[uf-discuss] Caution needed when giving rights by template (& bad technical advice given on wiki)

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Wed Jul 25 02:29:10 PDT 2007

Tantek has just reverted
a change I made to the 'wiki'; to the suggested method of including the
"Public Domain release" template. I had changed the recommended method of
suing the template from:



The "subst" parameter causes the text, current at the time of use, of the
template to be written permanently into the wiki-code source of the page
on which it appears, as opposed to calling it from the template every
time. This means that subsequent changes to the template do NOT appear on
the individual page concerned.

I made this edit in the light of Manu's well- intentioned, but misguided,
request that changes be made to the template:


I would STRONGLY advise anyone thinking of placing their contributions
into the public domain to "subst" the template (or use their own wording),
rather than calling template which may be changed in future, to a form of
wording with which they do not agree; and with no change being noted in
the "history" of their user page. To use the template without "subst" is
like signing a contract with a blank section for the other party to
complete at a later date.

Tantek's justification for the edit was that he was reverting to the form
of wording used by Wikipedia. As has become clear, Wikipedia and this
'wiki' are run on very different lines, with the former having far more
openness and accountability. Wikipedia uses "subst"  on other templates;
and anyone who chooses may "subst" thir PD template.

In the same edit, Tantek restored instructions, such as "use CTRL S to
save", which I'd removed, which are OS and browser specific, on the basis
that they help some people. All the usability guidance I've ever read on
the subject, cautions against giving such advice, which is akin to saying
"to get coffee, turn left, then second right, then the kitchen is first
left". This will help everyone in the office where I work, but probably
won't apply to many other people reading this.

Andy Mabbett

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