Wikipedia talk:Ignore all rules

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If following the rule inhibits improvement, then consideration to modify the rule should take place. I have made the proposal on the article page of this — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bamler2 (talkcontribs) 21:46, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Discussion is welcome, but such proposals belong here, not on the policy page.
It's true that rules sometimes should be modified, but that has nothing to do with this policy (which is about the need to ignore rules without changing them). —David Levy 22:04, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

The proposal is to reduce future agony so there should be a part about ignoring the rule for now but seek amending the rule. To not do so causes others to have agony when the event happens again — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bamler2 (talkcontribs) 23:03, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't know what "agony" you're experiencing, but again, such a scenario has nothing to do with this policy. It isn't about ignoring a rule because it should be changed; it's about not rigidly adhering to a rule (however sensible it is) when doing so doesn't benefit the encyclopedia (either because an exception has arisen or because it's more helpful to dive in and make a few mistakes than to study policies and guidelines for months before contributing). —David Levy 11:20, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
It would really go against the spirit of this rule to promote further elaboration and complication of rules. It's all about just doing the right thing without fretting about the rules. ~ Ningauble (talk) 17:22, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

A rule[edit]

Currently this appears to apply to only one rule at a time so if you break more than one rule you are violating the rule of IAR. I have changed it to make it plural and definite "a rule" to "the rules". I believe that this better reflects the spirit that any and all rules can be broken, if it is for the good of the encyclopedia. Regards, Crazynas t 07:49, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

It also better aligns the text and title. Crazynas t 07:52, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

I've reverted. You just duplicated the wording used in 2007, when we switched to the singular form to avoid conveying that this is an all-or-nothing proposition (either follow "the rules" or indiscriminately "ignore them" en masse). In no way does the current wording limit the policy's application to a single instance, nor have I ever encountered that interpretation before. The pages's title (upon which editors tend to place too much emphasis) is problematic enough on its own. —David Levy 10:45, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Agree with David except for his last sentence. North8000 (talk) 10:51, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
That's okay; I don't expect agreement there.  :)
But past discussions (here and elsewhere) have shown that editors sometimes see "Ignore all rules" and get the wrong idea. As you've found yourself pointing out, the title is not the policy, so it's frustrating when these individuals jump to conclusions instead of bothering to read/comprehend a single sentence. As illogical as this behavior is, shrugging it off as "their fault, not ours" doesn't prevent it from occurring. And when does, we're the ones who must intervene to rectify the misunderstanding. —David Levy 11:20, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I guess I come from a different experience. Despite having been around a lot, (>30k edits and lots of talk) I've never seen IAR actually invoked. But I consider it's effects to be widespread, immense and and good, primarily though its mere existence. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 15:30, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Sometimes IAR is invoked obliquely, as when this edit summary says "taking liberties...." But if one invokes IAR to break a rule then one is not really ignoring the rule, one is acknowledging that it is being broken. If one were truly ignoring it then it would not even be mentioned – and it usually is not. ~ Ningauble (talk) 17:37, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I think the common reality is that most Wikipedia rules are (as they must be) in a way that is a bit fuzzy leaving them to work within the context of the rest of the Wikipedia systems. The fuzziness leaves them open to mis-use contrary to the overall goals of Wikipedia. (e.g. via wikilawyering). I see IAR as the unused nuclear weapon that both:
  1. Actually causes rules to be ignored just in special cases when they are being mis-used (e.g. by wiki-lawyering) .
  2. Acknowledges that rules can be mis-used, and thus makes a big statement that rules are not themselves the goal, they are a merely means to the goal.
  3. Like an unused nuclear weapon, by its mere existence, it is a deterrent against the mis-use of rules.
Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 18:22, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
To extend the analogy, IAR also functions as a slingshot whose silent use is largely invisible (because it serves to improve or maintain the encyclopedia, so no one notices that a rule wasn't followed to the letter). When the policy is "invoked", this usually means that it it's being applied incorrectly. —David Levy 18:55, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I guess I come from a different experience.
Slightly different, perhaps. But our opinions of the policy itself are similar, and both of us have addressed misunderstandings arising from the title.
Despite having been around a lot, (>30k edits and lots of talk) I've never seen IAR actually invoked.
I've seen it invoked numerous times, typically by persons seeking to override consensus (example from today) and trolls/vandals seeking to cause trouble ("I'm ignoring all rules, per policy! You can't stop me!"). Such individuals would use some other excuse if IAR were unavailable, so the policy's existence, wording and title aren't really relevant to that problem.
But sincere misunderstandings arise among persons horrified to learn that we're condoning anarchy (or so they believe). They see "Ignore all rules" and either disregard or don't bother to read the policy's actual text (all one sentence of it). Then we have to explain to them that "the title is not the policy" (I'm quoting you) and the policy doesn't actually advise editors to ignore all rules; we simply retain that misleading/provocative title for the sake of tradition.
But I consider it's effects to be widespread, immense and and good, primarily though its mere existence.
I do too. And I believe that an accurate title would eliminate prejudice preventing even wider acceptance. —David Levy 18:55, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
David, I respect your opinion that the page title might be incorrect. I was unaware that the text changed in 2007 or the reason for it. I do think that this rule condones ignoring rules en masse when one is improving or maintaining Wikipedia. Regards, Crazynas t 21:21, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. My point is that the policy doesn't present the binary option of following all of the rules or ignoring all of them indiscriminately. "The rules" aren't a single entity requiring either perfect adherence or thorough disregard. It often makes sense to apply one rule while setting aside another. (I realize, of course, that you don't claim otherwise.) —David Levy 21:39, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Do not ignore all rules[edit]

This policy encourages users to do what they think is true, without thinking about previous consensus. Old rules won't be improved in this way. My suggestion to you is that if you know your action is against a policy, first try gaining consensus to change that policy. Only in very urgent situations where immediate action is needed use IAR. It is OK to ignore all rules if you don't know the right rule to apply in a certain situation, but I strongly oppose ignoring rules knowingly and without an urgent cause. (Sorry if my English is not good, just a thought I had when examining a situation in another wiki) (talk) 12:43, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

You should take a look at WP:WIARM. --Izno (talk) 12:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

What if this rule is preventing me from making something good?[edit]

Just hypothetically speaking, if this rule prevented me from making an improvement, should I ignore it? I'm new to this wikipedia stuff, sorry for asking stupid questions like this. -- (talk) 21:28, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Umm...Yes. If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it.
What is the improvement that would require you to ignore a rule? --OnoremDil 21:32, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Ignoring a rule to ignore rules? !(!rule) = rule? Kind of puzzled here. --Izno (talk) 23:39, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Discussion about Ignore all rules at the Village Pump (policy)[edit]

I started a discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 105#Update to policy for Wikipedia:Ignore all rules about updating Wikipedia:Ignore all rules to reflect the 5 generally accepted exceptions. Please take some time to offer comments. Kumioko (talk) 14:49, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

This thread has already closed. Nothing more to see here! Kumioko (talk) 00:03, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

This is nonsense[edit]

Wikipedia is all about rules. Ignoring them. Hell not even knowing them or having a difference of opinion about what they are gets you in trouble. Wikipedia is a cold place with people "robo-editing" for stats. In doing so they run over everyone who disagrees or is new. Jason A. Jensen of USA (talk) 21:02, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

I suggest having a cup of tea and chilling out a while before persisting with making WP:POINTy edits. olderwiser 21:47, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
They are not WP:POINTy edits. No body notices the talk pages. POINTy says "As a rule, someone engaging in "POINTy" behavior is making edits which s/he does not really agree with, for the deliberate purpose of drawing opposition." that is not what is going on here at all. So stop removing my edits. WP:IAR needs a warning. Jason A. Jensen of USA (talk) 21:50, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Please read WP:BRD. You've been Bold, which has been Reverted. Now Discuss on the talk page to see if there is consensus for your change. Garion96 (talk) 21:53, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
(after ec) You've not offered any cogent rationale (aside from incoherent ranting), so I'm sorry if I find it hard to take your edits seriously. Until you can demonstrate consensus for your edits to this core policy, they will continue to be reverted. olderwiser 21:53, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
None of you have offered any reason it should not be there. Saying it is not useful is your opinion. It's not WP:POINTy. So why does it have to be removed? Is it untrue? All anyone ever does is talk about rules. Meanwhile no page edits can happen. Jason A. Jensen of USA (talk) 21:57, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
This is a core policy page. Any changes to it should reflect consensus. Please explain how your change reflects consensus. olderwiser 22:00, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Please tell me how you can get consensus without making a change first? What is this magic consensus too? You have effectively blocked discussion now because your default is always to immediately revert. Do you make consensus? Does the two of you? Its maddening. Here is a rule for you Wikipedia:Don't_revert_solely_due_to_"no_consensus" . So put my changes back.Jason A. Jensen of USA (talk) 22:06, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
See WP:Consensus for some background on how consensus works (sort of) on Wikipedia. In general, consensus, especially on policy pages, is established by discussion on the talk page. Wikipedia:Don't_revert_solely_due_to_"no_consensus" is not a "rule". It is a user essay and while it might contain some useful advice, it is only an essay. olderwiser 22:10, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Whatever. Useful advice no one follows. IAP needs something to state that no one honors it. It's a joke. Jason A. Jensen of USA (talk) 22:17, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Advice people follow every day. Your apparent inability to understand the simple concept doesn't mean that it hasn't worked for years. --Onorem (talk) 22:23, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
(ec) For starters, you might try reading the useful advice that you point to. That essay has clear exception for "pages that describe long-standing Wikipedia policy", which is what this page is. You've still not offered any reason for the change apart from some ranting. olderwiser 22:25, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)You get consensus by talking about the change on the talk page. Your change definitely doesn't have consensus on the policy trying to force it there while discussion goes on makes no sense at all. --Onorem (talk) 22:11, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Stop saying I did something I didn't. As soon as people came here I stopped reverting. Jason A. Jensen of USA (talk) 22:14, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
You added it and then reverted 3 times. Whether it was on this talk page or not, you were edit warring to include it. History is clear on that. --Onorem (talk) 22:19, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
So? They were willing to remove it and not discuss it. So I put it back. What your going to tell me about 3RR on IAR? LOL You people are funny... Jason A. Jensen of USA (talk) 22:23, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
I'm done. You've done enough trolling. --Onorem (talk) 22:24, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
LOL Yes. What i am saying has no credence. I'm just trolling now. Do you people actually read this crap or just oppose all changes? WP:ZOMBIE Jason A. Jensen of USA (talk) 22:29, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Jason: This is a really old page. It is purposefully kept as short as it is.
See almost all of the 18 talkpage archives (linked at top right) for discussions of this. (The quantity of "See also" links, that it currently has, is by far the largest amount it's kept for long periods, and will probably be reduced soon.)
It's a "zen" rule.
Do you know the saying "Common sense isn't very common" ? This policy was created, and is kept, to preserve that underlying spirit of common sense that must lay at the heart of all discussions. It provides the fulcrum for the balance between Idealism, and Realism/Pragmatism, which we all have different quantities of. It is necessary that it remains as short as it is, and adding further details beyond the single existing sentence, which has been basically unchanged for 6 years, will never be agreed upon. See even older versions, for what it grew out of.
Hope that helps make sense of it all. –Quiddity (talk) 22:34, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Well I appreciate what you are saying. Moreover, I like the civility and lack of condescension. But change is desperately needed on Wikipedia. Nothing can get done for lack of consensus or any number of a thousand reasons. Like when I linked to wp:zombie I had no idea that was a real page. It was very clever though. I imagine the writer couldn't get anything serious discussed so managed to try to say what I am saying under the guise of humor. No one wants to edit or help you edit or help you edit to consensus they just want to revert. But again thanks for actually talking to me like a human. Jason A. Jensen of USA (talk) 22:51, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
JasonAJensenUSA I agree with you that change is needed. But for someone with that spirit, you have picked the worst possible target and and a really wrong / counterproductive way to pursue it. North8000 (talk) 23:00, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
We have, iirc, 10,000 regular contributors, and 100,000 irregular contributors. We're a small metropolis of focused individuals, from every age group/culture/demographic/etc, with nothing in common except curiosity and dedication. We all have vastly different ideas as to what the "perfect end result" of Wikipedia could be. See meta:Conflicting Wikipedia philosophies, or my own User:Quiddity/How it Works, for some confusing/interesting tours around our psychology. We're all human, and all make regular mistakes, and all use language/word-choices that accidentally confuse others. So it goes. –Quiddity (talk) 23:05, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Well. I didn't start here. I was on psychology pages. Where I think there is a lot of malfeasance. The idea people can advocate locking you without crime for your own good makes my blood boil. But no change is allowed there either. That is where I ran into a robo-reverter. Then after discussion, with him and others, I tried cronologing my experience on my user page user:jasonajensenofusa. But you can't do that either. Any post that talks about "perceived flaws" of an editor has to be deleted. Yup, my page is on the misc delete request. So it is impossible to say bad things are going on here. I mean who would believe you and if you cite examples of what your saying it gets deleted. It is the perfect catch 22 for stagnation. So I came here to find people who would agree with my plight and vote not to delete my page. Just cause I am making a point don't make it wp:pointy i believe wholeheartedly in what I am doing. And no I am not interested in my pov on a bunch of pages. They already are POV. I want to make them more balanced. see e. fuller torrey where there is original sources, uncited stuff, and other crap. Jason A. Jensen of USA (talk) 23:24, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Here (at Wikipedia), you have jumped down the rabbit hole into a weird and complicated place. You are probably right overall, but you have picked the wrong (=counterproductive) place and method to pursue it. Overall, good luck to you! Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 00:17, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
I know I'm right. But there is no right place or method to pursue it. So I give up. Someone else can fight to make the changes. I no longer care. It's sad too. I used to have such a high opinion of wikipedia. Now I'm with schools and colleges - wikipedia is junk. Not worthy of a citation. Jason A. Jensen of USA (talk) 00:41, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Well, if you've been (correctly) taught not to cite Wikipedia, you're learning... Eventually you will probably come full circle and figure out what Wikipedia's valid functions are: a first step to further investigation of serious topics and a quick and easy way of learning correct answers to questions dealing with the mundane trivia of daily life. Carrite (talk) 17:31, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

WP:DICK Do try not to cause drama or anymore trouble for yourself. If you are going to leave due to users disagreeing with you, do so quietly. Rainbow Shifter (talk) 17:22, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Who is being the WP:DICK? Pretty sure it's you. (talk) 17:32, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
From WP:DICK: "The presence of this page does not itself license any editor to refer to any other identifiable editor as "a dick". Ken Arromdee (talk) 08:26, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

This is Not a Rule; It is a Guideline!![edit]

Remember the 5th Principle of The Five Pillars of Wikipedia, Wikipedia does not have Firm Rules. I want to make this very clear so that other Editors and Visitors can understand this Guideline, Not Rule. Ignore all Rules does not exactly defines as "Break all Rules", but rather implies us to Not "think" of any Guideline in Wikipedia as a Rule, including this Guideline itself. We are not machines so just go with the flow of any human being. --(B)~(ー.ー)~(Z) (talk) 11:50, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

but rather implies us to Not "think" of any Guideline in Wikipedia as a Rule

Oh that's correct, I have been here for a few months and I immediately forget about the fact that there is no rule but only guideline on Wikipedia. -- (talk) 06:24, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

Additions to page[edit]

I highly recommend an addition that reminds people to stay within reason when ignoring rules; such as "If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it (within reason). Mainly though, I urge the addition of a section reminding people that actually improving Wikipedia might not be what they think it is; I might want a much larger article on my hometown with large sections on things people from my town like to do, where we like to go and who we like to see along with a list of every person currently living in the town and all my friends that have moved away. Wikipedia would be worse with that sort of thing. Please at least consider adding a small reminder with links to the basics of what Wikipedia wants.

I'm probably going to forget about this so send me a carrier pigeon or scream my name to the heavens if you want a response

UniversityofPi (talk) 10:02, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

WP:COMMONSENSE and WP:NOT are good pages for those purposes. Perhaps add them in the "see also" section? Konveyor Belt yell at me 19:07, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

From what I've seen, each hypothetical/possible problem arising from wp:iar brought up here as a reason to mess with wp:iar has never actually been a problem in real life. North8000 (talk) 23:49, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Does "ignore all rules" encourage or discourages boldly improving encyclopedia?[edit]

I'm told to ignore one rule in case that I could be prevent from improving an encyclopedia. But it didn't say that I am allowed to boldly do what the policy discourages me to do. Shall I or shan't I do what the policy prevents me to do, especially if I can ignore it? --George Ho (talk) 22:34, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

The policy means, in effect, you can be bold and ignore rules if they get in your way. Konveyor Belt express your horror at my edits 22:36, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
The rules are principles - "Policies and guidelines exist only as rough approximations of their underlying principles. They are not intended to provide an exact or complete definition of the principles in all circumstances. They must be understood in context, using some sense and discretion." -- Moxy (talk) 22:48, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Would that prompt future reverts if someone else follows the "ignored" rule? --George Ho (talk) 23:00, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Most will do what is reasonable I think. If not then we have many service departments and direct assistance available to help with all kinds of problems. -- Moxy (talk) 23:10, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi. In practice, this policy is no longer in force, so you might as well disregard it completely. Best regards, Codename Lisa (talk) 01:12, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Some reflection will provide the correct answer to the original question. Suppose one editor uses WP:IAR to justify changing some text from A to B (assuming there is some rule suggesting that generally such a change should not occur). But then another editor uses WP:IAR to justify reverting the first editor. What happens then? Is my IAR better than yours? The way a situation like that would be resolved is that other editors would (eventually) join in, and a consensus would form. The consensus may be along the lines that while there is a rule saying B is not preferred, in the case in question it is an improvement to the encyclopedia. Therefore, the final result would be B, despite some rule that generally A is better. The reason that experienced editors do not often use IAR is that the rules are generally very good, and it is quite hard to find an exception that really would improve the encyclopedia. However, if you do find an exception, by all means invoke IAR, but the ensuing discussion has to resort to reasoned argument, and there should be no more mention of "I ignored the rule"—that fact will probably be clear, but the question is whether the change was an improvement, and that needs to be justified. As Moxy explained, it is the intention of rules that is important, rather than their precise wording. Johnuniq (talk) 02:05, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Hello, John. I'd love to live in the world that you just described. Best regards, Codename Lisa (talk) 03:02, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
I'd love to as well. What happens now is that people still make bold edits, but instead of discussing it they bicker about it on the talk page. I've been seeing this progressively more and more. Konveyor Belt express your horror at my edits 03:36, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
But is IAR being cited during such bickering? I see it cited less and less. Or maybe you are saying that it should be easier to cite in such cases? Not sure that would help. IAR is deliberately vague. Other policy pages are the ones trying not to be vague. IAR is the one telling us that the other policy pages might not always explain every case.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:40, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
It should be cited more. I see people holding other editors hostage over policies and regulations, particularly the manual of style. Konveyor Belt express your horror at my edits 16:50, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Maybe that is true but I think there are cycles in popular types of wikilawyering. IAR was once a bit over-cited. On this talkpage we can not do anything about that, but we can discuss whether there is anything that can be improved in the current wording.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:33, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
I think that IAR is commonly slightly influential and seldom cited. If anything it needs to get used more. North8000 (talk) 11:09, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
I personally am not a fan of IAR simply because there is no real criterion as to whether it can or can't be invoked. For example, suppose a user creates an article for a sport frequently played in his neighborhood called, I don't know, frock ball. The article is then prodded by another user for violating WP:MADEUP, but then the creator de-prods it and justifies it by saying he's ignoring the rules because "it's going to become really popular someday". Conversely, a user can create an AfD discussion for Anna Nalick, and another user may !vote "speedy keep" because she passes WP:MUSICBIO, to which the user invokes IAR by saying, "It doesn't matter. She hasn't done anything recently." I mean, what determines IAR's applicability? (This also leads to WP:IARBIAS.) Erpert WHAT DO YOU WANT??? 06:21, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Does this apply to 3RR?[edit]

Though I am not the kind of editor who edit-wars, I wanted to know if someone who repeatedly and persistently reverted other people's edits on one page could cite IAR to justify their violations of the three-revert rule. Of course, what is more important is whether they could make a persuasive argument for why they shouldn't be blocked by doing so. Jinkinson talk to me 21:23, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

"Citing" it would only be the beginning. Then (if it was a pure edit war in the spirit of what 3RRR intends to avoid, they would run up against the impossible task of saying that they even met the conditions of wp:iar, which, long story short, I think is highly doubtful. But if (due the edit warring policy being so badly written to where it nearly EVERY edit as a "revert") if 3RR got invoked in a non-edit warring situation, I think it would carry some useful weight. North8000 (talk) 21:51, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

Demotion to guideline[edit]

Is it so often invoked successfully that it is currently a policy on Wikipedia? It's lack of widespread use makes me question why this ought to be a policy or cornerstone of Wikipedia, if nothing else than as mainly keeping up a tradition since 2003. And it's also very much open to interpretation, one editor's citing IAR to improve the encyclopedia can be easily construed by another editor to be tarnishing its reputation. I've seen more editors sanctioned for citing IAR than editors citing other Wikipedia policies, and almost no editor successfully citing IAR and having their changes stick. It's one of the more abuse-prone policies cited around Wikipedia than any other I could think of. My last attempt at using this backfired, with more editors concerned about the rule of a policy and equal application of it over its spirit; that a one-off exception could "set bad precedent" for Wikipedia, as they say. I don't know, perhaps I am getting a little burned out over this. This has minimal force and/or effect in Wikipedia, so it should be more apt to stay as a guideline than as a policy page. Ironically above, a misapplication of IAR has once again led to more rules, more calls for evidence of consensus before change. TeleComNasSprVen (talkcontribs) 08:49, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

As discussed previously, this policy is not something to "invoke". Most of its use is silent and goes largely unnoticed.
When something is sufficiently controversial that someone feels the need to "cite" the policy, discussion probably is needed. Please see Wikipedia:What "Ignore all rules" means. —David Levy 09:17, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
No, the policy is fine. Its main point is that other policies can be violated if doing so would assist the project—in other words, there is no bureaucratic requirement that forces certain outcomes "because that's what the rules say". IAR works when it is clear that the case assists the project—if there is significant dissent on that point, IAR is no use. In fact, no policies are useful when it comes to intractable disputes because one side will say that WP:V requires one thing, and the other will say that it doesn't. In that respect, IAR is no different from all the other policies, but IAR is useful on infrequent (or even rare) occasions when consensus agrees that normal procedure would be to do something, but the particular case under consideration would benefit from doing another thing. Obviously an editor cannot successfully defy consensus saying that IAR means their desired edit has to be reinstated—the editor would need a reason, and IAR is merely saying that if that reason has consensus, it can be applied regardless of some other rule. Johnuniq (talk) 09:31, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Wouldn't that be more on the side of Wikipedia:Consensus and Wikipedia:Consensus can change? I thought it was a given rules, as well as their application, should be determined by consensus. TeleComNasSprVen (talkcontribs) 17:47, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
WP:IAR is analogous to "use some common sense". For example, WP:V is a core policy which says, "...any material whose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged, must include an inline citation that directly supports the material." But we have hundreds of thousands of articles in this state (or that have a source list at the bottom) and no one is likely to strip out content just for the sake of stripping out content. --NeilN talk to me 18:38, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
I think that IAR has a good impact in 20 times more situations than it is actually invoked, as a deterrent to Wikilawyering. North8000 (talk) 20:37, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Yep. As David noted above, it's most followed silently or with pointers to essays like WP:SNOW. --NeilN talk to me 20:48, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
This is such a fundamental policy that it is one of the Five pillars of Wikipedia. Demoting it to guideline status would leave no escape clause in the set of policies itself. The policies must have an escape clause.

I completely agree with those who note above that the most important and pervasive impact of the rule is not when it is invoked in discussion: it is when people realize that they can just get on with improving the encyclopedia, and proceed to do so without further ado. When it is raised in discussion, it should be to say "I realize the rules don't provide for this but I think it is a good idea because..." in order to focus the discussion on whether it is a good idea rather than lawyering the rules. ~ Ningauble (talk) 14:15, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

The most crucial of all policies. It is sage advice a guideline. If it was a guideline then people would argue that you can only argue with other guidelines.

I just used it recently and was able to maintain and improve Wikipedia despite the rules being in the way. Chillum 07:26, 30 July 2014 (UTC)


What about WP:COPYRIGHTS? (talk) 22:48, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Copyright infringement doesn't assist in Wikipedia's improvement or maintenance, so that isn't an exception. —David Levy 23:10, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
But it's still a rule, so I think someone should put that in. (talk) 01:11, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
WP:IAR says to ignore any rule that prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia. Adding copyright violations would not assist in any way, just as attack pages and nonsense are not improvements and are similarly not permitted by IAR. Johnuniq (talk) 02:10, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
I know that, but what if someone else believes that adding copyrighted content is "improving and maintaining Wikipedia"? (talk) 02:58, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
What if someone believes that anything detrimental (such as one of Johnuniq's examples) serves to improve or maintain Wikipedia? He/she will learn otherwise when the justification "But...but...IAR!" is rejected.
Additionally, we link to Wikipedia:What "Ignore all rules" means, wherein the policy's inapplicability to copyright violations is explicitly noted. —David Levy 03:06, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

IAR's dark side[edit]

This little snippet of text helps vandals. One could violate a rule and then use IAR to get away with it. If you can fix it, great. If not, I'm willing to PROD the page. Lightning BOLT! (talk) 00:08, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Nothing to fix. Please provide one instance where the policy has ultimately helped vandals get away with anything. --NeilN talk to me 01:13, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm not saying it did, I'm saying it could. Lightning BOLT! (talk) 12:27, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Every rule has its dark side, hence the need to sometimes ignore them. If WP:IAR prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. It certainly does not prevent anyone from reverting vandalism or blocking vandals. ~ Ningauble (talk) 14:57, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

It's like telling Rosa Parks it can sit at the front of the bus, then arresting her for it. (talk) 20:17, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

In the history of horrible analogies, you do not come in first...but you're in the discussion. --Onorem (talk) 20:31, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
Love the referring to Rosa Parks as an "it". Will(B) 05:06, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

People don't get it[edit]

I think this policy could be improved with an "In a nutshell" section. Diego (talk) 10:34, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

It already fits in a nutshell. Exactly which part of this is unclear? There is a rule, it prevents you from improving or maintaining wikipedia... you can ignore it. Chillum Need help? Type {{ping|Chillum}} 15:06, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
It was a tongue in cheek-ish comment (the policy itself couldn't be made any terser), as many people appear to have forgotten that this is an option encouraged by policy. However, maybe something like "Focus on improvements, not rules" in a nutshell would reinforce the base meaning. I'll give it a try, if only to get people talking about this forgotten rule that so few people nowadays pay more than lip service. Diego (talk) 16:36, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Wow, twenty minutes and nobody has stepped in to revert or comment on an edit that changes 40% of a policy page. Nobody cares about this policy any more, do they? Diego (talk) 17:08, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

In whose opinion?[edit]

"Improving Wikipedia" in whose opinion? (talk) 02:53, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

WP:IAR is rarely invoked. Those involved in something less than constructive will not cite WP:IAR as a defense of their actions. WP:IAR is a highly suspect policy in my opinion. Only those sure that they are doing something wholesome will have the courage to cite WP:IAR in support. I think it is a good policy. Bus stop (talk) 03:30, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
In the opinion of the Wikipedia community. To me it is similar to equity in law. If a strict adherence to the rules defeats the purposes they were designed for, then break them. TFD (talk) 03:09, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
If you cannot reconcile your idea of improving the encyclopedia's with the community then the result will be the same as with any other policy. If you think people will revert you and tell you not to do it again then it is probably not going to improve the encyclopedia. Chillum 03:42, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, but I mean that the article itself should clarify this. At the moment it can be understood as saying that you can ignore all rules to force your change through if you believe it is an improvement. (talk) 20:08, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
That is not how I read it. It does not say anything about ignoring the community. Again, if people are going to revert you then what you are doing is probably not improving the encyclopedia. Chillum 20:32, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
It does not say anything about taking any notice of the community either. Again, I am not suggesting that you keep explaining it here, but that someone amends what is a fairly silly statement so that it makes sense and is workable in practice. (talk) 12:00, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
It also does not say anything about fried turnips. We don't need to mention everything it is not. It does make sense and it does work in practice. It has been in this state for several years and there has not been an abundance of confusion. If you look at the "See also" section you will see that your concerns are addressed in various essays on the subject. Chillum 17:47, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
It also does not say anything about fried turnips. We don't need to mention everything it is not. But, it could easily say more precisely what it is. Is it an ability of the community to override rules on a case-by-case basis? In my opinion, does raise a good point about the possibility of making consensus an explicit requirement for ignoring rules. djr13 (talk) 06:08, 1 March 2015 (UTC)