Wikipedia talk:Consensus

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: When was WP:CONEXCEPT, which says that editors at the English Wikipedia do not get to overrule the Wikimedia Foundation on issues like server load, software and legal issues, first added?

A: It was added in January 2007 by User:Circeus, after a brief discussion on the talk page in the context of whether this page should be a policy rather than a guideline. It has been discussed and amended many times since then, e.g., here, here, and here.

"Consensus is a partnership between interested parties working positively for a common goal." -- Jimmy Wales

Too many shortcuts[edit]

Dustin V. S. (talk · contribs) has re-reverted[1] to reinsert his recent unused creation, WP:NOCON, a shortcut pointing to Wikipedia:Consensus#No_consensus.

Firstly, there are too many shortcuts littering policy and guideline pages, and inclusion of more barely intuitive, never used, jargon-encouraging, bright blue ALLCAPSONEWORDS is not good for the project, mainly because they decrease accessibility for newcomers.

Secondly, the section should not be the subject of encouraged policy short cut linking. The section is not proper policy per se, but links to other policy mentions of "no consensus". Referring to this section as the policy source for "no consensus" creates circular referencing.

His logic, that there are other cases of excessingexcessive shortcut advertising in prominent boxes on policy pages is no reason to add to the problem. Individualsly should not be entitled to add their own recently created previously unused shortcuts to policy page. Note that this in no way limited the creation of the redirect, or use of the redirect, just its pasting on the policy page.

See also the similar issue discussed at Wikipedia_talk:Sock_puppetry/Archive_13#How_many_advertised_shortcuts_to_the_policy_page.3F. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:06, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Agreed with the second point. Neutral on the first. The third, I don't buy, since virtually the only way shortcuts become used is when people see them in the pages to which they lead and thus become aware of them. I regularly add (hopefully better-thought-out) shortcuts to various Wikipedia-namespace pages, and am rarely reverted on it. This suggests that adding shortcuts isn't problematic per se, just adding lame ones is.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:16, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
Glad to see you agree with the second. It is the main point. May I remove the shortcut?
On the first, some pages are worse than others, but I suggest pretending to be a newcomer reading these pages.
The third "Individuals should not be entitled to add their own", I think I meant to imply "in the absence of of justification, in the face of objection".
Disagree on "since virtually the only way shortcuts become used is when people see them in the pages to which they lead". No, few people re-read policy pages, instead what I see happening (possibly in selected circles) is people copying others who use these prominent bright blue shouty words in their arguments. The bluelinked allcaps word looks impressive, even if the fine detail at the linked section is much less so. Tying back to this example, if Dustin is seen to win arguments using WP:NOCON to persuasive effect, others are likely to try the same.
I would be surprised if you, SMcCandlish, were to be adding lame shortcuts. When you have added shortcuts to sections, how often were you crossing the WP:2SHORTCUTS line? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 10:43, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

Mixture of consensus and no consensus[edit]

I have just added this paragraph:

I strongly believe that this policy should address this kind of hybrid situation which in my experience is quite common. I made a similar proposal here years ago, but perhaps there will be a better reception now. For the record, this is not motivated by any article that I have edited this year, nor will I ever cite this paragraph if it is accepted into the policy, for the rest of my life (nor thereafter).Anythingyouwant (talk) 19:06, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

I've reverted your addition so it can be talked out here. I get your point, but I am very mildly opposed to the change simply because it addresses too narrow a sub-issue of what's already adequately covered in the first bullet point of the NOCON section. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:54, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
The first bullet point says: "In deletion discussions, no consensus normally results in the article, page, image, or other content being kept." First of all, that bullet point can be easily understood (or misunderstood) as referring to deletion of entire articles, as indicated at the link, although it does mention "other content" at the end of the sentence.
More importantly, even if that bullet point clearly referred to deletion of something within an article, that would not cover additions or replacements. And even if it did cover additions and replacements, that first bullet point only covers situations where there is no consensus, whereas the proposed paragraph specifically says there is consensus that something ought to be changed. Other than that, however, you are 100% correct to delete the paragraph. 😍 I would like to have it restored.Anythingyouwant (talk) 15:39, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
My bad. I meant the second bullet point, which does cover those things. (Memo to self: Must remember to use fingers and toes to count next time.) Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 16:29, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Okay, no problem. I read bullet point two carefully before proposing the additional paragraph, and deliberately borrowed some of its language. Bullet point two begins this way (emphasis added): "In discussions of proposals to add, modify or remove material in articles, a lack of consensus commonly results in retaining the version of the article as it was prior to the proposal or bold edit." The proposed paragraph specifically says there is consensus that something in an article ought to be changed. So it's apples and oranges. Over the years I have encountered situations where someone will say, hey, there's consensus to change something in the article, so then s/he plunges in and starts an edit war or the like, even though there was never any consensus about how to change the article.Anythingyouwant (talk) 16:42, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
I do get your point, but see it differently (and this may well be one of those glass half-empty/half-full things). Consensus that the article needs to be changed is only half the process towards changing it and the process is not complete until the how is worked out. Until that second half is complete, there's not really any consensus to do or not do anything and there's still, in terms of the second bullet point, a lack of consensus. But as I say, I do get your point but I still feel as I did, above. Let's wait to see if anyone else who monitors this page cares to weigh in. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 17:01, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
You say that until the how is worked out, there's not really any consensus. Putting that concept into this policy would be an adequate resolution. Would you object to that? I have seen lots of editors claim that consensus exists when there's general agreement that something in an article ought to be changed, and we apparently concur that that's wrong.Anythingyouwant (talk) 17:09, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You said over at my talk page that if no one else responds here you'll edit the policy. That would be improper; you need to get consensus to edit the policy. At this point in time there is no consensus to make any change to the policy. As for your last comment, above, again, I would oppose any change to the policy, for the reasons I stated, above. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 20:18, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

You believe that until the how is worked out there's not really any consensus, but you oppose having this policy say so for reasons that you think have already been stated. I guess that's Wikipedia for you. Now that I understand your position, of course I would not edit the policy. But thanks for responding to my solicitation of replies. This policy is often selectively enforced anyway, depending upon which side administrators want to win. I don't suppose that will ever be addressed in this policy either. Cheers.Anythingyouwant (talk)
Here is my two cents on what we should do in cases where there is a clear consensus that something in a policy/guideline is flawed and needs to change, but no consensus (yet) on how to change it:
We should either
  • Tag the old language (as being "under discussion") so editors know it no longer enjoys full consensus, or
  • Simply remove the old language - without replacing it with any new language.
Which should be done is a matter of ... discussion and consensus. Sometimes it will be helpful to keep the old language in place (but tagged) so editors can see it in context while discussing. At other times it will be better to say nothing at all than it will be to continue to say something that is flawed. Blueboar (talk) 14:15, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Hi Blueboar. Indeed, which should be done ought to be a matter of discussion and consensus. That's why I included the caveat in my original proposal above, that the content should remain as-is if "there is no consensus that any change should be made absent consensus about how to change it". For instance, if the stuff at issue is the first sentence of the lead, then probably there would not be any consensus to remove it (or change it in an unpopular way) even though everyone dislikes the current version. Of course, I am not wedded to any particular approach, and yours might work well.Anythingyouwant (talk) 14:29, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I concur (rather belatedly) with Blueboar. Another thing that often happens is that the noncommittal discussion is closed, and a more focused one opens, either immediately or some time later, depending often on the instructions of the closer, or upon what ideas were proposed and did get some traction. This seems to work okay, if not always as quickly as everyone would like. I don't see a burning need for a policy change.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:13, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

"Quality of arguments" is not verifiable[edit]

The "quality of arguments" is mentioned several times in this page. I think this is problematic as the very question of "which arguments are of better quality" is debatable! Naturally, every person thinks that his/her arguments have better quality than the other arguments. The current page actually allows an editor to say "My arguments are stronger than all other arguments, so I just close the discussion and do what I want"... this is absurd and undermines the entire goal of the consensus policy. Moreover, a decision based on "quality of arguments" is not objectively verifiable - which is against one of Wikipedia's main standards.

My suggestion: if there is no numerical consensus (no unanimous decision), then either: (1) keep the status quo, or (2) decide by majority. While majority decision is not perfect, it is at least objective and verifiable. --Erel Segal (talk) 10:20, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, Erel, but those references reflect a founding principle of all Wikimedia Foundation projects, "The 'wiki process' [is] the final decision-making mechanism for all content." It's also enshrined in policy here as a principle going back to the very beginnings of the encyclopedia (please click through and read that policy). (And the references here at Consensus to quality of argument are merely a reflection of the general principle, not the creation of that principle.) Moreover, it's important to the accuracy and reliability of the encyclopedia: With straight vote-counting partisan groups can easily affect the content of the encyclopedia through campaigning, the quality of the argument requirement helps to limit that. But it's more than just that, it's a mechanism for determining the best outcome for the purpose of building an encyclopedia, not just the most popular. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:13, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
@TransporterMan: I see your point, but I still think there must be a verifiable way to define "consensus". Verifiability is also one of the founding principles of Wikipedia, as I understand them. --Erel Segal (talk) 12:48, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
I have mentioned this before, but I think in the case of a content dispute that a proposal from those in the majority that is accepted by a majority of the minority group should have a lot of weight. In other words, if 4 editors want XYZ and 3 editors want WXY, and the 4 editors propose XZ, say, which two of the other editors accept as a good compromise, that is a pretty good consensus even if the last editor in the minority claims it isn't. --Ring Cinema (talk) 13:01, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
I would take a good unverifiable process over a verifiably bad process any day. Majority rule creates rule of the sock puppets. There isn't a magical formula to answer every question on Wikipedia that's why arguments are qualitative instead of quantitative. 10 bad arguments should mean nothing compared to 1 persuasive one. Bryce Carmony (talk) 15:30, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure if you're responding to my suggestion -- which is just a paradigm of sorts, since it's not going to be policy -- but I wonder if you feel there is anything contrary between your sentiments and mine. It seems that you are correct but could still endorse my view. I would point out, however, that there is in practice no such thing as a persuasive argument that is in the minority. --Ring Cinema (talk) 23:19, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

This seems to be moving away from the original issue raised by Erel Segal (and I've partitioned off the new subtopic into its own subsection below), but before it does entirely and also in response to Ring Cinema's comment at 13:01, 3 May 2015, above, I'd like to make the point that the number of editors on either side of an issue is not irrelevant, but it's the last thing that should be considered in evaluating consensus, not the first. I do a lot of dispute resolution at 3O, DRN, and MEDCOM and one thing that we do there in deciding whether or not to accept a case is to evaluate whether or not consensus has already been reached on the dispute. If so then, by definition, there is no longer a dispute subject to dispute resolution and we shouldn't allow an axe-grinder to try to interfere with it via DR. When I evaluate consensus for that purpose, I use this personal rule of thumb — and I emphasize that this is just personal — 3 to 1 if the 3 have a near-overwhelming no-one-could-reasonably-disagree argument, 4 to 1 with a somewhat weaker but still pretty strong argument, and 5 to 1 with an argument which is merely reasonable, and in each case that's if the 1 has a merely reasonable argument. If the 1 has a strong or very strong argument, higher ratios are required. Theoretically, if the 1 has a truly overwhelming, no-one-could-reasonably-disagree argument then the number on the other side shouldn't make any difference, but you have to then ask whether if his argument is so great why isn't anyone else buying it, but which is not to suggest that question cannot have a reasonable answer. (Note that this analysis only applies when there is no solution mandated by policy. When policy mandates a solution, policy wins, unless a local exception is established, but that also has to be done by consensus.) (Just to avoid an internal-copyvio issue, note that much of the foregoing is copied from my edit here.) Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 13:58, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure it's worth clarifying, but I didn't mention my "majority of the minority" concept in the context of "do this first". In fact, I think it's pretty clear that I was suggesting this rule of thumb comes around after more than a little discussion. I think it is still extremely useful, if for no other reason than "strength of argument" is in the eye of the beholder. It's hard to even see how argument strength is relevant, since a reason that an editor doesn't wish to abandon in the face of a lot of disagreement must by definition be a reason that is believed subjectively to be a strong one. It is not for us to judge the reasoning of others when our own reasoning is being judged. Rather, it is for us to persuade if possible and compromise maximally. --Ring Cinema (talk) 00:18, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

Wiki Process[edit]

I wonder if we have a page that explains what "the wiki process" is. It's not a way of evaluating discussion points. It's a way of editing, of trying different things in the actual document, until something sticks on the page. You might use discussion (if you're trying to get more information, so that your next edit will be more likely to stick), but discussion (and therefore the evaluation of the strengths of arguments) is not directly part of the wiki process. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:47, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
You don't mean The Wiki Way?
I thought this page was the best page at explaining the wiki way. Possibly, it was when it was still tagged as a guideline. I see a need for the page WP:The wiki way. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:11, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Well, the EDITCONSENSUS section basically covers it. But I don't think that most editors know that's what's meant by "the wiki process". WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:14, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, EDITCONSENSUS basically covers it. What has changed is the inclusion of lots of other bits. I am not very familiar with the term "the wiki process". Who does it differ from from EDITCONSENSUS? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:59, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

The term "consensus"[edit]

As long as the wiki process is at it is now, it is incorrect to talk about "consensus". A consensus is when everyone agree. But currently, decisions are sometimes accepted based on the minority view. For example, in Template:Cite doi the top note says that there is a "consensus", but clicking on the "consensus" links leads to an argument when there is a 11:6 majority AGAINST the desicision.

Even if this process is justified because the minority's arguments are stronger, it still cannot be called a "consensus". It is a policy, maybe a justified policy, but certainly not a consensus.

We spend so much effort on making the definitions on our content pages accurate. I think we should stick to this accuracy in our policy pages, too. We should find a better term for a decision which is accepted against the opinion of a majority. --Erel Segal (talk) 17:50, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

Well, no, not really. Consensus and unanimity are not synonyms. When compromises are tendered and accepted, it can get a little murky to discern the yeas and nays. The way we use the term 'consensus' here seems to entail an agreement not to pursue differences of opinion further. Something about ideally incorporating divergent views based on facts and a practical turn of mind. It is paradoxical at its center. --Ring Cinema (talk) 23:26, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
Not only does consensus not require unanimity... it is not a matter of counting heads. So yes, there are occasional situations where a minority view is deemed to be consensus... However, these are rare, and a lot depends on the nature of the arguments. Certainly a few well reasoned comments for X that refer to other policy pages will (and should) outweigh a whole bunch of "IDON'TLIKEIT" comments against X that don't give any rational at all. Those other policy pages are presumed to reflect consensus ... and so any arguments that refer to those other policies have the weight of those other consensuses behind them.
That said... It is not uncommon for those engaged in debate to unintentionally give more weight to arguments that support their view, and ignore or minimize arguments that do not. When this occurs, editors may honestly believe that a consensus exists... when in fact one does not (yet) exist. Indeed, I have seen cases where both sides of a debate are convinced that consensus not only exists but supports their view... at the same time. I remember one RFC where the question we were asked to examine was whether a consensus existed in a prior RfC or not (is there a consensus that there is a consensus). Blueboar (talk) 03:13, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

If consensus is not to bring together then I guess it is influence especially when other editors known to a particular contributor become aware of discussions and then way in ostensibly supporting a "consensus" that does little to add to the desired nature of WP yet at the same time has been achieved by counting heads or bringing into the discussion the idea that longevity of an edit of a WP article should stand because it has not been changed over a period of time. Some times some things are not changed because attention has not been brought to attention rather than inaccuracy or dispute. If longevity of text is to be commended then WP would be called a champion of new grammar and spelling.Srednuas Lenoroc (talk) 00:35, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

  • A consensus is not when everyone agrees, with a full stop after "agrees". A consensus is when everyone, excluding those agreed by everyone else to not be working to finding a consensus, agrees to a compromise that accounts for everybody's stated position. Also important is that "consensus" doesn't apply to defined questions. Usually, consensus finding requires modification of the question, and nuances in the wording. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:44, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Not wanting to prolong a situation that has already reached a point of no return after getting no where, I get the feeling that the conscious and the subconscious have yet to met in that statement. I never said "agree", I clearly said "bring together". Anything other than that is for naught.Srednuas Lenoroc (talk) 07:48, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Consensus is indeed "to bring together", although consensus is something that defies a rigorous definition. A consensus needs to be found or created, and we know it when we see it. As is so often the case, there is some dispute somewhere that spun this section. Where is that dispute? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:49, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
To what you call attention is probably more the attempt at a definitive explanation before the fact rather than what comes of the process at the end. This may be an attempt to avoid disruptive attention when civility is absent or bad faith present. The latter two are not a summation of anything currently involved--just one of several things that can come of the process and those involved. That is why I try to avoid the use of you, me, I, he, her etc. when explaining a point as well as "this is better" etc. as the latter can be a subtle attempt to crown one point that has yet to be part of a more fully develop conclusion. Things as simple as you, me, I, he can be inflammatory in a discussion. Avoiding them is what streamlines a discussion to "consensus" rather than just prolong the process and open up more discontent than what could have happened otherwise. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Srednuas Lenoroc (talkcontribs) 12:35, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

some issues regarding WP:CONLEVEL[edit]

The policy currently states:

  • Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. For instance, unless they can convince the broader community that such action is right, participants in a WikiProject cannot decide that some generally accepted policy or guideline does not apply to articles within its scope.

I don't think this is completely inaccurate ... but there is I think flawed assumption behind it. It assumes that the level of consensus at a guideline page will always be greater than those at a wikiprojects, or at an individual article's talk page... and that is not always the case. Sometimes discussions on a "local" page may actually reflect the consensus of a very wide segment of the community... while discussion at a policy and guideline page may reflect the consensus of a vary narrow segment of the community. Blueboar (talk) 21:36, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Yes your right but.....Perhaps WP:Advice pages says it better....needs to be vented by the larger community if they are not going to follow the satus quo. -- Moxy (talk) 13:10, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't think the underlying assumption is flawed, just somewhat vague. This is an issue of process bearing on the extent of consensus needed to form policy or guidelines, as is made clear by the second paragraph of this section. The underlying assumption is that policy and guidelines should not be formed without the community as a whole having notice and an opportunity to weigh in. That can happen through the PROPOSAL process, through proposals on existing policy page talk pages, or through bold editing at an existing policy page, all of which the entire community is (at least in theory) watching, but should not happen at an article talk page or any other non-policy WP-namespace page because there's no reasonable expectation that the entire community will be watching those places. Though I think the second paragraph makes that clear, I like Moxy's addition to the first paragraph (which I've cleaned up and clarified slightly) because it makes it clearer and also because it provides a link to PROJPAGE. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 15:52, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't disagree... but we still don't directly address the fact that a consensus reached at a WikiProject can actually actually reflect a broader (community) level of consensus than an opposing consensus reached at a Guideline (which can be a vary narrow (local) level of consensus). The status of the page where a discussion is held is not what determines the level of consensus... it's the number of people who participate in the discussion that determines the level of consensus. Blueboar (talk) 11:39, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

I've boldly expanded Moxy's addition to not only include decisions made at projects, but to also include decisions made at template documentation. That's another area in which editors frequently assert that it's a blockable or bannable violation to use the template in a way which is forbidden or unaddressed by the template documentation, but so far as I know — and I may be wrong — there is no support in policy or guidelines for that assertion. Please feel free to revert my addition if I'm wrong or if you disagree. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 15:19, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

  • I am becoming concerned by the amount of instruction creep here. Again, I fully support the idea that a consensus of a small group can not override the consensus of a larger group... but I don't think the "status" of the page where the competing consensuses were formed is relevant. A well advertized talk page RFC can reflect a large "community" consensus... and thus can override the consensus of a few editors at an obscure guideline page. All we really need to say is: Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. When there is debate as to what consensus is, seek a wider level of consensus.
Why not simply leave it at that? Blueboar (talk) 18:08, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
It's a question of sufficient consensus to create an encyclopedia-wide binding (subject to IAR) rule; without the notice provided by a proper following of PROPOSAL there is always the risk that however huge or firm the consensus may be at an obscure project or similar site that it only reflects the consensus of those individuals with a particular interest in the subject matter of that project or page and not that of the community as a whole, which is the only type of consensus which ought to be allowed to form binding (albeit subject to IAR) rules. If the consensus at such a place is so large and/or certain that there is the possibility that it might reflect the consensus of the entire community, then either during the process of initially determining that consensus or in a separate consensus determination afterwards it can be proposed to the entire community via compliance with PROPOSAL to determine if the full-community consensus does, in fact, exist. Until that happens, however, that can never be certain. There is the notion in POLICY that policy is and should be only the record of the practical consensus of the community recorded after that consensus has already formed de facto through everyday practice. If that idea has any validity in today's en-WP (and I have some grave doubt that it does on an everyday practical basis,[1] but if it does), then CONLIMITED only says that we cannot presume such a community consensus when the only discussion about it has taken place at some special-interest location, regardless how large or firm that consensus might be. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 19:06, 17 June 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Which is either ironic or circular, or perhaps both, since what I'm suggesting and what I both believe and observe in practice is that as a practical matter en-WP is now, on a day-in-day-out everyday basis as reflected in venues such as AN, ANI, ARBCOM, dispute resolution, and various noticeboards such as RSN and BLPN, a rule-driven and rule-controlled entity and that the notion that "there are no rules" is close to being — but is not quite — meaningless at today's WP.
"...we cannot presume such a community consensus when the only discussion about it has taken place at some special-interest location, regardless how large or firm that consensus might be"... you mean a special-interest location like the talk page of an obscure guidelines? Seriously, many of our guidelines are just as much "special-interest" as any project page... possibly even more so. Just to take one example... consider MOS/TRADEMARK. That is very much a "special interest" page. It is the realm of a few dedicated Wikipedians who really care about that one specific style issue. I know... I've become one of them. Such obscure Guidelines get worked on, changed and amended by these few dedicated editors - without the changes ever being "veted" by the larger community (much less going through any sort of formal PROPOSAL process). Indeed the larger community probably does not know that they exist. In that they are no different than a Project Page. The idea that just because a page has been promoted to "Guideline" status, that automatically means a large body of people are watching it and participating in formulating its content is simply not a valid assumption. Guidelines are often created by and watched and worked on by a very limited group of editors. Yes, our core policies are heavily watched and even a tiny change is scrutinized... but that is certainly not the case for the (literally) hundreds of obscure pages that have been marked "guideline".
As to your comment about process... I will simply note WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY. Community wide consensus can be determined in other ways than through a formal PROPOSAL. We have lots of ways of assessing consensus. As you yourself note... We have RFC's on LOCAL talk pages, discussions at the Village Pump, discussions at various noticeboards, etc. etc. And yes... on project pages.
All That said, I am not really talking about situations where someone creates encyclopedia-wide binding (subject to IAR) "rules"... I am talking more about situations where there is general consensus to make a very limited topic specific exception to (otherwise) perfectly good wiki-wide rules. I'm talking about situations where the editors know what the "rules" are, and have reached a consensus that the rule may be well and good elsewhere... just not for that one topic area. Such determinations are exactly the sort of discussions that most likely occur on Project Pages. Blueboar (talk) 22:04, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
Three points:
  • First, re NOTBUREAUCRACY that's what I'm arguing, above: I think that on a practical, daily basis we've moved beyond that and evolved/devolved (depending on your point of view) into something which, insofar as the role and use of policies and guidelines are concerned — though far less so where content decisions are concerned, except as affected by our core content policies — more resembles a bureaucracy than it does a wiki. (Most people who make that argument do so as a criticism of what WP has become and how hard it is to successfully edit, but I do not. I see it as the normal progression of a complex system — and also the reason that most Utopian communities fail, but that's expanding this discussion a bit too much, I'm afraid). If I had to express that in a sentence, I'd say that on a practical, everyday basis we are now a bureaucracy with strong wiki elements, characteristics, and philosophy.
  • Second, I could make an argument about your statement about guideline pages not being broadly watched which would boil down to "that's one reason that they're guidelines and not policies," but while that's true, I would point out that outside our core policies there are certainly policy pages which are just as obscure (if not more so) than many guidelines (e.g. MC/P, and I would note in passing that even though that policy only affects MEDCOM, whenever changes are made to it, they're always put up for community comment and consensus, not just passed by MEDCOM). If I'm right about where I think that we are on bureaucracy, my argument about the entire community having notice of changes to policy and guidelines pages is really a "should and presume" argument: the entire community should be watching those pages (and the Village Pump for purposes of PROPOSAL) and we're going to presume that they are in order to legitimize our policy-making function (just as we here in the United States believe that all citizens should vote for elected officials and presume that those who are elected are the representatives of all the people, not just those who actually voted). I would further argue that system is already in place here at WP.
  • Third, I don't necessarily disagree with your final point about local consensus, but have to wonder what you believe the effect of such consensus is. Editors can come to consensus here anywhere, anytime, on anything. We could open an RFC consensus discussion here to turn the background color of this page and all talk pages in the WP namespace to  puce , but what would the effect of that consensus beyond, perhaps, just this one page?
Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 13:57, 18 June 2015 (UTC) PS: One correction: I was riffing off of your reference to NOTBUREAUCRACY and didn't think enough about the terms. We're not a bureaucracy, per se, because a bureaucracy is based upon governance by bureaucrats. I don't think that we're that because it is the community, not admins or other bureaucrats, who primarily enforces our policies and guidelines. So "bureaucracy" does not really fit (unless you want to argue that the sub-community consisting of experienced editors are, in effect, the bureaucrats; I can see that argument, but don't agree with it). Let me restate my closing sentence my "First," section above, more accurately: If I had to express that in a sentence, I'd say that on a practical, everyday basis we are now a rule-based entity with strong wiki elements, characteristics, and philosophy. — TransporterMan (TALK) 14:08, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
Re your third point... yes, editors can come to a consensus anywhere, anytime on anything. What makes one consensus "wiki-wide" and another "local" has nothing to do with where they reach consensus, but rather how many editors were involved in reaching the consensus. If hundreds of editors participate in an RFC, and reach a consensus to turn all talk page backgrounds puce... we can say that there is a wiki-wide consensus to turn the backgrounds puce. It does not matter where the discussion takes place (it could take place on Wiki-project page, a policy page, or even an article talk page... what makes it wiki-wide is that it gathered opinions from such a large body of editors). "Enforcing" that consensus is likely to be successful. On the other hand, if only ten editors participate in an RFC, and all agree that talk pages should be puce, we can dismiss it as being a local consensus... even if the discussion was held on a Policy talk page (what makes it "local" is that only a few editors participated). "Enforcing" this second consensus is unlikely to be successful.
As for NOTBUREAUCRACY... I'm not saying that all procedures are bad... just that there are often multiple procedures (some more "procedural" than others). Those who insist that there is only one "correct" way to do things on Wikipedia certainly act like self-appointed bureaucrats. Blueboar (talk) 15:22, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Consensus#Decisions not subject to consensus of editors[edit]

I think Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement should be added to this short list. Actions taken at ARE are not actions of the Arbitration Committee (the 3rd exception mentioned) but enforcement actions of arbitration case rulings taken by administrators. Not only are the resulting actions not subject to the consensus of editors, they are not subject to the consensus of administrators. That is how ARE operates in practice and it should be noted among the exceptions or a discussion should occur about whether the process of coming to a decision in ARE cases should be determined by editor or admin consensus or whether it is more efficient settling disputes as it currently operates. Liz Read! Talk! 14:31, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Trade off[edit]

I am just wondering if it is WP:CONSENSUS where the outcome of 1 page is determined by the outcome of another unrelated page. I make reference to Derry/Londonderry_name_dispute. A compromise was reached many moons ago where by The City was called Derry and The County was called County Londonderry. The name of the City Derry is officially called Londonderry. This name is disputed by some. The County is called County Londonderry, and has never been called County Derry nor is its name in dispute. I'm trying understand how WP:CONSENSUS can be used to find agreement across 2 articles, 1 article which isn't even disputed. Any assistance would be great.Dubs boy (talk) 21:47, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

Defeating real consensus by just biding one's time[edit]

It seems some editors withdraw from vigorous content disputes before consensus is reached with the stated intent of returning later, after their opponents have moved on, when they think they'll have a better shot at putting their own stamp on articles. From where I sit, this is a form of anti-consensus. Can anyone point me to places in policy/guidelines/essays/arb-rules/etc where WP:BIDING ONES TIME is discussed? Thanks NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 21:39, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

In my opinion, it's a natural consequence of the notion that no consensus is permanent (i.e. that consensus can change). When it's the "stated intent," depending on their editing history it might be further evidence for a NOTHERE case at ANI aimed at an article or topic ban. But if it's a generally-good editor, it's probably more often a case of sour grapes without any real intent behind it. Banning it would just teach people what not to say and, frankly, it's not in my opinion an illegitimate technique for dealing with drive-by, but temporarily-tendentious POV-pushers and other SPAs who are only here long enough to fight over the stuff they introduced into an article a couple of nights ago, but who have no real interest in sticking around long enough to become an experienced and quality editor. (And I must admit that I make reference to the practice in my humorous Wikiderata because of that value.) Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 01:15, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for thoughtful reply. The inspiration for my inquiry is an explicit statement of strategy intent, in a months long dispute between established eds, in a topic under an arb ruling and DS. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 01:24, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

Additions rather than deletions[edit]

I have had a number issues with people deleting content that in their opinion is not notable or relevant. I propose adding the following:-

Consensus on Inclusion -- Trust the Reader[edit]

Some disputes involve discussions as to whether material should be covered at all because editors disagree as to whether it is relevant or notable. In these situations editors should attempt to classify the material as being in the following classes:-

  1. Essential content
  2. Non-essential but valuable
  3. Superfluous but not harmful
  4. Clearly unhelpful, irrelevant and distracting

Editors will disagree on the classification of material, but usually only by one level in the above scheme.

In the first instance editors should remove any material they consider class 3 & 4. But if that escalates into a dispute, then they should accept class 3 content, and trust the reader to determine its relevancy. Class 4 material always needs to go. But it is generally better to err on the side of leaving in some sub-optimal material than to remove useful content. Tuntable (talk) 02:07, 8 July 2015 (UTC)