Wikipedia:Don't revert due solely to "no consensus"

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There seems to be no consensus amongst these referees...

Avoid reverting with an edit summary saying only "no consensus", "discuss first", "take to talk", or something similar. This procedural objection gives the reverted editor no information regarding the substantive reason for your reversion.

Consider these alternatives to a no consensus edit summary:

  • If, in fact, the original text was the result of a consensus reached in a prior discussion (or is the subject of a current discussion) then include a link to that discussion in your edit summary.
  • If, on the other hand, there is no consensus because you disagree with the change then keep in mind that consensus can change. Explain why you disagree in the edit summary or on the talk page.
  • Or better still, don't revert. Instead, make your own edit to fix and improve upon the original edit.

If one of your edits draws a no consensus edit summary, start a conversation on the talk page and ask the reverting editor to provide a substantive rationale for the reversion.

The problem with a "no consensus" edit summary[edit]

Inaccurate. "No consensus" occurs only after a good faith discussion fails to result in a consensus (at which point - and not before - the status quo before the contested edit commonly prevails). See WP:NOCONSENSUS. If one editor favors a change and another opposes it then consensus is no closer to being against the change than for it until more editors comment or edit, or until the two editors in question achieve a consensus. Thus, a single editor's objection does not establish "no consensus" for a change. See also WP:NOTUNANIMITY.

Impedes consensus-building. Wikipedia editors resolve a lack of consensus through an exchange of information leading to persuasion and compromise. Reverting an edit shows there is no consensus. Saying "no consensus" in the edit summary adds no new information. Worse, it forces the reverted editor to begin a talk page discussion just to find out the real reason for the revert. This hampers consensus-building by adding an unnecessary step to the process. See also WP:DISCUSSCONSENSUS.

Discourteous to good faith editors. A substance-free revert implies the reverting editor owns the article and does not respect the reverted editor's right to edit it. This conduct drives editors away from Wikipedia in frustration. If you don't have the time to edit courteously then you should not edit at all. See also: WP:Civility and WP:Don't be a jerk.

Violates the spirit of Wikipedia editing policy. Reverting with "no consensus" edit summaries discourages bold contributions, which are essential to building Wikipedia. Status quo stonewallers employ this strategy to create the appearance of a substantive dispute regarding a change when little or none actually exists.

Alternatives to a "no consensus" edit summary[edit]

Make her happy and ring her bell, the Wikipedia generic Commons needs innovation, transhumance instead of standstill

A reverting editor asserting a lack of consensus has the responsibility to show a prior consensus or current discussion. If an edit really does break a specific, established consensus then you should provide a link to the talk page section, FAQ set, policy, or other written page establishing that consensus. Even then, keep in mind that Wikipedia:Consensus can change, and it may have done so.

If you can't link to a talk page section, FAQ set, policy, or other written page establishing a consensus then consider the following alternatives to asserting "no consensus" as the reason for your revert.

Don't revert[edit]

See generally Revert only when necessary.

If you can't name a specific problem with an edit, you have no valid reason to immediately revert it. Reverting solely on the basis of "no consensus" suggests you simply did not like the edit. Or, worse, you have a Semmelweis reflex against innovation and new perspectives.

Don't assert "no consensus" because you believe others might object to an edit. Let those editors do their own reverting, then the original contributor will know who disagrees with the edit and why. Or perhaps no one will object because, in fact, a silent consensus exits to keep the change.

Fix the edit[edit]

If an edit added unsourced or poorly-sourced information, try to find said information yourself, or failing that, note that in the revert summary. If it made the presentation of material awkward, edit to make the presentation less awkward. If the bold edit added a biased statement among others less controversial, try to find a way to recast the bias into a neutral mode or just revert that aspect only. Avoid Overzealous deletions.

Insert a tag and start a discussion[edit]

If you just have a bad gut feeling about the edit, put an appropriate quality tag on the article page and state your concerns on the talk page. Involve noticeboards, WikiProjects, and other experienced authors.

It is best to first consider whether there is a substantive problem with the edit in question. Mention that. Tag it. Question awkwardness on the talk page.

Revert with a meaningful explanation[edit]

  1. If you really cannot find a way to incorporate the edit, revert it. Boldly.
  2. Explain why. At least in the summary. Even if the reason seems obvious to you, it will not always be obvious to someone else.

If an edit added instructions on how to do something, explain that Wikipedia is not a manual. If it removed content with no explanation or an unconvincing one, note that you are restoring valid content, and why the explanation is unconvincing (if the edit summary box is too small for this, continue on the talk page).

How to respond to a "no consensus" edit summary[edit]

Step one: start a discussion on talk. No, you shouldn’t have to do it. And yes, it's a pain. But it’s the best path to a civil resolution of of the dispute. Use a Subject/headline such as "Revert of January 5, 2011," start the text with a {{ping}} to the reverting editor, and then add text along the lines of "Please provide the substantive rationale for your reversion." Don’t forget to sign your post (~~~~).

If the reverting editor does not reply within three days then, on the fourth day, check user contributions to assure that editor is active and has had a fair chance to respond. If so, post a follow up message with a ping and text such as "it appears from your silence that you no longer object to this change. If you do still object, please let me know why within the next three days."

If you get no reply within three more days then revert the reversion "per talk." If you get a substantive reply then work to reach a consensus. If you get a fresh revert or a talk reply that amounts to nothing more than "I still object" you have reached an impasse. It’s time to consider the options listed at WP:DRR.

If the reverting editor simply repeats "no consensus" (or some variant) on talk, respond with something like "I am here now hoping to work with you toward a consensus. Would you please tell me what, if anything, you find objectionable about the change you reverted?"

If the reverting editor claims other editors must express agreement with your change, reply with text such as "I do not read WP:EDITCONSENSUS or WP:EPTALK as requiring an affirmative consensus for Wikipedia edits. Can I find that requirement somewhere else? Also, would you please tell me whether you have any other reason for your revert?" If the editor claims special procedures apply to Wikipedia policy, guideline, or essay page edits, substitute "WP:PGBOLD" for "WP:EDITCONSENSUS".