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Proposed merge[edit]

There are several articles concerning the Commons. You can find:

I believe this article, which is not much but a compilation of links, should be merged into one of those. I believe the more appropriate merge would be with the second one, being the 3rd a special case of the 2nd, while the 1st is not classified appropriately and seems focus on marginal issues. Thus, I proposed such merging. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Samer.hc (talkcontribs) 16:43, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

(The discussion on this is here). Moonraker12 (talk) 14:18, 23 October 2009 (UTC)


This article needs a considerable amount of work if it is to survive.
At the least it needs some text in the various sections to explain what they are about (in fact, what the article is about! It appears to be on the modern and historical conflict over common land, but I’m only guessing…)
Any offers? Moonraker12 (talk) 13:12, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

See Enclosure - a very comprehensive article on the same subject. Wizzy 13:31, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Freedom to roam? -a commoner's right?[edit]

Seems to be the same as commoner's rights in English culture (in fact probably same origin) WIKIPEDIA seems to confuse by emphasising the access to land RATHER than the use of the land for food gathering or fuel. I propose that right to roam should be brought under this article as a sub right of commoner's rights.

YES there needs some re-writing to give the historical perspective of Norse times (1000 yrs back when there was common understanding for Iceland, Sweden, England Denmark finland and norway, ireland and Scotland all in one kingdom or culturally having this these rights the NORMAN influence in modifying them in an anglosaxon context and lastly how the rights are different in another cultural perspective (as in the rest of the world). YEP its a big job - so I am not going to do it but I recommend it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:13, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

I've moved this down, per WP:TALK, so it's in the correct place in the sequence. And, No, I don't agree that the Right to Roam is the same thing as Commoners rights, and a merge of the two would be a very bad idea. Moonraker12 (talk) 18:13, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Right to Roam under CROW[edit]

There was no right to roam on rural commons, but the CROW ACT has given this See common land. Urban parks made from commons have had this right since late 19th Century.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW)

Other than for those commons covered by the 1925 law of property Act, the public did not have the right to use or enjoy common land if they were not a commoner. However, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 gave the public the Freedom to roam freely on all registered common land in England and Wales.[25] The new rights were introduced region by region through England and Wales, with completion in 2005. Maps showing accessible areas have been produced, and are available online as "open access maps" produced by Natural England.[26] Commons are included in the public access land now shown on the Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps.

Dougsim (talk) 13:46, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

Public Property vs The Commons vs Common Pool Resources[edit]

This article doesn't mention the difference between public property and the commons. Is public property a part of the commons? Does the state own public property? (Commons can't be owned by state?) Teilolondon (talk) 19:48, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

I totally agree with Teilolondon's point. I'd go further and say that in the "Concepts" section the ideas are totally confused. Maybe the cited author Peter Barnes blurs a bit the distinction between public commons and the commons (maybe one of us interpreted that way). I suggest reading the introduction of this essay so one can see that this concept mixing worth to be mentioned. I suggest that the "Concepts" section should be broken in two parts: actual commons concepts and entangled/confusing mixed concepts (including CPR). Anyone against that? I'm able to provide a first version for that. --NiginiOliveira (talk) 14:19, 16 November 2013 (UTC)


This proposition is contradictive to the definition of commons: "The third aspect of the commons is that, unlike resources, they are not scarce but abundant" (the Ecologist 1993: 9).[1] Forests, rivers, fisheries or grazing land can be scarce. Teilolondon (talk) 12:41, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Link to Tragedy of the Commons[edit]

This article, at the time of reading, seems biased in favour of supporting a view that anything common must be good by default. The article neglects "the tragedy of the commons", an observation that individuals with common use of a resource will eventually run it into the ground without regulation.

Environmental examples cited in this article seem to deliberately illustrate the author/s' belief that all people will act altruistically without rules. Unrestricted use of commons often leads to exploitation though, and in response regulatory structures for public assets are sometimes created by publicly elected bodies to protect commons from further exploitation and ruin. Perhaps the author/s' of this item might like to revise it to include some examples (William Forster Lloyd might be a good place to start) of cases where unregulated commons have been exploited to their detriment. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:30, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

I don't agree. The tragedy of the Commons has been alleged by many scholars as a well spread myth, very used in Economics, that has no empirical support. A quick google search would provide many refutations, for example: --Samer.hc (talk) 20:02, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
No empirical support? What about the over fishing of cod in the North Sea? (Brown, Paul. "Overfishing and global warming land cod on endangered list".  Text "Guardian, Thursday 20 July 2000" ignored (help)) There are plenty of examples of hunting species to extinction because of a lack of laws to protect them, the RSPB was set up to protect birds shot for their fancy feathers that lead to their extinction or near extinction in the UK (see History of the RSPB). When the British brought in the clean air acts in the 1950s one of the provisions was that coal fired power stations had to have higher chimneys. This meant the filth no longer came down in Britain. But "what goes up must come down", instead carried by the prevailing winds it fell on Scandinavia killing their forests (Innes, John L.; Haron, Abu Hassan; IUFRO Task Force on Environmental Change (2000), Air pollution and the forests of developing and rapidly industrializing regions, IUFRO research series, International Union of Forestry Research Organizations, 4 (illustrated ed.), CABI, p. 218, ISBN 0851994814 ).Indeed many of the classic "Tragedy of the Commons" are bound up with the lack of international law and some scholars point to the failure of Kyoto Protocol as an example: Paavola, Jouni (March 2011), Climate Change: The Ultimate 'Tragedy of the Commons'? (PDF), Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds 
I have not read Elinor Ostrom's work, but there is a brief summary here: "First Woman to Win Nobel Prize in Economics Wins for Work Validating Anarchist Principles". October 24 2009.  Check date values in: |date= (help). It says nothing that anyone with a knowledge of British common land would not recognise, that is commons within a framework of law can and have existed for centuries. But when there is either no law or the law is not enforced then exploitation of common resources often leads to their over exploitation.
In England over the last 60 years the quality of many existing commons had deteriorated due to neglect by commoners (a sort of reversal of the tragedy of the commons). This is because England is naturally wooded and if common spaces are not maintained they will given time revert to forest see for example the article on Ashdown Forest.
I think I have written enough, to show that as it is at the moment this article has a slanted POV and it needs to mention examples of where Commons have problems, which are often summed up in the expression "Tragedy of the Commons" . Indeed I would suggest that {{POV}} be added to the head of this article until theses issues are addressed. -- PBS (talk) 01:28, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Proposed change of article title[edit]

I have no idea why this article should be called "The Commons" with a redirect from "Commons" as this appears to go against Wikipedia:Naming conventions (definite and indefinite articles at beginning of name). As there is no other article entitled "Commons" I propose to request that this article is renamed "Commons" unless there is a good reason not to. Richerman (talk) 00:22, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

It's been moved. --kelapstick(bainuu) 09:47, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Global Commons[edit]

This article should be coordinated with the article on Global Commons. As a minimum the articles should cross reference each other and highlight the key similarities and distinctions. Perhaps they should be merged. Thanks! --Lbeaumont (talk) 03:50, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

property as thing vs relationship[edit]

A problem common to all wiki articles on anything related to property (ranging from communal to the private) is that there are two definitions of property which seem to be left out of these articles and which are rather quite different. One definition of property refers to a thing to be possessed or owned, another definition is a relationship to the use and disposal of a thing vis-a-vis other members i.e. property = socially relations society members have with each other with respect to the use and disposal of goods and services.

Another perhaps equally important distinction to be made is one between communal rights vs. collective rights.

External links modified[edit]

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Dougsim's reorganisation[edit]

I don't feel that Dougsims recent reorganization is an improvement, but I don't have a strong opinion, perhaps Dougsim can explain it?

I did revert the new lead, it linked things incorrectly in order to push a certain POV, which I think can only be viewed as POV vandalism. Don't do that again. I'll go through the rest of the changes to see if there is more nonsense like that, and if I'll find it I'll just revert back to the pre-reorg version. --OpenFuture (talk) 11:21, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

It might be worth including a mention of intellectual property in the lede.Jonpatterns (talk) 12:51, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
@Dougsim: made quite a few changes, the edits were accompanied by comments, the change can be seen with this [diff]. Not sure if all changes improved the article, for example environment is discussed under 'Cultural and intellectual commons', and why are examples first before the meaning has been fully explained? Jonpatterns (talk) 13:03, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

Reason for clean-up, which is certainly not exhaustive, was large amount of repetition, particularly under tragedy of the C. Examples put earlier because there is a lack of a formal cited definition, which is needed. I have only worked with the material already there, but more is needed. If a POV is discerned, please put in formal cited definitions. It is important to differentiate and explain the modern economic theory use of commons from "Commons|" in the sense it is still widely used in the UK for common land. Dougsim (talk) 05:03, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

I think we should reinstate the "Types of commons" section, and then we could have the examples under each such type. As it is now it looks really strange with the examples first, and it is really lacking the "types of commons" section. I don't think this is an improvement or "cleanup" at all, it's moving things around to be confusing in other ways. :-) But I also don't think it's any worse once we get a section of "types", sop why not. --OpenFuture (talk) 07:25, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

I've restored types having read above, but put rider in that in the case of environmental types, they are really examples. The fact there so many were examples, not definitions of type, was my reason for heading "examples".

The article still needs a citable definition of commons, and to state early that the usage of the word is in the world of political economy. Someone putting "commons" into WP gets straight to this page, which is confusing, because they may well have been looking for common land, called "commons" in English Idiom.

Regarding the clean up, I think some better order has been brought out of what was an untidy article. For instance, the tragedy of the commons appeared randomly in several places, and included its own definition of commons. My real interest is in common land, and when I first landed on this page, having put "commons" in, it read like another world.

Dougsim (talk) 13:37, 22 February 2016 (UTC).

The duplication and lack of focus is also spread across these articles:

There are several topics which could each do with there own focused article. Topics include common land, commons economics (inc. environmental, intellectual properties etc.), common good philosophy. Maybe 'commons' should be a disambiguate page, with content merge to appropriate articles. Or it could be the main page with brief description and links the 'sub' articles. Jonpatterns (talk) 14:08, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

AGREE that there is a lack of focus and also I think there is very confusing use of language - which is why we need cited definitions.

AGREE that a disambiguate page should be used to get to this page.

However Common land has now a very focused article, after having removed a lot of diversionary text about the tragedy of the commons, and bringing it up to date with modern legislation and usage in UK. Yes it is mainly about common land in the British isles, where the term originated. The use of the word of commons in political economics is very confusing for the non-expert reader from the UK, who just wants to know about a common - ie; a piece of land that he walks his dog on.

I would recommend readers of this talk page to look at common land and see what an involved and specialised subject it is. I would urge that similar "Commons" pages get the same level of attention.

Dougsim (talk) 14:30, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

I will look at improving articles looking at commons in economic theory when I have more time. Jonpatterns (talk) 16:26, 22 February 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ The Ecologist magazine

Getting "Commons (disambiguation)" page to work properly[edit]

Because this article has the title commons, the Commons (disambiguation) page is by-passed. This is not a correct use of WP navigation as "commons" search always comes to this page.

Suggest this page is renamed something like Commons (economic theory) then Commons (disambiguation) will be the redirect page for the search "Commons" and will work in the correct manner.

Dougsim (talk) 08:22, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

I agree that the topic of this article is not the primary topic for "Commons". So this article should be renamed Commons (economic theory) or whatever, as suggested, and then Commons (disambiguation) should be renamed Commons. But someone would have to check the links incoming to this title and change them if necessary. W. P. Uzer (talk) 12:28, 28 February 2016 (UTC)
I support the renaming suggested by Dougism. Jonpatterns (talk) 22:25, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

This is do-able, but there are over 400 pages that link to commons, but the vast majority link via the Libertarian socialism navbox, so if that is changed the numbers will drop considerably. I have changed a number of links on pages that go directly to commons, thinking it is common land. - a work in progress! Dougsim (talk) 21:26, 1 March 2016 (UTC)