Wikipedia:What does 'per' mean?

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Frequently, on several of our process pages, people make comments containing the word per, such as:

"Merge per WP:CUTS"
"Delete per nom"
"Oppose per User:Example"

Among new users, there is the occasional confusion about what the word per means and implies.

Note that comments that are only per something are generally considered arguments to avoid. (See WP:PERNOM and WP:JUSTAPOLICY.)

Per an acronym or link[edit]

Wikipedia editors often abbreviate the name of frequently referenced policies, guidelines and essays. These abbreviations often take the form of either a series of capital letters (e.g. "NPOV"), which may be prefixed by "WP:". (When using the prefix "WP:", the page can be linked, like so: WP:NPOV.)

Editors sometimes refer to these pages by writing per and then the page.

For example, "Merge per WP:CUTS" means either:

"In my opinion we should merge this, for the reasoning explained on WP:CUTS."


"I interpret WP:CUTS as recommending this course of action be taken, and furthermore I think that the current version of WP:CUTS provides a good principle on which to base choices in matters like this one."

It is sometimes misunderstood as, but specifically does not mean, the following:

"WP:CUTS is officially policy and therefore it is mandatory to merge this."

Now, "WP:CUTS isn't policy!" is not the proper way to go about such a challenge. It would be only a straw man argument. WP:CUTS might not be a policy, but it is still a reason. You are free to disagree, to debate, to provide your own reason – with or without reference to any other page – or to challenge the referenced WP:CUTS contents. Moreover, Wikipedia has a rule about ignoring all the rules, so you can do the same even if WP:CUTS in fact is a policy.

Per another editor[edit]

During discussions, editors sometimes endorse other opinions. Editors do this by writing per Someone. "Someone" could be the username of another editor or "nom", which refers to the nominator. (In a deletion discussion, the user initially starting the deletion discussion.)

"Oppose per User:Example" means the following:

"User:Example makes a good argument, and I'm going to recommend the course of action because I substantially agree with the bulk of what s/he said."

See also[edit]