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On Wikipedia, processes are the patterns and the methods of routine and semi-routine actions. It is a technical, methodical, and semi-formal means of accomplishing goals and resolving disputes. These processes are deferential to policies and overlap with guidelines.[why?]

Exact processes are subjective. Editors often express distinct patterns and methods. At the lowest level, editors are given the greatest discretion over the exact means of accomplishing a goal. As interests grows, disputes are fostered. Formal process becomes essential in resolving these conflicts.[how?]

Article-making is a loose process beginning with creation and continuing to a featured article review; it may in some cases be deleted.

Articles and groups of articles are tagged into semi-hierarchical categories, and grouped into portals.

Decision making[edit]

Consensus making[edit]

Decisions are made through the consensus of all involved parties. Low-profile articles, templates, and pages receive little traffic and editors often work alone. Editors are granted greater discretion over the means used to accomplish their goals. Consensus at this level is often implied (WP:SILENCE).

A flow chart on consensus making.

As the number of editors involved in a particular edit space increase, potential disputes increase. Goals differ and the involved parties attempt to articulate their basis in the discussion. Decisions are made with the threshold of consensus, which requires all or most of the editors to concede to a specified action.

If the involved editors lack adequate means to resolve the dispute, such as reliable sources, community notice boards provides a linkage institution to attract greater visibility to the issue. A neutral message is placed on the appropriate board: third opinion (WP:3O), conflicts of interest (WP:COIN), request for comment (WP:RFC), fringe theories (WP:FTN), biographies of living persons (WP:BLPN), original research (WP:ORN), reliable sources (WP:RSN), or certain content specific disputes (WP:WPR).

When the involved parties are unable to resolve the issue, the discussion may become stale. A Bold, Revert, and Discussion (BRD) cycle is a proactive means used to reestablish participation or accept consensus. An editor reads a proposal in whole or in part, which prompts the involved parties to identify the objections to edits, keeps discussion moving forward, or concedes with silence (WP:BRD).

If the discussion is intense, the BRD cycle may increase contention, such that the dispute would be unresolved. Behavioral policies and guidelines become essential in retaining the integrity of the discussion. If a participant fails to adhere to these behavioral policies, a set of community notice boards are available as linkage institutions to sanctions either on the dispute itself, in the case of a cooling-down period, or on specific editors. A neutral message is placed on the appropriate board: civility (WP:WQA), request for comment on a user (WP:RFC/U), reverting (WP:AN3), incidents (WP:ANI), or administrative actions (WP:AN).

Some disputes cannot be resolved by the involved parties alone. Contentions may be too high, parties too persistent, or communication too incoherent to resolve the conflict by reasonable means. Two last resort institutions are available. The first is Mediation (WP:MEDCOM), the second Arbitration (WP:ARB). Mediation provides a formal (WP:RFM) neutral third party to mediate disputes. Mediation is the second to last step and requires participants to remain voluntary to the processes involved. The arbitration process (WP:ARB) is the last resort means of providing binding solutions to disputes. Arbitration is formal: participants are required to adhere to specific policies (WP:AP), or be blocked in contempt.

Widening consensus[edit]

Community norms provide a consistent means from which decisions are made. Consistency builds integrity and is focused on providing value to the reader. Norms are articulated in essays or declared in policies and guidelines. Norms are a loose consensus, beginning with individual editors and ending with far reaching policies and guidelines. Widening consensus is the process from which individual decisions reach acceptance by a larger community.

Editors construct articles according to their beliefs, which can be modified by another editor according to their beliefs. For example, verifiability and notability dictate the criteria of inclusion, while consensus dictates how the criteria of inclusion is applied.

Grassroots consensus building among editors on an article is widened when larger standing committees are born. WikiProjects link groups of editors to facilitate discussion. They may operate with little activity and with loose enforcement or may become far reaching entities encompassing a large number of articles. WikiProjects provide the means for consistent article making and organization, and provide linkage institutions to policies and guidelines. To join or leave a WikiProject requires no obligation or requirement. It should be noted that articles are not owned by individual persons or WikiProjects. Community consensus cannot be overridden.

Policy making[edit]

Policies and guidelines hold authority in decision making. They are cited in discussions, where its scope reaches so far as to: guiding writing style (WP:MOS), defining appropriate behavior (WP:CIVIL), defining a criteria of inclusion (WP:N and WP:V), and even the number of reverts an editor may make within twenty-four hours (WP:3RR). All policies and guidelines are written with original intent (WP:5P), which are designed to supplement commonsense rather than replacing it (WP:IAR).

Policies and guidelines are living documents, which change according to the community's philosophy towards improvement. Changing a policy or guideline requires consensus, and the level of which generally entails that the changes be publicized, depending on the scope of the change.

A minor change such as rewording or improving the prose of the policy or guideline are made on the page's discussion. Some editors choose to use the project page's discussion as a preliminary measure for large amendments before using either a linkage institution or request for comment.

New policies and guidelines must are created by either: (1) tagging a project page with {{proposal}} or {{promote}} and running a Request for Comment, or (2) through a linkage institution such as the village pump (WP:VPP) or a parent project (e.g. WP:WPMOS) which help editors step through the proposal process and to provide feedback.



Articles are created either by request from an anonymous user, or immediately by a registered user (WP:UAL).


Articles must express notability (WP:N) and verifiability (WP:V), otherwise they may be deleted. The exact procedures are detailed in (WP:DPR#AFD).

If the deletion is non-controversial, it may be applicable under a criteria of speedy deletion (WP:CSD).


Each edit is saved into a history, when a page is moved the history is retained. Only the name space is changed. Only autoconfirmed users can move pages (WP:UAL)).


If an article's content is not sufficient or notable enough for its own article, it may be able to be merged into an article on a related and wider subject.





Formal review[edit]

Review in the context of Wikipedia's processes is an accessory or secondary process that aims to evaluate a process that had already taken place (main or primary process) and resulted in some action. There are several established venues to formally discuss and evaluate contested actions such as the use of administrator tools, advanced permissions, and various types of closes, to determine if the action was reasonable, or whether it was inconsistent with the spirit and intent of Wikipedia common practice, policies, or guidelines.

There are two dedicated forums where review is conducted on the basis of consensus, in discussions following a specific format: Deletion review and Move review. These are not considered noticeboards, as they are not intended to prompt quick action (e.g. by notifying an administrator of something urgent), or seek assistance (such as mediation), but exist as a place for mutual consultations on issues that are often not so clear-cut. However, a part of certain noticeboards' function is also to conduct review processes—closed RfCs and broader community discussions are evaluated on the Administrators' noticeboard, while bot-related matters are reviewed on the Bots noticeboard. The Administrators' noticeboard also functions as a venue to appeal closes of other reviews.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jimmy Wales (2007-01-26). Jimmy Wales: How a ragtag band created Wikipedia (MPEG-4). YouTube. Event occurs at 7:10. Retrieved 2009-05-16.