The project page associated with this talk page is an official policy on Wikipedia. Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered a standard for all users to follow. Please review policy editing recommendations before making any substantive change to this page. Always remember to keep cool when editing. Changes to this page do not immediately change policy anyway, so don't panic.
This page is within the scope of the Policy and Guidelines WikiProject, a collaborative effort to improve Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. If you would like to participate, you can visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks.
Virginia Heffernan (5 November 2010). "Prize Descriptions". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 September 2011. "With authorship disputes, Wikipedia advises, “stay calm, assume good faith and remain civil.” The revolutionary policy outlined on “Wikipedia: Ownership of Articles” — search Wikipedia or Google for it — is stunningly thorough."
Ik think I understand the purpose of this page pretty well, and as far as I understand it, I don't disagree with it. However, the tone seems based mostly on anti-elitist sentiments. It is not surprising to see this page used so often by groups wanting to establish ownership over pages that were built by single editors.
Like most any perfect law, WP:OWN can be gamed both ways. It can and is used in cases such as you mention: a group of subpar bullies wants to get rid of a strong editor, which may be the original contributor, or someone who took responsibility later and greatly improves and maintains the article, and who keeps the article clean from the POV and/or other unacceptable things which the bully group wants to insert. That deliberate abuse of the WP:OWN policy happens all the time.
Then there's also the other case: A strongly biased editor digs in at an article or array of articles, makes friends with well-established likeminded editors and admins, then uses WP:OWN to thwart any attempt at getting him and that POV (and/or other silly things he likes) out of the article in question. That also happens all the time.
Without binding content arbitration, problems like this cannot and will never be resolved. Therefore, any attempts to establish any form of content committee is immediately shouted down by those who favor the status quo. Welcome to Wikipedia. Don't contribute, don't donate, read only with great care. --22.214.171.124 (talk) 14:26, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
Clarification of policy re revision of content which has inline citations from reliable sources
I revised this paragraph today so that it read as follows:
Even though editors can never "own" an article, it is important to respect the work and ideas of your fellow contributors. One should therefore be cautious about deleting or rewriting large amounts of content, particularly if the content was written by one editor and is referenced with inline citations from reliable sources. In such cases it is more effective to leave a comment on the article's Talk page outlining your concerns about the content, and leave time for other editors' responses before deleting or rewriting it. (See also Wikipedia:Civility, Wikipedia:Etiquette and Wikipedia:Assume good faith.)
My revision was reverted, and I'd appreciate knowing why it wouldn't be a useful addition to Wikipedia policy to require that editors should be cautious about deleting or rewriting large amounts of content which is referenced with inline citations to reliable sources. It seems to me that Wikipedia users benefit from content which is referenced with inline citations from reliable sources, and that other editors should use caution in deleting such content. NinaGreen (talk) 02:46, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Caution, sure. But the proper way of dealing with the information depends very much on what it is - it's quite possible for information to be reliably sourced and still inappropriate or contrary to policy. Nikkimaria (talk) 03:49, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
I've restored the change, with an added caveat. Please try to make improvements rather then reverting. And please use specific, meaningful edit summaries if you do revert; "per editnotice" is not adequate. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:28, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
That's why we have the editnotice: to remind editors to discuss changes to policy pages before making them. Both of you seem to have overlooked it, though, which is why I directed your attention to it. Now, unfortunately, your caveat does not completely address my concern - it addresses the "contrary to policy" issue, but not other areas of inappropriateness. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:09, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
You appear to have overlooked both what the edit notice actually says, and my comment above, "Please try to make improvements rather then reverting". Perhaps you might suggest an acceptable compromise now? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:54, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
This article is funny! Ha ha... Imagine if Wikipedia took steps to prevent so-called "ownership". Why, it would be near unrecognisable! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 21:17, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
There is some talk that so called "primary editors" have certain veto powers in their articles. This need to either be codified or refuted here. Agathoclea (talk) 19:54, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
That is not correct. It is true that some people viewing the WP:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Infoboxes case have thought such an argument had been proposed, but no one has made that suggestion. In fact, the editors who are maintaining the articles in question are among the best and brightest at Wikipedia, and they are fully aware of, and endorse, WP:OWN. Everyone knows that no one owns an article, but it is also true that no one owns the top-right hand corner of article pages. Johnuniq (talk) 01:55, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
So you would agree with adding "the primary editor does not want x" as an example of ownership? Agathoclea (talk) 09:00, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
No, that's an over-simplification. If someone who happens to be the primary editor says "I do not want X", that is their opinion, and obviously WP:OWN is not saying that the primary editor cannot state their view. I don't think it needs any clarification, but WP:OWN could possibly say that the fact that someone is the primary editor does not give their opinion any special status. In the same way, the opinion of an editor who is new to an article does not have any special status either.
The real meaning of WP:OWN is that disagreements are resolved by following the principles of established policies, guidelines, and best practice—the fact that one side might have written the article is not relevant to those procedures. On the other hand, there are many cases where a proposed change is not clearly justified by applying the principles mentioned. It may happen that general consensus cannot resolve a disagreement based on standard procedures—that is, the issue boils down to some like this, and some like that. In that case, I find it obvious that there would need to be a good reason to make a change against the views of a group of editors who have built the article (I'm assuming a good article, not something like a POV or FRINGE nightmare). Nearly all experienced editors know that WP:LOCALCONSENSUS means a group cannot make special rules for "their" article. But the infobox wars show that some cases are not clear—good arguments can be presented from both sides, and in the absence of a policy or guideline or consensus from a widely discussed RfC, it is a fallacy for one side to accuse the other of ownership—just because someone happens to have written an article does not mean their opinion must be wrong. Johnuniq (talk) 12:12, 29 August 2013 (UTC)