Wikipedia talk:Indentation

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Needed changes[edit]

I just changed the formatting quite a bit; I haven't had time yet, but would like to clean up a few things.

  1. The <div> tags should be replaced by a template (either one we have or one we can make as a subpage for this page).
  2. There needs to be timestamps on each example comment (as in the original [[User:BigNate37/Indentation guide]) so folks can be certain they understand which comments were made when, when they analyze the examples.
  3. The formatting of the numbering of the list should use the automated ordered list markup (the hash marks, "#"). Just need to find a way to do it and I think the template vs. <div> matter may make it easier.

I'm happy to make these changes as time permits. Specifically for item 3, something along the lines of the indentation hack for WP:CSD#G12 may be appropriate. BigNate37(T) 17:59, 29 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I did #1 and #2, but #3 seems to break the boxes, whether using <div> tags or templates. Dansiman (talk|Contribs) 03:21, 18 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A bit premature[edit]

I've reverted the change to the project page that declared this to be a guideline. There has been way too little discussion to date. Moreover, (a) this page is not particularly long, which argues that expanding Wikipedia:Talk page might be a viable alternative; (b) there has been no mention to date of Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines; and (c) this is missing a "See also" section that makes it easy for other users to evaluate whether this proposed guideline actually fills a critical need or not. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 00:52, 30 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Add whatever you think should be there--Pheonix15 17:14, 30 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As for merging it, I don't think that should be done. It would make the formatting section of the page way to prominent. Links are Okay though--Pheonix15 17:17, 30 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've changed the tag to show this as a proposed guideline to foster the needed discussion. I think this is fine as a stand-alone guideline because it applies to many different forums, including talk pages and deletion discussions, and consistency across these forums is desirable. The only change I would suggest is to use gender-neutral pronouns in the examples per Quest for gender-neutral pronouns. Dhaluza 12:22, 8 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
good idea. I'm busy now with MEDCAB. could you change them?--Phoenix 15 20:33, 8 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK, I replaced them with the names of the players in the Who's on first? sketch. Dhaluza 20:35, 9 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should this essay gain guideline status?[edit]

This is senssible enough and I feel it should be a guideline as Wikipedia:talk page does not give enough detail--Phoenix 15 11:29, 9 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Much too complicated. How do you instruct the casual poster the correct way to indent? Instruction creep. I see no reason to adopt this.--Eriastrum 22:47, 9 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I always thought the guideline was this, only not so clearly stated. Also, every talk page on which I've ever noticed editors not following this style, has eventually had an instance of confusion about who was replying to whom, or who was addressing whom. How do you instruct the casual poster? Send them to this page, it seems to cover every base already, and isn't too complex in the examples. I think any threaded discussion can be boiled down to a combination of the few guidelines presented here. Most editors follow this style anyway, as it's exactly how any forum software will layout its posts (assuming the posters use the "reply" links properly). In short, I am strongly in favor of this essay becoming a guideline. Remember, too, that guidelines are not policies, and editors are not required to follow guidelines (though it is encouraged), so making it a guideline may not be as harmful as Eriastrum seems to think. Dansiman (talk|Contribs) 03:08, 18 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I think that this page should talk about outdents as well. warrior4321 21:00, 9 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Anyone have any thoughts / opinions on {{outdent2}} - created as a less visual alternative to the line format? Thanks  7  04:41, 25 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I went ahead and added it to the example at the bottom of this essay, but if anyone feels it is inappropriate please feel free to remove.  7  07:36, 4 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe a similar template was previously removed on the ground that templates shouldn't be forked. I'd tend to agree with that - I think we should rather modify the current template and add parameters to it to make it support different formats (simple arrow, long lines, etc.). Laurent (talk) 16:03, 4 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fair point - would everyone be comfortable if I modified the existing outdent template to show this similar " (←) " format if no parameters (e.g. zero colons) were passed to it?  7  04:41, 10 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just noticed that there is already a default length used when zero colons are provided. How about if {{od|0}} shows the small arrow... although we're starting to get a bit unix-y.  7  04:51, 10 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That sounds like the best solution. We certainly shouldn't be re-forking this after the effort it took to consolidate the various outdent templates in the first place. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:03, 11 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How do I indent?[edit]

I feel stupid asking this, but how do I indent? Vampyrecat (talk) 07:01, 5 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just put a colon (:) in front. Angrysockhop (and a happy new year) 07:04, 5 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One colon at the beginning of the paragraph indents a small amount; two colons indent a bit more; three colons even more etc. This is illustrated at WP:Talk page formatting. Dolphin51 (talk) 10:10, 5 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps, this small bit should be added to this article? I can see it would make more easier for editors who have to come here to learn how to indent. warrior4321 12:06, 5 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed! I've added it now, as the first line under 'See also'. Shreevatsa (talk) 17:38, 31 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wow I just read the discussion page... wish I had earlier. An example is shown on the instruction page for outdenting, could one be added to the indenting instructions? Just for someone like me who couldn't realize the white box showing the shortcut was telling me instructions (I thought it was a white box I was to find and click on, when on the edit page.) Silly me. Edit suggestion: Indent examples: One colon :before the first word for one indent. Two ::for two. Three :::for three - etc. note: Your indenting will not appear till you post.-- (talk) 02:46, 28 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Revision to 'note' note: Your indenting effects will not appear till you 'review' or 'post'.--Gregory Goble (talk) 04:55, 28 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

distinguishing responses[edit]

In my experience many editors in dialogue with anothe editor maintain the degree of indentation of their comments. Each new editor indents further. If two editors indent to the same degree, as this essay suggests, it can become hard to follow who is addressing whom - and this is not standard practic. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:05, 11 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's what I thought the guideline was, when I started editing Wikipedia, back in 2004 or 2005. Now I read this page, which appears to have been created after then, and it seems to say something different. If this has in fact changed at some point, it should be noted, even if not recommended. Also, I just found WP:Talk page formatting which presents this as a new idea.
Perhaps the hierarchy of replies method is good for complex discussions with many participants, and the indent-per-author method is good for long single-threaded discussions or those that only have a handful of participants.
Vadmium (talk) 09:06, 24 February 2011 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Extended Dialogue[edit]

I added the following to the page, and was reverted. Discussion follows.

In extended dialogue between a limited number of participants, it is acceptable to continue to indent, OR to stay at the same level of indentation as you used for a prior comment (except the first comment in the thread), as long as it doesn't cause confusion. Thus either of the following are acceptable:

I think good indentation is very helpful. --Example (talk) 12:34, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Me too. Place holder T/C 12:44, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I thought you didn't like indentation, Place holder. --Example (talk) 14:23, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I used to hate it but I changed my mind. Place holder T/C 14:42, 1 February 2011
Why the change of heart? --Example (talk) 14:53, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I moved to a more outline area. Place holder T/C 17:42, 1 February 2011


I think good indentation is very helpful. --Example (talk) 12:34, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Me too. Place holder T/C 12:44, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I thought you didn't like indentation, Place holder. --Example (talk) 14:23, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I used to hate it but I changed my mind. Place holder T/C 14:42, 1 February 2011
Why the change of heart? --Example (talk) 14:53, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I moved to a more outline area. Place holder T/C 17:42, 1 February 2011

I've seen exactly this style used on a lot of talk pages, so while this may be a "departure from canon" in that it wasn't on the page before I added it, it's (to me) common sense and common usage. Homunq (talk) 06:24, 24 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi, Hom. Thanks for posting here; I should have done, myself. Sorry to feel obliged to revert; I really wanted to give you a barnstar, instead, for causing me to literally laugh out loud with your pun re outline/outlying, one of the most pleasantly homely ones I've seen in years. It ranks in the same class with one of my favourite jokes, viz. "Why don't cannibals like to eat clowns?" Answer:"It's because they taste funny." Yes, I know: My sense of humour doesn't reach to the maturity of "sophmoric", but I do enjoy myself. It does occur to me, however, that editors whose native language is not English might be confused by the example and joke.
I must respectfully disagree with you that the change you propose is "common sense and common usage". To take the second "common", first, I've never seen anyone but very inexperienced editors indent the way you're suggesting, and I'm old enough to remember when push-button telephones were seen as a new, high-tech replacement for the rotary dial. I was on usenet almost from the first, beginning around the same time that tectonic shift occurred in telephone technology. Re the first, the assertion that it's "common sense", it may be that my disagreement is the greater because I've been rather ADD since I was a kid. My eyes are strongly "pulled" to anything out of the ordinary, much more readily than those of most people, and I have a more difficult time ignoring any such difference. So traditionally indented threads are much, much (!!) easier for me to read than any other variety.
Also, I know from human interface work and from reading in neuropsychology that a when a person is asked to shift the paradigm by which he's following and interpreting any kind of ongoing event (like reading a screen or a thread) that a particular kind of neural "event", a particularly identifiable electrical waveform, occurs across the cortex. But if a person is at all tired, those waveforms are significantly less likely to occur when they're needed, and the person becomes confused: He can't seamlessly and unconsciously make the shift from one pattern of indentation to another, and god forbid, back to the original, at the right times.
An analogy would be that people are less likely to recognise intentional irony, or playful, friendly teasing, embedded in a stream of otherwise straightforward speech when they're even slightly less than fully alert. They continue to try to construe it in the original interpretive framework of "direct, candid speech", and misunderstandings occur. ( This is known as the "Don't make playful remarks to your wife about her mother when she's sleepy" principle. ;-) Finally, I suspect that people whose native language reads right-to-left, such as Hebrew or Arabic, would be especially prone to annoying temporary confusion if they encounter a change-up of the rules for construal in mid-thread.  – OhioStandard (talk) 07:11, 24 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On the joke: thanks. On the substance: I honestly disagree (not about the cognitive science, but just about what's expected, especially for "extended dialogue" as the section is called.) Thanks for explaining yourself. Does anyone else have an opinion here?
(Note I'm following "your" rules on indentation, even though my instinct is to do it "my" way)
Homunq (talk) 11:07, 24 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Very gracious of you, that; thanks. I recognise this is a genuine, good-faith difference of opinion, of course... Perhaps we should correct that oversight, and call each other unpleasant names, make dark references to the other's "agenda", and throw about accusations of canvassing? Just so we're more consistent with other talk pages, I mean?
Seriously, though, I see this page is on fewer than 30 watchlists, which seems odd, given how central indentation policy is to everyone's participation in the project. So I agree that we need additional opinions. Would you mind if I were to advertise this a bit, eg post a neutrally-worded request for participation at Village Pump proposals, etc., and perhaps break out a section on this talk page as an RfC, via the proper procedure for that? I'd say something perfectly neutral, in phrasing that, like: "Should the addition to this essay documented in the preceding section be completed?" Thoughts?  – OhioStandard (talk) 06:40, 25 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds good to me. (But maybe sounding good is part of your Dark Agenda...) Homunq (talk) 06:55, 25 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just because I joke about having one doesn't mean I don't. Think about that. ;-)  – OhioStandard (talk) 14:09, 25 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RfC: On a proposed addition[edit]

Should the addition to this essay documented in the preceding section be completed?  – OhioStandard (talk) 14:09, 25 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Brief comments[edit]

  • Support as proposer. Homunq (talk) 14:19, 25 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose for the reasons I gave in the preceding section.  – OhioStandard (talk) 14:17, 25 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose: We can't have two systems, the propose new system won't work for complex discussions, no one has any incentive to switch, and if the system we've used for years and years needs to be replaced, it should be with an actual forum management solution (i.e., integration of any of the large number of open source webboard packages into MediaWiki as a talk page replacement system). — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 01:37, 19 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This isn't a vote. Starting an RfC with a straw poll is counterproductive. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 15:21, 25 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • You're so right, Chris. I'd never have done it. In fact, I tried and tried to make Hom see that, but he's that stubborn. It makes me sigh, too. I suspect he might have a Dark Agenda. Anyway, I've changed the section heading from "Brief !votes" to its current "Brief comments", so that's all right.  – OhioStandard (talk) 07:22, 26 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just to clarify for any editors who didn't follow those links and whose sarcasm-detector is miscalibrated: the RFC and straw poll were started by Ohiostandard. Speaking of Dark Agendas... Homunq (talk) 13:53, 26 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. Utter confusion will reign. The argument that this can be found on talk pages is null. Almost anything can found on talk pages somewhere. Sticking to the same indent is usually the sign of a newbie who does not understand the system, not an alternative system. Also oppose the idea that I shouldn't oppose because !vote. A specific proposal has been made so naturally it comes down to support and oppose. SpinningSpark 17:49, 20 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Threaded discussion[edit]

This isn't a productive change. In any discussion involving more than two parties, the proposed style will lead to a total train wreck. "Between a limited number of parties" is unworkable as one should expect—nay, invite—additional parties to join a conversation wherever possible. Choice for the sake of choice is not helpful and it is not clear what problem this solves at all. For what it's worth, in my experience it is very uncommon for established editors to use the staggered style suggested and they frequently end up getting reprimanded for it precisely because it results in problems as soon as a new party joins the discussion. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 15:24, 25 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with Chris above, the traditional indentation style makes it very clear what comments are being responded to, regardless of how many contributors to the discussion. The proposed style might be able to cope with three or, at a pinch, four contributors if the discussion is one that is well structured, all contributors understand the topic and each other, remain civil and discuss things in a logical order. As soon as just one of these is missing (and how many discussions on Wikipedia have you seen where all the above are true?) then it will become a complete mess. If it is a discussion that requires closing (e.g a deletion debate) then it will be very nearly impossible for the closer to make head nor tail of it. Thryduulf (talk) 16:17, 29 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, I don't think that those conditions are as rare as you imply; I've certainly seen them apply more than a few times, though of course not always. I'd be fine if it were explicitly said that this style works best when those conditions were in place. Homunq (talk) 17:55, 30 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I presume you don't much frequent venues like WP:AN/I and WP:AFD then? Take a look and see how well you think it would under those conditions. Thryduulf (talk) 01:05, 2 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No one does this "I own this indentation level and will stay at it" stuff, so they're not magically going to start doing it. This is about as pointless as trying to introduce new pronouns like "zie" and "hir". — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 01:37, 19 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I see RfC bot has removed the RfC heading that has been above for the last month. It's not my place to state a conclusion, since I was a party to initiating the RfC in the first place, but I'll ask at the admin noticeboard for someone to do so. --OhioStandard (talk) 16:51, 30 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Shouldn’t this page feature colons more prominently? I mean, that’s how indentation is done here, so shouldn’t this page show how to do it? I’m thinking something like:

2. If you want to reply to a comment, but another editor has already done so, just position your own text beneath that other editor's reply, at the same indentation level:

Markup Renders as
I think good indentation is very helpful. --[[User:Example|Example]] ([[User talk:Example|talk]]) 12:34, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
:Me too. [[User:Place holder|Place holder]] <sup>[[User talk:Place holder|T]]/[[Special:Contributions/Place holder|C]]</sup> 12:44, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
:Me three! →[[User:Sandbox|sand]] [[user talk:Sandbox|box]] 13:57, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

I think good indentation is very helpful. --Example (talk) 12:34, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Me too. Place holder T/C 12:44, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Me three!sand box 13:57, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Frungi (talk) 00:08, 5 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes please! I had to do ctrl+F search for colons to find this bit Frances Soong (talk) 18:47, 9 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This essay is WP:Instruction creep[edit]

Not only is it Instruction creep, but it misses the mark. It opens up a whole new way to make newbies feel uncertain and unwelcome. We should urge everybody to simply WRITE. Also it is hard to tell when you are responding to a person just above you on a talk page and when you are answereing somebody three or four comments above. I have tried to follow this system in the past and have simply got lost. It is better just to make a new indent simply for ease of readability. There is no point in proposing guidelines that are hard to fathom when what we really want is attention to be focused on creating a better encyclopedia. Yours, BeenAroundAWhile (talk) 05:25, 23 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WP:Instruction creep is a WP:Essay. And the very fact that Wikipedia talk:Indentation is a WP:Essay makes it not a WP:Instruction creep matter. As for informing editors to use WP:Indentation, it is your opinion that it "make newbies feel uncertain and unwelcome." And even if it does make newbies feel that way, so do the vast majority, if not all, of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. As seen on your talk page, and here and here, you clearly have a problem with indenting. I don't see a problem with it.
On a side note: Instead of starting this discussion here and this one elsewhere, it is better to centralize the discussion so that you and others are not discussing the topic in multiple places; see WP:TALKCENT. Furthermore, this talk page is generally inactive. Flyer22 (talk) 05:56, 23 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Someday, we’ll have actual threaded discussions and won’t have to do it ourselves with kludgey and confusing indentation hacks. Someday… (talk) 19:40, 6 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New indentation model in Flow[edit]

People watching this page might be interested in testing the result of phab:T92400. As far as I can see, the new Flow indentation model shows comments in the wrong order and level of indentation. If others have different opinions on this, please share your thoughts on mw:Talk:Flow. Helder 13:02, 26 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Accessibility versus convenience in indentation (RfC at VPPOL)[edit]

 – Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see: Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#RfC: Accessibility versus convenience in indentation
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  13:38, 3 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal Avoid multiple indentations and Avoid interference[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

For further improvement :

checkY respect the queue ☒N avoid multiple indentations

I speak first. -- Example (talk) 01:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I come next. -- Example2 02:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You're the second. -- Sandbox 04:00, 2 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My turn, now! -- Example3 03:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then you're the third. -- Sandbox 04:00, 2 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I speak first. -- Example (talk) 01:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My turn, now! -- Example3 03:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then you're the second. -- Sandbox 04:00, 2 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I come next. -- Example2 02:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are you the last one? -- Sandbox 04:00, 2 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
checkY respect the queue ☒N avoid multiple indentations

Is Barcelona capital of Spain? -- Example (talk) 01:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, it is the capital of Catalonia. -- Example2 02:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Madrid is the capital of Spain! -- Example3 03:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Exactly. -- Sandbox 04:00, 2 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is Barcelona capital of Spain? -- Example (talk) 01:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Madrid is the capital of Spain! -- Example3 03:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, it is the capital of Catalonia. -- Example2 02:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Disagree. Madrid is not the capital of Catalonia. -- Sandbox 04:00, 2 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mind the hierarchy, avoid interference
checkY mind the hierarchy ☒N avoid interference

What is the capital of Romania? -- Example (talk) 01:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe Budapest. -- Example2 02:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Budapest or Bucharest? -- Example (talk) 04:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not sure. -- Example2 05:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think Budapest is in Hungary. -- Example (talk) 06:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not in Yugoslavia? -- Example2 07:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, Budapest is capital of Hungary. -- Example3 (talk) 08:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then what is the capital of Yugoslavia? -- Example2 09:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Bucharest. -- Example3 03:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree, Bucharest is capital of Romania. -- Sandbox 10:00, 2 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What is the capital of Romania? -- Example (talk) 01:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe Budapest. -- Example2 02:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Budapest or Bucharest? -- Example (talk) 04:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not sure. -- Example2 05:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think Budapest is in Hungary. -- Example (talk) 06:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not in Yugoslavia? -- Example2 07:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, Budapest is capital of Hungary. -- Example3 (talk) 08:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then what is the capital of Yugoslavia? -- Example2 09:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Bucharest. -- Example3 03:00, 1 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Disagree. Bucharest is not in Yugoslavia. -- Sandbox 10:00, 2 January 2000 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Respect the queue, avoid multiple indentations
Mind the hierarchy, avoid interference

Wikipedia policies and these essays thoroughly vetted by the community are very much used outside Wikipedia on the various wiki projects, like Wikimedia Commons for example, where many nationalities gather and communicate. I'm not fluent in English, but feel concerned by this part of the project. This is a suggestion, open to amelioration and comments. -- Basile Morin (talk) 02:27, 19 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Strongly oppose adding this to any policy or guidance or this essay. Basile has a bee in his bonnet about a very standard form of indentation used on all wiki projects. He goes around "fixing" other people's mistakes, leading to arguments and confusing discussion ordering where previously there was none. The style this GIF claims is bad, is seen and used widely on all forums on all wikis by all levels and experiences of users. The example text is abstract, though the wording gives the impression the person adding the "wrong" text is pushing in -- again this is Basile's annoyance showing. I can find examples of where this is used quite sensibly, though it will take me time to dig out the conversation where I last tried to convince Basile he was wrong. -- Colin°Talk 10:17, 19 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's no rationale for this "strong oppose", the only reason is personal, targeting an editor instead of focusing on the subject. WP:CIVIL. Wikipedia policies are used on Wikipedia, but also on various wiki projects in English language. See for example this section about the layout in TP directly linked to Wikipedia on Wikimedia Commons. These double indentations generated mess several times on Commons, like probably also on Wikipedia and in other wiki projects, just because the rules are not clear enough. Then it is certainly time to improve the reference page(s). Concrete examples of confusion induced by this current blur :
  1. here the indentation was fixed after the "pushing user" changed the meaning of the communication, suggesting the other participant agrees with his own idea, instead of the previous one (compare before & after). Person in a rush, unable to wait for his turn.
  2. here a double indent also creates mess in the discussion. Later fixed.
  3. here the double indentation created more heat in a complex discussion, disrupting the whole thread, only two weeks ago.
  4. here and here again the wrong edit had to be reverted twice before archiving.
There has been heat many times due to these multiple indentations. Only two days ago, a similar interference was fixed, because it cut the speech of someone else. It is really not difficult to respect the hierarchy, is it? But bad habits won't change if we don't make the rules clear. The problem is these "pushing edits" are considered normal for some people, but extremely disrespectful by others. What is the norm? A specific line on the main page could make the recommendations more accurate, explicitly stating multiple indentations are excluded from our conventions. Hope to find a fruitful solution in this specific section. -- Basile Morin (talk) 03:51, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Canvassing Canvassing: The following debate is canvassed. At least 8 people, all using multiple indentations in their communications, have been called to participate. Canvassing is a form of inappropriate consensus-building. Thus, the outcome of the discussion is very likely to be unfair and partial. The audience must not be selected on the basis of their opinions. See WP:CAN.
-- Basile Morin (talk) 22:58, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose and close this discussion as an incredible waste of time - This has to be one of the WP:LAMEst discussion I've ever come across in 14 years on Wikipedia. Don't fix it if it ain't broke. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:16, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Clearly not a waste of time in my opinion. But really poor arguments. Provide intelligent justification, please -- Basile Morin (talk) 05:08, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whyever would I waste my time with your waste of time? Doesn't make sense. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:15, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Stick to the subject, please. No fallacy, per Wikipedia:Policies_and_guidelines#­Content -- Basile Morin (talk) 06:04, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ok, here's some examples from Jimbo's talk page, which I dug out nearly a year ago in a previous conversation on this issue:

  • Archive 231.
    • Search for "There are two separate questions here". Here Michael Hardy makes two late replies to Ianmacm and double-indents with paragraphs that are out-of-sequence chronologically. He does it again to JzG a few paragraphs below.
    • Search for "Jiminy Cricket, Guy - really" a few paragraphs below again and you see Atsme do it (a user with 15 featured articles under their belt, so I assume they know how to write and interact with others).
    • Search for "No, Alanscottwalker, it is not a response" and Bus stop is doing it.
  • Archive 230
    • Search for "Kevin, thanks for source" and Wikid77 is doing it.
    • Search for "Guy Macon, I don't know if you're being" and Volunteer Marek is doing it.
  • Archive 229
    • Search for "I know we disagree about whether" and EllenCT is doing it.
  • Archive 228
    • Search for "That wikimedia-l conversation hasn't been" and Anthonyhcole is doing it.
    • Search for "I doubt the KGB has infiltrated Wikipedia" and Shock Brigade Harvester Boris is doing it.
    • Search for "Thanks Jimmy. I've never doubted that you'll speak your mind" and Smallbones is doing it.

And when Basile took me to AN/I for the above opposing remarks, Beyond My Ken did it when commenting on how lame this was. Basile then complains about BMK's indentation at the AN/I. That's a good example of how this issue for Basile (which I described using the lighthearted English idiom "bee in his bonnet", which French Basile may not be familiar) can form a conflict-generating off-topic distraction.

Sorry for pinging so many folk. If the topic bores the socks off you, please just ignore. If you have an opinion on why you used double-indent and inserted your comment above a chronologically earlier one, then that might be helpful information. The proposal here would seek to disallow what you all thought was reasonable editing style, and will give permission for someone to reformat what you wrote and move your text lower in the discussion in chronological order. I think we could all do without that. Conversely, I don't think this essay needs to be updated to include a description of a relatively infrequent form of discussion formatting merely so that it is clear it is permitted. Particularly as so far I've only ever come across one person who thinks there is a problem with it. -- Colin°Talk 09:38, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oh, fascinating. I do this whenever a reply at the same level of indentation as an existing reply could be ambiguously considered as a reply to the most recent at the same level of indentation. For example, suppose you have:
What's your dog's name? -Alice 1pm
Fido. What's your cat's name? -Bob 2pm
If you reply to Alice following Bob at his level of indentation, then it could look like you are replying to Bob instead.
I also do it whenever anyone has used an {{outdent}} line since the comment to which I am replying. In that case it is necessary instead of merely helpful.
Is this bad? There's someone who is on a campaign against it? I find their ideas fascinating and would like to subscribe to their newsletter. EllenCT (talk) 09:54, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks EllenCT. The outdent situation is a good example of where it may be necessary. Wiki conversations don't work like spoken ones which are necessarily chronological as we haven't discovered time travel. To go back and reply to a comment made several interactions ago, you'd need to say something like "Coming back to your earlier point, Steve...." but on wiki we can do this. It needs to be a seldom used thing, of course, otherwise the chronology could get very confusing if several people did it at the same time. But all the examples above are quite easy to follow. -- Colin°Talk 10:18, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Colin: exactly. We should make a sub-campaign against those who carelessly use extra indentation, increasing the probability that an outdent might need to be used and thus causing a disrespected queue and/or mindless hierarchy. EllenCT (talk) 10:23, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
EllenCT, I am concerned that colons may be rationed post-Brexit if we leave with "no deal". I cannot find any government department that will reassure me of a continued supply in the event of disruption at the ports. Perhaps we should stockpile colons, or at very least, enjoy their current abundant supply. -- Colin°Talk 10:38, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia:Policies_and_guidelines#­Content -- Basile Morin (talk) 10:43, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Colin: I have started stockpiling colons so that if you run out I can sell them to you at a profit. This reminds me of this manager I knew named Jason, who made his direct reports use XML when everyone else was transitioning to JSON -- what if we used Colins to indent instead of colons? If a hard Brexit crashes the economy and puts you out of work, we can petition Jimbo to ask the Foundation to hire you and your namesakes to review all the talkpages for proper queue and mindful hierarchy. I know just where to propose that! EllenCT (talk) 10:55, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
EllenCT, your capitalistic exploitation of my country's impending dire punctuation shortages are I suppose to be expected. I presume that during trade negotiations we'll have to give up WP:ENGVAR and accept US spelling along with the chlorinated chicken and hormone-pumped beef. But I'm thinking now of how farmers used to nick the stones from ruined castles to build their dry-stone walls along the field borders. There must be plenty archived talk pages where nobody would notice if I steal a few and sell them on the black market. I'm not sure I'm ready to sell my own name yet. I have some pride. -- Colin°Talk 11:10, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, no! Colin, I suddenly remembered that I have had a community-imposed topic ban prohibiting me from discussing economics, broadly construed, for almost four years now if I remember right. Thanks to you and your country's medieval political retardation, I have clearly construed far into the breadth of economics. And here you are, goading me into even more of it. Drat, as you say over there across the pond! I must turn myself in to some noticeboard or another for immediate enforcement. Good day! EllenCT (talk) 11:15, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:Policies and guidelines#­Content: "Maintain scope and avoid redundancy." -- Basile Morin (talk) 11:27, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:CAN : "Canvassing is notification done with the intention of influencing the outcome of a discussion in a particular way, and is considered inappropriate. This is because it compromises the normal consensus decision-making process, and therefore is generally considered disruptive behavior." -- Basile Morin (talk) 09:56, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perfect is the enemy of good. EllenCT (talk) 10:01, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Canvassing is disruption, sorry -- Basile Morin (talk) 10:06, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was referring to the proposal, not the pings. EllenCT (talk) 10:15, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And I'm saying all these pings, yours included (not your fault), are canvassing now the discussion. Then the outcome will certainly not be consensual. That's disruption unfortunately -- Basile Morin (talk) 10:21, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see and respect your perspective, but I feel Colin makes a strong case that you may be the only editor in eighteen and a half years to have ever expressed any sort of dissatisfaction with the issue. EllenCT (talk) 10:25, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Really? Do you find this for example polite and respectful? Seriously, but how not to be dissatisfied? Just inadmissible. -- Basile Morin (talk) 10:33, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If I understand your concern there, it's exactly why I don't like replying across an intervening reply at the same level of indentation -- you are concerned that it looks like you might be agreeing with the comment above yours instead of the comment you actually replied to. At least we have reached a measure of mutual understanding. But honestly, I don't think you have as much to worry about there as I do. Inexperienced editors often reply at the same level of indentation because they don't know any better, and as such it is fair to assume that they might see a subsequent comment as a reply. But nobody ever replies with an outdent or assumes an outdent is a reply. At least I can't imagine that they do. But in any case thank you for explaining why you are upset about this. EllenCT (talk) 11:01, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When you anticipate a potential confusion with the previous comment, you can very easily adapt your text to avoid the misunderstanding (for example by adding "I agree with"). Whereas if someone in a rush steals your place to write first, the subsequent misunderstanding is not a choice anymore. Not only you've lost your turn, but also the potential confusion is imposed to all. Actually, this is basically the rule stated in the point 2 of the main page "If you want to reply to a comment, but another editor has already done so, just position your own text beneath that other editor's reply, at the same indentation level." -- Basile Morin (talk) 06:15, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is advertised at the Village Pump so it isn't like nobody else on Wikipedia is aware of this proposal. Feel free to express your feelings on double indents on User_talk:Jimbo_Wales and invite the whole crowd from there if you want. It isn't a vote anyway, and information about why people find an editing style helpful/vital is likely to be useful. -- Colin°Talk 10:31, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Basile, I agree with EllenCT and I think that you need to let go of this issue. People will always make messy comments and indentations in discussions, and those who follow the discussion are usually able to follow the different lines of thought, if not they will ask. I know that you like order (chronological or other), perfection and symmetry (just look at all those perfect ambigrams you've created), but please stop this fruitless crusade you have about correcting people and wanting to make rules for them to suit you. --cart-Talk 10:43, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please don't make the topic about me. It's just not. Much more a very sincere and optimistic proposal. -- Basile Morin (talk) 10:52, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't doubt that you are very serious about this, but this proposal did not originate from any previous discussion with others about what's wrong with indentations and threads in discussions, so therefore it is just your idea. --cart-Talk 11:09, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:THREAD & WP:INDENT -- Basile Morin (talk) 11:41, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also Basile, you know people are not taking your proposal seriously when your topic becomes a sounding board for off-topic jokes and merriment instead of discussing the subject. Close this now, accept that people will do as they please anyway and learn to live with it. --cart-Talk 11:37, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Subjectivity -- Basile Morin (talk) 12:04, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, for heaven's sake, I'm pointing out these things for you to save you from futher ridicule and embarrassment. You were laughed out of AN but you continue here. I give up. --cart-Talk 12:19, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:CIVIL -- Basile Morin (talk) 12:42, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Basile, for equal measure, I was more than willing to ping all the people in those discussions who were upset about the indentation/chronology and commented on that or reformatted someone else's text to be correct. But I couldn't find any: they were all far to busy heatedly discussing something so important to the future of Wikipedia that Jimbo himself needed to know :-). If you can find other people on Wikipedia who share your view on this, feel free to ping them. -- Colin°Talk 10:12, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No. WP:CAN again -- Basile Morin (talk) 10:48, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I am strongly opposed to this per WP:CREEP and this sentence from c2:GoodStyle: "Edit pages to emphasize the flow of ideas, not the order in which they were contributed." The things the proposal says not to do are actually the better course of action as they make scanning the page easier. The proposal will emphasize the chronology of posts while making it much harder to quickly read and follow long discussions. Threads have enough problems as it is, we don't need arbitrary rules that no one will read anyway. Most of these problems can be avoided anyway if we refactored talk pages more aggressively, but that's a minority view and about as unlikely to gain traction as rigid indenting requirements. (ec) Wug·a·po·des​ 10:56, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Scanning the page easier" when the indentation is sabotaged? Wow -- Basile Morin (talk) 11:12, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not when it's sabotaged, no, but when an extra colon or two is used to distinguish different threads it's fine. Wug·a·po·des​ 11:18, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Wugapodes: why does that make vertical instead of horizontal space? Not sure what you mean? Like, why did it extend downwards a lot? In technical terms, the colons push the margin sidewise so the text squirts out the bottom. Also in technical terms, pings and sigs don't work inside hidden comments. Also I've refactored it some because apparently outdent has a sane limit of 40 levels of indentation so probably looks different now.

Nonsense. Greetings -- Basile Morin (talk) 11:35, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Educational! I didn't know you could make big white spaces this way. --cart-Talk 11:41, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just deliberately polluting the thread. WP:VANDAL -- Basile Morin (talk) 11:58, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are far more accurate essays than VANDAL to describe the two edits of mine you linked. The WP:POINT is that there is a big difference between sabotaging a thread and an extra colon, and that there are many more styles of threading than chronological hierarchies. While inline italic responses were common on historical wikis like MeatBall, we almost never use them here because they are not intuitive to follow. We do however use extra indentation sometimes to make things easier to read. You may not agree with that, but if it is so common you feel the need to make a rule prohibiting it then that should be evidence your opinion is not widely shared. Wikipedia has no firm rules so even if you added this to the essay, people will continue using threads in the way they like best. Your opinion is not the only opinion, and it is definitely not the only correct opinion. Editors style threads for many reasons, usually because of tradition (like italics on MeatBall or indenting on Wikipedia), often because the participants (not necessarily you) think it is helpful for communication, sometimes to make a point (like the edits you linked), and rarely because an obscure essay prescribes what they must do. There is absolutely no reason why other people should be forced to use your stylistic preference. An editor here and others at ANI have called this discussion a waste of time, multiple editors have suggested this discussion be closed, and yet here we are. I understand this topic is of personal importance to you, but it is clear that no one else believes this is very important. When you have ignored multiple experienced enWikipedians saying this is not a useful discussion, it should not be surprising that this proposal is not taken seriously. Wug·a·po·des​ 20:25, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You should not push to make your point. This is impolite. Listen first, then reply, and build your consensus, if people agree. Your ideas are yours, the format is ours, shared in common. This page Indentation is exactly here to maintain a fertile form of communication -- Basile Morin (talk) 23:16, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment - when investigating a crime or preparing responses for a lawsuit, maintaining a chronological order is imperative. When involved in an open discussion in a group, maintaining a train of thought is imperative. Disconnecting the train increases the risk of getting off track. Stay connected. Atsme Talk 📧 12:25, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Stay connected." Stereo MC's - Connected (Full Length) Bus stop (talk) 16:13, 20 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:Wikipedia is not a forum -- Basile Morin (talk) 03:22, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Basile, the proposal has been advertised at the VP, and I've suggested you might want to let Jimbo know, since you feel strongly about this and I'm sure he will share your passion. So far, we have had seen some good reasons why two people use this style: to avoid ambiguity about who the response is for; when an outdent has been used; and because maintaining the train of thought is more important than maintaining a strict chronology of posts (which the reader often does not care about). Since this is a discussion, not a vote, pinging some people has benefited Wikipedia, whereas without their input, we'd be less knowledgeable about why this style might be useful. We care less about numbers than about well reasoned arguments and whether we can all reach some consensus on the matter. So far, the only person who holds the view this indentation style is a negative, is you, who are refusing to accept there may occasionally be a justification. So currently I don't think we need worry about whether "canvassing" has biased the discussion -- nobody at all is taking your side, despite your advert.

I think you have over-focused on examples in this essay and statements other guidelines, as though they are comprehensive declarations on all forms of permitted wiki talk-page conversation. Let me give you an analogy. In the UK we drive on the left, and our Highway Code makes this clear. If you ask anyone what side of the road we drive on, they will say "the left". They won't say "... but sometimes on the right, and sometimes in the middle". Yet this is what you do when overtaking another vehicle. And although our Code says you should not overtake if there are solid white lines down the centre of the road, if there is a broken down lorry blocking the road, then you use your common sense and carefully overtake it. If you take advanced driving lessons, you will even be taught that there are times when you can cross the middle of the road, particularly on single-track roads if you need to see better round a bend. But those exceptions aren't listed in the Highway Code. They are things that advanced, experienced drivers adopt.

The language you use when discussing this issue strongly suggests the person inserting their reply above previous comments is doing so out of a desire to get their voice at the top of the pile, in the most important place, ahead of the others. Your examples talk of their being a queue to respect and this being jumped "My turn now!". Your feelings about this are therefore that the person doing this is rude and self-important, and you react angrily as a result, editing other people's text to push them to the back of the "queue" where they belonged. This is a talk page issue, not a Manual of Style issue for articles. So I went to the most hot-headed and conflict-prone page on Wikipedia, full of windbags and serial moaners: Jimbo's talk page. I pulled out lots of examples where this style has been used (see list above) and found not one case where anyone was upset and felt the urge to move other people's posts. Indeed, if you look at the accounts of the users who use this style, they are many of the longest serving Wikipedians who are greatly experienced in how the site works and interacting successfully with others. In contrast, you have only been an active editor for a few years. I suggest therefore you need to reset your impression of why this is done: it is done out of an honest good-faith desire to maintain clarity in a complex discussion involving many replies. It might not be your preferred style, and the lack of post-chronology might irritate you a bit, but continuing to ascribe bad-faith on those who do this is not helpful. Let it go. -- Colin°Talk 07:37, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since 2007 Since June 2012 the rule is "If you want to reply to a comment, but another editor has already done so, just position your own text beneath that other editor's reply, at the same indentation level". Is there something untrue in that statement? Consult also the creation of the page in August 2007 (point #2). Now read the top of the page: "the use of normal indentation is a behavioural guideline that editors are expected to follow. Such guidelines may be enforced by administrative action, especially when other editors have been unable to persuade an individual to abide by them. The guideline should never be used to bite newcomers who don't know how to indent properly, but experienced users are expected to comply with it, to facilitate threaded discussion on talk pages." Now agree or not, it is a shared idea, consensual, then not "mine only". It is just how Wikipedia works. Enjoy the reality. -- Basile Morin (talk) 08:18, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Another "rule" says "Your reply to a particular comment should be indented beneath that comment". Is there something untrue in that statement? Actually, it isn't about true and untrue. It is about completeness. The child asks "Why is the sky blue?" It is a good question, and only a pedant would correct the child to criticise them for not including times when the sky is grey or black or a murky orange colour from light pollution. Later in this essay, we have an example of when we don't indent beneath the comment we are replying to, but return to the left edge. The Outdent section apparently contradicts the earlier rule. We don't get upset about it and instead just absorb this as another variant. You continue to be stuck in the mindset that this little essay (which has no weight) or other guidelines are totally comprehensive in describing all forms of valid talk page posting.
I think you are forgetting how the rules on Wiki work. They document existing good practice and give weight to the typical situations where editors have found it necessary to document some decision where there may have been a choice of alternatives. It isn't like some team just sat down at the start, and decided to create rules about how to have a discussion on wiki. Communication is a natural thing and our style and practice change and develop. You say "enjoy the reality". The reality of communication is simply what people do. If people are communicating successfully, albeit in a way that you wouldn't, that's just fine. The "rules" are not reality. They are an imperfect way of trying to document something. The reason there is no documented consensus on this form of style is simply that it is relatively occasional, and nobody has ever questioned it before you did.
I have no idea why you included a little light bulb at the start of your comment above. I can't find any rules that permit you to do this non-standard thing. All the examples in this essay begin with text, not light bulbs. I think if you began every one of your comments with light bulbs, people would wonder a bit about you, but doing this occasionally isn't going to upset anyone. You did it because it felt helpful I guess. Why should wiki need a rule about light bulbs just to permit you occasionally decorating your responses with them? -- Colin°Talk 09:21, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:TPYES : Be concise. Long posts risk being ignored or misunderstood. ("Jimmy wales", etc.) Regards -- Basile Morin (talk) 09:27, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nearly every one of your posts has been simply a link or shortcut to other guidelines, mostly irrelevant and off topic. I've been here 14 years. I helped write two major guidelines and collaborated with dozens of others to create featured articles and lists. As have many of the above people. You don't appear to have any serious history on Wikipedia (a couple of hundred edits, none to any forums or talk pages) and your two years of active editing on Commons is mostly File: space and posting votes at Featured Pictures. In a discussion on how to format complex discussions with others on forums and talk pages, that matters. With respect, Basile, I don't really think you have the necessary experience of wiki communication to go about lecturing others and citing guidelines at us. Now, I'm going to do something more interesting.... -- 10:19, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
thumbs up  -- Basile Morin (talk) 20:35, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regarding accessibility, which doesn't seem to have come up above: note in spite of the name of this page (Wikipedia:Indentation), a colon prefix actually generates an unbulleted list item (that's not strictly true, but good enough for purposes of discussion here). In general, the string of colons, number signs, and asterisks denotes both a nesting of lists and a list item (see User:Isaacl/On wikitext list markup for more details). So skipping from a prefix that is, say, one-character long to a three-character long prefix means introducing an extra level of list nesting, which a screen reader will announce at its start and its end. Accordingly, this is undesirable from an accessibility perspective. isaacl (talk) 17:22, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The one screen-reader I have works pretty well with replies indented as unordered lists, allowing both previous-or-up and next-or-skip navigation, and WAVE doesn't flag them as problematic, even though it does highlight them -- I think that means it's considered a good practice. EllenCT (talk) 18:27, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What does it do when someone skips from one level of unordered list (which visually corresponds to bulleted list items) to three nested levels, which is the matter under discussion? Does it let you skip directly from the first level to the third level, without narrating the start and end of the second level? isaacl (talk) 19:08, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In or adjacent to a list, the screen reader I have uses arrow icons and keys, with left for previous in order, right for next in order, up for previous enclosing, and down for next at same level. EllenCT (talk) 20:16, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To be clear, the question is not the number of colons nor the kind of lists which are used, but just the fact of intervening between two people, by inserting an illegitimate comment in the middle. There's no reason (never, in my opinion) to position a text above an other editor's reply, instead of beneath. And multiple colons (as many as you can dream) never justify such behavior. On Wikipedia, yesterday, clear example here. But if the person is uneducated, that can explain. Specifying the good & bad behavior in the page may prevent such agression in the future. Agression all the more pernicious that it is based on the format, supposedly shared. Then this proposal is really well intentioned -- Basile Morin (talk) 20:35, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
EllenCT, what does the screen reader say aloud, for those who aren't using visual cues to navigate? What happens when there is markup such as the following.

<p>First paragraph</p>
    <dd>Two levels in</dd>
    <dd>Next comment two levels in</dd>
        <dd>Four levels in</dd>

isaacl (talk) 20:45, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mine doesn't pronounce the indentation, and I can't see an option for it. I don't normally use it. Looking at the various others documented on the web, it seems as though none of them pronounce them, but most seem to allow navigation within them. EllenCT (talk) 23:38, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I understand it, blind users use screen readers that announce the start and end of lists. Here's a blog post where some examples are given: [1] isaacl (talk) 00:53, 22 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There appears to be a near-unanimous consensus here. EllenCT (talk) 18:28, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For now, absolutely not. There seems to be a tremendous misunderstanding yes, but no "consensus" at all concerning the topic exposed. -- Basile Morin (talk) 20:35, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So what you are saying is that you are going to keep this up until enough people who agree with you about this have come to this page to give you their support, is that correct or am I missing something? --cart-Talk 22:37, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Missing something. Also my support to them. Find a common understanding at the end -- Basile Morin (talk) 23:16, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, but where are they, all these people you support and is now giving a voice to. I would like to hear their oppinion too. --cart-Talk 23:32, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

 Question: Is the sentence "multiple indentations" unclear or ambiguous? I can admit that, and in that case, we may improve the wording. I will fix the animated GIF accordingly. Turn it into something like "respect the queue / avoid pushing in with multiple indentations"? Any better thought? -- Basile Morin (talk) 20:35, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Basile Morin, designating the threading of a conversation using indent level is an old convention dating back at least to Usenet (maybe earlier) and was propagated to email conversations. This is why if person B and person C reply to person A, person D will insert their reply to person B in between, using an indent level to indicate the threading. I appreciate that those used to bulletin board software will be more accustomed to seeing responses added to the bottom of a thread. Even on bulletin boards, when text is quoted, the threading within the quoted material is specified using indentation. Now of course English Wikipedia in theory could adopt another convention, but unless enforced by software, it would be very difficult to put into practice. isaacl (talk) 20:53, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What you're saying is just against the rule number 2, currently operational. Reason for going against the common sense? -- Basile Morin (talk) 21:52, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You're misreading that point. In the example, user sandbox is replying to user Example. Because user Place holder has already replied, user sandbox's reply goes below user Place holder's, and per standard indentation rules, indented one level below user Example's comment. Point 3 covers the case where user Example wants to reply to user Place holder, after both user Place holder and user sandbox have replied. (Mapping it to my example, person A is user Example, person B is user Place holder, person C is user sandbox, and person D is user Example again.) User Example's reply is placed directly below user Place holder's, indented one level. isaacl (talk) 22:55, 21 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree with point 3. But there's a huge difference between:
checkY ☒N

I think good indentation is very helpful. --Example (talk) 12:34, 1 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Me too. Place holder T/C 12:44, 1 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I thought you didn't like indentation, Place holder. --Example2 14:23, 1 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Me three! →sand box 13:57, 1 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think good indentation is very helpful. --Example (talk) 12:34, 1 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I thought Place holder didn't like indentation. --Example2 14:23, 1 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Me too. Place holder T/C 12:44, 1 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Me three! →sand box 13:57, 1 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whatever the text -- Basile Morin (talk) 00:16, 22 August 2019 (UTC) same chronology but 4 different users for the purposes of the demonstration -- Basile Morin (talk) 10:52, 22 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I already discussed this in my initial response, so you don't have to repeat it again. Then you brought in another example which you felt was wrong, and said it was contrary to example #2, but is actually in compliance with example #3. isaacl (talk) 00:56, 22 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And checkY that's the issue I'm highlighting. -- Basile Morin (talk) 01:30, 22 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Basile, the problem with your examples, are that they bear no resemblance to any of the situations when people have felt the need to inject a reply to an earlier comment at a higher position than later comments. In the "avoid multiple indentations" example, the "My turn now!" (or "Madrid is the capital of Spain") comment is injected after only a single short-sentence reply. Nobody has ever in all the years of Wikipedia, usenet or any other text forum, ever done that. If they did, everyone would be surprised and indeed find it very odd. In contrast, on Jimbo's page there is often a screenful of replies that have occurred before the late-reply comment is made. Clearly the amount of intermediate conversation is the factor that determines whether someone thinks it would be more confusing to reply at the bottom (possibly off-screen from the text they are replying to) or inject it at the top. You will also notice that generally the late-reply comment is brief and does not itself elicit further discussion.

I'm not at all clear what your point in the example above is meant to be. I think that isaacl was merely pointing out that example 3 on the essay already has the text injected above an earlier reply: it does not respect the chronology of postings or "queue" as you refer to the list (one can only join the end of a queue, never the middle). So I think you've developed a mental model of how posts should be made (a queue) that is actually incorrect. And in this whole posting, you have created a strawman to attack, by using a tiny abstract example nobody would ever dream of following. -- Colin°Talk 12:09, 22 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The "strawman to attack" comes out of the previous comment. Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Behavior that is unacceptable : Comment on content, not on the contributor: Keep the discussions focused on the topic of the talk page, rather than on the editors participating. -- Basile Morin (talk) 00:32, 23 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gear Stop this discussion. The debate doesn't evolve. No common understanding was reached. Some participants voluntarily or involuntarily disrupted the course of the thread in different ways. The examples are illustrative and connected to the rule number 2. The vast majority of participants seem satisfied with the content in its current form. Thus the page will not be changed. -- Basile Morin (talk) 00:32, 23 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Wrapped text extra indentation[edit]

Is there a way to indent text so that text that is wrapped to a new line gets an extra indentation? Squandermania (talk) 14:02, 15 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Interference between indentation and other markup?[edit]

Some markup breaks if you attempt to indent it with leading colons, e.g., <pre>...</pre>. In particular, the text

<pre>{{cite report
 |     title = Quarterly Status Report - Report #1 
 |        id = AD-A206 308
 |      date = 15 March 1989
 |       url =
 |      work = Advance Computing Systems: An Advanced Reasoning-Based Paradigm for Ada Trusted Systems and its Application to MACH
 |       via =
 | publisher = TRW - Federal Systems Group - Systems Division

renders properly as

{{cite report
 |     title = Quarterly Status Report - Report #1 
 |        id = AD-A206 308
 |      date = 15 March 1989
 |       url =
 |      work = Advance Computing Systems: An Advanced Reasoning-Based Paradigm for Ada Trusted Systems and its Application to MACH
 |       via =
 | publisher = TRW - Federal Systems Group - Systems Division

but the text

:::<pre>{{cite report
 |     title = Quarterly Status Report - Report #1 
 |        id = AD-A206 308
 |      date = 15 March 1989
 |       url =
 |      work = Advance Computing Systems: An Advanced Reasoning-Based Paradigm for Ada Trusted Systems and its Application to MACH
 |       via =
 | publisher = TRW - Federal Systems Group - Systems Division

renders as

{{cite report
|     title = Quarterly Status Report - Report #1 
|        id = AD-A206 308
|      date = 15 March 1989
|       url =
|      work = Advance Computing Systems: An Advanced Reasoning-Based Paradigm for Ada Trusted Systems and its Application to MACH
|       via =
| publisher = TRW - Federal Systems Group - Systems Division


Guidance on what to avoid and what workarounds to use would be helpful. Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 14:10, 1 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should we question the whole approach which makes such elaborate guidelines necessary?[edit]

Wikipedia discussion pages always felt to me like some awkward band-aid solution which is not fit for purpose. The fact that this guideline even exist is quite ridiculous. This "problem" must be solved in software. Instead of wasting our time and effort on discussing this, we better petition to add some reddid-style facility. Unfortunately I don't even know what the process would be for that. If there is such request already, I would certainly vote for it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shcha (talkcontribs) 11:06, 6 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See what I mean... You need to add a signature. And there is even a special bot which will add it for you if forgot. Band-aid on top of band-aid. FFS, sheer idiocy. Shcha (talk) 11:12, 6 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]