Grants:IdeaLab/Maintenance tags follow-up

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Maintenance tags follow-up
Many editors leave maintenance tags but do not follow up to see if the desired improvements are enacted. Let’s change the process.
idea creator
this project needs...
project manager
created on19:34, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

The problem is that many well-meaning editors drop a maintenance tags on an article, indicating that it may need more references or copy editing or some other task. Unfortunately, most new editors seeing such a tag think that if they attempt to respond to the request with more references or rewrites or whatever, that someone will come along and remove the tag when the problem has been adequately addressed (which may happen sometimes, but often not). We often get emails at OTRS noting that they see the tag, have attempted to address it and do not understand why it hasn’t gone away.

What is your solution?[edit]

My solution is that we should change the tags so that the person leaving the tag gets a reminder at some specified events. One possibility is a pure time elapsed — they might get a reminder to we look at it a week after leaving it and then perhaps monthly after that. Another possibility is to trigger a review if there is a nontrivial edit following the leaving of the tag. We ought to have a robust discussion to talk through the alternatives, but I think we should either highly encourage or perhaps even require that editors leaving tags should follow them up in some way. Obviously, they can do that themselves now but that isn’t happening so we need to find a mechanism to help ensure that it occurs.


My goal will be achieved if editors who leave maintenance templates use a new template which notifies them that they should revisit the article, and remove the template if the issue has been resolved or retained if it has not.

My goal will be achieved if we have a process to monitor maintenance templates on a regular basis to see if the desired maintenance has been implemented, in which case the template can be removed, or not implemented in which case the template can remain. This process may include the editor who left the template, or some other group (or both).

Get Involved[edit]

About the idea creator[edit]

My main contributions are to EN wiki, but the context of the suggestion arises from my involvement with the helpdesk, the teahouse, and especially, the info-en queue at OTRS.



  • Anthere (talk)
  • yes, tagspam, automated direction of editors is proliferating. i suspect if you notify people who tag, they will ignore or complain rather than work their backlog. but it's worth a try to close the loop. Slowking4 (talk) 15:46, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Good idea. Not sure how it'd work Casliber (talk) 02:52, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Good idea, with some interest in refining the execution on the talk page, Sadads (talk) 15:00, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes but how ? Perhaps juste before his click on Save page, the editor could choose Remove Tag xxxxx or Remove Tag //// (etc.) as This is a minor edit. TigH (talk) 20:45, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes a good idea as article shouldn't have tags that don't apply anymore, Template:Unreferenced is replaced with Template:Refimprove but a bot but some tags are less straight forward like OR. You crossed out the idea about notifying users who add tags but I will add my comment anyway, for many users who edit specific areas, this would probably be useful (maybe people could opt in) but for new page patrollers they would get flooded with articles, there should probably be an option to remove it (probably default) from pages that the user has marked as patrolled or reviewed. Crouch, Swale (talk) 22:38, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Great idea, I would find this helpful as I like to tag articles but often forget to check the articles later on. Maestroso simplo (talk) 23:19, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Great idea. As others, I'm not sure how it will work in practice, but the effort should be made. Ajraddatz (talk) 23:25, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Good idea if it's voluntary, and if you can adjust the criteria that trigger a reminder. Swpb (talk) 22:22, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
  • +please EllenCT (talk) 02:22, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Good idea. I'm not sure how it would work, but lacking some form of automation, I think editors should accept some responsibility for the cleanup of template tags. Curley Wolf (talk) 19:54, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Agree - perhaps it could be made known that if you post a tag, you are expected, sooner or later, to remove one also. Smallbones (talk) 20:13, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
  • I like the idea of getting back at template bombers with feedback saying that a newbie has edited an article they taggged and can they check if the template is still correct. But there needs to be some sort of throttle otherwise our template bombers will mutiny. Perhaps limit it to one notification per day giving a clickable link to a list of articles? Also in an ideal world the editing interface would prompt subsequent editors to the article if they've for example added a reference. The Dead End template should be easily automated, if there isn't already a bot to remove it from articles with three or more blue links, the system should remove such templates automatically. Better still make it a fully automated hidden category so anyone can find articles which genuinely have 0, 1 or 2 blue links. WereSpielChequers (talk) 09:02, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
  • +1 Antigng (talk) 13:19, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Endorse, a simple switch that notifies the tagging editor that their tag is stale and will be removed by a bot if they do not renew the date parameter manually. Template:highlight has a function that turns itself off after a specific amount of time 009o9 (talk) 22:42, 19 May 2016 (UTC)


I came here from a link on the English Wikipedia. We are unpaid volunteers who sometime spot a problem we don't have the time, motivation, or ability to deal with. Tags allow us to alert the community and the general reader to those problems. If there was an expectation that we should become responsible for those problems that would defeat the purpose of the tagging (after all, if we could fix the problem ourselves, we would), and so fewer people would tag articles that have problems. SilkTork (talk) 06:25, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

Expand your idea[edit]

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