I was perusing the new tag-wiki feature today, starting with JavaScript since I'm most familiar with that tag. I was a little surprised to see the following statement in the "About JavaScript" heading:

Microsoft calls their implementation JScript. If you need to follow that link, you have my sympathy.

I edited it out for 2 reasons,

  1. The use of the word my in the second sentence.
  2. The sarcasm makes it sound a little unprofessional.

Number 2 I'm not sure about, is the community bothered about sarcasm and smart-assery in the tag-wiki pages? It's the sort of language you see on highly opinionated blogs and it can lead to unnecessary argument and debating, even edit wars in the case of wiki pages.

I could see it being perfectly fine on meta.stackoverflow.com because we all expect things to be a little less formal here, but do you think we should make the effort to keep the main sites' wiki pages clean of things like this?

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    Good question. I think we need a "House style" for tag-wiki pages, so they have similar overall layout, section titles, etc. Like Wikipedia does. Does anyone agree? and does anyone have the time to start a question where we could build up a house-style :) – MarkJ Jul 22 '10 at 11:45
  • @MarkJ I agree that this would probably be a good idea. – Pekka Jul 22 '10 at 11:48
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    Personally I think Jon and Marc have done a spectacular job with the c# tag in a few hours, I think this should be emulated – waffles Jul 22 '10 at 12:35
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    IMO the [Javascript] tag is way to stuffy. - "JavaScript is the common name for ECMAScript. Therefore, the canonical reference should be The ECMA-262 Language Specification." Really? – jjnguy Jul 22 '10 at 12:40
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    @Waffles: the c# tag is a great example of a wiki page, I particularly like the Hello World example and the reference links. It definitely feels more professional and I think it would be nice if we could get most tag-wiki pages to a similar standard. – Andy E Jul 22 '10 at 13:02
  • @Waffles @Andy The C# tag is very good. I have two questions about its current incarnation though. (1) Are the description and Hello World too long? They push the FAQ and resources down so people need to scroll to see them (2) Add some resources for beginners? The C# spec and Eric Lippert's blog are great, but why not add links to (for example) the C# express edition download and the Microsoft C# developer centre site, which has some content for beginners. (I don't have edit privileges on [C#]or I might do it myself.) – MarkJ Jul 23 '10 at 10:44
  • @jjnguy: yeah, that's why I tried to loosen up a bit a couple lines down... Go figure, the tongue-in-cheek bit gets removed while the stuffy bit gets immitated. – Shog9 Jul 23 '10 at 17:53
  • @Shog9: I actually intended to go back and work on the wiki page a bit more, I just forgot :-) – Andy E Jul 23 '10 at 19:06

I totally agree with removing that comment. It's subjective and adds zero value to the page.

The tag pages will become portal pages with links to the most important documentation, frequently asked questions, and well-known gotchas in that tag. Smart-assery is uncalled for here. For that, we have the tag pages on Meta. :)

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I think that the community that most actively participates in each tag should determine the style of the wiki.

The average user of the [iPhone] tag is probably going to be a different crowd from the user of the [C#] tag. I feel that each mini-community should determine the style of the wiki.

I definitly don't think that I should have any say in how the [ruby] tag wiki is written because I know next-to-nothing about Ruby.

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  • well you don't :) you need 100 upvotes on Ruby answers before being able to participate there . +1 anyway – waffles Jul 22 '10 at 12:37
  • @waffles, I guess I meant that we shouldn't even discuss what tone the wikis should be in. I agree that the content of the C# page is great, and I like the fact that you need 100 votes in a tag to be able to edit that page, but we here at meta shouldn't be deciding the tone for pages that we don't even have permission to edit. – jjnguy Jul 22 '10 at 12:43
  • I think people still need some guidance and inspiration .. perhaps a better tone would be what are some great examples – waffles Jul 22 '10 at 12:47
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    @waffles. Guidance and inspiration are good. But dictating style, i.e. sarcasm vs. no sarcasm, is crossing the line. It's not a big deal, but I just think we should see what comes out of this new feature before we start making rules and structure around it. – jjnguy Jul 22 '10 at 12:53
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    @waffles: this is all new. Let's let the wikis all simmer for a while, then come back and see what's been cooked up. – John Saunders Jul 23 '10 at 19:00

I think it would be best if we had some accountability for those posts.

Here's the current one for [status-declined] on Meta (emphasis mine).

This is a moderator-only tag, for use by moderators and site developers. It is used to denote feature-requests that cannot or will not be implemented at the present time.

If this tag has been applied to a feature request of yours, don't feel bad. It just means you're a horrible person whose ideas are bad for the site.

This is totally unacceptable, and I was furious that I didn't have the ability to edit it!

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    Is it bad that I laughed? – Andy E Jul 23 '10 at 22:19
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    @Andy: No, I laughed at it, too. ;) But it still shouldn't be displayed on the site. – Jon Seigel Jul 23 '10 at 22:26
  • I am sooo glad there's no flag or revision history on these things yet... – Shog9 Jul 23 '10 at 23:02
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    @Shog9: I'm sure the anonymity retained by this person, whoever he may be, is very much a good thing at this point. If only he'd left a clue during the recent edit of the status-declined page. – Andy E Jul 23 '10 at 23:34

FWIW, I wrote that for two reasons:

  1. It sounded funny to me at 2AM
  2. The JScript documentation isn't very good

I wasn't particularly worried about sounding unprofessional, since this is a wiki - if something offends you, you can just edit it out... Which you did. My primary goal was to get links to real documentation up before someone tried to link to something like w3schools: now that would be unprofessional!

IMHO, trying to impose a fixed format or some sort of style guide for these would eschew one of the biggest potential advantages of these pages: giving the various sub-communities on SO a place to call their own. Think about it... All the "hidden features" / "pitfalls" / etc. questions are really just about communing with your comrades, working together to compile knowledge about your specialty. And now, that's possible without abusing the site...

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    Imposing a fixed format, bad. Style guides and well-thought-out examples, good. – Charles Jul 23 '10 at 18:19
  • +1, for several reasons. Like I said in the question, I edited it out mostly for the use of the words you and my. This question was about whether reason 2 was an appropriate reason to edit or not, but I didn't have any personal problem with the line or anything. Admittedly, I chuckled slightly to myself before hitting the edit link. I don't particularly mind if a sense of humour is needed for the wiki pages, if that's how everyone/the majority wants it to be. – Andy E Jul 23 '10 at 19:05
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    @Andy: to be fair, I wrote it expecting it to be edited out (along with the text of a certain link further on...) I've no particular reason to want either an irreverent or deeply serious page at this point - I suspect I'll be returning with more useful edits the next time I vote to close a massively-duplicated question. – Shog9 Jul 23 '10 at 19:13

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