- Previous discussions: Forum:Another look at retrieval dates, Forum:Retrieval dates and Forum:Red asterisks for retrieved dates on citation templates
After a short discussion with Smithin' on Forum:Goals for the new year, we decided that the current way of "judging" the validity of a reference template doesn't work. Currently, nearly every reference template (named Cite[Typeofsource]) has an "accessdate" (alternatively "date") parameter which should always be filled out with the current date, i.e. ~~~~~. If the date provided is >a month old or if the parameter is ignored, the reference will have a little red asterisk at the end saying "This reference has not been verified for over 30 days - It may be outdated."
My proposal is to completely get rid of these asterisks (with one exception) simply because that message is not true. Why? As Smithing highlighted in the 2014-goals-thread, people generally regard the wiki as unreliable (to put it nicely) when it comes to, well, information in general. The lack of sourcing is probably a major factor here, but references being called "possibly outdated" when this is not true (as I will explain now) is likely off-putting as well, as it could make people think our sources are utter bullshit.
So the asterisk should be removed, along with the (access)date parameter. Let's take a look at our current citation templates and see why the parameter is pointless:
- CiteDevBlog and CiteDevDiary (which should be merged IMO) - developers' blogs don't usually get changed so the source's retrieval date is pointless, because the reference cannot be outdated; the source doesn't change. Even if a change (which I doubt could be more than a small addendum or a rephrasing of a sentence) is made to a devblog, it would most likely take place within 1-3 days. The 30-day-period is arbitrary and pointless.
- CiteForum and CitePoll - these use archived links so the source doesn't change per definition (and the postdate parameter tells us when the forum post/poll was made). Stating this could be outdated is utter bollocks.
- CiteGodLetter, CiteLore, CiteNews, CitePostbag and CitePub - there is a 99.9% chance that the source you're using is exactly the same as two years ago. As with the devblogs, only the postdate is important here, really. The retrieval date is less than uninteresting because these sources, in general, never change.
- CiteNPC - dialogues don't usually get changed but still often enough for it to be mentioned. If a piece of dialogue changes, we don't generally know about it. Nobody is going to play RotM every month to see if that one piece of dialogue is still there. And even if the dialogue changes - so what? The reference is still valid.
- CiteSupport - Is this even used? Either way, customer support stuff probably doesn't change often enough to warrant a monthly check either.
- Finally, there's CiteGeneral. I would be okay with keeping the accessdate parameter there due to the "randomness" of the sources, but the 30 days should be extended to half a year or something.
As you can see, the retrieval date is in most if not all cases pointless. Stating the reference could be outdated after a period of 30 days when there chance it actually is outdated is roughly 0 is counterproductive.
When Cam and I made CitePodcast, we deliberately left out the accessdate parameter for aforementioned reasons. Podcasts don't change - the source does not become obsolete.
• Remove the accessdate (or date) parameter (make sure you don't remove postdate >.>) and as such red asterisks from all citation templates. Maybe with CiteGeneral as exception.
- • If consensus is to keep it on CiteGeneral, extend the period from 30 days to at least a few months. The retrieval date could be displayed as Smithing proposed on his thread from 2011. The reference would end with "Retrieved on dd month yyyy." or something without red asterisk so that readers can judge for themselves whether it's obsolete or not.
• Have a bot remove all accessdate parameters in use on articles, if that's possible.
• While we're at it, CitePostbag, CiteGodLetter, CiteLore and CiteForum could use a "quote" parameter.
Discuss. *11:24, January 5, 2014 (UTC)
Support - As no one is going through all of our ref template usage every month, it just means that everyone of them will show that. User:TyA/sig 16:03, January 5, 2014 (UTC)
Oppose? - It's a relic from when we pretty much plagiarized templates and policies from Wikipedia. I'm not sure if you know this, Fartwall, but we are a RuenScaep Wikipedia; ergo, we need to do everything WP does. I'm not sure how these stars help in anyway, but it's what the big boys are doing, so we should do it too! MolMan 20:08, January 5, 2014 (UTC)
20:15, January 5, 2014 (UTC)
- Change to support - if I can have dibs on deleting the parameter. MolMan 20:29, January 5, 2014 (UTC)
Comment - I've removed it on CitePostbag following it's overhaul. I didn't see the point considering we're referencing pages on the wiki that aren't going to change. User:Cqm/Signature
Support Because it's annoying and I never fill it anyway.10:34, January 7, 2014 (UTC)
Closed - Mol can remove the parameters and asterisk. Suppa chuppa 19:09, January 14, 2014 (UTC)