Some discussions, and most straw polls and votes on Wikipedia, need to be publicised widely in order to gain consensus for wide-ranging or fundamental changes. This page is a list of suggestions for places where such publicising should take place. It generally only applies to the largest and most structured discussions.
Most discussions will only use a few of the publicity methods shown. Normal discussions do not always need large amounts of input. A balance needs to be struck between gaining sufficient input for consensus, and overwhelming a discussion with too much input. Similarly, publicising minor discussions makes it more difficult for editors to identify the major discussions where their comments are more important. If discussion at a quiet talk page has just attracted no or very little input, then leaving a neutral note on the talk page of a relevant WikiProject or inviting users who commented in previous discussions on the page (but see WP:CANVASS) is normally the best first step.
Notices should always be phrased neutrally, should not be repeatedly posted in the same venue (though some regular updates may be appropriate), and should make clear when the discussion or poll will end, assuming it is not open-ended. When posting to a noticeboard about a discussion, you should determine whether the notices will be archived before the discussion has ended, and thus a follow-up notice may be needed, or if the original notice will remain visible until the discussion has ended. Different noticeboards have different archiving practices. Using a future timestamp in a hidden comment as described at User:DoNotArchiveUntil is one method of delaying most archiving bots from archiving a notice.
When setting up a discussion, interested editors should discuss and decide in which places to publicise the discussion. However, if the discussion has started without such decisions, and you think that wider input is needed, consider being bold and leaving notices in the appropriate places. If you do post notices, also post a comment at the discussion talk page that such notices have been made.
Best practice include:
- Making a note of where the discussion has been publicised
- Using what links here to check where particular discussions have been publicised
- Setting a time for the discussion to end
- Ensuring that someone uninvolved closes the discussion, or an appeal is made for someone uninvolved to close the discussion, especially if the result is close.
- Publicising the discussion in plain English, rather than Wikipedia jargon.
(For more advice and common mistakes to avoid, such as inappropriate posting to individual user talk pages, see Wikipedia:Canvassing.)
Places to publicise
- General places
- Village pumps (including proposals and policy village pumps)
- The Community portal and the Community bulletin board
- Wikipedia:Requests for comment (including Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Policies)
- Mailing lists specific to Wikipedia, such as Wiki-en-l
- Wikipedia:Third opinion, where two editors alone are in disagreement and a third opinion may help.
- Places for topical issues
- Various noticeboards; for example
- The talk page of the relevant policies and guidelines
- The talk pages of relevant WikiProjects
- Talk pages of affected processes, e.g. WT:AFD or WT:RFAR
- Mailing lists specific to a particular process on Wikipedia, such as unblock-en-l, accounts-enwiki-l, and oversight-l
- Places for technical issues
While many technical issues will require a bug report, that is generally not the place to publicise discussion.
- Discussions affecting the whole community
- Wikipedia:Centralized discussion for centralized discussion of policy, guideline, and infrastructure changes (not for content disputes in articles)
- Watchlist notice (propose additions at MediaWiki talk:Watchlist-details - this is only for the biggest discussions - see also Template:MW notices)
- Other places
- Community news media, such as the Signpost, Wikipedia:Wikivoices, Wikipedia:WikipediaWeekly, and Wikipedia:Wikizine
- Note: To suggest a story for the Signpost, post on the suggestions page. Posting about both ongoing and completed discussion are welcome.