Help talk:Improving, Reviewing, and Removing Templates

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Templates[edit]

First off, I wonder if Template:requestreview should be included on the list. It isn't included in category:!, so it doesn't flag a work as incomplete, for the purposes of DPLs. (Or, at least, the 5e ones are set up to work that way.) I'm fine with that, because there is no reason for a page to be separated out into the waste-bin just because someone wants a critique. If this page is supposed to be for ! templates only, then requestreview should either be made such, or removed from this list. Otherwise, we should separate the page into a ! template list and a non-! template list.

I would like to know if Template:Merge should be included on this list. Merging pages isn't exactly anyone's favorite activity, I know, but the more I do stuff here, the more things I see that could really use it. In particular, Template:Stub and Template:WIP essentially overlap. They both mean a page is incomplete. One counts as ! and the other does not. Incomplete implies that work has stopped, but many people use it to communicate that the work is in a state of change. WIP implies very strongly that there is continuing work being done on the page, as a way of staving off the abandoned tag. Both of these tags also overlap the function of Template:Inuse, which is actually like an extremely limited version of WIP that tells people not to edit a page for a limited period of time, as work is being done at this very moment. In any case, whether these get merged, ir remain separate, I think that any and all templates which have something to do with a page being incomplete should count as !.

Template:ImageNeeded is incomplete, and could definitely be of use to anyone who is taking the Featured Article process seriously. However, I'm unsure if it should be included as !, or just on the FA page. Nothing on the wiki really NEEDS a picture to be complete, they only need it in order to be an FA.

Template:Needsadmin should be added to this page. I don't think there's much reason for anyone to disagree with that. Having it available here will make it even more available to new users- exactly the sorts of people who will likely need it most. --Kydo (talk) 23:26, 14 September 2016 (MDT)

~To begin, I would agree the Template:Needsadmin should definitely be included, as it certainly is one that I believe new users especially should be paying attention to!

In my opinion, Template:Stub and Template:WIP shouldn't be merged, as they still draw a fine line between abandonment and still in-developement.

I'd say that Template:ImageNeeded doesn't belong as !, and should be on the FA page, as images are something that, myself included, people often neglect to put in, whether it be for fear of copyright infringement, can't find a good image to depict that pages nature, etc.

--Aegisthus (talk) 00:14, 15 September 2016 (MDT)

I think {{requestreview}} should be made !, Because it is in the category of "this page needs to be addressed", and is of equal priority to the other entries because it's how we catalogue those other entries in the first place. It's also a simpler task than the other templates, so it's faster to execute.
I'm okay with having {{merge}} on here as !.
I think {{stub}} should merge with {{abandoned}} because on descriptive pages (articles about products and real-world stuff) there's no use for abandoned, and on creative pages (all homebrew stuff) stub effectively means abandoned.
I think {{WIP}} should be kept separate, as it fills a different informational role even if the state of the page may be just as incomplete as a stub.
I don't think {{ImageNeeded}} should be !.
I think {{needsadmin}} should be ! and on this list.
Proton[talk] 00:57, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
I'm not sure why there is so many different templates, as I noticed that some people don't even know they exist. How about having at most 4? Let's see... You could merge Abandoned with Delete, = no edits in a long time but the page is not good as it is. I am of opinion that pages without anyone editing them shouldn't be just deleted, unless it's clearly vandalism.
Design or review template/disclaimer, that should include all the improve wording/mechanics/formatting because it's really about working on the page a little for it be more usable for the players.
Recently someone created multiple pages of the same content, for example Slime_Girl_(5e_Race)/Slime_People_(5e_Race), Lightning_Blade(3.5e_Class)/Lightning_Blade (3.5e_Class). I am not sure how to progress with them, because we clearly can't stop people from copy pasting new pages. However we could simply "Parent" them. It would basically inform the viewer that this page was created based on this (Parent) page.
Other templates could include "This is a part of this homebrew setting or IP".
I rather not include things like "Specific Balance/Design" in the page, because it's ultimately up to the players how they want to use them. I do want however people to be aware that balance and design belongs to the talk page, and they should say something there first before changing anything. Anyone can apply the homebrew content however they see fit, making it stronger or weaker, this wiki is only providing the very basic shapes and blocks people can play with. Berzul (talk) 02:19, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
I'd personally say the various templates are very handy. As someone who actively moderates a lot of content, the differentiation they offer is pretty invaluable, especially when I get round to using a bot to do some automated moderating.
Specific balance is something I think we very much should be acknowledging and moderating. Free reign on balance and design effectively just makes the site no different from pastebin, or something. Just a text dump. Though again, I agree with User:Kydo's sentiment, we shouldn't become bullies, but we should be more strict on curating, and perhaps slightly less afraid to delete articles than author doesn't fix up - Though I quite like our current balance on deletion, to be honest.
Contrary to apparently popular opinion, I use {{abandoned}} quite a lot. It's a REALLY handy template for deleting content that has the potential to be decent, but isn't worth keeping around if nobody cares enough to finish it up. I'd be very deeply upset at removing or merging that template. It serves a very important purpose that stub nor delete acknowledge.
Agree with {{requestreview}} and {{merge}} being a ! template, I'll add that if there are no objections.
  • I don't believe {{needsadmin}} should be on there, as, as the template suggests, the template is there if an admin is needed, and this list should be accessible for all users. Admins should be watching Category:Needs Admin anyway, and if not, then we're not doing our job right.
  • Also think {{ImageNeeded}} should be on here, not particularly necessary, but then neither are the stub templates for vital stats. It's just something that can and should be improved, that's what a ! article should be. --SgtLion (talk) 06:43, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
If a creative article is marked with {{stub}}, there's nothing it could mean other than abandonment. It's an invitation, saying "I'm not done, feel free to complete me" and the only reason a creative article wouldn't be done is if its author abandoned it. If no one else is willing to un-stub it, then it'll never be complete and usable, so you delete it. There's no functional distinction between {{stub}} and {{abandoned}}. —Proton[talk] 08:47, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
I think the intent behind stub was that people aren't supposed to post incomplete works directly to main. We're supposed to create stuff in User:/subpages while they're being worked on, then move or copy them to main when they're complete. The stub template is supposed to mark anything that is incomplete for any reason, but I'd like to note that its own text focuses on flavor. Because it is so broad, and the preload buttons add content directly to main, pretty much anything and everything under the sun can be labelled with that template. You could even consider poor spelling and balance issues to be a state of "incomplete"! In essence, the vast majority of stub templates are actually a misuse of the template. This has happened partially because new users don't even know all the resources available to them, (which is what this discussion is intended to help resolve) and the tools which are available aren't defined very well. So, instead of merging stub into those other templates, perhaps we should simply detangle it from them. Proton, you're right, the apparent intent of stub would be equivalent to abandoned. To resolve that issue, we could alter the function of stub to focus only on concept and fluff depth and completeness, removing all references to other forms of incompletion. The blanks would then be easily filled by other templates which were created later on, like WIP. If an editor is still working on a page, it should be WIP, not stub. If a WIP page doesn't see any edits or discussion for some time, it should be marked as abandoned. --Kydo (talk) 13:14, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
So on that topic, if you check sandbox I figured out how to make it so the preload buttons add a page as a user subpage, instead of adding them directly to main. Perhaps this is something we should consider moving towards? Now, it's not perfect, because that increases the learning curb for new users, as many of them can barely navigate the wiki, but it may be one step towards improving the organization in this place. --Kydo (talk) 13:32, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
I don't think that curbing new content by having a slightly more complex publication process would be a bad thing. I don't think we're going to lose many potential homebrew gems by doing so.
I feel as if this discussion is going to eventually reach "what exactly is this wiki for?" which is a question I don't actually know the answer to. Perhaps that should be clarified before moving much further forward. —Proton[talk] 16:04, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
I agree. I am planning on breaking off this line of conversation from this page and taking it to discussion, because we aren't talking about the improving templates any more. If anyone would like to continue discussing things unrelated to the reorganization and clarification of this page, such as quality policy, balance policy, or community direction, please start a topic in the forum. Personally, I feel that all three of these things are far too subjective to write a concrete policy for: they should grow emergently. As such, I have little to no interest in discussing them for any purpose other than a general interest in the topic. --Kydo (talk) 19:12, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
What if I mentioned that a "Deplorable" template is in the air right now?
Do users feel that these templates are not approachable, since they are too confusing? What are users reactions exactly?
Maybe a color coding style for the templates would clear up a lot of these issues. If {{WIP}} is coded as "green" would users understand why its not part of Category:!? Or up for deletion? I think that people respond to colors better than just a similar format. This could also make a lot of sense for templates like {{ImageNeeded}}.
I do not think that {{requestreview}} should be added to Category:! since it is automatically applied to some new pages. If people feel strong about this issue, then we should put it up to a vote.
{{merge}} is very specific as to the history of the page, deletion criteria, etc. Its mostly used for mistake pages that were repeated in this context. Unless this page is given a much more normal usage, then I do not think that Category:! is appropriate for it. {{needsadmin}} maybe should be put into the standard template format with "!". If we start color coding these templates, then this usage would make a lot more sense.
{{abandoned}} is actually a spin-off from {{delete}}, so I don't think that mergening them together now is at all expropriate. --Green Dragon (talk) 15:41, 16 September 2016 (MDT)
I absolutely love the idea of color-coding the templates. (My imagination runs wild: Red for !, to indicate that the page is dysfunctional and needs editing or is in danger of removal, green for disclaimers, to indicate that the page is still OK and here's why)
I am not keen on "Deplorable" as a template. I think such a thing, because of its strong wording, could be abused to be verbally abusive. --Kydo (talk) 16:03, 16 September 2016 (MDT)

On the topic of the "Deplorable" template GD suggested. Is Survivor (5e Background) the kind of content it would be intended for? Because right now, there is nothing that adequately covers this madness. --Kydo (talk) 00:28, 17 September 2016 (MDT)

I'm still not seeing a meaningful issue with templates as they are. What value are any of these reforms going to add to the maintenance of articles? What is the goal of changing the system here? --SgtLion (talk) 16:20, 19 September 2016 (MDT)
1. I am going to be collecting all of the communication templates we use in a hub, like these templates, making them available to new users directly through the help portal.
2. I need to make sure that, if any of these are NOT really serving the function of !, then they are removed from here and go with those other templates.
3. I need to make sure that, if any of those other templates SHOULD be !, then they are added here instead of with the others.
4. I need to know if it should be a new page, or just a separate list on this page.
5. I am working on writing down a black-and-white form of the community consensus policies as I understand them. Part of that relies on me understanding what we are using these for. (I'm just trying to get close to what seems to be the trends for our unwritten rules. Obviously, as a consensus thing, those pages should be made user guidelines and left unprotected so the community can modify them towards their true state, and not my imperfect interpretations.) --Kydo (talk) 06:07, 20 September 2016 (MDT)

If we are including non-! here[edit]

I think there should be a separate page for non-! templates, like a sister-page to this one. However, it may be practical to just make a separate section further down on this page and explain these other templates there. The following templates are disclaimers, designed to communicate some important message to the reader. Although they are all tools for improving our wiki, they are not really tools for improving a page. They do not flag a page as being "bad", but rather protect works from being flagged as such inappropriately.

Template:April Fools tells the audience that a page is not serious, and should be interpreted as a work of comedy. This prevents intentional humor from being removed from the wiki by people who interpret it as vandalism, incomplete, or imbalanced. I am considering whether or not we should make an inverted version of this template to put on especially dark, gritty, grim, super-serious content. Maybe that just falls under the adult theme template though.

Template:Adult Theme warns the audience that a piece of content deals with mature subject matter,a nd therefore is inappropriate for younger audience members. This prevents pages from being removed by social justice warriors who would censor the creativity of the adult community here.

Template:Design Disclaimer covers grey-area rules debates, preventing them from starting flame/edit wars, and protecting well-designed content which is deviant from normal design standards.

Template:Copyright Disclaimer informs the audience that what they are looking at is a derivative work- a piece of fandom. It helps protect this community from legal action, and protects our audience from accidentally using fan-work. (This is a major complaint we face, that people keep bringing anime based stuff to traditional fantasy groups) Increasing the visibility of this template to new users will dramatically improve its use on the wiki. --Kydo (talk) 23:26, 14 September 2016 (MDT)

~For ease of access, I would say that it would be better to have a seperate section on the same page.

As for the Template:April Fools inverted version, I would say that would fall under the Adult theme, though there could (and perhaps already is) a good argument in the favour of creating a template based around more mature themes.

In regards to Template:Adult Theme in sequence to my last comment, I'd say that this template should be renamed to Template:Mature or Template:Mature Theme(s) as I think that would better, or more fully, encompass the full spectrum from gore, to sexual content, to strong language, etc.

--Aegisthus (talk) 00:14, 15 September 2016 (MDT)

I think {{April Fools}} should be called {{humor}} or {{joke page}}, and that {{Adult Theme}} be called {{mature content}}.
I've never had any dealing with edit wars of the sort {{Design Disclaimer}} seems to be for. At a glance, I suspect it might be a premature solution to a non-issue, but if it was a response to something that used to be a problem, I guess we can keep it around?
No comment on {{Copyright Disclaimer}}.
Proton[talk] 00:57, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
Regarding design disclaimer, I've been playing D&D for a little over 12 years, and participated in online discussions about it for about 9. For about as long, I have been engaging in debates over "balance" that have nothing to do with the rules. When I came here, I encountered (and created) multiple pages which are frequently the target of "balance" edits. Some of them have since been protected. The Races of War supplement apparently sparked a huge debate on this wiki (and even in the community at large, I'd heard of it before I ever even made an account here.) some years ago, and is now being protected and marked with that disclaimer as well. So, while it isn't a big issue now, it can become a big issue in the future, and already is a big issue on other large communities like ENWorld. Other communities typically fold to the squeaky wheel, so a lot of them have very draconian policies about content balance which, under scrutiny, become pretty absurd pretty fast. (Case in point: "Balance Points") I would like to see this community, while it is still fairly small, protect itself from what is, essentially, bullying from incompetent and immature DMs, by creating standards which recognize balance as something far more subtle and complex than simple number games. With a robust language with which to discuss the subject, it will be far more difficult for people to manipulate the community in the name of "balance". You'd be shocked to see how far some people take this nonsense. It's my main reason for abandoning an online D&D community. --Kydo (talk) 02:03, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
Sounds good to me. —Proton[talk] 02:19, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
Like I said above, take balance type edits to the talk page. I think there is no point in edits of balance without understanding each other's opinions on it. Even if the page looks overpowered or underpowered, it is still up to players to use it at its base or modified form. Berzul (talk) 02:24, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
Berzul, I think that, for the sake of staying on topic, we should all just agree that the subject of balance is extremely complex. This wiki is going to need to sit down and hash out just what that word means here some day. However, for now, we have literally thousands of pages that are being read millions of times a day, a bad rep, and very little capacity to oversee day-to-day activity. Let's agree, for the purposes of discussion, that balance and quality are well-defined extant things here, and focus on the tools we use to discuss and moderate them. Having better (and more available) tools to interact with the community will go a long way to improving that community. Remember, anyone can use these tools based on their own values, and trying to impose our views on every single editor, over something that is ultimately extremely subjective, is a little crazy in my opinion. (Precedent (DnD Guideline) is about as far as I'm willing to go with writing an actual statement for what the meaning of balance is) If you really want to get into a discussion about the nuances of the words "balance" and "quality" as they relate to homebrew, feel free to start a topic on my talk page. I'll happily discuss issues like authorial intent, spirit of a page, design integrity, "a good DM can deal with it", how playstyle and design interact to create balance and imbalance at random, how making balance is more important than eliminating imbalance, and all sorts of other issues regarding the topic. It is an issue this wiki will need to deal with some day, and I've been giving it a lot of thought, but I think we are still a long ways away from actually dealing with it. --Kydo (talk) 03:07, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
Balance is indeed complex but it does follow loose guidelines. The problem is that many people don't necessarily want balance, they want something on this site that they can sneak under a DMs nose to be uber mega elite. We host a lot of, quite frankly, exceptionally poor content because people don't embrace the idea that their creation needs tweaking (hell both FAs I created needed tweaked significantly and I have been doing this a long time.)
The key to making this work is having the templates and reasons. The simple problem we run into is that it takes a lot longer to review, correct, and balance articles then to create them. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Tivanir (talkcontribs) . Please sign your posts!
I'm all up for a page for not quite {{!}} templates, some sort of Help:Special Condition Templates (or whatever name) would be fine. It seems like a relatively minor addition, but could be handy. I'll happily make that later this week, if nobody else wants to. Shouldn't take long.
As for balance, my impression has been that the rule of thumb is that Homebrew content should fit in line with the SRD. That's all you really can say without making a point-by-point analysis of every feature and statistic (Which we can do someday, I'm sure), but balance is just too subjective to hash out without being super specific, or having the manpower to enforce multiple standards of balance (High-power, standard, etc.)
Again, without going into all this detail, I feel rather useless on the matter of actually moderating decent balance. I still maintain current numbers are too much for our current active userbase to deal with. It's something that, yet again, would be greatly improved with a simple user rating system of some kind - That way, we'll have a decent way for regularly not-contributing users to point out problemed articles. Thus, moderating them becomes magnitudes easier.--SgtLion (talk) 06:24, 15 September 2016 (MDT)
Addendum - {{April Fools}} should have redirects from {{humor}} or {{joke page}} and again for {{Adult Theme}}, but if you want to change their actual sentiment, I'd suggest changing the content, rather than just the template name. --SgtLion (talk) 06:43, 15 September 2016 (MDT)

Does anyone still use {{balance}}? I know we attempted to implement a rating system in 3.5e content a long time ago. Is that still in use, or is it just a pile of mess on a million talk pages? --Kydo (talk) 05:59, 20 September 2016 (MDT)

Tallying the Opinions[edit]

OK, so, it's getting hard to track peoples' thoughts. I'm going to start tallying up the opinions here.

Keep Diclaimers on this page?

  • Yae:
  • --Kydo (talk) 17:13, 17 September 2016 (MDT)
  • Nay:

Include Merge as !

  • Yae:
  • Nay:
  • --Kydo (talk) 17:13, 17 September 2016 (MDT)

Requestreview as ! or Other

  • !:
  • --Kydo (talk) 17:13, 17 September 2016 (MDT)
  • Other:

Color Coding Improvement Templates:

  • Yae:
  • --Kydo (talk) 17:13, 17 September 2016 (MDT)
  • Nay:

Needsadmin as !:

  • Yae:
  • --Kydo (talk) 17:13, 17 September 2016 (MDT)
  • Nay:

Create Template:Deplorable:

  • Yae:
  • Nay:
  • --Kydo (talk) 17:13, 17 September 2016 (MDT)

Rename Adult Theme to Mature Theme:

  • Yae:
  • --Kydo (talk) 17:13, 17 September 2016 (MDT)
  • Nay:

Rename April Fools to something not related to a specific holiday:

  • Yae:
  • --Kydo (talk) 17:13, 17 September 2016 (MDT)
  • Nay:

I don't think we should consider this "over" until the discussion has been dead for a week. That should give everyone enough time to get their opinions in and resolve any debate, before something gets done.

If anyone would like to voice their opinions on subjects they skipped over, or is unsure if they were counted, please comment in the appropriate discussion above. The tally can handle 1 user adding their opinions without discussion-based justification, but beyond that it will break down, and Aegisthus already used up that 1 user of breathing room. --Kydo (talk) 16:58, 16 September 2016 (MDT)

My apologies, I thought I touched bases on everything I commented on, and I don't think I didn't comment on anything I voted on. Perhaps I am mistaken though! --Aegisthus (talk) 17:03, 16 September 2016 (MDT)
No biggie. I kinda expected someone would do that. I should have said something. Also, I'm basing my count off of blatant support or oppose statements, not just any ol' implication. I don't want to miscount just because I misunderstood someone and read too much into their words. This isn't a strict vote, I'm just looking for consensus. --Kydo (talk) 17:14, 16 September 2016 (MDT)
I am against renaming {{April Fools}} since it is also put on the news. If people are serious about this vote, then lets put it into a table and put people's usernames by the results so that people can change their choices if they want. We also need to give this a week or some amount of time like that, and link it from News once we are ready for it. --Green Dragon (talk) 12:43, 17 September 2016 (MDT)
OK. If nobody wants to actually discuss the subject any more, let's put it to a vote then. --Kydo (talk) 17:13, 17 September 2016 (MDT)
A couple of these tallies are confusing to me, before I do any ad-hoc voting.
  • What is 'Keeping disclaimers on this page' about? They're not this page.
  • I don't think requestreview needs to be ! nor an 'Other'.
--SgtLion (talk) 16:20, 19 September 2016 (MDT)
Answers:
  • I'm either making a page for them, or I'm putting them here. One way or another, useful templates should be compiled and made available to users by some method other than accidentally encountering them while browsing the wiki.
  • Then what will it be?
--Kydo (talk) 16:27, 19 September 2016 (MDT)

Results[edit]

OK. So, looking back before the attempted vote, the only strongly supported action was changing needsadmin to !. So I did that. By the way, GD, that template is a little monster. It took me, like, 45 minutes to figure out how to get all the different bits and pieces to coordinate, and how to get the information to display correctly in the table. --Kydo (talk) 04:43, 27 September 2016 (MDT)

On the other hand, at least it standardizes the appearance of the templates! The disclaimers are literally all over the place! I'm not sure if that's good or bad. I mean, disclaimers are supposed to be flashy, attention-grabbing things, right? I do know that needsimage needs work. --Kydo (talk) 05:09, 27 September 2016 (MDT)

Sorry for being so late per your talk page message. Seeing the discussion has died down, I can't add much. Good work though.   Hooper   talk    contribs    email   19:00, 24 October 2016 (MDT)
's ok. Aside from nobody reverting the work, it's actual supportive consensus. --Kydo (talk) 19:36, 24 October 2016 (MDT)

Ask First Disclaimer[edit]

Tons and tons of pages on the wiki start with a comment from a user telling people to ask on the talk page before making changes. It's been our practice for years to tell people to change user attributions to talk page requests instead. However, everyone does this differently. Some do it with just plain or bolded text mixed with the page content, others use a bit more style. Since it's been common practice for so long, I'd say it has consensus as being a good practice. Perhaps we should make a "Please Ask First" disclaimer that everyone could use. That would get it out of the page content, bring visual attention, and standardize the language so people aren't quite so rude or wishy-washy about it. --Kydo (talk) 11:18, 5 October 2016 (MDT)

If we're going to do that, we need to decide if we officially want to endorse that kind of behaviour - I would disagree that there's consensus for it as 'good practice', just that it's a practice we've not taken a stance on. While I don't mind it for essentially completed articles and FAs, semi-protection an' all that, I would actually say 'Please Ask First' is a behaviour we should discourage, because any message that dissuades people from making an improvement to an article should be avoided. And far more often that not, the original author is long gone, and never respond on a talk page. --SgtLion (talk) 03:43, 6 October 2016 (MDT)
Well we've already been encouraging that behavior for years anyways, we just don't have a standardized template for it. Besides, "please ask first" wouldn't necessarily stop a person from making a change without so much as an edit comment, it just shows that someone already contributing to the page would be mildly offended if you did. Really, in general, the polite thing to do is to ask first anyways, and we should really be encouraging THAT behavior everywhere on the site, just because it's polite, encourages community discussion and cooperation over brute-force consensus, and discourages the "LOL this race be WAY better with +56 to POWER lolololo --brilliant comment posted by mEgAdRaGoN261" style nonsense that so many pages seem to get --Kydo (talk) 04:06, 6 October 2016 (MDT)

New Template Suggestion[edit]

So, I made {{playtest}}. You can see an example of its application at the bottom of Sandbox. Do people feel this would be a valuable asset to the wiki, or will it just turn into a mess like the old review system? --Kydo (talk) 23:16, 12 January 2017 (MST)

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