Wikipedia talk:Talk page guidelines/Archive 3

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Indentation redux

This guideline formerly allowed for two styles of indenting — threading (where each post is indented one more than the post it is responding to and should be placed directly under that post and all its existing responses at the same level but above others of less indentation, without regard for chronology in the postings) or per-user indenting (where each user uses a single indentation level for an entire discussion and all posts are listed chronologically) — but now it recommends only threading.

When User:Kim Bruning made that change, she suggested it was justified because "no one on internet or wikipedia uses [per-user posting] AFAIK (if you have evidence to the contrary, please come forward :) )." Not too long afterwards, I noticed the change and brought forth evidence on the matter, but I have not received any response. I'll reiterate here.

The benefits of threaded discussion are well discussed and true, but I'd add that when a long discussion involves only a few users and is rather linear (e.g., this discussion), per-user indentation can be easier to read since it doesn't waste space and scrunch replies on the right side of the screen. Therefore, I propose restoring per-user indentation as an option. --Flex (talk/contribs) 16:49, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Some points:
  • When only observing the "user indenting" and "threaded discussion" methods, the vast majority of discussions are threaded, both on Wikipedia and outside of Wikipedia. This guideline is written not to smack people with when they misbehave on talk pages (We have WP:CIVIL for that) but to serve as an answer to the question "What is the proper way to ask/discuss something on a talk page?" for those new to the talk page concept. Most of the readers come here from the talk header template, also present on this page. Listing two methods might unnecessarily alienate new editors from talk pages ("Apparently the formatting is weird") - a bad thing.
  • Sometimes, indeed per user indenting might be useful, especially in discussions between two editors. However, how does one switch from threaded to user indenting, or even start a discussion using the latter? Confusion between editors, unnecessary time spent on formatting, and an overall less productive discussion might follow.
  • For the very rare discussions where:
  1. All participating editors are familiar with the per user indenting system.
  2. The per user indenting system is indeed more useful in the discussion. (Few editors, long notes per user, many responses to a single point, long discussion, etc.)
  3. The switch between threaded and per user indenting does not demand any significant effort, or starting the discussion in a per user indented format is understood by all editors.
...I think it would be better to invoke Wikipedia:Ignore all rules, rather than to write up a paragraph explaining the system and its usage here.
--User:Krator (t c) 21:09, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Fair enough. --Flex (talk/contribs) 13:36, 15 May 2007 (UTC)


Jewelry is spelled jewelry and pronounced jew-el-ry (joo'al re) and not jew-ler-ry. Writer probably spelled it the way he/she pronounces it; both of which are incorrect. It is a product of putting jewels into settings; not a place to keep Jews.

jdm 01:35, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

British vs American spelling difference. See WP:ENGVAR - and I fail to see how either spelling could imply "a place to keep Jews." —Random832 14:30, 15 November 2007 (UTC)


I noticed one instance of vandalism on this page. The caption "The Sacred Heart of Jesus" had been changed to "The Sacred shit of Jesus."

Thanks. 02:21, 20 May 2007 (UTC) Corey

Interpolated editorial comments in addition to (or in lieu of) the talk page

I would like to see the talk page guidelines specify that generally speaking, editorial comments belong on the talk page, and not embedded in the article in the form of <!---interpolated comments --->. I brought this up at the Village pump policy page, but discussion is dying down, and I can't tell if there is any kind of community consensus on this issue. Best, MoodyGroove 20:19, 7 June 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove

I find comments in the page itself to be useful sometimes, especially when dealing with lots of anonymous editors or new editors who are unfamiliar with the talk pages and will just not read any notes on them. --User:Krator (t c) 22:46, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
What kind of comments do you find to be useful? I agree there are some appropriate uses. For example, <!---Please do not post new comments below this line---> or maybe even <!---This section represents a consensus as of 06/07/2007. Please see talk page before changing--->. However, I also think there is a potential for abuse. For example, <!---This is a [[WP:RS]] and is acceptable per [[WP:BLP]]. The editor who removed it should refer to [[WP:NPOV]].---> These kinds of statements are opinion, not fact, and content disputes should be discussed on the talk page, not inside the article. MoodyGroove 23:30, 7 June 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
1) Messages to warn vandals. See the top of StarCraft II - it was harassed by tons of vandals/people inserting bad content before semi-protection, and the message might have scared some away.
2) Asking for very specific things. For example, in a cite book template, the date of publication is unknown. Adding <!-- anyone know this? --> in that field would be appropriate or at least useful here. The same applies for minor editiorial notes. For example "is this sentence right?" and "maybe 200px instead of 180px?"
3) Comments on code. Used in for example {{Citation}}. Outside the template namespace, articles using delicate features like sortable tables (List of Wii games) sometimes employ instructions for new editors, or simply a pointer to the talk page to avoid breaking the code.
The list is longer. --User:Krator (t c) 23:54, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Indentation - Colons or bullet points?

I have noticed an interesting issue after I reverted User:Uncle G's edit on the community sanction noticeboard[1]. As a result I had unintentionally sparked an edit war among a few other users, who left a few comments on that page.

What Uncle G did was replace all colons with asterisks, while adding a comment to discussion. As a result it made the resulting diff very confusing and difficult to use for future investigation. When I asked Uncle G of this, (here) he responded that: "There are several reasons for using asterisks instead of colons, especially on large discussion pages. Have a look at what and how much HTML markup each generates, for starters."

I'm interested in finding some clarification regarding this. - Zero1328 Talk? 13:37, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

The problem isn't with someone using either asterisks or colons, but 1) with a user deciding to change what's already on the page, but not mentioning it (or why) in the the edit summary and 2) with the same user inserting a bunch of whitespace, which makes the diffs hard to read. It didn't help when another user reverted, which removed a comment as well as the formatting. Personally, I'd love it if people included a blank line when adding comments, it makes editing talk pages much much easier. I don't particularly care about asterisks or bullet points, except bullet points make lists much nicer. Dan Beale 14:23, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, see further up this page for some nice examples of using colons and asterisks. Dan Beale 14:25, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
What I'm wondering exactly is why Uncle G said asterisks are better than colons. I decided to try to move the conversation here for more people to see and comment. The amount of HTML code generated could affect dial-up users (by a very minor amount,) and I want to know what the other reasons are. I should also bring up the fact that Uncle G appears to be changing them to a large extent, but I should probably go to an admin noticeboard for that. - Zero1328 Talk? 01:19, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
First, it's the norm here at Wikipedia (as far as I'm aware) NOT to bother mentioning any cleanup of formatting of pages where discussions take place; only editing the actual words of another editor merits a comment in the edit summary. Second, and more importantly, if the wikimedia software that handles diffs worked better, it would have been obvious that Uncle G had simply done some tinkering with colons and asterisks as well as leaving a comment. So to me the situation being discussed here seems more appropriately the subject for a bug report/feature request than for a discussion about what editors should and should not do. (It's better to fix software than to hope to train (tens of) thousands of users to understand a known software deficiency.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 14:12, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Per WP:DWAP, it does not really matter. I prefer colons, as the bullet points distract me. --User:Krator (t c) 14:17, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

On indentation styles and HTML generation.

all generated HTML examples were taken from the preview.

Note: Both actually generate the same amount of HTML, simply with <ul> and <li> vs <dl> and <dd>. What generates more HTML is when they are mixed improperly, for example:

**comment 2
***comment 3


<ul> <li>comment <ul>

<li>comment 2 <ul> <li>comment 3</li> </ul> </li> </ul> </li> </ul>


::comment 2
:::comment 3


<dd>comment 2

<dd>comment 3</dd>


:*comment 2
::*comment 3

which I see all too often, generates

<ul> <li>comment</li> </ul> <dl> <dd> <ul> <li>comment 2</li>

</ul> <dl> <dd> <ul> <li>comment 3</li> </ul> </dd> </dl> </dd> </dl>

adding blank lines between is also, by the way a problem for either:








with it getting even worse for deeper levels of indentation (not a problem when there are no blank lines. And, for bullets, you get this:

  • comment
    • comment2
      • comment3

which is probably why people use the "::*" style in the first place.

Note: mixing indentation styles is perfectly fine, as long as you do it right:

*:comment 2 (no bullet)
*:*comment 3 (has a bullet)
  • comment
    comment 2 (no bullet)
    • comment 3 (has a bullet)
<dd>comment 2 (no bullet)
<li>comment 3 (has a bullet)</li>


Random832 14:48, 15 November 2007 (UTC) Incidentally, if you do it wrong with numbers, you'll get this:

  1. numbered comment
  1. next numbered comment

or this:

  1. numbered comment
  1. another numbered comment after blank line

so people tend to stick to the proper format better with numbered lists than with bullets or simple indentation. In conclusion, the "right" way is to never place blank lines in between comments (except if one has no indentation at all, then it doesn't matter), and when replying, always copy the exact sequence of indenting symbols from the comment you're replying to, and add whichever of : or * you prefer. I do occasionally edit discussions to adhere to this, since it really does improve both the appearance (avoiding multiple bullets, mainly) and the generated HTML, while it has no effect on any individual user's preference/intent on whether they want a bullet in front of their comment or not. —Random832 14:48, 15 November 2007 (UTC)


What are the similarities and differences between the capital market and the money market? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 20:30, June 27, 2007 (UTC)

Try posting this question at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Humanities. -- Satori Son 20:34, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Editing comments/sigs

I added a clause about editing signatures, which is often (and rightly so) viewed as an uncivil action and in violation of m:Dick. However, I also added an exception, being if the signature violates the terms set out in WP:SIG. :) Rockstar (T/C) 20:10, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Dealing with blankings

If somebody repetedly blanks out some comments from the talk page (apart from what is allowed described under Others' comments). Should I revert it? Once? Several times? Even if it risks 3RR? // Liftarn

WP:AN/I would be a good place to go. --User:Krator (t c) 22:13, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Template talk:Talkheader

I have suggested a change to the talkheader template in order to decrease the amount of random stuff on this page. Your comments are appreciated. --User:Krator (t c) 17:09, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Removing sock puppet comments?

What about removing comments from sock puppets on article talk pages. Regardless of sock status non article very off topic can and should be removed but what about harsh borderline stuff that is more ranting but about the article subject. Delt/dealing with & trying to clean up some messes a multiple repeat sock puppets has left. Sometimes picking up the conversation right up when one account gets blocked as if nothings up. Should a sock puppets comments have any credible merrit or should they be removed? --Xiahou 00:23, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Is there a better place to ask this where admins will be more apt to read it and be able to rule on it? I have a bunch of sockpuppet comments on talk pages I'd really like to know if I should leave them or not especially the more radical borderline off topic ones. --Xiahou 21:16, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

If it's not helpful material, I would remove it. Tyrenius 23:07, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Reorganizing talk page sections

Some talk pages have numerous instances of the same topic coming up, with signs that the people writing later ones failed to look at existing topics to see whether their talk concern had been addressed already. Additionally, sometimes questions are asked in sections where they do not belong, or at the top of the page without any section header at all. (Apologies for the numbered lists, but this easiest to ask about in that form, and to discuss in terms like "option I.1.iii". Apologies also for verbosity.)

  1. In cases of repeated instances of the same topic, which of these are appropriate?
    1. Rearrange topics to gather all instances of the repeated topic together, with a notation indicating the rearrangement.
      1. Gather each instance of the topic into the topic's first appearance (since it's a topic that has been on the page a long time).
      2. Gather each instance of the topic into the topic's most recent appearance (so that the newer instances aren't archived along with the older instances).
      3. Gather each instance of the topic into a new message at the bottom of the page (to make the rearrangement obvious to someone who has viewed the page in the past).
    2. When coalescing topics, group the original topics together, leaving them under separate headings.
    3. When coalescing topics, group the original topics together under a new heading, as sub-headings of the original headings.
    4. Don't coalesce instances of the topic, but add replies to older instances referring further discussion to the most recent instance.
    5. Other.
  2. In cases where questions are placed in a section where they don't belong, or placed at the top of the page above any section headings, which of these are appropriate?
    1. If a question fits into an existing section, move it there. Otherwise give it a new heading.
    2. If a question is above all of the section headings, give it a new heading.
    3. If a question is above all of the section headings and already resolved, archive it.
    4. Leave such questions in place until the page needs to be archived.
    5. Other.
Talk:Radiation_poisoning is a page that includes examples of each. At the top of the page there is a comment (not even a question) and two questions that apply to a past state of the main article. A topic that appears repeatedly is the term "walking ghost phase" and related terms. (The topic of references in fiction turns up several times, but I'd only count that as a repeated topic if the same fictional reference appears more than once.)

-- Steve Schonberger 13:11, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

I see that this whole topic is addressed on a separate page, Wikipedia:Refactoring talk pages. If consensus supports adding guidelines there about favored practices when refactoring a talk page, this could be used as a starting point for debate on such guidelines. However, I see that it's not a very good fit here. Oops. -- Steve Schonberger 13:51, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Talking about an article versus the Subject of an article/Deleting versus responding to a comment

Normally I would not be troubled by something like this, but as I've been involved in two separate discussions about it in a short period of time, I am concerned/curious about how some people are interpreting (and, in my opinion, pedantically going overboard) the Talk oage guidleines. The argument du jour has been to remove comments on the talk pages (rather than responding to them) for being more directly about the subject of an article than about the article itself. This recently happened to me in response to a question I posted on the talk page of Playmania.

I do have a tendency to ask questions on talk pages regarding the subject of the article, but I believe they are for legitimate reasons: namely, I will not edit a page unless I'm reasonably certain that what I recall or speculate on is correct. So, I feel that in the interests of maintaining NPOV and avoiding edit wars in general, the Talk page is the page an editor SHOULD go to first regarding unclear information about "the subject." Others clearly disagree, but the "write about the article, not the subject rule," when taken to its logical extreme, simply doesn't seem very helpful to me, as basically the only thing it allows you to do is comment AFTER THE FACT on something that may not be factual or relevant to an article. The way some editors here interpret the rules, it's acceptable to watch for possibly false or irrelevant information in an article, and then to point out where it goes wrong on the talk page, but taking the good faith preventive measure of asking the questions FIRST on the Talk page is somehow sacrosanct. Am I the only one here who thinks the the rules of Talk pages need to be somewhat more flexible in order to prevent malfeasance on the pages themselves?

Moreover, if one feels that another editor is abusing the talk page, isn't it considered more appropriate to respond to the comment and explain WHY it's an abuse, rather than just removing another user's comments? In fact, I was under the impression that removing another user's comments on a talk page other than one's own is verboten. Help me out here. ChrisStansfield 23:05, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Just talking about the subject is not appropriate. If you're talking about the subject with a view to including information in the article, then it is appropriate. You need to make it clear what you are doing and why. Tyrenius 23:11, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Starting a talk page

There should be some more information on starting new talk pages for articles that do not yet have talk pages. Guidelines should be set so that all talk pages have the same beginning format (templates, etc.) --bse3 02:00, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Disguising Commercial Links as Topics for Discussion

I have seen a site that moved an objectionable external links section to the discussion page. Little discussion has been generated. Is this kosher? DCDuring 11:10, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Frudulent Emails ???

I received this email today - I believe it fraudulent and should be posted as a warning - I cannot imagine the President of anything email total strangers to transact banking for their company - I did not know where else to post this other than here - can you help???

My name is Jane Oberg and my email address is - todays date is 9/18/07 - is there a way to forward this to Pres. Wade - I have opened his home page but my only language is English so I am lost there - thanks for any suggestions or help - JLO

Dear Friend Mrs.Jane L. Oberg,

Top of the day to you.I feel quite safe dealing with you in this business preposition having gone through your remarkable profile on the internet.Though, this medium (Internet)has been greatly abused, I choose to reach you through it because it still remains the fastest,surest and most secured medium of communication.Let me crave your indulgence to introduce myself to you I am Abdoulaye Wade,Presidente executive officer of Star Energy Group plc. We are OPEC members who deal on crude oil and raw material. Go to my website:

I will want to solicit for your assistance to help collect a payment that is due to my colleagues for services and supplies we rendered. My colleagues want someone in usa who has ( HOME EQUITY LINE OF CREDIT ACCOUNT ) to receive the fund for us.why we want someone with ( EQUITY LINE OF CREDIT ACCOUNT ) was because of our previous exeperince where our representative run away with our money.

Please if you are willing to assist,I will want you to furnish me with your particulars, so as to enable me give you further details. Please, you have to be an honest and trusted person,as more payments will be made through you in the course of this transaction.And moreso you will be entitled to 10% of every payment that you are able to recieve for us from our customers, and all transfer charges would be deducted from the principal amount.Please contact us for more information via email with the below informations filled out.


We look forward in working with you. Presidente Abdoulaye Wade, Star Energy Group plc, Dakar Senegal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:56, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Posting offensive language on talk pages

I found that someone had written the word "faggots" on someone else's usertalk page. Although it was not directed at the user, it is still offensive; in a case like this, would it be going against the rules of editing someone else's comments to remove the word? --DearPrudence 23:16, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not censored for offensive language. Unless it was a personal attack, do not remove it. User:Krator (t c) 23:44, 22 September 2007 (UTC)
Thank you! --DearPrudence 23:49, 22 September 2007 (UTC)


  • Should we really merge that article to this page? Is it the same division of work? - RobertLeBlais (In class) [Tuesday, September 25th, 2007. 9:13 am]

The Filibuster

What about filibustering - what I mean is when an editor puts so much material on a talk page that they start to dominate the conversation through sheer volume of comments. This can easily be done in good faith, because sometimes people are just so sure that they are 'right' that if they just keep explaining it enough, eventually people will 'get it'. It can be very hard to figure out what is the consensus on a contentious issue when more than 50% of the text on a page is generated by one or two editors. There doesn't seem to be a policy or guideline to address this... should there be? Dlabtot 18:54, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Comment Order on Talk Pages

I'm wondering if there are any guidelines on where to insert comments within a section on a talk page. I've seen people insert comments above others' comments. It's realy frustrating because it disrupts the chronological flow of the section and is disrespectful of those editors whose comments are being pushed downward. Is there a guideline I can reference? Thanks. CWPappas 05:35, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Can you provide examples? Because, discussions generally follow a threaded flow rather than a chronological one, i.e. as shown here: Original post
:Reply 1
::Reply to Reply 1 (made after Reply 2)
:Reply 2
Random832 22:07, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

What is the rule about this?

What do the rules say about removing relevant comments from a discussion? If there is a discussion on a user talk page and you have something to say about the discussion, and you make a completely relevant post, but the owner of that user talk page deletes your comment from the discussion because they "don't like you," and then the discussion continues, is this allowable per the talk page guidelines? Here are the edits which I am referring to: [2][3][4]. Ksy92003(talk) 15:20, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Hi! If this had occurred on an article talk page, it would be a problem and would be considered vandalism. But this occured on a user's own talk page. Although users don't own their own talk pages, they do have a certain amount of additional leeway with how they manage them that they don't have in article talk pages. The user doesn't have to answer you, and doesn't have to listen to you. I would discuss the matter on the article talk page only, and not attempt to bring it up on this user's personal talk page again. Once again if something like this happens on an article talk page, or another user erases things from your own talk page, it would be another matter. Best, --Shirahadasha 16:50, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
Actually, the topic was first brought up on the user talk page by another user, and it was about a user's edits in general on a widespread basis, not just one or two articles, making it impractical to discuss this on an article talk page. I understand that a user can remove somebody else's comments from their own talk page, but if that is the case, then how would I be able to get my point across on an important discussion if he doesn't let me take part in the discussion? In my opinion, if the comment is related to the discussion that is already going on, if you have something important to say, then the other user shouldn't be allowed to remove that comment from the discussion, even if it is because he doesn't like me.
For the record, the other user, Chrisjnelson, has been blocked 7 times already (unblocked once because Chris promised to stop his actions, and was blocked wrongfully for 3RR another time), and he has had a bad history with me ever since I noted that he was making many personal attacks towards another user, so it's no surprise that he doesn't like me, but I honestly think that Chris shouldn't be allowed to remove my comment if it is completely related to a discussion that is ongoing on his talk page. Ksy92003(talk) 17:16, 7 October 2007 (UTC)


With alarming figures being published about obesity in the United States, it has become a cause for concern among health experts and the people in general all over the world. In the United States, 58 million adults are overweight, 40 million are obese and 3 million suffer from life threatening obesity. There has been a 76 percent increase in diabetes in adults between the ages of 30—40 years since 1990 because of obesity. Although, physical –exercise and balanced diet are best probable ways to avoid weight augment, but if afflicted by obesity drugs are perhaps the only solution, together with a diet plan and exercise. Diet pills are mainly for those suffering from serious obesity. Obesity is a complex disorder and it arises from the accumulation of excess fat in the body from over consumption of fatty foods. Unlike drugs for other serious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis or diabetes, it was only in 1959 that F.D.A (Food and Drug Administration of U.S.) approved Phentermine resin as an appetite suppressant useful for cure of obesity. It was in 1997 that Fen –Phen, a mixture of fenfluramine and Phentermine was endorsed as weight loss pill, and in a years time it achieved overnight success. By mid 1998, approx 18 million prescriptions were written. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:58, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Placement of tag templates/banners

Should there be a section added here to confirm where talk page tags should be placed (e.g. templates such as for WikiProjects, {{oldafdfull}}, {{ArticleHistory}})? Or does such a policy or guideline appear elsewhere? The common practice seems to be that TP tags are kept at the top and should not be archived. We could also encourage compacting multiple similar tags to keep some order at the top e.g. combine multiple WikiProject tags in a collapsible structure, similar to what User:MadmanBot is doing. Dl2000 03:21, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Removal of messages from an anonymous IP's user talk page

Elsewhere, it's been argued that removal of a message from a user talk page can be considered acknowledgement of the message, and therefore it's okay for a user to remove said messages from his or her own user talk page. However, I should point out that the same does not apply to anonymous IP user talk pages - the page may be shared among numerous users, and there is no way to know whether an anonymous IP user is the intended recipient of the message or not.

If another user on that IP comes along and removes messages from an IP user talk page, this may prevent those messages from reaching their intended recipient. While one may argue that this is part of the benefit of having a user account, I should note that failure to deliver a message is a problem not only for the recipient but also the sender.

Additionally, a large portion of the comments left on anonymous IP user talk pages are of an advisory, investigatory, or disciplinary nature. Removal of such messages, especially within a short time frame of their placement, increases the difficulty with which other users become aware of problems emanating from that IP address, including other people who happen to make use of that IP and who might be well-served to take notice of such a problem.

Therefore, I would like to suggest that this guideline discourage users of anonymous IP talk pages from removing or archiving comments of less than a certain age (such as one month). (I personally feel the same should apply to any user talk page, but that can be addressed later, I suppose.) --DachannienTalkContrib 03:53, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Quite obviously, you are talking about me. Anonymous users are already de facto second-class citizen and frequently treated quite badly using ad hominem attacks, false accusation of being a sock puppet, their privacy is violated by archiving IP addresses forever etc. I can assure you and already told you that your message has been received, so there's no point in keeping the text as the next user under that IP address will be a completely different person and there is absolutely no benefit to keeping the message. Actually, removing the text will not make it disappear at all since you can still look at the history. Therefore, I don't quite see the point in your proposal which seems to be inspired by a single event. --NotSarenne 19:37, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I'm not talking about you specifically. I've held the position that users should not remove advisory, investigatory, or disciplinary comments from their own talk pages for some time now. The recent event you mention was merely the impetus for me getting off my duff and bringing it up here. I'd like my proposal to be considered seriously, on its own merits, in the context of the implications that would apply not just to one user specifically but to Wikipedia as a whole, just as any policy or guideline should.
As to your assertion that the history is sufficient for a user talk page, I disagree. Information of use to administrators, anti-vandals, and other disinterested third parties appears quite frequently on user talk pages, and permitting users to shove those into the confusing jumble of a potentially long list of page edits prevents those parties from accessing that information easily. Furthermore, in the case of IP pages, an anonymous user may not even be aware that an important edit was made to the talk page if the edit is subsequently blanked. The onus should not be on those people to scour the history to glean what bits of useful information they can, when we can just as easily maintain, through guidelines, user talk pages as an important active resource for everyone. --DachannienTalkContrib 05:52, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
I have no idea what you're actually trying to achieve. Guidelines can be ignored; any problematic IP editor is going to ignore the guideline. IP editors that don't cause problems probably aren't getting any messages on "their" talk pages, or aren't removing them, or are reading and acting on them before removing them. This guideline feels like instruction creep but without any useful effect. Dan Beale-Cocks 19:28, 2 November 2007 (UTC)


This issue has apparently come up yet again on ANI - so: does the section about editing others' comments apply to section headings (which appear in the table of contents, are visually separated from anything with a signature on it, and are meant to describe the entire discussion below it rather than just the first thing the user who brought it up said) —Random832 22:00, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

In my opinion, clearly not. I don't interpret Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines to mean that headings fall under the category of "Others' comments" or "editing comments." Headings are everybody's responsiblity, not just the person who posts it. By analogy, if I wrote a heading, "Joe Shmoe is a moron," and then proceeded to discuss a specific problem I had with Joe Shmoe on a talk page, I would hope that somebody would change this heading to reflect what is actually being discussed and something that would not beg the question. Thank you. --GHcool 22:24, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

A good thing about Wikipedia is that it's not a bureaucracy. For rulings on very specific cases like this, best see WP:IAR and try to apply common sense and reason. User:Krator (t c) 23:08, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

The problem is that sometimes people deliberately misconstrue someone's actions (using this guideline) in order to make them look bad. The section I linked is not the only time I've seen it happen. IAR should only be for extraordinary cases; if it has to be used for a routine act like changing a section title, there's something wrong with the rule that's being ignored. —Random832 14:59, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly. In my opinion, headings on talk pages should be treated with similar attention to NPOV as headings on article pages. --GHcool 00:32, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
The section in Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines that says 'Keep headings neutral' seems to anticipate that other editors will intervene to change the wording of non-neutral headings. In the above-cited ANI incident User:GHcool's header modification seem to push the envelope. In particular, his claim that

I've taken the liberty to change the title of this debate because I feel that it misrepresents the issue and begs the question

doesn't fall under the heading of changing for neutrality. There is no carte blanche provided to change others' comments (or headers) in a Talk discussion if you feel they misrepresent the issue or beg the question. Start your own section (with a new header) if you insist the issue is wrongly stated. EdJohnston 01:31, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
If what he changed it to, or his comment accompanying the change, was a problem, that'll be covered by civility, NPA, or whatever - I just think it needs to be made more clear that changing a header is not per se a violation of anything. (and, anyway, I can't imagine how a comment specifically asserting that the original header was not neutral could cause the change to not fall under changing it for neutrality; if it would have been otherwise. If it would not have been, his comment doesn't change that anyway so why mention it?) —Random832 13:52, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Note: [5] is one of the edit in question (and shows what the original heading was). "slander" is a very serious accusation and may even fall under WP:NLT (interpretations of NLT in edge cases like these tend to vary wildly, but it is at least within the mainstream that using a legal term of art to accuse someone of something actionable constitutes a legal threat) —Random832 14:00, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

revisions to meet notability standards

Hello - I made the recommended revisions (removing "peacock" terms, providing published 3rd party sources about subject) today. I hope this addresses the notability concerns. Thanks. Psipe 16:33, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Abbreviations and acronyms in Wikipedia articles

This comment stems from your entry for Medicare Part D, but concerns Wikipedia practices in general.

Our society seems to have gone hogwild over abbreviations and acronyms during the past 30 or 40 years. Therein lies a mutual problem for both Wikipedia and its readers. As I read along, I encounter some abbreviation, such as MMA in your entry for Medicare Part D, and I'm stumped. What's that stand for? If I search diligently through the prior part of the entry I can find it, but it takes a careful, diligent, time- consuming search and (as with MMA) it might turn out to be tucked away in some odd niche, not in the preceding prose, where one would expect to find it. Because the use of abbreviations and acronyms has become widespread, texts -- yours are relevant here -- are loaded with them, and for readers to cope becomes time wasting, not to mention annoying. In other words, it's a problem.

There's a solution to the problem.

Enter a list of abbreviations and acronyms at or near the beginning of the text. Alternatively (but less handy for the reader) enter the list at the end, but with a notation at or near the beginning that the list is down there at the end (as an appendix). 16:58, 14 November 2007 (UTC)Lank Felsen at

The first sentence in Medicare Part D is: "Medicare Part D is a federal program to subsidize the costs of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries in the United States. It was enacted as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) and went into effect on January 1, 2006."
I don't really think it requires "a careful, diligent, time-consuming search" to find, nor is it actually "tucked away in some odd niche, not in the preceding prose, where one would expect to find it" Dlabtot 18:45, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
That being said, I went ahead and wikilinked it. Dlabtot 18:49, 14 November 2007 (UTC)


I could not find information about the value and function of the tonsils. If they get infected by certain bacteria/germs, etc., they are usually removed. However, what impact do those bacteria/germs, etc. then have on the body once the tonsils are removed. The article could be expanded to deal with the issue of the value of the tonsils. Are they a filtering organ to block germs and bacteria? What happens when that filter is removed from the body? thanks for some clarification in the article. 15:24, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

This project page discusses the guidelines for talk page discussion on Wikipedia, and has absolutely nothing to do with tonsils. Perhaps you're looking for the article on tonsils? Pyrospirit (talk · contribs) 16:02, 15 November 2007 (UTC)


I don't get how to upload images could you tell me how to? thanks,--Pomergirl (talk) 23:49, 19 November 2007 (UTC)LOllipup

Reformatting a section

Generally speaking, is it acceptable practice to make minor formatting changes to a talk page for better readability of the code? I'm simply talking about things like adding spaces or extra lines between comments, which makes it easier to read from the edit window. I didn't see anything on the project page discussing this; perhaps we could add something? Pyrospirit (talk · contribs) 01:28, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

I think we can assume that such minor changes are covered by common sense. Adding or deleting blank lines should be harmless, and I think it is OK to change the indenting of others' comments when it makes the sequence of exchanges more clear. Fixing their spelling errors, though, can cause angry reactions. People are generally entitled to have their comments remain on the page as they were originally typed. EdJohnston 03:48, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
I wish it were that easy. Sometimes people are strongly attached to their particular indentation style, prefering to use asterisks over colons (or the other way round). Also, doesn't adding white space between comments in the edit window cause the 'history' button to give odd results? Maybe I'm confused about that. But it is useful to have a blank line between comments. It makes it much easier to edit the page. Dan Beale-Cocks 11:27, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Agree. The odd results I've seen have been minor and the lesser of two evils IMO, as providing the white space between user comments is valuable and acceptable IMO. Inserting space between comments by the same user is riskier, especially if only the second is signed. But yes, some are very possessive of the formatting of their comments, and others equally possessive of their right (?) to edit whatever they like. Focus on what improves Wikipedia is my best suggestion, and sometimes it does get very tricky. Andrewa 18:03, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

A Study

Where does this belong? User:Krator (t c) 00:06, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Hello I am a high school honor student and doing research for what kind of people look up on wikipedia. Please give me your name, age or what grade you are in so I can Complete my study.

No. You might want to look into the subcategories of Category:Wikipedians for useful information. For example, counting the number of people in Category:Wikipedian students might be useful to you. User:Krator (t c) 00:05, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Question about editing others' comments

I have no strong feelings about this, but I would like input from others. With so many people using AWB, I've noticed a trend in "fixing" (spelling, grammar, capitalization, etc.) other people's comments on talk pages, and other Wiki-space pages (like bot requests, AN/ANI, etc.). The part of me that is a stickler for spelling and grammar is happy to see this, but another part of me believes in the talk page etiquette guideline that you should not edit other people's comments. It seems this may be something that should be avoided. It should not be hard for those who use AWB to simply skip anything not in article space (I use AWB occasionally, and I do not edit pages that are outside article space for this reason) but I'd like to know what others think. ArielGold 10:42, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree. I would never edit someone else's comments. I might quote a section and ask for clarification if it was ambiguous, even if I was sure of the real meaning and a way to fix it. The only acceptable edit of someone else's comments is to trim their sigs, but even that's unpopular with many people. Dan Beale-Cocks 11:23, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Agree. I actually find it extremely annoying when someone "fixes" my comments.
  • There's a risk they are misquoting me... with a degree in formal logic and ten years' experience as an auditor during which time I wrote and delivered numerous papers and articles for the professional association, I can claim both professional and academic standing as a pedant. The result is I often choose my words more carefully than may be obvious. The same goes for my formatting, although here I'm largely self-taught.
  • For this and other reasons I'd prefer to do it myself if it needs fixing. If it matters so much to someone else, surely they can drop me a line on my talk page with their suggestions?
  • It strikes me as one-upmanship, and just plain rude.
So my advice is simply: Don't. And most people seem to follow it. An error in spelling or grammar or a confusing format in an article reflects badly on Wikipedia, and should be fixed. One in a signed comment on a talk page reflects only on the author, at worst.
There is however one way in which I do regularly modify other people's comments, and that's to add the {{subst:Unsigned| template where appropriate. That's a courtesy to other users, to save them needing to do the hack work I've had to do anyway to identify the contributor. Andrewa 02:16, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

how to source one's view point in a talk page

I have 2 questions really.

The first one is: why does "Stay objective" says "Talk pages are a forum to discuss how the different points of view obtained from secondary sources should be included in the article". Why "secondary sources" and not reliable sources ? The concept of Reliable sources is much more recognized in the community.

The second is this: could we be more explicit in this policy on the need for participants in a talk page to provide his/her secondary sources when requested ? The issue was raised in Talk:Cold fusion, where the talk page was polluted by unsourced (and wrong) opinions. I recommend it because it would eliminate a lot of babble on talk pages, improve the reliability of wikipedia, and save a lot of time to a lot of people. It would also help avoid heated discussions.

Thanks in advance for your comments. Pcarbonn (talk) 08:37, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

To put this in context, Pcarbonn wished the reasons given by people who didn't agree with his (overwhelmingly rejected) move proposal at Talk:Cold_fusion#Requested move to be ignored unless properly sourced. Possibly this discussion would be better at Wikipedia talk:requested moves for that reason, but they're right in a way to raise it here, in that move discussions do take place on talk pages, and they appear to be interested in obtaining a ruling that would apply to all talk page discussion. Andrewa (talk) 10:28, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Thank you, Andrewa. Another reason to keep this discussion here is that I presented the same argument in another discussion, not related to a page move. See the cold fusion talk page (see Confirmation of Fleischmann-Pons excess heat).

Here is the wording I propose for the policy:

  • Stay objective: Talk pages are not a forum for editors to argue their own different points of view about controversial issues. They are a forum to discuss how the different points of view obtained from reliable sources should be included in the article, so that the end result is neutral and objective (which may mean including conflicting viewpoints). When requested, editors of a talk page should be able to give the source of their contributions. The best way to present a case is to find properly referenced material (for an alternative forum for personal opinions, see the Wikibate proposal).

Pcarbonn (talk) 11:05, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

It's actually a guideline rather than a policy. I don't think your proposal adds anything useful to it, and it may provide some fuel to feed unproductive disputes. What does it mean that they should be able to give the source? Does it mean they are required to give it? What if they don't? Andrewa (talk) 11:13, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
On the basis of his comments at Talk:Cold_fusion#Requested move, I think Pcarbonn believes that if a talk page comment is unsourced or unreasonable then it should be deleted. Even aside from the subjective nature of these criteria, it cannot be helpful for everyone else following a discussion if one party is deleting another's comments. LeContexte 21:47, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
The civil response to an unsourced or unreasonable comment is to ask politely for the source, or to give the reasonable counterargument. Pcarbonn would like us to use (what he believes to be) the official name for cold fusion instead of its present name. Some of the comments have doubted whether his official name actually fits the article, but even if it did, we should use the term our readers will understand.
A consensus that something actually is common English usage goes a long way to demonstrating that it actually is correct English for the subject. In the end, there is no other test. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:47, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
There's an added complication... As I pointed out above, the particular arguments (or at least some of them) to which Pcarbonn objected were made in a requested move survey.
WP:RM of course conducts discussion in the article talk page, unlike for example WP:AFD which uses specially named project pages not talk pages. This is possibly not the way you'd set it up if designing the system from scratch, but it works well enough that I see no reason to change it.
So the question as to what is allowed in responding to these arguments is a question of WP:RM procedures, and any change to these should be discussed on its talk page, rather than just here. This may not be obvious at first reading, and failure to understand it could cause lots of unproductive discussion further down the track. Andrewa 11:07, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Users should be required to source article content, but I believe requiring sources for statements made in talk pages, and especially letting editors delete unsourced claims made in talk pages would not be good for the project. There are good reasons why standards for talk pages need to be somewhat looser than for articles. If we gave editors license to delete others' comments willy-nilly, it would create far more problems than it would solve. Talk pages serve as a place for opinionated editors to let off a little steam, making their case for their preferred point of view and arguing against actions they think are unfair. Allowing this valve serves a useful function and minimizes disruption on the encyclopdia. It's one thing to block repetitively disruptive users. It's another thing to bring in standards that editors will be able to use against each other that will lead to chaos. The Wikipedia process requires open and free discussion. Standards that cut off discussion too easily for non-serious infractions risk creating more conflict rather than helping negotiate and reach concensus. Best, --Shirahadasha 00:05, 2 December 2007 (UTC)