Wikipedia:Closing discussions

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"WP:CLOSE" redirects here. For close paraphrasing, see Wikipedia:Close paraphrasing.

Consensus is Wikipedia's fundamental model for editorial decision-making. Policies and guidelines document communal consensus rather than creating it. Consensus is typically reached as a natural and inherent product of the wiki-editing process; generally someone makes a change to a page content, and then everyone who reads the page has an opportunity to either leave the page as it is or change it. Editors begin discussions to resolve disagreements that cannot be easily resolved through the normal wiki-editing process. Many community discussions and decisions happen on project pages that are specifically designed for that purpose. If discussions involve several individuals the discourse can become lengthy and the results hard to determine. After a while, it is time to close the discussion so that the community can move on.

This page offers guidelines on how and when discussions should be closed. There are no policies that directly dictate how to close a discussion. The guidelines here are documentation of the customary practices that have evolved at Wikipedia in the years since it was started. These customs are grounded in the core principles of Wikipedia etiquette such as assuming good faith, creating consensus, and maintaining civility.

Which discussions need to be closed[edit]

Many informal discussions do not need closing. Often, consensus is reached in the discussion and the outcome is obvious. Disagreements in articles are often solved by further edits. For example, two or more individuals may disagree about how a section of text in an article is written and start a discussion on the talk page. An uninvolved party might come up with a creative solution that addresses the concerns raised in the discussion. If it is a good solution, nothing needs to happen. There will be nothing more that is said, and everyone moves on. When this is the case, it often helps to leave a comment that the issue was resolved and perhaps link the edit that resolved the issue. On some pages, such as Wikipedia:Administrators noticeboard, the {{resolved}} template is used to note that an issue has been resolved. The template is added to the beginning of the section, with notes that indicate what action was taken. This helps shorten the reading needed to scan the page. Similarly, the {{unresolved}} template may be used to indicate that a dispute about an important issue has not found its solution, inviting more people to weigh in their ideas and opinions.

When a discussion involves many people and the outcome is not clear, it may be necessary to formally close the discussion. This is always the case in discussions at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion (AfD), Wikipedia:Categories for discussion (CfD) and the other XfDs. Observe however that intervening to close a discussion where this mode of resolution is not customary may prove to be incendiary instead of clarifying. Here, adding the {{unresolved}} template may be a better option or informing all parties about the possibility of requesting mediation.

It may be useful to close Requests for comments. When these are listed by User:RFC bot they will be automatically de-listed 30 days after the first time stamp after the RFC template. The de-listing process will also remove the RFC template from the talk page. So closing by means of the {{archivetop}} and {{archivebottom}} templates, with suitable parameters, can provide a convenient summary of the result and preserve the fact that the discussion had been advertised through the RFC process.

Closing vs archiving[edit]

Closings are sometimes termed "archiving", although unlike traditional archiving, the discussion in question is not moved to a separate page, but is kept in place and enclosed in a shaded box. This can be accomplished by placing {{archivetop}} and {{archivebottom}} around a discussion. For the sake of avoiding confusion between traditional archiving and the kind of discussion archiving described above, this page will refer to the practice as "closing".

In addition to formal closes that analyze the consensus of a discussion, discussions may also be closed where someone, usually an administrator, decides that the discussion is irrelevant or disruptive. This practice is used quite often on pages that attract heated dispute, although there are no rules in place governing its use, and there are times when closing a discussion can create even more strife than had existed before.

How to determine the outcome[edit]

Consensus[edit]

Many closures are based upon consensus. Consensus can be most easily defined as agreement. The closing editor/administrator will determine if consensus exists, and if so, what it is. To do this, the closing editor/administrator must read the arguments presented.

The desired standard is rough consensus, not perfect consensus. Please also note that closing admins are expected and required to exercise their judgment to ensure the decision complies with the spirit of Wikipedia policy and with the project goal. A good admin will transparently explain how the decision was reached.[1]

Consensus is not determined by counting heads, but neither is it determined by the closer's own views about what is the most appropriate policy. The closer is there to judge the consensus of the community, after discarding irrelevant arguments: those that flatly contradict established policy, those based on personal opinion only, those that are logically fallacious, those that show no understanding of the matter of issue.[2] If the discussion shows that some people think one policy is controlling, and some another, the closer is expected to close by judging which view has the predominant number of responsible Wikipedians supporting it, not personally select which is the better policy. He or she is not expected to decide the issue, just to judge the result of the debate, and is expected to know policy sufficiently to know what arguments are to be excluded as irrelevant. If the consensus of reasonable arguments is opposite to the closer's view, he or she is expected to decide according to the consensus. The closer is not to be a judge of the issue, but rather of the argument.

Policy[edit]

Many closures are also based upon Wikipedia policy. As noted above, arguments that contradict policy are discounted.

Wikipedia policy, which requires that articles and information be verifiable, avoid being original research, not violate copyright, and be written from a neutral point of view is not negotiable, and cannot be superseded by any other guidelines or by editors' consensus. A closing admin must determine whether any article violates policy, and where it is very unlikely that an article on the topic can exist without breaching policy, it must be respected above individual opinions.[2]

Closure procedure[edit]

Any uninvolved editor may close most discussions, not just admins.

However, requests for closure may be made to an uninvolved administrator for discussions that have been open at least a week and are particularly contentious or unclear.

Requesting a close[edit]

Where consensus remains unclear, where the issue is a contentious one, or where there are wiki-wide implications, a request for a neutral and uninvolved editor to formally close a discussion may be made at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Requests for closure. Please ensure that any request there seeking a close is neutrally worded, and do not use that board to continue the discussion in question.

Marking a closed discussion[edit]

To close a discussion, use the {{archivetop}} and {{archivebottom}} templates (although some particular types of discussion, such as those which concern whether to delete or rename a page, have their own specialized templates). For example:

{{archivetop}}
Discussion text...
{{archivebottom}}

A closed discussion looks like this:

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.


The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Challenging a closing[edit]

Shortcut:

All discussion closures, whether done by an editor or an admin, are subject to review. Depending on the type of discussion, a review will take place at one of several review boards, and distinct criteria are used for each board. Remember that most contentious matters need to be formally closed, and that closers undertake their task attempting to assess consensus to the best of their abilities. Simply believing a closure is wrong, even where reasonable people would have closed a discussion differently, is not sufficient for requesting review. Most closure reviews need to be based on context or information left out of the discussion, or new information that would have altered the discussion outcome were it held now.

Challenging a deletion[edit]

For reviewing a closure of a deletion discussion, the Deletion review process is used.

Deletion Review may be used:

  1. if someone believes the closer of a deletion discussion interpreted the consensus incorrectly;
  2. if a speedy deletion was done outside of the criteria or is otherwise disputed;
  3. if significant new information has come to light since a deletion that would justify recreating the deleted page;
  4. if a page has been wrongly deleted with no way to tell what exactly was deleted; or
  5. if there were substantial procedural errors in the deletion discussion or speedy deletion.

Deletion Review should not be used:

  1. because of a disagreement with the deletion discussion's outcome that does not involve the closer's judgment;
  2. when you have not discussed the matter with the administrator who deleted the page/closed the discussion first, unless there is a substantial reason not to do this and you have explained the reason in your nomination;
  3. to point out other pages that have or have not been deleted (as each page is different and stands or falls on its own merits);
  4. to challenge an article's deletion via the proposed deletion process, or to have the history of a deleted page restored behind a new, improved version of the page, called a history-only undeletion (please go to Wikipedia:Requests for undeletion for these);
  5. to repeat arguments already made in the deletion discussion;
  6. to argue technicalities (such as a deletion discussion being closed ten minutes early);
  7. to request that previously deleted content be used on other pages (please go to Wikipedia:Requests for undeletion for these requests);
  8. to attack other editors, cast aspersions, or make accusations of bias (such requests may be speedily closed); or

Copyright violating, libelous, or otherwise prohibited content will not be restored.

Challenging a move[edit]

For reviewing a closure of a page move discussions, the Move review process is used.

Move review may be used:

  1. if an editor believes the closer did not follow the spirit and intent of WP:RMCI in closing this requested move.
  2. if the closer was not made aware of significant additional information not discussed in the RM, and the RM should be reopened and relisted.

Challenging other closures[edit]

See also: WP:FORUMSHOP

For other procedures, whether formal RFCs or less formal ones such as merging or splitting, contact the editor who performed the closure and try to resolve the issue through discussion. If you are unable to resolve the issue through discussion with the closer, you may request review at the Administrators' Noticeboard. Before requesting review, understand that review should not be used as an opportunity to re-argue the underlying dispute, and is only intended for use when there is a problem with the close itself.

Closures will often be changed by the closing editor without a closure review:

  1. if significant additional information or context was left out of the discussion and the closer was not aware of it.
  2. if the discussion was undertaken under modified procedural rules that the closer was not aware of.
  3. if an early closure is followed by multiple editors asking that it be reopened for further discussion, or a single editor has brought forth a compelling new perspective to the already closed discussion.

Closures will rarely be changed by the closing editor, but can be challenged in a closure review:

  1. if you believe the closure was not a reasonable summation of the discussion
  2. if the closing editor may have become inextricably involved through previous experience in the conflict area.

Closures will rarely be changed by either the closing editor or a closure review:

  1. if the poll was close or even favored an outcome opposite the closure, if it was made on the basis of policy. Policies and guidelines are usually followed in the absence of a compelling reason otherwise, or an overwhelming consensus otherwise, and can only be changed by amending the policy itself.
  2. if the complaint is that the closer is not an admin.[3]

After discussing the matter with the closing editor, you may request review at the Administrators' noticeboard. Create a new section by clicking on the "new section" tab. Include a link to the closed discussion, a link to the discussion with the closing editor, links to any previous discussions pertinent to the discussion, and a neutral explanation of the rationale for review of the closure. For example, open a discussion at the Administrators' noticeboard (AN) that begins with "This is a request to review the close at [[(name and link to close)]] to determine whether the closer interpreted the consensus incorrectly. I discussed this with the closer [[Here]]." followed by a concrete description of how you believe the close was an inappropriate or unreasonable distillation of the discussion. You are more likely to succeed in your AN request if you focus on 1. "underlying policy/guideline" and 2. "strength of argument". (See WP:ROUGH CONSENSUS) For example, continue your AN request opening with something like, "The issue the closer was to decide was (describe issue). In closing, they applied policy X. I believe that policy Y should have been taken more into account / policy X not ever intended to apply to issues such as this."

Users who try to subvert consensus by appealing to other venues such as WP:AN should be aware of WP:FORUMSHOP.


See also[edit]

Reference[edit]

  1. ^ Wikipedia:Guide to deletion#Closure
  2. ^ a b Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators#Rough consensus
  3. ^ A request for comment discussed how to appeal closures and whether an administrator can summarily overturn a non-administrator's closure. The consensus was that closures should not be reverted solely because the closer was not an administrator.