Gently Reduce Wiki Badges

A gentle part of the proposed GentleReductionism program. Now being updated. Thanks to RobertDiFalco and PhilGoodwin for their input, and to OleAndersen and others for their actions.

WikiBadges are of five types:

  1. Categories and topics - propose that the current review is a good idea. See PleasePleaseDontCategorizeEveryPageOnWiki and CategoryCategory.
  2. Those informing about a refactoring after the event - propose only: DeletedPage. Pages for the rest to bow out gracefully using no more than four words of plain English.
  3. Those indicating that a page, or section of a page, might usefully be refactored in future - propose only one: EditHint. Others such as ReplaceHint?, DeleteMe, FixMeTag, RefactorMe and the like would simply say "Defunct WikiBadge"
  4. Links about links, like SeeAlso and FromWhere - propose disuse and gradual undoing of past use. The community launched an unexpected extermination campaign for SeeAlso in the second half of 2000. Only a few are now kept in captivity (such as on this page), for reasons of science, history or nostalgia. Their pages should succinctly explain why their use is discouraged.
  5. "Wiki's version of text-based emoticons" (RobertDiFalco below), such as RudenessObjection, BoringObjection? and perhaps even IronyWarning and PissTake - propose that these are used creatively for the enrichment of Wiki


RefactoredAndArchived? is more general purpose than DeletedAndArchived and anyone can see if there's only a small amount of text left. DeletedPage protects against inadvertant destruction of EditCopy, if the old content is not considered worth being independently archived.

As explained in ProudRefactorer, the experience of going through all DeleteMe badges and trying to remove as many as possible through sensitive refactoring convinced me there was value in a single badge, more general purpose in name than DeleteMe, that would indicate areas where tidying up could do good. Just using EditHint would make it easier for HumbleRefactorer to search for new work, and it's trivial to use PlainEnglish around the badge to make clear the kind of edit suggested, see MoveMeTo? for one example. This would make badges like MoveMeTo? redundant (one of many that has never been used).

I'm saying that less is more for Wiki conventions. And that we should think of the whole "field" of WikiBadges (as linguists would say in what's called FieldTheory? in semantics) rather than proposing individual badges in an ad hoc way in the future. This is now probably most important for categories.

-- RichardDrake


WikiBadges all come with instructions so they never have to be memorized.

EditHint or anything like it doesn't or shouldn't need instructions. Only RefactoredAndArchived? and DeletedPage do.

The class of badges in number 5 is interesting - Wiki's version of text-based emoticons. In fact, they are like emoticons on steroids since they are terse, but you can also click them to learn what they mean. As such, it is more debatable whether they add value or not. I sort of think they do. Anyone can quickly and tersly convey a feeling and the uninitiated user need only click on it to get a more detailed description of what is meant. While you may not like the idea of BoringObjection, people will still write this even if they don't have a Wiki Text Emoticon to say it quickly. In fact, this class of WikiBadges are almost an evolution in language. Think about it. They allow the initiated to exchange ideas and feedback much more freely and rapidly while providing a path of discovery to the uninitiated (through their links). Anyway, this is just another way of looking at the topic. Right now, I think I am in favor of these WikiTextEmoticons. -- RobertDiFalco

It seems to me that changing the text of the referenced pages only makes the problem worse. Those pages ought to have meaningful descriptions so that if anyone ever finds themselves there they'll have a clue about what is going on. The real solution to the problem would be to find all of the referring pages and change them to use PlainEnglish. Perhaps some discussion could be added to those pages in order to indicate that some people don't like the convention. For instance maybe SeeAlso could read something like this: "Introduces a list of pages that are related to the current topic.". In general the best way to deal with a convention that you find unappealing is find ways to edit it out of pages that use it, be respectful of those who disagree with your changes, and endevor to find common ground. -- PhilGoodwin

We don't need no stinking badges!

See CategoryWikiTag for further tag links

CategoryWiki CategoryWikiMaintenance

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