Wikipedia:Requests for comment

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"WP:RFC" redirects here. For requests for checkuser, see WP:SPI. For redirects for creation, see WP:AFC/R. For automatic linking of RFC expressions, see WP:RFCAUTO. For requests for closure, see WP:AN/RFC.
"WP:Votes" redirects here. It is not to be confused with WP:VOTES.

Requests for comment (RfC) is an informal process for requesting outside input concerning disputes, policies, guidelines, article content, or user conduct. RfC is one of several processes available within Wikipedia's dispute resolution system. Alternative processes include third opinion, administrator's incident noticeboard, reliable sources noticeboard, neutral point of view noticeboard, and the dispute resolution noticeboard.

Before starting the Request for comment process[edit]

Before using the RfC process to get opinions from outside editors, it always helps to first discuss the matter with the other parties on the related talk page. If that does not resolve the problem, some other forums for resolution include:

  • If the article is complex or technical, it may be worthwhile to ask for help at the relevant WikiProject.
  • If an article content question is just between two editors, you can simply and quickly ask for a third opinion on the Third opinion page.
  • If you want general help in improving an article, such as achieving Featured status, then list it at Peer review.

When starting an RfC, you must first decide if the primary issue is a user's conduct, in which case you use the Request for comment on user process; otherwise, use the process described below in the Request comment on articles, policies, or other non-user issues section.

Request for comment about the conduct of another user[edit]

To report an offensive or confusing user name in violation of Wikipedia username policy, see subpage User names.
To report spam, page blanking, and other blatant vandalism, see Wikipedia:Vandalism.

A user-conduct RfC (RFC/U) is for discussing specific users who have violated Wikipedia policies and guidelines. For a mild-to-moderate conflict, you might try Wikipedia:Third opinion, a quick, simple way to get an outside view.

Before requesting community comment, at least two editors must have contacted the user on the user's talk page, or the talk page(s) involved in the dispute, and tried but failed to resolve the problem. Any RFC/U not accompanied by evidence showing that two users tried and failed to resolve the same dispute may be deleted after 48 hours. The evidence, preferably in the form of diffs, should not simply show the dispute itself, but should show attempts to find a resolution or compromise. The users certifying the dispute must be the same users who were involved in the attempt to resolve it.

RFC/Us brought solely to harass or subdue an adversary are not permitted. Repetitive, burdensome, or unwarranted filing of meritless RFC/Us is an abuse of the dispute resolution process. RFC/U is not a venue for personal attack.

The list of RFC/Us (along with a brief statement of the behaviors in dispute) are transcluded at the top of the Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard to encourage wide participation. Separate postings at the noticeboard that announce RFC/Us should generally be avoided.

Request comment on articles, policies, or other non-user issues[edit]

Issues by topic area
Articles (main namespace)
Biographies (watch) {{rfc|bio}}
Economy, trade, and companies (watch) {{rfc|econ}}
History and geography (watch) {{rfc|hist}}
Language and linguistics (watch) {{rfc|lang}}
Maths, science, and technology (watch) {{rfc|sci}}
Media, the arts, and architecture (watch) {{rfc|media}}
Politics, government, and law (watch) {{rfc|pol}}
Religion and philosophy (watch) {{rfc|reli}}
Society, sports, and culture (watch) {{rfc|soc}}
Non-article pages
(Do not use these on article talk pages)
Wikipedia style and naming (watch) {{rfc|style}}
Wikipedia policies and guidelines (watch) {{rfc|policy}}
WikiProjects and collaborations (watch) {{rfc|proj}}
Wikipedia technical issues and templates (watch) {{rfc|tech}}
Wikipedia proposals (watch) {{rfc|prop}}
Unsorted
Unsorted RFCs (watch) {{rfc}}
  1. Edit the talk page of the article or project page that you are interested in. Create a new section at the bottom of the talk page.
  2. Insert an RfC template at the top of the new talk page section. The RfC templates are listed in the adjacent table.
    • Example: {{rfc|econ}} If you are not certain in which area an issue belongs, pick the one that seems closest.
    • If the RfC is relevant to two categories, include them both. For example: {{rfc|econ|bio}}
    • Note that the "Policies and Guidelines" category is for discussing changes to the policies and guidelines themselves, not for discussing how to apply the existing policies and guidelines to a specific article. The same approach also applies to "style", "WikiProject", and all of the other non-article categories.
  3. Include a brief, neutral statement of the issue in the talk page section, immediately below the RfC template. Sign the statement with ~~~~ (name and date) or ~~~~~ (just the date). Failing to provide a date will cause a robot to remove the pages that notify interested editors of RFCs.
  4. Save the talk page. Now you're done. The RfC bot will take care of the rest, including posting the RfC in the proper RfC lists. It may take the bot up to a day to list the RfC, so be patient.

Example[edit]

Below is an example of how a new RfC appears while you are editing the talk page. You can copy and paste this example, but be sure to change the wording to reflect your particular topic (for example, the "hist" category may need to be changed). The signature ("~~~~") is required. After you have inserted text similar to this into the talk page, you must save the page.

==RfC: Is the photo in the History section relevant?==
{{rfc|hist}}
Should the "History" section contain a photograph of the ship? ~~~~

The most common style is this simple, single-section format. However, there are many other styles, some of which can be seen at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Example formatting.

Statement should be neutral and brief[edit]

Keep the RfC statement simple and succinct. Statements are often phrased as questions, for example: "Should this article say in the lead that John Smith was a contender for the Pulitzer Prize?" The RfC bot will copy your statement (from the end of the {{RFC}} template through the first date stamp) to the list of active RfCs. A long statement will make the list harder to read. For technical reasons, statements may not contain tables or complex formatting, although these may be added after the initial statement.

The statement should be self-contained, and should not assume that the section title is available (because the statement, but not the section title, will be copied to the RfC list pages).

If you have lots to say on the issue, provide a brief statement in the initial RfC description, save the talk page, then edit the talk page again and place additional comments below your signature that follows the RfC statement. If you feel as though you cannot describe the issue neutrally, ask someone else to write a summary for you. You can also do your best, and invite others to improve your question or summary later.

Alternative to RfC template: request board[edit]

As an alternative to the RfC template, you may initiate an RfC through the Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Request board. Follow the directions on that page, and your request will be transferred to an appropriate location.

Placing an RfC in a page other than a talk page[edit]

Normally, RfCs are located in talk pages. But in some situations, an RfC may be placed on a subpage of this page or a subpage of a policy page (for example Wikipedia:Pending changes/Request for Comment 2012 or Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Categorization of persons).

Publicizing an RfC[edit]

After you create an RfC, it will be noticed by editors that watch the talk page, and by some editors in the Feedback Request Service who are notified by a bot. However, there may not be enough editors to get sufficient input. To get more input, you may publicize the RfC by posting a notice at one or more of the following locations:

When posting a notice at those locations, provide a link to the RfC, and a brief statement, but do not argue the RfC. Take care to adhere to the canvassing guideline, which prohibits notifying a chosen group of editors who may be biased. When creating a new Wikipedia policy or suggesting major modifications to a policy, follow the instructions at WP:PROPOSAL. Centralized discussion may be used for policy-related RfCs but is not for publicizing any content disputes in articles. Further guidance is available at WP:Publicising discussions.

Suggestions for responding[edit]

All editors (including IP users) are welcome to respond to any RfC.

  • Responses may be submitted in a variety of formats. Some RfCs are structured as a series of distinct responses, one per editor. Others result in a threaded (indented) conversation involving multiple editors. Others again contain one or more alternative proposals that are separately endorsed or opposed by editors using a polling process. Other RfCs combine polling with threaded discussions. See the example section above for a suggested format.
  • The outcome is determined by weighing the merits of the arguments and assessing if they are consistent with Wikipedia policies. Counting "votes" is not an appropriate method of determining outcome, though a closer should not ignore numbers entirely. See WP:CLOSE and WP:CONSENSUS for details.
  • Remember that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; all articles must follow the Neutral point of view, Verifiability, and No original research policies.
  • Try not to be confrontational. Be friendly and civil, and assume good faith of other editors' actions.
  • If you feel an RfC is improperly worded, ask the originator to improve the wording, or add an alternative unbiased statement immediately below the RfC question template. Do not close the RfC just because you think the wording is biased. An RfC tag generally remains on the page until removed by the RfC bot or the originator. A discussion can be closed only when the criteria at Ending RfCs are met.
  • Mediate where possible—identify common ground, and attempt to draw editors together rather than push them apart.
  • If necessary, educate users by referring to the appropriate Wikipedia policies or style page.

Ending RfCs[edit]

There are several ways that RfCs end: the question may be withdrawn by the poster (e.g., if the community's response became obvious very quickly), it may be moved to another dispute resolution forum, such as mediation, the RfC participants can agree to end it, or it can be formally closed by any uninvolved editor. However, if the matter under discussion is not contentious and the consensus is obvious to the participants, then formal closure is neither necessary nor advisable. Requests for closure can be posted at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Requests for closure.

The default duration of an RfC is 30 days because the RFC bot automatically delists RfCs after this time. Editors may choose to end them earlier or extend them longer. Deciding how long to leave an RfC open depends on how much interest there is in the issue and whether editors are continuing to comment.

To end an RfC that is on the active RfC list, remove the RfC template, {{rfc}}, from the talk page, and the RfC bot will process the change on its next run. The RfC bot will automatically remove any RfC from the active RfC list after 30 days, measured from the first timestamp within the RfC section on the talk page. RfC may be extended beyond 30 days by changing the first timestamp to a more recent date. To alert readers that an RfC is closed, it may help to graphically enclose the RfC in a box using a template such as {{Archive top}}, as shown in this example:

==RfC: Is the photo in the History section relevant?==
{{Archive top|result= This RfC was closed because consensus was reached to keep the photo.  ~~~~  }}
.... here is the entire RfC discussion...
{{Archive bottom}}

All requests for comment on a user, as opposed to an article, should be closed in accordance with the instructions at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/User conduct/Closing.

See also[edit]