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Currently the wiki has one template used to warn users - {{Warning}}. All warning messages are bundled into this one template, giving it a clean and formal appearance. The problem with doing this is... everything.

Firstly, the appearance of the warning template gives it a sense of intimidating authority, even for level one warnings. Level one warnings should be used to inform the user about their recent edits without implying authority or that they are "bad users". If the warning is supposed to be a friendly reminder not to make unhelpful edits, the warning template box can only make that "friendly" part totally bogus.

Secondly, the warning template itself leaves a ton of cruft and parser functions on the warned user's talk page. This can be resolved with safesubst:, but I am not precisely in the mood to deal with complex template coding, especially if the end result is to just inform a user. Even if this was fixed, it still doesn't resolve the problem that {{Warning}} is just problematic for someone trying to edit the template, such as if they want to add a new templated message. The template also disables the rich text editor due to its complex coding, which will intimidate a newbie that tries to respond on their talk page when they're confronted with the source editor and unfamiliar code.

Thirdly, and I mentioned it briefly in my second point, it is too difficult to add new and manage existing templated messages. All messages are stored in {{Warning-text}}, which is a pain to simply look at. To add new messages, one must know exactly what they are doing, which is probably why we've been so reluctant to add new messages.

As such, I propose that we retire the old warning template, and instead use a system similar to how Wikipedia does it - multiple warning templates, with each template housing its own warning message. For example, there would be a template for a level one warning for vandalism, another template for a level two warning for vandalism, etc. Wikipedia also avoids using a box or any sort of fancy HTML coding for their templates, which is especially effective for level one warnings, since they shouldn't be implying authority at all.

Here are a few examples of what I suggest templated warning messages should look like:

Level 1 vandalism warning
Info information icon
Hello, I'm Example. I wanted to let you know that some of your recent contributions to Mortimer Goth have been undone because they did not appear to be constructive. If you would like to experiment, please use the sandbox. If you think I made a mistake, or if you have any questions, please leave me a message on my talk page. Thanks! ~~~~
Level 2 vandalism warning
Info information icon
Please refrain from making unconstructive edits to The Sims Wiki, as you did at Mortimer Goth. Your edits appear to constitute vandalism and have been reverted. Users who repeatedly engage in vandalism may have their editing privileges removed. ~~~~
Level 3 vandalism warning
Icon-warning-48x48
Please stop your disruptive editing. If you continue to vandalize the wiki, you may be blocked from editing. ~~~~

Notice how the templated warning messages have no box surrounding them, and are simply comprised of a small image icon and text. This gives it more of an impression that the messages were handwritten, and are informally issued. The real impact of the warning messages come in the way they are written. Notice how the level one warning is the longest of the three, but is written in a friendly tone that doesn't downright call the user a vandal. The second warning is shorter and is slightly stricter, losing the friendly tone and becomes more serious. The third warning is very short, and it implies that the user has already been warned for vandalism. A user that has reached this stage is likely editing in bad faith, and so, rather than repeating what the previous warnings have stated, it simply tells the user to stop or risk being blocked.

Compare this to our existing warning messages for vandalism:

Level 1

NoticeEdit

Info information icon
Please note that one or more edits you've made have been reverted because they did not positively contribute to the wiki. Please refrain from making these edits in the future, and limit test edits to the Sandbox.

k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 13:41, August 22, 2016 (UTC)


This is a standardized warning message; you can view the original template here. If you have any questions or concerns about the message, please contact the user that issued it, or contact an active administrator for assistance. You may remove this notice as soon as you have read it.


Level 2

NoticeEdit

Icon-warning-48x48
One or more of your negative edits has been reverted. Note that bad-faith editing and vandalism are not acceptable, and may result in a block from editing The Sims Wiki.

k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 13:41, August 22, 2016 (UTC)


This is a standardized warning message; you can view the original template here. If you have any questions or concerns about the message, please contact the user that issued it, or contact an active administrator for assistance. You may remove this notice as soon as you have read it.


Level 3

NoticeEdit

Icon-warning-48x48
Do not continue to vandalize the wiki. Further bad-faith edits to the wiki will result in a block against your account and/or IP address.

k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 13:41, August 22, 2016 (UTC)


This is a standardized warning message; you can view the original template here. If you have any questions or concerns about the message, please contact the user that issued it, or contact an active administrator for assistance. You may remove this notice as soon as you have read it.



The problem with all of them is that they're displayed in a box, which implies authority. It even says in the boilerplate that the message is a standardized warning message, which will slap any newbie across the face. The level one warning is also, IMHO, way too harsh; it's too short, doesn't introduce the user that is issuing the warning, and already implies that the user being warned has for sure made unconstructive edits.

This is as much as I want to crank out right now. Thoughts? —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 13:48, August 22, 2016 (UTC)

UPDATE 18 September 2016

I've created a small collection of warning templates now, and even got to use them a couple of times. They seem to be working fairly well. For those who haven't been keeping track of this, or for those who are the TL;DR type, I summed up the main differences on IRC yesterday evening:

  1. Each warning message now gets its own template page, rather than all being mushed into one template
  2. Templates now have up to four levels instead of the original three. Some warnings also have a 4im "only warning" level for extreme cases
  3. Level 1 messages are now less harsh. The warning box and boilerplate messages have also been removed in favour of a simple text-and-icon approach.
  4. Signatures are now automatically left by the template.

An optional, custom message can still be left, like the original template, and will be placed after the main warning message. The only problem I've noticed is that they don't tend to fare too well with equal signs, which I noticed when trying to link to a diff today. The solution would be to replace those equal signs with the {{=}} template. This is a problem with the MediaWiki software, not with the template; I've also noticed the problem on the Wikipedia templates as well, and there isn't much I can do about it.

k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 17:11, September 18, 2016 (UTC)

UPDATE 27 November 2016

Been busy with school lately but I've compiled a table of warning templates here. The templates seem to be working well, just need to finish up on the template documentation. If anyone has any suggestions for new warning templates, feel free to pitch them on this thread, or create them yourself if you know how to.

And in case anyone's too lazy to look at what the warnings look like now, here are the four new vandalism warnings:


Information Hello, I'm K6ka. I wanted to let you know that some of your recent contributions to Mortimer Goth have been undone because they did not appear constructive. If you would like to experiment, please use the sandbox. If you think I made a mistake, or if you have any questions, please leave me a message on my talk page. Thanks! —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 00:57, November 28, 2016 (UTC)

Information orange Please refrain from making unconstructive edits to The Sims Wiki, as you did at Mortimer Goth. Your edits appear to constitute vandalism and have been reverted or removed. If you would like to experiment, please use the sandbox. Editors who repeatedly engage in vandalism may have their editing privileges revoked. Thank you. —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 00:57, November 28, 2016 (UTC)

Nuvola apps important Please stop your disruptive editing. If you continue to vandalize The Sims Wiki, as you did at Mortimer Goth, you may be blocked from editing. —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 00:57, November 28, 2016 (UTC)

Stop hand nuvola You may be blocked from editing without further warning the next time you vandalize The Sims Wiki, as you did at Mortimer Goth. —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 00:57, November 28, 2016 (UTC)


Plus the level 4 only warning:

Stop hand nuvola This is your only warning; if you vandalize The Sims Wiki again, as you did at Mortimer Goth, you may be blocked from editing without further notice. —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 00:57, November 28, 2016 (UTC)


I've also taken the "Shared IP advice" message from the warning template and created {{Shared IP advice}}, which is to be substituted below where you put the warning message on the talk page of the user. For example:

{{subst:Uw-vandalism1|Foo}}
{{subst:Shared IP advice}}

The shared IP advice messages comes out as a cute little:

If this is a shared IP address, and you did not make the edits, consider creating an account for yourself so you can avoid further irrelevant notices.

k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 00:57, November 28, 2016 (UTC)

DiscussionEdit

Icon yes check v Support an overhaul of the warning system. The old system (which I in large part developed) is clunky, cumbersome, and outdated. Developing a new system from scratch would allow us to be deliberate in how we choose to build it instead of trying to shoe-horn all the functions of dozens of warnings into a single template, as was attempted in the past. I also agree with removing the box and boilerplate message entirely, and with re-writing our warning messages (especially level 1 warnings) to be less hostile and more introductory.

At the same time, I would like to propose that, if we change the warning system, that we remove the restriction against non-admins or rollbackers from posting warnings. If templated warnings are meant to provide information to new or confused users, then there should be no restriction on who is allowed to place them. -- LiR talk · blog · contribs 14:12, August 22, 2016 (UTC)

Very interesting proposal. I don't know if I support or oppose just yet. Having been one of those newbies who was slapped with a level one warning, I do agree that it does need to be changed because it does seem harsh. I do like how the reducing of the image and removal of the box does make it less authoritative while still maintaining the gradual seriousness of the issue(s). I do support that removing the restriction would actually make it better in continuing the idea that it's an informative message rather than an authoritative warning. I'm not sure about having separate templates because I have a hard enough times just remembering the one template when I need to use it. All in all, I do think that there should be something that is done to change the current procedure. – Icemandeaf (talk) 15:54, August 22, 2016 (UTC)
Difficulty remembering the template might actually be assisted by having multiple templates instead. If we followed the Wikipedia model, each warning template's name would be based on the warning type and level. So whereas now, in order to leave a level two vandalism warning you input {{Subst:Warning|type=vandal|level=2|sig=~~~~}}, under a new system it could be as simple as {{Subst:Warning-van2|sig=~~~~}}, or however we choose to go about it. -- LiR talk · blog · contribs 16:08, August 22, 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia offers a tool called Twinkle, which allows users to select the warning template they want to leave in an easy-to-use interface, eliminating the need for remembering warning templates. Shame Wikia isn't nearly as versatile for customization. —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 16:15, August 22, 2016 (UTC)
Given that I've had a few of my warning template issues changed or undone, I do feel that perhaps the warning template may need to be changed to distinguish between potential good faith edits, from potential bad faith edits. I'm not sure if it's necessary to distinguish between the two of them, but for the good faith users, I do feel that perhaps using even level one warnings that are normally intended for potential bad faith edits, may come across as a bit harsh. I do feel that maybe instead of, or in addition to an authoritative warning, users with rollback rights (including administrators and content moderators) can issue a informative message.
Although I've always liked the idea of restricting use of warning templates to users with the rollback permission only, I don't feel that such a restriction would be too necessary, if we were to change the warning templates. Provided that users using them are clear on exactly when to use these templates and what they are used for. My only concern is that we'd have bad faith users, or otherwise users just issuing these templates outside their designed purpose. If a user issues a warning message for the wrong reasons, just to show the other user who's boss, that could potentially scare the other user away, without that user realising that they never did anything wrong. ― C.Syde (talk | contribs) 22:03, August 22, 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia does not restrict the use of warning templates (unless they're special warning templates, used only in extreme and rare circumstances and specifically only usable by certain people). Besides, the concern of "scaring new users" isn't resolved by restricting the use of warning templates. For one, we've had people permitted to use warning templates use them inappropriately here. Secondly, it is still possible to bite someone even without using a warning template. "Stop editing or you'll be blocked" is just as effective at driving away a newbie as is slapping a warning template onto their talk page. —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 12:35, August 27, 2016 (UTC)

Icon yes check v Support

I agree the warning is a bit harsh and uninteresting as well the templates should be more creative, less intimidating and serve as a reminder that one did something wrong instead of a slap in the face. Darytyg123123 (talk) 10:59, September 10, 2016 (UTC)

Icon yes check v Support - I really like this idea, and I think the new templates look kinder, especially for 'accidental' bad edits! ~ Waikikamukow (Talk) 07:28, September 26, 2016 (UTC)

Yeah, and I've had a few of my level one warnings removed, since the users removing them considered them to be "too harsh" even though I was only trying to notify them of something that they did wrong. I feel that with these templates, users who use them will be less likely to accidentally bite someone who may appear to have been acting in bad faith, but was really just inexperienced or made a mistake. ― C.Syde (talk | contribs) 07:33, September 26, 2016 (UTC)
I agree. ~ Waikikamukow (Talk) 04:52, September 27, 2016 (UTC)
Bump — Hoping to give this thread some attention, since I'm unsure whether we've reached a conclusion yet. ― C.Syde (talk | contribs) 23:34, October 25, 2016 (UTC)

ConclusionEdit

This thread has been open for far too long, and the new warning templates have been created anyways. A list of some of the new warning templates being offered is available here. More may be added over time. —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 00:15, April 2, 2017 (UTC)

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