User:Andrewa/the Andrew tests

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Some rules of thumb that I find useful on occasions.

See User:Andrewa/creed for a more thoughtful and more generally useful approach.


If we really don't have consensus on a binary decision, then it doesn't matter which way we go.

This is a corollary of WP:AGF. Also known as Andrew's Principle, see that page for a fuller discussion.

The History Lesson[edit]

Imagine a scenario similar to History Lesson (short story), but instead of a Disney cartoon the Venusians have a copy of Wikipedia. How would it mislead them? The answers to this question are all things that it would be good to fix.


Dumb is good. D'oh.

Anyone who accuses others of wanting to dumb down Wikipedia or suggests that a proposed action is dumbing down Wikipedia has missed the whole point of several policies, mainly concerning using English and common names. You're reasonably safe in assuming that whatever they're opposing is right and whatever they're supporting is wrong (but no more, see * below).

Understanding the reasons for using common names as opposed to official names is a key to understanding Wikipedia's mission, success and essential nature, but it goes further than that. Prescriptive grammar is essentially modern, and obsolete following the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty, and many others. There's nothing dumb about the current thinking (or at least not in a modern sense, and post-modern, dumb is good, see also naive).

But there are still lots of modernists around, and many are very valuable contributors. And just so long as they are more often outvoted than not, they won't do too much damage. But it's important to outvote them, otherwise Wikipedia will simply be abandoned and forked to a post-modern alternative. Which wouldn't be a disaster, but hopefully won't be necessary for a good while yet.

(* It's less safe, contrary to Wikipedia policy, but tempting to also suspect that they know very well that it's wrong, on a similar psychology to verbal diarrhea, see below.)

Verbal diarrhea[edit]

Any rationale longer than three sentences is most probably bullshit.

Often the only test needed to decide Requested Moves. No I'm kidding... almost... (;->

This is similar to the point made by the story of the preacher who annotated his sermon notes in the margin Logic weak at this point; Speak forcefully. (Must source that quote someday: The only ghit I can find is this page!). The main problem with this test is that I often fail it myself.

See also User:Andrewa/How not to rant.