Wikipedia:Inertia

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inertia 2 : indisposition to motion, exertion, or change. [1]

Inertia exemplified on Wikipedia[edit]

A rock. Note the lack of movement. See also WP:RFA.

Often when editing on Wikipedia disputes will arise between editors; be it a fact stated in article, a change to a Wikipedia policy, or even the colors on a template. When two parties arguing a side feel strongly enough about their stance, there is a strong probability that a lack of development can occur. This can stymy or delay any process, from upgrading a stub article or reform of a particular policy.

In these cases it is the responsibility of the editors to realize that inertia has occurred and take appropriate steps to rectify the situation.

An example of inertia on Wikipedia[edit]

Let us take for instance a small matter, such as an edit to an article with two parties involved. The discussion begins simple with Party A feeling strongly one way with Party B feeling the opposite.

Party B:I really feel this bit of information helps define the subject and the narrative tone of the article.
Party A:The information provided lacks any sources and is potentially incongruent with existent Wikipedia policies.

While both parties have valid statements (give or take the strength of their arguments) this would be a key time to make a resolution or find a middle ground from which to work upon. Instead, should the discussion continue as:

Party B:Well, I still feel it is important to the article and should be kept in.
Party A:I feel it is totally irrelevant and is not in style with Wikipedia.

Voila. Inertia has occurred. The discussion has continued forward although no real change has occurred in terms of constructive development. Rather than agreeing to disagree, the parties in question could develop a common ground with which to go foreword. They could agree to implement the "questionable" information, tag it appropriately and wait a certain amount of time before meeting the requirements established or striking it from the body of the article entirely.

Avoiding Inertia[edit]

What to do should you find yourself in a state of inertia: Panicking will do you little good; so it is best to be assertive. Should you find yourself in a predicament similar to the one above (in varying degrees of conflict) the best solution is find a common one. It is all a matter of give and take.

Review your arguments and that of the party you are debating against. Create a Venn diagram. What are the points you bring up and that of the opposing party? What is the core argument of each side? What shared points do you both bring up? How can you build off of that to satisfy the wishes of all parties involved? What are you willing to sacrifice and what would they be willing to sacrifice?

One of the more important things to remember is that not all parties involved may be happy with the final results – but is better than continuing in an infinite verbal loop.

See Also[edit]