Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid on discussion pages

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On Wikipedia, talk pages serve a variety of functions. One of the main purposes is for Wikipedia editors to discuss how the article should be written, and what material should be included or not.

While involved in a discussion, there are arguments that can make or break a case. Inclusion of material can hinge on what existing policies and guidelines allow for. Therefore, all arguments in such a discussion should be based on these, and not one's personal perceptions.

Unlike a deletion discussion, where people "vote" with terms like "keep," "delete," and a variety of other actions, talk page discussions are not as formal and can follow any number of structures. The examples below use terms like "include" and "remove" just to get the point across. But a real discussion may appear quite differently.

Arguments without arguments[edit]

Just a vote[edit]

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • IncludeThoughtlessMcInclude 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • RemoveThoughtlessMcRemove 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Include because it should be included – Because This 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Remove because it does not belong – Because That 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)


It is important when engaging in a discussion that your comments are not votes. It helps in reaching a consensus when each person who comments gives a reason why they believe in their decision.

Per others[edit]

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Include per consensus – Echo 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Remove since that is what everyone else wants – Copycat 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

Discussions are a place where people present ideas in working toward a solution. Simply going along with the crowd does not present any new ideas. If you agree with one or more other users, you should specify why you think their ideas are good.

Personal point of view[edit]

Shortcut:

Article appearance[edit]

  • Include Makes article look good – Vanity Fair 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Remove Makes article look bad – Eyesore Buster 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

Content on Wikipedia is judged based on its compliance with guidelines, not its physical appearance. Once you can make all the content comply, you can then work with that and tidy it up.

Personal taste[edit]

  • Include I like it in there – All for me 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Remove I hate it in there – Yuck 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

There are opinions and lots of them out there. It is impossible to please everyone. But it is possible to comply with guidelines, and this will decide what is included and what not. Some people will like it, others dislike it.

It's interesting[edit]

  • Include Makes the article more interesting – WOW 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Remove No one is interested in reading that – Boring! 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

There are many interesting facts out there. There are also lots of things you may perceive no one is interested in reading. You never know. Once again, this is opinion.

Simple truth[edit]

  • Include Is verifiable – C4Urself 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Include Is sourced – Good Enough 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a collection of indiscriminate information. There is actually quite a lot of true and sourceable information out in this world that does not belong on Wikipedia, or in a particular article. For example, Wikipedia is not a colletion of statistics, trivia, or how to information. And besides, you would not write facts about an apple tree in an article about sharks. Simply saying something is "verifiable" or "sourced" does not show how it is relevant to the subject or why it otherwise belongs.

Surmountable problems[edit]

Quality of writing[edit]

  • Remove Has a lot of misspelling and poor grammar. – English Teacher 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

Material that is included on Wikipedia is judged on its accuracy and sourcing of verification, not on the quality of writing. A paragraph or two that has spelling, grammar, or punctuation problems can always be corrected.

Notability fallacies[edit]

Sourcing[edit]

  • Include Despite the fact there is no sourcing, I know this is accurate – MyPage 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

On Wikipedia, inclusion is based on verifiability, not truth. All included information must be verifiable by reliable sources.

Personal knowledge[edit]

  • Include I am an expert on this subject – TheUltimateAuthority 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Include I work for this company and know this is about to happen there – Insider 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

No original research is allowed on Wikipedia. Word-of-mouth info that is not from published sources is not considered to be verifiable.

Unreliable sources[edit]

  • Include Someone on this blog said that it is true – OneIsEnough 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Include It says it in another Wikipedia article – AOK 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Include A friend told me about it on Facebook – Word of mouth 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

See Wikipedia's guidelines for reliable sources for what is or is not considered a reliable source.

Trivial information[edit]

  • Include Without this information and the sources that come along with it, the article will be completely unreferenced, and will be in danger of deletion. – Anchor Baby 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

In order to meet the general notability guideline, an article must be sourced by reliable sources with substantial coverage. If only the trivia in an article is and can be sourced, it is doubtful whether or not it can be included, and this should indeed be examined.

Unchallenged material[edit]

  • Include Has remained in the article for 6 years already and no one has challenged it. – Dried up 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

On Wikipedia, nothing is in stone. Any text on any page is subject to change at any given time, no matter how long it has been that way. If there is a good reason to remove longstanding text, the length of time it has been there should not be an obstacle.

About the person[edit]

Page ownership[edit]

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.

Examples:

  • Include I created this article – MyPage 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

On Wikipedia, pages are not owned, even if created by that user. Once created, it is open for anyone to edit, and once substantially edited by another user, cannot even be deleted at the request of the creator.

Reputation[edit]

  • Include Without this information, this company will lose business – Advertiser 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)
  • Remove This article is about myself, and I don't want the world to know that about me – Ashamed 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not advertising space. Articles about notable commecial enterprises are permitted, but must be written at a neutral point of view, and are here only to tell about the company, and not to promote or disparage it.

Even an article about oneself is not owned by that person. Other editors are permitted to add and modify sourced information within Wikipedia's guidelines. Even if the article says something negative about someone, if it comes from a reliable source, it is perfectly acceptable there (see An article about yourself is nothing to be proud of). Most likely if this happened, the negative information was in the news already, so the public already knows. Importantly, all such articles must still meet the strict policies found in WP:Biographies of living persons.

See also[edit]