Wikipedia:Binding content discussions

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A binding content discussion (BCD) is a formal dispute resolution process whereby the community votes to impose a binding solution on content naming disputes (disputes about the title of an article).

Why are binding content discussions needed?[edit]

While, at first glance, the idea of binding resolution of content issues may seem to fly against the principles of Wikipedia, it would help resolve some of our particularly intractable disputes. Intransigent battles over content – those in which the parties cannot come to consensus about the content, but continue to wrangle over it – are often resolved by default rather than by consensus: the proponent of one position becomes so aggravated that they commit conduct errors which cause them to be banned or blocked, thus allowing the other editor's position to prevail, or more often one party simply gives up the fight with the same result.

When a position prevails under such circumstances, it is often not because the edits in question are proper under Wikipedia standards but rather because the editors involved in the dispute were the only ones who had taken notice or cared about the dispute. Months or years can pass before the questionable edits are noted and tagged for review and months more can pass before any review is forthcoming. In such circumstances, the quality of the encyclopedia suffers to the point that failing to strictly adhere to Wikipedia's collaborative principles does less damage to the encyclopedia than leaving the errors in place.

Binding resolution of content disputes has happened in the past, generally within naming disputes, through remedies at Arbitration cases that have set up RFCs of which the final result has been binding for a period of time, generally a few years. A few examples of these cases are Macedonia, Ireland article names, and Abortion. Senkaku Islands is another example of a dispute with an article title that has been unable to be resolved through conventional dispute resolution. At present, there is no way to resolve these issues without arbitration, and at times this can cause severe disruption to the community.

How would a binding content discussion work?[edit]

Previous dispute resolution processes are expected to have been exhausted before filing a binding content discussion such as the use of mediation, third opinion and/or the dispute resolution noticeboard. A guideline for filers would read as follows:

An editor (similar to a volunteer on the dispute resolution noticeboard) will review newly opened cases to ensure that it is correctly filed and meets the criteria set out above.

After a BCD is reviewed and the editor is satisfied, it will be listed on a leaderboard on the community portal to gain attention from the wider community.

If accepted, the RFC would work differently from current RFCs. They would be structured discussions that would present the issue that needs to be addressed, with the various viewpoints presented on the issue as well as the evidence to back up those viewpoints. This evidence should be presented in a well structured, easy to present manner. There would then be an AFD style discussion which would commence below the evidence, with comments in favour of either option to be made citing their reasons. After the thirty days, if insufficient participation has occurred, this time may be extended. The discussions would be closed by three users: an administrator, a user selected by the participants (for example, from a relevant WikiProject) and a user experienced in dispute resolution. If a clear consensus exists among them, they will close it and the result of which would be binding for a period of time, initially up to one year, but in future may be up to three years.

How is the consensus enforced?[edit]

Three remedies can be imposed:

The sanctions will be logged at /Remedies and at the Arbitration Committee discretionary sanctions log.

If there is no consensus on closing, the case will be automatically deferred to the Arbitration Committee.

If any editor violates a remedy imposed by the community, it should be brought to the administrator’s noticeboard for incidents. If there are real-world changes affecting the topic, the decision of the BCD would be dissolved and reopened for discussion as an “amendment” to the prior case.