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Scratchpad:Be bold (SP:BOLD) can be explained in three words: Just do it. The Scratchpad community encourages users to be bold when updating the wiki. Wikis like ours develop faster when everybody helps to fix problems, correct grammar, add facts, make sure wording is accurate, etc. We would like everyone to be bold and help make Scratchpad a better collaborative wiki. How many times have you read something and thought – Why aren’t these pages copy edited? Scratchpad not only allows you to add, revise, and edit articles: It wants you to do it. This does require some amount of politeness, but it works. You’ll see. Of course, others here will edit what you write. Do not take it personally! They, like all of us, just wish to make Scratchpad as good a wiki as it can possibly be. Also, when you see a conflict on a talk page, do not be just a “mute spectator”: Be bold and drop your opinion there!

Don’t get upset if your bold edits get deleted. The early advocate of trial and error followed by observation to gain knowledgeFrancis Bacon — said: “For if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity.”[1] Instead of getting upset, read Help:Assuming good faith and Wikipedia:Civility, and be bold again. But, after a deletion of a bold edit, you might want to be bold in an edit on the talk pages so as not to start an edit war.

... but please be careful!

Be bold

Wikipedia’s Be Bold! poster


Though the boldness of contributors like you is one of Scratchpad’s greatest assets, it is important that contributors take care of the common good and not edit recklessly. Of course, any changes you make that turn out badly can be easily reverted, usually painlessly, and it is important not to be insulted if your changes are reverted or edited further. But, there are some significant changes that can be long-lasting and that are harder to fix if the need arises. If you’re unsure of anything, just ask for advice.

Also, changes to articles on complex, controversial subjects with long histories, such as articles on politics, religion, etc., should be done with extra care. In many cases, the text as you find it has come into being after long and arduous negotiations between members of the Scratchpad community with diverse backgrounds and points of view. A careless edit to such an article might stir up a latent conflict, and other users who are involved in the page may become defensive. If you would like to make a significant edit — not just a simple copyedit — to an article on a controversial subject, it is a useful idea to first read the article in its entirety and skim the comments on the talk page. On controversial articles, the safest course is to seek consensus before making changes, but there are situations when bold edits can safely be made to contentious articles. Always use your very best editorial judgment in these cases and be sure to read the talk page.

Often it is easier to see that something is not right rather than to know exactly what would be right. We do not require that everyone be bold. After all, commenting that something in an article is incorrect can be the first step to getting it fixed. It is true, though, that problems are more certain to be fixed, and will probably be fixed faster, if you are bold enough to do it yourself.

To use the words of Edmund Spenser: “Be bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold”, but “be not too bold”.

Non-article namespaces

Although editors are encouraged to be bold in updating articles, more caution is sometimes required when editing pages in non-article namespaces. Such pages are identified by a namespace prefix. For example, this page, Scratchpad:Be bold, has the Scratchpad prefix. If it were called simply Be bold (with no prefix) it would be an article, in the main (article) namespace.

Problems may arise for a variety of reasons in different contexts in non-article namespaces. These problems should be taken into account in deciding whether to be bold, and how bold to be.

Scratchpad namespace

The Scratchpad namespace houses the policy and guidelines pages relating to the entirety of Scratchpad.[2] Most of the policy and guideline pages in the Scratchpad namespace are protected such that only editors with certain access permissions may edit them. If you wish to suggest an editorial change to such a page, you may do so on that page’s talk page using the template {{edit protected}}.[3]

If your access permissions do permit you to edit a Scratchpad namespace page, then the rest of this section applies.

Scratchpad does not “enshrine” old practice: Bold changes to its policies and guidelines are sometimes the best way to allow the wiki to adapt and improve. In this case, “bold” refers to boldness of idea; such ideas are most commonly raised and discussed first to best formulate their implementation.

The admonition “but please be careful” is especially important in relation to policies and guidelines, where key parts may be phrased in a particular way to reflect a very hard-won, knife-edge consensus – which may not be obvious to those unfamiliar with the background. In these cases, it is also often better to discuss potential changes first. However, spelling and grammatical errors can and should be fixed as soon as they are noticed.

Discussing changes to Scratchpad-space pages on their respective talk pages is also a good idea. If nothing else, it will provide an explanation of the changes for later editors. Most such pages are collections of arguments placed in Scratchpad space for later reference, so the same arguments don’t need to be made over and over again.

Template namespace

Being bold in updating templates can have far reaching consequences. This is because template changes can affect a large number of pages with a single edit. Moreover, some templates also form part of wide-ranging, uniform systems of templates across Scratchpad, such as infobox and stub templates. Templates may also have complex source code that can be easily broken by untested changes (although they can fortunately be corrected with a single revert).

Because of these concerns, many heavily used templates are indefinitely protected from editing. Before editing templates, consider proposing any changes on the associated talk pages using the {{edit protected}} template.[3] Templates often have associated sandbox and testcases subpages; respectively, these are a place for the proposed modified template, and a place where the proposal may be trialed in comparison with the existing version, before taking your changes live. If a template does not have these subpages, you may create them, affixing {{template sandbox notice}} and {{template test cases notice}} to the top of these pages, respectively.

Category namespace

Creating new categories, or reorganizing the category structure, may come to affect many pages. Consider the guidelines on categorization and overcategorization, and if what you’re doing might be considered controversial (especially if it concerns categories for living people), propose changes on the category(ies) related talk page(s).

File namespace

Be bold in adding information to the description of an existing image. However, new images should be uploaded with new names rather than overwriting old ones. Doing otherwise risks having the old image confused with the new one.

User namespace

It is generally recommended that you do not edit another member of the Scratchpad community’s user page. In fact, there are abuse filters in place at Scratchpad designed to prevent such edits.[4] Also, it is not permitted to alter comments left on talk pages (other than your own, and even then this is strongly discouraged [5]). Fixing vandalism is nearly always welcome, even on user pages. Specific users will let you know if they find your changes inappropriate or if you have given incorrect information.

Graphical layout changes


Making major changes to the graphical layout of certain pages that are not articles requires caution (i.e., pages in namespaces other than the main (article) namespace). It is often best to test changes first (in a sandbox page in your own userspace, or a subpage of the page in question), and to discuss the proposed change with other editors before taking it live. When many users edit pages for layout, different plans, different visions, can conflict, and the page may get worse rather than better.

This is particularly true of highly visible pages, such as those linked to from the navigation boxes at various place throughout Scratchpad. These often use intricate formatting to convey their information, and a lot of work has gone into making them as user-friendly as possible. Moreover some pages form groups whose formatting is intended to be uniform. You should not make unapproved design edits to these types of pages. Examples include the Main Page (which in any case is permanently protected), the Community Portal, etc. This does not apply to articles.

See also


  1. Bacon, Francis. Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall. 1625.
  2. The Scratchpad namespace is also know as the Project namespace, where Scratchpad is the “project”.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The template documentation at Template:Edit protected explains how to use the template.
  4. Exception: From time to time, Administrators will edit user pages to correct code on behalf of users. Also, Administrators will do so to remove material in violation of various Scratchpad and Wikia policies.
  5. Editing even your own comments on a talkpage is strongly discouraged because in the time between when you save pageed those comments, and are now revising them, others will have already read, and possibly acted upon, them. Instead, it is encouraged that you strikeout your comments — using <s></s> tags — and add your new comments immediately after.
Wikipedia This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Wikipedia:Be bold.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history.
As with Scratchpad, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Licence.