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Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles/Archive 15 Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style/Medicine-related_articles/Archive_15

Archive 10 Archive 13 Archive 14 Archive 15 Archive 16

Lead

How the MEDLEAD got added and why it is bad:

  • "The leads of articles, if not the entire article, should be written as simple as possible without introducing errors" added by James without prior discussion.
  • "Write the lead in plain English, especially the first two paragraphs. Avoid cluttering the very beginning of the article with a raft of alternative names and pronunciations; infoboxes are very useful for storing this data. Most of our readers access Wikipedia on mobile devices, and we want to provide swift access to the subject matter so that readers can move on or dig deeper without undue scrolling." added by Jytdog without prior discussion.
  • "To facilitate broad coverage of our medical content in other languages, the translation task force often translates only the lead; to facilitate that, it is useful to add citations to the lead, even though they not necessary as described in WP:LEAD." was "boldly" added by Jytdog without discussion. A subsequent discussion had opposition and it was removed.
  • "It is useful to include citations to the lead, even though they are not obligatory per WP:LEAD. There are essentially two reasons for this: medical statements are much more likely than the average statement to be challenged, thus making citation mandatory. To facilitate broad coverage of our medical content in other languages the translation task force often translates only the lead, which then requires citations." was added by CFCF despite opposition to it inclusion.
  • "Part of the reason for this [simple English] is that for around a third of readers of English Wikipedia, English is a second language." + a chart added by James without prior discussion.

Looking at the talk pages, any attempt to control how the lead is written or cited meets significant opposition and there can't in good faith be regarded as any consensus for MEDMOS containing such advice. And yet such text is reverted back and retained, usually by those who support such deviations from MOS. Why is this asymmetrical? That we somehow require unanimity to remove contentious guideline changes but didn't in order to add them? That we some how require extensive discussion to remove guidelines in clear conflict with MOS and yet those are added without any previous discussion?

  • "should be written as simply as possible" This is not what Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable which talks about the text being "as understandable as possible to the widest audience of readers who are likely to be interested in that material." and in particular "the lead section to be understandable to a broad readership". WP:MOSLEAD says "It should be written in a clear, accessible style with a neutral point of view" and "It is even more important here than in the rest of the article that the text be accessible". The key words are "understandable" "broad readership" and "accessible". Not "as simply as possible". En:wp is not Simple English.
  • "Many readers of the English Wikipedia have English as a second language (non-native language)." How is this medical?
  • "Language can often be simplified by using shorter sentences, having one idea per sentence, and using common rather than technical terms." How is this medical? Here is where the "short stubby sentences" that the rest of Wikipedia mock medical articles for. One idea per sentence is what makes our leads into a collection of six-word factoid sentences, rather than an introduction to the subject with natural idiomatic language structures. There is no medical justification why our leads should be written weirdly compared to the rest of Wikipedia.
  • "When writing the lead, editors should ensure that they write a comprehensive summary of all of the main points of the article" This contradicts MOS:INTRO which says "The lead section should briefly summarize the most important points covered in an article in such a way that it can stand on its own as a concise version of the article" There's a different focus on what to include.
  • "One way to achieve this is to follow the order of the content in the body of the article, although this is not required" Again, this is not medical and is not guidance found in MOS. We have the "get out" clause "although this is not required" which doesn't eliminate the problem: this text is used to justify arbitrary reordering of leads "per MEDMOS" when an editor may have written the lead differently in order to introduce and lead the reader through their summary of contents. For a lead that is not simply a jumble of factoids, this sort of reordering can be disruptive. The straightjacket here is further compounded by some editors insistence that the MEDMOS suggested sections ordering must actually be adhered to, despite MEDMOS saying it doesn't and should not be imposed on existing articles without prior agreement.
  • "Avoid cluttering the very beginning of the article with pronunciations or unusual alternative names; infoboxes are useful for storing this data. Most readers access Wikipedia on mobile devices and want swift access to the subject matter without undue scrolling." Nothing medical here. You know, we do have MOS:LEAD.
  • "It is sometimes useful to include citations in the lead, but they are not obligatory." Again, despite the "but they are not obligatory" this gets used to justify citation clutter in article leads, and is why paracetamol has 30 citations in its lead but donald trump has none.
  • "As in any content area, direct quotes, data and statistics, or statements that are likely to be challenged should be cited." This is in violation of the very guideline it links, because it neglects to include the important parts from the "When a source or citation may not be needed" which is: "Cited elsewhere in the article: If the article mentions the fact repeatedly, it suffices to cite it once. Uncontroversial content in the lede is often not cited, as it is a generalization of the cited body text." None of the lead of paracetamol is controversial, where as some of the lead of donald trump likely is, but they cope.
  • "When translating content to other languages, the translation task force often translates only the lead; their work is facilitated by citations." The translation task force translate from copies such as Simple Cellulitis and it appears those are now being taken off wiki. There was never any justification for medical articles to be made unreadable to justify simpler translation.

The lead section at MEDMOS has caused harm to medical articles on Wikipedia. There is nothing within it that has consensus, that is justifiably medical or that is not in some way an attempt to deviate from wider Wikipedia guideline and policy. -- Colin°Talk 11:01, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm really not seeing why a couple of editors keep bringing up how such and such was added years ago. It's not like any of us want to take the time to trawl through talk page archives here and elsewhere and see who supported and opposed this or that. And more to the point, WP:Consensus states, Any edit that is not disputed or reverted by another editor can be assumed to have consensus. This means that while these parts of the guideline were in place without active on-wiki dispute, there was consensus for them. There is nothing in the Medicine ArbCom case stating that anyone's past contributions are somehow invalidated, nor that a couple of editors can retroactively declare a portion of a guideline to not actually have had consensus all these years. And this page is a guideline, same as MOS:LEAD is a guideline. Equal status - neither is more "local consensus" than the other. WP:MEDRS has stricter standards than WP:RS, so I'm not seeing why this page can't be stricter than MOS:LEAD.
I think a fruitful way forward is to try to get a new consensus for proposed changes. And I for one am not opposed to the idea of changes in general. For example, I don't think we need to require very short sentences in the lead, or the simplest English possible, so long as it is understandable to the layman.
Regarding citations in the lead, I do oppose any downplaying of instructions supporting their use. I do not believe in the concept of "citation clutter" in the lead, aside from opposing an excessive number of citations for a single sentence. WP:Verifiability is policy (greater than a guideline), and it is especially important on medical topics that readers can see that the material is supported by reliable sources, including in the lead. Not everyone reads the body. And readers have no way of knowing whether any given Wikipedia article was written by a medical professional. A bunch of unsupported material in the lead does not look good. If the editors at Donald Trump have foregone citations, that's their choice, but we should not imitate their poor example. Crossroads -talk- 16:51, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The point about history is that it shows the lie to the claim that changing MEDMOS today requires some prior discussion and universal agreement. That was never the case in the past. As for consensus, well, actually those changes did meet disagreement and dispute, but were kept simply by reverting them back if anyone complained, or not removing them even if people objected. Bad times, not just for MEDMOS but also for the quality of medical articles. I'm glad you agree there is scope to change, but wrt citations, no, you really have absolutely no authority to demand that medical articles should conform to stricter guidelines than the rest of Wikipedia. Community consensus guideline is that a fact needs only be cited once. If that is in the article body, then fine. If you have a problem with that, you need to change Wikipedia policy, not MEDMOS. -- Colin°Talk 22:05, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding history, no one said anything about "universal agreement". Consensus is not unanimity, which also means that if a couple of editors disagreed back then with the majority, that did not make that consensus invalid, nor does it mean they can act like the "bad times" have now been overthrown and retroactively declare past consensus to be invalid. Others have also pointed out that past discussions and even an RfC have been held on the lead matter. I also just noticed that in your original comment in this section you stated, This is in violation of the very guideline it links, because it neglects to include the important parts from the "When a source or citation may not be needed". Except that is not from a guideline at all; it is from an essay: Wikipedia:When to cite. The WP:Verifiability policy, WP:CITELEAD portion of the MOS:LEAD guideline, and this guideline supersede both the essay and your blanket claim that "a fact needs only be cited once". Sure, I have no authority to demand anything stricter here, but the pre-existing consensus guideline text does, and I explained why I oppose changing it in a certain direction. Crossroads -talk- 04:16, 16 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Crossroads, repeating the idea that a "couple of editors" have disputed text on this page is unhelpful on several counts. It shows you haven't followed the dispute, haven't addressed the P&G issue, and the repetition of the statement is approaching borderline personal attack-territory. If a "couple of editors" only held these views, the malformed RFC would have supported that. It did not. There is no consensus for MEDLEAD, there never has been, and that is because many editors (as evidenced on this page) disagree with different aspects of it, or all of it. It is still in the guideline because some editors editwar and others do not. So please, drop the "couple of editors" claim, and move forward with policy-based discussions about how to resolve the situation.
On citation clutter, please have a look at amphetamine and tell me how that or this meets WP:V, the underlying policy that provides for a reader being able to verify text. It does not, and it would not pass WP:FAC today. (And that problem does not even include the issue that citations to lengthy journal articles need page numbers or sections for verification-- something we WPMED editors have ignored since ... forever.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:25, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, then I'd state it as "if a minority of editors disagreed back then with the majority, that did not make that consensus invalid, nor does it mean a few editors can now act like the "bad times" have now been overthrown and retroactively declare past consensus to be invalid." Same point. As for the "P&G issue", pretty much every editor says in a dispute that their interpretation of P&Gs is the correct one, including me regarding the WP:Consensus policy. And, again, the RfC did not find that There is no consensus for MEDLEAD; it found no consensus. There is clearly a numerical preference of opposes over supports, plus there are some people who doubt that the RfC was formulated in the best accessible way, on the other hand, the support arguments are stronger since the global consensus is stronger than the local one. Well, we are where we are, and, unless suddenly way more users would develop interest in the issue, MEDLEAD is not going to be fully replaced by MOSLEAD. (Bolding added.) As for Amphetamine, I don't see a serious issue. Combining all the citations at the end of each paragraph like that is uncommon, and I'd prefer it be sentence-by-sentence, but it is still miles better than 'a fact needs only be cited once, in the body', which is what I was replying to. Crossroads -talk- 16:50, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Crossroads. Exactly. I also noted in the #Arbitrary break on leads section above that we've had multiple discussions about the lead section, especially about citations in the lead. The section was built on consensus. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 00:10, 16 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Multiple discussions" does not equal consensus, which has never existed. That there is a dispute is clear; if we focus on resolving the dispute rather than denying it exists, we could make faster progress perhaps. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:56, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see plenty of support in those discussions. The claim that there was never a consensus is just one interpretation among others; let's go by the RfC closure: I would suggest to try implementing changes one by one, identifying statements in MEDLEAD which the majority would perceive as problematic, and trying to change these. Crossroads -talk- 16:50, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We have a policy page that explains the process when guidelines conflict. Whether we approach it one statement at a time-- or all seven at once-- when we accept that, progress is more likely. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:24, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Never mind, collapsed request to merge this section above
Colin would you mind merging this to the LEAD discussion above, to keep related together? We have Copyright and Etymology interspersed ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:08, 16 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, never mind, I will take your suggestion to instead move "Back to policy" to a new section at the bottom; hopefully we can restart this discussion from a policy basis. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:33, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@SandyGeorgia: Heh, funny thing is - and it’s kind of ironic - that I did that per complaints at FAC about citing the lead sentence by sentence, but now the issue is that I didn’t do so. Face-tongue.svg I actually have amphetamine’s current lead cited sentence by sentence somewhere in one of my sandboxes, but editing WP is really not a priority for me ATM. I can replace it with that version when I resume editing if you’d like. Don’t have the time to look for it and validate my edits right now tho. Seppi333 (Insert ) 07:56, 19 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Seppi333: I noted the discussion with one editor, realize that participation at FAC was (and remains) lagging so that broader feedback isn't always attained, and I don't advocate for you to rush to repair this now, because the repair will be time consuming. Focusing on the purpose of the policy may help. The first line at WP:V says (emphasis mine):

In the English Wikipedia, verifiability means other people using the encyclopedia can check that the information comes from a reliable source.

For whatever disagreeable process brought amphetamine to the state it is in, that policy requirement is not met. But neither is WP:V met by having three citations after every line. It is not met in the lead or in the body. Further complicating the difficulty in verification is that page numbers, chapters or section headings are required for lengthy journal articles, webpages or PDFs (something that oddly, we at WPMED have long ignored), resulting in an article that the average reader cannot verify. Then, the fourth complication is that leads don't need to be cited (I got complaints about the few citations I had at dementia with Lewy bodies, and I am pretty sure I got them by FAC because most FAC regulars understood there was some agida in the medicine project, and I had done my best).
For examples of how to fix that, you can look at complete blood count, Buruli ulcer or dementia with Lewy bodies. For an example of correct citation in the non-medical realm, you can look at Coropuna.
It won't be an easy fix, and I wouldn't want to subject you to a WP:FAR (when we have so many FAs in a similar state) until/unless you have time to deal with it, but FAR is the place to get a new look from current FA reviewers, and endorsement of whatever you end up with. Regards, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:43, 19 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have never yet seen a written rule that says "lengthy" (how long is that?) journal articles require a specific page number, much less for webpages or PDFs. I know one editor is advocating for that, but it is not what the community does, in practice, and it is not what the written advice says. I'd file that right next to "Nobody can summarize a whole book in one sentence, so you have to cite a specific page number instead of the entire book". It's a story that encourages people to focus on isolated facts instead of whole sources. In other words, if you're citing a review article primarily about whether _____ causes cancer, and the article content you're supporting is about whether _____ causes cancer, then you should cite the whole source, not just one page where there's a conveniently phrased sentence. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:25, 21 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(Of course if you were pulling an isolated fact out of a source, then you're allowed to name the particular page that isolated fact is on.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:26, 21 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal to remove a sentence about etymology being interesting

The current version of MEDMOS says "The etymology of a word can be interesting and can help the reader understand and remember it." While anything might be interesting to some people, and some etymologies help people remember of understand the name (others, especially for older disease names, mislead), I don't think this is specific to medical content, and I suggest removing it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:01, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I saw that bit and was confused by its inclusion. It may help to look at the history to why/when it was added. I wonder if it is specifically about hard anatomical words (it follows from that bit about anatomical locations). Was it suggesting that such words in particular are easier to remember if we know their Latin meaning or origin? But otherwise I agree that there seems to strong reason to recommend including etymology. -- Colin°Talk 11:04, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ugh. But that one little piece is like the rest of the page; can't fix it (etymology subsection) without fixing the whole thing. Just removing it doesn't solve the overall (and I'm unconvinced all of it should be removed). So, with a talk page that has already spiraled out of control with personalization, should I put the bigger picture in this talk section, or start a new talk section to describe all the problems at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles#Content sections, of which Eymology is only one part? My suggestion is that by fixing the WHOLE thing, we fix etymology. How to best discuss this to maintain some readability of this page for subsequent visitors ... let me know ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:31, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not really sure what the "it" in your comment is. The sentence WAID mentions is in the Technical terminology advice sub-section of Writing style. I see now there is a later Etymology sub-section of Content sections, which further states the apparent importance of this wrt anatomy. I think it would be worth checking how many anatomy articles have such a section and warrant such a section. Is this advice based on best practice, or just some random idea? Wrt content sections, this has consumed a huge amount of guideline edits and discussion, and to be honest, I'm not over bothered about arguments about these as long as the fundamental principle remains: they are merely suggestions. -- Colin°Talk 12:49, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was referencing the entire Etymology section, which is only one problem of multiple in the Content sections. MOST of the new ("new" being relative to when we wrote the page, which is "old" now :) suggestions added to Content are just plain wrong ... we need to fix the whole thing. Do I start a separate section or continue here? My point is that the entire page has gotten so out of whack that looking at individual pieces is counterproductive. On how to get this talk page under control and useful after the discussion became personalized .. if this section had been placed under our other terminology discussion, I might have understood that WAID was being specific to that one sentence rather than the other section (since we have that duplicated in an entire Etymology section-- another but separate problem). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:57, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In response to how many anatomy articles have a section called "etymology", I don't have a set number but I would guestimate < 5%. Some do, but not many. I don't have any hard data to back this assert up though.--Tom (LT) (talk) 01:24, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe a bit more than that? I did a quick search for all articles containing anatomy etymology. There were 1300 hits. Wikipedia:WikiProject Anatomy has tagged about 6,000 non-redirect articles. A quick semi-random sample of 10 high-priority articles found three that included the word etymology in them (one section name, and the title of a source in the other two). It may be more than 5%, but it's still a minority. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:57, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Removing the sentence about etymology (in the technical terminology section) sounds good to me. Ajpolino (talk) 16:46, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some of our medical or anatomy articles will need to cover etymology and/or definitions, which is also true of Wikipedia articles in general. I think we should continue to mention something about etymology in this guideline, but I don't think we need it addressed in two different sections. And, yes, I've seen these sections etymology sections as helpful for anatomy articles because of the eponym matter or something else. Pinging Tom (LT), our most prolific anatomy editor, who likely added that etymology material with respect to anatomy articles to the guideline. We recently had to deal with a newbie adding uncommon eponyms to the leads of anatomy articles. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 00:10, 16 August 2020 (UTC) Tweaked post. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 00:32, 16 August 2020 (UTC) Reply[reply]

Thanks for the ping. I have a fair amount of exposure to this through my work in the anatomy space. There are three mentions of etymology in this guideline, I think the first two are unhelpful and should be deleted. I only had involvement in the last part:

  1. Within the "technical terminology" section The etymology of a word can be interesting and can help the reader understand and remember it. ) I think this should be removed. All parts of articles "can be interesting" to different readers. Whether a reader can "remember it" is not the point of Wikipedia. I don't see this adding any value to a guideline about how medical articles should be constructed.
  2. As an entire section called "Etymology". I think this entire section is unhelpful, states very obvious information, and should just be removed. Deconstructing why:
    • Etymologies are often helpful, particularly for anatomy. Features that are derived from other anatomical features (that still have shared terms in them) should refer the reader to the structure that provided the term, not to the original derivation. this is very prescriptive and not followed in practice
    • For example, the etymology section of Deltoid tuberosity should refer the reader to the deltoid muscle, not to the definition 'delta-shaped, triangular'. The etymology in Deltoid muscle, however, should identify the Greek origin of the term. lengthy example describing what etymology means that I don't think is helpful
    • In articles that focus on anatomy, please include the Latin (or Latinized Greek) name of anatomical objects, as this is very helpful to interwiki users - this is not the mission of the EN WP -and for people working with older scientific publications. - a good point but this has already been pretty completely integrated into our anatomy via our infoboxes and wikidata integration. Additionally we are now getting to the stage where very uncommon terms are being added (as Flyer mentions)
    • Many articles about eponymous diseases and signs include the origin of the name under the history section. - well, obviously.
  3. Within the reference to anatomy articles: History, describing the structure and the etymology of the word. Etymology may be included as a separate subsection, if sufficient information exists. This I think reflects current practice and would ask that this small statement is preserved. Usually etymology is described, and I describe it, within the "history" section. Occasionally we have a disproportionate amount of information that can justify a subsection
  • In my opinion, etymology should be covered in history sections. I can't recall a single article where the etymology is not complex (see the interesting history of prostate as an example), and I think for this reason it's better to be covered in a history section, which puts the naming in context, rather than individually. This is particularly true for faux Greek or Latin roots; some relate to historical things but often they re-received their names waaayy later and a simple statement that the greek name is "x" can be quite misleading. I think this is also true for medical articles where the name it receives may either be culturally bound or disputed because two or more people / groups have discovered it, or certain people have described but not named a thing, etc.--Tom (LT) (talk) 01:18, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, covering it in the history section when it doesn't need its own section is good. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 08:16, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll think over a bit of the other stuff you stated. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 08:21, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm satisfied with doing whatever Tom (LT) wants for the anatomy description. Having said that, it's possible that the example involving the deltoid tuberosity is meant more to discourage unwanted content (i.e., Deltoid tuberosity getting information about Delta (Greek)) than to encourage good content (e.g., the tuberosity is named after the muscle). If I were to disagree with Tom at all, it would be in gently suggesting that there might be some value to preserving that one part, or at least in making a mental note that if it ever becomes a problem, we can restore it from page history instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:04, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Going back to "covering it in the history section when it doesn't need its own section is good", it may be a subsection in the history section if it doesn't need to be a standalone section. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 03:37, 18 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. Putting the origin of the name in the ==History== section is a good idea. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:58, 18 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, I just don't want to be strict about it since I may at times prefer to have etymology material come first...while history sections are usually lower in the article. And I do prefer to have definitions material come first. In the case of either, etymology and definition material may fit nicely together and therefore may be covered in the same section. This is why I like WP:MEDSECTIONS noting that we don't have to be strict with article setup. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 05:47, 18 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that's a good point. I think that in recommending the ==Classification== section early, we were thinking in terms of definition, and not just sub-classification. Sometimes you need to know exactly what the thing is that you're talking about before you proceed onto symptoms/diagnosis/treatment/etc.
I'm going to remove the "interesting" sentence. I hope that the other ideas about how to handle etymology get incorporated into this guideline, but I'm only going to make this small change now. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:33, 21 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Back to policy

Maybe getting back to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines will give us a more positive framework for discussion.

Procedural policy page-- Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines says

Maintain scope and avoid redundancy. Clearly identify the purpose and scope early in the page, as many readers will just look at the beginning. Content should be within the scope of its policy. When the scope of one advice page overlaps with the scope of another, minimize redundancy. When one policy refers to another policy, it should do so briefly, clearly and explicitly.

Not contradict each other. The community's view cannot simultaneously be "A" and "not A". When apparent discrepancies arise between pages, editors at all the affected pages should discuss how they can most accurately represent the community's current position, and correct all the pages to reflect the community's view. This discussion should be on one talk page, with invitations to that page at the talk pages of the various affected pages; otherwise the corrections may still contradict each other.


At that page, in December 2012, WhatamIdoing added: if two or more guidelines or two policies conflict with each other, then the more specific page takes precedence over a more general page of the same type. (That is, in a dispute, the specific page MEDLEAD would take precedence over LEAD until the dispute is resolved.) That was immediately reverted and we have no such wording today. MEDLEAD cannot take precedence over LEAD, and the policy today states that a) guideline pages should minimize redundancy and not overlap, and b) differences between guidelines have to be resolved at both pages.

In many places (not only MEDLEAD), MEDMOS does not follow these two policy points; that is why the page has been in a continual state of dispute for about five years. By writing redundant non-medical guideline content here—that already exists elsewhere—we have often introduced error or ambiguity. That is why we can’t keep going down this same path, and need to resolve the dispute on this page, which unlike some have represented, goes well beyond a couple of editors. Throughout the medical guidelines today, there is redundant information that is explained less well than in policy or other broader guideline pages, and often even includes errors. Staying focused on scope may help us resolve this.

Scope—Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines

Wikipedia's policies and guidelines are developed by the community to describe best practices, clarify principles, resolve conflicts, and otherwise further our goal of creating a free, reliable encyclopedia.

Guidelines describe best practices; that is exactly what the framers were doing when we wrote the pages. The statement on this page that "It's because Wikipedia treats medical information so seriously and as a special case that we even have WP:MEDRS and WP:MEDMOS" is not true. We have MEDMOS and MEDRS because WPMED participants between 2006 and 2008 were describing best practices as demonstrated in our best articles, in an era when Google did not cough up Wikipedia first on a search, and we weren't focused on "medical information as a special case'. The framers of our guidelines who are still active exemplify the extent to which we were focused on reflecting best practices, guideline style, as the number of FAs written in medicine was escalating. Most of us wanted to help others produce top content (Casliber, Colin, Fvasconcellos, Graham Beards, MastCell and Tony1 .. Eubulides and others active then are now gone). At one point, we all got busy/distracted and the MEDMOS guideline proposal page was marked historical (!?!?!?), so we got busy and got it done. But note the opposes along the way: (QUOTES)

  • Redundant information from other guidelines should be removed unless there's a specific reason why it applies to medical articles. For example, the top ten tips should not include "be bold" and "look for the appropriate category". On the other hand, I have no problem with the disclaimer tip, since that addresses a problem which is particularly common in medical articles.
  • Unnecessary detail should be removed. Does it matter if disease naming was discussed at some NIH conference in 1975? I've read that section several times and I still don't know if a Wikipedia policy on disease names exists.
  • Less of a wish-list, more of a practical guide. Is anyone going to completely re-organize a perfectly good medical article just so that the top level headers conform to the list given in this guideline? If not, is the list anything more than a wish-list that's cluttering up the page? What we need is a practical guide for the editors of medical articles, which will be used by them because they find it useful. In short, I propose some ruthless pruning before making this a guideline.
  • I oppose the cookie-cutter sections listed

So when you see editors who went through this process for months (years?) stating that the page has spun away from optimal guideline writing, it’s because we confronted those opposes.

Next, as we were going through the same process a year later for MEDRS, WhatamIdoing inquired about the process (which was a bit haphazard in those days), and moved forward with a proposal. There was no process in those days, so WAID got busy with an RFC (one of her strengths), and got wording about how to approve new Policies and guidelines put in place. Considering the opposition we faced, statements on this page like, “WP:MEDRS has stricter standards than WP:RS, so I'm not seeing why this page can't be stricter than MOS:LEAD” are wrong on multiple counts. Wikipedia:Verifiability is policy. Wikipedia:Reliable sources is a guideline that discusses various kinds of sources and how to use them generally to meet the WP:V policy. It doesn't extend policy or change policy; it explains how policy is applied in best practice. And MEDRS is guideline that cannot be any stricter than WP:V policy; it only extends WP:RS to explain what kinds of sources are considered reliable, primary, secondary, etc in medical content. WP:V is still the underlying policy, and MEDRS still can’t be any "stricter", no matter that the page has spun out of control and is often misapplied and misunderstood these days.

Audience

Some of our disagreement on this page might be lessened if we all factored in all of the points discussed above. But we have additional disagreements on who are audience should be. The initial framers of the pages were clear that we were defining best practices for how to write best content and what the best practices were, aka, this is what an excellent article on Wikipedia looks like. Later, the guidelines began to change focus to other-language Wikis and translation, which some editors found worthy and others felt diminished the quality of content on English Wikipedia. Hence, the disputes ever since. And we have another subset of editors advocating that the guidelines should be teaching materials for students, although between this Project and Wiki Ed, there is a proliferation of teaching materials already available for students. I remember a phase where we kept churning out one after another, hoping to stem the problems, yet nothing changed, because most of them are never read. And if we want them to be read, they had best be short and accurate!

So part of our disagreement is that this page has expanded and expanded to meet the perceived needs of different target audiences. I hope that by having a look at what Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines says about scope, and refocusing our discussion along those lines, and considering the history of how these pages came about, we can find mutual ground for less hostile discussion.

Local consensus—WP:CONLEVEL

Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale.

This is another frequent matter of disagreement. The reminder that this page is a Wikipedia-wide page (since I launched the proposal, I expect I know that : ) is true, but overlooks the basic point. During the discussions about how to resolve differences between guidelines, SlimVirgin (who is as active on policy pages as WAID is) argued that "When two guidelines conflict, we have an established set of core guidelines", and WAID disagreed "I don't think it's possible to express the concept of 'core guidelines', and even if we could, it wouldn't be sufficient. The MoS regularly contradicts itself." The conclusion was simple: regardless if there are "core" guidelines, they can't say A and not A at the same time, and conflicts must be resolved.

But on the matter of limited versus wider consensus, even if this page can be edited and watched by anyone (it does not "belong to medicine") it is not edited and watched to the same extent that pages that enjoy broader consensus are. A limited group of editors participates at MEDLEAD relative to LEAD. That small group cannot override wider community consensus. Even if we could, WP:P&G tells us we need to resolve the conflicts.

Page Watchers Editors Edits Pageviews in 2019
WP:MEDMOS 232 177 899 31,000
WP:LEAD 590 823 2,248 238,000

Those are discussion ideas intended to get us moving forward towards resolving disputes and on this pages, and helping us talk together about ways to re-focus these guideline pages so that, should we point a student at them, they might actually read them! Perhaps if we can discuss more civilly here, we can get this page back in shape and move next on the many more serious problems at MEDRS. The lengthy discussions a decade ago to get these pages passed as guidelines remained largely civil (with the exception of a couple of PHARM editors, IIRC), I believe we should be able to do this civilly today. As long as we have disputed sections, and a page so long no one will read it, we aren't doing any editor or student or article any good. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:06, 16 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Watchlists

Sandy, I actually think this "Back to policy" sub-heading should just go into a new section at the bottom. You mention below about merging a Lead section back into this one, but I think that just makes an already-long section even longer. This section, which takes a different approach, can really stand alone. And of course, MEDMOS, particularly the lead section but also some other bits, needs reworked because it has come to duplicate and worse conflict with policy and guideline elsewhere. Changes in the last few years have not reflected best practice at all, and have never enjoyed consensus approval. -- Colin°Talk 09:20, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Moved (so Colin's "below" is now "above"). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:35, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On the number of watchers: one of the "new" things in MediaWiki (from several years ago) is that we can get the numbers on how many people are both watching a given page and have been on wiki during the last month. The numbers are 58 for MEDMOS and 114 for MOS:LEAD. That's not a huge number of editors in either case. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:21, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No wonder then we cannot get anything resolved either here or there ... those are piddling numbers. All the more reason we should resolve this ourselves, sans recruiting, canvassing and coordinated editing. Few editors care. IIRC I had over 500 watchers on my talk in the heyday of FAC, and they were active watchers who helped me manage FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:52, 18 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You currently have 111 active editors watching your page, and more than 600 if you count inactive accounts, i.e., almost twice what this page has. But that's hardly a fair comparison, since your talk page was famous for being a major central connection in the English Wikipedia. Your name is the big yellow dot in the middle of this ~2013 visualization. Let's say instead that this page has slightly fewer active editors watching it than the Wikipedia:External links guideline – not "enough", but perhaps still respectable. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:53, 18 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe I've ever seen that. Interesting that if you zoom way in here, you find that FAC really was the center of Wikipedia (most names recognizable as top content contributors, missing our Geometry Guy :( with most of the names anywhere near the center related to FAC, and Jimbo Wales off to the side. Of course, that was before the demise of FAC ... is there a current version of that chart? It shows the camaraderie of which I often speak. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:18, 18 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, he hasn't ever updated it. It was set up as a proof of concept. It considers only the use of user talk pages: how many times you post on my page plus how many times I post on yours. The idea is that if we're using each other's user talk pages, then we're closely connected. It doesn't measure how many times we cross paths elsewhere. A more complete version would consider interactions in all discussion spaces. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:44, 21 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Removing guidance about the lead, and adding a bit about terminology and technical language

Colin, regarding this and this, what WP:Consensus is there for removing guidance about the lead? That we have a WP:Lead guideline does not mean that we cannot also have a section in this guideline about how to handle leads. In addition to medical articles, I sometimes work on film articles. And as you can see at MOS:FILM, we have a section there about handling leads. Different topics might require that leads are handled in ways specific to those topics. This is even the case regarding the WP:MEDMOS#Anatomy section. It mentions how we handle leads in anatomy articles. It doesn't mean that the guidance conflicts with WP:Lead, any more than WP:MEDRS conflicts with WP:Reliable sources or WP:Verifiability. It has often been the case that editors have wondered how to handle the lead of a medical article because it's a medical article. Pointing them to the WP:Lead guideline, the general guideline about leads, will show them how leads are generally written. But it won't give them an idea of how we generally write the leads of medical articles. And I've seen enough WP:Student editors who will write the lead of a medical article like it's the lead of a media topic or something else. It's because Wikipedia treats medical information so seriously and as a special case that we even have WP:MEDRS and WP:MEDMOS. Anyway, because of all of this, I reverted you. I reverted back to the WP:Status quo. We can re-craft the WP:MEDMOS lead section, but I see no valid reason to get rid of it entirely.

I also want editors' opinions on this bit you added. For example, I don't think we should state "low-literacy adults."

I'll contact WP:Med and WP:Anatomy to weigh in. No need to ping me when you reply. I only pinged Colin to get his attention. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 04:20, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The text about leads removed by Colin had nothing to say that was specific to medical writing. Nothing. It merely repeated, awkwardly, what was already available in general guidelines. As far as I know, there is nothing specific to say about how medical leads are written, so removing the WP:CREEP is beneficial.
Perhaps you can suggest an alternate phrase for “low-literacy adults”? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:50, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What is the basis for the claim that
Part of the role of an encyclopaedia is to teach the reader new words and help them build confidence with harder ones.?
--Whywhenwhohow (talk) 04:53, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) When editors (especially newbies) look to this guideline, they will also want information about how to write the lead of a medical article. Having a short section on it, even if essentially stating that writing the lead of a medical article doesn't differ much from writing the lead of a general article, is beneficial. But I disagree that it doesn't differ much. To repeat, "It has often been the case that editors have wondered how to handle the lead of a medical article because it's a medical article. Pointing them to the WP:Lead guideline, the general guideline about leads, will show them how leads are generally written. But it won't give them an idea of how we generally write the leads of medical articles. And I've seen enough WP:Student editors who will write the lead of a medical article like it's the lead of a media topic or something else." WP:MEDMOS would benefit from guidance on how best to write the lead of a medical article. For example, at Cancer, I do like the "Definition and symptoms", "Cause and diagnosis", "Prevention and treatment", and "Epidemiology" hidden note setup in the lead. That setup is neat and does work for numerous medical articles. And I've already pointed to WP:MEDMOS#Anatomy noting how we go about the first sentence of the lead for anatomy articles. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 05:00, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As you have repeated yourself, I will too ... there was nothing in the deleted text that addressed anything specific to medical leads. Also, we cannot be guided by students, who seem to rarely read guidelines or instructions of any type about how to edit. The idea that the order of text in the lead should be the same across all articles has been detrimental in numerous cases, and I oppose introducing that. Every topic is different, and the flow for one article may be different than for another. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:07, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
agree w/ Flyer's text above--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 14:58, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not saying that we are guided by students. I'm saying that students and others need guidance. I'm saying that having a section about writing the lead of a medical article in a guideline about how to write medical articles is beneficial. To me, not having it would be a glaring omission. It would be as glaring an omission as MOS:FILM not having a section about writing the leads of film articles. Like MOS:FILM, WP:MEDMOS is not about being strict when it comes to article setup (not usually anyway); WP:MEDSECTIONS is clear about that. But WP:MEDSECTIONS also shows that we do typically opt for consistency. And having a consistent lead setup like the one seen at Cancer or Autism is a good thing. When deviations are best for the article, we go with those deviations. That's always been the case. Other things, like first and foremost letting readers know what the topic is about (its definition), are best across the board. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 05:18, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Students won’t read it, students almost never write leads (although they often plop text into leads that does not belong there, but that is covered by WP:LEAD already), and for most of MEDMOS’ history, we did not feel the need for this sort of instruction creep, and we did better without it than with it, by sending people to the consensus and better written Wikipedia-wide guidelines. Leads were damaged and made less readable by the forced/imposed order (for example, Tourette syndrome did not work with the forced order, nor did dementia with Lewy bodies, and Casliber also had a hard time with schizophrenia forced order). What the topic is about being established first is covered by LEAD ... again, as far as I know, there is nothing specific to be said about medical leads, and we can point to LEAD for better guidance for everyone. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:59, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sandy, I've guided a lot of students over the years, and many of them have read (or at least skimmed enough for an understanding) WP:MEDRS and WP:MEDMOS. There are far more student editors than the regular medical editors, and they are the main ones editing medical articles. As someone with a lot of articles on her watchlist and who patrols with WP:Huggle, I see this every day. Besides, like I stated, students aren't the only ones who need guidance on writing medical leads. Newbies in general and those who don't, or usually don't, edit medical articles need guidance as well. I think that leads like Cancer or Autism are very good examples of how our leads should be written. I don't see that the current piece in the guideline has hurt leads, especially if it, as argued by you, Colin, and Tom, is just a regurgitation of WP:Lead. It's not like it should conflict with WP:Lead anyway. Like WP:FILMLEAD, we can still send people to WP:Lead with a link in the section. But this guideline should have guidance on leads regardless of it goes over things already covered in WP:Lead. That is not WP:CREEP. I disagree that there is nothing specific to be said about medical leads. The fact that we cover "definition and symptoms", "cause and diagnosis", "prevention and treatment", and "epidemiology" in the lead is specific to medical articles. And, again, there should be no forced/imposed order. Should we typically be consistent? Yes. Just like we are typically consistent with article setup. More below in response to Colin. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 02:09, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then we just disagree on all counts I guess. I think the autism lead is dreadful, and for that and other reasons (lack of maintenance as the lead was downgraded) that article unfortunately needs to be defeatured. One of our most highly read medical articles. And to give you an idea of how this notion that we must cover certain points in leads caused me problems at dementia with Lewy bodies ... the fact that I had to include the 8 years life expectancy to conform with one editor's idiosyncratic ideas about leads is problematic. Knowing the full body of literature and what goes in to how that number is built and what is known now about the prodomal phase with earlier diagnosis of REM sleep behavior disorder based on sleep studies (new knowledge), I think that 8-year number is weak as all heck, and doesn't belong in the lead. But if I didn't go along with one person's views about what goes in leads, I would not have been able to have the article featured. You won't find that baloney mentioned prominently in any secondary review-- it's cooked up based on a formulaic approach to leads, and uses the weakest underlying (NIH) sources. (Another serious problem that has taken over medical content since 2015 and needs to be addressed via restoring MEDRS to what it once was, and recognizing that we should be relying more strongly on the authoritative underlying literature, not silly and oversimplified fact sheets from the WHO and the NIH. That essentially every lead in the medical realm suffers that problem now concerns me greatly, because I know how often the NIH and the WHO don't tell the whole story-- it took years to get the NIH to correct simple errors in their Tourette's fact sheets. I would MUCH rather rely on the top journals and top researchers, all of whom are easily identified in TS and in DLB. And actually, even in autism.) I'm sorry, but we completely disagree on how a lead should be written. The autism lead may cover the bases that certain kinds of physicians may think are important, but I think it does a very poor job of informing the average reader looking for information about autism. For that same reason, I resisted the attempts to similarly damage the lead at Tourette syndrome. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:21, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, we disagree then. But I will again reiterate that I'm not stating that we should write all leads of medical articles the same way. I feel the same way about the articles as a whole, which is why I've often pointed to what the beginning of WP:MEDSECTIONS states. I will also reiterate that regardless of if we add more specific guidance to the section about leads, I feel that this guideline should have a section on leads. I look forward to seeing what other WP:Med editors have to state on this matter.
You added, "Another serious problem that has taken over medical content since 2015 and needs to be addressed via restoring MEDRS to what it once was, and recognizing that we should be relying more strongly on the authoritative underlying literature, not silly and oversimplified fact sheets from the WHO and the NIH." WP:MEDRS, in its WP:MEDORG section, already states, "Guidelines by major medical and scientific organizations sometimes clash with one another (for example, the World Health Organization and American Heart Association on salt intake), which should be resolved in accordance with WP:WEIGHT. Guidelines do not always correspond to best evidence, but instead of omitting them, reference the scientific literature and explain how it may differ from the guidelines. [...] The reliability of [statements and information from reputable major medical and scientific bodies] ranges from formal scientific reports, which can be the equal of the best reviews published in medical journals, through public guides and service announcements, which have the advantage of being freely readable, but are generally less authoritative than the underlying medical literature." Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 02:38, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please write the above post in a digestible format without the excess markup so that I don't have to trudge through something to figure out who said what and what you are adding. I know what I wrote and don't need it repeated with italics, and I think these are discussion techniques that lend to argument rather than resolution. The excess markup is a poor way to engage discussion. And if you think what MEDRS says has anything to do with how it has been applied, I suggest you have been editing in a bubble. That is what we need to fix here. OVER and OVER we see that WHO or NIH and Cochrane are preferenced over other sources, and MEDORG viewpoints are excluded. Writing leads almost exclusively from NIH and WHO factsheets is symptomatic of that problem, which has permeated medical content, with much of it becoming mirrors of NIH and WHO, adding nothing of interest. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:46, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Stay on topic. You can read the quoted material just fine with or without italics. You stated, "And if you think what MEDRS says has anything to do with how it has been applied, I suggest you have been editing in a bubble." That is a behavior issue. WP:MEDRS says what it says. You are the one who stated "via restoring MEDRS to what it once was, and recognizing that we should be relying more strongly on the authoritative underlying literature, not silly and oversimplified fact sheets from the WHO and the NIH." I simply noted what WP:MEDRS says. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 03:11, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for pinging WP:ANAT. I tend to agree that it is just restating what is in the manual of style / lead section and think it would be better preserved as an essay or explanatory supplement than part of the guideline itself.--Tom (LT) (talk) 05:34, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As a separate but related point, I think this kind of move is in the right direction. A lot of this (and I feel the majority of WP:MEDRS) is not what I would expect in a guideline. They are often of the "explanation" type statements that, which providing helpful guidance, do not actually establish a clear expectation. I am personally in favour of a much shorter MEDMOS and MEDRS with some attached either essays or explanatory notes as to how the guideline should be used, rather than long and verbose guidelines explaining again common principles. I think that tends to scare off new editors, make it easier to enforce complex rules, is unlikely to be read in its entirity ever, and results in needless conflicts over wording when there is no actual change to expected practice for end editors (case in point here). --Tom (LT) (talk) 05:34, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Look back in history before 2015, when they were both in fact guidelines, and good ones, without all the CREEP, and in sync with Wikipedia-wide guidelines. We need to get both back there. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:59, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Colin's edits in removing the section about lead. All of it is covered elsewhere and none is specific to medical articles. The lead needn't be written more simply than other parts of the article. Minimising the wall of text is prudent. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 06:14, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I find it hard to believe that most of the editors quoting MEDRS these days have actually read it... the wall of text makes that unlikely. We have this issue now at MEDMOS, MEDRS and at the WPMED project page, where it was so globbed up with unnecessary verbosity that it made it hard for a new editor to find where or how to engage, or for an experienced editor to easily find links to maintenance tasks and important discussions ... I moved the tasks back up. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 06:28, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Flyer22 Frozen, the Film lead guidance looks reasonable and very film specific. Films are also a narrow subject domain, unlike Medicie-related articles, so it is possible to give more specific guidance. Most of that guidance is about the key points the project think should regularly be covered in a film lead, rather than forking existing guidelines in order to introduce an idiosyncratic writing style, to push personal agendas or support off-wiki projects. The Lead section was added to this guideline relatively recently and only ever reflected the writing approach of one editor.
For an example of the harm the MEDLEAD section has done, have a read of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. Both are drugs you will have in your medicine cabinet and you probably carry one of them in a bag or in your desk drawer at work. Every parent will have used them to pacify their ill child. They are vital drug articles of the 1st importance and yet the leads of both are just awful awful. Short stubby sentences and just a random collection of factoids. Paracetamol is worst though ibuprofen's inclusion of the "patent ductus arteriosus" factoid in the third sentence is pretty bad. Both avoid saying "oral" even though "oral medicine" is a thing and every modern parent will have used an "oral syringe" to give their child Calpol, but instead use the weird "It can be used by mouth". Paracetamol can't bring itself to say "intravenously" and so has the ungrammatical nonsense "is also available by injection into a vein". Paracetamol has 31 citations in the lead. Apparently "is a medication used to treat pain and fever" needs two citations, as do several other basic facts. The statement "How it works is not entirely clear" has the three citations, as does the inclusion of maximum daily dose, the inclusion of which is against MEDMOS (but not against MD Wiki). Compare Donald Trump and Barack Obama. Both highly controversial figures with complex lives. Trump has no citations in the lead and Obama has a few. Both use sentences that make one think the writers have mastered joined-up-writing and can hold more than one thought in their heads at any point in time.
So, I'd appreciate if someone would once again remove this misguided section. If there is medicine-specific guidance we can say about leads, I'd be interested to know. Nothing in that section was medicine-specific at all.
I think the added text about technical language is probably best discussed separately in another section. -- Colin°Talk 09:27, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Colin, like I told Sandy above, I don't see that the current piece in the guideline has hurt leads, especially if it, as argued by you, Sandy, and Tom, is just a regurgitation of WP:Lead. It's not like it should conflict with WP:Lead anyway. Like MOS:LEAD film, we can still send people to WP:Lead with a link in the section. But this guideline should have guidance on the leads regardless of it goes over things already covered in WP:Lead. That is not WP:CREEP. I disagree that there is nothing specific to be said about medical leads. The fact that we cover "definition and symptoms", "cause and diagnosis", "prevention and treatment", and "epidemiology" in the lead is specific to medical articles. And, again, there should be no forced/imposed order. Should we typically be consistent? Yes. Just like we are typically consistent with article setup.
I fail to see why the guideline should guide editors on everything except the lead. We should let editors think that there's no big deal to writing the leads of medical articles even though there is? I can't agree. And as for typically following an order, why wouldn't we begin with "definitions" first and usually "symptoms" (or effects) after that? That even works in the case of the Ibuprofen article. The Paracetamol article takes a slightly different approach. Why wouldn't we typically have "epidemiology" come last, after addressing the more important aspects first?
You stated, "So, I'd appreciate if someone would once again remove this misguided section." As you know, from December 2019 to January 2020, we had a big RfC on this section: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles/RFC on lead guideline for medicine-related articles. And there was no consensus to remove it. And yet you came along months later and removed it? Ymblanter, the closer of the RfC, stated, "Unfortunately, the RfC did not attract so many participants, however, I am comfortable with closing it as no consensus. There is clearly a numerical preference of opposes over supports, plus there are some people who doubt that the RfC was formulated in the best accessible way, on the other hand, the support arguments are stronger since the global consensus is stronger than the local one. Well, we are where we are, and, unless suddenly way more users would develop interest in the issue, MEDLEAD is not going to be fully replaced by MOSLEAD. If somebody is interested in pursuing the cause further, I would suggest to try implementing changes one by one, identifying statements in MEDLEAD which the majority would perceive as problematic, and trying to change these."
I don't know where to go from here, but there clearly is no consensus to remove this section. Sandy often points to a 2015 version of this guideline. That was five years ago. This guideline, and that includes thoughts on covering the lead, has been worked on by various editors since then. Their opinions, those collaborations, don't just go out the window because one or two editors disagree with the results five years later. As seen above, Ymblanter mentioned the RfC not having a lot of participants. One thing I'm going to do now, which is allowed per WP:APPNOTE, is ping medical editors who have been involved with crafting information on lead material in this guideline (and that includes whether or not the lead should have citations) within the last five years, and see what their thoughts are on retaining or removing the section in this guideline. Some are more active than others. So we should allow at least two weeks of commentary on this matter, to see if we have formed a consensus on it. Or we may need to start another RfC. But before that new RfC, let's try this. Pinging: Doc James, FloNight, Bluerasberry, Fse809 (Brenton), Wouterstomp, Seppi333, TylerDurden8823, WhatamIdoing, Johnbod (also known as Wiki CRUK John), Kashmiri, Bakerstmd, Anthonyhcole, Iztwoz, Ozzie10aaaa, Natureium, Johnuniq, AlmostFrancis, RexxS, Ian Furst, JenOttawa, Tryptofish, Levivich, John Cummings, BEANS X2, Clayoquot, Avicenno, and SUM1. I suppose I will ping CFCF as well, but he hasn't been around for months. I didn't ping QuackGuru because he is currently topic-banned from this area. Doc recently commented on his talk page; so I pinged him. I also pinged all of the editors from the aforementioned RfC (except any editor already commenting in this thread and QuackGuru). Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 02:09, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the ping, Flyer22 Frozen. Sorry, but I'm going to be entirely hands-off with this. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:59, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Tryptofish, going by the recent emails I've gotten and a recent post on my talk page, a number of editors have decided "to be entirely hands-off with this." Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 00:17, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Flyer22 Frozen, count me as hands off due purely to lack of time, but thanks for the ping and thanks for all your hard work on this. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 05:21, 16 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are still arguing that leads must contain certain items, I have explained above the problems with that, with examples, and that approach goes against WP:LEAD. And now by pinging select editors of your choice, you've affected early on any likelihood of effective dispute resolution, and essentially poisoned the well. Tsk. Shall I ping the many editors here I know disagree? This should take us right back to !voting rather than discussing, as if we've learned nothing from the last year.
And if there is to be an RFC on leads, I will insist it be done correctly this time, and held at LEAD, not here. We have been down this road before, and the arbs have ruled on it. Local consensus on one project cannot overwhelm global consensus on Wiki-wide guidelines, and we have already seen this guideline try to go against a broader guideline. You are heading right down the path that the arbs cautioned against, so I suggest you read their findings from the medicine-related arbitration case.
It's very disappointing to find you pinging select editors for reinforcement rather than engaging in discussion so early on. And please, stop using excess markup in talk discussions: we don't need bolding to know what to read. Excess markup in talk discussions is almost as disruptive as pinging in select editors to reinforce your viewpoint rather than discussing to understand. Have you digested the examples I've given above ? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:36, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You stated, "You are still arguing that leads must contain certain items." I'm not. And I'm not going to spend days, weeks, or months arguing this. I made my points. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles/RFC on lead guideline for medicine-related articles got you all nowhere. So, yes, I pinged medical editors who have been involved with crafting information on lead material in this guideline (and that includes whether or not the lead should have citations) within the last five years to see what their thoughts are on retaining or removing the section in this guideline. Those editors don't all agree with one another, as is clear by Levivich disagreeing with me below. And alerting them to this discussion is very much in compliance with WP:APPNOTE. I mentioned WP:APPNOTE when pinging them just in case an editor (specifically you or Colin) tried to bring about some bogus "you canvassed" claim. Those are not "select editors for reinforcement rather than engaging in discussion." They are medical editors who have been involved with crafting information on lead material in this guideline (and that includes whether or not the lead should have citations) within the last five years. They are seen in the archives. And pinging them is not disruptive in the least. If you think you have a case on that, take me to WP:ANI. Same goes for your "you are being disruptive by occasionally bolding" claim. If all or most of these editors disagree with you and Colin, then it shows that you and Colin need to back off. Everyone knows that Casliber agrees with you, and you didn't see me lodging some "you pinged him for reinforcement" claim. I never stated or implied that "local consensus on one project [can] overwhelm global consensus on Wiki-wide guidelines." I am very aware of the WP:LOCALCONSENSUS policy and have cited it times before. As made clear by various editors, including those in the aforementioned RfC, this lead guideline does not conflict with WP:Lead. Even you and Colin argue that it offers nothing new. I don't appreciate threats like, "You are heading right down the path that the arbs cautioned against." I will never be sanctioned. And you won't be driving me away from WP:Med or Wikipedia in general. I had thought that discussing these matters with you could remain civil. But, clearly, you turn hostile whenever anyone disagrees with you. You will need to extensively argue with someone else on these matters, because I'm not having it. I won't be condescended to. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 03:11, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(responding to ping) I agree with Colin's removal and with everything Cas Liber wrote above, especially: All of it is covered elsewhere and none is specific to medical articles. ... Minimising the wall of text is prudent. I also agree with what Colin wrote just above about the leads of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen being bad, and that "medical" is a broad category, probably too broad to have any particular guidance on writing a lead for a "medical" article. However, guidance about how to write a lead for an article about a pharmaceutical drug would be helpful (as would similar guidance a physician, medical school, surgical procedure, virus, disease, organ, etc.), so perhaps expanding those sections of MEDMOS with lead advice, rather than having one "lead" section in MEDMOS. Lev!vich 02:55, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think we should have something here on leads, since it doesn't make sense to have to point editors, including student editors, to two or more separate pages to explain how these articles should be written. It seems like it would make this incomplete to ignore that matter entirely. Crossroads -talk- 16:10, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Do you have a suggestion about what that content would be? Something that is specific to medicine? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:33, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Don't intend to get into a discussion since I don't really have any time for WP right now, but here's my 2 cents. User:Colin wrote the following at WT:MED People have noted that medical articles have unreadable leads. They are "unreadable" not because they are hard, but because you get past the first few sentences and lose the will to live. They are unreadable because although the sentences are short, they are just a collection of random facts presented without thought to developing or introducing concepts. And they often fail in an important part of our educational mission and encyclopaedic purpose, which is teaching our readers some of the difficult words that their doctor will use and are necessary to understand a topic. As an example, I've seen text saying when a drug was "discovered" changed to saying when it was "found", as though a chemist just came across it in the street, or perhaps had lost it the day before, and I've seen an article saying when a drug was first "synthesized" changed to saying when it was "made". But drug discovery and chemical synthesis are both terms a reader will expect to find in an encyclopaedia, and will be surprised by our choice of baby words instead. I 100% agree with this sentiment. Nonetheless, I disagree with his removal of the lead guidance from MEDMOS; it should simply be reworded to incorporate this justification for using certain technical language. I also disagree with the removal of the assertion about lead citations; it's become a convention, and frankly, medical articles ought to cite the lead's medical content (or even all of it) for the same reason every medical statement ought to be to be cited in the body.

Given that the use of lead citations is based upon a value judgement about the utility of lead refs, I doubt anyone is going to change other editors' minds/opinions about whether they should be included simply by discussing their personal viewpoint or rationale for inclusion/exclusion. Seppi333 (Insert ) 05:28, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Arbitrary break on leads

There are some fundamentals that F&F wants to break. We don't repeat MOS just because it is handy to point students to a one-stop-shop for all advice on writing their article. If you want to write some essay, personal views on how to craft a medical article, aimed at students, be my guest and if it is really good, the project will link to it. But this page needs to focus on help that is specific to the challenges of writing medical articles. The lead is not that area. We all have personal opinions about language and citations but the big big point is those opinions are not medical. Go knock yourself out arguing at MOS:LEAD about it.

This section was created simply to allow deviation from MOS. To require leads contain "simplest possible" language, even though MOS doesn't say that. To require lead order to follow article order, even though MOS doesn't say that. To permit citation excess in leads, even though MOS doesn't say that. These were all just personal views about leads. The only aspect of leads that was ever claimed to be medical was that the translation task force used our leads as the basis of their translations, and therefore simple language and excess citations apparently helped them. This turned out not to be true. The TTF uses a copy of the leads held on project namespace (and now, it appears, copied to an external wiki which is deviating from Wikipedia policy and guidelines).

Let's not argue "it is useful" or "it helps students" or other vague reasons to retain material in a general area (lead) that has been a specific source of conflict on the project. I ask again: is there anything at all about medical leads that cannot be adequately covered at MOS:LEAD? So far, nobody has offered anything. We need to get lighter-weight, more wiki, about modifying this guideline in order to reflect best-practice and focus specifically on medical content. And we need to get better at realising we are part of en:wp and so if you feel strongly about article guidelines (for students, for newbies or for academics or whatever) then go to the wider guidelines and join in the discussion there. I think eliminating MEDLEAD and forcing any editors with strong views about leads to go argue with the wider community will be the healthiest thing for this project. -- Colin°Talk 09:12, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As you know, I replied to you in the #Removing guidance about the lead, and adding a bit about terminology and technical language section above. I stand by that reply. In my opinion, you are entirely off. You have again gone on about the lead section of this guideline deviating from WP:Lead even though the RfC on the matter shows editor after editor stating that it doesn't and, as I've stated before, different topics might require that leads are handled in ways specific to those topics. It doesn't mean that the guidance conflicts with WP:Lead. I'd rather not be debating anything about the guideline's lead text, but you are the one who tried to get rid of the lead section when there is no consensus to do so. Per above, editors clearly disagree with you removing it. Or if not that, they disagree with the guideline not having any information about writing leads of medical articles. And there are those like Seppi333 who very much disagree with your take on references in the lead. References in the lead have been debated times before on this talk page. You stated, "These were all just personal views about leads." That also applies to not wanting citations in the lead for whatever reason. If having citations in the lead was so much of a problem, then WP:CITELEAD wouldn't state what it states. WP:MEDLEAD requires no order; all it states is the following: "When writing the lead, editors should ensure that they write a comprehensive summary of all of the main points of the article. One way to achieve this is to follow the order of the content in the body of the article, although this is not required." That is a suggestion. Suggestions make up guidelines. A lot of it is personal opinion that has found consensus among editors. If someone tries to enforce a suggestion like the one I just quoted, that is a behavioral issue. It doesn't mean that the suggestion should be removed. The guideline does not "permit citation excess in leads." Citation overkill is not ideal and I often cut it when I see it.
You stated, "I ask again: is there anything at all about medical leads that cannot be adequately covered at MOS:LEAD? So far, nobody has offered anything." Not true. I've stated that the fact that we cover "definition and symptoms", "cause and diagnosis", "prevention and treatment", and "epidemiology" in the lead is specific to medical articles. I've asked, "And as for typically following an order, why wouldn't we begin with 'definitions' first and usually 'symptoms' (or effects) after that? That even works in the case of the Ibuprofen article. The Paracetamol article takes a slightly different approach. Why wouldn't we typically have 'epidemiology' come last, after addressing the more important aspects first?" You just disagree.
We just aren't going to agree on the lead matter. And I don't want to keep debating it, as if we are going to change each other's minds or agree on anything regarding it (except for not enforcing an order that can't be enforced anyway). No need to talk in circles. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 00:17, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't know why you keep claiming "we cover "definition and symptoms", "cause and diagnosis", "prevention and treatment", and "epidemiology" in the lead". We don't. Those words appear nowhere. Nor have we had "editor after editor stating that it doesn't" conflict with guideline. We've had a few medical editors wanting to keep it for various reasons, wanting to keep those deviations, but none who want to keep it who have ever stated any reason why medical article leads should have different guidance to the rest of wikipedia wrt language, citations, structure etc. All the current text in the lead was added without consensus Flyer22 Frozen. As WAID says, this is a wikipedia wide guideline, not the personal guideline of this project or some people in the project. I see lots of opposition to keeping this section, and no valid reasons stated so far for keeping it. -- Colin°Talk 10:08, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not a claim. And we do. That is why, above, I stated, "For example, at Cancer, I do like the 'Definition and symptoms', 'Cause and diagnosis', 'Prevention and treatment', and 'Epidemiology' hidden note setup in the lead. That setup is neat and does work for numerous medical articles." This and similar setups, via the WP:Hidden note feature, are in many leads of our medical articles (the ones with the most traction at least), and it's been that way for years. And it has been helpful. They are outlines that are hidden via the WP:Hidden note feature. Of course, the leads aren't divided into sections that mention the words in non-hidden text. If this setup didn't exist across medical articles, there wouldn't be discussion above about forcing lead order. But, again, no particular lead order should be forced. And, yes, in the aforementioned RfC, where you tried to get the lead section of this guideline removed, we see editor after editor (and not just medical editors) stating that it doesn't conflict with WP:LEAD. Ymblanter, the closer of the RfC, stated, "There is clearly a numerical preference of opposes over supports." Ymblanter stated more than that, but I already quoted Ymblanter above. You stated, "All the current text in the lead was added without consensus Flyer22 Frozen." That is not true. Check the archives. We've had multiple discussions about that section, especially about citations in the lead. You stated, " I see lots of opposition to keeping this section, and no valid reasons stated so far for keeping it." I don't. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 00:10, 16 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, so you are talking about the hidden note feature, rather than about MEDMOS, which doesn't mention hidden notes nor encourage their use. And in fact WP:Hidden note guideline page does not list "Enforcing the order and grouping of lead sentences to match that of sections in the article body or to match the suggested sentences in MEDMOS". It doesn't even encourage anything like this. It would help if we are to have a discussion about this guideline, that we stick to discussing this guideline. Wrt talk pages, we shall have to disagree because the disagreement and lack of consensus is pretty apparent. The recent RFC was, as Sandy openly admits, a confused mess from the start.
The fundamentals of a guideline page is that it reflects only the areas upon which the community have found common agreement, consensus. Therefore, if there are areas where there is significant disagreement, no consensus, then those should not be included in the guideline. Otherwise we have the case where a group within the community can impose their opinions on everyone with the falsehood that their group's opinions actually represent a consensus of the whole community. So, Flyer22 Frozen, unless you can offer suggestions as to how to change the text in a way can all agree on, it's going to have to retain the Disputed tag indefinitely, which is more or less the same as saying: the following section has no weight or authority. I would personally, far rather see members of this project engage with and actually read the guideline and policy pages elsewhere, and become part of the wider community in terms of documenting how best to write articles. -- Colin°Talk 09:48, 16 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This reads to me like a threat that the tag will stay forever unless you get your way. Consensus is not unanimity, and if there is no consensus to change, then the material's WP:STATUSQUO stays without a tag of shame. The RfC showed there was no consensus for replacing MEDLEAD with MOS:LEAD, nor for the ideas that they are in conflict or should be synchronized, and suggested discussing changes one by one, which is what I am saying. But the tag will be removed once changes are done being made. If a couple of holdouts declare themselves to be "significant disagreement" and don't like the lead portion of the guideline even after that, that's just too bad; that's Wikipedia for you. We all have content somewhere that we don't like but have to live with. Crossroads -talk- 16:16, 16 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This section is widely disputed by many many editors. It is the very definition of "no consensus". Of course unanimity isn't required. I think a more important lesson is "Not all personal preferences should be documented in topic guidelines". There's much to benefit from this project's members "agreeing to disagree" and not documenting contentious opinions at all. By forcing these personal opinions here, all it does is provoke an adversarial conflict, which has been ongoing for years, rather than "Hmm, ok, that's how you write, interesting..." Wikipedia is big enough for people to have different ideas of how to write leads, without having to agree on them and write them down here. -- Colin°Talk 17:04, 16 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't know what you are going on about with regard to WP:Hidden note and WP:MEDMOS. The setup I mentioned does concern this guideline. Like me, you have focused on the leads of medical articles following a certain order. This is because WP:MEDLEAD states, "When writing the lead, editors should ensure that they write a comprehensive summary of all of the main points of the article. One way to achieve this is to follow the order of the content in the body of the article, although this is not required." I noted that this is a suggestion, and that the leads of various medical articles follow this suggestion with a "Definition and symptoms", "Cause and diagnosis", "Prevention and treatment", and "Epidemiology" hidden note setup or similar, that it typically or mostly works (for example, the definition -- what the topic is about -- should always come first), and that I like it. I pointed to the leads of the Cancer and Autism articles as examples where this type of setup works. You pointed to the Paracetamol and Ibuprofen articles as reasons to not follow a certain lead order. There can be exceptions. I have repeatedly stated that a lead order should not be enforced. But I see nothing wrong with the WP:MEDLEAD suggestion about lead order; it very clearly states "although this is not required." You stated that the WP:Hidden note guideline page does not list "Enforcing the order and grouping of lead sentences to match that of sections in the article body or to match the suggested sentences in MEDMOS." One last time: MEDMOS doesn't enforce this either. And, yes, that lead section of the guideline does have consensus, as explained to you in this section and the #Lead section below.
You stated, "So, Flyer22 Frozen, unless you can offer suggestions as to how to change the text in a way can all agree on, it's going to have to retain the 'Disputed' tag indefinitely, which is more or less the same as saying: the following section has no weight or authority." Nope, that's not how it works, as Crossroads has already explained to you. And like Crossroads stated in the Lead section below, consensus on Wikipedia does not mean unanimity. Our WP:Consensus guideline is clear on that. So if we do some other RfC, and you are in the minority, that's that. Whatever tag you placed and/or endorse can and should be removed. Considering that aforementioned RfC, the tag that there is now should be removed. We don't just have tags remain indefinitely.
You stated, "I would personally, far rather see members of this project engage with and actually read the guideline and policy pages elsewhere, and become part of the wider community in terms of documenting how best to write articles." I already do that. As many know, my editing is varied, and that includes commonly collaborating on improving Wikipedia's guidelines and policies. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 02:21, 17 August 2020 (UTC) Tweaked post. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 02:34, 17 August 2020 (UTC) Reply[reply]
When an editor alleges a conflict between two guidelines, the best practice is WP:PGCONFLICT, not the "status quo" essay. One think we could do is ask at WT:LEAD or WT:MOS whether the MOS regulars believe that there is any conflict between the two. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:30, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Technical language

One aspect of writing that is medicine specific, or at least a big challenge when writing a medical article, is how to handle the technical language and the jargon. That's why MEDMOS has long had various points of advice on how to deal with that. Above it is asked what the basis is for Part of the role of an encyclopaedia is to teach the reader new words and help them build confidence with harder ones. I'm actually rather surprised that is even questioned? Wikipedia isn't a patient information leaflet. Nor does it require a pharmacy degree to read a drug article. The point of all professional-level educational writing is to teach, not just explicitly, but also implicitly. We demonstrate how good-quality idiomatic English is written. People grow their vocabulary and their confidence with words by reading great quality prose, either in newspapers or factual writing or good fiction, and not by looking up dictionary definitions all the time.

A 12-year-old might not be able to tell you what a mortgage is and how it works, but might be aware that it's something their parents have to pay for the house. I'd expect a financial article on Wikipedia to talk about mortgages and not invent the term "house loan" instead. Similarly I'd expect an article on an anticonvulsant drug to include the words "anticonvulsant" early on, and not just "is a medicine". Because that's a concept "there are a class of drugs that treat epilepsy that we call anticonvulsants" that the reader should really know when reading about that drug. The reader's uncle might be taking anticonvulsants for his epilepsy, say. The reader might not be confident enough in that word to give you a definition or even to spell it but they know it or need to know it if they are to learn or say anything much about this drug. You looked up "carbamazepine" and learned the word "anticonvulsant" too.

The best writing on Wikipedia introduces these slightly advanced words to the reader in a way you don't even notice. We don't use advanced words gratuitously, and we avoid technical words that aren't necessary for the article subject, but the point of that sentence is to remind us not all hard words are the enemy to be eliminated, but are part of our educational mission. -- Colin°Talk 10:02, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Medical example from Tourette syndrome. Many people have never heard of a premonitory urge. But you cannot understand TS without knowing that phenom, and you cannot read TS literature without encountering it (unless you read the sixth grade CDC patient leaflet which is useless and you will then have to find something else to really understand the condition, so the CDC wasted your time). Because premonitory urges are what distinguish tics from other movement disorders, we have to teach the reader the term; it is unavoidable. The Wikipedia article teaches you what a premonitory urge is, which allows you to read even more about TS, just as it teaches you what a tic is, what coprolalia is, echolalia,etc. Most medical writing on Wikipedia is naturally teaching vocabulary to some level. The short choppy sentences and artificial language at paracetemol (I wish I could unsee that) do not make the lead more digestible; along with the citation overkill, they make it worse. Expanding reader vocabulary happens in medical writing, so how to effectively address vocabulary is a worthy topic for a guideline. I did not get an answer to my query above about an alternate way to phrase “low-literacy adult”, but I think we can improve that. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 10:38, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wrt “low-literacy adult”, that was a term used by the source, and worth reading the source before considering an alternative. For example, it isn't the same thing as this "reading grade level" thing that north Americans are so fixated about. -- Colin°Talk 10:52, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe so-called 'level/s' of literacy also fails to capture comprehension issues which are affected by the *type* of reading people are familiar with (rather than just how good they're supposed to be at comprehension in general). For example, some highly educated/literate people in the 'humanities' feel intimidated or alienated by almost any technical discourse. Other people with much less formal education may be highly literate in terms of written communication within their local communities, but feel that almost anything technical is alien to them... And then maybe some of these non-technically inclined people find they need (or wish) to understand what a particular diagnosis, for example, entails.

Wrt "Part of the role of an encyclopaedia is to teach the reader new words and help them build confidence with harder ones" - personally I find the assumption that Wikipedia's role is partly to "teach" people somewhat patronizing. At the same time, I do agree about its pertinence as a potential educational resource. I'd feel more comfortable with something along the lines of Part of the role of an encyclopaedia is to give readers an opportunity to understand relevant terms and gain familiarity with them. 86.190.132.140 (talk) 12:46, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wrt the first part, yes we can only target a "general reader" and not adopt a different voice and approach to suit personalities. For better or worse, we are an encyclopaedia rather than some other fact-giving medium such as a blog or a youtube channel, and so a certain encyclopaedic voice and tone are expected.
If "to teach" is too direct and active, then "to give readers an opportunity to " is too indirect and passive. Let's not concern ourselves with worries like "patronising": one reads an article because one wants to learn and one expects the writer of that article to have a significantly superior grasp of the concepts and subject along with the talent to help one learn in an enjoyable way. All good writing should have a purpose, otherwise it is just a collection of words and numbers. Good non-fiction isn't about passively consuming facts as one progresses down the page, but being led by the writer, who builds your understanding step by step until you grasp with point they are making. -- Colin°Talk 13:03, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding 'teach' vs 'learn' etc, my own inclination is to make pages as easy as possible to *consult* [actively] by a wide range of users with different backgrounds - and then (passively :) just leave them to get on with it actively, based on their own needs and reading styles (cf. informal learning). Fwiw, I feel that to be a sufficiently 'active' purpose. But I'm not pretending that it's at all easy, or that there are one-size-fits-all solutions. 86.190.132.140 (talk) 13:19, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To "teach" is just "to impart the knowledge of ". It implies one is aiming to successfully transfer knowledge, rather than just that one is flinging it out there on the off chance someone is so keen to learn that they can assemble the information packets into something sensible. I used to have a quote from a newspaper editor on my user page: "It is our job to interest [our readers] in everything. It requires the highest degree of skill and ingenuity.". No matter how interested or inclined-to-learn our readers may be or may not be to begin with, it is our job to interest and education them and hook them into reading more. -- Colin°Talk 14:22, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict)Well, the teaching perspective is clearly central to your pov here, Colin. While I feel we almost certainly agree on many aspects of the need for gradual (and deepening) presentation of technical content in as painless a way possible, my own pov (and I'm sure there are many others) would prioritize the learning aspect. To me, this perspective seems more pertinent in the context of an encyclopedic work of reference that we wish to be as open as possible to many different types of readers with a variety of informational and learning needs. I would argue that a work of reference is there to *consult* in ways that suit the user, and it's good to have a broadly user-centered (more 'learning-centered') approach that is as open as possible to different needs and reading styles. But those are both legitimate povs, I believe (I'm no authority on educational theory :-). Rather, I imagine this sort of topic must have been explored in some depth (or length??) elsewhere on WP pages, and I'm wondering whether any sort of community consensus has been reached. Particularly regarding the writing of content to "teach"? 86.190.132.140 (talk) 15:23, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What if we altered 86’s “Part of the role of an encyclopaedia is to teach the reader new words and help them build confidence with harder ones" to Good encyclopedic writing will naturally teach the reader new words and help them build confidence with harder ones ? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:41, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Got that backwards ... or 86’s suggestion to Good encyclopedic writing gives readers an opportunity to understand relevant terms and gain familiarity with them. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:00, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I feel the current section on technical terminology could be shortened considerably without losing much meaning. Bullet points 1, 4, and 5 give related messages about jargon. As I understand it, the intended messages are 1 (explain necessary jargon through links or parentheses), 4 (introduce necessary jargon by placing it in clear context), and 5 (use jargon that's necessary; avoid jargon that's unnecessary). Bullet 2 (spell things the way they're spelled) seems like an odd note left over from an old dispute. Thinking about more concise wording, but perhaps a better writer can beat me to it? Ajpolino (talk) 15:17, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As a starting point (I'm not at all wedded to this language), how about:
  • Medical texts often contain technical terms unique to medicine. For jargon essential to understanding an article's topic, introduce technical terms in a context that makes their meaning clear. Where possible, use wikilinks to provide extra support for an interested reader to explore a new concept or word.
I feel this is the minimal meaning of the three bullets, but I'm open to adding more filler. If folks feel strongly about further explanation (e.g. on reading-level scores, examples of explanatory wikilinks, cross-wiki links to wiktionary...) we could also add a footnote. Bullet 2 seems to me to be screaming for footnote status, but again I can't think of where to put it... Thoughts? Ajpolino (talk) 15:32, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've had a go at reordering the section to be more logical and get rid of the bullet points. Very slightly trimmed and dropped the odd comment about spelling. It isn't just "jargon" but any advanced word or technical term. I'm not sure I want to shorten this too much. This really is an area where editors struggle, so I don't mind if we labour the point a little. -- Colin°Talk 15:50, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Are we wedded to the order in “provide a short plain-English explanation first, followed by the jargon in parentheses”? Is there a benefit to which is first and which in parentheses? Looking over “my” FAs, I see I have not been consistent within articles, and whichever is first should be throughout and I need to make adjustments. But I think I prefer the jargon first and the plain English in parens. Does it matter as long as we are consistent? @Spicy: to check complete blood count. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:55, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I did wonder about that when I read it again. I wonder how that crept in? It used to say "When mentioning technical terms (jargon) for the first time, provide a short plain-English explanation in parentheses if possible. If the concept is too elaborate for this, wikilink to other articles (or Wiktionary entries). Alternatively, if the technical word is not used again in the article, it may be appropriate to use plain English and place the technical term within brackets." I was changed. I think we should go back to how it was. -- Colin°Talk 16:05, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sandy, I picked your first suggestion. Not so keen on the second (it isn't just about "terms"). Also I've mostly restored how the original text put it. -- Colin°Talk 16:13, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Allright, you forced me to guzzle caffeine and get out of bed to a real computer. Multiple items. First, with your rewrite, I think that the entire low-literacy thing is no longer needed. The point has been made, and people are going to reject that which they perceive (incorrectly or not) as an unintended insult. Is there another way to work in your citation while avoiding "low-literacy"? Second, perhaps I am overvaluing consistency, but sometimes jargon in parens and sometimes plain English in parens bugs me. Third, a bigger issue: jargon should link instead to WP:JARGON which is a top-level MOS section. Because it is a main item at MOS, we should stay in sync. We can see how medical articles (leads in particular) got so out of whack by referring back to MOS guidance. Lately, medical articles have been linking/piping plain English to technical terms which is precisely what we should not be doing (ala lack of interest) according to MOS. Can you have a look at WP:JARGON in terms of keeping us in sync? And rejig the whole thing? Meanwhile, I need to review all of "my" FAs to see what else I can add on consistency and MOS conformance. I think we agree with MOS on not introducing unnecessary technical jargon if it isn't later used in the article, so I need to check, for example, Dementia with Lewy bodies for things like hyposmia. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:44, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I made a couple of tweaks. Does that help? I'm reluctant to make the text rigid about how writers should go about explaining technical terms -- that's exactly the mistake we just removed because it suggested only one order. Improving that text probably requires more input from other writers. -- Colin°Talk 17:04, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like it, but need to review "my" FAs, and looking forward to tweaks from others. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:09, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I still think the part you added recently Good encyclopedic writing... reading level grade should be trimmed substantially and maybe incorporated into the paragraph below. I understand that it's ok to labour points that are important and often misunderstood. But I don't think we need to wax poetic on the virtues of good encyclopedic writing either. Can we just note somewhere in the second paragraph that technical terms should be placed in a context that helps make their meaning clear? I most often see this violated in symptom lists, where writers expect the wikilinks to give the reader a medical education. Ajpolino (talk) 18:41, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unfortunately we've had a focus on trashing good encyclopaedia writing for quite long, so I feel this is worth the emphasis. I'd be very glad if you feel you agree so strongly that it doesn't need to be said. Lets see what other writers think. -- Colin°Talk 19:09, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Looking at the recent changes, the jargon–parentheses bit was the only substantive change (still on the page) that I think should be discussed. We used to recommend "People with TS can feel in advance that they will need to tic soon (a premonitory urge)", and now we are recommending writing it the other way around: "People with TS will experience a premonitory urge (a feeling that they will need to tic soon)". Do we care what the order is? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:10, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I worked through several examples in two articles, I came to prefer the latter, that is, the wikilinked, “real”, aka jargon or technical term first, with the explanation in parens. Several reasons. Getting the wikilink first helps build the encyclopedia, emphasizing that the other article is not an after-thought, but the thought, encouraging editors to further develop sub-articles. The “real” term in parens feels like a diminishment, an afterthought. Second, it is typically the term readers will need to know as they consult sources. Third, putting the technical word first makes it more clear that what follows in parens may be only a rough approximation, while “real” info is at the wikilinked technical term. That takes some pressure off of what goes in parens. And finally, I don’t have data, but I am pretty sure that is more the norm in top-level content (FAs), and reflects best practice.
But I am not wedded to this—I am more inclined to value consistency in whichever we decide. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:25, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A major consideration in the lead must surely be to use diction that non-technically inclined users feel more comfortable with. I know that studies have highlighted the issue of users being scared off by terminology (e.g. "premonitory urge"). From this pov, I suspect that placing the 'difficult' words in (the 'difficult') brackets with a blue wikilink may *generally* be preferable. Though, fwiw, my own impact with "...they will need to tic soon..." was something of a double-take: not being familiar with the usage of "tic" as a verb, I found myself tracking back to check my understanding. 86.191.67.158 (talk) 12:28, 15 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was involved in discussions at WT:MATH a few years ago, during their discussions about how to make articles about advanced mathematics be somewhat more accessible to readers without graduate degrees in mathematics. 86.191's comment about being scared off by terminology was one of the things that they were trying to avoid, and putting the "difficult" words later was one of the things they tried.
I'm leaning towards inconsistency. Sometimes I want the jargon second (e.g., when the jargon is less important or less used) and sometimes I want the jargon first (if we're doing to see a lot of that jargon in the article), and sometimes I want it hidden in the wikilink, e.g., [[renal|kidney]]. I'm not sure that one-size-fits-all is the best approach we can recommend. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:57, 17 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with WAID (and Colin, I think :) on this. In the last few days, I've been trying to observe my thought processes while taking such decisions. I'm pretty sure that a requirement to follow a rigid editorial style on this would add to the mental pressure without necessarily improving intelligibility and flow. Imo, it may be better to provide (maybe in a separate essay, or somewhere) a range of examples/suggestions of accepted good practice. More generally, I feel that the "writing for the right/wrong audience" principle needs to be presented as an ideal aspiration rather than an absolute criterion. It's such a hard call... We can do our level best to bear in mind the our very broad spectrum of our general readership, but it's really hard to satisfy all of the users all of the time... My 2c, 86.190.128.56 (talk) 15:15, 20 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding this? I prefer the brief explanation in parentheses, and it's what I do. We can have the guideline mention that use of parentheses for this matter may be preferred/best in some cases. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 04:34, 21 August 2020 (UTC) Fixed post. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 04:36, 21 August 2020 (UTC) Reply[reply]
Stating a personal preference ("I prefer...") is not a strong argument in the absence of a rationale. In the simpler and more flexible version revised (by Sandy) in the diff above, the guideline lets you do what you do (per your personal preference too) without constraining you into a parenthesis. 86.174.206.97 (talk) 09:04, 21 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Above, editors are partly talking about personal preference. And so does WP:MEDSECTIONS. WhatamIdoing's "21:57, 17 August 2020 (UTC)" post specifically states, "Sometimes I want the jargon second (e.g., when the jargon is less important or less used) and sometimes I want the jargon first (if we're doing to see a lot of that jargon in the article), and sometimes I want it hidden in the wikilink." She also stated, "I'm not sure that one-size-fits-all is the best approach we can recommend." So, yes, "I prefer..." is a strong argument in the case if of this particular matter. That is why I mentioned what I prefer and that the guideline can mention that either route is acceptable. WP:MEDSECTIONS does this with things like "Signs and symptoms or Characteristics or Presentation (subsection Complications)" and "Society and culture, which may be excluded in minor anatomical structures" because editors have expressed on this talk page and elsewhere that they prefer to do things a certain way. They don't want the guideline to be strict about what they can or can't do. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 04:43, 22 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And as for "the guideline lets you do what you do (per your personal preference too) without constraining you into a parenthesis."? It may not occur to some editors that they can use parentheses as an option instead of briefly explaining the matter in a standalone sentence. After all, rather than suggest that they briefly explain, the guideline tells them that they should briefly explain if possible. This is why I see it as best to have the guideline mention that use of parentheses is one option to consider. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 04:55, 22 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But then again, I do see that the text currently states, "If the technical word is necessary, but not used again in the article, it may be appropriate to use plain English instead and place the technical term within parentheses." So that may be enough. And "wikilink to other articles" is already given as an option. And I do use this option at times as well. In the case of this topic, I only prefer to use parentheses if we're talking about briefly explaining what something is. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 05:02, 22 August 2020 (UTC) Tweaked post. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 05:11, 22 August 2020 (UTC) Reply[reply]
I think there may have been some consensus here for providing exemplars in a separate *linked* essay/tutorial, which could avoid clogging up the main guideline with unnecessary prescription and constrictions on writers. I think an essay could be the appropriate place to illustrate different ways in which parentheses can be usefully deployed (and also warn writers such as myself about the drawbacks of their overuse ;-). 86.186.94.144 (talk) 13:55, 26 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Example

Well, that was fast. Contrary to MOS:JARGON, we have in the first paragraph of dementia with Lewy bodies

(a pipe to a medical term), which then forces another problem-- because the word prevalence is used repeatedly in the article, but is hidden in the lead via a pipe, and I believe is a useful medical term to introduce, I end up relinking the term later on, which creates another MOS breach-- duplicate links. And this occurs throughout because I was forced (by old and faulty guidance here) to pipe terms needed in the article. Suggestions? Introduce the parens in the lead? I have MUCH more of same ...

  • but the prevalence (number of people affected) is not known accurately ...

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:18, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In this particular example, I believe the second option ( ie ...the prevalence (number of people affected)...) is preferable. Fwiw, here, I've tried to use the first option - introducing some pertinent terms such as 'myocarditis' 'vasulitis' after the lead - mainly because that seemed to me to be the way consensus here had been moving (though I'm still by no means happy with the readability).

Personally, I can envisage potential advantages and drawbacks to both those general approaches, which I fear are methodologically tricky to verify comprehensively by research. One important (and challenging) aim, imo, should be to provide reliable encyclopedic information while not scaring off our general readership. Yikes, easier said than done... 86.190.132.140 (talk) 20:28, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

O-kay - I see writing as an algorithm. Use the plainest English way of expressing a concept as possible unless meaning is lost or confounded. In this case (which I have boldly changed) "number of people affected" loses or obfuscates meaning to the point that it is a net negative compared to "prevalence". I think "prevalence" is a plain enough word that it does not need a parenthetical explanation. Some others do though. Need to think of one. Unfortunately I have found examples where plainer words have compromised the meaning (e.g. [1] [2] [3]).Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 23:07, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Appreciated ... I have made further adjustments, as this business of obscuring accurate terms in the lead created a duplicate links problem in the body of the article. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:20, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As an aside, I think over worrying about repeating links isn't helpful. In a really long article, if a term for some obscure test or body part is repeated much further down the article, it seems a bit anal to insist there is no link. People don't necessarily read the article 100% and from top to bottom. But I'm not going to start arguing that at MEDMOS. -- Colin°Talk 09:19, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this question is based on a false assumption. There is no violation of the MOS or any other guideline if we link to Prevalence twice, with seven thousand words in between the two links. That said, I might have kept the "number of people affected" language in the lead, and dumped the link. People might expect that link to take them to a page that talks about how many people are affected by DLB. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:15, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some reviewers at FAC are aggressive about MOS:DUPLINK, which lays out where one can duplicate. One can argue the case for more, because it is a guideline, but you have to be prepared to defend extras. I can’t justify in my own mind prevalence twice ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:20, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
MOS:DUPLINK is pretty upfront about the exception that "if helpful for readers, a link may be repeated ... at the first occurrence after the lead.", although I must admit, I don't see that exception being used much. Personally, if I'm working on a larger article that is made up of somewhat disconnected sections, I assume that a reader might want to jump in part-way through, so I'm more inclined to repeat a link that's a long way from the previous link. The counter-argument of course is "sea-of-blue", where high-value links are swamped by low-value ones, and getting a good balance is very much a matter for editorial judgement, rather than hard-and-fast rules. --RexxS (talk) 23:41, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Update 'navigation boxes' section

I have been involved in the navbox / template space for some years and as known just completed a sweep of many navboxes, a small amount of work still ongoing. I have updated the navigation boxes section (Special:Diff/981707065/981737875) to reflect what I think is current practice and with one or two other changes:

  • Reference the general guideline WP:NAVBOX to highlight that this MOS is just expanding it with some subject specific stuff
  • Create a shortcut to point to this section for when making navbox changes, which are frequent
  • Remove More information about creating navigational templates can be found in the documentation of Template:Navbox., is not specific to the medicine guideline
  • Insert A standardised list can be included in drug navboxes by adding |below={{PharmNavFootnote}} seeing as this is used frequently and it is probably useful to have stated.
  • Insert Medical navboxes should be placed on appropriately specific articles and satisfy the general criteria found in WP:NAVBOX. General navboxes such as {{Medicine}} should not be placed indiscriminately on all articles. Conversely, specific navboxes such as {{Bone, cartilage, and joint procedures}} should not be placed on general articles such as surgery. This is a huge problem relating to navboxes that I encounter very frequently and would like to directly state in the MOS if possible - {{Medicine}} in particular is placed willy nilly on all sorts of specific articles it doesn't need to be, and often overview of topic articles contain a huge amount of specific navboxes that really don't need to be there. This is a significant cause of navbox creep and does not make articles easy to read or navboxes easy to use. From my understanding this reflects current consensus; please feel free to discuss / correct if this is not.
  • Insert Do not insert meta or "index" navboxes that link only to other navboxes.[1], this discussion affected almost every one of our navboxes and is important to mention.

Please comment / discuss below. Cheers --Tom (LT) (talk) 04:30, 4 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal to remove unhelpful section "Graphs"

The section as is:

Graphs

Main page: Wikipedia:Graphs and charts Graphs are commonly produced off wiki and uploaded as images. Graphs can also be produced or linked to with several templates. See Wikipedia:Graphs for a list of some options. When uploading graphs as images, include sources on the file description page.

We already have two how-to pages that are linked from that subsection. This paragraph just duplicates those. Additionally it doesn't actually provide any stylistic advice that should be the purpose of a "manual of style". Existing advice elsewhere seems to be fine; I propose the whole section is removed. I don't see a particular need for it to be expanded to make it more relevant to medicine seeing as, to date, it hasn't been and it's not a very pressing problem. --Tom (LT) (talk) 04:11, 27 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

agreed. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 10:16, 27 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed. And more needs to go too. -- Colin°Talk 07:24, 28 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
 Done removed. --Tom (LT) (talk) 08:06, 4 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RFC on "committed suicide"

There is a RFC on the use of "Committed suicide" language open at VPP, with the intention to add language to MOS:BIO on a consensus-based conclusion. The RFC is here: WP:VPP#RFC: "Committed suicide" language. Kolya Butternut (talk) 15:39, 17 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"edited for clarity, style, and accuracy" reverted

I've reverted the edit by Brianbbad. I think it was well intentioned, but not a positive. Many of the edits removed the rationale, the explanation of why MEDMOS advises something. The "Writing for the wrong audience" is meant to be memorable and perhaps a little stinging, and so writing it as though it was a corporate memo loses its power. We want to avoid gratuitous jargon so adding "in vivo effects" goes against that. Lastly, the point about "some deaf and some autistic people" is that they want to be called "deaf" and "autistic" and so replacing that with "persons with a hearing impairment or some persons with an autism diagnosis" totally misses the point. I had a good look to see if there were any style improvements that were worth retaining, and I haven't found any. For example "Not all mainstream medicine is actually evidence-based medicine" removes a word that perhaps a style guide might suggest removing for brevity -- the main fact is retained -- or notes that the word is used more often in spoken English than formal writing. Nevertheless, the grammatical role here is to mark unexpected information. Many editors on Wikipedia argue as though Western Medicine is "Evidence Based" and that it is all that other stuff that lacks evidence. That argument is, actually, not supported by the evidence. -- Colin°Talk 11:26, 27 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Prior to Colin's revert, I had thanked Brianbbad for their edits because I thought the copy edits made the text more clear, concise, and comprehensible. At the same time, Colin makes some valid points. I went through each of Brianbbad's edits and made a list of edits I believe we should make. I will place them here—rather than making edits now—to avoid unnecessary conflicts. Let's discuss and achieve consensus. (I am working on the best format for my list.) Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) [he/his/him] 14:34, 27 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks Mark. I really struggled to see what I could keep, but ultimately failed. I think your approach is a good one. -- Colin°Talk 15:03, 27 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Awesome. :0) I'll insert a table below. Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) [he/his/him] 15:27, 27 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edits to consider & discuss

This is a table showing selected text before and after Brianbbad's edits. These are the edits Brianbbad made that I think are good, meaning I believe they improve the prose by making it more clear, concise, and comprehensible. Let's discuss and reach a consensus.

Original Brianbbad's edit
 1. * You emphasize or de-emphasize verifiable facts so that readers will make the "right" choice in the real world.  Confirmed  1. * You emphasize or de-emphasize verifiable facts with the intention of influencing readers' choices. Red XN
 2. * You play down information that might discourage patients (for example, that a disease is typically fatal), or you give undue attention to individual success stories.  2. * You play down potentially discouraging information (for example, that a disease is typically fatal), or you give undue attention to individual success stories. Conditional yesCY
 3. * Approved and indicated mean different things, and should not be used interchangeably.  Confirmed  3. * Approved and indicated should not be used interchangeably. Red XN
 4. * Sometimes positive and negative medical test results can have, respectively, negative and positive implications for the person being tested. For example, a negative breast cancer-screening test is very positive for the person being screened.  Confirmed   4. * Positive and negative are often meant as favorable or unfavorable but in a medical context the terms typically indicate the presence or absence of something (symptom, pathogen, etc.). For example, negative results for a breast cancer-screening test suggest the absence of a malignant tumor, which is a desirable outcome. Red XN
 5. * The phrase psychologically addictive has so many conflicting definitions that it is essentially meaningless. Replace the term with something specific. If you want to convey that a drug does not cause tolerance, or that its withdrawal syndrome is not life-threatening, then state that.  Confirmed  5. * The phrase psychologically addictive should be avoided in favor of more precise medical language. Red XN
 6. * The term drug abuse is vague and carries negative connotations. In a medical context, it generally refers to recreational use that carries serious risk of physical harm or addiction. However, others use it to refer to any illegal drug use. The best accepted term for non-medical use is "recreational use".  6. * The term drug abuse in a medical context generally refers to recreational use that carries serious risk of harm or addiction. However, others use it to refer to any illegal drug use. The terms non-medical use or   recreational use is preferred. checkY
7. Not all mainstream medicine is actually evidence-based medicine ...  7. Not all mainstream medicine is evidence-based medicine ...
 8. Many patient groups, particularly those that have been stigmatised, prefer person-first terminology—arguing, for example, that seizures are epileptic, people are not.  Confirmed 8. Many patient groups, particularly those that have been stigmatised, prefer person-first terminology — arguing, for example, that seizures are epileptic, people are not. Red XN

Thanks! Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) [he/his/him] 15:32, 27 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mark, could you add a number to each for easier referencing of the points? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:43, 27 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good idea Sandy - thanks! Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) [he/his/him] 15:57, 27 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The #8 is just whether to put space around the em-dash. I defer to the MOS on that one. Meh. -- Colin°Talk 16:13, 27 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmmm. Not sure why I put #8 in there, as I agree with you and Sandy. Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) [he/his/him] 16:57, 28 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
SG Feedback
  1. They say the same thing, but I prefer the tone in the original.
  2. Prefer the new version, because it's not only "patients" who read articles.
  3. Prefer the original because it explains why.
  4. Prefer the original. The new version is more technically written, and may lose some of the audience we need to reach with this page.
  5. Prefer the original. The new, again, will not explain the why to the audience we often need to reach with this page, which isn't always a medically sophisticated editor.
  6. Prefer the new version, much more clear.
  7. Prefer the new version, actually is redundant and adds nothing.
  8. Stick with original. The new version if just a faulty application of a spaced WP:EMDASH (Emdashes are unspaced on Wikipedia).

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:02, 27 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wrt #2 "patients" I agree it is not only "patients" who read articles, but this is a manual of style for editors, not readers, and the section heading is "Signs of writing or editing for (other) patients". However, I'm not bothered either way. (strike -- it is important, as without "patients" the sentence is meaningless in context).
Wrt #6 I don't mind removing the initial statement, but the last sentence is more than a copyedit. It offers "non-medical use" and "recreational use" equally "preferred". Really? By whom? Sources please.
Wrt #7 As I noted above, "actually" is not redundant. The assumption that mainstream medicine is evidence-based is endemic on Wikipedia talk page edit-wars, and a result of polarising anti-woo battlefield mentality. The point of the "Careful language" section is to remind editors of careless prejudice and habits, not to state something obvious. -- Colin°Talk 22:47, 27 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sandy's arguments have persuaded me (where I previously took a different stance), except for #7, where I think Colin makes a valid point. If we take out "non-medical use", are we okay with the revised #6? Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) [he/his/him] 17:22, 28 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Key:  Confirmed = The three of us all agree and the arguments are so sound that it's unlikely we will reverse course with additional input. | Conditional yesCY - Leaning toward this option absent any persuasive objections. | checkY - Leaning toward this option, but with a change in the text that merits further discussion. | Red XN = If the other option is Confirmed, then the red X indicates rejection. Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) [he/his/him] 17:19, 28 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What three individuals prefer isn't dispositive. Matters like this should generally be opened as RfCs or otherwise "advertised". There is a reason that a growing number of people refer to topical MoS pages as WP:LOCALCONSENSUS, and this is a good example of such a reason. This erodes the purpose of that policy and of having guidelines in the first place. It can also make people argue that a page like this should be demoted a {{WikiProject advice page}} essay and moved to something like "WP:WikiProject Medicine/Style advice".  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:21, 4 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I very strongly disagree that this needs an RFC or significant advertisement. These are fairly minor copyedits and (almost) no change to the meaning was intended. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:44, 8 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. Original is better. More clearly invokes thoughts of WP:NPOV and WP:NOT#ADVOCACY (though linking directly to them is also a good idea).
  2. Brianbbad's a much better, since WP doesn't have "patients" and isn't written on medical topics for patients, in particular, of anyone. A worried individual looking for information is probably more often going to be patient's family member, given that the average person has multiple of them; an adult with a diagnosis will have been given information directly by their doctor[s], while random family members will not; and parents [usually two] of a child with a diagnosis are going to have concerns and be looking for information while the child may have been mostly or entirely shielded from the diagnosis, if even old enough to read yet anyway.
    I buy Colin's context-dependency argument below, and will go with "keep the original". But preferably "find a way to be more encompassing even if we keep the word 'patient'", per SandyGeorgia below.
  3. Keep the original, since it provides a reason instead of looking arbitrary.
  4. Original is obviously better. The attempt at revision made it much more difficult to follow. However, it might be possible to integrate an element of explanation from Brianbbad's version. I.e., I see what the point was, but the overall execution was poor.
  5. Merge them. Original is better in scope of advice, but later version is more clear and precise (which is the entire point of this segment) in the parts it contains.
  6. Original is mostly better for providing more rationale. However, the later version is correct in using the same MOS:WAW style (don't switch from italics to quotes). It's also correct that non-medical use is sometimes appropriate, depending on context. But that is probably a narrow enough case that it's not helpful to include here (it's not generally synonymous with recreational use). Maybe put it in a footnote with explanation, so it is in fact covered in the guideline, but not thrown into the mix as if interchangeable. (Hint: use {{efn}} and {{notelist}} for footnotes.)
  7. Keep original; the emphasis actually serves a purpose here (challenging assumptions, and calling them out as such, without belaboring the point). Not all advice that pertains to how to best write the encyclopedia pertains to how best to write its internal rules, which are prescriptive (notice also the attention-getting use of "you" in places, etc.)
  8. Spaced en dashes are a redability (accessibility and usability) improvement over unspaced em dashes, which run material together and in some fonts are not easily distinguishable from hyphens (or for some poorly-sighted readers, ever clearly distinguishable from them). MoS permits either, but has itself mostly switched to the former, except on more topical pages like this one that we've not gotten around to normalizing. Also, the example provided was incorrectly using a spaced em dash, which is not a permitted style, and thus looked weird, so this colored previous views against it. I have corrected the glyph in that example to en dash.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:21, 4 January 2021 (UTC); revised: 02:58, 5 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

User:SMcCandlish, wrt #2 you have completely missed the point. The instruction is an admonishment aimed at editors who are writing for "patients" rather than "the general reader": the section is entitled "Signs of writing or editing for (other) patients". I think unfortunately the extraction of the edits into a table above for examination has lost the context of the guide. If you just have the proposed "You play down potentially discouraging information (for example, that a disease is typically fatal), or you give undue attention to individual success stories" then that isn't a sign you writing for (other) patients, per section title, but simply a sign that you are (overly) positive.
Secondly, I don't know why you have tweaked the table above to have a spaced en-dash on the RHS rather than Brianbbad's spaced em-dash. By all means make your own suggestion, but don't amend the above table to make a different change to the one Brianbbad did.
To be honest, I think we have spent way way too much time analysing edits that had negative or at best achieve "meh". Edits made by a very new editor (i.e. unfamiliar with MOS or writing medical articles for that matter), and who has not engaged in this discussion. Do whatever italic/em-dash edits are upsetting anyone and I suggest the topic be closed. It would IMO be far far better, for those who have a good eye for prose and appreciation of MOS, to read the actual guideline in-context as a whole, and suggest their own improvements, than to spend more time on this. -- Colin°Talk 18:46, 4 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've just noticed the sentence about RFC and demotion. For crying out loud, get some perspective here. Someone totally new to Wikipedia decided to edit, in good faith, a guideline for "clarity, style, and accuracy". I think they overreached themselves. Can you imagine if someone copyedited all over WP:V as their sixth edit? -- Colin°Talk 18:55, 4 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You've swayed me on no. 2! On the dash point: I made the change because Brian's use of the em dash character is obviously a typo, and the spaced em dash result is literally not a possible outcome under our style guide. But both spaced en dash and unspaced em dash are, so that is the actual choice (which matters, at least a little). Getting perspective: I'm trying to bring some, of the bigger picture sort. Whether the original desirer of these changes was an overstepping new editor has become immaterial; the regulars at this page decided to make it into a big deal. It's alarming to come to a guideline talk page and see the dominant material be a sprawling content-change discussion ending with "The three of us all agree" as a declaration of "confirmation" what to do so. Don't shoot the messenger! I'm not the one who turned this into a huge table-laden vote which made trivial copyediting out to be of vital messaging importance. There is probably no one on the entire system more steeped than me in editing MoS for clarity and stability and ensuring that it is in fact taken as guideline material. I'm aware of SandyGeorgia, et al., having concerns that this page and WP:MEDRS are being gradually degraded, that community faith in them may be eroding. If you've made a molehill into a mountain then you do have a mountain on your hands, so follow WP:Process is important principles with your new mountain. Don't give people with an axe to grind another piece of ammo they can use for WP:OWN / WP:VESTED / WP:LOCALCONSENSUS claims. :-)

PS: These concerns are not out of nowhere: in last the couple of years, two MoS pages have been demoted to {{Rejected}}, one has been merged out of existence, and at least three topical claimants to MoS guideline status have been firmly labeled {{WikiProject style advice}} essays and renamed to not imply they are guidelines or MoS pages. In most if not all of these cases, a significant factor was that the pages only seemed to represent the opinions of two or three editors. You'd all do well to attract a broader editorial audience to this page (even if just by notifying the main MoS page and WT:MED about proposals and other wording/intent discussions here). I seem to recall there was noise within the last couple of years about whether either MOS:MED or WP:MEDRS "really is" a guideline, too, though that might actually be back a little further. There are steps to take to thwart such things, to ensure continued consensus buy-in. Make the tent bigger, keep the community in the loop.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  19:55, 4 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your argument is all the more reason to close this. Would you please revert your en-dash change to someone else's proposed text. We don't edit other people's text, and that text is Brian's. If you feel strongly that MEDMOS must be compliant with MOS, then just fix the dash, rather than putting characters into someone else's edit. People have already commented on Brian's text before you turned up. I don't think it is fair on previous editors of this section (esp Mark) for labelling this "sprawling" -- the quantity of changes under discussion is a consequence of a newbie copyediting an entire guideline. Nor do I think it at all helpful for you to label the removal of key rationale aspects of a guideline as "trivial copyediting". Skillful copyediting does not remove the vital stuff. Once a sentence loses its vitality, the next edit, by some random editor, is to remove the sentence for being not vital at all. Let's not be so worried about the grammar and prose of the guideline text itself, than what the guideline is advising and why, that we weaken the later. I'd much rather our best medical editors discussed actual advice on writing a medical article based on their experience writing medical articles, and to that end, this section is a distraction IMO. -- Colin°Talk 22:10, 4 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:REFACTOR. We regularly do tweak text in proposals (especially for simply typographic goofs); no one owns them. Blocks of proposed content aren't people's !votes. Brianbbad is welcome to revert me if he really does intend to propose a spaced em dash version that'll never be used. Not interested in a tone argument; either this is "meh" and a waste of time, or it is worth a lengthy discussion. The participants here turned it into the latter, so let's not trivialize it or pretend it didn't happen. My central point is that if we're going to devote attention to it – and that did happen – it is better as not an insular triumvirate, which has bad optics. I'm not sure how to get this message across any clearer. It's a wiki-cultural, wiki-political point, not a "what my preferences are on these 8 copyedits" matter (on which I'm clearly flexible). PS: Of course the MoS should follow the MoS [to the extent logically applicable], or people feel free to ignore the MoS for being hypocritical.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  02:58, 5 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Colin’s arguments on #2 are persuasive, except ... take an article like TS ... it is not always the “patient”, rather the patient’s parents ... could we find a way to be more encompassing even if we keep the word “patient”?SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:13, 4 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are three places in the "Writing for the wrong audience" where one could argue to expand "patients" to "patients and their caregivers", or similar. The bigger point, however, is that these are just bullet point examples that some editor at some point felt were useful, not an exhaustive list of all possible misguided intentions the editor may have when developing an article. Perhaps there are better examples, or some should be retired. That would IMO be more useful that whether or not to slightly tweak 10-year-old text. Sandy, if you think expanding the scope of a word in the guideline is useful, then just do it. Similarly, if SMC thinks that changing the brightness of two pixels on my monitor screen improves the guideline, then he should just do it. Neither of you are now discussing some newbie's weak attempt at copyediting, for which I detect no consensus approval. -- Colin°Talk 14:20, 5 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Colin, I am sorry to disappoint; I am not a prose guru, but will have look at whether I can address the ambiguity between patients and caregivers, although I usually prefer to leave such tweaks to our best guideline writer (you) and our most experienced P&G writer (WAID). OK, but I take the criticism ... I will see what I can tweak myself. Overall, it was a sound revert as there were limited improvements. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 10:08, 6 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Done;[4] of the three instances where caregiver could be added, I thought one did not warrant it, and the remaining two could be addressed by changing only the first one, which was in a heading, hence encompasses the second. I thought the word “practical” there was strange, as it read as if practical was a bad thing, when we really just want to say, don’t give advice at all. All this from an ipad and all-thumbs typing. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 10:21, 6 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have just now read a suggestion above that we should open an RFC over a minor copyedit; I cannot understand why we would do such a thing. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 10:47, 6 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And I restored the author’s original faulty emdash as written. That was the only change in that portion, and subsequent dialogue about it becomes non-sensical when we alter the original. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:56, 6 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Endorse closing this thread, which was a lot of bandwidth about a minor copyedit. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:56, 6 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Update of the APA link

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to just edit a MOS article, so. The last point under the section "Careful language" directs the reader to the APA 6th style guideline re: disability. APA 7th has since been released, and the equivalent article is now https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/bias-free-language/disability (there's a few other bias-free language pages too, some of the other points may be worth considering for mos:med but that's a thought for later). The currently linked page itself says it is now outdated and redirects to the 7th article I have linked. There are some changes in their disability guidelines, but the in-article text doesn't actively conflict with it, so changing the link doesn't necessitate other in-article changes. NB: the title of the page is just "Disability", but I've included the superordinate category as part of the title to help the reader understand what the link will contain. Current text:

  • Choose appropriate words when describing medical conditions and their effects on people. The words disease and disorder are not always appropriate. Independently observed medical signs are not self-reported symptoms. Avoid saying that people "suffer" from or are "victims" of a chronic illness or symptom, which may imply helplessness: identifiers like survivor, affected person or individual with are alternate wordings. Many patient groups, particularly those that have been stigmatised, prefer person-first terminology—arguing, for example, that seizures are epileptic, people are not. An example of person-first terminology would be people with epilepsy instead of epileptics. In contrast, not all medical conditions are viewed as being entirely disadvantageous by those who have them. Some groups view their condition as part of their identity (for example, some deaf and some autistic people) and reject this terminology. For more advice, see Guidelines for Non-Handicapping Language in APA Journals.

Proposed:

  • Choose appropriate words when describing medical conditions and their effects on people. The words disease and disorder are not always appropriate. Independently observed medical signs are not self-reported symptoms. Avoid saying that people "suffer" from or are "victims" of a chronic illness or symptom, which may imply helplessness: identifiers like survivor, affected person or individual with are alternate wordings. Many patient groups, particularly those that have been stigmatised, prefer person-first terminology—arguing, for example, that seizures are epileptic, people are not. An example of person-first terminology would be people with epilepsy instead of epileptics. In contrast, not all medical conditions are viewed as being entirely disadvantageous by those who have them. Some groups view their condition as part of their identity (for example, some deaf and some autistic people) and reject this terminology. For more advice, see the APA style guideline on Bias-free Language about Disability

--Xurizuri (talk) 06:24, 16 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks Xurizuri. Yes you can edit MOS articles. This is the encyclopaedia anyone can edit, however as the guidance is supposed to reflect community consensus and best-practice editing, significant changes to guidance by someone inexperienced isn't likely to work well. Just updating a link is quite uncontroversial. I've done the update, and expanded the hyperlink to include the "APA style guideline" text too. I agree it isn't straightforward what the title should be. -- Colin°Talk 16:42, 16 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Careful language: drug abuse

Re: point 4 starting with, "The term drug abuse". While it is defined here as referring to recreational use, which is how it is typically used, I am also used to it referring to substance use disorders or self-medication in a psych context. Given that MOS:MED also covers psychiatric articles, I suggest that this point be updated to include re-wordings for that context as well. An example sentence where it may not refer to recreational use per se, is "drug abuse is common in people with bipolar disorder". Typically, one would go with the form used in the source, but this is a term still used in literature which I'm guessing is why this point was added in the first place. --Xurizuri (talk) 12:33, 19 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Monitor (APA's newspaper) has an article about this: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/06/cover-opioids-talk-sidebar. The US National Institute on Drug Abuse has a guide: https://www.drugabuse.gov/nidamed-medical-health-professionals/health-professions-education/words-matter-terms-to-use-avoid-when-talking-about-addiction. The UK Addiction Centre explains why substance use disorder is preferred over abuse/dependence/addiction in scientific community (however, all the websites in the UK I've checked haven't standardised to this): https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-vs-dependence/. The Australian ADF's power of words practical guide prefers substance use over drug abuse as well as having a number of other specifications for various drug use terms. The ICD-10 and -11 both refer to it as "substance use disorder", I didnt grab the link for those but you can find it easily. I believe these in combination effectively demonstrate that globally drug abuse has a specific meaning other than rec use in psych, and also provide a guide for how to write the addition. Based on this, I propose the following edit:
Current - The term drug abuse is vague and carries negative connotations. In a medical context, it generally refers to recreational use that carries serious risk of physical harm or addiction. However, others use it to refer to any illegal drug use. The best accepted term for non-medical use is "recreational use".
Proposed (changes in ital) - The term drug abuse is vague and carries negative connotations. In a medical context, it generally refers to recreational use that carries serious risk of physical harm or addiction. However, others use it to refer to any illegal drug use. The best accepted term for non-medical use of drugs such as this is "recreational use". In a psychiatric context, when drug abuse is used to refer to substance use disorders, appropriate terms are substance use, substance use disorder, or person with a substance use disorder. --Xurizuri (talk) 02:51, 20 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Xurizuri: I appreciate your efforts to eliminate stigmatizing language where possible. At the same time, it's important to keep the no original research principle in mind. For example, I would want to see a couple of authoritative, reliable sources to support your proposed sentence, In a psychiatric context, when drug abuse is used to refer to substance use disorders, appropriate terms are substance use, substance use disorder, or person with a substance use disorder. Also, we should cover terms used in ICD-11, e.g., "substance dependence". ¶ If you enter some of these terms into Google Trends and Google Ngram Viewer, you will discover that "substance abuse" is still used frequently—more often than many other terms. I'm not saying we should use the term, substance abuse, but I am saying that we need to base our policies like this one on reliable sources as much as possible. ¶ A related consideration is the context. For example, "substance abuse" is often used as an adjective describing a program, as opposed to describing a patient's presenting problems. ¶ Finally, terminology changes over time, as you know, and I suspect that eventually what you propose will become standard phrasing. But we cannot set the standard. ¶ Grammar/usage point: of drugs such as this is confusing because it is not clear what "this" refers to. ¶ All the best - Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) [he/his/him] 23:23, 8 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Possible Pitfall

Just wanted to mention that person-first language isn't preferred in every case. For example, autistic people tend to prefer being called autistic people to being called people with autism. Just about no one wants to be referred to as "differently abled," which ends up being stigmatizing.. RareDiseaseWikiFacts (talk) 03:36, 12 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So maybe the best thing to do would be a minor edit: "Many, but not all..." RareDiseaseWikiFacts (talk) 03:41, 12 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think this is already implied as part of "many". Crossroads -talk- 04:12, 12 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unexpected gender neutrality probably shouldn't always be avoided. I don't know what the policy should be but it seems like a bad idea to make a rule against inclusivity even when it can lead to awkward wording. RareDiseaseWikiFacts (talk) 03:39, 12 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I moved this last comment from the to-do section where it doesn't belong. I'm not seeing where this is mentioned in the guideline. We describe anatomy as reliable medical sources do. The human body has "arms and legs, hands and feet", despite the fact that some people are amputees. Crossroads -talk- 04:12, 12 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry for putting things in the wrong place. Still trying to figure out what is supposed to go where and I have a feeling I've probably made a number of dumb mistakes I don't realize I've made. You're right that it is implied as part of many.

I didn't mean to suggest everyone should start changing everything to say "people with uteruses" or anything. It just seemed like there are cases where this would be heavy-handed. I can see in retrospect that the fact that there is a rule saying you have to say "women with high levels of estrogen" rather than "people with high levels of estrogen" doesn't mean you can't mention a study on the effects of hormone therapy to describe how researchers differentiated between levels of estrogen and age/social conditioning (I'm obviously making this up). I was referring to the section about gender neutral language. Sounds like I was being a little too bold. I will tone it down. RareDiseaseWikiFacts (talk) 06:21, 12 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wrt person-first and autism, the guideline already states that some members of some groups do prefer person-first style: their disability/difference defines them and they are proud of it. I don't know who added the gender-neutral comments in the To Do list above. Is this generally a problem in articles that needs a guidance point here? I'm a bit worried explicit guidance might encourage someone to change "men are more at risk of heart disease if ...." to "people" because heart disease affects everyone, but when the actual source was in fact just a study of men (and probably a sub-group of men). Maybe better to just let editors work this out for themselves? -- Colin°Talk 11:18, 12 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Probably me, although I no longer remember. We have had a years-long problem with well-meaning editors "helpfully" turning "85% of women experience menstrual symptoms, such as cramps" into "85% of people experience menstrual symptoms, such as cramps". The widespread consensus across multiple articles is that it's not okay to turn Women's health into "People's health". Pregnancy happens to women, menstruation happens to women, and breast cancer primarily happens to women. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:55, 9 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Conflict between WP:MEDTITLE and WP:COMMONNAME needs to be addressed

Having the article on the drug commonly known in English as Tylenol or Panadol at the paracetamol title has always irritated me because from the perspective of both linguistics and cognitive psychology, it's hard to pronounce paracetamol and it's even more difficult to remember how to pronounce it. (I did not major in either field but I completed my bachelor of arts in history at a research university that is ranked in the top 10 globally in both fields as well as history, and had many classmates majoring in linguistics and cognitive science.)

Both names are obviously difficult to memorize, but acetaminophen has the benefit of being memorable, unambiguous, and melodious — it rolls off the tongue. Anyone who has worked or volunteered in a hospital can understand why the United States Adopted Name system does not use paracetamol because there are several "para-" words used in the health sciences (paraplegic, paramedic, etc.) for which paracetamol can be easily confused amidst the noise of a busy ER. Which probably explains why acetaminophen is the more common term in published English sources (according to Google) than paracetamol.

For years, efforts to move paracetamol to a more appropriate title have been resisted on the grounds that WP:MEDTITLE prefers the INN, which in this case is paracetamol. However, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was recently moved from Tozinameran on the grounds that WP:COMMONNAME prevails over WP:MEDTITLE.

I propose rewriting the paragraph dealing with drugs to clarify that as with anatomy, a common name should prevail over the INN where the common name is clearly used far more widely in published reliable sources (which would imply that acetaminophen is the more appropriate title). Any objections? --Coolcaesar (talk) 13:55, 17 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Coolcaesar, perhaps you are predisposed towards whichever is your native language? As someone who has lived on multiple continents, paracetamol is no more difficult to memorize or pronounce than is acetaminophen. Actually, acetaminophen is probably more un-phonetic to many languages. Acetaminophen is quite a huge mouthful to many people from many countries and in many languages. Paracetamol is more phonetic, shorter, and easier. Bst, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:48, 17 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I second Sandy's comment. This is the International English edition of Wikipedia, not the US English edition. I don't find paracetamol hard to say but can't get my tongue around acetaminophen. And I don't believe the naming was chosen for reasons you claim. We don't do Google searches to find out what the best name for a drug or indeed any article because that would pick the US name every time. And you yourself mention Tylenol and Panadol but Wikipedia must have only one article name. In the UK many parents will sing the praises of Calpol, for their children. Tylenol is just one brand and an important enough brand to have its own article, which is unusual. Generally, handling brand variants is what redirects are for. Our readers will then quickly learn what drug Tylenol contains. -- Colin°Talk 10:13, 18 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm going to abstain from this one. My decade-long preference for (and insistence on) INNs is well known, and I disagree deeply with the recent closure at Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which was both a non-admin closure and clearly done against consensus. Fvasconcellos (t·c) 11:24, 18 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Quite a problematic non-admin close; I am not familiar with how one gets that dealt with or where to ask. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 11:27, 18 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't see the relevance of "non-admin", given this was not a vote on an action that required admin tools. I'd rather we avoided dividing the community into "those with wisdom to gauge consensus together with existing policy and guidelines" and "those who are merely permitted to voice an opinion" based on an RFA vote. (Trump, 74 million votes, I rest my case). I would take the long view with such topics: things are weird right now and normal service will be resumed in due course. -- Colin°Talk 13:56, 18 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am pretty sure that somewhere we have some guidance that non-admins are discouraged from closing anything other than clear-cut RFCs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:26, 18 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nope. The info page Wikipedia:Closing discussions says "any uninvolved editor may close" and that a challenge to a close will normally be rejected if you are making it simply because the closer was not an admin. There is an essay Wikipedia:Non-admin closure which describes a few situations where it is best closed by an admin, simply because they have the tools with which to enact the decision. The set of people who have the experience and wisdom to close discussion is not congruous with those who have the admin bit. -- Colin°Talk 15:50, 18 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, Colin; perhaps I am thinking of situations at RFA where admin candidates were criticized for closing discussions that others thought they should not have. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:48, 18 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've lived in multiple english-speaking countries (none in the Americas) and I have never heard acetominaphen. This is despite having people around me in various medical-related fields in all of those countries. Paracetamol is the only non-brand name for it I'm familiar with. If we're using google analyses, you may also be interested in https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=acetaminophen,paracetamol - change it to worldwide instead of US, it defaults to US. Paracetamol is more commonly searched, and is the preferred search term in every country outside of North America. (I spelled the name you've mentioned from memory from having read it in your message, partially to prove a point - I can typically remember a word's spelling after a few readings, and this word is not as easy as you claimed. You don't know if I didn't do it intentionally, but regardless I'm sure you can see it's still easy to flip those letters.) While you say acetaminophen has nothing that can be confused with it, the first ones I thought of was acetamide and acetazolamide, and I also would've guessed it's an alternate name for ibuprofen (fen and phen) before I would've guessed it's paracetamol. There is good reason in medical fields to use the technical name at least some of the time - it's standardised, and therefore most people with a passing familiarity will recognise the name. I'd argue that COVID-19 related topics are an exception to a broader rule, as readers (and reliable source creators) with typically no interest in medicine will still be interested in those. I'm also unsure how cognitive psychology plays into this one? On a side note, tylenol is paracetamol??? I thought it was another painkiller like aspirin that only really americans consider common use. --Xurizuri (talk) 10:25, 19 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Coolcaesar, I'm surprised by your view, because mine is the opposite. I primarily use paracetamol (pronounced "Tylenol" if I think you're a normal human) because I can't remember how to spell the North American name. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:03, 9 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. ^ Consensus from February 2016 here