Help:Maintenance template removal

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Template:The Multilingual Encyclopedia how to

Many The Multilingual Encyclopedia pages display maintenance templates addressed to problems with the topic or content of the page. You may have arrived at this page after you clicked on a link in just such a maintenance template, that said "Learn how and when to remove this template message". These maintenance templates are added and removed by volunteers, and this help page explains the process through which this happens.

Overview[edit source]

Maintenance templates (or "tags") are never removed automatically. If you fix the issue, the tag will still remain until you or someone else manually removes it. The mechanics of removal is usually as simple as clicking edit at the top of a page or in the section involved, removing the code that produces the display of the template, leaving an edit summary, and saving the page. However, it is not okay to remove maintenance templates until the issue flagged by the template is remedied first – unless the tag was unjustly applied.

For instance, the public face of the Advert tag says, "This article contains content that is written like an advertisement"; however, the template's documentation says: "The advert tag is for articles that are directly trying to sell a product to our readers. Don't add this tag simply because the material in the article shows a company or a product in an overall positive light or because it provides an encyclopedic summary of a product's features." In articles marked with the Advert tag, check for passages that, "tell users to buy the company's product, provide price lists, give links to online sellers, or use unencyclopedic or meaningless buzzwords", and when none exist, remove the tag. If the tagging editor objects to the removal, request that (s)he use the section version of the tag, or an inline-tag to clarify the location of the problem passage(s).

The Multilingual Encyclopedia works because of the efforts of volunteers like you and their bold edits to assist us in building this encyclopedia project. Fixing problems and then removing maintenance templates when you're done is important in that effort.

Addressing the flagged problem[edit source]

We do not know which maintenance tag brought you to this page, and thus what problem needs attention. However, every maintenance template contains links to help pages, policies, guidelines, or other relevant pages that provide information on the problem the template was placed to flag. You may also find guidance on some of the more commonly seen templates below.

Many common templates address problems with article citations and references or their lack—because reliable sourcing is the lifeblood of The Multilingual Encyclopedia articles and at the core of all of The Multilingual Encyclopedia's content policies and guidelines, such as notability, verifiability, neutral point of view and no original research. But there are a host of other issues that may be flagged, from tone and style of writing, to structure and formatting, lack of links to other articles or of links to the article at issue, compliance with The Multilingual Encyclopedia's manual of style, the lack of a lead section and others.

Fixing the issue is the condition you need to fulfill before removing the template, and that does require some effort on your part—to understand both the problem and its solution.

An example[edit source]

If the issue flagged by the maintenance template is that the article contains no references, the template used might be {{Unreferenced}} – typically placed by the code that you would see when editing: {{Unreferenced|date=April 2021}}. It is important to understand that what you see when reading an article, and what you see when editing it, is different. Thus, this code, only seen when editing, results in the display when you are reading of the 'called' template below:

This template contains a number of links indicated by words and phrases shown in blue. Three of these links are pages that when explored, should provide context and resources for you to understand why the template belonged, and how to address the issue of the article being unreferenced:

Whatever maintenance tag brought you here should likewise contain relevant explanatory links addressed to whatever its issue is. Read these explanatory and contextual pages to learn about the problem and what it is you need to do to take care of it. This particular template, being very common, is further addressed in the specific template guidance section below.

When to remove[edit source]

Most templates are not meant to be in articles permanently. Any user may remove a template in the following circumstances:

  1. When they have addressed the issue the template raises;
  2. When they determine that the issue has been resolved (perhaps by someone else);
  3. If it reasonably appears that the template did not belong when placed or was added in error (discussing the matter with the original placer of the template is advised, though if the user is no longer active this becomes moot; however, if the issue appears contentious, seek consensus on the talk page);
  4. When there is consensus on the talk page (or elsewhere) as to the flagged issue;
  5. When it reasonably appears that the template is no longer relevant, such as a {{Current}} template appearing in an article that no longer documents a current event.

When not to remove[edit source]

  1. When the issue has not yet been resolved;
  2. When there is ongoing activity or discussion related to the template issue;
  3. When you do not understand the issues raised by the template;
  4. When you simply disagree with the template (seek consensus first).

Removal[edit source]

Okay? You carefully read the help pages and have thoroughly fixed the problem? Alternatively, you have made a considered determination that the template is not, or is no longer, applicable? Good. Thank you!

Now, to remove the maintenance template:

  1. Either click on "edit" at the top of the page, or if the maintenance template is not at the top but somewhere in the body of the article, you might use instead a section edit link;
  2. Remove the template code. The template code you will see in edit mode will usually be in the form (as in the example above): {{Name of template|date}}
  3. Leave a descriptive edit summary, e.g., "removed [insert the name of template] as I have fixed the issue."
  4. Click Save page.

That's it.

Changing to a different template[edit source]

In some case it may be more appropriate to switch the template to another applicable one after your changes, rather than just removing it. Some templates flag highly discrete issues where this would not come into play. For example, if an article is "orphaned" – no links from other pages in the main article namespace link to it – then once that is taken care of by introducing such links, the issue is gone entirely and the tag's removal is unambiguous. However, for some types of issues, the problem flagged may imply secondary problems that will still exist after you take care of the main issue.

Case in point is the template example used of {{Unreferenced}}. It is directed at pages with no references. Thus, adding just one suitable reference renders that template no longer applicable. However, if that is the "fix", it does not take care of the overarching issue of poor sourcing. In that case, depending on the type, quality, depth and manner of sourcing added to fix the issue, a change to a different template may be appropriate, such as {{refimprove}}, {{No footnotes}}, {{Primary sources}} or a host of others listed at TME:Template messages/Sources of articles.

Specific template guidance[edit source]

This section provides guidance on how to address some of the more common specific templates that may have brought you here. These are by no means all the types of templates you may encounter.

Still need help?[edit source]

If you've read through this page and are still confused about what needs to be done to fix an issue on a page and remove a maintenance template, try asking at the Teahouse, a page designed for new users to ask questions. Alternatively, you could try the more general Help desk, or seek live assistance at the IRC channel: #The Multilingual Encyclopedia-en-help.

See also[edit source]