Wikipedia talk:Avoid Parkinson's Bicycle Shed Effect

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Opposition[edit]

Respectfully, I must voice my opposition to this policy. There is no doubt in my mind that it is good advice, and I think many people adhere to it regardless. That said, making it official policy would be a poor move. One of the beautiful aspects of Wikipedia is that no one has to contribute any more than they want to -- the freedom is near absolute. Even many of my contributions, I admit, are somewhat trivial and minor. If someone has good ideas about where to place the shed, then by God let them voice those ideas and do what they can. From each according to his ability. Implementation of this policy could also have the undesirable effect of causing people to try to discuss nuclear safety when they lack the knowledge to responsibly do so. Furthermore, as you have touched upon, enforcement of this idea would be nearly impossible. It deserves due adherence by those with the proper talents, but could have elitist implications if officially recognized. --BDD 17:27, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

I must also voice my opposition. I think what you're writing is good advice, but I don't think it should become "law". In adition to the points that user "BDD" stated above, it might also cause Wikipedia to have... well... less information. For example if this were enforced, more trivial information might be removed until more pertinant info is added.10:37, 24 June 2006 (UTC)Hew

After reading both the proposal and the discussion I think there would be a valid compromise. I agree that limiting the influx of information is a bad idea, even if often times that information isn't always pertinent and keeps pop culture and general knowledge pages very busy. I propose some sort of compromise. For instance, flagging articles that have a tendency to display PBS behaviours and allowing said pages to have a splash page or faq, either in general or written by the community that helped write the article, that "guides" or warns people of some of the pages historic disuptes or problems so they are not revisted (at least, not as often). This page would come up before editing, in which the user would be presented with a confirm button or something. I can see such a system being abused, or the pages becoming too big in volume and so contributors would simply skip over it and hit the confirm button. But it would be a countermeasure. This is only one idea... comments welcome of course :)

I see where you're going with this, and it sounds great in theory, but it just isn't feasible, for many of the reasons listed above. Bike shed: Suppose someone is particularily knowledgeable about the placement of bike sheds outside nuclear plants, and only somewhat knowledgeable about nuclear power plants. Then suppose this person sees the need for an article about nuclear power plants and decides to write said article. Even though the initial article may be a little unbalanced in some areas, it is better that they have taken the iniative to begin the article, and opened the door for others to contribute than if the article has to wait around for an expert on all things nuclear power plant to come around and write it. It's a process. Here's my example: When building a house, it is not practical for one person who knows everything about every part of the house to be in charge of the whole house. There has to be electricians, painters, plumbers, etc. But this example must differ from the wikipedia at a certain point. While house has a person in charge of making sure everything comes together nicely, the wikipedia is far too vast for one person to head each individual article. Now. Your idea of a popup before finishing is okay, I guess, but not too practical for the very reason you yourself stated. The edit history is already doing much of what you seek, but isn't usually too detailed. Here's what I propose. A strong reminder to remain focused, and a tip to look at the edit history and discussions before any major changes are made.
Sound good? Lawilkin 22:46, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

I think I, as well, must oppose this policy. To parrot the reasoning of the users above, though your advice might be good, it is wise to let people who know and care about the bike shed to discuss the shed, rather than the nuclear power plant. To take your example of the opera article, a novice at opera (such as me) would be able only to give the simple side of the story on such an article; hopefully, someone as knowledgeable as you about opera would eventually find your way onto the article and give the opera the analysis it deserves. NigelQuinine BlatherToil 04:54, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Essay status?[edit]

I can see the value in this as an essay, it perhaps needs a little work to tidy it up, the quoted example flies right over my head. I agree it's not going to be a guideline, but shortened it could be a useful essay. Hiding Talk 09:20, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

The essay is actually wrong on several points. In Parkinson's Law, the committee doesn't immediately dismiss the tea issue; there, it's actually the coffee issue, and they go on about it longer and more violently than they do about the bicycle shed, even though it's a more trivial item -- precisely Parkinson's point. But maybe I'm getting hung up on little things here. See color of the bikeshed and Talk page thereof, if you actually care. Yakushima (talk) 07:13, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

My thoughts on the essay[edit]

This essay perfectly typifies the majority of talk page discussions on Wikipedia. But even still, I see it as a good thing when matters can be ironed out right down to the most trivial detail. It only makes the encyclopedia that much more comprehensive and, in a way, more accurate. When it comes down to it, if people have the time to discuss the minor details, and there's no other more urgent related matters, then by all means discuss! It's the little things that count. -- œ 20:44, 6 June 2009 (UTC)