Wikipedia:Editing policy pages

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This is a proposal to limit the editing of policy pages (but not guidelines) to administrators, or to editors with a certain amount of experience.

While Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, there's no reason that principle should extend to the structure of the project, which is what our policies are. We've recently had a spate of new users, and in one case a notorious sockpuppeteer, turn up at policy pages in order to change them in their own interests. The WP:NPOV, WP:V, and WP:NOR talk pages were plagued for weeks by a user with very few main namespace edits, who was editing with three accounts and wanted to insert his OR and POV into articles, and so decided the policies had to be changed. He was joined by other new editors, sockpuppets, and one vandal, and NPOV and NOR ended up having to be protected. At the end of April, banned User:Zephram Stark, one of WP's most notorious sockpuppeteers, managed to initiate, then take part in, a rewrite of WP:SOCK using two sockpuppet accounts, and was busy at it for three weeks before it was noticed.

It takes a certain amount of experience before the way the policies interact begins to make sense. There's no indication that allowing new editors to edit the policies provides any benefit to the project, as they're generally unfamiliar with both the rationale behind the policies, and how they work in practice.

I'm therefore opening this up for a poll and discussion, with two proposals: (1) that policy pages be protected and edited by admins only; or (2) that policies should be edited only by users with a minimum of six months experience and 1,000 article edits. With the latter, there would be no technical means of stopping other edits, so it would be up to the regular editors on the page to monitor it.

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was that no consensus could be established on any of the alternatives to current guidance on editing of policy pages, for example Wikipedia:How to create policy. Note however that as a result of the debates there was a spin-off of new initiatives, see talk page and #More Plans (No Poll, discussions) below. --Francis Schonken 10:29, 12 June 2006 (UTC)


Please vote for the option or options you support.

This poll was perceived as counting support only. However, if you have a strong desire to oppose an option, please prepend your vote with #: so that the automatic numbering of endorse votes is maintained.

New restrictions needed[edit]

Option 1: The editing of policy pages should be restricted to administrators only.

  1. Endorse. People will cry anti Wiki here, but there's just not that much that needs to be done to the policy pages that can't be done by an admin after consensus on the talk page. It will add stability and reduce wasted time. All policies should be move protected if they're not already. - Taxman Talk 19:41, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. Endorse - Wikipedia is not an experiment in democracy - Wikipedia is not an experiment in anarchy. Will we really need an admin anymore in wikipedia? Other options suggest that adminship should be halted! We are voting a policy about policies here! -- Szvest 19:45, 18 May 2006 (UTC) Wiki me up™
  3. Second choice. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:50, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. Endorse (also second choice). · Katefan0 (scribble)/poll 19:57, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  5. Endorse - I'd rather have consistent policies than a chance to edit the policies. TheronJ 20:11, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  6. Second choice. Jayjg (talk) 20:31, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose. Less bad than most of the other suggestions. But it creates a caste system. Even users who do not want to do any administrative duties will suddenly have an incentive to become admins. --Stephan Schulz 22:08, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose/Comment: Even this, the most restrictive choice, would not have prevented the situation with Zephram Stark and WP:SOCK, since he was able to delude others into making the edits. I will elaborate on the talk page. --Philosophus T 22:34, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  7. Endorse (2nd choice) ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:07, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose some respected editors are not administrators (sometimes because they do not want to be), and these should not be disallowed editing policy pages. - Liberatore(T) 00:12, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose - The privileges administrators have over ordinary users who do much of the work on Wikipedia should be minimized. Some of Wikipedia's best articles were written by users who were not administrators. Cedars 00:31, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  8. Endorse I'm not an admin BTW, but I agree with Taxman that policy pages should be protected. Almost by definition policy is what admins are enforcing. Having admins control the edits means that the enforcers agree with the policy. jbolden1517Talk 01:23, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  9. Second choice. --Bhadani 06:05, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  10. Second choice. AnnH 10:02, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose: This would give admins just more power that they don't need. Lots of examples of admins edit warring, or even changing policy to suit their immediate needs. Note above also, that only 2 of the endorse votes come from non-admins (hmmm...). Chuck(척뉴넘) 10:22, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  11. First Choice per Taxman's reasoning. The policy should also say, that apart from grammar and spelling corrections admins only change policies after a consensus has been reached. Captainj 14:34, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose too cliqueyHomey 21:09, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose A bad idea, some good edits to policies come from non admins and it would even more so make it seem like there is a cabal even though TINC. Pegasus1138Talk | Contribs | Email ---- 21:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose Not only a bad idea, but anyone who thinks this is a good idea should be ashamed of themselves. SchmuckyTheCat 21:51, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Is that really required? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and denigrating other's in a forum such as this is at the very least impolite. Rockpocket (talk) 23:57, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose This just gives a small group of users more powers. Many users with plenty of experience and the ability to set policy are not administrators. If the ability to edit is restricted to administrators then many other users will have their chance to set policy reduced. I also think we need to watch carefully about who votes for this option. If it gets the support of the wider community that is good. I just think we should be careful that it doesn't look like people with extra powers (administrators) voting themselves even more powers. --MarkS 06:03, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose The thing we really need to do is to abolish admin status altogether, not to give them more power. I don't trust admins at all as the status seems to do bad things to them, even if they were alright before. CalJW 16:36, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  12. Endorse (First choice). Slrubenstein | Talk 11:47, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Option 2: The editing of policy pages should be restricted to editors with a minimum of six months experience and 1,000 edits to articles.

  1. Endorse. This would halt a lot of disruption. FeloniousMonk 16:24, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. Endorse. It makes perfect sense. Plus a newcomer would always have the option to make suggestions in Talk until they had the requisite minimal experience at WP to make policy change. --MPerel ( talk | contrib) 17:03, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. Endorse. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:02, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. Endorse as per MPerel above. --Yamla 19:13, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  5. Endorse would stop a lot of unneeded confusion.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 19:29, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  6. Endorse. It really takes that long to have a firm grasp of policy in the first place. Rockpocket (talk) 19:38, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  7. Endorse. per MPerel. ←Humus sapiens ну? 19:44, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  8. Endorse. Admins-only is too restrictive, and you can rack up a thousand mainspace edits in a hurry by stubsorting or reverting vandalism. --Carnildo 19:47, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  9. Endorse. Removes most of the potential for bad behavior associated with policy pages. You must be this tall to ride Wikipedia's policy pages. · Katefan0 (scribble)/poll 19:48, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  10. First Choice. Jayjg (talk) 20:31, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  11. Second Choice. Meant to add this here too, something is better than nothing. - Taxman Talk 22:04, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  12. Endorse First choice. Actual preference is "six months and 3000 edits or an administrator". FloNight talk 23:13, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  13. Support; 6 months are too much, but a combined edits/time bound seems otherwise the best choice. - Liberatore(T) 00:15, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Strong oppose. This supports editcountitis. Moreover, number of edits is a lousy criterion for either participation or experience.--Stephan Schulz 22:08, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  14. Endorse (1st choice) ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:07, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose - restricts the freedom of the Wiki. Cedars 00:40, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose - I don't see what this adds. I don't like the precedent here of creating on official line for "respected editor" jbolden1517Talk 01:23, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  15. Endorse. --Bhadani 06:06, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  16. Endorse. First choice. AnnH 10:02, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Strong oppose -- Read my vote at Option 1. Cheers -- Szvest 17:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC) Wiki me up™
    Oppose see option 1 vote. Homey 21:09, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose Pegasus1138Talk | Contribs | Email ---- 21:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  17. Endorse (2nd choice). --MarkS 06:03, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  18. Endorse (Second choice). Slrubenstein | Talk 11:47, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  19. Endorse Everyone would still be able to post their views about policy changes on the talk page. The group who could directly edit the pages would still be quite large. Nesbit 19:20, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
  20. Support except that all ADMINS should be barred from editing policy pages as they have their own axes to grind and like to engage in power play with each other (Wheel wars) whilst stifling proper discussion of the policies--Light current 02:08, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Option 3: The editing of policy pages should be restricted to editors with a minimum of 1,000 edits to articles.

  1. Endorse The 6 months is ridiculous, as it excludes active editors who have by 6 months sometimes already 5000 edits. It includes actually a large number of new admins as well. Kim van der Linde at venus 19:14, 18 May 2006 (UTC) (To add: At RFA: Oppose. Not enough policy page edits.)Kim van der Linde at venus 19:36, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    That's fine, it does take time to get a handle on the policies around here. And we can add admins to the above choice. - Taxman Talk 19:41, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. Endorse per Kim's reasoning. Garion96 (talk) 19:31, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. Third choice. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:50, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. Endorse (last of three). I'm pretty much fine with KimvdLinde's point. After witnessing a couple of extremely poor decisions made recently by new admins, I don't necessarily disagree that very new admins ought possibly to steer clear too. · Katefan0 (scribble)/poll 19:57, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    What you are saying with a time constraint is that someone who has a 1000 edits after 6 months and does not know what to do yet is entitled to make changes, but someone who has 5000 after 3 months not while I think the last one is probably far more capable of making sensible edits. Kim van der Linde at venus 20:02, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    That's assuming edit count has much of anything useful to tell how responsible an editor is. At least new admins have a bunch of people that trust them to do the right thing. I can show you hundreds of editors with plenty of very bad edits. Just look at the edits on the banned users list. - Taxman Talk 22:04, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  5. Third choice. Jayjg (talk) 20:31, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Strong oppose. This supports editcountitis. Moreover, number of edits is a lousy criterion for either participation or experience.--Stephan Schulz 22:09, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  6. Second choice. This might be the middle point that nobody wants but we arrive at anyway. Marskell 22:58, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose/Comment. An AWB userA hasty editor can rack up 1,000 (perhaps ill-conceived) edits in their first week (indeed, an excellent way to rack up edits is to search-and-replace articles replacing an NPOV term with your preferred POV one - you can then double your edits when an admin tells you to you reverse it). A thoughtful editor may take a year. That doesn't make the latter less qualified to comment on policy. TSP 23:23, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    A new user wouldn't be allowed to use AWB, please sling your mud elsewhere. Martin 23:36, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Sorry, I phrased that badly - I don't mean to imply that AWB was a bad thing. I suppose I should have said 'an external editor'; AWB simply seems to be the most widely-used. AWB makes editing Wikipedia easier; this applies to good and bad edits. All I am really saying is that many edits do not always make quality edits, and giving one sort of editing approach where this may be so; which AWB just happens to make easier. I certainly didn't mean to imply that all (or even most) AWB users fell into this bracket, and I apologise if I did. It's also true that this sort of editing is perfectly possible without an external program - I think what I was mistaking for a user diving straight in with AWB was in fact, now I look again at the history I was thinking of, someone who already had a tendency towards this and merely found it easier when they got access to AWB. But yes, as you say; editcountitis. TSP 02:41, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Ok, it's fine, I probably shouldnt have commented, thanks. Martin 08:27, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose, editcountitis. Martin 23:36, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  7. Endorse (3rd choice) ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:07, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose; the number of edits alone is not a reliable measure of trustiness. - Liberatore(T) 00:20, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose - restricts the freedom of the Wiki. Cedars 00:40, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose - I don't see what this adds. I don't like the precedent here of creating on official line for "respected editor" jbolden1517Talk 01:23, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  8. Third choice. --Bhadani 06:09, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  9. Third choice. AnnH 10:02, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Strong oppose -- Read my vote at Option 1. Cheers -- Szvest 17:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC) Wiki me up™
    Oppose see option 1 vote. Homey 21:09, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose Pegasus1138Talk | Contribs | Email ---- 21:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose easy to run up a 1000 edits. If we need an experience restriction that option 2 is better. --MarkS 06:03, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  10. Endorse option 3. Sometimes the policy pages need minor tweaks and they aren't updated in a timely manner. So it's good to allow experienced editors to lend a hand. — RJH (talk) 19:53, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Option 4: Policy pages should be semi-protected as a matter of course.

  1. Endorse. This is basically a watered down version of #2 (and now #3, which was posted while I was writing this) which captures their ability to protect against vandalism, but avoids their unnecessarily high bar for who can contribute. Postdlf 19:23, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. EndorseKim van der Linde at venus 19:25, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. Endorese Garion96 (talk) 19:31, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. Third choice if its a choice between this and the much, much too heavy rules above. Only four day old accounts, so be it. Remember we already have that enormous filter in place: the watchlist. Marskell 19:46, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  5. Fourth choice. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:59, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  6. Second choice - This would be marginally acceptable. --CBDunkerson 20:24, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  7. Nth choice - of the offered alternatives, this is the least bad. At least it's simple and less arbitrary than the rest--Stephan Schulz 22:10, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  8. I agree with this. Martin 23:33, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  9. Endorse (4th choice). ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:07, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  10. Endorse, anon and users newer than 4 days shouldn't edit policy pages. - Liberatore(T) 00:23, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose - no page should be semi-protected "as a matter of course". This sentiment seems to be supported by the page on semi-protection. Cedars 00:40, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  11. 2nd choice- There is no reason someone without an account should edit policy jbolden1517Talk 01:23, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose. IP vandals and accounts four days old aren't the problem. It's editors who have been around long enough to get into a few scraps, have their hands slapped under some wiki policy or another (i.e. 3RR, NPOV, V, NOR) and arrive at the policy pages in a high dudgeon and seek to change them so that they can continue their bad behavior without consequences. · Katefan0 (scribble)/poll 15:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Strong oppose -- Read my vote at Option 1. Cheers -- Szvest 17:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC) Wiki me up™
    Weak Oppose as unworkable and easily bypasseble as pointed out by JCarriker, if not for that fact this would be in my opinion the best of all the proposals. Pegasus1138Talk | Contribs | Email ---- 21:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  12. Endorse --MarkS 06:03, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
    Confused. Is this meant as an alternative to the other options — i.e. we limit editing of policy pages to admins or we limit it to editors with a certain number of edits or we semi-protect the page? Is there any reason why option 4 couldn't be enforced at the same time as one of the other options? Sorry to be a bit dense. AnnH 23:16, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Option 5: The editing of policy pages should be restricted to editors who had their first edit in 2001

  1. 2nd Choice (also, see talk) Kim Bruning 13:05, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Strong oppose -- Read my vote at Option 1. Cheers -- Szvest 17:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC) Wiki me up™
    Erm, 99% of the editors who had their first edit in 2001 are extremely experienced admins, bureaucrats, or members of the board or whatnot. Are you sure you want to oppose this? Kim Bruning 17:38, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose see option 1 vote. Homey 21:09, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Strong Oppose can you say cabalism to the extreme, this is an awful idea as it would limit all control of policies to only a handful of people which defeats the idea of having policies drafted and created by the editors. Pegasus1138Talk | Contribs | Email ---- 21:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Well percieved. So how is this option any different from any of the other options? :-) Kim Bruning 00:24, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
    Some people need to adjust their irony detectors. :-) SlimVirgin (talk) 02:33, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. Conditional endorse. Make it 2002, and you've got a deal. Also I'd like to make this retroactive. -Dan 15:15, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Current rules sufficient[edit]

Option 6: Policy pages should be open for anyone to edit.

  1. Endorse. We already have semiprotection, which we use when neccessary. This is just rulecruft. Friday (talk) 19:16, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Semi-protection only stops anon IPs and accounts up to four days old, Friday. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:34, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. Endorse. Anybody can easily rack up 1000 meaningless edits. This isn't necessary and prevents barriers to well-meaning newbies because of paranoia. SchmuckyTheCat 19:20, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. Yeah. We (theoretically) have enough people monitoring these things so that the pages don't change dramatically overnight. This just intimidates new users unnecesarrily. And like Friday says, we have protection of various levels if there is an active problem. Also, we probably didn't need to do this in the form of a poll quite so quickly, but it's not a big deal.--Sean Black 19:29, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Theoretically is key. A user had made a series of small changes, some quite dramatic, to WP:NPOV over about four months until I added the page to my watchlist, noticed what he was doing and reverted it. · Katefan0 (scribble)/poll 19:44, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    True enough. But I don't think this poses such a huge problem as to warrant this, in my opinion. Just add a bunch of pages to your watchlist and there won't be much of a problem :).--Sean Black 20:02, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. Endorse. --Francis Schonken 19:34, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  5. Endorse. In principle, this is my choice. Marskell 19:46, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  6. Endorse. I would actually support retricting editing to admins *if* admins didn't insert their own opinions and views, and only followed community consensus. But let's be realistic. Admins are just regular editors, and when they edit, they are no more or less likely to reflect community consensus than anybody else. No policy should change meaningfully without community consensus, no matter who does it. Bad edits by admins are no better then bad edits by regular users. Recent nonsense over the WP:CSD page regarding templates, convinces me, admins are not, as class, any better (or worse) than anybody else. It's tempting to support a rule that tightnes things just enough to include me (based on edits or duration), but excludes newbies, but I guesse that would make me a hypocrite. --Rob 19:54, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  7. Endorse. I have seen plenty of "established" users try to "reword" or "clarify" a policy, guideline, or process – whether in good faith or not – and thereby completely change its meaning. Therefore, I don't think there's sufficient cause to introduce a confusing and seemingly arbitrary cutoff simply to exclude well-meaning newcomers. Sure, we'll stop the blatant vandals, but this rule isn't going to help with what I see as the main problem – bad edits by "established" users. — Rebelguys2 talk 20:14, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  8. Prefered over stricter versions suhc as only admins and arbitrairy non-sensible 6 months restrictions. These strickter version creep me out, if a middleground is impossible, leave it as it is. Kim van der Linde at venus 20:18, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  9. Endorse - Seems to have worked for the last five years. Somehow I don't see why one person with a couple of sockpuppets should change that. --CBDunkerson 20:23, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  10. Endorse - I was going to endorse options 3 or 4. In my substantially fewer than 1000 edits and six months here, I've seen a lot of debates about limiting some activity or another to a certain group of "properly qualified" people. It always sounds like a good idea (prevention would leave our time free to focus on content), but then someone makes the point that Wikipedia is not about segregating users. It's about working together (schmaltzy as that may sound). If someone goes astray, whether by inexperience or any other means, the "Wikipedia Way", if you will, is to guide them back on the path. The policy and guideline pages help form the core of what Wikipedia is or aims to be, and as such, it is tempting to guard them from any possible harm. But since these pages are so critical to the essence of Wikipedia, let's make examples of them! I say leave them open to editing. They can be watched and reverted like any other page. --Laura S 20:45, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    I hope you'll start helping to do that then, Laura. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:56, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Well, like I said, I'm relatively new here (well below all the proposed limits for restrictions). Having said that, one of the first things I ever did at Wikipedia was read all the policies and guidelines I could get my hands on, and I've lurked on many discussions where I saw them cited. So even though many here seem to think I'm not qualified to judge what should be reverted and what shouldn't, some are already on my watchlist, and I am more than happy to do my best to help patrol them. I should also note that I just did the spoken version for three of the five pillars (if you count WP:IAR), which I couldn't have done on my own if these restrictions had been in place. --Laura S 21:13, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Sure you could have done those. You just wouldn't have been able to do the final housekeeping edit to the policy page itself. - Taxman Talk 22:10, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    At the risk of continuing a conversation that's probably better moved to the talk page, of course I could have made the actual recordings. And then what, ask someone to post them? I try to have a pretty thick skin, but even as a newish user, I've put many, many hours into Wikipedia, many of them just lurking and learning. If I hit a page that said "sorry, we don't think you're ready yet", I think I would have been a little insulted, and not have bothered with the next one. Maybe that's weak of me, but I was under the impression that Wikipedia is sort of an "all editors created equal" type of place. (Notwithstanding higher value placed on experienced users' votes, etc. which are judgements of people, not across-the-board policy.) This feels to me like an elitest thing; I'm not trusted because I haven't put in enough raw hours? That seems contrary to the ideal I took to be one of the key aspects of this project. --Laura S 00:03, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    How is that different from editing the main page? The only problem is in improper expectations built on the idea that every page should be able to be edited by everyone. Why should they be? If you let go of that expectation, then there is no offense in not being able to edit a page, just a positive system where people that have demonstrated trust can. You'd clearly be able to gain that trust. And I'm not saying this proposal is going to succeeed. I doubt it will, so please don't take an offense, this is just discussing some different ideas in abstract. - Taxman Talk 11:49, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    "Why should they be? My God Taxman, it's the foundational principle of the entire project. "Wikipedia: The encyclopedia anyone can edit". Editing limitations should be the option of absolute last resort. And if you want to compare policy pages to the Main page you need to compare relative harm: no one has yet put forward a "real and present danger" that allowing anons to edit policy (which they've done for five years, to state the obvious) presents. All I'm hearing is that its rather annoying and that certain people can be sneaky. "Oh shit, I accidentally deleted 200 images because someone changed WP:SD and told me I should feel free." Do we have problems of this sort? Marskell 12:59, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    This is a red herring. Wikipedia is the encyclopedia where anybody can contribute information. It's not the encyclopedia where anybody can play nomic with policies. · Katefan0 (scribble)/poll 15:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    I find this a little baffling. Who's playing nomic? Those who want to change the rules, obviously. And what is the red herring here? It's up to those who think we need the most radical editing restriction the Wiki has seen to present a reason why. The red herring is presenting uncertain newbies editing policy pages as a reason. Open editing on the main page compromises our public face; I have yet to read one clear example of how open editing on policy presents anywhere near the same problem. Marskell 21:17, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    All I'd like to say is this is not an experiment in democracy or social science, it's a reference work founded on freedom if information. Which should take precedence I would think should be obvious. As for evidence of the problem there is plenty of vandalism on all the major policies. A large proportion of edits to the project is vandalism reversion instead of productive edits. - Taxman Talk 14:06, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  11. Aside from the fact that people can (and hopefully do) revert bad changes, the actual wording of policy pages is not that big a deal. The actual policy is established by common practice. If limitations are placed, editing should be limited to bureaucrats only -- people who have been specifically selected for their ability to read community consensus. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:03, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  12. Protection is harmful. Egalitarianism is one of the cornerstones of Wikipedia. In practice, policy is what's obeyed, not what's written, and it's easy to sniff out fraud in a few minutes' history-delving.

    A trusted user who changes a policy page without consensus should be reverted. An untrusted user who changes a policy page to reflect consensus should be permitted. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 21:32, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

    Wise words. It's always better to judge the edit than the editor. Friday (talk) 21:34, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Open editing has contributed to getting us this far. It may not be the best thing to get us farther and to where we need to be to be a respected reference work. No one really thinks Wikipedia material on the whole is accurate enough to be relied on. The same old methods may not produce the necessary results. Change is needed. - Taxman Talk 22:10, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  13. Endorse. All pages should be open to anyone to edit. Angela. 23:10, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose. Without at least minimal WP experience (time and edits), I don't see how a newbie would have the necessary background to formulate WP policy. --MPerel ( talk | contrib) 23:22, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    There are anon users who have been contributing to Wikipedia for years and have 'the necessary background', but would be excluded by any of the first four scenarios. --CBDunkerson 00:18, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose. It does not work. If you witnessed the mess and royal waste of everybody's time in these attempts to change policy, you would agree to oppose a status-quo on this issue. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:22, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  14. Endorse. This is the wiki way. Semiprotection - or even full protection - can be used for pages under attack. Warofdreams talk 00:41, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  15. Endorse. Page protection destroys the Wiki ethos. Cedars 00:41, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  16. This proposed policy doesn't even make sense. Only the protection or semi-protection ones are even actionable. If someone is going to watchlist the pages and check everyone's edits why can't they just look at the edits to see if it reflects consensus rather than relying on some bizarre and arbitrary number of edits or length of being a user? Even protecting the page does little good as even admins do not follow consensus and are known to edit war the same as anyone else on policy pages. If anything, this proposal should be about setting guidelines for editing policy pages, not jumping to techinical or other restrictions. Token polls are evil response too. Kotepho 07:43, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  17. Endorse: A few things, probably already mentioned. You can't enforce the 6 months or 1,000 edit rules. Admins do not always edit policy pages in good faith (that is, with the consensus of the community in mind). There are plenty of anons who are probably better and more experienced userseditors than some admins, but choose to stay anonymous (which is completely allowed on Wikipedia). And lastly, protecting pages is used to stop vandalism, not prevent it. Chuck(척뉴넘) 09:03, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  18. Endorse fully. heqs 11:39, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose. FeloniousMonk 15:15, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose. I challenge anyone who doesn't think there's a problem to look back through the discussions at WP:NPOV, WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:3RR within the past couple of months. I notice that pretty much every single person who was involved in those battles on all the pages I just referenced (myself included) are here voting for stricter standards. If you don't like what's been proposed, then please, please, propose something else. I'd entertain every idea. But the way things are now doesn't work. · Katefan0 (scribble)/poll 15:25, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    This is probably the best point on this page. I don't see almost anyone that is opposing the restrictions that was significantly involved in the mess on the policy pages over a period of months. - Taxman Talk 21:42, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Agree. As it is always the case, only those that feel the itch have the urge to scracth it. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 21:45, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    Strong oppose -- Read my vote at Option 1. Cheers -- Szvest 17:26, 19 May 2006 (UTC) Wiki me up™
  19. EndorseHomey 21:09, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  20. Endorse. Palmiro | Talk 12:14, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  21. Endorse As a user with 20,000+ edits who has no interest in being an admin and sees a great deal of misconduct by arrogant admins, I am appalled that some of them want to tighten their stranglehold over Wikipedia even further. CalJW 16:31, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  22. Endorse. What Cal said (except about the 20,000 edits). Noisy | Talk 16:38, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
    Oppose per Katefan0. AnnH 23:38, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
  23. Endorse Wikipedia is a wiki. The policies are a creation of this wiki. Where is the evidence of a persistant problem with edits to policy pages? These proposals are yet another salami slice towards the loss of the 'anyone can edit' principle, in other words, the loss of the wiki. Alan Pascoe 19:57, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  24. Ashibaka tock 01:43, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  25. Endorse. Once, one of my friends anonymously edited a Wikipedia policy (it may even have been one of the Five Pillars) for style. Not restricting the editing of policy pages will allow anonymous users to continue to save us all from reading poorly written policy. NatusRoma | Talk 17:16, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  26. Endorse. Wikipedia was built and runs quite well with current rules. Of course, the iron law of oligarchy means we are constantly moving away and away from democracy, sometimes with good reasons - but this would not be it. Don't let a few incidents force us to make such a fundamental change: new editors can make good additions to our rules just as old 'pedians.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 03:22, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  27. Endorse What is anyone afraid of? Make a rule that nobody is to edit the policy unless first proposing it on the discussion page. If someone violated this, revert! If nobody responds to the proposal, give a certain amount of days (maybe 7) for the person to wait before incorporting that proposal into the policy. Then people can argue about wording. But the proposal should be detailed enough for people to basically see what the wording change is going to be. There is too much of a tyrannical inclination in society that as soon as an abuse arises, people go overboard and restrict freedom....ultimately leading to tying up everyone in society and then we won't have to worry anymore! We need freedom and responsibility, not laziness in being able to handle ordinary abuses of society. Wikipedia is not another planet. It is a cross section of society itself and we should try to reinvent the wheel. (Diligens 10:18, 23 May 2006 (UTC))
  28. Endorse If something is open to manipulation, it should not only be open to manipulation by administrators. That just creates inertia. Honbicot 10:44, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  29. Endorse. Anons can make productive edits to policy pages - admins aren't perfect typists, and wording can almost always be improved. Unproductive changes can always be reverted. Just like with every single other page with the exception of the high-visibility pages (which these aren't, being only of relevance to editors and not to readers). --Sam Blanning(talk) 12:29, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
  30. Endorse - vandalized pages including policies can be (temporarily) (semi-) protected, and if controversial changes of a policy page aren't noticed it's time to demote the page to "historical". -- Omniplex 07:23, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  31. Endorse. Devil's advocate: if someone manages to rewrite a policy page without anyone noticing for three weeks there may be something wrong with the policy. Policing a policy page (even a main one) against POV-pushers – welcome to the joy of policing a page on a scientific subject against cranks and kooks. Dr Zak 11:59, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
  32. Endorse. Policy pages are the same as any other wikipedia article. They don't need special protection--Dr.Worm 21:59, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
  33. Aye. Disturbing trend, this. -Dan 15:11, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Not sure what would be best, but this is not the way to achieve it[edit]

Option 7: Pardon? Neither policy nor guidelines are created by voting upon them[1]

  1. Endorse. --Francis Schonken 19:34, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    In the end, the communities views have to be discussed. - Taxman Talk 19:41, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    "In the end" was surely a slip of the tongue... the "how to create policy" guideline is clear about not creating policies/guideline by vote... this new idea is up for a few hours, the earliest stages of a guideline/policy proposal, the start of a creation process – and we're already in the middle of a vote. The initiators of the page surely know how to fuse off an instant Wikimeme that creates a large noise at the start, but because of the controversial & clumsy way the thing was initiated will likely be more of an energy drain than something that brings anything beneficial to the community & to Wikipedia. --Francis Schonken 20:55, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    I skipped to the end to make my point. I don't know about you, but I see plenty of discussion on this page. Rounds of discussion before a final vote isn't guaranteed to be better than just tallying views as the conversation evolves. People can change based on what they see in other comments. - Taxman Talk 22:13, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Sorry, Neither policy nor guidelines are created by voting upon them per Wikipedia:How to create policy. Why should you write new policies, when you can't keep to the existing ones? Because you're a sysop? ...have more than 1000 edits? ...are a wikipedian for more than six months? - all irrelevant. Keep to the Wikipedia:How to create policy guideline, gently lead newcomers there if needed, and if you're a sysop or otherwise experienced user, don't forget you have to keep to the same rules. --Francis Schonken 22:29, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Impressive red herring there. I'm assuming you're using a generic "you" there because I doubt you can find a time I haven't followed policy. And you're leaning on these guidelines as if they're bedrock policies. They're not, they're just somebody's idea that didn't get full consensus. Therefore, they're not necessarily the best way to do things. Even worse, this is continuing meta discussion that does nothing but purely distract from the issue at hand. - Taxman Talk 11:49, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. -- Drini 20:18, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. Endorse. Policy should be made by consensus, not by vote. --Stephan Schulz 22:00, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  4. Endorse - we appear to be voting before even discussing the effectiveness of the listed measures. --Philosophus T 22:35, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  5. Endorse - Nothing wrong with the current system of use-the-talk-page-save-for-minor-edits. —THIS IS MESSEDR with umlaut.pngOCKER (TALK) 22:51, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  1. ^ Intro of Wikipedia:How to create policy

Option 8[edit]

Policy should be determined not by the 0.06% who are admins but by the 99.94% of us who are not.

Support--Light current 02:31, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Polls are evil , let's discuss and use consensus instead (ob. Elian clause)[edit]

  1. There was no discussion on this as far as I can tell. Kim Bruning 23:08, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    No one said the policy was going to be decided by this poll. This is only to get a sense of who prefers which options. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:10, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    Policy is never determined by a poll. Polls are evil anyway. :-) Kim Bruning 23:13, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
    This one has rather thoroughly demonstrated that there is no consensus for anything. :-) --Carnildo 01:39, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  2. I endorse the idea of this proposal, but I'd like some discussions on the details. For example, if the only problem are sockpuppets, a much lower number of edits (say, 300) and time (1 month) may be sufficient. In general, I feel that a time bound is necessary, but 6 months are probably too much (some people become administrator in three months or even less). Also, the time should be evalutated by the number of months of active editing, not the time from the account creation. - Liberatore(T) 00:04, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    As I noted on the talk page, the sockpuppet problem will not be prevented by even the strictest of the proposed changes. --Philosophus T 00:08, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    This is a misguided notion. Read the discussion at the top of the page. It's not about sockpuppets -- it's about editors who have run afoul of a Wikipedia policy who then seek to change it to make it easier for them to continue their bad behavior. Yes, one of those disruptions was at Wikipedia:Sockpuppets. But another was at WP:3RR by a user who was irritated at having been blocked for edit warring. Another was at WP:NPOV by an editor irritated by not being able to give equal weight to a tiny minority view. You see where this is going. · Katefan0 (scribble)/poll 02:16, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  3. Polls are evil. It is a terrible failing of Wikipedia that content disputes are settled by weight of numbers (or if this sort of guideline passed, weight of edits) rather than the merits of the case. Grace Note 00:12, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Slogans are evil[edit]

  1. Slogans are evil, we need reasoned comments regarding a serious problem here, not slogans. Jayjg (talk) 23:11, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
    That's right. Polls are problematic, because you can only have slogan sized sound bites, and you have to "vote" on which slogan you like best. The clever trick invented by Elian and recommended by Jimbo is to add the additional slogan, which makes the problem more obvious. Kim Bruning 12:55, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

More Plans (No Poll, discussions)[edit]

If you have a better, thought out or alternate solution, please add it here, and please discuss options!

  • Wikipedia:Policy patrol, which we should have had a long time ago already, so that's been set up. Kim Bruning 13:01, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
    An additional advantage is that while all the above (as of this writing) would *not* have caught User:Zephram Stark, policy patrol *would* have. (and the ad-hoc policy patrol we had before in fact eventually did, that's how we know about it.) Kim Bruning 13:11, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
    I really like this idea, it seems much more the "wikiway", and will go a lot further in resolving the issues that brought about this poll in the first place. Of course, it's also more work, but in a situation like this, no automation is going to handle things very well; this is definitely a job for people. -- Laura S | talk to me 13:31, 20 May 2006 (UTC)