, and get back to doing something constructive and collaborative instead of lubing up and stroking their own ego. (Usually, I make omphaloskepsis references instead thinly-veiled ones to masturbation, about matters like this, but "how dare you touch my precious post" conniption fits really cross the distasteful self-pleasuring-in-public line, and they really need to stop being treated by the community as if they're consistent with a collaborative editing project. They definitely are not.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:10, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Modifying comments already replied to

This edit rather surprised me... wouldn't it be better to raise it as a new post, with a heads-up? Andrewa (talk) 01:11, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

It's got a time stamp. Perhaps should have been underlined if it is not clear by the time stamp that it was a change. —DIYeditor (talk) 02:03, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it complies perfectly with the guideline on modifying your own comments (WP:REDACT) as far as I can see. But it seems to me far more confusing than my edit [8] which inspired this whole section. I think the indenting there makes the signatory of the original post quite transparent, but I concede there are other views on this. But I can't see how this edit can fail to tangle the logic of the discussion. The text to which I was replying is no longer there to see, you need to go into the page history to find it. How can that possibly be helpful? And yet it seemingly conforms to guidelines. Should it? Andrewa (talk) 04:10, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
Well, without software to manage talk page comments all we have are manually implemented guidelines. If users are to be able to edit their posts I think strike and insert work well enough, as well as the instruction to add a new timestamp when you've done it. On some forums where users can edit their posts the custom is to do something like "Edit: I did so and so" at the end of the edited post which I think is less clear than our strike/underscore method, but we also include a suggestion to offer an explanation if necessary in brackets. Or are you proposing that users not be able to edit posts once they are replied to? This is always an issue in forums; what it appears someone responded to may actually have been edited. Without strongly discouraging or prohibiting edits I don't see a way around it. My thinking was that it would be useful in that particular situation if the proposal were updated at the top which I believe I've seen done in other surveys. Maybe it would be useful to have clear guidance on that specific circumstance - what if you want to add another option to a survey. To me at the top makes sense as long as it is clearly marked as an edit with a time stamp. It also makes sense to include a "Survey" and "Threaded discussion" section which I wish I'd done to keep the two separate. Then any updates to the survey or !votes on it can be kept in the same area. —DIYeditor (talk) 06:22, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
Strike does not have appropriate semantics, see HTML5 documentation: The s element is not appropriate when indicating document edits; to mark a span of text as having been removed from a document, use the del element.; and underscore does not have any associated semantics. For accessibility reasons, we should be using <del>...</del> and <ins>...</ins> respectively, see HTML5 documentation. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 14:38, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
Tend to agree on that, but have seen debates about it. The chief objections to this interpretation are a) discussions are not documents, and (more importantly) b) <del> indicates material that has been removed or is too be removed, it does not indicate, e.g., changing ones mind, retracting an ill-thought sentiment, etc. – that is, it is intended as publication revision markup, only. I honestly don't put much stock in such semantic hair-splits, despite being a huge fan of semantic markup generally. The specs are vague (and contradict each other from version to version), there are damned near no semantic markup tags – there should be 100+ of them, but instead we have a handful that hardly anyone really cares about – and of the ones we do have, a bunch are arguably redundant and definitely disputed and disused (virtually no one agrees on WTF the exact distinctions are supposed to be between <code>, <samp>, and <kbd> in actual practice in various contexts, and consequently the last two are mostly ignored).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:21, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
There is no issue at all in modifying comments already replied to, unless it would invalidate something in a later comment. Even then, it's not problematic unless the change isn't annotated in some clear way. There are many ways to do that, e.g. with <del>...</del> (or <s>...</s>) and <ins>...</ins> markup, or by adding a [bracketed editorial change], or adding a note at the end of the post about changes and when/why they were made, or adding a reply to a post that indicates you changed the original comment (or proposal or whatever it was) in response to the objection that someone raised, or ... insert several other variations here. WP:ENC is not served in any way, at all, by trying to legislate exactly which of these methods people must use or whether they're permitted to use any at all. WP:NOT#FORUM and doesn't need any forum rules or forum moderators dictating posting style to people.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:10, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Version 2


"Generally you should not break up another editor's comment to reply to individual points. Mixing comments like this confuses the layout of the page and obscures the original editor's intent, as well as potentially leaving text unsigned. Instead, place your reply entirely below the original comment. You may wish to use the {{Talk quotation}} template to quote a portion of the material in question."

1) Replaces "interleaving" with "mixing" per NewsAndEventsGuy's concern. 2) Adds a brief description of what to do in addition to what not to do. 3) A question from Andrewa is whether this should start with "Generally you should not" or stronger wording like "You should not". I thought the stronger wording may not cover every possible situation which is why I started with "Generally". 4) I felt that only a brief mention of the quote template that is most often used would be best and we should avoid putting a detailed style guide for replying in the "Editing others' comments section", but conceivably we could start a new section about quoting/replying. It could for example cover numbering or lettering points (if that's not obvious) and {{Talkquote}} (a different template from {{Talk quotation}}). That is more than I wanted to get into originally and even if that were added I think a statement in the "Editing others' comments section" against splitting another editor's post would still be appropriate. —DIYeditor (talk) 03:09, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

It's rearranging deckchairs. The more we look at the guideline the worse it gets, see #Modifying comments already replied to. Total rewrite required, incorporating the "add one of anything to the right" suggestion for more sophisticated users, and a far simpler protocol for beginners, example-based. And I still think that a brief interspersed comment is helpful on occasions, but I will of course go with the consensus on this. Andrewa (talk) 04:19, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
There may be some issues with this page as far as providing enough detail but I think the main places to address that are Help:Using talk pages and Wikipedia:Indentation (and any other topic specific locations). Providing examples and detailed style guides here would totally change the nature of the page. It is supposed to be dos and don'ts more than detailed instructions. We can make sure the reader is pointed in the right direction for more information. —DIYeditor (talk) 06:00, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
This proposal is a very welcome clarification. But I'm concerned that it is sufficiently severe in its impact as to require wider discussion. As it stands it seeks to ban or at least discourage what is a very common and IMO clear and helpful convention, one that is long in use far beyond Wikipedia. But this is a convention that I acknowledge is poorly documented on Wikipedia and often ignored here, leading to some very messy talk pages. Andrewa (talk) 17:30, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose this just as much as the original, for the same reasons. Andrewa's "seeks to ban or at least discourage what is a very common and IMO clear and helpful convention, one that is long in use far beyond Wikipedia" is spot on. The fact that some talk pages are messes is a) a problem of us not having good software for doing talk pages (and meta:Flow is hardly an improvement, causing more problems than it resolves), b) easily fixed by refactoring – the very tool which is occasionally abused to make a mess is the same tool that enables us to clean it up (and to do many other useful things). PS: If you've ever been around someone who religiously uses {{Talk quotation}} and similar templates, you realize very quickly how annoying it is, and how much space and editorial reading time it wastes. We definitely should not be encouraging increased use of it; it's for quoting when it seems really, really necessary to do so to avoid confusion. Which is, incidentally, the rational for refactoring in various ways like the one under discussion here. Leave options option, don't mandate them, don't ban them.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:10, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Anchors (Version 3?)

@Andrewa, DIYeditor, NewsAndEventsGuy, Tvx1, Redrose64, and Johnuniq: In replying to or commenting on points in preceding comments, I have occasionally inserted anchors in those comments and linked to them. This way there is no need to quote in full the point I am responding to. More than that, when the discussion is already long and complex, with many replies-to-replies-to-replies-..., a reader can find the point being replied to without a potentially long and distracting search: for example, aXXXX this reference to Andrewa's comment about the "dreadful mess" that can result from mixing asterisk and colon listing. And unlike interleaving, anchors do not affect the display at all, but are visible only in edit mode.

I guess I'm making a proposal for a better (imho) way of replying to specific comments without interleaving or necessarily quoting, so I'm adding "Version 3" to my section header. I'm not ready to turn this into a guideline proposal, so I invite you all to please have a go at it (thus the question mark).

Please {{Ping}} me to discuss. --Thnidu (talk) 18:23, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

Thnidu, I have never used anchors in that way but can't see any reason not to. I instead use a diff to refer to the comment to which I am replying, but generally quote the relevant text in italics as well.
There are many acceptable ways of structuring a discussion.
I have been involved in Internet discussions since before public ISPs were available in Australia (we used permanent dialups to form APANA that's redlink and shouldn't be, see I see it still exists, and before that there was FidoNet which also still exists of course), and was frankly astounded that the interleaving that provoked this discussion caused anyone any stress or confusion at all. My belief was (and is) that this convention is still the most common and easily followed method of structuring a complex discussion on the Internet generally. Many if not most email clients provide it automatically.
But some do have problems with it obviously. So the questions are (1) is there a better way and (2) can and should our guidelines be improved (one way or the other depending on the answer to (1)).
I have had experience before with people objecting to this convention, but previously it has always been in the context of the low-level disruption I call ranting... for example, some users will punctuate a long post with p HTML tags or with no paragraph breaks at all. Either tactic prevents interleaving, and in my opinion should be discouraged for exactly that reason. Andrewa (talk) 22:48, 27 August 2017 (UTC)
You would not be astounded that many editors find interleaving to be disruptive if you had observed discussions where they were common, and where it was necessary to refute the interleaved comments. If people cannot make their point in a digestible manner they should not comment. A comment has to be made in a way that replies to the comment could reasonably occur. Further, discussions are not just for the benefit of the current participants; future editors may need to review old discussions to see why certain conclusions were reached. Johnuniq (talk) 23:06, 27 August 2017 (UTC)
Strongly agree with most of this.
The attempt to personalise this discussion (read the link, and discuss the contribution not the contributor please) is just plain ridiculous, as you would know had you bothered to do any check of my edit history. Enough of that please.
And I'm afraid I remain astounded. Refutation of the interleaved comments is exactly what the convention makes easy and transparent, and easy for others to follow later. Of course there comes a point where indentation is excessive, but for the first two or three indents it works very well. If it goes beyond that, probably best to start a new subsection, IMO... or outdent sometimes works well, sometimes not.
But for the rest, good points all, and I think they support the proper use of interleaved comments in Wikipedia, for the same reasons as it is standard practice elsewhere. Andrewa (talk) 23:29, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
@Andrewa and Johnuniq: How do you even find relevant comments in a long and heavily interleaved discussion? Especially if they're not “addressed” with {{ping}} (or one of its numerous aliases), or with simple linked mention as in {{u|Susannah Q. User}}.
In a long discussion, it is hard work to follow the threads at the best of times, and from time to time users even use this to advantage. But is there any doubt what I'm replying to here? Does it make the above post look unsigned, or this one? I don't think so. But then I'm an old hand at this, since long before Wikipedia.
So I propose to add a brief description of this anchoring method, explicitly stating that this is not a guideline but an available alternative to interleaving. If there are no strong objections I will do so. Please {{Ping}} me to discuss. --Thnidu (talk) 18:30, 30 August 2017 (UTC)
I have no objection at all, provided it is not claimed that this is a preferred method. But I still have doubts that interleaving should be in any way discouraged. See this two-part reply as an example of a case in which I think it works well. How would you make the logic clearer? Is it necessary to do so?
But we do I think need to update the guidelines to give some help to new hands who have not seen it done previously. In particular, it's not standard practice on mobile devices AFAIK. There may even be an argument to discourage it for the benefit of mobile users, I'm not one so I would not know.
On conventional web browsers it works well IMO, if properly done. Here we're now five levels deep (perhaps we should recommend a limit to the depth of indenting), so pushing the limits, but it still works well on my browser.
Thnidu, pinging as requested. But I'm surprised that is necessary... do you use watchlist and contributions? Andrewa (talk) 22:15, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

Sorry, Andrewa. Yes, I do use them. The trouble is that on some pages that have many unrelated discussions going simultaneously, like the Teahouse, I get too many notifications about edits on topics I'm not interested in. This page is not such, but the habit stuck with me. Also, as I believe I mentioned above, navigating such a long discussion as this on a smartphone creates other difficulties. --Thnidu (talk) 23:02, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

Making the articles available to mobile users is definitely a good thing. I am yet to be convinced that mobile editing of articles or discussions is a good thing overall. It has obvious advantages but there seem to be some drawbacks to it. Andrewa (talk) 02:47, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
@Andrewa: Edits like this are precisely the problem we are trying to avoid. Without knowledge of that specific edit diff, can anybody tell from the above thread that the paragraph beginning "In a long discussion, it is hard work to follow the threads at the best of times" was not written by Thnidu (talk · contribs)? It's misattribution, plain and simple. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 08:25, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
QED. EEng 14:08, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
This is the heart of the matter, and apologies if I offended anyone by this post, but I did so as an example, and it's proving to be a good one.
Yes, I think that the indentation makes it quite obvious that the paragraph in question was written by me and not by Thnidu. I can't see how anyone can miss it, in fact. But obviously you have difficulty following the thread, so we need to do something. If there's consensus that interleaving is to be discouraged, then of course I'll abide by that decision. But I think it's the wrong way to go.
Strongly disagree that it is misattribution. That is over the top. There is no intent to mislead, and the convention I'm using is clear and unambiguous. The problem is just that some people apparently have difficulty in following it. Andrewa (talk) 14:18, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
(Thnidu here.) Between the 2 paragraphs of one of my comments, andrewa inserted a paragraph including the question
But is there any doubt what I'm replying to here? Does it make the above post look unsigned, or this one? I don't think so. But then I'm an old hand at this, since long before Wikipedia.
Redrose64 responded
Without knowledge of that specific edit diff, can anybody tell from the above thread that the paragraph beginning "In a long discussion, it is hard work to follow the threads at the best of times" was not written by Thnidu (talk · contribs)?
To which I will add: Yes, as a matter of fact, it does leave the preceding paragraph (not "post", since your [​andrewa​] paragraph interrupted my post) not just "look" unsigned but be unsigned, since your interposition separated that paragraph from my signature. And your paragraph there is also unsigned, since the reader must scroll five paragraphs down to find your signature. You could have avoided the latter problem by typing four tildes after your interruption, but the "un-signing" of my first paragraph would be much harder to fix, if at all doable. And we certainly couldn't rely on new users, who often neglect to sign their own posts, to handle such complications.
As you say, you're an old hand at this, and that's part of the reason for our differences here. In such conversations finding the correct attributions is not a simple task at all. To make an analogy, being an experienced driver does not qualify one to teach driving, and one reason is that there are so many actions that by now are reflexive and unconscious to the "old hand" that they need to learn that the novice needs to consciously learn the stimuli (e.g., car a short distance in front suddenly hits the brakes) and responses (brake immediately but not hard at first, while checking side view, mirror and corner-of-eye direct, to see if it's safe to swerve that way; if not, check other side while braking harder). --Thnidu (talk) 16:24, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
You say that Yes, as a matter of fact, it does leave the preceding paragraph (not "post", since your... paragraph interrupted my post) not just "look" unsigned but be unsigned, since your interposition separated that paragraph from my signature. And your paragraph there is also unsigned, since the reader must scroll five paragraphs down to find your signature.
That is true if but only if we ignore the indenting and interleaving convention, correct?
Or conversely, if we do not ignore the convention, that statement is quite simply false, is it not? The signatures are intact provided the convention is understood to apply here.
Agree with many of the points made in that post. But some of them are splitting hairs and ignoring the issue. We have had this convention for many years. You (and others) want to change it. That's the issue. And there may be a case.
But it seems to me that it would be much easier to discuss this and seek consensus on this if we followed the convention for now. I am refraining from doing so, reluctantly but at your implicit request. It seems to me for example that this series of edits let to an impenetrable mess and the points you make there could have been far better presented, and more easily answered, by using the indenting convention with interleaving.
I have problems with this recent edit (not by you) too, but perhaps that's enough for now. Andrewa (talk) 00:14, 1 September 2017 (UTC)
How many experienced editors have disagreed with the views you have expressed on this page, and how many have agreed (put me down in the former group)? Your "recent edit" link shows Redrose64 reverting a change to their comment—why would you "have problems" with basic common sense? That is indeed enough for now, and actually it is enough forever at Wikipedia. Please do not refactor other people's comments to suit your style, and definitely do not break-up other people's comments with interleaving that the community has rejected. Johnuniq (talk) 03:41, 1 September 2017 (UTC)
@Andrewa: You have problems with my recent edit to my slightly-less recent post when all I did was restore my intended version to how it had been as I had left it in my immediately-previous edit to this page? Get out of here.
There is an indenting convention, but occasionally people will use one symbol (colon or otherwise) too many (or one too few), perhaps as a simple typo. Sometimes, in a post having three (or more) indented paragraphs they will indent one of the intermediate paragraphs to one level deeper than the rest, again perhaps it's a typo, or perhaps it's to emphasise it. Maybe they want to indicate that it has been copied from elsewhere: not everybody uses (or is aware of) tags like <blockquote>...</blockquote> or templates like {{tq}}. It might be an example of proposed wording for some guideline or other, there are at lease three such instances on this page alone. So the extra indent level of one paragraph will not necessarily indicate that the particular paragraph was added by somebody other than the person who added the ones above and below. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 10:15, 1 September 2017 (UTC)
Agree that when the convention is not followed it causes problems. Disagree that this is a problem with the convention. Andrewa (talk) 15:21, 1 September 2017 (UTC)
In fact this edit above may be a classical example. It appears by the content to be replying to me, but by the indentation it appears to be replying to the post immediately above it. Probably it is simply indented one level too many. But best not to fix it now that I've replied to it.
That's not necessarily the fault of the convention. But perhaps the convention can be made clearer (either by simplifying it or documenting it more clearly or both) so that such mistakes can be reduced. Andrewa (talk) 02:44, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
@Andrewa: You're darned right it was a reply to you. It should have been obvious from my use of the phrase "You have problems with my recent edit" which was a straight person-reversal of your phrase "I have problems with this recent edit", and since that was an edit that I had made, I am clearly the person involved. Don't claim that you didn't know that.
Now, it is clear to several people here that you are getting tedious: therefore, it is time for you to WP:DROPTHESTICK. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 09:07, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
Not quite sure what you're getting at in the first paragraph. Yes, I understood it as a reply to me, and my post did refer to your edit, explicitly, I can't see where I claimed not to know that. It's just the indenting that is wrong, and I wondered whether that might even be deliberate, to prove a point. Was it? (Redundant signature added to allow interleaving.) Andrewa (talk) 19:55, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
As to the second paragraph, see #Where to 2. Andrewa (talk) 19:55, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
@Andrewa: I'm fed up with trying to explain things to you. You seem quite unable to link a reply back to its question. Or are you being deliberately difficult, pretending not to understand in the hope that I will switch to using interleaved replies? It ain't gonna work, feller. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 22:15, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
I'm certainly not trying to be disruptive, and if you think I am then the place to raise it is on my user talk page, not here.
And I'm finding it a bit frustrating too. You seem to see a problem with this edit. But what exactly is the problem?
Yes, I did add a redundant signature as an experiment, to see whether you or anyone else would like to try interleaving. Was there any harm in that? And, with this redundant signature in place, would there have been any harm in interleaving? I'm not really surprised you didn't, but I think it would have done you no harm to try it.
But I'm not being deliberately difficult, pretending not to understand. I'm assuming good faith on your part and think you should do the same for me.
And I still do not understand what you're getting at in the first paragraph, and you seem to have made no attempt to explain. You said You're darned right it was a reply to you. It should have been obvious from my use of the phrase "You have problems with my recent edit" which was a straight person-reversal of your phrase "I have problems with this recent edit", and since that was an edit that I had made, I am clearly the person involved. Don't claim that you didn't know that. In reverse order, I did know that, and made no claim not to. Yes, it was clearly an edit you had made, and it was your reply to me, and I said that too, and so your indenting was incorrect. Wasn't it? We all make mistakes. Let's get back to the issues. Andrewa (talk) 01:53, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
Four subsections, four sub-subsections, and 70K have been invested in this. Care to go for 70K more? EEng 02:13, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
[not being very precise about indent level, per WP:DGAF] The only reason Andrewa's examples of interleaving above were confusing/objectionable is because he didn't copy-paste the original attribution from the end of the comment (now the last of the "commentlets") so that each "commentlet" identified the author. Various off-WP threaded messaging systems auto-ID who the poster of what is; they typically do this at the top instead of the bottom, but that's an irrelevant difference. That's not to say that someone being a total ass couldn't, possibly, do disruptive interleaving, e.g. by breaking every sentence up into two-word fragment and venting about each one in turn. But that would be disruptive bullshit which we'd revert and if they did it habitually, they'd be ANI'd and be made to stop or get blocked. So, not a real problem. Don't engage in "terriblizing", i.e. don't optimize for the "possible" but for the probable and the usual and the reasonable, because there is no limit in the imagination to how terrible and world-ending the theoretically possible can be. If we all just terriblized, the project would have failed the first month. WP:AGF is a policy for a reason, and "assuming clue" (don't we have an essay on that?) is also good advice almost all of the time. Those without clue get one quickly, or they get ejected (WP:CIR).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:25, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
Plenty of us use the anchor method. There is no rule against it, there is no need for a rule to use it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:10, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Current guidelines

From above: Please do not refactor other people's comments to suit your style, and definitely do not break-up other people's comments with interleaving that the community has rejected. [9]

I have no intention of doing any of that, I still think that a brief interspersed comment is helpful on occasions, but I will of course go with the consensus on this. [10] But there are several suppositions there that I want to question.

The main one is that as far as I can see the guidelines do not currently ban interleaving, so I think it's over the top to claim the the community has rejected it. But agree that the editors involved in this discussion, apart from myself, are strongly of the opinion that it should be banned completely. I suggest therefore that an RfC should be raised with a specific proposal to do so. I think this discussion has probably gone as far as it can.

I will probably oppose this RfC, depending exactly what it says and what arguments are advanced. But if it succeeds then as said above I'll abide by it of course. I may find it difficult to walk the line between allowing others to ignore this new consensus and being pointy in enforcing a ruling I don't agree with! But cross that bridge when we come to it. Hopefully we can reach a strong consensus, that will help a lot. Andrewa (talk) 20:19, 1 September 2017 (UTC)

How about if you stop wasting everyone's time and drop this? EEng 20:23, 1 September 2017 (UTC)
Agree this has gone about as far as it can. Disagree it was a waste of time, and there are still a few things to tidy up, see below. Andrewa (talk) 17:07, 2 September 2017 (UTC)
I was wrong about it having gone about as far as it can, you have now significantly changed or clarified your position below as to the changes you would like to current guidelines, and perhaps we can also make progress with the question of what they currently say, see #Where to 2 below. Andrewa (talk) 19:28, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
This recent "my way or the highway" change to the wording in the actual guideline should be reverted if it hasn't been already.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:10, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Where to now

There's obviously no desire above to test consensus on this at an RfC. There's a clear majority wanting to ban interleaving completely, but this is not the same thing as a consensus. It's not a head count, despite a recent edit summary suggesting one.

The argument seems to be that they just don't like it. Claims that this well-established convention misrepresents the original post and/or violates existing guidelines are unsubstantiated, IMO.

But obviously, these editors can boldly change the guideline and under the 3RR I can't singlehandedly stop them... and so I won't even revert once. I may support others who do, and cross that bridge when we come to it.

It would be good to clarify the guideline, but obviously I don't think that we should change it to ban interleaving. Rather it should be explicitly permitted, and some restrictions considered to control its abuse, and the abuse of indenting in general, particularly to accommodate mobile users. That's just my view of course.

I will try to avoid interleaving comments in posts made by editors who object to the practice, as I have above (with one exception deliberately used as an example). Perhaps we should set up some sort of register, either opt-in or opt-out, so that editors like me who like the practice can use it without offending those who don't.

Apart from that we may be finished here. If so we can let the discussion archive in due course. Thanks to all who have contributed. Andrewa (talk) 17:07, 2 September 2017 (UTC)

Do not avoid interleaving comments in posts made by editors who object to the practice. Just do not do it, period. If you want, create an infoboxuserbox that only you will use: "This user doesn't mind if you interlard you comments inside his posts." EEng 17:13, 2 September 2017 (UTC)
I was wrong, it seems there may be a lot left to say.
Just do not do it, period. I'm afraid that's a ridiculously sweeping request IMO. For example, if someone interleaves their comments with mine, I think I should feel free to follow their lead, and even that it would be a bit rude not to. Isn't that fair enough? I really think you are overstating both the problem and the solution.
The userbox (you said infobox but I think that's what you mean) is a good idea, although many of us already feel we have too many userboxes and there may be better ways of achieving the same goal.
And yes, if I'm the only one who ever uses it, then you'll have made a point.
An "opt-out" userbox (or something that better achieves the same) that says something along the lines of This user does not use the indenting convention to intersperse their comments between paragraphs of other users' talk page posts, and requests others not to do so too would also be a good idea IMO. Andrewa (talk) 02:11, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
No one should have to opt out to keep others from intruding on the integrity of their posts. If you and some other editor are in a discussion and agree to interleave your comments for some special reason, knock yourself out; I obviously didn't mean to restrict the right of consenting adults to indulge in whatever perverse personal behavior together they want, as long as children aren't exposed to it and you don't frighten the horses. EEng 02:40, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
I obviously didn't mean to restrict the right of consenting adults to indulge in whatever perverse personal behavior together they want... That's a welcome clarification of what you actually meant by Just do not do it, period.
And this is progress. As on all talk pages, we are working towards consensus. So can I ask, do we have consensus that a blanket ban on interleaved discussions between consenting adults would be, as I said above, ridiculous? I accept that's not what you meant to say, but it seemed to be to me what you said, and what you and others have suggested above. So it's a very significant step IMO.
No one should have to opt out to keep others from intruding on the integrity of their posts. Agree. But I do not believe that the indenting and interleaving convention is quite that bad. Like your Just do not do it, period that is over the top. At worst, it makes the discussion hard to follow to those who are (for whatever reason) not comfortable using the convention.
And they should be considered, and I've said I'll avoid using the convention to reply to these people, and I am doing so. But give us a break. Wouldn't it be good to give some warning that you're one of these people? Andrewa (talk) 03:54, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, I have to feed the cat, change the water in the fish tank, and brush up on my differential equations before the dominatrix gets here. I hope you work something out. EEng 04:14, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
Please could people observe WP:INDENTGAP, at least. This is an accessibility issue. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 09:07, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
Very good point, and I have been guilty of forgetting that from time to time. It would be good to incorporate more on accessibility into the talk page guideline IMO, MOS:Accessibility is not often cited and I'm guessing not often read. Andrewa (talk) 11:06, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
I don't see how INDENTGAP applies; I don't notice anyone trying to leave blank lines. —DIYeditor (talk) 20:19, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
I took it simply as a pre-emptive heads-up... and a useful one. I hope I haven't blundered in that way here, but I have in the past, partly at least for reasons given in #Accessibility below. Andrewa (talk) 20:30, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
@DIYeditor: See this post; blank lines between every paragraph. @Andrewa: No use hoping: the evidence clearly shows that it was you who blundered. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 21:54, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
@Redrose64: Ah, thanks. I actually didn't understand the accessibility reasoning or details of INDENTGAP; I had not read it carefully. —DIYeditor (talk) 22:05, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
That was indeed a mistake on my part, and refactoring to remove it was entirely in order. And I have made that mistake before, for reasons set out in #Accessibility. I do make mistakes. I try to learn from them. My definition of an expert is someone who has already made most of their mistakes. That's part of the reason Wikipedia encourages mistakes. Andrewa (talk) 02:07, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
There's definitely no consensus on this, because people can't even agree throughout this sprawling mess what they're talking about, and the proposal (in various conflicting versions) defies over a decade and a half of actual practice, which is to refactor when it seems necessary (and to revert a refactor when one seems boneheaded or WP:POINTy). Talk pages are not magically exempt from normal WP:EDITING and WP:CONSENSUS policies. "There seems like a vague local consensus for some kind of change, but we dunno what it is" = no consensus, no change, revert to the status quo ante, i.e. before any changes were made in furtherance of what's been proposed here.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:10, 10 September 2017 (UTC)


I've just realised that there's a trap with indenting... at the first level (no indenting), you do need to leave white space. Just going to a new line doesn't make a new paragraph.

To do that, you need to leave a blank line. Andrewa (talk) 20:19, 3 September 2017 (UTC)

On the other hand, once you indent, you must not leave white space, as it confuses accessibility aids.
And it's not necessary. Just going to a new line does give a new paragraph once you are at first indent.
Perhaps this should be more explicitly stated, somewhere? Or is it already and I've missed it? Andrewa (talk) 20:19, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
No, once you're at the first : level, just going to a new line starting with : does not give a new paragraph. The right way to break paragraph once you're in the : regime is
:Blah blah 1st paragraph
:Blah blah 2nd paragraph
EEng 22:21, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
I see... what I described above seems to work on my browser, but perhaps not on others. I think this is important... is it documented anywhere in guidelines etc? Andrewa (talk) 23:18, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
No, if you try it with and without the intervening extra line with : alone, you'll see a definite difference. EEng 06:32, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
I take it from that that as far as you know this is not documented anywhere.
I've set up a little experiment in the community sandbox. I see five paragraphs, with no significant difference between the spacing of paragraphs three, four and five. What do you see? Andrewa (talk) 00:09, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
@EEng: You may be thinking of how vertical spacing used to work. However, MediaWiki:Common.css was changed in December 2016 (diff) so indented and unidented paragraphs on talk pages have the same vertical spacing. The issue of correct indenting is part of MOS:INDENTGAP where the colon on an otherwise blank line is necessary so the result is a single definition list for screen readers. Johnuniq (talk) 04:07, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Crikey, you're right! And I was just getting the hang of remembering to include the otherwise-blank-line-with-only-colon-on-it, and here they go and make it unnecessary. My apologies to all for sowing confusion. EEng 04:21, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Accessibility is presently a lost cause on our talk pages, because we're grossly abusing description list markup to do things it is not supposed to be used for, namely visible layout indentation, which is a CSS matter. It's even worse that abusing tables for layout. This needs to be fixed technically, as I cover at #Proper use of the colon, below.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:10, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Where to 2

You're like a dog with a bone – except it's not a bone, it's a stick. Drop the stick. EEng 19:46, 3 September 2017 (UTC)

As I have said above, the goal of talk pages is to work towards consensus. There is some progress above on this.

In particular, one editor has changed or clarified their position, as I see it from wanting a complete ban on interleaving to being happy for consenting parties to use it. They still want the default to be not to use it, and perhaps that can work, I'd need to see a definite proposal and I'm a bit sceptical and wary of instruction creep. But happy to work on it.

The other bone of contention is the assertion above that guidelines already ban interleaving. I think that's also over the top, but hope we can similarly resolve that one too. Andrewa (talk) 19:37, 3 September 2017 (UTC)

You're like a dog with a bone, except it's not a bone, it's a stick. (Note that the post concerned was added after my comment above but above it... probably not a good idea, but again don't change it now I've replied.) Nothing will be decided here IMO, it's a big enough issue to require an RfC to change it, and there's no response to my suggestion above that one might be raised.

So feel free to just drop out if you feel it's a waste of time, and allow the discussion to be archived... as I also suggested once above. But IMO, there is progress. Painful progress, but this was never going to be easy. Andrewa (talk) 20:08, 3 September 2017 (UTC)

Sorry, I didn't see that you were continuing with this. I did take the discussion as consensus against interleaving so I added guidance about it to the page. I don't personally see how an RfC is necessary. It doesn't seem likely that anyone is going to support the "convention" of editing others' comments to break them up for replies. No one else has expressed support for that and several have opposed (sometimes strongly). Feel free of course to start an RfC if you think that there is some support out there for this. —DIYeditor (talk) 20:27, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
Aha, I missed this edit. A bit bold perhaps but a perfectly acceptable action IMO. It has certainly been discussed here, and your edit avoids the excesses that others have (in my view at least) implied.
The next step then is to see how this affects discussions... will people even notice it, will it help or hinder discussions. And I may add something to my sig encouraging interleaving in replying to my own posts. Andrewa (talk) 20:41, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
So feel free to just drop out if you feel it's a waste of time – Some of us have this page on our watchlists in case a productive discussion arises, and we'd prefer not to have our attention repeatedly diverted by this discursive trip to nowhere. EEng 22:25, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
I think that's another example of incorrect indenting. It replies to this post, so a single colon would have been correct. Or am I missing something? Andrewa (talk) 02:18, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
In all seriousness, you're an admin? EEng 02:21, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes. And a lapsed member of Australian Mensa, and a drummer, and lots of other things.
I guess the reason you ask is that you find by behaviour here below par. And it's true that admins are held to a higher standard of behaviour, even when not using any of our sysop powers. But the rules are the same. We're just expected to follow them a bit more strictly and knowledgeably.
And one of the rules is comment on content, not on the contributor. This is not the place to discuss behavior. TIA Andrewa (talk) 22:50, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
Please tell me the bit about Mensa is intentional self-parody. EEng 04:35, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
It is quite accurate. And you are on really thin ice. Please cease the personal comments here. If you have complaints about my behaviour, make them in the appropriate place and fashion. If you think I'm stupid, tough. Get over it. Andrewa (talk) 06:54, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't dream of doubting you belong to Mensa. It's the offhand name drop I'm struggling to understand. EEng 12:42, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
OK, it was a reply to this personal attack which didn't seem worth raising on your user talk page. But strictly we should take it up there, and can if you wish to discuss it further. Andrewa (talk) 01:47, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Would it be a personal attack to say that if you think the post you just linked is a personal attack, there's something wrong with you? What in the world are you talking about? I think it would be best if you stopped trying to police others' behavior, because you seem incapable of interpreting normal human interactions. This came back onto my watchlist because I answered a ping, but I'm unwatching again; I hope when I return you'll have found some useful way to occupy yourself. EEng 04:14, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Agreed with EEng in this section, though we disagree in some other ones. This entire mess is all about a handful of prideful editors trying to police other editors, and it needs to be shut down.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:10, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

This is a bad, BAD idea

Many users find this practice highly offensive, and it makes discussions very confusing to follow. We should not be encouraging it in any way. Drive a stake through this. EEng 22:37, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

If it's true that Many users find this practice highly offensive, then I'd have to agree it should be banned. End of story.
But I must ask why is it so offensive? And why is it confusing? Was anyone confused or offended by my two-part post above? Why and how?
Walls of text are one of the key techniques of rantstyle. The ability to reply concisely and clearly to a long post is vital in order to get ranting discussions back on track, and work towards consensus.
If people find this offensive, I think perhaps they're in the wrong place. In a sense even your signed contributions don't belong to you here at Wikipedia. All text is available for reuse and refactoring. There are restrictions, of course, and we should not for example misrepresent others, or deny them their chance of a fair hearing, and the guidelines seek to ensure this. But interleaving, properly done, does neither of those things.
To the contrary, it allows arguments to be easily, clearly and concisely answered. And this is not always welcome! Andrewa (talk) 00:45, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
All text is available for reuse and refactoring – Reuse, yes. "Refactoring" that in any way even slightly tampers with the context, import, or connotation of an editor's post, no, and that includes interlarding your own comments in a way that neuters the original thrust. Quote a bit of what someone said, and respond to it – as I did in this very post. More than one person may want to respond to the same post, and if they all try to interleave it becomes a complete mess. EEng 00:56, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
Agree with all of the first two sentences except the unstated implication that interleaving properly done even slightly tampers with the context, import, or connotation of an editor's post or that it neuters the original thrust.
And if a second editor inserted a comment here, it would not affect the flow or logic of my post in the slightest. Andrewa (talk) 02:26, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
It does neither. Did my example above do either? It doesn't seem to have to me. Do you have examples that have? Andrewa (talk) 02:26, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
I'll tell you why I hate it. It derives from an email/usenet practice, where correspondents inserted their comments directly into the comments of the person they responded to. In that context, it works fine, for two reasons.
First, in the email/usenet context, each response was a separate document, an email message itself. It wasn't a single document being iteratively edited, with the end result being an intermingled mass of commentary by multiple editors, where finding each editor's comments and viewpoints is much more difficult.
Second, in email/usenet, one almost always trimmed away the parts not being responded to. It was a matter both of courtesy and to keep the note from becoming ungainlily long. In contrast, on Wikipedia talk pages, we obviously don't want other editors' comments trimmed by the act of responding; again, because it's a single document, not a series of individual documents.
What worked very well for email and usenet works very badly in an interatively edited document like a Wikipedia talk page. It causes attributions to be masked or difficult to figure out.
You say "it allows arguments to be easily, clearly and concisely answered", but I don't think that's the case. Easily and concisely, sure; but clarity is a casualty of the practice. I love it in email (top-posting is the bane of modern email communication) but hate it for talk pages. TJRC (talk) 00:59, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
It seems to be a matter of taste to me. I have no problem following properly inserted comments; I find it easy to follow the logic (or lack of same) in arguments presented in this way. Again, have you any examples where clarity has suffered? Do you think that the example I gave above, or the original one that started this whole string, are unclear?
I'd like to respond to the detailed points you make, some of which I agree with, but others are I think at least questionable. But without doing what you hate I think it would be unworkable, so I'll just leave it at that. Andrewa (talk) 02:26, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
andrewa, in reply to your first ¶ above (I refuse to interleave), my comment in the previous section about the "old hand" applies here as well. As a extremely experienced editor, you are unable, without effort, to comprehend how what is so easy for you can be difficult to a newcomer. --Thnidu (talk) 16:37, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
That's certainly not what I meant to say. I am unable to understand how you and other old hands have such trouble with it.
I admit I haven't checked what I said, and I don't find your references terribly helpful in doing so. Interested in other views on this. But I suspect you are, perhaps unintentionally, misquoting me.
There is a learning curve for newcomers, but the convention is easily learned and so useful in many situations that it should not be generally discouraged.
There should be guidelines discouraging its excessive use. But the proposed ban on using it even one level deep seems ridiculous to me. Andrewa (talk) 00:31, 1 September 2017 (UTC)
I think "generally" is a good compromise wording. It acknowledges that there may be circumstances where it is acceptable, although good examples elude me aside from by mutual explicit consent. Even then to me it is a bad idea. It's messy and confusing. —DIYeditor (talk) 20:33, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
Agree it's a good wording. Still disagree with the principle. I could be wrong. So let's see how it works in practice. Andrewa (talk) 23:24, 3 September 2017 (UTC)

WP:MOS is a good guideline where "generally" is excellent advice for two reasons. First, there are lots of exceptions in language, and one set of rules is unlikely to cover all cases. Second, the consequences of conflicting with MOS are small—the point of disagreement would often not be noticed by most readers. However, comments at a busy noticeboard (or an article talk page where conflict applies) are different. First, experience in such places shows that interleaving is a ghastly procedure—it makes it hard for those who need to follow the discussion (perhaps in a year) to see who-said-what and why a decision was made. Second, while there are a few ILIKEIT votes on this page, there are at least as many strong objections. Talk pages are where collaboration is tested, and procedures that annoy a significant portion of the participants are an immediate fail. The people here might understand that generally means "almost never", but those who like interleaving will use generally as a green light. If challenged they will reply that WP:TPG permits the procedure and their convenience required interleaving. Using generally will end up encouraging interleaving, and that would need a major RfC. Johnuniq (talk) 04:26, 4 September 2017 (UTC)

I've just gotten involved here and I'm not entirely sure what is meant by "interleaving" at this point, but your concern that we should assume bad faith and therefore misuse a guideline to make statements in conflict with fundamental principles (the right to edit and no ownership of text) is concerning.  There are only two rules needed, (1) we are here to build an encyclopedia and (2) don't change the meaning.  I think the second is where you've missed the departure, because it is typical when inserting text in someone else's comment to begin the insert with [insert begins here].  The big problem when inserting text in someone else's comment is when they are newbies (which in this context includes senior admins) who think they own the text.  So yes, it is important that TPG make correct neutral statements that protect good edits from ownership conflict.  Unscintillating (talk) 11:41, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
Might be best to find out what we're talking about before commenting. EEng 13:51, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
That is a refusal to discuss.  Unscintillating (talk) 15:57, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
No, it's a disinclination to humor the comments of someone who starts by declaring he doesn't know what he's talking about, then goes on to talk about it at length. EEng 17:02, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
According to my search, your first edit to WT:TPG was on 27 August 2017.  Is that correct?  I suggest that you and others review Archive 10 and Archive 11.  Also Archive 8 has relevant material.  Unscintillating (talk) 18:27, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
No, it's not correct, and no one's going to plow through three archive pages you vaguely wave your hand at, looking for something unspecified. EEng 19:46, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
@Unscintillating: It would help if you indicated what specific sections you are referring to as the archives are long. Luckily "interleaving" returns Archive 10 and 11 in a search so I understood that you meant they explicitly used the term. What section in Archive 8 are you referring to? Wikipedia talk:Talk page guidelines/Archive 10#Reverting interruptions seemed to conclude that consensus was against interleaving and that the exceptions should not even be mentioned to avoid giving approval for the practice. Wikipedia talk:Talk page guidelines/Archive 11#Posting within another editor's post doesn't have clear consensus. Wikipedia talk:Talk page guidelines/Archive 11#Non talk page reviews and posting style did not seem to reach consensus about whether WP:TPG should cover project pages like WP:FAC where interleaving is common and mention those practices/exceptions. I am happy to leave this with the "generally" wording and even to make mention of specific exceptions (although they aren't exactly for talk pages). —DIYeditor (talk) 20:18, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
Johnuniq makes some good points in their {(longish) single paragraph above but there's also some questionable stuff mixed in. First, experience in such places shows that interleaving is a ghastly procedure—it makes it hard for those who need to follow the discussion (perhaps in a year) to see who-said-what and why a decision was made - similar sweeping statements have been made, including of course in this section head. But we have had no examples of this experience, just strong statements that it's ghastly, a bad, BAD idea, and so on. If this experience is so persuasive, surely it shouldn't be hard to find specific examples? Andrewa (talk) 20:56, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Here is an example I posted in Archive 8:

[T]he two priorities are, we are building an encyclopedia, and "don't change the meaning".  User B, or for that matter other editors, can do more by identifying where the inserts begin and end, such as with:

:Point 1 by user:A
::[insert begins here]
::Reply 1 by user:B, sig
::[insert ends here]
:Point 2 by user:A
::[insert begins here]
::Reply 2 by user:B, sig
::[insert ends here]
:Point 3 by user:A, sig

Unscintillating (talk) 03:09, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Posted by Unscintillating (talk) 22:13, 4 September 2017 (UTC)

Exactly. But some users think that this leaves points 1 and 2 by user A unsigned; The bot has no trouble finding the sig however. On the other extreme, I find the first sig by user B redundant (but harmless), and again so does the bot AFAIK. Andrewa (talk) 22:23, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
@Andrewa: surely it shouldn't be hard to find specific examples I already gave an example - in my post of 08:25, 31 August 2017 (UTC). Clearly, WP:IDHT applies here. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 20:27, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes, in this post you referred to an example I had deliberately provided, and which is the subject of ongoing discussion, and I'm keen to discuss it some more. It's proving to be a very good example. Andrewa (talk) 20:52, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
I have taken the behavioural allegation to the user's talk page. [11] Andrewa (talk) 21:09, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Re: "this leaves points 1 and 2 by user A unsigned" – Yes; the obvious solution is to copy the end sig to the other post-parts by editor A. I've been doing it this way – when an interleaving refactor seems desperately needed – and it just doesn't cause problems. It's usually done to solve one, most often addressing a whole bunch of disjointed questions which deserve an answer but which are unrelated. Another similar but different approach is to refactor to number them and address each in turn by number. Virtually no one ever flips out when you do this. If they do, they have a collaboration and communication problem.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:29, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
It's not offensive to a large number of editors at all, only to a vocal handful. I've been doing it for years – when it seems genuinely necessary – and it's only produced disputes four times that I can recall: 1) a troll who later got blocked; 2) a self-declared "enemy" of mine for a while (we're on okay terms now) who was pretty much reverting everything I did everywhere and being uncivil to me at every turn; 3) someone trying to derail an RfC by shitting all over it with huge text-wall commentary inserted not just into the comments section but into the RfC itself; and 4) a non-neutrally phrased and evidence-deficient RfC that was improved, after some compromise (the fix was, of course and as I've said elsewhere herein, copying the original attribution to make it unmistakable who posted what, though this was not strictly necessary – RfCs do not actually have to have any attribution at all, and sometimes do not on purpose).

It also does not make discussions hard to follow at all, unless it's done in a intentionally or incompetently disruptive way by a bonehead. It's most often done by sensible, experienced editors and (the important part) is specifically undertaken to make a confusing discussion easier to follow.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:29, 10 September 2017 (UTC)


Thanks for the links to the archives. My immediate reaction is that it's all been said before, that some users object strongly to comments being edited in this way and proposed to ban everyone from doing it even by mutual consent, while others find it useful, and the proposed blanket ban was not supported.

Interested in other views of course.

How can we improve on these previous discussions? I suggested above and suggest again that a way of users flagging whether they object to the practice, either opt-in or opt-out or maybe even both, would be a good thing. Some actual examples of good and bad interleaving would also help, as would a clearer idea of exactly what we mean by interleaving. And, dare I say it, some clear guidelines on its use, covering both both how to use it and when it is permissible.

The devil will be in the detail of when it is permissible. Andrewa (talk) 22:16, 4 September 2017 (UTC)

This is true of almost all user-interaction matters, and we do not have a huge rulebook micromanaging these things, for very good reasons. Our rules about them are very few, and we only have rules when it's a matter that rises to very serious levels, like personal attacks, revert warring, harassment, outing, etc.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:29, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Interleave defined

The word "interleave" does not appear in the WT:TPG archives until Archive 10 in September 2013.  WT:Talk page guidelines/Archive 11#Non talk page reviews and posting style shows that interspersed and interleaved are synonyms, and that the article Posting style discusses interleaving.  Unscintillating (talk) 21:54, 4 September 2017 (UTC)

This edit has been described as precisely the problem we are trying to avoid. [12] The edit summary of that last diff is also worth repeating I think: can anybody tell from the above thread that the paragraph beginning "In a long discussion, it is hard work to follow the threads at the best of times" was not written by Thnidu?. So there's clearly a problem to address.
I have no problem telling that the paragraph... was not written by Thnidu, less problem in fact than I have in understanding that edit summary! But with a little work even that edit summary is clearly decipherable. So perhaps with some better explanation of how interleaving works, other editors would have less trouble with it. That's not the whole solution, but I think it should be part of it.
I did always intend that edit to be an example, and have apologised to any I offended by it. I think it has proved to be a good example. It has helped me to better see what others are upset about. I think we need more concrete examples, both good and bad. Andrewa (talk) 00:49, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
I have never seen a good example of interleaved comments. Good examples probably exist because Wikipedia is big place and it is conceivable that an article talk page with low traffic might have someone post several questions in one comment, and a reply giving an interspersed answer for every question. If the discussion stops there, it may be ok. However, even in that ideal case there is no easy way for a third-party to see that the second comment did not alter some meaning of the original. Such checking would require careful examination of the details of the second comment. By contrast, if the second comment had been entirely underneath the original, it would be obvious that the original was untouched. The second comment could have the form: "Q1 Here is the answer. Q2 This is another answer. Q3 Etcetera." Often the second person would take half-a-dozen edits to get their comments fixed, and that complicates the integrity issue if others edit the section in the same period.
The real problem of interleaved comments concerns a page which is not low traffic. Consider a situation where person A posts five questions and person B interleaves five answers. At the same time, editor C tries to refute one of B's answers, while other editors (including A) want to add to the interleaved subthreads. The result is a total disaster, particularly in a contentious area where POV pushers and clueless editors are involved. Johnuniq (talk) 04:32, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Johnuniq, please have a look here for a version of that scenario. How would you improve on that setting out of an already rather complex discussion? Show us! I hope I'm open to new ideas. But this one still seems counterproductive to me.
And everyone else, do you think I've correctly interpreted the convention? Open to other ideas on it. Andrewa (talk) 07:24, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
An artificial example could prove anything. I have never seen a good example of interleaved comments used in a discussion. Wikipedia resembles a massively multiplayer online role-playing game but everything is supposed to assist the development of the encyclopedia. Having fun on a guideline talk page is not useful, and sandboxes with meaningless examples are not helpful. The guideline should not encourage techniques which are known to irritate a significant number of editors. Per IAR, people can do anything that is genuinely useful for a particular situation, but the fact that no one has produced examples showing useful interleaved comments should be enough for anyone to see that the recent turmoil on this talk page is a gigantic waste of time. Johnuniq (talk) 07:44, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
It's your artificial example.
I agree with all the platitudes above. And agree that we should avoid techniques which are known to irritate a significant number of editors as far as possible. I suspect that avoiding interleaving will irritate editors too. We will see.
The problem with finding real examples is that they will mostly be from complex, problematical discussions. How are we to assess how they could have been helped by avoiding interleaving? I'll try to find some.
But we don't have examples of a total disaster produced by interleaving either, although it seems assumed by some that they exist. Surely they should be more easily found if so? Andrewa (talk) 07:58, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Here is a total disaster due to interleaving. I thought you were an advocate of interleaving and would be able to produce examples of their use from your reasonably recent contributions.
Regarding the merits of breaking-up other people's comments, if I present an argument above my signature, I intend the whole comment to stand as-is. If someone breaks-up my comment they are damaging my case, making it much harder for others to follow. If they copy my signature to the fragments of my comment, they violate WP:SIGFORGE by making it appear that I presented the fragment as a comment, when in fact it is taken out of context. Do not do that. Johnuniq (talk) 09:52, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Conversely, if others are not allowed to intersperse comments, it encourages wall of text arguments, does it not?
Interleaving is rare in my experience. But in replying to excessively long posts and ones that mix in valid points among others, it is sometimes very useful. These do tend to be discussions which are already problematic for other reasons, so I'm trying to find ones that aren't a mess for these other reasons. And it's difficult to find them, I admit that. Andrewa (talk) 20:32, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
SIGFORGE absolutely does not forbid copy-pasting a sig to keep it attached to the material it pertains to. It's about sneakily changing your own sig in a vain attempt to impersonate another user. Just think on this for at least half a second, Johnuniq. If your misinterpretation were actually correct, it would be a wiki-crime to archive anything off a talk page into an archive page without first removing the sigs from it. It would also be impermissible to fix attribution in any other way, e.g. with {{Unsigned}}. And if someone wrote a post, then accientally put their sig above it so that it was attached to the end of the post of whomever they were replying to, it would be verboten to refactor it into the proper position. It would also be impermissible to quote excerpts from posts (e.g. as we do in with "what Jimbo said" at various policy pages) and preserve the sigs exactly as written. Yet all of these things are perfectly permissible; we do them all the time. Please see WP:LAWYER, WP:GAMING, WP:NOT#BUREAUCRACY, and WP:POLICY: WP's rules are all to be interpreted in the spirit in which they're intended, and in a way that serves the collaborative nature of the project rather than making the community subservient to rules, and in a away that reflects actual practices not a a reinterpretation that attempts to force practice to change, and never in a "to the exact letter of the law" manner, especially not in a way that exploits supposed loopholes to get a WP:WIN result in furtherance of some petty personal interest, like your "don't you dare touch muh posts in any way" grandstanding. Reminds me of the "Lighten up, Francis" scene in Stripes.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:42, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
There seems to be something that prevents you from responding to the point of my comments. If someone breaks-up my comment they are damaging my case, making it much harder for others to follow. If they copy my signature to the fragments of my comment, they make it appear that I presented the fragment as a comment, when in fact it is taken out of context. Johnuniq (talk) 03:34, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
It's just been addressed again and again and you will not hear it. If someone literally fragments your argument to wreck your meaning or logic flow, this is disruptive bullshit, and WP:DE is something we have had the means to deal with already for a decade and half. Non-disruptive interleaving happens all the time, when someone posts completely unrelated stuff (sometime piles of it, more often just two things) back to back in a single block, and each needs to be addressed separately because they have no connection to each other but are important (or because one is a proposal that needs discussion as such in a separate section with a heading, or whatever).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:28, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
As a screen reader user, sometimes I'm OK with interleaving, but in the example above it got ridiculous ... I couldn't tell that Thnidu hadn't written the comment. Graham87 14:36, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for that... just the sort of input we need. How could the interleaving have been achieved in order to make it clear? Andrewa (talk) 20:32, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea, to be honest. Graham87 04:59, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
I have to think that if WP's been humming along for 16+ years without addressing this "burning issue", then there is no smoke and there is no fire. This is a great example of what WP:CREEP was written to address.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:29, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

A concrete example

From above: Here is a total disaster due to interleaving. [13]

Very interesting, and I think I begin to understand.

This section and an adjacent section are appalling!

I'm trying to find exactly where interleaving was used, I can't see it on first reading, so a diff would be great. I'm sure I'll find it eventually, and will post it here when I do, but if you have a diff handy, Johnuniq, it might save me and perhaps others a lot of time looking.

But watch this space, there's lots going on in that example, and thanks for it. Andrewa (talk) 21:21, 5 September 2017 (UTC)

LOL, that's the whole point. Say you want to find out why a decision was made around that time. Someone gives you the above link and says that the decision came from that discussion. Now it's your job to figure out. Johnuniq (talk) 22:10, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
There's no doubt as I said above that this is an appalling example of a discussion off the rails. The question I'm asking is, was interleaving really to blame for that?
Or even before that, we could ask was it used at all? I'm assuming that you found a place where it was, and that you could save a lot of time by indicating more precisely where that is. Andrewa (talk) 22:26, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
That discussion was archived to Talk:Shakespeare authorship question/Archive 20#Wadsworth Reference Should Be Deleted For Everything But The History Section. Johnuniq, is there any reason we need to look at the past revision, rather than the archive page? Andrewa (talk) 22:51, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
I can provide links but I cannot do your thinking for you. The history of the archive you just found is this. That shows five edits by MiszaBot. Not very helpful if someone wants to find out who said what as well when and why. The real history is here.
The guideline currently does not encourage interleaving. It is not up to me to find examples of bad interleaving to prove the guideline should not be changed. Anyone wanting to encourage interleaving needs to demonstrate that it is useful. Arguments that twenty years ago people used interleaving in a completely setting are irrelevant. Johnuniq (talk) 23:06, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Johnuniq is on record in Archive 8 that what is now being called interleaving is not in basic form an issue needing comment, but that adding sub-section signatures is entirely concerning.  I think he elocutes the words of the concern better here.  Unscintillating (talk) 01:37, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the link to the talk page history. I was already moving in that direction, see here, but knowing that the interleaving you found takes place within this 100 edits is very helpful. Can you narrow it down any more than that?
It helps your case to provide an example, and you have done so, a total disaster due to interleaving you said. But if it turns out that you were mistaken in thinking that there was interleaving there, it will have done great damage to your case IMO. If it turns out that there was interleaving but it's not clear whether it was the cause of the disaster, it will be less damaging. It is agreed I think that the case was a disaster.
The history of the archive is of course useless, but the archive has some advantages over an old version of the page for searching.
I'm not necessarily encouraging interleaving. But I do want it permitted in cases where it is helpful. Andrewa (talk) 02:43, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
The relevant part of archive 8 mentioned above is here.
Re narrowing down, a clue is that I am not indefinitely blocked, but that condition applies to the editor below me on the history link I gave. I included my posts in the history because they show ("please put new posts at the bottom of each section") my response at the time. The editor whose name I did not mention is shown on the history page as making five consecutive posts (the five diffs after my two at the top). Try clicking them. Of course it is hard to see what has happened, and that is the whole point of why interleaving is undesirable. That, and the fact that the original comment is broken up and made unreadable.
Re wanting interleaving permitted when it is helpful: anything is permitted when it is helpful per pillar WP:5P5 which refers to policy WP:IAR. What is not helpful is putting wording in a guideline that would encourage interleaving by people who are not good at judging when one of the extremely rare occasions arises where it would be helpful. If WP:TPG said that interleaving was sometimes ok, the person responsible for the total disaster mentioned above would have used this guideline to justify their style of commenting. Johnuniq (talk) 04:54, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
It's an undecipherable mess with tragic consequences, a multibarnstarred editor indeffed (and not the first, unfortunately). And I can understand how, having been involved in it, you'd like to keep the format of talk pages as simple as possible.
The five edits in question seem to be [14] [15] [16] [17] and [18]. Agree that all are problematic, and that this form of interleaving is confusing and should not be permitted. But to argue for a ban on all interleaving from that seems rather a stretch. Andrewa (talk) 03:31, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Regarding this and this, I definitely think we need to include something about this in the guideline. Interleaving is problematic for reasons noted by others above. And "do not" is stronger wording that I support in this case. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:45, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
Well, I'd certainly support the Do not wording we had [19] if someone proposes it. But remember to ping me since I'm not watching this page anymore. EEng 00:16, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
@EEng: Perhaps: "On pages in the Talk: namespaces, do not... However on some project pages such as WP:FAC where it is accepted practice..." I tend to agree that interleaving is just plain bad but it may be tough justify a "do not" statement without widespread consensus. @Flyer22 Reborn: I am happy with "Generally" and perhaps giving the specific FAC exception. I would otherwise consider starting an RfC (possibly on a fresh subpage here to keep things clean) and advertise it around but I am not the one to do it since as a novice editor I don't have the standing or experience to make claims about what proper talk page practices should be. —DIYeditor (talk) 04:22, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
I still suspect that a ban on interleaving (which is what this is) will cause more problems than it solves. But I'm a lone voice, so I guess we'll need to try it and see. I'll abide by whatever guideline is current... as I've always said... and I'll try not to be pointy in pulling up others who violate it. Andrewa (talk) 07:17, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, guys. I just want something on the page stating that it's problematic. By the way, DIYeditor, regarding the pings, pings only work with a new signature. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:43, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
In this example it wasn't the interleaving that was problematic. It was the way the interleaving was done, which is agreed I think to have been unhelpful, combined with other even more problematic edits. Andrewa (talk) 03:58, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
That is incorrect. Please stop dragging this going-nowhere discussion out. The interleaving, even if it had been done "correctly", was very problematic for the reasons I have already outlined. In brief, the original comment was destroyed because readers could no longer see it, and replies to the interleaved replies could not be added without further obfuscation. There is no example of good interleaving other than those at "23:27, 7 September 2017" below concerning exceptions that are not relevant in general discussions. Johnuniq (talk) 07:12, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
If a particular editor is doing something daft, that's a micro-problem to resolve with that editor. It's no grounds for a new rule, or we'd have hundreds of thousands of rules on thousands of policy and guideline pages, instead of 200-and-change pages (which is already too many; quite a few are junk WP:PROJPAGE essays that someone slapped a {{Guideline}} tag on, and which needs to be removed). People do unhelpful, idiosyncratic things all the time and we just fix them without losing our minds about it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:29, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
Hyperbole is totally unhelpful here. There's no "total disaster" at the page in question; all there is is a need to copy-paste the original sig and date to the separated portions of the original post so it's clear who's posting what, and then to indent the replies. Even without them, it's actually trivially easy to tell who posted what, so: WP:DGAF. This kind of bone-headed "I don't know how to reply right" thing comes up rarely, and only with noobs, so it's a non-issue. It certainly doesn't rise to "we have to have a new guideline" level.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:29, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Establishing better expectations in WP:TPG to protect proper inserts

My premise remains that the biggest problem in interleaving comes not in the unusual occasions where it is appropriate, but when editors violate WP:TPO to restore their non-existent "ownership rights" and disrupt discussions as a result of not having their expectations sufficiently set in WP:TPG.  Unscintillating (talk) 01:37, 6 September 2017 (UTC)

Separating portions of a comment from its original context and signature is the real violation of TPO it seems to me, in that it potentially changes the meaning. You believe an editor would be in the wrong to restore their comment to its original form? Now I did just remove three levels of indentation in your post in a new subsection which does not change its meaning. But if I partitioned it out that would - who is to say two distinct sentences or paragraphs weren't meant to provide context for each other? What guidance would you suggest for TPG on this matter? —DIYeditor (talk) 02:34, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
My belief remains that the biggest problem is that people do not understand and follow the indenting convention. And this is not just a problem when interleaving might otherwise be helpful. It creates awful messes even without any attempt at interleaving.
I haven't yet found the interleaving referred to in #A concrete example above, but the links so far provided do lead to some awful ancient trainwrecks. See this diff and don't waste too much time trying to work out what is going on, it's a mess. But note that in the edit being restored, two colons are being used to set out an inline quotation.
If this is normal on that talk page at that time, then those accustomed to it are going to hate interleaving, and find it confusing and even misrepresenting the flow of discussion. The two conventions are not even remotely compatible. So it's starting to make sense to me.
But I say two conventions with some reservations. It seems to me possible that those involved in this particular discussion were making the rules up as they went along. Andrewa (talk) 03:55, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
@Andrewa: Another tangential problem I see with the indenting convention is when, as you did correctly above per the Wikipedia:Indentation essay, a reply is indented only one more level than what is being responded to even if there is an intervening reply from another editor. To avoid confusion in this circumstance I do indent only one more than what I am replying to regardless of who else has responded, but I put a {{Replyto}} template at the start of my reply, because it definitely looks as if multiple comments are combined into one unless you make careful note of signatures (which naturally comes after reading a good portion of text). If I didn't want to ping a user for some reason I might just do "@User:" manually. —DIYeditor (talk) 04:22, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
I don't find that remotely confusing, and think that it's reasonable to expect editors to learn some basic conventions of which this is one. The help page at WP:THREAD has only one very simple example, but links to the essay at Wikipedia:Indentation which has four examples of increasing complexity, and their example #2 describes this situation precisely. That essay has over 1000 incoming links, so it's fairly widely read and quoted and in the absence of anything better should be regarded as the standard IMO.
So there is no ambiguity. But there is obviously confusion.
The conventions need to be made clearer and/or more readily available.
And possibly also modified to allow for mobile computing and page readers, neither of which were considered when I started editing. There has been little change since then, and even what change there has been has not been effectively communicated to some of the participants in this discussion. Andrewa (talk) 01:25, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
And it seems that even those involved in this discussion can't follow the most basic example, so there is much room for improvement. And before when I have pointed out that indenting here was in error, the only response was a personal attack.
I say again, it seems reasonable to me to ask that people learn a few basic conventions. Andrewa (talk) 01:58, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
It doesn't matter if you know one knows the convention or not, I find it hard to believe that you do not initially parse multiple comments at the same indentation level as coming from one person. You're saying the first thing you do when you look at a new indentation level is scan for signatures before you look at the beginning of the sentences to get an idea of what each paragraph is about? Really hard to believe. Especially since 95% or more of the time comments at the same indentation level are from the same person. That flies in the face of the premise that indentation without a preceding signature in the case of interleaving should make it obvious that the indented portion is from someone else - what exactly is the cue if not indentation? And you don't see the problem when that cue is lacking? Believe me, I agree with the logic behind replies to a comment being only one more indentation level over but it trips me up every time there are responses from different people and I can't imagine what process you are using to read comments where it doesn't happen to you. —DIYeditor (talk) 02:09, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Interesting... No. I have no such problems. But I'm not saying the first thing you do when you look at a new indentation level is scan for signatures before you look at the beginning of the sentences to get an idea of what each paragraph is about at all. As I read through a post, if I come to a sig, I know it's the end of the post, and until I do I assume there is more. It seems to work most of the time! It only fails when correct indenting is not followed... such as in the appalling trainwreck claimed as due to interleaving but in which I'm increasingly doubting that there was any interleaving at all. Maybe I'll still find it. Another pair of eyes would be welcome, see #A concrete example.
I find it equally hard to believe that, reading a post, you would not notice that there was a sig at the end of it, but would continue reading on the assumption that the text following the sig was by the same person just because it's at the same indentation level. Is that what you're saying? It makes no sense at all to me. What am I missing? Andrewa (talk) 02:36, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Speed reading. I don't think most people read word by word, sentence by sentence, left to right, top to bottom. Not initially or exclusively. Having to look for signatures at the same indentation level disrupts the normal process of skimming and scanning. Especially since almost all the time the same indentation level is the same post. I would say we are getting pretty far off topic except that the only defense of interleaving I've seen is that indention is an expected cue - almost always for a different author. —DIYeditor (talk) 03:09, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Aha... my initial reaction is, that is your problem... you are using a completely inappropriate technique and it's no wonder you have problems! Speed reading is great in its place but making sense of a complex and/or controversial talk page discussion is definitely not one of them.
But if a significant number of editors do this then yes, I guess we will need to accommodate them, unless we can talk some sense into them. Andrewa (talk) 07:01, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
It now appears that the interleaving in question was five edits [20] [21] [22] [23] and [24] by a now indeffed user, which are indeed interleaving but do not follow the normal conventions, and I agree that they are problematical... using outdent in an interleaved comment is a bit bizarre, and I have never seen it done before that I can remember. Andrewa (talk) 07:28, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Repeat: If a particular editor is doing something daft, that's a micro-problem to resolve with that editor. It's no grounds for a new rule, or we'd have hundreds of thousands of rules on thousands of policy and guideline pages, instead of 200-and-change pages. [...] People do unhelpful, idiosyncratic things all the time and we just fix them without losing our minds about it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:29, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Comment I hate to add to the confusion here, but I'm going to. I understand completely when a discussion is on content, but a discussion on wording of a passage following a GOCE copy-edit is slightly different. I often leave detailed comments after I complete a copy-edit on the talk page of the requester. I always number them and try to include the precise location in the article of the sentence in question, including a link to the section. I often copy a sentence, group of sentences, or short paragraph for easy reference. We then go back and forth, working on that sentence, group of sentences, or paragraph, sometimes proposing slight changes in wording or sentence construction. Each version, and the accompanying remarks, really need to be one after the other to see the differences between them. When we resolve it, we go on to the next item. The discussion is almost always only between myself and the editor who requested the copy-edit. We usually use the colon for progressive indentation, but sometimes I suggest alternatives using either the bullet or (a), (b), and (c). I have copy-edited hundreds of articles, and I haven't had any problem with this method. Whenever someone replies to all my concerns at the bottom of the page, I have to go back to the top to see what the original comment or passage was, then back to the bottom to add a new comment or version. It would take a lot of time and space to repeatedly "quote" previous versions in order to add them to the bottom of the page. It makes things more difficult. I really think that if you implement this, it should be a recommendation, not a requirement.  – Corinne (talk) 17:16, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

Sure, and doing what is best is the whole point of WP:IAR and the fact that this page (WP:TPG) is a guideline and not a bright-line policy. If there are situations where interleaving is useful, of course people should do that. However, interleaving is not useful in most discussions, particularly those on a noticeboard or on a contentious topic where multiple people may want to offer an opiniion. Another example of desirable interleaving is at feature-article discussions such as this long example. Johnuniq (talk) 23:27, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
I know exactly what the concern is of those who are saying that interleaving comments often creates confusion, if not total confusion. One editor replies to a comment right after the comment, even if it's in the middle of a long discussion, and others reply at the end of the discussion. I think it is particularly necessary that comments not be interleaved – that is, that new comments be placed at the bottom, after the last comment – in places like ANI, Rfc's, and in contentious talk page discussions. Perhaps an example of a well-organized discussion should be given in a link at the top of these pages with a suggestion that editors take a look at it, and a note strongly recommending that new comments be added at the end, and not in the middle, of a discussion be placed at the top of the page (or even at the top of a section, as a reminder). Examples of how to refer to an earlier comment could also be given, something like:
[[User:AnApple|AnApple]], you wrote above that Quoted comment here. I strongly disagree because...
I agree with [[User:AnOrange|AnOrange]] when s/he says Quoted comment. New comment here...
One more thing that could be done is when someone interleaves a comment is for someone to remind that person politely that it would lessen confusion if s/he moved his/her comment to the bottom of the discussion. (I have to admit that I haven't read the entire discussion, above, and have no suggestion regarding what to do about careless use of the colon. I just know that, for many people, graphic layout is not their strong point, and no matter how many suggestions, examples, or requirements you make, they are not going to get indentation right.)  – Corinne (talk) 15:57, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
Except that when people interleave a comment for a good, clarifying reason, and don't muck up the attribution, then moving their comment to the end will have an opposite, "increase confusion", effect. WP and its talk pages do not exist for people to "police" each other about posting style or how it is "permissible" to engage in conversations or help other people.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:29, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

List of editors who would like to be notified when this discussion is closed and archived so they can add the page back to their watchlists, having removed it for the time being so as not to be annoyed over and over by this pointless waste of time

  • EEng 23:33, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I'll second that. This should be closed immediately, as no consensus and a total waste of time and editorial attention.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:29, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Proper use of the colon

Improper use of the colon.EEng

I said above I was beginning to understand. Here's part of that.

In one of the edits I stumbled upon while investigating the claim that #A concrete example had been a total disaster... (which it was) ...caused by interleaving (which it was not), two colons are used to cite the text of a policy. This rang a warning bell.

This to me is misuse of the colon. If we allow it, then the interleaving convention I have followed does become ambiguous and confusing. One or the other does need to be banned.

But there are far better ways to cite someone else's text. Andrewa (talk) 04:20, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

For an example of how the two are incompatible, see this edit which makes it appear that TomSoybean affirms that Ryde really reeks of rotting rhubarb, and RichardTheLyingHeart denies this. In fact it's the other way around. IMO this confusion is because IvanTheTerrified has used nonstandard indenting. Andrewa (talk) 04:45, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

Made-up examples are useless. When editors actually get engaged in long discussions in a variety of topics (real topics, not make-work commentary in Wikipedia namespace), they find a variety of opinions about colons. A majority understand that the indent level indicates which of the above comments is being addressed. However, many are unhappy with the visual cliff that results if several people respond to one post. A minority of good editors will not be budged and they believe that it is better to use indents to show where the next comment starts (no cliff). They are wrong, but collaboration is required even with people who misunderstand the point of indenting. The bottom line is that what the guideline says is totally irrelevant because the dissenters will not notice WP:TPG and would not agree with it even if it were drawn to their attention. Is there an example of a real discussion about a consequential topic where misuse of colons was a big deal? An example which would be helped by further beating this talk page? Johnuniq (talk) 07:23, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
This is the solution I have found: When I want to respond to someone at the same indent level that someone else has, I interpose a line that consists of the appropriate number of colons followed by &nbsp;. That makes a visual separation between the two responses. See the source of this comment to see what I mean.
I used to use <br> but I got concerned that it might be messing up screen-readers; the explanations of what happens with those are a little hard to follow completely. By the way, is there any way to get literal <br> inside <code> tags? I couldn't figure it out. --Trovatore (talk) 08:24, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
@Trovatore: Not sure what you mean by "a literal <br> inside <code> tags"; do you mean a line break in a code block when that block is visually rendered, a line break in the source that doesn't show up when the block is rendered, or the string "<br>" appearing in the code example, or something else? Best taken to my user talk, since it's off-topic, but I've worked out pretty much every code formatting thing to be worked out by this point (I edit a lot of template documentation). It should be <br />, or you'll be breaking people's syntax highlighters in source mode (never mind the fact that HTML5 does technically appear to permit <br>, without the /; gotta work with the tools we have). On topic: I've used the same :&nbsp; trick, but find just adding a <br /> to the end of the previous comment before starting mine is more expedient. I'm unaware of any problems this could cause, and from a WP:ACCESSIBILITY perspective, it should be much better, because it's not creating a bogus, empty <dd> list item in the <dl> structure. (Which is all markup that MediaWiki shouldn't be generating for this stuff anyway; see outdented comment on this below.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:29, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Most of this subthread is unintentionally absurd, since our use of wikimarkup : "indentation" for the purposes of threaded discussions is a gross misuse of the underlying <dd>...</dd> HTML markup, which is for (and only for) the definition or explanation of a term or other entry previously given with <dt>...</dt> (; in wikimarkup). The solution to this is technical and should have been proposed and implemented years ago: convert any : indent into a CSS-indented <div>...</div> when it is not immediately preceded by a ; (or explicit <dt>...</dt>). Our talk pages should not be using <dl>...</dl> structures at all, other than for creation of actual description lists we intentionally want to be formatted as such.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:29, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Good point, and I hope you will make it in the appropriate forums. But meantime, what should we do here? Andrewa (talk) 23:27, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
Opened at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Fixing abuse of list markup (talk page accessibility, etc.). I don't think there's anything to do here about this sort of thing at all; this is a software fix, not a rules matter.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:14, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Looks good. Part of the idea of a wiki is you should not need any knowledge of the underlying HTML to edit it, whether by WYSIWYG editor or by wikitext.
But I still think that the example given is or should be contrary to guidelines, and it would be helpful if it were to be avoided. Not sure whether you regarded that assertion as unintentionally absurd. Andrewa (talk) 11:54, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
No, just the futility of arguing about the invalid markup problem here, when it can't be fixed here.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:37, 25 September 2017 (UTC)


I think it's RfC time. SMcCandlish clearly strongly opposes any caution against interleaving, but it's clear that most other editors that weighed in support caution against interleaving. I don't see this matter as WP:CREEP. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:30, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

Sounds good. —DIYeditor (talk) 03:09, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I think things were fine before this mess of a thread was opened. Let's let this lie. EEng 04:29, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Sure, but perhaps someone can present a choice or choices for discussion in this section, so you have a well looked at/amended proposal, before an RfC. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:19, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Exactly. An RfC is probably overdue. One of the advantages of putting one together is that it encourages the proponents to be specific in what they are proposing and why. Andrewa (talk) 17:22, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I'll leave starting the RfC up to one of you or someone else involved in the discussion (unless no one ends up starting it). I'll do the heavy advertising. I'm sure that many Wikipedians have something to state on this topic, and, in this case, it's best to see what the community in general thinks. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 17:43, 12 September 2017 (UTC) Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 17:45, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I am un-involved in the above discussion, so it won't be me (I think it unfortunate, that no brief guidance on the do's and don't of editing someone else's comment - otherwise, called "interleaving" - came out of it, though). Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:48, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
But "interleaving" and "editing someone else's comment" are not at all synonymous; the former is an uncommon though sometimes legit subset of the latter (which also has various other subsets some of which are sometimes helpful, and some of which are not; e.g. fixing broken links or mangled HTML in a comment is routine maintenance, while "typo policing" others' commentary will get you reverted and yelled at.).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:59, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Interleaveing is editing someone else's comment, it is rearranging what they wrote by inserting breaks in their editorial flow and inserting additional text. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:12, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes, a subset of, not an equation to, editing someone else's comment, exactly as I said. Glad we agree.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:40, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
Part of the issue here is that people are talking about different things, including (among others) a) what they do or want to do or are used to, b) what disruptive people do or might do, or c) useful refactoring that may involve "interleaving", without any thought to how these things relate. The result is that most respondents seem to want a "someone pissed me off once, so we should have a new rule regardless of the fallout it causes" result or even an "I can imagine someone doing something disruptive so we should have a new rule regardless of the fallout it causes" result. Fortunately, WP is not voting-based.

The WP:RFC process – which consumes a lot of editorial productivity cycles – is not invoked to WP:WIN. "I'm not getting an answer I want, so I'm gonna RfC it" is just WP:FORUMSHOPPING. We've already talked this "issue" to death, without any clarity emerging. Given that the above mess proves that people are already talking completely past each other about unrelated things, there is some obvious work to do to even identify something to have an RfC about and whether doing so makes sense:

  1. Demonstrate there's a real problem to solve, and exactly what that problem is and how frequent it is.
  2. Show that existing rules and procedures do not already address it.
  3. Formulate a proposed rule to address it, which has no negative effects on actually accepted practice, and which will actually be efficacious.
This is a dependency chain (no. 3 happens only after no. 2 which happens only after no. 1).
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:50, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Starting an RfC is not about winning. It's about this matter affecting Wikipedia as a whole, with numerous editors citing interleaving as a problem, and editors not being able to settle this matter without all of the debate and unnecessary drama that has ensued thus far. If one or more person is holding up the addition of sound guidance, it is something to take to an RfC. It is a hell of a lot better than debating and debating, and fighting, with nothing being resolved. Even if the RfC resolves nothing, which I don't think will be the case, it will have shown that the community as a whole is divided on the issue and that we likely should not add anything to the guideline on the matter or take a more conservative approach to wording the issue in the guideline. Starting an RfC is not WP:FORUMSHOPPING in any sense of the word; it's WP:Dispute resolution. One can call an RfC dependency, but we are dependent on it for valid reasons. And except for those who fear "losing," an RfC for a matter like this is nothing to shun or be afraid of. So I still support a widely-publicized RfC on this issue and will follow through with starting one if no one else takes up the mantle. We can work out RfC wording proposals here first; whatever gets the ball rolling toward resolution. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:27, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
See points 1, 2, and 3 above. Asserting there's a real problem "affecting Wikipedia as a whole" is something neither you nor anyone else has actually demonstrated. A tiny number of people just keep going on about it, often in mutually contradictory terms. It's a bunch of emotional hand-waving about a "problem" that from all appearances is simply imaginary, and if it might actually happen in a disruptive way would already be addressable as disruptive like any other form of disruptive editing. There is no dispute to resolve, there's just a train-wreck of a sprawling thread of people miscommunicating subjective feelings without evidence of anything, and mostly not even agreeing amongst each other what they're actually talking about. That's not an RfC topic. It's a waste of time to drop, in favor of something more productive.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  04:53, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
That you are against an RfC in such lengthy of postings, just demonstrates that an RfC is a good idea per WP:DR. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:55, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Agreed, Alanscottwalker.
SMcCandlish, I saw your points, and I clearly disagree. You talk about "a tiny number of people," when it is a tiny number of people crafting our policies and guidelines every day. Interleaving is far more of an issue than dictating that someone should not use "and/or" via MOS:ANDOR. And per the issues with that, I'm glad that I started an RfC on it. There was no bickering. Just editors assessing the issue and weighing in. That is the way that RfCs usually work. Of course, there will be the occasional heated discussion. Okay, more than occasional. But that's the nature of Wikipedia. Disputes, including heated disputes, happen all the time on this site. When such disputes are leading to nothing, as is the case now, we turn to things like an RfC. And the RfC usually does resolve the issue, even if partly or temporarily in some cases. A number of editors have demonstrated a problem with interleaving, and no one (nope, not even you) has demonstrated a significant benefit to interleaving. Any benefit to interleaving is outweighed by the problems. A well-publicized RfC will pull in a lot of editors. This may also be a "tiny few" compared to Wikipedia as a whole, but most Wikipedia editors, especially the newbies, are not concerned with watching our guideline and policy pages and/or (oops, there's that use of "and/or" again) being a part of a WikiProject (at least not for a number of years here anyway). This is not a WP:DROPTHESTICK issue. It's an issue that needs attention from those outside of the disputes on this talk page and resolution, and seeking that is productive. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:12, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

Visually illustrating the difference between useful and disruptive interleaving

"Interleaving" or "comment splitting" is harmless and sometimes quite useful, as long as the attribution is copy-pasted to avoid any confusion about who said what, and the motivation is topical clarity and separation, not being an ass. It's unfortunate that the discussion above has been dominated by ideas about disruptive comment-splitting and interleaving, which is rare, and is not a discrete issue of any kind (it's simply WP:DE and can be addressed at ANI, etc., like any other form of DE).

An example that illustrates one of various indications why someone might want to split and interleave (with attribution preserved), and additional stuff they might do in the process:

  • I agree. – SnorkelWeasel, 12:34, 30 February 2112 (UTC)
    Can you be more specific? BTW, what's the story behind that username? – TheQuestionizer, 12:39, 30 February 2112 (UTC)


  • I agree. – SnorkelWeasel, 12:34, 30 February 2112 (UTC)
    Can you be more specific? – TheQuestionizer, 12:39, 30 February 2112 (UTC)
    Per WP:NOT#WEBHOST and WP:ENC, the user in question shouldn't be using their userspace for posting hundreds of pictures of their cats with cutesy captions, even if a handful of them might be encyclopedically useful. Those can be uploaded to Commons and used in actual articles (without anecdotal captions). – SnorkelWeasel, 12:54, 30 February 2112 (UTC)
    BTW, what's the story behind that username? – TheQuestionizer, 12:39, 30 February 2112 (UTC)
    "Snorkel" and "weasel" seem like the funniest words ever to me, and their combination conjures a hilarious visual. Let's use user talk for any further discussion of this. :-) – SnorkelWeasel, 12:54, 30 February 2112 (UTC)

or even:

  • I agree. – SnorkelWeasel, 12:34, 30 February 2112 (UTC)
    Can you be more specific? – TheQuestionizer, 12:39, 30 February 2112 (UTC)
    Per WP:NOT#WEBHOST and WP:ENC, the user in question shouldn't be using their userspace for posting hundreds of pictures of their cats with cutesy captions, even if a handful of them might be encyclopedically useful. Those can be uploaded to Commons and used in actual articles (without anecdotal captions). – SnorkelWeasel, 12:54, 30 February 2112 (UTC)
BTW, what's the story behind that username? – TheQuestionizer, 12:39, 30 February 2112 (UTC)
"Snorkel" and "weasel" seem like the funniest words ever to me, and their combination conjures a hilarious visual. Let's use user talk for any further discussion of this. :-) – SnorkelWeasel, 12:54, 30 February 2112 (UTC)

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:35, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

How is the above "interleaving" - it doesn't break up anyone else's post unless I'm missing something. What I've just done is what is in question. —DIYeditor (talk) 01:56, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
You're missing something — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:19, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Thank you when you first just said[25] only "you're missing something" I was still feeling stupid and couldn't see it. —DIYeditor (talk) 02:37, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
(namely that "Can you be more specific? BTW, what's the story behind that username?" was originally a single post, which the replier split, to interleave a comment on the first half separately).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:19, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
I understand now that you think it's ok to split up someone's post sentence by sentence (or in this case piece by piece?) as long as the signature is copied. —DIYeditor (talk) 02:37, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
It might be or it might not be, depending on context and intent, and effect on original poster's intent. In short, it is something we have never had a rule about, do not need a rule about, and for which a rule-thumping approach will never work because it requires common sense and human judgement. (In your latest and borderline POINTy example, I'd probably revert the splitting in a less meta context than this, because "(namely that ...)" doesn't make any sense as a stand-alone post, and your apparent goal in the split is to dwell on feelings [real or illustratively inserted] that I was being sarcastic, while the obvious intent of the parenthetical was to make clear that I wasn't. I.e., you're trying to change the nature and interpretation of my content, not to aid discussion clarity by splitting juxtaposed but confusingly unrelated material into separate packages for distinct discussion. People doing potentially disruptive split-and-interleave on WP is rare, since it's a WP:Use common sense matter and anyone would be apt to revert it when it's not actually helpful.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:17, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

I do the kind of helpful interleaving illustrated above quite frequently, and of the four cases I can think of where someone blew up on me about refactoring, only two of them involved this sort of thing, so my success rate with it is around 99% over a decade and more.

I do think that on WP in particular, people have a case to make that doing it without copy-pasting the attribution (even in absence of something like a collapse-boxing or a re-sectioning) is apt to be confusing and should be avoided (i.e. by copy-pasting the attribution). Not because it's impossible to figure out who said what, but because it takes work to do so, and because the only-one-sig-at-bottom-despite-interleaving style simply isn't the "tradition" here, it's not usual, it's not part of "the way we do stuff". The occasional refactoring of posts and their responses to them – or even entire threads – to make them more useful is actually well-accepted, though as with everything there are a few naysayers. Most of them are not thinking through the implications of some kind of generalized "interleaving ban". E.g., it would invalidate hatting off-topic sections, and splitting threads into sections (either subtopically or with convenience breaks), and refactoring lengthy back-'n'-forth from !voting sections to extended discussion sections in RfC, etc., etc.

Let's look at a disruptive example. If someone habitually takes posts like this:

  • I oppose this proposal, on the basis of WP:NOT#FORUM and WP:ENC. – SnorkelWeasel, 11:14, 30 February 2112 (UTC)

and does something like this to them:

  • I
Yeah, you, you, and more you. You've been harping on this for months.
this proposal,
It's not a "proposal", it's an RfC question.
on the basis of WP:NOT#FORUM
Look who's talking; all you do here is argue on talk pages.
and WP:ENC. – SnorkelWeasel, 11:14, 30 February 2112 (UTC)
Try actually reading that policy and applying it to yourself. Only 10% of your edits are to mainspace. – AckJass 09:22, 31 February 2112 (UTC)

then User:AckJass is headed for a block if they don't stop. Even aside from the fictional user's tone, this is disruptive because it makes it harder for other people to parse or follow at all, and its clear intent is to render the original commenter's post into fragmented gibberish, to deny that editor a voice. This is radically different from constructively splitting apart unrelated comments in the same post, which need to be separately addressed, into separate but self-complete pieces (sometimes they're even split into new sections if they're important). The abusive kind of split-and-interleave stuff is very rare.

It doesn't make any sense for us to enact crazy "control freak" provisions in TPG to prevent such things (with the fallout of outlawing constructive refactoring) since doing disruptive monkeying around on talk pages is already addressable by extant policy and procedure, and there thus is no actual problem to solve. It's a classic example of WP:CREEP. Cf. WP:If it ain't broke, don't fix it, one of our shortest but most sensible essays.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:35, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

So is what I just did above to your post disruptive or confusing or just fine? —DIYeditor (talk) 01:56, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
That was potentally confusing, because you didn't copy-paste my original attribution (now fixed).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:19, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
So who is two decide if two sentences should or should not have been split from each other because of needed context? Since apparently at some point it would justify a block... Could an editor restore his refactored post to its original form if s/he felt it was needed to preserve meaning? —DIYeditor (talk) 02:44, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Of course. WP:BRD, and just the nature of what refactoring is: You make a structural change to the discussion you believe is helpful, and hope that other editors agree that it is and run with it; if they didn't agree, they'd be free to revert it, whether a party to the discussion or not. There's no magical "once one refactor has happened, the page is now stuck that way forever" principle. Why are we even arguing about this? It just doesn't arise as an issue with any frequency, and it's going to default to doing what the original poster wants, per it being their material to being with, and per the status quo ante principle of what to do with content when a dispute arises.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:25, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't mean to come across as being argumentative. I was genuinely trying to work out with you how this can be a constructive element of discussion. I think I have come closer to agreeing with you as a matter of fact. I don't have the experience to have seen this many times. —DIYeditor (talk) 05:29, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Understood. Argumentative is okay anyway. >;-) "Why are we even arguing about this?" was a commentary on the entire thread.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:45, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Block based on which policy or behavioral guideline? (I'm new I don't know) —DIYeditor (talk) 02:44, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
WP:Disruptive editing. Like a lot of WP principles, it's not a list of exactly 129 "do nots", but a general principle about effects on collaboration and productivity. A lack of years of WP experience may explain why you opened this thread to begin with, in that why WP has worked fine for a decade and a half without micro-management rules about posting and editor interaction might not be apparent without being deeper steeped in WP's workings, especially if you're used to environments that do have lots of such netiquette micro-management.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:45, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

A proposal

Despite the caution above about micro-management, I think there's a protocol suggested above that has merit, and might be the basis of an RfC, or even a bold change to the guideline without one if we can get clarity and consensus here. Watch this space. Andrewa (talk) 00:09, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

Well, editors did seem to be okay with the addition that was added, except that (as the diff link shows) a dispute arose over whether to use "Do not" or "Generally." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:13, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
Except that multiple editors here object to it. Please do not play WP:ICANTHEARYOU. I know that you know that it doesn't go over well in policy editing disputes.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:05, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
Where? I've only seen you objecting. All over the guideline talk page. I've only seen you vehemently against an RfC, no doubt because you fear that most editors will object to people breaking up others' comments. By contrast, I have barely responded on this issue. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:46, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
Let's not be silly; Andrewa has been objecting the entire time, and this thread was already enormous by the time I arrived. In this very section (a little below) AngusWOOF provides an example of useful interleaving, and others have as well, including in the eventually-launched RfC, albeit their turnout was low and the RfC is a WP:SNOW. I've actually asked WP:ANRFC to close it as such. I know when a cause is lost. :-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:44, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

Specifically, in #Visually illustrating the difference between useful and disruptive interleaving SMcCandlish suggests that interleaving may be useful on occasions, but that on these it's necessary to duplicate the sig on the interleaved comments after every inserted section, and also the sig with timestamp of the original poster before every inserted section. This would remove the confusion some have experienced as to who said what, but (as was pointed pointed out previously) it introduces another possible objection in that it means that a user's sig is being posted by someone else, which might be seen as impersonation, or at least as opening the way for it.

Is that perhaps worth a try? Andrewa (talk) 12:24, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

It's already regularly in use, and in practice virtually no one ever objects. The "impersonation" thing is a non-argument, or it would be impermissible to use {{unsigned}} and for bots to fix unsigned posts, or for people to move discussions from one page to another, etc., etc. Whoever you're paraphrasing is probably the only person in WP history to suggest something as weird as the notion that correctly identifying and attributing posts – a routine part of WP talk and noticeboard maintenance – is "impersonation". Given that the page history shows who posted what, it's not actually possible to impersonate anyone by such means. "Impersonation" on WP means using an ID that's nearly indistinguishable from someone else's and posting your own material in a way that others will think was posted by the one you're masquerading as. That's already against multiple policies, and it gets shut down immediately.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:51, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it's necessary to duplicate the sig on the interleaved comments after every inserted section, but this usually does not happen. I've seen it time and time again. And when it happens to me, I'm always the one who has fix my and others' comments by signing each piece. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:46, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
As one of the repeat offenders I have now changed my practice. I don't know whether I have ever interleaved in your posts, but I have done so to many other editors over the years, normally without duplicating my signature or anyone else's (I have occasionally duplicated my own when it seemed to increase clarity). It seemed a good thing to do at the time. I still find it amazing that anyone found this post confusing, and it proved to be a very good test and example, in that I at least learned a lot from it and most especially from the response it evoked. Andrewa (talk) 06:27, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

An example of useful interleaving would be perhaps a peer review or something where items could be presented from a bullet list, but this should be preceded with whether the reviewer would want their comments broken up or present a duplicate of it as action items. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 23:04, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

Already expressly permitted by TPO

WP:TPO already expressly permits several forms of refactoring which may (sometimes necessarily) involve interleaving, including at the line items named "Removing prohibited material", "Removing harmful posts", "Off-topic posts", "Sectioning", "Removing duplicate sections", "Hiding or resizing images", "Hiding old code samples", and "Removing or striking through ... comments of editors ... blocked as socks", among others (sometimes also including "Fixing format errors" and "Fixing layout errors", depending on the nature of the correction[s] involved).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:03, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

I don't believe that any of those examples involve interleaving comments in response to the comment being modified. That's the kind of interleaving that should be discouraged. The guideline should make this clear. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:49, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
A diff of a specific edit of the sort that should be discouraged would help IMO. Andrewa (talk) 11:27, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
Again, I think diffs of examples would be good. Andrewa (talk) 11:27, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
People eventually provided a couple in the RfC below, but all they show is either a) noobs who are treating the talk page like their e-mail program and will be disabused of that behavior probably on their very first day or, or b) jackasses being obnoxious, which is just disruptive editing we already have the means to deal with.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:47, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
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