[WikiEN-l] Time to finish this userbox war once and for all

David Alexander Russell david.russell.scotland at gmail.com
Tue Feb 21 17:00:21 UTC 2006

There are plenty of people who think that Wikipedia should never have any
expressions of political opinions etc., and that userboxes should never be
allowed under any circumstances. There are others that think that all
userboxes should be allowed.

It seems difficult to follow one of these two positions without losing  a
significant number of great contributors, so we need to come up with some
sort of compromise solution. This is mainly just a collation of various
suggestions, but I wondered what people think of it as a solution

1. The only userpage templates that are allowed in Template space are those
of direct relevance to the project - e.g. babel, {{userpage}},
{{WikimediaNoLicensing}} etc.
2. Userboxes cannot be 'transcluded' from user subpages - the only allowed
way to have a userbox is to copy the source code for it (this wouldn't
preclude Wikiproject Userboxes from having a list of boxen, all they would
have to do is have a list of code rather than a list of {{user userbox}}
template calls
3. Userboxes are not allowed to use images or categories. In fact all
'Wikipedians by...' categories (except Wikipedians by location and other
categories whose existence is of evident utility to the project) should be
deleted (can we add something to CSD to this effect, assuming there isn't

1 is fairly obvious - there is concern that having userboxes in the Template
space could give the impression that they are part of Wikipedia proper.

2 and 3 are meant to stop 'vote stuffing' - the other major gripe people
have with boxen. Fair use images in userboxes are already not allowed (since
they aren't fair use at all in  boxen), and allowing public domain/FDL
images would give us precisely the same vote-stuffing problems that we
currently have with categories

This would solve most of the complaints people have with userboxes (apart
from the people think that WP:NPOV applies to userpages, which is
objectively wrong) without stopping people from disclosing their particular

Incidentally, I think this should be accompanied by using a bot to replace
all instances of userboxes with the code (a bot or AWB could do this) so
that people don't end up with their userpage covered in redlinks


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