Wikipedia:Discussions for discussion

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This forum is for discussion closers to discuss their evaluation of consensus in preparation for closing specific discussions, such as pending XfD, RM, or RfC closes. Any editor who intends to close a discussion, and has concerns about how consensus in that discussion should be assessed is welcome to initiate a discussion here.

Please note that this is not a place to discuss the merits of the underlying matter. It is solely for discussing whether a consensus can be discerned in a discussion, and how the discussion should be closed on the basis of a finding of consensus, or of an absence of consensus. Editors who are involved in discussions of the merits should generally avoid engaging in extensive discussion of how consensus in those discussions should be interpreted.

This is also not a venue for review of discussions that have already been closed; the appropriate place for such a request will generally be Wikipedia:Move review or Wikipedia:Deletion review. This forum is also not for requests that a discussion be closed; the appropriate place for such a request will generally be Wikipedia:Closure requests.

Standard Chinese ⇥ Chinese language merger[edit]

Talk:Chinese language#Change "dialects" wording? Just realized I have a good one to break the DfD ice. :)
Basically, there were originally two contemporaneous, interrelated merge discussions, the one in the title and another regarding other Chinese varieties that has since been closed with consensus not to merge. This one seems pretty cut and dry to me as consensus not to merge also, and there's been no discussion for a while, and even longer specifically about the merger in question, so it seems no one is actively suggesting it. Remsense 20:32, 1 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

The thing with discussions like this is that they lack a focused proposal, and therefore meander around to a lot of points and possibilities. I do not see a consensus in this discussion for any specific action. BD2412 T 03:22, 2 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Interpretation of "widespread consensus"[edit]

Dear editors,

I am eyeing to close this discussion. In short, editors want to modify the article size guideline but without resorting to an RfC, which I personally know are tedious to maintain and drain a lot of our time. A user (VQuakr) objected by saying that with 14 editors, there is not enough quorum to say that the change gained widespread consensus (It could be 14-0 and you still wouldn't have quorum for this.)

WP:PGCHANGE does not require RfCs to change guidelines but it does require that the changes either be done "with no objection" or by "widespread consensus". There are a couple of objections here but not to the level that would prevent the finding of rough consensus. But does such discussion have enough participation to have the widespread consensus label? That's my question. Szmenderowiecki (talk) 16:55, 19 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

As a general rule, those affected by guidance (be it a process, procedure, or formal guideline or policy) should be made aware of proposed changes and given the opportunity to discuss and influence the proposal. For better or worse, in this case, personally I feel that an advertised request for comments would be a better way to reach more interested parties, as it would help establish a broader consensus view of the community's opinions on something that does affect many editors. isaacl (talk) 17:09, 19 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
The discussion is now closed Szmenderowiecki (talk) 21:17, 19 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I find that a lot of objections related to RFCs are based on an editor's personal perception that their side is "losing". We all believe that our own views are sensible and rational and proportionate and at least somewhat well-informed, and we generally trust the other experienced editors to be approximately as sensible and rational, etc. as ourselves, so if the result of the discussion is clearly different from my view, then we start by assuming that something has gone very wrong with the discussion: too few participants, the wrong/canvassed/biased participants, an unclear question, a non-neutral question, etc.
I sometimes wish for some statistics on RFCs, e.g., how many (how few) people participate in a typical RFC. Experienced editors often have an inaccurate understanding of Wikipedia. We think that 500 edits is almost nothing, although 99% of editors never make that many. We think that a discussion with "only" 14 editors is too small to determine consensus, but few discussions get even half that many participants. This can lead to misunderstandings about what's normal. WhatamIdoing (talk) 08:06, 26 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Most discussions involve a very small number of people, and thus the outcome can vary depending on who participates. I think many editors understand this when they contest decisions, hoping for a different outcome with a (at least in part) different set of participants. For better or worse, English Wikipedia's version of consensus-based decision making relies on extrapolating from a small, self-selected sampling of editors who happen to become aware of a discussion. It's not easy to proceed otherwise when trying to use consensus to make decisions, but combining this with English Wikipedia's "consensus can change" tradition means it's hard to build on past decisions and move forward, because everything is subject to being re-visited at any time. isaacl (talk) 22:47, 26 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I would say, however, that the referenced discussion saw better participation than a lot of recent XfD discussions. I do think that any admin (and indeed any editor) is free to advertise discussions on more well-attended noticeboards, of done neutrally. BD2412 T 01:15, 27 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I don't expect to be able to find the numbers right now, but if memory serves, a couple of years ago, someone determined that AFDs in the past (10–15 years ago?) typically had three !votes, and now (i.e., a couple of years ago) they typically had four or five !votes. We've had about 300 pages land at WP:DRV, and about 20,000 AFDs in 2023. That's an appeal rate of about 1 in 70, and since most of the decisions are unchanged after DRV, an error rate of less than 1%. We probably only need a few !votes to make the right decision. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:58, 27 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Two RfC options walk into a bar.[edit]

Okay, so let's say there is a RfC on Cletus von Buttscratcher with two options for the lead:

  • Option 1: call him an "arsonist and exiled nobleman".
  • Option 2: call him an "exiled nobleman" and mention the conviction later in the lead.

Then there are a bunch of comments, and Option 2 is clearly preferred -- but a few people are saying stuff that makes no sense. Alice says "Option 2: The article shouldn't mention the arson at all because there's no consensus among contemporary scholarship that he actually did it". And Bob says "Option 2: The RfC opener is correct to say that we should not mention the arson at all" (even though the actual option 2 clearly says the opposite of this). Or maybe even you get Claire saying "Option 2: We absolutely need to mention that he was an arsonist in the first sentence and the Option 1 people saying we should mention it later in the lead are wrong. Option 2 -- two -- the second one -- is the right one."

What are we to make of this? Do these people's comments count towards a consensus for option 2 even if they seem to be completely mistaken about what it says? Should they be ignored by the closer as meaningless noise? Should they be stripped of their noble titles? It seems like a bizarre edge case and I am not quite sure. jp×g🗯️ 19:57, 26 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I think the first two examples can be considered support for 2 over 1 as well as support for an unarticulated Option 3: don't mention the arson at all, and that the discussion can be safely closed as a consensus for 2 while taking them into account as a slightly-differentiated minority view. The third example articulates clear support for Option 1 and should not be taken as support for Option 2 (after all, it's a discussion, note a vote). signed, Rosguill talk 20:03, 26 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I would suggest ignoring what they say they are !voting for, and only consider the strength of their arguments.
Of course, you always just ask them to clarify their !votes. — Qwerfjkltalk 21:17, 26 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
More generally, this is one of the problems with encouraging people to vote by providing them with a handy list of numbered options. If the options aren't strictly binary ("Shall we include this photo?" – there's no "compromise" option that will have that particular photo sort of in the article and sort of out of it), then you either end up with a long (and often growing) list of options, or people pick a number and write whatever they want after it.
On a related point, I have proposed at WT:RFC that we consider encouraging people who created RFCs with (usually needless, often inappropriate) ===Survey=== and ===Discussion=== sections to put the discussion before the votes. Having to scroll past a discussion might help voters understand what they're voting on. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:17, 27 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
One tip that I can offer from my years in legal practice is to ask extremely leading and presumptive questions (or even rebuttable assertions) in such cases. For example, "Bob, my understanding of your !vote is that you consider Option 2, 'call him an "exiled nobleman" and mention the conviction later in the lead', to be the better option of the two options offered. Please correct me if you intended otherwise". Now the burden is on Bob to explain himself, and if he doesn't then you can count his !vote towards your stated interpretation of it. BD2412 T 01:19, 27 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Democratic Labour Party (Australia) split[edit]

The Talk:Democratic_Labour_Party_(Australia)#Split:_To_Democratic_Labour_Party_(Australia,_1980) request seems to me to have already passed, several responses have shown their support over multiple months and yet the discussion hasn't closed. The original user who proposed the split has said they wish for the discussion to be closed before they split the article, and have formally requested that the discussion be closed in said discussion. A response from an administrator on the discussion would be appreciated. GlowstoneUnknown (talk) 07:32, 24 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]

@GlowstoneUnknown: If I'm understanding correctly, this may be better suited for Wikipedia:Closure requests. All the best, ‍—‍a smart kitten[meow] 22:38, 24 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for letting me know, I'll send this there. GlowstoneUnknown (talk) 02:04, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Some holistic solution is needed to closing numerous move requests for names of royals[edit]

Pending in the Wikipedia:Requested moves backlog now are a half dozen separate move requests, mostly multi-moves, encompassing 55 articles on the names of royal figures, all seeking to remove specific regional or national identifiers from the names (e.g., "Charles XII of Sweden → Charles XII"; "Pharasmanes III of Iberia → Pharasmanes III"). These discussions have all drawn heavy participation, and spirited debate. In my experience, any close is going to draw furious objections by those who disagree with the outcome, so I think it behooves us to come up with a plan for closing all of these. My reading of the discussions is that there is an absence of clear consensus for any of the proposed moves, but I am open to differing interpretations. BD2412 T 17:48, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

@BD2412 I haven't read all the discussions, but for the one at Talk:Charles XI of Sweden it seems to me that most opposers of the move are not seriously trying to argue that the move isn't what WP:NCROY supports (or making other arguments specific to that page title), but are rather relitigating the change of NCROY. So, consensus to move IMO Mach61 19:54, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Similar story at Talk:Edward V of England. Talk:Otto_II,_Holy_Roman_Emperor has a stronger numerical majority than those other two discussions, OTOH Mach61 20:18, 30 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Or we have evidence that the community no longer supports NCROY. When a discussion appears to depart from a written rule, sometimes that means the written rule should be changed. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:59, 31 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@WhatamIdoing That's sometimes the case, but it's hard to justify not enforcing a well-advertized RfC from less than half a year ago. Yes, consensus can change, even in that timeframe, but it could just as well be the case that a loud minority which lost its day to the broader community is able to temporarily gum-up lower bandwidth processes like RM (IIRC something like this happened with WP:NSPORTS2022 and AfD in the months after it was closed). Anyone is free to open up a second RfC if they so desire. Mach61 01:23, 31 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
More succinctly: I don't really care about NCRORY/ I do care about making sure our consensus-based processes reflect the will of the community, not the will of the most tenditious members within Mach61 01:32, 31 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It looks like there were 25 editors in Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (royalty and nobility)#RfC: Should the guideline explicitly accept Elizabeth II, Carl XVI Gustaf, etc titles? (including the closer), and who knows how many more in the individual RMs. Theoretically, we could ping them all to a discussion that basically says "C'mon, guys, you told us a few months ago that shorter is probably better, and now you're saying the opposite. Make up your minds already." WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:34, 31 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I agree that another RFC is probably necessary, perhaps inevitable. BD2412 T 18:47, 31 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I proposed a reopening the RFC at WP:NCROY, but was hoping for more feedback on where the RfC should be held to ensure widest participation possible. NCROY is watched by only a small handful of people (royalist afficionados mostly), whereas the article titles affect a much wider community (which is why there is a much "local" resistance to individual RM page moves). The RfC last November on NCROY which changed the wording and created this mess had less participation than the individual individual RMs have had. So I would like to know where the ideal venue for the RfC should be, to ensure adequate participation among the wider community, particularly those who are not particularly interested in royals, but who these pages nonetheless affect (e.g. history articles across the board). Walrasiad (talk) 12:21, 28 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Walrasiad You can do another RfC at WT:NCROY or WP:VPP. I would suggest you run it through with other people first. Mach61 17:17, 28 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]